A Note From Dr. Christianson
Hope this note finds you healthy and happy. I had a wonderful trip to Yosemite with my
son recently. In this picture, we were on Glacier Point and he was able to point out the summit of Half-Dome where we stood the prior day. The rangers we spoke to said he may have been the youngest to have done this.
Our national parks are such a treasure. Funny thing is that whenever we go to them, it seems like people from the rest of the world frequent them more than Americans do.
Research has been showing that we have a measurable psychological need for exposure to nature. It makes sense.
Our ancestors became hard wired to prefer lush, verdant regions with trees, light underbrush and moving water. This is where they would find food and safety. Some say that the effects of natural settings on anxiety and depression can be greater than medication. Dr. Lovick will give some more great tips on making your brain happy in this issue’s article.
Take some time this fall and visit our local wonders. Tonto Natural Bridge, Karchner Caverns, the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, we’ve got powerful medicine in our backyard.
Welcome to all of you who are new to our community. You can stay on top of news like the recent arsenic in rice scare by watching our blog.
We are excited to roll out a new team member in the next few weeks, stay tuned!
In Good Health,
Are You In Your Right Mind?
I consider myself to be left-brain dominant. I love logic, order and analysis. I love it when A + B always equals C and always follows in that order. I have a deep admiration for people who are creative: authors, composers, and artists. They have a level of intelligence that I cannot comprehend or hope to acquire, but I can enjoy the beauty that they produce.
Back in the 1960s, Roger Sperry performed a series of experiments known as “Split Brain” experiments. His goal was to eliminate the cause of epilepsy in patients. He discovered that by severing the corpus callosum, or the band of nerve fibers that connects each hemisphere of the brain, he could stop epileptic attacks in a majority of patients. Through his experiments he was able to determine what functions each hemisphere of the brain carried out. This is how the idea of “left-brain vs. right-brain” was developed. Sperry earned the Nobel Prize for his work in 1981.
The left hemisphere of the brain is responsible for all analytical and verbal tasks whereas the right hemisphere handles spatial perception and music. As much as I love reasoning and logic, I am lousy at directions! It is a well-known fact among my family and friends that I have pitiful navigation skills. And, naturally, I was able to figure that out on my own by analyzing the number of times I have been lost while trying to find a new restaurant or store. Throw in the fact that I am completely uncoordinated when I do anything with my left hand – I believe it exists for no other reason than body symmetry – I have to wonder if my right hemisphere may be starting to atrophy. Is there any hope for me?
Actually, yes there is. As a naturopathic physician, I know that the body loves to be in balance. And the left side of my brain tells me that logically I would feel better and think clearer if my brain were balanced. Fortunately there are exercises that I can do to strengthen the right side of my brain.
In addition to logic and artistry, the hemispheres of the brain handle physical actions as well. Each hemisphere controls the movements of the opposite side of the body. Since I am left-brain dominant, naturally I am right-handed. Utilizing my left hand is probably one of the best and most frustrating exercises. I have tried to feed myself by holding my fork in my left hand and made a mess. This is not an exercise to try in a public restaurant. I have also tried to brush my teeth with my left hand and struggled to get the brush against my teeth on my first attempt. The movements were awkward and actually felt unfamiliar. I brush my teeth at least twice a day, every day. How could the movements possibly feel unfamiliar? By using my left hand to do simple daily tasks, I am creating new neuronal pathways in my brain. Just like a muscle, the brain needs exercise and stimulation to stay strong and healthy.
People who stutter can usually sing without any hesitation or stammer. This is because our verbal center is located in the left hemisphere. Singing a song from memory, without any thought of pitch or accuracy, uses mostly the left side of the brain. However if you practice singing with the goal of enhancing your voice, you engage the right side of your brain because that requires creativity and artistry. I am so appalled by my inability to sing that I have never attempted this exercise.
Visualize colors or graphics with every task you perform during the day. Make a to do list of everything you need to accomplish tomorrow. Assign a color to each type of activity. For example, the grocery store list might be green, the task to pay bills might be red. All errands that need to be run such as the bank, dry cleaners, drug store might be written in blue. And when you think of each item on your list with the appropriate color, see each word as a graphic. “Pay bills” may be a dollar sign while “running errands” may be a stick figure in a running position. Graphics and colors can help with recall of the items as well as stimulate the right side of your brain. I love this exercise because it applies right-brain stimulus to a left-brain function: the ordered list.
Meditation is a powerful way to strengthen your brain. It is a truly challenging exercise for a left-brained person. It is the logical, analytical side of the brain that interrupts the “witness” or the right side of the brain during meditation. The left hemisphere provides the intruding and distracting thoughts. Through meditation people are able to quiet the demands of the analytical side and find the creative energy and appreciation of beauty that the right side has to offer. The art of meditation is a work in process for me. And although I am far from mastering it, I am enjoying the centering and balancing effects it has on my life.
At this point in my life, I still claim to be left-brained but I am working on it. Maybe one day I will be a NY Times best-selling author, all because I learned to brush my teeth with my left hand.
(c) 2012- Integrative Health Care, PC
Would you like to use this article? You may as long as you use the following information along with the article:
Ann Lovick, NMD, is a trusted physician for Integrative Health in Scottsdale, AZ.
Dr. Lovick specializes in comprehensive women’s health care. She focuses on providing natural and effective treatments and prevention strategies to women. She helps women resolve fatigue, increase energy, balance hormones, enhance immunity, and find allergy relief.
Dr. Lovick is also an educator, football fan, and triathlete. She can be reached at www.MyIntegrativeHealth.com and
25 Experts – 25 Days
Join 25 World Leading Experts on Aging in this one-of-a-kind event with live calls every day, Monday through Friday at 5:00pm Pacific Time. You’ll have FREE access to every one of these powerful live sessions.
Every one of these sessions will be filled with profound insights and powerful tools to help YOU create a more healthy, vibrant and sexy life! So you definitely do NOT want to miss a single sesion!
Jikiden means “directly passed down.” Dr. Heather Yates has traveled to Japan to study with the direct descendants of Mikao Usui’s teaching in this meditative mind-body self-healing method. It is complementary to conventional medical care and may shorten healing time as it enables the body to focus on healing itself. Reiki is used in many hospitals today, even here in Scottsdale, to treat patients with cancer and reduce the side effects of chemotherapy treatments. Jikiden Reiki is simple, but powerful. Come learn how it can transform your life.
Space is limited so please call 480-657-0003 to reserve your seat today!
October 2 at 6:00pm
Race for the Cure in the Susan G. Komen Phoenix 5K
Join our Integrative Health Team as our Doctors and Staff Race for the Cure in the Susan G. Komen Phoenix 5K on Sunday October 14. There are several events to choose from, including:
5K Survivors Run
5K Walk Event
5K Run Event
Here is how to sign up for our Health Team:
Then select Register. On the next screen click “Join an Existing Team”
Enter our Team Name “Integrative health”, then click Search for A Team.
You can sign up for a Run or Walk, we will have staff members joining all events. This is a great way to get some exercise, have some fun and support the cause! If you need help getting signed up, give us a call at 480-657-003 and we will walk you through it!
Motivate Yourself to Exercise
Join us as JJ Flizanes, the Director of Invisible Fitness, and Amazon’s best-selling author of Fit 2 Love: How to Get Physically, Emotionally, and Spiritually Fit to Attract the Love of Your Life, shares her best motivational tips to rev it up.
The fee for this class is $40, but well worth it!
Space is limited so please call 480-657-0003 to reserve your seat today!
October 16 at 6:00pm
Cave Creek Bicycle Festival
Come help us protect our Sonoran Desert at the 4th Annual Cave Creek Bicycle Festival. All of the proceeds go directly to protecting the pristine Sonoran Desert so that future generations can enjoy the splendor of our unique region. Join us as we support the beautiful region that we live in while staying fit and active. Check out www.cavecreekbicyclefestival.com
to learn more.
Try this salsa with a grilled meat or fish.
2 cups fresh blueberries, chopped
1 cup fresh blueberries, whole
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1/3 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1) Stir together all ingredients.
2) Cover and chill until ready to serve.