The Perfect Healing: Love, Peace & Prayer!

   My post yesterday about how looking at art creates the same neurochemistry as love and a post several months ago about making art/crafts creates the same neurochemistry as calm merged when I read Cloe Filson’s blog. 

Cloe is an artist, a “real life artist” and a Baha’i.

When I saw how Cloe’s illustrated her Baha’i prayer-book I had a aha moment! What a perfect combination:  Love, Peace & Prayer.

Take a look at how Cloe combines all three in this tiny sample of Cloe’s two posts which you can access in the links below

Cloe Filson’s Baha’i Prayer Book art

“I’m a Baha’i. Every Baha’i prays at least once a day, but all are welcome to do so as much as they feel inclined, sometimes by oneself and sometimes with others. Baha’is think of prayer as conversation with God, and God as the unknowable essence.”

“Bahá’u’lláh, Prophet-Founder of the Baha’i Faith, wrote prayers to help His followers articulate the needs and longings of their souls, though we are also free to use our own words. Baha’is also meditate in whatever way they choose.”

“I myself pray to align and realign myself with the circumstances of my life and the general thrust of the universe. I also pray because Bahá’u’llah, Prophet-Founder of my faith, instructed His followers to do so each day.”

“One year, at camp, my friend Samuel and I came up with the idea of adding some illustration to our prayer books; we figured that, since prayer is a beautiful thing, we might benefit from using beautified prayer books. It has been an ongoing project, at least for me, ever since. Every now and then, I do another page or two.”‘ Cloe Filson, RealLifeArtist

There’s a lot more illustrations on Cloe’s blog of how she illustrated her Baha’i Prayer Book.

Proof Exercise is Exhausting (Parenthetically Speaking)

February 29, 2008, 1:12 pm

The Cure for Exhaustion? More Exercise?

fatigureFeeling fatigued? (George Ruhe for The New York Times)

When a person is sapped by fatigue, the last thing he or she wants to do is exercise. But new research shows that regular, low-intensity exercise may help boost energy levels in people suffering from fatigue.

(I do low intensity exercise EVERY day, like walk from my office to the bathroom down the hall, Type slowly and I’m still fatigued.)

Fatigue is one of the most common health symptoms and can be a sign of a variety of medical problems. However, about one in four people suffers from general fatigue not associated with a serious medical condition.  (That’s reassuring)

University of Georgia researchers decided to study whether exercise can be used to treat fatigue. The research, which appears in the February issue of the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, involved 36 volunteers who were not regular exercisers but who complained of persistent fatigue.

One group of fatigued volunteers was prescribed 20 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise three times a week for six weeks. The second group engaged in low-intensity aerobic exercise for the same time period, while a third control group did not exercise.

The study volunteers used exercise bikes that allowed the researchers to control their level of exertion. The low-intensity exercise was equivalent to a leisurely, easy walk. The more intense exercise was similar to a fast-paced walk up hills. ( I live on a very hilly neighborhood)  Patients with fatigue due to serious medical conditions, such as those with chronic fatigue syndrome, weren’t included in the study.  (Now they tell me.)

Both of the exercise groups had a 20 percent increase in energy levels by the end of the study, compared to the control group. However, the researchers found that more intense exercise isn’t the best way to reduce fatigue. The low-intensity group reported a 65 percent drop in feelings of fatigue, compared to a 49 percent drop in the group doing more intense exercise.

“Too often we believe that a quick workout will leave us worn out — especially when we are already feeling fatigued,” said researcher Tim Puetz, in a news release. Dr. Puetz recently completed his doctorate at the university and is the lead author of the study. “However, we have shown that regular exercise can actually go a long way in increasing feelings of energy — particularly in sedentary individuals.”

Why exercise helps fatigue isn’t clear, but Dr. Puetz said his findings suggest exercise acts directly on the central nervous system to increase energy and reduce fatigue. Notably, the improvements in energy and fatigue were not related to increases in aerobic fitness.( I resent the implication that I’m sedentary just because my job forces me to sit in a chair all day and talk to people)

  1. The most important question to ask is, which people within the exercise groups benefitted and which did not? Did some people feel less fatigue, while others had no response? And, if so, what are the differences between responders and non responders in the exercising groups? The model used in Chinese medicine may provide some insight. Fatigue essentially breaks down into two categories those who have too little energy, and those whose energy is stuck stagnant) and unavailable to them. The stagnant type of fatigue would respond to exercise, as the physical movement gets the previously unavailable energy moving and available. The deficient (too little) energy people would not improve with exercise. (I’m sure I’m deficient so it’s better that I not exercise )In fact, the deficient group might become worse due to the consumption of energy that is already too little. This might explain the less desirable response in the higher intensity exercise group compared to the lower intensity exercise group. It would be wonderful to see these questions answered so that physicians could know which patient should exercise more, and which one should get more rest. (I’m going to show this to my doctor the next time she tells me I need more exercise.)