Showing posts with label Lori Knutson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lori Knutson. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Mind Over Matter


By Lori Knutson, RN, BSN, HNB-BC
Administrative Director

You are probably familiar with the phrase "mind over matter." It is often used when we are trying to persevere over a situation we find difficult. But what if this isn’t just a figure of speech but is actually literal? Well it is!

Science informs us that each thought carries an electrical charge that stimulates neurotransmitters to be released. Neurotransmitters basically carry information from the brain to the nervous system, which leads to a physical response. For example, norepinephrine is a chemical  (hormone) released when one is experiencing a stressful situation. This chemical activates the muscles to contract in preparation for what is called the “flight or fight” stress response. Simply meaning that a person either runs from the stressful situation or fights the situation. 

Now let’s talk for a moment about stress. Perception is the underlying basis for how we respond to stress.  In other words, how we interpret a situation. Our brain responds to what the mind tells it.  And the brain then chemically informs our body what to do. No two people will respond exactly the same way to a perceived situation. You have probably wondered how some people can handle stress better than others. The stressor is the same but their perception of it isn’t.  

Then there are the stressors that are a little less obvious but that we are bombarded with everyday.  Some are related to finance, relationships, work, the environment, social media, or school. On a daily basis, a cascade of stress chemicals charges our body in response to these stressors. Over time, our mental and physical health become compromised. Once we become aware that we are in stress we can take action by either changing how we perceive the situation or removing the situation. Our stress chemistry will change and subsequently relinquish our body from potential negative impact. Mind over matter.

So how do we live less stressful lives and bring more health to our body and mind? Mindfulness. The practice of mindfulness brings our attention to how we are choosing to respond to life experiences. It equips us with the ability to regulate our emotions and the capacity for self-control. This reduces the negative impact on our mind and body. Ultimately leading to a healthier and happier life.

If you plan to make a 2018 New Year’s resolution why not choose developing a mindfulness practice. This is a mind over matter that really matters!


Click here to learn about the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction classes we are offering. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Let Food Be Thy Medicine and Medicine Be Thy Food


By Lori Knutson, RN, BSN, HNB-BC
Administrative Director
Meridian Integrative Health & Medicine

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” - Hippocrates

Food is the body’s information. You could think of it this way, if your car is fueled by unleaded gas, you would not dream of putting leaded gas in the tank and expect your car to run. Well, that’s essentially true of how food sustains our body and mind. Food provides the chemical basis, the fuel, for our physical body to run properly. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Could you imagine your physician giving you a prescription to be filled at the ‘FARMacy’ where you would be given the required fresh vegetables and fruits to address your current health situation?

Physicians, unfortunately, receive little to no education and training in food science and its relationship to health, illness, and disease. But that is beginning to change. Harvard’s T.S. Chan School of Public Health and The Culinary Institute of America have partnered to create a program for healthcare professionals with an emphasis on training physicians. This program is titled Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives.

Recently, Hackensack Meridian Integrative Health & Medicine, through the generosity of the Women’s Heart Fund, sponsored 12 healthcare professional to attend the Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives training at The Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley, California. Included were eight physicians representing cardiology, oncology, surgery, primary care, psychiatry, physical medicine & rehabilitation, internal medicine, and integrative medicine. The training provided lectures on the science of food by some of the leading scientists in the field such as Walter C. Willett, M.D., Dr. P.H., Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Attendees also participated in hands-on cooking skills with The Culinary Institute of America’s award winning chefs. 

As one of the physician attendee’s exclaimed, “This changes everything about my practice!” Maybe we will see a new specialty sprout, Culinary Medicine! Bon App├ętit!

The Hackensack Meridian Integrative Health & Medicine team and several Hackensack Meridian Health physicians had a great time at the Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives Conference in Napa Valley last month.
Pictured here: David Eisenberg, M.D., Director of Culinary Nutrition and Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Lori Knutson, RN, BSN, HNB-BC, Administrative Director; Aviad Haramati, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at Georgetown University, who spoke about #mindfulness and #mindful #nutrition at the conference; Jennifer DiNapoli; Nicole Cerillo, RD, LDN; David Leopold, M.D.; Vivian Kominos, M.D.; Elizabeth Maiorana; Ronald Matteotti, M.D.; Sylvia Takvorian, M.D. and Jorge Corzo, M.D. (Not pictured - Mark Krasna, M.D. and Nina Regevick, M.D.)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Purpose



By Lori Knutson, RN, BSN, HNB-BC
Administrative Director
Meridian Integrative Health & Medicine

Contemplating one's life purpose is perhaps the biggest conversation we can have with ourselves. Or is it? For some, knowing their sense of purpose seems innate in that they have felt "called" to a certain life or vocation. For others, this becomes the source of much challenge, in some cases to the point of feeling lost which can lead to depression. According to the World Health Organization, "Depression is a significant contributor to the global burden of disease and affects people in all communities across the world. Today, depression is estimated to affect 350 million people. The World Mental Health Survey conducted in 17 countries found that on average about 1 in 20 people reported having an episode of depression in the previous year." (WHO 2012).

So, "Purpose" may in fact be the most fundamental aspect of health and well-being. Our Care Model at Meridian Integrative Health & Medicine is based on Five Pillars of Health & Wellness: Nutrition, Activity, Sleep, Resilience, and Purpose. Each pillar does not hold equal weight in importance when we take into account the WHO's focus on depression and its direct correlation to loss of purpose and meaning. When a person lacks a sense of purpose or meaning in their life it becomes more challenging to have the focus or energy to manage their stress, eat healthy, get adequate sleep, or have the motivation to be active. Purpose is what gives life meaning. It’s your reason for being; it’s what gets you up in the morning. Purpose is what provides the nourishment to persevere when things get tough.

If you struggle with defining your sense of purpose, there is another way to approach this most critical aspect to your health and well being. Rather than thinking about “having a purpose” think about "living purposefully." As Annie Dillard, American author, stated, "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives." One way to do this is by taking time to give gratitude for your life. This doesn’t mean being grateful for just the big things in life, but more importantly the daily things like having people in your life that support you, having the means to live the life you live, and the opportunities you have each day. The other way to live purposefully is to make an effort every day to do something for someone else. The feelings that arise in you just from taking the action to live purposefully will begin to feed your sense of purpose and meaning. Mahatma Gandhi reminds us, "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others."

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

An Introduction to Integrative Health & Medicine



By Lori Knutson, RN, BSN, HNB-BC
Administrative Director
Meridian Integrative Health & Medicine

Over 30 years ago I became a nurse. Why? Because I believed in the power of medicine and healthcare when people are sick, injured, or living with a terminal illness and I wanted to play a part in this profound service to humanity. What I have come to learn over these many years of working in healthcare and experiencing my own episodes of health challenges is that conventional medicine alone may not have all the answers—especially when we are looking to maintain or increase a sense of health and well-being.

We have embraced the idea of bringing together all evidence-based care and treatments to optimize the health and well-being of those we serve. This year we launched Meridian Integrative Health and Medicine which brings together the science and technology of traditional medical care with a broad spectrum of integrative therapies such as acupuncture, massage, nutrition counseling, health coaching, health psychology, integrative medicine consultations with a physician or nurse practitioner; along with many workshops and classes that inform and empower people to be the boss of their health and well-being.

The integrative therapies and classes are some of what we do with individuals but it’s our care model that is uniquely different. Our Five Pillars of Health and Wellness are the foundation of everything we do: Purpose, Resilience, Nutrition, Activity, and Sleep. We know that if these five areas of life are optimal, then one’s mind, body, and spirit will thrive. We are so thrilled to be at this amazing juncture in healthcare and we hope you will be compelled to learn more.