Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Yoga: Avoid Beginner’s Mistakes While Attaining a Well of Happiness PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Wednesday, 02 May 2012 08:41

Yoga has become a popular option for alternative health management. Research has shown the practice can significantly reduce mental and physical stress, improve mood, and slow the aging process.

But some yogis believe many of the estimated 20 million U.S. students are missing the best part of the discipline – the inner happiness attainable through a healthy mind-body connection. They also worry about injuries that result when beginners tackle poses and exercises without proper guidance.

“There are several disciplines of yoga, and with its rich history, the beginner can easily get lost – or worse – injured,” says Mary Jo Ricketson, an experienced yoga practitioner and healthcare specialist, and author of Moving Meditation ( A registered nurse, she also holds a master’s degree in education from Northwestern University.

“What I detail in my book is a comprehensive approach for both mind and body. This reciprocal relationship maximizes health benefits, and has exponentially positive consequences beyond the individual.”

People have been practicing yoga for thousands of years, she says. In the West, the practice has integrated with our culture leading to variations including “extreme” yoga. Ricketson warns this sort of exercise can alienate beginners, who may not be ready to “jump in the deep end first.” Without the proper training and guidance, she adds, beginners risk injuring their neck, lower back, knees and shoulders.

The most important step is getting started, Ricketson says. Here are seven things beginners – and anyone practicing yoga – should know to maximize their benefits:

1. Cardiovascular (aerobic) training: As with meditation, focused breathing is a cornerstone of mind-body training. Aerobic means “with oxygen” and aerobic movement increases the flow of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body, including the brain. Cardiovascular training is the single most important aspect of the physical training because it keeps the heart open and strong.

2. Core and strength training: This includes the students’ abdomen and buttocks, and the lower back region, which extends to the base of the skull. Here is where strength, stability and balance originate.

3. Flexibility training (yoga postures): Stretching simply feels good, and it reminds students to not only be more flexible in one’s body, but also one’s mind. This step allows us to move (and live) with greater ease.

4. Adequate rest: Sleep is a necessary part of life, and sufficient rest is needed for energy and equilibrium.

5. Life-giving nutrition: Making the right choices in food allows yoga students to achieve an optimal, balanced state. This includes nutritional foods consumed in moderation.

6. Family/community/church: From Epicurus to modern science, study and observation show that we find greater happiness with access to friends and family.

7. Written goals and a plan of action: Goals and stated intention act as a road map to achieving balanced well-being.

Ricketson says the above steps are just the beginning. She says tapping in to the mind-body connection also helps memory loss, attention deficit disorders, public violence – including in schools – as well as an unknown amount of needless human suffering.

“We all have within us a potential to experience optimal well-being in mind and body,” she says. “This potential, the Good Within, can be realized through the work of mind-body training. Our training is a moving meditation – a daily practice of exercises that awaken all that is Good Within.”

About Mary Jo Ricketson

Mary Jo Ricketson has studied human health and well-being for decades, earning a Bachelor of Science in nursing and a master’s in education. In 1999, she opened the Center for Mind-Body Training, which offers classes, seminars, and personal training. Yoga training is done in her studio, in schools, and in corporate settings. She lives in the Boston area with her husband and two children.

Harkin Announces Over $7.5 Million for Iowa Health Centers PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Sen. Tom Harkin   
Wednesday, 02 May 2012 08:33

Funding comes from Affordable Care Act Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today announced that six Iowa communities will be awarded funding totaling $7,582,021.00 from the Affordable Care Act Capital Development’s Immediate Facility Improvement and Building Capacity grant programs. The funding will help build, expand, and improve community health centers in the state. As Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Harkin played a pivotal role in passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  He is also Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies.

“Particularly in these tough economic times, community health centers play a vital role in our state, providing health care for thousands of Iowans who lack adequate health insurance,” said Harkin.  “These Affordable Care Act funds will help health centers care for additional patients while also creating jobs in these communities.  I applaud Secretary Sebelius for today’s announcement and congratulate the Iowa communities that were awarded funding.”

Today’s awards are part of a series of investments that are made available to community health centers under the Affordable Care Act, which provides $9.5 billion to expand services nationally over five years and $1.5 billion to support major construction and renovation projects at community health centers.  According to a new report released today by the Department of Health and Human Services, the ACA has already supported 190 construction and renovation projects at health centers and the creation of 67 new health center sites across the country, and will support more than 485 new health center construction and renovation projects and the creation of 245 new community health center sites nationwide over the next two years.

Details of the funding are as follows:

Immediate Facility Improvements Program:
Davenport-Community Health Care, Inc.-$38,750
Dubuque-Crescent Community Health Center-$260,053
Leon-Community Health Centers of Southern Iowa, Inc.-$483,500
Urbandale-Primary Health Care, Inc.-$499,718

Building Capacity Grant Program:
Ottumwa-River Hills Community Health Center-$5,000,000 for consolidation of facilities
Sioux City-Siouxland Community Health Center-$1,300,000 for expansion of current facilities

Haiku as a Spiritual Practice PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Unitarian Universalist Congregation   
Tuesday, 01 May 2012 14:20
Nancy Huse, retired professor of English at Augustana College, will lead a class on  “Haiku as a Spiritual Practice - writing in the springtime” at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Quad Cities.  The class, which is open to the public, will be at 7 pm May 1 and May 8.  Haiku is a Japanese poem of seventeen syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five, traditionally evoking images of the natural world.

Health Care Fairy Tales PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Dr. George Watson, D.O.   
Tuesday, 01 May 2012 13:46

Retired Dr. Bill Roy proved again why he is a former Congressman from Kansas in a recent op-ed “GOP Solutions for Health Care Are Fairy Tales”.

The correct statement is, “Both Democrat and Republican solutions for health care are fairy tales.” They are fairy tales, and they are all un-Constitutional.

As would-be reformers generally do, Roy tells an emotional story. His example is an 11-year-old girl in Tarzana, California, with a bill for $4,852 for an emergency room visit for a stomach ache.

Roy laments, “This young lady’s dad had lost his job at a movie studio. Desperate for some coverage, he chose to buy about all the health insurance he could afford, a $5,000 deductible policy.”

Then Roy reports, “But the doctor ordered all kinds of diagnostic blood work at all kinds of unrevealed prices.”

Roy says, “There’s plenty to learn about this experience.” He says, “We’re overcharged, over-diagnosed, and over-treated.” He adds, “The free market absolutely doesn’t work in medical care.” And he concludes, “Finally, we cannot run a system built on private, for-profit health insurers with billionaire CEOs.”

And then Roy asks, “How long are movement conservatives going to insist on rationing health care by costs, while thousands die?”

Let’s start with Roy’s absurd statement, “The free market absolutely doesn’t work in medical care.” The fact is, the free market has not had a chance to work in medical care, because of the crooked, nit-wit schemes of politicians that think the way Roy does. If the parents had taken the little girl to a private physician (one who contracts directly with the patient and has no insurance or government contracts), the bill could have been $45 for lab work, $400 for an abdominal CT scan, and $75 for the office visit—payable by cash, check, or credit, the same way people pay for their cell phones, car payments, and car insurance payments.

Dr. Roy is correct in stating that in medicine we do have “all kinds of unrevealed prices.” That’s because of hospitals contracting with insurance companies and government—as a result of previous legislation. For example, the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1946 exempts the business of insurance from anti-trust legislation. Lyndon Johnson’s fairy-tale Great Society legislation of 1965 poured trillions of dollars into “fighting poverty,” as through Medicaid, which also results in hospitals shifting costs to private patients like this little girl. Then there was Nixon’s HMO Act of 1974, requiring employers to offer plans that feature secret agreements with “providers.”

A simple solution would be to require insurance companies to list what they will pay for certain procedures. Then the hospitals and doctors can charge fair prices. If Roy thinks patients can’t make decisions for themselves, he probably thinks they can’t read the menu in a restaurant, or they can’t decide which of the latest cell phones they want or need.

Roy’s lament, “this young lady’s dad had lost his job (and insurance)” is another consequence of congressional malpractice, the fraudulently named Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). If the liars had written the law to do what the name implies, the girl’s father could still have had his insurance from employment, because he would have owned it, just like he owns his car and homeowner’s insurance.

Roy’s question, “How long are movement conservatives going to insist on rationing health care by costs, while thousands die?” betrays the fact that he has not read the fraudulently named Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), under which an appointed board would ration health care by costs (Quality Adjusted Remaining Years--QuARY). This Act has no patient protection, and everyone knows it is not affordable. The Congressional Budget Office now estimates that it will cost $1.76 trillion, and Sen. Jeff Sessions says he has found $17 trillion in long-term costs.

The real questions are, “Who should determine the prices—the free market, or government bureaucrats and their cronies?” and “Who should decide what care a patient should have—the patient and her family, or the PPACA rationing board?”


May is Lupus Awareness Month PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Lupus Foundation of America, Iowa Chapter   
Monday, 30 April 2012 10:49
The Lupus Foundation of America, Iowa Chapter Urges the Public to Band Together for Lupus Awareness This May

Educational programs and events taking place in the Iowa areas throughout May as part of Lupus Awareness Month activities

(Des Moines, Iowa) New research has shown that most Americans, 59 percent, know little or nothing about lupus and its devastating impact. This May for Lupus Awareness Month, the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA), Iowa Chapter is urging  residents of Iowa and across the nation to Band Together for Lupus Awareness™ to improve the understanding of lupus, an
unpredictable and sometimes fatal disease that affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans, and support those who suffer from this terrible disease.

“A lack of awareness of the disease contributes to many people dismissing early warning signs of lupus, which can have serious health risks,” said Susan B. Kroska/Iowa Chapter Executive Director. “We are asking everyone to get involved and Band Together for Lupus Awareness, so together we can offer hope and improve the quality of lives of Iowa residents living with lupus.”

“When I tell people I have lupus, they typically don’t know what it is. And if they do know what it is, they tell me that I don’t look sick,” said Marie McNamara from Windsor Heights, Iowa. “It is hard to explain that while I may look totally fine on the outside, that I can be in so much pain or so sick on the inside. Awareness is very important so our family and friends understand what we’re going through and how they can support us.”

This year, the LFA is asking the public to Put On Purple for lupus awareness by wearing purple and telling people why they are showing their support for all people affected by this disease. Put On Purple Day will take place on Friday, May 18, 2012.

Lupus Awareness Month activities, which include social media, online, and grassroots components, will empower individuals, organizations, and companies with a wide-ranging number of tools and resources so they can educate their communities about lupus. Tools range from fliers, to Web banner ads, to facts about lupus.

There are many ways the public can Band Together for Lupus Awareness such as:

  • Listen and share new podcasts with lupus experts.
  • Share their lupus story on Lupus Voices Across America at
  • Include an article about lupus in their company newsletter or on their Web site
  • Post fliers in their community or around their office.
  • Post a Web banner on their Web site linking to the LFA/Lupus Awareness Month activities
  • Distribute purple wristbands to friends (available for sale at
  • Participate in Put On Purple Day on Friday, May 18 -- encourage friends to wear purple
  • proudly on this day and tell people why.
  • Send their networks lupus facts throughout the month of May via their social media pages
  • Participate in the LFA’s mobile giving campaign -- on World Lupus Day on May 10th, tell
  • 10 people about lupus and ask them to give $10 to the LFA by texting LUPUS to 80888;
  • contributions will help the LFA raise awareness, expand education programs, and advance
  • research.

The public can learn more about lupus and ways they can get involved in improving awareness of lupus this May by visiting the LFA’s Web site at Tools, free of charge, are available at

About Lupus
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the immune system is unbalanced, causing inflammation and tissue damage to virtually any organ in the body. Lupus can be unpredictable and potentially fatal, yet no satisfactory treatment or cure exists. An estimated 1.5 million Americans and at least five million people worldwide have a form of lupus. Its health effects include heart attacks, strokes, seizures, miscarriages, and organ failure.

About the Lupus Foundation of America Iowa Chapter
The Lupus Foundation of America (LFA), Iowa Chapter is a proud member of the LFA National Network, which is comprised of chapters, field offices, support groups, and community representatives. The LFA is the oldest and largest national nonprofit health organization dedicated to finding the causes of and a cure for lupus, and providing support, services, and hope to all people affected by lupus. The LFA and its National Network are focused on improving quality of life for people with lupus through programs of research, education, and advocacy.


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