Road Rage

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Do you feel ‘righteous rage’ on the road?

By Elizabeth Landau, CNN
July 20, 2010 8:56 a.m. EDT
Close your eyes and think of something calming if anger is flaring up, experts say.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A person’s upbringing may reflect how he or she will handle anger in adulthood
  • “Righteous rage” is when people feel entitled to something and get angry when they don’t get it
  • Anger isn’t just bad for your relationships; it can also affect your health

(CNN) — You’re speeding along on the highway and someone cuts you off out of nowhere. Your heart starts racing, and you pound your wrists on the horn, screaming obscenities only you can hear.

It’s one of those moments when you’re so angry that you act out of character, transforming from mild-mannered to vengeful person. It’s as if something in your brain tells you that you need to fight back.

Instances of frustration are common in daily life, but sometimes it can get out of control.

Four audio recordings capturing a heated argument, allegedly between actor Mel Gibson and his ex-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, have been released since July 9 by RadarOnline. In the most recently revealed recording, a man threatens to burn down the house. CNN has not independently confirmed the authenticity of the recordings.

Grigorieva and Gibson were scheduled to appear in court Tuesday for a status hearing on a restraining order that Grigorieva filed against him, alleging that he struck her in the face, according to her spokesman, Stephen Jaffe.

Gibson isn’t the only one in the news lately who’s allegedly been having anger issues. Carlos Zambrano, pitcher for the Chicago, Illinois, Cubs, has been on the restricted list since June, when he had a shout-out with teammate Derrek Lee. Zambrano has finished anger management therapy and participated Thursday in his first bullpen session since the confrontation, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Holding a grudge really impacts your relationship, and it’s empowering another person to control you.
–Robert Goldman, attorney and psychologist

Anger stems from a survival instinct, experts say. When you feel that someone is threatening your existence, you fight back to save yourself.

A calm, rational person may appear to transform into an angry beast in a traffic jam because of that need to protect oneself, said Dr. Tracy Latz, psychiatrist in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“It gets into this mentality of ‘kill or be killed,’ ” Latz said. “Subsconsciously, there’s a fear that someone else is going to kill or take power over me.”

Combine that with a sense of entitlement and you’ve got what attorney and clinical psychologist Robert Goldman calls “righteous rage.” That’s when people feel so strongly they deserve something that it blinds them to the reality of the situation, and they behave irrationally.

“While we live in a world of abundance in our country, it can also create feelings of anger and rage when we get caught up in it. We’re not able to step back and see how really lucky and blessed we are,” said Goldman, who works for the probation department of Suffolk County, New York.

In making decisions, the frontal lobe of the human brain, which is relatively new in evolutionary history, is instrumental. But the more primitive parts of the brain are involved in anger, Goldman said. Alcohol can inhibit the more thoughtful functioning and allow anger to flood out.

People tend to lash out at family members because they believe those close to them will not abandon them, no matter what, Latz said. A family setting is when people often let their guard down, which can lead to ugly confrontations.

A person’s upbringing may reflect how he or she will handle anger in adulthood, she said. If, growing up, parents expressed their anger in an inappropriate way, or repressed it altogether, the child may follow suit later. This is also how abusive behavior gets passed down from one generation to the next, she said.

“You can actually form a belief that this is how it is — we can unlearn that if we begin to be aware of it,” she said.

It’s important to understand the root of your anger, and use the sense of unfairness to become stronger, Goldman said. Think about how you can deal with the things that make you mad in a more rational fashion.

In the moment, thinking about the consequences of an action driven by anger can help stop you from going too far, he said.

Another approach is to close your eyes and think of something calming — a loved one, a spiritual being, a beautiful sunset or a piece of music that you adore, Lantz said. Meditation also helps.

Seek professional help when your anger is interfering with your ability to function in relationships, Goldman said. It doesn’t take aggression for such feelings to get out of hand; if you’re unable to move forward with your life because you’re still mad at someone for something, there’s a problem.

One client Goldman is counseling is still stuck on the fact that his mother wasn’t invited to a bar mitzvah on the wife’s side of the family. The couple is getting divorced.

“Holding a grudge really impacts your relationship, and it’s empowering another person to control you,” he said.

Anger isn’t just bad for marriage; it can also affect your health. A 2009 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that anger triggers electrical changes in the heart, which can predict future arrhythmias in some patients.

Mark Farparan also has health issues from anger — he has a condition of chronic pain and fatigue called fibromyalgia, and these days when he gets too worked up about something, his energy will be drained for hours. The breathing exercises that he and his wife learned in Lamaze class have helped him calm down in moments of frustration.

Farparan, 52, considers himself “Mr. Mellow” now, but that’s not how it always was. When his 12-year-old son was 3, Farapan once got so mad at the child that he punched a door instead of him.

“I started again in a marriage at a late time, and being a father again was kind of rough,” said Farparan, who has a 26-year-old from his first marriage and two children from his second. “I guess I was having sort of like a post-partum.”

Farparan has not done that again. Beyond the breathing, his mellowing over the past several years has to do with age, he said.

“I don’t have much time left on this Earth. I’m not going to waste it being angry,” he said.

Offices in New York and LA

14297238_s Body Charge is headquartered in Los Angeles and has a satellite location in New York City.  Our main areas of service are Los Angeles and New York where therapists are screened, interviewed and are required to give a hands on demo of their skills.  A thorough reference check is given as well, because we hire the best available in the city.

 

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Body Charge’s main offices are Los Angeles and New York.  Paul Guditis, Body Charge owner: ” Spreading ourselves too thinly over the US sometimes gets us in trouble.  In staffing small markets, there really is no chance of interviewing all of the therapists.  It is just totally unrealistic.  That is why our main focus will be the major markets in New York and Los Angeles.”

“I have a chance to go out and personally interview therapists, get a hands on demo, and find the best therapists available who want to do this work.  It’s amazing what people put down on paper, and what their massages are like.  Sometimes they are two different worlds.

” We can be called for anything, anywhere, anytime.  My job is to make sure it happens, with the best therapists available for the work.  I consider us one of the best out there.  And through the years, I’ve had a chance to see what is out there.  Seeing an employee get out of a massage chair with a smile and a healthy glow, well, there’s not a whole lot more that can make me happier.”

 

 

Chicago Corporate Massages

 

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Beautiful evening view of the Chicago Loop

We want to continue to inform our potential clients that we are very active in Chicago as a home for corporate massage therapy.  Law firms in the Loop, as well as internet firms on Wacker Drive, use us consistently as employee perks.   Being a Chicago native, I understand how stressful working downtown can be.  Many people have to commute by trains into the Loop, and more often than not, in challenging weather conditions.  So consider doing office chair massages for your employees.  They’ll love you for it, and maybe even buy you a hot dog, from Hot Dougs….one of the best places in town!

Working overtime may harm the heart

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Health

People who worked overtime tended to sleep less and reported experiencing more stress.

By Sarah Klein, Health.com

May 11, 2010 2:39 p.m. EDT
Employee Feeling Stressed and Overworked.jpgSTORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Study: Doctors should see long working hours as a potential risk factor for heart disease
  • People who worked overtime were healthier in other ways
  • They were also more likely to exhibit “Type A” personality traits
  • All of the study participants were white-collar workers in England

(Health.com) — If you’ve been saying for years that long hours at work are killing you, forward this article to your boss–it might literally be true. According to a new study, people who work more than 10 hours a day are about 60 percent more likely to develop heart disease or have a heart attack than people who clock just seven hours a day.

It’s not clear why this is, but the researchers suggest that all that time on the job means less free time to unwind and take care of yourself. Stress may also play a role–but not as much as you might think. Working long hours appears to hurt your heart even if you don’t feel particularly stressed out, the study found.

“Balance between work and leisure time is important,” says the lead author of the study, Dr. Marianna Virtanen, M.D., an epidemiologist at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and University College London. “If you work long hours, the fact is that you may be exposed to higher stress levels and you do not have enough time to take care of your health.”

Doctors “should include long working hours on their list of potential risk factors” for heart disease, she adds.

Health.com: Head-to-toe solutions for stress

Dr. Virtanen and her colleagues followed more than 6,000 British civil servants with no history of heart disease for an average of 11 years. The participants were all drawn from a larger, ongoing study known as Whitehall II that began in 1985.

During the study, a total of 369 people had heart attacks (some of them fatal) or were diagnosed with heart disease after seeking medical attention for chest pain.

Compared to people who worked seven hours a day, those who worked 10 to 12 hours a day had a 56 percent increased risk of heart disease, heart attack, or death. Those who worked for 8 to 10 hours a day were not at increased risk.

The findings are “sort of a wakeup call,” says Dr. Gordon McInnes, M.D., a professor of clinical pharmacology at the University of Glasgow, in the U.K., who wrote an editorial accompanying the study. Doctors should be extra vigilant about the heart health of patients who work long hours, he says.

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The study doesn’t say how, exactly, long hours at work might affect heart health. To try to pinpoint the effect of work time, Dr. Virtanen and her colleagues took a range of health factors into account in their analysis, including blood pressure, cholesterol levels, diet and exercise, and whether or not the participants smoked. They also factored in the workers’ rank and salary, since socioeconomic status has been linked to heart health.

Health.com: 10 ways to stop work-related back pain

In some ways, the people who worked overtime were healthier than those who worked just seven hours a day. They were less likely to drink heavily and smoke, for instance, and they got more exercise. On the other hand, they tended to sleep less and reported experiencing more stress, having more demanding jobs, and having less control over their work.

They were also more likely to exhibit “Type A” personality traits. Type A behavior includes aggressiveness, irritability, and a “chronic, incessant struggle to achieve more and more in less and less time,” according to the study.

But the workers who burned the candle at both ends were still at greater risk of heart disease even when all of these factors were accounted for, which suggests that something besides stress, personality, and behaviors such as smoking may be responsible.

Health.com: Stress-busting gadgets that really work

Still, workplace stress may have affected the study’s findings in spite of the researchers’ attempts to control for it, says Dr. McInnes. “I personally think stress was involved,” he says. “These people did a lot of extra work, which I would think is stressful. But it’s very difficult to be sure.”

Peter Kaufmann, Ph.D., a researcher at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in Washington, D.C., says that this type of study (known as an observational study) can’t prove whether long hours directly increase heart risk. For instance, Kauffman says, it’s possible that the workers’ overall lifestyle–including type A behavior–contributed to the long hours and the heart risk observed in the study.

“You would expect people who are more driven and more impatient to work longer hours to get things done,” Kaufmann says. “But they may be equally driven and impatient with the people around them, family and friends. They may have disorganized work habits and lives. Or [the long hours] may reflect failed social relationships or that they use work as a means to escape.”

Health.com: The best foods for your heart

The study had other limitations. The researchers only measured blood pressure and hours worked at the start of the study, and were therefore not able to track how these factors may have interacted over time, McInnes says. Blood pressure can be affected by stress and can in turn cause heart problems.

In addition, as the study notes, the researchers did not know whether the workers had been diagnosed with anxiety or depression, both of which have been linked to heart disease.

Lastly, all of the study participants were white-collar workers in England, which means the findings may not apply to all workers everywhere.

Copyright Health Magazine 2010

Job strain ups heart-attack risk in women

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Health
By Anne Harding, Health.com
November 14, 2010 8:06 a.m. EST
Stressed businesswoman at laptop in officeWomen whose jobs require them to work “very hard” or “very fast” are 88 percent more likely to have a heart attack.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Women with demanding jobs twice as likely to have a heart attack as peers with easier jobs
  • Those with a lot of job strain were 43 percent more likely to need heart surgery
  • Women who are worried about losing their jobs are more likely to be physically inactive
  • Women are more likely than men to experience job strain

(Health.com) — Women with very demanding jobs are nearly twice as likely to have a heart attack as their peers in more easygoing occupations, a new study suggests.

Researchers at Harvard Medical School analyzed 10 years of survey and medical data on more than 17,000 women in the health profession. The women, who were enrolled in a long-running study on heart disease, were all in their 50s or early 60s when the study began.

The women who said their job requires them to work “very hard” or “very fast” but who have little say over their day-to-day tasks — a combination known as “job strain” — were 88 percent more likely than those in less-stressful jobs to have a heart attack.

They were also 43 percent more likely to need heart surgery, according to the study, which was presented Sunday at an annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Chicago.

Health.com: Job killing you? 8 types of work-related stress

In addition, women who were stressed out by work — or worried about losing their jobs — were more likely than those with steady employment to be physically inactive and to have high cholesterol. (Job insecurity by itself did not appear to increase the risk of heart attack, however.)

“This new data is among the most important to emerge in recent years concerning the relationship between job strain and cardiovascular health,” says Peter Kaufmann, Ph.D., a researcher at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute who has studied mental health and heart disease but was not involved in the new research.

Doctors and other experts in the field need to do more to help people manage work-related stress, Kaufmann adds. The findings “emphasize that progress is needed urgently in this arena,” he says.

Health.com: Head-to-toe solutions for stress

The increased risk of heart attack seen in the study can’t be attributed solely to health or socioeconomic factors. To zero in on job strain, the researchers controlled for age, race, education, and income, as well as blood pressure, body weight, and cholesterol.

And even though all of the women in the study were health professionals, it was a “very socioeconomically diverse” group that included doctors, nurses, dietitians, and researchers, says the lead author of the study, Dr. Michelle Albert, M.D., a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in Boston.

Much of the research to date on job stress and heart health has been done in men. But women are more likely than men to experience job strain, not to mention stress related to home and family demands, says Paul Landsbergis, Ph.D., an associate professor of environmental and occupational health sciences at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, in Brooklyn.

Health.com: I was too busy for heart disease — until it almost killed me

“The results certainly imply that we need to do more to make jobs healthier,” Landsbergis says. One way to accomplish this, he adds, might be to give individual workers more control over their jobs through collective bargaining and other types of organizing.

For her part, Albert recommends some simple steps to help women limit the impact of work-related stress: Exercise regularly, try to leave your work at the workplace, and take 10 to 15 minutes a day to relax and concentrate on your physical, mental, and emotional health. It’s also important to have a network of family and friends to help you cope, she says.

Health.com: 25 ways to really relax this season

“We’re never going to be able to get rid of stress — some stress is positive, actually,” Albert says. “The negative aspects of stress we’re going to need to learn how to manage.”

The AHA’s annual Scientific Sessions meeting highlights the latest heart-related research and treatment advances. Unlike studies published in medical journals, the research presented at the meeting has not been vetted by independent experts in the field.

Copyright Health Magazine 2010

Yoga For Cancer Patients

Yoga for Cancer Patients Provides Benefits of Sleep, VitalityMay 21, 2010, 12:03 AM EDT


By Tom Randall

May 21 (Bloomberg) — Touch toes. Downward dog. Breathe. It’s a yoga routine that cancer doctors have prescribed for years without evidence it would do much good. Now the biggest ever scientific study of yoga finds their instincts were right.

While yoga doesn’t cure the disease, its stretching and breathing exercises did improve sleep, reduce dependence on sedatives and help cancer patients resume the routine activities of everyday life, according to a 410-participant study being highlighted at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting in Chicago next month.

Health insurers and government programs don’t pay for yoga even as mounting evidence from dozens of smaller studies show benefits for treating chronic disease. The research and more than $5 million in additional tests funded this year by the National Institutes of Health may convince skeptical doctors and provide scientific evidence to allow coverage.

“Clinicians should now feel pretty comfortable prescribing gentle Hatha yoga or restorative yoga for their patients,” said Karen Mustian, lead author of the study and assistant professor in the department of radiation oncology and preventive medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center. “The data from this study is one of the first steps in the direction toward insurance coverage, but we’re not there yet.”

Doctors at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York aren’t waiting for more studies to start prescribing yoga. The hospital is one of the few facilities in the country to offer personal yoga therapy instruction for all of its sickest cancer patients.

Fighting Leukemia

David Goldberg, a 30-year-old computer programmer and recreational athlete, learned earlier this month that he has leukemia. The cancer cut short his five-mile runs and pick-up basketball games even before his diagnosis. Goldberg hadn’t considered yoga until checking into Beth Israel’s emergency department a few weeks ago and learning of his disease.

“I was certainly a little skeptical, but so far it’s been very helpful in relaxing me, getting me in a good state of mind,” Goldberg said before a 20-minute lesson in his hospital room. His instructor wears a mask to protect Goldberg, whose immune system has been weakened by five rounds of chemotherapy. “I’m hooked up to a machine, so I can’t totally forget that I have this. For me, it’s just an amazing experience to feel where my body is and what I’m experiencing.”

Cancer Meeting Highlight

The yoga study released yesterday by the cancer group is one of more than 4,500 reports showcased at this year’s meeting of 30,000 oncologists. Doctors have been especially interested in yoga’s muscle-toning stretches and meditative breathing, which practitioners say clears the mental fog of chemotherapy and the chronic fatigue that plagues some survivors for years.

In the Rochester study, about 8 out of 10 cancer survivors reported significant sleep impairment that affected their lives before the study. Half of the patients were assigned to yoga classes twice a week for one month. By the end of the trial, 31 percent of yoga patients no longer had the sleep disruptions, twice the recovery rate of patients who didn’t take classes.

Yoga practitioners also reported a 42 percent reduction in fatigue, compared with a 12 percent reduction for the control group. Yoga users decreased the use of sleep medication by 21 percent, while the control group actually increased reliance on sleeping drugs by 5 percent.

Learning More

Scientists still don’t know exactly what makes yoga work, said Lorenzo Cohen, professor of behavioral science and cancer prevention at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Cohen and his research group were awarded a $4.5 million U.S. grant this year for the biggest yoga and meditation study. His research will compare yoga to meditation and to stretching and will analyze economic benefits from increased productivity at work.

“Once we can show an economic impact, you’ll start to see changes,” Cohen said in an interview in New York. “Companies want to provide services that keep their employees healthy and productive.

“The concept that the brain can change if you put it into different states is a whole new wonderful science that’s emerging,” Cohen said.

Yoga began in India as a combination of physical and mental exercises. Historians have traced its roots back thousands of years to references in Buddhist and Hindu texts. In Western practices, muscle-stretching poses are accompanied by meditative breathing exercises. About 15.8 million Americans practiced yoga in 2008, according to a study commissioned by Yoga Journal.

The health benefits of yoga have been explored in scores of smaller studies looking at everything from weight loss to depression. Previous studies were too small to be considered definitive, and they are difficult to compare because most of them use differing definitions for just what “yoga” is.

Skepticism at First

“Ten years ago, there was almost complete skepticism from oncologists, but now most of them are coming around” said Woodson Merrell, chairman of the department of integrative medicine at Beth Israel. Merrell’s center is completing its own studies comparing patient improvements before and after the hospital’s holistic cancer floor was finished in March 2009.

Beth Israel’s yoga program was developed with celebrity instructor Rodney Yee and the Urban Zen Foundation set up by fashion designer Donna Karan, whose husband died of lung cancer. The hospital’s cancer floor also offers acupuncture, aromatherapy, a meditation room called the “Sanctuary” and massage chairs for patients and visitors.

Integrating Mind, Body

“We’re not talking about using a Ouija board and using fern leaves instead of chemotherapy,” Merrell said. “We’re talking about relaxation techniques to integrate the mind and body — instead of feeling disconnected from this cancer that’s in you, to feel that you’re a whole human being and you’re going on this path toward healing.”

For Goldberg’s fight against leukemia, yoga is a series of slow, gentle stretches, beginning with his feet and ending in his shoulders. The reclining poses are followed by guided breathing instructions that encourage him to let go of the sounds of the hospital and to focus on his thoughts and the sensations of his body.

After his session, Goldberg told his instructor that a headache that had been bothering him during a visit with his family had disappeared and his outlook on the world was little bit brighter than before. His doctors said his positive attitude is a strong medicine and his prognosis for recovery is good.

–Editors: Angela Zimm, Bruce Rule

To contact the reporter on this story: Tom Randall in New York at trandall6@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net.

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