Category: Health & Healing

Latham Thomas: Self-Care Is a Radical Act

Latham Thomas is a lifestyle maven who founded Mama Glow and was named one of Oprah Winfrey’s SuperSoul 100. She is the author of Mama Glow and Own Your Glow. With Sounds True, she has created the audio program Beditations: Guided Meditations and Rituals for Rest and Renewal. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Latham and Tami Simon talk about the true meaning of self-care, as well as why there are such strong societal factors that work against it. They discuss those internal aspects of the self for which we have been shamed in the past and how these are actually our deepest reserves of personal power. Tami and Latham also speak on personal boundaries in terms of both protecting ourselves and what kind of emotional support we allow in. Finally, Latham explains why heeding clear internal messages actually takes courage—a courage that is always rewarded in the long run. (70 minutes)

Rolf Gates: How Spiritual Friendship Allowed Me to Exi...

Rolf Gates is a yoga teacher, counselor, and author who cofounded the Yoga, Meditation, and Recovery Conference and currently teaches at Spirit Rock Insight Meditation Center. With Sounds True, he has published the audio program Meditations on the Mat: Practices for Living from the Heart and co-wrote the children’s book Yoga Friends. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with Rolf about his unique background as a former US Army Airborne Ranger and addictions counselor, as well as how those experiences brought him to contemplative practice. They discuss how yoga can soothe both mental and physical agitation, bringing the mind and body into greater harmony. Finally, Rolf explains how he discovered the power of prayer and opening to grace, and why that discovery led him to embrace gratitude as a way of life. (63 minutes)

Wim Hof: The Cold as a Noble Force

Wim Hof is an athlete and extremophile daredevil nicknamed “The Iceman” for his feats of withstanding extreme weather conditions. The holder of more than 20 Guinness World Records, Wim attributes his endurance to specific meditation and breathing techniques. In this intriguing episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with Wim about “The Wim Hof Method” of exercises, mindfulness techniques, and cold exposure, and how this regimen can shift our mental perspective as well as physical resilience. Wim describes the ways his practice dovetails with ancient Tibetan Buddhist inner fire meditation and how it alters body chemistry. Finally, Wim describes coldness as a noble force, asserting that by testing our physical limits we also gain a better understanding of the boundless capacities of the human spirit. (72 minutes)

For more information about the Wim Hof Method, please visit

Joel Kahn: The Plant-Based Solution

Dr. Joel Kahn is a holistic cardiologist, clinical professor of medicine, and author who is known as “America’s Healthy Heart Doc.” With Sounds True, he has published The Plant-Based Solution: America’s Healthy Heart Doc’s Plan to Power Your Health. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Joel and Tami Simon discuss why making the switch to a whole-food, vegan diet is the best decision you can make for your long-term heart health—as well as for diabetes prevention, sexual energy, and overall longevity. They compare a plant-based diet to other contemporary methods such as the keto and paleo diets, and Joel explains how to address what’s missing in purely vegan foods. Finally, Tami and Joel talk about how the switch to a vegan diet is especially important for contemporary environmental crises and why a plant-based lifestyle will soon be a social standard. (58 minutes)

How Trees Boost Your Immune System

Qing Li, the medical professor in Tokyo, put together a list of basic rules to create the ideal interaction between forest trees and the human immune system. Professor Li is one of the leading scientists in the area of forest medicine. He advises:


  • Remain in a woodland for at least two hours, while walking approximately 1.5 miles (2.5 km). If you have four hours to spend there, hike about 2.5 miles (4km). In order to boost your natural killer cells and anti-cancer proteins over a longer period of time as well, it is recommendable to spend three days in a row in a forest.
  • Make a walking/hiking plan that suits your physical condition. Make sure you don’t get tired during your time in the woods.
  • If you feel tired, take a break whenever you want and as long as you want. Look for a place in the forest where you feel comfortable.
  • If you’re thirsty, try to drink water or tea.
  • Pick a place in the forest that you spontaneously like and invites you to stay. Stay there for a while, sitting and reading, for example, or meditating, whatever you want, but enjoying the gorgeous ambiance and relaxing.
  • To lastingly maintain the number and activity of your immune system’s natural killer cells and anti-cancer proteins, Qing Li recommends staying in a forest region two or three days per month and advises spending about four hours each day in the woods.
  • In addition to his advice, I’d like to add the following tips that I consider very helpful:
    • The contents of the anti-cancer terpenes in the forest air change over the seasons. The highest concentration is in summer and the lowest in winter. They increase rapidly in April and May, and in June and August, reach their peak. During these months, there are the most terpenes in the woods for your immune system to absorb.
    • Furthermore, you can find the highest concentration of terpenes in the middle of the forest, since tree population is the densest there. The tree leaves and needles form an especially rich source. Additionally, the dense canopy prevents these gaseous substances from escaping the forest. Therefore, it is advisable to go further into the woods and not just spend time on the edges.
    • When the air is moist, for example after rain or during fog, a particularly large amount of healthy terpenes is swirling around the forest air. This means we weren’t going crazy when we felt especially good during a walk in the woods after rain showers.
    • By the way, anti-cancer terpenes are the densest in and near the ground, where we humans are normally present. Higher up, some of them are destroyed by the sun’s UV light that manages to get through the canopy here and there. Thus, it appears as if the distribution of this healthy substance was actually tailored to our body size.


Important: Don’t forget that forest medicine is especially helpful when it comes to preventing disease. However, if you are already sick, or feel sick, please go straight to your doctor. Forest medicine is under no circumstances a replacement for conventional medical check-ups.


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Excerpted from The Biophilia Effect by Clemens G. Arvay.

Clemens G. Arvay, MSC, is a biologist and nonfiction writer who studied landscape ecology and applied plant science in Vienna and Graz. He centers his work on the relationship between man and nature, focusing on the health-promoting e?ects of contact with plants, animals, and landscapes. His most recent book is The Healing Code of Nature (Random House Germany, 2016). He lives in Austria. For more, visit

How to Enjoy the Holidays When You’re Not Well

Christmas has moved to a dramatically different kind of holiday than its beginnings: it could now be more accurately called “Stressmas.”  It has truly become a time of stress: having to get the right presents for the right people; getting enough presents; how much money to spend or not to spend; expecting certain gifts from specific people, who and how many to invite to celebrations.  Our attachment to people’s reactions to our gifts and our reactions to others’ gifts reminds us of what the Buddha said, “Attachment is the cause of all our suffering.”  To celebrate the birth of Jesus—one who taught unconditional love, perpetual forgiveness, and said, “I came that your joy might be full!”—perhaps we need to rethink the whole picture; otherwise, we are not celebrating unconditional love but instead creating stress.  And since stress causes 80% or more of our physical symptoms, this could be seen as a season we have celebrated in a way that brings illnesses or intensifies the ones we are already manifesting.  It is the “ego mind” that has taken over—that internal voice which promises love, safety, peace, and joy, but always gets us to think or do that which produces the opposite.

Why not start by consciously deciding that we want to promote love, joy, and peace instead of stress and sickness during this season. Can we risk letting spiritual values—happiness, peace, and love—dominate rather than pressure, “have to’s,” guilt, and therefore, stress and possible sickness? Do we really want material objects and corporate profits to dominate our holidays and our lives?  We might even tell our family and friends about our decision to make these changes.  And, if we are already sick, why make it worse by creating more stress?  And if we are healthy, why create stress to make ourselves sick and unhappy?  We must remember that sickness is a choice; though, we often make it more unconscious by blaming it on something external.  Now is the time to begin to make it conscious.


Some tools for keeping love, peace, and joy—and, therefore, health—more of a priority this holiday season:

  • Give priority to meditating at the beginning and end of each day.  You might even keep repeating to yourself this mantra: “I choose joy, love, and peace instead of stress today.”  Breathe deeply and say the mantra 30 or 40 times.
  • Whenever you find yourself feeling pressure, start breathing deeply, fully emptying your lungs and then breathe in fully, filling the belly, and then adding a little more into the chest.  Keep repeating throughout the day, so that you do not play out the American saying: “I didn’t have time to breathe.”
  • Make sure that each gift you buy or give only comes from the heart—no “shoulds” or “have to’s.”
  • Do the thymus heart rub when you start to feel anxious, pressured, or guilty. Place your hand flatly over the upper chest.  Begin to rub gently and soothingly in a circle, to the right, looking on from the outside.  Then, as you continue rubbing, say, “I deeply love and accept myself even though I have started to feel stressed (pressured, guilty, etc.).  I deeply love and accept myself because I am so glad I caught these negative thoughts.  And I deeply love and accept myself as I choose to let these thoughts go.” Repeat this throughout the day every time you catch yourself thinking a thought that takes away your joy, peace, or love.


You might also say, “I make this a holiday of love, peace, health, and joy,” remembering that it is your thoughts that cause your pain or joy.  “And I am in control of them.”


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Excerpted from Your Power to Heal: Resolving Psychological Barriers to Your Physical Health by Henry Grayson.

Henry Grayson, PhD, has been lecturing, teaching, and providing professional training for more than 30 years. He is the founder of the Synergetic Therapy Institute, co-chairman of the PTSD division of the Stand for The Troops Foundation, and author of Your Power to Heal: Resolving Psychological Barriers to Your Physical Health. For more information, visit