Media inquiries: Please contact Mary Destri at 415-353-7882.
November 21, 2016
International Conference on Buddhism and Science
The sun was shining this morning as the motorcade carrying His Holiness the Dalai Lama wove its way through the downtown traffic on its way to the hotel that was to be the venue for today’s activities… Helen Y. Wang, a neuroscientist and a clinical psychologist at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco spoke about Contemplative Neuroscience and Socially Engaged Buddhism. She presented her findings that training in meditation on compassion not only increases altruistic behaviour but also the neural response to suffering. She also explained how much more accurate measurements of brain activity and different types of mental activity can be achieved using pattern recognition technology. His Holiness commented that although single-pointed meditation may temporarily reduce anger, analytical meditation is also important for helping us understand why we are angry and how compassion can be of benefit in overcoming anger in the long run. Read more.
November 1, 2016
Margolis, Mason Join UCSF Psychiatry Faculty
UCSF Department of Psychiatry Newsletter
Two new faculty members have recently officially begun their academic appointments with the Department of Psychiatry. Please join us in welcoming both of these new colleagues to our faculty ranks. Read more.
October 31, 2016
My Approach to Diagnosing Autism
Practice Update [note: for clinicans]
The most important thing to remember about autism is that early diagnosis is crucial. Whether autism is treated with conventional or integrative approaches, the earlier therapy is initiated, the better the chance of substantial improvement. Although parents can certainly be overly sensitive to the possibility of autism, it is very important to take parental concerns in this area seriously. The symptoms that are most common are language delay, lack of normal social interaction, such as eye contact and joint attention, and unusual or restricted patterns of behavior. An example of the latter would be a child who perseverates on lining up toy cars in a ritualized way to the exclusion of other activities. Many parents report having brought concerns to a primary care doctor at an early age, only to be dismissed as overly concerned or told to wait for several months before any action is taken. Read more.
August 29, 2016
How Mindful Eating Helped Me Lose Weight And Love Food
For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with my weight—and I felt terrible about it. My much-thinner cousins used to make comments about my size, and even as a child, that hurt. I never tried out any special diet plans, but I’d fluctuate between starving myself and binging. It was a vicious cycle, and obviously not a healthy one. Read more.
August 29, 2016
Caregiver Blues? Be Here Now
California Health Report
Imagine you’re swimming in a muddy river, trying desperately to peer through the muck. You face a swirl of confusing obstacles. They have names like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, children, job, vacations, texting and a thousand other distractions.
The muck is modern life.
So it’s no surprise that the spread of “mindfulness” has exploded in the past decade, with athletes, entrepreneurs even health systems adopting a technique first introduced in meditation centers to minimize distractions and still “monkey mind.” Read more.
August 17, 2016
Four Reasons to Practice Mindfulness During Pregnancy
Mothers-to-be don’t spend their entire 40 weeks of pregnancy glowing radiantly; there are also midnight worries, endless shopping lists, and swollen feet. Somewhere around 18 percent of women are depressed during pregnancy, and 21 percent have serious anxiety.
Research is starting to suggest that mindfulness could help. Not only does cultivating moment-to-moment awareness of thoughts and surroundings seem to help pregnant women keep their stress down and their spirits up—benefits that are well-documented among other groups of people—it may also lead to healthier newborns with fewer developmental problems down the line. Read more.
August 9, 2016
23 Under-The-Radar Things to Do in San Francisco
Laughter has been shown in medical studies to benefit cardiovascular health and mood, so why not give laughter yoga a try? It’s only fitting that this form of yoga, which features deep breathing, stretching, and voluntary laughter, is at the prestigious University of California–San Francisco Medical Center. One-hour classes are free twice a month at UCSF’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine on Divisadero Street, and the schedule is online. It’s drop-in and no registration is necessary. Read more.
Why Integrative Health?
1440 Foundation Newsletter
Dr. Margaret Chesney, Ph.D., immediate Past Chair of the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health, and Professor of Medicine in Residence at UCSF, shared her perspective on integrative medicine and its benefit to patients.
She explained, “With an integrative health approach to care, patients have access to a team of healthcare professionals from a number of disciplines who coordinate care, integrate both conventional and complementary therapies, and focus on each person’s mind, body, and quality of life.” Read more.
June 22, 2016
Mindfulness Classes Help Homeless Youth Understand, Regulate Emotions and Behaviors
National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth
When a young man staying at Urban Peak’s Denver shelter found himself in a heated conversation with another resident, he knew he needed to think before acting. Instead of engaging in an argument that could have jeopardized his stay, he walked away after channeling an idea from one of the agency’s mindfulness classes—he may not be able to control another person’s behavior, but he could control his own.
Across the country, programs like Urban Peak are holding mindfulness classes to help homeless young people understand how their experiences have shaped their brain chemistry, impacting the way they think and behave. In San Francisco, Larkin Street Youth Services partners with the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine to help youth understand these patterns and to react differently to everyday stressors, says the center’s Director of Mindfulness Programs, Dr. Kevin Barrows. Read more.
I have spent many years using an integrative approach to treat children with ADHD, usually using medication only when non-pharmaceutical interventions are not successful. This begs the question: Why not just use medications, since they have been shown to be effective? This could be the topic of an article in itself but, here’s my response, briefly. Read more.
June 1, 2016
Hospital Based Massage Therapy: A Call for Competencies
Now, a task force has released a document calling for certain competencies for hospital-based massage therapists.
“Hospital Based Massage Therapy: A Call for Competencies” was created by the Hospital Based Massage Therapy (HBMT) Task Force through the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health (ACIH), and released in April. The document details the results of a 2014 survey of U.S. hospitals regarding educational requirements, orientation procedures and competencies related to their massage therapists.
Although confirmed statistics are not available for the number of U.S. hospitals offering massage, task force member MK Brennan told MASSAGE Magazine that the ACIH knows of approximately 250 hospitals that utilize it.
Read more in this article, co-authored by Osher Center massage therapist Carolyn Tague, CMT.
May 28, 2016
The Inner Journey Home: How Yoga and Mindfulness is Transforming the Lives of SF’s Homeless Youth
SF Yoga Mag
I had the amazing opportunity to talk to Forest Fein, the Curriculum Director + Lead Instructor for the Youth Mindfulness programs at Osher Center for Integrative Medicine and Larkin Street Youth Services.
Larkin Street provides youth between the ages of 12 and 24 with the help they need to rebuild their lives. Each year, more than 3,000 youth walk through their doors seeking help. Larkin Street gives them a place where they can feel safe; rebuild their sense of self-respect, trust, and hope; learn school, life and job skills; and find the confidence to build a future. Read more.
May 9, 2016
Dalai Lama launches online “Atlas of Emotions”
The New York Times has reported that the Dalai Lama has launched a digital “map of the mind.” His Holiness worked with psychologist Paul Ekman — who advised Pixar on the film Inside Out, in which the main characters are emotions — to create an “Atlas of Emotions,” to help people better understand their own minds.
The atlas breaks emotions into five major groups — as accepted by a large majority of scientists — and then delves into the experiences, shades, and triggers of those emotions. Read more.
May 6, 2016
Inner Peace? The Dalai Lama Made a Website for That
New York Times
The Dalai Lama, who tirelessly preaches inner peace while chiding people for their selfish, materialistic ways, has commissioned scientists for a lofty mission: to help turn secular audiences into more self-aware, compassionate humans.
That is, of course, no easy task. So the Dalai Lama ordered up something with a grand name to go with his grand ambitions: a comprehensive Atlas of Emotions to help the more than seven billion people on the planet navigate the morass of their feelings to attain peace and happiness. Read more.
April 26, 2016
Atlas of Emotions, our new project with the Dalai Lama and Paul & Eve Ekman
In 2014, the Dalai Lama asked his friend, scientist Dr. Paul Ekman, to design him an Atlas of Human Emotion. His Holiness was intrigued by conversations that he and Paul had been having over the years about their different views on the subject of emotion. His Holiness comes, of course, from the Buddhist tradition. Paul’s more Western view comes from over 60 years of having studied emotions all over the world, in places as far-flung as Papua New Guinea and as close to home as UCSF. The Dalai Lama has been learning about scientific understandings of emotions from Paul and his work. For example, the concept of mood is missing from the Tibetan worldview, and he’s expressed delight in this new knowledge several times. Read more.
April 25, 2016
The Inner Journey Home: How Mindfulness & Yoga can Combat Homelessness
On a list of basic necessities, mindfulness doesn’t usually make the Top 10. Shelter may provide us with a physical house, but how do we find a home mentally and emotionally within ourselves? And why is that so important in helping young people get off and stay off the streets?
My name is Forest Fein, and I lead Mindfulness for Urban Youth programs in San Francisco, designed for homeless and at-risk youth to prevent and treat stress, anxiety and depression and to nurture mental, emotional and physical well-being. Read more.
April 19, 2016
The Science behind the DEA’s Long War on Marijuana
Speculation is growing about the possibility that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will review by summer its “Schedule I” designation of marijuana as equal to heroin among the world’s most dangerous drugs. Very few Americans know of or understand the DEA’s drug-ranking process, and a review of cannabis’s history as a Schedule I drug shows that the label is highly controversial and dubious. Read more.
April 11, 2016
UCSF/Macy Conference Highlights GME Innovations, Commitment to Health Care Equity
UCSF School of Medicine Website
April 1, 2016
These Short Films Show Inspiring Solutions To Homelessness
Fast Company co.exist
Walking past a homeless person on the street—especially in a city like San Francisco, where that experience might happen dozens of times a day—it’s easy to start to think that homelessness is an unsolvable problem. A new series of short films makes the point that it’s not… One film tells the story of Lava Mae, which turns old city buses into mobile showers that homeless people can use for basic hygiene (the city’s thousands of homeless people have access to only 16 showers, otherwise). Another focuses on a meditation and yoga program that helps homeless teenagers deal with the stress of living on the street. Read more.
April 1, 2016
Laughter Isn’t Just for Fools
Teresa Corrigan scans the dozen or so people attending her Laughter Yoga session in San Francisco. She tells us it’s time to warm up.
“Everybody say, ‘Ha-Ha-Ha. Ho-Ho-Ho,'” she demonstrates, and begins to laugh.
Corrigan is a registered nurse and certified Laughter Yoga teacher at the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine. She leads this free session twice a month. Read more.
March 31, 2016
Talking with … A doctor who sees healing in plants
J.: You hold several positions, including chief of hematology and oncology at San Francisco General Hospital. But you’re also a cancer and integrative medicine specialist at the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Mount Zion. So let’s start with that. Just what is integrative medicine?
Dr. Donald Abrams: It’s a balance between conventional and complementary treatments. As an integrative oncologist, I embrace less high-tech means at the same time as I endorse the latest immune checkpoint inhibitor therapies. Not too many oncologists are trained to practice integrative medicine. Using all the tools in the toolbox is important. Read more.
March 23, 2016
Mindfulness – Mosaic Mural 20th Anniversary
Larkin Street Youth Services, Our Perspective, Youth Stories
“All Things Grow with Understanding” is the message behind one of the remarkable and colorful 96 panels of the mosaic mural “Putting the Pieces Together” at the Powell Street BART/MUNI entrance, created by over 300 youth from Larkin Street Youth Services between 1992 and 1995.
Mindfulness is about being in the present moment instead of being lost in unhelpful and unnecessary thoughts like ruminating on the past, future, or negative judgments. This practice teaches us how to meet our moment to moment experience with acceptance and kindness, plus helps us reduce stress and meet ourselves, others, and life with greater compassion and understanding; ultimately helping us grow as individuals and move forward in our lives. Read more.
March 17, 2016
Mindful Eating, Meditation May Lead to Better Metabolic Health
UCSF News Center
A diet and exercise program that included mindfulness training resulted in participants having lower metabolic risk factors compared to those who underwent the same program without the training, according to a study led by researchers at UC San Francisco. Read more.
March 10, 2016
Eating This Way Can Improve Heart Health
Scientific evidence continues to mount that mindfulness is a fount of health and wellbeing. Recent research finds that mindfulness meditation—a relaxation exercise of sitting still, bringing attention to the breath and noticing passing thoughts without judgment—can reduce physical and emotional pain, ease symptoms of migraines and help calm aggression in kids. Read more.
Mindfulness Research Monthly
Many individuals with obesity report over eating despite intentions to maintain or lose weight. Two barriers to long-term weight loss are reward-driven eating, which is characterized by a lack of control over eating, a preoccupation with food, and a lack of satiety; and psychological stress. Mindfulness training may address these barriers by promoting awareness of hunger and satiety cues, self-regulatory control, and stress reduction. We examined these two barriers as potential mediators of weight loss in the Supporting Health by Integrating Nutrition and Exercise (SHINE) randomized controlled trial, which compared the effects of a 5.5-month diet and exercise intervention with or without mindfulness training on weight loss among adults with obesity. Read more.
Children with ADHD need plenty of healthy, unprocessed food with good amounts of fruits and vegetables. This diet is good for every child, but especially important for those with ADHD. Most children can eat a relatively poor diet and still function pretty well, at least in the short term. For the ADHD child, however, nutrition can be crucial. It can mean the difference between making it through the school day or breaking down by 11 a.m. It can mean the difference between a successful play date and a disaster. Therefore, it is extremely important to pay careful attention to what children with ADHD are eating and the effect food has on them. The following are some very specific suggestions for the ADHD child. Read more.
February 23, 2016
Update on the Atlas of Emotions
Dalai Lama’s Newsletter
Dr. Eve Ekman visited His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Rochester today to report on progress that has been made on the Atlas of Emotions project begun by her father Paul Ekman. She explained that although the main way for the public to access the Atlas will be online, she had brought a printed copy for His Holiness’s convenience. She told him that the aim of the project continues to be helping people and advancing science. Read more.
February 17, 2016
A Day in the Life of an Integrative Medicine Massage Therapist
January 5, 2016
Inpatient Massage Therapy