Article of the Month




Research shows stress is a serious health hazard and that the leading cause of mortality has shifted from infectious illnesses that were prevalent at the beginning of the 20th century to the stress-induced illnesses of the 21st century.

Chronic and lifestyle-related illnesses now account for the majority of recorded deaths. This is the current state of affairs in our culture today. Multi-tasking, racing around all day, eating on the run, cell phones, emailing and texting (even when driving)!

The effects of stress become physical problems.

Your nervous system overreacts to tension.
You become agitated.
Your digestion slows down as will your mental sharpness.
There are hormone changes that occur under stress which will produce hypersensitive effects on the body.

Your body becomes a walking war machine, preparing for attack while shutting down many vital organ functions.

Stress is seriously linked to specific illnesses, as research now demonstrates. Many cancers are stress-induced and many environmental issues such as pollution create cancerous conditions.

Even with all of our medical advances and technological superiority, we have not realistically dealt with the serious effect of stress.

We have identified stress as a very important component in many illnesses and diseases, but we have yet to call it what it truly represents.


The choice is ours and being able to recognize when you are overloaded and “stressed out” is the basis of your health. Also being able to truly understand that the effects of stress in our lives is the first and foremost detriment to our health -a silent threat to us all.


Meditation can stop the detrimental affects of stress!

How does meditation work? In essence, it trains parts of the brain to make positive changes in the nervous system.

The brain has the capacity to adjust physical functions such as blood pressure and heart rates. Meditation can restore balance to those functions.

Check our YOUTUBE video below for a lesson on how to meditate! Enjoy

Mary Jo Ruggieri, PhD, RPP, HHP

Healthy Tidbits: Meditation Series

What is Meditation?


Meditation is an activity that calms the mind and keeps it focused on the present.

In the meditative state, the mind is not cluttered with thoughts or memories of the past, nor is it concerned with future events.

Meditation produces a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind. It can give you a sense of calm, peace and emotional stability.

And these effects don’t end when your meditation session ends. Meditation can have lasting effects on your emotional and physical well-being.

Mental Imagery, used in guided meditations, is a method of visualizing your ideal state or a relaxing scene to relax your body, reduce stress and improve your health.

How does meditation work?

Meditation relies on the body’s ability to switch to an alpha (resting) or theta (relaxing) brain-wave state, during which the brain’s rhythm slows appreciably, and endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, are released.

Studies have shown that during meditation, metabolism is lowered, resulting in a slower heart rate, decreased blood pressure, and slower breathing.

In the seventies, Dr. Herbert Benson, a cardiologist at the Harvard Medical School, formulated the theory of an inborn “relaxation response” that can be cultivated to counteract stress. Eliciting it, he wrote, “can help counteract the effects of repeated insults of stress on the heart and other organs.”

By reducing stress and fatigue, meditation enables us to connect with our higher self-where energy, creativity and inner awareness are our natural state of being. The purpose of meditation is to enrich all aspects of life-body, mind, and spirit.

Benefits of mediation

  • Reduces anxiety and stress
  • Helps relieve headaches
  • Helps manage pain

Meditation Research

Meditation Research links to a number of interesting studies on a variety of topics:

  • Asthma: Studies exploring the use of meditation to treat asthma.
  • ADHD: Studies exploring the use of meditation to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
  • Anxiety: Studies exploring the use of meditation to reduce anxiety.
  • EEG: Studies discussing the analysis of a meditator’s brain with EEG.
  • Epilepsy: Studies exploring the use of meditation to treat epilepsy.


Save on Medical Costs through Corporate Wellness


Corporate wellness industry growth: New Data

Posted on April 2, 2012 by Stone Hearth News


NEW YORK-(BUSINESS WIRE)-More employers continue to start wellness programs, and the majority of organizations with programs currently in place are looking to invest and expand, according to the 2011 Willis Health and Productivity Survey by Willis North America’s Human Capital Practice, a unit of Willis Group Holdings, (NYSE:WSH) the global insurance broker.

“Wellness programs continue to evolve and it is encouraging to see more organizations initiate programs despite economic pressures and continuing challenges in accurately measuring outcomes and results”

According to the survey, available here, 60% of respondents indicated they have some type of wellness program, an increase of 13% from 2010. Additionally, employers are not scaling back- 58% indicate they plan to expand their wellness initiatives with added programs or resources.

The survey represents the findings received from 1,598 employers representing a cross-section of industries, locations and organizational sizes. 44% of respondents had 1,000 or more employees. Additional key findings from the survey include:

  • 60% of employers indicated they had some type of wellness program. Of those with a wellness program, 40% reported they have an “intermediate” program in place.
  • The most common types of wellness programs being offered by respondents include: Physical activity programs (53%), Tobacco cessation programs (49%) and Weight management programs (45%).
  • Although 29% of survey respondents consider themselves to be a global organization, only 15% indicate they have implemented a wellness program for their global employees.
  • 43% of employers said the leading barrier to measuring success was difficulty in determining the influence of wellness compared with other factors impacting health care costs. Insufficient data and not enough staffing/time remain common barriers to measuring success.

“Wellness programs continue to evolve and it is encouraging to see more organizations initiate programs despite economic pressures and continuing challenges in accurately measuring outcomes and results,” said Jennifer C. Price, Senior Health Outcomes Consultant, Willis Human Capital Practice.

“Additionally it is exciting to see more employers offering Work-Life balance programs as a part of their broader wellness efforts. Employers seem to realize that employees need resources to find the proper balance between the demands of work and personal life.”


Staying Well With Dr. Mary Jo


Follow our Youtube channel for new video series Staying Well With Dr. Mary Jo!
New videos weekly

Meditation for Life – Part 1


Take a look at some of our other videos!