Stephen Lau's website to help you get the wisdom to live as if everything is a miracle.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Understanding Depression Basics

To be diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, such as myasthenia gravis, may make you become depressed.

Depression is no respecter of persons. Millions and millions of people worldwide are afflicted with this mental disease, whether they have an autoimmune disease or not. .

You must understand the complications and complexities of this disorder.

The Depression Basics 

Depression is a serious medical illness affecting more than 15 million American adults, and nearly twice as many women (6.7 million) as men (3.2 million) suffering from depressive episodes each year.

Depression can occur at any age, including childhood, the teenage years, and adulthood. This debilitating disorder is more than an abnormal emotional experience of sadness, loss, or hopelessness – it can interfere persistently and significantly with an individual’s thoughts, behavior, mood, activity, and physical health. We are living in a world of depression.

Depression may include anxiety attacks, panic attacks, mood disorders, such as bipolar depression. Different types may have different symptoms and varying degrees of severity, and there are significant individual differences in the symptoms and severity.

Risk factors

Some of the risk factors of mental depression may include:

  • A life-changing event, such as the loss of a loved one or divorce.
  • Chronic illness.
  • Certain medications, including some high blood pressure drugs.
  • Alcohol abuse.
  • A history of child abuse.
  • Sustained problems at home or at work.
  • Physical trauma.
  • Other family members with a prior history of depression.
  • Chronic stress or anxiety.
 Causes of depression

There is no single cause of mental depression. Psychological, biological, and environmental factors may all contribute to its development. Generally, depression may be caused by one or more of the following:


There is scientific evidence of a genetic predisposition to mental depression. When there is a family history of the illness, there is an increased risk for developing depression. However, not everyone with a genetic predisposition develops mental depression.

Brain chemical imbalance

Norepinephrine serotonin, and dopamine are three neurotransmitters (chemical messengers that transmit electrical signals between brain cells) are implicated in the cause of mental depression.


According to a recent study, half of all people with advanced or terminal cancer suffer from some form of depression, anxiety or adjustment disorders. According to researchers, medical management of cancer has improved significantly over the past 10 years, but mental health care has not been fully integrated into cancer patients’ treatment plans. Research studies show that depression and anxiety can adversely affect a cancer patient’s quality of life and attitudes towards living and dying even more than physical pain.


Your mood, memory, and other cognitive functions depend on the efficiency of your neurotransmission, which is the communication between brain cells. Hormones in your body play a pivotal role in regulating chemicals in your neurotransmission —norepinephrineserotonin, and dopamine — which in turn regulates your moods. 

Your estrogen level has significant impact on your brain not only in enhancing the growth and survival of your brain cells, but also in regulating your emotional states, such as anxiety and depression.

As women age, their estrogen levels decline, and they are more vulnerable to depression. As men age, they, too, are at greater risk of major depression due to declining testosterone.

Your thyroid hormone regulates the metabolism of your entire body. Low thyroid hormone levels are both a cause and effect of low estrogen, thus leading to mental depression and mood disorders, such as bipolar depression.

Nutritional deficiencies

Depression may be caused by nutritional deficiency. For example, magnesium deficiency is responsible for neurotransmission abnormalities. All chemical reactions in the body require an enzyme system to initiate the biochemical reaction, and magnesium is a critical co-factor in more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the human body. In addition, magnesium is responsible for neurotransmission abnormalities — the precursors of different types of mental disorders.

 Environmental toxins

Research studies have linked environmental toxins, such as chemicals, pesticides, pollutants, to depression.

Even some commonly prescribed drugs, such as sleeping pills, high-blood pressure drugs, antibiotisoics, and painkillers are implicated in neurotransmission abnormalities.

New Perspectives of Depression

Is depression really a mental disorder? Are antidepressants the only solution to the disorder?  Can one use the mind to control the disorder? According to Lao Tzu, one has to go "through" the depression in order to get out of the depression. 

.Stephen Lau
Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Relaxation to Cope with Myasthenia Gravis Symptoms

Relaxation to Cope with Myasthenia Gravis Symptoms

To cope with many of the myasthenia gravis disease symptoms, you must know how to relax. Relaxation is more than just spending the weekend playing golf, or taking a vacation in the Bahamas. Relaxation is complete rest of the body and mind on a regular basis. Given the stressful environment you are living in, learning how to relax is no longer an option but a necessity—if you want to reduce stress and remain a super-ager. Relaxation affords peace of mind in daily life. To relax, you must live a stress-free life. 

What is stress? Stress comes from the ego: your way or no way! How to cope or deal with stress?

Stress is your body’s response to increased tension. Stress is normal, but too much stress can increase your production of hormone epinephrine (and thus wearing out your hormonal glands) with the following effects:

Blood sugar elevation to produce more energy
Breathing rate acceleration to get more oxygen
Muscle tension
Pulse rate and blood pressure increase
Sweating to cool down the body.

After the initial stressful stimuli, your body should be able to relax, slow down, and return to a state of equilibrium. However, if that does not happen, you will be distressed. In this capacity, stress may become one the major underlying causes of human diseases and disorders, including cancer and autoimmune diseases.

Relaxation is instrumental in stress relief by optimizing breathing, lowering blood sugar, cooling down the body, and regulating pulse rate and blood pressure. Therefore, learn how to relax to reduce stress.

In order to relax the body and mind, you must know how to relax.

1.    First and foremost, you have to recognize your stress, which is often reflected in disharmony and disparity in your everyday living. However, very often, many of us may go through life, accepting certain conditions as signs of age, and without realizing that they are in fact symptoms of the stress disease (yes, stress is a disease of the body and mind). Besides, the symptoms of stress, such as breathing problems, poor concentration, memory loss, chronic fatigue, indigestion, migraine headache, may also be mistaken as the symptoms of many other diseases and ailments. Due to their similarities, many of us simply do not recognize that we have a problem with stress.
2.    The next step is to identify your stressors, that is, the sources of your stress. A stress diary may help. Note what happened before the onset of your stress. Notice the changes of your body conditions during the stress. Also, pay attention to how and when you become relaxed, such as in the evenings when you are with your children. Keeping a stress diary will soon be able to help you identify your stressors in your life.
3.    How to relax requires you to take time to relax. Taking time to relax also implies finding time to relax, which means setting priorities in your life and stopping procrastination. Living in the present moment is an effective way to slow down a compulsive mind.
4.     Like self-healing, how to relax begins with the mind. If your mind does not relax, the body will not be able to relax. Stress is no more than a perception of the mind. That is to say, what is stress to you may not be stress to another individual, and vice-versa. So, change mindset of your perspective of stress. Plato, the famous Greek philosopher, once said, “Nothing in the affairs of men is worthy of great anxiety.” Plato spoke volumes of the importance of developing a different perspective with respect to the perception of stress.
5.   Through mind power, you develop self-confidence with positive affirmations and creative visualization. Without self-confidence, overcoming any challenge in life may seem a hurdle that creates only fear and stress.
6.   How to relax involves the application of mental relaxation techniques, such as meditation, which focuses the mind on the present to the exclusion of thoughts of the past or the future. How to relax through the mind also trains you to let go of the past, and to overcome fear of the future—which is an important aspect of living without undue stress.
7.       Empower your mind to make changes in your lifestyle, such as adopting a healthy lifestyle. Healthy living not only avoids many health problems that may cause stress but also optimizes breathing right, which is an important component in relaxation and stress relief. The mind can also propel you to take up exercises, such as yoga or qi gong, which focus on “soft movements” and breathing to relax both the body and the mind.

Knowing how to relax holds the key to coping with your myasthenia gravis disease symptoms. All centenarians not only live a stress-free life, but also have the super-aging wisdom to relax for stress relief to stay younger and healthier for longer.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, July 23, 2018

Healing Foods As Medicine

Hippocrates, the father of medicine, once said: "Let food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food." This is the essence of self-healing and super-aging.

Even if you are diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, such as myasthenia gravis, and you are taking steroid medications to treat your disease symptoms, there is no rhyme or reason for you to readily reach out for some over-the-counter medications to treat your everyday health issues and problems. 

Always use natural healing foods to combat diseases and disorders -- not pharmaceutical drugs!

To illustrate, Acai berries are a self-healing food. Acai berries from the rain forests of Brazil are loaded with antioxidants--much more than those with blueberries and strawberries. Despite the high calories of acai berries, they are rich in anti-inflammatory omega-9 fats, with only little sugar. The rich contents of essential fatty acids, calcium, iron, vitamin A, and fiber make acai berries a self-healing food.

Acai berries are good for sexual performance enhancement. In Brazil, acai berries with guarana syrupare popular social drinks.

According to studies, the potent antioxidants in acai berries can significantly reduce cell proliferation in leukemia patients.

Eat acai berries. Use them to make jams and sauces. Add them to make smoothies or beverages. Avoid heating acai berries to preserve their rich antioxidants.

Healing Gourmet: Use healing foods to heal inflammation, glycation, oxidation, depletion, and toxification. Food is medicine, and medicine is food. Eat to live well!

Food is medicine, because it gives the energy for growth and development. At birth, we all got our nutrients in the food consumed by our mothers during pregnancy. When we grow up, we get our nutrients from the food we eat. Our food choices produce the energy we need to grow and maintain our bodies throughout our lives. In that respect, food is medicine.

Food is medicine because we obtain our self-made energy from food. As we age, our self-made energy from the food we have consumed over the years begins to decline, and this is evidenced by our inability or difficulty to cope with the stressors of life, and our vulnerability to disease. To add insult to injury, our metabolic slowdown that comes with the natural process of aging makes it even more difficult to maintain our health and energy. Instead of focusing on the concept of using food as medicine, many of us begin to resort to a quick fix of our health problems, which is the use of dangerous pharmaceutical drugs. 

Take a step further: Let food be the "only" medicine. If you have developed a degenerative disease, start thinking of food is medicine, in fact, the best medicine, if not the "only" medicine. Your body is designed to digest and utilize food to get its nutrients and energy. But only wholesome food can do that—not even supplements, because supplements are just what they are called. 

When food becomes your medicine, you will also learn to trust your body; that is, you will learn what your body is telling you, and how it responds to natural, wholesome food. Food is medicine!

When you do become sick, learn to use herbs as medicine. Herbs from different parts of plants have different therapeutic values that promote self-healing without the use of dangerous pharmaceutical drugs. As a matter of fact, many common herbs, such as cinnamon, garlic, and ginger, have been used as "food" medicine for thousands of years. According to a Chinese saying, "You can never draw a line between foods and herbs. Herbs can cure many common ailments, such as constipation, cholesterol, high blood pressure, with little or no side effects. For example, use ginger 's anti-inflammatory properties to fight arthritis pain and nausea; use hawthorn berries for your cardiovascular health; use aloe juice to cure an upset stomach. So, why take dangerous pharmaceutical drugs? Instead, let food be your medicine.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Morning Rituals for Holistic Health

To be diagnosed with an autoimmune disease is a devastating experience. No matter what, life has to go on, especially you need holistic living to ensure that the disease symptoms may not get worse.

Life is made up of cycles of changes that initiate natural health and healing. Think of your natural health in terms of cycles, not just isolated points. It is, therefore, important that daily morning routines will contribute to physiological rhythms that are harmonious with the cycles and rhythms of Nature for holistic health and wellness. This harmony is instrumental in helping you cope with autoimmune disease symptoms that cannot be alleviated by medications.

One of the most important daily morning routines for holistic health is to go to bed early and rise early. This is the key to getting a good and restful sleep without medications. Even on weekends, try not to disrupt this rhythm of your biological clock. Get yourself attuned with Nature for holistic wellness of the body, the mind, and the spirit.

Before you get up, stretch yourself in bed, and make a smooth transition from sleep to wakefulness. Research studies have shown that most heart attacks occur in the morning due to the sudden changes from sleep to wakefulness. Follow the ancient Chinese way of waking up:
  • Use your fingertips to massage your ears, eyes, lips, and nose.
  • Gently tap your scalp with your hands.
  • With a continual stroking action, massage your shoulders, elbows, hands, chest, abdomen, knees and feet.
  • With your palms, massage your lower back.
  • Then inhale vigorously through your nose, and exhale forcefully through your mouth several times in order to rid your body of toxins that may have accumulated during your sleep.
The above is what the ancient Taoist monks in China would do before they got up every morning to have a clear mind and healthy body. They practiced these daily routines for holistic health of the body, the mind, and the spirit

Exercise—if your daily exercise regimen is in the morning. Yoga health is an excellent daily routine for holistic health and self-healing through the mind and the body.

Take your morning shower. Brush your skin with a soft-bristle brush to rid your skin of dead cells.

For holistic health, clean your mouth this way for better oral health:
  • To remove a film of impurities from your tongue, gargle a tablespoonful of warm sesame oil for a minute or two; spit out the oil.
  • Use a tongue scraper to scrape your tongue until all the white coating is gone.
  • Gently massage your gums with your fingers.
  • Brush your teeth.
The use of warm sesame oil for oral hygiene, instead of the harsh commercial mouthwash, helps purify your colon as well as improve your digestion. Sesame oil is especially good for removing harmful bacteria from your mouth and preventing gum disease. The commercial products contain chemicals and are often too harsh for oral hygiene. Research studies have shown that swishing and gargling oil is best for gum disease and cavity for optimum oral health. In addition, sesame oil has the benefits of strengthening your jaws, preventing cracked lips and sore throat.

Learn how to get Freedom from Dental Disease, and save you a lot of money in dental health.

Daily morning routines play a pivotal role in holistic health because they form a natural cycle for balance and harmony.

Stephen Lau
Copyright © by Stephen Lau

Monday, July 16, 2018

Be Drug-Free As Much As Possible

Dealing with an autoimmune disease is often difficult because your doctor may have prescribed you with steroid medications. In addition, you have other daily health issues that you have to cope with, such as a common cold. Don't readily reach out for any over-the counter drug; it is important to stay drug-free as much as possible.  

This makes sense: taking too many pharmaceutical drugs means your body is stressed by physical ailments. Ironically, these drugs may do a further disservice by ingesting more toxins into an already toxic body. However, it does not imply that you must desist from taking your medications prescribed by your doctor. Rather, it suggests you should be more alert to the side effects of the drugs you are currently taking; you should not readily reach out for unsafe pharmaceutical drugs without second thoughts as if they were coupons. 

Remember, healthy living should be drug-free, as much as possible.  Even depression does not require anti-depressant drugs; it requires TAO wisdom:

Stephen Lau

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Prognosis of Myasthenia Gravis

Myasthenia gravis is one of the many autoimmune diseases caused by an autoantibody attack on the receptor responsible for the communication between the nervous system and voluntary muscles. In other words, the disorder is due to miscommunication between the nerves and the muscles.

Given that, according to Western medicine, there is no known cure for the disorder (its causes still remain relatively unknown, although there are many contributing factors), patients diagnosed with myasthenia gravis would be interested to know the prognosis of their autoimmune disease. 

According to Dr. Janice M. Massey, M.D., professor of neurology and director of the Myasthenia Gravis Clinic at Duke University Medical Center. "If myasthenia gravis doesn't become severe early on, it may stay on a plateau." This is good news to all those afflicted with this autoimmune disorder. As a matter of fact, some 20-25 percent of the patients experience some remission of the initial symptoms of myasthenia gravis.

The bad news is that some may have symptoms that worsen rapidly, such as difficulty in speech, chewing and swallowing, and even smiling because their bulbar muscles (around the mouth and the throat) are affected by the antibodies.

Of course, the prognosis of myasthenia gravis is also affected by the kind of treatment undertaken by the patient. For example, taking corticosteroid drugs, such as prednisone, may relieve some of the symptoms while the patient may feel much weaker in the beginning. Taking immune-suppressant drugs, such as Azathioprine (Imuran), may strengthen the muscles as long as the drug is taken. Using plasma exchange (exchange of clear fluid of the blood from another healthy individual) may provide rapid improvement, but it is only a short-term treatment of the symptoms of myasthenia gravis.

Myasthenia gravis is an inflammatory autoimmune disease. Taking cholinesterase inhibitors--the mainstay of treatment of this immune disorder may improve muscle strength but has many undesirable side effects, such as increasing nasal and bronchial secretions, making the pupil smaller, increasing urination and urinary tract infections To improve the prognosis of myasthenia gravis, it is important to focus on exercise to strengthen muscles, and a well balanced anti-inflammatory diet. In other words, a holistic approach to autoimmune diseases holds the key to eliminating many of the symptoms.

I was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis more than a decade ago. Now, I am completely drug free, and my symptoms are only minimal. How did I do it? A change in lifestyle and a holistic approach to the disease.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau