September 1, 2009 
 HealingHeartPower Newsletter
 Reclaiming the Power of the Heart
In This Issue

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This past weekend, the weather changed quickly from summer heat and humidity to rain and the cool of the approaching fall. I was not prepared for temperatures in the high 50's this past Saturday. School starts in a week, both for my son entering 8th grade, and for me, beginning a new semester at UMass Boston.

There just doesn't seem to have been a natural transition this year!

With the passing of Ted Kennedy, reflecting more deeply on health matters seems only fitting. Each of the articles I have chosen for this article looks at a different dimension of health and well-being.

The next Healing the Traumatized Heart workshop, will be on Sunday, October 25 from 2 - 5 pm in Newton.

If you are interested in Apprenticing in EKP, I am starting to take applications for the next apprenticeship group beginning in January 2010. For more information, read the programs section in this month's newsletter.

Articles in this issue include: "Fast Food, Processed Fat and Endothelial Dysfunction," which caught my attention after seeing "Food, Inc," as a follow-on to "Fast Food Nation," "Health Co-ops: An Alternative to Our Current Insurance System," and "Healthy Sexuality As a Single Person and Throughout the Life Cycle," featuring the reflections of my colleague, Niela Miller.

Your comments and feedback are always welcome!

Heartfully, Linda

 Fast Food, Processed Fat and Endothelial Dysfunction

When my son and I saw "Super Size Me," Morgan Spurlock's "human guinea pig" experiment of eating 3 meals per day at McDonald's for 30 days, we were shocked and horrified at the rapid deterioration of a young, vital and virile man's health.

In just a few weeks, Morgan's health went from perfect to endangered. And it tooks months, if not years to restore his healthy body chemistry after his experiment was through.

As I learned recently in an article entitled, "15 Horrifying Reasons to Never Let Anyone You Love Near a McDonald's" by Sarah Irani, published in EcoSalon, the processed fat in McDonald's food (and other fast food as well), damages the tissue that line the inside of blood vessels, the endothelium, with dire consequences for our hearts and sexual function. Eating the processed fat in fast food promotes endothelial dysfunction for up to 5 hours after consuming the fast food.

Damage to the endothelium can lead to a blood clot, resulting in a heart attack or stroke. A study at the University of Maryland conducted by several cardiologists, suggested that eating fast food (like an Egg McMuffin with sausages and hash browns), "may deposit lipid-containing plaques on the innermost layer of the wall of an artery--independent of any increase in blood cholesterol levels."1

In a study report by The Lancet in January 2005, the message of Spurlock's documentary was confirmed: "Fast-food consumption does increase the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes." The frequency of fast food consumption was directly associated with changes in body weight. "The researchers also ound that changes in frequency of fast food consumption were directly associated with insulin resistance in both groups. ...Those consuming fast food at least twice a week gained an extra 10 pounds of body weight and had a two-fold increase of insulin resistance than those who ate fast food less than once a week."2

In addition to being bad for our hearts, our weight and our overall circulatory system, endothelial dysfunction is also associated with erectile dysfunction. Given blood flow is essential to achieve and maintain an erection, this is not surprising news. In fact, Spurlock, a young and virile man who had no sexual difficulties prior to his fast food experiment, reported sexual problems during his McDonald's diet.

The good news for Spurlock, and hopefully for others who can keep their fast food at bay, is that endothelial dysfunction is completely reversible once a normal diet is restored.

I find it incredibly sad that people who cannot afford healthy food, who turn to fast food for financial reasons alone, are being led to a lifestyle that will erode their heart health, the sexuality and their overall well-being. Fast food isn't really food at all! It is fast poison!


1 = From "Why Every Type 2 Should See 'Super Size Me," by Robert J. Tanenberg, MD, March 1, 2005, Diabetes Health.

2 = Drawn from a summary of the Lancet Study from January 2005

©2009 Linda Marks

Please share your thoughts... 

 Health Co-ops: An Alternative to Our Current Health Insurance System

While the concept of "health care for all" is surely a noble and valid one, the structures we have created to deliver health care in this country are so far from what is needed to provide quality, affordable health care for all, I believe that to truly provide universal health care, new structures need to be built from the ground up.

Health insurance costs are outrageous, costing some individuals and families more money on a monthly basis than their rent. Yet, when an overnight hospitalization can cost $11,000 (and that does not include the ambulance ride to the hospital), the fear of having a medical emergency while uninsured is profound.

One model that has arisen quietly in Seattle, among other cities, is the "health co-op" model. A health care co-op is a non-profit, member-owned group that assembles a network of health care providers and negotiates payment rates with them. Consider this power to the patients! A health care co-op can operate at a state, regional or national level with voluntary membership.

Health care co-ops would eliminate some of the layers in the conventional insurance model, including profits which contribute to the high cost of both insurance and medical care. While no set number of patients need to be members to form a health care co-op, Senator Kent Conrad of Noth Dakota, believes each co-op would need 500,000 members to succeed.

Many years ago, when I was pregnant with my son, I belonged to a local network of health professionals called GAPnet. We were a guild of practitioners committed to affordable care. As a way to bypass the insurance system, and provide access to affordable care to those who needed it, we simply allocated a number of slots in our various practices for people who could not afford the "real cost" of our care.

While we did not get large enough to negotiate contracts with hospitals, which health care co-ops may do, on a community level, we were able to bring care to many people who would have otherwise fallen through the cracks.

If we as both patients and practitioners alike, turn to one another and try to work something out that is mutually respect of our talents and circumstances, we can create a pathway towards care free from the clutches of insurance premiums and claims.

I truly hope more and more patients and practitioners do take matters into their own hands, so that we don't reinforce the culture of insurance-based-only health care, exhorbitant prices for medical treatment designed to hook into the insurance system. We need a major change!

©2009 Linda Marks

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 Healthy Sexuality As a Single Person and Throughout the Life Cycle
 Reflections From Niela Miller

Iraq Weedflower Niela Miller is a colleague I have known for several decades, whose work has always involved creativity and living ones life to the fullest. One subject she has explored in workshops over the years is how to have a rich, fulfilled life as a single person. Two areas that our culture and the media has made particularly challenging is how to express ones sexuality as a single person and as we age.

I asked Niela to share her thoughts on these topics. The following are some of her reflections.

"The biggest misconception about sexuality and being a single person in our society is that single persons are either promiscuous sex hungry animals or asexual pitiful creatures. The media has a brutal approach to selling all kinds of commercial products and procedures to singles based on the ability to attract a partner for sex. Those who are alone by choice or by fate are marginalized. They are not seen as sexual beings if they are not in a couple or trying to be in one."

"Another misconception is that, although men can easily take care of themselves through masturbation, women are rarely seen as self-sufficient in the very same way. Women, themselves, often have a difficult time recognizing that they are quite capable of regular sexual fulfillment through self-pleasuring. Many have bought the hype that only if you have a partner can you be complete in this way."

For a single person to develop their sense of sexuality, separate from relating with a partner, Niela recommends, "Enjoy your body in every sensual way possible. Enjoy your attractions to other human beings. See yourself in nature as part of a world of passion and pleasure. Wear clothes that feel good to your body and that please you when you look in the mirror. Write about yourself in fantasy. Sing love songs to yourself."

"Living one's sensuality can be a blessing, no matter what one's partner status. Knowing one's body and how it responds, what it likes, can be life-enhancing in any circumstance."

"All close relationships have elements of sexuality in them, whether acted upon or not, simply because we are sexual creatures. As a heterosexual, my close friendships with men over the years have sustained me in my feelings of contentment and self-worth as a woman and I have filled the need for male companionship, whether sexual or not. I have also been fortunate to work with the transgender community and my friends who are mixed in gender have taught me that sexuality can be experienced no matter what one's presentation, identification or relationship."

One of the places our culture is most cruel is in regard to sexuality as we age. Niela reflects, "By worshipping youth, by craving perfection, which leads women and more and more men to fix body parts to some imagined ideal, we feed the shadow--a fear of death, aging, a revolt against the natural order of things. This is very unsexy. Nowhere in the natural world, except in the human species, does this dread of body change and aging exist. From my perspective, what is sexy at ANY age is vitality, a keen interest in life, a creative spirit, a loving heart, and a willingness to engage."

To have a healthy sense of sexuality, single or partnered, young or older, Niela recommends, "Do what feels good. Realize that shame was something you learned, not something you were born with. Relate in a way that supports your well-being as a sexual, sensual, approachable person and recognize others in the same vein."

You can learn more about Niela and her work on her website,

You can listen to a radio blog interview of Niela's life's work on her website(Projects, Publications and AUDIO) PAGE with Andrea Williams, an executive coach who has a series on creativity.

Niela has also been developing programs in a virtual reality called Second Life ( She has a studio in there called Octagon for Creative Exploration and make it available to friends who want to come in and bring groups etc.

Share your thoughts.... 

 HealingHeartPower Calendar

Would you like to learn how to do EKP? Applications are being accepted for the 2010 EKP Apprenticeship Program. The apprenticeship group meets once a month for a weekend training session. For more information, contact or call Linda at (617)965-7846.

The Thursday night EKP Therapy Group has openings for a couple new members. An interview and one EKP session are required to apply. Contact Linda if you are interested at

The next Healing the Traumatized Heart Workshop, is on Sunday, October 25 from 2 - 5 pm, in Newton.

Join us for an experience of heartful healing and community.

To enroll, send an e-mail to, and a check for $50 to Linda Marks, 3 Central Avenue, Newton, MA 02460. Please include your name, phone number, address and e-mail.

Come visit the EKP booth at the Spirit of Change Expo in Sturbridge, MA on Saturday, September 26 and Sunday, 27. We will be running a EKP Clinic, as a community service on Saturday. Linda be be giving a workshop from 4:30 - 6 pm on Saturday, as well.

On Tuesday, September 29, I will be presenting as part of Jan Wall's Holistic Psychology class at Lesley University onThe Power of the Heart in Body Psychotherapy.

And on Tuesday, October 6, Linda Marks and Alan Krentzel will be leading a Stress Management for Peak Performance event for the Sloan School of Management Alumni Association at MIT.

EKP opportunities in Newton include:

  • Being a guest client in the Student Clinic
  • On-going Thursday night EKP Body Psychotherapy Group (which currently has room for a couple new members)
  • On-going Sunday EKP Monthly Process Group (which also has room for a couple new members)
  • Apprenticing in EKP

If you would like a Healing the Traumatized Heart workshop near you, or have a group of people who you would like to bring EKP to, please contact

To find out more.... 

 About Linda

Me and Flora Linda Marks, MSM, is pioneer in body psychotherapy who has developed, taught and practiced Emotional-Kinesthetic Psychotherapy (EKP) for more than two decades. Author of LIVING WITH VISION and HEALING THE WAR BETWEEN THE GENDERS, she co-founded the Massachusetts Association of Body Psychotherapists and Counseling Bodyworkers and is the founder of the Boston Area Sexuality and Spirituality Network. She holds degrees from Yale and MIT, and has a vital 13-year-old son.

To find out more about Linda...