Health in the Digital Age: New screen time rules for kids, by doctors –

A few years ago the American Association of Pediatrics made their first announcement about the use of TV, computers, phones, tablets and other electronic devices with children. They have recently come out with some more recommendations. I think these are very important guidelines to follow (at the minimum) by a very mainstream conventional Western Medical organisation.

Awareness of the health and wellness impact, both positive and negative, of the digital age is just starting to unfold.

Blue Light Exposure

We’ve seen an increased depth of data regarding the impact of blue light exposure from screens on sleep patterns and suppression of melatonin level. In addition to insomnia, lowered melatonin is correlated with a number of diseases including cancer (though remember correlation does not apply causation…ie there is currently no direct link to my knowledge between screen exposure and cancer). (See my previous blog on the subject for more).


We’ve also seen rising concern over the low-grade stress-response, which includes a slight feeling of anxiety/nervousness, shallow breathing, stooped, posture, and suppression of bodily functions (including thirst, hunger, fatigue, and needing to use the bathroom) associated with computer, in particular the internet. We all know the scenario, crouched over our computer, intently focused, as we chase after one elusive tidbit of information after another, like a weasel in a labyrinthine rabbit warren. Ignoring our urgent need to urinate, our red and itching eyes, our grumpy back…There is a highly addictive element to the internet that is very insidious!


Childhood Development

With childhood development in particular the data is clear enough for the AAP to make their strongly worded statement. Messing with childhood mental and emotional development is nothing to take lightly.    As you shall see in the article. In addition to their concern I’ve also encountered concerns about communication skills and social interactions altering as well as a growing difficulty to have moments without informational input (boredom!).

Source: New screen time rules for kids, by doctors –

What to do?

In addition to the general recommendations made in the article one of my solutions is to maximise outdoor time (for myself and my kids). There are many great books and websites with ideas for indoor and outdoor activities. The key is discovering interactive means of entertainment which are embodied and sensory (not just visual). By interactive I mean with the world at hand: with games, puzzles, sculpting, building, colouring, reading, and free play (especially outdoors with found objects). Our kids are really starting to enjoy helping with chores, especially thing such as sweeping and cooking (you can get kid safe knives for chopping fruit and veg). Playing music together or family dance time (my son loves Santana dance parties) is also great. There are some very good developmentally informed music methods appropriate for children of all ages that support child-parent bonding such as Colourstrings. In our family we generally make “movie night” a special occasion with snuggling on the couch and usually use story tapes when we need a few minutes of interruption free time and the kids are not managing to distract themselves without constant parental input (MOMMY!!!!!!!!). When I’m stuck at the computer (like I am this morning) I soon feel overwhelmed with the business of the work and feel very much undernourished in my soul. It tends to be superficial and endless. However, I can alleviate some of the discomforts by setting an hourly alarm to stretch, do a few minutes of deep breathing (HeartMath), and change my focus to a broader horizon (such as the view from our house of the Loch and the mountains beyond . Weather permitting I work much better outside.

With that said, it’s a challenging situation, and I often have difficulty following my own good advice!

take care





Better than a computer screen! View from our Badrallach Campsite and future Integral Health Retreat Centre.


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EarthMind Fellowship’s Winter Retreat at Badrallach

It’s January.  New Year’s Eve has come and gone. Old habits will shortly strong-arm your resolutions into submission and oblivion.  Maybe a critical inner voice will guilt you into grudging obedience.  Need some help?  Come rest and do inner work with renowned herbalist and wilderness therapist, Owen Okie.  Renew yourself in the beautiful and remote Scottish Highlands.  You choose what you want to work on, exploring nature, both inner and outer, of our winter landscape or within the shelter of our lovely, warm Bothy.  Come to grips with parts of yourself that prevent growth and well-being.  Make steps toward your highest potential through a variety of nature-based practices.  Gaze into the flames of our warm woodstove and reflect.  Venture out when you are ready, with new tools for transforming stress into resilience.   Spots are filling up quickly!  Email to reserve your place.  More information can be found at

Where: We will be staying at Badrallach Campsite, Bothy and Cottage. There are three options for lodging; camping, bunkhouse accommodations in the bothy, or for a little extra in the cottage (subject to availability).

When: You’ll arrive on the evening of January 4th and will settle in.  Our Winter EarthMind Retreat will begin the next morning and will run till the morning of the 9th.

How Much: In order to make our retreat accessible to all we offer a sliding scale from £200 to £400. This includes, lodging, meals, and activities. Payment plans or a work-stay may be available upon request.

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Deepest Darkness: exploring the North with EarthMind Fellowship

I’m announcing to the world the first of EarthMind’s retreats at our new campsite,  Badrallach.

This is the North-Winter retreat of EarthMind Fellowship’s Seasonal retreats. We will be exploring and cultivating the Northern facet of your psyche through a variety of practices. This is your opportunity to develop your connection with the deepest aspects of nature in winter, to nurture yourself with stillness, to develop larger more encompassing perspectives, to develop yourself and your projects, and to strengthen the Northern facets of your personality. We will be working with a variety of practices from Bill Plotkin, HeartMath, Buddhist Psychotherapy, and EMF own explorer’s kit. The retreat will take place at the Badrallach Campsite, Bothy and Cottage in Scotland ( from January 5-8th, 2017.

I shall be posting some blog entrees with more details and exploring content. You can stay connected via our facebook events page (and please help us spread the word!):


or you can write to me with questions at

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Political Poison and Collective Trauma

I want to share this with everyone as I feel it puts into a greater and grander context the very challenges that each of us as individuals, couples, and family members are currently experiencing. It helps elucidate the incoherency and bewilderment brought upon us through feeling and experiencing the suffering and fear of the world. Michael clarifies its impact on us as individuals in relationship, both in terms of anxiety, fear, and division and the potential for strengthening of awareness, connection, love, healing and transformation. In the heat of the World’s fired our souls are being tempered. Thank you Michael Meade.


Source: Political Poison and Collective Trauma

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Integral European Conference Best Poster Award for my Integral Health and Medicine Poster!

I recently returned from the Body, Psyche and Soul shaking Integral European Conference 2016 in Hungary. I won the Best Poster Award for my Integral Health, Medicine, Healing and Herbalism poster, with the help of my wife, Christy, who did the poster design.  So the question for the world is: How can we create a truly holistic and comprehensive approach to healing that addresses all facets of human nature and encompasses the great diversity of healing modalities developed over tens of thousands of years of human evolution?

For all you geeks out there who want to know more about my PhD Research and how I’m applying integral theory to the process of synergistically bringing together the worlds most ancient approaches to healing with the leading edge of the biological and medical sciences here is my poster.




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A case for HeartMath: A Healthy Heart Helps Protect Cognitive Function Long-Term – Modern Readers

Here is one more article demonstrating the physical and cognitive benefits of understanding the human mindbody as formed by multiple integrated systems instead of separate and independent parts. The body and the brain work together, and the heart and the brain work together, and our metabolic and cardio-vascular health effect our cognitive and mental health. Our cognitive and mental-health also effects our physical health, including the healthy functioning of our heart. This is why cultivating psychophysiological (mind and body) coherence is so vital and one highly effective path to high coherence, and the associated physical, mental and emotional benefits,  is HeartMath’s approach to regulating Heart-Rate Variability. Such an approach is complemented by the use of herbs for supporting metabolism, cardiovascular health, and re-calibrating our stress-response. Herbs and supplements can enhance lifestyle changes and practices by supporting the nervous system (in particular the Autonomic Nervous System), while increasing resilience using adaptogens that improve immune function and modulate the HPA axis, thereby regulating our stress-response. This is why an integral approach to health and wellness which addresses body, heart, and mind is so vital.



It’s long been suspected that the heart and the mind are connected in ways we really don’t fully understand and perhaps never will. However, there’s growing evidence to suggest that one of the best way of keeping an aging mind sharp may be to step things up when it comes to looking after your heart’s …

Source: Study: A Healthy Heart Helps Protect Cognitive Function Long-Term – Modern Readers

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Presenting at the Integral European Conference

I’ve been invited to present at the Integral European Conference in Turkey this May! I shall be giving a talk related to my PhD Research at the University of Aberdeen and running a 2.5 hour EarthMind Fellowship workshop.

 Integral Health and Healing: Developing an Integral Meta-Paradigm for Health, Healing, Medicine, and Herbalism as part of my PhD research.


EarthMind Fellowship -. Connect with and explore the wilderness, both inner and outer, and experience the power and wisdom of Nature for healing, growth and transformation.

This is going to be an extra-ordinary conference so check-it out at:

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