"Dr Ali has given us in The Tao of Dating the gift of the goddesses, reminding us that we women are the ones who hold the keys to our fulfilllment...that if we claim our feminine power of simply being who we are, we cannot but find the happiness we want in our relationships with men." --Agapi Stassinopoulos, author of Gods And Goddesses in Love

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Interview with Gretchen Rubin, author of ‘The Happiness Project’

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Topics: Interview, Self-Improvement

Here’s an interview I did last week with Gretchen Rubin, fellow HuffingtonPost.com contributor and all-around star (Yale Law grad, clerkship with Sandra Day O’Connor, supermom, etc).  I caught up with her at a reading she did at Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena, Southern California’s oldest and largest independent bookstore.  My first time there — what a place!  A bibliophile’s heaven indeed.  To catch Gretchen when she swings through your city, check out her book tour schedule on her excellent blog.

But I digress — voila the video.  It’s just over a minute, so check it out:

Popularity: 96% [?]

Awaken Your Inner Creative Genius – TEDxSF Talk Nov 2009

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Topics: Creativity, Self-Improvement

If I told you that by undergoing a training that takes less than 20min, you could boost your IQ by 30% on average, would you devote 20min to the exercise?

Think about it. If you’re starting at 120, this means you could go to 156. This is not a trivial improvement.

Well, I don’t know about your IQ, but with this training, I’ve consistently helped people boost their CQ — creativity quotient — by 30% or more.

Voila the video from the TEDx San Francisco talk I gave in November 2009.  To get maximum benefit from this, make sure you have a pen and paper ready right now so you can take the before-and-after creativity tests to see how much you improve.  My preliminary results show that people improve their creativity score by 30% on average after just the first part, and another 50-80% after the second part of the training.  Your mileage may vary.  As a comparison, of the 300 or so people in the Planetarium that day, 296 improved their scores.

Be sure to leave me comments with your before/after scores, what worked particularly well for you and suggestions for making the training even better.

Watch live streaming video from tedxsf at livestream.com

Popularity: 96% [?]

Project Superman, Episode 1

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Topics: Dating Advice for Men

Gentlemen –

As those of you on my mailing list know, today (actually in 15min) is the first installment of Project Superman. It’s a little bit hush-hush, so if you want to get in on the action, make sure you sign up for the men’s newsletter at TaoOfDating.com, and we’ll catch you on the call.

For those of you who are wondering about the time, it’s at 6pm PT/9pm ET and will last 30-40min. If you’re coming here after the call, please post your comments below. What did you like about it? What would you like more of? What would you change about it? How do you feel now? How effective is it a couple of days out? I’m very, very curious about your feedback.

Popularity: 98% [?]

Good Snooze: Fisher Wallace Cranial Stimulator Treats Insomnia

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Topics: Biomedicine

Have you ever come across a safe, effective treatment that worked really well and, for some unfathomable reason, wasn’t all that well-known to the general public?

That’s how I felt when I stumbled upon hypnotherapy back in med school. It worked; its side effects were minimal to nonexistent; and it wasn’t used all that much. Go figure.

Recently, I came across another such treatment modality. It’s a sleek little gadget called the Fisher Wallace Cranial Stimulator. It has two sponge electrodes that you wet, then place on top of your sideburns under a headband to hold them fast. You turn it on, and it sends a tiny 1-4 milliamp current for 20 minutes, during which you can keep at whatever you were doing. Then it shuts itself off.

Since I’m fond of gadgets — especially ones promising safe, effective new treatment of otherwise intractable conditions — I asked to borrow a Cranial Stimulator from my friend Chip Fisher, the president of the company (full disclosure: I have no financial interest in Fisher Wallace Inc., although Chip has been known to buy me a drink even when I don’t want one).

Clinical evidence demonstrates the Stimulator to be effective in the treatment of a variety of conditions: anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), pain, and drug addiction. It also seems to be particularly useful for treating insomnia.

So let the experiments begin, I said. Personally, I enjoyed the pleasant buzz it gave me and felt somewhat more energized and alert after using it. However, since I sleep like a log already, the insomnia experiment would be wasted on me. I just wanted to make sure it didn’t have any funny side effects before passing it along, and am pleased to report that after a week of use, I experienced none. The main show was to lend the Stimulator to some family members with chronic insomnia (who all happened to be female).

Anecdotally, they claimed to benefit from the 20-minute daily treatments, though I have no way to verify this (sleep data are notoriously difficult to gather). I did notice something else, however: it took me a good 6 months to get the machine back from them since they had passed it along to several of their insomniac friends. This tipped me off that the gizmo was doing something right, since people wouldn’t be passing the machine on if it didn’t work.

Since results of insomnia treatment are hard to quantify, researchers use a subjective 10-point scale that asks a patient to rate the quality of her sleep (called the Likert Scale). In a meta-analysis of all studies done on cranial electrical stimulation (CES) up to 2006, patients experienced on average a 62% improvement in their sleep profiles (which included such measures as how fast they fall asleep, the quality of said sleep, how relaxed they feel afterwards).

What’s surprising is that this body of research goes back 50 years. That’s how long people have known about and benefited from cranial stimulation. The first effective commercial CES machine came out in 1970. It’s just that people are just catching the buzz right now.

One enthusiastic advocate is Mike Davis, director of Vet-Net.org, a nonprofit organization dedicated to veterans’ needs, and a decorated Vietnam veteran himself. He has successfully treating his own chronic insomnia using the Cranial Stimulator and encourages his fellow vets to use it, too. Insomnia seems to be particularly prevalent amongst active duty soldiers, too, since the US Special Forces has asked Fisher Wallace to design a special unit just for them.

Another enthusiastic owner is musician Carly Simon. In an interview with the Boston Globe, she spontaneously asked the reporter to try on her Fisher Wallace Stimulator: “”I have this brain machine. Would you like to try it? It’s so not scary… Close your eyes. Are you seeing any tiny flashes? I’ve been doing it for almost two months now, and I haven’t had any dreadful falls into depression or mania,” she says. “I love it.”

As far as the evidence shows, cranial electrical stimulation seems to be pretty effective for treating insomnia, as well as other chronic conditions like depression and drug addiction. Scientists aren’t quite sure how it all works, although a new paper from Harvard Medical School from Prof. Felipe Fregni’s group discusses some possible mechanisms.

If you’re suffering from chronic insomnia, the Fisher Wallace Stimulator seems to be worth a try at the very least. It also shows impressive results in treating depression. Many patients have gotten good results from it, and it’s pretty safe. If you’d like to find out more, the Fisher Wallace website has comprehensive information on the Stimulator, a list of current clinical studies on it and a list of scientific publications about it. Hope you find it useful.

*cited from the monograph “Cranial Electrical Stimulation: Its First Fifty Years, Plus Three” by Ray Smith, Ph.D., the world’s leading expert on cranial electrical stimulation (CES) therapy

Popularity: 100% [?]

New blog!

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Topics: Dating Advice for Women

Greetings, all ye faithful.  I’ve started a new blog here that covers a wider range of my interests and work — hope you enjoy it.

Popularity: 99% [?]

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