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November 21, 2019

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Welcome to the second season of Soothing Science. The above photo is of produce from my garden .... doesn't it look so...um...organic? Hopefully I am a better podcaster than gardener!

      This whole season will be about nutrition, health and weight loss. It's aimed at people who want or need to lose weight.

But it's actually not about that. As you will hear when you listen, if your primary goal is weight loss then you may well not succeed. That's because the goal of weight loss is all about denial and restriction - instead,  our mission is expansion  - expanding into better health, happier lives, a better planet. The side effect of this expansion is weight loss - but it is not the goal. 


June 13, 2019

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It was so cold when I made this episode that I was thinking about skiing. 

This is a photo of the Schlink Hilton, where I will be staying in a few weeks. Its got nothing to do with the podcast at all really, except for the tenuous link that the good Dr Schlink was an avid cross country skier, and we can presume he influenced his friends and family to partake in similar healthy activities. 

Research conducted by Stanford university researchers found that if you have a doctor or a nurse in the family you are more likely to live longer, and this podcast delves into this research and looks at why.

It's not because doctors treat their families, or just because they are rich; it has to do with the endless naggin...

June 13, 2019

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Is this a picture of a mighty brumby or a feral horse? I took it in Kosciusko National Park a couple of years ago. This relaxation exercise uses our relationship with horses to help us to relax and to help us with our psychological flexibility - the ability to look at things from different viewpoints. Enjoy it.

Thanks to Sylvia Plath for a few lines of poetry - here is a link to a wonderful short film where she reads the classic poem Ariel - written about her horse by the same name. 

And here are the links to some other you tube videos:

Horse training in an Arizona Prison

and Monty Roberts, master horse whisperer.

And thanks to the website Freesounds particularly contributor inspectorJ for the horse sounds. 

April 10, 2019

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How do you look after a vintage car? You put it in a garage, cover it with a dustcover, drive it sparingly and slowly. And don't crash it.

Well, apart from not crashing, this is exactly the wrong way to look after an old joint  - present thinking is that you are much better off taking your old worn joints out for a spin to preserve them. 

In this episode I look at some recent research about osteoarthritis, that reinforces the old maxim, use it or lose it.

Brisk walking may delay knee replacement surgery.

Here is a link to a summary of the research by Hiral Master from the university of Delaware. ( It has not yet been published in paper form).

And runners have better knees than non runners. 

From the American...

April 10, 2019

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This podcast was made against the backdrop of the recent shootings in New Zealand. The aim is to help to acknowledge, accept and learn from unpleasant and distressing emotions. To be able to know when to allow the to wash over us and when it is time to catch them and ride them like a surfer. There is a longer than usual introduction - listen to it the first time, but after that skip ahead to the thirteenth minute for the relaxation exercise. 

I drew a lot of inspiration for this from the work of Russ Harris - have a listen to this podcast - here.  It features a great interview.

Russ is an Australian GP who has written a great book - "The Happiness Trap " which is a self guided book about acceptance and committm...

February 4, 2019

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Hi everyone, just a relaxation exercise today, as I have not yet put my ideas together about the next science topic.

This exercise will focus on your sense of intrinsic value. During the exercise I will ask you to imagine looking at yourself from the outside, looking below the surface layers of appearance and achievements and  into the deeper layers beneath. Much as our indigenous elders look at the internal and spirit world of their subjects when they do paintings. ( Actually the picture above does not show the x ray style, but I could not find an example that does which I was sure was permitted to use - this picture is from wikipedia and hopefully they have checked all the permissions).

( pictu...

December 19, 2018

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Parkrun is a weekly festival that is held at 8am on Saturday mornings at nearly fifteen hundred different parks around the world. It is based around running, but in my opinion it's actually a free festival of community kindness run by volunteers, with a focus on exercise as pathway to good health. You should attend, even if you don't think of yourself as particularly fit or sporty - you will be amongst friends. And, Parkrun is also a hotbed of community science, with several articles published using Parkrun data.

Which brings us to pickle juice - an unlikely but proven cure for cramps. 

I hope you enjoy this podcast in praise of Parkrun and Pickle juice. 

Here are some links:

Newy and Stockton Parkrun pages...

December 19, 2018

Listen here for the podcast.  If you've listened to part 1 then you have heard me extolling the virtues of walking. Here is a meditation to do while out walking, running or jogging that will help you to stay enthusiastic.  Enjoy. And thanks to my daughter Evie for letting me record her double bass practice for the walking bass line. 

October 10, 2018

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In this episode we first have a look at some research into mental health apps. The work was carried out by Dr Lisa Parker and colleagues at the university of Sydney,  and you can see the article here. They had a look at dozens of apps and made disturbing observations that many of them were inaccurate and potentially could make problems worse. I go through the details of this study in the podcast.  Luckily for me the effects of podcasts were not surveyed....

So if apps aren't the answer what is. Well it turns out that there is a treatment for depression that is so natural it really doesn't seem like a treatment at all - yet is as effective at preventing relapse as taking a long term antidepressant.

In fascinatin...

October 10, 2018

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In this relaxation exercise we use the actions of an archer to focus on....focus. It's a great metaphor because the more relaxed an archer is the more likely they are to perform well - letting go of distractions and focusing on the details is the key to a good shot. It's a mindset that applies to many situations, and this exercise will help you with your focus, whether or not you've ever had a bow in your hands.

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Soothing Science.

A companion site to the podcast.
Dr Adrian Plaskitt
GP and Science enthusiast.


Hi there, I hope you enjoy the podcast. My recording studio is actually under a doona in my bedroom  (it muffles the echo) but with imagination we travel to more interesting  places. We can  use the skills we learn to remain relaxed in stressful situations, when the world seems turned upside down.

Contact me at:


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If you enjoy the podcast and would like to explore how relaxation techniques can be used to treat a specific problem that you need help with then have a look at the College of Medical Hypnosis website by clicking the above link. You can find a therapist near you who has been trained in the sort of techniques I use in the podcast, and can apply them to your particular situation rather than for general relaxation.

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