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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.

July 30, 2018

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I have been thinking about the flat earth movement lately. Born in the 60's I spent my childhood believing that by the time I reached the grand old age of 51 there would at least be a colony on the moon and space travel would be routine. Instead we have a growing movement of people who believe the world is flat - a question that I thought got sorted out long ago. It got me thinking about the nature of belief, and how much belief is tied up in trust - and why are we just so trusting anyway?

Here is a fascinating insight into the evolution of trust - this is a thought provoking game that explains so much about how we interact...I think it is truly profound.

So ask yourself, do you believe the world is round or fl...

July 30, 2018

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This is partly just an excuse to put up my holiday photo of the night sky above Guthega, in NSW. 

But I have also done a relaxation exercise for you about the stars - and how they can give us different perspectives on our lives. On the time scales of our lives they are endless and everlasting, yet each time we glance at them we are seeing photons that started their journey many years ago, travelling across the vastness of space just to end up exciting our retina at a unique moment in time and space - how special is that! And of course our very matter is made up of what was once the heart of stars. Hopefully thinking about this will give you a different perspective on you day to day trials and tribulations. En...

May 10, 2018

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          I had one of those moments the other day. One of those moments of sudden doubt when I suddenly ask myself- "what the hell am I doing?" Now it was not exactly existential doubt about the meaning of life, the universe and everything. Or even about whether it was worth continuing  with this podcast project.....No, much smaller scale than that....

         You see, I've been taking Turmeric on and off for a couple of years now for my creaky joints. But it suddenly occurred to me that I knew next to nothing about whether it actually helps or not. I had seen an article on a website about how ubiquitous the yellow spice had become, and that got me thinking. And this po...

May 10, 2018

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This episode is all about portable relaxation. Previously we have done exercises that require about 20 minutes of quiet time, but today there are two exercises that can be done anywhere you like.

The first is a simple breathing pattern that will take about a minute. It is in common use in situations as diverse as yoga classes to navy SEAL training ( that's the commandos, not the animals). I will teach you the timing tricks so that it works well, as the common mistake people make is doing it too quickly, which can make things worse.

The second is an exercise in relaxation with the eyes open focussed on any everyday object or scene. You can do this for as long as you like; the podcast exercise goes for a...

January 9, 2018

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This relaxation exercise is about kindness. We focus on the relationship between a kind person and their pet. That is because the relationship between human and pet is usually one of unconditional kindness. It does not matter whether you have a pet or not or whether you prefer one animal over  another- if you can imagine that such a relationship can exist then you will have no trouble doing the exercise.

Once you have developed a feeling of kindness then we turn that emotion  towards ourselves. When we are kind to ourselves change is easier, and as it is the time of year when many of us try to make changes to our lifestyle, it is a good time to do this meditation.

It sounds a bit corny I know, but you will fin...

January 9, 2018

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Happy New Year! It's time for New Year's resolutions.  One of mine is to do these podcasts more frequently - this one has been at the back of my mind ever since I saw a headline about prostate cancer on a medical news website  last year. It was click bait for male medicos- the headline was - "Ejaculation frequency - best practice guidelines"  and it led to an article reported that we may be able to reduce our risk of prostate cancer by having more ejaculations. Here is the link

        I couldn't resist having a read, and it is moderately interesting. But it got me thinking about the prevention of cancer in general, and how we are seduced by a catchy headline that promises a magic...

September 16, 2017

Hi there. I have split the show into two separate parts as requested by listeners. That way you can go straight to the relaxation exercise more easily.

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Soothing Science Ep3 Part 1 - Viruses and common cold cure.

Soothing Science Ep3 Part 2 - Garden relaxation.

It has taken me so long to do this show because I have been so busy with work as seasonal respiratory illnesses sweep through the community. This has got me thinking about the science of viruses, and how their very existence blurs the boundary between living things and simple chemicals. But on a more practical level I talk about a recent review article by Dr Hemila from Finland who has been brave enough to say that the phrase "there is no cure for the common cold" is no l...

July 12, 2017

In this episode we relax around the fireplace in a cozy mountain cabin. But before that I talk about sleep - why we sleep at all, why we often wake up during the night, and how to get a good night's sleep.

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Soothing Science- episode 2- cozy cabin scene

Sleep is all about cleaning your brain while still being able to deal with sabre- toothed tigers. It's a pretty impressive trick, but ultimately a compromise between the deep sleep we need to restore our energies, and the alertness we need to not get eaten by our cats during the night.  If you are interested, the hard science is here - Dr Nedergaard's  and Xie's work on the glymphatic system; and here - an article about Dr Ekirch's work about the first and se...

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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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