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HEALING THROUGH UNITY

June, 2004

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of
physical and spiritual health envisioned in the Baha'i Teachings

Volume 8, Issue No.6

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CONTENTS

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Waging the War on Fat
Seek Capacity
Health Notes

New Weapon Against Bone Loss
Echinacea Is Not For Everyone
Vitamin B-12 Levels Affect Treatments for Depression The Power of Prayer-Sharing Blessing for Those Who Work in Groups Turn to the Holy Spirit Whole Foods Recipe Swap Readers Request Assistance Question of the Month Letters Purpose of the Newsletter/Subscriptions

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WAGING THE WAR ON FAT

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Today, more than ever before, people are swept up in a dieting-exercise craze.

Fitness clubs and weight-loss groups have sprung up in every town. People jump on exercise machines, sweat out aerobic regimes and agonize over a riot of diets. They measure out fish, fruit, veggies and chips, count calories and otherwise obsess over what they can eat and what they can't.

Why the frenetic focus on body fat?

The answer is as plain as people's profiles in the mirror. In the United States alone, about 64 percent of adults are overweight; 30.5 percent are obese and 9 million severely obese. That bulging figure is a big cause for concern. Obesity is rising at an epidemic rate. What's more, weight issues impact our health, and all that extra bulk is costing the country millions in extra health care costs.

In a world where millions suffer from malnutrition and hunger, how sad and ironic, that in the United States and in other affluent countries, a rising number of people are overweight and obese.

Fortunately, many folks are trying to buck the tide, and some are winning. If you are waging the "battle of the bulge," you will take heart from the success story of Jenny, who lives in a small town in Maine, USA.

In the state where she lives, 54 percent of adults are overweight and obese according to 2000 data. Obesity-related health care costs Maine almost 1 billion a year, according to the Centre of Science in the Public Interest.

About two years ago, Jenny, who is 5-feet, 5-1/2-inches tall, weighed a whopping 383 pounds.

Her obesity problems were compounded when she caught a devastating staph (staphylococcus) infection after the C-section birth of her second son, now age 4. The dangerous, flesh-eating infection took two years to heal and left her bedridden and disabled.

"We moved in with my parents, who took care of the kids. I couldn't do much; I was too sick. And, of course, I got bigger and bigger. I had to heal from the inside, out. I had nursing care come in for two years," she said.

Her husband, who works as a heating and ventilating specialist, helped dress her bandages. He had extra child-care duties with the new baby and their older son, now age 11.

Today, Jenny weighs 155 pounds, a figure which keeps her within the health guidelines for her height, she said. She went down from a dress size 5X to size 8 -10.

"I have a lot more energy. I can move around. Before, I'd like to sit around and not do anything. I do activities with the kids. We go bowling. The youngest likes to ice skate. We walk the rail trail ,"(a nature trail along an abandoned railroad bed).

Jenny is a new woman, in every sense of the word.

What brought about the dramatic turn-around? In a nutshell, it was her desperation to feel better coupled with the capacity to change.

After her incisions healed two years ago, she joined a local diet group in a nearby town. In one year, she lost 176 pounds. She watched her food portions and followed the group's guidelines. She worked out on a home treadmill.

"I started doing the treadmill for 5 minutes, and my knees killed me.

But, I built it up," she said.

Then, about a year ago, she went to a local fitness center.

"When I started, I weighed 207 pounds. In one year, I lost 36 pounds of body fat and 34 inches all around. I plan to go back (to the diet group), but I'm staying with the fitness center."

Currently, she goes five days a week for 30-minute workouts doing "resistance training" on hydraulic machines."

"They work every part of your body. They start you out at 30 minutes, and you don't get sore at all. I work hard, but you just don't hurt."

After exercising on the machines, she does special stretching exercises.

"You stretch every part of your body; it helps you from getting sore. You have so much energy when you leave. It is unbelievable." She pays $29.99 per month for use of the facility.

Meanwhile, Jenny is still following her food-portion-control regime at home and has also changed her cooking habits. "I don't use much fat. I don't fry; I bake and broil. I buy light bread. I have more fruit in the refrigerator and we do fruit and veggie dips and low-fat yogurt. I don't eat a lot of red meat.

Her husband is more than pleased at her new lease on health and life.

"He thinks it's wonderful," she said.

A cautionary note. It is not easy to fight food addictions and a lifetime of harmful eating habits. The bad news is, after taking it off, nine out of 10 dieters put it all back on, according to recent statistics.

The good news is, people are making efforts to live healthier lives. And, many succeed. Lynn Ascrizzi

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SEEK CAPACITY

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"Man must seek capacity and develop readiness. As long as he lacks susceptibility to divine influences, he is incapable of reflecting the light and assimilating its benefits. Sterile soil will produce nothing, even if the cloud of mercy pours rain upon it a thousand years. We must make the soil of our hearts receptive and fertile by tilling in order that the rain of divine mercy may refresh them and bring forth roses and hyacinths of heavenly planting.

"As long as we lack susceptibility, the beauties and bounties of God cannot penetrate." 'Abdu'l-Baha, ("Promulgation of Universal Peace, Page 143.)

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SEE YOU IN SEPTEMBER

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There will be no issues of Healing Through Unity newsletter in July and August. Although you will be preoccupied with enjoying the season, I do hope you keeping sending your thoughts, ideas and questions to this newsletter.

Thank you all for helping to make the past six issues rewarding ones.

Wishing you all a great summer and see you in September. Lynn Ascrizzi

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HEALTH NOTES

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New Weapon Against Bone Loss

A compound called strontium ranelate, a medication made from the mineral strontium, has been found to prevent bone loss and contribute to bone strength, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Bone loss, or osteoporosis, is the cause of fracture of the spine, hip and other skeletal fractures that afflict millions of older people.

Strontium was discovered in European lead mines more than a century ago.

Chemically similar to calcium, it is found in seawater and soil and in tiny amounts in some foods and in bones and teeth. Doctors stopped using it the 1950s, because it was feared it interfered with the synthesis of vitamin D, fears which have proven unfounded.

The French drug company, Servier, conducted a study of 1,649 post-menopausal women with osteoporosis to receive either strontium ranelate as a powder mixed with water, or a placebo, for three years. Both groups received calcium and vitamin D supplements.

Women who took strontium ranelate, showed an increase in bone density and were far less likely to have vertebral fractures. It appeared to prevent bone loss while helping to build bone. The placebo group had no increase in bone density.

The study did not show whether the compound helped protect bones other than the spine from fracture. Unlike other osteoporosis drugs on the market like Fosamax, Raloxifene, Forteo and estrogen, that can cause side-effects like nausea, stroke and blood clots, strontium ranelate is easily absorbed and free of side-effects other than diarrhea, experienced in 6 percent of patients in the study. The compound may be suitable for people who cannot tolerate or who are concerned about side effects in other drugs.

Strontium ranelate is a patented substance that is not yet marketed. It should not be confused with over-the-counter strontium supplements.

Source: New England Journal of Medicine, January 2004

Echinacea Is Not For Everyone

The herbal remedy echinacea is a popular, over-the-counter remedy for treating the common cold. Yet it is not for everyone. Many brands do not carry adequate warning labels. Do not use echinacea products if you fall into the following categories:

Autoimmune disease: Don't use if you suffer from disorders such as

Type-1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis. The supplement could further stimulate improper immune-system responses.

Suppressed immune systems: Don't use if you suffer from AIDS or are taking drugs to suppress your immune system such as after an organ transplant.

Allergies: Avoid echinacea if you are allergic to flowers in the aster family, such as daisies, sunflowers or weeds including ragweed.

Pregnancy or breast-feeding: Avoid if pregnant or nursing a baby, says the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Children: Don't bother giving echinacea to children. A study in the Journal of American Medical Association found that the herb is not effective in young children.

Source: Consumers Union

Vitamin B-12 Levels Affect Treatments for Depression

People suffering from major depression appear to respond better to antidepressants and therapy if they have higher levels of vitamin B-12 in their blood. The study, conducted by researchers from Kuopio University Hospital in Kuopio, Finland, found a link between normal to high levels of B-12 and successful treatments.

The study suggests that supplements or a diet high in B-12 might help successfully battle depression.

The researchers measured blood levels of vitamin B-12 in 115 depressed outpatients as they began treatment and again six months later. Those patients who responded to treatment had higher levels of the vitamin at the beginning and end of the study than those whose treatment didn't work.

Source: BMC Psychiatry www.biomedcentral.com/bmcpsychiatry/

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THE POWER OF PRAYER-SHARING

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EDITOR'S NOTE:

The following correspondence was shared recently on a listserve for the Baha'is of Unit One, USA (Maine and part of New Hampshire). On the e-mail list, members often request prayers of assistance or healing for themselves or family members. Other members often write back directly to the person, assuring them of their prayers. I have used this list for this purpose a number of times, and from my experience, this service is a most comforting, reassuring and powerful spiritual tool.

The sacred writings of the Baha'i Faith make it clear that, when ill, Baha'is must refer to competent, conscientious physicians, and then follow the advice given them. However, healing is seen to consist of both material and spiritual processes, both being essential and complementary; the Baha'i patient will therefore also use such means as prayer and meditation to assist the healing process.

Here are the two letters regarding prayer requests.

Dear Friends:

I asked for prayers for my father and family prior to my going to northern Wisconsin (USA) to attend what I thought was my father's last days on earth.

He had congestive heart failure which caused a fluid build up in his lungs, a systemic blood infection from a non-healing sore on his remaining foot ( amputation was considered ), diabetic shock and a vein transplanted from his right arm to his leg to bring circulation back to his leg. In the middle of a procedure to insert a probe into his heart to evaluate his condition, he had a small heart attack. This is why I thought his days were closing.

The day after I arrived, and the next two days, brought a complete turn-around in his condition. His leg is now warm for the first time in 12 years, his lungs have cleared up, the infection was cleared, he was removed from the respirator, and later from the oxygen tube, his diabetes is more regulated and his appetite returned. He has now been transferred from intensive care to a rehab hospital for further wound care and physical therapy. Your prayers were answered with a BANG that could not have come from another source than the grace of God.

Thank you with all my heart for your prayers.

I just returned home and am back to organizing my new profession as a motorcycle airbrush and pinstripe artist. Joe Keller

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Thanks Joe Keller for your account of the power of prayer.

Though this mail list is mostly used to keep us informed of activities of interest to the Unit One Baha'is, I think its most powerful advantage is that it is able to unite us in prayer, at once.

I am becoming convinced that our united, selfless, sincere, prayers may be our most powerful tool for imbuing this world with the spiritual energy it so desperately needs to accomplish mankind's transcendence from adolescence to adulthood. And the blessings we have experienced from our prayerful activity are God's confirmation and encouragement to bring our prayer-mindfulness into our daily activities.

Recently, my sister asked me if I had gained the habit of saying the Greatest Name (Allah'u'Abha God is Most Glorious) 95 times a day.

"No, I have not," I replied.

"Neither have I," she said, dejectedly.

"Do you understand the principal behind this activity?", I asked.

"I don't think so," she said.

I said: "It's not just a ritual that you rattle off the Greatest Name 95 times in a row at some point during the day. If you divided our time awake each day by 95, the interval would be about 10 minutes. If we were to go throughout the day remembering to say the Greatest Name about every 10 minutes, then God would not be far from our mind in everything we do during the day. That would make a real difference in how we operated in our daily life, and the blessings would flow from all that."

Dearest friends, keep the prayers coming. Pray for each other and all things that concern you. And be sure to use this list for prayer requests when you want that power of prayer to be magnified. Warmest regards. Bill Stearn

EDITOR'S NOTE:

The address of the Unit One Baha'i list cannot be disseminated, to insure privacy. But I invite readers to send their prayer requests for future publication to Healing Through Unity newsletter.

In this newsletter, prayer requests can only be published on a monthly and not on a daily basis. Nonetheless, I believe the power of prayer is timeless; that is, our prayers affect the past as well as our present and future events. No heartfelt prayer arrives too late.

So, if you have prayer requests for yourself or others that you would like published in Healing Through Unity newsletter, please send them to the editor at: dreams@uninets.net

One last note: Bill Stearn, who manages the list for Baha'i Unit One, said he hopes other groups will be inspired to start e-mail lists for prayer requests. If they need technical assistance, they can refer to him, he said. You can reach him at: wstearn1@maine.rr.com

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BLESSING FOR THOSE WHO WORK IN GROUPS

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"O ye friends of God! Today is the day of union and this age is the age of harmony in the world of existence. 'Verily, God loveth those who are working in His path in groups, for they are a solid foundation.'

Consider ye that he says 'in groups,'  united and bound together, supporting one another. 'To work,' mentioned in this holy verse, does not mean, in this greatest age, to perform it with swords, spears, shafts and arrows, but rather with sincere intentions, good designs, useful advices, divine moralities, beautiful actions, spiritual qualities, educating the public, guiding the souls of mankind, diffusing spiritual fragrances, explaining divine illustrations, showing convincing proofs and doing charitable deeds." 'Abdu'l-Baha, 'Baha'i World Faith: Selected Writings of Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha,  Page 401, Baha'i Publishing Trust, Fourth Printing 1969.

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TURN TO THE HOLY SPIRIT

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"Know thou, that letter sent to thee by me, was only because of my perfect love for thee and my pity upon thee, for I had the desire that the fragrance of the Holy Spirit, which hath perfumed all regions and imbued the entire body of the world with the Spirit of Life, should pass over thee and abide with thee. Notwithstanding the high position it occupieth, still, with an eloquent tongue, through which the Spirit moveth, hearts are attracted and bosoms burn, it speaketh to the pure hearts and to the good and righteous souls in every spot of the earth.

This is the powerful Spirit, the dazzling light, the brilliant star and the overwhelming and universal abundance. And, from its traces, spread and divulged everywhere, thou wilt know and realize its influence and comprehend its radiance. I ask God to expose thee to its fragrance, move thee by its breeze, enkindle thee by its coals of fire and illuminate thee by its brightness. Turn thyself wholly to it thus thou shalt be enabled to ascertain it influence and power, the strength of its life and the greatness of its confirmation. Verily, I say unto thee, that if for the appearance of that Divine Essence thou desirest to have a definite proof, an indisputable testimony and a strong, convincing evidence, thou must prepare thyself to make thy heart empty and thine eye ready to look only toward the Kingdom of God.  'Abdu'l-Baha, "Baha'i World Faith: Selected Writing of Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha,  Pages 368 & 369, (Baha'i Publishing Trust, Wilmette, USA, Third Printing, 1969).

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READERS RESPOND

TO QUESTIONS OF THE MONTH

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More About Parkinson's Disease

I am very appreciative of receiving the newsletter on a relay through the Thailand Baha'i network.

In reading through the May 2004 issue devoted to Parkinson's, I noticed that you have not included Dr. Lieberman at National Parkinson's Foundation as a reliable source of information. Go in through the NPF home page. There is a place there to sign up for various daily updates, one with Dr. Lieberman, one with a dietitian, and a few others. It also has a good reference base. These services are all free.

My wife has suffered from PD for 24 years, and I am her primary (and sole) caretaker. The information that I gain from his daily e-mails has helped us, as best as possible, to live a normal life. Please inform your readers of this valuable source of information on PD.

It is: askthedoctor@www.parkinson.org Thank you. Dr. John Bruha, Canberra, Australia

Reduced Form of Oral Glutathione Available

I have used the reduced form of oral glutathione in my practice successfully. Also whey protein powder is a strong dietary precursor of glutathione. I have developed a 90 percent whey protein powder for my clients.

Also the strongest anti-inflammatory supplement is a combination of protelytic enzymes. Before starting any supplement program, a hair analysis and /or a saliva test for hormones should be performed first.

My Web site is:www.nutritionevaluation.com Carl

EDITOR'S NOTE:

Reduced glutathione, a powerful antioxidant used as a supportive treatment for Parkinson's Disease was the subject of the cover article in the May 2004 issue. The treatment, pioneered by neurologist Dr. Perlmutter of the Perlmutter Center in Naples, Florida USA, uses a liquid form of reduced glutathione administered intravenously. Recent information from the center said that an oral form was in the process of being developed.

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WHOLE FOODS

RECIPE SWAP

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Here is a muffin recipe taken from the book "Breaking the Vicious Cycle:

Intestinal Health Through Diet" by Elaine Gottschall. This book has some excellent recipes for people suffering from intestinal disorders such as Crohn's Disease, Colitis, Celiac Disease, etc. It can be ordered from Kirton Press Ltd, 396 Grills Road, RR #2 Baltimore, Ontario, KOK 1C0.

Honey Nut Muffins

(I have only made it with almonds)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2 1/2 cups ground nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazel nuts)

1/4 cup melted butter

1/2 cup honey (more or less as desired)

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 eggs (use pureed fruit to avoid eggs)

Place eggs and honey into blender and mix thoroughly. Add the egg mixture to the nuts and blend by hand or with an electric beater. Add the melted butter as needed to bring it to a muffin batter. Blend in baking soda and salt.

Line cupcakes tins with paper cupcake liners. Spoon batter into cupcake tins filling about 1/2 full. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.

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Curried Chick Peas and Tofu

1 medium onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced or pressed

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Pinch of cayenne (optional)

1 cake tofu (3/4 pound), cut into 1/2 inch cubes

2 cups undrained, cooked chick peas (16-ounce can)

2 tomatoes, chopped (about 1-1/2 cups)

Pinch of salt (or more to taste)

Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Plain yogurt (optional)

Saute the onion and garlic in the oil, until the onions are translucent, stirring occasionally. Stir in the cumin, coriander, turmeric, black pepper and optional cayenne. Add the cubed tofu and cook for a minute or so, stirring constantly.

Add the chick peas and about 1/2 cup of their liquid, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and continue to cook until thoroughly heated.

Add salt to taste. Serve topped with cilantro and/or yogurt if you like.

Serve over rice.

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READERS REQUEST ASSISTANCE

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I do have a question which I believe is relevant to health.

The question is: what are the teachings on energy fields, chakras and the like? I would also be interested in anyone's experience regarding this, and if prayer helps to 'clean' our chakras in the way that others say visualisation and meditation can.

Thank you so much for such a needed and well delivered resource. Warm Baha'i greetings. Louise Russell

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QUESTION OF THE MONTH

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How Do You Wean Kids From Watching Too Much TV and Videos?

Excessive television viewing has been linked to childhood ills, including lower grades, obesity and increased violence. Some statistics say children spend 10 to 14 hours a week watching TV and videos.

How do you get preschoolers and older kids to change their viewing habits and turn off the TV? Any suggestions?

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LETTERS

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We often blame certain foods or substances for our conditions and then it becomes the cure all of the day. What works for one person may not work for the another. So why is this? It is all about balance. As everything manifests from the subtle to the gross then so this is the path of disease.

We all have a basic elemental constitution or make up that comes into being at the moment of creation ( conception) and is with us for the duration of our physical life. While we fit into major categories individuality exists. Not enough emphasis is placed on that uniqueness when it comes to health.

Coming to understand our elemental make-up is the first step to living in harmony with our bodies and the world we inhabit. The basic, elemental intelligence that governs our bodies also is found in all the realms of nature, in our universe and indeed, in fact in all creation.

This then, is the key to identifying the foods that will support us or create imbalance and those that can be eaten to re-establish balance.

'Abdu'l Baha stated that the physicians of the future would use diet to cure the ills of his patients.* Guess what? The future is here! It always was. This is not a startling new discovery. It is as old as humanity and was the basis of all cultures in a time when we accepted and lived closer to nature.

This was not an intellectual understanding but was usually woven into our social structure, religious beliefs, customs and even legend and mythology. Diet can effect huge changes in as little as one week.

Our modern medical system is very good for what it was designed for a curative treatment as opposed to preventative it is very effective when imbalance has existed for so long that the disease needs strong and invasive intervention.

On the other hand preventative living removes the cause and prevents the manifestation of diseases the result of imbalance. Our bodies are very forgiving and can repair itself as long as we give it the best building blocks to use. Most of us are more aware and concerned about preventive maintenance and the correct fuel for our cars than we are about our primary vehicle - our bodies. Merlin

* The exact quote is: "It is certain that in this wonderful new age the development of medical science will lead to the doctors' healing their patients with foods. For the sense of sight, the sense of hearing, of taste, of smell, of touch all these are discriminative faculties, their purpose being to separate the beneficial from whatever causeth harm.  'Abdu'l-Baha ("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha,  Page 155.)

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PLEASE SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

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All of us have had healing experiences physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual. Please share your stories and other ideas about staying healthy in a stressful world. Your articles do not have to be long just a few paragraphs will suffice. Encouragement is a big part of a healthy lifestyle, and sharing stories and ideas that work for you brings encouragement to others.

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WHERE TO SEND STORIES & CORRESPONDENCE:

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Many thanks to all of you who share helpful ideas for "Healing Through Unity" newsletter. We welcome submissions from everyone. The decision to select and edit material submitted for publication is determined by the editor.

Please e-mail your stories, comments, suggestions or "Question for the Month" ideas to newsletter editor Lynn Ascrizzi, at: dreams@uninets.net

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WEB SITE

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You can visit the web site, obtain back issues and the Healing Through Unity Course at: http://www.healingthroughunity.org.

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PURPOSE OF THE NEWSLETTER

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"Healing Through Unity" is published for the purpose of sharing thoughts, comments and experiences on how the teachings of the Baha'i Faith are being applied to physical and spiritual health. Other than the quoted Holy Writings, the material in this newsletter represents the thoughts and opinions of the writers and has no authority. None of the material published in this newsletter is intended to be a substitute for the advice of your physician.

You are free to copy articles, provided you indicate the source of the article. There are 10 issues per year; it is not published during July and August. The newsletter is produced in Freedom, Maine, USA.

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SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION:

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Please e-mail all new subscriptions, subscription cancellations and e-mail address changes (please include old address along with new one) to --

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