Easter’s blue moon is a message from the heavens

During the days leading up to Easter, the most sacred day in Christianity, the heavens have been presenting a stunning light show.

We are able to see five planets with the naked eye: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. And Saturday night – just hours before Easter sunrise services – we are being treated to a blue moon. That’s the name given to the second full moon in a month, something that happens roughly every 2.7 years

Moreover, this Easter’s blue moon is extra special, because it is the second one this year. The next time two blue moons occur in one year will be 2037.

There’s no denying the Bible commonly associates major events with anomalous astronomical and meteorological upheavals. But as a scientist and Christian, I’m always wary about giving too much importance to celestial signs and wonders. I certainly don’t believe in astrology.

That said, the astonishing celestial fireworks brightening this year’s Holy Week inspire me in three ways.

First, they remind me that if people are truly seeking evidence for God’s existence – including atheists, many of whom claim no such evidence exists – they only need to look up at the night sky. As it says in Psalm 19:1: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”

It is certainly possible to explain the universe without any reference to a creator; but it’s like enjoying a sumptuous meal without giving any credit to the chef. Today, in an effort to avoid mentioning a creator, scientists are having to believe in unobservable notions such as imaginary time, 11-dimensional cosmologies, and quantum reservoirs that are at once nothing and everything.

How are these any less far-out than believing historical accounts that Jesus existed and rose from the dead?

Second, this week’s eye-popping events remind me that Christianity is the most inclusive and egalitarian religion imaginable. Just as the splendors of the night sky can be enjoyed by anyone, anywhere, without any viewing aids, Christians believe God’s love is freely available to anyone, anywhere, without the need of a privileged pedigree, guru, or some exemplary amount of karma.

As explained in the book of Ephesians, “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith … not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Finally, the extraordinary celestial light show that we are in the midst of reminds me that our solar system offers a perfect metaphor for how we are to behave toward one another.

Absent the sun, absent God, we are as dark as the far side of the moon. But just as the desolate, gray lunar surface is able to reflect the light of the sun, we are made to reflect God’s love in the world.

So look up at the night sky and drink in its deep, inspiring message: This Easter, the creator of the universe is calling on all of us – Christian and non-Christian alike – to shine brightly with kindness and compassion and not just once in a blue moon, but every day we are alive.


Source Fox

Michael Guillen  Ph.D., former Emmy-winning ABC News Science Editor, taught physics at Harvard and is now president of Spectacular Science Productions.

Pranks Warning: Risk of Phobia Creation and Anxiety

A single ‘sensitising event’ can cause a lifelong phobia

21% of women and 11% of men have at least one phobia

Phobics are easy targets of phobia based ‘pranks’ with clowns, blood and spiders most common

April Fool’s Day this year takes place on Easter Sunday and  leading hypnotherapists highlighting the dangers of fear-based pranks to the  millions that have a phobia. While most people see April Fool’s as time for fun and harmless jokes, others see it as a horrible day to be endured, as friends and family try to terrify them.

People with phobias routinely find themselves targets of pranks based on what scares them most, which can lead to debilitating panic attacks. The most common phobia pranks are killer clown masks to those with coulrophobia, fake blood to those with hemophobia and spiders to those with arachnophobia.
Phobias are most commonly formed in childhood, so a person can suffer from them for years before seeking help. During this time, they may find themselves the victims of jokes or pranks, like Lisa who was the victim of a prank due to a mild fear of spiders.
Lisa explained “I’m absolutely terrified to the point of tears. When I was about 7 my older brother collected 200 spiders in a jar and decided to put them in my bed. He thought it was funny to watch his sister be petrified. It was like the film arachnophobia. They were everywhere!”

While Lisa’s brother may have found this funny, the extent of this traumatic impacted Lisa into adulthood as the mild fear turned into a fully-fledged phobia. She continued with the phobia until she noticed her young son was also developing a fear of spiders and motivated her to get help. Within a 4-hour spider phobia workshop her phobia was completely cured.
Lisa explained what happened in the short workshop, “I could not be in a room with a spider. There was no way I thought that I could hold a spider. But I held a tarantula! I was so relaxed, I’d never been hypnotised but it was amazing!”

Phobias can lead to more anxiety and can develop into social anxieties and general anxiety disorder. A short hypnosis session can reverse the phobia very quickly. Hypnosis can undo the link between the phobic object and the learned response, meaning people can overcome their fear without difficult or intensive therapy.
Playing a prank based on someone’s fears may seem like just a bit of fun but the nature of a phobia is that they can be caused by a sensitising event. A prank which creates a highly emotive reaction can cause a lifelong phobia, since most phobics don’t realise that a phobia can be cured in just a few hours.

Hypnotherapy could help thousands of people laugh this April Fool’s day, instead of living in fear.


Source pressreleases

Hypnotherapy reduces pain and anxiety in children with burns

A world-first study has found medical hypnosis can reduce pain and anxiety in children being treated for serious burns.

The University of Queensland’s Child Health Research Centre (CHRC) analysed whether hypnotherapy decreased pain, anxiety, and stress for children undergoing potentially painful changes to their burns dressings.

UQ medical student and PhD candidate Stephen Chester conducted a randomised controlled trial at Brisbane’s Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital involving 62 burns patients aged between four and 16.

“The children were randomly assigned to either the hypnotherapy or standard care group, and measures of pain, anxiety, stress, and wound healing were taken at each dressing change,” Mr Chester said.

“Children in the hypnotherapy group reported 70 per cent lower pain and 67 per cent lower anxiety scores on average, compared with those receiving standard care before their second dressing change.

“Before the third dressing change, the hypnotherapy group had 90 per cent lower pain and 84 per cent lower anxiety. These results are clinically significant.”

Mr Chester said the parents of children in the hypnotherapy group also reported significantly lower ‘worst pain’ ratings on behalf of their children across all dressing changes.

“Children receiving hypnotherapy had significantly lower heart rates before and after their third dressing change.”

Heart rate is used as an objective physiological measure of pain and stress, with lower rates generally indicating lower pain and stress.

Mr Chester said previous research had shown adults with burns benefited significantly from hypnotherapy through reduced pain and anxiety, lower medication usage, shorter hospital stays, and cost savings.

“Children and teenagers are generally more responsive to hypnotherapy and therapeutic suggestion than adults so we were very keen to investigate medical hypnosis in children with serious burns,” he said.

“We are not replacing pain and anxiety relieving drugs, but examining whether medical hypnosis and medication together can help these young patients who have often been through a very traumatic time.”

Mr Chester, from the UQ-Ochsner Clinical School in New Orleans, Louisiana, trained as a hypnotherapist with the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis last year.

“I initially approached it with a certain level of scepticism but soon realised anaesthetists and dentists already use these techniques without labelling them as hypnosis or hypnotherapy.

“One of the great things about it is that it has no side-effects and it’s completely safe.”

Mr Chester said clinical benefits demonstrated in the trial could extend beyond the burns ward.

“Children are often anxious when they’re being treated for fractures and asthma, and about injections and needles.”

“If more clinicians were trained in hypnotherapy we could reduce the stress for many children, their families, and the hospital staff who treat them,” Mr Chester said.


Source uq.edu