What’s So Great About The Great Outdoors? – Mat Duerden, PHD


“Spending time outdoors has been linked to a variety of positive outcomes, from improved mental functioning and increased levels of physical activity, to decreased levels of ADHD symptoms and stress among children.”

When it comes to outdoor recreation, Utah is among the top in the nation. You can engage in almost any type of outdoor activity possible, from mountain biking and canyoneering, to bird watching and geo caching. With multiple national forests, monuments, and parks within only a couple of hours drive, we have limited excuses not to get outside throughout the year. The variety of outdoor space and activities means ample recreation opportunities for novices, experts, and everyone in between.

Unfortunately, actually taking the time to get outside is often an exception rather than the norm. Research suggests many of us, especially adolescents and children, are spending less time outside than previous generations. The reasons for this decline are multifaceted and include things like the draw of digital media in its many forms, lack of knowledge of where to go and what to do, living over-scheduled lives, fear of strangers, and even the comfort of air-conditioning.

While it may be easier to plop down on the couch and stream the latest episode of whatever we are currently binge watching than it is to drive to a local canyon for a quick hike, or even spend a couple of minutes walking through a local park, the benefits of spending even a small amount of time outside far outweigh the momentary satisfaction of watching even the funniest YouTube #fail videos.

A diverse array of research studies over the last 20 years paint a convincing picture of the benefits gained from getting outside. Spending time outdoors has been linked to…(read more)

Originally published on Utah Valley Health and Wellness

A Game Changing Treatment for Skin Cancer – Dr. Richard W. Parkinson, MD

skin cancer

We are in the middle of an epidemic of skin cancers. During the past two decades dermatologists have reported dramatic increases in skin cancer rates among their patients in all 50 states. Why Utah is at the top of the list isn’t well understood, but it’s undeniable. We have more skin cancers than nearly all other states, including states that are more populated than we are. Fortunately, most of the skin cancers we are seeing are the “good kind,” which means that they are usually treatable and rarely fatal. Melanoma, the “bad kind,” is also on the rise, but in terms of numbers, the “good kind” outnumber melanomas and other very rare skin cancers by better than a thousand to one.

Regarding the “good kind,” mostly basal cell and squamous cell cancers, there is good news. For the past 40 years most skin cancers have been treated by surgery in the doctor’s office. Since the majority of skin cancers are small, the surgeries, which are done under local anesthesia, often don’t even require sutures. Larger skin cancers and skin cancers in difficult spots, like the eyelid or nose, sometimes required more complicated procedures with potential complications such as bleeding, infection, scarring, and pain. That was then…(read more)

Originally published on Utah Valley Health and Wellness

5 Sneaky Effects of Pornography – Erin Rackham – Provo CCF

Comp pic

Though there is still some debate among researchers about the effects of pornography use on individuals, research has consistently shown that regularly viewing pornography can have negative effects on relationships—particularly if one’s partner disapproves of said pornography use. Sometimes, negative effects sneak up on a user and shape the way he or she views the world, without them even realizing it. Many of the following experiences hold true for both men and women who regularly view pornography, but for simplicity, we will focus mainly on the effects on men:

  1. Physical sexual dysfunction.

Since pornography is most frequently a solo sexual experience, when it comes time to engage in relational sexual experiences many men struggle to perform optimally due to the desensitization pornography has caused. There are many reports of pornography-induced sexual dysfunction which often leads to emotional problems and tension in relationships.

  1. Women may be portrayed as objects.

Since the majority of pornography portrays men as dominant or sexually coercive and shows that women enjoy this dynamic, pornography users tend to believe that this is realistically what they can expect sex to be like with their partner. Unfortunately, this sends the message to women that they should act like objects who aren’t supposed to feel pain, whose desires don’t matter, and who should have strong positive emotional responses whenever a man wants them to—regardless of how they really feel.

  1. Lowered satisfaction with sex… (read more)

Originally published on Utah Valley Health and Wellness

Making Waves – by Layton Shumway


Up until a few years ago, science was the furthest thing from Brian Patchett’s mind. He was too busy being a rock star.

Before he became one of Utah Valley University’s brightest scientists, Patchett was a music industry veteran, playing guitar in touring rock bands and joining others on tour across the United States and Europe as a technician and stage manager. In between tours and shows, he managed an Orem music store, building new guitar amplifiers in his spare time.

“I had a friend who taught guitar lessons at the store,” Patchett said. “He was a UVU student, and one day he saw me working on an amp and asked me for help on his physics homework. He said if I knew how to build amps from scratch, I’d be a way better physics student than he was.”

After mulling it over – and with the pointed encouragement of his wife – Patchett entered UVU’s physics department, where he now serves as a research assistant and brings his acoustics experience into the science lab.

With the assistance of UVU physics professor Timothy Doyle and other student researchers, Patchett has studied the use of ultrasound to levitate cells in suspension and test them for various diseases such as breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and autoimmune conditions. Patchett gave an oral presentation of his research at the 170th Acoustical Society of America Meeting in Jacksonville, Fla., in November – a rare honor for an undergraduate student. But those honors are frequent occurrences for UVU students, according to Doyle.

“People are shocked by the fact that the students I take to these meetings are undergraduates,” Doyle said. “They’re usually graduate students and post-docs. Everyone was calling Brian ‘Dr. Patchett.’ I think such experiences are invaluable.”

That kind of experience can make a huge difference in applications to graduate and medical school programs, UVU senior Robyn Kiraomer said. “When I heard about Dr. Doyle’s research…(read more)


Originally published on Utah Valley Health and Wellness

Spirituality and Therapy: The Three Domains of Spiritual Health – Daniel Colver

23292_PRAYERWhether you consider yourself agnostic, Buddhist, Hindu, Latter-Day Saint, atheist, Evangelical Christian, Catholic, or, as journalist A.J. Jacobs humorously defined himself, “Jewish in the same way the Olive Garden is an Italian restaurant,” this article is for you.

In the previous article of this series we (1) recognized the resurgence of spirituality in the realm of psychotherapy and healthcare, (2) identified a pragmatic need for trained psychotherapists in areas of spiritual and religious competencies, and (3) provided basic tips on how to find a licensed clinician to help work through issues of faith in a therapeutic setting. This article will help provide clarity for the term “spiritual health when setting goals, as well as provide some initial recommendations on how to enhance your spiritual health.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations (UN) have recognized the significance spirituality plays in overall health and wellness going as far as to state, “Health ultimately depends on the ability to manage successfully the interaction between the physical, spiritual, biological and economic/social environment.” (Protection and Promotion of Human Health, Chapter 6.3). However, the question remains, how are we to define spiritual health?

I personally appreciate Dhar, Chaturvedi, & Nandan’s (2011) definition of spiritual health:

Spiritual health is a state of being where an individual is able to deal with day-to-day life in a manner which leads to the realization of one’s full potential, meaning and purpose of life, and happiness from within… Spiritual health is a state of health reflected through three domains- Self-Evolution, Self-Actualization and Transcendence.” …(read more)

Originally published by Utah Valley Health and Wellness

How to Build Wealth – by Dave Young


Making money is difficult. After a challenging year like 2015, it is important to go back to basics, evaluate your situation, and make sure you are on the right path.

As financial advisors, we provide a variety of financial services like retirement, estate and business planning. However, our focus has always been on managing investments. Why? At the end of the day, if you aren’t effectively building wealth over time, most aspects of your financial plan won’t matter.

So what is the best way to invest? How can you invest to meet your retirement goals? Here are four steps to give you some insight into investing:

Step one: Invest in things that increase in value.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Currently, money markets, CDs, bonds and fixed annuities are not likely to… (read more)

Spring Into Shape! – by Travis Lott


Spring is a great season, for many reasons. Growing up, my family was always excited for the warmer weather because it meant outdoor sports and swim parties at Grandma’s house! For the younger crowd, this is pretty exciting. For others, it can be terrifying. Especially those of us who have avoided exercise and developed unhealthy habits during the winter. When spring rolls around, we feel very self-conscious, and often avoid getting back on track.

So what should you do? Is it too late to get into decent shape? No way! Anyone can make progress if they put their mind to it. Many of us are procrastinators. How many of us cram in a few days worth of studying before a big test when we know we should’ve put in at least a week? There are many scenarios where we do this: school, church, work, and of course, fitness. Losing a few pounds or putting on some muscle does take effort, but when push comes to shove, I believe most people are capable of getting it done. So let’s do it! Here are three steps to help you “spring” into shape!

Step 1: Get outside, and get moving! Grab your kids, friend, spouse, push the baby in a stroller… (read more)

Teach Girls Bravery, Not Perfection by Reshma Saujani

Barbara Barrington Jones: Learning to Dance in the Rain

Dance-in-the-RainBarbara Barrington Jones is a woman known for her beauty, grace, and refinement. She has dedicated her life to helping others realize their full potential and become their best selves. Through her private, non-profit foundation, she runs several annual programs. Her “Be The Best You” teen girl’s camp is to help 12-18 year old girls gain greater self-esteem, and focus on serving others. “A New You” is a 3-day retreat for Women; a haven for rest and spiritual reconnection and an opportunity to rejuvenate both internally and externally. Barbara’s “International Institute of Professional Protocol” is taught at Brigham Young University Hawaii, and Utah Valley University where students are taught the professional protocol that is imperative for success in today’s workplace. All of these programs are designed to help people of all ages realize and fulfill their destiny.

Barbara’s desire to help girls and women, in particular, stems from living through 12 years of an abusive marriage, which ended in the suicide death of her husband. Growing up a ballerina, she never imagined her life turning out the way it did.   Studying classical ballet and dancing professional in Texas, Chicago, New York, Atlanta, and even Toronto; Barbara was living her childhood dreams when it seemed that everything came crashing down. Being left with two young children, Barbara’s focus changed…(read more)

Utah Valley Health and Wellness Magazine – Mar/Apr issue

Check out our newest issue.

Local Utah Valley professionals give expert advice on a variety of health and wellness topics. Learn about gardening, staying fit, how to build wealth, signs your marriage could be in trouble and more.