February 22nd at 10 AM PT/ 7 PM CET

Resilience in the context of ageing  with Dr. Helen Lavretsky

MARK’S INTRODUCTION defines resilience as:

  1. the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity.
  2. ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.

The second sense is what Dr. Helen Lavretsky, MD, MS, has in mind in her work with older people, but the first sense could metaphorically be also applied to us as we age.

Helen Lawretsky


Resilience in the Context of Ageing with Helen Lavretsky, MD, MS  

00:00 Intro remarks and how to watch and participate

01:50 Meeting our guest, Dr. Helen Lavretsky, MD, MS.  Her credentials
03:20 Functional medicine, what is it, how does it fit into other medical disciplines? Functional medicine is a part of Integrative or Complementary Medicine that addresses the functionality of the body, diet, exercise, etc.  Complimentary means that alternative medical approaches are used together with mainstream Western medicine. Many mainstream physician don’t like this but their patients use both approaches. Alternative medicine itself does not include mainstream medicine, but does include traditional or folk medicine which is not covered by insurance co’s, though acupuncture and chiropractics usually are now covered. Integrative medicine uses all these approaches to treat single disorders.

07:11 Heidi makes parallels with Integral Theory and then asks what she originally wanted to: What is resilience? Dr. Lavretsky explains it also in its special relationship to ageing. Oh, the irony!  How large co’s and insurance co’s have responded.
12:16 We introduce her “slideshow” (It also on her personal page in our website as she discusses both her practice and her research13:48 Slide 2: her professional and personal approach to awareness training and responsibility for health
16:16 Next slide is her 2 book covers with comments
17:42 Next slide is her cd, “I find it extremely hypnotic and anti anxiety.”
18:37 Next slide illustrates the importance of art
19:20 Next: The healing power of sound
20:03 Next: Ancient contemplative practices
21:21 Next: Western concepts of Stress and Health
23:50 Mark asks about the ages of her patients (50 on!). Interesting remarks on transmission of trauma through generations
27:26 Next: Yoga. Next: popularity of yoga
29:10 Next: biological mechanism of yoga and (next) benefits of yoga
31:45 Next: Neural mechanisms of mindfulness meditation
34:10 Next: Neural mechanisms differences between mindfulness and mindful exercise
34:56 Next: Yogic meditation to reduce stress and improve functioning in family dementia caregivers
35:30 Next: Kirtan Kriya versus relaxation for stressed dementia caregivers
36:12 Next: What is Kirtan Kriya? Chanting (sa-ta-na-ma) with tapping, etc. which creates lots of chi!
38:52 Next: Group comparisons in 39 completers (of the program)
39:25 Next several slides: Line graphs and imaging of results of both groups
42:42 Next: Yoga for mild cognitive impairment. More graphs!
44:45 Next:India and Pakistan rejoiced!and a few more slides of brain activity
46:40 Some conclusions and some soon to start further research
48:00 Some demographic news: men are living as long as women…but perhaps because women’s lives are becoming more stressful!
49:30 Has general life expectancy lowered? It depends!  Effects of pollution.  Changes in awareness is growing
53:35 Differences between kinds of yoga, some strangenesses!
56:35 How Dr. Lavretsky came to be interested in yoga? STRESSSS!
57:30 Closing remarks and how to watch her guided meditation video on our website.  Good byes!


How often have we felt bent, compressed, stretched by life events, having lost our elasticity after emotional loss or upheaval. Can we return to our original form and position?

All lives inevitably experience illness, or some adversity such as depression.  But how can we “re-float” ourselves and bounce on life’s ever-wobbly waters as we once did? These are huge questions – and ever more pointed – as we age.  We think it natural to recover more slowly from an injury, from a common cold, from a memory lapse or the old vim and vigor if we dare let up on our physical regimes for a week or so.

But as we enter our last decade or two, the loses in our resilience can become downright deadly if not treated. Fortunately in this century, research in this characteristic, to recover, to bounce back, has become ever more studied, perhaps because there are so many more of us living so much longer!  And also, the approaches of traditional medicine have been expanded to go far beyond its over dependence upon pharmaceuticals only.

Thus we enter the relatively new realm of “Integrative Medicine” Medicine which is not restricted to just the physical aspects of ourselves, but includes also the social, emotional, and spiritual realms.  For example, here is our guest, Helen Lavretsky, as a  practitioner of “Mind-Body medicine”, reporting on the results of a trial of Kundalini Yoga on patients suffering from depression and mild cognitive impairment: Wouldn’t you rather entrust your care to someone like her?

And Integrative Medicine also extends its circle of care to our caregivers, as their well being will enhance their care of us!


Dr. Helen Lavretsky is a Professor In-Residence and the Semel Scholar in Integrative Mental Health in the Department of Psychiatry at UCLA, a geriatric psychiatrist with research interest in complementary and integrative medicine and mind-body approaches to treatment and prevention of mood and cognitive disorders in older adults. She received the 2001-2007 and 2010-2015 Career Development awards from NIMH, and 2015-2020 Research Career award from the National Institute of Complementary and Integrative Health, and other prestigious research awards. Her current research studies include an NIMH-funded study of biomarkers of brain ageing in geriatric depression, PCORI funded study of treatment resistant depression in older adults, and the NCCAM funded study of complementary use of Tai-Chi to improve antidepressant response in geriatric depression, as well as a yoga study for women with cardiovascular disease and memory complains. Dr. Lavretsky is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a Fellow of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.


The second one advertises the  3rd UCLA Conference on Integrative Medicine and Mental Health focused on the “Healing Power of Sound”.


SLIDESHOW presented during the broadcast. You can download them HERE

In this video Heidi guides you through the exercise  which Helen describes in her presentation and which, when done daily, has huge benefits for maintaining health and wellbeing in the older years of life.

In this video Helen Lavretsky explains and demonstrates a simple exercise which, when done daily, has huge benefits for maintaining health and welbeing in the older years of life.

3rd UCLA Conference on Integrative Medicine and Mental Health
at the UCLA Semel Institute C-Floor Auditorium (C8-183)
740 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90095
April 7-8, 2018