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Jan Lazarus, RDH

Innovator Series

Jan Lazarus, RDH, and Founder of The JP Institute, has developed life changing curriculum for patients, dentists, hygienists and dental teams. Jan discusses the importance of self-care to ensure a healthy immune system and total well-being. She also goes over the importance of controlling stress levels as chronic stress can lead to heart disease and even serious oral care issues like periodontal disease.

Video transcription:

Liz Lundry, RDH - “Hi, everyone. I'm Liz Lundry, a hygienist and the clinical education manager for StellaLife. Sometimes I get asked, "why StellaLife? Who's Stella?" Well, Stella means star in Latin and StellaLife is a rising star, am antimicrobial, accelerating healing and reducing pain. And as a young company, we'd like to invite you to like and share us on Facebook and your favorite social media platforms so that together we can help improve people's lives. So in our ongoing Innovator series today, we're going to be featuring Jan Lazarus and Jan is a hygienist. She's an international speaker, a published author, a consultant, as well as a certified health coach, and the stress mastery educator. Jan, in 1979, established the JP Consultants Institute, which was the first consultancy group to provide hands-on clinical training for dental teams. And she was talking about the host modulated response since 1970. So she was talking about the oral systemic link decades before anybody else was and has been teaching that all these years. She's developed innovative protocols, including repetitive therapy with nonsurgical periodontal therapy so we can really treat patients to completion. So for all that she's contributed to the dental community, in 2018, she was awarded the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oral American Academy for Oral Systemic Health because of her contribution and dedication to the dental community. So today we'd like to welcome this visionary Jan Lazarus.”

Jan Lazarus, RDH - “Hello, everyone. And thank you, Liz and StellaLife. So happy to be here today with all of you. I really appreciate this opportunity to speak to your Facebook family. So first of all, I do realize that the COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly disrupted all of our lives. In doing so potentially has affected our sense of well being with increased stress and anxiety. I hear so much about stress, anxiety, even fears from speaking to so many of our clients, and stress has been described somewhat as a wild roller coaster ride. You know, some days I think we all feel more certain than others and we know that practicing dentistry has already changed, but it's not going anywhere. And hopefully eventually we're all going to go back, and some have already gone back this week and I'm getting reports that it is different. So we want to continue to be prepared. We've already been working on so many checklists and we've been preparing and updating our JPI checklist, the return to hygiene. We brought together our own amazing task force of experienced trainers and clinicians. So we call our plan of resilience and recovery plan. And of course, the list changes daily. That includes critical details like aerosol management, PPE, time management, saliva testing, communication, How's your communication going to change? Scheduling, scheduling for profit. And all of these things are really important. However, our first step on our list is to focus on our self care to ensure our own healthy immune system and total well being. We have a lot of information that's become available for learning about healthy eating, plate routines, exercise and all of these are so important. But what are we doing to ensure that we are confident and we can adapt and overcome potential anxieties and stresses of continued uncertainty and change? Last year, between 70 and 90% of the medical visits were stress related. I have experienced a very similar stress trend with our dental practices and in dental team members that's probably been over the last five to ten years, and that's pre-COVID. So today, in the short period of time, I decided to share some of my own experiences that have helped me tremendously with my own stress and just may help some of you through this difficult time. So my goal is to give you a few tools I use personally, and I also use them when I teach. They're science-based strategies to tap into your own resources of resilience and well-being. So that's why I'm going to go ahead and spend a few minutes talking about this mysterious vagus nerve and why is it mysterious. Let's first quickly review the basic understanding of this complex nerve. Some of you may remember from the hours of science that we had in dentistry, it's one of the twelve cranial nerves, and it sprawls out from the brain into the body like an intricate network of roots. So the network acts as this line of communication between the brain and the different body systems and organs, including skin, eyes, tongue, vocal cords, lungs, heart, stomach, colon, liver,  and I'm sure there's probably more, but it's the longest, the largest and the least understood network of nerves. It's also known as the Super Highway of Wellness. Now why is it described as this Super Highway? This nerve is an important part of the parasympathetic nervous system, and as a reminder, it is the parasympathetic or system that helps calm us. So you can easily remember the function of the parasympathetic nervous system and the sympathetic nervous system. If you think of the sympathetic nervous system, first, like putting your foot on the gas pedal and that's to go fast and in some cases, trigger the fight or flight response. Parasympathetic is like stepping on the brake. So in neuroscience it is called putting on the rest and digest system, and this supports calming the body. So what happens when your body is constantly stepping on the gas and working in this fight and flight mode with continual releases of chemicals, adrenaline, cortisol, and hormones for long periods of time, say, like during this pandemic, what we're all experiencing here. This is some of the science that describes chronic stress, and this is how we can suffer some significant health consequences, of course, unless we intervene. So how does chronic stress affect our health in so many ways? As the chemical and the hormones release, this then triggers that inflammatory response most of us are pretty familiar with, and this can contribute to heart disease, blood pressure issues, diabetes, serious digestive disorders, respiratory disease, cancers, dementia, Alzheimer's, and more. We know now in our dental field, we recognize stress as a significant contributing factor to both dental and periodontal disease. So what do we do and how does this in serious vagus help us? I'd like to share one of my experiences that I had was a health challenge and how learning about the vagus nerve helped me tremendously with my stress. About 17 years ago, I lost my voice. Not for a day, not for a couple of weeks, but it really didn't come back fully for almost a year. So you can imagine, as a speaker, this was stressful. After many tests and doctor evaluations, I found that the biggest root cause was stress. So I shouldn't tell you, I had already read a lot of books, taken courses and had become very aware of everything I was supposed to do to manage my stress. However, you know, it wasn't until it seriously manifested in my body did I commit to doing the things that I learned. I thought that by eating healthy, really healthy, resting, exercising, maybe even cutting back on my travel a bit, this would take care of the stress, but I needed to do more. So 17 years later, I continued my study and I had met really wonderful members that taught me how to change my relationship with stress. I learned that stress starts in the brain and the brain has the ability to self-regulate and actually slow down the nervous system, stop the chronic stress response and the potential damaging effects on the body and the vagus nerve is an important part of this process. So we don't have time to share everything today that I learned. But the one thing that helped me the most was understanding the science of what was happening to my body during these stressful responses. And even more importantly, how I could literally influence my nervous system. This is the value of truly understanding the neuroscience, the brain, different brain hacks that you can literally learn to influence the nervous system and the vagus nerve and how it's designed to help you literally step on the brake and calm your nervous system. Emerging research confirms the science that by stimulating the vagus nerve, we can actually bring our body to rest and digest and calm, and sometimes rather quickly, we can actually break that circuit of damaging stress responses. Now, there's more than 30 ways to stimulate the vagus surf. My two favorite ways to achieve an immediate response of calm are mindful reading and meditation. I know that many people find it kind of difficult to meditate and believe me, it took me a long time to fall in love with meditation, but proper breathing is essential to wellness. And how many times have you found yourself literally holding your breath? I haven't met a clinician yet that denied that they found themselves holding their breath while they worked on patients. Now, with our updated PPE's, more gear, this will be a lot more intense. So focusing on healthy breathing while you're working and especially even when you're working on patients, this needs to be a critical part of our return to practice plans. So of those 30 many different ways we can do this meditation, tai chi, swimming, massage, singing, humming, chanting and yoga is another one of my favorites, and you don't have to be a Yogi. There's so many other ways. But if you haven't studied the art and science of breathing and the many techniques that are proven to be foundational in our well being, now is the time to study and practice. And if there was ever a time to activate your vagus nerve and learn more about your vagus nerve, it's now. So prepare and bring your tools back to dentistry and learn how to implement them into your clinical day. Okay, don't wait until the end of the day when, you know, what I've seen happen is we bolt out the door and we go to the gym, we go to our yoga class or whatever and that's when we start focusing on breathing. So as a rep, I want you to know that we provide complimentary support for our clients over the last few months, and we're extending that support to the dental community. So contact us and let us know if we can help you in any way. You can contact me directly at Stay safe. Be well. And thank you StellaLife for bringing intelligent healing to dentistry. Thank you.”

Liz Lundry, RDH - “Thank you, Jan. I feel less stressed already. Thank you, everybody, for joining us today. Please come back next Friday at twelve Pacific 03:00 Eastern. We're going to be hearing from Dr. Ravi Juluri, a periodontist in Peoria, Illinois, and he's going to share with us how he's been helping his community during this pandemic, including dental care in the ER of his local hospitals, so it's not to be missed. Have a wonderful week. Stay safe. Stay healthy and we'll see you then.”