HEATH SCAN: A sweet treatment for trauma

Can getting your hands "dirty" with chocolate serve as psychological therapy.

chocolate 88 (photo credit: )
chocolate 88
(photo credit: )
Everybody knows that eating chocolate makes most people feel better, but can getting your hands "dirty" with it serve as psychological therapy? The Beit Loewenstein rehabilitation hospital in Ra'anana is integrating a chocolate sculpture workshop into its treatment of patients who suffered physical and emotional trauma from road accidents and other sudden events. The treatment, claimed to be unique in the world, was developed specially by the hospital's psychology department, which says it is especially effective for those with head injuries who have difficulty speaking. Psychologists Aviva Edelman and Miri Tadir explain in the latest issue of their house organ, Loewenstein, that "chocolate has associations of pleasure and calmness, and brings us back to our childhood. There are patients for whom conventional psychological treatment is useless, but a chocolate workshop is another way to reach them." As the patients create figures out of chocolate, they talk freely with therapists. "When you work with chocolate - something you love - it's easier to talk about the accident, the pain and the difficulties," said Rose, a trauma patient. "Chocolate sweetens our lives and makes us feel good," adds Danit, a young woman who was hit by a bus when crossing the street and has been treated at the hospital for the past two years. BEWARE OF SHREDDERS Electrical paper shredders - increasingly found in home offices - are causing injuries to young children, according to the February issue of Pediatrics. New York University Medical School researcher and Bellevue Hospital Center pediatric emergency department director Prof. George Foltin wrote: "It's a dangerous piece of machinery, and leaving it in the home unattended and accessible to young children could result in a serious hand injury. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission's recent investigation into home paper shredder injuries showed 71% of the 31 home paper shredder injuries involved children under 12, and over half of those involved children under three. Most injuries that resulted in amputations occurred to children under six. Every machine tested was found to allow a child's fingers to contact the cutting blades. Moreover, the control switches on many models did not have on/off switches. Some models even had "auto" settings that activate the blades when papers (or fingers) are placed in the opening.