Healing Gardens: A Path to Peace – using color to balance and heal

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Red Geraniums & Yellow-Gold Daylilies

Many years ago one of my children gave me a book on Healing Gardens. Colors and textures can be used to create the ambiance you want to bring into a space. Deep reds and bright yellows can motivate and bring new energy to a weary spirit,

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Lavender Clematis & Deep Rose Zonal Geraniums

while softer pastels with pinks, lavender, and blues can soothe the senses and bring a feeling of calm and peace.

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Stargazer Lilies & Purple Phlox

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pairing opposites on the color wheel such as red with green,

Angel and Roses
Red “Mr. Lincoln” Tea Roses & White Daisies (Hens ‘n Chicks at Angel’s feet)

 

purple/lavender with yellow, or blue with orange enhances the effect and provides a sense of balance.

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Purple Archangel’s Breath & Yellow Snapdragons
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Blue Delphiniums & Orange Asian Lilies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White brings a feeling of purity and spirituality and can be used to bring richness and depth to the deeper hues.

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Red Climbing Roses, Blue Salvia, & White blooms on Yucca plant

 

Incorporating perennials that change bloom time with the seasons and annuals as “fillers” between them, the garden can become a kaleisoscope of color that is continually changing and renewing while keeping a sense of continuity. It follows the paths of our lives and brings what we need at different times of the year.

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Orange Snapdragons, Pink and White Pentas, and Purple Archangel’s Breath
Snapdragons
Snapdragons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If the yard is large enough, separate spaces can be created for different effects, with everything flowing together as a whole–but even a few flower pots on the balcony of an apartment building can provide a place of spiritual renewal. Planting pinks and lavender together can inspire a feeling of romance and closeness in a relationship.

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Zonal Geraniums

 

Once I started planting with purpose, my gardens evolved into a place of serenity. It is a place one can go to when needing to calm the spirit and feel a stronger connection to God.  On cold, gray winter days, a power point with garden colors and textures (set to music) can infuse the spirit with all the brightness of a summer day.

Research has shown the benefits of color therapy to raise the energy vibration in our bodies to promote healing in mind, body, and spirit.

 

Color therapy is an ancient approach to healing that has been used since the earliest of times. As with other holistic treatments, it aims to restore harmony and stimulate the patient’s inner resources to aid the recovery of health, the fundamental belief being that illness develops from imbalances of energies at emotional, spiritual, or physical levels.

Mental, physical and, emotional trauma is reflected by imbalances within the aura, which color therapists seek to harmonize by the application of missing color(s). In this way, healing is encouraged before subtle instabilities manifest as more serious illness. Every color contains energy of a certain vibration, and each organ in the body is linked with a corresponding color; controlled exposure to an appropriate color can therefore correct or enhance the body’s energy flow.

Color For Healing by Romy Rawlings

 

The process of creating a Healing Garden can be as therapeutic as the end result. It is a journey into the deepest part of the soul where love and creativity reside–a remembering of our forgotten dreams and longings and bringing them out into tangible form. Surrounded by the earthy fragrance of rich dark soil, the sweetness of lavender and lilies–time seems to stand still and all the stresses of life fade away. It has been, for me, a place for deep introspection and spirituality–a place to meet with God (in spirit) and rediscover my inner joy, a place to heal and then grow into new directions. It is a journey that is continually evolving and teaching me lessons that I could learn no where else. It is my path to peace and a deeper spiritual connection.

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According to a report published by the US National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), The human body, according to the doctrine of chromotherapy, is basically composed of colors. The body comes into existence from colors, the body is stimulated by colors and colors are responsible for the correct working of various systems that function in the body. All organs and limbs of the body have their own distinct color (3). All organs, cells and atoms exist as energy, and each form has its frequency or vibrational energy. Each of our organs and energy centers vibrates and harmonizes with the frequencies of these colors.  A Critical Analysis of Chromotherapy and Its Scientific Evolution

 

 

 

Collagen for healthy skin, hair, and nails

 

Herbalife SKIN with CollagenI was just notified this week of a new product release by the Herbalife corporation. (I have been an independent Herbalife distributor for about 27 years.) This is a product that I am really excited to try! It contains Bioactive Collagen Petides (Verisol collagen, which is a registered trademark of GELITA AG) which has been tested to show support of skin elasticity and the reduction of fine wrinkles, as well as containing Vitamins A, C, and E to fight harmful free radicals.

Pubmed abstract on Verisol collagen

Collagen is the most abundant protein found in our bodies. It forms connective tissues such as tendons and ligaments and gives skin its texture and resilience for a more youthful appearance. Elastin is a protein that also is found in connective tissues and it provides suppleness to skin and cartilage as well as helping to provide flexibility to your arteries. Collagen and elastin are most commonly known for their role in the aging process.  Decreased production of these two proteins results in visible effects in the form of facial wrinkles and a loss of skin firmness. We may be able to slow the aging process of our skin by supplying our bodies with plenty of the foods that contain the raw materials needed to keep collagen and elastin production levels up and by supplementing with Bioactive Collagen Peptides.

 

If your bones were made from nothing but minerals, they would be strong yet brittle and susceptible to fractures. During bone formation, small crystals of calcium and phosphate bind to a core of collagen. The collagen adds resilience that allows bones to absorb normal wear and tear without breaking. The outer layer of your skin contains two proteins, collagen and elastin, although collagen fibers make up about 70 percent of the skin, according to Columbia University. The combination of collagen and elastin creates strong, firm and elastic skin. Collagen’s structure begins to change as you age, which ultimately causes wrinkles.   ~ Healthy Eating

 

collagen and skin aging

 

What Minerals Aid in Collagen Production

Combine ingredients rich in copper, manganese and zinc to support healthy collagen production. Mix pecans, cashews and almonds for a mineral-packed snack, or make almond-crusted meat by using crushed almonds as a coating for baked chicken or turkey breast. Make sure to include vegetables and fruits in your meals for healthy collagen — produce contains vitamin C, which also aids in collagen production. A spinach and red pepper salad topped with steamed oysters and roasted cashews makes for a hearty lunch that also keeps your collagen production healthy.  Sylvie Tremblay, M.S. in Molecular & Cellular Biology

 

This video explains more about Collagen Peptides and their role in skin renewal. At the end the presenter does promote his own personal product. I am not promoting that product–I just wanted to show more detailed information via a video.

 

Pineal Gland and Calcification

 

The pineal gland is a very small pinecone-shaped organ located deep in the center of the brain. It secretes the hormone melatonin, which helps to control our circadian rhythms (sleep-wake cycle) and regulate certain reproductive hormones. The gland also helps the body to convert signals from the nervous system to signals in the endocrine system. Melatonin secretion is triggered by light exposure; production is low during daylight hours and high during times of darkness.

The pineal gland has also been referred to as the seat of the soul, higher consciousness, and intuition. For centuries it has been believed to be the doorway of connection between the physical and spiritual realms. It is the part of the brain that shows the most activation during meditation, prayer, and visualization.

Pineal gland calcification is a great cause for concern because it seems to happen at a very young age. In this process, accumulation of calcium phosphate crystals and fluoride become hardened, and cause the pineal gland to lose much of its functionality.

 

Fluoride is the most common and widespread cause of pineal gland calcification in our diets. It forms deposits of calcium phosphate crystals in the pineal gland more so than any other part of the body.  Fluoride is present in toothpastes and tap water and an accumulation of it can shut the gland down or make it function less efficiently. Recommendations are to switch to a fluoride-free toothpaste and drink spring water or filtered water. (Young Living has three different toothpastes available that have no fluoride added. Contact me if interested in purchasing.)

 

Top 5 Foods for the Pineal Gland

Calcification is an issue that occurs to everyone, but it’s increased in individuals that eat a poor diet. The problem is that overexposure to fluoride and phosphorus destabilizes your body’s mineral balance. This causes your pineal gland to calcify quickly. Nearly half of Americans experience pineal calcification by the age of 18! This disrupts your natural rhythms and hormones.

The best answer is to eliminate junk foods and limit your fluoride exposure. You need to get enough raw, healthy foods to help decalcify and support the pineal gland. Try these 5 foods for the best pineal gland health.  ~ Dr. Edward Group, Global Health Center

 

 

Juicing vs. Blending…Which one is better?

Juices and Smoothies play an important part in any wellness program. I’ve been asked on occasion which is better. I don’t believe one is “better” than the other–each provides something a little different. Juices are typically used as a cleanse or a “rebooting” of the body. Smoothies can be used as meal replacements, snacks, replenishment of nutrients after workouts, etc. Both juicing and smoothies are valuable additions to a nutritional wellness plan.

When you juice, you are removing the insoluble fiber and extracting about 70% of the nutrition from the vegetable/fruit. Without the insoluble fiber, your body is able to absorb 100% of the nutrition from the juice. When juicing fruits some care has to be taken because pure fruit juice alone can cause a sudden rise in sugar levels in your bloodstream, resulting in imbalances. It is not advised to combine fruits with vegetables when juicing unless you are using green leafy vegetables.

When you blend (smoothies), the fiber is retained and it helps to keep your digestive tract healthy, as well as slowing the absorption of sugar. You get full faster and you are not able to get the same high level of nutrients as you obtain with juicing, but your body processes the nutrients at a slower, more even pace.

 

J V B Infographic

 

 

Using The Right Equipment

To get the most benefit from your juices and smoothies, it’s important to use the right equipment. Invest in a good-quality juicer. Cheaper, centrifugal juicers introduce heat and oxygen and destroy the enzymes and nutrients in your fruits and vegetables. While it may cost you a bit more initially, a premium cold-press juicer will produce a superior-quality juice and allow you to extract more from your fruit and vegetables, saving expense in the long-term.
The machines themselves will also generally last longer. In contrast to the rough extraction of centrifugal juicers, mastication or cold-press juicers compress fruit and vegetables to ‘squeeze’ out their juice.  ~ Food Matters Article

 

 

 

Recipes:

 

Energizing Exercise Juice Recipe

Energizing Juice

 

 

Post-Workout Smoothie

Post-Workout Berry Protein Shake

 

The Power of Words

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Somewhere, in a small room in a house in Florida, a family is gathered. Eyes welling up with disbelief and hearts aching, they are trying to make sense of what happened–trying to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives and start the grieving process for their lost loved ones. They are not alone–there are other families who will never again see their son or daughter or friend, never again hear their laughter, never grow old with them. Across the world, many have grieved for them and with them–we share their losses in our hearts.

Others in the world choose sides; they judge and condemn without knowing all the facts. Hate-filled words are thrown out with carelessness and malicious intent, and the darkness grows. People cease to be people–they are put in categories, tagged with guilt, and we open fire. Sometimes we forget the power of our words–forget that we ourselves can do as much damage as an assault weapon. Hatred and intolerance fired the gun into the crowd at the Pulse bar in Florida, and the damages continue to expand.

There has been research done on the effect that thoughts and words have on water and snowflakes. Words and extreme emotions carry energy vibrations that have the power to change the composition of molecules and the energy around us. Our energy affects the people we come in contact with, and in turn they affect others, good or bad. We get to choose what we put out there to grow, and we need to understand that it is not only a choice for ourselves but a choice we are making for the future of our children.

 

 

 

 

 

The Importance Of Omega 3 Fatty Acids

 

 

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About 15 years ago, I was bitten by a Deer tick and developed the tell-tale bulls-eye rash around the area. My first blood work done showed a positive result for Lyme’s disease. I had some joint swelling and pain in a couple of areas and was given a medication called Vioxx (which was taken off the market several months later because they found that long-term use of 18 months or more caused irreversible heart damage and death). The Vioxx was to fight inflammation and dull the pain.

Fortunately, I had an allergic reaction of face swelling when the doctor increased my dosage a few months into the treatment, and I took myself off of it. Less than a year later, Vioxx was pulled off the market. (I did not have any damage from it beyond an allergic reaction.)

I had been researching alternative treatments for joint swelling and started taking two Herbalife products called Joint Support (which has glucosamine and other herbs that work synergistically) and Herbalifeline (which contains Omega 3 fatty acids). Within 2-3 weeks my “discomfort” was completely gone, along with the swelling. A subsequent blood test showed a result of “borderline”, which was considered a negative result by the medical testing facility. My C-Reactive Protein (CRP) levels had returned to normal. High CRP in the blood indicate inflammation–and my results in my first test showed very high levels.

Due to stringent FDA regulations, I am not able to claim that Omega 3’s and glucosamine actually healed my issues–but I can tell you my personal story. My results reinforced my belief in the power of good nutrition, vitamins/herbs, and spiritual care to balance our bodies so that they can repair themselves.

Research has shown that Omega 3 fatty acids are important for brain health, cardiovascular health, and can help with with skin, joints, eyes, and all-around healthy aging. In addition, these fatty acids play an important role in fetal brain, nervous system, and retinal development. Adequate intake by the pregnant mother also helps to ensure a full-term pregnancy.

Getting enough omega-3s during pregnancy has been associated with numerous benefits for the child, including (22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27):

  • Higher intelligence.
  • Better communication and social skills.
  • Less behavioral problems.
  • Decreased risk of developmental delay.
  • Decreased risk of ADHD, autism and cerebral palsy. 

– Science-Based Benefits of Omega 3’s

 

Omega 3’s help with blood clotting, build cell membranes within the brain, help to lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and they act as a natural anti-inflammatory.

good-bad_fats

Two crucial omega 3’s are EPA and DHA, and they are primarily found in the following fish:

  • Anchovies
  • Bluefish
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Salmon (wild has more omega-3s than farmed)
  • Sardines
  • Sturgeon
  • Lake trout
  • Tuna

 

*Farm-raised fish may have a higher level of contaminants, so choose the wild-fish option whenever possible (such as wild salmon or wild trout). Eating 1-2 servings a week (no more than 7-8 oz. total per week) is optimal.

The human body can make most of the types of fats it needs from other fats or raw materials. That isn’t the case for omega-3 fatty acids (also called omega-3 fats and n-3 fats). These are essential fats—the body can’t make them from scratch but must get them from food. Foods high in Omega-3 include fish, vegetable oils, nuts (especially walnuts), flax seeds, flaxseed oil, and leafy vegetables.

What makes omega-3 fats special? They are an integral part of cell membranes throughout the body and affect the function of the cell receptors in these membranes. They provide the starting point for making hormones that regulate blood clotting, contraction and relaxation of artery walls, and inflammation. They also bind to receptors in cells that regulate genetic function. Likely due to these effects, omega-3 fats have been shown to help prevent heart disease and stroke, may help control lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis, and may play protective roles in cancer and other conditions.  – Harvard School of Public Health

 

ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), another omega-3 fatty acid, is found in plant sources such as nuts, flaxseeds, and dark green leafy vegetables. Not only does your body need these fatty acids to function, but the body uses it in the production of energy.

 

 

Recipes for a delicious way to get your omega-3s:

Try Pan Roasted Salmon with Minty Snap Peas:

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Wild Salmon Salad:

Grilled salmon on plate

 

Herbed Salmon with Broccoli Bulgur Pilaf

Herbed Salmon with Broccoli Bulgur Pilaf

 

Spicy Grilled Tofu with Szechuan Vegetables

Spicy Grilled Tofu with Szechuan Vegetables

 

A commonly known superfood, acai berry fruit is actually richer in Omega 3′s than some types of fish per ounce (choose the raw, unprocessed version or the frozen. This fruit is also a great source of antioxidants known as anthocyanins that have been shown to prevent heart disease. Blueberries also contain these same antioxidants, but acai berries are the only berry to contain measurable amounts of Omega 3′s.

Blueberry Acai Super Smoothie

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Have enough sun exposure? The importance of Vitamin D.

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I can feel such a difference in mood and energy levels when the short days of winter in the Midwest transition into the longer, sun-filled days of Spring and Summer. I go outside in my garden and soak up the sun like a little solar panel, and when I come inside my energy is recharged and seemingly endless. I apply coconut oil to my skin when I am outside for long periods–it has a natural sunscreen which does not prevent the production of Vitamin D and it contains no artificial additives that can cause other toxic reactions.

Vitamin D is a hormone that our bodies make when our skin is exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. It works in the small intestine to increase calcium absorption. It is needed for bone growth and repair, and it acts on bone cells to release calcium and maintain blood calcium levels. Research has shown that most human cells have vitamin D receptors, indicating that it plays other roles in the body as well. This vitamin also helps to regulate many genes. Vitamin D insufficiency is a term that is used to describe blood levels of vitamin D that are not low enough to cause deficiency diseases, but low enough to potentially cause other health problems.

In our concern about medical research showing skin cancer to be a potential result of sunburn or extended sun exposure, our society today has perhaps become over-zealous about covering up. We wear hats, sunglasses, slather our skin with high-SPF sunscreens, and we not only block out the harmful rays, but we block what is beneficial to our bodies as well. A sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of only 15 reduces the production of vitamin D by 99 percent. While we can get some vitamin D through food sources or supplements, our greatest source is through direct exposure to sunlight. Glass windows filter out most of the ultraviolet rays that we need, so the best method is to spend some time outside in the sun.

Wearing protective hat and sunglasses

 

When the sun’s UV-B rays contact the skin, a reaction takes place that enables skin cells to manufacture vitamin D. If you have fair skin, experts say going outside for 10 minutes in the midday sun—in shorts and a tank top with no sunscreen—will give you enough radiation to produce about 10,000 international units of the vitamin. Darker skin is more protected against skin cancer but it is less able to absorb UV-B rays. If you are already tan or of Hispanic origin, 15 to 20 minutes in the sun will provide you with what you need. Black skin may require six times the sun exposure to make the same vitamin D levels as a very fair-skinned person.

 

Protecting the skin

While covering up to prevent too much sun exposure is an important step in protecting yourself from skin cancer, research has not always shown that sunscreen is the safest and most effective method.

Research has shown that sunscreen helps prevent squamous cell carcinoma, but has no effect in preventing basal cell carcinoma. For melanoma, research has been contradictory. Some research shows that sunscreen prevents melanoma, while other research shows that it increases your chance of getting melanoma.

For these reasons, the Vitamin D Council believes that covering up with clothing and/or going into the shade (after you get a little bit of sun exposure), is a safer way to protect yourself from too much sun exposure.    – Vitamin D Council

 

 

Beach unbrella and family, Sand Harbor, Lake Tahoe-Nevada State Park, Nevada. USA
Beach unbrella

 

Sun exposure to the skin is the human race’s natural, intended, most effective and most neglected source of vitamin D.

  • Humans make 90 percent of our vitamin D naturally from sunlight exposure to our skin – specifically, from ultraviolet B exposure to the skin, which naturally initiates the conversion of cholesterol in the skin to vitamin D3.
  • Few foods naturally contain or are fortified with supplemental vitamin D. For example, an 8-ounce glass of whole milk is fortified with 100 IU (international units) of vitamin D – just 10 percent of what the most conservative vitamin D researchers now say we need daily. In contrast, sun exposure to the skin makes thousands of units of vitamin D naturally in a relatively short period of time.
  • While vitamin D supplements are an alternative means of producing vitamin D when regular, non-burning sun exposure is not possible, oral supplementation of vitamin D is not nature’s intended means of producing this vitamin.
  • While overexposure to sunlight carries risks, the cosmetic skin care industry has misled the public into believing that any UV exposure is harmful. No research has shown that regular, non-burning exposure to UV light poses a significant risk of skin damage.
  • Humans spend less time in the sun today than at any point in human history – which is why more than 1 billion people worldwide are vitamin D deficient.

Vitamin D Comes From the Sun

Sunlight is the best and only natural source of vitamin D. Unlike dietary or supplementary vitamin D, when you get your ‘D’ from sunshine your body takes what it needs, and de-metabolizes any extra. That’s critical – as vitamin D experts and many health groups now advocate 1,000 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily – five to ten times the old recommendations. Because too much ‘D’ from dietary supplements may cause the body to over-process calcium, nobody really knows for sure how much supplementary vitamin D is safe. On the other hand, sunlight-induced vitamin D doesn’t have that problem – it’s the way your body is intended to make it!   –Sunshine Vitamin.org

 

Sunlight exposure is also important for helping to regulate the brain’s release of the hormone serotonin. When sunlight hits the retina in our eyes, it cues the brain to produce serotonin. Low levels of serotonin are associated with a higher prevalence of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a condition in which people find themselves struggling with low (depressed) moods and have difficulties staying calm and focused. According the the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, panic attacks and other anxiety related disorders have also been linked to changing seasons and reduced sun exposure.

 

Light has been shown to also affect brain blood flow. Cerebral blood flow has specifically been found to improve after phototherapy in pre-term infants [30] and SAD patients [31], and has repeatedly been found to be associated with cognitive functions, such as memory. Inadequate cerebral blood flow has been found to be a likely cause or result of decreasing cognitive functions among those with cardiovascular diseases [3234], as well as correlated with age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s [35] and non-age related diseases such as Lyme disease [36]. The relationships that serotonin, melatonin, and cerebral hemodynamics have with sunlight, depression, and cognitive function suggest that persons prone to sunlight-related mood disturbances may also be prone to sunlight-related cognitive difficulties.   – Effect of sunlight exposure on cognitive function among depressed and non-depressed participants

 

This doctor in this video from John Hopkins University briefly explains what happens when we get exposure to bright (artificial lights) at night, and he encourages sunlight exposure during the day:

 

This next video is just under 35 minutes long and covers the importance of Vitamin D and our immune systems. Data is presented by the American Academy of Environmental Medicine. Very good information. There is a huge difference between using supplementation and getting it naturally through sun exposure. (With sun exposure, the body makes what it needs and discards the rest.)

 

 

 

Other Sources:

Healthy Home Economist

Berkeley Wellness on Vitamin D

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) in treatment of PTSD, anxiety, and other health issues

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About 5,000 years ago, the Chinese discovered a complex system of energy channels (called meridians) that run throughout the body. These meridians form the basis for our current practices of acupuncture, acupressure and a wide variety of other alternative healing techniques.

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a healing tool that operates on the same principles as acupuncture, but it does not involve needles. It can be used to desensitize emotional triggers and reduce feelings of trauma in people with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as well as alleviating emotional and physical symptoms (such as allergies) in the rest of the population. Clinical trials done with military veterans have shown positive results in just 4-6 weeks of treatment, eliminating the symptoms of PTSD in both the veterans and in their spouses (when both partners are treated).

PTSD is a disorder that has been caused by a traumatic event or series of events that later resulted in severe anxiety, fear, guilt, grief, insomnia, addictions, and depression. PTSD has typically been treated with antidepressant drugs and/or psychotherapy, but success has been limited, often short-term, and often with undesirable side effects from the medications.  EFT offers an alternative to traditional medicine and therapists have found it to be a much less invasive method with no adverse side effects. By focusing on tapping on meridians or acupressure points on the head and body while thinking of specific issues or traumas, the brain learns to reorganize and react differently to memories of the trauma. The process of desensitization reduces the chances of re-traumatizing the person being treated, and it has the benefits of being able to be followed up at home without the assistance of a therapist.

Studies have shown that EFT works more efficiently than traditional approaches.  An absence of client distress is a characteristic of EFT interventions which enables veterans to more easily work through the trauma they experienced.

Emotional Freedom Technique involves the client tapping on specific meridian points on his or her head and body in a specific order while saying affirmations and addressing the memories of trauma. The sequence is repeated several times in each session until the client indicates that the feelings of trauma have been significantly reduced. The combined meridian tapping and affirmations while bringing to mind the traumatic memories, create cognitive shifts in the brain and release the fears at the source. The trauma is held in the very tissues of the body, not just in the memory, and the EFT works at healing one layer at a time. The client with PTSD is guided through this therapy and works closely with the practitioner for a few sessions, then is able to practice the therapy on his or her own when symptoms surface.

Some relief from PTSD symptoms has been found with the very first session, and there are absolutely no negative side effects. While following this protocol, the client does not experience re-trauma in recalling these memories, and the emotional impact of the initial underlying cause is lessened with each EFT session. It has been found that only a few sessions with an EFT practitioner can considerably reduce or totally eliminate the symptoms of PTSD in military veterans, and the results have been found to be long-term. If any mild symptoms resurface, the client has the tool in his or her hands to address them immediately.

 

PTSD presents with many different symptoms: nightmares, insomnia, feelings of despair, guilt, loneliness, anxiety attacks, fear, depression, and often a reluctance or inability to form close personal bonds. It often leads to alcohol or drug abuse as the sufferer looks for ways to dull the emotional pain that they feel. It is a disorder that not only affects the individual, but also entire families and communities. The traditional way of Western medicine to treat PTSD is with short-term counseling and either anti-anxiety drugs or anti-depressants and sometimes sleeping pills. It can take years to find the right balance of medications, and often additional medications are then needed to counter the side-effects of the first ones. It can leave the clients frustrated, disheartened, and sometimes unable to continue treatment because of the mounting costs of medication and long-term expenses. The medication does not eliminate the underlying cause of the disorder; it acts as a band aid to cover the symptoms. Often the side-effects of the drugs (drowsiness and feeling “out of it”, weight gain, loss of libido) create even more frustration and despair.

Sometimes clients feel that they have been “cured” of the PTSD and take themselves off of the medication because they don’t like the side-effects. They plummet back deeper into PTSD and they, as well as everyone closely connected to them, suffer. It can affect the client’s job performance, and it is not uncommon for someone with PTSD to go from job to job because of an inability to cope. Additionally, there is a higher risk of deep depression and suicide among Veterans suffering from PTSD who cannot get long-term relief from their symptoms.

Ingrid Dinter, a Life Coach who specializes in helping Veterans who are suffering from PTSD, believes that Veterans are suffering in silence because they feel there is no hope for them to be healed: “Treatments in military and Veteran’s hospitals and clinics usually include medications and conventional forms of psychotherapy. At the same time, Veterans are usually told that PTSD cannot be healed. In my experience, however, there is a lot we can do to improve their condition profoundly”

Dinter says, “The Veterans and family members I have worked with feel that PTSD is not a mental illness, PTSD is a symptom of the soul. They describe “losing their soul,” “something breaking inside,” “a disconnect from the outer world and from their own true self.” The result is overwhelming loneliness, emptiness, living with “a wall” that protects them from the outer world. Every Veteran I have worked with who was diagnosed with PTSD has confirmed this in some form as his reality…”

In her online report “Alternative Medicine,” Beth Baker found evidence that the Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities support the use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) practices: “The VA wrote in an email that soldiers returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are expressing interest in CAM as an alternative to medication and that veterans who’ve used CAM practices have made testimonial videos saying ‘what a significant impact these therapies have had on their lives”. However, she also found that insurance companies are reluctant to cover CAM treatments because of skepticism about whether or not it really works. There is research and anecdotal evidence to support the effectiveness of CAM, but the insurance companies want more blind trials done before they will consider coverage. CAM therapies are cheaper than traditional medical treatments, but lack of insurance coverage puts the entire cost on the shoulders of the Veterans and it might be the deciding factor of whether or not they elect to try them.

Veterans continue to struggle to survive long after they are removed from combat and return home, and they are being done a great injustice by our society. They have put their lives on the line to protect us, they have endured horrific situations of war for us, and they deserve to be given an opportunity to heal their emotions and bring peace to their soul.

 

Other Sources:

Clinical Report On The Effectiveness Of EFT In Treatment Of PTSD

Medical Journal Abstract

Nick Ortner on EFT

NOTE: Valerie Lis in the video above is one of the instructors in the Integrative Health and Healing Program that I completed. She also has a private practice treating clients with EFT.

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

 

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I have been using coconut oil for a little over 3 years. I add a heaping teaspoon to my coffee (in each of two mugs full) in the mornings, to hot chocolate, and I use it topically as a natural (toxin-free) sunscreen. I’ve also been mixing it with my Young Living essential oils to create facial scrub (mixed with granulated sugar or sea salts for a natural exfoliant), facial cream and whipped body butter. It leaves skin moisturized, silky smooth, and supple. (It can be used to remove make-up as well. Just saturate a cotton ball and wipe away make-up effortlessly.) I use both unrefined and refined coconut oil; the unrefined has a definite coconut smell and taste, and the refined is odorless and has no taste. I prefer the refined when mixing with my essential oils so that the fragrance of the essential oils are not overpowered by the coconut fragrance.

*Note: When mixing with essential oils it is important to store in a glass or essential oil-approved container. Pure essential oils can break down the plastic, and you don’t want to apply that to your skin. Small canning jars are the perfect size and are inexpensive.

Coconut oil is liquid at room temperature but solidifies when chilled. For sunscreen, I pour some coconut oil into a small cup (like the disposable individual serving applesauce cup), cover with plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator. When needed, just pop it out of the cup in solid form and run lightly over skin, then smooth it in until absorbed. (It is a bit greasy at first, but it does absorb.) Something stronger may be needed if time is spent at a lake, but for my purposes of sun protection while working in my yard it has worked well to prevent burning and excessive drying of my skin. It allows in the beneficial rays needed for our bodies to produce vitamin-D.

I have been seeing mixed reviews lately on health benefits, so I wanted to share some information I found.

Composition of Coconut Oil

More than 90% of coconut oil consists of saturated fats, along with traces of a few unsaturated fatty acids such as monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. We have been told for years to stay away from saturated fats because they cause health issues, but more recent research is showing that not all saturated fats are bad. Some are beneficial and even needed in order for our bodies to absorb other nutrients such as vitamins A, D, E, and K; we just need to investigate which are healthy for us and in what amounts.

Coconut Oil Info

Saturated fatty acids: Most of the saturated fatty acids in coconut oil are medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which have been shown to be easily assimilated by our bodies’ systems. MCTs are a fat source for patients who cannot tolerate other types of fats. Researchers also think that these fats produce chemicals in the body that might help fight Alzheimer’s disease.

Coconut Oil and Medium-Chain Triglycerides

-Lauric acid: Coconut oil contains 40-50% Lauric acid, followed by capric acid, caprylic acid, myristic acid and palmitic. The lauric acid in coconut oil is used by the body to make the same disease-fighting monolaurin that babies make from the lauric acid they get from their mothers’ milk. Monolaurin helps to prevent microbial infections and studies have shown it to be effective in fighting viruses, fungus, and bacteria.

-Capric acid: It reacts with some of the enzymes secreted by other bacteria, which subsequently convert it into a powerful antimicrobial agent, monocaprin.

-Caprylic acid, caproic acid and myristic acid: They have antimicrobial and antifungal properties

Unsaturated fatty acids: Linoleic acid (a polyunsaturated fatty acid) and Oleic acid (a monounsaturated fatty acid)

Poly-phenols: Coconut contains Gallic acid, which is also known as phenolic acid. These polyphenols are responsible for the fragrance and the taste of coconut oil and Virgin Coconut Oil is rich in these polyphenols.

Derivatives of fatty acid: Betaines, ethanolamide, ethoxylates, fatty esters, fatty polysorbates, monoglycerides and polyol esters.

Derivatives of fatty alcohols: Fatty chlorides, fatty alcohol sulphate and fatty alcohol ether sulphate

Vitamins and Minerals: Vitamin E, vitamin K and minerals such as iron.

As I was searching for information, I came across quite a few reports of how coconut oil has helped several people who had been diagnosed with dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease). I am not implying that it is a cure, but it has shown promising results in relearning forgotten skills and in improving memory retention.

In a 2004 study published in the journal of Neurobiology of Aging, they found that the MCFA’s found in coconut oil improved the memory problems in their older subjects.

Across all the patients there was a marked improvement in their recall ability after taking this fatty acid. As the MCFA’s are absorbed easily in the body and can be accessed in the brain without the use of insulin, they are able to fuel brain cells more efficiently.    20 Coconut Oil Benefits & Side Effects

 

I found a video about the use of coconut oil in treating the husband of Dr. Mary Newport. Because it was not a standard clinical trial, it has been dismissed by some of the medical community as “anecdotal” evidence. However, much of our traditional and holistic approaches started at one time as anecdotal evidence, and I believe it is important to look further into it as at the very least, an enhancement to traditional medical treatment.

This video is about 30 minutes in length.  Video: The Empowering Neurologist – David Perlmutter, MD and Dr. Mary Newport

This one is a short (8-minute) video with some helpful and maybe surprising insights from four reputable doctors: 4 Doctors on Coconut Oil and Alzheimers Video

This medical article was co-written by Dr. Mary Newport. It contains some interesting findings. Short Report On Use Of Ketones In Alzheimer’s

Other sources used:

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

 

 

Treatment With PEMF Therapy

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Pulsed electro-magnetic field therapy (PEMF) is a reparative technique that directs magnetic energy through injured tissues to promote tissue and bone healing and to alleviate depression (FDA approved). I had the opportunity to try it out when my leg swelled up and became filled with fluid from a ruptured Baker’s cyst.

I was experiencing pain when sitting at a desk or standing too long, and my medical doctor recommended Ibuprofin along with alternating ice-packs and hot-packs to relieve the pain and bring down the swelling. It did not help much. After just three treatments with a PEMF device, the swelling had decreased by half and the pain was gone. After two more treatments, my leg was almost back to normal. I was so impressed with it that I looked into some of the research behind PEMF, and I thought I would share it with others. (A PEMF system is something I do plan to add to my energy healing services at a later time.)

Traditional Chinese medicine teaches that there are approximately 2,000 acupuncture points on the body. These points are connected by 20 meridians, which are pathways of communication and energy exchange. These meridians connect to one another, the internal organs, the senses, and the supporting tissues. Treating the entire body at once with PEMF therapy stimulates all of these acupuncture points and meridians simultaneously, resulting in a more complete therapy and faster healing.

acupuncture-points

Magnetic therapies can improve circulation, stimulate cell and tissue repair, stimulate nerve cells, lower blood pressure and decrease heart rate, reduce edema and tissue swelling, reduce inflammation (such as in arthritis), reduce symptoms of fibromyalgia, among many more therapeutic benefits. There have been some exciting studies on its use in treating cancer as well.

how-pemf-works

 

The goal of a PEMF system is to produce a magnetic field that will support the body’s natural functions and to use a wavelength that will completely penetrate the body. To accomplish this, a very long wavelength and low frequency is needed. (Harmful EMFs have significantly shorter wavelengths and higher frequencies than therapeutic EMFs.) Most PEMF systems produce frequencies in the Extremely Low Frequency to Very Low Frequency range on the electromagnetic spectrum.

Magnetic field therapy can be effective in a wide range of health conditions. But before it is used for healing, it is important to have a basic understanding of some of the physical characteristics of magnetic science, including electric and magnetic fields and some of their actions on the body.

All matter is made up of moving particles. Forces exist in the space around these moving (electrical) particles. Those forces are magnetic fields. By definition, force is an interaction that changes the motion of an object.

An electric field is the force field created by the flow of electricity (caused by the attraction and repulsion of electric charges). A magnetic field is the force field created as a consequence of the flow of electricity. Electric fields and magnetic fields always exist in tandem – one cannot exist without the other. An electromagnetic field, then, is the combination of an electric field and a magnetic field.

Dr. Pawluk on Magnetic Science  (Dr. Pawluk is considered to be the leading expert on PEMF)

 

According to Dr. Sircus, Ac., OMD, DM (P) (acupuncturist, doctor of oriental and pastoral medicine):

Frequency specific pulsed electro-magnetic fields (PEMF) are the most effective and cost-efficient option for the widest range of human and veterinary disorders regardless of etiology. PEMF therapy does not treat medical conditions; instead it up-regulates the body’s functions and optimizes the body’s ability to heal itself.

PEMF provides stunning regenerative effects because these magnetic fields result in cells generating so much naturally derived energy that they are able to heal themselves. A magnetic switch turbocharges cellular energy production and reduces oxidative stress.

eletro2

 

The following is an abstract of various scientific studies done that reinforce the effectiveness of PEMF:  Abstract: Scientific Studies

 

I found a Ted Talk video with Bill Doyle explaining a bit about tumor treating fields–using electric fields in the treatment of cancer. He does an excellent job of breaking it down into understandable form.

Note: I am not making any medical claims for cancer; I am simply sharing information that I have found.

Bill Doyle: Treating cancer with electric fields

 

Additional Sources:

Abstract: Effect of Magnetic Fields on Tumor Growth and Viability

Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy For Cancer Treatment

 

 

 

 

 

Labyrinths As a Tool For Spiritual Reflection and Healing

 

 

Another intriguing spiritual healing tool that we learned about in one of my classes was the labyrinth. A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle with the energy of the spiral to create a meandering but purposeful path. It represents our life’s journey into our own spiritual center and back again out into the world. There is only one path in a labyrinth, and the way in is also the way out. If we meet another person as we walk, we are called to respectfully make way for the other and honor the other’s journey as being as important as our own. Labyrinths have always been associated with ancient pilgrimage routes and rituals of self-discovery; they have frequently been used as meditation and prayer tools by churches, as well as by individuals. They are starting to make an appearance in health care settings as well.

In the Middle Ages, walking a cathedral labyrinth was a devotional activity that was symbolic of going on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Today labyrinths are often used as a form of meditation, to focus one’s mind and put ourselves in tune with the Divine, thereby finding an inner peace.

Labyrinth at Le Basilique de St. Quentin
Labyrinth at Le Basilique de St. Quentin
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Marlton

 

 

 

 

 

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Personal labyrinth in a Maryland homeowner’s backyard

Photo of Holy Trinity Church in Greensboro

 

Benefits of Labyrinths in Healthcare Settings

Providing a labyrinth in a healthcare setting can support and enhance the life of the institution and its mission in a variety of different ways.

For patients who are able to walk or ambulate by wheelchair, the labyrinth offers many benefits. Those who are not ambulatory can experience the same benefits by using a hand-held finger labyrinth:

  1. A quiet place where the simple act of walking offers a proactive way to ‘do’ something towards getting better.
  2. An inviting way of getting exercise outdoors in nature.
  3. A clearly non-medical environment where patients can share time with family and friends.
  4. A place where patients can let go of the issues related to illness and injury.
  5. A sacred spot where patients can express intentions and hopes for the future.
  6. A perfect spot for a “get well” ceremony.

A reduction in the stress related to being ill, an improved attitude about coping with ill health, an interest in participating in treatment, the return of hope or the inner peace necessary to complete life’s business before dying are just a few of the responses possible for patients using the labyrinth.

The Labyrinth Society, Inc: Benefits of labyrinths in healthcare settings

 

There is no right way or wrong way to walk the path of a labyrinth; each individual finds something unique to themselves in their experience. Each experience differs from the one they had before. It is continually evolving, mirroring our own lives and our own spiritual journeys. As we walk quietly and reflect, we touch upon our inner joy and sorrows and can start to see them from a different perspective. We may receive inner guidance for the solution to our problems, or we may suddenly see how everything falls together to create a bigger whole in our lives. We need only to approach the entrance to the path with open hearts and minds, ridding ourselves of expectations and allowing peace to flow within us.

Though physically walking along the path of a labyrinth is the most relaxing way to gain the healing benefits, tracing a labyrinth with our fingers also engages the brain in a similar way.

Here is a short (4 minute) video by Lauren Artress, Psychotherapist, sharing a personal experience of her own:

youtube video “Rediscovering the labyrinth”

 

Note: My own beliefs are Christian-based. The information I have found indicates that labyrinths are spiritual tools for meditation, inner reflection, and healing–not related to any specific religion.

Spiritual Rituals and the Power of Forgiveness On Immune Function

In one of my college classes we learned about the importance of spiritual rituals–setting aside a space and time for yourself in which to pray or meditate alone and uninterrupted. When I started practicing Qigong and meditation, I set up a small area in my family room. I added candles, potpourri (and drip YL essential oils on the potpourri at the time of meditation). When everyone else is in bed, I go there, turn off the lights and light my candle(s), sit on the floor on my Zafu pillow and meditate (with soft music playing in the background). I focus on deep, controlled breathing and then on letting go of the day’s stresses and the things in life I can’t control. As I relinquish any feelings of anger and resentment, my body releases its tension and my thoughts become lighter and more open to inner guidance. I have a very strong, Christian-based faith, so for me it is easy to put into God’s hands what I can do nothing about in my own power. There is a deep inner peace that comes from letting all of that go and trusting in someone/something greater than ourselves to take care of it.

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Sometimes I become so relaxed that keeping awake becomes an effort, and when I go to bed I fall asleep immediately. It has helped so much in being able to reduce the feelings of stress and bring my thoughts back to a more positive mindset.

Research has shown that setting aside time for spiritual reflection and prayer and learning to let go of things like hurt, resentment, fear, and unforgiveness toward others (or ourselves) has a powerful impact on our immune function. Unforgiveness creates a chemical chain reaction in our bodies that can increase levels of the hormone cortisol, constrict our arteries and blood flow, and increase our risk of illness and disease.

 

“The data that negative mental states cause heart problems is just stupendous. The data is just as established as smoking, and the size of the effect is the same.”
–Dr. Charles Raison

 

 

How is the Body Affected?

Lack of forgiveness, which often occurs as a result of having been hurt, humiliated, angered, or having suffered fear or loss, feelings of guilt, or envy, can have profound effects on the way your body functions.

Physically the body is in a state of stress. Muscles tighten, causing imbalances or pain in the neck, back and limbs. Blood flow to the joints is restricted, making it more difficult for the blood to remove wastes from the tissues and reducing the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the cells. Normal processes of repair and recovery from injury or arthritis are impaired. Clenching of the jaws contributes to problems with teeth and jaw joints. Headaches can become a problem. Chronic pain may get worse.

Blood flow to the heart is constricted. Digestion is impaired. Breathing may become more difficult. Anger can seriously impair the immune system, increasing the risk of infections and illness.     Lack of Forgiveness Can Affect Our Health by Sheryl Walters

 

“A society that cannot forgive is one without a heart. We should not wish to live in such a society—or a world—in which forgiveness is never extended. With the escalating religious and political hatreds around the world, and the increasingly sinister ways of seeking vengeance, it is uncertain whether a civilization that is devoid of forgiveness can continue to exist.”  –Larry Dossey, MD

 

Another ritual that I started a few years ago was to write down on paper all the things that I felt had been done against me by a specific person or persons, pour out my hurt and anger in words and acknowledge how it had harmed me. At the bottom I then write, “I forgive you.” I place the paper into a bonfire and as it burns I consciously let go of the hurts and resentment.  It takes away the feeling of being victimized and ultimately leaves me feeling empowered and ready to move on in life. It doesn’t mean the offense was okay, but it releases me from the burden of carrying it around in my heart and holding me prisoner. I have on occasion “celebrated” afterward with a few fireworks.

There are many different things we can choose from to lessen our load and offer forgiveness to others. Experiment and find what feels comfortable.

This presentation is wonderful (and not very long): Forgiveness In An Unforgiving World (TedX Talks video)

Here is a link to a guided meditation on gratitude, forgiveness, and letting go:  Guided Meditation on youtube

 

 

 

 

 

Chia Seeds: A healthy addition to your recipes

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I love to try new recipes and recently I’ve been experimenting with some that include Chia seeds. This morning’s pick was Chocolate Chia Pudding. It has a very rich chocolate flavor, so I topped it with a little whipped cream and a fresh strawberry. Add a couple of candles to create a special surprise for your loved ones or just to brighten your own day. When you make healthy choices fun, they are so much easier to incorporate into your life!

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Chia seeds are among the most nutritious foods available to us. They provide us with fiber, protein, Omega 3 fatty acids and a variety of micronutrients. They are 40% fiber by weight, and just one ounce contains 10-11 grams of dietary fiber. They can absorb about 10-12 times their weight in water, which helps to make the body feel full faster and for a longer period of time, thereby helping to reduce calorie intake. As they absorb water, they swell and form a gelatinous coating on the outside; it is important to soak them or add them to a liquid before ingesting.

The seeds have a bland flavor, so they take on the flavor of whatever you add them to. They can be added to meatballs, yogurt, smoothies, puddings, scrambled eggs, etc. Two tablespoons of Chia seeds contain more Omega 3’s than one serving of salmon, and it is a great choice for those following a vegetarian diet. (Salmon does contain an additional form of Omega 3’s that Chia Seeds do not, so adding both to your diet is optimal.)

 

High fiber diets are associated with a lower risk of developing diabetes and eating high fiber meals to keep blood sugar stable. Based on a review of findings from several large studies, The National Institute of Medicine found that diets with 14 grams fiber for every 1,000 calories were associated with significant reductions in the risk of both coronary heart diseaseand type 2 diabetes.

Omega-3s may also decrease LDL, total cholesterol and triglyceride levels, reduce atherosclerotic plaque, improve endothelial function, and slightly lower blood pressure. The richest sources of plant-based omega-3s are chia seeds, flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, hempseeds, hempseed oil and walnuts.

Chia Seeds: Health Benefits and Nutritional Information

 

I found a great video on youtube by Dr. Axe that explains the benefits in an understandable way. Only about 4 minutes long. Benefits of Chia Seeds 

 

Chocolate Chia Pudding:

1/4 Cup Chia Seeds

2 1/2 Tbsp. Pure Maple Syrup

1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

1 Cup Almond or Coconut Milk

1/4 Cup Hershey Baking Cocoa (unsweetened)

Mix on low in blender or whisk by hand in a deep bowl. Let set for at least 30 minutes, then pour into individual containers. Garnish with sifted Baking Cocoa, whipped cream, and strawberry (if desired).

I changed this recipe a bit so that I could use ingredients that I already had in my house. The original recipe used 2 Tbsp. Agave instead of the Maple Syrup and only 1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract instead of the 1 tsp. that I used. (I love the richer flavor, so I used more.)

Try this link for some more great recipes!  Simple Ways to Add Chia to Your Diet

 

Practicing Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of focusing your attention on the present moment. It is noticing the details of things–textures, smells, different hues of color, sounds–and observing your feelings in a non-judgmental kind of way. It can be as simple as focusing on your task of folding laundry–observing the silkiness of a satin shirt or the roughness of a bath towel beneath your fingers, the fresh fragrance that rises as you press soft folds into the fabric. Your thoughts begin to slow along with your breathing as you transform a “chore” into an immersion of the senses. Just a few moments like this can change and uplift your mood.

Laundry - woman folding clothes home, houseworkhow-smell-affects-your-body-mind

 

We live in a world where multi-tasking is not only necessary at times, but it has become glorified. People talk about the long lists of things they have accomplished in a day, in a week, or perhaps just in an hour. While we are working on one thing we are already thinking ahead to the next, and our days rush by in a blur. It makes us feel accomplished and temporarily satisfied at our resourcefulness. However, soon we look for ways to cut corners in order to accomplish even more things, and over time it leaves us feeling stressed, worn out, and longing to just “get away from it all.” The thing is…we can’t get away from ourselves, and we are the ones allowing the stress in to undermine our lives. When we allow ourselves to become exhausted physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually, our perspective changes; we start to see our lives from a place of depletion, lack, and resentment instead of one of abundance and appreciation.

When we are unhappy with ourselves and our lives, we begin to find fault with others around us as well. Our mood can become sour and critical, and we start to focus on all the negatives in our day–things that on another day we might not notice at all.

There are many things we can choose from to alleviate the feelings of stress, and the ones I am focusing on today are the practice of mindfulness and a type of meditation called “Loving Kindness Meditation.”

Research has shown that the practice of mindfulness and Loving Kindness meditation can not only boost memory and cognition, but it can help in developing compassion and empathy toward others, thereby improving our relationships. It improves sleep, relieves stress, can help lower blood pressure, and we begin to feel more joy in our lives. As we become more aware, we begin to recognize the limitations we place on others and on ourselves and we come to a place of being able to offer forgiveness and acceptance.

Mindfulness, paying precise, nonjudgmental attention to the details of our experience as it arises and subsides, doesn’t reject anything. Instead of struggling to get away from experiences we find difficult, we practice being able to be with them. Equally, we bring mindfulness to pleasant experiences as well. Perhaps surprisingly, many times we have a hard time staying simply present with happiness. We turn it into something more familiar, like worrying that it won’t last or trying to keep it from fading away.

When we are mindful, we show up for our lives; we don’t miss them in being distracted or in wishing for things to be different. Instead, if something needs to be changed we are present enough to understand what needs to be done. Being mindful is not a substitute for actually participating in our lives and taking care of our own and others’ needs. In fact, the more mindful we are, the more skillful we can be in compassionate action.

~ Karen Kissel Wegela PhD, The Courage To Be Present

I found this meditation on youtube–it is only about 13 minutes long. It is similar to one that I learned in my college class “Meditation and Mindfulness.”  It is soothing and relaxing and can be a wonderful way to begin or end your day. Enjoy!

Loving Kindness Meditation on youtube

 

Other Sources: American Psychological AssociationBenefits of Mindfulness

 

What happens to your body when you practice Meditation & Mindfulness?

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The amygdala is the part of the brain that houses our “fight or flight” response, feelings of fear, and feelings of anger. When we are under unrelieved, long-term stress, our bodies start producing more cortisol (a stress hormone) which over time can create health challenges for us. We start triggering more amygdala responses and start to find that we are reacting with anger and/or fear to things that normally would not bother us.

Research has shown that regularly practicing meditation and mindfulness (20-30 minutes per day) can actually create physical changes in the brain and chemical changes in the body. It can help to balance our production of cortisol, as well as other hormones, and over time the size of the amygdala begins to decrease while areas in the frontal cortex grow more connections.

The hippocampus is the area of the brain that helps us learn and retain new information (memory), as well as regulating emotions and response control. With regular meditation the hippocampus begins to grow new, stronger connections and increases in size. We begin to experience a sense of inner peace, feelings of positivity, and are able to manage life’s stressors more effectively.

It’s well-documented that our cortex shrinks as we get older – it’s harder to figure things out and remember things. But in this one region of the prefrontal cortex, 50-year-old meditators had the same amount of gray matter as 25-year-olds. –Sara Lazar, Neuroscientist

How meditation can change your brain  (youtube with Sara Lazar)

 

Scientific Benefits of Meditation – 76 things you might be missing out on

Brain changes with meditation. Scholarly article.

scholarly article/proquest

Quinoa Facts and Recipes

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-WAH)

Quinoa is considered a whole grain, which means it includes the entire intact grain seed without removing any of its parts. It is non-GMO, gluten-free, and contains iron, B-vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, vitamin E, fiber, and all nine of the essential amino acids. It is one of only a few plant foods that are considered a complete protein and it has a high protein to carbohydrate ratio when compared to other grain products. It is a good alternative source of protein for vegans and vegetarians.

Quinoa also contains important fatty acids. About 25% of quinoa’s fatty acids are in the form of oleic acid, a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, and about 8% are in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the omega-3 fatty acid most commonly found in plants.

In addition, it works as a prebiotic that feeds the good bacteria in your intestinal tract, and it is easily digested for optimum absorption of nutrients.

“Quinoa is a good source of protein, fiber, iron, copper, thiamin and vitamin B6,” said Kelly Toups, a registered dietician with the Whole Grains Council. It’s also “an excellent source of magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and folate.” Toups emphasized that a “‘good source’ means that one serving provides at least 10 percent of the daily value of that nutrient, while ‘excellent source’ means that one serving provides at least 20 percent of the daily value of that nutrient.”  Quinoa Health Benefits

Recipes to try:

quinoa burger

Quinoa and Black Bean Burger

Stuffed Bell Peppers
Stuffed-Peppers

Quinoa Breakfast Pudding

Quinoa-Breakfast-Pudding

Change your choices, change your life!

Over 2,000 years ago Hippocrates, the ancient Greek father of medicine said, “Let food be thy medicine.” People back then started with good nutrition and herbs to keep their bodies healthy, and many of the diseases we see today did not even exist.

In my Foods As Medicine class, we were asked to make some diet changes for a month to see if we felt any different. I typically eat healthy, but the addition of large spinach, kale, and carrot salads with dinner every night, as well as an overall increase of raw vegetables and fruits (and less red meat) left me with a feeling of more energy and motivation. My skin tone was smoother and my eyes were brighter. The differences I felt with just a few dietary changes were amazing.

Finding fresh produce in Minnesota in the summertime is usually not difficult–there are many Farmer’s Markets available to choose from, and food co-ops are another alternative. Look for deep colored vegetables and fruits for the best nutrient content. Spinach and kale are in the category of cruciferous vegetables and offer many health benefits.

benefits-of-cruciferous-vegetables intro_cream_of_crop

Various components in cruciferous vegetables have been linked to lower cancer risks. Some have shown the ability to stop the growth of cancer cells for tumors in the breast, uterine lining (endometrium), lung, colon, liver, and cervix, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. And studies that track the diets of people over time have found that diets high in cruciferous vegetables are linked to lower rates of prostate cancer.

I have included a link to a review of the documentary “Forks Over Knives,” as well as the original documentary. The documentary is very long but well worth watching. The changes in the health of the people participating in the study are incredible!

 

Forks Over Knives Review

 

Article quote from WebMD.

http://cosmosdocumentaries3.blogspot.ca/2013/07/forks-over-knives-documentary-film.html

Benefits of Qigong

There are hundreds of different forms of Qigong, though all had their origins in China. Spring Forest Qigong (developed by Master Chunyi Lin) is the form that I learned and practice regularly. “Qi” means “life force” or “life energy” and “gong” means movement. Through a series of slow, deliberate movements and deep, focused breaths, the body and mind are brought together and emotional blockages are cleared as energy is allowed to flow more freely through the meridians of the body. Regular practice of Qigong active movement exercises can greatly reduce and/or eliminate feelings of stress and fatigue, can balance the emotions, strengthen the lungs, improve vascular function, as well as many other benefits.

Meditation is also an important part of Qigong. (Qigong is not a religion and can be practiced by anyone.) Controlled breathing and a deliberate letting go of stresses and negativity while embracing thoughts of love, compassion, and forgiveness bring balance and feelings of peace.

I struggled with insomnia for about six years and after only three weeks of regular Qigong practice (active exercises 2-3 times per week and 20-30 minutes of meditation daily), my insomnia had disappeared. My sleep was longer, deeper, and more restful, and I found that I was able to deal with stress much better. In addition, my focus in school and retention of new information improved as well.

http://www.springforestqigong.com/index.php/your-healing-power

Benefits of Qigong

Qigong, with its roots in traditional Chinese medicine, is a close cousin to the better-known tai chi. Unlike that practice, qigong isn’t based in martial arts. Instead, it uses a variety of gentle movements, says Stanwood Chang, who teaches qigong classes at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Because its motions are simple and repetitive, qigong is more accessible to many people than tai chi, which has long sequences that need to be memorized, Mr. Chang adds.

Traditionally, qigong is described as a practice that cultivates “qi,” or life energy. Qi can’t be measured objectively, says Shin Lin, a professor of cell biology at the University of California, Irvine. But his studies of qigong and tai chi practitioners have found a boost in both alpha brain waves, suggesting relaxation, and beta waves, indicating strong focus. “It has the dual benefit of relaxing you, but also sharpening your mind,” says Dr. Lin.

Natural Standard Research Collaboration, a Cambridge, Mass., scientist group that evaluates natural therapies, gives qigong a grade of “B,” for hypertension, concluding that there is “good evidence” to support its use along with standard medications to treat the condition.

The Intriguing Health Benefits of Qigong

 

 

Welcome!

Hi! My name is Claudette and I would like to welcome you to my website! I am just completing an Associate of Science degree in Integrative Health & Healing and my expected graduation date is Spring, 2016. I will be offering Health & Wellness Coaching and Energy healing services. My goal is to help people achieve better health in mind, body, and spirit. This is a new beginning in life for me and I am looking forward to getting started!