Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Healing with Far Infra-Red

The first time I heard of infra-red being used as a medical treatment was when I was eleven years old. I had a paper route and one of my clients used to lie on her living room floor with a red light aimed at her back to help with her arthritis. I didn't give it much thought until I was in massage therapy school where the subject came up again and we were taught about using far infra-red lamps to help our patients with inflammation and pain management. I bought one of the red infra-red bulbs and had used it in the past to help me deal with a bout of severe tendinitis.

I started seeing infra-red saunas being advertised in various locations such as spas and tanning salons but didn't truly understand how wonderful they are until I, by chance, used one. At the time I was working at a spa that had one and I was recovering from a cold. It came to me that maybe by going for a good sweat in the sauna I could shorten the life of my cold. I used it twice in one week and was completely amazed when I noticed that all the pain in my joints, which I had been living with for over a year, had magically disappeared or dialed down to a very manageable level.

From then on , I tried to use  the sauna whenever I could. I had been suffering with a tremendous amount of inflammation in all my joints but esp in my feet, hips and low back. It was so bad that I could hardly stand up after sitting for more than a few minutes. I would gingerly get upright feeling like I had broken glass in all my joints and stagger a few steps until things eased up and I could walk a bit easier. Too much exercise had the same effect as too little. I despaired over what would become of me as I got older if I already felt this bad at 52 but using the sauna a few times a week dramatically eased the pain I was in.

The best part about it was, I usually shunned saunas in general as I have asthma and found the extreme dry heat really bothered my lungs and I couldn't stay in them long enough to work up a sweat. Infra-red works in a completely different way than a traditional sauna. Regular saunas use a heater to warm the air which you then sit in to absorb the heat. Infra-red actually penetrates into your tissues and makes them vibrate at a molecular level thus increasing your internal temperature without over- heating the surrounding air. I was able to stay in the sauna for up to 40 minutes with little discomfort and I was able to sweat buckets.

I was only doing a locum at the spa and when it was over I ended up back in pain once I didn't have access to the sauna anymore. A few weeks of that and I went looking for a sauna of my own to buy. They come in many different shapes and styles and cost can fluctuate from $225 to over $3000. I totally lucked out and got a portable one on Craigslist for $225.

 I would still like to get the full size sauna some day but until I have the money for that, this one works good enough for me. The best part is my head sticks out the top, so no breathing in hot air, and I can set it up in front of the TV so I have some entertainment while having my treatment.

Saving up for one of these!!

I have copied the following information from Aesta's website explaining the benefits of far infra-red and an explanation of how it works.

  • Natural and safe relief of pain, stiffness and aches
  • Helps with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Helps to reduce swelling and inflammation
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Reduces stress, tiredness and fatigue
  • Detoxification from heavy metals and other toxins in the body
  • Helps you to gain and maintain your energy
  • Burns calories and helps you to lose and control your weight
  • Improves the metabolism
  • Helps to prevent and remove cellulite
  • Improves skin appearance and skin condition
  • Boosts and improves the immune system and enhances white blood cell function
  • Increases blood circulation
  • Strengthens the cardiovascular system and normalizes blood pressure
  • Improves all organ functions
  • Helps in weight control (loss or gain)
  • Increases metabolism between blood and tissue
  • Helps to remove cholesterol
  • Promotes cellular regeneration and speeds healing to cuts and bruises
  • Helps to improve joint movements
  • Improves micro circulation
  • Increases the delivery of oxygen and nutrients in the blood cell to the body’s soft tissue areas
  • Stimulates the hypothalamus, which controls the production of neuro-chemicals
  • Improves health in general
"One of the reasons that Aesta’s Far Infrared Radiant Heat has beneficial results in a variety of illnesses is because FIR can deeply penetrate skin and underlying tissues. When Far Infrared Radiant Heat penetrates the skin, it comes into contact with protein, collagen and fats. By stimulating micro-vibrations, FIR can elevate tissue temperatures. The human body then is revitalized because of the improved micro circulation."

"Another reason is that Far Infrared Radiant Heat has the ability to remove toxins in the body, which are often at the core of many health problems. The build up of toxins in a healthy body could block the normal blood circulation and impair the cellular energy. When Aesta Far Infrared Radiant Heat waves are applied, the water molecules that encapsulate the toxins get heat up, and start to vibrate. This vibration reduces the ion bonds of the atoms that are holding together the molecules of water. As the breakdown of the water molecules occurs, encapsulated gases and other toxic materials are released and the body gets rejuvenated."

( I have read that you burn in the neighborhood of 300-600 calories in 30 minutes in an infra-red saunas.)

Is Infra -red safe?.... Yes!!

The experience of a far infrared sauna is similar to sunbathing, which gives you the radiant heat without the damaging ultra violet rays. The far infrared heat penetrates your skin, giving you that wonderful natural warmth. Unlike sunbathing, Infrared heat therapy is completely healthy and safe. You can relax in a far infrared sauna and it will never cause your skin to burn. Far infrared heat is completely healthy and safe for all living things. In fact, far infrared heat is so safe it is used in hospitals to warm newborn infants.

If you haven't had a chance to try an Infra-red sauna yet, I would encourage you to do so. The health benefits are many and no side effects. If you use them and find they are helpful to you, then I would recommend buying one of your own. They are cheap to run, a benefit for the whole family, and cheaper to own than the cost of using one somewhere else.( prices tend to run about $20 for 30 minutes at most locations).
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Eco Challenge- How Green are You?

Living on the water has made me extremely aware of the effects of pollution on our planet. I know everyone is tired of hearing about it all and like me you probably feel helpless to do anything.

 However I just couldn't sit by and not do anything, so I have been researching ways to lighten my global footprint. The thing is, you can do something about it, by making informed choices in your purchases, by being mindful of your actions and by sharing your knowledge and being a good example to others. I have a long way to go but am consciously working my way to a lifestyle that allows me to sleep at night.

Today I found this list at the" Green as a Thistle" blog  where she shows 365 ways she greened her lifestyle, so I  decided to do something similar showing the changes I am making in my lifestyle to try and live a greener, more conscious life. I will be writing more in-depth posts on some of these changes and posts on greening your home one room at a time, but for now, here is my list .

 I challenge each of you to try and implement as many changes as you can. Your list will probably look different than ours with some overlaps.  If you have any suggestions or ideas to add to the list I would love to hear them. Small changes by many people can add up to a difference!!

                    My Eco List So Far
1. Using crochet dishcloths to clean up stuff instead of paper towels
2. Banning plastic from my life as much as possible
3. Switching to a wooden toothbrush
4. Switching to natural toothpaste with Neem bark ( a sustainable plant that provides protection against bacteria, plaque, inflammation, tartar and cavities, thereby preventing tooth decay.)
5. Switching to a bio compatible laundry soap
6. Doing laundry in cold water only
7. Hanging laundry to dry
8. If using a dryer, I never use dryer sheets or fabric softener
9. Buying second hand clothes
10. Repairing the clothes I have
11. Recycling old clothing into other clothes or cleaning cloths
12. Air drying my hair
13. Using bio compatible soap for all my washing needs (dishes, body, hair, house)
14. Don't shower on my days off unless I have something special planned
15. Using a hot water on demand system
16. Only heating my bedroom in the winter, I basically live in there,  and wear sweaters in the rest of the house
17. Using a composting toilet
18. Using those reusable shower cap looking- things to cover leftovers instead of saran wrap
19. Using cloth bags when shopping
20. Using glass water bottles and refilling them at home
21. Making all my bills electronic
22. Don't use any aerosol products
23. Canceled my TV satellite service
24. Downloading music as mp3's as apposed to buying Cd's
25. Replacing all my plastic kitchen items with non plastic from the thrift store
26. Using reusable gift bags when gifting people and wrapping with newspaper or material instead of giftwrap
27. Turning off all lights that I don't need on
28. Using low wattage bulbs (incandescent, I don't believe the florescent last longer and they have toxic mercury in them, making them hard to dispose of)
29. Read the news online ( don't buy newspapers)
30. Save any scrap paper for the fireplace or recycling
31. Recycle everything and anything I can, aiming for as little garbage as possible
32. Composting my cat droppings and the wood shavings they deposit in
33. Use hot water bottles in the winter to stay warm at night
34. Use my cell phone as my alarm clock
35. Only have a cell phone, no secondary land line
36. Use my cell phone's calculator ( no need to have a separate calculator)
37. Learning how to can my own food
38. Learning how to make my own wine
39. Carry a damp cloth in a baggy so I don't have to use paper napkins when eating out
40. Bringing my own chopsticks when eating sushi
41. Refusing all individually wrapped condiment packages (I tend to like my food plain anyway)
42. Dust with just a damp rag
43. Don't have a radio or TV on for background noise
44. Have all my energy vampire products on a power bar that I can shut off when not using them
45. Using natural products such as baking soda and vinegar to clean the house
46. Plan my errands so that I don't go out of my way or make too many trips
47. Always google map locations before I leave the house, so I don't get lost and waste gas
48. Save the cold water from the beginning of the shower waiting for it to warm up to water my plants
49. Reuse my vitamin bottles to store craft supplies  ( my bottles are see-through)
50. Almost everything in my home is second hand. With the exception of some electronics, personal care items and underwear, I try to free cycle or shop at thrift stores for all my clothing, construction  and household needs.
51. The stuff I don't want anymore I free cycle or donate to thrift stores
52. Using olive oil as a moisturizer
53. Eventual goal - to eat a raw food diet as much as possible. I am a long way from this but am definitely working on it, lots of sushi and fresh fruit these days.
54. Bringing my own hand towel to work, so I don't have to use paper towel when I wash my hands
55. Gently assisting unwanted insects from my home rather than killing them with insecticides
56. Leaving spiders alone so they can deal with all the other insects that do bother me
57. Picking up litter when I see it. I do this a lot at work, always cleaning up the parking lot. I need more exercise anyway, I think I will invest in one of those litter picker upper things and try and clean up the neighborhood as I go for walks.
58. Buy milk in returnable glass bottles
59. Buy fresh bread in paper bags, recycle the bags afterwards
60. Hang blankets in my doorways in winter to cut heat loss when only heating one room at a time
61. Use essential oil diffusers with beeswax candles or natural incense for odor control, shun all chemical sprays, parfums, plug-in's etc
62. Use natural crystal deodorant ( no chemicals and very little packaging)
63. Use reusable cloth pads and a rubber cup for feminine protection
64. Don't wear any perfume or artificial scents, the rare time I want to smell like anything other than soap, I will use essential oil based cream or lotion.
65. I avoid wearing sunscreen by covering up, sitting in the shade, wearing a broad brimmed hat and sunglasses, not tanning between 10am and 2pm and then in moderation
66. Save t-light tins and make my own using beeswax
67. Use rechargeable batteries and dispose of them correctly when no longer useful
68. Looking into small solar panels to charge up my phone, etc
69. Always looking for hand operated appliances and tools at thrift stores, garage sales
70. I quit smoking a year and a half ago, so no more butt litter, air pollution or plastic lighters
71. Use matches or refillable metal lighter if I need fire
72. If using a dishwasher, I never use the heat cycle but crack the door to let stuff air dry
73. I collect acoustic instruments for company to play
74. I collect used board games for more fun without electricity
75. Instead of handing out business cards, I get people to take a picture of mine with their cell phone
76. If I do hand out business cards, I make them magnetic ones so people keep them as something useful.
77. I use a propane stove to cook on
78. I don't use non stick cookware (except for my rice cooker which came with a non stick liner)
79. I try to never use snail mail if at all possible. Correspondence is online, bill paying online
80. I never buy any clothing that requires dry cleaning or ironing
81. I buy recycled toilet paper that hasn't been bleached
82. No more paper plates and plastic cutlery for parties. Life is not a dress rehearsal, use the good stuff
83.I don't use a fridge in the winter, my unheated kitchen is cold enough to keep food fresh
84. Use wood shavings from the neighbors work shop for compostable cat litter
85. In the summer I keep the windows and blinds closed during the day and open at night to cool the house
86. I set my work hours to be outside of rush hour so I don't spend time ideling in traffic
87. I check my car air pressure daily for optimum performance
88. If I don't have to go anywhere, I will stay in my pajamas all day and save on the excess laundry
89. I make my own popsicles from fruit juice
90. My hair is dry so I can get away with moisturizing daily but only washing it once a week
91. I use a metal shaver with replacable blades
92. Buy a live Christmas tree and plant it afterwards
93. Make organic ornaments for the tree( some examples are dehydrated fruit slices, popcorn and cranberry strands, decorated pine cones)
94. Buy in bulk and store it in large glass jars
95. Prefer to use a broom or carpet sweeper over a vacumn cleaner
96. Use a string mop and hot water to wash floors, rarely use a cleaner unless neccesary
97. Reuse the same glass for water throughout the day, instead of dirtying a new one each time
98. Voting for the Green Party
99. Making sure I don’t pour grease down the drain.
100. Borrowing and sharing things I don't use often
101. Soaking my dishes overnight so less water is needed to clean the tough stuff off
102. Setting my desktop wallpaper to black, which uses less energy

Some things that I haven't done yet, but would like to implement in my life include:

Installing a shower water recycler so I can have long showers without feeling guilty about wasting water

Making my own toothpaste that doesn't contain flouride or glycerin. I would like to try this recipe

Flavorful Tooth Soap Recipe

Combine the ingredients listed.
1. 1 tablespoon of Dr. Bronner's castile liquid soap (can be ordered from drbronner.com)
2. 5 tablespoons of coconut oil
3. 1 tablespoon of olive oil
4. 10 -- 12 drops of orange oil
5. 10 -- 12 drops of peppermint oil

Read more: How to Make Tooth Soap Recipes | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_4694444_make-tooth-soap-recipes.html#ixzz1TAZyvjFo

I also want to try crushed strawberries, aloe vera gel, and powdered neem bark in some combination.
This is my own idea after doing lots of reading on the benefits and disadvantages of various ingredients for cleaning the teeth. Most recipes recommend baking soda but other reports claim that baking soda erodes the teeth. Another ingredient commonly listed is glycerin, however from what I understand, glycerin coats the teeth and prevents them from reminerilizing. Fluoride is touted as preventing cavities but it has been proven to make teeth more brittle and prone to damage as well as being a carcinogen. Neem bark powder, is a natural harmless ingredient that can...
  • prevent and heal gum disease,
  • prevent cavities,
  • eliminate bacteria that cause cavities and inflammation of the gums,
  • prevent bacteria from adhering to your teeth (reduce plaque),
  • enhance mouth immunity in general,
  • and through all this freshen the breath.

Green my transportation. One of the things that really bothers me, is my dependence on my vehicle. In a sense I feel I am somewhat green with it as it is over 25 years old, so I can say I am not wasting resources by getting a new model constantly. However, that being said, it is over 25 years old so not the most fuel effecient or clean running.  Mostly I just wish I could park it. Because of where I live and where I work, taking buses would be a huge hassle with long walks to the nearest bus stop, long waits, many transfers etc and definately not doable when I have to lug my massage table or bags of groceries.

Ideally, I would like to live close enough to work and a grocery store that I could walk there easily. I would like to have an electric scooter for running around and eventually an electric car for the times when the weather is inclement ( we live in a rain forest, it's like that alot!) All in good time I guess, for now, all I can do is try to plan my travel needs to waste as little gas as possible and not drive unneccesairly.

Eat locally grown food. Actually I wish I could produce my own food, that would even be better.Until that time though, I feel I could definately be taking better care to buy produce from the local farmers and fish from our docks, rather than buying unripe foods trucked in from thousands of miles away by big box stores. I don't know if I could follow a strict one hundred mile rule ( only eating food produced within one hundred miles of where I live) as some things such as rice, flour or olive oil might be hard to source and I'm not sure I'm ready to do without them, but I could sure work on doing it as much as is feasible.

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Thursday, 30 June 2011

Anti Inflammatory Diet

I have been suffering from intense physical pain in my joints and muscles for the last couple of years. It doesn't seem to be your typical arthritis per say but the Doctor didn't know what else it could be. I had heard that certain foods agravate inflammation in the body but didn't know much about it. I found these articles the other day by Dr. Weiss describing something called Metabloic Syndrome. From the sounds of the diagnosis, I belive this is what is wrong with me.

What is Metabolic Syndrome? Please read this article by Dr Weiss where is describes the diagnosis,symptoms,causes and treatments.

This information is taken from another article from Dr Weiss where he describes the diet and treatment of Metabolic Syndrome.

The Anti-Inflammatory Diet is not a diet in the popular sense - it is not intended as a weight-loss program (although people can and do lose weight on it), nor is it an eating plan to stay on for a limited period of time. Rather, it is way of selecting and preparing foods based on scientific knowledge of how they can help your body maintain optimum health. Along with influencing inflammation, this diet will provide steady energy and ample vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids dietary fiber, and protective phytonutrients.
You can also adapt your existing recipes according to these anti-inflammatory diet principles:
General Diet Tips:
  • Aim for variety.
  • Include as much fresh food as possible.
  • Minimize your consumption of processed foods and fast food.
  • Eat an abundance of fruits and vegetables.
Caloric Intake
  • Most adults need to consume between 2,000 and 3,000 calories a day.
  • Women and smaller and less active people need fewer calories.
  • Men and bigger and more active people need more calories.
  • If you are eating the appropriate number of calories for your level of activity, your weight should not fluctuate greatly.
  • The distribution of calories you take in should be as follows: 40 to 50 percent from carbohydrates, 30 percent from fat, and 20 to 30 percent from protein.
  • Try to include carbohydrates, fat, and protein at each meal.
  • On a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, adult women should consume between 160 to 200 grams of carbohydrates a day.
  • Adult men should consume between 240 to 300 grams of carbohydrates a day.
  • The majority of this should be in the form of less-refined, less-processed foods with a low glycemic load.
  • Reduce your consumption of foods made with wheat flour and sugar, especially bread and most packaged snack foods (including chips and pretzels).
  • Eat more whole grains such as brown rice and bulgur wheat, in which the grain is intact or in a few large pieces. These are preferable to whole wheat flour products, which have roughly the same glycemic index as white flour products.
  • Eat more beans, winter squashes, and sweet potatoes.
  • Cook pasta al dente and eat it in moderation.
  • Avoid products made with high fructose corn syrup.
  • On a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, 600 calories can come from fat - that is, about 67 grams. This should be in a ratio of 1:2:1 of saturated to monounsaturated to polyunsaturated fat.
  • Reduce your intake of saturated fat by eating less butter, cream, high-fat cheese, unskinned chicken and fatty meats, and products made with palm kernel oil.
  • Use extra-virgin olive oil as a main cooking oil. If you want a neutral tasting oil, use expeller-pressed, organic canola oil. Organic, high-oleic, expeller pressed versions of sunflower and safflower oil are also acceptable.
  • Avoid regular safflower and sunflower oils, corn oil, cottonseed oil, and mixed vegetable oils.
  • Strictly avoid margarine, vegetable shortening, and all products listing them as ingredients. Strictly avoid all products made with partially hydrogenated oils of any kind. Include in your diet avocados and nuts, especially walnuts, cashews, almonds, and nut butters made from these nuts.
  • For omega-3 fatty acids, eat salmon (preferably fresh or frozen wild or canned sockeye), sardines packed in water or olive oil, herring, and black cod (sablefish, butterfish); omega-3 fortified eggs; hemp seeds and flaxseeds (preferably freshly ground); or take a fish oil supplement (look for products that provide both EPA and DHA, in a convenient daily dosage of two to three grams).
  • On a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, your daily intake of protein should be between 80 and 120 grams. Eat less protein if you have liver or kidney problems, allergies, or autoimmune disease.
  • Decrease your consumption of animal protein except for fish and high quality natural cheese and yogurt.
  • Eat more vegetable protein, especially from beans in general and soybeans in particular. Become familiar with the range of whole-soy foods available and find ones you like.
  • Try to eat 40 grams of fiber a day. You can achieve this by increasing your consumption of fruit, especially berries, vegetables (especially beans), and whole grains.
  • Ready-made cereals can be good fiber sources, but read labels to make sure they give you at least 4 and preferably 5 grams of bran per one-ounce serving.
  • To get maximum natural protection against age-related diseases (including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative disease) as well as against environmental toxicity, eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and mushrooms.
  • Choose fruits and vegetables from all parts of the color spectrum, especially berries, tomatoes, orange and yellow fruits, and dark leafy greens.
  • Choose organic produce whenever possible. Learn which conventionally grown crops are most likely to carry pesticide residues and avoid them.
  • Eat cruciferous (cabbage-family) vegetables regularly.
  • Include soy foods in your diet.
  • Drink tea instead of coffee, especially good quality white, green or oolong tea.
  • If you drink alcohol, use red wine preferentially.
  • Enjoy plain dark chocolate in moderation (with a minimum cocoa content of 70 percent).
Vitamins and MineralsThe best way to obtain all of your daily vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients is by eating a diet high in fresh foods with an abundance of fruits and vegetables. In addition, supplement your diet with the following antioxidant cocktail:
  • Vitamin C, 200 milligrams a day.
  • Vitamin E, 400 IU of natural mixed tocopherols (d-alpha-tocopherol with other tocopherols, or, better, a minimum of 80 milligrams of natural mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols).
  • Selenium, 200 micrograms of an organic (yeast-bound) form.
  • Mixed carotenoids, 10,000-15,000 IU daily.
  • The antioxidants can be most conveniently taken as part of a daily multivitamin/multimineral supplement that also provides at least 400 micrograms of folic acid and 2,000 IU of vitamin D. It should contain no iron (unless you are a female and having regular menstrual periods) and no preformed vitamin A (retinol). Take these supplements with your largest meal.
  • Women should take supplemental calcium, preferably as calcium citrate, 500-700 milligrams a day, depending on their dietary intake of this mineral. Men should avoid supplemental calcium.
Other Dietary Supplements
  • If you are not eating oily fish at least twice a week, take supplemental fish oil, in capsule or liquid form (two to three grams a day of a product containing both EPA and DHA). Look for molecularly distilled products certified to be free of heavy metals and other contaminants.
  • Talk to your doctor about going on low-dose aspirin therapy, one or two baby aspirins a day (81 or 162 milligrams).
  • If you are not regularly eating ginger and turmeric, consider taking these in supplemental form.
  • Add coQ10 to your daily regimen: 60-100 milligrams of a softgel form taken with your largest meal.
  • If you are prone to metabolic syndrome, take alpha-lipoic acid, 100 to 400 milligrams a day.
  • Drink pure water, or drinks that are mostly water (tea, very diluted fruit juice, sparkling water with lemon) throughout the day.
  • Use bottled water or get a home water purifier if your tap water tastes of chlorine or other contaminants, or if you live in an area where the water is known or suspected to be contaminated.
Join Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging for more in-depth information on the anti-inflammatory diet, plus over 200 anti-inflammatory recipes, dozens of diet tips designed to help prevent age-related disease, and an exclusive version of Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid!

here is a link to Dr. Weiss's interactive, anti-inflammatory food pyramid, click on the items for more info about each group

What therapies does Dr. Weil recommend for metabolic syndrome?
  • Dietary changes: The conventional medical recommendation of a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet to lower triglycerides and bring down cholesterol is dead wrong in his opinion. Eating a diet high in the wrong kinds of carbohydrate and fat may actually elevate triglycerides and cholesterol. Instead, Dr. Weil recommends following an anti-inflammatory diet. This is a not a diet in the popular sense - it is not intended as a weight-loss program (although people can and do lose weight on it), nor is it an eating plan to stay on for a limited period of time. Rather, it is way of selecting and preparing foods based on scientific knowledge of how they can help your body remain optimally healthy. Along with influencing inflammation, this diet will provide steady energy and ample vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and dietary fiber. The following suggestions incorporate the principles of this way of eating:

    • Eat small, frequent meals to keep blood sugar in a healthy range. Eating large meals can flood the bloodstream with glucose and insulin. Experiment until you find that you feel your best.
    • Keep refined starches and sugars to a minimum, instead choosing those with a low glycemic index. (Sweet potatoes, winter squash and beans are examples of better carbohydrates.) You should also be aware of glycemic load in assessing dietary choices.
    • Keep saturated fats and trans-fats to a minimum, but consume moderate amounts of monounsaturated oils, such as olive oil and some nut oils.
    • Eat fish several times a week, emphasizing wild, cold-water fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and sardines. Or take omega-3 supplements.
    • Eat generous amounts of non-starchy vegetables, like cucumbers, bell peppers, dark leafy greens, zucchini, eggplant, squash, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, beans, radishes and spinach.
    • Eat foods high in magnesium, which research has linked to lowering the incidence of metabolic syndrome. One gets magnesium by eating plenty of whole grains, leafy green vegetables (spinach is a great source) as well as almonds, cashews and other nuts, avocados, beans, soybeans, and halibut.
    • Cut back on alcohol, avoiding beer especially. (Even small amounts of alcohol can elevate triglyceride levels.)
    • For more information on the anti-inflammatory diet, check out Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid.
  • Exercise: Getting regular exercise is vital but too many people quit, become injured, or simply find the process less enjoyable than they should. Follow Dr. Weil's advice for making aerobic exercise an ongoing, safe and rewarding part of your life.
  • Mind/Body: It is important to attend to stress in positive ways. Rather than using alcohol, tobacco, or television, try breathing exercises. They are simple, free, and right under your nose. Dr. Weil has compiled ten ways to reduce stress and promote relaxation, calm and peace within yourself. Some techniques take practice, and most require some commitment on your part to achieve results. However, the results are well worth the effort.
  • An antioxidant supplement and multivitamin-mineral supplement.
  • You can take additional magnesium if you do not think you're getting enough in the diet. Dr. Weil recommends magnesium citrate, chelate, or glycinate. Avoid magnesium oxide, which can be irritating, and take half the amount of magnesium as the calcium you take in supplemental form. If you do not take any supplemental calcium, watch out for taking large amounts of magnesium, which can cause diarrhea.
  • If you are not eating oily fish at least twice a week, take supplemental fish oil, in capsule or liquid form, 1-2 grams a day. Look for molecularly distilled products certified to be free of heavy metals and other contaminants.
  • Take alpha-lipoic acid, 100 to 400 milligrams a day. Note that this could potentially lower glucose levels too much if the person taking medication such as metformin - patients should work with their physicians so safe and proper dosages are employed.

I personally recently bought an infra-red sauna which has been nothing short of miracualous when it comes to treating my physical pain. I will do a more in-depth article on infra- red next time.
    I think that with rising obesity plaguing our world these days that more and more people will suffer from chronic inflammation. I hope you find this information helpful!
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Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Making Your Own Bath Salts

Making Your Own Bath Salts

Bath Salts are an easily prepared alternative to the mixtures now on the market; most of these chemical-ridden formulas are almost guaranteed to irritate your skin. Bath salts are used for many different purposes, and they make great gifts when packaged in attractive containers.

The basic ingredients are table salt, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) & Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate). Some herbalists also use borax.

Epsom salts are wonderful for detoxifying the muscles and reducing pain.

Sea Salt adds minerals to rejuvenate the body. You can use either (un-iodized versions)

Add the salts to a large bowl in these proportions:

3 parts Epsom/sea salts

2 parts baking soda

1 part table salt (or borax)

Essential (scented, herbal/floral) Oils

Mix thoroughly using your hands or wooden spoons reserved just for this purpose, to stir the ingredients. This is now the base from which you can create a wide variety of bath salts. If you want to, you can add colors to bath salts. Use plain food coloring for this purpose, letting it fall drop by drop onto the salt base.

If two or more colors are required to mix an exotic hue (such as purple), mix these in a spoon first and then add to the salts to avoid creating a two-toned product, unless of course, you plan on a two or three tone salt.

Add many drops for a darker colored salt; fewer for a lightly hued salt. Mix the color into the salts until it is evenly distributed; again use your hands or you may use a utensil.

Now add the essential oils drop by drop, until the scent seems strong enough. If you plan on using more then one essential oil then mix these together first before adding to the salt. Use your hands and fingertips to mix it together until all salt particles are moistened. This may take up to fifteen minutes or longer.

As to proportions, rely on your sense of smell to determine the exact quantities. The more potent the finished products' scent, the less will have to be used for each bath. They should be strongly scented.

To use, add from 2 tablespoons to one-half cup of the bath salts to a full tub. Mix with your hands into the water. Enjoy your home made bath salts!

For very sore, achy muscles add 2 cups of Epsom salt to a hot bath and soak for 20 minutes to allow for the osmosis effect of the salt to pull lactic acid from the muscles. A very effect way to manage pain! I will also use an ice pack on the areas of concern after my bath to cool down any inflammation that may be present. After the bath and ice and a good nights sleep you should be feeling a whole lot better.

Store your bath salts and any opened packages of salt in a closed container, they will absorb moisture from the air and harden into a solid clump if left open.

Don’t have a bath? You can also use salt and oil as a body scrub in the shower. These will leave your skin as soft as a babies! Mix ½ cup of salt (I use dead Sea Salt un-iodized but any table salt will do) with enough virgin olive oil to saturate the salt. Add a splash of water (Approximately 1 tablespoon) to make the mixture a little creamier. You can use this plain or if you wish it scented, add your essential oils.(Lavender has many healing qualities for the skin and it’s scent is very relaxing, one of my favorites!)

After your shower when the skin is still wet, stop the water. Apply the salt mixture in circular scrubbing motions all over your body (avoid face, crotch area, and nipples). Rinse off with lukewarm water (no soap). Pat yourself dry with a fluffy towel, and voila, satin smooth skin.
To maintain this softness, apply skin lotion to the body after patting dry, and right after every other bath/shower while the skin is still moist. If you suffer from very dry skin , you may wish to substitute sugar for the salt, it is not as irritating. Very dry skin is also helped by adding oatmeal to a bath. Place a handful of oatmeal (grind to a powder if possible) into a porous cloth and make a bundle. Tie this under the running water as the bath fills.

-Make your bath a special time for yourself. Light candles, play relaxing music, get a bath pillow, a cool drink and some warm fluffy towels for after. If your lucky like I am, your dryer is in the bathroom and you can pull out a toasty warm towel right after your bath...heavenly. Draping your towels over a small portable radiator works as well, but be very careful not to leave the towels on too long, a fire may result!

Here are a bunch of recipes for scenting your bath salts. Generally speaking, there shouldn't be more than ten drops of essential oil per half-cup of bath salts. Use only genuine essential oils.

Bath Salts Combination #1

3 drops lavender

3 drops grapefruit

2 drops juniper

2 cups sea salt

Add about 1/2 cup to bath water.

Bath Salts Combination #2

3 drops sandalwood

3 drops patchouli

3 drops lavender

2 cups sea salt

Add 1/2 cup to bath water

Healing Bath Recipe (Bath Salts)

Color: Dark blue

3 parts Neroli

2 parts Eucalyptus

1 part Sandalwood

Protection Bath Recipe (Bath Salts)

COLOR: White

3 Parts Rosemary

2 parts Frankincense

1 part Lavender

Love Bath Recipe (Bath Salts)


3 parts Rosemary

1 part Cardamon

1 part Jasmine

Divine Spiritual Bath Recipe (Bath Salts)

COLOR: Purple

4 parts Sandalwood

2 parts Myrrh

1 part frankincense

1 drop Cinnamon

High Priestess Bath

1 cup sea salt

8 drops wisteria oil

8 drops lavender oil

4 drops rose oil


AIR BATH (Elemental)

COLOR: Yellow

3 parts Lavender

2 parts Rosemary

1 part each Peppermint

Bergamont Mint Bouquet

Use to attune with the powers of Air, for divination, aiding the memory, concentration, clear thinking, visualization and study.


COLOR: White

4 parts Lavender

2 parts Camphor

Add to a tub of tepid water - not hot. Bathe in this blend when you wish to cool down.


COLOR: Purple

3 parts Rosemary

2 parts Myrrh

2 parts Sandalwood

1 part Frankincense

Bathe in before any form of magical working to strengthen, purify and prepare yourself for ritual.

EARTH BATH (Elemental)

COLOR: Green

4 parts Patchouli

3 parts Cypress

1 part Vetiver

Use in attuning with the Earth, or for spells involving money, foundation, stability, creativity, fertility, ecology and so on...


COLOR: White

3 Parts Frankincense

3 Parts Sandalwood

2 Parts Rosemary

1 drop clove oil

Bathe in this mixture for a heavy psychic cleansing. Splash fresh water over your body after the bath.

NOTE: Do not use more than one drop clove oil (may irritate)

FIRE BATH (Elemental)


3 parts Frankincense

2 parts Basil

2 parts Juniper

1/2 part Orange

For use in attuning with the element of Fire, or for rituals involving strength, courage, passion, lust and so on...



3 parts Palmarosa

2 Parts Lavender

1 drop Rose (more may be added)

Bathe in this mixture to attract love and to expand your ability to give and receive love.


COLOR: Dark Blue

3 parts Neroli

2 parts Eucalyptus

1 part Sandalwood

For use in speeding healing. Release the ailment into the water. Splash fresh water over your body before toweling.


COLOR: Purple

3 parts Cedarwood

2 Parts Sandalwood

1 part Frankincense

Bathe in this mixture to direct your consciousness toward higher things, to promote spirituality & to combat earth--obsessions such as uncontrolled spending, overeating, sluggishness & all forms of unbalanced materialism.



3 parts Rosemary

2 parts Lavender

1 part Cardamon

1 part Yarrow

For promoting and attracting love. Use with visualization, as with all of these formulas.



3 parts Sandalwood

2 parts Patchouly

1 part Cardamon

For promoting lustful desires.


COLOR: White

3 Parts Rosemary

2 parts Frankincense

1 part Lavender

Bathe in this mixture daily to strengthen your psychic armor and to stave off all manner of attacks - physical, mental, spiritual, psychic and emotional.


COLOR: Light Blue

4 parts Yarrow

1 part bay

Use this blend in baths to strengthen your psychic awareness


3 Parts Geranium

2 parts rosemary

1 part Frankincense

Bathe in this blend to purify body, spirit & soul.


COLOR: Dark Blue

3 parts Lotus Bouquet

2 parts Lavender

1 part Rosemary

Add a bit of Sea Salt to the salt base. Bathe for a gentle purification prior to magical works


COLOR: Purple

4 parts Sandalwood

2 parts Myrrh

1 part frankincense

1 drop Cinnamon

Use to increase your awareness of the Divine, especially before religious rituals.

WATER BATH (Elemental)

COLOR: Dark Blue

2 parts Chamomile

2 parts Yarrow

1 part Ylang-Ylang

1 part Palmarosa

Use for attuning with the element of Water, or for love, psychic awareness, friendships, healing and so on...


COLOR: Dark Blue

2 Parts Palmarosa

1 part Myrrh

1 part Geranium

Enjoy your soak!

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Friday, 3 June 2011

Journaling Exercises for Healing

Journalling is an amazing tool for self discovery. I have posted a few articles about the ways you can utilize journalling, to see if you are living a balanced lifeto relieve stress,  get to the root of problems and keep a record of your life, dreams and insights . Here are some more journalling exercises to help put things in perspective and create a method for healing the inner child that resides in all of us.

Life is hard. We have all faced challenges in life, not to mention disappointments, broken hearts, betrayal, loss, abuse and a whole host of negative emotions. The difference to your health is how you deal with those emotions and events. If you are like most people , you keep them inside and look for ways to distract yourself from having to face them.

Distractions come in many forms including, alcohol, nicotine, drugs, shopping, eating, hobbies, TV, even religion. In the meantime, while you are ignoring your emotions they are busy churning away at your insides and that usually adds up to physical pain somewhere in the body. By taking a look at the events and beliefs that shape our lives we get to know ourselves. We can use this as a tool to change the course of our lives and a way to find freedom from the past.

These journalling exercises will help you to look at the way you process emotional pain and to discover how it manifests in your body. Divide your journal pages into two columns. When writing about upsetting events, stop and scan your body. Where does it hurt? Write this next to the event or emotion that you are writing about.

Look at the following lists of positive and negative feelings and negative beliefs about ourselves. When the positive feelings are felt and experienced in our lives they are a source of health. Negative feelings that aren’t expressed, fester inside. As you read through the list , you will probably find that you have a strong response to some of the words while you have little or no response to others. Note in your journal the ones that apply to you.

Positive Feelings

Bliss Happiness Passion Ecstasy Joy Satisfaction Excitement Love Sympathy Fulfillment Optimism Tenderness Gladness Thrilled

Negative Feelings
Abandonment Failure Pride Aggression Fear Being forgotten Agony Regret Anger Fright Anxiety Frustration Remorse Arrogance Greed Resentment Shame Rage Rejection MiseryBashfulness Guilt Sadness Bewilderment Hate Bitterness Helplessness Boredom Hopelessness Sheepishness Sorrow Being burdened Hostility Suspicion Confusion Inadequacy Terror Depression Isolation Being trapped Deprivation Jealousy Unimportance Disgust Disappointment Loneliness Desperation Limitedness Unwantedness Unworthiness Being discounted Being used Uselessness Doom Panic Overwelmed Dread Paranoia Perplexity Worry Withdrawn Envy

Negative Beliefs About Ourselves

I am:

Unworthy Incompetent Incapable Unlovable Unwanted

Unproductive Stupid Abandoned Undeserving Powerless

Inadequate Trapped Guilty Inferior Burdensome

Shameful Misunderstood Confused Bad Betrayed

Weak Worthless No good Unloved Alone

Unattractive Victimized Sinful

Are inferior Have no power Are hateful

Create sorrow Abuse love Abuse the opposite sex

Are undependable Abuse power Like getting hurt

Are victims Deserve pain Are weak

Family Beliefs
We will always be:

Poor Misunderstood Stupid Disliked

Releasing Negative Feelings and Beliefs

Sometimes when we don’t know what to do with our feelings, they can seem overwhelming. The following nine suggestions show what you can do with your feelings rather than keeping them inside, where they can hurt you and others. It is time to stop that pain! There are ways to get those feelings out that don’t involve hitting, starving or stuffing yourself, creating an illness or acting them out in some way that will only cause more dis-ease in your life. Start now to to break those old, destructive and hurtful patterns of taking unresolved pain out on yourself. After you’ve released some of your feelings, give yourself a break. Praise yourself for doing good work, for possibly closing a chapter in your life. You may also want to record the experience, and any insights you may have had in your journal.

1. When you have feelings of hatred ,anger, resentment, sadness etc. towards an institution or person, write a letter expressing exactly how you feel. You do not have to mail it, the important thing is that you express your feelings.

2. Share what you are feeling with a counselor or trusted friend.Sometimes we want someone to hear our feelings though this is not always the person with whom we have a grievance.

3. You can put a chair in front of you and pretend the person or institution is sitting in front of you. You could even put a picture of them on the chair. Say everything that you have ever wanted to say to them about what they did to you. Don’t worry about their feelings. Take care of your feelings. If this is someone who has abused you in some way, visualize giving the offender back their shame, pain, and humiliation.

4. Drive to a place where you can be alone and yell and scream as loud as you need to. Say everything you need to, until you feel a release of your inner turmoil.

5. Get a plastic bat and beat your bed, couch, or a strong pillow with it, use something soft so you won’t hurt your hand. Scream "NO", "I won’t let you....... hurt me, humiliate me........".whatever you need to take back ,as loud as you can, and reclaim your power.

6. Sing. As loudly and outrageously as you want.

7. Cry. Put on sad music, go to a sad movie, wallow in old memories, what ever you need to do. Just let those tears out.

8. Do something physical. This could be dancing, jogging ,running, swimming, walking fast, playing a sport, bicycling, doing yard work, etc. Anything physical really helps.

9. Go outside, even if it’s winter. Be out in nature, you will be more grounded. Talk it out to the universe, it will really help to work out that fear, anxiety and anger.

The Child Within
Each of us has a child within, a part of us which is sensitive, vulnerable, playful, sweet, innocent, giggly, squirmy, creative, lovable, curious,smiling, and filled with wonder. Even if you don’t allow yourself to express this part, your inner child is still there--- wanting and needing attention, recognition ,acceptance ,love, nurturence and joy.

Developing a relationship with your inner child is very important for your healing process. If your inner child was wounded, not getting all the love or positive recognition it deserved, there is a good chance that that this same inner child is still very needy today.

You may be wondering how to recognise your own inner child. When you are in a situation that has brought up feelings of fear, anger, rage, sadness, confusion, despair, hopelessness, or terror, ask yourself how old you feel. Ask your child where it is, what is happening, how they feel. This is helpful in knowing if you’re reacting from the child’s or the adult’s feelings. You can do this in your journal. In one column on the right with your dominant hand, ask you inner child questions. In the left column with your non dominant hand ( use crayons or markers) let your inner child answer.

Warning - We all have a "critical parent" within us, that may try to sabatage this experience.They may say things like:

"Hurry up, you’re too slow"

"That’s a stupid thing to say"

"You’re dumb"

Listen to your inner parent with the realization that the way it parents your inner child reveals something to you about how you were parented as a child. Simply take note of what it is saying, without feeling like you have to act on it. Go beyond the critical voice by paying attention to your inner childs own needs for affection and recognition, right now, they are more important than meeting the needs of the inner parent. It is up to you as the adult , now to give that child the safety, the protection, the reassurance, the attention, the acknowledgement that he/she (you) did not get earlier. Think about any small children you know right now. If they came to you needing to feel safe, loved and acknowledged, how would you provide that for them? You are going to have to learn how to give this to yourself.

Meet your inner child. Go to a park or somewhere childish and happy. Using your journal, let your inner child draw a picture with crayons/markers etc.with your nondominant hand. Let them pick the colours.If they are feeling angry, the picture may be mean, scary, unhappy or angry. Assure your inner child that this is ok, they can express anything they wish. Ask your inner child questions with your dominant hand. Let your child answer with your non dominant hand. Ask what they would like to be called. If you have not previously looked at the wounds of your inner child, he or she may not be very happy when you first make contact. They may feel very hurt, neglected, mistrustful, sad , alone, ashamed and unwanted.

Allow the child to say anything that they need or want to say. Give them all the time and space they need. Your child may want to tell you how lonely she has been or how hard it was when you were little. (Remember to watch for the voice of the critical parent, record those messages in your journal with your dominant hand.)

When you are ready to finish your dialogue with your inner child, tell them that you want to become more aware of them through out your daily life. Ask her for a code, a way to let you , the adult, know that she wants or needs to talk to you. For example, maybe they will think of the colour red. When you hear or sense an inner nudging of red, grab your journal and ask "whats up?"They will always have something to say!

Love this inner child. You’re the adult now. You can give your inner child everything they ever wanted or needed. Nuturing this relationship can fill up those empty spaces inside. The unmet needs of your inner child will no longer control your life. You will feel more complete.

A Picture of Your Past
Use your journal to begin making notes about your childhood. Use photo albums, old toys or mementoes of your childhood to help you remember. Ask grandparents, family friends, old school friends if they remember any stories about you as a child.

Some questions you may ask yourself are:

What messages as a child did you receive about expressing your feelings?

Where you encouraged to speak your mind or to keep quiet?

What did you do when you felt fear, anger, sadness, discouragement, or when your feelings were hurt?

When you did express your feelings, did anybody listen? Did anyone care?

Look at the ways you were taught to express positive emotions such as joy, excitement, happiness and love as well as the negative emotions.Were your needs and wants respected?

What sticks out as the most painful memory?

Were you allowed to be a child, or were you expected to assume responsibilty?

Was there physical/emotional/sexual abuse in the family?

Were there family secrets you had to hold on to?

Write it all out, all of it, the resentments, the anger, the sadness. Don’t concern yourself with the good times, since these memories are not going to cause physical problems.

Write down which negative beliefs you picked up about yourself when you were a child.

Childhood Health History
Record in your journal with your dominant hand , any health problems you had a a child other than the usual childhood diseases. Do you still suffer from any of them? Ask your parents if there was anything unusual happening around that time. List emotional events that coincide with the illnesses.

Have your inner child use your nondominant hand to write about their impressions of the past. Remeber we are looking for stored memories, feelings, fears, anxieties, attitudes, beliefs and emotional pain (including memories of physical or sexual abuse). Reassure your child that it is ok for them to express themselves, that you will protect and love them. Along the way if the critical parent shows up , record their comments on a separate page.

After doing this exercise, do something physical or fun to work out these emotions. Talk them out with a trusted friend or a therapist. Don’t think you have to do this alone.


Concious secrets
Divide your journal page in two. List one column "Conscious secrets stored inside", label the second column "Physical aches and pains".. Divide your journal page in two. List one column "Conscious secrets stored inside", label the second column "Physical aches and pains"..

In the first column write about any secrets you have been keeping, as you do so, note how your body feels and write this down in the second column.

Other peoples secrets
Divide a new page in your journal and write "Others peoples secrets" and "Aches and pains".

Record secrets other people have asked you to hold for them or which you feel you must keep.

Notice how your body feels and record this in the other column.

Take a break and go outside and do something fun to clear yourself.

Secrets of the Inner child
Put your crayon or pencil in your nondominent hand and ask your inner child what secrets he/she is holding inside. Be patient,gentle and loving, tell them they are safe, record any critism from your inner parent.

Creating a Safe Place
When you have competed the above ask your inner child what it needs to feel safe. Do what you can to create an emotional atmosphere of safety and love in your mind.

After completing this work, sit back , take a few deep breathes and relax. Read these words to yourself:

I am an adult now.

I can protect myself.

I will not let anymore pain happen to me or my inner child.

Just sit and feel the safety of these words and their promise. Know that what you have said is true.

The Addict is almost always plagued by unresolved emotional pain, negative personal beliefs and low self-esteem.These are the things that keep the addictive cycle going. Addicts often have mutiple addictions or switch one addiction for another- they stop drinking and begin overeating or become a compusive shopper for example. In order to get to the root of the problem, the addiction must go. Read the following questionaires and this one . If you find yourself described in any of them, ask the Universe to give you strength and courage to make the neccesary changes. Call the branch of the 12 step program that applies to you and start going to the meetings. You can’t do it alone, don’t expect this of yourself. Entering recovery is just the beginning , you must work through your issues and create a safe place for yourself so you don’t have to rely on distractions to numb yourself with.

Record in your journal any emotions or memories that came up for you when reading over these lists. If the subject of addiction did not seem to apply to you, you might want to note how it affected someone in your life, either in the past or present. Note any thoughts you have about them. Note any techniques you have for distracting yourself or for getting away from uncomfortable feelings.

Why do Nice People get Sick?   
There seems to be a strong link between illness and not being able to express ourselves.Being a nice person and helpful is great but not if it is at your own expense.You take all your energy to be there for others , depleting yourself in the process.Usually what follows depletion is illness which is often the only way you can feel cared for. Codependent people lose a sense of themselves and rely on other peoples wishes and desires to make deciscions. By fusing with someone else this way , the other persons needs and wants become more important than our own. When we are asked what we want, we really can’t say.

Codependent people have a difficult time putting themselves first because they believe that it is being selfish or self-centered, which is a no-no.Codependency is cunning because it masquarades as loving concern, selflessness, nurturing, ect. But it’s roots are buried in low self-esteem. Focusing on others first, fusing with others, feeling responsible for other peoples lives....this way of life will make you silently resentful, envious, angry, hateful and miserable, and you already know what happens to all of that negativity sitting inside your body. Read this list of the characteristics of codependency. If you find that you relate to them you may want to take an assertiveness course to learn how to say "No"!

Following is a commonly used list of characteristics of codependency.
  1. My good feelings about who I am stem from being liked by you
  2. My good feelings about who I am stem from receiving approval from you
  3. Your struggle affects my serenity. My mental attention focuses on solving your problems/relieving your pain
  4. My mental attention is focused on you
  5. My mental attention is focused on protecting you
  6. My mental attention is focused on manipulating you to do it my way
  7. My self-esteem is bolstered by solving your problems
  8. My self-esteem is bolstered by relieving your pain
  9. My own hobbies/interests are put to one side. My time is spent sharing your hobbies/interests
  10. Your clothing and personal appearance are dictated by my desires and I feel you are a reflection of me
  11. Your behaviour is dictated by my desires and I feel you are a reflection of me
  12. I am not aware of how I feel. I am aware of how you feel.
  13. I am not aware of what I want - I ask what you want. I am not aware - I assume
  14. The dreams I have for my future are linked to you
  15. My fear of rejection determines what I say or do
  16. My fear of your anger determines what I say or do
  17. I use giving as a way of feeling safe in our relationship
  18. My social circle diminishes as I involve myself with you
  19. I put my values aside in order to connect with you
  20. I value your opinion and way of doing things more than my own
  21. The quality of my life is in relation to the quality of yours
In your journal, make notes about the issue of codependency and how it affects you. . Are their some people you have a codependent relationship with but not others?Are there people in your life whose niceness makes you uncomfortable? The roots of codependency are in the pain we carry around inside of us. As this pain comes to the surface, write it down, what triggers them, and any memories they bring up from the past.

There is something about commiting your thoughts to paper, that makes you focus on them. You will be surprised at how once you start writing, the words just start to flow, first a trickle, then a downpour. As they used to say"let it all hang out". Getting it out of your head and putting it where you can look at it objectively will give you the tools to move forward in your life and  heal old wounds.

Give your inner child a hug for me!

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Saturday, 28 May 2011

If I Had it to Do All Over....

....there is a few things I would have done differently. Don't get me wrong, I have had, at the very least, an interesting life. I had many adventures I never planned for and circumstances I could have never predicted. It's been an Indiana Jones movie with non-stop plot twists and turns. That being said, hindsight being what it is and all, I thought I would pass on my words of wisdom to the youth of today. Not that they will likely listen to me anymore than I listened to my parents but it's my two cents for what it's worth!

The first thing I want to say is, old age happens fast. It seems so far down the road when your twenty and have your whole life ahead of of you, but you wake up one day, straining to read the print on the newspaper and your joints creak as you roll out of bed and you realize that the future is here. Your not decrepit and you have many vital years left, but by now you have made some choices in your life that will affect how the rest of your days will play out. Here is a list of things I wish I would have paid more attention to in my younger years.

1. Savings. Every kid should be given the book to read "The Wealthy Barber" when they get their first allowance. It should be mandatory reading in grade school, hell they should just tattoo it on your chest! I started earning money when I was eleven years old. I had paper routes, graduated to babysitting, then waitressing etc and so on. If I had just saved ten cents from every dollar (leaving me a whopping 90 percent to spend) I would be a millionaire right now and not worried about being homeless in my old age. Just ten percent of any income I received, should have been automatically banked and let the magic of compound interest do it's job. I was a foolio, I thought a white knight would rescue me and marry me and take me off to his castle where I would dine in splendor night after night. It didn't happen and I have no plan B. Start saving when you are young, you will thank yourself one day, trust me!

2.A job with benefits. My dad pressured me to join the Military when I was young, touting things like, free uniforms, health care, dental plans, retirement package etc. All I heard was he wanted me to work for minimum wage where total strangers could yell at me all day long and I would be one of the faceless masses with no voice of my own. Ok, I  probably still wouldn't join the military but I wasn't listening to the message which was, job security and a good benefits package. I have been self employed basically my whole life. I have never had a paid holiday, never had health benefits, have nothing that looks like a retirement package and no job security. That is a scary place to be, needless to say, I haven't had a ton of holidays in my life and there will be no retirement for me, I will have to work until I drop in my tracks.

 To be honest I'm not sure I could have chosen a career in my youth that would have stimulated me and that I would have enjoyed working at for 50 odd years but I could have sat down and thought about it a bit more for sure. My advice on that, is think of things you absolutely love in life. What fascinates you, what drives you, what would you do for free because it gives you joy or a challenge. Now find yourself a career that allows you to do that every day. You may have to go to school to get the appropriate training but at least you have a goal and you know the path to get there. Trust me , that's half the battle!

Too many people just go through life figuring it will come to them someday, their dream job will just fall into their lap. Maybe it will, maybe it won't, better you put some effort into being on the right track. Many people also get stuck in jobs they hate and have no room for advancement in and feel trapped because now they are too old to start over. Really think about how you are going to make a living, how you are going to make your mark in the world.

Don't kid yourself, we all have to do something, it might as well be something you like and are good at. Do you really need to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a BA in some obscure subject that in the end won't qualify you to even flip hamburgers at McDonald's? Yes an education is important, but try and spend your money on something  that will give you a tangible return. You won't get those years back, make them count for something. And don't count on winning the lottery, you have a better chance of getting hit by lightning ten times!

3. Taking better care of my health. Wow, where do I start here?

 Well I never had a dental plan, so looking after my teeth was expensive and often put off. Lets just say I really regret that now.

 I started smoking at eleven years old( I know, I know, terrible!) however, as any reformed smoker can tell you, it's a lifelong addiction once you start. I'm now paying the price with reduced lung capacity which limits my physical activity. Just don't start and drinking alcohol is highly overrated as well. There are better things to spend your money on, your really NOT cool when your stupid drunk and being an idiot. The brain cells you save will thank you down the road.

Suntanning. I was the queen of tanning. I loved having a golden tan pretty much year round. At the beach from April til September and in the tanning booths the rest of the year. Now I have ugly age spots, scary brown spots, and wrinkles in places there shouldn't be. I could have done all the things I did, I just should have sat in the shade, covered up more and avoided getting burnt.

 Exercise. I just kept putting it off, thinking I would get in shape one of these days. Well I probably still could but it will be a huge struggle at my age and I feel it every day that I am not in shape. Every joint hurts, it's hard to do anything, bending over to tie my shoe can be an effort some days. Get regular exercise every single day! No excuses unless you want to spend the second half of your life in a motorized wheel chair. Change it up, dance one day, ski the next, go for walks after dinner, ride your bike to work, stretch often, take the stairs, just get off your ass, every. single. day! Avoid vicious contact sports. I've met many millionaires that can't climb a set of stairs because of high school football injuries...just saying...

4. Be a better friend. You know you can't take it with you, right? If you spend your whole life working hard, always making excuses why you can't do things with your friends because your too busy, one day they just won't be there, they will have moved on. Your friends are your most precious commodity in life. The laughs you share, the comfort you receive when you are down are priceless. Take the time to really listen to people, give them a hand when they need it, be a shoulder to cry on, or be the person that cheers them up. You can't do everything by yourself, your community is your lifeline, treat it with respect and love. Be as good of a friend and neighbor as you would like to be treated in return.

5. Meditate. Or something that looks like it. Once a day turn off everything that distracts you; the TV, the computer, video games, the ipod, whatever. Take some time to sit quietly and let your own thoughts come to the surface. Learn to recognize when your instincts are telling you something, they are always right, but if you live in a world where you are constantly bombarded by external stimuli, you won't be able to hear your quiet inner voice that is trying to tell you what you need to know. Pay attention to the signs that the universe is sending you.

6. Love yourself just the way you are. Don't ever hold back on doing something just because you don't think your good enough/skinny enough/smart enough etc. Just do it, you are fine just the way you are, have that experience, dance like no one is watching, laugh ... A LOT, especially at yourself, don't take things so seriously. Being a kid/teenager is hard, small things seem to matter so much, the length of your pants, how you wear your hair, spots on your chin... none of that will matter in a few years, let the drama roll off your back, you will get through this and it will not matter in the grand scheme of things. This is just a phase, it too will pass and life has many exciting things in store for you. Besides to be really honest, no one is really watching, they are too worried about what people are thinking of them.

7. Learn how to make things from scratch. We live in a very convienient world these days, pretty much anything you need, you can buy at the store already made and ready to go. But what if something happens, a natural diaster or war, something that prevents you from just running out and buying what you need. Learn the old ways, you might never need them, but if you do, they will save your life. Man lived without electricity, plastic and a meriad of other things for thousands of years, don't become so reliant on the grid that you are helpless if it disappears.

8. Be grateful! Every single day, take a few moments to stop and just be grateful for what you have. Count your blessings..literally! example: I am grateful for the sink full of dirty dishes because it means I had enough to eat tonight. Even things that seem like a negative can be a postive when you look at things that way. Just remember, no matter how bad you think you have it, there is someone who wishes they were in your shoes, that they had your opportunities in life.

9. Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty. It doesn't take much to put a smile on someones face and the repercussions could last all day and affect the hundreds of people that they run into. Doing something nice for someone else is the best way to feel good about yourself. Giving to others is the gift that always gives back.

10. Keep a journal and write peoples names on the backs of photos. Your memory is not as great as you think it is. More than anything in the world , I really, really wish I had kept journals all my life. I have had a very interesting life and now I can't remember half of it. I look back at my grade school pictures and can't name more than one or two people in them ( mind you I did move every year of my childhood, maybe it's different if you spent many years with the same kids) but still, there are people that will pass through your life for a short time and they will make an impact. Thirty years later you will want to look them up on facebook and you won't be able to because you will have forgotten their names. If you keep a journal, you will be able to go back years later and read what you were going through at the time and you will love the stories and the memories and have the names that go with them!

 Plus it's a cool thing to hand down to your kids someday. Why? Because you will not listen to a word I just said, you will do things YOUR way and when you get older and have kids of your own, you will look back on your life and say...If I had it to do over....

..and maybe your kids might learn from your experiences!

What things would you change if you had your life to live over?

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Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Treating Herpes Simplex

Herpes Simplex

Herpes simplex is a viral disease affecting the mucous membranes and the skin. It can be categorized by two types:

Type I begins with a tingling feeling in the face, cheeks, nose, eyes or lips and results in cold cores, skin eruptions and, if you have already had the chicken pox virus, painful shingles.

 Herpes simplex Type II is the sexually transmitted type, with first indications of the disease being a tingling sensation in the genitals. The affected area then itches, burns and develops a blister, which will usually heal over a period of about two weeks. Both types of herpes simplex are highly infections and are usually transmitted by contact. Often a person with Type I got the disease as a child but showed no symptoms. Later, the virus might unexpectedly appear when the immune system is weakened or there is a skin irritation. Treating the herpes simplex virus with herbal compresses and essential oils can both speed the healing process and prevent scarring. Consult your doctor if you have sexually-transmitted herpes or shingles.

Grapefruit-Seed Extract For Types I and II
Grapefruit-seed extract will mobilize bodily defenses and help make the herpes virus harmless. Mix 1 part of the extract (available at most health-food stores) with 9 parts of water. Dampen cotton swabs with the mixture and dab any blisters you have several times a day to hasten the immune response of your body.

What You Can Do: Begin by taking antiviral herbs and formulas that boost the body's immune system the minute you suspect an infection. You can usually prevent a larger blister from forming if you begin treatment as soon as you notice tingling. Applying teas or tinctures will also help speed the healing process. Although blisters heal on their own after several weeks, remember that they are infectious, even when they have healed and a crust has formed.

Essential Oils Disinfect: Some essential oils can be more beneficial than others in treating a herpes infection because of their strong antiseptic properties. Tea-tree oil is especially effective and will help stabilize the immune system and act as a disinfectant as well. Other oils that relieve inflammation and discourage viral multiplication are bergamot, lemon balm and chamomile. Tea-tree oil may be used undiluted on your skin, while the other oils should be mixed with a carrier oil, such as sweet-almond or olive oil.

Boosting the Immune System: Whenever your immune system has been weakened - when you have a cold or you are under unusual emotional or physical stress, for example - you are more likely to contract a viral infection, such as herpes simplex. If you exercise in fresh air and take vitamins, you can help boost your immune system. Consider taking supplements such as vitamin C, zinc, B-complex and beta-carotene, which will support the immune response and help fight viruses. For acute or chronic infections, St. John's wort, echinacea, licorice or astragalus will support the body's defenses and help speed the healing process.

Daily Ritual: Lemon-balm tincture has proven to be a very good treatment for Type I and II herpes blisters, Lemon balm's constituents, along with citronella oil and citral, work to hamper the multiplication of the herpes-simplex virus and soothe infected skin. Make a tincture from 1/3 oz. of lemon-balm leaves and 3-1/2 oz. of vodka. or rum. Dab a bit of the tincture on the blisters several times a day.

Natural Healing Techniques
These healing applications can be used for both Type I and II outbreaks.

· Lysine:  L-Lysine is a naturally occurring amino acid that inhibits the ability of a herpes virus to reproduce itself by combating the excess L-arginine  the enzyme that activates breakouts) . Take several grams per day for 1 month at the onset of an outbreak. Those who are plagued by repeat eruptions may take it regularly. This is a very effective treatment!

· Zinc: Zinc is a trace element that speeds up the healing process by drying out blisters and killing the virus. Use zinc paste or zinc powder from a pharmacy. You can also make a zinc solution: Dissolve 4 g. of zinc sulfate in 1/2 cup of boiled, and then cooled, water. Dampen a linen cloth or cotton ball with the solution and apply to blisters.

·If anyone suffers from any type of virus they should also look into a medicinal strength aloe vera juice (at least 10,000 MPS polysaccharide count), which has been clinically proven to assist the body to fight off viruses. We use Super Aloe Vera Juice because of it's extensive research and cure rate. It's even shown remarkable anti-viral properties with HIV sufferers.           

· Ice Applications: Keep an impending outbreak in check by applying ice to the area. Wrap an ice cube in a handkerchief and press it on the affected region, Keep pressing it against the area for as long as you can, taking occasional breaks, so your skin does not get overly or painfully cold. This works best if you catch it in the tingly stage before it breaks out.

·There are topical ointments that are useful to lessen the neuralgia pain. Most of them contain plantain tincture, aloe gel and/or Capsicum (cayenne) pepper.

· Strong sunlight can cause an outbreak of herpes blisters,. Be sure to protect your lips with an ointment that has a high sun-protection factor.
· Keep your toothbrush dry when not using it, and get a new one every 4 weeks. Wet toothbrushes offer optimal conditions for the herpes virus.
· Eat chocolate, dairy products, cereals, almonds (nuts in general), red wine and chicken in moderation, as they suppress an acid that retards the growth of the virus.
· Stress weakens the immune system and encourages herpes. Exercise, such as yoga or walking, helps alleviate stress.

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