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body care

Some of the simplest techniques for supporting your body’s elimination processes also happen to feel wonderful and can bring delicious relaxation in their wake.

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Sacred Truth Ep. 44: Herbs Slow Aging

Sacred Truth Ep. 44: Herbs Slow Aging

Real age—your biological age—has little to do with how old you are in years. Most people age prematurely. This is avoidable. It is also reversible. Some of the reasons I have such a passion for herbs is: when you know what to use, they can slow biological aging, help restore balance, and improve how you look and feel, as well as how your body functions. Combined with regular detoxification and a natural diet low in carbohydrates and sugars but high in a wide variety of fresh vegetables and top-quality protein, herbs can rejuvenate your body in medically measurable ways: better circulation, increased resistance to illness as well as balancing emotions and bringing clarity. They also help you rediscover innate vitality, whatever your chronological age. Each herb and plant works in its own special way. Some, like ginseng, garlic, and gotu kola are specifically anti-ageing in their actions. Others such as purslane and thyme together with foods like seaweeds, oranges, carrots, and green vegetables—are brimming with anti-oxidants and other phyto-chemicals. These are protective to your whole body as well as immune enhancing. They will help protect you from free radical damage that underlies both premature aging and the development of degenerative diseases.   Here are my favorite anti-ageing herbs: Gotu Kola—Centella asiatica—has been used for centuries in India to extend life span and enhance memory. Gotu kola, like many quality bulk herbs, is native to the tropical regions of Asia and Africa, particularly Sri Lanka and Madagascar. Traditionally, its leaves are dried and steeped in order to create a tea or infusion. Gotu kola is also easy to grow in your garden or in a pot in the kitchen window. It’s also easy to introduce into your life. Just add a fresh leaf or two or a teaspoon of dried gotu kola to whatever herb tea you are drinking. You can also put a few leaves into salad when you make it. Nori Seaweed—If you have never used sea vegetables for cooking, you have a wonderful discovery ahead of you. Not only are they delicious—imparting a wonderful, spicy flavor to soups and salads—they are the richest source of organic mineral salts in nature, particularly iodine. Iodine is the mineral needed by your thyroid gland. As your thyroid gland is largely responsible for the body’s metabolic rate, iodine is essential for vitality as well as protecting you from early aging. I like to use powdered seaweeds as a seasoning. It adds flavor and minerals to salad dressings, salads, and soups. Personally I’m excessively fond of nori seaweed, which comes in long thin sheets or tiny flakes. It is a delicious snack food that you can eat along with a salad or at the beginning of the meal. It has a beautiful, crisp flavor. I toast sheets of nori by passing it over a hob flame for no more than a few seconds. This brings out its wonderful flavor and turns it crunchy. The only problem I have with toasting nori is that one of my Burmese cats, Gus, is completely addicted to it. This means there is no peace while I’m making it. He can smell nori from far away, even when the kitchen door is closed. As soon as I open it, he devours a couple of big sheets that I have crumbled into tiny pieces for him. Green Barley—This is a dried form of the natural juice taken from young barley leaves. It must be to be organically grown, GMO free, and pesticide free. Rich in proteins, flavonoids, minerals, including iron, and vitamins such as K and B15, as well as chlorophyll and other nutrients, green barley boasts thousands of enzymes, not all of which are destroyed in the digestive process. Enzymes play important roles in anti-aging metabolic processes. It also contains a high concentration of superoxide dismutase (SOD)—an anti-oxidant enzyme. Sprinkle from 1⁄2 to 1 teaspoon of green barley on to salads or mix into juices, miso broth or water. Purslane—Portulaca oleracea brims with anti-oxidants as well as vitamins known for their abilities to quench excess free radicals in the body. Purslane improves immune functioning. You can grow purslane in a vegetable patch or just about anywhere—even in window boxes, between the rose bushes, or wherever you have an extra bit of space. Add purslane to fresh vegetable juices or put it through a blender to make ‘live’ vegetable drinks.   Ginkgo Biloba—improves circulation to your brain.  European research confirms this. The leaves from this most ancient of trees restore memory, elevate mood, and quell anxiety. There are more than 300 published studies and reports that support the anti-ageing properties of Ginkgo. Its extract is used in Germany to treat everything from depression and cerebrovascular insufficiency to asthma, transplant rejection, and hearing loss. It is even added to expensive skin products to protect against environmental irritation. You can take ginkgo as an extract, tincture, or in capsules. I prefer a high potency herbal tincture—1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon 2 or 3 times a day. Horsetail—Equisetum arvense is the best natural source of the mineral silicon, which declines in your body after 35. Silicon is essential for you to maintain strong bones, prevent osteoporosis, firm your skin, and protect it from wrinkles and sagging. Horsetail is one of the world’s oldest plants. Organic horsetail tea is the best way to take this wonderful plant several cups a day. My favorite brand is organic, of course, and sells for less than US $12 a pound. Make a friend of these herbs, use them daily, and you will be surprised at how much they can help protect you from early aging. Here are some of the very best products: GOTU KOLA ORGANIC Gotu kola herb, like many quality bulk herbs, is native to the tropical regions of Asia and Africa, particularly Sri Lanka and Madagascar. Traditionally, the leaves of such herbs are dried and steeped in order to create a tea or infusion. Order organic Gotu Kola from iherb NORI ORGANIC SEAWEED Emerald Cove, Organic Pacific Nori Order Organic Nori Seaweed from iherb ORGANIC GREEN BARLEY Frontier Natural Products, Organic Powdered Barley Grass Order Organic Green Barley from iherb HORSETAIL ORGANIC FOR TEAS Frontier Natural Products, Organic Cut & Sifted Horsetail Order Organic Horsetail from iherb

Sacred Truth Ep. 40: Eat Fat For Health

Sacred Truth Ep. 40: Eat Fat For Health

All over the world, people are getting sicker by the year, while food manufacturers, government bodies, and the mainstream medical profession keep telling us to eat more low-fat-high-carb foods and plenty of unsaturated golden oils. They warn us to stay away from all the “dangerous” saturated fats and oils. So we go on buying convenience foods riddled with carbs and sugars, believing that we are doing the right thing to protect from heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and mounting degenerative diseases that plague the Western World. Well, my friend, such advice from the powers-that-be is not just untrue—it is positively dangerous. To stay healthy, protect yourself from obesity, degenerative conditions, and early aging, it’s important that you avoid starchy carbs, hidden sugars, and all highly processed unsaturated oils. We have been indoctrinated with an irrational fear of fat because of inaccurate research carried out way back in the 1960s when absurd assumptions became turned into quasi-religious non-sense dogma. Since then, instead of protecting us from heart disease, obesity, and other degenerative conditions, what we’ve been told has made us highly susceptible to all these diseases. It’s time to get savvy about the fats—to learn which fats are life-destroying and which are health-enhancing and to change the way you eat. Here’s the truth: Polyunsaturated fats and oils turn rancid when heated. They turn into a health-destroying source of free radicals that do your body great harm. They attack cells and damage DNA. Recent, reliable scientific studies show a definite connection between consumption of these polyunsaturated oils and the development of cancer, as well as heart disease and many other illnesses. Here’s the gen: avoid these oils at all cost: Safflower, Corn, Sunflower, Soybean and Cottonseed. They are badly processed, and are often full of dangerous chemicals. As far as canola oil is concerned—commonly used in the manufacture of convenience foods—it turns rancid quickly and is associated with the development of fibrotic heart lesions. The oils and fats you want to eat to look after your health and to stay lean are these: butter from grass-fed animals, and tropical oils such as coconut oil. Coconut oil is great for cooking. Extra-virgin olive oil is ideal for salad dressings. These are quality fats which, eaten on their own, or together with protein but without an abundance of starchy carbohydrates and sugar alleviate hunger and act as a great source of energy throughout the day. Eating too little of these good fats can lead to an experience of sitting down to a meal and, no matter how much you eat, still craving more food at the end of it. These natural fats let you know when your body is satisfied. They also help balance your hormones while significantly enhancing how you look and feel. Low-fat foods fill our supermarket shelves, attracting ignorant consumers trying to be good and eat what they’ve been told to eat. Manufactured convenience foods have become a roaring financial success story for food manufacturers. So people eat low-fat foods, believing that these are good for them, without realizing that manufacturers, in preparing low-fat menus, have replaced fat with sugar in their wares. We have been told the false notion that all saturated fats are dangerous. Back to the good oils: Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat and one of the safest vegetable oils you can use. It is well suited to dressings and can be heated, but only to moderate temperatures. Make sure that the Extra Virgin Olive Oil you buy is cloudy (not filtered) and a golden-yellow color. Coconut oil is your safest, healthiest choice for cooking since it remains stable, even at high temperatures. It also boasts antiviral and antibacterial properties. The other good, and often forgotten, saturated fat is butter but only from cows who have been grazed on green grass for at least part of their life. Here’s the good news: Natural fats eaten on their own or together with protein, without a lot of carbohydrates and sugar, will not cause the laying down of fat on your body. Neither will they create insulin resistance, as polyunsaturated oils, grain and cereal-based carbohydrates and sugars can. This is the most difficult truth for most people to grasp when we have been schooled for more than half a century in inaccurate and dangerous high-carbs-low-fat approaches to weight loss and protection from illness and obesity. Yet, when it comes to becoming radiantly well and staying that way, you need to grasp this truth and put it into practice. One more thing: Be sure to take a top quality Omega 3 supplement each day. (See below for my recommendation.) And from this moment on, eat GOOD FATS and thrive. You’ll love it. Life Extension, Super Omega-3, EPA/DHA With Sesame Lignans & Olive Fruit Extract, 240 Softgels The body needs fatty acids to survive and is able to make all but two of them: linoleic acid (LA), in the omega-6 family, and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in the omega-3 family. These two fatty acids must be supplied by the diet and are therefore considered essential fatty acids (EFAs). Omega-3 fatty acids, found in coldwater fish (and fish oil), perilla and flaxseed oils, are essential elements of a healthy diet. Omega-3 oils contain eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are usually lacking in the typical Western diet, which is filled with foods containing high amounts of omega-6 fats. EPA and DHA can be synthesized in the body from ALA, but EPA and DHA synthesis may be insufficient under certain conditions and for most people that consume Western diets. Order Life Extension, Super Omega-3 from iherb Carlson Labs, Super Omega·3 Gems, Fish Oil Concentrate, 1000 mg, 250 Soft Gels Medical Scientists Internationally are encouraging people to eat more fish. Fish body oil is the only major source of the polyunsaturated Omega-3's EPA and DHA. For those individuals who do not eat an oily fish diet, Carlson offers Omega-3's in easy-to-swallow soft gelatin capsules. Carlson Super Omega-3 Gems soft gels contain 1000 mg (1 gram) of a special concentrate of fish body oils from deep, cold water fish which are especially rich in the important Omega-3's EPA and DHA. Order Carlson Labs, Super Omega·3 Gems from iherb

A Woman's World

A Woman's World

To understand cellulite it is important to understand how your flesh is structured. Let's look at the deeper layers first. They are known as subcutaneous tissues. In your thighs, these are made up of three layers of fat with two planes of connective tissue and ground substance in between. This brings us to one of the interesting things about cellulite: It is almost always a female complaint. With a very few remarkable exceptions, men simply do not get it. In part this is hormonal. A woman's body is rich in female hormones such as oestrogen, which encourage the laying down of fat. (For years farmers injected oestrogen-like substances in cattle and chickens to fatten them rapidly for market.) This is also why cellulite tends first to appear during times of intense hormonal change such as puberty, pregnancy or when she goes onto a birth control pill. In part, however, cellulite is a woman's condition because the basic construction of subcutaneous tissue of the thigh differs in men and women. In women, the topmost subcutaneous layer is made up of what are termed large 'standing fat-cell chambers', which are separated by radial and arching dividing walls of connective tissue attached to the overlying tissue of the dermis or true skin. The uppermost part of the subcutaneous tissue of men is different. It is thinner, and there is a network of crisscrossing connective tissue walls which makes it harder for a man's body to lay down large fat cells and to trap stored wastes and water in the tissues. Also the corium - the connective tissue structure between the true skin and the deeper layers or hypodermis - is thicker in men than in women. You can check on these differences yourself by carrying out a 'pinch test'. It is only pinching the thighs of women that results in the 'mattress phenomenon' with its pitting, bulging and deformation of skin. Pinch the thighs of most men and you will get gentle skin folds or furrows, completely without bulges or pits. beware the ravages of time Age-related changes in women also encourage the build up of cellulite. For instance, as women get older, their skin gets progressively looser and thinner. This encourages the migration of fat cells into this layer. The connective tissue walls between the chambers of fat cells also get thinner allowing the fat-cell chambers to enlarge - a condition known as hypertrophy. This progressive thinning of connective tissue structures is another major factor in the development of cellulite and creates the granular texture and buckshot feel of much cellulite-riddled flesh. An examination of cellulite tissue under the microscope also reveals that a number of histological changes have taken place. They include a distension of the lymphatic vessels of the upper skin, for instance, and a decrease in the number of elastic fibers. The circulation of blood, too, has been slowed, and the connective fibers have undergone a sclerotic hardening, so that the fluids and the wastes they contain become trapped in an unpleasant network which pinches nerve endings (hence the pain in well developed cellulite) and create stasis in the tissue - rather like a polluted swamp - where energy exchange is reduced. The whole area takes on a deadened quality - a sure sign of poor body ecology.

Flower Essences Part One

Flower Essences Part One

You know the old saying: “Good things come in small packages.” Well, it’s true. Flower essences are sold in little dark-glass dropper bottles. Open one. You’ll discover that, unlike herbal tinctures or essential oils, the liquid inside—from a chemical point of view—is nothing more than water mixed with a little alcohol. This is the medium in which the vibrational energy of a flower (or a gem) has been preserved. You see, the healing power of a vibrational essence depends not on its chemical constituents, but on the frequencies and energies it carries—the spirit or soul energy of the flowers or gems themselves. ENERGETIC FIELDS Where herbs and essential oils bring about direct biochemical and physiological changes, vibrational essences—rather like homeopathic remedies—influence the body via its energetic fields and electrical pathways. So do acupuncture, pulsed electromagnetic treatments, prayer and the laying on of hands. They can all transmit vibrational life-force energy. Dyed-in-the-wool materialists, still totally unaware of fifth entity physics, are surprised by how profoundly healing such energy treatments can be. Provided the vibrational essence chosen is an appropriate one, its health-enhancing effects are deep and long lasting—sometimes even permanent. Let’s examine flower essences carefully. They are made from living blossoms, harvested at the peak of their vibrational power. They influence our emotional and mental states by changing our body’s own vibrational state as well as altering our consciousness. These changes then filter down to a physical level, where they can do many things: energize, stop erratic eating patterns, clear chronic fear and anxiety and increase self-confidence, to name only a few. They can even—to me most interesting of all—help us align our outer lives and the way we choose live them with the nature of our unique innate essential being. When this happens, not only do we experience natural joy and creativity, we experience a sense of expanding freedom. We find it easier to live life by our own rules. We gain access to our unique authentic power. This helps us become aware of what we feel most passionate about, and empowers us to live an authentic life. VIBRATIONS AND WHOLENESS Flower essence healing is only one aspect of what is now known as vibrational medicine—a form of treatment about which have been hearing more and more as the century 21st century develops. British physician Peter Mansfield, one of its pioneers, describes this rather well in his book Flower Remedies. “Vibrational healing,” Mansfield says, uses “the different energy patterns present in nature to modify the vibrations within living bodies, leading indirectly to changes on the physical plane. This encompasses on the one hand methods which use the vibrations directly—light, sound, magnetism etc.—and on the other, methods which involve the preparation of essences from the source of the vibration, which can be absorbed into the body.” PROOF OF THE PUDDING Psychologists and doctors examining the effects of carefully chosen flower essences report that they are completely safe. They can be remarkably effective in helping patients deal with simple troubles—like insomnia, low energy, and fear of flying—as well as deeper issues. Dr Jeffrey Cram at the Sierra Health Institute in California gave subjects either a flower essence or a placebo and then exposed them to stress-inducing fluorescent lighting for long periods. He found, that unlike the placebo which had little effect, flower essences significantly reduced the muscle tension and erratic brainwave activity associated with stress. Meanwhile, Italian medical researchers who tested the effects of flower essences on patients suffering from depression and anxiety found that a surprising 89 out of 115 anxious, depressed and stressed patients who took part in the experiment were greatly helped by flower essence treatments. MAKE IT SIMPLE One of the best practical descriptions I have come across of how flower essences work, comes from the highly respected American researcher, and flower essences creator, Patricia Kaminski. “Just think about a hologram,” she says. “Each separate part of a holographic picture contains images of the whole. This is how it can be used to recreate a three-dimensional image. So it is with a flower essence. One drop of a flower essence holds within it all the energy characteristics of the flower it was made from.” An essence carries the spirit or soul of the flower in its energetic architecture. It communicates this healing blue-print at a very deep level to the energy fields of a human being using it. VISIONARY DOCTOR The first flower essences were created in the 1920s by a highly respected British immunologist and bacteriologist. Dr Edward Bach had become dissatisfied with the way orthodox medicine so often seemed unable to help patients suffering from both chronic and acute illness. Studying the work of the father of homeopathy, Dr Samuel Hahnemann, Bach discovered that many of his own beliefs about the nature of healing echoed Hahnemann’s findings. Like Hahnemann, Bach insisted that it works best to treat the patient, not the disease. Early in his career, Bach prepared bacterial vaccines then administered them to people homeopathically. The results of his work were widely acclaimed by his peers. They carved out a place of high esteem for him in the medical world. The vaccines he made were widely used—some still are. But Bach was not satisfied. He knew in his heart that there is more to healing than treating symptoms. He was convinced that the most effective healing can only take place at the very deepest levels. Bach knew that mental states like anxiety, worry, unhappiness and fear not only undermine vitality, they compromise the immune system, making us highly susceptible to illness and degeneration. He reasoned that, if he could find methods for clearing such negative states, this might well be a key to preventing and curing both acute and chronic illnesses. No matter what symptoms it presents, Bach insisted that any illness is the result of disharmony deep within. RESTORING HARMONY In 1928, Bach began to explore the possibility that the energy of flowers could do this for human beings. He chose to turn his back on a successful career in London and retreat into the wilderness of Wales in search of ways to help suffering people. Bach fasted, he walked in the hills, he opened his mind and his heart to nature, calling out for her help. His intuitive gifts were greatly expanded by the way he was living and eating and by his having abandoned a sophisticated industrial world for raw simplicity. As he came face to face with one herb and flower after another, he became aware of the vast life-force each carried. He also noticed that the healing energies which each held intensified greatly at just the moment when these plants blossomed. Over the next seven years, he worked with these plants in search of a way of collecting their life-healing energies. Gradually, he was able to identify the unique characteristics of each and to understand the kind of disharmony which they help clear. He formulated a group of 12 now-famous flower remedies known as ‘Twelve Healers’. Later he went on to expand them until finally he ended up with a group of thirty-eight flower essences. They are still today known as the Bach Flower Remedies. HEALING FOR THE MASSES So impressed was Bach by the results he got using these flower essences that he decided to leave behind forever his successful orthodox medical practice to devote himself full-time to their development, as well as to teaching people how to use them. Bach had observed that people were becoming more and more divorced from nature—and therefore from their own essential soul nature as well. He believed that in an industrialized world, flower essences are an effective way to counter the destructive processes that resulted from “desensitization” of people which he saw happening all around him. This was a process which he became certain was central to the development of disease. His flower remedies helped re-establish bonds not only between people and nature, but between a human being’s outer personality and his intrinsic soul nature—his innate essence. Before long, Bach’s beliefs would lead him into serious conflict with the medical establishment—especially his insistence that flower remedies should be available to everyone, not just to trained medical practitioners. LIVE YOUR TRUTH The Bach philosophy is simple. It says that each of us has incarnated on the earth to live out a unique divine purpose—our soul’s destiny, if you like. When we are diverted from doing so, either by our own resistance or by learned thought patterns, trauma, emotional repression, inner conflict, or the influence of others, then our personality is not able to become a free expression of our unique soul energy and we get sick. We become anxious, fearful, irritable and angry, thereby lowering our resistance to disease. In time, depending on our genetically inherited weaknesses, we often end up in pain, ill, and degenerating rapidly. Illness, Bach insisted, has its purposes. It is there to warn us when we are going in the wrong direction—to help make us aware of what needs to be honored in our lives that we may not yet be honoring. To be healed, a harmony between our outer life and our inner purpose needs to be re-established. Flower therapy is a powerful way of doing this. Not only does it release stress and trauma. It can help clear repression of our innate life energy and creativity. Most important of all, it can help us realign ourselves with our essential being as well as with nature herself. When this happens, much illness is healed and many degenerative processes are reversed. FOUR-FOLD WAY To Bach, health is not the absence of illness so much as it is an ability to identify its messages and act on them. This does not mean that we should blame ourselves if we become ill. Doing so would only result in further emotional repression. Instead we need to become aware of whatever emotional discord hides beneath a persistent cold or stomach upset and then be prepared to address it and finally let it go. To Bach, healing is a four-fold process. It asks that we: Recognize that we can overcome all difficulties Realize that illness is an expression of disharmony between our outer life or our personality and our soul Discover the cause of this disharmony Clear the cause of disharmony and strengthen the areas in our lives where the expression of our soul nature has been weak. ALCHEMY OF FLOWERS Bach’s explorations into the healing power of flowers, like the work of Kaminski and other flower essence developers, harks back to the ancient art of the alchemists. According to alchemy, when the four elements—earth, air, fire and water—come together in balance then a fifth substance, a quintessence, is created. This quintessence in turn becomes the healing force for body and soul. Bach collected the dew that gathered on plants in the early morning. This dew, he believed, contained the quintessence he had been looking for. It was a perfect fusion of the four elements. In these sparkling drops, he identified the earth that feeds the plant, the natural air in which it grows, the water element in the dew, and fire from the energy of the sun—on which all life depends for its existence. In his healing work, Bach relied strongly on his intuition when figuring out how to work with these elements in relation to extracting the essential healing body of each flower. For days before he investigated the healing potential of a flower, he would himself welcome into his body the physical and mental symptoms of the condition he was seeking to make a remedy for. Then searching for the right plant, he would place a petal or flower in the palm of his hand or on his tongue, register its effects on mind and his body, and record his findings. Gradually he developed a method for transferring a plant’s healing energy to spring water rather than continuing to collect morning dew. It is simple: You can easily learn to do it yourself. To identify the emotional states that each flower essence helps clear, Bach relied on intuition, as has every natural healer, wise woman and mystic throughout the ages. But being a fine scientist, he also “proved” or tested them out on one person after another until he became clear about their actions and confident of their effectiveness. The best of the flower essences prepared today are made in very much the same way—inspired by intuition, observation, conjecture, folklore, herbal tradition, sometimes even shamanic journeying, where the person expands their consciousness to connect with the spirit of the flower and learn from it. Then, once made, each flower essence is rigorously tested on volunteers and colleagues, the sick and the well, and information about its effects is recorded. DEEPEST HEALING Flower essences have been in existence for almost a century now—ever since the visionary Doctor Bach wandered in the Welsh hills in search of a new way to heal the fundamental underlying cause of all illness—classic splits we all have to deal with sooner or later, between soul purpose and the outer life; between mind and body; between emotions and enforced behavior. It’s at this deepest level of human life that flower essences work their finest magic. They bring greater integration and access to authentic power. They can help us shrug off much of the polluting physical, mental and emotional rubbish that prevents each of us from living out the essential beauty and creativity of our true nature. Bach himself knew that once we heal these splits within, the body’s innate tendency to restore harmony will encourage healing to take place on a physical level as well. That is just how flower essences work. They are gentle yet powerful catalysts. They can not only be used to shift emotional or spiritual patterns which we get stuck in. They can also help us remember at the most fundamental spiritual level who we are, then teach us to allow our unique inner radiance to shine forth. Next week we’ll explore how to connect with the essence of flowers yourself, how to make your own flower essences—it’s simple to do—and all the wonderful ways to make use of them enhancing your wellbeing and enriching your life. See you then...

Nails To Flaunt

Nails To Flaunt

Beautiful nails are no accident. A few fortunate women seem to have been born with genes which lend themselves to the growth of long, strong nails, but the rest of us have to work at it. The encouraging thing is that a little work - some changes in nutrition plus a new regime of external care - can transform your nails within a few months. why weak nails? The standard advice (still, sadly, given by a lot of so-called nail experts) is that if your nails are weak or thin or break easily, you need to eat lots of protein to correct the condition. It is this assumption that leads manicurists to suggest gelatin capsules for weak nails. But it is a false one. Very soft nails most often announce not a protein deficiency, but either a mineral deficiency or hypochlorhydrin: lack of sufficient stomach acid. This prevents the adequate production of amino acids from which nails can be built. One of the best possible overall treatments for nails is to go on a six-week course of nutritional supplementation aimed at eliminating hypochlorhydrin. This means taking three 500 mg capsules of a good blend of amino acids (ideally formulated to mimic the balance found naturally in an egg), together with one or two tablets of betaine hydrochloride, and three to six kelp tablets after each meal. It is a method which tends to work even when all others fail. For anyone who has consistently struggled with the problem of poor nails it can be a real blessing. nail glamour Part of the fun of looking glamorous is having 10 beautiful lady-of-leisure nails to waft about. Yet who wants to spend their life wearing protective gloves, worrying about the `catastrophe' of breaking a nail? Learn the French manicure secrets for strong nails and then you can renew your manicure just once a week. Nail Saver Tips Without becoming obsessive, there are certain precautions you can take to help protect your nails from physical damage: Use a pencil to dial the telephone. Use a knuckle rather than your fingertip to push buttons, for example to call a lift. Keep hand lotion ready to use after you wash your hands and during the day. Use rubber gloves every time you wash the dishes. the french manicure You need: nail varnish remover, cotton wood pads, emery board or nail soak, orange stick, cuticle trimmer, nail scissors, buffer (optional), base coat, nail varnish, top coat. The pre-manicure If you are short on time, just do steps 1 and 2. Save the longer pre-manicure for really pampering yourself. 1. Filing It is best to file your nails while they still have polish on so that they are afforded some protection. Keep the sides of the nails straight and only file the corners in a gentle curve. Follow the natural shape of your nails as a guide and file away from the outer edge towards the center in one direction. 2. Cleaning Soak a cotton pad with a remover containing conditioner and press it onto the nail for a few seconds, then wipe it outwards away from the cuticle. If you have been wearing colored varnish you may need to soak a cotton bud with remover and go around the edge of the cuticle to help lift away any remaining color. If your nails are stained , use a cut piece of lemon to help dissolve the stain and whiten them. 3. Soaking Soak your fingertips in a bowl of warm water containing a conditioning nail soak. You can make your own using a few drops of your favorite bath oil dissolved in water. Cuticle care Rinse your hands and pat them dry. Using an orange stick, gently push back your cuticles. This will make your nails appear longer. 5. Top abrasion This step can be helpful if your nails have bad ridges, while you are waiting for the nutritional supplements to affect the new nail growth. Also, if you do not like to wear nail varnish, you can get a polished look naturally. Using a special flexible buffing board with three different grades of roughness on it, simply buff the nail in one direction several times. Start with the heaviest grade and work towards the finest. 6. Final squeak Rub over each nail once more with a cotton pad soaked in nail varnish remover to prepare an oil-free base on which to apply your varnish. The manicure Three steps to success: 1. The base Apply a layer of protective base coat to each nail. Look for a base coat which incorporates nail strengthener. 2. Tip treat Paint the tip of each nail - the white part - with white enamel. This can be matte white or pearlized white. Not only does this keep your nails looking fresh and clean but, more importantly, it gives them extra strength at the tips where they need it. Let the tips dry and then add another tip coat. 3. Top Finish the manicure by applying a layer of top coat to the entire nail to seal the lacquers. To keep your manicure fresh and protect your nails even further, paint a coat of top coat over the top of your manicure every evening and massage a little cuticle cream into your cuticles.

Sensuous Massage Do-It-Yourself

Sensuous Massage Do-It-Yourself

The simplest treatment can sometimes bring the greatest healing to body, mind and spirit. So it is with massage. Yet few have yet discovered this truth. Not only does massage calm the mind, relieve pain and bring better muscle tone. It enhances immunity, clears the toxic wastes we all pick up in day-to-day life, improves athletic performance, and builds greater health all round. There are many different kinds of massage—from deep tissue massage, acupressure and Amma Shiatsu to lymphatic drainage and simple stroking of the body. Each has its benefits. And, while some need the trained hands of a professional to be used well, I think you will be surprised to learn that you can bring exceptional benefits to yourself, a friend or partner by using simple hand movements which require no professional training at all. SIMPLE BASICS Here are the six basic massage movements. Have a play with them on your own body. You will be surprised how easy and rewarding this can be. Begin any massage of yourself or another with effleurage, allowing one hand to follow the other in a rhythmic pattern moving in a direction towards the heart. Effleurage means “skimming over”. This is a light pressure applied to an area of the body with moving hands. It boosts the circulation of blood and lymph in the areas to which it is being applied. This improves the functioning of the glands, increases skin sensitivity and heightens the ability of the skin to feel pleasure. Used on the abdomen, it improves digestive functions and helps eliminate constipation. Effleurage is also great for getting rid of chilling sensations in feet or hands, for eliminating numbness, and decreasing swelling caused by obstructions in the circulatory system. Deep Muscle Massage consists of tiny circular movements with a thumb or finger which is firmly pressed into a muscle and then rotated. The finger doesn't actually move over the surface of the skin. Rather it moves the muscle under its pressure. After you have made several small circles in one place you move on to another nearby, always working in an upwards direction on the body. It is excellent for calming overactive nerves and tense muscles, as it is for treating neuralgia or muscular aches. This kind of pressure on the abdomen improves digestion and elimination. Used in imaginary lines up the limbs it can also significantly improve lymphatic drainage and the elimination of wastes. Single Point Pressure where you press on the surface of the body with the palms, thumbs or fingers is also good for deep muscle aches and tensions. It is used when giving acupressure or shiatsu massage for a specific purpose, such as eliminating a headache or calming nerves. Petrissage is a kneading movement in which a muscle is held firmly but lightly and moved in circular patterns using the palm of your hand or the balls of your fingers. This increases circulation, and is an excellent way of helping muscles recover from fatigue and eliminating lactic acid build-up, which causes muscle ache after a workout. Always keep your fingers relaxed while kneading or you will pinch the skin uncomfortably. Vibration is where you put your fingers or palm against the skin of a part of the body and then shake it gently. This is particularly helpful where there is a feeling of numbness, say in fingers or toes. Tapotement is a tapping with both hands—one after the other—against the skin surface, usually with the palms cupped. It is very invigorating, which is why it is used before sending athletes out on the field, but it is not good if you are using massage as a means of ‘detensing'. GET IT TOGETHER If you are massaging yourself, you will need to be in different positions to work on various areas of your body. The legs are easy—they can be done lying on the floor with your legs propped up against the bed or a wall and your head and shoulders against a cushion or two. Or you can simply sit on the edge of a bath. To do your neck and shoulders, it's best to sit at a table with your head lying forward on a pillow in front of you. Lie on your back to do your abdomen and chest. For your lower back, lie on your stomach with a pillow underneath your waist. Then using some oil (see below), begin with an effleurage of the area you are working on, and go on to any of the other movements which feel right to you. WORK WITH A PARTNER Make sure the room is warm. Usually the floor is best, covered with a blanket and a towel. Let your friend or mate lie on his or her stomach and begin to work on the back. Never pour cold oil directly onto the skin. Instead, put it in your hands and give it a chance to warm before applying it. Let your friend relax as you do an effleurage picking up the back, one hand after another. Always maintain contact with his or her skin, so that as one hand is ready to come off the back, the other is already making contact with the skin. And don't be too light or feathery—it makes people feel uneasy. They need to sense good clear contact with your hands to be able to relax deeply. Let your partner do just that, so that he or she doesn't feel a need to speak. Indeed, the massage will work better if he or she doesn't. After you finish a minute or two of effleurage on the back, try a kneading movement or a deep muscle massage on the areas which seem most stiff or uncomfortable. Then, move on to other parts of the body—the feet, the legs, the arms, using the same sequence of movements. Ask them to turn over and work on the front of the legs and arms, the abdomen and the diaphragm, then finish off with some soothing petrissage on the shoulders, and finally some deeper circular movements to get rid of tension there. End the session with a more gentle effleurage to relax him or her deeply, or do some tapotement to stimulate energy levels, whichever your partner prefers. The whole process is not as difficult as it may seem at first, even if you have never had a go at it. There is an instinct most people have of finding out how to use these movements, so that they feel good not only to the person being massaged but to yourself. Massaging each other can be an excellent way of communicating for a couple feeling somewhat at odds with each other. It eliminates the need for words and seems to restore a sense of unity between people. OIL BLISS The best massage oils are those you mix yourself from a “carrier oil” such as almond, sesame, or coconut, to which you add a small quantity (measured in drops) of specific essential oils. Essential oils are the complex hydrocarbons which give plants and flowers their characteristic odors. Each essential oil has its own spirit as well as its biological characteristics. Each will affect the body in a slightly different way. Depending on what you want from a massage, you can choose what is best to use. For instance four drops each of the essential oils of rosemary, camphor and wintergreen mixed with half a cup of carrier oil makes a superb massage oil for sore muscles after strenuous exercise. Oil of sage mixed with a carrier is good for aches and pains from gardening. A few drops of pure sandalwood or camomile or lavender—or all three—in a carrier is excellent for relaxing you if you feel tense or under stress. (You must make sure that you buy the real essential oils however. The chemical analogues which are often sold in their place don't have a therapeutic effect.) These mixtures are also excellent treatments for both male and female skin. They help keep skin moist and protected from the hazards of environmental stress. ONLY THE BEST Once you fall in love with one or two essential oils, you will probably want to build up a whole collection. Be savvy about what you buy. A natural essential oil is impossible to reproduce artificially. It is something which, in its wholeness and its power to act on the human mind and body, can only be created by life itself. You should only ever use pure essential oils as they alone contain the full range of aromatic compounds from the plant. There are many—probably the majority of—products on the market which call themselves “essential oils” but which are poor quality. Some are synthetic, others diluted. Although they may not smell too bad—actually, most of them smell sickening to me—you will not get the full benefits from them that you will from a pure essential oil. The healing, the beauty, the sanctity and the pleasure you can experience using floral essential oils or their blends in these ways is hard to describe—just try it. It is likely to spark off new ideas for aromatherapy and self-healing that have yet to be tried. Note: Whenever possible buy organic oils. Organic or not, however, they need not cost a lot to be good. The reasons I order the majority of mine from iherb.com is that the prices are fabulous and the oils are great. Here are some essential oils and carrier oils I particularly recommend both for quality and price: Flora, Certified Organic Almond Oil, 8.5 fl oz (250 ml) Flora's Almond Oil is a light, premium quality oil pressed from carefully selected, certified organic almonds. The almonds are pressed using Flora's unique European HydroTherm pressing method under low temperature and then carefully bottled in light-resistant, amber glass. Order Flora, Certified Organic Almond Oil from iherb Eden Foods, Organic Sesame Oil, Unrefined, 16 fl oz (473 ml) It is simply pressed from Eden select seed and lightly filtered retaining sesame's full aroma and flavor. Contains the revered antioxidants sesamol and sesamin. Nitrogen flushed when bottled. Order Eden Foods, Organic Sesame Oil from iherb Now Foods, Organic Essential Oils, Rosemary Aroma: Warm, camphoraceous. Benefits: Purifying, renewing, uplifting. Mixes Well With: Bergamot Oil Lemongrass Oil Peppermint Oil Thyme Oil Extraction Method: Stem distilled from flowering tops. Order Now Foods, Organic Essential Oils, Rosemary from iherb ow Foods, Essential Oils, Camphor Benefits: Purifying, energizing, invigorating Mixes Well With: Cinnamon oil, frankincense oil, rosemary oil Extraction Method: Fractional distillation of crude decamphorized oil Order ow Foods, Essential Oils, Camphor from iherb Now Foods, Essential Oils, Wintergreen Aroma: Warm, sweet. Benefits: Stimulating, refreshing, uplifting. Mixes Well With: eucalyptus oil, lemon oil, peppermint oil, tangerine oil Extraction Method: Steam Distilled from leaves. Order Now Foods, Essential Oils, Wintergreen from iherb Now Foods, Essential Oils, Sandalwood Aroma: Subtle floral, undertones of wood and fruit. Benefits: Grounding, focusing, balancing. Extraction method: Steam distilled from wood/bark/roots. Order Now Foods, Essential Oils, Sandalwood from iherb Now Foods, Essential Oils, Sage Aroma: Warm, camphoraceous. Benefits: Normalizing, balancing, soothing. Extraction Method: Steam Distilled from partially dried leaves. Order Now Foods, Essential Oils, Sage from iherb Now Foods, Essential Oils, Chamomile Aroma: Intense sweet, delightful. Benefits: Relaxing, calming, revitalizing. Extraction Method: Steam Distilled from plant's flowers and stalks. Order Now Foods, Essential Oils, Chamomile from iherb Now Foods, Organic Essential Oils, Lavender Aroma: Floral Benefits: Soothing, normalizing, balancing. Extraction Method: Steam distilled from fresh flowering tops. Order Now Foods, Organic Essential Oils, Lavender from iherb

Your Silent Sea

Your Silent Sea

There are five main channels for detoxifying your body: the skin, the lungs, the kidneys, the bowels and the lymphatic system. None is less less recognized, nor more important in spring-cleaning the body, than your lymphatic system. Yet the state of its health and functioning is still almost completely ignored. Your lymphatics are not only a major route for absorbing vital nutrients from the digestive system into the tissues to keep skin healthy, youthful and glowing—they are important carriers of immune cells. These protect your body from damage and illness and help prevent degenerative aging. Lymphatics are also your body's metabolic-waste-disposal system. They take away unwanted proteins and large particles of toxic debris which cannot be removed by any other means. This includes toxins—the by-products of fatigue and of stress—dead cells, fatty globules, pathogenic bacteria, heavy metals, infectious viruses and other assorted rubbish cast off by your cells. WASTE DISPOSAL So essential are the waste-eliminating functions of the lymphatic system that without them you would die within 24 hours. Doctors working with natural methods of healing insist that a primary cause of fatigue, disease and cell degeneration, with its accompanying premature aging, is poor circulation of lymph to and from the cells and tissues of the body. The same tradition of natural medicine uses a number of effective techniques designed to stimulate lymphatic functions as a means of healing even quite serious illnesses— ranging from rheumatism or cardiovascular disease to chronic fatigue. These techniques include exercise (done for the joy of it, not as a chore), skin-brushing, special breathing techniques, and infra red saunas. All of these things improve the purity and quality of the lymph—the clear fluid which flows through the lymphatics (lymph vessels). They are little short of revolutionary in what they can do for your good looks and your good health. They have even been known to clear long-standing skin troubles such as acne, improve the look of puffy or aging skin, heighten vitality, banish muscle and joint pain, and aid in the regeneration of the body as a whole. Making use of these techniques is simple. But first you need to know a little about how the lymphatic system functions, and just how important a role its mysterious mechanisms play in promoting health and beauty. WHITE BLOOD MAGIC Your body is more than 75 per cent water. So important is water to the processes of life itself that, according to Nobel Laureate Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, “Life is water dancing to the tune of solids”. A French biologist rather poetically emphasized Szent-Gyorgyi's observation by saying: 'Man is an amphibian. Even the most beautiful woman's body is no more than an aquarium with 50 liters of lukewarm seawater in which trillions of cells live and fight for survival.' Five liters of this 'seawater' are to be found in your blood, five in digestive and other secretions, and almost all the rest is in your lymphatic fluid or lymph—sometimes called 'white blood'. Thanks to the lymph, a ceaseless interchange goes on between your body's trillions of cells and their surrounding interstitial fluids, so that food and oxygen are exchanged and waste products are eliminated from the cells—all through the medium of water. For cells and tissues to be nourished, for them to remain vital, and for your skin and muscles to remain smooth and healthy and firm, this interchange needs to occur without impedance, and the water itself needs to be relatively uncontaminated. BEAUTIFUL FLUID In your body, nutrients and oxygen are transported to the tissues and cells via the bloodstream. Arterial pressure forces the blood through tiny capillaries and out into the cells' interstitial spaces to enable the nutrients and oxygen to be exchanged for the wastes which the cells have produced. Here the water or interstitial fluid, now filled with toxic waste, is gathered by tiny lymphatic tubules and then sent back through the lymph vessels to be detoxified. These lymphatics are a highly organized and elaborate system of ducts and channels which flow all over your body. In fact, almost all the tissues of the body are equipped with lymph channels which drain excess fluid, and the wastes which it contains, from the interstitial spaces. This opalescent liquid carries the wastes and toxic products from these minute channels into larger lymphatic vessels, and on through the lymph nodes, which are located in the groin and under the arm and the neck. The lymph nodes filter the fluid to remove impurities and dead cells; they are also a place where antibodies, which fight infection or toxins, are made. After purification at the nodes, the fluid is returned to the blood. In this way, the lymphatic system works ceaselessly to clear toxicity and to reduce excess mucus and waste. GRAVITY IS YOUR FRIEND The microscopic network of these lymph channels resembles the blood capillaries, except that it is finer. And the lymph system in many ways is rather like the blood system except that, while the blood system is powered by the action of the heart muscles, the lymphatic system has no such prime mover. Instead, its nourishing, water-balancing and eliminative functions are almost entirely dependent upon gravity and the natural pressure of muscles which occurs when you move your body. These muscle contractions and body movements—together with biochemical factors, such as whether or not excessive quantities of protein are present in the fluid—keep the lymph flowing and make it possible for the lymphatics to carry out their important task of bodily cleansing. For good lymphatic functioning—to keep your body free of the buildup of wastes and toxicity—you need to move your muscles vigorously and often. That is why regular brisk exercise, such as taking long walks in comfortable shoes, is so important not only to firm your muscles and strengthen your heart and lungs, but also to encourage the steady and effective elimination of wastes from your cells and tissues.

A Benevolent Bath

A Benevolent Bath

Allow an hour for the whole process of taking a delicious treat of a bath from beginning to end. Make sure you have everything you need - towel, loofa or hemp glove, and another towel to use as a headrest. Add essential oils to the water as the bath is filling, using about ten to fifteen drops total of either a single essence or of a mixture for a large bath. Each essence has a different effect on the mind and body (see below).  When you get into the bath, gently scrub yourself all over with a hemp glove or a loofa. Then just relax and soak for a few minutes, letting the heat penetrate your muscles.  Keep a cool cloth nearby to smooth over your face when needed. Let the essential oils work their wonders while you carry out a relaxing and waste-eliminating self-massage.  Water is the perfect medium for self-massage. The heat (remember not to have your bath too hot and stimulating) of the water works silent wonders, and it supports your body so that you have easy access to feet, legs, arms and torso while still remaining relaxed. When your bath is finished, lie down for ten minutes with an eye mask or a piece of dark fabric across your eyes and keep warm. the massage message Self-massage is nothing more than stroking, kneading, pushing and pressing your skin and muscles. Start with your feet. Grasp one foot between thumb and fingers and press in between the tendons, gently at first, then harder and harder, moving from the toes up towards the ankle. Then, using your fingertips and knuckles, go over the soles of your feet. Wherever you find a sore spot, work harder until you feel the discomfort melt beneath your hand. Now do your heel, grasping it between thumb and fingers and working around the area of the Achilles tendon. This is also a good time to make circles with your foot to loosen the ankle joint. Repeat this with the other foot, and then go on to your legs. Lift each leg in turn and deeply stroke the flesh on the back, from the ankle up to the knee. Then go back to the ankle again and repeat the same motions on the side and front of the calf. Keep working and, as you massage a little deeper with each stroke, you will gradually find that any tautness softens. Now go over your thighs with the same movement, and afterwards knead and squeeze around the knee area wherever there are trouble spots, just as you did on the feet. Now knead each thigh and hip. Then go on to your arms. Knead and squeeze every spot you can reach on your shoulders and neck, looking for sore spots and focusing on the areas between joints and muscles. Pay particular attention to the tops of shoulders, where most of us lock away our tension. Grasp this area in your thumb and fingers and insistently ease away any hardness you find there. Finally, go over your ribs, doing each side with its opposite hand. essence alchemy As part of the benevolent bath, choose essential oils not so much for what they can do for your skin as what they can do to expand your consciousness and lift your spirit. Whatever your mental state may be, it has an enchanting antidote from the world of flowers: Negative State Essential Oil Remedy anger: ylang ylang, rose, chamomile resentment: rose sadness: hyssop, marjoram, sandalwood mental fatigue: basil, peppermint, cypress, patchouli worry: lavender feeling jaded: neroli, melissa, camphor feelings of weakness: chamomile, jasmine, melissa irritability: frankincense, marjoram, lavender, chamomile physical exhaustion: jasmine, rosemary, juniper, patchouli anxiety: sage, juniper, basil, jasmine

Nature's Finest Treatment

Nature's Finest Treatment

What is Nature’s most powerful healer? The answer will surprise you: WATER applied to your skin’s surface. Would you consider pouring a stream of cold water over your face to banish fatigue and prevent skin from wrinkling and sagging? Would you walk in ice-cold water up to your knees every morning to increase your vitality and ward off aging? Have jets of cold water directed against your back and legs to help you shed fat? Extraordinary as these practices sound, they are natural methods of treatment with over a century and a half of clinical validation behind them. They are part of one of the most elaborate, effective and well-researched European methods of healing, health enhancement and age-retardation in the world: Kneipp therapy. KNEIPP’S GENIUS Applications of hot and cold water have long been standard treatment for regenerating energy, curing headaches, improving lymphatic function, and even eliminating hangovers after a night of partying. In no small part is this thanks to the pioneering work of Father Sebastian Kneipp, a Bavarian parish priest who strengthened his own less-than-hearty health with water treatments. In 1855, Kneipp was sent to the tiny Bavarian village of Worishofen to supervise a Dominican nunnery. Many of his friends insisted that the church had only sent him there to get him away from his fascination with water-healing, in the belief that it was interfering with his clerical life. There he acted as father-confessor to the nuns, revived the village's stagnant economy, and advised farmers on how to improve their agriculture. But Kneipp’s fascination with health and healing prevailed when later he was made parson of the village. Despite the fact that his days were filled with ecclesiastical duties, he found his time increasingly taken up by a growing number of ailing people who had heard of his ‘miracle cures’, and either didn’t have enough money to pay for medical care, or had been given up as ‘hopeless’ by their physicians. Kneipp treated them with his water techniques. He then taught them to treat themselves, gradually developing a complete system for prevention, cure and rehabilitation based on the theory that a human being is a unity of body and soul, and that whenever this unity is threatened, or whenever the harmony of nature is disturbed, illness ensues. As far back as 1900, Kneipp's water therapy was being practiced all over Europe. Since then, his methods have been researched, applied, refined and adapted to contemporary needs by medical scientists—most of them German—who have established the basis of Kneipp’s water techniques worldwide. AMAZING BENEFITS Still little known in English-speaking countries, Kneipp therapy is practiced in some seventy spas and thousands of hospitals in Europe. Treatments are supervised by physicians highly trained in the various methods it involves, the most important of which is a complex set of water applications which have profound regenerative and protective effects on the body. Far from being some kind of far-out alternative therapy used only by nature freaks and old women, Kneipp hydrotherapy is supported by government health-insurance schemes in Europe, and even subsidized by the state both as a preventative treatment against aging as well as a means of curing and rehabilitating the seriously ill. Kneipp therapy is used in many applications—from affusions, where water in a steady stream is poured over specific parts of your body, to hot and cold compresses—as a treatment for conditions from arthritis, abscesses and heart disease to asthma, diabetes and allergic eczema. All of Kneipp’s methods greatly increase your vitality, can enhance athletic prowess, help you handle stress better, banish insomnia, and counteract a myriad of negative effects connected with the aging process. SECRETS OF HYDROTHERAPY This is the secret of using cold water applications on your body. You need to be warm to begin with, and you must keep warm and dry afterwards. Contact with cold water in these circumstances first causes constriction of the blood vessels, momentarily driving the blood inwards. Then, the moment it is stopped, blood rushes to the surface of the skin, warming it. THE PRINCIPLES Not every water treatment has to be administered by a professional in a clinic or a spa. One of Kneipp's most important principles was that hydrotherapy should be simple enough that any healthy person can benefit from it—as a prophylactic treatment against aging, to improve the condition of the skin, to eliminate stress and to treat minor ailments from a headache to a cold without professional help. Simple at-home water treatments fortify your body against sickness in general, improve circulation and calm frayed nerves. FOR GREAT SKIN An affusion is literally a pouring of running water over a particular area of the body. Affusions stimulate blood supply to the skin, restoring lost tautness and freshness to sagging or faded skin. It is a popular natural treatment in Europe amongst men and women who want to retain (or reform) their youthful good looks. It helps prevent premature aging of the skin, eliminate feelings of fatigue and can even cure a migraine. Here's How Make sure your body is in a well-warmed state to begin with. Then, using a hose with an opening of about ½ inch (it can be a bathroom hand shower with the head removed) turn on the cold water so that a sheet of water is delivered to the skin when the hose is held 2-4 inches from it. (There should be no great pressure of water.) When an affusion is done right, the water flows smoothly and evenly and with no `splashback'. Now, resting your neck on a towel and bending over a sink or the bath, begin by circling your face with the water from just below the temple. Then go back and forth from one side of the face to the other. Guide the stream several times from up to down starting at the left side and working towards the right. End by circling the whole face again. The entire process is done with cold water and should take only a couple of minutes. Pat your face gently to remove excess water and then let it dry completely in the air. TO BOOST VITALITY AND STRENGTHEN IMMUNITY There are several techniques designed to increase vitality and bring protection against illness and age-degeneration. Which you choose depends on your current state of stamina and health. They range from the body wash, which is gentle enough for almost anyone, to the cold Blitzguss, which top athletes and other very fit people favor. The Body Wash This is quite different from the usual cleansing wash you carry out in the bath or shower using a flannel. It involves the uniform spreading of water over your skin with a rough linen cloth. Afterwards you do not dry yourself. Instead get into a warm bed for a few minutes. It helps relax the body while bracing and strengthening it. It also activates natural warmth, eliminating and protecting you from the build-up of toxic substances in the blood and tissues which can cause cellular damage and age-related problems. Here's How Having dipped the linen cloth into cold water, begin on the back of the right hand and sweep upwards over the shoulder then down again on the inside to the thumb. Now turn the cloth over and wash the inside of the hand and arm to the armpit, and finally the back of the palm. Dip the cloth in water again quickly and carry out the same movements on the other arm. Then, quickly dipping the cloth in water again, with half a dozen vertical movements wash over the chest, abdomen and the fronts of legs. Another dip and do the back (or have a friend help here since it is easier). Finish your body wash by quickly rubbing the soles of the feet. The whole procedure (which must be carried out in a warm room) needs to be very quick (only thirty to forty seconds). Then remove excess water from your body's surface, dress warmly and move about, or get into a warm bed for a few minutes. This is a superb way of refreshing yourself after a long day before going out for the evening. WATER TREADING This takes a couple of minutes. In Bad Worishofen there are beautiful pools at the clinics and hotels and even in the woods, where you can take off your shoes and socks and walk barefoot in water every morning, summer and winter, even when there is snow on the ground. If you are lucky enough to live near the sea or by a brook, both are ideal. But you can get the same results at home using a bath filled with cold water. Here's How Dressed warmly, but with your legs and feet naked from the knee down, step into the water and `walk on the spot', lifting first one foot and then another up out of the water. The reaction will be either a pleasant warm feeling flooding the feet or a sharp cold ache, followed by warmth. Begin by treading water for only thirty seconds or so, then work up to a couple of minutes as your system gets stronger and more resilient. Immediately afterwards put on dry warm socks and shoes and move about. (By the way, this is also an excellent treatment for insomniacs when done just before going to bed.) BLITZGUSS A real Blitzguss has to be done by a professional in a special shower using a powerful water-force. But you can get many of its beneficial effects in the shower, particularly if you happen to have a hand-held shower which you can direct on to different parts of your body. This is something I do every morning after exercising. Here's How Take a warm shower until your skin is glowing with the warmth. Turn off the hot water and use only cold, directing it over your face, down your arms and legs, over your trunk and abdomen and down your back. This process should take no more than thirty seconds. Get out of the shower, pat off the excess water and dress warmly. This will leave your skin glowing with warmth, thanks to the reaction against the cold water. Practiced every day or so, it will also strengthen your immune system, not only against age-degeneration but also against colds, flu and other illnesses. Blitzguss greatly increases vitality. This is a favorite of top athletes in Germany. It is also my favorite of all the prophylactic treatments with water—and I am a long way from being a top athlete. But I had to work up to it in the beginning by starting with the body wash and with water treading (which I still do when I feel tired but unable to sleep). It’s best not to use Blitzguss until you are already quite strong. DE-STRESS FOR BETTER SLEEP The next two techniques are particularly good if you feel stressed or you tend to wrestle with insomnia at the end of the day. Wet Socks A favourite of Kneipp himself, this is an easy way to apply a foot compress. It is extraordinarily relaxing. Here's How Wet a pair of cotton socks in cold water and wring them out so that they are no longer dripping. Put them on and then cover them with a pair of dry woolen socks, then get into bed. Leave the socks on for at least half an hour, although it doesn't matter if they stay on all night should you fall asleep. Once you begin to experience some of the extraordinary benefits from these simple treatments, you may find you want to explore some of the other natural therapies which are also carriers of vital information for health and ageless aging. They include air baths, saunas and Turkish baths, herbal treatments using the adaptogens and dry skin-brushing. Not only can each one of them leave you feeling vibrantly well and looking good, together with good nutrition, exercise and relaxation, they are some of the means by which your body/mind/spirit can restore balance and help keep you well, youthful and vital, long after those around you have succumbed to the ravages of time.

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