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Sacred Truth Ep. 67: Magic Motherwort - calm and courage for your health

Sacred Truth Ep. 67: Magic Motherwort - calm and courage for your health

Let we share with you my very favorite plant for soothing, healing and helping when you need it most. It is Motherwort—Leonurus cardiaca. In the Chinese pharmacopeia it’s known as Yi Mu Cao, meaning “Lion's Tail.” A herb of the heart, this humble plant grows in waste lands. Motherwort is the most comforting herb I have ever found anywhere. It brings a sense of inner security and calm strength unequalled by anything, except perhaps a love affair of the deepest order—maybe not even that.   This wonderful herb has gained its name from the ancient practice of using it to reduce anxiety during pregnancy. The plant has good sedative properties— well validated by scientific experiment. It is able to calm the nervous system while at the same time acting as a tonic to the while body. Culpepper, who believed that motherwort belonged to the goddess Venus and to the astrological sign of Leo, wrote "There is no better herb to drive melancholy vapors from the heart, to strengthen it and make the mind cheerful, blithe and merry." I think this sums up the virtues of my beloved motherwort superbly.   Its leaves are full of mind-altering natural chemicals. Studies in China have shown that these decrease the levels of blood lipids and exert a regulating action on muscles like the womb and the heart, bringing peace in their wake. This is one of the reasons why, in addition to being used by women to ease hot flushes, banish insomnia, and restore elasticity to the walls of the vagina, it is an excellent herb for the treatment of many heart conditions in men. No wonder it’s the most physically and psychologically healing plant I know. This magical plant is also rich in alkaloids. It’s bitter as an infusion. So it can be easier to take as a tincture or make into a herbal vinegar. Take 10 to 25 drops of the tincture made from the fresh plant, or 1 to 2 teaspoons of the herb vinegar as desired. A herb for all seasons, here are just a few of the gifts it can bestow upon you: Motherwort reduces fevers and is often used to treat illnesses with delirium. It is often used to treat lung issues like bronchitis and asthma, and is sometimes taken in conjunction with mullein. It calms nerves. In fact there is something so calming and balancing about motherwort that it is hard to describe if you have never experienced it. Used frequently it can relieve anxiety, uplift the nervous system, and relax tensions, while raising vitality. I often turn to it when I know I need to confront a situation that I believe is likely to be stressful. Motherwort can also minimize hot flushes and reduce their intensity, length, and frequency while helping to calm the dizziness or faintness that sometimes comes with them.  This is probably thanks to its ability to oxygenate the blood in both men and women, tonify the thyroid, liver, and heart, and invigorate circulation all round. For best results use it regularly for 12 weeks or longer. Although sometimes, 10 to 15 drops or so of the tincture in a little spring water can ease a hot flush while it’s happening. If you want to sleep peacefully and undisturbed, motherwort can be a good friend. It’s also useful if you awaken in the night with sweats and have trouble dropping off again. Take 10 to 20 drops of the tincture kept at the side of your bed with a glass of spring water and swallow some each time you wake up. It’s a natural diuretic as well. A little motherwort every few hours can reduce water retention. This is especially useful after a flight if your legs and feet have become swollen. As for clearing menstrual and uterine cramps if your menstrual flow is absent or light to moderate, I’ve never found anything more effective. Use 5 to 10 drops of the tincture in a little water every few minutes until they have gone then repeat as necessary. Prolonged use strengthens the muscles of the womb, and even makes it resistant to cramping in the future. Finally, in my own experience, this magical plant even seems to enhance women’s self esteem, would you believe? Ten to twenty drops of tincture of motherwort works wonders whenever you are feeling unsettled. Alternatively you can take 5 to 15 drops of the tincture every day for a month or two to stabilize emotions long term. It also strengthens the heart and helps you feel courageous even when the chips are down. There are a couple of important cautions in regard to using motherwort that you should know about. If you are taking blood-thinning drugs—and I sincerely hope you are not—then don’t use motherwort. Finally, if your menstrual flow is very heavy, motherwort could well make it heavier, so avoid it in this case. Meanwhile, I leave you with a wonderful Chinese belief from ancient times when there were many stories of both men and women whose water source was a stream flowing through the banks of motherwort: these people were believed to have lived 130 years or even longer.

Escape The Rut

Escape The Rut

Working in the same stressful environment day after day produces the same triggers and responses to stress that we simply learn as habits. It’s a good idea to take as many opportunities as you can to break the stress-routine, and there are lots of easy ways to do this. Tea and coffee breaks may be official breaks or simply a chance to grab a quick cup of something between phone calls, appointments or jobs. They are usually few and far between, so it’s wise to make them work for you rather than against you. Consumption of coffee or tea can range from a single cup in the morning to up to 6 or more cups a day. For most people, the process of having another cup becomes an automatic response. The problem is that after the initial caffeine pick up, tea or coffee can let you down badly. Few people know - or want to know - how much damage a few cups of tea or coffee a day can do. Each time you drink a cup of coffee you are getting a dose of between 90 and 120mg of caffeine, and between 40 and 100mg of caffeine for a cup of tea. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, pancreas and heart as well as the cerebral cortex, which is why a cup of tea or coffee will give you a temporary boost in energy. The bad news is that, like any drug, the effects of caffeine are short lived. After the temporary energy boost wears off, your blood sugar level will drop lower than it was to begin with and you will feel exhausted. This encourages you to reach for a second cup, and the vicious cycle is set up. breaks that work An average tea or coffee consumption of a few cups a day has been linked with such complaints as heart disorders, high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, gastric ulcers and even mental illness. In an already stressful office environment, a cup of tea or coffee in the long run will only contribute to general fatigue and edginess. It is far better to look to natural energy-boosting drinks that will help sustain you through the day. the caffeine-free break Try a glass of vitamin C tonic. Simply add 1-2 grams of powdered vitamin C (about 1 teaspoon) to a glass of spring water (plain or fizzy) and sweeten with a little natural stevia. Or stir a half-teaspoon of powdered vitamin C into a glass of fresh fruit juice such as apple, grape or pineapple. Try coffee substitutes from your local health food store. There are also some wonderful herb tea combinations on the market, which come in convenient sachets and range in flavor from almond to cranberry. Just add boiling water and a little natural stevia to sweeten if you like. Some herbs are particularly helpful for pepping you up, such as lemon grass, while others, such as chamomile, will soothe your nerves. Have both types around. You generally need to steep herbal teas for several minutes to get the full flavor. If you have a centrifugal juicer, you can squeeze fresh juice, such as carrot and apple, in the morning and keep it in a thermos with ice to drink throughout the day. Or simply keep a bottle of spring water on your desk to drink throughout the day. Most offices can be very dehydrating, and replenishing body fluids is an important boost to mental alertness. find relief Recognizing the signs of stress in your body is the first step to taking control of what is happening to you. We all have specific areas where we hold onto tension. Usually you are not aware of these tensions, because your body adapts itself to them and considers them the norm. You only discover a tension when it becomes so severe that it actually causes you pain. If you can locate the areas in your body which tend to be tight, you can unload not only the physical, but also the emotional and mental stress you are carrying around. Common areas of tension are the neck, face, shoulders and between the shoulder blades, forehead, hands, feet, lower back and upper chest. In a quiet moment at home, try this simple technique for discovering the tense spots. Lie down on your back on the floor with a pillow to support your head and your knees bent comfortably, the soles of your feet to the floor. Become aware of your breathing and then concentrate on different parts of your body - beginning with your head and working down to your feet. A tight spot will feel numb, or "dull". This is because the tense muscles reduce the sensitivity in that area. Once you have discovered your particular area of tension, say for example shoulders, concentrate on that area again and consciously decide to make it relax. On each out breath, release a little more tension. You may find as you do this that tension in another part of your body will disappear as well. That will help you discover another typical tension holding area for you. Once you know your typical tension spots, you can use this exercise throughout the day, whether you're sitting or moving about, to let go of tension. The more you practice releasing these muscles, the easier it will become. breathe easy How we feel is almost always reflected in the way we breathe. When we experience emotional extremes, for example crying or laughing, our breathing also becomes extreme. By changing your breathing pattern, you can also change the way you feel. In this way, breathing can be an important tool for de-stressing. Here is a very simple breathing technique which you can repeat throughout the day to help you let go of tensions and get an energy pick up. Start by breathing in and out fully with a sigh. Wait for the in breath to come by itself. As the air comes in let it fill out your abdomen first, and then your chest. Don't raise your shoulders. Then as you breathe out again, imagine you are exhaling all the tension in your body and let your muscles relax. Pause and allow the breath to come in once more and then continue with whatever you're doing. Use this exercise whenever something triggers a stress response. This can be anything from hearing the telephone ring, to looking at your watch when you're late. Stick a colored tab on your watchstrap and on your telephone so that each time you see them you will remember to breathe! tension release Working intensely for long hours on an exciting project does wonders for the mind and for self-esteem. It does nothing for your body, and can lead to long term stress-related physical problems. Here are a few exercises you can do in any quiet moments you have by yourself to get rid of the aches and pains that come with working for too long in one position. neck release Let your head drop forward so that your chin rests on your chest. Clasp your hands behind your head and gently let the weight of your arms pulling down lengthen out the spaces between the vertebrae in your neck. Then drop your head backwards and let your mouth drop open. Open and close your mouth like a fish (this is why you might want to do this when no one else is around) and feel the stretch in your throat. Bring your head back to center and drop it over to one side so that your ear goes towards your shoulder. Wrap the same arm as shoulder over your head and gently help ease it down. Then ease your head over to the other side using the other arm. Roll your head slowly clockwise twice and then anti-clockwise twice. Finish by giving yourself a quick neck rub. Place your fingertips either side of your neck vertebrae, and rub up and down with small circular movements. shoulder shrug Lift your arms above your head, fingers clasped, and squeeze your shoulders up to your ears. Hold them there for a count of five, then let them drop allowing the weight of your arms to pull your shoulders down. Bring your shoulders as far forward as possible trying to bring the insides of your elbows together, hold for five, then relax. Now push your shoulders as far back as possible - squeezing your shoulder blades together for a count of five and relax. Taking one shoulder at a time, rotate it backwards as if you are unscrewing the upper arm away from the body. You should create a space between your arm and the side of your body. Repeat with the other shoulder. Now take a breath in, and imagine your torso widening and your upper arms moving even further away from each other. As you breathe out maintain this distance. Repeat twice more. scalp tap For a quick energy boost simply use your fingertips to tap lightly over the entire area of your skull. Some areas are sensitive so tap lightly, other areas, like the base of the skull, can benefit from a firmer tap. Massage along the jawbone, with small circular movements, from below the ears to the chin. Your whole head and face should feel alive and refreshed. eye refresher Lean your elbows on your desk and cup your hands over your closed eyes. Hold this for about a minute then gently release your hands and open your eyes. Blink several times. Repeat this exercise whenever your eyes are sore or tired. Remember to lubricate your eyes by blinking often, particularly if you are reading or watching a computer screen.

Sacred Truth Ep. 46: Aromatherapy Heals Body & Soul

Sacred Truth Ep. 46: Aromatherapy Heals Body & Soul

The power that floral essential oils can exert over mind and body has been known for centuries. For example, before Cleopatra sailed out to meet Marc Antony, she drenched the sails of her barge with the scent of jasmine—an aphrodisiac. He could not resist her. The faintest hint of a floral perfume can transport you back to a place in your memories, and evoke all the emotions that go with it. Why should something as ordinary as a scent have such a powerful effect upon you? It is because your sense of smell is governed by the limbic system—the most primitive part of your brain. The limbic system also governs your most intense emotions—joy, fear, desire, or rage. So an evocative scent has the power to reach into the deepest parts of your mind and body. When you smell any odor, you are reacting to volatile molecules that are wafting their way to odor receptors behind the bridge of your nose. From there, nerve impulses are carried to your limbic system. The chemical messages from the fragrance are then interpreted, and a response is sent by the hypothalamus to the rest of your body.   It was not until the 1920s that the extraordinary physical healing powers of essential oils began to be explored in depth. It was at this time that the birth of modern aromatherapy took place in the laboratory of a French chemist, Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, who became interested in the healing qualities of the natural essential oils that he used in his family’s perfume business. Then, one day Gattefosse burned his hand in a laboratory explosion and he immediately plunged his hand into a bowl of pure lavender oil. He was amazed to find how quickly the wound healed without even leaving a scar. It was Gattefosse who coined the word “aromatherapy,” in a 1928 scientific paper. Floral essential oils work from outside in. They impact your body and senses through your sense of smell and by absorption through your skin. When essential oils meet your human body, their molecules not only produce psychological responses like euphoria and increased alertness as well as relaxation but also induce direct and measurable pharmacological changes through your blood stream. They affect your hormones and glandular system, your metabolic processes, and your nervous system, and subtly induce healing on many levels. There are over 1000 aromatherapy oils on the market—about 30% of them derived from flowers. Each floral essential oil has its own distinct personality, which is sometimes quite different from its ‘soul energy,’ which comes through in flower essence healing. Each can be used singularly or in combination. If you have not yet experienced the blessings of floral essential oils in your life, you are in for a treat. Here are some of my favorite flowers, from which teas can be made and whose essential oils or absolutes can be used for a multitude of other purposes. Get to know their healing effects and their uses, then experiment with them in your own life. SACRED ESSENTIAL OILS To open to the abundance of the universe Rose Otto, Neroli, Lavender To clear unhelpful habits and thought patterns Carnation, Tuberose, Hyssop For increased confidence and self-worth Geranium, Rose Maroc, Ylang Ylang To release guilt Clary Sage, Jasmine, Linden Blossom To enhance the connection with your higher self Rose Maroc, Jasmine, Neroli Immerse yourself in a bath laced with essential oils. Breathe in the mind-altering aroma while you absorb the life-enhancing molecules through your skin. Don't disrupt the experience with perfumed soaps, shampoos, or body washes. If you need to get clean, shower first, then bask in the full aromatherapy experience. Once you emerge from your bath, let yourself enjoy the floral aura that you will carry with you for hours. The simplest method for taking an aromatherapy bath is to sprinkle a few drops of essential oil into your bath, swish it around so that the oil is well dispersed, then immerse yourself. Begin with only 2 drops of essential oil in a tub of water then gradually build up over a period of weeks to 4-7 drops. This may seem like a very small amount, but undiluted essences are extremely potent. More than this could irritate your skin. Also be aware that some florals stimulate while others sedate. For example, if you want a relaxing bath, choose an essential oil like lavender, which has a sedating effect, and use it in warm rather than hot water (somewhere between 28-35 degrees C). If you need invigoration, use a stimulating essential oil like neroli and take a shorter, hotter bath (around 35-39 degrees C). If you prefer a moisturizing bath, make your own bath oil blend by combining the following ingredients: To each 1-2 teaspoons of avocado oil or sweet almond oil, add 1 drop of a mild shampoo 2-5 drops of essential oil Shake the mixture in a small glass jar or bottle and add the blend to your bath. Experiment with your essential oils singly or in combination. Don’t use more than 3-5 drops of essential oil in total. Each has its own personality, and you will quickly learn which ones help you most and in which situations. Above all, have fun experimenting. Rediscover the ancient art of bathing that the Romans knew so well. Take time out to indulge your senses with a prolonged floral soak. It will benefit you in so many ways that it would be hard to list them all.

Free The Body: Charge The Mind

Free The Body: Charge The Mind

Too many of us - fitness freaks and lounge lizards alike - experience our body not as a joy or a finely tuned instrument of expression for our inner being, but rather as a prison incarcerating the Self which cries out for physical expression but is rendered mute by walls of chronic tension, fatigue or postural distortions. Most of us live at only a fraction of our capacity for vitality and we have not the least notion of our body's potential for beauty and for pleasure. For exercise to be of real benefit it needs to be an integrating activity which draws together mind and body. We live in an age of aerobic fitness. Joggers pound the pavements summer and winter, dance studios brim with all sizes and shapes of sweaty women in lycra, and every month or so a `new' system of physical exercise appears on the scene. You'd expect to find the world full of strong supple bodies brimming with grace and energy. The reality is somewhat different. The fine muscle tone, buoyant energy and rich mobility of a coordinated, supple and responsive physical body is a rare occurrence in the Western world even amongst those who consider themselves most fit. Instead we are faced with contracted shoulders and sunken chests, distorted thighs and faces which have aged before their time thanks to poor muscle tone and flagging energy. the body as energy Just as it's important to recognize that the aging process as a whole is not only a biochemical phenomenon but is also dependent upon energy changes - structural information that comes to us through our food and our environment, and our mental attitudes and expectations - so a new approach to exercise is needed to make the most of its potential. Thinkers such as von Bertalanffy and researchers such as Szent-Gyorgyi and the American orthopedic specialist and expert in electrobiology Robert Becker have helped to create a new awareness of the physical body and the mind as a single complex. They have demonstrated that it is no longer enough to consider the body as a physiological and biochemical phenomenon alone. Beneath our physiology and biochemistry lies a unifying system of energetics, which is subtle and complex as well as enormously potent in its effect on body, mind and overall vitality. Becker even uncovered a second `nervous system' previously unrecognized by science which he insists controls growth, healing and regeneration of broken bones. This energetic system appears to be influenced by both our environment and by our thoughts. It is currently being used to explain such diverse phenomena as why acupuncture can be used for pain relief and how hypnosis works. So far very little of the new scientific findings about the body as a unified energetic system has filtered down into the awareness of exercise physiologists and teachers. As a result there are still a great many people for whom even a dedicated and dynamic exercise program followed regularly but mechanically does little good. To an unfortunate few it can even be harmful. To make the most of aerobic exercise for ageless aging, you need not gear yourself up for some superhuman effort. You only need to leave behind the mechanical approach to exercise which tends to treat your body as a machine to be put through its paces - and to get back to basics.

Stress Is A Gift

Stress Is A Gift

The idea that stress is all bad is patent nonsense. As human beings we would be little more than vegetables without stress in our lives. Also, and most important, the more committed we are to the lives we are leading and the more right they are for us, the less likely we are to suffer the ravages of stress. Nevertheless we worry about stress, wonder about it, and wish it would go away. Yet seldom do we even stop to ask what it is. Little wonder. For stress is complicated even to define. YOU NEED STRESS TO LIVE The word stress comes from the language of engineering, meaning “any force which causes an object to change.” In engineering the specific change caused by stress is known as strain and there are four possible kinds: torsion, tensile, compression and sheering. In human terms the strain is you body's response to physical, chemical, emotional or spiritual forces, asking in some way that you adapt to them. As we learn this art, we also discover a great secret: How stress can become the spice of life, the exhilaration of challenge and excitement, the high of living with heavy demands on you and and thriving. For, like the tempering process involved in the production of a piece of good steel, once you make a friend of stress, forces which had seemed to be working against you become positive energies that define you, strengthen you and help you express your own brand of creativity and joy. This is one of the great gifts that stress has to offer. Without physical and mental challenges your body would become feeble and you would never feel the excitement and creative energy which are such an important part of wellbeing. But too much stress can be a killer since stress, or rather the inability to cope with it, is the common denominator in all disease states. It is also a strong contributing cause in almost every illness to which we are susceptible. Develop methods for neutralizing the negative effects of stress and you can begin to thrive on its positive aspects. TOSS OUT THE PILLS Drug-based therapy is not the answer: the a million tons of Valium swallowed each year, as well as sleeping pills and other tranquillizers, produce unpleasant and dangerous side-effects ranging from addiction to acute rage, withdrawal, long-term worsening of anxiety symptoms, sub-clinical vitamin and mineral deficiencies, aggressiveness and even acute psychotic episodes. New evidence indicates that taking tranquillizers may also encourage the growth of tumours, impair neuromuscular coordination and make takers more prone to road accidents. Quite apart from the detrimental effects these drugs exert on mind and body, the fact that they treat only the symptoms of overload and do absolutely nothing towards eliminating the causes, means they can never make a positive contribution to wellbeing. What’s worse, relying on pills weakens your ability to cope with life and undermines your autonomy and your self-esteem. QUICK ENERGY NOW It is actually possible to breathe in energy whenever you feel burdened with worry and fatigue. Try this for a couple of minutes: Close your eyes. Breathe slowly and deeply from your diaphragm, so your stomach (not your chest) swells with each in breath. Imagine that you are breathing in vitality from the air to fill your whole body through your solar plexus. As you breathe in, feel that your whole body is becoming more and more relaxed. Imagine it as a centre of immense light radiating outward in all directions, as though you are taking in energy through the solar plexus itself, transforming it into light and radiating it out again everywhere. YOUR FEELINGS MATTER Emotional stressors in your life can take their toll. But f most emotional hurdles can be overcome. Take a look at what continues to trigger off the stress response in your own life. Ask yourself whether it is something which prevents you from turning a lot of your energy to more constructive use. Some stressors provide challenges from which we can grow. Others are simply habitual. They lead nowhere and bring little in terms of increasing awareness or your ability to make better use of your energy. If there are any of these in your life see if you can eliminate them. For instance, take a look at the work you do and ask yourself if you find it really satisfying. Are the financial responsibilities you have taken on really necessary? Can you reduce them in any way? If so, have the courage to drop them and to accept the changes this will bring about; this too can make you stronger. We humans have a tendency to hang on to the status quo at all costs - and often the cost is in terms of lost adaptive energy - occasionally even life. Regardless of whether you learn the world's finest techniques for meditation to counteract stress, if you are in a job you hate year after year or are faced with a relationship that no longer has meaning for you, they will do little good. To make stress work you must not only face up to its demands, but also take responsibility for removing it wherever it is no longer useful and relevant to you. GET INTO JOY Each of us needs to develop our own personal ways of throwing off stress. A walk in the woods for clearing consciousness is something quite specifically ordered by Tibetan doctors to patients who suffer from rapid swings of mood and worry. Or you could try sailing, running, dancing, gardening, listening to music or some other form of hobby. I have a passion, verging on an addiction, for good movies. Explore them all. Find out what works best for you and make it an important part of your day-to-day life. By eliminating unnecessary stressors from your life, practising relaxation and exercise, and becoming more and more aware of which challenges are important to you and which you are better off without, you will develop a way of being which will keep you free from unnecessary illness. You will soon be tapping the kind of vitality and enthusiasm a child has which most adults have long forgotten. A special bonus too - you will quite automatically preserve your good looks and vitality decade after decade. THE ART OF SIGHING When you begin to unwind and let go the muscles' tension, the release is often accompanied by a very slow deep breath - in fact, a sort of sigh. You can use sighing throughout the day to calm your nerves and prevent tensions building up. Think of a stress producing situation which occurs fairly frequently at work, e.g. the telephone ringing and each time it happens, take a deep breath and let it out again, then answer the phone. Be sure to let your shoulders drop as you inhale and breathe deeply down into your belly and lower back. Let the lower ribs expand away from your spine as much behind as in front. When you exhale, don't collapse, but think of your head and spine lengthening upwards. THE BLISS OF BALANCE Stress and relaxation are like two sides of a coin. Learn to move easily from one to another and you will begin to experience your life as a satisfying and enriching challenge like the ebb and flow of the tides. Then you will never again have to worry about getting stuck in a high-stressed condition which saps your vitality, distorts your perceptions and can even lead to premature ageing and chronic illness. The secret of getting the right balance between stress and relaxation is threefold. First, take a look at the kind of stress that is part of your life, eliminate unnecessary stressors and discover new ways of working with the others. Second, learn one or more techniques for conscious relaxation and practise them until they become second nature. Finally, explore ways of expanding your mind, honouring your individuality and for creating an environment that supports both. Not only will this help your body stay in balance and increase your level of overall vitality, it can bring you a sense of control over your life that is hard to come by any other way.

Think Young

Think Young

Almost everybody has heard of death curses: psychological literature is laced with accounts of how Aboriginal witch doctors have quite literally brought about the death of the young and healthy by cursing them. No sooner do these people learn of the fate which has been cast for them than they begin inexplicably to sicken and eventually to die. It appears that through complex biological processes, their simple belief in the curse brings about destruction of their organism. modern-day death curses In civilized society we tend to look upon such phenomena as anthropological curiosities - products of primitive superstition which simply don't touch us in our more enlightened age. What we are not aware of however is that many of us in the civilized world are also under our own brand of `death curses'. They may be subtler than those issued by witch doctors but they can be every bit as potent in bringing about the physical and mental decline which we have come to associate with aging. Common (and usually unconscious) notions such as `retirement', `middle-age', `It's all down hill after forty', and `At your age you must start taking things more easily', are widely held. They can exert a powerful effect on the process of aging by creating destructive self-fulfilling expectations about age decline. Instead of facing the future full of confidence and excitement about what lies ahead, optimism is replaced by anxiety as we are warned to `Be careful', or `Don't take chances on a new career at your age.' The list of commonly proffered `sensible' advice is a long one. Such well-meaning suggestions often lead people to make changes in their lifestyle which encourage physical decline - for instance decreasing the amount of exercise they get, altering their eating habits away from fiber-rich natural foods towards `softer' foods, and even decreasing the amount of social and intellectual stimulation they have been used to. Even worse, this kind of advice can undermine your self-image and destroy self-confidence, which in turn interferes with the proper functioning of the immune system which plays such a central role in protecting your body from aging. An essential ingredient in ageless aging is a strong awareness of just how powerfully your emotions, state of mind, and your unconscious assumptions can influence both your susceptibility to illness and the rate at which you age. Once that awareness has penetrated your consciousness then you can begin to make use of some simple and pleasant mind-bending techniques in aid of ageless aging. mind-body connections The notion that your state of mind can influence your health and the rate at which you age was once something which had to be taken on faith. Now it is not only being scientifically proven, it is even being put into effective practical use thanks to a rapidly developing scientific discipline with a tongue-twisting name: psychoneuroimmunology (PNI). PNI has discovered that your body's immune system, that bulwark of defense, is undeniably affected by your unconscious assumptions, your emotional states and your behavioral patterns. They can lead either to an increased resistance to aging or to an increased susceptibility to degeneration and illness. In simple terms the happier you are, the better you feel about yourself and the more positive are your expectations about the future, the more likely you are to age slowly and gracefully and the less likely you are to fall prey to degeneration and illness of whatever sort - from a common cold to a life-threatening disease. No area of ageless aging is more fun to explore than this one. I always think of its positive side as `Zorba the Greek' consciousness. It can make possible the most amazing physical and mental feats by quite ordinary people living quite ordinary lives. Take the man who is able to work eighteen hours a day, drink whisky by the tumblerful, dance on tables until the early hours of the morning and still live to be 110 thanks to the sheer joy of his experience of life. I have seen it too amongst saints and holy men who carry out their day-to-day activities, from writing letters to peeling potatoes, in a state of bliss - samadhi. Take a look at their superbly unlined faces. They could as easily be thirty as seventy. Psychoneuroimmunologists are working to find out why. So new is the PNI discipline (the name was only coined in 1981) that the average physician is unlikely even to have heard of it. But so profound and wide-reaching are the consequences of its findings that they threaten to revolutionize medical theory about the origins and development of degeneration. Research into psychoneuroimmunology is already describing the pathways through which mind and body are inextricably bound together. These pathways include neurological connections linking glands and organs with the brain, the antioxidant system and the blood, thanks to hormonal secretions triggered by thought patterns and emotions and - most important of all - via the immune system. PNI researchers have discovered for instance that several kinds of lymphocytes involved in your body's immune response carry receptors which recognize hormones found in the brain that alter mind and mood. They have also found that some of these neurotransmitters or peptide hormones stimulate T-cells to produce more lymphokines such as interferon while others have the opposite effect. In fact listening to leading PNI researchers talk about mind-body connections makes you realize there is probably no state of mind which is not faithfully reflected by a state of the immune system. beyond psychosomatic consciousness Western medicine has long acknowledged that emotional states such as anxiety and depression can make a limited number of illnesses worse. These include asthma, diabetes, peptic ulcer, ulcerative colitis, migraine and cardiovascular problems. But until the advent of PNI it has paid little attention to examining the nature of their psychological components nor has it explored ways and means of improving these conditions by altering a patient's mental state or behavioral patterns. Meanwhile it has almost completely ignored possible psychological components in the vast majority of other illnesses - from lung disease and cancer to rheumatism and allergic reactions - treating them instead as pure physiological occurrences little affected by whether the patient experiencing them felt good or bad in himself. This is mostly because Western medicine, bound by the Cartesian notion of a split between mind and matter, has failed to consider the people it treats as psychobiological units - total beings whose feelings, thoughts, expectations and perceptions are intimately bound to their physiology and biochemistry. Happily this is now changing in no small part thanks to a few visionary scientists who began asking some penetrating questions. Why for instance do some people who smoke forty cigarettes a day for twenty years end up with lung cancer while others following exactly the same pattern don't? The first, most obvious answer is that the former have an hereditary disposition to the disease. True, genetics are important, but these scientists found that they were by no means the whole answer. A large and very important piece of the puzzle was still missing. So they began to look at psychological factors. let go and live longer In a pioneering study carried out over twenty years ago, Scottish researcher Dr David Kissen examined more than 1000 Glaswegian industrial workers suffering from respiratory complaints. Before diagnosing them he gave each man a psychological test designed to delineate personality patterns. He came up with some quite fascinating and highly significant results. He discovered that those who were later found to have cancer showed a striking inability to express their emotions. Intrigued by Kissen's study and other similar investigations which suggested that emotional repression was an important component in the development of cancer, two doctors, R.L. Horne and R. S. Picard, at the Washington University School of Medicine in the United States, decided to carry out an in-depth study of the psychosocial risk factors in lung cancer as measured on a psychological scale developed from the findings of previous studies including Kissen's. They confirmed that emotional repression was indeed the central component of a complex personality pattern which led to the development of the disease. In fact, so important were the relationships between psychological states and the development of lung cancer which they uncovered that the two researchers found they could predict with an amazing 73 per cent accuracy which men had cancer and which men had simple lung disease, from psychological testing alone. They discovered that cancer sufferers, because of their emotional repression, tended to find great difficulty coping with life's challenges and sorrows. After losing an important relationship such as a job or a wife the cancer victims often suffered profound depression for from six to eighteen months before the discovery of the illness. These findings have been confirmed by others. mind and biochemistry Similar studies linking other psychological factors to other diseases, including infections, arthritis, allergies and premature aging, have also recently appeared. One of the best known is that done by Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosemann which demonstrated that what they called `type A behavior' - a behavior pattern characterized by a fierce and unrelenting struggle to do ever more things in less time against harsh competition - appears to cause a number of bodily changes predisposing one to coronary heart disease. They include alterations in blood-fat and blood-sugar levels, changes in circulation and increased levels of the hormone noradrenaline. And each disease is beginning to appear to have its own collection of psychological characteristics. Studies have now established that psychological factors are primary determinants in a host of illnesses while in others psychological factors appear to interact with biological ones determining whether disease tendencies, initiated either by heredity or your environment or both, will in fact turn into degeneration or whether your body will be able to fight them off. But how does it all work? Through what physiological mechanisms do emotional repression in the case of cancer, a frustrated power drive in the case of high blood pressure, and all the various other psychological and behavioral traits linked with their illnesses help create their respective illness and age decline? Perhaps even more important, once one can find these physiological mechanisms how can we make use of them first to prevent aging and even perhaps to reverse some of its processes once they have occurred? The key to both questions appears once again to lie in the immune system. mysteries of mind and immunity The immune system has two major branches, each with its own particular kind of defense cells or lymphocytes. It also includes other less important factors such as large scavenger-type cells called macrophages which gobble up antigenic material. The first branch confers on your body what is known as cell-mediated immunity and is responsible for about half of your body's resources for defense. It is centered around T-cell leucocytes - warrior cells produced in the thymus which battle the thousands of potentially lethal organisms, cancer inducing ultraviolet radiation from the sun and toxic chemicals from our highly industrialized environment. T-cells also produce a group of hormone-like substances such as interferon. They are called lymphokines and are considered the immune system's natural drugs. Some are poisonous to foreign tissue, others trigger white blood cells to keep an immune reaction going. The second branch of the immune system offers humoral-mediated immunity. It relies on what are known as B-cell lymphocytes, which produce antibodies specific to whatever invaders the body is being challenged by. B-cells are carried in the blood. They can combine with antigens in the body and neutralize them or they can coat them, making it simple for white blood cells to destroy them. The actions of both T and B cells are mediated through the thymus gland - often called the master gland of immunity. As we have seen, the rate at which you age appears to be very much influenced by the function of the thymus gland and the state of the immune system which it governs. It has also been well established that immune functions can be disrupted or depressed by such things as malnutrition, free radicals, infection and certain drugs. Recent research shows too that lymphocytes from people suffering from all kinds of stress and from grief, say after the death of a close relative, have a markedly decreased ability to rise to the occasion when challenged by antigens threatening the health of the body. What psychoneuroimmunologists are now trying to explore in experiments with animals and in studies of people are the pathways between brain and body through which this occurs - to delineate the means by which mind affects immunity both as a result of direct input from the brain and the indirect influence of hormones associated with specific emotional states and personality patterns. stress and immunity One of the questions currently being most seriously investigated by PNI researchers is how biological changes associated with stress diminish immune response and increase susceptibility to illness. Stress of any kind triggers the `fight or flight response' - a matrix of hormonal reactions designed to prepare the body for action. Adrenaline is released, for instance, and corticosteroid hormones from the adrenal glands. They in turn trigger other hormonal reactions. PNI researchers have now found that within fifteen minutes of its hitting the bloodstream even a small dose of adrenaline challenges the immune system and triggers the release of lymphocytes. It also inhibits the function of mature white blood cells needed to ward off invasion. Other studies have shown that the corticosteroids can also seriously depress immune functions and increase your susceptibility to disease. They inhibit the functions of both lymphocytes and macrophages and they undermine the ability of lymphocytes to reproduce themselves in the body. In fact if stress is prolonged enough and the levels of corticosteroids become high enough in the body they even cause a withering away of lymphoid tissue altogether. At St Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, Dr Richard Shekelle headed a research project which examined death certificates of more than 2000 men who had been tested psychologically for depression and other emotional states seventeen years before. He found that the death rate of men who had been very depressed at the time of testing was twice that of the rest. One of the most widely held theories about cancer states that each of us develops small malignancies all the time in our body but that these are rapidly destroyed in a healthy person thanks to the actions of the immune system. If, however, you have strong feelings of helplessness or depression this can result in elevated corticosteroid levels and other changes which impede your immune system from doing its proper job and rejecting the cancer cells before they can take hold. pni alters paradigms The mind-body links which PNI research is uncovering are beginning to have far-reaching consequences, consequences which ultimately will go far beyond helping people avoid life threatening diseases and slow the aging process. There is a strong resonance to be found between PNI and much of the new physics which is busily exploring the view that the observer is essential to the creation of the universe just as the universe is creator of the observer. As Nobel laureate Roger Sperry has said, `Current concepts of the mind-brain relation involve a direct break with the long-established materialist and behaviorist doctrine that has dominated neuroscience for many decades. Instead of renouncing or ignoring consciousness the new interpretation gives full recognition to the primacy of inner conscious awareness as a causal reality.' It is a causal reality that you can begin using to your advantage right now. For just as prolonged unmitigated stress, depression and anxiety can suppress immune functions, a positive frame of mind and a sense that you can cope with whatever comes your way offers potent protection against illness and age-degeneration. At Beth Israel Hospital, another researcher, Dr Stephen Locke, has used psychological tests to evaluate students' abilities to cope with the shocks and challenges of their lives. He has found that the `poor copers' - those who tend to succumb to anxiety, depression and a sense of helplessness when life difficulties arise - show suppressed immune functions, while the `good copers' - people who feel they can deal effectively with whatever comes their way - had normal immune functions even when faced with major life changes. Meanwhile in a well controlled study of women suffering from breast cancer who underwent mastectomy, British researcher Dr Steven Greer discovered that women who react to their diagnosis with a denial that they are ill or with a determination to conquer the illness are far more likely five years later to be free of the disease than those who stoically accepted the diagnosis or who felt hopeless or helpless. making immunity work for you What can you do, starting right now, in the way of using your mind as a tool for ageless aging? You can begin by exploring the benefits of mind/body techniques which can help alter your mental attitudes and emotional states from negative to positive and therefore encourage good immune functions and hence slow down the rate at which you age. There are many. Dr Herbert Benson of Harvard Medical School developed the simple meditative technique, called the relaxation response, which consists of sitting with your eyes closed for fifteen or twenty minutes morning and night and repeating a single word - say `one' or `peace' - over and over again silently. Practiced regularly it will not only counter the immunesuppressing tendencies of stress but even bring about major psychological shifts in belief systems that can gradually change a self-defeating `poor coper' into an optimistic `good coper'. Contrary to popular opinion only 2 or 3 per cent of old people are institutionalized because of psychiatric disorders. Neither do the vast majority of old people have memory defects. Most people over sixty-five continue to be interested in sex, and sexual relations continue well into the eighties between healthy men and women. Studies made of morale and happiness amongst the elderly show no difference between their enjoyment of life and that of younger people. People over sixty-five have fewer accidents per person driving than do younger drivers. They also have fewer accidents at work. The majority of old people are not set in their ways although it does take them longer to learn something new than the young. Studies show that few old people suffer from boredom. Neither are they socially isolated or lonely. More than 10 per cent of old people work and two-thirds of those who don't would like to. Finally old people are seldom irritated or angry. This has been determined by three separate studies. visualize age anew Becoming aware of false assumptions about aging is a good first step. The next is to create a new vision of what it means to have time passing. Make use of creative visualization techniques where in a state of relaxation you allow your mind to play on positive images of yourself five, ten, thirty years from now. There are some excellent books available on the subject which you can use as a guide. But really the technique is very easy. It is only a matter of letting yourself indulge in positive daydreaming. Or practice a meditation or deep-relaxation technique a couple of times a day and finish off by repeating silently to yourself Coue's formula for personal growth and healing, `Every day in every way I am getting better and better.' It is exquisitely simple yet enormously powerful when practiced daily in a deeply relaxed state so that it is your imagination rather than your will which is brought into play. affirm youth and well-being Another simple technique which has real power for altering unconscious expectations and creating new realities is that of writing out `affirmations' - seven times seventy - for a week or two. This can be something as simple as `I am well and will continue to be so as the years pass' or `I let go of past confusion and day by day make my life anew.' The mere act of writing out such words over and over for several days helps break through old thought patterns and negativity that may be hampering you from realizing your full psychobiological potentials. You might be surprised at how quickly they penetrate your consciousness and bring about positive shifts in expectations and in your reality. For they can generate positive mental states and emotions and make them your common everyday experience of reality. And, just as PNI researchers have been discovering, it is the simple positive experiences and emotions like love, hope, faith, laughter, playfulness and creativity which can not only make life worth living, they can actually keep us alive, youthful and well. As effective as massive doses of antioxidant nutrients, fresh-cell therapy and all the other biological methods of age retardation available to you? Very probably. Besides they'll cost you absolutely nothing but a smile.

200 Mg Of Zen

200 Mg Of Zen

Its name tells the truth about what it delivers. This unique combination of L-theanine and GABA has been formulated to support the production of alpha-wave activity in the brain. And it keeps its promises. The Buddha-like feeling that practitioners of Zazen know so well is just one of the benefits I and others who have used it report. Two capsules offer a unique and natural path to relaxation without sedation. I use it often to great effect. 200 mg of Zen is the brainchild of one of my favorite manufacturers of dietary supplements in the world Allergy Research Group who since 1979 have used only the purest raw materials available and are known for the strictest quality control procedures available. They are even licensed by The California Department of Health Services—Food and Drug Branch. 200mg of Zen 200 mg of Zen contains a combination of L-theanine and GABA. L-theanine is found in green tea (Camellia sinensis). Order 200mg of Zen from iherb ORDERING FROM IHERB.COM: If you decide to order any products from Iherb.com, you will automatically receive $5 or $10 off your first order. Their products are the cheapest and best in the world…I use them for everything no matter where I am. Get it sent to you via DHL. It will be with you in three to four working days… iHerb.com ship all over the world very cheaply. 200 mg of Zen is a real find, so long as you are not taking drugs of any kind. IT IS CONTRAINDICATED WITH DRUGS OR MUST BE USED ONLY UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF A HEALTHCARE PRACTITIONER

Laugh Hard

Laugh Hard

Laughter and humor are much needed in the over-serious world of health and beauty, a world which tends to measure health not as joyous energy and creativity but in terms of cholesterol levels, blood pressure and sedimentation rates. The irony is, that according to the latest research into the mind body relationship, a life which sparkles with laughter is not only good for you because it feels good, it can also help look after the state of your blood pressure, immune system and cholesterol levels. Some researchers believe laughter can help look after the state of your blood pressure, immune system and cholesterol levels far better than high powered medical care and drugs. Drugs, after all, have deeply worrying side effects. The worst of laughter's side effects is joy. When we laugh we shed feelings of judgment, self pity and blame. Our perception shifts and we come to know another level of consciousness. Laughter deepens your breathing, expands blood vessels, heightens circulation bringing more oxygen to your cells, increases the secretion of hormones beneficial to your body, speeds tissue healing and helps stabilize bodily functions. A new philosophy is emerging from studies carried out in France and Canada by philosopher Andre Moreau on the notion that one should seek in all philosophical teachings the keys for releasing innate human tendencies towards humor, laughter and positive energies. It is known as "Jovialiste" which advocates the practice of smiling as a free expression of human vitality and creativity. Meanwhile, hospitals both in the United States and Europe are even prescribing laughter in the form of Jerry Lewis and Marks Brother's films, humorous books and any other simple triggers to put patients into a blissful state of spontaneous giggles. life on the flip side The way that emotions and health are closely related has been investigated for many years. The scientific press is full of papers which show the way that negative emotions such as anger, resentment, fear and despair are major factors in the development of serious illness from cancer to coronary heart disease. Scientists have charted direct pathways between mind and immunity via anatomical connections that link the brain directly to organs such as the spleen and the thymus gland. They have also shown that hormonal secretions induced by emotions and thought patterns create a second pathway between mind and body which is carried on the blood, and there is strong evidence that excess adrenaline from high levels of stress can significantly depress the body's immune system. But until recently most of the focus of mind-body research has been on the negative. Now, thanks to the new fascination with laughter, many scientists are beginning to investigate the biochemical changes brought about by positive emotions and encouraging their use as tools for health and healing. Researchers now find that laughter, relaxation, meditation and hope not only produce beneficial changes such as lowered heart rate and breathing, they can even improve the way your body responds to stress hormones, and bring about a shift in your perception of potentially stressful situations so you can look on them as challenges rather than as insurmountable problems - a vital attitude in preserving and enhancing the health of your mind and body. One of the very best things of all about laughter is that it breaks through the tendency each of us has to take our self and our values too seriously. It breaks down the roles we play and liberates the self locked within. It is our tendency to identify with our own self-created image, fears, beliefs and assumptions that takes us away from the joy which we believe is normal for each of us to feel. Give yourself a chance to laugh, and it will make you feel more alive, healthier and more beautiful. learn to laugh Seek out and spend time with people who make you laugh - often. Look for books that make you laugh, and keep a file of cartoons and magazine articles which you can share with your friends. Learn to be silly sometimes - like a child. Maybe join a drama class where they do improvisation, or make friends with children who still remember how to laugh and play and let them be your teachers.

Stress? What Stress?

Stress? What Stress?

What goes up must come down. These words should be engraved on everyone’s brain, particularly those of us who live full and busy lives. We worry about stress, wonder why we don’t do anything about it, and wish it would go away. Seldom do we even stop to ask what it is. If stress gets out of hand it can wear you down, ruin your looks and destroy your peace of mind. Yet stress is the spice of life, the exhilaration of challenge and excitement, the ‘high’ of living with heavy demands. The big secret about stress is that it is not what appears to be causing it that does the damage. It’s how you respond to it that does that. Change your attitude to stress and you can make it work for you rather than against you. In short, chill out. Stress is hard to pin down: fatigue, overwork, loss of blood, physical injury, grief and joy can all produce stress, but none of them accurately describes what it is. The word stress comes from the language of engineering meaning ‘any force which causes an object to change’. Austrian-Canadian scientist, Hans Selye, first coined the word stress in relation to humans back in the 1930s. In human terms it refers to your body’s response to physical, chemical, emotional or spiritual forces that ask you to adapt to them. Selye discovered a typical physical reaction to stress which he called the General Adaptation Syndrome. Its function is to keep your body in a steady state, known as homeostasis. Every stressor you come into contact with threatens to destroy this steady state. The General Adaptation Syndrome has three states: alarm, where the body becomes alert; resistance, where all systems go in order to meet the challenge and protect you from harm; and exhaustion, which happens if stress lasts for too long and the body’s weakest systems begin to break down causing illness, chronic fatigue, even death. you are unique Everyone responds differently to stress. This depends to some degree on your conditioning, and on the amount of adaptive energy you were born with. This is why some people seem to breeze through stressful situations while others quickly reach exhaustion. Selye believed that once adaptive energy is used up, nothing can be done to restore it. We now know that this is not altogether true, but adaptive energy is certainly precious. This makes it imperative to examine carefully how yours is being used and if it is being burnt up unnecessarily. It also makes it important to remember that what goes up must come down. For making stress work for you means being able to switch off at will. This is something that most of us have to learn to do. Learn to move easily between stress and relaxation, and you will begin to experience your life as a satisfying and enriching challenge like the ebb and flow of the tides. Then you will never again have to worry about getting stuck in a high-stress condition which saps your energy, distorts your view of the world, and can lead to premature aging and chronic illness. Humans are natural seekers of challenge. Primitive man faced the daily challenge of survival – when in danger, the body reacted instantaneously to provide the energy needed to fight or flee, then relaxed again when the danger passed. We may no longer need to worry about meeting a saber-toothed tiger, but we still react to stress with the same physical responses – raised blood pressure and breathing, a rush of adrenaline throughout the body. The trouble is that modern life, with its noise, quick pace, social pressures, environmental poisons, and our tendency to sedentary, mental work, presents many of us with almost constant threat situations. This is particularly true in the business world where someone, instead of moving rhythmically in and out stressful situations, remains in the danger state for long periods, with all the internal physical conditions that accompany it. balance it The automatic, or involuntary, functions of your body are governed by the autonomic nervous system. It looks after the changes in the rate at which your heart beats. It regulates your blood pressure by altering the size of veins and arteries. It stimulates the flow of digestive juices and brings on muscular contractions in the digestive system to deal with the foods you take in. It makes you sweat when you are hot and is responsible for the physical changes in your body that come with sexual arousal. This autonomic system has two opposing branches: the sympathetic and the parasympathetic. The sympathetic branch is concerned with energy expenditure - particularly the energy involved with stress and meeting challenges. It spurs the heart to beat faster, makes you breathe hard, encourages you to sweat, raises your blood pressure, and sends blood to the muscles to get you ready for action. The other branch of the autonomic nervous system - the parasympathetic - is concerned with rest and regeneration rather than action. The parasympathetic branch slows your heartbeat, reduces the flow of air to your lungs, stimulates the digestive system, and helps relax your muscles. When you are in a state of stress, the sympathetic nervous system comes into play. The parasympathetic branch is dominant when you are relaxed. A good balance between the two is the key to making stress work for you. Balance makes it possible for you to go out into the world to do, to make, to create, to fight, and to express yourself, as well as to retire into yourself for regeneration, rest, recuperation, enjoyment, and the space to discover new ideas and plant the seeds of future actions. make stress work for you The secret is getting the right balance between stress and relaxation, between the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches. Unfortunately, few of us get it right by accident - we have to learn. Take a look at the kind of stress you think you are under, eliminate unnecessary stressors, and discover new ways of working with stress. Second, begin to support your body physically with food, exercise and natural stress relievers to enable you to face stress with ease. Finally, learn to relax fully so that you can find the right balance between stress and relaxation and keep it. Not only will this help your body stay in balance and increase your level of overall vitality, it can bring you a sense of control over your life that is hard to come by any other way.

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Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana®

Fast, Healthy Weight Loss

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana® has proudly supported 12,000+ weight loss journeys over the past 12 years. With an overall average daily weight loss of 0.5 - 0.6 lb for women and 0.8 - 1.0 lb for men.

Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 28th of March 2020 (updated every 12 hours)

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for women
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Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 28th of March 2020 (updated every 12 hours)

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