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movement

The enormous power for self-expression and physical transformation which can come through movement only takes place when muscles and exercise are also linked through mind-body awareness.

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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

Dance - Vitality Reborn

Dance - Vitality Reborn

The next time you have a chance, watch an animal move. The rhythmic lope of a wolf whose body almost becomes the motion. The horse in a field, tossing its mane, pounding its hooves and charging about for sheer pleasure. The dolphin who leaps high in the air twisting its powerful body before disappearing into the waves to emerge a minute later with yet another joyous leap. For many years I wondered why most of us after childhood no longer experience this kind of explosive, rhythmical freedom and energy, grounded in the physical body. Why do we often feel only half alive? And why do those of us who are women tend to look upon our body as something separate from ourselves, something to be criticized, judged, or pushed and shoved into shape, instead of celebrating its power and the joy of movement the way animals do? For too many human beings the primary experience of life is one of deadness. And since none of us is able to live with deadness for long we are forced to seek artificial stimulus through drugs or alcohol, compulsive work or sex - just to make us feel alive again. The trouble is, none of the artificial things that we turn to in an attempt to recover our aliveness ever seems to work for very long. Where does the real key lie? MUSCLE MIRACLE The answer to this question may surprise you. It stunned me when I first came upon it because it is so simple. The key to aliveness is found in the body itself. It lies in the same place as the key to burning excess fat is - in muscle. Your muscle is the engine that turns food calories into energy, burns fat and creates an experience of ongoing simple joy whatever you may be doing. Muscle creates the life-energy for you to think, to move and to feel. The power of the horse, the rhythmical gait of the wolf able to run on and on with ease, the wild playfulness of the dolphin - all depend on good strong muscle. To create a firm, beautiful, lean body for yourself, begin to listen to, nurture and develop your muscle. Your body is a potential powerhouse of vitality. If you want to access it, you need to move. People sometimes talk about the body as if it were a machine. In reality your body is nothing like a machine. A machine, when you use it, wears out. Your body was designed to be active. The more you use it wisely the stronger and more beautiful it will become - regardless of your age. I learned all this the hard way—the best way too I guess—but it wasn’t fun. ENDLESS PAIN Several years ago I injured my left leg badly from a nasty fall while walking down a steep incline to board a plane in Munich. The thing was running with water. Amidst a lot of blood and mess I had no idea just how bad the injury was until I found I was in constant pain and could hardly walk for weeks. This injury was followed by another nasty one to my right ankle, then another a few months later when I cracked my sacrum at 5am in the middle of winter getting out of a spa when I tumbled back onto a hardwood deck. Anyway all of this meant that I stopped using my body. In fact my body became for me a source of pain and fear, not pleasure and joy. Where I had once done exercise regularly for the sheer joy of it, I stopped completely—not just for months at a time—for years. I forgot what it was like to experience the joy and feel the sense of radiance I had long been used to from movement I had for thirty years adored doing. I lost a lot of muscle tone and ease of movement and I no longer felt the kind of vitality I had been used to for many many years. LIFE REBORN Then one day, for no apparent reason, I woke from my ignorant stupor and began to move a little just to find out if my body was still alive: to dance to music, to stretch, to cycle on a wind trainer in the garden, allowing my body to feel the sensuous pleasure of swimming gently in our pool or spending 10 or 15 minutes in passive relaxation on our PowerPlate. Slowly, steadily I began to come alive again. I kept asking myself, “How could I have forgotten how simple and joyous moving my body could be, and all of the rewards it brings when one begins to exercise, not because it’s supposed to be good for you - out of some kind of duty - but because you owe it to your body to let it live?” Anyway, I wanted to share my own experience with you and here is the bottom line: No matter what your age or how much you have neglected moving your body, no matter how much tone your muscles may have lost, your body has the most amazing capacity to regenerate and restore its muscles, its vitality and its capacity to provide you with the joyous experience of freedom which is everyone’s birthright. You need only to remember what is possible and begin with kindness and love to let yourself move again.

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.

Try Walking

Try Walking

One of the best things about taking a daily walk is that it is such a natural and easy thing to do. You need no special equipment - apart from a good pair of shoes - and because the easy flowing movement of putting one foot in front of another can be so wholehearted it often brings a sense of freedom to the body which so many more mechanical approaches to exercise miss out on. A number of studies show that for a variety of reasons walking is the best form of aerobic exercise available for most people - provided it is done regularly, briskly and with true enjoyment. There is another important proviso too: vigorous exercise in any form will serve you best, and you will only avoid strain and injury if you have worked out enough of your chronic residual tensions to enable you to give your body over to the rhythmic movements it involves. Outdoor sports such as tennis, golf, riding and sailing can be fun and helpful although, unlike walking and the other specifically aerobic activities, they do not create a steady demand on your body because of their stop-and-start nature, so it is best to include some aerobic exercise in your lifestyle even if you are an avid games player. If you like more challenging activities than walking, try jogging or running, rowing or swimming, cycling or cross-country skiing—all excellent aerobic activities. Like regular brisk walking they too get heart and lungs working well and help keep you young-looking and feeling. They are great if you want to achieve a high level of fitness and most important of all if you really like doing them. This sense of enjoyment is a central consideration in whatever exercise program you choose for ageless aging. Any physical activity which you carry out with your teeth gritted virtuously thinking that you are, after all, doing your duty though you hate every minute of it, can only be counterproductive. For mind and body are inextricably linked and for you to get all the benefits of exercise you need to make that link a positive one. mind and body flow That's why, for most people, walking is so good. There is something quite extraordinary about the way that walking briskly in low-heeled shoes - particularly if you can walk in the country or in a park amidst trees and flowers - seems to revitalize the body while it sets the mind free for thought. Thoreau used to say, `The moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.' And Dr George Sheehan, the highly respected cardiologist, sports-medicine expert and passionate marathon runner, wrote of walking, `You will read of this phenomenon again and again in the journals of the great thinkers, writers and artists. They were all great walkers. They found that not only can one train the body while one is using the mind, the mind actually works better when the body is in motion.' Some interesting scientific studies confirm the notion that walking helps clarify mental processes. At Purdue University, after giving subjects psychological tests to determine their decision-making abilities, researchers put people into a fitness program in which regular walking was a central feature. They found after six months on the program that they had improved their decision-making skills 60 per cent more than subjects in the control group who did not exercise. George Macaulay Trevelyan, Britain's highly respected historian, who had a real passion for long walks used to say, `I have two doctors, my left leg and my right.' Research into the effects of regular brisk walking more than bears out his belief that this kind of moderate exercise can play a central role in keeping the body healthy, young and fit. Besides, walking is the form of exercise least likely to cause injury, it is inexpensive to practice, natural, and efficacious. It will lift your spirits and keep down your weight, tone your muscles and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. walk your way to wellness So good is brisk walking as a means of strengthening heart and lungs and improving cardiac resistance that in some studies of different forms of exercise it comes out better than cycling or running. At the University of Wisconsin, for instance, when researchers examined the effects of brisk walking (at a rate of 4 miles an hour or more) on men they found that it pushed some heart rates up to 87 per cent of capacity, which was the same as the cyclists achieved and only 3 per cent lower than the runners. This measure of maximum heart rate is a useful one, whatever kind of exercise you choose to follow. It is determined by subtracting your age from 220 beats a minute. And it will tell you just what kind of workout you are giving yourself. In an interesting study by David Mymin and Dan Streja, researchers discovered that the rejuvenating effects of strenuous exercise such as running - including a significant increase in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and decreases in circulating insulin levels - also take place when people are put on exercise programs based on walking even at a pace lower than 4 miles an hour. HDL is a lipoprotein in your blood. Generally speaking when it is high the chances you will suffer a heart attack are low. Before the Mymin study it was assumed that only long-distance runners and other active exercisers would have high levels of HDL in their blood. But the study showed that such beneficial changes can take place just from walking. Walking's ability to lower circulating insulin levels is also important for high-level wellness and age retardation. Many people past the age of forty have disturbed insulin levels which can lead to adult-onset diabetes and heart disease. The walkers in Mymin's program experienced a definite decrease in circulating insulin. Other research confirms the Manitoba findings and shows as well that walking is an excellent way of increasing the amount of oxygen that reaches the cells all over the body. Like any form of rhythmic aerobic exercise it improves lymphatic drainage, stimulates arterial and venous circulation, and promotes the elimination of wastes and morbid materials that can cause free radical damage and cross-linking on a cellular level. It also brings increased blood supply to all the body's organs. Brisk walking is particularly good for people whose work tends to be mentally or physically passive because it counteracts the tendency of their circulation and their eliminative processes to become sluggish. Max Bircher-Benner always insisted his patients rise early. Then he sent them out into the hills and forests around Zurich for an hour's brisk walk before breakfast. Walking was an important part of his `order therapy' and still is in every naturopathic clinic in Europe. free and often To get the most out of walking do it every day. Choose some place you want to walk to, and wearing low-heeled shoes and loose comfortable clothes, set out with your arms swinging free from the shoulders. Breathe deeply and carry your body high. Every few minutes draw in a breath and then after a few seconds, without exhaling, draw in another and after a further interval of a few seconds still another. After the third inhalation vigorously expel all your air. This helps inflate your chest to its full capacity. Most of us don't breathe fully and deeply. We therefore miss out on the full benefits of oxygen for brain and body. After a walk of, say, 2 or 3 or 4 miles, if possible, take off your clothes and rub down your skin with a flannel which has been dipped in cold water or take a brief cool shower followed by a brisk rub with a Turkish towel. It will leave you refreshed and renewed with energy to spare in the hours ahead. And how intense should an aerobic activity - walking or other - be for best results? Most experts insist you should exercise somewhere between 40 and 60 per cent of maximum capacity. This you can figure out by following a few simple steps: 1. Find out what your resting heart rate is by taking your pulse for six seconds and multiplying by ten while you are seated comfortably. You do this by putting two fingers on the artery just inside your wrist. 2. Subtract your age from 220 to determine your maximum heart rate. For instance if you are fifty then your maximum heart rate would be 170. 3. Now find out your heart rate range by subtracting your resting heart rate from your maximum heart rate. Say for example you are fifty and your maximum heart rate is 170 with a resting rate of 70. Then your heart-rate would be 100. 4. With this information you can now calculate your best exercise level to achieve a good anti-stress, anti-aging effect. Calculate 40 per cent of your heart rate range (which is 100 in our example) which is 40. Now add this to the resting rate of 70 and you get the figure 110 beats per minute - your target heart rate for exercise. 5. For middle-aged and older people who are not athletes walking moderately or briskly will raise their heart rate to that target rate, which is 40 per cent of ultimate capacity. Younger people and highly trained people will need to run or exercise more vigorously to reach it.

Sacred Truth Ep. 48: Kneipp's Water Power

Sacred Truth Ep. 48: Kneipp's Water Power

One of the oldest systems of natural healing in the world uses hot and cold baths and showers to increase your vitality, balance hormones, beautify skin, tone muscles, clear your mind, and vitalize your nervous system, lymphatic system, and circulation. It quickly brings you a sense of wonderful aliveness, and all the while it is dissolving, transporting, and clearing rubbish from your body and psyche. Father Sebastian Kneipp The father of all water therapies was Father Sebastian Kneipp, the Bavarian priest who first made us aware of water’s healing power. “When used appropriately,” he said, “water and herbs can cure almost every disease.” He established Bad Worishofen in Germany in 1897, a center where people all over the world came to be healed by special ice cold baths, walking barefoot in the snow, and other simple but powerful methodologies that are celebrated to this day. I first learned the secrets of water healing in my early twenties after spending many years in a state of ill health thanks to my being raised on a terrible diet. It had been based on huge bowels of breakfast cereals piled high with white sugar, horrid fast foods eaten at 5 am in truck drivers’ cafes throughout America, and a lot of other junk. No wonder I was unhealthy. However, what I learned from the generosity of some brilliant British and European doctors who practiced natural medicine turned my entire life around. This was how I came to work in, write about, and teach natural methods of healing. It is also how I came to visit Kneipp’s centers for hydrotherapy, which still continue to thrive, especially in Germany. In many ways the most important of all I learned was how powerful healing with simple water techniques can be for improving your life at any time. Let me share with you one of these techniques. Do try it and let me know how you get on. There are many more, but let’s begin with this one. Thanks to water's chemical and bioelectrical properties, and to your body's physiological and energetic responses to them, water therapy is a superb method for cleansing, energizing, and restoring great functioning to any tired or aging body. The technique of using alternating applications of hot and cold water is called “Contrast Hydros.” If you have not yet experienced the turn-on it offers, you have a real treat ahead. After a workout, athletes use hydroelectrics in the form of contrast baths and showers to strengthen the body, prevent muscular damage, and eliminate aches. Contrast hydros not only help clear wastes and vitalize but also bring nutrients and oxygen to areas of your body that need them and balance your energies, helping to protect you from stress-induced damage. Here is how Apply hot water to your whole body for three or four minutes in the form of a hot bath or shower. Follow with 30 to 60 seconds of cold water. Repeat the procedure three times. The application of cold water needs to be just long enough to make blood vessels constrict. This can take place in as little as 20 seconds. Cold water triggers your sympathetic nervous system to energize while hot water intensifies parasympathetic activity for relaxation. The combination of the two makes you feel great. It’s important that you start slowly, increasing the length of your exposure to hot and cold water gradually. If you have a separate bath and shower you can use the bath for one temperature application, the shower for the other, moving back and forth. During the summer, make your bath cold and your showers hot. During the winter, reverse this. Like any natural treatment, contrast hydros need to be followed carefully and wisely to get all the benefits they offer and to make sure no harm is done. You will probably find at first that a plunge into cold water or a cold shower is a shock to your body. Soon this will turn into an experience of total pleasure. It is always the first cold application that is the hardest. The biggest barrier to getting into cold water is a psychological one. Once you leap this hurdle you’ll find yourself eagerly looking forward to your daily treatment. Here are a few cautions: Always check with your doctor before beginning any natural treatment to make sure that it is appropriate for you. He or she may advise you not to use contrast hydros if you have any kind of heart condition, nervous disorder, high blood pressure, if you are an insulin-dependent diabetic, or suffer from hardening of the arteries. Make sure your body is warm before beginning. The room should be well heated. Don’t let your body become chilled during the treatment. If you feel yourself becoming too cold, immediately stop and get into a hot bath or shower until you warm up fully. Always begin with a hot application and end with cold. Start slowly with 2-3 minutes of hot application followed by 20 seconds of cold. As your body gets used to contrast hydros, increase the time of the cold applications up to 1 minute (even up to 2-3 minutes if you are extremely fit or an athlete). When you finish, dry your body well and dress warmly. I’d love to hear how you get on so I can share with you other hydroelectric treatments that cost virtually nothing but can be wonderfully life enhancing.

Back Help When You Need It

Back Help When You Need It

Pain is what many of us fear most. We all know the misery that can come from a sore back, a throbbing headache or toothache, not to mention children’s earaches. All too many also know the immobilizing pain of migraine. Herbs and essential oils can reach out and help when pain strikes, and without the upset stomach and muzzy heads that over-the-counter treatments can bring in their wake. We’ve all done it—picked up something too heavy or twisted awkwardly—and suffered the pain of an indignant back. Essential oils really come into their own with back pain; use them to relieve muscle spasm and ease your mind. Essential oils of sage, thyme and rosemary all contain thymol and carvacrol, which are excellent muscle relaxants. Rosemary has the added advantage of being anti-spasmodic. Clary sage is also used traditionally to ease the pain of a pulled back. You can mix a few drops of one of these essential oils with a couple of tablespoons of almond oil, coconut oil, or walnut oil. Either massage it into the sore spot yourself, or allow someone you trust to do this gently for you. A warm bath will also help ease the tightness out of strained back muscles. Put a few drops of essential oil of rosemary or clary sage in the bath, plus 2 cups of industrial grade Epsom salts—simple magnesium sulfate—which you can find at a pharmacy in kilo packages or order much more cheaply over the net in big 25kg bags. Allow the essential oils to vaporize on the steam to help you relax all over. Stay in the bath for half an hour, topping up with warm water, to let the Epsom salts do their muscle-relaxing work. Then get out of the bath, dry yourself gently, and crawl into bed or lie down for 30 minutes with a good book. For my family, Epsom salts in huge bags are always in good supply. Aaron and I take an Epsom salts bath daily. It’s a practice which is not only health enhancing but deliciously pleasant.

Sacred Truth Ep. 49: Inflammation—Put Out the Fire

Sacred Truth Ep. 49: Inflammation—Put Out the Fire

The most dangerous damage your body ever has to handle is inflammation. When your body becomes inflamed this can trigger serious degenerative illnesses, from early aging and heart disease to diabetes, arthritis, food intolerance, and mental disorders. Inflammation is your body’s natural response to infection, injury, and tissue damage. It comes in two forms: Acute inflammation and chronic/ systemic inflammation, which spreads throughout your body. Acute inflammation is temporary, the purpose of which is to restore good tissue function as soon as possible. Your body creates inflammation as its defense against disturbing homeostasis in an attempt to prevent harm to surrounding tissues. Chronic inflammation, however, can be dangerous. It can turn into a festering fire that creates pain, illness, and disability. This is because your body reacts to chronic inflammation by triggering cellular and molecular distortions to pro-inflammatory immune cells that circulate throughout your body. This can bring damage to healthy areas like the linings of your blood vessels, as in arteriosclerosis, or your joint tissues in arthritis, or gut mucosa and diabetes. It may even act as a precursor to cancer. When it comes to the treatment of long-term illness—such as heart disease—savvy medical doctors now warn that we’ve been misled. It is inflammation in the arteries that is the real cause of arteriosclerosis and heart problems. Cholesterol can never line artery walls and cause heart attacks and strokes unless systemic inflammation is widespread in your body. So prescribing drugs to lower cholesterol and telling people to restrict saturated fats do not protect from heart disease as we’ve been told. In fact, statins, which the majority of cardiologists continue to prescribe for cholesterol, can seriously damage your health. Dwight Lundell, former Chief of Staff and Surgery at Banner Heart Hospital in Arizona, is one of many outspoken physicians in regard to this mistake. As he says, “We physicians with all our training, knowledge and authority, often acquire a rather large ego that tends to make it difficult to admit we are wrong.” He continues, “I freely admit to being wrong. As a heart surgeon with 25 years’ experience, having performed over 5,000 open-heart surgeries, today is my day to right the wrong with medical and scientific fact.” So, what are the causes of chronic inflammation in your body? The most common causes include: Exposure to chemical inhalants and pollutants, and electromagnetic exposure to cell phones, smart meters, and towers. Another is taking long-term courses of powerful drugs, from antibiotics to hormones, anti-depressants, analgesics, and sedatives, as well as drugs like statins and other pharmaceuticals, the remains of which can literally poison your body long term. Want to protect yourself from inflammation? Become aware of your possible exposure to these things and make changes to help protect you from possible causes. In many ways the simplest place of all to begin is by changing the way you eat, since the typical 21st century diet is right at the core of widespread chronic inflammation. Learn which foods are inflammatory in nature and which foods can help protect you from it. Then it’s time to throw out every one of the inflammatory foods that line your cupboard and your refrigerator, and forever change how you may have been eating. Foods that cause inflammation, which you want to avoid at any cost, are all kinds of sugars, regardless of how much they may be promoted as “good for you;” all artificial sweeteners, which are chemically dangerous to your body; and all GMO foods, which can literally be deadly. A large percentage of the population nowadays reacts badly to cow’s milk products—from the milk itself to cow’s yogurt and cheese. Buy goat, sheep or buffalo milk, yogurt, and cheese instead. Another category of foods that can be seriously inflammatory to the body are high-carbohydrate foods—breads, pasta, cakes, and biscuits made from common grains and cereals as well as all the common convenience foods that line our supermarket shelves. These are chock-full of colorants, flavor enhancers, and other chemicals that poison your body. And it goes without saying that you want to avoid all junk foods completely. Certain foods, herbs, spices, and supplements can help reduce inflammation and protect your body from it in the future. Organic dark green vegetables are high on the list: spinach, kale, dandelion greens, collard greens, broccoli, bok choy, beet greens, and asparagus are high on the list of protective vegetables. So are organic berries of all kinds, organic chicken, grass-fed lamb, beef, venison, wild salmon, and green-lipped muscles from New Zealand. Clearing inflammation from your body in whatever form it occurs is likely to be the very best action you can take to help you live a long and healthy life, during which you look and feel your very best at every age.

Why You Should Climb Rocks

Why You Should Climb Rocks

The first time I climbed a rock was 35 years ago. I was terrified. I was the only woman on an all men Outward Bound course for top executives, which purported to teach them to work better as a team in the corporate world. The course was run by a ruthless retired Major from the SAS. He was also a Scottish Rugby International with an ego to match. TESTS AND MORE On the first day, each participant had to choose from one of three activities that he would follow for the week—canoeing, underwater diving or climbing. I rejected diving and canoeing, since neither posed a challenge to me. I carelessly opted for rock climbing. Whatever activity one chose, the course demanded that we accomplished a series of personal tests. These became more and more severe as the week went on, culminating in an all-day challenge which was a bit like a grail quest. All challenges were team challenges. On the final day, the grand quest involved doing something over the water (which the canoeists did), under the water (which the divers did) and, for us climbers, scaling a pinnacle of rock high above the trees, towering above the river—a place, we were told, where “only men and gods dared go.” DAY ONE Having opted for rock-climbing on the afternoon of that first day, I stood at the foot of a spiky rock surrounded by 10 men who had made the same choice as I had. Most of them were none too happy to have a woman as part of their team—something that did not inspire self-confidence in me at the challenge that lay ahead. Our climbing tutor turned out to be a muscular creature with a voice as gorgeous as Richard Burton and a caustic sense of humor. I later found out that, in addition to being accomplished at rock climbing, he was also the director of an adventure center in the wilds of Wales, as well as an expert at mountaineering and orienteering. His name was Graham Jones. Graham stood in shorts with legs spread and hands on his hips at the top of the rock and shouted to us below, “Which one of you is going to go first?” My male colleagues shuffled around, looking down at their feet. They failed to respond to Graham’s demand. Meanwhile, I was trying to deal with contempt from other members of my team at being forced to work with a woman. Far more important, I was frozen with fear. This made me blurt out, “I’ll go first.” “OK,” shouted Graham, “get moving.” MY CHALLENGE I started up the rock. I had no idea if I’d ever get to the top. I had to grab onto any little crevice I encountered with the tips of my fingers. Then, instinctually, I began to move the way a spider does, reaching out with hand or foot, pulling up, sliding over, reaching out again. I completely stopped thinking; it felt far too dangerous to think. At that point, I discovered something amazing: When you are crawling over a rock face, stresses concerning anything else in your life vanish. Mental chatter goes silent. There is only your body and the rock face. It is one of the most exciting relationships I have ever formed with anything or anyone… A simple, authentic freedom develops that cannot be described. It can only be lived. When I got to the top, Graham was waiting. The scowl he’d worn looking down at us from the top of the rock was now gone. He was grinning like a wicked child. Without warning, he handed me a rope woven through a stitch plate. The other end of the rope was tied to the belt of one of the men standing below. This guy was big—maybe 90 kg—rotund and awkward. “Wrap the rope around your waist,” Graham told me. “Put it over your shoulder then hold while he climbs.” “There’s no way I can hold this guy.” I said, and began to tremble. “Climb,” shouted Graham to the man below. “We don’t have all day.” I did the best I could to tighten the rope through the stitch plate in my hand as the man got closer. Halfway up, the guy did come off the rock. I held on for dear life. To my amazement, I found I could hold him without difficulty. Of course, what I did not know is that Graham had also tied me to a tree so even if I had failed in my belaying duties, neither he nor I were in any real danger. Like a lot of outdoor activities, provided it is done right, the danger of climbing is an illusion. For a beginner, this illusion is essential to make it a worthwhile activity. Complete trust in your instructor is as essential as the illusion of fear. You cannot leap into the process until you are confident that your instructor knows what he is doing. THE VALUE OF FALSE DANGER Rock climbing can feel like the most frightening thing you can do. Such beginner’s fear is of great value. Enduring it can ultimately breed confidence. In reality, skilful rock climbing puts much more emphasis on mental and emotional strength than on physical prowess. Because of this, I think it may well be the most valuable of all outdoor sports activities. Most of us could make a list a mile long of things we are unable to do. Rock climbing has a remarkable way of shortening that list tremendously. Anybody who has scaled 100 feet of sheer rock straight up rapidly comes to know there is little one can’t accomplish, if one sets one’s mind to it. Most climbers will agree that rock climbing is far more than a mere sport. It is a perpetual challenge to climb better, faster, and with more agility than before. Soon, you develop more skills than you ever imagined you’d have. This special relationship develops between you and the rock: A sense of closeness and friendship. Once established, you begin to experience the most extraordinary sense of “flowing over” the rock—almost like a dance. This relationship demands all of your attention. This is how, while you are on the rock face, there can be nothing on your mind except how you are going to make the next move, find your way, keep going. It’s an experience which somehow sets your spirit free. I had never dreamed that I could get to the top of the rock. Graham taught me how to do it. You put one hand or one foot in front of the other. You care only about one step at a time. A journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step. By the way, all the men in our team who had treated me scornfully that first day had elected me leader of the team three days later. When the final day’s holy grail task took place, our team not only won the much sought-after grail prize. We achieved the highest number of points ever given to any team in the history of the organization. Miracles can happen! TRANSFORMING LIVES My experiences rock climbing, and later climbing mountains, are by no means unique. Deprived children who have never set foot out of the city have similar experiences and are rewarded with similar self-transcendence. The main difference between you and them is that you will be aware of what is going on, while they just blindly follow. Yet they, too, transcend themselves as we do. Rock climbing seems a dangerous sport, and because of its inherent dangers, safety rules and equipment are excellent. Provided you use them, you are safer on the rock face than you would be on the motorway. Yet there is something about the feeling of danger when you are climbing a rock or abseiling down from the edge of a cliff that is very valuable in terms of breaking through self-perceived limitations. You are safe, and yet you are presented in an immediate way with the idea of death. TAKE A COURSE You do not have to be fit to begin climbing. Take it slowly, climb regularly and you will rapidly gain skills and become fit. Sheer face climbing requires skill more than brute force. To learn, you can either join a club or go on a course where a guide teaches you. The best climbing gear is a pair of riding breeches with long socks, although a pair of straight-legged jeans or trousers will do just as well in the beginning. The equipment itself—ropes, belts, helmets and shoes—is usually supplied by the course. You’ll never know how much rock climbing or mountaineering can do for you until you try it. The exercise you’ll get is invaluable for toning muscles, improving skin and bringing you a new sense of vitality, whatever your age. Equally important, it can take you away from your everyday problems. You find yourself faced with totally different, unknown and unforeseen tasks to accomplish. I also love the way there is no competition involved in rock climbing. The only thing you are working against is yourself—bettering previous attempts, becoming more skilled, gaining more confidence in your judgment and yourself. This alone is what matters. There are very few areas in anybody’s life where you can say that. Try it. You may well come to love it as much as I have, no matter what your age.

The breakdown

The breakdown

One of your body’s most effective mechanisms for protecting itself from excessive toxicity taken in through food, air and water, or produced as a by-product of metabolism, is to lock these toxic materials into fat cells. In the case of cellulite, this natural protective mechanism goes one stage further—encasing these wastes in the interstitial fluids and ground substance of your skin by binding them with hardened connective tissue. To shed cellulite, you need first to help your body detoxify itself. The reason you have built up these wastes is simply that your body continually has to cope with more toxins than it can eliminate in the normal day-to-day course of events. Remove some of the burden of what is creating this excess toxicity in your system by laying aside coffee, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, over-processed foods complete with chemical additives, and avoiding sugar and grain-based foods for a time, and you’re halfway there. Add to that a very simple and temporary regime designed to trigger rapid detoxification, some gentle exercise, and some external help, and quite naturally you trigger your body’s own mechanisms for clearing out the junk. There are lots of ways you can do it, but the simplest of all to begin with is to go on a two-day apple fast. (See Apple Magic.) External work on your body is also important to trigger the detoxification process. Incorporate skin brushing into your daily routine during an apple fast (see Skin Brushing), and afterwards continue to use skin brushing to help break up hardened connective tissue and keep the detoxification process going while you are rebuilding new, strong connective tissue and ground substance. Another excellent technique which helps with this process is hydrotherapy, particularly the German Blitzguss. A real one needs to be done by a professional, but you can get many of the same effects in the shower yourself at home—especially if you have a hand-held shower which you can direct on different parts of your body. Here’s How [video src=http://d1vg7rm5xhtxe9.cloudfront.net/video/sd/blitz-guss.mp4 poster=http://d3oy45cyct8ffi.cloudfront.net/health/into-the-bliss/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2012/02/lk-video-blitz-guss.jpg ] Take a warm shower until your skin is really glowing with warmth. Then turn off the hot water and using only cold, direct it over your face and then down your arms and legs, over your trunk and abdomen and down your back. Finally, concentrate on the areas of your body where cellulite accumulates—the thighs, abdomen, hips and buttocks. The whole process should take no more than 30 seconds. Then get out of the shower, pat off the excess water and dress warmly. Do this at least once a day after skin brushing. Help From the Outside Exercise used as part of a program to banish cellulite needs to be isotonic in nature. This means it needs to take you through large movements such as running, walking briskly, rebounding on a mini-trampoline, rowing, swimming and cycling, all of which shorten and lengthen your muscles rhythmically without bringing about a big increase in tension. Isotonic exercise is one of the finest ways for you to eliminate wastes before they have a chance to build up. What kind of exercise is best? The kind you like best. Try walking briskly in comfortable clothing, dancing, cycling, whatever you love to do, for 15 to 60 minutes a session, three to five times a week. Start slowly, then when you notice positive changes in energy taking place in your body, and an enhanced self-awareness as you get into an exercise program, you will find your body craving more.

More in movement

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana®

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Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

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

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