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movement

35 articles in movement

Get A Radiant Body

Get A Radiant Body

How do you feel about your body? Is it a source of pleasure and pride? A burden to be borne? A matter of indifference? Does it feel like a ‘good runner' which always seems to do what you ask of it? Or is your body something on which you don’t think you can depend? I find that most men and women in the Western world feel uneasy about their bodies. The cultural models which our culture has inherited from the ancient Greeks separates ‘body’—our physical presence—from ‘soul', the so-called ‘real' person, creating a schizoid attitude towards ourselves. Often we treat the body as an object. Then we alternate between narcissistically indulging it and continually neglecting it. Sometimes, we seem to dissociate from it altogether. QUANTUM RADIANCE NOW The body is the medium through which we experience reality. This is a truth most people forget. Your sense of aliveness and vitality, peace and relaxation, joy, sexuality, power—even intellectual enjoyment—are all experienced through your physical body. The more vital it is, the more intense are your sensibilities, and the richer your experience of being alive. The right treatments carried out on the surface of the body using simple substances such as water, oils, clays—even doing dry skin brushing—profoundly influence your state of wellbeing, both mentally and physically. Some techniques improve lymphatic drainage, clearing away wastes stored in the system. Others pep you up when you're tired, or relax you when you're stressed. They contribute to an experience of quantum wellbeing. The body is a finely-tuned instrument. It becomes more sensitive and stronger as you use it. The radiant body feels comfortably in tune with the earth on which it stands, yet free to move, to dance, to feel, and to experience joy and pain fully. This is what being fully alive is all about, no matter what your age. Ideally, the body should always have been this way. A child born naturally, without trauma or drugs, who enters a safe and welcoming world and has a good bond with its mother already has such a body. It moves fluidly, experiences emotions and physical sensations deeply. This makes it fully expressive both in shape and movements of the innate essence of the unique being. Sadly, for most of us, our natural aliveness and bodily freedom have become distorted or truncated. Traumas which we experience tighten muscles, damping down our sensory input. Some people find themselves oppressed and overwhelmed by living in a world which is anything but life-nurturing. This is a not-uncommon feeling for children and young adults. All of these experiences which are felt through the body leave their ‘scars' since they are held in the tissues. Then, instead of maintaining the sensitivity and responsiveness which is our birthright, the body gradually becomes ‘deadened’. This deadness can express itself in many ways—from rigidity or strange postural attitudes and gaits to flaccidity, muscles which seem lifeless and lackluster skin, even low self-esteem, depression, and a sense of impossibility about one’s life. BODY MAGIC The most remarkable gift of the human body is its natural plasticity. It is more than capable of transforming itself. Unlike a machine, your body is continually in flux. It changes its shape and ways of functioning from day to day and moment to moment. It can collect poisons in the tissues which decrease vitality and promote illness, and it can easily be encouraged to eliminate these poisons, becoming more alive, strong and beautiful. This in turn improves your whole way of experiencing life. You can work with a twisted, strained body, or one without a great capacity for feeling physical pleasure. Gradually, over a period of months, you can help it reclaim its ‘aliveness' and its natural good looks. There are a number of simple but powerful techniques for bringing this about. Regular exercise is one. So is the Alexander Technique. Yoga too can be useful—if it is practised well. And there are other professional disciplines which can help, like the bio-energetic therapies, touch for health, and Rolfing or structural integration. There are also many wonderfully effective practices which you can do for yourself day-to-day to help reawaken vitality, improving the way you look and feel. They can alter the way you move, as well as the way you feel about yourself and your life. For, when your body feels more alive, more responsive and stronger, so do you. DO IT YOURSELF The healing of our culturally inherited mind-body split is a slow but totally necessary process, in order to achieve the kind of integration which makes quantum wellness possible. Many of the techniques useful for bringing it about—such as the clay and sea-plant treatments, massage, water therapy, breathing exercises—can be a lot of fun and leave you feeling great when you use them, as well as the long lasting benefits each promises. Also, making time in your life to practice them can be an excellent method of de-stressing, allowing you to get away from any leaning towards becoming an `automaton'—a tendency we all have to some degree— and become more conscious of who in essence you really are, and where you are going. This is an important part of a quantum way of life. TAKE THE PLUNGE A simple thing like water, which you come in contact with every day, is ideal for beginning transformation and heightening vitality. Applications of hot and cold water used to be a standard therapy for aches and pains and for revitalizing. We know this thanks to the pioneering work of Father Sebastian Kneipp, the Bavarian parish priest who strengthened his own less-than-hearty health with the healing powers of water, and then went on to develop a whole system of treatment using it to dissolve toxic wastes while strengthening the entire organism. Many of Kneipp's techniques—which I wrote at length about a few weeks ago—are great for bringing you more vitality and a growing experience of aliveness. He insisted that the easiest way of ‘hardening and bracing the system' is to walk barefoot—on wet grass or stones, on freshly fallen snow, or in cold water up to your knees. This may sound strange to someone who has never tried it, but it can be enormously invigorating—even on winter mornings. I do it at some time every day, come rain or shine. I learned of its power from doctor friends who use it to increase a patient's resistance to illness with excellent results. The secret is to spend only a few minutes (from 3-5) walking barefoot in this way, making sure that you keep shoes and socks dry, so you can put them on immediately afterwards. If they too are allowed to get damp you miss out on the stimulating effect of the contact with the cold dampness. This can deplete your body of energy instead of revitalizing and strengthening it. This, by the way, is the secret for using any cold water applications on the body. You must be warm to begin with and you must keep warm and dry afterwards. Contact with cold water under these circumstances first causes constriction of the blood vessels, momentarily driving the blood inwards. Then, the moment it is stopped, the blood rushes to the surface of the skin, warming it. BRUSH FOR BLISS The same principles apply to hot and cold showers or cold sitz baths. One of the best possible ways of waking up each morning and getting yourself going for the day ahead is to brush your dry skin down well with a dry hemp glove or a natural vegetable bristle bath brush. Then step into a warm shower. As soon as the warmth of the water has suffused your body so you are warm and comfortable, switch from `warm' to `cold'. Remain under cold water for only half a minute (no more), making sure that your body all over gets covered with the cold spray. Emerge from the shower, dry yourself briskly and dress warmly. It is important that the bathroom is always warm and that you begin very slowly with only, say, 10 seconds of cold water at first, gradually increasing it to half a minute as you become used to it. I think you will be surprised at how quickly this adaptation takes place. It will make your body feel alive and tingling, increase your stamina and, according to the European doctors who still use it regularly with their patients, heighten your resistance to colds and flu. SITZ BATHS FOR SLEEP Here’s a variation on the cold water theme that will surprise you. A cold sitz bath is one of the best ways of relaxing quickly and preparing your body and mind for sleep. It is another technique the effectiveness of which you won't believe until you have tried it several times yourself. It is a great blessing for people who suffer from insomnia because their minds race and they can't turn off mental energy when they go to bed. Here's how: Fill a bath with 3"-4" of cold water from the tap. Make sure the bathroom is warm and that you have done all of the things you need to do before retiring. Wrap the top half of your body in a sweater or dressing gown which you can tuck up so that when you sit in the water it won't get wet but it will keep the upper part of your body warm. Now immerse your hips and bottom in the tub for 30 seconds. You can do this either by letting your legs hang over the side of the tub or by sitting in the bath and allowing your heels to go into the water to steady your body. Get out, dry yourself well, then climb into bed. The technique draws the body energy away from the head and brings a marvellous sense of peace and relaxation. Next week we’ll look at more simple do-it-yourself techniques for quantum radiance, such as the health-enbhancing magnesium chloride flakes and gifts from the sea. See you then...

Balance Water

Balance Water

Water is a powerful energy balancer. Water treatments have been used for centuries to help heal illness and to keep healthy people well. They are so good at balancing energy that most people who begin to experiment with hydrotherapy techniques are astounded by what they can do. During a two-day detox, they can help with the elimination process enormously – after all, this is the prefect time for long, relaxing soaks in the bath to soothe your mind and encourage your body to get on with its job. Dr Douglas Lewis, whilst head of physical medicine at John Bastyr College Natural Health Clinic in the United States explained: ‘Hot water produces a response that stimulates the immune system and causes white cells to migrate out of the blood vessels and into the tissue where they can clean up toxins and assist the blood in eliminating waste’. Hot and cold water applied alternately to the surface of your skin stimulates circulation and spurs good lymphatic drainage, also helping your body to eliminate wastes quickly. Hydrotherapy is also fun. epsom salts bath Epsom salts baths are an old and potent practice for eliminating toxins through the surface of the skin. Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate. Both magnesium and sulfate molecules have an ability to extract excess sodium, phosphorus and nitrogenous toxins from the body. This is why athletes use them to relieve muscular pain. Magnesium sulfate dissolved in water creates a static, unified, electrical field, and immersing your body in it helps to create a magnetic balance. During your apple fast, taking an Epsom salts bath helps speed up the detoxification process and minimizes any aches, pains or fatigue which sometimes come with rapidly eliminating stored toxins from the body. Epsom salts are also wonderful during periods of prolonged stress and when you are feeling overtired. Take two cups of household-grade Epsom salts (available from the chemist), pour them into the bath and fill with blood-temperature water. Immerse yourself for 20 to 30 minutes, topping up with warm water when necessary to maintain a comfortable temperature. Get out of the bath and lie down for 15 minutes – better still, take an Epsom salts bath just before you go to bed. the heat bath Saunas can be a great help during a detoxification regime, as artificially induced perspiration is one of the best means of deep-cleansing the body. However, most of us don’t have a sauna at home. You can get a similar effect – in terms of the elimination of waste through the skin and deep relaxation – by taking a carefully regulated hot bath, provided your tub is large enough for you to immerse all of your body except your head in it. Make sure your bathroom is warm and comfortable – have candles for soft lighting, play some relaxing music, and put your towel somewhere so that it will be ready-warmed for you when you get out. The temperature of the bath is crucial. It needs to be kept at about 105-110 degrees F (40-43 degrees C) – just a few degrees above normal body temperature. Hotter than this can be over-stimulating to the body. You can use a simple thermometer to check the temperature every five minutes and keep topping up with hot water to bring it back when it starts to fall. Lie in the bath for 15 to 20 minutes with just your head sticking out. Then get out, quickly wrap yourself in a big towel (or a cotton sheet if you prefer) and lie down and relax, covering yourself with a blanket, for another 20 minutes. blitzguss A real blitzguss 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 handheld shower which you can direct on different parts of your body. 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. The process should take no more than 30 seconds. Then get out of the shower, pat off the excess water and dress warmly. This is particularly good done just after skin brushing. Your skin is so fresh and clean after being brushed that it fairly zings in contact with warm water. The quick burst of cold water will make it zing again and get the circulation going a treat. If at any time you feel uncomfortable using any hydrotherapy technique, stop immediately and try again another time. Never force yourself to ‘suffer’ if any of them cause any tension either in your body or your mind. dew bath One of the oldest, and for me one of the most decadent, natural treatments is walking barefoot on dewy grass. The treatment was traditionally used to strengthen immunity, stimulate intestinal functions, act as a counterirritant for the chest and throat and relieve headaches. It is good to use during a two-day detox not only because it is stimulating to the whole system, but also because of the sense of clean freedom it gives you. If you are not in the habit of going barefoot, begin gradually. Start by simply rubbing the feet with a wet cloth for a minute or two then put on socks and shoes and walk about. After a few times try walking on dry grass and then on wet grass – first thing in the morning in the summer is just wonderful. Take the treatment whenever you get a chance – in the garden, in the park or in the country. Bare your feet to the elements and you’ll reap the benefits. By the way, bathing your feet can help with a headache, too. Half fill a bath with cold water. Then, making sure you are well covered so your body doesn’t get cold, walk about in it with bare feet for three minutes. Immediately afterwards, put on warm socks and lie down for ten minutes. You might feel silly doing it, but it really can help, and it gives you the same lift as paddling in the sea. air bath Water is not the only thing you can bathe in. Of all the nature cure treatments, the air bath is the simplest. It involves removing all your clothing and allowing fresh air to circulate around your body for a few minutes. It is believed that exposing the body in this way even for only ten minutes can increase metabolism temporarily by as much as 50 percent, no bad thing when you are trying to eliminate wastes. Certainly it makes sense to regularly give your entire skin surface a chance to breathe unrestricted by clothing. The easiest way to take a regular air bath is to strip down while you do your morning or evening toilet. Make sure you open a window in the bathroom so that there is fresh air. If you need to turn on a heater in the room do, although cool air on your body for a few minutes can have a positive, stimulating and strengthening effect. This is yet another technique you can use after your two-day apple fast to tone your skin and help keep that feeling of being fresh and alive that comes after a detox.

Exercise And Transformation

Exercise And Transformation

Not only is wholeheartedness important if one is to realize the full potential for exercise, 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. We are not machines, no matter how much we are told otherwise. When we have treated ourselves as such, either by neglecting to care for our physical needs or by forcing our bodies through exercise routines like automatons, we both create distortions of posture and body shape and dissipate precious adaptive energy instead of renewing it. In fact most of us have quite literally grown up with postural distortions which over the years become so much a part of us they are almost like physical symbols for our personality. When you begin to approach exercise from a more unified perspective it's important to find ways of unlocking some of the residual tensions which underlie these distortions and to set the body free to move naturally so we can make the most of whatever form of exercise we choose to do. A good yoga teacher can help you do this gradually over a period of time. So can some very simple exercises which I learned from a quite extraordinary movement teacher called Lilla Bek. Herself a longtime teacher of yoga as well as an acclaimed healer and writer, Lilla Bek's approach to movement is an ancient one - based on the principles of sacred dance where the body is not only put through its physical paces to tighten muscles and firm contours but to balance the body's energies through what in mystic traditions are known as the chakra centers. There are believed to be seven of these, starting at the base of the spine and rising through the solar plexus to finish at the crown of the head. Each chakra is said to be connected with specific endocrine glands and to influence the functions of organs related to it as well as energy in the part of the body it governs. Each is also believed to have specific psychic qualities - the one in the belly, for instance, is said to be connected with the actions of the will, while the chakra at the throat is a center for creative energies, particularly artistic ones and for self expression. The purpose of sacred dance is to revitalize the energetic circuits of the body and mind and to unify the system so that one connects up both with the earth as well as one's own energies and is fed by them. Whether or not the chakra system is ever validated by scientific research, working with exercise and movement in this way can be a superb means of integrating mind and body as well as working out long-standing bodily tensions and postural distortions that make you look and feel older than you are. After a while your body really does become a vehicle for the expression of the inner being. Its movements become naturally graceful and authentic. Over a period of time even the most distorted frame seems to untwist itself as the muscles are freed from chronic postural habits and tensions which deplete energies and undermine natural beauty. But for me the most rewarding thing of all in beginning to work in an energetically aware way with movement is the extraordinary levels of energy it brings. It is as if you create for yourself a link with the earth which supports you at a high level of calm vitality long after other, more disconnected, exercisers have fallen by the wayside. postures for transformation To begin working energetically rather than mechanically with your body it is necessary to do two things. First you need to identify areas of chronic tension, which are distorting body shape and posture, and eliminate them by an active process of letting go. Second you need to begin drawing conscious awareness to the ways in which even the smallest movement, whether it takes place while running, dancing, speaking or whatever, affects muscle groups and energy-focus in other areas of the body not directly related to the muscles doing the work. Lilla Bek has worked out some gentle but useful postures which do both. 'Most people,' she says, `even very active people, have many areas of residual tension which restrict full movement and interfere with the free flow of energy so that they become unnecessarily fatigued. These areas are really the result of how we live and how we use our bodies. Our waking hours are largely spent using only a small amount of space right in front of us - for instance as when we are driving a car or eating, working at a desk or watching television. Every group of muscles in the body has another that works in opposition to it. When we restrict our movement to such a small space we tend to contract the muscles of one group without ever doing any kind of contrastretch to bring its opposing muscles into play. This is how chronically tense muscles lead to body distortions such as dowager's hump, slumped shoulders, excessively curved backs and the rest.' undoing the kinks The postures Lilla Bek uses to undo long-standing kinks in the body are designed specifically to create a contrastretch for each group of chronically tightened muscles. At the same time, because they are done slowly and deliberately in a deeply relaxed state they make it possible for the person practicing them to begin experiencing just how connected up his body is energetically. Take the movements implied in Leonardo's famous spread-eagled man for example. Hold yourself in this position and slowly move your arms from your sides to above your head - palms turned outwards. At each level of movement you will find that a different group of muscles come into action which are quite separate from those of the arms and shoulders involved in the movement. First the lower abdomen is tightened and the energy there is stimulated, then the solar plexus, the chest and the area of the heart chakra come into play. Then the jaw line, the lower face and ears, the roof of the mouth, the eyes, cheeks and forehead each in their turn are activated as you move your arms higher and higher. To someone who has never had any consciousness of the energetic phenomenon of exercise and the unification of body movement such an experience is like a revelation. Practice a few of the postures which heighten your body awareness and you will find very soon not only that your posture changes as your body becomes more fluid and more supple and a more articulate expression of your being, but when you turn to your aerobics or your yoga or your running or your sacred dance there is a lightness and a freedom which you have never experienced before. Here are five of Lilla Bek's simple postures. Spend two to five minutes on each once a day and you are likely to experience new energy levels as well as a sense of authentic natural grace which no amount of mechanical jogging around the park or sweating it out in they gym can match. the opening This position has a remarkable ability to open out the body, expanding the chest, releasing chronic tension from the neck and shoulders, gradually smoothing out hollow backs, and greatly expanding contracted hip joints. here's how Lying flat on the floor relax and close your eyes. Ask a friend to take a look at the position of your chin. It should be pointing straight up at the ceiling, forming a right angle with your neck.  If it is higher than this, place a book under your head to bring it back into alignment. As the natural alignment of your spine improves you will need a thinner and thinner book until you can do it without one altogether. Does your back lie flat against the floor or is there a hollow? An arched spine indicates that you normally hold your chin wrongly which stretches the skin of the neck and creates a double-chin look. How far are your shoulders off the floor? Do they differ in this? As chronic tension is released by doing the exercise regularly your shoulders will come closer and closer to the floor, your back will lengthen and your chin will naturally align. Draw your right foot up while placing your palms downwards on the floor and rest it near your buttocks. Do the same with the other foot placing your heels together, soles flat on the floor. Now, starting with your palms against the sides of your hips, begin to explore the space around you with your arms and notice the parts of your body which slowly moving your arms outwards and upwards activates. Moving your arms up and out you begin to activate energy first in the pelvic area, then the solar plexus, heart, thymus, forehead and top of the head. When you get to the level where you are lying with your arms in line with your shoulders, let your hands open slightly and you will have reached the level of the throat energies. Explore the feel of each level of the arms in turn by moving them slowly and then leaving them at each level to sink quietly to the floor. If while doing this you gradually open out or close your fingers you will produce many interesting changes in energy at different levels of your body. With your arms extended like this at the sides your shoulder blades will separate and then by letting your knees open outwards to the natural pull of gravity you will discover your breathing opens up. Explore this position for two or three minutes before going on to the next. expansion This position opens out a collapsed midriff, lengthens the body, energizes the solar plexus and even tightens the muscles of the face. here's how Moving from the first position, now place your feet about 18 inches apart with soles flat against the floor. Leave your arms at shoulder level and very slowly roll your hips to the right side simultaneously rolling your head to the left. Return to the center keeping your lower spine in contact with the floor and repeat the movement to the other side. Your knee should gradually fit into the arches of the opposite leg. Don't worry if they don't touch the floor. They will eventually. Most people have a shortened midriff and the solar-plexus chakra which provides the body with dynamic physical energy cannot function properly when this is the case. This position has a remarkable effect on the look of the face when it is practiced regularly and can make you look considerably younger. But for this to work you must `connect up' your face with your body - particularly in the spaces through which the knees move in your awareness as you carry out the movement. Take a full breath before you begin and exhale as your hips roll to the side then inhale again slowly as they return to center, exhale in starting position and repeat to the other side. the rainbow This is a position of natural grace. It brings a superb stretch to the waistline, lengthens the whole body, flattens and firms the abdomen, and integrates body energies. here's how Lying flat on your back take a full breath, exhale and roll to the left side, bringing your arms together in the same direction. Now bring your right knee across and exhale. Keep your knee down by holding it with your left hand to make sure it will not go back up. Now very gently try to take your right hand up and around your body. If it does not come in contact easily with the floor above your head then the energies from your heart and throat areas are not freed for use. Have a friend calculate in this position how much your arm is off the floor. If it is more than 6 inches then problems of distortion will be exaggerated in your body and it will take a bit of time to correct. If it is exaggerated it is a good idea not to exercise vigorously until the exaggeration disappears. bow to the earth Not only is this position profoundly relaxing - an excellent way to relieve stress after the end of a long day - it is also wonderful for alleviating lower-back problems and period aches and it encourages energy to rise up the spine flooding the whole body with new vitality and clearing a fuzzy mind. here's how From a kneeling position, bend your body forward, pushing your hands out in front, and stretch forward like a cat. On the in-breath, bring your hands to lie at the sides of your feet and lower your buttocks. If you have difficulty in doing this be gentle but persevere since chronic contraction here can lead to lower-back problems later. On the out-breath, bring the top of your head down in front of your knees. Rest a moment and then bring your hands forwards and place them one palm on top of the other. Rest your forehead on top. Close your eyes and relax for two minutes or more. The detensing effects of this position work slowly. It can be held for longer than most. It too is excellent for the solar plexus but it is also good for releasing energy that has been blocked at the base of the spine. the lengthener This position and the gentle movement which accompanies it activates the base of the spine, improves blood flow to the brain, takes pressure off of tired legs, alleviates lower-back tensions, improves circulation in the pelvis and is a superb antidote to stress. here's how Lying flat on your back relax as fully as you can. Now start to raise one leg slowly up as high as you can go. Be aware as your leg moves through the arc that with each 6 or 8 inches it passes through different parts of your body become energized, starting with the base chakra and moving up through the belly, heart and throat when it reaches a right angle. If you can go beyond this upright position you can also activate head energies. Now with your hand on one knee, don't pull by force but hold your knee with your hands and see how far you can bring it into your body. On the in-breath raise your forehead to the knee. Breathe out as you bring them together, relax and lie back. Repeat with the other leg, going through the whole sequence for two or three minutes. If you are unable to bring your knee all the way to your body do persist with the exercise. It will help protect you from lower-back troubles later. You will get a splendid feeling of lengthening over your whole body after working through this position. Combine these simple `untwisters' with a habit of regular aerobic activity - walking, swimming, rebounding on a mini-trampoline, cycling, running, jogging or rowing - and you will find a new sense of integration takes place and your energy levels will soar.

Joyous Movement

Joyous Movement

Moving your body preserves youth and creates high-level vitality, as well as good feelings about who you are. Did you know, for example, that regular exercise is the best treatment yet devised for depression? Little wonder, since throughout evolution our bodies have been built to move. It is only in the last century that we have become sedentary ‘lounge-lizards', making ourselves vulnerable to the numerous ailments—from osteoporosis to coronary heart disease—in which lack of physical exercise is a major risk factor. Exercise can do as much good for your mind as it can your body. You might be surprised to find how simple and blissful the right kind of exercise can be. GET INTO BLISS We are told all the time, by everyone, that we should force ourselves to exercise whether we like it or not. Personally, I love exercise. But only because doing it brings me joy. I firmly believe you should never exercise out of a sense of duty, or for fear of putting on weight if you don’t. Find out what you love doing, and do it just for fun. You could swim or jog or dance for the pleasure of it Or rebound on a mini-trampoline—something that is particularly good for internal spring-cleaning. Swimming is great because it is so sensuous. But don’t make yourself swim laps. Instead, move sensuously through the water and notice the bliss your body can feel as you do. If you don’t know what exercise you enjoy, then start with a brisk walk. TAKE A WALK Brisk daily walks can be a lot of fun—but they can also be a major factor in disease-prevention, as they help keep your body clean from the inside out. They increase vitality and improve your mental state. How far? How fast? That depends on how fit you are already. Start slowly if you are not used to exercise, and then gradually—over several weeks—work up your pace to four miles an hour; that means you will be walking a mile in about 15 minutes. Walk with a sense that you are just going to allow your body to move and to experience the pleasure of being alive. Walking brings our awareness into our bodies, along with the magnificent spirit that is the essence of who you are, so you and your body feel like one. If you have young children, take them with you in a pushchair or pram. Older children can benefit as much from the exercise as you do. If the weather is bad, make sure you are all equipped with waterproofs or warm clothing. Or, if you prefer, get up early before anyone else is awake and go out by yourself (this is my favorite time for exercising). If you go out to work, carry your work-shoes with you and wear a comfortable pair of trainers. Take the bus or train to within a mile or so of your workplace and walk from there. AGE PREVENTION The latest research into age-retardation shows clearly that it is not a pill, magic potion or some glamorous and expensive youth treatment which best reverses the long and depressing list of changes that have come to be associated with aging, but simple exercise. How much regular aerobic activity you get determines the level of something called your ‘V02max’. This is the scientific term for 'maximum oxygen consumption’—the most critical measurement of your body's heart and lung performance. This measurement is something which declines steadily in most people after the age of 30—at a rate of about 1 per cent per year—simply because, unlike our primitive ancestors who remained physically active all through their lives, we lead a largely sedentary existence. As a result, we appear to age quite rapidly—we experience a decline in cardiovascular and lung fitness, we lose muscle and bone tissue, our skin wrinkles and thins, and we experience a progressive stiffening of the joints. These age-related changes appear to occur at just the rate at which our V02max declines. The good news is this: a decline in V02max is by no means inevitable. When a person of 35, 55, or even 75 moves their body regularly, this can restore V02max levels to that of someone many years younger. As this happens, energy increases and parameters such as cardiovascular fitness, heart-rate, cholesterol, and blood-lipids return to more youthful measures. Skin looks younger, high blood-pressure lowers, joints regain flexibility. Meanwhile, loss of minerals from the bones is halted, muscle-mass increases, and fat is lost; even your intelligence improves. LASTING VITALITY Physiologist J. L. Hodgson carried out a series of studies at Pennsylvania State University which showed that when an inactive 70-year-old starts a program of moderate activity he can expect, in effect, to improve his oxygen-transporting ability (V02max) by some 15 years. If then he goes on to achieve an athlete's level of conditioning, he can potentially regain 40 years of V02max and experience many of the physical and physiological effects of rejuvenation in the process. AGE REVERSAL So exceptional is the ability of regular exercise to reverse aging changes that Dr Walter Bortz, one of America’s leading scientific experts on aging, wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association that 'It seems extremely unlikely that any future drug or physician-oriented technique will approach such a benefit'. Bortz had begun studying the relationship between age-related changes and inactivity through having his own leg in a cast for six weeks. When the cast was removed the 'withered, stiff and painful leg' looked like it belonged on someone 40 years older. He found that, by almost every physiological parameter known, a lack of exercise produced bodily changes paralleling those associated with aging. Regular sustained physical activity can go a long way towards preventing and even reversing them. BLESSINGS OF MOVEMENT Herbert de Vries of the Andrus Gerontology Centre at the University of Southern California showed in a study involving more than 200 people that men and women of 60 or 70 can become as fit and energetic as people 30 years younger. 'Regular exercise quite literally turned back the clock for our volunteers,' said de Vries. And, when questioned about what they considered the greatest benefit of their regular exercise programs, his subjects most often answered “greater energy”. The fitter you are, the more energy you have. SKIN GLOWS Regular exercise—the kind you get if you do 30-45 minutes of walking, swimming, dancing, rebounding or what you love most, at least three times a week—suffuses your skin with blood, enhances lymphatic functioning, increases the ability of your body to carry oxygen and nutrients to the skin's cells, and removes waste products from them. Exercise physiologist James White at University of California, San Diego, carried out an interesting study to find out just how effective exercise might be at retarding—even maybe reversing—the effects of aging on skin. Working with older women, he compared two groups: One group on a program of rebounding using mini-trampolines, and one group of sedentary women. He discovered that the exercisers looked younger, had better skin, coloring, and fewer wrinkles than non-exercisers. White was surprised to discover that exercise even reduces bags under the eyes. With all these amazing benefits, why wouldn’t you want to get into the joy of movement today…?

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.

The Wonders Of Exercise

The Wonders Of Exercise

Let’s talk exercise. It’s time we did. For there is no area of health more misunderstood than exercise—its benefits, its drawbacks—what it will and won’t do. The medical profession continues to feed us the party line: It begins with “every calorie is unique…it doesn’t matter where it comes from…if you want to lose weight, all you have to do is burn calories through exercise.” This is absolutely untrue—in fact, exercise can sometimes be seriously detrimental to those who are considerably overweight. Nevertheless doctors, and the media, keep telling us that it works. And, like sheep, we just keep trusting them. MEDICAL IGNORANCE What happens? Well, when people find that it doesn’t work, they get depressed. They feel like failures. They stop exercising and start eating more because they’re disheartened. They figure that exercising is no use. This makes metabolic syndrome—Syndrome X—worse than ever. For metabolic syndrome and chronic high blood sugar levels are what makes us fat, and keep us that way. That’s the bad news. The good news about exercise is this: Whether you’re overweight or not, exercise done regularly, for as little as 15 minutes a day, is absolutely the single most important thing that you can do to improve your overall health. TRUTH ABOUT CALORIES Because of the media, the medical profession, and purveyors of diet supplements, just about everybody still believes that energy expenditure—and therefore calorie burning—comes with exercise. However the truth is that during physical activity, only the smallest amount of energy expenditure takes place. Exercise accounts for no more than 5% of the calories you burn, unless you happen to be a top athlete. I think this will surprise you too: The greatest percent of calorie burning takes place, not while you’re moving, but while you are sleeping. This phenomenon is called “resting energy expenditure”. Depending on how heavy or light you are, resting energy can account for as much as 60% of your total daily energy expenditure. Another way your body expends energy by burning calories is thanks to the “thermic effect of food”. This refers to the energy it takes your body to digest, absorb and metabolize the foods you have eaten This thermic effect accounts for about 10% of the energy that you burn during the day. So you can see by contrast just how low, in fact virtually insignificant, is the amount of calories burnt during most physical activities. TOTALLY MISUNDERSTOOD The idea most people have—that if they exercise they can lose weight—is also nothing more than a pipe dream. So what does exercise actually do for you? The answer is: some pretty wonderful things. Exercise enhances sensitivity to insulin. This helps your body make use of the fat that has accumulated in the liver and around other organs improving insulin sensitivity and lower ing insulin levels. It also improves both leptin signaling and leptin sensitivity in the cells., calming food cravings, improving muscle tone, and making you feel more vital. Exercise builds muscle. Most people, including most medical doctors, still wrongly equate BMI (Body Mass Index) with body fat. The truth is BMI does not measure the difference between muscle and fat, or between subcutaneous fat (the inessential fat) and visceral fat. Many studies looking at body composition before and after periods of exercise show that the percentage of fat goes down. But this is only because muscle has increased. As this takes place, a person’s metabolic facilities are also improved. PREVENTING ILLNESS We are often told that we need to change our diet in order to prevent heart disease. Indeed this is quite true: However, the metabolic transformations that take place during regular moderate exercise are an even more powerful force than dieting for preventing disease—including heart disease. To take things further, exercise is actually a more effective force in preventing heart disease than losing weight! A study of almost 40,000 American men demonstrated quite clearly that physical activity was more important in preventing heart disease than being normal weight. These major gifts of exercise are more important than people realize, but they have nothing to do with controlling weight. Let’s look now at how exercise works, biochemically and physiologically. NEW ENERGY FACTORIES Regular exercise activates your sympathetic nervous system. This , in turn, tells your muscles to make new mitochondria. Mitochondria are the amazing little energy factories inside muscle cells that burn glucose or fatty acids, to produce vitality for your whole body. Regular exercise plays a big role not only in building new mitochondria, but in getting rid of the old, inefficient mitochondria. Old mitochondria do not function properly. As a result they produce free radicals to undermine your health and encourage rapid aging. Regular exercise clears away the old and helps your muscles make clean and efficient use of the energy stored within the new. This too improves insulin sensitivity, and enhances metabolic health all round. STRESS BUSTER Regular exercise lowers your stress levels. It’s true that blood cortisol levels go up temporarily when you start to exercise. This is a good thing, It keeps your blood sugar and blood pressure up while you are moving. They come back down quickly afterwards. In fact, one of the long term benefits of regular exercise is that it reduces blood pressure. This is thanks to exercise’s ability to lower stress levels all round. Regular exercise also encourages your body to release feel-good chemicals in the brain known as endorphins. This makes regularly moving the body one of the most effective treatments for depression, far better than drugs or psychotherapy. The way exercise increases endorphins always fascinated me. This was what made me become a regular runner. I was determined to experience what is known as the “runner’s high”. And I found it wonderful. WHAT EXERCISE IS BEST For a long time we’ve been told that the best kind of exercise is low-intensity, long interval, aerobic practices, now known as “cardio exercise”. We learned that cardio worked the heart in a beneficial way, and provided all sorts of cardiovascular benefits by pumping more blood to the heart, slowing heart rate, and increasing peripheral muscles. The one thing it was never able to do—although we were misled to believe that it did—was bring about weight loss. Recently, however, a number of studies have shown that high-intensity interval training, where you use an extreme activity for a very short period of time interspersed with a short recovery—as well as plain old weight training—brings equal improvements both in waist circumference and blood vessel flow. So the bottom line is this: It doesn’t matter what kind of exercise you choose. Just do it. BE CAUTIOUS Whatever kind you decide to try, you need to do it regularly—at least five days a week. Why? Because the wonderful metabolic effects of exercise—which tell your mitochondria to divide and make new mitochondrial factories for vitality—slow and decline when you miss even a day of exercising. Miss two weeks, and your insulin sensitivity is likely to decline as well until it reaches the level it was before you started exercising. So whatever you decide to do, do it regularly. You need only do it for short periods, but do it every day. A FINAL WORD It is not only the overweight by the way who suffer from insulin resistance—metabolic syndrome. So do 40% of normal weight men and women, especially those who have fatty livers. Recent research shows that fitness not only helps mitigate the effects of overweight on visceral fat. In fact, it mitigates many other health complaints also provided you are consistent with doing it. This is also likely to increase your longevity. And...great news...if you are overweight, but not obese, exercising regularly can help you live significantly longer than that emaciated model on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar. Recent research shows that overweight people with BMIs between 25 and 30 tend to live longer than skinny people with BMIs of less than 19. DO WHAT YOU LOVE The most important thing for you to decide is what kind of exercise you want to do. It can be as simple as going for a walk each day for half an hour—not a power walk, just one where you feel the movements of, and a connection with, your body. It can be dance. It doesn’t have to be vigorous. It can be rebounding on a mini-trampoline. It can be moderate weight training, for 15-20 minutes a day. I personally like cycling on a wind-trainer. This is a device that your bicycle fits into. It allows you to regulate how hard you choose to pump while the wheels spin but the bicycle remains static. I use a wind trainer because I don’t like cycling on roads. The other exercise I do is on a Concept 2 rowing machine which I was given many years ago. I use it five days a week for 20 minutes at a time. I love doing it: It enables me to move my whole body, and brings me a rhythmic feeling of being completely connected to it. What exercise you do depends entirely on what you love. So begin to experiment. Let go of the idea that exercise is going to make you thin. It will not. What it will do for your health, your emotional and spiritual wellbeing, and to slow the aging process, is fantastic. It can also be a lot of fun. Discover the joys and great gifts that come with moving your body. The time is now. REFERENCES P. Wen et al., "Minimum Amount of Physical Activity for Reduced Mortality and Extended Life Expectancy: A Prospective Cohort Study," Lancet 378 (2011) S. Ludwig, "The Glycemic Index: Physiological Mechanisms Relating to Obesity, Diabetes, and Cardiovascular Disease," JAMA 287 (2002) Stensvold et al., "Strength Training versus Aerobic Interval Training to Modify Risk Factors of Metabolic Syndrome," /. Appl. Physiol. 108 (2010) P. Little et al, "Skeletal Muscle and Beyond: The Role of Exercise as a Mediator of Systemic Mitochondrial Biogenesis," Appl. Physiol. Nutr. Metab. 36 (2011) K. J. Acheson et al., "Protein Choices Targeting Thermogenesis and Metabolism," Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 93 (2011) Shaw et al., "Exercise for Overweight or Obesity," Cochrane Database Syst. Rev. CD003817 (2006) M. J, Gibala et al, "Physiological Adaptations to Low-Volume, High-Intensity Interval Training in Health and Disease," /. Physiol. 590, no. 5 (2012) A. McAuley et al., "Obesity Paradox and Cardiorespiratory Fitness in 12,417 M a l e Veterans Aged 40 to 70 Years," Mayo Clin. Proc. 85 (2010) Bajpeyi et al., "Effect of Exercise Intensity and Volume on Persistence of Insulin Sensitivity During Training Cessation," /. Appl. Physiol. 106 (2009)

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.

Sacred Truth Ep. 70: Epsom Salts Reborn

Sacred Truth Ep. 70: Epsom Salts Reborn

Epsom salts baths are one of the world’s most potent yet underrated natural treatments. Don’t take them lightly. They can improve your health and they cost almost nothing. They can be useful if you have been having a stressful day because they deep cleanse the body, both physiologically and energetically. They are great for encouraging deep, restful sleep and relaxation. Epsom salts also carry a magic that goes way beyond this. Lying in an Epsom salts bath is a superb way to enter your inner world and make you aware of dreams and longings you may not even have discovered yet. Use them to help forge deep connections with your essential being. Use them often and just allow yourself to BE instead of having to DO all the time. Named after a compound of minerals discovered in 17th century England, Epsom salts were first discovered by Nehemiah Grew in Epsom, a small town not far from London. He discovered that Epsom salts could relieve pain in muscles, calm headaches, and quell inflammation. Early on, drinking Epsom water was used as a purgative. The salts themselves were produced by boiling Epsom water until it turned into hydrated magnesium sulfate—which is where the name Epsom salts comes from. This hydrated magnesium sulfate brings important minerals your body, and they are absorbed through the skin when you take an Epsom salts bath. Both the magnesium and the sulfate molecules have the ability to leach excess sodium, phosphorous, and nitrogenous wastes from the body. As they reduce toxicity, more of your body’s energetic potential gets freed up for use. Magnesium and sulfur also happen to be among the most alkalinizing of earth minerals. In practical terms, what this means is that they have the ability to create more physical space between the atoms and molecules of your body. This is important since the greater the acidity in the body and the more compressed this molecular space becomes, the greater the physical and emotional pressure you feel. There’s more good news. When you step into an Epsom salts bath, magnesium sulfate immerses your body in a unified electrical field. This takes excess electrical discharge from one area of the body and sends it to areas that are undercharged, which creates energetic balance and flow. There is nothing quite as good as an Epsom salts bath; for instance, taking an Epsom salts bath after you have been on a long flight or if you are suffering from jet lag, emotional tension, or fatigue. Magnesium deficiencies are rampant in the Western world as industrial agriculture has removed massive quantities of magnesium from our soils and also because most people choose to feed themselves on packaged convenience foods. More than 80 percent of people in the United States are deficient in magnesium. Very few have any idea just how important magnesium is to their health. Magnesium is the second-most abundant element in your cells. It is also the fourth most positively charged ion in your body and essential to more than 300 specific enzymes in the body. Magnesium helps activate your muscles and nerves. It’s a catalyst for vital neurotransmitters like serotonin. It helps create ATP, which are energy molecules for your body. And it must be present for optimization of the mitochondria in cells, which are crucial for vitality, health, and athletic performance. What about sulfur—the other half of the Epsom salts equation? Sulfur is a natural detoxifier. It is a powerful antioxidant, pain reliever, and anti-inflammatory. Inviting sulfur into your body through the surface of your skin while lying in an Epsom salts bath is a superb way to strengthen your system as a whole. The electrical charge between magnesium with its positive charge and sulfur with its negative charge helps these two minerals blend together in a superb way. There is a very specific way of taking an Epsom salts bath. Let me share it with you: Pour two large cups of industrial grade Epsom salts into the bathtub. You can find them in small amounts at the chemist and in supermarkets. Far better is this: order in bulk a 25 kg bag over the Internet. This way Epsom salts are inexpensive. One more tip: I like to add a pound of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to every Epsom salts bath because it blends well with magnesium sulfate and is wonderful for skin. But you must make sure that any baking soda you use contains no aluminum since this is the last thing you should ever put into your bath water or anywhere else. Fill the bath with blood-heat tepid water, just above body temperature. Immerse yourself in it for at least 20 to 30 minutes. If your body gets too cool, add some more hot water. If your body becomes too warm, add some cold water. You need to be able to sustain being in this bath in a very relaxed state for 20 to 30 minutes. Then get out of the bath and wrap yourself in a towel. If you are doing this just before bed, now climb into bed, cover yourself up, keep warm, and you can easily drift into blissful sleep. If it’s during the day or if you are trying to restore yourself to be able to go out in the evening, then when you get out of the Epsom salts bath wrap yourself up in a towel and lie down for 10 minutes. Then get up, get dressed, and go about doing whatever you are intending to do. In our home we are completely addicted to the joys and the benefits of daily Epsom salts baths. I predict that you too may become the addicts we have become. Try it and see.

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.

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana®

Fast, Healthy Weight Loss

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana® has proudly supported 13,000+ 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 18th of January 2021 (updated every 12 hours)

-0.74 lb
for women
-1.25 lb
for men
-0.74 lb
for women
-1.25 lb
for men

Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 18th of January 2021 (updated every 12 hours)

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