July 24th, 2014
Meditation is easier than you think and we have some great tips to get you started.
For some of us, meditation and switching off from all the stresses and chaos of the world is easier said than done.
Hectic schedules can make it near impossible to imagine dedicating a few minutes each day to personal and spiritual practice, and even if we do get the chance it’s very unlikely that we’ll feel completely relaxed.
Yet what is easy to forget is that meditation is not one single, exact thing. It can take many forms and can take place anywhere – the essential thing is that we use it to become present and aware of what is going on inside and out.
Take a look at the tips below to help get your meditative juices flowing without even knowing it:
Take a bath or shower
Taking a bath or shower is a chance to be completely by yourself and unwind. Here you can escape from phones, people and other demands of everyday life to find a moment of peace and quiet where you can reflect on what you’re doing and how you’re feeling. This mindful practice will make you feel cleansed on the inside as well as the outside.
Engaging in a creative interest is a form of meditation for it allows us to focus on what is in front of us. Being in the midst of the absorbing process – whether it’s dance, drawing, painting or gardening – will allow you to distract your mind from worrying about the past or the future.
Go for a walk
Of course you can walk anywhere, but making an effort to walk in areas that you love (such as the beach, a local park or forest) can help you to feel connected spiritually to your surroundings and thus with yourself. The point once again is to be present – focusing on where you are and letting stress and tension dissipate.
Join a meditation group
Mastering the art of meditation may require some support from others who will share your difficulty in relaxing. Here you can connect with like-minded individuals, share experiences and start to learn that meditating can be a simple activity that can be enjoyed by everyone.
Another means of instant relaxation is complementary therapies. Treatments such as massage, reflexology and ear candling can promote inner peace and all the meditative benefits of traditional meditation practice.
View and comment on the original Mind Body Green article.
July 23rd, 2014
Start your day right with this easy, one-hour morning routine.
We’ve all had those days where we wake up ‘on the wrong side of bed’. We feel tired and agitated, starting a chain reaction of negative thinking. This can lead us to feel as if everything is going wrong for us on that day.
One way to avoid this and to start each day on a positive note is to dedicate the first hour of your day to a routine that will benefit your health and well-being. Some benefits of this include lower stress levels, increased motivation, better energy and an overall improvement of mood.
The routine described here takes one hour and is separated into four 15-minute segments:
1. Yoga or other form of exercise
To wake your body up physically and get that blood pumping, allocate the first 15 minutes of your routine to exercise. Switch between gentle yoga exercises and high-intensity cardio work to give you an instant energy boost. This will keep your body healthy and will help you feel more accomplished and therefore more motivated for the day ahead.
This is a great follow-up to physical exercise as it helps you to balance and centre yourself. Sit down for 15 minutes and focus on your breath. Don’t worry if you’re not an experienced meditator – just focus on your breathing and every time your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your breath.
The next 15 minutes should be about feeling grateful. Use a notepad or laptop to write down a list of things you are grateful for that morning – this could be your family, the fact that it is sunny or even that you slept well the night before. Reminding yourself of what you have will help you retain perspective for the rest of the day.
4. Positive affirmations
Finally, set some positive energy loose with a few positive affirmations/visualisations. Think about how you would like your day to go, write out your intentions for the day or repeat a positive mantra to get you in the right frame of mind.
To find out how therapies like yoga can be beneficial to your life, please explore our therapy topics.
View and comment on the original Mind Body Green article.
July 17th, 2014
New research suggests rather than speeding up your metabolism, stress has the opposite effect on our bodies.
Research conducted at Ohio State University, U.S have found that in contrast to popular belief, stress reduces metabolic rate and could contribute to a weight gain of up to 11lbs per year.
After serving an all-female group a meal of 930 calories and 60 grams of fat, the researchers measured their metabolic rate and noted down their levels of insulin, blood sugar, triglycerides and stress hormone, cortisol.
The women – whose average age was 53 – were also asked to talk about any stresses they encountered the previous day.
The results showed that the women who experienced at least one stressful event burned 104 less calories than those who were stress-free.
Significantly, the women who were stressed also showed higher levels of insulin – a hormone that contributes to the storage of fat.
Jan Kiecolt-Glaser – lead author of the study and professor of psychiatry and psychology at The Ohio State University – said of the findings:
“We know from data that we are likely to eat the wrong foods when we are stressed, and our data say that when we eat the wrong foods, weight gain becomes more likely because we are burning fewer calories.”
Although there is extensive research into the effects of stress on people’s weight, this study highlights how making the wrong food choices can impact our metabolism.
It also looked into depression and whether a history of depression made a difference to metabolic rate. The results concluded that it does not, but when combined with stress, fat content in the blood was shown to rise sharply.
Co-author of the study, Martha Belury concluded:
“We know we can’t always avoid stressors in our life, but one thing we can do to prepare for that is to have healthy food choices in our refrigerators and cabinets so that when those stressors come up, we can reach for something healthy rather than going to a very convenient but high-fat choice.”
If you feel that your stress levels are too high, you might want to consider taking some time out and dedicating it to complementary therapies such as massage and reflexology. These can help to restore calm, inner peace and alleviate stress symptoms.
View and comment on the original MindBodyGreen article.
July 16th, 2014
Struggling to get ‘in the mood’? Try these natural tips to increase your libido.
Feeling a lack of sexual desire is something many of us come up against from time to time. It may be because you are exhausted after working long hours, or perhaps stress and anxiety is affecting your sex drive. Whatever the reason, feeling un-interested in sex is something that can cause difficulties in relationships.
If you want to boost your libido, try the following natural tips:
Stress and anxiety are prime culprits for a lack of sex drive. Yoga can help to ease stress and the right poses can help improve nutritive circulation to your sexual organs. An easy pose to get you started is Baddha Konasana (or bound angle pose) which involves bringing the soles of your feet together while sat on the floor. Let your knees relax to the floor and allow your hip muscles to soften. Exhale and relax the upper body over your legs, breathing into the sexual organs.
Regain balance with herbalism
Being ill and/or overworked is another cause of low libido, so try to counteract this with herbalism. Siberian Ginseng aids recovery from stress while providing hormonal restoration. (Be sure to check with your doctor before trying any new supplements.)
What we eat can also affect sex drive. Try to eat more almonds and walnuts as they contain magnesium – a key mineral for stress support. Garlic contains allicin which helps to improve blood flow to the sexual organs, so try to include this in your diet. And if you fancy a sweet treat, opt for dark chocolate as this contains phenylethylamine, an amino acid that promotes the release of endorphins.
Staying physically fit will help you feel more confident about your body, a key part of feeling good about sex. On top of this, exercise helps to boost testosterone, an important hormone for sexual desire.
Tapping into the senses of touch and smell is an easy and enjoyable way to tap into your libido. Plan a sensual massage for your partner and use essential oils like ylang ylang and bergamot. Massage your partner until they feel fully relaxed and aim to use long, flowing movements. Oh and don’t forget to get him to return the favour!
View and comment on the original Natural Health article.
July 10th, 2014
New research highlights how hay fever can make life incredibly stressful for sufferers.
A study conducted by leading national medical charity, Allergy UK has found that hay fever can seriously impact the lives of sufferers – causing a great deal of distress.
According to the charity’s findings, 89% of people who have hay fever will be unable to carry out their daily routines without their symptoms causing problems.
Sleepless nights were also highlighted as a complication of hay fever symptoms, with 87% of those surveyed admitting that they struggle to sleep soundly.
It is estimated that 18 million people in the UK have a summertime allergy and the months of June and July are particularly bad because the grass pollen levels peak at this time of year.
Common symptoms that hay fever sufferers will experience include frequent sneezing, watering and/or itchy eyes, a dry itchy throat and mouth, as well as a blocked or runny nose.
Although allergy tablets such as antihistamines can help to relieve symptoms, allergies cannot be completely eliminated. As a result sufferers will attempt to find ways of managing their symptoms to reduce the impact they have on their day-to-day lives.
Complementary therapies in particular are considered to have a positive effect on hay fever symptoms, and Allergy UK actually recommends a number of different types including acupuncture, aromatherapy and homeopathy.
Significantly a number of these alternative therapies promote relaxation and help to reduce stress, which can further improve the lives of those with hay fever symptoms.
For a full list of treatments that can help, please see our therapy topics page.
View and comment on the original Express article.
July 9th, 2014
We show you how to switch off, relax and rejuvenate for a healthier work-life balance.
In France a new law has passed that bans work emails after 6pm. This means that employees are legally entitled to ignore their bosses emails after 6pm. Unfortunately, the UK has no such law (yet) so it is up to us to switch off from work to reduce stress.
We agree, it isn’t always an easy task – but looking after yourself and taking the time to relax after work will improve your mental and physical health, leaving you in a better position to perform well during your 9-5. Take a look at the following tips for some stress-busting inspiration:
Sleep is nature’s best healer
When we sleep, we are giving our brain the downtime it needs to rejuvenate and work better the next day. Consistent lack of sleep can affect both our mental and physical health – and you certainly won’t win any points at work for falling asleep at your desk. If you are struggling to switch off and sleep, try a relaxing complementary therapy such as aromatherapy or herbalism.
Reduce your alcohol consumption
Even though it may feel like a well-deserved treat, a nightly tipple will quickly take its toll on your health and ability to sleep. Try to set aside a few evenings a week where you don’t drink alcohol and enjoy a herbal tea instead.
Finish work, properly
If you find you keep thinking about unfinished tasks at work, chances are you won’t be able to fully switch off when you try to unwind. To help your mind relax, write a list of tasks you’re worried about and write quick action points you can carry out the following day to address them. Having an action plan like this will help your brain fully switch off.
Healthy body = healthy mind
Find an exercise you enjoy doing and indulge after work. Whether this is a gentle walk with the dog, an evening yoga flow or even an energetic run around the block – physical activity will help you focus on yourself, not work, while boosting health and happiness.
View and comment on the original Women’s Health article.
July 3rd, 2014
Just 4 Her is a quarterly magazine designed for the wives, girlfriends and female serving personnel of the RAF, Army and Navy. With a keen focus on self-care, the magazine features articles on a range of topics including craft, beauty, style, recipes and complementary therapies.
In issue 2 of 2014, Just 4 Her published an article written by Therapy Directory about crystal therapy, including an explanation of the therapy and details of its rich history. To read the article and the rest of the magazine online, please visit the Just 4 Her website.
July 3rd, 2014
Leading research shows that reflexology makes the heart pump more efficiently.
Researchers from the Stirling University in Scotland have unearthed the first scientifically robust evidence that reflexology does have a physical effect.
Heart function in particular shows “subtle” improvement when reflexology massage is applied to the heart point – a spot located somewhere on the ball of the left foot.
Volunteers underwent a professional reflexology massage as well as a sham treatment – where only the heel of the foot was massaged – to highlight the specific benefits of the complementary therapy.
Significantly there was no change to cardiac output following the sham treatment.
Jenny Jones, a PhD student, said the finding was “intriguing”, adding: “We have no idea what caused this change.”
Adding to the mystery is that there were no differences in other cardiac measures, such as heart rate and blood pressure after the reflexology massage was carried out.
Reflexology is the practice where certain points on the feet and hands are massaged to promote healing in corresponding parts of the body.
It has been used for thousands of years to help treat a number of illnesses and conditions, and today it is often applied in addition to medical care to improve overall health and promote the body’s natural healing processes.
Although the university study has been published in the journal ‘Complementary Therapies in Clincial Practice’ Miss Jones did say that the findings are “not clinically relevant”.
Certainly there is still more to learn about the significance of reflexology in helping patients with heart problems such as chronic heart failure and coronary artery disease, and the researchers at Stirling University are keen to carry out further tests to better understand the nature of reflexology treatment.
To find out more about reflexology as a complementary therapy and the range of benefits it provides, please see our reflexology page.
View and comment on the original Telegraph article.
July 2nd, 2014
Find out what you can do to improve your hormonal health naturally.
Whether you are planning ahead for a family or you simply want to improve your hormonal health, understanding how food, chemicals and even your partner’s health affect your body is valuable information. The following facts about boosting hormone health may not be on your radar yet, but are important to consider:
Cut out all forms of nicotine (yes, even the e-cigarettes)
Most of us know that quitting smoking is an easy fix to boost fertility, but many don’t realise that nicotine replacement therapies such as e-cigarettes and nicotine gum are still harmful. The nicotine in these products can delay conception and reduce ovarian function.
Eat more fat
We’re talking about the good kind of fats here. Diets that are low in fat and highly processed will only work against you as cholesterol is needed to produce hormones. Eat a healthy quantity of fats from nuts, oily fish and avocado. Pesticides tend to accumulate in fat, so look to eat organic when it comes to fatty foods.
Clean up your cosmetics
Our skin is the body’s biggest organ, so it is important to consider what we put on our bodies as well as what we put in our bodies. Mineral-based make-up products are a more natural and safe alternative to standard brands.
Consider your prenatal vitamins
If you are trying for a family, put some thought into your prenatal vitamins. Simple folic acid supplementation is falling out of favour (as the synthetic vitamin can hinder our ability to use other important B vitamins). Instead, look for supplements with ‘active’ folic acid like folate and folonic acid.
Remember, it takes two to tango
Don’t forget about your partner here. Ensure they are being diligent in their healthcare and have an honest conversation about what you can both do to improve your hormonal health.
If you enjoy taking a natural approach to healthcare, you may be interested to learn more about naturopathy. You can find out more on our dedicated naturopathy page.
View and comment on the original Clementine Daily article.
June 27th, 2014
Refresh and renew the energy in your home with the following Feng Shui tips.
Do you ever find yourself feeling heavy, lethargic and generally a bit low when you are at home? It may be that the energy in your house has become negative over the years.
Feng Shui experts believe that negative words are the prime cause of this. Negative conversations stick to walls and seep into your being.
To help cleanse your home of negative energy and encourage buoyant energy back in – try the following tips:
Open your windows
The air outside is alive and potent with life force. Encourage this fresh air into your home and release stagnant energy by opening your windows during the day – even if it is just for a few minutes. Doing this encourages your house to take a metaphorical cleansing breath, exhaling any negativity.
Incense has an incredible ability to shift energy, so when there has been a argument, or you feel a lingering unpleasantness, try burning some incense. Experts tend to favour white sage or sandal wood – but the best scent to burn is one you love and attribute positive thoughts to.
Sweep the floors
Dust and dirt both carry low-wattage energy, so vacuuming regularly helps to keep both physical and mental grime at bay. And while vacuuming may be practical, the physical act of sweeping with a broom helps to create a palpable energy shift. When energy feels static, sweep – even if the bristles don’t touch the ground. This ritual will become symbolic of getting rid of the old to make way for the new.
Have a salt bath
When negativity is affecting your mood, you may want to consider a cleanse yourself. An easy way to do this is to relax in a salt bath for 20 minutes or so. Add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to some sea salt for a blissful soak.
Use positive words
Finally, try to keep the energy positive by using beautiful words. It can be hard to change habits overnight, so instead try to make a promise to use the word ‘joy’ or ‘love’ 50 times a day. Observing your words and respecting their power will help you to stay positive both inside and outside of your home.
If you are interested in alternative therapies, please see our therapy topics page to see what is available.
View and comment on the original Mind Body Green article.