Category Archives: Natural Health

Your Body’s Wiring

During the 11 years that I worked as  a spa therapist, I became increasingly fascinated by energy. The more that I worked, the more that I could feel it in my body. It was as if I was becoming an antenna for human energy.

With study and practice, I learned how to channel this energy to my hands and learnt how to discard energy that I picked up from my clients. When you try to talk to people about this experience, some will think that you are crazy because it requires believing in something that you cannot see.

My inquiring mind believed that there had to be a logical explanation for what I was feeling. When I read Kumud Ajmani’s post this morning for tomorrow’s #SpiritChat (Sundays, 9:00 EST on Twitter) – he captured succinctly, what I had questioned.

“… the basic principle of electricity – for a given “potential” (voltage), the amount of current that flows through a “circuit” is inversely proportional to the amount of “resistance” in the circuit. The practical application of this principle can be felt in many areas of lives, if we view our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies, each as and interdependent “circuit”. An increase in the amount of “resistance” in any one of our “bodies” will add to the overall resistance of our holistic electrical system, and hence reduce the amount of “current” that is available to us.” You can read more of Kumud’s wonderful explanation here and please feel free to join the conversation during Spirit Chat.

Reflexology was the first therapy that I became certified in.  A sensitive reflex was an indication of imbalance in the corresponding body part – something was either working too much or too little. The more that I could feel the shift of energy in my hands, the more I came to understand the mechanism of how this works. An imbalance in the channel to the reflex impaired the flow of energy in the body and as a result, impaired the flow of circulation of blood and lymph. The cause of the blockage could be physical, mental, emotional or spiritual.

When I was working on someone’s feet, I could feel the congestion in the reflex point and could also feel when it cleared. I was originally taught to press on the reflex point three times before moving onto the next reflex, but as my hands became more sensitive, I would work the point until I could feel the energy shift.

One incredible experience deepened my understanding of the wiring in our bodies. While working on the bladder meridian for a client, she experienced a rush of energy from the point up into her abdomen. She described the sensation as if a lightning bolt had shot through her leg. I gently continued to work the point and could gradually feel the energy start to flow in her foot and then her foot became very warm. Circulation follows energy.

Circulation follows energy | holisticsailor.com

My understanding of reflexology up until this point had been that an imbalance in the channel caused the sensitive reflex point in the foot. However, in this case it was the opposite.

The next day, my client called the spa and booked another appointment.  When I greeted her, she was beaming ear to ear. She told me that the reflexology treatment had cured her urinary track problems. I am reluctant to use the word “cure” and firmly believe that natural therapies aid the body in restoring equilibrium, however, I wanted to explore this further.

I asked her many questions about her urinary track condition and treatment which had developed suddenly six months before. I am always curious when there is a “sudden” change in the body, so asked if anything unusual was going on in her life at this point in time. Rooted in my holistic belief about balance, I was expecting to hear that she had been stressed at the time.

My client couldn’t think of anything unusual – everything was fine except for a klutzy episode where she had caught her baby toe in the car door and broker her toe. Hmmnn. Shortly thereafter, she began experiencing urinary track problems which would not improve in spite of visits to a specialist and taking medication. In fact, when she came to see me the week before, her condition had been worsening.

Could the injury to her toe, have caused a blockage in her “wiring” to the bladder? Could this disruption cause dysfunction along the channel? During the reflexology treatment, was the charge of energy that my client experienced an unblocking of that channel? I do not know the answers to these questions. However, it did make me question the relationship between old injuries and imbalances in the body. I think it would be fascinating to explore these questions through research.

Through my years of doing body work and approaching this work with a questioning mind, I am confident that there are scientific explanations for unexplained healing. We may not have the tools yet to measure the experience, but it does not mean that it isn’t real.

In the meantime, how can we maintain the flow of energy in our wiring? I think, finding balance in our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual selves is key in order to allow the energy that comes from our natural world to move through us. I know for me, that I have to be immersed in nature as often as I can.

Please feel free to share your experiences and understanding of the wiring in our bodies in the comments section. I know that I am not alone in these experiences and would love to hear from you.

 

3 Natural Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep

When was the last time that you had a really good night’s sleep that left you feeling refreshed in the morning and ready to embrace the day? The truth is that many of us do not get enough sleep and this leaves us vulnerable and unable to handle the stresses in our day. Mental, physical and spiritual bankruptcy affects our relationships with each other;  makes us unproductive; and robs us of the ability to feel joy.

I too, have suffered from lack of good sleep and started searching for natural solutions.  In addition to cutting down on caffeine and sugar, these are my three tips for a good night’s sleep.

1.     Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender oil is my favourite essential oil for relaxation. Be sure that you are using a good quality oil as synthetic variants do not have the therapeutic properties of genuine Lavender essential oil. I have Lavender essential oil on my nightstand as well as, some unscented body lotion.

Put a small amount of unscented body lotion in the palm of your hand and add one drop of Lavender essential oil. Massage this mixture into the soles of your feet.  Massaging your feet will relax your entire body and the Lavender-infused lotion will be absorbed into your system. The remaining lotion on your hands will be inhaled as you sleep.

2.     Head Roll
A friend suggested this simple technique and it works. Simply lie on your back and gently roll your head slowly side to side nine times.  This will help relax your neck muscles.

3.      4-7-8 Breath
I recently read about this breathing technique online. I wish I could remember where I saw it so I could properly attribute it because it is brilliant. I have tried deep breathing exercises before, but nothing has been as effective as this simple sequence.

Breathe in through your nose to the count of four. Hold that breath to the count of seven. Exhale to the count of eight. That’s it! The first time I tried it, I fell asleep quickly and did not wake up during the night. Now, it usually takes me two rounds to fall asleep naturally.

So, how does this work? When we are caught up in our busy-ness, we tend to breathe very shallow. Breathing in to the count of four expands your lungs completely while holding that breath to the count of seven allows the oxygen to be absorbed into your bloodstream. The first time that you do this, it might be difficult to hold the breath because your lungs and the muscles surrounding them will be unaccustomed to this sensation of being full. Exhaling to the count of eight will expel carbon dioxide. Excess carbon dioxide contributes to your alert state.

A simple, natural, no-cost technique that everyone can use to enjoy a good night’s sleep. If you awake during the night, repeat the neck roll and 4-7-8 breath again.

To learn more about the importance of sleep, please watch this short video from Deepak Chopra.

A good night’s sleep affects your attitude; allows you to access more areas of your brain to solve problems; and takes the strain off organs that have now had the opportunity to repair. When your physical and mental selves are strong, your spiritual self has the luxury to explore and expand.

If you have other natural solutions for a good night’s sleep, please feel free to share them in the comments below.

Navigating Hormonal Imbalance

Can you remember back to your teen years or perhaps there are teenagers present where you live now? If you can relate to either of these scenarios, you are aware of the effects of hormonal imbalance on the body. It is incredible that the increase in hormones that occurs in puberty results in changing body parts, voices and emotions. The decrease in hormones in our forties and fifties also impacts our bodies with sleep disruption, weight gain, hot flashes and memory loss.

Women have experienced menopause for years, so why is this natural transition being treated as an illness? Why are symptoms magnified? Lastly, what can we do to naturally restore hormonal balance?

Medicating hormonal imbalance treats symptoms and does not allow for the discovery of the root cause of the imbalance. Pharmaceutical pimps promise relief of unpleasant symptoms through Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), but not without harmful side effects.

Stress and poor diet exacerbate menopausal symptoms. Excess cortisol created when we are under physical, emotional or mental stress further contributes to hormonal imbalance. Insulin resistance sets the stage for diseases such as inflammatory disorders, diabetes and high blood pressure. I know that for myself that I can no longer digest sugar the way that I used to.

Racing sailboats waiting at the start line for the Swiftsure Yacht Race

So what can be done to navigate this hormonal roller coaster in order to help our bodies return to balance? Dr. Natasha Turner, ND tackles the question in her book, “The Hormone Diet”. However, the book isn’t so much another diet as much as it is a lifestyle transformation.

Dr. Turner recommends a 3-step plan to help you find your way back to balance:

  1. Decrease inflammation through a two-week detoxification diet
  2. Replenish your body and rebuild digestive health
  3. Restore strength.

A detailed questionnaire provided in the book, allows you to create a profile that details your specific hormonal imbalances. By methodically, restoring balance to each area, you replenish your body and restore strength.

I have to throw out the manual that came with my body and write a new one that addresses the changes in hormones. Thanks Dr. Turner for the helping hand.

 

It Took 2,000 Years to Cure My Cold

On Saturday, we were in our city’s Chinatown to enjoy some Dim Sum. We parked on a block that I wasn’t familiar with and as we approached our parked vehicle after lunch, I noticed a small Chinese herbal shop. ‘Hey, I wonder if they would have something to help my cold?” I said to my husband. This was my sixth day with a head cold and it was not getting better quickly.  All of the normal remedies that I use for a cold were not working and I felt stuck in sickness.

Herbalist preparing my Chinese herbs

The small store was busy with customers and filled with bins of dried roots, boxes of teas, tinctures and unidentifiable bits all labelled in Chinese. I knew I would need help finding something for my cold, but when I inquired I was told that I would need to see the doctor.

Now, I have seen a Doctor of Chinese Medicine before as part of an acupuncture treatment, but I had never been sat in front of a doctor before in a busy store. He told me his name was John, but I am pretty sure that was not his real name. John asked for my hand and lay my wrist open on a small, purple pillow exposing my veins. Nope – not a vampire thing, just the assessment of my pulses. In Chinese medicine the cause of the imbalance lies within our own bodies and my pulses would tell John what was ailing me.

Still holding my wrist, John looked up and said, “Not enough heat. You need heat to fight cold.” Then he laughed at his own joke and returned his concentration to my wrist.  However, I knew that there was truth in his words and that the condition of dampness in Chinese medicine does cause illness. You may have heard me whine about our cold spring in earlier posts and I do believe that this weather has contributed to my current state of lower immunity.

John asked me a few other questions and he was accurate about everything. I looked at my wrist and wondered what other secrets it might reveal to this man. John let go of my wrist and sat in quiet concentration. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to do something and resisted the urge to fill the awkward silence with small talk. Instead, I listened to the sounds of the store: Mandarin spoken quickly in the background punctuated by outbursts of laughter and the pounding of a mortar and pestle crushing herbs. What an odd little store.

Then John started to write. I have never watched someone write Chinese before. Working from right to left and from top to bottom, with the graceful swoop of his pen, John created a recipe that was going to help me. He handed the piece of paper to one of the herbalists who went behind the counter and began to prepare my concoction.

Simmering herbal concoction

John instructed me to simmer the herbs in five cups of water for 90 minutes until the liquid was reduced to one cup. Drink one cup before bed and repeat again in the morning. Complete this ritual four times and return to the store to see him.

That evening, when I emptied the bag of herbs into the pot, I looked up to find my husband watching me with curiosity. “This isn’t going to taste very good,” I said. The mixture reminded me of something you might find in your leaf pile after a day of raking your yard. The resulting brew passed through a sieve so that I didn’t choke on a twig, had the colouring of a hearty stout and the aroma of boiled swamp water.

Resulting brew

It took me half an hour to finish the cup. And then a remarkable thing happened. I started to feel warm. Not warm from putting on a nice sweater, but warm from the inside. But even still this warmth was different – not like a fever or a hot flash, but a deep-in-my-cells kind of warm.

Having been a spa therapist for nine years, I have a keen awareness of my body. As my entire system warmed up, my muscles relaxed. Some of the muscle tension that I had been carrying stemmed from this internal cold, not from tension.

When you are unwell, you notice when you start to feel better, but you quickly forget what ailed you. However, because I was paying attention, I noticed that my sinus congestion decreased by 80% within the first hour of drinking the swamp water, er – I mean, herbal tea. No disrespect intended John. The next day, my energy returned.

I will be seeing John tomorrow night to see what my pulses have to say about things and I will let you know what I find out.

Update:

There was some residual congestion lingering, so John prescribed two more batches of herbs slightly different than the first batch. The cold is now gone and I feel better than before. If you have a lingering ailment, consider Traditional Chinese Medicine as a cure. You will benefit from two thousand years of wellness knowledge.