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Articles en Copyright 2015 2015-09-02T23:12:09+00:00 To Eat or Not to Eat? - That is the question : How to Avert Binge Eating and Manage Cravings Many of my clients have concerns about how to proceed when cravings arise.  For instance, a client is craving a cookie but does not feel worthy of eating one since he or she feels too fat or too unhealthy.  Of course, my clients are not “cookie cutter” people, they are individuals, so the strategy that works best for one client may not work for another.  However, I often find that when clients avoid a certain food or food group in the midst of intense cravings, they often inadvertently cause themselves a binge session.  So I offer a few suggestions: The art of allowing is very powerful.  If you allow yourself to eat the food which you are craving, without judgement, it may be possible to gain a sense of satisfaction.  Satisfaction from eating desired foods helps many of my clients to avoid the binge cycle. Prepare a healthy alternative treat with similar ingredients.  For instance, create a healthy, homemade sugar free oatmeal cookie with raisins.  Use a natural sweetener rather than cane sugar in the batter.  This can provide an individual with a feeling of satisfaction and well-being simultaneously. If you are an individual with a food addiction, “once you pop, you can’t stop” you may want to ask yourself if your craving is real or feigned.  Perhaps you are craving sugar because you did not eat enough for dinner.  Sometimes cravings can be misleading.  While you might think you want a cookie, what you are actually craving is love or touch.  It might be a good idea to take out a journal and write down what you are thinking feeling.  If your craving is arising from uncomfortable emotions, this is a good time to call a friend or loved one, or seek the advise of an expert. If you would like to learn more about addressing cravings and avoiding the binge eating cycle, call Infinite Wellness Coach, Cheryl Fawn, MSW, CHHC, AADP for a free consultation, 917.535.9519. Eating Disorder Recovery Coach 2015-09-02T22:12:09+00:00 Omega Oils: The Key to Whole Body Vitality? Everyday in the news, online, or perhaps whichever newspaper we read, we’re told that such and such a food is good for us, that we should stop drinking tea, coffee beer or red wine or that something that last week could potentially be disastrous for our systems is now the latest wonder food. It can leave you wondering just exactly what is safe and what isn’t! However, there are a certain group of supplements which always seem to be in favour with those in the know and they are Omega Oils. Here’s the low-down on just exactly why they’re so good for us and what they actually do! What is an Omega Oil? An Omega Oil is one that is belongs to a group of supplements called “Essential Fatty Acids” or EFAs. They typically come in three different types, Omega 3, 6 or 9: Omega 3 is also known as alpha-linoleic acid. Omega 6 is also known as linoleic acid Omega 9 is the “least” essential of all three. Of all of the Omega oils this is the one we, as humans, make the most of naturally in our bodies and through our diet, so it’s very rare we need to supplement this. Our bodies are not capable of making Omega 3 or 6 naturally, or in high enough amounts for them to have much benefit. To rectify this we must have an intake of them in our diet from either a food source such as oily fish, (sardines, mackerel, salmon, pollock) green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, broccoli) or from an excellent quality supplement bought from a reputable health food shop or supplier. Why do we need them? Have you ever heard the phrase “You must eat fish, because it’s ‘brain food’?” Therein lays the answer to the question. Omega oils have clinically proven benefits which help the function of the brain. It’s been noted that in countries were a lot of oily fish is included in the diet, notably in Mediterranean climes; there is a much lower incidence of depression. They are also shown to benefit those who have an anti-depressant drug in their regimen of treatment, as they help the body absorb and metabolise it better. Not only that, they are extremely beneficial in aiding conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and problems with joints. This is because they are a natural anti-inflammatory supplement and can help keep muscles and tissues soft, supple and easier to move. There have been many studies undertaken to show just how hugely beneficial they are to heart health as well. Many cardiac patients are now being prescribed the supplements routinely after planned heart surgery or in the wake of heart attacks. The supplements, in conjunction with a healthy diet and other prescribed medications provided an excellent booster to overall health. Taking a regular dose of Omega oil has also, anecdotally been shown to help increase libido in both men and women. This is something that obviously needs more in the way of scientific research time spent on it. However, it may eventually mean that those who are licensed to sell Viagra Online will soon find themselves challenged with a more natural, healthy way to help promote a strong, healthy sex life! We don’t like fish! We’re vegetarian! What do we do? Not everyone likes the taste of oily fish, and not everyone can eat it whether it’s for health or moral reasons. Where do they turn if they want to get the benefits from these precious oils in their diet? First of all, if you can’t eat oily fish, the next best food group to turn to are nuts. Walnuts and flax seeds are a super way of getting the oils into your diet. Just a handful of walnuts will give you a great boost. Not only that, they are a much better and healthier snack on the run than grabbing a bar of chocolate or bag of crisps! Flax seeds can be sprinkled onto your breakfast cereal in a morning for an added boost or mixed into salads or salad dressings. If you’re vegetarian, foodstuffs like soybeans and tofu contain plenty of Omega oils, so you won’t be missing out. If you simply just want to add in a supplement to your diet rather than anything else and are vegetarian, vegan or simply don’t like the taste of fish oil, Flax Seed Oil can be bought in liquid and capsule form for an excellent way of incorporating Omegas into your diet without ingesting fish. For more information and statistics you can read here. It’s never too late to look at introducing Essential Fatty Acids into your diet, why not think about it now? 2012-07-11T13:51:45+00:00 The Importance of Diet to a Healthy Sex Life Everyone is entitled to a healthy sex life, but finding a partner that you can enjoy romantic time is just the half of it. Many couple experience problems with their sex life for a number of different reasons, and one of them is diet. Your diet has a big effect on how you perform in the bedroom, and could be the root of a problem you are experiencing. A healthy diet is as important for your overall body health as it is for your sex life, and in case you were wondering, a healthy sex life is beneficial to your body health. So all of these things are intertwined, and a problem with any one of them can have a knock-on effect. Keeping to a healthy diet will keep your body healthy, which in turn will minimise any problem in the bedroom. A particular diet can also have an immediate positive effect on your libido, because here are some foods that have a stimulating effect on your sex drive. On the other hand, there are other foods that can have a negative effect on your sex drive. Knowing how to use what you eat to your advantage is a great way to keep your sex life healthy. How Your Diet Affects Your Love Life As a general rule, doctors are in agreement that a diet that is good for your heart, is good for your sex life. The reason for this? Well, a healthy heart will transport more blood around your body faster than an unhealthy heart, meaning your sexual organs will become aroused easier and quicker. This unhindered blood flow to the genitals of both men and women will increase function and desire. In fact, when men complain to doctors of erectile dysfunction often the first thing a physician will check for high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. These factors can be a sign of heart disease, which is sometimes caused by a bad diet. Another factor is your appearance and sense of well-being. If you are eating healthily and staying in shape, you will be happy with the way you look, which is turn helps you feel confident about yourself. If you don’t like the look of yourself naked, then feeling comfortable under the sheets can be very difficult. Many people are unable to have a fulfilling sex life because of their unhappiness with their appearance. Eating natural, healthy foods can help you lose weight which will improve your self-esteem. Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD, is the director of nutrition at WebMD, and published an article at explaining exactly why the right diet and exercise can lead to a better sex life, and you can read it here. It’s no secret that the healthier we look, the more attractive will appear to members of the opposite sex. Maximising your sex appeal will do wonders for your sex life, and one way you can do this is by increasing the amount of carotenoids in your diet. Carotenoids are a type of phytonutrients found in many fruits and vegetables, and are responsible for giving our skin a healthy looking glow. The circulation of your blood plays a much bigger part in sex than you may realise, so eating healthy circulation-enhancing foods are a good choice for a healthy sex life. Food that is high in Omega-3 fatty acids fit the bill, fish such as salmon and mackerel. Not only are they low in fat and high in protein, but their high levels of Omega-3 will improve the functioning of your nervous system and blood circulation. Super Foods for Sex Foods used as an aphrodisiac are wide ranging, and conclusive proof on how effective they really are is sparse. Often these have more of a placebo effect than actual effect, but actually putting more of a particular food into your diet can have a positive effect. Slurping down oysters just before you retire into the bedroom is unlikely to transform what happens when you go upstairs, but try eating more of the following foods in your regular diet to see if they work for you. 1     Watermelon This wonderful fruit is not only delicious, but is rich in the amino acid L-citulline, which does wonders for the flow of blood around the body. How it works? L-citulline converts itself to L-arginine and then onto nitric oxide, which contribute to dilating your blood vessels. 2     Avacado Avacado can improve the libido of both men and women through its high levels of folic acid, vitamin B6, and potassium. Folic acid helps the human body metabolise proteins, which in turn provided energy, which is essential when having sex.  Vitamin B6 assists the production of male hormone, while potassium has a regulatory effect on a women’s thyroid gland which is also responsible for producing hormone. 3     Asparagus This healthy vegetable has a high level of folate, a B vitamin that increases the natural production of histamine in the body. Great from both men and women, histamine is known to boost the sex drive for both genders. 4     Pumpkin Seeds Containing a nice big helping of zinc, pumpkin seeds are especially good for men. Zinc is pretty much essential for the production of healthy sperm, and is a key part of preventing testosterone deficiency. Pumpkin seeds are great for women too though, because they contain minerals like calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and niacin. What’s more, they are a great source of vitamin C, D, B, E, and K. A great addition to any healthy diet. 5     Cocoa Ok, so you may be thinking chocolate when you hear cocoa, which isn’t the healthiest food out there, but the main ingredient of chocolate, the cocoa bean is awesome. Raw cocoa is full of antioxidants, more than green tea even, and also contains phenylethlamine, which naturally stimulates the body, inducing a sense of excitement and satisfaction. There are a number of ways to add raw cocoa into a healthy diet, but if you want to eat chocolate go for naturally produced dark chocolate without emulsifiers. There are many other foods that can be particularly useful for lending a helping hand to your sex life while still be natural and healthy. Check out this article from Men’s Health Magazine for some more ideas. Don’t Drink Too Much Excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages can be a real problem for both your sex life, no matter whether you are a man or a woman. This is because it can significantly reduce the sensitivity of your genitals, making orgasm more difficult for both of your to reach, not to mention turn what should be intimate love-making into an awkward fumble. In the words of Shakespeare, “It increases the desire, but it takes away the performance.” Avoid the Synthetic Drugs There are plenty of drugs readily available for people that have suffering from impotence or a low sex drive, things like Viagra and Cialis are just a couple of them. The market for these just seems to keep growing and growing, but these are in no way a cure for an unsatisfactory sex life. Sure, a healthy diet and Viagra would certainly make you more than ready to head straight to the bedroom after dinner, but with the right diet you simply do not need to take a synthetic drug. Just remember that using a synthetic will do nothing to actually solve the problem you are having, it will only cover up the symptoms when you take it, so it’s a temporary fix. The last thing you want to do is end up dependant on a drug to have sex, so ditch them and concentrate on a healthy diet to improve your libido. 2012-06-27T13:55:46+00:00 PALO SANTO: THE HOLY WOOD PALO SANTO (BURSERA GRAVEOLENS): THE HOLY WOOD • Botanical Name: Bursera Graveolens • Family: Bursereace • Part used: Wood • collection: From June to January • warnings: None • Common Method of Extraction: Steam Distilled • Color: Clear - Pale Yellow • Consistency: Thin • Perfumery Note:  Middle • Strength of Initial Aroma: Medium Bursera graveolens, known in Spanish as palo santo (“holy wood”) is a tree that inhabits the coast of Ecuador. The tree belongs to the same family (Burseraceae) as frankincense and myrrh. It is widely used in folk medicine. Aged heartwood is rich in terpenes such as limonene and α-terpineol. It is considered a cousin to Frankincense Oil because both share similar constituents (primarily Limonene), slightly similar aromas and because both have similar applications. Palo Santo Oil is gaining more widespread use within holistic aromatherapy, but not a whole lot is documented yet about its use. Loosely translated, Palo Santo means Holy Wood. Palo Santo has been used for hundreds of years by native shamans for spiritual applications. For those that integrate essential oils within meditations, prayers or other spiritual applications, Palo Santo is an oil to pay close attention to. I personally find the oil to be particularly grounding and calming, and I see it as an important oil to use within Chakra applications. The use of the oil or burning of the wood can help clear a space of negativity. The aroma of Palo Santo is uniquely sweet and woody. Palo Santo Oil reminds of an intoxicating combination of frankincense, atlas cedar, sweet grass, lemon and a subtle hint of mint. Emotionally, Palo Santo Oil is grounding and elicits a sense of peacefulness and calm. Palo Santo Oil is to be helpful for anxiety, emotional trauma and depression. Palo Santo grows wildy in the forest. However, we are replanting trees that we will not get to process. This is our contribution to the future generations to come. Through a distillation process by vapor stream (no chemicals) we obtained an oil used for Aromatherapy and massages. Properties of Monoterpene D-Limonene in Cancer Prevention.-The characteristic aroma of Palo Santo comes from its natural monoterpenes. The properties of the solvent monoterpenes were used to chemically dissolve gallstones; the monoterpenes are also the focus of much research in the area of cancer prevention. Cancer’s prevention, inhibition and regression are the greatest powers of D-limonene (DL), which was shown to be chemo preventive against tumors: breast, liver, lungs, skin (UV-induced) and chemotherapy against the tumors: breast and pancreas. Palo Santo by their shape and natural components has enormous potential in preventing cancer without any contraindication. Analysis GC/MS (Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry): Limonene                           58.6% α -Terpineol                         10.9% Menthofuran                         6.6% Carvone                               2.0% Germacrene D                       1.7% γ-Muurolene                         1.2% trans-Carveol                         1.1% Pulegone                             1.1% HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS.- - Palo Santo Oil 100% pure essential oils. Flu, allergies, asthma, migraine and bad mood: Dilute a few drops in water and dissolved vapors to the atmosphere with a diffuser of essences. Meditation and relaxation psychophysical: Dilute a few drops in water and dissolved vapors to the atmosphere with a diffuser of essences. Prevention of stomach tumors, liver, lung, breast and skin: Apply three drops under the tongue 3 times daily for 6 days a week. - Palo santo essential oils 33% diluted with Soy Oil. Flu, allergies, asthma, migraine and bad mood: Apply a few drops on the chest at heart level, nose, sides of the head (temple) and the neck. Dizziness: Apply a few drops on the chest at heart level. Panic, stress and labor anxiety: Apply a few drops on the chest at heart level, nose and the neck. Massages: Reactive blood circulation and recharge the energy level. Arthritis, arthrosis, neck pain and muscle aches: Only when there is pain, apply 3 times a day a few drops directly on the point of pain and massage until oil is absorbed. Protect the affected area with a red bandage because this color increases the body energy flow. Our Essential oils are made without harming the Palo Santo tree. We only process wood that has been found to have died naturally in the forest.Tree grows for about 40 years and then dies. Then, it has to lay down for about 10 more years before we can process it. 2012-06-27T13:31:41+00:00 Pros and Cons of Going Vegetarian As a vegetarian, people often ask me: How do you only live on salad?!  Does that make you a hippie? How many supplements do you have to take? Nevertheless, times have changed. As the amount of research correlating a vegetarian diet with a healthy lifestyle increases, the herbivore population is no longer limited to “hippies.” Although taking meat out of your diet has many benefits, it isn’t for everyone. It is important to consider the dedication this alternate lifestyle requires, in addition to education on nutrition before deciding if vegetarianism is a good choice for you. Pros The information below was provided by the Vegetarian Beginner’s Guide by the editors of Vegetarian Times Animal welfare 54% Unfortunately, farm animals—cattle, pigs, chicken, etc—face daily abuse on the majority of factory farms that produce most of America’s meat. For instance, chickens are often in wire cages so small that they cannot walk until ready for slaughter and cattle are typically castrated without any anesthetic.  Environmental concerns 47% Land: 64% of all land used to grow grain and soybeans will go to feed industrial farm animals—not humans. In addition, the large amounts of land used for grazing slaughter house animals have washed away topsoil, depleting nutrients that could have been used for food growing. Water: In 1996, the Environmental Protection Agency declared the largest non-point (not from a water origin) source of water pollution in the United States was from livestock manure. With more than two billion tons per year, the livestock waste—filled with ammonia, pesticides, and other toxic chemicals—is equal to the waste of almost half the world’s population. Not only does this alter water supply, but the contaminated water also hinders what we and other animals drink. Improve overall health 53% From a stronger immune system to a 40% lower risk of developing cancer than omnivores, research shows vegetarian diets rich in vitamins and minerals promote good health and ward off a variety of diseases (heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, etc). According to Walter Willett, chair of the department of nutrition and Harvard University’s School of Public Health, half of all illnesses could be eliminated or greatly delayed through diet changes. Food safety concerns 31% Botulism? Salmonella? Staph? Do these sound familiar? They are all diseases stemmed from contaminated animal products. Unfortunately, the commonly occurring pathogens are becoming increasingly common as more food passes through plants. In addition, all the animals are fed antibiotics and other drugs in order to counter diseases promoted by overcrowded conditions. Therefore, these products potentially contaminate the consumer. You are what you eat. Weight loss 25% A well balanced vegetarian diet is generally rich in low fat-fat fibrous food with the necessary nutrition to thrive. This lifestyle can increase your energy, ultimately creating a healthier body inside and out. Cons With new limits, maintaining a healthy vegetarian diet requires an open mind. Without adventurous taste buds, some new vegetarians resort to an abundance of bread and fries. If you generally have difficulty entering a realm of different food (tofu, tempeh, seitan, and other soy products) and prefer to stick to the familiar, creating a well-balanced meatless plan may be difficult. According to the Vegetarian Beginner’s Guide, eating a lot of meat is healthier than a non-colorful vegetarian diet. Therefore, vegetarianism means a lot more planning and sometimes less options at restaurants. For instance, I did not plan well when deciding to go vegetarian. As a result of unsuccessfully constructing a food regimen, I developed a severe case of iron-deficiency anemia within a year. With a lack of dark greens (rich in iron) and fruits rich in vitamin C (which helps the body absorb iron). A few hospital visits and articles on nutrition later, I developed a well-rounded meatless diet and feel better than ever. The same goes for protein and calcium. They are still prominent in vegetarian foods; however, it requires planning and education to gain the benefits. After all, being a vegetarian alone does not guarantee good health. One must eat the right foods, exercise, and avoid the destructive habits of smoking and drinking heavily to fulfill the physical and spiritual benefits food can provide. Article by: Alexandria Bean Sources: The editors of Vegetarian Times. Vegetarian Beginner’s Guide. New Jersey: Wiley, 1996. 2010-07-16T05:38:00+00:00 Art, Music, and Wellness From intricate landscape portraits to finger-painting, Chopin to Lady Gaga, art and music provoke spiritual well being. Even before hospitals hired musicians to perform for traumatized veterans during World War I and II, individuals have been using art and music—extensions of the human soul—to cultivate positive changes within themselves and relations with the outside world. While some of us are recovering from an eating disorder and some of us are wounded from a lost love, these difficult experiences develop our unique preferences and deeply connect us to people, images, and sounds exuding a common struggle or hope. Therefore, one does not require particular art or music ability to benefit. Explore personal feelings Spiritual healing requires harmonizing the many aspects of being human—gifted with the ability to experience and create. Art and music generate personal exploration through self expression or delving into one’s spiritual agony with seeing or listening. Channeling art and music solidifies how outside sources impact one’s life. Self expression reveals the sources of personal struggle, examining who or what situations spark spiritual discomfort. By discovering the hindrances of wellness, one has the potential to avoid or manage such triggers in the future. Meanwhile, creating a new masterpiece transforms inner rage, pain, or emotional baggage into something tangible.  Hopes and fears can be transcribed for the first time, feelings that should not be ignored or suffocated. Rather, these basic human feelings should be managed and celebrated through creativity. In this sense, self expression serves as a simple reminder of the healing process. Even if one does not have the technical ability to write a ballad or paint a self portrait, most people can use their senses to connect a piece’s emotion or content to their own struggle. We all know a song that reminds us of our childhood best friend; well all know an image that provokes happiness or guilt. After all, we are all connected through art and music despite our varied skill levels. Make positive changes in confidence and mood Art and music’s facilitation of self esteem and stress-reduction potentially allows everyone to work through any source of spiritual trauma. Something as simple as learning the words to a meaningful song or hanging your drawing on the refrigerator generates self esteem. Starting and completing any task, and experiencing the finished product, produces an irreplaceable sense of productivity and worth. Likewise, after studying or creating a piece, one can enjoy the product and possibly share it with his or her loved ones. As stated in Into the Wild, “Happiness is only real when shared.” For this reason, I encourage you to share your humanistic gifts to anyone willing to see or listen, for we all have the ability to be touch and spiritually uplifted with the universal languages of art and music. Sense of control The life-affirming pleasure of experiencing art and music construct a sense of control, especially in a time of disillusionment or disease. Although art and music connect people, they can also administer a sense of independent thought and actions. Away from appointments, away from family stress, away from society’s expectations, connecting with art and music puts the individual in control. No one can enforce what can be listened to, what colors are permitted, what should cultivate inspiration—the quest to spiritual wellness is an individual journey in this sense. Art and music provide control in a chaotic world. However, the new orientations of time and location in visual and performing arts offer another source of independence. New depictions of the past, future, and even location enable one to temporarily escape his or her social bubble. Entering alternate realms allows people to realize there is a world beyond their personal struggles, disease, or agony. Art and music create a safe space for anyone to temporarily escape their own head or harsh reality into a meditative state where inner peace is possible. Art forms generate spiritual wellness with their ability to create alternate mindsets controlled by the viewer, listener, or composer in control. We all interact with art and music on a daily basis.  However, few stop and think how these forms of expression not only look pretty or have a danceable beat, but they also provide spiritual wellness. By meditating to a soulful guitar solo or creating a sculpture of your adoptive mother, art and music cultivates both independence and connectivity to others. Although individual mental states can be tamed through art and music, people all share a common bond through experiences and emotion. Creating a masterpiece for your personal spirituality has the potential to create inspiration amongst those it is shared with. In any case, experiencing or producing art and music provokes spirituality amongst all skill levels.  Article by: Alexandria Bean Alzheimer’s treatment 2010-07-16T05:32:00+00:00 Do I have food allergies? Food allergies are among the most misunderstood and neglected aspects of health and wellness in our country.  It is estimated that anywhere from 25% to 60% of the population has some kind of food related immune or non-immune reaction.  Often there is confusion between the different types of food allergies, and many times a food intolerance is misdiagnosed as an allergy, which can lead to even more confusion with the treatment.  Food allergies can be present in many conditions; they manifest in digestive problems, anxiety, fatigue, arthritis, hives, migraines, skin problems, ear infections, accelerated pulse and many other symptoms.  Food allergies and intolerances can create eating disorders in susceptible individuals. While more than 160 foods can cause allergic reactions in people, their are eight foods that account for 90% of reactions.  These eight foods include milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans. 2007-12-22T11:14:49+00:00 What is Celiac Disease? Celiac disease (also known as Celiac Sprue) is a chronic digestive disease caused by an intolerance to gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats.  In susceptible individuals, gluten damages the lining of the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. Celiac Disease is considered an autoimmune disorder because the body’s own immune system causes the damage,  It is also classified as a disease of malabsorption because nutrients are not properly absorbed. Gluten is not listed as one of the eight major allergens because the sensitivity people have to gluten is not an allergic reaction, it is an intolerance.  Recent findings estimate that 2 million people in the U.S. have celiac disease or about 1 in 133 people, yet 97% of people are unaware that they even have the disease.  Because Celiac Sprue manifests in so many different, seemingly unrelated, symptoms, people are often misdiagnosed and the disease is not recognized by doctor or patient.  Some common symptoms of Celiac Disease include bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, skin rashes, tingling or numbness, mouth sores, discolored teeth, joint pain, delayed growth, poor weight gain, thin bones, infertility, headaches, irritability, and depression.  The only true cure for Celiac is to adhere to a strict gluten free diet. 2007-12-22T11:08:15+00:00 How to BEET Sugar Cravings BEET The Sugar Out: Using root vegetables and lifestyle changes to stamp out sugar cravings In my practice as a Holistic Nutritionist the past 5 years, many people came to me with concerns about their almost uncontrollable sugar cravings.  These sugar cravings were attributed as the major reason why they were not able to lose any weight prior to meeting me.  However, looking at things holistically, I discovered that sugar cravings are more of a “symptom” rather then a cause.  They are the result of any combination of ten basic concepts that were missing from, or related to, my clients’ daily activities.  I structured these concepts into a list that I call: The top ten recommendations to BEET Sugar Cravings: 1) Start out the day eating a meal that is basically complex carbohydrates-like steel cut oatmeal, rolled oats with roasted nuts and flax seeds, or even better, some kind of whole grain pilaf, like millet or quinoa or bulgur wheat. A morning meal primarily comprised of complex carbohydrates from a whole grain or cracked grain source should sustain your hunger for 3-4 hours, which would cut down on cravings in general.  For many people, carbohydrate intake earlier in the day dictates carbohydrate need after 3pm, which is when many people feel the need for something sweet.  2) Pungent, hot, and strong flavored foods: the strong flavor of Hot and Spicy food, like hot peppers, chilies, and bell peppers, and pungent foods like garlic and chives can, lead to sugar cravings.  The sweet flavor neutralizes the pungent, strong flavors of these foods.  So if your diet is very high in peppers, it is possible that your body is trying to find balance through craving the sweet flavor.  Try to reduce the amount of hot or pungent food you eat each day, and create balance by eating sweet vegetables or a small piece of fruit after an exceptionally spicy meal.  This also applies to bitter greens, like collards and kale; sweet vegetables balance the bitter flavor of certain leafy greens.  Try cooking kale with a sweet root vegetable like carrots, yams, sweet potato, beets, and parsnips. 3) Salty, heavy or “contractive” foods:  Have you ever had a bunch of salty potato chips then immediately craved a cookie after?  Too much salt in the diet or an imbalance in a particular meal can lead to a sudden craving for sweets.  Try to cut down on table salt, too.  Eating too much heavy or “contractive” food, meaning foods that can give you a weighed down, or “grounded” feeling, like fatty meats, thick sauces, peanut butter, nuts, or Miso can lead to a craving for “expansive” foods, namely, sugar.  The sugar would provide a lighter, less grounded feeling (ever have a “sugar high”?) to balance the overly grounded feeling from the heavier foods.  The best way to handle this is to cut back on fatty meat and eat leaner selections instead, avoid sauces with too much sodium in it, and try to balance your diet by eating at least one serving of leafy green vegetables per day.  The greens can create a similar “uplifting, lighter” feeling to that of sugar.  Try it and see what happens. 4) Eat sweet vegetables, roots like beets, carrots, parsnips, and turnips, and try squashes like acorn, pumpkin, and butternut in the fall and winter, when they are in season.  These foods are naturally sweet, but don’t contain “sugar”.  A GREAT vegetable to counter sugar cravings is the yam (also see sweet potato).  It’s naturally sweet flavored, but doesn’t spike blood sugar, and helps calm sugar cravings.  Try eating a baked yam with olive oil and basil in the morning for breakfast 5) Are you chewing your food effectively? Try to chew each spoonful of grains or vegetables 35 times. Chewing your vegetal food breaks down the carbohydrates and increases its surface area for optimum absorption. Poor chewing can lead to poor absorption, which in turn can eventually lead to cravings. 6) Are you stressed out from work?  Is your job rigorous and does it require you to exert a tremendous amount of energy? This can lead to increased energy needs, hence increased sugar cravings. Maybe you need more energy to start your day (see#1)?  Try to incorporate healthy carbohydrates into your daily diet, with grains like Quinoa and brown rice, and of course, sweet root vegetables. 7) Are you using sugar to meet your emotional needs? If so, then try to meet your own emotional needs with out using food to self medicate. Instead of cookies and cakes, try journaling, a hot bath, deep breathing, or a good brisk walk. Maybe you aren’t craving sweets, you are craving company; a good conversation can be a great sugar substitute!  Try to engage stimulating dialogue at least once per day. 8) Water intake and dehydration: A lot of people confuse thirst with a desire for sugar-I can only guess it’s because since carbohydrate and water are both required for energy production, instinctually someone may crave one and think it’s a craving for the other. Make sure you are drinking water in regular intervals, and if you are craving sugar drink 8 oz of water and see what happens.  Sugar cravings can usually be a good indicator of chronic dehydration. 9) Eating sugar leads to sugar cravings!  Sweet flavor and simple carbohydrates are important to the diet.  So instead of using white table sugar and the dreaded artificial sweeteners, why not try some really tasty natural alternatives?  Try Agave nectar in coffee and tea, rice syrup in place of sugar for baking, as well as honey, barley malt, and black strap molasses in your oatmeal in the morning.  These sweeteners have many nutrients still intact and are good choices to help alleviate sugar cravings. 10) And finally, if all else fails, I suggest that that you brush your teeth after each meal. Have you ever tried to eat a cookie with the taste of Aquafresh in your mouth? ...exactly! Michael J Macaluso, HHC, is a board certified Holistic Health Counselor with a specialization in Holistic Nutrition and is an expert on food allergies.  He has a private nutrition counseling practice in Seaford NY.  Initial 30 minute evaluation is free. You can contact him here: Or call (516) 804-8825 or (516) 298-1644 2007-05-07T05:39:01+00:00 The Use of Hypnotherapy in the Treatment of Addiction The usual response to the suggestion to one of my clients that hypnotherapy might be useful in the treatment of his drug problem is typical of the general public’s misguided understanding of hypnotherapy:  “I’m afraid of going into trance – I might lose control”; “You’ll find out things about me that I don’t even know myself”, or, typically, “I’m just not the type to benefit from hypnosis”. However, trance is really nothing out of the ordinary; it is a naturalistic experience that occurs routinely in daily life: daydreaming, fantasizing, driving a car, watching T.V., are all trance states.  Trance induction is merely using the power of the unconscious mind to re-work the neurological wiring, born of childhood experiences, that creates unwanted, self-destructive impulses and behaviors that continually result in adverse consequences that go along, hand-in-glove, with all addictions.     The realm of hypnotherapy is often used in the treatment of addiction.  Terms such as imagery, self-relaxation, inner child work, and self-affirmations are routinely used in rehabs for addiction.  Hypnotic techniques are effective in treating addicts because the compulsive state of longing for the drug, as well as the state of being under the influence of the drug is, in fact, nothing more than a trance state.  In fact, it is this trance state that is actually sought after in addictive rituals.  Addicts, in fact, feel right at home in trance. So why it is that this particular hypnotic trance state is so compelling for the addict?  What makes the state so irresistible that money, time, family, self-respect and sometimes sanity are sacrificed?  The answer is a complex one and varies for each individual.  One way of understanding the reason for the addiction to the erotic haze is that it is an attempt to re-create what the famous psychoanalyst, D.W. Winnicott, called “the holding environment.” The holding environment occurs when an infant and an emotionally adequate mother form a bond that nullifies the infant’s weakness and creates a sense of being “held” in the world as the child grows to be a man. During adulthood, the ability to draw on the earlier functions of the holding environment helps maintains a stable sense of self.  People who lacked an emotionally adequate mother who could not create this holding environment will more often find themselves feeling anxious, insecure, and emotionally isolated. Destructive messages from dysfunctional parents further enhance feelings of low-self worth and a feeling of not really belonging on the planet.  These relentless negative feelings about self and others result in a frenzied search for a drug that creates a holding environment to compensate for this lack of a secure sense of self and to rid oneself of unwanted and uncomfortable feeling states.   Addictive behaviors may represent attempts to find a holding environment, to somehow create for oneself some good-enough mothering that was largely missing in early development.  The choice of a specific drug may be a compulsive attempt to find exactly the right way to be held – to be soothed, to be comforted – to be re-assured.  The addict wants particular associations that will re-create a holding environment in just the right way that replicates some aspect of a childhood trauma. The addict tries to use the euphoric feeling of being under the influence of drugs as a holding environment that supplies these longed-for states of being worthy, loveable, secure and unafraid.  However, the attempt is doomed.  The quest often becomes a futile and meaningless search for relatedness and wholeness.  Each failure to sustain the euphoria of this fantasized world where he can be the person he’s always wanted to be is anchored in unmet childhood needs.  When reality steps in with the inevitable unwanted consequences of addiction, the self is further devalued. The addict may initially experience a sense of being held or satisfied, but when the trance is broken he feels dropped, disappointed and disillusioned – all feelings that harken back to the earliest disappointment of not being adequately held by the mother.   The use of a hypnotherapeutic trance in therapy enables the person to experience a valuing, ego-enhancing, resourceful trance state that may enable him to find a way to be held that leads to constructive, rather than destructive consequences.  These messages of self-worth, self-value, the ability to inhibit impulses and to bring to bear already existing resources onto the addictive behavior, are received at a deeper, unconscious level and have significant potential to effect personality change at a profound level. Most addicts I know hate to be alone.  They often experience feelings of self-loathing, shame and emptiness following acting out.  The trance state has been broken; the holding environment has failed, just as it failed in the original child/infant bond.  Effective hypnotherapy helps the client to find parts of the self that sustain or restore the sense of self so that aloneness is tolerated without the concomitant drug seeking..  When trance states are co-created as a cooperative effort of both therapist and client, the patient can potentially experience trance as a calming and self-valuing experience in the context of a supportive and sustaining relationship to a therapist. Hypnosis is also used to re-train the client’s neurology to increase the ability to tolerate unpleasant affects/feelings that are often triggers for acting out.  Moreover, hypnotherapy affords a process of age-regression and re-framing that allows for reparation of the original trauma of not being adequately held by an emotionally sustaining mother. This article was written by Dorothy C. Hayden, LCSW.  To learn more about Dorothy, please see her listing on The Healing Directory by clicking HERE 2006-09-13T16:42:00+00:00 The Alexander Technique - Taking The Pressure Off Your Body By Robert Rickover For more information please visit : Alexander Technique “Stand up straight!” “Pull your shoulders back!” As children, we were told to have good posture. Yet we were seldom taught effective ways to accomplish this. Indeed, we were often not even told just what “good posture” is. The consequences of this information gap can be seen all around us: stiff necks, shoulders hunched forward or pulled tightly back, restricted breathing, and tightness in the thighs, legs and ankles. Backaches, headaches, and other painful symptoms are often the unfortunate result. By the time we’ve spent a year of two in school, sitting for hours on chairs and at desks chosen primarily for their economy and for the convenience of the custodial staff, we have learned tension patterns that interfere with our natural easiness, balance, support, and freedom of movement.. These tension patterns - slumping or stiff “good posture” patterns - become so habitual that they start to feel normal despite the fact that they seriously restrict our breathing and freedom of movement. The Alexander Technique is a time-tested method of teaching ways to restore our natural balance, flexibility and ease of movement. It teaches the use of the appropriate amount of effort for a particular activity, releasing more energy for all our activities. It is not a series of treatments or exercises, but rather a reeducation of the mind and body that helps you discover a new balance in your body by releasing unnecessary tension. It can be applied to all of your daily activities. The Alexander Technique places a great deal of emphasis on the relationship between your head and neck.  The way we manage that relationship has huge implications for the way the rest of our body is organized.  If, as is so often the case, we compress our heads down into our spines, a whole series of compensatory tensions is created.  If, on the other hand, we can learn to allow our head to balance lightly on top of our spine as nature intended, our built in “anti-gravity” reflex is activated and our body is encouraged to release previously held restrictions. How the Alexander Technique is taught The Alexander Technique is above all an educational method. Alexander Teachers use a combination of verbal instruction and a light, guiding, touch to convey information to their students. Alexander Technique teaching is done in private lessons and in group classes. Private lessons are usually between 1/2 and 1 hour in length. Teacher training Most certified Alexander Technique teachers have completed a three-year full time training course recognized by one of several major professional societies. Typically, the training courses have a student teacher ratio of 5:1 or less, and provide a great deal of individual attention for each trainee. A few teachers have trained more informally on an apprenticeship basis and some of them have become members of professional societies through a rigorous review process. Not all Alexander Technique teachers are certified and not all teachers eligible for certification are members of a professional society. Choosing a teacher All of the major professional Alexander Technique societies publish a teachers’ list as well as on-line listings. Recommendations from friends and colleagues can be useful in choosing a teacher, but you will have to judge for yourself if a particular teacher is right for you. Ask about his or her training and be prepared to take a few lessons before deciding whether to continue with a course of lessons. If you live in a community with several teachers, have a lesson or two with several before making a final decision. The basic ideas of the Alexander Technique are not in any way complex or mystical, but they do represent a new way of thinking about the functioning of your body and may take a little getting used to at first. Benefits Excess tension in your body can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms and it can interfere with your ability to perform activities well. Therefore it is not surprising that most people come to the Alexander Technique because they are in pain (backaches, sore necks and shoulders, carpal tunnel syndrome etc.) and/or because they are performers who want to improve the quality of their singing, playing, acting or dancing. People of all ages and occupations have benefited from Alexander Technique lessons.  The Technique also has its share of famous people who have publicly endorsed it - including two Nobel Prize winners and a great many celebrities like Paul Newman, John Cleese, William Hurt, Sting, James Galway and Yehudi Menuhun. 2006-08-10T17:42:00+00:00 What’s Missing from Western Medicine:  The Power of the Mind - Part I In this four part series, I will describe what’s missing from Western Medicine that can get us well or keep us sick, and offer practical tools for harnessing this power. Part I:  What Western Medicine can Learn from the Scientists and the Mystics What distinguishes Western medicine from all other healing traditions on the planet are several key concepts:  the separation of mind and body, and the notion that all of nature can be explained via a materialistic world view.  On the other hand, every single non-Western healing tradition recognizes the inextricable link between psyche and soma.  “Dis-ease” is not limited to the physical body; thoughts and emotions are causative factors.  And healing necessitates addressing these elements of our being.  Getting well is not just about fixing the physical body.  Our thoughts are omnipotent.  Thoughts are powerful vibrations that can make us well or make us sick.  Negative thoughts can make us sick and keep us sick.  Positive thoughts can heal us and transform our lives.  These concepts do not come from the realms of pseudoscience.  In fact, there is a tremendous body of scientific research that can support these notions.  Most notably, researchers in physics and engineering labs have been conducting experiments that suggest the profound effect of consciousness on the material world:  how our thoughts can affect us, literally, and physically1-4.  For over 25 years, scientists at Princeton University’s PEAR Laboratory have demonstrated powerful correlations between human intention and machine behavior.  They have shown that untrained individuals can influence the output of random mechanical and electronic number generators, just by “thinking” in which direction the numbers should go.  These effects were found to be independent of space and time.  Effects persisted when the individual was thousands of miles away, and, when the individual influenced the machine before and even after it was run. These ideas are millennia old, and have roots in many of the world’s ancient traditions from cultures outside of our Western culture, and are implicit aspects of healing traditions throughout the globe.  However, Western medicine has remained unaware of these notions, and, unaware of this research.  Most medical students took the easy college physics course to get into medical school, and were never exposed to the paradigm-changing observations that modern physicists made in the early part of the twentieth century, leading to the models of quantum mechanics and relativity.    These models dramatically influenced our understanding of nature, and, ironically, given that they were the result of sophisticated, technologically advanced research, led scientists to become more philosophers than technicians.  And in these new notions of nature, were parallels to the ancient traditions of other cultures, to the healing traditions of other cultures, and to mystical, non-Cartesian views of life.  These notions are not new; again, they are millennia old.  The ancient traditions of Chinese medicine and Ayurveda (traditional Indian medicine), for example, draw links between bodily symptoms and emotions.  In Chinese medicine, the lung is the repository for grief, the liver for rage, and the kidney for fear.  In Ayurveda, the vata dosha may yield arthritides and worry, the pitta, ulcers and rage.  To even consider a separation between these elements is contrived. In Part II, I will continue to describe the dichotomy between Western Medicine, and the concept of inherent connectedness of mind and body. References 1. Tiller, W.A., Dibble, W., Kohane, M.  Conscious Acts of Creation.  Walnut Creek, CA:  Pavior Publishing;2001. 2.  Tiller, W.A. Science and Human Transformation:  Subtle Energies, Intentionality, and Consciousness.  Walnut Creek, CA:  Pavior Publishing;1997. 3.  Jahn RG, Dunne BJ. Margins of Reality:  The Role of Consciousness in the Physical World.  New York, NY:  Harcourt Brace;1997. 4.  Jahn RG, Dunne BJ. On the quantum mechanics of consciousness with applications to anomalous phenomena.  Foundations of Physics 1986;16:721-772. 2006 Patricia A. Muehsam, M.D. Dr. Muehsam is a holistic medical doctor practicing in New York City. She can be reached by phone at (212) 946 - 5700. Click HERE to see Dr. Muehsams listing on The Healing Directory. • A version of this article was published in The Epoch Times on July 17, 2006 2006-07-14T12:45:00+00:00 What’s Missing from Western Medicine:  The Power of the Mind - Part II Part II: In Part II, I continue to describe the dichotomy within Western Medicine, and the concept of inherent connectedness of mind and body. Not so long ago, before the advent of the pharmaceutical machine, with its vast offerings of new fixes for our physical failings, physicians were the consummate healers.  Voltaire described our role as that of the amuser, to keep the patient amused long enough so that nature could do her healing work.  And Sir William Osler, considered one of Western medicine’s founding fathers, maintained that it was more important to know the patient that had the disease, than to know what kind of disease the patient had. However, Western medicine is not employed in the business of healing.  Rather, this is a disease care system.  For, by its very nature, our Western medical model makes people sick and keeps people sick.  Indeed, Western medicine’s approach to chronic illness cures no one of anything.  Pharmaceuticals merely suppress symptoms,  interfering with the true and natural healing mechanism of the human organism.  Skeptics, and those who espouse our dominant biomedical paradigm, relegate inexplicable cures to the realms of placebo or perhaps an initial incorrect diagnosis.  And, in fact, they are ignoring that most powerful mediator of healing of all time:  the mind, intention, consciousness. All these ancient notions, once lost, are now seeking resurgence with the advent of unhappy consumers, and truth–seeking scientists.  These scientists are the pharmacologists, experimental toxicologists, and immunologists doing low dose research to support the veracity of the homeopathic phenomenon.  They are the physicists and engineers mentioned earlier.  They are the parapsychologists and psychoneuroimmunologists, lending credence to the notion of mind affecting matter, and mind affecting body.  They are the open-minded physicians and other researchers conducting research on the power of prayer, and on the healer phenomenon1-9. Some examples of how literally our minds can affect our bodies and our health include the following research outcomes:  positive thinking lowered blood sugar levels in diabetics, lessened asthma attacks, reduced colitis symptoms, and improved immune function in HIV-infected individuals10-12.  And not only can our thoughts affect on our bodies, but our thoughts can affect others:  numerous studies have demonstrated the clinical efficacy of prayer, most notably the positive effect of prayer on patients in a coronary care unit13. In addition to this concept of the inherent connectedness of mind and body, as suggested by both ancient wisdom and modern science, is the existence of some ineffable source - entity, energy, connectedness - that embraces all and affects us all.  Some may call this entity God, or Allah.  Others may call it the power of intention, thought, or energy.  Healing traditions throughout the globe draw on this source as a conduit to healing.  While we may delight in acknowledging this ancient wisdom, and be encouraged that the evergrowing field of complementary and alternative medicine has lent support to the notion of mind-body medicine, we are still missing the link.  Until we can realize that the mind is more powerful than molecules, than pharmaceuticals, and that we can apply this concept to actually heal our own bodies, we are not realizing the full potential that lies within each of us. In Parts III and IV, I will describe techniques for harnessing the powers of our minds, for healing ourselves, and even impacting on situations and circumstances in our lives. References 1.  Bellavite, P., Signorini, A.  The Emerging Science of Homeopathy:      Complexity,  Biodynamics, and Nanopharmacology.  Berkely, CA:  North     Atlantic Books;2002. 2.  Schulte J, Endler PC, eds.  Fundamental research in ultra high dilution and     homeopathy.  Dordrecht:  Kluwer Academic Publishers;1998. 3.  Radin, D.  The Conscious Universe:  The Scientific Truth of Psychic         Phenomena.  San Fransisco:  Harper’s Edge;1997. 4.  Ader, R., Felton, D., Cohen, N., eds.  Psychoneuroimmunology.  Philadelphia:        Elsevier Academic Press;2001. 5.  Jonas, W., Crawford, C.  Healing, Intention, and Energy Medicine:  Science,     Research, and Clinical Implications.  London, UK:  Churchill Livingstone,      2003. 6.  Dossey L.  Healing words.  San Francisco, CA:  Harper San Francisco; 1993. 7.  Astin JA, Harkness E, Ernst E.  The efficacy of “distant healing”:  a systematic         review of randomized trials.  Ann Intern Med 2000;132:903-909. 8.  Benor D.  Healing research:  vol. 1, Spiritual Healing:  Scientific Validation of     a Healing Revolution.  Southfield, MI.  Vision Publications;2000. 9.  Muehsam DJ, Markov MS, Muehsam PA, Pilla AP, Shen T, Wu Y.  Effects of     Qigong on cell-free myosin phosphorylation:  preliminary experiments.      Subtle Energies 994;5:93-108. 10. Talbot, M. The Placebo Prescription.  The New York Times Magazine; January 9,     2000:      Accessed 7/4/06. 11.  Antoni, MH.  Psychosocial stressors and behavioral interactions in gay men with     HIV infection.  Int. Rev Psychiatry:  1991;3:383-399. 12.  Astin JA, Harkness E, Ernst E.  The efficacy of “distant healing”:  a systematic         review of randomized trials.  Ann Intern Med 2000;132:903-909. 2006 Patricia A. Muehsam, M.D. Dr. Muehsam is a holistic medical doctor practicing in New York City. She can be reached by phone at (212) 946 - 5700. Click HERE to see Dr. Muehsams listing on The Healing Directory. • A version of this article was published in The Epoch Times on July 24, 2006 2006-07-14T12:43:00+00:00 What’s Missing from Western Medicine:  The Power of the Mind - Part III Part III: Our thoughts and emotions can get us well and keep us well, or get us sick and keep us sick:  practical tools for harnessing the power of intention in our lives. In Parts I and II, I discussed how ancient wisdom and modern science describe for us the inherent link between mind and body, and described scientific research that demonstrates, unequivocably, the effect of thoughts and feelings on our physical health.  In Part III, I give practical tools for harnessing the power of intention in our lives, for healing and transformation. Our thoughts and feelings affect us, literally.  They can affect all aspects of our lives:  our health, relationships, even finances, and can make us well or keep us sick, help or hinder our relationships, and contribute to either our prosperity or our poverty.  Fears about finances can keep you poor.  Thinking you are fat can keep you fat.  Fears about illness can make you sick.  What I come across most often in my work, is the impact of thoughts and feelings on health.  Our thoughts, literally, make us sick. Negative thoughts and unexpressed feelings can create energetic blockages which become foci for disease. Our culture doesn’t readily support being in touch with our emotions, especially ones that are judged to be negative.  Many of us spend our lives not even knowing how we feel, let alone being able to express feelings.  Instead, we may medicate ourselves with activity to avoid feeling uncomfortable feelings.  Workaholism, food, alcohol, addiction to exercise, dependence on pharmaceuticals, and even relationships, are some of the ways we can avoid knowing our feelings and ourselves.  Feelings are normal and natural.  Anger, sadness, fear, whatever you are feeling, is completely normal and natural.  It’s what we do in response to our natural feeling state than can become harmful to us.  Keeping uncomfortable feelings inside, literally, can make us sick.  And as I’ve written in Parts I and II, science has proven this age old wisdom to be true. When we can learn to feel our feelings, and “just be” with them, rather than keeping them stuck, literally, inside our bodies, we can harness the amazing inherent power that each and every one of us holds.  We can transform our lives:  we can heal ourselves, our relationships, be prosperous, and have happy, joyous and balanced lives.  The following simple writing techniques will help you to get in touch with feelings, and to transform negative thoughts and uncomfortable feelings.  All you need is pen and paper.  You don’t need to have experience writing, an advanced degree, or expert spelling and penmanship.  In fact, the less formal education you have, the easier it will be for you to access the power of these techniques. Getting started: ideally, get a notebook or composition book that can serve as your journal.  But paper and pen are good enough. It helps if you can commit to this daily practice, and start your day with it.  If your schedule doesn’t permit, any time is better than none.  Soon you will feel attached to this daily routine, and miss it when you don’t do it!  If you can take your journal around with you during the day, then it can be a source of comfort when situations arise that bring up uncomfortable feelings for you.  If not, just find pen and paper.  1) Stream of consciousness technique:  write all your feelings down: fears, resentments, anxieties.  Whatever you are feeling and thinking.  If you are not certain, then write just that.  Literally, whatever is on your mind.  Even if you are feeling that you don’t want to write, write that down.  The point is to be “in the moment” with whatever is going on for you.  Do not censor or judge what you are writing, or worry what your handwriting looks like.  If it looks like chicken scratch, that’s okay. The purpose is to get it all out.  Take your feelings to the limit.  For example, if you are worried about money, write why, what might happen, your innermost and deepest fears.  If you are having a hard time with a partner or co-worker, write about this.  If you are angry at your spouse, write about this.  Again, do not judge yourself.  As you are engaged in this process, your mind will naturally have reflective thoughts in response:  difficult feelings will transit to positive responses.  Write these too.  If more feelings come up, continue with these until you can write no more.  2) Non-dominant hand response writing:  After you have written feelings down, write with your non-dominant hand: if you are right-handed, use the left, and vice versa.  Do not censor, and, most importantly, don’t worry what your penmanship looks like.  Just let your hand do the writing.  Don’t worry about what to write.  Just write whatever comes to mind.  See what happens – you will most likely be very surprised! References and Suggested Readings 1.  Capacchione, L. The Power of Your Other Hand:  A Course in Channeling the Inner     Wisdom of Your Right Brain.  Franklin Lakes, NJ:  The Career Press; 2003. 2.  Hay, Louise L.  You Can Heal Your Life.  Carson, CA:  Hay House, Inc.  1983. 2006 Patricia A. Muehsam, M.D. Dr. Muehsam is a holistic medical doctor practicing in New York City. She can be reached by phone at (212) 946 - 5700. Click HERE to see Dr. Muehsams listing on The Healing Directory. • A version of this article was published in The Epoch Times on July 31, 2006 2006-07-14T12:41:00+00:00 What’s Missing from Western Medicine:  The Power of the Mind - Part IV Part IV: Our thoughts and emotions can get us well and keep us well, or get us sick and keep us sick:  more practical tools for harnessing the power of intention in our lives. In Parts I and II, I discussed how ancient wisdom and modern science describe for us the inherent link between mind and body.  Part IV is a continuation of Part III, in which I gave practical tools for harnessing the power of intention in our lives, for healing and transformation.  To summarize the first three parts of this series:  our thoughts and emotions can get us well and keep us well, or get us sick and keep us sick.  Both modern science and ancient wisdom confirm these truths.  In fact, our minds are more potent than matter, and the impact on our health can be immediate.  In an earlier series of articles in this publication, “Food as Medicine,”1-4 I discussed the importance of wholesome food choices.  However, even the purest of foods will be received as poison by our bodies if negative thoughts and feelings plague us as we eat.  What follows are two more simple writing techniques to help transform negative thoughts and feelings.  The first involves releasing resentments; the second involves the power of affirmations.  1) Resentments:  resentments keep us stuck, blocked, more than any other emotion.  In Chinese medicine, anger is a source of many physical diseases.  A specific writing exercise to release resentments is as follows:  Make 3 columns on your page.  In column 1, write down all the people you have ever felt angry or resentful towards, as way back in your life as you can remember.  Kindergarden included!  Don’t just include people:  include institutions, organizations, and even societal injustices that you may feel angry about.  In column 2, write down why:  what were the circumstances that made you feel this way.  In column 3, write down how this situation made you feel.  Be specific:  not just “angry” or “resentful,” but, for example, not honored, not respected, not taken seriously, etc.  In the process of writing, you will discover that these feelings will transit. 2) Affirmations:  In list form, write down all that you dream of and desire.  Limit yourself in no way whatsoever.  Your present personal, financial, employment, or geographical circumstances are irrelevant.  Do not allow any of these situations to limit your creative imagining.  Write about your ideal partner, job, home, vacation activity, financial needs.  For example, if you dream of a new job, describe your ideal job:  what you do, location, co-workers, how much money you make.  And, most importantly, write in the present tense, as if you have all these desires now.  Imagine how you feel in these circumstances.  Write these feelings down.  And finally, if you are without pen and paper, and are feeling stuck in a negative mode of thinking, or feeling uncomfortable feelings, (like fear, anxiety, frustration, or anger), you can shift these thought/feeling patterns just with your intention to do so, and a simple technique.  Imagine the scenarios you wrote about above:  your specific dreams and desires.  With your eyes closed, slow your breathing down, breathe fully and deeply into your abdomen, and imagine these ideal circumstances.  Visualize them if you can, note the feelings you have about them, feel any sensations you may have.  Note how the negative feelings have shifted.  The point is to turn on positive thoughts, and turn off the negative ones.  And remember, you can do this anytime, anywhere. In my next series of articles, I will discuss the simple and lost art of breathing:  what ancient wisdom teaches us, and what modern science has confirmed.  Proper breathing techniques can have immediate and profound affects on mental, emotional, and even physical states of imbalance or “dis”-ease. References 1. Muehsam, P.A.  Food as Medicine:  Parts I-IV. 2. Muehsam, P.A.  Food as Medicine:  Part II. 3. Muehsam, P.A.  Food as Medicine:  Part III. 4. Muehsam, P.A.  Food as Medicine:  Part IV. 2006 Patricia A. Muehsam, M.D. Dr. Muehsam is a holistic medical doctor practicing in New York City. She can be reached by phone at (212) 946 - 5700. Click HERE to see Dr. Muehsams listing on The Healing Directory. • A version of this article was published in The Epoch Times on August 07, 2006 2006-07-14T12:37:00+00:00 The Power of Thought: Mantra for Healing and Transformation Our thoughts are omnipotent.  Thoughts are powerful vibrations that can make us well or make us sick.  Negative thoughts can make us sick and keep us sick.  Positive thoughts can heal us and transform our lives.  These concepts do not come from the realms of pseudoscience.  In fact, scientists in the fields of physics and engineering are involved in research to demonstrate the profound effect of consciousness on the material world:  how our thoughts can affect us, literally, and physically.  These ideas are millennia old, and have roots in many of the world’s ancient traditions from cultures outside of our Western one, and are implicit aspects of healing traditions throughout the globe.  Say this mantra at least 3 times a day in front of a mirror.  Speak with your most powerful voice, from your “dan tien”, the source of universal energy, about 3 inches below your belly button.  Feel your voice coming from this point as you speak.  As you say the mantra, do the “Tarzan Thump”.  Make a gentle fist with both hands and tap/beat firmly on your chest on your “power points”:  approximately 3 inches below your collarbone and 2 inches from the midline. Watch you life transform and unfold beyond your wildest dreams! I LOVE MYSELF. I AM BEAUTIFUL INSIDE AND OUT. I LOVE MY BODY.  I TREAT IT WITH GENTLENESS AND RESPECT. MY BIRTHRIGHT IS INFINITE ABUNDANCE AND PROSPERITY. I HAVE ALL THAT I DREAM OF AND DESIRE. ALL MY NEEDS ARE FULFILLED. Copyright © 2006 Patricia A. Muehsam, M.D. Dr. Muehsam is a holistic medical doctor practicing in New York City. She can be reached by phone at (212) 946 - 5700. Click HERE to see Dr. Muehsams listing on The Healing Directory. 2006-07-11T04:28:01+00:00 Energy Medicine Techniques - Quick Methods for Shifting Thoughts Technique #1:  for instant relaxation: 1)Either sitting or lying, cross left ankle over right. 2)Put back of right hand on top of back of left hand, turn palms together and clasp fingers, and bring arms to chest. 3)Place tip of tongue 1/4” behind upper teeth (soft/hard palate junction.) 4)Breathe deeply for 2 minutes. Technique #2:  for centering/unblocking repetitive thoughts, anxiety, behaviors, and mental/emotional root causes of physical symptoms: 1)Tap with 3 middle left hand fingers from left temple bone back to over ear, stating a negatively worded affirmation, e.g.:  “Even though I no longer need to overeat ice cream for comfort, I love and accept myself completely” or, “I no longer need to have my sinusitis,” (specific problem, emotional state, or physical health issue)  and I love and accept myself completely.” 2)Tap with 3 middle right hand fingers from right temple bone back to over ear stating a positively worded affirmation:  e.g. “I eat perfect amounts for my body’s needs,”  or “My sinuses are perfectly healthy,”  “My intestines are perfect healthy.” Technique# 3:  for instant centering/focusing: 1)Extend right arm in front of face with thumb pointing upward. 2With head straight, trace infinity sign (∞) in one direction, 3 times, then in the opposite direction. 3)Repeat movements with left arm. 4)Now put both thumbs together and repeat:  one direction and then the other. Technique #4:  for instant visualization: 1)Concentrate on a memory of a positive feeling:  of feeling happy, confident, strong, grateful, peaceful, whatever you want to feel.  You can go back to a place you’ve known in your life, or a time in your life, where and when you felt peaceful and happy.  Or, you can create an image of yourself, in this state of mind/emotion.  Whatever this image is (i.e. healthy, thin, free from specific illness, situation), feel the sensations that occur when you do this:  lightness, freedom, peace, etc. 2)Tap on third eye point (in between and slightly above eyebrows with first 3 fingers of each hand together (thumb, first and second fingers.) 3)Tap for at least 1 minute while concentrating on these thoughts/feelings. Technique #5:  good for centering, focusing, and relaxation; to immediately shift from obsessive/anxiety thinking (“cross crawl exercise”) 1)While standing or sitting, raise left knee towards chin and tap it with right elbow. 2)Raise right knee toward chin and tap with left elbow. 3)Repeat pattern back and forth for at least 1 minute or until you feel more clarity. These techniques were developed by Robert Callahan, Donna Eden, Fred Gallo, Carol Look,  and Rob Williams.  For more details, Donna Eden’s book:  “Energy Medicine,” is an excellent resource.  Copyright © 2006 Patricia A. Muehsam, M.D. Dr. Muehsam is a holistic medical doctor practicing in New York City. She can be reached by phone at (212) 946 - 5700. Click HERE to see Dr. Muehsams listing on The Healing Directory.   2006-07-11T04:20:01+00:00 Food as Medicine: A Holistic Physician’s Guide to Nutrition - Part I In my holistic medical practice, my belief is that each and every one of us is a unique body/mind/spirit entity, and how we heal is unique and individualized.  Drawing from Asian concepts of health and healing, my goal is to help my patients reestablish balance so that healing can occur.  Amongst the tools that I use are acupuncture, homeopathy, vibrionic medicine, nutrition, herbal medicine, mind-body approaches, and prayer.  In this article, I highlight the use of food as medicine, a concept that Western medicine has long forgotten, and one that continues to play a significant role in non-Western healing traditions throughout the world. Food as Medicine: In ancient times, food was our ancestors’ first medicine.  In fact, Hippocrates, considered one of the founding fathers of Western medicine, said:  Let thy medicine be thy food, and thy food, thy medicine.  In my work, my goal is to facilitate gentle changes in food choices and habits so that my patients can experience the healing power of food, and find meals pleasurable and satisfying. General Guidelines:  While each and every one of us has unique nutritional needs, the following are general guidelines.  How each of us responds to specific foods is unique and individualized.  While a certain food substance in one individual may be curative, in another it may aggravate symptoms or a condition.  I provide specific details regarding a patient’s individual constitution and dietary needs, including meal schedule, frequency of meals, and snacks.  Some of us are more sensitive to food choices than others, and individual constitutions may be more or less tolerant to some of the suggestions below.  Follow these general guidelines, but keep in mind that your nutritional needs are unique, and you may have specific needs that differ somewhat from the information below.  Make changes gradually.  Your body has all the wisdom it needs to heal itself, but it also needs gentleness.  There are no “good” foods or “bad” foods.  Cravings for foods and/or substances considered “unhealthy” are merely signs that on one or more levels (body/mind/spirit) you are not getting all that you need. Food choices: * Our bodies recognize the nutrients in food that are closest to their natural form and that have not been chemically or mechanically altered. *Try to eat fresh cooked food that is in season whenever possible. * Try to avoid frozen food and leftovers.  Food that is cooked and then refrigerated or frozen, not only has little nutritional value, but can actually be toxic to our bodies.  When we eat food that is lacking in nutritional value, we may develop cravings, and may overeat to compensate for inadequate nutrition. * If you have been advised to eat animal protein (beef, poultry), make sure it is organic.  Non-organic sources contain HGH (human growth hormone) and antibiotics.  HGH can affect endogenous hormone activity, and should be avoided especially if you are dealing with male or female reproductive organ issues (breast, uterine, prostate).  Antibiotics can interfere with the natural flora that live in our intestines, causing digestion and absorption problems.  Also, they can interfere with our immune function. * If dairy products are part of your diet, make sure these are organic.  Non-organic sources contain HGH and antibiotics. *  If you include fish in your diet, make sure it is fresh, not farmed, and local.  Farmed fish is often fed growth agents and antibiotics. * The best dairy products are made from raw milk (milk that is not pasteurized).  Raw milk products contain all the necessary enzymes and nutrients needed for proper digestion.  Pasteurization destroys these natural enzymes.  Foods that lack these natural enzymes can contribute to malnutrition and overeating as the body tries to compensate for the lack.  See for sources of raw milk by state. * Try to eat produce that is organic, and in season.  Our bodies are sensitive to the change of seasons, and recognize most optimally the nutrition from foods that are local. * Regarding grains, avoid all processed white flour and grains.  Eat only whole grains.  I provide specific details regarding grains for each patient’s individual constitution. * If you eat out at restaurants, and have been prescribed animal protein, try to choose a source that you are certain of, unless the restaurant is reputable and uses organic sources.  Fresh, unfarmed, local fish would be safer than poultry or beef. 2006 Patricia A. Muehsam, M.D. Dr. Muehsam is a holistic medical doctor practicing in New York City. She can be reached by phone at (212) 946 - 5700. Click HERE to see Dr. Muehsams listing on The Healing Directory. • A version of this article was published in The Epoch Times on April 03, 2006 2006-07-07T18:17:01+00:00 Ridding Your Life Of Negative People Negativity is a cancer that appears in many forms. Ridicule, guilt, prejudice, condescension, intimidation, and self-doubt are only a few of the ways negativity manifests itself. While some kinds of negativity come from within and cannot be easily controlled, most are caused by other people. I believe that everyone is entitled to rid themselves of these negative people in order to enjoy happier lives. As teenagers, we often accept negative people into our lives because we are insecure and afraid of becoming the object of their wrath. We feel safer if we have them on our team. Also, we are intimidated because negative people seem to wield power. Indeed, the ability to disturb another person’s day, week, or life is a form of power. Nowadays, we feel that we are mature enough to avoid such malignant influences in our lives. However, not all negative people are as overtly mean as they were in middle school. More common are people that merely reflect negativity, like the girl who insists on informing you anytime someone speaks badly about you, or the guy who only acts nice to you when you’re alone with him. These people, while not affirmatively attacking you, are quietly chipping away at your mood and self-esteem; thus, they should be removed from your life. How do you decide who to expel? What if a long-term friend, or even a parent, is the source of negativity that is causing you to be anxious or unhappy? How can we really avoid those who have permanent places in our lives? To help answer this question, try to detach yourself from the world of the everyday and look at things in a larger sense. As human beings, we are given the freedom to hand-pick people that contribute to our well being and enrich our lives. We are not physically bound to anyone, and many of the people we interact with every day were not even our choices, but rather the product of our environments. We have no obligation to remain loyal to those who affect us adversely unless we place little value on our happiness. Certainly, there are situations where it is difficult to implement this philosophy of purifying your social circle. Obligations must be filled. But I urge you to examine those obligations very carefully; compare the benefit you receive from them to the amount of negativity they bring into your life each day. Remember that you deserve to be happy, and you only get one chance to do so. The older you get, the harder it is to recognize and rid yourself of the sentiments that have set into your mind. Don’t let negative people interfere with your most precious natural gift: the capacity to love life. 2006-08-07T19:35:01+00:00 The Healing Effects of Light on Herpes and Other Skin Ailments The Healing Effects of Light The use of light for healing has a long history. It is today known as Phototherapy. But the early Aryans used to worship the Sun not only as a source of life and light, but also for its therapeutic effects. The Romans used sunlight for its curative effects on wound suffered in battles. In ancient India, people believed in bathing the physically handicapped with water, that had been heated by sunlight. With the advent of Laser (highly condensed light) major ailments are cured with the help of this wonder light. In complicated surgeries, a broken or ruptured artery can be instantaneously repaired with Laser thus stopping fatal blood loss. Laser is also increasingly applied in medical cases where no ethical treatment is available. Genital Herpes Remedy and Light Therapy A Genital Herpes Remedy is possible, but a permanent cure is not, as the virus remains in the body forever. The HSV virus can however be controlled with an antiviral medication that can significantly reduce the pain and decrease the length of time until the sores heal. Advanced medical processes now advocate the use of Laser beams for coterising the lesions. This again is a controversial issue since the main problem is the removal of the virus from the system which even the Laser is unable to accomplish. Various LEDs (Light emitting Diodes) were first introduced to treat the lesions but they too were reported to be having marginal utility. There was a time when medical practitioners also believed that the prolonged use of sunlight was useful to treat skin conditions such as Genital Herpes and Psoriasis. The use of Lasers has come from that belief. The use of sunlight is however not promoted these days. How Laser light is used for Skin Ailments Since low-level laser light consists of intensely compressed light from an extremely constricted spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, it differs thoroughly from natural light. It is monochromatic (one color) and is polarized (beams of light can be concentrated in a defined location in the body). It can thus penetrate the surface of the skin with no heating effect at all. Also, it can be directed as bio-stimulating light energy to the body cells. This light energy is again converted into chemical energy to promote natural healing and relief from pain and associated problems. Low-level Light Therapy Low-level Light Therapy (LLLT) transmits cold laser light energy to the cells without injuring or damaging them. In doing this, they provide energy to the body in the form of non-thermal photons of light that heals the injury. Light therapy increases the production of collagen, an essential protein in the repair of damaged tissue. It also increases Adenosine Tri-Phosphate levels and activates enzymatic pathways in the targeted body cells. LLLT further strengthens the immune system response by hiking levels of lymphocyte activity. Other reported effects of the treatment include stimulating the production of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, and increasing the body’s ability to replace damaged cells. Conclusion Right from the ancient Egyptians to the Aryans to Indians, all of them had believed in the healing qualities of light. And for good reasons. Modern medicine is just beginning to discover the benefits including its positive effect on genital herpes remedy. Not for nothing has NASA embarked on an extensive research into the healing effects of light therapy.     2006-08-04T15:38:02+00:00 Food as Medicine: A Holistic Physician’s Guide to Nutrition - Part II How we prepare and store our food can affect how our body digests and absorbs nutrients.  How much we eat and in what combination affects these as well.  In Part II, I describe what cooking practices to avoid, how best to store food and beverages, and suggestions on portion size, and food combinations. Food preparation and storage:  * Do not use a microwave for any purpose (cooking, reheating, thawing, or boiling water).  This form of electromagnetic radiation alters the chemical nature of food/water, severely reducing its nutritional value.  Our bodies will experience malnutrition in response to eating microwaved foods, and we may experience cravings and overeat to compensate. * Try to avoid storing food in plastic wrap and plastic containers.  Plastics are hydrocarbons that can modulate endogenous hormone activity.  If you must, use paper or unbleached parchment paper to separate the food from the plastic. * Try to avoid bottled drinking water in plastic bottles, for the same reason. * Avoid aluminum foil for storing food and cooking.  This heavy metal has been found to be associated with Alzheimer’s and other chronic neurologic conditions. * Avoid aluminum cookware for the same reason. * Avoid all cookware made of synthetic materials: e.g. Teflon, and the like. * Glass and ceramic are good materials for cooking.  Heavy gauge stainless steel and cast iron are good choices also, but make sure they aren’t coated with teflon, graphite or other substances.  Food combining and portion size: *  If you are having animal protein at a meal, eat this first, before complex carbohydrates (starches such as potatoes, pasta.)  To digest protein, the stomach needs concentrated digestive juices which become diluted as we eat. *  If you are eating animal protein, eat between 2 and 4 ounces at a meal, according to my directions. * Make sure a meal of animal protein has adequate fat.  For example, including the skin on the turkey or chicken is actually healthier for you than eating only the meat. * With the exception of bananas, fruit should be eaten alone as a separate meal or snack.  Combining fruit with other food types (especially grains) can result in improper digestion.  * Our bodies are happiest with small meals more frequently, rather than large meals many hours apart.  Going without meals for too long actually puts our bodies into starvation mode; our metabolism will slow down and we will be in fat storing mode.  However, each of us is unique with regard to portion size and frequency.  Some of us need to eat as frequently as every two hours; other constitutions can space meals 4 or sometimes even 5 hours apart. * Each meal should be able to fit into the palms of your two cupped hands; more volume will not be digested. 2006 Patricia A. Muehsam, M.D. Dr. Muehsam is a holistic medical doctor practicing in New York City. She can be reached by phone at (212) 946 - 5700. Click HERE to see Dr. Muehsams listing on The Healing Directory. * A version of this article was published in The Epoch Times on April 11, 2006 2006-07-07T18:16:01+00:00 Food as Medicine: A Holistic Physician’s Guide to Nutrition - Part III In Parts I and II I gave general suggestions on food choices, preparation, and storage, and details on portion size and food combining.  Part III addresses specific food types, beverages, and provides guidelines for making choices and gentle changes. About sugars and sweeteners: * Avoid all artificial sweeteners.  These can confuse your body into thinking it is getting sugar.  It will respond with an increase in insulin, increasing fat storage and deposition, and increasing sugar cravings. *Avoid refined sugars:  cane sugar, brown sugar, fructose, glucose, corn syrup.  When shopping, check labels for these hidden sources of sugar. If you use honey as a sweetener, make sure it is raw honey.  This contains all the necessary enzymes for digestion and will minimize the insulin effect.  *More body friendly types of sweeteners include rice syrup, barley malt syrup, and stevia liquid or powder. About fats: * Use high quality fats and oils:  unrefined, cold-pressed, and organic. *Avoid all hydrogenated oils and partially hydrogenated oils. *Avoid margarine and any other fake butters and oils. * Avoid non-fat and low-fat products.  These are not necessarily better for you than full fat products, and, in fact, can contribute to nutritional deficiencies, overweight, and difficulty losing weight. * Raw butter is best.  See for sources. *Fat does not make you fat.  In fact, too little fat can keep you fat, or make you fat.  It is an essential nutrient, and if you don’t have enough in your diet, your body will experience malnutrition.  When we don’t get all the nutrients we need, the body tries to compensate by overeating.  Also, the body will hold onto any extra body fat when in a stressor state. About beverages: *Try to avoid all iced drinks.  Iced drinks inhibit the digestive fire.  If you crave these, this is a sign of excess heat.  It will lessen as energies become balanced. *Avoid carbonated beverages (sodas).  These inhibit digestion, absorption, and elimination. * Avoid concentrated fruit juices.  These have unnaturally high concentrations of sugars. *Room temperature water is the most optimal drink. *Do not drink with meals because this dilutes digestive juices.  At most, 2-3 sips of room temperature water are okay.  Cold beverages inhibit the digestive process. * Discontinue all caffeinated beverages, including green tea, decaf coffee, decaf tea and decaf sodas. * To ease caffeine withdrawal, try grain coffees, and kukicha and bancha teas, but note these teas do contain caffeine. * Drink herbal teas according to your constitution. * About alcohol: it is really a poison and toxic to the body.  If you find yourself overly enjoying regular drinking, it is a sign that your body/mind/spirit needs something you are not getting.  In my whole person approach to healing, I use tools to help patients address root issues on all three levels, so the desire for alcohol will lessen. About desserts: *  While desserts are very much a part of our dietary culture, our bodies don’t do well having dessert immediately after a meal.  The food we have just eaten will not be properly digested.  *  If you are craving dessert after a meal, it is best to wait at least an hour.  Then ask yourself if you are still hungry for that food.  Often you will not be.  If you are, ask yourself if it is true hunger, or habit hunger.  * If it is true hunger, by all means, have it.  Depriving our bodies of what we are craving can be more harmful than having a particular food. * Over time, as your body/mind/spirit gets into balance, such cravings will lessen. 2006 Patricia A. Muehsam, M.D. Dr. Muehsam is a holistic medical doctor practicing in New York City. She can be reached by phone at (212) 946 - 5700. Click HERE to see Dr. Muehsams listing on The Healing Directory. * A version of this article was published in The Epoch Times on April 16, 2006     2006-07-07T18:14:01+00:00 Food as Medicine: A Holistic Physician’s Guide to Nutrition - Part IV Cravings and taste preferences are useful clues to me about a patients relative state of balance.  And, finally, it is not just what we eat, but how we eat. In Part IV, I discuss cravings, taste preferences, spices, and seasonings, as well as that most important aspect for our nutrition:  mindful eating. About taste, cravings, spices, and seasonings: *  Sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and spicy are the five principal tastes we experience.  If you have strong cravings for one or more of a particular taste, this is a sign of an imbalance.  Again, over time, strong taste desires will lessen. * Cravings for sweets and carbohydrates are very common signs of imbalance.  Sometimes the cause is physical:  digestive problems, metabolism problems, and fatigue can all be causes.  Sometimes the cause is on the emotional level:  often feelings of sadness or lack can cause us to crave these tastes and food types. * Cravings for other tastes, such as spicy and salty, indicate other types of imbalances in body/mind/spirit. * Try not to deprive yourself when you have strong cravings; this can be more harmful than avoiding them.  * In my work with patients, I make suggestions to satisfy taste cravings that will ease the transition into more optimal state of balance, and specific suggestions regarding spices and seasonings for an individuals constitution. How to eat: *How we eat is just as important as what we eat.  The physiologic mechanism of digestion is affected and inhibited by our meal habits.  Maldigestion can lead to cravings and overeating because the bodys nutritional needs are not being met. * Make time for each meal.  * Always eat sitting down. * Eat mindfully.  * Before your first bite take time to pause and breathe gently and deeply. * Eat and only eat, do not read, watch TV, do work, talk on the phone.  Digestion and absorption will be inhibited if you are doing anything in addition to eating. *  Eat when you are in a relaxed mood.  Avoid unpleasant thoughts and stressful conversations at meal time.  These will inhibit the digestion and absorption processes. * Try to eat slowly, and to eat each bite until it is a mushy liquid consistency.  Digestion starts in the mouth, and by giving our salivary enzymes time to do their job, we can optimize our digestion.  Otherwise, food will not be digested or absorbed, and we can be malnourished, may have cravings, and overeat to compensate for what we are lacking.  If eating slowly is a challenge, try putting down your utensils between bites. * If you have tendencies to emotional overeating, try to do deep abdominal breathing before you eat.  Also, journaling thoughts and feelings in a stream of consciousness style can be helpful before meals.  Pause to get in touch with what you are really needing, what you are really hungry for.  Is it food, or is it something else?  In my practice, I help patients to get in touch with that something else. Most importantly, honor yourself with gentleness and patience.  All the suggestions above are just that – suggestions.  Do not berate or judge yourself if these feel difficult and hard to follow.  As your body/mind/spirit comes more into its natural state of balance, all will come naturally, without effort.                                                                                                                                     2006 Patricia A. Muehsam, M.D.                       Dr. Muehsam is a holistic medical doctor practicing in New York City. She can be reached by phone at (212) 946 - 5700.                                     Click HERE to see Dr. Muehsams listing on The Healing Directory.                               * A version of this article was published in The Epoch Times on April 23, 2006   2006-07-07T18:12:01+00:00 The Benefits of Buying Organic Products The American who can make it through the day without using at least one (and most likely many) health or beauty care products is a rare being. We all use products including soap, shampoo, lotion, makeup, hair dye, hair care products, skin care lines and more. The problem with these daily cleaning and preening rituals we have developed is that many of our favorite products are to blame, at the very least, for allergies and sensitive skin and, at the very worst, for more serious skin and health conditions. So what are we to do? Certainly, refraining from bathing and grooming ourselves is not an option but neither is the price of illness. To our rescue comes the green industry, businesses dedicated to giving us organic and healthful alternatives to our daily needs, including all the skin care, health care, and hair care products we could hope for. If you exhibit any of the following symptoms, then you should consider throwing out your traditional products and opting for their organic counterparts: + Acne + Eczema + Rosacea + Dry skin + Sensitive skin + Hives + Dermatitis + Itching + Redness + Stinging + Blisters Whether or not your products are the cause of skin problems, choosing organic products as replacements will help you decrease and possibly even eliminate your symptoms entirely. What Ingredients Make Up Traditional Skin Care Products? It is not only what is in regular, drugstore skin care products that makes them harmful to our skin; it is also what is not in them. There are ‘balancing ingredients’ included in some products as mitigating factors and without them, a product may create skin problems. That is, though some products may have potentially harmful ingredients, they may also contain balancing ingredients whose sole purpose is to block the negative effects of the harmful ingredients. There are a number of problems with this Band-Aid method of product creation. In the end, more chemicals are never a good idea, even if one is meant to neutralize another. And should the neutralization be altered in turn, by time or temperature, creating a new, more harmful chemistry or even multiplying the harm of the original toxin, then the situation is only worsened by the additional chemical. Don’t think that because your products have the word ‘hypoallergenic’ on the label that you’re protected from harmful ingredients. There is no legal definition for this term, no requirement for products that claim the label. So the bottle of lotion with ‘hypoallergenic’ stamped across the front may have the exact same ingredients in the exact same qualities as the bottle next to it. Even if the company means, for example, that there are no synthetic fragrances included (a single synthetic fragrance can have more than 600 synthetic chemicals in its make up), the word can be so loosely defined that it can’t be depended upon. What Do Organic Products Have To Offer? Though these too vary by company and product, it is often as important to realize what is not included in organic products as well as what is. For example, organic products contain no synthetic fragrances; formaldehyde-based preservatives like quaternium-15, imidazolidinyl urea, and diazolidinyl urea to name a few; or detergents like sodium lauryl sulfate that weaken the skin surface and weaken the skin’s immune system. Instead, in organic skin care, hair care, and beauty products you will find that antioxidants that are beneficial to your skin are used as preservatives including vitamin C, vitamin E, and citrus seed extract. The key ingredients and bases for lotions, shampoos, and cosmetics are usually unaltered from their natural state, allowing you to rest easy with the knowledge that your skin and hair are protected from the chemicals that could lead to unsightly skin disorders, allergies, and worse. Simply changing your facial cleanser or body soap to begin can bring about great change in the texture and appearance of your skin. Experiment with different companies and formulations until you find the perfect set of organic products to suit the needs of you and your family. 2006-07-07T15:37:01+00:00 Meditation : Benefits and Practices Meditation can be defined as an uninterrupted and intense contemplation or concentration on a specific subject or on nothing at all. The focus may be internal or external. The length of time spent meditating matters less than the control of breathing and, perhaps, the physical position one chooses. Some believe that meditation is the basis of spirituality, self knowledge, and wisdom, but many have very different ideas of not only the practice of meditation but its purpose, as well. Benefits No matter the definition, it is undeniable that meditation combats the stress of a very fast paced world. Learning to breath peacefully through meditation will not only allow you to relax but will also increase your mental clarity, focus, and awareness when you practice regularly. Physiologically, meditation effects the body in many ways including: + Improves immune function + Slows rapid pulse + Slows rate of metabolism + Lowers blood pressure + Lowers risk of heart failure, attack, and disease There are a variety of methods to choose in meditation technique, but all of them reduce stress and create positive physiological effects. Some of the first meditative methods were employed for the purpose of spiritual exploration as if leaving the body behind. The detachment this created allowed for the body to de-stress and relax. More contemporary methods of meditation involve mental stress as a spur to growth and creativity. Either way, whether you leave your stress behind or manipulate it into something positive, meditation is the way to relax and allow your body to function without the crushing pressure of mental stress. Types of Meditation There are almost as many different forms of meditation as there are people who practice, but here are a few of the most popular forms. Religious Meditation - Religious meditation focuses contemplative prayer or reflective thinking or contemplation, usually on aspects or tenet of the religion to better understand life’s purpose through its strictures. This includes meditation practices used by occultists, transcendentalists, Christians, Catholics, Buddhist Meditation - Buddhist meditation’s focus is to liberate the practitioner from attachments and find enlightenment. Primordial Sound Meditation - Deepak Chopra promotes primordial sound meditation as it requires the practitioner have no specific beliefs or religious lifestyle. Taoist Meditation - Taoist meditation focuses on balancing energy within the body. Technology Induced Meditation - Technology induced meditation is a new form f meditation that uses brain wave entrainment technology to create a meditative state. on the scene, this form of “instant” meditation uses ‘mind machine” brain wave technologies. Zen Meditation - Zen meditation focuses on combining the reality of body, breath, and mind into one truth through zazen. Meditative Exercises Meditative exercises combine the tenets and purpose of meditation with exercise to further integrate the body, mind, and spirit. The most common include yoga and martial arts like t’ai chi and qigong. Yoga - In ancient East India, yoga was developed as a religious exercise only and has evolved into various forms in the west which alternative and traditional doctors alike highly recommend for bone strength, flexibility, heart health, and mental well being. Through a string of poses or postures, yoga combines breathing exersices and meditation to tone and strengthen muscles while stretching and relaxing at the same time. There are a variety of yoga styles to choose from varying according to intensity, poses used, and more. Martial arts - Martial arts is practiced through a series of fluid exercises meant to hone the body and mind. Young and old alike will find benefits to practicing martial arts as a meditative, stretching, and physical exercise that increase in difficulty as you progress. The most popular meditative martial art is t’ai chi. T’ai chi is based on the Taoist philosophy and the concept of yin and yang. Practitioners learn how to defend themselves and counter attack their opponent in one movement. T’ai chi strengthens muscles and joints and improves blood circulation. Qigong (pronounced chee-kung) is another martial art that is gaining in popularity and has great meditative benefits. A regular practice can build up vitality and the immune system while relieving stress. No matter which form of meditation works best for you and your lifestyle, there is no doubt that the benefits are numerous and contribute to overall health of the mind, body, and spirit. 2006-07-07T15:34:01+00:00 Colon Hydrotherapy : Another Form of Cleansing Colonic Health - Another Form of Cleansing Periodic cleansing of our various physical components has been standard procedure for all of us since we were infants being plopped in a tub. Internal cleansing is a process that we don’t engage in much which can be a valuable addition to health habits. One such improvement is cleansing of the colon. The colon is part of your digestive tract - the final part - and very easily gets blocked by waste that hardens over time. This symptom can be especially acute in those who have or have had a poor diet or gastrointestinal problems like constipation. Colon Hydrotherapy Colon hydrotherapy is a treatment that has been developed to alleviate internal toxins for those of us who are having symptoms, and to prevent them for those of us who are pursuing a healthy program of preventive medicine. It is a process in which you have your colon cleaned out in order to wash away the waste before the bacteria and toxins that develop there are absorbed into your blood stream; just as you would wash a dangerous chemical off your hands. Benefits that Radiate Outward While there are no scientific studies to prove the direct link between colon health and specific illnesses or disease, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence showing that people who undergo colon cleansing enjoy a number of benefits. Certainly, constipation, the discomfort and the bloating caused by it can be alleviated with colon cleansing. Other health issues that have shown beneficial support from colon cleansing include: + Indigestion and persistent gas + Smoking cessation + Alcohol and drug detoxification + Asthma + Skin problems + Allergies + Migraines and other headaches Colon hydrotherapy is a good counter-measure for difficulties associated with a poor diet. High blood pressure, heart disease, colon cancer - the potential for all of these serious problems will be lessened by regular detoxification of the system. Colon hydrotherapy is one of the most direct and effective cleansing methods available. A Simple Treatment Without Discomfort Colon cleansing is a simple, efficient tool and, contrary to popular myth, not invasive or painful in the least. You will lie on your back or on your side while your hydrotherapist inserts a plastic tube that is soft, painless and disposable into your anus. Using the tube, your hydrotherapist will pump moderate amounts of filtered water into your colon. The water is the same temperature as your body and may contain herbs or enzymes that enhance the purification procedure. While the water is in your colon, your hydrotherapist may massage your stomach in an effort to help your intestinal walls let go of the impacted waste. The tube remains in place; however periodically the vacuum on the tube that pumped the water in will be reversed, sending the water, and with it your impacted waste, into a sealed system - resulting in no mess or smell. This will be repeated several times throughout your hour long session, using about 20 gallons of water for the entire process. Making Hydrotherapy Part of Your Health Regimen It is recommended that everyone have a session annually. You may choose to undergo a colon hydrotherapy session on a regular basis as a part of regular health care maintenance. Or, you might choose to seek out treatment simply when you are feeling particularly sluggish and unwell and would like to detoxify your system. For those of us with active chronic health problems like fatigue, constipation, or digestion difficulties, multiple colon hydrotherapy sessions may well be in order. Discuss your choice of colon hydrotherapy with your doctor if this is the case, and be sure to inform your hydrotherapist ahead of time of any and all pre-existing conditions. 2006-07-07T15:03:01+00:00 Manipulating energy : Acupuncture, Massage, Shiastu & Therapeutic Touch Energy is called many things throughout the world, like ‘chi’ or ‘qi.’ These terms refer to life force energy that lives in the body as well as the energy force around the body. Nurse practitioners often call it ‘subtle energy’ and therapist who are properly trained can manipulate this energy by alleviating blockages and allowing energy to flow freely and the body to heal itself. Some therapies that are utilized to move energy and create a healthy energy field include therapeutic touch, acupuncture, acupressure, shiatsu, massage and more. Acupuncture and Acupressure Acupuncture, an ancient Chinese treatment, can be successfully used to rebalance chi or energy and help the body heal itself. The ancient Chinese believed that all energy comes from the Tao, created by the opposing forces of yin and yang. In the body, there are 14 meridians along which our energy flows and if there is a build up of chi or a blockage, then the balance of yin and yang is thrown off, toxins build up, and the body is unable to heal itself properly. The treatments consist of the use of tiny needles placed at specific points along the meridians that correlate with the organs or functions of the body that are manifesting symptoms of blocked chi. The insertion of the needles does not cause bleeding or pain, penetrating no deeper than the first layers of skin. These needles can be used to: + Increase or decrease chi + Increase or decrease heat + Increase or decrease dryness Acupressure is a counterpart of acupuncture, a treatment that utilizes pressure from the therapist’s fingers and thumbs along the meridians to manipulate chi. No needles are used, but it achieves the same effects of releasing tension in the muscles, triggering endorphins to relieve pain. BASIC Massage The BASIC in BASIC massage stands for Body And Spirit Integrated Consciously and it is a type of neuromuscular integrated massage that focuses on both the nervous and musculoskeletal systems. Through 10 sessions that build upon each other, the therapist works to realign the body by manipulating the muscles and myofascial connective tissue. Connective tissue that binds the muscles sometimes adhere to each other when the body is traumatized or under stress. The BASIC massage therapist works to break this adhesion, which releases pain and increases energy. Massage of the skull and head is aspect of neuromuscular integration in BASIC massage. Therapists work to increase the flow of the cerebrospinal fluid around the spine and brain which helps remove energy blockages and allows the body to heal itself. When these therapies are complete, BASIC massage, a full body, deep muscle treatment begins, releasing the tension in muscles which further increases energy flow and self healing. Shiatsu Take acupressure and combine it with massage and you have the practice of shiatsu. The therapist uses not only her fingers and thumbs like an acupressurist, but also the palms of her hands, her knees, elbows, and legs to unblock the energy in the body. Rather than focusing on specific meridian points or symptoms, shiatsu treats the entire body as a whole. Therapeutic Touch Therapeutic touch is a scientific, well-researched energy therapy utilized by nurse practitioners around the world. Therapists can feel the energy around another person, locate any negative energy, and manipulate it to create room for positive energy and balance. In short sessions lasting about 20 minutes, simply by moving her hands in your energy field, the therapist can assist your body in normalizing and increasing the flow of blood, reduce pain, and help you to think more clearly. Still other energy therapies like reiki and reflexology, guided imagery and talk therapy, and biofeedback exist to assist you in increasing energy flow and allowing your body to heal itself not only of the symptoms but the blockages that cause the symptoms. 2006-07-07T15:01:01+00:00 On Your Grocery List : How to Choose Healing and Living Foods Did you know that the artificial ingredients and preservatives in processed foods that you eat every day could be making you sick? Not only can the ingredients in some foods cause allergies, but some have been linked to cancer and diseases like Celiac disease. Checking food labels is one way to protect yourself against harmful ingredients, but even better is choosing a diet based on healthy, living foods. Eating to heal your body is the best way to shield yourself from food-related toxins. Food Labels To protect you against potentially harmful food and food processes, the USDA has created certain rules and regulations regarding labeling procedures. Soon, however, the rules regarding what a food manufacturer can and can’t claim about their product will loosen, making the market even more confusing for those genuinely interested in eating for health. Even now, labels can be misleading. For example, there are no legal requirements for claiming that a food is ‘pure’ or ‘natural.’ In the same way, if a product claims to be ‘enriched’ it only means that it was over processed originally and that in order to have any redeeming nutritional features, it was necessary to re-introduce vitamins and nutrients. The only label term that a consumer can truly trust to mean that a product is healthy is ‘certified organically grown.’ Even the terms ‘organically grown’ and ‘pesticide free’ are not regulated by the USDA and could mean anything - or nothing at all. Here’s how the USDA defines organic label definitions: 100% Organic - This term gets the USDA seal and means that every ingredient is 100% organic. Organic - This term, too, qualifies the product for a USDA seal and means that at least 95% of the ingredients are organic. Made with Organic Ingredients - This means that between 70 and 95 percent of the ingredients are organic. Healing Foods After a lifetime of eating processed foods, chemically treated fruits and vegetables, and meat from animals raised on antibiotics and hormones, we’ve already done quite a bit of damage to our bodies. To start combating that damage, it’s essential to start eating healthily. It has been suggested that eating organic produce and foods that are as unprocessed as possible is the best way to eat healthy. Just as important is the number of servings as well as the focus on certain types of foods. For example, the single most important aspect of healthy, healing diet is water. Water flushes the system of toxins and in general helps your organs to work better. The next most important focus in your diet should be organically grown fresh fruits and vegetables. A wide variety will help you get the nutrients your body needs without having to depend upon vitamins and supplements. Whole grains as well as a few vegetables that breakdown and are used much like grains in the body (like potatoes) are next in line, followed by non-animal protein sources like beans. Good fats found in monounsaturated oils and nuts are next and low fat, calcium rich dairy products follow. Lean meats and secondary, but fish and seafood, both rich in omega-3 fatty acids, should be the focus of two to three meals per week. Certain seasonings like onions, parsley, garlic, and peppers add taste as well as healing benefits. In small amounts, dark chocolate provides anti oxidants and alcohol aids in digestion. By using the foods in your diet to heal your body, your need for conventional medicine will decrease. Living Foods Living foods refers to raw, uncooked foods and is one way to make sure that you get the most benefit from each of the foods that you eat. Cooking eliminates the beneficially structured water in fruits and vegetables and converts proteins that it doesn’t destroy, making them more difficult for our bodies to digest and use. Minerals are lost as well in the cooking process, as is oxygen and the enzymes necessary to create the chain reaction of cellular division, energy production, and immune system maintenance. At the same time, pesticides are converted into even more toxic substances and free radicals are created. By paying attention to food labels and definitions, choosing foods that are healing and organically grown, and eating as many as possible in their original, uncooked form, you will create a diet that will heal your body instead of destroying its natural processes and making it work harder instead of smarter. 2006-07-07T15:00:01+00:00 The Negative Effects of Stress on Health and Suggestions for De-Stressing Life and stress go hand in hand. Stress is part of the package. In assessing the impact and the value of stress in our lives, it’s helpful to have a clear definition of the phenomenon. Here is one that works: stress is an internal process that occurs when a person is faced with a demand that he or she feels cannot be met. Failure is not an option, in the sense that failure will lead to consequences so dire as to be unacceptable. Stress is experienced when there is awareness of an imbalance between the rigors of what is in demand and the ability to perform. By this definition, stress can provide us with important warning signals and in so doing, provide a positive service. But as a life force, stress is viewed as an overwhelmingly negative force - one that can impact our physical well being almost as acutely as our mental health. Physical Impacts of Stress Strain is one of the physical negative effects of stress. Strain may appear as fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating, insomnia and general reduced functionality. Depression and anxiety are closely related to the perception of stress in one’s life and can contribute to drug and alcohol abuse along with other forms of increased risk taking. Direct medical impact from stress can also be found, however, with a number of physical maladies. As an overall negative impact, stress can effect a lessening in our resistance to disease. As an aggravating source for chronic conditions, stress is known to create or cause flare ups with these problems: + headaches + constipation + diarrhea + lack of energy + increased frequency in asthma and arthritis flare-ups + tension + stomach cramping + stomach bloating + epidermal flare ups or inflammation + weight fluctuation + heart problems + high blood pressure + irritable bowel syndrome + diabetes + neck and back pain De-Stressing Stress is, at its core, caused by mental perception of impending or existing personal difficulties. Treatment for stress should involve those methods that impact the mental and emotional processes which lead to insurmountable stress. One of the most obvious and traditional methods is talking about it. Seeking counseling from a professional or simply seeking the perspective of someone you respect can be a fundamental form of temporary relief. Dealing with stress over time is, however, more of a lifestyle issue. Doing the things that minimize stress, that undermine the creation of stressful situations is a long-term answer to stress management. Many of the most effective stress control mechanisms are, surprisingly, physical in nature. Physical Activity for Mental Results + Massage is almost a form of enforced physical relaxation. Physical relaxation in turn almost always leads to mental relaxation and therefore, to stress reduction. + Yoga is a popular physical discipline that not only is an effective method of toning your body physically, but requires a certain mental discipline and focus that effectively simplifies your life, even if only for that short period that you are going through the program. A yoga session several days a week will make you tend to look at life in general through that lense of simplicity. + Meditation is another form of bringing the mind to focus on your essential being which will, as with yoga, make it apparent that you are in truth, walking a much simpler planet than the one you rush into each morning. It’s the change in perspective that creates the reduction in stress. It is also a lifestyle choice that needs repetition in order to be most effective. Exercise can be a great stress reducer, especially if you are engaged in physical activity sufficiently strident so as to result in the release of endorphins. Your outlook, and the balance of your day, will seem far less tense. It is up to the individual to find the best stress reduction tools - everyone is a little different. It is important to recognize, however, that if stress is a major part of your life it is a major affliction in its own right and requires primary treatment. The physical consequences of unattended stress can be far reaching and, at some point, become more permanent than chronic. 2006-07-07T14:58:01+00:00 A Day at the Spa : Holistic Spa Treatments Organic Spas, Holistic Treatments Day spas have become a fixture in today’s health and beauty market. In developing this market niche, day spa operators have introduced a range of services and products that are new to the mainstream consumer such as holistic treatments and organic beauty products. Aging baby boomers that are hanging on to the vestiges of youth have become more accepting of practices that were previously identified with the New Age. As a result, day spas are one of the economic hot spots in the personal services market. Day spas provide the types of thorough body treatments found at traditional spas, which tend to be destination sites for weekend stays. In keeping with the harried pace of active professionals, day spa services require a commitment of hours rather than days. The spa business in this country exceeds twelve billion in annual revenues, and probably three quarters of that business was done by day spas. A Broad Array of Services Day spas have slowly developed their niche in the health and human services marketplace by overcoming a couple of factors. It has been a gradual process making the average woman comfortable with some of the water-oriented, whole body treatments and with some of the alternative medical components that have been integrated into day spa services. Many day spa operators began as salon owners and most day spas include hair treatments, manicures, pedicures and makeup application as base services. In evolving from salons to spas, these businesses have widened service options to include an assortment of body treatments such as exfoliation, aromatherapy, and a number of full body wraps utilizing organic therapeutic products. Water plays an important role in day spa services, with a number of treatments falling into the category of hydrotherapy. Mineral and seaweed baths are available and massage treatments using water are provided. The traditional dry and moist heat from steam rooms and saunas can be found in day spas. Healing therapies that require licensed practitioners are also staples of day spas. These may include acupressure, Rolfing treatments and more exotic therapies such as Reiki (a form of “energy healing”). Oriented to a Broad Consumer Audience The other important image issue that day spas have battled is the notion that they are a luxury most women cannot afford. Given the explosive growth of the market and the expansion of services in many spas, it is clear that the industry has had success on both fronts. Many spas that began as simple nail and beauty salons now make more than half of their revenues from spa services. Many services are offered as packages, in order to introduce new clients to the day spa environment. The woman that has her initial aromatherapy treatment as part of a gift package may choose to make it part of her lifestyle. Day spa operators have learned to take their holistic, organic approach to these services and make them accessible - and desirable - for mainstream consumers. What originates as a one-time experience may become a periodic choice. Individual Services and Treatments Once you have become comfortable with the day spa environment and the assortment of treatments available, curiosity may well overtake you. Here is an assortment of treatments that are common to many, if not most day spas. These treatments have been assembled from a remarkable variety of cultural sources and practices. Beyond the basics of manicure or pedicure, you may run across the following: Aromatic Rejuvenating Face & Body Treatment This is a full body skin conditioning treatment that begins with exfoliation and extends to a body wrap utilizing antioxidants. The treatment is completed with an aromatherapy facial. Healing Stone Therapy This treatment reaches into Eastern healing philosophies by basing its orientation on balancing one’s chakras, or energy centers. A hot stone massage is combined with aromatherapy. The treatment is rounded out with “gem therapy,” introducing a spiritual element into this particular form of physical improvement. Therapeutic Massage Massages have long been a resource for people with active, stressful lifestyles. Today a traditional Swedish massage is usually available at your local day spa. Massages are known for the remarkable stress reduction and relaxation that they induce. A good masseuse will relieve muscular tension and stimulate circulation as well. Aromatherapy Massage Aromatherapy massage incorporates a blend of organic oils and treatments designed to enhance the benefits of traditional massage. The ‘massage therapist’ will select the blend of oils and balms that are most likely to be of benefit to you; each element is believed to affect certain parts of the body and states of mind as well. Shiatsu The ancient system of orientation points used in acupuncture is the basis of Shiatsu. This treatment uses acupressure and stretching exercises to affect certain energy centers within the body and open pathways that are blocked. This form of therapy is conducted on a floor mat and requires some physical participation - so comfortable clothing is essential. Reflexology This form of treatment is based on the theory that the foot can be a map of the entire body and can provide information about the condition of all of your parts. The therapist provides a foot massage which then guides a physical ‘tune-up’ of the entire body. Pressure is applied to those portions of the sole that relate to other parts of your body in order to induce positive effects. Detoxifying Mud Wrap With this treatment the traditional mud baths of weekend spas are brought to the day spa facility near you. After a brief dry exfoliation, mud is applied to the full body, mud that has been mixed with minerals and organic elements meant to release toxins from the body. Anti-inflammatory agents are incorporated into the treatment as well, providing a relaxing effect for tense muscles and tired joints. Hydro Colon Therapy This is a cleansing treatment for the colon that clears waste materials and toxins from your digestive system. Filtered water is introduced in moderate amounts and then removed by the same tube and pump system. The process is painless and the result is an important detoxification process. 2006-07-07T14:55:01+00:00 The Power of Intuition: Defining Our Psychic Ability Each one of us possesses the ability of second sight. Everyday we experience phenomena that can be described as more than intuitive, as psychic. We simply don’t call them psychic, nor recognize them as such. Being psychic is not about being born with special intuitive powers. Our society has never defined human experience in psychic terms, and thus we do not have the words to describe or label what we are experiencing as psychic in nature. Human usage of psychic abilities has long been surrounded by skepticism and a sense that all things psychic are in the carnival-scam category. It is also true that many people are aware of their intuitive abilities. What is rarely understood is the link between the two: psychic phenomena and human intuition. Many people who are accomplished in the use of their psychic abilities believe that the principal difference between being psychic and using your intuition is trust. Trust is a major component when working with your psychic abilities: if you trust your intuition 100% then your experience can be defined as psychic, as well as intuitive. One must trust the information that is coming through. This information is not simply learned facts; it includes the feelings, the inner communication, the pictures, and the personal sense of “just knowing.” Conversely, by not trusting, we are denying the existence of a fundamental human component simply because recognizing it and using it is not a solely intellectual decision. Defining our Psychic Abilities In detailing our psychic skills, we are going to utilize terminology taken from a non-Western source where there has been considerable study of human psychic ability and where detailed definitions have been developed. Central to the understanding of human psychic experience is recognition of the chakras: the energy centers within the human body. Our psychic experiences are controlled by the chakras, because they in turn control the processing of information that is at the core of the psychic processes. The seven major chakras within the human body are found along various areas of the spine. There are also chakras in the hands and feet; their locations correspond with the divisional lines across the body that are used in acupuncture. As might be expected, the major chakras are located where our physiological nerve centers are found. The chakras are also functionally related to the endocrine gland system. The chakras discussed below are only those that relate directly to the psychic functions of the human organism. Sensing Energy Clairsentience, the skill provided by the second chakra, is the ability to sense or feel energy. Physically, the second chakra is to be found in the area of the belly button. A more common term for clairsentient is empathic. Many people who are the product of abusive childhoods are extremely intuitive, or as their psychologists would say, empathic. Many of those people can walk into a room and sense “bad vibes,” only to find out that an argument has just taken place or that someone is about to explode. Others of us have walked into a room where someone has just had a loving or healing moment or has been deep in meditation - and have felt uplifted or suddenly relaxed and serene. The second chakra internalizes this information. If you think about it, this experience that is common for many of us is really sensing the energy that is in that room. If you look on it as a clairsentient experience, this concept of energy antennae starts to make sense. The Voice on your Shoulder Clairaudience is a skill provided by the fifth chakra. It can be defined as the capability of “hearing” information. The fifth chakra is found near the thorax, at the bottom of the throat. It is a common assumption when we are harried and rushed that our inner dialogue is just an overactive and poorly functioning brain. We are, however, always receiving information on clairaudient levels. All of us have made intuitive decisions on what action to take regarding a complicated issue - the right path just “comes to us.” This is your clairaudience at work. The key to utilizing it is hearing it among all the other mental racket. Third Eye, Second Sight Understanding clairvoyance begins by considering the nature of our “mind’s eye.” In its simplest form, the mind’s eye is just images conjured up by memory. However the entire process is controlled by the 6th chakra, which is sometimes referred to as the third eye. It is our ability to visualize not only that which is before us but that which is not. Once again, trust is the key to harnessing clairvoyance. You must believe the “visual” information that is presented by your mind as opposed to your eye. Once you develop that trust, you will be able to work with your visualization skills. With practice comes facility; as the experience is repeated it will become easier for you to accept clairvoyant visions. For many who develop this skill it can be a daily occurrence. For a moment, think about what your car or your living room look like. Going back a little further, visualize a childhood vacation or a long past neighbor. You are drawing these images from memory, effortlessly. You are seeing without using your eyes - just as you see things on a clairvoyant level. The same mental apparatus is used for both processes. It “Just Is” The seventh chakra is located on the top, or crown of the head. The psychic ability provided by the seventh chakra is the intuitive acquisition of knowledge. Sometimes we don’t know how we know something, we just know - and that knowledge is brought to us by the seventh chakra. Since the seventh chakra sits on the top of the head, the information it provides you is not connected or processed by the other energy centers below it. Your seventh chakra is at work when you say or do something instinctually - “Just off the top of your head.” It’s Just Another Piece of You There is not a lot of hocus-pocus to using your psychic abilities. It is another of the day’s activities and part of the human experience. On the other hand, it is not a skill that can be acquired by reading a book. We learn it by experiencing it, by trusting in it, and by practicing the skills associated with it. Sounds like a familiar process, doesn’t it? That is what makes psychic ability so essentially human. We learn it the same way we learn everything else. 2006-07-07T14:53:01+00:00 Mind-Body Therapies: Meditation, Relaxation, Guided Imagery & Hypnotherapy Health treatment techniques dedicated to integrating the mind and the body are based on recognition of the fact that mental and emotional states directly affect physical health. The infiltration of Eastern healing methods such as acupuncture has helped Western medicine come to grips with the relationship between mental status and physical health. Not only preventive medicine but actual treatment for physical afflictions can now involve behavioral and psychological elements. So many studies have been done that support this idea that mind-body techniques are even now utilized by traditional doctors. Perhaps the premier example of this fact is the importance that stress plays in cardiology. Heart disease is the most fatal disease in this country; cardiologists go to great lengths to emphasize the importance in reducing stress with patients who have had cardiac problems or who are at risk. Tools of the Trade Meditation Meditation is the practice of calming yourself, noticing the breath, and emptying the mind of thought, which allows you to develop a greater self awareness. Meditation begins with the simplest of processes. All you are asked to do is to sit quietly and to close off all the mental chatter that usually accompanies us, focusing the mind on one thing - or, to the degree possible, perhaps nothing. Some practitioners use the repetition of a word or phrase (a mantra) in order to assist in reducing the mental background noise. Meditation is a tool that can be a challenge to many of us raised in the rat-race Western cultures, because it is basically a process of training the mind to do less rather than more. Meditation began as an exercise to further a person’s progress down a religious or spiritual path. As such, the goal of the practice was less oriented to physical well being and more focused on spiritual growth. As meditation has become a mainstream Western practice, religious or cultural background has receded as an issue. Now that it is used in medical care its teaching and practice has taken on an expanded and decidedly Western style. Regardless of its origins, meditation is used as a tool to relax the individual physically while providing mental focus. Most forms of meditation train an individual to utilize that mental focus to reduce stress and simplify one’s conscious focus. Relaxation Techniques Relaxation techniques are exercises and stretches done to alleviate stress and anxiety. Many of these techniques are related to the processes involved in meditation, but often focused on one particular part of the body. Breathing exercises, slow and methodical physical movement and other practices are used to bring both body and mind under control at a comfortable pace. As the body relaxes, so does the conscious and subconscious mind. Physical impacts that have been tied to periodic relaxation practices include lower blood pressure and reduction of chronic muscle or joint pain. Guided Imagery Guided imagery is the practice of creating mental images in order to create a state of calm and wellness. This process began strictly as a psychological tool to assist people in replacing traumatizing images that have impacted their mental well being. Today the process is utilized as part of a physical therapy process, trying to induce a patient to imagine a damaged joint or organ functioning properly. Generally this process is guided by a practitioner in the beginning, helping the patient to develop the treatment method and the belief that it can make a difference. Individuals who have been traumatized by an incident in a public place might be guided on a mental tour through that place that concludes safely. Guided imagery is a practice that often gains effectiveness through repetition, as the patient must learn to trust the practice and to give credence to the concept before it develops impact. Hypnotherapy Hypnosis has been used by psychiatrists for years as a treatment tool. The state of hypnosis is one in which the patient is relaxed and conscious, but in an altered state of mind that leaves him or her unaware of the physical surroundings and focused on the instructions of the hypnotherapist. Psychological stress and mental conflict are known to be capable of creating the sensation of seemingly unrelated pain or discomfort in other parts of the body. These are called conversion disorders and hypnosis has been utilized as an effective tool in helping people deal with this phenomenon. Hypnosis has also been a standard tool for people who struggle in their attempts to quit smoking. Hypnotherapy is also used to bring to the surface traumatic experiences that a person may have no conscious memory of. These buried experiences, in turn, may have real physical consequences such as phobias about automobiles, water, and so forth. Hypnosis is a powerful tool in helping to realign psychological damage that exists in the subconscious. Therapeutic Touch Dr. Dolores Kreiger is a registered nurse and university professor who developed a treatment technique called therapeutic touch, or TT. TT is affiliated with the concept that the body has a fixed number of energy centers, or chakras, which must be functioning and aligned in order for a person to feel whole. A TT practitioner will undertake treatment by seeking out the areas where the patient’s energy has been blocked or is misaligned for some reason. This is done through touch - the practitioner touching various parts of the body in order to determine where the patient needs treatment. The goal of therapeutic touch, like all mind-body techniques, is to promote the patient’s capability of healing his or herself. In the case of TT, the practitioner has established methods that are designed to release blocked energy and set it to functioning properly. This process has been applied in situations where chronic pain is a problem - both to reduce the level of pain and to attempt to lower the dependency on pain medication. 2006-07-07T14:52:01+00:00 Inspecting the Tongue to Determine Your State of Health For hundreds of years, Eastern medical practitioners have known that they can tell a great deal about the health of a patient’s internal organs by inspecting the tongue. The art of diagnosis by observing the characteristics of the tongue has allowed experts to understand the status of internal organs by observing the patterns on the tongue’s surface. The tongue mirrors the viscera. Zetsu Shin, Japanese for tongue diagnosis, is one of the most prevalent techniques for in Chinese medicine. Inspection of the tongue - more precisely, various areas of the tongue - reveal the status of virtually every appendage and functioning system in the human body. Your Tongue and the Rest of You For the purpose of Zetsu-Shin, the tongue is divided into three distinct areas. The forward third of the tongue, from the tip back, relates to the body’s upper portions: the lungs, the overall chest, the heart and the neck. If the tongue displays froth in the middle of its front third, this is interpreted as a sign of potential respiratory problems. The practitioner sees it as evidence of low lung energy, and will expect to find a bronchial condition such as asthma, a cold or an allergy affecting the lungs. From an emotional standpoint, a small depression in this forward third of the tongue may indicate severe depression or sadness. The tongue’s middle third is tied to the internal systems involving the stomach, the liver, the spleen and the pancreas. One symptom that may be seen in this area is small ulcers such as chancre sores: these may indicate stomach problems such as recurring gastritis or an ulcerative condition in the stomach. As directional continuity might indicate, the rear and final third of the tongue is related to the abdominal organs including the small intestine and the colon. Coating on the rear third of the tongue may be indicative of a high level of toxins in the large intestine. A traditional practitioner would interpret this as a sign of low colon energy. The Importance of Structure and Color The structure of the tongue reflects important characteristics. Practitioners of Zetsu-Shin can draw conclusions about a person’s overall strengths and weaknesses from the shape and dimensions of the tongue. Width: + A wide tongue demonstrates balance in both physical and psychological condition. + A narrow tongue suggests average or mediocre physical capabilities that will manifest pronounced strengths and weaknesses. The mental implications of a narrow tongue suggest a quick mind but inclined to a narrow viewpoint + A wider than average tongue belies an undeveloped physical condition with perhaps a tendency to obesity. This person will be more inclined to focus on issues of the mind or psychology. Tip: + A rounded tip suggests a healthy physical and mental makeup. + A pointed tip demonstrates a stiff or even unbending physical condition. This physical prototype is matched with a Type A personality that perhaps can be overly aggressive to the point of offensive. + A very wide tip reflects physical weakness or poor conditioning. In like fashion, this person may be mentally sloppy, have difficulty focusing and dealing with reality. + A divided tip reflects a divided personality: one that undergoes sudden swings in mood and in opinion. Thickness: + A flat tongue will generally suggest the person has a well balanced and acute mind with great skills of adaptability. + A thin tongue reflects a cerebral individual, whose principal interests are intellectual and whose personal attributes are generally pleasant and generous. + A thick tongue suggests a physically oriented person, athletic perhaps and certainly competitive with the assertive personality to match. Color: As an indicator of a person’s current condition - on a day-by-day basis - the color of the tongue plays a primary role. + Dark red, like a visible infection, demonstrates an inflamed state. Further assumptions that can be drawn from this color are that there may be the presence of ulceration or some other degeneration of the related organ. + White indicates a general stagnation of blood in the related body area, which may include conditions of excessive fat or mucus. Another potential conclusion is that there is a fundamental blood disorder brewing that may lead to anemia or a similar condition. + Yellow indicates a disorder of the liver and gallbladder just as it does when seen in a person’s eyes or skin color. It is also an indication of animal fat deposits and/or possible inflammation. This applies especially to the upper digestive tract, the kidneys, liver and pancreas. + Blue or purple indicates stagnation of blood circulation. The conclusion to be drawn from this observation is that there is some sort of serious dysfunction or weak behavior from that portion of gastrointestinal system linked to the portion of the tongue under observation. 2006-07-07T14:47:01+00:00