Natural Health & Wellness
Empathic Illnesses: Do You Absorb Other People’s Symptoms?
by Judith Orloff MD
Adaped from The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life (Harmony Books, 2014)
Empathic illnesses are those in which you manifest symptoms that are not your own. Many patients have come to me labeled “agoraphobic” with panic disorders, chronic depression, fatigue, pain, or mysterious ailments that respond only partially to medications or psychotherapy. Some were nearly housebound or ill for years. They’d all say, “I dread being in crowds. Other people’s anger, stress, and pain drain me, and I need a lot of alone time to refuel my energy.” When I took a close history of all these patients I found that they were what I call “physical empaths:” people whose bodies are so porous they absorb the symptoms of others. I relate because I am one. Physical empaths do not have the defenses that others have to screen things out. As a psychiatrist, knowing this significantly changed how I treated these patients. My job became teaching them to center and protect themselves, set healthy boundaries, and let go of energy they picked up from others.
To determine if you are a physical empath take the following quiz.
Quiz: Am I a Physical Empath?
• Have I been labeled as overly sensitive or a hypochondriac?
• Have I ever sat next to someone who seemed nice but suddenly my eyelids got heavy and I felt like taking a nap?
• Do I feel uneasy, tired, or sick in crowds and avoid them?
• Do I feel someone else’s anxiety or physical pain in my body?
• Do I feel exhausted by angry or hostile people?
• Do I run from doctor to doctor for medical tests, but I’m told “You’re fine.”
• Am I chronically tired or have many unexplained symptoms
• Do I frequently feel overwhelmed by the world and want to stay home?
If you answered “yes” to 1-3 questions you are at least part empath. Responding yes to 4 to5 questions indicates you have moderate degree of physical empathy. 6 to 7 “yeses” indicate you have a high degree of empathy. Eight yeses indicate you are a full blown empath.
Discovering that you are an physical empath can be a revelation. Rest assured: You are not crazy. You are not a malingerer or hypochrondriac. You are not imagining things, though your doctor might treat you like a nuisance. You are a sensitive person with a gift that you must develop and successfully manage.
Strategies to Surrender Toxic Energy
Physical empathy doesn’t have to overwhelm you. Now that I can center myself and refrain from taking on other people’s pain, empathy has made my life more compassionate, insightful, and richer. Here are some secrets to thriving as a physical empath that I’ve learned so that it doesn’t take a toll on my health.
A Survival Guide for Empaths: 9 Strategies To Stop Absorbing Other People’s Illness and Pain (from The Ecstasy of Surrender)
1. Evaluate. First, ask yourself: Is this symptom or emotion mine or someone else’s? It could be both. If the emotion such as fear or anger is yours, gently confront what’s causing it on your own or with professional help. If it’s not yours, try to pinpoint the obvious generator.
2. Move away. When possible, distance yourself by at least twenty feet from the suspected source. See if you feel relief. Don’t err on the side of not wanting to offend strangers. In a public place, don’t hesitate to change seats if you feel a sense of “dis-ease” imposing on you.
3. Know your vulnerable points. Each of us has a body part that is more vulnerable to absorbing others’ stress. Mine is my gut. Scan your body to determine yours. Is it you neck? Do you get sore throats? Headaches? Bladder infections? At the onset of symptoms in these areas, place your palm there and keep sending loving-kindness to that area to soothe discomfort. For longstanding depression or pain, use this method daily to strengthen yourself. It’s comforting and builds a sense of safety and optimism.
4. Surrender to your breath. If you suspect you are picking up someone else’s symptoms, concentrate on your breath for a few minutes. This is centering and connects you to your power.
5. Practice Guerilla Meditation. To counter emotional or physical distress, act fast and meditate for a few minutes. Do this at home, at work, at parties, or conferences. Or, take refuge in the bathroom. If it’s public, close the stall. Meditate there. Calm yourself. Focus on positivity and love.
6. Set healthy limits and boundaries. Control how much time you spend listening to stressful people, and learn to say “no.” Remember, “no” is a complete sentence.
7. Visualize protection around you. Visualize an envelope of white light around your entire body. Or with extremely toxic people, visualize a fierce black jaguar patrolling and protecting your energy field against intruders.
8. Develop X ray vision. The spaces between the vertebrae in your lower back ( lumbar spine) are conducive to eliminating pain from the body. It’s helpful to learn to mindfully direct pain out of these spaces by visualizing it leaving your body. Say goodbye to pain as it blends with the giant energy matrix of life!
9. Take a bath or shower. A quick way to dissolve stress is to immerse yourself in water. My bath is my sanctuary after a busy day. It washes away everything from bus exhaust to long hours of air travel to pesky symptoms I have taken on from others. Soaking in natural mineral springs divinely purifies all that ails.
Keep practicing these strategies. By protecting yourself and your space, you can create a magical safe bubble around you that nurtures you, while simultaneously driving negative people away.. Don’t panic if you occasionally pick up pain or some other nasty symptom. It happens. With strategies I discuss in my book to surrender other people’s symptoms you can have quicker responses to stressful situations. This will make you feel safer, healthier, and your sensitivities can blossom.
Judith Orloff MD is a UCLA psychiatrist, intuitive healer, and NY Times bestselling author. Come celebrate the LA launch of Judith’s new book The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life April 2 7PM The New York Open Center, NY and April 16 7PM Mystic Journeys Book Store, Venice, CA and April 17 7PM at Vromen’s Book store in Pasadena! For more inspiration and Judith’s workshop schedule check out http://www.drjudithorloff.com
8 Simple Stressbusters
By Henry S. Miller
Author of The Serious Pursuit of Happiness: Everything You Need to Know to Flourish and Thrive
Got stress? Stress is a part of a normal life that you can’t really avoid. The good news? You have more power than you realize to control stress before it prevents you from living the life you want to lead. Here are 8 simple stressbusters to help you:
1. Breathe Slowly and Deeply
Before you react to the next stressful event, first take 3 deep breaths and consciously release each breath slowly. If you have more time, try a relaxation technique, such as meditation or guided imagery, before deciding how to handle the situation.
2. Speak More Slowly
If you feel overwhelmed at any time, deliberately slow down the pace of your speaking. You will appear less anxious and more in control of the situation. Stressed people tend to speak fast and breathlessly. If you slow down, you’ll find you can think more clearly and react more reasonably to stressful situations.
3. Take a Break Outdoors
Take advantage of the healing power of fresh air and sunshine. Just 5 minutes outside on a balcony or terrace can be rejuvenating. If you have more time, 30 minutes of sunshine has proven positive benefits.
4. Check Your Posture
Hold your head and shoulders upright. Avoid slumping or stooping: bad posture leads to muscle tension, pain, and increased stress. If you are behind a desk during the day, avoid repetitive strain injuries and sore muscles by making sure your workspace is ergonomic, and take 5 minutes every hour to walk around or stretch.
5. Drink Plenty of Water and Eat Small, Nutritious Snacks
Fight dehydration and hunger—they can provoke aggressiveness and exacerbate feelings of anxiety and stress. Drink plenty of water always have small and nutritious snacks available on hand, such as fruit, string cheese, or a handful of nuts.
6. Do One Thing Today
Take control of your time. Every day, do at least one simple thing you’ve been putting off: return a phone call, make a doctor’s appointment, or file the paperwork piling up on your desk. Taking care of one nagging responsibility will energize you and improve your attitude! You might even find that completing one task inspires you to move on to the next one. At the end of each day, try planning your schedule for tomorrow using a calendar or day planner that works for you.
7. Reward Yourself after a Stressful Day
At the end of the day, set aside any work concerns, housekeeping issues, or family concerns for at least a few minutes. Allow yourself a brief period of time to fully relax before bedtime each day—even if it’s only taking a relaxing bath or spending 30 minutes with a good book. Remember, you need time to recharge. Don’t spend this time planning tomorrow or doing chores you didn’t get around to during the day. You’ll be much better prepared to face another stressful day if you give yourself a brief reward of some free time.
8. Practice Letting Go
When your next inevitably stressful situation comes up, make a conscious choice not to become upset. Just let it go. Don’t waste your energy on situations where it is not deserved. Managing your anger is a proven stress reducer.
There’s no way to avoid stress, but you can be proactive in managing it. Here’s wishing you a happy life with less stress!
About Henry S. MillerHenry S. Miller is the author of The Serious Pursuit of Happiness: Everything You Need to Know to Flourish and Thrive and Inspiration for the Pursuit of Happiness: Wisdom to Guide your Journey to a Better Life. He is also the creator of the online membership program Get SERIOUS About Your Happiness: 20 Transformational Tools for Turbulent Times. As President of The Henry Miller Group www.millergroup.com, he is a speaker, trainer, and consultant helping organizations improve engagement, performance, and productivity specifically by increasing employee well being. In prior careers, Henry was a Senior Consultant for the Tom Peters Company training and coaching senior management teams worldwide in leadership and his initial career in corporate America was with IBM.
Shungite: Protection, Healing, and Detoxification
by Regina Martino
Book Excerpt: CHAPTER 7
Bioenergetic Research on Shungite
What is the unique property that distinguishes shungite from other protection stones?
I have carried out detailed studies using bioenergetic tests and have personally tested more than 200 stones and crystals that have an influence on the chakras. Among those tested, I made comparative studies of about 20 stones, including shungite, that were able to resonate with the first chakra.
In comparing tests on shungite with tests carried out on other stones of this group, we noticed right away that for stones of the same weight, shungite is the stone that achieves the largest expansion of the vital field, the greatest concentration, and, in a striking way, a significant expansion of the first chakra.
It is quite possible that the presence of fullerenes would explain all of shungite’s qualities:
1. Helping the energetic body correct the influence of left-torsion fields
2. Neutralizing the impact of electromagnetic radiation
3. Opening access to life energy (first chakra)
4. Concentrating the vital field
5. Not taking on negative charges
CORRECTING THE INFLUENCE OF LEFT-TORSION FIELDS
At every moment, our energetic body is continuously informed and influenced by everything around it. It picks up and integrates subtle information from everything that it comes into contact with, whether or not we’re aware of it.
A torsion field, created by the form of an object or by the spin of elementary particles as defined in quantum physics, can have a right rotation (as in DNA) or a left rotation. Research conducted by Russian scientist Vlail Kaznacheyev at the Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine at Novosibirsk has demonstrated that right rotation fosters life, whereas a torsion field that has left rotation has a negative effect on cells. Pulsed wave radiation such as Wi-Fi and DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) generate left-torsion fields.
The influence of left-torsion fields shifts our vertical axis and totally unbalances our bioenergetic system. Our system tries to rebalance itself, but if the influence is present for long periods it can permanently upset the energetic system and disturb it to the point where it influences the physical plane, giving rise to dysfunction and illness.
When shungite is in direct contact with the physical body or when it is present as a nearby emanation (see the action of spheres or pyramids of shungite in the chapter “Practical Applications”), it helps the energetic body instantaneously correct the shifting of the plane to the left and allows the system as a whole to remain centered. It also allows the individual to be connected to telluric energy and cosmic energy in a natural and positive way.
This property of shungite is its main asset. This is what makes it a stone of protection as well as a stone that accompanies the healing of a number of illnesses.
NEUTRALIZING THE IMPACT OF ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION
Another of shungite’s great assets, which mainly accounts for its recent fame, is its ability to protect us from electromagnetic radiation. This radiation is one of the principal sources of left-torsion fields.
The rapid technological development of our society has brought us into contact all day long with a large quantity of sources of harmful radiation, and very often we are quite unaware this is happening. It is clear that we need to find solutions so that humankind can survive its own technology.
Over the past fifteen years, a number of researchers in the field of bioenergy have endeavored to establish systems that would allow individuals to reestablish their equilibrium. However, it has only been recently that the public at large is beginning to be more fully informed about the health problems created by the increase in electromagnetic radiation. A simple, efficient, inexpensive solution is what we need: shungite.
Our research on shungite demonstrated its effectiveness in neutralizing the effects of electric fields, electromagnetic fields, and pulsed electromagnetic fields such as those emitted by home appliances, cordless phones, cell phones, Wi-Fi hot spots, computers–in short, all of the electromagnetic emissions that generally surround us.
We conducted two kinds of experiments: one was to test the different ways the impact of electromagnetic fields on the individual could be corrected and the other was to try to correct the harmful information directly at its source. In both cases we obtained satisfying results with shungite. We provide a complete account of these tests in appendix 1.
The transformative effect of shungite appears essentially at the bioenergetic level: we could say that it transforms left-torsion information into right-torsion information. Although electromagnetic waves are invisible, they have a physical component, and it is this physical component that is picked up by electromagnetic field detectors. When information is modified on a subtler energetic level, the physical information is still picked up by the detection equipment. In other words, shungite does not interfere with the functioning of this equipment. It doesn’t turn off the pulsed waves emitted by a Wi-Fi transmitter, a cordless phone, or a cell phone; it transforms the harmful radiation.
The solution is not to eliminate the radiation but instead to prevent its deleterious impact on our health.
We’re going to illustrate this especially important property of shungite with an example drawn from an experiment carried out recently in Russia. Researchers went to a site where fowl were being raised and for twenty-one days they studied three incubators, each of which contained ninety-eight hen’s eggs. They placed a cell phone in standby mode in the center of the first incubator. The second incubator had another cell phone in standby mode, positioned on a shungite plate. The third incubator was the control and was used in the normal way. At the end of twenty-one days, the control group had a loss rate of 11.2 percent. The incubator with an unprotected cell phone had twenty-one chicks hatch–a rate of loss of 79.42 percent! The incubator with the cell phone that had shungite protection came in with a rate of loss of 10.5 percent. The figures speak for themselves!
Headaches & Migraine
by Susun Weed
“Oh, how densely packed your head is, my sweet,” sighs Grandmother Growth. “I’m afraid there’s no room for new growth. If you could empty your mind, leave off worrying and planning for a while, and give in to the chaos and its random pleasures, just for a short time, I think you’d feel less pressure and your head would hurt less. The energy of your womb now circulates inside you and throbs in your head. Sit quietly; breathe out through the top of your head and imagine the breath falling gently down to earth. Rest your forehead against the earth. Place this cool stone on your third eye. Your Crone’s Crowning comes closer. This is the work of your body; let your mind rest.”
Step 0. Do nothing . . .
• Follow your natural instinct: Lie in total silence, in complete darkness, and sleep, if possible, until the headache is gone.
• Like fatigue, a headache, especially a migraine, is a way to get some time alone. Is finding time for yourself usually a headache?
Step 1. Collect information . . .
Menopause often brings relief to the woman who has had migraine headaches since adolescence. Other women experience headaches for the first time during menopause, usually the result of fatigue, stress, rapidly changing hormone levels racing through the liver, and rushes of kundalini moving into the crown area.
Menopausal headaches may also be triggered by sudden (and usually short-lived) allergies to certain foods.
Headaches and migraines are a common side effect of ERT/HRT.
Step 2. Engage the energy . . .
• Rub a drop of lavender or chamomile oil briskly between your hands. When palms are warm and tingly, place them on the part of your head that aches. (It’s also wonderful to have someone do this for you.)
• If it’s tolerable for someone to hold your head, try this: Sit in a chair or lie down. Lean your head back into your friend’s hands and allow them to support your head in their palms (fingers pointing down, thumbs above the ears) for up to five minutes. Breathe fully.
• Blinking red lights can relieve extreme or severe migraines, within an hour, 72 percent of the time. Wear goggles that restrict side vision for maximum effect.
• Women with chronic migraines often benefit greatly from the help of a skilled feminist therapist.
Step 3. Nourish and tonify . . .
• Tea, infusion, or tincture of garden sage leaves offers immediate relief from a headache and helps prevent future ones.
• Black cohosh root tincture or a vinegar of fresh willow leaves will ease a headache with pain- killing methyl salicylate. Ten drops of the tincture or one teaspoon/15 ml of the vinegar is equivalent to two aspirin.
• Vervain (Verbena officinalis) was a sacred herb in the ancient matriarchies. Menopausal women use the tincture of fresh vervain flowers, 20-40 drops in water, before bed and as needed, to strengthen the nerves, relieve insomnia, dispel depression, treat nervous exhaustion, and moderate headaches, including migraines. (Vervain was a favored plant for the Maiden’s altar and the moon lodge, where she was used to promote the onset of the menstrual flow, ease cramps, reduce flooding, and quicken desire.)
• Lady’s mantle, another ancient sacred plant, has many magical attributes, including an ability to aid women who are taking on or leaving the role of mother. What a wonderful friend for an emerging crone! Try 10-25 drops of the tincture of the fresh herb several times a day to relieve headaches.
• The beautiful spring primrose (Primula veris) offers relief from menopausal headaches if taken regularly. The golden carpet of Schlesselblume on Bavarian pastures and roadsides is one of my favorite memories of Germany. If you don’t visit or live in Bavaria, you can grow and gather the blossoms of Primula officinalis instead; they’re also a good source of pain-killing salicyn. Make a tea of the dried flowers and drink several cups a day for some months. CAUTION: Sip your first cup mindfully and slowly, as some folks are allergic to primrose. NOTE: The roots of most primroses contain oil-soluble estrogenic factors and cell-softening saponins, suggesting use as an ointment for tender, dry vaginal tissue.
• Connections between foods and headaches are sketchy. There is little evidence that plants indigenous to the Americas, such as chocolate and nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers, tobacco) contribute to headaches. I do suspect that chemicals in processed foods (such as aspartame, MSG, and nitrates) and in some natural ones (aged cheeses, miso, red wine) can trigger headaches. With other foods, you’re the best judge.
Step 4. Stimulate/Sedate . . .
• Avoid alcohol. It is a known headache trigger.
• Keep cool. Being hot, from hot baths, saunas, hot flashs, exertion, or air temperature, is the second most common headache trigger. Stay cool. Stay in the shade. And just say “no” to hot tubs.
• Sedate headache pain with tinctures of skullcap, 3-5 drops, and St. Joan’s wort, 25-30 drops. I take them together, as frequently as needed, up to half a dozen times a day. Migraine sufferers take them as soon as the aura begins, before there is pain, and repeat every ten minutes for 3-6 doses.
• Anti-inflammatory, hormone-rich wild yam eases the aching heads of menopausal women. A dose of wild yam root tincture is 10-30 drops up to 6 times a day, or infused, 1-2 teacupsful a day. The lower dose, taken daily, relieves chronic headaches. In acute situations, use the higher dose.
• Soak your feet in cool water scented with a few drops of rosemary oil. Breathe deeply.
• Migraines are most frequent between 6 a.m. and noon. Take head-ache remedies before bed and on awakening to insure maximum effect.
• To banish simple headaches, soak a handful of fresh lemon balm (Melissa) leaves in a glass of wine for an hour, or drink a tea of dried leaves. If you want sleep as part of your headache cure, substitute catnip (Nepeta cataria) for the melissa.
• Feverfew (Chrysanthemum parthenium) is a much publicized remedy for migraine. It is most effective as a preventative measure: eat a sprig of the fresh plant daily. For acute headache, 2-4 fresh leaves or a cup of strong tea may help. CAUTION: May irritate mouth.
Step 5. Use drugs . . .
• Painkillers are many women’s first thought for a headache remedy. But habitual use increases the duration and frequency of headaches.
• Taking ERT/HRT? Ease off and see if your headaches ease up.
Step 6. Break and enter . . .
• Some women say their headaches are so bad that they want to blow their brains out. Perhaps menopausal headaches, like sleeplessness, are part of the physical “mind-altering” process of becoming a crone.
If you liked this excerpt by Susun S. Weed, you will want NEW Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way: Alternative Approaches for Women 30 – 90 by Susun S. Weed
December: The Healing Power of Darkness
by Lynn Woodland
In this holiday-packed time of year one could almost overlook the deepening darkness and the inclination to hibernate that are natural to the season. People of not so many generations back used to sleep more in these long nights. Not us. We turn on the lights, indoors and out, fight nature’s pull to cozy in, and schedule the splashiest late-night parties of the year. Instead of becoming quiet and introspective, we’re more likely than ever to lose ourselves in a frenetic social whirl.
There is, of course, something miraculous and hopeful happening this time every year, something truly worth celebrating: the simple, wondrous rebirth of light where the ever-increasing darkness of fall gives way to the lengthening days of winter and spring. The many spiritual holidays celebrated within days or weeks of the winter solstice all echo our instinctive understanding of light’s importance to our physical survival and spiritual renewal.
Light is an often-used metaphor for all things wise and wonderful. We “see the light,” find “light at the end of a tunnel” and a “silver lining around every dark cloud.” It’s easy to give credit for all things good to the light and simply ignore the power of dark; darkness, with its opposite connotations of fearfulness, depression, ignorance and death.
Yet, here we are in a time of year when it’s difficult to deny the presence of darkness, as hard as we may try. What’s more, whatever we ignore inevitably has a way of sneaking up from behind and tripping us when we’re not looking. This is certainly true of those aspects of self we don’t like. The ones we keep hidden in the dark nether regions of our being because they’re too painful, too shameful, or too imperfect to admit to ourselves, let alone to other people.
So, here’s a different kind of winter solstice ritual, one that honors the moment of deepest darkness that has to happen before we can give ourselves over to the jubilant celebration of light. After all, this is the perfect time of year to give darkness its due and, for once, stop trying to ignore or artificially light it out of existence. And even though it may not inspire the cheerful exuberance of spring or summer, see if this exercise doesn’t leave you clearer, cleaner, and more ready to fully embrace the deep quiet miracle of light that is the season’s truest offering.
As a starting place, take a moment to reflect on the year that’s been, the one that’s following its natural course and ending in darkness. What are the stand-out “points of darkness” you experienced this year? The very worst of times, the biggest catastrophes, the deepest despair, the times you most want to forget ever happened?
As you recall these moments, notice the feelings these memories evoke. We tend to suppress, ignore or medicate pain out of existence in much the same way we artificially cover darkness with light. Unfortunately, all these pain-coping methods don’t make pain go away, just underground until it eventually grows too big to ignore. So instead of sending one more bit of pain to the dark, crowded storage locker of your psyche, this time simply be with it.
Notice how it feels in your body. Is it a sinking feeling in your gut? An empty place in your heart? A cloud of confusion around your head? A lump in your throat? A tense, armored feeling in your muscles? A clenched feeling in your jaw or fists? A fearfulness in your bowels? Instead of turning away from these raw places, this time give them your full attention. Notice the sensation of the feeling in your body and relax into it. Stop struggling. Stop thinking, stop trying to move on or make it go away.
Also let go of familiar interpretations and judgments you have around these feelings: “My sadness is bottomless. If I truly feel it, I’ll just fall deeper and deeper until I drown.” Or “My anger is wrong. I shouldn’t have it. It will hurt someone.” Tell yourself instead that as you stop resisting feeling, pain stops being pain and becomes something usable, something healing. Go deeply enough into these dark parts of yourself until you feel your resistance letting go, struggle being replaced by surrender, tension turning into relaxation, fear giving way to an awareness that there is nothing to fear.
Now, imagine yourself in total darkness. (Try doing this at night.) Most of us can recall middle of the night anxieties where we lay awake in bed, in the dark, and our whole world looked dismal and dangerous in a way it seldom does during the day. The darkness to imagine now is a different one altogether (or perhaps the same, but we are different). This darkness is healing.
So many of us on a spiritual path have invoked the healing power of light, but what about that of dark? Imagine darkness around you like sheltering earth around a seed. Instead of imagining light pouring into the wounded places of your soul, imagine darkness, like a mother, drawing out of you the pain, doubt, worry, resentment, confusion and fear that interfere with peace. Feel it absorbing into itself the thoughts, memories and patterns that keep you from being your true self. Let the dark take back to itself all the darkness in you so there’s nothing left but light. The light that needs no artificial or external inducement. The Inner Light that has always been there. Feel yourself in this dark like a caterpillar in its chrysalis, safe and sheltered while a miraculous flurry of transformation is quietly underway.
Last, but not least, reflect again on those moments of darkness that have occurred in your life this year and now, instead of feeling the pain, ask them to show you their hidden blessings. How have you deepened, strengthened, changed direction, reached out to others or cared more deeply for yourself? How have you learned compassion, acceptance or forgiveness? Or gained clarity, broken down barriers, found your tenderness, released stubbornness and ego, or allowed others to help you? How has your very definition of who you are changed? Give thanks for the power of darkness to polish, facet and bring out the natural brilliance of your heart.
Consider sharing with another person the story of finding great blessing in this year’s points of darkness. Let the power of your spoken word change your personal mythology, transforming defeats and losses into powerful stories of resurrection.
Lynn Woodland is author of Making Miracles-Create New Realities for Your Life and Our World, from Namaste Publishing and creator of The Miracles Course, an online coaching program for living a miraculous life. Lynn welcomes your comments: email@example.com.
More on her work at www.LynnWoodland.com
Overdue for a New Point of View on the Flu?
By Dr. Shawna Eischens
Welcome to the beautiful season of Fall-the beginning of football games, all things pumpkin flavored, and the dreaded flu. The 2013/2014 season of influenza has officially started and is expected to be in full force by January/February. Before you run out and get your flu shot, read on to educate yourself so you can make the best choices for you and your family.
It is estimated that 5-20% of the United States population gets the flu each year and may experience a fever, cough, sore throat, aches, fatigue, and/or nasal symptoms. Complications may include pulmonary or cardiac issues and are of greater concern for people with asthma or those whose immune system is compromised.
For sports fans, this can be thought of as your “defensive line” preventing illness from temporarily defeating your body. Hand washing, proper nutrition (eating whole foods, vegetables, and fresh garlic, avoiding sugar, alcohol, and processed foods), sleep, and stress management are just a few ways to keep your body in prime shape to fight off lurking microbes that we encounter on a daily basis.
Even though we come in contact with many viruses and bacteria every day, we aren’t always sick thanks to our powerful internal defensive line. Contrary to what many may believe, it is not unhealthy to come down with the occasional cold or flu that passes quickly. The duration and frequency of illness is a great indicator of how our body’s immune system is functioning. By fasting or nourishing your body with anti microbial foods and herbs and allowing your body to rest to focus on healing, you will be able to overcome illnesses more quickly.
Knowing that the influenza virus is prevalent, is the flu vaccine your best option?
Reliable statistics on the efficacy of the flu vaccine are difficult to find for various reasons, but it has been estimated that vaccines are 19-89% effective at preventing the flu. Published research from June 2013 states that for those immunized against the flu in any given year, only about 1 person out of 100 received any benefit. It was also found that the immunization did not reduce complications or days lost from work due to illness. Vaccines in children aged two years or younger are not significantly more efficacious than placebo.
Since the flu vaccine is developed based on previously circulating strains and geographical region, it is difficult to know how protected you will be from this year’s influenza virus.
What’s in a flu shot?
Although ingredients vary based on the form and name of a vaccine, the following ingredients are most commonly used in influenza vaccinations.
Chicken embryo and egg protein are used to culture the virus and may create issues for people allergic to eggs.
Formaldehyde is a chemical used to inactivate the virus and is neurotoxic and carcinogenic.
Thimerosal/mercury is a preservative used in multi-dose vials. This is also a neurotoxin.
Neomycin is an antibiotic that can damage the kidneys when given intravenously.
Various other additives and stabilizers such as MSG, sucrose, gelatin, etc. are often used as well.
Just like many decisions in life and medicine, a risk vs. benefit ratio must be considered whether you want to inject these chemicals into your body to possibly avoid contracting the flu.
What other options are there besides the flu vaccine?
Foregoing a traditional flu vaccination does not mean that you should choose to do nothing to protect yourself and others against the flu. In addition to the suggestions mentioned in the “prevention” paragraph above, there are various immune boosting and anti-viral options for you to take advantage of.
Nutrient IV’s, homeopathic remedies or injections, herbal tinctures, and specific supplements are all safe and effective options to keep you healthy this flu season and beyond.
Colostrum supplementation has been shown to be at least 3 times more effective than vaccination to prevent flu in both healthy subjects and patients with high-risk cardiovascular concerns.
Homeopathic injections don’t contain eggs, viral particles or preservatives and have been shown to prevent viruses, allergies, sinusitis, and asthma.
However you decide to defend yourself against this year’s flu, know that there are various safe and effective options besides the traditional flu vaccine. To discuss options on how to protect you and your family from potential or current illness, call Dr. Shawna Eischens at Pingel Progressive Medicine (602-845-8949) and visit www.pingelprogressivemedicine.com
Ease Those Bug Bites with Easy Herbs
by Susun S Weed
Summertime means insect bites and stings. Ouch! Take a leaf from Susun S. Weed’s storehouse of natural remedies: Soothe, heal, and prevent bites with safe herbal remedies that grow right where you live, north or south, east or west, city or country. The best natural remedies for insect bites are right underfoot.
Plantain, also called ribwort, pig’s ear, and the band-aid plant, is a common weed of lawns, driveways, parks, and playgrounds. Identify it by the five parallel veins running the length of each leaf. (Most leaves have a central vein with smaller ones branching out from it.) You may find broad leaf plantain (Plantago majus), with wide leaves and a tall seed head, or narrow leaf plantain (Plantago lanceolata), with long thin leaves and a small flower head that looks like a flying saucer. Many Plantago species have seeds and leaves that can be used as food or medicine. A South American variety (Plantago psyllium) is used to make Metamucil.(TM)
How to use plantain? Make a fresh leaf poultice. Pick a leaf, chew it well and put it on the bite. “Like magic” the pain, heat, and swelling — even allergic reactions — disappear, fast! (Yes, you can dry plantain leaves and carry them in your first aid kit. Chew like you would fresh leaves.)
Poultices ease pain, reduce swelling, and help heal. No wonder they’re the number one natural choice for treating insect bites, bee and wasp stings.
Mud is the oldest and simplest poultice. Powdered white clay, which should be mixed with a little water or herb tea, can be applied directly to the sting as soon as possible. Clay can be kept on hand at all times and is less likely to contain fungal spores than the real thing. Finely ground grains such as rice or oatmeal, or bland starchy substances like mallow root, grated potato, or arrowroot powder also used as soothing poultices to ease itching and pain from insect bites.
Fresh-herb poultices are a little more complicated, but not by much. Just find a healing leaf, pluck it, chew it, and apply it directly to the sting/bite. If you wish, use a large leaf or an adhesive bandage to hold the poultice in place. Plantain, comfrey (Symphytum uplandica x), yellow dock (Rumex species), wild geranium (Geranium maculatum), wild mallow (Malva neglecta), chickweed (Stellaria media),and yarrow are only a few of the possiblities.
In the woods, you can take a leaf from a tree, chew it and apply that to the bite. Any tree will do in an emergency, but if you have a choice, the best leaves are those from witch hazel, willow, oak, or maple. Play it safe: Learn to recognize witch hazel (Hamamelis virginia) and willow (Salix species) leaves before you chew on them. Maple (Acer) or oak (Quercus) leaves are easier to recognize and safer to chew — unless you live where poison oak grows. If uncertain, avoid all shrubs and any trees with slick or shiny leaves. If the leaf you are chewing tastes extremely bitter or burns your mouth, spit it out at once.
To repel ticks, mosquitoes, and black flies, try a diluted tincture of yarrow (Alchellia millefolium) flowers directly on all exposed skin. A recent US Army study showed yarrow tincture to be more effective than DEET as an insect repellent.
If you’ve spent the day in an area where lyme disease is common, take a shower right away and scrub yourself with a bodybrush. Have a friend check you out for ticks. Also, it takes the tick some time to make up its mind where to bite, so most are unattached and will wash off.
“If the worst happens and I do get a bite, I help my immune system by taking a daily dose of 2-6 dropperfuls of Echinacea tincture. I avoid Goldenseal as I believe it could have adverse effects. If I have symptoms, I use a dropperful of St. Joan’s wort (Hypericum) tincture three times a day to help inactivate the lyme’s organism.”
Secrets of Aboriginal Healing
A Physicist’s Journey with a Remote Australian Tribe
by Gary Holz
In 1983 award-winning physicist Gary Holz was diagnosed with chronic progressive multiple sclerosis. By 1988 he was wheelchair bound. Then, in 1994, his doctors told him he had two years to live. Desperate and depressed, he followed a synchronistic suggestion and went to Australia to live with a remote Aboriginal tribe. Arriving in a wheelchair, alone, with almost no feeling left from the neck down, Holz embarked on a remarkable healing transformation of body, mind, and spirit and discovered his own gift for healing others.
Written at the request of the Aboriginal healers Holz worked with, this book reveals the beliefs and principles of the 60,000-year-old healing system of the Aborigines of Australia, the world’s oldest continuous culture. Chronicling the step-by-step process that led to his miraculous recovery, he explains the role played by thought in the creation of health or disease and details the five essential steps in the Aboriginal healing process. He explores the use of dreamtime, spirit guides, and telepathy to discover and reprogram the subconscious motivations behind illness—a process that enacts healing at the cellular and the soul level, where the root of physical illness is found.
Supported by modern science, including quantum physics, Aboriginal medicine enables each of us to tap in to healing support through the power of the body/mind/spirit connection.
Ending the War with Your Body:
An Interview with Blossom Benedict
by Corinne L. Casazza
How many of us have waged war on our bodies? In an endless circle of trying to eat right, end illness and just feel better in general, we’ve tried everything, listened to the advice of countless doctors and experts and still ended up frustrated. What if we listened to the inherent wisdom of our bodies instead? Blossom Benedict did just that and it allowed her to heal. She now teaches others how to listen to, understand and follow the clear signals our bodies are sending us. Her upcoming book, Ending the War with Your Body is due out next year.
Blossom was no stranger to illness. She had a digestive disorder, a thyroid condition, and several knee surgeries by the age of 16. A singer whose vocal cords had been ruined by disease, she felt “like my body had let me down and was sick of going to yet another specialist only to find they couldn’t solve it either. I saw everyone, plus made all the lifestyle changes: juicing, cleanses, meditation, diets, even gazing at the sun… Nothing worked!”
Learning to Listen
In searching for answers, Blossom tried conventional and alternative therapies. She only came to rely on her body’s wisdom as a last resort. Introduced to a set of tools that included questions, she became curious, wondering, “What if my body knows what it requires? What if it’s the only one that knows what it requires?”
Blossom had no idea how to listen to her body. “These questions were the first time I was introduced to the concept that your body actually has consciousness. From there I began the journey to learn how to have a conversation with my body. How to listen to it. It’s been remarkable.” Her symptoms disappeared once she gained her body’s wisdom.
Blossom recommends people begin by having a conversation with their body. “Acknowledge that your body has consciousness. I started asking things like, ‘Body do you want to eat this?’ In the beginning I couldn’t hear the answers. The more I asked, the more information I got.”
It took her a few months to stop judging and instead keep asking her body what it required and what it wanted her to know. She found her body had been giving her very clear, loud messages, but she hadn’t been listening.
Blossom asked her body what it would like to eat, to wear, and even who it wanted to have sex with! She said, “We think that we wear clothes, but our body is the one who actually wears the clothes and feels them on our skin and looks good in them. Our body has the perspective on all these things.”
She recommends learning muscle testing to hear the answers your body is giving you. It’s also important not to fixate on the answer. “If you’re not getting information, ask another question. The question itself is magic. Just by asking, you are creating space in the universe for something to show up that’s different than what you had concluded.”
One of her favorite questions is “Who does this belong to?” It was the first question she was introduced to and it really shifted things for her. “I didn’t realize I was picking up people’s judgments about food. I’d ask, ‘is this mine?’ If it wasn’t, I’d just return it to sender.”
Another powerful way to receive information from your body is to start noticing your judgments. “The more judgments you can let go of, the more information you’ll get, and the more awareness you’ll have.”
A judgment is anything that has a point of view attached to it. Blossom realized she was judging her food constantly and it was limiting her ability to understand what would work for her. “Every time I had a judgment, I’d say to myself, ‘that’s an interesting point of view.’ I love that phrase because it got me out of thinking that judgment was real or true. I could see that was just one way of looking at it.”
Go with Gratitude
Be grateful for your body. “Gratitude and judgment cannot exist in the same space. Gratitude is magical. Begin with anything you can be grateful for, like feeling the wind or the rain on your skin. Focus on this rather than on what’s not working.”
The practice of gratitude enables you to find more and more to be grateful for. “The more gratitude you have, the less judgment you’ll have and the more you can create what you truly desire.”
For More Information
To learn more about Blossom’s tools to connect with the wisdom of your body, visit her web site at: EndingTheWarWithYourBody.com. Here you’ll find a free 90 minute webinar.
Blossom Benedict is an international speaker, facilitator and transformation coach who has facilitated workshops in 12 different countries and touched thousands of lives with her dynamic presentation of life-changing tools to end the war with your body. She has a regular radio show called Lightness of Change on the Puja Network.
Corinne L. Casazza is a freelance writer based in Boston. Her latest novel Walk Like an Egyptian is available at Amazon.com and BarnesAndNoble.com. She is currently at work on a non-fiction book.
Feng Shui Tips for the Kitchen
by Denise Lynn
The preparation of food is an act of the soul, it connects us to the great cycle of life and reminds us that we are dependent upon the abundance of the earth to survive and thrive. Within the kitchen this relationship is ritualized throughout the day, every day, as meals are prepared, shared and consumed. This room also symbolizes your health, abundance and financial resources because the kitchen is where you connect with what sustains you and keeps you alive.
• Make sure your stove is clean and isn’t surrounded by clutter. A dirty stove is thought to deplete energy and drain finances. The burners are most important, but a regular cleaning of the oven and broiler is also recommended.
• Use all of the burners. Only using one or two burners may suggest you are not utilizing the full potential of the abundance which is available to you.
• Broken burners should be fixed immediately. This applies to anything on the stove that doesn’t work, such as the oven light, fan, clock, oven hinges, or cracked or broken knobs.
• Don’t leave empty pans on your stove, as this is believed to symbolize a lack of abundance.
• In Tibetan feng shui, the burner in the far left position is considered the most important, as it symbolizes prosperity. Make sure you use this one occasionally.
• The stove shouldn’t be right next to the refrigerator, if at all possible. (If it is, then put something made of wood, or a photo of trees, on the refrigerator to soften the effect of this inauspicious placement.) The reasoning is that the cooling properties of the refrigerator symbolically dampens the warming aspect of the stove. However, the fire energy becomes stronger when wood is added. Thus, the picture of something wood balanced this energy.
• You shouldn’t be able to see the stove from the front door. This is considered very inauspicious. If so, hang a wind chime, curtain, round-cut crystal, or a mobile between the door and the stove.
In the kitchen there is natural conflict between Fire and Water. The oven, stove, microwave and toaster represent Fire. Water is represented by the sink, refrigerator, freezer, and dishwasher. If the oven and sink are on the same wall, they should be separated by counter space if possible.
• Take the garbage out daily. The garbage should not be immediately visible when you enter the kitchen. Place the garbage can in a pantry or under a sink.
• Keep counters as clutter free as possible.
• There shouldn’t be any obstacles to movement in the kitchen. The cook should be able to maneuver quickly and easily throughout the kitchen.
• Generally bright, vibrant light is much better than dim light, and halogen or incandescent light is better than fluorescent.
• Toilets are considered inauspicious and shouldn’t be facing the kitchen. (If so, place a curtain or beaded curtain in front of the door and keep the door closed.)
• In traditional feng shui, an aquarium shouldn’t be in the kitchen because the water element symbolically puts out the fire element of the stove.
• Knives shouldn’t be left out on the counter, especially if they face toward anyone entering the kitchen. Put them away. (However, in a butcher block is okay, if it feels good to you.)
• If there are multiple doors into a kitchen or if, in fact, the kitchen is a passage between rooms or if it’s an open kitchen, the “chi” may be too fast, and it may be hard to hold on to money, or there may be discord between family members. As a suggestion, place wind chimes, mobiles, or faceted crystals in the doorways. Visualize peace and prosperity as you place these objects.
The most important key to great feng shui in your kitchen is paying attention to your intuition. It’s always the best guide, no matter what the feng shui “rules” are.
Denise Linn is an internationally renowned teacher in the field of self-development. She’s the author of the bestseller Sacred Space and the award-winning Feng Shui for the Soul, and has written 16 books, which are available in 24 languages. www.theMysticCookbook.com