The holiday season is upon us and they can be the most wonderful time of the year and the most difficult when trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, for yourself and others. So, this holiday, let’s help each other out by giving gifts that will help someone eat healthier, be healthier, and become more aware and active. You’ll feel great just doing it!
Smoothie Blender with Recipes
This gift is especially perfect for someone who doesn’t have time in the morning for breakfast. Other small kitchen appliances could be a crock pot, rice cooker, juicer, or even a pressure cooker; all great for healthy, organic cooking.
Session with a Holistic Nutritionist
Lots of people try to eat healthy, but are unsure of putting a program together for themselves. A nutritionist can help tailor an eating plan to a person’s individual needs, and create a plan the person is more likely to stick to.
Oil and Vinegar
This could really be a luxurious gift if you purchase a beautiful bottle of organic olive oil, and a bottle of high-quality, pure, organic, natural apple cider vinegar with the “mother” in it and remember place both bottles in a box along with a cruet set appropriate for the recipient.
Massage Gift Certificate
The gift of relaxation is wonderful to receive anytime of the year, but perhaps an especially good gift going into a new year.
Make sure it’s a good one, as some don’t count steps accurately, and include a book that offers guidance about walking and using a pedometer.
Relaxation Music CDs
My favorite ones are; “Timeless Motion” by Daniel Kobialka; “Wind Chants” by Robert Higgins (Gregorian chants), or, “Merlin’s Magic” Reiki music. Then add a handcrafted, organic soy candle with custom blends of aromatherapy-grade essential oils and 100% cotton wicks – to soothe stressed-out nerves.
A jump rope; an exercise video; an exercise stretch band or a set of weights; a State Parks Pass or National Parks Passport; or, a share in a local farm produce co-op for next summer.
Remember to support yourself, your friends, family, and co-workers in enjoying this holiday season by encouraging a “less is best attitude” around the holiday gift list. Shorten your own list of to do’s by letting go of excess. Keep it simple.
What better way to honor this holiday season than by slowing down the fast pace of life and taking a few moments to reflect, to listen and to give the gift of gratefulness to your loved ones. Let the gift of gratefulness spread from your own family and friends, to all living beings around the globe.
Have a wonderful, healthy, and happy holiday season!
By William Kitner
(KTRN Exclusive) Have you ever been having a bad day, feeling down, depressed, unmotivated, and bummed out? We all have. What do you normally do to try to get out of your funk? For some people, they may take a walk, clean the house, watch a funny movie, or call up a friend to chit chat. But what about listening to your favorite music? Try it. You might be surprised just how much better it makes you feel. First, you’re sad and lonely. Then you crank up the volume and the next thing you know, you’re moving, grooving, dancing, and playing air guitar to your favorite album. I’ll will bet you a million dollars (OK, $1) that you will absolutely feel better, almost instantly.
It’s called music therapy and it can work on virtually anyone. According to the American Music Therapy Association, it’s “the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals. It is an established health service similar to occupational therapy and physical therapy and consists of using music therapeutically to address physical, psychological, cognitive and/or social functioning for patients of all ages. Because music therapy is a powerful and non-invasive medium, unique outcomes are possible. In addition to its applications in mental health, music therapy is used successfully in a variety of additional healthcare and educational settings.”
There are numerous benefits to music therapy. You can explore personal feelings and therapeutic issues such as self-esteem or personal insight. It can help make positive changes in mood and emotional states and enhance awareness of yourself. It helps you relax and supports healthy feelings and emotions. It’s even been seen to help develop independence and decision making skills, along with improving concentration or attention span.
A recent video on You Tube has been getting quite a lot of hits. The video (see below) shows an elderly man in a nursing home. He is usually unresponsive and dead to the world. But once he starts listening to his favorite music, he practically wakes up from his slumber. His eyes widen, he taps his toes, he smiles, and he hoots and hollers. After a short session listening to music, the doctors as him questions about his past. Instead of being in a vegetable state, he begins to not only talk about his favorite music, but he even starts singing while remembering his past (he’s got a great voice too).
It doesn’t matter what type of music you listen to. Some experts will say listening to Baroque classical music will make you feel better, but honestly, pick whatever you like. If Slayer is your thing, rock out. If you like bluegrass, that’s cool too. Prog Rock? Why not? Just make sure you turn the volume to 11 like the guys in Spinal Tap.
January 27, 2012
by Anastasia Stephens, SMH
It’s a piece of advice yogis have given for thousands of years: take a deep breath and relax. Watch the tension melt from your muscles and all your niggling worries vanish. Somehow we all know that relaxation is good for us.
Now the hard science has caught up: a comprehensive scientific study showing that deep relaxation changes our bodies on a genetic level has just been published. What researchers at Harvard Medical School discovered is that, in long-term practitioners of relaxation methods such as yoga and meditation, far more ”disease-fighting genes” were active, compared to those who practised no form of relaxation.
In particular, they found genes that protect from disorders such as pain, infertility, high blood pressure and even rheumatoid arthritis were switched on. The changes, say the researchers, were induced by what they call ”the relaxation effect”, a phenomenon that could be just as powerful as any medical drug but without the side effects. ”We found a range of disease-fighting genes were active in the relaxation practitioners that were not active in the control group,” Dr Herbert Benson, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, who led the research, says. The good news for the control group with the less-healthy genes is that the research didn’t stop there.
The experiment, which showed just how responsive genes are to behaviour, mood and environment, revealed that genes can switch on, just as easily as they switch off. ”Harvard researchers asked the control group to start practising relaxation methods every day,” says Jake Toby, hypnotherapist at London’s BodyMind Medicine Centre, who teaches clients how to induce the relaxation effect. ”After two months, their bodies began to change: the genes that help fight inflammation, kill diseased cells and protect the body from cancer all began to switch on.”
More encouraging still, the benefits of the relaxation effect were found to increase with regular practice: the more people practised relaxation methods such as meditation or deep breathing, the greater their chances of remaining free of arthritis and joint pain with stronger immunity, healthier hormone levels and lower blood pressure. Benson believes the research is pivotal because it shows how a person’s state of mind affects the body on a physical and genetic level. It might also explain why relaxation induced by meditation or repetitive mantras is considered to be a powerful remedy in traditions such as Ayurveda in India or Tibetan medicine.
July 25th, 2011
By: Mary West
Is it conceivable that massage can provide more effective relief from low back pain than medication? A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests this therapy might indeed alleviate back pain better in the short term than traditional interventions of medicine, bed rest or exercise: Healthday reports.
The investigation conducted by the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle involved 400 patients who had low back pain, the majority of which were middle aged, Caucasian and female. Researchers found those who were given a series of relaxation massage or structural massage were better able to work and be active than those who were given traditional medical care, such as pain pills, muscle relaxants or physical therapy.
According to The New York Times, the study’s participants were randomly divided into three groups: structural massage, relaxation massage and traditional care. Patients in the massage groups received one hour of therapy weekly for 10 weeks.
At the conclusion of the 10 week period, over one-third of the patients who were given massage therapy reported their pain was much improved or eliminated completely, as opposed to only one in 25 patients who were given traditional care. Furthermore, patients in the massage groups were twice as likely to have spent fewer days in bed rest, used less pain pills and participated in more activity than the traditional care group.
Lead author Daniel Cherkin was surprised by the fact that structural massage did not prove superior to relaxation massage in relieving pain. Structural massage involves manipulating specific back pain related muscles and ligaments, while relaxation massage, otherwise known as Swedish massage, involves inducing body-wide relaxation.
The beneficial effects of the massage seemed not only to be experienced during the 10-week therapy period, but also to linger for a time following the cessation of therapy. Evidence of this lingering effect was manifested by the fact that the massage groups continued to display improved function six months after the study’s onset. At the one year mark, however, no significant differences were found in the three groups.
Although the researchers were uncertain of massage therapy’s exact mechanism of action for easing back pain, they voiced several theories. One suggestion was that it either stimulated tissue locally or produced a general central nervous system response. Another speculation was that merely spending time in a relaxing environment and feeling cared for might have been responsible for the improvement. An additional factor to consider is the subjectivity that is impossible to eliminate in such studies. Patients in the control group were aware that the other groups were receiving massage and this knowledge may have caused them to discount their own progress.
It should be reiterated that the study suggests rather than proves the benefit of massage for back pain. Also, some members of the American medical community not associated with the research have expressed reluctance to accept the suggested benefits as being valid.
Conversely, the study’s authors offered their assessments of its import. Cherkin characterizes the results as being “pretty strong.” He states the massage was tested on patients who did not improve using the standard medical approach to back pain treatment. He feels that massage therapy is a reasonable thing to try for anyone getting insufficient relief from this malady. The coauthor, Dr. Richard Deyo, feels that massage appears to provide clinicians with another choice for managing the challenging medical problem of chronic low back pain.
September 18th, 2009
By Bernard McGrane
1. “How many of you know how to watch television?”
2. Count the Technical Events
3. Anger and Resistance: What’s the Meaning of This?!
4. Labor in the Mode of Relaxation
5. TV And the Social Construction of Reality
6. Hypnosis Unlimited
7. Coercing Us Into Reality
8. TV Without Sound
9. The Nature of the News
10. Discoveries About Self
11. TV and the Illusion of Knowing
“How many of you know how to watch television?”
“How many of you know how to watch television?” I asked my class one day. After a few bewildered and silent moments, slowly, one by one, everyone haltingly raised their hands. We soon acknowledged that we were all “experts,” as Harold Garfinkel would say, in the practice of “watching television.”
The purpose of our un-TV experiment was to provoke us into seeing television as opposed to merely looking, and to stop the world as the first step to seeing. Here we engage in stopping the world by stopping the television.
For the experiment, students were asked to watch TV consciously. Insofar as this is sort of “Zen and the art of TV watching,” I said to them, “I want you to watch TV with acute awareness, mindfulness and precision. This experiment is about observing television scientifically, with Beginner’s Mind, rather than watching television passively with programmed mind. Ordinarily, if you are watching TV you can’t also observe and experience the experience of watching TV. When we watch TV we rarely pay attention to the details of the event. In fact, we rarely pay attention.”
Count the Technical Events
In this particular experimental odyssey, we are going to be exploring how we subject ourselves on a daily basis to the overwhelming sirens’ song of TV entertainment (the great electronic cyclops) and, like Homer’s Odysseus, we will need to strap ourselves to the mast–in this case, the mast of counting technical events. For 10 minutes simply count the technical events that occur while you are watching any show. This is a TET or Technical Events Test as Jerry Mander discusses it in Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television. What is a technical event? We’ve all seen TV cameras in banks and jewelry stores. A stationary video camera simply recording what’s in front of it is what I will call “pure TV.” Anything other than pure TV is a technical event: the camera zooms up, that’s a technical event; you are watching someone’s profile talking and suddenly you are switched to another person responding, that’s a technical event; a car is driving down the road and you also hear music playing, that’s a technical event. Simply count the number of times there is a cut, zoom, superimposition, voice-over, appearance of words on the screen, fade in/out, etc.
Now proceed with these experiments:
1. Watch any TV show for 15 minutes without turning on the sound.
2. Watch any news program for 15 minutes without turning on the sound.
3. Watch television for one half hour without turning it on.
The time requirements in these experiments are extremely important. I would urge you, the reader, to undertake the experiment personally rather than merely going on to read the results.
Anger and Resistance: What’s the Meaning of This?!
In examining the results of this experiment, one of the…
June 22, 2009
Rousing operatic music, like Puccini’s Nessun Dorma, full of crescendos and diminuendos is best and could help stroke rehabilitation, say the authors.
Music is already used holistically at the bedside in many hospitals.
Not only is it cheap and easy to administer, music has discernible physical effects on the body as well as mood, Circulation journal reports.
Music with a faster tempo increases breathing, heart rate and blood pressure, while slower-pace music does the reverse.
Dr Luciano Bernardi and colleagues, from Italy’s Pavia University, asked 24 healthy volunteers to listen to five random tracks of classical music and monitored how their bodies responded.
They included selections from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, an aria from Puccini’s Turandot, Bach’s cantata No 169, Va Pensiero from Nabucco and Libiam Nei Lieti Calici from La Traviata.
Every musical crescendo – a gradual volume increase – “aroused” the body and led to narrowing of blood vessels under the skin, increased blood pressure and heart rate and increased respiratory rates.
Conversely, the diminuendos – gradual volume decreases – caused relaxation, which slowed heart rate and lowered blood pressure.