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Archive for June, 2011

Even if you were suddenly to be living your dream life there would still be stress to deal with!

Yes, even those in the fairy tales of your childhood days still experienced stress, only they probably did not define it as such! Here are five ways to bring the stress you are experiencing way down.

1. Exercise on a regular basis. Do not think of physical activity as something you only do once in a while or every second Saturday afternoon but get out and get moving as often as your schedule allows. It is best to choose exercises that are non-competitive in nature. If you do not like to exercise alone then choose something that you can do with a family member or friend.

Vary the type of exercises you do and set reasonable goals for yourself. Studies have shown that aerobic exercise releases endorphins in your system which makes you feel good and can contribute to a more upbeat attitude.

2. Eat healthy and drink as sensibly as possible. Do not devalue the role that eating nutritiously can play in your busy life. We are often tempted to eat too much (and to eat too many of the wrong foods, i.e. fatty, fried or sugary foods) when we are feeling overwhelmed by stress. The same goes for alcohol consumption. This actually can make stress worse. Be smart and sensible about what you eat and drink!

3. Let go of the feeling that you must be in control of everything. Wouldn’t it be great if everything was within our control? Perhaps it would but it is not so accept that reality of life. Take responsibility for the things you do and let the rest go. It is exhausting trying to control the uncontrollable and you will not be successful at it anyway. Let go of futility and just live your life!

4. Be realistic in your expectations of yourself and others and set goals that you can reach. There is nothing wrong with setting the bar high but if you set it to a place that is unattainable then you are likely to get discouraged and to abandon whatever it is you are pursuing. We all have potential but we all have limitations as well. Do not lose sight of this when it comes to yourself and to others.

5. Developing effective time management skills can help to reduce the stress you are feeling. If you feel that you do not have enough time for the important things in your life such as family and friends then take a close look at how your spend your days. You may find that there are things you do that you can reduce or eliminate all together in order to concentrate on what matters most to you.  Look for meaning in your life and remember that being busy and being happy and fulfilled are not the same things.

I have some more to share so look out for my next post where I’ll share even more ways to reduce stress in your life.

Becca

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Massage is not only a relaxing way to unwind but it can also be a way to share the power of touch with your mate.

If the two of you have had an equally difficult day at work or if the kids have not given you a moment’s peace all day then a sensual massage can be equally beneficial and satisfying for both of you.

A sensual massage is a full body massage that not only helps to release tension in the body but it stills the mind and it stimulates the senses. It evolved out of the Taoist tradition and is good for the health of both males and females. Also sometimes referred to as an erotic massage, this form of massage is all about closeness and intimacy. It can serve as an excellent means of drawing lovers closer together because the power of touch is strong and undeniable.

This type of massage should be learned by both partners and they should take turns. Here we will look at how you should set the scene for a sensual massage. It should never be hurried as that defeats the purpose of it! Relaxing and releasing stress from the system is a process that needs attention and time.

Before starting it is wise to take a bath or shower as this helps to relax the individual both mentally and physically and it also raises body temperature which is what you want. This can lend itself to a sensual awakening and can enliven the senses. A soothing soak in the tub will open up your pores and it is an excellent way to prepare for the all over body experience that is to come.

The individual giving the massage should gather all supplies together first and then should set the scene.

You do not want anything to interrupt the massage. What you want to strive for is ambiance, tranquility, sensuality and a soothing calm. Dim the lights in the room and light some aromatherapy candles. Select ones that have a soft scent that is appealing to the receiver of the massage. If you would like to add some music then choose something calming to both of you.

The massage can take place on a bed, table, couch or the floor. Choose a comfortable spot and make sure that the giver of the massage can reach the recipient from every angle. Easy accessibility matters as does having space to move around in.

You want the room to be warm before you begin and you also want the massage oil to be warm. You can heat up the oil in the microwave if you like or sit it in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes. What you want is a tepid or warm temperature, not a burning hot one.

Strategy is important.

Plan your massage moves before you actually lay your hands on the other individual. It is recommended that you start with the back, then move to the shoulders, arms, hands, buttocks, legs and then feet. Once the person is sufficiently relaxed and enjoying the sensualness of the experience, turn them over and begin with a gentle face and scalp rub, then move down to the front of the legs, the tops of the feet and finally the abdomen, chest and genitals.

You can change the order if you like, whatever is comfortable for both parties but do not forget any part of the body. Just remember that the massage is a shared experience of relaxation and should be mutually satisfying to both people.

Becca

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The warmer months are here. Are you knowledgeable enough about your summertime vitamins to ensure that you are getting the nutrients you need once the temperature starts to rise?

Let’s test your know-how and get you as ready as possible nutritionally speaking for the summertime scenarios that are about to come your way.

Q. Insects and mosquitoes are a problem in the summer. The more time you spend outside camping, hiking, picnicking and playing sports the more of a problem it can be. Which vitamin when taken by mouth is an effective insect repellent? Is it vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin D or vitamin K?

A. If you guessed vitamin D because it is the sunshine vitamin then you made a good guess but the correct answer is vitamin B1. If you consume enough of vitamin B1 then the insects better beware when you come around!

Q. To prevent sunburn and/or to ease the discomfort of it if it happens to you you should  consume more dark colored berries such as blueberries, vitamin C and bioflavonoids, vitamin A or beta-carotene  or omega-3 from fish oil (or from flax seed oil)?

A. The answer may surprise you – it is all of them. Every one of these healthy items is important and should be something you take in more of when the weather is hot.

Q. If you bruise easily then you need to add which nutritional supplement to your regular diet? Is it vitamin C? Or could it be vitamin K which is often found in combination with vitamin D? Or could it be bioflavonoids or bilberry extract?

A. The answer is that it is all of these. If you bruise easily then it may be time for you to closely examine your daily diet and to start taking supplements.

Q. Which of these items should you include in your first aid kit when you head out for a fun filled day at the beach, or walk the trails or go camping? Is it vitamin C, garlic or tea tree oil?

A. The answer is tea tree oil. It is a mild antiseptic that comes in handy for everything from abrasions to bites to minor cuts to stings. No first aid kit should be without tea tree oil!

Q. It is night time in the summer and you are trying to sleep but you are just so hot! What can you do to cool down in order to be able to sleep? Should you drink some decaffeinated iced green tea with L-theanine? Should you turn on your quietest fan and place a bowl or bucket of cold water behind it so as the ice melts it will blow cold air into the room? Should you take melatonin an hour before you head to bed?

A. The answer is all three. All of these things will help you to relax and fall asleep when the room feels like it is too hot to handle!

Hopefully this simple test will help you to be more prepared for the summer that is to come and will allow you to enjoy it to its fullest! Always remember that your health needs to come first though.

Samantha

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There are lots of different types of herbs that can offer any number of health benefits. Here we take a look at some of the “A” herbs to discover what they have to offer you. Get ready to explore whole new herbal territory!

Astralagus:

Have you heard of the herb astralagus? Astralagus is a plant that has been used for medicinal purposes in China for 100’s of years.

It is native to the temperate areas of the Northern Hemisphere. It is the root of the plant that is used for healing. There are approximately 2,000 different varieties of astralagus around the world. However the astralagus that is native to Northern China has been studied to the greatest extent.

Astralagus is rich in many substances. This makes it a beneficial herb for human beings. It is rich in amino acids, flavonoids, isoflavones, trace minerals, polysaccharides, saponins and triterpeneglycosides.

Chinese Traditional Medicine (TCM) makes use of astralagus quite a bit. In TCM it is put to use for a variety of health issues. Some of its most common uses include diarrhea, night sweats, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, weakness, edema, high blood pressure and respiratory infections. It is also useful for the common cold, hepatitis, heart attacks and systemic lupus erythematosus. Astralagus is composed of anti-viral properties and is very beneficial at stimulating the immune system to help fight off illnesses such as colds and the flu.

Studies have also pointed to the fact that this herb inhibits the development and spread of cancer cells in various parts of the body.

Alfalfa:

A member of the legume family, alfalfa contains a number of minerals including calcium, copper, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, silicon and zinc. It is also rich in vitamins. In particular alfalfa contains a large percentage of the B vitamins, not to mention, beta-carotene, and vitamins C, E and K. It has also been theorized that this herb is plentiful in vitamin A but research has not proven this conclusively as of yet.

Alfalfa is used as a detoxifying agent for the body. It is also used to alkalize the body. It has also been used throughout history for constipation, ulcers and bad breath. It is beneficial in the treatment of arthritis, cancer, diabetes, anemia, osteoporosis, atherosclerosis and endometriosis.

Throughout history alfalfa was used as hay. It is one of the oldest of all plants to be cultivated. This plant is multi-functional as a selection of its parts can be used to make capsules, infusions and teas. This includes the seeds, the sprouts and the parts that are visible to the human eye that grow above the ground.

Agrimony:

If you have never heard of the herb agrimony then you are not alone. This is not a commonly known herb but it is one worth getting acquainted with. It is a member of the rose family and is a non-toxic astringent. Agrimony has tonic and diuretic properties and is safe for use with all ages, including children. Children respond particularly well to agrimony tea and agrimony capsules.

If the tea is taken between meals it can quell a sick stomach and can help to bring vomiting to an end. It is beneficial for coughs, diarrhea, diabetes, coughs, jaundice and liver problems. It can also be useful for those suffering from bed sores, bleeding and wetting.

Agrimony contains a compound called agrimophol which can eliminate parasites that have attached themselves to the lining of tissues. The presence of this herb increases the production and development of B cells which help to fight off these invaders in the body. In this way agrimony works as an immunostimulant.

It is always wise to talk to your doctor before you start taking any type of herb. Some herbs should not be taken when a person is taking prescription drugs for other health issues.

Becca

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Chiropractic fallacies and misconceptions are all around and can be found without little problem at all.

Many of these fallacies arise from the fact that many people are not aware of what this alternative practice is about and do not really understand what chiropractors do. It is also true that just like in every profession some chiropractors are simply better at their jobs than are others. Even in the medical and alternative field this is the case. Let us look behind the curtain to reveal many of the wrong assumptions that keep people from seeking a non-invasive treatment that could help them to feel better.

Chiropractors are not doctors in any real sense. True or false?

While it is the case that chiropractors are not medical doctors per se and cannot replace the work that is done for you by your general practitioner or family doctor, they are real doctors in that they spend almost as many years studying and training as do their medical doctor counterparts.

The chiropractic practice is one that encourages the body to heal itself and puts a great deal of emphasis on preventative healthcare as well. This branch of alternative medicine is concerned with the spine and the extremities.

Chiropractic treatments are only useful for back problems – yes or no?

While the health of the spine is the main thrust of this form of natural therapy, it is about so much more than the back.  Bear in mind that the spine is well connected in the body. It is attached to many other working parts that can suddenly not be working as they are supposed to work. This is where chiropractors can be of help.

Doctors of chiropractic are prevention specialists.

What this means is that they work to alleviate a number of problems that affect the spine, as well as the extremities, the joints, muscles and nerves before they have the opportunity to get started in the first place. The focus of this alternative practice is to keep infections, injuries and diseases at bay by viewing a patient as a whole and not by looking at only the symptoms that the person is suffering from. It is important for every potential patient to understand this.

A spinal adjustment will hurt and will be uncomfortable for the patient as it is taking place.

Many people are concerned about suffering during the treatment and following it. Chiropractic treatments are applied in a hands-on manner. The chiropractor applies manual pressure to the patient’s body. For that reason you may experience some sensations as the adjustment is taking place. Following the treatment you may experience some minor complaints such as soreness, a headache and a bit of weakness. These effects will not last long. They are the result of your back being put back into the proper alignment after being out of alignment.

Chiropractors spend many years in school and have a great deal of clinical experience. Rest assured that you do not have an amateur working on your precious body. These professionals know what they are doing. Most patients feel a great deal better following their treatments as opposed to feeling worse.

Samantha

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