I have my own tent on the back garden all year round and regularly go in it to feel refreshed. Not every night but it is much more beneficial than my bedroom. Underneath the stars, birds singing in the morning.
There is obviously much, much more to this vast subject, it is hoped here to give you a flavor and encouragement to try something which, has been immensely beneficial to me, I would even say life saving.
by Malcolm Evans
A leading weight-control research charity fears that exaggerated claims
about the extent of eating disorders are contributing to the general
obesity and weight issues crisis.
The Weight Foundation says that whilst major eating disorders remain
dangerous and distressing, over-zealous diagnoses are fanning the flames
of food distress.
Problem eaters and dieters are too readily being pushed into medical
categories, limiting abilities to self-help and recover.
And the campaigning and support body argues that much more research
emphasis needs to be placed on understanding dieting itself, which,
along with a growing number of experts, it contends is a major
contributor to the widespread weight and nutrition panic.
Typical predictions now commonly being made are that up to 30% of all
women will experience an eating disorder some time within their
lifetime, or that persistent dieting and frustrating obesity are
effectively eating disorders in their own right.
This is what is called 'pathologizing' - the defining of problems or
conditions into disease. Once issues become set in stone like this, the
focus of remedy changes. It goes from being voluntary habit change to
demanding treatment by third parties.
Some expert commentators not for one minute believe that up to a third
of women will suffer an eating disorder. However what a small number of
skeptical observers believe matters not at all - if people are generally
led to expect themselves to be at risk, then risk automatically
There is a mix of processes and pressures that are combining to
over-expand the territory of eating disorders.
Until recently, definitions of eating disorders have generally comprised
Anorexia and Bulimia. The research community is now settling on 'Binge
Eating Disorder' to capture the notion of repeated and out of control
overeating. BED as a concept is ring-fenced with a considerable array of
necessary anxieties and obsessions to differentiate it from lesser
Despite the cautious progress of researchers in testing the boundaries
of eating disorders, a less-sophisticated eating disorders bandwagon is
creating a disruptive and destructive momentum.
One of the pitfalls of mainstream eating disorder research remains the
somewhat catchall term �Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified�
(EDNOS), which less careful commentators are misusing as an entry point
into the eating disorder spectrum.
Individual issues of self-image anxieties, overeating, continual dieting
and obesity concerns are being conflated into broader quasi-medical
conditions. Even some of the main advocacy and support groups are being
quite loose in their 'entry level' definitions.
This is not to downplay for one minute the dangers and distress caused
by full-blown eating disorders, including serious binge eating. However
people can exercise a far greater control over what is personal and
cultural than they can over what is becoming to be seen as endemic and
Mainstream estimates of in the order of c.1.2 million cases of eating
disorders in the UK and c.8 million in the US are suddenly being revised
upwards, often drastically, by the media and by the vast number of
mainly web-based weight-loss pundits.
A greater level of care needs to be generally exercised between what is
capable of being improved by personal lifestyle choices and what needs
The Weight Foundation is researching the causes and culture of long-term
dieting. It believes that dieting, for many people, has become a way of
life largely divorced from any useful connection with weight-loss and
weight-control. Hardcore dieters need a logical methodology through
which to unpack and unpick the emotional, cultural and commercial
influences to persistent and futile dieting.
However, the more the eating disorder enthusiasts push too many people
down the road of disease labels, the lower the chances for many of
establishing a natural and relaxed relationship with food.
Author Malcolm Evans is an addictions specialist who is founder and
secretary of The Weight Foundation http://www.weightfoundation.com
by Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac.
The universal sign for choking is hands clutched to the throat. If
the person doesn't give the signal, look for these indications:
-Inability to talk
-Difficulty breathing or noisy breathing
-Inability to cough forcefully
-Skin, lips and nails turning blue or dusky
-Loss of consciousness
The Heimlich maneuver is an emergency technique for preventing
suffocation when a person's airway (windpipe) becomes blocked by a
piece of food or other object.
It can be used safely on both adults and children, but most experts
do not recommend it for infants less than 1 year old. You can also
perform the maneuver on yourself.
If choking is occurring, the Red Cross recommends a "five-and-five"
approach to delivering first aid:
First, deliver FIVE back blows between the person's shoulder blades
with the heel of your hand.
Second, perform FIVE abdominal thrusts (also known as the Heimlich
Third, alternate between FIVE back blows and five abdominal thrusts
until the blockage is dislodged.
The Heimlich Maneuver
To perform the Heimlich Maneuver on someone else:
1. Stand behind the person. Wrap your arms around the waist. Tip the
person forward slightly.
2. Make a fist with one hand. Position it slightly above the person's
3. Grasp the fist with the other hand. Press hard into the abdomen
with a quick, upward thrust as if trying to lift the person up.
4. Perform a total of five abdominal thrusts, if needed. If the
blockage still isn't dislodged, repeat the "five-and-five" cycle.
To perform the Heimlich Maneuver on yourself:
1. Place a fist slightly above your navel.
2. Grasp your fist with the other hand and bend over a hard surface
a countertop or chair will do.
3. Shove your fist inward and upward.
4. If you do not have the strength or the object is not coming out,
find the corner of a table or chair and push your body upward and
by Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac.
A blood clot is the most common cause of a blocked coronary artery.
Usually, the artery is already partially narrowed by atheromas. An
atheroma may rupture or tear, narrowing the artery further and making
blockage by a clot more likely. The ruptured atheroma not only
reduces the flow of blood through an artery but also releases
substances that make platelets stickier, further encouraging clots to
Uncommonly, a heart attack results when a clot forms in the heart
itself, breaks away, and lodges in a coronary artery. Another
uncommon cause is a spasm of a coronary artery that stops blood flow.
Spasms may be caused by drugs. Sometimes the cause is unknown.
Heart Attack: Myocardial Infarction (MI)
Signs and Symptoms present as pain that is crushing, tightness,
squeezing, band-like, radiating, cyanosis, sweating, cold, "clenching
fist over heart", pain in the ear, umbilicus, jaw, teeth, back, arm,
hand pain (often on the ulnar side), autonomic response of vomiting,
nausea or a feeling of impending doom.
About one third of people who have a heart attack do not have chest
pain. Such people are more likely to be women, people who are not
white, those who are older than 75, those who have heart failure or
diabetes, or those who have had a stroke.
Other symptoms include a feeling of faintness, sudden heavy sweating,
nausea, shortness of breath, and a heavy pounding of the heart.
Abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) occur in more than 90% of people
who have had a heart attack. Immediately and up to a few days after a
heart attack, abnormal heart rhythms are a common reason that the
heart cannot pump adequately. Abnormal heart rhythms originating in
the ventricles (ventricular arrhythmias) may greatly interfere with
the heart's pumping ability or may cause the heart to stop pumping
effectively (cardiac arrest). A loss of consciousness or death can
result. Sometimes loss of consciousness is the first symptom of a
If you suspect a heart attack, seek emergency medical treatment
immediately. Should a heart attack occur, you should go to the
emergency room and seek help immediately. Time is of essence. Only
examination by a doctor, who will administer an electrocardiogram
(EKG) and/or a blood test, can confirm if you are having a heart
The most important thing to do if you think you are having heart
Dial 911 to call an ambulance or get to a hospital emergency room as
quickly as possible so the doctor can examine and treat you.
Crush or chew a full-strength aspirin (swallow with a glass of water)
to prevent further blood clotting.
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is a combination of rescue
breathing and chest compressions delivered to victims thought to be
in cardiac arrest. When cardiac arrest occurs, the heart stops
pumping blood. CPR can support a small amount of blood flow to the
heart and brain to "buy time" until normal heart function is
To learn CPR properly, take an accredited first-aid training course,
including CPR and how to use an automatic external defibrillator
Before you begin, assess the situation before starting CPR:
Is the person conscious or unconscious?
If the person appears unconscious, tap or shake his or her shoulder
and ask loudly, "Are you OK?"
If the person doesn't respond and two people are available, one
should call 911 or the local emergency number and one should begin
If you are alone and have immediate access to a telephone, call 911
before beginning CPR unless you think the person has become
unresponsive because of suffocation (such as from drowning). In this
special case, begin CPR for one minute and then call 911.
If an AED is immediately available, deliver one shock if advised by
the device, then begin CPR.
Remember the ABCs
Think ABC - Airway, Breathing and Circulation - to remember the steps
explained below. Move quickly through Airway and Breathing to begin
AIRWAY: Clear the airway
Put the person on his or her back on a firm surface.
Kneel next to the person's neck and shoulders.
Open the person's airway using the head-tilt, chin-lift maneuver. Put
your palm on the person's forehead and gently tilt the head back.
Then with the other hand, gently lift the chin forward to open the
Check for normal breathing, taking no more than five or 10 seconds:
Look for chest motion, listen for breath sounds, and feel for the
person's breath on your cheek and ear. Gasping is not considered to
be normal breathing.
If the person isn't breathing normally and you are trained in CPR,
begin mouth-to-mouth breathing. If you believe the person is
unconscious from a heart attack and you haven't been trained in
emergency procedures, skip mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing and
proceed directly to chest compression.
BREATHING: Breathe for the person
Rescue breathing can be mouth-to-mouth breathing or mouth-to-nose
breathing if the mouth is seriously injured or can't be opened.
With the airway open (using the head-tilt, chin-lift maneuver) pinch
the nostrils shut for mouth-to-mouth breathing and cover the person's
mouth with yours, making a seal.
Prepare to give two rescue breaths. Give the first rescue breath
lasting one second and watch to see if the chest rises. If it does
rise, give the second breath. If the chest doesn't rise, repeat the
head-tilt, chin-lift maneuver and then give the second breath.
Begin chest compressions to restore circulation.
CIRCULATION: Restore blood circulation with chest compressions
Place the heel of one hand over the center of the person's chest,
between the nipples. Place your other hand on top of the first hand.
Keep your elbows straight and position your shoulders directly above
Use your upper body weight (not just your arms) as you push straight
down on (compress) the chest 2 inches (approximately 5 centimeters).
Push hard and push fast give two compressions per second, or about
120 compressions per minute. (NEW GUIDELINES - as of 1/2/2011 - an easy way to remember
the compression rhythm is to the song Staying Alive from the motion picture,Saturday Night Fever.)
After 30 compressions, tilt the head back and lift the chin up to
open the airway. Prepare to give two rescue breaths. Pinch the nose
shut and breathe into the mouth for one second. If the chest rises,
give a second rescue breath. If the chest doesn't rise, repeat the
head-tilt, chin-lift maneuver and then give the second rescue breath.
That's one cycle. If someone else is available, ask that person to
give two breaths after you do 30 compressions.
If the person has not begun moving after five cycles (about two
minutes) and an automatic external defibrillator (AED) is available,
apply it and follow the prompts.
The American Heart Association recommends administering one shock,
then resuming CPR - starting with chest compressions - for two more
minutes before administering a second shock.
If you're not trained to use an AED, a 911 operator may be able to
guide you in its use. Trained staff at many public places are also
able to provide and use an AED.
Continue CPR until there are signs of movement or until emergency
medical personnel take over.
by Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac.
A seizure is a temporary abnormal electrical activity that occurs in
a group of brain cells. Often, a recurring, unprovoked seizure is
called epilepsy, but some seizures may occur in people who do not
have epilepsy. A seizure can manifest as a temporary alteration in
mental state, tonic (contraction of short muscle groups), clonic
(involuntary contractions due to sudden stretching of larger muscle
groups), movements, convulsions, and various other psychic symptoms.
Emergency medicine (action) for a seizure depends on the type of
seizure. General seizures may cause the person to fall, which may
result in an injury.
A tonic-clonic seizure results in violent movements that cannot and
should not be suppressed. The person should never be restrained, or
should there be any attempt to put something in the mouth.
Potentially sharp or dangerous objects should also be moved from the
area, so that the individual is not hurt.
After the seizure if the person is not fully conscious and alert,
they should be placed in the recovery position.
The recovery position or semi-prone position is a first aid technique
recommended for assisting people who are unconscious, or nearly so,
but are still breathing. (See: Recovery Position, below)
It is not always necessary to call an ambulance if the person is
known to have epilepsy or if the seizure is shorter than five minutes
and is typical for them, if it is not immediately followed by another
seizure, and if the person is uninjured. (When in doubt, always call
A seizure longer than five minutes is a medical emergency.
A sudden fall can lead to broken bones and other injuries.
Before using the Recovery Position, perform the preliminary first aid
steps. The initial assessment should be done quickly, in a minute or
First assess whether the scene is safe for the rescuer. If not,
leave. Assess whether the victim is Alert, Breathing and has
Circulation (ABCs). If the victim is alert and an adult, obtain
consent before performing first aid. For children, attempt to obtain
consent from a parent, guardian, or other responsible caregiver. If
the victim is not alert, and is not breathing, check for a pulse. If
there is no pulse, perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation. If there is
circulation, perform Rescue breathing.
Next, call 911
Rescue Breathing can include:
Mouth to mouth - This involves the rescuer making a seal between
their mouth and the patient's mouth and 'blowing', in order to pass
air in to the patient's body
Mouth to nose - In some instances, the rescuer may need or wish to
form a seal with the patient's nose. Typical reasons for this include
maxillofacial injuries, performing the procedure in water or the
remains of vomit in the mouth
Mouth to mouth and nose - Used on infants (usually up to around 1
year old), as this forms the most effective seal
Mouth to mask � Most organizations recommend the use of some sort of
barrier between rescuer and patient to reduce cross infection risk.
One popular type is the 'pocket mask'. This may be able to provide
higher tidal volumes than a Bag Valve Mask
-If no spinal or neck injury is indicated
The correct position is called the "lateral recovery position. Start
with the victim lying on the back and with the legs straight out.
Kneel on one side of the victim, facing the victim. Move the arm
closest to you so it is perpendicular to the body, with the elbow
flexed (perpendicular). Move the farthest arm across the body so that
the hand is resting across the torso.
Bend the leg farthest from you so the knee is elevated. Reach inside
the knee to pull the thigh toward you. Use the other arm to pull the
shoulder that is farthest from you. Roll the body toward you. Leave
the upper leg in a flexed position to stabilize the body.
-If spinal or neck injuries are possible
When the injury is apparently the result of an accidental fall,
collision or other trauma, the risk of spinal or neck injuries should
be assumed. Movement of spinal-injured victims should be minimized.
Such victims should only be moved to a recovery position when it is
necessary to drain vomit from the airway.
In such case, the correct position is called the "HAINES
modified recovery position." HAINES is an acronym of High Arm IN
Endangered Spine. In this modification, one of the patient's arms is
raised above the head (in full abduction) to support the head and neck
First Responder Notes
If an individual has suffered a fall or injuries that suggest damage
to the spine, your priority is to keep the airway open. If breathing,
then leave them in the position you found them.
If breathing has stopped, regardless of possible injury to the
person, perform your standard checks:
DR & ABC (Danger, Response, Airway, Breathing, Circulation).
Then move them into the recovery position to open the airway. If they
do not start breathing, begin CPR. If they begin to breathe, keep
them in that position.
First Responder Priorities.
1 Breathing, everything else comes second.
2 Get Help, you are the stop gap that keeps them alive until they get
to the Hospital.
by Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac.
Stroke is often referred to as a brain attack. It is considered the
No. 1 cause of adult disability and the No. 3 cause of death in the
United States. It striking more than 500,000 people every year. A
stroke can happen at any age.
It is important to recognize stroke symptoms and act quickly. The
effects of a stroke may include paralysis, poor memory and loss of
Common stroke symptoms seen in both men and women:
-Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg (often on one side
of the body)
-Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
-Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
-Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
-Sudden severe headache with no known cause
Women may report unique stroke symptoms:
-Sudden face and limb pain
-Sudden general weakness
-Sudden chest pain
-Sudden shortness of breath
The acronym F.A.S.T. is a good way to recommend the signs of a stroke.
FAST stands for:
F - Face: This tells you that if a person's face is drooping around the
eye or mouth, this could be a sign of a stroke. If a person's face
appears to be drooping and they are experiencing numbness, they could
be having a stroke. Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the
A - Arm: This means you should check for arm weakness. A quick test is
the inability to raise both arms over head. Ask the person to raise
both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S - Speech: Check for speech impairment, such as slurred speech or
difficulty repeating simple phrases. Ask the person to repeat a
simple sentence. Are the words slurred? Can they repeat the sentence
T - Test: This is a reminder that if you do suspect a stroke, use the
FAST method and seek medical attention. If the person shows any of
these symptoms, time is important.
Spotting a stroke in a timely manner could allow clot-busting
medications to be administered and other treatments to begin. If
symptoms are spotted within three hours of onset, these people might
be eligible for clot-busting medication.
One of the problems with stroke symptoms is that many people ignore
them. For some, it's too late when they get to the hospital to do
effective treatment options. People often think their symptoms are a
The first few minutes of a stroke are critical. Call 911, and seek
attention right away.
by Bill Schoenbart and Ellen Shefi.
The seven basic emotions related to organ function are anger, joy, worry, pensiveness, sadness, fear, and shock (fright). Although the mind/body connection has been acknowledged only relatively recently in Western medicine, the interaction of emotions with the physical body is an essential aspect of traditional Chinese medicine.
Each organ has a corresponding emotion; imbalance of this emotion can affect the organ's function. For example, prolonged anger can lead to an imbalance in the liver. At the same time, liver imbalances can produce symptoms of anger, often leading to a self-perpetuating cycle.
In discussing the emotional aspect of the disease process, it is important to remember that it is normal to experience the full range of emotions. It is only when a particular emotion is experienced over a prolonged period or with particular intensity that it becomes a source of imbalance. It is obviously important for a person with severe emotional problems to get professional help from a trained psychotherapist. But even in these cases, the therapy is more effective when the corresponding organ imbalance is rectified. Acupuncture is especially effective in treating disorders of the emotions. Even when it is not completely effective in treating a physical ailment, it almost always brings about a state of emotional peacefulness.
Anger is associated with the liver. By its nature, anger causes qi to rise, leading to a red face and red eyes, headaches, and dizziness. This matches the pattern of liver fire rising. Anger can also cause liver qi to "attack the spleen," producing lack of appetite, indigestion, and diarrhea (often experienced by those people who argue at the dinner table or eat while driving).
In a more long-term view, suppressed anger or frustration often causes liver qi to become stagnant; this might result in depression or menstrual disorders. It is interesting to note that people who take herbs to release stagnant liver qi often experience bouts of anger as the stagnation is relieved. The anger passes as the condition clears. Similarly, anger and irritability are often the determining factor in diagnosing liver qi stagnation. Many people are relieved to know their rage has a physiologic basis. It is essential to avoid drinking coffee when treating anger-related liver disorders, as coffee heats the liver and greatly intensifies the condition.
The emotion of joy is connected with the heart. A disorder related to joy may sound perplexing, since most people want as much joy in their life as possible. The disorders from this emotion are not caused by happiness; rather, the imbalance comes from too much excitement or stimulation, or sudden good news that comes as a shock to the system.
When evaluating stress levels, psychologists look at all sources of stress, both positive and negative. Clearly the death of a spouse or a job loss is a significant source of stress. However, a marriage or job promotion, while a happy occasion, is also a source of stress. A person who is constantly on the go, partying, and living a life of excess can eventually develop heart imbalances with palpitations, anxiety, and insomnia. A person with heart imbalances may also exhibit emotional symptoms, since the heart is the seat of the spirit (shen). A person with extreme disturbances of heart shen might be seen chattering happily to himself with outbursts of laughter.
Such behavior results from the heart organ's inability to provide a stable resting place for the spirit. This type of imbalance is treated with acupuncture along the heart meridian. Herbal treatments consist of formulas that nourish heart blood or yin. If heart fire disturbs the spirit, herbs that clear heat from the heart are used.
A very common emotion in our stress-filled society, worry can deplete the energy of the spleen. This can cause digestive disturbances and eventually lead to chronic fatigue: A weakened spleen cannot efficiently turn food into qi, and the lungs are unable to extract qi from air efficiently. A person who worries too much "carries the weight of the world on her shoulders," a good description of how a person feels when her weak spleen qi leads to dampness. Treatment would include moxa and herbs that strengthen the spleen, allowing a person the energy to deal with life's problems instead of dwelling on them.
Too much thinking or obsessing about a topic can also deplete the spleen, causing a stagnation of its qi. A person with this condition may exhibit such symptoms as poor appetite, forgetting to eat, and bloating after eating. In time, the person may develop a pale complexion from a deficiency of spleen qi. This can eventually affect the heart, causing the person to dream about the same subjects at night. Students are often affected by this imbalance; the standard treatment is use of herbs that tonify heart blood and spleen qi.
Sadness or grief affects the lungs, producing fatigue, shortness of breath, crying, or depression. Treatment for this condition involves acupuncture to points along the lung and kidney meridians. Often, herbal formulas are used that tonify the qi or yin of the lungs.
The emotion of fear is related to the kidneys. This relationship can readily be seen when extreme fear causes a person to urinate uncontrollably. In children, this can also manifest as bed-wetting, which psychologists have linked to insecurity and anxiety. Long-term anxiety due to worrying about the future can deplete the kidneys of yin, yang, and qi, eventually leading to chronic weakness. Treatment involves tonifying the kidneys with yin or yang tonics, depending on the particular symptoms.
Shock is especially debilitating to the kidneys and heart. The "fight or flight" reaction causes an excessive release of adrenaline from the adrenal glands that sit on top of the kidneys. This causes the heart to respond with palpitations, anxiety, and insomnia. Chronic stress from shock can be very debilitating to the entire system, causing a wide range of problems. Severe shock can have a long-term effect on the heart shen, as is evident in victims of post-traumatic stress syndrome. Treatment involves psychotherapy, herbs that calm the spirit and nourish the heart and kidneys, and regular acupuncture treatments.
About the authors:
Bill Schoenbart has been practicing traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) since 1991, when he earned a Masters degree in TCM. He teaches TCM medical theory and herbalism at an acupuncture school in California, and also maintains a clinical practice.
Ellen Shefi is a licensed massage technician, licensed acupuncturist, and registered dietician. She is a member of the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, the American Herb Association, and the Oregon Acupuncture Association.
by Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac.
Rich and aromatic plant oils are most often associated with aromatherapy and are usually used in massage oils, incense and are diffused in the air for a soothing and healing affect. The benefits of essential oils can also be found with their tantalizing use in the kitchen. Cooking with essential oils is just another way of being creative with food preparations.
Essential oils are classified into three main categories and explain their benefits. The oils are classified as notes, top, middle, or base notes. These single notes have a general rule of thumb:
*Top notes: are the fastest acting and quickest to evaporate. Lasting 3-24 hrs.
*Middle notes: are the moderately volatile, affect metabolisms, body functions. Last 2-3 days.
*Base notes: are slower to evaporate, the most sedative and relaxing oils. Last up to approximately one week.
When cooking with essential oils, it is important to know that because they are extracted as nectar, they are very concentrated. Essential oils therefore, can add zest to any recipe and enrich the flavor of your creation. The FDA considers essential oils as a food additive and regards a majority of these oils as safe for use. Their safe use requires they be used in moderation and with proper care.
Here is a list of Essential Oils Certified as Generally regarded as safe (GRAS) and Food Additives (FA) by the FDA.
Angelica, Basil, Bergamot, Chamomile, Roman, Chamomile, German, Cinnamon Bark, Citrus rind (all), Clary Sage, Clove, Coriander, Dill, Eucalyptus glob., Frankincense, Galbanum, Geranium, Ginger, Grapefruit, Hyssop, Juniper, Jasmine, Laurus nobilis, Lavender, Lemon, Lemongrass, Lime, Melissa (lemonbalm), Marjoram, Myrrh, Myrtle, Nutmeg, Orange, Oregano, Patchouli, Pepper, Peppermint, Petitgrain, Pine, Rosemary, Rose, Savory, Sage, Sandalwood, Spearmint, Spruce, Tarragon, Tangerine, Thyme, Valerian, Vetiver, Ylang Ylang.
The flavor of these herbs and fruits are concentrated in their volatile oils, which are extracted by different methods in order for us to benefit from them. With this many oils at our fingertips, making tasteful, mouthwatering culinary dishes can be fun and inventive. Here are some general guidelines for certain groups of oils:
Fruity oils: such as lime, lemon, orange, tangerine, grapefruit and mandarin can add zest and a full flavor to drinks, desserts and sweet and sour recipes. Because these are generally top note oils, they evaporate quickly so adding them into your recipes toward the end is recommended.
Acrid or Spicy oils: such as black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, cumin and ginger are warming oils. A little of these oils go a long way. These are great oils for winter recipes or whenever you want to add a little spice to your food. They also are considered aphrodisiac oils.
Cooling, Mint oils: such as mint, peppermint and spearmint are great in recipes that call for a hint of mint such as jams, jellies, sauces or in a cooling tea for reducing heat in the body.
Floral oils: such as geranium, jasmine, lavender and rose are versatile and full-bodied in scent and essence. It takes thousands of petals to produce an ounce of rose oil. Lavender oil is rich in scent and flavor and can be added to meats, desserts or any creative recipes you make. These floral oils can entice and bring out the best in any culinary adventure.
Herbal oils: such as basil, dill, fennel, marjoram, mellisa, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon and thyme are rich and flavorful oils that only need a hint in any recipe to embody an herbaceous taste.
When making recipes with essential oils, a little goes a long way. The rule of thumb is to add the oils toward the end of the simmering, baking or boiling process. The heat will evaporate the oils quickly; so in order to take advantage of the oils scent and flavor, adding them into the recipe at the last minutes prolongs the goodness.
The possibilities for flavoring are endless. The best way to try your creation with essential oils is through trial and error. It is recommended that 2-3 drops of oil in a recipe would have its greatest effect. Below are some general guidelines and suggestions for oils by groups.
For meat dishes consider: such as basil, clove, dill, fennel, marjoram, mellisa, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon and thyme
For fish and seafood consider: black pepper, fennel, lavender, lemon, lime, orange, parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme.
For poultry consider: basil, dill, fennel, lemon, marjoram, mellisa, orange, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon and thyme
For salad dressings consider: basil, clove, lavender, lemon, lime, rosemary, sage and thyme.
For desserts consider: cardamom, cinnamon, clove, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, lime, mandarin, nutmeg, orange, peppermint, spearmint and tangerine.
For refreshments and drinks: cinnamon, grapefruit, lavender, lime, lemon, mandarin, orange, peppermint, spearmint and tangerine.
Seasonal recipes can spark up any celebration, new moon or gathering. Adding essential oils to these recipes allow us to take advantage of the herbs and oils of that particular season and offer a taste of what the holiday will bring! Here are some seasonal recipes that can be created now or anytime!
Roast, grill or bake a whole chicken. Add 2 drops each of rosemary lemon and sage oils in a mixing cup. Add 4 tablespoons of olive oil to the essential oils. Brush the cooked chicken with the mixture, cover the chicken and place it back on the heat for 10-15 minutes. Allow the oils to penetrate the chicken for a full-bodied flavor. Serve.
Summer Cooler Treats
To a 2-quart pitcher of water add 2 drops each of two of these oils of cinnamon, grapefruit, lavender, lime, lemon, mandarin, orange, peppermint, spearmint and tangerine. Stir the mixture and add ice and a sprig of mint or rind of orange for color. Serve.
Fall Pot Roast
Add 2 drops each of basil, clove and tarragon oils in a mixing cup. Add 4 tablespoons of olive oil to the essential oils. Brush the mixture on the uncooked meat. Roast the meat in the oven. You may want to consider roasting in a roasting bag to keep in the flavor and juices from the meat. Once the meat is cooked, remove the pot roast and brush the meat again with the mixture. Place it back on the oven and let it roast for 10-15 minutes longer. Serve.
Winter Warmer Meatloaf
Make a mixture of hamburger, ground turkey meat, ground chicken meat or a combination of these, into a bowl with your other ingredients (which may include tomatoes, oats, breadcrumbs, egg whites, spices). Add 2 drops of dill, fennel, mint and sage to the mixture. Form into a loaf. Bake. Serve.
by Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac.
As always prevention is the key. Maintaining the condition of our
heart is important, no matter if you are working with a healthy
heart, or have had a stroke, high blood pressure, congestive heart
failure....aromatherapy can help! Here are a few recipes:
Heart Care Blend
-reduces stress, improves circulation, nervous system and lowers high
To one tablespoon of carrier oil add:
2 drops Rosemary
2 drops Bergamot
-Massage in the chest and heart area, throat and neck. Always working
towards the heart.
-Pour oil blend into the bath.
Healthy Heart Blend
To one tablespoon carrier oil add:
1 drops Geranium
2 drops Bergamot
3 drops Clary Sage
-Massage in the chest and heart area, throat and neck. Always working
towards the heart. -Pour oil blend into the bath. Works as a sensual
Circulation Stimulation Blend
To one tablespoon of carrier oil add:
2 drops Bulgarian Rose
2 drops Rosemary
1 drop Pepper
2 drops Ginger
2 drops Rosemary
1 drop Geranium
-massage this blend into shoulders, arms, back and front of neck and
chest, heart center. Always massage towards the heart.
Improves and stimulates circulation, strengthens the nervous system.
Heart Spirit Blend
To 4 oz. of carrier oil (almond, sunflower, safflower...) add:
10 drops Bulgarian Rose oil
4 drop Rose hips
2 drop Rosemary
Add 4-5 Rose petals to the blend.
-Massage this oil blend into the wrists, ankles, neck
and anywhere else that seems appropriate!
by Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac.
I am often drawn to the psychological aspects of any healing modality
and essential oils are no different. Roses represent Love, Trust and Self-Acceptance.
Originally from Asia, there are some 250 species with over 10,000
hybrid varieties. Only three can be distilled for their aromatic
perfume. Rosa Gallica (French Rose), Rosa Damascena (Damask Rose) and
Rosa Centifolia (Cabbage Rose). It is the Bulgarian Damask Rose that
gives the finest quality of distilled essence or "Otto".
Since it takes about 120 lbs or 60,000 roses to be distilled down to
1 ounce of Rose Otto, it is reasonable to see why it is such an expensive essential oil.
Rose Absolute, created by using a solvent in the process of
distillation, allows for this oil to be significantly less expensive
and is used by the perfume industry. Often blended in a base of
jojoba or sunflower oil, Rose Absolute is what is often sold by most
essential oil companies.
A gentle Heart tonifier, Rose's psychological properties play mostly
upon it effects on the mind. The mind, which is the center of our
emotional being, extends it's energy to the heart. Rose oil calms,
nourishes and supports the heart and helps restore a sense of well
being. Rose oil can be very beneficial in helping with anxiety,
palpitations and insomnia.
The compassion of the Rose is seen through it's ability to heal
emotional wounds. When loss, rejection or sorrow has injured our
capacity for nurturing and self love, Rose oil brings a sweet and
gentle comfort, binding the "heart strings" from the Heart to the
In cases of a broken heart, injured from abuse or hurt, Rose oil can
reach deep to warm the soul again and touch the deepest despair,
restoring the trust that makes it possible to love again.
In Traditional Chinese Herbology, Mei Gui Hua (Flos Rosae Rugosae) is
looked at in a beautifully poetic manor. Rose buds regulate the Qi
Energy and harmonize the connection between the Spleen and Liver,
soothing distention, pain, fullness and indigestion. Roses are also
utilized in a tea for mildly moving Qi related to Menstrual
Disorders. The Heart which is Yin, is paired with it Yang channel,
the Small Intestines. It is stated that when emotional problems of
the Heart take over and become excess in nature, we tend to see
Urinary tract infections in the lower portion of the body.
Roses were called the "Queen of Flowers" by the Greek poet Sappho.
The exquisite fragrance, sweet aroma, blushing colors and
considerably therapeutic effects, ensures its special place in the perfumery and medicinal Materia Aromatica that is no less revered today!
Botanical name: rosa damascena
Use: fights infection, reduces inflammation, relieves muscle spasms.
Increases urination, bowel movement, regulates menstruation. Calms
nerves, decreases depression, stimulates sexual desire.
Perfume Note: Base
Blends well with: Jasmine, Fennel, Vetiver, Geranium, Clary Sage
Production method: steam distillation
Aromatherapy benefits: relaxing, soothing, sensual
Aroma type: sweet, floral
Safety Information: nontoxic, non irritant.
by Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac.
With obesity becoming an epidemic in the United States, particularly
among children, we need exercise more than ever!
I get many emails a week about exercise and how and when to go about
it. For the most part, you can find the general answers here:
For heart health, cardiovascular and fat burning needs, aerobics is
essential. I am always telling patients that by simply moving (a
brisk walk, jogging, cycling, skating...) you will increase your
heart rate, increase energy levels, improve circulation, work the
heart and lungs, improve your mood, increase lean muscle mass,
decrease body fat and relieve stress, especially when done on a long
Frequency, duration, and intensity are the three determinants. How
many times per week are you working out? For what period of time? At
what level of intensity? These determinants will establish the
overall effectiveness of your exercise program.
Most experts recommend, that if you are a beginner, start with 3
times per week, 20-30 minutes per session. If 20 minutes is to
difficult to begin with, that's fine just keep at it until you reach
the 20 minute goal. (In order for your heart to benefit, you should
try to exercise aerobically for a minimum of 20 minutes.) By
beginning slowly, you can gradually work up to more exercise. Those
who start right into an exercise routine 5 or 6 times a week will
burnout and probably injure themselves as the go.
For those who are comfortable with aerobic activity for at least 20
minutes, 3 times per week, it is NOW TIME to increase the length of
your workouts to 30 minutes and to exercise 4 times a week (rather
than 3). If 20 minutes of exercise has been the goal you have reached
for two weeks now, try increasing the duration in small increments by
5 additional minutes. This will make the transition easier.
For those who are comfortable with aerobic activity for at least 30
minutes, 4 times per week, it is NOW TIME to increase the length of
your workouts to 40 minutes and to exercise 5 times a week (rather
A variation on this theme is to increase the resistance/intensity in
your aerobic activity. By doing so, you will increase your caloric
burn by a large percent! If you are using the stair master, steps or
elliptical machines, try increasing the "effort number" or height of
the incline on your machine and you will appreciate the additional
effort! If you are in a cardo class, jogging or fast walking, take a
small weight with you. 2-5 lbs. will make a world of difference.
To avoid overuse injuries such as tendonitis, shin splints... you
should cross train (one day try walking, the next day ride a bike,
the following day participate in an aerobics class...).
Remember, aerobic exercise is essential for weight loss,
cardiovascular fitness and body-shaping. Current research supports a
complete fitness program. A complete program should include aerobic
exercise, anaerobic exercise and stretching. To be successful, you
must incorporate it into your lifestyle, like eating well and getting
good quality sleep.
It's time to step it up!
by Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac.
The proper sit up can be easy and very effective in strengthening your abdominal core.
The Abdominals are composed of several muscles: the Rectus Abdominus, Transverse Abdominus, and the External and Internal Obliques. The Abdominal muscles sit on the front and sides of the lower half of the torso, originating along the rib cage and attaching along the pelvis. The Rectus Abdominus flex the spine (bringing the rib cage closer to the pelvis). This is seen in the abdominal crunching movement. The Transverse Abdominus acts as a natural weight belt, keeping your insides in. This muscle is essential for trunk stability. The Internal and External Obliques work to rotate the torso and stabilize the abdomen.
Exercises that work the abdominals include abdominal crunches, side crunches, leg raises, abdominal sit-ups, cable crunches, hanging leg raises, side bends, ab machine crunches, Swiss ball crunches and decline board sit-ups.
The idea is to do a set of exercises in succession in order to exhaust the muscle groups to muscle failure, meaning to the point were the muscles are worked where you cannot do another rep.
Do not stop between sets. Connect all the sets together. Stopping between sets allows the muscles to recuperate and this takes twice as long to reach your goal of muscle failure.
Overkill is often the end results of those who are not sure what they are doing. Increase the intensity, decrease your repetitions. By doing half the amount of sit ups you do now, only more intensely, will produce a more significant result. Try going up slow and down even slower!
Your number one priority is to protect your back, neck and spine from over twisting, strains and pain. There should be no pain, when doing sit ups any where else in your body. In fact, the word "pain" is not appropriate. When doing sit ups, you should feel an exhaustion in the muscle groups of the abdomen or "burning sensation". You are working the muscle group and there should be a sense of this, but this should not be considered pain.
Everyone's body is different. You have to listen to your body. What exercise is appropriate for one person, may not be for another.
You want to consider working the three major muscle groups when doing abdominal work; lower abs, upper abs and obliques.
Lay on the floor.
Place your finger tips behind the back of the head (not the neck). Lightly touch the finger tips to frame the occiput or little bone that protrudes from the back of the skull. Do not lace the fingers. Do not carry the weight of your head in your hands. You should be able to do a sit up, without your hands touch your head. The work in raising and lowering the abdominals should come from your center core of muscles.
Imagine a tennis ball ALWAYS under your neck. There should always be space between your chin and your chest. When raising up for a sit up, imagine the chin open and a straight line from the back of the spine to the top of the head lifting you up as if you were laying on a board. One line. Always keep your elbows back in the same line as your ears. Take a moment to picture this in your mind.
Pull the abdomen to the floor. Engage the abdomen from your center each time you sit up. You do not have to sit up very far. Just enough to really feel the abdomen engaging in the lift.
Exhale on the crunch, slowly. Inhale as you move back down, twice as slow. This is called working the "negatives". This is were the extra "burn" comes from and ultimately your best work.
Always keep the lower back on the floor. This will always guarantee the protection of the lower back and spine.
A basic crunch is ultimately working the entire abdomen, your center core, as well as your upper abdomen.
The lower abs, which seems to be the hardest for most people and often the most neglected (as you can tell when you are walking down the street and see others around you) is essentially as easy as the other areas to work.
Simply place your two fists under the back of your buttocks, on the floor. Keep the lower back securely on the floor at all times. Raise your knees to your upper abdomen, keeping them as close to your body as possible. You only have to slightly raise your tailbone off the floor to benefit from the work. But, hold the lift for two or three seconds before you lower your tailbone back to the floor. The movement should be very small. Keep your knees together and in place. Do not allow your legs to move all over the place. Remember, tight and compact. Keep it small.
Obliques should be done by crossing the body over the midline, the center of your body. Bend your knees and place them flat on the floor. Lightly touch the finger tips to frame the occiput. A variation of this is to place one hand on the back of the head while the other hand slides along the side of your body, palm up, as you do each sit up. Pull the abdomen to the floor. Engage the abdomen from your center each time you sit up, crossing the midline with your opposite arm and chin. You do not have to sit up very far. Just enough to really feel the abdomen engaging in the lift. Exhale on the crunch, slowly. Inhale as you move back down. Do all the oblique crunches on one side, then switch to the other side.
An effective goal is about 30-40 crunches in each position, without stopping in between.
After your sit ups, stretch the feet and hands in opposite directions on the floor as if you are trying to pull the abdomen apart.
You are on your way to a healthy, strong abdominal core.
Do not forget that no matter how many sit ups you do, you will never achieve those ripped abs if you do not complement your ab workout with cardiovascular exercise and a proper diet. Diet is just as much a part of fitness as exercise, and what you eat will affect every aspect of your workout. A proper diet also influences the results of you fitness plan, since it helps build muscle and decrease the percentage of fat in your overall body weight.
by Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac.
You can spend hours and hours a week trying to reduce these "love rolls" by cardio assault or weighted side bends but to no avail!
Aerobic activity is just one part of the entire equation need to reduce the "love sacks". Weighted side bends will build the muscle under these "love bundles" and actually make them appear even larger!
Diet (what you put in your mouth) and moderate aerobic exercise together are far more important than any twists will ever be.
The bottom line: The BEST way to reduce all that stored fat is simply by limiting the amount you normally take in. Eliminate excess fats and sugars.
It is also important to burn off any excess fat through some type of cardiovascular exercise- cycling, aerobics, jogging or rowing- three to four times a week for 30-45 minutes.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, drinking water helps you burn fat. Studies have shown that a decrease in water intake, will cause fat deposits to increase. Without water, the kidneys cannot effectively filter out the waste products and other chemicals which build up in the bloodstream and interfere with the liver's ability to metabolize fat. As a result, you become more likely to store fat and less likely to burn it.
Ironically, drinking more water is the BEST remedy for water retention. When your body is low in water, you retain pockets of salt and water under the skin, as a defense mechanism. For your body does not know when it will get its next drink. This stored water and salt under the skin will create a puffiness and looks like fat. Drink plenty of distilled water or low sodium water and avoid high- sodium foods.
The FDA recommends limiting your intake of fat to 65 grams per day. By safely and carefully selecting your foods so that your fat consumption is about 30 grams per day, you can see a significant amount of weight loss, depending on your body mass index. (To learn your body mass index got to www.peacefulmind.com/ailments.htm). Your body expends a certain amount of calories upon digestion. Proteins are burned at the highest rate-20-25%, Carbohydrates 8-10%, and Fats only about 2%. This is known as the Thermic Effect of Food.
Doing cardiovascular exercise on an empty stomach, is the single BEST way to brun maximum amounts of fat. Low muscle-glycogen stores triggers the body's fat burning mechanism and fat burning enzymes work best first thing in the morning when your body is low on glucose (sugar) after its overnight fast. Research has also found that eating breakfast after cardio exercise, increases glycogen production by 90% which means MORE ENERGY the rest of the day! Research has also found that caffeine HELPS cut into fat. So a cup of coffee (without sugar...try STEVIA herb) and cardio execise before breakfast is a fat- fighting solution worth exploring.
This fact cannot be stressed enough: EAT five or six small meals a day will prevent hunger pangs, provide constant energy, increase your metabolic efficiency- improving you fat lossing abilities- and decrease your risk of heart attack. Consume lean sources of protein- skinless white meat poultry or fish, with fibrous water rich vegetables- string beans, tomatoes, cucumbers. Protein shakes or meal replacement bars work well as one of your small meals. Be aware of the carbohydrates in most bars and shakes for they can be extremely high. Medium to low amounts of carbs 2-14 grams a bar is sufficient.
by Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac.
I was at the beach this past Memorial day and was astonished, when I started noticing a pattern in men (of ALL ages) and that was the lack of control and amount of fat many men have, starting from their navel to their pubic bone! It is not unusual as a man ages that this starts becoming more pronounced, yet I was seeing these basketball ponches of belly fat on young guys!
Over the years, I have had many male patients of all shapes and sizes. The majority of the times a man whom seeks treatment with me, tends to be searching for help in the three most important areas a man cares about, his sex drive, losing weight and coping with the signs of aging. Most often the situation I am talking about here, often affects all three of these issues in men and that issue is belly fat. I am referring to the part of a man that is most often the weakest and that is his lower abdomen.
I have struggled with my own weight over the years. As a dancer, your weight becomes a central player in your life. It was because of dance that I lost my baby fat as a teenager. As I grew older and changed careers my other life as a yoga teacher, gym rat and healthcare professional have kept me in tune and constantly aware of my body and how I would lose and put on weight. Into my 40's when my metabolism seemed to change more
drastically, I really became aware of how my diet was the number one controller of how my body reacted and looked.
No matter what your age, your diet is the key to those flat, washboard abs! You can do all the crunches and cardio you like, but if you are putting the wrong foods in your mouth and at large quantities, you will never have the great abs you may be working for.
A man must maintain his weight based on his height and proportions. If you are overweight and you cannot even see your shoes when you look down, a restricted caloric diet is essential. In this case, a man should restrict their calorie intake to 1500 a day. You must be aware of your calorie intake. If you are unsure about the calories in your meal, I feel it is essential to learn this amazing tool for affective weight loss. Record in a ledger or journal the calories of everything you put in your mouth for one week. Be in tune to the total calories you consume daily, and make an effort to replace high-fat foods with low-calorie ones like vegetables and fruits.
If you are a man who does physical exercise, is conscious of what you eat and still
needs to lose a few vanity pounds, it is important that you do three things.
-Make sure you are having protein with every meal.
-Lift heavier at the gym, with longer periods (days in between workouts) of rest
-Be extremely cautious of your calories from fat. Keeping fat intake to less than 40g per day should be your goal.
We know from the science that 1 pound of fat is equal to approximately 3,500 calories, so a daily calorie deficit of 500 (calories less), should result in 1 pound per week of fat loss. Of course, we have to take into account body weight and height, age, gender, and exercise level, but maintaining these guidelines can make an extreme difference.
I cannot stress enough how discipline is the second most important aspect in losing weight or achieving those strong abs! It is the secret to the most effective, efficient and well strategize plan you can give yourself! Being successful, losing weight, maintaining relationships are not tasks that come easy for most people. They are all things we must work hard at creating, keeping and maintaining!
So again, diet is the key to flat lower abs. All those sit ups will not bring those abs popping out through the layers of fat. As you lose the weight, those abs start to emerge themselves. Working on them in the gym will help to bring out the definition. As that layer of fat dissolves, your abs become more pronounced.
Two exercise secrets to maintaining those lower abs come in the form of isolations.
Exercise 1. This sit up is done by laying flat on the floor or exercise mat. Bend your
knees to a 45 degree angle with your feet on the floor. Ankles close together but not touching.
A. Lace your fingers and place them behind your head. Engage the movement from your core center lifting your head and upper shoulders off the ground. Keep your lower back on the ground. Lift your toes toward your chest. Keep the heels on the ground.
B. Slightly tuck and lift your coccyx bone off the ground.
C. Return your toes and head back to the starting position. Repeat 20-40 times.
Special notes: Do not pull on your head with your hands. The hands are just at the head for placement not for yanking your upper body toward your lower body. The lift comes from engaging your lower abdomen, not pulling your head upward. The slight tilt and lift of the coccyx bone is all the contraction you need to stimulate the lower abs.
Exercise 2. Slightly more advanced. This sit up is done by lying flat on the floor or exercise mat. Tuck your fists, one under each buttock. Slightly tuck your coccyx bone down by tipping your pelvis up. Nothing leaves the ground. Bring your feet and ankles off the ground and bend your knees at a 45 degree angle and center them over your pelvis.
A. Your knees are centered over your pelvis and ankles stay together.
B. Now, pull your lower abdomen in tight, initiating the movement from your lower
abdomen and rock (very controlled) the knees ever so slightly toward your chest as your
coccyx bone lifts slightly off the ground.
C. Bring your knees back over your pelvis. Repeat 20-40 times.
Special notes: Do not let your knees return back any further than your pelvic
bones. Otherwise, you put stain on your lower back. Also, you keep your head on the
floor. You may want to roll a towel up and put it under your neck for support (the back
of the head should still touch the floor.)
Variation to this exercise. Instead of bring the knees to the chest, slightly
straighten the knees and lift the heels toward the ceiling just about two inches, as
your coccyx bone lifts slightly off the ground, then return.
So, to recap, the secrets to great lower abs are a proper diet, (calorie and fat controlled) and two great lower ab exercises. This combination will give you the flat lower abs that completes the six pack. When we are weight proportional and not struggling with belly fat, our hormones are more regulated. This means better sex drive and also the metabolic boost we need to feel and look younger. You will also find your pants fit better and if you're consciously pulling those abs in when you walk, they will help to prevent lower back pain and keep your core strong and upper carriage taller!
by Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac.
We expect things in life. We expect things to be as they were in our
childhood, the way we were brought up. We expect things to be the way
we want them to be, the way we feel things should be. We expect
things to be the way we want them to be in our love life, our
careers, our families, our vacations and our relationship with others.
"The greater you expect things to be, the harder it is to deal with
things that do not go your way!"
Already, I can sense resistance!
Having no expectations is one of the greatest lessons we can learn.
This is not an easy concept to wrap your mind around.
In my practice, I see this everyday:
The 30 year old female who gives up other interests, activities, and
friends, now that she is in this new relationship. She is expecting
that each new relationship is "the one." She feels incomplete without
a relationship and she is expecting that he will change into the man
she wants him to be.
The 75 year old grandmother, who expects her children and grand
children to all be with her on every single holiday.
The 23 year old college grad who expects to have all the computer
companies knocking at his door to employ him because he was at the
top of his graduating class.
Are you ready to forget about what you think you want, and learn
more about the endless possibilities that are available to you?
1. Allow change to happen freely.
2. Let go of old ideas.
3. Embrace new ideas, no matter how different they are from yours.
4. Conflicting thoughts are not a threat. They can be a window of
5. Go into EVERY situation with an open mind.
6. Follow a new idea or opportunity where IT leads you, NOT where you
want it to go.
7. Take a new situation, one day at a time.
8. Be available mentally, emotionally, spiritually for an approach
that may be different than yours.
9. Find the positive in EVERY situation that is presented to you. Why
was this situation brought to me?
10. Learn the lesson the Universe is tossing your way.
Progress is not possible unless people embrace new ideas, mind sets,
skills and expectations to match the opportunities afforded by the
introduction of something new to them!
By allowing yourself to be open to ANYTHING that is new to you and
giving it a chance, you can find your life going in the direction of
new adventures and endless possibilities!
Try it today!
by Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac.
Nearsightedness, or myopia, is a vision problem experienced by up to
about one-third of the population. Nearsighted people have difficulty
reading highway signs and seeing other objects at a distance, but can
see for up-close tasks such as reading or sewing.
Myopia Symptoms and Signs
Myopic people often have headaches or eyestrain, and might squint or
feel fatigued when driving or playing sports. If you experience these
symptoms while wearing your glasses or contact lenses, you may need a
comprehensive eye examination as well as a new prescription.
What Causes Myopia?
Myopia occurs when the eyeball is slightly longer than usual from
front to back. This causes light rays to focus at a point in front of
the retina, rather than directly on its surface.
Nearsightedness runs in families and usually appears in childhood.
This vision problem may stabilize at a certain point, although
sometimes it worsens with age. This is known as myopic creep.
Hyperopia, or farsightedness, is a common vision problem, affecting
about a fourth of the population. People with hyperopia can see
distant objects very well, but have difficulty seeing objects that
are up close.Hyperopia Symptoms and Signs
Farsighted people sometimes have headaches or eyestrain, and may
squint or feel fatigued when performing work at close range. If you
get these symptoms while wearing your glasses or contact lenses, you
may need an eye exam and a new prescription.
What Causes Hyperopia?
This vision problem occurs when light rays entering the eye focus
behind the retina, rather than directly on it. The eyeball of a
farsighted person is shorter than normal.Many children are born with
hyperopia, and some of them "outgrow" it as the eyeball lengthens
with normal growth.
The hyperopic eye is shorter than normal. Incoming light focuses
behind, instead of on, the retina. Near objects look blurry to farsighted people.
Sometimes people confuse hyperopia with presbyopia, which also is a difficulty in seeing up close, but has a different cause.
Those who lose the ability to focus on objects in the near range including the ability to read fine print. The 40-and-over crowd is
finding that their arms are "growing shorter" as words become
difficult to see up close, and they must hold small items at arm's
length in order to be able to view them clearly.Called presbyopia,
this condition occurs as eyes gradually lose their ability to focus
on objects in the near range. But boomers have more choices than
their parents ever did when it comes to near vision
correction.Reading glasses are a popular option. With all sorts of
styles and colors, 40-somethings can have a pair for every room in
the house. And they work great as an adjunct to contact lenses
For some, segmented spectacle lenses, or multifocals with lines,
serve a specific purpose. Other presbyopes are flocking to no-line
bifocals, or progressive lenses, in droves now that there's no need
to reveal to the world that one is a bifocal wearer. These lenses
have more going for them than just good looks, though. They enable
the wearer to see at all distances, from far away to up close,
similar to the way that a person who doesn't need vision correction
Although many people are not aware of it, macular degeneration,
often called AMD or ARMD (for age-related macular degeneration), is
the leading cause of blindness in the world. The eye-health
organization Prevent Blindness America estimates that 13 million
Americans have evidence of macular degeneration.The disease breaks
down the macula, the light-sensitive part of the retina responsible
for the sharp, direct vision needed to read or drive. Central vision,
especially, is affected. Macular degeneration is diagnosed as either
dry (atrophic) or wet (exudative). The dry form is more common than
the wet, with about 90% of AMD patients diagnosed with dry AMD. The
wet form of the disease usually leads to more serious vision
loss. Macular degeneration is more common in people over age 65, and
whites and females tend to get the disease more than their
counterparts. Most cases of macular degeneration are related to
aging. It also can occur as a side effect of some drugs, and it
appears to run in families.
Macular degeneration mainly affects central vision, causing "blind spots" directly ahead.
Macular Degeneration Symptoms and Signs
Macular degeneration can produce a slow or sudden painless loss of
vision. If straight lines look wavy to you, your vision seems fuzzy,
or there are shadowy areas in your central vision, you may be
experiencing early signs of AMD.One way to tell if you are having
these vision problems is to view an Amsler grid, which is a chart of
black lines arranged in a graph pattern. Click here to see how an
Amsler grid works. Often, an eyecare practitioner will detect early
signs of macular degeneration before you experience symptoms. This
usually is accomplished through a visual field screening, a brief
test that measures your central vision. If the eyecare practitioner
detects some defect in your central vision, such as distortion or
blurriness, he or she will order a full visual field exam, a much
longer test that provides more extensive information about your
What Causes Macular Degeneration?
The exact causes of age-related macular degeneration are still
unknown. The dry form of AMD may result from the aging and thinning
of macular tissues, depositing of pigment in the macula, or a
combination of the two processes. With wet AMD, new blood vessels
grow beneath the retina and leak blood and fluid. This leakage causes
retinal cells to die and creates blind spots in central
vision. Factors that place you at a higher risk for AMD include having
a family member with AMD, smoking, high blood pressure,
farsightedness and obesity. Whites and females tend to get the
disease more than their counterparts.
Many researchers and eyecare practitioners believe that certain
nutrients � zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamins A, C and E � help
lower the risk for AMD or slow down the progression of dry AMD.
Dietary fat may be a factor as well. A study published in the August
2001 issue of Archives of Ophthalmology found that consumption of
omega-3 fatty acids, which are particularly prevalent in cold-water
fish, had a protective effect against advanced macular degeneration.
Meanwhile, consumption of omega-6 fatty acids, prevalent in vegetable
oils, was associated with an increased risk.
Some cases of macular degeneration are side effects of toxic drugs
such as Aralen (chloroquine, an anti-malarial drug) or phenothiazine,
rather than age-related. Phenothiazine is a class of anti-psychotic
drugs, including Thorazine (chlorpromazine, which is also used to
treat nausea and vomiting, and intractable hiccups), Mellaril
(thioridazine), Prolixin (fluphenazine), Trilafon (perphenazine) and
by Dr. William Heller
The Bates Method for Improving Eyesight is a method discovered at the beginning of this century by Dr. W. H. Bates, M.D. (1865-1931), a
prominent American ophthalmologist, and developed by him and his followers to improve sight and restore natural habits of seeing, which have been lost through strain, tension and the resulting misuse of the eyes. The aim of the method is to teach people with problems of vision the faculty of easy and attentive seeing where the eyes and mind work together harmoniously to give good sight.
Since the Bates Method is a means to improve sight and restore the natural use of the eyes by relearning the art and skill of seeing, it is not, therefore a medical treatment, but a method of reeducation, in the form of both active learning, such as learning a skill and also the
receptive awareness of how to appreciate what we see, such as the appreciation
of a painting, a beautiful garden or a cathedral. Good sight is the result of a relaxed state of mind and body, where the individual person feels a direct contact with the surrounding world through the five senses. Poor sight, on the other hand, is the result of tension, where the person is, to a greater or lesser extent, isolated from the outside world through being locked in a pattern of psycho-physical tensions, such as worry, anxiety, rigidity, daydreaming, boredom, confusion or impatience.
Relaxation will always precede exercise. It is necessary to realize that the
eyes are completely passive. They have no volition of their own but, instead, follow the interests, and mirror the activity, of the mind. They are in
principle willing servants, but in so many cases are unconsciously treated as
unwilling slaves, starved of nourishment and constantly abused. Therefore, to
periodically close the eyes, let them rest, listen to them, can be the first steps in healing them.
The circulation through the eyes is stimulated by encouraging blinking, and splashing the closed eyes with water, morning and evening. The eyes are also nourished and relaxed by the use of light, letting the head swing with closed eyes facing the sun or a lamp. Needless to say that the sun is never looked at directly. The eyes are always rested by
palming after taking the light.
The fundamental way of relaxing is by palming. Palming is the practice of covering the closed eyes with the palms of the hands while sitting upright, so that the eyes are rested in darkness, relaxed by the warmth and healing energies passing through the hands. The mind needs to be engaged in some useful or interesting activity like talking with a friend, listening to the radio, thinking or visualizing, so that it does not interfere with the eyes and stop them from relaxing.
Palming usually results in an immediate but temporary improvement
in the sight. The continued practice of palming often leads to great changes for the better, and is the best single means for helping the eyes.
The sight is further helped by learning relaxation in movement through the use of various types of swinging movements, which also help to reestablish the natural vibratory movements of the eyes as well as expand the awareness of the visual field. First, the pupil stands with feet apart and rhythmically swings from side to side, allowing the relaxation to deepen. Next, the pupil turns the body right and left, letting the whole body, including the eyes move as one. Awareness of movement in the visual field is a sign that the swinging is being well done. A simpler but more versatile way is to swing the head and neck only. This is very helpful in releasing tensions in the neck, which are often associated with poor sight. Further observation of the pupil often reveals poor coordination in movement, of hand and eye, of both eyes together. These difficulties respond to deepening relaxation and the development of attention and awareness, and are further helped by providing a focus for the mind with such activities as juggling, drawing, dancing, ball games, etc.
As the pupil progresses, more specific approaches can be shown according to need, through working with charts, reading practices, techniques to encourage centralization of sight, such as counting, looking for, comparing, edging, tracing.
Therefore, through the practice of relaxation, movement and focusing of attention under the direction of interest and awareness, the pupil's sight can be restored to it's natural and normal state, although the time needed is a variable. Much depends on the understanding and quality of energy of the teacher, as well as the patience, persistence and
interest on the part of the pupil.
Many age-related vision problems stem from a gradual loss of
flexibility and tone in the eye muscles, which get locked into
habitual patterns and lose their ability to focus at different
distances. If you are fortunate to have excellent vision, and want
to preserve it�or you hope to improve your eyesight�evidence
suggests that yoga may have a solution.
The late celebrated ophthalmologist William H. Bates claimed he
could improve visual perception with palming, eyeball rotations, and
vision shifting. It is stated that "The fastest way to bring the mind into concentration is through the
The correlation between the eyes and the mind has a profound
physiological basis. Vision occupies about 40 percent of the brain's
capacity; that's why we close our eyes to relax and fall asleep. Four
of our 12 cranial nerves are dedicated exclusively to vision, while
two other nerves are vision-related. Contrast this with the cardiac
and digestive functions, which require just one cranial nerve to
While insight may be the ultimate purpose of eye asanas vision
improvement is also an important benefit. Surprisingly, it's not the
muscle stretching and contracting that seems to have the greatest
effect. Relaxation appears to be the single most important element of
eye health. In an experiment applying the muscle relaxant curare to
the eyes, patients experienced dramatic eyesight improvement. When
teaching a yoga class, we instruct the students to begin with a few
minutes of relaxation in Savasana (Corpse Pose). Then ask students to
sit in a comfortable posture, such as Sukhasana (Easy Pose), as we
guide them through basic eye asanas. Our organs of sight are so
sensitive and influential that the normal, competitive approach we
bring to exercise can be softened through working with the eyes.
The first exercise begins with the eyelids open, the head and neck
still, and the entire body relaxed. Picture a clock face in front of
you, and raise your eyeballs up to 12 o'clock. Hold them there for a
second, then lower the eyeballs to six o'clock. Hold them there
again. Continue moving the eyeballs up and down 10 times, without
blinking if possible. Your gaze should be steady and relaxed. Once
you finish these 10 movements, rub your palms together to generate
heat and gently cup them over your eyes, without pressing. Allow the
eyes to relax in complete darkness. Concentrate on your breathing,
feel the warm prana emanating from your palms, and enjoy the
Follow this exercise with horizontal eye movements�from nine o'clock
to three o'clock�ending again by "palming" (cupping your hands over
your eyes). Then do diagonal movements�two o'clock to seven o'clock,
and 11 o'clock to four o'clock�again followed by palming. Conclude
the routine with 10 full circles in each direction, as though you are
tracing the clock's rim.
These eye movements provide balance for people who do work up close,
like students who spend a lot of their time reading or working at
computers. According to Robert Abel, author of The Eye Care
Revolution (Kensington Books, 1999), these brief
exercises "compensate for overdevelopment of the muscles we use to
look at near objects."You might be surprised to learn that the
palming part of this exercise provides more than a pleasant respite.
According to Abel, our photoreceptors break down and are
reconstructed every minute. "The eye desperately needs darkness to
recover from the constant stress of light," he says. "And the
simplest way to break eye stress is to take a deep breath, cover your
eyes, and relax."
Along with palming, yoga in general benefits the eyes by relieving
tension. While the effect of yoga on the eyes has not been
scientifically measured, studies have shown that a simple exercise
like walking can lower pressure in the eyeball by 20 percent.
Asanas like Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog), bring
circulation to the face, neck, and shoulders, which need to be
energized and relaxed for improved vision. So even if you have not
been doing asanas specifically for your eyes, your overall yoga
practice is helping your vision.
Once students have mastered the basic eyeball exercise, shifting
focus is the next exercise. While sitting relaxed and still, pick a
point in the distance and focus on it. Extend your arm and put your
thumb right underneath the point of concentration. Now begin
shifting your focus between the tip of your thumb and the faraway
point, alternating rhythmically between near and distance vision.
Repeat the exercise 10 times, then relax your eyes with palming and
deep breathing. As you practice this exercise, you are training an
organ called the ciliary body, which adjusts the lens of the eye.
Habitual focus patterns degrade the ciliary body's natural
flexibility. Shifting focal points counteracts this stiffness by
exercising the organ through its full range, much as we work
complementary muscle groups in asana practice.
The final eye asana stresses close-range focus. As in the shifting
focus exercise, gaze at your thumb with your arm extended. This time
move the thumb slowly toward the tip of your nose. Pause there for
one second. Then reverse the sequence, following the thumb with your
eyes as you extend your arm again. As before, repeat the sequence 10
times, then relax with palming. By training the eyes to focus on the
ajna chakra (the "third eye," located between and just above the
eyebrows) a yogi trains his mind to turn inward. On a more prosaic
level, close-range focus exercises can forestall the need for reading
Perhaps you've seen a picture of a yogi staring at a candle flame. If
so, you've seen Trataka, an eye-cleansing exercise described in the
Upanishads and mentioned in other yogic texts, including the Hatha
Yoga Pradipika. Trataka can also be found in the texts of Ayurveda
(traditional Indian medicine), where it is recommended to stimulate
the alochaka pitta, the energy center related to sight. But as always
with yoga, there's a connection between physiology and the more
subtle aspects of spiritual practice.
According to Dr. Marc Halpern, founder and director of the California
College of Ayurveda, the practice of trataka decreases mental
lethargy and increases buddhi (intellect). Although traditionally
performed with a candle, Trataka can use almost any external point of
focus, like a dot on the wall. Concentrate your gaze on one object,
without blinking, until your eyes begin to tear. Then close your eyes
and try to maintain a vivid image of that object for as long as
possible. Each time you practice Trataka, extend the time you
maintain the after-image. This exercise, traditionally believed to
remove any disease from the eyes and to induce clairvoyance, also
develops the skill of internal visualization.
Yogis develop this skill to keep their minds fixed in meditation on a
sacred image�and, by extension, on the divine experience associated
with that image. The intricate spiritual mandalas seen in Indian and
Tibetan holy books are also designed for this purpose. Highly skilled
meditators can visualize even the most minute details of these
elaborate cosmic representations. By perfectly aligning inner and
outer focus, these yogis seek a realization like that of Meister
Eckhart, a thirteenth-century Christian mystic who once
declared, "The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which
God sees me."
by Rosalee de la Foret
Lavender eye pillows are simple to make, yet luxurious to receive. I have been making lavender eye pillows for my friends and family for years and they are always appreciated.
It's been reported back to me that lavender eye pillows have helped people sleep better and reduce tension headaches. I like using lavender eye pillows to take a restful break during the day, and I also like to place them in my pillow case at night so I can be relaxed by the soothing fragrance even if the pillow isn�t over my eyes.
To make lavender eye pillows you'll need:
* Fabric cut to 8.5" X 8.5" (I like silks and satins, but soft cotton, flannel, and knit also works great.)
* Matching thread
* 3/4 cup of flax seed
* 1/4 cup of dried herbs (My favorite blend is one part lavender to 1/2 part chamomile and 1/2 part wormwood. There are more herb suggestions at the end of the article.)
* Sewing machine (optional) Lavender eye pillows can easily be sewn by hand as well. The added time in making them assuredly means a more valued gift.
To begin cut your fabric to a desired length and width. I like anywhere from 8 - 9 inches.
If you are working with a fabric that frays easily sew a zig zag stitch around the entire fabric.
Next, fold the fabric in half with the wrong side of the fabric facing out. Sew along three sides of the fabric, leaving the top open.
Now, fold the eye pillow inside out so that the right side, or pretty fabric is facing out. Fill this with 3/4 cup flax seed. The flax seed adds weight to the pillow helping to relieve tension around the eyes. You may need to work with the amount of flax seeds if you are using different fabric measurements.
Next, you can add about a 1/4 cup of dried herbs.
There are so many fragrant herbs to place in your eye pillow.
* Straight lavender smells beautifully and is a very relaxing herb.
* Chamomile is also known for its relaxing qualities.
* Wormwood is used for vivid dreams.
* Sage and Eucalyptus can be used for clearing sinuses.
* Rose petals are certainly delightful.
* You can also use essential oils for fragrance, however I find that when I use good quality herbs my pillows stay fragrant for years without essential oils.
* My favorite blend is mostly lavender with a pinch of chamomile and wormwood. The smell is complex and soothing.
Once your eye pillow is filled, fold the un-sewn edges in and sew along the edge to close the eye pillow and voila, a beautiful eye pillow that your friends and family will love to receive this holiday season.
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