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Alternative, Complementary and Integrative Health articles written by some of the most beloved, respected, outrageous and progressive healers and thinkers in the global healthcare field today! Hundreds of topics are covered, including articles on health maladies, disorders and therapies. Some of the topics covered include Aromatherapy, Herbal Medicine, Acupuncture, Exercise, Nutrition and Lifestyle Changes, Energy Medicine, Crystals and Homeopathy. You may access other health topics, all organized alphabetically.

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Personality Traits: The Big Five

courtesy of Wikipedia.

In psychology, the Big Five Personality Traits are five broad domains or dimensions of personality that are used to describe human personality. The theory based on the Big Five factors is called the Five Factor Model(FFM).

The most frequently used measures of the Big Five comprise either items that are self-descriptive sentences or, in the case of lexical measures, items that are single adjectives. Due to the length of sentence-based and some lexical measures, short forms have been developed and validated for use in applied research settings where questionnaire space and respondent time are limited, such as the 40-item balanced International English Big-Five Mini-Markers or a very brief (10 item) measure of the Big Five domains. The lexical hypothesis is the idea that the most salient and socially relevant personality differences in people’s lives will eventually become encoded into language. The hypothesis further suggests that by sampling language, it is possible to derive a comprehensive taxonomy of human personality traits.

Openness, to experience.

Openness is a general appreciation for art, emotion, adventure, unusual ideas, imagination, curiosity, and variety of experience. People who are open to experience are intellectually curious, appreciative of art, and sensitive to beauty. They tend to be, when compared to closed people, more creative and more aware of their feelings. They are more likely to hold unconventional beliefs. Another characteristic of the open cognitive style is a facility for thinking in symbols and abstractions far removed from concrete experience. People with low scores on openness tend to have more conventional, traditional interests. They prefer the plain, straightforward, and obvious over the complex, ambiguous, and subtle. They may regard the arts and sciences with suspicion or view these endeavors as uninteresting. Closed people prefer familiarity over novelty; they are conservative and resistant to change.

Examples of openness statements:

I have a rich vocabulary.
I have a vivid imagination.
I have excellent ideas.
I am quick to understand things.
I use difficult words.
I spend time reflecting on things.
I am full of ideas.
I am not interested in abstractions. (reversed)
I do not have a good imagination. (reversed)
I have difficulty understanding abstract ideas. (reversed)

Conscientiousness, to show self-discipline.

Conscientiousness is a tendency to show self-discipline, act dutifully, and aim for achievement against measures or outside expectations. The trait shows a preference for planned rather than spontaneous behavior. It influences the way in which we control, regulate, and direct our impulses. According to a study conducted at Michigan State University, it was found by R.E. Lucas and his colleagues that the average level of conscientiousness augmented among young adults and then declined among older adults.

Examples of conscientious statements:

I am always prepared.
I pay attention to details.
I get chores done right away.
I like order.
I follow a schedule.
I am exacting in my work.
I leave my belongings around. (reversed)
I make a mess of things. (reversed)
I often forget to put things back in their proper place. (reversed)
I shirk my duties. (reversed)[33]

Extraversion

Extraversion is characterized by positive emotions, surgency, and the tendency to seek out stimulation and the company of others. The trait is marked by pronounced engagement with the external world. Extraverts enjoy being with people, and are often perceived as full of energy. They tend to be enthusiastic, action-oriented individuals who are likely to say "Yes!" or "Let's go!" to opportunities for excitement. In groups they like to talk, assert themselves, and draw attention to themselves. Extraversion indicates how outgoing and social a person is. A person who scores high in extraversion on a personality test is the life of the party. They enjoy being with people, participating in social gatherings, and are full of energy. A person low in extraversion is less outgoing and is more comfortable working by himself.

Examples of extravert statements:

I am the life of the party.
I don't mind being the center of attention.
I feel comfortable around people.
I start conversations.
I talk to a lot of different people at parties.
I don't talk a lot. (reversed)
I keep in the background. (reversed)
I have little to say. (reversed)
I don't like to draw attention to myself. (reversed)
I am quiet around strangers. (reversed)

Agreeableness

Agreeableness is a tendency to be compassionate and cooperative rather than suspicious and antagonistic towards others. The trait reflects individual differences in general concern for social harmony. Agreeable individuals value getting along with others. They are generally considerate, friendly, generous, helpful, and willing to compromise their interests with others. Agreeable people also have an optimistic view of human nature. Although agreeableness is positively correlated with good team work skills, it is negatively correlated with leadership skills. Those who voice out their opinion in a team environment tend to move up the corporate rankings, whereas the ones that don't remain in the same position, usually labelled as the followers of the team. A person with a high level of agreeableness in a personality test is usually warm, friendly, and tactful. They generally have an optimistic view of human nature and get along well with others. A person who scores low on agreeableness may put their own interests above those of others. They tend to be distant, unfriendly, and uncooperative.

Examples of agreeable statements:

I am interested in people.
I sympathize with others' feelings.
I have a soft heart.
I take time out for others.
I feel others' emotions.
I make people feel at ease.
I am not really interested in others. (reversed)
I insult people. (reversed)
I am not interested in other people's problems. (reversed)
I feel little concern for others. (reversed)

Neuroticism

Neuroticism is the tendency to experience negative emotions, such as anger, anxiety, or depression. It is sometimes called emotional instability, or is reversed and referred to as emotional stability. According to Eysenck’s (1967) theory of personality, neuroticism is interlinked with low tolerance for stress or aversive stimuli. Those who score high in neuroticism are emotionally reactive and vulnerable to stress. They are more likely to interpret ordinary situations as threatening, and minor frustrations as hopelessly difficult. Their negative emotional reactions tend to persist for unusually long periods of time, which means they are often in a bad mood. These problems in emotional regulation can diminish the ability of a person scoring high on neuroticism to think clearly, make decisions, and cope effectively with stress.[citation needed] Lacking contentment in one's life achievements can correlate to high Neuroticism scores and increase a person's likelihood of falling into clinical depression. Research suggests extraversion and neuroticism are negatively correlated. Emotional stability refers to a person's ability to remain stable and balanced. At the other end of the scale, a person who is high in neuroticism has a tendency to easily experience negative emotions. Neuroticism is similar but not identical to being neurotic in the Freudian sense. Some psychologists prefer to call neuroticism by the term emotional stability to differentiate it from the term neurotic in a career test

Example neurotic statements:

I am easily disturbed.
I change my mood a lot.
I get irritated easily.
I get stressed out easily.
I get upset easily.
I have frequent mood swings.
I often feel blue.
I worry about things.
I am relaxed most of the time. (reversed)
I seldom feel blue. (reversed)

References: Wikipedia

1. a b Costa, P.T.,Jr. & McCrae, R.R. (1992). Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R) and NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) manual. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.
2. Matthews, G., Deary, I. J., & Whiteman, M. C. (2003). Personality Traits. Cambridge University Press. Page 24.
3. Atkinson, Rita, L.; Richard C. Atkinson, Edward E. Smith, Daryl J. Bem, & Susan Nolen-Hoeksema (2000). Hilgard's Introduction to Psychology (13 ed.). Orlando, Florida: Harcourt College Publishers. pp. 437.
4. a b Digman, J.M. (1990). "Personality structure: Emergence of the five-factor model". Annual Review of Psychology 41: 417–440. doi:10.1146/annurev.ps.41.020190.002221.
5. Tupes, E.C., & Christal, R.E., Recurrent Personality Factors Based on Trait Ratings. Technical Report ASD-TR-61-97, Lackland Air Force Base, TX: Personnel Laboratory, Air Force Systems Command, 1961
6. Goldberg, L. R. (1993). "The structure of phenotypic personality traits". American Psychologist 48 (1): 26–34. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.48.1.26. PMID 8427480.
7. O'Connor, Brian (2002). "A Quantitative Review of the Comprehensiveness of the Five-Factor Model in Relation to Popular Personality Inventories". Assessment 9 (2): 188–203. doi:10.1177/1073191102092010. PMID 12066834.
8. Russell, M.T., & Karol, D. (1994). 16PF Fifth Edition administrator’s manual.’’ Champaign, IL: Institute for Personality & Ability Testing.
9. Goldberg, L.R. (1982). From Ace to Zombie: Some explorations in the language of personality. In C.D. Spielberger & J.N. Butcher (Eds.), Advances in personality assessment, Vol. 1. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
10. Norman, W.T.; Goldberg, L.R. (1966). "Raters, ratees, and randomness in personality structure". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 4 (6): 681–691. doi:10.1037/h0024002.
11. Peabody, D.; Goldberg, L.R. (1989). "Some determinants of factor structures from personality-trait descriptors". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 57 (3): 552–567. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.57.3.552. PMID 2778639.
12. Saucier, G. & Goldberg, L.R. (1996). The language of personality: Lexical perspectives on the five-factor model. In J.S. Wiggins (Ed.), The five-factor model of personality: Theoretical perspectives. New York: Guilford.


PCOS - Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

by Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac.

PCOS (Polycystic ovarian syndrome) is an endocrine disorder that is the most common hormonal disorder among women of reproductive age and is a leading cause of infertility. It occurs among all races and nationalities. The primary features are lack of regular ovulation and irregular or absent periods. There is also an excessive amounts or effects of androgenic hormones. The symptoms and severity of the syndrome vary greatly between women. While the causes are unknown, insulin resistance (often secondary to obesity) is heavily correlated with PCOS.

Other symptoms may include acne, weights gain (but not always) or have trouble losing weight, male pattern baldness or thinning hair on the scalp, hair growth on the face, back, or chest or sometimes, high blood sugar (hyperglycemia). About half of women with PCOS have high insulin and blood sugar levels called insulin resistance. When the body doesn't use insulin well, blood sugar builds to high levels. If not treated, this can lead to diabetes. High cholesterol levels are also common with PCOS.

In PCOS, there are multiple cysts in the ovaries, which are actually small, undeveloped follicles that have had their growth stunted. The cysts, as well as the connective tissue around them produce male hormones called androgens. Androgens are then released into the blood stream and alter the feedback within the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis (HPO axis). The amount of estrogen then increases in relation to progesterone causing an increase in testosterone and Luteinizing hormone (LH).

Treating PCOS

The two most important key factors that any woman could do to lower her risk of PCOS is to eat a heart-healthy, low glycemic, low fat foods, and incorporate regular exercise into your life. This helps to reduce insulin resistance, one of the main factors in anovulation and hormone imbalance.

Foods to Avoid:

-Cut out all forms of refined sugar
-Cut out all refined (simple) carbohydrates. Follow the Full Spectrum Diet. This says to cut out all white foods, which include all white bread, rice, pasta, low fiber foods, most breakfast cereals and rice cakes.

-Reduce animal products and fats

-Avoid all soda, fruit juice and sugary drinks

-Avoid milk and dairy products

-Avoid alcohol and caffeine

-Avoid fertility diets that suggest you eat large amounts of yams. This is not appropriate for PCOS

-Reduce the intake of oily, fried, and sugary foods, fried snacks and fast foods

-Do not miss meals; and do not starve in terms of total quantity of food

Foods You Should Eat:

-Eat adequate amounts of protein

-Eat as much fresh vegetables as you can

-Eat foods, which nourish the liver such as dark green vegetables, lemons, carrots and beets

-Eat fruit light in sugar and sweetness such as berries

-Eat complex carbohydrates (lower glycemic carbohydrates), which tend to have more fiber such as bran cereal, brown rice, whole wheat, whole-grains and nuts and grains like quinoa, whole oats, and bulgur.

These foods help women with PCOS to maintain steady blood sugar and insulin levels and may assist in weight loss. A diet composed of mainly low-GI foods will also help to combat the effects of insulin resistance.

Supplements and Herbs

-Chlorophyl helps reduce symptoms of hypoglycemia without raising blood glucose levels

-Include supplements that help improve insulin resistance such as B vitamins, magnesium, alpha lipoic acid and chromium. Chromium increases the sensitivity of insulin receptors. Recommended dosage is 300 micrograms/day.

-Essential fatty acids, including flax oil, evening primrose oil (Oenothera biennis), and black currant oil, act as anti-inflammatory and hormonal regulators.

-Supplementation with antioxidants, including zinc, and vitamins A, E, and C, are also recommended. If you are anemic, take an iron supplement with Vitamin C (which helps with iron absorption). If you have heavy periods or bleed heavy for longer than five days, you may be anemic.

-Western herbal medicine uses phytoestrogen and phytoprogesteronic herbs, such as blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) and false unicorn root (Chamaelirium luteum), as well as liver herbs, like dandelion (Taraxacum mongolicum), to work toward hormonal balance.

-Acupuncture works on the body's energy flow according to the meridian system. Chinese herbs, such as gui zhi fu ling wan, can be effective.

-In naturopathic medicine, treatment focuses on helping the liver function more optimally in the hormonal balancing process.

-Exercise is the second most important key to PCOS. Exercise helps the body's cells use glucose as energy, reducing blood glucose levels. A structured exercise plan can help the body use insulin more efficiently and gradually reduce insulin levels. Regular exercise also improves circulation, reduces blood pressure, increases levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL), your good cholesterol and helps with weight loss.




Treating A Pinched Nerve

by Andrew Pacholyk MS L.Ac

"Pinched nerve" is a general term that is used to describe the compression of individual nerves or groups of nerves.

Motor fibers and sensory fibers emerge from the spinal nerves. The motor fibers innervate particular muscles, while sensory fibers innervate particular areas of the skin. A skin area innervated by the sensory fibers of a single nerve root is known as a Dermatome.

A group of muscles primarily innervated by the motor fibers of a single nerve root is known as a Myotome (muscle). There is a total of 31 sets of nerves branching out of the spinal cord.

A Plexus is formed by the remaining anterior nerve divisions, which then distribute to the rest of the body. The nerves from each plexus innervate specific muscles and areas of skin in the body and are numbered according to the location in the spine from where they exit. The following are the four main plexuses:

The Cervical and Brachial plexuses innervate the upper limbs. The Lumbar and Sacral plexuses innervate the lower limbs.

Cervical plexus, C1 - C4, innervates the diaphragm, shoulder and neck

Brachial plexus, C5 - T1, innervates the upper limbs

Lumbar plexus, T12/L1 - L4, innervates the thigh

Sacral plexus, L4 - S4, innervates the leg and foot.

Having knowledge of dermatomes and myotomes can help us to differentiate different dysfunctions.

The Cervical and Brachial plexuses innervate the upper limbs and are often the cause of a pinched neck, shoulder, under arm or arm in general. The Lumbar and Sacral plexuses innervate the lower limbs and often the cause of a pinched nerve in the sacrum, the sciatic nerve and the legs or feet.

The pain may be coming from a muscle spasm or strain that's putting pressure on the nerve, so you can try relaxing your muscles. Consider these remedies for relief:

- Alternating between heat and ice on the affected area: switch between them every 20 minutes and remember to wrap the heat and ice packs in a towel before putting them on your skin.

- Take a hot shower

- One of my favorite remedies is to Lay down with a rolled up towel under your neck. First fold the towel in half, the long way, then roll the towel up tight and lay on the floor or hard surface with the towel under your neck. The back of your head should be touching the floor once the towel is under your neck. Relax here for 15- 20 minutes. Repeat this three times a day. This helps to relax the muscles around the neck and shoulder, releases pressure around the dermatomes and helps to reshape the muscle memory around the curve of the neck.

- Use a handheld massager

- Get a massage

- Although you may not feel like it, you may want to try simply keeping your body and joints moving to find relief from pinched nerve pain.

Pinched Nerve in Shoulder/Neck

A pinched nerve can result in severe pain and disability in the shoulder and upper arm. After treating the pain with moist heat, consult your physician. Exercise therapy is one of the first courses of treatment.

Shoulder Shrugs

Stand up and put both arms at your side. Shrug your shoulders up to your neck and try to rotate them toward your back before returning them to the starting position. Do 15 - 20 of these shrugs, take a 30-second break and repeat the set. Do this exercise, three times in a day.

Chin Extension

Sit in a chair and interlock your fingers behind your head. Slowly move your chin toward your chest and turn to the right at the same time that you lower your chin. Hold this position for 15 - 30 seconds, then relax and return to your original position. Repeat this same movement to the left. Do it at least five times to each side. Do this exercise, three times in a day.

Pinched Nerve in Sciatic Region

Do these exercise up to 4 times a day. They help to relieve pressure on the nerve, decrease inflammation and help to retrain the muscles area affected around the nerve.

Exercise: The Back Strengthener

Lay on the floor, stomach down. Slowly lengthen out the spine as you raise one arm and the opposite leg. Exhale as you raise up into an arch. Hold this as your take two deep breaths. Slowly release back to the floor. Inhale, as your raise up the other arm and opposite leg, exhale. Hold this arch agian for two deep breaths. Lower down. Inhale. Then raise both arms, leaving both feet on the floor. Exhale. Hold the arch as you take two deep breaths. Slowly lower down. Inhale. Raise both feet off the ground, leaving both arms on the floor. Exhale. Hold the arch for two deep breaths. Slowly lower down. Inhale. Lastly, raise both arms and both legs off the floor. Exhale. Hold this full arch for two deep breaths. Slowly lower down. Inhale. Repeat entire sequence one more time. This exercise should flow easily with the breath. (Always feel the energy pulling out in both directions from the top of the head and hands and out the bottom of the feet.) Try to arch up further each time. This amazing exercise will relieve back pain!

Exercise: Abdominal Work

Ab work can be done on a daily basis. By strengthening the abdominal wall you are helping to support the lower back. 300, 400, 500 situps are not only a waste of time but allows for that many more attempts to injure yourself. It is the quality not the quantity of sit ups that makes all the difference. SLOW and controlled is the most powerful approach. Stretching a sore back will actually enhance the healing process. One good stretch for lower back pain is to gently bring your knees up to your chest. Once there, put a little pressure on your knees. Stretch, then relax. Repeat. Stretching will help the muscle calm down sooner than just waiting for it to calm down on its own.

Exercise: Sciatic Pain

Sciatic pain is generally the result of pressure on the sciatic nerve. When an intervertebral disc presses on the nerve root as it leaves the spine it causes pain and often numbness along the route of the nerve which travels down the buttock, down the thigh and sometimes down into the lower leg. This can result in a feeling of weakness as well. This is sometimes caused by a disc prolapsed or "slipped disc". Since sciatic pain can be the result of a disc prolapsed, it is the prolapse that we need to understand. The prolapse is most often the result of a harmful habit or pattern of bending and putting stress on the spine. A herniated disc in the back, spinal stenosis and piriformis syndrome are also medical disorders that can cause sciatica.

Stretching a sore back will actually enhance the healing process. One good stretch for lower back pain is to gently bring your knees up to your chest. Once there, put a little pressure on your knees. Stretch, then relax. Repeat. Stretching will help the muscle calm down sooner than just waiting for it to calm down on its own.

A variation on this exercise is to lay on your back and gently bring one knee up to the chest. Keep the opposite leg elongated along the floor. Keep the energy of that foot moving out through the foot. Squeeze and hold the knee to the chest. You can make small circles with the knee. Pull your abs in and slowly lower the knee. Switch sides.

Stabilizing exercises are also best for strengthening the back. The most important aspect is sensing and controlling motion in the spine. Once learned, the body can eventually take over and do this without the level of concentration it takes early on.

Exercise 1.

In a standing position, cross right ankle over left knee. Now slowly bend your standing leg. Sit back in the position so you feel a stretch in the buttocks. To increase this stretch, use one hand and gently evert your foot by simple pulling the toes toward you. Keep the foot on the knee. Make sure you sit back into the buttocks in this sitting position. Switch legs.

Exercise 2.

Laying on the floor with knees bent, arms at sides, tighten abdomen and slowly raise alternate legs 3-4 inches from the floor. With the arms, lower the opposite arm over the head.

Exercise 3.

Laying on the floor with knees bent, feet on the floor, bridge upward, slowly raising the buttocks from the floor. These should all be performed with a rigid trunk. The pelvic tilt will be used to find the most comfortable position for the low back.

Exercise 4.

This same pelvic position is maintained while performing stabilizing exercises from the prone (on the stomach) position: With elbows bent and hands under the shoulders, raise one leg 2 to 3 inches from the floor. With elbows straight and arms stretched about the head, raise an arm and the opposite leg 2 to 3 inches off the floor.

Exercise variation can be done on hands and knees, raising the arms and legs only as high as can be controlled, maintaining a stable trunk and avoiding any twisting or sagging.

Raise one leg behind with the knee slightly bent and no arch in the back or neck. Raise one leg with the opposite arm with the knee slightly bent and no arch in the back or neck.

Exercise: Piriformis Syndrome

Lay on your back and gently bring one knee up to the chest. Keep the opposite leg elongated along the floor. Keep the energy of that foot moving out through the foot. Squeeze and hold the knee to the chest. You can make small circles with the knee. Pull your abs in and slowly lower the knee. Now gently stretch the knee so that it crosses your midline and hold the knee there for 15-30 seconds. Switch sides.

Acupuncture has been used in the treatment of various pain problems, including different regional myofascial pain disorders, tendonitis, joint pain and pain from nerve damage. Acupuncture has also been used for improving problems related to some internal organ functions, such as nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, sinus congestion, and diarrhea. In addition, acupuncture has been used to aid in the management of some emotional disorders. Acupuncture also has been used to help individuals maintain a sense of well-being and "balance".

Acupuncture and/or movement therapies can be combined with chiropractic manipulation for an amplified effect.

Animal studies showed that Spinal Manipulation by a chiropractor can produce a number of physical responses, such as decreased blood pressure and renal and adrenal nerve activity. It may also enhance immune function by increasing metabolic rates of certain white blood cells and increasing other substances that play a role in immune regulation and inflammation. These studies also show that spinal adjustment can reduce levels of inflammatory Prostaglandins and possibly increase levels of beta-endorphins, the natural painkillers in the body.

Chiropractic care is a cost-effective alternative to the management of neuromusculoskeletal conditions. It is also safer, increasingly accepted by the public as reflected in the growing utilization and high patient retention rates and there is much and repeated evidence that patients prefer chiropractic over other forms of care for the more common musculoskeletal conditions. The integration of chiropractic into the health care system should serve to reduce health care costs, improve accessibility to needed care, and improve health outcomes. There is an extensive body of literature demonstrating that chiropractic care for NMS disorders is effective.


Crystals for Pregnancy, Labor and Childbirth

by Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac.

This most mysterious and joyful time in a women's life is a long and curious journey. From overcoming issues of PCOS, endometriosis, cysts and fibroids to issues of timing concerning work, relationship and partner issues, getting pregnant is not always an easy task.

Agate is a fertility stone used for centuries. It is believed to prevent miscarriages and alleviate discomfort during pregnancy.

Bloodstone is a wonderful stone for increasing blood circulation during pregnancy.

Carnelian is the stone of fertility. Carnelian is one of the most helpful crystals for healing trauma, stress and emotional wounds that have accumulated in the etheric body or the Aura and are now manifesting as physical symptoms. Carnelian is believed to warm, cleanses and purify the blood of the liver and kidneys, stimulate appetite, emotions, passion, sexuality, physical energy, reproductive system, menstrual cramps, arthritis, gall bladder, pancreas. Historically also used to pull excess fever out through the feet. Carnelian is said to strongly influence the reproductive organs hence its connection to the 2nd Chakra.

Morning Sickness

This is the nausea and vomiting that affects a large percent of all expectant mothers during the first few months of pregnancy. It's thought to be due to hormonal changes produced by the placenta and fetus, which cause the stomach to empty more slowly. The term "morning sickness" can be deceptive because for some women, it can come at any time of day. It usually starts 4 to 6 weeks after conception and usually resolves by the 16th week. Some women may have symptoms beyond the first trimester, and a few may have symptoms throughout their entire pregnancy. To determine whether you are maintaining proper nourishment and fluid intake during your pregnancy, your health care provider will monitor changes in your weight and how well you're eating and drinking. Normal weight gain during the first trimester is only about 2 pounds. During the second trimester, weight gain should average about 1 pound each week. Overall gain for the third trimester is about 11 pounds for a total of 25 to 35 pounds throughout pregnancy. The quality of your diet is important. It might be helpful for you to keep a record of what you eat and drink.

A Gem Essence of Rhodonite and Spinel can be made for morning sickness. Take 8-10 drops under the tongue at the onset of nausea.

GingerGinger is the best anti-nausea herb and can be added into your gem essence. Cut up a handful of ginger root and boil for 30 minutes. Allow cooling. Add to gem essence.

Acupressure: Two finger width above the inside of the wrist is an acupuncture point called Pericardium 6. Gently massage this point in a clockwise circular motion for 10 minutes.

Birthing Stones

Moss Agate: is considered a birthing stone. It is used to assist in the process of giving birth, decreasing pain and useful in ensuring a healthy delivery. Connects one to Nature. Translucent, transparent agate containing inclusions of minerals that look like moss or foliage. Improves ego and self-esteem, emotional balance and strengthens positive personality traits. Allows one to see all the beauty one's eyes touch.

Jade : is recommended for fertility and childbirth. The ancient Chinese culture has revered Jade for centuries. Jade is considered the health, wealth and longevity stone. used also for courage, wisdom, justice, mercy, emotional balance, stamina, love, fidelity, humility, generosity, peace, harmony.

Moonstone: is a stone with great feminine energy and can be used as an elixir during the time of conception. It is believed to be of great help during the time of childbirth and even used to help with breast feeding. Honors the Goddess in all women, Dieting, Gardening, Psychic Awareness, Meditation. Soothes stress, anxiety, women's hormones/menstrual imbalance, lymph. Enhances intuitive sensitivity via feelings and less overwhelmed by personal feelings. Greater flexibility and flow with life.

Opal: being a water stone, has a history of use during childbirth. Clarifies by amplifying and mirroring feelings, buried emotions, desires (including love and passion). Less inhibition, more spontaneity.

Peridot (raw) : is said to strengthen muscle contractions during labor and therefore, help in easing pain during this most difficult time. This stone is traditionally used for Health, Wealth, and Protection. Helps understand relationships, other realities Alleviates depression, anger, fear, jealousy, anxiety. A visionary stone. Helps connect us to our destinies and to an understanding of the purpose of existence.

Smithsonite: is a stone of tranquility and is a great stone for relieving stress. It is a crystal most often used for nurturing babies both inside and outside the womb. All colors of this stone have amazing healing properties. Consider blue green, lavender and pink smithsonite to use for healing. Harmonizes and aligns Heart, Throat, and Brow Chakra for smoother communications, leadership, perceptiveness and depth in relationships, and expansion into new areas. Meditation clarity, and receptiveness. Suggested for security and a balanced life.


Professional Ethics and Honesty

by Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac

1. I will serve the interests of my clients and employers, my employees and the community generally, as matters of no less priority than the interests of myself or my colleagues.

2. I will work competently and diligently for my clients and employers.

3. I will be honest in my representations of skills, knowledge, services and products.

4. I will strive to enhance the quality of life of those affected by my work.

5. I will enhance my own professional development and that of my colleagues, employees and community.

6. I will enhance the integrity of the healing arts profession and the respect of its members for each other.

7. Practice must be conducted with confidentiality and great discretion. Practitioner-client confidentiality must be maintained at all costs. Anything that is discussed between the two should not be disclosed to others.

8. Personal details of the client should not be revealed, unless the client himself has given you the permission to do so. The healer should not disclose or confirm the fact that a particular person is a client, unless he has prior permission or the consent of the client to do so.

9. Client sessions should be held in a secure and comfortable place. The place where the sessions are held should have an environment that is supportive and empowering.

10. At all times, the client must be treated with great respect and honor.

11. Before the healer begins a session, he should give the client an oral or written description of what he will experience during the session. He should explain to the client what is going to happen before and after the session.

12. A healer must respect the opinion, views and methods followed by other practitioners. It is entirely up to the healer concerned to decide whether he wants to learn from other healers or wants to follow their methods. However, there should be no fault with the way he practices. The healer should teach the clients the value of their healing art and explain to them that the sessions do not guarantee complete healing or complete recuperation.

13. Practitioners should inform the client that this healing session is not replacement for other medical care, but an additional, legitimate form of healing that it is important for the overall well-being of the person. The healer should find out whether the client is undergoing any medical treatment. If the practitioner thinks that a client requires professional medical attention then he should ask the client to get it.

14. The healer should never interfere with on-going medical treatment, but add to it.

15. A healer should work on his own healing so as to embody and express the essence of Reiki in everything that he does.


Psychic Powers, Psychic Readings & Science!

By Asoka Selvarajah

Psychic phenomena and parapsychology arouse much doubt and skepticism in our modern world. This is probably not a bad thing, given their unfortunately checkered past.

There has been no shortage of fakes and charlatans, willing to prey upon the gullible. Fake mediums, so-called mind readers, phoney haunted houses, simple conjuring tricks passed off as the real thing. There is no end to the list of shameful examples.

Hence, the use of Science should be welcomed in helping to verify some of the psychic community's claims.

However, this can also become unhealthy for several reasons, and it is equally important to stand guard against these flaws. They too are all too common.

(1) Biased scientists.

The pitiful truth is that the field of psychic research, with only very rare exceptions, does NOT attract the finest brains or the most excellent scientists. It is extremely badly funded, is virtually impossible to make a solid and respected career in, and is the source of endless mockery from the mainstream scientific community.

Thus, despite the best will in the world, there is nevertheless a huge pressure upon parapsychologists to justify their own existence. At the end of the day, they have to find something, somewhere! If their entire careers consisted of merely disproving every possible psychic experience that they were presented with, they would rapidly give up the profession from sheer boredom or depressed spirits. From a personal standpoint, why bother? Hence, most of them are inherently believers to start with. In other words, there is likely to be an in-built bias.

This is not to imply that they would fake results. However, we must be aware that, by their very existence in this much maligned field, there is an invisible pressure upon these people to produce something to validate their own existence. Hence, this sort of science is extremely difficult to maintain in a totally objective manner.

Regular academic scientists are always under pressure to justify their funding through their results. How much worse then for scientists who, for the most part, have no funding, and who are often the laughing stock of the scientific community?

For all of these reasons, the profession of psychic research cannot and will not attract the very finest minds, at least not at the present times. This is not intended to be an slur to scientists involved in the field. It is just reality. The very best will tend to gravitate towards "safe" fields where their ability will be recognized, and not derided and scoffed at.

It is a sad situation, but that is just how the world works at present.

(2) The inadequacy of Science.

The scientific method has served the human race extremely well, but it has its limits. It cannot do everything.

Hence, we must be cautious of trying to apply scientific methods where they may not work well at all. Such is the manner in which science has been elevated to a religion in our world, this statement might seem almost absurd.

Yet, there are clear situations where science cannot measure anything. You cannot measure the emotions of love or anger with scientific instruments. Yet, few would doubt that they exist.

You cannot use instruments to provide a printout of what somebody is thinking. Yet, nobody would deny that they DO think, and they very often think in words.

You cannot prove scientifically that there are NO toy airplanes in orbit around the planet Saturn! It might sound absurd, but no matter how much you search for them and fail to find them, you CANNOT PROVE that they are not there. You can only say that you have not found one YET, and that it is extremely unlikely that they exist. You might be able to say that with 99.99999999% certainty. But you can NEVER say it with 100% certainty.

Science cannot "prove" a negative.

Thus, in the realm of psychic experiences, science cannot categorically assert that there is no such thing. You CANNOT PROVE that ghosts do not exist, for instance. You can only say that, to date, there has been no conclusive proof that they DO. That is NOT the same as saying that they do NOT.

In addition, the scientific method itself has limitations that psychic experiences would definitely stretch. In science, something has to be repeatable for it to have any validity. In other words, other scientists have to be able to replicate your process and get exactly the same results.

However, this is almost certainly doomed to failure in the psychic realm. Imagine repeating your experiment in a haunted house and DEMANDING that the phantom appear on cue, just because you are performing the same experiment!

If, by its very nature, a experience is extremely rare and unpredictable in nature, it is very hard to use Science to say much about it at all.

Science has very little to say about rare and unrepeatable events. Yet, these are the very things that life itself is full of. The Scientific Method has little or nothing to say regarding rare or unrepeatable events. Nevertheless, these are the very things that life itself is filled with.

It is for this very reason that, initially, the notion that a meteorite collision caused the extinction of the dinosaurs was met with hoots of laughter by the scientific community. It was the very rarity of the event, and the fact that no evidence could be found, that caused contempt to be heaped upon the heads of the theory's proponents. Until, of course, the crater was discovered.

We now also know that the role of the experimenter can dramatically change the results of the experiment. This may explain why certain famed psychics seem to have their skills leave them in the cold harsh light of the scientific laboratory. Yet, only a mediocre scientist would claim that because this is the case, it proves that there were no psychic experiences to begin with!

(3) Psychic Skeptics.

This may, in part, explain the James Randi effect. This is a psychic investigator who is a total skeptic on the subject, and who approaches the subject with this powerful ingrained bias. He has issued a challenge to pay a large sum of money to anyone who can demonstrate psychic powers to him in a scientifically controlled environment. To date, he still has his money.

Now, part of the problem may be that, even if somebody is genuinely psychic, the attitude of the scientist is sufficiently negative to completely extinguish whatever psychic abilities exist, as long as he is present. Again, a true scientist of any caliber cannot discount this possibility.

This is a purely human factor we are talking about, a function of the human brain, and not a measurement of the boiling point of water. Hence, it is entirely plausible that the negative attitude of the scientist, plus the undue pressure that the psychic is placed under as a result of it, could act to diminish the very effect being measured.

However, the bias of people like Randi and the organization of skeptics that calls itself Psicop, is worrying for another reason. These are people who, while claiming to be scientists, are actually approaching the entire subject with a deep bias that has nothing to do with Science whatsoever.

They are skeptical, because they are skeptical. That's all. They are believers in "Disbelief". It's just the opposite end of the spectrum of Belief. That's all.

There is no scientific reason for it whatsoever. While they pretend to be scientific, their approach is more akin to a religious dogma; that of treating Science like a religion. It is often called "Scientism" for this reason.

They might claim that there is no proof that psychic phenomena exist. Yet, it can be stated with equal validity that there is no proof that they do NOT. That is a totally equivalent statement. As we have seen earlier, Science cannot PROVE a negative statement. It can only talk about probabilities and likelihood. And, as we have discussed, many psychic experiences are intrinsically rare or fragile in their very essence.

Like any good fanatic, these skeptics like Randi and Psicop have a hidden agenda in "proving" that the world functions the way they think it does. Frankly, a major motivation is FEAR. More people than would like to admit it are terrified of the possibility of psychic phenomena. What if someone really COULD read your mind? Every dirty little secret. What if YOU too could develop psychic powers?

What sort of world would THAT be?! Definitely NOT the comfortable, ultra-conservative, clockwork Newtonian universe these skeptics yearn to inhabit. For them, it's a universe too horrific to contemplate. Therefore, it simply cannot be true!

To summarize, we must be very cautious in being too naive when examining paranormal experiences, or in rushing to hastily believe claims from the "professional" researchers in this highly controversial field of investigation. However, we have to also be skeptical of the skeptics who, while adopting a "scientific" posture, frequently behave more like unruly ideological zealots than even the most mediocre scientists

Copyright 2006 Asoka Selvarajah. All Rights Reserved.

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The Psychological Aspects of Rose

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-Acceptence. 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 solvant 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 Mind. 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!

Rose:
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
Source: flowers
Production method: steam distillation
Aromatherapy benefits: relaxing, soothing, sensual
Aroma type: sweet, floral
Safety Information: nontoxic, non irritant.


Pineapple: Nature's Healing Fruit

by Monique N. Gilbert B.Sc. - http://www.virtuesofsoy.com or E-mail: monique@chef.net

Want to give your body a boost in health and healing? Then you may want to add some fresh pineapple and pineapple juice to your diet. Pineapples are nutritionally packed members of the bromeliad family. This delightful tropical fruit is high in the enzyme bromelain and the antioxidant vitamin C, both of which plays a major role in the body's healing process.

Bromelain is a natural anti-inflammatory that has many health benefits and encourages healing. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, bromelain is very effective in treating bruises, sprains and strains by reducing swelling, tenderness and pain. This powerful anti- inflammatory effect can also help relieve rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and reduce postoperative swelling. Additionally, the bromelain contained in fresh pineapple can relieve indigestion. This enzyme helps break down the amino acid bonds in proteins, which promotes good digestion.

Pineapples provide an ample supply of vitamin C too, a commonly known antioxidant that protects the body from free radical damage and boosts the immune system. Vitamin C helps build and repair bodily tissue and promotes wound healing. The body uses vitamin C to help metabolize fats and cholesterol, absorb iron, and synthesize amino acids and collagen. Collagen is one of the primary building blocks of skin, cartilage and bones. Vitamin C also decreases the severity of colds and infections.

Furthermore, due to its high vitamin C content, pineapples are good for your oral health as well. A study conducted at the State University of New York at Buffalo found that vitamin C can reduce your risk of gingivitis and periodontal disease. Besides increasing the ability of connective tissue to repair itself, vitamin C also increases the body's ability to fight invading bacteria and other toxins that contribute to gum disease. Periodontal disease, which destroys gum tissue and underlying jaw bones, has been linked to heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

So if you want a natural way to enhance your body's healing mechanisms, promote overall good health and tantalize your taste buds, pineapples are the way to go. Choose the fresh fruit because it has the most healing properties. Unfortunately, most of the bromelain in canned pineapple is destroyed due to the heat used in the canning process.

When choosing a fresh pineapple, do not judge ripeness solely based upon color. There are several varieties on the market that range from green to golden yellow. The most important factor in determining ripeness is smell, let your nose help you decide. Ripe pineapples give off a sweet, fresh tropical smell. Avoid pineapples that give off an unpleasant odor or have any soft spots or areas of dark discoloration. Once home, let the pineapple sit on your counter at room temperature until ready to use. This will preserve its sweet and tangy flavor.

To prepare pineapple, you need to peel it, remove the eyes (the thorny protrusions within the puffy squares of the skin) and the fibrous center. First, cut off the top and bottom of the pineapple with a sharp knife. Place the pineapple upright on a cutting board and carefully slice off the outer skin. With a sharp paring knife or the end if a vegetable peeler, remove the eyes. Don't cut too deep, just enough to lift out the section that contains the eye. Then, remove the fibrous core. One way to do this is to cut the pineapple lengthwise into 4 wedges (quarter it) and cut around the fibrous center core. Another popular way is to slice the pineapple crosswise and remove the cores individually with a cookie cutter. Once the fruit is prepared, it can be diced and eaten fresh, added to salads and entrees for an exotic flavor, or made into tasty tropical drinks.

Here is a delicious, nutritious, cholesterol-free smoothie recipe high in bromelain, vitamin C, potassium, thiamin (vitamin B-1), riboflavin (vitamin B-2), iron, fiber and isoflavones.

Tropical Fruit Smoothie
__________________________________________
1 frozen banana
1 cup fresh pineapple
3/4 cup soymilk
1 tablespoon honey or sugar (optional)
__________________________________________

Blend all of the above ingredients in a food processor or blender for 1-2 minutes, until smooth and creamy. Makes about 2-3/4 cups (2 servings)


Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis

by Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac.

Plantar Fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thin layer of tough tissue supporting the arch of the foot. This may cause the heel to hurt, feel hot or swell. Microscopic tears, which occur repeatedly to the plantar fascia cause pain. Sometimes plantar fasciitis is called "heel spurs", but this is not always accurate, since bony growths on the heel may or may not be a factor.

Plantar Fasciitis is often recognized when there is heel pain that is present on first putting weight on your feet. This pain usually gets better with movement but returns again when you sit or lie down for even a few minutes.

At night, apply herbal ice (san huang san) to the bottom, side, heel and achilles tendon and wrap with gauze and wrap with an ace bandage.

In the morning, unwrap and wash area clean. Soak your foot for 15 minutes in tendon soak. Dry. Apply tendon lotion and then apply wu yang pain relieving plaster. Then put on your stockings, or socks for the day.

At the end of the day, unwrap and wash area clean. Soak your foot for 15 minutes in tendon soak, again. Dry.

Homeopathic Rhus Tox 30c taken twice a day can help relieve pain.

Wear only shoes with good arch support. Have orthotics for ALL your shoes.

Try to avoid going barefoot during the healing process.

While you are healing, avoid, cold, raw foods, iced drinks, sour foods and shellfish.

Lose weight. Added weight adds extra pressure per square inch to the surface of the feet. Stretching the plantar surface of the feet are imperative for the healing process.

These exercises are for stretching and strengthening the muscles of the foot and ankle.

Before you start these exercises:

Do a warm-up. Warm tissues are more flexible than cold tissues and are less likely to be injured. If you are participating in sports, it is very important to warm up and do stretching exercises before your sport. Warming up and stretching will increase the flexibility in your plantar fascia and decrease the chance of injury and inflammation.

Stretching exercises before getting out of bed:

Many people with plantar fasciitis have intense heel pain in the morning, when taking the first steps after getting out of bed. Stretching or massaging the plantar fascia before getting up can often reduce heel pain when rising. Other steps that can help reduce heel pain when taking the first steps after getting out of bed include:

Wearing a night splint while you sleep. Night splints hold the ankle and foot in a position that keeps the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia slightly stretched. Massaging the bottom of your foot across the width of the plantar fascia before getting out of bed.

1. Stretch your foot by flexing it up and down 10 times before standing. Use a towel to stretch the bottom of your foot. Stretching and strengthening exercises will help reduce plantar fasciitis each day.

2. Stretching exercises should create a pulling feeling, but not pain. Stretching exercises include: Use a rolling pin or tennis ball. While standing, roll the rolling pin or ball with the arch of your foot.

3. Use a towel (towel stretch). Place the rolled towel under the center of your foot, holding the towel at both ends, and gently push your foot into the towel.

4. Calf stretches. To stretch the Achilles tendon, lean forward against a wall, keep one leg with the knee straight and heel on the ground while bending the knee in the other leg. Hold this position for 10 seconds, and try to do this stretch 3 to 6 times a day.

5. Combination plantar fascia/calf stretch. Stand on a step with the front part of your feet, keeping your heels free. While holding onto the rail, slowly lower your heels. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds, then bring your heels back to a level position. Repeat this stretch 10 times.

Strengthening exercises include:

6.Towel curls. While sitting, place your foot on a towel on the floor and scrunch the towel toward you with your toes.

7. Marble pick-ups. Put marbles on the floor next to a cup. Using your toes, try to lift the marbles up from the floor and put them in the cup.

Exercises to avoid

Some exercises may aggravate your heel pain. One example is exercise that involves pounding of the foot against a hard surface and repeated motions, such as running or jogging. This type of exercise should be avoided to rest the plantar fascia.

You may want to take a pain reliever such as a nonsteroidal anti- inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as aspirin or ibuprofen, to relieve inflammation and pain. Some people take NSAIDs at least 30 minutes before they exercise to relieve pain and allow them to participate and enjoy the exercise. Other people take NSAIDs after they exercise. After exercising, ice your heel for about 20 minutes to help relieve pain and inflammation. You can easily become dependent on NSAIDS. Be careful. Bleeding gums, ulcers or any other kind of excess bleeding could be a sign of too much NSAIDs intake.

These suggestions have worked for me and my patients. You must be diligent about this as well as losing weight if your overweight. It will make all the difference in the world.


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