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Mental clutter, hyper-mind, head on overdrive— we’ve all been there.  Here issome soothing relief.

Try these simple suggestions for slowing things down. Your concentration and memory will improve, you will gain greater perspective on your life, and you’ll be able to think more clearly and with less effort.

Learn to relax your mind as you relax your body, to reap the benefits of less stress, and gain a more calm and mindful awareness of the present moment. You will be surprised how easy it can be.

1. Witness your thoughts. No one can stop thinking entirely; it is impossible. If you start trying not to think, you only end up thinking about how to stop thinking! What you can do, however, is to withdraw from your thoughts and become more of an objective spectator.

2. Picture your mind as a blank canvas or a dark sky. Allow your thoughts to come and go, but resist the urge to follow each one. Your brain will eventually slow down and you will feel less pressured.

3. Count. If you find it difficult to let go of your thoughts, try counting slowly as you breathe. Watch your thoughts and try to resist following them. Turn your attention to the count as you breathe out.

4. Pay active attention. As you work and think, try to keep your attention on the task at hand. Be strict with yourself and each time your mind wanders, return it to the task. As you keep refocusing your attention, your “mind stillness” will improve.

5. Still your body. One sign of fragmented attention is fragmented movement. For example, when you are at the theatre, it is easy to tell if others around you are fully attentive to the performance. People who sniff and sigh, move their heads this away and that, and wiggle in their seats are having some difficulty concentrating. Rapt attention is usually accompanied by still body posture.

Adapted from The Healing Aromatherapy Bath, by Margo Valentine Lazzara (Storey Books, 1999). Copyright (c) 1999 by Margo Valentine Lazzara. Reprinted by permission of Storey Books.

Adapted from The Healing Aromatherapy Bath, by Margo Valentine Lazzara (Storey Books, 1999).

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/8-tips-to-focus-your-mind-how-to.html#ixzz263yif5vx

Ref: wecare2

Below is an downloadable copy of the very popular relaxation recording.  Put it on your MP3 player/iPhone/Android and lie back and relax!

Mmmmm the thought of a massage…!  But do you realise there are many different types of massage, all with different responses from the body.

But before we look at the different types of massage, let’s look at the history of massage…

Body Massage History

Greece MassageBody massage dates back to the beginning of time and was practiced by early Chinese, Hindu, Assyrian, Greek and Roman civilisations.  There are many examples in ancient artwork that depict massage.

Dr Peter Henry Ling

Until the 1600′s massage was not really heard of in Europe.  It wasn’t until a  Swedish physiologist called Dr Peter Henry Ling int he 1900′s gave a clear and ordered system of working, which we now call ‘Swedish Massage’.

Other names for massage include ‘Classical’ (as used in Sweden), ‘Clinical’ and ‘Therapeutic’.

Traditionally massage is carried out lying on a couch and usually the whole body is massaged (back, shoulders, arms and legs, or just the back and shoulders are treated .  However, since we all have different needs and requirements it can be given in a seated position, either in a special massage chair, or by use of pillows and a chair.

Massage can have a profound effect on the body – in many ways.  Below is a short description of the ways massage can help the body and mind, for more information please click here for a full report.

Therapeutic Massage:

This type of massage encompasses a variety of moves and pressures.  Soft, sweeping, or firm – they can all be part of this type of massage, but this type should never hurt!  It is the best type of massage for pain management.

Skeletal:  Increase joint mobility, Free adhesions and scar tissue, Improve the tone and texture of the muscles

Muscles:  Relieves muscle tightness and stiffness, Increases tissue relaxation, Increases blood circulation, Reduces muscles soreness, Rapid removal of toxins.

CardiovascularImprove circulation, Dilate blood vessels, Produce enhanced blood flow, Help temporarily decrease blood pressure, Decrease heart rate, Reduce ischaemia

LymphaticsReduce oedema, Strengthen the immune system,

Nerves:  Stimulation of the sensory receptors, Stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, Reduce pain

Skin:  Improve circulation to the skin, Increase the production of sweat, Improve the skins colour, Increase sebum production

Respiratory:  Deepens respiration and improves lung capacity, Slows down the rate of respiration

Digestion:  Help with the movement of food around the digestive system, Stimulates digestion

UrinaryIncrease urinary output

Psychological: Reduce stress and anxiety, Create a feeling of well-being, Improve self-esteem. Promote positive body awareness, Ease emotional trauma through relaxation

Manual Lymphatic Drainage:

Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is a type of massage that stimulates the lymph through the one-way drainage pathways within the body.  It is gentler that some other forms of massage and uses flowing rhythmic movements.

Lymph is a clear fluid that moves water, protein, cells and electrolytes around the body.  by stimulation the lymphatic system the tissues of the body as assisted i the process of clearing excess fluid.  It is a superficial massage on the lymphatic drainage paths and it is thought that by applying gentle pressure to superficial lymph vessels the deeper lymph vessels will also be influenced.

One aim of the massage is to reduce swelling (oedema) by increasing lymphatic drainage.  The softer the tissues or the more severe the oedema, the lighter the pressure and the slower the movements.

Pre and Post Natal massage

Gentle and therapeutic touch to help relax and ease some of the symptoms of pregnancy. Using supports to maximise your comfort, take time out for yourself and unwind.

Our special pregnancy massage relaxed tired muscles and relieves aches and pains.  Massage during pregnancy can help improve headaches, mood swings, quality of sleep and back and joint stiffness.

Benefits of Pre Natal Massage:

  • Relaxation – ‘me’ time
  • Aid good quality sleep
  • Help with aches and pains
  • Eases headaches and mood swings

For the new mum, time seems to slip by and maybe all attention goes on the little-one, but it is important to make sure they are not neglected.  Their bodies and minds have worked very hard over the last 9 months, and are now working even harder!

During the postnatal period, your body is going through big changes and you need to be careful not to overstimulate it.  The time it takes for your body to return to normal differs for different women and depends on factors such as your general health, the type of pregnancy you experienced, the type of birth, how well you are bonding with your child, the kind of baby you have and how easy you are finding breastfeeding.

It is important that you take care of yourself as well as your baby in the months following childbirth.

Benefits of Postnatal Massage:

Emotionally and physically the postnatal period can put a great deal of strain on mothers and massage during this time can help to:

  • Give nurturing and emotional support
  • Alleviate the muscle strain of pregnancy and childbirth
  • Promote pelvic floor healing and rebalance the spine and pelvis
  • Restore and normalise abdominal structures
  • Facilitate healing after a Caesarian section
  • Restore normal walking patterns
  • Prevent and reduce back and neck pain caused by newborn care
  • Can aid breastfeeding

Baby Massage

Massage has been around for thousands of year and must be one of the oldest and most natural forms of all healing methods.  Throughout history, and in many different cultures, massage has been used to aid healing in both adults and children, ease the pain of childbirth and help recovery, as well as soothing babies and infants all over the world.

Baby massage is becoming more popular as the benefits are realized, and its use is being encouraged by Midwives, Child Welfare Organisations, Health Professionals, as well as Complementary Practitioners.

A baby will show much evidence of exceptional flexibility of movement but as development occurs, and with time, this flexibility will decrease. If massage is started from the first few weeks of life this can encourage and maintain a higher level of flexibility, as strength increases.

Sessions are aimed at mum and dad (why should dad’s miss out on all the fun??), or mum and another.  Baby loves these sessions and so will you!

Indian Head Massage

A massage therapy that works specifically on the areas surrounding the head, scalp and face, neck and extending to the shoulders and upper back.  Used for thousands of years to help reduce stress and muscle tension, eases headaches and can help with migraines. Treatments can use oils, or you can have it dry if you prefer.

The head, neck and shoulders are important energy centres within your body.  When we feel stressed or angry tension tends to accumulate.  This can later show itself as a stiff neck and shoulders or even eye strain.

Indian Head Massage involves work with a firm and gentle rhythm to help unknot blockages and relieve the uncomfortable build up of tension.  However the effects are not just physical: it works on an emotional level too, calming the spirit, promoting relaxation and relieving stress.

The main aim of massage is to release tense and tight muscles, gently move the joints and restore you body back to feeling ‘normal’ again.  With regular treatments you can prevent lots of common ailments and help keep stress at bay.

Who would’ve want that?

You may be carrying extra weight because you don’t know these simple tips.  

By using the following easy-to-do suggestions you will see your fat drop off!  Not literally but you should see your fatty bits being less jiggly!

1. Only eat when you are proper hungry.

Knowing when you are experiencing REAL hunger – not boredom, having the munchies or nibbling socially can reduce your food intake by up to 30%!    30 % less food each day = FAT LOSS!

2. Find out what makes you hungry?

Once you can tell when your body needs refueling you will be aware of when you are eating, but not physically hungry.  We’ve mentioned a couple already – boredom and having the munchies, but what situations really set you off?  The football match and peanuts, because you’ve had a row with your partner – head for the chocolate, your period is due, ditto!  Our relationship with food is based on many of our emotions, habits and routines.  See what makes you reach for in-between snacks and once you are on that path an stop the eating, you will be on the way to losing fat!

3.  Eat more protein!

Meals filled with protein are consistently shown to keep you fuller for longer.  If you are fuller for longer, you won’t be snacking therefore reducing the number of calories (which in the case of snacks are usually ‘empty’ calories).  Try and have protein with each meal.  The portion size is approx the size of your palm (when you have taken your fingers off!)

4. Fats that make you fatter!

Fat as a food group has the most calories than all the other food groups.  It is easily sneaked into foods – most of the time you don’t realise they are there!  But you know that not all fats are bad – omega 3 and 6 are good fats and we should have those about three times per week.  These oils are found in fish and are great if you are trying to lose weight.

5.  Slow Release Carbohydrates

You may have heard me talking about this in class recently – it seems to be all over the news at the moment.  Carbs are harder to store as fat (just like protein) as it takes a lot of energy to store them as fat.  There are two types of carbs – slow release and fast release.  Some of you may be aware of the glcaemic index (GI) which give a number for each food to indicate how fast or slow the carbohydrates are released into your body.  The lower the number the slower they are released into your body.  High GI foods include sweets, chocolate, potatoes and bread.  To lose fat you need to choose foods with a low GI – wholefoods, veg with protein and healthy fats.  These slow release carbs also contain lots of fibre which helps you to feel full for longer, so you tend to eat less.  The sugars in these plant cells are released slowly (unlike a bag of Haribos), and helps balance insulin levels so you don’t get peaks and troughs during the day.  A healthy insulin level is very important if you want to lose fat.

6.  Lower your insulin levels to reduce fat storage.

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas which allows your body to store and use sugars from your food.  The more sugar that comes into the body, the more insulin is released.  Insulin tells your body to make your fat cells absorb more fat and stop the release of fat.  Eating in response to your genuine hunger will lower your insulin levels and you will burn fat faster.

7.  Move that body!

Oh yes, exercise comes into this – big time!  The energy your body produces when you exercise is priceless!  It lowers your insulin levels, increased your fat burning enzymes allowing your metabolism to keep burning fat, even after exercise!  Your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) is higher after exercise – fat keeps burning!  Any movement is good – Pilates (especially with some resistance), walking, swimming and toning classes are great – keep those muscles moving!  Have a think about this:  Adding a 45 min walk everyday will burn around 225 calories.  Over 12 months that will reduce your fat store by 23 pounds – over 1 and a half stone of fat in one year!  Makes you think!

8.  Strength Burns Fat!

As we’ve briefly mentioned, muscle burns more calories just because it is muscle.  Increasing your RMR means that even sitting down you are burning calories.  For each pound of muscle it takes between 6 and 35 calories to make it move.  Increasing the strength of large muscle groups - your legs and bum can help increase your RMR.  Other areas can be worked and muscle tone increased – giving you a svelte and shapely outline!

9. Relax – stop stressing and lose the fat!

Stress makes you fat by raising cortisol levels, which then affects your insulin, promoting fat storage.  Cortisol is a hormone that is produced in the adrenal glands (just on top of your kidneys) and it affects the metabolism of glucose, protein, and fats.  Stress also leads to over eating.  Sleep is essential for balancing the stress levels of the body and studies have shown that women who get inadequate sleep are fatter than those who do.  Learning to cope with life better is another way to help metabolise cortisol, as is exercise.  Our lives are very stressful at the moment and helping to manage stress will not only help reduce the fat, but will also lower the risk of other conditions such as high blood pressure and strokes.

See here for more details on relaxation…

10.  Be a Savvy Shopper

Shopping without a list or a plan can be fatal!  As can shopping when you are hungry!  Have a plan -get a list, make sure you only buy what you wanted to buy; don’t be tempted by other foods that are not on your list!  If you know you are going to be out all day or at work, take a healthy lunch/snack with you.  Read food labels to see if they are really low-fat and low-sugar – most of the time they are not!

What are you waiting for?  Put these simple tips into place and watch the fat drop off (not literally!!).

Your body is well equipped to help heal itself.

If you have broken a bone – with a little help it heals itself – within 6-weeks the fracture has healed and you’re on the mend!  The same applied with any cuts, scrapes and spots!

Sometimes it needs a bit of help, especially with if you have pain.  Your GP/consultant may have prescribed medication to help with the form of pain you have, but there are things you can do to help.

NB – We are in NO WAY advocating you stop taking any medication you may have been given.  You MUST consult with your GP/consultant before making any decisions.

When Experience Wellness talks about pain management,  we talk about a healing approach that addresses the body, mind and spirit or the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of an individual person and their pain.

The holistic health approach cannot see the body, mind and spirit as separate entities. It looks to the underlying causes of symptoms instead of just treating or blocking the symptoms of pain with a drug.

We must all be aware that Holistic belief upholds the one main truth that the body, mind and spirit are not independent of one another, that they are all interlinked. Because of this what affects one, has to, by the laws of nature, affect the others.

Holistic treatment approaches are highly personalised for the differing needs of each individual. The client and their practitioner or therapist make decisions together to develop the holistic health care plan and thus manage their pain.

Within the holistic pain management concept you will find a wide variety of different treatment approaches.  Holistic Pain Management may well focus upon aspects such as behavioural therapies, acupressure, nutrition, counselling, massage, homeopathy, aromatherapy, dietary changes, food allergies, vitamin supplementation, exercise, relaxation, meditation, life style changes, reflexology and many others.

A holistic approach to pain management encourages you to be empowered and to experience different ways to look after yourself and to educate yourself about your personal health and the reasons for your pain and symptoms. It should seek to encourage you to take an active role in your treatment and health care, rather than giving all the power to the medical profession.

Pain is an inevitable part of life. Much of the pain that we experience cannot be removed or treated, so we, as a race, have no choice but to learn to live with it positively and to the best of our abilities.

A person can choose to seek medical help for their pain, but unfortunately, there may come a time when that pain can no longer be successfully treated or managed with mainstream medical intervention and it would be at this point, that seeking other forms of help or support or treatment may be the way forward.

Remember

Holistic pain management and treatment is about seeing and treating pain not only as a physical condition but as an emotional and a spiritual one as well, something that is caused and experienced by every part of the body and therefore Holistic Pain Management is about treating the whole, not just the symptom of the pain.

Make sure you are really committed to your relaxation session.

Using a plan will remind you about why you are doing it and also remind you of the practical aspects of getting your relaxation sessions under-way.

It can also be useful to let others in your life see your plan – then they will understand why and how you will be relaxing!  You never know – they might want to try it themselves!

Download your free plan here:

Relaxation Plan

Make use of your time to think about relaxation.

  • Use the time to think whilst taking your breaks, waiting in traffic or when queuing in a shop.
  • Use the natural routines of the day to keep a routine of simple relaxation going.
  • If you feel things are getting on top of you: STOP AND RELAX, remember to use the deep breathing and release any muscular tension.
  • Write down on a list the things that you have to do.
  • PRIORITISE.  Ask yourself which are the most important things, be realistic, and don’t punish yourself if you do not get everything done.  There is always tomorrow.
  • PACE yourself and take rest breaks.
  • If your mind is full of worries and problems that are stopping you from concentrating, it may help by writing them down or talking to someone who will listen.
  • Try and deal with the worries by challenging them.

USE POSITIVE THINKING

Remember that preventing the stress response is most important.  It is harder to deal with stress when it has reached a peak.

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