Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Proven Healing Power of Touch

Did you know that YOU have healing power, literally at your fingertips? The simple act of touching - not necessarily in a romantic manner - is so powerful that it can slow your heart rate, decrease your blood pressure, and strengthen your immune system!

Our culture is not very affectionate, and we are losing out on the benefits of regular physical interaction with others. The healing power of touch is so necessary for life that babies not touched regularly don't grow and develop normally, and children who are not lovingly touched enough are more likely to be violent as adults.

How Touching Helps

It's very common these days to live most of our lives in our heads. Are you experiencing the constant chatter of to-do lists, errands, worries, decisions and criticisms? You are not alone.

This mental chatter disconnects you from your body and depletes your energy. In fact, it is just another form of stress that over time pulls the energy from your body and keeps it stuck in your head.

When the time comes for rest and relaxation, you may find that your mind cannot stop. Even sleep can become more difficult, further depleting your energy.

Regular touch establishes your mind-body connection and has been proven to:

- Decrease anxiety

- Increase the number of white blood cells

- Lower blood pressure

- Increase endorphin levels (your feel-good hormones)

- Help you sleep better

Reach Out and Touch Someone!

Here are some easy ways to incorporate healing touch into your daily routine:

- Offer to give a friend a back rub - then switch.

- Borrow a custom from Europe and kiss people hello. If that is too intimate, give hugs instead.

- Pat people on the back or arm as gentle reassurance.

- Schedule regular therapeutic full-body massage. Something is better than nothing, so even 15 or 30 minutes makes a difference.

- Get foot massages or foot reflexology - these forms of healing touch allow your energy to move from your head into your abdomen, which is your "energy powerhouse."

- Don't be afraid to ask for a hug - your body and your mind both need it!

Solar Touch

You probably know that the sun's rays are therapeutic. Why else would we vacation in warm, sunny climates? You may also know that decreased sunlight is linked to seasonal depression, especially in the winter months.

While we've recently become more and more fearful of the sun's rays, safe exposure to sunlight is actually very beneficial. It provides a healing touch that affects the chemistry of your brain and the functioning of your body. Especially in winter, make sure you expose at least 80% of your bare body to 30 minutes of sunlight regularly so that you benefit from the sun's healing power. If your immune system is compromised this may mean that you schedule a vacation in the sun each winter. Sunlight is an important healing tool and it is free. Of course, the vacation might not be.

A Commitment to Physical Touch

This year, make a commitment (to yourself and those around you) to touch more. From a kiss on the cheek to a quick massage, small changes can yield big health dividends. So take your health into your own hands and feel the power of healing touch.

You may find your relationships and your health flourishing!

Holding hands can be beneficial for your body AND your relationships
Holding hands can be beneficial for your body AND your relationships.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

7 Key Healthy Eating Principles

Energy, vitality and longevity can be achieved at any age, and with the 7 Healing Principles which restore our body health and change our life!. We know that the stress of modern living, the Standard American Diet (SAD) of processed foods and too much sugar, and an over-dependence on drugs and antibiotics can weaken our immunity, pave the road for early aging and cause diseases like cancer because health begins in the digestive system.

Beneficial bacteria (also known as microflora) digest the foods we are eating. A lifestyle that includes stress and poor eating habits kills the beneficial microscopic "good guys" that keep us healthy, setting the stage for disease. Very often the stress and the junk foods cause digestive upset, and resulted with digestive pain, bloating and/or fatigue after eating the heavy meals. Therefore, fermented foods and drinks are required to re-populate our digestive system with the beneficial bacteria needed to digest food, assimilate nutrients, and enhance immunity.

The 7 Healing Principles

1. The Principle of Balance

The Principle of Balance is based on the concept of yin and yang, the opposing energy forces from ancient Chinese and Japanese traditions. Everything in the world has some properties of yin and yang, but in varying proportions.

Yin energy is light, expansive, wet, soft, cold and more vegetal. Yang energy is heavy, contracting, dry, hard, hot and more animal. Body Ecology uses the terms expansion and contraction to explain the yin and yang energy of the food we eat.

Some foods, like sugar and alcohol, are examples of food that is way too expansive for our body. Our blood stream quickly absorbs sugar and produces energy, making us feel temporarily open and relaxed yet these foods are damaging because they are not balanced.

Other foods, like excessive and poor-quality salt and animal products, are more contracting and cause our cells to contract and lose fluids, making us feel tight and constricted.

Our body is always seeking balance. If we eat too much salt, our body becomes too contractive and we will quickly find ourself craving something sweet. Notice this the next time we go to see a movie. While they may not fully understand this concept, the movie theaters are well aware that both soda pop (sweet and expansive) and popcorn (salty and contracting) are ever-popular combinations for concession sales.

Without understanding this principle, we may unknowingly create imbalance in a vicious cycle of cravings.

2. The Principle of Acid and Alkaline

To maintain health, our blood must be slightly alkaline. The foods we eat and the lifestyle choices we make impact our body's ability to maintain that alkaline state.

Foods can be alkaline, acidic or neutral in our body. Our goal would be to have a balance of alkaline and acidic foods so that you can maintain the alkaline state of our blood. If we get out of balance and your blood becomes too acidic, you become more susceptible to illness and disease.

At the same time, lifestyle choices like stress, taking prescription drugs and not getting enough sleep can create acidic blood. Paying attention to a balanced lifestyle is also key to our health and longevity.

3. The Principle of Uniqueness

As humans, we share so many similarities with one another, but our body is unique. Each of us is an experiment of one and for that reason, we may need to modify certain elements of any diet or lifestyle to suit our own individuality.

While restoring balance in our body, any time we try a new way of eating, it's vital to observe our body's reactions and assess whether this new path is bringing us back toward balance.

4. The Principle of Cleansing

Did you know that our body cleanses every day? Through elimination, urine, tears, and sweat, our body rids itself of toxins that would otherwise build up and could lead to sickness and disease. Fevers, colds and skin eruptions are actually a natural part of the cleansing process and shouldn't be suppressed. Cleansing allows our body to restore balance and occurs when imbalance is too great and threatens life.

As we start on certain fiber cleansing diet, we will experience the symptoms of cleansing, and might feel worse than we usually feel. It's our body's way of getting rid of the bad and making room for the good. After all, we cannot heal our current condition without cleansing.

5. The Principle of Food Combining

By combining certain foods when we eat can either help or hinder our digestion. If we combine the wrong foods, our body will actually secrete enzymes that cancel each other out!

This leads to slowed or impaired digestion, causing food to ferment in our stomach or toxins to be released in our intestines. These conditions make our body more attractive to pathogens. This is a highly useful principle to improve our health and weight, and often one of the most misunderstood.

6. The Principle of 80/20

This principle has two concepts that aid our digestion:

- Quantity: Overeating severely weakens our digestive system. Give our stomach room to digest our food by only filling our stomach to 80% of capacity and leaving 20% empty to help our body digest.

- Balance of Nutrients: 80% of every meal should be land and ocean vegetables. The other 20% should be either a protein OR a grain.

7. The Principle of Step-by-Step

Just as it takes time to get out of balance, it also takes time to rebuild our health progressively. We cannot expect instant healing, but making small, consistent changes gives our body the foundation it needs to support optimal, long-term health.

Starting any new lifestyle is about creating new habits. It takes time and effort, which can sometimes feel hard.

The key is to take everything step-by-step. Incorporate one healing principle (or even one element of a healing principle) at a time so that you don't feel overwhelmed. Take care of yourself by going at the pace that feels right to you.


Saturday, July 07, 2007

Inflammation: The Real Cause of All Disease and How to Reduce and Prevent It

Did you know that inflammation is the common link between such debilitating conditions as Alzheimers, heart disease, cancer, and arthritis?

Did you know inflammation is thought to be the culprit behind the visible signs of aging?

Inflammation is a wellness buzz-word these days, and for good reason. If you reduce inflammation in your body, you'll not only look and feel younger, but you'll significantly lower your risk for chronic disease!

What is Inflammation?

Inflammation is your body's response to stress - whether from your diet, lifestyle or environment. Think of what happens when you catch a cold. You may experience inflammation in the form of a fever as your body heats up to eradicate the effects of the invading virus.

This kind of inflammation is good, but the modern epidemic of chronic, low-grade inflammation destroys the balance in your body. When your body's systems experience a constant inflammatory response, you become more susceptible to aging and disease.

What Causes Inflammation?

Body Ecology believes that one of the main causes of inflammation is low-grade bacterial, viral, and fungal infections in the bloodstream and organs like the stomach and gastro-intestinal tract.

For example, H pylori is a bacteria in the stomach that contributes to inflammation and the development of ulcers. H pylori is present in 50% of adults over 60 years old and in 20% of adults under the age of 40!

As you can see, inflammation is quite common and caused by more than just pathogenic organisms.

Other causes of inflammation include:

- Chronic low-grade food allergies or food sensitivities that may cause few symptoms.

- An imbalance of bacteria and fungi in your gastrointestinal tract, also known as dysbiosis. This causes your immune system to overreact to bacteria in your gut and can be without notable symptoms.

- Stress! Constant psychological, emotional or physical stress raises the level of cortisol, creating inflammation. [For more on the effects of stress on your body, read "How Stress Creates A Double-Whammy Threat to Your Health"]

- Environmental toxicity from our air, water, food pollutants and toxic metals like mercury and lead all contribute to inflammation and have been linked to diseases as varied as endometriosis and cancer.

- Diet and lifestyle: too much fat, sugar, and protein in your diet, constant dehydration, consumption of too many sodas or caffeine, inactivity, and lack of sleep can all increase inflammation in your body

The Lasting Effects of Inflammation

Symptoms of inflammation include:

- Visible signs of aging like wrinkles.

- Susceptibility to bacterial, fungal, and viral infections.

- Acid reflux

- Cancer

- Skin conditions like psoriasis and acne.

- Arthritis

- Bronchitis

- Chronic pain

- Diabetes

- High blood pressure

- Osteoporosis

- Heart disease

- Candidiasis

- Urinary tract infections

How to Reduce Inflammation

- To restore our body's balance, just going "back to basics" with both diet and lifestyle, which eliminating viral and fungal infections, increasing our mineral intake, eliminating sugar and balancing all of our nutrients in a way that supports health and vitality.

- Following the 7 Key Healthy Eating Principles to heal our body of inflammation, reduce the damaging effects of aging and giving you plenty of energy.

- Reduce stress - which is easier said than done. [Read this article on "The Healing Power of Touch"]

- Get adequate quality sleep. [For more information read "Trouble Sleeping? Why Winter is the Ideal Time to Learn How to Sleep Right!"]

- Soak up the Sun - Vitamin D, available from sunlight, is an easy way to effectively stop inflammation.