Archive for January, 2012

Herbs For Chakra Balance And Healing

chakra-system-posterMedicinal Herbs have been part of the process of healing of Earth’s people for many years. In fact, Mother Nature is excellent at providing us the plants and the substances that we need to heal ourselves on all levels of being; physical, mental, spiritual and energetic. Wise women have intuitively known for years that herbs not only give the body the medicinal healing that it requires, but also that the vibrations of the plants themselves resonate with the Universal life force energy that enters our bodies through the seven Chakras, or energy centers.

There are many herbs that are beneficial to the Seven Chakras of the body, and these plants are awesome catalyst for healing inside and outside. Adding herbs to your diet, whether they are for balancing the Chakras or for knocking out a common cold, connects us to the vibrations of the plants and allows organic healing to take place on all levels. Even so, please do not substitute the use of herbs for proper medical guidance and care. Always tell your doctor before beginning a new regimen of herbal treatments.

The Root Chakra is located at the base of the spine. Associated with the color red, this energy center grounds us Earth energy. It operates our instinctual drive to survive and carry on the species. Often, we have a difficult time grounding ourselves due to the enormous amount of mental and emotional stress in the world today. Dandelion is one of the most nourishing herbs for the Root Chakra. though many people have considered Dandelion a weed, herbalists know that it is a tonic for nearly all ailments.

The Sacral Chakra is located just below the navel. It’s energies harness the power of sex and creativity, af empathy for other people, reaching out to others for support and security. One of the best herbs to take for re-establishing balance in the Sacral Chakra is Calendula, whose bright orange flowers and leaves can be brewed into a soothing tea.

When the Solar Plexus Chakra becomes imbalanced, we carry a sense of urgency through life; a feeling that there is no way to ever accomplish all that we set out to do. The Solar Plexus Chakra is located just above the navel and resonates with the color yellow. It is your seat of personal power. When it is out of balance, a feeling that you have lost control can develop. A few drops of Marshmallow tincture under the tongue promotes relaxation and release in the Solar Plexus Chakra.

Our emotions and loving intent are balanced and harmonized through the energies of the Heart Chakra. this is the place where unconditional love comes into being in our bodies. In this world that we live in, the Heart Chakra seems to be thrust to the back burner in favor of the non-stop ‘doing’ of the lower Chakras, yet opening ourselves to loving Heart Chakra energies has a more profound affect on our lives than the lower level energies ever could. Hawthorne berries taken as a tea or tincture, open us up to the love in our hearts that we know we deserve.

The fifth Chakra, called the Throat Chakra, is the seat of our communication. When we feel like we just can’t say what is on our minds, it is likely a fifth Chakra obstruction that we are experiencing. Red Clover is not only beneficial for the throat region itself, but also lends a sense of commitment to speaking your truth; a trust that what we have to say is valid and deserves to be heard.

The Brow Chakra, located betyween the eyes. is the center for dreams and psychic abilities. Also called the Third Eye Chakra, this energy center can bring confusion and lack of clarity when it is blocked. When we need help with our vision, whether it is our actual eyes that need nourishing or the thoughts behind them that are muddled and uncleaar, Eyebright is an excellent tonic herb for this purpose.

The Crown Chakra is our center for spiritual development. through it we realize our connection to Source energy and we release the need to just be human, opting instead to experience all of the levels of life that we can. Lavender has long been known as a spiritual catalyst. It promotes relaxation, allowing for a clear flow of energy through the Crown Chakra. A few drops of Lavender essential oil placed at the top of the head will promote deep love of life and self.

Herbs that resonate with our Chakras promote healing on many levels and should always be used with care.

Find out more how to unblock your chakras by leaning about heart chakra healing and solar plexus chakra healing

Medicines You Never Knew You Had!

Home Remedies From The Kitchen

Have those winter time colds that spread like the plague started getting to you a bit too much? Before heading out to the doctor, think about reaching into your spice rack.

Everything you need could be right there in front of you – and you don’t even know it.

Super Spice #1: Cinnamon

Who knew that cinnamon was good for more than mixing with sugar and putting on top of apples and sweet desserts? Cinnamon actually has very strong antibacterial properties and can be used for several ailments in many different ways. For minor cuts and scrapes, grate up a stick of cinnamon, and “paste” it into the wound. The scar that’s left behind after healing will be much less noticeable with this practice.

Try boiling a pot of water with cinnamon. Drink it hot with a teaspoon of honey to relieve a congested nose associated with a wintertime cold. This drink will also help relieve seasonal depression symptoms and can help improve arthritis pain. Adding cinnamon alone to coffee or hot tea will help increase the levels of good cholesterol in your body. And just a teaspoon a day has been proven to lower blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics.

Super Spice #2: Ginger

Suffering from an upset stomach, nausea or motion sickness? Fix yourself a pot of green tea, add 1/2 teaspoon of ginger per 8 ounces of water, and feel your stomach start to un-wrench itself. Or, if you happen to have fresh ginger on hand, chew on a slice of it for an increased effect.

For headache relief using ginger, make a paste with water, apply to the temple area around both eyes, let it sit, and relax.

Super Spice #3: Cloves

Bad breath? Don’t start brushing your teeth over and over (well, maybe this would help a little…), but chew on a fresh clove instead. Your bad breath will disappear.

That nagging tooth ache you’ve been suffering from because of a cavity or a gum infection? Take a piece of a clove (whole or you can crush it) and apply it directly to the tooth that is sore. You’ll start to feel a tingling sensation after a little while, and eventually the pain from the tooth ache will start to fade. This is a particularly good trick right before bed, as tooth ache pain tends to worsen overnight.

Chewing on a couple of raw cloves can also help soothe a sore throat. So next time you find yourself reaching for a lozenge, check out your spice cabinet instead!

And for those old cooking smells that way overstay their welcome in your kitchen, try mixing cloves with ginger and cinnamon and cooking the 3 spices in a sauce pan for 20 minutes. Your kitchen will sweeten right up, and this trick can be used to replace common air fresheners that may contain potentially harmful chemicals.

Super Spice #4: Mint

Mint is not only inexpensive to buy at the grocery store, but it’s so easy to grow your own, and can be used in so many different ways. Use fresh mint leaves as a tea: for every 8 ounces of water, use 1 1/2 teaspoons of dried mint. Prepare like tea and drink like tea to help relieve stomach aches and menstrual cramps. This homemade tea will also help stimulate digestion after a larger than usual meal.

Mint is commonly used to help improve mood, so throwing some fresh mint leaves in a bath tub full of hot water and soaking in it will help calm and soothe your body while boosting your mood. You’ll also find that this trick will help in the relief of sore muscles.

Super Spice #5: Turmeric

Not the prettiest of all spices, but this bright yellow wonder can do amazing things for your health and body. Women in India have been rubbing the ground up spice on their faces since ancient times, and although it literally turns your face yellow, it results in clear, smooth skin.

Turmeric contains curcumin, which is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and the spice has been used as the common aspirin in Asia for centuries. For fever relief, simply mix 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder with 1 cup of warmed milk and 1 teaspoon of honey, drink, and relax as your temperature starts to drop.

Recent studies at esteemed universities across the world are also now showing that curcumin, the antioxidant found in turmeric, helps to treat Alzheimer’s Disease by working to prevent the abnormal clumping of proteins in plaques in the brain. It’s still too early in these studies, though, to tell if curcumin can be used to treat and prevent Alzheimer’s Disease, but people of India, who mix turmeric with ghee (a clarified butter) so the substance is fully absorbed by the body, have the lowest rates of Alzheimer’s Disease ever reported.

Super Spice #6: Cayenne Pepper

Anyone who’s ever eaten spicy food containing cayenne pepper knows how well this spice can clear sinuses. Spicy spices such as this promote raises in body temperature, which can be handy when trying to fend off a fever or increase circulation. People who typically have cold hands and feet consume fair amounts of this spice to help increase circulation to those small areas.

You can mix water and cayenne pepper together and use as a gargle rinse to help soothe a sore throat. Or, when sprinkled on a tooth brush or swished against the teeth with water, this spice can also help prevent gum disease and relieve tooth aches (it just might burn a little bit!).

Since cayenne pepper is so hot (it is because it contains capsaicin, a resin found in most hot peppers), you can also mix it with water to form a paste, then rub the paste over sore muscles. The spice will work its magic with its natural heat and help relieve the soreness.

A note: Although these suggestions have worked for many people over the generations, they are only suggestions, and should not be used to replace proper medical care for serious illnesses. These are merely suggestions and ideas to try the next time you have a minor complaint. Any symptoms or complaints persisting more than 5 days should be evaluated by a doctor.

Emily Carmichael is a freelance health and wellness writer and wide distributor of natural health supplements such as Detoxamin and herbal remedies. She believes there is a natural answer for every ailment, but still encourages those who are severely ill or injured to see a doctor.

People who suffer from an injury, a tragedy or a physical impairment often take physical therapy. Although traditional physical therapy is used, some physical therapists find it beneficial to engage the interest of their patients in fun, entertaining ways, which not only help in the rehabilitation process, but also motivate the patient. One effective way of doing this is by playing on special video console games that help in the rehab but also allow patients to have fun.

The integration of video games in physical therapy is having such a positive effect on the rehab process that many physical therapy assistant schools now offer lists of recommended games to students as additional reference material. Below are some traditional and rehab specific games and what they can do for physical therapists in their work.

The Hand Rehabilitation System: Rutgers engineers actually modified an Xbox gaming console as well as an Essential Reality P5 glove controller to help rehabilitate post stroke patients. This new virtual reality system helps detect finger and wrist motions to manipulate on-screen images.

Walking Improvement: This game invented by Kari Dunning helps stroke victims learn and improve their walking skills.

Game Wheels: This interactive video helps patients with spinal cord injuries, making it interesting for them to play physically active games.

Cyber Learning Technology: This video game method includes using car racing, and other video games that improve neuro-hand coordination.

When a physical therapy assistant doesn’t have any video game consoles made especially for physical therapy, he or she may use standard game consoles like the Wii, PlayStation or Xbox to motivate and rehabilitate patients. The following are games that adapt well to the needs of any physical therapist assistant.

  • Trauma Center: This Wii game helps improve motor skills.
  • Mario Party: With this game you can let many patients play at the same time and enjoy their small game successes.
  • Wii Boxing: The perfect game for patients who miss the challenge of participating in sports. The game helps them focus their thoughts, balance and eye hand coordination.
  • Wii Bowling: Even the most challenged of rehabilitation patients, including those in wheelchairs can enjoy the fun of bowling with this game which helps promote upper body exercise.
  • Dance Dance Revolution: This game helps patient’s concentrate on increasing leg movement in a fast paced and fun environment.

The following games may be more appropriate for mental health rehabilitation:

  • Lumosity: This is a brain training game that helps a patient reclaim control over their brain.
  • HalfLife and Unreal Tournament: This type of game can help people who have problems with phobias like a fear of spiders or claustrophobia.

Games that promote self esteem, work with speech or work on a special technique are also beneficial for patients as they tend to have higher self esteem, better speech patterns and learn new activities through the use of video games.

Using video game consoles in physical rehabilitation programs is fairly easy and many games will adapt to the patients needs.

John Anderson is a freelance writer who writes about topics related to gaming and technology. On his free time, John likes to play the latest console and computer games.

Not All Echinaceas Are The Same

Echinacea capsules and tabletsWhat research tells us about Echinacea

This is the time of year when many people reach out for their Echinacea to help cope with the cold and flu viruses buzzing around us. So, it is perhaps appropriate that we have a quick look at what research tells us about Echinacea.

Strengthening the immune system

Perhaps the most common use of Echinacea is to strengthen the immune system and in this way, the body is more likely to resist infections such as colds and flu. So a recently published paper will be comfort to Echinacea users; it confirms that the herb does indeed improve the way the immune system works. In particular, it had a greater effect in those who were under stress due to worry or exams – those needing help most.

In 2007, the Lancet Infectious Diseases published research which found that Echinacea can more than halve the risk of catching the common cold. This conclusion was drawn by researchers from the School of Pharmacy at the University of Connecticut, who looked at 14 different studies on Echinacea. Overall, Echinacea was shown to decrease the chance of developing a cold by 58% and reduce the duration of colds by a day-and-a-half in people who were infected.

Be choosy when using Echinacea 

The authors of the Lancet paper noted that more work was needed on the quality of the Echinacea products used. It is clear that some products found on the high street may not be of the right quality – and this goes some way to explain why some Echinacea trials show disappointing results.

Other researchers are also of the same opinion – Goel and colleagues noted that less positive trials involving Echinacea were probably due to “the wide disparity in different preparations, lack of standardization of products on the basis of active components and undefined dosing procedures.”

Some years ago, an investigation into the quality of Echinacea preparations available in the US found that products differed widely in active substances, with 10% of those taken from health stores containing no measurable Echinacea. As many products in the UK come from America, it is likely that the situation could be the same here.

Treating the symptoms when you do get the cold

Some people believe that Echinacea is only useful for preventing colds and that it is less useful if you do get them. Research shows us that this is not true.

Apart from its action on the immune system, Echinacea has been found in the laboratory to have direct anti-viral effects on many of the organisms causing colds and flu, including the swine flu and bird flu viruses!

One of the great pioneers of herbal medicine, the Swiss naturopath Alfred Vogel, said that the best way to use Echinacea was in the form of a tincture (drops) and to hold this in your mouth for 30 to 45 seconds before swallowing. We can now understand that using Echinacea in this way takes advantage of this anti-viral effect by zapping the cold viruses lurking at the back of your throat.

Many trials have shown that using Echinacea can reduce the symptoms of colds, helping speed up recovery. For example, Goel found that by using Echinacea as soon as a cold starts, 95% of people will be free of symptoms at 7 days compared to 63% taking placebo (dummy) medication. [4] Experts reviewing research information from 16 studies have confirmed that Echinacea can indeed reduce the duration and severity of symptoms of colds – but only if you use the right one.

Author Bio

Alison has worked in the health industry since 1987.  Alison lectures & trains on health issues, and is often to be found quoted in health magazines.