From the category archives:

meditation

What do brain waves have to do with healing?

by Ed

Our brains are constantly vibrating. Depending on how awake and active our brains are, they vibrate at different rates and amplitudes. The whole spectrum of brain waves has been divided into four main categories: beta, alpha, theta and delta.

We are mostly in beta most of the day, when we are awake.

In the alpha state, we are more relaxed, but alert. Generally our eyes are closed and we have a more inward focus. The alpha state is associated with enhanced learning, intuition and increased endorphins. Endorphins are natural pain killing chemicals in our bodies. We are more suggestible in the alpha state, and we are awake enough to send ourselves suggestions.

In the theta state we are still more relaxed and inward focused. Deep meditation and deep hypnosis are associated with the theta state. We are very suggestible in this state, though usually not “conscious” enough to give ourselves good suggestions.

Delta state is associated with deep, dreamless sleep. It’s as close as we get to being “not there”.

Alpha, theta and delta states are all necessary for healing. During a  good night’s sleep we spend quite a bit of time in all three. During the day, through the use of meditation, guided imagery, and hypnosis or self-hypnosis, we can greatly enhance our healing.

Learn how to go into the alpha state.

How Qi Gong can help with Fibromyalgia and CFS

by Ed

Getting enough sleep and exercise is crucial to the wellbeing of those suffering with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Qi gong can be very helpful in both areas. Qi gong is a Chinese form of therapeutic exercise and meditation. There are many different styles that have developed over the centuries.

According to Chinese Medicine, FM and CFS are due to a deficiency and a stagnation of the body’s vital energy. There may also be latent toxins (viruses, bacteria, etc.) in the body. Qi gong, which means energy work can increase our store of vital energy, improve it’s flow and strengthen the immune system, which can help expel the latent toxins.

The movements in most forms of qi gong are gentle and flowing like the movements of tai chi, making it easier for people with low energy reserves to do them. They provide the body with needed exercise while slowly building strength and stamina. Meditative forms of qi gong help to calm an agitated mind and body, improve sleep, and strengthen the immune system. Most practitioners also report an increased pain tolerance.

If you live near Berkeley California, check out Dr. Bingkun Hu. He is an excellent teacher of the Wild Goose style of Qi gong. Wild Goose includes both active and meditative qi gong forms. You might also want to check out Ken Cohen’s The Essential Qigong Training Course.

One of my favorite qi gong meditations is the inner smile meditation. If you would like to download a free mp3 of the inner smile meditation, mention it in your comment, below.

Why A River Won’t Get A Migraine

by Ed

Delaware River

Image credit: Nicholas_T

According to the 5 element system in Chinese Medicine, Migraines are a result of a disruption in the Wood element. The Wood element is responsible for smooth flow and for maintaining all of the cycles in nature. In humans, the Wood element’s flow management system is disrupted by a lack of exercise, poor diet, and, on an emotional level, by anger, frustration, and suppression of feelings.

Learn to flow like a river and your Wood element will be happy. But going with the flow is not necessarily what people think it is. Rivers are powerful: Sometimes they go around obstacles and sometimes they overcome them, but they always get where they are going.

Here are 5 techniques to overcome your migraine by going with the flow:

  • The first one is essential for the others. Learn to just feel. Feel sensations in your body. Feel emotions come and go. Notice how everything flows. When we try to damn up our feelings, both physical and emotional, we create stress in our bodies.

For 5 minutes, 4 or 5 times a day, close your eyes and practice just feeling what ever is happening in your body. Continually soften and let go. Let everything be. Sometimes this exercise is helpful during a migraine, but sometimes it only intensifies the pain, so be gentle in your exploration.

  • Become aware of the effects of food on your body. As you practice the above exercise you will become more aware of subtle changes in your body. Start paying attention to how you feel after eating. You will find that there are certain foods that your body does not like. Avoiding them will help reduce your migraines.

I have a few foods that my body doesn’t like, but I have found that the level of intolerance changes all the time. Generally, if my stress level is low and I haven’t eaten any offending foods for a while, I can get away with eating one without bringing on a migraine or other uncomfortable reaction. For the most offensive foods I always eat a small bite then check in with my body to see how it is reacting. If my body is not happy, I don’t eat any more.

  • Practice abdominal breathing. When the breath is restricted, everything is restricted. A good time to practice is at the beginning of the first exercise. Spend about two minutes breathing deeply. As you inhale allow your belly to rise more than your chest. I also like to practice before getting out of bed, after getting into bed, and during mindless chores like dish washing.SJ 5 acupressure point

  • Try acupressure on yourself. Search for tender points between the bones of the hand and foot. Massage or hold them for a minute or two each.

The two points in the pictures are particularly good. The first one, SJ 5, is between the two bones on the arm, about two inches from the wrist. The second one is between the last two bones of the foot, outside of the tendon that goes to the baby toe.

Also check out my acupressure First Aid post and this one on headaches. GB 41 acupressure point

  • Do the inner smile meditation. At the end of it, imagine breathing emerald green light into your liver. As you exhale imagine smoke coming out of your liver. The liver is the main organ of the wood element, and green is its color.

This meditation can do wonders for lowering your stress and improving flow in the Wood element. And that will reduce the severity and frequency of migraines. Do all of the above and you may eliminate migraines all together.

Pain in the Lower Rib Cage

by Ed

Many people get aches and pains or a feeling of fullness in the lower rib cage. Often they have no obvious organic cause and Western Medicine does not treat them. Even more often the symptoms are so vague that people don’t bother to tell their doctors about it.

Traditional Chinese Medicine recognises several conditions that could produce those symptoms. In fact they are often early warning signs which, if treated, can save a person from developing a more severe condition. If you have an intense pain that is localized on one side of the rib cage, you should see a doctor about it. If you have more vague pain on both sides of the rib cage, then try the tips at the end of this post or see your acupuncturist.

In Chinese Medicine, when we talk about the internal organs we are talking about more than the anatomical/ physiological organs as Western Medicine understands them. We are talking about their energetic functions along the entire course of the meridian they are associated with. Each organ is also associated with an emotion or complex of emotions, a body tissue, and a sense organ. The liver is associated with the lower rib cage. It is also associated with anger, frustration, stress, and suppression of emotions. It has to do with the free flowing quality in everything in our lives. Vague pain in the lower rib cage usually is a result of the liver energy becoming stagnant. This frequently leads to indigestion and gassiness as well.

I have three favorite ways of returning the liver to its natural free flowing state:

  • The Inner Smile I have described this one in an earlier post, here.

  • The Seven Shakes This is a good one to do in groups. If you are in a meeting or teaching a class and everyone is losing focus and looking sleepy get them up and do the seven shakes. Stand up and shake your right arm seven times, counting out loud. Then shake your left arm, right leg, and left leg seven times each. Then shake them 6 times, 5 times, etc., down to one time. Finish by jumping into a karate stance, or any stance you like and shout Ha!

  • Qi Gong: Liver Healing Sound Stand with your feet about shoulder width and parallel. As you inhale raise your hands into the air as if you were embracing th sky. Holding your breath, bring your arms down until the elbows are pressing your ribs cage and your palms are facing your face. Close your hands into fists and lean over as if you were skiing and exhale with the sound shhh. Repeat three to seven times.

Doing each of these exercises every day will certainly lower your stress and increase your energy. If your rib cage pain is due to simple liver energy congestion, it should relieve that as well. Have fun and keep moving.

Update: I am no longer accepting comments on this post. It is not reasonable for me to try to guess what your particular problem might be.

Stress: Good for Cancer Cells, Bad for Us

by Ed

A recent study published here, suggests that the stress hormone, epinephrine, may cause changes in prostate and breast cancer cells that makes them more resistant to cell death.

Stress reduction will not only improve your chances of recovering from cancer it will probably decrease your chances of getting it in the first place. Exercise, relaxation, and behavioral changes are the most important ways to reduce your stress. I recommend a combination of aerobic and relaxing forms of exercise. By relaxing forms, I mean exercise like hatha yoga and tai chi. Both relaxation and behavioral changes can be achieved by self-hypnosis and certain kinds of meditation.