From the category archives:

relaxation

Tapping Into Health

by Ed

For thousands of years, people in the orient have been tapping acupuncture points to relieve headaches, improve their immune systems,and treat a variety of health complaints. In the past thirty years or so, several Western energy therapies have been developed, based on the acupuncture system. Many of these therapies also use tapping on the points for healing.

One of those methods, EFT, is great for dealing with post traumatic stress, allergies, phobias, and many stress related symptoms. You can learn the self-help basics of EFT here. If you are interested in EFT and find that you need more than self-help, contact me. I am happy to provide consultations, by phone or email. See my About page for my email address.

Beating Heaven’s Drum is a traditional technique for relieving headaches, dizziness, and waking up the brain. Cover your ears with your palms and tap the muscles at the base of the skull. Tap gently for about one minute.

Knocking at the Gate of Life is another traditional Chinese technique. The gate of life is the area where, according to Chinese Medicine, our basic vital energy is stored. Tapping the points associated with it helps to increase the flow of energy and gives a feeling of vitality. There are two points. The first one is about two inches below the navel and the other is on the spine, directly opposite the navel.
Stand with your feet a little wider than the width of your shoulders and place one fist just below the other and the other on your back opposite your navel. Then begin to turn your body, at the waist from side to side. As you turn, let your arms swing around. As you turn left your left hand should tap your back and your right hand should tap your belly. As you turn right your right hand should tap your back and your left hand should tap your belly. The arms should be very relaxed. Let the turning of the waist swing them around, without using any arm strength to tap your body. Do this exercise for a couple of minutes, every day.

Taping to boost the immune system. This is a modern technique, as far as I know. There are three points to tap. The first point is the last point on the Kidney channel. The Kidney channel is also associated with the Gate of Life. The point is just under the collar bone, in the depression just outside of where the collar bone meets the breast bone. The second point is on the breast bone, about two inches below the top. The thymus gland, an important immune system organ, is directly below this point. The last point is near the bottom of the rib cage. It is about level with the bottom of the little bone that sticks down from the bottom of the breast bone and about three inches from the midline. You will notice a little dip in the rib cage in that area. Tap between the ribs. These points stimulate the Spleen and the Liver, both of which influence the Immune system.

Tap each point, in order, about twelve times. The first and last points can be tapped on both sides at the same time. Breathe slowly and deeply while tapping the points. You can do this once or twice a day.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

by Ed

Health, like wealth, is not much use without happiness. And happiness gives us a stronger immune system and less stress.

What do you enjoy eating? If it is only junk food, then you might be in trouble. If you enjoy eating a fairly reasonable diet, yet you stress out trying to eat a totally healthy diet you are being counter productive. One study a few years back compared two groups of people, one could eat what they want, the other was given a specific healthy diet. The healthy diet people actually did more poorly in that particular study. After some research, they decided it was because the people on the diet were more stressed and felt more out of control of their own lives.

Here’s another downer: If you want to lose weight and you are stressing out about your diet all the time, you may be increasing your production of cortisol, which will cause you to gain weight.

How to be happy

  • Don’t take your thoughts so seriously. If you have a thought like “I screwed up”, “I’m not good enough”, or “How come I never get it right”, just let the thought go. It’s just a thought. Everyone does good things and dumb things, that’s just the way we are. You are still a lovable human being that deserves to be happy.
  • Make other people’s happiness a priority. When we focus outside of ourselves we tend to be happier. Generally, unhappy people spend most of their time thinking about themselves.
  • Don’t become a slave to others desires. There are needy people out there who stick themselves to people who are always willing to help. Those people will soon burn you out. So, help others, but recognize your own limits and stick to them.
  • Don’t try to change others. People do that to their spouses, and it is a losing battle. Let each other be who they are. If you really can’t stand them, leave them. However, our lives become richer by enjoying the company of people not like ourselves. That’s probably what attracted you to that person you can’t stand in the first place.
  • Pamper yourself regularly. What do you love to do? Every day spend some time doing things you love to do, and every week take time out to really pamper yourself.
  • Recognize that your moods are always changing. Sometimes you are up, sometimes you are down. Don’t dwell on the down times, let them pass. Those can be good opportunities for pampering yourself. Sometimes when I am in a down mood I like to listen to sad music or watch a sad movie. That allows me to enjoy the mood, without dwelling on myself or making my mood about me. Sometimes I’ll do the opposite, listen to happy music or watch a comedy. If I’m lucky it brings me up again.
  • Have purpose in your life. Figure out what you want to achieve or discover or learn or create. Go out and start working towards those goals. And keep coming up with new ones. Some people set a fairly lofty goal, then if they actually reach it, they get depressed because they lived their whole life for that one goal. There are limitless possible goals on this earth.

Food for Sleep

by Ed

As Scott mentioned in his comment to my first post in the Sunday sleep series, eating too close to bedtime encourages insomnia. I’d like to go into a little more detail about food and sleep, today.

Going to bed on a full stomach will certainly disrupt your sleep, as well as your digestion. Eating sweets just before bed may help you get to sleep after the sugar rush slows down, but then the drop in blood sugar will disrupt your sleep later in the night.

So how can food help you sleep better? First I need to talk a little about brain chemistry. Melatonin, as I mentioned in my Sleeping in the dark post, is one of the most important brain chemicals for sleep. It is made from serotonin, an important antidepressant chemical, that helps us feel calm. Serotonin is made from tryptophan, an important amino acid we get from protein.Most protein foods have plenty of tryptophan, including beans, nuts and seeds. Other sources are oats and spinach.

One reason eating sweets helps you sleep is that the increase in insulin causes the body to extract the tryptophan, making it available for serotonin production. However, as I said, eating sweets will have negative effects in the long run.

Here are the steps to using food to help you sleep:

  • Eat plenty of protein and other tryptophan rich foods every day.

  • Avoid simple and processed carbohydrates, such as sweets, pasta and white bread.

  • Have dinner four to five hours before bed.

  • Have a carbohydrate snack about two hours before bed. This snack needs to be small and high in fiber and/or a small amount of fat, so it is released slowly in the blood stream. A small potato with the skin on, a half serving of oatmeal, or a slice of whole grain bread with butter are good options.

Eating this way will encourage serotonin production in the evening, leading to a peaceful sleep.

Quick destress and rejuvenator

by Ed

Get into a comfortable position. On your back with your knees on a pillow works well. Take a few moments just to notice how your body feels. Fake a yawn or two, sigh a couple of times and wriggle around to get more comfortable. As you breathe, notice the rise and fall of your belly. Start breathing more deeply, emphasizing the movement of your belly. Push it out as you inhale and pull it in as you exhale. Now just breathe naturally again, and notice how your body feels.

Now, as you inhale imagine you are filling your lungs with energy. If you are visual, vissualize it. Or you can feel it or pretend it is happening. Imagine your lungs are becoming more and more energized. Every cell is dancing. Next inhale that energy into your right arm. Do the same thing. Then your left arm, your right leg, your left leg, and finally your belly. When your belly feels totally energized, get up and jump up, lightly, and down a few times.

Help for Headaches

by Ed

Self treatment for headaches is often very successful. There should be no need to reach for the extra strength pain reliever. One trick that sometimes works is “chasing the pain”. Try to pinpoint the exact location of the pain in your head. As you relax and put your attention on the sensations in your head, it is often difficult to tell exactly where the focus of pain is. The more you search for it the more it goes away.

Should that fail, try acupressure. Look for tender points in the webs between the fingers and the toes. Between the thumb and first finger it’s in the meaty area just above the web. I have a picture in a previous post. When you find a tender spot hold it hard enough that it feels sore, but not too painful. As the soreness subsides hold it harder. When it is no longer sore move to another point. Carry on until the headache is gone. That should take two or three points.

While you are doing the acupressure, it is also helpful to practice, deep relaxed, abdominal breathing. However, for some people with migraines, that can be counter-productive, so if the headache is getting worse, ignore the breathing. Instead, you could imagine you are standing barefoot, on a nice warm beach. Feel the heat of the sand warming your feet.

If you try all of those techniques and it doesn’t work, let me know. Tell me exactly what your experience is, and I can fine tune the self treatment for you.