Monday, November 27, 2017

Healing with Nature - In the dark of the night

In the dark of the Night

We need the quiet, dark of the night for deep, restful sleep. 

In the past, our biological clock naturally took advantage of both the light from bright days, and the dark from the night.  

The moon, stars, candles, or logs burning in the fireplace were the only source of a soft, gentle light after sundown.  

Today, many of us are no longer getting enough dark in our lives which can be putting our health at risk. Poor sleep affects our energy, mood and emotions, and is both dehydrating and aging. Modern lighting, mobile phones, computers, and TV’s, are we negatively affecting our sleep. Studies have shown that when exposed to unnatural light at night there is an increased risk of diabetes, weight issues, heart problems and cancer.

Blue light is beneficial as part of the full spectrum of light during daylight hours especially at midday. It helps to boost attention and mood. However, blue light from energy efficient lighting and electronics with screens is most disruptive at night. It prevents the brain from producing melatonin thus making restful sleep more challenging.

It is important to create a quiet, dark and restful atmosphere in the bedroom.
To strengthen the association between the bedroom and sleep, keep mobiles, computers, TVs, and work materials out. Reduce EMR to a minimum. Use blinds or curtains to block outside light.  Open them when it is light in the morning. 

Make sure to get outside during the day for at least 10-15 minutes in all kinds of weather. 

Exposure to a regular pattern of light and dark is very important.

Sleep Tight!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Healing with Nature - The Earth

The Earth

Hidden under the soil is a vast neighborhood of tree roots that communicate and share nutrition. 

Tree roots will leak sugar and other compounds that are then taken up by their neighbors. They also share nutrients with far away trees using thin threads of fungí. These fungi hyphae create huge webs that form underground pathways to exchange hormones and other substances. 
Tree roots often rub together and actually become fused - even those of differing species. So a tree stump that appears dead can absorb nutrition and minerals from fused roots and flourish. It is as if all the neighboring trees are sharing one big circulatory system. 

The soil bacteria and fungi are very similar in structure to our digestive microbes. What harms our beneficial gut bacterias – the overuse of antibiotics and processed foods – is like the overuse of chemicals and fertilizers, and lack of good organic matter that damages the soil. Fortunately we now understand far more about the importance of healthy gut bacteria and fungi, and can hopefully apply a similar method to nurture and save the soil. We mirror the earth and it mirrors us.

Spending time outdoors is like plugging into a giant battery as the earth gives off a subtle, natural, electrical charge of energy.

When we directly connect to the earth we become electrically grounded, and feel, stronger, more balanced and solid. It is really important to stay connected to the earth especially with so many of us traveling and flying these days.
One of the best ways to become grounded is by going barefoot. You can sit, stand, or walk on grass, sand, soil, concrete or ceramic tile. Aim to go outside for at least 10 minutes although up to 30 minutes is best. You won’t receive the same benefits from carpets, tarmac, rubber, vinyl, tar, asphalt or plastic.

Grounding has shown to improve stress, inflammation, pain, poor sleep, blood sugar levels, hormone balance, metabolism, memory, heart disease and weight issues.

Gardening is another wonderful way to get your hands in the soil, create beauty, and spend time naturally communicating with the earth.  
There is no time like the present to go outside and get grounded in nature.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Healing with Nature - The Air

There's something in the air

We are so lucky to have trees otherwise we wouldn't be here. Our symbiotic relationship with them is amazing. We give trees carbon dioxide, which is absorbed through their leaves, and in return they give us oxygen. We all know we need air to survive.

Long, slow, deep breathing is vital for our lungs and overall health so it is essential to spend time in the woods and forest or by the sea to enjoy fresh, clear air. 

Breathing in, brings energy and moisture into our body. One of the functions of the lungs is to nourish our skin with a mist of fluids that also regulates our pores and perspiration. 
Deep breathing also helps to reduce stress, increase energy, be less reactive in challenging situations, improve digestion and prevent inflammation.

Relaxing breathing techniques are extremely helpful for bringing in the new and letting go of what is no longer needed. When we breath out we release carbon from the food we eat. We actually lose 80% of our fat through breathing.

Another simple way to stimulate the lungs is to let go of those things you no longer physically and emotionally need. Clear out your closets, basement, or garage and give yourself some well deserved breathing space! 

Oh yes, and fill the home with green plants to keep the air fresh and alive.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Healing with Nature - Water

The Healing Power of Water

We all know that the ocean has great power. We gain amazing restorative benefits when spending time by the sea (receiving negative ions) and even more so when swimming in the salty, mineral rich waters.

Water has been used throughout history to restore, maintain and regulate health.  

Hydrotherapy alters blood flow and revitalizes health by using water at different temperatures, or in soaks, saunas, and steam. Hydrotherapy can help arthritis, joints, muscles, depression, headaches, stomach problems, and improve sleep, and stress. 

It is also important to remember that we are made of 50-70% water/fluids. We cannot say exactly where this water comes from and what it has been through to reach us which goes to show that we are all connected.

Water keeps our immune strong, improve energy levels, and is good for our joints, skin and organs. Water also moves oxygen, fat, and glucose to our working muscles, and helps to regulate body temperature, digest food and eliminate waste products.  

It is therefore vital to stay hydrated and enjoy fresh, clean water, herbal teas, and plenty of vegetables and fruits. Fresh fruits and vegetables can actually hydrate more effectively because their fluids mirror our body´'s natural fluid composition. They contain mineral salts, natural sugars, amino acids and vitamins that are often lost while exercising. 

Vegetables and fruits with a high wáter content include radishes, cucumber, celery, lettuce, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, watermelon, watercress, Chinese cabbage, melón, and strawberries.

Healing with Nature - The Sun

The sun is  our major source of energy. 

For hundreds of years people have spent hours working and living under the sun without any problems. Sunbathing for improved heatlh dates back to ancient Greece, Egypt, Rome, Babylon, Assyria, and Persia. 

Yogis and many traditional doctors considered the sun to be the best food and medicine in the world.  They knew how to use natural sunlight to heal all kinds of problems and the treatment was known as Heliotherapy. Spending time in the sun can improve depression, strengthen immunity, lower blood pressure and colesterol, kill harmful bacteria, cleanse the blood and vessels, and improve many skin conditions. 

It is vital to spend time outdoors in the sun on daily basis. If necessary, slowly  build up your tolerance by going out between sunrise and 10am rather than at midday. 

It is important not to use sun screen as this inhibits the absorption of vitamin D which is vital for our bones, energy, longevity, teeth, cáncer prevention, brain function, and weight management. 

The sun has enormous power so we need to respect it and to know our own level of tolerance depending on age and skin type. 

After spending more than 20 minutes in the sun, it might be wise to use a natural sun protection while your skin builds up exposure.

We don't need to fear the sun

Healing with Nature - Plant based foods

Plant based foods are nature condensed. 

While growing in the fields, they absorb the energy from the sun, wind, rain, night, and also the nutrients from the earth. These elements are constantly flowing throughout our world and it is not possible to know exactly where they come from. 

This means the foods that come from the earth are connected to the whole and when we eat them, we also feel connected. 

It is important to choose fresh, seasonal, organic fruits, herbs and vegetables from our immediate surroundings, ideally from our gardens and local farms as this helps us to feel at home in our environment. 

Foods that can be dried and stored for longer periods such as grains, beans, sea vegetables, nuts, and seeds can come from further afield as long as the climate of origin is similar to ours.  

Humans have been trading foods for 100`s of years so we can also enhance our meals with a touch of the exotic to embrace the global community. 

It is a good idea to slow down at meal times, be grateful for what we have, and to become mindful of what we are eating.  

Friday, November 17, 2017

Healing with Nature

I am going to do a series of blogs on the healing power of nature and I hope it will inspire you to get outside and  take advantage of our beautiful world xx

We are part of the earth

All humans align with cycles of nature – the day and night, the seasons, and the phases of the moon. We eat and absorb energy through all our senses. Nature offers the most reliable boost to our spiritual, mental and physical well-being. 

We are part of the earth and live in it not on it. We contain, within us, the sun, the night, the earth, water, and air. We can create robust health simply by accessing these gifts of nature. Plants need sun, light, air, water, and nourishment to thrive and so do we. 

It is not enough to just eat healthy food. We need to spend time in the sun, breath crisp, clean air, hydrate with water, herbal teas, fresh vegetables and fruits, sleep in a quiet, dark, dark room and exercise outdoors amongst the beauty of our natural world. Then we can feel really alive

Friday, July 7, 2017

There's Always Time for a Cuppa Tea!

Benefits of Drinking Tea

Tea has been around for more than 5000 years and is considered to have great healing and medicinal uses.
According to legend, in 2737 BC, The Emperor of China, Shen Nung demanded that all of his water had to be boiled to make it cleaner for drinking. Apparently one day he was sitting beneath a tree while his servant was boiling the water. Some dried leaves from a nearby bush fell into the water causing it to turn brown in colour. The emperor, who was also a herbalist, tried the drink and fell in love with unique flavor, and so the world obsession with tea began.

Seeing the new year in with a hot cup of tea

Relaxing Drink

The simple act of enjoying almost any tea can have a wonderful impact on reducing anxiety.During world war 2, the Women’s Voluntary Service provided much needed tea to the victims of the Blitz as it was a great way to help with shock and stress.
The art of drinking tea is a naturally calming ritual in itself and is nourishing on all levels. The daily routine of sitting down for a cuppa encourages a moment to relax and unwind.  The ritual of preparing, pouring, serving, and drinking tea can become a simple meditation that is soothing for the mind, body and spirit.

Brewing times vary depending in the kind of tea. Tea bags seem to need less brewing time than loose tea.

White and Green Tea need the lowest temperatures and brewed for 1-2 minutes
Black and Oolong Teas need a longer brew time of 2-3 minutes and a higher temperature.
Herbal teas can be brewed for 3-6 minutes. Teas differ depending on how much oxidation they have been exposed to.

Black Tea has a slightly bitter flavor and contains the most caffeine, about 40 milligrams per cup. (A cup of coffee has 50 to 100.) Black tea (or red tea in China) is fully oxidixed as the leaf is rolled and bruised to make a stronger tea.
Health benefits:  lowers colesterol, reduces risk of stroke,
may protect lungs from damage caused by exposure to cigarette smoke.

Green Tea has a light, delicate flavor and contains about 25 milligrams of caffeine per cup.  Green tea is slightly more processed but not oxidized at all. The leaves are laid out in the sun to dry and then pan baked to deactivate the enzyme in the leaf.
Health Benefits – combats allergens, lowers colesterol, promotes healthy gums  and teeth, wards off oral cáncer, boosts eyesight and good for healthy weight control

Oolong Tea is fermented for a shorter time than black tea, which gives it a richer taste. It contains about 30 milligrams of caffeine per cup. Oolong tea is slightly oxidized, as the leaf is bruised a little before it is dried.
Health benefits:  weight management, good for bones and skin, anti cáncer properties, diabetes control, removes free radicals from body

White Tea leaves are picked when they’re very young, so it  has a much milder flavor than any other variety, and less caffeine, about 15 milligrams per cup. White tea is the least processed as it is simply laid out in the sun to dry and is only oxidized 5-10%.
Health benefits:  supports bone health, anti aging, anti bacterial and viral, good for weight management, improves cardiovascular health, encourages healthy immune system

Pu-erh tea: Made from fermented and aged leaves. Considered a black tea, the leaves are pressed into cakes and left to ferment for at least 30 days and even for  years.
Health Benefits – reduces colesterol levels, helps weight management , stress relief, helps with sleep, digestive aid, lowers blood sugar

Kukicha  also known as twig or peasant tea comes from the twigs, stems and stalks of the tea bush. It contains almost zero caffeine and can be given to children. The twigs can be reused 3-4 times and cooked for longer than regular green tea. :  Kukicha is alkaline, rich in minerals especially vitamin C and calcium, and is high in antioxidants.
Health Benefits : cancer prevention, controls blood sugar, burns fat, lowers cholesterol, lowers acidity, combats fatigue, soothing for digestion, good for skin and bones

Herbal Teas are not really teas at all. They are usually a combination of dried fruits, flowers, and herbs. Herbal teas contain no caffeine

Here are some examples and their benefits

Mu tea: meaning nothing or unique is composed of a combination of plants and wild herbs including cinnamon, licorice, ginseng root, mandarin peel, and peony root, It has the ability to warm the body, and strengthen and nourish the adrenals, good for reproductive, digestive, and respiratory systems. Also helpful for bones and joints, sexual vitality, menstrual cramps and irregularity.

Chamomile tea:  good for skin, promotes sleep, antibacterial, soothes stomach upsets, calms muscle spasms, cáncer prevention, diabetes support, and reduces fever.  Often used as a salve for cuts and burns

Echinacea tea: Helps the immune especially for colds and flu

Hibiscus tea: Lowers colesterol and blood pressure

Rooibos tea : Anti inflammatory, lowers blood pressure, aids respiratory system, helps bones and teeth, promotes healthy hair, boosts digestión,  improves blood circulation.

Peppermint tea – stress relief, aids digestión and gas problems, sinus relief, weight loss support, and skin problems

Ginger tea – relieves nausea, improves digestión, relieves menstrual discomfort, fights respiratory problems, and improves circulation.

Uva Ursi tea was first documented in a Welsh herbal book way back in the 13th century. It has been used as a urinary tract antiseptic and diuretic for centuries.

Corn Silk tea: was believed to used as a herbal remedy since 5000BC and first cultivated by the Aztecs and Mayans. Rich in vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin K, C, and potassium and high in antioxidants, it has been used as a diuretic and for UTI.  Anti inflammatory properties, help to reduce pain related to UTI. A gentle way to lower blood pressure and prevent it from dropping too low. Helpful for diabetes. The antibacterial and antiseptic qualities make it good to use externally for skin problems, rashes, boils, bug bites, minor cuts, and itching.