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The Physical Journey Chapter 10 Help For the Physical Body
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Help For the Physical Body
I believe our total essence to be comprised of four separate components; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. When one facet of our being is out of balance, that lack of equilibrium ripples through to the other components as well.
As you have seen in this power point, situations which affect the emotions and core spirit, actually create a lack of balance within the physical form.
Therefore, following you will find suggestions for achieving a sense of inner calm. This inner calm will transfer to a physical relaxation, and physical relaxation will in turn assist with physical comfort.
Serotonin in a natural physical stress buster. Large
amounts are found in the ‘gut’ and blood stream.
This ‘feel good’ neurotransmitter regulates: * The onset of sleep * Sensory perception * Mood * Body temperature * Noise and light sensitivity
A diet lacking omega 3 fatty acids is more likely to lower serotonin.
Low levels manifest in the following symptoms:
Low levels are often felt in the late afternoon, especially if
lunch included coffee, sugary sweets, ice cream or chocolate.
A common reaction is to ‘feel good’, by ingesting alcohol,
caffeine, chocolates and sweets.
Various foods that increase the level are carbohydrate rich such as a potato. Eat one every night with its skin. Compliments to the potato include butter salsa, olive oil, mustard and spices. Other foods include turkey, black eye-peas, English walnuts, mushrooms, almonds and pumpkin seeds. Cheeses such as gruyere, and Swiss, as well as fruits such as tomatoes, kiwi, plums, plantain, pineapple and bananas. Omega 3 fatty acids in fish oil raise serotonin
Whole grains such as whole wheat, brown rice and oatmeal trigger a serotonin to rise gradually, and enable blood sugar to remain stable.
It’s a bit of a tricky business – A facet to the protein contained in some of the foods mentioned can inhibit the full effects of the Serotonin, however, ingesting nutrients naturally is a great and simple beginning for countering the effects of the bereavement process.
While this sounds simplistic, it can be one of the hardest conscious action for humans to undertake. You may have heard the expression,' To sleep like a baby’. A baby seems to sleep as if they haven’t a care. They take breaths that initiate in the lower belly, and with the breath, you can watch their tummy expand and contract. Too often, especially in moments of stress, humans inhale shallow breaths from the upper torso only. Focus on taking long deep breaths.
Why is this effective?
‘Fight or Flight’ requires the heart to beat more rapidly, to increase the amount of blood pumping to extremities, and away from central organs. When this happens, humans naturally take shallow breaths. By deliberately slowing down your breath, you consciously slow down the panic process sending a deliberate ‘all clear’ signal back to your brain, which translates as a chemical reaction that sends ‘cease and desist relaxation hormones through your body.
Dr. Herbert Benson actually conducted study, designed a process and wrote books on just this concept. He writes: ‘It’s a physical state of deep rest, or meditation, in which the relaxation response changes the physical and emotional responses to stress... And the opposite of the fight or flight response.’
1. Sit quietly in a comfortable position.
2. Close your eyes.
3. Deeply relax all your muscles, beginning at your feet
& progressing up to your face. Keep them relaxed.
4. Breathe through your nose. Become aware of your breathing.
As you breathe out, say the word, "one"*, silently to yourself.
For example, breathe in ... out, "one", - in .. out, "one", etc.
Breathe easily and naturally.
5. Continue for 10 to 20 minutes. You may open your eyes to
check the time, but do not use an alarm. When you finish, sit
quietly for several minutes, at first with your eyes closed and
later with your eyes opened. Do not stand up for a few
6. Do not worry about whether you are successful in achieving a
deep level of relaxation. Maintain a passive attitude and permit
relaxation to occur at its own pace. When distracting thoughts
occur, try to ignore them by not dwelling upon them and return
to repeating "one."
With practice, the response should come with little effort.
Practice the technique once or twice daily, but not within two
hours after any meal, since the digestive processes seem to
interfere with the elicitation of the Relaxation Response.
A wonderful way to practice relaxed breath work, and to reduce body stress naturally is to purchase a simple bottle of bubbles, and bloooooooooooow…
Water makes up 83% of the blood and acts as a transport
system, delivering nutrients to the brain & eliminating
toxins. Your brain needs to be fully hydrated so that the
circuitry works well & it functions at optimum levels.
Water is essential for concentration and mental
alertness. Studies have shown that most people are
permanently partially dehydrated. This means that their
brain is working considerably below its capacity & potential.
A study by Trevor Brocklebank at Leeds University in the UK
discovered that schoolchildren with the best results in class were
those who drank up to eight glasses of water a day.
(source: Bill Lucas, Power Up Your Mind, 2001)
This natural, necessary body requirement, while often overlooked, is of
special importance during the bereavement process. There are so many
benefits – from replenishing every aspect of the body, and forcing the body
to flush toxins related to grief, water aids in the physical healing process. It
also has been found to release dopamine. That uplifting ‘aaah’ sensation,
while small, should not be underestimated. Terefore, you should drink at
least 2 Liters of water every day.
Suggestion #5 (Herbal Assistance for Rest Filled Sleep)
An Institute of Medicine 2006 study reported that the less sleep one
receives, the more obese they tend to be. It appears that sleep tips
Hunger hormones out of whack. Leptin, an appetite suppressant is
lowered, and Ghrelin, an appetite stimulant is increased.
Help may be as close as the fresh produce isle in your nearby grocer.
Common herbal suggestions for insomnia include:
Valerian. This is the best-studied herbal sleep aid. Research shows that
extracts of the root not only help you fall asleep faster but also improve
sleep quality. Try taking this herb 30 to 45 minutes before bedtime. The
typical dosage is one 150- to 300-milligram capsule standardized to 0.8
percent valeric acid.
Kava kava. When insomnia results from anxiety, this herb is particularly
effective. Studies suggest that kava kava promotes sleep by acting upon
the brain's emotion centers and by relaxing muscles. Taking one or two
400- to 500-milligram capsules an hour before bed should help you get
the sleep you need.
Chamomile. This old fashioned remedy has an wondrous reputation
for calming nerves and gently aiding sleep. Drinking one or two cups of tea
before bed will help soothe you into sleep.
Eat Smaller Meal Portions
After a big meal, most of your body's
oxygen is being used by your stomach
and digestive system as it digests the
food you have eaten. This means that
your brain is being denied much of the
oxygen it needs to function effectively
and stay mentally alert. This is why you
tend to feel sleepy after a big meal.
Therefore, you should try to smaller
portions, more often, and
when possible, enjoy your
main meal at lunchtime, or
in the evening before 7:00 pm.
Since digestion slows during
times of stress, causing a
host of problems, for easier
digestion, enjoy as many
fresh fruits & vegetables as
Have you ever wondered what happened, biologically, after having a good cry? Have you ever wondered why you
feel so good—despite the puffy eyes and nose and tight face? Scientists have wondered, too, and they have an
explanation. Crying lets the body release negative emotions.
We all have tears— 3 different types to be exact.
Dr. William Frey, a biochemist, conducted a study on crying He compared
The tears of women crying for emotional reasons (emotional tears) to
the tears of women crying over cut onions (reflex tears). The results
showed that the emotional tears contained high levels of hormones &
neurotransmitters associated with stress. The participants crying
emotional tears also showed lowered blood pressure, pulse rate & more
synchronized brain-wave patterns. Dr. Frey believes emotional crying is
a process the body uses to rid itself of accumulate distress hormones. It
makes us feel good because it releases unhealthy toxins from our body.
If these toxins are not released- if we hold in our tears, we can keep our
bodies in a state of “tension,” which can lead to a weakened immune
system, impaired memory, indigestion & possibly anxiety. The next time
you feel the need to cry, weep away. You’ll find yourself feeling better
for it. If someone is uncomfortable with your display of emotion, gently
let them know it is part of a natural process, & attempts to block or
stymie the process only serves to prolong it.
THERE IS SACREDNESS IN TEARS….They are not the mark of weakness, but of power.
They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of
overwhelming grief...and unspeakable love.’ Washington Irving
PROGRESSIVE MUSCLE RELAXATION
Sit or lie quietly, then focus on a specific muscle. Tense or tighten the muscle, hold for a few seconds, then relax the muscle. Progressively move from one muscle to another, alternately tensing then relaxing the muscles.
Why Is This Effective?
Deliberately relaxing each muscle sends a message through the body to halt the Fight or Flight response.
Repetitive Prayer, Singing, Chanting or Phrases
Sound is an important input affecting the nervous system. The brain reacts to sound input because information signals are able to travel from the outside environment, across action potentials and through the neural network into the brain. Such signals, electrical in nature, can be detected by the electroencephalogram, or EEG, which measures the electrical activity of the brain.
For thousands of years, music has been regarded as possessing unique powers in affecting the human experience. Specifically, music has been associated with healing abilities & has been used for such purposes throughout history. Traditionally, the types of sound responsible for healing are characterized by distinct rhythms, and by specific emphasis on repetition that stems from those rhythms.
A striking example relating rhythm, brain function, & health is found in a story which occurred 40 years ago among a group of Benedictine monks in southern France, when changes in their behavior resulted in health complications. After the Vatican II council, it was decided that the monks no longer needed to perform their typical 6-8 daily hours of chanting, & could rather use that time for other chores & activities. Interestingly, it was after this change that a vast majority of the
group began to suffer exceeding amounts of fatigue, no longer able to
survive well on the limited sleep with which they once functioned normally.
Health officials were called, & advised the men to get more sleep. This was
done, but still the symptoms persisted. Again a doctor was called, this time
deciding that the monks were undernourished & should begin eating meat.
This new regimen was followed, but to no avail, and the monks suffered
yet more tiredness & lethargy.
Finally, it was prescribed by Dr. Alfred Tomatis, a French ENT specialist who acknowledged the impact of structured sound on brain function, that the monks recommence their many daily hours of chanting; and this, interestingly, is what seemed to solve the problem and bring vitality back. It was thus believed that the singing of chant, and specifically the accessing of high frequency sounds & Harmonics had a way of altering brain wave activity and energizing the nervous system & brain. Numerous other examples claim such positive effect of chanting on brain function. "Omkar" recitation & chanting has been shown to increase concentration
& memory, & to reduce fatigue.
Sitting quietly, close your eyes and repeat a phrase, prayer or sound.
During the stress response, your stores of magnesium and calcium are released into the
bloodstream. If these stores are not replenished, the body will send a signal that they
are depleted as well, reactivating the red stress button even more!
Calcium encourages the F&F symptoms.Symptoms of low calcium can include muscle
cramps & joint pain. Easy natural sources of calcium can be ingested by eating dairy
foods such as milk, yogurt & cheese, leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, Kale and
spinach, fresh fruits such as oranges, beans and peas, nuts such as peanuts, peas, tofu,
black beans and baked beans, almonds, fish, especially salmon and sardines & sesame
seeds. (Vitamin D allows for the body to absorb the calcium, and can be found in whole
grain cereals, whole grain breads and egg yolk.
Magnesium works to calm the body back down, and strengthens the bones. Some
symptoms which could indicate a need for Magnesium include: muscle weakness,
tremors or spasms, increased heart rate, irregular contractions, heart palpitations,
headaches, elevated blood pressure, imbalanced blood sugar levels. Sources include raw
pumpkin seeds, spinach, chard, soy beans, mustard greens, summer squash, broccoli,
raw sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, Halibut, black beans, navy beans and tomato paste.
Balance Body Glucose Level
When stressed, glucose is released constantly, which means the sugar balance within your body is never on event keel, and you may have sugar cravings. Healthy fats and lean proteins have been effective in reducing cravings. Attempt to cut as much synthetic sugar from your diet as possible. Sugar is an obvious ingredient in cookies, cakes, candy, but it also hides in many canned and frozen convenience foods. Check the labels on the products you buy for: Glucose, sucrose, and other sugars.
Suggestions: Homeopathic Supplements, herbal teas, vitamins, natural foods, and GABA (Gabaminobutric Acid) provide a calming effect
You can stimulate natural pressure on the *Hypothalmic Area – When activated, this has been known to reduce cravings naturally*
Our bodies must have an adequate intake of iodine to form the hormones produced by the
thyroid gland. To counteract the strain place on/ and help sustain the function of the
thyroid gland, a supplement rich in iodine may be of assistance.
In adults low iodine intake (or very high intakes) can cause hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism
can manifest as low energy levels, dry or scaly or yellowish skin, tingling and numbness in
extremities, weight gain, forgetfulness, personality changes, depression, anemia, and
prolonged and heavy periods in women.
Fortunately, iodine can be found in salt, vegetables, meat, eggs, dairy products, breads and
cereals and fruit. Soy beans, raw flaxseed, cassava (used in tapioca), sweet potatoes, lima
beans, maize and millet also increase the requirements for iodine.
(And while it’s good to incorporate Brussels and other cabbages into your diet, consumption of
brassicas, such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower, increase the requirements
for iodine, especially if consumed raw. )
The key to good thyroid function is to insure adequate, but not excessive iodine intake.
Intakes in the range 100-300 micrograms per day are desirable, though intakes up to 500
micrograms per day are probably not harmful.
To counteract the strain placed on the
adrenals during the stress of bereavement,
as well as to help sustain the overall
function of the adrenal glands, it is helpful
to take a good multivitamin, as well as to
incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables that
provide natural sources for vitamins C & B.
Excellent sources (in order of highest
content on down) for vitamin C include
Papaya, raw red bell peppers, broccoli, kiwi,
Brussels sprouts, strawberries, oranges,
cantaloupe, cauliflower and kale
And although they are prevalent in many
many foods, fresh meats and dairy
products are the best sources for most
of the B vitamins.
To reduce shaking or trembling,
gradually begin to cut back on items
which include caffeine, such as
chocolate, hot chocolate, iced tea,
hot tea, and coffee. There are now
many excellent decaffeinated herbal
teas on market, as well as
decaffeinated coffee. Also use care
when ingesting over the counter
cold remedies and decongestants as
they often contain ingredients that
induce shaking or trembling.
1.) It has recently been found that continuous use of over the counter medications for
pain relief (such as aspirin. Or ibuprofen. Or acetaminophen) can actually trigger a
‘rebound headache’. (says Dr. Merle Diamond, the associate director at the Diamond
Headache Clinic in Chicago. )
2.) Too much caffeine can cause headaches. How much is too much? According to
Dr. Merle Diamond, anything more than a cup and a half of coffee or a can of soda pop.
3.) Blood sugar imbalance Too many sweets or carbohydrates paired with not enough protein can create a climate in
your body rife for headaches. “Hypoglycemia is a really common trigger of headaches and people don’t think about
that,” says Erin Stokes, a naturopath on staff at Pharmaca Integrated Pharmacy, where a team of alternative
practitioners is available to assist shoppers. “Stabilizing glucose levels can really help people.” Stokes suggests eating
adequate amounts of protein throughout the day, starting with breakfast, because “protein encourages stable blood
4.) Several foods can trigger headaches, especially for people prone to migraines. “About
30% of migraine patients will have a food trigger,” says Diamond. Peanuts, chocolate,
& red wine are common-known triggers. “We believe some of these foods have a lot of
tyramine, an amino acid that can be a headache trigger.” Processed meats that contain
nitrates, such as sausages, hot dogs, & salami can also trigger headaches. Dairy & wheat
are a lesser-known cause of headaches, and are worth checking out if you have chronic
5.) Dehydration is a major cause of headaches
6.) Long term stress
Arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) attacks
by assaulting the inner lining of your blood vessels.
Under the heightened pressure of ‘fight or flight’,
these normally smooth linings within the arteries, begin to
tear, scar, & pit. Blood rich in fatty acids, starches & glucose
leave deposits in these worn areas which eventually clog up
In addition, nutritional supplements such as the essential
fatty acids found in Flax Seed and the fish oil found in
Salmon, along with a B complex vitamin and anti oxidant rich
foods can counter the process.Gentle exercise - sweating assist the body in ridding itself of waste ~ try to perspire a little at least everyday.