Vegan Comfort Cookies

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Every Baby Reflexology or Infant Massage course I bake up some goodies for the mama’s to munch on and invariably chocolate chip cookies are on the menu. I confess I have a major sweet tooth … one that is uncontrollable at times …. however since becoming a vegan it often means I just watch others enjoy good cookie.

Finally some cookies we can enjoy without having to buy them

I have tried some recipes that I have found online (like this vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe I tried a couple of years ago) but many of them involve weird and wonderful ingredients or lots of prep. So after much thought I have created a recipe to put things right in the world … for these vegans anyway 🙂 This one is fairly minimal prep, uses things I have in the cupboard and is gluten free and sugar free (depending on the chocolate you use). Both the vegans in the house think they are delicious. The non-vegan have other thoughts, probably due to them being a softer chewy biscuit than the regualar crunch, so maybe worth trying before you go offering them at your next afternoon tea!

It does involve a bit of time in prep but not a huge amount; the soaking of the dates, preparing the chia seeds and the chopping of chocolate and the main ones. I have tried the recipe now with three different types of vegan chocolate all with similar results. I used eating chocolate, both sugar laden and sugar free, though with the sugar free one I had a slight after taste from the stevia sweeter. Himself actually preferred these so I guess it is just personal preference. I see that Sweet William has a baking chocolate, sugar laden, which may give an even better results if I was able to source it here.

So here it is for you to try at home. I’d love to hear your feedback, especially if you have ways of improving them 🙂

Vegan Comfort Cookies

1 1/8 C Gluten Free Flour (I use Edmonds)

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 C Coconut oil

2 TB chia seeds

2 TB boiling water

1/2 C dates

1/4 C boiling water

1 tsp vanilla essence

3/4 C chocolate bits (for sugar free I use Sweet William or Loving Earth, or for minimum sugar I use Whittakers Dark Ghana)

  • Preheat the oven to 200C
  • Prepare a date paste with the 1/2 C dates and 1/4 boiling water. Combine & leave to sit for a bit before mashing together
  • Prepare a vegan egg using the chia seeds and 2 Tbs boiling water mixed together
  • Melt the coconut oil
  • Blend oil, chia seeds, dates and vanilla essences together until completely blended.
  • Add the flour and baking soda
  • Add in the chocolate bits
  • Create small balls and place on the baking tray. Flatten a little with a fork
  • Bake for 10 mins and then leave to cool completely on a cooling rack.
  • ENJOY!!

Hope this finds you happy, healthy, warm and dry!

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Active April

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Daylight savings has ended here in NZ and the colder mornings have begun. Thankfully though after a rainy and mixed bag of weather over Easter the sun is shining again to help me ease into the day. Getting out in nature each morning while I walk the dog is one of the things I love to do and one of the things that really helps me to feel balanced and on top of things for the day.

Making the most of the blue and green effect to positively impact our health is easier than you think. Check out these ideas for getting Active in April and just move them into nature ….. or move nature into your space a bit more 🙂

Hope this finds you happy, healthy and enjoying the life you have.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Read an e-book week!

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Just a bit of a heads up that all my e-books are now 50% off for the ‘Read an E-Book’ week over at Smashwords!

My five titles available through Smashwords

I have 5 books now for under $2 US including a 12 week life coaching course to keep the year rolling along in the right direction, a guide to living a ‘Stress-Less’ life and a comprehensive guide to Bach Flower Remedies. They are all easy reads with loads of health and life coaching tips in them; the best bits I use on myself and those I work with 🙂

Check it out while the deals are still on and enjoy an e-book as the changing seasons play outside.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Mindful March

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Hello again! Here we are into the third month of 2021 and officially (here in NZ anyway) we are in autumn. I don’t think the planet knows it yet though as we have been enjoying warm balmy days lately and they don’t seem ready to end anytime soon 🙂 We are making the most of the sunshine, getting out for walks, enjoying strawberries and tomatoes in the garden along with having our day brighten by the sunflowers blooming next door.

The neighbour’s sunflowers in full bloom

Today I was teaching the first day of my course ‘Balancing Life as a Mum’ and it was fantastic to be back in the Kāpiti Women’s Centre. Though we still have some social distancing requirements it was wonderful to be with a group of women for the morning doing what I love. One of the topics was around journaling, which is one of the oldest forms of self help and one of the easiest, though sometimes one that we don’t make time for. When I arrived home I saw an email from Action for Happiness and was pleased to see that the action for today was all about noticing the good around you, which was one of the journaling options. While they don’t mention to jot it down, if you did it would help you boost your happiness even more 🙂

So I thought I would share Action For Happiness’ Mindful March calendar all ready for making the month ahead a great one!

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

A Merry Vegan (& GF) Christmas Cake

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Well, I thought I would be good and post this before Christmas all ready for Christmas Eve baking ….. as with many GF recipes it is best eaten within a day or two so plenty of time to get the ingredients ready 🙂 It is the same one that I share each year but figure better to have it in your face than searching for it!

Decorating the letterbox

Themselves have been super busy, in and out of activities over the past month: combinations of activities, lessons, competitions (both Judo and sailing), broken collar bones (himself), holidays and a tummy bug (herself) has meant the time has flown by and it is hard to believe that the end of the year is so close. This year we are hanging close to home which will be the first time in a while … have to say I’m looking forward to not having to travel! The excitement is building for themselves though and while they have decorated the letterbox for a neighbourhood search, Christmas Eve is the big night when we get the tree up and the decorations out proper. Another Christmas Eve highlight each year is to drive around the area looking at all the Christmas lights ….. though this does mean a tight schedule for Santa to arrive 🙂 Now all we need is for the weather to improve as it still doesn’t really feel like Summer is properly here with all the muggy, overcast days and rain we have been having.

Merry Christmas …. the non vegan have also been doing some gingerbread reindeer making

This recipe is pretty easy and great for us as it means the vegans amongst us still have a taste of ‘traditional’ Christmas fare. I have halved the original recipe so that it fitted into my bread loaf tin which also meant that it was consumed in a timely manner (it is best eaten within 2 days). Sadly, I can’t remember which book I got the recipe from all those years ago and I have altered it quite a bit over the few of times I have baked it so if you recognize it please let me know so I can credit the original correctly.

As you’ll know if you’ve been reading my blogs for a while I like simple and quick recipes. This one is a little out of the norm for me as it required cooking and mashing some kumara prior to mixing everything in one pot …. thankfully I survived the ordeal as it wasn’t quite as daunting as it seemed when I first read it 🙂   I figure one extra dish for some yummy Christmas cake was worth the effort ….. at least once a year that is.  The almond essence and decoration definitely gave it that Christmassy look and taste while using the vanilla essence instead, and flagging the decoration, produced a good fruit cake for any occasion.

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So here is it for you to play around with and enjoy over this festive season and beyond ….

A Merry Vegan Christmas Cake

1 Tb maple syrup

250 gm of raisins or sultanas

1 Cup of water

1 small apple (peeled and grated)

62 gms chopped almonds – or in my case bashed almonds 

1/2 cup of mashed kumara (doesn’t matter if it is cold or warm)

1.5 Tb olive oil

1 tsp almond essence (vanilla also works fine if you just want a fruit cake)

3/4 Cup rice flour

3/4 Cup buckwheat flour

1.5 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp mixed spice

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp cinnamon

extra almonds to decorate – optional

  • Bring maple syrup, fruit and water to the boil in a large pot then remove from the heat.
  • Add apple, bashed almonds, kumara, essence along with oil and mix well.
  • Sift in the dry ingredients and mix well again.
  • Pour into a baking paper lined tin and gently press in extra almonds to decorate.
  • Bake at 160 C for 45 mins and then leave to cool in the oven for the next 15-20 mins before placing on a cooling rack.
  • Store in an airtight container and enjoy.

Hope this finds you surrounded by those you love and who love you, enjoying each other.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

The holiday let down

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Well I’m at a bit of a loss for inspiration this week after arriving back from a warm winter break in Fiji to the strong icy winds that we have blowing here at the moment.  All I really want to do is snuggle up in bed with a good book!!  So following that thought I’ve decided to just go with the ‘lazy flow’ and share my e-books with you ….. in case you have the urge to snuggle up with a book too 🙂

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Take it Easy

In this busy interconnected and wired-up world stress seems to be a natural part of daily life. Right? Wrong! Life doesn’t have to be a rush. What if you could take it easy and create a ‘stress-less’ life for yourself? With my simple tools and ideas you can discover simple ways to reduce your stress and be on your way to creating exactly that – A ‘Stress-Less’ Life. This e-book will guide you through five simple steps to help you create a life where you are enjoying your days and experiencing less stress while improving your health and well-being.

 

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Magnificent Mamas (really for anyone though as it has all my pearls of wisdom in it)

Regain balance, rediscover the joy in each day and live your dream with this 12 week program. Life is busy and when children are added to the mix life can get hectic. Often it is easy to lose sight of the things that really matter and forget to give time to yourself along with remembering your dreams. Now Magnificent Mamas with take you through week by week to create the life that you want and can have. There are tips and ideas for finding balance, for self- care and for achieving your goals and dreams.

 

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Creating a Vivacious You

Losing weight and feeling great doesn’t have to be complicated or cost lots of money. In a world where we are bombarded with new ‘diets’, ‘quick fix’ solutions and numerous products for improving our lives it is easy to forget that actually the basic rules for having health and well-being still apply. This book guides you through some ‘back to basics’ steps which will help you to feel healthier, feel happier and help create your ideal body.

 

 

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Finding Calm and Balance

This comprehensive guide has everything you need to use Bach Flower Remedies with confidence. Find out how you can begin to gain more balance, more calm and less stress naturally through using Bach Flower Remedies. This guide covers what Bach Flower Remedies are, how to select them for yourself and others, how to use them and affirmations to support your chosen remedies along with a section on using Bach Flower Remedies with children. If you are interested in becoming healthy naturally and healing then this is a must have book for you.

 

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Mother’s Little Helper

Discover easy, natural remedies and ideas for healing your children with Mother’s Little Helper by Yossarian Fay. This book is loaded with ideas to help you to continue on your journey of Becoming Healthy and ensure your children are becoming healthy too. There are recipes, kitchen cures, a section on using Bach Flower remedies with children, information on how to use EFT and reflexology with your children, making this a must have book for your collection.

 

Hope this finds you relaxed, mentally nourished and ready to enjoy the week ahead

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Winter Wellness – Part 6 – Lymphatic system

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This will be the final part of my Winter Wellness series.  I hope you have enjoyed it and found it useful,  I’d love to hear from you if there is something else you want to know about or you think I could cover otherwise next week it will be back to recipes 🙂  This final ‘Winter Wellness’ post is taken from an article I wrote a while back on the benefits of Reflexology Lymphatic Drainage Treatment, which I’m trained in, and which came to mind as I had two calls last week about reflexology treatments in this area.

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Getting some exercise with themselves before the next rain shower

It does read more like an article still than a blog post; I have tried to adapt it a bit ….. though no sense in re-inventing the wheel is there? 😉  Anyway, here it is in all its glory and if you are interested in treatments then it won’t be too long before I will have my clinic in one place again, as opposed to the home visits I now offer. Exciting times ahead!

Our health depends on many things but maybe two of the most important are the body’s ability to circulate blood and lymphatic fluid.  The importance of blood you likely know however the Lymphatic system is just as important as it is this system which helps defend the body against disease by clearing waste and toxins, by helping maintain fluid balance in the tissues and by absorbing fats from the intestines to transport back to the blood.  In fact it is a vital system in our bodies as without it our cardiovascular system won’t work and our immune system would be hard-pressed to cope.

The Lymphatic system is designed for transportation and as such it needs to keep moving.  There are fluids found between the cells or which actually seep out of the cells (intercellular fluid) which slowly begin to accumulate and must be returned to the cells and the blood stream to help maintain homeostasis in the body.  This is where the lymph system comes in; it gathers those fluids, checks it, filters it and then returns them to your blood via the subclavian veins just above the heart.  Unlike the circulatory system however (in which blood flows) the lymphatic system (in which lymph fluid flows) doesn’t have a pump and needs us to move our bodies in order to have the lymph fluid moving.  This system relies on movement of our muscles, their ‘milking’ action, and the changes in the thorax through deep breathing to keep it flowing.

This means that if you lead a sedentary lifestyle your lymphatic fluid may not be flowing as it should and your lymphatic system may be hampered, causing toxins and waste to build up within our bodies. The more waste left in our system the harder our body has to work.  Our body is effectively running on a system of ‘tubes’ and ‘fluid’ so when toxins and waste clog these up we suffer!  Think of a river. When it is flowing it is clear and clean, when it is not flowing it begins to stagnate then it becomes a perfect home for bacteria and disease to build.  The Lymphatic system is no different.  At first it may be a sluggish feeling in the morning or a headache which we just can’t seem to find the cause of.  Eventually it can cause much more serious issues within the body such as swelling, arthritis, skin disorders and more.

Thankfully there are many actions we can take in our lifestyle to help the Lymphatic system work better and ensure that it is doing its job.  In using preventative measures, we can improve and promote our health and well-being while avoiding dis-ease in our bodies. As the Lymphatic system is important in this it makes sense to keep it flowing and healthy and it is important.  As a reflexologist of course the first thing I think of is to have a Reflexology Lymphatic Drainage Massage which will work on the lymphatic system while allowing you to relax and de-stress.   It is an excellent support to the Lymphatic system, especially if you have trouble with mobility and best of all it will help you feeling more relaxed and lighter at the end of a session.  It is a very unique and special thing to have.

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There are some cases where having a Reflexology Lymphatic Drainage Massage is not recommended however and these include: cases of cardiac or renal impairment, first trimester of pregnancy, cases of Deep Vein Thrombosis, having high or low blood pressure or if the foot if injured in any way.  If you are not quite ready to treat yourself to a reflexology lymphatic drainage routine or you feel that it isn’t for you then there are many things you can do at home, in your everyday lives, to ensure that you are keeping a healthy lymphatic system which will help to have a good immune system too.  Try some of the following out:

Exercise– this will help to keep your lymphatic system flowing and moving as it ‘massages’ it into action.

Good Food– a healthy diet means that less toxins and waste products end up in your system. Eating over processed, sugary foods may over load the lymphatic system.

Drink plenty of water– the body needs water to keep everything working properly, including the lymphatic system.

Deep breathing– this ensures that your cells are healthy and oxygenated along with stimulating the lymphatic system.

Dry brushing– long strokes towards your heart for around 5 mins before a shower will stimulate the lymphatic flow.

Herbal teas– they are great mixture of hydration, favour and medicine (depending on what you have).

Use natural beauty products– means less toxins coming into your system via the skin which gives the lymphatic system less of a load.

Wear loose clothing– this lets the lymphatic fluid flow where as tight clothing tends to slow the whole thing down.

Hope this finds you having a great start to the week and ready for all there is to come.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Winter Wellness – Part 5 – Cold & Flu fixes

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Our days here have been very varied lately … one day overcast and rain the next bright sunshine and balmy temperatures.  It is hard to know whether you’re coming or going!  I’m not complaining though as while I love the warm days for my morning walks with the dog, I am also very partial to inside days where I can snuggle up with a good book, especially now that the study has finished and the exam completed.

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Picnics with the chickens in the sunshine – as viewed from out back window

Even with all the temperature changes we have thankfully got through winter pretty much illness free… touch wood … however now that the stress of my exam has passed, I can feel my body relaxing and clearing a few things it was obviously ‘storing’ up until I was less stressed.  It’s murphy’s law I guess that as soon as you go on holiday or have a break those cold or flu viruses get you. The body loves coming back into balance and will take every opportunity to do so 🙂  Thankfully, that isn’t me at the moment but it did make me think about a few home cures which I regularly use to help feel a little better a little faster if those breaks from stress end up with my body succumbing to illness.

As always, they are very ‘back to basics’ ideas, ones that our ancestors probably used with success long before we were reaching for all those cold and flu medicines.  See if there are a few that will work for you.

Rest.  The verdict is out! Rest and sleep are the best treatment for most ills and for keeping others at bay.  Getting as much rest as possible early on, rather than pushing through, can help the body to fight the ‘bad guys’ before the bugs overwhelm the body. Sleep really is that good, so make sure you make time to snuggle up when you are feeling the effects of a cold or the flu.

Fluids. Replacing all the fluids you are losing via nose blowing and coughing is a really important part of helping your body heal.  Our bodies need water to function correctly so make sure the fluids are good quality; that is non-fizzy, decaffeinated, sugar free options.  Hot fluids can help loosen congestion so herbal teas (see below for idea) or slices of lemon with honey can be a good option and a soothing too.  It is also a perfect to time to make a big pot of soup that you can dip into through out the day, ensuring you get all the vitamins and fluids you need. Here is a great chicken soup recipe (from before we had vegans on-board)

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Fresh lemons ready for making some lemon tea

Wash your hands.  This seems like a really obvious one I know however it is easy to forget to wash your hands after each blow and/or sneeze when you’re wallowing in how grotty you feel.  Colds are spread easily, both for you to ‘catch’ the first time and to re-infect yourself, through virus-infected airborne droplets or by direct contact with infected secretions so by washing your hands regularly you can cut down the risk to yourself and others in the family.

Herbs.  Using the healing properties of herbs to boost your health can be an easy, and often overlooked, aid to healing.  Try out some of these herbs in your meals or make a soothing cup of tea with them.  While gathering fresh herbs from your garden is delicious, dried herb will have stronger medicinal properties and may be easier to access when you’re feeling under the weather. Sage is a great one for helping with sore throats as it is both an antiseptic and an analgesic. Basil can ease headaches. Thyme is a tried and true herb for coughs. Rosemary for helping to clear the head.

Food.  Eating real, fresh food (combined with herbs) is one of the best way to get any extra nutrients that your body may need.  It can be easy to grab quick and easy processed/packaged kai (food) however this isn’t always going to serve your body well or help you get rid of those cold/flu symptoms any sooner. Garlic is a great addition to meals, as it is both an antibacterial and an antiviral food which will help knock those ‘bugs’ on the head.  Or you could do like my Mum used to and have it raw (chopped up very finely of course) in a honey sandwich! I have to admit that even as a vegan this is still my go to when I feel a cold coming on. Salt water gargles can also be a great way to get you on the road to recovery, another go to for me in the early stages, and an easy fix from home.

Hope this finds you happy, healthy and enjoying your day.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Winter Wellness – Part 2 – EFT

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Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is one of the healing tools I have in my kete (basket) which I have to admit was a bit out of my comfort zone the first time I tried it.  That was over a decade ago now and since then it has become an invaluable which never fails to make a positive difference in how I feel.  I regulary use it for relieving syptoms of discomfort and illness, with great results, so I thought you may like to try it too.

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Tapping on the karate chop point

As you may know, I believe that all our health and well-being, yes all of it, comes down to our emotions.  Our emotions dictate how we interact with the world and what we do in it.  If we are feeling safe, we are more able to make good choices in our life as we operate in more of a ‘rest and digest’ state of being. If we are feeling stressed, worried or scared a different part of our nervous system kicks in and we operate out of a ‘flight or fight or freeze’ survival mode where our decisions are based on what we think we need at that moment to survive.  Obviously, there are bugs out there that can make us sick however when we are operating in ‘survival mode’ due to us feeling stressed, worried, angry etc then our immune system is impaired which make that fact, bugs will make us sick, all the more likely to occur.

Our bodies can’t heal or fight disease in our bodies if we think our safety is compromised as it is too busy worrying about survival, which is where EFT can help.  Tapping (another name for EFT) works by tapping on meridian points, which studies have shown helps calm the amygdala (a part of the brain which plays a key role in processing emotions) and thereby helps clear emotional blocks within our system. While you tap you also say statements about the issue or how you are feeling – focusing on the negative to start with and then moving to the positive – which also helps to bring the body back to that all importance place of calm and balance.  In a nutshell EFT/Tapping assists you to move through the negative (sickness, emotions or pain) by combining tapping on certain points in the body and saying how we feel about the issue we have, simple as that!   It honestly is that easy, yet it is so effective and you don’t need to get ‘tied up’ about what to say either, rather just say how you are honestly feeling.

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The tapping points as portrayed by an amazing artist 🙂

Now at this point you may be saying ‘but a cold is physical, it has nothing to do with emotions’ and that is true to a point. There are two things that bring it back to the emotional though …. one, when we are stressed/angry/worried or rushing all the time our bodies go into survival mode which lowers our immune system, so allowing bugs in a little easier and two, everything we experience has an emotion attached to it.  So when we get that cold we may begin to wallow in how sick we feel, get angry about still having to do jobs, feel frustrated that being sick stops us from doing something and all of these emotions end up making us feel worse.  Tapping helps clear that emotional aspect which allows you to feel brighter and more able to cope.

Tapping/EFT is really easy to do and best of all you don’t even have to leave your bed to do it!  Even if you feel a bit silly to start with, tapping under your arm especially, after a few rounds it will help you to feel better.  There are loads of tap along videos on youtube ( I’ve listed a few below to try) however if you want a little one page quick guide, by yours truly, then here is a PDF to help you along.  If you want a more detailed look at EFT and how you can reduce your stress then try out my book ‘Take it Easy’ which you can purchased at Amazon, Smashwords and other online bookstores.  I will say though that while tapping at home and using youtube videos is great for relieving minor issues I do suggest that if anything comes up for you and you feel you have deeper work to do then please seek out a professional practitioner.

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Try out my e-book for a more detailed guide on reducing stress to improve health.

Cold and congestion tap along with Nivedita Mehta

Cold tap along with Beth Tuttle

Healing tap along with Brad Yates

Cold and flu tap along with Julie Schiffman

Hope this finds you getting a bit of relief and feeling healthier each day.

Arohanui
Y
www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Winter Wellness – Part 1 – Reflexology

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After five weeks of recipes and with winter officially here in NZ I thought I would begin a ‘Winter Wellness’ series of blogs.  As the Chinese proverb goes ‘The superior doctor prevents sickness; The mediocre doctor attends to impending sickness; The inferior doctor treats actual sickness.’  So I thought I would share a few tools and give the opportunity for you to all become your own superior … or at the very least mediocre …. doctor and get on top of your health before any of those dreaded winter lurgies appear  … or reappear 🙂

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Rainy day views

Each week over the next few weeks I will give a few suggestions for you to try. which can help you find some relief from winter lurgies or may help boost your immune system to keep them at bay completely.  These don’t replace medical advice of course, rather they can be used in conjunction with other techniques or medications you are using to help  bring your body back into balance and hopefully heal a little quicker.  Once your body has balance (we naturally want homeostasis in our bodies and the body strives for it at a physiological level) it has more energy to focus on healing and maintaining a healthy body.

Reflexology is a great tool for helping you bring your body back into balance and one that I love to use.  While I primarily give foot reflexology treatments to my clients, I know that this isn’t always the easiest option to use at home, by yourself, or when you’re out and about.  So for that reason I teach a lot of hand reflexology points during my workshops so that you can actually use this fantastic tool yourself.  The positive effects of hand reflexology are usually a little shorter lived than foot reflexology though thankfully it is easy to repeat as needed.  Best thing is that you can do some basic moves in the comfort of your own home.

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Ingham Method Map

I thought a one page hand out would be the best way to share (click here to download a PDF version) and a little video (thankfully the sun came out so that herself could video me in the light) to help you along the way … including a bit of eye rolling from me as himself runs in and out of the bus and I thought that I wasn’t having my face filmed!!!  Excuse our low tech productions ….  not that much room for lighting and screens in our 1956 Bedford 🙂 If you feel there is something that isn’t clear then please let me know so I can do another ‘take’. The most important thing is that you are mindful of your own wellbeing.  Stop if  you’re feeling pain, go easy on tender spots, ease up if things feel ‘too much’ and if you are concerned then see a health professional

Hope this finds you happy, healthy and working those hands to your benefit!

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz