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

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Winter Wellness – Part 4 – Lose the stress

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This week I am gearing up to do my first 3 hour exam in over 20 years and I am feeling the stress creeping in with each day moving me closer to it.   It is amazing how sly stress can be! Honestly, just when I think that I’m on top of things and have this study thing sorted life gets on top of me and before I know it, I’m feeling that tension throughout my body.  

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Thankfully we have lots of nature to get out into and de-stress

The bus isn’t the easiest place to study I have to say, apparently if you can be seen you must be spoken to :), and when you’re in a small town there aren’t that many quiet places to head off to either. So, I’m trying my best to get out of the stress loop by using the tools in my kete (basket) that I know work for me.  I figured that in a culture which too often rates your ability to cope under stress as an indicator of people’s success, others may like to try some of these little beauties to remove some of that stress naturally rather than having to ‘cope’ with it.

Get moving.  Exercise (aerobic especially) is proven to help relieve stress and other negative emotions such as depression.  When we move our bodies, it helps loosen and work all those muscles that you may be holding in tension, it gets you changing your focus, in increases oxygen to the brain and best of all those ‘feel good’ hormones get released.  Any kind of movement is good so pick one that you love and try and get out in nature with it to increase the benefits. 

Have a laugh.  Laughing creates a euphoric effect that will instantly release any tension you have. It can trigger the release of endorphins (the body’s natural pain killers and feel good hormone) which helps you to feel better all over and to relax.  Laughter yoga is now offered in many places and can be a great way to connect with new people however failing that it may just be a good excuse to watch those comedies, silly youtube clips and share all those jokes you have!

Count to 10.  Taking deep breathes and a wee bit of time out is an age old classic that costs nothing and is very effective. The key to this is breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth as this helps relax the whole body … it is hard to keep tension in your body with your mouth open.  Research also shows that deep breathing helps trigger the vagus nerve (a cranial nerve which helps regulate the heart, digestion and lungs) and works with the parasympathic nervous system to bring us into that ‘rest and digest’ state of being rather than stuck in ‘fight/flight or freeze’ state of being. 

Meditate.  Even 5 mins a day of meditation will help stress levels though of course the longer you meditate the greater the benefits. This doesn’t have to be a big deal just find a quite spot, close your eyes (or look downwards, relaxing your gaze) and clear your mind of as much as you can.  First thing in the morning to ‘set you up’ for the day or last thing at night to help you unwind and get a good sleep can be really effective times.  There are loads of apps out there now which can help you get into the right headspace.

Essential oils.  Scent has a powerful impact on our bodies and can bring up memories and emotions easily. This is in part due to the fact that the olfactory nerve (whose nerve fibres in the nose allow us smell) are connected to the limbic system in the brain, rather than going through the cerebral cortex (our thinking part) which triggers these ‘primitive’ responses to what we are smelling.  Lavender is the most popular relaxant but there are plenty others to try.  This link may help you to begin your experimentation with scent.

Stretch.  A good stretch can help with the physical symptoms of stress.  Like exercise it gets you moving those muscles that may have been held in tension. Try a class of yoga which will combine breathing, stretching and exercise for a real stress reliever or even a basic stretch at your desk and see how good it feels. Here is a link to a few suggestions.

Bach Flower Remedies.  As many of you know I love Bach Flower Remedies and I’m a big believer that emotions dictate our health unless we intervene.  Bach Flowers are designed to work on emotions and can target the source of your negative emotions helping to increase the positive.  White Chestnut is a classic for those who continue with ‘mental conversations and/or internal arguments’, whereas Agrimony can help those who hide their stress behind a smile.  If you want to learn more and try a treatment bottle then check out my FREE quiz to find your remedies (don’t worry you don’t have to sign up to anything) and e-mail me to make you up a bottle. Otherwise you can find out more about Bach Flowers and have your own guide by checking out my book ‘Finding Calm and Balance’ which is on sale at a special price for the next week or so, along with my other e-books.

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Only 99c (US) at the moment along with my other books

Hope this finds you a little calmer, a little less tense and enjoying the life you have.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Healing Hands Reflexology

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My mind is still filled with all those families who are now learning to live without their loved ones.  I constantly think about how magnified their emotions must be, not only with grief but also dealing with the way the loss occurred, of what the future holds and possibly a sense of uncertainly in their own community.

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For that reason I thought that I would share a bit of my Healing Hands workshop so that people can put it to use at home or out and about as they deal with the everyday stresses with everyday situations which may trigger huge emotions to surface.   Reflexology is such a great tool for well-being and since feet aren’t always that practical to get to when emotions arise, I love to use hand reflexology.  It is a bit of self love and soothing that you can be using, anytime, anywhere,  without anyone being the wiser.

Reflexology is a natural, holistic treatment which works on the principle that everything in the body is connected.  It is is a mixture of ancient wisdom and modern thinking where by the nerve endings in the feet and hands can be massaged in a particular way to help bring the body back into balance.  (Read more here)

What I’m offering here is a very basic guide as to where some points are in the hand which can help elevate the stress reaction as emotions come up.  The points shown in the images are ones you can rub and/or massage to help bring you some calm in order to move forward.  For the purposes of self calming and self love it really doesn’t matter how you approach the massage rather focus on breathing deep while holding the intention of calm and love with you as you work so that your body can respond in kind. In fact I would suggest any hand rubbing, twisting, shaking and clicking with the intention of release would be fantastic!

These points relate to parts of the body which frequently come into play as part of our stress (fight or flight) response.  Our breathing can quicken so rubbing the top of our palms (lung points) can help bring our breath back into balance. Our heads can spin so rubbing the fingertips (head, brain and sinus points) can help to bring clear thinking back into play.  Our shoulders and back tense up so rubbing the base of the little finger (shoulder point) and along the edge of our thumb and wrist (spine and nervous system) can ease the tension for example.

So without further ado I’ll let you look below and give it ago ……… don’t be shy, just try it and you’ll be impressed with how much more relaxed you can feel.  I was thinking about making a wee video of it all in action so if you think this would be helpful please leave a comment below and I’ll get cracking 🙂

Healing Hands Mini Stress Relief Routine

  • Pictures are all shown palms up.
  • Remember to take care of yourself so if anything hurts then ease up or miss it out. 
  • These are only guidelines, if you find a technique which is better for you then go with that. 
  • If it seems too much and overwhelming then just focus on one or two points to start with.
  • Breath as deep and slow as you can throughout the routine if possible. 

Begin with shaking out your hands then squeeze, twist and pull each thumb and finger. Rub hands together gently (front and back) while taking some deep breaths before starting the points below.

  1. Head and Brain points:  These are your finger tips.  Rub/massage in a circular motion with the thumb of the opposite hand or whatever feels good for you. This will help to bring calm and balance to the mind as well as hitting on some endocrine and sinus points.

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2. Chest and Lung points: This is the area is at the base of your fingers and the top of your palm.  You will feel the metacarpal heads (the other side of your knuckles) and the base of these is pretty much the lower part of this point.  Using the thumb or fingers of the opposite hand rub/massage across this area.  This will help to balance your breath and give more oxygen to the brain to bring calm.

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3. Diaphragm Points: This is at the base of the lung area or just below the bony metacarpal heads. Using the thumb of the opposite hand ‘caterpillar walk’ or rub across this line in both directions. Again this helps with bringing balance to the breath.

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4. Solar Plexus Points:  This is the in the centre of the diaphragm line above and in line with the middle of your palm.  You should press on this point with the thumb of the opposite hand while taking slow, deep breaths.  Do three breaths .. pressing in as you breath in and release at you breath out.  Repeat as many times as necessary to bring almost instant calm.

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5. Shoulder Points:  This are located at the base of your fingers and the section at the bottom of your little finger.  Using the fingers or thumb of the opposite hand work across the area … first the ‘line’ and then the section at the base of the little finger. Notice any tenderness (not pain just tenderness) and breath into it to help ease away the tension from this area of the body.

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6. Spine points: This area runs along the outside of your thumb and along the bottom of your palm.  There are various ways to work this area on  yourself so see which feels the most comfortable – work with thumb of opposite hand in a ‘caterpillar walk’ style, work with fingers of the opposite hand, rub with the whole of your opposite hand.  If you think of the tip of your thumb as your head then work up towards the head will bring more calm energy and working down towards the wrist will bring a relaxing calm.

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7. Adrenal Points:  These points are found near the fleshy part at the base of your thumb and likely to be found by the tenderness there.  Best worked in a gentle circular motion with the opposite thumb while the fingers of the opposite hand ‘cradle’ the hand being worked.  Remember to breath as deep as you can while working these points 🙂

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I hope this finds you safe and secure with another tool in your kete (basket) while feeling a little more calm.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

 

Farewell 2018

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Here we are  …… we made it! The last day of 2018 is upon us with 2019 just waiting to emerge.

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Preparing for the year ahead.

Each year at this time I sit down and take time to prepare myself for the year ahead.  I change journal/diaries (my own creation) and with that I also write down some of the activities, hopes and goals I’d like to complete in the upcoming year while seeing all the great things I have achieved in the outgoing one.  These are pretty loose I have to say and not all of them are huge.  I include things like getting a massage, reading a book, writing a letter to a friend – an actual pen and paper one that is 🙂 – along with some ‘work’ things like newsletters, ‘planning’  for homeschooling and blog posts and some more inspirational goals too.

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Hoping to get back here a bit more often next year 🙂

They often aren’t all completed, actually I don’t think I have ever done that, however that is not really the aim. Those that aren’t completed in one year just more on over to the next  …….. I have only just framed some cross-stitches I did for the kids after that being on my list for 2 years!  Rather my ‘108 Things to do’ serves as a reminder instead of a ‘must do’ list which kinda takes the pressure off while still realizing my hopes and dreams.

You may also think that 108 is an excess amount of things to write down and you’re probably correct if you try to write all 108 at once.  However I begin with with all the things I need to carry over (like updating my website so it is phone friendly), then the things I know I’ll be doing (like the monthly family blog) then add to it in drips and drabs along the year.  I only came to 108 things to do as I couldn’t get the tables to give me 100 nicely.  Then I read in a book how 108 is a sacred number 108 is a sacred number and felt kind of glad it worked out that way 🙂

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Hope I can jump into the new year with as much enthusiasm! 

With that said I’m off to get writing in that journal/diary.  I hope this finds you remembering and releasing 2018 with a smile while welcoming 2019 for all the wonderful possibilities it holds.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

And now for something different

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I decided tonight that instead of my usual recipes or food based blog I would share the other side of what I do ….. supporting people becoming healthy.  Shameless promotion I know!

I am a big believer in getting back to basics though so I created a few mini guides to help you have the knowledge, which I use as a naturopath, reflexologist and well-being coach, at your finger tips in the comfort of your own homes.  The following books are all designed to help you find solutions and create the life you want without being endlessly hooked into having to pay. 🙂

 

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All my e-guides are available on Amazon and Smashwords (I have put links to both) and if you want ‘Creating a Vivacious You’ for free then you can just sign up to my newsletter!

Finding Calm and Balance A Guide to Using Bach Flower Remedies Smashwords/Amazon

Take it Easy – A Guide to Creating a ‘Stress-Less’ LifeSmashwords / Amazon

Magnificent Mamas – A Guide to Creating the Life you WantSmashwords / Amazon

Mother’s Little Helper – A Guide to Natural Healing for ChildrenSmashwords/Amazon

Creating a Vivacious You – A Guide to Weight Loss and HealthSmashwords / Amazon

 

See you next week with another recipe …. until then hope you enjoy my books.

Arohanui Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Ferment on this….

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Strange as it may seem sauerkraut has always intrigued me. Maybe it was because it was food form another country, maybe it was because of how it sounded or maybe it was just because living here in NZ (and never having tried it) it seemed exciting and new. Like I said strange I know!! However that intrigue did sow a bit of a seed to learn more about this mysterious food.

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I had not idea that sauerkraut was in fact fermented cabbage nor that fermentation has been around for centuries as a way of preserving food and maintaining a healthy system.  It wasn’t until recently that these revelations came as I began to hear more and more about fermentation and the benefits of it.  As with many things in my life I have to hear and see them repeatedly before I am called to action. Fermentation was no different.  Friends were getting right into it and letting me know the benefits however it all felt a bit too hard for me, ‘the lazy, non foodie’ that I consider myself to be.  Even though I loved the taste of sauerkraut from the get go, I was reluctant to go further than sampling.

I did however go so far (after an e-mail with a friend) as to purchase a few books on the subject.  Both (Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz and Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon) were great;  I just still didn’t feel confident in giving it a go.  Luckily for me one of these friends lives locally and also runs home fermentation classes. Yay!! Finally I was able to go and see the process in action, ask questions and dispel my fears of creating some toxic, fermented concoction with which I would poison my family rather than nourish them. The workshop was fantastic and it awakened in me a desire to get fermenting and improving my family’s health with real foods.

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Traditionally used as a way to make food last, fermentation is when an organism uses sugar for energy without using oxygen at the same time.  The process not only preserves (as mentioned) it also enhances the nutritional value of the food.  Fermented foods are rich in vitamin B12, they aid digestion, support the immune system, have hundreds (if not thousands) of good bacteria for our bodies and give us a wider variety of foods with which to nourish our bodies.  All sorts of cultures and countries have used the process for thousands of years.  It is only in relatively recent times, when we had refrigeration to keep food, that we have let these practices go.  Fortunately there seems to be a growing awareness as to its benefits and a growing amount of people ‘having a go’.

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After being given a SCOBY ( Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast) I now have a big jar of Kombucha on the go. Sauerkraut will be the next thing as soon as I hit the shops and then, after we return form a weekend away, it will be sourdough time.  Until the course I didn’t think that I had tried fermentation at all. Then I understood that my attempts at yoghurt and making rewena (Máori Bread) for Matariki both used the process of fermentation. See I told you I was a ‘non foodie’ :). Anyway with Matariki less than 2 weeks away and my Kombucha in the making it looks like I will be busy fermenting for the next wee while.  I’ll keep you posted as to my progress, of that you can be sure!

Hope this finds you happy and healthy, ‘fermenting’ your thoughts about good food.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz