Yoga is good for you

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, NCCIH, yoga is a mind and body practice that combines physical postures, breathing techniques and meditation or relaxation. “Yoga in its full form combines physical postures, breathing exercises, meditation and a distinct philosophy.”

yoga

My favorite types of yoga

There are a variety of different yoga styles. Here are a few that I practice:

Bikram Yoga

This type of yoga is performed in a 95-105 degree temperature environment which helps promote flexibility, detoxification and the prevention of injury. It focuses on muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular flexibility and weight loss.

Hatha Yoga

This type of yoga incorporates postures, regulated breathing and meditation to achieve enlightenment or self-realization.

 

Power Yoga

This type of yoga combines stretching, strength training and meditative breathing. Power yoga does not pause between poses.

Restorative Yoga

This type of yoga allows for muscles to relax by lying on blocks, blankets and bolsters.

 

Vinyasa Yoga

This type of yoga focuses on the coordination of breath and movement.

Soures: MindBodyGreen and MatsMatsMats

The Benefits of Yoga

Some benefits of practicing yoga are:

1. Positive body image and increased self-esteem

  • Yoga develops self-awareness. It focuses on your body’s abilities and not how you look.

2. Mindful eating

  • Research has shown that yoga has helped mindful eating. Practicing yoga helps with awareness of the body, and this awareness can carry over to mealtime.

3. Weightloss

  • Research has shown that yoga helps in weight loss. Mindful eating leads to positive relationships with food. It can make people more sensitive to hunger and fullness cues.

4. Fitness level

  • Yoga helps strengthen muscles and endurance, flexibility and cardio-respiratory fitness.

5. Heart benefits

  • Yoga can help lower blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.

6. Stress regulation

  • There is evidence that yoga helps increase heart rate variability and that can cause the body to respond to stress more flexibly.
  • Managing stress helps with relaxation, sleep, tension, calmness and concentration.

7. Improved mood

  • Studies have shown that yoga improves mood and the quality of life for the elderly.

8. Back Pain Relief

  • An increase in flexibility and muscle strength, relaxation, stress reduction and body awareness all play a role in relieving back pain.

Sources: Harvard Health Publications (Article 1, Article 2, Article 3), NCCIH, American Osteopathic Association 

Practicing Yoga

Just like the variations and benefits of yoga, there are also many different ways to practice yoga. One way is to go and take a class. I’ve taken Recovery Yoga, Power Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga and Hatha Yoga through RecSports at the University of Florida and Bikram yoga classes in Jacksonville, Florida. Another way is to practice at home with online videos to structure your own yoga session. I do this  when I don’t have the time to make a class.

How do you practice yoga?

 

 

Reiki Heals your Mind and Body

According to the International Center for Reiki Training, “Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing.” It is a natural and safe method of spiritual healing that everyone can use to treat their mind, emotions, body and spirit. Some of the benefits include relaxation, feelings of peace, security and well-being.

Rei: God’s wisdom or a higher power

Ki: Life force energy

Rei+Ki: Spiritually guided life force energy

-International Center for Reiki Training

How does Reiki work?

According to the Hayashi Reiki Manual, the body accumulates toxins because of the wrong movement, wrong food or poor physical, emotional and mental habits. When the mind, body and environment work well together, the body eliminates these toxins. If the body cannot eliminate these toxins, the toxicity increases until there is an imbalance in the body which causes illness. Reiki is a way to detoxify the body and allow it to come back to its natural equilibrium.

Reiki practitioners use the boysen, “the frequency that is emitted from a tense, injured or ill body part” and the reaction given to incoming Reiki energy to determine the time needed for treatment and recovery. Then, he or she begins treatment, using a variety of hand positions to the body so the energy flows from the hand to the body.

The five levels of byosen are:

“1. Heat. This heat is above normal body temperature.

2. Strong heat. This heat makes your palms sweat.

3. Tingling. The tingling can be experienced as pins and needles, as a magnetic feeling or as your hands falling asleep.

4. Pulsation, cold. The pulsation can be strong or weak, slow or fast. When the place you touch feels cold, it is not the fault of your hands, but a sign of byosen level four.

5. Pain in the hand of the practitioner. This pain may be felt in the hand, in the fingers or in the back of the hand. It may move up your hand into the forearm, and may continue all the way up to your shoulder.”

How to get Reiki done

If Reiki seems like something you would like to try, there are two ways. The first is to take a class to learn how to use Reiki. Afterward, you can administer it to yourself any time you please. I got my first degree Reiki certification from a class taken at the University of Florida by Terry Rogers. I administer it to myself when I feel stress or tension. The second way is to go to a practitioner. In a previous blog post, I stated that one of Joy Lynch’s specialties was Reiki healing. If you put in a Google search, I’m sure you can find one near you.

How do you feel about Reiki?

 

 

 

Meditation on the go

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), meditation is “a mind and body practice used for increasing calmness and physical relaxation, improving psychological balance, coping with illness and enhancing overall health and well-being.” It focuses on the interactions among the brain, mind, body and behavior.

What does meditation do for you?

Meditation has a wide range of benefits backed up by scientific evidence. According to the NCCIH, ” it may reduce blood pressure as well as symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and flare-ups in people who have had ulcerative colitis. It may [also] ease symptoms of anxiety and depression and may help people with insomnia.”

According to a study by Sara Lazar, an associate researcher in the psychiatry department at Massachusetts General Hospital and an assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School, the “initial results suggest that meditation may be associated with structural changes in areas of the brain that are important for sensory, cognitive and emotional processing. The data further suggest that meditation may impact age-related declines in cortical structure.” Because of this, she encourages meditation. “Mindfulness is just like exercise. It’s a form of mental exercise, really. And just as exercise increases health, helps us handle stress better and promotes longevity, meditation purports to confer some of those same benefits.But, just like exercise, it can’t cure everything. So the idea is, it’s useful as an adjunct therapy. It’s not a standalone.”

Because of this, she encourages meditation. “Mindfulness is just like exercise. It’s a form of mental exercise, really. And just as exercise increases health, helps us handle stress better and promotes longevity, meditation purports to confer some of those same benefits. But, just like exercise, it can’t cure everything. So the idea is, it’s useful as an adjunct therapy. It’s not a standalone,” said Lazar, according to an interview with the Washington Post.

Choosing meditation

Because of all the positive effects meditation provides, it is a good practice to engage in. But, where do you begin? There are countless forms of meditation out there. All these forms fall into one of four categories, according to the Institute of Noetic Sciences.

Concentrative Meditation

The goal of this is to concentrate your attention on one thing. This could be your breath, a sound or an object.

Open Awareness

The goal of this is to be aware of whatever is happening around you. You want to be present with whatever arises.

Mindfulness

This is the combination of Concentrative Meditation and Open Awareness. The goal is to concentrate on one thing but to also be aware of your surroundings.

Guided Meditation

This type of meditation has someone to guide you whether that be through a recording or in-person.

According to NCCIH, most forms of meditation have these four elements:

  1. quiet location with as few distractions as possible
  2. a specific, comfortable posture
  3. a focus of attention
  4. an open attitude

Meditation on the go

Personally, I am a busy person. I am always on the move and rarely have a large amount of free time. To meet my meditation needs, I use the free mobile application “Smiling Mind”. There are other meditation applications out there like “Buddhify” and “Calm”. What I like about “Smiling Mind”, though, is that anyone can use it. It has meditation programs designed for children, teenagers and adults. It also has programs designed for the workplace, sports and school. These programs range from one minute to forty-five minutes in length, perfect for any occasion.

 

How do you meditate? 

Gratitude Journals Promote Well-Being

A gratitude journal is a journal where one writes down what he or she is grateful for.

“Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”

Harvard Health

Benefits

According to research about well-being and gratitude,  ” a conscious focus on blessings may have emotional and interpersonal benefit.” One of the studies done, one group of participants were asked to write five things he or she is grateful or thankful for. Another group of participants were asked to write five hassles he or she has had. Another group of participants were asked to write five events that had impacted his or her. The gratitude group “felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic regarding their expectations for the upcoming week. They reported fewer physical complaints and reported spending significantly more time exercising.”

Why you should start a gratitude journal

I think it is important to look at the good in life. It is easy to overlook little things and take them for granted. When negative things happen, it tends to be the main thing focused on which can be bad for your well-being. A gratitude journal allows a space to reflect on your day and write down positive experiences.

Starting a gratitude journalgratitude
  1. Purchase or create a journal
  2. Make a plan on how often you want to write in it. Daily? Weekly? Twice a week?
  3. Write down five things you are grateful for. The importance of the event, situation, person, object or thing does not matter. If it provided positive emotions to you, then it is acceptable to put in a gratitude journal. If you need ideas, look up some gratitude journal prompts.

 

Here are some tips from the University of California, Berkeley:

  • Be specific
  • Try not to list superficial things
  • Get personal
  • Consider what life would be without certain things or people
  • Think of good things as gifts
  • Savor surprises
  • Revise if you repeat the same things or people
  • Write regularly
  • Don’t overdo it. You don’t have to write every day.

 

 

What do you like about gratitude journals?

Home Remedy for Viruses

You feel it. That tingle in your throat. That itchiness in your eyes. That lone sniffle. That single cough. You are starting to get sick.

Instead of searching in your medicine cabinet or down the isles at your local pharmacy, try this supplement combination:

  • Two 1,000 mg of  Vitamin C (powder or capsules)
  • Two 500 mg capsules of Echinacea or Goldenseal
  • Two 500 mg capsules of L-Lysine
  • One 20 mg tablet of Zinc

When you start to feel yourself getting sick,  take this combination once every hour for three hours. Continue this for three days. The combination helps alleviate your symptoms and boost your immune system.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is not a vitamin the body produces. Because Vitamin C helps protect the immune system and battles viruses, it’s an important supplement to take when starting to feel sick.

Source: https://draxe.com/the-most-powerful-vitamin-on-the-planet-meet-vitamin-c

Echinacea

Echinacea is a North American coneflower that was used as a herbal remedy by Great Plains Indian tribes. According to Lancet Infectious Diseases, the University of Connecticut performed a study and determined that echinacea decreases the length of the common cold.

Source: https://draxe.com/echinacea-benefits

Goldenseal

Goldenseal is a  perennial herb that was used by Native Americans for health purposes. Studies have found that goldenseal might help boost white blood cells and that it reduces the pro-inflammatory response — reducing symptoms during an infection.

Source: https://draxe.com/goldenseal

L-lysine

L-lysine is an amino acid that cannot be produced by the body. It is involved in developing antibodies and has antiviral properties.

Source: http://aminoacidstudies.org/l-lysine

Zinc

Zinc is a metal that serves as a micronutrient. Research has shown that zinc can interfere with the molecular process in nasal passages that causes bacteria and mucus to build. It has also shown that zinc has antiviral properties.

Source: https://draxe.com/zinc-benefits

 

Would you take this natural route instead of over-the-counter drugs?

What are the benefits of cupping?

What is cupping?

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, “Cupping is a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practice that involves placing cups on the skin to create suction.” It is a practice that goes back over 2,000 years.

There are many variations of cupping.

Dry Cupping

Dry cupping is when a cup is heated before it gets placed on the skin which creates suction. Suction can also be created using a pump.

Wet Cupping

Wet cupping starts off with dry cupping. Then, cuts are made to the skin and a cup is placed back over, sucking out the toxic blood.

Massage Cupping

Massage cupping is when oil is applied to the skin and cups are placed and moved around.

Needle Cupping

Needle cupping is when acupuncture needles are placed in the skin and cups are placed on top of those areas.

Fire Cupping

Fire cupping involves using fire inside the cup in order to create suction to the skin.

Water Cupping

Water cupping involves placing cups filled with water on the skin.

Magnet Cupping

Magnet cupping involves placing cups with magnets attached to it on the skin.

Sources: “Types of Cupping” and “Cupping Techniques”

How does it work?

I stopped by Gainesville Holistic Healthcare in Gainesville, Florida, to get a better understanding of cupping. According to Traci Pettigrew, a physician at Gainesville Holistic Healthcare,  there is nothing like cupping in western medicine. It has a wide variety of applications and can be combined with other medicine.

When cupping is performed, cups get placed over a problem area and air gets pumped. This sucks the skin into the cup, pulling waste products out of the tissues and increasing flow and circulation.

Cupping started to become popular when the media showcased the purple marks on athletes at the Olympics. “It looks a little alarming,” Pettigrew said but cupping is not painful. “People love cups because it relaxes them.” These purple marks are not sensitive to the touch and usually go away in two to seven days. The skin type determines the darkness of the marks.

image11

Where is cupping done on the body?

Cupping is usually done on the patient’s back but Pettigrew mentioned it could also be performed on the trapezius muscle, shoulders and even the abdominal.

Why should someone get cupping done?

There are many benefits to cupping. Pettigrew mentioned:

  • An increase in blood flow
  • An increase of circulation in tissues
  • A decrease in inflammation
  • Cellulite reduction
  • Pain reduction
  • Reduction of spasms associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Relaxation

Who are the people who get cupping done?

Pettigrew has a variety of people come in for cupping treatments. She gets people who are athletes to office workers. About half of the people come in because of stress and the other half come in because of pain.

When do people usually get cupping done?

Pettigrew’s clients usually come in once a week.

My Cupping Experience

I made my cupping appointment at the Floating Lotus Spa in Gainesville, Florida, with Joy Lynch. Lynch specializes in lymphatic Chinese massage cupping, Indian head massage, reiki healing, aromatherapy facials and reflexology for the hands.

At the Floating Lotus Spa, guests lie down on a BioMat, a heated mat that delivers infrared rays and negative ions to the body. Then, your appointment begins.

First, Lynch examined my body for “problem areas”, the areas packed with tension. To do this, she would apply pressure to those areas. Unlike what Traci Pettigrew, Gainesville Holistic Healthcare, said, this did hurt. It was not a bad hurt, though. It is comparable to the pain felt during a deep tissue massage.

After she found my “problem areas”– mostly my lower back and neck, she started to work with the cups. Unlike Pettigrew, Joy Lynch had a variety of cups — materials and sizes. She used rubber cups, glass cups, plastic cups and silicone cups on my body. She even incorporated deep tissue massage elements.

Lynch started by placing a few glass cups on a section of my body and leaving it there for a few minutes. Then, she would use the silicone and rubber cups to “move” the tension around — making it eventually leave my body. Lynch used the plastic cups on certain sections of my body. These plastic cups had magnets in them and acupuncture points. When these were placed on my body, it produced a tingly sensation caused by the acupuncture points hitting pressure points.

I came in with the idea that cupping was done on just your back. I was surprised to find cups placed on my legs, back, neck, shoulders, palms of the hand and the backs of my feet.

Final Thoughts

After my cupping treatment, my “problem areas” were reduced. The treatment did help reduce my stress and pain. The process as a whole was not painful. The pains I felt were when some pressure got applied to my tensions. Those pains got reduced after treatment. Faint purple marks did appear on my neck and back but it was not frightening to look at nor was it painful. These marks disappeared after four days. I would recommend getting cupping done if you have a lot of tension from stress. It helps reduce it and gives you the same loose feeling you get after a massage.

What are your thoughts on cupping? Will you try out a treatment? 

 

Here are prices here in Gainesville, Florida:

Gainesville Holistic Healthcare

30 minutes, $40

The Floating Lotus Spa

60 minutes, $75

 

 

 

Spiritual Wellness and Alternative Medicine: What is it?

Hello!

Welcome to Spiritually You, a blog dedicated to spiritual wellness and alternative medicine.

What is “spiritual wellness”?

According to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, spiritual wellness varies from person to person and involves values and beliefs that provide a sense of purpose in life.

“It is important for everyone to explore what they believe is their own sense of meaning and purpose. The path to spiritual wellness may involve simply thinking through the ways you receive meaning in your life or talking about these with important family or friends. ”

Some practices to help focus on your “meaning of life”
  1. Meditation
  2. Yoga
  3. Prayer

What is “alternative medicine”?

Alternative medicine is any form of medicine outside of conventional medicine practiced by doctors. According to the White House Commission, it “includes the worldviews, theories, modalities, products, and practices associated with these systems and their use to treat illness and promote health and well-being.”

Some types of alternative medicine
  1. Acupuncture
  2. Aromatherapy
  3. Cupping
  4. Feng Shui
  5. Magnetotherapy
  6. Reflexology
  7. Reiki

Spiritually You Blog

This blog is going to be based on my experiences with alternative medicine and spiritual wellness practices. Posts will be heavily based on background research, interviews, reviews, and personal experiences.

Have a form of alternative medicine or spiritual wellness practice you want me to write about? Leave it in the comments.