Category Archives: Eco Living
The spraying of herbicides to eradicate weeds has long been regular practice for farmers around the globe. The routine dousing of fields to make space and save nutrients for crops has resulted in runoffs into nearby streams. These waterways have received the bulk of the weed-killing chemicals. There have, however, been few studies into the effects of the chemicals on organisms within the water.
Legal Levels of Herbicides Dangerous for Stream Macroalgae
A Brazil-based study has recently examined the effects of glyphosate-based-herbicides on certain types of green macroalga, which are common in streams around the globe. The study looked into whether the macroalga would be sensitive to these chemicals and whether their photosynthesis, respiration and chorophyll levels would be affected. Professor David Garbarry, the editor of Phycologia stated, “This paper provides an important contribution to our knowledge of the environmental toxicology of glyphosate-based herbicides in freshwater aquatic systems.”
The glyphodsate-based herbicides are among the most popular weed killers used around the world. Large amounts of these chemicals runoff into waterways, thus exposing the ecosystems to the effects of the chemical agents. A number of previous studies found glyphosate contamination in the U.S., French, Canadian and Argentinian waterways. This research did not include studies into the effects of the herbicides on macroalga. It is the macroalga that offers a basis for monitoring the health of rapidly moving fresh water. Within streams, these organisms are vital for cycling nutrients and increasing plankton.
This new study examined several concentrations of technical-grade- glyphosate, Roundup® weed killer, and aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) to discover how they affect Nitella macrocarpa var. wrightii, which is a green algae found around the globe. These samples were collected from a fresh waterway in south-western Brazil. The test authors found that, when combined together, glyphosate and Roundup® strongly reduced algal photosynthesis. Ciro Cesar Zanini Branco, the author of the test, stated, “Such effects are related to the concentration of the active ingredient and also to the exposure time. These impacts were observed even at the concentration levels allowed by Brazilian regulations.” AMPA, in contrast, actually boosted photosynthesis. What is called ‘dark respiration’, which is respiration occurring regardless of light, also increased via AMPA treatment. The study also found less chlorophyll when AMPA and particular levels of glyphosate were administered.
What is very apparent, is that the performance of the algae was affected by the herbicides.
What is very apparent, is that the performance of the algae was affected by the herbicides. The form of the herbicides, as in how much glyphosate, glyphosate plus Roundup®, or AMPA they contain, is crucial in assessing the intensity of the effects upon the algae. The authors clearly noted that, even legal concentrations of Roundup® in Brazilian waters “may present significant environmental risks”.
Could this form the basis for compensation and legal action to take place? Stay tuned to this space to find out more.
Full text of the article “Assessment of the Potential Toxicity of Glyphosate-Based Herbicides on the Photosynthesis of Nitella microcarpa var. wrightii (Charophyceae),” Phycologia, Vol. 55, No. 5, 2016, is now available.
The power of surfing captures a lone human being aboard a thin sheet of fibreglass, being propelled by the massive force of the ocean. It involves strength, balance and a centredness that is rarely required in other pursuits. For some, the surfing experience is akin to a spiritual one, as they profess to be transported to another place or dimension. It has been said that the brief moments that the surfer is atop, or within a wave, are timeless, in the experience of that surfer. There is the sound of the ocean, the surge and the crashing of the waves. Tim Winton has described the swelling ocean better than most modern writers since Herman Melville did in his Moby Dick.
The dynamic of human being and ocean, not necessarily pitted against one another, but working in harmony with one another is a powerful one. The fact that we as human beings cannot breathe underwater injects a special intensity into this relationship. It makes our sense of balance even more important; especially on big waves. Even those of us who have never quite managed to stand up on a wave, may have experienced being dumped whilst body surfing and know the terror. When one is forcibly submerged and turned again and again, as if in a washing machine, beneath metres of surging water it can be a terrifying experience.
The Spiritual Power of Surfing
I think, it is this death-defying and, quite possibly, death embracing aspect of surfing, which imbues it with a spiritual power. Facing one’s death, or fear of death, is often a highly stimulating activity for the human being. For some, it is regenerative; and this may contribute to the addictive quality that surfing has for many of its adherents. The lone surfer paddling out on a break with only the expanse of nature all around him. The enormity of the sky combined with the seemingly infinite nature of the ocean; and the solo spirit doing battle with the great Poseidon. It is exhilarating stuff; and a cleansing break from the moral turpitude of modern life.
Surfing remains one of those few pioneer activities that are still accessible for those who live in places, and in lives, able to take advantage of it. It is a meditation, an active meditation, which demands total physical concentration and presence of ???? (mind, soul, the watcher state). The massive beast of a wave beneath the surfer, propelling him, or her, at the whim of nature, and the surfer dallies on the edge hoping to ride like there is no tomorrow without paying the ultimate price. Then, there is reflection and contemplation. After the storm there is a sense of purity, and a place within that echoes with magic.
Those who wish to emphasise their green ethics usually like to have environmentally friendly things around them. In their homes and at their workplaces, they enjoy seeing and touching the fruits of the forest. True greenies do not surround themselves with glass and steel, rather they love the soulful and natural appeal of timber. Eco-friendly furniture: green ethics for the future will remain a constant for those who are dedicated to our harmonious living on this planet. There is nothing quite like the feel of natural timber beneath your hand and the whorls and grains inherent within its form.
Some could say that many vegetarians love animals and that is why they do not eat their flesh, should then lovers of the environment adorn their domestic abodes with wood? Would they not be better off avoiding the use of timber in their homes and commercial enterprises? As long as the wood has been sourced from environmentally friendly plantations and not from old-growth forest or endangered rainforest, wood is the natural building material for humanity. Human beings have been living inside wooden structures for millennia. When we left our caves we constructed our homes from the fruits of the forest.
Eco-Friendly Furniture: Green Ethics for The Future
Timber furniture is both good for the environment and an aesthetic and sensual pleasure, if built well. Buying beautiful furniture made out of wood can be a lifetime purchase. It is something that you do with an awareness that this item may well be with you and your family for a very long time. Well-designed wooden furniture makes a statement in every home or office; it is not merely a useful structure. It has something to say to everybody who lives, works and visits that particular space. Eco-friendly furniture speaks to the soul.
We all like to grab a bargain, but when purchasing beautiful timber furniture it is time to put that impulse on hold. It is time to think about longevity, and consider that this piece of furniture will accompany you and your family on your life’s journey. Master craftsman have been designing and joining wooden furniture for a very long time. In eastern and western cultures, furniture has reflected the flavours of the times. To study wooden furniture is to study history, there are so many stories to be told. When you have a piece of this puzzle in your home or workplace it communicates something about what it means to be a human being.
Property development in Australia has a rich and chequered history. From the Alan Bonds to the Bruce Smalls we have seen property development makes some people very rich indeed. For some, Australia is built not on the sheep’s back, but on the back of buying and selling real estate. It is the great Australian dream to own your own house; and most Aussies buy into that bank driven dream. In most cases we are left with enormous box-like housing developments dotting the landscape; a cornucopia of uniform geometric red rooves covering square kilometre after square kilometre. However, are these environmentally sustainable developments?
For corporations like Meriton, their interest is in fitting as many apartments into a building as possible in high density areas of Sydney and Melbourne. Most developers are more concerned with their bottom line than anything else. We have seen a few environmentally friendly commercial developments by companies like Lendlease at Barangaroo. The residential property development field is less well represented in terms of environmental sustainability. Traditionally, Australians have been less concerned with their environment, when it comes to housing, than they have been in servicing the economic imperative involved in paying off a house. Could things be about to change on this score?
Environmentally Sustainable Developments Don’t Cost the Earth
A new development in South Australia’s Victor Harbor, in a suburb called Hayborough, has put its environmental credentials front and centre. The developers of Victor Harbor’s Hayborough eco-estate cost themselves a lot of money by choosing to put only 250 homes on the estate instead of up to 1400. The developers have planted 250,000 trees on 64 ha of unused land, which will become wetlands and native forest. Beyond Today, the name of the eco-estate, will feature 250 energy efficient homes. This development is owned and operated by the Wright family. under the moniker ESD. Their motivation has been their shared passion for the environment, and they have created a place that they would want to live in.
Whether things will work out for this project, as with all business projects, involves a fair amount of risk. Will there be enough South Australians who wish to live in an eco-sensitive residential development at Hayborough and will they be willing to pay for it? Having ideals can be expensive, but some things, such as a genuine care for the environment, can be worth much more than money. That’s a form of spiritual literacy and considering the goodwill and positive publicity that has come from their vision, it also translates into financial literacy. Investing in group financial literacy may just be the way of the future for this country.
Interacting with nature, away from the technological gadgets which dominate our twenty first century lives, is more important than ever. Goolwa offers a peaceful alternative from the whizz bang of our cities. Walking by the gently lapping Murray River watching the water birds arc and gambol can soothe a frayed nervous system. Sailing or paddling down that same river transports one away from the stresses of urban life. Enjoying children at play on bikes and scooters as they traverse the cycleway at Goolwa is a real pleasure.
Fresh air and a slower pace of life works wonders on troubled souls. Eating simple food and hanging out with family can be a healing retreat from life’s worries. Holidays do not need to be wall to wall entertainment, they can be time at the beach, a stroll through a village market and a quiet drink in the local pub. Goolwa offers all this and much more. There are wetlands for bird watching and coastal whale watching in season. Surfing is very big in Goolwa and a great way to commune with nature.
Fishing is a timeless occupation for the patient person, casting a line out into a peaceful river and waiting for that gentle tug on the line. Personally I never catch anything myself but it is a meditative practice; apart from when your line becomes tangled. Goolwa has lots of jetties and the Hindmarsh Bridge. The Goolwa wharf sees paddlesteamers offering river tours.
Goolwa has a steam train tooting its way down the track. History abounds in the old buildings dotted all around the township. Museums and art galleries are a portal into the places cultural identity, then and now. There is good food in Goolwa, especially at the Farm Shop in Cadell Street. Goolwa find can point you in the right direction.
For a relaxed lifestyle or a natural holiday check out Goolwa.
Green marketing as a marketing strategy has been with us since the nineteen eighties and nineties, when it emerged, predominantly within developed countries, in response to concerns about pollution, the environment and sustainability of resources. Environmental activists embarked on a strategy to encourage businesses and consumers to show their support for global and local ecological action through the marketplace. Businesses would promote their green bonafides and consumers would purchase their products and services over those of non-ecologically minded companies.
Since those early years there has been an explosion of green marketing in the twenty first century, especially in response to the growing scientific and community awareness around global warming. A sense of urgency entered the environmental debate within governments globally when economists began to plot the costs of global warming to economies around the world. In Australia, the Garnaut Climate Change Review in 2008 enabled the then Australian Government to forecast the dangers of inaction to our economy, and to move toward strategic policies designed to halt its spread. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, in his 2007 speech to the United Nations climate change conference in Bali, stated, “that climate change represents one of the greatest moral, economic and environmental challenges of our age”.
Subsequently, the climate change debate has been heavily politicised in Australia, and in countries around the world. Deniers of global warming have made their opinions known throughout the media in questioning the science behind climate change. Funding for climate change deniers has been linked to corporations who would be adversely affected by economic policies such as an emissions trading scheme and a tax on carbon. Conservative political parties have appealed to their voter’s concerns with the short term economic pain in any adjustment to strategies designed to combat climate change. The election of Tony Abbot’s Liberal National Party coalition to government in Australia has flagged a reaction within the community to these economic policies.
Green marketing remains a powerful tool in the marketplace, as consumers continue to patronise companies, which signal their eco credentials. The sincerity behind green branding is at times questioned within sectors of the Australian community, but, by and large, it is seen as a force for positive environmental change. ’Greenwashing’ is a pejorative term used to point the finger at cynical companies and industries, which superficially market themselves as ecologically minded without fundamentally altering their unsustainable business practices.
Products and services aligned with green principles have a trajectory in the marketplace, only matched by the market’s love of technological innovation within consumer devices. The green can, and bottle, of Coke Life illustrates the iconic shift that has occurred within the global market toward environmentally sustainable products and services. Green marketing or Greenwashing? Only you will be able to answer that question!
Green thumbs dig in for national tree day
Volunteers can get their hands dirty planting 4,500 new seedlings in Sydney Park today (Sunday 27 July) to celebrate Planet Ark’s National Tree Day.
More than 300 Sydneysiders and visitors are expected to join the free tree planting event, where they can enjoy a barbeque, learn about greening their homes and help cool the city at the same time.
Anyone can get involved and have a go at planting a tree. All they need to do is turn-up between 10am and 1pm and ensure they are wearing covered shoes.
The City supports the annual event as part of its Greening Sydney Plan, which encourages volunteers to contribute to greening the urban landscape.
“National Tree Day is a wonderful opportunity for the whole community to come together and help green our City,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.
“The City aims to increase our urban canopy by 50 per cent by 2030. We’re planting more street trees and increasing the number of trees in our parks. Events like this help cool our city and make it even more beautiful.”
Sydney Park will also host several education tents on the day, offering tips about green living and the latest innovations in sustainability.
Since 2005, the City has planted 9,791 trees. There are currently around 30,000 street trees across the city, and 12,000 trees in the City’s parks. Along with green roofs and walls they contribute to the urban canopy, help combat climate change, and create wildlife corridors for native birds and animals.
Green spaces also benefit residents’ health, cleaning pollutants from the air, creating shade in the hot summer months and enhancing general wellbeing.
Since Planet Ark launched National Tree Day in 1996, more than 2.8 million volunteers across Australia have planted over 17 million trees and shrubs.
This year, in June as a prelude to National Tree Day, Planet Ark created an urban jungle outside the City’s Customs House in Circular Quay. The installation was to highlight the many values of bringing nature into our everyday lives.
Excerpt from – House Therapy – Discovering who you really are at home!
By Sudha Hamilton
The Ancient Greeks, who gave us many of the founding principles upon which we base our modern societies – democracy; logic; philosophy; literature and poetry to name but a few salient examples, had a rich collection of gods and goddesses. Hestia was the goddess of hearth and home, older sister to Zeus and first born of the titans Kronos and Rhea – perhaps not as well known today as her siblings Demeter, Hera, Haides and Poseidon. This may have been due to the fact that she was swallowed first by her titan father Kronos, who in a bid to avoid being overthrown by one of his children, as prophesied, ate all his children, she was thus the last to be regurgitated, once Zeus had forced his father to do so.
The Romans also worshipped her in their homes and knew her as Vesta. The areas of responsibility for which Hestia was worshipped and sacrificed to, were most aspects of domestic life and in particular what we now call the kitchen. For it is around the cooking hearth or kitchen that a home or house builds up or out. Hestia was always toasted at the beginning of a meal in thanks for the hospitality proffered. She was probably where the early Christians appropriated their ‘saying of grace’ before dinner from.
Homeric Hymn 24 to Hestia (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th – 4th B.C.) :
“Hestia, in the high dwellings of all, both deathless gods and men who walk on earth, you have gained an everlasting abode and highest honour: glorious is your portion and your right. For without you mortals hold no banquet,–where one does not duly pour sweet wine in offering to Hestia both first and last. And you, Argeiphontes [Hermes], son of Zeus and Maia, . . . be favourable and help us, you and Hestia, the worshipful and dear. Come and dwell in this glorious house in friendship together; for you two, well knowing the noble actions of men, aid on their wisdom and their strength. Hail, Daughter of Kronos, and you also, Hermes.”
Interestingly Hestia was a virginal goddess and refused the suits of both Apollo and Poseidon. Perhaps this is where we get the separation of the sexual roles of the wife and mother in the home and the focus on providing nurture and hospitality instead. Hestia was seen as the giver of all domestic happiness and good fortune in the home and she was believed to dwell in the inner parts of every home. She was also the first god mentioned at every sacrifice, as she represented the hearth where sacrifices took place – this is the direct link to our kitchens today and the genesis of the sacred chef. There are very few temples of Hestia extant and this is thought to be because every home was her temple in the Hellenistic world. I think we can draw some intuition from this in our view of our homes being places of divine inspiration.
The kitchen has of late become a popular focus of interest, with TV chefs and groovy restaurants grabbing the public’s imagination. For House Therapy the kitchen represents our centre, our practical and instinctual selves. This is where we prepare food for family and ourselves. It is also often where food is stored in the refrigerator and pantry cupboards. Food is about survival and security. There is no bullshit about these things and the kitchen is a place where the elements of nature still regularly intervene. Fire on the stove and in your oven; water at the sink, earth in the bench tops and structure; and air in the extractor, fan forced oven and all around. You can be hurt in the kitchen if you do not pay attention to what you are about. Unlike the faux furies vented in the kitchens on TV, you can experience some real passions in these hot and pressurised places at home. You might be burning fingers and dishes, dropping scoldingly hot plates and crying bitter tears over chopped onions. The kitchen is where we show our real reactions to strong emotions, pressure in our lives and our appetites and jealousies.
Have a look around now at your kitchen, the colour of the walls and general lay-out of things. What is your first impression? What does it say to you about your instinctive self? Are you clinical or passionate? Are the walls white/neutral or vivid/strong colours? Is it large or small? Is the instinctual, raw and pragmatic you an important part of your life? Or is it hidden away or missing? The trend in studio apartment architecture now, to build them without kitchens and have neutered mini servery’s instead, is a reflection of a missing essential in sections of our culture. Stripping away the practical ability to fend for yourself by cooking your own food and becoming dependent on pre-prepared meals is symptomatic of us having lost our way along the journey. Is your kitchen well equipped? Can you cook? Do you enjoy cooking for friends, family and yourself?
Returning to the rich historical connection our modern day kitchen has with Hestia’s hearth, as mentioned earlier it was the place where the highly necessary ritualised sacrifices took place. These sacrifices usually involved a calf or some other domesticated animal and those involved with the sacrifice would share in eating the meat of the roasted animal. So the power of the sacrifice would be in the ritualised slaughtering of the animal in dedication to the goddess for a particular purpose – to bring good fortune upon whatever was so desired for example. Today the cook or cooks go into the kitchen, risking cuts, perspiration and burns, to prepare a celebratory meal for our friends and or family – Christmas, birthdays and other days of ritualised festivities. We may not consciously invoke Hestia or any other gods but the overall intention is the same, we wish to share good cheer with those we love and bring good fortune upon us all.
It is interesting to ask oneself what is true sacrifice and what does it mean in our lives today? When we think of sacrificing something, we tend to see it as foregoing or missing out on something so as to have something else. “You cannot have your cake and eat it too.” Which I have always thought was an incredibly stupid saying, because what is the point of possessing uneaten cake? A sacrifice I hear you say, perhaps a slice for the gods. Interestingly the Greeks and Romans would eat the cooked flesh of their sacrifice, offering the bones and fat to the gods and goddesses, but it was the life itself, that was the real sacrifice in my view. The word sacrifice means to make sacred, so whatever we offer up in dedication to the gods becomes sacred. Actually the word anathema, was the Greek word forlaying-up or suspending something in wait for the gods, and it is has now taken on the meaning of something that is accursed, through its contact, down through the ages, with the jealous Hebrew god, Yahweh; the Christian god. Our language, and lexicon of words, have taken an interesting journey over the last four millennia, and it is no wonder we are all a little confused at times. So we could make a correlation between sacrificing something in our life and that thing, which has been sacrificed becomes anathema to us or accursed. How do you feel about the things you have sacrificed in your life? A person’s love; a relationship; a career; types of food; alcohol; drugs; sex; lifestyle; freedom? We do not live in a particularly sacrificial age, more of a ‘you can have it all’ age, but can you really enjoy it all and be present for entirely disparate things in your life? Do we appreciate things more when we make room for them in our lives? Perhaps sacrifice still has a part to play in our lives today, better sharpen those knives.
The kitchen is also a place of transformation, where base elements are turned into the gold of love and nourishment. Is your kitchen a space where magic like this happens, regularly or just on special occasions? Domestic kitchens have a great tradition throughout the West of being incredibly impractical, lacking preparation space and adequate and functional cupboards. This is now being addressed in more modern homes, as the passion is returning to the kitchen. I think that we suffered for a few decades from the ‘American wonder of white goods’ syndrome, where no home was complete without these wonderful space and time saving machines and that a mentality of faster was better grew up around them. Fast foods, sliced white bread, whipped cream in a can, all these travesties were accorded the haloed status of modernity and progress. When in actual fact they were soulless short cuts that ripped the heart out of good cooking. Yes we still do have a lot of gadgets in the kitchen but we also now understand that good food still needs dedication and application. Bread makers are great, but bread cooked in a wood fired oven tastes better and if it is naturally fermented sour dough even better. Espresso coffee from your home machine tastes a lot better than instant coffee.
Your kitchen is a place where you can practically respond to the basic needs of living. Is your kitchen letting you do this? Is your kitchen supporting you in feeling centred and secure in dealing with the vicissitudes that life often throws up? Are your knives sharp and well balanced? Do you have enough bench space when preparing meals? Does your stove cook the way you want it to cook? If not then you are letting yourself down and going around with a bloody great hole where your centre should be. As a member of the human tribe you need to be able to fend for yourself, and the kitchen can empower you to be grounded in the here and now. Not wafting around on the ceiling hoping for the crumbs of human kindness to drop your way.
Things we can do to transform our kitchen
As a chef, who has owned and managed a number of restaurants and cafes, I know all about kitchens and their design downfalls. First and foremost it is about space and in particular bench top space where most kitchens, especially older kitchens, are lacking. Storage space comes a close second and it is in these areas that a solid beginning can be made in transforming your kitchen from a frustration trap into a pragmatic pleasure dome. Cooking is never completely easy, if it is, it isn’t real cooking, in my opinion, there must be some blood, sweat and tears in every great dish but not too much. Unnecessary suffering is not on anyone’s menu by choice.
Buy an island bench if you lack bench top space and cannot easily create more, they are great and I have several of them, and you can take them with you when you move.
Sharp knives, that are also well weighted in the overall heft of the knife, can bring a smile to any good cook and I always say, “happiness is a sharp knife.”
Obviously kitchens need to be clean and cleaned regularly for all sorts of reasons, hygiene, health and happiness. Clutter in the kitchen causes chaos and calamity, food takes longer to prepare and the energy around it is bad.
Trapped dead energy, in the form of rotting and old produce in fridges and cupboards, does not augur well for happy kitchen gods and thus producing yummy healthy and nutritious food; so clean out and clean up.
Today in the harsh daylight of our overcrowded cities, in developed nations around the globe, we are encouraged to worship only one god, the holy dollar. People are rushing about in their cars, and on public transport, to reach their destinations, their places of work and of investment, where labour and lead may be turned into gold. Sitting at terminals, tapping keys, in the hope that interest rates will rise or fall, that the market will strengthen their position; and that bears will turn into bulls. If you can imagine an animated city scene, with hundreds of besuited pedestrians crossing the pavements, all with a cartoon circle above their heads, showing their thoughts as a dollar sign. This is the charge of the light brigade, where horses have become mobile phones and helmets and swords, iPods and sunglasses.
Newspapers, and online sources, today are filled with economic imperatives, and this obsession, which began in the late nineteen seventies, has become the overriding concern for dad and mum; and their kids. Money is on everyone’s lips and in everyone’s mind, how to get it, how to make it, how to keep it; and how to hide it. Everyone’s become a banker and governments are complicit in this – the tax department has driven these changes , as your tax return became more and more complex, you had to think like an accountant to make sense of it. Paul Keating, as rock star Treasurer, had a hand in it, as he, and PM Hawke, deregulated the banks and made public announcements about “banana state economies.” Suddenly everyone had to get up to speed on the balance of payments and interest rate figures daily made the front page. It was like a crash course in economics, skewed with the dramatics and sensationalism that sells papers.
There are and were positives, about this new found economic literacy amongst the hoi polloi, as people are always empowered by knowledge. In this new era of freedom, individuals and groups, were able to break down decades and centuries of banking obfuscation, to achieve their wants; even women, who had been particularly disadvantaged by the prejudices of this male dominated industry. Economic growth came spurting out, after years of lazy conservative rule, people got money and invested it in new businesses and real estate – the housing market exploded. Of course we got some excessive behaviour, Alan Bond, Christopher Skase etc but generally it was much more for the good, as a greater number and spread of people were enabled to become productive.
However, and I will use a controversial analogy here to illustrate my point, the economic awareness grew and has now become such an overweening thing that it has strangled all other gods. I liken it to the historical journey of Western women, from their hair covered and protected imprisonment in wifely roles, through the suffragettes and then the women’s liberation movement, up until now in their emancipated state from legislated prejudice; but still with the biological necessities to be women. This potentially challenging, dichotomous position is most dramatically seen in the form of the traditionally attired Islamic woman, as she represents the other extreme pole, as if she has just stepped out of the pages of history into the twenty first century. I respect the fiercely won freedoms of today’s Western woman, but also see the conflicting impact that the demands of the world have made upon the inner life of some women. In a similar vein, today’s awareness of the economic imperative has damaged the inner life of us all, removing perceived value from other pursuits not so closely held to the material bosom.
As Science, in the service of money, has slain the Christian religion, condemning it to the irrelevancy of a surfeit of poorly attended suburban churches clamouring for ageing attendees, the great god avarice has filled the breach. Materialism, what you can buy with money, has taken hold of head and heart inside the majority of us all. What is the holiest, most sacred, thing that you can purchase? It is of course the home, a house or flat, villa or apartment, but a home by any other name just the same. This haloed quest, the often life time journey devoted to owning your own home, is, in Australia anyway, a culturally approved goal that lies beneath the day to day activity of millions. It gives meaning to life to many of these people, and I imagine the banks must really love it. It reminds me of the association between diamond rings and marriage; doctors, pharmaceutical drugs and illness; and other firmly entrenched cultural beliefs. How do you get people to work all the time and do it more or less willingly? By making what they want so expensive that they have to. If the average home is priced around nine times the average income, and you have to borrow hundreds of thousands of dollars from the banks at substantial and fluctuating interest rates, then you are going to be tied into working for a very long time. Mentally, by the time you have paid off your house and loan, you are often so brain washed into that behaviour that you go on working anyway. Homes bought as investment properties, charge rentals at a market value so determined, that they can pay off housing loans and or profit accordingly – thus making shelter/housing expensive for everyone. The goal for many in owning their own home is financial freedom, which often really means, once achieved, becoming a landlord and profiting from others, for money as they say does not stand still and you will be advised by those who work with money to invest your new found freedom in more real estate; and the cycle continues.
Going to work every week day, and often doing something that you dislike in some way, treating another human being in a less than human way by focusing on the money at the expense of everything else, damages the soul some say. You might go to your doctor and complain that you are not feeling, dare I say it, happy, and he most probably will tell you that you are depressed and prescribe an antidepressant.
“Over the last 30 years, rates of depression have been steadily increasing in Western societies. In the last ten years, consumption of antidepressants has doubled in the most advanced Western countries. Today, more than 11 million Americans are taking antidepressants. The estimated number of people in Britain taking antidepressants is two million. In Australia, 66 percent of those seeing a GP for the first time about depression have a chance of being medicated – in most cases with antidepressants. These data are so stark that most of us and our institutions prefer not to think about them.”
Dr David Servan-Schreiber, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Pittsburgh University School of Medicine
Author of Healing Without Freud or Prozac, 2004, Rodale.
Then, in a tra la la drugged state, not caring so much about a lot of things, unable to achieve an orgasm, you will keep on doing what you were doing, working in much the same way and edging hopefully closer to that nirvana, called financial freedom. When you set out on the journey as a youngish adult, I imagine that the many things you associate with financial freedom will change over the years and that when you get there, often decades later, you will be a completely different person. It is like any long journey, in that it is better to make the experience of your journey your succour than the goal itself. Otherwise you are training yourself, every day, to switch off subtly and desensitise yourself to life, killing yourself a little bit each day in the hope that when you get to the end you will be able to turn yourself back on; and enjoy that wonderful financial freedom you see in the scenes depicted in those TV ads for the banks.
If you read a little history and have a good look at the Christian religion, you will see that belief in god, for much of their sixteen hundred years in power, was not optional. From the time of Constantine, the Roman emperor in the fourth century AD when Christianity became the state religion – the Holy Roman Catholic Church, if you did not believe in a Christian god, and their version of that Christian god, you were very likely to be put to death. This heavy handed approach began to soften after the Renaissance in the sixteenth century, but life remained very hard for those who did not acquiesce and worship in the prescribed manner. Jews of course were murdered, exiled, banned and generally hated since the time of Christ. The crusades slaughtered millions of Muslims over centuries and religious pogroms have continued the genocide of both Jews and Muslims by Christians. I always smile when I remember Sunday School, and the things I was told about the poor Christians being thrown to the lions by the Romans, of course this was true for the three centuries it happened, but nobody was teaching the children about the next twelve centuries of Christian atrocities committed against the rest of the world; and also within their own communities in the prosecution of heresies. History always favours the victors.
Within, and despite all this bloodshed, many people had an experience of god being present within their lives. It seems in a lot of instances to have provided these individuals with a sense of belonging to something divine, which was beyond the reach of those with the swords. I would posit that the very threat to some people’s belief in god, through perceived heretical accusations, as in the time of the Cathars in France in the thirteenth century, and in the very bloody later schism between Catholics and the Reformation Church in the sixteenth century, to name but a few, intensified their experience of their religion and god. Nobody loves quite so much as when that love is threatened and or about to go away. Religion, and or belief in god, is always like that enormous elephant in the room, which will not go away.
“Superstition requires credulity, just as true religion requires faith. Deep-rooted credulity is so powerful that it may even, in false beliefs, be thought to perform miracles. For if anyone believes most firmly that his religion is true, even if it is in fact false, he raises his spirit by reason of that very credulity until it becomes like the spirits who are the leaders and princes of that religion and seems to perform things which are not perceived by those in a normal and rational state.”
Cornelius Agrippa (1486-1535)
De Occulta Philosophia
I ask myself, a lot, what belief in god really is. Rationally there is no evidence for the existence of a god, and in my historical search so far, there never has been any evidence. In Christianity’s case, we now clearly know that the gospels in the Bible, which were written between seventy and up to two hundred years after the time of Jesus, are not reliable historical accounts and indeed are more like PR releases or overly favourable biographical sketches, designed to sell Christianity to the Roman power elite and others. The account of Pilate for instance, is completely fictitious and reworked by the writers of the gospels to exonerate the Romans from the execution of Jesus and to put that blame squarely upon the Jews; which has had onerous historical consequences to put it mildly. Christianity is not alone in creating fictions to make it divine and more than merely human, in PR and sales there is a great and long lasting tradition, which is about making your product uniquely special and divinity ticks all those boxes. The tablet which held the ten commandments, where is it and who else but Moses really saw it and if it was placed in the Ark of the Covenant, where is it also? The Mormons then, through their prophet, Joseph Smith Junior, and I imagine from his impression of the historical precedent set by Moses as reported in Exodus, had a solid gold tablet from the Angel Moroni containing their scriptures, which conveniently only Joseph actually saw. Now Christians, who believe in Jesus rising bodily from the dead, often chuckle softly at the unrealistic beliefs of other religions, whilst having no problem with the outlandish collection of miracle stories and the like contained in their Bible. When we inherit beliefs from our parents, these loving and respected beings, and they likewise inherited their beliefs from their parents and so on, it is easy to understand why these often ridiculous beliefs have lasted so long. It is hard to shoot down the firmly held beliefs of your elders and those whom you love; many people choose to turn away from confronting the elephant in the room.
Buddhism, both the Theravada and Mahayana schools of Buddhism, are also a collection of stories tinged with the magical properties of the divine. Siddhartha Gautama, the Nepalese prince did exist historically and most probably did venture out on a spiritual quest, but then the story tellers take over and we are regaled with unearthly feats designed to impress the uneducated masses. Hinduism is a fantastic collection of wildly colourful stories, creation myths involving gods and demons, many of them extraordinarily beautiful.
“An ancient Hindu warrior-king named Muchukunda was born from his father’s left side, the father having swallowed by mistake a fertility potion that the Brahmins had prepared for his wife; and in keeping with the promising symbolism of this miracle, the motherless marvel, fruit of the male womb, grew to be such a king among kings that when the gods, at one period, were suffering defeat in their perpetual contest with the demons, they called upon him for help. He assisted them to a mighty victory, and they, in their divine pleasure, granted him the realisation of his highest wish. But what should such a king, himself almost omnipotent, desire? What greatest boon of boons could be conceived of by such a master among men? King Muchukunda, so runs the story, was very tired after his battle: all he asked was that he might be granted a sleep without end, and that any person chancing to arouse him should be burned to a crisp by the first glance of his eye.
The boon was bestowed. In a cavern chamber, deep within the womb of a mountain, King Muchukunda retired to sleep, and there slumbered through the revolving eons. Individuals, peoples, civilisations, world ages, came into being out of the void and dropped back into it again, while the old king, in his state of subconscious bliss, endured. Timeless as the Freudian unconscious beneath the dramatic time world of our fluctuating ego-experience, that old mountain man, the drinker of deep sleep, lived on and on.
His awakening came- but with a surprising turn that throws into new perspective the whole problem of the hero-circuit, as well as the mystery of a mighty king’s request for sleep as the highest conceivable boon.
Vishnu, the Lord of the World, had become incarnate in the person of a beautiful youth named Krishna, who, having saved the land of India from a tyrannical race of demons, had assumed the throne. And he had been ruling in Utopian peace, when a horde of barbarians suddenly invaded from the northwest. Krishna the king went against them, but, in keeping with his divine nature, won the victory playfully, by a simple ruse. Unarmed and garlanded with lotuses, he came out of his stronghold and tempted the enemy king to pursue and catch him, then dodged into a cave. When the barbarian followed, he discovered someone lying there in the chamber, asleep.
“Oh!” thought he. “So he has lured me here and now feigns to be a harmless sleeper.”
He kicked the figure lying on the ground before him, and it stirred. It was King Muchukunda. The figure rose, and the eyes that had been closed for unnumbered cycles of creation, world history, and dissolution, opened slowly to the light. The first glance that went forth struck the enemy king, who burst into a torch of flame and was reduced immediately to a smoking heap of ash. Muchukunda turned, and the second glance struck the garlanded, beautiful youth, whom the awakened old king straightaway recognised by his radiance as an incarnation of God. And Muchukunda bowed before his Saviour with the following prayer:
“ My Lord God! When I lived and wrought as a man, I lived and wrought – straying restlessly; through many lives, birth after birth, I sought and suffered, nowhere knowing cease or rest. Distress I mistook for joy. Mirages appearing over the desert I mistook for refreshing waters. Delights I grasped, and what I obtained was misery. Kingly power and earthly possession, riches and might, friends and sons, wife and followers, everything that lures the senses: I wanted them all, because I believed that these would bring me beatitude. But the moment anything was mine it changed its nature, and became as a burning fire.
Then I found my way into the company of the gods, and they welcomed me as a companion. But where, still, surcease? Where rest? The creatures of this world, gods included, all are tricked, my Lord God, by your playful ruses; that is why they continue in their futile round of birth, life agony, old age, and death. Between lives, they confront the lord of the dead and are forced to endure hells of every degree of pitiless pain. And it all comes from you!
“My Lord God, deluded by your playful ruses, I too was a prey of the world, wandering in a labyrinth of error, netted in the meshes of ego-consciousness. Now, therefore, I take refuge in your Presence – the boundless, the adorable – desiring only freedom from it all.”
When Muchukunda stepped from his cave, he saw that men, since his departure, had become reduced in stature. He was as a giant among them. And so he departed from them again, retreated to the highest mountains, and there dedicated himself to the ascetic practices that should finally release him from his last attachment to the forms of being.
Muchukunda, in other words, instead of returning, decided to retreat one degree still further from the world. And who shall say that his decision was altogether without reason?”
The Hero With A Thousand Faces, 1993, Fontana Press, pp 194-196.
I would say that the original author of this story was probably a new parent, indicated by the hero wishing for eternal sleep over all other riches LOL. What it also tells us, is that the successful religions, which have been taken up by kings and therefore the state, all have messages at their heart which assure the listener that the rewards and sufferings of life are nothing in comparison with the promises of divinity. These are not their only messages, but clearly that message would resonate with the suffering masses – to hear that all life, good and bad, is an illusion, would be a panacea to the many who were decidedly short changed by the distribution of commonwealth. It is kings who have driven religions and enforced participation in their rituals, and kings who have controlled and censored the scriptural content of these religion’s holy books. Kings have had much more need of religion and its ability to control the behaviour of adherents, than have subjects had need of religious beliefs.
The belief in a god, who will upon the death of the believer, even things up in terms of getting a fair share of the goodies, in heaven or some paradisiacal garden in the afterlife, has had broad appeal among the disadvantaged. I think we see that now in the fervent take up of extremist Islamic beliefs, many of these adherents are poor and have been racially slighted in the countries they reside in, and they believe that their actions and belief in a vengeful Allah will deliver them to paradise. The African American slaves took the Christian message of the meek inheriting the Earth to heart; women, who have been down trodden and abused by men, have found succour in religion, and it is often a belief which burns brightest in the hearts of mothers within a family; perhaps as salve to the tragedies that historically affected women through the deaths of their children. To believe in something better than avarice, competition and bloodshed is an understandable wish, if Darwinian evolution can only provide that the strong/intelligent will prevail, then it is perfectly understandable that humanity would invent a god that possibly offers the mercy of something else with a kinder face. Although the original incarnations of the old testament Judo-Christian religions were decidedly brutal.
“The great unmentionable evil at the centre of our culture is monotheism. From a barbaric Bronze Age text known as the Old Testament, three anti-human religions have evolved – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. These are sky-god religions. They are, literally, patriarchal – god is the Omnipotent Father – hence the loathing of women for 2000 years in those countries afflicted by the sky-god and his earthly male delegates.”
The belief in god has been used by the strong to justify their rule and control over others, the divine right of kings to rule, and the same belief has been employed by the weak to salve their hurts and pains in the hope for a better deal in the afterlife; it is a flexible beast this elephant. All religions seem to make a heap of promises, which require your extinction before they pay out on them, and as nobody has as yet returned from the dead (Jesus excepting but then he works for them) we are none the wiser when it comes to knowing their truth and efficacy. The poor and down trodden masses, who were forced to subscribe to the state religion – the Holy Roman Catholic Church – would have taken what message of hope they could from their time in church. The church collected taxes from these same people and controlled their lives as much as the king, for hundreds of years people were expected to go on a religious pilgrimage during their lives and if they did not they were expected to pay the church the equivalent amount of money they would have spent on their holy journey. Representatives of the church would sell common folk religious relics, purporting to be splinters of the cross that crucified Jesus and the like, and absolutions; so you could buy a piece of heaven, a bit like you can buy financial freedom through home ownership today.
I would say that in our relationship with the new religion, materialism, we have done away with a good deal of hypocrisy about money and its importance in our lives. When I was growing up it was considered rude to ask direct questions about money, which set me back somewhat for many years when it came to negotiating transactions. It was bad form to ask how much something was worth – shopping could be a struggle – bad manners to ask how much someone earnt for a living – life was a bit less exacting I suppose – I imagine as it was before the advent of the electric light, when the edges of existence were not so pronounced in gaslight and candle light. Not a bad thing sometimes to have a bit more mystery. There was however a great deal of downplaying falsely of the importance of money and this was simple dishonesty in many instances. A bit like not being able to talk about ‘fucking’ and always having to say ‘making love’ when referring to sex, which was also the case when I was growing up, at least in polite society or with a lady. But sometimes ‘fucking’ is a more correct description for the activity and incorporates more of our animal natures, whereas ‘making love’ is a far more ethereal term, non-corporeal in fact; and “fucking” is after all only a small part of making love. There always needs to be black and white in the equation, otherwise if we are forced to pretend to only live in the light, we will get corruption, as we do with celibate priests and all those who deny the darkness and their shadow side.
Similarly we need the balance of spirit, inchoate things inside of us, anti-matter if you like, especially now in the time of money. When the zeitgeist is the passion for money and the things that money can buy and people are marching to the consumerist beat, for technological toys like IPhone’s and other gadgets, then the opposite pole becomes so very important. Familiarity breeds contempt and that is what is happening, and will happen even more, with materialism, its strident voice drowns out the sensitive and the mysterious. Science like a Krispy Kreme doughnut has deliciously explained the how but has nothing at its centre to explain the why – consciousness continues to elude neuroscience and all other branches of material knowledge. We need to realise that just because we have named a street on a map and given a moment in time a precise number, that it does not truly define the reality of that particular space and moment. We have killed the mystery, the unexpected nature of existence, by naming and measuring everything and then agreeing amongst ourselves that this is its only reality – we have turned symbols into things and references into realities. No wonder so many people are depressed, having lost contact with the earth beneath their feet, because they are walking on a line on a map inside their head.
I wonder if you or I were to go and lie in a dark cave for a year, a space with no light whatsoever, but with enough warmth, food and comfort to sustain us, and we had no contact with the outside world for that entire year – how we would be on our emergence from the cave after the year? Would our consciousnesses be changed, affected, transformed in any meaningful way? What would we encounter within our own psyches and would the zeitgeist of the times slip away? I imagine that our thoughts would continue to go around and around, as they do, chasing their own tails and tales. But after awhile, with no points of external reference, with which to reinforce their existence, these thoughts would, I suspect, evolve or devolve. Perhaps as in a spiral motion returning to their points of origin, regressing to where they came from – things someone said that we appropriated; wisdom from mum and dad; teachers and mentors; books that we have read; Sunday School scriptures; and finally back even further as we lie there in the pure blackness. We would, I suspect, begin to break down all thoughts and all the things we live by, our moral compass so to speak, our very own philosophy of life, and things would be reduced to essentialities and much of the guff would simply fall away. Close your eyes now and drift away.
The recent financial demise of Australian book retailers, Angus & Robertson and Borders Books, is a timely reminder to have another look at the effects of the Internet and digitalisation upon the book industry. Coupling this local retail failure with the bankruptcy of the Borders Group in the US, shines a light on how books are now being sold in these developed markets. Time now to see, just what is the long term impact of Amazon and other online suppliers of books on the bookstore concept and retail book chains.
Of course A & R had stopped being an example of a good bookshop years before. Even before it was purchased by the private equity group, Red Group, it was a chain of substandard stores offering a very average range of titles. Indeed that is why it was snapped very cheaply and the new managers accentuated all that was mediocre about A & R, and then had to operate with enormous debt levels . Many will say that bad management is always the true cause of business failure in the marketplace and an inability to respond to technological challenges within your industry is merely an example of this. Borders introduced the super store concept to Australia and in the process contributed to the demise of many small bookshops around the nation.
So we can now purchase a huge range of titles online, relatively quickly and affordably. In Australia we do not pay any GST on books purchased through Amazon or some other overseas online supplier, unless we are spending over a A$1000. Many retailers are now voicing their complaints about this unfair playing field and I would posit that books are one area that the Internet is taking a sizeable chunk of sales, somewhere in the vicinity of 15 to 20%. Retailers do pay proportionately high rents in Australia and then they have to pay staff and all the other infrastructure costs associated with retailing. So how are they going to be able to compete on price with a GST free online supplier? The consumer gets cheaper books if they are Internet savvy and or have access to online suppliers but they lose a sizeable retail presence in their local shopping precincts.
As a community we lose jobs in the book sector, which is a shame, because having personally come from a family retail book background I can tell you it is a great area to work in – very stimulating and people are passionate about their books. It is in my opinion a bit like the wine industry on many levels, the level of knowledgeable service that customers require is intense and like the wine business you cannot hope to survive as a small retailer without providing this. Fosters has been discovering this in its disastrous foray into the wine business, with massive write-downs on the Penfolds and Rosemount businesses. A & R were treating books and more importantly their customers like they were selling stationary – and they have paid the price. The amount of time in a bookshop spent researching titles for customers on a quest for a specific book, which may indeed be out of print, is enormous and you have to have people who love books working in bookshops. Of course much of this research can now be done online if the customer has access and is trained to do so.
The digital supply of books on tablets like Amazon’s Kindle will be an interesting phenomenon to watch and see whether the take-up will move beyond the initial very small percentage of the reading market. Again however this is something which moves book buying into the home and out of the shoppingcentre, removing jobs and the physical social interaction of the book buyer with the book seller. Passion will have to stay at home and sit in front of that flickering screen and book lovers will have to be satisfied with joining online forums. It is sad to see the demise of a wonderful profession, the book seller, and likewise the continuing eradication of book publishing here in Australia. The life of the mind is moving online.
Planetary Eco Newsbeat
New Eco Friendly De-Inking Process Developed.
A new technology utilising enzymes (biological molecules) has been shown to remove ink from recycled paper. A research project conducted by the University of Malaysia Sarawak reported the use of a crude enzyme preparation for the enzymatic de-inking of mixed office paper. Traditional de-inking methods have involved the use of large quantities of chemicals, causing pollution to the environment. The enzyme material was prepared by growing endoglucanase (enzyme use for the enzymatic treatment) producing Bacillus licheniformis BL-P7 in a liquid culture media containing sago pith waste and rice husk. Furthermore, the process proved to be more effective for the removal of larger ink particles. Also, properties such as brightness, air permeability, tensile, and tear were enhanced in the preparation of the recycled mixed office paper.
Researchers : Hashimatul F.H., Hairul A.R., Andrew Wong H.H., Awg A.Sallehin A.H. (all of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak), Nigel Lim P.T. (Sarawak Forestry Corporation) Adapted from materials provided by Universiti Malaysia Sarawak
Organic Wine Leaves Only Half the Eco Footprint of Non-Organic!
Italian environmental scientists from the University of Siena, measured the resources needed to produce wine at two farms in Tuscany. Both were utilizing Sangiovese grapes but one was totally organic and the other was not. The organic farm used natural fertilisers and most of the work was done by hand, while the other farm used conventional methods of production. A bottle from the organic farm had an eco-footprint of 7.17 square metres, half that of the non-organic wine with a footprint of 13.98 square metres. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, DOI: 10.1016/j
Low Sperm Count Link to Soy also includes Nuts, Wines and Beers
The high levels of oestrogen like chemicals in soya beans have also been found in beers, wines and nuts. Gunter Kuhnle of the MRC Dunn Human Nutrition Unit in Cambridge, UK tested foods and beverages using mass spectrometry. Previous testing had focused on lignans but ignored isoflavones and this expanded search has found phytoestrogens in many more foods and drinks. Studies into the effects of phytoestrogens have produced a mixture of results, with some showing compounds that protect against cancer, menopausal symptoms and heart diseases, whilst others have been linked to increased risk of breast cancer and male infertility. Journal reference: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (DOI: 10.1021/jf801534g)
A-Beta Protein Alzheimer Disease Clues
Amyloid-beta the thinking brain’s protein has been shown to be intrinsically involved in increased neuron activity. A study into people with severe brain injuries resulted in steadily rising levels of A-beta protein as their brain activity increased through recovery. A-beta, as the protein is sometimes called, is best known for causing plaques in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. It is a normal component of the brain, but scientists don’t know what it does. Traumatic brain injuries increase the risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers from Milan, Italy and Washington University in St. Louis, USA used advance brain testing techniques to ascertain if brain injuries cause a spike in amyloid-beta levels that could lead to plaque formation, a team of researchers from Milan, Italy, sampled fluid from the brains of 18 comatose patients.
What the researchers found was exactly the opposite of what they expected, says David L. Brody, a neurologist at Washington University who led the study with Sandra Magnoni of the Ospedale Maggiore in Milan. Instead of seeing a spike of A-beta soon after brain injury from falls, car accidents, assaults or hemorrhages, levels of the protein started low and rose as the patients improved, the team reports in the Aug. 29 Science.
Farm Kids Avoid Asthma & Allergies
Pre-natal exposure to farm animals and plants helps protect children from asthma, allergies and eczema. Researchers from the Centre for Public Health Research discovered farmers’ children had a lower incidence of allergic diseases than children not exposed to animals, grain and hay products. The findings have been published in the European Respiratory Journal. Associate Professor Jeroen Douwes says it is the first study to show a direct link between exposures in utero and a significant reduction in asthma symptoms, hay fever and eczema.
©Eco Living Magazine.
Eco Living Magazine presents:
Eco Baby Stuff Reviews
Baby Lavender Lotion
Using nature’s gentle botanicals, this lotion is a gentle way to complete the bathing ritual and to restore moisture back into your baby’s skin. With 100% natural and active ingredients to nourish and support your skin, you can trust Invoke Natural Skincare products on your baby’s beautiful skin. Products are not tested on animals and are vegetarian and vegan friendly. There are no synthetic ingredients, such as Sodium Lauryl, Laureth Sulfates, colours, fragrances or preservatives, so the products are gentle enough for babies. The Baby Lavender Lotion is part of Invoke Natural Skincare’s Mums and Bubs Range, which feature products that centre around the natural calming and soothing properties of lavender and chamomile essential oils to help encourage a content baby. Available in 50ml for $8 or 125ml for $16, visit www.invokenaturalskincare.com.au.
Funky Little Monkeys!
At Gecko Tots, they step outside the square with funky kids designs. Vibrant colours and patterns to create fun clothes for the special little people in our lives. The uniquely designed babies and children’s clothes are made out of 100% cotton, which is ideal for our Australian climate. Cotton is also kind to children with sensitive skin. Range includes baby and children’s clothes, toys, accessories and bedding in beautifully designed bright fabrics. Fabrics are hand printed and all clothes are handmade with love. The great colours allow you to mix and match to enable your child to dress in a fun and unique way – true to their individual personalities.. All garments are designed by owner (and mother of 5 children – youngest is 2.5!). The fabrics are manufactured, printed and sewn in “sweatshop free” environments. About 72 families benefit directly from this venture in India, Indonesia and Australia. To clothe your kids in freedom and sunshine visit: www.geckotots.com
“Little Tacker, Naturally” is a beautiful range of products for babies & children. Using gentle & mild ingredients that nourish, protect & repair the delicate skin that children have. Try the Precious Bundle Baby Cream for perfect top and bottom care in a handy tube that is easy to apply to a wriggling baby. A vital ingredient in the range is Mandarin EO – well known to reduce anxiety & restlessness, for peaceful times for the whole family. Also available are Relax-a-Bub Massage & Bath Oil, Nighty Night Bubbles, & Sleepytime Bedroom Spray. W:www.coonawarralavender.com.au
Skin Things Baby Range
“Natural Baby” gift pack (4 pc)
An ideal gift for mum & baby. Includes a super sensitive soap bar, 250ml of baby wash, 125ml baby oil, and the fantastically gentle SkinThings baby balm presented in a delicate white gift bag. The baby balm is a delicious combination of nourishing plant oils and soothing essential oils of lavender and chamomile – Ideal all over moisturiser as well as a healing nappy balm. The Baby Wash is nice and gentle for delicate skins – and the purest essential oil for a baby massage – great for bonding. A beautiful welcome gift for any lucky baby. Order online at www.skinthings.com.au
Nappy Road Test Special
Sandman Night Nappy from Sustainable Hemp Products
“I have just spent a few weeks trialling the Sandman Night Hemp Nappy with wool cover from Sustainable Hemp Products. I usually use terry squares with a booster system at night, and polar fleece wraps. My son, at almost 11mths, is a moderate wetter – some nights heavy. My current nappy system works most of the time, with the occasional very wet nappy ‘leaking’. When I first saw the new nappy, it looked big and bulky, and I thought it would never dry! I liked the pattern on the outside of the nappy, and the wool cover looked funky. I was initially bemused by all the snaps, but quickly realised that there were actually a great design that would enable the nappy to be used over a lot of growth time. I washed the nappy and all the inserts, and to my surprise, everything dried in the same amount of time as the boosters I currently use! Rainy weather meant this happened around a slow combustion stove. The knitted wool cover came pre-lanolised, and as yet I have not had to re-lanolise it! The nappy and both inserts all dried in a day! Once I put the nappy on, I found it to be much less bulky and more fitted than I assumed it would be. The snaps made getting it on a breeze, and the all in one cover was a lot better than doing up velcro and watching as my son undid it behind me. In the morning, the nappy itself was wet, but my son’s bottom was dry, and he had no rashes! We gave up using liners because he got rashes from them. The soaker was mildly damp, but his clothes were dry. Over several more uses, I have found this nappy to be up to scratch. No matter how much he wets in the night, his skin is dry in the morning, as are his clothes. This nappy seems to hold a lot of wee!
Summary: Easy to wash, fairly quick to dry, easy to put on, and works well as a night nappy. Excellent customer service as well. Highly recommended. Reviewed by Linda, NSW
©Eco Living Magazine.
Eco Living magazine presents:
Tantric Sex or Tantra?
By Diane and Kerry Riley
Tantra is a spiritual science from ancient India and in its basic essence is very similar to Taoism from China. Both involve balancing the male and female energies to create harmony and both have an ultimate goal of spiritual unity with the universe or the source or God.
The Tantric interplay of the male and female energies was represented in Hindu mythology with Shakti and Shiva, and represented in Taoism with yin and yang. Both Tantra and Taoism aimed to create union of body, mind and spirit. And in both, sexuality was seen and practiced in a spiritual context.
Tantra emphasises that we deserve all the love and sexual pleasure we can possibly receive; that sexual loving is a way to reach the mysteries of the heart, the soul; the God and Goddess within each person. It also teaches that sex is a way of bonding with a lover physically, emotionally and spiritually to create feelings of ecstatic pleasure, deep intimacy and expanded consciousness. It’s important to recognise that any judgments we have about sex reflect our inhibitions and demonstrate that we are not entirely free and accepting of our own sexuality.
Well, what’s the difference between Tantra and just having sex? One of the key differences is where the mind is. It’s the same in life. One’s experience of life depends on where the mind is. We are all living in the same world, but our experiences are determined by our perception.
And so in lovemaking it’s not what we are doing that affects us; it’s the attitude with which we are doing it that makes the real difference to our experience. If we can adopt the attitude that our lovemaking is spiritual, then our lovemaking will indeed become a spiritual experience. When I’m asked this question of the difference between tantric sex and just having sex, I use the analogy: normal sex is like running along the beach, it’s a good exercise and shouldn’t be stopped however tantric sex is more like tai chi or yoga or chi gong; it’s a different level of exercise – it harmonises body, mind and soul, as does tantric sex.
Tantra was traditionally only practised in a spiritual sense, but this doesn’t mean you have to be ‘holier than holy’ or understand Hindu mythology to incorporate the practices into your love life. Modern teachings of tantra are accessible for anyone who has an interest in adding to, and expanding the ways they make love.
Benefits and practices you can try:
There are excellent techniques in Tantric Sex to increase a man’s ability to last longer using ejaculation control skills and practices to help with erection dysfunction and feeling of virility. Viagra can help with performance but not with loving desire for his partner, (unless that desire is only to perform). Women want to feel a man’s love and connection not just his performance trying to get her to climax. Tantra teaches a man intimacy skills to turn sex into making love. For an experiment ask your man ‘How much love are you feeling while making love? ‘
Often men are more conscious about getting a result … good sex and orgasm… than how much love they are feeling in their heart. It may be that a Tantra lesson would be good to connect sex and heart feelings for him. Of course if he can’t last long, then he has no time to feel his love anyway because he is to busy concentrating on controlling himself – this is not making love.
A practice to help him with control is strengthening the pubocoxigel muscle one way to locate this muscle is to try and stop the flow during urination by contracting the pelvic floor. If you can do that then you have found the muscle. It is taught in many texts that if a man contracts this muscle before ejaculation it will stop it.
However if it is done incorrectly it doesn’t work. For example, a common error is trying to contract this muscle just before ejaculation. If you do it at 90%, and you haven’t practiced enough it won’t work and may even cause you to come. It’s best to do it in stages at 20%, at 30%, at 50%, at 75% and then 90%. I’m not suggesting non ejaculation practices that are often given in Taoist texts, because if these are not done properly it can lead to prostate problems. So for these practices to be successful and healthy full education / training is necessary.
Tantric techniques can assist in prolonging and improving the experience of love-making – for example breathing slower and deeper and concentrating more on the out- stroke than the in- stroke can help. It’s not the woman’s responsibility; it’s up to him to master ejaculation control. It’s men’s business. Men can have up to four sessions with a Tantra goddess skilled in teaching these practices to guide conscious men to be better lovers. Also these skills can be taught in a couple’s session.
Tantra for women
‘Traditional texts on Tantra and Taoism were written by men – and many of the practices strike me as having a male orientation about them, emphasizing techniques for the man to use for his spiritual enlightenment. Although the female was honored, the practices for her to do are not as easy to find. For example, so many of the contemporary books on tantra and Taoist sexology emphasize the forcing of the sexual energy, or Kundalini, up the spine with strong breathing and visualization to move it out of the sex center and into the higher center, known as the spiritual center, often called the crown chakra at the top of the head. This is most often done in a sitting crossed-legged position by oneself or with a partner sitting astride in a position called Yab/Yum.
This practice of forcefully directing the Kundalini up the spine can be good for men to learn because the energy in the genitals generally builds up quickly for them and, as a result, they often ejaculate too soon before their partner’s sexual energy has time to build. So moving sexual energy into the brain for expanded consciousness can be of practical benefit for men to help them control ejaculation. However, for some women, this practice may not be suitable, particularly if you are not consistently orgasmic. The reason for this is that if you pull energy out of your pelvis and your yoni, then it is less likely you will orgasm, and that’s not what most women want! It’s only recently that women have strengthened their connection to their orgasm, so why do the opposite?
One suggestion for women is that once you are feeling sexually excited, concentrate on swirling your pelvis, as in belly dancing movement imagining the energy rising naturally like steam from a simmering pot, radiating throughout the body – filling you with delightful pulses of sensual/sexual energy. There is no need to force anything, when it can flow. According to Dr Stephen Chang “the Tao of Sexology’ forcing can have detrimental effects ‘. Another suggestion is to actually take a belly dancing class. This really helps a free and easy movement of your hips and promotes a good and strong connection between the mind and body, especially the pelvic area, the sex area. This can greatly enhance the pleasure you feel during sex.
A practice you can do yourself at home is the ‘Crescent moon’. Stand with your legs slightly apart and your knees bent a little. Trace the shape of the other rim of the crescent moon with the movement of your hips. After a while, if that comes easily to you, experiment with figure eights and a variety of movements. Close your eyes and continue and enjoy the flow of this very feminine movement. Try shutting your eyes for a few moments so that you can sense deep into your hips and pelvic bowl.
Tips from a man- what he wants: In my consultations with men, many express their disappointment that their partner doesn’t move their hips enough. Men like it when their partner moves. Another thing men love is when their partner is making pleasurable sounds. These are keys of tantra: sounds and hip movement. Another key is to be aware of the PC muscle and contract it during lovemaking to create pleasurable sensation for him and you. The most important thing conscious men want is for their woman to be really enjoying the lovemaking – releasing inhibitions and freeing the love goddess within. Experiment with some of these elements to create and sustain a passionate relationship. There was an episode on ‘Sex in the City’ where a group of women friends got a Tantra Goddess, a female coach, to show them some magic strokes to use on their partner and how to create more sweet orgasms for themselves.
Tantra for couples: Tantra can bond relationships together, break habitual patterns, put new spark into relationships, balance desire levels and expand the way you make love on all levels. More and more couples are open to exploring tantra and not just accepting that ‘this is the way it is’ after a few years together. A good place to start as a couples is to hold hands and shut your eyes for a few minutes, and think about some of the things you enjoy about your partner, because we often spend a lot of energy inwardly complaining about the things that annoy us or we want to change about the other. So for five minutes, let go of that, open your eyes and take turns telling each other ten things you appreciate about them. When one partner shares something the other should simply say ‘thank you’ with no further comment. Just accept and enjoy. At the end have a hug and don’t discuss it further. Do something together like a walk or a simple act of having a cup of tea.
Sounds too simple… but try it and see the effect for yourself. Theory is knowing it, practice is living it!*
For more information and education on Tantra and any of the above go to www.australianschooloftantra.com.au
*excerpt from ‘Sexual secrets and Practices for women, unleashing the sex goddess within’ by Diane Riley (to be released later this year).
**for full instructions see ‘Sexual Secrets for men, what every woman would want the man to know’ by Diane & Kerry Riley.
Bio: Kerry and Diane Riley are Australia’s leading Tantra teacher’s and founders of the ‘Australian School of Tantra’. They have shared their deep understanding of sacred sexuality, heartfelt connection and committed relationship with thousands of men and women through their courses, books & DVD’s.
©Eco Living Magazine
Eco Living Magazine presents:
So you’ve had a baby, what happened to sex?
By Jan Roberts
If you’ve just had a baby you might be wondering whatever happened to sex. Rest assured that many women are relatively sexually uninterested after childbirth and during breastfeeding. In fact it’s quite normal and is Nature’s way of spacing out your children in the most effective way. Studies show a wide variation of sexual behaviour among women after childbirth. Every woman is different and no response is ‘normal’ or better than another.
In fact, in some cultures, post-childbirth sexual abstinence is compulsory, and it is considered ‘bad form’ for children to be born very close together. For example, in Sierra Leone sexual abstinence lasts for a full year, in some Pacific Island cultures it lasts for two. Although some women experience a highly charged vitality, even in the first few days after birth, and find their sexual energy also heightened, there are many reasons why you may be less sexually motivated than before.
The factors involved include hormonal changes, your new role as a mother (and your joint role as parents), your levels of energy (or fatigue), your emotional state, physical problems resulting from childbirth, your new body image, your possible fear of another pregnancy and your partner’s attitude to it all. As well as letting your body and libido recover at their own rate it’s important to understand why you feel the way you do.
While you’re breastfeeding, raised levels of prolactin are produced by your pituitary gland. This is the hormone that controls lactation and also has a sedative effect. Another result of increased prolactin production is that ovulation is delayed. In the absence of an ovulation cycle, normal ovarian hormones such as oestrogen won’t peak once a month to trigger the release of an egg, and this affects your sexual motivation which is highest at ovulation.
Oxytocin, the hormone responsible for the ‘let-down’ reflex, is the same hormone that is released at orgasm, and its release during breastfeeding may make you less likely to look for sexual satisfaction with your partner. Part of the delight you take in your new baby will be sensual. The skin-to-skin contact, so vital for him, is also exquisitely pleasurable for you. This, coupled with the intense feelings of love you feel, will probably mean that you are emotionally and physically focused on your child, and on your breastfeeding relationship.
It’s a common joke that birth control in the postnatal period is mostly achieved through ‘baby interruptus’. The best way round this is to keep your baby in (or at least near) the bed with you. In this way he can still sense that you are close, and will stay peacefully asleep. Even if he does wake, you can tend to him without too much disturbance. This arrangement also overcomes the problem of sleep deprivation. A breastfed baby will want to feed more often, so, in order that this doesn’t affect your sleep too adversely, keep your baby in the family bed, or at least within reach, so you can satisfy his hunger without getting out of bed.
However well you manage your night time feeds, you may still find at the end of the day, or at any time when you can relax, that all you want to do is sleep, and that sex is the furthest thing from your mind. Obviously the best plan is to sleep when your baby does, but this may not leave much room (or desire) for sexual activity. If you and your partner feel like ships passing in the night, make ‘appointments’ to at least meet and talk, and arrange to set aside special times to get together. These times may not necessarily lead to sex, but they will set the right intent for a time when libido is restored and you feel ready to resume regular sexual activity.
©Eco Living Magazine
CD Reviews in Eco Living Magazine
In Good Hands – Wonderful Weight Loss
The Golden Matrix
In this supportive subliminal CD, Master Healer Stephen and Jennifer Edwards bring affirmations to assist in the process of safe, healthy Weight Loss into your everyday life. The relaxing, meditative music with bi-urnal frequencies, enhances a healing state of consciousness and allows your mind to accept subliminal suggestions to create the background for your guided journey, which will bring balance and harmony to your Body, Mind and Spirit. This one hour CD holds a 30 minute meditation, which contains audible affirmations on Weight Loss and a further 30 minutes with serene music and subliminal affirmations. Many other life changing affirmation CDs available.
Price: $19.99 Available at www.thegoldenmatrix.com
Lullaby for my favourite insomniac.
This is my CD of the year to date! The Ahn Trio are three gorgeous looking Korean American sisters, who are classically trained musicians and together create an album of music to die for. On piano, violin and cello you will swoon to their heart felt renditions of some truly great pieces of music. Their version of Michel Nyman’s “Heart Asks Pleasure First” from movie The Piano is powerful and a delight to hear. Guest vocalists shine on several stand-out tracks like “All I Want” and “Solitary Singer,” but it is the playing of these sublime musicians which places this album amongst the firmament of stars. This is music you can eat to, make love to and meditate upon the depths of your very soul. If you buy one CD this year for yourself or want to give a present with real feeling, make it this one. www.sonybmgmasterworks.com
The Opus is a new movie featuring some of the world’s leading inspirational speakers and authors such as, Jack Canfield, Frank Maguire (cofounder Fed Ex), Bill Bartmann (Forbes Top 400 Wealthiest Americans), Dr John Demartini, Morris “The Miracle Man” Goodman, Marci Smirnoff and Mark Victor Hansen.
The Opus is the story of a young man who pursues his dream in the face of impossible challenges and succeeds – the young man is Vincenzo Vivaldi. Drawing upon the analogy of music and an artist’s greatest performance, the Opus Movie is designed to have viewers recognize we are all composers in the grand scheme of life and have within us legacy to leave behind. The Opus is not a sequel to the Secret, but rather a standalone production that will expand on the concepts explored in The Secret. Inspirational and uplifting. Spring is a time of new creations; be inspired to create your opus! The Opus is available at all good bookstores (rrp $34.95). To watch the movie preview online please go to- www.theopus.net
Eco Living Magazine presents:
Heading: Winter-Spring Earth Wisdom
By Glenys Livingstone Ph.D.
Intro: In the Southern Hemisphere we have just passed the Earth holy-day of Winter Solstice, which was in late June; and are moving into Early Spring which may be celebrated in early August and is traditionally named as “Imbolc”.
Winter Solstice is the Seasonal Moment of the year when Earth’s tilt leans us furthest away from the Sun – when the dark part of the day is at its longest. The stories of Old tell of the Great Mother giving birth to the Divine Child on this night, as henceforth the Sun’s light and warmth begin to return, and the ongoing creativity of Earth is assured. This Earth holy-day was adapted by Christianity as the time to celebrate the birth of its Divine Child, but the Divine Child of more ancient Earth-based religious practice was understood as renewed Being itself, the promise of never-ending renewal – apparent eternal Creativity itself. And just so, may we re-story it again in our times, with our own renewed understandings. From this point of the year on, for the next few seasons, Sun’s strength will grow, until it peaks at Summer Solstice and turns yet again.
At the sacred site of Newgrange in Ireland – known by its indigenous name as “Bru na Boinne” – where the megalithic mound is dated at 3200 B.C.E. , the Winter Solstice dawn lights up a Triple Spiral motif that is engraved on the inner chamber wall. It is thought that this Triple Spiral represents the Triple Goddess as She was known by the ancients in that place, and also that it represents the heart of the sacred heritage of ritual celebration of eternal creation, that the seasonal Wheel of the Year expresses, and that this site records .*
Winter Solstice is the time for the lighting of candles, for embracing the miracle of being, for choosing a joyful response to the awesome fact of existence, for celebrating the gift of birth. Birthing is not often an easy process – for the birthgiver, nor for the birthed one: it is a shamanic act requiring strength of bodymind, attention and focus of the mother, and courage to be of the new young one.
Birthgiving is the original place of “heroics”. Many cultures of the world have never forgotten that: perhaps therefore better termed as “heroics.”(In pre-Olympian times, Hera was Amazon Queen of the Land and not the “wife of Zeus”. Heracles was her hero, because he did her bidding, thus the term “hero” is derivative of “Hera”).
Patriarchal adaptations of the story of this Seasonal Moment usually miss the Creative Act of birthgiving completely – pre-occupied as they often are with the “virgin” nature of the Mother being interpreted as an “intact hymen”, and the focus being the Child as “saviour”: even the Mother gazes at the Child in Christian icons, while in more ancient images Her eyes are direct and expressive of her integrity as Creator.
Winter Solstice and Early Spring rituals may be a contemplation of the Creativity of the Cosmos – Cosmogenesis … how it all unfolds. When told from within a “Mother-mind” – a mind that connects the biological creativity of the female body to Cosmic Creativity, to our “Navel” lineage, to the Nativity of every being, then we are all the Holy Ones. And we all – female and male – may know the skill and care required for “birthing” the New, whether that is physical, psychological or however one categorizes it.
In Earth-based religious practice, the ubiquitous icon of Mother and Child – Creator and Created – expresses something essential about the Universe itself … the “motherhood” we are all born within (not simply a “brotherhood”). It expresses the essential Communion experience that this Cosmos is, the innate and holy Care that it takes, and the reciprocal nature of it: that is, how one is always Creator and Created at the same time. We cannot touch without being touched at the same time. We may realize that Cosmogenesis – the entire Unfolding of the Cosmos – is essentially relational: our experience tells us this is so.
Subheading: Early Spring/Imbolc
The Early Spring/Imbolc celebration is traditionally a time of dedication to the nurturance of the New Young Being. Once again, this is no wimpy task: it is for the brave and courageous, whether one is committing to the new being in another, or in one’s self. The Great Goddess Brigid of the Celtic peoples is traditionally invoked for such a task. She has been understood for millennia as the ‘One Who tends the Flame of Being’: a Brigid-ine commitment is one that is unwavering in its devotion to the central truth of each unique particular self. The stories of old speak of Brigid in three primary capacities – that may need spelling out in our times, as they are almost forgotten skills: She is imagined as blacksmith, physician and poet … all three.
Blacksmith is one who takes the unshapely lump of raw metal, melts it, then takes the fiery hot form and shapes it. This is no stereotypical “feminine” act: the Goddess of old is not bound by such patriarchal dualisms. She is spiritual warrior, shaman – this is her eternal virgin quality, never separate from the ‘mother’ quality or the ‘Old One’ quality, and no need to characterize such power as “masculine” or dissociate it from “nursery” activity.
Physician is one who understands the “physics” of being, of matter – how a body relates within itself and within its context, functions harmoniously and thus may heal/ become whole. In this role, Brigid is scientist, healer – none of it is separate. Her physics are biologically connected – an understanding of dwelling within a whole and seamless Universe.
Poet of Old is one who speaks the metaphors, the stories of cultural knowledge, the sacred language of creativity – one who “spells” what may be so. It is a power of spirit: the voice enabled by air, resonant with the winged ones – the birds – whose perspective transcends boundaries. The ancients knew Poetry as a sacred and powerful task – that with our words, we do create what is so. Brigid’s “motherhood statements” are statements of the Mother/Creator, Who once again is never separate from her whole self – the Young One and the Old One – represented in the Triple Spiral dynamic.
The coming into Being that Winter Solstice and Early Spring celebrates, is an awesome thing. It takes courage and daring. It has taken courage and daring – always. In these times of change, it is perhaps particularly so. Our times require the melting down of so much that no longer works, that will not carry us through. These times require the re-shaping and speaking of new realities – an aboriginal magic of new connections, with what is already present within us, if we can but plumb it, open to it deep within. This is a great seasonal moment to get with the plot of Creativity, to align ourselves with our Native Wisdom …the Wisdom that in fact brings us all into being. We may respond to the gift of being by receiving it graciously – and thus become responsible. Though we may feel inadequate, we are not – and we need to begin.
It can be a useful exercise to re-write prayers or songs learned perhaps too well as a child or later, to re-speak them and imbue them with new understandings. It is a way of spelling one’s self, of changing one’s mind – to articulate with each word and phrase what one truly believes to be so. And besides, many of the prayers and praises that are found in patriarchal religions of recent human history are often founded upon the expressions of some earlier Earth-based Goddess religion that is now unmentioned and buried. So any re-writing and listening to one’s own interpretations of the pattern of the prayer may end up being closer to its original sense, as well as speaking a new moment.
I offer the following, addressing the Universe as Mother:
Who is with us,
Holy is our Being.
Thy Kin-dom is present.
Thy Desire is felt throughout the Cosmos.
We graciously receive your infinite daily abundance.
May we forgive each other our lack of skill and insensitivity.
May we understand our inner guidance,
and perceive each other’s needs.
For Thine is the Kin-dom, the Power and the Story,
forever and ever.
Blessed Be . **
© Glenys Livingstone 2008
* See Martin Brennan, The Stones of Time: Calendars, Sundials, and Stone Chambers of Ancient Ireland. Rochester Vermont, Inner Traditions International, 1994.
** Glenys Livingstone, PaGaian Cosmology: Re-inventing Earth-based Goddess Religion. IUniverse 2005, p. 259, with acknowledgement of Karen Davis’ term “Kin-dom”, from “A Peacable Kin-dom and the Ethics of Eating”, EarthLight, Issue 51 Vol 14 No.2., Autumn 2004. p.54.
***Newgrange: The Megalithic Passage Tombs of Newgrange, Knowth, Dowth, Fourknocks, Loughcrew and Tara are located in the present day County of Meath on the east coast of Ireland. The Boyne Valley Mounds at Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth were built around 3200BC making them older than Stonehenge in England and the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt. Built by Neolithic farming communities about 5000 years ago, the passage tombs have clear astronomical alignments such as the Winter Solstice Sunrise at Newgrange and the Equinox Sunrise at Loughcrew.
©Eco Living Magazine
Eco Living Magazine presents:
Book and CD Reviews
Heart to Heart Parenting
By Robin Grille
Heart to Heart Parenting is a book on nurturing your child’s emotional intelligence from conception to school age. For anyone who enjoyed the expansion and wisdom of Parenting For a Peaceful World – this is the developmental sequel. Practical in application, but still with the historical context and psychological understanding that is characteristic of Robin Grille’s creations.
Raising your children can be the most fulfilling thing you ever do. But your children can also challenge you like no one else ever will. To make it through the sleepless nights and toddler tantrums, it is fundamental that you develop an understanding of what makes your child tick.
An empowering book for parents, Heart to Heart parenting is more than just a ‘how to’ book about raising happy and resilient children – it aims to help you create a deep and lasting relationship that is unique to you and your child. Using techniques that are based on connection rather than shaming, manipulation or punishment, Robin Grille introduces you to insightful and practical ways to benefit your child’s emotional wellbeing and development. Available from ABC Shops / Centres, selected bookstores and online at www.abcshop.com.au RRP $35.00
The River Runs Free – Exploring and Defending Tasmania’s Wilderness
By Geoff Law
Geoff Law first rafted the dangerously beautiful Franklin River on a whim. He was inexperienced and in a leaky raft, the weather was treacherous, and his travelling companion was someone he didn’t know and who hated the place. But that eventful trip drew him into the historic battle to save the Franklin from being dammed. It was a struggle that brought down a federal government, and one whose ecological reverberations, twenty-five years on, are more commanding than ever.
In The River Runs Free Geoff Law gives a lively and witty account of that flagship campaign, weaving it around stories of his wilderness travels. Drawn since childhood to wild places, he is an experienced solo bushwalker, one who can never resist a challenge. He writes powerfully about the connection between humans and landscape, the source of inspiration for his life’s work. Travel with him and you never know what’s coming next – but you’ll arrive exhilarated. RRP $32.95 www.penguin.com.au
The Conscious Cook
By Giselle Wilkinson
Giselle Wilkinson has been a social and environmental activist for over thirty years. Influenced by
early experiences of communal living and travel Education, Giselle realised earlier then most that choosing to live consciously is a powerful force for positive change. What better way to live consciously than in the kitchen? Her book takes us on a journey into the breadth of food-associated issues, helps us join the dots connecting the issues and demonstrates the complexity of sustainability and the simplicity of many of the actions involved in achieving it. Containing 50 delicious recipes covering an eclectic mix of ethnicities, ingredients and dishes, The Conscious Cook is completely different from other cookbooks. It looks at food, not only from the point of health and taste, but also through the lens of the global sustainability movement working to reduce our impact on our very stressed planet. The Conscious Cook raises awareness of the interconnections that link human health and wellbeing with that of the health of the planet. RRP $34.95 Order online at http://consciouscook.org/buy
By Lia Scallon
The Sacred Language and melodies of Sirius channelled here through Lia are a beautiful healing gift for all. The sounds of ‘Starsong’ travel deep within to touch and heal the wounded child.
These sacred harmonics gently stir the soul, unlocking its secrets, reawakening it to recalling its true purpose. ‘The Sounds of Sirius’ are a gift to humanity at this time of great change. They come to assist us with the major shift in consciousness and to reconnect us with our true essence. Comforting, calming and deeply relaxing, ‘Starsong’ is a gentle and joyous celebration of life.
‘Starsong’ & ‘Song Of The Earth’ are companion CD’s, brought through from Spirit together. Although each individual ‘Sounds of Sirius’ recording works on many levels of the being, these two particular CDs, used together, have proven to be profound “Inner Child” therapy. Available at ABC Shops or from Lia www.soundsofsirius.com RRP $29.95
©Eco Living Magazine.
Eco Living Magazine presents:
NLP – Three letters that changed the world
NLP the most influential therapy around the globe.
Is there a therapy or transformational process that has been as influential and all pervasive as NLP?
Neuro linguistic programming (NLP) has, over the last 30 years, reached into nearly every level of our society. Beginning with the therapeutic community, Richard Bandler and John Grinder (who were the founders) developed their work in conjunction with three of the most effective and well known psychotherapists of the time – Fritz Perls (founder of Gestalt), Virginia Satir (family systems therapy) and Milton Erickson (hypnotherapy). As NLP included principles from all of these disparate modalities, it dropped a large pebble in many pools of consciousness – and the ripple effect has been substantial. It is highly likely that any training or transformational work that you may have done has been positively and powerfully influenced by the many guiding principles inherent in NLP. Recently the publication “Psychology Today” stated that “NLP may be the most powerful vehicle for change in existence.”
From there, NLP immediately began spreading like a virus into the corporate world, infecting sales trainings around the world, as managers realised that this work could make their people more effective and therefore their make companies more money. Modelling “rapport”, and “anchoring their intentions” with powerful gestures and mental images, firstly sales people, and then all levels of corporate management began to expand their understanding of how we all think and operate. Training and Development Journal says “NLP does offer the potential for making changes without the usual agony that accompanies these phenomena….it offers the opportunity to gain flexibility, creativity and greater freedom of action than most of us now know.” NLP has been instrumental in the shift to a greater consciousness within our corporate world.
NLP has also been hugely influential in the field of sport and other high performance categories. Coaches and athletes have benefited from the techniques employed by NLP – “reframing” their communication to be able to perceive new possibilities and identifying our sabotage tendencies through “parts integration.” Golfing star Tiger Woods and tennis great Andre Agassi both utilised NLP techniques to reach the peak of their particular sports. A strong mental performance is such a vital component of any successful performance, be it on the sports field or on any other world stage. Politicians and performers have also taken advantage of the NLP approach, with Bill Clinton and Tony Blair as two notable examples.
NLP is, of course, all about education, and it focuses on the effective teaching process through “modelling” and recognising the different ways we learn, depending on whether we are more visually inclined – “I can see what you mean” – or auditory – “That rings a bell” – or kinaesthetic – “That feels right to me.” These defining sub-groups allow teachers and trainers to use the language that each student’s brain is most able to effectively process. Concepts are grasped quickly and learning occurs without the pain of incomprehension. Recognising that each individual has a preferred representational system (PRS), was a key to designing effective “sub modality” tools, like visual, sound and textual imagery.
The techniques which NLP practitioners employ bring awareness to naturally occurring processes, and enable us to enact change in our behaviour at will. As the great teacher Osho would always say, “awareness is enough” – once you become conscious of something then transformation can happen spontaneously. Ask yourself the question who am I? Keep asking and with each round of answers you will discover more and more parts of yourself. Some seemingly buried in your unconscious and quite a few in apparent conflict with each other. Recognition and understanding of these disparate parts and their desires can allow us to move forward and to let go of attachments to unhelpful behaviours. These processes can release a tremendous amount of previously pent up energy and many people who have done the trainings have reported such results. NLP can also help you gain access to the many resources in the unconscious mind – that great storehouse of learning, memory, behaviour and emotion.
One of the fundamentally correct things about NLP is that it was formed out of the observation of what works – Bandler and Grinder analysed the language and behaviour utilised by three excellent psychotherapists in their consultations with clients that affected positive healing outcomes. It is solution based rather than symptomatic. This is, I think, one of the main reasons it has gone on to become the most influential transformative process on the planet. To understand how our brains work and the important role that language plays in how we process information and perceive reality is heroic stuff indeed. Bandler and Grinder, and all those NLP innovators who have come after, have created a system that allows humanity to develop, change, grow and evolve. Christopher Partridge, author of New Religions, states that “NLP may be best thought of as a system of psychology concerned with the self development of the human being” and “It is concerned with the function of belief rather than its nature. It is not concerned whether a belief is true or not, but whether it is empowering or disempowering.”
In Australia we have a number of innovative and excellent NLP Master Practitioners, who have taught, trained and created – transforming lives along the way. There are also NLP schools where you can become a teacher/trainer in a variety of NLP associated modalities including hypnosis, time line therapyTM and NLP life coaching. (Many thanks to Sue Sharp of Australian College of NLP for editorial contribution to the above article.)
Break out Box:
Creative Future Dynamics
Creative Future Dynamics has been described as the training company with heart. Our vision is to provide groups and individuals with the tools to effect lasting change in life, create the future as they want it and take their life to the next level. The powerful combination of NeuroLinguistic Programming, Time Line TherapyTM, Hypnosis, Hawaiian Huna and performance creates memorable and life changing experiences for all who are serious about achieving their desired outcomes and dreams. This is the promise of Creative Future Dynamics. Martha Follent, the Director of Creative Future Dynamics, is a Trainer of NLP, Time Line TherapyTM and Hypnosis and has a varied and extensive background in business, public and private health systems, coaching, training and the performing arts. From this base, the seminars run by Creative Future Dynamics take on new dimensions for personal growth and development. Courses include weekend seminars, certification training programmes for Practitioner and Master Practitioner of NLP, Time Line TherapyTM, and Hypnosis, Hawaiian Huna initiate training, coaching for excellence, performance enhancement, counselling and customised corporate training and coaching. All areas of life can be worked with including career, relationships, health and fitness, personal development. Our clients include business people seeking to enhance business performance and relationships with clients, customers and colleagues, corporate and public groups and individuals wishing to achieve outcomes such as greater career clarity and opportunities, better relationships, greater health and fitness, personal growth and development, more money. Anyone who takes advantage of our certification programmes is, following certification, eligible for membership (at the appropriate level) with the Australian and the American Boards of NLP, the American Board of Hypnosis, the Australian Society of Clinical Hypnosis and The Time Line TherapyTM Association. Find out more at: www.creativefuturedynamics.com
Break out box:
Australian School of NLP
Our Practitioner, Master Practitioner and Trainers Training courses are internationally recognised and meet the standards of the American Board of Neuro Linguistic Programming, American Board of Hypnotherapy and the Time Line Therapy Association. We have high standards on our courses and feel it is important to be accredited by one of the most, significant boards in the world.
Our courses are supported with pre-study kits allowing you to listen to CD’s and digest information at your own speed prior to the course. We have high standards and we want you to be the best practitioner you can be. Completing pre-study means that we spend most of the course practising and honing your skills in a supported and professional learning environment. We teach Time Line Therapy® and Hypnosis together with NLP at Practitioner and Master Practitioner courses. What’s the benefit? Time Line Therapy® is a highly effective way to rapidly let go of limitations and negative emotions that are preventing you from performing optimally and achieving your desired outcomes. Hypnosis is excellent in creating and supporting new habits, beliefs and behaviours that enabling us to put our desired changes into action in the real world. The three modules (NLP, Time Line TherapyTM and Hypnosis) work most effectively as a combined package although each individually provides a powerful toolset for your mind. Find out more at www.asnlp.com.au
©Eco Living Magazine
Eco Living Magazine presents:
Heading: Lotus Birth
A gentle birth for baby.
By Sam Pearson
Lotus Birth is the practice of leaving the umbilical cord uncut after the third stage of labour so that the baby remains attached to both cord and placenta until they naturally separate from the umbilicus, exactly as a cut cord does. This practice, named by the woman who brought it to the western world, Clare Lotus Day, is sometimes referred to as the fourth stage of labour, non-severance or the second birth.
Lotus Birth is practiced by some Indigenous Australian tribes the !Kung tribe in Africa and occurs in some parts of Russia and India. Some species of monkey also do not sever their baby’s cords. However, cutting a baby’s cord once the placenta has been birthed is a widespread and ancient practice. Lotus Birth is a new tradition in the western world and while uncommon is becoming more popular as many parents are returning to natural birth practices.
In past times there have been some very good reasons for severing the cord when a baby was born. It would have been essential from a survival perspective to avoid attracting predators, so placentas along with all other traces of birth would have been quickly removed. Detaching the cord and placenta also meant that a new mother was more mobile in the event that she did have to flee from a predator.
Another reason for cutting the cord was hygiene. When living in isolated tribal situations, new mothers and their babies were not vulnerable to infection. Eventually, humans began living in larger communities but it took time before we learned to manage large populations hygienically. These days, unless you are living in unclean conditions, and particularly if you are birthing at home amongst familiar germs, infection is not an issue. There are no recorded cases of infection with Lotus Born baby’s cords or placentas. When you cut the cord you create an opportunity for infection and while this risk is very small it is completely avoidable with a Lotus Birth.
A third reason we traditionally cut babies cords is cultural. Human practices throughout history, such as not allowing a baby to take colostrum, binding a baby, early weaning and cutting babies cords all interfered with the early mother/infant attachment. Detached practices served the purpose of creating more aggressive people and, therefore, superior warriors. This was advantageous when conquering the natural world and other tribes, and meant survival of our own group of people.
Lotus birth slows down the process after birth, bringing awareness to the needs of the baby, allowing intimacy and integration to occur. Lotus Birth is seen as a way of prolonging the birth of the baby, extending their transition into the world in order to make it as gentle and gradual as possible. Lotus born babies seem to be very aware of their placenta and will sometimes flinch, even when asleep, if their placenta or cord is touched. Parents report that their Lotus babies are more serene than most newborns and notice a definite change in their demeanour when their cords detach, reporting that they become more aware and less settled. Some cultures believe that energy passes between the baby and its placenta long after the placenta has ceased to be a functioning organ. No matter what significance the parents see in leaving the placenta attached it seems that a common impact of lotus birth is the difference in the way the baby is treated.
Some parents, while not following through with a complete Lotus Birth, are choosing to delay cutting of their baby’s cords. The baby continues to get oxygenated blood from the placenta even after the centre of the cord stops pulsing. Umbilical cords can continue to pulse at the umbilicus for much longer than the centre of the cord – about 2 to 3 hours longer. The deeper vein remains open and it is believed that the baby’s body closes the umbilical vein when the baby’s blood volume has reached the right levels. Waiting until the placenta has stopped functioning altogether means, there is no need to clamp before cutting because all the vessels have closed naturally.
Physiological benefits of delayed cord cutting include:
– More maternal antibodies received by infant.
– The baby receives full benefits from the placental blood including platelets that clot the blood, plasma (proteins of the blood), white cells to fight infections, red cells that have iron and carry oxygen to all cells, stem cells that replace worn out cells, hormones and enzymes and iron reserves.
– Less Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS), especially in premature infants.
– Less chance of infant brain damage (i.e., cerebral palsy, schizophrenia, autism).
– Higher infant blood pressure.
– Less need for blood transfusions for premature infants.
– Less chance of organ damage from schema in premature babies.
– Improved infant renal (kidney) function.
Some reasons parents choose a Lotus Birth include:
– Improved breastfeeding success rate.
– Possible faster healing of the umbilicus.
– To avoid unnecessary risk of cord infection.
– Because the parents don’t want to cut the cord, preferring a completely natural intervention-free birth.
– No need to worry about clamping or cutting the cord.
– Respect for the baby and placenta/spiritual reasons.
– Encourages maximum mother/baby bonding.
– Facilitates baby mooning by limiting visitors (many will prefer to wait until the cord separates).
– To promote mother/baby attachment, less passing around of the baby.
– To allow the most gradual and peaceful transition into this world for the baby.
– Baby is kept very still, the environment kept very quiet and mother gets maximum rest.
Care for the cord and placenta during a Lotus Birth
– After the third stage of labour, the placenta is inspected as usual to check that is it intact.
– Care must be taken to keep the placenta fairly level with the baby until the Wharton’s jelly, a rich source of stem cells, has solidified; hence no more blood transfusion is occurring. This occurs several minutes after the cord has stopped pulsing.
– The placenta is drained for the first 24 hours in a sieve over a bowl kept next to the baby.
– After this the placenta should be washed in warm water ensuring blood clots are removed and gently pat dried.
– At this stage the placenta can simply be placed on a clean cloth and left air dry naturally, but is usually salted daily to improve the drying process and wrapped in a placenta cloth. Sometimes essential oils, dried flowers or powdered spices can also be applied for preservation. The placenta may be kept in a placenta bag made especially for the purpose.
– The placenta will become drier, smaller and lighter every day and the cord will become brittle until it falls off naturally.
Care should be taken when handling the baby to ensure the placenta remains close to the baby to avoid tugging on the cord. Dress your baby in loose clothing that does up at the front. Nappies should also be kept loose with extra nappies underneath your baby if required. When feeding or cuddling your baby ensure the placenta is carefully placed to avoid it slipping. Babies appear to be sensitive to when their placentas and cords are being touched so be nice, treat their placentas gently and remember to create as peaceful as environment as possible during this time of transition.
Supplies for a Lotus Birth are very straight forward and what you on hand in your own home already will suffice.
A common supply list would include:
– A large bowl to birth the placenta in.
– A large sieve to strain the placenta for the first 24 hours.
– A bunny rug, terry cloth nappy or other fabric to use as a placenta cloth.
– Sea salt, dried flowers, dried herbs or essential oils if desired.
– A placenta bag if desired.
A placenta cloth is used to wrap a baby’s placenta during a Lotus Birth. It can be made of any breathable fabric and often a cloth nappy is used. A placenta cloth serves to absorb fluid and contain any salt, herbs, spices or dried flowers that have been used to pack the placenta to aid the drying process.
Many parents choose to enclose the placenta either on it’s own or wrapped, in a placenta bag. The mother-to-be usually prepares a placenta bag as part of her preparations during pregnancy. It can be as simple as a clean pillowslip or custom made with a cord cover. It must be large enough to contain the fresh placenta and larger if you plan to pack the placenta with salt and cover with a placenta cloth before placing into the bag. It can be made from any breathable fabric and of any design that pleases the mother. Some are very plain and others intricately decorated perhaps with motifs that are symbolic to the baby’s family. A placenta bag might also be borrowed and some are used over and over, shared by friends and washed and stored after use to be saved for another Lotus Birth.Nearly everyone can have a Lotus Birth. The only medical reason for cutting a baby’s cord is if the cord has torn or in the incidence of placenta previa. Whether you are having a homebirth or a hospital birth you have the right to request that the cord not be severed. C-section babies can be removed from the womb with their umbilical cords and placentas intact and unclamped.
The average time for a Lotus Birth baby’s cord to come off naturally is 3-10 days after the birth. Research has found that there is a direct relationship between the time the cord is cut after birth and the number of days it takes for the navel to heal. When the umbilical cord is cut immediately the average length of time required for the navel to heal is 9.56 days, when cut after the cord stops pulsing it is an average of 7.16 days and when later, as in a Lotus Birth, the average time is 3.75 days.
It is totally a personal preference what happens to the placenta after it has detached from the baby. Once the placenta comes off it can be further dried to preserve it indefinitely or placed in a freezer to keep for future use. It can be wrapped in a breathable piece of cloth to dry out naturally or the process can be sped up by using an oven, the sun, or in a dehydrator. The dried placenta can also be powdered and encapsulated for postpartum nutritional Chinese medicine. Some families choose to honour the placenta by burying it and often perform a ritual, which may include planting a tree over the placenta. If doing this with a placenta that has been salted it is best to choose a species that is tolerant of high levels of salt in the soil such as a native coastal plant.
Today, there are no medical or cultural reasons for cutting a baby’s cord. It could be said that for the future preservation of our species and planet it is sensitive rather than aggressive people that are needed. We are learning that a close attachment with our mothers as a child is vital if we want to produce adults who are in tune with their natural instincts and interested in nurturing their relationships with others as well as caring for our planet. One of the ways we can achieve this new way forward is by giving up our detached parenting practices and moving towards more gentle ways of life. As life starts with birth the best way of making changes towards a more nurturing world is by beginning with the most gentle of births and continuing with the most attached and gentle parenting.
“Lotus Birth” – (AUS) by Shivam Rachana is available from Greenwood Press
“Prenatal Yoga & Natural Birth” – (USA) Jeannine Parvati Baker
©Eco Living Magazine
Eco Living Magazine presents:
Heading: Probiotics – Fermenting For Life.
Intro: We are not alone. In fact, we are hosts to trillions of micro-organisms, happily munching on our waste products and doing a sterling job within our digestive system.
It may come as a bit of a shock to those of us with obsessive compulsive cleaning tendencies, that killing all the tiny invisible bugs is not a really good idea. Bacteria are all around us, within us and performing vital tasks for our health and the health of this planet. Of course, like everything in existence, there are good and bad bacteria, not intrinsically bad but just bad for humans – and probably quite good for something else. The good bacteria, (or gut flora), are involved in a myriad of useful functions – such as fermenting unused energy substrates, producing vitamins for us, preventing the growth of bad bacteria, producing hormones to help us store fats, and improving our immune functioning. If we did not have all these bacteria munching away our bodies would be unable to digest many of the carbohydrates that we consume – like certain starches, fibres, proteins, and sugars like lactose. Studies with animals indicate that we may need to eat 30% more calories to maintain our stable body weight without the helpful presence of gut flora. The good bacteria transforms carbohydrates into short chain fatty acids, and these are able to be processed by our cells into nutrition and energy. Lactic and acetic acid are also produced by this saccahrolytic fermentation, and they are used by our muscles. There are numerous other positive functions supported by good bacteria in our systems.
Bacteria have also been shown to be implicit in preventing allergies (which are an over reaction of the immune system to non-harmful antigens). Research into children with allergies has confirmed that the make-up of their gut flora is different to those without allergies. The role that bacteria play in training our immune systems to respond to antigens is the key point in understanding this. A baby inside its mother is bacteria free, and develops its gut flora through birth and breast feeding initially.
By the second year of life the infant’s faeces contains a similar amount of bacteria as an adult. The prevalence of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in our western societies has been linked to our obsession with hygiene. Our predilection for kitchen and bathroom cleaning sprays has “über- sanitised” our homes, and has thus lowered the absorption – and the variety – of useful bacteria available in the colon to break down waste material. The lack of breastfeeding for the baby boomer generation has also contributed to this situation. Not to mention the pharmaceutically driven overuse of antibiotics that has killed off gut flora in exceptional amounts. The inverse of this occurs in developing countries, and there is no sign of IBD at the rates that we experience it here in the West.
Probiotics, meaning literally “for life”, can help with IBD and other conditions associated with bacteria levels, which are out of balance or missing vital components. Originally discovered by science at the beginning of the twentieth century, before being named ‘Probiotics’ in 1953, it has been defined by Dr Roy Fuller (author of Probiotic’s in Human Medicine) as, ” a live microbial feed supplement which beneficially affects the host animal by improving its intestinal microbial balance.” Of course, sour milk and yoghurt have long been part of healthy regimes employed by cultures around the globe. The naming of particular strains by science is as much about recognizing effective natural approaches to nutrition, as it is about reinventing the wheel and claiming credit for it. Lactobacillus Acidophulis is probably the best known probiotic strain but there are many more including the Bifodobacterium family, the rest of the large Lactobacillus family and Escherichia Coli. Many of these are now available in supplement form, having been combined to form effective treatments for many bowel complaints, helping with lactose intolerance, some cholesterol reduction, improving immune function and lowering blood pressure. There is a large and still growing body of scientific evidence, indicating that diet supplementation with live probiotic bacteria may confer a significant health effect on the host, when those bacteria are consumed in “adequate” amounts. In fact, one important problem is that more then 400 bacterial species are thought to be present in the normal intestine, with bacterial concentration in the colon equivalent to one thousand billion bacteria per gram. This means that only “high-potency” probiotic products, i.e., those that contain at least a comparable number of live bacteria per gram of product, can be expected to modify the bacterial flora in the gastrointestinal tract in terms of quantitative and qualitative composition. Consult your natural health practitioner for advice on which probiotic supplement is best for your particular condition.
The argument against probiotics by some nutritional scientists is that the bacteria in these supplements and foods cannot possibly survive the naturally occurring acids in our stomach and this is where prebiotic foods come in. Prebiotics are non-digestible ingredients in foods, which stimulate the growth and activity of certain helpful bacteria – fructoologosaccharides and galactooligosaccharides are the two that best fit the bill. These can be found in functional foods like bananas, berries, asparagus, garlic, Jerusalem artichoke, onions, chicory, legumes, oats, tomatoes, spinach and other greens. Perhaps a diet rich in both prebiotics and probiotics is the best solution for those seeking a healthy bowel.
Fermented foods like miso, tempeh, soya sauce, kim chi, sauerkraut and other pickled vegetables also offer lactic acid bacteria. The oriental cultures in particular – who have developed these fermented foods – are well known for their traditionally long lived healthy lives. The pickling process activates certain bacterial properties within the food, and eliminates some of the qualities that inhibit the food’s digestion by humans. Pickled or activated nuts and seeds, which have been treated in a solution – a brine or other acidic liquid – for some time and then slowly warmed through a dehydrating process are a great example of this. Delicious and much more digestible.
©Eco Living Magazine.
Eco Living Magazine presents:
Heading: Retreats and Spas – The New Holiday.
INTRO: Retreats and spas are fast becoming the new holiday of choice, as an antidote to the pressured life of the mind that we all seem to be corralled into these days.
As we live in an increasingly demanding high tech world, where our downtime is rapidly disappearing into the Ether(net) – where it is trapped by Microsoft and Google in an endlessly informative embrace. Work never seems to finish, as it follows us home via cunningly invisible wireless cables and our living spaces are filled with screens, which never sleep, and phones that go beep, beep, beep. We used to go on holidays for the sun, surf and beach – but our blackberries accompanied us, and nestled there beside us on the towel began to wink a message or two or three about work. No island resort was ever far enough away from a colleague on the phone or an email from the boss.
Stress was mounting up like the Himalayas in June, and alcoholic relief was just a drink away but in the morning it was worse. Where can we get away to escape the maddening ring of technologies echoing? A monastery or nunnery? Perhaps a touch too austere; but retreat we must or face the curdling of the milk beneath the full white moon.
A retreat indeed, to a place where there are trees and grass, where nature walks tall and the life is not so fast. To a place which is all about us; about the fleshy bits that change as we age and seasons pass, rather than the synapses drawn tight by modern life. Where expert hands can rub relief into bodies running on adrenal fatigue and quiet vegetarian food beckons a good night’s sleep. A spa that smells so pure, that it must be made of milk and honey. The sensual joy of a natural scrub, ridding your skin of grime and the cities’ dub. Where exercise is something that happens when walking to and from your cabin – and fun is to be found outside running about with others. A return to the childlike pleasures of mucking about in nature, and seeing the pure experience reflected in the eyes of another, who is likewise having a good time just being themselves. Retreats are like this – mixing an ambience of naturalness with gentleness and providing a resource for practical advice about diet, exercise, life coaching, natural therapies and your health. This is the healing holiday experience that you often feel that you need to take after a family holiday or ill fated overseas jaunt with a partner.
Retreats and spas are fast becoming the new holiday of choice, as an antidote to the pressured life of the mind that we all seem to be corralled into these days. So what are the defining differences between spas and retreats and what are some of the features you may encounter on your new holiday of the physical senses? Well a spa is defined in real terms as the kind of place where you will find a variety of treatments that relate to your skin and body. Many establishments qualify themselves as a beauty spa or day spa and they specialize in a wonderful cornucopia of aromatising, massaging, bathing, skin conditioning therapies which will make you feel cleaner, fresher, revitalised and more beautiful. Many of these spas will have a special relationship with a resort providing accommodation in their locale – so that you can make your holiday special. Many new skin care companies, who have developed unique ranges of organic skin care products, have relationships with these spa operators to bring you a treatment experience that you just don’t have access to in your own bathroom cabinet.
A retreat will usually involve accommodation specifically chosen for its naturally soothing character, either in its surrounds or on the property itself. It may indeed offer access to day spa facilities as well or it may not. The soul of the retreat experience is in its program of healthy activities – or non-activities in the case of a meditation retreat. The retreat is, by its very name, a retreat from the demands of modern life into a program defined by a philosophy, which focuses on reconnecting the individual with their elemental selves. Their body – fitness, heart rate, muscle tone, unwanted tension, health of the skin, weight issues, and groundedness. Their dependencies – so often we find ourselves self-medicating with alcohol, nicotine, drugs, sugar, work, parenting and various addictive behaviours, which we use to avoid periods of self-reflection that may initially lead to feelings of despair. When we stop; and arrive at a place, which, by design, does not have the stuff with which we distract ourselves from our real issues; things like TV, computers, trashy magazines and the idle chatter of co-dependents (like minded folk who are also avoiding their issues), we face the overwhelming emptiness of our lives and often freak out for awhile. This however passes and slowly with the help of the retreat staff, who are trained in positively assisting you through this phase, you come out the other side. Where you find the inner peace to enjoy stillness of the lake or the wind whistling through the trees above you, and all the myriad unimportant junk of your day to day life withdraws to give you the space to feel again. To feel your connection with yourself, to laugh again as you jump and skip and make a lovely fool of yourself attempting some physical pursuit that you have not tried for umpteen numbers of years. You can find your heart again, not in the embrace of anyone else but in the enjoyment of simply being with yourself. All these things are available and more when you surrender to the retreat experience.
Good Retreats and Bad Retreats
OK so the ideal retreat experience can deliver us to a state where healing can take place but how do we spot the bad retreat or the retreat that is not up to the mark. Tension – if you can feel tension in the air or insecurity among the staff, beyond encountering someone on their first day at work, then this is a sure sign that perhaps things are not all that they are cracked up to be. Health retreat staff have a duty, like all healers, to be aware that they are stewards to individuals who have made a commitment to the healing process. Everybody from the cleaner to the retreat coordinator needs to be on the same conscious page and if they are not, then it is not supporting your journey to heal. How to discover this before you actually book and are on the property? Well, ask some pertinent questions, like how long has the establishment been operating and what is the average length of employment and what appropriate qualifications are held among the staff? Ask to speak with the coordinator and perhaps a therapist or even a guest – it is quite within your rights to make thorough enquiries before you make your investment of time and money.
Every retreat has its own particular philosophy, and has been uniquely created in response to this set of ideals or life lessons – you can usually get a fair idea from their website. Being open to the full retreat experience involves vulnerability on your part, so you want to feel a certain trust in the people who are interacting with you – therapists, practitioners and staff. Retreats have a certain mystique about them in our psyches – Avalon like places where the mists part to reveal holy grounds where transformations and miracles take place -this is can be a powerful help to fully letting go to the healing experience, but it is also wise to tether your camel before the journey.
Retreats in Review
Hopewood Health Retreat
One of Australia’s longest established health retreats, Hopewood has been operating for 46 years – located just one hour’s drive from Sydney and surrounded by beautiful bush land. Hopewood is the epitome of a well run health retreat, with dedicated, professional staff who have been working there for many years. Renowned for its natural health philosophy, which advocates a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, gentle exercise, plenty of water, fresh air and rest; Hopewood Health Retreat is the perfect place to relax by the river, revitalize and revive your mojo and zest for life. Specialising in natural healing, stress control, weight management, as well as massage and beauty pampering, Hopewood has long been helping Australian’s to rediscover their equilibrium.
Good food is a cornerstone of their successful approach to healing and transformation – passionate chefs, who love plying their trade at a fantastic health retreat, and presenting you with knock out combinations of delicious healthy ingredients. Utilising the smart and simple dietary technique of food combining – which serves particular vegetarian food groups together and avoids combining starch and protein – you will feel lighter and more vital. Of course you get to take home these secrets with you and the great feelings come with you. Hopewood even has its own cookbook, full of yummy healthy recipes and tips for detoxing diets. Hopewood’s juice therapy pointers are:
- Drink a small glass or two of freshly prepared juice every day.
- Avoid mixing fruits and vegetables as it can cause fermentation in your stomach.
- Top up with carrot and ginger instead of coffee when you need a lift.
- Juices are a great addition to your diet but remember to also eat whole fruit and veggies for the added fibre.
There is a full range of exercise and fitness activities available and you can tailor your own program to suit your desires and aspirations. Inspiring guided bush walks, yoga classes, aqua aerobics and personal training assessments are just some of the options from which you can choose to make your stay both enjoyable and transformational. After the exercise you can unwind with the de-stressing massage therapies like myofascial release; reflexology; shiatsu and hot stone therapy to name a few. Feel beautiful with organic facials, body wraps and other divine skin treatments all available on site at Hopewood. This is a total retreat experience where you can put aside the pressures of your day to day life to give something back to yourself. All Hopewood’s retreat packages include accommodation – ranging from balcony rooms with ensuite to budget rooms in single or twin with shared bathrooms; full use of all facilities; smorgasbord vegetarian meals and the daily activities program.
For further information www.hopewood.com.au Ph- 02 4773 8401.
Dargan Springs Mountain Lodge Wellness Retreat
Looking for a natural high? Where the air is cleaner and a little more rarified? Dargan Springs is the Blue Mountains health retreat par excellence, surrounded by breath taking views, peace and tranquility. Located 2 hours from Sydney, it is nestled in the trees and looks out upon the majestic vistas of Australia’s greatest mountain range. Each retreat has its own unique slice of natural magic and Dargan Springs is a beauty to behold and experience. Mountain lodge accommodation finds you ensconced in the light and airy luxury of those who live in the clouds, with each room having private ensuites, valley or garden views, and king sized or twin beds. Central heating keeps you warm inside, with soft linen, natural bedding, thick towels and down doonas to ensure a good night’s sleep.
Outdoor activities are conducted by host and owner Mike Corkin, who trained in climbing, abseiling and mountaineering in New Zealand at Otago University. Happy to instruct and guide small groups and individuals at all levels of proficiency, Mike is passionate about sharing the special magic inherent in the mountaineering experience and the exhilaration it can produce. One of the special advantages Dargan Springs’ guests have is the lodge’s direct access to amazing walks, climbs and abseiling trips, meaning more time in the natural wilderness. All the Dargan Springs outdoor trips are certified with Advanced Eco-Accreditation, which recognises their commitment to ecologically sustainable eco tourism. Whether you wish to enjoy the mountains with an expert, or prefer to go it alone, the experience of this incredible wildlife resource is an inspiring life choice and will have you feeling more alive than you have before. Wildflowers in brilliant colours, dramatic rock formations, wallabies and a host of native birds freewheeling before your eyes, it is a rich pageant of life and of course you need to stay alert up here. Like on a Zen meditation walk your awareness is keen and the witness state allows life to flow through him/her.
All this mountain air activity provokes an appetite for sure, in addition to burning off calories; you want and get to eat fantastic fresh food at Dargan Springs. Being in the pure mountain climes somehow stimulates you to appreciate the pure flavours in good healthy food, it’s delicious and Dargan Springs offers you a range of quality meat, fish and vegetarian meals that are all low fat and bursting with freshness. Food never tasted so good and your body never felt so good. Plus certified mountain spring water flows from all the taps, freshly made juices are available and hot drinks too.
Massage therapies, yoga, aromatherapy facials, wellness consultations, meditations, hot spa’s and tai chi are all on the menu at Dargan Springs. Plus you have the choice of experiencing it at what level you wish to, from the wonderfully restorative Healthy Escape package to the bed and breakfast option. Dargan Springs can be a sensational place for a healthy group conference, a longer stay healing program or a divine place to explore the Blue Mountains from. It is welcoming and life enhancing without being too fanatical.
www.dargansprings.com.au Ph – 02 6355 2939.
Fountainhead Organic Health Retreat
The Fountainhead Organic Health Retreat is, according to founder Wayne Parrott, the only certified organic health retreat in the world. Established five years ago on an avocado orchard, it combines the stunning beauty of its chalets and lake setting with the natural order of a working organic farm. Utilising permaculture principles it is not a place of manufactured beauty like some resorts but a truly tranquil and magical locale for a healing retreat. Based in Maleny, in the Blackall ranges on the Sunshine Coast hinterland in Queensland, Fountainhead is a vision of rolling pastures, bubbling creeks and pristine lakes. Fountainhead runs a range of exceptional life changing programs focusing on Helping Overcoming Depressive and Anxiety Illnesses; Fit for Life and Cancer Education retreats. It is also a great place to pamper yourself, with the help of some wonderful massage therapists, life coaches and their attentive staff.
Organic juices flow at Fountainhead three days a week, in conjunction with some seriously delicious meals, which utilise the organic farm’s veggie output and also bring in some quality local organic produce from around the hinterland. Cooking schools demonstrate the best way to get the maximum amount of live nutrition from your food at home. Detox programs are available with expert input and guidance.
The Fountainhead Maleny Baths utilise natural spring water in the pools and there are saunas, a steam room and a fantastic area for relaxing by the pools. The brilliant blue of the bath centre’s walls contrasts with the green natural foliage all around and you have this sneaking suspicion that you might be in paradise after all. I remember during my last visit the chef bringing me over a fantastic warm salad of grilled king prawns, avocado and organic mixed leaves as I relaxed on a sun lounge by the pool. There are usually guests playing games in the pool or doing languid laps on their path to fitness and health. Choose from yoga, bush walking, aqua aerobics, personal training assessments, beach visits and daily excursions.
Accommodation is in a variety of architecturally designed chalets and you can choose from premium or deluxe levels. www.fountainhead.com.au Ph 07 5494 3494.
©Eco Living Magazine.
Eco Living Magazine presents:
Heading: Eco Living Healthy Skin Heroes
Organic Skin Care Products
Nourishing the skin is as important as eating healthy, fresh organic food, so you’ll love the natural vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and essential fatty acids found in Synthesis 345 skin care.
Using Certified Organic and Cruelty Free skincare is very important to anyone who wants to care for their health and the natural environment. These official logos are the ONLY way to be sure a product is truly organic, chemical and animal testing free. Our packaging is recyclable and we offer a re-fill service.
Synthesis 345 comes from a picturesque village, watched over by the awe inspiring majesty of Mt. Warning (where sunlight first touches Australia each day), surrounded by rolling green hills and gently flowing rivers. The abundance of roses, lavender, jasmine and geranium that grows on our property is reflected in our skin care.
Synthesis 345 is inspired by the cosmology of the Ancient Egyptian Mystics, who observed the wonder of the natural world and the spiritual essence of all life. 345 are the sides of the triangle they called the ‘secret of all measure’, which was used to build their great temples. In a world tending to reduce everything to mere physical significance, Synthesis 345 encourages us to participate in something greater. Each product is Alchymeically imbued via a sacred Hermetic process, merging Heaven with Earth to manifest a heart-felt current of Love-Bliss. Allow yourself to be uplifted by the mystery and abundance that is Synthesis 345. www.synthesis345.com
Invoke Natural Skincare
Invoke Natural Skincare was born out of a new found interest in seeking natural skincare alternatives for herself and newborn baby daughter. As a first time Mum, Rebecca Kennedy identified more mums just like her, are now more conscious of exactly what they are using on their precious little ones, and also what they were using on themselves.
After intense research through focus group testing it became apparent that we all want to do the right thing by the environment and ourselves, without compromising on our own style.
So armed with the knowledge of what was needed in the market place, combined with sheer determination, she set about working with some of the industry’s best to develop a purely natural and result driven skincare range that had a contemporary and modern edge.
As the name suggests, Invoke is also about developing a desired state of emotion whether it be to feel revived, calm, re-vitalised, balanced, etc. Based on simple yet tried and tested aromatherapy principals, Invoke’s products will help you to nurture your body and soul, all thanks to nature! www.invokenaturalskincare.com.au
Mokosh founder Marion O’Leary left the world of science on a quest to produce skin products containing only natural ingredients, completely free of synthetic chemicals. This led to the development of a range of preservative-free skin moisturisers, lip balms and soaps that are preservative-free, yet have a long shelf-life. Over time – in keeping with the aim for a chemical free product – there has been a gradual switch to certified organic ingredients, which are now close to 100% certified organic.
Unrefined shea butter is a favourite ingredient of many of the body moisturisers and lip balms – with remarkable moisturising properties, and is full of nutrients lacking in the more commonly used refined shea butter. The body butters and shea lip balms are perfect for the colder weather ahead.
Many cosmetic ingredients are grown in developing nations, including coconut oil, shea butter and cocoa butter. Mokosh uses only Fair Trade ingredients. Mokosh uses cocoa butter instead of using palm oil of any description in its products. www.mokosh.com.au
If you’re concerned about the products you’re putting on your skin, Skin Things is a refreshing natural option. They’re totally natural, chemical-free, and made in South Australia. Skin Things salon has become the salon of choice in Glenelg, where they pamper customers with luxurious, affordable beauty treatments ranging from fabulous facials, pedicures, manicures and relaxing Indian head and Hot stone massages. Pregnant mums are pampered with massages too!
Their expanding product range includes over 40 face, body and hair products, baby products, cellulite detox oil and cleansing herbal teas. Their latest product launch is an anti-aging, rejuvenation moisturizer. Skin Things products are gentle and effective using the highest quality organic ingredients and Natural preservatives.
Nicole is keen to make her skincare products and treatments accessible to everyone.
“We hope to open our second store in the near future.” Wholesale enquiries welcome www.skinthings.com.au
Organic and natural products with super natural results! Conventional skin care contains so many potentially toxic chemicals and nasty ingredients, creating a toxic burden and more often than not contributing to skin issues. With over 15 ranges of organic skin care including premium botanical, aromatherapy, cosmeceutical and professional ranges Vitale Natural provides skin solutions using optimal organic skin care.
At Vitale, they realise that choosing the best Organic skin care for your skin can be a little challenging so they have specialists available for in-store or on-line skin consultations, ensuring you make the right choice of product for your skin and get great results. Vitale Beauty is the organic salon on Latrobe terrace in Paddington where for 3 years Vitale has been providing premium certified organic beauty therapy and facials including skin consultation, chemical free waxing and Australian mineral make up – so you can support your skin in all ways. www.vitalenatural.com.au
Born 10 years ago in the stunning wine region of South Australia – It is now owned by Stephanie, the daughter of its founder & is located in Newtown Sydney. The range of skincare came from humble beginnings. Her mother wanted to create a cream for Stephanie that would alleviate the terrible eczema that she had suffered since toddlerhood. Their range has now grown to over 35 items all made with our abiding philosophy of no chemicals, no synthetics & no petro chemicals. With a focus & commitment to only use natural ingredients sets us apart from many skincare companies & has bred a trust with our customers that our skincare is truly good for them & their families. High quality skincare without the exorbitant price tag is always at the forefront of the business. Products are available at www.coonewarralavender.com.au , or from one of over 70 stockists in Australia, New Zealand or Taiwan.
©Eco Living Magazine
Eco Living Magazine presents:
Heading: Aphrodisiacs in Food
Yummy food Yummy love
With The Sacred Chef
Intro: Celebrating spring is very much about the birds and the bees, sowing seeds and enjoying the fecundity of nature. So what foods stimulate the arousal of life inside us by their essential chemical make-up and perhaps by their shape and form?
Eating well – beautiful organic food presented naturally, and eaten after some blood pumping exercise is the first step. Food tastes so much better when you have a healthy appetite for it. Don’t eat out of habit. Don’t eat the same boring thing every day. Don’t eat if you are not hungry. Food like love making is better when it is special.
Food is an essentially visual art medium, like painting it is an arrangement of form and colour on the plate. Glistening green spears of asparagus with a dollop of basil, macadamia nut and honey mayonnaise; freshly shucked oysters alive in their sea salty liquor; ripe red strawberries perfect in their natural state; a salad of warm artichoke hearts, goats cheese, fresh figs and baby spinach leaves; or a tangle of fettuccine slippery with extra virgin olive oil, cherry tomatoes, chilli and chunks of ocean trout. Each dish can be a moment of poetry, involving all the senses – what other art form do we literally consume. Let the smears on your serviette be a testament to the abundance of your life!
Food for fertility and a touch of “friskiness”
Zinc is one of the most important minerals to be aware of in relation to our libido and fertility levels. It helps maintain sperm count and levels of testosterone in men and in women; it is involved in a healthy menstrual cycle; it is vital for cell division during pregnancy. Zinc is also needed for the parts of our brains that activate our sense of appetite, taste and smell. Oysters are packed full of zinc, as are fish, green leafy vegetables, lean meats, nuts and pulses.
Organic veggies have higher levels of mineral content than those grown with chemical assistance. Why not grow your own organic veggies? Spend a weekend digging in a patch and readying the soil for sowing – you will be amazed when green things start sprouting and you will feel a quiet pride when you first serve the progeny of your garden to friends and family. The taste, (oh! the taste) will blow your mind. You get the complete package – exercise by honest toil to build appetite, pheromones from perspiration to attract the opposite sex, superior nutritional value from organic produce, and the best flesh for taste and colour.
Avocadoes were known as testicle fruit by the ancient folk in Central and South America. They are rich in phyto-chemicals and are linked to lowering cholesterol. Their creamy texture, gorgeous colour, (and reputation as an aphrodisiacal food), make them an ideal ingredient in dips, salads and wraps. Three quarters of the avocadoes, which we consume in Australia are of the Hass variety – with distinctive purple black skin and oval shape. Other varieties are the Shepard – green skin with golden buttery flesh ( and the only avocado not to turn brown once cut open), available from Feb to April; Reed – green skin when ripe, round shape, peaks in November; Sharwil – smaller pear shaped avocado with a rich nutty flavour; a winter/spring variety; and the Wurtz – a smaller winter avocado grown in Queensland. Try spreading avocado, a good local honey and cracked black pepper on some lightly toasted sour dough rye bread for a delicious and nutritious start to the day.
Tropical fruits are pretty much sexy per se; things that like to grow and ripen under the sweaty equatorial sun. Biting into beautifully coloured fruits that explode in your mouth, and send streams of juice running down your chin are experiences to surrender to. Fresh pineapple slices are particularly like eating sunshine – and of course mango is the queen of the slippery fruit affair. These fruits are full of antioxidants, vitamin C and a diet rich in them can make you feel vital and youthful.
The following is an excerpt from Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Penguin Books ISBN 9780143038412
Holy of Holies – Perfect Pizza in Italy
“Pizzeria da Michele is a small place with only two rooms and one non-stop oven. It’s about a fifteen minute walk from the train station in the rain, don’t even worry about it , just go. You need to get there fairly early in the day because sometimes they run out of dough, which will break your heart. By 1pm, the streets outside the pizzeria have become jammed with Neapolitans trying to get into the place, shoving for access like they’re trying to get space on a lifeboat. There’s not a menu. They have only two varieties of pizza here – regular and extra cheese. None of this new age southern Californian olives-and sun-dried tomato wannabe pizza twaddle. The dough, it takes me half my meal to figure out, tastes more like Indian nan than like any pizza dough I ever tried. It’s soft and chewy and yielding, but incredibly thin. I always thought we only had two choices in our lives when it came to pizza crusts- thin and crispy, or thick and doughy. How was I to have known there could be a crust in this world that was thin and doughy? Holy of holies! Thin, doughy, strong, gummy, yummy, chewy, salty pizza paradise. On top, there is a sweet tomato sauce that foams up all bubbly and creamy when it melts the fresh buffalo mozzarella, and the one sprig of basil in the middle of the whole deal somehow infuses the entire pizza with herbal radiance………”
Recipes from the Sacred Chef
A different kind of sexy is the feeling you get sliding a warmed spicy olive into your mouth.
Warmed Kalamata Olives in Infused Oil
Into a fry pan over a low heat, pour 2 tbspns of extra virgin olive, then chop up a lime & 6 cloves of garlic and a piece of ginger, a sprig of rosemary, a cinnamon quill and add this to the warming oil, before adding in 3 cups of Kalamata olives. Stir through for 5 minutes and add salt & pepper to taste. Serve on a platter.
Salted fresh pineapple is a great way to serve the tangy flavor sensation of fresh ripe pineapple.
Choose a ripe pineapple by its aroma, if you can find one that has not been too dulled by refrigeration, cut it up into bite sized pieces and lightly salt with a special sea salt freshly ground down in your mortar and pestle. Accompanied by a fresh lime soda or a cold beer — and heaven is right there on that tropical island inside your taste buds.
Fresh Asparagus Spears dipped in Basil, Macadamia Nut & Honey Mayonnaise
Whole free range egg or egg yolk mayonnaise with a teaspoon of Dijon mustard
3 Tsp honey
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 cup fresh basil leaves torn
½ cup roasted macadamia nuts
1 ½ cups extra virgin olive oil drizzled in slowly.
Freshly ground black pepper & sea salt to taste.
Whizz it by hand or in the blender adding in your oil slowly as you go. Lightly steam or blanch your asparagus spears and serve accompanied by your tangy mayonnaise.
Warm Salad of Artichoke Hearts, Fresh Figs, Goats Cheese and Spinach Leaf Salad
4 Globe Artichokes Steamed Peeled and halved
3 Figs sliced lengthwise into quarters
120g fresh goat’s cheese served at room temperature
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 cups baby spinach leaves
3 Romano tomatoes sliced lengthwise into quarters
Dressing – ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Sea salt & black pepper to taste.
Begin with the warm artichoke hearts and cover them with dressing before gently arrange dobs of the goats cheese amid the figs, tomatoes, parsley and spinach leaves on a platter and lightly toss before serving.
©Eco Living Magazine.
Eco Living Magazine presents
Sustainable Home Builders & Materials in Review
West Coast Poly
Established in 1999, West Coast Poly manufactures a range of water tanks for farming, domestic, agricultural, industrial and transport sectors, in WA and interstate. All the water tanks are manufactured to the highest standards, with onsite impact and ultrasound test equipment for quality control. The Urban range is especially designed suburban homes – for the space conscious aesthetic eye – capacity ranging from 720 litres to 23,000.
The rotomoulding process is used from high-grade polyethylene powder that meets AS4020 and AS 2070 (Aust. Standards for materials in contact with drinking water and food products). The process involves placing finely ground thermoplastic material inside a female mould and firing this in an oven while rotating on two perpendicular axes to obtain a homogeneous melting of the plastic on the surface. When complete, the mould is transferred into a cooling phase while still rotating and finally the finished part is removed from the mould and the process restarted. For more info visit www.westcoastpoly.com.au or Ph: +61 (08) 9456 5888
ecoInfusion – Spa Tonic & Spa Treatment:
Acutely aware of the state of the environment, ecoInfusion is committed to eco-friendly practices. Products are environmentally friendly; packaging is 100% recyclable, as is all of our promotional material. Spa Tonic & Spa Treatment are 100% natural spa water maintenance products, based on seaweed enzymes. Spa Tonic has been specifically designed to seek out and destroy contaminants and viruses in spa water without the use of toxic chemicals. One bottle will keep your spa water clean and healthy for 3 months. No more constant pH tests and chemical adjustments, as Spa Tonic automatically balances your water levels. Spa Treatment, a natural deep cleanser dissolves any existing chemical residue and mineral build-up in your spa pump, plumbing and seals. Spa Treatment will lubricate your spa system and prevent mineral deposits, rust and stains from building up in spa equipment, reducing maintenance costs and extending the life of your spa. Non-toxic products mean less frequent water changing, so less water is used. The other added bonus, is that free of chemicals, ecoInfiosn products are ideal for Grey Water usage – water your plants with the bath water! (ecoInfusion uses green power in the office and environmentally friendly printing companies for our printing needs). For more info: Website: www.ecoinfusion.com.au
Breakout box: Case Study on a Solar Dwelling – a 7 star rating
The home sets an impressive 7-star rating for thermal performance on a difficult 45° to north block and is expected to maintain comfortable temperatures year round. The client brief to Solar Dwellings was to design an affordable, single storey, three-bedroom, two-bathroom home with double lock up garage in keeping with the style of the urban renewal project. The Quattro Sustainable Home presents as an aesthetically stimulating, stylish and livable home adaptable – With a few simple modifications the single storey 227sqm home can be built on any flat, 45° to north block with as narrow a frontage as 12 metres and will achieve excellent thermal performance for natural heating and cooling.
Constructed of cavity brick and iron, the residence incorporates simple energy efficient principles to ensure a comfortable and consistent ambient temperature all year round and to display reduced energy and water requirements and reduced running costs. The home also displays material specification for reduced embodied energy and environmental impact and low toxicity and low allergen finishes were specified to ensure excellent indoor air quality.
Energy efficiency is achieved by:
Passive thermal design for natural heating and cooling, including a mix of insulations;
Installation of a gas boosted solar water heater as close as possible to the kitchen, bathroom and laundry;
Reflective zinculume roof prevents excess solar heat gain;
Insulation of the hot water service and the pipes;
Thermostat set as low as possible; and
An intelligent lighting system, using natural light and energy efficient CFLs.
A minimum 4-star energy efficient appliance package will be showcased during the display phase and a user manual will be provided to the home owner upon sale of the home to ensure the home maintains optimum performance.
Water efficiency is achieved through the installation of:
A greywater reuse system and subsurface drip irrigation;
Water efficient (minimum 4-star) tap and showers fittings;
Aqualocs installed to all taps;
Dual flush AAAA rated toilets;
Waterwise garden design;
2,500 litrerainwater collection tank plumbed for toilet and laundry use; and
Water efficient appliances.
Designed by Solar Dwellings for joint venture partners Peet Limited and the Department of Housing and Works, the Quattro Sustainable Home is energy and water efficient, universally accessible and comfortable to live in. For WA – The home at 325 Wharf Street, Queens Park will be open up to two years and will also be the Quattro: The New Queens Park sales centre. – For interstate enquiries about this home and how to apply these eco-measures to your home plan. www.solardwellings.com.au
Break Out Box:
For more sustainable building resources or other states & territories try:
TAS: www.sunrisehomes.net.au – consults nationally
And for NZ: http://www.ecoprojects.co.nz/ is a good resource.
©Eco Living Magazine
Eco Living Magazine presents:
Heading: A Calling To Heal
Theta Healing Understanding Miracles.
You may have become aware of a new type of healing name with a Greek linguistic origin – Theta. What does the word Theta mean? It is the eighth letter of the Greek alphabet and more recently has been adapted by western neuroscience to name one of the deep brain wave states or rhythms. Theta brain waves are known to be associated with aspects of deep sleep, learning and spatial navigation. It is thought that when the brain is in its Theta rhythm, it is accessing deeply stored information involving the hippocampus (home of our instinctive emotional beliefs), and conveying these to the cerebral cortex (our rational operating thoughts).
Research into these brain wave states has observed that we move into Theta rhythms quite often, at various times throughout the day and in particular when meditating or in a moment of focussed reverie. I spoke with Mark Anthony, Australia’s leading Theta Healing instructor; about its origins and what it has done for him personally and how it has transformed his life.
Sudha- Mark I understand that Theta Healing’s founder Vianna Stibal, is an intuitive naturopath and massage therapist who is based in the United States?
Mark – Yes, Vianna discovered Theta Healing through healing her own cancer. She realised that the states she invoked during her intuitive readings were Theta brain wave rhythms and that these could be utilised to facilitate healing in others. Since that initial breakthrough of awareness, she has healed and trained thousands of people worldwide and Theta Healing has spread like wildfire across the globe.
Sudha- So what actually happens? How and why do the processes involved in Theta Healing work?
Mark -The original process, which Vianna Stibal called the Orian technique, was based on her early intuitive reading work and involved a visualised technique, which included a body scan, and sending her awareness out through the crown chakra, (top of the head) and communicating with God or the creator consciousness. Once in communion with the higher consciousness, she would seek answers for the condition to be healed, and/or request that the person be healed. Vianna healed her own bone cancer and then found herself healing many people from all over the world.
Sudha- I understand that she sought a scientific basis for the healing process, and with the help of a physicist, conducted some electroencephalographic tests, which determined that she was correct and that the brain waves detected were in the 4-8 Hz range (indicating the Theta rhythm).
Mark- Yes through her earlier contact with the study of hypnosis, Vianna was aware that our brains operate on a Theta rhythm when we are in a hypnotic state, and she thought that this was most likely what was happening when she was reading. It was found through those tests that both healer and patient were in the Theta brain wave state during the process. Her work then moved to another level entirely, through the challenge of a client who did not completely respond to the healing process. In this instance, Vianna’s communion with the God consciousness led her to the understanding that our DNA chromosome makeup was not fixed, but actually responded to Theta Healing – and this was the beginning of her work now known as DNA Activation. In practice, this involves the introduction of new supportive belief system that are instantly reproduced in our cellular reality This work has dramatically expanded the healing reach of Theta Healing, as thousands of people have been trained in this approach with incredible results – facilitating the healing, and saving the lives of people all over the world.
Sudha – The science around Theta brain wave rhythms shows them to be one of several characteristic electroencephalogram wave forms associated with various states of sleep and wakefulness. When seen in this form, they are between 4 and 8 Hz, and involve many neurons firing synchronously – in the hippocampus and through the cortex. Theta activity can be observed in adults during some sleep states, and in states of quiet focus, for example meditation. These rhythms are also involved with spatial navigation and some forms of memory and learning, especially in the temporal lobes. Theta-frequency activity is also manifested during some short term memory tasks.
Sudha – Mark I wonder if you would share with us a little of your own remarkable story?
Mark- I found myself at age 32 facing a life threatening disease and despite the best intentions of Australia’s world class medical system was not getting any better. It began with me feeling generally run down over a period of time and a visit to my holistic chiropractor. Unfortunately I came away with several fractured ribs and a cracked vertebra, which were not discovered until, after experiencing excruciating pain, I was sent for a bone scan by my local doctor. Following this I was wrongly diagnosed as suffering from low bone density, despite my years in the construction industry and playing heavy contact sport.
Sudha – It sounds like the beginning of a nightmare journey.
Mark – Yes it was, as this error was followed by another when I was misdiagnosed as having Tuberculosis (TB) and immediately hospitalised. However, all my tests for TB came back negative, many blood tests followed before the first of several fine needle biopsies under CT guidance were conducted. This involves an 18cm needle being repeatedly inserted into the spine in search of the right sample location. I was by this time under the care of several neurosurgeons, orthopaedic surgeons, cardio-thoracic surgeons and infectious disease doctors. These fine needle biopsies were unsuccessful and so the decision was taken to cut three holes in my side and insert a camera and take a sample of the infection.
Sudha – I imagine you would have been pretty frightened at this point.
Mark- Well, upon awakening I then had two tubes draining blood from me, as they had collapsed my lung for the procedure, and a third tube as a morphine drip – and a 25cm scar as a keepsake for my troubles. The good news was that I did not have cancer but the bad news was that they did not take a large enough sample to test for anything else. Repeating the operation was next on the agenda but “luckily” I had developed a fever, and medical protocol insisted that this be treated with antibiotics before surgery. After receiving a high dosage antibiotic for 6 weeks I was still found to have a blood infection level of 125 (normal rates are 0 – 15). Another fine needle biopsy followed before another course of high dosage antibiotics, and finally a correct diagnosis – Vertebral Osteomyelitis. This infection in the partially collapsed T6 and T7 vertebrae was potentially fatal and incapacitated me to the extent that I could not pick up a shopping bag, let alone my two year old daughter.
Sudha – I understand that it was at this time that you were given a copy of Vianna Stibal’s book “Go Up and Work With God.”
Mark- My naturopath recommended it and I seized upon it, sensing that the answers and the healing I had so desperately been seeking were right here. You know when you read something and you just know this is it! I did a bit of further research on the internet and registered for the next workshop. I did the Advanced Theta Healing seminar over that weekend and found that the pain in my back was completely gone.
Sudha – That must have been amazing after such a terrifying time. What happened to heal you?
Mark- During the Theta Healing processes new affirmative life beliefs were conveyed to me, whilst in the Theta state, which enabled me to replace the failing negative beliefs that were literally killing me. My Father passed away from a sudden heart attack when I was 16 and I was told to be strong for my mother. I subconsciously took this on as a reason not to be able to grieve, and I felt a great deal of pressure to get everything right from then on. Subconsciously, I carried feelings of resentment toward my father for leaving me and not teaching me all I had to learn from him. This created in my mind a lack of support, which was heightened, due to the fact that all my friend’s fathers were in the construction industry, and when they left school, they all went into their fathers businesses. I had to do it all on my own. These support issues manifested in my back, and the resentment I carried manifested into the infection. The first Theta Healing consultation I had, we worked on the issues about my father, which immediately eliminated a great deal of the pain I was feeling in my back. I was then able to see the support that I had in my life from my mother, brother, sisters and my wife. In fact I had so much support around me but was unable to see it due to my beliefs.
Sudha – Mark thank you so much for sharing your incredible life changing journey.
Mark – My pleasure.
Mark Anthony has since gone on to train directly with Vianna Stibal and to devote his life’s work to the facilitating and training of others in Theta Healing. He feels that the importance of this work lies in the empowering effect that it has on people to heal themselves, and that it is this paradigm shift which can transform humanity. Mark teaches all of Vianna’s courses around Australia including the Basic and Advanced Theta Healing and Intuitive Anatomy courses. www.thetahealing.net.au
©Eco Living Magazine.
Eco Living Magazine presents:
Preconception Care – exploring the need in the modern context
By Karen McElroy, Naturopath & Medical Herbalist
Intro: A holistic approach to preconception health care is vital for a healthy conception and pregnancy.
The term ‘preconception care’ relates to the time prior to attempting conception, whereby health is optimised in the hope that a couple will conceive easily and attain a healthy pregnancy and birth.
There is perhaps a greater need for preconception care today, given such things as inadequate diets, a polluted environment and our often stressful lifestyles. A truly holistic approach to reproductive health must address these factors.
It takes approximately 115 days to fully develop sperm in men, whilst the development of an individual ovum takes about 100 days in women. So the health of a couple in the three to four months prior to conception can play a big part in the health of these germs cells and the subsequent health of the developing embryo and eventually the health of the baby. This idea is the cornerstone of preconception care.
Foresight (The Association for the Promotion of Preconceptual Care) in the UK, is an association who have carried quite a lot of research into treating couples in the preconception period to increase their chances of both conception and a healthy pregnancy outcome.
Couples following the Foresight programme are given the following advice:
- Avoid contaminants in food and water, such as pesticides, some food additives and bacteria, by eating a nutritious, whole food organic diet.
- Identify and correct trace mineral deficiencies and heavy metal toxicities.
- Avoid smoking, alcohol, street drugs and other non-essential medication.
- Screen for genito-urinary and other infections (eg: Rubella, toxoplasmosis, etc.).
- Identify any other problems, eg: due to allergy, malabsorption, candida and /or parasites.
Couples wishing to start a family are encouraged to follow a programme which looks at these areas and identifies and corrects potential areas for concern, after which the pregnancy can be started with a normal, strong sperm and ovum, the embryo can implant in a healthy uterus and can develop in optimum conditions. There will be no danger from nutritional deficiency, or damage from heavy metals or other toxins or viral, and/or bacterial disease.
Foresight has found that under these conditions it is possible to have uncomplicated pregnancies resulting in strong and healthy babies. This approach to preconceptual care can be applied as a means of improving general nutritional status and fertility in any couple planning to have a baby, regardless of previous history. The results of Foresight’s three year study found the preconception programme to be particularly successful for 80% of the couples in the study – including many couples who had previously experienced problems with recurrent miscarriage or unexplained infertility. Even some couples who had unsuccessful attempts at artificial methods of conception, such as IVF, were able to conceive naturally.
Couples wishing to conceive can benefit from having a consultation with a qualified naturopath or herbalist. They will provide a thorough assessment of your diet and lifestyle and advise on any changes necessary. Also if there are any underlying health issues for either partner relating to reproductive health such as poor sperm count or gynaecological conditions, herbal and nutritional remedies can be prescribed. A preconception check-up with a doctor is also advisable – this may include blood tests to check folate and iron levels, rubella immunity and a PAP smear.
Reproduced with thanks to www.joyousbirth.info The Australian Homebirth Network – a great community resource, providing support and information on birth traumafor women who have experienced birth trauma, as well as info and support for an empowered birth.
©Eco Living Magazine.
Eco Living Magazine presents:
Heading: Mad, Bad and dangerous to eat…
The “Poisons in our food chain” Series.
Part 1 Aspartame
A recent survey of 166 studies into the safety of Aspartame found that 74 of them had NutraSweet related funding and that they all found that Aspartame was safe. Whereas of the 92 independently funded studies, only 8% of them found that Aspartame did not have safety concerns in humans to answer to.
Aspartame is the technical name for the main ingredient in many artificial non-sucrose sweeteners; including NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful and Equal-Measure. It is also at the top of the list of chemical baddies that are still being approved by government agencies for use in our food. You will also find Aspartame commonly used in soft drinks, pharmaceutical products and over the counter cough lollies and syrups. It is said to be an ingredient in over six thousand items of consumer foods/drinks. It is a compound of aspartic acid, phenylalanine (a free amino acid isolate) and methanol (wood alcohol). This combination is subsequently responsible for some very serious negative activity in our bodies, including nerve cell necrosis (death) which can lead to organ system disease and also contributes to dangerous toxic interactions with other pharmaceutical drugs. Aspartame crosses the blood/brain barrier and damages brain tissue and causes lesions on the brain, where the dead cells once were. It also affects the autonomic nerve system located down the spine and the conjunction system of the heart. It is quite simply a neurotoxin.
How, why and when did Aspartame become approved for human consumption? It was discovered accidentally in 1965 by James Schlatter – a chemist working for the pharmaceutical company G.D. Searle & Co – and was found to be 180 times sweeter than sugar. Initial safety tests were inconclusive, as to whether Aspartame may have caused cancer in rats and the US Food and Drug Agency (FDA) did not approve its use in food for many years. Further testing did not answer why the brain cancer developed in the rats, and the debate raged on until some familiar names entered the scene.
One Donald Rumsfield became Searle’s CEO and Ronald Reagan became US President, and he appointed Arthur Hull Hayes FDA commissioner, who approved Aspartame in the dry goods food category. In 1985 Monsanto bought G.D.Searle and the Aspartame business became a separate subsidiary; the NutraSweet Company. I would love to tell you that it is not about money or that there was never a suspicion of corruption; but I cannot. In 1995, the FDA Epidemiology Branch Chief Thomas Wilcox reported that Aspartame complaints represented 75% of all reports of adverse reactions to substances in the food supply from 1981 to 1995.
The metabolic journey that Aspartame takes once ingested causes it to break down into several residual chemicals and further break down products include formaldehyde, formic acid and diketopiperazine. Exposures to very low levels of formaldehyde have been proven to cause chronic toxicity in humans. There has however been scientific disagreement regarding how the body deals with the methanol and formaldehyde produced by Aspartame, and this debate is one of the key reasons why Aspartame has not been reviewed and subsequently banned by regulatory government bodies in the western world. The phenylalanine component of Aspartame, which is one of the nine essential fatty acids, makes up around 50% of Aspartame’s mass and this is highly unsafe for those with the rare genetic condition known as Phenylketonuria. It is also known that Aspartame can spike blood plasma levels of phenylalanine, as it is absorbed much faster than naturally occurring phenylalanine containing proteins. This has caused further debate into whether Aspartame ingestion by pregnant mothers can harm the safe development of neurotransmitters in the brains of fetuses. Similarly the 40% of Aspartame broken down into Aspartic Acid also causes large spikes in the level of the acid in blood plasma and these can act as excitotoxins- which can inflict brain and nerve cell damage by crossing the blood/brain barrier. Again there is scientific debate over whether humans are as susceptible to this extensive brain damage as are the rats, for which the research shows conclusive proof. Further concerns regarding Diketopiperazine, which is created in products as Aspartame breaks down over time, can through nitrosation in the body create a chemical which can cause brain tumors.
So we are left with a situation of scientific disagreement paralysing regulatory bodies, and lots and lots of health complaints, ranging from the small, to claims involving hundreds of thousands of possible deaths. A recent survey of 166 studies into the safety of Aspartame found that 74 of them had NutraSweet related funding and that they all found that Aspartame was safe. Whereas of the 92 independently funded studies, only 8% of them found that Aspartame did not have safety concerns in humans to answer to. Science may not be as clean and trustworthy as those white lab jackets that so many scientists are fond of wearing might indicate to us. After all, if you ask the right questions in any scientific study you can pretty much get any answer you are after. Omission is as much of a cause of death as anything else.
©Eco Living Magazine.
Eco Living Magazine presents:
Heading: From Dust to Dust
Mineral Make Up…Naturally beautiful
By Eco Living
Being someone that rarely leaves the house without a sweep of Mascara and a few dots of Concealer, I have consistently looked for make up that is both safe and natural. My sensitive skin means, whatever I apply needs to be hypo-allergenic and free from chemical nasties – otherwise I’m red and blotchy within minutes. The best results I’ve had so far are with mineral make up. This is delicately effective make up, which comes in a huge range of colours and preparations with everything from liquid and powder foundations through to eye shadow and blush.
What makes mineral make up different from other foundations and powders is its ability to give great coverage without blocking pores, therefore allowing your skin to breathe. Most foundations create a film on your skin; whatever is trapped under that film stays there until you next cleanse your skin. Underneath your make up may be inflammation in the form of acne or pimples, Eczema, Dermatitis or even Rosacea and all day long your film of foundation is holding in the heat of that inflammation and causing – more inflammation. It’s no mystery then why most make up only makes these conditions worse, leading many women to apply more make up to cover blemishes. Mineral make up is non-eclusive, meaning it doesn’t form a film on the skin and won’t lead to further inflammation.
Mineral make up has also been recommended by plastic surgeons and other health professional for its ability to cover scarring. With mineral powder foundations, you can apply several layers to create the coverage needed, without fear of blocking pores and causing breakouts. Mineral eye shadow is also great because it’s water resistant; it doesn’t slide into the creases of your eyelid, and it won’t cause redness or itchy eyes. So your make up stays put all day or night, even if you wear make up when exercising, your skin can breathe and you’ll stay gorgeous – and above all else your skin will stay healthy. Another great bonus is that loose mineral foundation is formulated with Micronized Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide. These natural minerals block harmful rays from the sun.
There are several brands of mineral make up available now but there are a few things you need to know before you make your choice. Look for a brand with No Talc – even though Talc is a mineral, it’s not the kind of mineral you want in your make up. Talc can clog pores and can dry your skin, leading to the same inflammation issue as a regular foundation. Bismuth Oxychloride and Boron Nitride are also ingredients that may cause irritation in more sensitive skins, and if you’re buying a liquid mineral foundation, be sure to check that it contains a non-paraben preservative. As always when buying cosmetics and skincare, check the packaging to ensure it’s recyclable, if not reusable.
There are several great Aussie companies producing mineral make up, you can find most of them online, and some in pharmacies and health food shops. Buying Australian cosmetics and skincare, means you don’t have to concern yourself with the cost in both financial and environmental terms of getting the products here. The other benefit is that if you have a question regarding your make up, you have the convenience of being able to contact the company directly.
Break out box: APPLYING MINERAL MAKEUP
All loose mineral powders can be used as eye shadows, blushes, eyeliners and lip gloss. You can even add to clear nail polish to colour. Mineral foundation can be used as a concealer, powder and sunscreen. Always start with a clean dry bare face that has been moisturised.
WET: dampen a flock or latex sponge, tip a little powder into the lid and dab with a sponge, and gently spread over the area to be covered (great as a concealer before brushing on foundation).
DRY: Use a good quality natural fibre brush. Tap a small amount into the lid, dip the brush in and swirl it in the lid until the minerals are picked up by the brush. Tap off excess minerals on the side of the jar or tap the brush handle first on the bench so minerals travel into the brush head. Blend the minerals down your face until you have the coverage you want (TIP -two light layers will give a better finish than one thick layer). For smaller areas use a contour brush and apply under eyes and around nose to conceal dark areas and large pores.
©Eco Living Magazine.
Eco Living Magazine presents:
Heading: Organic Sommelier
Wines by region in Australia & New Zealand
With The Sacred Chef
Intro: For the freshest fruit flavours available in your wine drinking experience, it is hard to go past good organic wine. When the fruit on the vine has been treated with knowledgeable care – sans the chemicals – it often takes the wine making to a whole new level.
By the same token, being organic does not turn ordinary wine into great wine and cannot replace wine making proficiency. The number of organically grown wines is increasing all the time, and I counted well over fifty wineries making organic wines during a brief bit of research. However, distribution difficulties for many wineries mean that you do not find much of a range in your local bottle shop, and this is something that can be greatly improved upon.
I am a strong advocate of regionalism or the eponymous terroir – meaning that certain regions, climates and soil types produce better examples of certain varieties of wine. It took me a while to realise this, and since I have pretty much committed myself to following this course of action I have had far fewer disappointing wine experiences. Of course there are always wonderful exceptions to any set of rules and some tragic ones too… We all have different likes and dislikes, as well in our wine tastes, and whatever I recommend here are really only my own opinions and I encourage you to follow your own taste buds.
Sauvignon Blanc – Upfront fresh tangy fruit driven style – New Zealand’s Marlborough, SA’s Adelaide Hills, WA’s Margaret River/Pemberton, NSW’s Orange, TAS’s North and South.
Semillon – A clean crisp lemony style when young but ages into a complex burnished beauty- NSW’s Hunter Valley.
Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc – A blend of these two varieties best exemplified by – WA’s Margaret River, Great Southern.
Riesling – Dry apple, lime, mineral and sometimes floral style – SA’s Eden Valley, Clare Valley, WA’s Frankland; TAS’s North and South.
Chardonnay – Versatile style of wine ranging from full flavoured, creamy, buttery, big to peach, melon and lemon – VIC’s Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula, Beechworth; SA’s Adelaide Hills, WA’s Margaret River; TAS’s North and South.
Viognier – Full blown peach/apricot fruit and honey style – VIC’s Yarra Valley, SA’s Barossa Valley
Pinot Noir – Wild strawberry and cherry aromas and a flavour spectrum from young and fruity to elegant and complex – VIC’s Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula, Geelong; SA’s Adelaide Hills; TAS’s North and South; NZ’s Marlborough, Central Otago
Cabernet Sauvignon – Deep inky colour and black current flavour, classic wine that blends exceptionally well with merlot, high anti-oxidant rating – WA’s Margaret River; SA’s Coonawarra, Padthaway, Wrattonbully, McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, Riverland; VIC’s Pyranees, Goulburn Valley, Bendigo, Yarra Valley; NSW’s Orange, Mudgee, Cowra, Hunter Valley.
Merlot – Soft, dry and dark fruit variety of wine that has too few great examples in Australia except when partnering cabernet sauvignon – SA’s Coonawarra, McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, Clare Valley
Shiraz – Blackberry and vanilla aromas in this red variety which ranges from chocolatey, prunish, high alcohol in warm regions to peppery and herbal in cooler areas – SA’s Clare Valley, Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills, WA’s Margaret River, VIC’s Yarra Valley, Heathcote, Mornington Peninsula, Grampians; NSW’s Hunter Valley, Canberra District
Grenache – Great blending variety with shiraz, earthy fruity flavours – SA’s Barossa Valley
Sangiovese – Italian varietal full of red fruit flavours with a herbal savoury finish – SA’s McLaren Vale
Tempranillo – Savoury black cherry Spanish variety blends well with shiraz – SA’s McLaren Vale
Zinfandel – Spicy and black berry big flavoured, alcoholic variety with massive plantings in California – WA’s Margaret River; SA’s McLaren Vale.
Temple Bruer 2007 Cabernet Merlot Preservative Free.
This is an incredible wine with cabernet berry fruit flavours that seem to be dancing in your mouth and a lovely medium bodied balance that can keep you drinking it all night long. This is my wine of the year so far and I recommend it highly to lovers of wine who want a flexible companion to great tasting meals of many persuasions.
I am looking forward to trying the 2008 vintage of this wine – now out.
Cullen Wines 2007 Margaret River White
As with all Cullen wines finesse is to the fore, and well before their decision to go biodynamic and organic they were making some of the finest wines in Australia. This predominantly Sauvignon Blanc and Semillion blend is a gorgeous wine, complex and refreshing. This will lift any extraordinary lunch or dinner to the sublime and you will thank existence for your taste buds.
Happs 2007 Preservative Free White
Another stunner from the west, this Chardonnay with amazing fruit flavours will reinvigorate the most jaded pallet. Drinking these wines you feel purer inside and it can be akin to a religious experience. The Happs vineyards are located in Dunsborough and Karridale WA.
©Eco Living Magazine.
Eco Living Magazine presents:
Heading: Clean & Green- Chemical Free Cleaning at Home
Subheading: Would you bathe in your bathroom cleaner??
We’ve all experienced how tough it can be to clean our bathrooms without gassing ourselves. Anyone who uses traditional household cleaners knows you’ve got to wear gloves, open the windows, and scrub whilst holding your breath. This experience should tell us a few things about traditional household cleaners, and not least that they’re having a negative impact on our health – while also being damaging to the environment.
If you’re looking to make your household cleaning safer for yourself and the environment then there are some great options available to you. The first step is to safely discard the chemical cocktail in your cleaning cupboard.
The health concerns stem from absorption of harsh chemicals directly through your skin and nasal passages to your bloodstream, as well as Volatile Organic Compounds that are found in petrochemical based cleaning products and synthetic fragrances and are released into the atmosphere as you spray your cleaners around your home. If you or your children have asthma, or you have allergies then these VOCs could be aggravating symptoms.
It’s not hard to imagine what the world will be like if we don’t address our polluting of waterways and ground water. No one wants to be responsible for making the problem worse but as Leroy Eldridge Cleaver put it – ‘you’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the problem’ – and we all have to do our bit in our own homes today. That means switching to products that are 100% biodegradable (truly green products will tell you how many days this will take – 7 is good!), buying Phosphate Free cleaners and avoiding chemicals where there is a natural alternative.
You can then take the ‘back to basics’ approach and use simple ingredients to create your own cleaners and a bit of elbow grease. This is a great alternative if you have the time and patience. From Lemon Juice and Baking Soda for scrubbing down benches, chopping boards and bathrooms right through to Vinegar to clean your windows, there’s a natural alternative to pretty much everything you find under your sink. There are recipes you can following in fabulous books like ‘Spotless’ by Shannon Lush & Jennifer Flemming or even a quick Google search will have you cleaning up an environmentally friendly storm in no time.
The other way to go, which is the option I’ve chosen in my home is to use household cleaning products that have been formulated to be kind to you and have minimal impact on the environment. Not only does this option save time and effort but in most cases the ready-made cleaning products smell much better. In some cases so much so that you’ll never need to use anything else to scent your home. These greener household cleaning products will give you all the information you need on the label. They’ll tell you if it’s a plant-based surfactant, if the fragrance in naturally derived, how many days it will take to biodegrade and if it contains phosphates.
A few brands to look out for in the Supermarket or your Health Food store are Seventh Generation – great product imported from the US, Cinderella – my favourite as they smell divine and are Aussie Made, BEE – amazing Laundry Liquid & Dr Bronners – the ultimate All Purpose Castile Soap. If you have allergies or sensitive skin, you’ll notice the difference immediately.
©Eco Living Magazine
Eco Living Magazine presents:
Heading: HELP SAVE THE ORANGUTAN
Palm Oil Plantations Threaten Their Survival
By Michelle Walker
Currently, these beautiful, shy and intelligent great apes are on the critically endangered list. They are in grave danger of becoming extinct within the next 10 years unless we all come together to fight for their survival.
The orangutan was once found throughout Southeast Asia, but now the species only survives in relic populations in Borneo and Sumatra. Recent estimates suggest that wild orangutan numbers could be as low as 50,000. Orangutan populations have declined by 50% over the last 10 years and their habitat by 80% over the last 20 years.
The word orangutan is Malay for ‘person of the forest’. The orangutan is 97% genetically the same as humans and has the intelligence of a 5 to 6 year old child. Orangutans are shy, solitary animals that are active during the day and build nests to sleep in at night – these are made from leaves and are high up in the trees. They live alone in large territories – probably due to their eating habits. A large portion of the orangutans diet is fruit and if there are too many trying to feed in one area this may lead to starvation. The only real social group is the mother and her offspring who live together for around 8 to 12 years. When mating the male and female usually only stay together for a few days. The female is capable of giving birth from 12 to 15 years and usually has only one baby about every 8 years. The mother and baby have a very strong bond and the baby depends entirely on its mother for nourishment, protection, to learn what to eat and where to find food, how to climb and swing through the trees and how to make a nest. The orangutan is estimated to live for about 50 years in the wild.
The single most significant threat to the survival of the orangutans is the expansion of palm oil plantations. The beautiful rainforests, in which the orangutans live, are being cleared at an alarming rate. Plantations in Indonesia have expanded from 600,000 hectares in 1985 to an estimated 6.4 million hectares this year. According to the UN, “The natural forests of Sumatra and Borneo are being cleared so fast, up to 98% may be destroyed by 2022”. This is due to the high world demand for palm oil to be used in products such as biofuel, cooking oil, chips, chocolate, biscuits, margarine, toothpaste, soap and much more.
Many consumers are unaware that they are purchasing products containing palm oil as the label usually only states vegetable oil or palm oil derivatives. As the orangutan’s forests are disappearing so is their food supply. This then causes them to go onto palm oil plantations in search of something to eat. The orangutans are then killed by the land owners or the farmers as they are considered to be pests.
As the forests are being cleared and the land burnt to make way for palm oil plantations this is also a major contribution to global warming. Biofuel was developed with the intention of being a greener fuel but bio-diesel containing palm oil is anything but green. Palm oil is high in saturated fat and low in polyunsaturated fat. Research indicates that the consumption of palm oil increases the risk of heart disease and should be avoided in your diet. This is difficult to do when manufacturers aren’t required to label it.
Another significant factor in the decline of the wild orangutan population is the illegal pet trade. Orangutan mothers are being killed so that the babies can be stolen from them and sold as pets. Unfortunately it is estimated that only one out of four babies will survive this experience.
Other issues affecting the orangutan are legal and illegal logging for timber and pulp for paper, and also gold mining. Even National Parks and protected areas are being deforested by illegal logging and mining.
Fortunately, there is a group of volunteers working very hard to try and save the orangutans and they belong to the Australian Orangutan Project. The Australian Orangutan Project is a non-profit organization and was set up in 1998 by Leif Cocks. AOP is the Australian contribution to international efforts to save the great apes, and is a partner of the United Nations Environmental Programme, Great Ape Survival Project (GRASP). AOP’s mission is to raise awareness and ensure the survival of both the Bornean and Sumatran orangutan in their natural habitat and promote the welfare of all orangutans.
AOP has been working with in-situ conservation organizations to protect the orangutan in the wild. They provide funds for conservation, protection and education programmes such as –
- Food, salaries, medicines and equipment for rescue centres.
- Anti-logging patrols in National Parks.
- Community based rangers.
- Safe release sites for ex-pets, orphans and injured orangutans.
- Support for conservation research.
- Community education programmes.
- Community based Eco Tours.
Rehabilitation centres in Indonesia and Malaysia are set up to treat and care for sick, injured, or captive orangutans. The ultimate aim is to return the orangutans back to the forest. Many have been returned successfully, however due to lack of available habitat this process is becoming more difficult.For more information or to get involved please go to www.orangutan.org.au .
For more information about palm oil, the issues and what you can do to help, such as letter writing, please go to www.palmoilaction.org.au
“Every person can make a huge difference to the lives of these beautiful animals”.
©Eco Living Magazine.
Eco Living Magazine presents:
Heading: Sustainable Dream Home
Building and renovating an energy efficient home.
By Libe Chacos
Even Hobart in Tasmania, which has the lowest level of sun of all of Australia’s capital cities, has more than double the average sun hours that much of Germany has, whose long term goal is for a quarter of their electricity to be solar generated.
Intro: Imagine living in a home that stays between 16-24°C all year round and paying just $2 per day for all your heating and cooling costs. It is easier than you think… but only after you abandon what most people ‘know’ about energy efficient and sustainable homes and follow the simple steps that work 100% of the time, in every style of home, and in every climate.
Ordinary people in ‘apparently ordinary’ homes across the country have already cut 41% and more off their electricity bills, 56% off their homes CO2 emissions, and saved hundreds of litres of water every day. We are all feeling the pressure: electricity prices are going up; petrol prices are going up – add interest rate pressure to that. Your dream home has a place in all of this. This is how.
Maybe you have already read some books, done some surfing on the internet and gone to sites that claim they can help you save water and electricity… Then they tell you to turn the power point off at the wall when you have finished watching TV and have 4 minute showers.
Well those changes are valid and do work, but there is definitely more to it than that. Besides, if you are not one of those people who is able to enjoy a massage every week or so, then a 15 minute shower may be your only escape from the kids, work and stress of every day life.
I’m sure that you are probably aware of some of the obvious fundamentals of energy efficient housing:
P Lots of Windows to let the sun in to warm you up in winter
P Insulate the walls and ceilings
P Use energy efficient appliances
But there are houses being built like this all across the country, and they simply aren’t comfortable to live in. They still need lots of heating and cooling. So what’s the answer then? How do you create a home that is energy efficient, affordable, and comfortable; and one that you can happily have a guilt free spa in?
By following fundamentals and applying them where it counts the most in your home. Though people already follow these principles, but so many don’t – next time you go for a walk around your neighbourhood, just have a look at how many solar hot water panels there are on the roof tops. Most people know that solar hot water is good for the environment and saves energy. Around 30% of the average Australian electricity bill is taken up by heating your hot water. New evacuated tube solar hot water systems will save around 70% of those costs and more for most Australians.
Now if you live in the shade of a neighbouring building or hill side then you can still save up to 75% off your hot water bills with another great Australian invention: The heat pump hot water system. They work like a reverse cycle air conditioner, and save heaps of energy on your hot water bills. There are a range of brands to choose from, with two options being from Quantum and Siddons. Although, generally speaking the most effective savings in CO2 emissions are gained with a solar hot water system with a gas back up (for when the sun doesn’t shine). These types of savings will literally put money back into your hip pocket. If you invest in the right unit, it will work financially for you as well as environmentally. I have no interest in selling you a particular model… I’m just sharing what I’ve learnt. I just want you to save money and have a lighter eco footprint.
Did you know that Melbourne gets as much sunshine as the south of Spain and parts of Northern Africa? And most of the country receives more sunshine than Melbourne. Solar power is here now and readily available. We know it works and you can simply buy and have installed a ‘plug and play’ system and continue on with your life as though nothing has changed. There are literally thousands of houses across Australia that are totally solar powered.
What are Photovoltaics?
There is a difference between solar hot water systems and solar power panels – photovoltaics. Put simply, a photovoltaic is a material that is capable of generating electricity when exposed to light.
Is there enough sunshine?
In less than 2 hours of daylight the sun provides us with the amount of energy that is consumed by the entire population of the planet in one year. Even Hobart in Tasmania, which has the lowest level of sun of all of Australia’s capital cities, has more than double the average sun hours that much of Germany has, whose long term goal is for a quarter of their electricity to be solar generated.
Is it really cost effective?
There are four major contributing factors to cost effective solar power: How much sun you receive, the cost of the solar power system, the price you pay for electricity and how much electricity you use.
“…with this new $8,000 rebate when you do the sums, it turns out that if you’re in Alice Springs, Darwin and Perth, you are now economically advised to go and get a solar panel, because the price of electricity from your solar panel will be comparable with the daytime retail electricity price.” Professor Andrew Blakers, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems, at the ANU in Canberra.
Perth receives a similar amount of sun hours to Adelaide, Sydney and cost effective, Brisbane; and Canberra is not far behind. Professor Blakers made these calculations before the latest hikes in electricity prices, so the costs are even more favourable now for more of Australia.
The key to the system being cost effective is to ensure that your home is designed and built to be energy efficient. To make solar power more cost effective for your home use natural gas for cooking; solar (including heat pump) hot water systems; passive solar designs and insulation for heating and cooling and an energy efficient fridge. These practices will make the initial cost of your photovoltaic system much more manageable and your return on investment healthier.
To make your home truly sustainable with solar power the following steps will help:
When you are replacing your appliances, choose energy efficient ones.
Replace your light globes with compact fluorescents
Replacing hot water systems with solar or heat pump hot water units.
Improve your insulation and windows
Use skylights effectively to warm and cool your home.
Then you can more cost effectively add photovoltaics to your home and get a real return on your dollar.
What about saving water?
You know the story: “we love a sunburnt country… droughts and flooding plains…” We know that we live in the driest inhabited continent on the planet. And we know that when it rains – it pours. This is not new information; but if you get the chance to have a look at the Bureau of Meteorology website statistics for your area, you’ll likely see some worrying signs for rainfall trends. As a result in many areas it is now mandatory to include a rain water tank when you build a new home. But how big should it be and what else can you do?
Reduce; Reuse; Recycle. Always the best place to start is to reduce. You’ve seen the ads on TV, but they don’t really explain why in this order. The good thing about water is that reusing is recycling and it is safe and easy to do.
Nearly half of all water consumed in the home is used in the bathroom. 20% of that water is literally flushed down the toilet. Now if you’re unsure where to invest money in the current climate here’s a good idea for a tax free return on your investment:
It is now mandatory that every tap sold in Australia is water saving. By buying more water-efficient products, you can save money on water and electricity bills and help the environment. Look for a product that has a high star rating – the more stars, the more water efficient the product. A standard 3-star rated showerhead can save the average home $150 a year in water bills and can be purchased for as little as $50. I’m going to say it again: If you invest your money in the right place to be sustainable and eco-friendly – you will get a financial benefit.
Saving water in the shower…
Showerheads with a 3-star rating use no more than 9 litres of water per minute, while old style showerheads use 15 – 20 litres per minute. If you shower for ten minutes, a water efficient showerhead can save up to 100 litres of water for each shower or up to 36,000 litres of water per person per year. With that amount of water saving you can comfortably have a guilt free spa bath! You can see how it starts to add up. OK we’ve reduced our consumption with water saving showerheads and dual flush toilets.
Now to reuse and recycle – the first step is a water tank. You will collect 1 litre of water for every square metre of roof area every time 1mm of rain falls on your roof. For example, if your home is 200m² and you get 10mm of rain overnight, your tank will catch 2000 litres of water. If you get 60mm of rain in a month then you will capture 12,000 litres (60mm x 200m2). What most people tend to forget is that we want the water more when it’s not raining, so if you have a rainwater tank you want to make sure it can store enough water for a dry spell.
On average, people use around 200L of water a day at home. For a family of four, that’s 800 litres of water a day. If you want to be self sufficient in your water supply, and it doesn’t rain for 30 days at your place then you need 4 x 200 x 30 (4 people x 200 litres x 30 days) = 24,000 litres of storage capacity.
The good news is you can safely recycle most of the water that gets used at home and put it to good use. An easy way to save water is to recycle it. Statistics tell us that in the average urban home we use 25% of our water on the garden. If you water your garden with a sprinkler for just one hour that’s as much as 1000 litres of water! A grey water system will recycle water from your shower (or spa!). Attaching a grey water system to your shower, laundry tub or spa can be a great way to recycle – generate sufficient water supply for gardens, a great vegie patch, whatever water restriction levels apply! Grey water systems can be purchased from most plumbing stores. Check with your local council to confirm what requirements need to be met and systems should be installed by a licensed plumber.
So by taking the first step and reducing the amount of water you use – by installing water saving taps, dual flush toilets, using drip irrigation instead of hoses, watering the lawn at the right time of day so you don’t lose half to evaporation – you dramatically lessen the water storage requirements to be self sufficient, so you can invest in a smaller rainwater tank to get the same outcome. All without a change in lifestyle.
All it requires is a few subtle changes: the differences that make the difference. The Master Builders Association research tells us that buildings in Australia are responsible for 42% of our emissions. We know we all have a responsibility to save water and reduce our emissions. What you haven’t been told up till now is how easy it is to do! (Libe Chacos has over 18 years experience in the sustainable building industry and produces manuals on the best way to build a sustainable dream home. See book reviews page 106-8 for more info on these guides).
Heading: Tips for a happy, healthy hot tub…
- Go for an ‘all-in-one’ installation – these have the heater and pump built in under the spa. This shortens the distance the water has to travel, which means that the water stays warmer and takes less gas to keep it at the desired temperature. Better for the environment and easier on the wallet. They are much easier to install and maintain too.
- If you are having the heater/pump separate, try and have the water pipes insulated. If they pass through the ground the water will lose a lot of heat, making the unit less efficient and more expensive to run.
- Use your hot tub daily? Make sure you keep the cover on as this helps the water stay warm and is quicker to heat up next time you use it.
- If your spa is under a roof, consider installing a water tank. You can use this to refill or top up the hot tub (and water the garden) instead of using the mains water.
- Avoid showering before getting in the spa – the soap residue on your skin (and bathing suit) can make the water ‘frothy’ and affect the chemical balance.
- Try using a natural product to clean your spa to avoid the weekly pH tests and exposure to noxious chemicals. You won’t have wash to off that nasty chlorine afterwards. It’s just like having a nice hot bath and saves you water.
- If your hot tub is a few years old, it’s important to flush out your pumps plumbing as there can be chemical & mineral build up. Chose a natural spa treatment; this can eliminate this clogging in your pipes.
- Natural products are a great alternative to harsh chemicals – there is less maintenance involved and you can dump the water on your lawn or garden. Chemicals can kill your grass or plants, and definitely can’t be used on a veggie patch. This means it has to go down the drain – what a waste!
- Live in a sunny area like Queensland? Consider solar hot water heating for your hot tub. This is a virtually ‘free’ way to heat your water & will keep it nice and toasty all year round.
©Eco Living Magazine.
Eco Living Magazine presents:
Heading: Hemp and Humanity- How Can it Help
By Michelle Stapleton
Hemp food products are widely consumed throughout the world, with the exception of Australia and New Zealand.
Intro: What if someone told you that there was an amazing natural resource that could help feed us, house us, clothe us, make our paper, our fuel, replace plastic with a biodegradable alternative and assist in our personal care? You would be amazed? Read on!
The resource that can achieve this is industrial hemp, and this natural resource has been well tested throughout time for thousands of years, but in the last fifty years it has virtually disappeared from mainstream usage in western society. Hemp is one of the oldest plants used by mankind. Hemp seeds have been found in archaeological excavations over much of the world. The potential of this resource is now being revisited, developed and adapted to meet 21st century needs, right here in Australia, in several Industry sectors. The industry now needs support from the consumer and the support of Government. The present limitations on its use are environmentally, economically and socially irrational.
Growing hemp was made illegal in the early part of last century due to the economic advantage of the timber, cotton and synthetic fibre industries. The United States of America headed this change and the rest of the “western world” followed their lead. With the greater need for sustainable industries and environmental practices, the tide is turning for industrial hemp – a new evolution is dawning.
Today, one of the main misconceptions with Industrial hemp is the botanical relationship with Marijuana. Industrial hemp has little or no THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol – the psychotropic drug) found in high levels in Marijuana. Unfortunately, it has the same botanical name as Marijuana – Cannabis Sativa. Approximately 90% of Cannabis Sativa is industrial hemp and only 10% is Marijuana yet the Marijuana debate dominates the discussions surrounding Cannabis Sativa. industrial hemp and its attributes need to be understood and supported.
Why should we be using industrial hemp?
- Hemp is the longest and strongest natural plant fibre.
- Hemp is suitable to be grown in most climates and conditions, including high degree of soil salinity.
- Hemp can be successfully grown with little or no use of insecticides, fertilisers, herbicides or fungicides.
- Hemp can be used to produce paper without the use of chlorines.
- Hemp can produce up to 4½ times more paper per acre then pulped timber.
- Hemp outgrows all weeds and prevents the growth of weeds leaving the farm paddock clean for the next year.
- Hemp has a deep taproot, which penetrates the soil raising nutrients towards the surface and aerating the soil.
- Hemp cloth is extremely hard wearing. It outwears cotton and other natural fibres. The fabric improves with washing and wearing. It rapidly absorbs moisture. Over time it becomes softer without losing its shape or appearance. Hemp offers a high degree of UV protection and has antibacterial and antifungal properties.
- Hemp seed oil contains a balance of the essential oils required by the human body- all of the Omega Fatty acids in the correct ratios for the human body. The oil is easily absorbed into our skin, and is attributed to assisting medical skin conditions including Psoriasis, Eczema and Dermatitis. Hemp Protein is the best source of plant protein in the world.
Worldwide demand for hemp food and fibre products is growing daily. Unfortunately, most hemp fibre products are still imported due to the fledgling size of the Australian hemp farming community. We have the ability to process and produce a variety of hemp fibre and cellulose based products. We have the industries ready to utilise Australian hemp fibre and seed, all Australia needs more farmers to meet the demand of the industries that require hemp fibre and seed – and for this, all is needed is our support.
Australia is geographically well suited to the commercial production of industrial hemp. Additionally, five states have made the necessary legislative changes that allow commercial industrial hemp farming. The emerging food industry in Queensland is currently providing hemp products for the export industry and pet food sector. Demand for human consumption in Australia is increasing, and needs further support from the public and Government. Hemp food products are widely consumed throughout the world, with the exception of Australia and New Zealand. The legislative power to regulate hemp is held by each state government.
There is a strong demand for hemp fibres also, in various manufacturing industries. Hemp is now being included as a component of current corporate research in Australia, utilising modern techniques and technology within the building industry. There are exciting proposals for a hemp pulp industry underway in Western Australia, which really make sense – a superior paper can be made from the hemp plant. Hemp plastic technology is another emerging industry that needs our support. State industry representative groups are being formed and are set to play key roles in the growth and development of the Hemp industry.
Due to the overuse of other commonly used natural resources and global environmental pressures, Henry Ford’s visionary construction of a hemp car in 1941 may actually be a reality in mainstream production in the future. This was a car, which was constructed using hemp and other cellulose and resins to make most of the components. Although no one is making automobiles from hemp today, Mercedes Benz has pledged to build parts such as dashboards from it.
Impressively, and importantly, the environmental benefits of the growing of hemp, include, (though are not limited to): less reliance on fossil fuels; more efficient use of energy; water conservation; forest conservation; carbon sequestration; agricultural pesticide use reduction; dioxin and other pollution reduction; recycled end use efficiency and landfill reduction.
Let us take our future into our own hands and make NOW the time to choose wisely to make the power of our dollar really count. With global warming upon us and the need for alternatives, hemp can be a part of the solution to a sustainable future.
The food legislation in Australia needs to be amended to create a viable industry for our farmers. The legalisation of industrial hemp products in the food industry will enable the whole plant to be used, making the industry more profitable as well as ecologically sustainable.
©Eco Living Magazine
Eco Living Magazine presents:
Where Science & Nature Work Together.
By Diedre Ellis
“generally speaking a colonic is often a relaxing and pleasant experience”
The essential process known as a colonic or an enema has been with us for hundreds of years and its association with faeces has not been kind to its public profile but with the technological advancements in the equipment and the real improvements in practitioner training – a colonic is now often the beginning of a beneficial educational process about your own health and wellbeing.
Many people are often frightened that experiencing Colonic Hydrotherapy will be embarrassing or that the procedure is painful, often we fear the worst when we are unsure of what to expect.
A colonic is not much different than going to the toilet, with an open system the therapist does not need to be present all the time, and I find that most of my clients are very relieved that they can release on their own. The unique design of the Libbe bed means that there is absolutely no odour or mess, you easily insert the tube yourself, and you are completely covered during the whole procedure. So with this in mind there is no need to be embarrassed.
It is natural to be fearful and worried that it may be a painful experience; generally speaking a colonic is often a relaxing and pleasant experience. Of course your colonic is influenced by your own reaction to something new, your general health, and any previous experience. Most people are amazed that there initial perception was nothing like the actual colonic.
Most people don’t experience any pain during a colonic, just a feeling of fullness, however a few people may experience a little discomfort especially during the first colonic, generally in the form of minor cramping, this is caused by trapping of gas and the body trying to eliminate waste. The best way to reduce this comfort is to relax, deep breathe and some very gentle massage.
There are some contraindications to having a colonic, that is why a detailed health history is always taken on your initial appointment, and it is always advisable to ask your therapist for advice if you are concerned at all about any health issues or current medication that you may be taking.
Colon hydrotherapy, also known as colonics and colon irrigation, has been used, in some form, for over 3500 years. Colon hydrotherapy is an easy and proven method for cleansing the bowel. Many of us suffer regularly as a result of a poor functioning bowel. Common symptoms indicating colon dysfunction can include constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, abdominal cramping, nausea, bad breathe and excessive flatulence, plus more serious bowel conditions like irritable bowel and inflammatory bowel disorders. Other symptoms include fatigue, headache, skin problems, memory lapse, increased stress and irritability, poor circulation, joint pain, respiratory problems and weight issues.
There are many positive reasons for having a colonic
Waste material, especially that which has remained in the colon for some time (eg impacted faeces, dead cellular tissue, accumulated mucous and parasites) poses several problems. This matter can have a very sticky quality to it and over time can develop a coating on the lining which can build up and harden into plaque, in some people this can be up to an inch thick, this not only narrows the diameter of the bowel, causing problems with elimination but also hinders the absorption of essential nutrients, and encourages the growth of parasites, bacteria, fungi and yeasts. * Once this unwanted material is removed the bowel can begin to function the way nature intended. In a sense a colonic is a rejuvenation treatment.
The colon absorbs liquids and other elements through its walls and into the blood stream and lymph, which is then carried to the liver for processing, if there is a build up in the colon (most people can store between 2-10kg of faecal waste), then putrefaction and fermentation occurs and this can pass into the blood stream as poisons, which can affect any part of you body depending on your weaknesses. These toxins compromise your immunity and place stress on your detoxification organs.
Colonics are a way of exercising the bowel muscles. The build up of these waste materials, and our western life style have caused our bowels to lose their muscle tone, this further hinders our ability to eliminate effectively. The gentle filling and empting of the colon improves peristalsis (muscular contraction) movement, and triggers the nerve reflexes that trigger our desire to go to the toilet. It’s like a gym workout for the bowel.
Colonics help to reshape the bowel. The gentle action of the water, coupled with abdominal massage helps eliminate bulging pockets of waste, and narrowed, spastic constrictions finally enabling the bowel to resume its natural state.
Additional benefits of a colonic include, stimulation of reflex points that are associated with corresponding areas in the body, thus improving our general wellbeing, Colonics also help release old emotions that are often stored in the solas plexus and our gut. Colonics also have the ability to start you on a very beneficial educational process about your own health and wellbeing.
Is Colon Hydrotherapy more effective than in-house enemas?
The basic difference is that you have access to a lot more water during a hydrotherapy session, approx 20-30 litres, compared to 2 litres that your average enema holds. For reasons stated above you receive a much more effective cleanse with a professional hydrotherapy session. Often the number one goal is cleansing and improving muscular tone, Colon hydrotherapy sessions are extremely effective at achieving this. Enemas done well can also be very effective, but they require a lot of time and patience, as well as some know how. They are however very cost effective.
What physically happens during colonic hydrotherapy?
Here are two common systems utilised in Colonic Hydrotherapy Clinics:
LIBBE METHOD OF HYDROTHERAPY
The LIBBE system is an open unit where filtered, UV, sterilized and temperature controlled water is gently introduced into the colon. This water is gravity fed into your lower bowel via a pencil thin tube that is introduced by the client in privacy. This type of tube provides an amazing level of comfort compared to some other type of systems. All equipment is FDA approved and for single use only, ensuring your total safety at all times.
During a typical colonic, approximately 30 litres of water will be transported into and out of the colon, you will experience several fills and releases of water during the procedure, this ebbing and flowing gently begins to soak and soften the faecal matter, allowing debris, gas and mucous to be eliminated. A good colonic is capable of removing the equivalent of about 10 normal bowel movements, and further treatments can remove even more substantial amounts.
A fully certified therapist will assist you throughout the whole process, or if you prefer you can be left in complete solitude, the choice is entirely up to you. Each session takes 40-45 minutes but you need to allow 60 minutes.
The frequency of visits varies from person to person and depends on your goals, medical history and intestinal health. I will review your medical history with you, offer my recommendations, but the choice is always yours.
However, generally speaking I recommend three sessions to begin with, the first two within two days and the third a few days later. The reason for this is because there is over a metre of large bowel to cleanse and this in my experience requires a minimum of three sessions to cleanse the entire large bowel. A restful ambience created by soft lighting and relaxing music allows you to completely relax during your session. At the end of each session you receive a nourishing shake or electrolyte drink plus a probiotic to help replace the beneficial bacteria.
For more info email@example.com
BRUnelle Method of Colon Hydrotherapy
The Brunelle system of colon hydrotherapy is unique. Small amounts of oxygen infused water, is gently pulsated (massaged) against the internal wall of the colon, section by small section until the whole colon is stimulated. There is no ‘guesswork’; the equipment is designed, to take the water exactly where it is needed. The pressure used during the colonic is lower than when the colon is defecating.
Another unique feature of the Brunelle method is the temperature of the water is altered to help in the stimulation of the colon to release waste.
Thus leaving the liver and other organs to get on with what they do best, without interference from a toxic colon and toxic blood.
The results of colon hydrotherapy treatment have an effect on the whole body. It can benefit the entire system, including the mind, giving better health and vitality.
The health of the rest of your body is directly dependent on the health of your colon.
To learn more about how to be a colon therapist in the Brunelle method of colon hydrotherapy visit www.australianhealth.com
*Editor’s Notes: Good bacteria are also attracted to clean areas, so cleaning out the nasties can actually allow the good bacteria to populate. Supplements can be helpful to speed the breakdown of bad bacteria and the re-generation the good. Probiotics can be very helpful in the regeneration of the good guys.
Text box: (Lisa: pls make it very visible – start burst sort of visible) For more info and to find a clinic near you turn to the resource guide on page 109 for clinic profiles.
©Eco Living Magazine
Eco Living Magazine presents:
Heading: Lungs Fit For Life
Subheading: Power Breathe Review
In our city centred world, full of stress, pollution and too many sedentary occupations, we seem to be at the mercy of the many resultant respiratory ailments. It is all too common to hear of spiralling rates of asthma and bronchial complaints within our modern communities. The breath of life – is there anything as vital to our survival? Have you ever experienced that panic inducing moment when you just cannot catch your breath, whether it’s under the waves in the surf, running a race, or simply stressed by life? Not being able to breathe properly is a terrible experience, and one that marks a rapid rise in heart rate. What can we do to check the rise of these often life threatening conditions? Get fit! Yes – improving overall fitness levels through regular exercise like swimming, walking and going to the gym, can and does help many people who are prone to developing serious respiratory diseases.
What are we doing physiologically when we exercise? Well many things are occurring within our bodies when we run, swim or walk quickly. Our hearts beat faster and push more blood around our body more quickly; our lungs expand to take in more oxygen, and we are forced to do this more often. As we breathe in and out, especially if we are running uphill or further than we have before, it gets harder to catch that full breath. There is resistance to this caused by the exertion involved and it is this resistance that trains our lungs and improves our inspiratory muscle strength.
These muscles, which are directly responsible for our ability to breathe, are weakened when suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). COPD is most often exacerbated by bronchial infections and can often lead to hospitalisation if unchecked. The treatment for COPD is usually a rehabilitation program, which involves some inspiratory muscle training, and runs between 4 to 12 weeks depending on the severity of the disease. Unfortunately around 50% of hospitalised COPD patients are readmitted the following year with the same condition and many patients remain permanently symptomatic with impaired quality of life. This is due to the fact that the effects of short term rehabilitation program inspiratory muscle training fade after 6 months.
What is involved in inspiratory muscle training (IMT)? Generally speaking a breathing device is used and this device creates resistance by means of pressurisation – making it more difficult to breathe in fully and thus building muscle tension. So in the same way we build muscles in the gym, we can do this internally for our inspiratory muscles. This means that IMT is a completely natural approach to the treatment of respiratory illness, and allows us to target the particular muscles with which we need to breathe. These devices are now available for use at home and can now provide long term IMT for the successful maintenance of conditions like COPD and the many other degrees of respiratory disease. These devices are of particular use to those who are unable to exercise their whole body because of an accident or illness. The IMT devices now available were developed by sports scientists to help athletes improve their aerobic capacity and sporting performances.
The Power Breathe Wellness device I trialled at home is a hand held portable unit and is easy to use. It has an adjustable load feature, which allows you to increase or decrease the training level. You place the mouthpiece of the unit in your mouth, holding the handle at the same time, your lips cover the outer shield to make a seal and the mouthpiece bite blocks are gripped between your upper and lower teeth. Then you breathe out as far as you can before taking a fast and forceful breath in through your mouth. Take in as much air as you can, quickly, straightening your back and expanding your chest. Repeat the process, feeling more confident about breathing in through the Power Breathe unit each time. There is a nose clip for those who require some assistance in not breathing in through their nose. The instruction manual recommends starting with thirty breaths at level 0 before turning the dial clockwise to increase the load if you feel ready and able to. It also advises to complete 30 breaths at whatever level you feel able to twice a day – once in the morning and again in the evening.
It may feel difficult at first but as with all muscle training this is part of the journey to increased lung capacity. In my experience and if you are using the unit correctly, after four to six weeks your breathing and lungs will show increased capacity.
The really wonderful thing about this therapeutic device is that it is completely natural and that you are in control of your own training. The work that you put in directly correlates with the improvements you will experience in your ability to breathe, and thus enjoy life. This is in complete contrast to many of the medications prescribed for breathing conditions, which often have side effects and most importantly give you no feeling of being part of your own cure. Of course consultation with your GP is always recommended if you are currently on medications for respiratory illness and wish to begin training with the Power Breathe Wellness unit. Medical research has conclusively shown that IMT increases strength and reduces fatigue in those that embark upon it. If we can take back responsibility for our ability to breathe, it will be in my opinion, the beginning of a dramatic reduction in the incidence of diseases like asthma and other respiratory illnesses.
©Eco Living Magazine.
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