Category Archives: Health

Kitchen gods and sacrifice

Excerpt from – House Therapy – Discovering who you really are at home!

By Sudha Hamilton

House Therapy is Sudha’s soon to be published new book.

 

The Kitchen

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.

 

©Sudha Hamilton

For more articles CopyMW

 

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Raising Children Consciously

RAISING CHILDREN CONSCIOUSLY

Subheading : Parenting for a peaceful world.

By Sudha Hamilton & Suzy Barry

Is parenting a thankless task of unfathomable consequences or an opportunity to bring a keener light of consciousness to our universe?

Parenting is a state that resides deep within the lands of instinct and tradition. The most common determinant of your parenting instincts is your own parents and how they parented you. Depending on the circumstances you may either repeat that act of parenting or do the opposite in reaction to the unwelcome reminder of your own parent-induced trauma.

This repetition in parenting behaviour patterns is condemning us to keep on making the same mistakes again and again. If you do not take responsibility for raising your children in the most enlightened manner possible then how can you ever expect them to take responsibility for themselves, their health, their state of mind and their ability to love. It is a challenge to stand apart from the ever repeating cycle and honestly ask yourself, “what do I want for my child in every moment?”

It is those moments that make up the whole. So what does it all mean? How can we apply the same level of consciousness to raising our children as we do to our own issues? Here are some practical solutions for ‘aware parenting’.

The “Fourth Trimester”

The first few months of new parenthood can be considered the “fourth trimester” of your baby’s life. For parents they are the most intense, but need not be the most difficult! Humans are born at the earliest maturation of all mammals. Consider other mammals that are born almost as fragile and dependent as humans. A baby orang-utan is carried almost constantly on its mother’s body until it is capable of dealing with life on its own. This is a useful way to look at the early months: it helps to separate the advice based on this premise and the advice characteristic of a fast-paced, ‘get things done’ society.

Controlled Crying

Controlled Crying is an example of a common practice considered to be harmful and unnatural by many. Keeping your baby close is what’s best for baby and your relationship with them. You might say, “There are no predators in the nursery, my baby is safe,” but the hollow sound of a baby’s unanswered anguished cries indicates a type of predator, a human emotional predator, which can engender a sense of abandonment and is extremely distressing for the infant. The Australian Association for Infant Mental Health has expressed concern and does not encourage this practice of Control Crying and other variations on the theme, which essentially disregard the only method of communication available to your child. Babies and young children have shorter sleep cycles providing more opportunity for awakening but also more REM sleep and hence, essential brain development. This means that if those inconvenient awakenings that infants are prone to in the first two years or so, are by-products of the short sleep cycles, which are vital for their brain development. Controlled Crying and other sleep training methods designed to keep children asleep for longer periods, must train them out of these shorter cycles, hence rob them of their quota of REM.

Physical touch

English psychiatrist John Bowlby, developed in the nineteen sixties, what has come to be known as attachment theory. This theory holds that babies thrive best on having a secure touch orientated attachment to their parents, being constantly held rather than being placed in a pram or cot. More recently science has detected positive benefits to the babies immune system when they are predominantly held in states of physical closeness to the mother or primary carer.

When you think about it, it is not so surprising, having been inside the womb for nine months, the transition from mother’s body to spending large parts of the day in a pram or cot, away from the reassuring heart beat of the mother does seem harsh. Jean Liedloff in her nineteen seventy five seminal book, The Continuum Concept, named this vital stage in early childhood care the “in-arms phase.” Spending several years in the jungles of South America with a tribe of Indians, she observed a different and decidedly more nurturing way to raise children.

Skin to skin contact is a vital physical reassurance to the newborn child and like our monkey forebears this contact provides a successful two million year old continuum. Strapping the baby to the mother by means of a sling or other similar device allows the child to be part of the mother’s energy field and has been a part of numerous cultures throughout the world; in Africa; Asia and beyond. Through observation the baby is also learning about the mother’s universe, her day-to-day activities. Beware though of the front packs where the legs hang straight down, they are not good for spinal development. [STUDIES?]

Rochelle L. Casses, D.C, taken from http://continuum-concept.org/reading/spinalStress.html

“A baby’s spine is placed in a compromising position in many of today’s popular carriers. If the carrier positions the infant upright, with the legs hanging down and the bodyweight supported at the base of the baby’s spine (i.e. at the crotch), it puts undue stress on the spine which can adversely affect the development of the spinal curves and, in some cases, cause spondylolisthesis (forward slipping of a vertebra on the one below it).

Spondylolisthesis is documented in approximately 5% of white males, but is prevalent in native Eskimos (as high as 60% of the population is affected). There has been much discussion on the high percentage of affected Eskimos as to whether it is a genetic predisposition or related to environmental factors (i.e., papoose carriers). Knowing how dynamic and vital the biomechanics of the spine are, I believe that environmental factors are the cause. If the trend continues in the U.S. to carry infants in carriers (or place them in walkers, jumpers, etc.) that place their spines in a weight bearing position before the spine is developmentally ready to do so, I believe we will see an increase in the incidence of spondylolisthesis”

Breastfeeding

The World Health Organisation recommends breastfeeding for the first two years and beyond. The WHO encourages food as a diet of food and bm after 6 months, exclusive bfeeding up to 2 years and beyond.

“Promoting appropriate feeding for infants and young children

10. Breastfeeding is an unequalled way of providing ideal food for the

healthy growth and development of infants; it is also an integral

part of the reproductive process with important implications for

the health of mothers. As a global public health recommendation,

infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of

life to achieve optimal growth, development and health.1 Thereafter,

to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should

receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods while

breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond. Exclusive

breastfeeding from birth is possible except for a few medical

conditions, and unrestricted exclusive breastfeeding results in

ample milk production.”

http://www.waba.org.my/docs/gs_iycf.pdf

The WHO’s recommendation to exclusively breastfeeding to six months should not be mistaken as an instruction to wean at six months. There are wonderful benefits to full term breastfeeding. Six months is such a premature time to wean when the human history is taken into account as is the world’s current population. If you can do it, the best foundation for ensuring your child’s needs are being met is to breastfeed on demand for the first year and as long as is mutually desirable. Some time in the second year, the child’s understanding of others’ needs may grow to allow you to gently begin to assert your own needs, your own instincts and your child’s reaction are the best guides here. Breast milk changes with the growing infant and is undoubtedly the best source of nutrition for a young child.

Toddler Years and Beyond

The toddler years are the beginning of individuation and undoubtedly the most challenging for many parents and children. The toddler is becoming aware that they are separate people and their own desires are emerging and taking control of their body, mind, voice and spirit. The age of the tantrum is upon you! How many of us have looked at or partaken in a sort of release therapy? Toddlers should be release therapy practitioners. They are open valves of emotion, they live in the moment and embody the oneness that so many of us are striving for.

Raising toddlers consciously means not crushing this exuberance, whilst guiding your tremendous toddler in the ways of the world, via your own personal boundaries. To parent authentically is to allow your toddler to express themselves within the boundaries you are comfortable with. There is no benefit to the toddler allowing them to climb on your head, while you patiently wait for their exuberance to change to respect, you need to indicate that you have personal boundaries. They are now ready for them. In teaching them that you need your boundaries respected, they will learn to give this respect and expect the same from others; here we have the foundation of respect for self.

Gentle Discipline

Gentle discipline means respecting your toddler as another human being. It does not mean allowing them to walk all over you as this is rarely what the toddler wants or needs. Gentle discipline involves negotiation from a place of empathy with a view to a long-term goal, as opposed to short-term convenience of an obedient toddler with eyes downcast in shame. Shaming and physical punishment/ solitary confinement (time-out) have become the cornerstone of popular discipline. This is what Robin Grille, psychologist and psychotherapist, in his book Parenting for a Peaceful World terms operating in “Socializing Mode”. The socializing mode is characterized by the preoccupation with social norms and producing children who will function well in society, be employable, polite and well mannered. In order to train children it is necessary to curb their natural desires in some way. Every time we employ these conventional methods, we are attempting to “break” our children. An obedient animal has its sprit broken, and every time this happens to a child, a little of them must surely die.

Redirection

If you see your child becoming aggressive, don’t wait for them to hit someone, and then punish them. Intervene, ask if they are feeling angry and tell them it is not acceptable to hit people, but that it is just fine to feel angry and invite them to belt a cushion to alleviate their frustration. This can be great fun!

Negotiation

Invite and employ negotiation. Think about the wonderful skills you are passing on by respecting their desires enough to negotiate. Blind obedience loses its appeal somewhat after about age 10, then we value initiative. Probably one of the few simple formulas: If your child doesn’t want their nappy changed, but it is stinky and you need to go out. You can say: “We have to change your nappy, but would you like to bring this toy with you, or this one?” Or “We have to change your nappy now, but would you like to do it on the change table or on the couch?” This alleviates the monotony a toddler must feel of not being in charge by giving them a choice within your own boundaries. You need to go out now – that is your boundary – so within that, what can you offer?

Allow Expression

Frustration abounds in the toddler years, they are becoming independent in so many ways, but their natural exuberance means that they are often met with opposition from parents and from their own capacity. Allow and encourage tantrums, they are the toddler’s therapy; they are valid expressions and should be honoured. If your child wants chocolate in the middle of shopping and you don’t want her to have it – fair enough! But…she will be upset and though it wouldn’t distress you that much, it is the end of the world for her, so there is no point telling her it’s not! Let her sit on the ground and have a ‘tanty’, really what’s the big deal, be brave and weather the disapproving glances of the old ladies who ‘never would have had that in their day’ or who would ‘have given them short shrift’. Remember, it is children brought up under that paradigm who pack the waiting rooms of therapists, and whose depression levels have hit record levels. Honour your child and focus on your child and you will be amazed at the transformation after she has grieved the chocolate experience that never was.

Look behind the behaviour

It is important that you delve beneath the behaviour presented by your child and always ask, “Why?” A holistic way is to look at the whole child, not just the behaviour you would like to stamp out. What is happening for your child that is making them react in this way? Can you help them? As we all know; it is always better to deal with the cause than the symptom.

Unconditional Parenting

Alfie Kohn has published works including “Unconditional Parenting” on the problems with a system of punishments and rewards. We are not dealing with a rat, which is what behaviourism was based upon. (The faith in a punishment/reward system is based on studies conducted with rats and morsels of food; not humans).

Withholding love and approval sends a message to our children that they are only lovable if they do what we want, what a concerning idea to take to the world! The idea is to ‘work with’ your children to achieve the best consensus for all involved, instead of ‘doing to’ them – in order have your own laws obeyed. For example, a punishment is something you do to your children; instead consider working out a solution that is acceptable to all parties.

Mutual Respect and Authenticity

These are perhaps the most important elements that underpin all aspects of Gentle Discipline. When your child does something that makes you angry tell them so just as you would your partner. Communicate with your child with respect, but with feeling and authenticity. Your children want to know you. Your needs are also important, a self-sacrificing parent is not being authentic and our children can feel it. If you have had enough of reading “Maisy” after the 50th time that day; stop. Offer another suggestion, or just say, I need a break and offer an alternative activity that doesn’t involve you…or Maisy. Your child should respect your threshold, as you should respect theirs.

The bigger picture

Are we parenting today in a manner today that is all about making things easier for parents or are we parenting for healthier conscious children? Is placing six month old babies in full time childcare in the best interests of that child? Are we relinquishing our parental responsibilities over to paid professionals for purely economic reasons? Economics is after all, about the value of “things”. What is the value of a well-loved child throughout his or her lifetime?

There is a millennium of violent, exploitive and sadistic cultural behaviour towards children entrenched in our collective unconscious, and only a handful of sporadic decades that have been characterised by the desire to nurture and value children. Robin Grille prefaces his book by saying, “The key to world peace and sustainability lies in the way we collectively relate to our children.”

This might not be the first occasion in human history on which this idea has been expressed. Today however, groundbreaking research has brought new confirmation to this ancient idea. Our understanding of early childhood development has grown so rapidly in recent years, that we can now say the following with unprecedented confidence: “the human brain and heart that are met primarily with empathy in the critical early years cannot and will not grow to choose a violent or selfish life.” This is Robin Grille. Parenting for A Peaceful World.

There is a link between how we parent our own children and the levels of violence and degradation in our communities. Each moment with our children provides the opportunity to foster respect for self and others, to nurture them with the same enlightened quality of love that you desire in your own life and to above all allow their individual spirit to flourish. When you as a parent are temporarily subsumed by your negative emotions (rage, despair, and the like) find ways to vent these elsewhere away from your children, remembering that in reality they are often just very small children, not the “Toddzillas” they sometimes feel like. As with all moments that seem to be overwhelming remember, “this too will pass.”

There is no future in a return to a spurious golden age of discipline and authoritarian control, as often promulgated by media commentators. This was clearly a time characterised by violence and force. There is no turning back the pages of time and there is no quick fix, raising children consciously is time consuming, challenging and the true consequences of an act of love.

References

Parenting for a Peaceful World

By Robin Grille

Longueville Media 2005

www.our-emotional-health.com

The Continuum Concept

By Jean Liedloff

Penguin Books 2004 reissue

Unconditional Parenting

By Alfie Kohn

Aria Books

The Natural Child – Parenting from the Heart

By Jan Hunt

New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island BC 2001

The Aware Baby : A New Approach to Parenting

By AJ Solter

Shining Star Press, Goleta California 1998

The First Relationship – Infant & Mother

By Daniel N Stern

Harvard University Press 2002.

©Sudha Hamilton

Appeared in WellBeing Magazine

Midas Word

www.sacredchef.com

What is it to be human?

Our Posthuman Future – Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution

By Francis Fukuyama

Profile Books, 2003.

Book Review

A disturbing orange cover, with a picture of what looks like a conveyer belt full of robotic looking babies stretching into infinity, possibly delayed my reading of this brilliant book. Its publication date accidentally synchronised with the birth of my own children and perhaps I was too involved in the real thing to have the time to read about biotechnology and its impact on humanity; well I am glad I finally have. Francis Fukuyama likes to invoke the heavy hitters of philosophy right off and Nietzsche’s ominous quotes are littered throughout at chapter beginnings, I suppose it is called getting your attention. Fukuyama weaves around all over the place  a bit at first, delineating things by way of reference to George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, before settling down and finding his stride. These two books were the two poles of possible fears for Fukuyama’s American baby boomer generation, representing the futuristic totalitarian IT nightmare in the former and the more creepy biotechnological nirvana in the latter. We have of course now arrived into a world where, both the technologies featured in these two books  are part of our reality, and the author goes on throughout his book to show, that it is the biotechnological possibilities of which we have most to fear.

He classifies biotechnology into three major parts: Neuropharmacology; Genetic Engineering; and Lifespan Extension. Beginning with Neuropharmacology Fukuyama paints  a vivid picture of now, in our Western urban worlds, with facts about the prevalence of antidepressant drug use through Prozac and its many SSRI cousins, and even more disturbingly the massive use of Ritalin being prescribed for our children. We are deeply involved in mind and behaviour control on  a societal level through our complacent acceptance of these drugs. Doctors are prescribing antidepressants and amphetamines to men, women and children at an alarming rate. Why is this happening? Why has something like ADHD suddenly gone from not existing at all to enormous levels within our communities? Fukuyama does not take a moralistic tone in his discussion about this but brings the facts and their ramifications into sharp focus. There are various forces at work within these situations: our expectations regarding happiness are very different now to twenty or thirty years ago and our reliance on medical science has been consistently encouraged by governments and the pharmaceutical industry during the last few decades. Economically we are all expected to provide maximum levels of productivity, whether you are a mother or a teacher, we do not have the same amount of time to devote to the care of our children in many cases and we therefore expect our children to be more cooperative at school and at home. When they are not we now classify them as deficient in attention and drug them.

At the same time, as we are officially giving happy pills to a substantial percentage of our population, we are condemning and prosecuting another large section as illegal drug users. You can see the strange hypocrisy in this fact, as Fukuyama points out the similarities, chemically speaking, between  many of these drugs, like Ecstasy  and the SSRI’s, and that Speed is an amphetamine like Ritalin. It is these fine lines of demarcation within our societies, defining what neuropharmacology is really for, that this book explores. Drugs are OK if we are sick but are bad if merely for pleasure and that certain levels of unhappiness then become sickness (depression), as do certain levels of not paying enough attention (ADHD). Who is deciding the points on the scale? Doctors and the medical industry? Don’t they have  a vested interest in all these matters and indeed a trillion dollar interest in pharmacology? A lot of what this book is about, is asking who in our Western civilised worlds should be making these decisions for society and is it really OK to let the market decide? Being an American, Francis Fukuyama is living in the nation, which has the most avaristic culture in the world, especially around technological developments; as we have seen in the IT industry. He postulates that we as a world need to think about the consequences of these biotechnological developments and legislate for them; for our own protection.

Moving on to Genetic Engineering, and the myriad of biotechnological challenges we now and in the very near future face, Fukuyama shepherds in Dolly the Sheep and its obvious pointer to human cloning. Human cloning is currently banned in most countries and faces a huge amount of legal discussion, as to the rights of  a clone within our societies. The whole genetic question raises the unholy spectre of Eugenics and the Nazis experiments on the weak and their racially judged inferiors. It was not only in Germany and Japan, where these ghastly experiments went on, scientists in the US in a Jewish hospital infected the chronically ill with cancer cells, in another case it was mentally retarded children with hepatitis and the more famous case (they made a movie about it) of 400 black men, many of whom were purposely not treated for syphilis with available medication to record the diseases progression. Fukuyama’s book indicates that this whole racial genetic argument is still very much alive in the US and that the nurture versus nature questions splits the sciences down the middle on political grounds. He states that the Left have always come down on the side of environmental factors affecting intelligence levels within races – not enough to eat so the brain doesn’t develop – where the Right have been firmly on the side of white people being genetically superior in terms of intelligence. Reading all this myself I wondered about the tests being utilised in all this so called intelligence testing, the criteria for intelligence and how it is judged? Scientists, politicians and bureaucrats all testing on the basis of their own preconceived ideas about what it is to be intelligent in a predominantly white Anglo Saxon culture. And even beyond questions of race what is intelligence anyway, is it IQ or Emotional Intelligence or Spiritual Intelligence?

The horrors of rational fascistic science have lodged in the cultural consciousness and so there is a justifiable amount of fear around Genetic Engineering. In contrast to this are the things we now can do about diseases and conditions like cystic fibrosis and Down’s syndrome, which are now being screened for with preimplantation genetic diagnosis. The extension of this will be designer babies, where technology again offers the graduation from avoidance of sickness to ideas of perfection. Introducing questions of who will be able to afford it and will this become the province of the rich, thus increasing the gulf between the haves and have nots?  The author emphasises again that governments must play their part in making sure that genetic engineering does not disadvantage the already disadvantaged within our communities; and goes further to suggest that it could indeed be a technology used to improve things for these sections of the community. Fukuyama recommends international bodies for the guidance of biotechnology and offers the examples in the nuclear industry as proof of possible efficacy in this regard. The dangers of the nuclear industry (as seen by the crisis currently in Japan) are, I think he is inferring, on par with the dangers inherent in the biotechnology sphere.

Francis Fukuyama talks a lot about what it means to be human and the essential qualities of humanness. He invokes Aristotle and a whole pantheon of philosophers and moral judges in answering this question. In the end I think he comes down on the side of feeling, that it is our human feelings which define us as human. So we have the harsh and hostile world of Darwinian evolution and the men in white lab coats on one hand and the subjective consciousness of the feeling world on the other, his book may be an informed cry for help. An Achtung before it is too late and we have sold our humanness for bigger boobs, and smarter and taller, better looking kids. Stem cell therapy and the use of research involving embryos are or have been hot topics recently, with governments voting on legislation, and often doing so as votes of conscience rather than on party policy grounds. The ability to grow new cells and possibly limbs and other organs for the sick versus the rights of the unborn. This takes us back to abortion and how that is still used in many Eastern countries as a genetic engineering tool in favour of males over females in the human species. Abortion is a very volatile topic in the US especially, and anything to do with it opens up that great religious divide and debate. The genetic engineering argument embraces the scientist’s pragmatic view that if we are terminating unwanted pregnancies, and also if there are extra embryos left over from IVF, then we should be using these for embryonic stem cell research. Against this we have the Right To Life religious organisations and also non-religious anti-biotechnology groups, who see this work as a corruption of the rights of the individual, which opens the question –  at what age do we become human?

The third part of this whole dilemma, according to Fukuyama, is science’s work in prolonging our life expectancies. The twentieth century has seen the life expectancies raised in women from 46.3 and men from 48.3, in the US in 1900, to that of 79.9 for women and 74.2 for men in the year 2000. The author points out, when you combine this with falling birth rates in most Western countries we are now facing  a rapidly changing age demographic, meaning that fewer young people will be supporting many more older and infirm people in our communities and economies. In addition to the well publicised affect this will have on social security systems, there will be further ramifications with a growing divide internationally, with developing nations with higher birth rates having younger population demographics; more angry young men. Fukuyama posits that the US will have a decidedly older and more feminine population, as women live longer, and that this will contrast politically with their dealings with these young countries (I think it more likely to be a good thing as grandma is less likely to bomb people). Our Posthuman Future goes onto list many of the possible scenarios related to these population and demographic shifts related to life span extension, and in particular talks about our attitudes to the elderly, facing challenges; when we are forced to care for them on mass and they are taking our jobs – (which the baby boomers have been doing for years in Australia LOL). Fukuyama spells out the medical facts about prolonging life spans and that quality of life experience will not necessarily accompany this extension; and that our cultural worshipping of youth is very much about sexual reproductivity. Lives lived for the majority of years as aged, and non-reproductively,  will present clear cultural and psychological challenges for the participants and for all those around them. Medical science is taking us all down this path because nobody really wants to die and wants to see their parents die, and euthanasia is feared by many within our societies. We do and will need to have these discussions about death and what it means to have a life, beyond the ‘hands off’ and keep everything alive for as long as possible, which is the  current position of governments and medical science. I think we as a community will have to grow up and religions will need to pull their heads out of the sands of two millennia ago – which is when their religious texts were written.

Francis Fukuyama, being an American and working in the US education system, as the Professor of International Political Economy at John Hopkins University, in my opinion shies away from stressing the very large part that the free market in our capitalist economy plays in this. Despite the fact that the overall message of his book is that we need impartial democratic government bodies policing biotechnology, I still think the author misses out on emphasising the fact, that we as a society leave  a great deal of medical science in the hands of a market intent on making as much money as possible out of whatever situation they find or create. Our democratically elected representatives in government are too dependent on popular decisions and election campaign dollars from the pharmaceutical industry. Our scientists are equally dependent on private enterprise funded research grants and even the scientific journals, which publish the reports, are dependent on big pharma advertising dollars. If we value the dollar over everything else how will we ever get any impartiality in any decision making body and if every government department is only potentially lasting four or five years how can we carry out any far reaching legislation?

This is a really worthwhile and enjoyable book to read, drawing on our great Western philosophical canon to pose many of the questions, we as a society face in regard to the biotechnological revolution.

©Sudha Hamilton

What is the Wellness Industry?

Heading: What is the Wellness Industry?

Subheading: A look at the health system.

There has been of late, a great deal of talk about the new – “wellness industry” – and I think it might be useful to establish what some of its defining aspects are.

Looking back historically, humanity has always been interested in its own mortality, how to preserve it, improve it and prolong it. At the same time, these primary urges have also often provoked an economic response, as those with the knowledge and/or skills to heal, have sought to be remunerated for their services. A fare exchange being the bedrock upon which we have based our capitalist system, and which allows those so inclined to practice their specialised craft.

For the last hundred years, or so, the state sponsored health industry in our country has been the exclusive domain of those trained via the allopathic school of medicine (defined as the use of opposites in treating disease* and is commonly referred to as ‘modern medicine”). A consequence of this proliferation of a “one school” specialised approach, has been the dis empowerment of the individual in his or her responsibility for their own health. Our failure, to include a greater emphasis on health and wellbeing, when educating our young has further removed the individual’s ability to manage his or her own health.

However, despite some magnificent breakthroughs in the treatment of diseases such as childhood  leukemia, heart disease and many more, there has been a growing general disaffection with modern medicine and its inability to treat chronic illnesses. Perhaps also in part due to its failure to respectfully deal with the mind, as distinct from the body, and science’s continuing inability to understand human consciousness; but also in it’s arrogant dismissal of alternative healing approaches. Modern medicine is after all a big business, and like many big businesses, it prefers a monopoly to competition for those health dollars. Funded by large pharmaceutical corporations it treads a precarious path in its bid to fulfill its Hippocratic oath,** and not be swayed by the often unseen lure of filthy lucre.

It is the general overview of the modern medical/pharmaceutical behemoth, that there will be a pharmacological cure/treatment for every disease/medical condition, if you can find or fabricate the right drug/ingredient. Whether this premise is indeed correct, or not, cannot hide the fact that for many people the current crop of available pharmaceutical drugs is not the panacea that they are searching for right now. Many in the community (a recent Victorian survey confirmed up to two thirds surveyed had consulted an alternative non-allopathic practitioner) have turned away from the local GP, prescribing pain killers and antibiotics, in search of an alternative, that is possibly more inclusive and often gives them more time, care and understanding. In response to this market led shift away from complete dominance of the health industry there has been some small cross fertilisation by doctors learning acupuncture, naturopathy, homeopathy and the like – and the renaming of alternative health as complementary health (proving in business that if you cannot eradicate your competition then the next best thing is to incorporate them into your own business).

This just about puts us where we are, at the beginning of the 21C, and in the midst of a trend or movement toward wellness or preventative medicine, where a growing proportion of the population are self-medicating with vitamins, minerals, supplements and organic food. This is generally, I believe, in the hope that they will avoid many of the diseases, that their parents and grandparents have fallen foul of, and indeed beyond that- to live longer and better lives. Enter the wellness industry with its rapidly growing nutriceutical manufacturers, associated bodies representing natural practitioners, natural health media and a host of astute businesses, recognising a hugely expanding market, that have jumped on the band wagon.

As in many sections within the business community, you can find a mixture of motivating reasons why these people are involved in this particular industry: personal commitments based on health issues that have affected themselves or a close family member; vocational destiny; avarice, pure chance and a combination of the above. However, as more and more existing companies seek to align themselves with this push toward health, the number of people, who will find themselves working in a health related field, will continue to grow exponentially; and these people will need to be educated beyond their current level of knowledge.

The recognition and accreditation, recently achieved by many of the natural health educational institutions, is tantamount to this fact. The establishment of the Complementary Healthcare Council, under the direction of the Therapeutic Goods Administration, and the ever growing legislative requirements of this body- is further testament to the size and recognition of the natural health industry. Recent problems, best illustrated by the Pan Vitamin Crisis, saw the largest recall of vitamins ever seen in this country. Hundreds of lines of vitamin supplements were recalled, in defiance of the fact, that Pan, was also a manufacturer of pharmaceuticals, and that the Travacalm product, which caused the serious complaints, which led to the TGA action, was actually a pharmaceutical item. This disturbing incident has created a certain unease within the general public and I am sure has had long lasting negative implications for the industry.

However it seems regulation is necessary, and for the industry to continue to grow, certain requirements will need to be met. History shows, that pioneers, who establish new industries will often resent government interference at first, but that it is part and parcel of the natural evolution from small to big business. Of course many of the vitamin manufacturers are primarily pharmaceutical companies, who have developed the vitamins as a side line or who recognising the market growth have bought in. It does raise certain questions about their positions on the Complementary Healthcare Council and could be seen to be somewhat compromised. Who are they representing, and what hat are they wearing, when decisions affecting both the highly regulated pharmaceutical industry and the traditionally less regulated natural health supplement industry are being made. It is in my view, always a shame, when the expense of regulation moves an industry out of the financial reach of many of those who wish to take part in it, but the upside of this is the removal of many of the so called “snake oil” salesmen who inhabit it (the future possibility that snake oil is found to actually contain the ingredients of some wonder drug would render this metaphor obsolete). Welcome to the wellness industry.

* whereas homeopathy uses minute doses of substances that create similar effects to the existing symptoms of the condition.

**Hippocratic Oath — Classical Version

I swear by Apollo Physician and Asclepius and Hygieia and Panaceia and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will fulfil according to my ability and judgment this oath and this covenant:

To hold him who has taught me this art as equal to my parents and to live my life in partnership with him, and if he is in need of money to give him a share of mine, and to regard his offspring as equal to my brothers in male lineage and to teach them this art – if they desire to learn it – without fee and covenant; to give a share of precepts and oral instruction and all the other learning to my sons and to the sons of him who has instructed me and to pupils who have signed the covenant and have taken an oath according to the medical law, but no one else.

I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice.

I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.

I will not use the knife, not even on sufferers from stone, but will withdraw in favor of such men as are engaged in this work.

Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief and in particular of sexual relations with both female and male persons, be they free or slaves.

What I may see or hear in the course of the treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of men, which on no account one must spread abroad, I will keep to myself, holding such things shameful to be spoken about.

If I fulfil this oath and do not violate it, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and art, being honored with fame among all men for all time to come; if I transgress it and swear falsely, may the opposite of all this be my lot.

Translation from the Greek by Ludwig Edelstein. From The Hippocratic Oath: Text, Translation, and Interpretation, by Ludwig Edelstein. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1943.

©Sudha Hamilton

School Yard Bullying

Eco Living Magazine presents:

The Underlying Impacts of School Yard Bullying

By Anne Matheson

Kerry, a client of many years, but this time she came to see me, not for herself – but for Florence her 6 year old daughter.  Flo had experienced school yard bullying and was very traumatised by the whole experience.  Neither Kerry, her husband, nor their other daughter (who was at the same school) had any idea that the bullying had been going on for months.  The first hints were when Flo started to say she was sick in the stomach or the head and did not want to go to school.  The whole story came out when Flo ran crying to her sister in the playground.

Even though the school had a ‘bullying policy’, the culture of the classroom did not create an environment where Flo felt comfortable enough to say something to her teacher or her parents.  Flo’s trauma was significant enough for her parents to keep her out of school for the rest of the term. She would start at a different school the following term.  The new school understood the situation and Flo was going into a small class with an experienced teacher, who would be able to monitor Flo’s emotional behaviour.

To help her deal with the problem her parents had encouraged her to talk about how she felt and to get angry with what had happened.  She would freely express that she was miserable, and people didn’t like her – and that she felt her life was bad and would never get better.  No improvement was noted from the release and she felt no hope for the future. Her previous energetic, enthusiastic character had been replaced by a sad and pessimistic child at a critical point in her development – and one that could shape her approach to life.

In infancy, we share our mother’s energy field, with the terrible two’s marking the beginning of the individuation process. From age 2 until around age 8 children are connected to the ‘primary mothering energy’. (From then until around puberty they are connected to the ‘primary fathering energy’). During their connection to the primary mothering energy, children learn about their own self-worth, developing their self-esteem later with their primary fathering energy.  Self-worth and self-esteem are absolutely fundamental to our emotional and psychological health as adults.

During our first years of interaction within the broader community, we start to shape many of the beliefs that we have developed and inherited from our family.  Our experience at this stage will either reinforce or alter the basic psychological mechanisms that we have already developed for moving through the world.  These determine our beliefs. Do we see the world as scary? How will we react to criticism? How do we create forms of self protection? How do we react to power and authority? What is our relationship with trust? Do we believe we can be happy?

As life is experienced within the cocoon of developing self-worth, our experiences are measured against, and impact on, the development of self-worth.  It is as if we continually ask ourselves ‘am I worthy enough or not at this moment?’

It is also in these years that self-pity emerges as a mechanism for self-protection.  Self-pity is the most common of defence mechanisms and generally is the cry of ‘poor me’ and leads to a whole range of dysfunctional patterns in life.  This insidious defence mechanism can also involve the self absorption of feeling unworthy – (when it’s all about YOU being good enough or not). This can further descend into becoming a Victim or a Martyr in life or being a Blamer or a Struggler with life.

In Flo, these defence mechanisms were beginning to form. Saying that she was ‘sick in the head or stomach’ as a way of not going to school, shows that she has developed effective means of protecting herself from attack. Being sick is now positioned in her sub-conscious as a way of protecting herself from the unpleasantness or upsets of life.

Her level of self-worth is being negatively impacted, and her beliefs about the world are being shaped and re-shaped.  The risk is that she will have implanted beliefs that she is’ not good enough’ and ‘not worthy of having friends’, that ‘school is not enjoyable and fun’, that the ‘future is not something you can look forward to’, that ‘you cannot change things in your life for the better’.  The potential is there for Flo to develop a pessimistic, hopeless and powerless view of life.

So what to do. Firstly, her parents responded well, by taking decisive action and taking her seriously, she felt comfortable that they were there to defend and protect her.  Flo has had the experience that she has power in her life; that when she spoke up she was believed, and the situation changed, and she was no longer being threatened.  Having Flo talk about the issue is critical to her learning to express her feelings.  However, she seemed to have become fixated on the negative and so was not releasing the emotion.  It was also important not to create drama, so that she doesn’t ‘learn’ that melodrama is the best way of getting attention.

I suggested that Kerry start Flo on a program of vibrational essences – one for releasing the anger she still harboured and another for the pessimism and sadness; one to be taken in the morning and the other in the evening.  When she started the new school, it was important to monitor her and see how she was coping, and if necessary to use a third essence for any sense of worry or crisis she might experience.

Kerry reported back after Flo had been at the new school for 2 weeks.  The essences had worked well and she had stopped fixating on the negative experience.  Apart from a little nervousness on the first day, and a lack of enthusiasm in the first week, she had settled in well – and said that she loved her new school and her new teacher.  Kerry and her family were overjoyed that Flo had her joy and optimism back, and was full of enthusiasm and life again.

©Eco Living Magazine.

Eco Living Magazine

Midas Word

A2 Milk Different White Stuff

Eco Living Magazine presents:

Mad, bad and dangerous to eat the series

A2 Milk Different White Stuff

With The Sacred Chef

INTRO: A few years ago; ‘milk was milk’, it came in funny shaped glass bottles and was delivered by a milkman, (who was rumoured to be infamously linked with extramarital activities), and who would run along behind the truck carrying the clinking milk bottles in their crates.

Then, along came the momentous choice between full fat milk and low fat milk; and glass milk bottles went the way of the dodo. Nowadays, producers are adding so much stuff into milk that it is hard to keep up – omega 3 fatty acids, added calcium, vitamin D, in addition to coffee, chocolate, banana and other flavours. ‘Low fat’ has been joined by ‘no fat’ and milk comes in a variety of cartons and plastic bottles. So, today a trip around the supermarket and up the dairy aisle entails a whole lot more choosing time than it once did.

If you really think about the simplicity of where it all came from – over there is the cow and here is a bucket and you pull on these…. Well now there is a whole new kind of cow’s milk to think about called A2, and this is an essentially different type of milk than everyone else’s. Humour aside, this is probably the most important development in the understanding of one of our most cherished consumer foods. We drink a lot of cow’s milk and we give our kids a lot of cow’s milk products, and if there is a concern about it; we should all be informed.

There are two main forms of the important cow’s milk protein, beta casein, found in the cows’ milk that you drink. These two forms are known as A1 and A2 beta casein. The A2 form of beta casein has been identified by scientific research to be the original form of beta casein that would have been produced by cows thousands of years ago. Every litre of milk contains about two teaspoons of beta-casein, usually a mix between A1 and A2.  A2 is the original type but over time a natural mutation occurred in some European cattle, and A1 beta-casein developed, says Keith Woodford, professor of farm management and agribusiness at Lincoln University in New Zealand, and the author of a book on the subject:  Devil in the Milk.

According to Woodford, the genetic difference between the two beta-caseins is tiny, but the difference in outcome is enormous. “The beta-casein has 209 amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) and the difference between A1 and A2 is just one of these,” he says.

A1 milk beta-casein has been linked to allergies, type 1 diabetes, heart conditions and more recently some psychological conditions, such as Asperger’s Syndrome, Autism and Schizophrenia. For more info on these issues or to see details of the Devil in the Milk by Keith Woodford visit www.unireps.com.au

A2 milk is not genetically modified. It’s not that the A1 protein is taken out later: it’s that it was never there! The milk used in A2 branded milk is taken only from cows that produce the A2 form of beta casein.

Make Your Own A2 Yoghurt


Sterilize all bowls, utensils or yogurt maker (internal container) before starting. You can sterilize them in the dishwasher or boil them for 5-10 minutes.

What do you need:

*           2 litres of A2 Full Fat Milk

*           1 teaspoon dairy-free acidophilus

*           thermometer

Method:

1.     Bring milk to just under boiling point, and then pour the milk into a glass or earthenware dish. Let the milk cool to about 42°C.

2.     Prepare starter by combining acidophilus powder with 3 tablespoons A2 Milk (at room temperature).

3.     Pour the starter mixture into the milk carefully without disturbing the skin that may have formed on the surface of the milk.

4.     Cover with a cloth, place in a warm, draft-free place for 8 to 12 hours or overnight, and do not disturb it until the yoghurt thickens.

5.     Drain any excess liquid and store in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.

To make your yoghurt a thicker consistency

1.     Remove the skin on the surface of the yoghurt you’ve just made.

2.     Pour the yoghurt into a muslin bag.

3.     Hang the bag over a bowl and let drain for about 2 hours or until the desired thickness is obtained.

Serve with fresh berries or passionfruit; stir a little maple syrup through for an added treat.

©Eco Living Magazine.

Eco Living Magazine

Midas Word

Tantric Sex or Tantra

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:

For Men

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

Midas Word

Lotus Birth

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.

Books:
“Lotus Birth” – (AUS) by Shivam Rachana is available from Greenwood Press
“Prenatal Yoga & Natural Birth” – (USA) Jeannine Parvati Baker

Australian Websites:
http://www.purebirth-australia.com/lotusbirth/lotusbirth.html
www.joyousbirth.info
www.pregnancy.com.au

Websites:
www.lotusbirth.com
www.lotusfertility.com

©Eco Living Magazine

Eco Living Magazine

Midas Word

Probiotics – Fermenting for life.

Eco Living Magazine presents:

Heading: Probiotics – Fermenting For Life.

By Sudha Hamilton

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

Midas Word

Retreats and Spas – The new holiday.

Eco Living Magazine presents:

Heading: Retreats and Spas – The New Holiday.

By Sudha Hamilton

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

Midas Word

Eco Living Healthy Skin Heroes

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

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

SkinThings

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

Vitale Natural

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

Coonawarra Lavender

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

Midas Word

Aphrodisiacs in Food

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

Ingredients

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.

Method:

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

Ingredients:

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.

Method:

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

Midas Word

Foodmatters

Theta Healing

Eco Living Magazine presents:

Heading: A Calling To Heal

Theta Healing Understanding Miracles.

Sudha Hamilton speaks with Mark Anthony Australia’s leading Theta Healing Instructor.

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

Midas Word

Preconception Care

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

Midas Word

Aspartame – Poisons in our food chain.

Eco Living Magazine presents:

Heading:  Mad, Bad and dangerous to eat…

The “Poisons in our food chain” Series.

Part 1 Aspartame

By Sudha Hamilton

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

Midas Word

Chemical Free Cleaning at Home

Eco Living Magazine presents:

Heading: Clean & Green- Chemical Free Cleaning at Home

Subheading: Would you bathe in your bathroom cleaner??

By Lesley-Ann Trow

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

Midas Word

Colon Hydrotherapy

Eco Living Magazine presents:

Colon Hydrotherapy

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 diedre@dynamichealthsolutions.com.au

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

Midas Word

Lungs Fit For Life

Eco Living Magazine presents:

Heading: Lungs Fit For Life

Subheading: Power Breathe Review

By Sudha Hamilton

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.

Eco Living Magazine

Midas Word

Eco Living Magazine

Welcome to Eco Living Magazine’s Blog.

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