Heading: Emotional Healing.
Subheading: Af-x Release Therapy.
What first attracted me to Af-x Release Therapy©, was the notion of respect for our own mind’s ability to heal ourselves, inherent within its philosophy. Here, it seemed, was a process that put the onus on self-responsibility, instead of the almighty therapist. Having tried numerous therapies, I now have a greater respect for anything that puts me in touch with my own wisdom, rather than something that makes me dependent on someone or something else. It intrigued me, too, when I was told there would be only three sessions and I would not be required to speak much in any of them. This was definitely like no counselling I’d had before.
A Zen-like flavour pervaded my encounter with Af-x’s founding practitioner, Ian White, with few words on my part and from him a confidence in my ability to “right my own mental and emotional cart.” The silence growing within me was a welcome change from the usual chatter as I listened to him outlining the coming sessions. Why was I here? I suppose you could call it mild depression. I was also interested in experiencing this therapy. Closing my eyes and sitting back in my chair, I opened my mind to the words being spoken to me.
Af-x Release Therapy© is based on the work of the School of Affectology, developed by Australian psychotherapist, Ian White. Its roots are in studies are in studies of early childhood and the discovery that we develop a subtle emotional sense well before we begin to think conceptually. In the period of birth to 18 months, we’re developing our feeling selves long before we learn words and how to think in a narrative way. We learn what feeling responses work for us and this is the basis of the development of our emotions. This information is stored by the limbic brain, there to be called on when we require an emotional response. The process is referred to as neuro-encoding. Many of the scientific studies of this early learning period are covered in books by Goleman, Damasio, LeDoux and others.
“Of course, our affect -meaning emotional reactions, are immediate and don’t allow us to think about them because they are happening at a subconscious level – the reactions defy our rational selves,” says Ian. “Through this we build a habit of feeling, that eventually grows into our own unconscious sense of self.” Af-x Release Therapy© predicates that these first learning’s have a powerful influence on how we react emotionally throughout our life, often without realising why. As these feelings are experienced pre-verbally, it is, Ian’s view, ineffective for the client to attempt to “talk it out.” “What is important is to allow the client to focus on, and safely reach, that inner feeling space, and it’s only through silence and a quietening of the mind’s chatter that this is possible,” says Ian. “Once there, the subconscious mind’s own sophisticated self-correcting gear is available to a simple ‘reminder like’ suggestion.”
“So isn’t this just hypnotherapy?” I put to Ian. “I prefer to use the term ‘assisted self attention’, or ‘focus on feelings’, as it’s not necessary for the client to be in any particular state for the process to work, and the term ‘self attention’ also describes the meditative state, which I think is a closer fit for this work,” responds Ian. “Also, what is integral to understand here is that, unlike hypnotherapists and all other counsellors and psychotherapists, we are not responding to a particular complaint voiced by the client, because of course the client has not said anything. The Af-x practitioner is appealing to the client’s own innate ability as a perfect being to make the necessary adjustments to their emotional self.”
As I hear these words and ruminate on being a ‘perfect being,’ memories of my own spiritual journey filter into consciousness. I remember being told stories by my spiritual ‘master’ about how insanity was dealt with in the East, in the time of Lao Tzu; how the suffere would be locked in a cell in complete darkness with no contact with any other person, meals being slipped under the door. It sounded barbaric but, apparently, it was often a quick cure as the inflamed mental state was not pandered to and an encounter with the”original face or self” was hard to avoid. The strict adherence of the client to the no-speaking approach in Af-x therapy and the self-attention consciousness of the meditative state ring a few bells for me, so I am not surprised to learn that Ian White trained as a Zen Bukkyo monk in his earlier years.
“Yes, I sat in Zasen in black hakama robes, being whacked on the back with an oak walking stick by the senior monk and scrubbing a sterile, perfectly clean floor over and over again, and all that other exciting stuff, but I never really took to it because it didn’t deal with my impatience about helping bring peace to my fellow person,” says White.
It is perhaps that focus that has led Ian to a life devoted to assisting in the healing of thousands through the development and refinement of Af-x Release Therapy©. Through the School of Affectology, Ian White has trained Af-x practitioners in Australia, the US and Europe. He and those who are using the therapy in their work have had particular success in dealing with those apparently suffering from the many forms of depression, as well as a host of other mental-emotional problems. Ian says, “One of the most important aspects of the Af-x approach is that we do not consider that ongoing psychotherapy is productive in changes for the better. In fact, ongoing therapy actually gets in the way of people making the mental and emotional change choices that bring about success.”
“How do you monitor whether three sessions are enough or are effective at all?” I ask.
“Over the past 10 years, every Af-x client has been asked to participate in a feedback system,” Ian ventures. “Questionnaires are sent out guaranteeing that the client’s responses will remain confidential and anonymous. We just get the pure data and so we know in the majority of cases that it is working.”
Many ex-clients have come forward to volunteer their personal stories about their experiences with Af-x. It’s through this process that I am able to read through testimonials from clients who have visited an Af-x practitioner. Although these people range widely in age and circumstance, there’s a common theme, which runs through their experiences. In nearly all cases, they were previously informed by health professionals that they were suffering from depression, panic attacks or stress and required medication. One testimonial in particular caught my attention – “Lisa’s Story.” I think it was because, being a teenager, Lisa (not her real name) conveyed her situation with that rawness and emotional honesty often seen in her age group.
Lisa’s Story (age 17)
“For many years I suffered from what is known as clinical depression, a diagnosis I received from psychiatrists and doctors. From the early days of my problem, I was prescribed various antidepressants. I also suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. During this time, I thought about suicide on many occasions. Life seemed to be of no use, no purpose, and I didn’t want to spend the rest of it living in the big black hole I seemed to exist in. I felt lost and alone. No one knew how to help me. Of course, many people tried to help, but for a long while I suffered alone, thinking I was beyond help; just willing myself to die. On more than one occasion, I attempted to take my life, never thinking I could find any solutions to getting any better than just coping from day to day, taking drugs and lashing out at everyone and everything around me.
“My friends and family were desperate for my recovery. Endless visits to the school counsellor seemed to make no difference. I spent many months ‘in therapy’ with a psychiatrist. Same outcome. Those many years of taking antidepressants and even alternative natural medication resulted in no answer. In fact, things were getting steadily worse. Quite apart from my depressive sickness, there was a steadily increasing pressure on me to get better. Pressure that people who had no idea of the loneliness of me applied. I know they had the best intentions, but they didn’t know they were adding incredibly to my burden.
“Then my parents heard about Ian White and his work, which he called Af-x therapy. My parents had no idea how it worked and, quite incorrectly, translated it to me as being ‘hypnotherapy.’ This, of course, didn’t help my expectations and I was opposed to the idea of seeing him from the start. In fact, I was very sceptical about the idea, I thought it would be another case of crazy person with crazy antics claiming to have all the answers. For this reason, I refused the treatment.
“After months of my family pleading with me to ‘give it a go’, I reluctantly agreed. In all honesty, that was merely to stop the pleading and give me an excuse to say to them, ‘See, this didn’t work, either!’ I walked into his rooms, making it very obvious that I didn’t want to be there and I was only there to ‘shut everybody up’. Of course, I was determined to derail anything he was going to try with me. As a result of my many visits to other counsellors and therapists, I was certain I knew how to handle him to my own ends.
“But I was very surprised at his approach. Now, in hindsight, I would say I was pleasantly surprised. Ian was lovely and considerate of the fact that I had been pressured to undergo treatment. He talked about that pressure right from the outset and gave the impression that he knew all about how I felt about ‘everybody trying to tell me what’s best for me’. He made me feel very comfortable and relaxed and told me I was ‘the boss’. In other words, he did not do or say anything I was uncomfortable with and I was given no reason to oppose the idea of going ahead with helping myself out of the dilemma.
“He explained the procedures of Af-x very clearly, removing any idea that there was ‘a mystery’ about what he had to offer. Ian explained he didn’t want me to talk unless I wanted to ask a general question about the treatment. He explained why it was important for me not to try to put my problems into words. That was a great relief, because I had been trying unsuccessfully to put my problems into words for years. I had always left counsellors’ offices wondering whether I had really explained things in a truthful way.
“After my third session I thanked Ian for his time and walked away wondering when and if I would notice any change. In some ways, even though I had enjoyed my time in the therapy, I still couldn’t see how it could help to ‘say nothing’ and ‘take notice of my self’. I did what Ian suggested and tried not to analyse what we had done in therapy. As a matter of fact, I tended to forget I had gone to see him.
“About a month later, I stated to feel very strong, physically and emotionally, and I decided to stop taking medication for my depression. I had depended on that medication for such a long time, that there was a part of me that seemed to be saying, ‘Well, I’ll stop taking it and that’ll prove that I can do without it.’ But that didn’t happen. I started to notice that my energy levels were gradually rising and my desire for sleep was declining. I also started to notice I had a calmer and less aggressive approach to negative situations. My friends, my family and my teachers all noticed and commented on this change. I no longer felt a need to resolve my problems with violence, verbal or otherwise, and for the first time in my life I felt happy. Although I did not understand how the therapy worked, I remember on many occasions, the things he said and explained came back to me in those moments when I once would have become depressed or lost my temper.
“Today, eight months after my therapy, I am still not taking medication, I’m attending the gym three times a week and I seem to not react to things as I used to- angrily. I receive compliments all the time on how much I have improved in all areas of my life. At times, these comments are about changes that I think are obvious, but sometimes I’m surprised that people have noticed some of the more gentle changes to who I am. I feel like I have eventually found myself, and found the person inside that I once used to be, and found the person I can be.”
The idea that we can undergo change without analysing it, talking it through and even intellectually understanding that change is baffling for many people. In many of the volunteered stories I read the most common response was: “I don’t know how this thing worked but it did.” Ian White talks about ‘re-education’, that the work of Af-x Release Therapy© is all about re-educating our early emotional selves. This is subtle stuff and it doesn’t employ any high tech gadgetry….well, except, that is, for the most sophisticated gadget of all, the human mind. Perhaps as we evolve further we will learn to value the finer workings of the human brain. At present, our models of our own consciousness are computers, which in truth are terribly inadequate.
For many people, the whole purpose of their visit to a counsellor is to pour out their problems, so this ban on words can be a major deterrent. Ian explains it’s absolutely vital to the success of the therapy: “As soon as you listen to their story you are complicit in their world paradigm – the half truths, the snippets of pseudo self-help theories they’ve picked up and applied to their own situation; and you are caught in their web with them. The Af-x practitioner comes clean to the table and bypasses all this completely, working directly with the subconscious emotional mind.” White likens this process to the Zen therapeutic approach of “holding the mirror firmly.”
After speaking with Ian for many hours about his past training and personal experiences, I begin to get a picture of how this therapy has come into being. The development of Affectology has been a constant evolution of a work that began with a desire to understand the qualities of consciousness. Having at its core a profound respect for the ‘perfection’ of humankind, it’s a therapy for a conscious age. Also, at that core seems to be a deep concern for the way society believes many of the damaging myths about our mental and emotional wellbeing.
How was it for me? I experienced an upsurge of self-belief immediately after the sessions, which I had over a three week period. My self esteem, which had been low, due to a failed relationship that had ended some 16 months before, felt markedly stronger at the conclusion of the sessions. While I was suffering only a low level of depression, the results were gentle and subtle, yet definite. As for curing ‘the human condition’, Ian White maintains strongly that our human condition is already perfect but needs some guidance for reflective emotional and mental healing. That’s the nature of Af-x Release Therapy©.
There are now a number of practitioners who have been trained by the School of Affectology in Australia, the US and Sweden. Ian White is currently in Greece, training practitioners in Athens.
Appeared in WellBeing Magazine.
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.
Quick and Easy – Transformation Guaranteed!
We have all seen these words splashed across advertisements, books, and websites; and heard them coming out of the mouths of sales people everywhere. There are doctors, naturopaths, therapists, and other ‘so called’ health professionals, extracting dollars through the promotion of pills, courses and products – all claiming to do the hard work for you. Well it’s not true! There are no quick fixes in health, weight loss, and just about anywhere else in life. Ask yourself honestly, have you ever really taken a pill and instantly achieved whatever it claimed to do for you? Of course not, occasionally they have been an accessory and encouragement on the road to your goals – a bit like gym clothes really.
If you want a few guidelines in life that really stack up, this is point one – there are no quick fixes. Now immediately you have one structure in your life to guide you away from delusional situations, involving those who claim to be able to facilitate change in your life, instantly and without some sacrifice. This is not a case of mere exploitation with you and me as the victims; no we are actively involved in the whole fraud, because we want a quick fix too- as we do not want to do the necessary hard work to achieve change. We want to have our cake and eat it too – and we want to be thin and attractive at the same time, as we want to stuff our faces with cake. This is the modern dilemma of humankind in the consumerist age.
Quick and easy meals! Just 4 ingredients! Dinner in 5 minutes! Cookbooks around the globe are emblazoned with these headlines. What is the mass appeal of this message saying about us? Well maybe that we don’t enjoy cooking and that we would rather be doing something else. There are a number of issues here of course – mothers who are traditionally coerced into cooking meals for an often unappreciative family audience; singles who would rather work or play elsewhere and do not enjoy cooking for one; and those who do not know their tastebuds from their haemorrhoids, to name a few. However health is derived from a good nutritional diet and if we continue to take the easy option, popping a few multi-vitamin pills to prop up our neglected nutritional selves, we are heading for a state of disease. Quick and easy cancer in just a few years!
Become a Reiki master in 3 days! Learn to heal your emotional self in one weekend! Re-birthing in a single session! Wow when I flick through the pages of the monthly, throwaway, holistic journals I can see how easy it all really is. World hunger, victims of the devastation of war and suffering watch out – there is a Reiki master waving his hands right now. Refugees from the war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq, where our Australian soldiers are fighting now, are however not benefitting from these ads for instant transformation – in fact they cannot even get into our country.
Horny goat weed; fat blaster; tiger penis; snake oil – products packaged and sold in pharmacies, multi-level marketing pyramids, and TCM shops around the globe – all promising transformation in exchange for money. The health industry! We have doctors and pharmaceutical companies (who now own all the vitamin producers) on one side, ready to chop you up and medicate you with anti-depressants, and on the other side we have a mish-mash, containing a few good hearted healers interspersed with the providores of the all natural, quick fix, in various forms. The former bunch do not respect you at all and see you as meat, muscle and bone and the latter are predominantly ineffectual and unrealistic in their claims for you and for themselves – because in many cases their training has been as inadequate as the one they are now selling to you.
All however is not lost. Put down the newspaper, magazine, and mouse. Close your eyes and ask yourself – really ask yourself, where do I go next? What is the next step for me? How can I heal myself? Keep asking the questions – this is no quick and easy solution. Meditate upon them and follow your fears into the unknown. It may take a lifetime but the journey is worth taking, and really you don’t have a choice anyway. It’s your life after all!
Eco Living Magazine presents:
Barack Obama: The West’s new white knight
Barack Obama’s Presidency has come to represent, to many people around the globe, the hope for a new future based on fairer principles – after a dark time of ignorance and fear induced US international policy. With the US still seen as the world’s pre-eminent economic and military superpower, it was a frightening time for many, to witness the US under George W Bush, invading Iraq and operating a ‘tooth for a tooth’ style anti-terrorism policy. There has been too much death, flying under the banner of a ‘good old boys’ quasi religious war against Islam.
With the election of the US’s first African American President, it is seen as an almost symbolic shift in consciousness toward disadvantaged minorities and away from the entrenched ruling elite. The hyperbole and fanfare that has accompanied Obama’s rise to the oval office has been quite incredible, and not since the assassination of John F Kennedy has sentiment reached this level of fervor in the US. Of course, for a country founded in part on the slavery of African Americans, it is quite a journey for one stained with that skin to reach the highest office in the land.
Obama enters the office of the Presidency at a time of real crisis, with the US leading the world financial markets down a spiral of unprecedented severity. There will be nowhere to hide, and states of emergency are the making or breaking of leaders. Will the huge expectations be rewarded or will they crush the life out of such a left field candidate running the biggest game in town? President Obama has assembled a quality team to execute government policy and it will be interesting to see what type of CEO he is – consensual or lone ranger? The call to action right now is loud; and it is for decisive and far reaching policy to end the panic, stimulate demand and stop the freefall of markets.
Will the West’s new white knight come to the rescue of a jaded and cynical world? Will Obama be able to restore belief in the US’s democratic quest to bring freedom and enlightenment to parts of the globe ruled by despots? Where are we right now on capitalism’s life cycle, and will the market welcome legislature to rein in its unfettered desire for ever more? Barack Obama comes to town at a time when there are a lot of burnt fingers and I think Wall St will keep its mouth shut for a while anyway. It is a great opportunity to start again – to rebuild a US economy and world economy factoring in things like climate change at the outset. To get carbon credit schemes functioning around the globe and for governments to guide development based on principles of sustainability.
If global capitalism is widely believed to have seen off socialism, then the ‘champ’ has all of a sudden fallen in a big hole of his own making. Where have all the ‘free-marketeers’ gone? We are not hearing so much about how perfect the market is and all that self correcting claptrap. No it is big business with its hand out for government assistance and packages in the trillions of dollars. The US carmakers, which have studiously ignored non-oil dependent technologies for so long, are at the front of the queue demanding bail outs for their failing billion dollar businesses. Perhaps it is time to let go of the status quo and allow real change to take its course. President Obama and his team will be faced with questions like this, and how much damage control will be good for the US in the long run?
I think there is a collective hope for some personified goodness in America’s new leader, and that he will heal some old wounds in the country and in the greater world. Whether this can transmute beyond mere words and sentiment into empowering action will have to be seen. In a similar way to our own PM Kevin Rudd, who came after a decade of self interest under Howard, and had the opportunity to ‘say sorry’ and ratify Kyoto, will they both talk the talk…and walk the walk?
2009 is going to be a fascinating and challenging year to be alive. I wish President Barack Obama all the very best!
©Eco Living Magazine.
Eco Living Magazine presents:
Eco Baby Stuff Reviews
Baby Lavender Lotion
Using nature’s gentle botanicals, this lotion is a gentle way to complete the bathing ritual and to restore moisture back into your baby’s skin. With 100% natural and active ingredients to nourish and support your skin, you can trust Invoke Natural Skincare products on your baby’s beautiful skin. Products are not tested on animals and are vegetarian and vegan friendly. There are no synthetic ingredients, such as Sodium Lauryl, Laureth Sulfates, colours, fragrances or preservatives, so the products are gentle enough for babies. The Baby Lavender Lotion is part of Invoke Natural Skincare’s Mums and Bubs Range, which feature products that centre around the natural calming and soothing properties of lavender and chamomile essential oils to help encourage a content baby. Available in 50ml for $8 or 125ml for $16, visit www.invokenaturalskincare.com.au.
Funky Little Monkeys!
At Gecko Tots, they step outside the square with funky kids designs. Vibrant colours and patterns to create fun clothes for the special little people in our lives. The uniquely designed babies and children’s clothes are made out of 100% cotton, which is ideal for our Australian climate. Cotton is also kind to children with sensitive skin. Range includes baby and children’s clothes, toys, accessories and bedding in beautifully designed bright fabrics. Fabrics are hand printed and all clothes are handmade with love. The great colours allow you to mix and match to enable your child to dress in a fun and unique way – true to their individual personalities.. All garments are designed by owner (and mother of 5 children – youngest is 2.5!). The fabrics are manufactured, printed and sewn in “sweatshop free” environments. About 72 families benefit directly from this venture in India, Indonesia and Australia. To clothe your kids in freedom and sunshine visit: www.geckotots.com
“Little Tacker, Naturally” is a beautiful range of products for babies & children. Using gentle & mild ingredients that nourish, protect & repair the delicate skin that children have. Try the Precious Bundle Baby Cream for perfect top and bottom care in a handy tube that is easy to apply to a wriggling baby. A vital ingredient in the range is Mandarin EO – well known to reduce anxiety & restlessness, for peaceful times for the whole family. Also available are Relax-a-Bub Massage & Bath Oil, Nighty Night Bubbles, & Sleepytime Bedroom Spray. W:www.coonawarralavender.com.au
Skin Things Baby Range
“Natural Baby” gift pack (4 pc)
An ideal gift for mum & baby. Includes a super sensitive soap bar, 250ml of baby wash, 125ml baby oil, and the fantastically gentle SkinThings baby balm presented in a delicate white gift bag. The baby balm is a delicious combination of nourishing plant oils and soothing essential oils of lavender and chamomile – Ideal all over moisturiser as well as a healing nappy balm. The Baby Wash is nice and gentle for delicate skins – and the purest essential oil for a baby massage – great for bonding. A beautiful welcome gift for any lucky baby. Order online at www.skinthings.com.au
Nappy Road Test Special
Sandman Night Nappy from Sustainable Hemp Products
“I have just spent a few weeks trialling the Sandman Night Hemp Nappy with wool cover from Sustainable Hemp Products. I usually use terry squares with a booster system at night, and polar fleece wraps. My son, at almost 11mths, is a moderate wetter – some nights heavy. My current nappy system works most of the time, with the occasional very wet nappy ‘leaking’. When I first saw the new nappy, it looked big and bulky, and I thought it would never dry! I liked the pattern on the outside of the nappy, and the wool cover looked funky. I was initially bemused by all the snaps, but quickly realised that there were actually a great design that would enable the nappy to be used over a lot of growth time. I washed the nappy and all the inserts, and to my surprise, everything dried in the same amount of time as the boosters I currently use! Rainy weather meant this happened around a slow combustion stove. The knitted wool cover came pre-lanolised, and as yet I have not had to re-lanolise it! The nappy and both inserts all dried in a day! Once I put the nappy on, I found it to be much less bulky and more fitted than I assumed it would be. The snaps made getting it on a breeze, and the all in one cover was a lot better than doing up velcro and watching as my son undid it behind me. In the morning, the nappy itself was wet, but my son’s bottom was dry, and he had no rashes! We gave up using liners because he got rashes from them. The soaker was mildly damp, but his clothes were dry. Over several more uses, I have found this nappy to be up to scratch. No matter how much he wets in the night, his skin is dry in the morning, as are his clothes. This nappy seems to hold a lot of wee!
Summary: Easy to wash, fairly quick to dry, easy to put on, and works well as a night nappy. Excellent customer service as well. Highly recommended. Reviewed by Linda, NSW
©Eco Living Magazine.
Eco Living Magazine presents:
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
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 presents:
Heading: Winter-Spring Earth Wisdom
By Glenys Livingstone Ph.D.
Intro: In the Southern Hemisphere we have just passed the Earth holy-day of Winter Solstice, which was in late June; and are moving into Early Spring which may be celebrated in early August and is traditionally named as “Imbolc”.
Winter Solstice is the Seasonal Moment of the year when Earth’s tilt leans us furthest away from the Sun – when the dark part of the day is at its longest. The stories of Old tell of the Great Mother giving birth to the Divine Child on this night, as henceforth the Sun’s light and warmth begin to return, and the ongoing creativity of Earth is assured. This Earth holy-day was adapted by Christianity as the time to celebrate the birth of its Divine Child, but the Divine Child of more ancient Earth-based religious practice was understood as renewed Being itself, the promise of never-ending renewal – apparent eternal Creativity itself. And just so, may we re-story it again in our times, with our own renewed understandings. From this point of the year on, for the next few seasons, Sun’s strength will grow, until it peaks at Summer Solstice and turns yet again.
At the sacred site of Newgrange in Ireland – known by its indigenous name as “Bru na Boinne” – where the megalithic mound is dated at 3200 B.C.E. , the Winter Solstice dawn lights up a Triple Spiral motif that is engraved on the inner chamber wall. It is thought that this Triple Spiral represents the Triple Goddess as She was known by the ancients in that place, and also that it represents the heart of the sacred heritage of ritual celebration of eternal creation, that the seasonal Wheel of the Year expresses, and that this site records .*
Winter Solstice is the time for the lighting of candles, for embracing the miracle of being, for choosing a joyful response to the awesome fact of existence, for celebrating the gift of birth. Birthing is not often an easy process – for the birthgiver, nor for the birthed one: it is a shamanic act requiring strength of bodymind, attention and focus of the mother, and courage to be of the new young one.
Birthgiving is the original place of “heroics”. Many cultures of the world have never forgotten that: perhaps therefore better termed as “heroics.”(In pre-Olympian times, Hera was Amazon Queen of the Land and not the “wife of Zeus”. Heracles was her hero, because he did her bidding, thus the term “hero” is derivative of “Hera”).
Patriarchal adaptations of the story of this Seasonal Moment usually miss the Creative Act of birthgiving completely – pre-occupied as they often are with the “virgin” nature of the Mother being interpreted as an “intact hymen”, and the focus being the Child as “saviour”: even the Mother gazes at the Child in Christian icons, while in more ancient images Her eyes are direct and expressive of her integrity as Creator.
Winter Solstice and Early Spring rituals may be a contemplation of the Creativity of the Cosmos – Cosmogenesis … how it all unfolds. When told from within a “Mother-mind” – a mind that connects the biological creativity of the female body to Cosmic Creativity, to our “Navel” lineage, to the Nativity of every being, then we are all the Holy Ones. And we all – female and male – may know the skill and care required for “birthing” the New, whether that is physical, psychological or however one categorizes it.
In Earth-based religious practice, the ubiquitous icon of Mother and Child – Creator and Created – expresses something essential about the Universe itself … the “motherhood” we are all born within (not simply a “brotherhood”). It expresses the essential Communion experience that this Cosmos is, the innate and holy Care that it takes, and the reciprocal nature of it: that is, how one is always Creator and Created at the same time. We cannot touch without being touched at the same time. We may realize that Cosmogenesis – the entire Unfolding of the Cosmos – is essentially relational: our experience tells us this is so.
Subheading: Early Spring/Imbolc
The Early Spring/Imbolc celebration is traditionally a time of dedication to the nurturance of the New Young Being. Once again, this is no wimpy task: it is for the brave and courageous, whether one is committing to the new being in another, or in one’s self. The Great Goddess Brigid of the Celtic peoples is traditionally invoked for such a task. She has been understood for millennia as the ‘One Who tends the Flame of Being’: a Brigid-ine commitment is one that is unwavering in its devotion to the central truth of each unique particular self. The stories of old speak of Brigid in three primary capacities – that may need spelling out in our times, as they are almost forgotten skills: She is imagined as blacksmith, physician and poet … all three.
Blacksmith is one who takes the unshapely lump of raw metal, melts it, then takes the fiery hot form and shapes it. This is no stereotypical “feminine” act: the Goddess of old is not bound by such patriarchal dualisms. She is spiritual warrior, shaman – this is her eternal virgin quality, never separate from the ‘mother’ quality or the ‘Old One’ quality, and no need to characterize such power as “masculine” or dissociate it from “nursery” activity.
Physician is one who understands the “physics” of being, of matter – how a body relates within itself and within its context, functions harmoniously and thus may heal/ become whole. In this role, Brigid is scientist, healer – none of it is separate. Her physics are biologically connected – an understanding of dwelling within a whole and seamless Universe.
Poet of Old is one who speaks the metaphors, the stories of cultural knowledge, the sacred language of creativity – one who “spells” what may be so. It is a power of spirit: the voice enabled by air, resonant with the winged ones – the birds – whose perspective transcends boundaries. The ancients knew Poetry as a sacred and powerful task – that with our words, we do create what is so. Brigid’s “motherhood statements” are statements of the Mother/Creator, Who once again is never separate from her whole self – the Young One and the Old One – represented in the Triple Spiral dynamic.
The coming into Being that Winter Solstice and Early Spring celebrates, is an awesome thing. It takes courage and daring. It has taken courage and daring – always. In these times of change, it is perhaps particularly so. Our times require the melting down of so much that no longer works, that will not carry us through. These times require the re-shaping and speaking of new realities – an aboriginal magic of new connections, with what is already present within us, if we can but plumb it, open to it deep within. This is a great seasonal moment to get with the plot of Creativity, to align ourselves with our Native Wisdom …the Wisdom that in fact brings us all into being. We may respond to the gift of being by receiving it graciously – and thus become responsible. Though we may feel inadequate, we are not – and we need to begin.
It can be a useful exercise to re-write prayers or songs learned perhaps too well as a child or later, to re-speak them and imbue them with new understandings. It is a way of spelling one’s self, of changing one’s mind – to articulate with each word and phrase what one truly believes to be so. And besides, many of the prayers and praises that are found in patriarchal religions of recent human history are often founded upon the expressions of some earlier Earth-based Goddess religion that is now unmentioned and buried. So any re-writing and listening to one’s own interpretations of the pattern of the prayer may end up being closer to its original sense, as well as speaking a new moment.
I offer the following, addressing the Universe as Mother:
Who is with us,
Holy is our Being.
Thy Kin-dom is present.
Thy Desire is felt throughout the Cosmos.
We graciously receive your infinite daily abundance.
May we forgive each other our lack of skill and insensitivity.
May we understand our inner guidance,
and perceive each other’s needs.
For Thine is the Kin-dom, the Power and the Story,
forever and ever.
Blessed Be . **
© Glenys Livingstone 2008
* See Martin Brennan, The Stones of Time: Calendars, Sundials, and Stone Chambers of Ancient Ireland. Rochester Vermont, Inner Traditions International, 1994.
** Glenys Livingstone, PaGaian Cosmology: Re-inventing Earth-based Goddess Religion. IUniverse 2005, p. 259, with acknowledgement of Karen Davis’ term “Kin-dom”, from “A Peacable Kin-dom and the Ethics of Eating”, EarthLight, Issue 51 Vol 14 No.2., Autumn 2004. p.54.
***Newgrange: The Megalithic Passage Tombs of Newgrange, Knowth, Dowth, Fourknocks, Loughcrew and Tara are located in the present day County of Meath on the east coast of Ireland. The Boyne Valley Mounds at Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth were built around 3200BC making them older than Stonehenge in England and the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt. Built by Neolithic farming communities about 5000 years ago, the passage tombs have clear astronomical alignments such as the Winter Solstice Sunrise at Newgrange and the Equinox Sunrise at Loughcrew.
©Eco Living Magazine
Eco Living Magazine presents:
Heading: Probiotics – Fermenting For Life.
Intro: We are not alone. In fact, we are hosts to trillions of micro-organisms, happily munching on our waste products and doing a sterling job within our digestive system.
It may come as a bit of a shock to those of us with obsessive compulsive cleaning tendencies, that killing all the tiny invisible bugs is not a really good idea. Bacteria are all around us, within us and performing vital tasks for our health and the health of this planet. Of course, like everything in existence, there are good and bad bacteria, not intrinsically bad but just bad for humans – and probably quite good for something else. The good bacteria, (or gut flora), are involved in a myriad of useful functions – such as fermenting unused energy substrates, producing vitamins for us, preventing the growth of bad bacteria, producing hormones to help us store fats, and improving our immune functioning. If we did not have all these bacteria munching away our bodies would be unable to digest many of the carbohydrates that we consume – like certain starches, fibres, proteins, and sugars like lactose. Studies with animals indicate that we may need to eat 30% more calories to maintain our stable body weight without the helpful presence of gut flora. The good bacteria transforms carbohydrates into short chain fatty acids, and these are able to be processed by our cells into nutrition and energy. Lactic and acetic acid are also produced by this saccahrolytic fermentation, and they are used by our muscles. There are numerous other positive functions supported by good bacteria in our systems.
Bacteria have also been shown to be implicit in preventing allergies (which are an over reaction of the immune system to non-harmful antigens). Research into children with allergies has confirmed that the make-up of their gut flora is different to those without allergies. The role that bacteria play in training our immune systems to respond to antigens is the key point in understanding this. A baby inside its mother is bacteria free, and develops its gut flora through birth and breast feeding initially.
By the second year of life the infant’s faeces contains a similar amount of bacteria as an adult. The prevalence of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in our western societies has been linked to our obsession with hygiene. Our predilection for kitchen and bathroom cleaning sprays has “über- sanitised” our homes, and has thus lowered the absorption – and the variety – of useful bacteria available in the colon to break down waste material. The lack of breastfeeding for the baby boomer generation has also contributed to this situation. Not to mention the pharmaceutically driven overuse of antibiotics that has killed off gut flora in exceptional amounts. The inverse of this occurs in developing countries, and there is no sign of IBD at the rates that we experience it here in the West.
Probiotics, meaning literally “for life”, can help with IBD and other conditions associated with bacteria levels, which are out of balance or missing vital components. Originally discovered by science at the beginning of the twentieth century, before being named ‘Probiotics’ in 1953, it has been defined by Dr Roy Fuller (author of Probiotic’s in Human Medicine) as, ” a live microbial feed supplement which beneficially affects the host animal by improving its intestinal microbial balance.” Of course, sour milk and yoghurt have long been part of healthy regimes employed by cultures around the globe. The naming of particular strains by science is as much about recognizing effective natural approaches to nutrition, as it is about reinventing the wheel and claiming credit for it. Lactobacillus Acidophulis is probably the best known probiotic strain but there are many more including the Bifodobacterium family, the rest of the large Lactobacillus family and Escherichia Coli. Many of these are now available in supplement form, having been combined to form effective treatments for many bowel complaints, helping with lactose intolerance, some cholesterol reduction, improving immune function and lowering blood pressure. There is a large and still growing body of scientific evidence, indicating that diet supplementation with live probiotic bacteria may confer a significant health effect on the host, when those bacteria are consumed in “adequate” amounts. In fact, one important problem is that more then 400 bacterial species are thought to be present in the normal intestine, with bacterial concentration in the colon equivalent to one thousand billion bacteria per gram. This means that only “high-potency” probiotic products, i.e., those that contain at least a comparable number of live bacteria per gram of product, can be expected to modify the bacterial flora in the gastrointestinal tract in terms of quantitative and qualitative composition. Consult your natural health practitioner for advice on which probiotic supplement is best for your particular condition.
The argument against probiotics by some nutritional scientists is that the bacteria in these supplements and foods cannot possibly survive the naturally occurring acids in our stomach and this is where prebiotic foods come in. Prebiotics are non-digestible ingredients in foods, which stimulate the growth and activity of certain helpful bacteria – fructoologosaccharides and galactooligosaccharides are the two that best fit the bill. These can be found in functional foods like bananas, berries, asparagus, garlic, Jerusalem artichoke, onions, chicory, legumes, oats, tomatoes, spinach and other greens. Perhaps a diet rich in both prebiotics and probiotics is the best solution for those seeking a healthy bowel.
Fermented foods like miso, tempeh, soya sauce, kim chi, sauerkraut and other pickled vegetables also offer lactic acid bacteria. The oriental cultures in particular – who have developed these fermented foods – are well known for their traditionally long lived healthy lives. The pickling process activates certain bacterial properties within the food, and eliminates some of the qualities that inhibit the food’s digestion by humans. Pickled or activated nuts and seeds, which have been treated in a solution – a brine or other acidic liquid – for some time and then slowly warmed through a dehydrating process are a great example of this. Delicious and much more digestible.
©Eco Living Magazine.
Eco Living Magazine presents:
Heading: Retreats and Spas – The New Holiday.
INTRO: Retreats and spas are fast becoming the new holiday of choice, as an antidote to the pressured life of the mind that we all seem to be corralled into these days.
As we live in an increasingly demanding high tech world, where our downtime is rapidly disappearing into the Ether(net) – where it is trapped by Microsoft and Google in an endlessly informative embrace. Work never seems to finish, as it follows us home via cunningly invisible wireless cables and our living spaces are filled with screens, which never sleep, and phones that go beep, beep, beep. We used to go on holidays for the sun, surf and beach – but our blackberries accompanied us, and nestled there beside us on the towel began to wink a message or two or three about work. No island resort was ever far enough away from a colleague on the phone or an email from the boss.
Stress was mounting up like the Himalayas in June, and alcoholic relief was just a drink away but in the morning it was worse. Where can we get away to escape the maddening ring of technologies echoing? A monastery or nunnery? Perhaps a touch too austere; but retreat we must or face the curdling of the milk beneath the full white moon.
A retreat indeed, to a place where there are trees and grass, where nature walks tall and the life is not so fast. To a place which is all about us; about the fleshy bits that change as we age and seasons pass, rather than the synapses drawn tight by modern life. Where expert hands can rub relief into bodies running on adrenal fatigue and quiet vegetarian food beckons a good night’s sleep. A spa that smells so pure, that it must be made of milk and honey. The sensual joy of a natural scrub, ridding your skin of grime and the cities’ dub. Where exercise is something that happens when walking to and from your cabin – and fun is to be found outside running about with others. A return to the childlike pleasures of mucking about in nature, and seeing the pure experience reflected in the eyes of another, who is likewise having a good time just being themselves. Retreats are like this – mixing an ambience of naturalness with gentleness and providing a resource for practical advice about diet, exercise, life coaching, natural therapies and your health. This is the healing holiday experience that you often feel that you need to take after a family holiday or ill fated overseas jaunt with a partner.
Retreats and spas are fast becoming the new holiday of choice, as an antidote to the pressured life of the mind that we all seem to be corralled into these days. So what are the defining differences between spas and retreats and what are some of the features you may encounter on your new holiday of the physical senses? Well a spa is defined in real terms as the kind of place where you will find a variety of treatments that relate to your skin and body. Many establishments qualify themselves as a beauty spa or day spa and they specialize in a wonderful cornucopia of aromatising, massaging, bathing, skin conditioning therapies which will make you feel cleaner, fresher, revitalised and more beautiful. Many of these spas will have a special relationship with a resort providing accommodation in their locale – so that you can make your holiday special. Many new skin care companies, who have developed unique ranges of organic skin care products, have relationships with these spa operators to bring you a treatment experience that you just don’t have access to in your own bathroom cabinet.
A retreat will usually involve accommodation specifically chosen for its naturally soothing character, either in its surrounds or on the property itself. It may indeed offer access to day spa facilities as well or it may not. The soul of the retreat experience is in its program of healthy activities – or non-activities in the case of a meditation retreat. The retreat is, by its very name, a retreat from the demands of modern life into a program defined by a philosophy, which focuses on reconnecting the individual with their elemental selves. Their body – fitness, heart rate, muscle tone, unwanted tension, health of the skin, weight issues, and groundedness. Their dependencies – so often we find ourselves self-medicating with alcohol, nicotine, drugs, sugar, work, parenting and various addictive behaviours, which we use to avoid periods of self-reflection that may initially lead to feelings of despair. When we stop; and arrive at a place, which, by design, does not have the stuff with which we distract ourselves from our real issues; things like TV, computers, trashy magazines and the idle chatter of co-dependents (like minded folk who are also avoiding their issues), we face the overwhelming emptiness of our lives and often freak out for awhile. This however passes and slowly with the help of the retreat staff, who are trained in positively assisting you through this phase, you come out the other side. Where you find the inner peace to enjoy stillness of the lake or the wind whistling through the trees above you, and all the myriad unimportant junk of your day to day life withdraws to give you the space to feel again. To feel your connection with yourself, to laugh again as you jump and skip and make a lovely fool of yourself attempting some physical pursuit that you have not tried for umpteen numbers of years. You can find your heart again, not in the embrace of anyone else but in the enjoyment of simply being with yourself. All these things are available and more when you surrender to the retreat experience.
Good Retreats and Bad Retreats
OK so the ideal retreat experience can deliver us to a state where healing can take place but how do we spot the bad retreat or the retreat that is not up to the mark. Tension – if you can feel tension in the air or insecurity among the staff, beyond encountering someone on their first day at work, then this is a sure sign that perhaps things are not all that they are cracked up to be. Health retreat staff have a duty, like all healers, to be aware that they are stewards to individuals who have made a commitment to the healing process. Everybody from the cleaner to the retreat coordinator needs to be on the same conscious page and if they are not, then it is not supporting your journey to heal. How to discover this before you actually book and are on the property? Well, ask some pertinent questions, like how long has the establishment been operating and what is the average length of employment and what appropriate qualifications are held among the staff? Ask to speak with the coordinator and perhaps a therapist or even a guest – it is quite within your rights to make thorough enquiries before you make your investment of time and money.
Every retreat has its own particular philosophy, and has been uniquely created in response to this set of ideals or life lessons – you can usually get a fair idea from their website. Being open to the full retreat experience involves vulnerability on your part, so you want to feel a certain trust in the people who are interacting with you – therapists, practitioners and staff. Retreats have a certain mystique about them in our psyches – Avalon like places where the mists part to reveal holy grounds where transformations and miracles take place -this is can be a powerful help to fully letting go to the healing experience, but it is also wise to tether your camel before the journey.
Retreats in Review
Hopewood Health Retreat
One of Australia’s longest established health retreats, Hopewood has been operating for 46 years – located just one hour’s drive from Sydney and surrounded by beautiful bush land. Hopewood is the epitome of a well run health retreat, with dedicated, professional staff who have been working there for many years. Renowned for its natural health philosophy, which advocates a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, gentle exercise, plenty of water, fresh air and rest; Hopewood Health Retreat is the perfect place to relax by the river, revitalize and revive your mojo and zest for life. Specialising in natural healing, stress control, weight management, as well as massage and beauty pampering, Hopewood has long been helping Australian’s to rediscover their equilibrium.
Good food is a cornerstone of their successful approach to healing and transformation – passionate chefs, who love plying their trade at a fantastic health retreat, and presenting you with knock out combinations of delicious healthy ingredients. Utilising the smart and simple dietary technique of food combining – which serves particular vegetarian food groups together and avoids combining starch and protein – you will feel lighter and more vital. Of course you get to take home these secrets with you and the great feelings come with you. Hopewood even has its own cookbook, full of yummy healthy recipes and tips for detoxing diets. Hopewood’s juice therapy pointers are:
- Drink a small glass or two of freshly prepared juice every day.
- Avoid mixing fruits and vegetables as it can cause fermentation in your stomach.
- Top up with carrot and ginger instead of coffee when you need a lift.
- Juices are a great addition to your diet but remember to also eat whole fruit and veggies for the added fibre.
There is a full range of exercise and fitness activities available and you can tailor your own program to suit your desires and aspirations. Inspiring guided bush walks, yoga classes, aqua aerobics and personal training assessments are just some of the options from which you can choose to make your stay both enjoyable and transformational. After the exercise you can unwind with the de-stressing massage therapies like myofascial release; reflexology; shiatsu and hot stone therapy to name a few. Feel beautiful with organic facials, body wraps and other divine skin treatments all available on site at Hopewood. This is a total retreat experience where you can put aside the pressures of your day to day life to give something back to yourself. All Hopewood’s retreat packages include accommodation – ranging from balcony rooms with ensuite to budget rooms in single or twin with shared bathrooms; full use of all facilities; smorgasbord vegetarian meals and the daily activities program.
For further information www.hopewood.com.au Ph- 02 4773 8401.
Dargan Springs Mountain Lodge Wellness Retreat
Looking for a natural high? Where the air is cleaner and a little more rarified? Dargan Springs is the Blue Mountains health retreat par excellence, surrounded by breath taking views, peace and tranquility. Located 2 hours from Sydney, it is nestled in the trees and looks out upon the majestic vistas of Australia’s greatest mountain range. Each retreat has its own unique slice of natural magic and Dargan Springs is a beauty to behold and experience. Mountain lodge accommodation finds you ensconced in the light and airy luxury of those who live in the clouds, with each room having private ensuites, valley or garden views, and king sized or twin beds. Central heating keeps you warm inside, with soft linen, natural bedding, thick towels and down doonas to ensure a good night’s sleep.
Outdoor activities are conducted by host and owner Mike Corkin, who trained in climbing, abseiling and mountaineering in New Zealand at Otago University. Happy to instruct and guide small groups and individuals at all levels of proficiency, Mike is passionate about sharing the special magic inherent in the mountaineering experience and the exhilaration it can produce. One of the special advantages Dargan Springs’ guests have is the lodge’s direct access to amazing walks, climbs and abseiling trips, meaning more time in the natural wilderness. All the Dargan Springs outdoor trips are certified with Advanced Eco-Accreditation, which recognises their commitment to ecologically sustainable eco tourism. Whether you wish to enjoy the mountains with an expert, or prefer to go it alone, the experience of this incredible wildlife resource is an inspiring life choice and will have you feeling more alive than you have before. Wildflowers in brilliant colours, dramatic rock formations, wallabies and a host of native birds freewheeling before your eyes, it is a rich pageant of life and of course you need to stay alert up here. Like on a Zen meditation walk your awareness is keen and the witness state allows life to flow through him/her.
All this mountain air activity provokes an appetite for sure, in addition to burning off calories; you want and get to eat fantastic fresh food at Dargan Springs. Being in the pure mountain climes somehow stimulates you to appreciate the pure flavours in good healthy food, it’s delicious and Dargan Springs offers you a range of quality meat, fish and vegetarian meals that are all low fat and bursting with freshness. Food never tasted so good and your body never felt so good. Plus certified mountain spring water flows from all the taps, freshly made juices are available and hot drinks too.
Massage therapies, yoga, aromatherapy facials, wellness consultations, meditations, hot spa’s and tai chi are all on the menu at Dargan Springs. Plus you have the choice of experiencing it at what level you wish to, from the wonderfully restorative Healthy Escape package to the bed and breakfast option. Dargan Springs can be a sensational place for a healthy group conference, a longer stay healing program or a divine place to explore the Blue Mountains from. It is welcoming and life enhancing without being too fanatical.
www.dargansprings.com.au Ph – 02 6355 2939.
Fountainhead Organic Health Retreat
The Fountainhead Organic Health Retreat is, according to founder Wayne Parrott, the only certified organic health retreat in the world. Established five years ago on an avocado orchard, it combines the stunning beauty of its chalets and lake setting with the natural order of a working organic farm. Utilising permaculture principles it is not a place of manufactured beauty like some resorts but a truly tranquil and magical locale for a healing retreat. Based in Maleny, in the Blackall ranges on the Sunshine Coast hinterland in Queensland, Fountainhead is a vision of rolling pastures, bubbling creeks and pristine lakes. Fountainhead runs a range of exceptional life changing programs focusing on Helping Overcoming Depressive and Anxiety Illnesses; Fit for Life and Cancer Education retreats. It is also a great place to pamper yourself, with the help of some wonderful massage therapists, life coaches and their attentive staff.
Organic juices flow at Fountainhead three days a week, in conjunction with some seriously delicious meals, which utilise the organic farm’s veggie output and also bring in some quality local organic produce from around the hinterland. Cooking schools demonstrate the best way to get the maximum amount of live nutrition from your food at home. Detox programs are available with expert input and guidance.
The Fountainhead Maleny Baths utilise natural spring water in the pools and there are saunas, a steam room and a fantastic area for relaxing by the pools. The brilliant blue of the bath centre’s walls contrasts with the green natural foliage all around and you have this sneaking suspicion that you might be in paradise after all. I remember during my last visit the chef bringing me over a fantastic warm salad of grilled king prawns, avocado and organic mixed leaves as I relaxed on a sun lounge by the pool. There are usually guests playing games in the pool or doing languid laps on their path to fitness and health. Choose from yoga, bush walking, aqua aerobics, personal training assessments, beach visits and daily excursions.
Accommodation is in a variety of architecturally designed chalets and you can choose from premium or deluxe levels. www.fountainhead.com.au Ph 07 5494 3494.
©Eco Living Magazine.
Eco Living Magazine presents:
Heading: A Calling To Heal
Theta Healing Understanding Miracles.
You may have become aware of a new type of healing name with a Greek linguistic origin – Theta. What does the word Theta mean? It is the eighth letter of the Greek alphabet and more recently has been adapted by western neuroscience to name one of the deep brain wave states or rhythms. Theta brain waves are known to be associated with aspects of deep sleep, learning and spatial navigation. It is thought that when the brain is in its Theta rhythm, it is accessing deeply stored information involving the hippocampus (home of our instinctive emotional beliefs), and conveying these to the cerebral cortex (our rational operating thoughts).
Research into these brain wave states has observed that we move into Theta rhythms quite often, at various times throughout the day and in particular when meditating or in a moment of focussed reverie. I spoke with Mark Anthony, Australia’s leading Theta Healing instructor; about its origins and what it has done for him personally and how it has transformed his life.
Sudha- Mark I understand that Theta Healing’s founder Vianna Stibal, is an intuitive naturopath and massage therapist who is based in the United States?
Mark – Yes, Vianna discovered Theta Healing through healing her own cancer. She realised that the states she invoked during her intuitive readings were Theta brain wave rhythms and that these could be utilised to facilitate healing in others. Since that initial breakthrough of awareness, she has healed and trained thousands of people worldwide and Theta Healing has spread like wildfire across the globe.
Sudha- So what actually happens? How and why do the processes involved in Theta Healing work?
Mark -The original process, which Vianna Stibal called the Orian technique, was based on her early intuitive reading work and involved a visualised technique, which included a body scan, and sending her awareness out through the crown chakra, (top of the head) and communicating with God or the creator consciousness. Once in communion with the higher consciousness, she would seek answers for the condition to be healed, and/or request that the person be healed. Vianna healed her own bone cancer and then found herself healing many people from all over the world.
Sudha- I understand that she sought a scientific basis for the healing process, and with the help of a physicist, conducted some electroencephalographic tests, which determined that she was correct and that the brain waves detected were in the 4-8 Hz range (indicating the Theta rhythm).
Mark- Yes through her earlier contact with the study of hypnosis, Vianna was aware that our brains operate on a Theta rhythm when we are in a hypnotic state, and she thought that this was most likely what was happening when she was reading. It was found through those tests that both healer and patient were in the Theta brain wave state during the process. Her work then moved to another level entirely, through the challenge of a client who did not completely respond to the healing process. In this instance, Vianna’s communion with the God consciousness led her to the understanding that our DNA chromosome makeup was not fixed, but actually responded to Theta Healing – and this was the beginning of her work now known as DNA Activation. In practice, this involves the introduction of new supportive belief system that are instantly reproduced in our cellular reality This work has dramatically expanded the healing reach of Theta Healing, as thousands of people have been trained in this approach with incredible results – facilitating the healing, and saving the lives of people all over the world.
Sudha – The science around Theta brain wave rhythms shows them to be one of several characteristic electroencephalogram wave forms associated with various states of sleep and wakefulness. When seen in this form, they are between 4 and 8 Hz, and involve many neurons firing synchronously – in the hippocampus and through the cortex. Theta activity can be observed in adults during some sleep states, and in states of quiet focus, for example meditation. These rhythms are also involved with spatial navigation and some forms of memory and learning, especially in the temporal lobes. Theta-frequency activity is also manifested during some short term memory tasks.
Sudha – Mark I wonder if you would share with us a little of your own remarkable story?
Mark- I found myself at age 32 facing a life threatening disease and despite the best intentions of Australia’s world class medical system was not getting any better. It began with me feeling generally run down over a period of time and a visit to my holistic chiropractor. Unfortunately I came away with several fractured ribs and a cracked vertebra, which were not discovered until, after experiencing excruciating pain, I was sent for a bone scan by my local doctor. Following this I was wrongly diagnosed as suffering from low bone density, despite my years in the construction industry and playing heavy contact sport.
Sudha – It sounds like the beginning of a nightmare journey.
Mark – Yes it was, as this error was followed by another when I was misdiagnosed as having Tuberculosis (TB) and immediately hospitalised. However, all my tests for TB came back negative, many blood tests followed before the first of several fine needle biopsies under CT guidance were conducted. This involves an 18cm needle being repeatedly inserted into the spine in search of the right sample location. I was by this time under the care of several neurosurgeons, orthopaedic surgeons, cardio-thoracic surgeons and infectious disease doctors. These fine needle biopsies were unsuccessful and so the decision was taken to cut three holes in my side and insert a camera and take a sample of the infection.
Sudha – I imagine you would have been pretty frightened at this point.
Mark- Well, upon awakening I then had two tubes draining blood from me, as they had collapsed my lung for the procedure, and a third tube as a morphine drip – and a 25cm scar as a keepsake for my troubles. The good news was that I did not have cancer but the bad news was that they did not take a large enough sample to test for anything else. Repeating the operation was next on the agenda but “luckily” I had developed a fever, and medical protocol insisted that this be treated with antibiotics before surgery. After receiving a high dosage antibiotic for 6 weeks I was still found to have a blood infection level of 125 (normal rates are 0 – 15). Another fine needle biopsy followed before another course of high dosage antibiotics, and finally a correct diagnosis – Vertebral Osteomyelitis. This infection in the partially collapsed T6 and T7 vertebrae was potentially fatal and incapacitated me to the extent that I could not pick up a shopping bag, let alone my two year old daughter.
Sudha – I understand that it was at this time that you were given a copy of Vianna Stibal’s book “Go Up and Work With God.”
Mark- My naturopath recommended it and I seized upon it, sensing that the answers and the healing I had so desperately been seeking were right here. You know when you read something and you just know this is it! I did a bit of further research on the internet and registered for the next workshop. I did the Advanced Theta Healing seminar over that weekend and found that the pain in my back was completely gone.
Sudha – That must have been amazing after such a terrifying time. What happened to heal you?
Mark- During the Theta Healing processes new affirmative life beliefs were conveyed to me, whilst in the Theta state, which enabled me to replace the failing negative beliefs that were literally killing me. My Father passed away from a sudden heart attack when I was 16 and I was told to be strong for my mother. I subconsciously took this on as a reason not to be able to grieve, and I felt a great deal of pressure to get everything right from then on. Subconsciously, I carried feelings of resentment toward my father for leaving me and not teaching me all I had to learn from him. This created in my mind a lack of support, which was heightened, due to the fact that all my friend’s fathers were in the construction industry, and when they left school, they all went into their fathers businesses. I had to do it all on my own. These support issues manifested in my back, and the resentment I carried manifested into the infection. The first Theta Healing consultation I had, we worked on the issues about my father, which immediately eliminated a great deal of the pain I was feeling in my back. I was then able to see the support that I had in my life from my mother, brother, sisters and my wife. In fact I had so much support around me but was unable to see it due to my beliefs.
Sudha – Mark thank you so much for sharing your incredible life changing journey.
Mark – My pleasure.
Mark Anthony has since gone on to train directly with Vianna Stibal and to devote his life’s work to the facilitating and training of others in Theta Healing. He feels that the importance of this work lies in the empowering effect that it has on people to heal themselves, and that it is this paradigm shift which can transform humanity. Mark teaches all of Vianna’s courses around Australia including the Basic and Advanced Theta Healing and Intuitive Anatomy courses. www.thetahealing.net.au
©Eco Living Magazine.
Eco Living Magazine presents:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
BRUnelle Method of Colon Hydrotherapy
The Brunelle system of colon hydrotherapy is unique. Small amounts of oxygen infused water, is gently pulsated (massaged) against the internal wall of the colon, section by small section until the whole colon is stimulated. There is no ‘guesswork’; the equipment is designed, to take the water exactly where it is needed. The pressure used during the colonic is lower than when the colon is defecating.
Another unique feature of the Brunelle method is the temperature of the water is altered to help in the stimulation of the colon to release waste.
Thus leaving the liver and other organs to get on with what they do best, without interference from a toxic colon and toxic blood.
The results of colon hydrotherapy treatment have an effect on the whole body. It can benefit the entire system, including the mind, giving better health and vitality.
The health of the rest of your body is directly dependent on the health of your colon.
To learn more about how to be a colon therapist in the Brunelle method of colon hydrotherapy visit www.australianhealth.com
*Editor’s Notes: Good bacteria are also attracted to clean areas, so cleaning out the nasties can actually allow the good bacteria to populate. Supplements can be helpful to speed the breakdown of bad bacteria and the re-generation the good. Probiotics can be very helpful in the regeneration of the good guys.
Text box: (Lisa: pls make it very visible – start burst sort of visible) For more info and to find a clinic near you turn to the resource guide on page 109 for clinic profiles.
©Eco Living Magazine
Eco Living Magazine presents:
Heading: Lungs Fit For Life
Subheading: Power Breathe Review
In our city centred world, full of stress, pollution and too many sedentary occupations, we seem to be at the mercy of the many resultant respiratory ailments. It is all too common to hear of spiralling rates of asthma and bronchial complaints within our modern communities. The breath of life – is there anything as vital to our survival? Have you ever experienced that panic inducing moment when you just cannot catch your breath, whether it’s under the waves in the surf, running a race, or simply stressed by life? Not being able to breathe properly is a terrible experience, and one that marks a rapid rise in heart rate. What can we do to check the rise of these often life threatening conditions? Get fit! Yes – improving overall fitness levels through regular exercise like swimming, walking and going to the gym, can and does help many people who are prone to developing serious respiratory diseases.
What are we doing physiologically when we exercise? Well many things are occurring within our bodies when we run, swim or walk quickly. Our hearts beat faster and push more blood around our body more quickly; our lungs expand to take in more oxygen, and we are forced to do this more often. As we breathe in and out, especially if we are running uphill or further than we have before, it gets harder to catch that full breath. There is resistance to this caused by the exertion involved and it is this resistance that trains our lungs and improves our inspiratory muscle strength.
These muscles, which are directly responsible for our ability to breathe, are weakened when suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). COPD is most often exacerbated by bronchial infections and can often lead to hospitalisation if unchecked. The treatment for COPD is usually a rehabilitation program, which involves some inspiratory muscle training, and runs between 4 to 12 weeks depending on the severity of the disease. Unfortunately around 50% of hospitalised COPD patients are readmitted the following year with the same condition and many patients remain permanently symptomatic with impaired quality of life. This is due to the fact that the effects of short term rehabilitation program inspiratory muscle training fade after 6 months.
What is involved in inspiratory muscle training (IMT)? Generally speaking a breathing device is used and this device creates resistance by means of pressurisation – making it more difficult to breathe in fully and thus building muscle tension. So in the same way we build muscles in the gym, we can do this internally for our inspiratory muscles. This means that IMT is a completely natural approach to the treatment of respiratory illness, and allows us to target the particular muscles with which we need to breathe. These devices are now available for use at home and can now provide long term IMT for the successful maintenance of conditions like COPD and the many other degrees of respiratory disease. These devices are of particular use to those who are unable to exercise their whole body because of an accident or illness. The IMT devices now available were developed by sports scientists to help athletes improve their aerobic capacity and sporting performances.
The Power Breathe Wellness device I trialled at home is a hand held portable unit and is easy to use. It has an adjustable load feature, which allows you to increase or decrease the training level. You place the mouthpiece of the unit in your mouth, holding the handle at the same time, your lips cover the outer shield to make a seal and the mouthpiece bite blocks are gripped between your upper and lower teeth. Then you breathe out as far as you can before taking a fast and forceful breath in through your mouth. Take in as much air as you can, quickly, straightening your back and expanding your chest. Repeat the process, feeling more confident about breathing in through the Power Breathe unit each time. There is a nose clip for those who require some assistance in not breathing in through their nose. The instruction manual recommends starting with thirty breaths at level 0 before turning the dial clockwise to increase the load if you feel ready and able to. It also advises to complete 30 breaths at whatever level you feel able to twice a day – once in the morning and again in the evening.
It may feel difficult at first but as with all muscle training this is part of the journey to increased lung capacity. In my experience and if you are using the unit correctly, after four to six weeks your breathing and lungs will show increased capacity.
The really wonderful thing about this therapeutic device is that it is completely natural and that you are in control of your own training. The work that you put in directly correlates with the improvements you will experience in your ability to breathe, and thus enjoy life. This is in complete contrast to many of the medications prescribed for breathing conditions, which often have side effects and most importantly give you no feeling of being part of your own cure. Of course consultation with your GP is always recommended if you are currently on medications for respiratory illness and wish to begin training with the Power Breathe Wellness unit. Medical research has conclusively shown that IMT increases strength and reduces fatigue in those that embark upon it. If we can take back responsibility for our ability to breathe, it will be in my opinion, the beginning of a dramatic reduction in the incidence of diseases like asthma and other respiratory illnesses.
©Eco Living Magazine.