Archive for July, 2011

What Are Aromatherapy Hydrolats, and Why Are They Useful to Health?

Hydrolats – also known as hydrosols – have been described as the ‘next aromatherapy’. They are safer than essential oils, easier to use, and gentler. But what exactly are hydrolats?

Most essential oils are produced by a process of steam distillation. Here’s how it is done:

You take a large quantity of, say lavender stalks, and you put them into a still. You then allow steam to pass through the plant material. (It is far better to do this under gentle pressure and gentle temperature. Higher temperatures give a greater yield, but a lesser quality).

As the plant is exposed to the steam, many active chemicals in the plant are released into the steam, which is then condensed (cooled down by passing into a cool tube). The steam then turns back into water, but the water now contains many wonderful natural healing chemicals that were in the plant.

Now here’s the interesting bit: some of those chemicals are so-called hydrophillic (that means they love water and dissolve in it), while others are oily and ‘hydrophobic’ (they are repelled by water). When you leave this water-oily mix for 15 minutes or so, the two parts quickly separate out, just as vinegar and oil will separate out when left to their own devices. The oil is the plant’s ‘essential oil’, and the water is known as a hydrolat, or a hydrosol.

So we can understand that, generally speaking, the hydrolat contains the water soluble chemicals from the plant, while the essential oil contains the non-water soluble chemicals.

Now consider something else: the human body is composed of about 60% water. Water is the major compound in every single cell in the body, and also in the fluid that runs around the outside of the cells.

So if we want to get the balancing, therapeutic energies from the plants to our body’s cells, would it not make great sense to use the ones that dissolve in water? We can begin to see the power of the hydrolat!

Hydrolats are great to use in situations that involve great gentleness and delicacy. They can be used on children (even babies), on the elderly, and many vets use them too.

One word of warning. Hydrolats can be a little unstable, and for that reason they are frequently adulterated with alcohol and or preservatives. These chemicals certainly preserve their shelf life, but they may adversely affect their therapeutic value. So it is always better to try to find hydrolats that are unadulterated and 100% pure, but also that come from a reputable supplier who tests each batch for the existence of microbes.

You will be familiar with some hydrolats already. True ‘Rose Water’ is in reality rose hydrolat. Witchhazel, which is a wonderful natural antioxidant, that is great for skin care is the hydrolat from the Hamamelis plant. You may be familiar with Orange Blossom water (neroli hydrolat), and of course Lavender water too.

Hydrolats are great for skin care (having a perfect pH value) and most are quite safe to digest. Try spraying Rose hydrolat on your face, on bed linen, or add it to yoghurt for a taste of luxury!

Reflexology – A Natural Healing Method

Reflexology is a curative science in which healing is effected in parts of the human body by putting the right amount of pressure on strategic points on any of the soles of the feet. Sometimes the palm of the hand is also used. The healing method was discovered and used extensively by the ancient Egyptians before the Christian era. In this scientific healing, the healer has mastered the specific locations and functions of various points on the foot or hand. There is a theory that each healing point on the sole or palm has a corresponding organ of the body with which it is in ‘sympathy’ or attunement. If the point of the sole or palm is stimulated by certain pressure to proper functioning, then its corresponding organ gets healed. It is estimated that there are over seven thousand reflex points on the sole, each having corresponding organs in the body.

Healing application is very simple but very technical. On the sole of the foot for example there are specific reflex points for the sciatic nerves, the stomach, bladder, heart, brain, pancreas, lungs, and in fact for every organ. There are two ways to put pressure on the reflex points:

One: while applying some force, use the thumb to press down on the points,

or Two: get a hollow cylindrical metal of about three inches in diameter, and length of two feet. Stand on the metal and allow it to roll as you put either foot on it in turn. During the exercise, heat will be generated in your body, and the reflex points stimulated, their corresponding organs will be receiving treatments. Stay on for up to ten minutes for each foot. Repeating this exercise twice daily for two weeks will heal the ailment! This is just a summary of the process. There are specific diets to supplement the process.

Once pressure is applied on the reflex points, it relieves stress and tension, improves blood circulation to all parts of the body by opening up any blocked blood vessels. Reflexology provides lasting relief for aches and pains, it increases blood supply and circulation, it destroys toxins and cleanses the body. It enhances attainment of general health. This ancient therapy is being modified in line with modern methods and it has already been incorporated into modern healthcare delivery system. It should be noted that reflexology is safe, it is for all ages and sexes, both sexes, and it requires no injections or drugs.

Open the image in a new window for detailed viewing:

Can Babies Get Acupuncture Therapy?

Acupuncture is a method of therapy where needles are inserted in the different regions of the body. It helps the body to unleash its natural ability to heal itself. It help relieves stress, and comfort the pain that felt in all over the body. Also, it can be a medical solution to some respiratory diseases, eye disorders, mouth, gastrointestinal and neurological disorders. It is very splendid for patients that they have a good feeling and out of stress from pain and other kinds of discomforts. And because of that, Acupuncture has become very famous medical alternative to drugs, such as anti depressants, and anti inflammatory drugs.

Acupuncture also affects pregnancy. Pregnant women can undergo numerous sessions of acupuncture to help fertilize the fetus and prevent miscarriage. Acupuncture also help the patient in reducing the pain at the back and relieving stress. And now, after the successful delivery, can my baby get an acupuncture therapy?

Babies who are six weeks old can start getting acupuncture treatments. It has a lot of beneficial effects which help them as the baby grows and develop. Acupuncture can help the baby’s sleeping pattern, feeding problems, and even autism and other developmental disabilities.

Though there were no scientifically reasons how these acupuncture help the babies, there were evidences that this treatment can truly help the baby, even without the use of medical drugs.

There was a mother in Australia named Mary, who has a 1 year old baby. After frequent baby checkups, Mary’s baby was diagnosed having autism. She had to take her baby into child treatments and counseling to be aware of children having autism. Mary was worried and wanted to use an alternative method.

She contacted her acupuncturist and asked how acupuncture would affect the baby. She was amazed how acupuncture works with sleeping and feeding problems and also with the baby’s autism. It also helps prevent diseases like colic and diarrhea. Acupuncture treatment over all help the baby to have a stronger immune system, which contributes to become a healthy person as they grow.

And after immediate confrontation with the acupuncturist, Mary’s baby was treated with acupuncture. After several days and weeks, Mary’s baby has shown progress in her development. Even the child’s physician was amazed how acupuncture treatment greatly helped the child to become more happy and attentive.

In a conclusion, Acupuncture has become a wholesome treatment for anybody even just at the age of six months.

Understanding Chiropractic

To understand and appreciate fully what chiropractic is, we must first learn how these professionals came to be called Doctors of Chiropractic.

A 3 – 4 years undergraduate study is required before one can enroll to a chiropractic course. The course itself takes 4 years where the students are trained to make a diagnosis and manage musculoskeletal and nervous system disorders. However, the practitioner needs to have a license issued by the country where he plans to practice his profession. Naturally, an examination will evaluate if he is capable of getting a license and therefore to carry out his craft.

A chiropractor who wanted to practice in the United States must pass the National Board of Chiropractic Examiner’s exams before the state recognizes his qualification. Apart from finishing a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from a qualified institution and passing the examination, he must likewise complete continuing education programs every year.

America recognizes the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) as the sole organization in charge of certifying programs and institutions that confers the Doctor of Chiropractic degree.

A chiropractic student learns the basics in science during the initial 2 years of the program. This includes human anatomy and physiology, pathology and microbiology. During the last 2 years, the course focuses on lessons in diagnosis and management methods, orthopedics, neurology, physiological therapy, nutrition, pediatrics, geriatrics and rehabilitation. They get to have a practicum on their last year where they treat actual patients with a chiropractor supervising them.

After passing the exams and other requirements, they get to have a license and earn the title Doctor of Chiropractic (DC). They are also called chiropractor or chiropractic physician. Their patients range from babies, toddler, children and adults of both sexes. Chiropractic does not believe in surgical intervention to treat a disease except for manual manipulation.

There are also subspecialties offered by the different chiropractic schools. These institutions offer ongoing educational courses in various areas permitting the chiropractor to be skilled in a particular field. The different specialties are orthopedics, rehabilitation, sports medicine, neurology, industrial and occupational health, diagnostic imaging, pediatrics, internal disorders, forensic sciences and nutrition.

A consultation with a chiropractor is the same as that of seeing your family doctor. Your medical history (past and present) will be taken followed by a physical examination. Other necessary procedures may be requested if necessary to arrive at a proper diagnosis. This can include laboratory tests, diagnostic procedures, orthopedic and neurological exams.

When all the necessary information is obtained, the chiropractor will discuss the treatment scheme with the patient. They may also refer patients who by their evaluation are not covered by their expertise. Chiropractors usually co-managed patients with other doctors.

If you are new in the field of chiropractic care, it may surprise you to hear from your chiropractor that you do not need an operation. This is because chiropractic care is purely manual adjustment. Chiropractic emphasizes on healing the whole body system to restore and maintain the general health status of patients. Chiropractic care may also involve physical therapy, and patient is likewise advised to have a healthy diet and in modifying his way of life.

Reiki Healing – an Alternative

Reiki has become a most viable alternative to orthodox medicine, it has no negative side effects. For gradual but steady healing and balancing of energies in the body, Reiki is the effective treatment. Reiki healing started many centuries ago in Tibet, its usage was later intensified by a Japanese Buddhist. The focus in this treatment is a holistic system that is meant to reach the innermost part of man and complete the cure on whatever the ailment is. The practice is purely natural, it seeks to tap into the Universal energy of the Creator, no drugs are used.
Only properly trained individuals can administer the treatment. The healers are categorized into first degree, second degree, and master degree practitioners. First degree healer can heal only his or her self, second degree healer can heal self and others, while the master degree healer can heal self, others, and can impart the healing instructions to others. Basic requirements for all healers include: humility, purity of mind and body, and willingness to assist mankind. Even those who practice Reiki in their private hospitals are also morally bounded to observe these tenets. The healing proper proceeds as follows: the patient is made to lie down on the back and relax fully, preferably on a massage table, wearing only loosely fitting clothes. The practitioner, having purified self in body and mind then quietly meditates a few moments, then clasps gently the palms of both hands together before laying them gently on the patient, specifically on the ailing spot if known, but for remote or hidden locations, the healer simply raises both hands above patient, and for some minutes mentally directs the divine healing power upon the patient. The patient is then allowed to rest or even sleep for at least fifteen minutes during which energy is restored..

In addition to laying of hands the Reiki healer also focuses on the seven energy centers in the body. These centers are known as chakras. The chakras are located at the following organs: crown – roof of the head, the third eye, throat, heart, solar plexus, sacral, and the foot. Reiki is now a popular healing system in the Western countries such as the United States, Canada, and Britain though it started as a therapy from the orient. The oriental therapy is more inclined to use of prayer, deep breathing and meditation. Reiki is now a global therapy, as an alternative to orthodox medicine. Many new practitioners supplement the practice of Reiki with prayer, meditation and other subtle ways of approaching God. Among the outstanding results of this therapy we have: improvement of the immune system, cure for insomnia, reduction of high blood pressure, relief from tensions and stress, enhancement of self-healing, promoting spiritual growth, overall toning of the body, and emotional healing. After any Reiki healing session the patient feels completely relaxed and regenerated in body and mind. The essentials of healing with the Reiki depend on the practitioner’s ability to contact the divine and channel the healing energy down to the patient, it is a viable alternative to drug usage.

Have You Considered Acupuncture for Weight Loss?

There are many things that people have tried for weight loss, from crash diets to pills to protein drinks and almost anything you can think of. Some work for one person while not working for another and some don’t really seem to work for anyone. Perhaps you have not yet found the one thing that works for you. If that is the case, then perhaps you should consider acupuncture in Portland. Many people have found excellent results through this method, and you might too.

Oriental medicine has included acupuncture for over two thousand years, and they have used these special needles to help people lose weight for almost as long as acupuncture has existed. The modern world has begun recognizing this method for only the last decade or so. You may have seen more media attention lately which has been showing some of the great results for weight loss. If you are thinking about this method, you may want to talk to your practitioner in acupuncture in Portland to see if they have worked with weight loss before and what kind of results they have received.

Chinese specialists in the field have recorded that nearly four out of five patients who use acupuncture for the purpose of weight loss have been able to drop some weight. As these results have been published, more clinics that are dedicated to weight loss acupuncture in Portland have begun to show up, just like they have around the nation.

The basic purpose of the treatment is to assist the digestive system to work better and to be more active. This may be achieved through the use of properly applied needles and the ingestion of various herbs. The herbs often work to increase metabolism and help to balance the digestive system. Some of the more elite centers may include proper breathing techniques, massage, mild exercise and stretching exercises to help learn how to keep the body in balance.

As you can see, acupuncture Portland for the purpose of weight loss can encompass much more than simply the use of needles being poked in the body. It is an overall whole body treatment that works with the ancient Chinese art and adds other methods to work with the individual and their personal needs. It is important to understand that this method of weight loss is not designed for fast weight loss, but is designed to be a slow and healthy method of helping a person keep themselves in balance and help them to be healthier.

The Many Different Uses of Potassium Alum

Potassium alum is a naturally occurring mineral salt. Alum is often chemically synthesised by companies wishing to use a cheaper ingredient in their products. It is important to be aware of this so that you can be sure the products you are using contain natural potassium Alum.
Naturally occurring Potassium Alum has been used for hundreds of years as an effective natural deodorant and it is the main ingredient in many natural deodorants. Alum is commonly used in deodorants thanks to its antibacterial and astringent properties. But did you know it has many other uses too? The list below introduces a few of the alternative uses for this wonderful little crystal.

Hair Styling: Barbers in the early-mid 20th century used alum when cutting hair, particularly in styles that required a great deal of precision. The alum would cause the hair to stand on end so that any missed hairs could be easily spotted. Alum was also used by Barber’s for general hair ‘dressing’.

Aftershave: Alum has astringent and styptic properties, which makes it great for use as an aftershave. It closes the pores and reduces bleeding caused by small nicks from the razor. Alum is also drying, so can help to reduce shine and grease on the face. However if you have naturally dry skin it is recommended that you do not use it for this purpose.

Haemorrhoid Treatment: Alum has long been used as a natural and effective home treatment of external Haemorrhoid’s. Dissolving a little Alum powder in water and applying to the affected areas with a cotton wool ball helps to shrink the swelling.

Chinese Medicine: Alum has been used for many hundreds of years in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). In TCM it is known as Ming Fan and has been used to treat a variety of ailments. For example it is used to stop bleeding, alleviate itching, relieve toxicity and clear phlegm.

Skin Whitening: Alum was used in the 16th century to whiten the skin, as was the fashion. Here is an example of a recipe:

For the Freckles which one getteth by the heat of the Sun: Take a little Allom beaten small, temper amonst it a well brayed white of an egg, put it on a milde fire, stirring it always about that it wax not hard, and when it casteth up the scum, then it is enough, wherewith anoint the Freckles the space of three dayes: if you will defend your self that you get no Freckles on the face, then anoint your face with the whites of eggs.” Christopher Wirzung, General practise of Physicke, 1654.

Baking Powder: Alum is an ingredient used in baking powder. Baking powder is used as a raising agent in foods, but has many other uses too. It is often used to make a home-made deodorant and has been used for cleaning and other applications.

Pickling: Alum is used for Pickling and as a food additive. It is found in many pickle recipes as it helps to preserve the crisp nature of the vegetables and fruit.

Use in Water Treatment: The use of alum to purify water is very common and has been used for many years. Crystals of alum are inserted into water, the crystals cause the small particles present in water to stick together and form larger, heavier particles which settle at the bottom of the tank. These particles can then be safely removed. This process is termed as flocculation.

Aloe Vera – The Wonder Plan

Aloe Vera is something of a wonder plant. Used for thousands of years and well documented for its moisturising, anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties, it’s no wonder aloe is such a popular ingredient in modern cosmetics and medicine.

Aloe Vera Gel is so unique because of its many bio-active ingredients; according to research over 200 active ingredients have been found so far. All of the ingredients in Aloe Vera are important as each other; despite intensive efforts it has not been possible to isolate an especially useful ingredient and use it as a single substance effectively. This wonderful gel displays its true effectiveness when all of these ingredients work together, when it is in its original and pure form.

Aloe Vera has many beneficial properties and this is why it is so widely used in the cosmetics sector. From moisturisers to soaps, makeup and even natural deodorants, it has proven itself to be an invaluable addition to many products. Just a few of these benefits are listed below.

Some history to start with – Pliny (60AD) documented a wide range of applications for the plant including; healing wounds, insect bites, boils, bruises, sore throats, bleeding gums, dysentery and many other ailments.

Skin moisturising – According to scientists, many of the ingredients in it cause it to have a skin moisturising effect. Its moisturising properties means it is perfect for use in moisturisers (obviously), soap and even toilet roll!

Anti-inflammatory action – Aloe Vera exerts a soothing effect on the skin through the action of various active substances in that the release of inflammatory mediators such as prostaglandins is inhibited. It is often used in after-sun care lotions because of its anti-inflammatory action. Some razors have also been developed to release aloe to utilise both its anti-inflammatory action and its skin moisturising benefits to stop irritation and leave shaved areas smooth and moisturised.

Cell growth – The fact that aloe stimulates cell division has been impressively demonstrated in a cell culture test. According to a website dedicated to the plant, it is a cellular regenerator. What that really means is that it can help heal cell damage and promote cell growth; in combination with some of its other mind-bending properties it makes for a very good ingredient in anti-aging skin care. It’s even suggested that the ancient Egyptian Queen Cleopatra bathed and drank Aloe Vera Juice in order to maintain her youthful complexion.

The complex nature of Aloe Vera means that it is well equipped to deal with a multitude of ailments in both the cosmetic and medicinal sectors, including many that have not been mentioned above.
It truly is a king among plants.

Cedarwood Oil and Deep Tissue Massage to Breakdown Cellulite

Cedarwood has been used for over 5,000 years and for several good reasons. The ancient Sumerians as well as the Egyptians believed cedarwood could connect the body with the mind in rituals ceremonies. The Egyptians also believed that the body should be embalmed in cedarwood so the journey to the other side was a smooth transition.

Scripture writers tell stories about Solomon and his love for cedarwood. He built his temple and palace from the Cedars of Lebanon, which made him the wisest man on the planet. Cedar was a symbol for strength, connection, and protection in those ancient days. Cedarwood oil continues to attract people who want to connect with their soul consciousness in this physical plane, but it is also used as insect repellant as well as a bacteria preventive.

Cedarwood essential oil is fantastic for breaking down cellulite and it’s one of the main oils used for deep massages. But, the therapeutic qualities of cedarwood oil don’t stop there. This aromatherapy oil is effective for hair loss, acne, psoriasis, urinary tract infections, and bronchitis. Attention deficient disorder and compulsive behavior can be treated with cedarwood oil, and it reduces the risk of hardening of the arteries.

Cedarwood stimulates the pineal gland so melatonin is released to promote deep sleep. The pineal gland not only releases melatonin it also open channels to innate senses that are buried under beliefs about separation. The Sumerians were the first to discover this awakening, but it has been an interesting as well as beneficial side effect experienced by ancient cultures around the world. The real benefit of using this essential oil on a regular basis is the emotional and spiritual transformation that develops when the oil is used in an aromatherapy session.

The therapeutic properties of this amazing oil are astringent, antiseborrhoeic, diuretic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, tonic, fungicide, insecticide, sedative, emmenagogue, and expectorant. The oil has the ability to sedate the skin, which relieves itching, and it acts as a general tonic, which helps control acne, dandruff, and oily skin.

In vapor therapy this essential oil can be used to relieve arthritis, rheumatism, and respiratory issues. The oil can be massaged into the skin or diluted in a bath to relieve painful joints, cystitis, and catarrh.

When cedarwood is blended with other essential oils such as cinnamon, bergamot, frankincense, juniper, benzoin, cypress, rosemary, jasmine, lavender, neroli, rose and lemon the results are better than expected, especially when cellulite and muscle pain cause unnecessary stress on the body.

Ancient civilizations knew the importance of using cedarwood especially when the body was in a state of distress. The physical and mental connection that humans have with cedarwood oil is so special that it can’t be taken for granted. The old remedies are new again and cedarwood oil tops the list when it comes to bringing the body and mind together in an innate as well as objective way.

Michael D. Thompson, an organic perfumer and accredited Master Herbalist, is the founder and director of Florapathics, LLC which manufactures all-natural, organically-derived personal care products that are infused with pure essential oils for aromatherapy.

Yoga: More Benefits Than Conventional Therapy

Attending physical therapy at least once a week for five months can significantly reduce back pain. Ninety-two percent of people who followed this regime felt better after three weeks and remained pain free for about two year, enabling them to return to their normal daily lives.

Finding one’s inner rhythm has a lot to do with living a soothed and empowered life. This is achieved by learning to breathe in a relaxing and natural way; breathing should not be contrived nor forced. Consistently and rhythmically moving the body in tune with one’s breathing provides powerful relaxation and pain management.

Yoga improves physical fitness by calming the mind through a series of poses and controlled breathing. Through precise and quiet movements that require balance and concentration, the mind focuses without straining the inner rhythm. Stress and pain relief are subsequently achieved.

Aside from chronic lower back pain, yoga also helps in improving physical comfort for pregnant women looking to give birth the natural way. Yoga helps give one an idea of which body positions can help during intermittent contractions and relaxation. There are several poses that can pass for comfortable laboring positions.

Originally a religious practice among Hindus, yoga became popular and is now taught in class settings all over the world. Its claim to fame is its ability to dramatically reduce back pain. According to a study of adults with chronic pain, instead of taking costly pain medication, a simple yoga routine could provide better and lasting benefits.

Studies further show that taking one yoga class weekly for 12 weeks provided greater increase in functionality and decrease in pain medication, compared to conventional therapeutic exercises advised by pain clinics.

Practiced regularly, yoga coupled with walking, swimming and other low-impact exercises enhances physical fitness. This leads to improved posture, muscle strength and flexibility as well pain relief.

Yoga has many benefits that will keep a healthy, flexible and toned body. Which in turn enhances the immune system and help to put off any dis-eases, such as colds etc.

Also as we age with regular yoga practice our bodies become more resistant to illness and in the event that we do injure ourselfes our recovery rate is usually much quicker to heal. The more we massage our bodies (by practicing yoga) the more the body gets stronger, if our muscles aren’t used then they literally waist away.

We feel good about ourselves, and look younger with regular practice, and of course if you do have back pain yoga will help you with recovery.