Is now the time for waxing, guys?

With so many trends fighting for our attention these days, it’s hard to know what’s staying for good and what will be gone tomorrow. One thing I know for sure and have never questioned, is waxing. It’s not a fad and it’s here to stay.

 

Waxing has been used as a form of hair removal for thousands of years. The reason it has secured its permanent place in the beauty industry is simple – It’s safe, effective and attainable. Different hair removal techniques such as sugaring, IPL, laser hair removal etc. have become very popular in recent years as advertising and celebrity endorsements have caused consumers to have conflicting thoughts on what is best. Playing on consumers desire to have permanent lifelong results, a ‘natural’ alternative or simply to be a part of a new ‘trend.’

Sugaring is an ancient middle-eastern practice that uses an all-natural paste or gel made from food-derived ingredients like sugar, water and lemon juice to remove the hair. The toffee like substance is kneaded into the skin repeatedly, removing the hair as it goes. With a number of inferior waxes on the market causing reactions including redness, itchiness and bumps, it’s no wonder people started looking for an alternative remedy. But here’s the scoop; 1) Superior waxes don’t cause these kinds of irritations; 2) Natural, Vegan friendly, water soluble waxes are now available in the marketplace so there really is no need to switch to sugaring, simply to offer a natural alternative.

Another hair-removal method is IPL, also known as Intense Pulsed Light. This is a hair removal technique that uses a lightflash to penetrate the skin and kill the hair follicles. There are no current studies to prove that having this intense light penetrate your skin is damaging to our health. However, for a long time there was no proof that solariums were damaging either. Fast forward a few years and it’s an entirely different story! We are now educated on how dangerous solariums are, which has caused them to become illegal in many states. The unknown health risks are enough to raise a red flag, not to mention the burning and permanent scarring the treatment can cause if performed incorrectly or by a malfunctioning machine.

I have noticed a few celebrities endorsing IPL as their chosen method of hair removal, which of course causes consumers jump right on board! Celebrities are not trained or educated in the area and can be just as oblivious to the potential side effect as the rest of us. Not to mention, celebrities are the definition of ‘fad’ - in one minute, out the next.

One celebrity that has recognised the impact a fad is Cameron Diaz. I recently read an article where Cameron talks about the permanent removal of pubic hair in particular. She states ‘Forever? I know you may think you’ll be wearing the same style of shoes forever and the same style of jeans forever, but you won’t. The idea that private intimate areas are preferable in a hairless state is a pretty recent phenomenon, and all fads change, people.’ Yes Cameron, I couldn’t have said it any better myself! Change your partner or change your mind as you get older, and you may wish you hadn't burnt your bridges. The Ned Kelly style beards certainly have come back in, and I dare say it, pale skin will too! It’s amazing what a strong marketing campaign or celebrity can make you do.

IPL in particular can cost an arm and a leg. Waxing is a more economical choice, especially when times are tight. It is, and always has been affordable, easy to maintain, and effective, especially when a professional is using the correct technique, with the right wax.

Waxing is often the bread and butter of any salon. Whether it’s a quick brow tidy, a back wax, or a Brazilian, there is something for everyone. My clients know it, and that’s why I'm in business! After recently coming back from overseas I have seen first hand that the waxing industry is booming and Salons offering IPL, Laser, etc. are finding it harder to stay afloat because of the restrictions now involved in performing these treatments, not to mention the huge expense of the equipment and the insurance involved. These salons spend thousands of dollars on equipment that in years to come may become consgined to the scrap heap - who knows what has happened to all of those solarium beds!? And therefore, the costs warrant significant advertising and marketing campaigns to get clients in through the door, which pushes treatment prices even higher.

 

Waxing is constantly evolving. The thing I love most about my business, and the waxing industry in general, is that we still evolve to suit the new age world around us. Today we have new and improved wax formulas that reduce irritation and allergies. Buying wax with high quality ingredients is certainly the right decision for my clients. If my clients favour natural products, I offer a natural and water soluble wax. This way I don't need any chemicals for the clean-up. These are also biodegradable so there are additional environmental benefits from this too.

Furthermore, the products have evolved for the different areas of the body, for male or female waxing, and the advertising and decor and set up of salons changes with this too. Training now also covers the male body, with its thicker skin, different hair growth patterns, and requirements in intimate areas.

Waxing has been a long long time coming to the male of the species, and this is in part due to the marketing of salons. Men are often not made welcome in such places, the general environment being as welcoming as the female equivalent of walking into a traditional male boozer. Moreover, advertising completely ignores the male, with no reference to treatments or product ranges designed for their bodies. This is furthered by the range of therapists who do not know how to treat the male body, through experience, desire or qualification - should the male feel able and brave enough to walk in through the door to ask.

The male's attitude to waxing is at last changing with big footballers and big skin brand products finally promoting the smooth or groomed male body. Men now think proudly, instead of shyly, about looking after their skin and actively feel able to talk about their appearance. ....so now there is a demand for male waxing. So, where are the salons? They are appearing in forward thinking specialist barbers and may have a small side area in traditional beauty salons, but the arrival of the male salon should surely be with us soon. At al Covo, I treat the male as my desired market - through my product range, through my experience and qualification, through the decor and ambience, my advertising...it is time for guys to wax at the first and only salon dedicated to male well-being, hair removal and skin care in Southampton! Established for over 5 years, business is booming. Whether it is your first time to treat yourself, or you want to change from an existing grooming business to a dedicated male wellbeing suite, come and give us a call.

To summarise, waxing offers many benefits as a hair removal technique that is temporary, cost effective, and proven. Come and try it out at al Covo, guys! You are welcome and we specialise only in the male. You will see a male therapist, experienced for many years, a trainer of therapists in waxing of men, with a range of products dedicated to the male skin, and not a female or formidable embarassing entrance in sight!

 

25 Facts About BDSM - a Realistic, Tantric Perspective

At Man On The Couch training and treatments at al Covo, we realise you experience all kinds of emotions during massage, well-being and tantra treatments. With all the interest in Fifty Shades of Grey, I thought it would help to put a different perspective on BDSM which forms an important but little well-known aspect of some people's chosen emotional experiences. So, forget Fifty Shades of Grey. here comes your real primer on all things kink. Man On The Couch trains in some of BDSM aspects, for beginners, in our Tantric Practice course, Sensual Toys and Accessories course, and discuss more in theory in our Tantric Concepts course. If you wish to experience BDSM as a client, you can choose Sensual Accessories as part of a Sensual Massage, Tantric Massage, Prostate Massage, or Shared Intimate Touch treatment

 

1. First things first: Here’s what BDSM actually stands for:

BDSM includes bondage and discipline (B&D), dominance and submission (D&S), and sadism & masochism (S&M). The terms are lumped together that way because BDSM can be a lot of different things to different people with different preferences, BDSM writer and educator Clarisse Thorn, author of The S&M Feminist. Most of the time, a person’s interests fall into one or two of those categories, rather than all of them.

 

2. It doesn’t always involve sex, but it can.

Most people think BDSM is always tied to sex, and while it can be for some people, others draw a hard line between the two. “Both are bodily experiences that are very intense and sensual and cause a lot of very strong feelings in people who practice them, but they’re not the same thing,” says Thorn. The metaphor she uses for it: a massage. Sometimes a massage, however sensual it feels, is just a massage. For others, a rubdown pretty much always leads to sex. It’s kind of similar with BDSM; it’s a matter of personal and sexual preference.

 

3. There is nothing inherently wrong or damaged with people if they’re into it.

This is one of the most common and frustrating misconceptions about BDSM, says Thorn. BDSM isn’t something that emerges from abuse or domestic violence, and engaging in it does not mean that you enjoy abuse or abusing.

Instead, enjoying BDSM is just one facet of someone’s sexuality and lifestyle. “It’s just regular people who happen to get off that way,” sex expert Gloria Brame, Ph.D., author of Different Loving, tells BuzzFeed Life. “It’s your neighbors and your teachers and the people bagging your groceries. The biggest myth is that you need this special set of circumstances. It’s regular people who have a need for that to be their intimate dynamic.”

 

 

4. Know that you can always say no.

“A lot of people starting out think it’s ‘all or nothing,’ especially if you’ve only been with one partner,” says Thorn. For instance, you might think that because you enjoyed being submissive under certain circumstances, that means you must agree to a whole host of submissive or masochistic behaviors that you’re not necessarily into.

But that’s absolutely wrong. You can — and should — pick and choose which BDSM activities you are and are not interested in, says Thorn. And that can vary depending on the situation, the partner, or even the day. Just remember that consent is a requirement in BDSM, and it’s possible to consent to one thing while still objecting to another.

 

5. BDSMers are just as stable as people who prefer vanilla sex.

“In my experience, it’s easier for people to get into BDSM if they don’t have a history of abuse, people who are in a more stable place in their lives,” says Thorn. A 2008 study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that people who had engaged in BDSM in the past year were no more likely to have been coerced into sexual activity and were no more likely to be unhappy or anxious than those who didn’t do BDSM. And actually, men who engaged in BDSM had lower scores of psychological distress than other men.

That said, BDSMers do not judge people who aren’t into it, explains Thorn. The term “vanilla” isn’t meant to be derogatory, just to refer to non-BDSM sexual acts or people who aren’t interested in kink.

 

 

6. Fifty Shades of Grey is considered very cringeworthy in the BDSM community.

If you ever find yourself at a BDSM meet-up or dungeon, don’t mention any shade of grey. While some people appreciate that the books spurred more interest in kink and may have made it less stigmatized, others take issue with the abusive, unhealthy relationship it portrays and the seriously unrealistic scenes. All in all, it is not an accurate representation of the BDSM community.

 

7. It’s not all whips and chains all the time — or ever, if that’s not your thing.

Sure, some S&M enthusiasts might have these in their arsenal, but it’s definitely not everyone’s cup of kink. “Some people go for what’s called ‘sensual dominance,’ which is where there might be some toys or play but no pain involved at all,” says Brame. “It’s more like one partner agrees to do everything the other person asks. BDSM doesn’t have to follow any pattern, and there is no one model for what a BDSM relationship can be.”

 

8. BDSM encounters are called “scenes.”

Again, since it isn’t always about intercourse, you wouldn’t necessarily say that you “had sex” or “hooked up” with someone after a BDSM experience. Instead, these are called scenes (like, you scened with someone or you had a scene).

“It’s an evolution from a time where, if you did S&M, you might only do it with a professional for an hour, or you might just see it performed at a BDSM club,” says Brame. “Now people have much more organic relationships, but they still call it a scene — the time when we bring out the toys or get into that headspace.”

 

9. There are dominants, submissives, tops, and bottoms.

So you’ve probably heard about dominants and submissives (if not, the dominant enjoys being in charge, while the submissive enjoys receiving orders). But BDSMers may also use the terms “tops” and “bottoms” to describe themselves. A top could refer to a dominant or a sadist (someone who enjoys inflicting pain), while a bottom could refer to a submissive or a masochist (someone who enjoys receiving pain). This allows you to have a blanket term for those who generally like being on either the giving or receiving end in a BDSM encounter. And there’s no rule that says you can’t be both dominant and submissive in different circumstances or with different partners.

 

 

10. It can be as simple or as technical as you want.

Maybe the thought of being tied up excites you, or you enjoy spanking or being spanked. Or maybe you’re more interested in leather masks and nipple clamps and hot wax. All of that (and obviously a lot more) is within the realm of BDSM. Basically, you can still be into kink without actually ever going to a dungeon.

 

11. Before you go past the VERY basics, do your research.

Using a blindfold or an ice cube or fuzzy handcuffs you got at a bachelorette party are all relatively harmless beginner behaviours if you’re into them. But before you play around with some of the trickier tools, you need to learn how to do so safely. Even a rope or a whip can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Hell, you can even mess up with your own hands (think: fisting): “[Some people] think they can clench a fist and stick it inside somebody,” says Brame. “That’s a good way to really injure someone and send them to the hospital.” (Instead, she suggests an “enormous amount of lubricant” and starting with two or three fingers, then slowly and carefully building up to the whole hand.)

 

12. Seriously, BDSM involves A LOT of reading and learning.

If you’re one of those people who throws away the directions and tries to build the bookshelf on intuition alone, BDSM is probably not for you. “I would say the vast majority of what we call BDSM education is how to maximize ecstasy and minimize risk,” says Brame. “How to do all the things you fantasized about doing and to do them safely.”

While there’s no one required reading list, there seem to be a few favorites that are often recommended to beginners, like SM 101 by Jay Wiseman, Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns, by Phillip Miller and Molly Devon, and The New Topping Book and The New Bottoming Book by Janet Hardy and Dossie Easton. [Editor’s note: Have others you’d suggest? Please add them in the comments!]

Classes, conferences, and meet-ups are also helpful for learning specific techniques, says Thorn. Another popular resource is FetLife.com, a Facebook-like network for the kink community, which can connect you with message boards, groups, and classes in your area.

 

13. It’s important to get your information from a variety of sources.

One mistake many people make when first experimenting with BDSM is relying on one person to show them the way. Even if they do have your best interest at heart (and they might not), it can be limiting to only have one perspective on something that is so multidimensional, says Thorn. Instead, seek out books, workshops, meet-ups, mentors, friends, message boards, and more to find a safe place to explore your interests.

“When you can’t talk about what’s happening and you can’t make sense of your experience with like-minded people, that’s way more dangerous than the variety of activities you might fantasize about,” says Thorn.

 

 

14. Safe words are definitely a thing.

It might sound cheesy, but it’s a well-established norm in BDSM. (And hey, your safe word could actually be “cheesy” if you want. You do you.) “Safe words are probably one of the most important norms that have spread across the community, even if people use them in different ways,” says Thorn. For instance, not everyone uses safe words all the time after a while, but it’s important to start out with them. They can essentially be anything you want, as long as it’s something that you wouldn’t normally say during sex. You can find more info about safe words here.

 

15. And at some public events, there are even safety monitors on duty.

“Dungeon monitors will kick out people who don’t look like they’re playing safely,” says Brame. This can be anything from ignoring safe words to using a whip incorrectly. Seriously, did we mention that safety is paramount here? In fact, the acronym SSC (safe, sane, consensual) is one of the most common pillars of the practice.

 

16. It’s not as spontaneous as Hollywood movies or porn make it out to be.

Getting swept up in the moment and accidentally stumbling into a millionaire’s red room (where you’ll have multiple orgasms) is probably not going to happen to you ever. But, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. “The sexual fantasy makes everything look so easy,” says Brame. “People who actually do this stuff are very cautious about it. It has to be the right place and right time and right equipment. And you have to know you can get the person out [of whatever bondage] if there’s an emergency. You have to feel you can trust the person.” So there’s a lot that goes into one scene, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less satisfying for those who enjoy it.

 

17. There’s also probably way more talking involved than there is with (most) vanilla sex.

Whenever people question the role of consent in BDSM, they should consider the enormous amount of communication that occurs before, during, and after the scenes. “We talk about it hugely before we ever do it,” says Brame. “We talk about what we want to do, what we’re going to do, what our fantasies are… that’s part of negotiating a good relationship as a BDSMer.”

 

18. There’s actually a pre-negotiation period, where the partners discuss what they like, what they don’t like, and what they absolutely will not tolerate.

Think of this as the primer before the scene. “It’s a way of discussing the experience ahead of time that can increase emotional security,” says Thorn. This can involve anything from scripts and checklists to a more informal discussion of what each person’s expectations are for the scene, what they want and don’t want, and any words or actions that are completely off-limits.

 

19. And then comes aftercare, the debriefing period that happens once the scene ends.

Since BDSM can be an incredibly intense and emotional experience for some, most experts strongly suggest this wrap-up step, where the partners can discuss the scene and any reactions they had to it. “People are extremely vulnerable during aftercare,” says Thorn. “It can be really weird to have a scene without it.” This can also be a strong bonding experience between the partners.

 

20. BDSMers can be monogamous, polyamorous, or whatever the hell they want.

Not everyone who’s interested in BDSM has multiple sexual or relationship partners. “It used to be a popular perception that we don’t form long-term relationships,” says Brame. “A lot of BDSMers are just monogamous people. A lot of people just want to do it with their partner or play with the big toys at clubs.”

 

21. There are so many different types of whips.

This is not a one-size-fits-all kink. There are light floggers, leather whips, whips with single tails, whips with multiple tails that are flat and wide, the list goes on, says Thorn. But because certain types can be harsher than others, you really need to learn how to use them properly (again, workshops are crucial). “People practicing with a single-tail whip will often start with a pillow or some distant small object, like a light switch,” she says.

 

22. And there are some places that you definitely don’t want to whip.

Like, um, the eyes, obviously. Or the kidney area. “The skin is thin there and you have vital organs under there. You can bruise your kidneys,” explains Brame.

 

23. If you want to bring it up in your current relationship, absolutely do it.

“There are plenty of stories out there of people who were too nervous to bring it up and then found out that their partner had the same fantasy,” says Thorn. If you’re nervous about it, ask if they’d be interested in checking out a particular book or workshop you heard about. Or just talk about it in the context of sexual fantasies by asking your partner if they’ve ever tried anything like BDSM or if they’ve ever wanted to. If you think about it, you’re only risking one awkward conversation, and the payoff can be huge if this is something you want in your life.

 

24. There is an immensely helpful list of kink-aware professionals so you can find a doctor or therapist who uniquely understands your lifestyle.

Maybe you’re worried that your gynecologist or your lawyer won’t be sensitive to your lifestyle or doesn’t allow you to feel comfortable talking about it. Check out the Kink Aware Professionals Directory from the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom to find someone who will be more accepting.

 

25. Basically, it’s way different than most people expect.

Between stereotypes, porn, and Fifty Shades of Grey, there’s a lot of misconceptions about BDSM. Short of attending a workshop or visiting a dominatrix, the best way to learn more about it is to do some research. “Just like with regular sex, if you want to be good at it, you really have to learn about what’s going on when this stuff is happening,” says Brame.

 

I hope you have learnt a little but more about BDSM and maybe feel able to explore your emotions through it. Contact www.manonthecouch.co.uk for more details about opportunties to learn and experience it safely and sensibly in Southampton.

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15 Nutritious Recipes under 400 Calories

Kick off 2015 with my 15 must-try recipes! Here at al Covo, healthy is delicious. Here’s to a happier new year and a healthier new you in 2015!

1. Zucchini Fritters | Damn Delicious
Nutritious and delicious zucchini fritters is a great way to sneak color and veggies onto the plate. Grated zucchini, parmesan cheese and eggs are whisked together then pan-fried to a golden brown crunch! Recipe makes 4 servings of fritters for a snack or appetizer.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 162; Total Fat: 10g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 6g; Cholesterol: 52mg; Sodium: 720mg; Total Carbohydrate: 12g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugars: 3g; Protein: 7g

2. Garlic Prawns + Avocado Crostini | Cafe Delites
Garlicky lemon-infused prawns and creamy avocado salad grace crunchy ciabatta slices in this simple crostini recipe. Prawns and avocado salad can be made separately ahead of time then assembled into crostinis when you’re ready. Recipe makes 10 servings of 1 crostini each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 163; Total Fat: 8g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 90mg; Total Carbohydrate: 19g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugars: 1g; Protein: 6g

3. Super Easy Coconut French Toast Bake | Pinch of Yum
Make an impressive and decadent brunch or breakfast in bed with this recipe for coconut French toast bake. Each loaf is made from torn sweet bread pieces soaked in coconut milk and studded with fruit toppings. Recipe makes 12 servings.

Nutrition (per serving)*: Calories: 265; Total Fat: 13g; Saturated Fat: 8g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 140mg; Sodium: 149mg; Total Carbohydrate: 30g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugars: 10g; Protein: 8g

*Nutrition information is for the following toppings, but you can mix and match: 2 medium bananas + 2 cups strawberry halves + 1/4 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes + 1/4 cup maple syrup.

4. Lemon Chicken Piccata|  Jo Cooks
Chicken piccata is a fresh Italian dinner main that can be made with a few common ingredients from your kitchen pantry. Lean chicken breast is dredged in flour then cooked in butter, garlic, lemon juice, wine and capers. Recipe makes 4 servings of 1/2 chicken breast each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 376; Total Fat: 20g; Saturated Fat: 9g; Monounsaturated Fat: 8g; Cholesterol: 99mg; Sodium: 498mg; Total Carbohydrate: 19g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugars: 1g; Protein: 30g

5. Mini Quiche Cups | Peas and Crayons
Mini quiche cups are a portion-controlled way to do breakfast or brunch. These bite-sized edibles are made in 15 minutes by combining inexpensive phyllo cups, eggs and savory toppings. Just mix, pour, bake! Recipe makes 15 servings of 1 quiche cup each.

Nutrition (per serving)*: Calories: 41; Total Fat: 2g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 33mg; Sodium: 98mg; Total Carbohydrate: 2g; Dietary Fiber: 0g; Sugars: 0g; Protein: 3g

*Nutrition information is for these toppings but you can come up with your own: 1 cup cooked spinach, 1/4 cup diced onion, 1/4 cup, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon hot sauce, 3 slices bacon.

6. Roasted Red Pepper & Chicken Collard Wrap |  i.run.on.nutrition
Here’s a great idea for low carb wraps–use large collard leaves! The wraps are filled with grated carrots, lean chicken, hummus, avocado, tomatoes and are the image of clean eating. Recipe makes 1 collard wrap and is versatile enough for you to sub-in other ingredients for the filling.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 295; Total Fat: 13g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 72mg; Sodium: 219mg; Total Carbohydrate: 16g; Dietary Fiber: 8g; Sugars: 4g; Protein: 31g

7. Crunchy Cabbage Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing | Scaling Back Blog
Throw this colorful salad in the face of typical greasy Chinese food! Crunchy cabbage, sweet carrots, lush avocado and nutty cashews are drizzled with a spicy peanut dressing. This makes an awesome entree salad, and you can add chicken or tofu to up the protein. Recipe makes 4 servings.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 341; Total Fat: 16g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 6g; Cholesterol: 2mg; Sodium: 244mg; Total Carbohydrate: 44g; Dietary Fiber: 16g; Sugars: 18g; Protein: 18g

8. Little Pomegranate Dessert Cups| Cook the Story
These rich and creamy dessert cups are sweet but not too sweet. They’re a modest bite-sized dessert treat that you won’t feel bad eating. You can make these ahead of time and serve as a frozen dessert or reheated. Recipe makes 30 servings of 1 cup each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 51; Total Fat: 3g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 7mg; Sodium: 50mg; Total Carbohydrate: 6g; Dietary Fiber: 0g; Sugars: 4g; Protein: 1g

9. Vegetable Beef Soup| Gimme Some Oven
Snuggle up to a piping bowl of hearty beef stew with tender vegetables. Sipping on soup is the ultimate comfort item and making soup from scratch means you can control the amount of salt that goes into it. Recipe makes 8 servings of 1 chunky bowl each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 352; Total Fat: 20g; Saturated Fat: 7g; Monounsaturated Fat: 3g; Cholesterol: 54mg; Sodium: 418mg; Total Carbohydrate: 19g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugars: 5g; Protein: 18g

10. Nutty Strawberry-Banana Quesadillas | Ambitious Kitchen
Nutty breakfast quesadilla is made with peanut butter and filled with fresh fruit slices. These crispy quesadillas are packed with protein and fiber, and make for a good post workout meal. Recipe makes 2 servings.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 385; Total Fat: 13g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 363mg; Total Carbohydrate: 67g; Dietary Fiber: 12g; Sugars: 25g; Protein: 11g

11. Lemon & Thyme Pan Seared Cod| The Way to His Heart
Plan your dinner with healthy semi-homemade recipes like this lemon & thyme cod served on a bed of parboiled rice. This recipe is high in protein, low in sodium and tastes like a million bucks! Recipe makes 4 servings of 1 cod filet + 1/2 cup of cooked rice each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 311; Total Fat: 15g; Saturated Fat: 6g; Monounsaturated Fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 65mg; Sodium: 270mg; Total Carbohydrate: 21g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugars: 1g; Protein: 23g

12. Grilled Chicken and Portobello Mushroom Sandwich | Fuss Free Cooking
Sandwiches using leftover ingredients are great for low key lunches. This recipe for leftover grilled chicken is moistened with portobello mushroom and runny eggs. Recipe makes 2 servings of 1 club sandwich each. Serve open-faced style if you want to cut out some carbs.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 378; Total Fat: 15g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 7g; Cholesterol: 248mg; Sodium: 571mg; Total Carbohydrate: 33g; Dietary Fiber: 7g; Sugars: 7g; Protein: 28g

13. Berry Green Layered Smoothie | Fit Foodie Finds
Here’s a berry delicious idea: instead of blending all your smoothie ingredients together, layer two different smoothies for a beautiful color and fun taste. This recipe for berry green layered smoothie makes 2 servings of 1 smoothie each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 282; Total Fat: 3g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 5mg; Sodium: 158mg; Total Carbohydrate: 65g; Dietary Fiber: 10g; Sugars: 48g; Protein: 16g

14. Oven Baked Fried Chicken | The Law Student’s Wife
This year don’t let your hankering for fried chicken hold you back from your health goals. Try out this oven-baked version using light cornflake pieces as breading and low-fat buttermilk to keep the chicken breast nice and juicy. Recipe makes 12 servings of 1 chicken breast each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 182; Total Fat: 2g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 62mg; Sodium: 454mg; Total Carbohydrate: 12g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugars: 3g; Protein: 25g

15. Sausage Egg Nests|  Hello Healthy by MyFitnessPal
Check out our recipe for sausage egg nests as a healthy alternative to greasy egg casseroles. Each little nest is made from whipped eggs and chicken sausage then topped with savory sprinkles of bacon, cheese and fragrant green onion. Recipe makes 6 servings of 2 sausage egg nest each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 242; Total Fat: 15g; Saturated Fat: 6g; Cholesterol: 201mg; Sodium: 594mg; Total Carbohydrate: 9g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugars: 1g; Protein: 17g

Are you Tired? Surrender to Loving

Are you Tired? Surrender to Loving

Are you tired? If not, get tired! If you are not tired, you will never reach home. Only if you are tired, will you ever rest, will you reach home. Everything in the world tires you; the one thing that will not tire you is love, because that is the goal, that is home. Have you ever heard anyone say, "Oh, I am so tired of loving"? It is unheard of because it is not possible to be tired in love!

You are tired of convincing people, of explaining things to people, of comforting, or plkeasing people. You can be tired of everything else, even enjoyment! In fact, tiredness is the shadow of enjoyment. What puts you on th eroad, is wanting to enjoym, and what brings you home, is being in love.

On your journey to find enjoyment, you move from one thing to another. You see joy, but when you reach it, you find it is further away - somewhere else - and so you move on. That moving on is tiring. Look at life...when children get tired of playing with their toys, they want a new toy. Tired of the new toy, they want people to play with new games or new people to play with. They grow a little older, and their games, as well as their wants, change. It is like movingh from one type of tiredness to anotehr type of tiredness. Where is that rest, that solace, that is peace, that love, that is so comforting, so cooling, so eternal, so blissful, so satisfying?

You cannot be at rest until you reach home. You may sit on the path, and rest a bit, but you cannot be there forever - you may just take a break. On the motorway, there is a rest area, where you can rest, stand up and stretch, maybe even receive an Indian Head Massage, but you cannot stay there; you cannot go to bed there, be at peace there, because the mind says "Move on!"

As a teenager, you look for something else - "Which new movie is showing? Where to go? Which party?" Then you move further, you try to find a life partner. You may get married...Then what? You have a home of your own...You have children...

Those who are single, feel that married people are happier than they are...and those, who are married, look at single people and think they are much better off, they are more free. People without children feel that epople with children are happier. People with children think that they will be free, when their children grow up. Parents look for someone else to take care of their children, and to give themselves a break.

Life moves on like this, but everything is tiring. You move from one spiritual path to another, you do this practice or that practice and that can also be tiring. "Oh! I have meditatied for twenty years! I am so tired of meditating! Please don't tell me to do anotehr meditation! Enough is enough! And pranayama - forget about it! It is so boring!"

What does one do? Where does one go? It is the desire that tires you - the want in your mind tires you more than the body! If you are willing to work fifteen hours, then that's fine, but if you are not willing, even four hours of work tires you. If you feel good about preparing a parrty, or arranging decorations, you won't be tired, working until midnight - but, if you are working in a place that you don't want to work in, you take so many coffee/tea breaks, and yet you feel tired! Even if you don't do any work, and you just sit and think - it makes you feel exhausted. Exhaustion often comes through thinking, not by doing work.

There is a place, where you can rest with the Divine - and that is love, surrender - but you cannot do this, unless you get really tired; when you drop down, that is called surrender. This is what enlightened Masters in the past have said: You do your practices on your own, and when you cannot go on, when it is all so tiring, come and rest. That is why the "places" of enlightened Masters, are called "Ashrams". Ashram means where you come and get rid of your tiredness. "Aa" means without and "Shram" means effort. An ashram is where all the tiredness - both mental and physical - vanishes. You don't have to strive for it - just sit there in the Light. There is a candle, a light, burning for you; you have to sit under its light and you are lit. You so not have to do anything - it is burning for you. You only have to connect, sit and feel the presence - be part of the Divinity. Then, you will find that nothing in the world can tire you. you can become the source of love. Things cannot irritate you, when you are home.

There was once an Emperor, who attained all he wanted in the world. The whole continent of Asia was under his command, millions of people were at his control. At the snap of his fingers, he could have anything he wanted in the world - but, that could not get him home, and this made him tired. He went from place to place, looking fron some spiritual knowledge, collecting things - which worked for a while. Finally, he got so tired, he renounced everything - but that also did not work. Being an Emperor did not work; renunciation did not work. One day, he fell down exhausted, near a tree. He could not find a Master. Even if one finds a Master, it is not easy to recognise. It was Autumn, and at that moment, a dry leaf dropped from the tree. He was looking at the leaf, and it flew to the East with with the wind. and then to the North, when the wind blew North. It wasfloating in the direction of the wind. Looking at it, something clicked in his head. the do-ership, the wnating, simply dropped from him. The every moment he realized the moment is eternal...and he came back home.

Living life that way - agreeing with whatever the Divine has provided for you, floating with the moment, not regretting the past or anticipating the future, but being like a dry leaf - it is said he attined English enlightenment. 

10 Nutritional Side Recipes Under 250 Calories

The holidays are just around the corner and if you’re like us your meal-prep wheels are spinning! This year we’ve put together a list of delish side dishes featuring trendy vegetables (here’s looking at you, kale) and old time favorites.  Our list of sides is guaranteed to be proper holiday sidekicks for these tasty main entrees that we shared yesterday. To help you realize a weight neutral holiday we’ve picked sides hovering around 200 calories or less. Give ‘em a spin and tell us what your tongue thinks!

VEGETABLES

Apple & Quinoa Kale Salad | The Wheatless Kitchen 
Crisp, refreshing apple meshes with quinoa and kale in this equal parts sweet and earthy salad. Add some crunch with chopped walnuts, pecans or almonds and you’ve got a texture savvy side dish. The recipe makes 6 side salads but can double as an entree for vegetarians or vegans if you up the serving size.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 191; Total Fat: 13g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 8g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 141mg; Total Carbohydrate: 16g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugars: 6g; Protein: 4g

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar | White on Rice
Reach for this recipe if you’re looking for simple and speedy: just toss, roast and serve. Roasted brussels sprouts with balsamic vinegar is made with just five ingredients (that’s if you count salt and pepper!) and makes a great tangy side. Recipe makes 6 servings at 1 cup each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 110; Total Fat: 7g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 404mg; Total Carbohydrate: 11g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Sugars: 3g; Protein: 4g

Fresh Green Bean Casserole | Elle Penner, MyFitnessPal Registered Dietitian
For many green bean casserole is a holiday staple but traditional recipes sometimes call for sodium-socked canned green beans and condensed soup. That’s why you need to try fresh green bean casserole re-made by Elle, our registered dietitian. It features homemade cream of mushroom soup and snappy, fresh green beans! The recipe makes 8 servings of about 1 cup each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 139; Total Fat: 6g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 3mg; Sodium: 244mg; Total Carbohydrate: 17g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Sugars:3 g; Protein: 7g

Maple Glazed Carrots | Clean Eating
Looking for an inexpensive side that high in fiber and flavor? Check out maple-glazed carrots featuring sweet, tender carrots lightly kissed by maple syrup and butter. This recipe serves 10 at 1/2 cup serving each, and pairs well with turkey or brisket.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 84; Total Fat: 4g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 3mg; Sodium: 166mg; Total Carbohydrate: 12g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugars: 7g; Protein: 1g

Oven-Fried Okra | Love & Zest
Ready for a crispy fix? You had me at oven-fried okra. This recipe turns a traditionally deep-fried treat into a healthy side you can gladly indulge on. Thick cut okra is baked in a crispy coating of egg and whole wheat breadcrumbs for added protein and fiber. Makes 4 servings of 1 cup each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 84; Total Fat: 2g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g ; Cholesterol: 46mg; Sodium: 72mg; Total Carbohydrates: 14g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Sugars: 1g; Protein: 5g

 

POTATOES & STARCHES

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes with Dill | Clean Eating
Enhance your mashed potato experience this year with some healthy additions. Cauliflower, dill and whole milk plain yogurt combines for a creamy mashed potato without using any butter. Each recipe makes 10 servings at 1/2 cup each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 88; Total Fat: 1g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 3mg; Sodium: 120mg; Total Carbohydrate: 18g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugars: 3g; Protein 3g

Herb & Cheese Drop Biscuits | Oh She Glows
This herb & cheese drop biscuit recipe is vegan friendly (yes, it’s possible)! Each morsel is flavored by thyme and parsley, and is melt-in-your-mouth delicious. If you prefer non-vegan you can add butter instead of coconut oil and cheddar cheese instead of vegan cheese. Makes 8 to 10 biscuits.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 169; Total Fat: 9g; Saturated Fat: 7g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 337mg; Total Carbohydrate: 21g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugars: 1g; Protein 3g

Wild Rice with Roasted Chestnuts & Cranberries | Cooking Light
Wild rice is fancifully studded with roasted chestnuts and cranberries. This side has a nutty, almost smoky flavor, and the color of the wild rice pairs beautifully with game birds and other poultry (hint, hint: your turkey). Makes 12 servings at 3/4 cup each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 218; Total Fat: 3g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 4mg; Sodium: 168mg; Total Carbohydrate: 45g; Dietary Fiber: 5g; Sugars: 11g; Protein 6g

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese | According to Elle
Mac & cheese, a wildly popular for little picky eaters, is also a great place to hide some veggies! Butternut squash mac & cheese delivers cheesy goodness with a helping of butternut squash that’s filled with fiber and important vitamin A. Makes 16 servings at 3/4 cup each. This can double as an entree for vegetarians if you increase the serving size, and stud it with more veggies (we suggest adding broccoli)!

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 214 ; Total Fat: 7g; Saturated Fat: 4g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 22mg; Sodium: 394mg; Carbohydrate: 26g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 3g; Protein 10g

Slow Cooked Garlic Sweet Potato Mash | Skinnytaste
That moment when you’re frantically cooking the holiday meal and you run out of pots! Thank goodness for this slow cooked sweet potato side which allows you to spend your time and energy on an elaborate main entree. Don’t take it for granted though; this sweet potato recipe is light and garlicky good! Makes 5 servings at 3/4 cup each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 145; Total Fat: 3g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 9mg; Sodium: 103mg; Total Carbohydrate: 29g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugars: 7g; Protein 3g

10 Nutritional Main Course Recipes under 400 Calories

If you’re cooking, plan out your big feast.  To help, Ive compiled a diverse list of delicious mains you can look to for inspiration. These 10 selections are all under 400 calories per serving!

 

TRADITIONAL TURKEY, POULTRY & HAM

 

Ultimate Roasted Turkey| Cooking Light
Gobble up this delicious ultimate roast turkey! It’s made with simple seasonings but don’t let that fool you. The bird serves up in succulent slices accompanied by classic gravy made from turkey drippings. Recipe makes 12 servings at 6 ounces turkey + 3 tablespoons gravy.

 

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 396; Total Fat: 9g; Saturated Fat: g3; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 183mg; Sodium: 483mg; Total Carbohydrate: 13g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugars: 10g; Protein: 62g

 

Rosemary-Roasted Turkey with Porcini Pan Sauce| Clean Eating
No holiday menu would be complete without the main event. This season try out a rosemary-roasted turkey that is perfectly seasoned with classic flavors like garlic, onions, rosemary. The turkey is complemented with porcini pan sauce made from the drippings! Recipe makes 10 servings at 4 ounces turkey + 1/4 cup of sauce each.

 

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 196; Total Fat: 10g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 77mg; Sodium: 82mg; Total Carbohydrate: 1g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugars: 1g; Protein: 24g

 

Honey Baked Spiral Ham| Skinnytaste
Spiral ham is perfect for quick holiday meals because it’s precooked and sliced making it easier to serve when it comes out of the oven. To make your ham more succulent try out this recipe for a sweet glaze made from pineapple juice, orange juice, dijon mustard, honey and brown sugar. Recipe makes 12 servings.

 

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 171; Total Fat: 7g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 68mg; Sodium: 644mg; Total Carbohydrate: 13g; Dietary Fiber: 0g; Sugars: 13g; Protein: 16g

 

Julia’s Favorite Roast Chicken| Food & Wine
A legendary bird from a legendary cook! This roast chicken is a favorite of Julia Child’s because it’s seasoned inside and out by packing sauteed vegetables, lemon slices and fresh herbs into the cavity, then rubbing the skin with butter. Recipe makes 4 servings at 1/4 of a chicken each.

 

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 272; Total Fat: 20g; Saturated Fat: 8g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 80mg; Sodium: 286mg; Total Carbohydrate: 7g; Dietary Fiber: 24g; Sugars: 3g; Protein: 45g

 

 

 

BEEF, PORK & LAMB

 

Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb| Skinnytaste
Leg of lamb makes a beautiful lean protein centerpiece for your holiday meal! Lamb is treated to a bath of crushed garlic, lemon juice and fresh rosemary before being baked in the oven. Recipe makes about 8 servings.

 

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 213; Total Fat: 9g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 91mg; Sodium: 177mg; Total Carbohydrate: 1g; Dietary Fiber: 0g; Sugars: 0g; Protein: 29g

 

Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Sauteed Apples| Cooking Light
Here’s a twist on pork chops and apple sauce: spiced pork tenderloin served with sauteed apples. The lean pork medallions are rubbed in a sweet spice coating while the apples are sauteed in shallots and thyme for a savory treatment. Recipe makes 4 servings of 3 pork medallions + 1/2 cup apples each.

 

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 244; Total Fat: 11g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 89mg; Sodium: 354mg; Total Carbohydrates: 13g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugars: 9g; Protein: 24g

 

Spiced Brisket with Shallots and Tangerines| Clean Eating
Bold brisket is balanced with sweet tangerines and Chinese five-spice then slow baked for a rich flavor and tender meat. This recipe can be prepared up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated until you’re ready to serve! Recipe makes 10 servings of 2 1/2 ounces of spiced brisket + 1/4 cup sauce.

 

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 256; Total Fat: 6g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 56mg; Sodium: 307mg; Total Carbohydrate: 19g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugars: 7g; Protein: 33g

 

 

 

VEGETARIAN & PESCATARIAN

 

Glazed Lentil Walnut Loaf| Oh She Glows
This super satisfying lentil loaf incorporates walnuts, apples, sweet onions, carrots, celery and oat flour for plenty of flavor and fiber. Best of all,  the loaf is brushed in a sweet and tangy glaze and is suitable for vegans. Recipe makes 8 servings.

 

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 331; Total Fat: 12g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 282mg; Total Carbohydrate: 45g; Dietary Fiber: 8g; Sugars: 16g; Protein: 13g

 

Slow-Roasted Salmon with Cherry Tomatoes & Couscous| Bon Appetit
If you’re eager to feature fish for your holiday celebration try out this scrumptious salmon recipe. Salmon is roasted to perfection then served with a flavorful yogurt sauce on a bed of tomato and couscous. Recipe makes 7 servings of salmon and couscous (nutrition info below is for the salmon and yogurt sauce only).

 

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 364; Total Fat: 19g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated fat: 9g; Cholesterol: 104mg; Sodium: 592mg; Total Carbohydrate: 4g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugars: 2g; Protein: 43g

 

Healthy Mushroom Alfredo Penne Bake| Pinch of Yum
This lightened up mushroom Alfredo penne bake uses a creamy, garlicky cauliflower sauce atop whole wheat pasta and buttered mushrooms. It’s seasoned with sage and is a wise choice for a holiday gathering of your closest vegetarian friends. Recipe makes 10 servings.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 342; Total Fat: 16g; Saturated Fat: 7g; Monounsaturated Fat: 7g; Cholesterol: 28mg; Sodium: 509mg; Total Carbohydrate: 36g; Dietary Fiber: 6g; Sugars: 5g; Protein: 14g

Can relaxing treatments and thoughts change your DNA to look younger?

Did you know that the expression of your genes is modifiable?

The old notion that genes control your life has been replaced by new epigenetic discoveries. For example, when you put stem cells in a petri dish with the conditions that support muscle growth, the cells evolve into strong contractile muscles. However, if you change the conditions in the petri dish, the same cells can become bone cells, fat cells, and even brain cells! When you put stem cells in a petri dish with the conditions that support muscle growth, the cells evolve into strong contractile muscles. I personally find this fascinating. While every one of your cells is genetically identical, their fate is controlled by the conditions around them.

Beyond the petri dish

Today scientists are taking this even further and way beyond the petri dish. They’re exploring the impact of what you eat, drink, breathe and do on your genetic activity. I think the most unexpected discovery is connected to yoga, meditation, prayer, and mindful breathing. Over one hundred studies found that these activities can also influence your genes and the rate at which you get older. Perhaps the most notorious study is the one conducted by Harvard a few years ago. When the researchers took blood samples before and after these activities, they noticed that 2,209 genes responsible for the ageing process were turned on or off. Genes that protect cells against the damage caused by free radicals were turned on. Genes that promote oxidative stress (which accelerates ageing) were turned off. Curiously, the test subjects practised these relaxing activities for just 20 minutes a day. Some did yoga, others listened to a simple meditation audio. The activity didn’t matter. It’s the underlying mechanism triggered by these activities. Scientists call it the “relaxation response”, which causes decreased oxygen consumption, increased exhaled nitric oxide, and reduced psychological distress. It sounds very simple to me, yet it can be extremely powerful.

Changing Your Genetic Expression

For years I have been skeptic about the benefits of yoga. But today I know better. Those friends who have meditated or practised yoga for years enjoyed better health not because they’ve been born with “lucky genes” but because they’ve been positively influencing them! Now that we have solid scientific proof of that yoga, meditation and mindful breathing can slow down the ageing process, I’m all up for it. Even elite athletes use it all the time, especially during their recovery phase. There is Scientific proof that yoga, meditation and mindful breathing can slow down the ageing process.

Younger, Healthier and Stronger

If you want to learn more, here’s my summary of the Harvard Study. The test subjects were divided into 3 groups: 19 adults were long-term daily practitioners of various Relaxation Response (RR) techniques 20 were trained in RR eliciting techniques (breathing, mindfulness and meditation CDs) for 8 weeks during the study 19 people served as controls (in other words, did nothing and continued living their normal lives). By analysis of blood samples, the study found that 2,209 genes were differently expressed (switched on or off) between the long-term meditators and control group. 1,275 genes were up-regulated (their activity was increased) and 934 were down-regulated (their activity was reduced) in the long-term meditators group. It also found that 1,561 genes were expressed differently between the group who did the 8 weeks meditation training (the novice meditators) and the control group. Particularly, 874 were up-regulated and 687 were down-regulated in the 8-week group. In other words, the Relaxation Response – short or long term – causes hundreds of genes to turn on or off. Many of the “enriched” genes were involved in the body’s response to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress produces free radicals, promotes a pro-inflammatory response and is known to increase vulnerability to viruses and degenerative diseases like cancer. It also accelerates aging at the cellular level. It shortens telomeres, lowers telomerase activity and decreases anti-oxidant capacity. This is important because, telomerase is an enzyme that can repair the telomeres – the little caps at the end of our chromosomes that protects our DNA. The length of your telomeres indicate how fast you are ageing. Ideally, you want a good response system to oxidative stress so that you can slow the aging process and prevent other negative effects.

Take action now

You don’t need to become a Buddhist or a Priest either! As you’ve seen from the study, 20 minutes a day would do :-) Yoga, meditation and mindful breathing can slow down the ageing process - try my Thai Yoga Massage, or any one of my relaxing Massages, Reflexology, Reiki, Shirodhara, Meditations, Tapping, Acupressure..Nutritional Therapy, Stretching, Aromatherapy, Music therapy, Chakra Balancing...they all provide the same positive effects on the body.

Here’s the link to the full Harvard study — you can download the PDF for free.http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0002576

I’d love to hear from you!

 

Steve

www.alcovo.co.uk

Can you change your DNA to look younger?Did you know that the expression of your genes is modifiable? The old notion that genes control your life has been replaced by new epigenetic discoveries. For example, when you put stem cells in a petri dish with the conditions that support muscle growth, the cells evolve into strong contractile muscles. However, if you change the conditions in the petri dish, the same cells can become bone cells, fat cells, and even brain cells! When you put stem cells in a petri dish with the conditions that support muscle growth, the cells evolve into strong contractile muscles. I personally find this fascinating. While every one of your cells is genetically identical, their fate is controlled by the conditions around them. Beyond the petri dish Today scientists are taking this even further and way beyond the petri dish. They’re exploring the impact of what you eat, drink, breathe and do on your genetic activity. I think the most unexpected discovery is connected to yoga, meditation, prayer, and mindful breathing. Over one hundred studies found that these activities can also influence your genes and the rate at which you get older. Perhaps the most notorious study is the one conducted by Harvard a few years ago. When the researchers took blood samples before and after these activities, they noticed that 2,209 genes responsible for the ageing process were turned on or off. Genes that protect cells against the damage caused by free radicals were turned on. Genes that promote oxidative stress (which accelerates ageing) were turned off. Curiously, the test subjects practised these relaxing activities for just 20 minutes a day. Some did yoga, others listened to a simple meditation audio. The activity didn’t matter. It’s the underlying mechanism triggered by these activities. Scientists call it the “relaxation response”, which causes decreased oxygen consumption, increased exhaled nitric oxide, and reduced psychological distress. It sounds very simple to me, yet it can be extremely powerful. Changing Your Genetic Expression For years I have been skeptic about the benefits of yoga. But today I know better. Those friends who have meditated or practised yoga for years enjoyed better health not because they’ve been born with “lucky genes” but because they’ve been positively influencing them! Now that we have solid scientific proof of that yoga, meditation and mindful breathing can slow down the ageing process, I’m all up for it. Even elite athletes use it all the time, especially during their recovery phase. There is Scientific proof that yoga, meditation and mindful breathing can slow down the ageing process. Younger, Healthier and Stronger If you want to learn more, here’s my summary of the Harvard Study. The test subjects were divided into 3 groups: 19 adults were long-term daily practitioners of various Relaxation Response (RR) techniques 20 were trained in RR eliciting techniques (breathing, mindfulness and meditation CDs) for 8 weeks during the study 19 people served as controls (in other words, did nothing and continued living their normal lives). By analysis of blood samples, the study found that 2,209 genes were differently expressed (switched on or off) between the long-term meditators and control group. 1,275 genes were up-regulated (their activity was increased) and 934 were down-regulated (their activity was reduced) in the long-term meditators group. It also found that 1,561 genes were expressed differently between the group who did the 8 weeks meditation training (the novice meditators) and the control group. Particularly, 874 were up-regulated and 687 were down-regulated in the 8-week group. In other words, the Relaxation Response – short or long term – causes hundreds of genes to turn on or off. Many of the “enriched” genes were involved in the body’s response to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress produces free radicals, promotes a pro-inflammatory response and is known to increase vulnerability to viruses and degenerative diseases like cancer. It also accelerates aging at the cellular level. It shortens telomeres, lowers telomerase activity and decreases anti-oxidant capacity. This is important because, telomerase is an enzyme that can repair the telomeres – the little caps at the end of our chromosomes that protects our DNA. The length of your telomeres indicate how fast you are ageing. Ideally, you want a good response system to oxidative stress so that you can slow the aging process and prevent other negative effects. Take action now You don’t need to become a Buddhist or a Priest either! As you’ve seen from the study, 20 minutes a day would do :-) Yoga, meditation and mindful breathing can slow down the ageing process. Here’s the link to the full Harvard study — you can download the PDF for free. I’d love to hear from you: Have you practised yoga? If so, have you noticed any positive changes?For chance to win a scholarship join our FREE Nutrition Course HERE! Contact Us +44 (0) 843 289 5240 Terms Read student reviews ! » Login « (paid members only) The Health Sciences Academy All Courses Workshop Dates Reviews Ask a Graduate About Accreditations BLOG Personal Trainer L3 Weight Loss Sports Nutrition Specialist Nutrition FREE COURSE Can you change your DNA to look younger? Alejandra "Alex" Ruani11 Comments May 20 2014 Health Tips: Can you change your DNA to look younger by Alejandra "Alex" Ruani — Get free updates of new posts here. Can you change your DNA to look younger? Did you know that the expression of your genes is modifiable? The old notion that genes control your life has been replaced by new epigenetic discoveries. For example, when you put stem cells in a petri dish with the conditions that support muscle growth, the cells evolve into strong contractile muscles. However, if you change the conditions in the petri dish, the same cells can become bone cells, fat cells, and even brain cells! When you put stem cells in a petri dish with the conditions that support muscle growth, the cells evolve into strong contractile muscles. I personally find this fascinating. While every one of your cells is genetically identical, their fate is controlled by the conditions around them. Beyond the petri dish Today scientists are taking this even further and way beyond the petri dish. They’re exploring the impact of what you eat, drink, breathe and do on your genetic activity. I think the most unexpected discovery is connected to yoga, meditation, prayer, and mindful breathing. Over one hundred studies found that these activities can also influence your genes and the rate at which you get older. Perhaps the most notorious study is the one conducted by Harvard a few years ago. When the researchers took blood samples before and after these activities, they noticed that 2,209 genes responsible for the ageing process were turned on or off. Genes that protect cells against the damage caused by free radicals were turned on. Genes that promote oxidative stress (which accelerates ageing) were turned off. Curiously, the test subjects practised these relaxing activities for just 20 minutes a day. Some did yoga, others listened to a simple meditation audio. The activity didn’t matter. It’s the underlying mechanism triggered by these activities. Scientists call it the “relaxation response”, which causes decreased oxygen consumption, increased exhaled nitric oxide, and reduced psychological distress. It sounds very simple to me, yet it can be extremely powerful. Changing Your Genetic Expression For years I have been skeptic about the benefits of yoga. But today I know better. Those friends who have meditated or practised yoga for years enjoyed better health not because they’ve been born with “lucky genes” but because they’ve been positively influencing them! Now that we have solid scientific proof of that yoga, meditation and mindful breathing can slow down the ageing process, I’m all up for it. Even elite athletes use it all the time, especially during their recovery phase. There is Scientific proof that yoga, meditation and mindful breathing can slow down the ageing process. Younger, Healthier and Stronger If you want to learn more, here’s my summary of the Harvard Study. The test subjects were divided into 3 groups: 19 adults were long-term daily practitioners of various Relaxation Response (RR) techniques 20 were trained in RR eliciting techniques (breathing, mindfulness and meditation CDs) for 8 weeks during the study 19 people served as controls (in other words, did nothing and continued living their normal lives). By analysis of blood samples, the study found that 2,209 genes were differently expressed (switched on or off) between the long-term meditators and control group. 1,275 genes were up-regulated (their activity was increased) and 934 were down-regulated (their activity was reduced) in the long-term meditators group. It also found that 1,561 genes were expressed differently between the group who did the 8 weeks meditation training (the novice meditators) and the control group. Particularly, 874 were up-regulated and 687 were down-regulated in the 8-week group. In other words, the Relaxation Response – short or long term – causes hundreds of genes to turn on or off. Many of the “enriched” genes were involved in the body’s response to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress produces free radicals, promotes a pro-inflammatory response and is known to increase vulnerability to viruses and degenerative diseases like cancer. It also accelerates aging at the cellular level. It shortens telomeres, lowers telomerase activity and decreases anti-oxidant capacity. This is important because, telomerase is an enzyme that can repair the telomeres – the little caps at the end of our chromosomes that protects our DNA. The length of your telomeres indicate how fast you are ageing. Ideally, you want a good response system to oxidative stress so that you can slow the aging process and prevent other negative effects. Take action now You don’t need to become a Buddhist or a Priest either! As you’ve seen from the study, 20 minutes a day would do :-) Yoga, meditation and mindful breathing can slow down the ageing process. Here’s the link to the full Harvard study — you can download the PDF for free. I’d love to hear from you: Have you practised yoga? If so, have you noticed any positive changes?


Source: © The Health Sciences Academy. All Rights Reserved.

Read more: thehealthsciencesacademy.org/healthy-living/can-you-change-your-dna-to-look-younger/
For chance to win a scholarship join our FREE Nutrition Course HERE! Contact Us +44 (0) 843 289 5240 Terms Read student reviews ! » Login « (paid members only) The Health Sciences Academy All Courses Workshop Dates Reviews Ask a Graduate About Accreditations BLOG Personal Trainer L3 Weight Loss Sports Nutrition Specialist Nutrition FREE COURSE Can you change your DNA to look younger? Alejandra "Alex" Ruani11 Comments May 20 2014 Health Tips: Can you change your DNA to look younger by Alejandra "Alex" Ruani — Get free updates of new posts here. Can you change your DNA to look younger? Did you know that the expression of your genes is modifiable? The old notion that genes control your life has been replaced by new epigenetic discoveries. For example, when you put stem cells in a petri dish with the conditions that support muscle growth, the cells evolve into strong contractile muscles. However, if you change the conditions in the petri dish, the same cells can become bone cells, fat cells, and even brain cells! When you put stem cells in a petri dish with the conditions that support muscle growth, the cells evolve into strong contractile muscles. I personally find this fascinating. While every one of your cells is genetically identical, their fate is controlled by the conditions around them. Beyond the petri dish Today scientists are taking this even further and way beyond the petri dish. They’re exploring the impact of what you eat, drink, breathe and do on your genetic activity. I think the most unexpected discovery is connected to yoga, meditation, prayer, and mindful breathing. Over one hundred studies found that these activities can also influence your genes and the rate at which you get older. Perhaps the most notorious study is the one conducted by Harvard a few years ago. When the researchers took blood samples before and after these activities, they noticed that 2,209 genes responsible for the ageing process were turned on or off. Genes that protect cells against the damage caused by free radicals were turned on. Genes that promote oxidative stress (which accelerates ageing) were turned off. Curiously, the test subjects practised these relaxing activities for just 20 minutes a day. Some did yoga, others listened to a simple meditation audio. The activity didn’t matter. It’s the underlying mechanism triggered by these activities. Scientists call it the “relaxation response”, which causes decreased oxygen consumption, increased exhaled nitric oxide, and reduced psychological distress. It sounds very simple to me, yet it can be extremely powerful. Changing Your Genetic Expression For years I have been skeptic about the benefits of yoga. But today I know better. Those friends who have meditated or practised yoga for years enjoyed better health not because they’ve been born with “lucky genes” but because they’ve been positively influencing them! Now that we have solid scientific proof of that yoga, meditation and mindful breathing can slow down the ageing process, I’m all up for it. Even elite athletes use it all the time, especially during their recovery phase. There is Scientific proof that yoga, meditation and mindful breathing can slow down the ageing process. Younger, Healthier and Stronger If you want to learn more, here’s my summary of the Harvard Study. The test subjects were divided into 3 groups: 19 adults were long-term daily practitioners of various Relaxation Response (RR) techniques 20 were trained in RR eliciting techniques (breathing, mindfulness and meditation CDs) for 8 weeks during the study 19 people served as controls (in other words, did nothing and continued living their normal lives). By analysis of blood samples, the study found that 2,209 genes were differently expressed (switched on or off) between the long-term meditators and control group. 1,275 genes were up-regulated (their activity was increased) and 934 were down-regulated (their activity was reduced) in the long-term meditators group. It also found that 1,561 genes were expressed differently between the group who did the 8 weeks meditation training (the novice meditators) and the control group. Particularly, 874 were up-regulated and 687 were down-regulated in the 8-week group. In other words, the Relaxation Response – short or long term – causes hundreds of genes to turn on or off. Many of the “enriched” genes were involved in the body’s response to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress produces free radicals, promotes a pro-inflammatory response and is known to increase vulnerability to viruses and degenerative diseases like cancer. It also accelerates aging at the cellular level. It shortens telomeres, lowers telomerase activity and decreases anti-oxidant capacity. This is important because, telomerase is an enzyme that can repair the telomeres – the little caps at the end of our chromosomes that protects our DNA. The length of your telomeres indicate how fast you are ageing. Ideally, you want a good response system to oxidative stress so that you can slow the aging process and prevent other negative effects. Take action now You don’t need to become a Buddhist or a Priest either! As you’ve seen from the study, 20 minutes a day would do :-) Yoga, meditation and mindful breathing can slow down the ageing process. Here’s the link to the full Harvard study — you can download the PDF for free. I’d love to hear from you: Have you practised yoga? If so, have you noticed any positive changes?


Source: © The Health Sciences Academy. All Rights Reserved.

Read more: thehealthsciencesacademy.org/healthy-living/can-you-change-your-dna-to-look-younger/
For chance to win a scholarship join our FREE Nutrition Course HERE! Contact Us +44 (0) 843 289 5240 Terms Read student reviews ! » Login « (paid members only) The Health Sciences Academy All Courses Workshop Dates Reviews Ask a Graduate About Accreditations BLOG Personal Trainer L3 Weight Loss Sports Nutrition Specialist Nutrition FREE COURSE Can you change your DNA to look younger? Alejandra "Alex" Ruani11 Comments May 20 2014 Health Tips: Can you change your DNA to look younger by Alejandra "Alex" Ruani — Get free updates of new posts here. Can you change your DNA to look younger? Did you know that the expression of your genes is modifiable? The old notion that genes control your life has been replaced by new epigenetic discoveries. For example, when you put stem cells in a petri dish with the conditions that support muscle growth, the cells evolve into strong contractile muscles. However, if you change the conditions in the petri dish, the same cells can become bone cells, fat cells, and even brain cells! When you put stem cells in a petri dish with the conditions that support muscle growth, the cells evolve into strong contractile muscles. I personally find this fascinating. While every one of your cells is genetically identical, their fate is controlled by the conditions around them. Beyond the petri dish Today scientists are taking this even further and way beyond the petri dish. They’re exploring the impact of what you eat, drink, breathe and do on your genetic activity. I think the most unexpected discovery is connected to yoga, meditation, prayer, and mindful breathing. Over one hundred studies found that these activities can also influence your genes and the rate at which you get older. Perhaps the most notorious study is the one conducted by Harvard a few years ago. When the researchers took blood samples before and after these activities, they noticed that 2,209 genes responsible for the ageing process were turned on or off. Genes that protect cells against the damage caused by free radicals were turned on. Genes that promote oxidative stress (which accelerates ageing) were turned off. Curiously, the test subjects practised these relaxing activities for just 20 minutes a day. Some did yoga, others listened to a simple meditation audio. The activity didn’t matter. It’s the underlying mechanism triggered by these activities. Scientists call it the “relaxation response”, which causes decreased oxygen consumption, increased exhaled nitric oxide, and reduced psychological distress. It sounds very simple to me, yet it can be extremely powerful. Changing Your Genetic Expression For years I have been skeptic about the benefits of yoga. But today I know better. Those friends who have meditated or practised yoga for years enjoyed better health not because they’ve been born with “lucky genes” but because they’ve been positively influencing them! Now that we have solid scientific proof of that yoga, meditation and mindful breathing can slow down the ageing process, I’m all up for it. Even elite athletes use it all the time, especially during their recovery phase. There is Scientific proof that yoga, meditation and mindful breathing can slow down the ageing process. Younger, Healthier and Stronger If you want to learn more, here’s my summary of the Harvard Study. The test subjects were divided into 3 groups: 19 adults were long-term daily practitioners of various Relaxation Response (RR) techniques 20 were trained in RR eliciting techniques (breathing, mindfulness and meditation CDs) for 8 weeks during the study 19 people served as controls (in other words, did nothing and continued living their normal lives). By analysis of blood samples, the study found that 2,209 genes were differently expressed (switched on or off) between the long-term meditators and control group. 1,275 genes were up-regulated (their activity was increased) and 934 were down-regulated (their activity was reduced) in the long-term meditators group. It also found that 1,561 genes were expressed differently between the group who did the 8 weeks meditation training (the novice meditators) and the control group. Particularly, 874 were up-regulated and 687 were down-regulated in the 8-week group. In other words, the Relaxation Response – short or long term – causes hundreds of genes to turn on or off. Many of the “enriched” genes were involved in the body’s response to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress produces free radicals, promotes a pro-inflammatory response and is known to increase vulnerability to viruses and degenerative diseases like cancer. It also accelerates aging at the cellular level. It shortens telomeres, lowers telomerase activity and decreases anti-oxidant capacity. This is important because, telomerase is an enzyme that can repair the telomeres – the little caps at the end of our chromosomes that protects our DNA. The length of your telomeres indicate how fast you are ageing. Ideally, you want a good response system to oxidative stress so that you can slow the aging process and prevent other negative effects. Take action now You don’t need to become a Buddhist or a Priest either! As you’ve seen from the study, 20 minutes a day would do :-) Yoga, meditation and mindful breathing can slow down the ageing process. Here’s the link to the full Harvard study — you can download the PDF for free. I’d love to hear from you: Have you practised yoga? If so, have you noticed any positive changes?


Source: © The Health Sciences Academy. All Rights Reserved.

Read more: thehealthsciencesacademy.org/healthy-living/can-you-change-your-dna-to-look-younger/

Reflexology and Massage - what's the difference?

Reflexology uses body maps that are on the feet, hands and ears. Massage does not. Massage is all about working the muscles, tendons and fascia. In reflexology, the sensitive areas on the feet and hands indicate there is either something out of balance in the body map area of the body or something in the foot itself or something along the meridian. The sensitive areas are areas that the practitioner will work more or longer on, say up to five minutes on a sensitive place. This is to have a better response for the client. This may be similar to massage, but the massage therapist will keep in mind the tendons and massaging to the desired end result of releasing the muscles and easing the pain. Where as the reflexologist will be focusing on the reflex points or maps and how the body works and how specific conditions or illnesses work.

The benefits of reflexology are improved circulation, relaxation or stress reduction and it helps to balance or improve function of the internal organs and glands naturally. Some studies have shown it to reduce pain such as back pain, PMS symptoms, diabetes and more. Many people find it even more relaxing than a full body massage, perhaps because they don’t have to take off their clothes, and because the work is being done far away from the head or because there are more nerve endings in the feet and hands and face than other parts of the body. There is something about the finger and thumb walking technique that is deeply relaxing in a way massage is not. It is hard to describe. The thumb or finger inches along the zones or reflex points, working at a pressure level that the client finds good…like it is “doing something” but not painful. The pressure should be somewhere “between the devil and the deep blue sea.” So, if you are feeling like your reflexology practitioner is not going deep enough or is going too deep, please speak up so you will have the best results. Sometimes the results are immediate and dramatic, and sometimes the results take 3 or more sessions. Take into account the condition you have. For instance, it will take much longer to bring the body into balance if you have a chronic, long term, condition like arthritis. No reflexologist can make claims, but we can tell clients what research there is and how to access it themselves.

Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever gotten something different than you were looking for? Sometimes new reflexology clients come in to my office and tell a story of going to a spa and asking for reflexology and getting a foot massage instead. This is unfortunate for them, because they were looking for something different. I am sure the foot massage was lovely, but it just doesn’t have the same response as reflexology. Massage reduces muscle tension, is relaxing, and improves circulation. Reflexology is more internally based. Many clients say it feels like I am working on them from inside them. It is also really relaxing, improves circulation and helps you normalize the body.

How to tell if the spa or massage therapist is a certified reflexologist: Ask questions. Ask if they are certified in reflexology and how many hours of training they had for their basic training. In the USA, they should have had at least 200-250 hours of training or be certified by the American Reflexology certification Board. Training is different in other parts of the world. There are many different types of reflexology as well. Some are a more gentle approach such as Gentle Touch Reflexology, some are more intense such as the Father Josef method. Some are more relaxation based and energy based, and some are more clinically based.

I never refer to reflexology as foot massage because massage is geared toward soft tissue and relaxation of the muscles and reflexology is based on working the reflex maps on the feet, hands, ears and face and with the nervous system. In my humble opinion, it becomes confusing for my clients if I refer to reflexology as foot massage. Reflexology may help with some foot conditions, but the reflexology goal is to relax the body, improve circulation, and help the body normalize itself naturally, allowing the body to heal itself internally. It is working to balance all body systems, improving circulation through stimulation of the nervous system. So, if a client wanted to work internally on a health condition that reflexology research has shown improvement with, or I know of clients who are helped by reflexology for this condition, I would suggest reflexology, as opposed to massage, with the disclaimer that the reflexology treatment is not to replace medical treatment and that everyone responds differently and we would just have to see how their body responded to reflexology. We are not doctors and don’t diagnose. I hope this article helped you understand the difference between reflexology and massage and will help you make decisions on what modality would be best for you at this time.

 

Steve

www.alcovo.co.uk

What is Acupressure?

Acupressure is an ancient healing art using the fingers to gradually press key healing points, which stimulate the body's natural self-curative abilities. Acupressure was developed in Asia over 5,000 years ago. Using the power and sensitivity of the hand, Acupressure Therapy is effective in the relief of stress-related ailments, and is ideal for self-treatment and preventive health care for boosting the immune system. Acupressure releases tension, increases circulation, reduces pain, and develops spirituality and vibrant health. For a pressure point reference and a self-care guide for common complaints from A to Z, see Acupressure's Potent Points by Michael Reed Gach, Ph.D., with 400 illustrations and over a hundred self-acupressure healing applications.

Acupuncture & Acupressure use the same pressure points and meridians, but Acupuncture employs needles, while Acupressure uses gentle to firm finger pressure. When these acupressure points are stimulated, they release muscular tension, promote circulation of blood, and enhance the body's life force energy to aid healing. Acupressure therapy can be used to relieve pain, fortify the sexual reproductive system, detoxify the body for greater health and beauty, and tone facial and back muscles. Ways to Use Acupressure Applications of using Acupressure include relieving pain, balancing body energy, and maintaining good health. Acupressure's healing touch reduces muscular tension, increases circulation, and enables deep relaxation. By relieving stress, Acupressure Therapy strengthens resistance to disease and promotes wellness. You can learn self-care applications and pressure point formulas for specific conditions, such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, chronic muscular pain, mental stress, addiction recovery, learning disorders, trauma, emotional imbalances and more. Here are some areas for applying Acupressure effectively.

Beauty Treatment: The Chinese used acupressure points as a beauty treatment for thousands of years. An acupressure beauty treatment enhances muscle tone and increases circulation. The Heavenly Appearance and Facial Beauty acupressure points improve skin condition and the tone of facial muscles and connective tissue. This can lessen the appearance of wrinkles without drugs or surgery. After years of pulling and stretching the skin, the connective tissue is weakened, loosening the skin. Simple finger pressure on the Heavenly Appearance points, along with therapeutic facial exercises, relieves congested areas and relaxes the muscles. Thus toxins are released and eliminated, which of course benefits your outward appearance. Acupressure points release the flow of life energy, which improves both how you feel as well as how you look.

Better Sex: Ancient Chinese Sexology practices use the acupressure points to cultivate sexual energy in lovemaking. Acupressure for lovers also fortifies fertility, arousal, and sexual endurance, enhancing sexual pleasure. Lovers have the advantage of stimulating the acupressure points with full body embraces, kisses, and the secrets of touch. Learn special points for heightening spiritual awareness and the chemistry of your love relationship. The book, Acupressure for Lovers, also provides answers for sexual problems such as inhibited sexual desire, premature ejaculation, impotency, infertility, and sexual frustration through an understanding of where sexual energy gets blocked and what points to use to release it. Achieve deeper sexual communication, spirituality, and learn acupressure techniques to unleash the dynamic force of love. Back Care Acupressure Therapy is highly effective for relieving muscular tension in all areas of the back. Important points are located along either side of the spine and on the upper back. For self back care, lie down on a couple of tennis balls tied in a sock. Many people especially appreciate the release of tightness associated with lower back pain and sciatica. Acupressure, Shiatsu, Thai Massage, and self-acupressure for relieving back pain can also be an effective adjunct to chiropractic treatment. By relaxing and toning the back muscles, Acupressure makes the spinal adjustments easier and more effective, and the chiropractic results last longer. In fact, Acupressure and chiropractic treatments were originally practiced together in ancient China.

Healing Trauma & Emotional Pain: Long known for its ability to alleviate physical pain, the ancient healing art of Acupressure can also relieve emotional pain. From day-to-day pressures to life's most significant trials, emotional stress causes the body to shut down, which keeps negative feelings stuck, resulting in physical ailments and emotional imbalances. Acupressure techniques release this muscular tension and restore the flow of vital energy, making resolution possible. For an in-depth focus on this topic, see Acupressure for Emotional Healing: A Self-Care Guide for Trauma, Stress & Common Emotional Imbalances by Michael Reed Gach, Ph.D., with 500 illustrations of emotional healing applications. Acupressure relaxes the tight muscles that result from emotional stress and trauma, which cause the body to contract its muscles and harden, like protective armor, to shield your inner self. For instance, when something frightens you, or someone uptight treats you abrasively, your neck and shoulders may tighten immediately in response. This tension prevents energy from circulating freely in your body, which can lead to various physical and emotional imbalances. If you do not deal with these tensions and resulting afflictions, emotional problems may stay buried, and then resurface at a later time, when they're triggered by some new stress. Most therapies address the cognitive and emotional aspects of trauma, but do not get to the physiological source. Acupressure has an advantage in that it works directly with the body to relieve physical ailments, muscular tension, and the emotional imbalances associated with them.

Emotional imbalances and the physical symptoms that accompany them are often the body's response to unresolved issues and events. Someone who witnessed a fatal automobile accident, or an abusive incident, may live with the memory in the form of recurring nightmares and insomnia or other psychosomatic ailments. If left untreated, they can continue for years. Using acupressure points for today's tension headache, caused by a conflict at work or an argument over homework with one's teenager, may bring old conflicts or memories to the surface during an acupressure session or afterward. To follow up, use acupressure self-care methods, or explore the issues in therapy. Becoming conscious of old memories and bringing them out in the open can lessen their impact. Divorce is another example of a life-changing transition that can cause emotional problems such as anxiety, worry, and depression, and also cause physical symptoms, such as stomach aches, ulcers, irritable bowel problems, and more. Acupressure can help balance these symptoms.

Addictions: Compulsive behaviors occur in cycles and are cumulative; one stress leads to another. Poor choices and emotionally unhealthy situations contribute to muscular tensions, pressures and pain. People commonly use drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, or overeating to avoid the stress and tension in their lives and to escape from feeling pain in the body. Acupressure can break the negative cycle of addiction, since it releases pain, stress, and tension, and heightens body awareness. Instead of the numbing affects of drugs, acupressure increases the circulation, helping to lift the fog of addiction and bringing a person back to the present moment. There are acupressure points for regaining stability, reducing cravings, for heightening morale, self-esteem, and self-confidence, and for boosting will power - all of which are vital for combating addictions.

All Acupressure Massage techniques, methods and styles use the same ancient acupressure trigger points. They vary in using different rhythms and pressures for stimulating the acupressure points, using not only the fingers, but also the hands, arms, legs and even feet. Some styles also incorporate other healing techniques. Shiatsu Therapy, the traditional Japanese form of acupressure, can be quite vigorous, with deep pressure applied to each point for three to five seconds. In Jin Shin Acupressure, at least two points are gently held for a minute or more. This style also uses the Extra Meridians or Extraordinary Vessels, which balance the meridians. Tuina Chinese Massage and Thai Massage stimulate the Qi ("key") healing energy using acupressure hand movements, full body stretches, and Chinese massage techniques. Healing Energy Work Acupressure Points have a high electrical conductivity at the surface of the skin, and thus conduct and channel healing energy most effectively. This is why the most potent healing energy work uses acupressure points. The Chinese call healing energy Qi or Chi. In Japan, the life force is termed Ki, and channeling healing energy is called Reiki. Yoga practices refer to the body's life force as prana or pranic energy. These terms all relate to the same universal healing energy, which exists in our environment, and links us to all forms of life. The 12 Meridians of Traditional Chinese Medicine are the body's healing energy pathways. Meridian massage therapy moves this life energy through the meridians to improve flow and balance. Acupressure charts and Acupuncture charts show where the meridian lines are on the body. The points are where vital energy gets blocked on the meridians, and where you can most effectively release the resulting tension, numbness, or pain. As healing energy flows through the meridians, it governs blood circulation and harmonizes all functions of the body. Studying the meridian pathways and Acupressure points for transmitting Qi healing energy is key to transformational energy work, including therapeutic touch and massage therapy. Energy blockages whether from stress, trauma, or an injury, can be traced to the root of all health problems. Your energy flow affects how you feel, how you think, and how you breathe. Just as negative thoughts can block your energy flow, positive thoughts can increase your healing energy. When the body's life-force energy becomes blocked, various emotional imbalances and physical symptoms also result. These energy blockages occur at the acupressure points. Through a variety of acupressure methods ranging from light touch, tapping, to simply holding the points, the body's life energy is able to flow and rebalance.

A skilled Acupressurist can integrate many complementary health care methods and therapies into a complete treatment. Examples include therapeutic touch, somatic work, healing imagery, acupressure meridian therapy, five element assessments, pulse reading, Asian bodywork therapy, energy psychology (which involves tapping acupressure points), and acupressure massage therapy techniques. Martial Arts & Healing Arts share a common focus on the flow of energy within the body. Both Martial Arts and the Healing Arts transmit powerful energy in their practices. For instance, the point underneath the base of the skull (called the Gates of Consciousness) can be used in Martial Arts to paralyze the body, and block energy to the brain. However, the same Acupressure point can be used to open more healing energy into the brain, and relieve migraine headaches. An Acupressurist can use this point easily to balance the hemispheres and functions of the brain, leaving a person with mental alertness and clarity. The healing arts use the life force for internal healing. In contrast, martial artists cultivate their energy internally, but use the life force externally for self-defense and physical power. Both practices cultivate healing energy through exercise, diet, and visualizations. A well-developed martial artist master knows how to use the life force for self-defense, and also knows how to use this vital energy to heal an opponent. Use Qi Gong with Acupressure to cultivate internal healing. The ancient Chinese masters of healing and martial arts developed hundreds of internal healing art practices to strengthen the flow of the life force. These highly valued self-healing practices within the Chinese culture are known as Qi Gong (or Chi Gong). A skilled Acupressurist channels Chi or Qi energy throughout the body. By strengthening your life force through Qi Gong and martial art exercises, you can heighten your own ability to use Acupressure Therapy to heal yourself and others. Use Reiki on the Points to enhance healing.

Traditional Reiki practitioners use the whole hand with light contact to channel energy and relieve pain. Learn how to heal the body by sending life energy (also known as Reiki) through the acupressure points. Channeling Reiki energy through the acupressure points can enable you to tap into Traditional Chinese Medicine's point-specific ancient healing knowledge. Energy Flow Governs Well-Being in people and animals alike. Within all living animals are meridian pathways. These life-force channels govern the functions of all body systems, such as the nervous, digestive, endocrine, vascular, lymphatic, and reproductive systems. The way energy flows through the meridians presides over wellness or dis-ease. Meridian blockages can cause all kinds of human suffering. However, when the life force flows through the meridians in a balanced way, health, harmony, and happiness results.

 

Activating Your Chakras Using Visualisation/Meditation

Your chakras are amazingly powerful energy centers because they interact with the creative energy around you. When these chakras are working properly, your creative manifesting energy can flow better, leading to more success, happiness and fulfillment.

Here is a simple and effective meditation technique you can use today, to open and activate your chakras for the better:


Part I: Tuning In

1. Find a comfortable place to sit.

Find a place where you will be able to focus without distraction. You can sit on a cushion with your legs crossed on if this is comfortable for you. If you prefer, the meditation can be done while seated in a chair. Make sure that your feet are placed firmly on the ground.

2. Align your posture.

When taking your seat in meditation, bring your attention into your body. Straighten the spine, the main energy highway of the body. Lift your head so that the crown is pointed towards the sky. Tuck your chin. Roll your shoulders back. This ensures that the spine is in a neutral position. Neutral alignment of the spine allows your energy to flow freely through the body.

3. Close your eyes.

Every action, even the most subtle, influences our energy field. When you close your eyes, your attention draws inward. Energy flows where attention goes. To enhance the effectiveness of the meditation, roll your eyes slightly upwards while they are closed. This activates the higher brain and gets you more in tune with your energy field.

A more advanced technique is to place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth behind your teeth. This simple gesture creates a connection between two major energy meridians in the energy field. Strange as it may sound, holding your tongue right can increase the flow of energy and make concentration easier.

4. Focus on your breathing.

In through the nose, out through the mouth. Breathe into your belly and keep your shoulders relaxed. Our breath is our main source of vital energy. When we connect consciously with our breathing and slow it down, our flow of energy becomes more steady and coherent. Our aura literally comes into focus.

5. Let the breath lead the energy.

When inhaling, pull the breath all the way down to the tailbone, all the way to the tips of the toes. When exhaling, feel your breath pulsing back out of the body, leaving a sense of peace and relaxation. Take a few breaths while feeling this pulse, tuning in to the flow of energy.

Part II: Activating

1. Root Chakra

The root chakra is our connection to earth and to the body. Picture the energy of your root chakra as a ball of ruby light centered on the base of your spine. With each breath, see this ball becoming larger. Watch the color become richer and more vital. Allow this red light to fill your entire body, deepening with each breath and saturating your aura. Feel the solidity of the earth filling you, bringing steadiness and stability.

2. Sacral Chakra

The sacral chakra is our connection to water and creativity. See the energy of your sacral chakra as a ball of rich orange light, centered along the spine even with the hips. With each inhalation, see this ball expand, allowing the rich orange color of the sacral chakra to fill your aura. Allow it to become richer and fuller with each breath. Feel the orange light of the sacral chakra invigorating you, awakening power, sexuality, and creativity.

3. Solar Plexus Chakra

The solar plexus chakra is associated with self-esteem and with a sense of personal power. Visualize the golden light of your solar plexus chakra as an orb poised along the spine and level with your solar plexus. With each inhalation, see this orb expanding, filling your aura with golden-yellow energy. With each exhalation, release all tension and fear that has been blocking your self-expression. Feel a sense of lightness and freedom fill you as the golden light of this chakra saturates your aura.

4. Heart Chakra

The heart chakra is the center of healing and emotion. This is the point in our energy that connects us to each living creature and being in the universe. See the heart chakra as a ball of soft green light in the center of your chest. Feel the warmth of this light as it expands to fill your entire body, your entire aura. This energy brings the feeling of compassion and love. As your aura becomes saturated with the green light of the heart chakra, feel any blockages to self-love loosening and becoming washed away. You are beautiful and perfect right now, exactly as you are. When we accept and love ourselves unconditionally, we invite healing energy into our lives. We establish a foundation that meaningful relationships can be built upon.

5. Throat Chakra

The throat chakra is the center of our voice and our will. Picture a light-blue ball of light centered on your throat. With each inhalation, see this ball of light expand, filling your aura with the color of the sky. Feel the openness that enters your field along with the light-blue energy. The throat chakra is the energy of self-expression and manifestation. When you open this chakra, it becomes easier to speak your truth and to bring your desires into being.

6. Third Eye

The third eye is the center of sight and understanding. Visualize a dark-blue ball of light, the color of the night sky, directly between your eyes. See this light expanding with each breath, washing away blockages. Allow your entire aura to become saturated with dark-blue light. Feel any confusion and uncertainty slipping away, replaced by energy of clarity and perception.

7. Crown Chakra


The crown chakra is the center of our connection with the spiritual, with guidance, serenity, and faith. See your crown chakra as a sphere of violet light, centered at the crow of your head. Breathe in violet light, seeing this chakra expand. Visualize violet light filling and saturating your aura, extending outwards from you to connect with every aspect of your existence. You are one with all that is. Feel the energy of faith and connection putting all feelings of fear and aloneness to rest. You are part of the living universe, intimately connected with all that is on the deepest level.


Part III: Coming Back

Sit with this for as long as you like, feeling your chakras open and your aura full of vital energy. Pay attention to the sensations within your body, in your hands and feet. Take note of any emotions or thoughts that come about during this time. When our energy is flowing without obstruction, we have access to levels of intuition and connection beyond those of everyday experience.

When it is time to end the meditation, give a brief thanks to your energy and spirit. Then see the energy of each chakra becoming more concentrated, focused in a smaller area. See the energy of your aura weaving together, becoming healthy and tightly formed. This helps you to encounter the chaotic energies of life without becoming unbalanced.

This meditation can be done as often as you like. Your concentration and visualization will improve with each meditation. As you develop skill with this practice, you will sense the energy of each chakra more clearly and powerfully.   Next article will focus on grounding your energy field.

About the author

Steve from AlcovoBorn in Worcestershire, and educated to second (Masters) degree in Geography, I worked in a corporate company before being inspired more fully into well-being from travels to the Eastern and Tropical countries of the Philippines, India, Kenya, the Maldives, Mauritius and Mozambique.

I gained an understanding of spas, treatments and clients along my way, and have developed this into my own practice, al Covo, to which I welcome you warmly. I pride myself on al Covo's warmth, peaceful aura, hygiene and thoroughness.

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