Monthly Archives: June 2014

Tree Hugging Is Good for Health… I Am Not Alone!

After having friends walk away with embarrassment, cars stopping to laugh and van drivers taking pictures of me, my dear friend Katherine sent me this article to support my habit of tree hugging!  ;0)

Science Proves Hugging Trees Is Good for Health

It has now been confirmed by science that hugging trees can beneficially affect human health by altering vibrational frequency.

tree hug

Hugging a tree may have gained popularity as a maligned hippy practice, but it has now been validated by science to be incredibly beneficial for both people and the planet. Contrary to popular belief, hugging – or even just being in the vicinity of – a tree can boost one’s health in several ways.

In a recently published book by author Matthew Silverstone, Blinded by Science, evidence confirming trees and their healthful benefits includes their effect on mental illnesses, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), concentration levels, reaction times, depression, and the ability to alleviate headaches.

According to countless studies cited within the book, children show extreme psychological and physiological effects in term of improved health and well-being when they interact with plants. It was recorded that children function better cognitively and emotionally in green environments and have more creative play in green areas.

A large public health report studying the association between green spaces and mental health also noted that “access to nature can significantly contribute to our mental capability and well being.”

What is it about nature that can cause significant alleviation of symptoms? Many might think it’s open green spaces that contribute to this effect, but Silverstone shows that it’s more than this theory; instead, he explains how it’s the vibrational properties of trees and plants that offer the health benefits – not just open spaces.

Because everything vibrates, different vibrations undoubtedly affect biological behaviors. According to Natural News, it has been proven that that if one were to drink a glass of water that has been treated with a 10Hz vibration, one’s blood coagulation rates will change immediately upon ingesting the treated water.

Similarly, trees affect human beings (and all other creatures) in the same way. When one touches a tree, its different vibrational pattern will affect various biological behaviors within the body.

Within Blinded by Science, such theory is backed up by hundreds of scientifically validated studies, providing overwhelming proof that tree hugging is not just for hippies, it’s for everyone.

Not only is clutching a giant, sturdy oak therapeutic and free, it could offer a plethora of benefits and save the populace a large amount in healthcare costs.

A similar report documenting the effects of nature and improving health reported that “safe, green spaces may be as effective as prescription drugs in treating some forms of mental illnesses.”

Human beings can only live outside of the laws of nature for so long before symptoms of disconnect be made manifest. With the increasing prevalence of lifestyle-related diseases, it’s clear more attention deserves to be given to holistic practices such as this one, so that the cause of imbalance be alleviated and lifestyle-related illnesses dissipate.

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Top 10 tips when grieving

Grieving is a natural process we all go through when we experience loss. The more significant the loss, the more profoundly the grief is felt! Grieving is usually associated with the death of a loved one, however grief is a natural response to any loss. Experiencing grief in any of the following situations is completely normal and this list is by no means exhaustive:

  • Retirement
  • Moving home
  • Death of a loved one, friend and/or pet
  • Significant life changes
  • Diagnosis of an illness
  • Acts of violence
  • Natural disasters
  • Change in job
  • Loss of independence
  • Injury and/or disability

Grieving can be painful and the emotions can be challenging to deal with. Feelings around denial, anger, helplessness, being vulnerable, wanting to regain control (If only I…), depression, sadness, regret and isolation can be emotions felt when grieving but you do not necessarily have to go through each emotion to move on and they are not necessarily experienced in that order. The grieving process takes time and there is no specific time scale in which people heal and move on. Grieving can not be hurried. It can take weeks, months or years. Whatever your experience the most important thing to remember is to allow the process to unfold naturally, be gentle with yourself and seek support, help and guidance when you need it. The strongest of people can need professional support and the smartest know when to ask for it. There is no “right way” to deal with grief and each person will respond differently. However there are “healthier ways” in which to deal with grief, which will support you to move on when you are ready.

Here are my top 10 tips when grieving:

1. Eat properly and take care of yourself.

Grief can put a lot of strain on your mind and body so it is important to feed your body with nourishing foods to help combat the effects of stress. High stress levels can lower your immune system and make you more susceptible to colds, flu and other illnesses. Eat nutrient dense foods, drink plenty of water and get enough sleep. Make sure you keep appointments with healthcare providers.

2. Write down what you are feeling.

Keep a journal about your daily life and life as a whole. Write as much or as little as you like. This is your journal and your life – you are in control. Some people find it helpful to share their written thoughts, others keep them under lock and key. Choose what feels right for you. Write down the emotions you felt through out the day and why you think you felt them. Notice if there are any specific triggers. This also helps to organise your thoughts and make sense of your feelings. It also makes it easier to process and make them seem less overwhelming. Write down a list of what you have been grateful for during your day and in your life – a gratitude list. Re-reading your gratitude list helps you to get through tougher days.

3. Do activities you enjoy.

Finding something you enjoy doing helps occupy your mind and supports you to be present. Any activity will engage your mind and body but creative activities such as painting, drawing, dance, singing, music, cooking and so on, are a great way to express yourself emotionally. When you apply yourself fully, notice how enlivened you feel. Getting energised this way will bring a sense of hope and opportunity to do something you’ve always fancied doing.

4. Be fully open to receive new experiences.

Try saying “yes” to opportunities. This will open you up to new and different experiences. When one door closes another opens. Trust that life does not give you anything you cannot cope with. Try something new. Remember this is a process you are going through that will not last forever – you will get through this.

5. Find groups to share with.

Joining a group that shares the same creative expression can allow you to feel a sense of community and provide opportunity to make friends, discuss feelings and learn from others who have been through a similar experience. Choose a group that is understanding and compassionate to your situation.

6. Get physical.

Start getting physically active. Jog, run, dance, yoga, join a fitness class, walk the dog but try to do something every day. This is about you doing something for you, getting time with your thoughts and getting out of your home. Physical exercise also aids a healthy mind and body and is a great stress, anger and depression buster.

7. Feed your mind positivity.

Try and avoid watching and reading “bad news”. This may seem obvious but watching and reading negative information is not conducive to your healing process. Find positive things to surround yourself with; entertaining programmes, watching an uplifting film or reading a good book. Socialise with friends and family who make you feel good and are supportive. Let them be there for you and forget the people that don’t show up for now; if they are meant to be in your life, they will show up again at some point. People usually fall into two categories with grief. They either distance themselves as they aren’t sure how to help – not because of you, it’s because of their own short comings or they are very supportive indeed.

8. It’s okay not to be okay.

Grieving can be a difficult process. Don’t try and keep up the impression that everything is okay when it isn’t – accept that you are not okay. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Allow yourself to experience the emotions you need to go through. Try not to resist them as this will make them seem stronger and prolong feeling them. If you need to cry, cry. If you feel angry, feel angry. Be gentle and be self-compassionate and know that you are not going crazy. Research the grieving process to educate yourself – knowledge is power. Don’t try and figure it out by yourself. The internet is a miraculous free fountain of knowledge so use it to understand what you are experiencing.

9Have “acceptance” as your goal.

Processing your emotions in writing supports you to move towards acceptance. When you write something down repeatedly, your mind no longer looks for answers to questions you just couldn’t quite figure out. Reaching a point of acceptance can mean many things and you may feel that it is too soon to “accept” what has happened – this is okay. As mentioned earlier; there is no time scale when grieving, so move at your own pace and do what feels right for you. Acceptance will happen when you are ready.

10. The most important point to remember.

You are doing great in your own way – everyone experiences grief differently. What other people think has nothing to do with you. Being self-compassionate determines whether or not you want to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and give life another go. It’s a much easier choice to try and learn from an experience than to judge yourself negatively about the way you’re experiencing it. Be true to yourself. This will bring many more moments of joy and happiness into your life which will encourage you to keep moving forward.

Use the grieving process as an opportunity. An opportunity to be authentic through self compassion and to love yourself. Be your true self. You are strong, capable and beautiful. You will get through this part of your journey and be stronger for it.

By Siȃn Evans


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CranioSacral and Babies

CranioSacral Therapy: When Can It Help

Dee Kassing, BS, MLS, IBCLC
(with special thanks to David Bemis, D.C., who has taught me so much)

In recent years, there have been frequent references to CranioSacral Therapy and other bodywork for infants who are having difficulty breastfeeding. John Upledger, D.O., first discovered the cranial-sacral system with its rhythm unique from other body systems. Although Dr. Upledger was the first to develop CranioSacral Therapy, and many therapists have been trained in his methods, other practitioners have developed variations. Any of the methods might be helpful to a baby. When choosing a therapist, who could be a certified massage therapist, a physical therapist, a chiropractor, etc., be sure to ask how much training and experience in working with infants the therapist has had.

Some chiropractors are also accredited in pediatric chiropractic. This is a different type of bodywork, but can also be very helpful to infants. Adult chiropractic applied to babies would be dangerous, so again it is necessary to ask about the chiropractor’s training and experience.

It is important for the lactation consultant to be able to recognize symptoms in the infant that can show a need for bodywork therapy. Some of the symptoms are very noticeable and others are quite subtle. For some involving motion, the key will be if the symptom appears consistently. Although some symptoms will be obvious while baby is at breast, others will be more noticeable when baby is laid flat on his back on a firm surface such as a changing table. I try to examine baby on a firm surface after he has finished the first breast, but before the second. When baby is very hungry, he will not lay calmly for me to observe his natural position and how he moves. But if I wait until he has finished the second breast, he may be asleep. Furthermore, if he gets impatient and upset with me during the examination, mom can calm him by offering him the second breast. In my attempt to be thorough, I will start at the top of the head, describing things to watch for, and work my way down through the body.

Sometimes, looking at the center of the top of the head, you will be able to notice that one side of the skull is slightly elevated compared to the other side. This can happen in babies who did not experience vacuum extraction, but can be even more prominent if vacuum extraction did occur. Look at baby’s skull and feel carefully (feeling can be particularly important if baby has a lot of hair) for ridges. Notice if the baby’s head appears cone-shaped. During birth, the bones of the skull need to slide over each other so the baby can fit through the birth canal. After birth, the bones are supposed to slide back into their proper position, but sometimes they need gentle help to accomplish this.

Why is this important? Fascia is connective tissue which unites skin to the underlying tissues. Fascia also surrounds and separates many of the muscles, and sometimes holds them together. Ligaments are bands of tissue that bind bones together or support organs. The head is made up of a number of bony plates. Ligaments hold the bones of the head in position. Fascia connects skin to the bones of the head, connects the bones to the dura mater covering the brain and spinal cord, and surrounds other structures in the face and head. The hard palate is formed by two palatal bones, and the soft palate is muscle covered by mucous membrane. Because of connective tissues such as ligaments and fascia, the structure and alignment of the palate are influenced by the alignment of the other skull bones.

If there is misalignment and imbalance of the skull bones, this can affect the function of the palate, tongue, and other structures of the head. This can cause the palate to be too high or uneven, or the facial muscles to be too tight. Imbalance of the structures of the head, as well as trauma from the birth process itself, can cause constant irritation to the nervous system. This constant irritation may also cause hypersensitivity, which can sometimes be the underlying cause for babies who gag and cannot accept anything in the center or back of the mouth.

If baby spent a lot of time during labor banging the top of his head against the cervix, you may see the side bones of the head bulging out over baby’s ears.

You may see the back of baby’s head protruding farther than normal. This may cause the baby to be unable to look forward while lying on a firm surface, such as when he is in his carseat. If baby turns his head easily to both sides, but seems reluctant to look straight ahead, it may be that the shape of his head causes him to flex his neck too much when facing forward. This can sometimes interfere with breathing. The skull protruding improperly may also cause tenderness, so the baby prefers to rest on either side of his head rather than on the back of his head. Baby does not usually lie on the back of his head during breastfeeding, but the fascia and ligaments attached to the protruding bones may be stretched too tight and not allow other structures to work efficiently.

Notice baby’s eyes. Although baby may at times have one eye open wider than the other, this should be transient. If baby consistently has the same eye wider than the other eye, this can indicate an imbalance in the facial muscles.
Baby’s lips should appear soft and relaxed. If baby’s lips are frequently pursed while he is resting or even sleeping, this can indicate that there is too much tension in the facial muscles.

When baby extends his tongue, the tongue should remain round. If the tongue consistently appears very pointy when it is extended, this can also indicate too much tension. If the tongue consistently pulls off to the side when baby extends it, this will make it difficult for baby to correctly trough the tongue during breastfeeding. For babies with more severe problems, the tongue may even be held to the side of the mouth while it is still completely within the oral cavity.

When baby opens his mouth, his jaw should drop straight down towards his navel. If the jaw consistently opens even slightly toward the left or the right, this can make it difficult for baby to maintain a seal around the breast and to milk the breast appropriately during downward strokes of the jaw. Some moms report that baby hurts them more on one breast than the other when the jaw pulls to the side.

Watch how baby is able to move his neck. He should be able to easily turn his head completely to each side, so that the cheek is flat on the firm surface and the ear disappears, while his body stays straight. If he cannot turn his head completely to the side, this can indicate that something in his neck is uncomfortable. If he can only turn his head to the side while his body “corkscrews” in the opposite direction, there may be a vertebra that twisted and is riding on a nerve.

Likewise, if baby prefers to consistently turn his head to one side, and rarely turns it in the opposite direction, this can again indicate that something in his neck is not moving freely. Babies who can only turn their head in one direction frequently cause a lot of pain and/or trauma to one nipple.

While baby is turning his head, watch where his chin ends up. Some babies must lift their chin so their head tips back when they turn in one direction, but their chin runs into their shoulder when they turn in the other direction. This indicates an imbalance that needs to be relieved.

While the baby is resting on his back looking at you, notice his shoulders. They should appear level. One shoulder should not consistently be higher than the other.

While baby is lying on his back, he should be able to lie with his torso in a straight line. Some babies look like a crescent moon. If baby is “curved” and you gently straighten him out, but he springs right back into that crescent moon pose as soon as you let go of him, he needs some attention from an appropriate practitioner. Baby’s hips and shoulders should appear level most of the time while he is resting.If you are working with a baby who is having trouble breastfeeding, and you see any of these postural symptoms, suggest to the mother that she consider taking her baby to a CranioSacral therapist or pediatric chiropractor.



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