Part of my natural health routine includes getting an occasional massage when I feel a little stressed or wiped out from a tough week at work. When I am really feeling sore or something feels out of place, I go to a chiropractor, but a good massage therapist can do wonders when I don’t quite need a chiropractor. In fact most chiropractors have at least one massage therapist on staff to compliment their work. Some will also have an acupuncturist as well, all though that is less common.
Since I have lived in a lot of places in Canada over the years, I have known quite a few massage therapists. Finding a good one is just like any other service where some are good, some are bad, and some are great. I think my favorite place to get a massage was a place called Gravite Massage near Dieppe NB The owner was Bob Taylor and he was a really friendly and outgoing guy. He never made me feel uncomfortable and always put me at ease before getting started. He would do things like tell me about his last vacation and then ask me about mine. Nothing gets people to relax better than talking about a great vacation since it takes them back to a place when they were very happy.
If you decide you want to try to give someone you know a massage, watch this video which gives some great directions on what to do to your wife, husband, spouse, or whoever you want to massage. Of course the results won’t technically as good as if they went to an experienced therapist, but it is a lot more intimate if you want to get closer to someone you love.
I do a fair bit of traveling and on a recent trip to Edmonton, I found myself with an injured shoulder. I was in the hotel gym trying to get in an early morning workout before starting my day of endless meetings. Anyway, I was using one of those mechanical bench press machines ( I hate those) and the range of motion just didn’t feel right. I should have done the smart thing and said to heck with this, but I didn’t. I proceeded with my reps and all of a sudden I heard and felt a crunching sound.
Not good! For the rest of the day my shoulder was very sore and didn’t have the range of motion that it used to have. I thought it might just get better on it’s own, but by day four of my trip I had had enough. I asked some of the people that I was working with if they knew a good Chiropractor in Edmonton. One older lady spoke up and said she periodically visited a Dr. Curtis Masters at Champion Chiropractic. We got to talking and she told me she had played a lot of sports in her younger years and all the wear and tear of Tennis, Baseball, and Soccer had caught up with her. Anyway, I think I made a new friend and we sometimes chat on Facebook.
Back to my injury, I booked an appointment with the Chiropractor and they were able to squeeze me in the next day. When I got there, Dr. Curtis was very friendly and pleasant, so I was at ease right away. He explained that my shoulder joint was slightly misaligned where the Humerus enters the socket and the rotation was being hampered causing movement to be restricted. He told me he was going to attempt to reset the shoulder while explaining everything he was doing.
He had me make a fist and pull my elbow to my chest with my arm totally bent, so my hand was near my face. From behind me, he grabbed my elbow and exerted upwards pressure on the shoulder joint. We heard a little bit of a snap and I felt instant relief. Wow, I thought to myself, this guy really came through for me and that put me in a great mood for the rest of my trip, even though I still had more boring work to do. Dr. Curtis even explained how to avoid getting this injury again. He said to always keep the weights as close to your body as possible to avoid any unnecessary stress on your shoulders.
So, don’t forget the Chiropractors when you are injured – they can usually help you.
It is always mind boggling to me that Native Americans lived all over North America in primitive conditions, for thousands of years before European settlers arrived. They somehow survived the brutal winters of Canada and the northern states with nothing but the clothing and food they could get from the land. They had to be extremely efficient with every animal they killed so that they could use some parts for clothing, and others to eat. Their use of the Buffalo perfectly illustrates this since most tribes were nomadic and moved with the massive herds all over the western part of the continent.
Living in these harsh conditions forced them to be very much aware of their surrounding and as a result they became quite spiritual. They saw themselves as a part of nature and respected all living things immensely. It was through this spiritual awareness that they were able to create many remedies and cures for their illnesses and injuries. Starting thousands of years ago, they must have started experimenting with all types of foods and plants to see which ones helped with certain ailments. Over the course of many generations they gained knowledge about certain roots, bark, leaves, or animal parts, and passed those remedies on verbally since they had no written language. Most of the native nations had a medicine man or woman that would administer their natural treatment to the sick or wounded and they would be responsible for transferring the knowledge to their successors.
How successful were these remedies? It is hard to say, but you have to believe that some of them worked and sometimes all you need is faith that it is going to work and it does. If you are lying there terribly wounded or sick, it would make you feel a whole lot better if someone were to give you some sort of treatment so that you at least have some hope instead of just waiting to die. There may have been a placebo effect at work here just like when they do studies today with two groups of people where one group gets the medication, and the other gets a pill with no medication. A lot of times the people that get no medication report feeling better. Regardless, there are many natural remedies in use today that are similar to treatments used by native Americans hundreds and thousands of years ago. Most medical doctors probably don’t give those remedies much credit, but many naturopaths and millions of people do.
Since this website is all about natural solutions to health and wellness problems, I though I would put up a video that does a really good job of explaining why you usually don’t need a medical doctor or their pharmaceutical drugs that they love to push. Granted, there are times when you need to see a regular doctor, and there are some drugs that actually do some good. However, isn’t it wise to try a natural solution when your life is not in imminent danger? If you have arthritis, that is not going to kill you overnight, so why not try certain kinds of foods that have been known throughout history to alleviate the pain? Another example is acid reflux, which can be controlled or eliminated by getting rid of certain foods in your diet. Sure you can take the prescription pills to control it, but what kind of damage and side effects are those causing?
The video starts out by describing how great nature is at curing what ails us, and it can be as simple as just getting outside and listening to a river flow or the birds sing. That kind of thing has been shown to reduce stress and blood pressure. It kind of makes sense since we all know that fighting traffic on the way to work and back is not something that most people enjoy. Road rage is rampant in all our big cities and we all lead such busy lifestyles that it seems that we never have enough time to get everything done. That is why we need to make the time for things like meditation and becoming aware of what is happening around us. Too many of us cruise through life without taking the time to stop and smell the roses. If we don’t take the time to stop once in a while, our lives will come to an end and it will all seem like a blur.
They detail the six most important factors when it comes to having good health.
Then they proceed to explore each in more detail and provide their opinions on how each is critical to good health. For example, there are foods that are natural antibiotics and have been proven to be somewhat effective in treating infections. Some of them are Garlic, Echinacea, Manuka Honey, and Colloidal silver. Again, I am not saying that these should entirely replace regular antibiotics that you get from your doctor. If you have cut your arm and it becomes infected, I am not sure you want to mess around with a natural cure for that.
Next, they get into the anti aging properties that some foods such as blueberries,and nuts, then they talk about foods that boost your metabolism like grapefruit and broccoli. Then, they detail pretty much every health benefit of the most popular “health” foods like apples, nuts, and spinach. The whole video is really interesting and worth the 19 minute duration.
Have you ever noticed that time seems to run away from you and you start to feel like time really does fly? We all lead busy and hectic lives, and sometimes all that chaos of delivering projects on time at work or getting the kids to soccer can make us question what happened in a day. It can all feel like a blur from the time you get up in the morning to the time you go to bed in the evening.
It seems like this feeling only gets worse as you get older. When you were a teenager in school, you may have felt that the day went by too slowly because you might have been in a class that you did not like. However, as you get older and have to face more of life’s responsibilities, you start to wish you had more time and that the clock would slow down so you could accomplish everything you need to do. This feeling of not having enough time can be especially bad if you own a business or are self employed in some respect. Entrepreneurs always feel like there is something more they should be doing to make their business successful. However, if they do not learn to appreciate what is going on around them and be in the moment, instead of having their mind racing and distracted about a million things at once, they may not be as productive as they could be.
The solution to this problem could be Meditation. This ancient practice is easy to do and just takes a few minutes every day. A beginner will need a dimly lit area that is quiet and away from all distractions. The basic premise of meditation is to learn to exist in the present. What does that mean? It means that you need to be aware of what is happening right now. The most basic meditation technique is to focus on your breathing and nothing else. You cannot let your mind wander and start thinking about other things. When you are concentrating on your breathing, you will notice that your chest moves in and out with each breath, and you might feel the air as it comes in your nose. However you should not start to wonder how your lungs work or why you can only hold your breath for 45 seconds. The purpose is to learn to live in the moment with what is happening right now.
When you master this technique and others, you will notice that time seems to move more slowly because you are aware of everything around you and life won’t seem like a blur anymore.
Here is a demonstration of meditation for a beginner
We all know that our bodies are mostly made up of fluids which are essentially water. Because of this, you cannot survive much longer than 3 days without drinking water. Sure you can survive for a month or two without food, but water is almost essential as breathing air. So, hydration is not something you should take lightly and you should always be thinking of drinking more water. Some will say that you should drink six to eight glasses of water every day. It is debatable if that number includes coffee, juice and other liquids because some liquids that contain caffeine can accelerate the dehydration process, so there are no exact rules to go by that all the experts agree on. What they do agree on is that you should probably drink more water than you do right now.
Here are some tips on staying hydrated from Jen Hamilton of http://oxygentraining.ca/blog/ways-to-hydrate-your-body/
1. Stop in-taking the foods which dehydrate you. Like having a barrel full of holes, if you continue to refill it with water you’ll lose more than your efforts are worth. Similarly with the body, foods that have been processed, denatured, and lack true nutrition (not added along with preservatives and sugars) are highly acidic to the body and in return create water retention to thin out toxicity, and then eventual dehydration as the body strives hard to flush out the waste. Acidic animal foods and refined junk foods only inhibit the natural regeneration that can occur when one lives healthfully.
2. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Optimal nutrition from fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, legumes, sprouted grains, and seaweeds ensures an alkaline pH balance in the body and in effect, an oxygenated, hydrated system. To be fully healthy, this is the medium of which the human body must stay at.In contrast to #1, fresh, live foods only come with a list of health benefits. Inhibiting oxidation, balancing blood sugar, and protecting the regeneration of cell structure are just a few of the amazing benefits derived from nature’s perfect (preventative) medicines.It’s as simple to start including more fresh produce as having a smoothie every morning and a salad each evening before dinner.
4. Rest! Sleep helps your body repair. When sleeping, the body undergoes a large majority of its repair and works to reverse the effect of stressful modern day living. If you get enough sleep (7-8 hours minimum) you are doing a large service to your entire system by allowing regeneration on a cellular level, and in return a less-stressed and more alkaline body. Like eating the proper fuel, less tax on the human body means that hormone function will be in better balance, adrenals and kidneys won’t be as taxed to detoxify and remove acidic waste, and you’ll feel lighter and healthier in result.Ensure that you can get enough sleep by not eating 2-3 hours before bed, switching off all electronics in your room (as well as not watching TV right before), and mentally ‘letting go’ of all the tasks that may run rampant through your mind. Eating healthy has also been proven to promote better sleep!
People have been practicing yoga for hundreds of years since it originated in India. There are now yoga studios in every corner of every city in North America and everyone knows someone that practices yoga on a regular basis. There are several types of yoga that you can try but they are all fairly similar.
- Hot Yoga
We all need to find some inspiration once in a while and that also applies to the people that instruct, coach, and guide other people. It doesn’t matter if you are a life coach, yoga instructor, naturopath, or in a position of leadership. The simple fact is that we all need some tips on how to stay positive and laugh at any misfortune we may experience. As the saying goes – when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Here are some tips from http://oxygentraining.ca The suggestions are from a yoga instructor’s perspective but can really apply to anyone.
- Take cues from your daily life– When I am looking for a theme or topic to present in class, I often look at what lessons or gifts I am addressing in my own life. For example, if I am feeling annoyed by a fellow co-worker and all of the things that I think they should or shouldn’t do, then I can use that. I can talk about non-attachment in my class and how we can’t change anyone or anything outside of ourselves. The only thing that we have control over is ourselves and our reaction to life. I could also talk about how our perception can change everything. If I continue to see this person as annoying then they will continue to be annoying or I could change my perspective by being grateful of them and the lessons they teach me. All of these philosophies can be applied on the very basic level to our physical asana (posture) yoga practice. They can also be applied to our everyday lives.
- Read something inspirational- Read books, poems, quotes, song lyrics… really anything that is inspirational and lifts you up. You can draw inspiration from these sources or even share the words with your class. Then they can contemplate the passage and use it in their own way, for their own inspiration during the class.
- Use your students to ground you- Let’s face it, sometimes you’ve had a rough day and you really don’t feel like teaching. On these days I remember my students. I remember that my goal as an instructor is to lift them up and support them, to the best of my ability. I want to be of service to my students and the community as a whole. This always grounds me and reminds me how lucky I truly am to be a yoga instructor. Just this simple thought and a few minutes of silence always helps to get me in the zone. Also, talking to your students before class can help to bring you into the present moment and reconnect with your community, and thus with yourself.
- Share something personal with your class- If you feel comfortable sharing a personal story or thought with your class, this can be a great way to feel connected and present within your teaching. Not only with you feel great sharing but chances are a student or two will probably be really touched by your honesty. Many times they will come up to you after class to tell you how much they relate with the story or how it helped them see things in a new way. Getting this feedback from your students is always inspirational. However, be sure that you are sharing from an authentic place and not from the ego. Just offer the thought without expectation of how they will perceive it or without expecting anything in return. It is the vulnerable and authentic spirit that makes this one work J
- Keep a list of topics/philosophies/stories that really inspire you- I have a list on my computer of different topics. I also have a book when I write down inspirational stories and quotes. When I’m lacking in ideas I just look at the list and book and before you know it I’m brimming with excitement and motivation.
- Mix things up!- Feeling bored of teaching the same thing… try something new. Teach a new pose or a new variation that you’ve never tried. Or change your music. Speed up the class or slow it way down. Your students will also appreciate the energy and vitality that this brings to your teaching. And who knows, you might find a new style or flow that you really enjoy!
- Get into class- My all time favourite way to re-awaken the passion and joy for teaching, go take a class with a new instructor or at a studio that you have never been to. Sometimes we get in a rut and never leave our bubble. It is always refreshing to try something new and open our minds to new possibilities. Even if the class isn’t in your lineage or style it can still inspire your teaching and your life!
It always good to read stuff like this because it re – invigorates us and inspires us to keep going. I like to find something like this to read at least once a week – usually on a Friday afternoon when I am winding down for the weekend.
If you have never done any kind of Yoga whatsoever, this video is for you. All you need is some workout clothes and a mat, but you don’t really even need that if you can handle a hard floor.
The instructor is very good and takes it really slow you have time to duplicate what she is doing on the video.