Tag Archives: self healing

The Power of the Mind to Heal

power of mindThe mind is so powerful that it alone can help you heal. You have the ability to focus your thoughts on what you want and how you want to feel. In each moment you can notice where your mind has gone, whether to worries, fears, judgments, and other negativity, or to thoughts that are aligned with what you want for yourself.

The first step is to have an ongoing practice of noticing and managing your thoughts. This isn’t easy to do if you’re addicted to the television culture, where mass media offers a never ending stream of negative concepts into your brain. Or, if you like to get online and read the daily headlines followed by stories of horrific occurrences around the world. Or, if you like to “trauma share” with friends and colleagues about the annoying things that happen to you.

In the case of serious physical illness, we might find ourselves in a doctor’s office listening to negative possibilities and statistics that don’t sound promising. Because we are susceptible to these predictions, we often believe the bad news and accept it as fact when it isn’t. This can hinder the ability to heal because the mind is powerful enough to create what it believes.

We hear stories about people on their “deathbeds” whose families don’t tell them what the doctors have said about their dire situation. The person gradually gets well and goes on to live a full life. The mind didn’t have the opportunity to grasp onto the negative concept of doom, and instead believed in wellness. Our unwillingness to integrate the power of the mind into mainstream medicine is a hindrance in modern healthcare. If we were masters over our own minds we could enhance and improve the entire medical system.

There are few more important things you can do than to shift your mind to the positive. Any negative thought can be transformed by focusing on its opposite. Writing down the opposite thought, even drawing it out, helps change the negative thought pattern. Notice what you think about. Are you hooked in to the latest gory or fear-based story on the nightly news? Do you have people around you who enjoy talking in negative terms, going over and over the same dark topics? Do you do this yourself? If so, noticing these times and making an effort to change them is your path to making a positive mind a habit.

The best conversation I had over the past holidays was with a friend at a dinner party who said, “I’m focusing all of my attention on seeing the best in people. I’m simply not talking negative about things. My challenge is to practice this even when others around me are being negative.” Isn’t that a challenge we all could be willing to take on?

That was a conversation I could have carried into the wee hours of the morning. When you find another person who’s behaving as if their positive thoughts make a difference, it’s inspiring, uplifting, and life-affirming. This is where true healing begins.


Breast Health Through Liver Health

liverThe health of your liver is closely linked with breast health. The liver processes hormones, but also toxins from your food, medications and drugs, commercial drinks and alcohol, and the environment. When too many of these toxins are in the body, the liver gets sluggish and can’t work optimally. This directly affects the breasts because they rely on the liver to help move toxic waste out of the body, some of which can collect in breast tissue.

Some studies show women who drink two or more alcoholic beverages per day have a 40% higher rate of breast cancer than women who don’t drink alcohol. This could be because alcohol puts more stress on the liver, besides contributing to an acidic environment.

If your intestines are toxic and sluggish and do not move on schedule, toxins released from the liver to be expelled get reabsorbed into the bloodstream. This creates a cycle of re-polluting the liver. The following steps will help your liver become healthier and function in the way nature intended.

  • Eat plenty of leafy greens every day, such as kale, swiss chard, mustard greens, collards, and dandelion. I add these greens to a morning smoothie.
  • Take dandelion tincture in a little water or make an infusion by adding boiling water to an ounce of dried dandelion leaves. Let sit for several hours, strain, and drink the tea.
  • Take milk thistle extract for at least one month. Milk thistle extract can be found at any natural foods store. Follow label directions.
  • Drink plenty of purified water.
  • Heal emotions of anger, frustration, and indecisiveness through methods such as counseling and energy work.
  • Avoid all processed and fast foods, fried and fatty foods, sugars, white flour, and alcohol.

Transforming Depression into Wisdom

Sunny flowers can help brighten your mood. Yes, for men, too.

Sunny flowers can help brighten your mood. Yes, for men, too.

The way you think about the world, others, yourself, and the conditions of your life will correlate to your mood. Your perceptions of your relationships, your health, job or career, housework and chores, your money and bills will become your habitual state of mind. Often, these mental states creep in quietly and before you know it, they’ve become normal. Though it’s not fun to hear this when you’re in the midst of depression, you have the choice as to whether your mind states are pleasant or not.

Thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and emotions alter brain chemistry. So does pollution from air, water, and electricity, processed foods, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and even a lack of protein absorption. Dark moods can be triggered by loss, chronic illness, relationship problems, work stress, family crises, financial worries, and even unexpected change. Is there any wonder depression is so common?

But common as it might be, depression is a wake-up call to pay attention. What is the deeper meaning depression brings? What have we not been addressing within ourselves? Depression asks us to listen to its subtle messages so we can gain understanding and wisdom. We, as a culture, have been satisfied with avoiding deeper meaning. We seem determined to skim the surface, taking a pill whenever we don’t feel quite right. But when we act with courage to look within and alter habitual beliefs and thoughts, life expands and takes on new meaning.

There are many ways to be vital, strong, positive, hopeful, and joyous. Journaling and exercise, meditation, visualization, energy healing, acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, going out in nature, proper nutrition, the use of mood-lifting essential oils, becoming more fully your authentic self, shifting your thoughts toward the positive, releasing the energies and expectations of others (often done through methods that access your unconscious mind such as energy work, hypnosis, biofeedback, or even simple visualization) ~ each of these can help you manage dark places.

Never allow yourself to despair for long. It’s okay to allow some blue moods, but if they stretch out for weeks, commit to getting assistance to help you through. There is hope and the journey is not that long.

5 Ways to Reduce Breast Pain

breast healthBreast pain is a frequent complaint heard by doctors. Reportedly, women complaining about it are overly busy, doing many things in little time. Like all pain, breast pain is holistic. It affects the body, emotions, mind, and spirit. Through pain we are given the opportunity to harmonize our lives before something more serious comes along with a louder message.

According to ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine, pain indicates stagnation which can lead to disease. Stagnation can occur when the normal flow of fluid, including blood and lymph, slows down and becomes sluggish. Given the high rates of breast cancer, it makes sense to get plenty of movement through the breast tissue. Prevent clothing and bras from restricting your natural circulation. Yoga, massage, qi gong, and other body movement can enhance circulation and decrease breast pain.

When we listen to the messages pain carries, we become wise, improve our lives, prevent future disease, and participate in doing something to feel better. Here are five things you can do to “listen” to breast pain the next time it speaks to you.

  1. Experiment with various food and beverage choices to reduce caffeine.
  2. Hormones gone wild can contribute to breast pain. I recommend working with a naturopath or holistic doctor to have your hormone levels tested. From there, you will be able to know what needs balancing.
  3. Wear properly fitted bras and avoid tight clothing which can compress your lymphatic system and cut off healthy circulation. A poorly-fitted bra or top leaves marks on your skin, indicating poor circulation.
  4. Process your emotions in healthy ways. Research indicates a strong link between emotions and breast dis-ease.
  5. Foster self-nurturance. If you were your own precious child, what would you do to help her feel safe, nourished, and comforted?

Self-Healing with Energy

lightThe earth offers us food, clothing, and shelter, and it also offers healing energy. The idea of drawing healing energy from the earth might sound odd, but when we connect deeply with the earth and either imagine, sense, or hold the intention to fill ourselves up with its energy and light, a natural balancing occurs within us. We become more serene physically, mentally, and emotionally.

One method you can use is to stand tall and imagine roots extending from your feet, anchoring you deep into the earth. A more powerful and healing way to do this is to stand barefoot on the ground. Feel the bottoms of your feet connecting to the living planet beneath you.

Another way is to imagine dropping an anchor of light into the center of the earth extending down from the base of your spine. Then, imagine drawing bright light energy up from the earth into your body. Alternatively, sit on the ground, “drop anchor,” and absorb earth energy upward into your body.

Just as you can pull energy up from the earth, you can also pour light into yourself from above. Simply visualize light pouring into you. It can be golden, blue, green, silver, or whatever color you imagine. See or sense it as energized, refined, and uplifting, filling your entire body.

These practices can be used by anyone regardless of their beliefs. Whatever your image is of God, the universal awareness, or even if you don’t consider yourself to be spiritually connected at all, you can use light and energy from the earth to heal and balance you on many levels.

Balancing Your Hormones? Pay Attention to Your Adrenal Glands

Due to stress and poor diet, the function of the adrenal glands is diminished. Three naturopaths I know have indicated that almost every one of their patients has adrenal deficiency, an under-diagnosed condition attributed to many health issues including tiredness, recurring infections, failing immune system, decreased sex drive, infertility, salt cravings, achiness, low blood pressure, dizziness when standing, and hypoglycemia.

The adrenals are small glands above your kidneys in your lower back. They secrete over 50 hormones including epinephrine (adrenaline), cortisol, aldosterone, progesterone, DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), estrogen, and testosterone. They are responsible for the fight or flight response, a life-saving mechanism designed to strengthen our bodies in times of extreme stress. As a result, stress is one primary cause of adrenal deficiency.

During stress, the adrenals release cortisol. (High levels of this hormone are linked to breast cancer.) When the adrenals are fatigued from overwork, extra progesterone is sent in to help support them. Since the hormone progesterone helps keep your levels of estrogen balanced, it gets distracted from doing so when it steps away from its post to help your adrenals. This cycle of stress and adrenal fatigue can continue indefinitely. Meanwhile, your hormones struggle to maintain some sort of normalcy.

Adrenal deficiency and the associated symptoms can be reversed. One way is to stop all the rushing around and rest. Lie down as often as you can. Meditate, sleep adequately, eat well, and limit both sugar and caffeine, which stress the adrenals. All of the things you know to heal stress also heal the adrenals.

Balancing hormones means creating an internal condition that is as close to your natural rhythm as possible. The natural rhythm of a human being does not involve speeding down a highway or rushing around to get everything scratched off a to-do list each day. To get closer to your own natural rhythm, take time for yourself, slow down, and breathe.

8 Ways to Keep the Acid-Alkaline Balance in Your Body

alkalineWhy do we need to pay attention to our “acid-alkaline balance?” Some say it’s nonsense, but I believe it’s something to keep in mind on your path to health and vitality. Your body can be too acidic if its pH, or potential Hydrogen, is acid forming. When we measure pH, we measure the degree to which negative ions and positive ions push against each other. Negative ions are alkaline-forming. Positive ions are acid-forming.

Most people who eat the Standard American Diet (SAD — and it truly is) who live in our modern society have too much acidity in their bodies. Processed, fried, and fast foods, alcohol, sugars, white flour, meats, stressful environments, noise and chemical pollutants, all cause an acidic environment in the body. Stress, worry, anxiety, anger, and fear cause acidity in the body.

Donna Gates, author of The Body Ecology Diet: Recovering Your Health and Rebuilding Your Immunity, says, “When cells live too long in an acidic condition, they adapt to it by mutating and becoming malignant. Long-term acidic conditions in our bodies provide perfect environments for cancer and auto-immune diseases like AIDS to flourish. Most people with these disorders also have candidiasis.”

Your own alkalinity can be tested using special strips, which you can find in a natural foods market. Your pH level is taken from your saliva or urine first thing in the morning. A balanced urine pH is approximately 6.4. It’s interesting to see what the strips indicate, but it isn’t always an accurate reading. A blood test would be more accurate.

I think it’s important to take steps to alkalize your body whether or not you know your pH levels. You can create your own balanced internal pH. Following the 8 ways on this list will encourage a healthy acid-alkaline balance in your body.

1. Spend adequate time outdoors in sunlight – twenty to thirty minutes per day. Even when it’s cloudy.

2. Have a regular pattern of sleep. Go to bed and get up at the same time each day.

3. Use an 80/20 ratio of alkaline-forming foods to acid-forming foods. You can find a list of alkaline and acid-forming foods if you do an online search.

4. Rest and reduce stress.

5. Walk by water or by the sea.

6. Eat fresh foods found in nature including an abundance of vegetables.

7. First thing in the morning drink the juice of ½ lemon water in a tall glass of warm water. Although citrus is acidic, your digestion uses the acidic parts and leaves an alkaline residue.

8. Utilize natural healing such as acupuncture, energy work, reflexology, color and music therapy, yoga, chiropractic, and spiritual healing, all of which have alkaline forming reactions in the body.

A Few of My Favorite Healing Teas

Herbal TeaEvery morning when I wake up, one of the first things I think about is what kind of tea I want. I know many people think of coffee first thing, but I already wake up with my mind buzzing full speed ahead at 6:00am and coffee on top of that sets my nerves on edge. Nowadays, as I head full throttle into the menopausal years, I avoid green tea too. The caffeine is too much and I can’t sleep well if I’ve had any. So as the sun rises, and sometimes before it appears, I make tea from various herbs (or fruit or roots) to appease my spirit and begin the day. Here are a few of my favorites healing teas along with some of their health benefits.

gingerFresh Ginger ~ settles the stomach and is being researched as a cancer preventative. Use a piece about an inch long from raw ginger root. Chop and put into a cup. Add hot water and a little honey.

Mint ~ settles the stomach but also smells and tastes fantastic. I go out and pick my own from the yard where it grows like a weed. Crush a few leaves and place them into a cup. Pour hot water over, and voila!

Rooibos ~ aids digestion and prevents free radical damage, helping to keep your body’s cells normal. I purchase this at my local natural foods store.

Blue Violet LeafBlue Violet ~ has been used for thousands of years as a blood purifier. It is linked to the reduction of malignancies in the body. These days, who wouldn’t want something like this?

Green tea ~ I must add it because I love it even though it contributes to a few sleepless menopausal moments. Many studies have demonstrated the effects of green tea as a cancer preventative. Loose-leaf organic green tea is best. Tea bags generally contain lower quality tea, so go for loose-leaf if you can.

Dandelion ~ helps digestion, purifies the blood, and supports the liver. Yep, that little weed… but I order a large bag of dandelion leaf from www.mountainroseherbs.com.

nettlesNettles ~ my daily favorite, nettles has been used for centuries. Like blue violet, it’s a powerful blood purifier. I often pour boiling water over dandelion mixed with nettles and make a vitamin-rich infusion by steeping the leaves for several hours in a glass jar. Nettles can be cultivated in your yard, but I haven’t done this yet. Maybe one day when I have a gardening assistant, because there’s a reason their called “stinging nettles.” I still get mine from www.mountainroseherbs.com.

Tulsi ~ sometimes called Holy Basil, the wonderful side effects of drinking Tulsi tea are its adaptogenic effects. In other words, it supports your body, mind, and emotions to better adapt to stress. It strengthens you in the face of stressful circumstances. This is one I get from the local natural foods store.

LemonsLemon ~ especially mid-winter when people around you are sniffing and sneezing, lemon tea with a little honey is a good choice. It helps alkalize and hydrate your body and assist your liver to function more efficiently. If you have a cold, simmer it with chopped raw garlic and cayenne. Drink several cups during the day.

The Benefits of Lymphatic Massage for Breast Health

lymphatic massageYour lymph is part of a circulatory order in your body that defends you from harmful organisms that can cause disease. It’s important for women to note that breasts need lymphatic movement for circulation and drainage, but they don’t have muscles to help them move. This is where lymphatic massage is particularly helpful. Lymphatic massage gently moves the lymph so it can function properly. It can also relieve tightness in your back, shoulder, neck, and chest muscles which helps your lymphatic system to do the job it was designed to do.

Lymphatic movement helps you recover from the trauma of any type of surgery. It also helps release toxins in the area (and throughout your body). The technique is very gentle – and you can do it on yourself. A lymphatic massage therapist can teach you how to “pump” in specific directions and at a particular pace to imitate how lymph naturally moves in your body. For women wanting greater breast health, these following exercises which are from Daya Fisch, a lymphatic massage specialist and founder of The Breast Health Project, www.breasthealthproject.com.

For each of these exercises, use light pressure to move the breast and then release gently.

Put your hand in your armpit and push inward and upward. Go deep into the armpit. Pump upward and release. Repeat 10-20 times.
Put your hand on your entire breast and move it upward toward your armpit. If your breasts are large, you might need to use different hand positions. Repeat 10 times.
Place your hand over your entire breast and move it inward toward the chest wall. Repeat 5 times.
Holding your breast stable with one hand, use the other hand to pump the upper inner quadrant of your breast up toward your neck. Repeat 5 times.

Is Soy Good for Breast Health?

Photo by GlobalCitizens01 flickr CreativeCommons

Photo by GlobalCitizens01 flickr CreativeCommons

Soy wasn’t considered fit to be eaten in China, where it originated, until they discovered fermentation. The Chinese knew that soybeans contain natural toxins and enzyme inhibitors that block protein digestion. High in phytic acid, they can interfere with mineral absorption. Soy is a known endocrine disrupter. Most soy crops are genetically engineered and heavily sprayed with pesticides. The list of problems related to eating soy is a long one, so is soy good for breast health?

We’re told soy is a preventative to breast cancer. But, I think it will be revealed that unfermented soy products are not good for us. Japanese women, who have low rates of breast cancer, don’t eat as much soy as we’ve been led to believe. They eat miso, which is fermented soy, and they eat tofu, but I think the reason there are fewer Japanese women with breast cancer is because their traditional diet is based on whole foods. It also includes iodine-rich seaweed. They rarely eat sugar and white flour products, nor do they eat big pieces of meat or dairy products laced with hormones. They consume lots of vegetables, fish, and green tea.

Based on what we know about soy and how it is marketed to us, products made with soy protein isolate are also suspect, even though it’s in imitation meat products eaten by vegans and vegetarians and people wanting to be healthier by avoiding meat. For optimum breast health, I ignore unfermented soy products: soy milk, soy nuts, soy protein powders and bars, soy cheese, soy ice cream, supplements with soy, and also tofu. I use organic fermented soy only in moderate amounts: miso, tamari, tempeh, and natto.

To learn more, read The Whole Soy Story by Kaayla T. Daniel. And to find out more about a healing, nourishing approach to breast health, see my book The Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer.

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