Tag Archives: women’s health

Bestseller List Book Review & Giveaway

Diana Ross's "Breast Cancer Authority" site features my book The Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer.

Diana Ross’s “Breast Cancer Authority” site features my book The Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer.

A while back I met a wonderfully innovative woman named Diana Ross who is the cofounder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Diana also founded a community-based forum called “Breast Cancer Authority” and I’m an occasional contributor to the Breast Cancer Authority Blog.

Currently, the Breast Cancer Authority site is featuring my book, The Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer in a bestseller list book review and giveaway. This is a fun way to share the book with people, it’s a way for you to win a free copy of the book, and I get to listen in on what a few more people have to say about a topic of great importance to me: addressing breast dis-ease from a holistic, nurturing, conscious perspective. (Here you can read a Kirkus Review of my book for an unbiased view.)

Go ahead and take a look at Diana Ross’s Breast Cancer Authority blog and comment on the current article about my book to be entered in the drawing for a free copy of The Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer. Then peruse the whole site because its one of the best I’ve seen. It’s full of information for anyone wanting support and encouragement to prevent and heal from breast cancer. And, if you get to it immediately, you’ll see that my book is featured on the Home page!

 

How to Use a Castor Oil Pack

castor oil plantInformation about castor oil packs came from the intuitive readings of Edgar Cayce in the early part of the 20th century. In these readings, he recommended the application of castor oil for various ailments. For example, the packs are used on the liver to help with detoxification, the abdomen for digestive complaints, the uterus for fibroids, and on the breasts to help dissolve growths.

Castor oil is made up of a triglyceride of fatty acids, 90% of which is ricinoleic acid, an unsaturated fatty acid. Ricinoleic acid has been shown to be effective in preventing the growth of various types of bacteria, yeast, molds, and viruses.

When I first learned of castor oil packs, I was told that the oil seeps into the skin and surrounding tissue creating a downward, outward movement. For example, a castor oil pack over the uterus can cause a delayed period to start because of its ability to start the downward flow.

In his book The Oil That Heals: A Physician’s Success with Castor Oil Treatments, William McGarey, M.D. says castor oil stimulates and removes adhesions and lesions. It helps dissolve lumps in the breasts and heal scar tissue. Using castor oil packs can enhance eliminations of all kinds, increase lymph flow, and relieve pain and inflammation.

How to Use a Castor Oil Pack

Cotton flannel is often recommended, but I prefer to use an unbleached pre-washed white t-shirt cut into wide strips and folded so there are at least three layers.

Place the folded cotton on plastic wrap, with the plastic just larger than the fabric piece.
Pour castor oil over the cotton to saturate it (but not dripping).
Place the pack on the location, oily side down, plastic on top.
Put a thin towel over the plastic and cover it with a hot water bottle or other heated pack. Avoid using electric heating pads if possible, as the electrical current can cause disturbances in your energy field. You can use a microwaveable heating pad.
Rest with the pack on for about 30 minutes.

Castor oil will stain fabric, so when you are finished with the pack, wipe the oil away completely. You might want to wear an old t-shirt or designate a couple of shirts specifically to wear right after you use the packs.

Be sure to drink plenty of water to help flush out toxins. You can reuse your pack at least 20 times by keeping it in the refrigerator between uses. Bring it to room temperature before using it. Some people use the packs for three days and take a break for three days, but you can use the packs for many consecutive days, occasionally taking a break for a week at a time and, for women, during your monthly cycle.

The Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer Featured

BookCoverImageMy book The Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer is the topic of an article published last week in the Santa Cruz Weekly. Of course I have to tell you about it.

Written by local wellness reporter Maria Grusauskas after a personal interview, the article forced me into another level of acceptance that it’s okay for people to hear about some personal business. I’m not totally comfortable with my brush with the other side being laid bare, but I wrote about a personal subject with the intention of sharing information that will help others. And, humans are curious about some of the less-than-pleasant details.

If it helps people see the options and gain a fresh perspective, I’m for it. It’s just taken some getting used to, and it continues to be humbling, so kudos to Maria for pushing the envelope. I’ve had feedback this past week that indicates people are thinking more as a result of what Maria chose to include in the article.

As for the book itself, I do weave my personal experience through the pages, but it wasn’t my preference. My first choice was to offer the numerous ways you can build your immune system, detoxify, build your strength and courage, heal on all levels, and even reverse tumors. All this without saying a word about me or how I knew anything about it! But my editor said no. “People want a human story. You need to tell them what yours is.” Ugh!

So I returned to the book and began to add personal detail. It wasn’t comfortable to do, as I’m not one to easily reveal my medical history or even my ideas about how we relinquish our power (and minds) to a system that isn’t working all that well on behalf of breast cancer. But in the end, telling the story was a good thing.

I’ve had much positive feedback about how the book helps others see things from a fresh perspective because I shared my own experiences. In fact, just the other day someone exclaimed, “And you look so healthy!” Yes indeed. The Big C isn’t a death sentence, folks. I’m here to tell you that there is health and vitality, even after having that unwanted date with the dreaded C.

Back to the point. I hope you’ll check out this feature article and spread the news to your friends and loved ones that cancer doesn’t have to be such a scary word. There are many, many options and choices that can strengthen each of us beyond it to greater health and wellbeing. I’m not the only example. There are many of us!

Wifi, Electrical Devices, and Your Energy Field

Electric WorldIn October of 2012 I posted 5 Ways to Protect Yourself from EMFs. I’d like to come to this topic again, as it’s quite relevant to our modern time and important to know what can adversely affect your energy field.

You’ve heard of the electromagnetic fields (EMFs) in our environment, which have been linked to cancer. TVs, cell phones, wireless gadgets, computers, wifi, and the newly installed “smart meter” all emit EMFs. 

Your energy field is sensitive and reacts to other energy fields. There is enough data about the long-term health effects of power plants, power lines, and transmitters to warn us that our dependence on electricity, electronics, and wireless data can have health consequences. And, there are things you can do to counter some of these potentially negative health effects.

If you use a microwave, step away from it when it’s on. (Same for dishwashers, washing machines, and clothes dryers.) Three feet is the distance at which most scientists say the EMF from an appliance diminishes. Also, move electronics away from your bed, including electric clocks and especially your cell phone or tablet. Ideally, turn your cell phone and other wifi off at night.

It might be tempting to go to bed with your tablet, laptop, and/or cell phone nearby, but it’s not the healthiest choice. You will be under a steady bombardment of EMFs for many straight hours. Likewise with electric blankets and heating pads. What happens to your energy field when you sleep underneath a blanket that you have to plug into an electrical socket? Or when your unique energy field has a nearby wifi signal beaming through it all night?

You are an electrical being with your own “circuit” and that circuit has the key to your physical wellbeing, mental alertness, and emotional health. One way to help keep yourself more balanced in this wired and wireless era is to touch down to earth once in a while. Remember dirt and grass and trees? Go outside (leave your smartphone inside — maybe even turn it off!) put your feet on the ground, breathe the air, look up at the sky.

Reconnecting with the earth is nature’s way of balancing your energy field and one of the best ways to keep your body, mind, and spirit in harmony.

 

Lost? Go to your base.

yoga womanLast year when I was on a weeklong women’s retreat at Spirit Rock I had the good fortune to take yoga classes from Mary Pafford. I went to the retreat in a grumbly mood, blaming perimenopause or whatever, and once there in my own private silent space I decided to indulge it. But I simply couldn’t maintain it after the first day, after Mary’s yoga class.

Her class got me back into my glorious body. Among other things, Mary teaches how to get into contact with your perineum. Brilliant! She teaches that women’s wisdom can come from deep within, deep down, way down, and so my dark attitude began to fade as I reconnected to this depth in myself through Mary’s playful example.

So, with her permission, here is what yoga teacher Mary Pafford says about going to your base, an excerpt from a longer piece titled “Periwinkle Ahoy! Tales of drought, overwhelm, and perineums.” I think you’ll benefit from her words of wisdom, especially in times of uncertainty and unease.

GATEWAY AND BANDHA

GATEWAY TO THE EARTH by Mary Pafford

This is where the perineum can be helpful. “When you don’t know where to go, go to the base.” A refrain in many of my classes. This is your internal GPS. When trauma arises we often close this area down, rather like an animal fearfully drawing its tail under and in. A temporary protection but many of us are walking around the universe with our tails drawn in as a permanent state of being. Or we have absolutely no connection to this area at all. There’s the taboo associated with sexuality and excretion and we just don’t want to go there. Beyond our own physical body, we have lost our way of being in touch with the world.

Consider the perineum not as a floor as its often called, but a sacred membrane and the way that we communicate on a deeper level with the earth, with our true nature. By simply being in contact, breathing here, one finds a sense of ground. Notice this when you are in transition or in some way threatened or overwhelmed. How helpful it is to just exist in the perineum, not contracting or tucking, just trusting the earth beneath and within you. “When you don’t know where to go, go to the base.” 
 
MULABANDHA

In the yoga world, some teachers encourage a strong engagement of the perineal muscles to draw the energy up and away from the earth to the heavens to cultivate Mulabandha. In this way, abandoning our human beingness ~ earthiness in the pursuit of “higher selves” ~ a new age type of refrain. If you listen to this little clip from Richard Freeman, you will see that this isn’t necessarily the most illuminating way to approach the pelvic floor… or life!

Richard suggests that the Goddess needs to be invited and cannot be forced, thus cultivating relationship rather than a practice of control, attainment, and separation from the mud of being. Can one root through the bones of the base of the pelvis and invite the rebound? The earth deities rise up and support life in the same way that we tend to the earth and this merges and supports our spiritual aspirations as many indigenous traditions encourage. In many of these traditions the earth is spirit – there is no separate word for spirituality.

Kirkus Review for The Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer

BookCoverImageAlthough I have many wonderful reviews of my book on Amazon.com, I’m pleased to present my first book review by Kirkus Reviews, a tough critic and trusted voice in the world of book reviews.

I waited for many weeks for this review to arrive, sometimes wondering what I would do if it were negative, perhaps reviewed by someone who “didn’t get it.” I figured I’d spend the first few days in seclusion, the next few weeks moping, and then get on with life. But, alas, it has arrived and I’m quite pleased with it. Here it is:

“In this debut memoir, a holistic healer shares her story of breast cancer and explores an array of approaches to physical and spiritual health.

Grant, a California-based holistic healer, found herself under the surgeon’s knife, facing breast cancer surgery, nearly a decade ago. In this wide-reaching guide, Grant details her personal struggle with her diagnosis, then touches on the variety of ways that she believes one can help combat breast cancer and most other “dis-eases.” “I simply couldn’t proceed blindly onward hoping surgery, caustic drugs, and radiation were enough to ‘get me back to my old life,’ ” writes Grant. “I had to give equal consideration to the importance of food, body movement, stress-reduction, immunity, environmental toxins, lifestyle, emotions, mind, and spirit.”

While it may be no surprise that a holistic healer would favor alternative approaches, Grant admits that she also had to overcome her own bias against traditional doctors in order to get better, with an acupuncturist friend telling her to “see them as healers, because they are. They are part of the world of healing and some of what they say is valid.” Thus, Grant acknowledges, “There is no right or wrong way. But there is a path that is best for you and I’m here to help you honor that.”

This accepting spirit infuses the narrative, which presents a host of holistic options in workbook style. Each chapter ends with a “Take a Moment for Yourself” section, featuring questions for self-reflection.

Grant’s book contains a wealth of information, from recipes to lists of inspirational music selections and health and healing reference works. Although this guide is largely well-organized, there is some repetition, and Grant’s personal story sometimes disappears within the larger topics she discusses. As a whole, however, this overview may be a welcome aid to those with breast cancer and helpful to anyone seeking to achieve a healthier life.

A personal, expansive tour into the world of holistic healing.”

Kirkus Reviews

By the way, my book is best in the paperback version so it can be easily used as a reference, but it’s a great deal for the Kindle currently at $4.99. It will be a valuable addition to your library, if I do say so myself.

Estrogen Dominance and Xenoestrogens

estrogenEstrogen dominance and xenoestrogens are words smart women are learning about to keep their bodies healthy and strong in our plasticized world.

Signs of excess estrogen in your body include painful or unpredictable periods, PMS, cervical dysplasia, depression, anxiety, worry, decreased libido, fatigue, weight gain in the hips and stomach, possibly cold hands and feet, and fibrocystic breasts or cancer. Estrogen dominance is partly caused from foods, cosmetics, and other products that carry xenoestrogens (fake estrogens) into the body.

Some chemicals found in plants act like the female sex hormone estradiol, our primary estrogen. Synthetic forms of this chemical are found in plastic, pesticides, dioxins, PCBs, and in drugs given to livestock and poultry to prevent miscarriage and promote growth.

To lower the chances for these xenoestrogens to enter your body and behave like estrogen, reduce or eliminate foods that come in plastic wrap and plastic packaging. This includes water you buy in plastic bottles, since chemicals in the plastic leach into food and water.

In a study at Tufts University published in Environmental Health Perspectives in 1991, Drs. Ana Soto and Carlos Sonnenschein observed that breast cancer cells placed in plastic dishes would grow quickly. Knowing these cells need estrogen to reproduce, they were curious about what contributed to the rapid cell growth. They discovered that the chemical nonylphenol, which prevents plastic from cracking, caused the growth of the breast cancer cells. Apparently nonylphenol had leached out of the plastic dishes and behaved like estrogen with the cells. Researchers then experimented with other commonly used plastics, detergents, and pesticides. They witnessed rapid growth when the breast cancer cells were exposed to these products. (See my post Breast Health through Liver Health for numerous ways to help your body clear these toxins.)

Conventionally-raised beef and dairy cows are given growth hormones. Their feed is treated with pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. When you consume conventional milk, cheese, ice cream, cottage cheese, yogurt, chocolate, and processed foods with beef, milk, or milk products in them, you risk overloading your body with xenoestrogens. (Not to mention what the GMOs are doing.) Read more about this in Milk: Does it Do a Body Good?

Organic, grass-fed beef and dairy are the better choice. If you can’t find them or if they are too costly, look for hormone and pesticide-free products. Eat organic chicken and eggs when you can find them, organic grains, and produce that is free from toxic sprays. Note that chemicals used to kill bugs and fungi on the food supply penetrate the surface of whatever they land on, including the soil. Even washing these foods well before you eat them won’t take away the chemicals they have absorbed.

Sometimes you will be in situations where poor quality food and water is all there is. I find this happens most when I travel or attend public events. Until the “food consciousness” raises in this country and truly healthful choices are accessible, we can make the best of it based on what is available. Bless your food and water then return to your organic, food-from-nature, plastic-free diet when you return home.

Women of a Certain Age and the Holistic Approach

Cynthia Johnston, herbalist, MoonMaid Botanicals founder, and host of "Women of a Certain Age" on BlogTalkRadio.

Cynthia Johnston, herbalist, MoonMaid Botanicals founder, and host of “Women of a Certain Age” on BlogTalkRadio.

Tonight at 7pm Eastern (4pm Pacific) I’ll be the guest on “Women of A Certain Age” on BlogTalkRadio. Women of a Certain Age is hosted by Cynthia Johnston, founder and herbalist at MoonMaid Botanicals located in Cosby, Tennessee. Her radio program offers ideas, solutions, support, and encouragement for women of all ages as they go through various stages of life. As Cynthia says, “As our environment changes, our bodies change. I offer tools helpful for these changes.”

So tonight one of the tools she’s offering is… me! So be sure to tune in! We’ll discuss some of the important topics from my recent book, The Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer: Every Woman’s Guide to Health, Vitality, & Wellbeing, which is also relevant and applicable to anyone who’d like to be in the driver’s seat of their own health and wellness.

Yes, there are drugs for every bodily issue under the sun, and these can stop the symptoms some of the time, but they’ll also cause undesirable side effects and don’t address the underlying cause. When our bodies are out of balance it’s not an isolated problem. It’s an issue affected by your body, mind, emotions, and spirit. Addressing symptoms from this perspective brings fuller, deeper healing and can prevent the ailment from recurring. Read a little more about the holistic approach to wellness in my recent blog post What Does “Holistic” Mean Anyway?

Breast Balm 1I’d like to mention that Cynthia Johnston’s company, MoonMaid Botanicals, is the maker of Breast Balm, a blend of St. John’s Wort, poke root, calendula, and thuja infused in organic olive oil. Designed to be used for breast massage, it is the balm I recommend in The Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer.

Tune in tonight at 7pm EST (or 4pm PST) by going to Cynthia’s Women of a Certain Age site and listen to some fresh ideas to inspire you to greater wellness in body, mind, and spirit. Share this link with your friends and loved ones who you know will benefit from a more healthful approach to their own wellbeing!

The Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer is Here!

BookCoverImage

Oh my, can it be true? After years of toil and many moons going back and forth with a publishing team, my book The Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer: Every Woman’s Guide to Health, Vitality, & Wellbeing is available! It is a relief ~ a huge relief ~ to have it out of my hands and into the world.

I was compelled to write the book. Though many times I intended to abandon it, it’s a book and story that wanted to be written. I simply couldn’t slither away from it.

One reason I found myself sitting at this computer time and again to keep going on it is because I have a load of information about how to heal from breast dis-ease. I’d done research for a dozen years. I began to realize the selfishness in keeping this information to myself. “Hasn’t all this information been readily available?” you might ask. The answer is simply, “No.” Until now…

The business of cancer is extraordinarily profitable, therefore most of us will not hear about ways to truly prevent or heal from breast dis-ease and cancer unless we seek it out ourselves. The mainstream medical establishment will give you three options: surgery, radiation, and pharmaceutical drugs with harsh side effects. These are based on a patriarchal system that devalues the feminine. I’m not talking about devaluing women, nor am I male-bashing. I’m talking about underestimating the worth of or simply ignoring the simple yet powerfully healing and deeply nourishing ways of nature that bring the body, mind, emotions, and spirit back to balance and harmony.

The Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer covers a wide range of healing methods old and new that support and encourage you to heal from within. For me, every imbalance in the body, mind, or spirit is a messenger asking us to look within, to find what needs to awaken, to give attention to those parts of ourselves that have been neglected. This is the way to heal, even from a serious medical condition or diagnosis.

This is a book worth having and giving to your friends and loved ones. Not one of us has been or will be left untouched by breast cancer through someone we know or through our own precious self. Therefore, do yourself and those you know a favor and offer them this healing information. Order here.

The Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer: Every Woman’s Guide to Health, Vitality, & Wellbeing is available now through B&N, Amazon, and other retailers. It’s also Kindle-ready. Click here to order it now. Thank you in advance for helping create more balance and harmony for all!

Revitalize Your Body with Gua Sha

guaGua Sha means “to extract toxins” and has been used in China for over 2,000 years to alleviate stiffness and pain, bring back mobility and circulation, heal digestive disorders, release toxins and stagnant energy, and generally revitalize the body. It is also known to treat tumors and cysts. Most acupuncturists are trained to use this technique.

During a Gua Sha treatment, strokes are made over your skin with a smooth-edged tool such as polished jade, although an item as simple as a lid from a jar can be used. Gua Sha is done in areas of congestion, tightness, tension, or discomfort on your neck, shoulders, and back, but sometimes on your chest and abdomen. Blood gets released from peripheral capillaries while fluid under your skin is pushed, creating space. Toxic fluid from deep in the tissue rises to the skin’s surface into the space. This causes the skin to turn red or take on the coloration of bruising. It is not bruising though, and clears up in a couple of days. It is actually a welcome sight to see this “Sha” coming to the surface of the skin, because it indicates the release of old, trapped energy. The color of bruising is a sign of healing.

Gua Sha is not painful. Instead there is a sense of relief as the stagnant energy is freed. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the freed energy is also called qi, pronounced “chee” in China. Stagnant qi is associated with pain and areas of oxygen deprivation. In the case of breast disease, Gua Sha is a way to increase oxygen in your tissue while moving stagnant energy and releasing toxins. It is believed that exposing the Sha — indicated by the discoloration that occurs — removes disease from deep within the body.

If you’re in pain, or have recently had surgery or other traumas that have areas of stagnation around them, ask your acupuncturist to “gua sha” you. You’ll be glad you did!

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