bach flowerThe Bach Flower Essences are a great tool for self improvement.  Dr. Richard Bach (1886-1936), a British doctor, devoted the latter part of his life to discovering and cultivating  the hidden healing properties within the trees and flowers.  The Bach flower essences can be an aid in a range of emotional issues such as  indecision, irrational fear and anxiety.  There are a multitude of Bach flower essences-38 in all.  The Bach flower essences are not meant as a substitute for medical attention or true chronic depression and anxiety disorders.  For acute or chronic issues  seek professional medical advise.  The Bach flower essences are, however, an excellent tool for someone in need of a shift in life.  I have heard them affectionately called, “Psychotherapy in a bottle.”  If one is tired of a particular pattern of behavior they find themselves doing and wants to change it, the Bach flower essences are an excellent tool.

For example, when I was in my early to mid twenties I found that whenever I had a decision to make I would consult several key friends and family members on what they would do.  While some advice is helpful it can often leave one feeling back to where they were in the first place.  All the input in the world really won’t change the final decision which in the end I found usually comes from within.  I tried the essence of Cerato, which is useful if someone does not have confidence in their own decisions.  For me at that time it came from (I believe) a fear of making a mistake or of trying to make the “right” decision.  While I’m all for research, at times opinions can really be just that-opinions.  The only truth is within especially on matters of our own choice.  I can honestly say that I did have a major shift in my ability to handle decisions and finally achieve the autonomy I needed.  This website is an extension of that principle in that I hope it helps people to tune into themselves through sensibility.

 

The Bach flower essences fall under the category of vibrational energy or vibrational medicine.  This is exactly what it sounds like.  Imagine what it feels like to sit near a tree or hold a flower in your hand.  There is a connectedness and a grace about their two energies.  They give off a certain vibration.  When one uses the Bach flower essences one is literally ingesting that essence into their being.  Sounds quite powerful and it is.  Trees and flowers have the dualistic properties of having roots reaching downward, connecting to the earth and the branches and petals reaching upward in search of sunlight and nourishment and as a catalyst for photosynthesis.  In yoga practice as in Tai qi and Qi gong practices it is these images in nature one is often striving for.  We need our connectedness as well as our ascendant qualities to thrive.  Dr. Bach understood this and as a result we now have his remedies.

Another interesting way of understanding how the Bach flower essences work is by  looking at a principle in homeopathy that is known as, “like cures like.”  If, for example, a person feels very weepy they would try the essence of weeping willow.  Another example is the Holly essence for anger issues.  The Holly leaf is very spiky as an angry or disgruntle person can appear.  I have heard of the Holly Essence being successfully used with angry teenagers.

Use of the Bach flower essences requires some self reflection.  There is an excellent remedy finder quiz on the official site that can help with this.  A word of warning is that one often feels they need most of them.  I never tell anyone to ingest anything but I know from my own experience that I have used many of them at different points in my life and they have been extremely helpful.  The Bach flower essences are in a base of alcohol if that is of any concern.

Below is an excerpt from an article by Don Hanson CPDT, BFRP, CDBC that illustrates how useful anecdotal evidence can be.

Because it is not based upon statistical research and the scientific method, anecdotal evidence is often dismissed by the scientific community, yet the following is a prime example of the role and importance that it plays. As early as the 1700’s, sailors were fed limes as a way of preventing scurvy. This practice was based strictly on anecdotal evidence. It wasn’t until 1932 and the discovery of vitamin C that the scientific method was able to prove why limes and other citrus fruits helped prevent and cure scurvy. Fortunately, no one stopped sailors from eating limes because scientists had not completed a study demonstrating that eating limes cures scurvy. Anecdotal evidence is often the first step in the discovery of new methods and ways of thinking.

 

Bolsters and pillows for joints comfort

Supporting your joints with the right pillows is more important than you might think.  With good support as you sleep or rest on the couch, you can help retrain your body to be in better alignment.  You can also reinforce any training you are doing throughout the week.  Bolstering means to support or to strengthen.  A pillow that is not correct for your head and neck alignment can cause pain and discomfort down the road.  It can also lead to headaches.  This is so simply avoided by taking the time to find the right fit for you.

Bolstering can really help relieve your knees, lower back,  hip, neck  and shoulder joints.  The correct  pillow between your legs/knees aligns your hip and keeps them from knocking together.  They also allow your bones, muscles and ligaments to decompress because they are able to let go and feel supported.

It is soothing and comforting to use pillows this way.  For example. many of us hyper-extend our knees.  In this case, it’s great  to place a pillow under them while laying in a face up position watching t.v. or using a  a laptop computer as it helps decompress your tendons, ligaments and muscles.

Here are some suggestions to get you started:

The cylindrical-shaped pillows are great for both your neck and knees. However, make sure that the size is not too large since you don’t want your head to be pushed too far forward.

Tempur-Pedic memory foam pillows are designed to cradle your head and make space for your shoulders to keep you in good alignment as you sleep.  This way your shoulder does not creep  up into your ears while you are sleeping.  Experiment with different ones till you find the brand that works best for you.  Be aware that some of them are expensive but they can keep you in comfort for over three years.  Generic brands can work well, but tend to wear out faster.  Both cylindrical and Tempur-Pedic type pillows are available at local medical supply stores and on the Web.

For neck and shoulders, use Tempur-Pedic contour pillows (memory foam).  For lower back, use wedge-shaped pillows by placing them under the knees.  Cylindrical-shaped pillows are used for either knees or neck.

Often I will place a heating pad directly on my Tempur-Pedic contoured pillow because the heat is then pressing just on the right spots  to to relieve my tense neck and shoulders.  Keeping these area as relaxed can prevent headaches and other aches and pains.  Be aware  that your pillow will probably not last as long doing this because it does wear down its firmness.  Do not use a heating pad if you have high blood pressure or any other condition where it is advised not to use heat.  Do not fall asleep with it on, and do not use for more than ten minutes as it can actually begin to tighten your muscles if placed on too long.

There is an emotionally supportive and restorative benefit to relaxing and feeling held by the pillows.  It is a great way to decompress and meditate at the end of the day.  Place your pillows strategically under your joints  to let them feel held and they will repay you in the long run.  Helping to relax your body will help you feel centered and connected with more focus and energy for your mind.

foot exercise

This exercise will help you feel more solid on the ground.  Feeling more solid on your feet will help you with standing, walking, and exercise.

The muscles of the lower leg insert on the foot.  Some of these are Gastrocnemius, Soleus (which both insert via the Achilles tendon), Tibialis anterior, and the Peroneal muscles.  If they are tight they can often lead to other issues.

You can do this while laying on the couch watching t.v. at the end of a long day.  Always put a bolster under your knees to protect them.  With time, this exercise can become second nature and you will begin doing it before you even realize it.

Procedure:

Trace the alphabet with your feet.  Do it in large block letters.  Do each letter and movement slowly-the intention is not to get through the alphabet, but to stretch and to strengthen the  muscles of your feet.  You may sense places of your feet that are rarely moved-this is a sign that you are really getting circulation to places where you need it.  Notice the middle of the foot when you do the finer movements of  the letters B and K.  Those can be difficult muscles to isolate.

You may only want to go to N the first few times you do this exercise as you will see it is not easy and your feet can get tired.  Many of these muscles are not used to being activated so specifically.  Don’t overdue it.  When you are finished, do three circle in each direction.  Now you can massage them a bit.

I’m often asked whether to lead  with the toe or heel.  Take as much effort out of it as you can.  I would say in general try to lead from the ankle and let the rest of the foot go along for the ride.  The movement should flow with ease not with effort.  Let it feel luxurious!

When you stand up, go slowly and mindfully.  You will notice different sensations than you did prior to the exercise.

This is a seemingly simple exercise but it is very effective with long lasting and strong results.  You will begin to notice, over time, how your feet look and feel stronger and less tense.  This is important as they are the base for the rest of your body.

The root chakra begins on the foot as well as many acupuncture channels (that begin and end there).  Reflex points for the whole body are located on the foot.  By creating a strong structure physically, you are helping these channels to flow better and as a result you will have greater well being overall: better circulation, better flow of Chi/Prana and better alignment.  By relaxing the foot you are stimulating the rest and digest response in your nervous system.  This restful state can help your breathing, digestion and on and on! Most importantly the rest of your body’s joints are stacked upon your feet.  Your knees, hips, shoulders and neck.  If your feet are off center it can have an effect on the rest of your body.  So take care of them and do so sensibly. This is an exercise and is meant for the prevention of foot pain.  If it hurts doing this stop and go see a foot doctor.

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