We tend to think of being relaxed as only a physical state, whereas it clearly has mental and spiritual aspects which are equally important to our overall health.
Our bodies need about eight hours sleep a day during which our muscle and organ functions can slow down and recuperate. The information we have taken in during our time awake (from our environment, our work, our interactions, emotions with others etc.) are processed and integrated into all our body systems and cells. During an uninterrupted eight hour sleep period around one and a half hours is spent in dreaming. The periods of dreaming sleep appear cyclically during the night, about every ninety minutes and they become longer in duration as the night continues. Some of the longest dream periods occur just before awakening. If we miss the last forty five minutes of our eight hour sleep requirement we may well be cutting down our dreaming period by fifty percent. Research has shown that when humans and other animals are deprived of dream sleep we become agitated and anxious. This clearly adversely affects not only the physical but also our mental and spiritual bodies. The regular loss of dream time will reduce the overall quality of our lives.
In addition to ensuring that we have a sufficient amount of dream sleep we can practise regular relaxation techniques, regular general exercise, meditation, affirmations, breathing exercises, reading inspirational literature which can direct our thought processes towards enhancing life, joy and confidence.
Some experts maintain that an hour of body treatment such as shiatsu, massage, osteopathy etc. is equivalent to four hours of normal sleep or rest.
Every single cell in our body, to work effectively, should be able to receive adequate nutrients and effectively release all its wastes and toxins. This includes not only that we take in the proper nutrients and fluids, but also that these facilitate the assimilation processes.
It is well known that our attitudes and emotions affect the biochemistry of our bodily processes. A positive and cheerful attitude at mealtimes aids the proper assimilation (digestion and absorption) of food and fluid, whereas anxiety, anger, stress and other negative attitudes impede it.
Proper assimilation is aided by adequate fluid intake of water preferable before or after meals (Nutritionists recommend about 2 litres per day on average). Alcohol or sugar based drinks are not suitable substitutes as they are absorbed quickly into the blood system, give each cell extra work to do, increase the waste and toxin output and put extra work load on the liver and kidneys. If you take these drinks, try to maintain and if possible increase your daily pure water intake.
Digestion starts in the mouth where enzymes in saliva breakdown starches. The starches, if not fully broken down in the mouth can lead to fermentation in other parts of the digestive system and give rise to irritation, inflammation, pain and or gases and interfere with proper assimilation.
Our bodies where designed to process whole foods which, if in their natural state, contain all the necessary nutrients, minerals and vitamins we need. In our modern day society we can find it is often difficult to eat only whole foods but we should strive to this end. At times we may need to take food supplements, vitamins or minerals to get back to a healthy state but these should not be taken on regular or indefinite bases as our bodies can lose the ability to extract or produce these from what we eat.
There are many other aspects in regard to types and combinations of food that can effect the proper assimilation of nutrients but if we can pay attention to just the above points in our own lives we should see a marked difference in our well-being.
Optimum physical health depends on how we CARE for ourselves, particularly in regard to: – Circulation, Assimilation, Relaxation, and Eliminations in our physical bodies. Each week over the next four weeks in the blog we will discuss one of these topics and see how we can maximise these in our daily lives. Each depends on the other and when all are working efficiently together we can experience optimum health and the joy of the life force living through us.
It is the circulation of the blood and lymph that carry nutrients to and takes all waste products (toxins) away from cells and tissues. To be optimally effective they need to reach every single cell in the body. Blood and lymph circulation depends on the state of our heart and the vessels which transport them. These systems also transport white cells and hormones which regulate our immune systems and our emotions which have an important impact on the quality of our lives.
Circulation in this case means constant movement to and fro between the heart and every cell in the body.
Exercise is clearly one way to help our circulation but we need to be careful that we don’t overdo it. Strong exercise can tear muscle fibres and cause micro scar tissue, bruise muscles, impact joints, all of which can obstruct good circulation. Regular walking or swimming is generally recognised as very safe and good for stimulating the circulation.
Regular stretching exercises to release tense muscles and open the joints where the majority of obstructions tend to occur are also highly recommended. In addition;
Regular bodywork such as shiatsu, massage, osteopathy etc., stimulates circulation and allows us to relax and at the same time gives our tissues space to rejuvenate from the feel-good factor of endorphins and the increased flow of blood and lymph.
“In the summer time when the winter has gone, we can reach right up and touch the sky”. These are words from a song I remember each summer.
When I feel good on a summer´s day I find myself almost spontaneously singing these words ( the only ones I remember from the song) and humming the catchy tune and I really feel that I can reach into the sky and touch it. It´s a feeling of expansion, a feeling of being united and in contact with all around me – total wellbeing.
When I´m feeling down or perhaps the weather´s not so good I try to recall the warmth, feelings and emotions that vibrate through me when I feel good on a summers day and … Ole I can often change the course of my day.
About three months ago, a person came to us for consultation. She was suffering from numbness and pins and needles in her arms and back. For some time, she had received conventional medical treatment without success. After several Shiatsu sessions, her problems disappeared and she seems to have completely recovered: Alternative Medicine.
Both types of Medicine are effective. Each one is more or less appropriate depending on the circumstances. Choosing one or the other is our choice.