Written by Inspired Life on April 9th, 2018. Posted in Articles, Blog

By Jennifer Drummond, ND

playtimeLast week I wrote about my experience about going almost completely screen-free for 7 days. If you are up for just reducing your screen time, I’ve summarized a few points I’ve personally found to be helpful.

Tips to Keep Screen Time to a Minimum in Your Life:

  1. Consciously and with purpose use your screen. Try to avoid using your screen as a habit of something to just pass the time. If you need to pass the time, look outside, go for a walk, read a book, draw, paint, close your eyes… the list is endless.
  2. Set some boundaries for time. If you just want to watch something for a laugh, set a timer for a specific time. Again, you are adding more of a conscious decision to this.
  3. Set boundaries for your subject. If you need to research something, write down on a sticky note the point of your research and stick it somewhere on your computer. This little reminder may help you avoid the rabbit hole.
  4. Set a time limit with social media. Social media can be a great tool for sharing amazing articles and insights and keeping in touch with loves ones, but it can also be a breeding ground for jealously and low self-esteem. I would get the same feeling from a People magazine. I would only allow myself the time to read it while waiting in the grocery line. Once I reached the front, I put it back. If I ever bought it and read the whole thing, I generally felt worse about myself. I use social media for the bare minimum and then get out of it quickly.
  5. Keep stock of your emotions before you respond/tweet. Words are very powerful. And these words last, well pretty much forever out there. Even if you delete it, somewhere they are still there to be seen.
  6. Try to project into the future 10 years if you’d like this photo to be put on social media. A picture is worth a thousand words. And will last and last and last… Employers and College/University admissions look at these social media profiles in selecting their applicants.
  7. If you are a parent, be mindful of your own screen time. Kids notice everything. They hear and see everything. If you want them to have minimal screen time, then you have to do it yourself as well. The American Association of Pediatrics recommends children under 2 should have no exposure to screens at all as this interferes with brain development (they need face-to-face interaction most of all!). Kids between 2-6 years should only have 1 hour and kids over 6 years should have no more than 2 hours per day.
  8. Have a good discussion about the dangers of social media as well. Bulling, sexting, online predators are all important points to cover.
  9. Have screen-free times set in your daily routine. For example, no screens at the dinner table. No screens at bedtime. On the weekend, if the weeknights are too hectic, have time together to explore the beach, the park, a board game, paint or draw together, read a good book together, etc.
  10. If you have to use a screen at night, use the night shift mode. The light automatically shifts the colours of your display to the warmer end of the colour spectrum rather than the cooler, blue light that the computer regularly emits. This blue light can disrupt hormonal patterns as well as your sleep cycle and melatonin production (which regulates your sleep/awake cycle). If you don’t have this as an option on your screen, then aim to shut down your screens at least one hour before bedtime. There are also glasses you can wear that block blue light.

Written by Inspired Life on April 8th, 2018. Posted in Articles, Blog

By Jennifer Drummond, ND

tabletThis is the challenge of the decade. Spend an entire week with absolutely no screen in front of your face. Feeling I already kept my screen time to a minimum, I was up to the task.

In order to prepare for writing an article for “Screen Free Week”, I decided to go screen free myself in advance and do it hard-core. No screens for 7 days. That meant no phone with a screen, no computer and no television. With the average person spending about 9 – 10 hours a day in front of a screen, could I really do it?

The television screen was easy to give up as I haven’t really watched much television for about 20 years. It was a decision I made in my late teens as I wanted my free time to be “living and interactive”. I decided I needed that time for myself to experience new things rather than sit in front of a box. And yes, I know I have missed out on a lot of great shows and it does make for a boring conversation with me when the topic is about “Game of Thrones”, but I manage.

The phone and computer were a bit harder. I had intentions to give up my cellphone completely for the week, as I thought I could make do with our landline, but it was a bit hard when I had to be “on call” for things related to my kids and their social activities. I fumbled a bit on this one with responding to a few phone calls and saying “yes” or “no” via text.

So, I gave myself a bit of a break with the rule that my cellphone would operate only as a phone. No music, no photos, no surfing the net, no checking emails/weather/time.

That meant a few changes for me.

Since my old watch was still broken, I was back to checking the time on the street parking machines, as well as asking people around me for the time. It was nice to be more outgoing and led to a good amount of pleasant interactions. If I felt the need to text someone who lived close by, I just knocked on their door.

Music was a big one for me as well, so this experiment was well timed. For a while now, I had been missing the good old radio. I hadn’t owned one for years since the phone stocked many of my beloved CDs. I’ve never been good at updating and changing the songs on my phone and the same CDs for years in a row was getting tiresome. I know it is possible to listen to radio on the internet, but it so much easier for me to actually turn on the radio instead. I joke to my friends that I am really an 80-year-old woman inside when it comes to these “techie things”, but then I am put to shame by my 94-year-old great aunt who has a smart tv and a skype account.

So, in honour of my “Screen Free Week”, I bought myself a second-hand radio/CD player for $6.99. I loved this part of my challenge. I felt like a teenager again, although instead of moshing to Pearl Jam, I was now cooking to Pearl Jam and inspiring interviews on the news.

The computer was the hardest of all. In order to prepare for this week without a screen, I had to make sure I had all of my work done ahead of time. It made me be on the computer way later at night than I would have liked to admit to my patients and my “no screens an hour before bed” rule went out the window for a few nights that week.

I admit that I still needed the computer a bit for work during “Screen Free Week”, but with the added pressure of being screen-free, each time I used it I had complete awareness of doing so. I kept to only work-related emails, research and documents; anything fun or entertaining was out of the question. This also kept me from going down the enticing “wormhole” of information and facts that is always tempting.

What did I learn from this experience? Overall, I noticed I had more time. I read more of two books I’ve been meaning to get through, got a good chunk of the spring cleaning done and played a lot more with my kids.

I also became aware of the “nag” of wanting to check my phone just to check it or look at something on it. This usually happened in quiet moments like if I was waiting to meet someone or after putting the kids to bed. It was incredible to realize how trained I was to want to check my phone, even when I had no dings from incoming messages. That “nag” became less and less throughout the week and I either just took in the scene around me, read a book or on one beautiful sunny morning, I simply closed my eyes and sat under a tree.

And being strict with my screen time also made me appreciate the technology we have around us. Usually I am more on the “no screen” side and can easily point out the negative effects screens have on us, but actually going through the process gave me a new appreciation of these tools we have at our disposal.

What I found most helpful was the awareness I developed with each time I was called to use a screen. I had to make a conscious choice to use it or decline. I was very aware of each minute I spent and conscious of each click I made. As soon as I was done my task, the screen was down and off. I found that awareness to be key to maintaining a balance with my use of screens. If you are aware of your choice, you will be aware of the time you are spending.

Overall, I thought it was a great process to go through and hope others will be encouraged to try!

Written by Inspired Life on February 21st, 2018. Posted in Articles

By Angie Holstein, MSW ,RSW (Individual, Adolescent and Family Therapist)

There is a strong connection between our mental health, food and weight loss. A 2004 study called the Canadian Community Health Survey found 20% of Canadians 18 and older were obese and 41% more were overweight. In children and adolescents, 8% were obese and 18% overweight. It is well understood that mood and eating habits are deeply connected. Having a substantial amount of negative thoughts, distressing emotions and unhealthy behaviours contribute to poor mental health. Gaining a strong understanding of this is key to supporting the psychological part of your health and wellness goal.

Eating healthy, losing excess weight and increasing physical exercise are important life goals to consider.

Know that making a lifestyle change is often uncomfortable and distressing at first. Anticipate that change can actually make you feel worse at first before you start to feel better. The point is not to give up. Having a plan and dealing effectively with setbacks with emotional eating will be the key between making this change to a life style change versus a diet. Learn to manage your emotions and negative thoughts about yourself to support your goal. Take an approach to this goal by dealing with the problem of overeating from the inside out.

Quick Tips to Manage Emotional Eating:

Keep a Food Diary: What, When, Where, How much, Feelings and Thoughts. Over time you will start to investigate and examine the patterns revealing your connection between your moods, thoughts and food habits. Knowledge and awareness is power.

Manage Stress and Get a Good Nights Sleep: Sleeplessness and chronic stress are the underlying contributors for a lot of clients in my practice for not only weight gain but depression, anxiety and overall poor mental health. Poor sleep and feeling tired typically increases stress and negative emotions. It’s hard to make good decisions and have balanced thinking when we are tired. Research tells us that chronic stress not only prevents you from losing weight, but also adds on pounds. When we are stressed, our bodies release stress hormones (the fight or flight hormones) that have been correlated with belly fat. Try yoga, meditation, being silly and being social to deal with this. Research tips to manage stress and keep trying to integrate these methods into your life. They can be simple things. (Dear Stress: Let’s Break-Up!)

Learn to Interrupt Your Habits and Patterns: This can be done by doing a hunger reality check. Am I really hungry? What is happening emotionally right now that is making me feel hungry?  Am I tired, bored, anxious, sad, lonely? Think about behavior options to replace your typical pattern of mindless eating.

There are some interesting suggestions available online called 100 Replacement Behaviours for mindless eating, such as take a pause with a breathing exercise, drinking really cold water which gives our nervous system a little bump, watch a funny video on you tube, play with your pet, anything to distract yourself. We know that we have a quarter of a second to interrupt our typical patterns so having a plan ready will support this interruption and be compassionate to yourself with setbacks.

Dealing with Family and Friends: Family and friends are part of our patterns of behavior. Have you effectively communicated to those in your life about the goal you are embarking on? Have you asked them for what you may need? When you make a change it affects those around you – people in your life may unknowingly try to get you back to what is familiar. This can show up in forms of teasing, put downs and pressure to stray from your plan at gatherings and visits. Eating is such a social act. Your changes can also trigger self doubt and guilt in others who may not be at the stage you are to make changes. It’s important to identify and talk about these experiences and persevere with your plan.

Buddy system: You can be a leader to others by asking them to join you as a buddy in creating a healthier lifestyle. Social support is an important part of overall wellness.

Learn From Setbacks and Let Go of Being Perfect: Change and transformation is a journey and you can learn a lot when you take a mindset of learning. Be good enough in your goal instead of striving for perfection. When you have a moment or day of emotional eating, forgive yourself, say the words outs loud and start fresh the next meal or day. This should be part of your goal; a solid section on self compassion, forgiveness, and ways to get back to your wellness goals. Every day try to focus on the positive changes your making and try the technique of self-praise. This will interrupt those typical patterns that take you down the road of self-doubt and thinking poorly about yourself. We know that is a trigger for most people towards more emotional eating.

Don’t get caught in thinking traps: This is all or nothing thinking. Most of us have had those times when we stray from our daily plan and then say to ourselves “well I’m off track now, I failed again” and decide to let the whole plan go. Get in touch with these thoughts and don’t use it as an excuse to go off your eating and fitness plan. Remind yourself that you can get back on track and follow your plan for setbacks to minimize the number of them. Being aware of negative emotions and thoughts will help you take charge of them instead of automatically responding to them.

Mindfulness: Research has proven over and over again that infusing our minds with relaxation and calm has a direct link with overall physical and mental health. This is an important tool to manage emotional eating, anxiety, depression, chronic stress, chronic health challenges and sleeplessness. Mindfulness has proven to reduce the release of stress hormones (the fight or flight hormones) that have been correlated with belly fat. There are many ways to be mindful.

Mindful Meditation and Breathing: The ingredients for mindful moments are engaging in an action with intention (on purpose instead of automatically), a mental focusing tool (a guided meditation/breathing work) and a non-judgmental stance; meaning a moment of being kind to yourself.

Visualization: Can you visualize yourself accomplishing your daily goal, imagine your healthier, lighter, happier self? When you catch yourself thinking negatively, remind yourself of other situations when you have made positive changes. Tell yourself you can do this.

Mindful Eating Practices: Avoid eating in front of the TV, computer or while driving. Pay attention to the experience of eating, tastes, texture, feeling of full and gratitude. Explore this topic and apps like “www.donothingfor2minutes.com”, “www.Stop BreathThink.com”.

Start connecting: You’re likely to give in to emotional eating if you lack a good support network. Talk with friends and family, join a support group or start attending “meet-ups” to get connected with others who share your interests. Being lonely and isolated increases negative emotions and decreases our self worth. Seek support from your network or a therapist to develop an action plan to get more connected.

Set Yourself Up For Success: Scan your environment. Don’t keep too many comfort foods readily available in your home. Have healthy snacks prepared. Don’t grocery shop when you are feeling negative emotions. It’s better to postpone and engage in an activity that you have learned soothes your emotions.

Seek Professional Help: We all need help at times in our life. Overeating and being over weight are often symptoms of mental health problems or poor self worth. Seek support from a therapist, nutritional counsellor, personal trainer and physician as well as holistic health options such as acupuncture, Naturopathy etc.

Written by Inspired Life on January 20th, 2018. Posted in Articles, Blog

By Angie Holstein, MSW, RSW

Most parents of teenagers will tell you that it’s hardly a stress free period in the parenting journey. It’s difficult to think back to your own teenage years but upon reflection, you may remember it as a time of idealism, risk taking and conflict within your family.

When you consider the teen years as a period of intense mind and body development (physically, emotionally and intellectually), it is understandable that it is a time of confusion for many families, as you help them grow into the unique individuals that they are striving, and sometimes “fighting” with you, to be.  

Research shows that teens are at a higher risk for mental health challenges during the adolescent period. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, social and spiritual well-being. It affects how we think, learn, feel, act, and even our physical health.

Mental health is important at every stage of life from childhood and adolescence right through into adulthood.

A consistent message, from both pioneers in parenting research and current researchers, is this: the attachment and connections that our kids form with us as parents/guardians is a central predictor for their mental health and emotional well-being and makes them feel valued. In turn, they can learn to love themselves. In fact, this is the very foundation for mental health. Additionally, these connections will set them up for healthy relationships in their own adulthood.

Connecting can be difficult for parents when hearing ‘leave me alone’ and ‘can’t I just be in my room by myself?’ It often seems like for teenager’s, their only non-school related motivation comes from their friends and social media. As a parent, this can be tough and feel rejecting. It doesn’t seem that long ago when their sticky fingers were pulling at your sleeve and asking for you to ‘come and color’ with them.

Teenagers tell me that there are things that their parents do to help foster a connection with them and things that their parents do that drive them away. Feeling connected to their parents means that they feel their parent is a safe person to talk to when things are not going well in their lives. Teens advise parents to:

  • stop comparing them to other kids or to you at that age (it is a different time!)
  • don’t scold them when they come to you for help
  • let mistakes happen and let them try to figure things out first.

Meaningful change takes time, consistency, evaluation and effort. Research tells us that behavior and emotional changes can take anywhere from 30-90 days of consistent practice. Remember not to give up as there will be moments when you will feel discouraged.

So, what can you do as a parent to stay connected and help safeguard your teen’s mental health? Here are a few strategies to consider:

Breathe and practice self-compassion: Parenting is difficult and it’s not meant to be easy. It’s full of negative emotions such as anger and resentment. It’s normal, so give yourself a break, be good enough and know that you are exactly what your kids need.

“Connecting is best before Directing”: Gordon Neufeld (in his book Hold On To Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers), describes “collecting” our kids emotionally with some basic strategies such as physical closeness, touch, eye contact, nods and smiles. Think of trying these when you are saying hello again after work/school.

Share failures and mistakes as a family: Sharing our mistakes lets kids know it’s ok for them to do the same and gives you a dinner time or car ride topic when it’s often hard to find one. This is a great opportunity to provide some important role modeling.

Roses and Thorns: At the end of the day, ask ‘what was a rose today (something positive)?’ and ‘what was a thorn (challenge)?’ This teaches kids that you are interested in the process of their endeavors, the challenges they have experienced, as well as the successes.

Be available: Although it goes without saying, it can be hard to do. Carolyn Webster- Stratton (The Incredible Years Parenting Program), one of the early pioneers in parenting research, tells us that 15 minutes of connection per day adds to kids’ emotional currency. For teenagers it can be just hanging around at bedtime, when they brush teeth, or driving to activities. The key is making it a time without instructions, teaching or agendas.

Be OK with when you are not available: These are busy times. When you can’t be there, let them know by a note, text or email that you miss them and when you will be able to have some connection time next.

Limits and support: Boundaries and rules create a secure attachment and support a healthy parenting relationship. Giving kids everything they want creates feelings of insecurity whereas rules, routines and consistency support their mental health and resiliency.

Avoiding the Perfectionism Trap: Let your relationship be good enough. Know you are what they need.

Listen and resist the urge to problem solve: Actively listening sets the stage for a relationship where they can feel heard and that they are taken seriously.

Written by Inspired Life on November 6th, 2017. Posted in Articles, Blog

Understanding Stress and Making Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference.
By: Angie Holstein, MSW, RSW

Adults, children and teens are more stressed than ever as our culture has become faster moving and more demanding with it’s expectations. From constant emails, texts, and social media to finding time to work out, eat healthy and look great. The feeling we have to do it all can be hard to escape, so it’s not surprising that we feel stressed and, at times, totally burnt out. This culture of stress is being passed down to the younger generations in what is called stress contagion. Emotions are highly contagious, meaning the emotional storms of others automatically trigger the stress response in us unless we are doing something to intentionally counter it.

In my work with adolescents, I’ve noticed that talking about being stressed and not sleeping enough is a way they can convey that they are hardworking and achieving. Has appearing stressed and sleep deprived really become a badge of honour? We rarely hear talk about self-care strategies or the good nights of sleep they are getting. However, our bodies are talking honestly. They are telling us to slow down. Science now confirms what has been known for centuries: the mind and body are deeply connected. Stress not only lowers our mood and creates anxiety, but it also diminishes the body. Whether your stress is chronic in nature or comes in spurts, it affects our mental and physical health. Dr. Gabor Mate convinced me of this in his book “When the Body Says No – Exploring the Stress and Disease Connection”. More than 90% of medical visits and 80% of diseases are stress related.

When we are stressed our bodies automatically initiate what is called the Stress Response. Here is what happens:

Mind: An individual’s response to stress is controlled by the central nervous system (the brain and spinal chord). When stressed, the body signals the adrenal gland in the brain to “spray” epinephrine to initiate the “fight – flight -freeze response.” Being stressed is a signal that danger is present. Triggers for this process are varied and range from: a bear running at you; being called on in class for the answer; walking into a room and knowing no one; someone cutting you off in traffic; trying on clothes and feeling inadequate. These triggers signal the brain to release hormones, such as cortisol, to sustain this on-guard response state.

The effects of these hormones on the body are as follows: 

  • Feeling nauseous from improper digestion. This is caused by increased blood flow to the muscles, therefore reducing the blood flow to the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Dilation of blood vessels. 
  • Increased breathing rate.
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure. 
  • Increased blood sugar levels in order to provide more energy for this process to occur.

For many individuals this process occurs multiple times a day, every day of every week leading to a state of chronic stress and poor mental and physical health.

Some Common Signs and Consequences of Stress:

Mind:

  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Lack of focus
  • Memory difficulties
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Poor judgment
  • Chronic worry
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Anger

Body:

  • Headaches and migraines
  • Breathing difficulties
  • High blood pressure
  • Intestinal upset or Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Muscle pain and tension
  • Hair loss
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Weight Gain
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Infertility
  • Hormone imbalances

Almost 50% of Canadians say stress is negatively impacting their personal and professional lives. This can lead to feelings of helplessness to these automatic responses within the body and confusion about how to alleviate it. All of us have the ability, with self-compassion, life management skills and intention, to maintain our well-being. Consider some of the tips below and remember that small changes can have a big impact.

Quick Tips

Learn and practice saying “No” and “Later”. A common cause of stress is having too much to do and too little time in which to do it. Learning to say “No” to additional or unimportant requests will help to reduce your level of stress, and may also help you develop more self-confidence. If a direct “No” is difficult, try: “Now is not a good time…” or “I would love to, but…” 

Journal: Keep a journal exploring your relationship with stress. First write down your Roses or “bright spots” from the day. What are you already doing in your day to reduce stress? Praise yourself and share this with another person. Second, write down the Thorns or challenges you experienced. Finish with your Buds or hopes for tomorrow. This is a parenting technique for anxious children and adolescents and valuable as a whole family approach. 

Assess and reduce your Trauma Input. Be mindful and intentional about what you watch. Be proactive about creating a balance between crime related shows like “Criminal Minds” or the evening news and integrating some shows that are light and funny like “Modern Family”. 

Practice Transition Rituals from work/school to home. For example: change your clothes, take a 2-10 minute pause using a meditation app such as www.donothingfor2minutes.com.

Take a non-judgmental, detailed Inventory of what’s on your plate right now (work, family, home, health, volunteering, other). What stands out? Seek the help of family, friends or a therapist to help you make changes to the problem areas. Learn from the example of others who’ve shared their experiences with this idea. Like Cheryl Richardson’s book “Take time for your life” (1998). 

Practice Delegating. Start small by identifying one task from your week and delegating it to another person, either at home, work or school. 

Declutter your living and work environment. If you haven’t used something in more than a year, can you consider getting rid of it? 

Learn more from books, talking to others or web based research about managing your stress with self-awareness and self-compassion.

Maintain your physical health. Exercise, sleep (7-8 hours), eating a balanced diet, regular medical check ups, reducing caffeine and processed products. If you want to understand more about the impact of stress on the body, consider reading: Gabor Mate, When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress

Meditation and self-compassion. Schedule and practice a pause every day. Sometimes the thought of this can be overwhelming so start by building in 2 mindful moments in a week. Celebrate your efforts. Experiment with different resources and don’t wait until the dishes are done or that last assignment handed in! www.donothingfor2minutes.com/ www.stopbreathethink.com/ – a quick and simple tool to guide people through self-awareness, mindfulness and self-compassion. Consider building a brief meditation into existing structures of your day i.e. 2-5 minutes at the beginning of meetings, as a family, before bed or in your car before going into your home. 

Practice daily Gratitude by writing; making a mental note to yourself or sharing with another. Studies are showing changes to neural pathways with this practice.

Be aware of your thoughts. Talk openly to a friend, colleague or a trained professional that can help support and find solutions to your stress.

Written by Inspired Life on February 9th, 2012. Posted in Articles

Massage helps relieve pain in damaged muscles by sending anti-inflammation messages to muscle cells, Canadian researchers have found.

Athletes have long sought massages to relieve pain and promote recovery. Despite reports that long-term massage therapy reduces chronic pain such as back pain, the biological effects of massage on muscles weren’t known.

Read the entire article here

Written by Inspired Life on January 1st, 2011. Posted in Articles

Did You Know?

  • The recommended potency for treating acute infections is 30CH. Take 3 pellets under the tongue and repeat every 15 minutes until the symptoms subside. It is very important to stop taking the remedy once the symptoms have disappeared.
  • When using these remedies try to take them on an empty stomach. Do not consume coffee or use toothpastes, or mouth washes for the first hour so that it does not antidote the remedy.
  • Homeopathic Remedies are highly sensitive, do not pack them with strong medicinals containing camphor, mint, chamomile, vics vapor rub or any other strong essences.
  • When you’re at the airport, remove these remedies and ask that they do not pass under the x-ray as they may be antidote their potency.

For more information on how you can benefit from Homeopathic Medicine please call 416-461-8688 and book your appointment today.

Copyright © Inspired Life Health Centre Inc.
Reproduction of this document or any portion thereof without prior written consent is prohibited.

Written by Inspired Life on January 1st, 2011. Posted in Articles

THE COMMON DAISY

In homeopathic medicine this flower is known as the remedy Bellis Perennis.  It is a cousin to arnica, which is one of the most well-known and commonly used homeopathic remedies.  Much like arnica, it is very useful for treating many different kinds of injury.  Another name for this daisy is Bruisewort—a helpful hint when it comes to remembering what this remedy is for!

Key things about Bellis Perennis:

  • It is a remedy to be considered in cases of deep trauma and bruising.
    For example:  deep muscle injury (eg. sports injury), and trauma to internal organs (eg. after a car accident or fall).  It is also great post-surgery to help with organ and deep tissue healing.
  • People who require this remedy will complain of a deep soreness and bruised feeling.  There will often be swelling of lymph glands in the area surrounding the injury. The affected area is usually cold to the touch.

Some other things to keep in mind:

A person with a ‘bellis perennis’ injury will be worse when touched, worse on becoming chilled and worse with cold drinks.  They will feel much better in the open air and when moving around.

MONKSHOOD

This flower is a member of the Buttercup family.  Homeopathically, it is known as Aconite.  It is not prevalent in most gardens, but is a prominent homeopathic remedy—and an extremely valuable one to have on hand!  I have a few towering monkshoods growing in the cottage garden.  The stalks produce beautiful, dark purple flowers and grow to be very tall.  The name ‘monkshood’ comes from the appearance of the flowers—they turn over on themselves to create the impression of a hood thrown over a head—a ‘monk’s head’.  Hence the name Monk’s hood.  I have seen these flowers growing wild in different areas of the far north.  In the Northwest Territories they can be spotted amongst grasses and shrubs, creating a nice, purple carpet in contrast to the mountainous backdrop.

Aconite is a great cold and flu remedy.

Here are some key things to remember in the symptom picture:

  • Symptoms appear very suddenly after exposure to cold wind, shock or fright and they very intense, often with a great deal of pain.  Restlessness is also very marked—they may have trouble keeping still.
  • People needing aconite are oversensitive to many things—eg. light, pain, noise, touch.  They typically feel worse with heat and better with open air.
  • Often you will see one cheek red and the other cheek pale, with constricted pupils.
  • There is a great thirst for cold drinks, even though the person has cold extremities and an overall chill throughout the body.
  • Aconite has a high fever with a dry, burning heat.  Eventual sweating brings relief.
  • The aconite cough is hoarse, dry, and hacking.

Aconite is also a great remedy for acute anxiety and fear.  Again, the symptoms manifest suddenly and are very intense—most commonly after exposure to a shocking circumstance, eg. car accident, earthquake.  The anxiety occurs with restlessness and with an overwhelming fear of death.

IRIS

This elegant flower can be found in the wild, growing beside Ontario rivers and lakes as well as in forested areas.  This is a favorite amongst gardeners, adding a nice purple hue to the garden.

Homeopathically it is a great remedy for the classic migraine.

Here’s what you will see:

  • Visual aura precedes the migraine (spots before the eyes, blurry vision).  Often there will be nausea and vomiting before the headache.
  • Migraines tend to be periodic, occurring at roughly the same time every week.
  • The headache comes on after a period of stress.  For example, after exams or public speaking, the headache begins.  When the person is focused (eg. studying/writing exams) there is no problem.
  • Iris patients tend to have sensitivity to sugar—migraines may come on after eating sweets.
  • A person requiring  this remedy will be worse in cold air and while resting.  They will feel better with constant, gentle motion.

YARROW

Yarrow is a wildflower commonly found along roadsides and open fields, among other areas.  It is also a nice garden pick, adding splashes of different colours to the garden.  Homeopathically it is known as Millefolium and is an excellent remedy for bleeding and hemorrhaging.

When to consider this remedy:

  • Millefolium is generally indicated in all wounds that bleed profusely, to help control the bleeding.
  • It is a good remedy for treating heavy nosebleeds, where there’s additional congestion to the head and chest
  • When there is bleeding from the edges of closed wounds, this is a good remedy.  Blood is bright red, profuse, watery, and there is typically no accompanying pain.

DELPHINIUM

Another member of the Buttercup family, this flower has been called “the garden aristocrat” because of its tall, elegant appearance.  It comes in a number of different shades of blue.  Unfortunately, gardeners can attest to the fact that although they are beautiful, they have very weak stems and will therefore easily break if not supported or protected from the wind.  Homeopathically this flower is known as Staphysagria.

Some things this remedy can treat:

  • Styes on the eyelids
  • Facial twitches or twitching of the eyelids
  • Injuries from sharp instruments, eg. knife, glass.  Consider staphysagria to help with wound healing.
  • Staphysagria is a good post-surgery remedy when the incision has become infected.  The person will complain of sharp, knifing pains in small spots.

It is interesting and fun to know the medicinal powers of the flowers and plants that surround us.  So…the next time you’re digging in your back garden, you’ll be able to look at your flowers in a new and richer way.  They’re not just pretty to look at – they actually have great healing potential!

Copyright © Inspired Life Health Centre Inc.
Reproduction of this document or any portion thereof without prior written consent is prohibited.

Written by Inspired Life on January 1st, 2011. Posted in Articles

The lymph system is a network of organs and vessels throughout the body. The lymph capillaries weave between the organs and tissue collecting the fluid that gets left behind on a daily basis.  Lymph tissue forms a one way system where fluid can enter but not leave. This pumpless system relies on the action of arteries, the milking motion of the heart, the thoracic changes when breathing as well as their valve structures to prevent back flow. Therefore, physical activity and passive movement encourages the lymph to flow more rapidly while immobilization decreases the flow, especially when an injured body part is involved.

Our lymphatic system affects our cardiovascular and immune systems. While the cardiovascular system needs the fluid to function properly, the immune system’s anti microbial activity is key in the functioning of the lymph.  Large clusters of lymph tissue (lymph nodes) occur near the body’s surface in the inguinal, cervical and axillary areas. There are also organs whose function is similar to that of the lymphatic system.  These include the spleen, the thymus, the tonsils and the Payer’s patches. The lymph nodes allow more liquid in than out, like a bottle neck and within these nodes are cells (macrophages) which destroy bacteria, cancer cells and other foreign matter before it reaches the blood stream, thereby cleaning the blood.

A healthy lymphatic system relies on two concepts:

  1. Stimulation: nutrition and exercise to increase optimum lymph function
  2. Elimination: healthy elimination organs (kidneys, bowels liver and bladder) results in the efficient removal of toxins and waste from the body.
  3. Avoid red meat, greasy and fried food, cheese butter and cream, vinegar and pickles, alcohol, sugar and artificial additives.

You may improve overall lymph health in two weeks by doing the following:

  1. Doing dry skin rubs.
  2. Taking cool showers.
  3. Drinking simple teas which support elimination eg. Cleavers, marigold and Echinacea. Par d’arco may be added for it’s strong antiviral properties.
  4. Eating fresh fruits especially oranges and grapes.  Eating lots of green vegetables and only white meat, chicken and fish.

So, give your lymphatic system a break!

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Reproduction of this document or any portion thereof without prior written consent is prohibited.

Written by Inspired Life on January 1st, 2011. Posted in Articles

‘The Secret’ powerfully reminds us that Life is really about Energy.  Everything we see in this physical universe—from the car driving down the street, to that jean jacket in the store window that you fancy, to your body, and to the money (or lack thereof!) you have in the bank, to name some examples#-is comprised of energy, at its most fundamental level.  And there are no exceptions to this!  The map of the universe is essentially one huge, energetic blueprint!

‘The Secret’ also tells us how Energy moves to make events happen in the outer world.  It does this via the ‘Law of Attraction’.   Essentially what this means is that like attracts like.  So when it comes to creating the life that you want, you must essentially become that which you seek—in other words, you act as if you already have that which you are wanting.  Only then will you be putting out the right energy or vibration to attract what you want into your life.  It is as if you become like a magnet to draw your object of desire to you.

So how does The Secret relate to Homeopathy?

Simply put, homeopathic medicine helps revitalize the mind and body at an energetic level so that the vibration you are emitting is stronger, clearer and healthier so that you can create more of what you want in life.

Homeopathic medicine operates on the principle that each human body has its own, unique, energetic blueprint.  This ‘blueprint’ is like the master template for health in the body.  It is the organizing principle that guides all of our physical and mental growth and development and allows for homeostasis to occur (on a day to day, moment to moment basis) in the body.

Ill health or disease is merely a disruption or distortion in the bodies’ energy blueprint resulting in signs and symptoms—physical, mental and emotional.  If we can make a correction at the level of the disturbance—vis-à-vis—a homeopathic remedy, an optimal energy state, which we call ‘health’, can be restored.  Homeopathic remedies are specifically chosen to match the information your dissonant/weakened ‘blueprint’ is giving out.  When administered, the remedies help shift the disturbance back into a harmonious flow, so that symptoms disappear—because they’ve been treated at the root cause.

Homeopathic medicine helps bring you back into alignment with your basic nature, which is one of well-being, so that you can get on with the adventure of living!!

Have fun creating the life of your dreams!!!

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Reproduction of this document or any portion thereof without prior written consent is prohibited.