wellness

Homeopathy: A Conversation with Body, Mind, Soul

Sunday, 05 May 2013 17:59

 By Carrie Stearns

boironWhat if we believed our bodies to be full of wisdom? What if we really listened to our body when it expressed itself through pain and illness? What might we hear and where might it take us?

The practice of homeopathy involves deeply listening to the body and hearing its experience of pain and illness as a language guiding us toward greater balance and health. Homeopathy is a holistic system of medicine that works with the body to bring about healing. To work with the body, I, as a practitioner, need to really listen to the body and seek to understand what it's expressing. When a client comes with an acute or chronic health issue (like a sore throat or allergies), I do not just note it as a generic problem. I begin to ask a series of questions that help me to understand exactly how they experience their sore throat. I might, for example, ask if the pain is sharp or dull. Is it better or worse from swallowing? What happens when you drink warm liquids? These questions are key to finding the right remedy for treating the sore throat, because these modalities distinguish a client's symptoms and offer a clear expression of how the person actually experiences their sore throat. One thing that makes homeopathic medicine unique is that it relies on these details of how symptoms are actually experienced. This is the key to working with the body.

The conversation becomes even more interesting when we go beyond the specific physical modalities and begin to look at what the mind and emotions are saying. It might be revealed that this sore throat began after a difficult incident at work in which the client was unable to speak up for themselves. Or a person's debilitating sinus infections began a month after the sudden death of their father. When we really listen to the body, we can often begin to see a much bigger picture than a sore throat or clogged sinus cavity. We begin to get a view into our life as a whole and see where the roots of illness actually are. This is how symptoms become a doorway that can lead us into deeper relationship with ourselves. Such a doorway is full of potential to lead us toward living the life that we actually yearn for.

Read more: Homeopathy: A Conversation with Body, Mind, Soul

 

A Whole-Foods Lifestyle Can Be Affordable

Thursday, 04 April 2013 00:22

By Patrice Lockert Anthony

basketA whole-foods lifestyle is possible for low-income individuals and families. Good health, vibrant health, begins with whole foods. Most of our grandparents cooked, gardened, and ate what was available. They didn't cook meals to satisfy each person in the family. Their children ate what was prepared.

So many things are tied to vibrant nutrition. Children do better at school. Adults do better at work. A whole host of medical conditions (obesity, hypertension, diabetes, etc.), which often plague the poor, are positively impacted by a whole-foods diet, but we have to want it. We have to want it for ourselves and for our families. We have to want change. Change that incorporates mostly whole foods will change lives.

Cost-wise, we are negatively affected if we buy convenience foods, eat out a lot, don't cook from scratch, don't plan meals, don't garden, and don't have a mindful food practice in place. Eating anything that has been boxed, packaged, cooked, or served to you or for you hikes up the price of our food costs. Period. Avoid this option whenever possible if money is an issue. Eating out is an obvious source of hiked-up food costs. If we're really trying to keep a lid on those costs, this should be used as a rare treat.

Cooking meals from scratch is the best thing we can do. These meals are more flavorful. They have a better chance of including the whole family in the process of meal planning. Cooking from scratch helps to ground the idea that good food and good food preparation matter. We get to experiment with taste, color, texture, spices, seasonings. More than anything else, if we want to change how we and our families view food, we'll need to be hands-on as often as possible. It matters.

Read more: A Whole-Foods Lifestyle Can Be Affordable

A Quiet Room of One's Own

Friday, 01 March 2013 17:05

By Sarah K. Highland

Highland1
The interior of the author’s house, which she designed and built. One inch of sand fills spaces between sleepers on the second floor to reduce noise. The author’s sister measures for floorboards. Also notice the thick exterior walls, which also reduce sound transmission. Photo provided

When people visit my house, they often comment appreciatively on how quiet it is. Peace and quiet can be hard to come by in a world of traffic, cell phones, and TV's at the gas station. Restful silence is important to our well-being, yet when we design and remodel our homes, this essential quality is often overlooked. My house has a number of conscious design choices that enhance the peacefulness of the space, most of which can be employed in other houses and apartments.

The walls of my home are thick and massive. If you cut out a chunk of wall and lifted it, it would be heavy. Most modern American construction is made of what is called light construction: thin, lightweight wooden framing members (studs) with lightweight insulation and wall coverings (plywood and drywall). Our houses are lightweights compared to traditional and modern European construction of stone, brick, and mud or, nowadays, concrete. My house hearkens back to the European tradition, with its exterior walls made of packed straw mixed with clay dirt, built a foot thick.

Massive walls don't let sound through easily. While exterior walls need their emphasis on insulation — mine have far more straw than clay in them for that reason — interior walls have no such need: the heavier and denser, the better. If you have a wall dividing a bedroom from a TV room, for instance, making it from bricks or cob (sand-clay-straw mix) will help to protect the sleepers from unwanted noise. With existing walls, you can add multiple layers of drywall or thick plaster to each side, building up mass. Some old luxury apartment buildings in New York City were actually built with thick walls between living spaces, packed floor to ceiling with heavy dirt.

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