Saturday, November 10, 2012

Ayurveda - The Dynamics of the Life-Force

Ayurveda, the science of life, is the natural healing system of India, its traditional medicine going back to ancient times. The same great Vedic seers and sages that produced India's original systems of yoga and meditation established Ayurveda as well.

Ayurveda originated as part of Vedic Science, an integral spiritual science that provides a comprehensive understanding of the entire universe of matter, mind and consciousness. Vedic Science includes yoga, meditation, mantra and astrology, and sets forth Ayurveda as its special branch for healing both body and mind. On this broad and profound background, Ayurveda includes herbal medicine, dietetics, bodywork, surgery, psychology and spirituality.

Ayurveda is the healing gift to us from the ancient enlightened Vedic culture. According to astronomical records in ancient Vedic texts, the Vedic system, including Ayurveda, was in practice before 4000 BC, when the vernal equinox occurred in the stars of Gemini and the now dry Sarasvati river was the greatest river in India. Ayurveda reflects healing wisdom of this ancient Sarasvati culture that was one of the great cradles of world civilization.

Ayurveda has gone through several stages of development in its long history. It spread east along with Indian culture into Indonesia and Indochina, and to the west to the Greeks, who developed a similar form of natural medicine. Buddhists added many new insights to Ayurveda and took it along with their religion to many different lands. Ayurveda became the basis of the healing traditions of Tibet, Sri Lanka, and Burma and also influenced Chinese medicine, Many great Buddhist sages, like Nagarjuna, perhaps the most important figure in the Buddhist tradition after the Buddha, were Ayurvedic doctors and authors. Ayurveda therefore is a rich tradition, adaptable to many different times, cultures and climates.

Today Ayurveda, in yet another stage of development, is reaching out to the western world and addressing modern conditions. Ayurveda is part of a new movement towards a global medicine that includes the best in the medicines of all lands. A new natural planetary medicine is emerging, largely through an examination of traditional medicines of native peoples throughout the world.

Friday, November 9, 2012

How To Manage When A Health Crisis Hits!

A brain tumor! Really?

This was my thought last April 2012 when I was diagnosed with a 3 centimeter tumor in the left occipital region of my brain. What happened to simple illnesses like a cold, or if that wasn't getting my attention how about a less life threatening illness? Of course those questions can't be answered, so I made a decision. I would do the best I could and use all the tools available to me (medical and other wise) to manage this crisis, learn from it, grow with the experience and free myself from it! This is the first of several articles that will outline the process of healing and understanding how to make the best out of a health crisis.

My Story: It is traditional at Passover Dinner for all participants to read. When it came to my turn, I tried to read and couldn't! Of course I went into immediate denial. "I'm tired from all the cooking" and "I just got a new puppy". Well that didn't make a difference. What did was my good friend Judy who yelled at me to "Call the doctor." "But I was in the middle of a TV show", I complained. She and my husband wouldn't leave me alone so I called. Two days later I had an MRI and 4 hours later I was up at Cedars Sinai Hospital with the best neurosurgeon in California. Three days later I was operated on to remove the tumor.

The good news... they got it all... the bad news... it was aggressive and I had to do radiation for 6 weeks and take chemotherapy pills for 6 weeks. The protocol for treatment is taking 5 days of chemotherapy pills every month for a year. I have also entered a clinical trial at Cedars Sinai for a vaccine that will disable these cells. The end result of the surgery is that I am healthy but still am unable to read or drive... darn... more to deal with! I believe that we have lessons to learn from the crisis in our lives. I will address that important issue in a later article.

I told you my "story" because I didn't want you to get stuck on what happened. What is important is what I decided to do about it and the journey that I have been on for the last six months.

When first diagnosed, after the initial ripple of fear and apprehension, we move into action. We listen to the doctors and choose who we want to be on our team. There is a lot of pressure on everyone to do the 'right' thing. But what is right? How do you know what is right for you? The questions flood your brain. The tendency is to give the decision making over to the doctors or to family members. Don't do that! Keep your cool. Feel the emotions that come up. Then come back to yourself, your truth, your intelligence, and what you believe in. This is the only place where you can really listen to yourself. It became apparent to me that I needed traditional and holistic treatment. I saw it as a full circle. Pretty simple. Now I had to find out what the circle contained.

I knew that I needed an advocate, a therapist who could keep me in tune with myself so that the fears didn't take over. I knew I was going to do the Western medical treatments, even though I have always been suspicious of the traditional medical society. I took a leap of faith and realize that they are experts in treating tumors, are expertly trained, and I would get good advice and guidance. I listened to my family and friends and made my own decisions. I checked out every option and idea that was presented to me. I believe that when an idea comes to me I should pay attention. It is an opportunity that may or may not be right for me. I decided yes on a nutritionist, yes with my holistic medical doctor (which I already had), and yes to a clinical trial for an anti-cancer vaccine. I decided no to acupuncture and a few other healing modalities simply because I was overwhelmed with doctor appointments. I, of course, said YES to hypnosis and guided imagery. I have practiced hypnotherapy for 30 years and it is such a big part of me. The difference is that I allowed other practitioners (my friends) to work with me. I have some wonderful CDs to listen to and hypnosis is multi-faceted in that I can work on stress, fear, negativity as well as healing, symptoms alleviation, and strengthening my health.

My mindset was important. I chose a therapist who believes that once the tumor is there the crisis that caused it is over and the healing was in progress. It resonated with me. I have never seen myself as sick or unhealthy.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

How The Digestive System Works in the Human Body

There are many natural foods that will help your digestion and relieve a wide variety of digestive problems. You will bulk up your stool and have regular bowel movements by eating fibrous fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Your digestive system will be impaired by some foods, especially those good tasting fast or junk foods. If you want your digestive system to be healthy, it is important that you avoid this list of processed foods. Before you change your diet to improve the functions of your stomach and colon, discuss your proposed changes with your doctor before making any major diet changes.

Natural Foods that will Help You Digest Your Food

In order to function normally, your digestive system along with the rest of your body basically needs minerals, vitamins and other nutrients that are contained in large amounts, which are found in fruits and vegetables. Large quantities of fiber are found in most fruits and vegetables, which is the reason why they are among the foods that will help your digestion. Artichokes, berries, peaches, pears, plums, potatoes, squash and greens; are a few of the fruits and vegetables you should eat to help with your digestive process. A large percentage of the fiber is stored in the skin of the fruits and vegetables, which means if the skin is edible, then you should eat it. You will get a lot of fiber from dried fruits, like prunes or raisins.

Whole Grains

As mentioned, whole grains are also among foods that will help your digestion. If you want to increase your intake of fiber and nutrients, try eating more whole-grain foods instead of eating refined or white grain products. Whole grains are used to prepare food products such as bread, crackers, muffins and pasta. If you want to improve your digestive health, then you should eat more high-fiber bran and cereals. You can get 5.3 grams of fiber from a 3/4-cup serving of bran flakes. Although, I love Acacia fiber... 25 to 35 mg a day... on everything, or just in water, no more bulking, yucky Phsyllium!!!