Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Truth About Herbs

Have you taken echinacea to stay healthy through the winter, ginseng for more energy or valerian to ensure restful sleep? If so, you're not alone. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, more than 38 million Americans take herbal supplements. With more Americans using herbs to improve their health, it's important to know how to choose and use them safely.

"Herbs may play an important role in overall health and well-being, but many people are still learning what works and what should stay on the shelf," said registered dietitian Lynn Laboranti, M.S. "Consumers should do their homework and talk to their doctor about what herbs are right for them."

What do you know about herbs? To test your herbal IQ, Laboranti poses the following questions:

Q: Can echinacea boost immunity?

A: Several scientific studies have shown echinacea to be an effective, natural way to boost immunity. When taken at the first sign of not feeling well, echinacea helps stimulate the body's natural defense system. Echinacea should not be taken for more than eight weeks at a time.

Q: What does St. John's wort do?

A: Clinical and laboratory research has earned St. John's wort a growing reputation as an herb that helps enhance mood. It has few side effects, but may cause light sensitivity and decrease the effectiveness of some prescription medications. It's important to talk to a health care professional before using St. John's wort or other herbal supplements if you take prescription drugs.

Q: Does soy relieve menopause symptoms?

A: Soy contains naturally occurring isoflavones, which have been shown to help relieve menopause-related hot flashes and night sweats. Soy foods and soy isoflavones also help support hormonal balance in women during the menopausal years. Experts recommend 30 to 65 mg of soy isoflavones (5-8 ounces of soy milk or 1 to 2 soy tablets) daily to receive a full benefit.

If you choose to take herbs in tablet form, Laboranti recommends reading a product's label for additional safety and dosage information. Nature's Resource herbal supplements, found at drugstores like CVS and Walgreens, feature an extended, multipage safety label on the bottle. The booklet, called "Herbal ABCs," contains extensive information on the specific supplement, drug/herb interactions, contraindications, adverse effects, allergy warnings and special safety instructions.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 by Guru Cool · 1

Monday, July 16, 2012

Transcendental Meditation

Since 1958, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has trained more than 40,000 teachers in the practice of Transcendental Meditation or TM. These teachers have taught more than six million people worldwide this simple, natural procedure which allows its practitioners to gain deep rest and contact their inner reservoir of creativity, energy and intelligence. This information comes from the official Transcendental Meditation website at www.tm.org.

What happens during meditation

During the practice of TM, the mind and body experience a unique state of restful alertness. As the mind becomes more silent, the body becomes deeply relaxed. At the most settled state of awareness, the mind transcends all mental activity to experience the simplest form of awareness, Transcendental Consciousness. Hundreds of scientific studies have shown that experiencing this state correlates with greater creativity, improved learning, higher IQ, better grades, higher moral reasoning, increased brain wave coherence and improved neurological functioning of the body.

Practicing TM helps develops increased energy, creativity and intelligence. This in turn helps awaken the unlimited potential of the meditator's mind and body. The result is that those who practice TM enjoy greater health, happiness and success in all aspects of life.

How to meditate

Anyone can learn how to meditate. No special lessons, books or equipment are required. People of all ages, cultures and educational backgrounds can practice TM.

TM is an easy and enjoyable experience that takes only 20 minutes twice a day. You can do it alone or with others in a group. Pick a time and place where you will not be disturbed. Then just sit comfortably with your eyes closed. No effort, no concentration, no special skills nor change of lifestyle are required. Thoughts will enter and leave your mind as you meditate. Attend to them or not as you choose.

People can benefit from TM even if they don't believe it will work. Try meditating regularly for 20 minutes twice a day and you will start to see results in the form of improvements in your life.

Back in the 1960's when TM first became popular in the United States, practitioners were known to chant "OM" or another single syllable sound while they meditated. This is no longer considered necessary, though it can be done if desired. Most people now meditate silently.

The benefits of TM

Practitioners of transcendental meditation start noticing positive changes in their lives within a few days or weeks after they start meditating. These benefits include clearer thinking, improved memory, enhanced creativity and sharper intellect. These changes can enable people to achieve more in their work by becoming more creative and effective without having to work harder. Other people have said they feel healthier, more rested and relaxed, and have increased immunity to disease, reduction of aging effects and greater energy and vitality after starting to meditate.

TM can even help in relationships with others. It can help you enjoy closer friendships, become calmer and more self-confident and feel less anxious and stressed out. By radiating this increased harmony and lack of stress to the outside world, TM may even contribute to world peace.

The Maharishi teaches that by practicing Transcendental Meditation regularly, you can choose what you want to be and begin to achieve that goal. Why not try practicing TM now and see how your life improves?

Monday, July 16, 2012 by Guru Cool · 0

Friday, April 13, 2012

Stress Meditation

Too much stress? You need a simple stress meditation. Of course, learning to meditate might intimidate you, and it's tough to find the time for daily meditation. A solution to both problems is a meditation you can learn right now, that will take a minute to do each day.

An Easy Stress Meditation

When you breath through your mouth, it expands your chest. Breath through your nose and you'll notice how your abdomen extends. Nose-breathing causes the diaphram to pull air to the bottom of your lungs. This delivers a good dose of oxygen into your bloodstream and brain, and it also tends to relax you. Breathing through your nose is healthier, and it's the basis of this one-minute meditation.

Here's how you do it. Close your eyes, sigh, and let the tension go out of your muscles. It may help to tense up your muscles first, then release that tension. Then let go of your thoughts, as much as possible, and take four or five slow, deep breaths through your nose, paying attention to your breathing.

Can Meditation Be This Easy?

The short answer is yes. No, you're not likely to get you into a deep meditative state with this simple stess meditation. However, you will get benefits, including a clearer mind and a reduction in stress.

It helps to develop a "trigger" for your meditation. For example, do your four breaths when you get into the car, or right after lunch each day. These triggers are places or times that remind you, so your meditation becomes a habit.

You can say this isn't "real" meditation, but there's nothing wrong with enjoying the relaxation you'll get from this technique. If you want, you can always pursue deeper meditation later. Meanwhile, remember that not everything has to be difficult to be of value. Why not try this easy one-minute stress meditation?

Friday, April 13, 2012 by Guru Cool · 0

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