The Benefits of Aromatherapy

aromatherapyAromatherapy is more than just smelling pleasing scents and a relaxation technique. It is a holistic therapy that can be used to treat many health issues. It works by treating the mind, body, and spirit. Aromatic essences from plants’ essential oils are extracted naturally from herbs, toots, barks, seeds, flowers, and other plants. These oils can then be inhaled or massaged into the skin where they circulate around the body once absorbed into the skin. These oils can be used to promote, balance, and harmonize as well as provide relaxation. Clinical studies have shown that aromatherapy is a complimentary method of therapy. In addition to its effect on health, the benefits of aromatherapy are also applied in massage, compresses, clay masks, baths, steams, or inhalation.

History of Aromatherapy

Anthropologists believe that using aromas began with burning gums and resins for incense perfume and smudging with aromatic plants. Egyptian culture used fragrant oils, resins and balms with their priests who were also doctors, as part of embalming, offerings to the gods, and magical and religious ceremonies. Hippocrates recognized the benefits of scented oils, saying 2,500 years ago that good health relied on having a ‘daily aromatic bath and scented massage’. Oils were also used in China and India at the same time as Egypt and play a big part in Ayurvedic medicine, which would use Jasmine for tonic, rose for antidepressants, chamomile for colds, headaches, and dizziness.

The Persians also distilled essential oils in the 10th century, and evidence for distillation goes back to other ancient cultures. German physician Hieronymus Braunschweig composed several books on essential oils and Europe experienced an aromatherapy renaissance in the 16th century. French physicians tested the anti-bacterial properties that essential oils contained and Rene Gattefosse discovered the healing properties of lavender in 1910, going on to use essential oils to care for soldiers who were healing in military hospitals during World War I. A French army surgeon named Dr. Jean Valnet also used essential oils to treat war wounds during the events on the French Indochina War and wrote a book, Practice of Aromatherapy,, while a French nurse and biochemist, Marguerite Maury, gave seminars throughout Europein the 1930’s about the rejuvenating properties of essential oils and sense of well being they provided.

Part of why aromatherapy works is that the sense of smell triggers a response on an emotional level. The Limbic part of the brain associates both smell and memories. The olfactory nerves in the nasal cavity responds to aromas, sends the information to the Limbic system, and the Limbic connects to the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, which rule the hormonal systems. Thus, aromas can trigger chemical reactions in the body and create a sense of well being, relaxation, stimulation and calm.

Benefits of Aromatherapy

  • Reduces stress
  • Fights depression
  • Manages pain
  • Enhances the mood and feeling of well being
  • Balances hormone production from the endocrine system
  • Strengthens the immune system and helps kill viruses, bacteria, and fungal infections
  • Encourages restful sleep
  • Improves digestion
  • Stimulates and refreshes
  • Maintains healthy muscles and joints
  • Can create feelings of tranquility and seduction
  • Revives mind and body
  • Improves circulation of the blood and lymph system
  • Can lower blood pressure
  • Soothes and balances the mind
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The Benefits of Tea

tea-438480_640Tea is a classic beverage that millions around the world enjoy on a daily basis. Whether enjoyed hot or cold, tea is a popular favorite among many, no matter what the weather. There are many variations of tea, almost as many types of tea as there are ways to drink it. What you may not know is that teas carry a ton of health benefits. From green to white to red to black, each tea carries its own special benefits. Here are the benefits of tea, specifically green and red tea. See what drinking these teas can do for your health.

1. Green Tea

Green Tea History

Green tea comes from the plant Camellia sinensis. The tastes and aromas of green tea vary according to where they are grown and produced. Asia commonly incorporates green tea into a variety of recipes, including ice cream and cakes. Green tea was first brewed in China in the reign of Emperor Shennong, in 2737 B.C. Since then, green tea has been used as both medicine and beverage in the majority of regions located in Asia. Its medicinal qualities include quenching thirst, preventing fatigue, improving brain and urinary function, and helping the five vital organs, according to The Kiss Yojoki, book of tea, written by Eisai, a Zen priest in 1191. Green tea is grown either in the sun or in the shade and processed using either modern or artisanal methods. Green tea should be steeped in hot water for three to five minutes in order to derive the maximum benefits.

The Benefits of Tea (Green Tea)

  • Green tea has a high amount of flavonoids, plant compounds that are antioxidants.
  • Green tea has a great source of catechins, which is more powerful than Vitamin C and E in stopping oxidative damage to cells and have other properties that fight disease
  • There has been an association between drinking green tea and a decreased risk for various cancers that include lung, skin, breast, colon, bladder and esophegeal
  • Drinking green tea can give you a reduced risk for heart disease due to the blocked oxidation of LDL cholesterol, the increase of HDL cholesterol, and improved artery functions
  • A Chinese study reported a 46-65% reduction in risk for hypertension among consumers of oolong or green tea, versus non-consumers of tea
  • Contains EGCGs such as epigallocatechin-3-gallate, which fights cancer
  • Contains a multitude of dietary minerals, sterols, carbohydrates, amino acids, enzymes, and phytochemcials

2. Red Tea

Red Tea History

Rooibos tea is enjoyed around the world for its great taste. With a unique color, the tea was first started by Dutch settlers on the Cape of Africa as an alternative to black tea. It was acquired from the Aspalathus linearis bush plant in South Africa. Black tea was too expensive for settlers who would have needed to purchase the tea off supply ships from Europe. European travelers who visited South Africa in the 17th and 18th centuries noted the good plants there with curative properties. Rooibos tea was made by cutting the leaves from the plants, rolling them into hessian bags, brought down the slopes with donkeys and chopped and left out in the sun to dry. Benjamin Ginsberg perfected the curing of rooibos tea by fermenting the tea in barrels covered in wet hessian sacking in 1904. The cultivation of the rooibos tea plant was started by Dr. Le Fras Nortier in the 1930s, persuaded by Ginsberg.

The Benefits of Tea (Red Tea)

  • Alleviates colic as well as allergies, dermatological problems such as eczema, and asthma
  • Good for healthy skin due to high alpha-hydroxy acids
  • Quercetin and luteolin, two flavonoids in rooibos, have cancer fighting qualities
  • Can help with recurring headaches as well as insomnia, bone weakness, hypertension
  • Prevents premature aging due to high antioxidant content
  • Can ease severe stomach cramps
  • Boosts the body’s immune system
  • Can reduce types of cancer and other serious conditions
  • Polysaccharise from the Aspalathus linerris may have anti-HIV activity potential
  • Helps with nervous tension as well as digestive problems
  • Contains polyphenols that are antiviral and anti-inflammatory as well as antimutagenic qualities
  • Good for cardio health due to quercetin a powerful antioxidant in rooibos
  • Has antispasmodic properties due to the activation of potassium ions in the body without interfering with calcium activity
  • Can soothe colic and stomach pain
  • Rooibos tea is rich in manganese, fluoride, and calcium for healthy teeth and maintaining good bone structure
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Top Five Healing Herbs

Healing HerbsHealing herbs are a great addition to anyone’s garden or pantry. These vibrant herbs are not only edible meal enhancers but also have a wide range of medicinal properties that make them valuable assets when it comes to home healing. They can be an effective alternative to modern medicine. Using herbs to heal probably goes back to the origins of humanity. Although pictorial and written records of using herbs go back to 6,000 years, archaeological records show that practicing herbal medicine developed a long time before written accounts documented it, with the oldest records reaching back to Asia.

Here are five herbs you can use to treat and heal various symptoms:

 

Rosemary

This piney herb grows on a shrub related to mint in the Labiatae family. Rosemary is a potent healing herb with unique health benefits that can help decrease your risk for cancer. Cooking meats at high temperatures can create heterocyclic amines, or HCAs, which are carcinogens that can cause several types of cancer. However, levels of HCA drop in the body when rosemary extract is combined with meat prior to cooking. That’s because Rosemary contains two powerful antioxidants, carnosol and rosemarinic acid, that destroys the HCAS. Rosemary might also have the potential to stop tumors. Rosemary may keep carcinogens in the body from binding with the body’s DNA, which is the first step in forming tumors according to animal studies. Rats who were fed rosemary extract at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign decreased DNA damage and tumors. In addition to being a great ingredient in savory dishes, rosemary contains substances that can stimulate the immune system, improve digestion, and stimulate the immune system. It also contains compounds that are anti-inflammatory and has been shown to increase blood flow to the brain and head, improving your concentration, making rosemary one of the best healing herbs to have in your garden and cupboard.

 

Thyme

Thyme’s flowers, oil, and leaves can be used as medicine and its ability to heal a large variety of ailments makes it a valuable addition to anyone’s garden. Thyme can be used not only as a flavor booster but for colds, the flu, coughs, food poisoning, bronchitis, asthma, fevers, nightmares, sore throats, migraines, whooping cough, upset stomachs, arthritis, diarrhea, intestinal gas, skin disorders, parasitic worm infections, increasing and disinfecting urine, colic, bed wetting for children, an appetite stimulant, and parasitic worm infections. It can also be used in direct to skin application for such ailments such as sore mouth, bad breath, swollen tonsils, and hoarseness. Thyme oil is commonly used to kill germs in mouthwash and liniments. Thymol is a chemical used in thyme with chlorhexidine to prevent tooth decay as part of varnish. Research has also suggested that taking thyme orally with other herbs can reduce coughing in bronchitis as well as upper respiratory tract infections and common colds. There is also evidence that applying lavender oil with combination with essential oils from thyme and other herbs can improve hair growth. Thyme has chemicals that can fight bacterial and fungal afflictions. Either way, this herb is a healing powerhouse that can be used to treat a wide range of afflictions.

 

Ginger

In addition to being delicious, ginger is a potent healer. It has powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that may ease arthritis. Ginger also may help lower blood pressure by regulating blood flow. It can also prevent stomach upset, whether due to motion sickness, pregnancy, or chemotherapy by blocking the effects of serotonin when you’re nauseated and fighting free radical production. Ginger can also decrease the risk of cancer and help fight cancer through its anti-inflammatory powers. Ginger has zinc, magnesium and chromium, which may help it improve blood flow as well as preventing fever, chills, and sweating. Ginger can also increase the absorption of nutrients in the body, prevent cold and flu, reduce pain, strengthen the immune system, fight respirator infections, and have a big effect on morning sickness. Eat ginger raw, incorporate it into recipes and smoothies, or simply brew into a tea to reap the benefits of this powerful herb.

 

Peppermint

Peppermint is used for more than just flavoring in foods and beverages. It can be used for a variety of ailments such as heartburn, migraines, nausea, sore throats, menstrual cramps, flatulence, fever, colic, colds, flu, colitis, fever, and sinus and respiratory infections. This plant’s leaves and oil are used medicinally to treat almost everything under the sun. It can help with digestive symptoms such as vomiting, IBS, diarrhea, gas, spasms during endoscopy, and bacterial growth in the small intestine. Peppermint oil is inhaled sometimes to treat coughs and colds and as a painkiller. It can be applied to the skin to treat headaches, oral inflammation, joints, nerve pain, toothaches, itches, bacterial/viral infections, sinus congestion, muscle pain, and repelling mosquitoes. It may even help breastfeeding women to have less cracked skin and pain. Used in tea, in food, or as an oil, this refreshing herb is an essential addition to anyone’s herbal healing kit.

 

Nettles

Nettles are a tonic healing herb, meaning they are nourishing. Although nettles can be irritating to skin, many people often rub nettles onto arthritic joints due to the warmth that lasts after the stinging temporarily relieving pain. Nettles can also be used to purify the blood. Nettles have a high iron and potassium content and the juice can be used as a hair growth stimulator when applied to the scalp. The powdered leaves even can be placed on wounds to stop bleeding. They can also be added to your diet for a nutritional boost. Nettles are well used in soups and stews as well as herbal teas. Nettle tea can stimulate the lymph system to boost immunity, support the adrenals, strengthen the fetus in pregnant women, promote lactation, relieve menopausal symptoms, reduce bloating, break down kidney stones, reduce hypertension, help asthma, minimize skin problems, reduce nausea, help with colds and osteoarthritis, relieve diarrhea, help constipation and gastrointestinal disease, reduce gingivitis, destroy intestinal parasites, relieve MS, ALS, sciatica, and support endocrine health.

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Relieving Neck Pain

I’ll say it: Neck pain is certainly a real pain in the neck.. there’s a reason this phrase is commonly used to describe something annoying and frustrating. Our necks are fragile and very important.

Its no surprise the neck is quite vulnerable to pain and discomfort, so much can go wrong! The neck is responsible for supporting the head, which can weigh between 10 and 20 pounds. The bones of the neck are a small stack of seven bones called vertebrae. The vertebrae are held in place by 32 complex muscles. The delicate spinal cord passes through the center of the vertebrae and is protected by the vertebrae. In the mid of vertebrae are pieces of cartilage called discs that act as absorbers of shock.

When our muscles become tense, from physical stress or emotional stress, the blood supply to the muscles decreases which can cause pain. The pain can then cause the muscles to tense further. What’s worse is that this pain can manifest in many different ways. Some common types of pain symptoms are muscle spasms, muscle aches, headaches, even pain in the arms, legs and back.

Causes of Neck Pain

There are many causes of pain in the neck. Positions that are poor during daily activities; especially computer work will often result in fatigue causing chronic stiffness and pain. This pain is further excruciating especially when you move; it may come with headaches, stiffness, spasms of the muscles among other discomforts.

pain in the neckWhiplash is the name given to a painful or stressful neck movement. This may come about after a vehicle accident. This is where the person’s car suffers a hit from the rear. This will cause an usual disposition of the neck and head upon impact. This kind of injury has the full potential to strain muscles in your neck and cause the ligaments to tear or stretch unusually. People might find that whiplash pain does not always start immediately; it might be a few days before this happens. Pain and stiffness in the neck may come with spasms, feeling of dizziness, pain in nerves, headaches and even shoulder pain. If you’ve suffered whiplash as a result of an accident you’ll know just what an awful affliction it can be. It really is worth checking out this page on whiplash compensation to learn the basics and see whether you can get some kind of justice for your suffering.

Another type of common neck pain is a herniated. This occurs when the outside layer of the cervical discs tears and the soft gelatinous center sticks outwards. Herniated discs will definitely put pressure on root nerves as they leave the spinal cord; causing pain in the back and neck as well as numbness and general weakness in the arms.

Several other conditions are known to cause severe neck pain such as cervical spondylosis as well as cervical spinal stenosis and degenerative disc disease. If your severe neck pain lasts more than 2 days you should see a doctor immediately for help diagnosing the cause because it could be serious.

Neck Pain Relief Options

If you have this kind of pain and are looking for relief, you have several options that have proven successful in relieving neck pain.

Chiropractors are doctors who specialize in the bones and joints in the back and neck. Their methods are quite similar to a massage, with more emphasis on movement of the joints and cartilage in the neck and spine.

Osteopathy is a school of medicine very similar to chiropractors and there is much overlap. An osteopath (doctor of osteopathy) will generally focus more on areas of the body other than the neck and spine such as respiratory system, arms and legs. There can be a lot of physical symptoms that manifest away from the neck and spine though the root of the pain is the neck and spine. Osteopathy aims to fix those problems.

Physiotherapy is the slow and controlled stretching and moving of damaged muscles and ligaments. Physiotherapy is a component of Chiropractic and osteopathic techniques. The stretching and movement should be done slowly and in a controlled and methodical manner so as not to aggravate the injury.

Prescription drugs are often used to lighten the pain associated with a neck injury. These can be oral, or topical (cream) or injected. A doctor should always be consulted when dealing with prescription drugs as there is a risk of serious side effects and over dosage.

Alternative treatments for neck pain include acupuncture, and various herbal remedies.

The most basic things you can do to relieve pain in your neck are:

  • Rest and give your muscles a chance to recover.
  • Use ice and heat alternatively in conjunction with gentle massage to relax then neck muscles.
  • Relax! Mental and emotional stress can increase tension in the neck!
  • Use good posture to avoid unnecessary stress on your neck and spine.
  • Sleep on a rather firm mattress instead of a soft one
  • Take frequent breaks and slowly stretch and rotate your neck.
  • Try some of the alternative methods of weelbing and health mentioned on my site, like aromatherapy, Ayurveda and even drinking some red or green tea
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