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The Story of my logo and the Future of Healing Arts

My Mother and have been blessed to have visited Hawaii a few times. On our first trip, we visited Maui. We were driving around and exploring when we came across a park with lots of cars parked. We decided to have a look.

We found a hiking trail with no description or signs. We are both Air signs, so naturally, we had to find out what was on the trail. We walked for several minutes when we came across these stones.

We spent several minutes staring at the stones wondering who set this up, why? Would it fall over? I took a picture because I loved how these stones were perfectly balanced. Away we went to enjoy the Hawaii sun.

The past 5 years, this picture always give me peace. If these stones could stay balanced, can’t we all? Although I’ll never know the mystery of who created this and why, this image is in my brain when I think of staying centered, remaining calm, and not letting the outside world toss me off my lava rock.

The future of Healing Arts

I am a practicing physician, working full time in Internal Medicine. I am also a Reiki Practitioner. I have been wanting to create a space I can combine both of these, and share my knowledge and experience to those who want to find their own inner balance.

I am creating courses covering topics in Functional Medicine and Reiki. My first course can be found here Starting Your Own Meditation Practice.

I will also be providing ways to work with me personally. I am offering 30 Minute and 1 Hour Reiki Sessions. Most exciting, I am developing a Functional Medicine Program for those ready to dive deep and find their own path to healing and balance.

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The 5 Best Meditation Techniques for Beginners

The 5 Best Meditation Techniques for Beginners

Meditation is something that many of us want to do well to gain the benefits associated with the practice. Unfortunately, for many of us, the constant mind chatter can make it frustrating to sit down and meditate for any period. If you are starting out with your meditation practice, here are five great techniques that can get you started on the path to mindfulness.

Technique #1 – Breathing Meditation

This is one of the best techniques if you are just starting out in your meditation practice. It is an ancient and powerful technique that is extremely effective. By just paying attention to your breathing, you give your mind a point of focus in a relaxed way. To start this technique, get yourself in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and slowly begin to observe your breathing. Pay attention to how it feels as you breathe in and out. If you find your mind starting to wander, just bring your focus back to your breathing.

Technique #2 – Mindfulness Meditation

In mindfulness meditation you become fully present in the moment by paying attention to the sensations in your body. Start the practice by focusing on your breathing, then allow yourself to become aware of the other sensations running throughout your body. You don’t want to analyze or judge the experience; you simply want to observe.  

Technique #3 – Mantra Meditation

By repeating a sacred word, like “aum” or a meaningful phrase, you can bring your mind into a state of tranquility. With this technique, you can either repeat the mantra out loud or repeat it to yourself silently.  

Technique #4 – Walking Meditation

If you don’t think that you can sit still for an extended period, you can try the walking meditation technique. This can be done anywhere. You simply have to focus on your body as it moves. Focus on how your arms swing, how your legs are lifted and extended, and how your feet rise and touch back down on the ground. If your mind starts to wander, bring your focus back to the movement of your body. 

Technique #5 – Empty Minded Meditation

Photo by Charlyce Davis

Empty minded meditation, allows you to be aware without having to have a specific focus. To practice this technique, sit quietly in a comfortable place. Close your eyes and let your thoughts freely float in and out of your mind. Observe each thought as they enter your mind without any attachment or judgment.

These five meditation techniques are simple enough that you can start your practice today, or enhance an existing one. 

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3 Physical Benefits of Regular Meditation Practice

As meditation has become more popular in our culture, scientists have
begun to study the many physical benefits that can be gained through
regular practice. Practicing meditation helps to slow down your breath,
quiet your mind, and find peace. Along with its numerous mental benefits,
practicing meditation on a regular basis can be a useful alternative to
medical treatments for a variety of health concerns. Here are three physical
benefits that daily practice of meditation can have on your life.

Reduced Pain

If you suffer from chronic pain, meditation has been shown to help. Various studies have discovered that if you can focus and calm your mind and body, you have the capability of controlling the pain. Meditation makes it possible for you to face the common symptoms that are associated with chronic pain, like muscle tension, sweating, and irritability. 

Practicing mindfulness meditation will enable you to come to terms with the pain that you are experiencing, instead of just running away from it. Taking the focus away from your pain will enable you not to experience as much of it. Meditation helps to shift your attention away from the illness and into the moment

Improved Cardiovascular Health

Meditation has been proven to help lower blood pressure while allowing the body be less responsive to the hormones that cause stress. When you enter into a relaxed meditative state, the brain releases more nitric oxide which is responsible for the regulation of blood pressure levels, the improved functioning of the immune system, and the enhanced functioning of the central nervous system.

Conditions like stress affect the rate at which your heart pumps blood. When you practice meditation regularly, your heart rate decreases, allowing blood to circulate through the body more efficiently. This helps keep your cardiovascular system in shape, allowing the rest of the body to function with ease and enhances your ability to handle stressful situations.

Strengthens the Immune System

Recent studies show that meditation helps to increase the activity of ‘natural-killer cells’ in the body. These cells are responsible for killing off bacteria and viruses that find their way into our body. With regular practice, you can strengthen your immune system, which will result in the reduced risk that you’ll become ill and enhance your overall health and well-being. 

There are many physical benefits that you can gain from meditation. Engaging in daily mediation will help you improve your overall health, leading to living a healthier life. 

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The 4 Best Meditation Postures for Beginners

Meditation is meant to bring you clarity and relaxation. Unfortunately, for many beginners of the practice, sitting for long periods can get downright uncomfortable, leading to an ineffective session. While the standard lotus or cross-legged position is the most popular positions used in meditation, some alternative positions are suitable for beginners or anyone who suffers from back pain.

The Astronaut

The astronaut posture is essentially an inverted sitting position. Rather than resting your back against a chair, you lie on the floor with a chair supporting your legs. To give your head and neck some extra support, place a pillow under your head. Place your hands on the floor beside you and begin your session.

The Corpse

The corpse position is extremely gentle on the back and is useful for people who have a problem keeping in an upright meditation position. It is also suited for guided meditation and pure light visualization. To get into this pose, simply lie down on your back, on either a bed or the floor. Rest your hands beside you with your palms facing upward. Place your feet shoulder-width apart, removing your socks and shoes. If needed, place a pillow under your head to support your neck. 

The Prayer

Join me at Starting Your Own Meditation Practice, my free Ecourse that gets you started with meditation.

This is an alternate pose to the traditional kneeling position. It can get extremely uncomfortable kneeling, unsupported with your rear resting on the back of your heels for an extended period. Instead, you can use a kneeling bench with a padded, sloping top. The kneeling bench tilts your back forward slightly, taking the pressure off your lower spine when you assume the position. To keep your knees from feeling the pain, place a cushion or zabuton between the floor and your knees to prevent bruising.

The Sleeping Buddha

Like the corpse pose, the sleeping Buddha is suitable for beginners, as well as those with back and joint pain. To get into this position, lie your side on a flat, horizontal surface. Place one hand under your cheek for a little bit of support. Rest your other hand lightly on the side of your body. Bend both your legs slightly, resting them on top of one another. Place a pillow between your knees and thighs to prevent your upper leg from rotating forward.

Practicing meditation is a great way to bring about self-awareness and healing into your life. If you are just beginning and aren’t able to comfortably sustain the traditional meditation postures, try these four alternatives.  

 

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The Top Mental Health Benefits of Meditation

Over the last several years, more and more people have started practicing meditation as a way to stave off stress and health problems related to stress. When you start practicing meditation on a regular basis, your brain’s physiology changes. This mental shift helps to decrease the harmful effects of stress, mild depression, and anxiety. Here are the top three mental health benefits of practicing meditation on a regular basis.

Preserves the Aging Brain

Various studies of the last several years have revealed that when you are in your 20s, your brain begins to decline. This reduction in volume and weight continues throughout your life. Practicing meditation on a daily basis can help prevent many of the neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and dementia. It can also help to stave off the cognitive decline that comes with age. 

Meditating regularly can also help to increase the protective tissues in your brain. When you engage in meditation, you’re introduced to states of intense relaxation and concentration which leads to the growth of new cells. This helps to protect against shrinkage of your grey matter.

Reduces Stress

One of the main reasons why people practice the art of meditation is to find relief from depression, stress, and anxiety. Regular meditation practice helps to reduce the levels of stress and depression, both physically and mentally. When you experience stress or a sudden threat, your body enters into a flight or fight mode. This leads to an immediate rush of adrenaline, which can cause an increase in your blood pressure, pulse rate, and increase blood flow. Meditation helps to relieve these symptoms of stress. 

Need help getting your Meditation Practice started? Have a look at my free course, Starting Your Own Meditation Practice

Training your mind through the various meditation techniques works to increase the mental resources that can help you address stress and depression-related symptoms. The mind becomes clearer, more focused, and calmer, which automatically leads to the reduction of stress.

Improve Attention

In just over a decade, researchers have measured a decline in our average attention span, from 12 seconds to only eight seconds. That’s a whopping 33 percent decrease, and just one second shorter than the attention span of a goldfish. Practicing meditation can help improve your attention span, by optimizing the flow of sensory information that your brain takes in. Meditation helps to make your brain much more efficient at processing information.  

If the hectic pace of today’s 24/7 society has your mind reeling, starting a regular practice of meditation can help. With just ten minutes a day, you can start seeing a reduction in your stress levels and an increase in your overall attention span. 

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The Basic Elements of Meditation

Life can get a little crazy. The hectic pace and demands that we often face on a daily basis tend to leave us feeling stressed, tired, overworked, and unhappy. Mindfulness meditation is an easy and effective way to relax your body, calm your mind, and become grounded, finding inner peace amidst the chaos. The basic elements that are involved in the practice of meditation include finding a quiet place to practice, having a poised posture that is comfortable, getting an object to focus on, and being able to develop a passive attitude without any attachments. 

The Place

If you are just starting your meditation practice, it is important to start the process off right by finding a place that is comfortable. You need a space that will allow you to feel completely relaxed and free of distractions. Before you begin your practice, you need to turn things off, like your cell phone or any form of device that would be distracting. 

The Posture

Another basic element that you need to work on is maintaining a good body posture as you meditate. The posture that you take can impact how your practice goes. While the most natural posture you can take is the sitting position, you need to choose a pose that makes you feel comfortable and focused. Try to avoid using postures that can lead to falling asleep, like lying down or reclining. 

The Object

When you begin a practice of meditation, you need to have an object that you can focus on. The object can either be a repeated mantra, focusing on the breathing process, bodily sensations, or any other object like the flame from a candle. Engaging in meditation that will enhance your level of concentration requires that you have an object to focus on.

The Attitude

The final basic element that you need for successful meditation practice is a positive attitude. When you have a positive attitude, you can look at the external distractions and your internal thoughts in a different way. Having a passive attitude allows you to watch the thoughts as they come and go in your mind, without having any attachments to them.

During the process of meditation, it is important to stay focused. If you notice that your mind has started wandering, bring your attention back to the object of focus. These basic elements of meditation can help you get started on the path to clarity and awareness. 

Need some additional resources? Try my free E-Course, Starting Your Own Meditation Practice, to help get you started.

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Reiki, mindfulness and immunity

As I am creating this post, we are still in the midst of a pandemic from the viral threat, coronavirus. Unfortunately we don’t get a break since we have to consider the influenza virus and it’s inevitable spread across the world.

In addition to the precautions that we know we must all take such as wearing a face mask washing your hands frequently, watching your own symptoms and living in contact with others, there are still other steps you can take to keep your internal defensive strong.

When I discuss the immune system with my patients I often envision a military system. Over the years I’ve played with this comparison so many times because family and system doesn’t quite match up to the modern military but they’re fairly close.

Components of the Human Immune System

Skin

Healthy healthy skin is a very important part of your immune system. your skin provides a physical barrier to the outside world. Your skin actually has immune cells built into it that help decide what’s threats and what is not. By the skin separating your muscles, fat, blood vessels from the world it is often your first line barrier against infectious threats.

Respiratory tract

Your respiratory tract has the main function of getting oxygen into the system and getting carbon dioxide out. We often forget that certain parts of your respiratory tract are often your Frontline defense against infectious threats. Your nose contains small hairs that help filter out debris. Your sinus cavities also container system to help filter out and contain debris. Finally within the airways of your lung they’re very small hairs called cilia that move out debris and hopefully infectious material. Coughing is the respiratory system way of eliminating threats that have made it into the lungs.

Digestive system

We often forget that our digestive system is incredibly important in our immune system. The acid within your stomach is able to destroy many bacteria and even viruses. You’re digestive system also has immune cells built within it that constantly scan your body for threats.

Immune system

Finally, circulating within your bloodstream, within lymph nodes, contained within organs including the skin and digestive tract are the cells of your immune system. This is one of the most interesting parts of the body to me. The immune system is compliant mostly of white blood cells. These cells are further split into neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, natural killer cells, eosinophils and basophils. Many of these cells are highly intelligent. They live for several decades and maintain data on infectious threats. Some of these cells maintain the job of producing the labels that identify threat that we call antibodies. Other cells are part of your assault which is the day actually going and kill the threat.

What your immune system needs to stay healthy

Your immune system is highly capable system that accomplishes amazing feats every second of the day. When it does its job well you don’t even notice it’s there. The cells in your body sample the air you breathe, the food and water you take in, as well as your overall environment for threats. Your immune system can actually accomplish amazing things beyond fighting viruses and bacteria. You’re immune system surveys your body for abnormal growth, or early cancers and takes them down before they become a real threat.

Although your new system is miraculous it needs your help. One of the most important things you can do is maintain a healthy diet. As we enter cold and flu season you want to be taking in fresh fruits and vegetables, preferably from an organic source. If you consume meat you want it to be the highest quality, and from the best sources possible. You want to drink plenty of water and eliminate sugary drinks everywhere you can.

Stress and it’s Effect on you immune system

Stress plays a key role in how every aspect of your immune system functions. There’s actually a certain amount of stress that’s beneficial to your overall immune system and provides just the right amount of challenge to help it become stronger. One example of this is intentional exercise. When you exercise you challenge your cardiovascular system, and your muscles. They will start a chemical cascade that will feed back to your bone marrow that will later create healthier, stronger immune cells. Exercise will also help your adrenal glands function better and not overproduce cortisol.

When you are under stress, your body tends to perceive stress in a number of ways. There are certain parts of the brain that are often thought of as the”lower” brain or lizard brain. These parts of the brain correspond to the limbic system and brain stem that operate your organs. When you perceive stress as interpreted by the higher brain or the frontal lobes the lower brain responds by turning key systems in your body on to get ready for an attack. This includes tuning your adrenal glands to produce more stress hormones. Chronic exposure to this leads to high cortisol levels which will inadvertently decrease the white blood cells ability to function.

If you are experiencing high levels of stress right now it may seem contrary to practice mindfulness. However, this is exactly the time that you want to do that. Your mindfulness practice can take on a number of forms. Here are some quick recommendations that you can start at any moment of your day to help lower your stress levels and let your immune system do it as it was designed to do.

Quick Immunity Boosters

3 Minutes of Breath work

Wherever you are you can stop whether you’re standing, sitting at your desk, or even parked in your car. Inhale to the count of five and exhale to the count of five. Do the cycle for 1 to 3 minutes.

Essential oils

If you’re already using essential oils, keeping a small stock with you throughout your day is a perfect way to calm your nervous system and boost your immunity. Many essential oils are very safe, and using them by inhalation throughout your day is a good way to remind yourself to take a deep breath while you inhale all the benefits. Here are the oils I’d recommend to improve your immunity especially during flu season and the pandemic:

  • Lavender: can be used without dilution, and is relaxing in it’s scent.
  • Tea Tree oil: potent anti-fungal, anti-viral as well good for making you feel peppy. I don’t recommend using without diluting in a carrier oil or a lotion.
  • Patchouli: this is a nice, relaxing scent that you can put on your wrists and temples for stress relief.
  • Frankincense: This is good for everything, can be used without dilution, and is also a nice oil to use during the season change. I like to apply directly to my joints in the mornings before doing Yoga.
  • Manuka: this essential oil can be a little harder to find, but is safe to use topically and helps to open up your airways.

Mind Reset

Your mind is a power driver of your immune system’s function. Its easier said than done to control y our thoughts, however, in the times we live in, is worth your effort to control and even eliminate your negative thoughts. You can control negative thoughts a few ways:

  • Do you need to watch the news so much?
    • Stay informed, but at some point, what we see in the media can program us to see only the worse around us. Consider limiting how much news you take in.
  • Journaling
    • Start a journal, or use your journal to write out all the thoughts that may circulate through your head. After your write those down, read them and question if they are really true.

Taking the time to care for yourself is invaluable. We are learning so much about what’s contagious, and hopefully, we can spread calm, peace and health in this time.

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Should you take a Reiki Course online?

If you are at the point that you have decided to learn Reiki on your own, you may be wondering where and how to start. I have the blessing of having learned Reiki in person, online live and online through a self guided course. Each way of learning was a blessing all it’s own. Honestly, the nature of Reiki is that it is not limited by human constraints and I fully believe you can come away from any of these settings with a wonderful life enhancing experience.

auditorium benches chairs class

In Person Reiki Courses

This was how I learned Reiki I and Reiki II. It was wonderful in that I made lifelong friends, and we also got to practice treating each other. It was a lot of information to cover in a short period of time. The course took place over a weekend so it was manageable for those that work during the week. I did not feel there were any drawbacks in learning live, but if anyone struggles with attention and focus, this setting may be intense. When you are learning Reiki, you are learning a combination of healing modalities, and initially this can feel overwhelming.

I think of the the best parts of the live course is the group setting, in which you can form Reiki Circles, a group of Reiki Practitioners that can team up to share Reiki.

The major concern with this currently is in person meetings are limited due to pandemic regulations. If a class is meeting live, masks will likely be required. This may be a distraction since the courses tend to b several hours long.

woman in blue denim jacket using a laptop

Live Online Course

A live online course gives you the real time experience of being with the instructor while learning from the safety of your home. You won’t need a mask, you can be in your favorite pajamas. Depending on the class format, you may be able to interact with other students. Your attunement will occur just like in an in person class. I very much enjoyed learning Reiki in a live class.

If there is a drawback, its that the class may not be recorded, so you’ll want to take excellent notes.

blur bottle bright building

Online Self Guided Course

There a numerous courses online for Reiki that will go by your timing. Thanks to the advance in technology, it is now possible to learn Reiki in your own time and in your own pace. Healing Arts Health and Wellness can be a possible resource in your Reiki journey, but you should follow your heart on what course resonates with you the most. I completed and Animal Reiki Course this way and I loved it.

The challenge of this format is that it is self paced, an if you get distracted, you may forget to complete your courses. Also, depending on the instructor, you will need to understand how your attunmenent will take place. Otherwise, taking a course in which you pace yourself is an amazing way to get your Reiki training.

My goal with my current work with Reiki is to help as many people as I can find a path to Reiki. Please share in the comments your experience if you’ve done Reiki and definately feel free to share questions with me.

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Chakra Blocks and Insomnia

This PDF accompanies the podcast that covers Insomnia and energy blockages. If you’d like to listen, have listen here.

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