Plagues, Past & Present

All this talk about the corona virus pandemic reminds me of a past life regression I did for a client who had been a doctor in Italy during the Black Death (Bubonic Plague). It was fascinating to hear him describe herbs and remedies they used at the time. As a doctor, he was also studying ancient Arabic medicinal texts and because he was so knowledgeable, he was hired by the wealthy Medici family to protect them from the plague. In tears he described his guilt at causing the death of a family of young children after he had to order their house boarded up (with them in it) after their mother contracted the plague. He did, however, go on to save the village by figuring out that the villagers were becoming ill because they were drinking from a contaminated well and he was able to advise them about sanitation.

 

I was able to help him clear the guilt that had remained in his energy which was affecting him in this life. Regression isn’t only about past lives – it is also a tool for deep healing in this life. It turns out that this client’s past life bore many similarities to his current life, triggering tremendous guilt because he was tapping into that past life experience. That is a very common phenomenon. If you have any strong emotions, thoughts or phobias and can’t pin-point their source, perhaps a past life is being triggered.

 

Credit: authentic 16thC plague doctor mask on display in the German Museum of Medical History museum-of-artifacts.tumblr.com

Restorative Massage

New for 2019 – Restorative Massage (now with optional bolt-on treatment*)

I work hard during the year, burning the candle at both ends, and it wasn’t until I took a weekend break at the Spa recently that I realised just how tired I was. Spas are great, but can be a bit formulaic and the treatment rooms are often airless (why are the treatment rooms always windowless?),  and I have to confess that I’m not a fan of Spa products as I don’t like putting anything on my skin that I can’t eat.  So lying there whilst I was having my treatment, I began to fantasise…

What would my perfect massage involve?

  • Nurturing.  I’d like time to de-stress after travelling to my appointment while I drink a cup of tea, discussing my requirements with the therapistdon’t you hate rushing and then having to strip and jump on the table knowing that every minute counts?  Ayurveda teaches that a therapist should not touch a client without love, so I’ve built in a free 20min consultation so that we can get to know each other over a cup of tea before I begin the massage.  And if you don’t feel like chatting, that’s fine – you’ll just have a longer massage.
  • A personalised massage experienceI’d like the massage to match my mood and needs, and to be suited to my body type. I’d appreciate a few thoughtful extras like bolsters, heated towels and the lighting to be dimmed. I’d also like my feet to be cleaned before being massaged, especially in the summer when they are hot. And it would be nice for them to be warmed in the winter when my toes feel like icicles.  When my back or shoulders hurt, how about a heatpack to soothe my aches and pains?
  • Warm, natural oilsThe oils should food-grade organic so that I don’t have to worry about chemicals being absorbed into my bloodstream.  The Ayurvedic saying is that we should never put anything on our skin which we wouldn’t eat.  Massage is actually another way of taking herbs, so I’d like herb-infused oils which have been warmed so that they can penetrate my aching joints, making them supple and lubricated whilst nourishing my skin.  Please keep the parabens and synthetic fragrances (read Phthalates) away from me.  
  • Smell.  I’d like to choose the oil for my massage.  Smell is the only sense with a direct link to the limbic or emotional centre of the brain. This gives aromas the power to evoke vivid impressions, conjure up memories and trigger emotions. It is a powerful tool for healing and restoration so it’s important that you love the smell and the way it makes you feel.
  • Skilful Massage.  I’d like my therapist to have compassionate hands.  You know that saying of “someone rubbing you up the wrong 9102317 - beautiful woman relaxing in a massage salonway”?  I’ve had massages like that and it’s an uncomfortable experience. Massage strokes should  follow the flow of energy channels and nerve pathways.  When energy channels are congested, we feel tired and sluggish.  We may experience pain, stiffness or tenderness, so regular massage can facilitate the flow of Prana (or Qi), leaving us feeling clear and energised. And don’t you just love therapists who sense when areas need a little extra love and attention?
  • Mix and Match Treatments. I’d like to be able to add any treatment to my massage and not have to pay the full price of 2 separate treatments. I don’t often get time for massages, but once I’m on the table, I don’t want to leave.  In the past, I’ve had to buy 2 separate treatments and have them back-to-back which is expensive, so I’ve designed bolt-ons like Karna Purana, Facial, Ayurvedic Foot massage and Shirodhara which can be added on to a treatment for £40.  
  • Music.  No panpipes, dolphins or keyboard music please.  Music activates the right side of the brain which nurtures creativity, intuition, receptivity, softness, stillness, silence, dreams, relaxation, imagination and regeneration – so it should be chosen with care.  See my website to sample the type of music I use.
  • Rest Please don’t rush.  I’d like a few moments after my massage to relax and daydream instead of jumping off the couch whilst I’m still woozy and not quite back in my body.

This has inspired me to put all these elements together in a Restorative Massage package at £65 for 60 minutes (plus 20mins free).  Need more than one? Book 3 together and receive 10% off or 4 for 20% off – valid for 1 year (and they can also be given as a gift vouchers).  This massage is exquisite combined with a any bolt-on treatment* 

* Bolt-on treatments last for 45 minutes and can be added onto your Restorative Massage for only £40 extra – so that’s a total of 105mins of blissful relaxation (plus the free 20mins consultation in the beginning – or extra time if you don’t need to chat).  These bolt-on treatments are Facial, Ayurvedic Foot massage, Karna Purana, and Shirodhara.

Synergistic massage oilsThe oils I’ve chosen for this special massage are all food-grade organic plant oils from NHR Organic.  These exquisite oils each contain a base of Sunflower, Wheatgerm and Pure Vitamin E oil.  Added to this nourishing base are four beautiful combinations of the finest essential oils chosen for their outstanding therapeutic qualities.

Samhadi – Organic Lavender, Organic Roman Chamomile, Organic Clary Sage and Organic Frankincense

Sensual – Organic Ylang Ylang, and Organic Geranium, Organic Neroli

Vitality – Organic Tea Tree, Organic Eucalyptus, and Organic Rosemary

Feminine – Organic Geranium, Organic Lavender and Organic Rose Otto

FOOD GRADE CERTIFIED – These organic oils are Soil Association certified organic food grade, making them the highest quality grade possible.soilassoc

 

 

 

There’s always time for a cup of TEA

ayurveda pura teaThese are the gorgeous Ayurvedic teas I offer to my clients at the start of every session.  I choose the tea specifically for them based on the season, their constitution, or to balance aggravated doshas.  For example, the combination of Cinnamon, Fennel Seeds, Cloves, Black Pepper and Ginger makes it very warming and therefore pacifies Kapha (water + earth elements).  It is also good for any Kapha type disorders like weight gain, colds, allergies.

At home, we like to make our own blends…   In my kitchen cupboards you’ll find a disorganised array of jars, boxes and spices amongst the teacups. It’s a curious blend of smells. The icebox in the freezer is filled with pretty ice-cubes, like so many miniature icebergs with plants and flowers trapped inside, waiting to be thawed.

dill ice cubes
The Boys Making Dill Ice Cubes, not a phone in sight

Making a pot of tea in our house is an occasion. The children have learned to medicate themselves with herbs and spices and it really works. Grazed knees are soothed, sore throats and bad moods eased – all with a few leaves and flowers from the garden or some dried wild herbs foraged during long summer walks. Our favourite tea time is whilst supper is on the stove – we’ll have a pot of tea on the go and homework books and playing cards out and we’ll play, drink tea and just hang out, waiting for the food to cook. In a house with four children, the kitchen is a busy, social place and I treasure those times. Over a cup of tea we discuss deep matters of the heart, or we laugh about the time when…

 

avebury summer
Hunting for Wild Herbs

My eldest is 18 and it won’t be long now before he is absent from our social tea times, and it makes my heart ache to think that there will soon be an empty chair at the kitchen table. But I know that I have taught him well. There will be plenty times in the future, I’m sure, that he’ll be hung over or feeling dull and heavy from too much junk food – but I know that he’ll be able to whip something up to make himself feel better – a cup of tea, pot of soup or heal-all Kitchari.  I like to think that ‘tea time‘ will be a tradition he will take with him into his new life at Uni and beyond.

dahl
Our Family Staple, Heal-all Kitchari


 

SOME TEA RECIPES

 

WINTER TEA

1 cup raw Honey

2 broken Cinnamon sticks

1 tsp cloves

1 inch length of Vanilla bean

1 pinch ground Cardamom

 

Method:

Put all the herbs in a sterilised glass jar.  Add the honey and put the lid on, making sure it’s airtight.  Gently shake the jar until everything is covered in honey.  Allow it to sit in a dark cupboard for 3 weeks.  Add the honey to hot water with a slice of lemon and fresh ginger.  No sore throats or coughs!


TO BOOST YOUR DIGESTION

2 cups of boiling water

2 big mint leaves/a mint tea bag or Coriander leaves

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp ground fennel seeds

2-3 thin slices of fresh ginger root

Put boiling water in a small bowl and add spices and herbs to steep. Strain into thermos. Sip during day.


LOVE TEA

1 part Rose petals

1/2 part dried Lavender

1/2 part Jasmine

2 parts Hibiscus

Sweeten with honey if required.

Steep in hot water for 10 minutes.   (I’ve written ‘part’ instead of teaspoon because a teaspoon of each is too much for a cup of tea, and it depends on whether you’re making a cup or a teapot of tea.  I usually just take a 2, 3 or 4 fingered pinch)

The Role of Women and Magic in Ancient Times

hathor_magician_tattoos_1024
Showing neck tattoo of 2 seated baboons facing a wadjet-eye above mirrored wadjet-eyes

Archaeology can be a stuffy subject to read about or it can conjure up images of adventure Indiana Jones style – but mainly it has been a male-dominated field where women in history have been marginalised and vilified. This article isn’t about that but I never realised the epic proportions of this until I started doing past life regression.

Case in point… the discovery of tattooed female mummies in Egypt (and other places too like Africa and Mongolia), the most famous of these being Amunet [1,2], Priestess of the Goddess Hathor who was discovered in 1891. Sadly, the French Egyptologist who discovered her dismissed her as a woman of low status, probably a prostitute or ‘dancing girl’ or maybe a royal concubine because she was found at the site of royal/high status burials [3]. I wonder if it occurred to him that she might have been there as a woman in her own right? She was covered in many tattoos of lotus blossoms, wadjet-eyes [4], seated baboons [5] and snakes which were seen as quite sensual (because snakes are erotic? hence the prostitute inference) but of course, at the time when she was discovered, curved table legs were also considered sensual so one must view their reaction in context to their Victorian values.

This is the bit that made my heart beat faster… these are also magical symbols.

wadjet

“Any angle that you look at this woman, you see a pair of divine eyes looking back at you,” bioarchaeologist Anne Austin of Stanford University explained at a meeting of anthropologists in 2016.

Snakes are often pictured on magical items and the wadjet-eye’s magical context is well documented. The seated baboons could be related to Thoth [5], a god well known for his baboonuse of magic. Furthermore, the combination of the seated Thoth-baboons and wadjet-eye in a magical context is well attested since the Middle Kingdom (ca. 1550 – 1069 BCE) when it started to be used on ivory wands and other magical objects.

All the other tattoos on her body seem to be connected to a kind of magic associated with the idea of power and divine action. The placement of the permanent tattoos on her body would not only have linked her with the divine through Hathoric symbolism, but also empowered her to take on important magical roles – for example the wadjet-eyes on her neck may have enhanced her ability to cast spells and give magical powers to her speech.

I have had many lives in Ancient Egypt but also Atlantis, Africa and Mongolia where I have served as priestess, magician, herbalist or witch and shaman. I have come across many clients who have had similar lives. In one case, I had a client who saw herself as a priestess in Egypt performing a ceremony which she described in detail and also those attending, in particular a man wearing an Anubis mask who then went on to process down the river on a flat-bottomed boat as she watched from the river bank. Imagine my astonishment when, a few days later, I regressed a man who described the same ceremony but he was the man in the Anubis mask! I had another client who saw himself as a trainee magician and as part of his training he had to hike to a remote cabin up a mountain where he studied an ancient Grimoire [7]. I asked him if he could see what was written in the book and he told me it was mainly maths and pictures of cones and vortices. It was explaining how to harness energy and project it at objects. He then went into the woods where he practised ‘throwing energy balls’ at trees, breaking off branches. Sometimes clients can vividly describe broaches or amulets and I’ve even seen wands I’ve used in the past enhanced with crystals.

So to come back to the arrogant Egyptologists of the past – women did indeed hold positions of power and were revered and even feared in ancient times. My favourite life is one where I was a Mongolian herbalist/healer and a much-loved member of the community. It is also sadly, the only life of many that I’ve seen where I lived to a ripe old age and died of natural causes. In the other lives I’ve been driven mad by the powerful magic (more than once – took me a while to learn!) and I’ve been driven out, hunted, tortured, drowned, burned etc. – the history books are full of these stories. It is also not surprising that in this life I am an Ayurvedic Therapist – Ayurveda being the ancient medicinal system of India, practiced for more than 75,000 years.

If you would like to explore your life as a woman or man with magical powers, please let me know as I’m building a portfolio and doing some research into this. We are once again beginning to understand that that which is seen is but a fraction of the world around us. We are coming back to energy and spirit and our ancient roots where we felt the connectedness of all living things both here on earth and the cosmos. Everything is energy and vibration. The scientific community is excited about ‘discovering’ this – but the old souls amongst us have always known this.

[1] https://www.sciencealert.com/egypt-council-of-antiquities-announces-deir-el-madina-tattooed-religious-women-hathor

[2] https://journals.openedition.org/bifao/296?lang=en

[4] Wadjet-eye
The Eye of Horus  is an ancient Egyptian symbol of protection, royal power, and good health. (The Eye of Horus is similar to the Eye of Ra, which belongs to a different god, Ra, but represents many of the same concepts. Wikipedia)
[5] Thoth-baboon
The baboon was a sacred animal to the ancient Egyptians. In ancient Egypt, the baboon, and dog were sacred animals closely associated with the god of wisdom, Thoth, who is also the deity associated with science, systems of writing, arts, and magic. It is written in several ancient texts that Thoth wrote a major work of scriptural importance that would one day be found.  The 42 Books of Thoth [6] are said to contain all the wisdom of the ancients and describe the instructions for achieving immortality plus 2 more books kept separately.  Unfortunately, most of the hermetic works were allegedly lost during the burning of the royal libraries in Alexandria.
[7] Grimoire
A grimoire is a textbook of magic, typically including instructions on how to create magical objects like talismans and amulets, how to perform magical spells, charms and divination, and how to summon or invoke supernatural entities… (Wikipedia)

Past Life Regression vs Regression Therapy

 

 

What is the difference between Regression THERAPY and Past Life Regression?

Beautiful Woman Living in Memories

Past Life Regression is when light hypnosis is used to enter into a past life – sometimes this can be directed to find the source of a phobia or perhaps you simply want to explore a life where you may have been a Roman Soldier because you’ve always had a feeling you may have been one.  (It’s amazing how often we are aware of past lives without even fully realising it).  Regression can also offer you insights which may be useful when you’re working with a therapist on an issue (let’s use agoraphobia as an example).

Regression Therapy is quite different. Staying with the theme of Agoraphobia, there are a number of ways a Regression Therapy session could go. Hypnosis is not always necessary as we may enter the associated past life through “body work” (where your body literally “shows” me the source of the unresolved energy).  A good example would be my client who came down with a Shocked woman with claustrophobia in the moving elevatormigraine every time she was in an enclosed space. I scanned her for unresolved energy being held in the body connected to her migraines.  She very strongly began to experience the feeling of being trapped with a piercing pain in her head and soon she spontaneously entered the past life where she’d been tortured in an Iron Maiden during the Middle Ages.  It was this unresolved trauma that was triggering her migraines. We worked with her body to release the energy of that memory and resolve the issue there and then.

Regression is a very quick and direct way of healing the body when it is holding energy from the past that needs resolving. *

But, depending on what comes up, the session could have been done another way.  I could have used light hypnosis to go to the first time the client remembered feeling the Migraine and panic in an enclosed space – and we might have been led to the aforementioned past life, or we could have ended up in her current life when she was a newborn sleeping in a drawer and the drawer had been shut. Perhaps this was a regular occurrence and seen as a way of settling the crying baby, but in actuality it was traumatising the baby. We would then do some inner child healing to transform this traumatic event and resolve any issues that may have arisen through childhood to the present day. We would also check whether there were any links leading to past lives that need resolving too. Sometimes the “echo” of a past event or even a past life still reverberates in our current life and we need to go to the source to heal it. So, having healed the effects in the current life of being shut in the drawer, we will then follow the “echo” to the source and end up at the Iron Maiden life where we will resolve the issue and any feelings of panic or powerlessness that may have arisen from that situation.

There are usually 3 parts to regression therapy – getting information about the issue (viewing the past life/current life) and transforming the issue and energy healing.  Knowing that there is always a lesson or a reason why something happens to us, we do transformation in the Spirit Realms to gain soul perspective – sometimes looking at soul contracts, or having conversations with people to resolve issues or simply getting in touch with our Higher Self.  Coming back to my client – she found out that her soul wanted to learn about power – in that life she experienced extreme powerlessness but in other lives she’d experienced power and the abuse of power, sometimes being the victim, and other times the perpetrator.  In the Spirit Realms she met with her torturer and discovered he was in her soul group (which surprised her to learn that he was not evil, but had merely been playing the role so that she could learn about powerlessness).  She was even more surprised to discover that he is now her current life husband.  As a result of these insights, she was able to let go of the energy and forgive. As soon as my client let go of that traumatic energy, she no longer experienced the panic and migraines.  In this example it took one session, but for more complex issues there may be layers to resolve.  Each session will be complete in itself and you will feel better after each layer is transformed.

Any Regression Therapy session will always end with the healing and re-balancing of your energy.  I also ensure that your energy is clear and that you’re not carrying any energy that does not belong to you.  Sometimes we can absorb other people’s energy, especially when we care about them, but it’s not very good for our health and I will show you how to keep your energy clear and healthy.  Sometimes spirits can attach themselves to our energy fields and this will have a detrimental effect on our health, so I clear these as well and show you how to prevent this from happening.

Quite alot happens in a session, and this is the reason that we train for 2 years to do Regression Therapy and why a session can last up to 3 hours, hence the cost. It is a very powerful way to shift anything in your life that doesn’t work for you. One session may be enough or you may need more, but overall, it is quicker than counselling which can last for years.

* If you’re wondering how it’s possible for your body to store past life energy, think of the WW1 soldiers who returned from the war with Shell Shock (what we now call PTSD).  Every time they heard a loud noise, or were triggered by a flashback or even a smell, their bodies would involuntarily duck or curl up or they would start shaking.  Unfortunately they had to live with that trauma, but we now have the tools to be able to completely heal the trauma and associated triggers.

3D silhouette of a soldier saluting against a sunset sky

The soul is eternal and can carry energy forward through lifetimes.

I charge £50 for the first hour as some sessions are very short.  After the first hour I charge by the half hour.  Most sessions last between 1.5 to 2 hours and are preceded by a free 20min chat where you can get a feel of whether this is for you.

 

Kids Reiki

This lovely children’s Reiki workshop is specially designed for children aged 8-12 and it’s all about nurturing their intuition and healing energy.  It’s being run by Susie who is a multi-talented therapist and sound healer who is based in Essex, so  I’m really happy that she accepted my invitation to do this for us here in susie gong Wiltshire.

This fun and vibrant workshop is being run over 2 days during February halfterm – but don’t feel concerned that your child won’t be able to be still for 2 days in a row.  There will be lots of time for expression, creation and running around like a looney!

Children will be learning about healing and energies.  They will learn to let the Reiki energy teach them how to connect with the unseen world around them and to develop their intuition.  Over the 2 days we will cover:-

  • What is Reiki?
  • What is energy and how to heal
  • Connect to your reiki guide / dragon / angel
  • Connect through sound using drums, gongs, singing bowls and your own voice
  • Learn how to meditate with Reiki crystals / plants / chakras…

Date:  19-20 February

Time:  Drop off at 9.30am for 10am.  Pick up at 3pm

Venue:  Equilibrium Natural Health Centre, 23 Leafield Way, Corsham, Wilts SN13 9RS

Cost:  £120

Bring:  a packed lunch, pillow and blanket

Please note that the class size will be limited to 10 children, so early booking is advised.  To book, please email Elizabeth at elizabeth.sweetman@mail.com or call/text 07879 447 631.  A deposit of £50 will secure your place.

 

 

 

Treatments with Integrity

ahimsa

When I adopted the Ahimsa (do no harm) philosophy 3 years ago, I had no idea how much it would turn my world upside down.

I began by evaluating my relationships then broadened it to include my relationship with myself, the companies I do business with and my relationship with my mother – the Earth.  I realised it’s nearly impossible in the 21st Century not to harm someone even before I’ve had my breakfast.  For example – the company I bought my herbal tea from had a beautiful “face” but a black, corporate, greedy heart causing poverty and suffering to communities and deforestation in Sri Lanka.  Frankly, I would like to see them change their ways or go out of business, so I did the only thing I could do – I changed supplier.

In 2010 I started making my own herbal decoctions, scrubs and salves from natural plants and oils.  This was after I discovered  my expensive ‘natural’ beauty products were being tested on animals. I had no idea when I bought them and binned them in disgust. I learned that a company can test their products on animals, wait 2 years and then market their products as “not tested on animals”. What?!  The more I researched, the heavier my heart grew.

I began seeking alternatives.  I don’t think many people are aware of the many herbs and plants nearing extinction because of the beauty and health industries. I don’t want to have any part in this so I simply switched to small, ethical companies.  In 2017 I began sourcing my massage oils from NHR Organics who use only ethically grown, food grade essential oils and herbs.  Their oils don’t contain preservatives or emulsifiers and are 100% plant based. Working with the energy of these beautiful oils has greatly enhanced my treatments.

Earlier this year I switched my essential oil supplier to Aqua Oleum (meaning water and oil) which are the raw materials for all their products. In alchemy, the name ‘Aqua Oleum’ symbolically refers to the two seemingly opposed aspects of matter and spirit, which are nevertheless unified within human nature. Based in Gloucestershire, this 3rd generation family run business has a profound respect for nature and the Earth and they belong to the Vegan Society, as well as being a member of the Aromatherapy Trade Association and have satisfied the requirements of the Soil Association Standards for Organic Food and Farming and Regulation. That’s a big mouthful, but what I’m trying to show is that I’m no longer supporting big, greedy, impersonal corporations who bully the ethical ‘little guys’ and plunder the planet in search of the latest trend so that they can push consumerism.  Petitions and protests don’t seem to accomplish much, but if we all switched to local ethical businesses what a difference that would make virtually overnight.

In 2018 I began offering facials using Tropic natural plant skincare. Tropic Founder, Susie Ma’s story really resonates with me. Only ethically sourced tropical plants are used to produce Tropic’s freshly made beauty products which are then shipped straight from their Beauty Kitchens in Surrey to the customer – so no standing around in warehouses and therefore no need for nasty chemicals.

TROPIC is a certified CARBON NEUTRAL company, and as well as being VEGAN and tropic pure honest effectiveGLUTEN FREE, their products are NEVER TESTED ON ANIMALS. They have won the Good Shopping Guide award as an ETHICAL COMPANY. In fact, Tropic has won over 100 awards. Not bad for a 15 year old who started out in 2004 by selling her home-made body scrubs in jam jars at Greenwich Market. Eventually she went on to appear in BBC’s The Apprentice in 2011 where Lord Alan Sugar was so impressed that he invested to become a 50/50 partner and the #GreenBeautyRevolution was born.

You don’t need to be an activist – you just need to make ethical heart-based choices.

greenbeautyrevolution

 

Ayurvedic Guidelines for Spring (and how to beat those allergies)

spring is coming

Finally, the starkness of winter has been replaced by vivid green buds.  Daffodils and tulips grace our vases, and anticipation for the summer is growing.

From an Ayurvedic perspective, spring is a distinctly kapha season. If it were possible to
sum Spring up in 2 words, I would say “WARM” and “RAINY”. 15048146 - a couple on a bench under umbrella
In fact, the Sanskrit word kapha, means ‘that which flourishes in water,’ and what season is more defined by the presence of water than spring?  Due to the warmth, snow thaws, the sap rises and trees begin to bud, and energy begins to move upward.  Similarly accumulated Kapha in the body starts liquefying and flowing.  This process can either be a revitalizing event or it can trigger a number of health challenges.  That is why so many people get spring colds and sinus.  In addition, as flowers shed their pollen and fragrance, making Vata and Pitta people happy, kapha individuals get hay fever and allergies.

Sound familiar?  The good news is that you don’t have to start popping antihistamines — a seasonal routine is actually one of our best tools for minimizing spring’s kapha-aggravating potential.  And because Kapha is now in a liquid state, it can easily be eliminated from the body with the correct seasonal diet and lifestyle.

How do I know if I have a Kapha Imbalance?

In the mind:  Changes in your mental state will often be one of the first indications that an imbalance is on the horizon.  Signs that kapha is increasing in the mind include a generalized feeling of heaviness or sluggishness, drowsiness, brain fog, melancholy, or low mood and a tendency towards excessive sleep or afternoon naps.

In the digestive tract:  This is one of the first places that aggravated kapha will make itself known.  Early signs of kapha imbalance include a sense of heaviness, an uncomfortable feeling of fullness in the stomach, nausea, excess salivation which is thick or slimy, a sweet taste in the mouth, poor appetite or indigestion, and a slow or suppressed metabolism.  Excess kapha in the digestive tract can also cause the stools to be heavy, oily, pale or sticky.  Kapha is also at the root of mucoid diarrhea and pre-diabetes.

In the respiratory system:  Signs of kapha imbalance include colds, coughs, excessive accumulation of mucus, a runny nose, excess nasal crust, and hay fever.  Aggravated kapha can also cause congestion or a feeling of tightness in the sinuses, throat or chest.

In the circulatory system:  Excess kapha in the circulatory system, skin, muscles and adipose tissue can be an indication that a kapha imbalance is starting to spread.  This may cause lymphatic congestion, swollen lymph glands, mild (and intermittent) hypertension, hives, itching, pallor, cold sweats, reduced sweating, loss of strength, the formation of lipomas, fibroids, and/or weight gain.

The Basics of a Kapha-Pacifying Diet

You can reduce the amount of kapha in your system by avoiding oily, sour, sweet and salty foods.  Instead, favour the pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes found in fresh vegetables, and indulge your taste buds with a variety of herbs and spices and very soon you will be feeling light and full of energy.  Goodbye sinus and hay fever.  It really is that simple. I’ll explain…

Large quantities of grains like wheat and barley, bread, dairy and red meat are best avoided in the spring.  These are mucus-forming foods and heavy to digest.  Cold foods and drinks, ice cream, and raw salads are best avoided too as they dampen appetite and impair digestion, especially if your digestion is trying to cope with excess kapha.

Some simple lifestyle changes can help to decrease the amount of Kapha in your system whilst shedding those extra pounds gained at Christmas.

  • Wake up early and do some Yoga – Sun Salutations are ideal.  Or try some Pilates or simply go for a brisk walk.  Bhastrika (bellows breathing) and Right Nostril breathing are also helpful.
  • Tongue Scraping: This simple hygiene practice removes bacteria and toxins that have accumulated on the tongue overnight. It also serves to stimulate and cleanse the digestive tract and the vital organs.
  • Portion control is essential to balancing kapha.  If the stomach is too full, digestion is impaired.  Ideally, at the end of a meal, the stomach should contain one third food, one third liquid, and one third should be empty.  Imagine a cooking pot filled to the brim – the food won’t cook properly and may overflow the pot.
  • Eat a light breakfast, snack as little as possible, and eat a healthy meals that include a lot of vegetables, like stews, stir-fry, soup or kitchari.  It’s also helpful to drink room-temperature or hot drinks, and to avoid iced drinks.
  • 10203656 - herbal tea with mentha and sageTisanes are a great way to enjoy herbs. Pick some of your favourite herbs/spices like rosemary, basil, fresh ginger and black pepper and steep in a cup of hot water. Add a slice of lemon and enjoy.  Add a little honey to hot drinks as honey is heating and helps to melt kapha. Other herbs and spices which are delicious as tisanes are cardamom, cinnamon, fennel.
  • Boost your appetite with finely grated ginger, a pinch of black pepper, rock salt, lemon juice and honey.  Mix and keep in the fridge in an airtight container and have ¼ teaspoon 15mins before each meal.
  • Fasting: this is a good time to observe a juice fast of apple, pomegranate or berry juice. (Do not fast if you become light-headed or weak.  Use the above advice instead).
  • Take Triphala at bedtime.  Triphala is a traditional Ayurvedic formula comprised of three fruits that is balancing for Vata, Pitta and Kapha.  It is revered for its unique ability to gently cleanse and detoxify the digestive tract while replenishing, nourishing, and rejuvenating the tissues.
  • Avoid day-time sleeping, however tempting it may be. This aggravates Kapha. Better to go to bed at a reasonable hour so that you can wake early for Yoga. And just think – only 7 months to go before you can start spending more time in bed again in order to balance Vata during Autumn.cat nap

For more tailored advice, I am offering £20 off all consultations during April with the code G4S.

Kapha left unchecked leads to more serious imbalances

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9 Sacred Herbs Series – No.1 Lanceleaf Plantain

There is evidence that the Plantain has been used for millennia throughout the world, and here in England, the plantain was held in high esteem by our Anglo-Saxon ancestors who listed it as one of the 9 sacred herbs in their herbal Lacnunga (meaning remedies) compiled around the late 10th century. Its praises are sung by Nicholas Culpeper in Culpeper’s Herbal printed in 1652 and even King Henry VIII used it as a herb. Currently, it is used medicinally in Burma, China and Hawaii where they have done much Scientific research into the efficacy of this herb.

But sadly here in the UK,  it’s immense medicinal value was lost to common knowledge and it is now considered a weed to be eradicated from every garden and allotment or crack in the pavement it grows from. And yet it was once described as a panacea herb.

Some facts about this wonderful wild herb:

  • Plantain is loaded with vitamins and minerals including A, B1, C, K, Calcium, Iron and a considerable amount of potassium.
  • Relative of the psyllium plant and the seeds can be eaten raw or cooked. Harvest seed heads, dry them and strip the seeds off.
  • Seeds can be groun and mixed with flour to make bread.
  • Plantain juice is very soothing for skin inflammation.

    baby plantain
    This little chap had sore gums from teething and he naturally saught out some plantain leaves and began chewing them. Photo Credit: Robin Rose Bennet.com
  • Juice in the eyes cools irritated, tired eyes. Blend leaves with a little warm water to extract the juice.  Strain well.
  • Plantain is a natural antihistamine. For Hayfever tea– pick the leaves and steep them in boiling water for 10 mins. To enhance the flavour you can add basil, chamomile, or parsley which are all natural antihistamines too.
  • As a Salve, it draws dirt and puss infection out of wounds and soothes cuts, grazes, rashes and eczema. Also used in cases of blood poisoning.  To make a salve, shred the leaves and infuse for 2 to 4 hours on a gentle heat in coconut oil.  The oil should not be warmer than body temperature at any time. Using coconut oil gives it a firm texture but beware – it is liquid in warm temperatures.  If you want the texture of a salve, you can grate in some bees wax. I like to use a ratio of 1:4.  Adding beeswax also gives it a little more shelf life stability.
  • Plantain is not only fantastic for people problems, but is also a valuable Animal Remedy. Use infused oil or salve on cuts, wounds, rashes, stings and other skin conditions. The Plantain will draw out any contaminants before effectively healing the damaged tissue. Try blending the Plantain with a few drops of Tea Tree Oil for added antifungal properties; this mix is excellent for treating the many fungal complaints suffered by horses.
  • Coughs and colds – in the form of a plantain succus. Blend the leaves with a little warm water to extract the juice. Mix equal quantities of juice with raw organic honey and keep in the fridge. Perfect for dry coughs and hayfever.
  • Stomach ulcers, IBS and digestive tract infections. 1 tsp 3xpd
  • Succus – apply topically for cuts or ulcers

 

 

Ayurvedic guidelines for balance during Autumn

hello autumnIt’s time to say goodbye to a hectic but wonderful Summer, and I’m exhausted!  I feel like I need to take stock and regroup before the madness of the Festive Season sets in and Autumn is the perfect time to do that.

During Autumn, the pace of life slows down and gives us time to reflect on our health (mind, body, spirit) and our relationships. It is the ideal time for reflection, planning and for clearing and cleansing our space, friends list, fridges and bodies.

Ayurvedically speaking, Autumn is dry, light, cold, windy, rough and empty (e.g. trees lose their leaves).  These qualities also manifest in us during Autumn, more than at any other time of the year.  Feelings of loneliness and anxiety increase, especially in the run-up to the festive season which, by many, is described as the loneliest time of the year.  In order to counteract these qualities, Ayurveda suggests we nurture ourselves, slow down and rebalance as we take stock of the year.  A major part of rebalancing is “letting go” of anything weighing us down physically, spiritually or emotionally.

Cleansing

As the seasons change, our needs change.  Summer clothes, bedding and barbeques are packed away and scarves and coats come out, along with warm and heavy duvets.  Logs for the fire are bought and mulled wine stocked up on.  These are obvious changes we make as the seasons change, but internally we are also changing.  Our dietary needs change from cooling salads and drinks to warm and hearty soups and stews (and mulled wine!).

It’s a great time of year to do a short cleanse, especially if you notice a white coating on your tongue which indicates the presence of toxin build-up in your system.  This leads to malabsorption of nutrients which can be seen as a scalloped edge to the tongue.  Cracks and lines on the tongue also indicate other imbalances.  If you notice any of this on your tongue, chances are you’re in need of a cleanse to reset and balance your body before any symptoms like muscle and joint pain, fatigue, heavy limbs and brain fog set in.

fridge food

Diet is one of the 3 pillars of life, (the other 2 being Sleep and Sexual Energy). According to the Ancient Texts “one who manages these three pillars properly is guaranteed a full life span that will not be cut short by disease.”

Autumn is also a good time for a little pruning of relationships which interfere with our well-being rather than nurture us.  And are we nurturing those closest to us?  Forgiveness and making peace are great stress busters and literally relieve us of physical pain.

Rebalancing Lifestyle Guidelines

Wake up early. At least once a week, try to experience the extraordinary silence and peace to be felt at 5am. You may think it will leave you feeling tired, but the opposite is true.

21246789 - rear view of senior woman meditating in lotus position at park

Do some Yoga, Pranayama and meditation. Good yoga asanas for Autumn include the Lotus pose, Forward Bend, Backward Bend, Vajrasana (sitting on the heels), Spinal Twist, Camel, Cobra, Cow and Cat. Also, do Sun Salutations – a minimum of 12 cycles.  Finish Yoga with the Corpse Pose and relax. Gentle Alternate Nostril breathing is good following yoga postures. Then meditate for a few minutes.

 

12609948 - young man in winter concentrated looks ahead

Good autumn colours to wear are red, yellow and orange. White is also helpful.

Be sure to keep warm and dress warmly. Cover your ears on cold, blustery days with a warm hat.

Breakfast can be warm and grounding spiced oatmeal or stewed fruit (apple, dates, raisins, apricots, prunes with lovely spices like clove, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom). Feel free to add a little honey after its cooked. Yum! And it gets you in the mood for Christmas. I feel all cosy just recalling the lovely smell of it. Pop everything into a saucepan just before your shower, and when you come downstairs, its done.

dahlLunch and supper can consist of mung dahl, soups and stews or steamed/stir-fried vegetables drizzled in ghee. Basmati rice is nutritious (unlike other white rice) yet light to eat. All the foods suggested are light and easy to digest, but filling and nourishing with a low glycemic index – so it keeps you going for longer.

In the evening, swap your after dinner coffee with a comforting herbal tea like cumin-coriander-fennel tea or warming ginger-cinnamon-clove tea.

cat nap

At this time of year, an afternoon nap is welcome and vigorous exercise should be avoided. (12 rounds of sun salutations is exercise enough!)

Try to be in bed by 10pm.

Drinking a cup of warm milk (with a pinch of ginger, cardamom and nutmeg) or Chyawanprash dissolved in warm milk is ideal during the autumn season. It induces sound, natural sleep.

Basti or herbal enema is the superior way of pacifying Vata and is one of the most effective remedies for Vata-type allergies.

73511749 - pink enema on a pink background

It is both purifying and balancing. To the uninitiated it may sound like an ordeal, but it is far from that. I recommend consulting an Ayurvedic Practitioner before attempting enemas.  Please note, Basti is not the same as a colemas or colonics.  These are lightening and depleting and therefore unbalancing in nature.  Basti is deeply soothing and simultaneously nurturing and balancing to the colon. These can be done weekly during Autumn.

And… saving my favourite for last…

massageUPEERBACK

Massage is not only about relaxing, but it is also revitalising, balancing, detoxifying and anti-aging for the body.  Restorative Massage is ideal for this time of year.  Deep tissue massage is better suited to the Spring months.

Living in harmony with your body and nature makes a huge difference to your health and mental well-being.  Even if you did the minimum suggested here, you will reap the benefits for years to come.