Making Plans for 2019

kilimanjaro

As we sit around the world waiting for the bells to chime, it is often a day of contemplation. We like to think that we are going to change, we make a resolution or 2, which usually involves eating less, exercising more, and getting back to the weight that we were when we were 20, which for me is almost 35 years ago now. But let’s be honest, how many of us manage to keep those resolutions past the 1st week?

2 mornings ago I lay in bed thinking about climbing Kilimanjaro, it was a thought that would not go away. In the past year, of 2017, I have achieved some firsts. My first 10 k run, back in September, my first climb of Goatfell, the highest peak on the Isle of Arran, just off the Ayrshire coast where I live. And now I want to climb Kilimanjaro.

Over the next 20 months I plan on doing a 5k fun run most Saturdays, bagging a couple of Munros, and generally getting myself a lot fitter for it, but for now I am going to sit back and wait for the bells with a cocktail in my hand, and make plans for 2019.

What are you planning on achieving in 2018?

 

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The transformation of a Jelly Baby

Did you make any New Year Resolutions this year? Have you kept them up? Or have you failed miserably yet again to make this year, the year you change your life, yourself, your level of fitness, or any other challenge that you set yourself on 31st December year x?

Let’s be honest, we have all done it haven’t we? Promised ourselves that this year will be THE year to make the change and the difference So how are you doing?

For me, with a birthday in January, and a daughter who also has a Birthday in the first 2 weeks of the year, it was never going to be a good month to stay off the alcohol, the chocolates, the cake now was it? So we celebrate in style, and look forward to February when we can set our goals, knowing that the days are getting longer, the evenings are getting lighter, and it is oh so much easier to race round the streets after tea. And let’s be honest the promise of summer just around the corner is always a good time to think of lying on the beach, and just how are the tops of my legs going to look in my cossie this year? I probably have this thought every year, and tell myself that I will have slim thighs by June, but fail miserably. But this year is going to be different, and just what has made me get up off the couch and go and do something this year?

Well it was episode 1 of Apple Tree Yard, a psycholgical thriller that is on our TV at the moment. The main character is a post-menopausal woman who says that her physique resembles that of a Jelly Baby, and boy did that hit a chord! It was funny, but also the bitter truth, my body too is squidgy in places which resembles that of a favourite sweet.

So yesterday I set some goals.

Starting point:

Weight 11 stone/ 151 lbs

Vital Statistics  32 33 43 not so much a jelly baby as a pear drop

Resting Heart Rate 70 bpm

Exercise Nil

My goals: To run a 5 km fun run in May and a 10 km run in aid of charity in Sept. Get my weight down to 140 lbs in May and 130 lbs in Sept.

To transform this Jelly Baby into a Pear Drop, less squidgy, more hard muscle, but still sweet all the way through

Today I joined a gym and walked/jogged/ran 1 kilometre in 10 minutes 16 seconds, and got my heart rate up to 144 bpm.

challenge-change

 

 

O is for Olfactory

So, as part of the AtoZChallenge, we have so far looked at essential oils from A to M, we have discussed how to dilute and blend essential oils with a base oil, depending on the time of day you are going to use them, we have looked at marsupials in the Antipodes, but we have not yet looked at how aromatherapy works at the human level.

It is all down to our Olfactory sense. Have you heard of it? Probably not! It is our sense of smell, which is  very primitive, very definitley linked to our sense of survival, a very basic need for the species. Think about it………….! Long before we can hear or see anything, our sense of smell alerts us to something there, for us to decide whether it is safe or not. Think of the smell of gas, the smell of dog poo? How do you feel? Have you been alerted that something not nice, or even dangerous needs avoiding. So that’s how unpleasant smells, even the thought of them, can evoke an emotional response, and for some a physical one. The thought of dog poo wants to make me heave, and as far as I know there is no dog poo within at least 50 yards of me, but just the thought of that smell makes me have a physical reaction.

Now let’s look at the pleasant side of our olfactory system. Imagine that someone has just walked in the room, wearing the perfume or aftershave of your first boy/girl friend. What comes to mind? Are you suddenly reminiscing in your head of all those places you visited, the fun times you had, have you been transported back in time? That is the power of smell and the association with memory, in what is known as the limbic system, which is in the part of the brain which is referred tolfactory nerveo as the Reptilian brain. It is the most basic part of our brain, where things get processed at the very basic level. There is no logic here, as with the neo-cortex. This part of the brain is where we survive. Think early man out on the Plains, needing to keep clear of the predator that he is hunting………. hunt or be hunted. Our scent carries on the breeze long before we can be seen or heard, and we could pick up the scent of an animal too.

An essential oil has the abilty to excite and stimulate the olfactory nerve endings inside the nose, as shown in the diagram above. The receptors will be activated by the molecules of the aromatic oil, when it is wafted under the nose. It is the eddy current of the waft, not the direct sniff, which excites the nerve endings. There are 50 million or so receptors, and they are all bare nerve endings, which means there is no barrier between the outside world and the Reptilain brain via this cranial nerve. This connection to the limbic system, which is the seat of the control of emotions, may be the reason that scent can have such a powerful impact on our psyche. This makes the sense of smell the oldest and most primitive of our senses.

So next time you find yourself thinking of another time and place to the one you are in, it will be the aromas and scents that are around you, that are taking you there. Happy Smelling!

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Thank you for reading this post, which is part of the AtoZChallenge.

Blessings Joy

L is for Lavender, Lemon & Lemongrass

Lavender                      Lavandula officianals                     Keyword: Immune stimulant

This oil is probably the most well known of all the oils. It is an excellent oil to have in the first aid kit. If you have anything that stings, burns or itches, bites scratches burns, apply directly onto the area . It is  one of the few oils that can be used neat, without dilution. If you haven’t got this oil in your arsenal, I seriously suggest that you get some. Keep 1 in your kitchen, close to the cooking area, to use on those burns that so often happen when we are putting something into the oven. Keep a bottle handy to pop into the luggage when you are going away, for all those sand-fly or insect bites. Amphora Lavender

Add a few drops to the bottom sheet (to avoid the eyes on the pillow) for sleep problems. I used to use Lavender in hospital when I was on night duty. I would just place a few drops about the ward, they said that they had the best night’s sleep when I was on duty, nobody ever knew why.

Useful for all types of muscular aches and pains. Use in a compress on painful joints.

1 of the few oils that I would recommend for use with children.

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Lemon                             Citrus limonum                                     Keyword: Refreshing

This rAmphora Lemonefreshing oil is obtained from the rind of the fruit. It has a reputation for banishing veruccas and warts. It stems bleeding from wounds, I keep a bottle handy in the bathroom for when I am shaving my legs.

A good oil to use in a burner or diffuser to use with oils which are what I would refer to as medicinal. It adds some “texture” to them. Oils such as frankincense, eucalyptus, tea tree, camphor, myrrh…

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Lemongrass                       Cymbopogon citratus                                Keyword: StrengtheningAmphora Lemongrass

This oil is obtained form the wild grass, and has a distinct lemony aroma. Often used in Thai or malaysian cooking in the stick form. It is a great insect repellant, and can be used in place of citronella. If you have a dog, or like to go walking where ticks might be present, this is a great oil to add to a lotion and smoother yourself before going out. In Scotland we have midges, which although don’t carry any disease as far as I am aware, can be annoying and bite some people. Lemongrass is good for keeping them away. Candles with lemongrass or citronella are often found for use in the garden, for the same reason.

Not to be used on children of any age.

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I is for Intention

This past weekend I have had the absolute priviledge to hear Dr Sondra Barrett PhD speak about the Intelligence of our Cells. If you have an interest in health and healing and want to know what is going on at a cellular level, I suggest you take a look at this lady’s work. She has taken some wonderful photographs of our cells, this is just 1 example.Strings of Our Cells

It was fascinating, and has set me on a mission to do some work with Sondra if she will accept my offer to work in collaboration together. I don’t want to say too much at this point, but I am stating an intention, so watch this space.

 

Blessings Joy

 

E is for Everyday Use

For the past 23 years ever since I qualified as an aromatherapist in 1993, it has been a part of my daily life. I would like to give you an idea of how I have used it in the past, and how I use it now.

Morning Ritual:

Shower using a base shower gel with the added essential oils grapefruit, basil & neroli. Basil and grapefruit are for waking me up, whilst neroli is for mananging the stress of the day.

Wash hair with base shampoo with added rosemary, neroli and orange. Orange can be quite strong for use on the skin, but I like to smell of it on my hair.

Body Lotion: Apply body lotion base lotion with added Rose and Frankincense. As a lady of slightly more maturer years I use Frankincese and Rose, which is a classic combination for the mature skin. When I qualified 23 years ago, I would have used Rose Geranium as it was a great way of keeping PMT under control. I went through the menopause with very little in the way of symptoms.

Foot Lotion In a jar of coconut oil I have added tea-tree and hyssop oil to use on my feet. As someone who is on their feet all day in the clinic, Athlete's foot remedyI find that this blend is lovely for keeping my feet feeling and smelling fresh, and keeps the athlete’s foot at bay.

Burner When I get to work, in the Chiropractic clinic I will use the burner to keep the place smelling nice, and to keep the bugs at bay. I will use the anti-bacterial, anti-viral essential oils such as Ti-tree, Eucalyptus or Cajuput, which are all quite medicinal in aroma, to these I will add a citrus oil, such as Lemon, orange or Lemongrass. I might also include a herb to this such as Rosemary or Basil.

When I get back home for the evening I will often light the burner to cover up the smells of the tea cooking. May Chang is wonderful for this.

Bath Relaxing in a bath at the end of the day is a wonderful way to leave the day behind and relax for the evening, and get ready for sleep. Some essential oils are not really suitable for adding to the bath as I found out for myself, when I noticed that my skin was burning from the orange that I had added to the running bath water. Now I use oils such as Lavendar, Rose, Chamomile, Ylang-ylang. E is for Everyday use-2

Meditation Several evenings a week I will spend an hour or so meditating and praying whilst having a burner lit and using sacred oils such as frankincense, spikenard, myrhh or patchouli along with a citrus oil.

Massage If I am in luck my husband will offer to massage my back before we go to sleep. Then in a base oil I will add Jasmine or Rose. Try it for yourself 😉

Amphora Aromatherapy essential Oils available here:

Good Friday Fast

For several years now, for no real reason other than it is a day that I do not work in the clinic, I have fasted, on Good Friday. I am now beginning to discover the health benefits of fasting, and would like to share them with you.

Every religion has references to fasting, we have probably all  heard of Ramadan, the Muslim religious observance which includes fasting, as part of the ritual, but were you aware of the references to fasting in the Bible? In Matthew 6 v 16, Jesus says “When you fast”. Let’s take a look at that again. “When” not “If” but when, so Jesus was saying when, like I might say “When you lift, bend your knees” I know that my clients will lift, so it not if, but when.  So early Christians were expected to include fasting in their lives.So is there any benefit to your health, in fasting?

Well studies are now showing that there are many benefits both physical and mental to going without food for a sustained time. Let’s see why:

This TED talk is by Mark Mattson. He is the current Chief of the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Ageing. He is also a professor of Neuroscience at The Johns Hopkins University. Mattson is one of the foremost researchers in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and Motor Neurone Disease (MND) or ALS. In this video he explains how fasting, boosts brain power and therefore protects us from these diseases.

In this video Mattson explains how pathways in the nervous tissue, called synapses are improved when there are ketones in the body. Ketones are the product of body fat breakdown, which happens when we fast.

Researchers from the University of Southern California in LA say that fasting for a prolonged period of time, for 2-4 consecutive days, helps to promote immune system regeneration and protects against immune system damage.

Over time, the body’s immune cells become worn out and this lowers their functioning levels. It was thought in the past that there was not a lot that could be done, other than stem cell treatment, but it has been observed, in mice and humans, that when mammals fast, the number of white blood cells decrease, and the result is that the body then “recycles” the old immune cells and triggers the production of new cells to replace them. So periodic fasting actually trips some method of regeneration in the body, to stimulate blood and immune cells generation.

When you fast, or starve, the body needs to save energy, and 1 of the things it can do is remove damaged cells from circulation. Then when you feed the body again, it replaces the old cells that have been removed. This has implications on auto-immune diseases, which have previously been viewed as incurable, but by fasting and triggering the production of new immune cells, fasting may help people who are suffering with these conditions.
The Best Thing I've done

It is also extremely useful in cancer sufferers, when the immune system is ravaged by treatment. Fasting would encourage a whole new immune system to be generated.I think if any of my close friends or family were diagnosed with cancer this would be my first line of treatment, rather than the poison burning and scarring that our health service offers in the way of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. One of my friends on social media treated herself for many years using diet and a change in mental attitude to beat the diagnosis she had been given. Should I ask her to do a guest blog on it?

Whilst researching for this post, I came across Biblical references to lifespans in the Old Testament. Pre flood lifespans were recorded as 900+years, Adam lived till he was 930 (Genesis 5:5) but six generations later, Abraham died at only 175. What happened in those intervening years to affect the life expectancy so much? Well that will be anlother blog I think. It is now 36 hours since I last ate, so I think it is time for Break-Fast! Have a lovely Easter everybody.

Easter Blessings to you all!

Joy