summer blues

The Importance of Stillness

Many of us, mistakenly, think that we are much more productive if we are constantly doing something. That doing something and getting things done means that we have accomplished something and that this is the key to true success. Although there is some truth to this, constantly doing something is NOT the key to our success nor productivity.

 

Believe it or not, the real key to success and productivity is being able to balance doing with stillness.

 

And why is stillness so important?

  1. Stillness is a time to relax your mind and body. By constantly doing non-stop, you are stressing your mind and body, unnecessarily. That, in the long run, will wear you out. This kind of exhaustion will lead you to frustration, anger or resentment.

Instead, when you give your mind and body a moment to relax, it is in this moment that both are recharging its batteries so that you can be more productive.

 

As your mind and body are recharging….

  1. Stillness allows you to get into a state of meditation. When you can quiet your mind of all the worries and concerns of the world, it is then that you can put yourself in a state of meditation.

It is in a state of meditation that you can sometimes get the answers to the questions you have been asking. It is in a state of meditation that you get your great ideas. It is in a state of meditation that you can heighten your senses, allowing you to enjoy the present moment.

 

Because of all this….

  1. Stillness allows you to transition to your higher self. When we allow ourselves to get caught up in the everyday petty things, this is when we disengage from our higher self.

When we disengage from our higher self, this is when we react rather than respond to situations. This is when we forget who we are, forget our potential, forget our dreams and drown ourselves in a sea of worries, anxiety, problems and frustration- none of which we were designed to experience on a consistent basis.

 

It is very important to always return to our higher self. Our higher self is love, happiness and powerful.

 

Because stillness allows us to return to our higher self, we have the following effect…

  1. Stillness returns us to a place of joy. Whether we realize it or not, joy exists in the present moment. I have learned, from personal experience, that when we wait for a future event in order to be happy, we feel misery in the present moment, thus robbing our joy. When we keep thinking about a past event in order to feel happy, it reminds us of what we don’t have anymore, thus robbing our joy.

 

This is why joy can only truly be experienced in the present moment. Stillness returns us to joy by quieting our mind, which takes us to a meditative state, which allows us to transition to our higher self, which expands our awareness to the now. Because now is all we have.

 

Because of all that stillness can do for us, it’s important to schedule time for stillness every day. This is NOT a luxury; it is a necessity for your mental, emotional, spiritual and physical well-being.


Aura Elena Martinez is a Wellness and Life Coach, Blogger and Writer, owner and founder of Live to the Max™/Viva al máximo™, who encourages others to live their fullest in every way, the way they are meant to be.

To be inspired or to contact Aura, visit http://www.auraemartinez.com/ or you can follow her on Twitter https://twitter.com/AuraEMartinez, you can also follow her online radio show at https://blogtalkradio.com/AuraEMartinez  or you can follow on Instagram @AuraEMartinez.

How Artificial Blue Light Affects the Body

You may know that blue light naturally comes from the sun and is what makes the sky appear blue. Blue light is a short, but high energy, a wavelength that gives us energy and controls our sleep cycle. But did you know that artificial blue light that is emitted from digital devices is a lot stronger than the natural and can be harmful to the body? With laptops, cellphones, tablets, and even LED lights being a part of our daily lives, humans are seeing a huge increase in the exposure to blue light, beginning to understand some of the negative effects it has on the body, and how to avoid them.

Digital eye strain: Digital eye strain is a term coined by The Vision Council to explain the range of symptoms that one may feel with extended or simultaneous use of digital devices that affect vision and quality of life. The symptoms you may experience are dry eyes, blurry vision, headaches, and even neck and back pain. Think of all of the times during the day you may use your computer or phone – work, research, school, shopping, and browsing social media. Spending just two hours a day looking at your screen can cause blue light to affect you. While 43% of adults have a full-time job that requires a computer or tablet and a 2014 survey found that nearly 12% percent of teens report using their computers for four or more hours a day. Understanding digital eye strain is key to understanding the effects that blue light has on other areas of the body as well.

What can you do? To help reduce the symptoms you may feel from digital eye strain, try to filter and block the blue light around you. Apps like f.lux match the brightness and warmth of your computer screen to the lighting of the room you’re in to reduce strain on the eyes. You can also invest in blue light glasses to help filter out the wavelength from reaching your eyes to reduce dry eyes, blurry vision, and headaches.

The sleep cycle: Because blue light is a high energy wavelength that is emitted from the sun, it has controlled the sleep cycle for years. Blue light indicates to the brain when to release cortisol, the hormone that helps you feel awake, and the absence of blue light helps produce melatonin to help you sleep. With the introduction of LED light bulbs and electronics, that cycle is becoming disrupted because blue light is stopping melatonin from being released, making it harder to fall and stay asleep. There are a ton of negative side effects to the body when we don’t get enough sleep, such as heart disease, low libido, depression, memory loss, and even weight gain.

What can you do? Sleep is vital to our health, to help yourself steer clear of blue light before bedtime, there are a few things you can do. Firstly, remove the LED bulbs from your bedroom so that isn’t the last light you’re exposed to before wanting to go to sleep. Try to avoid using your phone and television at least an hour before bed; to help wind down, read a book, listen to music, or meditate. If you can’t abstain from using your phone, turn on the night mode that comes equipped with most smartphones now. This will dim the brightness on your phone and remind you when it’s time to go to bed at a time set by you.

Premature aging of your skin: Although research is still ongoing, dermatologists have found that blue light affects the skin similarly to other light rays like UV rays. Looking at your screen and extended use of your phone next to your face while you’re talking on it can cause hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, redness, and worsened elasticity. Just like the other ways, it affects the body, blue light’s high energy can cause the skin to produce more pigment. Plus, when we don’t get enough sleep (which we’ve learned can happen due to blue light exposure!) our skin suffers from dehydration and lack of cell regeneration.

What can you do? With new research on the effects of blue light on our skin coming out regularly now, skincare brands are providing products to help boost elasticity and reduce hyperpigmentation. Look into moisturizers that protect against blue light, UV rays, and even pollution like this one to protect yourself and nourish your skin.

Natural and artificial blue light is a part of our everyday lives but anything in excess isn’t always good for you. With increasing exposure to artificial blue light, digital eye strain, sleep deprivation, and aging skin are just some of the negative effects you may be suffering from. No matter how you feel blue light may be affecting your body, it’s important to protect against these symptoms to be healthy and feel your best.

acupuncture myth and truth

9 Questions about Acupuncture that you keep asking yourself

Acupuncture is a complete system of complementary medicine dating back thousands of years to ancient China.  It is used to alleviate pain and provide relief from a wide range of physical and emotional health issues. Acupuncture involves inserting a fine needle into the skin at specific parts of the body.   Acupuncture is now widely practiced throughout the world, and is seen as a safe and gentle therapy that can be used on its own or as an effective adjunct therapy alongside mainstream medicine.

Barbara Poczyniak - Darou Wellness

I’m Barbara Poczyniak R.Ac, a Registered Acupuncturist practicing in Toronto Canada. I practice Traditional Acupuncture, based on Chinese Medicine.  I work alongside other health practitioners at Darou Wellness Integrative Health, and also at my private practice Vital Bloom Wellness. I love answering questions about Acupuncture, and hope this will be useful for those seeking more information.

 1 Acupuncture: Why would anyone want to have hundreds of needles piercing their body?

Unlike what you may have seen in the movies – an acupuncture treatment rarely, if ever, uses hundreds of needles.  The most commonly used treatment styles will utilize anywhere from a couple of needles up to 25 – 30 or so. There are well over 400 standard acupuncture points, but well trained acupuncturists know which ones to use effectively for each individual treatment.  Acupuncture needles may be placed at different points on the body, including: feet, hands, limbs, torso, back, ears, scalp and face. Acupuncture points are chosen based on an acupuncture prescription determined by the goal of each treatment.

2 Why not just use regular medicine; what does acupuncture offer that mainstream medicine doesn’t?

Acupuncture offers effective benefits alongside mainstream medicine. Did you know that many doctors are now recommending acupuncture to their patients as a safe, drug-free method of pain and stress relief?  Studies have shown that acupuncture can help increase blood circulation by enhancing micro-circulation. It can help to relieve muscle tension, as well as help the body reduce inflammation.  Research indicates that acupuncture can help calm and balance the nervous system; as well as help increase the body’s release of endorphins. It can also help reduce the body’s over-production of stress hormones such as cortisol.  Acupuncture is commonly used in conjunction with mainstream medicine, for instance as an aid to faster recovery after surgery or to help deal with unwanted side effects of chemotherapy.

3 I hope I don’t catch anything with those needles. You know we live in the age of Hepatitis and HIV?

Needles are sterile, single use needles that are disposed of as medical waste.  They are not re-usable on other patients, or even for continuing treatments on the same patient.  Registered Acupuncturists are knowledgeable in Clean Needle Technique as part of their extensive training. As licensed professionals they must also follow the safety and sanitation guidelines required by their licensing boards.

4 Why do I need to see a registered acupuncturist when I can go to a Chinese place where they do the same?

Registered Acupuncturist are licensed professionals that are board-certified and have undergone rigorous licensing examinations.  Most Acupuncture education in North America is at least 3 years or longer of full time studies.  Comprehensive education programs include anatomy, physiology and pathology of mainstream medicine as well as the philosophy of Chinese medicine and the acupuncture system.  Due to these strict guidelines in many areas of the USA and Canada, practicing Acupuncture without a license is often no longer permitted.  In fact, it may be that the Chinese place probably has their very own Registered Acupuncturists on staff.

5 Does insurance cover acupuncture expenses (USA and Canada)?

Insurance coverage for Acupuncture can vary widely throughout the USA and Canada.  In general it is not part of government covered health benefits.  In Canada, it is not yet covered under any of the provincial government health plans.  Many third party insurance plans do include Acupuncture treatments by a Registered Acupuncturist.  If in doubt, please check with your insurance company.  If it is not yet included and you would like it to be, contact your insurer to tell them so.  In many cases, private insurance coverage is based on demand and as more clients ask for acupuncture coverage this may change what is included.

6 How long does an acupuncture treatment last and how painful is it?

An acupuncture treatment typically includes a brief consultation as well as the treatment.  If it is a first visit, the consultation will likely be a bit longer in order to cover in-depth health history and treatment goals. Subsequent visits usually include a brief follow-up on how you are feeling since last treatment. Your practitioner will then insert the needles and give you between 20-50 minutes to relax.  On average the time the needles are retained is about 30 minutes.

Acupuncture needles are very thin, about the width of a cat’s whisker.  There may be a slight feeling on the skin during the initial insertion, but it is usually not sharp or very painful.  Once the needles are inserted, the practitioner may briefly manipulate them in order to stimulate the acupuncture point.  It is not uncommon to feel certain sensations such as a slight tingle, heaviness, warmth or even a gentle throbbing at the acupuncture point, or in areas near it. This may be momentary. If acupuncture is done properly by an experienced practitioner it should not be painful and the feeling of discomfort should be at a minimum.

7 What are the side effects?

Negative side effects of acupuncture can sometimes be slight bruising at the site of needling.  This often fades in a few days.  Acupuncturists are very careful not to cause a bruise.  If you are prone to bruising easily, please inform your acupuncturist prior to treatment.  Patients must also inform their practitioner if they are pregnant or actively trying to become pregnant, as there are certain acupuncture points that are not used during pregnancy.

Regardless of the reason for seeking out treatment, one of the best positive side effects of acupuncture is a relaxed, settled feeling – usually after even one treatment.  With ongoing treatments patients usually also report the ‘happy side effects’ of better sleep, improved digestion and a better handle on stress management.

8 What would you say the top 3 illnesses are that acupuncture cures?

Acupuncture is an effective treatment for many physical and emotional conditions, but it cannot claim to cure any particular disease.  Acupuncture can work to relieve the symptoms of a condition but also (and perhaps more importantly) it addresses the root of the imbalance that is causing the condition to happen in the first place. Essentially it looks to treat “the root” of what is causing an illness.  For this reason it can often work very well for conditions that mainstream medicine does not have an easy way to treat effectively.  Unlike many medications, it does not come with any major side effects.  It also views and treats the body as a whole system, rather than just as a set of parts and symptoms.

 9 Please debunk 3 myths about acupuncture.

Myth: Acupuncture is a placebo.

Myth Debunked: Acupuncture has not yet been explained completely – therefore many skeptics claim it can only be a placebo.  Its important to know that animals have long been successfully treated with acupuncture. Unlike humans, they are not aware of placebos.  It is common for prize winning racehorses to get acupuncture from their veterinarians.  Pets and zoo animals can also get acupuncture from vets, often when other treatment options are not working. If acupuncture can work for animals, that can hardly be considered placebo?

Myth: You have to keep coming in “forever”. 

Myth Debunked:  Acupuncture does not claim to be an ‘instant fix’.  If an illness or injury is acute it may be resolved in only a few visits. But if a condition is chronic and has been going on for years, it may take months of ongoing acupuncture treatments to see major changes.  Like with anything else it takes some commitment for it to work.  However, once a patient’s condition is stable they do not have to keep coming for treatment.  Usually an occasional ‘maintenance’ visit may be enough, if at all.

Myth: Acupuncture is not real medicine, it is just made up and you can put the needles anywhere.

Myth Debunked:  Acupuncture is based on a very detailed view of how the body, mind and spirit work.

The intricate philosophy of body systems, acupuncture point locations and functions have been studied, tested and discussed over several thousand years.  There is a huge body of literature put together by experts, both ancient and living masters that have documented many thousands of case studies. There are currently numerous ongoing studies on acupuncture and new discoveries are constantly being made to help validate this ancient art and science.

whole world in her hand - live your life

A Life Coach’s Guide to Living by Choice not by Chance

Each day we make choices that influence our pace and quality of life, and many of these are unconscious. While it’s a good thing we don’t have to think about every little choice we make, when it comes to creating a whole, fulfilled, balance between work-related activities and the rest-of-our-life activities… it’s a good idea to wake up and smell the proverbial coffee. Otherwise, we can find ourselves living with the effect of our choices such as feeling overwhelmed, stressed, unhealthy, or out of control.

making choices

“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”-Nelson Mandela

This is not about right or wrong, good or bad. I believe there are no mistakes, simply lessons learned. Living by choice, not by chance requires us to take responsibility for our own life. We get to choose if our experiences will be a sentence, paragraph, page or a chapter(s) in our life’s story.

So let’s get started…shall we?

blackline

Do the following calculation:

  • Subtract your current age from 90
  • Add two zeros to the answer
  • Divide that number in two

*This is roughly how many weeks you have left on this Earth, assuming you live to a very ripe old age.

If you smoke and don’t look after yourself properly, subtract 1,200 weeks.

It’s time to live by choice, not by chance. Here’s how:

LET GO: Release those people, places and things that no longer serve you. You have the power to forgive an apology you never received, past hurts that keep you resentful, and folks that drain your energy. Let go. Start anew.

CHECKLIST of things to let go:

  • Toxicity
  • Clutter
  • Blocks
  • Negativity
  • Comparison
  • Need to Please
  • Distractions
  • Old Belief System
  • Anger/Resentment
  • Ego

QUESTION: If not now, when?

ACTION: Let go of something that no longer serves you Continue reading

From Four Insulin Shots per Day to None: Tips I Used – Book Review

From Four Insulin Shots per Day to None: Tips I used

AuthorTracie Cheadle is a Health & Wellness coach.

“In this short read, I included tips I used to help lower my A1C and eliminate insulin altogether. I cannot guarantee that you will have the same results but I can guarantee that you will have positive results.” – Tracie Headle

Purpose: Tracie aims to provide information that can help diabetics control their diabetes and live a healthier life. She based the book on her own experience as a diabetic. Tracie strongly believes that the body can heal itself if you take care of it and challenges you to make up your mind and follow the tips in her book.

The Motivation Behind the Book

In 2012, Travie was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and hyperthyroidism. She had a blood glucose level of 600. In denial, she didn’t know that her diet was causing her body to shut down.

“At first, he couldn’t tell me whether I had type 1 or type 2 diabetes. I feared type 1 because I knew that I would have to give myself shots. The next day I anxiously awaited his visit. He confirmed my worst fear. He told me that I had type-1 diabetes. I have always hated needles and SHOTS!” – Tracie Heald

After months of using insulin, which her body didn’t take so well, she changed her lifestyle and was intrigued at how her body responded to the changes in her diet. Today, her mission is to help others through information and consultation. She has included the tips that she used to help her go from four insulin shots per day to none.

From Four Insulin Shots Per Day to None

Continue reading

eating disorder helpline

Holistic Body Love – Your Secret Weapon Against Eating Disorder

Bonus Article

In honor of the Eating Disorders Awareness Week (Feb 1 -7), I wanted to share with you my message and story of recovery from ” disordered eating”, in hopes of inspiring you to deepen your own sense of health, wellness, balance, and self-love.

The 5 Realms of Holistic Body Love

self love

Holistic Body Love to me, is about being in a healthy relationship with yourself in five important realms of life: mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually & socially.

Let’s define these five areas:

  1. Mental: This is our self-talk, what it is we say to ourselves about ourselves. Ideally, we want to be engaging in positive self-talk significantly more than negative self-talk.
  2. Emotional: This is the way we feel about ourselves, and the ability to regulate one’s own emotions well. The way we think about ourselves leads to how we feel about ourselves.
  3. Physical: This involves our physical body, not in appearance, but rather with the health condition of our body. For example, a strong immune system, organs that function well, a body that’s well nourished with nutrients, a body that has abundant energy to thrive.
  4. Spiritual: This area can have multiple meanings. For some, it would be one’s own ability to tune into their intuitive wisdom. For others, it may be their connection with a Higher Power. Essentially, it is the ability to see the bigger picture and connect with sacred aspects of life, so that life has fulfillment through deeper meaning and purpose.
  5. Social: We are social creatures at the very core of us, meaning we all need a connection with people to heal. We are influenced every day by relationships and dynamics in our home, work, school, and  life environments.

I see that having a balance in these five realms can help us feel more present, grounded, and empowered in who we are as an individual, and in the various roles we take on. Continue reading

Are supplements safe

Before You Ever Buy Supplements Again – Revisited

There are over  54,000 dietary supplements in the U.S. alone claiming to help you gain muscle mass, lose weight or boost your immune system. Have you been wasting money on supplements that in reality do absolutely nothing for you?

If you are currently using supplements or are planning to do so in the future then I suggest  you continue reading.

Are Supplements Safe?

Anything that is properly regulated must be safe right? Wrong! We all know that  medicine has very strict regulations and yet sometimes  these same medicines cause harm to the person using them.

Take thalidomide for instance which was used as a cure for morning sickness. It actually caused about 20,000 birth defects.

Now it is a fact  that supplement regulation is a joke compared to  medicine regulation, so judge for yourself. Continue reading