Invigorate your body with hydrotherapy

Invigorate your body with hydrotherapy

What is Hydrotherapy?

Detoxifying Treatments

This article is part of the symbol that deals with detoxifying body treatments

 

In essence, hydrotherapy describes a way to cure or invigorate your body via all kinds of water therapies.

This could be extra warm or cold water or a combination of both.

This is not a new concept. The Egyptian pharaohs and priests used hydrotherapy to their advantage. They also added perfumed oils to the water.
The Romans used it in the form of public baths, where ‘heated water’ caused a ‘steam bath’.

Hippocrates advocated a bath in a cold spring to invigorate the spirit and to harden the body and strengthen the immune response.

Over the centuries bathing in hot springs or ‘taking to the waters’ was a natural way of curing many ailments. One man has taken this principle even further and he was called Sebastian Kneipp (1821-1897)

He was the son of a poor weaver with an early ambition to become a priest. This was quite an uphill struggle for a poos weaver’s son. Kneipp studied so hard that it took a toll on his health and he suffered from lung problems.

One day he read a book about hydrotherapy and decided to cure himself with this knowledge. After recovering his full health,  he experimented with many methods and finally published a book that explained all this knowledge involving water therapies and plant medicine.

How can you use hydrotherapy at home?

Here are a few tips. Kneipp saw strengthening the immune system and cleansing the blood and bowl as the pillars of a healthy body.
Varying cold and warm water, helps the blood to circulate and get rid of toxins.

It is important that you don’t feel cold when you start this program. If you do, have a hot shower first.

Exercise 1: Walking barefoot for a couple of minutes on a morning lawn, even in the winter. This sounds absurd at first, but it is cheap, easy, and invigorates your whole body. It is important to warm up your feet immediately after the walk with a hot water bottle or warm socks.

Exercise 2: Another method is walking in cold water. Take a big bucket of cold water (you could also do this in the bath, but make sure it is not slippery) and walk like a stork (one foot in the water, the other leg with knees bend and outside the water. Walk for a minute or two, alternating. This helps with tired feet, headaches, feeling tired, and helping you with better sleep. Again, warm your feet up after the exercise.

Exercise 3: Start your day with this exercise for good circulation, good sleep, and tired legs. When you are in the shower, turn the temperature down to 18 degrees (like a cold swimming pool) and with a hand shower direct the stream onto the little toe on the left leg, move the showerhead up the leg, over the knee to the middle of the thigh and stay there, counting to 3. Then move the stream down again, this time in the line of the big toe. Repeat with the other leg and warm up the legs.

Exercise 4: Take a bucket of cold water and put it on a table. Take a seat and immerse your hand and arms (up to chest height) into the cold water. Leave for up to a minute or until you feel very cold. Take them out and warm up with a warm towel and the jumper. This will strengthen your heart and will make up feel alert and alive.

There are many more exercises to choose from but start with these 4 ones. They are all quick and cheap to do. But you need to do it over some time to experience the real benefits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alkaline food and herbs

Alkaline food and herbs

planting, gathering and using herbs

HERBS AND GREEN VEGETABLES HELP YOU TO KEEP YOUR BODY ALKALINE

 

Only a few decades ago, the perceived wisdom was to eat predominantly a plant-based diet with the odd meat dish thrown in. This way of eating ensures that our bodies maintain a healthy acid-alkaline balance which is so important for a healthy life. 

In recent times,  we eat an ever-increasing amount of acid-forming foods. These include sugar, meat, and dairy products. All of them cause a build-up of mucus and chronic inflammations. Over time this can lead to serious health problems. The main culprits are de-naturalized, processed foods. A constant overload of these acidic-forming foods can cause cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

The good news is that changing over to an alkaline diet is not difficult and will help you to prolong your health. It can even reverse diseases in the early stages – that is if you act early enough. Just stopping or reducing acid-forming produce for a while will help the body to ‘cure itself’.

What is ‘chronic inflammation’?

‘Acute inflammation’ is essential and a natural way for our bodies to fight infections. The problem starts when this state of  inflammation is never ‘turned off’. Then the body produces additional mucus and eventually, the body’s immune response is compromised and it starts to attack its own healthy cells. This is called chronic inflammation.

What is the optimum level of ph?
The optimum ph level is 7.4.  Ph stands for ‘potential hydrogen and is the ability of molecules to attract hydrogen ions. 1 is the lowest ph level (and the most acidic one) and 14 is the highest and most alkaline level. A ph of 7 is neutral, so you could say that a healthy body is neutral to slightly alkaline.

When we eat an overload of acidic food the body will release alkaline elements, such as the calcium in the bones to keep the blood at a healthy 7.4 ph. But if the food intake is constantly over-acidic, then there is a cutoff point to what the body can do and disease is the result.
So it is very important to re-balance the body’s ph level from time to time.

Rebalancing the ph level

One way to do this is to drink a lot of water or herbal teas, all of which are neutral to slightly alkaline. In contrast, all fruit juices, black tea, coffee, sodas are acidic.
I find the best way to rebalance the body is to drink lemon water in the morning. Lemons are very alkaline (and not acidic) and they can balance your ph level in a short period of time. Here is how to do this. 

Another way is to switch for a while from animal protein to plant-based protein such as beans, pulses and wholegrain legumes.
Leave out any milk products and swap out for plant-based milk and cheese varieties.
If you use oils, choose olive, grapeseed or coconut oil and avoid sugar as much as possible.

Herbs in all shapes and forms are alkaline. So drink plenty of herbal teas – they have varying benefits, cleanse and support your immune system.
Here are some of the best for this purpose:
Fennel, chamomile, ginger, raspberry, mint and nettle.

Here is also a link to the series – cooking with herbs – Just type this search function in the blog search box 

 

To find out more about LWTM and holistic lifestyle planning please  download our freebies 

 

 

 

 

The holistic approach to weight management

The holistic approach to weight management

Liquid Fast Day     This article is for all of you who struggle to lose weight or have become eternal yo-yo dieters. 

In 2005 I conducted a small ‘diet trial’ in which I asked people to rotate their food intake and finish off with a ‘Liquid fast day’. At the time the 5:2 diet and intermittent fasting had not even entered the mainstream. But I had always thought it sensible to rotate food and add fasting to the mix. But such a program had to be easy to follow and take little time and no fuss.

After some research, I came up with a  food rotation program inspired by the Biodynamic calendar. I figured, so many civilizations had used this before and I wanted to find out if this method was still effective.

The trial run went well and afterwards I gave everybody a simple questionnaire and debriefed them by phone. All participants reported feeling more aware of the food they were eating, most of them slept better and everybody reported much better energy levels. Which you would of course expect when you eat healthily.

But what stood out the most was how easy many of my tester found it to keep to the varied diet. Many reported it eliminated the eternal question of  – what shall I eat/cook today and it was easy to plan ahead.

This step is really important as in order to keep a healthy weight you need to find a way to progressively change your dietary habits. A week of calorie counting will not work.

When you look up and down the internet the advice is simple: Eat a healthy diet, exercise, and count your calories. Yet we see obesity levels as never before.

At first glance it is not bad advice, but how come so few people can follow it. Because it comes from a completely false premise.

I always advised not to stress about calories or weight. Stay relaxed about this and concentrate on eating seasonal, good-quality produce that is organically grown. Food should be freshly prepared and eaten in good company.

Looking around me I noticed people who don’t care too much about their actual weight but do care a lot about eating good quality, preferably home-made food, are on average slimmer than people who fuss about calories and permanently seem to be on some kind of ‘diet’. Fortunately, science has very recently found a way to back up this observation.

Remember –  You are what you eat.  That is totally correct. But as we are all different,  it follows that we all also need to eat differently.

What makes us so different from each other? 

For a start, we all have different circadian rhythms, and most importantly, everyone’s gut’s microbiome varies. 

Inside us live millions of little microbes, mainly situated in the large intestine. They can weigh up to 2kg and are responsible for what kind of food we crave, how easy or hard we find it to lose weight, and even our mindset and mood swings.

An embryo develops in a largely sterile womb. But as soon as the baby is born,  microbes start to populate it and build up over time. So it is really important to expose your children to all kinds of foods and let them play in non-sterile environments. Children digging with bare hands in the vegetable garden don’t die. But children growing up in overly bleached homes who are given antibiotics for every little ailment end up with a largely compromised gut flora. This can eventually lead to all kinds of allergies and health problems. Add a sedentary lifestyle and a diet of overly processed food and you have the perfect storm. Once the microbiome has completely changed, it can be really hard to lose weight and a cycle of eternal fruitless diet attempts is the result.

The Biodynamic way of life always stressed the interconnectedness between the soil and the food we eat. Again many artificial fertilizers and pest control get rid of the microbes in our soil and leave our gut like a wasteland which is easily colonized by the sugar-craving ‘bad bacteria’ and so the vicious circle continues.

Next time you think about ‘going on a diet’, the first step is to sort out your cupboard and stock up with fresh, seasonal vegetables. But – and that is very important- don’t change your diet in one sweeping step. This will never work.  Your gut flora needs time to get used to your new diet. This can only happen very slowly and over time. So it is not a swooping step, rather a gentle nudge in the right direction and then a persistent plan to follow on.

If your current diet consists of mostly ready-made meals, please don’t stop eating them. Just introduce 1 freshly cooked, healthy meal per week. That’s all. Once this feels effortless, make it 2 and slowly 3. And over time you will have cleaned up your diet, but more importantly, you will have given your gut microbiome time to adapt and endorse your new way of eating.

Believe it or not, once you live with freshly cooked, healthy meals you will struggle to eat greasy ready-made meals as your gut flora has now changed and will now crave this ‘new diet’ (meaning here the food we eat and not a term for losing weight).

Finally, try to add in some fasting days. This can be very hard at first, but please do persevere. Again this habit needs to be built up slowly. If you have never done this before, please follow a good program.

Once you have listened to your body and have found your own individual food program, you will be able to keep your weight forever- with no stress and drama.

If you have never heard of ‘microbiome’ here are 2 useful videos from Kings College, London where Prof Tim Spector led much of its research program.

1.Discovery of the microbiome                                2. Microbes, diet and health  

For more information about LWTM and holistic lifestyle planning pleas  download our freebies 

 

 An Introduction to LWTM

 

A time for healing

A time for healing

Finding Balance

 THIS SYMBOL REPRESENTS HEALING & HAPPINESS 

 

I recently had so many inquiries about healing-related subjects. So I decided to make  HEALING – TOPIC OF THIS MONTH. As we can all do with an ‘extra dose of healing’ right now. 

Although Living With The Moon is all about practical advice, I have many books and recipes left from my grandmother which deal with healing, mostly for preventative medical care. Of course, physical health is very important. This year showed us more than ever how we take our health for granted and that just a few changes can cause mayhem with our lives.

But I also want to include emotional and mental healing. This is sadly still seen as a bit of a taboo subject. When somebody openly admits that they find their current situation difficult to cope with – it could be because of love problems, a bereavement, work stress (including lack of work), children, menopause, etc. – whatever the reason, it is not taken as seriously as if you fall down and break your leg or have a bruised arm. Because physically harm is visible, emotional harm is not! But the hurt is the same.

The Ancient Chinese tradition saw doctors as ‘keepers of health’ rather than ‘fixers of health’. A respected doctor had happy, healthy clients, not sick ones. The main aspect of the doctor’s work was preventative. When the body started to display minor signs, like feeling unwell, insomnia, tensions, headaches, spots and so on, the doctor cured these early signs with herbal remedies, acupuncture, massages, cupping, meditation and exercise.

Traditional Chinese doctors believed that the body is full of life energy, also called Qi (pronounced chi). If it is in perfect flow, we are happy and healthy. However, if it gets stagnant and is blocked then problems appear. At first, these are subtle. But when not resolved and neglected over time, these can turn into full-blown diseases. This works for the body and mind alike.

Like early Western medicine, the Ancient Chinese medicine connected our bodies to the surrounding energy of the universe – a mantra I keep repeating as it comes up again and again in every civilization that I have studied.

So what can we do to keep our bodies in an energetic balance and to keep happy and healthy?

The answer is simple, but not simplistic!

  • A healthy body (good, nutritious food, enough sleep, a healthy weight, looking after your appearance)
  • A peaceful, calm environment to live in (garden, home, neigbhourhood)
  • A happy relationship, friendships, and harmony within your wider family
  • A career that fulfills you and financial stability
  • A spiritually fulfilled life. A belief (which could be religion, but does not have to be) that is about leaving a legacy and bringing extra harmony/joy/charity/conservation to the world. In short, you want to leave the world in a better place than you found it.

These are the fundamental pillars of a holistic lifestyle and I will soon introduce you to new LWTM lifestyle planning guide I am currently working on.

As my lovely husband always says – Something to do, someone to love, and something to look forward to! Make sure that you always have these three in your life!

 An Introduction to LWTM

Please click this link to find out more about LWTM and holistic lifestyle planning and  download our freebies 

 

 

 

The importance of resting

The importance of resting

    The best cure for the body is a quiet mind Napoleon Bonaparte Everybody would accept that after a long run you need to sit down and rest your leg muscles. But when it comes to the brain – the hardest working muscle in the body – we never consider resting. Our poor brains are always ‘on’. Remembering, learning, sorting, controlling all processes of the body. Even during the night, our brain is sorting through experiences of the last waking period, sorting and filing problems and memories away. That is why we often have such weird dreams.  
 

 Lack of sleep  

With all these activities, it is no wonder that on average the brain consumes around a fifth of our daily calorie intake. During sleep, the brain instructs the organs to get rid of toxins that have built up during the day.  However, a lack of sleep means that some toxins will remain trapped in the organs and over time this can cause harm.  If you suffer from sleep deprivation for a few days or even weeks, the body is able to compensate. But if you consistently deprive yourself of well-needed sleep it can come to health problems. Think of the brain as it was a  big computer. Without rest, the brain gets clogged up and static, sometimes it is just time ‘to pull the plug’ and let the brain reset itself. Here is an article of what happens if the brain does not get enough sleep Your body clock is the deciding factor if you are a night owl or an early riser and how much sleep you need. In essence, it does not matter when you get up or go to sleep, as long as you keep to a steady rhythm. Everybody has their own personal sleep target.  When you don’t get enough sleep your brain will find it harder to retain memory and handle information. In severe cases, the brain can even restrict the way the body functions. Over a long time this can lead to illness. Until not so long ago sleep torture was a common way to ‘break spies’ and enemies of the state. But in most cases, a slight sleep deprivation will lead to crankiness, irrational emotional responses (like misinterpreting social situations) and lack of concentration.

Is rest and sleep the same?

No, there is a difference – rest means being idle, but not asleep. If you had a bad night, small periods of resting can help to compensate for some sleep deficit, but effectively rest and sleep are like apples and pears- you can’t substitute one with the other. Sleep is vital to reset the body – like clean out toxins and build memory. Rest is also vital, but more complementary. Over time the right amount of rest can provide ample health benefits like helping with hypertension, relaxing muscle tension and increased creativity.

How did people rest in the past?

Only 100 years ago one of the most commonly prescribed ‘medicine’ was bed rest. We don’t hear of this prescription anymore,  but sometimes this is exactly what the patient would need. But with every employee being squeezed for more and more productivity, the world has become faster and faster and often it would be unthinkable that an employee just rests for a few days. But the increasing amount of ‘sick day’ shows that people still need this rest. But why prescribe rest – that surely is what the holidays are for! But are we really resting in the few weeks of holiday or free time most of us have? And if you are free-lance – when do you rest then? I would argue not many people really rest these days,  – at least not in the old-fashioned sense of the word. Usually, during our holidays we go on a  foreign trip with lots of added stress, or a staycation with kids off from school and don’t forget what are you doing in your downtime, holiday or not. Self-checkout at the supermarket, self-service in the restaurant, booking your flight online and wasting hours doing so, etc. This does not count as rest!  This is stress! In earlier centuries a successful person was somebody who had ample time to ponder about life, art, and philosophy.  The poor had no such luxury as they had to work all day, often seven days per week. The only exception was Sunday prayer. These days the trend almost seems to have reversed. Being busy has become a badge of honor. Just look at modern-day celebrities. They attend every event going, have perfect children and a perfect house. And of course, have highflying careers on top of all that, not to mention the work for charity, teach/partake in a course/TV show, run a marathon and the list goes on and on. Social media promotes an ever-acute sense of permanently missing out. I am not anti-social media, it has its uses. But we must accept that we can’t be superhuman and have to make choices. Therefore we should put quality way above quantity. I know, easier said than done.
In 2016 the university of Durham, UK, did a survey about ‘resting’ – guess what the top 5 resting activities are – I list them here.
  • Reading (58 per cent)
  • Being in the natural environment (53.1 per cent)
  • Being on their own (52.1 per cent)
  • Listening to music (40.6 per cent)
  • Doing nothing in particular (40 per cent)
What all these resting activities show is that people crave occasionally solitude. We need to get away from the world around us. No interactions with others, no stress, no communication, not thinking about others’ problems, wants and needs – just being in and enjoying the moment, daydreaming and no care in the world. This is rest – without guilt! The good news is that ‘resting’ can be learned. There is no use of spending days in bed without any conscious benefits – that is not resting, this is lazying around.  Resting only works when you are otherwise busy. The main objectives are to ease muscle tension and to lower your heart rate. Take a deep breath, exhale and think calming, pleasant thoughts and relax. 

How do you successfully ‘rest’?

People who have mastered the art form of ‘resting’  can do this in ‘micro resting breaks’. Here is an example. You are driving through town, it is a stressful morning, everybody is in a rush, beeping horns, etc. At the next red traffic lights, relax your hands holding the steering wheel.  Roll your shoulders back a few times and take a few really deep breaths and exhale long and hard.  Make sure you pay attention to relax all the muscles in your body and release all angry thoughts from your brain. These are all little exercises, but over a day they can have a big impact –  as they get rid of rising tensions as it happens. So there is never a big build-up and you will stay in a good mood (at least most days!) Whenever you have the chance to a 5minute ‘shut-down phase’ please take it! Sit still with your eyes closed and banish every thought. You can call it meditation, mindfulness or else.  There are now many apps available to guide you. But you could just close your eyes and simply have a rest. Think Hercule Poirot before he solves another complex case – he rests and lets his mind unfold. With all these benefits I would not be surprised if employers finally see the light and offer resting booths for hard pushed employees – to offer small power windows to boost their health, happiness and ultimately their productivity with much less sick days!
The LWTM moon diet

The LWTM moon diet

A few years ago I started a trial called ‘The LWTM moon diet’. It was based on a book and some research I found in a library. The roots of it all go far back to Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine who lived in Ancient Greece around 500 B.C.

The LWTM moon diet

The trial gave some really good insights and I still thank the participants who were so generous with their time, interest and feedback. Most of the people who participated did so for health reasons and out of curiosity and only a few actively tried to lose a lot of weight with this program. However, all found an increased level of energy and small weight loss. I did not have the time or resources to extend it to a full-blown trial with properly measured results.

Before I go more into what it is – here are some of the testimonials I received after the 2 months trial run was completed:

I feel better and my digestions works a lot better. I am really enjoying it and will continue after the trial run”

‘ I really enjoyed the fast days and as an added bonus my period, who was a bit hit and miss became regular again – it now always comes around the Full Moon”

‘ I liked the variety of foods I could eat and I find the concept very interesting. I am not a natural cook and initially, I had to spend a bit more time dedicated to cooking, but once I got into the swing of it, that has now decreased and I learned a lot about healthy eating on the way’

‘ The part I enjoyed the most was the variety of herbal teas and what they were good for. I will definitely keep doing it’

Only since I took part in the trial run I realized that indeed I crave different foods at different times’

Naturally, you will be asking – so what is this moon diet? I will give you a few pointers and tips here that you can start trying on yourself. But the whole process is of course far too complex for a short blog post.

If you have read most of my previous material about Biodynamics, you will know that days are not all equal as they all have individual day qualities. This goes from planting/harvesting right through to eating.

When you look at the calendar you will see each day has a moon phase and element attached. In essence, the moon phase tells us about the way we should eat and the element tells us what kind of food we should eat.

I believe the real strength of this way of eating lies in the combination of timing and food variety. So instead of just eating whatever is around, you will make a conscious decision of what to eat and what to avoid.

In principle, there are 3 states or modes
1. Elimination/fasting phase
2 Changing weight phase (either gaining or losing weight)
3. Keeping your current weight (within the range of an up to 3 kilograms or 6 pounds).

During the Waxing Moon, you want to eat food that is very nutritious and stock up on vitamins and minerals. Additional you choose exercise programs like yoga, pilates, stretching, swimming, weight lifting anything that makes your body more flexible and strengthens/builds muscle tissue.
During the Full Moon – you either have a rest day or a fast day (depending on your current phase)
During the Waning Moon, you lose weight and step up the cardiovascular program, like running, cycling, hiking, everything that strengthens the heart and circulation.
The time of the New Moon is the fasting time, irrespective of weight. It is the time to cleanse and reset your digestion. This should go hand in hand with a relaxing walk or some stretching/relaxation exercises. Long runs and other strenuous exercises such as spinning class should be off the table. It is time to give your digestion and body a good rest.

During the program, it is important to follow a varied diet. Food is rotated in accordance with the elements, but the exact method is beyond the scope of this article.

Below is a recipe for the New Moon fast day. Just a few simple tricks can make a big difference.