Monthly Archives: November 2009

Oil Pulling

Ayurvedic oil pulling, or swishing, has been used for its oral and systemic health benefits for thousands of years. Now I have to be honest, I’m not too sure about this, but some people swear by it.

Oil pulling – which extracts toxins from the body – is said to cure about 30 systemic diseases, including headaches, migraines, diabetes, asthma, skin conditions, allergies, oral bacterial infections and gum problems.

So how’s it done? First thing in the morning, before brushing your teeth, eating or drinking, take 1tbsp of oil (sesame or sunflower is best). Put the oil in your mouth, tilt your chin up and slowly swish, suck and pull through the teeth. Do this for at least 10 minutes, then spit it out. The oil should look like a thick, white foam, If it’s still yellow, you haven’t done it for long enough. Rinse your mouth really well and follow by drinking a couple of glasses of water.

Never swallow the oil as it will be full of parasites and bacteria; don’t gargle; do it slowly; and don’t use toasted sesame oil.

If you’re unsure, consult a reputable Ayurvedic practitioner. Oh, and let me know how you go – I’d love to hear your feedback.

For more information, try oilpulling.com or earthclinic.com.

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McCartney’s Meat-Free Monday

As more and more people in first world countries go ‘flexitarian’ (people who still eat meat but who try to limit their intake of it and actively seek out regular vegetarian meals), celeb-vego Sir Paul McCartney has launched his ‘Meat-Free Monday’ campaign, which aims to get more people to reduce their meat intake in order to improve health and to combat global warming.
You probably know that eating veggies is good for you, but did you know that according to UN’s top climate scientist Rajendra Pachauri, “meat production puts more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than transport”?
Have a vegetarian night this week. Make the most of seasonal fruit and vegetables like mango, banana, melon, pineapple, artichoke, cucumber, lettuce, peas, sweetcorn and tomato. For recipe ideas, try the vegetarian section at Taste.com.au or search for vegetarian recipes at Australian Gourmet Traveller’s website. Go on, make a cow happy today.

Turn up, Tune in

Feeling stressed or blue? Turn the music up and have a good sing. Singing exercises major muscle groups and increases oxygenated blood flow. Psychologically, singing allows you to express and release a range of emotions.

Contemporary physiological studies on the effects of group singing or vocal performance on levels of cortisol (a measure of stress) and secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) (an endocrine defence against infection in the upper respiratory tract), have found that levels of sIgA significantly increase and cortisol levels reduce after group singing rehearsals, suggesting that participation in singing may enhance immune system functioning and even reduce stress.

For more information on music and singing for healing body, mind and soul, see my two articles on the topic (originally written for WellBeing magazine). Download both PDFs at my writing and editing website.

Breathe to Relieve

A bad day at work, traffic jam or an argument with a loved one can be enough to have us pulling our hair out. But stress and anxiety can be tricky to deal with, especially for the time (and cash) poor.

Breathing exercises are a great way to release tension. Slowing down your breathing short circuits the stress response, giving your brain the message that everything is ok.

This basic breathing technique may help you manage everyday stress and can even be practiced while sitting at your desk.

  • Close your eyes, focusing your attention inwards, and straighten your spine.
  • Place your hands on your ribcage.
    With every inhalation feel the expansion of the front, side and back of your ribcage. 
  • With every exhalation slowly contract your ribcage. 
  • Imagine you are drawing energy into your whole body with every inhalation. 
  • With every exhalation, visualise letting go of tension in your body.

Life is fast paced, but this breathing exercise can take you out of your head and bring you back into your body, making you feel grounded again. Best of all, it’s free! Try it for just a couple of minutes a day; surely we can all spare ourselves that?

Chi Cycle Healing

I’ve been reading a lot recently about nutrition (being three months pregnant has made my life revolve around food. My old passions of wine, cheese and socialising seem to be out of the question now I’m constantly tired and prone to heartburn!)

Jost Sauer, a Queensland-based author, acupuncturist and speaker, has written some great articles on traditional Chinese medicine and getting in sync with the body’s natural processes. Albeit sporadically, I’ve been trying to live by his chi cycle over the past week and I can honestly say that I’m feeling more energised.

Chi means universal life force energy and the cycle is all about achieving optimum balance. Here are the basics if you feel like giving it a go:

  • 5-7am. Organ = Large intestine. Intent = Transform. Actions = Get up, drink water, evacuate bowels, stretch, meditate, exercise.
  • 7-9am. Organ = Stomach. Intent = Balance. Actions = Be sweet to yourself, eat breakfast, arrive, become real.
  • 9-11am. Organ = Spleen. Intent = Develop. Actions = Act, make decisions, work hard, think, communicate, achieve.
  • 11am-1pm. Organ = Heart. Intent = Communion. Actions = Articulate vision and purpose, access your soul, spread the love.
  • 1pm-3pm. Organ = Small intestine. Intent = Refine. Actions = have lunch, go slow, ride the wave.
  • 3pm-5pm. Organ = Bladder. Intent = Alliance. Actions = Put cruise control on, go with the flow, feel the power.
  • 5-7pm. Organ = Kidneys. Intent = Embrace. Actions = Switch off, acknowledge strength and skills, have sex, share a laugh.
  • 7-9pm. Organ = Pericardium. Intent = Protect. Actions = Come home, feel safe, nurture, be yourself, be creative, have dinner.
  • 9pm-11pm. Organ = San Jiao. Intent = Passage. Actions = Go to bed, go to sleep.

What a perfect day… find more info on the chi cycle and chi cycle healing at Jost Sauer’s website.