Self-healing techniques

December 22, 2016

 Read on for a little holiday gift from me to you...

 

Preventative health care lies in your own hands. No one’s going to check in that you’re doing it, and doctors, unless they’ve been doing some side reading on the subject, often are not experts on wellness.

 

Wellness experts come in many shapes and sizes, and you can never even be sure by their title what exactly they do. Some chiropractors practice acupuncture. Some acupuncturists practice functional medicine. Some masseuses will recommend herbs. Some naturopaths offer massage. It’s so confusing. Basically, keep shopping around until you find someone who makes sense to you and who gets you results. Don’t stop at the first person you find just because the practitioner tells you to come back for another appointment. Be picky! There are some amazing healers out there, but sometimes you really have to look to find them.

 

And for those of you who cannot afford one of these treatments? Here are some suggestions to try until you can. They’re easy and can be done in your own home for under $5. You can do these all at once or pick and choose. But at least you have some tools in your pocket to recharge yourself after a particularly stressful day/week/month/year.

 

Keep reading for a ‘how-to’ on ginger foot soaks, hot/cold pouches and self-massage!

 

Disclaimer:

If any of these exercises do not feel comfortable or you suspect they are not for you, check with your doctor before trying them.  

 

  1. Ginger foot soaks

 

Okay, fine, you don't absolutely have to put ginger in it, but it will really increase the heat if you do. If your feet are just really really cold and you're just a cold kind of person all over, you can even put some clove buds in there.

 

How to do it:

Cut up a 6 inch piece of ginger into little pieces and boil in a big pot of water for at least 15 minutes. Pour this into a bucket and add some cold water in to make sure it’s tolerable to your feet but still really hot. Make sure the water reaches at least one hand-breadth up from your ankles. 

 

Soak for as long as you like, but if you start to sweat and you’re not sick, end your treatment there. If you are sick, go ahead and keep sweating. In fact, bundle up as you do this, and wear a scarf around your neck. This will assist your body in releasing the pathogen that’s making you sick.

 

Be sure to dry your feet afterwards and put on socks. In fact, keeping your feet warm with socks or slippers is always a good idea especially if you have cold floors. Also, you can reuse the water from your soak another two times by reheating it, so it can give you three soaks. A nice habit to get into is soaking for three days and then taking a three-day break.

 

What’s the point?

Some of the strongest acupuncture points are in the hands and feet. Your feet and ankles are full of important points that benefit meridians like the Kidney and Spleen that greatly benefit from warmth. After soaking my feet for a few months, my irregular menstrual cycle became regular. Experiment and see what it will do for you. Also, warm feet will directly lead to a warm belly, which I will explain the value of in the next section.

 

    2. Hot/cold pouches

 

You can buy these from the store for $24.99 each or you can make them at home for a few bucks.

 

How to make them:

Pour about 4 cups of flax seeds into a pot on the stove over high heat. Stir them while they pop and crackle for a few minutes. The goal isn’t to get all the seeds to pop, but some will as you stir them around. Heating them helps them to release some moisture so they’ll give off more of a dry heat when you use them. After about 5 minutes of stirring, pour the seeds into two socks or cloth bags and tie off the ends. 

 

How to use them:

Put one pouch in the freezer for a few hours, and put the other one either in the microwave for 30-50 seconds (or longer depending on the microwave) or pour the seeds back into your pot to heat up again. Put the hot pouch over your lower belly at your navel or below, and put the cold one over your eyes as you lean back.

 

What’s the point?

Stressors such as poor nutrition, lack of sleep, emotional fatigue, and a hectic lifestyle will cause our heads to heat up and our bellies to become cold.  Our heads are hot with anger, overthinking, or frustration or just shut down from mental overload. Our bellies are cold and unable to properly digest nutrients from our food. Neurotransmitters made in our gut aren’t able to properly support our brains. Our immune system, which is mostly in our guts, isn’t functioning properly. We don’t feel rooted. Little things throw us off.

 

The solution? Reverse it, and make your belly warm again and cool down your hot head. Give your body a moment to rest in its proper equilibrium to restore itself and heal what’s been harmed. When you’re rooted here in your gut, like the base of a tree, little things won’t throw you off. Otherwise, you’re like tree branches swaying back and forth in the wind.

 

Warming your feet will also warm your belly, which is why socks and foot soaks are so helpful.

 

     3. Self-massage

 

I love getting massages, but as a stay-at-home mom of two with a husband who’s rarely home, the closest thing I get to a massage these days is kids stepping on my face. If you’re like me, don’t fret, because there are at least three places you can massage yourself to elicit a similar relaxing feel-good response you get from a professional massage.

 

Ears

Look at your ears as tiny versions of you. Through your ears, you can access every organ system in your body. If you’re interested where different parts are located in your ear, Google it. But you don’t have to memorize that chart to give yourself an ear massage.

 

How to do it:

Apply pressure with your thumb and forefinger all around your ears. Get into every nook. Feel where the pressure feels good and hold it for a few seconds. Keep finding more areas that feel good and holding pressure there. To finish, you can pull the tops of your ears up and back and hold a few seconds and pull your earlobes downwards for a few seconds. 

 

What’s the point?

When you put pressure on parts of your ear that feel good, you’re releasing heat/tension/inflammation that is being stored wherever that part of your ear corresponds to in your body. 

 

Fingertips

Six out of twelve main acupuncture meridians start or end in your fingertips (the rest start and end in your feet). The beginning and ends of meridians are very sensitive to stimulation and have a strong effect on the whole channel.

 

How to do it:

Gently pinch each fingertip between your thumb and the knuckle of your forefinger making sure to cover the whole fingertip up to the end of the nail bed. If any one particular fingertip elicits a strong sensation, gently maintain the pressure a few seconds until the sensation passes.

 

What’s the point?

When you gently pinch the tips of your fingers and find one finger that elicits a stronger sensation than the rest, you’ve found the beginning or end of a meridian with some excess energy that needs to be released. Pinching it helps to release the energy in the form of heat.

 

Eyes

It goes without saying that our eyes need some TLC. Imagine going to the gym and working out the same muscles every day. That’s what we’re doing when we look at computers, tablets and phones all day. Taking time each day to gaze at the horizon or soften your gaze and look at something green can help balance your eye muscles. Or you can give yourself an eye massage!

 

How to do it?

There are four major pressure points around the eyes. The first is at the beginning of your eyebrow just up from the base of the nose. The second is in the little crevice you’ll find around 1/3 to ½ the way across your eyebrow from the base of your nose. The third is at the end of the eyebrow near your temples, and the fourth is directly under the pupil about an inch under your eye below the occipital orbit. Gently lean forward into the pads of your pointers or middle fingers while they’re placed over the first point. Feel the dull ache in the point and move on to the 2nd-4th points in a circle. Apply a gentle pressure to each. Continue circling your eyes 3-4 times.

 

To end the massage, rub your hands together to create heat and place your warm palms over your eyes. Take some deep breaths and let your eyes relax into the darkness.

 

What’s the point?

In Chinese medicine, the eyes are energetically connected to the Liver, which, when out of balance, can lead to feelings of frustration, irritability and anger. Also, the Liver houses the Hun, which is the part of you that continues after death and experiences multiple lifetimes. Just as the  health of the Liver will affect the eyes, taking care of one’s eyes will have a positive effect on the Liver. So maybe in addition to taking the strain off your eyes, you may improve your eyesight a little, smooth out some stuck emotions and reconnect with the part of you which is timeless and eternal.

 

Now, don’t you feel better?

 

Be your own best healer and your own best patient. If you are unwell and western medicine isn’t giving you any answers, don’t stop until you find them. It may take months or years, but it is well worth the effort, and you may learn a lot about yourself along the way!

 

Please share these techniques with people you love. They work even better if you do them with friends!

 

Happy holidays, folks.

 

Wishing you and your loved ones a healthy and happy 2017.

 

Love, Lauran

 

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