How Deep Relaxation Can Transform Your Life

There is a zone of relaxation where the mind is at its most powerful, intuitive and creative. This is the ‘Alpha State’, where the two halves of the brain are in balance. Being able to reach this restful, deeply relaxed state is a life enhancing skill, because the mind works best when you’re cool and calm. And it’s easily learned.

Deep relaxation is a state of calmness which allows the mind to idle and drift. It is a profound state of calmness in which all physical and mental tension is released.

Regular deep relaxation brings about a state of enhanced harmony in your daily life. Benefits include:

Greater peace of mind and mental calm

Improved health, greater vitality

More economical and productive use of energy

Protection against stress and stress related disease

Enhanced intuitive and creative abilities

More rapid healing and pain relief

Improved digestion and lower blood pressure

More refreshing and satisfying sleep

Better concentration

Improved ability to handle important occasions

With daily practice, deep relaxation also improves relationships. It’s easier to get on with others when you are relaxed and it’s easier to get on with yourself too). It also enhances self-awareness and self-esteem.

Young children have no problem relaxing, but it seems that most of us lose this ability as we mature. We become more tense, and tension may disrupt our social and working lives, sexual activity, digestion, sleep and brain-body coordination. It can also result in a variety of fears and phobias.

Deep relaxation can help relieve all these problems. Many people with chronic health problems benefit enormously. For instance, Alain suffered from severe stomach cramps and a nauseous feeling for years. Doctors had no idea what was causing it, but within two weeks of learning and practising deep relaxation twice-daily the pains were much reduced, and after six weeks, they’d gone altogether.

Calm

Practical Ways To Relax

Try this:

Sit up straight in a chair with your back and neck supported. Place both feet on the floor, legs uncrossed, hands resting comfortably in your lap. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Hold it for a moment and let it out slowly.

Take another deep breath. Hold it for a few moments, then slowly exhale. Allow yourself to be completely relaxed and comfortable.

Once more, take a deep breath. Hold it for a moment and slowly let it out. Relax.

Now simply sit in silence, breathing slowly, for five minutes without moving any part of your body. Concentrate on being quiet, still, peaceful and relaxed. Then open your eyes.

Always start by finding a time and place where you will not be disturbed. Don’t attempt it if you  need to pay attention to what you’re doing.

If you want to have music quietly in the background choose something slow and calming, such as gentle classical music or specially composed relaxation music. You’ll find it seems much louder once you’re relaxed.

A relaxation session comprises four stages – induction, deepening, autosuggestion/imagery, and termination. Don’t rush your relaxation sessions, and don’t worry about whether you are succeeding or not; this is counter-productive.

Induction

Start by picking a spot on a wall or ceiling and focusing your gaze on it. When your eyes start to tire, count five deep breaths backwards. When you get to one, your eyes will be closed.

Next, focus on your breathing: allow yourself to relax a little more on each out-breath. If your mind starts to wander, gently bring it back to the breath.

Then select one of the following:

  • Sigh breath: take a very deep breath. Release it suddenly, sounding a prolonged ‘aaah’ as you do so. Allow a wave of relaxation to sweep down your body. This is excellent for relaxing very quickly.
  • Three deep breaths: take a very deep breath. Fill your chest and lungs completely (but not so as it becomes uncomfortable). Hold for a count of four, then slowly release. Do this three times. Think the word ‘calm’ or ‘relax’ as you exhale. Increase the count to six, eight or ten as you become more practised.
  • Imagine a cloud of peace and calmness filling your body as you breathe in. When you breathe out, imagine it taking with it all stress and tension. If you like, imagine the cloud having a soothing colour of your choice.

Deepening the relaxation

Next, take your attention to different parts of the body/groups of muscles in turn and consciously relax them. (This is called ‘progressive’ relaxation.)

Relax your toes and feet

Relax your calves and ankles

Relax your knees and thighs

Relax your buttocks

Relax your stomach muscles and solar plexus

Relax your back and spine

Relax your chest

Relax your neck and shoulders

Relax your upper arms

Relax your lower arms and wrists

Relax your hands and fingers

Relax your eyes and face

Now try one or two of the following techniques. Everyone has their own style of relaxation, so choose those which work best for you:

  • Rag doll: Imagine your body as a rag doll, limp and floppy, muscles soft, loose and without tension.
  • Count down: Slowly count down from ten or twenty to one on each out breath. Imagine yourself descending a flight of steps, a lift or escalator one level at a time, letting go a little more with each step or level.
  • Affirmation: When you are deeply relaxed, slowly repeat the following affirmation:  ‘I relax easily, quickly and deeply. Each time I relax, I go deeper and deeper. I am at peace.’
  • Relaxing place: imagine that you are somewhere tranquil such as a garden, beach or special sanctuary. Images and sounds of water can be very soothing. So can imagining the feeling on the warm sun on your face and body.

Once relaxed, create visual images, sounds and feelings and repeat the affirmations that will help you to get what you want from the session.

Triggers

You can easily create a trigger or ‘anchor’ to help you to relax at will. This is how:

When in deep state, gently put the thumb and fingers of your dominant hand together and whisper the word ‘Alpha’. Then silently affirm, ’Whenever I put my thumb and fingers together and say ‘Alpha’, I will instantly and easily relax deeply.’

Within a few days, with practice, whenever you close your eyes, put your thumb and fingers together and whisper ‘Alpha’, you will feel yourself easily drifting down into relaxation.

My mentor became so proficient at this he was able to go deep into Alpha in seconds while leaning on a traffic barrier in London’s Piccadilly Circus. If it can work there, it can work anywhere!

Termination

To finish, first affirm that beneficial changes have taken place in the unconscious as a result of the session and affirm that you are using your deepest inner resources to bring about the changes in thinking, attitudes and behaviour that you desire.

Then, if you are relaxing during the day, count slowly from one to five and open your eyes. Wiggle your hands, shrug your shoulders and move your feet. Tell yourself you’re fully alert, and when you are ready, resume your normal activities.

Alternatively, if it’s last thing at night and you wish to go to sleep, simply drift off (telling yourself that you will wake refreshed and re-energised in the morning).

Conclusion

Relaxation has many proven benefits – studies carried out by leading doctors and psychologists show that this is not in doubt. It is a skill easily acquired through practice. If you find it hard to begin with, don’t worry, just persist. Most of the early problems you encounter will soon disappear, and you’ll quickly find you feel better, happier, more content and more peaceful.

©David Lawrence Preston, 23.10.2018

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Encouraging News on Placebos

In one of the most encouraging articles I’ve read for a long time[1], 97% of a sample of 783 UK family doctors reported in a study carried out by the Universities of Oxford and Southampton that they had given a placebo to at least one of their patients. Some said they do so on a regular basis. Half had told their patients that the remedies had helped other patients, without specifically telling them they were prescribing a placebo.

This is a huge step forward towards general recognition of the role of the mind in health, ill-health and healing, and acceptance of the potential of informational remedies. Apparently even the UK Royal College of General Practitioners now acknowledges that there is a place for placebos in medicine.

A co-author of the study, Dr Jeremy Howick, was quoted as saying, ‘This is not about doctors deceiving patients,’ (which is how Big Pharma has often characterised the use of placebos) but that ‘doctors clearly believe that placebos can help patients’.

Evenso, the BBC report still refers to ‘sham’ treatments’ and ‘unproven treatments’ as if the author, Michelle Roberts, is still not really convinced.  She writes that three quarters of doctors claimed to offer ‘unproven treatments’ such as complementary therapies on a daily or weekly basis, and even refers to ‘fake’ acupuncture (which has been used successfully for over five thousand years)  in such terms. She misses the point – in most cases it is not the medicine that brings about healing, but the patient’s own healing abilities restoring equilibrium and removing the resistance to full health.

Research shows that placebos are most effective a relieving subjective conditions such as pain, and their effect is based on cultivating the patient’s expectations of a cure. Hence the size, colour and packaging of placebos all play a role, as does the presentation and manner of the practitioner who prescribes them.

There are still those who consider the use of placebos as ‘fooling’ patients by giving them ‘useless’ pills and potions, even if they help bring about a cure. Some consider them dangerous because they deny the patient ‘effective’ treatment (by which they mean bio-chemical intervention), and others that they damage to doctor-patient relationship. Others claim that some ‘placebo’ treatments, such as prescribing vitamin supplements, are not inert, in that taking too much of some vitamins is harmful.

Then there are those who dismiss phenomena such as ‘spontaneous remission’ as pure chance and unworthy of investigation when in fact they could throw invaluable light on the healing process.

But in the longer term there is much more at stake here than whether placebos are unethical or ineffective, or whether this person or that person gets better and stays well. Our view of mind-body and informational medicine is related to our understanding of what human beings actually are and how we function. This is the greater prize.

©David Lawrence Preston, 18.10.2018

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[1] BBC website 21st March 2013, also widely reported on radio and TV.

Healing power is in the mind of the patient – the work of Dr P.P. Quimby

I’ve been to many healers in my time, and it seems to me that the techniques they employ say a great deal about the practitioner’s beliefs about what constitutes a human being. This – explicitly or implicitly – is what guides their healing methods. If you think a human body is simply a physical, mechanical thing, as many doctors used to do, you treat it accordingly. If you see it as intelligent, responsive, self-regulating, then your approach is entirely different.

Dr Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, a real groundbreaker of healing, was in no doubt. He saw humans as mind, body and spirit, and showed that our healing power comes primarily from within. Nowadays, few people have heard of him and yet his influence is reflected in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and well known writers such as Louise Hay, Dr Wayne Dyer, Dr Bernie Segal, Byron Katie, and many others.

Quimby

Quimby was born on February 16, 1802. A clock-maker by trade, he lived most of his life in Belfast, Maine. New England. Although others called him ‘Doctor’ he had little formal education and no medical training, but he had a practical, enquiring mind and unparalleled determination.

As a young man, he contracted tuberculosis. Doctors couldn’t help, so he decided to help himself. Someone suggested horse-riding as the fresh air would do him good, but he was too weak to ride, so he borrowed a horse and cart. One day the horse refused to pull the cart up a hill, so Quimby got down and walked with the horse. When they got to the top, it suddenly started trotting. As Quimby couldn’t get back on the cart he ran down the hill with the horse, which, strictly speaking, he shouldn’t have been able to due to his illness.

Back home, he realised he was breathing freely. The pain had gone (it never returned) – he had experienced a spontaneous healing. In that moment he dedicated himself to understanding what brought this about. He reasoned that there must be something within that can make us well, of which we’re not normally aware.

First he studied the work of the hypnotist Anton Mesmer, who had quite a reputation in Europe. By 1840, Quimby was an expert hypnotist. He worked with a young man called Lucius who, under hypnosis, could apparently diagnose patients’ illnesses and suggest a cure. Later, Quimby realized that Lucius was tuning in to what the patient believed he had, not what he actually had.  So after his early experiments, he gave up hypnotism and instead focussed on curing disease through the mind, getting his patients to see causes for themselves.His approach was evidence-based and rigorously scientific. He trusted no opinions, only knowledge.

He studied the healing methods described in the New Testament. Quimby did not regard the gospel healings as miracles, but as scientific applications of truth as represented by Universal Law.

Ironically he was vehemently anti-religion. He believed that the Church had irresponsibly abandoned any interest in healing and that his purpose was to resurrect it. He studied the New Testament because he wanted to understand and correct the negative thinking of his patients – especially those who believed that ill health was a punishment for some unpardonable sin.

His healing methods were highly unusual. He sat with his patients until he had a mental impression of the problem and its cause. Often he felt every symptom of the disease in his own body. Then he silently challenged the cause in his own mind, addressing his comments to the spirit within which, he argued, could never be sick. Sometimes barely a word was spoken as Quimby’s thoughts somehow impacted on the patient.

He described the cause of disease in his own words:

‘The trouble is in the mind, for the body is only the house for the mind to dwell in. if your mind has been deceived by some invisible enemy into a belief, you have put it into the form of a disease, with or without your knowledge. By my theory or truth I come in contact with your enemy and restore you to health and happiness.

‘This I do partly mentally and partly by talking till I correct the wrong impressions and establish the truth, and the truth is the cure. . . . A sick man is like a criminal cast into prison for disobeying some law that man has set up. I plead his case, and if I get the verdict, the criminal is set at liberty. If I fail, I lose the case. His own judgment is his judge, his feelings are his evidence. If my explanation is satisfactory to the judge, you will give me the verdict. This ends the trial, and the patient is released.’

His son George (who acted as his secretary) described his father’s method of cure as follows (I paraphrase slightly):

‘A patient comes to see Dr Quimby. He renders himself absent to everything but the impression of the person’s feelings. These are quickly imprinted on him. This mental picture contains the disease as it appears to the patient. Being confident that it is the shadow of a false idea, he is not afraid of it. Then his feelings in regard to health and strength are imprinted on the receptive plate of the patient. The patient sees the disease in a new light, gains confidence. This change is imprinted on the doctor again and he sees the change and continues. The shadow grows dim and finally disappears, the light takes its place, and there is nothing left of the disease.’

Quimby knew that one mind can influence another, and believed that most disease is due to false reasoning. To remove disease permanently, it is necessary to know the error in thinking which caused it. ‘The explanation,’ he said, ‘is the cure’.  Half a century before Freud, he explained that many of the harmful beliefs are located in the unconscious mind and must be brought into consciousness before they can be dealt with.

Quimby healed thousands of people of a wide range of illnesses, most of whom had not responded to conventional treatment. In the end, it was his very success that killed him. He died of over-work and self-neglect on January 16, 1866, having seen over 10,000 patients in his last seven years.

PPQ

Quimby left behind detailed journals, and some of his clients devoted their lives to spreading awareness of his methods. Rev Warren Felt Evans wrote the definitive contemporary account in his book, ‘The Mental Cure’ (1869), but it was not until 1989 that Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: The Complete Writings were published, edited by Dr Ervin Seale, who devoted most of his working life to the task.

Nowadays we have scientific proof that our thoughts and emotions affect our physical health. Placebos illustrate the effectiveness of suggestion as a powerful healer and CBT and NLP have proved their worth in many situations. Perhaps it is also time for Quimby to receive his due credit. If his ideas and methods were investigated anew, who knows how many people could benefit?

© Feeling Good All The Time, 8.10.2018

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What are you?

What are you? When you think, exactly who or what is doing the thinking? When you stare into a mirror, who is doing the looking?

There’s a story of a young philosophy student who went to see his professor. ‘Please help me,’ he pleaded. ‘There’s a question that’s been eating me alive. I can’t sleep through worrying about it. Tell me, do I exist?’

The professor turned to him with a withering look and replied, ‘Who wants to know?’

The question of what we are and why has always occupied great minds. Socrates, for instance, advised anyone who would listen to ‘know yourself’. Someone asked, ‘You tell others to know themselves, but do you know yourself?’ He replied, ‘No, but I do understand something about this not knowing.’

Nowadays, we know a great deal more than in Socrates’ day. Powerful microscopes reveal the building blocks of our physical form at cellular level and quantum level. We now understand the brain so well that we know which clusters of tissue house which types of mental activity. We can even predict whether an individual is at risk of certain diseases from their thought patterns and emotional make-up. And yet how many of us can truly say we know ourselves?

A human being is a complex organism made up a body, a mind, and an energising force that brings life to the physical form. This energising force – call it Spirit, soul or anything you like – is present in every atom and cell, and when it leaves, we die. That’s why we don’t become spiritual beings – we already are.

‘You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.’ (C.S. Lewis)

©David Lawrence Preston, 28.5.18

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The Molecules of Emotion

Anyone who has ever felt sick with worry or cried at the cinema knows that there is a close connection between our thoughts, emotions and bodily state, but only in the last couple of decades has the medical establishment acknowledged this connection and begun to take it seriously. The reason was that scientists could find no discernible means by which the brain, nervous system and immune system communicated with each other, and hence could not explain how the mind could possibly bring about physical changes.

Dr Candace Pert changed all that. She discovered the biochemical mechanisms through which mind-body communication takes place. As a result of her work, and that work of other great PNI (Psycho-Neuro-Immunology) pioneers such as Cannon, Ader, Felten and the rest, no serious medic today would deny that our thoughts and emotions affect our health. No longer can we regard the body and mind as distinct from each other – they function together as a single unit, an interconnected whole.

The Molecules of Emotion is an account of Dr Pert’s life and work from her graduation in 1970 until its publication in 1997. The first chapter sets the scene, a scientific explanation of ligands, peptides and receptor sites cleverly woven into her account of how she approaches lecturing to an expert audience.  The next few chapters describe the defining period on her life when, as a young scientist trying to make her mark, she fought off those who said it couldn’t be done and discovered the opiate receptor in the brain. She then found herself at odds with those in power who resented her challenge to established scientific thinking and who weren’t ready to be confronted by – shock horror!!! – a woman shaking things up. Indeed, this episode sets the tone for much of the book. She frequently returns to the 1970’s style feminism, concluding that her difficulties in getting the credit to which she was entitled were due to her gender rather than the dirty tricks and ruthlessness of professional colleagues.

Personally, as one who gave up chemistry and biology at an early age, I found the book tough going in places, but the ‘difficult’ passages soon give way to more reader friendly narrative. Parts are stomach churning; her description of making a frothy milkshake-like mixture from the brains of the recently deceased is not for the faint-hearted, but an essential part of her research. She describes research that would later signpost an effective treatment for HIV, an easily synthesised polypeptide that would block one of the receptor sites by which the virus gains access to the body. Complicated, yes, but even so, the author makes it as clear as possible for the uninitiated like me. I learned a great deal, and, thanks to a clear and comprehensive index at the back, will use the book as a source of reference in the future.

Besides, for me, the science is not the only point of the book, for behind the technical details lies a fascinating human interest story of a determined young woman doing unconventional research in a staid and conservative environment. Indeed, her first major breakthrough would not have happened if she’d obeyed her superior’s instruction to discontinue that line of research. Then as the story unfolds, we learn how she was denied her share in a prestigious award, even though she did most of the research; her difficulties combining he professional life with her family life; her 10 year struggle to get funding for research; and how she founding of a research institute with a state-of-the-art laboratory only to have the funding withdrawn after falling foul of the intriguingly unnamed ‘Second Biggest Drug Company on the Planet’. She tells how she sabotaged her chances of gaining a Nobel Prize nomination by refusing to support the nomination of a group of (male) rivals who she felt had stolen her ideas.

Later breakthroughs in HIV/AIDS and cancer treatments followed, each as hard-fought as the last. By then, she had become more resilient, and her anger and frustration had given way to mindfulness and acceptance. For out of her research had come the realisation that forgiveness and a positive attitude in the face of adversity are important for maintaining wellbeing, and that toxic emotions must be expressed and worked through.

meridiansThe final chapters offer an eight part programme for a healthy lifestyle. By then, she had discovered meditation, consciousness and chakra-based energy medicine. She had become an apostle for integrating mainstream, science-based medicine with holistic healthcare, and acknowledged the interaction between ‘healer’ and ‘client’ as an important part of the healing process. She had also stumbled across the notion of information exchange as the basis of understanding biological life, referring to neuropeptides and receptors as ‘information molecules’.

The Molecules of Emotion has been criticised by the more scientifically minded as focussing too much on the human interest story and veering too far towards the ‘woo-woo’ in its final chapters, and by science-phobics as too heavy on technical detail.  But science is an unfolding process. Scientifically, the world has moved on since The Molecules of Emotion was first published. We know a great deal more about the mechanisms by which our mental and emotional processes affect the biochemical make up of the body and manifest as health and wellbeing or dysfunction and disease. As a result, health practitioners (including doctors) are no longer reluctant to discuss with clients how their beliefs and lifestyle choices impact on their health, and more and more clients readily embrace holistic healing approaches alongside conventional medicine.

Dr Pert made some important discoveries, then, not content to keep them to herself, fought hard to bring them to our attention. Her work validates what common sense has always told us – that the mind and body are intimately connected. For me, this book is an essential read for anyone engaged in medicine/healthcare and/or healing, either as a practitioner, educator, policymaker or administrator.

Dr Candace Pert, The Molecules of Emotion: Why You Feel The Way You Feel, Pocket Books, 1999, ISBN- 13: 978-0-6710-3397-2

 

Copyright David Lawrence Preston, 25.3.18. All rights reserved.

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Exercise – Luxury, Pleasure, Necessity?

Oscar Wilde once said that whenever he felt the urge to exercise he would lie down and rest until it went away. Shame! This is a certain recipe for physical ill health, stress and mental deterioration. However, the amount and type of exercise needed to stay healthy are well within the grasp of most people.

One of the most disturbing aspects of modern life is how little physical activity many of us undertake. In Britain, eight out of ten adults are so physically inactive they are damaging their health, and the numbers are rising. Three-quarters of young Britons have less than two hours’ physical education per week at school, and almost a quarter of 12-15 year-old wheeze after a brief jog. And it’s getting worse. Research in 2015 – three years after the London Olympics that were supposed to help raise participation rates in the UK – nearly half a million fewer people were participating in physical activity. The biggest culprits were distractions such as TV and computers.

The benefits of regular exercise are too numerous to list. They include more energy and stamina, increased resistance to disease, lower cholesterol levels, deeper, more satisfying sleep, and a more youthful appearance. Exercise also brings mental benefits such as increased self-confidence, better concentration, improved memory and greater resilience to stress. It is also vital for weight control. The metabolic rate is raised both during exercise and for hours afterwards, burning off fat and excess calories.

As little as thirty minutes rapid walking four times a week can provide up to ten years of rejuvenation, making the heart more efficient, reducing the risk of coronary heart disease and significantly increasing life expectancy. Indeed, sixty year-old men who have exercised regularly throughout their lives have reaction times equal to, or better than, inactive men in their twenties and women who exercise have lower rates of breast and reproductive-system cancers.

Exercise is also a natural tranquilliser and antidepressant. It helps releases the stress chemicals which flood the body when we are stressed. We’re also happier when we exercise because the ‘happy hormones’ known as endorphins are released into the bloodstream bringing feelings of elation which can still be felt long after. Endorphins also block feelings of pain and help manage stress and depression.

What Kind of Exercise Do You Need?

Twenty to thirty minutes a day sufficient to raise the rate of breathing is adequate for most adults to maintain good health. Make discreet adjustment to your lifestyle. For instance, walk or cycle instead of using motorized transport and use the stairs instead of the lift. Buy a push mower – gardening is excellent aerobic exercise.

You need:

  • Endurance exercises to build stamina, improve breathing and condition the cardiovascular system.
  • Flexibility or stretching exercise to loosen the muscles, build suppleness and prevent stiffness; aches and pains in the joints as we get older are not so much the result of aging or arthritis, but lack of use.
  • And you need strengthening exercises to increase or maintain muscle power.

Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercise

Aerobic increases the oxygen supply in the bloodstream (aerobic means ‘in combination with oxygen’). It increases lung capacity, burns fat and builds stamina. It includes anything that can be done at a steady rate without becoming breathless: walking, cycling, swimming, jogging, dancing, etc.

Aerobic exercise also helps burn off excess adrenalin and the harmful toxins that result from stress and tension. We can’t always respond to frustration and stressful situations with instant fight or flight, but we can work it off walking, jogging, cycling or swimming.

In contrast, anaerobic exercise burns starch and builds strength. ‘Anaerobic’ means ‘in the absence of oxygen’. Any activity which leaves you breathless is anaerobic. It involves short, intense bursts of energy which impose a much greater strain on the body.

If you’ve been physically inactive, start with gentle aerobic exercise and increase your work rate gradually. Make sure you can do it without discomfort before attempting strenuous anaerobic exercise.

Stretching and loosening

Stretching and loosening builds suppleness, prevents stiffness, relieves muscle tension and reduces the risk of injury. Create a regular routine of stretching and moving the joints and muscles is recommended. One excellent way is yoga. Anyone who does yoga regularly will be supple well into their later years.

Hints on exercise

Within a few days of beginning a sensible exercise programme, anyone who hasn’t taken regular exercise will find they’re looking and feeling better than they’ve done for years.

  • If you are over forty, have a medical check up before you start exercising, especially if you haven’t exercised regularly for a while.
  • Don’t try to do too much to begin with. Stay within your limits and increase your work rate gradually.
  • Always warm up first. A few minutes of gentle loosening and stretching protects the heart, muscles and joints from injury.
  • Exercise at least three times a week at a time to suit you. Choose activities you enjoy.
  • Never miss a session (unless you’re ill). It’s easier to get out of shape than into it. It takes several months to reach peak condition, but your fitness can be lost in two or three weeks of inactivity.
  • Cool down afterwards, e.g. a few minutes of gentle loosening and stretching.
  • Don’t overdo it. You should feel better five minutes after completing exercise than you did before. If you feel breathless, slow down until your body is safely used to it.
  • Don’t exercise too hard if you are ill. Your body needs the energy for recovery.
  • Allow yourself plenty of recuperation time between sessions. Your body will recover more quickly and you will be less likely to get injured.
  • Smile! Nothing else benefits the facial muscles as much.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Weight Control

An obese man was given a list of permitted foods by his doctor. ‘Fine,’ he said having read the first few items – lettuce, carrots, celery, etc – ‘but do I take them before or after meals?’

Unless you have a medical condition which interferes with metabolism, there are only two ways to lose weight – eat less and exercise more.

If you are overweight, first get yourself checked out by a doctor. Then, if there is nothing medically wrong, avoid eating and drinking between meals (no nibbling and snacking), eat smaller portions (you’ll soon find that a smaller amount of food makes you feel satisfied and comfortably full) and choose only health giving, low sugar, high fibre, low fat foods and drinks, which are consistent with a slim figure.

Reinforce your weight control programme by using the I-T-I-A Formula:

  1. Clarify your intention by setting firm, challenging but realistic goals. Set deadlines by which you intend to achieve your milestones.
  1. Changing your thinking and beliefs about weight (e.g. reinforce the idea that if you eat less and exercise more, you will lose weight – no excuses!). Affirm that things are already changing and you will succeed.
  1. Mentally ‘imagine’ yourself having reached your target weight.
  1. Take action, monitor your progress, make adjustments if necessary, and persist until you succeed.

The types and amounts of exercise needed to reap the rewards are well within the reach of most people, even those who have not previously exercised regularly. Go for it!

 

©Feelinggoodallthetime, 27.6.2017

Nothing herein is intended as a substitute for medical advice. Always consult a doctor or qualified health care professional about any condition that may require diagnosis or treatment.

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Emotional Intelligence

‘Being emotionally intelligent means that you know what emotions you and others have, how strong they are, and what causes them. ‘Coming out’ emotionally is about being honest about your feelings, asking for what you want and above all learning to express yourself from the heart.’

Dr Claude Steiner

Two or three decades ago, it was widely believed that success in life was largely down to intellect. Psychologists devoted a great deal of effort to measure this, producing psychometric tests galore for measuring IQ (Intelligence Quotient). Then in the early 1990s, Daniel Goleman wrote a bestselling book that argued that the most successful people are not those with high intellect, but those who have EI – Emotional Intelligence.

He identified the five ‘domains’ of EQ as:

  1. Knowing your emotions.
  2. Managing your own emotions.
  3. Motivating yourself.
  4. Recognising and understanding other people’s emotions.
  5. Managing relationships, i.e., managing the emotions of others.

Emotions are problematic for many people. Humans are naturally more inclined to act emotionally than ‘logically’, but badly handled, they can cause no end of difficulties. People who are lacking in ’emotional intelligence’ – i.e. the ability to relate to and handle emotions (theirs and other people’s) – find most areas of life a struggle and have difficulty enjoying life to the full. And there is incontrovertible evidence that emotional disorders are responsible for most illness and that happy, positive people who acknowledge and express their emotions freely enjoy better than average health.

Emotions have a purpose

Emotions attempt to steer us towards what seems comfortable and away from anything which seems uncomfortable. That’s their job. But they are not always grounded in ‘reality’. They are born out of our perceptions of what is pleasurable and what could cause discomfort or pain. But what happens if our perceptions are misguided? For example, say you are facing a difficult situation, such as a job interview or examination. Your stomach is churning. You want to ‘bottle out’. If you do, you’ll avoid the uncomfortable feelings, but you may also be missing out on a golden opportunity. What should you do?

If the opportunity is attractive enough, you go ahead anyway, ignoring the feelings. You know the benefits will outweigh the dis-benefits in the longer term. If you went with your feelings, you would be the loser. There are times when it’s best to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway!’

Just because something feels wrong, it doesn’t necessarily follow that it is wrong. Similarly, just because something feels right, it doesn’t automatically follow that it is right.

Ignoring or suppressing emotions is dangerous. Discounting feelings in the short term in order to deal with a current situation is one thing, but ignoring or suppressing in the long term them is extremely dangerou and can result in serious physical and psychological illness. Good health demands facing up to uncomfortable or painful emotions, recognising them, working them through and resolving them.

Empathy versus sympathy

The ability to empathise with others is a vital skill for success and happiness. But empathy is not the same as sympathy. Empathy is the ability to see the other’s world as he or she sees it while remaining emotionally detached. Sympathy is feeling sorry for the person, and runs the danger of being sucked in and emotionally involved.  Nobody helps another by taking on their emotional ‘stuff’, any more than you can help a person escape from a deep well by jumping in with them!

Know yourself

You cannot always prevent yourself from feeling an emotion, since you are human! But you can and must learn how to manage your emotions, and become ‘emotionally intelligent’. Self awareness is the first step.

Emotional Intelligence is a huge subject. But remember – EI (Emotional Intelligence) is much less fixed than IQ. It can develop over time and responds to research, training, coaching and feedback.

©Feeling Good All the Time, 11.5.2017

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How to Books, 2010

 

Informational Medicine

Cutting edge science is demonstrating that information, not energy alone, is the key to health and healing. It takes intelligence to make a body; intelligence instructs the atoms and cells that create the body. Give the body new information to work with and it has the restore a sick body to full health.

The body knows instinctively how to heal itself, if allowed to do so. In an unhealthy body, information transfers are distorted so energy is blocked. Informational medicine focuses on providing the correct information and unblocking its flow. Amazing healings can take place by adjusting energy and information flows at the quantum level, the smallest known units of particles, waves and matter. It’s not about body chemistry, genes or microbes. It’s about mind, ideas and expression.

Think about it. How does a cell know its function? How do groups of cells combine to make a plant, a fish, a reptile, bird or mammal, or a human? How do cells combine to make a heart, a liver, a brain? How is it that an organism works as a whole, not just a collection of parts? Because it is a unified holistic wave structure, moderated by information fields and patterns.

All healing is informational

All healing is informational. Even applying a splint or plaster enables energy to flow and supplies information to the human biofield – that structured set of holographic information fields that surround and entwine the body, integrating our physical, chemical, mental and emotional aspects with our intelligence and consciousness.

Our state of health and wellbeing are totally dependent on a harmonious biofield. All illness and psychological disturbances begin here.

We take in information in many forms:

  • Words, gestures, images, books, knowledge from radio, TV, internet etc.
  • What we perceive through the five senses, moderated by our beliefs.
  • Physical substances (water, herbs, sunlight etc.)
  • Electro-magnetic fields that emanate from the earth and cosmos.
  • Even a surgeon’s knife, stitch or stent provides information.
  • Actually everything around us in the environment is information.

The body ‘matches’ the incoming information with the existing information it holds and looks for what it needs. The body will heal itself if given the means to do so and allowed to realise that wellness is our natural state, available to us all. Information is stored not in the brain, but in the biofield. If we don’t access it correctly, there are consequences for health. Information directs and governs activity – nothing can change unless it knows how to change!

The new ‘informational’ medicine is here already, but will only reach its full potential when the medical profession and the public ‘gets’, applies it and feels the benefits.

©David L Preston, 10.5.2017

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Legacy: Quimby, the Silent Healer

Phineas Parkhurst Quimby (1802-1866) was one of the greatest healers ever but nowadays is hardly known. The healings he carried out in New England in the mid-19th Century were little short of miraculous, although he considered them to have a sound scientific basis. Perhaps surprisingly, since so few people have heard of him, his methods and philosophy were well documented at the time and are still available today.

Quimby had already begun to chronicle his ideas and methods before he died, although hampered by poor spelling and grammar which made some of his writings difficult to decipher. Two patients, the Ware sisters, had edited some of his material and made copies to give to other patients, but he was too busy in his practice to publish his writings. He did, though, leave behind copious notes which explained his philosophy and methods in his unique, quirky language. Where suitable terms did not exist, he invented his own, making some passages difficult to understand.

After his death, his youngest son George, who had acted as his secretary, carefully guarded his manuscripts. But – for reasons that will become apparent – he refused to publish them until after the death of his most famous patient, Mrs Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Christian Science movement. However, he died before her, so not until 1921 were edited excerpts first published (by Horatio Dresser, son of Julius). Another sixty-eight years passed before The Complete Writings appeared[1], edited by Dr Ervin Seale, who devoted much of his life to this task.

Around 1860, a few of Quimby’s former patients began committing his ideas to paper, determined to spread his ideas to the world.

The first was Rev Warren Felt Evans, a Methodist Minister, who wrote the definitive contemporaneous account of Quimby in his book, ‘The Mental Cure’ (1869). Rev Evans had been in poor health for many years before Quimby cured him completely of a nervous disorder.

One day he confided his belief to Quimby that he could heal using the same methods, and Quimby encouraged him. His first attempts were so successful that he chose to devote the remainder of his life to healing and writing. In 1867, he established a practice in Claremont, New Hampshire, which he ran until his death in 1889.

In his second book, ‘Mental Medicine,’ (1872) he paid tribute to his teacher and friend. He wrote:

‘Disease being in its root a wrong belief, change that belief and we cure the disease. By faith we are thus made whole. There is a law here the world will sometime understand and use in the cure of the diseases that afflict mankind. The late Dr Quimby, one of the most successful healers of this or any age, embraced this view of the nature of disease, and by a long succession of most remarkable cures proved the truth of the theory and the efficiency of that mode of treatment. Had he lived in a remote age or country, the wonderful facts which occurred in his practice would have been deemed either mythical of miraculous.’

Mrs Eddy became a friend, student and patient of Quimby in 1862 after six years as an invalid and depressive. Shortly after her mentor’s passing, she fell badly on ice and suffered a serious injury. She tried to persuade Julius Dresser to treat her, but he refused. Instead, having carefully observed the late Dr Quimby, she applied what she had learned, and by the end of 1866, had made a full recovery. She dated her ‘discovery’ of ‘Christian Science’ (a term previously used by Quimby and the title of a book written by a Rev William Adams in 1850) to that year. The commonalities between her and Quimby’s work are quite apparent, although Mrs Eddy felt it necessary to integrate her Christian faith into Quimby’s ideas since he was so critical of organised religion.

Then she turned on him. Once an avid admirer, she dismissed him as a mere mesmerist (while acknowledging his remarkable powers as a healer) and claimed his discoveries as her own. She claimed she had made them for herself before she even met him.

Her best known work, ‘Science and Health,’ was published in 1875, remains in print, and is widely read to this day. Eddy ‘disciples’ regard it as second in importance only to the Bible. But her refusal to acknowledge Quimby angered some of those with whom she had studied, because they knew that he had developed mental healing years before Mrs Eddy went to him as a patient.

Chief among these were the Dressers. Julius was close to death before regaining his health with Quimby’s help. He became a healer and teacher. His wife Annetta was also cured by Quimby and wrote, ‘The Philosophy of P.P. Quimby’ (1895). Later, Julius and his son Horatio edited Quimby’s writings in detail.  Horatio was in no doubt that Mrs Eddy had no knowledge of mental healing prior to their first encounter in 1862 and had borrowed heavily from the writings of Quimby and Evans. ‘It is now easy to see just when and just where she ‘discovered Christian Science,’ he wrote.

A century later, a Quimby scholar, the late Dr Ervin Seale, was more charitable to Mrs Eddy, pointing out that Mrs Eddy’s skills as a self-publicist ensured that Quimby’s ideas lived on. ‘If it had not been for P. P. Quimby,’ wrote Dr Seale, ‘there would have been no Mrs. Eddy, and if it had not been for Mrs. Eddy we should never have known of Quimby.’

Indeed, Mrs Eddy gathered around her a group of influential teachers who travelled the length and breadth of North America spreading her message. One of these was the ‘teacher of teachers’, Mrs Emma Curtis Hopkins. Mrs Hopkins was editor of the Christian Science Journal before being sacked by the dictatorial Mrs Eddy and founding her own school in Chicago. One day in 1886, one of her students, Dr E.B. Weeks, delivered a talk on healing in Kansas City, Missouri. In the audience was a 41 year-old schoolteacher, Myrtle Fillmore, suffering from tuberculosis which her doctors had pronounced terminal.

When she emerged from the hall, inspired by Dr Weeks, one thought repeated itself over and over in her mind: ‘I am a child of God and therefore I do not inherit sickness.’ Her belief that she was fragile crumbled, and after nearly two years of dedicated mental effort she was completely cured. The following year, at the age of 44, she gave birth to for the third time.

Mrs Fillmore wrote an account of her healing[2]. The turning point, she said, was when she realised one day that Intelligence as well as Life is needed to make a body. ‘Life has to be guided by Intelligence in making all forms, whether a worm or a human being. Life is simply a form of energy, and has to be guided and directed in man’s body by his intelligence. How do we communicate with Intelligence? By thinking and talking, of course!’ With this realisation, she became attentive to her thoughts and prayed every hour for help from Spirit. She asked for forgiveness for past mistakes and told her muscles and organs that they were drawing on an unlimited Source and were healthy and strong.

After the healing, others asked her for help. She helped a crippled man to walk, cured a woman’s asthma, helped a boy blinded by cataracts to see, cured a boy of tonsillitis and another of croup. She told all who sought her help that it was God’s will that they be healthy and that the healing power of Spirit was within them. She later wrote a book based on her experiences, How to Let God Help You.

Meanwhile, her husband, Charles – like Quimby, a sceptical man with a scientific frame of mind – set about discovering the reason for his wife’s recovery. He came to the reluctant conclusion that there was incontrovertible evidence of a Great Power behind the healings that was somehow capable of being directed by human thought.

Charles and Myrtle applied what they learned and went on to found a prayer and healing ministry, Unity, which continues to this day. She died in 1931, aged 86. Charles lived to be 94.

Myrtle Fillmore, a simple, trusting soul, would have had no idea that in recognising that both life (energy) and intelligence (information) had a role in regulating the body she had anticipated science by more than a century, and that some of the most learned brains on the planet would one day validate her experience.

 

[1] Dr Ervin Seale (Ed.), Quimby Complete Writings, Vols 1-3, De Vorss and Co., 1989

[2] How I Found Healing, pamphlet published by Unity, Kansas City, Missouri

©Feelinggoodallthetime 29.3.2017

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How to Books, 2007

Mind-Body Healing the Quimby Way

All illness has a psycho-somatic component. Often it’s hard to tell where the boundary lies between the mind and body. One great pioneering healer knew no bounds; his name was Phineas Parkhurst Quimby.

Quimby

He was born on February 16, 1802. He was a clock-maker in Belfast, Maine, where he lived most of his life. Although others called him ‘Doctor’ he had little formal education, and no medical training or qualifications. But he had a practical, enquiring mind.

As a young man, he became desperately ill with tuberculosis. His lungs were wasting away and doctors couldn’t help. He decided to try and help himself. Someone suggested horse-riding – the fresh air would do him good. But he was too weak to ride a horse, so be borrowed a horse and cart. One day the horse refused to pull the cart up a hill, so Quimby walked up the hill with the horse. When they got to the top, the horse suddenly started trotting. Quimby couldn’t get back on the cart and ran down the hill with the horse – which, strictly speaking, he shouldn’t have been able to.

When he got home, he realised he was breathing freely and the pain had gone. It never returned. He dedicated the rest of his life to understanding what brought this spontaneous healing about. He reasoned there must be something within us, that we’re not normally aware of, that can make us well.

He learned of the work of Anton Mesmer, the hypnotist, who had gained a reputation for remarkable healings in Europe. By 1840, Quimby was an expert hypnotist. He met a young man called Lucius who was an excellent hypnotic subject. Under hypnosis, Lucius could apparently diagnose patients’ illnesses and suggest a cure.

Later, Quimby realized that Lucius was tuning in to what the patient believed he had, not what he actually had. So after his early experiments, he gave up hypnotism. Instead, he focussed on curing disease through the mind (mental healing). His emphasis was on getting his patients to see causes for themselves. He wanted to help the patient see life in an entirely different way. About this time, his own clairvoyant faculties began to develop.

He dedicated himself to discovering the truth behind the New Testament healings. In the gospels, Jesus was said to heal first the mind, then the body. He removed the cause of the disease and the physical effect ceased. Quimby did not regard Jesus’ healings as miracles, but as scientific applications of Universal Law.

Many thought him a charlatan, but those he helped saw him as a pioneer, a mystic. He healed thousands of people of a wide range of illnesses. He also carried out distance healing. Most of his cases had not responded to conventional treatment. Some thought he was most successful among the credulous, but there’s no doubt he brought about many marvellous cures.

He died of over-work and self-neglect on January 16, 1866. It is said he saw over 10,000 patients in his last seven years. Later writers attributed his success to four main factors:

1.       He had a deep sympathy for human suffering.

2.       He was an authentic and original thinker. It took a great deal of courage to do what he did and teach what he taught in 19th Century New England.

3.       His approach was rigorously scientific. He demanded proof and did not trust opinions, only knowledge.

4.       He understood the harm that organised religion of his day had done to people and the need to reverse this thinking. He believed that the Church had abdicated its interest in healing and that his purpose was to resurrect it. His interest in the New Testament was mainly to understand the negative thinking of his patients – especially those who believed that ill health was normal or that they were ill because G_d was punishing them for some unpardonable sin.

Quimby’s Healing Method

Quimby believed that the healing power is present in the mind of the patient. He sat down with his patients and put himself in rapport with them. He addressed his comments to the ‘spirit within’. He held that the spirit within is at one with G_d and never sick.

He used his intuition to discover the real source of the problem. He visualised the person’s spirit form standing beside the body. The spirit form imparted to him the cause of the problem. Often he felt every symptom of the disease in his own body.

He described the cause of disease in his own words:

“The trouble is in the mind, for the body is only the house for the mind to dwell in. if your mind has been deceived by some invisible enemy into a belief, you have put it into the form of a disease, with or without your knowledge. By my theory or truth I come in contact with your enemy and restore you to health and happiness….

A sick man is like a criminal cast into prison for disobeying some law that man has set up. I plead his case, and if I get the verdict, the criminal is set at liberty. If I fail, I lose the case. His own judgment is his judge, his feelings are his evidence. If my explanation is satisfactory to the judge, you will give me the verdict. This ends the trial, and the patient is released.”

His son George (who acted as his secretary) described his father’s method of cure like this (I paraphrase):  ‘A patient comes to see Dr Quimby. He renders himself absent to everything but the impression of the person’s feelings. These are quickly imprinted on him. This mental picture contains the disease as it appears to the patient. Being confident that it is the shadow of a false idea, he is not afraid of it. Then his feelings in regard to health and strength are imprinted on the receptive plate of the patient. The patient sees the disease in a new light, gains confidence. This change is imprinted on the doctor again and he sees the change and continues. The shadow grows dim and finally disappears, the light takes its place, and there is nothing left of the disease.’

Sometimes barely a word was spoken – Quimby’s thoughts somehow impacted on the patient. Quimby’s highly developed intuition and powers of concentration were vital in his success. Today he would be called a medical intuitive, because he could ‘sense’ what the problem was and sometimes apply a remedy by telepathy.

He knew – predating Freud by half a century – that many of the patient’s unhelpful beliefs were located in the Unconscious Mind and must be brought into consciousness before they can be dealt with. The Unconscious is directly responsive to thought and embodies our fears, beliefs, hopes, errors, and joys. Thought, emotion and belief all impact on health, and these can be changed. Quimby found that the most harmful belief – which he encountered a great deal – was that G_d was punishing the person for their sins by making them ill.

Writings

Quimby left behind detailed journals which explained his philosophy and methods. In addition, some of his clients published their own books and devoted their lives to spreading awareness of his discoveries. The main one was Rev Warren Felt Evans. He wrote the definitive contemporary account in his book, ‘The Mental Cure’ (1869). His ideas also found their way into the writings of Mrs Mary Baker Eddy, whose most famous work, ‘Science and Health’, was published in 1875. (more on her later)

Quimby didn’t publish his writings. After his death, his son George held on to his manuscripts but refused to publish them until after Mrs Eddy’s death. Only in 1920 were edited excerpts published (by Horatio Dresser, son of Julius Dresser, a patient), but it was not until 1989 that Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: The Complete Writings were published, edited by Dr Ervin Seale, who devoted much of his life to this task.

Every New Thought thinker and writer has been influenced by Quimby, and so have many of the great psychologists and philosophers including the Louise Hay, Milton Erickson, Caroline Myss, Bandler and Grinder (NLP), Ernest Holmes, the Cognitive-Behavioural therapists and many others. Most acknowledge their debt.

Piano keys

Quimby was far ahead of his time. One of his most famous sayings is, ‘Take a piano. The same keys that produce discord will produce harmony.’ What did he mean? Simply that the same laws  of thought and belief that can produce discord and misery can also produce harmony and happiness.

At last people are waking up to the incredible contribution he made. Science is still catching up, and one day – hopefully before too long – it will.

©David Lawrence Preston, 2015

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