3 Minute Rejuvenators – Quick tips for reducing stress and restoring your balance
1. Have a screensaver displaying beautiful, ‘natural’ scenery such as waterfalls, sunrises, lakes, mountain ranges etc (Viewing natural scenery is known to reduce stress and balance mind and body).
2. Simply walk outside for a minute or two and breathe in some fresh air, get some natural light [sunlight] through your eyes, and if practical, take your shoes (and socks) off and ‘earth’ yourself. (Earthing is being shown to be one of the greatest, natural rejuvenators and directly balances many of our most common health ailments).
3. Spray your eyes, preferably with the eyes open, with filtered rosewater. Keep a little spray bottle at your desk. (Rose water reduces fatigue and offsets the dryness and irritation caused by looking at computer screens for long periods).
4. Simply stand up and walk around for a minute or two. Ideally go and do something silly or funny to a work colleague to make you both laugh. Remember, ‘sitting is the new smoking’.
5. Practice palming. Vigorously rub your palms together for a 5 – 10 seconds and then with your eyes closed place your palms over your eyes and let your eyes and your mind completely relax. (This practice is known to settle the mind, calm the nervous system reduce headaches and anxiety and improve mental clarity.)
6. Dab some ‘peppermint oil’ on your neck or wrist, or depending on your work place, put a couple of drops in an oil diffuser and breathe it for 1-2 minutes. (Peppermint oil stimulates the mind to promote mental clarity and heightened brain performance.)
7. Ayurvedic Body Awareness – just sit and close your eyes for a few minutes, while letting your attention go to whichever part of your body it is naturally drawn to. If there is some tension/strain or excessive activity your mind will often be drawn to that area. Just let your awareness flow to that area and allow the tension or over excitation to dissolve or relax. This is often used in Ayurveda as a way of restoring balance to mind and body.
Night Owls Late Night Eating and Weight
On October 1, 2013 at 3:13 PM Natasha S wrote
I tend to agree with your article on digestion being lowest at night, and I’ve been abusing it by eating dinner sometimes at 1 am in the morning, or even after that time! Because I get caught up doing things on the computer, and I get home late at night too, between 8 pm and 9 pm. I want to change this, but am underweight at this point in my life – surely going for so many hours without food – will make me even thinner? Won’t my body start to cannibalize itself if I don’t eat for so long overnight? Besides, I get hungry pretty quickly after a light meal.
What about those who are night owls, and a bit underweight? This kind of eating might be good for those who carry a bit too much weight but so many hours without food might be detrimental for those who tend to be thin.
As I go to bed late – around midnight – I would be hungry again if I ate before 8.30 pm.
Would having a glass of goats milk kefir be all right if I was hungry before bed? I can’t sleep if I’m hungry.
Please help me with this question.
Making Changes – How to Create Lasting Health and Well-being Changes in your Life?
One of the most common difficulties we encounter when trying to make more health promoting changes in our lives is actually getting started. I’ve always been thinking that I should write an article on this super important topic, but have never seem to be able to get started! LOL! Fortunately, I recently met a fantastic bloke – Luke McLean (not coincidentally he is a Hawk One supporter!). He has written a fantastic blog of his own on this topic. As such, I thought I would direct you to it here.
The Sporting Zone – How to get in it?
On August 15, 2013 Jason C wrote:
I really enjoyed listening to you talk in Fiji, you had some great ideas that I am keen to incorporate into my and my familys life.
I talked to you on Saturday night as you were leaving about my motor racing and the up coming Australian titles. I have been out of the car for 14 months after an accident, while Im not nervous about getting back in the car ( I’m super excited) I would love to hear what tips you may have for me to prepare in the lead up to the event. The weeks, days but especially the hours and minutes before the race, what is the best state to be in.
I have just downloaded your audio book via the app store and will start listening to it tonight on the way home.
Talk soon Mate- Thank you
Ayurveda’s Concept of Digestive Fire – Does It Have Scientific Proof
Lewis S wrote:
I would be interested to know what scientific research supports the idea that “our digestive fire, which we need to digest food, is relatively weak in the early hours of the day.” It makes sense as portrayed in your article, but so does the opposite case when presented by health and nutrition experts of that persausion.
Warmer Foods in Cold Winter – Obvious you say!
You probably think this tip is so plainly obvious it is ridiculous to even mention it.
Basically, as we move into the colder months, the tip is that you should eat ‘warmer’ foods.
While we often try to make staying healthy complicated and confusing, staying in balance is often easier than we think.
Vegetables shown to have their own Circadian Rhythm
Was just sent this great article on how modern science is starting to glimpse the exquisite intelligence of vegetables and how they have a circadian rhythm (like us) that responds to light and dark ‘even after’ being picked. Hope you enjoy.
Sugar. . . raw sugar, brown sugar, white sugar, natural sugar, sugar substitutes, fructose, sucrose, glucose, artificial sweeteners, Stevia, agave nectar, coconut sugar, palm sugar!!! Yikes! Everywhere you turn these days, there is some article, debate or new type of sugar. Why? Because we are starting to realise just how dangerous regular sugar is, and more importantly, how we are consuming far too much (often unknowingly) and putting our health. . . and in some cases our lives in danger.
I have been looking into this topic recently, from both a modern science perspective as well as the wisdom of Eastern health sciences, including Ayurveda. As I couldn’t do the topic justice in just a short blog, I have put a full article on every aspect of sugar and how you might reduce it in your diet to safe and healthy levels. Read it here –
Breakfast and Teenagers – Important or Not?
On May 25, 2013 Jenni A wrote:
Once again you were totally engaging and inspiring when you spoke to us yesterday
at the nurses wellness conference. I tried to get to say hello but the queues to talk to you were too long ( which was fantastic for you).
I just wanted to tell you that since hearing you speak at the last nurses conference in 2010…. I have made some changes to my life and tried to encourage others to do the same. I work as a secondary school nurse in education…and my role is in health promotion. I wanted to ask you about teenagers…there is a huge message that is constantly given to them about the importance of eating breakfast…what are your views about this…for what you talk about..re eating,sleeping etc makes so much sense?
A huge thank you again Mark…may be one day I could get you to talk to the students. In good health.
Rice Milk / Almond Milk – are they good alternatives to dairy milk?
On May 16, 2013 Katie C. wrote
I was just wondering if almond or rice milk is ok to heat up as a warm drink at night? I generally try not to have too much diary food.
Thanks so much Mark, I love receiving your emails.
Eating out at restaurants and even the occasional fast food take-away is pretty much part and parcel of our modern day life, so here’s some quick tip.s to help keep things as healthy as possible.
Shiftwork – How to do it in the healthiest possible way
Do you work nightshift and struggle to maintain good health?
Is it worse for your health to work nights rather than days?
Would you like some simple, ancient wisdom tips and tools to help you negate the potentially harmful effects of regular night shiftwork?
Recent research from Japan backs up what traditional health systems have suggested for millennia – that eating too quickly can lead to stacking on the kilos.
Scientists from Osaka University looked at the eating habits of 3,000 people and suggest stuffing down meals in a hurry may be enough to nearly double a person’s risk of being overweight. The study which was reported in the British Medical Journal, showed that compared with normal-speed eaters, fast-eating men were 84% more likely to be overweight and women were just over two times as likely.
Those who tended to eat until they felt full were more than three times more likely to be overweight.
In Maharishi Ayurveda, it is recommended we eat to ¾ capacity to allow proper digestion of our food. Eating slower also allows us to properly ‘taste’ our food (a critical component of digestion and assimilation) and gives our satiety receptors time to inform us when we’ve had enough to eat.
So it’s good to hear of modern science backing up ancient wisdom. Now we just have to do it. Slow down. Take your time. Put your knife and fork down between bites. Taste, savour and enjoy. And keep your waistline trim.
Have you heard of nanotechnology yet? If not, you will soon…and BEWARE!
Nanotechnology is a technology that will allow scientists in laboratories (always the first clue that something is not as Mother Nature intended) to deliver things like drugs, nutrients or chemicals in highly targeted ways. I.e. directly into your cells…at the molecular level!
It’s Not Only Additives That Affect Behaviour – By Cyndi O’Meara
As I wait in line at the check out of many grocery stores usually trying to research the buying trends of young Mums with young children I’m appalled by their lack of education and understanding as to how food choices not only affect the health of children but also their behaviour.
If they knew that the foods that they were spending good money on inadvertently affects the health and behaviour of their children would they do it?
Healthy, Glowing Skin – how much does it cost?…..Absolutely FREE!
Are you contributing some of your hard earned dollars to the billion-dollar cosmetics industry trying to keep your skin healthy and younger looking but are overlooking one or more of the real keys to healthy, youthful skin? Now I am all for using (chemically free) external skin products where needed, but realise there are at least 5 far more important things (that will hardly cost you a cent) you should be focusing on before you worry about cosmetics.
Cooking Oils – What’s Healthy What’s Not?
On Thu, Feb 21, 2013 at 12:34 PM, Steve F wrote:
As per your request for interesting topics in your recent newsletter, I have attached a couple of links to articles about the use of fats and oils for cooking. I have been interested in this for a while and had been following what the guideline that says the higher the smoking point of fats and oils, the better the oil was for cooking ie making it more stable and therefore healthier.
I was very surprised to find these couple of articles and others I have not listed that are from scientists and nutritionists. It would seem from these people that the more saturated the fat the more stable it is at temperature. The TV Chefs are under the mistaken believe that if fat doesn’t burn then it is healthy. However, I think that perhaps they are more concerned about the taste and texture than health issues.
Being a Healthy (Busy) Mum – With the Wisdom of Ayurveda
Not long ago I read that the average mother these days gets about 20 minutes to herself a day. (Seeing my sister with her 3 girls, I can hear her shouting, like I’m guessing you might be, “20 minutes, oh I wish!”)
As a mum these days (you not me!), it is an unbelievably difficult challenge to do what you desire for your kids, your family, your work, before you even get a moment to think about yourself. Equally, as they say, “Our greatest wealth is our health”. While nearly every mum will say that healthy kids is their number one priority, it’s also logical, though not necessarily easy, that looking after your own health is the absolute first step in looking after your family’s health.
Abhyanga - The Ayurvedic Self Massage ('The Blissful Way to Good Health, Happiness & Long Life')
"Abhyanga" - the Ayurvedic old massage has been recommended for thousands of years as part of the daily routine for maintaining overall health and well-being.
According to the ancient Ayurvedic texts, regularly performing the oil massage (traditionally done daily) does the following,
- Dissolves accumulated stresses and toxins,
- Pacifies the doshas - especially vata - relieves fatigue, improves stamina, promotes pleasure and sound sleep,
- Enhances complexion - promotes luster / healthy glow & softer / smoother skin,
- Makes one 'least affected by old age' - Charaka Samhita - ancient ayurvedic text.
- Improves circulation, especially to nerve endings - therefore can reduce pain,
- Tones the muscles & massages the vital 'inner organs' of your body,
- Lubricates & strengthens the joints,
- Strengthens immunity and balances hormone function,
- Improves elimination of impurities from the body,
- Calms the nerves & strengthens the entire nervous system.
The overall effect is a powerful strengthener & rejuvenator of mind and body.
It is like oiling the engine of your car - if you do it regularly, your engine will be in peak condition, and give you years and years of trouble-free performance.
The Ayurvedic massage is tradtionally performed in the morning, before your bath or shower, to facilitate the release of toxins that may have accumulated during the previous night. You can use cured sesame oil, a herbalised massage oil, or ideally the oil prescribed by an Ayurvedic practitioner. This will be suited to your individual needs at the time.
Sesame Oil: Unique Benefits
Sesame oil is prescribed where possible as the oil of choice for the Ayurvedic massage. This is due to its unique qualities & benefits.
It’s main component is linoleic acid. Linoleic acid,
- is anti-fungal & anti-bacterial (known to inhibit growth of pathological bacteria).
- is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent – probably why it’s so good for joint problems.
- Appears to be a ‘anticarcinogen’ (fights cancer cells) – has been shown to in vitro
malignant melanoma growth (Smith & Salerno 1992) and human colon
adenocarcinoma cell line growth (Salerno & Smith 1991).
Sesame oil is also,
- the most ‘penetrating’ oil, thus nourishing and strengthening all tissues –
skin, tendons, joints, even the bones.
- is high in ‘antioxidants’. Heating the oil (traditional in Ayurveda), has been
shown scientifically to increase the antioxidants’ potency (Fukuda et al 1986).
- Sesame oil should always be ‘cured’ first – see below
- Sesame is ‘hot’ in nature, so in some cases can cause a little irritation for
some skin/body types. If using for the first time, it is best to try a little bit on a
small area of your body first.
The following are some simple instructions to assist you in doing the Ayurvedic daily oil massage. Even if you can’t do it everyday, do it as often as you can.
(i) Be sure that your bathroom is nice and warm – feeling cold will aggravate Vata dosha.
(ii) Place an old large towel on the floor to sit on. It will also catch any spilt oil.
(iii) Best results will come from doing your massage in a settled way with full attention – don’t listen to the radio etc. while having a massage.
(iv) To save oil building up in your towels, try drying yourself with a slightly damp, wrung washer or paper towels etc before using your towel. You can then launder the washer or throw away the paper towels as often as needed.
Step 1. Unless a specific oil has been recommended for you, then sesame oil should be used for the daily massage. If you find sesame oil unsuitable in some way (too heating or your skin reacts), you may also try almond or olive oil as alternatives. Only use coconut if pitta is very high or it’s in the middle of summer.
Unless the oil is pre-cured, purify it by ‘curing’ it*. Do this by heating it to about 100°C, the boiling point of water. Also add a drop of water to the oil in the beginning,. You will then know that the proper temperature has been reached when the water bubbles or boils. We suggest curing all the oil at one time.
Sesame and other oils are highly flammable, so they should be cured in the following way.
• Always heat the oil on low heat, never on high heat.
• Never leave the oil unattended.
• Once the oil has reached the proper temperature remove it from the heat and leave it in a safe place to gradually cool. Then pour it back into the original container or bottle (a funnel may help).
Step 2. Before beginning massage, the oil should be at or slightly above body temperature. A convenient system is to use a plastic bottle with a nozzle (e.g. a sauce bottle).
Stand it in a cup of hot water until it warms up. Start by massaging the head. Place a small amount of oil on the fingertips and palms and begin to massage the scalp gently. The massage for the head and for the entire body should be with the open part of the hands rather than with the fingertips.
Since the head is said to be one of the most important parts to be emphasized, spend proportionately more time on the head (and feet) than you do on other parts of the body.
Step 3. Apply a small amount of oil to your entire body. This will allow the oil to have maximum amount of time in contact with the body.
Step 4. Gently massage your face and outer part of your ears. You do not need to massage these areas vigorously.
Step 5. Massage both the front and back of the neck, and the upper part of the spine. Continue to use your open hands, in a rubbing type of motion.
Step 6. Proceed to massage to each area of your body. The proper motion is back and forth over your long bones and circular over your joints.
Massage both arms, including the hands and fingers.
A very gentle circular motion should be used over your heart.
Over the abdomen a gentle circular motion should also be used, following the bowel pattern from the right lower part of the abdomen, moving clockwise towards the left lower part of the abdomen.
Massage the back and spine as far as possible.
Like the arms, use a back and forth motion over the long bones of the legs and circular over the joints (hips, knees, ankles).
Step 7. Lastly, massage the soles of the feet. The feet also are considered especially important. Proportionately more time should be spent here than other parts of the body. Use the open part of your hands and massage vigorously back and forth over the soles of the feet.
Step 8. Now have a warm shower or bath. Only use soap if you need to, as it may draw too much oil out of the pores of your skin.
This completes the Ayurvedic Daily Oil Massage. Ideally, about 10 to 15 minutes should be spent each morning on the massage. However, if this time is not available on a particular day, it is better to do a very brief massage than to skip the massage altogether.
Once you have added this Ayurvedic Oil Massage into your daily routine, the benefits will make it quite natural for you to continue the massage on a permanent basis.
Fruits and Vegetables – Is the age-old advice wrong?
I am writing in response to a scientific study that you may have read about. Media outlets everywhere have been trumpeting the finding that fruits and vegetables give no protective effect or in any way reduce cancer!!! Interesting, to say the least. I hear that many nutritionists and dietitians are still trying to pick themselves up from the floor! My intention here, is not to discount or lightly dismiss such a study. In fact, the finding does not surprise me in the least…now don’t fall off your own chair! It’s not that I don’t think fruit and vegetables (assuming they are fresh and still contain a high level of the natural intelligence they are born with), contribute substantially to cancer protection, but the fact due to the nature of modern scientific research, in any isolated individual study, it can produce almost any result. Unfortunately, none of the media outlets I heard from, even bothered to mention what the actual research design or method of results analysis etc was. So, we are none the wiser, whether it was good science or not. Even assuming that it was a well conducted study, have you ever heard the media proclaim that something is good because of ABC, then 6 months later say that the exact same thing is dangerous because of XYZ? Red wine, chocolate, dairy etc are all evil one year and promoted as ‘angels from heaven’ the next after a single study or research finding. Artificial sweeteners, Soy products, cholesterol lowering spreads are hailed as ‘food of the Gods’ one minute and then attacked from pillar to post the next!!!