Sunday, 3 June 2012

Nia: A Fun Exercise with Healing Benefits

Nia technique is a sensory based-movement exercise, which was originally known as Non-Impact Aerobics and Neuromuscular Action. It involves various physical conditioning programs that integrate the principles of movement as a pathway for self-discovery and personal transformation. The reason for its creation was to bring cardiovascular aerobic exercises and whole-body conditioning together in one exercise. Debbie Rosas and Carlos AyaRosas first created this program in California, in the year 1983. 

Nia is basically composed of 52 different movements that integrate movement modalities from dance, martial arts, and healing practices. It blends nine movement forms from martial arts like tai chi, tae kwon do and aikido; from dance arts like jazz, modern dance, and Duncan dance; and from healing arts like Feldenkrais method, combined with yoga and Alexander technique. 

Different varieties of musical styles are also played during the program, which makes the exercise more fun and enjoying to perform. This enables the person to forget about his or her external environment and just focus on their movements by freely moving the body in response to the song or music played.

Combining each basic dance moves from those various arts with music; clients are able to move their body more naturally and gracefully to the tune of the music played. This makes their bodies less stiff and more flexible. It is said to be much similar to meditation, only that it involves graceful and flexible movements. 

With Nia technique, healing is not merely physical or mental but also spiritual. Benefits from this exercise include better balance and coordination, better cardiovascular function, reduction of stress and anxiety, improved self-esteem, energy build-up, and improved body posture and self-awareness. Along with all these benefits, Nia technique can help increase one’s self-esteem and boost their self-confidence. This will result to better socialization with other people and better performance with their daily activities. 

There was a study done by a Nian instructor, Dr. Deborah Kern, which studied the effects of Nia on women. According to the women who performed the Nia technique, the exercise does not only benefit the physical aspect of their health but also the emotional health. Some say that there is greater improvement in their mood after performing Nia technique. According to them, they feel that there is an increased sense of well being and decreased of tiredness and hunger. 

According to Debbie and Carlos, they believe that exercise should be pleasurable and enjoyable. So, if you want to live a healthy life, why not try Nia technique? It is beneficial to the body and helps a person grow spiritually and mentally. 

Floatation Therapy

It has always been known that stress greatly contributed to a large number of health diseases. Relaxing has always been a technique to counter stress. One great way to relax is stay afloat on a body of water and just move with the water. This relaxation technique is also known as Floatation Therapy. This relatively new therapy designed to relax the body and mind. During the therapy clients will relax in a bath and allow them to float for extended periods of time, which then can help solve a variety of health problems.

In 1964, the first person to devise such an idea was John Lily. He was fascinated in meditation and in the physiology and the psychology of the meditative state when he started working on sensory deprivation. In his experiments he discovered that his students enjoyed the experience of floating and achieved levels of relaxation only seen in deep meditation. The feeling of deep relaxation was obtained only in a few minutes time which is lesser than when you go to classical meditation techniques. After that, Floatation therapy was invented and was used by many upon hearing Lily’s ideas.

During Floatation therapy, clients are guided to their individual chambers to relax. A small private space in the form of a pod or cabin is found in each chamber usually equipped with a power shower and soap and shampoo. Then they are asked to enter the pod which contains a shallow pool about 10 inches deep. The pool is actually mixed with special salts, which has a high density that allows the clients to float above the shallow pool. The client then is asked to rest for about an hour and enjoy the treatment.  

Floatation therapy has been very popular and famous for their extremely invigorating properties. Children, and especially adults, are enjoying this new and interesting treatment. The treatment allows experiencing the feeling of weightlessness as if you were under a spell. 

Aside from the amazing feeling patients get, it gives a wide range of health benefits as well. Tests conducted and have proven that this therapy has the ability to lower a client’s blood pressure, promote better circulation, which can accelerate the healing process, and also reduce anxiety. It could also relieve people from their injuries and back problems. In addition, it was also discovered that the therapy could help reduce levels of pain, ease tired, tight and knotted muscles, and help those who suffer from sleep deprivation or jet lag with effects that lasts for a few hours or a few days. People with problems with concentration and stress-related problems have also benefited from this therapy.

The therapy works by allowing your brain to return to the state you experience when you are about to wake up or go to sleep. Studies have shown that this is triggered by a release of endorphins, which stimulate the brain making it active or making you feel like you’re on cloud nine. This encourages tranquility that allows you to think clearly with moments of realization.

Because of this, floatation therapy has been used to treat problems relating to substance abuse and depression. It also has been proven to be of use to enhance levels of concentration and creative thinking and also revision skills. Today, a number of schools, universities, and rehabilitation centers have been accepting this therapy to aid the students and patients needed help.

Healing by Movement: Eutony

Eutony or eutonia is the ability to be aware of your skin, internal body space, the bones, or to control sequences of movements and positions that allows you to evaluate the state of your muscular flexibility. This somatic discipline allows you to deepen you range of expression and creativity as one experiences unity. With this, the body can attain improved wellness by being aware of your own movements, which are gentle and easy. 

Gerda Alexander, the originator of this discipline, suffered rheumatic fever and endocarditis when she was in her young age. This forced her to perform movements that would not make her exert more effort to worsen or add to her condition. Due to this, Gerda devised some spontaneous form of movement to achieve further well-being. She molded these movements by observing and reflecting on her students and by investigating on the neuro-psychological bases of human movement. She suggested "It is important, in treatment, not to give and do more than is necessary, so that the others can rely on himself. It is not that I am the great master who gives you help. Rather, I can introduce you to my work for your own self-discovery."

Eutony works by promoting self-awareness and competence to regulate muscular tone in adapting to the activity of the present moment. Several principles are used in this discipline, such as awareness of the body, skin, bones and perception of the internal body. Other skills would also be needed like active and passive movement techniques, control positions, voice and bone vibrations, evaluation of muscular flexibility, and conscious contact. With these principles, increased circulation and beneficial changes to muscle tonus occurs. 

The key to this discipline is to focus on the “intention of the movement” in a manner where no actual effort is exerted by the skin or muscle. With this, a balance muscle tone and optimal circulation is achieved. Individuals with circulation problems and hypotensive, or hypertensive, are benefited from this discipline.

Sessions would usually last for about 60 to 90 minutes. The eutonist will then guide the student with the help of exercise tools like balls, pillows and sticks. A contact between the eutonist and student is established in order to fully internalize the principles. Length and treatment would actually vary depending on the stduents. Part of the session will include repetitions of the initial control positions to completely allow the student to obtain the differences of awareness and muscle tonus. At the end of the session, the student shall be able to gain understanding of his, or her, own muscular tonicity.

To make the world known to Eutony, around the year of 1970, Gerda introduced the principle to various places and one of these is Argentina. During one seminar, a person by the name of Berta Vishnivetz became fascinated with Eutony. She then enrolled herself to Eutonia de Gerda Alaxander, the school established by none other than Gerda Alexander. After graduating, Gerda and Berta have been working together to promote Eutony. Not long after, Berta became the founding director of the Latin American School and Argentina de Eutonia. Activities from these different formations have given them the attention they needed to be socially recognized as an institution. Since then, Eutony now has been has been duly noted and accepted in different areas such as health, arts, and education.

Eutony is now recognized in different places and has been claimed to be a successful treatment for patients who have musculoskeletal disorders. Even medical doctors have recommended Eutony to some patients who would want to go the natural way. 

Only Light and Air for Food

It is a known fact that human beings need water to survive. However, there is one diet out there that seems to be surviving on other things. This is called the Breatharian Diet. Being a breatharian is being in a state of well-being without relying on food and water to survive.

When being a breatharian, two things are only required of this meditative state which is light and air. These two elements are the only needed substance that are essential to a strict breatharian. Other breatharians could not live with only with these elements that they would sometimes drink some form of liquid. These people are not pure breatharians and are not labeled as real breatharians.

A true breatharian is drawn to living on light as a source of nourishment can activate this state of being. This happens when light is combined with different chemicals that we contain in our body. In addition, the DNA also is crucial in sustaining a person’s body during this state. These two substances act together to keep a person, who does not feed or drink, alive and energized.

There are actually two types of breatharians. One lives on light alone and other lives on sunlight, prana or air. These two types differ in its advantages and effects on the body. The nourishment that it needs to sustain the body also differs.

The first type, which solely lives on light, does not need any kind of nourishment but can still sustain its form and manifest a never-ending energy. The light that they rely on actually has a component that when it is combined with the chemicals in our body, it forms new substances or cells. Also, consciousness is needed to activate the DNA, which determines what our body becomes, to pull the light together. The DNA instructs the tiny parts of the body to place themselves together to manifest into a physical form. Many believe that with this way of life, a person can experience immortality for the reason that ageing is stopped or reversed. Still, the scientific basis for this phenomenon has not been established yet.

The second type of breatharian lives on prana, sunlight or air. People in this diet are considered to be less of a real breatharian. This type occasionally eats to sustain the body. Sunlight as a source of nourishment also has the same principles as of the first type. In this type, they either cannot or do not need to activate DNA to manifest their physical form. Unlike the real breatharian, people in this category are believed to keep ageing. Sometimes their bodies may experience pain and suffering due insufficient supply of nutrients.

A breathrarian may experience some physical changes like hearing the sensation of silence and the tuning-in of oneself to his body, as organs change functions and vision starts to clear up.

A man in India who claimed to have lived 70 years of life without food or water to survive was placed under research by India’s Defense Research Development Organization to obtain the key in answering the mystery behind this phenomenon. It has been in the eye of the Indian government as a solution to problems concerning several disaster victims to survive in areas without access to food and water. Jani, the Indian man, was placed under strict observation for 10 days, with the help of the Discovery channel. Doctors continually checked him during this time. Amazingly, Jani was able to  withstand going for day without food or water.

This is one diet that is considered to be the most dangerous of all. Before wanting to engage in this diet, it is important to seek help first and consult a true breatharian. Strict meditation techniques, and discipline are needed to succeed in this endeavor. If people are not careful, this can lead to extreme malnutrition, and even death. 

The Ovo – Lacto Vegetarian Diet

Going vegetarian? Perhaps you may want to read this. If you were thinking that being a vegetarian means that you only eat vegetables and no meat, you are wrong. There are different types of vegetarians out there. There are those who are called vegans, who purely eat vegetables and no meat; and there are those called lacto-ovo, or ovo-lacto vegetarians, who are also vegetarians but with the exception that they include eggs and dairy products with their diet.

The founders of the Vegetarian Society first coined the term vegetarian in the year 1847. Although they were called vegetarians, they were actually Ovo – Lacto vegetarians. The existence of vegetarianism in the society was duly because of the hate of seeing animals suffer to acquire food. So, in order to avoid seeing these animals suffer and die, they subject themselves to eating only vegetables, eggs and dairy products. Some argue that eating eggs are preventing the life with in that egg from existing, so Lacto vegetarians, people who avoid eating eggs and only vegetables and dairy products, existed. But according to Ovo – Lacto vegetarians, they believe that those eggs are unfertilized and no life has begun yet.

This type of diet is highly beneficial to people who have a health history of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high cholesterol, obesity, gout arthritis, anxiety and depression, and much more. Even though a person doesn’t have any of the mentioned conditions earlier, they still benefit from this diet by preventing those diseases form occurring.

Another thing about this diet is that there is more Copper contained in the diet compared to others. According to experts, Copper is an essential nutrient that aid in the reparative and regenerative processes of the body by aiding in the production of an enzyme that breaks down essential vitamins and fats.

Eating purely vegetables doesn’t necessarily mean that it is healthy. Although vegetables are known for their vast nutritional benefits, there are consequences when eating too much vegetable and eating less protein. Eggs and dairy products in a lacto – ovo vegetarian diet can provide the protein but along with it is high cholesterol and fat content. Essential nutrients that a person may lack when eating less animal products are protein, calcium, vitamin A, D and B12, essential fatty acids iron, and zinc. And because of this, vegetarians also tend to be malnourished.

Becoming an Ovo – Lacto vegetarian is not simple. It takes time for your body to adopt to the “preferred” diet. A person must gradually decrease their regular meat intake in order to give time for the body to adjust. The process would require patience and discipline.

In a study done by Dr. Walter Willet, the head of the nutrition department and a lead researcher in Harvard University, it was discovered that men who eat more meat are at risk for prostate cancer and women for colon cancer. Another study done at Loma Linda University in California shows that people who are vegetarians have lower their risk of having heart-related diseases.

In conclusion, there is no perfect diet. If a person would want to become an Ovo-Lacto vegetarian, it is of first priority to consult a nutritionist to plan a balanced diet. Some fruits and vegetables provide the same proteins and minerals that are found in meat, however, there is a large difference in the equivalent content of the said nutrients.

Nurturing the Eye

The Tibetans, particularly the Tibetan Lama Monks, first used the Tibetan eye chart. The purpose was to exercise their eyes, and to stimulate and strengthen eye muscles and nerves. This method is the Tibetans natural way of healing their visual weakness and enhancing their eyesight. The exercise done by these monks involves complex exercises including crossing and moving the eye in different directions.

To exercise the eyes, the monks used a snowflake-figure chart that is believed to be helpful in stimulating and strengthening the eye muscles. According to some authors, the chart was designed to increase the activity of rods and cones in the retina, and increase the range of light spectrum visible to the naked eye.

Although famous for its healing eye problems naturally, there are still no scientific evidences to prove its effectiveness. Other authors would say that it is not advisable to perform this exercise without the help of an expert.

According to some, applying this technique every morning and evening would show some immediate results and over a period of months, a most definite improvement in eyesight occurs.

The simple exercises with the use of the chart involve using the corrective eyeglasses, or contact, if one has one. Then, one is asked to place the tip the nose onto the center circle on the chart, with their backs straight and in a sitting position. Once the person is in position, the eyes should then start moving towards one direction. The tips of a snowflake determine each direction and movement should last for 30 seconds. An important thing to remember is to keep the eyes moving without any rest.

After performing the each exercise, using the palm of both hands, the person must cup the closed eyes to relax them. The exercise is then repeated as tolerated to avoid strains.

One hazardous effect of the Tibetan practice comes with straining the eyes. Straining will lead to more problems with the eyes. It can worsen the current condition of the eye or it can add more damage to it. A precautionary measure is to stop when the eyes begin to strain and then use the palming technique.

Repairing and reforming the eye requires more than just performing the exercise. Additional nutrients are needed together with the specific exercises. These nutrients would also help in the hastening of repair and maintenance of the eyes. Included in these nutrients and vitamin A, E and B. The more the exercise is performed, the more nutrients are needed.

Nutrients like selenium would reverse the loss of light processing and remove deposits of ceroid lypofucsin, and rancid vegetable oils, stored as cellular and subcellular lipids of the eye. The effects of ceroid lypofucsin, and rancid vegetable oils, appear in the form of darkened and discolored spots on the eye. These harmful substances that come from vegetable oils in the polyunsaturated form treated with hydrogen causes rancidity of cellular fats which damages the eyes.

When deciding to engage in using the Tibetan Eye Chart, on must first consult and expert, or a doctor, for guidance. To have best results, follow the instructions carefully and avoid straining the eyes and eat healthy foods rich in selenium, and vitamins A, E and B. If the problem still persists, or worsens, it is safest to contact an eye specialist.