Healing approaches

A healthy heart: What’s love got to do with it?

heart-love-romance-6371.jpg

By Anita Ramsden, kinesiologist

The heart represents many things. More than just an organ that pumps oxygenated blood around our bodies to keep us alive, it is also a universal symbol of love and governs our ability to give and receive this vital emotion.

As a result, the kind of language we use in relation to the heart tends to be quite profound. We say things are ‘heartfelt’ and advise others to ‘speak from the heart’ or ‘follow your heart’. The phrase ‘you can’t decide with your head, you need to trust your heart’ is also a common one and positions this important organ as a key link between mind and body.

In physiological terms alone, the heart is an incredible machine. The size of a fist, it weighs about 10oz (283 grams) and beats around 70 times a minute. In that time, it moves five to seven litres of blood around the body, or up to 7,600 litres a day. Without its constant activity, we would die immediately.

The heart also has its own electromagnetic field, which being the largest in the body, permeates every cell and sends signals to our brain. Electrocardiograms (ECG) have indicated that the power of this field is 60 times greater than that of brain waves and can be measured several feet away from the body. The heart and brain synchronise through these energetic impulses and scientists working in the relatively new discipline of neurocardiology believe they are the basis of heart-brain communication.

These scientists have also discovered that the heart is a sensory organ, which consists of 40,000 neurons that are commonly associated with the brain. In fact, according to the HeartMath Institute: “The heart acts as a sophisticated information encoding and processing centre that enables it to learn, remember and make independent functional decisions that do not involve the cerebral cortex” of the brain.

Such information may help to explain why cardiac surgeons counsel patients and family members about the surprising after-effects of some heart transplant surgery. The patient who receives a donated organ can take on the characteristics, memories, tastes and preferences of the donor.

heart-brainlink

Heart-brain link

Recipients may also recall their donor’s personal details and in some instances, recognise and even feel love for their family and friends. In the words of Dr Daniel Keown, a practitioner of both Eastern and Western medicine and author of ‘The Spark in the Machine’, this scenario would appear to indicate that the heart has carried the donor’s memories within itself and shared them with its new recipient’s brain.

But there is also other evidence of a heart-brain link. For example, more heart attacks take place at 9am on a Monday morning than at any other time of the week, possibly due to an association with stressful situations such as work.

Stress-induced or Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, otherwise known as broken heart syndrome, likewise occurs when part of the heart is temporarily no longer able to pump well. This condition is commonly seen in patients following the death of a loved one. Metaphorically and physically, they are heart-broken.

But the heart is just as responsive to love and compassion. According to Deepak Chopra in his book ‘Training the Mind, Healing the Body’, the survival rate of patients who have had a heart attack is 80% higher if they believe their partner loves them. Research also shows that people who are in loving, kind and affectionate relationships experience less hardening of the arteries.

If someone is caught up in negative emotions such as anger, frustration or anxiety, on the other hand, their heart rhythms become more erratic and disordered as the endocrine system responds to the situation and their body goes into fight or flight mode.

Experiencing positive emotions such as appreciation, love or compassion produces the opposite effect though, creating highly ordered or coherent patterns that move the body into a state of peace. The heartbeat becomes even and synchronises with other bodily functions, such as blood pressure, digestion and breathing, which calms everything down.

boy gives flowers

Being kind

Another consideration in this context are the health benefits of being kind. The feelings generated from performing acts of kindness and compassion, or even of simply witnessing them, creates oxytocin – the ‘happiness hormone’ – in our body. Oxytocin, in turn, produces nitric oxide, which softens the walls of our arteries, improves blood flow and reduces blood pressure.

So it makes sense, both for ourselves and others, to choose a day each week to undertake kind acts. As Dr David Hamilton indicates in his books ‘Molecules of Kindness‘ and ‘Born to be Kind’: “We are genetically wired for kindness. The kindness gene, in fact, is 500 million years old – it’s one of our most ancient genes – which is WHY kindness impacts our biochemistry. It’s our deepest nature.”

Hugging someone, including your pet, is also another great way to produce oxytocin. Doing so will lead to a drop in your heart rate, reduce your stress hormones, cut your production of free radicals and lessen inflammation.

A lovely correction technique that I also use from the Creative Kinesiology school of practice is called ‘Heart Appreciation’. You can try it yourself by simply concentrating your mind on someone or something that you really appreciate and feeling how good it feels to do so.

Then breathe the feeling into your heart and let it spread throughout your entire body. Imagine your heart as a cup and watch it overflow. Your whole body will relax and your energy levels will rise significantly. Because it really is about feeling the love at every level – in body, mind and most particularly in the heart.

Anita Ramsden

Anita Ramsden is a kinesiologist. She is emphatic about affecting positive change and her work encourages wellbeing for mind, body and soul. Anita is also a member of the Kinesiology Federation.

OTHER ARTICLES THAT MAY INTEREST YOU

Gut health: Twelve ways to nurture a healthy microbiome

Homeopathy: The power of self-healing

The hidden scourge of nutritional deficiency

Healing approaches, Inspiring stories

Kinesiology: A personal journey

Life's journey
Life’s journey

By Anita Ramsden, kinesiologist.

Someone asked me the other day how I first got into kinesiology and that made me think of how my journey into the profession started a long time ago.

In fact, I was a student in London doing a BA honours degree in Jewellery at the time. Our technician had asked for some willing guinea pigs for his wife, who was studying to become a kinesiologist. Everyone looked at him with blank faces – and even now, I still occasionally get ‘a kinesi-what?’

But it did not take too much persuasion to get involved, mainly due to the fact that she was happy to feed any willing bodies, albeit macrobiotic food, which as it happens was delicious. So a pioneering group of us set off to discover what this brave new world was all about.

We lay down on the couch and ‘resisted her pressure’ as she tested the muscles of our arms and legs in various positions. She carried out corrections using massage points, homeopathic drops, colour, sound and so on. It was fascinating and magical. The whole experience was lots of fun and a huge eye opener to things I had never previously known existed.

But it was a year or so later that my journey down this path really began as I developed psoriasis, mainly on my scalp, while undertaking my finals. I saw a doctor many times during this time and tried all manner of shampoos, steroid creams and tablets, but to no avail.

Eventually I gave a kinesiologist a go and, after my first session, he advised me that my body was struggling to absorb dairy products and that I should stop eating anything containing milk. This statement caused me to experience a whole range of emotions, the biggest of which was fear.

No more cappuccinos – was he crazy? OMG, what about cake? Cheese I did not mind so much as I had always considered it a pointless food that I neither liked nor understood – and as for milk, yuk.

But this was back in the early 1990’s and dairy-free foods were not as readily available then, although they could be found in health food shops. You certainly would not come across them in what a friend calls “the fusspot section” of the supermarket as we do now.

Leap of faith
Leap of faith

Leap of faith

So I took a leap of faith, irritating anyone who offered to cook for me in the process, by swapping out cows milk-based products for the only real alternative at the time, soya milk. And I was disappointed to report there was no real change.

But when I returned to the kinesiologist, we discovered that my body had just as much of an aversion to soy as it did to dairy. No soya. Holy Moly – what would I eat now?

So I duly cut out all the soya products, which was not much of a sacrifice as I did not care much for them anyway. And then the magic happened: my psoriasis got better, disappearing never, ever, to return again.

I felt great. My digestive system was no longer a grumpy, irritated beast that made me prone to bloating, cramping and feeling gaseous, with all of the unfortunate consequences that entails.

I also no longer suffered from regular, painful coldsores, brought on by late nights, too much work and any kind of fun or stress. One of them even went rogue at one point and turned into impetigo. But I have to report that over the last 20 years or so, I have only had three or four at most.

While all of this may not sound life-changing, it was to me. I realised that my system was not depleted as a result of taking drugs or medicines. It was simply about putting something into my body that it struggled to digest. After years of doing its best, the added stress of my finals was just more than it could take.

When I look back, my body was always trying to tell me that I was failing to make lactase, the enzyme required to break down lactose in milk. Or alternatively, perhaps I did not have enough of it, or something was blocking it.

But as a baby, once my mum tried to put me on formula milk, I became covered in eczema. We struggled on though, eventually settling on a goat’s milk formula that was not rejected immediately by my delicate system.

Life force
Life force

Times move on

Although we were given various creams to help, I also developed multiple ear infections and repeated tonsillitis. By the age of five, they took out my tonsils and adenoids, which was a horrid operation. Could the procedure have been avoided if milk had not impaired my immune system? Yes, I believe so.

But times have moved on since then and at least some GPs would now suggest reducing or removing dairy from your diet in the case of skin complaints.

Anyway, this history meant that the kinesiologist’s diagnosis really struck a chord with me. I needed to add nothing to my diet – just take something away. It was so simple and yet it enhanced everything – my energy, my overall health and, much to my boyfriend’s delight, also reduced my moodswings. My digestive system became calm and amenable.

After that, I started seeing a kinesiologist for all of my ailments. By the time I came to seriously consider if I could actually work this magic myself, I had been benefiting from it for a very long time. I took all three of my children to my kinesiologist and most of my friends went too – if only to shut me up.

The most dramatic situation though was when I broke my coccyx. It became dislodged and moved over to one side rather than being straight. I had also slipped a disc and was suffering from sciatica, which meant I found it difficult to walk or drive. After my scan, the consultant said the best thing would be to have the coccyx surgically removed.

But I decided to call my kinesiologist, who is also a craniosacral therapist. Using very gentle techniques, she was able to encourage my body to ease the coccyx back into alignment. I suffered no more pain or discomfort and had no more need for it to be chopped off.

What more can I say: I love this work and am very keen for others to have healthy, happy outcomes as a result of it too – which is why I became a kinesiologist in the first place.

I have now also qualified as a ‘Touch for Health’ kinesiology instructor. If you would like to see for yourself whether this approach works for you, Touch for Health is the first step, so please contact me directly for teaching dates. Alternatively, if you would like to find out more about kinesiology in general or locate a practitioner near you, the Kinesiology Federation is definitely the place to go.

selfp

Anita Ramsden is a kinesiologist. She is emphatic about affecting positive change and her work encourages wellbeing for mind, body and soul. Anita is also a member of the Kinesiology Federation.

OTHER ARTICLES THAT MAY INTEREST YOU

Kinesiology: The science of human movement

Picking up clues on the journey to self-discovery

Homeopathy: Awakening the vital force

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspiring lifestyles

Water: The essence of life

nature water drops of water liquid
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

By Anita Ramsden, kinesiologist.

When people come for kinesiology sessions, a first, very important check is to understand just how hydrated they are – or not as the case may be.

Kinesiology is a useful tool here as it can be used to work out if they require more liquid and if so, what the optimum amount is for them. For most, it is between seven and eight glasses, or around two litres. But do bear in mind that tea, coffee and alcohol do not count towards this quota.

When muscle testing, you can ask the body, “do you need one glass, two glasses?” etc and keep going until you get a lock on the muscle. This means that any discoveries are always tailored to the individual.

Why drink more water?

On returning for another session, people always tell me how much better they feel as a result of being hydrated properly. They feel more awake, experience fewer headaches, can think more clearly and may even start eating less as some apparent hunger pangs are, in fact, thirst signals. Many individuals also sleep better, suffer fewer aches and pains and see their complexion improve as remaining hydrated helps the body to flush out toxins.

Initially though, people often feel a little resistance to such a simple idea as drinking water. They say they do not care for the taste or they do not feel thirsty. But what I say is: “Why not try it – if only just to prove me wrong!”

For those who are unused to consuming a lot of water, it is important to increase your intake gradually, adding an extra glass each day. In this way, the cells in your body can get used to it and begin to absorb it properly.

As you start to increase the amount of liquid you consume, your thirst mechanism will become more efficient and your body might begin asking you to drink more. It is a surprising fact that, once you start to drink more water, you often start to feel more thirsty. This is because your body understands it is no longer in a drought situation and so feels able to ask for more.

After all, the human body is 75% water and 25% solid mass. Even on an average day without undertaking a lot of exercise, 2500ml of water leaves the body as urine, as air expelled from our lungs and as sweat through our skin.

If you read Patrick Holford’s brilliant book, Optimum Nutrition, he explains that our lungs are 90% water, our blood 82%, our brain 76% our muscles 75% and our bones, 25%.

As a result, if we are not taking in adequate amounts of liquid, our internal processes start to suffer – although the body does have its own drought management system to prevent dehydration and enable survival.

Woman Standing By Waterfall With Her Hands Raised
Waterfall

How to increase your water intake

I always advise clients to take a glass of water to bed with them at night and to drink it when they wake up. If you do so regularly, it will become a habit. You are at your most dehydrated first thing in the morning after sweating during the night and your body will love you for replenishing it so quickly.

Dr Batmanghelidj, who wrote a well-known book entitled ‘Your Body’s Many Cries for Water’, recommends that should you have trouble sleeping, take a glass of water and put a tiny pinch of salt (sea salt or Himalayan, if you have it) on your tongue. Do not allow it to touch the roof of your mouth, but let it dissolve in a bit of the water and swallow.

Be sure to ignore this advice if you have kidney problems or have been advised to avoid or cut down on salt though.

Once you have spent a few days getting used to the amount of water your body needs, fill a two-litre bottle up and ensure you drink this amount during the day. Stainless steel bottles are a great investment here as not only do they keep your drink nice and cold, but plastic bottles degrade over time and leach harmful plastic into the water.

If you are not keen on the taste of your local tap water though, simply fill a jug and let it stand for a while as the chlorine it contains will evaporate, leaving you with a sweeter, more palatable liquid. Restaurants always fill their well-iced water jugs ahead of time for this very reason. Alternatively, you can buy a water filter jug to remove any impurities.

During the winter months, adding lemon, mint, thyme or ginger to hot water also makes it more pleasant to consume and can easily be used as a replacement for tea and coffee. Lemon is particularly beneficial as it adds vitamin C, which is good for eliminating toxins. But cucumber is also a fantastic addition too as it is a good source of potassium, which can help lower your blood pressure.

alcohol background beverage citrus
Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

Does water have any side effects?

The first thing that people discover is that the more water that goes into their system, the more needs to come out. The process is similar to that seen with a dried-up pot plant.

When you first start to water it, the soil is so dry, it just runs straight through. But after a little while, it takes up some of the water and rehydrates. This means that when you water it again, it is able to soak a lot more of the water up and retain it, so the plant can benefit.

It is for this reason that it is important to increase your intake over the course of a few days. But the great thing is that, as the water leaves your body, it also takes with it waste materials and toxins that the body has no need of, thereby purifying your system.

As a rule of thumb, according to Dr Batmanghelidj, healthy urine “should, ideally, be almost colourless to light yellow. If it begins to become dark yellow or even orange in colour, you are becoming dehydrated. This means the kidneys are working extra hard to get rid of toxins in the body in very concentrated urine”.

In fact, in his book, he demonstrates his belief that all too often, “you are not sick, you are thirsty”, using thousands of real-life case histories to prove his point. He provides the science behind the intricate workings of the body and shows how we need water, among other things, to keep our joints lubricated, which reduces arthritic pain, to prevent asthma by keeping our lungs hydrated, to reduce excess body weight and eradicate dyspeptic pain. In fact, he describes water as “a revolutionary, natural way to prevent illness and restore good health”.

One of the key factors here is that drinking water is an excellent way of keeping the digestive system working effectively. If the body is well hydrated, the large intestine is not looking to prevent any excess water from leaving the body. Therefore, taking in sufficient liquid can help to reduce constipation.

So as you can see, it truly is amazing just how many benefits can be gained from such a cheap, and easy-to-obtain, commodity – who would have thought it?

selfp

Anita Ramsden is a kinesiologist. She is emphatic about affecting positive change and her work encourages wellbeing for mind, body and soul. She is a member of the Kinesiology Federation.

 

MORE ARTICLES THAT MAY INTEREST YOU

How to benefit from the natural remedies on your doorstep

Discovering the delights of wild food

Kinesiology: The science of human movement 

Healing approaches

Kinesiology: The science of human movement

creek-forest-nature-68632 (1)

By Anita Ramsden, kinesiologist.

Kinesiology (pronounced kin-easy-ology) is sometimes known as the ‘science of human movement’ and is widely understood to mean muscle testing, with the key focus being on rebalancing an individual’s system.

Primarily used as a communications tool, this muscle-testing technique, which is based on a blend of principles from Traditional Chinese Medicine and western approaches, identifies what it is your body wants and needs.

Each person is treated holistically as all aspects of our being, whether they be physical, chemical, mental and emotional, are interrelated. If there is an imbalance in, or undue stress on, any of these systems, all of the others are affected. In other words, everything has an impact on everything else.

Each muscle group is related to an individual part of the body such as the digestive or endocrine system, nerves, organs and the like. As a result, muscle tests reveal how the body is functioning and where any imbalances lie.

The idea behind this approach is that if the body is in balance, it is better able to activate its own innate healing process. By obtaining information about any imbalances within their system, clients can also see where they would benefit from making changes in their life – on top of any adjustments made their practitioner.

If we think of life as being like a meandering stream, when all is well, the water flows beautifully and goes over or around obstacles. But occasionally a twig becomes snared and if it cannot free itself, leaves and branches can build up behind it. Before you know it, the little stream will be blocked.

In our daily lives too, a small issue can act like a twig and the situation can build up until our energy no longer flows smoothly. But kinesiology helps tug at the twig in order to release the blockage, allowing the stream to flow freely once more.

What are the origins of kinesiology?

Kinesiology was first developed by US chiropractor George Goodheart DC in 1964 when he started using muscle testing to evaluate the effectiveness of his corrective actions. Goodheart discovered that a number of techniques helped improve his ability to strengthen his patients’ muscles and, therefore, to encourage them into correct postures, reduce pain and restore wellbeing. These techniques included working with blood and energy flows, emotions, nutrition, the meridians and acupuncture points.

This knowledge was shared with other chiropractors and, in 1973, the International College of Applied Kinesiology was set up. A member of this pioneering team of applied kinesiologists, John Francis Thie, had the vision of making kinesiology accessible to everybody. His aim was to “empower people to promote and maintain health in themselves and their families”.

In the same year, Thie published a book called Touch for Health (TFH), which presented applied kinesiology techniques in such a way that the general public could understand and use them. The techniques were based on Traditional Chinese Medicine and founded on the principles of acupressureTibetan energy healing and nutrition.

A training programme was also subsequently developed as many people wanted more than simply a book to read. In 1990, Thie handed all of the work he had done on TFH to his newly-formed International Kinesiology College.

It is possible for people to either become proficient in TFH or use it as a stepping stone to other kinesiology approaches as there are now many branches of the practice.

bamboo-bamboo-whisk-board-461428 (1)

At whom is kinesiology aimed? 

Kinesiology is suited to pretty much everyone. The age range of my client base is currently between 18 months and 92 years. The kind of issues they suffer from include migraines, digestive problems and food intolerances, mental health issues such as anxiety and stress, emotional blockages, back and shoulder pain, chronic fatigue, hormonal issues, alopecia, skin conditions, seasonal affective disorder and adrenal exhaustion.

Kinesiology can also help people who want to develop a positive mindset, for example in relation to exams or job interviews, or to adapt to big life changes such as divorce or a change of career. But they may not always be aware of the impact these kinds of situation can have on their system.

For example, someone may come for treatment as they are suffering from a bad neck. They believe it is stiff because they have been sleeping in a strange position due to an old pillow they have been using.

But in reality, there is more to it than that. Their situation has been putting them under emotional stress, they have been experiencing digestive discomfort and their diet is currently lacking in B vitamins and iodine. As a result, their neck flexors, the group of muscles that flex and turn the head, have become weak – and a new pillow alone will not be enough to solve the problem.

Muscle testing will help to indicate what is required to alleviate the pain and stiffness. The practitioner can make “corrections” and also offer suggestions on what might benefit their client to include or exclude in their diet.

But it is also important to remember that an individual’s mental state, that is their thoughts and emotions, also affect their biochemistry and overall physical body. This means that aches and pains often have an emotional aspect.

What should clients expect from a treatment?

 Kinesiologists treat clients holistically as individuals, which means that each person’s session is unique to them. it is important that doctors have been consulted if necessary though and we strongly advise that medical help should sought if appropriate.

Each treatment is carried out fully clothed, usually lying down face up on a treatment couch. This couch can be adjusted to accommodate pregnancy, back or shoulder pain etc.

During the first appointment, it is necessary to fill in a general health questionnaire. All answers are optional but the aim of the exercise is to provide your practitioner with background information to help them build a picture of you, which includes pre-existing conditions.

This activity will also help you focus on yourself in a more holistic way. There are sometimes ‘aha’ moments as vocalising things can help you join the dots. Remember that you are a complex, intelligent being and everything in your life experience affects everything else at the physical, emotional and biochemical level.

As for the treatment itself, this will involve moving your arms and legs to test your range of motion and isolate how particular muscles are behaving. In the form of kinesiology that I practice, it is also about firmly massaging the neurolymphatic reflex points, which are mostly on the torso, front and back. I also trace the meridians and hold the acupressure points.

While each treatment is different, it can include nutritional advice, food testing, the use of flower remedies and the like.

Do clients attend treatment for a set length of time?

In order to see positive change, it is usual to attend a minimum of three treatment sessions. After the first, people usually feel more energised and positive, less sad or foggy-headed and more positive and mobile.

If they have experienced an issue for a number of years though, it can take more time to unpack their story and build up the treatment they need to help them on the journey back to wellbeing. Like an onion, it is initially about unpealing the first layers, before moving into the lower levels as blockages are cleared.

But it is also important that clients play their part too. For instance, if it emerges that eating gluten-based products is stressing your system and hindering your move back to health, it is advisable to avoid them for at least six weeks. Doing so will bring about the positive change you desire much more quickly.

selfp

Anita Ramsden is a kinesiologist. She is emphatic about affecting positive change and her work encourages wellbeing for mind, body and soul. She is a member of the Kinesiology Federation.