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Your brain has restart buttons

And it is called the Brain Buttons!
The more I study the body and mind, the more I realize that most powerful tools are also the most simple ones. And they are often totally free.
Here is one of the most important tools I have come across in my life. I have been using it for the last year. Every day, before getting out of bed, and before falling asleep at night. The rewards are mind blowing.

Brain Buttons
is a tool that opens up the communication between the two hemispheres of the brain by stimulating 300 million neurons in corpus callosum. Why should we care? Well, simply because the brain is our executive management, sending the commands to the muscles: left hemisphere controls the right side of the body, right hemisphere – the left side.

This is a video of my Teacher Jocelyn Olivier, showing how to do the Brain Button activity on yourself or for someone else. She talks in great detail about how it works ad WHY it works.  Do check it out!

How legs against the wall help with sleep

Having your legs up on the wall helps to de stress. No, really, it does. Here is how:
Stress is deeply connected to your diaphragm for when it moves freely, the rib cage can expand, the lungs can fill more fully and the PNS (Parasympathetic Nervous System) wakes up. Diphragm also helps to pump the lymphatic fluid up towards the heart, which is super important for proper immune system function.

And that is where legs up the wall exercise comes in handy – by placing them on the wall (as close to it as it is comfortable to you), you stretch open your diaphragm which allows for deeper belly breaths. It can be done during the day to bring in more energy, or at the end of the workout, or before falling asleep. Yogis value this exercise for it reverses the constant pressure on diaphragm, legs, heart and lungs.

So, get close to the wall, legs up, breathe slowly and deeply into your belly, cover your eyes if you wish. Try stretching your arms out or placing them overhead, if that feels comfortable. Do it for at least five minutes. I personally indulge for ten or more, great feeling of calm afterwards.
NOTE: If having your legs on the wall is not possible due to injury, try placing them bent at a 90 degree angle on a stool or a couch while you lay on the floor.

I got this exercise from the great book written by Dr of Osteopathy Maud Nerman – Healing Pain and Injury. She definitely knows her stuff after successfully treating people with acute and chronic illnesses for the past thirty years. One of them was my friend, who suffered terrible migraines before coming to Maud…

OCD or do you worry too much?

OCD – obsessive compulsive disorder.
It is everywhere.
I have a close friend that often feels she did not turn off the stove or did not lock the doors. And she cannot just ”snap out” of it. No one can.

I have a few obsessions too. Like looking for triple digits on street cars. Or pulling my hair when nervous (there is even a name for it – trichotilomania)! The worst case was when I started panicking I did not switch off the kettle when I left for work. That was not pleasant! Luckily, it was an isolated episode.

So, my heart goes out to those who live with such worry daily.

And guess what? It is all in the head. What has become known from the brain scans, is that three parts of the brain are involved in obsessions – orbital frontal cortex  (that is where the ‘mistake feeling’ is fired from), cingulate gyrus (triggers the anxiety that something bad is going to happen unless we correct the ‘mistake’) and caudate nucleus (normally allows our thoughts to change from one thought to the next, but it gets sticky and such change does not occur in OCD case).

Chapter 6, Brain Lock Unlocked of the book ”The Brain That Changes Itself”’ talks about it in great detail. It also offers suggestions on how to handle an incident of OCD. And that is what I wanted to share. I highly recommend to buy the book, it is Kindle version is less than ten bucks. Meanwhile, here is a teaser of what it talks about.

Once an incident of OCD is in full swing,  a person should acknowledge that she is having an OCD episode and pay a constant, effortful attention focusing on something pleasant, something besides the worry. It can be anything really – a hug from a close friend that made you feel warm and fuzzy inside, kind words someone spoke to you… The point here is to replace the worrisome feeling with pleasure. With such an approach a person is not getting rid of her OCD habit per se, but replacing it  – with a better one. Over time, new brain circuits will grow, competing with the old, obsessive ones.

So, I started doing it myself and I gotta say, I am looking for those triple digits less and less. That, and I no longer obsess over checking my text messages – I bet many people can relate to that one, yeah?

There is another book that I have read and found useful. It offers four steps to take control over your OCD – Brain Lock. It works too, although I do not fully agree with the author on OCD being strictly related to the chemical imbalance in the brain. I think we all have psychological side to that story.

Did you know that baking soda and salt can do that to teeth?

A few weeks ago I had a gum situation – my growing wisdom tooth irritated the tissues around it and I was stuck with debilitating pain, infection, swelling and sore jaw. As I was contemplating a visit to a dentist – a trip I really did not want to make since I do not have a dental insurance – my friend (who has recurring flare ups of this sort)  recommended to mix a spoon full of baking soda and salt in a glass of water and gargle with it for a minute or so, every thirty minute, for as long as it takes. I ended up doing it for about four days and continued twice a day for another four days, just in case.

The inflammation, the pain, the soreness – it was all gone. And, what also has gone was the plaque! I used to get it just where we all do – on the inner side, at the bottom of my teeth.  Hundred bucks for a dental visit and it was taken care of, but I am seeing now that a regular use of baking soda and salt can do the trick too. So, now I have a cup of the mix next to my toothpaste and use it after each brushing.
I am not saying that I will skip the dental visits all together, but if I can take better care of my teeth and save money, I will definitely do that. That, and my teeth are definitely whiter now! Nice bonus.

Brain. Use it or loose it

Even though I was always considered as an above average student, I have struggled in school and college. Certain tasks, like focusing, paying close attention and remembering the material for the long period of time were challenging. They were not bad enough for me to fail academically, but there was always a sense of lack, a sense that some parts of my brain are not firing to their best ability.

I learned to live with it, believing that poor concentration was due to stress and my hyperactive, sensitive personality.
In a sense I gave up on ever improving my brain function. So, whenever I would read something, I would automatically assume that I won`t remember a word of it later and that I did.
This damaging thinking had stayed with me until quite recently. I became fascinated with the books on brains and their function. In one of them, called The Brain That Changes Itself, I came across a term ‘Brain Plasticity’ claiming that brain`s function can be improved  at any age.
What do you need to make it happen? Simple. Exercise your brain! I came across two computer programs that I use – BrainHQ (computer program/iPad app) and Fast Forword (iPad app). Both developed by a brilliant neuroscientist, Dr Merzenich, PhD. The only thing required is your time. Something like thirty minutes a day, five days a week. Results? Amazing. My concentration ability is growing. It has already improved the quality of my work and interaction with people. I have only been doing it for two weeks!
If you have a child that has a ‘learning difficulty’, autism, etc. Or you struggle with it yourself. Or you just want to stay sharp as you age. I suggest you try to play these games. They cost close to nothing, but the rewards are life-changing.


If you were to read just one book this year

I have been reading a lot of books on trauma, healing, spirituality. Anything that can get me closer to understanding my problems. Like, why my relationships failed in the past, why I have been struggling financially, why my health is not where I want it to be, etc.
While every book has taught me something, it never touched the CORE of the problem – the ”program” installed in my subconscious, program called
”You Are Not Good Enough”…
It was the book, Let God Love You Up, written by my psychic teacher Zoe Inman that brought light into the dark silo where I was living.
Oh, this book will challenge your paradigm, it will piss you off at times, it will make you laugh, cry and everything in between – deep Truth usually does that ))

To give you a very concise and brief description of the book: you get wounded early on in life. It is usually the parents (one more than the other) that unconsciously (or deliberately) do that. The major two wounds are: ”You are not good enough” OR/AND ”You are perfect”.  This wound is there for you to wake up, to take responsibility, to let God love You, to let you love you, all of you… In other words, the wound is where the light comes in. ))
So, if you are tired of repeating the same shitty mistakes. AND have the courage to feel uncomfortable, because you will, if you read this. Then, I offer you this awesome tool to dig in deeper, back to your true divine self.
That`s right! I said you are DIVINE ))

Sleep. If you can

There was a seven months period when I had to sleep on a couch in my girlfriend`s living room.
It was not bad, but I went from having peaceful nights of rest to waking up every few hours at the most inconvenient time like 2 and 4am, and then feeling like crap in the morning – fatigue and headaches.

Side note: there was also a working fridge about two feet away from my head…

I had always been a very good sleeper, so naturally this change bothered me and became a noticeable nuisance. Since then I have corrected the problem and am a happy sleeper yet again! Yay!
So, here is what I have been able to find out:

1) It DOES matter which direction your head is in when you sleep! And it depends on… when you were born!
According to the art of Feng Shui, each person has four favorable and four inauspicious directions (or corners). All you need to do is calculate your Gua (Kua) number by putting your birthday details here, and you`ll get the rest.
It came to me as no surprise to find out that I was sleeping in my worst direction – North, also called ”Five Ghosts”.  Alright, I have re-arranged my bed to face one of my best corners – North East “Personal Development” and am no longer waking up at ungodly hours! Go figure.

2) Appliances! Computers! Cellphones!
Having had the fridge right next to my head was not a smart idea, and we rarely are in a situation like that. However, most of us are surrounded by electronic devices of all kind while we sleep. All those electromagnetic frequencies cannot possibly be good.
I have moved away my iThings from the bed and – no more headaches upon waking up in the morning. There are numerous articles on the issue, just Google. Or try sleeping without your cellphone on the bedside table and see if you feel any different.

3) This one is tricky – Noxious Earth Lines!
Such lines are all over the place and not confined to the Earth`s surface, meaning it does not matter if you live on the first or fifteen`s floor. This grid covers the entire planet and is about 10-15 feet apart and thirty inches wide. Sleeping on such lines may give you a migraine headache, fatigue or worse… serious disease. Read more about those unfriendly things here.
What to do about it? Move. Duh. But sometimes it just is not possible to move the bed or a work station to another location. So, here is what I learned from a friend who claims he had found a solution – programming and placing amethyst crystals on the noxious lines to cancel out the harmful effects. Basically, one goes to a crystal shop, picks up a nice amethyst (any size will do, but I chose a big raw block of it, cause it looks nice). You then clean it with cold water and program it by saying the words like, ”I return you to the original cluster from where you were taken. I  ask your permission to take you from your cluster and now program you to protect from noxious earth lines and electromagnetic frequencies…” Repeat three times. Be specific to what you want the crystal to do. The ”return-take from the cluster” part is just something that was advised to me and was done to my crystal.
So, I place my programmed rock under the bed when I go to sleep and have me a good rest.

P`S` How to even determine if your bed is located on top of the noxious earth lines? Dowsing rods! – Or find someone who can do it for you. Good luck and sleep tight!


Get rid of double chin. Fast.

Get rid of double chin. Fast.
Usually when I read titles like this, I assume it sounds too good to be true. And most often than not it is. But, since I tried this exercise myself and saw immediate results, I did not know how else to title this post.

As a massage therapist, I am naturally a big fan of muscles. So, when I heard about face building to prevent/get rid of wrinkles and sagging skin by using isometric exercises, I got curious. I KNOW that isometric exercises work, because I DO them daily and perform them on clients.

There is a bunch of books on the Internet, I chose a book that has been originally written in the old 60s. Yeah! The lady is no longer alive, but her legacy lives on in this 12th edition of Face Lifting by Exercise!

And what a treat! Eleven exercises for double chin, crows feet, jowls, pouches, forehead lines, etc. And they work!

As a teaser, I am attaching a photographed page of the double chin exercise below. This one really works fast! You can see the results on the above picture of my chin before and after doing four repetitions of the exercise. That`s like a difference in one minute!

So, try and decide for yourself. ))

P`S` For the results to be long-lasting, you will have to do the exercise five times a week. Hey, it is only one minute a day. I spend much more time on mindlessly surfing the internet. ))

The art of co-washing

I often hear people say, ”Oh, you are so lucky to have curly hair”. And it is always the people with straight hair. ))
Sure, it is nice to have volume and curls. But what they do not know is that curly hair is often frizzy and dry and it usually takes a lot of effort to make it look presentable. Well, not anymore!
I came across a simple solution – washing my hair with a conditioner! Hence the name co-washing.
Basically, you just take a bottle of conditioner and pretend it is a shampoo. And just ignore the fact that it does not lather. )) You can read more about why it works here.
Important things to remember:
– not to brush the hair (if you absolutely must do it, at least do it when it is wet)
– apply product from the ends up, not vice versa
– dry it naturally and use micro-fiber towels
– I personally put my wet hair in a high bun over night and it looks gorgeous in the morning. No frizz.

Now, what hair product to use.
I am totally smitten by Aveda`s line for curly hair – Be Curly! My hair is soft, shiny, less frizzy. It helped me with hair loss and split ends too.
You may find the way I do it to be a bit complicated, but it really takes me about 5-7 minutes:
– wash my hair with a Be Curly Conditioner
– apply Damage Remedy treatment for a few minutes
– apply Damage Remedy Daily Repair
– and finish it off with a little of Be Curly Style Prep
Then I put it in the bun and off I go to bed.

Results? You can see it in my recent picture. I had been doing co-washing for three weeks or so, but used the Aveda line for over three months.

How`s your neck moving?

I was watching a Massage Conference webinar last night talking about neck pain and whiplash injuries. Besides learning that an overwhelming 50 to 100 million of Americans have neck injuries (usually caused by rear-end collisions, etc), there was a picture that attracted my attention titled Normal Range of Motion for the Neck. I think it is kind of cool to actually see what a healthy neck should move like.

Have a look, try it on yourself in all directions. And if that neck of yours is not moving too well, perhaps it is time to pay a visit to your  massage therapist ))