A Man, A Dog, and an Angel Go For A Walk

There are some very interesting and yes, reassuring, stories in the books spanning Christian Bible. One of these is the story of the journey of Tobias, who was on an errand to a far city to retrieve some money left there as a deposit by his father. Here’s a digest of the story, and my comments follow.

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There was a time when an elderly patriarch named Tobit needed to get some money he had left in the care of a kinsman in a distant city. Now, Tobit was old, and had gone blind with age from  some white films which had covered his eyes. Tobit was very distressed and bitter because he had lost his eyesight. His wife Anna did all she could to comfort him, but some days he was just depressed.

On this day, Tobit called his son Tobias into the house and gave him a task. It was time for the money to be retrieved, and Tobit was told to go and fetch it. He did not know the way, but his father gave him instructions to go out and find a guide. Tobit would like the guide to be a companion and trustworthy, and a kinsman. Tobit met a man named Azariah in the town square who was of good character, and he met all of Tobias’ requirements. Azariah did not reveal that he was an incarnation of the Archangel Rapha-El.

With instructions in hand, Tobias and with Azariah as a paid companion, off the two went. Tobias’ family dog ran after them, and the two companions decided to let the dog travel with them. Not far into their journey the stopped to refresh themselves in the Tigris river. While rest, a huge fish jumped up out of the water, and Azariah shouted, “GRAB THAT FISH! Hang onto it!” So without a second thought, Tobias grabbed the thrashing fish and wrangled it to the shore of the river.

Strangely, Azariah told Tobias to cut open the fish, take out the heart, the gall, and the liver. Tobias did this, and they cleaned the fish, tossed away the intestines, and had a good dinner of roasted fish, and kept some of it to be salted for later because it was a big fish.

As they were dining, Tobias wondered what the meaning of keeping these certain organs of the fish was, and he asked about it. Azariah told him about the medicinal value of these odd items. He said, “As far as the heart and liver go, you will need them to burn in the presence of someone (man or woman) who is afflicted with a demon or evil spirit. By making smoke, this combination will cause every evil affliction to flee and they will unable to come back to that person again. Now, the gall can be used to remove the white films on a person’s eyes so they can see again.

The story continues with the pair travelling to their destination, meeting a wonderful young woman named Sarah. Tobias was a kinsman, and in the tradition of the day, he was to be her husband when the time came. She had been sent to be married before, but she remained in her unmarried state, because something strange always happened: her groomsman was always dead before any consummation took place. In short, she was just as a virgin, and never took a groom’s name. Tobias married her, but before they entered their marital bed, he and she said words as Azariah instructed, and burned the two fish parts to make smoke. Tobias fought the angry demon when it fled from his new wife’s presence and with the help from the fish parts, he won and the demon fled. The two became husband and wife, and their marriage was sealed and happy.

Having completed their mission, the two men made the decision to gather up the money and wedding gifts, and the party left Ragus to return back to Tobias’ home.

When the retinue arrived back home with Tobias, it included a new Bride named Sarah, all the money and medicine for Tobit’s blindness (Tobit was Tobias’ father). The gall was applied as Azariah told, and Tobit, who had been depressed and despondent at the loss of his eyesight, was able to see and he was joyous. When he could see again, he wept for joy! He blessed the Lord, the holy Angels, he wept at the sight of his son and his daughter in law.

After this great journey, Rapha-El finally disclosed his true nature and his Angel Name. He gave them some advice: Now the whole truth can be revealed. He said that it’s good to conceal the secret of a King, but to reveal it with due honor the works that were secret.

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Some metaphysical observations I drew are:

Medicine of the heart and liver on a demon. It’s well observed in many cultures that the heart is seat of love, kindness, and fortitude. It’s the center of the higher consciousness of love and affection. The nature of the liver is that of keeping the body alive by constantly removing toxins and dangerous substances from the body. It’s also the seat of more primitive emotions and anger. It seems the “medicine” included the use of the characteristics of Anger and its opposite Love in the structure of unconditional positive regard. The nature of those attributes is such that eventually, though rage and negativity are dominant for a while, most of the time, that Love will succeed when the load of anger is settled at last.

So, I really like this story from the Book of Tobit in the Christian Bible, and see a lot of wisdom in there. Sure, it’s written in a patriarchal time and for that period. In order to be living as a manuscript though, we can each interpret and receive wisdom where it is.

When I work with Angels today, it’s good to know that Rapha-El will actually manifest as a person, might not tell his Angel Name, but will walk with us as individuals, will guide us, and impart esoteric knowledge, spiritual and medical advice, and leave us better than we were.

Story: Digest from the Book of Tobit in the Christian Bible, © Lizzie Bennett

Image: ‘The Healing of Tobit’, c1635. Artist: Bernardo Strozzi

© Lizzie Bennett PhD RN

Lizzie Bthree_moons_medicine-1ennett is a Registered Nurse and Ordained Minister of some years. She is a thought and cognitive therapist and owns Three Moons Medicine™ as her private counselling and coaching practice, a blog, educational forum, Facebook page, and outreach to support others on their journey.

 

Nurse Lizzie’s TOP 5 MIGRAINE HOME REMEDIES TO TRY

#5 – Preventa-Migraine

COST: Depending on where you buy it, $36 to $42 for one month supply is the most common.

WHY DOES IT WORK? It has the things in it that have been recommended by neurologists, herbalists, and by medical professionals to help ease and maybe prevent migraine attacks. Magnesium, Butterbur herb, and Feverfew herb.

This particular supplement is prescription-free, and contains a variety of ingredients that are reputed to help with migraine prevention. For example Butterbur (with the pyrrolizidine alkaloids [PA]) removed have been researched and approved in Germany as an preventive for about half of people who experience migraine attacks. If you have found that no single supplement or intervention works well, you can try this for a three-month period and see how it works for you.

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: I have used this to prevent migraines for a year now. It has truly helped me, personally.

AMAZON:  Hands down, Amazon has a great price, and if you are a Prime member, you can get it on a scheduled delivery, or as-needed with free shipping.

#4 – Vitamin B-2 Riboflavin 400mg daily

COST: I have seen 400mg tablets on the internet anywhere from $23 per bottle of 50 for a high-cost brand to $15 for 120 tablets.

WHY DOES IT WORK? It’s unclear how the exact mechanism works, but a 2004 study shows that 400mg of Riboflavin every day reduced the number of migraine attacks and the amount of medications for this.

There are several cautions with taking 400 mg of Riboflavin a day. Of course, if you have any any medical conditions or take any medications at all, you must check with a physician prior to using this supplement. Since it’s been so helpful for so many, though, it might be worth a try.

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: My neurologist actually prescribed this for me. Since I use the VA hospital system, my Rx is covered there – but check your own insurance plan for coverage of over-the-counter supplements. I took this before Preventa-Migraine, and it worked well for me. I would say my personal incidence of migraine attacks was reduce about 30% in occurrence, but not reduced in severity at all.

AMAZON: If your insurance doesn’t cover, this is on Amazon.

#3 – Lavender Essential Oil

COST: I found costs ranging from over $25 for 5ml with a multi-level-marketing (MLM) name and no guarantee that the product is organic to an organic oil at about $12 for a full ounce (about 30ml) and it has the USDA organic seal on it. Needless to say, I am not a fan of MLM prices.

WHY DOES IT WORK? PUBMED presented a study in 2012 showing that lavender oil, inhaled for 15 minutes was far superior to the placebo in the study for people with varying degrees of migraines, and that is could be effect for acute migraine attacks (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22517298 ).

As an RN, I recommend using organics if at all possible because that’s the best access to chemical-free (i.e., poisonous pesticides) that we have at present. And when the cost is much lower, it’s a better bargain, too.

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: I use Lavender essential oil when I am at work or somewhere away from home and feel the familiar “aura” coming on that might indicate a migraine attack is imminent. I can keep a small bottle with me and use it discretely, and sometimes I apply it to my temples and the back of my neck, where I get tension. I will say it helps to stave off an attack. Secondly, taking daily supplements for prevention is something most of us are good at only about 60 to 80 percent of the time. So, I have used this method a handful of times and it worked for me quickly about 75% of the time to quell a newly-starting migraine. If I use it for a full-blown migraine, I found it effect two ways: it reduces the new onset migraine attack in about half the cases, and it completely resolved it in about 10 percent of the cases. Not bad for a little bottle of essential oil, which has many other uses, too.

AMAZON:  Best price I found, tap on the picture above. Additional: tiny 1ml travel bottles here.

#2 – Relaxation, Mindfulness and Stress Reduction

COST: Nothing unless you buy some biofeedback devices, books, or lessons. There are many sources of videos that are free, like youtube. One of the best feedback devices I have used (and recommend) is Muse.

WHY DOES IT WORK? The science isn’t really conclusive, but it’s a well known experiential conclusion that when you are stressed less, the muscles in your neck are more relaxed (how many times have you found your shoulders up to your ears?) you lessen the experience of tension-induced migraine headaches.  You can read about biofeedback, massage and acupuncture here: https://nccih.nih.gov/health/pain/headachefacts.htm#hed3

MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE:  I know the less I am stressed, the more migraine-free I remain. My personal choice is self-massage of my head and neck, which help to mitigate and prevent an aura from turning into a migraine.

#1 – Medical Cannabis

COST: Varies by availability, laws, and type. Inhaled works quicker and better than edible delivery.

HOW DOES IT WORK? A 2016 study published this week from Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Colorado, examined the effects of inhaled and ingested (edible) cannabis in migraine sufferers. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26749285)

Researchers reviewed reports from 121 adult participants and collected the following data:

  • The average number of migraine headaches decreased from 10.4 per month to 4.6
  • Almost 40% of subjects reported positive effects
  • 8% of subjects claimed medical marijuana helped to prevent migraines
  • 6% of subjects reported that cannabis stopped migraine headaches
  • About 85% of subjects reported having fewer migraines per month with cannabis
  • About 12% saw no change in migraine frequency with cannabis
  • Only about 2% experienced an increase in migraine frequency

MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: When I spent a year undergoing medical cannabis therapy, I used sativa-dominant Green Crack (Gc) because I dislike the indica-induced “high” with a vehemence. I had consistently positive results, and luckily I can count myself in the 85% that had fewer migraines when I could use it.

NOTE: You must live in a legal cannabis area, have a medical evaluation and proper access to pharmaceutical cannabis. In no way do I promote the illegal or illicit use of medical cannabis.

RESOURCES: Click on the images above. All of these are sponsored links, where Amazon pays us a small referral fee, which helps fund our free website and educational articles. I do not carry prescriptive authority and again remind any reader that proper medical guidance must be sought.

© Lizzie Bennett PhD RN

Lizzie Bthree_moons_medicine-1ennett is a Registered Nurse and Ordained Minister of some years. She is a thought and cognitive therapist and owns Three Moons Medicine™ as her private counselling and coaching practice, a blog, educational forum, Facebook page, and outreach to support others on their journey.

 

 

 

Looking for healing in a migraine

Have you ever had a migraine headache? Rather, I am going to use the language I recently heard and believe: they are more accurately called “migraine attacks.” That sounds so much more fierce and banging difficult that a headache.

At first, I resigned these migraines as normal because they were hereditary. My own brain had made up that story since my mum had them, and I can remember in high school that every time the weather changed, I would get a headache. So, fast forward, it took me until my mid-fifties to realise that there was a such thing as barometric pressure mediated migraines. But no matter – they HURT like nothing I can describe. Once, when I got the visual disturbances called “scintillae,” it cost me my student private pilot license at a class two flight physical.

And I ramble. So, I was at an extremely low point in life in the early half of 2016 and migraines were coming hard and heavy several times a week, and I prayed to the gods Relpax, Maxalt, and Icepacks ceaslessly. Then a funny thing happened in June 2016 – I found Louise L Hay’s book “You Can Heal Your Life,” and also some affirming recordings on YouTube. On a bet, I undertook a 30 day journey to listen to these recordings once a day without variance for a month. Some days I listened twice or thrice a day. And then, it was in October 2016 I suddenly realised: I had not had one single migraine attack since April!

Delighted, I continued my health affirming routine. I did not take my life. I did not succumb to agoraphobia or enveloping depression. I went to the V.A. hospital and got treatment. My family rallied around me and bathed me with love. Life got better and better.

Until last night – I awoke at 02:30 WITH A FLIPPIN’ MIGRAINE!  I found a Maxalt and grabbed an ice pack from the freezer and fell back to sleep in great pain. Fortunately, when I awoke, albeit woozy from the pill, I was pain free. But really – what the heck happened?

At least I remembered the One Great Lesson: Look for the good in tragedy.

I have been off my positivity exercises.

I have been binging on Scandal and Supernatural on Netflix.

I have been complaining about things, most notably the White House enveloped Orange One.

Today was a day I reclaimed the Good.

Listened to Gregorian Change in 432Hz. Discovered a couple of books to read. Wept. Prayed. Smiled.

What if we did that consistently? What if we (and by we, I definitely include myself) looked for the good in hiding places like migraine attacks?

© Lizzie Bennett PhD RN

Lizzie Bthree_moons_medicine-1ennett is a Registered Nurse and Ordained Minister of some years. She is a thought and cognitive therapist and owns Three Moons Medicine™ as her private counseling and coaching practice, a blog, educational forum, Facebook page, and outreach to support others on their journey.

Resources (note: some affiliate links are present):

Three hours of Gregorian Chant on YouTube.

Stuck? Listen…

Feeling “stuck,” and unable to move forward is sometimes accompanied by the emotional sense of being “blocked,” too.

We can experience the feeling that life is on hold somehow, or that ideas have stopped flowing, or even a general hesitation to act or decide because you simply feel unsure or disconnected from Source.

When clients come to my reading table for some Angelic Guidance, or clarification, I am often guided to ask about what ideas or instructions have been received that are being ignored.

Have you had feelings like you should make a phone call, read a book, make a small change somewhere…. and yet ignore this no matter how many times it is repeated?

These small nudges can seem insignificant, and like annoyances, and thus end up ignored. Here’s something we tend to forget: when we are “in the flow,” we get the focused messages do this, then there is another step, and another, and so on.

And often this feeling of stuck-ness is because we are stuck. If we ignore this step, however small or scary, we won’t get the next step. See, we really ARE stuck.  And we can move on, but it takes effort and awareness.

What is it you are called to answer? To which you might need to say yes?

That. That’s your next step.

© Lizzie Bennett PhD RN

Lizzie Bthree_moons_medicine-1ennett is a Registered Nurse and Ordained Minister of some years. She is a thought and cognitive therapist and owns Three Moons Medicine™ as her private counseling and coaching practice, a blog, educational forum, Facebook page, and outreach to support others on their journey.

Compassion Heart Meditation

This is a meditation that was adapted from Thich Nhat Hanh’s loving kindness meditation, found in Teachings on Love (see resources below).

Sitting comfortably, this three part meditation is quite powerful for your own self, any other person you bring to mind, and all living beings.

My personal practice was to record this in my own voice, on my smart phone. The second part of the meditation is one I use for a specific person, whomever I have chosen to visualize at the moment.

I’ll write more about each of the three parts in different posts, but I wanted readers to have the words from the American Holistic Nurses’ Association’s treatment of this meditation so we can use this as a basis for some advanced discussions.

PART ONE

May I be peaceful.

May I be happy.

May I look to myself with the eyes of compassion and love.

May I be safe.

May I be free from accidents.

May I be compassionate with my anger and gentle with my fear.

May I be spacious and compassionate to the depths of my true heart.

May I be whole.

May I be well.

May I be free.

May I be peaceful.

May I be happy.

PART TWO

May you be peaceful.

May you be happy.

May you look to yourself with the eyes of compassion and love.

May you be safe.

May you be free from accidents.

May I be compassionate with my anger and gentle with my fear.

May you be spacious and compassionate to the depths of your true heart.

May you be whole.

May you be well.

May you be free.

May you be peaceful.

May you be happy.

PART THREE

May all beings be peaceful.

May all beings be happy.

May all beings look to themselves with the eyes of compassion and love.

May all beings be safe.

May all beings be free from accidents.

May all beings be compassionate with my anger and gentle with my fear.

May all beings be spacious and compassionate to the depths of my true heart.

May all beings be whole.

May all beings be well.

May all beings be free.

May all beings be peaceful.

May all beings be happy.

 

Resources:

 

 

 

 

© Lizzie Bennett PhD RN

Lizzie Bthree_moons_medicine-1ennett is a Registered Nurse and Ordained Minister of some years. She is a thought and cognitive therapist and owns Three Moons Medicine™ as her private counseling and coaching practice, a blog, educational forum, Facebook page, and outreach to support others on their journey.

Laundry: Detox, Save $, DIY!

Laundry!

It’s a fact of life and one that’s not completely safe or even good for our bodies. Mother Earth Living offers a succinct and alarming chart that outlines a few of the chemicals that are present in laundry products from commercial sources. Some are known carcinogens that we bathe our clothing in, and then put onto our skin. And our skin absorbs many of these.

Even if it doesn’t seem like very much, each little change we make empowers us to take charge over our environments and live a bit more healthfully and safely each decision we make.

My personal choice is to keep things simple, and to keep things as least expensive as possible while avoiding toxins. For my HE washer, the washing mixture consists of:

  • 2 Tablespoons of Dr Bronner’s Organic and Biodegradable Sal Suds, and
  • 1/4 Cup (which is 3 Tablespoons) of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda

For the rinse cycle, I put in 1/4 to 1/2 cup of regular kitchen white vinegar, which I buy by the gallon. Even when I hang clothing to dry, this makes sure they’re as soft as possible, and this seems to keep the fabrics from pilling, too.

And, if I choose to machine dry I also don’t use dryer sheets – some of the worst offenders, chemically speaking. Instead, I use any cotton cloth (like an old wash cloth) and put 2 drops of lavender oil on it and toss it in. I have never had any discoloration with this, but can’t guarantee your experience, of course.

There are many other recipes online for making your own detergents, soaps, and dryer products – and I heartily urge each reader to find what works best for them. If cost is no problem, search out organics products like Charlie’s Laundry Soap.

Resources (click on image below):

 

 

 

 

© Lizzie Bennett RN

Lizzie Bthree_moons_medicine-1ennett is a Registered Nurse and Ordained Minister of some years. She is a thought and cognitive therapist and owns Three Moons Medicine™ as her private counseling and coaching practice, a blog, educational forum, Facebook page, and outreach to support others on their journey.

Think It Over

The first step to your splendid future is to envision it. Then, make it real by telling your story.   Lizzie Bennett PhD

How often you might breathe a little sigh…  a silent wish whispered to the Universe. And yet, how often you might then resign yours place in life to “acceptable,” instead of “this is the BEST EVER!”

Here’s a very plain, simple truth for you, and me, and all of us:

Nobody thinks in our heads but ourselves.

We might have beliefs that don’t serve us, we may not know that trauma experienced in life may hinder the way we see our lives and process thoughts, we may not know. We just are: ignorant. We live by assumptions, and the beliefs that others gave us.

And most of us don’t even know.

It’s easy to daydream and “wish,” and it’s also easy to delve further. How? It starts with you talking. To another compassionate human being. This is called telling your story. Your story defines your beliefs, it highlights assumptions you may not even know, it gets you to state and say what’s going on.

Not therapy.

This is full-on story medicine. And you and your story matter.

© Lizzie Bennett RN

Lizzie Bthree_moons_medicine-1ennett is a Registered Nurse and Ordained Minister of some years. She is a thought and cognitive therapist and owns Three Moons Medicine™ as her private counseling and coaching practice, a blog, educational forum, Facebook page, and outreach to support others on their journey.

Shocking Simple Hair Rescue!

I had heard recently about using baking soda and vinegar for hair care.

Say what? Yeah! I knew about the baking soda + vinegar method for drain cleaning already. Those things are usually available in my bathroom cabinet waiting for this very opportunity, which very seldom arises. But that was about the extent of my adventures with this combo.

When I moved from the Seattle area to Las Vegas for a few months, I experienced what I have to call “horse hair,” that was breaking, falling, out and really worrying me. I tried about 4 different kinds of shampoos both liquid and bar, and finally figured out the stone-hard water there simply would not (nor could it) rinse product out of my hair. I had never even known about water like this before. Add to this the almost non-existence humidity, which fluctuated between 0% to 30% when it rained, and this combination was spelling a quick “bye-bye” to my long, fine, blonde hair.

Queue my next move: out of the desert to San Francisco, the beautiful city by the Bay. Humidity! YAY! Softer water! I thought my adventures in hair stories was done, and to tell the truth, much of the breakage stopped. But still, some of the previously-damaged hair still fell out time to time.

Can you image the shock when I found that two simple ingredients both CLEANSE and SOOTHE my hair?

Not only have I learned to save money – but also time – because now I can go two to three days without washing my hair.

Enter my modified NO – POO status! (I really wanted to try the seductive simplicity of the “NO POO” movement, but with super-fine hair like mine, my previous attempts went about 4 days before I had to wash the oils out. So, I was a no-poo FAIL!)

Here’s the how-to! 

Baking Soda. First of all, I like to find and use baking soda that is just that. Plain and simple, without the addition of aluminum in it “to prevent caking.” That’s what I do, but you can choose whichever you like. (Baking Soda is also Sodium Bicarbonate, or Bicarbonate of Sodium, if you are searching for a brand that doesn’t have additives. See resources at the end)

“SHAMPOO”  The ratio for you to use to “wash” your hair is 1 part baking soda to 3 parts water. However much you need for your own hair – that’s up to you. You can mix it and keep in in a squeeze bottle in your shower (like *ahem* an empty shampoo bottle that you don’t use any more).

Just shake up well, and squeeze onto your wet hair in the shower and work through with your fingers until your scalp is well massaged and your hair has the mixture to the ends. Wait a minute or so and rinse out with warm water.

“RINSE”  You can use apple cider vinegar (ACV) for a great rinse. Grab an empty “conditioner” bottle that you don’t use any more, and mix 1 part of ACV to 3 parts water. If you want to put some fragrant essential oils in, feel free to – but you MUST do your own research to check for toxicity with medications you use, interactions with plastic bottles, or allergies you may have. Essential oils smell great, but be sure to check. I have found that a couple drops of lavender or rosemary works well for me.

To use tilt back your head and distribute this throughout your hair, and massage a bit, then thoroughly rinse. I have heard to use cold water to rinse with, but in the shower, that clearly isn’t happening – and so far, I’ve not had any ill effects from not using cold water.

BLACK HAIR – Through some internet searches, it appears that this combo (or near to it) is great for Black Hair, if it’s not overly dry. Be sure to search for reputable blogs and sources, like blackhair 101 dot com

Feedback?

Did you try this? Do you have any tips or changes that you made that worked well for you? Any recommendations? Let us know, please!

Resources:

 

 

 

 

****NURSE’S SAFETY NOTICE****

Be absolutely sure to KEEP YOUR EYES CLOSED while using products, even natural ones, near your eyes until the vinegar and baking soda are thoroughly rinsed away. Some essential oils are not safe to use around your face – you must learn and use EOs safely.

© Lizzie Bennett RN

Lizzie Bthree_moons_medicine-1ennett is a Registered Nurse and Ordained Minister of some years and owns Three Moons Medicine™ as her private counseling and coaching practice, a blog, educational forum, Facebook page, and outreach to support others on their journey.

Relax! It’s Great to be Self-Centered For This Reason

Seriously. When was the last time you took the time for yourself?

Not as an afterthought.

Without guilt.

Unabashedly.

Planned and intentional.

Saying “no” to everything and everyone else.

For a time.

It’s true, we all hear or read or are aware that it’s important in an ever-changing life environment to have some “me” time, time to enter full and engaging relaxation.

Our doctors tell us “relax more, don’t stress so much.”  But they don’t say how.

Magazine give us idyllic images of feet buried in the sand at an ocean with sunny skies and adult beverages in far-off places. But they want our money.

We have classes and gyms. But we stress over time to get there.

 

I say:

Let’s learn the how.

And the why.

And the skills.

And find what we lost so long ago… mainly peace of mind.

 

Here’s a secret about relaxation: it is both very simple, and yet it is not easy. By learning and practicing a simply and do-able technique, we can individually experience calm and focus on a regular basis, which stills our body-mind-spirit-emotional Selves. Here is the place where we meet the Divine, the stilled space of One-ness.

Medically, we define relaxation in scientific language where the parasympathetic nervous system (think: “para” chute – gentle floating downward) takes the dominant role. This is important because this is where we experience the dissipation of stress, which contributes to an estimated 75% to 80% of all modern stress-related illnesses and conditions.

Florence Nightingale herself emphasized the importance of relaxation for her cadre of nurses. Patients rest was honoured with her instructions to reduce all noise around patients, not awakening them from their first sleep in the hospital unless in absolute necessity, have physicians and friends conduct any conversations away from the resting patient, and even reminding the nurses to mind the noise of the crinoline under their skirted uniforms. She wrote that “all hustle and bustle is peculiarly painful to the sick (Nightingale).”

It is also important to note that relaxation is amazingly connected to a stronger immune system. This branch of study in medicine is called psycho-neuro-immunology.  It’s called “PNI” for short. At the basis, we know that emotions are experienced in the body as neuropeptides that carry emotional messages to the body. It’s not possible to separate emotions (circulating as neuropeptides) from the physical body, and from here, I draw the importance of attending to the emotions of patients and clients.

Recognizing Stress and De-Stress

Many times we don’t even realize that we are stressed. We have become so habituated to a heightened stress response that we might come to think of it as our “normal.” Here are some of the generalized stress responses:

  • Cool extremities (hands and feet)because the blood flow is impeded by blood vessel constriction
  • Muscles tightening
  • Personal energy field becoming constricted
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased oxygen consumption (quicker, shallower breathing)
  • Racing thoughts
  • Increased sweating
  • Elevating blood pressure
  • Anxiety that seems out of place

Conversely, intentional relaxation:

  • Increases peripheral blood flow
  • Decreases heart rate
  • Decreases muscle tension
  • Decreases gastric acidity
  • Reduces sweat gland activity
  • Reduces blood pressure, especially in hypertensive people

A Simple Relaxation Plan: Breathing

We have certain breathing techniques that are well-accepted in practice today. The most common one I know of is the breathing techniques taught to laboring women and their coach or doula. We breathe every moment of life.

When we switch from unaware breathing to conscious breathing patterns, dramatic changes can occur in people with chronic pain, an awareness of body condition, and a feeling of union of the Self with All That Is.

There are basically four elements that are present to relaxation practices (Benson). Those are a quiet place; a mental device; gaining a passive attitude; and a comfortable position.  The “mental device” that is most effective is a single syllable word or sound.

The person relaxing should be free to adopt as passive an attitude as possible, without judging and not forcing any words or the relaxation technique or response.

Additionally, there will be stray thoughts that come to mind. The best technique is to simply ignore them, let them float on by.

Mindful Breathing

Being seated on a chair may be more comfortable than a yoga seated position on the ground – the goal is comfort, not compliance.

  1. To enter into the practice of mindful breathing, the person is invited to sit comfortably in a quiet place. Without controlling the breath, we enter into an observance of the breathing.
  2. With the eyes closed the person simply is aware of the breath. Just breathing and expanding the breath in and out at this time.
  3. Using the chosen single-syllable sound or word, simply breathe the word on the exhale, and in the mind say the word. Some words used are: SHAAAAHHHHHH.   PEACE.  LOVE.    Any word the person desires.
  4. Research shows that 20 minutes daily is ideal, and longer is even better. However, this should not be a barrier at all. Even two minutes is a great start.
  5. If the person does wishes, a device to count the number of breaths can be devised – using a mala, or a string with 25 knots tied into it, beads…. The possibilities are many.

There are many advanced techniques, but I have personally found that a simple breath awareness practice is foundational to many other techniques. In addition, there are advanced breathing techniques, most fully developed in the Pranayama techniques, which are easily found with an internet search.

Resources:

 

 

 

 

References:

Nightingale, F., Notes on Nursing, Commemorative ed. (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Co., 1992), 28.

Benson, H., Beyond The Relaxation Response. (New York: Time Books, 1984).

© Lizzie Bennett RN

Lizzie Bthree_moons_medicine-1ennett is a Registered Nurse and Ordained Minister of some years and owns Three Moons Medicine™ as her private counseling and coaching practice, a blog, educational forum, Facebook page, and outreach to support others on their journey.