RELAXATION TECHNIQUES THAT CAN IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH

It is 7:00 AM and the kids aren’t up yet. The dog must be let out. Your work clothes somehow never made it back from the dry cleaner, and you have a conference call you need to prepare for in less than an hour. Oh, and it’s your day for carpool. Have you ever had a day start out like this?

By 9:00 AM, you’re on your third cup of coffee and all you can think about is that beach vacation that is only…what, seven months away? In the meantime, life seems to only get busier with each passing day. Most of us live a quite stressful existence with little time to decompress before we’re thrown back into the high-octane world we live in. Living a stressful life like this for too long can contribute to chronic fatigue, debilitating stress, and even the early onset of disease. Finding a way to relax and manage stress is not only important – it can be a lifesaver. Here are seven relaxation techniques that can add years to your life:

Relaxation Technique 1: Visualization Therapy

Find quiet and visualize taking a journey to a calm, peaceful location. Try to imagine what it smells like there, what objects feel like, and what you may expect to hear. A serene day at the beach is a simple idea – as the sounds of crashing waves and squawking seagulls, the sensation of the sun’s rays, and the feel of the sand under your feet can be readily imagined. Whatever your “peaceful” place is, think of it for three to four minutes, close your eyes, and enjoy the mental vacation. Do this once or twice a day to calm your mind and reduce stress.

Relaxation Technique 2: Yoga

There is a reason yoga has been around for thousands of years – it truly works! Work with an instructor to create a series of relaxing yoga poses, as not all moves are designed equally. Some can actually create stress, and may not be ideally suited to your ultimate goal of better stress management. The Three-Part Breath, Reclined Bound Angle Pose, Knees-to-Chest Pose, Legs-up-on-a-Wall Pose, and Supported Corpse are five uniquely relaxing yoga poses.

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Relaxation Technique 3: Tai Chi

Practicing Tai Chi, or the ancient Chinese tradition of graceful exercise, forces the participant to focus intensely on body movements and deep breathing. This system of exercise is a meditative form of movement that is low impact, basically no-cost, and non-competitive. The gentle physical exercise and positive mental health benefits of Tai Chi are perfectly suited to those who are simply stressed out and need a mental break.

Relaxation Technique 4: Sauna Time

One of the best ways to minimize stress, improve overall heart health, and detoxify the body is by spending time in a sauna. An infrared sauna is the best option for most users today, as reports indicate that not only are they generally more comfortable to use (less steam and far less intense heat settings), but they also detoxify the body much more effectively than traditional saunas. The stress reducing benefits are real, as saunas encourage deep breathing, better circulation, and can even encourage social connections if you have sauna sessions with others.

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Relaxation Technique 5: Massage

This form of therapy is incredibly accessible today, as massage clubs seem to quickly spring up in strip malls across the nation daily. You no longer need to belong to a trendy club to access massage services, so work with your preferred masseuse to decide whether you could benefit from a Swedish massage, a deep tissue massage, a sports massage, or a trigger point massage that helps repair muscular injuries. Reducing stress and muscle pain are real-world benefits of this type of therapy.

Relaxation Technique 6: Mindfulness Exercises

Mindfulness refers to deliberately creating awareness of your immediate feelings and sensations throughout various moments of the day. The benefits are reduced anxiety, stress, and depression, less negative self-thought, and enhanced mood. Completing mindful activities is as simple as paying better attention to the people you interact with, looking at familiar situations and objects from a new angle, focusing on relaxed breathing techniques, and reawakening your senses to sights, sounds, and sensations that you’ve taken for granted over the years. Try to specifically focus on mindfulness exercises at least 15-20 minutes per day.

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Relaxation Technique 7: Schedule “Blank Time”

We’re good at creating calendars full of important activities and reminders, but when is the last time you blocked out a chunk of time on a random day to set aside to do nothing? In other words, do you carve out time to sit on the couch for 20 minutes, and simply focus on your breathing? Or, do you allocate an hour to sitting on the back deck with a cup of tea – then just take in your surroundings? One of the best ways to minimize stress and relax your mind and body is by deliberately setting aside time for yourself.

Relaxation techniques can improve your physical, emotional, and mental health. By including stress management techniques into your daily routine, you’ll feel better, perform at a higher level, and even add years to your life.

INFRARED SAUNAS AND ALLERGIES

The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS), consisting of the sympathetic and parasympathetic components, operates below consciousness to control these systems. The ANS controls heartbeat, digestive function, respiratory rate, salivation, stress and immune response, dilation of pupils, sexual arousal and adrenaline secretions of excitatory hormones. The sympathetic and parasympathetic systems balance out each other, working together or sometimes inhibiting specific responses. In allergy patients subpar or hypo-sympathetic inhibiting activity allows for the over response of the immune system. The ANS then over responds in a big way to supress this over response when it may not be necessary.

Allergies include stuffiness, itching and sneezing and can be caused by pollen, dust and animal dander. An inflammation of the nasal airways, allergic rhinitis is linked with a sensitized immune system that overreacts to what should be a benign stimulant. For example, cat hair should not be a cause for concern to your health, right?

Khon Kaen University, Thailand Study

Current medicinal therapeutic options include avoidance, drugs and immunotherapy, but recent investigations suggest that to eliminate allergies an infrared sauna may be used to modify the body’s ANS. The clinical findings from the School of Physical Therapy, Khon Kaen University, Thailand, were published in their June 2013 article in the Asian Pacific Journal of Allergy and Immunology.

The study looked at the impact of six weeks of sauna treatment on the ANS, peak nasal inspiratory flow and lung function in patients suffering allergies. They were looking to see if infrared sauna use shifts the body’s ANS and therefore impacts the underlying cause of the allergic reaction?

The 26 patients were diagnosed with allergic rhinitis. Some received health education and otherwise maintained a normal life. The sauna group received sauna treatment over a six-week period, three days per week, totaling 30 minutes. Heart rate variability (HRV) was measured to study the autonomic nervous response including the balance of sympathetic to parasympathetic activity; peak nasal inspiratory flow and lung function were measured at the beginning and after three and six weeks of sauna.

There were significant changes in HRV after six weeks of sauna indicating a favorable shift in ANS for treatment of allergic rhinitis. The high frequency or overactive component of the ANS was lower while the low frequency inhibiting component was higher in the sauna treatment group than the control patients. The peak nasal flow and the forced expiratory volume were “significantly higher” in sauna patients. The six weeks of repeated sauna treatment can increase sympathetic activity as well respiratory volume in patients with allergic rhinitis, the article says.

Journal Ter Arkh, Russia Study

In a Russian language journal doctors who used sauna therapy for children with atopic dermatitis, which can be allergy related, found it “improves the condition of their autonomic nervous system.” They noted the “marked clinical response” that could “necessitate long-term sauna treatment to cure this disease.”

In the journal Ter Arkh, the use of an infrared sauna as part of therapy of 107 patients with asthma and chronic bronchitis “resulted in a rapid time course of clinical symptoms of diseases, reduced the adaptation period at a health resort, produced a bronchodilatatory effect and helped to return cardiodynamics to normal…”

Each symptom of rhinitis was rated on a 4-point scale according to severity. During the period of far infrared therapy, the symptoms of eye and nasal itching, stuffiness, rhinorrhea and sneezing were all improved. Smell impairment was not improved until after the last treatment. No obvious adverse effect were observed in the patients during treatment and follow-up. The scientists concluded that FIR therapy “could improve the symptoms of AR” and “might serve as a novel treatment modality.”

STAYING HYDRATED CAN TASTE AND EVEN LOOK GOOD TOO!

Our bodies transports most of our nutrients in the blood and the blood is made up of 82% water. Our muscles are composed of 75% water: our brain 76% water; our lungs 90% and our bones contain 25% water. It is imperative we drink enough water when you sit in your Clearlight Infrared Sauna.

So how can we spruce up our water to make it enticing? These recipes will make you want to drink more water . By washing your organs daily with fresh water, we assist our bodies in eliminating toxins.

Ideally one would drink your water at room temperature but cooler is fine too – and for me more enjoyable while in my infrared sauna. You can flavor water quickly with just a slice of fresh ginger and a slice of something citrus and an ice cube.. If you want to make a pitcher to drink throughout the day, here are a couple quick recipes. (The pitcher can be left on the counter or refrigerator for the day, but discard at the end of the evening)

Tasty Citrus Water
Fill a pitcher with 8 cups of purified water
Cut citrus fruits thinly:
2 organic organic lemons
2 organic limes
1 medium size organic orange
3 one inch pieces of raw organic fresh ginger (great for digestion and gives the water a “kick”)
For maximum taste, let the water marinate for a few hours before drinking
Berry Good Water
Fill a pitcher with 8 cups of purified water
-Cup of strawberries raspberries – any berries cut in half,
-A couple lemon and or lime slices
Ice Cubes
Into each cube of your ice tray, fill and freeze overnight:
Add purified water and place a single mint leaf and a small piece of pineapple in each cube
Place lemon water in each cube
Add a single strawberry and piece of lemon rind
Note: These fancy ice cubes can spice up any water glass of still or sparkling water.

Stay hydrated during your infrared sauna sessions. Drink water before you get into the sauna and then bring a large bottle of water into the sauna with you to keep hydryated. One rule of thumb we recommend is if you feel thirsty after you get out of your sauna, you did not drink enough water during your sauna session.

AGE BEAUTIFULLY WITH CINDY CRAWFORD’S ANTI-AGEING SECRETS

Supermodels are typically some of the best people to go to when looking for beauty tips, advice and even secrets. Cindy Crawford is no exception to that rule.  Infrared Saunas are part of her anti-aging regime.

Cindy puts high regard on indulging and relaxing. In fact, she sits in an infrared sauna for 20 minutes at least once a week to detoxify her body.

Crawford also adds that the infrared sauna is less harsh than a normal one, because its “gentle, soothing and therapeutic heat” allows her to relax and “improves her sleep.”

Much like a Japanese hot spring, an infrared sauna also helps boost collagen production to combat wrinkles, “improve circulation” and develop a better skin tone.”

Check out the entire article by clicking here.

TOP ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE THERAPIES

In the past several years, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies, including Reiki, meditation, and infrared sauna sessions, have gained tremendous acceptance not only with patients but also with healthcare professionals in virtually all fields. This rising popularity can be attributed to factors such as affordability and safety when compared to traditional drugs and procedures, as well as overall effectiveness.

Although CAM therapies take a number of different forms, here is a brief list of some of the most common treatments used today:

  • Specialized diet: From weight loss to detoxification and disease management, larger numbers of patients are following specialized diets—Atkins, raw food, macrobiotic, gluten-free, vegan—to achieve their health goals.
  • Body manipulation: Based on the belief that mind and body should be in perfect harmony, body manipulation therapies like chiropractic, yoga, and tai chi bring spiritual tranquility in addition to physical relaxation.
  • Sauna: The health benefits of saunas have been thoroughly discussed here on our site. Pain relief, weight loss, detoxification, and stress reduction are just a few of the positive effects of heat therapy.
  • Herbal remedies: More and more people are turning away from prescription drugs in favor of natural herbs to treat their ailments. St. John’s wort, ginger, chamomile, caraway, ginseng, and Echinacea are all widely used.
  • Reiki: Performed by a trained Reiki master, this CAM therapy focuses on restoring energy balance throughout the body by means of light touch on or above specific areas in the head, neck, and elsewhere.

While complementary and alternative medicine therapies are not for everyone, their safety, affordability, and effectiveness make them worth looking into. If you’re currently experiencing health problems or would like to prevent them before they arise, getting an infrared sauna for your home, taking up yoga or tai chi, or changing your diet might be just what you need.