Archive | Stress

Natural Remedies for Anxiety: Top 5 Exercises for Anxiety Relief

I was awakened by butterflies. But instead of being in some enchanted land with fluttering fairies and surreal colors, I stared up at my ceiling and was worrying about money again. My old friend Anxiety had returned. He came back into my world and as usual, didn’t even bother knocking…

My breathing had become short. I had to sit up and used the momentum to swing out of bed and get ready to face the day. God, was it really only Wednesday?

No matter. I went down to the floor, assumed the push up position, and proceeded to bang out push-ups. 10-20-30, not stopping for a break until I reached 50. The butterflies weren’t all the way gone yet, but would soon be like crushed dead leaves in the palm of my hand, before they could molt into a full-blown anxiety attack.

Since I know I’m not the only one to have suffered from anxiety, I wanted to share the one thing that has always helped me, which has been to use fitness for anxiety relief. As simplistic as that may seem, it’s sometimes the most simple, fundamental things in life that still work best. And therefore, it sometimes bears reminding.

So get up, get going, and keep moving. It’s kind of like being in a war zone. You don’t want to make yourself a sitting duck, so you have to keep moving! Here are my top 5 exercises for natural anxiety relief:

  • Push-ups. Do as many as you can in one minute. Don’t worry (ha-ha!) about how many you can do or not do. Your goal is to just get going and slowly improve, but doing more each time. You’ll be surprised by how fast you’ll improve.
  • Sit-ups. They’re not just for sexy abs any more! Tell that especially to the person suffering from anxiety in the pit of his stomach. The goal here is the same as push-ups; just do as many as you can in sixty seconds. This is a great exercise for getting rid of butterflies and yes, it will help give you sexy abs, if you eat right too.
  • Pull-ups. This one may be the hardest for some people, especially if you don’t have access to a chin up bar, but you can buy an over-the-door model, bolt one to the wall, beam/rafter in the garage, or even just use a tree branch in the yard or nearby park. Do as many as you can. Even if it’s only 1 rep and then try for 2 next time and so on. This is another exercise where you will improve rapidly if you just keep at it.
  • Air Squats or Deep Knee Bends. Simply bend down until your thighs are at a complete 90 degree parallel to the floor while keeping your back as straight as possible. You can throw your arms out in front of you to help keep your balance and momentum going. Again, do as many as you can in a minute.
  • Jogging or Running. I realize not everyone can lace up their running shoes and go run for a few miles, but if you can, go for it. If not, that’s fine too, but get out there and walk at a brisk pace to get your heart rate up, thereby strengthening your cardiovascular system. Fresh air is best, so get outside if you can. Even if it’s raining. Embrace it!

You’ll notice that none of these exercises require a fancy gym and that’s the point. You don’t need to spend money for anxiety relief! It can be attained naturally, with a little effort, but once you get going, you will feel better. To your health and success!

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All Natural Erectile Dysfunction Treatments

Erectile Dysfunction is a sexual dysfunction characterized by the inability to develop or maintain an erection during sexual intercourse. According to Dr. Oz, it is estimated that by the time a man is 40, 20% will have suffered from erectile dysfunction. Each year that percentage is increasing. What causes men to suffer with this ailment can vary. The general cause of Erectile Dysfunction can be divided into 2 types:

  • Psychological causes
  • Physical causes

Psychological causes

For some men, Erectile Dysfunction can develop with age and the onset of stress and depression. Emotions can strongly affect sexual performance including being nervous or self conscious about having sex. Having an open communication with your sexual partner can alleviate a lot of the stress and possibly the Erectile Dysfunction itself. In some cases, professional psychological help may need to be sought out in order to get to the root of the problem that is causing the ED. Seeking the help of a sex therapist can also be an effective treatment. With a sex therapist, it is recommended that your sexual partner come along for at least the initial visit, to help discuss any communication problems you may be experiencing.

Physical causes

Some of the most common physical causes of Erectile Dysfunction are high blood pressure, clogged blood vessels, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, low testosterone levels, Peyronie’s disease, the use of tobacco, substance abuse including alcoholism, previous pelvic surgeries and certain prescribed medications. Of course there could be other physical causes of ED not on the list, that your doctor can detect. There are several different treatments for physically caused Erectile Dysfunction, some of which can be extremely costly. The two most popular treatments are surgery and natural supplements.

Surgical treatments

Surgical treatments for Erectile Dysfunction can involve direct injections to the penis, penile prosthesis and vascular surgery. These surgeries can be extremely invasive, costly and even dangerous. The surgical procedures are not guaranteed to cure ED and can leave devastating results. Possible surgical treatment should be thoroughly discussed with your doctor. Because of the risks involved, surgery should always be left as a last resort, only after other options for treatment have been exhausted.

Natural Supplements

Alternative treatments such as, taking natural supplements, has been a popular choice in treating Erectile Dysfuntion. In fact, the use of natural herbs is a practice that has been around for thousands of years. Natural herbs and supplements are known for improving and increasing the flow of blood to the penis. Here are some of the most effective natural ingredients used for treating Erectile Dysfunction:

Pomegranate 70% ellagic

Ellagic acid, a phenolic acid is found in berries, pomegranate, grapes, and nuts. Ellagic acid has shown to be a positive attribute in the treatment of Erectile Dysfunction. It does so by increasing nitric oxide (NO) supply that has a definite role in maintaining the blood flow (and hence erection) of your penis. Studies have also shown that ellagic acid acts as a strong sexual stimulant and aphrodisiac that eventually leads to longer excitement time and greater erection capabilities.

Muira Puama

Muira Puama or potency wood is one of the most active botanical with a long history of traditional use as an energy tonic, general health improver and remedy for impotence & sexual insufficiency. It is known in some circles as “the Viagra of the Amazon”. According to a study published in the American Journal of Natural Medicine, out of 262 men who took Muira Puama, 62% reported an increased sex drive and harder erections.

Epimedium Sagittatum (horny goat weed)

Used by practitioners for over 2,000 years, horny goat weed is a leafy plant which has long been used to restore sexual performance and boost erectile function. It also improves sperm production and has a moderate androgen-like influence on the testes, prostate gland, and anal muscles, thereby influencing sexual desire and activity.

Tongkat Ali (Asian Viagra)

Tongkat Ali is a tree that has been used for many years by men to increase sexual desire, libido, and sexual performance and to treat Erectile Dysfunction. It works by increasing levels of the hormone testosterone. Testosterone is primarily responsible for the growth and development of male reproductive organs, including the penis, testicles, scrotum, prostate, and seminal vesicles. It comes in different dosage ratios. For example, 1:20 means 20 grams of root is used to produce 1 gram of extract and is the recommended minimal dose to enhance sexual function and treat male impotency.

Methyl Sulfonyl Methane (MSM)

MSM, the beauty mineral, is necessary for collagen synthesis in tissues (including those of penis). Chemically, MSM is an organic form of sulphur, an abundant mineral in the body. Present naturally in meat, milk, fish, vegetables and fruit, it is easily lost in processing. It is, therefore, important to use a natural health supplement that contains sufficient quantities of MSM.

MSM also keeps cells from becoming rigid and rough. MSM is also believed to relieve stress, asthma, arthritis, inflammation, constipation, candida, detoxify the body and, most importantly, increase blood circulation through the penis that improves overall health look and health of the penis and even beautifies it.

L-Methionine

L-Methionine is an essential amino acid (protein) that helps against premature ejaculation. This essential amino acid has some role in the growth and development of normal penis. Essential amino acids are those that must be acquired through diet or supplements because the body cannot produce them. L-methionine is also believed to be essential for heart and brain function. The highest amounts of methionine per 200-calorie serving primarily are found in fish, meat and other animal products, but some vegetables are good sources as well. However, it is difficult to include the “recommended daily dose” of L-methionine by eating all of such food sources on regular basis. Nutritionists, therefore, recommend consuming some good natural supplement on daily basis that contains just the right amount of L-Methionine.

Maca

Maca is a root or vegetable that is widely known to act as libido-booster and sex enhancer. Unlike other herbs, it does not directly affect the sex hormones. Instead it has been proposed that it provides optimum levels of nutrients utilized by the body’s endocrine system. In a study that involved 4-month treatment with maca in nine adult men, increased seminal volume, sperm count, and sperm motility were observed.

Omega 3 Fatty Acid

Smooth and consistent blood supply to the penis is a must for erection, growth and better sex performance. To really get your blood going, natural circulation-enhancing nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids are best. Omega-3 also makes your nervous system function better and as sex is really about circuitry, it also improves your sex life.

Flaxseed

Flaxseed, also called linseed, contains a rich supply of lignans in its hull. Lignans are phytoestrogens that are helpful in maintaining a healthy ratio of testosterone. Optimal testosterone levels are crucial to a raised sex drive for both women and men. Besides enhancing sex drive, these nutty-flavored seeds contain essential fatty acids, including omega-3 and omega-6, which are the major building blocks of all sex hormones.

Cordyceps

Cordyceps sinensis is a type of fungus that has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Cordyceps sinensis is a powerful aphrodisiac. Recent studies performed in both China and Japan demonstrated a 64 percent success rate among men suffering from impotence. Scientists have isolated two chemical constituents in cordyceps, (deoxyadenosine) and cordycepic acid (mannitol), which are thought to be the active compounds that increase sex drive.

All of these ingredients are safe and natural alternatives to surgical procedures. The use of natural supplements has proven to be a successful treatment for Erectile Dysfunction. One natural supplement that includes each of these proven ingredients is MaleExtra. Regardless of what treatment plan you choose, there is help for Erectile Dysfunction.

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Hand Reflexology – What is the Difference Between Hand and Foot Reflexology?

There are many similarities between hand reflexology and foot reflexology, this article is going to look at how they compare and the benefits come from reflexology.

Both hand reflexology and foot reflexology use the energy system in the body to promote healing and well being. There are specific reflex points that are centralized in the hands and feet, and those reflex points relate directly to the major organs in the body.

When specific health problems are occurring, it is possible to help stop the symptoms and let the body heal by using reflexology. It is important that you locate the specific areas in the feet and hands that correlate with the problems that you are having.

Using reflexology techniques on the hands or feet (depending on the physical condition you are targeting) will help to balance out the energy levels in your body. Reflexology helps those energy points to become un-blocked allowing the energy to flow freely, which in turn encourages the natural healing processes of the body.

Reflexology is an alternative form of medicine, and some doctors do not agree that it will help you to heal or overcome physical ailments. But, there are many people that have experienced life changing healing by using reflexology on a regular basis.

When you begin to apply reflexology techniques in your life, be sure to start it with an open mind. The energy levels within the body are very sensitive and they contain quite a bit more healing power than most people realize. Having an open mind about reflexology will allow you to experience the full benefits that reflexology has to offers.

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Music Therapy Aids in Treatment of Anxiety Disorder

“Music is the universal language of mankind,” said Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the most popular American poet in the 19th century. No doubt, music touches everybody’s life one way or the other, and listening to it can have a soothing effect on our bodies and minds. No wonder, it enhances the listener’s mood.

In fact, music can be an effective tool in managing anxiety in individuals receiving treatment for anxiety disorder. Several studies unequivocally echo the numerous benefits that music can have in pacifying anxiety in people.

According to a 2015 systematic review and meta-analysis of data from 72 trials by doctors from Queen Mary University of London, surgical patients who listened to music reported to be significantly less anxious than those who did not. They also appeared more satisfied postoperatively. They observed that the patients who were permitted to choose the music showed non-significant reductions in pain and analgesia use.

“Cognitive activities such as listening to music can affect perceived intensity and unpleasantness of pain, enabling patients’ sensation of pain to be reduced,” felt the authors. They said, “Another potential mechanism could be reduced autonomic nervous system activity, such as reduced pulse and respiration rate and decreased blood pressure.” This explains the potential effect of music on anxiety.

Patients receiving treatment for an anxiety disorder can immensely benefit from the use of music as a complementary therapy. There are many generalized anxiety disorders treatment center that include music therapy in their treatment plans and asses its impact on the patients.

Another 2015 study titled “Music Therapy in Generalized Anxiety Disorder,” now available online, explored the possible benefits of music in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The authors said that music therapy is a novel approach in clinical psychiatry for generalized anxiety disorder.

The study used music therapy to decrease the symptomatology of this disorder following a structured protocol and the results visibly demonstrated that music therapy was effective in reducing anxiety and depression levels in GAD patients.

Key takeaways from the research:

  • Along with pharmacotherapy treatment, music therapy can reduce anxiety levels in case of a GAD.
  • Along with pharmacotherapy treatment, music therapy can reduce depression levels in a GAD case.
  • Music therapy can achieve a significant improvement in patients with GAD.

Well-known treatment programs like the GAD treatment Center can gain extensively from such researches, which would add a new dimension to the treatment.

A similar study by researchers at the University of Utah Pain Research Center also discovered that listening to music can be highly effective in reducing pain in high-anxiety individuals. Music, according to them, can distract people and can be effective among those who can easily become absorbed in cognitive activities. The research, which tried to evaluate the potential benefits from music in diverting psychological responses to experimental pain stimuli, unraveled that the arousal from the pain stimuli decreased reliably with the increase of music-task demand.

This shows that music has a role to play in reducing anxiety in people. It can divert the attention from a worry and work in mollifying anxiety symptoms in an individual. Extensive use of this therapy will assuage medication in anxiety treatment and also work as a long-term solution for anxiety disorder patients. Besides, it is cost effective as well.

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Ayurvedic and Herbal Home Remedies For Cough Treatment

Cough is not a disease actually; it is a symptom of any kind of obstruction in the respiratory tract. Coughs can originate in the pharynx, bronchial tubes, trachea and the pleura lining of the lungs.

In Ayurveda, coughing is known as Kaasa roga. It is predominantly an effect of the vitiation of the vata dosha. But the pitta and the kapha doshas can also cause coughs. Based on the causative factor, there are five types of coughs – vataja, pittaja, kaphaja, kshataja and kshayaja.

Vataja cough is dry and hacking in nature. There is little phlegm observed. Side symptoms are headache and pain in the chest. In pittaja cough, there is yellow sputum which may sometimes have streaks of blood in it. Other symptoms like fever, excessive thirst and burning sensation in the mouth and the pharynx are also felt. In kaphaja cough, there is a thick mucus discharge, which is slimy and white in color. This cough makes the whole body feel heavy.

Kshataja cough is vata vitiation to the extreme limit. There is dyspnoea and blood in the sputum. Kshayaja cough is a very serious kind of cough in which pus is observed in the sputum.

(1) Useful Herbs in the Treatment of Cough

– Bay Berry (Myrica nagi) The bay berry is very effective in curing throat congestions which causes the coughs. It can even cure coughs that are caused due to chronic bronchitis. Its bark is the effective part which is to be taken in the form of a powder.

– Belleric Myroblan (Terminalia belerica) The fruit of the belleric myroblan has excellent curative powers in the treatment of coughs caused due to catarrh.

– Betel (Piper betle) Betel leaves when crushed, made into paste with water and applied externally on the chest have amazing effects in the treatment of coughs.

– Butea (Butea monosperma) Butea leaves can treat congested and inflamed throats. They are effective in the treatment of coughs and sore throats. The leaves are boiled in water. This solution is used as a mouthwash to get the desired effects. Coughs caused due to septic and sore throats are treated in this manner.

– Clove (Syzygium aromaticum) Cloves can reduce the irritation of the throat. Cloves are more effective if the coughs are produced due to inflammation of the pharynx.

– Euphorbia (Euphorbia hirta) Euphorbia is a very potent medicine in the treatment of all kinds of cough. It enjoys a special position in Indian herbology in treating the coughs caused due to colds, asthma and bronchitis.

– Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graecum) Fenugreek seeds are effective in the removal of coughs that are associated with sore throats. The seeds are boiled in water for half an hour and this water is used to take gargles.

– Garlic (Allium sativum) Garlic is an excellent remedy for whooping cough. The syrup of two to three pieces of garlic must be taken two to three times a day in the case of whooping cough. If the symptoms still persist, or if it is a severe cough, then the dosage must be increased.

– Henna (Lawsonia inermis) Henna is a definite remedy for sore throat and the related cough problems.

(2) Dietary Treatments for Cough

– Cold foods must be avoided as these can aggravate the throat further. Water that is drunk normally also must be warmed a little before drinking.

– Use old rice in the diet. Wheat can also be used beneficially.

– Do not consumer any fruits or vegetables that can cause excessive cooling of the body. Foods like cucumbers, green bananas, papayas, watermelons and oranges must be strictly avoided.

– Fennel seeds are effective in the treatment of cough. These must be taken along with figs for better results.

(3) Ayurvedic Treatment for Cough

– Ayurvedic doctors prescribe slightly different kinds of medicines depending on which type of cough is observed. a) If the cough is of vataja type, then kanakasava or kantakaryavaleha are prescribed. b) If the cough is of pittaja type, then sitopaladi choorna is preferred in conjunction with chandansava or vasarishta. Vasavaleha and matulungadi avaleha may also be prescribed. b) If the cough is of kaphaja type, then trikatu, triphala, guggulu and shilajit are the drugs of choice.

(4) Home Medications

– The pulp of the fruit of the belleric myroblan is mixed with long pepper, salt and honey. This is to be taken once a day.

– Clove oil mixed with garlic and honey helps to eliminate spasmodic coughs which are produced in tuberculosis, asthma and bronchitis. This mixture must be taken every night before going to bed.

– Prepare an extract of ginger. Sweeten this with honey. Take this in a teaspoonful quantity three to four times a day. There will be confirmed positive results.

– Prepare a mixture of extract of tulsi (holy basil) leaves with ginger and honey. This is better than the above method for the treatment of coughs. This mixture must be taken if the cough is severe, and is caused due to some serious ailment such as tuberculosis, bronchitis, etc.

– Make a decoction of licorice in honey. Consume this decoction so that it makes good contact with the inner lining of the throat. This will relieve cough and the feeling of irritation in the throat.

– A very simple way to stop coughs in the night is to place three to four pieces of long pepper in the mouth. Chew them slightly so that their extract oozes into the mouth. As long as the peppers remain in the mouth, the urge to cough will be suppressed and you will get a restful sleep at night.

– Figs are known to clear the buildup of phlegm in the chest cavity. This brings about an elimination of cough.

– Make a powder of cardamom and dissolved it in water. Take this thrice in a day. This will keep all types of cough at bay.

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Gestalt Therapy And Hypnosis

The Gestalt approach to therapy can be termed “phenomenological-existential” as it is concerned with an awareness of the here-and-now, working away from concepts and towards pure awareness (Clarkson, 1989). By the client becoming aware of their thoughts, feelings, etc the goal is for the individual to achieve insight into the situation under examination. As Yontef (1993) writes, insight is gained by studying the phenomomenological focusing, experimenting, reporting, and dialogue of the client. The philosophy behind this approach is that most people do not function in the world based on how the world, including themselves, is, but through a filter of self-deception, whereby one does not have a clear picture of oneself in relation to the world. Living that is not based on the truth of oneself leads to feelings of dread, guilt, and anxiety (Yontef, 1993).

The historical antecedents of Gestalt therapy are the experiences of its co-founder, Fritz Perls. Trained as a psychoanalyst, Perls rebelled against the dogmatic style of Freud’s approach (as had other notable founders of schools of psychotherapy, Jung and Adler. In the preface to the 1969 edition of “Ego, Hunger and Aggression” Perls wrote of this period of time as follows, “Started seven years of useless couch life.” (Perls, 1969)), and incorporated aspects of holism into the belief that ultimately the individual is responsible for creating his or her existence.

Additionally, the early decades of the 20th century are notable for their refutation of Newtonian positivism and its replacement with phenomenology. These two themes were then combined within the scaffolding of Gestalt psychology to produce an approach centred on the individual’s relationship to their existence. The structure that Gestalt psychology offered was that perception should be considered as the recognition of patterns and relationships between items in the perceptual world which fulfils the central human need of giving meaning to perceptions, experiences and existence (Clarkson, 1989).

Reductionist approaches could neither account for the richness of perception, and its immediacy (for example, see Koffka, 1935; Gibson, 1966), nor take into account the importance of the observer. This led Perls to the idea that the actual awareness of an individual is more trustworthy than an interpretation of any data that a person might provide a therapist with and is primarily a description of movements between ‘figure’ and ‘ground’. The figure is the item of attentional focus at any one time, and the ground is the remainder of perceptual awareness. These movements, or ‘cycles of experience’ can become disrupted by being incomplete or unresolved and it is this ‘unfinished business’ which Gestalt therapy attempts to address. These ideas probably did not constitute a therapeutic approach until 1951 when Perls opened the New York Institute for Gestalt Therapy, despite the fact that the first recognisable Gestalt therapy book was published in the 1940’s (Perls, 1969).

Accompanying this combination of ideas, based on the thinking of Gestalt psychologists, philosophers (e.g., Lewin, 1952), and politicians (e.g., Smuts), was the fundamental concept of the person as basically healthy, striving for balance, health, and growth (Clarkson, 1989). The unfinished business referred to earlier is seen as an obstacle to these processes, restricting the person’s ability to function fully, often termed by Gestalt therapists as ‘dis-ease’. Van de Riet (Van de Riet et al., 1980) encapsulates the idea that dis-ease is a consequence when people do not experience themselves as being psychologically and physiologically in balance with their environment.



“As action, contact, choice and authenticity characterize health in gestalt therapy, so stasis, resistance, rigidity and control, often with anxiety, characterize the state called ‘dis-ease'”

The stasis, resistance, rigidity, and control prevent graceful flow through cycles of experience.

Having briefly outlined the core of Gestalt therapy it is necessary to consider some of the techniques that Gestalt therapists use in order to consider how they might be incorporated into hypnotherapy. Although there are techniques that are closely associated with a Gestalt approach, there are two caveats we must bear in mind. First, as Berne (1970) noted, gestalt therapy does use any techniques exclusively:



“Dr. Perls is a learned man. He borrows from or encroaches upon psychoanalysis, transactional analysis, and other systematic approaches. But he knows who he is and does not end up as an eclectic. In his selection of specific techniques, he shares with other ‘active’ psychotherapists the ‘Moreno’ problem: the fact that nearly all known ‘active’ techniques were first tried out by Dr. J. R. Moreno in psychodrama, so that it is difficult to come up with an original idea in this regard” (Berne, 1970: 163-4).

Second, that in Gestalt therapy, technique is considered secondary to the relationship developed between the therapist and the client, as Resnick (1984) writes:



“every Gestalt therapist could stop doing any Gestalt technique that had ever been done and go right on doing Gestalt therapy. If they couldn’t, then they weren’t doing Gestalt therapy in the first place. They were fooling around with a bag of tricks and a bunch of gimmicks” (1984: 19).

Based on these two caveats we might argue that anything of an ‘active’ nature which is incorporated into hypnotherapy would constitute Gestalt, or alternatively that without explicit training in the Gestalt client-therapist relationship there is nothing we could do which would be Gestalt. However, as the spirit of Gestalt therapy is very much identified by its use of specific techniques that is the approach that will be taken in the following discussion.

The techniques that are associated with Gestalt therapy are closely related to the idea that clients should want to work towards self-awareness through a mastery of their awareness processes. This is in contrast to patients who firstly are actually seeking relief from discomfort, although they may claim that they wish to change their behaviour, and secondly clients who expect that relief will come via the efforts of the therapist. Thus, Gestalt therapy is “an exploration rather than a direct modification of behaviour…the goal is growth and autonomy” (Yontef, 1993). The techniques are modifications and elaborations of the basic question, “What are you experiencing now?” and the instruction, “Try this experiment, or pay attention to that, and see what you become aware of or learn” (Zimberoff & Hatman, 2003).

Perhaps the most well known of all techniques that are identified as Gestalt is the empty chair. This is where clients project their representation of a person or an object, or part of themselves into an empty chair and they then present a dialogue between what is projected into the chair, and themselves. In some cases the client moves between the chairs, but either way, the idea is that inner conflicts become expressed and so the client heightens their awareness of them. This in turn forces the client to take responsibility for their difficulties so that they can make choices to resolve the sources of unfinished business (Stevens, 1975). As Becker (1993) writes, this is the whole point of Gestalt, to “take people who are conditioned and automatic and put them in some kind of aegis over themselves.”

Similar to the empty chair, another common technique is known as topdog/underdog. A dialogue is performed between two aspects of the client’s personality, the topdog representing the introjecting demander of perfection, expressed by “should” and “must”, and the underdog, which is a manifestation of resistance to external demands. Through the dialogue “resolution, compromise, understanding or permanent divorce becomes possible” (Clarkson, 1989). This is attained by the individual becoming aware of their internal battles, which often lead to feelings of guilt, anxiety, and depression.

The Gestaltist focus on awareness is not confined to awareness of cognitive processes, such as dialogue, but also physiological processes through a process termed bodywork. This involves the client consciously noting where they experience tension in particular situations, or how their pattern of breathing changes. Once aware they can learn strategies to reduce these reactions, which have produced both physical and mental discomfort.

As Zinker (1978) writes, “this may include the person’s awareness of his body, its weight on the chair, its position in space, its minute sounds and movements.” Here the individual is taking responsibility for their body and taking charge of choosing how they want to react. Sometimes these tensions are based on a preoccupation with earlier circumstances. If the client is not responding to the current circumstances then they are seen as projecting the past to the present, so old patterns of responding, rather than new, experimental approaches are dominating their life (Parlett & Hemming, 2002). Working to release the physical manifestations of those old patterns can lead to greater engagement and awareness of one’s thoughts and feelings (Zimberoff & Hatman, 2003). This approach is also known as establishing sensation function (Clarkson, 1989) and is considered useful for clients who have become ‘alienated from their senses’ or those with narcissistic attributes who have ‘experienced it all’ (Clarkson, 1989).

The importance of bodywork is made clear by Becker (1993) who suggests that physical expressions are closer to truth because the mind is engaged in deception and sabotage: Perl’s basic assumption was that the body and its total processes are somehow anterior to and bigger than the mind. Gestalt conceives of the mind as an interference, as a way of blocking the total momentum of the organism in some way. Not only that, but the mind is not even the noble part of the organism that we always thought it was. For most people the mind and the creations of the mind work against the body. They work against the best interests of the total person.

In line with other psychodynamic approaches, Gestalt therapy includes dream work. The Gestalt position is dissimilar to Freud, in that Perls did not think of the unconscious as an inaccessible region of the mind which dreams could provide access to if interpreted correctly – Freud’s ‘royal road to the unconscious’ was Perl’s royal road to integration. His view was more in line with Jung, who saw dreams as existential messages for the dreamer. In dream work the client is typically asked to relate the dream in the present tense as if they were experiencing the dream in that moment. From this the client develops an awareness of the existential message and how it consists of projected parts of the self.

The above descriptions of some of the techniques associated with Gestalt therapy should neither be considered exhaustive nor exclusive. As cited earlier, Resnick (1984) amongst others clearly believes that Gestalt therapy is not and cannot be tied to particular techniques, it is about the relationship between the client and the therapist.

An important part of this relationship is that the therapist is acting to guide the client towards greater self-awareness, responsibility and ownership of emotions, thoughts, sensations etc in order to complete any ‘unfinished business’ so that s/he may move smoothly through cycles of experience. The experienced therapist is able to adapt to the particular client in order to achieve this, relying on a wealth of techniques and skills. This essence of Gestalt therapy allies it more closely with cognitive behavioural approaches than typical psychodynamic methods because it relies less on interpretation of the client and more on their active participation. It is perhaps this that makes it possible to incorporate aspects of Gestalt therapy into hypno-therapeutic practice.

Interestingly Levendula (1963) suggests the view that a Gestalt therapist would be in a more advantageous position if he would combine his approach with hypnotic techniques. For example, the Gestalt therapist teaches the increasing of awareness through experimental exercises. The hypnotherapists can achieve this much more easily by directing the patient’s attention to become sharply aware of an idea or sensation or memory which thereby becomes a “bright Gestalt” while the rest of the perceptual field recedes into a background. The hypnotic state itself corresponds to the Gestalt-background principle, and the Gestalt formation becomes more or less an automatic function of it. …the combination of Gestalt therapeutic principles with hypnosis enriches both approaches.

From this it is clear that Gestaltists are being advised to incorporate hypnotherapy into their practice. The following discussion will consider whether hypnotherapists can introduce aspects of Gestalt therapy into their work.

One of the central tenets of Gestalt therapy is that clients experience events in the present, that is they re-enact past events in the present. By re-living them they can focus on their experiences, both psychological and physiological and thus gain understanding. Awareness was considered “the key to unlock insight and ultimately bring behaviour change” (Zimberoff, & Hartman 2003). Bringing the experienced past into the experiential present is one important property of hypnosis.

Through hypnotic age regression, working with dreams etc clients can re-experience events that have occurred at some other time as if they were happening in the here and now. This is not merely a cognitive reliving of a copy of the event, but a fully nuanced resurrection of the experience. As Zimberoff, & Hartman (2003) state, “Keeping the client’s awareness on concrete detail is a constant in hypnotic age regressions, because it promotes presentness emotionally and viscerally (emphasis in original). Of equal importance is that the client’s awareness can be focused on different aspects of their experience through repeated re-experiencing of it, allowing for a detailed, and concrete re-living of the experience in all its original strength and from physiological and psychological perspectives. This then fulfils Rosen’s (1972) view that “Patients move best when they are moved” (emphasis in original).

It is clear that the Gestalt concern with realistic, present, re-experiencing of events is an important aspect of hypnosis. The concerns of Gestalt therapy with direct insight, rather than insight through interpretation would be a novel addition to hypnotherapy. To include this perspective is a philosophical and conceptual shift rather than a technical one and depends on the therapist’s own preferences. However it is quite possible to achieve.

Hypnosis is also useful in intensifying aspects of an experience, by directing the client to pay closer attention to particular details. For example, someone who wishes to stop smoking might be asked to strongly feel the sense of relief and strength from being able to take deep breaths of fresh, clean air. Greenberg and Malcolm (2002) have demonstrated that success in using such techniques as the empty chair are at least partially determined by the degree of emotional arousal experienced during the use of this technique. Here we can envisage that the client can be asked to imagine a dialogue, or in the case of multiple actors in the re-lived scenario, a conversation, where they can concentrate on aspects of themselves or others that are blocking their ability to resolve past issues.

Many hypnotic techniques are relatively passive in that the client is asked to view an event, rather than to participate in it, but there is no conceptual reason why this more active, almost didactic approach could not become a more integrated aspect of hypnotherapeutic practice. Indeed, in clients who are able to speak whilst hypnotised it might allow the therapist even greater understanding of the experiences that the client is reliving, and for the therapist to take a more active, flexible role in directing the client’s interactions.

As described earlier, Gestalt therapy makes use of experimentation in order for client’s to experience new sensations, and to become aware of old patterns of responding. For this to work we are effectively asking the client to suspend disbelief, for example to suspend the idea that they cannot say something to their parent. This may be difficult for some clients, especially where they have developed strong conscious strategies to protect them from predicted negative outcomes. Hypnosis, by inducing an altered state of consciousness, may be able to circumvent these strategies, allowing the client to explore options in a safe fantasy world that is experienced as vivid and real. S/he can then explore conversations with others, actions etc that may not be considered options when in a non-hypnotic state.

As suggested earlier, this active participation of clients is not common, but there is no reason why clients who have strong powers of visualisation cannot be directed under hypnosis to engage in experimentation. Usefully as a single scene can be replayed many times under hypnosis it allows the client to perform a variety of experiments and to compare and contrast the resultant emotions etc. Naturally they can also be directed to pay close attention to the details of these new experiences, so that they can be vividly recalled post-hypnotically.

As Gestalt therapy is primarily concerned with the client’s willingness to take responsibility, and the therapist’s ability to develop novel ways in which the client can come face-to-face with aspects of their life they have projected onto others, or denied control of, the main way in which hypnotherapy can incorporate aspects of Gestalt technique is twofold. Firstly hypnotherapeutic practitioners must be trained in Gestalt conceptual philosophy so they fully understand their role, and have the intuition and flexibility to carry it out in a range of situations and across a broad spectrum of clients. Secondly, just as Freud selected patients who were willing to accept his fundamental law of psychotherapy, perhaps the hypnotherapist must be selective at consultation with clients who show a motivation to change and a willingness to take responsibility for that change. Without these two features hypnotherapy cannot truly address “the key problem of people in our times…inner deadness” (Clinebell, 1981).



References

Becker, E. (1993). Growing up rugged: Fritz Perls and Gestalt therapy. The Gestalt Journal, 16(2). Available at http://www.gestalt.org/becker.htm

Berne, E. (1970). Review of gestalt Therapy Verbatim by F. Perls (1969). American Journal of Psychiatry, 10, 163-4.

Clarkson, P. (1989). Gestalt counselling in action. London: Sage.

Clinebell, H.J. (1981). Contemporary growth therapies. NY: Abingdon Press.

Gibson, J.J. (1966). The senses considered as perceptual systems. NY: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Greenberg, L.Sl. & Malcolm, W. (2002). Resolving unfinished business: relating process to outcome. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 70(2), 406-416.

Koffka, K. (1935). Principles of Gestalt psychology. NY: Harcourt, Brace & World.

Levendula, D. (1963). principles of Gestalt therapy in relation to hypnotherapy. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 6(1),22-26.

Lewin, K. (1952). Field theory in social science: Selected theoretical papers. London: Tavistock Publications.

Parlett, M. & Hemming, J. (2002). Gestalt therapy. In W. Dryden (Ed.) Handbook of individual therapy. London: Sage.

Perls, F.S. (1969). Ego, hunger and aggression. NY: Vintage Books (first published in 1942).

Resnick, R.W. (1984). Gestalt therapy East and West: Bi-coastal dialogue, debate or debacle? Gestalt Journal, 7(1), 13-32.

Rosen, S. (1972). Recent experiences with Gestalt, encounter and hypnotic techniques. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 32, 90-105.

Stevens, J.O. (1975). Gestalt Is.Utah: real people Press.

Van de Riet, V., Korb, M.P., & Gorrell, J.J. (1980). gestalt therapy, an introduction. NY: Pergammon Press.

Yontef, G. M. (1993). Awareness, dialogue, and process: Essays on Gestalt therapy. Highland, NY: The Gestalt Journal Press.

Zimberoff, M.A. & Hartman, D. (2003). Gestalt therapy and heart-centred therapies. Journal of Heart-Centred Therapies, 6(1), 93-104.

Zinker, J. (1978). Creative process in Gestalt therapy. NY: Vintage Books.

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The Most Effective of All Natural Anxiety Cures is Acceptance

Living through an anxiety disorder can be horrifying! Anxiety, complete with its panic attacks, can be so overwhelming the sufferer doesn’t know where to turn because he or she thinks no one can possibly understand what he or she is going through. The sufferer even feels the family doctor would not understand.

Most people will try to hide their case of anxiety disorder from everyone they know. This happens because people don’t realize they are experiencing a disorder that is relatively common. Therefore, they think nobody will understand their anxiety and may actually believe they are somehow weak because their nerves have gotten the better of them.

Anxiety Can and Has Been Overcome Many Times

It is important the anxiety sufferer understand anxiety disorder, with its awful spells of panic is not an unusual disease. Many people have experienced it and in every case, it is considered a condition that can be beaten.

In winning the battle with anxiety disorder the first step requires resisting the temptation to fight the feelings it brings on. Fighting only intensifies anxiety and panic. While fighting makes anxiety worse, giving in to it to helps keep it under control. This is because adrenaline pumps through an anxiety sufferer’s bloodstream and this adrenaline brings about uncomfortable feelings. When we fight these unwanted feelings we cause more adrenaline to enter our bloodstream, and so a fear – adrenaline – fear cycle ensues.

The counterpart to fighting anxiety is running away from it. This doesn’t work either. Trying to ignore your symptoms or pretend they are not there is akin to running away from them. Trying to fight anxiety or running away from it will make more adrenaline flow and therefore cause more and more of these disquieting feelings.

Acceptance is The Key

Not running away or fighting the symptoms of anxiety means you are fulling realizing these symptoms are occurring. So, to realize they are happening, studying the feelings anxiety and panic brings on is helpful because this is the opposite of fighting or running away. When we don’t fight anxiety and we don’t run away from it, we will not be adding any adrenaline to our bloodstreams. Therefore, we will not be manufacturing more frightful feelings anxiety is known for bringing on.

Just make sure you know you are dealing with anxiety disorder. In other words, if a symptom such as chest pains is what you are experiencing, go to a medical facility to make sure it is an anxiety problem and not a heart problem you are having. Once assured your heart is good, you can go ahead and deal with the anxiety disorder.

Letting Anxiety Die

In conclusion, when an panic suffer learns how to prevent making the panic more intense, he or she is in recovery. The recovery won’t come overnight. However, the anxiety and panic will quickly lessen in severity because without additional fear of anxiety’s symptoms, adrenaline flow will be dying down instead of flaring up.

The bottom line is, the key to recovering from anxiety using natural means is learning how to accept the strange and unwanted; even sometimes tormenting feelings anxiety brings about.. The importance of not fighting or running away from panic and anxiety cannot be overstated. This acceptance is a necessary part of beating an anxiety disorder. Then, you must also let occasional attacks come back as they will and receive them as passively as you can. Realize you cannot control these symptoms and the anxiety disorder will die of natural causes.

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Is There a Herpes Cure & How Do You Treat Breakouts Effectively?

There is no herpes cure, and people who have been infected with the virus will carry it in their bodies forever. Throughout a lifetime, an infected person may experience periodic outbreaks of symptoms with varied severity. Many people live with herpes with few or no signs of the virus at all. Although no cure for herpes exists, treatment options for symptoms abound.

Symptoms of herpes can vary from fatigue to painful skin lesions, and there are a variety of products on the market, including both conventional medicines and herbal treatments. Over-the-counter pain medications can help control fever associated with the infection and can help reduce skin discomfort as the virus moves through its natural cycle that usually lasts 2-4 weeks. Prescription antiviral drugs and creams are the closest thing to a herpes cure, since they have been found to be successful in controlling the severity of herpes symptoms, the duration of an outbreak, and the frequency of recurring outbreaks.

Natural treatments can help those suffering from herpes by controlling symptoms until a cure for herpes is found. These natural options are widely available and gaining popularity as they offer the same and sometimes better results than conventional medical treatments. Natural herbal antiviral therapy may offer relief from symptoms without the side effects that can accompany the use of prescription medications. Ice can be used as a natural pain and inflammation reducer. And adequate hydration is probably the most natural herpes cure. Water is necessary to help control fever and to keep the body as healthy as possible as it fights the herpes infection.

Skin lesions caused by the virus have been found to heal most quickly when they are kept clean and dry. Infected areas can be cleaned with soap and warm water, but should be dried well with a towel or a hair dryer on the cool setting to be sure that excess moisture does not prolong the presence of sores on the skin. Salt baths can soothe the skin and encourage the sores to dry up.

Natural prevention of outbreaks almost totally depends upon the strength of the body’s immune system. Stressful events, serious illness, prolonged lack of sleep, and a poor diet can all contribute to the recurrence of a herpes outbreak. Until a herpes cure is found, there is no stronger defense against the disease than the immune system. It’s important that people with herpes commit themselves to a healthy diet that includes vitamin supplements, if needed, reduced emotional stress levels, and adequate sleep and exercise. These behaviors along with treatment for periodic symptoms can help infected persons cope until a herpes cure is found.

Researchers continue to investigate the virus to help develop better treatments, a vaccine, and a cure for herpes. Until then, prevention is the key to controlling the spread of the virus, and effective treatment of the disease’s symptoms is the best way to live a life uninterrupted by herpes.

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Top 5 Homeopathic Pain Killers

Unfortunately pain is something that everyone will experience in life. While pain is uncomfortable, it can actually be a good thing and there are homeopathic pain killers that can be taken to provide you with safe natural pain relief that is non narcotic.

When you have pain, what you are really experiencing is your body sending you a signal that something is wrong. Imagine if you had a ruptured disc in your back (ok I’m feeling the pain just thinking about it!) and you were just walking around all day going about your every day responsibilities…working, exercising etc. If you didn’t have any pain, you would not know something was really wrong. Pain is your natural defense against being injured for the long haul.

Pharmaceutical drugs have a host of harmful side effects so opting to take homeopathic pain killers when you are hurting is a wise choice. I know after I had my foot surgery I decided against pharmaceutical drugs and chose the homeopathic route. Boy, I’m glad I did.

Below is a list of pain killers that are not new to homeopathic care and are effective for many interested in using homeopathic pain killers:

  1. Arnica is effective at treating arthritis, muscle sprains and strains, and bruises. Arnica is an herb that’s derived from a yellow flower grown in European mountains. Arnica can be applied topically in gel form or taken orally with another homeopathic treatment.
  2. Curcumin is a excellent because it helps to prevent and reduce inflammation. Curcumin should be taken in capsule form with an enzyme called bromelain because your body absorbs it better. Bromelain is also an anti-inflammatory agent and is used by many doctors to treat pain caused by arthritis. When I was experiencing signs of rheumatoid and I told my doctor that I didn’t want to take medicine, she recommended Bromelain.
  3. Devil’s claw fights pain and inflammation but you have to be careful with this one if you have stomach problems. Devil’s claw is actually a fruit that’s found in South Africa and has been used to help reduce back and arthritis pain.
  4. Feverfew is an age old homeopathic pain killer and works wonders at relieving headaches, arthritis pain and minor pain. Feverfew is not only a natural pain killer but it has also been proven to stop headaches and migraines from creeping up. Anyone with headaches should try this alternative pain reliever.
  5. Frankincense is known for its ability to treat chronic inflammatory pain in conditions such as arthritis. This herb helps to greatly reduce pain associated with minor injuries as well.

Homeopathic pain killers are your safe option for reducing and even eliminating mild to chronic pain because they are non narcotic. Even though taking certain herbs may have some side effects for different people, those side effects are much less harmful than those you get from taking pharmaceutical drugs. As with anything, you should exercise caution and do your homework when deciding to take homeopathic pain killers.

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Pet Natural Health Care – Try This For Hot Spots

According to Dr. Andrew Jones, DVM, hot spots, or Acute Moist Dermatitis, are on the rise with more and more dogs, cats and various other species of pets needing help with hot spots. Dr. Jones verifies that the most common cause of re-curring hot spots is allergies. Weeding out the cause of the allergy can often take some time leaving behind the problem of hot spots. In the field of pet natural health care, this new natural remedy just may do the trick.

Dr. Jones has been testing out this rather new hot spot natural remedy, putting it to the test and finding it’s potential one to be shared with all pet owners particularly those of dogs and cats.

First, lets start with the basic pet natural health care for hot spots, how to care for the wound, and an already known natural remedy so that all readers can benefit from this information not only those who have been down this road before.

It is important to know that when it comes to natural remedies whether for you or your pet, you may need to try several different remedies, and there are usually more than just one, as nature is full of medicinal valuable qualities. Each pet in it’s breed is unique and what works for one may or may not work for another. Therefore, always try more than just one remedy if the first doesn’t take hold.

Signs Itchy, oozing, red painful area on the skin that has an odor.

Causes A local area of bacterial infected hair follicles that mostly form in the summer months. The skin can become infected by any scratch or wound causing the hot spot to form. Most common cause is some type of skin allergy.

PET NATURAL HEALTH CARE SOLUTIONS

Remove hair

Removing hair on and around the hot spot should be your first step. It is very important in order to let the skin breath, helping the hot spot to heal. Be sure to use a blunt end scissor such as nose hair scissors. Be as gentle as you can, because the hot spot area is painful and your pet will feel discomfort just from the hair being cut.

Clean the Wound

It is very important that you clean the wound by using a MILD, non perfumed antiseptic soap to clean. Use a cotton ball and gently dab the wound with the cleaner. Be sure to rinse well and not leave any soap residue behind.

Tea and Aspirin

The key to healing the hot spot is to get it to dry out and there are some very powerful natural aids that can do this and are probably already in your kitchen. One of them is black tea and the other is aspirin. Make a strong cup of black tea and dissolve an aspirin in it. Immerse a clean cloth in this solution and apply it to the hot spot for minutes. Do this four times a day.

The New Remedy – Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and is used in quite a few other home remedies such as ear cleaning, of which it is highly effective. (I know because I recently used it to clean my dogs ears and it did a heck of a job – better than any ear cleaning solution I have ever purchased). It also houses potassium in high form, which is good for older pets, and can be consumed orally to boost the immune system. I use apple cider vinegar in my dog’s food on a daily basis.

Soak a cloth in apple cider vinegar and apply it directly to the hot spot 4 times a day.

If your pet is having re-occurring hot spots it is suggested that you begin to address the high possibility of allergies in your pet. Addressing the root of the problem will give you a cure to these hot spots, and for pet allergies Essential Fatty Acids is vital in your pets diet.

Good pet wellness practices means getting down to the root cause of acute moist dermatitis by ensuring your pet is treated for allergies through Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) in his diet. In the mean time, or in the event your pets allergies act up, use this pet natural health care remedy of apple cider vinegar for pain relief and healing.

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