Music as Therapy for a Healthy Mind Body and Spirit

Music as Therapy for a Healthy Mind Body and Spirit

Have you ever noticed that after listening to soothing music, you feel more calm and relaxed? Music is an excellent tool to use to bring tranquility to the mind, but it can also be restorative the body. Health practitioners have discovered that music with a pleasant beat and melody connects the mind to the body and encourages the body’s innate healing ability. One choice of music that does this very effectively is classical music. There is also the healing sounds of nature such as the songs of birds, the rustling of leaves, the falling of rain, the crashing of ocean waves, and the sound of a waterfall. These sounds of nature are music to your ears and to your spirit.

Music can certainly lift your mood even the sad music renders a positive effect on mood and mind. Music can boost happiness and reduce depression and anxiety. Whether it is a full beat drumming or a slow streaming light music, it has become an integral part of our lifestyle. Apart from entertaining, music renders therapeutic and mood stimulating benefits for the listeners.

Some people are of the view that sad music renders a negative effect on mood and brings more depression yet researchers have shown the opposite effect. Sad music can render pleasure and comfort. Music regulates the mood of people in various ways. Music rehabilitation and music therapy can bring comfort, revitalization, relief, exhilaration, and enjoyment. During depressive periods due to depression, personal loss, and breaking up a relationship, people are more tend to listen to sad music. In this case, sad music acts as a substitute for an empathic friend or mate and provides a sense of elation and understanding that someone understands what you are going through.

On the other hand, upbeat or fast music can improve the moods and boost glee and happiness. Happier mood leads to better mental health, successful outcomes, and satisfactory relationships and reduces depression and anxiety.

Music Therapy

music therapy

music therapy

Music restores the mind, body, and spirit, by promoting relaxation. Soothing music can lower heart rate and blood pressure to a healthy level that is optimal for systems within the body to work at their best. This is why massage therapists will often turn on music while massaging a client, or why people practicing yoga will use relaxing music while completing their yogic exercises. Even day spas will use music to relax guests and help them enjoy the effects of their spa experience. Soothing music also reduces stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline. When stress hormones are not interfering with the body’s functioning, the body can work more efficiently in healing itself.

Music therapy programs can help in managing stress, alleviating symptoms of depression, ease out pain, and enhance memory. It can help people suffering from physical pain even. Even people, who take this therapy during or after surgery, feel less pain and anxiety. Music listeners do not require medication for the eradication of pain. Music is a safe, cheap, non-invasive, and harmless intervention which can play quite powerful roles in treating chronic conditions even. Music therapy also plays a significant part in treating mood disorders, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis and other neurological conditions. Music therapy can also improve self-esteem and quality of lifestyle. A unique orchestra if played for people suffering from dementia can boost and improve the mood of patients and raise their self-confidence.

Benefits and Effects on Mood and Brain:

music

music  effects on mood

Music can engage and change the brain of humans in many beneficial ways. It engages emotion, memory, neuroplasticity, attention, and learning.

Music stimulates the emotions of humans through specific circuits of the brain. Music engages brain and emotion in a way that it provides an uplifted mood of joy. It creates a bond with humans’ emotions and the best example is singing a lullaby to newborns and toddlers that can easily put them to a sound sleep. This is the connection that music builds with your mind and uplifts the mood. The hormones known as oxytocin also known as cuddle hormone creates the bonding. It is being released during singing and therefore music renders a profound emotional effect on the minds of both mother and child during lullaby.

Music produces a series other beneficial molecules in your biological pharmacy. As it peaks emotion, the production of dopamine ( a specific neurotransmitter that controls brain’s reward and pleasure centers) gets amplified. Music also plays a great role for autistic children and it succeeds where verbal language gets failed. It is able to form a bridge between heart and brain. It can evoke the deepest emotions in people and help people in processing fear, sadness, grief, and resentment.

Music is also extremely helpful in improving the brain health and life quality of Alzheimer patients by regaining parts of memory. By incorporating specific music that patients used to listen before the suffering can actually help them in reconnecting with the world around him. It brightens the mood of patients and they are able to communicate. A part of the brain associates memories with music and when emotional cords are tied, there are episodic silent memories that arise and triggered by the familiar songs related to your earlier life and personal experiences. This is how familiar music can create a reconnection with deep, meaningful memories from life experiences.

Music and Neuroplasticity

Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to recognize itself by forming new neural cords or connections throughout life. This process is greatly affected by the harmony of music and brain. This process leads to compensation of neurons (nerve cells) for diseases, injuries, and adjustment of their activities in giving responses to new situations and changes in the environment. When the brain is damaged it can create new pathways to get into a proper functioning position. Music provides stimuli in creating these pathways and help the brain in redeveloping in case of injury. Music can recall personal memories in the patients with severe memories. Music can also help in infusing directions to different locations. If you are stuck in traffic music can inculcate the map of an alternate route in your brain. Music therapy, melodic intonation, and singing provide new information to mind and helps in reorganizing the connections.

Music takes hold of your mind’s full attention profoundly. It engages your brain and attention in ways that it is able to sustain improve and activate your attention. Listening to music can help the brain in anticipating events and holding greater attention. The anticipated spaces or gaps between composition leads to the interpretation and integration of music in your minds. The spaces captivate your full attention. These gaps allow the mind to communicate and integrate with heart and your focus gets fuller. During this process balance and healing occurs and brain and heart move into coherence.

Music in your Day Spa at Home

music therapy

music therapy

Music is especially useful to enjoy in conjunction with a Day Spa at Home, because the soothing and healing powers of music will have a rejuvenating effect on your mind and your senses, and as a result, your body. The aim of a Day Spa at Home is to relax, restore and rejuvenate while pampering your face and body from the comfort of your own bathtub or favorite chair. While your spa products will work on your body from the outside, music is therapy for your mind, body, and spirit from the outside in.

DIY fruit and herbal infusion recipes

DIY fruit and herbal infusion recipes

It is vitally important to keep hydrated during your Day Spa at Home (or at any other time for that matter) to ensure that toxins are flushed out of your body. Water helps to regulate  body temperature, aid in digestion and  keep skin clear and hydrated. Water also aids in the transport of nutrients around the body while also keeping our organs, other body tissues lubricated. We need to drink about at least 8 glasses of water every day for our body to function at their best. However, this amount may vary depending of such factors as body size, energy expenditure, and the climate in which you live.

Coffee, alcohol and soft drinks are not considered part of the daily-recommended water intake. In fact these drinks actually dehydrate our bodies due to their diuretic effects (increased urine output) resulting in the need for an even higher water intake. So make sure you do not consume these drinks during your Day Spa at Home or Wellness program. Dehydration impacts negatively on your physical and mental performance. Without replenishing your water intake, you can experience headaches, digestive problems, low blood pressure, lower back pain, constipation, premature ageing and more. You may even feel hungry if you don’t drink enough water. Yes, that’s right! It has been found that what some people experience as hunger is actually the result of inadequate intake of water.

If you really find it difficult to drink plain water, try making up some delicious infusions with your favorite fruits, herbs and spices. Here are some mouth watering infusion recipes to try that will make getting your quota of hydration so deliciously enjoyable and such a treat.

Lavender Lemon Ginger Mint Infusion

This is a delightfully soothing and gently warming infusion which helps to enhance the day spa and total wellness experience.

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 Tblsp. dried lavender (or 4 sprigs fresh lavender)
  • 2 lemons, juiced and peels set aside
  • 1/2 chopped lemongrass stalk
  • 1 Tblsp. maple syrup (optional)
  • 1-inch knob ginger, peeled and chopped
  • Small handful fresh mint

Combine the lemongrass, lemon peels and maple syrup in a large jug or beautiful clay or ceramic teapot if you have one, add water that has been boiled and allowed to cool slightly. Mix the ingredients well and then add ginger, mint and lavender.  Allow the infusion to steep for about half an hour and then stir well.  If you have use a jug strain through a fine sieve. You may not need to use a sieve if you have made the infusion in a teapot, which is why I have a beautiful teapot especially for my Day Spa at Home infusions. This infusion is delicious served hot or chilled.

Cinnamon Strawberry Infusion

This is a delicious fruity infusion which will delight your taste buds while you hydrate your body.

  • ½ cup. fresh strawberries
  • 4 cups. water
  • 1 pinch cinnamon powder
  • 1 Tblsp. maple syrup (optional)
  • Small handful peppermint leaves

Puree strawberries in a blender until smooth. Pour the puree into a jug or a large teapot and mix with slightly cooled boiling water, cinnamon, peppermint leaves and maple syrup. Steep for one hour. Use a fine mesh strainer to strain. Serve chilled with ice if desired.

Jasmine, Mint and Orange Infusion

Jasmine is a beautifully relaxing tea with such a wonderful and delicate aroma. It soothes the mind and the body with its mild sedative properties while delivering a boost of antioxidants. It is also thought to aid weight loss with its metabolism boosting catechins. Combined with freshly squeezed orange juice and peppermint leaves, this infusion is perfect for a day devoted to wellness.

  • 2 Tblsp. jasmine tea leaves
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 4 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 Tblsp. maple syrup (optional)
  • Small handful peppermint leaves

Pour the boiling water over the tea and peppermint leaves placed in a heatproof jug or a large teapot and allow to infuse for 5 minutes. Strain and add the orange juice and maple syrup, stirring well. Set aside and allow to cool.  Serve over ice.

Remember to avoid drinking large quantities of water with your meal, as it may dilute your digestive juices and may lead to bloating. If you feel you need to drink water with your meal, just take small sips and wait at last 20 minutes before and after your meal to have a whole glass of water. Head to our Detox pages for more great infusion recipes or go to Mother Earth News.

Anti-aging: 5 Nutrition Tips for Younger Looking Skin

Anti-aging: 5 Nutrition Tips for Younger Looking Skin

I have said in a previous blog that I am often asked what my anti-aging secrets are. Of course, I have looked after my skin for most of my life but I am certain that good nutrition plays an equally, if not more important role in having great skin and a healthy body at any age.
Most of us are aware that our diets affect our waistline, but far fewer are aware that what we consume directly affects how our bodies age. Sugars, trans fats, and piles of carbohydrates do our bodies more harm than good. Eating a proper diet with balanced nutrition is the best way to rid our bodies of age-accelerating toxins and chemicals. But eating right is not always easy. It takes research, dedication and determination. However, once you get into the habit things become much easier. Here are a 5 great tips you can incorporate into your diet, to eat better foods to look great and live a long and healthy life.
Tip 1. Cut out Sugar!
Sugar has been strongly linked with the speeding up of the ageing process. Sugar molecules, in particular fructose, can be seen as the most ageing substance as it can cause a lot of permanent damage to the body and detrimentally affect your health. The main way in which sugars display such damaging effects is through their production of Advanced Glycation End products (AGE’s). These products are proteins or fats which have been oxidised by sugars. Proteins are found all throughout the body and so it is not a surprise that anything which affects proteins would have a large impact on your health as well as your physical appearance. The most vulnerable proteins to damage are collagen and elastin which are important in keeping the skin looking youthful and preserving its elasticity. AGE’s damage these proteins and causing your skin to look wrinkly, reducing its firmness and making it sag.
Glycation is the process where sugars and proteins uncontrollably react with each other and in turn, produces an inflammatory response in the body, causing the immune system to activate. Once the immune system is activated, it works to seek out these AGE’s to get rid of them. The downside to this process however is that although the immune system is removing these toxic end products, it causes a lot of damage to the body in the process. Plaque formation is one of these effects and these can be deposited on arteries and blood vessels, causing blockages and putting stress on the heart. Not only does sugar cause AGE’s but also creates free radicals which have the ability to bind to healthy cells and damage them. Another way that sugar causes premature ageing is through the spikes of insulin and leptin levels within the blood after eating sugar. This can produce damaging effects to the heart and lead to heart disease if these levels remain high for too long. Not only do AGE’s have these direct effects, but they also have indirect effects including making the body more susceptible and vulnerable to other harmful processes such as the damaging effects of excess UV light and cigarette smoke. After seeing all the damaging effects that sugar can cause, it is needless to say that sugar is the most ageing substance around and those interested in anti-aging must give it up!

Tip 2. Eat Superfoods.

Superfoods are loaded in antioxidants and nutrients. The presence of these antioxidants and nutrients in the body help to neutralize toxins and substances that may compromise overall health and well-being. Perfect for those interested in anti-aging. Superfoods include foods rich in beneficial fatty acids like: Almonds, Anchovies, Avocado, Brazil Nuts, Chia Seeds, Coconut Oil, Flax Seeds, Olive Oil, Pecans, Pine Nuts, Salmon, Sardines, Sesame Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Tuna, Walnuts. Fruits, vegetables and spices bright in color indicate they contain plenty of antioxidants and phytonutrients. Great choices include: Apples, Asparagus, Blueberries, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Butternut Squash, Carrots, Cinnamon, Eggplant, Goji Berries, Kale, Oranges, Peppers, Pomegranate, Raspberries, Red Beets, Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, Turmeric. Incorporate superfoods into every meal and enjoy their health and skin beauty boosting properties. Please see our Nutrition pages for more information.

Tip 3. Consider Food Combining.

Food combining encourages eating the right foods at the same time. Since digestion uses the most energy of any other function we take on—including strenuous exercise—we often feel tired after eating. You can offset this by taking in the right foods. Start by eating concentrated carbs and proteins at different times or at different meals. Doing so will give you more energy and help you look and feel your best! Great for an anti-aging program. For more information on Food Combining, see our Nutrition pages.
Tip 4. Try Caloric Restriction or Intermittent Fasting.
Caloric restriction is a diet in which calorie intake is strictly monitored and kept within a low range. This strategy has been linked with prevention of premature ageing, improving your general wellbeing and lifespan as well as preventing the onset of age-related disease. The caloric restriction strategy was put together on the premise that burning calories cause cells to age, therefore by restricting the amount of calories that the body has to metabolise the body ages slower. A lot of the calories that we eat are not required by the body therefore we are just adding more stress on the body by adding extra calories for it to metabolise, consequently speeding up the ageing process. Restricting your calorie intake can also help to lose weight or to maintain a healthy percentage of body fat.
Research has shown that excess fat in the body is dangerous to your health in both the short term and long term. Excess weight increases the risk of developing age-related diseases, with the risk increasing proportionally to the amount of body fat. Studies conducted on animals, show that life-span increases when a restricted caloric diet is introduced. Try your best to only eat during an 8 hour window for at least a week. Your body will then have a chance to properly digest your food and burn up fat cells. You’ll lose weight and have more energy by doing so. For more information on Intermittent Fasting follow this link. If  you want to try a longer fast, ensure you get advice and supervision from a qualified healthcare practitioner. You can also contact us for more information.
Tip 5. Incorporate Bone Broth into your Regular Diet.
Bone broth is a highly nutritious liquid made by boiling bone in water. This effectively extracts the gelatin from the joints as well as amino acids such as cysteine and minerals such as calcium, magnesium and phosphorous found within the bone. Bone broth is a great food source as it is high in protein and minerals. It is especially beneficial to consume bone broth when you are suffering from a cold or flu as it can help speed up recovery. This is because chicken naturally consists of cysteine which is an amino acid which can help to thin mucus built up in the lungs so that it can be removed. The minerals that are found in bone broth are plentiful and can easily be absorbed by the body in this form. Glucosamine is also found in bone broth is also beneficial as it can reduce inflammation and maintain the health of your joints.
The health of your digestive system can be assisting by having bone broth as it helps to nourish and heal the lining of the gut. This is contributed to by glycine which can aid in digestion and promote the secretion of gastric acids. Gelatine is another substance which is readily found in bone broth as it comes from the gelatinous cartilage from bone joints. It has been found to promote healthy and youthful-looking skin. It’s a great anti-aging food. For a great bone broth recipes follow this link. Go to our Nutrition pages for more information on eating for optimal health.
By taking care of yourself by eating healthy nutritious foods  it’s possible to reduce the onset of premature aging. Stay tuned for more great anti-aging tips and information.
DIY Natural Beauty Treatment Recipes for Hands and Feet

DIY Natural Beauty Treatment Recipes for Hands and Feet

Regular visits to beauty salons for manicures and other skin care treatment methods can get costly. The cost of buying the best quality natural skin care products for your hands, feet and as well as for your face and body really starts to add up over time. Many people tend to focus on their facial skin and ignore their hands, but the hands also need caring for as well. Rough, chapped hands can portray a less than desirable impression. It is surprising how many people take a mental note of the state of your hands and nails when they first meet you.  Every beauty conscious person should pay equal attention to their face and hands. We have 4 great DIY beauty treatments for you to care for your hands and feet, naturally

The following is a simple and natural homemade recipe for a hand scrub, for the ultimate in DIY  hand care.

  • 1 tablespoon of white oats
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • ½ a cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Mix the oats and water in a vessel and bring to boil until the water evaporates, making sure not to burn the oats. Place the oats in bowl and mix with milk and honey to form a paste.

• Wash your hands with a gentle soap

• Dry with your hands with a soft towel

• Apply the scrub on your hands and rub until a smooth leather forms

• Allow the scrub to remain on your hands for 15 minutes

• Wash the scrub off using warm water

• Dry your hands with a soft towel

• Apply some moisturizer on your palms and massage throughout your hands

• Use the scrub twice weekly to get the best results

DIY Foot Soak Recipe

Your feet will absolutely love this Minty Foot Reviver!

• Half a cup of sea salt

• 3 lime slices

• 7-9 mint leaves

• A couple of drops of lime essential oil. Add about 6-8 drops and combine with all these ingredients. Add them into a bowl filled with lukewarm water. Deep and soak your feet in mixture for about 15 minutes.

DIY Foot Scrub Recipe

This is a wonderfully moisturizing foot exfoliating treatment which will reveal softer, smoother feet in no time!

• 3 limes

• 2 tablespoons white sugar

• 1 tablespoon sweet almond oil

• 14 fresh mint leaves, chopped

• 6-8 drops of lime essential oil

Finely cut the limes into smaller pieces, an compact these small pieces into a thick pulp before placing in a food processor. Mix the thick pulp of lime with the other ingredients in the bowl.

Gently apply this homemade foot scrub after removing your feet from the feet soak. Use circular motion when applying the scrub. Use warm water to remove the scrub while massaging with a damp towel. Rub on a mint moisturizer to leave your feet looking and feeling fresh.

Paraffin Treatment

One simple and fairly inexpensive way to get a baby smooth feel is with a paraffin bath that can be purchased at a beauty supply store or online. Make sure you carefully follow the directions, and that the temperature of the wax isn’t too hot to prevent burning your skin.

Paraffin treatments may be used as a DIY beauty treatment, but also for treating stiffness, aches and arthritis as the paraffin can retain heat. Once a hand, foot, knee or elbow is dipped into the liquid and removed, the paraffin turns into a solid wax and the heat (fusion) is absorbed into the body.

The heat from the paraffin also opens pores and increases circulation, which helps to leave your skin soft and radiant.

  • Liquefy the paraffin according to the instructions.
  • Dip your hands or feet into the wax (suggestion to hands and feet separately, you’ll want your hands free when doing your feet).
  • Remove hands or feet and wait for a few moments to cool.
  • Repeat this process several times for multiple layers of wax.
  • Put on the gloves that typically come with the paraffin bath (or your own), or socks if you’re doing your feet, as it retains moisture.
  • Relax for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Carefully peel off wax to reveal beautifully soft skin.
  • Rinse with warm water and pat dry.
  • Remove any excess wax from cuticles and underneath nails.

Spending just a little time on DIY beauty treatments for your feet and hands will make sure that your hands, feet and nails are kept healthy, nourished and looking beautiful, and that your skin never gets exposure to harmful ingredients.

Yes, men can have a DIY Day Spa at Home as well

Yes, men can have a DIY Day Spa at Home as well

The same way women take care of their bodies and spirits by pampering themselves, a hard-working man also needs the chance to relax, recharge and revive. With hefty competition in the business world — and that the “rules” for what’s acceptable for men and women have changed considerably — it’s no longer unusual to see men relaxing in comfortable chairs, wearing face masks while getting a manicure in non-gender specific salons or spas.

Men are often unaware of just how important relaxation and rejuvenation is to their mind and body. Being masculine doesn’t necessarily mean having to avoid feeling relaxed and pampered.

In fact, an increasing amount of men are taking more care of themselves and indulging in self-care at spas on a regular basis around the world. It’s good to know they’re becoming more aware that relaxation and pampering is important for anyone interested in wellness and looking for ways to cope with the stress of their busy modern life.

From manicures, face masks and natural shave treatments, there are plenty of ways for a man to pamper and rejuvenate himself naturally and at home.

Following are ideas and recipes for a “manly” Day Spa at Home:

ALL-NATURAL MOISTURIZER

Shaving can remove up to two layers of skin cells, so moisturizing afterward with a quality natural moisturizer is a perfect balm for your man’s skin health.

A man’s skin is different to a women’s it’s thicker and often oilier. So (perhaps lucky for you so he won’t steal yours) he needs a different kind of post-shave moisturizer.

ALOE VERA GEL is a perfect natural option for men as it’s light, soothing and has natural healing properties.

A DIY YOGURT, HONEY AND PUMPKIN SEED OIL BUTTER TREATMENT is wonderful moisturizing mask:

  • Combine 1 tsp. plain organic yogurt, 1 tsp. honey, and 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin seed oil in a small bowl.
  • Slather the concoction on his face and throat area, or on any problem areas.
  • Leaving on for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Remove with a warm, wet washcloth; then finish off with a splash of cold water to close the pores.

This is a deeply hydrating, indulgent experience that softens the skin (which you can enjoy as well), and gets it ready for shaving.

DIY EXFOLIATION

A man’s skin attracts more oil and dirt than a woman’s. The larger pores, whiskers and a tendency to sweat more are a main reason why men should exfoliate their skin on a regular basis.

Also, exfoliating dead cells skin makes skin smoother. Hair follicles are exposed more which results in a cleaner, smoother shave — the ultimate goal of every shaving man!

Many men experience dry skin and irritation after shaving with regular over-the-counter shaving cream. Therefore, it’s vitally important that the beard is completely wet, softened and lubricated before shaving.

A great way to get a close shave without irritating the skin is with a combination of natural oils and other ingredients that restores skin and achieves a cleaner shave. Followed with a natural aftershave and moisturizer, they may work so well he’ll never go back to store-bought products with harsh chemicals!

ALMOND AND ORANGE DIY FACIAL SCRUB:

This antioxidant-rich DIY scrub helps defends against wrinkle-causing, collagen-damaging free radicals. The fine granules exfoliate dead skin cells and leave your skin soft, silky smooth and supple:

  • In a blender or food processor (if you don’t have either, a mortar and pestle will suffice) pulverize/grind a handful of shelled almonds (preferably without the skins), the peel of one (1) orange, and one (1) cup of almond oil.
  • When ground into a well-blended paste, apply to wet skin in small, gentle circular motions. Then wash with warm water, and dab your skin dry with a clean towel.

HOMEMADE SHAVING CREAM

  • 2/3 cup of Shea nut oil or Shea butter
  • 2 Tblsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2 vitamin E capsules

Ten (10) drops of his (or yours) favorite essential oil that has a masculine fragrance such as bergamot, cedarwood, patchouli or vetiver

  • First melt the coconut and Shea nut oil or butter together in a small pan on the stove. (If you choose to microwave them, do so in small increments such as 15 seconds at a time to prevent boiling and spattering.)
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the olive oil.
  • Once everything is nicely melted and blended together, add the rest of the ingredients.
  • After one final stir, place liquid in a refrigerator safe container.
  • Allow liquid to cool and thicken overnight. Then add the baking soda and liquid from the vitamin E capsules.
  • Mix until light and fluffy.

The result is a soothing, natural shaving cream that allows the razor to glide across his skin.

NATURAL WITCHHAZEL AFTERSHAVE

Witch hazel is the perfect natural aftershave as it has anti-inflammatory properties that soothe the skin after a shave, and deal with irritation, razor burn or bumps. It also has cleansing, toning and moisturizing properties that are perfect for men who don’t want to use moisturizer.

Encourage the man in your life to have his own special DIY spa day, or perhaps join you during your Day Spa at Home.

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