Posts Tagged ‘meditation’

7 Health Benefits of Deep Relaxation

The next time you tune out and switch off and let yourself melt, remind yourself of all the good work the relaxation effect is doing on your body. These are just some of the scientifically proven benefits…

1. INCREASED IMMUNITY

Relaxation appears to boost immunity in recovering cancer patients. A study at the Ohio State University found that progressive muscular relaxation, when practised daily, reduced the risk of breast cancer recurrence. In another study at Ohio State, a month of relaxation exercises boosted natural killer cells in the elderly, giving them a greater resistance to tumours and to viruses. → Read more

Herbal teas are renowned for their benefits but what benefits do herbal teas actually have and why are they so advantageous to our health?  Read on to find out more.

What is Herbal Tea?

Herbal tea looks like tea and is brewed in the same way as tea, but it not actually a tea at all.  This is because they do not come from the Camellia Sinensis bush, the plant from which all teas are made.  Herbal teas are actually infusions, and are properly called tisanes.  Tisanes are made from mixtures of dried leaves, seeds, grasses, nuts, barks, fruits, flowers, or other botanical elements that give them their taste and provide the benefits of herbal teas.

Unlike other forms of tea, herbal teas contain no caffeine.  They also taste great and are easy to drink.  Your herbal tea may consist of one main herbal ingredient or it may be a blend of herbal ingredients, designed to bring about a specific purpose, such as relaxation, rejuvenation, relief from a specific condition, amongst other things.

Noted Benefits of Herbal Teas

Firstly, it is important to note that there is a huge array of herbal teas available on the market – each one designed to have a specific therapeutic or medicinal benefit.  However, there are some general benefits that can be obtained from herbal teas, and these include:

achieving a more calm and relaxed state of mind supporting heart health aiding with stomach and digestive problems providing cleansing properties for the body promoting energy and wellness nourishing the nervous system strengthening the immune system providing antioxidants to the body boosting energy levels and invigorating the body relieving stress helping to avoid colds stimulating the internal organs promoting a good night’s sleep it is caffeine free and tastes great Some Common Herbal Tea Ingredients

There are many different herbs that can be found in an herbal tea, each with a different use.  Some common ones include:

Allspice – helps to soothe the common cold and relieves upset stomachs Anise seed – aids digestion and freshens the breath.  It can also soothe a cough and improve bronchitis. Chamomile – is renowned for its calming properties and is also said to be anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic Chrysanthemum – is sweet-tasting and is able to reduce body heat resulting from fever.  It also helps protect against liver damage and neutralises toxins. Cinnamon – is calming and helps to support healthy circulation and digestion. Ginseng – stimulates vitality and helps the body stay healthy. Ginger root – is excellent for improving circulation, and is one of the best herbs for improving digestion, nausea, lung congestion, and arthritis. Hawthorne – strengthens the heart and increases blood flow. Lemongrass – is frequently used due to its calming properties. Parsley – is a diuretic and helps with kidney function. Pau d’arco – has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activity against a wide variety of organisms including bacteria, fungi, yeasts (including Candida albicans), viruses (including herpes simplex types I and II, influenza virus, poliovirus and retroviruses) and parasites. Peppermint – is good for stress relief.  It also helps with stomachs and digestive issues and helps to freshen the breath. Red Clover – use as a medicine for menopausal symptoms, cancer, mastitis, joint disorders, asthma, bronchitis, psoriasis and eczema. It is not recommended for children, pregnant or breastfeeding women. Rose hips – are a natural source of vitamin C and bioflavonoids.  They are a liver, kidney, and blood tonic, and are a good remedy for fatigue, colds, and cough. Sarsaparilla – promotes energy and healthy skin. Slippery elm – helps to relieve stomach cramps and other gastrointestinal problems. Making Herbal Tea

When you are making your herbal tea, use fresh, cold water.  Do not use aluminium cookware as it can affect the taste.  Use glass, cast iron, or stainless steel where possible.  A tea strainer is very helpful as it lets you create your own blends of teas or herbs, and stops the leaves and flowers from escaping into the drink.

Once the water has boiled, add one heaped teaspoon of herbs for every cup of water.  Cover and let the herbs steep for ten minutes.  Do not over-steep the herbs as the flavor may become too strong and taste more medicinal rather than pleasant.  If you want to enhance the flavor of your tea, honey or lemon can be great choices.

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, affects millions of people around the world, including over 30 percent of American adults. Often referred to as “the silent killer” for its tendency to wreak havoc on the body without producing symptoms, hypertension is the most common cardiovascular disease and a leading cause of stroke. If you have any concerns, get checked by your doctor. There likely won’t be any other way of knowing if you’re at risk.

This pervasive and dangerous condition is at the heart of today’s episode of Urban Yogis on The Chopra Well YouTube channel. Ashtanga yoga instructor Eddie Stern has teamed up with fellow instructor Blake Seidenshaw and physical therapy professor Marshall Hagins at Long Island University (LIU) to conduct a study on the effects of yoga on patients suffering from hypertension. As of yet, yoga has not definitively been proven to be an effective treatment for high blood pressure, on its own, though evidence does suggest it may lower blood pressure by reducing stress and increasing flexibility and weight loss. Stern, Seidenshaw, and Hagins came together in the hope of finding clear, consistent evidence to prove what, until now, most yoga practitioners only felt and observed in their own lives without the authority of science to support them. That isn’t to say anecdotal evidence doesn’t carry its own weight – there’s a reason over 20 million people in the United States have practiced yoga.

If science comes to support what practitioners have felt for decades, it could have a major impact on our health. So many of Eddie’s students, like the patients at LIU, have already noticed the positive effects. Likely it has something to do with lifestyle. Though the cause of hypertension remains undetermined, the condition is often associated with lack of exercise, being overweight, excessive alcohol intake, smoking, and a diet high in saturated fat and salt. Chronic stress also contributes to hypertension, which may be unwelcome news to people with high-intensity, fast-paced lifestyles.

During stressful situations blood pressure spikes, returning to its normal level after the experience passes. People who are constantly stressed, though, may be at a greater risk of raising their blood pressure in the long-run, especially if they tend to smoke, overeat, or exercise less when they are under a lot of stress. As Eddie’s students can attest to, yoga steps in to provide the tools for self-soothing and mindfulness, so critical to stress-reduction. Hopefully in the near future we’ll know even more about the amazing medical and emotional benefits of a regular yoga practice. But until then, we’ll take the smiles and calm, glowing faces as proof enough.

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