Art ‘as therapy’: Healing through creative expression

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Exercising our creativity enhances the quality of our lives and nurtures overall well-being.  Creativity is an innate gift that every person has, which for some, may require some mentoring to activate. Creativity takes many forms.  Arts and crafts have long been the go to for art therapy. Any hobby or activity that allows for the creative process can be considered art therapy. Whether you like to paint, draw, craft, sew, woodwork, knit, scrapbook, play music, write, compose, cook or garden; your brain and overall health will reap the rewards of the creative process involved in them.

Studies have shown that art can reduce depression and anxiety, and improve cognitive functions by producing both new neural pathways and thicker, stronger dendrites. Exercising our creativity can ensure that we are less likely to develop cognitive impairment and memory problems as we age. Immersing ourselves in the creative process of art gives us a temporary time out from the body and mind’s focus on life’s stressors, ‘the unexpected’, past trauma and grief. Engaging in some form of ‘art as therapy’ regularly allows us to escape from our feelings of stress and pain; providing our body and minds the time and space we need to promote healing.

For me, other than creating decorative comforts for my own home, art had always been about producing a product to generate income. My family heritage of producing handwork for money has been a strong and compulsive influence throughout my life. In the past I spent many hours producing hand painted folk art pieces and marketing them at shows. These are a few of my handcrafted works. I recently crossed paths with the jug in the first image at an antiques shop.  When I first saw it, it looked familiar, and I wondered where I had seen it before.  Then I realized that it was one of my artistic reproductions which I had painted decades earlier.

birds jug farm animal lampRooster jug

I left the above type of income producing ‘handwork’ behind decades ago when it was no longer a good fit in my life, and went on to study nutrition and natural health to improve my health. My career focus then changed to helping people to improve their health like I had through changes in diet, lifestyle and adding natural strategies.

Recently, after experiencing the loss of a friend to suicide and being thrown back into the grief process while still grieving the passing of my mother, I felt a strong need to return to the creative process to distract my mind’s focus. Accessing the ‘creative side of my brain’ had always helped me in times of stress in the past, and we all know that life’s stressors can add up at times and feel overwhelming. Over the years I had read a lot about how art was therapeutic so I made the decision that I would start painting ‘for therapy’. What I didn’t expect was the huge block I had getting started. In the past the motivation for painting, other than my home décor items, had always been to produce a product to generate income. My mindset had difficulty with the concept of painting for therapy, although I understood the health benefits. My psyche and perfectionist tendencies, influenced by my family heritage, was stuck in my old pattern of ‘produce for income’.  It took me quite some time spent meditating and praying to start letting go of my old mind set, and allow myself to spend time painting without focusing and seeing the end product as a marketable commodity. This was not an easy transition for me. I am still meditating and praying regularly to help reprogram my brain’s previous default setting about producing art solely as an income source.

In the interim, I have put my paint brushes to canvas.  Many years ago I had purchased a poster plaque at a thrift store (image below) with an inspirational message I liked and planned to someday reproduce.  I loved the ‘Advice from a Tree’ message but did not like the artistic presentation.  From an internet search I found that there were many longer versions of the poem, originally written by Ilan Shamir, which I felt tied into my ‘balanced lifestyle’ quest; and would more easily prompt me to make the ‘art as therapy’ transition that my brain needed. When I purchased the thrift store plaque below, the border, now dark brown, was a bright emerald green.

advice from a tree 2

My artistic interpretation of the ‘Advice from a Tree’ poster would be a better fit for my décor and draw more of the ‘wisdoms’ from the alternate versions of the poem I found on the internet. It would also reflect the beautiful tree view that I see daily through my living room window.

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The real relevance of my art work version is the creative ‘therapeutic’ process and finished product ‘therapeutic’ messages. The creative process would provide me with the therapy that I needed while making the piece and the end product would provide me with ongoing visual prompts to help me in my quest to maintain a balanced lifestyle, be grateful and mindful.

The image below is my finished version which I decided to title as ‘Wisdom from a Tree’. It is a better decorative compliment to my family room and the messages and reminders of the creative process provide me with comfort, calm, motivation and inspiration. I am grateful for the healing it has brought me.

mywisdomfromatree

standtall rememberyourplace

Feelthewind

A ‘Wisdom from a Tree’ art therapy mindfulness workshop can help you in your quest to manage life’s stressors, process painful emotions like grief and feel more mindful, grateful and grounded. Join me for a therapeutic two day workshop to create your personal ‘Wisdom from a Tree’ unique artwork. I can lead you through the steps that I used to create my version and you can customize your creations by selecting your favourite ‘Advice from a Tree’ poem messages and other creative embellishments. This two day art therapy mindfulness workshop is suitable for beginners as well as providing advanced artists opportunity to further their creative expression. For more information visit my workshops and retreats page and scroll down to Holistic Menu item #12.

Art therapy journaling is a form of therapy that involves a conversation with yourself. It is not about creating an art product, which may present you with a challenging learning curve from your past artistic production endeavors.  I have been using art therapy, along with many other provided and self care strategies, to process grief while unpacking the emotional backpack of my mother’s passing, and to help manage multiple life stressors, including the suicide of a friend. The picture below is the cover of my art therapy journal. It is pretty simple so do not be intimidated if you think you are not artistic. For some of the pages I transfer outlines from images with transfer paper to get me started, then start colouring inside and outside of the lines. Think of it as an adult colouring book meets self-help/self-talk journal, a winning combination. You can also take clippings from magazines and paste them in to get you inspired and started.

artjournalcover

Whatever you are going through in your life, or feeling, consider some form of art ‘as therapy’ or art journaling therapy to help your body and mind to cope and heal. Take time to retreat from your busy life priorities, connections and obligations and give yourself the quality self care you need.

This is my latest ‘art as therapy’ project, initiated due to the corona virus isolation:

INSPIRATION: Some of life’s greatest memories are made gathered around the table. Although gathering around the table with my family has not been possible due to the isolation, I was inspired to paint this sign using some wood I had in the garage. The piece was bigger than I ideally wanted, but I worked with what I had. Framing will be a future task. Art therapy in action!

gathered

For more supports during your grief journey read my post.

Get started in your quest for greater resilience like that of a well rooted tree by reading Rick and Forrest Hanson’s book Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness.

The Create Your Life Book below is a great guide to get started on art therapy journaling for grief, stress management and healing.

                                                       

I love these Tombow Dual Brush Pens which allow me to sit and colour while relaxing without the mess of water and paint brushes.  It is a great transportable product to accompany your art therapy journal on your travels.

Tombow

Below is the mix media water colour sketchbook that I started with. I added a copy of my dutch birth certificate over the cover before adding my art work.

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Enjoy your healing art therapy experience!

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca, elisabethlhines@gmail.com

More help to get started:

The Huffington Post – 10 Art Therapy Techniques https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/art-therapy-techniques_n_6103092?ri18n=true

 

YOUR BODY’S INTERNAL COMMUNICATION SYSTEM: Improving crucial messaging for better health.

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The nervous system is the body’s main communication system and it’s ongoing, undisrupted flow of information is the most important requirement for optimum health.  It gathers, analyses and uses information from the body and the environment to keep you healthy.  If, when and how the body and mind respond depends on healthy messaging.

So what happens when something interferes with the information transmission that your body and brain need for proper functioning and responding? Well think about your computer and what would happen if it had a virus or your power supply was disrupted or damaged.

powersupplyfailure

Immunosurveillance is a term used to describe the processes by which cells of the immune system look for and recognise foreign pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses, or pre-cancerous and cancerous cells in the body. Healthy immunosurveillance, immunoassessment and immunoresponse requires ongoing, undisrupted accurate messaging throughout the body and brain.

We all know that many things can interfere with our computer’s communication and performance.  There are also many factors can interfere with the body and brain’s communication and performance.

What can you do?

To keep your body’s internal communication from disruptions and interference, providing for healthy responding and optimum function you will need to be vigilant, proactive and protective.

  • Wash your hands often with non-toxic soaps.
  • Use all natural personal care, laundry, household and lawn care products.
  • Avoid medications and drugs where possible and use natural symptom relief strategies.
  • Eat foods that are as close to their natural state as possible, unprocessed and free of additives and preservatives.
  • Avoid air pollution by implementing protection measures – air purifiers, etc.
  • Use all natural personal hygiene products.
  • Avoid all sources of radiation.
  • Body pollution is the result of your body’s inability to get rid of toxins and other foreign substances. Detoxification is a two step process that helps your body to get rid of body pollution: Stop adding to your body pollution and remove your body’s existing body pollution.
    • Drink clean water and eat plenty of vegetables and fruit to promote natural detoxification.
    • Add strategies to improve detoxification..

How can you learn more about how to protect and improve your health naturally?

YOUR BODY CAN HEAL ITSELF: Follow My Road Map to Get There

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P. Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca

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‘ITCHING’ TO RUN or FIGHT: Managing a ‘Ready to Take Off’ Stress, Fight or Flight Response

Itching

Remaining cool, calm and collected has been my ongoing goal to ensure that I stay grounded during times of stress, emotional upset and tragedy. My baseline calm default was altered in the past due to stress trauma and at times had me ‘idling’ on the edge. When stress and grief became a factor in my life, my ‘itchy’, ready to respond sympathetic nervous system ‘gas pedal’ would activate. This disrupted my overall balance, exaggerating my ‘not yet’ overcome vulnerabilities.

Some people have an over active, under active or faulty blood sugar, hormone, immune, heart or blood pressure response. Medically and generally accepted as ‘out of a person’s control’. An over active or run away stress, fight or flight response is seldom given the same understanding or acceptance. Extreme cases may be diagnosed as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

So what do you do if you find yourself somewhere between an ‘itchy’ stress, fight or flight response and PTSD? I am not going to mislead you by telling you there is a quick fix.  I have been working on restoring my baseline calm default for years using a variety of natural strategies and have made gains and experienced set backs.  The good news is the gains have been greater than the set backs. I am a ‘work in progress’, daily keeping my focus on my ultimate goal of ‘think, feel and respond like a Buddha’. You can find many of the holistic strategies that I have used in the past that have helped me to make huge gains in my health in my book The Whole Person Well-being Equation. Below you will find some additional and expanded strategies that I use and you can use to help you.

  1. Maintain life balance. This can be a challenge when you are going through major stress provoking times of your life.  Sometimes I feel like I am on a roller coaster ride when these major life stressors come my way. I have worked really hard to maintain life balance over the years and help clients and workshop participants to assess, restore and maintain life balance so that they are better prepared when the major life stressors come their way. You can learn about my life balance tools and workshops by clicking on the image below.  Board with
  2. Create a mantra.  This can help reprogram how your body and mind respond, gradually resetting your base ‘calm’ default. One of my mantras is ‘I chose to remain cool, calm and collected in the midst of stress, drama and the unexpected’.
  3. Use breathing. I recently started this practice again after a major life stressor. Inhaling to a count of ‘1,2,3’ while exhaling to a count of ‘1,2,3,4,5,6’ prompts the parasympathetic nervous system to slow your heart, putting on the brakes to prevent an out of control stress, fight or flight response. When at home I set my cell phone timer to remind me every hour to repeat the breathing sequence several times. When away I can ignore it when it goes off or take a few moments in my busy day to repeat the breathing sequence.
  4. Use imagery and visualization. Combined with the breathing sequences, imagery and visualization help engage my parasympathetic nervous system’s braking action, decreasing my stress hormones and ‘itchy’ sympathetic nervous system’s gas pedal response. Lily of the valley has been a favourite image for me since I was a child visiting my grandmother’s farm garden, and I use it as my ‘go to’ visual and sensory reset. The perfect little bell shaped flowers and calming aroma bring me back to my grandmother’s garden. I have a picture of the lily of the valley on my cell phone wallpaper. I use a variety of sensory essential oils to provide a calm reset.
  5. Incorporate Symphony of the Cells. Symphony of the Cells is an orchestrated application of therapeutic grade essential oils developed by Boyd Truman after 20 years of experience working on thousands of people with chronic and acute emotional and physical conditions. The professionally designed protocols combine the layering of specially selected essential oils with therapeutic properties which are applied in layers to the spine and feet and inhaled aromatically. The spine is an excellent application site since the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system travel along the spine and the spinal cord fluid can carry the therapeutic benefits up to the brain and central nervous system. Each protocol application provides an immediate relaxing and sometimes releasing impact with continued therapeutic benefits as the oils therapeutic properties reach the cellular level. I alternate the neurological, sensory and forgiveness protocols regularly since they can be helpful for managing stress, PTSD, emotional trauma, fear, anger, tension, hyperesthesia, anxiousness, OCD, mental fatigue, loneliness, self-doubt and grief. I highly recommend adding the Symphony of the Cells to your wellness plan. Come and see me for a one on one complimentary introduction and application to get started.  Attend or host a Symphony of the Cells workshop. Contact me at elisabethlhines@gmail.com  or my daughter Amanda Dumouchel @mamasandoils for more information.
  6. Prayer, gratitude, nature and quiet.  My daily companions to promote calm and keep me balanced.

Wishing you ‘cool, calm and collected’ living!

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca,

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#stress #PTSD #emotionaltrauma #fear #anger  #tension  #hyperesthesia #anxiousness   #OCD  #mentalfatigue  #loneliness #selfdoubt #grief #fightorflight #posttraumaticstressdisorder #lifebalance #bloodsugarregulation

SELF-TALK REPROGRAMMING: How to Change How Your Body & Brain Response ‘for a healthier you’

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Does your brain and body sometimes seem to have a mind of it’s own and you feel like you are in the backseat, in terms of how your body or brain response? I spent years being hijacked by an out of control flight response.  Some people are plagued by an out of control ‘fight’ response. Some of our responses are learned from past experiences and traumas.  In spite of ongoing stress management efforts over the years after years of stress sensitization, there were still triggers.  While a normal emotional response is to be expected in times of challenge and stress, the goal is to eliminate being hijacked mentally or physically. I always envied people over the years who I noticed remained calm in situations that would have initiated a hijack response in me.  I experimented with many strategies to eliminate the ‘hijacks’ and have managed to stay ‘cool, calm and unrocked’ in most situations. You can read about these strategies in my book.

One of my triggers was a fear that if I was ever pulled over by a police man, for speeding or other (roadside check), that I would have a panic attack and not be able to speak.  I had never been pulled over in more than 65 years and yet when I saw a police car, I would take my foot off of the gas pedal, even when not over the speed limit, and have a pang of anxiety, which then sent my mind to my ‘worst case scenario’ response thoughts. I decided I needed to work on that, since there was a likelihood I would at some time be pulled over or stopped for some reason. My mother had recently passed and I could now focus my attention on my needs. So earlier this year I formulated a statement that I repeated every time I saw a police vehicle: “I choose to remain cool, calm and unrocked in the midst of being pulled over by a police officer”.

About six weeks after I started this self-talk regime, I was pulled over by a police officer in Nova Scotia while driving a rental vehicle.  I knew I wasn’t speeding but knew he was pacing me, but unsure for how long. He came to the window and I felt calm, strange!. He asked me if I knew why I had been pulled over and I calmly said no. I felt no familiar ‘hijack’ panic. In the end the reason I was pulled over was that the license plates had expired stickers, a rental agency issue. In the end, I had neutralized that particular ‘hijack’ trigger, reprogramming my brain and body’s response, by repeating my self-talk statement. I recommend that you give it a try.  Work on one trigger at a time, for a period of weeks, repeating at least once daily.

Self-talk statement wording:

“I choose to ___________________________ in the midst of ___________________

                                                                     (conflict, bad news, loss, trauma, disaster).

“I choose to __________________________when (if) __________________________.

For some additional supports to help your ride your wave of emotions as you heal, visit My Green Medicine Cabinet.

Wishing you success in reprogramming your body and mind’s out of control responses.

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner

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GO GREEN: For ‘a healthier you’!

gogreen

Working with many clients with various diagnoses over many years has provided me with many insights.  My own personal health challenges in the past due to toxicant induced loss of tolerance (TILT) and resulting MCS, depression, EI, chronic fatigue, SD had prompted me to ‘go green’ many years ago.  Avoiding harmful toxins and substances in my diet, personal care products, pain and symptom management, house and garden products were a necessity for me to recover and I now enjoy good health. My informed knowledge and vigilance about toxins in my products and environments keeps me healthier.  My liver and brain are also less challenged now that I have cleaned up my products and environments, a real ‘health’ win!

greenmop

How do you Go Green ‘for a healthier you’?

  • Green your diet – avoid additives, pesticides and other contaminants.  Buy organic when possible.
  • Green your personal care, household and other products – check out the ingredients of your present products at the EWG Skin Deep Database and then make a healthier choice. The Less Toxic Guide will also guide you. Switching to paraban free products is important, keep in mind that there are other harmful ingredients in moisturizers and personal care products. Click on the moisture lotion image below to check out the ingredients in three popular skin moisturizers rated by Skin Deep. What is the health cost of beauty for you?

moisture lotion

  • Green your symptom relief. Switch to natural alternatives for a healthier liver and you. Your liver has to break down everything that you inhale, absorb through your skin and consume – sometimes overwhelming normal healthy liver function, leading to unwanted symptoms.

greendrugs

 My book The Whole Person Well-being Equation provides you with many natural symptom relief strategies, the ones that brought me through all of the diagnoses above to the other side, symptom free.  My Green Medicine Cabinet provides natural pain management options which my clients and I have tested that really work and are more liver friendly than many prescribed and over the counter options.

gogreenworkshop    Organic Moisture Lotion

  • Attend a ‘Go Green’ Health & Beauty Workshop to learn how to make your own healthier products.  Learn what therapeutic essential oils you can add to my organic moisture lotion recipe to promote skin repair, provide skin cancer protection and provide deep pain relief naturally.  If you want ‘less ingredients’ and if your liver is challenged in any way, then this workshop is for you.  Healthy liver function is required for your body to break down all of the synthetic ingredients in personal care products. Next workshop in Rockwood, Ontario is Saturday, February 9 at 1:00 p.m. Workshop details.

Switching to natural, safer products will prompt your body to eliminate the body pollution of toxins.  You will also need to maximize your detoxification strategies to rid your body of the remaining harmful substances.  Detoxification requires a two step approach: Stop adding to your existing body pollution by ‘going green’ and eliminate your existing body pollution my boosting and supporting your body’s natural detoxification processes.  You can find information on these in my book.

When toxins have been in your body for a number of years they can cause damage and interference of normal body communication and functions.  It will take time for your body time to return to normal healthier body and brain functions after detoxification.  The strategies in my book will guide you so that you can enjoy the same recovered health that my clients and I do.

Expect more in terms of your health!

Wishing you greater health and happiness! It is within your reach – take the first step!

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P. Holistic Wellness Practitioner

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BEING HIGHLY SENSITIVE: An Innate Gift

highlysensitive

Being highly sensitive is often considered as ‘abnormal’ and a sign of a mental disorder by others. People are neither just sensitive or not sensitive, there is a range of sensitivity and like other individual traits,  everyone is unique. As a mother of five and grandmother of eleven, I see that diverse range of sensitivity in my family, including myself. If you find yourself in the range of ‘highly sensitive’ and have been made to feel abnormal for having strong emotional or physical reactions, take heart, you are uniquely gifted.

Highly sensitive people can have heightened sensitivity to various things including textures, light, sounds, smells, tastes and temperature changes.  Graced with a highly tuned nervous system, some are highly sensitive to hormone and brain chemistry changes in their bodies, physical discomforts and pain.  Others are highly sensitive to other peoples energies and emotions. A plant research study by  Professor Dr. Olaf Kruse of Bielefeld University, suggests that humans are likely to feed off each other similar to plants. “The human organism is very much like a plant, it draws needed energy to feed emotional states and this can essentially energize cells or cause increases in cortisol and catabolize cells depending on the emotional trigger,”

If your highly sensitive traits are physical you will need to make accommodations when necessary, and sometimes ‘on the fly’ to adapt to changing environments and conditions. The challenge if you know how vulnerable you can be to the emotions of others is staying grounded . Valuing your personal space by maintaining healthy boundaries is a must for highly sensitive people.

According to Psychologist Elaine Aron, author of The Highly Sensitive Person, on being highly sensitive (HSP), “It is innate. In fact, biologists have found it in over 100 species (and probably there are many more) from fruit flies, birds, and fish to dogs, cats, horses, and primates. This trait reflects a certain type of survival strategy, being observant before acting. The brains of highly sensitive persons (HSPs) actually work a little differently than others”.

The gift of being highly sensitive often translates into valuable assets and high creativity. Being highly intuitive is also often common.  From a PsychCentral article by Therese J. Borchard titled 5 Gifts of Being Highly Sensitive, “being high sensitivity to other people’s emotions can be a powerful asset for teachers, managers, therapists and others.”

You are not alone! Take comfort in that, and seek out understanding and supports when necessary. The website Highly Sensitive and Creative provides information and resources for highly sensitive and creative people. Emotional essential oil therapy can help you ride the waves of emotions commonly experienced by highly sensitive people (HSP), so that you feel more in control and grounded. Get started today!

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P. Holistic Wellness Practitioner, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca

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BOTANICAL SPA THERAPY: Whole Body Detoxification

Updated:  March 3, 2020

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Every day provides you with many opportunities for a ‘healthier you’.

Pamper yourself with botanical spa therapy baths for ‘a healthier you’.  Add your favourite music, naturally scented beeswax candle (no synthetic candles or scents), your favourite beverage and book and relax while your body detoxifies.

The greatest gains that I made in my health recovery from body pollutiontoxicant induced loss of tolerance (TILT) and depression came from whole body detoxification using the botanical spa herbal therapy that I designed. I recommend whole body herbal detoxification baths that I have developed to my clients as a first step for all health challenges and they are amazed at the results. Botanical spa therapy herbal baths use your skin, your body’s largest organ, to detoxify your body.

Are some of your symptoms related to body pollution? If your olfactory bulb is offended by smells (you cannot stand the smell of scents even natural ones) or you have lost your sense of smell then you are probably showing the signs of body pollution and toxicant induced loss of tolerance (TILT).

Your body has a pretty amazing detoxification system which when working properly should be able to efficiently detoxify you.  The challenge is that we live in a world full of synthetic chemical pollutants and mass doses of natural toxicants that can overwhelm our detox pathways. Body pollution, which we all have, even as newborns,  interferes with the body’s normal healthy communication and signalling processes required for healthy body function including immunosurveillance, immunoresponse and tumor suppression.

“Chemicals have replaced bacteria and viruses as the main threat to health.  The diseases we are beginning to see as the major causes of death in the latter part of (the 1900’s) and into the 21st century are diseases of chemical origin.” 

Dr. Dick Irwin, Toxicologist, Texas A&M University www.lesstoxicguide.ca/index.asp

Your liver and detoxification pathways may at times when over burdened, need some extra help to eliminate body pollution.  Read my blog post MAINTAINING HEALTHY LONGEVITY: Keep Your Liver Happy in the Midst of Toxins, Distress and Happy Hour to learn more.

 

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Herbal apothecaryherbalcabinet

The pictures above displays some of my apothecary herb collection.  My study of the medicinal benefits of herbs while I was striving to recover my health, brought me the greatest gift.  After many trial and error detoxification strategies, mostly designed to be consumed; I had a light bulb moment one day while taking a bath. In my studies to become a nutritional consultant it was clear there were many body parts and systems involved in the detoxification process.  As a reviewed what I had tried so far to regain my health and the medicinal properties of herbs that I was drinking, I thought, ‘if my skin is my largest organ, why not use it to detoxify me more thoroughly?’ ‘What would happen if I used the medicinal herbs in a bath tea’?  Well the results were amazing.   The herbal bath tea mix was combined with sea salt, baking soda and apple cider vinegar.  You can learn about the individual detoxification properties of the botanical spa therapy bath ingredients in my book.  You will find the botanical spa therapy herbal bath recipe and detailed therapy instructions in Chapter 6, Detoxify, of my book and the Botanical Spa Therapy e-book.

botanicalspatherapyebook

$26.98 CAN


Get started today on your detoxification plans for ‘a healthier you’!. Check with your regular healthcare practitioner before proceeding with any form of detoxification as there may be contraindications due to health, medications or other factors.

Regaining health requires implementation of a series of  ‘stop, start and change’ strategies. The biggest challenge, in ‘hind sight’ and from the successes of my clients has been knowing ‘what do you stop, start and change‘. That’s where my road map can help you.

My study of medicinal herbs, included in my Nutritional Consultant course, was through the writings of Maria Treben, an Austrian herbalist and author of the books Health from God’s Garden and Health Through God’s Pharmacy. My library also hosts The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Herbs.  If you want to learn more about herbs I would recommend these books as your ‘go to’.

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Elisabeth Hines, C.B.C., C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca, elisabethlhines@gmail.com

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THE GIFT of a Healthy Brain: Strategies to Protect and Restore Optimum Brain Function

changeyourbrain

Updated February 25, 2020

As many of my friends, family and clients know, I have had my brain challenges.  The good news is that my brain now functions better than it ever has in the past and I intend to make sure it stays that way. My brain and I are a work in progress, just like a play dough creation. Some people’s brain challenges are visible while others are well hidden. Either way, there may be times when your brain may have some setbacks. Do not despair or lose hope. Wherever you are on your brain recovery, the information and strategies that I share about my recovery can help you. Brain neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to adapt and change. The brain is plastic at all ages (think playdough)

playdough

so we can continue to learn and create changes in our brains and nervous systems throughout our lives. You can change your brain by implementing strategies that increase brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which plays an important role in neuronal survival and growth, serves as a neurotransmitter modulator, and participates in neuronal plasticity, which is essential for learning and memory. As you read on you will find research about essential oils that promote the increase of BDNF naturally.  While a healthy, active lifestyle is a main contributing factor for increasing BDNF naturally, there are many researched botanicals, foods and herbs that also naturally promote increased levels of BDNF.

My past periods of depression and compromised brain function were the result of various factors including, body and brain pollution from toxins, toxicant induced loss of tolerance (TILT), stress and stress sensitization, and lack of life balance and resilience.  As a teenager I pumped leaded gasoline at my father’s gas station.  I started to suffer from depression at that time.  While investigating my depression equation later in life, when I once again suffered from depression after off gassing of a new house, I made the environmental pollution connection. You can read about how I was affected by all of these in my blog posts and website ‘about‘ page. I am grateful for the information, guidance and natural strategies that have helped to restore my brain and body health.

With the looming statistics for depression, dementia (which my mother suffered from) and Alzheimers, and the deep compassion I feel for anyone who has brain challenges;  my focus moving forward is on preventing mental decline as I age and helping others to do the same.

What did it take to restore and improve my brain to better health? What am I doing to protect my brain?

  • Learning and understanding the impact of brain and body pollution
  • Dealing with brain and body pollution is a primary ‘must do’ using natural and added detoxification aids (whole body detoxification method using Botanical Spa Therapy)
  • Avoiding brain (including blood brain barrier) compromising factors
  • Adapting a healthy plant based diet and avoiding processed foods.  I also eat wild caught fish and organic free range eggs.
  • Drinking filtered water
  • Ongoing assessing, restoring and maintaining of life balance
  • Regular walking in green spaces
  • Regular yoga and tai chi exercises
  • Meditation and meditation music while visualizing my calm, happy place- this has been extremely beneficial during times of distress and while sleeping.
  • Prayer – visually handing over my basket of concerns for me, my family, my clients, the needs of the world, daily to my higher powers, my God, for healing, protection and guidance.
  • Grounding – my daily affirmation “I choose to remain cool, calm and grounded in spite of everything (or specific)” while visualizating my Wisdoms from a Tree painting. Seeing myself grounded by deep roots and swaying like the branches of a tree in the midst of life’s challenges. I am a greater support for myself and others if I remain grounded and resilient. This also prevents feelings of anxiety and distress and an itchy HPA stress response.
  • mywisdomfromatree
  • Maintaining a healthy life balance. Maintaining a realistic priority list and healthy boundaries, allowing me the down and relaxation and ‘not available’ time I need to offset life’s stressors and challenges.
  • Learning about the neuroplasticity of the brain. Regular reading of health promoting books, especially those about brain health and recovery.  You can find my recommended reads in my book, plus Dr. Norman Doidge’s amazing books below which have been such an eye opener.
      • The Brain that Changes Itself – this is a paid affiliate link below.  Click on the book to learn more about what is inside.

      •  The Brain’s Way of Healing – this is a paid affiliate link below. Click on the book to learn more about what is inside.

  • Practicing mind body healing strategies including affirmations, visualizations and meditation.  You can find my recommendations in my book.
  • Adding in of natural supportive strategies including essential oils with healing properties. You can find my recommendations in my book and My Green Medicine Cabinet.

The preceding information may seem daunting.  It took me 10 years of research and trial and error strategies to make major gains in my health.  I now feel healthy, energetic and more resilient. I have condensed all of the information and resources that brought me to ‘my healthier brain and me’ and you can use my holistic protocol (self help guide), website and blog post to achieve your “healthier brain” and ‘healthier you’.  It works! Each new client receives a copy of my book and uses it as a guide to help them restore, maintain and improve their health.

Ebook Cover New_1-1

RESEARCH: Credible resources for using essential oils for dementia, Alzeihmers and increasing brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) to help repair damaged connections between neurons. 
is an online community dedicated to advocacy, education and supporting those whose lives have been impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Alzheimers.net was created by people touched by Alzheimer’s, to give caregivers and those with Alzheimer’s a place to share our passion for change and a cure for the disease. 
 
Mayo Clinic on aromatherapy for dementia – 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/aromatherapy/faq-20058566

Pub Med, US National Library of Medicine – “WE FOUND AROMATHERAPY AN EFFICACIOUS NON-PHARMACOLOGICAL THERAPY FOR DEMENTIA. AROMATHERAPY MAY HAVE SOME POTENTIAL FOR IMPROVING COGNITIVE FUNCTION, ESPECIALLY IN AD PATIENTS”. 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20377818

Research Gate – ArticleinPsychogeriatrics 9(4):173-9 · December 2009 with 553 Reads

DOI: 10.1111/j.1479-8301.2009.00299.x · Source: PubMed  “In conclusion, we found aromatherapy an efficacious non-pharmacological therapy for dementia. Aromatherapy may have some potential for improving cognitive function, especially in AD patients.”  https://www.researchgate.net/publication/43079177_Effect_of_aromatherapy_on_patients_with_Alzheimer’s_disease
 
Alzeihmer Society – “There is some evidence that aromatherapy may be effective in helping people with dementia to relax, and that certain oils may have the potential to improve cognition in people with Alzheimer’s disease. Research has specifically highlighted the potential benefits of the use of lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) to improve cognition and mood in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, and lavender oil to reduce occurrences of aggressive behaviour in dementia.”
 
News – Medical Sciences:   
 
Japanese scientists have isolated active compounds in several plant medicines. These techniques helped the scientists identify and isolate active compounds found in Drynaria rhizome, a plant medicine that can improve memory. It has been proven to reduce disease characteristics in mice models with Alzheimer’s disease.

A 2012 study shows that rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), a common plant used to distil essential oil, can also help improve cognitive performance in healthy adults. Also, rosemary can boost brain performance.

In another study in 2013, scientists found that rosemary may enhance the ability to remember events. Also, it helps people keep future tasks in mind. Since memory loss is one of the hallmark symptoms of dementia, this function could make rosemary oil and important component of therapy to combat dementia.

Scientists also found that six essential oils, namely thyme, rose, clove, eucalyptus, bergamot and fennel, are capable of suppressing the inflammatory COX-2 enzyme. The effect is similar to that of resveratrol, one of the important compounds that gives red wine its health benefits.

Of all the essential oils, thyme produces the highest reduction in COX-2 levels by about 75 percent. The other essential oils reduced the COX-2 level by 25 percent. COX-2 is an inflammatory enzyme that has been also linked to the development of AD”  https://www.news-medical.net/health/Aromatherapy-for-Dementia.aspx

Alzeihmers & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzeihmers Association 
 
Anti-Alzheimer’s disease effect of essential oil from aerial parts of Salvia miltiorrhiza Bge  – 

http://www.ijcem.com/files/ijcem0059161.pdf

Neuroquantology – Progress of Essential Oils in Prevention and Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease –

EO, as one of the effective constituents of natural plants, is more and more recognized by people for its medicinal value and health care value. Through the analysis of different pathogenic mechanisms of AD, the anti-oxidation of EO against acetylcholinesterase inhibition, Aβ depolymerization, free radical injury and the protection of PC12 injured cells, it can be seen that EO of various plants has the activity of preventing and treating AD. The use of EO has many kinds of ways, such as oral administration, fumigation, smearing and so on. Combined with its excellent anti-AD activity, EO has the potential value of developing natural drugs for the treatment of neurogenic diseases. At present, more studies on anti-AD activity of EO are ongoing, but we haven’t made clear the key components of many plants’ essential oil, the synergetic effect of each component in EO, and in-depth anti-AD mechanism, which needs more researches.   https://www.neuroquantology.com/index.php/journal/article/view/1583
Lavender essential oil ameliorates depression-like behavior and increases neurogenesis  – https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304394019301429

Modulatory effects of aromatherapy massage intervention on electroencephalogram, psychological assessments, salivary cortisol and plasma brain-derived neurotrophic factor – A 4-week-aromatherapy massage program significantly improved all psychological assessment scores in the Stat-Trait Anxiety Index, Beck Depression Inventory and Short Form of Psychosocial Well-being Index. Interestingly, plasma BDNF levels were significantly increased after a 4 week-aromatherapy massage program. Alpha-brain wave activities were significantly enhanced and delta wave activities were markedly reduced following the one-time aromatherapy massage treatment, as shown in the meditation and neurofeedback training. In addition, salivary cortisol levels were significantly reduced following the one-time aromatherapy massage treatment”. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0965229914000582

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Moving forward, my brain protection and improvement strategy includes the essential oil brain protection blend below as well as aromatherapy massage.  Read the research information above to determine which oils you feel you should add to your personal blend:

My Dementia and Alzeihmer’s and Healthy Brain Neuroprotective Blend

  • Frankincense – 4 drops (according to research abates age related dendritic regression in the hipppocampus, anti-cancer )
  • Clove bud – 2 drops (according to research reverses memory and learning deficits, anti-cancer)
  • Rosemary – 5 drops (according to research improves cognitive performance, abates age related dendritic regression in the hipppocampus, anti-cancer)
  • Copaiba – 2 drops (according to research is neuroprotective)
  • Melissa – 5 drops  (according to research is neuroprotective, anti-cancer – glioblastoma)
  • Lemongrass – 4 drops (according to research is neuroprotective)
  • Lavender – 4 drops (according to research is calming)
  • Add the preceding drops to a 10 ml roller ball bottle and top up with Fractionated Coconut Oil or a mix of grapeseed/olive oil. Apply to the toes (brain reflexology points) and brain stem twice daily.

Get started using essential oils with neuroprotective properties for a healthier you and healthier brain!

Check with your regular healthcare provider before using essential oils or other recommendations found on my website, books and blog – there may be contraindications due to medications, health conditions or other factors.

Wishing you optimum health and happiness!

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P. Holistic Wellness Practitioner, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca, elisabethlhines@gmail.com

Sources:

Melissa officinalis – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3555743/

 
                        –   https://draxe.com/hypothalamus-function/                                                                                                                                           Copaiba Oil – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3291111/

 

MIRACLES: How to Implement a Placebo Cure, Radical Remission or Spontaneous Remission

Link

 miracletoolkit

When I drafted The Whole Person Well-being Equation years ago, I wrote about the significance of belief and the other ingredients of the well-being recipe mix (Pg 85).

The Well-being Recipe Mix

recipemix

Since that time research has provided so much more insight into the importance and power of belief to ‘change your health outcome’. The scientific evidence is fuel for your ‘belief and hope’; about what is possible in terms of recovery and a cure. The new research on ‘the placebo’ effect’ as a mind body healing strategy completes the understanding necessary for your body and mind to implement a placebo cure, radical remission or spontaneous remission. Get started today! The research proves that you have everything that you need.

“Everyone has a doctor in him or her; we just have to help it in its work.

The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force

in getting well.”

Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, Greek Physician (460BC-377BC)

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Update:  Recently, I watched Miracle from Heaven again with my family at my grand daughter’s request.  It was the second time for me.  It reminded me of how I started to ask God for miracles at the age of seven when my brother was diagnosed with ‘an incurable’ type of cancer. My mother would say ‘pray for a miracle’. I would obediently pray for a miracle, not really understanding how miracles work. Now, many years later, after bartering with God many times for miracles over the years and seeing so many people defy the odds of their diagnoses; I understand that miracles come in different ways, some times all at once in a spontaneous remission and other times in small deliveries in a radical remission. Either way you describe it, they are miracles. If you haven’t already watched this amazing film based on the true story of a little girl with an incurable disease, I promise you it will inspire and make you believe in miracles. Heaven is Real is another amazing video based on a true story about a miracle. Check them out below.

Have you asked and prayed for a miracle? Are you expecting it to arrive all at once or is it being delivered to you in multiple deliveries, like some of my Amazon purchases. My miracles of recovery from multiple diagnosed health challenges over the years have come in multiple deliveries over time, for which am abundantly grateful.  I continue to ask for and expect ‘more healing’. More is possible, ‘do not’ stop believing and asking and watching for the multiple deliveries that make up a miracle.

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Where do you start?

  • Understand what the placebo effect, spontaneous remission or radical remission are:
    • According to the dictionary the placebo effect is a beneficial effect, produced by a placebo drug or treatment, that cannot be attributed to the properties of the placebo itself, and must therefore be due to the patient’s belief in that treatment.
    • According to The Radical Remission Project, “a Radical Remission is a cancer remission that occurs either without conventional medical treatment, after conventional treatment has failed to work, or when conventional and complementary methods are used in conjunction to overcome a dire prognosis. We believe that, given enough documented cases to research, the cause(s) of Radical Remission can be uncovered.”
    • A spontaneous remission is an unexpected improvement or cure from a disease that usually progresses. These terms are commonly used for unexpected transient or final improvements in cancer.
  • Become informed about the placebo effect, radical remission and spontaneous remission research.
      • Dr. Lissa Rankin has done an incredible job in her video segment, The Placebo Effect:  How to Use Your Mind-Body Connection to Heal. This is a  must view to understand the research so that your brain can be updated about what is ‘scientifically’ possible.

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      • The Genie in Your Genes, Epigenetic Medicine and the New Biology of Intention, Chapter 6 Belief Therapy by Dawson Church.

 

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      • Understand the science behind the power of believing and using it as ‘believe/belief therapy’ in The Biology of Belief by Dr. Bruce Lipton.

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    • Understand the power of belief when used in visualization.
    • Understand the external environmental influences that interfere with the epigenetic health cycle. These can be found in The Genie in Your Genes, Epigenetic Medicine and the New Biology of Intention by Dawson Church.
    • Understand the research behind spontaneous remissions and the placebo.
    • Immunity over inability: The spontaneous regression of cancer
    • The Spontaneous Remission Project, put together by the Institute of Noetic Sciences, collected over 3,500 case studies published in medical literature about people who experienced spontaneous remissions from seemingly “incurable diseases.”
    • Understand how to repair your epigenome regardless of whether you have genetic predispositions to conditions and diseases. Epigenome is the complete description of all the chemical modifications to DNA and histone proteins that regulate the expression of genes within the genome.
    • The Radical Remission Project is a database of cancer remissions that occurs either without conventional medical treatment, after conventional treatment has failed to work, or when conventional and complementary methods are used in conjunction to overcome a dire prognosis.

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Practice self-help:

  • According to the Harvard Men’s Health Watch article The Power of the Placebo Effect, Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School; you can ‘Give yourself a placebo’.
    • “Practicing self-help methods is one way. Engaging in the ritual of healthy living — eating right, exercising, yoga, quality social time, meditating — probably provides some of the key ingredients of a placebo effect,” says Kaptchuk.
  • Relaxation is a key required ingredient in the placebo cure cycle. This gives your body the required rest time to promote balance and repair.
  • From The Genie in Your Genes, Epigenetic Medicine and the New Biology of Intention by Dawson Church; belief, nurturing, energy medicine, visualization, energy psychology, heart coherence, spirituality, meditation, attitude, prayer and altruism are a part of the epigenetic health cycle. The addition of these to your daily life will promote high DHEA levels which are adaptive, contributing to gene repair. Chronic stress produces chronic cortisol which is maladaptive and prevents gene repair.  Look for more strategies to support your epigenetic health cycle in The Whole Person Well-being Equation below.

You can find a diverse selection of self-help therapies and tools (Chapter 7), including customized visualizations to correct faulty immunosurveillance, immunoassessment and immunoresponse (Chapter 7, page 147) in The Whole Person Well-being Equation.

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The holistic strategies make up my ‘coach in a book’ and provide you with instructions on how to use the ‘radical cure’ toolkit tools to promote understanding, belief and relaxation; prompting your body to ‘give yourself a placebo effect, radical or spontaneous remission’. The book also contains ‘doubt busting’ supports and resources (page 92).

Get started today on implementing your placebo cure or radical remission.  As Hippocrates indicated, you have the power within you, you just need some help!

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P. Holistic Wellness Practitioner, elisabethlhines@gmail.com

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CONNECT WITH YOUR INNER CHILD: For a healthier you!

Connectwithyourinnerchild

Regardless of whether your childhood was traumatic or not, connecting with your inner child as an adult can provide you with some insights and opportunities or ‘a healthier you’ in the present.

That’s a picture of me on the right above as we are boarding the airplane in Amsterdam to immigrate to Canada in 1953. With the recent passing of my mother in the spring of this year I felt like an orphan and it took me time to process my feelings, including grief. I grew up with loving parents who raised me with loving, faith filled care. My inner child was a very sensitive and bashful child and I still display those personality traits as an adult at times – ‘not a mental illness’. Some researchers suggest that emotional sensitivity is an intrinsic part of people with high abilities and driven by perfectionism.  Regardless, this is the way God created me. Fast forward to today and I am connecting with my inner child and celebrating my uniqueness daily.

As a holistic wellness practitioner I spend much of my time researching physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health challenges; and what strategies might help people to manage or overcome them. Emotional aromatherapy has been a valuable strategy for me and my clients, helping them to connect with their inner child and sometimes suppressed or misunderstood emotions and personality traits.

I have been increasingly drawn to particular essential oils during this time of inner reflection.  Interestingly the oil that has had the greatest draw for me has been Ylang Ylang, the oil of the inner child. Ylang ylang is recommended to reconnect an individual with the child self and the pure, simple ways of the heart. For those with past emotional trauma, it is a powerful remedy for release. It also helps to release bottled up emotions.

To learn more about the use of essential oils to heal your inner child or other emotions, I would recommend the Emotions & Essential Oils, A Modern Resource for Healing, Emotional Reference Guide.  It comes with a companion Emotions & Essential Oils Wheel which makes it easy to select the right oil for what you are feeling.

Get started on ‘emotional aromatherapy’ today!

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Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P. Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca, elisabethlhines@gmail.com

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