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Holiday Guide to Relaxation

The holiday season is upon us, this means cold weather, twinkle

light nights and STRESS.

Here are some holiday at home remedies to ease the stress.

 

1. Take a magnesium bath.

Epsom salts contain magnesium and are already a usual go to when having a bath. Magnesium helps with a variety of conditions and is something most of us are deficient in.

“Magnesium is known to reduce muscle tension, lessen pain associated with migraine headaches, improve sleep, and address neurological disorders such as anxiety and depression.”-ancientminerals.com for more information click here 

2. Cup of tea.

Chinese medicine promotes stoking your internal sun/fire. Drinking and eating cold/raw foods drains our internal heat,  tea will help combat this. Here are a list of great DE-stressing teas.

3. SLEEP Zzzz.

With the shorter days, we should be sleeping more, but with screens and busy lives this is not the case, throw on holiday stress and we’re pretty deprived.

Napping can relieve stress and leave you more refreshed and energized.

“A NASA study found that a 40 minute nap increases alertness by 100%. Other studies have found that a 20 minute nap is more effective than either 200 mg of caffeine or a bout of exercise. Yet another study showed that pilots who were allowed to take a 25 minute nap (while the co-pilot manned the controls!) nodded off fives times less than their nap-deprived peers. They also made less errors during take-offs and landings.”-Take a Nap! Change Your Life by Sarah C. Mednick, Ph.D

4.Aroma-therapy.

According to WedMD : “Practitioners of aromatherapy believe that fragrances in the oils stimulate nerves in the nose. Those nerves send impulses to the part of the brain that controls memory and emotion. Depending on the type of oil, the result on the body may be calming or stimulating. ”

Adding a few drops to food, tea, a bath or on tissue a pillow next to you while you sleep can help de-stress you. There are a lot of stand alone oils that can aid but there are great blends as well. Harmony carries 5 different aromatherapy blends, our current favorite is immunity boost great for cold season!

5. Meditation and Yoga.

It is no secret now that this eastern practice has been scientifically proven to aid in overall wellness. There are some great classes and instructors around the city if you are looking start your practice. But here are a few yoga stretches we like that can be easily done at home.

i) cat pose

ii)bharavaja’s twist

iii) child’s pose

Those are our top 3 but here is a great list from Huffinton post.

 

Eat Your Medicine

 

  • There is a big emphasis in Chinese medicine that the food we eat is our best medicine. Food, after all, is the medicine we take into our bodies many times a day. This philosophy makes sense, especially when working with a medicine that focuses on prevention. Why not eat to stay healthy so that you never get sick?

 

  • So how, you might ask, can I eat in the healthiest way according to Chinese medicine?  Well, eating with the seasons is one of the fundamentals. This used to be the way that not only the Chinese ate, but the way all of our ancestors ate as well. What was eaten was what was grown in that particular season – which is what our bodies, and especially our digestive systems were designed for. Part of the reason that we have so many digestive problems in our present culture is because we are able to eat foods that grow in all seasons (because of the miracle of mass transportation and refrigeration) strawberries in winter, root vegetables in summer, etc… Although it is wonderful to have this kind of variety all year around, it is not ideal for our digestive systems.

probiotic


  • The job of the Chinese medicine practitioner is not only to administer acupuncture and herbs, but also to consult their patient about nutritional therapy to help the body to rebalance and heal, because, food is some of the most powerful medicine 🙂
  • Because I love food and because I believe so much in its power to heal, to keep us healthy and energetic (or do the opposite), I completed a nutrition program at school, and research about nutrition on a regular basis.  So if you are interested in finding out more about how to optimize your diet, I would be happy to incorporate a deeper discussion on this in your sessions with me

Zaatari with love

“If you wish to experience peace, provide peace for another”

Dalai Lama

https://www.gofundme.com/aidforefugees

I want to introduce you to some people that I have had the honour of working with in the last several days in Za’atari. I have been blessed to be able to look into their eyes, speak with them for some time, lay my hands on them and try to help. Strangers made into friends.   Please do not take these short introductions as anything but a human story. Each person is not a tragedy, not a disaster. Rather each is our kindred, let us stand with them.   Remember this and stand up and greet my friends with sweetness.

Aisha. She is an incredible 6 year old. “ I will continue to live my life fully and not be stopped by this”.  Aisha was blasted out of a second story building by a bomb, hips shattered, surviving to tell her story, but unable to walk properly the rest of her life. A determined little girl, for her life  is full of possibility.

Meet Khalled, age 26. As he was walking home from work a bomb went off shattering his spine midway and he is now a paraplegic in the difficult conditions of a refugee camp. Incredibly this happened only 4 months ago, in January. He had to get surgery in Syria then his family escaped to Jordan. I can’t imagine this journey for him with is new wounds.
I have rarely ever seen a bigger, brighter smile on anyone before. How is it everytime I see you you are smiling so much? “ if I don’t smile there is nothing. If I smile, I bring brightness and hope to myself and my family”.
In his family they all seem to laugh a lot.

Meet Noor who misses her sons so much. But the one who is dead she deals with ok. It’s the one missing in Syria that keeps her from being able to rest at night. Her beautiful face shows both gratefulness for being safe and deep sadness for the loss.

Dear Mohammed-  the first time I met him he had the 1000 mile look in his eyes. (disassociated look from PTSD).   He was arrested for no known reason and put into jail and tortured daily for a month… hit over the head multiple times, he suffered from constant chronic headache since then. He is only 23.
During the second session with him,  his eyes had changed. A lamp was relit, a smile cracked his expressionless face and he was so much more present.
After 3 acupuncture sessions his headache of 3 years was pretty much gone.

Aisha- she came for acupuncture for her carpal tunnel syndrome caused by carrying water in the camp from the distribution to her tiny caravan home. How is your family I ask? They are well. Then she starts to cry when she relates that she misses some of her family so much as some had to stay behind in Syria. She worries about them. She misses the evenings they used to all eat together, share tea and conversation. She worries about their safety.  The loneliness and longing is especially deep in many of the women.

​Meet Zarah.  She arrives at the clinic in full burka, only her eyes showing. 19 years old. With my interpreter,  which is a man, we determine that she has leg pain that prevents her from doing some activities.
The second he leaves the room she speaks to me in English and removes her hijab, her burka and is absolutely unabashed about showing her body to another woman.  I cannot believe how many layers these women wear under the dress… I get overheated just looking at all the clothes!
Despite her conservative dress, and deep religious values she is also one of the most fluent English speakers I have met at the camp. I should not be surprised. its too easy to prejudice the unknown.
She had finished highschool and is hoping to continue education. She expresses love and appreciation for other cultures and her desire to keep learning.

“I had no idea i would leave until there was no choice left.  When my home was destroyed by a bomb i did not think i just turned my back and walked away. Thank god my family was safe.  We walked until we got to the border and by god grace we were let accross.
Now we are here and we wait.”

“I long to be back with my olive and lemon trees in my garden. I miss the smell of spring and the roses and it is even harder now that spring has arrived now.  My jasmine will be blooming to enchant us, but we are not there to thank it for its enchanting smell.
We used to sit under these trees to drink tea. My family and my neighbours sat togethet and enjoyed conversation and food in the garden whenever it was nice out.  I miss it so much and i pray to be able to return soon.”
Zatari 1zatari2
Just like the incredible beauty and diversity of flowers,  We have been gifted the opportunity, the possibility of seeing the beauty that each faith, each culture, can bring to our world.  It is gods way of showing us how many different ways there are of expressing love.

I come away from work each day feeling blessed and even more clear of the importance of staying positive and hopeful and to be earnest and truthful.

I thank  all those I have had the honour to help thus far. Thank you for the unknown poetry of your broken ever hopeful hearts.

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.

 

gofundme.com/aidforefugees

Our philosophy in life should be kindness. So be kind, be true, be strong. Be gentle, be joyful, be peace. This is what people ask for. Superheros are not needed.

“The planet does not need more successful people. It desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, story telllers and lovers of all kind”

Dalai Lama

I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.”~Edward Everett Hale

 

If you can donate to my campaign and help me continue my work with refugees I and the people I work with would be so appreciative.

 

gofundme.com/aidforefugees

 

THANK YOU!Zatari3

Inflamation in the Body

Lots of study’s have been released over the last couple years showing the disturbing trend between inflammation in the body and disease and/or chronic illness/conditions.

Here are some anti-inflammatory foods to help keep inflammation down in the body.

Food Group:

Meat, Fish, Poultry:

Anti-inflammatory:

  • chicken, trukey and lamb
  • all legumes, dried peas and lentils.
  • cold water fish: such as salmon, halibut and mackerel

Inflammatory:

  • red meats
  • cold cuts, frank furter, sausage and canned meats
  • eggs

Dairy Products:

Anti-inflammatory:

  • unsweetened, live culture yogurt.
  • milk substitutes such as: rice milks, nut milks and soy beverages

Inflammatory:

  • milk and cheese
  • cream and ice cream
  • non-dairy sweeteners

 

 

A day in the life of Lesvos…

Refugee Camp Moria- It is a world of hopes and a world of desperation

 

I have seen faces whose eyes speak volumes of the horrific experiences they have gone through. I have seen the kind eyes of a grandmother, the worried eyes of a father, the comradery and commitment between friends, the confused face of a young child. I have spoken with people who have expressed their dreams of finding peace and security- both financially and in their lives. Most know that the future will be extremely difficult and uncertain for them

​whether​ they are able to get into the EU and apply for asylum or ​whether​ they are forced to go back home to their dangerous countries.

I smile much of the time here because… to see a traumatized face or a face frozen with past memories relax into a smile is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.

Sharing a word or two with someone even if we do not speak the same language goes such a long ways in helping feel the humanity, the heart connection that is possible between us though our lives are worlds apart.

Today I worked at the tea tent starting at 7am and we were commenting on how the day seemed quieter than other days. This gave us time to get to know each other more- we are a group from Switzerland, US, Canada, Mauritius, Pakistan, Germany… Then a bus full of refugees who just got off a boat in quite dangerous conditions arrives.   They are freezing cold, most without shoes as they were left at the beach or lost in the water during their crossing. The boat’s engine had failed over an hour before and it was also slowly filling with water, so they were forced to drift towards the rocky and dangerous beach where they landed. Had there not been volunteers there, called by local Greeks who had seen the boat approaching, there would have been a lot of casualties and for sure deaths.

Some of these people were shaking so hard they could barely hold the cup of hot tea I was giving to them. One young mother who was shaking uncontrollably kept getting food and then turned to give it to others.

Who knows the last time they had eaten much. Some refugees must wait days on the Turkish side, hiding from police with no proper shelter, no food except what they may have on them, until the smugglers get them onto a boat. The smugglers are often violent and force people on even if they no longer want to at that time.

Later, as I was cleaning around the camp, I see a group of these new arrivals and it is good to see them with fresh dry and warm clothes and settling down.

I popped in to the children’s tent to drop off some donations of things to craft and with. Here the small children can come and really be kids again. It is a small safe area and it temporarily removes them from the gritty reality of their situation. They giggle, draw, play and build little things here…. Some of the children’s drawings shockingly reflect the trauma they have experienced in their lives. It is so sad.

Tonight I work midnight til 10am waiting for boats. It is likely to be busier with arrivals tonight as last night was far too windy for boats to come. We will be waiting with blankets, tea, first aid, dry clothes and help shuttle them to Moria.

Tomorrow I work at the medical tent giving massage, aromatherapy and acupuncture.

 

Volunteers work with dedication and love long 9- 16 hour shifts and sometimes will go from one job to the next. There is ALWAYS SO MUCH TO DO!!

I have seen firsthand that it is the small groups of volunteers and the independent volunteers willing to do anything at any time that do most of the work here. The larger NGOs have far too much bureaucracy and red tape to get things done quickly and effectively be fluid as situations change.

 

The thing is here, the situation changes very quickly. Rules about refugees in different EU countries change, the number of people stuck at the camp because they cannot get registered is growing and many are stuck because they have no money, tensions build, small riots happen and then get peaceful again, we give out of food, shelters get built or changed in minutes, clothing is sorted and handed out and even washed…. All this done efficiently by INDEPENDENT, small volunteer groups and small NGOs.

If you can, please support the work been done here for the refugees by donating. I can give you a list of some of the groups ​that are doing invaluable work​ if you like, just message me.

I also have my GoFundMe campaign that I will keep active as long as I am here. If I pass my goal, all the better! More to help out! Donations can be great gifts when made in someone’s name for the Christmas season this year. The people here need financial support to keep helping as much as possible.

 

Namaste. Thanks for being incredible people in my life. Your love and support is amazing.