Friday, March 27, 2015

America's #1 Addiction

The concept of a sweet tooth takes on a different meaning when we realize it's not just a matter of liking something sweet after dinner, but sugar in our coffee and an afternoon treat as well. Without the constant sugar boost we feel deprived. Sugar can be a drug of choice, and constantly grazing on even so-called healthy hidden-sugar foods can train a body to demand it constantly. Here's the hopeful news: sugar addiction is not your fault.

“Being addicted to sugar and flour is not an emotional eating disorder,” says Dr. Mark Hyman, author of The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet. “It’s a biological disorder, driven by hormones and neurotransmitters that fuel sugar and carb cravings — leading to uncontrolled overeating. It’s the reason nearly 70 percent of Americans and 40 percent of kids are overweight.”

Studies confirm a food addict’s brain operates similarly to a drug addict when they think about eating sugary, fatty foods. As these and other studies emerge and prominent experts speak out, sugar addiction has become a legitimate, concerning focus as sugar consumption, particularly as high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), escalates.



“Animal studies have shown that refined sugar is more addictive than cocaine, heroin or morphine,” says Dr. Pamela Peeke, author of The Hunger Fix. “An animal will choose an Oreo over morphine. Why? This cookie has the perfect combination of sugar and fat to hijack the brain's reward center.”

It’s not just the immediate gratification that creates damage. Sugar addiction also sets the stage for future hunger, cravings, and food intolerances. Unfortunately once you are hooked on sugar hormonal havoc ensues. High blood sugar elevates insulin, which blocks your satiety hormone leptin. High levels of cortisol, your stress hormone, increase your urge for comfort foods. High cortisol during sleep increases ghrelin, your hunger hormone, so you’re more likely to ask for a stale donut the next morning with your caffeine fix.

The good news is with the right strategies, you can crush your sugar addiction in just weeks. In my office I help patients identify the so-called healthy foods that could also feed that addiction. Bottled drinks, vinaigrette dressings, and glazed meats are among the many “sneaky sugars” that add up. Going cold turkey isn’t the answer in my office. Instead, I want you to gradually taper off sugar so you never feel deprived or struggle with withdrawal. It helps if things from your diet are replaced with healthy alternatives so you don't feel so deprived.

You’ll really shift from sugar burner to fat burner when the weight falls off and you reset your body and taste buds. You can break permanently your sugar addiction in just weeks, without feeling deprived, hungry, or struggling with miserable withdrawal. Simply transition to low-sugar impact foods and before you know it, you’ll be a 24/7 fat-burning machine!

Monday, March 23, 2015

To Have More Passion In Your Life, Balance the Sacral Chakra

The Sacral Chakra is your passion and pleasure center and it is located in the pelvic area. While the Root Chakra is satisfied with survival, the 2nd chakra seeks pleasure and enjoyment.



If you are interested in purchasing the sacral chakra orange glasses just email me and let me know at info@healingartsnyc.com! $30 plus shipping.

The gift of this chakra is experiencing our lives through feelings and sensations. When balanced, the second chakra is the center of feeling, emotion, pleasure, sensuality, intimacy, creativity, friendliness and connection.

The main challenge for the second chakra is the conditioning of our society. When the sacral chakra is not balanced we can have trouble handling our emotions. We live in a society where feelings are not valued, where passion, and emotional reactions are being frowned upon. We are being taught not to "lose control". And we get disconnected from our bodies and our feelings.

As if this was not enough, we also experience the wounds of our collective cultural struggles over many sexual issues of our society. On one hand sexuality is magnified and glorified, and on the other hand it is rejected. This results in either blocked or excessive second chakra issues.

The sacral chakra is related to feelings of guilt and kidneys, constipation, muscle spasms, bladder, and large intestine. The stones of carnelian agate, tiger’s eye, and orange calcite can help balance this chakra. So can wearing the color orange. The sacral chakracise are pelvic thrusts upward for at least 15 seconds and then circular in the clockwise direction and then counterclockwise, then clockwise again for at least 45 seconds.

Affirmations can also help. They can be said at any time of day and used with Emotional Freedom Technique.

Sacral Chakra Affirmations

I love and enjoy my body.
I have healthy boundaries.
I am open to experiencing the present moment through my senses.
I am passionate.
I feel pleasure and abundance with every breath I take.
I nourish my body with healthy food and clean water.
I know how to take care of my needs.
I value and respect my body.
My sexuality is sacred.

Monday, March 16, 2015

How to Open the Root Chakra to Manifestion

Over the next couple of blogs I'm going to talk about each chakra. So let's start with the first chakra, the root chakra. The root chakra is red in color and is located at your lower pelvis . It is the root of your being and establishes the deepest connections with your physical body, your environment and the Earth. It is the most instinctual of all chakras — it is your survival center.

Chakras are energy centers of the body and can be either open or closed. When the root chakra is closed the energy is blocked and a person will experience fear, anxiety, insecurity, frustration, obesity, anorexia, or problems in the hip, legs, low back, knee or sex organs.



If you are interested in purchasing the root chakra red glasses just email me and let me know at info@healingartsnyc.com! $30 plus shipping.

Having an open root chakra is about being physically present and such is needed in order to manifest what you want. It will be extremely hard to manifest what you want with a blocked root chakra because you aren't grounded enough with the physical world to make it happen.

When the root chakra is blocked one may not feel grounded. Expressions like "getting on your feet again" or "be on firm ground" convey a good connection with the ground or an open root chakra. "To lose ground" or "getting swept off your feet" convey a blocked root chakra.

When you aren't feeling grounded to help open up the root chakra you can wiggle your toes, stomp feet, march in place or do squats. It is best to do these chakracises with bare feet and on a wood floor. The wood contact is very grounding. When doing root chakracises have your attention on the root chakra, doing them fives times is sufficient.

Earthing pads may help one stay grounded as well. And rocks are said to have special energy characteristics. Rocks that will help open the root chakra are granite, smoky quartz, obsidian, and black tarmuline. When using rocks they don't necessarily have to be placed in the chakra but somewhere on your body or near it is good. Keeping one in your pocket where ever you go is a good idea. Wearing the color red will also help.

Monday, March 9, 2015

How to Heal Using Breath

After talking for years to patients about the importance of breathing using the diaphragm and showing them how to do it in order to get more oxygen into the body and decrease stress and tension in shoulder muscles that is as far as I went. It wasn't until recently that I looked into different breathing techniques to use as a tool during times of stress. My assistant was the one who suggested Coherent Breathing. After reading "The Healing Power of the Breath" by Richard Brown and Patricia Gerbarg and using their instructional CD of ten breathing practices I now know what a difference concentrating on your breathing can do to help one feel better.

Coherent Breathing is about training the body to do 5 breaths per minute. That would be 12 seconds for every breath, 6 seconds inhale, 6 seconds exhale. Depending on who we are, we breath too much when stressed or we actually hold our breath, taking deep sighs at times. So Coherent Breathing is a good technique to use to help us regulate it. The beginning steps of Coherent Breathing are:

1)Breathe through your nose with your eyes closed.
2) Taking your time count slowly and silently in your mind as you breathe in...two...as you breathe out...two...repeat this for 2 breaths.
3) Taking your time count slowly as you breathe in...two...three...as you breathe out...two...three...repeat this for 3 breaths.
4) Taking your time count slowly as you breathe in...two...three..four...as you breathe out...two...three..four...repeat this for 4 breaths.
5) Taking your time count slowly as you breathe in...two...three..four...five...as you breathe out...two...three..four...five...repeat this for 5 breaths.
6) Taking your time count slowly as you breathe in...two...three..four...five...six...as you breathe out...two...three..four...five...six...repeat this for 5 minutes.





When you start with Coherent Breathing it is best to find a quiet space and a comfortable place to sit. Start with 5-10 minutes and work your way up to 30 minutes once or twice a day. Most people feel benefits right away. People notice that their mind feels calmer, less filled with chatter and their bodies feel more relaxed. It can be done right before bed while lying down, just make sure you don't fall asleep! Once you feel comfortable with 5 breaths a minute you no longer have to do the beginning steps.

Besides adding it to your daily routine Coherent Breathing can be used during times of anxiety, right in the moment, if you have practiced it long enough or when having trouble sleeping. You can also do it with your eyes open when taking a walk. There is wonderful Coherent Breathing music you can download that chimes every time you should inhale or exhale.

Sometimes there can be problems when first starting to learn Coherent Breathing such as running out of breath, practicing with your nose stuffed up or if five breaths feels too fast. Information on how to overcome those problems and much more can be found in the book "The Healing Power of the Breath" which I do have a copy at my office for borrowing so just let me know!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Emotional Freedom Technique

Last week I blogged about balancing the body's energy centers, also known as chakras, to help with both emotional and physical ailments. This week I want to write about another technique used to balance patients' physical and emotional energy. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), also known as tapping, uses acupuncture points, that when tapped can help people release emotional and physical stress in the body. By applying pressure to the acupuncture points, EFT works on the meridians of the body to release emotional energy and because emotional stress can impede the natural healing of the body, once blocked energy is released, physical issues, chronic pain, or diagnosed conditions can get better.

EFT started in the 1990s by Gary Craig and can be seen in this video demonstrating it.

EFT can be explained in these simple steps
1. Identify the Issue:
Make a mental note of what is bothering you. This becomes the target at which you "aim" the EFT Tapping Basic Recipe. Examples might be: Sore shoulder, my father embarrassing me at my age 8 birthday party or doing well on a test. Be sure you are only targeting one issue at a time. As you will learn later, trying to combine issues in the process will compromise your results.
2. Test the Initial Intensity:

Here you establish a before level of the issue's intensity by assigning a number to it on a 0-10 scale where 10 is the worst the issue has ever been and 0 is no problem whatsoever. This serves as a benchmark so we can compare our progress after each round of The EFT Tapping Basic Recipe. If, for example, we start at an 8 and eventually reach a 4, then we know we have achieved a 50% improvement.

For emotional issues, you can recreate the memories in your mind and assess their discomforts.
For physical ailments you can simply assess the existing pain or discomfort.
For performance issues you can attempt the desired performance level and measure how close you come to it.

3. The Setup:

The Setup is a process we use to start each round of Tapping. By designing a simple phrase and saying it while continuously Tapping a point that is located at the center of the fleshy part of the outside of your hand (either hand) between the top of the wrist and the base of the baby finger. In this way you let your system know what you’re trying to address.

When designing this phrase there are two goals to achieve:

1) acknowledge the problem
2) accept yourself in spite of it

We do this by saying:

“Even though I have this _______________, I deeply and completely love and accept myself”.

The blank above represents the problem you want to address, so you can just insert things like:

This headache:
“Even though I have this headache, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.”

This fear of heights
“Even though I have this fear of heights, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.”



4. The Sequence:

This is the workhorse part of The EFT Tapping Basic Recipe that stimulates/balances the body's energy pathways. To perform it, you tap each of the points below while saying a Reminder Phrase that keeps your system tuned into the issue. I list the points below followed by a description of the Reminder Phrase:

Top of the Head (TOH)
Beginning of the Eyebrow (EB)
Side of the Eye (SE)
Under the Eye (UE)
Under the Nose (UN)
Chin Point (CH)
Beginning of the Collarbone (CB)
Under the Arm (UA)

The Reminder Phrase is quite simple as you need only identify the issue with some brief wording. Depending on your issue, you might say the following at each tapping point....

"This headache",
"My father embarrassed me",
"This difficulty in singing that high note."

5. Test the Intensity Again:

Finally, you establish an "after" level of the issue's intensity by assigning a number to it on a 0-10 scale. You compare this with the before level to see how much progress you have made. If you are not down to zero then repeat the process until you either achieve zero or plateau at some level.

Sometimes we are highly aware of what is bothering us and so figuring out what phrase to tap is easy but at other times it can be difficult. Since I believe this is a strong tool to help heal I have seen where a patient picks the wrong phrase of words to tap and so EFT actually has a negative impact on the patient. So to help prevent this I muscle test the chakras first and then depending on the chakra that is weak find a positive affirmation that makes the weak chakra change to strong. Then while tapping the patient is to say that affirmation at every point to help reset the chakra energy. Patient repeated report feeling lighter, breathing easier and physical relief after tapping this way.