THE FIVE MINUTE HEALER
Subtitled "a busy personís guide to vitality and energy all day, every day." In this book, I have condensed tons of information I have been given over many many years by literally dozens of top natural healthcare professionals. You could say it contains the wisdom of several hundred years of combined wisdom (not all mine, I hasten to add). If youíre new to the field of natural medicine, this is a good place to start. Itís an ideal beginnerís guide to coax you into healthy living. The book is NOT piled high with research data or lengthy explanations - it is intended to be small, concise and eminently practical. The following extracts hopefully give a good taster of the book - and give tips you can start to incorporate into your life immediately.
Who doesnít want more energy? Who wouldnít love to feel bright and clear-headed, calm and focused throughout the day? The answer lies within The Five Minute Healer. Simple techniques from natural therapies can keep us in optimum health and vitality. They can balance our energy, our life force, allowing us to calmly breeze through the stresses, strains and demands of everyday life.
But what if you simply donít have the time to investigate which therapy would suit you best? What if you donít have the luxury of hours to spend in esoteric practices, extended exercise or complicated diets? The Five Minute Healer has done all the work for you. It takes away all the research, all the decisions, all the dilemmas, leaving you with clear-cut, swift solutions - that really work.
Structured around the average working day, each chapter introduces natural and effective techniques to keep you well, energetic and feeling great. Whether you have to negotiate rush-hour traffic or handle a difficult meeting, there are speedy solutions on hand. Whether you need to give yourself an instant boost of energy or wind down after a day full of stresses, The Five Minute Healer has the answer. It gives the busy person everything needed to survive the modern world.
You can dip into The Five Minute Healer as a quick-fix reference manual. When you feel your energy slumping or your stress levels rising, simply thumb through the book and find a suitable pick-me-up. However, if you want to go further, you can use the book as a complete lifestyle guide - a blueprint for healthy living. If you really want to get your life on track, your energy buzzing and your body in tune with both mind and soul, take on board as many of the suggestions as you like. The more you try, the better you will feel!
Hopefully you will find the exercises and techniques in this book not only effective but fun as well. The key to making healthy habits is to find things which are enjoyable. Nobody wants to become a slave to their health - life is for enjoying! So I wish you good health, great energy and a wonderful lifeÖ.
The exercises which follow are just some of the many "five minute healers" in the book. Try incorporating them into your everyday routine and just watch your life transform!
BE CALM AND CENTERED
Try, if you can, to make time for five minutes of quite meditation before you leave for work. It stills the mind and mentally prepares you for the day ahead.
1. Sit in any position that feels comfortable. Keep your head upright, shoulders relaxed.
2. Start to breathe steadily and deeply. Donít try to influence your breathe too much - just notice it for a few minutes.
3. Now start your mantra by toning a deep "OH" sound, coming from the back of your mouth and throat. Bring the sound forwards in your mouth, opening your mouth wider, as the sound seamlessly shifts into a slightly higher-pitched "AH". Finally close your lips and hum the sound "MMM". Feel it vibrate on your lips.
4. Repeat twice more. Take it very slowly - make the sounds as rich and vibrant as you can, extend them for as long as you can.
5. Still with your eyes closed, sit and sense how you feel now. Do you feel different in any way? Can you feel any tingling of subtle energy in your body or head? If you practice this regularly, you will soon feel this energy, known as chi in Chinese philosophy or prana in the Indian tradition.
CLEAR THE COBWEBS
Give yourself a wake-up call by turning your morning shower into a mini power spa. Skin brushing is one of the simplest yet most effective techniques for recharging the body and improving your health. It stimulates the lymphatic system and encourages the expulsion of toxins. On a purely cosmetic level, it is also said to help break down cellulite and gives the skin a clean healthy glow. Follow it with a bracing shower and some positive affirmations and youíll be set for the day.
1. You will need a natural bristle brush with a long handle.
2. Your body should be dry, so always skin brush before showering.
3. First brush your feet, including the soles. Now brush up your legs, front and back using smooth long strokes, always moving towards the groin area (where there are major lymph nodes).
4. Next brush over the buttocks and up to the mid-back, moving towards the armpits (another major lymph site).
5. Now brush your arms, moving from your hands up to your armpits. Donít forget the palms of your hands.
6. Move across your shoulders and down the chest towards the heart. Women should avoid brushing their nipples. Brush down the back of the neck.
7. Now brush your abdominal area, avoiding the genitals. Use a circular movement, in a clockwise direction, which helps to stimulate the colon.
8. Be thorough and brush for at least five minutes, until your skin is glowing.
9. Now itís time for your shower or, alternatively, a bath. Put two drops of lemon and one drop of rosemary essential oil on your sponge. Sponge your entire body as you stand under the shower.
10. Visualize any feelings of negativity or apprehension about the day ahead dropping off you, washed away by the cleansing water. Feel your body becoming refreshed and ready for the day ahead.
11. Repeat positive affirmations to yourself as you shower: "I succeed in everything I do", "I choose to have a bright, happy day", "Everything happens as it should." Choose your own affirmations - make them positive, upbeat and simple.
12. As you dry yourself off after your shower stand in front of the mirror and repeat twenty times, "I love and approve of myself." Look into your eyes - and believe it!
NOTE: Do not use rosemary oil if you are pregnant or suffer from epilepsy.
When you need to keep your feet firmly on the ground, to keep a steady head and solid nerves, turn to Chi Kung. This looks very simple but its effects are profound: increased energy, easy management of stress, improved concentration and even increased creativity and inspiration.
THE STARTING POSTURE
This is the basic posture of Chi Kung. It puts you in the correct position and helps you become aware of your entire body.
1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Find your natural balance - your weight should neither be too far forward or too far back or it will cause tension and tiredness.
2. Feel the rim of your foot, your heel, your little toe and big toe relaxed on the ground.
3. Keep your knees relaxed. Check your knees are exactly over your feet.
4. Relax your lower back. Relax your stomach and buttocks.
5. Let your chest become hollow. Relax and slightly round your shoulders.
6. Imagine you have a pigtail on top of your head which is tied to a rafter on the roof. Let your head float lightly and freely. Relax your tongue, mouth and jaw.
7. Stay in this position for a few moments with your hands hanging loosely by your sides.
8. Take your mind through the five elements. Earth (imagine the feeling of weight and rootedness); Water (looseness and fluidity); Air (lightness and transparency); Fire (sparkle - remember this should be fun!); and Space (envisage the space within each joint, muscle, breath and mind).
9. Throughout your Chi Kung practice, keep bringing your mind gently back to your posture - this keeps the mind restful.
This exercise helps to calm the mind and, if performed every morning, helps you become focused and energized for the day ahead. Make sure you are breathing out as you rise and in as you return - itís very easy to get it the wrong way round which is far less effective.
1. Stand in the Starting Position.
2. Breathing out, go slowly right up onto your tiptoes, as high as you can. Stretch your body upwards through the back keeping the abdomen relaxed. At the same time point your fingers down and inwards, stretching your arms downwards.
3. Return your heels slowly to the ground on the in breath and relax. Repeat at least five times.
SUPPORTING THE SKY
This exercise helps to connect you with both the sky and the earth - combining groundedness with inspiration.
1. Stand in the Starting Position.
2. Hold your hands in front of your Dantien so the palms face up and the fingers point to each other.
3. Raise your hands up past the front of your chest so that the palms face the body. Breathe in. As your hands come up, keep your back straight and when the hands reach the face roll your hands over (so the palms face upwards). Stretch your arms up and look upwards.
4. Open your arms out to the sides and lower them down while bending the knees. Keep the back straight until the hands are in the Starting Position but now with your knees bent. Breathe out at the same time. Repeat at least five or six times for the best benefit.
ZAP YOUR HANGOVER
In a perfect world, of course, we wouldn't have hangovers. But life isnít perfect, is it? The easiest way to avoid hangovers is to be sensible the night before. But if you didnít have the presence of mind try these morning after helpers.
∑ A large glass of fresh, unsweetened, orange or grapefruit juice plus a good quality multi-vitamin and mineral.
∑ A hot bath with two drops each of lavender and juniper plus one drop of rosemary essential oil into the water.
∑ Stir one drop each of fennel and juniper essential oils into one pint of warm water and mix thoroughly. Soak cotton pads in the solution, squeeze them out and place them on your forehead, temples and liver area.
∑ A cup of peppermint tea to soothe the stomach and quell queasiness.
∑ Simple wholesome food for breakfast. Pour organic honey on yoghurt with a sprinkling of wheatgerm or on porridge. Follow with dry rye toast - the carbohydrate will help flagging energy levels.
Homeopathy also has some excellent hangover cures. All remedies should be taken in the sixth potency which is readily available from chemists and health food shops.
∑ Nux vomica: head aches and the victim feels "dull, dizzy and irritable."
∑ Pulsatilla: if hangover is due to rich food as well as alcohol.
∑ Sulphur: excessive flatulence and nervous exhaustion, particularly following solitary drinking.
∑ Kali bichrom: for beer drinkers who suffer nausea and vomiting.
YOUR CAR AS SANCTUARY
The first step to stress-free commuting is to transform your car into a personal sanctuary - a pleasant comforting ease-zone. A five minute clear out is all it takesÖ..
1. CLEAR THE CLUTTER: Clear out all the old newspapers, empty take-out cartons, coffee mugs, childrenís toys.
2. CLEAN THOROUGHLY: Put a few drops of grapefruit essential oil in your hoover bag and vacuum. Add a few drops of lemon and rosemary oils to a bowl of water and wash the mats. Polish the dashboard (add any of the above oils to your duster).
3. PROTECT YOURSELF: Hang a small silver ball from your reversing mirror with a piece of red ribbon. According to feng shui, this will help deflect harmful energy. Maybe fix a favorite spiritual symbol on your dashboard. In some countries itís common to have a figure of the Virgin Mary. But you could choose a Buddha, a Star of David, the Goddess or your power animal.
4. CHOOSE YOUR MUSIC CAREFULLY: Select tapes or CDs which put you in the right frame of mind for driving. Make sure it isnít either too aggressive or too soporific. Talking books give you the opportunity to "read" a classic or laugh with a favorite comedian. Or start the day with words of wisdom from a self-help tape. Steer clear however of any tapes which contain deep relaxation exercises or self-hypnosis. Keep all your tapes and CDs in a tidy container.
5. PLACE AN AFFIRMATION: Choose a suitable positive affirmation - it could be something like "I am calm, relaxed and in control" or "Everything happens as it should" or "I am an excellent, courteous driver". Write it clearly on a smart piece of card and stick it on your dashboard so you can see it.
6. PACK A SPIRITUAL EMERGENCY KIT: Choose a few soothing items and keep them in a pocket or stowed away in a box. A favorite book (in case youíre delayed); a notebook for writing thoughts; feelgood essential oils and some tissues to put them on; photos of your loved ones; some healthy snacks and a bottle of mineral water; a favorite cartoon to make you smile.
KEEP YOUR COOL
Breathing is one of the most effective instant ways to reduce stress and raise your energy. And the yogic breathing technique of Ujjayi, the "psychic" or "victorious" breath, is both supremely simple and remarkably powerful. Use it whenever you feel the need to "keep your cool" - your stress levels will take a dive within minutes.
1. Learn how to practice ujjayi sitting comfortably with your eyes gently shut. With a little practice you can use ujjayi in any position.
2. Breathe in deeply, contracting the muscles around the top of your windpipe. Focus on your throat and you should hear a gentle hissing sound.
3. Now breathe out as slowly as possible, closing off the muscles around the epiglottis. Your breath will sound rasping, as if you had a bad cold.
4. Breathe in and out in this way six times.
5. Now relax and breathe normally.
6. If you have time, repeat this cycle (six ujjayi breaths then six normal breaths) for four cycles.
CLEAR DESK, CLEAR MIND: CLEARING CLUTTER
A clear desk really does help you keep a clear mind. Psychologically clutter irritates the mind. It makes us feel depressed with all the things which need doing, fixing, finishing. On an energetic level mess pulls our energy levels down - it creates stagnant chi, or vital energy. So clear your desk and re-energize your mindÖ
DECLUTTERING WORK SPACES
∑ Keep your desk as clear as possible. Ideally keep only what you are working with on it. This helps you concentrate fully on the task in hand.
∑ Donít allow papers to pile up on the floor around your office. Keep everything filed neatly away.
∑ When papers come to your desk, decide immediately what to do with them. Either act on them at once; file for future use; or throw them away.
∑ Keep a large bin right by your desk and open your post over it - anything you donít need, trash.
∑ Keep essential papers and documents neatly stored in a filing cabinet or chest. Devote time on a regular basis to go through all your stored material to ensure it is still necessary and still up to date.
FOCUS YOUR MIND
∑ Keep a candle burning on your desk - it focuses the mind. ∑ If you can, have an aromatherapy burner - add a few drops of rosemary or peppermint oil which help concentration.
BE MORE EFFECTIVE - TOP TIPS
∑ Schedule "Me" time. Allow yourself certain periods each day when you won't be disturbed and use them for creative work or ideas, or simply for sitting quietly and refueling.
∑ Become proactive rather than reactive. Decide what you will do and when. Plan what you will do and when; treat "appointments" with yourself just as appointments with someone else, only breaking it if absolutely unavoidable.
∑ Take stretch breaks every hour. Just walk around for a few minutes and you will return refreshed and with your concentration replenished.
∑ Look at your energy. Some of us are early birds, some night owls. When are you most creative, most organized? Schedule your day accordingly. When do you feel half-asleep or on another planet? Don't attempt something major, use the time to make calls, catch up on small tasks.
Youíre trying to work but you just canít focus. These simple yoga exercises really brush away the cobwebs - they send a lightening flash of energy right through your body.
BASIC REFRESHER POSES
These two postures can be carried out anywhere. If you can slip off your shoes, so much the better but if not, they will still be effective.
POSTURE ONE: STRETCH HIGH
1. Stand in a relaxed position, feet shoulder width apart, arms by your side. Close your eyes gently.
2. Clasp your hands in front of you and then slowly bring your arms above your head.
3. As you reach the full stretch, turn your hands so the palms face upwards. Make sure your shoulders are relaxed.
4. Holding this posture, stretching as far as is comfortable, breathe in and out deeply through the nose several times.
5. Slowly bring your hands back down to the original position.
POSTURE TWO: SWING LOW
1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, knees soft, feet facing forwards.
2. Clasp your hands behind your back with your palms facing the floor.
3. Slowly bring your clasped hands up behind your back, as far as is comfortable.
4. Now bend forwards from the waist so your back makes a right angle with your legs. Keep your head in line with your back (do not strain the neck by looking upwards).
5. See how far you can stretch your (still clasped) hands above your head.
6. Now breathe as slowly and deeply as you can.
7. Slowly come back to a standing posture. Let your hands drop back down to your sides.
You need to be able to slip out of your shoes for this one. And if you work in a very conventional office, you might need to find a quiet, out of the way corner! This exercise gives your spine a really effective stretch and sends energy to every part of the body.
DEEP DOG STRETCH
1. Kneel on the floor with your knees slightly spread. Stretch forwards so your forehead is resting on the floor (you may need a cushion at first) and your arms are stretched out in front of you. Keep your spine straight but relax your whole body - particularly your shoulders. Breathe deeply - you may find you can stretch even further.
2. Now tuck your toes under as if you were preparing to stand. Raise your buttocks and legs until they come right off the floor and your body makes an inverted V shape. Keep your head in line with your arms. Feel the stretch right up the back of your legs. Breathe slowly and deeply. When you start to feel tired, return to standing.
NOTE: Check with a doctor or yoga therapist if you have a bad back.
Life doesnít always go according to plan. We all have to face disappointment, rejection and set-backs from time to time. This visualization is a form of self-hypnosis which can help put things in perspective and restore your energy and equilibrium.
1. Find somewhere quiet where you wonít be disturbed. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Close your eyes.
2. Become aware of your breathing. Gradually let it become deeper and more relaxed. As you breathe in, be aware of your abdomen rising; as you breathe out, it falls. Concentrate on your breathing, rather than on your problem.
3. Now imagine you are standing in a large open space. Ahead of you is a large wheel, like the ones at a funfair. Watch it as it goes round and round. Then it stops. Then it seems to go backwards. Then it continues going round. It goes up so the people in it are up in the air. It goes down so they come close to the ground.
4. Follow the wheel with your head, turning your head as the wheel turns. As it goes up say to yourself, "Iím going up"; as it comes down, "Iím going down." Let yourself feel calm, detached and serene - it doesnít matter whether you go down, you will always go up again. Feel the peace within.
5. Choose a positive affirmation to back up this feeling. "I am calm, I am calm"; or "Whether I go up or down, it all works for the best" or "up and down, calm and serene." Repeat this phrase as you follow the wheel.
6. Stop turning your head. Affirm to yourself that you will not let yourself become down and depressed by failure anymore. Remind yourself that every disappointment or rejection is just a down turn of the wheel. Nobody who is truly successful has got there without setbacks - this is just a glitch.
7. Remind yourself of your goals and repeat your commitment to getting there. Open your eyes, stretch and stamp your feet to ground yourself. Have a drink and maybe a snack to come back to full waking reality. Be assured that your luck WILL change.
NOTE: Practice this visualization regularly for best results.
RECHARGE YOUR BATTERIES
Palming meditation gives your whole system a mini-break - any time, any where. Your heartbeat will slow down, your breathing will become steady and relaxed. You will feel tension dropping from your body.
1. Put your elbows on a desk and put your face in your hands, cupping your palms over your eyes. Donít press - the touch of your palms should be light and gentle.
2. Relax your shoulders and sink into the soothing darkness.
3. As you sit quietly, feel the gentle warmth of your hands permeating every cell of your eyes. The vital energy transmitted through your palms fills your eyes with energy, wisdom and renewed clarity. Affirm to yourself that you will see clearly and truthfully this afternoon.
4. Now visualize the third eye, the chakra which governs intuition and psychic awareness - it lies between your eyes. Feel that area becoming energized. Affirm to yourself that you will be able to call on your intuition throughout the rest of the day - you will make the right choices, the right decisions.
5. If you have time, rest quietly like this for as long as possible.
6. Come back to waking reality. Stamp your feet to re-establish contact with the everyday world.
BANISH A BAD DAY
Reiki is a Japanese form of spiritual healing. This breathing and touching exercise is remarkably soothing and can be used whenever you need to feel more calm, centered and relaxed.
1. Lie on your back, make yourself comfortable and close your eyes. Start paying attention to your breath and follow its rhythm, noticing how it flows in and out.
2. Now put your hands on your body wherever you feel drawn to or where you feel tension. Use your intuition to locate the spot in your body which needs relaxation the most.
3. Now direct your breath to this place. Imagine you are breathing into that place. Visualize your breath as Universal Life Energy which is flowing through you. Imagine it collecting and expanding under your hands. Notice the feeling of relaxation and peace gradually spreading from that place beneath your hands throughout your entire body.
4. After about five minutes, place your hands on another part of your body and repeat step 3. You may find your breathing changes in this place. If so, just notice it and continue.
5. Move on to two further places in your body and charge them with energy.
6. Slowly open your eyes, stretch and return to normal consciousness.
CONJURE UP ROMANCE
It takes more than just fine food and the odd candle for a romantic diner a deux, What you need is the subtle power of feng shui.
1. Choose a round table. The table shouldnít be too large - it needs to feel intimate. Ideally it should be made of wood.
2. Cover it with a purple, lilac or mauve table cloth.
3. You should be seated at right angles to your partner so you can talk easily.
4. Candlelight may sound like a clichť but it is essential - but choose just one candlestick. It shouldnít be more than two or three inches high so it does not create a divide between you. Set the candle on a small polished display mirror. This will help to draw you closer together.
5. A vase of flowers should be placed on the other side of the table so it doesnít come between you.
6. A champagne bucket (with champagne!) also helps the mood.
7. Incorporate all the elements on your table - a decanter of wine or water represents water; cutlery represents metal; candles or an overhead light represents fire; the table itself represents wood and the glasses (which are made from sand) represent earth.
SLEEP SOUNDLY - MAKE YOUR BEDROOM A SANCTUARY
Transform your bedroom into a refuge of calm and tranquillity and you will find you sleep more deeply which, in turn, will allow you to awake refreshed and full of energy. Simple feng shui rules can help you relax after a tough dayís work.
FENG SHUI FOR BETTER BEDROOMS
∑ Clear out the clutter. Psychologists point out that if your environment is cluttered, your mind will be unable to relax. You will subconsciously be worried about the mess and what needs doing.
∑ Try to avoid working in your bedroom. If this is impossible, place your desk or workspace behind a screen so you cannot be reminded of work while you are in bed.
∑ Turn out wardrobes and cupboards regularly - give unworn or unwanted clothes to charity shops or dress agencies.
∑ If possible keep bookshelves out of the bedroom - they distract the mind. Keep ornaments restrained as well.
∑ Place your bed so you can see the door - ideally diagonally opposite the door. Do not have your back to a window or doorway.
∑ Keep furniture soft and rounded - avoid sharp edges. ∑ Keep any mirrors small and preferably round or oval. Do not have a mirror opposite your bed.
∑ Choose colors wisely - include pinks and reds for romance; soft blues for relaxation.
MAKE YOUR BEDROOM A PLEASURE ZONE
Remember that your bedroom should be a place of rest and relaxation.
∑ Pile the bed with sumptuous cushions and pillows (stuff them with herbs such as lavender and geranium for a good nightís sleep).
∑ Choose soft, gentle lighting. Avoid harsh overhead lights and pick soft bedside lamps or uplifters instead. Candles are ideal - choose ones made with pure aromatherapy oils (rather than synthetic fragrances) to add delicious scents. But put them out before you sleep.
∑ Fresh flowers make your bedroom special. Plant window boxes with night-scented stocks, lavender and chamomile for sweet dreams throughout the summer.
∑ Buy an aromatherapy burner and scent your bedroom with your favourite scents - try ylang-ylang, sandalwood, lavender, geranium for starters. Pop a few drops of lavender oil on a tissue and tuck it by your pillow.
There is nothing quite as relaxing as a gentle foot massage. When you combine it with the power of reflexology you have a recipe for the perfect wind-down routine. This sequence uses sesame oil which, according to ayurvedic teaching, is very soothing at night
1. Gently warm some (plain, not roasted) sesame oil in a bowl.
2. Massage the right foot first. Pour some oil in the palm of your hand and then gently massage it into the foot. Use large movements to spread the oil well.
3. Now cover the foot in more detail, making small circling movements with your thumb. Work over the sole (firmly if the person is ticklish), the heels and the ankles.
4. Sandwich the foot between your two hands and then massage with each hand moving in the opposite direction from the other- like the wheels of a train.
5. Circle all over the top of the foot.
6. Now pay attention to the toes - gently pull each one and massage.
7. Next work the following reflex points - the head, the solar plexus, the diaphragm and the heart. These lie across the tips of the toes and in a band across the widest part of the sole of the foot (see diagram). Use your thumb to firmly hook into each point, using the rest of your fingers behind the foot to balance your hand. If any point is tender, work carefully and within the personís pain threshold.
8. To finish, gently massage the center of the forehead with sesame oil.
CAUTION: Do not use anything other than the lightest foot massage on a pregnant woman. Only a highly qualified reflexologist should perform reflexology during pregnancy.
The Five Minute Healer - a busy personís guide to vitality and energy all day, every day
The Five Minute Healer provides a unique day-to-day guide to optimum health and wellbeing. Simple but highly effective exercise techniques and natural therapies will improve your life and heal minor ailments - without changing your lifestyle. It offers: ∑ Healing routines structured around the working day. ∑ Instant access to speedy solutions ∑ Techniques to boost and maintain as well as wind down your energy ∑ Releases you from hours of extended exercise and laborious diets ∑ the latest personal development and meditation techniques