“Love is life. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love. Everything is, everything exists, only because I love. Everything is united by it alone.” – Leo Tolstoy
One of Tolstoy’s most compelling characters reminds us of our great responsibility for kindness, rather than to judge.
What place does a quotation like this have at Bing’s Natural Health, where we practice healing rather than philosophy, you ask?
Simply this: your mind, body, and spirit are inextricably linked. At Bing’s Natural Health we work with you to create optimum health – we don’t ‘do things to you’; we help you work towards them yourself – if you like, we have a partnership.
If you want to understand someone, you need to appreciate them first. If you want to understand yourself, you need to hold dear and treasure yourself first.
Love (and other positive emotions and choices) have incredible power to heal and to transform. When we consistently choose to love and to nurture healing thoughts and emotions we change the balance of the world in creative ways
Happy New Year to you all! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and are enjoying the slower pace of life in January, even if you haven’t gone away!
Despite the occasional heatwave, January is one of my favourite months – not so much time with friends as December (and not so much rich food), but more time for family and simply being. Whether we go away or not, for our family it’s a month of healthy eating, getting plenty of sleep, and spending time outdoors connecting with nature in the forest, or on the beach.
I always plan time to read, write and explore my own spirit – where I was last year, where I am now, and the journey between the two – during January, because this sets the tone for my next 11 months.
It is important for me to look back as well as forward, to be grateful for the year past, learn from my mistakes and challenges, and to take that learning into the new year. The best time to do this is when we are not pushed around and distracted by our regular routines.
As a family we usually plan trips to the beach or forest – sometimes just day trips. We love exploring familiar places and rediscovering their beauty – letting them speak to our hearts and remind us of the past. This year, my nephew will be visiting us from China and that is one of the most exciting ways of rediscovering familiar territory – not only do we revisit places we love, but we get to see them through new eyes!
Life can seem overwhelming, but the space I create for myself in January helps me see more clearly the areas of my life that need more attention: whether that’s health, personal development, relationships, emotions, finances or other issues. When I take this time, I’m able to prune and shape my life and take control of many aspects of it. This means that I can face the new year with confidence that I will be able to change and improve areas I’m not entirely happy with, and be grateful for the abundance of joy and opportunity that 2014 brought me.
This month we decided to try something different in the recipe section of our newsletter. These gentle self-healing back exercises allow your body to stretch naturally and relieve the pressure on your discs and spinal cord that cause back pain, as well as re-aligning your internal organs.
If you have general back pain, these back exercises and back relaxation techniques can be safely used for prevention, as well as relief. If you have disc problems we recommend you see us first. Although these exercises are specifically effective for disc problems, modifications may be required to suit your situation.
Use them twice daily for best effect.
Prone Pelvic Relaxation
Lie on your stomach with 3 pillows under your chest and 3 under your ankles – let your pelvis sink naturally to the floor and stay there for 10-15 minutes.
Supine Spine Relaxation Technique
Lie on your back with a high pillow under your shoulder, and another supporting your hips.
Clasp your hands around your knees and let your spine stretch naturally.
Diving – Lower Back Strength
Once your back pain is gone, this is a wonderful exercise to strengthen and stretch your lower back.
Lie on your stomach with hands by your sides.
Arch your back by raising your head and feet then relax. Your goal is to build up to 10 repetitions – but don’t try to do them all the first day. This back exercise is more demanding than it looks.
I see many patients who have recurring pain – they get fixed up, then it comes back again. It’s particularly common in the back, but also affects knees, shoulders and other joints. It’s the kind of niggling pain that doesn’t have a particular cause – but it’s there in the background. I tell most of them they need to do some exercise for pain relief!
Pain is the body’s way of telling us that something is wrong, and niggling pain is the body’s way of telling us we need to make some lifestyle changes – both large and small. If we pay attention, and take care of our body when it tells us to, we can avoid pain crises.
Our bodies are amazing – but they really weren’t designed to spend the day sitting at a desk or in a car. When our ‘core’ isn’t functioning properly other muscles take over and compensate. That moves our whole body out of balance, and that’s when chronic pain often sets in.
A friend of mine who is a personal trainer focused on muscle building and weight loss has been rather dismissive of exercise like Pilates, Yoga, Tai Chi and Qi Gong because you don’t get the dramatic results. Recently he came to a class with me just to ‘try it out’ – he’s quite fit, but the demands placed on his the internal muscles by this ‘gentle exercise’ left him gasping.
I often tell my patients that healing is as much about what you do between visits, as the treatment I provide in the clinic. We are all tempted to settle for less than 100% pain free, but consistent stretching and exercise can prepare our bodies for anything that comes.
Regular exercise that strengthens your core protects you from injury, improves your posture, can eliminate pain and increase your sense of well-being.
As you can see, I had an exciting holiday visiting Wayne’s dad in South Australia over Easter. It must be something about farm life that inspires people to work hard and have fun doing hard manual labour – cleaning my own house just doesn’t inspire me in quite the same way as scrubbing out a water trough for cattle does! My frozen shoulder didn’t complain either – which may say something about the cause of my pain and frozen shoulder in general.
I really love cattle, they are large, gentle and incredibly persistent. Perhaps they knew that I was helping them by scrubbing out and repairing their trough, because they were very interested in me and spent quite a lot of time nuzzling and watching me (or my warm, woolly hat!). Feeling their warm, solid bodies press against me, and their gentle noses investigating my woolly hat was a novel experience. Sadly, we don’t have enough room in our garden for a herd of cattle – or even one cow so I couldn’t bring any back with me.
I am always conscious of the changing seasons, but farm life reminded me of the importance of rhythm in our busy lives.
Wayne’s dad is in his mid-80s but he’s still healthy and active. I wonder whether it’s the rhythm and reality of farm life that keeps him busy, relaxed and anchored to the world he’s in. His wisdom on life’s problems is more than just age and experience – it’s also a reflection of the seasons of life and nature that he sees all around him.
City-dwellers are really insulated from a lot of that – or maybe we’re just too busy and pre-occupied to notice it. Getting up early to cope with a sick cow, or staying up all night in the cold and the wet with one, just isn’t the same as sitting at your computer typing to meet a deadline.
I’ve brought back memories and lots of photos of the wide green spaces, beautiful clouds and clear reflections to remind me to pace myself and stay connected.