Cleanse Your Home After Emotional Upheaval

singing bowlWhether you live alone, with a partner or with a family blend, the emotions you and others bring into your home affect its emotional balance. Even in warmer weather with open windows, these emotions get stuck in your home and may eventually tip the balance in one direction or another. After an emotional upheaval a flood of toxic negative energy can flood your living space. Times like this it’s beneficial to cleanse your home and reset the energy.

It’s not necessary to be a Reiki practitioner, pagan or any other energy worker to perform a cleanse on your home. All that’s needed is intention. If you know Reiki symbols, feel free to use them. Other options include using a singing bowl, Sanskrit chants, sage smudging, or incense. Regardless of the method(s) you choose, the process will be fairly similar.

To ensure you cover the entire house, go from room to room systematically. Using your intention, clear each room of negative toxic energy and invite in love and peace. Remember to put extra focus on the corners when you cleanse your home as negative energy likes to collect there. Imagine the negative energy balling up and collecting more negative energy with it as you move from room to room. As you arrive at open windows or doors, shove the negative energy out with the intention that the universe recycle it for good.

If you’re using sage to cleanse your home, you may want to keep all doors and windows closed until the very end so the smoke can fully penetrate. After you’re done, open all your windows so that it blows out quickly. If you’re using Reiki symbols, a bell, or incense, be sure to cover all corners and go high and low for full coverage.

If the emotional upheaval you’re working to clear involves another person who lives in the house with you, like your partner or child, invite them to participate in the cleanse using whatever method(s) work for them. Not only does this ensure that the negative energy from both of you is cleared, it also helps you to reset and reconnect; like pushing a refresh button.

What cleansing techniques do you prefer?


Managing Summer Stress

download (1)Summer can be a great time of year with barbeques, family vacations, and loads of other outdoor activities to occupy time and attention. Unfortunately, all the fun activities available in the summer can also make time management more stressful and summer stress more prevalent. Parents struggle with managing their own lives and their children’s active schedules. Family vacations can also bring about a unique stress from forced interactions and lengthy travel times. It’s important during these fun yet stressful summer months to pay extra attention to your own mental health.

Common solutions for managing summer stress include eating a healthy diet, exercise and finding time for yourself. If you find that the coping methods you usually use aren’t working this summer, you may want to consider adding Reiki treatments or other energy work to your regimen. Reiki treatments have been shown to reduce stress and lower blood pressure, among other things.

In a typical Reiki session, you will be asked to lay on a table, fully clothed, while the practitioner channels energy to, and through, your body. Depending on the practitioner your session may last 30 to 60 minutes and could also include meditation or complimentary healing tools such as tuning forks. After your first session it’s likely you’ll feel better but may still find summer stress to be overwhelming. With consistent visits, your body will adjust to the healing effects of energy and retain it longer.

You can also incorporate energetic healing into your daily life with meditation. There are numerous guided meditation recordings available online or for sale in stores. To find one that works for you, decide if you want something that leaves your feeling energized or relaxed. Think about whether you prefer one that asks you to visualize or one that is more focused on your ability to focus and listen. Read the descriptions on the ones you find before making your choice. Ultimately, if you read a description that feels right that’s the meditation you should try first.

Whether you choose a form of energetic healing or something else, the key to managing the additional stress of summer is to make time for yourself. By taking care of yourself and making time for self-care, you’ll be able to enjoy the fun aspects of summer vacations, cookouts and the rest of the multitude of activities.


Using Reiki for Chronic Pain

Reiki, Healing Touch and other kinds of energy therapy are slowly being introduced into many hospital complementary medicine programs. Although many have introduce the therapies for relaxation, many are finding empirically that adding Reiki for chronic pain can be incredibly effective. Studies are also beginning to emerge that confirm empirical findings.

reiki for chronic painThe Pacific College of Oriental Medicine cites studies that conclude the therapy has decreased pain during and immediately after using Reiki for chronic pain. The study was conducted using volunteers who were experiencing chronic pain, many of whom sought advice from a doctor or medical professional. Each volunteer was given one Reiki treatment by a level II practitioner.  Nearly every participant in the study reported an improvement in their pain levels.

Psychotherapist Abby Wynne includes several case studies where Reiki for chronic pain was introduced. . In one example, a male discusses how he was able to wean off his pain medications as a result of continued Reiki treatments. The patient was able to participate more actively in his life and felt a greater sense of happiness as a result. Wynne also describes a woman who had been suffering from a degenerative spine disease and was nearly bedridden from the pain. This patient stated that Reiki treatments on a regular basis allowed her to have more zest for life and a higher quality of sleep.

Fashion writer Erica Siegel shared her story of chronic pain, failed doctor visits, and final diagnosis in her Huffington Post column. Siegel writes how regular Reiki treatments actually gave her her life back,  when doctors told her she’d likely never work again. Today, she continues to pursue her life and her goals without being debilitated by chronic pain.

Reiki should never be considered a substitute for therapies or medication your physician has prescribed. However, using Reiki for chronic pain can become an important component to help alleviate pain and gain control.

Real Food Films – Real People, Real Life

real food filmsAs a freelance writer, I write about many topics. Occasionally, I’m lucky enough to write about topics that matter to me personally. While that’s true of many of the articles I’ve written for, writing a piece on the Real Food Films Contest has me sitting here with my laptop feeling overwhelmed with gratitude. I get to do work I love writing about topics that deeply matter – to me and to the world at large. These opportunities don’t come around often.

And neither do the amazing stories the Real Food Films Contest 2016 Winners present. I know that sounds like a poor segue, but it’s actually true. I had the pleasure to watch each of the winning videos and hope you’ll take the time to do the same.

The Real Food Films Contest is a collaborative initiative that makes use of film, web-based action, and grassroots campaigning to highlight food and sustainable farming successes stories. Students and organizations alike are encouraged to submit their films. There is a small entry fee and the public votes on the videos, while the final winner decisions are made by a panel of judges.

Drum roll please! This year’s winners:

Grand Prize: Home Flavored, directed by Jamie DeWolf. This gut-wrenching video tells the story of how Coca Cola has become a cultural tradition among Latinos and contributes to an epidemic of obesity and diabetes in their culture, both in America and in their native countries. Featuring a young Latina, the video describes a typical family get together and how it’s centered on Coke – the shiny red label and the glass bottle, rather than focusing on what’s truly important – the family stories and camaraderie. The film leaves you a bit sad for the Latino culture and a lot angry with Coca Cola.

First Runner Up & Best Cinematography: Naturali Tea, directed by Jeremy Seifert. This beautiful and inspiring film tells the story of a tea farmer in Japan who chooses to grow organic green and black tea. The farmer discusses the importance of natural soil, enhanced only by organic means, in producing high quality tea. As tea is the second most commonly ingested liquid (water is number one), removing chemicals from the growing process would have significant global impacts on both soil and public health. I’ve long been aware of this issue and am thrilled that this film is now bringing awareness to others.

Lens on Hunger: Everybody Eats, directed by Justinian Dispenza. Hunger is a growing issue across the U.S. and around the world. Shelters and food banks help, but often people aren’t willing to set aside their pride to ask for help. Or, because they can pay something, don’t want to take free food from those who can’t. An innovative, and increasingly popular solution, to this problem are pay-as-you-can cafes. In this model, as you might expect, people order food and pay what they can. The haves and the have nots dine together without anyone being the wiser and some people pay more for their meal to make up for those who pay less, or not at all. At the register, patrons are asked to make a donation. This film does an amazing job of capturing hunger and this solution with dignity and respect for all involved.

Best Student Film & People’s Choice: Beyond the Seal, directed by Leah Varjacques and Katherine Nagasawa. We’ve all seen the label: Fair Trade Certified. Some of you, like me, probably even know enough about it to know that it helps farmers obtain a fair price for their goods and that it helps them, their families, and communities. It turns out, it means so much more. This film takes us inside the personal story of one banana farmer and what Fair Trade means to him. If you don’t already believe in buying Fair Trade products, you will after you watch this film.

Best Underreported Issue: Saving Sap, directed by Ian Maclellan. As a New Hampshirite, this one is near and dear to my heart. I’ve even been to Parker’s Maple Barn (featured in the beginning of the film.) Using genuine small-town sap producers and insightful wisdom about the effects of climate change on trees, this film opened my eyes to the differences in the types of maple trees, the sap they each produce, and the real danger traditional maple syrup faces as a result of climate change. If you like the sweet gooey liquid on your pancakes or waffles, this film is a must watch.

Best Food Producer Profile: Continue reading

Predicting Mortality: Psychic Ability and Scientific Intuition

psychic abilityEvidence for psychic ability lends itself to many forms, from intuition to precognition to mediumship. Some people even claim to be so intuitive they can determine whether a person is alive or dead by merely glancing at a photograph. The University of California San Diego and the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) decided to test this claim with a research study that analyzed the ability of a dozen people to predict mortality based on photos.

The study found evidence that the group accurately predicted whether the subjects of the photos were alive or dead more than they would have by mere chance. Their brain activity was monitored during the test to help researchers determine when the most activity occurred. The data gathered and the results left the researchers to conclude that this particular psychic ability along with clairvoyance in general were worthy of more investigation.

The photos used were taken from 10 to 75 years before the study, with an even split between living and dead subjects. Researchers used Photoshop to equalize elements like coloring and face size to eliminate things like sepia tones on very old photos and skin colorization that might indicate ill health. Only faces were shown so that clothing, background and other hints at the age and era of the photos could not serve as clues.

People who possess the ability of mediumship channel spirits. Continue reading

Life After Death: What the Science Says

As the saying goes, the only certainties in life are death and taxes. As mortals,we’re all curious about, and to at least some extent, fearful of what happens after death. Religions across the ages have attempted to answer the question “Is there life after death?” with their own concepts ranging from reincarnation to heaven, hell and purgatory. Even religions like Judaism, one that does not have a specific dogma regarding what happens after death, acknowledge the existence of a soul and allow for the idea that “something” happens to it after our physical bodies pass. Science may now have an explanation that is both comforting and possibly after death

Quantum physicists theorize the existence of what less scientific people call a soul. Dr. Stuart Hameroff and Sir Roger Penrose theorize that consciousness resides in microtubules of the brain. They believe that our experience of being alive is a result of quantum gravity effects on these microtubules. Thus, when the physical brain dies, the information stored within these microtubules is released but as matter cannot be created or destroyed it is redistributed into the universe. This they believe is the soul and the equivalent of life after death.

If a patient is revived the information returns to the microtubules and the physical body continues, possibly with some additional spiritual knowledge. This theory seems to explain, without relying upon any religious or spiritual dogma, the experiences described as “near death,” astral projections and even reincarnation. It accounts for all religious and spiritual explanations for what happens after death without using religion to prove it.

Studying near death experiences to seek proof of the accounts told by patients is fraught with medical ethics and morality challenges. To date the only studies have occurred after a person has been revived and depend upon their anecdotal accounts. Continue reading

Handling Mother’s Day When Mom is a Narcissist

Contact, no contact or just a card when mom is a narcissist?

For many people Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate the woman who bore us, raised us, kissed our booboos and showed us unconditional love. But what if you’ve got a mother who’s not the Disney idea of the perfect mom? Perhaps you have a mother who has made every situation about her – a mom who puts you first only when it’s convenient.  What do you do about Mother’s Day when mom is a narcissist?

mom is a narcissist

Field of beautiful white narcissuses

Calling or Visiting Mom on Mother’s Day

Trying to decide what to do on Mother’s Day can be stressful. How do you decide what’s best for your sanity without being drowned in guilt? The decision is up to you, but be prepared for likely emotional pain either way. Author Karyl McBride, a therapist and expert on narcissistic mothers and daughters, has even written that Mother’s Day can be a “post-traumatic stress trigger.”  Now that my mother has passed away I’m not ashamed to say that I am looking forward to a lovely, restful day without any of these dilemmas.

Unless you have a partner or close friend who really understands that mom is a narcissist, asking others what to do can provoke feelings of shame, at least they did for me.  Sometimes I used a checklist of pros and cons to try and rationalize the right thing to do – which is never very clear when mom is a narcissist.

Trying to decide whether to visit or call mom this coming Sunday? Maybe this list will help:

  • How guilty do you feel when you don’t see your mom on Mother’s Day? If the guilt factor is still high, this will be a huge point on the pro list for contact. I know for me, especially when my mom was dying of cancer, I had to see her.
  • If your mom’s pleasure is important to you – and this is different for everyone and probably depends on the extent to which mom is a narcissist,remember it’s a spectrum – then visiting is a pro also.
  • Are you good at protecting yourself and staying away from arguments or new resentments? I became very good at shielding myself energetically and not expecting anything from my mom. For that reason, visits got easier as the years went on. A Mother’s Day call or brunch at her favorite restaurant can be a pro, if you want to practice this. But it’s a BIG con if you really feel fragile, or that interaction is fraught with peril in terms of new battles.
  • Have you already set boundaries between you and mom? If not, Mother’s Day is probably not a great time to begin no or low contact. Conversely, if you’ve got a routine established that is comfortable for you (and that she may have grudgingly accepted) don’t let a guilt flare-up change your boundaries now.
  • Finally, was discontinuing contact or distancing yourself hard to do? If so, a visit can restart a painful separation process and that would be a big negative.

Remember, there is always room in between. Maybe you could email mom or send a pretty card. My sister used to send flowers every Mother’s Day and on birthdays, and I always thought that was smart. Lower contact options may offer the necessary internal compromise to acknowledge your mother while still keeping your mental health boundaries in place.

No matter what you decide, be confident in your choice and don’t look back. Remember that when mom is a narcissist, there may always be payback for not doing what she wants.  The best way to deal with your narcissistic mother is to be confident in yourself, remain centered and to ignore the drama if you can.

I understand the struggle you may be feeling, as I went through it for many years. Having these issues means that you’re a good person, not a bad daughter. And if you’re a mother now and  determined to break the cycle of abuse, Happy Mother’s Day!  You are my hero.



Realigning the Body’s Natural Vibrations with Sound Therapy

sound therapy
As energy therapists and/or Reiki practitioners, we trust that the human energy field vibrates at different frequencies depending on health, mood, etc. We also trust that each chakra vibrates at its own optimal frequency. A study by the late Swiss doctor Hans Jenny, M.D. proves that sound waves create invisible energy fields. Dr. John Beaulieu uses Dr. Jenny’s study to optimize tuning forks and other sound healing tools for energy healing via sound therapy.

Since we can now identify that chakras and the human body have their own vibrations, it’s also now possible to re-tune them, just like a piano. By using tuning forks, singing bowls, didgeridoo, or other tonal vibration methods, we can reset our body’s vibrations to optimal health. Further, when we encounter other beings, our vibrations interact with theirs and determine our immediate response to them. That immediate feeling of connection/attraction or repulsion comes, at least in part, as a vibrational response which our brains interpret as desire or lack thereof.

Although sound therapy takes place on a physical level, it affects us physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. Depending on the areas we’re seeking to heal, specific notes can be more or less beneficial. For example, someone with a sore throat or speech issues might focus on using G tones.

An up-and-coming sound therapy tool is the aboriginal didgeridoo. Joseph Carringer explains that the didgeridoo produces low tones that overlap with the frequency created by human brain waves. It operates on the same principle as ultra-sound therapy. Physical effects of didgeridoo therapy include pain reduction and accelerated healing. Energetic effects of didgeridoo therapy have been reported to be similar to Five Elements Acupuncture, with equally as long lasting effects. Lastly, didgeridoo therapy aides in meditation, which reconnects us to our own healing power.

Singing bowls have been around a long time and remain one of the most popular sound healing tools available. According to Rainbow Vibrations sound healing works even for the deaf and hearing impaired because they can still feel the vibrations. They cite work by Deepak Chopra indicating that the sound and vibration of singing bowls is processd by the body’s cells as a pain reducing opioid. In addition to pain reduction benefits, singing bowls are calming and are believed to clear away negative thought patterns and unblock energy.

Tuning Forks work in a similar fashion as singing bowls, but can be held close to or on various parts of the body such as those that correspond to chakras or meridians. Gongs and handheld cymbals are other commonly used sound healing tools that work in a similar fashion to singing bowls.

Which sound healing tools do you prefer?

top coloring booksSarah Woodard is a freelance writer based in Southern New Hampshire. She enjoys bringing stories, issues and topics to live with words and pictures. In addition to writing, Sarah is a beekeeper, Reiki Master Teacher and black belt in Muay Thai Kickboxing. In her free time, Sarah enjoys spending time with her boyfriend and playing with their four cats. 

Reiki Treatments Lower Blood Pressure

In today’s high-stress, high-intensity society, more and more people are being diagnosed with high blood pressure. We all know high blood pressure can lead to other serious health problems such as heart attack and stroke, but other than prescription drugs and lifestyle changes can anything else be done to lower blood pressure and prevent such devastating occurrences?

It turns out that healing touch therapies such as Reiki are quite effective in reducing blood pressure and other factors that lead to heart attack and stroke. A study conducted by the University of Brazil in Sao Paulo looked at the effects of Reiki and similar alternatives on hypertension. The researchers used a double-blind study to determine that Reiki does have a positive effect on reducing blood pressure. They also found the effects were immediate and were able to be repeated with additional sessions.

Although the researchers note that new methodologies and equipment are needed to fully measure the effects of energy healing methods such as Reiki, they’re of the opinion that Reiki lowers blood pressure by balancing the energy in the “vital bodies” also known as chakras and meridians. Vital body is term most associated with Greek medicine, but the concept translates well here.

An article published for Reiki practitioners discusses the benefits of Reiki and energy healing as an adjunct and/or natural alternative to modern blood pressure treatments. Since energy work and Reiki treatments bring overall balance to the body and its systems, lower blood pressure and increased immunity are expected outcomes. The science behind Reiki is continuing to be discovered, but empirical studies who results time after time.

Wentworth Douglas Hospital in Dover, New Hampshire conducted a study of patients requesting Reiki for stress or pain related concerns. They relied on patient input rating their pain or stress levels pre- and post- Reiki treatment.   Based upon the data they collected 61% of patients reported a significant reduction in stress and 35% reported a reduction in pain. Both stress and pain are known to increase blood pressure, so one can extrapolate that those same patients lowered their risk for hypertension, heart attack, and stroke. It’s important to note that 17% of patients who provided pre-Reiki treatment scores fell asleep during the treatment session and were not woken up to provide post-treatment data.

With studies like these becoming increasingly prevalent and all of them showing the benefits of healing touch and Reiki therapies, it’s becoming impossible to brush such treatments aside as being “new age” or metaphysical. Instead, they’re proving to be deeply rooted in science and body physiology in ways we’re only beginning to understand. Ways in which our ancestors perhaps innately understood, but which we’re now seeking to prove and quantify.

top coloring booksSarah Woodard is a freelance writer based in Southern New Hampshire. She enjoys bringing stories, issues and topics to live with words and pictures. In addition to writing, Sarah is a beekeeper, Reiki Master Teacher and black belt in Muay Thai Kickboxing. In her free time, Sarah enjoys spending time with her boyfriend and playing with their four cats. 

How Sound Therapy Complements Healing

sound therapy
An increasing number of hospitals are turning to music and sound therapy as adjunct to medicinal treatments. Patients report feeling more at ease and less stressed in the harshness of the hospital environment when there’s musical accompaniment. Doctors have long listened to music while performing surgery to help them perform at optimal levels, so it’s no surprise that music helps their patients achieve optimal healing.

According to Rainbow Hospice, music therapy is beneficial for both the patient and their families. In a hospice setting, music has been shown to ease pain and suffering, including physical symptoms such as shortness of breath. Sound therapy has also been shown to improve emotional well-being by reducing feelings of depression, anxiety, fear, loneliness, and confusion. For patients nearing the end of their life, music often enables them to review their lives and discover meaning in the dying process.

For the family of the person in hospice or palliative care, music therapy provides emotional support, an opportunity to connect and converse with their ill or dying loved one, and an opportunity to create some final wonderful memories.

Just as healing touch therapies like Reiki are performed by trained professionals, so too is music or sound therapy. In a typical music therapy session, participants do more than listen to music – they create it. Using instruments, voices, or any other noise makers, patients joyfully make noise and help themselves heal. As a recent Miami Herald article explains, music therapy combines musicianship with a clinical understanding of how the human brain works.

Music therapy faces a similar challenge to energy therapies – they’re both hard to study scientifically. For some hospitals and healthcare workers, lack of data surrounding these alternative therapies makes them reluctant to implement them as part of their care practices. Patients who’ve received these therapies, their families, and the practitioners, however, see a lot of value.

A WebMD article highlights Beth Israel’s unconventional approach and the positive effect it has on patients. Continue reading