The poet, Wordsworth wrote these words
" God made the flowers to beautify
The earth, and cheer man's careful mood;
And he is happiest who hath power
To gather wisdom from a flower,
And wake his heart in every hour
To pleasant gratitude."
I hope that the love of human kind for flowers would be shared among those who read these words. I would hope that those who have gardens would consider Horticulture Therapy (HT) by which you can harness the healing power of plants. I know it sounds ridiculous and childish. It is NOT ! Research has been done that HT can improve mood and irritability. HT can assist in depression, loneliness and desperation for some individuals. HT can boost your self esteem. HT can become your new hobby for the Spring.
Of course in such therapy not only will vocational and physical skills be improved, but more profound are the mental, emotional and spiritual gains. I have seen HT assist the cancer patient in accepting her illness as well assist a patient with sever debilitating rheumatoid arthritis cope with her/his chronic illness.
Plants and gardening related activities is a way for me to reconnect with different types of people. It introduced me to Grass Roots movements and Free Clinics in Ithaca with 7 Song . It has introduced me to the World of Bees. The possibilities are endless. The practice of gardening and planting for me is as healing as a conventional medicine. For others, a different practice might produce the same effect. The benefits from HT are diverse. There are physical benefits as increasing strength in the outdoors as well as dexterity; The cognitive benefits range from self worth to a new learning opportunity; The emotional benefits are recalling memories. Planting brings up childhood memories of caring for the vegetables with my Poppy and picking the Lilly of the Valley with my mother. The next important benefit to me after the emotional is the spiritual connection . I feel blessed to practice free will and plant what I want. I feel hopeful that my seeds will grow into beautiful plants with flowers. I tend to plant bee friendly herbs and flowers
I love the 4-7-8 method of breathing. Take a deep breath in on a count of 4 seconds; hold the breath for 7 seconds; and fully exhale the breath on a count of 8 seconds. I always tell the patient to start slow. First block a period of time in your schedule . For example 15 minutes twice a week are carved into your busy schedule. You will only start to the do the 4-7-8 breathing for 3 minutes out of the 15 minutes. Every week we increase the 4-7-8 breathing technique by 1 minute. In 12 weeks you will now have 15 minute of 4-7-8 breathing
Another simple introductory method of breathing is called Coherent Breathing (CD) I suggest
www.coherence.com The individual follows paced breathing at 5 breaths per minute thus allowing a gentle relaxation. I ask a patient to do 10 minutes twice a day.
Many breathing technique are used in the Practice of Yoga. One of the Five Principles of Yoga is Pranayama or Breathing Exercise which promotes proper breathing. Proper Breathing, in a Yogic point of view, is to bring more oxygen to the blood and to the brain, and to control prana or the vital life energy. A type of breathing called Ujjayi Breathing also called loud breathing is very effective for anxiety issues.
Ujjayi strengthens the nervous and digestive systems and gets rid of the phlegm. I find it best to learn this breathing in a Yoga class. This alternate nostril breathing can be difficult especially for the elderly population. There are many senior centers which now offer Yoga to the ever-growing older population. It is hard to describe how to perform this method of breathing.
Below is a textbook description of the type of breathing. I would encourage to look on line for a video showing how to perform Ujjayi breathing ( Loud breathing). Those who practice Loud breathing have a immediate sense of well-being and calmness within 5 - 10 minutes of doing this technique. This technique was taught to those who were present at the World Trade Center disaster. It has been used for Post traumatic stress disorder patients.
This consists in drawing air in through both nostrils with the glottis held partially closed. Ujjayi translates as "what clears the throat and masters the chest area." This partial closure of the glottis produces a sound like that heard in sobbing, except that it is continuous and unbroken. The sound should have a low but uniform pitch and be pleasant to hear. Friction of air in the nose should be avoided; consequently no nasal sounds will be heard. A prolonged full pause should begin, without any jerking, as soon as Inhalation has been completed. Closure of glottis, use of chin lock and closure of both nostrils are standard. Prolong the pause as long as possible; but it should be terminated and exhalation commenced smoothly and slowly. When properly performed, exhalation proceeds slowly and steadily through the left nostril with the glottis partially closed as in inhalation. One may begin to exhale with release of air pressure by lifting the finger from his left nostril, loosening his chin lock and then partially opening his glottis. Exhalation should be complete.
One of my goals for the New Year is to explore other Yoga Practices.
John Hopkins research has found out about something which herbalists and integrative practitioners have been talking about for at least 10 years.
The oils from garlic and other herbs have shown promise in treating Lyme Disease according to John Hopkins research. This was recently publishing in December 2018. Some researchers now believe that persistent Lyme ( which I call Chronic Persistent Lyme Syndrome) and post treatment Lyme disease may be a new disorder.
A new disorder ? They fail to realize that we have a Lyme Epidemic in the United States. But nevertheless, research is now being done on herbs for Lyme and persistent Lyme is being discussed by conventional physicians. This was published in the Journal , Antibiotics. The study studied and research 35 essential oils from herbs(plants ) and fruit.
It was found that some of these essential oils were better at killing Lyme infection than the standard conventional Lyme Protocol.
Kudos to John Hopkins for publishing and their research
So you see, all the herbs I have been used are beneficial and useful I also thank Stephen Buehner for publishing Healing Lyme. Some of these essential oils were from garlic, thyme, myrrh trees, and even cinnamon bark.
Do you dream ? Do you remember your dreams ? Do you want to dream more ? One of the most used herbs for lucid dreaming has been mugwort. There are many herbs that have been used to elicit lucid dreaming . Some of these herbs are as follows:
Calea zacatechichi wich increases dream clarity; 2. The Blue Lotus which has a calming effect like 3. Melissa officinales ( Lemon Balm) 4. Huperzine A which enhances dream capabilities; 5 Asparagus Root also known as the spirit herb igniting the subconscious during sleep
I have seen galantamine not only used in treating patients with Alzheimer’s Disease but used for dreaming . This substance also can be found in two plants - the snowdrop and the red spider lily. I have seen galantamine have many physical and psychological side effects , so I do not use it a lot in my clinical practice. Other than the herbs above there are supplements which have been associated with lucid dreaming. Some of these are
5 HTP, 2. melatonin ,which may increase dream vividness ; 3. sublingual B6 and B12 for promoting dream recall ; 4. fish oils to stimulate more intense vivid dreams; and even 5 . apple juice ( although sugar ) to increase acetylcholine levels.