natural awakenings magazine articles of 2024

"Innate Power of the Breath" January/2024

Breathing is simple, natural and something that we typically do without thinking. However, taking time to learn and practice deep breathing techniques holds the potential for life-changing results. Becoming more conscious of our breath provides a powerful healing tool right inside our body – an endless resource that can be called upon at a moment’s notice.

During the process of breathing, air is pulled into the lungs where oxygen is extracted and dispersed throughout the body, while carbon dioxide is exhaled. Breathing is controlled by one of the most primitive aspects of the brain known as the medulla oblongata. This part of the brain automatically starts at the moment a baby enters the world and takes its very first wailing breath.

Babies have the natural tendency to breathe into their bellies which allows their breathing to function at maximum capacity...
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"The Wonders of Tuina Massage" February/2024

Tuina (pronounced ‘twee-nah’) is an ancient Chinese method of medical massage which has gained worldwide popularity as of late. It is considered to be the oldest system of bodywork and one of the four main branches of Chinese medicine along with Acupuncture, Qigong and Taiji, and Chinese herbal medicine that are traditionally used to promote natural healing of body.

As a deep form of physical massage, Tuina also focuses on balancing a person’s energy based on the theory that improper flow of qi (vital energy) can cause blockages and imbalances that lead to symptoms such as pain. Its main goal is to remove energetic blocks that are causing stagnation in the flow of qi and blood along with working toward the creation of harmonious balance between yin and yang energies.
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"Qi Building at its Best" March/2024

Boosting qi (vital energy) of the kidney is a major component of maintaining health and longevity. This ancient holistic paradigm views the kidney as a yin organ system associated with the water element. As the body’s water gate, the kidney rules water and provides the foundation for movement and transformation of all bodily !uids. It is the “root energy” governing health of the lower back, bones, knees, ears and hair on the head.

Chinese medicine is filled with recommendations for building and protecting kidney energetics – many based on the fact that it “loves warmth.” To begin with, avoid walking barefoot on cold !oors as the first energy point of the kidney meridian is located on the soles of the feet. Keep the lower back covered to protect the kidney from getting too cold. To activate kidney energy, place a hot water bottle or heated ginger tea compress over the lower back.

Chinese dietary therapy recommends warm foods and drinks for tonifying this organ system.
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"The Power of a Smile" April/2024

The act of creating an “inner smile” is an ancient practice with Daoist roots. An inward smile ignites mindfulness, effortless focus, self- integration, and a more positive state of being !lled with peace. It can be further directed to aspects of the body such as internal organs to cleanse them energetically. This includes anger from the liver, grief from the lung, worry from the spleen, fear from the kidney, and overjoy and sadness from the heart.

The Daoists have known for millennia that “smiling down” into the body has profound healing results. Researcher James Laird posed the question as to whether people were happy because they smiled or smiled because they were happy. Through application of electrodes on the participants’ foreheads and cheeks, Laird found that those who were tricked into smiling were signi!cantly happier.

BA University of Michigan study used photography as a cover story taking pictures of peo- ple saying “ee” or “ooo” to exemplify cheer or disgust and found that those who said “ee” were happier...
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"The Interoception Buzz" May/2024

The brain is constantly receiving signals from the body such as hunger, fear, or any number of internal sensations both positive and negative.

These signals are transmitted via a process known as interoception, whereas those coming from outside of the body are processed through exteroception. Interoception operates on both conscious and subconscious levels and has a direct impact on perception, cognition, and emotion.

Such information turns out to be critical to self-awareness, experience of emotion, and maintenance of bodily homeostasis. Interoception stems from the brain integrating signals relayed from the body via a diversity of neural pathways to subregions (including the brainstem and thalamus). It strengthens the brain’s ability to predict and anticipate internal needs as it seeks to fulfill them to regulate the body’s processes.

On the other hand, disconnect between the brain and body signal or misrepresentation of internal states are believed to be an underlying root cause of conditions such as anxiety, depression, panic, attention deficit, and obsessive compulsive behavior.
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