Category Archives: Guest Blog

5 Ways Mindfulness Meditation Benefits the Body

Many people know meditation is beneficial, yet few know why. Meditation, which can be practiced in various forms, has been used throughout history to benefit the mind, body and soul. Now there is even more evidence that taking up meditation may be the right thing for you.

“We have known for a long time that meditation can help to promote wellness,” explains Dr. Gary Kaplan, founder of The Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine, located in McLean, Virginia. “Meditation can play an important role in how you feel, both physically and mentally.”

Clinical studies have demonstrated the benefits of meditation, including:

  • A recent research study conducted by Massachusetts General Hospital that mindfulness meditation, over the short period of eight weeks, increased the amount of gray matter in regions of the brain involved in learning and memory, regulation of one’s emotions and self-awareness.
  • Other studies have shown that regular meditation helps reduce practitioners’ feelings of anxiety and fear and enhance their natural creativity and problem-solving abilities.
  • Mindfulness meditation increases practitioners’ empathy for others and can allow for improved communication and relations with colleagues, family and friends.
  • Studies have also shown that regular meditation, by facilitating relaxation of the body and mind, can help improve sleep, lessen the sensation of pain and lower blood pressure.
  • There is also clinical evidence that meditating regularly improves depression and increases practitioners’ overall sense of well-being by providing a method of letting go of fearful and negative thoughts and decreasing emotional reactivity.

“This new study by researchers at Mass. General Hospital is very exciting because it suggests that meditation may be able to help heal the brains of people who suffer with depression, anxiety disorders, and chronic pain” adds Kaplan.

Mindfulness meditation involves entering into and holding a deep state of focused attention or relaxation. Although many practitioners like to follow a regular routine, meditation can be done anywhere.

Whether you’re sitting on a bus or stuck at an interminable business meeting, it’s possible to enter into the state of alert, mindful awareness and reap the benefits of meditation– without missing your bus stop or falling asleep at your meeting.

 

Explains Kaplan, “Meditation is not about religion or beliefs, it’s about learning how to stop ‘time-traveling.’ Unfortunately, we spend a great deal of time either thinking about the future, which tends to engender worry or anxiety, or dwelling on the past, which often brings up regrets and loss. Either way, we are less able to dedicate all of our attention and creativity on what is happening in the here and now. Meditation offers us a means of staying more in the present moment.”

“So many benefits arise from doing mediation, and it is so convenient to do, that I encourage everyone to give it a try–20 minutes a day for four weeks–and see what happens,” advises Kaplan. “You may be surprised at just how much more focused and relaxed you feel, and like many of my patients, you may decide to make it a permanent part of your daily routine.”

About The Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine and Gary Kaplan, D.O.

The Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine was founded by Dr. Gary Kaplan, a board-certified doctor of family medicine, pain medicine and medical acupuncture. For more than 25 years, The Kaplan Center’s team of physicians, physicaltherapists and other health care providers have combined the best of conventional medicine with the best alternative practices to address chronic pain and illness and to help individuals attain optimal health for life.  A leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, Kaplan is a Fellow of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture, a Clinical Associate Professor at Georgetown University School of Medicine and he has served as a consultant at the National Institutes of Medicine, including serving on the NIH Consensus Panel that authored a paper on the treatment of chronic pain and insomia with relaxation techniques. To learn more about The Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine, visit www.kaplanclinic.com/.

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Guest Blog – Aroma Reflexology by Ula Boyle

Aromatherapy oils are naturally fragrant oils that come from a variety of plants, flowers and fruit and contain many therapeutic properties that have been known for centuries, originating in ancient Egyptian, Chinese and Middle Eastern cultures. Combining essential oils with Reflexology has many health benefits as together they can stimulate and enhance the body’s ability to rebalance itself and heal. When inhaled the aroma of the essential oils is processed by the brain producing strong physiological and psychological effects.

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Reflexology is a natural, gentle healing therapy dating back to ancient Egypt and China. It uses specific techniques and pressures on the feet and hands to clear congested energy pathways within the body, activating the body to heal itself and regain its natural state of wellness and balance. The anatomy of the body is understood to be mapped out in reflex zones on the feet and by stimulating a reflex it can have a positive effect on the corresponding organ or body system. A treatment can therefore benefit the whole body and help to maintain or restore good health.

Essential Oils are massaged into the feet using reflexology techniques increasing heat and circulation and the absorption of the oils (containing specific healing properties) into the skin and blood stream. Different oils are chosen and blended depending on the health and healing needs of a client to create a desired effect such as enhancing mood, relaxation, mental/physical invigoration, pain relief. Incorporating Aromatherapy into reflexology treatments offers a wonderful sensory journey to wellbeing and can be used effectively to treat a wide variety of common complaints including:

Reducing stress related disorders, alleviate anxiety & depression, enhance mood,  Improve sleep and reduce fatigue, Relieve headaches, arthritis, Help to improve respiratory problems such as asthma, sinuses, hay fever, Pain relief, Ease tension & aching muscles, Relief of painful menstruation, symptoms of PMS/menopause, Relief of digestive problems, Strengthening the immune and nervous system.

Ula Boyle works from Ananda Centre.

Telephone her on 086 0872526 to make an appointment.

www.soleserenitythearpy.ie

VTCT Dip Reflexology/Aromatherapy Massage

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Power Animals – Accessing the Power within by Katie Blackwell Guest Blog

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Photo credit: gingiber / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND
This weekend Katie is giving a workshop here in the Ananda Centre this Sunday 28th, 10am – 4pm. Here she explains what it all entails…

Power Animals or Animal Guides are an ancient concept stemming back throughout history to a time when people understood and appreciated the great strengths and qualities of the animal kingdom and sought out certain animals in order to take on and access these characteristics for various reasons.

In our modern day this concept is used in many Shamanic and Spiritual traditions to help us align with an energy that is personified by a certain animal who becomes a teacher and guide for us.
They help protect, educate, heal and empower us on our journey in this life.
There are so many different animals in our world and each one has its different persona and energy to share with us. The well known image of the deer can represent strength and sensitivity combined with gentleness and intuition. The salmon is famous for its wisdom and knowledge but is also known to help with emotional understanding, overcoming obstacles and achieving great feats after much struggle. The hare assists with fertility, creativity, abundance and adaptability. The eagle helps with vision, swiftness, freedom and spiritual insight into what is hidden.
Whatever challenge you are facing in your life, the right animal guide will aid you in your journey and can help you take on the different characteristics and strengths that you need to access at this time.
If you feel drawn to a certain animal, look at the animal and its qualities and strengths. What is this animal trying to teach you? When you are in need of guidance the right animal will appear with the right energy and lesson for you. Asking an animal to work with you as a guide is a great way of aligning your energy to that animal and accessing its strength and power. This can be done in your daily life whether through meditation, shamanic journeying or simply by setting an intention of your wish to work with the animal. The more you work with your animal guide the stronger the connection will become and the easier it will be to bring this energy into your life.
A very special and enlightening day.

Meet and work with your animal and spirit guides and gain the skills to promote your inner development.

Journeying, Empowerment, Protection, Healing and Guidance

Call Katie to book your space now or for more info on 087 768 2738

Evelyn explains what Bio-Energy is….

Recently my mum, Evelyn, got her qualification in Bio-Energy Therapy. She is such a wonderful inspiration and a great woman. She never lets anything stop her and she is a blessed healer too.
I’ve asked her to briefly explain what the therapy is…
What is bio-energy healing and how does it work?
Bio-Energy healing works on treating blockages in the energy system which appear to be the cause of symptoms of ill-health, dis-ease, emotional issues etc.
Bio-Energy uses life sustaining universal energy sometimes called Prana, Chi, life force energy, electromagnetic field etc, to balance the body energy thus stimulating the immune system allowing the body to heal.
Benefits of Bio-Energy Therapy:
boosts immune function
helps to aliviate pain
aids in tissue regeneration
increases blood circulation
physically balances the electromagnetic field in and around the body
Bio-Energy sessions last approximately 20 to 50 minutes per session.
It is safe, non-invasive, painless, and patient friendly.
Contact Evelyn on 086 8727472 for an appointment.