Tag Archives: ireland

Spring awakening and why I hated my middle name.

Happy Imbolc to you all. February 1st and it is spring awakening time.

imbolc

It is also St. Brigid’s day here in Ireland and that is my middle name (confession time). A name that I really didn’t want people to know about as I was growing up. I felt embarrassed to show people my passport or speak up if someone asked in school. Why? For some reason in my head I had an image of a big matronly nun shouting out my name “Brenda Brigid!” and giving out to me or this real old fashioned version of myself with a headscarf wrapped around my chin!

passport brigid

Proof of BB

 

Little did I know and understand how great Brigid really was, she rocked! She was a healer, a farmer, a patron of midwives, a symbol of fertility. She welcomes the beginning of spring by lighting fires to encourage the light and purification. She was both a Celtic goddess and a catholic saint. Brigid was known to don a magic cape, a keeper of peace and may have been a warrior too.

A few of my friends will call me Biddy or Bridey. My personal email begins with ‘Biddy’. I am at last embracing my inner Brigid!

More on Celtic Brigid here.

 

A poem/prayer of Brigid in her Saint form –

You were a woman of peace.
You brought harmony where there was conflict.
You brought light to the darkness.
You brought hope to the downcast.
May the mantle of your peace cover those who are troubled and anxious,
and may peace be firmly rooted in our hearts and in our world.
Inspire us to act justly and to reverence all God has made.
Brigid you were a voice for the wounded and the weary.
Strengthen what is weak within us.
Calm us into a quietness that heals and listens.
May we grow each day into greater wholeness in mind, body and spirit

Guest Blog Post – Nick from Uptown Spa on Reiki Massage

This month our guest blog comes from Nick Stokes in Uptown Spa, North York, Oregon, USA.

uptown spa

It’s great to network with the community on an international basis. Enjoy his post…

Reiki Massage

There has always been a great cultural gap between the East and the West. Somehow, even though our cultures clashed numerously over the course of history, we still developed different beliefs, traditions and viewpoints, rarely interfering with each other. Of course, as it usually goes these beliefs and values impacted most of the things and processes in our midst, moulding our standpoints and perception. In that regard, Renaissance was an important moment in history of Western civilization where people liberated themselves from religious dogma. As the time passed by, religion became less and less important in our society thus having less impact of other things in our lives. At the same time, Eastern civilizations retained high level of spirituality. This is something that can be seen even through some mundane things such as the massage.

Although massage has existed for a long time, more than 2 millennia, it hasn’t changed a lot in its core. While Western civilizations always approached it scientifically, believing that massage helps our blood flow and muscles, Eastern civilizations perceived it as a process of aligning life force energy. This is closely related to their spiritual beliefs, by viewing a person as a being that consists primarily out of energy.

Like any other Eastern cultures, Japanese also developed their form of massage. It is called Reiki and it stands for Rei meaning “higher power” and Ki meaning “life force energy”. Although it is shrouded within religious dogma and presented as highly spiritual process, Reiki is quite simple in its nature. In comparison to other Western forms of therapy it doesn’t pose any regulations or constrictions. According to Japanese, anybody can perform it and all the knowledge about Reiki is passed on by viewing the treatment itself. It doesn’t require any elaborate teaching or training. It is also quite simple and straightforward when it comes to place and time of treatment. You can do it basically anywhere and for any period of time. This gives us various options how to incorporate it. Imagine relaxing with Reiki in nature for a longer period of time. Basically, no other Western massage can compete with that.

As we previously mentioned, Reiki bases itself on spiritual healing. While pressuring the body, therapist is able to activate life force within it and move it to a place where the healing is necessary. By doing so, we are able to remedy our condition and to find a solution to our problems. Of course, similarly to other forms of massage, it is always good to combine it with other types of treatment in order to maximize the chances of recovery. However you put it, it will certainly assist you by relieving stress and quickening your metabolism.

Reiki is a treatment which is becoming increasingly popular in North America. Similarly to other Eastern massages, it provides new and fresh experience while giving you much needed relaxation. Naturally, many people still prefer usual types of body treatment like Swedish massage. You can always relax with this or any other type of massage in Toronto by visiting Uptown Spa.

Thank you Nick for your post.

…Reiki Massage is also available in Ananda Centre. Book an appointment today – 085 1502378

National Workplace Wellbeing Day March 27th 2015

March 27th is National Workplace Wellbeing day. Talk to me if you would like me to connect with your workplace…lunchtime yoga, relaxation, meditation/mindfulness or on site massage. Wellbeing in the workplace has a positive effect all round from mental health to productivity.

Call me now 085 1502378 or pass this on to HR

http://www.bitc.ie/2015/01/national-workplace-wellbeing-day/

How Yoga can help HIV and AIDS

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December 1 is World AIDS Day. This month, whoever you are, take a little time to learn about what’s been discovered about HIV since you first heard of it all those years ago. We now know about different strains of HIV, and how our bodies react differently to each. We know how to prevent mother-to-child transmission, and how serodiscordant couples (couples in which only one partner is HIV+) can safely conceive children together. And we know that the support of friends, neighbors, family, and loved ones is one of the key factors in the health and wellbeing of people with HIV.

How Can Yoga Help for HIV/AIDS?

Yoga can help boost immune system and many studies have shown:

  • Reduction in anxiety and stress
  • Increased white blood cell counts
  • Decreased levels of the stress hormone, cortisol
  • Activates natural killer cells

Yoga can also help decrease pain in symptoms specific to HIV/AIDS by relieving:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Cramps
  • General body tension
  • Oedema
  • Inflammation

Additionally, by increasing blood flow, Yoga assists with increasing oxygen and nutrients to areas with symptoms.

More Yoga Goals for HIV

Various Yoga techniques can be incorporated into a yoga therapy HIV program. These varying techniques used are practised through Pranayama (breathing), Asanas (postures) and Kriyas (cleansing). They help facilitate the removal of excess phlegm to relieve respiratory congestion, increase blood and lymph flow to assist the liver function in toxin removal and to encourage blood cell regeneration. They help prevent or reduce muscular atrophy typical of immobilization/inactivity through improving muscle tone.

If you’re HIV positive, here’s a little of what you can do to keep yourself healthy and suppress the virus:

De-stress yourself. Stress can really affect the immune system, making you more open to illness and infection. A good sleep each night, practices like yoga and regular massage therapy can help combat stress.

Be sure to vaccinate against infections.  Pneumonia and flu can be devastating to someone with HIV. Getting the regular vaccinations against these and any other infections is a good way to stay healthy especially in winter months.

Stay healthy in your choices. No smoking, eating healthy, regular exercise, avoiding alcohol, and of course looking after your mental health too.

 

 

What is Restorative Yoga and why should I do it?

Restorative yoga is a practice that involves using some props, getting comfy and allowing the body and mind to rest in a specific posture.

Sometimes we equate the word REST to also mean doing nothing or being lazy in some way but Rest is so important to help recharge the physical, mental and emotional. To Rest allows you to restore your energy in order to move on with more pep in your step. Think about it – we recharge our phones and computers. Why? So that they can continue working to their full capacity. Surely we can say the same and do the same for ourselves.

What’s in a word? Words have a lot of power, can make us feel and think, can make us react. Take a moment or two to read this and see how the word sits with you. Sense how you are feeling before you read this article and then take stock of what you experience after. See the word in your mind and feel it.

REST: to stop work or movement in order to relax, refresh and recover.

Have you ever not felt good after a rest?
Why do we think we have to keep going?
What’s stopping us from resting?

The noun, rest, also means the remaining part of something. What?
Is it the space we give ourselves on resting? That catching up of oneself?

The synonyms of rest are pause, relax, lean, lie.

It’s ok to allow ourselves to rest. I know I’m not the only one that struggles with this sometimes.
Give yourself a bit of time today and reflect on rest. Who knows you might even find yourself doing it!

The next Rest and Restore Yoga workshop in Ananda is next Saturday 18th October 10am – 12pm €50. It is suitable for all abilities of practice even beginners.

Contact Brenda 085 1502378

Meet Helena Barker – Acupuncture and Naturopathy, Specialising in Fertility and Pregnancy

Helena Barker

Tel: 086 8163130

http://helenabarker.com

 
My interest in Complementary Medicine stems from my childhood years and my mother’s influence as a practising Reflexologist, Acupuncturist and Reiki Healer. I have seen first-hand the power of complementary medicine and have used Natural therapies throughout my life to maintain wellness and vitality.

I graduated from The College of Naturopathic Medicine with a Diploma in Acupuncture and Naturopathy and received the prestigious Clinical Excellence Award for my outstanding Acupuncture work. I am a member of the Acupuncture Foundation Professional Association of Ireland (AFPA) and as such I fully comply with Association’s Code of Ethics and Best Practice.

I firmly believe in treating the ‘whole person’ by using a combination of natural healing techniques including nutrition/diet, lifestyle advice, flower remedies and tissue salts in conjunction with Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

I strongly feel that ‘wellness’ is not an endpoint, but is an ongoing relationship with your own body, ‘self’ and your environment – a natural balance.
I plan continuous development of my skills and knowledge through further training in Acupuncture and Natural Health. In particular I wish to travel to China to complete the Advanced Acupuncture Training at the International Acupuncture Centre in Beijing, a World Health Organisation collaborating centre for Traditional Chinese Medicine.

I specialize in women’s health, gynaecological problems, female and male fertility issues, IVF and pregnancy support.

Find out how I can help you.

Meet Ula Boyle, Reflexologist specialist in Fertility & Pregnancy

Ula Boyle – Reflexologist Specialising in Fertility and Pregnancy here in Ananda Centre

 
Tel: 086 087 2526
 
My name is Ula Boyle and I discovered natural healing and holistic therapies in the UK in 2001 when I experienced the wonderful effects of Reiki and decided to study it becoming a qualified Reiki Master Practitioner in 2008. From 2001 my passion for holistic therapies grew and I studied VTCT Diplomas in Indian Head Massage, Aromatherapy Massage, and Reflexology (& Advanced Training Certificates in Fertility & Pregnancy Reflexology), certificates in Ayurvedic Foot Massage, Deep Tissue Massage and Lomi Lomi.
I believe receiving regular Holistic Therapy treatments can help a person maintain or restore good mental, emotional and physical health, bringing a person to a state of wellness and balance. Sole Serenity Therapy was created in 2013 after a number of years practising and receiving complimentary therapies were I found Reflexology to be amongst the most relaxing treatment and especially beneficial for those experiencing hormonal difficulties and fertility issues. Sadly infertility appears to be on the increase with an estimated 1 in 6 couples having difficulty conceiving. I decided to specialise in Fertility Reflexology to offer couples a gentle, yet effective drug free treatment option to help improve fertility levels naturally or as a way of supporting mind and body leading up to medically assisted conception. I also specialise in Pregnancy Reflexology as it is a soothing treatment to help with associated discomforts of pregnancy.
For more information on the benefits of reflexology, how it can help improve fertility or its benefits during pregnancy please contact me for a no obligation phone consultation on 086 087 2526 or see www.soleserenitytherapy.ie.
I am a member of the Fertility Reflexology Network, specialising in Fertility Reflexology Treatments and a member of the International Federation of Reflexologists. I participate in Continuing Professional Development to ensure my knowledge & skills grow to meet the needs of my clients and professional standards of best practice.

Cancer Care Support at Ananda Centre

Thank you to everyone who came to visit us at the PINK PICNIC in the Conyngham Arms Hotel, Slane last week. Trish and the gang organised a brilliant event. It was great to see familiar faces and make some new friends…and all for a great cause. We hope you enjoyed the night too.

A little info on what we do here in relation to Cancer Care Support.
I all look forward to meeting you again at the ANANDA CENTRE.
Have fun tomorrow everyone taking part in the Pink Ribbon Walk.

Services Available

Massage for People Living with Cancer:
This massage therapy deconstructs common myths about the use of massage in cancer treatment. It emphasizes that mechanical action such as massage does not break tumours open or cause them to spread. It focuses on relieving the discomfort of treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. This type of massage therapy can be used in hospitals, in respite care, for the dying, and for exhausted caregivers. Each session is planned according to what treatment the person is undergoing at that time.
Contact Brenda: 085 1502378

Bio-Energy Therapy:
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 in care may help to relieve symptoms of cancer or side effects of treatment such as anxiety, fatigue, pain, or nausea and vomiting. Bio-Energy therapy is said to promote relaxation and reduce stress. Some people with cancer have reported increased well-being, less pain and reduced nausea and vomiting after sessions. Bio-Energy therapy may be useful in reducing anxiety and increasing a sense of well-being.
Contact Evelyn: 086 8727472

Yoga Therapy:
Yoga in Cancer care is promoted as a natural way to help you relax and cope with stress, anxiety and depression. Generally, it can help to lift your mood and enhance well-being. Some people with cancer who have used yoga say that it helps calm their mind so that they can cope better with their cancer and its treatment. Others say that it helps to reduce symptoms and side effects such as pain, tiredness, sleep problems and depression.
Contact Brenda: 085 1502378

Reiki:
This Energy treatment may help some people to feel deeply relaxed, cope with difficult situations, relieve emotional stress or tension and improve overall wellbeing. Reiki is sometimes used in palliative care, especially in hospices.
Reiki may help to control side effects of cancer treatments, such as pain, anxiety and sickness. It is safe to have Reiki alongside your cancer treatment.
Contact Evelyn: 086 8727472, Ula: 086 0872526 or Brenda: 085 1502378

Acupuncture:
Acupuncture has received much attention as an adjunctive therapy in cancer treatments for its use in pain relief, reducing side effects, accelerating recovery and improving quality of life. A top recommendation for cancer pain is acupuncture. Acupuncture has its origins in Traditional Chinese Medicine and is based on the theory that one can regulate the flow of “Qi” or vital energy, by stimulation of certain points of the body with needles.
Contact Helena: 086 8163130

Reflexology:
Reflexology is a gentle, supporting, non-invasive wellness therapy that is used widely to support people who are living with cancer, who are undergoing various medical interventions and surgery or are involved palliative care/end of life situations. Reflexology uses pressure points on the hands and feet to stimulate specific parts of the body to help bring about homeostasis (balance). Many hospices and cancer units in hospitals offer reflexology as one of many complementary therapies to support a person on their journey with cancer.
Contact Ula: 086 0872526

Naturopathy:
Naturopathic medicine focuses on health rather than sickness and uses “natural” approaches to healing. Using different methods it is helpful for pain relief and the side effects of medicine and treatments.
Contact Helena: 086 8163130

Please contact us here in ANANDA CENTRE if you have any questions on the above therapies. It is important to tell your doctor about any wellness therapy that you use. Then your doctor will always have the full picture about your care and treatment.
www.anandacentre.com
anandacentre@gmail.com

How’s your Mental Fitness?

brain fitnessYesterday was World Suicide Prevention Day 2014. Ireland has a very high rate of suicide and we have all been touched by it in some way. The stigma of mental illness is finally eroding and the fact that we have a day that allows talk and discussion is great.

Doctors tell us that our mental health is very important. Anyone of us can be affected by a knock that life throws at us. Having the tools in your mental fitness belt can help. The little things you do all add up.

1. Be mindful of negative thoughts and learn how to cope with them. They cannot be blocked but distracting yourself from them or giving yourself a break (be kind!) may help. If they get too much there are lots of people out there qualified to help you. And they want to help.

2. Tap into your ‘inner resource’. Clinical psychologist Richard Miller, Ph.D has recognised the importance of this and has been working a lot with trauma survivors including returning soldiers from war. Think of your happy place…be it a place, sound, smell etc. Tap into this and think of it a few times in the day – every day – until it becomes a part of you. So when a negative experience happens you can go to this ‘inner resource’ and maybe deal with what is happening in a calm, controlled way. See www.irest.us for more details.

3. Try become more mindful of where you are, who you are with, what you are doing. It may mean turning off the phone. Do one thing at a time. Become focused on what you are doing.

4. Exercise – the importance of this cannot be emphasised enough. There is so much information and studies on how exercise benefits one’s mental fitness. Join a walking group, join a gym, take up yoga!

5. Hobbies are a great way to switch the chattering mind off too. Doing something you enjoy not only occupies the brain but will release endorphins and make you feel good.

6. Set a personal goal, maybe give yourself a month to do it and then reward yourself with something on completion. Keep it simple but of course the reward can be big!

7. Express yourself! Tap into your creative side and help release some emotions …writing in a journal, art, singing (even in the shower). Anything that gets your tapping into the creative, left side of the brain.

8. One of the simplest ways of keeping mentally fit is to laugh. However there will be times when this is probably one of the hardest things to do. In this age of easy access to everything there is so much comedy out there. Have a go-to show on stand by that you know will give you a giggle…for me its ‘Saturday Night Live’ and there are plenty of old sketches on YouTube.

9. Have you ever thought of volunteering? It’s one of those win-win activities. As humans there is an inherent want to help others and the reason is that it in turn makes us feel good. The other side is the receiver of your help benefits too.

10. Self care – think of the flight attendant telling you that ‘when the mask comes down in the event of loss of cabin pressure, place on your own mask first before attending to those with you’. How important it is to look after yourself or you are no good to those around you…in a nutshell! Any of the above can be considered self care. Even 2 minutes of self care everyday is a good place to start. An hour massage once a month is a necessity not as luxury. Make  a point to make time for yourself. It’s an investment for your mental fitness.

What will you do to kick start your mental fitness regime?

Sites you might find it helpful to visit: