Where does the fat go??

It’s been a while again since I’ve posted a blog. I’ve been happily focused on hypnosis and working with clients in that regard. I also have been working with clients with nutrition AND with the two combined. With the help of my mentor/teacher (Brian Wallace – I’ve mentioned him often and posted his bio here), I’ve created a Weight Control/Healthy Metabolism Hypnosis protocol. This program addresses the metabolic process and the underlying emotional connections we have to food which lead us to make poor choices. With these methods we can create effective permanent change at the subconscious level that creates a physiological response in the body. After all, What the mind believes the body accepts! 

The reason why I’ve titled this “Where does the fat go?” is because of the article I’m posting below in it’s entirety from Dr Mercola (www.mercola.com). I very much respect him and the information/knowledge/views he puts out on his site. And some of the information in this article I use in my Weight Control/Healthy Metabolism Program (in a scaled down format). This whole article has great information!

By Dr. Mercola

The vast majority of doctors, dietitians, and personal trainers believe that when you burn fat during exercise, that fat is being used up as fuel for energy or heat. Some believe it’s excreted through urine or feces, while others think the fat is turned into muscle.

All of these ideas are to some degree incorrect, according to Ruben Meerman, a physicist, and Andrew Brown, a biochemist specializing in lipids, who say there’s “surprising ignorance and confusion about the metabolic process of weight loss.”

When You Lose Weight, Where Does the Fat Go?

Their calculations, showing where the fat really goes when you lose weight, was recently published in the journal BMJ.1,2 As explained by Medical News Today:3

“Excess dietary carbohydrates and protein are converted to a type of fat called triglyceride. When people attempt to lose weight, they are attempting to metabolize these triglycerides while keeping their fat-free mass intact…

Triglycerides are comprised of three types of atoms: carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Triglyceride molecules can be broken down only by unlocking these atoms, through a process known as oxidation.

The researchers chose to follow the path of these atoms when leaving the body. They found that when 10 kg of fat were oxidized, 8.4 kg were converted and excreted as carbon dioxide (CO2) via the lungs, and 1.6 kg became water (H20).

In order for 10 kg of human fat to be oxidized, the researchers calculated that 29 kg of oxygen must be inhaled. Oxidation then produces a total of 28 kg of CO2 and 11 kg of H20.”

The researchers note that this is not new to science—rather the process has simply been misunderstood. The equation does involve release of energy; it’s just that the process isn’t as direct as one might think. According to the law of conservation of mass, it’s actually quite difficult to convert matter into energy.

As noted by The Atlantic:4 “If you were able to convert your fat stores [directly] into energy, you would explode in a glorious, catastrophic spectacle…” According to their calculations, you basically exhale 84 percent of your lost fat. The remaining 16 percent is metabolized into water, which is excreted through sweat and urine. (words bolded by me, as this is the part I use in my program with a bit more explanation connecting it to metabolism)

The authors estimate that by substituting one hour of sedentary lounging with one hour of moderate exercise—to increase your respiratory rate—your metabolic rate is increased sevenfold. However, they note that you can easily hamper any potential weight loss by eating too much food—and I would stress, by eating the wrong kinds of foods.

Your Food Choices Make a Huge Difference

It’s important to recognize that most people who struggle with excess weight have some degree of insulin and leptin resistance. Leptin is a hormone that helps you regulate your appetite. When your leptin levels rise, it signals your body that you’re full, so you’ll stop eating.

As you become resistant to the effects of leptin, you end up overeating, as your body gradually loses its ability to “hear” the signals leptin sends out. Dr. Richard Johnson’s research clearly shows that refined sugar (in particular processed fructose) is exceptionally effective at causing leptin resistance. Fructose also effectively blocks the burning of fat.

Basically, if you are insulin or leptin resistant, as long as you keep eating fructose and grains, you’re programming your body to create and store fat. This is one of the key reasons why, if you are overweight, you’d be wise to restrict your fructose consumption to about 15 to 25 grams of fructose per day from all sources.

This means switching out most processed foods for whole, unprocessed foods, and avoiding any and all sweetened beverages. Clean pure water is really the only type of fluid your body needs. For further dietary guidance, please see my comprehensive nutrition plan.

If you’re insulin/leptin resistant and/or are overweight, you can also greatly boost your body’s fat-burning potential by incorporating intermittent fasting, as it helps reset your body to use fat instead of sugar as its primary fuel. It is by far the most effective way I know of to shed unwanted fat and eliminate your sugar cravings.

Exercising in a fasted state (such as first thing in the morning) will bring it up yet another notch. A simple way to get started with intermittent fasting is to simply omit breakfast, making lunch the first meal of your day.

Maintain this daily eating schedule until your insulin/leptin resistance improves (weight, blood pressure, cholesterol ratios, or diabetes normalizes). After that, just do it as often as you need to maintain your healthy state.

White versus Brown Fat

While we’re on the topic of fat, it’s worth noting that there are different kinds of fat cells in your body, and from a metabolic standpoint, they respond differently. They even appear to have different biological functions. None of this was discussed in the featured research, but it likely also plays a role in the big scheme of things. For a number of years, scientists have been studying so-called “brown fat”—a type of fat that generates heat that burns energy instead of storing it. So-called “white fat” is the kind that is primarily stored, and because it’s also difficult to burn off, it tends to cause obesity. Research has shown that certain groups of people tend to have more brown fat than others, and there appears to be direct correlations between the activation of brown fat and metabolic measures of good health. For example:

Slender people have more brown fat than obese people do
Younger people have more brown fat than elderly people
People with normal blood sugar levels have more brown fat than those with high blood sugar
How to Transform White Fat into Healthier Brown Fat

Newborns have a supply of brown fat to keep warm, but most of these stores are lost by the time adulthood is reached. However, although you have far less of it as an adult, scientists have found that you can activate the brown fat still present in your body by exposing yourself to cold temperatures. This has the effect of causing your body to burn more calories to keep warm, and there’s evidence suggesting ice therapy can be helpful for boosting weight loss. Animal research has also shown that animals convert white fat into brown fat simply by exercising.

The study,5 published in the journal Disease Models and Mechanism, found that during exercise the animals’ muscles released an enzyme called irisin, which triggered the conversion of white fat cells to brown. Preliminary studies presented at the 2013 annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association revealed that this holds true in humans as well. Among men, the benefits were found after 12 weeks of training on an exercise bike. One of the researchers, a postdoctoral fellow at Joslin Diabetes Center, said:6

“Our results showed that exercise doesn’t just have beneficial effects on muscle, it also affects fat… It’s clear that when fat gets trained, it becomes browner and more metabolically active. We think there are factors being released into the bloodstream from the healthier fat that are working on other tissues.”

As you can see, the human metabolism is extremely complex. On the one hand, exercise helps convert unhealthy white fat into healthier, heat-producing and more metabolically active brown fat. Exercise also increases the oxidation of fat, which then leaves your body via your lungs, in the form of carbon dioxide, and your bodily fluids, in the form of water. What’s not so complex however, is how to optimize your metabolism—even if you don’t understand the exact mechanisms involved. Following simple basics described below will catalyze your body’s ability to achieve your ideal weight and leanness.

Your Weight Reflects Your Lifestyle Choices

Simply eating fewer calories and exercising more usually doesn’t work very well, and the reason for that is because not all calories are the same. As mentioned, processed fructose in particular causes leptin resistance far more effectively than other sugars, with refined sugar coming in close second. Glucose is not nearly as harmful in comparison. Fructose also blocks the burning of fat. So, instead of focusing on calories, you need to address the quality of the foods you eat, and avoid chemical exposures. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as BPA and phthalates, for example, can cause or exacerbate weight gain. Following is a short list of proactive, easy-to-remember guidelines that can go a long way toward improving your health, nutrition, and body weight.

Exercise regularly, and stay active all day long: Engage in high-intensity Peak Fitness exercise to burn fat and increase muscle mass (a natural fat burner). Also, strive to sit less (much less—ideally no more than three hours a day) and walk 7,000 to 10,000 steps a day in addition to your regular exercise program.
Consider intermittent fasting: If you’re insulin/leptin resistant and/or are overweight, boost your body’s fat-burning potential by incorporating intermittent fasting. This is one of the most powerful approaches to reverse insulin resistance. It is only necessary to do until your insulin resistance resolves.
Buy real food, preferably whole organic and locally grown, and cook from scratch. Ditching processed foods will automatically reduce your sugar consumption, which is the root cause of insulin resistance and weight gain. If you buy organic produce, you’ll also cut your exposure to pesticides and genetically engineered ingredients, and in ditching processed foods, you’ll automatically avoid artificial sweeteners and harmful processed fats like trans fats and vegetable oils (such as peanut, corn, and soy oil), the latter of which actually degrades into oxidation products when heated that may be more harmful than trans fat.
That said, most people do need upwards of 50-85 percent healthy fats in their diet for optimal health. Sources of healthy fats to add to your diet include avocados, butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk, raw organic dairy, coconuts and coconut oil, unheated organic nut oils, raw nuts and seeds, organic pastured egg yolks, and grass-fed meats. For more detailed dietary advice, please see my free Optimized Nutrition Plan.

Opt for organic grass-fed meats to avoid genetically engineered ingredients, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and other growth promoting drugs.
Opt for glass packaging and storage containers to avoid endocrine disrupting chemicals.

*link to the original article- http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2015/01/09/fat-burning.aspx *

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Guest blog on medical hypnosis!!

The blog I’m posting today is from hypnotherapist Brian Wallace. I’m listing Brian’s qualifications first, followed by his blog on medical hypnosis.

Brian has been Board Certified by the Natural Therapies Certification Board,  certified in Pain Management, Advanced Pain Management, Emergency Hypnosis, Advanced Clinical Hypnotherapy, and is a member of the IMDHA / IACT and NGH. Brian continues to use his front-line experience to help ensure that his lectures are always current and scientifically sound.  Brian guest lectures during the Intensive programs and teaches continuing education programs.

What is Medical and Clinical Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a psychological technique used in medicine and trans-personal therapy as a tool to bring about positive changes to both the mind and the body through emotional and behavioral belief and pattern changes. Medical Hypnosis is the use of Hypnosis to treat medical conditions and enhance outcomes using other complimentary treatments provided by other complimentary health professionals.

Hypnosis is a focused and suggestive state of mind, in which a person is still alert. This altered state allows for a Hypnotherapist to communicate with your subconscious mind directly bypassing critical thinking of the conscious mind.  The subconscious mind does not judge, doubt, or criticize new suggestions/messages but simply accepts and stores it. In other words, hypnosis allows you to program and de-program your subconscious mind in a co-operative state with the observance of the conscious mind.

Hypnosis is a natural and normal state of the mind in which the body often experiences a state of deep physical relaxation while the mind remains clear, alert and focused.  In this altered state of awareness, the subconscious mind becomes open to suggestions that the client is willing to accept.

The human responses to the state of hypnosis are objective as well as subjective. Objective responses, especially physical signs of response can be measured, making the process as applied an evidence-based protocol by a trained professional one that is predictable, practical, repeatable and reliable.

Reinforcement techniques that allow the client to know they are in Hypnosis/trance because they see and sense the observable physical signs in themselves rather than just being told they are hypnotized or by being made to do “silly human tricks”. This perspective gives the client a confidence in themselves and in the work they are doing that has the effect of producing more lasting change.

Many casual observers would think that it is only recently that Medicine has had any interest or investment in the use of hypnosis. Many of those observers would be surprised to learn that most advancements in the science of hypnosis were pioneered initially by medical doctors over the last 200 years looking for creative ways of addressing the human needs of Medicine, including the first recorded use of formal past-life regressions by a doctor in 1947 that was then used as a mechanism for healing physical ailments.

Can Anyone Be Hypnotized?

Yes.  Any person of at least average intelligence and ability to focus and concentrate can go into hypnosis.  The better one is able to concentrate and focus and the more intelligent a person is, the easier it is for him or her to go into the hypnotic trance and to achieve greater results with hypnosis.

Above all, the person must be willing. Willing is one of those “loaded” words – for our discussion it can be defined as “informed consent” – that is, you know what is going to happen to you, when it is going to happen, what it will feel like and that you are OK with it happening.  Co-operation and collaboration with the client and therapist is essential, even if it takes the initial form of following simple instructions.

No one can hypnotize you if you don’t want to be hypnotized or against your will or consent.

Is Hypnosis dangerous?

No, hypnosis is not dangerous.  It is just a natural state of the mind induced and deepened in a formal setting by the hypnotherapist for purposes of helping the individual change certain habits or patterns of behavior.  The mind has natural defenses built in which will automatically reject any suggestions it deems harmful.

No one has EVER been harmed by Hypnosis when practiced by a trained professional.

How can Hypnosis Help?

Hypnosis can benefit almost anyone to improve their physical, emotional and mental health. Research has shown that Hypnosis (when applied in a clinical environment with scientific methods) can help regulate various systems of the human body, such as the Immune System, Nervous System, Endocrine System and Gastro-Intestinal System.

The following medical conditions have been shown through research as being responsive to and benefit from the application of Hypnosis:

Gastro-Intestinal Disorders, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Chronic Functional Abdominal Pain, Gastro-oesophageal Reflux Disease, Functional Dyspepsia, Addictions / Behavioural Changes, Nutritional Preferences / Food Sensitivities, Smoking Cessation (2 Sessions Cessation Treatment offered at NO CHARGE with Naturopathic Dr Referral), Drug / Food / Behavioral Addictions, Chronic Pain, Headaches, Oral and Facial Pain, Neuropathic Pain, Neuralgia, Fibromyalgia, Rheumatic Pain, Cancer Pain, Skin Conditions, Eczema, Psoriasis, Urticaria, Itching, Allergy Elimination, Asthma Treatment.

The following Psychological problems have been shown to benefit from the use of Clinical Hypnosis:

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Stress / Anxiety related disorders, Depression (Mild to Moderate), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Phobias.

ALL DIAGNOSED MEDICAL CONDITIONS BEING TREATED MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL’S (Doctor, Naturopath, Psychiatrist, etc.) REFERRAL BEFORE TREATMENT.

During the First Session (no charge – about one hour) the Hypnotherapist will talk with you about Hypnosis and how it works, your questions and situation and discuss how hypnosis can be applied to bring about lasting change. This initial assessment and disclosure also includes the details of the protocol that the Hypnotherapist plans to use for treatment in a session by session format so that you know how long and how often you are going to visit (and rates) before committing to any formal hypnosis.

by Brian Wallace,  BCH, CMT

Board Certified Hypnotherapist

Certified Master Trainer – IACT

 

 

Spirituality, Journeys, Purposes and Visions

Hello all my lovely blog readers, once again I apologize for being so long between blog postings. As I mentioned in a previous blog I’ve been undergoing a lot of personal growth and change on many levels. I think I also mentioned that this work can become all encompassing for me when it’s happening.

I did a lot of work in this similar way last year at this time and it took up a good (and I mean good in all ways here) 4-6 months of my life. I gave myself- my mind, body and spirit- the time to adjust and incorporate all of that before being ready for more work this Feb. Now I’ve been having a spiritual journey that has been creating big changes deep inside me on the subconscious level. I’ve been working with my Hypnotherapist, my Naturopath and taking some courses with a Teacher/Mentor of mine.

The work is mentally and emotionally hard, which of course affects my body. They are all connected. My stress levels (cortisol and adrenalin) are higher. Sleep, diet and exercise habits have also been impacted. Add in “normal” life, having braces put on my teeth in mid March, and the exciting planning of a trip to Scotland with my bestie- we’re going in October, oh and I can’t forget hormones! I am 50 after all; so you can imagine how it’s been!

Let’s see if I can summarize and share some of what I’ve been doing. Working with my Hypnotherapist, we’ve been working on connecting with my inner selves at the various ages and stages of my life that they represent. Bringing them all together for the greater good. So I can move forward in my growth and be who I am. Also on connecting with my soul and what represents my soul. There’s more at work here, that I’ve been doing here, but it seems to be the hardest to articulate.

Working with my Teacher/Mentor, we’ve been discovering what my purpose is in being here and what my vision is for me and the world. It’s been a totally amazing discovery. Surprising and yet not as it has tied in with the work I’m doing with my Hypnotherapist. There has been a lot of emotion brought forth from all of it. Overwhelming at times, powerful  and empowering! I’ve started the second level of my Teacher/Mentor’s Vision courses last week, and in this level we’re working on developing our mission statements. So simple sounding but so profound in the impact it has on a personal level. It’s awesome that all but one of us from the first level class have returned for the second level. It’s nice to have that connection as we’ve each gone through and continue with our personal journeys.

My Naturopath is awesome! He helps look after ALL of me- the physical, emotional/mental and spiritual. He is supportive in his suggestions, his use of/recommendations for supplements and tinctures. He uses acupuncture to help support my body and mind through all of it. My body and mind respond very well to acupuncture. When he uses the needles on those spots for stress, I am so relaxed and mellow afterwards- all spacey and you’d think I was high ;). We are working with my Hypnotherapist to make the effects last longer as I can’t always see my Naturopath as often as I’d like to. He also reminds me to be gentle with myself and to “Trust that you are on the right path! Try not to focus on the “what’s next” now that you have discovered your vision/purpose. Instead focus on staying connected and in tune with that purpose, and I think you’ll find that the “what’s next” will happen organically.”  A wise man, yes? 🙂

All of the above work has also resulted in working on some other specific things like managing expectations, ‘what are expectations?’, managing the feelings around wants and hopes, changing how I react to situations, knowing on a deeper level that that is the only thing I truly have any control over, and more.

I’ve even experienced a panic attack and a huge epiphany within a week of each other with all this work! *Whew*, it’s scary and difficult and amazing and worth it and wow…

Don’t ever think that change and growth are not worth it. Don’t ever let the fear stop you. A quote from my Naturopath that resonates with me as I’m doing all of this work:

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” ~Jack Canfield~

 

The Health Benefits of Meditation!

My last few blog posts have been focused on chemicals from (or in) various external sources, but Holistic Nutrition is not just about food or chemicals. It’s also about exercise and relaxation. I’ve also posted a few blogs already on exercise so today I’ve decided to focus on relaxation, one form of which is meditation. I know some people reading this may (still) thing of meditation as new-agey (is that even a word? lol), but the benefits of focused relaxation are now scientifically proven! Meditation is not difficult, can be done almost anywhere and doesn’t cost any money…pretty good for something with such huge mental AND physical benefits.

The hard science has caught up: a comprehensive scientific study showing that deep relaxation changes our bodies on a genetic level has just been published. What researchers at Harvard Medical School discovered is that, in long-term practitioners of relaxation methods such as yoga and meditation, far more ”disease-fighting genes” were active, compared to those who practised no form of relaxation.

In particular, they found genes that protect from disorders such as pain, infertility, high blood pressure and even rheumatoid arthritis were switched on. The changes, say the researchers, were induced by what they call ”the relaxation effect”, a phenomenon that could be just as powerful as any medical drug but without the side effects. ”We found a range of disease-fighting genes were active in the relaxation practitioners that were not active in the control group,” Dr Herbert Benson, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, who led the research, says. The good news for the control group with the less-healthy genes is that the research didn’t stop there.

The experiment, which showed just how responsive genes are to behaviour, mood and environment, revealed that genes can switch on, just as easily as they switch off. ”Harvard researchers asked the control group to start practising relaxation methods every day,” says Jake Toby, hypnotherapist at London’s Body Mind Medicine Centre, who teaches clients how to induce the relaxation effect. ”After two months, their bodies began to change: the genes that help fight inflammation, kill diseased cells and protect the body from cancer all began to switch on.”

More encouraging still, the benefits of the relaxation effect were found to increase with regular practise: the more people practised relaxation methods such as meditation or deep breathing, the greater their chances of remaining free of arthritis and joint pain with stronger immunity, healthier hormone levels and lower blood pressure. Benson believes the research is pivotal because it shows how a person’s state of mind affects the body on a physical and genetic level. It might also explain why relaxation induced by meditation or repetitive mantras is considered to be a powerful remedy in traditions such as Ayurveda in India or Tibetan medicine.

But just how can relaxation have such wide-ranging and powerful effects? Research has described the negative effects of stress on the body. Linked to the release of the stress-hormones adrenalin and cortisol, stress raises the heart rate and blood pressure, weakens immunity and lowers fertility. By contrast, the state of relaxation is linked to higher levels of feel-good chemicals such as serotonin and to the growth hormone which repairs cells and tissue. Indeed, studies show that relaxation has virtually the opposite effect, lowering heart rate, boosting immunity and enabling the body to thrive.

”On a biological level, stress is linked to fight-flight and danger,” Dr Jane Flemming, a London GP, says. ”In survival mode, heart rate rises and blood pressure shoots up. Meanwhile muscles, preparing for danger, contract and tighten. And non-essential functions such as immunity and digestion go by the wayside.” Relaxation, on the other hand, is a state of rest, enjoyment and physical renewal. Free of danger, muscles can relax and food can be digested. The heart can slow and blood circulation flows freely to the body’s tissues, feeding it with nutrients and oxygen. This restful state is good for fertility, as the body is able to conserve the resources it needs to generate new life.

While relaxation techniques can be very different, their biological effects are essentially similar. ”When you relax, the parasympathetic nervous system switches on. That is linked to better digestion, memory and immunity, among other things,” Toby says. ”As long as you relax deeply, you’ll reap the rewards.” But, he warns, deep relaxation isn’t the sort of switching off you do relaxing with a cup of tea or lounging on the sofa.

”What you’re looking for is a state of deep relaxation where tension is released from the body on a physical level and your mind completely switches off,” he says. ”The effect won’t be achieved by lounging round in an everyday way, nor can you force yourself to relax. You can only really achieve it by learning a specific technique such as self-hypnosis, guided imagery or meditation.”  *(note- this is not as difficult as it may sound)*

7 Health Benefits of Deep Relaxation

The next time you tune out and switch off and let yourself melt, remind yourself of all the good work the relaxation effect is doing on your body. These are just some of the scientifically proven benefits …

1. INCREASED IMMUNITY

Relaxation appears to boost immunity in recovering cancer patients. A study at the Ohio State University found that progressive muscular relaxation, when practised daily, reduced the risk of breast cancer recurrence. In another study at Ohio State, a month of relaxation exercises boosted natural killer cells in the elderly, giving them a greater resistance to tumours and to viruses.

2. EMOTIONAL BALANCE

Emotional balance, means to be free of all the neurotic behavior that results from the existence of a tortured and traumatized ego. This is very hard to achieve fully, but meditation certainly is the way to cure such neurosis and unhealthy emotional states. As one’s consciousness is cleansed of emotionally soaked memories, not only does great freedom abound, but also great balance. As one’s responses then are not colored by the burdens one carries, but are instead true, direct and appropriate.

3. INCREASED FERTILITY

A study at the University of Western Australia found that women are more likely to conceive during periods when they are relaxed rather than stressed. A study at Trakya University, in Turkey, also found that stress reduces sperm count and motility, suggesting relaxation may also boost male fertility.

4. RELIEVES IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME

When patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome began practicing a relaxation meditation twice daily, their symptoms of bloating, diarrhea and constipation improved significantly. The meditation was so effective the researchers at the State University of New York recommended it as an effective treatment.

5. LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE

A study at Harvard Medical School found that meditation lowered blood pressure by making the body less responsive to stress hormones, in a similar way to blood pressure-lowering medication. Meanwhile a British Medical Journal report found that patients trained how to relax had significantly lower blood pressure.

6. ANTI-INFLAMMATORY

Stress leads to inflammation, a state linked to heart disease, arthritis, asthma and skin conditions such as psoriasis, say researchers at Emory University in the US. Relaxation can help prevent and treat such symptoms by switching off the stress response. In this way, one study at McGill University in Canada found that meditation clinically improved the symptoms of psoriasis.

7. CALMNESS

The simple difference between those who meditate and those who do not, is that for a meditative mind the thought occurs but is witnessed, while for an ordinary mind, the thought occurs and is the boss. So in both minds, an upsetting thought can occur, but for those who meditate it is just another thought, which is seen as such and is allowed to blossom and die, while in the ordinary mind the thought instigates a storm which rages on and on.

How to switch off stress

How can you use relaxation’s healing powers? Harvard researchers found that yoga, meditation and even repetitive prayer and mantras all induced the relaxation effect. ”The more regularly these techniques are practised, the more deeply rooted the benefits will be,” Jake Toby says. Try one or more of these techniques for 15 minutes once or twice a day.

Body Scan: Starting with your head and working down to your arms and feet, notice how you feel in your body. Taking in your head and neck, simply notice if you feel tense, relaxed, calm or anxious. See how much you can spread any sensations of softness and relaxation to areas of your body that feel tense. Once your reach your feet, work back up your body.

Breath Focus: Sit comfortably. Tune into your breath, follow the sensation of inhaling from your nose to abdomen and out again. Let tension go with each exhalation. When you notice your mind wandering, return to your breath.

Mantra Repetition: The relaxation response can be evoked by sitting quietly with eyes closed for 15 minutes twice a day, and mentally repeating a simple word or sound such as ”Om”.

Guided Imagery: Imagine a wonderfully relaxing light or a soothing waterfall washing away tension from your body and mind. Make your image vivid, imagining texture, colour and any fragrance as the image washes over you.

I’m off to focus on my breathing…have a great relaxed day!