Dr. Susanne provides natural remedies, recipes and much more so that you can effectively fight infection, avoid sickness and keep your body as healthy as possible.
In this week's edition, Dr. Susanne shares her relaxation techniques.
Learn five different ways to relax your mind, body and spirit... all in 30 minutes or less.
RadioMD Presents: Wellness for Life Radio | Original Air Date: May 29, 2015
Host: Susanne Bennett, DC
It’s time to feel better with help from Dr. Susanne Bennett. Allergies, nutrition, ultimate wellness all discussed right here, right now. It’s wellness for life radio on RadioMD. Here is your host, Dr. Susanne.
DR. SUSANNE: Our lives are so stressful these days. There is just not enough time for much self-nurturing behavior out there. Going to restorative yoga classes, sitting still, deep breathing for 30 minutes or chanting mantras may not be right for you. Maybe you need a little relaxation technique that is a bit more spontaneous. My workday is quite hectic but I still try to spend 20 minutes or so each day on some mind/body self-care. A quick reconnect with nature, the outdoors, can often do the trick for me. And it doesn’t cost a thing. A side benefit is getting just the right amount of my daily Vitamin D. Today on Nature Secrets, I’m going to share five simple but powerful strategies I have found that can really make a difference in relaxing your mind, body and spirit.
Number one – what is earthing? In my book, The 7 Day Allergy Make-Over in chapter seven, it’s all about cleaning up your stress and I talk about earthing. Something called Vitamin G. Vitamin G-- for grounding-- refers to the process of bringing the human body in direct contact with a negative electrical charge of the earth’s surface and its inherent energy. Our ancestors spend every moment of their lives barefoot and laying down and connecting to earth and nature. Our bodies adapted to receive electrical charge from the earth and it remains beneficial to our well-being and sense of belonging and place. Yes, many years ago we all walked around barefoot in soil, right? People were much more apt to physically connect to earth in the past. But nowadays, what do we do? We’re insulated from earth’s energy in cement buildings, paved streets, cars and definitely less open space in our neighborhoods. We walk around in plastic shoes, synthetic socks, fully clothed, wearing sunglasses and having sunscreen all over body. That can leave us disconnected and anxious. Why do we need this? Why does it matter? Researchers believe that connecting with natural energy and earth’s ground can actually help neutralize some of the free radicals in our body and also help us reduce our cortisol level, inflammation, stress and pain. That means we improve our sleep. So, how do we get more vitamin G? Spend 20-30 minutes walking barefoot on the ground, grass or beach. You will improve your stress level, relax your body and improve your overall health. You’re going to say to me, I know some of you will say, “I can’t get outside during my lunch hour. I can be indoors between 8am and 8pm.” There is no way that you are going to be able to go out. What do I do? Anytime I go to these big conferences I actually carry and take my river rocks. I actually put them on the ground in my hotel room and I walk on these river rocks. These are just natural stones with is obviously an earth element. It helps stimulate my acupuncture points under my feet. Also, it helps with these natural elements of earth. I would say just go to the garden store and you can get these river rocks and you can carry them when you travel.
Number two that will help you relax is essential oils. I love essential oils because these are high concentrated oils that you can put on your body and it will actually help relax your nervous system. When you breathe in these oils it goes in through the nose, up into the brain where there are receptors. Receptors in the limbic system that will calm your emotional pathways. There are also essential oils that can cause stimulating factors but today we are talking about relaxing. What is my favorite? It’s lavender scent. Lavender--it can help you distress your body and is really nice for sleeping, doing it before you got to sleep. What you want to do is make sure that if you do it directly with essential oils, you’re going to get organic. Often, some people are sensitive to the direct essential oils because they are super powerful. So, make sure that you can dilute it by using a carrier oil, such as almond or jojoba oil. Add just a few drops of that essential oil – you can rub it on your neck, or right on your temples. You can even use a diffuser and make your whole environment – What I do is, I actually have a little sachet next to my bed so I smell it before I go to sleep and it really helps me create a relaxing experience. You can also use it for massage. Take it to your massage therapist and add that extra little lavender to her oil. And again - remember you want to be sure that you use organic out there.
Number three way of naturally relaxing – well, forest bathing. Shinrin-yoku is the name given for the Japanese art of forest bathing. This is mindfulness walking through the woods that reconnect the individual with nature and can help you de-stress, elevate your mood and strengthen your immune system. This is one of my favorite things to do. What do you do? You go on a walk or you can sit within the forest and just really use your senses around. You can see the beautiful colors of the trees and the plants, smell and sounds that you consciously focus on elements within the forest setting. They have found in one study that the forest bathers had an increased number of natural killer cells. What are those? It’s really natural killer cells that can fight against viruses and even cancer cells. They thought that from the research that there is an actual chemical that comes out, an essential oil that is called phytoncide which is found in many forest trees. They think this is a natural way of fighting against bugs, but also can reduce cancer cells. It is also super relaxing so that you can reduce your cortisol level. Twenty minutes is all you need to rejuvenate your body and stimulate your immune system. But again, some people don’t have access to a forest. What do you do? What I say is go find a natural garden store. I have even gone to garden stores. You can find that or a garden museum. Here in Los Angeles, we have the Huntington Botanical Gardens – so beautiful. Another place you can go is just a basic park where you can take your child and sit on the grass and hang out under a tree. Hug that tree. That is a way of connecting to the earth’s energy and elements so that you can absorb some of that beauty and recognize that you are really just part of earth’s energy. You and the plants, and even the animals around can connect.
What’s next? Number four is oxygenate. The best way to relax is you need to do the four-six breathing rule. That’s my way of oxygenation. The more you oxygenation the less you feel stress. When you breathe too fast , you lose your oxygen, too, and you end up having anxiety. You increase anxiety, right? So, breathe four to six seconds – what I mean by that is inhale four seconds through the nose, exhale six seconds out through the nose. Do that that for ten minutes. You will see – maybe within two minutes – you’ll break the cycle of anxiety and panic and you’ll start to relax your body.
After all of this, what is my last tip – to relax your mind, body and spirit – to appreciate. We want to appreciate the moments that we have in our lives. A brief remembrance of love, compassion, and gratitude into your thoughts. Connect and be thankful of what you’ve got at this moment. Just doing that for a few minutes each day, give yourself a little relaxation, you’ll start to feel great from the inside out. All of these five different forms of meditation or relaxation you can use every single day. It doesn’t take long and within 20 minutes – even 10 minutes - I find that it works beautifully.
Until then, this is Dr. Susanne. Thank you so much for this opportunity to serve you. I’m here to make you feel awesome and be your best you can be. Until then, this is Dr. Susanne on RadioMD. Stay well.