While the five senses – vision, hearing, smell, taste and touch – are an important aspect of our physical being, they are equally significant on mental, emotional and spiritual levels, too.
Today we launch a five-part look at the senses, exploring in depth how each relates to all aspects of our existence, and our health. We’ll begin with the sense of sight.
While our vision is literally what we see with our eyes, we’ve given the concept much wider application. Creative people who can imagine things that don’t yet exist are “visionary,” “visual thinkers” or “big picture” people. People with highly developed intuition are described as having “clairvoyance,” which means “clear vision” in French.
One exercise to heighten our visual perception is to pick a point on the wall opposite from where you are sitting, and just focus on that spot. Deep breathe to move your awareness into a highly perceptive Alpha state, and start to concentrate on what you’re noticing with your peripheral vision. Don’t strain your eyes – just let them relax and start to register more and more of what’s happening on either side of you.
When we consciously focus on fine-tuning our sense of vision in this way, we simultaneously experience heightened awareness on both mental and spiritual levels, too. We start to notice more in general, and feel a deeper connection to everyone and everything. It’s just more proof of how powerfully our bodies, minds and spirits are intertwined.
A fascinating aspect of living in the here and now is that during our lifetime, so many concepts embraced by ancient spiritual disciplines are being verified by the scientific and medical communities. Key in some of this groundbreaking research is Candace B. Pert, Ph.D., a Research Professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C. She was featured in the movie, “What the Bleep Do We Know,” and also Bill Moyers’s book and PBS series Healing and the Mind. Several of Dr. Pert’s books and audio CDs are available in the Optimum Health Store and can be ordered by calling the store at 888-643-7867.
Just one of the fascinating concepts Dr. Pert proved is that the human brain is not the master controller science previously thought; rather, there are seven major concentrations of consciousness in the body that correspond to the ancient idea of seven chakras, or energy centers.
Our sense of sight is tied in to the third chakra, which is anchored in the solar plexus. The color associated with this chakra is yellow, and it resonates with the musical note E. The piano is the instrument linked to the third chakra.
While doing the peripheral vision exercise above might improve our sense of sight, applying the research of Dr. Pert and others may also have a positive effect on our mental and spiritual awareness. Wearing the color yellow, or having yellow objects around, vocally toning to the note of E and listening to piano music may all strengthen our vision, either literally or metaphorically. It may literally sharpen our eyesight, or make us more “visionary.”
Eating more yellow vegetables and fruits may also have a positive impact on the sense of sight, along with following the other healthy lifestyle habits taught at OHI.
Keeping your body, mind, and spirit in alignment is important for achieving good health. If you are looking for a holistic healing program, visit Optimum Health Institute in San Diego or Austin. We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health in 2013. Call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.
What began in 1861 as an effort to decorate the graves of Civil War soldiers has become a solemn and respected American tradition. Memorial Day, the last Monday of every May, is the date we set aside to honor all the military men and women who have died in service to our country. In the century and a half since that first observance, we have expanded the focus of Memorial Day to also honor living veterans, and those currently serving in the military.
In star-spangled ceremonies around the country, American flags are respectfully lowered to half-staff in the morning, then raised to their full height in the afternoon. The action honors the sacrifices of the dead, and symbolizes that the commitment to fight to protect our nation’s freedom lives on.
Besides celebrating American patriotism, this holiday invites us to focus on a core spiritual and social value – the act of Honoring. On Memorial Day in cemeteries around the nation, many families tenderly honor all loved ones in spirit, not just veterans, placing colorful flowers on headstones, sharing happy memories and offering prayers of thanks.
When we honor someone, we’re acknowledging our faith in something greater than us. We’re recognizing that meritorious service, sacrifice, personal integrity and morality are to be respected and appreciated. We experience how the act of honoring others can bring us a sense of connection, peace and sacred continuity that endures even beyond physical death.
Those upon whom we bestow honor inspire and motivate us, and receive our gratitude. We acknowledge their leadership and importance in our lives.
As we honor others, we bring honor to ourselves. The commendable things we recognize in our war heroes and role models become the very values we start to model in our own behavior. Noting the integrity and leadership in another both consciously and subconsciously shifts our focus to see those values in ourselves, too. Our gratitude and reverence for them becomes the lens through which we begin to see our own lives.
This Memorial Day, while we’re honoring those who have lead the way, we have an opportunity to simultaneously honor ourselves by making smart choices to honor our own bodies, minds and spirits. Why limit this elevated awareness to a single day? EVERY day is the perfect time to honor ourselves, and live in the optimum joy of a purposeful, spiritual connection.
Learning how to make that connection in your body, mind, and spirit is what we share at the Optimum Health Institute. Honor yourself in a transformative environment at our missions in San Diego or Austin. We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health in 2013. Call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.
Mother’s Day is always a time to reflect. When asked about the most inspiring thing their mother had ever told them, a group of professional men and woman shared a wide range of answers.
“Avoid starting battles,” a life coach said, and commented on how the sage advice had preserved family peace through the decades, and helped her get ahead in her career. “Everyone’s the same – you’re not special,” responded a psychiatrist. While the thought might at first appear disillusioning, the man shared how the concept spurred him on to achieve personal and professional success through hard work, rather than feeling entitled to things he hadn’t earned.
A minister’s mother had assured her daughter, “This, too, shall pass,” helping the woman navigate challenging events in her life with the knowledge that obstacles would eventually give way to grace. “Follow your heart” was a frequently quoted phrase, and “Life is not a race, it’s a dance,” was the heart-felt “Mom wisdom” that gave a spiritual teacher’s heart wings.
While nearly everyone interviewed had fond memories of how their mothers’ love and encouragement was the foundation of who they became in their life, a dermatologist’s mother perhaps summed it up the best.
“If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of anyone else,” her mom reminded her frequently throughout her childhood.
With those wise words indelibly etched on her heart, the woman practiced what mom preached through college, marriage, medical school, setting up a successful practice, and raising two exceptional kids. Even now, having passed the half-century mark, the vibrant, youthful and energetic woman is balancing her work and family life with caring for her own body, mind and spirit.
She prepares wholesome, balanced meals for her family, and doesn’t allow sugar or trans fats into the house. Multiple times during the week she stretches her body and mind in yoga classes. When the weather doesn’t allow a 15+-mile bike ride, she dances up a sweat in zumba class and works out on the weight machines.
Even her patients get the benefit of her mother’s “care for yourself” advice – besides treating their skin, she nourishes their spirit with her handouts on how to meditate and release stress. She realizes that the most valuable medical advice she can share is how to create a positive balance in life – just like her mom always told her.
Learn the tools for creating a healthy balance in your own life by detoxifying your body, quieting your mind and nourishing your spirit at the Optimum Health Institute. We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health in 2013. Find out more about the missions in San Diego and Austin, TX at www.optimumhealth.org . Call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.
Botanicals derived from pure, natural plant sources can offer a number of healing benefits without causing the irritation or side effects of synthetic chemicals found in common medications and personal care products. Tea tree oil is one type of versatile botanical with several uses that you might explore as you discover the holistic healing properties that plant sourced extracts can provide. Below is a closer look at the healing qualities of pure tea tree oil.
Where tea tree oil comes from
Tea tree oil, which also goes by the synonym tea tree essential oil, come from the plant known by the Latin botanical name of Melaleuca alternifolia. This evergreen tree which can also grow as a tall shrub is native to sunny and moist parts of Australia. Here tea tree oil has been a topical treatment for centuries, mainly because the tea tree plant is native to this part of the world and many are familiar with its healing properties. Many times you can find tea tree oil in personal care items such as lotions, shampoos, and due to the natural occurring antiseptic qualities found in this oil. However, Tea tree oil solutions common in stores today range in their concentration of the oil, and many uses only require a 5-10% solution of tea tree oil, as the oil is highly potent.
How to use tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is not intended to be ingested, and it should only be applied to the skin or used for therapeutic aromatherapy. Because tea tree oil is antibacterial and antiviral, it can be helpful in treating sinus infections, skin and nail infections, acne, and sore throats. Tea tree oil can be directly applied to the skin, nails, or hair; it can also be used in scented oil burners or be added to boiling hot water to create a soothing inhalation treatment.
Health benefits of use
The most common applications of tea tree oil utilize its antibiotic properties to fight skin infections that may be stubborn to respond to other treatments. Some studies have even shown tea tree oil to be effective in treating MRSA, which is a serious infection with a high resistance to antibiotics. Still, tea tree oil is gentle enough for use as an acne treatment on the delicate skin of the face. Tea tree oil products like, lip balm, body soap, essential oil and dental floss can be purchased at the OHI store. Call (888) 643-7867 and order some today!
If you are interested in exploring more natural healing methods to incorporate into your life, you might consider the holistic healing program at Optimum Health Institute, which consists of three week-long sessions. Each session builds upon the last using activities and philosophies from 24 ancient spiritual disciplines to promote healing of the body, mind, and spirit. To learn more about the classes included in the OHI program, visit our website or call us at (800) 993-4325 .
Commuting to work is a stressful task—particularly when you have more than 30 minutes of travel time to get to your job. Still, this burden is a necessary one, so you might consider making the experience less stressful while you are on the road. Numerous studies have linked long work commutes with increased risks of obesity, high blood pressure, and back pain, but there are some strategies you can use to reduce these risks and quiet your mind as you drive to work.
Clean your car
A clean, organized environment will help you feel more serene when you are on the road. Clutter in the car can cause distractions and be a source of unneeded anxiety, so remove any trash from your vehicle before you start driving. You might also keep a soothing air freshener in your car to help you feel relaxed and more comfortable.
Stretch before you drive
Being seated in a car is not ideal for your spine, because sitting down generates pressure in the lower back. Sitting for long periods is also bad for your circulation, so you should give your body some extra motion before you get in the car for your daily commute. Doing yoga or even taking a light morning jog or walk can provide your body with the liberating movement you need before being seated in one position during a long drive.
Put on calming music
Music can make a significant impact in reducing stress, especially if you stock your car with music that is lyrical, melodic, and soothing. Singing along with your music or chanting while you are in the car may also help you keep calm and positive even in the worst traffic.
If you want to learn more stress-relief and healthy living strategies to brighten your daily life, check out the holistic healing program at Optimum Health Institute . With activities drawn from 24 ancient spiritual principles taking place over three week-long sessions, our guests learn to quiet the mind, heal the body, and engage the spirit. To learn more about how the OHI program can enrich your life, call us at (800) 993-4325 or visit us online.
As you transition to a vibrant, primarily raw detoxifying diet through the guidance of Optimum Health Institute , you may begin to appreciate the incredible nutritional value of foods that you might have avoided in the past. Beets are one of the most powerful foods that you might begin to enjoy more often, and they have much more to offer than you might expect, given the generally negative reputation of this vegetable.
Not only do beets have significantly more iron per serving than green vegetables such as spinach, but they are also high in the phytonutrient betaine . This amazing antioxidant nutrient is integral to the detoxification process, because it helps to cleanse the liver, blood, and intestines of free radicals that might lead to cancer or early signs of aging. Beets are also exceptionally high in fiber, which aids in digestion; vitamin A, which promotes eye and bone health; vitamin C, which boosts immunity; and niacin, which counteracts bad cholesterol in the body. All of these nutritional qualities come in a tasty, colorful package with no fat and few calories.
Along with a huge nutritional contribution that can fuel your body, beets provide cleansing properties that can facilitate a transition to a healthier lifestyle. This quality is attributed to the alkalizing properties of beets. Many processed or unhealthy foods are acid-forming and somewhat toxic to the body. As an alkalizing food, beets have just the opposite effect when they are consumed on a regular basis.
Delicious Culinary Applications
Beets are a notoriously disliked vegetable, but there are many ways to try preparing them so that they are more palatable. In raw applications where beets are shredded or shaved, beets tend to be sweeter than when they are cooked, and they preserve more of the nutritional value that makes them so powerful. Juicing with beets and making beet chips through vegetable dehydration are also great ways to indulge in this health enhancing food.
If you want more information on the holistic healing program at Optimum Health Institute, contact us on our website or at (800) 993-4325. The OHI program consists of three week-long sessions that may be taken independently or consecutively. Building upon one another, these sessions utilize activities from 24 ancient spiritual disciplines to promote healing of the body, mind, and spirit.
Dare to be dazzled
April in Austin declares the spirit of renewal with wild exuberance. As you travel through the Texas countryside to your Optimum Health Institute healing retreat, the bright but delicate blooms of up to 5,000 species of wildflowers will dazzle you with a rainbow of colors.
Feast your eyes
The Texas Transportation Department sprinkles more than 30,000 pounds of seeds annually to ensure that the countryside is filled with a flowery feast for your eyes. In anticipation, enjoy photos of Firewheel, Crimson Clover, Winecup, Bluebonnet – the Texas State flower – and more.
Try Austin – and extend your healing
If you have stayed with us at OHI San Diego , you developed life-changing habits and achieved peace. Now you can deepen this experience in a smaller community, in daily contact with a caring staff and with more options for quiet time or contemplation while still interacting with other guests.
Reawaken the connections of body, mind and spirit
When you arrive at OHI Austin, the clean spring air will invigorate you, naturally elevating your mood with the fragrance and feel of nature’s renewal season. You’ll unwind from the cares of the world as you reflect and free your mind in our outdoor meditation areas. Closing your eyes as you rest on one of many outdoor benches, you’ll invite God to develop new patterns of body, mind, and spirit connections that will refresh and strengthen you from the inside out.
Expand your springtime stay in the area
Before or after your OHI renewal experience, consider the many attractions offered in and around Austin. Our favorites include:
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center , offers extensive gardens that display native plant species.
- Old Pecan Street Festival , May 4-5, is the largest arts and crafts festival in Central Texas and ranked as a Top 5 Austin event, based on attendance.
- Capital of Texas Triathlon , May 27, attracts tri-athletes from around the world and includes the USA Paratriathlon National Championship. All athletes start with a dip in Lady Bird Lake, then bike and run to a jammin’ finish and post-race festival.
- West Austin Studio Tour invites you to immerse yourself in local arts and business communities through tours, parties, workshops, juried art competitions and more.
OHI Austin is easy to get to
The peaceful OHI Austin experience, just 16 miles east of Austin, is 20 minutes by car from the Austin Bergstrom International Airport . Many major airlines , including Southwest , Jet Blue and United , offer direct flights and economical fares to Austin . Upon arrival you can either rent a car or hire the Austin Cab Company (512-663-6636) at a special OHI rate and arrive by taxi.
Message from the OHI Austin Team
We’re happy to welcome you to our Texas countryside. We invite you to take a new walk through a familiar program. You can still enjoy the body, mind and spirit program offered at OHI San Diego, but with a Texas flare. We encourage you to call now for more information or to book your reservation today.
Call us at (800) 993-4325 . It’ll be fun – cowboy boots optional!
Here’s a quick little daily exercise guaranteed to help you turn your life into a happier, healthier, more loving adventure. Every night before you fall asleep, think of the three most wonderful things that happened to you that day.
When you lock in even a few minutes each night to review the best moments of your day, you automatically begin to cultivate a constant “attitude of gratitude.” Instead of waking up thinking, “What can go wrong today?” you’re already focusing on what’s going to go right . It’s the positive things you’re consciously choosing to dwell on and remember – in fact, you’ll be actively looking for them for the next 12+ hours. Sure, other more challenging things will happen in the course of the day, but those won’t be the moments you’ll keep churning around in your mind. Instead, you’ll be anticipating, and then experiencing, a steady flow of things to feel grateful about – day after happy day.
The Greek philosopher Plato summed it up beautifully: “ A grateful mind is a great mind which eventually attracts to itself great things.” By being thankful for the good things you have, you’ll automatically attract more good things into your life.
Gratitude isn’t just a warm feeling – it’s considered the parent of all the spiritual virtues in Judeo-Christian tradition. Both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible are filled with verses encouraging the faithful to have grateful hearts, and express gratitude for their many blessings.
It’s also a key component of Native American spirituality. When the Wampanoag Indians at the First Thanksgiving presented the pilgrims with cornucopias of vegetables, they were actually illustrating the Law of Gratitude. They believed when people on earth thanked Great Spirit for their blessings, even before those blessings materialized, they were creating the sacred space for those blessings to come to them. The pointed tip of the woven cornucopia represented the place where Great Spirit dwelled. By expressing their gratitude to their Creator, the Indians felt they created an energetic cone that extended from Great Spirit down to them on Earth, and showered them with abundance, as evidenced by the “horn of plenty” brimming with food.
Gratitude does more than nurture the spirit – it has mental, emotional and even physical benefits.
Scientific studies have shown that grateful people are happier and more satisfied in both their personal and professional lives, have more positive relationships, and are quicker to forgive. They’re less stressed, jealous, depressed and anxious, and more likely to “not sweat the little things.”
Those who choose to feel and express gratitude in general experience greater psychological well-being over those who focus on the negative. This gives grateful people better ways of coping with challenges, and more ability to learn and grown from these experiences. They tend to have more self-respect and a greater sense of purpose in their lives, which fosters a more positive attitude.
The body also benefits from a conscious attitude of gratitude. Those who are more optimistic and grateful experience fewer sleep disorders, better immune function and even a healthier heart rate – all measurable side benefits of thankfulness.
Prove it to yourself, and tonight, review the three things for which you felt the most gratitude today. You’ll probably immediately experience a deeper, more restful sleep tonight, and eagerly start your day tomorrow on the lookout for still more positive things to reflect on tomorrow night.
It’s just another way to confirm that when your body, mind, and spirit are aligned, you can achieve good health. If you are looking for a holistic healing program, visit Optimum Health Institute (link to www.optimumhealth.org ) in San Diego or Austin, TX. We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health in 2013. Call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.
Here’s a quick exercise to prove why you need to pay attention to the things you put on your body. Take a clove of garlic, cut it in half, and rub the cut side against the bottom of your bare foot for about four seconds. Within 10 minutes, you will literally taste garlic in your mouth. Think of it this way – anything you put on your skin should be something safe to eat.
Unfortunately, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t quite see it that way. Under FDA regulations enacted back in the 1930s, unless a product contains artificial coloring, cosmetic companies have no legal requirement to either test their products for safety, or even disclose all ingredients on their labels. Even if something in a product is found to be harmful, product recalls are strictly voluntary. That means many of the creams, soaps, toothpastes, shampoos, cosmetics and other personal care products on store shelves contain toxic chemicals.
In an effort to help you make educated choices when you’re buying personal care products, Optimum Health Institute (OHI) has created a list of some of the most commonly used synthetic chemicals to avoid:
Triclosan is an antibacterial, antifungal chemical first used in hospitals as a surgical scrub in the early 1970s. This pesticide is now found in a wide range of consumer products including soaps, deodorants, cosmetics, cleansing lotions, toothpaste, plastics, and fabrics. It has been linked to skin irritation, liver toxicity and thyroid disruption. Triclosan is not effectively filtered out during wastewater treatment, and is being identified as a growing danger to the ecosystem in our lakes and rivers.
Phthalates are used as a plasticizer in some nail care products, and are also widely used as fixatives to hold fragrance. They are linked to endocrine disruption and reproductive toxicants. This chemical is already banned in Europe.
Formaldehyde is a carcinogen released by a number of cosmetic preservatives used in nail treatment, hair color and hair bleaching products. Look for DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine and quarternium-15.
Lead acetate is used in hair dyes . It is a known human reproductive and respiratory toxicant, a neurotoxin and a possible carcinogen.
Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) is used as a fragrance ingredient to mask undesirable odors. Besides bring a possible carcinogen and endocrine disruptor, it is also harmful to fish and other wildlife when it leeches into the lakes and rivers.
Sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate is used as a foaming agent and is a possible carcinogen.
Diethanolamine (DEA), Triethanolamine (TEA) are also foaming agents, and can cause allergic reactions, eye irritation, and dryness of the hair and skin. DEA and TEA are toxic if absorbed into the body over a long period of time, ?and are associated with cancer in lab animals.
Parabens (Methyl, Propyl, Butyl and Ethyl) are antibacterial and antifungal, and are widely used as preservatives in personal care products. They are suspected endocrine disrupters that may hurt male reproductive functions. They can cause allergic reactions and skin rashes, and have been found in human breast cancer tumors,
When your body, mind, and spirit are aligned, you can achieve good health. If you are looking for a holistic healing program to help you learn what to put on your body, and in it, visit Optimum Health Institute in San Diego or Austin. We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health in 2013. Call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.
“Quotes found on the internet are not always accurate.”
Are you laughing at that? Great! You’re literally doing your body good.
An Optimum Health Institute (OHI) guest shared the story of how, when she was stricken with a brain aneurysm, despite her pain she was able to joke with her neurologist that she knew “It was all in her head.” He later told her he was positive that the only reason she survived was because of her bizarre sense of humor. By being able to laugh in the face of a life-threatening event, she could maintain a healthy balance in her body, mind and spirit, making her surgery and complete recovery come off without a hitch.
It’s a medically proven fact – laughter really is the best medicine. A good laugh loosens up the whole body, relieving physical tension and stress and leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes. It effectively massages the diaphragm, thorax, abdomen, heart, lungs and even the liver.
It boosts the immune system by decreasing stress hormones and increasing immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. That can mean less pain, and quicker healing times.
Laughter protects the heart by improving the function of blood vessels and increasing blood flow. It’s not just a great tonic for individuals — laughter brings groups together in a positive, fun way, resolving conflicts and energizing everyone while establishing a strong connection. It’s the quickest way to bring your body, mind and spirit into healthy balance.
While documented evidence of using laughter to heal goes all the way back to the 13th century, in contemporary times, former Saturday Review editor Norman Cousins is credited with bringing the concept into mainstream consciousness. According to the story, Mr. Cousins cured himself of a progressive illness with a self-invented regimen of laughter and vitamins. His writings on the topic sparked interest in laughter therapy, and the funny idea took off.
The power of laughter to heal is now so respected that Laughter Yoga classes are gaining in popularity, and hospitals across the nation are incorporating both formal and informal laughter therapy into their therapeutic regimes. Even the pentagon is using it to help military families, training “laugh leaders” to help families use laughter as a stress releaser.
A funny thing about laughter therapy — the brain can’t tell if we’re laughing for real or using “forced laughter,” where we intentionally start to make “ha-ha-ha” sounds and gradually turn up the intensity. Whether we just watched a YouTube video of a cat chasing a bear up a tree, or we’re “faking” our laughter, our body immediately starts to squirt out the good chemicals that calm us down, lower that blood pressure, relax our muscles and all the other positive benefits a great belly laugh delivers.
When you regularly camp out with some favorite movie comedies, challenge the kids to a squirt gun battle or just intentionally make yourself laugh, you’re wisely including some very healing “funny business” in your life.
Keeping your body, mind, and spirit in alignment is important for achieving good health. If you are looking for a holistic healing program, and a lot of good laughs, visit Optimum Health Institute in San Diego or Austin. We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health in 2013. Call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.