Rouge National Urban Park in Toronto
One of the most underrated forms of healing is… just outside our homes. Highly regarded by the Japanese, shinrin-yoku or forest bathing restores energy to urban burnout by taking in the atmosphere of our natural surroundings. There are many scientific studies, like this one, on the plausible mechanisms to boost health that I encourage you to read if interested.
Some Benefits Include:
Forest Bathing as a Sensory Healing Therapy
Who can feel stress with a quiet atmosphere, fresh, crispy air and a gorgeous landscape? Forest bathing isn’t simply hiking, you are slowing down to contemplate and becoming mindful with each step. You are being encouraged to absorb the forest with all your senses. Could you focus on the river running freely? How about feel the soil underneath your feet? What does the fresh dew smell like? When you absorb your consciousness of the forest in a meaningful way, you develop a deeper relationship with your inner selves. If you walk with others, the bond between everyone becomes stronger and more connected. The environment of the forest shapes you to take your time, to breathe and be calm, and to inspire a greater sense of well-being.
How to Forest Bathe
Plan where you want to visit. Leave your phone and other electronic devices at home. Take your time in slowing down as you allow yourself to wander through the forest, resting at spots that call to you. Use all your senses to explore and connect with your breathe and movement, and soon you will feel how forest bathing and nature are powerful to our souls.
Sometimes forest bathing can be guided with a forest therapy specialist who makes a plan. I am not a forest therapist, but I have created a forest bathing meditation for your enjoyment:
8 Minute Guided Forest Bathing Meditation for Inner Focus and Relaxation
Wow! This is dairy-free, vegan, guilt-free and simple dessert I've ever made: frozen banana + cocoa powder. That's it. Bananas contain prebiotic fibre to increase gut bacteria, reduce bloating and moderating blood sugar levels. Cocoa powder contains more antioxidants than green tea or red wine, reduces risk for diabetes/heart disease and stroke and has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect. Guilt-free and dairy-free, I'd suggest using a food processor or a high-end blender.
- 2 frozen bananas (freeze ripened bananas without skin prior for at least 2 hours)
- 2-3 tbsp cocoa powder
1) Break bananas in half or quarters and place in food processor/blender and pulse until smooth.
2) Add cocoa powder and blend together until mixed. Keep scraping down sides. Enjoy!
Serve immediately for "soft serve" as shown in the photo. I personally preferred this consistency. You can also freeze this batch for an hour to firm it.
Add extra toppings (optional) to change the flavours
- berries or other fruit (mango in photo)
- nuts/coconut flakes (roasted, candied, etc.) or nut butter into the food processor/blender
- dark chocolate bits or cao cao nibs
- cookie chunks or brownie pieces
Coping with a lockdown had shifted us internally. Our habits and routines have shaken us to adapt to this new abnormal circumstance. Living with your family, significant other, roommates or solely yourself could be a blessing together or a strained situation. Instead of seeing each other in person, we temporarily need to rely on technology to connect by expressing caring and concern. Some days may feel fine, while others are a struggle. I may not know the extent of your individual situation, but I do want to say you are doing the best you can. I am sharing some checklists to help you with solutions in all areas of your health.
Physical Health Checklist:
Mental Health Checklist:
Emotional/Spiritual Health Checklist:
Gluten-free, vegan, asian flavour inspired!
Who knew cauliflower rice could be a healthy substitute to regular rice? Cauliflower lends to a neutral taste, where it soaks up all the flavours beautifully while being low in carbs. "Ricing up" cauliflower in a food processor can be messy, and riced cauliflower can be also bought in a grocery store in the frozen section.
- medium head of cauliflower
- small 1 inch ginger chopped finely
- 2 cloves garlic chopped finely
- 1-2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
- sprinkle of pepper
- peas (or other stir fry veggies: bok choi, carrots, celery, scallion)
- 2 clementines peeled and separated
- handful of black sesame seeds
1) Wash, de-core and chop cauliflower into small pieces and place into a food processor and pulse until it is the texture of rice.
2) Heat up a wok or large pan with cooking oil. Saute garlic and ginger on low heat.
3) Add riced cauliflower, and saute on medium-high until crispy for around 4 minutes. Add tamari/soy sauce, pepper, peas or other stir fry veggies of choice and cook together for another 3-5 minutes.
4) Turn off heat and add the clementines and black sesame seeds.
5) Feel good that you added more veggies to your diet and enjoy!
This is my personal anecdote, and I am forever grateful.
Reiki cut through all the defenses. Honestly... This energy healing was the most straightforward. As I kept practicing, the process started quieting my overactive, mentally, crazy brain to experiencing my deepest felt sense of my heart. I felt absolute presence of warmth and safety. As insecurities and anxieties were bubbling up to the surface, they were met with patience and understanding. Reiki was profound in uncovering all those dense, emotional layers to discovering a deeper sense of who I am. A new type of vulnerability began to open. An invitation that required more honesty and clarity in my own intimate (in-to-me-I-see) relationship to self.
Cultivating the importance of self-expression meant speaking up without fear, empowering what I value in myself and others, and feeling a belonging to the world for once. When you can express who you are without obstacles, whether it be physical, emotional, mental or spiritual, you become free. Reiki worked amazingly on my inner world and awareness.
Reiki expanded to teaching the relationship between body and mind. Mindset makes a huge impact. I used to feel that my body and mind were disconnected from my heart, and both overwhelmingly screaming for attention. "I'm hurting!" "No, I'm stressed out more!"
But all they really needed was to be integrated... Loved... Accepted as part of me. I need to honour all the messages they are trying to share. When I'm in any pain, I used to neglect and ignore it, and go about my day. Now, I'm asking my body deeply what she needs for compassionate self-care. I'm listening, letting go of what does not serve me and being patient. Healing encompasses your individual growth to your body, emotions and spirit. Everything is connected, and interwoven as a holistic entity to guide us in life.
I'm continually working on relationships between my body-mind. Healing is beautiful and messy, and I'm no where near perfect. Healing is also accepting where you are at, sometimes not moving forward. Perhaps in your healing story, your relationship to self, you've been stuck at times too. There will be rough days, but I assure you, be as present in your own body to allow your emotions and pain to be worked through. Support will always be around you, whether you know it or not, don't be afraid to ask. I invite you to discover your emotional wellness and growth. When you take courage to look within, you also give courage to become more of yourself.
Diffusing is a gentle and safe method to relieve colds. It works through inhalation, where it allows your lungs to absorb essential oils, affecting the brain and releasing neuro-chemicals to fight colds. Most essential oils are antiseptic, antibacterial, and disinfectant. These qualities possess a great effect in shaking up our environment, and therefore altering the internal vibration of viruses and illness.
I highly suggest purchasing a cold diffuser from a reputable store, or placing a small saucer of cold water near a vent. Never place essential oils under a flame or hot element. Essential oils are highly volatile and flammable, and they will oxidize and be rendered useless. Place 5-7 drops of essential oil(s) in a diffuser or small saucer (a blend of 2 or 3 may be used if desired). Here are some cold warrior essential oils:
When I started training in reiki and energy healing, I was open but skeptical . How could energy healing have such an effect without any apparent physical manipulation? Is this a woo woo placebo effect?
After receiving my first treatment from a fellow classmate, I did feel a shift. I felt more awareness of my body and the tension had melted away. Mental and emotional clarity and freedom began to open up in extraordinary ways. Reiki felt so personal and profound.
Reiki isn’t all that different from the mainstream modalities such as meditation, psychotherapy, yoga. It’s highly individual and experiential where your wholeness is being invited to transform. They may seem obscure as progress doesn’t always seem linear, but breakthroughs may happen and your outlook shifts positively.
Still, my curiosity thirsted to know the “science”. Without further ado, here are a few studies and explanations:
Reiki can be measured in its electrical and magnetic qualities.
One of the most renowned academic scientists, Dr. James Oschman studied energy medicine in great detail by measuring the electromagnetic field surrounding the human body. This is possible through the Ampere’s law, where an electrical current can flow through wires or even the human body to produce a magnetic field. Since the brain, heart, muscles and organs produce electricity, the magnetic field or biomagnetic field around the human body can be produced.
Therefore, Dr. Oschman continues to state that reiki and other healing energies have been measured to produce extremely low frequencies. This means the pulsating energy from the hands of a reiki or energy healer are within the same range of frequencies to instigate repair in living tissue. According to documentation, nerve regeneration requires 2 cycles per second (Hz), 7 Hz for bone growth, 10 Hz for ligament repair and 15 Hz for capillary formation. Reiki therapists emit a range from 0.3 to 30 Hz, and the most frequent frequency is around 7 Hz. This is the same frequency approved by the FDA for the PEMF device to encourage bone growth.
Reiki works through a result of physical processes and not from a placebo effect.
Krinsley D. Bengston, a professor at the Queen’s College of the City University of New York, took five mice with mammary adenocarcinoma and treated them with energy healing for an hour a day for 30 days. After 10 days, the treated mice became healthy and lived a normal lifespan. The other control mice who did not receive energy healing all died within the expected time frame.
Whether reiki is a placebo effect has also been tested on humans. In 2004, researchers in Scotland split a group of forty-five participants to three treatment groups: 1) Group receiving reiki from an experienced practitioner; 2) Placebo group receiving a mock treatment from someone with no Reiki training; 3) Control group with no treatment. The reiki group had a significant drop in heart rate and diastolic blood pressure compared to the other groups.
Becoming “one” with reiki happens through entrainment.
Imagine entrainment like a shop full of clocks. One clock has the most dominant energy with a strong tick tock going. This strong tick tock will pull the other clocks to automatically sync up to the same rhythm.
Researcher Robert C. Beck studied brain waves of healing therapists and he discovered that they all registered brain wave activity in the alpha state from around 7.8 to 8.0 Hz. This state begins to synchronize and align with the earth’s magnetic field at 7.83Hz.
Some scientists believe that when living things become in sync or entrained with the earth’s rhythm, they begin to go back into balance and heal. Being out in mother nature is nurturing and healing.
When you apply entrainment between a healing therapist and client, at first, their energies are oscillating at different frequencies. As an energy healing is conducted, the therapist’s vibrations has a positive and strong influence to affect or entrain the client’s vibrations to become more in harmony. Therefore, this entrainment brings a positive shift in healing and well-being. Your body naturally wants to heal, and your healer is just the catalyst.
Of course feelings of love and compassion contribute to healing!
As mentioned in my previous article, the Heartmath Institute have conducted numerous studies on the heart and how it contributes to our health with beneficial effects to ourselves and radiating outward to our own community and beyond. Healing practitioners communicate this caring through touch and increasing their compassionate feelings. Physical touch and feeling cared for in a safe environment enables us let go of tension and become more aware of our true selves, while amplifying the electromagnetic fields.
I am thankful for the growing number of scientists and doctors who are daring to explore and research more into reiki and energy healing. It helps Reiki to become better understood and accepted as a viable modality for many health conditions at various hospitals and hospices as well!
Reiki is better Than Placebo and Has Broad Potential as a Complementary Health Therapy by David E. McManus, PhD.
Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis by James L. Oschman
Reiki: A Comprehensive Guide by Pamela Miles
Duration to prepare: 10 minutes
Total time: 30-40 minutes
Here's a great way to use your ripe banana featuring chia seeds in a healthy dessert! Chia seeds are the powerhouses of nutrition! They contain ample amounts of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, protein with essential minerals and antioxidants. Chia seeds greatly aid digestion, while preventing against heart disease and diabetes. They are so easy to sprinkle on salads, smoothies, oatmeal and dessert!
- 3 tbs of chia seeds
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 2 tbs cocoa powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1) Mash up your banana with a fork into a bowl or container and add your chia seeds.
2) Add the rest of your ingredients and stir everything together.
3) Store in fridge for 30 minutes or more until the chia seeds start to expand with the liquid. Enjoy!
Happy Valentine’s Day! Today could be thought as a celebration of love and affection to significant others, friends and family. Valentine’s Day evokes the vision of love and the deeply felt, energy of the heart. Expressions such as “follow your heart”, “have a heart to heart talk” and even “know it by heart” illustrate how much the heart drives meaning and passion.
The heart is the first organ that is formed when we are developing in the womb, and it connects our physiology with our spirituality. In other words, the heart is the gateway between the physical (as it communicates with the brain) and the non-physical (expression of love and desires in life). The heart is the soul of our emotional intelligence. The purity of love has the power to lift up others and it also shares great intuitive wisdom in life decisions when we bypass “overthinking”.
The HeartMath Institute have conducted numerous scientific studies on the heart and how its energy affects ourselves and those around us:
As a gift for this Valentine’s Day, please enjoy this guided heart-centred meditation audio. Credits for the relaxing music goes to Bensound.
The heart energy is infinite and expansive. For a quick version of this meditation, simply place your hands over your heart. Breathe slowly and deeply to send that intention and focus through your heart to feel love and warmth.
Duration: 30 minutes approximately
Here's a quick and healthy meal that will fill up your tummies while giving you protein and energy! The ingredients balance each other nicely, while the parsley adds a fresh flavour and texture to the mix. I've found lemon and tamari complement each other well, and I've even used this pairing in creating pasta dishes.
- 1 whole swiss chard
- 1 parsley
- 1-2 medium tomatoes
- 1 medium onion
- 2 cans of red beans
- 1/2 squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp basil
- 2 tablespoons of tamari or soya sauce
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
1) Cut and wash swiss chard, tomatoes, onions, parsley into bite sized chunks.
2) Add oil to large pot and heat up to medium heat.
3) Add tomatoes and onions and stir for 2 minutes. Then add swiss chard, lemon juice, basil and tamari sauce until swiss chard is wilted.
4) Add the parsley and beans and stir for another minute. Turn off the stove and serve.
Alana Chin Lue
I am a holistic health and reiki practitioner finding inspiration and wisdom through personal development, health and wellness, spirituality and life.