Many of our mental & emotional problems play out in the body, and anxiety is no exception. Our minds can be easily overwhelmed, so before that happens, our body tends to pick up the slack. This "two-way street” is possible because our bodies (brain included) represent an incredibly complex & interconnected system. You can think of the body as storing life's experiences (good, bad, and ugly) on a day-to-day basis just like the brain stores memories. Though most of us think, analyze, and spend most of our conscious time “in our heads”, the body is still doing its job of storing experiences, including anxiety. This means that anxiety can be best treated with mentally healthy habits, physically healthy ones, and complementary therapies that support your mind and your body balance.
First let's consider how this sort of issue actually shows up. When anxiety or stress persists for too long, it tends to be “sent” to various locations in the body to be stored, and this can trigger more anxiety. Here are a couple of broad examples:
As unpleasant as these experiences may be, they reflect a truth about how we work: the human body is an advanced and highly intelligent unit, so much so that we’re not even aware of it unless something is actually hurting. The body uses symptoms as part of an intelligent reaction to its external and internal circumstances in order to regain balance (e.g. - shivering in the cold, sweating in the heat). I encourage you to think of anxiety as less of a problem and more of a symptom or signal that is putting you on notice. It is your vital force’s best expression of its fight to get you back into balanced health - mental, physical & emotional. The best way to heal that anxiety comes from recognising this, and supporting that response and that balance.
Being aware of this, what can you do? A good place to start is by Improving your diet, being sure you get enough “good fats” such as those in avocados & certain nuts, more fruits and vegetables (organic is best), and less refined sugar and processed foods. If you’re just starting out on the healthy living journey, consider this as a guide next time you are shopping: check out the ingredients list on the back of a food or cosmetic product — if it has more than 5 ingredients, or anything you can’t pronounce, it’s probably something that shouldn’t go in or on your body! Taking a high quality multivitamin and magnesium supplement (citrate or glycinate, not oxide) will also do wonders for anxiety symptoms. This nutritional support helps your body to clear out toxins and support the health of your mind.
Supportive therapies assist this process greatly. Besides talk therapy like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and other brain-centered methods, you can also tackle anxiety by talking to and getting to know your body. Gently releasing & resetting the complex muscle, nerve & sensory connections in the body is what we do with the Emmett Technique.
The Emmett Technique is a gentle, non-threatening, non-invasive means of resetting your body’s balance points. An Emmett therapist can be compared to a body electrician, resetting your body’s circuitry & firing patterns, instantly sending healing messages back and forth between the brain and body along your nervous system that then release the anxiety, whether it’s in the form of a chronically tight or restricted muscle, pinched nerve, repetitive strain injury, or other symptom. This clears away disturbances that help you feel and function better - often within just one session.
Receiving a session of Emmett therapy is one of the best and easiest ways to see improvements in one’s physical and mental state. It can help with problems ranging from anxiety and chronic pain to range-of-motion issues and neuropathy. If you have further questions about this topic, feel free to contact me or read more elsewhere on this site. You can schedule an appointment for an Emmett session with me by calling 0473 661 285 in Australia, or if you are not in the Camden/Sydney area, you can find can find a list of Emmett Technique practitioners worldwide at the link.
Warning About Preservatives and Other Synthetic Additives in Skin Care Products
The number of ads for commercial skin care products is constantly increasing, with more and more people using and buying these types of products. However, can these products be counted on to support your health? All the ingredients are legally required to be present on the labels of these products, but the reality is that not many people take a close look at them, and even fewer actually understand what they mean. Looking at labels like the one above, it’s easy to understand why: Most of these ingredients are hard to even pronounce, much less understand! But this label is from a common and popular product, Olay's Age Defying Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream. Since all of the listed ingredients are meant to go on your face, it's worth learning more about what it is!
This article is the first in an ongoing series where I highlight some of the common synthetic additives and other toxic substances found in modern skin care products. The goal here is to help you encourage your own health by helping you getto know your products!
All parabens are used as preservatives. They were typically considered to be among the best ones because they usually don’t lead to allergic reactions. However, numerous scientific studies have confirmed that there is a link between the use of parabens, especially propylparaben, and breast cancer. Many countries have already banned this substance.
2. PEG-100 Stearate
PEG(Polyethylene glycol)–100 Stearate is a petroleum-based primary ingredient in many cosmetic and skincare products like sunscreens, moisturizers, body cleansers, conditioners, etc. Its main purpose in these products is to act as a softener, moisture-carrier, emulsifier, and thickener, which is why it often helps form the base for skincare creams. It’s created when a fatty acid known as stearic acid is modified in order to help bind water and oil soluble ingredients together in the products so that they don’t separate. Though PEG-100 Stearate itself appears to be safe, there are growing concerns about its use in commercial skin preparations because of a number of contaminants that often are present within it that often have been linked with cancer, central nervous system issues, and other health conditions as well.
3. Behenyl alcohol
Behenyl alcohol is a type of fatty alcohol. It is used in many different products, but more recently has become quite popular in the skin care industry. This alcohol is used as an emollient. Manufacturers also use it to improve the texture of their products. Although it is not very dangerous, frequent use of products that contain behenyl alcohol can lead to skin irritations.
You might be wondering why manufacturers add preservatives and other synthetic additives at all. The main reasons include to make the product’s final texture more appealing, to mix the main ingredients (which often don’t mix well otherwise, like oil & water), to prevent bacterial overgrowth in the products, and in the case of preservatives, to extend their shelf life.
As such, these toxic products can be found in commercial lotions, sunscreens, creams, mascaras, powders, shades and many other cosmetic products. These synthetic additives and preservatives can lead to a variety of adverse symptoms and health problems like nausea, redness, vomiting, kidney problems, dermatitis, headaches, hormonal imbalances, and in the long run even cancer…and all this from ingredients that were added on purpose, to say nothing of accidental additives, like toxic metal contaminants that can penetrate the body through the skin. Certain products are more likely to contain certain contaminants. Mascaras and eye shades for instance often contain arsenic, eyeliners often contain cadmium, and lipsticks can contain traces of lead, etc.
Most people buy their products under an implicit assumption - that because it is present on a store shelf that it is safe. Unfortunately that is simply not true. For a variety of reasons, the structures and organizations that perhaps should be protecting us from unsafe ingredients or unethical business practices are failing. This leaves us wide open to negative health consequences if we are not careful and conscientious about what we expose our bodies to. It can sometimes feel overwhelming, but if you’re reading this, that means you are studying up on the issues and taking your health into your own hands, and you are on the right path for you and your family.
Fortunately there ARE alternatives to using toxic synthetic products, from truly natural skin care lines to creating your own solutions with natural (and often more effective) products at home. You can read more about natural skin solutions in other articles on this site.
You can always email me an ingredient label from one of your products - anything from hand washes to skin cream, and I will endeavour to answer whether it is healthy in this article series.
We’ve all heard of essential oils, and this article will give you a list of common uses for them. Before that though, to catch readers up to speed: essential oils are natural products of the plants they take their names from – concentrated oils which, in the simplest terms, distill the “essence” of the plant into a liquid.
The reason we’ve talked about the creation of essential oils is because understanding what they are makes understanding what to do with them intuitive – they are a concentrated form of the plant, and so you need much less essential oil to achieve the same benefits you would using the plant itself. Without further pause, let’s talk about some of the uses of essential oils.
Essential oils are often inhaled for their varied health benefits. Some essential oils are ‘burned’ with the intention of soothing the atmosphere – such as jasmine or lavender, and some are intended to have the opposite effect, such as cinnamon and/or cardamom. To use essential oils for this purpose, you don’t directly “burn” the oil – you put it into an essential oil diffuser (I personally use the Aroma Dot in my bedroom), or mix it with a bit of carrier oil such as coconut oil and place it in a non-flammable dish above a candle. This will mean that the oils will evaporate into the atmosphere, leaving their scent in the room, working as an insect repellent, or just used to make a room smell unique and pleasant.
As a bath/shower enhancer
You can also use essential oils for baths. Many essential oils are good for the skin, or can be absorbed through the skin for maximum benefit. To do this, use your essential oil as you would a bubble-bath mixture; simply pour a few drops of the oil into your bathtub before you run the bath. When the water runs, your oil will mix with it.
Within creams, perfumes, as a chemical replacement
Just like carrier oils, you can buy organic or natural creams that work as a carrier-cream, if you like. These carrier creams facilitate the absorption of your essential oil when mixed. This makes for a health and beauty regime that you can decide for yourself; unlike buying store-bought chemical concoctions which contain chemicals whose origins you don’t know of.
As a massage oil
Another use for essential oils is as a massage oil. Again, with a carrier oil, you can use essential oils to relax your body and to enhance the effects of a massage. These massages, also called aromatherapy massages, are a great time to use essential oils because your body is being manipulated – and so your skin will absorb more, and your blood flow will be optimal as your body sends hormones to deal with the manipulation caused by the massage.
As a scrub
In the same way that you use a cream as we’ve talked about above, you can use essential oils in combination with gentle salts such as sea salt or epsom salt, jojoba beads, or sugar, and a carrier oil, to create a scrub to give your shower time a whole new feel. When you exfoliate using the salts, sugar, etc, dead skin cells are removed and cell turnover is enhanced, helping to prevent signs of aging and promote healthy skin without all the harmful chemicals in cosmetic ingredients and most commercial skin care products.
There are many ways in which essential oils can be effectively utilized to promote your health and well-being. In an aromatherapy massage session with a skilled healer, you can experience some of these benefits firsthand, along with expert guidance tailored to your individual needs and preferences.
One of the things I love about the Emmett Technique/Therapy is that it provides instant results. It turned out that I needed that myself after I came to Brisbane, Australia.
The morning of June 14, I woke to a sharp pain in my left shoulder. I probably just slept wrong that night, but when I've had such pains before, I found that the shoulder pain would sometimes spread out quickly to the rest of my back. In fact, when it first happened to me, I was just getting out of a car going shopping, felt the pang in my shoulder, but then within a few minutes of that I was largely incapacitated by the intense pain - my entire back had seized up. It took me two-three weeks to recover and a LOT of Codeine and Nurofen, unfortunately. That experience happened several times until I had my first Emmett therapy session, which managed to take care of the problem. But the previous night, I was sleeping in an unfamiliar and uncomfortable hotel bed and I think that's what lead to the recurrence. It worried me also because I had a flight from Australia to Paris the next morning (actually two 12-hour flights in a row) and didn't know how I'd be able sit down for that long. Fortunately, that was also the morning of my Emmett Client Clinic, which means I got to work with other Emmett therapists and also have the client experience and receive a therapeutic treatment!
In our client clinic, the other Emmett practitioners took a full assessment of the pain I was feeling and helped to keep my mind grounded in the present (as opposed to being concerned about my past experiences or worried about how the pain could develop in the future, both of which can directly influence the experience of pain). After completing the intake (which took only a few minutes), we began to systematically apply Emmett moves on my back and chest to sensory points where muscles, nerves, and fascial tissue overlap. Within a few minutes of using these gentle moves, the acute had retreated from my entire middle-back area to my shoulder blade where it came from. Just two more moves were applied to the shoulder area and to the muscles that influence the shoulder, and that completed my session, about 15 minutes after it had started. I observed the pain drop from about a 7/10 to a 1/10, and by the end of the day, I had completely forgotten about it. My back and my mood were in such good condition that I was able to fly from Sydney to Paris the next morning with no trouble at all (that's two 12-hour flights in a row)!
Q: Est-ce que la technique Emmett peut me preparer avant un long voyage en avion? / (English translation) Can Emmett Technique prepare me for a long plane trip?
A: Yes! Most neck pain issues can be addressed successfully with the Emmett Technique. Most of us, and in fact most of my clients, have had neck pain - especially these days, when we are all staring at our phones, driving for hours, or sitting in front of computers every day! Of course, being mindful of your posture and your stress levels is key to preventing recurrence of these issues, but most cases of neck pain that I've dealt with can be resolved completely within 1-3 sessions. I also provide coaching that clients can use after a session to assist with maintaining the good results. (17 June 2015)
James L Poole
I am a holistic health therapist: Emmett Technique practitioner, aromatherapist, nutritional therapist, and Reiki healer. This is my blog about natural healing. For more frequent updates, please check my Facebook group page.