sleep

We’ve Lost our Way – Here’s Hope: Meditation

For years we have seen statistics saying, despite our wealth and material abundance, Americans are far from the healthiest people on the planet. If you need evidence, look at the devastating influence of COVID-19 on our nation.

Check out the news today and it’s obvious something is wrong. While this is a big health topic, I will address just one foundational concern. If we address just this issue, we will see a transformation in the quality of our lives.

Rest and Balance, the Missing Ingredients

The critical need I am referring to is BALANCE, and the place to start is: get more rest! Without adequate rest, we place our lives in danger.

In his classic, SABBATH: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in our Busy Lives, author Wayne Muller analyzes this problem superbly. In our culture, we prize activity and accomplishment above all else. “Don’t just sit there, do something. Go, go, hurry, hurry. Doing something, anything is better than doing nothing.” We’ve all heard it.

Yet, all life is dependent upon a rhythm of rest for its survival. The importance of this most essential rhythm – rest and activity – is lost on us today. Take a look around. How many times have you seen a group of friends, sitting at a table in a restaurant, glued to their phone’s display.

In our world, “I am so busy” is a common refrain. Meanwhile, our blood pressure and anxiety level is rising, and sleepless nights are commonplace.  These are all classic signs of the stress response. The bad news is that stress accumulates over time, and this is a driver of our poor health mentioned above.

Life hasn’t always been this way. When I was a child, life was very different. Personal computers and smartphones didn’t exist. Life was slower and simpler. Sure, there was stress as there will always be, however there was more balance in our lives. Sunday’s were a day of rest, a time to gather with family. Shopping was minimal due to the laws that required most stores to be closed on Sunday.

The Way Back Home

So what can we do to create balance and more satisfaction in our lives? The pace of life is most likely not going to slow down. Fortunately, the solutions are right before our eyes. All we need to do is look to nature for clues as how to live in balance.

For starters, there are cycles or rhythms in nature. All life requires a rhythm of rest. The bustling activity of each day turns into the stillness and rest of the night. The growth in spring and summer turns into the nourishing decay of leaves in the fall and the rest/dormancy of winter. Each beat of our heart and inhalation of breath is followed by a brief pause, a period of rest.

To restore balance, a good place to start is to set up a daily routine that includes adequate sleep. Most experts tell us getting to bed at a consistent hour and waking at a routine hour in the morning are very helpful. Our bodies adjust well to routines especially ones in alignment with nature.

A practice that ties all this together is meditation. Effortless Meditation, in particular, is a simple mental technique that when practiced regularly for 5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes, restores nature’s rhythm of rest to our lives.

The restorative power of deep rest is truly transformative. New meditation clients have said they feel like they are coming home during the practice. Rest heals and revitalizes our mind, body, and spirit. That’s why many meditate early in the morning before work and then after work. After a short meditation, we are good to go!

Everyone is happier, healthier, and at their best when their energy level is high. Meditation anyone?

Greg Schweitzer, Director, Stress Reduction Resources

Effortless Meditation™ Soothes the Soul, Reduces Anxiety

Everyone is challenged by the unsettling influences of the global pandemic. Our senses, which are our windows to the world, are continually bombarded with chaos everywhere we turn – news apps, newspapers, social media… It can easily overwhelm us.

If we are not grounded, it doesn’t take much in our outer environment to disturb any remnants of inner peace and calm. Yet, we can’t seem to put down the unsettling news and images in the media. Why do we torture ourselves in this way?

Meanwhile scientific research tells us under chronic stress our heart rate and blood pressure increase, our muscles tighten, and our immune system weakens – and that is just a few of the negative influences of debilitating stress.

Metabolizing Our Experiences

Deepak Chopra, M.D., a pioneer in the field of mind body medicine said it well, “we metabolize our experiences.” The good news is that we are not victims. We can take proactive action to minimize, even neutralize the impact of stress. The solution lies in balance. It is the key to a healthier, better life.

Here’s where meditation comes in. Every day we have the ability to transcend the chaos in our lives, and experience peace, delight. These are found at the Source of Thought – the most silent mind. A proven vehicle to accomplish this is the practice of Effortless Meditation™ (EM).

When I introduced EM at a local corporation, one of the directors said this is a tool that we can use for the rest of our lives. We don’t have to drive across town to get to a gym to use it, and we can do this almost anywhere. It’s ideal for our needs.

Within a few weeks employees who took the EM training, offered as an employee benefit, were reporting a myriad of benefits. These included less stress, greater mental clarity, improved memory, better relationships at work and home, restful sleep, less fatigue, reduced anxiety, and greater happiness.

A Quiet Room

The company was so pleased that they created a “quiet room” for team members to use whenever they wished to meditate. I taught EM in this company practically every day for six consecutive months. Corporate leaders recognized a need and took corrective action.

Prior to the meditation training, the company had reorganized five times in the preceding seven years. Rapid, relentless change is chronic stress; it wears us down. Adapting to it is exhausting, maybe you’ve noticed! To make matters worse, over time the influence of stress accumulates.

Restful Sleep and Energy

Fortunately, the mind is powerful. A clear mind allows us to accomplish great things, and yet it needs deep rest to repair and heal in order to function at its best. This is one reason that sleep is so important. Rest is preventive maintenance for our mind and body. Without good rest, we cannot sustain the energy needed to have a successful and fulfilling life.

By calming the mind and releasing stress, Effortless Meditation practice helps us sleep better. In addition, every meditation provides us with deep supplemental rest and energy. They are both vital to provide balance, reduce anxiety, and to lighten our day. This is especially true in the turbulent times of today.

Deep rest nourishes us in a way that nothing else can. It is nature’s medicine.

Effortless Meditation courses are regularly offered both in-person and with on-line video conferencing.

Greg Schweitzer, BA, D.Ay

610.670.6700

Staying Well in Unsettling Times

Fear is raging in our world like we’ve never seen before. These are uncharted waters for almost everyone. So, what can we do to stay healthy and sane in this most challenging time? Self-care has never been more important. Here are some tips:

  • Sleep! It is a vital, often neglected, component of every person’s overall health and well-being. It enables our body to repair and be fit and ready for another day. Statistics show that most adults need 7 or 8 hours to be at the top of their game. A good night’s sleep should leave you revitalized and ready to go in the morning without the need for stimulants to kick start your day.
  • Avoid foods that weaken the immune system. There’s a delicate balance between our state of mind and the functioning of our natural defenses. This is an especially important time to eat “high octane fuels” to maximize our health. Lean toward the purchase of nutrient dense foods – fresh fruits, veggies, whole grains, and mostly plants vs. fatty and highly processed packaged foods laced with sugar, preservatives, and artificial ingredients.
  • Stay hydrated. We want to flush toxins including bacteria and viruses into our digestive tract. For that water, not soda or alcohol, is vitally important. Fluids carry nutrients to your cells and are crucial to staying healthy and maintaining every system of the body including digestion and elimination. Sipping water throughout the day is more beneficial than drinking large amounts periodically.
  • While what we eat and drink makes a difference. According the oldest known health science, Ayurveda, what’s equally important is how we eat and when we eat. A positive development coming from this scary time of isolation and social distancing is that more people are eating home-cooked meals with their families. Eating in a settled environment aids digestion and health. Consider the difference between eating a leisurely lunch or dinner with the family vs. gobbling down a burger or candy bars as you drive to your next appointment.
  • Try your best to get adequate exercise, movement – especially if you can get outdoors in nature. I walk for at least 20 minutes each day, and on most days do 15 – 20 minutes of yoga. You don’t have to pump iron in order to benefit from exercise. If you enjoy exercising, you are more likely to do it! In the last few weeks, I’m enjoying watching parents playing outdoors with their children.
  • And finally, a catalyst or complement for all these wellness approaches is the practice of Effortless Meditation. It is an antidote for health enemy #1, stress. During this time, we can all benefit from more peace in our life. I know of no better way to do that than with a regular meditation practice.

In this most unsettling time, we need to be gentle and treat ourselves well. Millions watch and read COVID-19 news on their TV, computer or on your cell phone way too much. During this our heart and respiration rates rise, our muscles tighten, stress hormones spike, and our immune systems take a hit. We become the news!

Relax. A meditation client said his meditation is a mini vacation that he takes every day. To be healthy, we need balance in our lives so meditate to enliven the peace and joy of your core self. We suggest 15 – 20 minutes twice a day for maximum benefits, however 5 minutes is much better than nothing.

We will get through this, and when we do, we will have hopefully learned some big lessons – one of those is the importance of self-care, and how to effectively do it. Be well.

Greg Schweitzer, MBA, D.Ay

Wellness Coach, Meditation Teacher, Speaker

Learn more about Effortless Meditation™ 

Massage for Arthritis

massage-300x200by Jeanne Mancinelli, RN, LMT

Massage is often used to relieve common symptoms of arthritis by helping to reduce pain and stiffness, easing anxiety, improving range of motion in joints, and helping to promote restful sleep. People who experience the chronic symptoms of arthritis may consider using massage therapy regularly and even daily self-massage to help manage the joint pain and stiffness or help promote better sleep.

Massage is an ancient form of pain and stress relief that usually involves physical manipulation of the muscles as well as relaxation techniques. Swedish massage, the most common type of massage utilized for this, involves long fluid stroking of muscles and tissues to reduce soreness and stiffness in muscles and joints, reduce anxiety, and improve circulation. The therapist may utilize heat and cold applications to the muscles and joints. Certain essential oils may also be employed to relax the muscles or ease joint pain.

Be sure to tell your massage therapist that you have arthritis and point out the affected joints prior to the start of the session.  During the massage, the therapist should check in frequently with you to determine if the pressure is within your comfort range. If it is not, be sure to tell  them immediately.

Performing self massage can help manage muscle and joint pain between massage sessions. If done daily, you may be able to lengthen the time between massage sessions. Inform your therapist if you are interested in learning self massage. It is not difficult to learn and can be incorporated in your appointment. Before getting any type of massage, it is always best to consult your physician if massage is safe for your arthritis or any other health conditions you may have.

Call Jeanne Mancinelli today at 610-393-9676 for you FREE consultation!!!

Optimize ADD & ADHD Brain Function with LENS

ADHD written on a chalkboard, Learning and having ADHD

ADHD written on a chalkboard, Learning and having ADHD

Nearly one in five high school age boys in the United States and 11 percent of school-age children over- all  have received a medical diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.  This is new data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These rates reflect a marked rise over the last decade and could fuel growing concern among many doctors that the ADHD diagnosis and its medication are overused in American children.  The Low Energy Neurofeedback System (LENS) is a proven modality with no side effects that can help with these children.

The LENS is a specific kind of Neurofeedback that operates very rapidly and has qualities that make it much easier to use with people who can’t sit still.

Why It Is Easy:

  • The child doesn’t need to “do” anything
  • There is nothing to learn
  • It works well for children who either cannot or will not pay attention to a computer screen for a longer time periods. The typical session with the LENS lasts 3-4 minutes
  • It works much faster than traditional Neurofeedback with the number of sessions ranging from as few as 1 to an overall average number of sessions of 20

The LENS helps with any of the Central Nervous System dysfunctions such as ADD and ADHD, which result in the body’s difficulty regulating itself.  This is a perfect example where the LENS is valuable.

Dr. Len Ochs, the inventor of the LENS, has discovered that one does not need to tell the brain what to do.  He has found that by feeding back the very same brain waves that various areas of the brain are emitting and adding the slightest amount of change, called an offset, the brain:

  • Self-adjusts
  • Self-regulates
  • Harmonizes
  • Minimizes its dysfunction

It does so with an extremely small radio-frequency input that is so tiny (far less than a cell phone and as short as a fraction of a second) as to be unperceivable.

The LENS process is not a treatment for any specific condition or directed toward a specific diagnosis. It is a general process that optimizes brain function. However, as self-regulation occurs, many symptoms that have their basis in central nervous system dysfunction begin to improve.

Benefits:

  • Clarity
  • Energy during the day
  • Relaxation
  • Sleeping at night
  • Sense of humor
  • Motivation to get things done
  • Ease of getting things done
  • Memory
  • Concentration and focus
  • Easier for students to initiate and complete homework tasks and to optimize their potential, abilities and performance in the educational setting
  • Brings about significant improvements in a relatively brief process of therapy in physical and emotional rehabilitation (shown in clinical use)

The Low Energy Neurofeedback System (LENS) has been used since 1998 with enough success to warrant respect from former and current patients, as well as from some of the top scientific institutions in the U.S.

To understand and experience the amazing benefits to the Low Energy Neurofeedback System (LENS), CALL 610-395-3355 to make an appointment with Maggie Narducci, MS, LBS.

 

 

 

Stress, Allergies, & Meditation

By Greg Schweitzer

Meditation can help bring our lives under control when we are under stress. Under chronic stress and relentless pressure, the fight or flight response is activated. You can see it everywhere. Drive thru a yellow light today and probably 3 cars are following behind.  Look to your right or left, drivers are on cell phones.  Most of us know that studies have proven that multi-tasking while driving at high speeds is fraught with unnecessary risk and danger.  Why do we live this way?  Is our priority to live fast or to live well? We need to heal our brains if we want a better quality of life.  A healthy brain creates a solid foundation for life.  So, how do we create a healthy brain?

The ancient traditions say the way to heal the brain is with:

  • Stillness
  • Daily experience of a quiet mind, if only for minutes

A meditation practice doesn’t have to be connected to a religion, philosophy, or lifestyle, but the restful alertness it produces can reduce stress, anxiety, and develop inner peace.  This restful alertness means that while the body is gaining deep rest and inner peace, the mind experiences quieter and quieter levels of thought. This can lead to a strong immune system that in turn will lower not only the risk of allergy suffering, but many other unwanted conditions.

Daily meditation practice benefits include:

  • Deep healing and rejuvenating zest
  • Release of stress and fatigue, more energy
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Relief from anxiety and depression
  • Improved memory, creativity and focus
  • Relief from headaches and pain
  • Stronger immune system, less illness and better sleep
  • Better moods and increased happiness
  • Mental clarity and peace of mind
  • Enhanced self-esteem and emotional stability

The message of well−being through training to heal the brain and mind with meditation, is resonating with people everywhere.

Join our Effortless Meditation™ class that is offered 4 times each month at Twin Ponds Integrative Health Center in Breinigsville, PA.. Call 610-3953355 for more information.

Greg has been teaching Effortless Meditation for more than 30 years.

 

How to Get Better Sleep…

Many experts are now recognizing that sleep is as important to a healthy life, if not more so, than exercise or the food that we eat. And yet we live in a world where many squeeze more and more into their day while minimizing the value of a good night’s rest.

Discounting the importance of sleep is one aspect of the problem, denial is sweet.  Another equally disturbing trend is that many find it difficult to get good quality sleep even though they make the time for it.  Lying in bed with your eyes open feeling anxious about not sleeping is stressful, to say the least.

The good news is that there are many lifestyle factors that can be addressed to turn this around.  And the solutions differ based upon the habits of the person suffering with the problem.  For some, excess stimulation (e.g. violent TV shows) before going to bed is an issue.  For others, irregular sleep hours are a contributor. Food and/or beverage consumption may be a problem for others.  Stress reduction, however, plays a key role for almost everyone.

Stress and worry excite our mind. Despite the fatigue in the body, our mind and brain under stress does not fall asleep easily or stay asleep.  You’d have to be living under a rock to not recognize that the world is in a state of chronic stress.  Releasing the pressure of a stress filled day is key to better sleep.

A particularly valuable tool to quiet the mind and reduce stress and worry is meditation.  With the practice of Effortless Meditation™, we directly experience and know calm and mental stillness.  When we establish the platform of deep relaxation and stillness in our lives, we can more effectively address other actions that will further promote a healthy night’s rest.

Many possibilities open up for us when our mind is still.  Bring your brain and mind to stillness every day and better sleep will come more effortlessly.

Greg Schweitzer, a meditation teacher for more than 35 years, teaches at Twin Ponds Center Integrative Health Center in Breinigsville, PA.

 

Meditation, a Stress Relief Strategy to Ease Allergy Symptoms

Do daily pressures make your allergies spike?

 Anyone with allergy symptoms knows about chronic stress. Common allergy symptoms include: difficult breathing, poor sleep, fatigue, and problems concentrating. While medications may help, they may produce side effects such as: changes in appetite, low energy, or irritability.  All these symptoms are stressful in themselves.

There’s the catch-22, when you’re stressed out, your body releases the hormone cortisol and other chemicals including histamine, a powerful chemical that leads to allergy symptoms – a runny nose, sneezing, etc. So while stress doesn’t cause allergies, it makes an allergic reaction worse. 

Allergy symptoms are said to be an overreaction by the immune system to otherwise harmless substances. Under stress, our immune systems are compromised; they do not function as designed. Our immune systems are not responding appropriately.  A psychologist said that “stress makes us stupid.”  It seems that stress has the same effect on our immune system.

Stress, Allergies, & Meditation

Meditation can help bring our lives under control when we are under stress.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to deduce that the level of stress in the world is increasing.  Drive through a yellow light today, and there’s probably 4 cars following you.  Look to your left and right and you will see the driver next to you talking on their cell phone.  And yet, most of us have heard that multitasking while driving is fraught with risks.  Is our priority to live fast or live well?

Here’s some evidence of how we are doing.  In the 1960’s, an estimated 1 in 10 people reported some form of allergy and now up to 1 in 3 suffer from allergies of some kind.  To say something is amiss, is an understatement.  Clearly we need to do better in the way we handle stress if we want relief from allergies.

To reduce stress, making the following lifestyle adjustments will work wonders.  Getting plenty of sleep each night will help us restore balance and heal our allergic bodies.  Making time for some regular exercise is a key to reducing stress and building a strong immune system.  Even during a short walk, your body will release epinephrine which acts as a natural decongestant, helping you breathe easier.

Finally, neuroscientists on the forefront of healthy aging research are telling us that we need to create a healthy brain in order to enhance the quality of our life.  In that regard, the above lifestyle strategies are important.  However, nothing is more important for your healthy lifestyle than relaxation and bringing peace to our brains.  We need to restore ourselves from the frantic pace of modern life.  And, there’s good news.  For over 40 years, scientists having been researching the influence of meditation and the results are conclusive. 

A meditation practice doesn’t have to be connected to a religion or philosophy.  One physician described his meditation practice as a mini-vacation, and then happily declared that he now vacations every day!  This practice restores us and keeps us healthy.  Allergies and many other ailments often disappear for those that meditate regularly; and at the very least, they become much more manageable, less stressful.

Greg Schweitzer, a meditation teacher for more than 35 years, teaches at Twin Ponds Center Integrative Health Center in Breinigsville, PA.

The daily practice of meditation is shown to lift anxiety and depression, restore balance and strength to our immune system, increase energy, improve breathing, reduce stress and so much more.  The scientific evidence is undeniable, people who meditate regularly live longer and healthier lives.

Insomnia

Are you making these four sleep-depriving mistakes that keep you from getting in a good night’s rest?

Mistake #1: Thinking about all the things you have to do tomorrow.

What to do instead:
Make a list, before you go to bed.  No, really…  Just write it down so you know you won’t forget.  As you write, breathe and say “I can take care of this tomorrow.” 

Mistake #2: Drinking caffeine too close to bedtime.

What to do instead:
Know your cut off time.  This is different for everyone, and figuring it out takes a little effort.  And let’s face it – limiting caffeine is a really good idea.  Pay attention to the last time you consume coffee, soda or tea (don’t forget black and green tea have a lot of caffeine) and cut back by two hours each day until you find a time, when you are not wired before sleep. You may be surprised.

Mistake #3: Going non-stop all day long.

What to do instead:
Take a nap.  Power naps are really…well, powerful.  A 20 to 30 minute nap can make all the difference: you can boost your energy, get your mental focus back, increase memory and creativity. 

Mistake #4: Taking the problems of the day to bed with you.

What to do instead:
Use EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques)  to resolve any uncomfortable feelings left over from the day.  EFT is a powerful self-help tool that is easy to learn and can quickly neutralize disruptive feelings and anchor peace, joy or any other feeling you might desire.

Then there are those times, when it’s really hard to turn off the thinking part of your brain.  You worry or jump from one topic to the next, and it seems you just can’t stop.  Your brain may be having trouble shifting into slower brainwave states. It’s the slower brainwaves that are the most healing.  Deep, dreamless sleep is needed for your body to turn on the most powerful part of your immune system. Mounting daily stress and age can affect your brain’s ability to shift down into these healing frequencies.

If your brain is stuck in overdrive, and all you do it is worry, toss and turn, or you just want to make sure you are accessing those healing frequencies, vibroacoustic therapy and brainwave entrainment may be just what you need.

To learn more about how you can have a more restful sleep call Twin Ponds Integrative Health Center at 610.395.3355.

Meg Deak, MCAT, LPC, EFT & Neuroacoustic practitioner

Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired?

In the busyness of the day, it’s amazing that we can consistently ignore our highest good. Under chronic stress, life becomes very complex. In the state of overwhelm, our brain’s rational thinking gets short circuited. Stress makes us stupid!

And yet life does not have to be so difficult. To turn things around, pay attention to your most basic needs. And then take action on those needs. Corrective action, however, can only come if we are AWARE of our needs.

As an example, how many of us have found ourselves pressing to finish tasks when we are very hungry? This is not healthy, we are building stress. When I’m really hungry, I can’t focus on the task at hand because my hunger is shouting for attention.

And how many of you keep pushing on in the face of anger? Anger clouds perception and judgment. Rather than ignoring or denying its presence, why not take a break, get some exercise, relax, meditate, or just take some mindful breaths.

Arguably, our most serious limiting issue is fatigue. There seems to be little understanding of how seriously fatigue is affecting our performance, enjoyment, and health. Rest is an enzyme of life as necessary as air. We need it to keep going and to heal. If you’re tired, get more sleep. If you are not sleeping well, learn how to quiet your mind. Regular meditation practice will work wonders to reduce fatigue and enhance the quality of your life.

The bottom line is that we need to set healthy boundaries for ourselves. When you cross the boundary, take corrective action. If we don’t, life will catch up with us. Accidents and illness are two examples of ways that nature gets our attention. While unplanned and unpleasant, these interruptions can provide us with an opportunity to take stock of our life and create a better future.

Let’s take a proactive approach and create a healthy lifestyle. Pay attention to your needs and take action on them. Let me know if I can help.

Greg Schweitzer, MBA, D.Ay., Director of Stress Reduction Resources and Effortless Meditation™ Instructor for more than 30 years