Saturday, September 27, 2008

Meditation helps people find inner serenity

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Who does not know the daily aggravations brought on by work, relationships and the pursuit of one's own needs, and who hasn't sometimes wished for more peace and quiet? Meditation is one possible means of achieving them.

Lutz Hertel, a psychologist at a German wellness association in Dusseldorf, is convinced of one of its effects: "We see a lot more value in meditation than in massages or wellness packs. When meditating, you're active, which is the opposite of most other wellness applications."

And the effects are longer lasting.

Scientific studies conducted by Germany's professional association of internists in Wiesbaden have shown that meditation combined with breathing techniques can have a positive effect on minor to high blood pressure.

In addition to physical advantages, it also can affect spiritual wellbeing.

"Meditation literally means taking measure and orientating yourself," said Gerhard Tiemeyer of Germany's society for alternative medicine in Hanover.

Meditation has many ways of reaching the desired result, from sitting still to breathing exercises and from dance to movement.

In all the techniques, the brain must be active, concentrating on one word, one sound, one image - something it can use like crutches to hold random thoughts still.

People searching for a suitable personal method of meditation should ask themselves what they like to do best. Mantra meditation and sound meditation work using sound and speech. People who like movement can try qigong, tai chi or particular principles of yoga.

"Yoga is not only about moving the body, but is also a form of self-recognition that integrates breathing and body awareness with the intellect or spirit of the body," said Anke Rebetje of the German association for yoga instructors in Goettingen. And it's suitable for everyone.

"In yoga we train the physical condition for meditation through asanas, which is a yoga body position," said Rebetje, adding that meditation is about disengaging, while yoga is a method of self-exploration. "In the end the point is to let everything go."

The duration of each technique varies. Initially, 10 minutes a day is sufficient, said Tiemeyer.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

What You Need To Know About Traditional Chinese Medicine Powders

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, powders are the staple medicines that you’ll be given to take. They can be pressed into pill form or you are to add them to water and drink the mixture. These Traditional Chinese Medicine powders are dried and pulverized herbal pieces, usually of plant parts like roots, leaves or stems. The powders are difficult to distinguish from powders in modern capsules.

Tea, Anyone?

Traditional Chinese medicine powders are still made in ways similar to the traditional methods of thousands of years ago. The botanical pieces are made into a big tea in order to extract the “goodness” from the raw materials. This tea is then dried and concentrated into a sap-like substance. The sap is ground with fine powdered herb and made into the Traditional Chinese Medicine powders distributed around the world. The powders were once called granules, and sometimes TCM practitioners still call them that.

There are a variety of ways to take Traditional Chinese Medicine powders, although you should start with the way suggested by your TCM practitioner. Usually you mix them in water, but some people prefer to mix them in applesauce. Still others put the powder directly on their tongue and wash down with water.


Traditional Chinese Medicine powders are flexible enough to be made to your specifications. When you take an aspirin, for example, all that is in the pill or can be in the pill is aspirin. The only way you can change is with a pill-splitter. But your powders can be a mixture of ingredients tailored for you.

The powdered form also lasts longer than the raw botanical and is stronger, so you can take less of a dose than if you just took the raw botanical. Powders are now made in factories, but some are still made the traditional way in small batches. The factory made powder is consistent in strength and is tested for anything harmful like heavy metals or bacteria. Traditional Chinese Medicine powders also have very little smell, unlike the raw plant materials, which can have very pungent odors.

There are more than 5500 Traditional Chinese Medicine powders made. This means there is a good chance that at least one of the powders will work for you. If one powder doesn’t seem to work, you can try another. This is the same as with conventional medicines. Powders usually need to be taken twice a day.