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Archive for September, 2009

As a licensed massage therapist for over 14 years, I have had the MAssageopportunity to massage thousands of individuals. Over the course of time, I have seen the numerous reasons for which people of all walks of life seek a massage. There is the student with the mental overload, the athlete who made a bad move during a workout, the financial broker who internalized stress and turned it into a kinked back, the lover who received it as a special gift in celebration of an anniversary or the mom or dad whose children wanted to treat them for all that they do. With these and more individuals, I was always able to see and hear their gratitude for the healing that had taken place but it was not until I became pregnant with my daughter that I, at a very personal level realized the profound and endless benefits that massage therapy brings to a person.

At the “youthful” age of 43, I became pregnant with my first and only child. My desire for a family was a lifelong dream, but it wasn’t until that specific moment in time that the heavens above intervened in my life with their greatest divinity.
I was having a baby! I was overjoyed!
I pictured myself breezing through my pregnancy with the courageous spirit that I had always thought myself to possess. Embarking on this journey as a single woman did not frighten me. I had always been self-sufficient so why should this time be any different?
What I did not count on was how emotionally fragile I was to become with the pregnancy. As my pregnancy progressed so did my sensitivity. I cried at the drop of hat.
We can all come up with a good reason to cry, but this was intense beyond comparison.
Thank God for the back pain that progressively increased which prompted me to call one of my colleagues for a massage.

He soon arrived at my home and I quickly and excitedly proceeded to make myself comfortable on the table; a familiar experience of the past yet a very new one with my 8 month old belly. Upon placing his hands on my head and shoulders, I felt an immediate comfort and reassurance. Not only was I not alone but all would be ok. My friend went on to give me an excellent and skilled therapeutic massage that eliminated all of my back pain but to this day it was the sincere and caring touch that shifted me and brought on a peaceful sense of wellbeing that I can always reference.

The power of touch has been thoroughly documented by research conducted at the University of Miami’s Touch Research Institute. Their research has focused on the development of premature babies who get massaged versus those who do not. Babies who get massage 10 to 15 minutes per day three times a day, gain 47 percent more weight, show better feeding and sleeping patterns, and are able to leave the hospital six days sooner than preemies who do not get massage.

The benefit of touch is not just for babies. Adults who receive massage therapy report more restful sleep, an increase in work capacity, greater physical agility, greater overall enjoyment and more patience!

Several years have passed since the day my friend massaged me. I make it a point to receive massage with frequency and I am still a practicing massage therapist but now and since then with an even greater appreciation and a profound awareness of the healing, the love and compassion that is transmitted in the practice of this science.

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In this case, the long distance runner is a metaphor for the average parent that rises early, makes breakfast for their kids, packs their lunch, drives them to school and continues on to put in an eight hour day at work.Silhouette woman run under blue sky with clouds
For this individual, the short-lived boost of energy derived from their morning cup of coffee or their “cortadito,” which when translated is equivalent to the Cuban espresso bean saturated with sugar and a little bit of milk, does not get them through the day.

For these and all others who would enjoy or perhaps must rely on extended energy, consider this delicious alternative:

• The Wake-up call!
• 1/2 Golden or Red Delicious organic apple, washed
• 5 medium carrots, scrubbed well, tops removed, ends trimmed
• 1/2 small beet with leaves and stems, scrubbed well
• 1/2 lemon, washed or peeled if not organic
• 1/2- to 1-inch piece ginger root, washed

Do not let the beet with leaves and stems throw you off. This is truly a flavorful blend that will not only awaken your palate, but will also energize you at a cellular level.

Juicing is the most direct source of nutrition. By removing the fiber from the fruit or vegetables, the ingested juice bypasses the more rigorous digestive process thus allowing the body to absorb the nutrients within minutes.

Juicing has been documented to increase energy, detoxify the body, create a healthy glow to the skin, assist in weight loss, decrease joint inflammation, lower blood pressure, decrease allergies and though yet to be proven, it is also believed by many, to go as far as curing cancer. For now, let’s consider juicing for this great and simple reason; greater quality of health!

For information on health or ailment appropriate recipes as well as juicer options contact me through the “contact me” tab.

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Most of us have at one time or another experienced the fresh, crisp air that is breathed in the countryside. Cozy corner at homeWe naturally attribute this to the concentrated number of trees, gardens and of course, the lack of fumes being emitted from thousands of cars.

We know that there is nothing that we can do about the busyness of our roads but we can, however, bring a little bit of the countryside into our homes and make a big impact in the quality of the air we breathe.
Houseplants are one of the best ways of cleaning and purifying your indoor air by effectively removing air pollutants such as benzene (carcinogen), formaldehyde (found in glue, shoe care agents, carpeting etc), CO and nitrogen oxides which are undesirable products of burning tobacco and wood.

In a NASA research project, Spider plants were placed in closed chambers with 120 ppm carbon monoxide (CO) or 50 ppm nitrogen oxide (NO2). After 24 hours, spider plants removed: 96% CO, 99% NO2 !
The most effective plants to use in removing pollutants like formaldehyde are those with a large leaf surface area. These are:

• Heart-leaf philodendron (philodendron scandens)
• Elephant ear philodendron (philodendron domesticum)
• Green spider plant (chlorphytum elatum)
• Lacy tree philodendron (philodendron selloum)
• Golden pothos (epipremnum aureum)
• Chinese evergreen (aglonema modestum)
• Mini-Schefflera (bassaia arboricola)
• Peperomia (peperomia obtusifolia)
• Peace lily (spathiphyllum clevelandii)
• Corn plant (dracaena fragrans ‘massangeana’)
• Snake plant (sansevieria traifasciata)

It is important to note that these plants do not remove all chemical gases, nor do they address mold, mildew, bacteria or pet dander. For these other indoor air contaminants a high quality air purification system is always recommended.

These plants do, however, create a cleaner, fresher home environment by removing the previously mentioned pollutants and by replacing the carbon dioxide we exhale with life sustaining oxygen! It is recommended that one plant be placed every 100 square feet of living area.

In addition to this immense health benefit, these beauties will enhance the look and feel of your home and when taking care of them, they will transport you to the peaceful nature that is inherent in them.

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Just last night I realized how tension disarming and health promoting laughter can be. Juju closeupAfter a “mini fit” thrown by my three year old because I had left her Dora video at her grandmother’s house, my already tense shoulders and upset stomach went into full gear. As I was trying to convince her that it was much too late to watch Dora and that I would surely get her video the following morning, she went into full upset and told me things that I was not able to decipher through her tears.

In an attempt to distract her, I asked her, “Where did you place your milk”…to which she answered “right there” but without motioning in any direction. She had hidden the milk and was now trying to punish me by not showing me where it was.

I looked and looked and every time I asked where it was, she would simply say “right there” but not direct me to it. I finally lifted a pillow and found her milk bottle (she drinks everything from a zippy cup except milk).

When I looked up at her with an “aha” look, she met my glance with a full grin and tremendous mischievousness. She started to giggle and I started to laugh. The more she giggled, the more I laughed. We threw ourselves on the bed and had a gentle pillow fight….and then I suddenly noticed that my stomach was no longer bothering me and that all my previous tension had left me with the abandonment of my laughter!

It was a moment of sheer appreciation suspended in time. Soon after Juliette agreed to a bed time story and I to a good night’s rest.

The moral of this story? Let go and let laughter lift you to higher ground, to greater health and to an extraordinary moment that you can always look back to with immense love.

Now, for all of my potential readers this is for you. I hope that the following bit of information will in no way diminish the beauty of the very real experience that I shared with you but rather may it serve to further validate it.

Joy or pleasure catalyzes a relaxation response. The same switch in the brain which turns on relaxation, which is the parasympathetic nervous system, also turns on full, healthy digestion and assimilation. Conversely, the same switch in the brain that turns on stress, anxiety and fear, which is the sympathetic nervous system, turns off digestion and assimilation.

In the final analysis, whether you are seeking pure joy or greater health, know that they go hand in hand!

I thank you for reading me and encourage you to share your experiences and feedback.

Best wishes! Nora

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California Wildfires

How to protect yourself, your family and pets
Particulate Matter From California Wildfires Is More Toxic Than Particulate Matter In Ambient Airwildfire

A study of coarse and fine particulate matter (PM) generated by the California wildfires of 2008 suggests a toxicity level greater than that of an equivalent dose of particulate matter (PM) in ambient air, as reported in the January 2009 issue of the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP).

This high toxicity in the air is due to the overwhelming amounts of burning pesticides and chemicals. Under normal circumstances we are already have indoor air pollution due to recycled air through air conditioning systems, household cleaners, as well as poorly ventilated areas.

More needs to be said about the measures that California residents need to take to protect themselves and most especially their babies from what can easily have a long term effect on the respiratory system up to and including severe lung disease.

My suggestion is to purchase a high quality air purification system for the home and or office and wear a smoke mask when venturing out.

You are welcome to contact me at norafarinas.wordpress.com for detailed information on the different air purifications systems available.

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