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Why You Should Rest After Therapeutic Massage

Posted on October 16, 2017 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Everyone has their own goals when coming into a massage. Some are hoping for some 'me' time or to walk away feeling completely relaxed. Other are in need of work in certain areas- a big knot somewhere in the shoulders, neck tightness, etc. Whatever the goal is everyone always wants the maximum benefit from a massage and to make sure that these benefits are lasting. Often times the massage therapist you work with will give you a list of things to do after a massage to help retain the wonderful feeling as long as possible. But, we get it! Sometimes it's hard to listen to that list when your body and mind and feeling so relaxed. Below is a guideline for important things to do after a massage. 

Drink Water

Getting a massage helps rid the body of toxins that have accumulated. Water is required to push those toxins out. After a massage it is best to increase your water intake by at least 1-2 extra servings than is normal/required for your body. Massage also increases the circulation of blood and lymph in the lymphatic system. Both of these things require water to be efficient. You may notice that urination increases after a massage and that is because the lympathic system is responsible for removing toxins and massage has helped release some of the toxins built up within the muscles and joints. This is a good thing but increased urination also means that you need to be replacing those fluids!

While we discussed that tea and coffee are hydrating last week it is important to note that they are still diuretics and that will lead to increased urination. It is suggested that you avoid these drinks and alcohol after a massage session. 


Having a small snack directly after a massage can be very beneficial. Your circulation has been increased which may in turn increase other bodily systems including your digestive system. If you feel light headed after a massage it may be because your metabolism is increased and you are in need of something to eat. 

Light headedness after a massage can happen for many reasons- lower blood pressure, deep relaxation, and dehydration are all factors in this feeling.

Hopefully you're leaving your massage with a greater sense of wellbeing. You want to prolong that feeling by resting after a massage. Take time to lounge around the house, read a book, snuggle your pups; whatever makes you feel relaxed, calm, and at ease! A massage is similar to an intense workout for your muscles. It is considered a passive form of exercise. Your muscles have been manipulated and stretched and they will need rest after a massage. 

Take an Epson Salt Bath

Epson Salt is a pure mineral compound comprised of mangesium and sulfate. This is a wonderful muscle relaxer and helps to draw out toxins from the body. You want to keep your bath water warm and not scorching. An extremely hot bath can increase inflammation where as a warm bath will act like a big hug and sooth the entire body. 

The Foes of Hydration

Posted on October 11, 2017 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (3)

Today we are going to take time to expand on the importance of hydration and ways that you may be inadvertantly choosing things that deplete the bodies water. While Monday's post described many different ways that you can ensure hydration it is important to note that several daily activities can contribute to our bodies dehydration. 

1. Alcohol 
The consumption of alcohol blocks our anti-diuretic hormone which is responsible for the kidney's ability to reabsord water. This leads to excessive urination. Excessive consumption of alcohol also leads to vomiting and diarrhea which also leads to dehydration. 

2. Sugar 

The consumption of sugar leads to an acidic environment in the body. This increased acidity leads to a impairment of enzyme function and the bodies ability to store water properly. Also, when you eat/drink sugary things the water found in cells in the body moves out into the bloodstream leaving the cells dehydrated.  

3. Caffeine
This one is still up for debate. Caffeine, like alcohol, blocks our anti-diuretic hormone which leads to increased urination. Caffeine in the form of coffee and tea also comes with a serving of water, so many believe that the diuretic effect is cancelled out. Sugar has already been discussed so know that drinking sugary caffeinated beverages (sodas) will not have the same potential water intake as coffee and tea. If you are finding yourself drinking over 500 milligrams of caffeine a day you may want to cut back because after a certain point the water that is consumed with the caffeine becomes moot and the diuretic effects of the caffeine win over and lead to dehydration. 

4. High Protein Diets

According to a study performed by William Martin, a second-year graduate student studying with Nancy Rodriguez, an associate professor of nutritional sciences, "When the athletes consumed the highest amounts of protein, their blood urea nitrogen (one of several clinical laboratory tests used in evaluating kidney function) reached abnormal ranges. This value returned to normal when protein intake was reduced. Other tests indicated that the high protein diet caused the kidneys to produce more concentrated urine." The suggest that if you are eating a high protein diet it is essential to drink more water than you think you need. They found that people consuming a high protein diet did not feel any excessively thirsty so they maintained their usual water intake which ultimately led to a build up of waste in the kidneys. 

5. Salt

Salt, like sugar, causes the water found in cells to move out into the bloodstream leaving the cells dehydrated. 

This chart below gives you some common signs of dehydration:

The Importance of Hydration

Posted on October 9, 2017 at 9:50 AM Comments comments (0)

With the cooler temperatures it often feels like we don't need as much water to stay hydrated, but that's simply not the case. The cooler temperature also brings in dry air an wind. We also tend to bundle up and sit in front of the fire/search for warmth. Both of these things limit the amount of water and moisture that we receive from our environment which means that we need to make up for it in our water intake.  

Hydration is also key for your immune system. When you become dehydrated your immune system is inhibited which makes it harder to fight off colds and other illness that is more common in the winter months. It is typically suggested that you drink atleast 8 glasses of water (64 oz) but for optimal hydration it is best to take your weight and divide that number by 2 to figure out your needs. (150/2= 75 oz of water needed). 


Drinking a cold glass of water in the winter does not seem too appealing, though. We get it! There are so many different ways to make sure that you are hydrated! Try starting your day with an herbal tea or a simple cut of hot water and lemon. Eat your water! There are so many wonderful fruits and vegetables that are full of water: cucumbers, pears, celery, strawberries, carrots, watermelon, any type of greens, citrus fruits, and tomatoes score highest for moisture content. Soups are a wonderful way to help incorporate these things and any broth/liquid that you add to thin the soup will also count towards your daily needs. 

It is also important to come to a massage hydrated. We often talk about the importance of drinking water after a massage because it helps push out the toxins but it is also important to arrive to a massage hydrated. When the body is dehydrated so are the muscles which can lead to tightness and discomfort. If you are experiencing tight muscles all the time it may be time to check on your water intake! A massage works best with muscles that are hydrated so that they can be manipulated easier and so that they can also stay in the new stretched/massaged state longer. 


Tonics for Chilly Mornings

Posted on October 4, 2017 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Fall is in the air! Our mornings and evenings have grown chilly and the leaves are starting to turn. It's the perfect season to wake up and have a warm, soothing drink and there are so many herbal drinks that are not only delicious but have amazing medicinal qualities. Today we will give you recipes for Mushroom Hot Chocolate and Golden Milk. 

Mushroom Hot Chocolate

While this may sound like an unappetizing mixture we assure you it is delicious! Reishi, Chaga, and Cordycep powders have a very mild flavor and when mixed with chocolate seem to enhance and deepen the flavor of the drink. This recipe will make a mixture that you can keep in the cupboard for future use and we'll also give you some suggestions for how to make a single serving of this wonderful beverage. 

½ cup raw cacao powder (rich in vitamins and minerals, highest plant based source of iron, mood elevator and antidepressant)

1 tablespoon maca (rich in vitamins and minerals, energy boosting, hormonal balance, libido)

1 tablespoon chaga mushroom powder (DNA damage protection, blood pressure normalizing, immune system boosting, antiviral)
1 tablespoon reishi mushroom powder (immunse system boosting, great for the lungs and heart, soothing and relaxing to the soul)
1 tablespoon cordycep mushroom powder (known for its energizing properties, enhanced endurance, sex drive, and physical performance)

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

½ teaspoon ground ginger

1½ teaspoons himalayan pink salt
3/4 cup sugar of choice (we suggest coconut sugar as it is low glycemic- this is also optional. You can make this mixture without sugar and use honey or any liquid sweetener of choice when making the actual drink)

Single Serving Drink:

Mix 1-2 tablespoons of the mixture with 1 cup of plant based milk. 

Golden Milk

This recipe will give you a tumeric paste that can be stored in your refrigerator. It can be used in so many different ways: golden milk, adding to grains such as rice and quinoa, use on vegetables that you are sauteeing, etc. The uses are endless! The paste is important because curcumin, one of the wonderful compounds found in tumeric, needs a fat in order for the body to absorb it properly and effectively. 

1 cup filtered water

½ cup organic ground turmeric root (anti-inflammatory, cancer preventative, prevention and treatment of alzheimers, fights against depression)

⅓ cup coconut oil

1½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (stimulates digestion, contains piperine which is linked to cancer prevention, increases metabolism)

1 teaspoon organic ground ginger root (reduces muscle pain and soreness, great for treating nausea, anti-inflammatory, blood sugar regulating)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (full of antioxiddants, anti-inflammatory, regulates blood sugar, helps fight bacterial and fungal infections)

Place the tumeric and the water into a pan and stir together over medium/low heat until a paste has formed and most of the water has evaporated off. Remove from the burner and add in the remaining ingredients. 

For the Golden Milk:

Add 1-2 tsp of the tumeric powder to 1 cup of plant based milk and add any type of sweetener that you like. 


Enhancing Seasonal Shift Experiences with Detox

Posted on October 2, 2017 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (0)

The shifting seasons either bring on feelings of excitement or feelings of dread. Some are excited for the cooler weather while others see a long and cold winter ahead. Both feelings are totally valid but either way it is important to find ways to nurture and care for yourself during this shift. Richmond is currently feeling very much like fall. The morning weather is chilly and the sun warms the skin throughout the day, the sunsets earlier and earlier, and the chill sets in again as the moon makes its way up in the sky. 

Fall detoxes are important for many reasons. They help sooth your system as well as prepare you and your immune system for the things it may come into contact with in the colder months. Bardos is able to help you in several different ways if you are looking to detox during this time. Massage and medicupping is essential as is helps rid the body of toxins, mobilizing any fluids that have been bound and stagnant in the body. Our infrared sauna is also extremely valuable during this time as it can help with detoxing heavy metals as well as ridding the body of excess fat which stores toxins. We also offer meditation classes which are essential to helping with stress reduction and mindfulness.  

Below is some more information about detoxing during this season!

Mental purification: ridding oneself of attachement and desire. This article is wonderful and gives great insight into how detoxing and letting go are important to finding your true self. During this time it is also a great practice to slow down. Set aside time so that you can meditate or practice yoga so that you are able to practice mindfulness and staying in this present moment.

Digestive purification: In ayurveda there are three different essential energies or doshas: kapha, vata, pitta. There is so much information detailing the different energies but the link below does a great job of describing them and also offers a short quiz that can help you figure out your dosha.

According to Scott Blossom, "The seasons are also governed by doshic activity. According to Ayurvedic theory, by the time autumn rolls around, we have accumulated plenty of heat in our tissues from the summer—that's fiery pitta dosha. As the leaves dry up and the wind begins to blow, vata dosha begins to take over—the one governed by air and marked by change, instability, and anxiety. Metaphorically speaking, what happens when you add random blasts of air to a fire? It burns even brighter. Blossom says that when the accumulated heat of pitta is fanned by vata, it can lead to mental and physical burnout, stressing our adrenals and nervous system and putting some of the body's natural detoxification processes on hold."

Kitchari is essential in the ayurvedic style of detoxification and purification. It is a simple dish made of mung beans, rice, and spices that is wonderful for all three doshas. A recipe can be found below:

Richmond Peace Festival, October 1st

Posted on September 27, 2017 at 12:35 AM Comments comments (0)
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Bardos Massage and Wellness will be participating in the Richmond Peace Festival this Sunday.

We will be offering:
-Free energy clearing
-Free hand massages
-$1/minute back massages
-Aromatherapy sprays 

"The mission of the annual Richmond Peace Festival is to provide an opportunity for children, youth, and adults of the greater Richmond area to gather in celebration of peace and diversity. It is our hope that this will foster a growing sense of community. Through a variety of experiences including arts & crafts,

-games and entertainment, we will:

-offer opportunities to embrace the possibilities of peace

-help the community explore the many facets of peace

-help the community begin to understand other cultures, religions and races through the use of the art, music, devotions, dance, etc.

-create an atmosphere of fun, fellowship, and love

-create a safe environment that welcomes all who are willing

-to come and explore expressions of peace

-help to promote self-esteem in the children through age-appropriate activities

-encourage future cooperation and collaboration among the diverse communities of Richmond."

In addition to coming to see us there are so many awesome and interesting performers coming to this event including: 

DJ Peluche Productions

Ebraheem Khabeer

Ezibu Muntu African Drummers

Falun Dafa Chinese Dancers

Jeromyah Jones

Latin Ballet of Virginia

Monte Jones Capoeira & Amidah Young, Spoken Word artists

Prodigy Music Productions

Ram Bhagat Drums No Guns

River City Taiko

Shayla Winn

Spoken Word competition

Yoga Nidra

Posted on September 25, 2017 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Can you distance yourself from the notion of control? Can you surrender to what the universe has in store for you? It seems virtually impossible in the begining stages of learning to let go, live in the moment, and accept what is being presented to you. The journey of searching within and trying to find peace and understanding is lifelong so there is no reason to be discouraged if you feel you aren't where you want to be.

There are so many different forms of meditation, all with the same intention of waking up the parasympathetic system (in charge of rest and digest), unwinding, and shaking off the demands of modern day life. Today we will focus on yoga nidra. This form of yoga involves no movement and is often referred to as 'yogic sleep', and can be described as a state of conciousness found somewhere between waking and sleeping. 

To begin the pracitce of yoga nidra one lies down in a comfortable position. Savasana is the typical position but bolsters and blankets can be used to position the body in a comfortable way as you will be lying down for 30minute to an hour. 

After you have found a comfrotable position you are asked to set an intention for the practice. This is completely up to you and can range from things like, "I am kind," to "I am here in this present moment." The intention should be stated in the present tense. This is a very personal part of the practice and something you choose based on what you would like to work on and why you have chosen to come to the mat. After choosing an intention for yourself you will be asked to internalize what you desire for yourself and others, again something deeply personal and different to each and every one of us. 

After the intentions and desires are set the teacher will guide you through the different states or sheaths of being. The physical body, the energetic body, the emotional body, the body of intellect, body of joy, body of ego-I, and the natural state. This is done differently from teacher to teacher but all with the intention of getting the student into that wakeful/sleeping state. You can find several free guided yoga nidra classes on sites like Youtube and Vimeo as well as on the Yoga Nidra Network's Site

"In one study that scanned the brains of men and women doing yoga nidra, researchers found that practitioners' brains showed that they were at once in a deep resting state similar to sleep but completely conscious. 'The measurements show, for the first time, that one can be completely aware in such a deep state—that one can consciously experience and control the brain’s activity simultaneously. This confirms that meditation is the fourth major state, equal to dreaming, sleeping, and wakefulness.'"

The benefits are vast and even if you find yourself falling asleep in the practice you will begin to feel more rested and relaxed. Accessing the parasympathetic state also allows the body to heal, destress, heightened awareness, and will eventually lead the student to a deeper understanding of their purpose in life. 

The Science Of Your Center: The Vagus Nerve, Your Meditation Highway, And The Parasympathetic Nervous System; How Meditation Works Positively on the Body

Posted on September 23, 2017 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (0)

The Science Of Your Center: The Vagus Nerve, Your Meditation Highway, And The Parasympathetic Nervous System; How Meditation Works Positively on the Body

By Anne Green

Buddhism is known for its emphasis on meditation and meditative techniques. People from all walks of life have used Buddhist techniques to ‘relax’ and ‘de-stress’, despite neither being practising Buddhists nor indeed understanding much (if anything) about Buddhism itself. Without a doubt, meditation and the meditative techniques developed by Buddhists have helped a great many to cope with anxiety and mental health issues [1] — without necessarily understanding their deeper significance.

Scientists and doctors now take meditation seriously, no longer dismissing it as incompatible with medical science. Advances in the field of psychiatry, and a greater willingness to properly investigate mental health issues has brought scientific respect for the healing potential of meditation. As is typical of the scientific mindset, many have been determined to ‘get to the bottom’ of what causes the undeniably positive effects of meditation. They’ve discovered a lot — but one of the most interesting (and lesser known) findings concerns the action of meditative techniques upon the vagus nerve.


1 The Vagus Nerve — the Meditation Highway?

2 Modern Mental Dysfunction — and ‘Disconnected’ People

3 The Sympathetic And Parasympathetic Nervous System

4 External Nervous Stimulation

5 Working ‘Backwards’

6 Mind/Body Connection

The Vagus Nerve — the Meditation Highway?

What’s the vagus nerve? Put simply, it’s the longest nerve in your body. The name roughly translates as ‘wandering nerve’, and it is apt. The vagus verve travels from your brainstem, winding down throughout your body, to finish in your abdomen. On the way, it connects with many major organs, including heart and lungs. We’ve been aware of it for a very long time, and been similarly aware of the fact that the vagus nerve is semi-responsible for your body’s regulation of heart rate, breathing rate, digestion, and so forth.

The Vagus Nerve helps the body regulate stress responses, among other major functions, and is the mechanism by which we can positively influence our health and bodies with meditation.

It was previously assumed that the vagus nerve acted more or less on its own initiative ‑- that is, without the conscious input of the individual. While it could certainly be influenced by external factors such as stress, diet, or motion, it acted internally, and could not be consciously influenced. However, research revealed the deeply interconnected way in which consciousness and physicality can influence one another — and the vagus nerve. Described by some as a ‘hack’ [2] to the nervous system, the vagus nerve appears to be science’s answer to the vexed question of just how, precisely, Buddhist practices do what they do. And this kind of scientific verification and understanding has come just in time; more and more of us, it seems, are in need of the benefits of ‘vagal nerve stimulation’.

Modern Mental Dysfunction — and ‘Disconnected’ People

It’s a sad fact that mental health problems associated with stress and anxiety are enormously on the rise. Some experts believe we are generally more aware of mental health problems than we used to be, and that we’re also more likely to seek help for medical issues in general. This may well have contributed to the statistical rise in mental health issues. However, the sheer scale of the problem appears to indicate that we’re not just experiencing an increase in awareness, but a tangible increase in problems as well [3].

The known benefits of meditation.

The known possible benefits of meditation: relaxation, sense of balance, reduces anxiety, anger, and pain; increases energy, helps with heart disease, helps us control our thoughts, reduces stress. These benefits are largely due to the Vagus nerve’s ability to influence the parasympathetic nervous system.


Reasons given for this vary. Political and economic instability has been blamed, as has social media and increased work pressures. On a more spiritual level, modern (and Western in particular) society has been accused of creating ‘disconnected’ people, struggling to find a sense of identity, a sense of self, and basic spiritual fulfillment in a rapidly changing world. Whatever the reason, we’re undoubtedly suffering from a surfeit of anxiety — which can be very dangerous.

Stress and anxiety can cause any number of mental health issues, which can in turn lead to physical health issues (substance abuse springs immediately to mind). We’ve known for some time that meditation (or ‘mindfulness’ — the secular, scientific, and increasingly popular meditative practice) can help with many of these problems [4].

Meditation is good for you says science

Mindfulness meditation is good for you. The science is in, and it proves what Buddhists and other spiritual meditation practicers have always known. Not only does meditation reduce stress, it provides clarity, reduces chances of heart disease and improves posture.

As meditation becomes more popular, more and more people want to dissect the mysteries of meditation, and get to the bottom of what makes it so effective. After all, no scientific doctor would prescribe a therapy — however effective it’s been proven to be — without understanding it in full, analytical detail. This is where the vagus nerve comes in.

The Sympathetic And Parasympathetic Nervous System

Our nervous systems are complex, wonderful things. They’re made up of many parts. One of these is the ‘sympathetic nervous system’ — responsible for the ‘Fight or Flight’ reaction. We’re all very familiar with the sympathetic nervous system and what it does. Your sympathetic nervous system is one branch of the ‘autonomic nervous system’ [5] — so called because it’s believed to act ‘autonomously’ (i.e. unconsciously). The other main branch of the autonomic nervous system is the ‘parasympathetic nervous system’ — about which we are in general considerably less informed.

The parasympathetic system helps us regain control over fight and flight response, and has an indirect or direct influence over digestion, muscles, cardiovascular system, endocrine system and so on.

The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for the so-called ‘Rest and Digest’ functions, and we don’t pay as much attention to it as we should. To cut a long story short, when we meditate, we encourage our body to switch operational control from the ‘Fight or Flight’ system to the ‘Rest and Digest’ system. But how do we do this? And why is it important?

External Nervous Stimulation

We all know vaguely how the ‘Fight or Flight’ reaction works — we’re scared by something, and our sympathetic nervous system leaps into action to give us the ‘boost’ we need in order to either fight or flee our way out of danger. Specifically, this involves diverting resources from the deeper organs to your muscles, and from higher cognitive function to the ‘reptilian’ portion of your brain which deals with immediate survival. Adrenaline and cortisol are released to facilitate this, as well as to give us the ‘fizz’ and impetus we need to escape danger. The ‘Fight or Flight’ reaction can feel exhilarating in short bursts — it’s why we ride rollercoasters — but it’s not designed to last more than half an hour at the most. Beyond that, it becomes damaging.

Meditation, particularly mindfulness, a method developed by Buddha, helps us regulate our bodies, usually with positive influence over health.

Society is currently running tens of thousands of years ahead of evolution. Our ‘Fight or Flight’ reaction is designed to help us flee lions — but it’s being activated by the demands of overbearing bosses. A reaction which is supposed to last mere minutes before being drained out by physical exertion is lasting for hours, days, weeks, even months. And that’s simply appalling for our health [6].

What should happen is that our sympathetic nervous system should naturally cede control to our parasympathetic nervous system once the danger is past, and the ‘Rest and Digest’ system would smoothly get our bodies and minds back to the healthy activities of digesting food, healing injuries, and processing memories, experiences, and other psychological issues. We can — with a little ingenuity — trigger a ‘Fight or Flight’ reaction in ourselves (ruminating on something stressful will do it admirably). Can we do the same for a ‘Rest and Digest’ reaction? We didn’t used to think so — but new studies into the vagus nerve are bringing up evidence to the contrary.

Working ‘Backwards’

Our ‘Fight or Flight’ and ‘Rest and Digest’ systems are, in conventional wisdom, launched by the brain in response to external triggers (or lack thereof). Our muscles, digestion, cardiovascular system, endocrine system and so on are told what to do by messages carried from the brain by our nerves, and they respond accordingly. Many people believe that this is a one-way system – messages come from the brain, and the organs obey. However, evidence increasingly shows that it can work the other way as well.

For centuries, Buddhists and meditational practitioners have spoken of ‘finding your center’ — that area of calm inside yourself from which you can gather and control your sense of self. Scientists have found something similar to the ‘center’ in the vagus nerve. It’s not a perfect analogy, but it does seem that the ability to locate and work with your vagus nerve is just as effective at ‘centering’ you as taking a sedative. And you can achieve this with Buddhist meditative techniques.


The vagus nerve.

Essentially, the Vagus Nerve reverses the flow of information — rather than orders flowing from your brain to your body, the nerve is instead taking some very strong suggestions from the body back to the brain. And, nine times out of ten, the brain listens. By lowering your breathing rate, your Vagus Nerve notes that things must be calm — you have no reason to be breathing hard and fast, and must therefore be able to relax. As it travels around your body and receives ‘relaxed’ messages from those organs over which you do have conscious control while meditating (your lungs, principally, but also your heart to a certain extent), it will infer that you are in no immediate danger, and have no need, therefore, to be stressed. It will convey this message to the brain, which (nine times out of ten) will then ease control over the to parasympathetic nervous system, allowing you to relax, rest, and digest.

When the parasympathetic nervous system has control, we are capable of deeper thought than we are when the sympathetic nervous system is in control (when our immediate survival is not at stake, the brain is more willing to afford time to deep thought). This perhaps explains why the deep breathing and physical relaxation aspects of meditation facilitate such excellent contemplation and self-exploration.

For helpful stories on “how to” meditate, here are some recent features on Buddha Weekly:

The better way: standing meditation? For those with injuries, arthritis or a sleepy mind, standing can help us achieve mindfulness

Drumming for mindfulness and healing: a simple way to calm the mind, remove stress and heal. Studies show drum meditation supports treatments of cancer, Parkinsons and depression

Visualization activates the mind; Mindfulness stills the mind — Which is right for your practice?

Science: research proves vajrayana meditation techniques involving deity visualization improve cognitive performance and may be promising for degenerative brain disorders

Mind/Body Connection

Western philosophy has long struggled with a marked dichotomy between the mind and the body. Since the time of the Ancient Greek’s, we’ve tended to believe that the mind and the body are separate entities, capable only of communicating with each other, but not really intrinsically linked. Furthermore, the mind has been held to be the body’s superior — something which not only controls the body, but can and should be used to suppress it in many cases.

The complex visualizations required in Vajrayana meditative methods, which can include holding detailed images for long periods of time, dramatically and immediately improve cognitive ability according to research from NUS.

The complex visualizations required in Vajrayana meditative methods, which can include holding detailed images for long periods of time, dramatically and immediately improve cognitive ability according to research from NUS.

This ‘Mind-Body Distinction’ [7] can hold itself responsible for a host of modern ills, not least among them being the idea that it doesn’t matter what we do with our bodies, and that giving into bodily desires is shameful. To this, we can trace (in some manner) obesity, sexual shame, and a whole host of other issues.

Buddhists in general, by contrast, know that the mind and body are parts of a coherent whole, which influence one another and are vital to one another’s wellbeing. Our growing scientific knowledge about the role that the vagus nerve and how interdependent body/mind really area, may allow for a more holistic view of the entire human, perhaps leading to a healthier, more respectful attitude towards our bodies.

Of course, it is likely to take a very long time to change a concept as ingrained as the mind-body distinction, but we can perhaps use our knowledge of the vagus nerve’s operation in relation to meditation to help those who are dubious about the benefits of ancient Buddhist meditation.

It should be remembered that any reaction to meditation is a highly individual thing, and the kind of deep self-knowledge promoted by intensive meditational programs may not be suitable for everyone [8]. However, as we learn more, we can hopefully work on ways in which to utilize Buddhist techniques in individualized ways which can help more of those in need.

For an interesting story profiling research on mind mapping using “Brain Stress Test”, see this Buddha Weekly Story:

For practical mindfulness methods, please see these recent features from Buddha Weekly:

Much more than six words of advice — Zasep Tulku Rinpoche teaches on Mindfulness of body; anger; and healing through meditation

The mindfulness of feelings: overcoming negative feelings and using discriminating alertness of feelings in your practice

“Mind is the creator of our own happiness or suffering” — Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche teaches Lojong Seven-Point Mind Training

Meditation techniques for people with unsettled monkey minds

Zen skateboarding: riding into Enlightenment


[1] Julie Corliss, “Mindfulness meditation may ease anxiety, mental stress”, Harvard Health Publications, Jan 2014

[2] Michael Behar, “Can the Nervous System Be Hacked?”, The New York Times Magazine, May 2014

[3] Mercola, “Mental Health Disorders Now Leading Cause Of Non-Fatal Illness Worldwide”, Mercola, Sept 2013

[4] Judson Brewer, “Is Mindfulness an Emerging Treatment for Addiction?”,, Aug 2014

[5] Philip Low, “Overview of the Autonomic Nervous System”, Merck Manuals

[6] American Psychological Association, “How stress affects your health”

[7] Internet Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, “Rene Descartes: The Mind-Body Distinction”

[8] Miguel Farias, “Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?”, The Independent, May 2015

Infrared Sauna Benefits for Cancer & Other Healing: What You Need to Know

Posted on September 23, 2017 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Infrared Sauna Benefits for Cancer & Other Healing: What You Need to Know

By Ty Bollinger


When you hear the word sauna, what goes through your mind? Perhaps
 a small, scorching room lined with wooden benches centered around a pile of very hot rocks. Or maybe you think of steam blasting all around you in a similarly close-quartered space filled with strangers in towels.


Sauna is actually a healing tradition that dates back more than 2,000 years. Immersing oneself in a high-temperature sauna environment causes the body to sweat, which even in primitive times was recognized as an effective way to cleanse the body and eliminate waste via the skin. The routine use of a sauna is one of the most effective means by which to detoxify the body, rejuvenate its cellular system, and promote a vibrant, disease-free life.


Near, Mid, and Far: The 3 Types of Infrared Sauna


The use of heat therapy really isn’t new in the realm of the healing arts, but technological advances that capitalize on infrared energy have made it possible to generate heat in just the right spots with pinpointed precision, hence the advent of the infrared sauna.


There are three distinct types of infrared wavelengths that generate energy: near infrared, mid infrared, and far infrared. Because they penetrate the skin and cells at varying depths, each type of infrared provides different therapeutic benefits depending on its use.


Near infrared (also referred to as low level light therapy) uses special LEDs to permeate the outer surface of the skin and promote cell health and skin rejuvenation. LEDs are effective because they can trigger a natural photo-biochemical reaction (similar to how plants use chlorophyll to convert sunlight into plant tissue).

Mid infrared has been shown to help aid in pain relief and weight loss.

Far infrared, which is by far the most common type used in commercial infrared saunas, helps pull toxins from the body and lower blood pressure.

Each type of infrared sauna comes with its own unique set of health benefits, and one isn’t necessarily better or worse than another. However, exposing yourself to all three types will clearly offer the most comprehensive health benefits, hence why many healing practitioners now encourage their patients to use or invest in a 3-in-1 full-spectrum infrared sauna.


Infrared Saunas vs. Traditional Saunas: What’s the Difference?


The most noteworthy differences between an infrared sauna and a traditional sauna have to do with temperature and heating method. A traditional sauna uses convection heat, much like the stove in your kitchen, to warm the body from the outside. It typically does so at higher temperatures around 185 degrees Fahrenheit (85 degrees Celcius). Many people find traditional saunas to be too hot and drying, making them intolerable to sit in for longer than just a few minutes.


An infrared sauna, on the other hand, can provide health benefits at much lower temperatures ranging between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit (49 to 60 degrees Celcius). This is due to the fact that radiating heat is more evenly distributed and penetrates more deeply into the skin, gently warming the body, rather than “charring” it with blasts of higher-temperature heat.


This is an important distinction because infrared heat is much more effective at drawing out toxins from the deep tissue areas where they’re hiding, allowing them to be more effectively and efficiently expelled from the body.


Despite the lower temperature thresholds, infrared heat also causes the body to sweat much more profusely than it otherwise would with convection heat.


The Science Behind Infrared Sauna Benefits


There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to show that infrared saunas are helping people detoxify their bodies, increase their energy levels, and even overcome chronic disease. But what does the science say? In a 2009 scientific review, a Canadian researcher found that:


At least four separate studies support the use of far infrared saunas in treating patients with cardiovascular disease.

At least five studies support the use of far infrared saunas in the treatment of coronary risk factors.

At least one study supports the use of far infrared saunas in treating chronic pain.

Another researcher from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Arizona, put out a paper several years ago highlighting the benefits of infrared sauna use as a way to trim body fat and eliminate toxic xenobiotics (foreign chemicals) from the body.


A 1981 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that regular use of an infrared sauna exerts a weight-loss effect on the body. This is due to the fact that infrared radiation raises core body temperature, mimicking the cardiovascular exertion brought about by aerobic exercises such as running.


There is also copious emerging research demonstrating infrared sauna benefits in the treatment of musculoskeletal problems, rheumatoid arthritis, joint stiffness, muscle spasms, edema, soft tissue injury, sciatica, eczema, pelvic infection, pediatric pneumonia, and even cancer.


The Effect of Infrared Sauna on Cancer Cells


For cancer specifically, infrared sauna treatments
 are exceptionally promising because of the selective toxicity they have on cells. In a nutshell, the hyperthermic effects of infrared radiation are only harmful to malignant cells, as was explained to me by Dr. Irvin Sahni in a Truth About Cancer docu-series interview. Dr. Sahni told me that normal healthy cells are essentially immune to infrared radiation, while cancer cells are hyper-thermically challenged:


“…by exposing your body to that heat, you’re selectively killing or eradicating those less viable cells, those cancer cells, without hurting your normal cells. And so a far infrared sauna is useful because it can help you sweat, excrete toxins, and in theory eliminate cancer cells which can’t survive the heat as well as the normal cells.”


Another study published in the Journal of Cancer Science and Therapy found that after just 30 days of infrared treatment, tumor-infected mice saw reductions in their cancerous masses of up to 86% − even with low-temperature infrared exposures of as little as 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 Celcius).


And if that isn’t enough, another study out of Japan found that infrared-induced, whole-body hyperthermia helped strongly inhibit the growth and spread of breast cancer cells in mice, without causing any harmful side effects.


How to Choose the Right Infrared Sauna for You


Between this internal heating mechanism and the sweat it produces, infrared saunas offer a one-two punch for powerful detoxification and cellular maintenance and regeneration. As long as you’re continually replenishing your body with both clean hydration and electrolytes, the sky’s the limit: the more you heat your core and sweat, the better off you’ll be health-wise.


Having a sauna at home is a great tool for health − if you have the means − for detoxification, relaxation, pain relief, weight loss, cardiovascular, and even anti-aging benefits. If space is a concern, there are portable options available.


The three most important factors to look for when purchasing an infrared sauna are:


Even heat output − no “hot spots” near the heating element. You should also opt for radiant (rather than reflected) heating technology, as radiant heat is more evenly distributed, efficient, and effective.

High emissivity rate − the test of an infrared heater is its “radiant efficiency” − basically its ability to produce high levels of infrared heat. Look for a sauna with a high emissivity rating and large heating panels that stay relatively cool on their surface. These types of heating panels produce the longer infrared waves that will most effectively penetrate your skin and cells, allowing for the greatest toxic release and greater amounts of sweat.

Low (or no) EMF pollution− obviously you don’t want to expose yourself to unnecessary UV or electromagnetic radiation in the process of detoxifying your body.

If you’re considering a sauna for your home, I recommend the Sunlighten line of full-spectrum infrared saunas. Sunlighten saunas are custom-designed and backed by dozens of clinical studies showing that they effectively deliver all three types of infrared wavelengths (near, mid, and far) at the proper amounts for achieving your desired health goals.


As far as I’m aware, there’s no other brand on the market that offers a three-in-one system capable of delivering an optimal balance of all three infrared wavelengths. Sunlighten saunas also have high emissivity − upwards of 99% − which simply means that they’re extremely efficient in infrared heat output.


They’re also extremely low in harmful EMF emissions. The company claims its Signature far infrared line “Ultra Low EMF Technology” produces “virtually no EMFs” at all, and it has the third-party test results to back this. After looking through the test results myself, I have to say that I’m thoroughly impressed with this particular sauna brand, and this top-of-the-line product is definitely at the top of the list if you’re looking to invest in your wellness.

What is Thai Massage?

Posted on September 20, 2017 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Next month on October 15th we will be holding a couples massage workshop that will give you and your partner the tools to give an effective and soothing massage at home. According to Lotus Palm Institute of Thai Massage and Traditional Bodywork, "2,500 years ago a dynamic bodywork therapy based upon yoga and Ayurveda practices, appeared in the temples of Thailand. This therapeutic art was directly rooted in the Indian healing traditions of Ayurvedic medicine." Beth Kapes goes on to say that, "It is one of four branches of traditional medicine in Thailand, the others being herbs, nutrition, and spiritual practice."

The Thai Healing Alliance International expands on these descriptions by stating, "There is constant body contact between the practitioner and client, but rather than rubbing on muscles, the body is compressed, pulled, stretched and rocked in order to clear energy blockages and relieve tension. The practitioner uses thumbs, palms, forearms, elbows, knees and feet to create a dance of movement on the body of the recipient. In this process, joints are opened, muscles and tendons are stretched, internal organs are toned, and energy is balanced. The overall effect is one of deep relaxation, rejuvenation, and physical and mental well being."

The practice of Thai massage has been going on for centuries and is often still performed daily in the home by couples in Thailand. This modality is one that you can learn and begin using in your home now. Not only will it provide you and your spouse with the benefits of massage but it will also create a routine of love and care that you share with your loved one. If this is something you are interested in sign up for our workshop where you will learn several techniques in a safe and inviting environment. Give and receive a full 90min massage with Thai massage techniques, Shiatsu and Acupressure. Learn how to ease their tension away and how to clue into hot spots to make them melt. Pre-registration is required. $75/person and includes a superfood healthy meal! Next Session is Sunday October 15th 1:30pm-7pm Wear comfortable loose fitting clothing and bring a comfortable blanket! You can preregister here:" target="_blank">