Saturday, February 28, 2015

Tongue Piercing Aftercare - Tips & Tricks

By Raven Gypsy
Your tongue is newly pierced and swollen and painful.  Now what?  Well, I have a few tips and tricks.  This is not meant to be a thorough guide to aftercare; your piercer will give you that.  But here are a few facts and helpful solutions that they may or may not tell you about.

1. Cold is your friend, hot is not.

     Cold foods are a good choice.  Even better is cold food that melts.  For example, you could eat a frozen waffle, still frozen.  It's cold and cold is nice, but you still have to chew it and get it to the back of your mouth to swallow.  Conversely, you will be more sensitive to hot than normal.  It is easier to burn yourself and the last thing you need is something else causing you pain and swelling and discomfort.  So make sure you let your food cool to almost room temperature.  Take it from a mom, eating room temperature food for a week will not kill you.

2.  Meal replacement shakes.

     Meal replacement shakes are also a good choice.  Trust me, a liquid diet gets old FAST.  Meal replacement shakes will at least leave you feeling full for a while.  It also helps to maintain your protein intake because, lets face it, most of us get our protein from meat.  Meat will not be high on your easy to eat list for at least a couple of days.  If you've never tried these shakes before, I found that the Special K dark chocolate ones were really, really yummy.  So are the Carnation Breakfast shakes.  They were akin to drinking melted chocolate ice cream.

3.  Pasta and Eggs

     While it might be a good idea to avoid tomato sauce while your tongue piercing is healing (acids are irritating), cold pasta salad can be made in a variety of flavors.  They are yummy, easy to chew, and slide down your throat, minimizing the amount of work for your tongue.  Eggs, especially, sunny side up or hard boiled are also a good slippery food choice.

4.  Foods that might seem like a good idea, but aren't.

     When your tongue piercing is fresh, you are looking for foods that do not require a lot of chewing but you also want foods that do not stick.  Mashed potatos, peanut butter, cookie dough, thick melted cheese, caramel, chocolate candies and perogies are all out.

5.  Food in a Tube

     No, I'm not talking about freeze dried astronaut food!  Our modern grocery stores carry really interesting snack options these days, like Go Yurt (yogurt in a tube), Fruit Chillers (fruit sorbet in a tube), Applesauce in a tube and good old fashion freeze pops.  All three of these choices (some healthier than others) can be frozen.  They become a nice frozen treat that is yummy, easy to eat and soothing to your swollen tongue piercing.  But you can also leave the tube in tact and they become an ice pack in the perfect size and shape for your mouth.

6.  Salt Water Rinse

     Any good piercer will tell you to do salt water rinses.  But it bears repeating.  The salt water will help to prevent any infection.  They may also tell you to rinse with mouth wash.  You want a non-alcoholic mouth wash.  Do not over use the mouth wash.  Alternating between the two types of rinses might be a good choice.

7.  My Mouth Turned Blue!

     Or yellow.  Yup it happens.  Let's talk yellow first.  You tongue will develop a film on top that is yellowish in color.  It's ok.  It is kind of like your tongue's version of a scab.  It will cover most of your tongue and will probably appear within 2-3 days of getting your tongue pierced.  Within 7-10 days, it will probably be mostly gone.  Do not try to brush or scrape it off!  It will go away on its own.

     Blue moon, oh, er, tongue.  That happens when the coloring in your mouth wash (which you might be using too much of - check with your piercer), dyes the yellow film that covers your healing tongue.  As long as your piercer confirms that you are using the right type and quantity of mouth wash, then don't worry about it.  The blue, or green, or purple - depending on the color of your mouth wash- will fade as the tongue piercing heals and the film disappears.

8.  Herbal Remedies

     Remember that your tongue piercing is a puncture wound!  Treatment of puncture wounds are generally very different than the treatment of other cuts and scrapes.  Things like hydrogen peroxide, tea tree oil, and lavender oil are commonly recommended for the external, let me repeat, external treatment of cuts, not puncture wounds, and especially not puncture wounds to muscles and/or mucous membranes.  On the whole, advil, ice, good hygiene and some time will be all you need. 

9.  Size Matters

     When your tongue is pierced, your piercer will use a longer bar to accomodate the swelling in your tongue.  Generally you will be instructed to return after 2-3 weeks and have a smaller bar put in.  However, some people are, as my piercer calls them, puffy.  If your tongue tries to heal over top of the ball at either end of your bar, your bar is too short.  You will need to go back and have a longer bar put in.

10.  Swish

     While your tongue is still swollen and your piercing is still healing, swish.  Eat a meal with a glass of water at hand.  Rather than struggling to clear the food particles from your mouth, swish your mouth with water and swallow.  It's just easier that way.
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Friday, February 27, 2015

Mis-guided Path of Ego

By Raven Gypsy
One of the core principles of A Cource In Miracles is that Ego has created this world and will try anything to keep you from finding out the truth because the truth is death to the Ego. So the obstacle to oneness with God is denying the ego and avoiding its tricks and distractions.

This idea is echoed by the Tao Te Ching

If I had the least bit of wisdom
I could follow the path of Tao quite well
My only fear would be trying to go my own way
The Great Path is simple and direct
yet people love to take the side-routes.
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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Ayurvedic Medicine

Consider Ayurvedic Medicine for:

Strictly speaking, Ayurvedic Medicine is not a treatment. Rather, it is an entire medical system whose goal is the prevention of disease through the proper balance of three "irreducible principles" at work in the body.

Derived from philosophical theories propounded in India over 2,000 years ago, the principles of Ayurvedic Medicine have never been substantiated by contemporary medical science--and no medical conditions have been proven to respond to Ayurvedic treatments. Certain Ayurvedic exercises, such as the meditation and gentle stretching exercises of yoga, afford people relief from tension and stress. However, any impact these exercises have on chronic conditions such as high blood pressure appears to be momentary, and can't be considered a lasting remedy.

How Ayurvedic Treatments Are Done

Ayurvedic Medicine encompasses a wide range of treatments and lifestyle measures, including dietary recommendations, massage, medicinal herbs, and the meditation and breathing techniques of yoga. Some practitioners also recommend intestinal "cleansing" through the use of laxatives or enemas. Depending on your specific ailments and condition, you could be prescribed any or all of these various modes of therapy.

Ayurvedic practitioners generally begin by taking a comprehensive personal and medical history to determine your physical and spiritual "type," and then prescribe and treat accordingly. Expect detailed questions about your emotional temperament, skin type, food preferences, and other quirks. The practitioner is also likely to examine your tongue and spend a significant amount of time taking your pulse. (In the Ayurvedic view of medicine, the pulse is a critical diagnostic tool, revealing imbalances in the three basic principles at work in the body.)

Much like traditional Oriental medicine, the Ayurvedic system aims not just to treat diseases, but to maintain and balance the energy and health of both mind and body. It emphasizes avoidance of stress and a moderate, balanced lifestyle. The version of Ayurvedic medicine commercialized in the United States is a relatively recent "reconstruction" of ancient Indian medical practices, refined and tailored to meet Western expectations and tastes. In India itself, Western-style medicine is replacing many of the older practices.

The frequency and duration of Ayurvedic treatments vary widely. Many aspects of Ayurvedic practice, such as dietary choices and yoga, can be self-administered on a regular basis or as needed. Typical measures may include massage with warm sesame oil; avoidance of certain types of foods (based on flavor, not nutritional content) and emphasis on others; breathing exercises, such as breathing alternately through one nostril and then the other; and herbal saunas or enemas to "detoxify" the body. A comprehensive program of treatments, called panchakarma, aims at overall "purification" and rejuvenation, and may be offered at some Ayurvedic clinics, centers, or spas.

What Ayurvedic Treatment Hopes to Accomplish

The complex Indian system of healing called Ayurveda (from the Sanskrit words for "knowledge of life") has been around for millennia, but was first popularized in the United States by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of the Transcendental Meditation movement. Later, the physician-author Deepak Chopra, MD seized the baton, promoting the system in a string of books and lectures during the 1980's and 90s.

According to Ayurveda, there are three doshas, or basic metabolic types: kapha, pitta, and vata. Each dosha is rooted in specific organs of the body and associated with two of Ayurveda's elements (earth, water, fire, air, and space, or "ether"). Combinations of these doshas in various proportions are said to yield a total of 10 body types which determine each individual's physical and emotional makeup.
The Ayurvedic practitioner's job is to identify the individual's "tridosha," a unique combination of the three doshas, and prescribe dietary patterns, exercises, lifestyle changes, and therapies designed to bring the tridosha into balance. People described as predominantly "vata" are thought to be thin, quick, and energetic; "pitta" types are considered competitive and hot-tempered; "kapha" types are regarded as calm and stolid. Each type is considered prone to characteristic ailments (for example, "pitta" types are thought to be more vulnerable to ulcers, inflammation, or rashes).
Identification of one's tridosha determines an array of recommendations, ranging from dietary choices to the best types of exercise. Ayurvedic dietary advice is based on food's flavor rather than its nutritional content as defined by Western science. Increasing your intake of sweet, sour, and salty foods, for instance, is said to balance "vata." Herbal prescriptions are drawn from a vast selection of traditional Indian remedies, most of them unfamiliar to Westerners. (Don't make assumptions. Even familiar herbs may be used for different purposes than those documented by Western medical research.) Attempts to "purify" the body through excretion are also stressed, including herbal enemas and steam treatments. (Induced vomiting, a purgative technique used in Indian Ayurvedic practice, has--not surprisingly--been avoided by American practitioners.)

Who Should Avoid Ayurvedic Medicine?

Because none of the treatments endorsed by Ayurvedic Medicine have been tested and found effective in regular clinical trials, Western physicians rarely recommend them for anyone. At best, Ayurvedic techniques are seen as means of attaining balance and harmony in your physical and emotional life--certainly not as a cure for a specific disease.

In any event, it's wise to be especially wary of the purgative treatments sometimes recommended by Ayurvedic practitioners. Overuse of laxatives and enemas can lead to serious chemical imbalances within the body. Laxatives, in particular, should never be taken in the presence of abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting without first consulting a regular doctor.

Likewise, if you must follow dietary restrictions in order to manage a serious disorder such as diabetes or heart disease, it's advisable to consult a physician or registered dietitian before adopting an Ayurvedic diet plan. Because Ayurvedic recommendations are based mainly on the flavor of food, they may be at odds with the body's requirements as understood by contemporary medical science.

What Side Effects May Occur?

Meditation and the gentle stretching and breathing exercises of yoga are unlikely to have any adverse effects on most individuals. Likewise, gentle massage with warm oil, another mainstay of Ayurveda, is generally harmless. Ayurvedic herbal medicines, however, are a different matter. There's little published information on them, and many herbs have potent--and not necessarily desirable--effects when overused. If you develop any unforeseen symptoms while taking an Ayurvedic remedy, regard them as a signal to check with a mainstream doctor or pharmacist.

How to Choose an Ayurvedic Therapist

Ayurveda is not recognized as a medical discipline in the United States, and there is no licensure system in place for its practitioners. A few medical doctors and osteopaths combine Ayurvedic philosophy and practice with contemporary medicine and other types of alternative health care. For practitioners trained by the followers of the Marharishi Mahesh Yogi, contact the Ayur-Veda Health Center listed below.

When Should Treatment Stop?

If you are using Ayurvedic techniques such as meditation and yoga to combat stress and improve your general well-being, you can probably continue indefinitely. However, if a specific complaint fails to respond to Ayurvedic herbs or dietary adjustments within a matter of weeks, the wisest course is to discontinue the treatment and seek alternative therapy.

See a Conventional Doctor If...

Even if you find an Ayurvedic program to be a helpful tonic, it's best to regard it as an adjunct to other forms of medicine. If you develop any serious or alarming symptoms, seek diagnosis and treatment from a mainstream physician. Remember, even in India most health-care professionals now use at least some modern medical techniques.

The Raj, Maharishi Ayur-Veda Health Center
1734 Jasmine Avenue
Fairfield, IA 52556
Phone: 800-248-9050
This spa-like Ayurvedic health center is affiliated with a university founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the Indian spiritual leader who devised Transcendental Meditation. The center provides general information on Ayurveda and referrals to graduates of their Ayurvedic training program.
Ayurvedic Secrets to Longevity and Total Health. Peter Anselmo with James S. Brooks, MD. Paramus, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1996.
Ayurveda: The A-Z Guide to Healing Techniques from Ancient India. Nancy Bruning and Helen Thomas. New York: Dell, 1997.
Maharishi Ayur-Ved: TM Goes Health Food. Stephen Barrett, MD and Victor Herbert, MD, JD, in The Vitamin Pushers. Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 1994.
Perfect Health: The Complete Mind-Body Guide. Deepak Chopra, MD. New York: Harmony Books, 1991.
The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies. Vasant Lad. New York: Harmony Books, 1998.
The Book of Ayurveda. Judith H. Morrison. New York: Fireside, 1995.
Yoga and Ayurveda. J. Raso in "Alternative" Healthcare: A Comprehensive Guide. Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 1994.
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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Blessed are the Meek

By Cheryl Hartzman
Mathew 5:5

“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”

             In the song Blessed, by Simon and Garfunkle, the concept of the undeserving being blessed is graphically portrayed:  “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit. . Blessed are the sat upon, spat upon, ratted on, O lord, why have you forsaken me? . . . Blessed are the meth drinkers, pot sellers, illusion dwellers.  O lord, why have you forsaken me? . . . Blessed are the penny rookers, cheap hookers, groovy lookers.
O lord, why have you forsaken me?  I have tended my own garden, Much too long.”

            As a child, I never understood Mathew’s statement.  To me, like Simon and Garfunkle, the definition of meek is weak, frail, unable, incapable.  For the life of me, I could not understand why characteristics like that would be, not only desirable, but rewarded? 

            So now as an adult these thoughts are returning, and I’ve decided to investigate a little because my understanding of Mathew is probably more in error then Mathew’s delivery of divine information.  Allow me, if you will, to take you on a trip to the Miriam-Webster Dictionary where we will find a definition for meek.

Pronunciation: 'mEk
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse mjukr gentle; akin to Welsh mwyth soft
1 : enduring injury with patience and without resentment
2 : deficient in spirit and courage
3 : not violent or strong

Definition number two is certainly in keeping with what I thought meek meant.  But how can a word mean it’s opposite?  One can not be deficient in spirit and courage if one is to endure injury with patience and without resentment.  I would never dare call Martin Luther King, Jr. or Ghandi men who were lacking in spirit or courage!  To endure such things, you must be non-violent.  And to be non-violent certainly takes more strength than it does to simply release the energy of anger when ever and where ever you please.

I think I have finally reconciled this puzzle.  The definition of meek has over the centuries been altered by our culture to its extreme opposite.

Blessed are those strong enough to overcome violence for they shall inherit the earth or the land.

Blessed are those strong enough to overcome violence.  Overcome violence.  Matthew goes on to say in 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God.

Return to your lives this day, and create peace in your heart, in your mind, in your home.  Become sons and daughters of God and practice conflict resolution in a calm and peaceful manner with communication, patience and compassion.  Next time you feel the urge to yell choose silence.  Next time you feel the urge to throw and hit, breathe and think on the meaning of meek.  You are all Blessed sons and daughters of God because I know, in your hearts is the strength to become meek. 
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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

My Shit Doesn't Stink

By Raven Gypsy
Yup, I said it, My Shit doesn't stink.  Oh, but you think I'm lying?  Poop from a healthy individual actually doesn't have a strong odor, but due to our modern diet of fats, refined sugars, additives, preservatives, sterilization, and processing, our poop is now odoriferous, to say the least.  The good news is, there are a few things you can do about it.

Let's start with the easy solution - cover it up.  That's right, we love our junk food, admit it.  And if health and energy and weight loss and all those other good reasons to change your diet haven't worked, I'm not foolish enough to think that lessening the stink of your poop will really be the reason that pushes you over the edge.  However, commerical air freshing sprays and their ilk are ladden with toxic chemicals that really aren't safe to be inhaling and touching.  For some of us, the smells are more offensive then what they are covering up too.  In addition, did you know that many of the plug in air fresheners have been known to start house fires?  That is certainly one way to change the smell of your bathroom, but I wouldn't really call it an improvement!

Essential oils can provide a safe, natural and affordable solution.  A few drops of essential oil mixed with water in a spray bottle makes for a fantastic air freshing spray.  The best kept secret though, is to add a couple drops of oil directly to the toilet water, BEFORE, doing your business.  Sounds strange, I know!  But it really does work.  Just try it, it's the only way to believe me.

Bonus: Essential oil bottles are so small they can easily be carried in a purse or pocket or kept in a drawer at work.

Best Essential Oils to cover up the smell?  Strong ones, duh.  Eucalyptus, peppermint, wintergreen, and lemon are some good places to start.

TIP:  If you live somewhere with Mexican grocery stores, pure eucalyptus oil comes in huge bottles for way cheaper than the natural stores.

Strong odor in your stools is actually a sign of poorly digested food in a slow moving gut.  These factors lead to the growth of bacteria - smelly bacteria.

If you are one of those few people who are interested in preventative steps to improve the odor of your stool, then here are a few to get you started:
1. Chew your Food well.  Well chewed food is better digested.
2. RAW apple cider vinegar
3. Eat raw, unprocessed, natural foods
4. avoid liquids with meals
5. consume bitter herbs such as wormwood, fennel, or nettles infusions
6. avoid antacids
7. avoid artificial preservatives
8. avoid dairy and gluten (difficult to digest)
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Monday, February 23, 2015

Acupuncture for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

By Raven Gypsy

According to Chinese medicine, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can be caused by general body imbalance- spleen vacuity, liver depression or energy deficiency- causing vital energy (chi) stagnation, water retention or blood stasis around the tunnel.  The treatment principle is to concurrently treat the general body condition and the local affected area.  Clinical research has verified that acupuncture works very well for carpal tunnel syndrome.

Using the traditional needling technique, certain acupuncture points, based on the general body condition, are picked to restore the body’s equilibrium.  The points to treat spleen vacuity, liver depression and energy deficiency are in the leg, the feet and the head.  A variety of local points around the hand and wrist are beneficial, depending on if the symptoms are limited to the hand and wrist or involve the forearm, shoulder or neck area.

While the patient is reclining on his back or side, the needles are carefully and painlessly inserted into the points and kept in position 15 to 30 minutes.  A case of carpal tunnel syndrome that has existed less then 6 months usually can be cured in 3 to 6 treatments.  The longer the condition, the more treatment needed.  There are no special restrictions after treatment, and patients are free to use their hands in normal ways.

For a great overview of Acupuncture we recommend:
Everything You Need to Know about Acupuncture
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Stick with It for 21 days

By Raven Gypsy
I was watching the news the other day and they were doing a feature about exercise. The medical reporter came on stated that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. Now, obviously, they were encouraging people to stick with a new exercise regime for 21 days and that after that it would be easier. However this really applies to anything including how you think. So if you want to change your thought patterns from negative to more positive or perhaps you are following a spiritual path, you need to give it a wholehearted daily practice for at least 21 days before it becomes second nature. At first you may think to yourself, "21 days! But this is really tough, that is a long time!" But if you put it in perspective of the rest of your life, committing to changing your entire life in just 21 days really doesn't seem so bad, does it?

I wonder if the same principle works for drug and alcohol addiction? I guess cleansing the system of toxins will impact that time frame. Maybe 21 days in rehab after all the toxins are gone would be the magic formula for that.
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Relief from G-Jo Acupressure

By Raven Gypsy

How to Relieve a Headache with G-Jo Acupressure

Find G-Jo point number 13 by placing the right hand so the palm faces the floor.  Squeeze your thumb tightly against your pointer finger so a fleshy mound pops up on the back of the right hand between them.  Place the tip- not the pad or fleshy part- of the left thumb (or if you have a long thumb nail, use the bent knuckle of the index finger or even the eraser tip of a pencil) on top of that mound.  Keeping the left thumb tip in place, relax the right hand…begin pressing deeply in that area until you feel a tender “ouch” point.  The more it hurts, the better it is likely to be for your kind of headache.

Now trigger the point deeply, in a digging or goading fingertip massage.  Do this for 15 or 20 seconds on the right hand, then stop and duplicate the process on the back of the left hand.
(Conversely, if the point doesn’t hurt, it may either mean you’re not probing and massaging deeply enough- use enough pressure to make you wince a bit with discomfort- or it could mean that this is not the best point for your type of headache.)

How to Relieve a Backache with G-Jo-Acupressure

Use G-Jo point number 5.  First seat yourself in a comfortable chair, then reach down behind the bony bulge of the outer right ankle, using the tip of your right thumb.  Press deeply in the soft hollow or depression located between that bony bulge and the Achilles tendon- the hamstring tendon that runs up the back of the foot and leg.

Press deeply, until you feel the tender point- that’s absolutely crucial.  Once located, trigger the spot in the deep, digging or goading kind of G-Jo Acupressure massage.
Then reach for the identical point behind the left, outer ankle.  Again, find and trigger that point. 

Finally, test your back gently.  If the pain is eased but not quite gone, simply trigger the same acupoints for another few seconds and test again.
There are certain phenomena- called “acupressure reaction”- that generally accompany proper stimulation.  When these occur it’s often a good indication that this is the right point to restimulate if the target symptom returns.
For example, you’ll often notice a slight flush of perspiration form across your brow or shoulders,  Or you could feel warmth or clamminess in any part of the body.  These are normal reactions.

A profound sense of relief often happens upon stimulating a good acupoint.  Stop triggering the point as soon as this reaction occurs (usually within half a minute or less).  In any event, triggering for more than a minute or two is unnecessary.
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