Let’s talk! about Mindfulness…

Meditation-garden-mindfulness-imageMindfulness is very much in the news these days as a means of finding tranquility in our increasingly stressful world. Big business too is beginning to take it seriously as a way to ensure the well-being of their staff (although it is to be hoped that they are approaching it from altruistic motives, rather than as a way to add even more to their frenetic daily life).  The idea is very simple: Mindfulness means merely to be present in the here and now, paying full attention to whatever is happening around you and within you, free from distractions or judgement, with a soft and open mind.

In our modern lives we are subjected to many pressures; work, relationships, money, heath worries and information overload to name but a few. And it is not only what happens outside that causes problems. Merely thinking about what’s happening to us can cause stress. Ruminating about our circumstances, regretting the past and worrying about the future inevitably makes us feel worse.

The result of these internal and external pressures is that the brain’s reaction to real danger, the “fight and flight” mechanism, can be switched on all of the time. This isn’t good for us, and can lead to stress related illnesses, both physical and psychological. Once we become stressed, ruminations can become even more negative, and stress ends up producing yet more stress.

Mindfulness gives us a way of breaking out of this vicious cycle, by repeatedly turning gently away from thinking, and towards our sensory experience. Research show that these simple techniques dampen down the reaction to stress, and enhance activity in areas associated with well-being.

Evidence over more than three decades supports Mindfulness. It has been shown to have a positive effect on physical and psychological health, and to enhance focus, memory, creativity and compassion. It decreases the impact of living in a stressful world and helps us to be the best we can be.

Miranda Bevis Mindfulness GroupsWhy not try mindfulness for yourself, at the taster sessions we hold here at The Terrace? Dr Miranda Bevis  offers a mindfulness stress reduction programme (MBSR) which is designed to help you learn new ways of managing difficult physical sensations, feelings and moods and to live life more in the present moment.

Taster Sessions (£5):

Tues 14th Oct 6.30pm – 8pm or
Weds 15th Oct 9.30am – 1pm

8 week course dates will run from Tues 21st October 6.30pm-8pm and Weds 22nd October 9.15am – 11.30am, costing £225.

Advertisements

The Gentle Power of Homeopathic Medicine

Homeopathy  appears to some a mysterious ‘art’, but others swear by it as the only way to treat those symptoms that beset us every spring and summer and which are bracketed together as ‘hayfever’, or who suffer year-round from  allergic reactions to animals, dust mites or certain foodstuffs for example.

Here The Terrace homeopath Ruth Hermolle talks of her experiences using homeopathic medicines to treat patients with allergic reactions that were literally preventing them from achieving ambitions or enjoying pastimes they love. 

You have an unexplained rash – you get a cream over the counter or from the doctor, rash goes away – “works like magic”. But you have to keep on using the cream or it comes back.

Ask yourself – where does the rash go? What is going on? We all know that in magic tricks the egg is up the sleeve, the rabbit is under the table etc. I think the human body is a lot more sophisticated and complex than magic. You only have to think about how the food (good or bad!) we eat is broken down by the digestive system, separated into miniscule components so that all our organs have all the right vitamins, minerals, enzymes etc when and where they are needed.

bees

Image: Darren Robertson / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If the sophisticated systems of the body throw up a symptom such as a rash, maybe there is a good reason? If you have a car that starts to make strange noises, you would not just turn up the radio to drown it out, would you? After all, a car is an expensive item. You would find out what is going on and get it put right.

I am a homeopath. Science tells me that homeopathic medicines cannot work because they are too minute to be effective. But what about the clients who have used homeopathic medicines and found them effective?

Let me introduce you to 3 people and their particular stories. First a little girl of about 8 – loves, loves, loves animals and wants to have pony riding lessons. But contact with any animal gives her a rash, sore eyes, etc. With a few treatments her sensitivity reduces and she is able to do what she loves most.

Image: Matt Banks / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: Matt Banks / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Next a young man training to be a gardener, lucky to get a placement in a famous country estate, but suffers badly with hayfever: what can he do? His Mum gets him to try homeopathic treatment. With the help of an oldherb called Eyebright (Euphrasia) and other homeopathic medicines he is able to resume his work without any problems, even when he is strimming acres of grass.

Finally, a woman who had a lovely flowering tree in her garden. But every summer she got hayfever so badly she had to have oral steroids and inhalers; she said her eyes ‘turn to jelly’. With the help of homeopathic treatment she was able to resume sitting under her tree in spring, and was free of those frightening symptoms.

This is not magic. By carefully choosing homeopathic medicines to match the individual and their health experience, by helping the body do what it is already trying to do, a healthy balance is restored and the symptoms are no longer needed.

Look at your own experience – are you helping your body to get back into a healthy balance, or are you just masking the symptoms?

Find out more about homoeopathy:

 www.ruthhermolle.co.uk

http://www.homeopathyworkedforme.org

http://www.youtube.com/user/FindaHomeopath

www.a-r-h.org (Alliance of Registered Homeopaths)

homeopathy

More poetry for mindfulness: Keeping Quiet by Pablo Neruda

DE_20120613_PI_retarus_quiet_time_screenWhy do we find it so hard to be, simply, still? Here at The Terrace we are lucky enough to have an expert mindfulness practitioner, Miranda Bevis. Her experiences have been immensely positive, both personally and professionally and she is keen to share the  life enhancing nature of mindfulness, which is now being taken up as an effective therapeutic tool by practitioners in the National Health Service.

Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. It is something that has to be worked at, but it is incredibly powerful as a way to manage the ever-increasing pace of life in the 21st century and to cope with personal life challenges.

Sometimes, the practice of mindfulness is easier to describe by illustration, using poetry to distill the essence of what it means to be ‘still’. We have tried to do this before on ‘let’s talk’ and the poem we chose then, by Wendell Berry , got a huge, positive response. So here is another favourite, by the Nobel prize-winning Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. In Keeping Quiet,  Neruda asks the reader to stop, take time out from the frenetic pace of life and make time for silence. In that quiet time we can reflect on our lives, and stop being so  ‘single-minded/about keeping our lives moving/and for once could do nothing’ . It isn’t simple inactivity, it is a time to connect with ourselves, and with the earth. In doing so we can return to our routines with energy and with an appreciation of our lives and the impact of our actions.

Keeping Quiet
Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.

For once on the face of the earth,
let’s not speak in any language;
let’s stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.

Fisherman in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would look at his hurt hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.

If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.

Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.

Do you have any favourite poems which you use to help you reflect on life and which offers you the chance to be still and take time out for yourself, alone? We would love to hear your suggestions, and to hear what you think of this poem. It will take more than one reading, but we do hope it will offer you food for thought.

Miranda Bevis offers regular mindfulness taster sessions here at The Terrace. The next available slots are on the 13th and 14th of May 2014. See our website for more details.

 

Complementary therapies are not just for celebrities……

Martine_McCutcheon_1238629311_1Actress Martine McCutcheon has recently revealed that she has recovered from a long period of depression and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). This is good news, as both conditions can leave you in a very lonely place, and it was great to hear that homeopathic medicine was part of her strategy for getting well. Other celebrities who have acknowledged the value of homeopathy to their health include entrepreneur Jo Wood, broadcaster Janey Lee Grace and athlete Louise Hazel.

CFS is the kind of chronic condition that often brings someone to try homeopathy: it is very difficult to get a diagnosis (as there is no test, other than to eliminate other conditions such as anaemia or thyroid problems). And there is no conventional treatment available, just help with managing some of the symptoms. For many years GPs did not even accept CFS as a medical condition, but there are now NICE guidelines on how to recognise it.

In the cases I have seen there has often been an initial infection (tonsillitis for example), apparently treated successfully with antibiotics, followed not long after by classic symptoms of CFS: constant severe exhaustion (not helped by resting) muscle or joint pain, and sometimes the relapsing of infections. There may also be problems with headaches or sleeping.

Homeopathic medicine was developed over 200 years ago with the aim of minimising the harsh effects of other medication at that time. It works to bring  a healthy balance to your body and mind using carefully selected remedies to stimulate the natural self-healing resources we all have. The remedies are made from a vast range of substances and the process of preparation renders them free of toxic effects and safe for people of all ages. Samuel Hahnemann discovered that in micro dilution even harsh or poisonous substances like sulphur, mercury or belladonna, can have a therapeutic effect. He also recognised that the whole person is involved in health and ill-health, so effective medicine must be too.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a classic example of how homeopathy can be effective:

  • No test or diagnosis is required – the treatment is tailored to the person and the symptoms they experiencing
  • The treatment is for the whole person – physical, mental and emotional, including energy levels
  • Homeopathic medicines are gentle and non-toxic, so are safe and effective even for those who are very weak

In my experience, the sooner someone is treated the more quickly their condition will resolve.

Without doubt, CFS is a condition which affects the whole person, with an impact on all aspects of their life; so it is not surprising that successful treatment needs to respond to the whole person. That is exactly what homeopathic medicine does.

Read a previous post to find out more about how homeopathy works or have a look at the website of the Alliance of Registered Homeopaths where there is more information and links to other resources. There is also the Find a Homeopath website, which highlights useful questions to ask if you are looking to consult a homeopath.

Ruth Herm1601899_596411287092917_1203227823_oolle  qualified as a Licentiate of the College of Practical Homeopathy (LCPH) and is a Registered Homeopath (RHom) She is also a member of the Alliance of Registered Homeopaths (MARH), a professional body, which provides the Code of Ethics and Practice to which she works. To contact Ruth to find out more about Homeopathy ring us here at The Terrace on 01823 338968 or visit our website at www.the-terrace.co.uk

Breathing-space for your Brain – the science of mindfulness

 

mindfulness-at-work-compBy Celia Kozlowski – science writer

Celia Kozlowski is a freelance science writer and editor based in Somerset who completed the Mindfulness-based stress reduction training at The Terrace in Taunton and has written, through the ‘scientific lens’, how mindfulness works.

The World War II slogan is everywhere these days—tee shirts, mugs,: Keep Calm and Carry On . But how do we do that amidst a high-stress life? A popular answer is “Mindfulness.”

The U.S. Marines are testing mindfulness to help soldiers function better under fire. Studies suggest mindfulness training may help prevent or improve recovery from combat’s emotional traumas.

Google’ Inc.’s headquarters — a high-stress workplace–has offered employees mindfulness since 2005. Their “Search Inside Yourself” improves workers’ performance, productivity, relationships, and job satisfaction while lowering stress, absenteeism, and employee turnover.

Scientific reports on Mindfulness show it can help people with a range of health challenges – anxiety, depression, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, insomnia.

Mindfulness can ease symptoms of multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic pain, eating disorders, hypochondria, mental fatigue following stroke, and recovery from substance abuse. Data show Mindfulness improves quality of life after treatment for breast cancer and blocked arteries.

The teacher at The Terrace, Psychotherapy and Complementary Health Centre, Dr Miranda Bevis, a former NHS doctor, told us her first exposure to Mindfulness was through her late husband. As he coped with motor neurone disease, he tried Mindfulness, which transformed his experience of the rest of his life.

Scientists are starting to understand how Mindfulness works. By studying the brains of Mindfulness practitioners, researchers detected changes in structure and function supporting theories that could explain the benefits. These suggest Mindfulness reshapes the brain for better control in sorting out emotions and signals from the body – like pain.

Instead of reacting automatically, a brain toned by Mindfulness chooses more deliberately what impulses get attention, and then crafts a healthy response. But there IS a catch. To realize the benefits of Mindfulness, you have to keep practicing.

Miranda Bevis Mindfulness Groups

Dr Miranda Bevis

The Terrace is running taster sessions Tuesday 9th April 6.30pm and Wednesday 10th April 9.15 with Dr Miranda Bevis. Book on 01823 338968, email post@the-terrace.co.uk
http://www.the-terrace.co.uk

By popular demand – a digest of our ‘Relationship tips of the week’

quotesFor the past three months or so The Terrace has been sharing a ‘Relationship tip of the week’ on Facebook each Friday. Short sentences of supportive words to take into the weekend, they have proved very popular so we thought a digest of tips might be useful. Perhaps you have missed one or two, or are new to our Facebook page. Or maybe you are a fan and would like to see them all together for the first time….

So – here they are. Not all of them will have meaning for you, but something will resonate and we would love to know what your feelings are as you read them. Is there a topic you would like Jane to cover? Could they be shorter? Longer? Clearer? Would you like more than one a week?  Do comment below (or better still, ‘like’ our Facebook page to comment each week) and we will be certain to take everything you say into account as we continue to offer the words for the weekend, and for life.

‘Change takes time – change needs patience, care and attention.’

‘Constant joke making and laughing can deflect from saying what you think. Reflect – what is the function of making jokes all the time. What am I avoiding saying?’

‘Forming a shared dream is a relationship maker’

‘Do I look away when I am saying something which I find difficult? Check yourself out.’

‘Am I feeling gratitude for what I do have in my relationship? If not, think of 5 gratitudes. See what difference this makes.’

‘Less is more – going on and on does not work. Figure out what you would like to say, shave it down to one ‘digestible’ sentence, then say it.’

‘Speaking loudly does not get us heard. Speaking softly but clearly gives us a better chance of being heard.’

‘Being assertive is different from being aggressive. We need to be assertive to say what we believe in.’

‘People come together through their similarities, but they grow an intimate relationship through managing their differences.’

‘Taking your time is no sin! Reflective responses can hold true meaning.’

‘If I am not saying who I am, and what I stand for, then the other cannot know me…’

‘Communicating anger is well done when you are no longer feeling it. …’

‘Notice – am I listening? Or just formulating my response? Listen, receive the information, and then see how you would like to respond.’

‘What is important is what the other hears and takes in – not what you say. Check what they have heard. It may be different from what you intended to say….’

(From Jane Gotto, UKCP Reg Psychotherapist & Founder of The Terrace)

Touch For Health – an approach to wellness

touch-for-healthDriving home the other day I pulled the lever to wash my windscreen and nothing happened. The windscreen wash bottle was empty.  It was empty because I hadn’t thought to check it while it was still working.

Cars are a bit like our bodies. While everything is ok and they’re working well we don’t really think about them. Both need fuel at regular intervals and benefit from regular cleaning! It is only when you hear an unusual rattle or rumble coming from your car that you think that it might need some attention. Our bodies give us clues too. A headache, insomnia, stomach problems, a cold or a stiff neck can sometimes be early warning signs that the body is needing some attention.

Touch For Health encourages you to think about how your body is working beyond the anatomical and physiological aspects. A Touch For Health balance allows you to explore what is happening in your life in three dimensions – physical, physiological and psychological. By identifying what you would like to change about any of these dimensions you are working with the Touch For Health practitioner towards a state of optimum health.  In reality achieving this perfect state is difficult given all the challenges that life puts our way each day!

Try to imagine the three dimensions as each side of a triangle. Excessive pressure on anyone of these dimensions completely distorts the triangle and the body gives signs of dis-ease. An example is where emotional/ mental stress impacts on the functioning of the endocrine and nervous systems which in turn causes a negative impact on muscles and the body’s vital organs. Touch For Health works with the body’s energy systems to encourage healing and restore harmony.

If you would like to find out more about how you can influence your own health using the Touch For Health approach Irene Cox will be giving a talk and demonstration at The Terrace, 35 Staplegrove Road, Taunton TA1 1DG on Monday 23rd September at 6.30.

Irene Cox is a qualified Touch For Health practitioner, having met the standards set by the International Kinesiology College and an ITEC qualified holistic therapist. She works with children and adults at The Terrace in Staplegrove Road, Taunton.  For further information ring 01823 338968, email post@the-terrace.co.uk or www.the-terrace.co.uk