Be Better, Be Happier, Be Important – The 3 New To-Do List for 2014

As we step into 2014, it may be a good time now to give yourself some time to find out why time has flown. To some of us who are feeling the over-stress and overwork syndrome, or to some of us who are seeking the meaning of life, asking “Why am I here?” or “What is life?”, it’s good that we get ready a cup of tea, sit back and let’s give ourselves the precious time to reflect.

Making new year resolution is one of the ways to let you start thinking and exerting effort to move towards your dream. It keeps you on the right track, creates order and direction for your life. With work pressures and family-relationship demands, you tend to forget about putting yourself first. You give to everyone their time and satisfy everyone’s dreams and fancies but yours. You work out their schedules but yours. You attend to their needs but yours. This year, make it a year to satisfy your needs first. As you are happier, achieving what you want, then you can give 100% to others of what they want.

Let’s get started!  Instead of harping on the same issues of weight-loss plan and exercising, let’s categorise the to-do list which includes the following:

“What can I do better?” List;

“How can I be happier?” List; and

“What’s important to me?” List.

“What can I do better?”

This year, improve your abilities and learn a new skill.  If you are a Secretary, would you like to learn to use a new software?  As a mother, would you bake or start a home-based business?  As a professional, would you like to improve your skills by going to a world-class convention?  To speak better, would you join a communication workshop or join a Club?

“How can I be happier?”

This year, make a decision to be happy.  Learn to use positive affirmation every morning to start the day.  Say, “I’m happy and everyone is happy.”  Choose to smile often.  Make a reservation now to go on your dream holiday, don’t wait.  Sign up for the dance class you’ve always been thinking about.  Remove from the dust infested drawer with your drawing or musical instruments and play.  Get out your calendar and mark all the dates where you will go ahead and fulfil all your wishes.  Just do it, right now!

“What’s important to me?”

Under this list, you may want to write the names of your loved ones.  Beside each name, you can create another to-do list with the person who is important to you.  If there are things which are important to you, list them down, and beside each item, tell yourself how important this item is to you.  How would you like to improve the use of the item?  For example, memories are best kept in pictures, you can learn how to create photo books for your loved ones, accompany with a well-written story and a record for posterity.

In 2014, make it a year you begin tolove Yourself all over again.  Look into what make you YOU, and share with the world the new YOU who is happier, better and having greater self-esteem.

To you, the happy one, Happy New Year 2014!

3 Ways To Chill Out And Have A Relaxing School Holidays

School children are having their longest school break at year end, are parents having their well-deserved break too?  Or are the parents dreading it, trying to figure out how they are going to keep their children occupied?  Even with the festive seasons around the corner, these are supposedly happy occasions, parents, especially, are feeling the stress.

According to a poll conducted by about.com on how stressful the holidays can be, where 2,258 votes are received, more than 80% find that the holiday season is ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ stressful.  In another survey conducted by Mental Health America, money matters and chaotic schedules are the two most stressful concerns.

Having the kids at home during school holidays, parents tend to try their best to fill up their time for them.  Parents feel the pressure to make sure that their kids stay active and many would sign up courses for their kids to learn new skills.  Also, with the kids at home, there will be more household chores such as cooking extra meals, washing extra clothes and cleaning up after the kids.  Extra workload such as these can be overwhelming for working parents.

With seven weeks of school holidays, it can be exhaustive and could drain a parent both mentally and physically.

Here are three ways how you can chill out while the children have their fun too:

1. Organize a relaxing retreat
Always remember that while parents need time off, so are your kids.  A well-rested child is cheerful and well mannered.  When a child stays up feeling excited all day long or sleeps late during the holidays, the lack of sleep will cause irritability, moodiness and health problems.  The members of a family can get together to organize a relaxing retreat where parents and children take a ‘time-out’ over the holiday to just rest and relax.  Choose a serene place such as a spa resort to enjoy moments of silence together while everyone enjoy a massage of their choice.

2. Laughing together as a family
Laughter is a good way to reduce stress.  You may choose to read a funny storybook or comics to your children.  Share funny jokes or play a game with them.  Cook and bake a cake together, while you ‘play’ with the ingredients.  Have a role-play session with your children and create roles that are amusing.  As you enjoy the holidays, arrange more activities that you can laugh out loud as a family.

3. Making healthy meals
While you let your children to have more time on their own with their friends, cousins and relatives, the freedom to eat anything when they are running about will also affect their diet.  During the holidays, what you would not want is a child who is under the weather.  To stay healthy, prepare them a nutritious meal at least once a day.  Staying healthy will get the family to enjoy the holidays happily together or each by themselves, without worries.

People who get stressed out are most likely to dread the holidays.  It’s really about how you manage the holidays with a little wisdom.  Always find time for yourself first and enjoy the moment.  As David Levingston, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Brattleboro, Vt. said, “Stress and distress are often related to worrying about the future or fretting about the past.  To find peace and joy in any season, it is to focus on the present moment.”

Let the festive season and holidays be the time to enjoy the precious moments with loved ones by feeling happy everywhere you are, everytime!

Training in Mindfulness Can Reduce Stress and Burnout

What is mindfulness? It is a technique to heighten attention, empathy and other emotions through an awareness of thoughts, external stimuli, or bodily sensations such as breath. Mindfulness originates from Buddhist meditation but was developed for secular use in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn, who founded the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction programme at the University of Massachusetts in the United States.

Teachers were the subjects in a recent study; they were selected due to the nature of their stressful jobs. The study found that those who received the mindfulness training displayed reductions in psychological stress, improvements in classroom organization and increases in self-compassion. In comparison, the group that did not receive the training showed signs of increased stress and burnout over the course of the school year. These results provide objective evidence that MBSR techniques are beneficial to teachers (and possibly for others in high stressful jobs).

Teachers play a critical role in nurturing children’s well-being; however, progress in addressing teaching-related stress has been elusive. Stress and burnout among teachers and in any other profession is a major concern, affecting the quality of work and incurring increased costs in recruiting and sustaining them.

One way to reduce stress is to indulge in a Thai Massage. Thai Massage is the combination of yoga stretching, calmness of meditation, with accupressure, exercise movement and reflexology that makes it a healing art. It is worked on a floor with the client dressed in comfortable loose clothing. Thai method uses mainly point pressure and muscle stretching. And it is not just the hands that are used to free tension stored in the recipient’s body, but the feet and elbows are used as well. It improves a person’s outlook towards life and builds an emotional balance. It also helps with concentration and creativity, and can especially be helpful to gain mental clarity.

Optimists are Better at Handling Stress

Have you ever pondered how it is your optimistic friend always seems to be untroubled with stress? Scientists have already determined the reason behind that.

Researchers from Concordia University found that optimistic individuals’ stress hormone levels remain more stable in the face of stressful moments compared with their pessimistic counterparts.

 

According to study researcher Joelle Jobin, who is a Ph.D. candidate in clinical psychology at the university, on days where the people subjected to the experiment experience higher than average stress, that’s when we see that the pessimistic individuals’ stress response is much elevated, and they have trouble bringing their cortisol levels back down.

The small study, results of which are published in the journal of the American Psychological Association’s Health Psychology, included 135 people ages 60 and older who were followed for six years. This age group was selected because older adults often face a number of age-related stressors and their cortisol levels have been shown to increase. During 12 different days throughout this time period, researchers collected saliva samples five times a day to measure their levels of the stress hormone cortisol. They also asked the participants how many times they felt stressed/overwhelmed in a day, what level of stress they thought they experienced typically, and whether they considered themselves optimists or pessimists.

Then, researchers compared the cortisol levels of the participants on individual days to the average cortisol levels they experienced throughout the years, in order to gage how much levels fluctuated up or down. They found that the optimistic individuals’ cortisol levels were less likely to rise significantly on stressful days compared to their average stress levels, while pessimistic individuals’ cortisol levels were more likely to be elevated compared to their average stress levels.

The study generally confirmed the researchers’ hypotheses about the relation between optimism and stress. Positive thinking doesn’t mean that you keep your head in the sand and ignore life’s less pleasant situations. Positive thinking just means that you approach the unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way. You think the best is going to happen, not the worst. Through this your stress can be relieved.

Meditation and Stretching Relieves Porst-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) rates vary from country to country. According to the World Health Organization, which began collecting statistics on the disorder in the 1990s, the incidence can be as low as 0.3% of the population in China or as high as 6.1% in New Zealand. In US more than 7 million adults nationwide (around 2% of the population) are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in a typical year and in UK rates are broadly similar.

PTSD is triggered by a traumatic event, can cause flashbacks, anxiety and other symptoms. Sufferers have high levels of corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) and unusually low levels of cortisol – two hormones used to regulate the body’s response to stress. Although levels of the stress hormone cortisol typically rise in response to pressure, PTSD patients have abnormally low levels of cortisol and benefit greatly when these levels increase.

The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder can now be relieved with a combination of meditation and stretching which also normalize stress hormone levels according to a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. In the said study, twenty-eight nurses from the University of New Mexico Hospital, including 22 experiencing PTSD symptoms, were divided into two groups. One group took 60-minute mind-body sessions where participants performed stretching, balancing and deep breathing exercises while focusing on awareness of their body’s movements, sensations and surroundings – a form of meditation called mindfulness. The control group did not participate in the twice-weekly class. The predominantly female participants underwent blood tests to measure their stress hormone levels and their symptoms judged against a check-list used to diagnose PTSD.

The results showed that among those who were enrolled in the mind-body course, cortisol levels in the blood rose 67% and PTSD check-list scores decreased by 41 %, indicating the individuals were displaying fewer PTSD symptoms. In comparison, the control group had a nearly 4% decline in check-list scores and a 17% increase in blood cortisol levels during the same period.  The study’s lead author, Sang H. Kim, PhD, of the National Institutes of Health said that mind-body exercise offers a low-cost approach that could be used as a complement to traditional psychotherapy or drug treatments.

As we all know, massage relaxes the muscles of the body and increases the cortisol level throughout the session. Our Centers offer you an authentic Thai massage that could surely relieve your stress with each experience. Visit our centers one of these days and experience a relaxing massage the Thai Odyssey way!

Fighting Addiction with Massage

Millions of people have suffered from their own or someone else’s addiction. It may be addiction to alcohol, prescription drugs, gambling, food and a lot more. Addiction takes a huge emotional toll on everyone, has profound financial and legal consequences, and dashes the hopes and dreams of families everywhere. Addiction has several potential causes, including physical pain and emotional distress. Fighting addiction is not a quick process, but by taking a holistic approach to healing that involves several treatment options can be the right tool to fight the temptation to return to addiction after eliminating it.

Massage therapy is one of the recommended treatments to treat addiction. Massage can be helpful in the withdrawal, detoxification, and abstinence stages of quitting an addiction. It helps the addict to relax, diminish feelings of depression and anxiety, and reduces withdrawal-associated pain and cravings for the substance or behavior.

In addition to that, massage gets people back in touch with their own bodies. It helps them understand why certain things might be going on with their bodies that they don’t have a grasp on. It provides feelings of pleasure as the muscles relax, the mind releases negative emotions and healing hands provide comfort to painful areas of the body. The feeling of pleasure from massage is able to help individuals avoid psychological cravings. Reaching a serene state of mind comes from the relaxation and the lack of negative emotions. When the muscles are encouraged to relax, the mind is able to release the negative emotions that prevent serenity in life. It is a key element in reaching a mental state that is able to continue fighting addiction. This is evident in a 2005 article in The International Journal of Neuroscience that noted that massage therapy reduced cortisol levels and also increased serotonin and dopamine levels. These were the findings from several different scientific studies. (A reduction in cortisol levels leads to an individual feeling calmer and less anxious, while an increase in serotonin and dopamine levels create feelings of pleasure and peace)

Addiction can alter the mind and make serenity a challenge. Let our Centers help you reduce your stress and obtain freedom from psychological cravings with our authentic, traditional Thai massage.

Restore Your Body’s Balance with Reflexology

Balance is vital in order to achieve good health and well-being! Balance in body and mind allows you to live your life to your full potential. It is demanding and challenging to keep the balance in a busy and stressful life. Stress affects your health and often creates exhaustion, muscle tensions or chronic pain in the body. You can reduce stress pain and restore your natural balance with reflexology.

According to restoringbalance.org.uk, “Reflexology is a deeply relaxing, safe and non-invasive complementary therapy suitable for the whole family throughout every stage of life. It works on the reflex points on the feet and hands that are linked to all the organs, bodily systems and skeletal structure of the body. These reflex points are stimulated or sedated by applying pressure to the points on the feet or hands in order to promote relaxation and feeling of well-being.”

Reflexology encourages self-healing and recovering power in the human body. The body has an innate healing ability to regulate itself, repair body parts, optimize its function and maintain balance. This healing process is assisted with sufficient rest, good nutrition and regular exercise. An exhausted and worn-out body does not fully return to its balance. Over time, un-wellness may manifest such as muscle tensions, back pain, frequent headaches, sleeping disorders, high blood pressure or digestive troubles. Reflexology helps the body’s innate mechanism to respond well to illness and stress, and restoring balance. It may also be beneficial in reducing pain and relieve specific symptoms. Its primary purpose is to strengthen and support all bodily functions. It also addresses the causes of complaints and diseases with the objective to improve overall health.

After a treatment with Thai Odyssey, your tension will be reduced and you will feel more relaxed. You could be noticing a better sleeping pattern and an improved quality of sleep. You moods will be uplifted and overall well-being improving. Receiving regular reflexology is like filling up your gas tank.  Energy, vitality, and increased good health are important benefits from this rejuvenating, balance, and restorative therapy. If you feel fatigue in your feet or anywhere else in the body, or you just would like to obtain an improved health, visit our Center for a dose of reflexology!

Do You Know Your Stress Level?

Stress is no stranger to almost every person – teenager, adult, rich, poor, employed, unemployed. Like many negative element in one’s life, stress is best managed when it is nipped in the bud. Do you know your stress level?  This is a simple test to gauge where you stand on the stress pedestal.

1. In the last month, how often have you felt that you were unable to control the important things in your life?

2. In the last month, how often have you felt confident about your ability to handle your personal problems?

3. In the last month, how often have you felt that things were going your way?

4. In the last month, how often have you felt that difficulties were piling up so high that you could not overcome them?

5. Are you feeling so sad or down that you’re having trouble functioning in your job or personal life?

Understanding what your stress level means:

Low level:

Low stress is associated with a healthier life, less fatigue and more peace of mind. So, you’ll want to maintain this level. Keep practicing the stress management strategies that are working for you. But watch for any signs and symptoms of increasing stress, including headache, indigestion, mood swings or increased anger. If you find yourself feeling more stressed, you have two options.

You can start by identifying sources of stress that you can eliminate. Consider internal stressors, such as fears or unrealistic expectations, as well as external stressors, such as family or work demands. Next, seek out effective strategies for coping with stress, including exercise, music, crafts and other creative outlets, humor or simplifying your life by saying no.

Moderate level:

Over time, even moderate levels of stress can have serious health consequences. So, it’s important to address stress now. Stress is what you experience when the level of your stressors exceeds your ability to cope. To lower your stress level, you have two options.

You can start by identifying sources of stress that you can eliminate. Consider internal stressors, such as fears or unrealistic expectations, as well as external stressors, such as family or work demands. Next, seek out effective strategies for coping with stress, including exercise, music, crafts and other creative outlets, humor or simplifying your life by saying no.

High level:

A high level of stress puts you at increased risk of serious health consequences, including obesity, heart disease and depression. Take steps to lower your level now. Stress is what you experience when the level of your stressors exceeds your ability to cope. To lower your stress level, you have two options.

You can start by identifying sources of stress that you can eliminate. Consider internal stressors, such as fears or unrealistic expectations, as well as external stressors, such as family or work demands. Next, seek out effective strategies for coping with stress, including exercise, music, crafts and other creative outlets, humor or simplifying your life by saying no. If you need help identifying stress management strategies, talk to your health care provider.

The above are extracted directly from the source. Take the complete test here and hopefully, you will be on your way to a better psychological health:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stress-assessment/SR00029

Foot Reflexology for Back Pains

Your foot is composed of 24 bones that form two crossing arches of the foot. The ankle is formed by the interaction of the foot and your lower leg. The bones of your foot are held together with ligaments. The foot muscles along with a tissue known as planter fascia provide secondary support. There are also fat pads in the foot to help with weight-bearing and absorbing impact. Aside from being a support of your body that makes you stand, walk and run, your feet are full of acupressure and reflexology points.

Reflexology is the exerting of pressure on targeted areas of the feet using the acupressure points found on a reflexology foot chart. The art is originated in the lands of China, Egypt and India and has its basis in the belief that reflex points on the soles of the feet correspond to the various organs and parts of the body. For example, the inner edge of the foot has points relating to the spine and back, while the eyes, ears and sinuses are represented on the pads of the toes. It is possible to restore health to the body by massaging these points.

Many people complain of back pain that ranges from niggling discomfort to chronic conditions. Mostly, this is not the result of injury or trauma. Lack of exercise, hard physical work and a sedentary lifestyle have contributed to the segments of the population who are virtually crippled with back problems. According to the World Health Organization, lower back pain is a leading cause of disability in the world.

A session with a reflexologist or a masseuse to alleviate back pain is a drug-free, non-invasive way of reducing tension. Find a qualified reflexologist who will use specific techniques to exert deep pressure on the foot area corresponding with the specific back problem. This may be painful and several sessions may be required before the condition improves. The positive effect of therapeutic touch is recognized as being fundamental to a balance of mind-body-spirit and a well-being.

Reflexology is not a cure-all and may not help when there are serious underlying medical conditions. But it can reduce symptoms and aid in healing by improving lymphatic drainage and circulation, stimulation to the nerve pathways and muscle relaxation. A visit to our spa center for a foot reflexology will surely be a pleasurable and relaxing experience that could return you your health and vitality!

Aromatherapy and Massage Treatment for Migraine Headaches

Headache, a common malady, has many causes. Migraines and other types of headaches cause significant productive loss to employers. They are also one of the most common complaints seen in the doctor’s office.

Neurologists believe migraines are an inherited hypersensitivity in the brain to certain sights, sounds, smells and other cues. A chiropractor may find one disc slipping on another, and may suggest an adjustment to ward off the headache. The allergist relates the onset of headache to the digestion of a troublesome food or scent. The orthopedist may think a degenerative disc in your neck is what is causing your headache. The ophthalmologist thinks your eyes need attention. The ear-nose-throat doctor is convinced it is sinusitis. The diagnosis of headaches, and the pain that occurs alongside it, can be treated in various ways. Did you know that massage therapy and aromatherapy are among the treatment for headaches?

Massage Therapy

Massage is helpful in addressing migraine headaches. If you can receive massage therapy quickly enough, you can avoid hours, perhaps days, of discomfort. Massage can relieve the muscular tension caused by stress or the pain itself. A head, neck and shoulder massage using stretching, strumming, resist-release, kneading and circular friction at the attachment points works well. Relieve pain by releasing the body’s natural pain relievers known as endorphins. Hot or cold packs can be applied to the base of the skull to calm the vacillation between dilation and constriction of blood vessels. Cold numbs and constricts, while heat opens vessels and soothes the muscles and nerves. Tension headaches respond best to heat.

Aromatherapy

Using aromatherapy with essential oils in a hot or cold pack can be used as a preventive measure during a headache. There are many ways to make a hot and cold compress. If you’re at home, one way is to use a sock. A sock with rice in it may be heated in the microwave with water in a cup to add humidity; then, a few drops of the essential oil mix can be dropped on the rice. The rice sock can also be put in the freezer, and the essential oils dropped on before use. Here are the essential oils you can mix together to make a blend that will harmonize and regulate the liver and decrease anxiety, therefore calming the mind.

  • Chamomile Roman (Anthemis nobilis): Cooling, regulates the liver to decrease nausea, anger, clears heat, calms the mind. Use 5 drops.
  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): Cooling, promotes smooth flow of liver qi, decreases headaches and calms the mind. Use 3 drops.
  • Lemon (Citrus limonum): Cooling but drying, clears liver and stomach fire. Use 3 drops.
  • Peppermint (Mentha piperita): Cooling, refreshing, improves concentration and is a stomach aid. Use 5 drops.
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis): Warming, improves circulation and prevents dizziness. Use 1 drop.

Whenever you feel tired or experiencing a stressful situation, seek remedy before it’s too late. Enjoy the health benefits of massage therapy and aromatherapy at our Centers. We have not just hands, we have healing hands.