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Winter 2010

 2010 from Barada



If you have not yet tried a
Reflexology or Champissage Session by Barada
You dont know what you are missing!
  
Why not make an appointment today 
Located at 359 East 50th Street
 (just west of 1st Avenue)
 Call 212-741-5541 or


Happy New Year to my dear family, friends and colleagues.   At this time I offer my heart’s deepest sympathy to my UN family for the loss our many staff members in Haiti.  Staff who were so close to many of my readers.

 

One year ago, I was invited to practice Reflexology and Champissage at Natasha's Beauty Salon where for over 20 years, I had gone for manicures, pedicures and facials. On 15 January 2009 I opened the doors of my "practice". in a private and peaceful room within the Salon.  One year later I can say that this small space has welcomed the feet of dozens of men and women who gratefully leave behind their busy day and sink into an hour of peace and well being.  Many people come on a weekly basis for a reflexology treatment.  Others come a few times a month for a Reflexology or Champissage “maintenance” treatment.  And still others come any time their bodies signal the need for a deep reflexology or soothing Champi massage.  I am deeply grateful for this opportunity to serve all of you - to learn, to grow, to align myself with what my soul perceives as 'that which needs doing".  So read on, enjoy and send comments if you like.  Here are the topics which are covered in this first issue of 2010:

 

One.  The benefits of Reflexology and Champissage - a review for new 2010 readers


Two.  Colon health - the importance of having a healthy colon and how working on the feet can support that.  


Three.  Chanting for health - how chanting benefits our health and why it can be helpful during a Reflexology or Champissage treatment. 


Four.  What's new at the Salon - special offers to celebrate the one year anniversary of Barada's Reflexology and Champissage practice



Here we go................



1. REVIEW - The benefits of Reflexology and Champissage


What is Reflexology?

Reflexology is considered a form of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) which is based on the principle that there are reflex areas in the feet and hands which correspond to all of the organs, glands and parts of the body. Reflexology is a unique method of using the thumbs and fingers on these reflex areas.  The application of this pressure relieves tension, improves circulation and promotes the natural function of the related areas of the body. For most people it is a deeply relaxing therapy and is very enjoyable to receive.  


What are the benefits of Reflexology

Reflexology cleanses our body and gets our natural energy flowing the way it should. These benefits in turn can normalize the glands and reduce physical as well as emotional tension.  Reflexology does not claim to be a miracle cure, but its benefits can have a powerful healing effect as it allows our bodies to recover their proper balance as it removes unhealthy blockages. Reflexology also has a vivid impact on stress levels as well as helping to restore hormonal imbalances. As we all have experienced, stress is a major cause of physical illness.  So by reducing tension and improving blood and nerve supply, over and over again, Reflexology contributes to better overall health.


In the last few years I have worked on - and seen vast improvements in - clients with arthritis, sciatica, stroke, cardiovascular disturbances, menstrual and menopause discomforts, indigestion, constipation, asthma, sinus problems, headaches, high cholesterol, acne, back, hip and/or knee pain............and the list continues to grow as each week brings new clients who are ready to experience the benefits of reflexology.

 

What type of Reflexology do I practice?

I learned and continue to practice the Ingham Method which is the combined work of the late Eunice Ingham and her nephew Dwight C. Byers, one of the world's leading authorities on Foot Reflexology.  


What is Champissage

Champissage or Indian Head Massage has been practised for over a thousand years in India as a tradition of family grooming. Although originally developed by women who used different oils according to the season to keep their hair strong, lustrous and in beautiful condition, barbers would often offer 'Champi' as part of the hair-cutting treatment.


Champissage was introduced to this country in the 1970's by Narendra Mehta who, although blind from early childhood, became an accomplished Osteopath, Physiotherapist and Massage Therapist. Arriving in London to study Physiotherapy during the 1970's, he was surprised to discover that head massage was not included as part his course work nor was it offered at the barbershop.  He later returned to India to research head massage wherever it was practised.  Because of his blindness his other senses were very finely tuned and he was able to devise a therapy that would bring the greatest relief to, not only the multitude of problems concentrated in the head, but also those of the neck, shoulders and upper arms. 


I studied Champissage directly with Narendra Mehta whose methodology also included a gentle massage of the face and ears. The overall effect of the treatment is enhanced by a balancing of the body's energy.


What are the benefits of Champissage?

A typical Champissage treatment lasts forty-five to fifty minutes. The treatment  eases muscle tension in the upper body, increases the efficiency of the circulatory and lymphatic systems, disperses toxins, and restores flexibility and fluidity. As the massage unfolds, the client relaxes and breathes deeply as more oxygen is supplied to the tissues of the body. The chakra energy balancing is an added benefit. The client receives a boost at all levels. Clients usually leave a session feeling a new found sensation of peace and calm and finding it easier to smile. 

 


2. COLON HEALTH - The importance of having a healthy colon and how Reflexology can help 


My 2010 New Year's resolution is improved colon health.  Here's why.  I noticed I was getting a lot of colds which lasted a long time.  Then I noticed these colds usually appeared after a period of feasting, drinking, eating sweets, etc.  As I research and pay attention to my body,  I am learning that when the digestive system experiences imbalances, the whole body gets thrown for a loop. Many diseases and of course common problems such as constipation and gas result from having digestive system malfunctions. 


So, what causes digestive malfunction and imbalance? There are many causes.  However stress appears to be the most common and most destructive. Stress targets the digestive system and if it gets a hold there, the rest of the body is in for a rough ride. Research shows that most diseases start from a digestive system problem.   


Within the digestive system lies the colon, or large intestine which transports and compacts fecal matter to be passed through the rectum. Many doctors believe that most major illnesses specifically come from the colon.  The colon temporarily holds stool headed out of the body, draws electrolytes from that stool and serves as the body's main reservoir of “friendly bacteria”.  Ongoing research suggests that these complex organisms or friendly bacteria are critical for good health, influencing our metabolism, immunity and cancer risk.  Here then is some advice for better colon health drawn from the research work of Dr. Andrew Weil and Dr. Gerard Mullin, MD, (Director of integrative GI nutrition services at Johns Hopkins Hospital.):


Improve gut transit time.  Aim to have at least one bowel movement a day so that stool does not linger in the colon.  If it stays too long, unfriendly bacteria flourish and can alter wastes that the body is trying to eliminate - allowing toxins to be reabsorbed.  A diet rich in fruits and vegetables and adequate fluid intake will usually supply the body with enough fiber to move wastes out.  But if you are constipated, the latest holistic doctors warn against natural products that contain the laxative herb senna.  With repeated use, senna can damage the nerves in the colon.  They do say however that a daily dose of magnesium works better.  It is inexpensive, an effective bowel mover and beneficial to the many Americans who are magnesium deficient.  I use a wonderful product I find in my Health Food Store by Natural Vitality called "Calm".  In addition to keeping my colon clean, it seems to help me sleep better at night.  See also below how Reflexology can help.


Adopt a colon-friendly diet.  This is one of the most important influences on colon health.  Recommended is an anti-inflammatory diet which includes an abundance of fiber-rich fruits and veggies, whole grains, cold-water fish and other omega-3 sources and very little red meat.  I also consume several tablespoons of ground flaxseeds daily as it is reported that they fight inflammation and contain prebiotic fiber that feeds friendly bacteria.  (Prebiotics are non-digestible fibers that serve as a food source for good bacteria or probiotics in the gut.)  Another potent anti-inflammatory (if you have GI problems) is turmeric in supplement form.  Limit caffeine which can irritate the gastorintestinal tract and drink roughly 6-8 glasses of water (which I always forget to do but keep trying).


Foster friendly bacteria.  It is important to promote the growth of "good" bacteria in your colon in order to prevent unfriendly forms from flourishing.  Dr. Mullin recommends we take a probiotic supplement daily - choosing a brand that requires refrigeration and contains multiple strains.  The website consumerlab.com can point you to companies with good practices and products.  You can also eat your probiotics in the form of yogurt, miso and fresh sauerkraut.


Move your body, move wastes.  Physical activity stimulates intestinal wall contraction - speeding the movement of wastes out of the colon. Interestingly, exercise is also shown to promote a healthy gut microbiota. And of course, my belief is that in addition to physical activity, daily practices like breath work, yoga, meditation, chanting, etc. go a long way to stamp out stress. 


Give the colon a break.  How?  By leaving a few days to a week without refined sugars, flours, meat and alcohol.  I am working with a detox plan now that combines a simplified diet with practices like exercise and sauna use.  Ask me (in a few weeks) how it worked and I will be happy to share it  with you.


Thank about Reflexology.  Reflexology may spell relief.  In what way? In my experience, Reflexology has proved to be a wonderful alternative treatment option for colon health.  Remember that Reflexology is not a substitute for medical care, but a complement to existing treatments and protocols.  That being said, by using Reflexology to stimulate nerves on specific areas of the feet and hands, a reflexologist can stimulate blood flow and eliminate toxin buildup in the corresponding areas of the body such as all the organs of the digestive system. Furthermore, reflexology stimulates the lymphatic system and encourages the release of endorphins, the natural feel good hormones that are well documented in relieving the effects of stress. 


The mere size of the digestive system reflexes on the feet (i.e. most of the soft belly of the arches) proportionately give feet a winning edge for addressing the digestive system there.  Once again, everything in the body, all our systems and processes are affected by stress and not in a good way.  From the vast amount of research that’s out there now – reflexology can profoundly affect the parasympathetic nervous system and have the greatest potential to reduce stress.  


 

3. CHANTING FOR GOOD HEALTH - How chanting benefits our health and why it may enhance a Reflexology treatment


For me, the essential requirement for a good reflexology session is a warm, calm and inviting environment.  Within this framework, I often like to play inspirational music.  Many of you have enjoyed the effects of a chant  I often play by the Dalai Lama - or so I thought.  Like myself, many of you have fallen in love with this powerful chant - and the story I shared with you about it was certainly compelling.  The story was that the Dalai Lama had a friend who was dying (at first I heard it was the King of Thailand), and he chanted this healing mantra at his friend’s bedside. The Dalai Lama at first refused to allow it to be recorded, but then relented on the condition that it never be sold.  


A great story, but unfortunately i recently found it was not true.  First, the recording WAS meant to be sold and secondly, the person chanting is NOT the Dalai Lama. but is someone named Hein Braat, a Dutch performer and devoted practitioner of mantra yoga.  The good news is, this is indeed a powerful healing chant.


To be precise, it's the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra from the Rig Veda, a prayer whose roots are firmly in the Vedic tradition, not the Buddhist tradition of the Dalai Lama.  The Vedic Tradition is one of the most ancient surviving spiritual and mystical traditions on earth whose basic foundations are meditative contemplation and faith in God.  The repitition of the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra over time supposedly changes our mental and spiritual inner landscape, inviting direct healing or pointing our intention to where we might find it. 


Just what is chanting?

Chanting itself, which has been a staple of spiritual systems for milleniums, can be defined as the practice of intoning sounds or words rhythmically and repetitively. Chanting exists in many forms — including mantras (a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that are considered capable of "creating spiritual transformation" ), hymns, prayers, Shigin (a form of Japanese chanted poetry) and plainsong — and can be found in religions as diverse as Judaism, Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism.  


Some people say that they find the chanting part of their Yoga or Buddhism practice boring and meaningless. Others say that they feel much better after chanting, and ask why that happens. Those of you who have known me a long time know I have a rare voice disorder called spasmodic dysphonia.  Although I have no problem speaking - singing and chanting prove more challenging.  However, I do listen to chants almost every day.  I also try to practice chanting either in a group yoga or meditation session or at  home.  This practice and the positive comments of many of my clients upon hearing the chanting have led me to wonder just why chanting is good for us. 


What is the importance of chanting in today’s world?

I found that in order to explain the importance of chanting for spiritual growth, one must look at the human brain. There are two different sides to our brain. The left side controls the rational, calculating mind - this is the part of the brain that allows us to think mathematically, scientifically and logically. It breaks down ideas into a step-by-step process. Our whole modern society is based mainly on the achievements and point of view of rational thinking. 


The right half of the brain controls our intuitive mind. This gives us the human ability to appreciate art, music, poetry, and religion. The intuitive mind perceives things holistically - we appreciate a piece of music or a beautiful sunset, we have a flash of insight, we aspire to become a Buddha (or Christ) or one with our true nature, or we feel spiritually inspired. These feelings come from our intuitive mind, in contrast to our rational mind. 


It was also interesting to note that the two halves of our brain are the same size; suggesting that human beings are made to use both sides of their mind - equally. However, since the Industrial Revolution, and our modern reliance on science and technology, the intuitive mind has been mainly ignored in Western society. But, one of the activities that exercises and brings forward our intuitive mind is chanting.


So how can chanting and/or listening to chanting help us feel better?


1. The very sound of chanting helps to heal our bodies and minds. Parents have been singing lullabies to their children through the centuries. We all know that when we feel tired, it helps to listen to some soothing music. Scientists have taken this a step further through the study of plants. If you take a greenhouse full of plants, and play the music of Bach or Handel, which is very regular and rhythmical classical music, the plants flourish. But if you play discordant, disorganized, erratic music or sounds, the plants respond - by failing to grow.  Discordant sound makes us nervous, and harmonious sound, such as chanting, heals us. Chanting is one of the most healing sounds in the world. 


2. When we chant, it also acts to regulate our breathing. The automatic thing to do when we become frightened or uptight is to breathe in a shallow way, and that makes us feel more tense. When one is chanting, the breathing rate goes down. And if the breathing rate goes down, then the heart rate goes down. And if the heart rate goes down, then the blood pressure also goes down. Chanting brings a general "cooling-down" of the whole body. Deep abdominal breathing can be promoted through chanting. 


3. Chanting is also good for the health because, if done wholeheartedly, it acts to release negative emotions. As we know, holding on to the emotions of anger and frustration over time makes us sick. We can clear out stress and irritation in several ways: by vigorous exercise, by singing, by shouting, and by chanting. Chanting is a physical exercise for the body that empties the lungs and muscles of toxins created by frustration and stress. 


4. Chanting also acts to clean our mind. The nerve pathways of the brain are like a road map in a densely populated region. Some pathways, the ones we use all the time, are like major highways; others are like countryside unpaved roads. The action of pronouncing the ancient Chinese/Japanese syllables of the sutras for example gives healthy variety to our brain activity, using different pathways and mixing up the brain signals for a while. This gives a rest to the regularly used pathways of the brain, and promotes cleaning of the mind. (“Sutra” is a Sanskrit word referring usually to the Buddha’s scriptures in which all sorts of teachings and regulations were recorded).  


5. Chanting also focuses our thoughts. Group chanting is really group meditation. When we put all of our attention and all of our emotion on one word at a time as we are chanting, we are learning how to focus our mind. 


What about the words of the chant?

So, chanting exercises our intuitive mind; it soothes our nervous tension; it regulates our breathing and it focuses our mind.  All this is being done without considering the actual words of the chants.  The explanation of the Vedic chant (which is not by the Dalai Lama) is said to be this:  "the healing force awakened by this mantra sends forth its ripples from the body to psyche and from psyche to soul. It strengthens our powers of will, knowledge and action, thus unblocking the flow of enthusiasm, courage and determination. The vibration of this mantra awakens the internal healing force while attracting natural healing agents, creating an environment where the forces from both origins converge. This mantra connects us to the healer within and helps us receive the full nourishment from food, herbs, or any discipline undertaken for our total well-being."  Now isn’t that an amazing thing to be absorbing while having a Reflexology or Champissage session?  



4.  WHAT’S NEW AT THE SALON - Celebrating the one year anniversary of Barada's Reflexology and Champissage practice

 

For those of you who make your first time ever appointment this anniversary month - you will receive $25 off your first session.  To my other clients - if a new client comes to the Salon under your recommendation - you will receive an e-mail from me with an offer for a  free Champissage session good any time this year (and they will receive the $25 off).  Now isn't that a bargain for good health?   


So thank you for reading all of this.  I look forward to seeing you at the Salon so do make an appointment today.  Send me an e-mail at barada@reflexologybybarada.com or call me at 212-741-5541 (leave a message please).  Also check out the Salon's website, natashasbeautyny.com containing some reflexology photos under the photo Gallery.  HAPPY NEW YEAR 2010 AND GOOD HEALTH TO ALL from Barada


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