10 Natural Ways to Relax and Rejuvenate…

…Easy Ways to Manage Stress and Build Immunity

By Monique N. Gilbert

Originally published in Massage & Bodywork magazine, April/May 2005.
Copyright 2005. Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals. All rights reserved.

Protecting the immune system and managing stress are vital aspects of living longer, feeling younger, and being healthy. Here are 10 ways to reduce stress, boost your immune system, and slow down the hands of time.

Physical activity. Regular exercise — whether it’s walking or dancing — strengthens your cardiovascular system, heart, muscles, and bones. It also stimulates the release of endorphins, improves mental functioning, concentration/attention, and cognitive performance, and lowers cholesterol, blood pressure, cortisol, and other stress hormones.

Carol Dawn’s Reflexology

Yoga and stretching. The slow movements and controlled postures of yoga improve muscle strength, flexibility, balance, circulation, mental focus, and calmness.

Hand hygiene. The most effective measure in preventing the spread of germs is good hand hygiene. Washing your hands as soon as you come home, and always before you eat, greatly reduces your exposure to bacterial and viral infections. Carry alcohol-based hand wipes to control exposures away from home.

Laughter and humor. There is truth to the saying that laughter is the best medicine. Laughing reduces stress hormones like adrenaline (epinephrine) and cortisol and benefits the immune system.

High nutrient diet. Eat foods rich in antioxidants (strawberries, oranges, tomatoes), omega-3 fatty acids (walnuts, salmon, soybeans), and folate (dark green, leafy vegetables). Antioxidants neutralize molecules that can cause heart disease, cancer, and premature aging. Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory, cardiovascular-enhancing, and immune-regulating properties. Folate prevents age-related cognitive decline, ensures DNA integrity (important during
pregnancy), and promotes healthy red blood cells.

Music. Listening to your favorite music is a great method of reducing stress and relieving anxiety.

Sleep. Sound sleep has a profound impact on stress
levels, immune function, and disease resistance. Your body and immune system do most of their repairs during sleep, so strive to get in seven to eight hours each night.

Positive thinking. Optimism can counteract the negative impact stress, tension, and anxiety have on your immune system and well-being. Often it is how you perceive things that determine if you get overwhelmed, both mentally and physically.

Tea. Regularly drinking green and black teas throughout the day can help strengthen your immune system and your body’s ability to fight off germs and infections.

Hydrotherapy. Relaxing in a hot bath relieves sormuscles and joints, reduces stress and tension, and promotes sleep. Add music, soft lighting, and scented oils to create a spa experience in the privacy of your own home.

Monique N. Gilbert, B.Sc., is a health, nutrition and lifestyle coach, certified personal trainer/fitness counselor, and author of Virtues of Soy: A Practical Health Guide and Cookbook. She has offered guidance in natural health, nutrition, fitness, and stress management since 1989. Contact her at www.moniquengilbert.com.

Reflexology Relaxes the Body, Mind, and Sole

By  Eric Huffman
October-November ‘08 CHICAGO HEALTH+WELLNESS  MAGAZINE Pg. 65

 In today’s fast paced world, people are confronted with ever-increasing levels of physical, mental, and emotional stress. The American Medical Association stated that 85% of all illness is a result of stress. To help combat stress, many people are seeking out foot reflexology.

Foot reflexology is a safe, non-invasive, natural modality which focuses on areas of the feet which are believed to correspond to all the areas of the body. Pressing these “reflex points” with the fingers helps the correlating body part to relax and recover.

In America, foot reflexology is steadily making its way into mainstream medical practices as an effective form of alternative therapy. On The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Professor of Surgery, stated that “Every patient that I operate on at New York Presbyterian Hospital gets a reflexology type treatment.” Although new to America, reflexology has been used as an effective complimentary therapy for centuries across the globe.

Foot reflexology is also used to help a wide range of health conditions including back pain, sports injuries, migraines, sinusitis, infertility, and sleep disorders. People who receive regular reflexology sessions attest to its positive results.  Foot reflexology is a great option to relieve stress and improve wellbeing.