In order to live your best life, especially if you enjoy physically demanding hobbies and pastimes like surfing, mountaineering or anything athletic, you must be basically healthy and reasonably fit. While medical doctors are great for known diseases, and serious medical conditions, sometimes our bodies and souls get out of alignment and leave us feeling tired, out of sorts and just not at our best, factors which the medical profession cannot really help with.
This is where natural remedies come into play and can really make the difference between a fantastic week and a regular one. What sort of natural remedies are there? There are several:
Eat, Drink, Sleep
Physical well-being has an impact on mental health. After all, almost everyone has experienced, at least once, the truth of feeling strong and healthy and, as a direct result, enjoying greater confidence and pizzas than usual! Eat healthy, real foods, with as few chemicals and preservatives as possible, drink plenty of clean, fresh water and make sure you get enough sleep. In former times, people often slept as much as twelve hours a day, living quieter and calmer lives without the constant distraction of 24/7 media and entertainment on tap
Very often, eating chemical laden non-foods, being even slightly rehydrated and sleeping less than the body needs can make you feel terrible: tired, foggy-brained and unwell. The body craves real food, but can be distracted by sugary chemicals which taste good while not offering the nutrients needed to heal and maintain the tissues, muscle and bone.
Hydration levels drop surprisingly easily, and if you get to the point of feeling thirsty you have probably been dehydrated for several hours beforehand. Keep a bottle of water handy and drink from it often. There is now believed to be no difference between constantly sipping from that bottle, or chugging the whole contents in one go every few hours, so find the water consumption method that works best for you and stick with that.
There are few people in the modern world who sleep according to the needs of their body, and losing just a few minute’s sleep each night can accumulate into quite severe sleep deprivation. If you sleep badly, you can reset your body’s internal clock. You will need to take time off work or use the school or college holidays as you will be sleeping until you awaken naturally, which could otherwise cause late mornings and missed appointments! Stay up until you are pleasantly sleepy, and then go to bed, repeating for as many nights as it takes for you to begin to wake up naturally, after six to nine hours sleep.
Once you are eating properly, hydrating regularly and sleeping enough, you will find that many of the aches and pains you were experiencing have cleared up as your body has been given the resources it needs to heal itself.
Stresses and anxiety can have a physical effect on the body. Worrying, whether it is about the state of the world, politics, the environment or your self or your family, causes the body to produce ever greater levels of cortisol, also known as ‘the stress hormone’.
Production of too much cortisol is believed to be responsible for any number of issues, from an increase in irritability and mood swings, to increased blood pressure, to flooding the system with adrenaline. This is because cortisol is the hormone that helps the ‘flight or fight’ response that is vital for helping animals survive in the event of an attack or sudden emergency.
But cortisol is meant to be produced for an extremely short term only, and in humans, who sometimes live in a state of high-anxiety, cortisol production can remain high. The results of this can be markedly noticeable: leading to weight gain, digestive and sleep issues, headaches, heart disease, memory and concentration problems, and, understandably, anxiety and depression.
Mediation is a way to soothe the system, switching down the production of cortisol to normal, non-panic levels, enabling you to lose any excess weight and get your heart into great shape without it being even more of a battle than usual! Meditation does not have to be particularly spiritual or ritualized, unless that suits your personality and preferences. Instead, simply clear a space and sit quietly, eyes closed and with reasonably good posture. Concentrate on your breathing, clearing your mind of the clutter of everyday thoughts. Counting your breaths is a good way to begin clearing your head – and you can even imagine literally throwing your worries out of your brain as you count. This is a good way to achieve mindfulness and calm. Once you are settled with all intrusive thoughts banished, sit quietly, still focusing on your breathing and the quiet sensations of your body’s automatic actions, for anywhere from five to twenty minutes.
After meditating, you should feel calm and invigorated, ready to face whatever the day has to offer you.
Lithotherapy: Healing with stones
If the above methods do not work for you, and they may not, some anxieties or minor ailments are too deeply rooted to be managed so easily, you can try your hand at litho therapy (also sometimes called lithotherapy).
Many people sneer at the thought of the healing powers of crystals, but it is a fact that some crystals, when placed under pressure, produce electricity. This phenomenon, discovered by Pierre Curie, is known as the piezoelectric effect, and who is to say that future generations will not find out more properties of natural stones that are, in fact, beneficial to the human body, proving that stones do, as claimed, have healing and soothing features?
At present, while much of the science behind the healing properties of natural stone jewellery are misunderstood, what is known is practitioners enjoy the effects of having the minerals around them, whether in the form of jewellery, as raw crystals or in some other form, it is possible to find healing minerals in many products, in water bottles to make the contents more alkaline, in exfoliating creams to aid with the reduction of the signs of ageing, and sewn to garments to bring the minerals in contact with the desired part of the body.
Rubies are one stone that has long been prized as having healing and health-bestowing properties as well as for its own intrinsic value as a precious stone. A ruby and a sapphire are chemically the same stone, just with one having a blue colour, and the other red. Belief in the healing properties of a ruby are not new, by any means, with both ancient Greek and ancient Egyptian writing making mention of the fiery stones.
The use of the word fiery is a well-chosen one: not only do rubies glow with an inner fire, they were believed to have warming properties and were credited with causing liquids to boil, causing healing heat to flow through patients’ bodies and the Roman name for rubies, carbuncolorum, means ‘small, lighted charcoal’ or ember. And indeed, in the right light a ruby does seem to exude heat just like a glowing ember.
Rubies are also the colour of blood, and according to the Doctrine of Signatures (a belief that nature gave clues as to the uses of plants and stones according to their look, scent or texture, such as a plant useful for toothache having a flower that looks something like a tooth) was thought to help purify and strengthen the blood, both healing the sickly and imbuing the weak-willed and cowardly with fierce courage, ideal for going into battle and comporting oneself well against the enemy.
A quick historical point, before the 1800s when scientist were able to distinguish one red stone from another, rubies were often lumped together with spinel and garnets, both equally beautiful and offering the same rich colour, if not the same value and rarity.
The Enlightenment was the age of science and in the 1600s many long-cherished beliefs fell by the wayside, dismissed as superstition and old-wives tales. Belief in the healing properties of rubies was just one victim amongst many. However, as evidenced by Pierre Curie’s discovery of piezoelectricity, the Enlightenment scientists were perhaps too keen with their clean sweep. Today, modern scientists are re-examining those old beliefs and studying both the physical properties of stones (such as rubies) alongside placebo effect benefits which may or may not have been responsible for some of the good results supposedly attained before the 1600s.
If you are interested in trying out the healing powers of the rubies, click here for more information and to browse the range of natural stones available today.
NB: Please do not stop medical treatments that have been prescribed by your doctor to pursue natural therapies instead. Natural therapies help with well-being and mild physical symptoms: for more serious medical complaints, your doctor is your best bet!