Category Archives: nottingham holistic therapies

Receiving and Recognising Guidance

For several months now I have been asking the angels for guidance and clarity regarding my direction and how to create greater abundance and success in life. I’ve been meditating and reciting mantras but mostly feeling like I’m going over old ground and getting nowhere fast.

As the weeks went by with no apparent real improvement, I began to think my efforts and prayers were going unanswered. However, over the last couple of weeks I have been strangely drawn to find out more about and connect with the faery realm … Yes, that’s right, fairies! Now even though I love the countryside and being out in nature, I have never seen fairies or felt a strong connection to faery/elemental energy. I have now discovered that fairies, being closely connected to nature and the earth plane, can help you attract abundance and success as well as create more joy and fun in life, all of which are exactly what I need! I have now done a short meditation to clear away stagnant energy and blocks to manifesting that I held in my aura and could feel energy swirling around my knees and lower legs. What’s more amazing was that I could see tiny flecks of different coloured lights dancing around like fire flies in my aura!

In a further example of coincidence or synchronicity, for my birthday a few weeks ago one of my good friends gave me a Black Amethyst crystal. I was amazed to discover that this crystal helps ground spiritual energies in the physical world, clearing any blocks in the chakra system that may prevent spiritual energy flowing down to the root chakra. If spiritual energy cannot flow down to the root/base chakra, you will struggle to manifest in the physical plane.

So, it just goes to show that our prayers are being answered and we are being guided towards what we need even when we don’t realise it at the time. I would never have thought I would be connecting with fairies but I understand that I need their assistance at this time in my life. We just have to trust that our guides and higher self really do know best.

 

Asking for Guidance

I would definitely encourage you all to ask God or the Universe for whatever help you need, saying something along the following lines: “Thank you Angels for guiding me to the perfect job/home/relationship for me and for enabling me to clearly recognise the signs of guidance”. Say this a few times throughout each day. The key then is to be open to receiving and following the ideas that come to you. Remember that the solution may not be what you expect but it may be just what you need!

 

Recognising Guidance

Guidance can come in various forms but here are some examples to look out for:-

 

  • The same idea comes to you at least 3 times – it may be something mentioned by other people or you may keep seeing the same information on the internet, social media, in magazines and books etc.
  • You are drawn to connect with someone who can help you.
  • You are given a book by a friend with a message or some teaching you need.
  • You are given a crystal whose energy you need.

Once you start following your guidance and have started on your new path or new project, you will feel a bit of a buzz about it. You will feel inspired and uplifted as your course of action resonates with the promptings of your soul and higher self.

Helen Shortland is a Spiritual Consultant, Reiki Master Healer/Teacher and Holistic Therapist based at 15 Wheeler Gate in Nottingham city centre. Helen has been on the spiritual path for 15 years and has extensive knowledge of healing and the healing journey. For further information about her Reiki courses, therapies and workshops, please visit her website http://helenshortland.com or visit and ‘like’ her Facebook page Helen Shortland Holistics.

Getting Over Yourself and Moving into You

facing fear

We can all think of things we would love to do in life and we can all think of a hundred and one reasons why we can’t do them. But how many of these reasons are excuses and how many of these excuses are just our fears?

When I first started doing my complementary therapy work, I would often be invited along to various groups to give talks about what I did. I had always been a very shy, quiet person so, needless to say, I would be  extremely anxious for several days beforehand but always made myself do it because “it was good for business”.  Just accepting the invitation was a hurdle; showing up on the day even more of a challenge.  I did several talks over the years, just bumbling my way through in the beginning.  Eventually I began to find it easier and, dare I say it, the last one I did, in a care home, I actually enjoyed. The funny thing was, once I’d got over my fear, the invitations dried up. I didn’t need to learn that lesson any more.

Around that time I came across a statement in a book I was reading that rocked me to the core:

“Being shy is the greatest form of self-obsession.”

As a shy person, I was rather indignant about this! However the more I pondered those words, the more I realised, albeit grudgingly, that they were right. By being shy and holding back from others, you are not sharing. You are more concerned with what people think about you. It’s all about you. Your mind is filled with “I really can’t do that”, “I hate being centre of attention”, “I’ll start jabbering and dry up”, “I’ll do this wrong, I’ll do that wrong”… in other words, “It’s all about me, me, me!”

The moment you bring your own fears and dramas into the situation, you make it about you. The ego is going frantic, telling you that you can’t go through with it. The ego feels threatened and will do its best to sabotage any efforts you make towards personal growth.

Now, more than 10 years later, I can look at this from a more objective point of view and try to rationalise my former irrational reaction. If you really cared that much about what people thought, you wouldn’t speak or voice an opinion/viewpoint at all. When you think about it, whatever you say, in whichever environment you’re in (work, home, with friends etc), some people will agree with everything you say, some will agree with part and disagree with part and some will disagree with you whatever you say. And that really doesn’t bother you when you’re with people you know well! Public speaking is just speaking on a bigger scale than you usually do. There will still be the same ratio of those who agree, those who part agree and those who disagree.

The challenge in life is to be yourself and let go of worrying about how you will be received. When you are being yourself you reflect the true you. You will then automatically attract the kinds of people who genuinely resonate with you and need to hear what you have to say. Every one of us possesses a unique set of gifts, passions and life experiences. All you need to do is share them honestly. After all, people can’t like or admire the real you if they never get to see it. Doubts and fears are normal. Try stating your fears out loud – it makes them a little less scary.  When you have fear, you are afraid to be you. But if you can conquer one fear, then another, then another, you’re well on your way to finding and living your soul purpose. In other words you have moved out of ego (solar plexus chakra) and up into the heart.

Helen Shortland is a Spiritual Consultant, Reiki Master Teacher and Holistic Therapist based at 15 Wheeler Gate in Nottingham city centre. Helen has been on the spiritual path for 15 years and has extensive knowledge of healing and the healing journey. For further information about her Reiki courses, therapies and workshops, please visit her website http://helenshortland.com or visit and ‘like’ her Facebook page Helen Shortland Holistics.

New Year, New Vibrations

In my work as a Healer and Holistic Therapist I meet many people who say they are “too open” and absorb too much from the people and environment around them. The problem of course is the negativity they are absorbing rather than the positive. The key here is to rise above and deflect the negative and be aware of and open to the positive.

Many healers, therapists and readers take on the lower energy vibration of their clients. Other people worry about the state of the world, their loved ones and their own problems, all of which lowers your vibration. The solution is to be at a high frequency but not so open that you lose energy to others. When you look at highly spiritual people like the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa and Amma, you can see it is possible to remain in a high vibration state.

The biggest issue we have to face during our time on earth is overcoming the dense vibration of fear. The aim is to live without fear, replacing it with love. This can only be achieved by working through our own individual fears. So our challenge is to reach a high vibration and stay there, not letting other people, situations, worries and fears drag us down. We can all call in white then violet light with the intention of psychically cleansing the energy body and use psychic protection techniques such as surrounding ourselves in a gold, blue or violet bubble of light. From an energy perspective, rising above negativity literally involves getting over ourselves (ego/Solar Plexus chakra) and up into the heart centre where we experience love for others. After all, how can you inspire others to rise up out of their own darkness if you are sharing the darkness with them?

There are several ways to achieve a higher energy vibration which are also highly beneficial for our wellbeing and relationships with others. Here are some suggestions:-

  1. Look for the beauty in everything. Nature is truly awesome if you stop and take the time to look.
  2. Practice gratitude. Write a list of all the things you are grateful for or happy about, whether it is supportive friends, a loving family or simply an act of kindness you witnessed that day which reminded you that there is kindness in the world. When you start looking for positives you become a more positive person. On occasions when you have a negative thought about someone or yourself, it is said that you have 17 seconds to turn that negative thought into a positive one before it turns into a negative energy pattern, ie. you experience the negative impact in your energy body.
  3. Look for something new every day which will increase your sensory awareness. It is amazing how much more you notice when you actually start looking, especially if you are someone who is usually rushing around living a very busy life.
  4. Practice meditation to restore the energy body to do guided visualisations to a place of peace and serenity which you are observing nature with your inner sight, hearing and feeling.
  5. Avoid speaking ill of others and stop yourself when you hear you are putting yourself down. When you see others as less than ideal, you are being judgmental and lowering your vibration because you are focussing on what is “wrong”. Accepting others as they are, and yourself as you are, is a form of unconditional love which keeps you in your heart centre. When you are coming from a place of love, your vibration is high.
  6. Work through and release your own issues and energy blocks. This will help you distance yourself from similar problems in others, preventing you feeling low afterwards. Empathy is one thing but wallowing in mutual misery is another! You can help people far more if you can let them know what has worked for you and how you came through your own challenges.

Despite many appearances to the contrary, we are not meant to live in fear or in a state of manic busyness where we are too exhausted to cope. The greatest gift you can give yourself this New Year is the awareness of how negativity affects you and making time for spiritual practices you can use to improve your wellbeing and personal growth.

Helen Shortland is a Spiritual Consultant, Reiki Master Teacher, Holistic Therapist and Angel Therapist based at 15 Wheeler Gate in Nottingham city centre. Helen has been on the spiritual path for 15 years and has extensive knowledge of healing and the healing journey. For further information about her Reiki courses and therapies please visit her website http://helenshortland.com or ‘like’ her Facebook page Helen Shortland Holistics.

A Call for Lightworkers to shine their Light to all Humanity

bright aura

I received this ‘inspired communication’ early one morning a few days ago and it seemed to come through with a real sense of urgency, a sense that time is running out and that we need to act now. Since then Turkey has downed a Russian plane and we seem to be heading ever closer to being drawn into a 3rd World War. Recent events in Paris have brought home to us how close this threat really is. It has been said that every war is fought up to the limits of the technology that is available at the time so now, in 2015, that means that the next one will be nuclear, threatening the destruction of the planet and annihilation of humanity. All because certain groups of people choose to focus on differences in ideology rather than what unites us as human beings.

For several years now more and more angels have been drawing closer to the earth plane and over the last decade more and more frequencies of healing energy have been transmitted to the earth plane by high level beings of light in other dimensions. I believe that the angels have been drawing closer to us recently because they know what is coming up for us. The explosion of interest in healing modalities such as Reiki, Angelic Reiki, Seichem, Sekhem and Tera Mai amongst others has all been designed to help as many people as possible raise their vibration not just for themselves but for the planet as a whole. The angels have been preparing us and supporting us for years. There is a Plan and we are part of it.

Now it is time for all Light Workers (healers, angel therapists, spiritual teachers etc) to unite and start to consciously work to raise the vibration of humanity. Whenever we hear of another terrorist attack on the news, it is very easy to sink down into the lower, heavier vibration of fear and hate. You can literally feel your energy level drop. Now more than ever, however, Light Workers need to stay strong in their own power of high energy vibration and send this light out to others, to the very people who appear to threaten our security and safety. Reiki practitioners will remember from the Level 2 training that whenever you are in conflict with someone, the best thing to do is to send them Reiki with the intention to heal the relationship/situation for the highest good of both of you. This sends light to the other person’s higher self. Even if the healing is not fully sent with love, the act of sending light is the act of sending an increase in consciousness which the higher self receives and acts upon at a subtle level, causing a shift in energy between the people involved. Now we need all the Light Workers on the planet to send this healing light of consciousness to world leaders, politicians and, yes, to the terrorist groups themselves. I understand that some will feel resistance to this idea but the situation can only be helped if the higher self of all these people is reached and allowed to check and inspire their actions. When you send love and light to someone, the intention is to connect and uplift them into their higher self or soul, in other words into a higher consciousness. Remember that we are all bigger, and so much more, than the part of us in physical incarnation. If enough people set the intention to send healing to the terrorist groups, we can make a difference.  144,000 people is said to be the number of people working with the light required to shift the energy vibration of humanity into a raised level of consciousness.

It is worth mentioning here that everyone who comes into incarnation comes here with a plan for their life. Some people come here to do good works, others come here to be part of the chaos and destruction. Sending people hate is pointless; our only hope is a willingness to heal the situation. The threat we face now is part of the World Plan. If we manage to overcome our differences now and find a way to live in harmony, then we can truly live in the promised Golden Age that is possible for humanity to achieve. If not, the opposite will occur.

So why do I think sending people light and upliftment will work or at least have a positive effect?  Well there have been many times in my life when I have been aware of the forces of light and dark playing out in my life. Whenever I feel I am being dragged down into a fear-based mindset, I have been prompted to affirm to the universe “I choose light!” As ridiculous as this may sound, it always works. My energy field immediately brightens and I feel a shift, allowing angels to draw near bringing peace and calm once more. It is also excellent to use if you are under any form of psychic attack. If everyone currently on the planet at this time did this, the planetary vibration would be high enough to override all the fear and darkness on the planet today. Think how many angels would be able to draw close to us all then! Two spiritual truths I have learned over the many years on my spiritual path deserve mention here:  “Where there is light, there can be no darkness” and “A higher vibration always wipes out a lower one”.

So how can we make a difference and send healing at this time? Whether you are a trained/attuned healer or not, it doesn’t matter. Anyone can visualise their own aura lighting up – do this so that it is bright enough to feel like it is shimmering with pure white light. Now visualise the aura of another person or group of people lighting up in the same way, with the intention that they receive the love and wisdom of their higher self. All you need to do is visualise them surrounded with light.  I have even practiced this technique at the bus stop on a couple of occasions with interesting results! There seems to be a greater sense of consideration, care and courtesy between the people I surrounded with light than the ones I didn’t. You can try this technique with anyone you are in conflict with, or with anyone you just wish to lift up into a higher vibration. It can be done either in person or by visualising them remotely. Another spiritual truth to bear in mind here: “The more harmony you create in your own life, the more harmony you have to spread to others”.

If you are already a Light Worker, your mission in life is to spread light – the light of conscious awareness, love and healing. And that time is now. The world needs your light now. In the words of Light Worker Rebecca Campbell “The purpose of all light workers is to quite simply BE THE LIGHT”. Visualise and intend your own aura to lighten up, then do the same for others.

Helen Shortland is a Reiki Master Teacher, Healer, Angel Therapist, Holistic Therapist and Meditation Teacher based at 15 Wheeler Gate in Nottingham city centre. Helen has been on the spiritual path since 2001 and has extensive knowledge of healing and the healing journey. For further information about her Reiki courses and therapies please visit her website http://helenshortland.com or ‘like’ her Facebook page Helen Shortland Holistics.

LIFE ON THE SPIRITUAL PATH: HIGHS AND LOWS AND HOPE FOR THE FUTURE

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There is currently a greater awareness of spirituality than ever before and many different paths to follow. But why would you necessarily want to be spiritual? If you are drawn to this subject, it will feel like an inner yearning for deeper meaning in your life, a searching to understand the purpose of it all, an intuition that it can improve our lives in some way, a knowing that there is more to life.  More and more people are waking up to realising that the material world does not hold all the answers to our problems and that maybe, just maybe, we can do something to help ourselves and transform our relationships and the world around us. The knowledge that was once in the domain of only a privileged few is now becoming available to each and every one of us.

From April 2014 to April 2015 I went through my own personal spiritual crisis when many things I took for granted and believed in, most predominantly my health and my supposed abilities as a Reiki Master Healer, fell apart but towards the latter part of this time I ended up learning my greatest spiritual lessons.  When someone asked me at the beginning of this year how I was feeling, the only word that came to mind was ‘broken’.  Now, having built up my energy body with Reiki self-healing, mindfulness meditation, seed sound mantras, colour visualisation and plenty of walks in nature, I have discovered that I am channelling a greater amount of healing energy than before and have a clearer, more intuitive communication with my guides and angels who have inspired me to put together this list of what to expect along the spiritual path – and, yes, I do think this includes a spiritual crisis of some sort for us all at some point as part of this process, almost as a test to see how we cope and whether we have fully integrated what we have learnt, because when you think about it, most of our spiritual practices like meditation and reading spiritual books remain at the mental level without being brought down fully into the physical, material realm.  Now when I look back, I believe that my own crisis brought me to where I need to be in order to start the next stage of my healing work.

Below are guidelines of things to expect when you start to develop your spirituality. They can also be regarded as a paradigm for a new way of living as the planet emerges through its current chaos into the new promised golden age of peace. One important point to note is that spirituality and healing go hand in hand. As you develop spiritually, you will start to release a lot of the old hurt, anger and pain that was held in your energy body which is contributing to current health issues.  This hurt, anger and pain is what is often referred to as ‘negative energy’, ie. energy that is not vibrating at the correct frequency, which can cause blockages in the chakras which eventually leads to dis-ease and illness mentally, emotionally and physically.

So what does it mean to be spiritual and what can you expect as you progress along your spiritual path?

  •  First and foremost, to me being spiritual means looking at the world in a completely different way. It is seeing the things we have in common as human beings rather than focussing on the differences that cause and perpetuate the illusion of separateness. It is seeing what connects us rather than divides us as human beings. This implies seeing things from a higher viewpoint, through the eyes of the soul. When you develop this higher level of sight, you will become aware of karmic patterns in your own and other people’s lives; how people seem to attract the same kind of experience until they address it in a different, better manner and the lesson is learnt and the karmic issue resolved.
  • An interest in and regular undertaking of spiritual practices such as meditation and/or prayer, as well as interest in crystals, Reiki and/or alternative medicine/holistic therapy. There is a subconscious knowing that we are all made up of energy vibrating at different frequencies and can use forms of energy medicine to bring about balance and healing.
  • The ability to practice forgiveness of yourself and others, recognising that holding onto past grudges or indulging in self-blame is futile and takes up valuable energy that can be put to better use in the present moment. Recognising when it is time to ‘let go’ of a situation that is draining you and offering it up to a higher power (God or the angels), asking it to be resolved for the highest and greatest good of all.
  • A belief in a higher force guiding our lives which we can actively work with through intermediaries such as angels and spirit guides.
  • Recognising that people play certain roles in our lives to give us opportunities to learn lessons we need to learn or to instigate changes we need to make. We are all actors playing roles in each others’ lives, with no real conscious understanding of what we are doing and why. People often feel compelled to do things without knowing why. Maybe we don’t have as much free will as we think we have! I do think it is important not to demonise others too quickly for playing the bad guy: these roles are determined before we even incarnate. If you bear in mind that our greatest enemies can be our greatest teachers, it helps you to look at your situation in a more empowering way rather than from the place of victim.
  • The development of greater tolerance, compassion and inner peace.
  • A growing desire to be of service to the world and to humanity. Self-interest, greed and materialism lose their appeal. Along with this comes a growing interest in peace and humanitarian causes, human rights issues and peaceful spiritual activism.
  • Many people are drawn to healing in its many varied forms, on a personal and/or global scale.
  • Increased sense of personal responsibility for your actions in terms of how they affect you and others. A greater understanding of the law of cause and effect.
  • Increased inner strength and self-worth as you honour your role and contribution to your community and the world, however large or small that may be.
  • Honouring and living your truth is essential: you can no longer live with what is not right for you. As you align more and more with your truth and ultimately your higher self, you start to move into your life purpose. This leads to a stronger sense of the importance of truth and authenticity in all your relationships.
  • A growing maturity and not taking things so personally. Staying strong when people appear to behave badly towards you, accepting that everyone has their own issues to work through.
  • Letting people go with love, not anger, when they move out of our lives. Not everyone can stay with us for ever. Some may only be in your life for a short time but have a massive impact in terms of lessons in love, forgiveness and self-reliance or to help you move onto a new path.
  • Attracting tests and crises to give you the opportunity to put what you have learnt intellectually into practice and, ultimately, to deepen your spiritual awareness and understanding.
  • Understanding that surrender and release bring the greatest peace and always, eventually, the greatest result. Relinquishing control can be a very difficult thing to do but sometimes you have no choice if you are to stay sane; fighting is destructive and resistance uses up valuable energy that can be put into other things. Offer difficult situations up to God to sort out for the highest and greatest good of all concerned and new solutions may just miraculously appear.

An ability to look at the world in this new way implies that you are developing greater spiritual sight and understanding. The third eye chakra is activated, enabling you to see the inter-connectedness of all things and see the situations in your life from a higher perspective.

If everyone starts to adopt at least some of these principles, we can all contribute to both healing ourselves and creating more peaceful, spiritual communities and countries and, ultimately, a more peaceful world.

Helen Shortland is a Reiki Master Teacher, Spiritual Coach, Meditation Teacher and Holistic Therapist based at 15 Wheeler Gate in Nottingham city centre. For further information please visit her website http://helenshortland.com or ‘like’ her Facebook page Helen Shortland Holistics.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Meditation: Is it really bad for you?

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An article has been published in several national newspapers this week stating that meditation can be a dangerous practice, leading to anxiety, panic and depression.  In the article the author, Dr Miguel Farias, clearly states that the problem lies with excessive meditation practice, the kind done for hours on end such as you would find on a meditation retreat. However once a statement gets into the mainstream media, it is all too easy for claims to be exaggerated and the entire subject of meditation to be viewed in a very negative light.

First let me say that the claims made would pose no problem for people who meditate fifteen or twenty minutes a day, maybe a couple of times a day, or for those who take a five or ten minute breather out of the day to re-centre and refocus.  We need to maintain perspective here and bear in mind that potential problems only arise when practices are taken to extremes.

The true goal of meditation is to go into the space between the thoughts with a view to expanding the sense of self and your concept of reality. It can take you beyond the mind and the ego and therefore beyond your sense of self. The ego is a construct of your beliefs and life experiences through which you define yourself. When you go beyond Mind into nothingness, the ego disappears and we lose our sense of self and who we are. Psychological breakdown can occur when you do not know what is happening and are not prepared to deal with it. The resulting ‘breakdown’ can send you in to what is termed ‘spiritual crisis’, some symptoms of which include anxiety, panic, fear and depression. Other symptoms include muscle spasms and jerking, ego inflation, confusion, vibration in the body and rushing/roaring sensations in the head.

Spiritual crisis is the extreme end of spiritual awakening. Many people are awakening spiritually at this time, exploring various healing modalities, crystals, meditation among others. Spiritual awakening itself is a journey of healing past trauma and wounding.  It is a process of learning, growth, healing and purification; learning to love yourself and forgive others who have caused pain and wounding.  A spiritual awakening can turn into crisis however when it happens too quickly, the person is no longer in control, and it is all happening too much too soon. The crisis can be triggered by excessive spiritual practices such as meditation and qigong as well as taking too many Reiki/energy attunements in too short a space of time. The speed of the awakening is unmanageable and the person is left experiencing terrifying symptoms of mental breakdown.

During intense meditation, the meditator opens up to the transcendental state beyond Mind.  Unresolved trauma and wounding that has been suppressed, repressed and denied over the years comes up to the surface seeking to be resolved and healed.  The inner wold takes over and the person often finds it hard to cope with everyday tasks.

Meditation can produce great highs and feelings of Oneness, inter-connectedness with all things, blissful inner peace and love but it can also be followed by great lows. When you have let more light into your energy body, more of the shadow self is exposed and thrown into that light for healing. Life can start to feel like a constant inter-play between the themes of light and dark. Ultimately however the goal of the psyche is always to heal, transform and move towards wholeness. Spiritual crisis is part of that process, albeit a painful one.

For those people who want to practice meditation as safely as possible, I believe Mindfulness to be the ‘safest’ form of meditation. It is body-focused, particularly on the physical senses of taste and touch. It is very grounding and is excellent for bringing you back into your body if you have a tendency to zone out and be carried away by your own thoughts and worries. For this reason it is very beneficial for anxiety and mild depression. If you want to try it, start off with something very simple: next time you have a cup of tea, eat a sandwich or brush your teeth, focus entirely on the sensations in your hands and mouth. Follow the sensations in your body as you drink the tea or eat the sandwich. If you can become totally absorbed in what you are doing, you are being mindful. With Mindfulness there is no attempt to go beyond the realm of mind into the space between thoughts; you are simply absorbed in what you are doing in the physical realm.

I hope I have provided some reassurance that meditation is perfectly safe when practiced sensibly and in moderation. There are great benefits to having a regular meditation practice (including lowered blood pressure and stress levels, managing anxiety and mild depression, and improving clarity, focus and creativity). It would be a shame to tarnish the reputation of such a beneficial spiritual practice unnecessarily.

Notes:

1. Help and resources are available for anyone who believes they are suffering the symptoms of spiritual crisis. Visit www.SpiritualCrisisNetwork.org.uk for further information.

2. Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Helen Shortland is a Reiki Master Teacher, Holistic Therapist and Meditation Teacher based at 15 Wheeler Gate in Nottingham city centre. For further information please visit her website http://helenshortland.com or ‘like’ her Facebook page Helen Shortland Holistics.

THE AMAZING HEALTH AND BEAUTY BENEFITS OF COCONUT OIL

coconut oil    Coconut oil is rapidly gaining popularity as an amazing all-round beauty product, with very good reason!

Beauty Benefits

I and my family have been using coconut oil for several months now as a beauty product and have found it to have the following benefits:-

  • As a moisturiser it combats dry skin and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • A gentle but powerful skin cleanser, it gently dissolves dirt, make-up and impurities. Massage half a teaspoon into the skin and wash off with warm water.
  • Due to its regenerative effects, it is an excellent all-round skin healer. Try it on cuts, grazes and wounds.
  • As a lip balm to nourish and soften the lips.
  • A dramatic reduction in rosacea flare-ups.
  • Provides immediate relief from the itching of a shaving rash.
  • Relieves eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis. We used it on a flaking scalp – apply at night, wash out in the morning and the flaking is gone.
  • Relieves patches of dry skin on knees, heels and elbows.
  • Smoothes and softens hair when applied as a conditioner. There was less frizz and less straightening was required. Apply to the ends to treat fly-away hair.

The healing, antibacterial, cleansing and regenerative properties of coconut oil make it ideal for topical use.  It is not laden with chemicals so is gentle on the skin and safe for everyone to use.  Many facial skin care products are made from harsh chemicals and contain large amounts of alcohol which will strip the skin of its natural oils, resulting in the skin producing more oil to compensate for the loss which leads to clogged pores and acne.  Coconut oil gently removes even the heaviest make-up without stripping the skin of its natural oils.

Health Benefits

My own research on line has found many amazing health benefits of coconut oil.  The general guideline is to take 3 tablespoons a day.  Coconut oil is one of the good fats and is easy to digest for those with gall bladder problems.  It does not cause heart disease and does in fact protect against it.

  • Stimulates thyroid function and combats hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid). Symptoms of an under-active thyroid are low body temperature, cold hands and feet, sensitivity to cold and feeling cold all the time, headaches, insomnia, dry skin, puffy eyes, hair loss, brittle nails, aching joints, constipation, fatigue, hoarse voice, dizziness, ringing in ears, loss of libido, weight gain, mental fog and low mood.
  • Its antiseptic, microbial properties help fight viral and bacterial infections. The lauric acid in coconut oil also fights yeast and fungi.
  • Lowers cholesterol. People living in tropical environments who consume large amounts of coconut oil experience far less heart disease than those living in the West.
  • Helps combat diseases associated with ageing and chronic degenerative diseases including cancer.
  • Regulates blood sugar levels so helps prevent, control and manage diabetes.
  • Controls hunger and cravings and promotes weight loss. Its medium chain fatty acids promote thermogenesis, leading to increased metabolic rates.
  • Promotes brain health and is beneficial in cases of Alzheimers due to the high level of good HDL cholesterol which is required for the proper functioning of the synapses in the brain.

I have also tried coconut water which contains more potassium than a banana and is excellent for rehydration. An excellent choice of drink in the current hot weather!

Cooking with Coconut Oil

Coconut oil can be used in cooking and baking, replacing other oils or margarines.

Try roasting potatoes in coconut oil – they taste delicious!

Saute or stir fry seasonal veg in coconut oil such as carrots, courgettes, peppers and mushrooms.

Add to smoothies, fruit salads and yoghurt.

There are many recipes available on line but here is something simple and delicious for you to try:

Raw Chocolate Cream Caramel Bars

Crust: 1 cup almonds, cashews or peanuts, 1 cup dates, Pinch of salt (optional)

Caramel: 1/2 cup cashew butter, 1/2 cup coconut oil, 1 cup dates

Chocolate cream: 1/3 cup coconut oil, 2-3 tablespoons cacao powder, 1/4 cup raw honey

Method: To make the crust: process the almonds or other nuts into flour in your food processor, then add the dates and process until it all begins to stick together. Press into the bottom of a lined baking pan and refrigerate. To make both the caramel and mocha layers: just blend the ingredients in each list until smooth.  Feel free to add other flavours like vanilla, chili, ginger, etc. Spread the caramel onto your crust, followed by the chocolate cream.  Refrigerate for a couple of hours until completely set.

Notes:

  1. Coconut oil is available from Little London Herbal Stores, 9 Kings Walk, Nottingham, NG1 2AE. Little London stock 3 different brands (Veridian, Optima and Biona) ranging in price from £11-£15 for a 500ml jar. Tel (0115) 9472854 or visit http://www.all-ages-vitamins.co.uk
  2. Coconut water is available from Waitrose.
  3. More information on coconut oil can be found at www.coconutoil.com or visit youtube.com Dr Bruce Fife on the benefits of coconut oil.

Helen Shortland is a Holistic Therapist, Reiki Master Teacher and Meditation Teacher based at Little London Herbal Stores on Kings Walk in Nottingham city centre. Please visit her website http://helenshortland.com for further information.