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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Good health begins with the basics

  • Wouldn't it be great to awaken early each morning with lots of energy, a sharp mind and completely free of aches and pains—while looking forward to the day? This may be more than just your imagination but it may be necessary for you to begin this journey toward health by using your imagination.Dr. Michelle Robin, a...
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  • Wouldn't it be great to awaken early each morning with lots of energy, a sharp mind and completely free of aches and pains—while looking forward to the day? This may be more than just your imagination but it may be necessary for you to begin this journey toward health by using your imagination. Dr. Michelle Robin, author of the book, Wellness on a Shoestring, understands we are spiritual beings and the first step on a journey to radiant health begins by transforming our thinking, feelings, relationships, and environment to establish harmony in our lives. She has learned about the body/mind connection in acquiring and maintaining health. As a result, she has developed one of the leading wellness centers in the United States. Ideas offered in Wellness on a Shoestring can improve life and they offer the invitation that you deserve to be healthy and filled with joy. You are encouraged to take time to acknowledge all the things in your life that are working—put emphasis on what is right rather than what is wrong. It is a simple truth that what you appreciate is strengthened and appreciates. “People think that healthy living costs a lot of money, and they are afraid that, in this current economy especially, wellness is beyond their reach—that it's something they could only achieve with a personal fitness trainer, expensive gym memberships or a hefty grocery budget,” Dr. Robin said. “People are looking for a magic pill for wellness, and the truth is, the magic is in attending to the basics,” Robin said. “It's simple and hard—hard because living well requires you to be intentional, to use your personal power to support your health in a culture where the majority of people around you aren't practicing a wellness lifestyle.” Dr. Robin says breathing well is arguably the most important thing you can do for your health. It is a wellness practice that is absolutely free! You can practice intentionally deep breathing anywhere and anytime. Breathing deeply positively affects every system of the body. Robin gives these tips for effective breathing: “Breathe in deeply, expanding your diaphragm fully (your tummy will push out) and expanding your intercostal muscles (you can feel them stretch wider). Make your inhalation last three seconds. Then breathe out deeply, pushing the air all the way out (your diaphragm will squeeze upward, toward your heart, and your intercostal muscles will pull together). Make your exhalation last three seconds. Then begin again, with no pause between breaths. Hold your hands over your lower abdomen to feel the rise and fall of your belly. When you're practicing deep breathing, it can be helpful to visualize the exhalation as starting from the center of your brow and washing down over your body like a waterfall. Visualize the exhalation as the emotions or negative energy you need to release.” When You Are Stressed, Angry or Anxious, Dr. Robin instructs: “To release plenty of carbon dioxide, and also to blow off steam (meaning, this is good to do when you are stressed, angry or anxious), make your inhalation significantly shorter than your exhalation. You can do it slowly, say by inhaling for a three-count and exhaling for a 12-count. You can also do it quickly, inhaling for a quick one-count and exhaling for a two-count, all through your nose, and then, in a movement sometimes called Breath of Fire, pushing hard on the exhalation with your diaphragm. If you're practicing Breath of Fire, begin with 10 breaths, then increase over time. Be careful not to hyperventilate. And be sure to have some tissue handy, because this one really cleans out your nose too!” Dr. Robin's seven habits for complete well-being are: 1. Rest, Reflect and Rejuvenate —How the body is positioned during sleep and consistent quantity of sleep are equally important. Robin explains why no one should be sleeping on his or her stomach. 2. Breathe Deeply. 3. Move your body. Exercise is important to cardiovascular health, but in terms of whole-body wellness, it enhances concentration, releases toxins, and maintains and increases range of motion. 4. Free your space. Clutter, whether physical clutter or excess emotional baggage, sets obstacles in the way of goals, saps energy, and prevents clear focus. 5. Go for the Greens. Green vegetables in particular give cells what they need chemically so they can function optimally. Don't like greens? Robin shares recipes for fruity “green smoothie” drinks. 6. Eat from the Sea—and Enjoy the Sun! From foods, the sun or supplements, fish oils and vitamin D can boost energy and alleviate joint pain, depression and anxiety, respiratory infections, headaches and more. 7. Drink to Your Health. Consuming fluids does not mean you're hydrated. Robin explains why there's no substitute for plain water, and why it's best to drink it at room temperature. Whatever your financial resources the power to improve your health is within you. (Janice Norris lives in Heber Springs, has a B.S. in home economics from Murray State University, taught home economics, owned and operated health food stores in Illinois and Heber Springs, has taught numerous health and nutrition classes, and wrote a weekly newspaper column in Illinois for 15 years. She can be reached at janicenorris34@yahoo.com)
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