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from Ypsilanti, Michigan. Her favorite tip: Sing! Gentile exhorts, “Sing with the radio, with a choir or by yourself.” When you sing, she explains, you breathe deeply and your body vibrates and releases energy. Just sing whatever moves you, from the medieval songs of Hildegard von Bingen (her favorite), to Country &


Western ballads. She adds, “There’s no style of music that can’t be helpful and healing.” To release aches and pains, Kenyon applies a different exercise. First, find a quiet, private room where no one will hear you. Then, close your eyes and focus on a part of the body that feels uncomfortable: the lower back or neck, perhaps, or maybe a heavy heart or other emotional unease. Breathe in slowly. Exhale in an audible sigh, let- ting the sound come from the place of discomfort. Expressed sounds will be unique to each individual. Allow the sounds to build, reach a crescendo and then taper off naturally. “This is a simple, but powerful, technique for expressing tension with sound,” promises Kenyon.


Brush it Out “The skin is the largest organ in the body, and the better it functions as a toxin releaser, the less work the liver and kidneys have to do,” explains Tom Sherman, a bodyworker who teaches at the Acupressure Institute. He suggests daily dry-brushing, a low-tech way to stimulate lymph nodes, open pores, release toxins and exfoliate the skin. Any natural fiber bristle brush with a long handle will do, though Sherman prefers the Yerba Buena palm bristle brush. He also likes the Vital Chi Skin- Brushing system developed by Bruce Berkowsky (NaturalHealthScience.


26 Houston


com). Dry-brushing is a popular spa treatment with European roots. For basic skin-brushing, remove clothing and gently, but vigorously, rub the dry brush over every part of the body, using circular motions. The basic rule of thumb is to brush toward the heart and in the direction of blood flow. So, starting with the feet, brush in circles up the calves, thighs and buttocks, before moving to the hands and up the arms to the shoulders. Brush down on the neck, but up on the back. Finally, move to the chest and abdo- men, brushing counter-clockwise. The whole process should take about 10 minutes. Follow it up with hydrothera- py—a simple shower will do—to help wash away dead skin and impurities. A further detoxing option is to follow up with a hot bath containing two cups of Epsom salts and 20 drops of tea tree oil.


Recharge After you have de-stressed, refreshed and released, it may be time to ramp up your energy. These final steps are geared to recharge your emotional and physical batteries.


Stay in Touch Physical touch in any form stimulates the body, and while massage is typically used to relax and release, it can also revitalize. A recent National Institutes of Health study showed that massage had a positive effect on cancer-related fatigue in patients who were undergoing treat- ments that drained them of energy. “During an invigorating massage,


the therapist uses faster paced, gliding, strokes, rather than slow, sustained, pressure,” explains Kristen Sykora, a licensed massage therapist and spokes- person for the American Massage Therapy Association. In-between visits (locate a local practitioner at Finda MassageTherapist.org), there’s plenty you can do on your own. “Physiologically, when you mas-


sage yourself—even when you rub lotion on your skin—you’re asking the blood vessels to open up and bring in blood, nutrients and oxygen into that area,” Sykora says. She suggests a simple tapping technique, called tapotement, for re-energizing any area of the body that feels fatigued, such


as quadraceps or derrière. To work on quads, sit comfortably, so the muscles are relaxed, make a soft fist and tap gently all over the muscle for one to two minutes. Use either the pinky end of the fist or the underside, where the fingers are curled.


Walk


A simple way to get moving, walking raises heart rate and breathing capac- ity, increases circulation of blood and nutrients to all systems of the body and, as new research from the University of Pittsburgh shows, improves memory. It’s a relatively low-impact, safe, form of exercise that also gets you outdoors, which has its own balancing benefits. Beginners can try for 10 minutes a day at a slow, comfortable pace, while more experienced walkers may shoot for 30 minutes a day at a faster, more invigorating pace.


Try Something New Sticking to the safe, familiar and tried- and-true may seem like an energy- conservation measure, but upsetting your routine and trying new things can re-cultivate a passion for life. And pas- sion, says Marks, helps provide life with meaning and purpose. “It’s important to find pleasures outside of work, even if you do love your job,” she counsels. What will you do? Something


you’ve always wanted to do, or used to do and have always wanted to get back to. Or, something you never thought you could do, or think you’re too old to do. Natural Awakenings’ monthly


Calendar of Events is a perfect place to start. Take a cooking or art class (local community colleges are great, too) or join a dining or green drinks or bird- watching group (Meetup.com facilitates local gatherings). Learn a new sport (tennis, paddleboarding, salsa dance) or a musical instrument (ukulele, an easy instrument to pick up, is making a come- back). Join a community gardening, handcrafting or reading circle, which are all part of the growing make-it-yourself movement. The list is endless...


Frances Lefkowitz’s new book, To Have Not, has been named one of five Best Memoirs of 2010 by SheKnows.com. Connect at FrancesLefkowitz.net.


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