Every year at Christmastime we are given a gift. We always take this gift for granted because it has always been given to us and we hardly notice. This gift is our body. We are given this one body for our whole lifetime.
You may like your body or you may hate it, but it is yours. You are expected to make alterations, improvements, and maintenance on a regular basis. Our body is in a constant state of break down so keeping up with every part of our body is very important. Many people’s biological age is much older and damaged compared to their chronological age. For example, you will see people with many health conditions such as degeneration/arthritis in the spine. Some people’s spines are severely degenerated from doing vigorous and strenuous physical activity such as football, landscaping, construction work, and much more.
We tend to think we are indestructible in our youth, but once we get to a certain age that unlimited energy and vitality start to fade. Many people would say that the reason our bodies start to deteriorate is because of age. That is true — just like any car, if it gets older it starts to break down. If that car has been treated poorly and has not kept up with regular maintenance such as oil changes or tire rotations, the car will fall about faster and easier.
What would be maintenance care similar to oil changes and tire rotations for our human, biological body?
One detail about our human, biological body is that there are 65 trillion chemicals in the brain processed and produced every second of our life. The pharmaceutical industry knows 11,000 that are on the market. From just that ratio, we can definitely conclude that our body has very complex body chemistry. How does our body regulate, alert, and repair all at the same time?
There is a inborn intelligence installed in a human baby at the moment of conception. This innate intelligence repairs cuts, damages and kills cancer cells, regenerates old cells to new, and puts in the perfect amount of chemicals needed for your body to be in full function and balance. Innate intelligence has been known from many discipline of healthcare, although medical medicine failed to understand or quantify this mechanism.
From many disciplines, it is well known that if we help this innate intelligence to freely operate on our body, the better our body regenerates, regulates, and reproduces in optimal function. How can we help this innate intelligence?
“Ninety per cent of the diseases known to man are caused by cheap foodstuffs. You are what you eat.” Victor Lindlahr
Food is Medicine
During this seasonal holidays, we are in a time crunch to fit in everything. Our tendencies are to depend on prepackaged, instant foods in the grocery store. Or we go out to order food from fast food restaurants. It may be a quick solution for good tasting food that everyone will enjoy…everyone, except your body. Mass produced prepackaged instant food in grocery stores and fast food restaurants always cuts corners, using cheap ingredients and chemicals to improve the shelf life of the ingredients. It is now known that these chemicals and cheaply made ingredients have consequences. America has been plagued by obesity, diabetes, and digestive problems that medical professions are unable to solve.
It is well known that highly processed, concentrated carbohydrates turn into fat in our body. So if we lower the carbohydrates we do better! Right? Well, there are highly concentrated carbohydrates in many seasonal holiday meals and snacks. It is almost impossible to take out all the sugars and carbohydrates out of meals. It seems like there is nothing to eat. In our conventional cheap grocery stores there will be hardly any solutions, but in other places that are more health conscious, such as grocery co-ops, now have many solutions to this problem. There are many vegetables that have carbohydrates but not in a form that will be highly processed into concentrated carbohydrates. The complex carbohydrates from plants give you small amount of sugar but also fill your stomach so that you do not crave more. There are more and more recipes for low-sugar diets in the categories of Paleolithic diet, Ketogenic diet, and Gluten Free Diet.
Increasing amounts of good grass-fed/grass finish proteins and good healthy fats are also a way to fill our stomachs other than just eating plants. Many people complain how hard it is to get good quality proteins and fats. But if we research enough and make the right decisions, many people can afford these proteins and fats. There are many farmers that are gravitating towards good quality grass fed/finished proteins. It is much cheaper to obtain quality meats than going through the convenient stores. The key is to find out how they grow their animals..
Unfortunately for seafood, unless it is caught in the wild, the quality of the food drops significantly. It may be cheap at typical grocery stores, but that is because the fish are farm raised. They have less nutrients, such as Omega fatty acids and Vitamin B complexes. Also there are mercury in deep sea fish, which only allows us to consume once a week. And it is only harder to get seafood if you live inland. However, there are fishers that go fishing all season, freeze their catch and sell it much cheaper than what you can buy from common grocery stores. Check out your farmer’s markets and ask around.
“Physical inactivity produces an abnormal gene expression and is a direct causal factor of most chronic health conditions by its direct alteration of gene expression from normal phenotype to a preclinical or clinical phenotype.” F.W. Booth Ph. D. J. of Applied Physiology 2002
Immobility is poison. Exercise is nutrition! When the holidays come, our schedules are tighter and it’s harder to get physical activity. That is why by next year in January, people have tight atrophied muscles and increased body fat. Many people’s ideas of getting physically active is running around miles and miles and lifting tons and tons of weight. Getting 20-30 minutes of physical activity that involve some cardio, some minor weights or exercises, and topping it off with yoga every day is a good start to maintain a sufficient amount of physical activity.
Once you get to a certain level of strength and agility, you start needing harder physical activity to build up more muscle strength. As you notice when you get older, the amount of muscle build up significantly slows down and it is harder to maintain muscle mass. Once muscles begin to atrophy, our mobility significantly decreases. Also the neurological connection between the muscles and brain start to degenerate, making coordination harder. Eventually, we are in bed all the time, slowly degenerating.
This can be all prevented with physical activity that we can maintain early on in our lives. More stimulation of muscles means more activity and growth for the nerves in the brain and body. Then the body starts to increase blood flow and to gain muscles, grow nerves, and detoxify your body from harmful toxins.
Stress has been a great contributor of hormones that damage our bodies. Stress can cause excess amounts of hormones such as cortisol. These hormones stimulate fight or flight responses and increase anxiety, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, high blood sugar levels, and many more. To decrease this stress hormone, we need to be able to manage our stress and relax our brains. Research has shown that stress is strongly related to brain wave patterns.
Brain waves are pattern of neuronal activity in the section of the brain which can be recorded. The record is known as the electroencephalogram (EEG). Brain waves are broken up into four main categories, determined by the frequency of the wave.
Brain waves are patterns of neuronal activity in the section of the brain which can be recorded. The record is known as the electroencephalogram (EEG). Brain waves are broken up into four main categories, determined by the frequency of the wave.
Beta: This is a conscious brain wave. It is characterized as a state of being awake, alert, and concentrating. If this stage is maintained for a prolonged period, it becomes associated with feelings of tension, worry, fear, or anxiety.
Alpha: This is also a conscious state, but identified with the mental experience where images are not identified. It has come to be associated with feelings of pleasure, pleasantness, tranquillity, serenity and relaxation. It can also imply a relaxed concentration.
Theta: Theta has come to be associate with such things as hypnogogic imagery, day dreaming, sleep, cognition of problem solving, future planning, remembering, switching thoughts, and creativity.
Delta: This state is predominately associated with no-dreaming sleep or deep sleep. There are some reports of individuals achieving this set of brain wave patterns while still retaining consciousness.
Things which lower the EEG frequency are:
LSD, sedative drugs
Large doses of alcohol
Very low blood sugar
Lack of oxygen
Things which raise the EEG frequency are
Small doses of alcohol, barbiturates
Low blood sugar
Excess of carbon dioxide (CO2)
As you can see, breathing affects our EEG frequency.
The deeper you breathe, the more oxygen you get into your lungs. More oxygen getting into your lungs means more oxygen getting into your blood; because of this, most systems in your body are going to work much more efficiently than they would if you breathed shallowly.
Inhaling slowly and deeply sends more energy to heal your sympathetic nervous system, which is concerned with preparing your body to react to situations of stress or emergency by accelerating your heart rate, constricting your blood vessels, and raising your blood pressure.
Exhaling slowly and completely gives a signal to your parasympathetic nervous system to help it detoxify more deeply. This system serves to slow the rate and force of your heartbeat, decrease your blood pressure, and enhance your digestion.
The slower you inhale the more oxygen you take in, creating more energy and helping your body to detoxify and cleanse itself better. When you exhale slowly, more energy reaches your parasympathetic nervous system, which helps you relax and also helps to detoxify and cleanse your body. Simply breathing hard will not help; you can hyperventilate and cause an excess of CO2 and stimulate the sympathetic nervous system. This will stimulate the brain to emit Beta waves and cause a stress response.
There are many different Meditations that consists with breathing techniques. Starting with Zazen Meditation would be a good start. (Here is a instruction link from Dharma Field):