The Principles of Reiki
by Karin Dietrich
The word Reiki is Japanese and means: Universal Life Force Energy.
We all live and draw from this energy – it sustains the Lifeforce within us.
What is a treatment like?
You are treated on a massage table and remain fully clothed throughout. Sessions usually last 1 hour. Softly, the practitioners hands are placed on strategic energy centers (chakras) or other energy needy areas of your body. No massaging, just a laying on of hands. Typically, treatments are deeply relaxing and some may even fall asleep. You may feel tingling, warmth, or heat and possibly experience a shift in consciousness. Afterward, you may feel energized or incredible peace.
About Energy Work:
We are not only physical beings - our mental, emotional, and spiritual planes are also part of us. All four planes integrate to make us whole. If an imbalance disturbs one of these planes, we feel less harmonious and incomplete. Our goal is to be healthy in all these levels so we can experience true wellbeing and wholeness. It could be simply said that we are energetic beings. When we break down our body’s chemical parts into atoms and from there even further, we find nothing but space and energy. Thoughts and emotions are energetic waves and are transformed into material/physical form in our body (think neuro-transmitters, neuropeptides). Our energy may become out of balance and our lifeforce can run low due to stress, worries, emotional upset, and physical conditions. These stresses play a big toll on our state of wellbeing and harmony and can ultimately manifest in ‘dis-ease’.
How does Reiki work?
Reiki energy touches all four levels and tries to balance the energy within eachand on all levels. Reiki energy is not the practitioner’s energy. It is the energy from a higher source – the Universal Lifeforce that we call upon during a treatment. Some call this energy Love. To truly heal, one must be willing to look within. Reiki greatly enhances this process by uncovering emo- tional blocks which may cause distress in the first place. Reiki does not interfere with traditional medical treatments. It actually speeds the healing process and restores energy while one is ill or in recovery.
Karin Dietrich—Reiki Master
Acai Berry: Healthy or Hype?
By Susan Kimball
"On the motionless branches of some trees, autumn berries hung like clusters of coral beads, as in those fabled orchards where the fruits were jewels. "
Are acai (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) berries the healthy superfood they're touted to be? Do they help prevent disease? Do they really help with weight loss? These are the questions I hear often from clients and friends and I thought you might want to know the answer too.
The acai berry is a purple fruit that comes from the acai palm tree, native to Central and South America. It contains powerful antioxidants, including anthocyanins (responsible for the purple color), flavonoids and polyphenols. These antioxidants help defend against stress to the body, and play a role in protecting cells. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, helping to ward against the effects of aging and diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
Are acai berries the best for antioxidants? In a comparative study of juice pulps, acai scored lower on the antioxidant front than strawberry, grapes, mango and acerola. In another study on a freeze-dried acai product, antioxidant levels were much lower compared to blueberries and other antioxidant-rich fruits. In a comparison of three acai juice blends with other juices, red wine and tea, the acai antioxidant capacity ranked lower than red wine, pomegranate, concord grape and blueberry juices. It was comparable to black cherry and cranberry juice, and higher than tea, orange and apple juices. Note that acai juice blends do not disclose the percentage of acai contained in them.
The internet is abuzz with how the acai berry can make us healthier, from reversal of diabetes, heart disease and other chronic illnesses, increasing men's sexual virility and most notably, promoting weight loss. There are no scientifically controlled studies that back up these claims and no scientific evidence that consuming acai affects body weight. The potential benefits of acai are based on preliminary lab studies, so we don't know the actual benefit in the body.
The use and marketing of acai berry supplements has led to enforcement efforts in 2010 due to the "scam" nature of deceptive offers and lack of efficacy, being called by the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre "a major international problem". Many acai supplement offerings say "free trials" and ask for billing information to cover shipping and handling. What people don't realize is that they've agreed to recurring shipments until they cancel, leading to monthly charges of $45 - $95. Fake blogs with fictional testimonials are also common. Oprah Winfrey sued 5o internet sellers of acai berry supplements for use of her image in deceptive advertising. The Federal Trade Commission sued Coast Nutraceuticals for false claims that their acai berry dietary supplements could cause weight loss or prevent cancer.
Would I take an acai supplement? No, because there are better berries and fruits out there to get my antioxidants and I could never be sure just how much acai is in the supplement. If you plan to take one, consult with your doctor as acai may trigger or worsen swelling, ulcers, high blood pressure or intestinal bleeding and it could possibly interfere with an MRI. It can also interact with OTC and prescription pain killers and could block the effectiveness of cancer drugs.
I currently take a great supplement that is only fruit, veggies and berries - let me know if you want to learn more!
Bottom line: There are no known
health benefits of the acai berry that's any better or different than other antioxidant-rich fruits. When the health claims of acai are reviewed, experts concluded in 2011 that acai is more internet marketing hype than scientific substance.
However, there is plenty of research that supports eating a diet rich in antioxidants (including acai). Antioxidants protect the body from harmful, excess free radicals, sweeping them up before they can cause damage. These naturally occurring compounds can help prevent heart disease, stroke and cancer, reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, and aid in the prevention of glaucoma and macular degeneration. They help our immune system and provide stronger resistance to the flu, viruses and infections. Antioxidants also slow the effects of aging.
While berries like blueberries and strawberries top the list of antioxidant-rich foods, there are other great fruits and veggies to include: red grapes, greens like kale and broccoli, cherries, pomegranates, mangos, tomatoes, cantaloupe, artichokes, red beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, onions, and garlic. Other foods get notable mention as well: beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds and spices like cinnamon and oregano. Eat em up!
For more information on Susan, go to www.balancedhc.com.
Symbolic Meaning of Pentagrams
By Laura Powers
The pentagram is rich with meaning and historical significance and is a powerful symbol. More recently the symbol has been associated with the occult, however the symbol has had historic significance for thousands of years. The pentagram has been used by the Mayans, the Chinese, Sumerians, and in many cultures all over the world.
What is a pentagram?
A pentagram is a five-pointed star with the lines connecting each point drawn through it, as shown in the left image below. The middle image is a five-pointed star and the image on the right is sometimes referred to as a pentagram though it is more precisely called a pentacle since it is circumscribed by a circle. Today many people refer to both the image on the right and the left as a pentacle due to The Oxford Dictionary listing a pentagram as being enclosed in a circle and since then the word pentagram has been used to describe both pentagrams and pentacles.
pentagram five-pointed star pentacle
The pentagram through history
They have been used by Christians as symbols of protection. It is known as the Star of David for those in the Jewish faith and used by neo-pagans today. Throughout history it has been used by the Freemasons, the ancient Egyptians, and Druids among others. Note: the freemasons are a formerly secret society and fraternal order pledged to faith, love, and charity. The word pentagram originates from the Greek word “pente” which means five and “gramma” which means letter as it resembled 5 alpha letters combined. The Masonic order used the pentagram as their secret sign to identify themselves to each other. The Celts associated the pentagram with the goddess of the underground, Morgan. Christians adopted the pentagram to represent the five wounds of Christ before it was associated with Satanism after. It has also been used to symbol of the sacred feminine as embodied by Venus and Isis. The rose is also said to by a representative of the pentagram and you can see five-petaled roses in old churches all over the world. When drawn point facing up as shown above, the pentagram represents spirit over the four elements of air, fire, earth, and water. When drawn two points pointing up, it represents matter ruling over spirit and when it is drawn this way it has associations with the occult and darker purposes.
Pentagrams in Nature
The pentagram appears in the natural world again and again. Venus’ orbit makes a rounded pentagram as shown in the two figures below.
When an apple is cut cross-wise, the seeds create a pentagram and the human figure also makes a pentagram. The pentagram is said to represent a man in miniature as a whole and perfect being.
This symbol is created countless times in nature in flowers, plants, and animals. In fact, once you notice this, you will see them everywhere!
Pentagrams and five-pointed stars are used in so many ways today. Think of the gold stars you may have received for work well done in school, the 50 stars on the flag in the USA, and there are several on the dollar bill. They are also found on the flags of many countries including the United States, Morocco, the former USSR, North Korea, Turkey, Iraq, and Ethiopia. The Medal of Honor is a pentagram and there are countless other examples that I am sure you will start to notice if you are looking. The founders of the United States used the pentagram and five-pointed star over and over again and it should be noted that many of the founders were also and understood its power. It appears multiple times on our flag, our currency, the Medal of Honor, and the Great Seal just above the eagle. Today the Republican Party is represented by an elephant with five-pointed stars decorating his body.
The symbol thought to be useful to protect yourself from harmful and negative energies and also to banish energies you don’t want around. This article is mean to inform on the history of pentagrams but there are many resources out there on the uses of this symbol if you should desire to learn more. In writing this article, I was surprised to learn just how pervasive its use is on our society! I have a feeling that you will start noticing them everywhere and in some of the most surprising places. I know I have!