So May has been a little wetter than I would’ve liked but wasn't this bank holiday weekend just glorious? London was alive and anywhere on the river was a delight to be. Will this be just the beginning of a proper summer that we can finally banish our coats and layers soon? Fingers crossed.
Music to relax you
Music during acupuncture treatments are very subjective. Some practitioners play calming wind instrumentals or have sounds of nature like waterfalls and crashing waves. Other acupuncturists have nothing playing, preferring to have soothing silence envelope the room.
In the treatment room I prefer gentle instrumental music but never any windpipes – it’s soft enough to let the mind go free but provides just enough cover to the helicopter drone and traffic noises that are inevitable in central London.
Much research has been done to show the relaxing benefits of calming music, and in fact sound waves and frequencies all affect our minds and physiology. But what is relaxing for one person may be a bit too much for someone else.
This song “Weightless” by Manchester band, Marconi Union is apparently the most relaxing song ever. Sound therapists rated the 8 minute trance-inducing tune due to its continuous rhythm of 60 BPM, an ideal tempo for synchronization with the heart and brainwaves, making it an ideal audio accompaniment for a good night's rest. Listen to it here.
Lyz Cooper, founder of the British Academy of Sound Therapy notes:
"While listening, your heart rate gradually comes to match that beat. It is important that the song is eight minutes long because it takes about five minutes for this process, known as entrainment, to occur. The fall in heart rate also leads to a fall in blood pressure.
The harmonic intervals - or gaps between notes - have been chosen to create a feeling of euphoria and comfort. And there is no repeating melody, which allows your brain to completely switch off because you are no longer trying to predict what is coming next.
Instead, there are random chimes, which helps to induce a deeper sense of relaxation. The final element is the low, whooshing sounds and hums that are like buddhist chants. High tones stimulate but these low tones put you in a trance-like state."
What do you think? Personally I found it the opposite of relaxing, almost headache-inducing in fact.
Clearly finding relaxing music is not a perfect science, and preferences to a certain style obviously count as much the measurable beats and tempos.
However I have found that music is the way to go, as opposed to songs which you can sing to. Lyrics, while uplifting or cathartic, can be distracting when relaxing music should feel effortless.
Instrumental music is possibly the first choice, ideally piano solos. It doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be classical music, which are fine compositions but sometimes the surges and crescendos may be a tad too enthusiastic for true relaxation (think Vivaldi’s Spring). I think the most important thing is to find nice soothing music that is upbeat rather than melancholic. Music can bring about emotions without actual lyrics and some definitely do instill a sense of hope and sunshine more than others.
You may have heard of Yanni or Enya but for me, George Winston is definitely a hidden gem. “Lullaby” from his Summer album, is one of my favourites, hear it on YouTube.
If you enjoyed this, then be sure to visit the blog The Happy Acupuncturist to read more articles, tips and health news.
Sandwiches can be a healthful showcase for vegetables
Sandwiches are often about the meat or the cheese between two slices of bread, but with a simple shift of focus, a sandwich can be a healthful showcase for vegetables, as Martha Rose Shulman writes in the column Recipes for Health:
"Sandwiches of all kinds are perfect vehicles for vegetables, and I am always perplexed when I stand at a refrigerator case in an airport looking at the selection of sandwiches and see little more than a thin slice of tomato or lettuce here and there amid layers of cheese, tuna or chicken salad, roast beef and sandwich meats. Vegetables can take the place of those salty sandwich meats and cheeses. They also provide one way to reduce sodium in a sandwich, which is more effective than trying to reduce sodium in breads, which require salt for all sorts of reasons, palatability being just one of them."
Click to see four recipes to inspire you.
Recommended: The Green Kitchen
It’s no secret that cooking is definitely not my forte, but I have discovered the most delightful cook book. Called The Green Kitchen, it’s written by Scandinavian couple David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl, and it’s filled with 100 vegetarian recipes showcased with the most gorgeous photographs printed on lovely matte paper that is a pleasure to flick through.
It’s not style over substance though – the recipes look great too, Courgette Rolls with Passion Fruit and Lemon Ricotta anyone?
My ultimate favourite recipe is Saffron, Rosehip and Honey Lassi. Granted it’s not really cooking throwing all the ingredients in a blender but gosh it’s fantastic.
You can get it at The Nutri Centre on the lower ground floor of The Hale Clinic, and don’t forget to use your 15% off code – ZZHAN015.
If you have been kind enough to refer someone to me – I want to say a big THANK YOU. That is the highest compliment and it’s warmly appreciated every time.
Simple, everyday activities can strengthen balance, and good balance helps prevent potentially disabling falls. To incorporate balance exercises into your daily routine, try standing on one leg while talking on the phone or sitting down in a chair without using your hands.
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Suggestions for summer
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