Rhodiola Rosea a Revolutionary Herb

by Sara illig

What if I told you that there is a plant, a magical plant that helps fight the effects of stress and aging, sharpens your memory and concentration, maximizes your energy, protects against heart disease and cancer, eases anxiety and depression, improves your sexual function, enhances physical performance and blocks fat for weight loss?

Well there is such a plant; it is an adaptogen known as Rhodiola Rosea. This safe herbal gem has been scientifically proven to do all of the above.

There is an excellent book out on the market called ‘The Rhodiola Revolution’ by Richard Brown, MD and Patricia L Gerbarg, MD. It proved to be an enlightening read including many case studies as well as dosage information for various conditions.

Ready for some more on Rhodiola Rosea?

The best kind of Rhodiola Rosea is grown in Siberia or Alaska. Dont let the brands from Oregon and other places fool you,  it needs sub-arctic and high altitude conditions to grow and develop the properties to help your brain adapt to extreme conditions. It proves a good medicine for those who suffer from anxiety, stress, fatigue, depression and for those who want to boost the immune system, enhance energy levels and physical performance. It is used in the space program to keep astronauts mentally sharp and cognitively healthy  when enduring long periods without gravity. Elite athletes use it for these reasons as well as for enhancing physical performance. Evidence further indicates that Rhodiola Rosea works to repair DNA, protecting against cancer and heart disease.

Rhodiola Rosea greatly enhanced my quality of life. Perhaps it could do the same for you.

In general a low dosage to start is a good idea, if you dont feel anything in 3-7 days you can try a little higher dosage. Most people do well on under 300 mgs. But one should begin with a much lower dose it seems, closer to 100mg. Some people are sensitive and may need as little as 50 mg, while others are in need of a higher dose of around 500mg.

This herb should be taken in the morning 20-30 min before food for best results. An additional dose is sometimes taken 20-30 min before lunch, however, use caution and dont take it late in the day. It could interfere with your sleep. It could also be that during the first week or so your dreams can be very vivid. In addition, since Rhodiola Rosea has some stimulative properties it can be beneficial to take it easy on the caffeinated beverages until getting used to a new level of energy.

I like the brands Ameriden (Rosavin and Rosavin Plus) and another called Gaia. In general though seek a brand that contains 3% rosavins or more. These can be found at your local health food store as well as on the internet.

Ask your doctor about Rhodiola Rosea and the proper dosage for you. And if they dont know about it yet, recommend the book The Rhodiola Revolution to them and see what they have to say.

Enjoy your new found freedom!


Massage Cupping Therapy

Massage Cupping Therapy

Cupping is a versatile and ancient tool that can be modified to accomplish a whole range to techniques from lymphatic drainage to fascial and deep tissue release. This modality uses ‘negative pressure ‘ creating either light suction for drainage, or heavier suction to lift connective tissue, loosen adhesions, soften tight muscles and tone attachments.

In traditional Chinese Cupping, the cups stay in place for 5-15 min, however, they may also be moved over the area. The goal of this approach is to remove stagnation of blood and chi, release trapped (internal) heat , draw out toxins and treat pain, respiratory problems and other conditions.

Massage Cupping is a different approach in that the cups continually move over the area. The therapist will apply lotion or oil before the treatment to ensure smooth movement of the cups. Almost every area of the body responds well to this treatment. Tense muscles are softened quickly and adhesions loosened easily.

To most people the treatment feels GREAT. It is certainly a sensation unlike any other, and may feel different depending on the area of the body and they type of condition it is being used to address. The sensation during cupping is often described as a deep warmth and or tingling sensation which continues long after treatment.

Important:You should make your practitioner aware of any health conditions which need to be handled gently. If you are uncertain ask your doctor if it is okay for you to receive cupping.

What are those marks that cupping leaves? In traditional (Chinese) cupping the marks left after a treatment are a desired effect of the treatment. They are not bruises it is a discoloration that will dissipate and fade anywhere from a few hours to a few days after treatment. With massage cupping, the marks are less likely to occur but you may still find an occasional “cupping kiss” left behind.

What do I do after treatment? For a few (4 to 6) hours after treatment avoid exposure to extreme heat or cold, (chill or drafts, hot showers or saunas), rigorous exercise and stay sufficiently hydrated. Alcohol is not recommended for 24 hours after treatment.

Benefits of Cupping:

clears stagnation
drains and moves fluids
relieves inflammation
Sedates nervous system
expels congestion
stretched muscle and connective tissue
loosens adhesions
brings nourishing blood supply to the skin
poor circulation (stimulated locally)
insomnia and general anxiety
sluggish devitalized skin

Remember:You should make your practitioner aware of any health conditions which need to be handled gently. If you are uncertain ask your doctor if it is okay for you to receive cupping.

Sara illig is certified in Ace Massage Cupping Therapy.

Trans-dermal Magnesium Therapy – Magnesium Choride (Magnesium Oil)

Magnesium Oil is not really an oil rather, it is a brine.
It is made with straight magnesium chloride flakes and water.The magnesium oil I use is the highest quality I could find and comes from the Dead Sea.It contains 31% Magnesium, 80 trace minerals and is low in sodium.
Trans-dermal magnesium therapy is well known to relieve pain in joints
and muscles. Apply as needed to areas of pain and discomfort. Let it sit for 20-30 min before rinsing it off.

Transdermal Magnesium Therapy has many more benefits than smply relief from discomfort read on:

Magnesium Oil

Magnesium is one of the most common and necessary fast acting, safe and effective medicines and is used in both allopathic as well as naturopathic medicine. Magnesium Chloride treatments are used in a wide variety of ways including in emergency rooms to save lives as well as for post sports recovery.

Magnesium chloride treatments address systemic nutritional deficiencies, enhance immune system function, improve cellular function by protecting cells from oxidative damage as well as bringing new energy to cells where applied topically.

Symptoms and Major Diseases Associated with Magnesium Deficiency:

Anxiety and Panic attacks- Magnesium (Mg) normally keeps adrenal stress hormones under control.

• Asthma-  Histamine production and bronchial spasms increase with Mg deficiency.

• Blood clots- Mg helps by keeping the blood thin-much like aspirin but without the side effects.

• Bowel disease- deficiency causes constipation, which could lead to toxicity and mal absorption of nutrients, as well as colitis.

• Cystitis- Bladder spasms are worsened by Mg deficiency

• Depression-Serotonin is dependent on Mg. A Mg-deficient brain is also more susceptible to allergens.

• Detoxification- Mg is crucial for the removal of toxic substances and heavy metals such as mercury, aluminum and lead

• Diabetes- Mg enhances insulin secretion and facilitates sugar metabolism. Without Mg insulin is not able to transfer glucose to cells.

• Fatigue- Fatigue is often and early symptom of Mg-deficency.This is due to the fact that dozens of enzyme systems are under-functioning.Mg is needed for the production of over 326 different enzymes.

• Heart disease- Mg deficiency is common in people with heart disease. It is administered in hospitals for acute myocardial infarction and cardiac arrhythmia. Mg is also used to treat angina, or chest pain.

• Hypertension- With insufficient Mg, spasm of blood vessels and high cholesterol occur, both of which lead to blood pressure problems.

• Hypoglycemia- Mg keeps insulin under control; without Mg,expect episodes of low blood sugar.

• Insomnia, RLS, Sleeping Disorders – Just as Serotonin, Sleep-regulating melatonin production is disturbed without sufficient Mg.
• Kidney Disease- Mg deficiency contributes to atherosclerotic kidney failure. Mg deficiency creates abnormal lipid levels and worsening blood sugar control in kidney transplant patients.

• Liver Disease leading to liver failure- Mg deficiency commonly occurs during liver transplantation.

• Migraine- Serotonin balance is Mg-dependent. Deficiency of serotonin can result in migraine headaches and depression.

• Musculoskeletal conditions- Fibrositis, fibromyalgia, muscle spasms, eye twitches, cramps and chronic neck and back pain may be relieved by Mg supplements.

• Nerve problems- Mg alleviates peripheral nerve disturbances throughout the whole body, such as migraines, muscle contractions, gastrointestinal spasms, and calf, foot and toe cramps. It is also used in treating central nervous symptoms of vertigo and confusion.

• Obstetrics and Gynecology- Mg prevents Premenstrual Syndrome; prevents dysmenorrhea (cramping pain during menses); is important in the treatment of infertility; and alleviates premature contractions, preeclampsia, and eclampsia in pregnancy. Intravenous Mg is given in obstetrical wards for pregnancy-induced hypertension and to lessen the risk of cerebral palsy and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Mg should be a required supplement for pregnant mothers.

• Osteoporosis- Use of calcium with Vitamin D to enhance calcium absorption without a balancing amount of Mg causes further Mg deficiency, which triggers a cascade of events leading to bone loss.

• Raynaud’s Syndrome- Mg helps relax the spastic blood vessels that cause pain and numbness of the fingers.

• Tooth decay- Mg deficiency causes an unhealthy balance of phosphorus and calcium in saliva, which damages teeth.

General Uses for Magnesium Oil
For the Skin: Sprayed on sun damaged skin regularly will begin to rejuvenate from the inside out and after a few months will be significantly restored. Helps with wrinkles as well as hair health and growth.

Dental: As a mouthwash sprayed into the mouth it is excellent for the gums and pushes the mouths ph up. Strengthens teeth and is excellent for gingivitis. It is magnesium, not calcium, which helps form hard tooth enamel resistant to decay.

Mucus Membranes: People have used low concentrations for nose and eye washes and even for application in the vagina. (Beware of stimulative effect).

General Tonic: Magnesium Chloride is a strong tonic boosting all aspects of cell physiology and energy production. Magnesium is essential for life as it participates in over 325 enzyme reactions. Expect more energy, strength and endurance and even increased sexual energy.

Sports: Magnesium is perhaps the single most important mineral to sports nutrition. Over 70% of the U.S. population is magnesium deficient. This is true especially of athletes. During vigorous exercise, people loose through their sweat critical minerals, the most important being magnesium. Adequate magnesium level will help your body against fatigue, heat exhaustion, blood sugar control and metabolism.

Pain Relief: Transdermal magnesium chloride treatments are essential in the treatment of sport injuries and the aches and pains of sore muscles.

Natural Immune System Booster: Dr. A. Neveu observed that magnesium chloride has no direct effect on bacteria (i.e. it is not an antibiotic). Thus he thought that its action was a specific, immune-enhancing, so it could be useful against viral diseases.

Memory and Cognitive Function: Magnesium deficit may lead to decreased memory and learning ability, while an abundance of magnesium may improve cognitive function in children and the elderly.

Meridian Scraping Therapy- Gua Sha

Meridian Scraping  Therapy- Gua Sha

Meridian Scraping/Gua sha is an ancient East Asian healing technique taught by only a handful of Western practitioners.  In China and Vietnam, scraping is commonly used to relieve the aches and fever associated with the common cold.  The Greeks used a similar technique in their daily massage regiments to invigorate the blood and relieve pain.

Scraping therapy can be used to address various sorts of conditions.  Most commonly used to treat body pain, to boost the immune system and to relieve symptoms of the common cold, this modality can also be used to generally balance the flow of qi through the meridians, to resolve certain psychospiritual issues and to innervate areas of poor circulation such as adipose tissue which can have both a detoxifying and contouring effect.

Gua sha provides lasting relief for chronic pain.  There are a variety of both western and eastern mechanisms that contribute to and explain the results.

As the practitioner strokes over muscle spasms that have become entrenched “knots”, the pain-spasm-pain cycle which keeps muscles tensed in a protective response is broken allowing the muscle to relax.

Stroking over an area brings blood carrying oxygen and nutrients to tissue that has been deprived.  The blood then carries away built up toxins like lactic acid.

Frictioning the tissue warms the underlying support structure, fascia.  Fascia crystallizes and individual strands begin to “glue” together for various reasons including misuse, repetitive trauma, overuse and deposits of toxins.  Warming this tissue returns it to its natural gelatinous state and ‘melts’ any adhesions that may have formed.

Once muscular tension and adhesions are released, the body is able to realize its original structure.

Eastern philosophies recognize that exogenous factors like wind, heat, cold, and damp become trapped in the exterior layer of the body causing pain by obstructing the flow of qi and blood in the channels.  Scraping techniques are the most effective way of releasing these pathogens from the exterior and encouraging the free flow of qi and blood.

Besides pain relief, Gua sha has many other benefits.

By removing meridian obstructions, gua sha promotes the free flow of qi and blood, balancing the body and addressing almost any presenting illness.

Blood stasis impedes the production of new blood.  Once the stagnation is removed, new blood will be created again.  Blood is the material basis of our minds.  When deficient of blood, an individual has a difficult time with self esteem issues, creating boundaries and emotional flexibility.  Blood deficiency will present a variety of other problems including muscular pain and lack of flexibility, lack of energy, dizziness, etc…  By engendering the production of new blood, scraping treats both the psychospiritual and the physical problems associated with blood deficiency.

Just like Rolfing or other modalities of deep bodywork, scraping can instigate emotional release.  If the muscles are “holding” emotions, as they relax, these emotions will be freed and should be accepted, experienced, and resolved.  As this happens, old issues that have been trapped in the muscles of the body naturally resolve.

Scraping acts on fascia. Every organ, nerve, vein, artery, and muscle is sheathed in envelopes of fascia.  By stroking the superficial fascia, deeper structures will be affected and their performance will be enhanced.

Lymph glands and vessels are located in the fascia.  The lymphatic system is responsible for draining excess interstitial fluid from tissue, transporting dietary lipids from the gastrointestinal tract to the blood, and protecting against invasion through immune response.  Gua sha will promote the circulation of lymph and free any restrictions within the lymphatic system.

Scraping enhances circulation in general providing undernourished areas with blood to both feed tissue and remove waste products.  As an area is innervated, it will be detoxified and toned by the deep massaging action of the stroke.

A session will last from fifteen to forty five minutes depending on how many areas will be addressed.  As with any sort of bodywork, the areas treated will include both the site of pain and also areas that contribute to the condition – primarily the neck, back, legs, arms, and chest.

First, oil or lotion will be applied.  Then, the practitioner will use a smooth edged tool to stroke over the area.  Stroking will continue until the sha is released.

A red rash called petechiae will appear as the tissue releases.  The discoloration of the rash offers clues as to the nature and severity of the condition being addressed.  It will take several days (generally 4 and up to 7) for the rash to fade.  Stretching and light aerobic exercise like walking will hasten the rash’s healing.

Scraping is similar to  a very deep massage.  One moment might feel excruciatingly intense, the next overwhelmingly relaxing.  The practitioner will respond to your level of sensitivity; however, as with the rest of our existence, there are often moments of discomfort that cannot be avoided in order to bring about growth and healing.

After a session, a cup of warm water is recommended, and be sure to rest and relax.  Also, drink a large amount of water to clear all the toxins released by the treatment. If not, the toxins will settle back into the tissue causing stiffness and soreness or  nausea and lightheadedness.

For a day or so after the treatment,  avoid alcohol, caffeine and strenuous exercise and be sure to protect  any treated area from direct exposure to sun, wind, or cold.

Gua sha is an indispensable tool in the treatment of chronic pain.  In fact, it is a relevant tool in treating almost any disorder given its ability to clear stagnation, to engender the creation of blood, to release the exterior and to innervate and detoxify tissue.

– Sara illig