skip to Main Content

Preventative Counseling: Learning Communication Before Trouble Starts

Communication is key in relationships of every type. Human beings are capable of verbal and non-verbal communication and by five months of age are typically capable of reacting to sounds and vocalizing pleasure and displeasure. Throughout childhood we are taught to give and share as well as receive but how well does this prepare us for a committed relationship in adulthood?

When a child is brought up under perceived normal conditions and learns values, morals, and ethics, will that child automatically be ready to forge blindly into the world making friends and communicating effectively with partners and others? What if the child does not grow up under perceived normal circumstances but instead is abused, neglected, or perhaps is an only child, or placed in foster care at a crucial age?

When I see troubled teenagers who have been placed into the system I unfairly judge them as having weak characters. I expect little out of them in society. If one teenage girl reaches age 21 with no children and no jail time under her belt I see her as a success story.

If she manages to keep even a part-time job she has achieved greatness in my eyes. I do not even consider that this same girl will find a healthy relationship with a partner. I expect only abusive exploitative men to seek her company and she, knowing no better, will revel in theirs. I am not a bigot; I simply see situations for what they are.

Though the above example may be extreme, children and young adults are not fully prepared to communicate with people they will be forming relationships with and my opinion is that more could be done before the trouble ever arises.

We are offered courses for communicating effectively at work, classes for communicating with each other prior to marriage, therapy for communicating with a spouse once marital troubles have been identified, and seminars to learn effective nonverbal communication to advance successfully. What about the neglected group of young adults ages 18-25 who are seeking something meaningful in the dating world and failing time after time?

High school health class may be a good starting point. Mental health and healthy relationships are rarely if ever mentioned in health class. Simple biological functions and food selections are instead the focus. Perhaps an advanced Health 102 could be offered which would include preparing the healthy mind for communication in relationships. Before the premarital counseling, where is the pre-relationship counseling?

I for one could have greatly benefited from some type of counseling in the area of communication, an area I was not even aware I was lacking in before getting married. I was an only child, placed into residence with my elderly grandparents due to extreme abuse and neglect by my mother and step-father. I always felt I was able to communicate fine.

After all, I always knew exactly what I was thinking and feeling. My family did not talk about feelings, nor did they show them. I grew up very much inside my own head. When it came to relationships as I grew older, I often wondered why the boyfriends didn’t know what I was thinking. I couldn’t imagine that it was because I didn’t tell them. They should just know, shouldn’t they?

My plea is to counselors in high schools and colleges, health and psychology teachers, to consider this deficit and provide a curriculum to those less capable of communicating effectively. This is not an instinctual skill. Without a role model or teacher it may be too late before so many of us realize we even had a problem.

Acupuncture & Crohn’s

When you tell your gastroenterologist that your next stop is to see an acupuncturist, don’t expect to see him or her turning cartwheels.

You’re much more likely to get raised eyebrows or no reaction at all.

In my 25 years of experience volunteering to help my fellow patients with Crohn’s disease, I have found they seek out acupuncture practitioners for two reasons. One group hopes that acupuncture will somehow zap their disease – perhaps by calming the patient down. This idea of acupuncture curing Crohn’s disease or even putting it temporarily into remission is a misconception. While the art of acupuncture relieves stress and sometimes proves very helpful to sufferers of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a condition brought on to some degree by stress, it seldom has a dramatic effect on Crohn’s disease activity.

The remaining patients hope to find a way to relieve the cramping and pain associated with inflammatory bowel disease. Some are also searching for relief from constipation or diarrhea, nervousness or anxiety or the insomnia caused by Crohn’s night sweats. Acupuncture provides relief for some of them.

The art is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The body has around 2,000 acupuncture points. All of them are connected by 20 pathways called meridians. These paths connect body energy known as Qi from the internal organs to the surface of the body.

TCM practitioners believe that Qi has a diverse effect on each acupuncture point through which it passes and helps keep a balance within both the body and the mind. They also believe that intestinal illnesses such as Crohn’s disease represent a disruption of the spleen and liver, as well as, insufficient kidney support. As a result, they focus on the acupuncture points linked to those organs to try to lessen symptoms. Stimulate the right meridian via acupuncture points, and you will balance the body and the mind.

Western medicine has a different take on why acupuncture brings relief to some patients. Many medical practitioners believe that the application of the needles somehow stimulates the nervous system to block pain messages from arriving at the brain.

Another popular assumption is that the practice of acupuncture releases endorphins, which are natural painkillers. A third holds that the needles, when used properly, might release opiods into the body to reduce discomfort.

Crohn’s patients in China commonly receive acupuncture treatments to treat their disease. My attempts to take advantage of the practice came about because of the unremitting pain and high temperature I had experienced for several months, which made it hard to go to work each day.

During the first session, I answered many questions about my illness and lifestyle. The practitioner concentrated on making me feel at ease and used only a few needles to target the “imbalance” in my abdomen.

The second appointment was much more intense. I found it very difficult to cope with the pain of needles in my hand and did not return for any additional treatments. Aside from feeling more relaxed overall during my first meeting with the acupuncturist, I did not appear to reap any benefits from the needles.

In general, the practitioner inserts hair thin needles one at a time into particular points to stimulate the flow of Qi after targeting the appropriate meridians. The needles are solid and do not go as deep as hypodermic needles. They should not draw blood, as they are designed only to penetrate the meridian surface.

Some acupuncturists twist or twirl the needles or hook them up to an electrical current to stimulate the meridian. On occasion, they might utilize certain herbs or oils with the needles to treat a condition and relieve specific symptoms. Each appointment normally lasts between 20 minutes to an hour.

Most patients report a slight tingling, aching or numbing once the needles have been applied. Although acupuncture is not supposed to cause pain when the needles are properly inserted, I utilized a highly recommended practitioner and felt so much pain, I feared I was going to fly off the table.

Some acupuncturists actually specialize in the treatment of IBD. How do you find them? The most effective way is by word of mouth among the other Crohn’s patients in your area.

Intuition: You Know It but You Can’t Say How

I have always been fascinated by the idea of intuition. As a child, “I have a hunch” was the phrase we used when we were accessing our intuition. It seemed almost magical to me when I had a hunch about something and it happened as I expected. My fascination with intuition stemmed from the idea that there could be ways of “knowing” things that just couldn’t be explained. Back then, I gave up on it after seeing too many TV shows where psychics knew everything about everyone in the audience. I knew that couldn’t happen…

You have “intuitive hits” all the time as you go through your daily life. There are little bits of information being processed by your brain all the time that never reach your consciousness. This is the basis of what we call intuition.

I remember meeting my friend Laurie for the first time years ago. We both belonged to the same racquetball club and were put together as practice partners because we had about the same skill level. The first day we were to play, I walked into the club and realized within the first minute of meeting her that Laurie and I would be great friends. On this occasion, my intuition was correct. It would be impossible to say how I knew immediately that we would be friends, but something about her hit me. I believe that my brain saw in her traits that were very much like my own and other friends I have had and enjoyed.

Science has confirmed what we all know intuitively about intuition. There are two ways of knowing things. The first is being conscious of something – this is knowing in a deliberate and controlled way. You can know the color of your shirt or what time it is. The second way of knowing is through your unconscious; this way is automatic and unintentional. You can know what time it is without a clock or you know how that shirt on the rack would look on you without trying it on.

As you go through your days, your brain is collecting millions of pieces of information about everything and everyone you encounter. Only a small portion of this is conscious because each person only thinks about one thing at a time. The rest becomes part of your unconscious and influences your thinking, memory and attitudes without your even noticing the process happening.

Having a hunch, or intuition, is when information from your subconscious influences your consciousness. Intuition plays a large part of all your decision making because there is no way to shut off the brain’s connection to that vast subconscious storage area. It is amazing to think that perhaps 80% or more of your thinking is done without your awareness.

Intuition is often wrong. This is because our brain attempts to make patterns where none may exist – there is really no other way to process the loads of information that the brain receives and so intuition is inherently flawed. Being wrong with your intuition does not mean it is useless. It means that you can best treat your intuitive hits with some healthy skepticism. Exactly what I was doing as a kid when I doubted the TV psychics.

When you bring intuitive ideas into your conscious awareness, you can start to apply some conscious thinking to them to see if they make sense for you to follow or not. For example, on a recent vacation I ordered a chicken dish that turned out to be bright red. My intuition said “don’t eat that funny looking chicken”, but I didn’t really pay attention, I ate it and I ended up being very sick. I don’t think the red color was the problem, but I do think that if I had given that intuition more attention, I might have decided I just didn’t want to eat funny looking chicken and spared myself the illness. In this case my intuition was right. Noticing when your intuition calls and using it in a conscious decision making process can give you the power of both kinds of knowing things.

How often do you notice what your intuition is saying to you? How accurate do you feel you are intuitively? Let me know your thoughts on intuition by leaving a comment below and If you know someone who is looking for some inspiration in their lives, make sure you let them know about our sponsor the Chicago life coaches, these guys can improve any one intuition.

Discover The Power Of Ritual

Along the way, both good and bad feelings or memories may resurface from your past. That’s normal. You may also feel sensations in your body that speak to lost loves or past acts of passion. Whatever you do, notice the journey you are on and use this process for your own personal expansion as well as your spiritual and sexual By including ritual in your lovemaking, you can create greater closeness and increase your pleasure.

The use of ritual allows you to make everyday activities or feelings sacred, by combining your conscious intentions with symbolic statements or actions. Many individuals and couples find that by including ritual in their lovemaking and intimate activity, their connection grows much deeper and their pleasure is increased. Some even say that sex becomes a positive healing experience. Let me give you an example. One of my clients — I’ll call her Sally — used to masturbate while lying on a huge burgundy velvet settee in her study. She would light candles, burn incense, play soothing music, use massage oils and sometimes watch herself in a standing mirror. She set a “solo sex date” with herself two Tuesdays a month, at 10pm, a time when all the distractions of her day were gone and she could shut off from the outside world. She used this time to reconnect with herself, without anyone or anything else placing demands on her time or energy. These sessions were Sally’s way of connecting with her sexual spirit. She felt close to herself, and reported to me that these were the only moments that she felt whole and alive. For her, this was a spiritual experience of claiming herself, of feeling her own sexual power, and of honoring and loving her body, mind and spirit. By setting aside the time and place regularly, Sally began to grow in her sexual self-confidence. She began to realize that she did not need a man to complete her and stopped what she called her “desperate hunt” for a partner. She even became more successful in her career. By making masturbation a ritualized experience and thereby connecting with her sexual spirit, Sally became more aware and grew not only sexually but personally and professionally as well. Week Three: Learning Tantric Practices Over the past two weeks, you have been working on finding and connecting with your sexual spirit, alone or with a partner. This week we are going to focus on another pathway for tapping into that spiritual side of yourself by looking at the practice of tantric sex. Tantra means union; it is a form of yoga. I first encountered tantric teachings in the early 1980s while on an intensive yoga workshop in the mountains of Mexico. “That wonderful feeling of being truly united with someone is the ecstasy you feel when you merge sexuality and spirit.” One of the other students was a teacher of tantra. He was a seasoned workshop leader who had a charismatic presence that allowed the group to trust him as a guide. Over the course of several nights, he taught us how to find the seven chakras (or energy centers) of the body and how to chant mantras (or sacred sounds) while focusing our attention on each chakra. He also explained how combining spiritual intention with sexual contact can result in deeper levels of connection with a partner. Despite the fact that I didn’t have a partner at that time, I began to understand that by using and joining personal energies, we are more able to share ourselves with another person at a deep level. Many couples, especially those in long-term relationships, crave this deeper connection. Practicing tantra is one way to get it. One thing you can do as a couple to enhance your lovemaking, build a stronger union with your partner and feel the power of your own sexual spirit is to concentrate on your breathing before and during sex. In tantric teachings, this is called connective breathing. Often couples report to me that when they synchronize their breathing — breathe in unison at the same rhythm — they feel as one. That wonderful feeling of being truly united with someone is the ecstasy you feel when you merge sexuality and spirit. Here is how you do it: Sit facing each other, preferably naked, with your legs intertwined, arms around each other and chest to chest. Then breathe together, slowly at first. Inhale, exhale, inhale exhale and so on. After practicing taking conscious breaths for about two minutes without stopping (which, by the way, will seem a lot longer than that), you may begin to feel more in harmony with your lover. You will feel a sense of unity, and may even feel a surge of loving feelings or emotions radiating from the center of your chest, the heart chakra.

Discovering the Kama Sutra In week one, you began the process of connecting with your sexual spirit by working on your love for yourself. In week two, you had a chance to move into the power of ritual by exploring how ritual informs our sexual lives. If you followed that week’s workshop with your partner, you discovered how combining conscious intention with sacred objects and practices can improve the intimate connection and sexual pleasure in your relationship. Week three allowed a peek at the ancient practices of tantra, during which you took an in-depth look at two specific techniques for enhanced sexual union. This week’s workshop will bring you to an even higher level of potential for accessing the sexual spirit within yourself and for sharing it with your partner to achieve ultimate sexual satisfaction and true connection. “No more passing out after sex! The Kama Sutra states that kissing should be used after lovemaking to rekindle love.” One of the greatest texts for improving lovemaking skills is the Kama Sutra, often associated with the Indian sage Vatsayama, who is believed to have written it. It is a spiritually based sex manual, emphasizing pleasure, intimacy and awakening of spirit. I was just 17 when I encountered a copy of the Kama Sutra and have used it as a foundation for studying and teaching about sex ever since. By following the carefully and concisely written lessons (and mimicking the amazing illustrations) you can learn how to become the most exquisite lover and access your sexual spirit as you go. What is so amazing about this ancient book is that it speaks to sexuality today, just as it did when it was written almost 2,000 years ago.

How Does Vascular Disease Affect Health?

Vascular or blood vessel diseases are leading causes of death in the U.S. and much of the industrialized world. When blood vessels become blocked by plaque, blood flow to vital organs is reduced, starving them for oxygen and other nutrients. The loss of circulation caused by this hardening of the arteries also known as arteriosclerosis – can lead to heart disease, stroke, and memory loss. It can also prevent sores from healing and lead to gangrene in the feet and legs. These conditions are more common in diabetics and smokers, and much of the time they are the result of lifestyle choices (diet, lack of exercise, high stress).

If you have chest pain or leg pain on walking, shortness of breath, painful or discolored feet, transient loss of vision or failing memory, see a physician! Any unexplained or persistent symptoms, which affect your heart, head or limbs, should be explored for circulatory blockage.

What is EDTA Chelation Therapy?

EDTA (ethylene diamine tetra acetic acid) is a synthetic amino acid, which has the ability to attach itself to metals and minerals, forming a particular kind of bond called a chelate. Heavier metals such as lead have a greater affinity for EDTA and form stronger bonds.

In the 1940s and 50s, EDTA was found to be a safe and effective treatment for lead toxicity and was approved for use as a drug for that purpose. In many cases, patients who coincidentally had symptoms of heart disease such as angina, improved while undergoing lead toxicity treatment. Since that time, scientific opinion and evidence, that EDTA chelation therapy is effective in treating blood vessel disease, has been growing. To date, FDA has not approved EDTA chelation therapy for vascular disease, but the status of EDTA as an approved drug for lead toxicity permits physicians to use it for other conditions, including vascular disease. This kind of discretionary use of approved drugs by physicians is common to a number of medical treatments.

The exact mechanism of action by which EDTA improves blood flow has not been determined and it probably works in several ways. One theory is that it reduces free radicals. Free radicals are highly active molecular fragments formed during the production of energy in the cells. They have high energy, like sparks in a fireplace, and this energy can be used by the body, when properly handled. However, if free radicals get out of control, they can cause damage to surrounding tissues, just as sparks that get out of a fireplace can cause the rug to catch fire. Excess free radicals contribute to the obvious signs of aging such as wrinkling and loss of skin elasticity. Internal damage is less visible but even more serious.

In addition to the formation of free radicals in the body, people are exposed to them in the environment from various sources such as polluted air, certain foods and drugs. Heavy metals also cause an increased production of free radicals. One of the most significant properties of EDTA is its ability to remove heavy metals like lead and excessive iron that may have accumulated in the body. Free radicals are thought to contribute to the development of vascular and other diseases. The removal of heavy metals that increase free radicals may explain the effect EDTA has in helping to prevent and reverse vascular disease.

Another theory is that EDTA works by binding calcium in the bloodstream and altering the intracellular balance of calcium with magnesium. This also favorably affects circulation.

EDTA chelation therapy has been used by physicians for more than forty years to treat a number of conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetic arterial disease, decreased mental function from vascular disease, and intermittent claudication (leg pain on exercise). It is also used as preventive medicine.

Find out about how Arlington acupuncture can help you in the next post.

Back To Top