Mood and Music

mood and musicI don’t know about you, but sometimes you have a bad day, no particular reason that you can put your finger on but you feel a bit down.  I was interested recently that when I was feeling like this, and I put on some favourite Meat Loaf tracks (I know, I am getting on a bit) and suddenly my mood lifted and I was feeling happy again, singing along at the top of my voice.  Why is this I found myself wondering.

So I read up on it.  Music is ‘managed’ in the areas that deal with emotions and mood, apparently.  One of these key areas is the hippocampus and this structure is responsible for various things including the consolidation of new memories and bringing about emotional responses.  The prefrontal cortex is another area which manages extreme impulses of behaviour. Because music reaches emotion related barriers, music can be utilized as a mood changing therapy for people suffering from anxiety and depression.   Interesting, so music can uplift your mood and make you feel good.  I am sure that singing along helps even more (unless, of course, you happen to be the one listening!)

Definitely I would much rather turn the music up than take antidepressants.  I am sure the way music works also depends what memories are associated with the music and what type of music you are listening to.

When I am doing Aromatherapy treatments I normally have some relaxing music on, depending on the client’s preferences.  However with Bowen we are told during training not to have any music, and perhaps this is why, because it can change the way a person feels.  Interesting.

Leave me a comment, I would be interested to know your experiences.



Seeing Lemons Everywhere

Seeing Lemons EverywhereDo you ever have those synchronicities occur in your life where you keep seeing the same over and over again?  I am having that experience, except with lemons.  Is it just me? So okay I thought I would write my next blog on lemons, and why not! There’s a lot worse things I could be blogging about.

You may have noticed a post I shared on Facebook recently about the benefits of drinking lemon water?  Well it made me think about when I was a child, and had a bad head cold or flu my Mum always made me a drink with real lemon.  She would slice up the lemons, put them in a big jug, add hot water and some honey or sugar.  I grew up in the 60’s where it wasn’t generally thought that sugar was such a bad thing hence many fillings but that is another story.  Anyway, if Mum made hot lemon then you knew you were proper poorly!  It was very soothing too, and even nicer when it went cold.

Anyway suddenly lemons are in fashion again and my fruit bowl is full of them, but then I am in Spain at the moment and they are abundant and fresh and lovely.  I thought it ws worth some investigating, this lemon trend, and what I have found is yes, they do have some benefits, but quite frankly some of the claims are just over-hyped so to cut to the chase here’s my two-pennyworth:

  1. Starting your day off, avoid the coffee, (or the tea), and reach for a glass of hot water with fresh lemon juice (not the ready squeezed stuff) is said to get the digestive tract going.   However, drinking a couple of glasses of simple water first thing probably has the same effect, it is just giving your body enough fluid after not drinking all night. Common sense really.
  2. Head cold? Sore throat? (I’m beginning to sound like an advert). Mum’s remedy of lemon with hot water and honey really does sooth that throat, but the key is to squeeze the lemon into the hot water, then slice up the lemon and add it in, stir in the honey.  Definitely don’t add sugar the honey is sweet enough and I don’t want the blame for dental decay I have enough problems of my own.
  3. Prevent Kidney Stones – Wait a minute – don’t believe everything you read.  There is some evidence that drinking lemon juice might help protect against kidney stones. However you have to drink 1/2 a cup of pure lemon juice.  Quite frankly drinking 1/2 a cup of pure lemon juice on the offchance it might help prevent kidney stones – nah! You would need to drink 2 litres of lemonade made from the lemon juice to get this amount of lemon inside you.
  4. Insect Bites: If you are bitten by an insect then applying a drop of lemon juice can sooth the skin.  Tea tree oil or common old vinegar does the trick too.
  5. It treat’s scurvy – not that you see a lot of it around these days, I remember reading about sailors with scurvy in my history books when I was at school (a very long time ago). They obviously didn’t have any lemons.
  6. Flushing the liver – sounds extreme. Again drinking plenty of water flushes the system and most of us justSeeing Lemons Everywhere don’t drink enough water. There is some evidence that lemon juice may help stimulate bile production and stomach acid production.
  7. Helps Boost the Immune System – yes it does a bit, lemons do contain vitamin C of course, so if you do add your lemons to your early morning water then it is adding vitamin C to your body.
  8. Gives You Healthy Skin: vitamin C is good for your skin, yes.
  9. Damages Your Teeth: yes, the downside is that the acid can erode the enamel on your teeth – use a straw and clean your teeth after drinking.

Seeing Lemons EverywhereAs an Aromatherapist I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t mention the uses for Lemon Essential Oil. Citrus Limon is an energising and uplifting oil good to use in a diffuser to rid a room of aromas such a cigarette smoke.  Oil is used to treat athlete’s foot, chilblains, corns, colds, dull skin, oily skin, varicose veins and warts.

Finally, a lot of the evidence suggests that actually increasing the amount of water you drink helps, and yes perhaps lemon can help with some health issues but its the drinking water that is the key point.


Recipe for Lemon Water

A large jug, (1 to 1.5 pints) (I’m old school)

A lemon (wash it first, you don’t know where it’s been)

Hot water (boil it and let it cool a little)

Squeeze the lemon into the water, then slice up the squeezed lemon and add it all to the water.  Add honey if you wish.  I don’t bother but I’m just hardcore.  Drink it warm, cold, however you like.  You can top it up during the day if you wish with some more hot water.  Doesn’t keep for more than a day.

Have you tried lemon water? Comments, feedback, let me know your thoughts.

Thanks for reading


Using computers and back ache

Using computers and back acheFor many years I worked in offices and ended up sitting for far too long at a computer screen. Here I am right this second doing the same thing, and as I think about it I automatically straighten my back and become aware of my posture.

I was reading an article on Facebook the other day about exactly this subject, and I shared it at the time. Here is the link, and it really does not make for cheery reading (sorry about that!) I know myself that I end up with blurry eyes, and a stiff back and painful neck. It is my body rebelling – but how often do I listen?

Things have Using computers and back achechanged so much over the last century; we weren’t built to be sitting all day. Years ago it was normal to spend our waking hours mostly on our feet but now the average office worker sits at their desk up to 9 hours a day. Then when we get home we sit on the couch with a sigh of relief.

The thing is, we don’t always have a lot of choice, do we, because of our Using computers and back achejob? In one place I worked there was one guy who had a standing desk, have you heard of those? I had never seen one before. I asked why and was told he suffered from back problems. I can’t see that happening with the majority of office workers, he was a director so I guess he could have whatever he liked. I wonder what it would be like to stand up whilst working in an office – has anyone tried it?

I read an article earlier where a guy recommended standing their desk higher by using the waste-bin and piles of books. Can you imagine the Health and Safety guys would have a field day, and you would get some real funny looks from your colleagues! Maybe not quite such a practical idea, but definitely inventive.

So, on a positive note here are some of my suggestions.

• The top of your computer screen should be level with your eyes so you should only need to look downwards about 10 degrees. It is any lower then you end up tilting your head in a downward direction and then you may experience back and neck pain. Alternatively if the screen is too high, you can get dry eyes. (I am now looking at my screen, it’s a laptop, and it is too low – need to adjust!)

• Go for a walk at lunchtimes and break times. I know it rains a lot in the UK. Take a brolly, Using computers and back achemake sure you have a rain proof jacket; you will honestly feel better for even just a ten minute walk.

• Park the car at the furthest space away from the office door that you can!

• Set an alarm on your phone for 30 minutes and focus and work really hard for that time, and then take a five minute walk around the office, to the bathroom, to the water fountain, anything. It saves you getting burnt out so you will be more productive. Repeat!

Here’s a nice 10 minute You Tube video with some simple exercises you can do while sitting at your desk.  There are lots of other little videos out there too, not all great, some better than others.

• If you live in the Milton Keynes, Northampton or Daventry area, why not book a relaxing Bowen Therapy session or Aromatherapy massage with me.

I hope you have found this useful. Any comments? Things you have tried? Looking forward to your feedback.