How to Use the Power of the Mind over the Body for Healing and Wellbeingphoto: analise benevides

Many of my clients reach out to me for help with physical complaints. No, I am not a doctor, nor do I diagnose symptoms. But I do believe that on some level, the women and men who seek me out understand that their symptoms—aches and pains, trouble sleeping, depression, infertility, anxiety, weight issues, stomach upset, blood pressure, and addiction or substance abuse—can find some relief through hypnosis. And they are right. These are women and men of all ages, backgrounds, and awareness levels, and many come to me as a kind of last resort—they’ve been to doctors, psychologists, acupuncturists, ministers, or shamans who have offered protocols of all persuasions. But their problems are stubborn, deeply rooted, and often leave them feeling hopeless.

Through our focused work on the subconscious and the power of the mind over the body, my clients discover a new way to think about wellness, their bodies, and their physical ailments. I listen, observe, and then guide them to connect with their inner selves to get to the root of their problem and how they unwittingly may have helped create it. Yes, created. We like to acknowledge all the good things that we create for ourselves but feel uncomfortable about and resistant to admitting to the problems we create for ourselves. There is something incredibly empowering about recognizing the role you play in your health—once you take ownership of having created the problem, you can then take proactive steps to fix it!

You’re probably wondering how a physical issue or ailment can be created and what the connection is to the subconscious. I suppose you already heard the “mind over body” phrase many times over. But, what does that mean? Through my work, I’ve come to understand that physical issues can be caused by past or present heartache. Debilitating anxiety can be the aftereffect of trauma or emotional shock to your overall body-brain system. Frustrated and hopeless, most people don’t know about this mind-body connection. It gives me great satisfaction when clients come to me and through our work together, and oftentimes with their physician’s assistance, they are able to return to excellent health.

What sort of results have I seen? Claire came to see me after almost a year of struggling through menopause symptoms that nothing seemed to alleviate. She used hypnosis to tune into her body and determine if her symptoms were something she might be able to calm down on her own. Once she stopped resisting the hot flashes, moodiness, and trouble sleeping, the symptoms began to settle down. For Claire, her resistance was stoking her hormonal imbalances. The concept of mind over body control helped her ease the pain caused by the menopause symptoms.

Todd, a client who was being treated for mesothelioma (an aggressive form of lung cancer), came to me after treatment; half the cancerous lung had been cleared by the necessary medical interventions, and his doctors were pleased with the results. Todd wasn’t. He wanted to see if he could find a way to communicate with his damaged lung. This is when he sought me out. Through hypnosis and deeper work with his subconscious, he was able to feel optimistic, connect to his immune system, and lower his stress. After a month of practicing these Hypnotic Hacks, Todd returned to his oncologist, who was amazed at his improvements. The subconscious can seem almost magical at times.

These reactions to stress and illness can bring relief. However, you do not have to be ill or have a specific disease to benefit from the Six Principles and Hypnotic Hacks I’ve outlined in my book. Indeed, my work with people teaches them how to use the concept of mind over body healing and their subconscious to improve their health in general, not to address a specific ailment. I think of our bodies as vessels for all that we are—body, mind, and soul—and they need protection and good care. And when we use our subconscious power to tap into our bodies and its signals, truly listening to what our bodies are telling us, then we are better able to be their stewards and reach or maintain optimal health and wellness.


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When Your Ailment Is Working for You

I’ve seen many clients develop a dependence on their own illness because it “works” for them on an obscure level. This may sound counterintuitive—how can someone’s illness work for them?—but think about it for a moment. If someone feels alone or misses a cherished parent, having caring women and men in white lab coats dote on them may fill a void. But what kind of life is that? I guide clients through their dependency by helping them envision their own health and imagine a life of well-being where they become truly accountable. I show them how their illness has come to define them so they can move past it.

This was the case with Robert, who has suffered from a bad back for years. Before trying the mind body spirit healing, he’d complain constantly about his pain. And yet in his regular diatribe, I picked up on a certain note of pride, as he implied that his enduring the physical suffering was an accomplishment.

He described his weekly routine in such a way that it became clear that he was attached to his suffering. For example, he told me that his favorite day of the week was Saturday. When I asked him why, he explained that it was the day he had physical therapy for his back. He described that on his way to PT, he’d fit in time to eat his favorite yogurt, then stop for a latte, and then a quick game of mah-jongg in the park. When he got to the PT office, he said, he loved having a quick flirt with the receptionists, enjoying every moment. He described those details with a big smile on his face.

What’s Wrong with this Picture?

Robert’s bad back was working for him. He was holding on to this ailment because he’d made it bring him happiness—in the form of lattes, mah-jongg, and frozen treats. He created a day of socializing around his ailment, and that day had become the cornerstone of his weekend. What intrinsic motivation did he have to get better and give up his bad back? On a subconscious level, his bad back isn’t bad at all.

In other words, Robert had grown dependent on a physical ailment because it gave him permission to enjoy himself. Through our work together, he was able to clarify the discrepancy between the actual discomfort he experiences in his back and his need for more pleasure. When he was able to be more truthful about his desire for enjoyment and how he mistakenly believed that his back pain prevented him from these pleasures, he was able to use the mind over the body technique to take some concrete steps to shift his relationship with his bad back. First, he gave himself rewards throughout the week, not reserving them only for Saturdays. Then he took more accountability for the root causes (the tightness in his hips and his weak core muscles, for starters) of the chronic pain he was experiencing. With these two simple actions, Robert was able to give himself permission to really go after pleasure in his life and to take care of his body in a more complete, conscious way.

Let me share another story about the power of the mind over the body. This one is about my client Will, the meat-eater. Will loves backyard BBQs, so much so that he even named his grill: he calls her Sue. Will also likes fitness, so it made sense that he would fall in love with Rebecca, his yoga instructor, whom he says looks great in her down dog and who is a vegetarian health fanatic.

The two fell madly in love and were soon engaged. Because of his devotion to Rebecca, he follows her lead when she introduces a new health fad—cleanses, boot camps, liquid diets, intermittent fasting—you name it, they tried it. Before the wedding, Rebecca asked Will to go meat-free, and as a sign of his love and good intentions, he agreed. This was not no sex before the wedding day; this was no meat before the wedding day.

Veggies ruled for a while—veggie broccoli steak, veggie jerky, veggie chili. You get the idea. But soon, Will started to not feel well. He’d feel fine all day at work, but as soon as he came home, he’d start to feel sick to his stomach and achy, and would need to go to bed. Rebecca assumed it was his body making the transition from a body built on meat to a healthier body fueled by greens.

But what was really making Will so sick? There was one thing he did not tell Rebecca: he’d been secretly eating meat all along at lunch during the workday. It wasn’t really the meat that mattered.

It was that meat mattered to Will. Unwittingly, Rebecca had asked Will to give up a very basic but important need in his life, and Will could not really give it up without feeling deeply resentful. But the toll of lying to Rebecca was more powerful than the resentment: it was making him physically sick.

Until Will came into accountability and confessed to Rebecca that he had continued to eat meat, he would continue to feel sick. He was conflicted because he loved both Rebecca and (his grill) Sue. But secrets don’t bond us; they shred us.

Will and Rebecca eventually discovered a happy compromise, which allowed Will to eat meat but also participate in Rebecca’s meals, eating and enjoying lots of veggies! They both benefited from being more honest about their needs and learned how to create a more mutual give-to-get principle in their relationship. A win-win!

Hypnotic Hack: Be Body Aware

What role are you playing in your illness? You must be willing to explore the emotional ties to your pain or ailments. Be honest when you look at yourself and how certain choices and patterns keep you locked in physical discomfort. Tapping into your subconscious enables you to release physical dependencies that may parade as illnesses. This exercise will enable you to bring into clarity what is physical… and what might have unacknowledged or unresolved emotional roots.

1. Close your eyes and go within.

2. Imagine your health.

3. What physical issues or limitations are you experiencing?

4. What secondary benefits are you experiencing by holding on to this condition? (This step requires accountability. We don’t want to believe that we are playing a role in limiting ourselves this way; remember, this information isn’t coming from your conscious mind, but from your subconscious. You may be unwittingly causing yourself to feel discomfort as a means of self-protection or self-limitation. Does this ailment keep you from working at a job you don’t enjoy anyway? Are you afraid of failure? Maybe this distress gives you the attention you crave from an otherwise distant family member or mate. Are you restricted from enjoyable activities? What is at the core of not being able to hike with your family?)

5. Imagine all the things you would do successfully if this condition or situation were not in your life. In what ways would this new freedom allow you to enjoy your life, spend more time with your loved ones, reach new career heights?

There is a very powerful fact: the decision is yours. Physical conditions can arise from continually ignoring what’s really going on. When you tap into your subconscious and really attune yourself to a level of mind-body control, you will know what’s real and what’s not. Yes, you’ll have to be brave. Yes, you may need to remind yourself that you are capable and supported. Have faith that you are indeed ready—it’s time to elevate your health.

On Louise Hay’s Symptom List

In many ways, Louise Hay was the first to identify and define how our minds are connected to our bodies. In her well-recognized Symptom List, which I have adapted here, Hay points to how certain areas of the body and specific symptoms may be related to emotional states or feelings. Consider this list as you begin to tune into your own body and learn the power of the mind over the body.

Acne: Not accepting the self. Dislike of the self.
Addictions: Running from the self. Fear. Not knowing how to love the self.
Allergies: Denying your own power.
Alzheimer’s Disease: Refusal to deal with the world as it is. Hopelessness and helplessness. Anger.
Ankle: Inflexibility and guilt. Ankles represent the ability to receive pleasure.
Anxiety: Not trusting the flow and the process of life.
Arthritis: Feeling unloved. Criticism, resentment.
Back Issues: Represents the support of life.
Lower Back Pain: Fear of money or lack of financial support.
Mid-Back Pain: Guilt. Stuck in all that stuff back there. “Get off my back!”
Upper Back Pain: Lack of emotional support. Feeling unloved. Holding back love.
Broken Bones: Rebelling against authority.
Cancer: Deep hurt. Long-standing resentment. Deep secret or grief eating away at the self. Carrying hatreds.
Cholesterol: Clogging the channels of joy. Fear of accepting joy.
Constipation: Incomplete releasing. Holding on to garbage of the past. Guilt over the past. Sometimes stinginess.
Depression: Anger you feel you do not have a right to have. Hopelessness.
Diabetes: Longing for what might have been. A great need to control. Deep sorrow. No sweetness left.
Eczema: Breathtaking antagonism. Mental eruption.
Fatigue: Resistance, boredom. Lack of love for what one does.
Foot Problems: Fear of the future and of not stepping forward in life.
Hands: Hold and handle. Clutch and grip. Grasping and letting go. Caressing. Pinching. All ways of dealing with experiences.
Headaches: Invalidating the self. Self-criticism. Fear.
Heart Attack: Squeezing all the joy out of the heart in favor of money or position. Feeling alone and scared. “I’m not good enough. I don’t do enough. I’ll never make it.”
Heart Problems: Long-standing emotional problems. Lack of joy. Hardening of the heart. Belief in strain and stress.
Hip: Fear of going forward in major decisions. Nothing to move forward to.
Impotence: Sexual pressure, tension, guilt. Social beliefs. Spite against a previous mate. Fear of mother.
Indigestion: Gut-level fear, dread, anxiety. Griping and grunting.
Inflammation: Fear. Seeing red. Inflamed thinking. Anger and frustration about conditions you are looking at in your life.
Insomnia: Fear. Not trusting the process of life. Guilt.
Kidney Stones: Lumps of undissolved anger.
Knee: Represents pride and ego. Stubborn ego and pride. Inability to bend. Fear. Inflexibility. Won’t give in.
Legs: Carry us forward in life.
Menopause Problems: Fear of no longer being wanted. Fear of aging. Self-rejection. Not feeling good enough.
Neck: Represents flexibility. The ability to see what’s back there. Refusing to see other sides of a question. Stubbornness, inflexibility. Unbending stubbornness.
Osteoporosis: Feeling there is no support left in life. Mental pressures and tightness. Muscles can’t stretch. Loss of mental mobility.
Pain: Guilt. Guilt always seeks punishment and it can cause chronic pain.
Sinus Problems: Irritation toward one person, someone close.
Sprains: Anger and resistance. Not wanting to move in a certain direction in life.
Stiffness: Rigid, stiff thinking.
Throat (sore): Holding in angry words. Feeling unable to express the self.
Thyroid Gland: Humiliation. “I never get to do what I want to do. When is it going to be my turn?”
Hyperthyroid: Rage at being left out.
Varicose Veins: Standing in a situation you hate. Discouragement. Feeling overworked and overburdened.
Weight Issues: Often represents fear and shows a need for protection. Running away from feelings. Insecurity, self-rejection, and seeking fulfillment.
Wrist: Represents movement and ease.

Where Are You Now?

Take a moment to think about your own body and respond to the questions below:

1. Do you often wake up feeling rested after a night’s sleep?
2. Do you have the energy for the activities you enjoy?
3. Can you walk up a flight of stairs with ease?
4. Are you able to touch your knees (or maybe your toes!)?
5. Can you raise your arms overhead?
6. Are you able to balance on one leg for any length of time?
7. Do you often find yourself hungry or craving certain foods?
8. Do you go to sleep around the same time each night and stay asleep?
9. Do you enjoy spending active time outdoors?
10. Do you belong to a gym?

If you responded “yes” to most of these questions, then you are more than likely taking good care of your physical health. If you answered “no” to more than three questions, then pay particular attention to the lessons in this article.
The Truth Behind Surprising Diagnoses

When you are connected to your subconscious, you are in tune with your body at a cellular level. You are in tune with its ups and downs, its ebbs and flows. You know that the reason you have a headache is that you are dehydrated after a long walk or run. You know that you woke up feeling sluggish because you had one too many glasses of wine, an unhealthy meal, or a too-big dessert the night before. You know that your stress level is a bit higher than usual because you’ve recently moved offices or homes. In other words, you have the ability to listen to your body and read its cues, which in turn positions you to respond immediately to alleviate the symptom or address the cause. You drink plenty of fluids to reverse dehydration. You rest, avoid sugary foods and beverages and do a mini cleanse to cleanse your liver and blood to get rid of that hungover feeling. Whatever the issue, you address it, so it doesn’t have a chance to worsen.

The opposite happens when you’re out of sync with your subconscious; it’s as if warnings come out of the blue, but do you pay attention? Here is an example from my own life. During a time of enormous stress, when my elderly father was going through some health issues, he turned to me from his hospital bed and said, “Kimberly, what is that bulging bump on your forehead?” I couldn’t feel anything, and I figured it was his bad eyesight or a shadow from poor lighting. When I eventually looked in the mirror, sure enough, I saw a big, distended, blue-and-purple vein on my temple. I sent a picture of it to my doctor.

“Be very careful,” my doctor told me, “because it’s in a precarious position.”

“What is it?” I asked in frustration.

“It’s probably stress,” responded the doctor blithely. I listened. “You’re under a lot of stress right now, Kimberly, isn’t that so?”

“Yes,” I replied.

“And you’ve been traveling back and forth from Nevada to California to Texas, correct?”


“These kinds of things can appear during stressful times, so I recommend you take a deep breath, sit and relax, and check on it then.”

I followed my doctor’s advice, and in thirty minutes the bulging vein was gone. I am not worried about it returning because it doesn’t have to—I’m now connected to my subconscious and keeping my stress levels in check. Thanks to the literal heads-up, which served as a reminder of the power of the mind over the body.

The surprise is not the actual diagnosis; the surprise is that we are unaware of our bodies and changes to them. When we use our subconscious power to stay tuned in to our bodies, its shifts, and changes, then it’s easier to keep our health in alignment.

However, when your subconscious and your conscious mind are out of balance, you will not look or feel your best. Some people will overextend themselves. Others will stop eating right or eat too much of foods that don’t make them feel well. Still, others will begin to sleep poorly, and the signs of fatigue will show—around the eyes, for instance. Interestingly, friends and loved ones who are in tune with their subconscious will notice this about you right away. Hence their well-meaning comments of “You look tired” or “Are you feeling okay? You don’t seem yourself.” Since the subconscious is a primal, instinctual kind of knowing that we all share, connecting us at the pack level, we can sense when others in the pack are not at their most fit.

If we are disconnected from our subconscious, it will communicate to us in a different way: our bodies will reflect key messages from the subconscious. When we ignore our bodies and these messages, ailments will crop up and surprise us. This is the subconscious demanding to be heard. When we really suppress our subconscious, we can trigger the disease.

In the paragraphs ahead, you will learn a lot more about how your body reflects the yearnings of your subconscious. Heed its warnings. Take good care of it. Your physical body and health are an important barometer of the connection between your subconscious and your conscious mind.

Know Your Body

Living our lives necessitates continual healing at a cellular level. Our bodies are always responding and adapting to outside negative influences—environmental stress, pollution, viruses, and a host of microscopic organisms that can negatively affect our bodies and brains. The key to maintaining your subconscious power and using it to protect your health and build your resistance from outside threats is to tap into your body in a regular way. Use the Body Scan hack below as a way to do so.

Hypnotic Hack: Body Scan

To get a better sense of how your physical ailments may be connected to a non-physical source, try the following exercise and experience the miracles of mind over body healing:

Consciously notice and write down different body parts that you feel are malfunctioning now or that you may worry about in the future. Notice the function for each body part and refer to the symptom list on the previous pages. For example, if your hands hurt, what are you having trouble grasping? If your hips hurt, you might be in need of balance. The knees represent your pride and ego. Learn to cue into the emotional roots to physical symptoms. Our body parts correspond and react to our thoughts, and if these thoughts are unattended, the physical problem persists until it awakens our attention.

In this exercise, you will be asking your subconscious to reveal to you any physical issues and concerns that need to be brought to your conscious attention. It’s not unusual for this exercise to reveal more than one issue, so have a piece of paper and a pen or pencil handy so that you can make a list.

A body scan is a tried-and-true exercise recommended by many practitioners as a way to bring attention to the sensations of your body and train yourself to attend to its needs. I’ve adapted this body scan based on what has worked best for my clients and myself. It’s a great way to connect your subconscious to the areas of your body that might be out of balance and need some attention, care, and mind, body and spirit healing.

I love this protocol in conjunction with regular doctor visits because oftentimes your physician will ask you to identify your aches, pains, symptoms, or reason for your visit. When you relay this information to your medical professional, he or she is in a better position to identify the issues, answer your questions, and respond to your concerns. Remember, a surprise diagnosis can be a diminished link between the subconscious, the conscious mind, and the body.

1. Close your eyes and go within.

2. While relaxed, breathe deeply in and out.

3. With each breath, imagine various parts of your body. Begin at the top of your head, moving to your neck, down your spine, into each of your limbs, and ending at your feet.

4. Notice the sensations you encounter and where on your body these sensations occur. (Do you encounter any stiffness? Blockage? Tightness?)

5. If yes, breathe into the affected body part. Feel the rhythm of your breath, massaging any discomfort until that body part feels released.

6. Ask your subconscious to identify the original source of that discomfort. (Oftentimes the name of a person, place, or thing will come into your awareness.) Continue to breathe into the resolution, releasing any residual discomfort.

7. With each new body part, repeat this breathing technique until all symptoms subside.

8. While continuing to breathe deeply, send gratitude to your subconscious for your new awareness and connectivity to your physical body.

Welcome your discoveries, knowing you can check on your body any time you choose. And remember, physical discomfort is meant to get your attention; you can admit nothing gets our attention like discomfort. It’s actually your ally, your guide. Use it for what it is: an alarm. This is where the subconscious comes in. In other words, when emotions on the inside are out of step with ecology on the outside, there can be a physical imbalance.

The Importance of Fitness

Your health emerges from the inside out. Getting fit through eating a clean, balanced diet and exercising regularly is not about vanity. It’s about building a body that is reliable and resourceful. You know that feeling when you are so tired, your lack of energy keeps you from doing what you want? Respecting your body makes it reliable. Treating your body like the vessel also shows your SoulSpirit that you care; this care is a form of respect toward your SoulSpirit and one of the primary keys to healing mind, body and soul.

When I think about health and fitness, I like to envision an airplane pilot seeking balance, keeping both wings parallel to the horizon to level the plane. When the plane lists to one side or a malfunction is detected, lights flash, sirens whine, and occasionally a mechanical voice will repeat a warning to get the pilot’s attention. Imagine that the plane is your body and the whirring instrumentation is your subconscious.

A 2007 study done by Cornell University professors revealed a surprising statistic: the biggest weight loss or the most weight dropped by women is before their weddings. How do the brides themselves explain the weight loss? Because they want to like how they look in their wedding photos. But the study findings disagree, and instead suggest that the primal directive from the subconscious was suggesting women lose weight so their grooms would believe they had made the best choice in a mate. The research seems to suggest that on a subconscious level we want to be perceived as fit.

In fact, with clients who struggle with their fitness, I found a direct relationship between the amount of unhappiness they experience and the amount of slack they have allowed themselves: the more they cared, the more fit they were; the more slack they gave themselves, the less fit they were… and the less happy. The slack they afforded themselves and the level of unhappiness were in direct proportion to each other. In other words, the more they let their health slide and recognized it, the more unhappiness they experienced.

Weight fluctuation is not uncommon during the course of a lifetime, and there are many reasons people put on extra pounds here and there—divorce, stress, sickness, hormone changes, job loss, job gain… the list is endless and ever-changing. We are all susceptible to weight and fitness fluctuations during stressful times. The key is to then right our course. Becoming fit should never involve an endless binge-and-purge cycle. It does not require deprivation or scarcity.

Now, at the risk of raising a touchy subject, I want to address the real pain of weight issues: they can be an outward sign that something is unbalanced on the inside. Our bodies are designed to always seek homeostasis, a place of equilibrium for all our physiological processes. Homeostasis is the basis for an interesting and sometimes controversial approach to thinking about stubborn weight issues: set point. First identified in 1982 by nutrition scientists William Bennett and Joel Gurin, set point theory states that a person’s body has a predetermined weight range in which it feels most comfortable, which implies that your body will sabotage itself during weight loss by slowing down your metabolism and the rate at which it burns or consumes calories. Regulated by the hypothalamus, this set point also suggests that the internal regulating system of overweight or obese people has become disrupted due to overeating, sedentary lifestyle, and other factors. Of course, set point theory also explains why it’s so difficult for people to lose weight and keep it off for good. All our bodies are looking to return to their set point.

People who are either not tapped into their subconscious or whose subconscious and conscious mind are out of sync will tend to not eat enough or to eat past satiety, consuming more food than their bodies can utilize. Due to the mind-body connection, our subconscious is preprogrammed to do everything it can to get the body what it needs; sometimes, the conscious mind resists this information.

Some people, of course, go in the other direction toward fitness and push themselves to an extreme. Sometimes to such an extreme that an injury, stress attack, or exhaustion might occur. Fanaticism in either direction is going to hurt your equilibrium.

True health is the result of first understanding your real thoughts and real reasons for eating and exercising like you do. Do you move away from what’s best for you? Do you hang out with other family or friends where eating unhealthily has become your routine and your bond, an excuse not to thrive? Are you in a misery-loves-company relationship with Ben & Jerry’s?

Once you explore these questions and tune into your subconscious, you may be surprised at what you may find. At the end of the day, your actual, personal set point is irrelevant; what matters is that you find the real you, the healthiest version of you, whatever size or fitness level that’s intended to be. Only a misdirected subconscious is more comfortable in an unhealthy body. The good news for us is that our subconscious power can alter our set point and guide the body into creating a new normal, a new baseline or range of healthy weight.

With the power of the mind over body, you can not only envision yourself in a new way but also create life-sustaining habits that support sustenance and satiety. You may not consciously know or believe that you can achieve a healthy, fit body with little effort. More important, you can maintain a healthy, balanced physique, because ease equals balance. Dis-ease equals imbalance. Did you ever try to guide a wobbly grocery cart through the store, continually fighting the off-balance wheels? The cart lists to the side and pulls off course, requiring strenuous effort just to roll to the next aisle? The same holds true for a body out of alignment. The fight, the tug, the pull is exhausting and requires such effort just to roll straight ahead. You know the feeling.

The Pillars of Self-Care

Your body is a vessel for producing and using energy. It works more efficiently and functions more optimally when it is nourished with clean foods, well-hydrated, given exercise, and refueled with adequate rest. These pillars of self-care are not new concepts, but they are essential for physical health; they are necessary for using your subconscious to the best of its abilities. Self-care is a major part of playing big in your life. Why? Because playing big insists that you put yourself first and care for your body. Your body and brain are living biochemical organisms that require upkeep, fuel, and lots of TLC. Taking good care of your health is also vital to being able to live an expansive life. Sleep, clean food, and regular movement refresh the connection between your subconscious and your conscious mind.

Remember, the universe will give you more than you can imagine. But to access those oversized goals, you need to be ready to embrace what that means physically—you need to be prepared to perform at a top physical level. This starts with self-care.

Sleep Well

Your day begins with a good night’s sleep. If we don’t sleep well, we don’t think well. Poor sleep leaves us vulnerable to a host of diseases. It means we cannot be as productive during daylight hours. Think of sleep as the time when your body’s mechanics rush in to repair the damage of the day, whatever that is; healing the immune system, cellular repair, neurogenesis, memory consolidation, and more all take place when the body is at rest. Giving your body the necessary care so that it can repair itself is critical for both your short- and long-term health. And your subconscious is also very busy during sleep; this is the late shift for your body’s working mechanisms.

What if you’re struggling with disrupted sleep? Remember how the subconscious wakes you up at 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. if you have unfinished business? If you’re not sleeping well, keep a pen and paper next to your bed. If you find yourself awake, write down whatever comes to mind. Alternatively, if you are having trouble falling asleep, jot down the questions, doubts, and worries that are keeping you up—oftentimes upon waking, you’ll find that your subconscious has figured out solutions.

Eat Well

While I do not subscribe to any one style or approach to eating, I recommend to my clients that they eat as clean as possible as part of the mind over body healing process. Think of your body like a high-performance car. You would give that car optimum fuel for optimum performance, and clean fuel works best. What does it meant to “eat clean”? Clean foods are foods that occur in nature and are not altered, including:

+ Fresh, locally grown or organic vegetables and legumes
+ Fresh, locally grown or organic low-sugar fruit (berries)
+ Grass-fed meats
+ Wild-caught fish and seafood
+ Ancient grains that have not been processed
+ Minimal dairy

Eating clean also means consuming as little sugar as possible and staying away from packaged, processed foods. Think whole, baked sweet potatoes rather than potato chips. Or a leafy kale salad over a processed energy bar. Eat lean protein in the form of red meat, poultry, and fish. Enjoy organically grown fruits in season so you don’t overindulge (fruits contain sugar!). Always include green vegetables with your meals. Consciously include fibrous foods, such as legumes, brown or wild rice, and seeds and nuts. And drink lots of water. All this will keep your blood sugar balanced, help you maintain a healthy weight, reduce inflammation, and help you alleviate the symptoms of and ward off illness and disease.

A number of clients come to me because they struggle with their weight or feel like they cannot control themselves around food. My secret weapon to help these clients lose weight and get healthy is to ritualize their food intake, which helps build a healthful anchor to your eating habits. Creating a ritual around eating brings awareness and soulfulness to the reverential act of feeding oneself. Here are some simple suggestions for creating a ritual around eating:

+ Set the table before you sit down.
+ Look at the balance of foods on your plate or in your bowl.
+ Give thanks that you have food to enjoy.
+ Eat slowly, savoring the taste and flavor and texture of the food.

When we assign meaning to things, especially the communion of taking in nutrients, we satisfy the subconscious while we feed our body, mind, and soul. Giving reverence to food gives it importance beyond just shoveling food into our mouths and satiating our hunger.

When I want to bring a sacred aspect to the ritual of eating, I create a “one-bowl” experience: an ancient practice of putting an entire meal—veggies, some clean protein, and a grain—in one bowl and then enjoying it slowly using only my fingers to eat (if you prefer, you can use chopsticks). There are several beneficial aspects to this way of eating. The simple dexterity of the chopsticks slows you down, which allows your level of satiety to keep up with your intake. Eating with your fingers is very primal and reinforces the basic connection to that which fuels you. Food and eating are tactile, and bringing awareness to the ritual of eating enlivens all our senses and literally feeds the subconscious. Many trendy restaurants are now serving this form of one-bowl meal because it works. It’s healthy, satisfying, and very close to our nature of collecting.

There are additional benefits to be had from ritualizing your meals while putting the mind over body concept to heart. Infusing any act or event with meaning helps you stay present and provides a fuller experience. Instead of mindlessly eating at your desk while working or checking your social media over dinner, add reverence to the experience. You will enjoy your meal more, and it will be more satisfying—physically and spiritually. Even a small change like this to your daily routine—going from mindless meal to mindful ritual—will enable your subconscious mind to create healthful shifts in your body.

Move Well

Your body needs to be active in order to remain flexible, stave off illness, restore itself, and offset the inevitable stresses of our daily lives. And did you know that aerobic exercise is the only way of growing new neurons (a process known as neurogenesis)? This perfectly represents the mind-body connection. You get to decide on what type of exercise to do, because the bottom line is, whatever you enjoy, you will do! There is truly something for everyone, so go for what suits you and your lifestyle. And by all means, utilize the principles of the subconscious to ramp up your self-care.

1. Be accountable about where you are physically. What is your starting point? Are you physically unfit? Are you somewhat fit, with room for improvement?

2. Your higher self knows the fitness level perfect for your needs. Don’t push yourself to try an intense spin class if that doesn’t feel right. Maybe what you need is a long walk in nature instead. And vice versa.

3. Do you move toward health and fitness or away from fatness and sickness? What is your internal motivator? Remember—it is easier and more powerful to move toward what’s positive than away from the negative.

4. Do you have the support of friends and family to take on a healthier mind-set and routine? Surround yourself with doers not talkers, movers not sitters.

5. You are going to give it your all (energy and commitment) in order to get your all (fitness and optimal health).

6. Your fit and healthy body will be your vehicle for your time here. It will support your work and play, your desired lifestyle. You cannot play big unless your body is ready to play big.

We cannot be our best selves—body, mind, spirit—unless our vessel is strong, supple, energetic, and well-tended.

Taking good care of the bodies we inhabit on this earth is a must. I urge you not to let contrast be your teacher. We all know that we only really notice our good health after sickness. But daily care will keep you in your best performance.


Excerpted with permission from SUBCONSCIOUS POWER: Use Your Inner Mind to Create the Life You’ve Always Wanted by Kimberly Friedmutter, published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. Copyright © 2019 by KBF Entertainment LLC.

About The Author

Kimberly Friedmutter is a world-renowned board-certified hypnotherapist who works with some of Hollywood’s best-known luminaries, titans of industry, and leaders around the globe. Kimberly is a member of the prestigious UCLA Health Systems Board, the American Board of Hypnotherapy, the Association for Integrative Psychology, and the International Hypnosis Federation. She is also a certified neuro-linguistic programming trainer. Learn more at kimberlyfriedmutter.com

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How Somavedic Mitigates EMF, EMR and Harmful Energies in Your Home

How to Protect Yourself from EMR and Harmful Energies in Your Home

In recent years, there has been an increasing amount of research showing that if you want to achieve the highest levels of health and wellbeing you are capable of, then it’s extremely important to take steps to protect your body from the increasing amount of harmful electromagnetic radiation and environmental stressors that our modern technologies and lifestyles are broadcasting into the spaces and places where we live, work, and sleep.

Whether you are aware of it or not, every second of every day your body is being bathed in a sea of health-deteriorating electromagnetic radiation (EMR) that’s being emitted from cell phones, wi-fi, computers, the wiring in walls, cell towers, and much more. All of which disrupt the functioning of your cells, nervous system, and brain, contributing to significant levels of stress and inflammation in your body and its immune system.

And while it’s tempting to think this only happens when you are out in the world, or in urban areas, researchers have consistently found that it is typically at home where people are exposed to the highest levels of this health-deteriorating electromagnetic radiation.

The one place where we spend the majority of our time and that should be the most relaxing and rejuvenating is often the most stressful to our body due to the impact of EMR-emitting technologies like wi-fi, cell phones, appliances, and old wiring in homes.

How to Protect Yourself From EMR in Your Home and Restore Optimal Health

Thankfully, there are just as many researchers and engineers working on solutions to the problem as there are those who are studying it. And what’s even better news is that over the last few decades, a number of powerful, cutting-edge technologies have been developed to eliminate the effects of EMR, protect the nervous system from stress, and help restore the body’s optimal functioning.

A handful of the best of these devices go far beyond just protecting and restoring health, but have incredibly beneficial effects on your consciousness, mood, sleep, meditation, and peace of mind as well.

However, not all of these devices are created equal, and as part of our mission here at Conscious Lifestyle Magazine to help people reach peak levels of health and consciousness, we’ve been testing out countless technologies over the years to help discover the most effective ones.

Recently, we came across something that we feel is a breakthrough in this space: Somavedic.


Having tried many devices over the years claiming to help reduce the effects of electromagnetic frequencies (EMF) and radiation (EMR) and improve health, we’ve got a good handle on what works and what’s hype. When we got our hands on the Somavedic last month, we were deeply impressed.

First of all, unlike many devices, the Somavedic has solid research behind it, showing that it substantially helps to protect against the negative effects of EMF/EMR, increase calmness, and has positive effects on stress and biomarkers of blood health, which is an important part of verifying that the effects of a device are not just placebo but actually have a meaningful impact.

Second, from the moment we plugged the Somavedic in, we could instantly feel its soothing effects on our bodies and minds. Within seconds of turning it on, it felt like our nervous systems were being wrapped in a soft and soothing blanket that was melting away stress and tension. That night we slept deeper than we had in many months, with more vivid dreams, waking up refreshed and rejuvenated, despite it being well over 50 feet away on the other side of the house. This is because the Somavedic creates a large harmonic field that extends 100 feet in any direction, offering coverage for even quite large houses.

In the days that followed, we noticed our meditations were deeper, that we felt calmer and happier, and that our bodies were stronger and more resilient to things that would normally stress us out.

All of these benefits are consistent with the effects that the vast majority of Somavedic users report:

+ Improved sleep and feelings of calmness
+ Reduction in headaches and stress
+ Better mood, increased energy, and greater peace of mind
+ Reduction of inflammation, lowering the levels of free radicals
+ Decreases in symptoms of electrosensitivity

How it Works

From the get go, we were interested in exactly how Somavedic works; and if you’re like us, you probably have a long list of questions about this as well. In order to learn all about how this new device was radically upgrading our lives, we interviewed one of the key people on their team who has been working closely with the founder and brilliant engineer behind the product.

In short, the Somavedic technology works by creating a more coherent, natural environment that activates self-healing process in the body and mind. Inside the beautiful glass encasing on the outside of the Somavedic is a disc composed of specific minerals, crystals, and elements that is charged and enhanced by the shape of the glass such that the healing and protective properties of these minerals, crystals, and elements is amplified greatly to create a protective, health-rejuvenating field in the space inside your home around the device. This biologically supportive environment protects you on a cellular level from the unwanted effects of electromagnetic frequencies (EMF), viruses, mold, free radicals, and geopathic stress.

These effects are so pronounced; in fact, the Somavedic is used in doctors’ offices and therapy spaces throughout the world, with doctors reporting increased energy, focus, and productivity, as well as a positive effect on patients.

And after having it in our space for the last few months, we can see why: this is one of the few devices that really works and that you really can feel having a profoundly beneficial effect on your health and consciousness.

The Different Types of Somavedic Devices

Depending on your budget, the size of your space, and the intensity of effects you are looking for, there are different types of Somavedic devices to choose from to suit your needs. Each Somavedic model is made from different types of hand-blown glass and crystals that are combined and configured in various ways to serve a specific purpose and produce a variety of desired benefits. Below is a brief overview of three of our favorite options, and you can find more information about the individual Somavedic products on their site here.

Somavedic Medic Green Ultra

One of our favorite options is the Medic Green Ultra model because it combines a number of benefits including water structuring capabilities for improved hydration and is designed to be the most universal. This green beauty can handle the harmonization of spaces and water anywhere. It eliminates the influences of 3G, 4G, 5G, EMF, geopathic stress, viruses, bacteria, parasites, molds, and free radicals. The corpus is made out of hand-blown yellow glass, which shows off a calming and subtle green glow when plugged in.

Somavedic Medic Green Ultra

Somavedic Traveler

Depending on how much you travel, this option might be the best for you. The Traveler Somavedic is a godsend for anyone who has a long commute by car or spends a lot of time in hotels or coworking spaces with a lot of people. This is the most compact version, which can be plugged in to your care and can easily fit in a purse or briefcase. Although it does not have water structuring capabilities, it eliminates influences from EMF, geopathic stress, viruses, bacteria, parasites, and free radicals.

Somavedic Traveler

Somavedic Medic Amber

This Somavedic model is a biohacker’s dream come true. It can easily eliminate the influences from many environmental stressors, including very strong electrosmog, EMR, and EMF. The performance of the Medic Amber is four times greater than the Medic Green Ultra, making it a great option for larger spaces and places with a lot of energy, such as apartment buildings, workplaces, office spaces, shops, hotels conference halls, and electric cars.

Somavedic Amber

Other Somavedic Models

While we’ve mentioned a few of our favorite versions of Somavedic, there are a total of eight models to choose from, including a completely customizable option, the Medic Gold, that is made according to your specific needs and areas of focus. As such, we encourage you to spend some time exploring which option is best for you.

To try Somavedic for yourself, use code CLMCALM10 for 10% off of all Somavedic products.Somavedic.com

This article is a sponsored post written in collaboration with Somavedic, whose products and ethos comply with Conscious Lifestyle Magazine’s stringent quality and integrity guidelines.

About The Author

Meghan McDonald is the Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Conscious Lifestyle Magazine. She holds a master’s degree in social psychology from San Diego State University where she conducted award-winning research into the nature of human social behavior. She is an advocate for many environmental and social justice causes and a champion of social impact-focused brands and products that adhere to high sustainability and ethical standards. As a regular travel and lifestyle contributor to Conscious Lifestyle Magazine, Meghan funnels her extensive knowledge of natural products, organic living, and consumer behavior into researching and reviewing brands and products that promote health, wellbeing, sustainability, equality, and positive social change. She has traveled to over 25 countries and loves exploring diverse destinations worldwide while documenting the local artisans and businesses offering conscious, healthy alternatives.

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 Dirty Genes: How to Use Diet and Lifestyle to Treat Methylation Disorders photo: aaron ledesma

The Power of Epigenetics

I’ve always been fascinated by the ways our bodies want to be healthy, and I’ve spent most of my life learning how to help them get there. As an undergraduate, I studied cell and molecular biology. I then became a naturopathic physician—a science-based practitioner who relies on natural methods to restore balance and optimize health. As I worked with patients, I realized that I also needed to become a specialist in environmental medicine, discovering both how the chemicals in our environment undermine our health and what we can do to detoxify our bodies.

What made all my diverse studies come together was the field of epigenetics: the many, many factors that can influence how our genes are expressed. I had always understood how powerful genes can be. But wow, was I thrilled to discover that we don’t have to bow down and submit to our DNA. Instead, we can work with our genes to create optimal health and, in a way, not exacerbate genetic mutations inside our bodies—if only we know how.

One of the most important pieces of the genetic puzzle is a type of variation known as a SNP (pronounced “snip”), which is short for single-nucleotide polymorphism. So far, roughly ten million SNPs have been identified in the human genome, with each of us having over a million. Most of those SNPs don’t seem to affect us very much. Yes, they represent a slight variation or abnormality in various genes, but so far as we know, those variations don’t seem to make much difference in the way our bodies function.

Some SNPs, however, can make a huge difference in our health—and in our personality, as well. For example, SNPs in the MTHFR gene can create a whole host of health problems—everything from irritability and obsessiveness to birth defects and cancer can be a result of an MTHFR gene mutation. (Note that I said can. They don’t have to—that’s what this is all about!) SNPs in the COMT gene can lead to workaholism, sleep issues, PMS, problems with menopause, and again, cancer, along with boundless energy, enthusiasm, and good spirits. (Yes, many SNPs have an upside as well as a downside!)

Health issues that had puzzled my clients for years suddenly made sense when they discovered through our work together that their SNPs had at least partly created those issues. Problems that had seemed overwhelming—even dooming—became manageable as clients learned that they could use diet and lifestyle to reshape their genes’ behavior.

I experienced that kind of aha moment myself when I discovered that I have at least three significant SNPs. I finally understood something about why I’m so focused and determined—some might say obsessive! Remember the MTHFR symptoms I mentioned earlier? I also saw why I can suddenly become irritable at a moment’s notice, and why I react so intensely to certain chemicals and fumes. It was a relief to have this new understanding: things made sense to me in a way they never had before, plus I had some new solutions I could rely on. As you read this, you’ll have the chance to make the same kind of exciting discoveries about yourself.

Most important, learning about my SNPs helped me understand some of the misconceptions about methylation disorders better and empowered me to take charge of my health. Finally, I could support my body and brain with the diet and lifestyle that they needed. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was working at the top of my potential.

I wanted my patients to have the same experience—heck, I wanted everybody to hit that high. So I began to develop a program for cleaning up our “dirty genes”: what we should eat, which supplements could help, and how to create a “clean genes” lifestyle. I wanted us to be like that epigenetically supported mouse, glowing and healthy, no matter which genes life has dealt us. I knew that if I could just delve deeply enough, I’d find the answers.


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And now, ten years later, I’m proud to say that I have. Oh, there’s still a ton more I have to learn—the whole field of epigenetics is just getting started, and we’re making new discoveries every day. I spend a big portion of every week doing my own research, and another big chunk of time reading the studies that my colleagues turn out. It’s more than one person could ever keep up with—and that’s the good news. In another ten years, I’m fully confident, we’re going to have the power to take charge of our health in ways we can’t even imagine.

Are Your Dirty Genes Making You Sick?

You’ve probably heard that your genes affect how healthy you can be. Almost certainly, your doctor has told you that because of the conditions that run in your family, you may be vulnerable to heart disease, depression, anxiety, and/or other disorders.

Most of the time, this news makes people feel discouraged. “I’m scared,” they tell me. “My genes are a mess. I’ve just gotta make the best of it.”

No way!

After years of research in the new science of gene abnormalities and methylation disorders, and having successfully treated thousands of clients, including my family and myself, I’m offering you an exciting new approach: a proven method to clean up your genetic limitations and create a healthier, more vibrant you.

So let me say it loud and clear: Your genes are not your destiny! But perhaps you’ve been taught that they are. Perhaps, like most people, you’ve been told that you inherited a “master plan”—characteristics that are written in stone from the moment of your conception until the day you die. In this view, your genes are a stern committee of judges handing down a life sentence.

“Hmm,” your genes seem to say. “Let’s give this woman depression, which she gets from her mother. And let’s throw in some heart disease, which runs on her father’s side. How about adding in a shy, anxious personality, which she gets from her grandmother? We’re almost done, but let’s throw in one more ingredient—a mild case of ADHD, nothing clinical. But, like two of her uncles, she’s always going to have a hard time focusing. There—all done! Good luck, lady! Enjoy the destiny that we’ve written for you, because there is absolutely nothing you can do to change it!”

Pretty bleak, right? Luckily, it’s wrong. Far from being written in stone, your genetic destiny is more like a document written in the Cloud—you get to edit and revise it every moment of your life. Every time you drink a soda, barrel through on four hours of sleep, use a shampoo loaded with industrial chemicals, or hit a stress bomb at your job, you’re putting the negative part of the document in giant type. And every time you eat some organic leafy greens, get a good night’s sleep, use a chemical-free shampoo, laugh with friends, or do some yoga, you’re enlarging the positive part of the document while reducing the negative part—genetic mutations, specifically—to a font so small, it might as well not be there at all.

Your genes don’t lay down the law; they negotiate with you. They don’t even speak with a single voice. They’re a committee, and sometimes they disagree with each other.

Some of the folks on that committee are harsh. They’re constantly shouting, “Heart disease!” or “Depression!” or “Crippling lack of confidence!” And if you don’t know the right way to work with them, those loud, harsh voices might rule the day.

But—and here’s how this is going to change your life—if you do know how to work with your “gene committee,” you can produce a much better outcome. You can get those loud negative voices to tone it down or even shut up completely. At the same time, you can turn up the volume on the voices that are saying, “Balanced mood!” “Healthy heart!” and “Self-confidence!”

So get ready to clean your dirty genes, folks, because that’s exactly what you’re going to do. In the pages to come and in my book Dirty Genes, you’ll find out how to change your genes and make the most of your genetic inheritance, now and for the rest of your life.

Are Your Genes Dirty? Some Common Symptoms

+ Aching joints and/or muscles
+ Acid reflux/heartburn
+ Acne
+ Allergic reactions
+ Anger and aggression
+ Anxiety
+ Attention issues
+ Blood sugar spikes and crashes
+ Brain fog
+ Cold hands and feet
+ Constipation
+ Cravings, especially for carbs and sugar
+ Depression
+ Diarrhea
+ Edginess
+ Fatigue
+ Fibromyalgia
+ Food intolerance
+ Gallstones
+ Gas and bloating
+ Headache/migraine
+ Heart racing
+ Indigestion
+ Insomnia
+ Irritability
+ Itchy skin
+ Menopause/perimenopause symptoms
+ Mood swings
+ Nosebleeds
+ Obesity/weight gain
+ Obsessiveness
+ Overreactive startle reflex
+ PMS / difficult periods
+ Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
+ Rosacea
+ Runny nose / congestion
+ Sweating
+ Unexplained symptoms—just “not feeling right”
+ Workaholism

What Your Doctor Won’t Tell You—But I Will

If you’ve had trouble with any of the symptoms I’ve just listed, your doctor might have told you that you’re not really sick. Or maybe you’ve been offered drugs to medicate the symptoms—antibiotics, painkillers, antacids, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications—without much attention to the underlying issues that produce those symptoms of methylation disorders.

Or perhaps you’ve been one of the lucky ones. Perhaps you’ve found a naturopathic physician, functional/integrative MD, osteopath, nurse practitioner, nutritionist, chiropractor, or other health professional who has helped you restore health and wellness through diet, lifestyle, and other natural means. Even so, your treatment is incomplete if you haven’t learned about dirty genes, the root cause of many of the conditions you’re struggling with.

That’s because epigenetics—modifying genetic expression to improve your life and health—is a cutting-edge aspect of medicine that most practitioners don’t understand. I’m one of the few people who have figured out how to translate genetic research into concrete actions that will improve your health, which is why so many leading health-care specialists come to me for training and advice. That’s why I spend so much of my time lecturing and consulting with physicians and providers—conventional, natural, and otherwise—as well as reading other people’s studies, doing my own research, and helping others regain their health. As a result, the suggestions here are based on the very latest scientific material. Most health-care providers simply aren’t aware of this information, though I’d be willing to bet that in a few years, programs like the one in my book, including answers on how to change your genes, will be widespread, even standard.

Meanwhile, once you understand what makes your genes dirty and how to clean them up, you’ll feel better than you ever thought you could.

Your Dynamic Genes

Remember, every moment of every day, your genes are working on that document about your health. They can write it in a way you like or a way you don’t like—but they’re always writing. And whether you know it or not, so are you.

For example, your genes keep telling your body, “Rebuild your skin!” As you know if you exfoliate, your skin is constantly dying and being replaced. So every moment of every day, your genes are adding to the document, telling your body to get on with the repair.

What kind of document do you think they write if you eat a high-sugar diet, skimp on sleep, or stress yourself out for days on end? Hmm, maybe something like: “Please give this woman dull, lackluster skin with plenty of acne and maybe a touch of rosacea.” On the other hand, provide your genes with healthy fats, plenty of sleep, and time to chill, and you’re going to see a different document: “This one gets healthy, glowing skin that makes her look ten years younger!” Your genes won’t stop writing until the day you die. But what they write is up to you.

Likewise, your genes are constantly producing documents about your gut lining, which is repaired and rebuilt every seven days. If you eat right and live right, you’re going to get away from genetic mutations and have a great document: “Keep that guy’s gut strong and healthy!” If you mess up your genes with poor diet and lifestyle, your document probably says something like: “Since this man is giving me so much extra work to do, I can’t focus on repairing his gut lining. He’s also not providing me the tools I need. So give this man a weak gut lining—the kind that lets food leak through.” Watch out for all the weight gain, immune issues, and other problems that are likely to follow!

Now here’s my personal favorite: the memo about your mind. Those instructions involve neurotransmitters—biochemicals such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine that govern your thoughts, moods, and emotions. Your brain runs on thousands of biochemical reactions, and there are countless ways the process can go wrong. Your goal is to give your genes whatever they need to produce an uplifting memo: “Keep this person sharp, focused, calm, and full of energy during the day, and relaxed, calm, and ready to sleep at night.” The memo you don’t want mentions forgetfulness, depression, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, addictions, and brain fog.

So yes, your genes write your life memo. But what they write is largely up to you. Sound good? Then let’s get started.

How Gene Mutations Mess with Your Health

Most likely, neither you nor your doctor is used to thinking about your genes as an active, dynamic factor affecting your present-day health. Instead, your genes seem like an unchangeable, unavoidable set of hard-wired instructions passed on from your parents at the moment of conception.

I want you to shift that mindset. Instead of seeing your genetic inheritance as a fixed set of instructions from the past—instructions written on a stone tablet handed down from the ancestors—I want you to see your genes as active participants in your daily health. Right now, while you’re reading this, thousands of genes throughout your body are giving instructions—to your brain, digestive tract, skin, heart, liver, and many other aspects of your anatomy. Those genetic instructions shape every facet of your experience and your health, and your genes are handing them out every single second. With every breath you take, every object you touch, every thought you have, you give your genes instructions—and they respond, leading to epigenetic changes.

Let’s say you eat a big lunch—too big, more than your body can handle. Oops! Your genes are overloaded. They stagger under the burden of all that food. They tell your metabolism to slow way down. They have trouble methylating—a key process that facilitates at least two hundred functions in your body, from skin repair, digestion, and detoxification to mood balance and clear thought. Because of the challenge posed by that overly large meal, hundreds of instructions are being given differently—and badly. You might promise yourself to eat light that night to make up for it, and maybe you even will. But that won’t prevent the damage you inflicted at lunchtime, when you didn’t give your genes the conditions they needed to do their job.

Or let’s say you stayed up late last night, playing a video game or answering email or binge-watching your favorite show. Now the alarm is going off and you can barely drag yourself out of bed. “I’ll make up for it this weekend,” you promise yourself—and maybe you will. Meanwhile, though, your genes are living in the present, and they aren’t happy about the lack of sleep. They give instructions that alter your digestion, your mood, your metabolism, and your brain, so that right now—not when you were first born, but now—your health shifts and slips and declines a little bit.

Of course, if most of the time you’re eating well and sleeping deeply and limiting your toxic exposure and managing your stress, an occasional big meal or late night doesn’t make all that much difference. Sure, your genes alter their responses for a little while, but your body is strong and resilient, and it can handle the extra challenge. If one gene staggers, a second one steps up. If that second gene stumbles, a third one takes over. Your body has lots of built-in backups, which is terrific.

However, if you consistently give your genes poor working conditions, they’re going to consistently hand out poor instructions and may result in methylation disorders in the process. Why? Because each backup gene is going to push on the next backup gene, one after the other after the other, and before you know it, too many of your genes are struggling. Your health will suffer, and in way too many cases your doctor won’t be able to do much more than prescribe a few drugs to medicate your symptoms.

I want something better for you—a lot better. I want you to give your genes exactly what they need to hand out the instructions for perfect health. I want your first-line genes working optimally as often as possible, putting the least possible strain on your backups. I want all your genes cooperating smoothly to give you glowing skin and a healthy weight and tons of energy and a clear, sharp mind. I want you feeling calm and enthusiastic and ready to go, and I want you sleeping so deeply at night that you wake up each morning feeling terrific. If you want that for yourself, listen up: The way to get optimal health is by supporting your genes.

Two Types of Dirty Genes

You have two types of dirty genes—both of which can give you a host of symptoms and disorders.

Some Genes Are “Born Dirty”

The scientific name for a born-dirty gene is genetic polymorphism, which is a fancy way of saying “genetic variation” or “genetic mutations” in some cases. As we saw in the introduction, these genes are also called single-nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs—pronounced “snips.” These dirty genes—and each of us has several—can do a full-scale number on your body and your brain. They help determine whether you’re heavy or slim, sluggish or energized, depressed or optimistic, anxious or calm.

We have about twenty thousand genes in our body. There are more than 10 million known genetic polymorphisms (SNPs), and one person can have as many as 1.2 million of them. However, only about 40,000 are known to potentially alter your genetic function. We’re going to zero in on the key SNPs in the seven genes most likely to have the biggest impact on your health. I chose these Super Seven because each of them influences hundreds of other genes. If any of these seven genes are dirty, you can be sure they’re making your other genes dirty, too.

When my clients first discover that they were born with SNPs, many of them are upset. As Taylor said, “I feel like a mutant.” But in fact, we’re all mutants—that is, every one of us is loaded with SNPs. It’s just part of the magnificent variety of the human race—what enables each of us to be unique.

The good news is that once you know which SNPs you have, your health issues start to make a lot more sense—and your emotional issues do, too. If you suffer from migraines, can’t seem to fall asleep at night, or struggle with a hair-trigger temper, SNPs may be at the root of your problem and hasten the development of methylation disorders. SNPs also contribute to anxiety, depression, irritability, workaholism, obsessiveness, difficulty paying attention, trouble winding down, and a whole bunch of other things that you might never have realized had a genetic and biochemical basis. SNPs also contribute to various strengths, such as boundless energy, good spirits, enthusiasm, dedication, determination, and laser-sharp focus.

The really good news is that you get to work with your SNPs, turning up the volume on your strengths and turning down the volume on your weak points. Through the Clean Genes Protocol, you can alter your lifestyle, diet, and environment to maximize the positives and mute the negatives, so that what you once thought was “normal” for you may be nothing of the kind. How awesome is that?

Some Genes Just “Act Dirty”

Sometimes a gene without a SNP creates problems for you anyway. That might be because your genes aren’t getting the nutrients, lifestyle, or environment that they need to function at their best—too few vitamins, too little sleep, too many chemicals, too much stress. A better diet and lifestyle might inspire your genes to behave differently.

The scientific name for this is genetic expression: the way your genes express themselves in response to your environment, diet, lifestyle, and mindset. Depending on which of your genes are expressed, and how, you can be healthy, energized, and glowing. Alternatively, you might be loaded down with a whole slew of symptoms: obesity, anxiety, depression, acne, headaches, fatigue, achy joints, poor digestion. If your genes act dirty enough, you might even face such serious conditions as autoimmune disorders, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other forms of genetic mutations. Once again, your Clean Genes Protocol comes to the rescue. If you give your genes the diet and lifestyle that they need, they’ll act clean instead of dirty, and you can optimize your health, your mental outlook, and your life.

Meet Your Dirty Genes

Here are the seven genes—I call them the Super Seven—that we target with the Clean Genes Protocol. I chose them because they’re extremely common, have been well researched, and have the most far-reaching effects on your body. If these guys are dirty—whether born dirty or just acting dirty—the rest of your genes will be gunked up, too. Some genetic mutations are hard to scrub. Not these seven. They are easily cleaned up through diet and lifestyle changes. Being born with dirty genes has an upside as well as a downside.

Born-dirty genes might put you at risk for some nasty health challenges— but they also help to shape your personality, activating strengths as well as weaknesses. Your goal is to work with diet, chemical exposure, and lifestyle to maximize the benefits while minimizing the drawbacks.

1. MTHFR, the methylation master gene

This gene initiates your ability to methylate, a key process that affects your stress response, inflammation, brain chemistry, energy production, immune response, detoxification, antioxidant production, cell repair, and genetic expression, which, if not taken care properly, could lead to methylation disorders.

When MTHFR is born dirty:

+ Strengths: intensity, alertness, productivity, focus, improved DNA repair, decreased risk of colon cancer

+ Weaknesses: depression, anxiety, autoimmunity, migraines, increased risk of stomach cancer, autism, pregnancy complications, Down syndrome, birth defects, and cardiovascular conditions such as heart attack, stroke, and thrombosis

2. COMT, the gene whose SNPs help determine whether you’re focused and buoyant, or laid-back and calm

COMT and its SNPs have powerful effects on mood, focus, and how your body handles estrogen, a key factor in the menstrual cycle, in fibroids, in some estrogen-sensitive cancers and other genetic mutations.

When COMT is born dirty:

+ Strengths: focus, tons of energy and alertness, good spirits, glowing skin

+ Weaknesses: irritability, insomnia, anxiety, fibroids, increased risk of estrogen-sensitive cancers, test anxiety, neurological disorders, migraines, PMS, impatience, vulnerability to addictions

3. DAO, the gene whose SNPs can make you super sensitive to certain foods and chemicals

When this gene is dirty, aside from the development of methylation disorders, it affects your response to the histamine that lurks in various foods and beverages and that’s also produced by some gut bacteria, affecting your likelihood of food sensitivities and allergic reactions.

When DAO is born dirty:

+ Strengths: immediate awareness of allergens and trigger foods (so you can get them out of your diet before they cause serious long-term problems)

+ Weaknesses: food sensitivities, pregnancy complications, leaky gut syndrome, allergic reactions, the risk of more serious conditions such as autoimmunity

4. MAOA, the gene that affects mood swings and carb cravings

This gene helps govern your levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin: key brain chemicals that affect mood, alertness, energy, vulnerability to addictions, self-confidence, and sleep.

When MAOA is born dirty:

+ Strengths: energy, self-confidence, focus, “highs” of productivity and joy

+ Weaknesses: mood swings, carb cravings, irritability, headaches, insomnia, addictions

5. GST/GPX, the gene(s) that can create detox dilemmas

A dirty GST or GPX affects your body’s ability to rid itself of chemicals.

When GST/GPX is born dirty:

+ Strengths: immediate awareness of potentially harmful chemicals (before they have the chance to make you really sick), improved response to chemotherapy

+ Weaknesses: supersensitivity to potentially harmful chemicals (with responses ranging from mild symptoms to serious autoimmune disorders and cancers), increased DNA damage (which increases the risk of cancer)

6. NOS3, the gene that can create heart issues

NOS3 affects your production of nitric oxide, which is a major factor in heart health, affecting such processes as blood flow and blood vessel formation.

When NOS3 is born dirty:

+ Strengths: decreased blood vessel formation (angiogenesis) during cancer, which reduces the growth of cancer

+ Weaknesses: headaches, high blood pressure, vulnerability to heart disease and heart attack, dementia

7. PEMT, the gene that supports your cell membranes and liver

This gene affects your body’s ability to produce phosphatidylcholine, an essential compound that you need to maintain cell membranes, bile flow, muscle health, and brain development.

When PEMT is born dirty:

+ Strengths: more support for methylation, better response to chemotherapy

+ Weaknesses: gallbladder disorders, small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), pregnancy complications, cell membrane weakness, muscle pain

What Makes Your Genes Act Dirty?

Even if you don’t have a SNP in any of your seven key genes, you might still be gunking up those genes with the wrong diet and lifestyle, which are two of the main factors that fuel genetic mutations. As a result, they can’t do the jobs you desperately need them to do—metabolize nutrients, balance your brain chemistry, repair damaged cells, and a hundred and one other tasks. What happens? You gain weight, feel sluggish, get depressed, become anxious, lose your ability to focus, develop acne, get headaches… the dirty list goes on and on.

If you’re taking antacids, for example, you’re messing with many major genes, including MTHFR, MAOA, and DAO. If you’re taking metformin, a common medication for diabetes, you’re disrupting the function of your MAOA and DAO. Birth-control pills, hormone replacement therapy, and even bioidentical hormones can strain your MTHFR and COMT.

Even if you’re not taking medications, your genetic expression can be disrupted by poor diet, lack of exercise, too much exercise, not enough sleep, environmental toxins, and plain old everyday stress—and those are just the most common problems. Long story short, there’s a whole laundry list of factors that might be dirtying up your genes—and your doctor probably has no idea.

To make matters worse, every additional factor that makes your genes dirty changes the whole picture and may even cause you severe forms of methylation disorders. So if you’re only eating too much sugar, that’s one problem. But if you’re also eating too many carbs, now you have two problems—and a much wider and more complex effect. If, in addition, you’re not getting good sleep, you’ve just created more damage. That plus stress—even more! Pretty soon, you’ve generated a cumulative effect that makes the whole problem even worse. Instead of 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 4, you get 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 50.

Why? Because all your genes interact with one another. When one gene gets dirty, it doesn’t work properly, so several more genes step up to help—and now suddenly they get dirty, too. Your body isn’t a set of discrete compartments that each work separately. It’s one amazing interactive system in which problems spread and multiply with amazing speed. The good news is that health can also spread and multiply in amazing ways. When you clean up your dirty DNA mutations, you start feeling terrific in ways you never even imagined. Your mood improves—and that chronic muscle pain you’ve been working through stops aching. Your brain fog clears—and you’ve got tons more energy. Your allergy symptoms disappear—and you begin to lose some weight.

This is why I’m so eager for you to clean up your genes so you can avoid genetic mutations. If your dirty genes were born clean but became dirty, cleaning them up gives you a tremendous boost. And if some of your genes were born dirty, giving them the support they need can make a world of difference.

What Dirties Up Your Genes?


+ Too many carbs

+ Too much sugar

+ Too much protein

+ Not enough protein

+ Not enough healthy fat

+ A shortage of nutrients that your genes need to work properly, such as B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, copper, and zinc


+ Sedentary lifestyle

+ Overtraining

+ Electrolyte deficiency

+ Dehydration


+ Not enough deep, restorative sleep

+ Going to bed late, getting up late

+ Irregular sleep patterns

Environmental Toxins

+ “Dirty” food

+ “Dirty” water

+ “Dirty” air—including indoor air

+ “Dirty” products: sprays, cleaners, cosmetics, paints, pesticides, herbicides


+ Physical stress: long-term illness, chronic infections, food intolerance/allergies, insufficient sleep

+ Psychological stress: issues at work, at home, with your loved ones, with life

The Clean Genes Protocol: How to Change Your DNA

Following is your Clean Genes Protocol—a lifelong program to keep your genes clean and avoid bad genetic change as you optimize your health.

Although you may periodically add in Spot Cleaning from the second step of the program, which is outlined in my book, this is the approach to diet and lifestyle that will best support your genes for the rest of your life. Here the Clean Genes Protocol is outlined in broad brush strokes, as an introduction. Fear not, though: my book Dirty Genes addresses all the components—diet, exercise, and so on—in greater detail.


+ Eat appropriate amounts of protein and healthy fat.

+ Make sure to get all the nutrients that your genes need to work properly, such as B vitamins, vitamin C, copper, and zinc.

+ Cut out cow’s milk dairy, gluten, excess carbs, and white sugar.

+ Avoid foods high in pesticides, herbicides, preservatives, and/or artificial ingredients.

+ Avoid fermented foods, leftovers, or food that’s likely to contain excess bacteria if you find they trigger symptoms.

+ Avoid foods that are high in histamines: wine, some types of cheese, and smoked and/or preserved meat and fish, if you’re particularly susceptible.

+ Eat in moderation: stop eating when you’re 80 percent full.

+ Avoid snacks and late-night meals.


+ Get the right amount of exercise for your body—not too much and not too little.

+ Exercise when you’re rested and only until you’re pleasantly tired. Don’t exhaust yourself, and don’t force it.

+ Exercise when it doesn’t negatively impact your sleep. Don’t skimp on sleep to exercise; don’t exercise later in the evening if it keeps you from falling asleep.


+ Make trying for deep, restful sleep a priority.

+ Consistently match your sleep schedule to nature’s circadian rhythms: asleep by 10:30 p.m., awake seven to eight hours later.

+ Avoid electronic screens in the hour before bed.

+ Block out or turn off artificial lights. Natural moonlight is great.

Environmental Toxins

+ Eat organic food or at least avoid the “dirtiest” conventional foods.

+ Filter the water you use for drinking, cooking, and bathing.

+ Avoid the use of household and garden chemicals.

+ Avoid all plastic containers for your food and water, especially BPA plastic and especially in the microwave. Ideally, store and cook foods only in glass or stainless steel.

+ Follow guidelines to keep indoor air clean, bearing in mind that indoor air is often more toxic than the air outdoors.


+ Attend to sources of physical stress: long-term illness, chronic infections, food intolerances/allergies, insufficient sleep.

+ Reduce and relieve psychological stress: issues at work, at home, with your loved ones, with life.

Profiles and Personalities

Any one gene is just a single factor in your genetic profile—let alone in your entire personality. But to give you some idea of how your genetic profile might help shape your temperament, here are some quick personality sketches that I’ve observed in conjunction with the seven key genes when they’re dirty:


Among the many MTHFR symptoms are the changes in one’s mood. Some days you’re blue and depressed, while other days you’re anxious. On good days, your focus is great and you get stuff done. On bad days, you have performance anxiety, a hair-trigger temper, and/or headaches—or maybe you just feel grumpy. After eating a salad you tend to feel great, but you’ve never paid attention to that because, after all, it’s just a salad.

COMT (Slow)

Man, you’re on fire! ADHD?—not in this house. You’re cranking away on several projects and already eager for the next one or five. As you lie down to sleep, you’re still cranking away. After tossing and turning, you finally doze off, dreaming of tomorrow’s tasks. Tomorrow arrives. Coffee is needed. Once again, you’re off and running. You put pressure on yourself, and if you’re not accomplishing what you need to, anxiety sets in, so you focus harder to get everything done. And you do get it done. Your colleague makes fun of you for working overtime on a particular project, and you snap at her. As usual, you’re quick to be irritated. In addition, sometimes you have an extreme sensitivity to pain and can be plagued with headaches.

COMT (Fast)

Look at that blinking light! Did you see that dog over there? Man, I wish I could read a book, but I just can’t focus. You’re always jumping from one task to another, and it’s hard to get much done. Friends have suggested that you might have ADHD. You also love shopping and buying new things! The problem is, you feel great buying them, but the next day the “shopping high” wears off, and you find that you need to buy something else or you start feeling blue. It’s getting expensive and time-consuming. Oh—and hugs! They’re awesome! The more hugs you get, the better you feel.


You are so tired of not knowing what you can and can’t eat. One meal you’re good, and the next you feel awful: throbbing head, irritable mood, sweaty body, racing heart, itchy skin, bleeding nose. Perhaps you’ve even spent a ton of money on food allergy testing—and found nothing! So frustrating. You keep limiting your foods one by one in hopes of identifying the culprit, but it’s a never-ending battle.


Ever since you figured out that chemicals and smells make you feel sick, you’ve been on a mission to get rid of such stuff from your home. That neighbor of yours is using scented dryer sheets—again! Those give you a headache within seconds. Your friends wonder why you’re such a clean freak. But you know that you’re tuned in and sensitive to these things because you have to be.

MAOA (Fast)

Carbs. CARBS! Pleeease, get me some of those! Your grocery cart looks like you work for the grain and chocolate industry! You feel so great eating carb-laden foods. You know you shouldn’t, but when you don’t, you feel blue. The problem is, eating carbs picks you up only for a moment or two; then you crash. So what do you do then? You eat more carbs. You try diet after diet, but they just make you feel depressed. You’re sick of gaining weight, but you feel stuck in that pattern. You don’t want to be on antidepressants, but you feel like you can’t keep going this way.

MAOA (Slow)

You’re easily startled and quick to become anxious or irritated. You can become aggressive and later feel bad for overreacting. You just can’t seem to help it. You always have to watch out for headaches, especially when you eat cheese or chocolate and drink wine. Falling asleep at night is always tough, but once you do, at least you sleep soundly through the night.


You’re freaking out. Your dad, uncle, grandma, and grandpa all had significant heart problems when they were around fifty years old, and now you’re getting there. Your doctors check your heart and say it looks okay—but are they checking everything they need to, or are they missing something? Your hands and feet are constantly cold, but your doctors say that’s nothing to worry about. You need answers, because this family history is weighing on you.


Ever since you switched to a vegan or vegetarian diet, you’ve felt just a bit off. Your mind isn’t as sharp, you’re forgetting things, and you’ve got aches and pains all over your body. As an omnivore, you felt good overall, though you did have some aches and pains. Your liver felt heavy then, and it still does—just under your right-side ribcage. Fatty foods just don’t sit right with you either. Now your doctor has said that you have gallstones and need to have your gallbladder taken out. No! There must be a way to save it.

What’s Your Genetic Profile?

If you want to know your own genetic profile, there are a few ways to go about it. The most expensive route is to get yourself tested by a company like 23andMe or Genos Research. At that point, you’ll know exactly where all your SNPs are—but you won’t necessarily know what those results mean.

Another route is to invest four weeks in my book’s Clean Genes Protocol. Most people I know, including health professionals, get genetic testing results back and focus only on the genes. The problem is, that genetic report is a piece of paper showing your genetic susceptibility—not your genetic destiny! In other words, your genetic profile is not you.

Most of the folks who send away for genetic testing are unaware that a gene born clean can easily become dirty. When they read that their MTHFR is normal, they celebrate instead of realizing that—due to diet and lifestyle—it might in fact be super dirty.

Even if your MTHFR was born dirty or you are showing no symptoms of an MTHFR gene mutation, you don’t want to make the common mistake of thinking that you can target it with a magical methylfolate supplement or nutrition vitamin B12 supplement and all will be well. Many of the people who send away for their genetic profile end up following simplistic instructions for MTHFR treatment, thereby creating significant side effects and making themselves worse off than they were before.

Here’s the bottom line: the only way to truly help your dirty genes is by remaining on the Clean Genes Protocol, a lifelong approach to diet and lifestyle, including a specific MTHFR diet. That’s how I do it. That’s how my family does it. That’s how the doctors I’ve trained around the world encourage their patients to do it. The result? Healthier, happier lives. I’ll tell you what I tell all of them: there are no shortcuts. The tortoise always wins the race.

Because your genes can give you problems whether they’re born dirty or simply acting dirty, I want you to know how to keep all seven of these important genes clean and healthy, giving them all the support they need. Out of the roughly twenty thousand genes in your body, these seven are critical to optimal health, every day of your life.

When I say you’re going to scrub your dirty genes clean, I’m not saying that you’re going to change your basic personality or remove all medical risk. I’m saying that you’ll learn to work with your genes, giving them all the support they need. That way, you can celebrate your unique temperament—and safeguard your health from genetic mutations.

Every vehicle drives differently. By understanding your genetics, you gain the opportunity and ability to make choices that will give you a smooth and enjoyable ride throughout your life.

Excerpted with permission from Dirty Genes: A Breakthrough Program to Treat the Root Cause of Illness and Optimize Your Health by Dr. Ben Lynch. Available online at Amazon.com.

About The Authors

Dr. Benjamin Lynch, N.D., received his Cell and Molecular Biology B.S. from the University of Washington and his doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University. His passion for identifying the cause of disease directed him toward nutrigenomics and methylation dysfunction. Currently, he researches, writes, and presents worldwide on the topic of MTHFR gene mutations, methylation defects, and genetic control. Dr. Lynch is the President of seekinghealth.com, a supplement company oriented toward disease prevention and health promotion. Learn more at drbenlynch.com.

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5 Ayurvedic Self-Care Rituals for Relaxation and Rejuvenationphoto: roberto nickson

Ayurvedic medicine has a rich history, which was originally passed on through the oral tradition, then later recorded in Sanskrit in the four sacred texts called the Vedas. This ancient practice of Ayurveda is all about connecting to ourselves and staying in harmony and balance with the natural world. Ayurvedic rituals aren’t just about preventing diseases rather than simply curing them; they’re also about how to live in a state of vigor and energy. In India, more than 90 percent of the population uses some form of Ayurvedic medicine. While it’s becoming much more popular here in the West, it’s still considered an alternative medical treatment.

The theory behind this medicine is that all areas of life impact one’s health. Here in the Western world, we believe in using targeted tactics—generally, prescription medications—to cure specific ailments. Ayurveda views the body as a whole. Like traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurveda is about the mind, body, and spirit connection.

The aim of Ayurvedic daily rituals is to return the body to its original healthy state; true luminous beauty must be supported by health. At the heart of Ayurveda are ojas, our life force, the very essence of our health and well-being. They are our honey, the sap in the tree that is our body. Ojas give us the ability to thrive. When our ojas are strong, our bodies are firm and flexible, our skin is clear and glowing, and our hair is shiny and healthy. Ojas also allow us to overflow with love and compassion.

However, the modern world takes its toll on ojas. Constant stress, processed food, technology, overextension, and too much information deplete ojas and dry them out. When we restore them—with meditation, healthy food, and being in tune with the universe—we become radiant.

Ridding your body of waste and toxins helps ojas to flourish, as detoxing allows the system to be nourished. The aim of daily Ayurvedic practices is to improve your health. When your body is clear of toxins, it is able to receive the healthy benefits of nutritious food, face masks, and body oils. Rather than promote a harsh, all-at-once approach to detoxing, Ayurveda employs several small daily or weekly practices to help ensure that your body is always detoxing and efficiently processing waste.

Ayurvedic Self-Care Practices

Slowly incorporate these practices into your day. You can begin with something as small as integrating fresh produce into your diet, massaging your feet before bed, or dry brushing your skin in the morning. These Ayurvedic additions to your daily routine will help you to continuously keep your body in a rhythm and in balance. Once you know your body, you can adjust certain practices.


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1. Tongue Scraping

Scraping your tongue every morning can give you clues as to how efficiently your digestive system is functioning. If your tongue is very coated, it usually means there is a lot of ama, or toxicity, in your system. With this Ayurvedic morning routine, you can gauge how well your system is flushing out toxins.

To scrape the tongue:

+ Use a stainless-steel tongue scraper (which you can find online or in most health food stores) or a spoon. Gently scrape from the back or base of the tongue forward until you have scraped the whole surface, which is typically accomplished with anywhere between seven and fourteen strokes. This clears away any bacteria. Scraping stimulates the gastric and digestive enzymes to wake up and start working.

+ Rinse out your mouth, and proceed with oil pulling as your next Ayurvedic morning ritual.

2. Oil Pulling

During the night, as you sleep, your body builds up toxins while it is in the resting, cleansing state. Oil pulling allows these toxins to be released. As an Ayurvedic ritual, oil pulling should be done first thing in the morning, before you have anything to drink or eat. Coconut, sunflower, and sesame oil all work well, but coconut oil has the added benefit of whitening your teeth.

To practice oil pulling:

+ Take a spoonful of oil and swish it in your mouth for fifteen to twenty minutes (this is the recommended period of time, but sometimes I do it for just a few minutes to feel the freshening and teeth-whitening effects of the coconut oil).

+ It is important to keep the oil in your mouth and not to swallow it. It also is wise to spit it out in either the toilet or the trash can, as it can clog the sink.

+ After you finish oil pulling, brush your teeth or rinse out your mouth very well.

3. Dry Brushing

The skin is our largest organ and is responsible for 25% of the body’s ability to detox, yet we tend to focus our beauty and self-care routines on the face and hands when the whole body deserves reverence and respect. In addition to being an Ayurvedic ritual practice, skin brushing for the whole body has been used for ages in Scandinavia, Russia, Japan, and Greece and by the Cherokee tribe (using dried corncobs), to name just a few examples. Skin brushing helps rid the body of dead skin and also stimulates the lymphatic and circulatory systems, which assist the kidneys and liver in releasing excess hormones that have built up in the organs.

Over time, dry brushing can prevent cellulite and help regenerate collagen, and in the short term, it invigorates and energizes you. As you are shedding dead skin, you are also asking to release what no longer serves you. Dry brushing is an Ayurvedic ritual that should be done before bathing or showering; your skin should be dry.

To practice dry brushing:

+ Using a body brush with natural bristles (I like ones that have copper in them to help balance electromagnetic fields), start at the feet and move up toward the torso.

+ Using long strokes in the direction of your heart, brush each part of the body six times.

+ Brush so it feels slightly painful but good—like when you get a really deep stretch.

+ To increase the detoxifying effects, follow with a cold shower.

4. Self-Massage

In the West, we consider a massage to be a special treat, but for many in India, massages are a regular part of life and Ayurvedic self-care. Babies and toddlers are massaged daily, and when they are a little bit older, they are taught to massage their family members. Women get daily massages for forty days after giving birth. Once you become accustomed to the health and beauty benefits of massages, you won’t be able to do without them. Fortunately for our wallets, Ayurveda considers self-massage, or abhyanga, to be just as beneficial as a massage given by another.

Set aside some time once a week, or daily if you can, to practice abhyanga, and you will soon see the benefits of this common Ayurvedic ritual, including toned, glowing skin; improved circulation; the relief of stiffness in the joints; and the flushing out of toxins in the body. It’s also a wonderful way to get to know your own body better. Use sesame, sunflower, or almond oil for massage; it feels extra luxurious if you warm it beforehand in a pan of hot water.

To practice self-massage:

+ Apply warm oil generously to your body, beginning with your limbs. Use long strokes on your arms and legs and circular motions on your joints. Massage clockwise to release tension, and include areas like your neck and under your arms to target lymph nodes.

+ Massage your abdomen and chest in broad clockwise, circular motions. Follow the path of the intestine on your stomach, moving up on the right side, then down on the left.

+ Apply oil to your crown chakra, working outward in circular motions.

+ Dip your fingertips in the oil and massage your ears.

+ Massage your feet (but make sure to wipe off the oil before you walk).

+ Throughout the massage, send loving intentions to your organs and show gratitude to your body for everything it does for you.

+ Allow yourself enough time so that the oil soaks into your skin before you dress.

If you don’t have time for a full massage, you can always take a small scoop of shea butter and give yourself a foot massage before bed. This serves as a form of acupressure, and the shea butter helps moisturize dry skin. At the same time, you’re honoring your feet—which are your foundation—and how much they do for you throughout the day.

5. Bathing

In ancient times, bathing was regarded as a gift of health from the gods themselves. Making baths one of your regular Ayurvedic rituals can be a therapeutic activity. Almost every evening, after I have taken care of my work, my daughter, and my animals, I will indulge in a bath. Taking a bath is the perfect way to have nourishing alone time and create a bit of sanctuary for yourself. Baths are cleansing and can enhance physical and mental energy, remove negativity, and relax your body and mind. They’re also a wonderful way to soak up the deeply therapeutic medicine of essential oils and other good-for-the-skin ingredients.


Relaxing Mineral Bath

One of my favorite relaxing baths for all doshas is a magnesium bath. Most of us are lacking magnesium due to depleted foods that are the result of overtaxed soil beds. Magnesium is essential for healthy skin and hair, aids in sleep, and can promote a profound sense of calm and well-being.

To make the bath:

+ 1 cup magnesium flakes

+ 10 drops of a relaxing essential oil (I like chamomile or lavender)

+ Fill the tub with water that is the ideal temperature for you. Add the magnesium and essential oil before you step in. Soak for 20 minutes or more.

Excerpted with permission from Whole Beauty by Shiva Rose (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2018.

About The Authors

Shiva Rose is the author of Whole Beauty: Daily Rituals and Natural Recipes for Lifelong Beauty and Wellness. Through growing her own organic herbs and flowers; mixing creams, lotions, and tonics; and following Ayurvedic practices and creating mindful rituals, Shiva not only healed her life from a life-threatening autoimmune condition but has also become a leader and entrepreneur in the world of all-natural beauty and lifestyle. Shiva created the holistic lifestyle website the Local Rose and developed her own non-toxic, all-natural skin-care line that nourishes the body, skin to soul, leaving the skin with a luminous glow. Learn more at shivarose.com

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