The 5 Types of Brain Waves: The Keys to Higher States of Consciousnessphoto: pawel szvmanski

The Communicating Brain: Clapping “the Wave”

I travel to New York often, and I love going to see Broadway musicals. When The Book of Mormon opened, I was one of the first to buy tickets. Members of the audience were laughing all the way through. At the end, the cast got a standing ovation.

Suddenly, the applause changed. Rather than a thousand people clapping separately, everyone began to clap in rhythm. Clap, clap, clap, clap. The rhythmic clapping become so insistent that the actors came back onstage for an encore. The clapping communicated approval to the actors, and they responded with another song.

The neurons in your brain do something similar. They fire together in rhythmic patterns, communicating with each other across the brain. These patterns are measured in cycles per second, or Hertz (Hz). Imagine an audience clapping together slowly. That’s a slow brain wave, with millions of neurons firing together slowly. Imagine an audience clapping quickly. That’s a fast brain wave, with millions of neurons firing together quickly.

Today’s EEGs calculate brain wave patterns from each of the brain’s many different parts. They typically use 19 electrodes attached to the surface of the scalp.

One research team observed, “Scientists are now so accustomed to these EEG correlations with brain state that they may forget just how remarkable they are…. A single electrode provides estimates of synaptic action averaged over tissue masses containing between roughly 100 million and 1 billion neurons” (Nunez & Srinivasan, 2006). When we see brain wave changes on an EEG, it indicates that the firing patterns of billions of neurons in our brains are also changing.

What Brain Waves Are and What They Do

There are five basic brain waves that are picked up by a modern EEG.

1. Gamma Brain Waves

Gamma is the highest brain wave frequency (40 to 100 Hz). It’s most prevalent at times when the brain is learning, making associations between phenomena and integrating information from many different parts of the brain.

A brain producing lots of gamma waves reflects complex neural organization and heightened awareness. When monks were asked to meditate on compassion, large flares of gamma were found in their brains (Davidson & Lutz, 2008).


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They were compared to novice meditators who had meditated for an hour a day the week before. The novices had brain activity similar to that of the monks. But when the monks were instructed to evoke a feeling of compassion, their brains began to fire in rhythmic coherence, like the audience clapping at The Book of Mormon musical.

The flares of gamma waves measured in the brains of the monks were the largest ever recorded. The monks reported entering a state of bliss. Gamma is associated with very high levels of intellectual function, creativity, integration, peak states, and of feeling “in the zone.” Gamma waves flow from the front to the back of the brain about 40 times per second (Llinás, 2014). Researchers look to this oscillating wave as a neural correlate of consciousness (NCC), a state linking the brain’s activity with the subjective experience of consciousness (Tononi & Koch, 2015).

Brain researchers talk about the amplitude of a brain wave and that simply means how big it is. A high amplitude of gamma means a big gamma wave, while a low amplitude means a small one. Measurements of brain waves show peaks and valleys. The distance from the peak to the trough is the amplitude. Amplitude is measured in microvolts, and brain waves typically measure between 10 and 100 microvolts, with the faster waves like gamma having the lowest amplitude.

Gamma brain wave states are associated with many beneficial changes in our bodies. A frequency of 75 Hz is epigenetic, triggering the genes that produce anti-inflammatory proteins in the body (De Girolamo et al., 2013). On the lower end of the gamma spectrum, a frequency of 50 Hz results in the body increasing its production of stem cells, the “blank” cells that differentiate into muscle, bone, skin, or whatever other specialized cells are required (Ardeshirylajimi & Soleimani, 2015). The frequency of 60 Hz regulates the expression of stress genes, those that code for stress hormones like cortisol. The same brain wave frequency also activates a key gene called Myc that in turn regulates around 15 percent of all the other genes in the body (Lin, Goodman, & Shirley‐Henderson, 1994).

brain-wave-frequenciesEEG brain waves from slowest to fastest.

2. Beta Brain Waves

The next fastest wave is beta (12 to 40 Hz). Beta is typically divided into two parts: high beta and low beta. High beta is your monkey mind. High beta (15 to 40 Hz) is the signature brain wave of people with anxiety, people experiencing frustration, and people under stress.

The more stressed people become, the higher the amplitude of the beta their brains produce. Negative emotions such as anger, fear, blame, guilt, and shame produce large flares of beta waves in the EEG readout.

This shuts down the brain regions that handle rational thinking, decision making, memory, and objective evaluation (LeDoux, 2002). Blood flow to the prefrontal cortex, the “thinking brain,” is reduced by up to 80 percent. Starved of oxygen and nutrients, our brains’ ability to think clearly plummets.

Low beta is the band that synchronizes our bodies’ automatic functions, so it’s also called the sensorimotor rhythm frequency, or SMR (12 to 15 Hz).

Beta is required for processing information and for linear thinking, so normal levels of beta brain wave states are fine.

When you focus on solving a problem, composing a poem, calculating the best route to your destination, or balancing your checkbook, beta waves are your friend. SMR represents a calm, focused mental state. It’s stress that produces high beta, especially above 25 Hz.

3. Alpha Brain Waves

Alpha (8 to 12 Hz) is an optimal state of relaxed alertness. Alpha connects the higher frequencies—the thinking mind of beta and the associative mind of gamma—with the two lowest frequency brain waves, which are theta (4 to 8 Hz) and delta (0 to 4 Hz).

It turns out that alpha also does good things for our bodies. It improves our levels of mood-enhancing neurotransmitters such as serotonin. When the alpha brain wave level increased in a group of exercisers, they gained a boost in serotonin, and their emotional state was elevated (Fumoto et al., 2010). In another study, Zen meditators received the same benefits from cultivating an alpha state (Yu et al., 2011).

A pioneering study exposed DNA to various brain wave frequencies. It found that the alpha frequency of 10 Hz resulted in significantly increased synthesis of the DNA molecule (Takahashi, Kaneko, Date, & Fukada, 1986).

4. Theta Brain Waves

Theta is characteristic of deep relaxation and light sleep. When we dream vividly, our eyes move rapidly and our brains are primarily in theta. These brain waves are the frequency of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Theta is also the dominant frequency of people under hypnosis, healers, people in trances, and people in highly creative states of consciousness (Kershaw & Wade, 2012). The recollection of emotional experiences, both good and bad, can trigger theta.

It’s the frequency most commonly observed in healers. Becker (1990) found that when healers were in the midst of an energy healing session, theta was the most common wave in their brains.

Theta is associated with many beneficial changes in the body. A group of researchers studied the effect of various frequencies on DNA repair. They found that electromagnetic fields between 7.5 Hz and 30 Hz were able to enhance molecular bonding (Tekutskaya, Barishev, & Ilchenko, 2015). Within that range, 9 Hz proved most effective.

5. Delta Brain Waves

The slowest frequency is delta. Delta is characteristic of deep sleep. Very high amplitudes of delta are also found in people who are in touch with the nonlocal mind, even when they’re wide awake. The brains of meditators, intuitives, and healers have much more delta than normal.

The eyes of people who are in deep dreamless sleep don’t move. Delta waves also predominate in such non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep.

Delta is the wave that we see in EEG readouts when people are having a sense of connection with the infinite. They typically report mystical experiences in which the local self merges with the nonlocal self. Meditators with large amplitudes of delta feel connected to all of nature, to other human beings, and to the infinite. They lose the sense of being an isolated individual, or what Albert Einstein called the delusion of separateness. Instead, they experience oneness with all that is.

When our brains are producing delta, we are bathing our cells in a frequency that has the potential to produce a whole gamut of beneficial physiological changes at the level of our cells, from growing our telomeres and boosting our growth hormone levels to regenerating our neurons and sweeping our brains clear of beta-amyloid plaques. We are not just having a nice subjective experience; in the delta state, we are creating an objective energy environment in which our bodies thrive.

Awakening from Everyday Reality

EEG pioneer Maxwell Cade noticed that alpha, in the middle of the range of frequencies, forms a bridge between the two high frequencies of beta and gamma and the two low frequencies of theta and delta (Cade & Coxhead, 1979). Biofeedback and neurofeedback skills focus on teaching people how to get into an alpha state. The ideal state is enough alpha to link all of the other brain rhythms together. High beta is minimized, so that there is very little monkey mind and anxiety. There is a balanced amount of gamma and theta, and a wide base of delta.

A biophysicist, Cade had worked on radar for the British government before turning his attention to measuring states of consciousness. He developed his own machine, the “mind mirror,” in 1976. It is unique among EEG devices in that it provides a clear visual snapshot of brain waves.

His student Anna Wise described the machine as follows: “What sets the Mind Mirror apart from other forms of electroencephalography was the interest, on the part of its developer, not in pathological states (as in the case of medical devices), but in an optimum state called the Awakened Mind. Instead of measuring subjects with problems, the inventor of the Mind Mirror sought the most highly developed and spiritually conscious people he could find. In the flicker of their brainwaves, he and his colleagues found a common pattern, whether the subject was a yogi, a Zen master or a healer.”

The Awakened Mind

Using the mind mirror, over 20 years, Cade recorded the brain wave patterns of more than 4,000 people with strong spiritual practices. He found the Awakened Mind state was common in this group. Cade also noticed another similarity: they all had high amounts of alpha brain waves. As noted, alpha waves are right in the middle of the spectrum, with beta and gamma above, and theta and delta below. When someone in the Awakened Mind state has lots of alpha, it creates a link between the high brain wave frequencies above and the low frequencies below. Cade called this the alpha bridge, because it bridges the conscious mind frequencies of beta with the subconscious and unconscious mind frequencies of theta and delta. This allows a flow of consciousness, integrating all the levels of mind.

Cade wrote: “The awakening of awareness is like gradually awakening from sleep and becoming more and more vividly aware of everyday reality—only it’s everyday reality from which we are awakening!” (Cade & Coxhead, 1979).

I developed a meditation method called EcoMeditation that’s very simple, yet it’s consistently and automatically able to bring people into the Awakened Mind EEG pattern. EcoMeditation uses EFT tapping to clear obstacles to relaxation. It then takes you through a series of simple physical relaxation exercises that send signals of safety to the brain and body. It does not rely on belief or philosophy; instead, it’s based on sending the body physiological cues that produce deeply relaxed states of consciousness automatically. The instructions are free at EcoMeditation.com.

During EcoMeditation, we see lots of delta brain waves as well. Delta is where we connect with many resources above and beyond the local self. As noted, people in trance states, as well as healers, artists, musicians, and intuitives, tend to have plenty of delta.

Those in a creative trance, such as a composer making music or a child at play, usually have lots of delta waves. They lose all awareness of the outer world as they become absorbed in their creativity. They’re mostly in delta, with some theta and alpha, and just enough beta to function (Gruzelier, 2009).

It’s been fascinating to me to speak to people whose brain wave states show a high amplitude of delta waves during meditation. They report transcendent experiences. They describe feeling one with the universe, an exquisite sense of harmony and well-being (Johnson, 2011). Albert Einstein referred to this as an expansive state of consciousness in which we “embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature.” Scientists can be mystics too!

When Consciousness Changes, Brain Waves Change

The energy fields of brain waves and the matter of neural pathways are in a constantly evolving dance. When states of consciousness change, brain waves change and different neural pathways are engaged.

The extremes are love and fear. When we’re in a state of fear, our alpha bridge disappears. We may still have theta and delta, but we’re cut off from the resources of our subconscious mind and its connection with the universal whole. Beta waves flood the fearful brain. It’s in survival mode.

When we’re in a state of bliss, our brains show the Awakened Mind pattern. A step beyond, they can also move to a symmetrical pattern Cade called the Evolved Mind. As our consciousness is filled with love, our brains function very differently, with large amounts of theta and delta, plus an alpha bridge to connect our conscious with our subconscious mind.

Emotions create brain states. Brain waves measure the fields generated by consciousness. Passing signals through the neural bundles engaged by love, joy, and harmony creates a characteristic energy field (Wright, 2017). When monitoring the brains of people doing EcoMeditation, EEG expert Judith Pennington observed that “theta and delta progressed their patterns from the Awakened Mind to the Evolved Mind state.”

Emotions also create neurotransmitters. Among these are serotonin, dopamine, endorphins, oxytocin, and anandamide (Kotler & Wheal, 2017). Serotonin is associated with satisfaction, and dopamine with a sensation of reward. Endorphins block pain and increase pleasure. Oxytocin is the “bonding hormone,” and it stimulates feelings of closeness and intimacy with others. Anandamide is called the “bliss molecule,” and it’s named after the Sanskrit word for happiness. It binds to the same receptors in the brain as THC, the primary psychoactive molecule in marijuana. When the mind changes, it creates molecular facts in the form of these neurotransmitters. As they flood our brains, we feel satisfied, secure, bonded, blissful, and serene. When our minds enter elevated emotional states, we’re literally getting high—on drugs produced by our bodies.

Consciousness Shifts the Way the Brain Processes Information

When we meditate, tap (EFT), use another form of energy psychology, or otherwise shift our consciousness, the brain changes quickly. The brain can be intentionally changed by the mind, especially by what is known as attention training (Schwartz & Begley, 2002). True transformation repatterns neural pathways. Eventually, the entire state of the brain shifts and establishes a new and healthy level of homeostasis.

One research team notes that “an accelerating number of studies in the neuroimaging literature significantly support the thesis that… with appropriate training and effort, people can systematically alter neural circuitry associated with a variety of mental and physical states that are frankly pathological” (Schwartz, Stapp, & Beauregard, 2005). We can take our dysfunctional brain networks and alter them with our minds.

It’s not just mystics and healers who produce large alpha bridges and theta brain wave flares when they’re in ecstatic states. Groups for whom high performance is critical are finding that tuning the brain in this way produces big leaps in achievement. U.S. Navy SEALs need to operate effectively in rapidly changing combat conditions. Using millions of dollars of advanced EEG equipment in a “Mind Gym” specially constructed in Norfolk, Virginia, they learn to enter a state they call ecstasis (Cohen, 2017). Once they “flip the switch” into ecstasis, their brains are in a state of flow, an altered reality in which super-performance becomes possible. Other peak performers, such as elite courtroom lawyers, Olympic athletes, and Google executives, also train themselves to enter ecstasis.

The characteristics of these flow states are described in the book Stealing Fire (Kotler & Wheal, 2017). Among them are selflessness and timelessness. People in ecstasis transcend the boundaries of local mind. EEG readings show that the prefrontal cortex of their brains, the seat of a sense of self, shuts down. Beta-wave mental chatter ceases. They gain distance from the anxious obsessions of local mind. Their internal chemistry changes as “feel-good” neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, anandamide, and oxytocin flood their brains.

In this state, they gain a nonlocal perspective. They are open to an infinite range of possible options and outcomes. The self, rather than being trapped in a limited fixed local reality, is able to try on different possibilities. This “knocks out filters we normally apply to incoming information,” leading to associative leaps that facilitate problem solving and super-creativity. Kotler and Wheal (2017) review the research on the performance gains produced by these brain wave states. These include a 490 percent improvement in mental focus, a doubling of creativity, and a 500 percent increase in productivity.

Commonalities in Mystical Experience

The neuroscientists I’ve worked with have instructed experienced meditators to provide prearranged signals during meditation, such as tapping their forefinger three times when they feel the experience of oneness. We can time-stamp this spot on the EEG readout. This has allowed us to correlate their internal experience with brain states.

During ecstasis, whether found in the ancient accounts of Tukaram or the modern experiences of the Navy SEALs, people have common experiences. These are linked to neurotransmitters: entering a state of bliss (anandamide), a sense of detachment from the body that encapsulates the local self (endorphins), the local self bonding with the nonlocal universe (oxytocin), serenity (serotonin), and the reward of being changed by the experience (dopamine).

These are the characteristics of upgraded minds, and we now have EEGs and neurotransmitter assays to measure the changes they produce in matter. In the past, ecstatic states were attainable only by mystics, and it took decades of study, rigorous practice, ascetic discipline, and spiritual initiation. Today, “we now know the precise adjustments to body and brain that let us recreate them for ourselves” at will; technology is providing us with “a Cliff Notes version of… how to encounter the divine” (Kotler & Wheal, 2017). Today, the highest-performing humans in the fields of sports, business, combat, science, meditation, and art are inducing them routinely. Tomorrow, as we map the physiology of these states and turn ecstasis into a learnable skill, they will be available to everyone.

Excerpted with permission from Mind to Matter: The Astonishing Science of How Your Brain Creates Material Reality by Dawson Church, Ph.D. Available online at hayhouse.com and Amazon.com.

About The Authors

Dawson Church, Ph.D., is an award-winning author whose best-selling book, The Genie in Your Genes has been hailed by reviewers as a breakthrough in our understanding of the link between emotion and genetics. He founded the National Institute for Integrative Healthcare to study and implement evidence-based psychological and medical techniques. His groundbreaking research has been published in prestigious scientific journals. He shares how to apply the breakthroughs of energy psychology to health and athletic performance through EFT Universe, one of the largest alternative medicine sites on the web. Learn more at eftuniverse.com and dawsonchurch.com.

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June 20, 2021 5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Whether you’re a corporate real-estate agent or a marketing guru, innovative thinking is often what is needed to take your business to the next level. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to get stuck in a rut. If you’re not careful, that stagnation can easily cause your business to flounder.

If you need help thinking creatively so you can achieve better results for your brand, the solution may come down to retraining your brain. By reshaping your thinking process, you’ll be able to generate innovative ideas that make a real impact.

Related: 5 Key Trends in Innovation and How Leaders Can Capitalize On Them in 2021

1. Read a book

The time you spend reading and writing is always going to improve your creative thinkingstudies have confirmed that habitual readers and those who have a positive attitude toward reading in general are going to have greater creative thinking abilities than their peers.

While entrepreneurs are often tempted to only read business books, it’s worth noting that reading fiction has been found to be especially effective in connecting your creative right brain and analytical left brain. In other words, feel free to curl up with The Lord of the Rings or your favorite Tom Clancy book.

2. Let yourself run wild with brainstorming

When it comes to improving your innovative capabilities, think of your brain as a muscle. Just like you would lift weights at the gym to strengthen your arms or legs, you should also “work out” your brain to enhance your creative thinking abilities.

One of the best ways to do this is to let yourself truly run wild with brainstorming. Consider periodically challenging yourself to come up with as many ideas related to a particular problem all at once. Write down everything that comes to mind — no crossing out ideas because they seem too outrageous or unfeasible.

The main idea is that you can get into the practice of writing down as many ideas as possible. This will help you become open to a wider range of ideas in the future, allowing for more creative thinking when it’s time to solve problems for your business.

Related: Can Brain-Training Games Really Make You Smarter?

3. Emphasize lateral learning

Many business owners pride themselves on being true specialists in their niche. There’s nothing wrong with developing specialized knowledge that helps you deliver better results to your customers. But to enhance creative thinking, you need to embrace lateral learning.

Lateral learning essentially means that you try to learn more about a wide variety of topics — including those outside of your chosen profession. You won’t necessarily become an expert in these areas, but the idea is that you will expand your knowledge to the point where you at least have a solid understanding.

Broadening your knowledge base gives you a wider range of facts and experiences to draw from when trying to come up with solutions. In the classroom, studies have found that horizontal learning enhances student interest, making learners more likely to seek out additional learning opportunities in the future. Increasing your thirst for knowledge will make you more innovative and help you make new discoveries.

4. Learn how to manage distractions

Distractions and have a unique relationship. Highly creative people have been found to be more easily distracted than their peers, being more likely to pay attention to irrelevant information rather than filtering it out.

Though this seems like a disadvantage, it means they are actually taking in more information — more resources that can be used to generate ideas and solutions. This subsequently makes creative thinkers more likely to think of a variety of potential solutions, rather than just the obvious one.

That being said, some visual distractions will only detract from your thinking process. A messy workspace or too much smartphone access could draw you off task. While it’s clearly okay to allow distractions that help you absorb more information, maintaining a clean work environment will help you stay focused on the task at hand as you work towards a solution.

5. Don’t be afraid to take a break

Taking a break may feel like giving in to potential distractions entirely, but smart breaks can provide a massive innovative boost. To fuel innovation, taking a break can often come in the form of switching tasks. Task switching has been found to improve cognitive flexibility, making you better able to adapt to different situations.

Mindful task switching can fuel innovation without hurting your productivity.

For example, setting a timer for when to switch away from your original task can help you avoid the psychological tendency to keep working on a problem, even if you’re completely stuck. Switching tasks forces you to change the way you are thinking, allowing you to return to the original problem with a fresh perspective.

Related: Can Creative Breaks Boost Your Employees’ Productivity?

Unleash your innovative brain

Everyone has creativity and innovation inside them — sometimes, however, it simply requires a little extra effort to tap into these abilities. Whether that comes in the form of the perfect marketing slogan or a better way of serving your customers, you’ll be able to thank your brain training efforts as these breakthroughs begin to come more easily.

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Creating Conscious Wealth: The Art of Blending Purpose With Prosperity to Create Lifelong Abundancetrue abundance comes as a result of tuning into your purpose and focusing on the 11 dimensions of wealth. photo: lerina winter

In the following interview we sat down with Seth Streeter, one of the most inspiring, knowledgeable, and brilliant people we know, to get his take on holistic success, conscious wealth, and the trends shaping the emerging Financial Revolution. Seth has over 25 years in the financial industry, is the CEO and founder of Mission Wealth, a conscious wealth management firm managing $5 billion in assets for over 2100 families and non-profits. Seth holds a Masters of Science in Financial Planning and is widely renowned throughout the financial industry and entrepreneurial community as a thought-leader in the area of conscious financial planning.

In addition to helping hundreds of individuals and families to redefine wealth beyond finances, he remains active with environmental and entrepreneurial organizations in his local community of Santa Barbara, California where he lives with his two children. In 2017, Seth founded SustainableFuture.org, a nonprofit designed to unite the community to address serious climate change concerns. The technology platform utilizes gamification to amplify existing nonprofit, business, schools and public programs that empower positive actions.

Seth has been an active member of YPO (Young President’s Organization), serving in various capacities, including as the Global Chair for the Financial Services Network with over 2,000 executive members, as the founder of the Inspired Living Subnetwork and as a board member for the Health and Wellness Network with over 6,500 global members. In 2017 he spoke at the organization’s Global Leadership Conference in Vancouver and has since become a keynote speaker and facilitator, including the award-winning “Develop your 3.0 Vision for Life” international retreats that he leads. In 2016 he graced the TEDx stage and delivered his first Tedx talk, which you can watch below.

Conscious Lifestyle Magazine: Please define Conscious Wealth and give us an outline of what it means and what’s involved in it, so that anybody walking into this conversation can wrap their head around what we’re talking about.

Seth Streeter: Wealth traditionally has been about money—it’s been about material accumulation, it’s been about your 401K plan, it’s been about the home you purchase—it’s how much money is in the bank account.

Conscious Wealth is when we step beyond that definition and look at our lives much more holistically and factor in different components, such as our health, our relationships, our career satisfaction, the amount of impact we’re having in the community and in the world, to our intellectual growth, to our spiritual capital, to our emotional wellbeing. These broader definitions are what I’m really calling Conscious Wealth. Because someone could be worth $50 million, but if they can’t climb two flights of steps without being winded because they’re so out of shape, and they go home a stranger to their family because they’re working all the time, and they need sleeping pills to sleep at night because they have so much anxiety, are they truly wealthy just because they’re worth $50 million? So, Conscious Wealth looks at the broader picture of what wealth truly should be.

CLM: Beautiful. So, let’s dive into some more of these different aspects. Can you define the Ten Dimensions of Wealth and Holistic Success?

SS: The one that everyone knows about is the financial dimension. Do you have enough to live your life? Wealth is living within your means. So, as long as you have enough to live the life you want to live, well, then you’re wealthy.


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The next component of wealth is impact. Do you feel like you’re really leveraging your talents and gifts in the world and making a difference? It could be in a small way, volunteering with one child at a school, or pet-sitting. Or, it could be in a really large way in which you want to impact the environmental issues we’re facing today or global illiteracy. So, impact is an important dimension of wealth because we know the more we give, the more we get.

Emotional wealth has to do with your attitudes and wellbeing. Do you wake up happy? Are your stress levels low?

The social and family dimensions have to do with our intimate relationships—both our family and friends, as well as our relationships in the community.

The amount of fun we have is about whether you are living your bliss? Do you have big belly laughs? Are you having enough fun in your life? A lot of people are really actually lacking in that wealth factor.

Your physical wealth has to do with how your body looks, feels, and functions. Is it able to do what you want it to do without pain or injury?

The environmental dimension is about feeling a sense of place with where you live. It could be the geographic location and the feeling you have within your home. Are your lifestyle preferences optimized there, such as the climate and access to nature or a city, and does it feel like you?

Spiritual wealth is your connection to a framework beyond the everyday, something that anchors and centers you.

Intellectual wealth is whether you’re feeling stimulated. Do you feel like you’re growing intellectually or do you feel kind of stagnant?

Your career wealth has to do with whether you feel you’re being appreciated for your talents and contributions and do you feel aligned with a mission beyond yourself with your employer.

Seth Streeter - Dimensions of WealthThe 11 dimensions of wealth.

CLM: Definitely. So how did the Ten Dimensions of Wealth come together for you? How does it relate to your experience and your background?

SS: First, professionally, I’ve been in finance for 25 years, and I’ve been an advisor to hundreds of families, mostly on the dimension of financial wealth, and then I realized firsthand how financial wealth really wasn’t the sole source of happiness for these people, or the sole source of frustration in some cases. So, it was from my own professional experience of having thousands of appointments over the last 25 years, and seeing, wow, there’s more to this than money and then starting to put that into practice in my professional life.

From a personal standpoint, I’ve lived this myself. I was someone who was raised within a very goal-driven family. My brother and I had high expectations on us to do well academically, do well in sports, be involved in student government, and we always had jobs. So, I executed that strategy diligently, thinking that was going to get me ahead. It got me to a point where I realized that, even though I was achieving a lot of success in a traditional sense, I was really not fulfilled, and I was longing for more. So, from a personal standpoint, I realized that there was more to success than these achievements, these traditional metrics of career and finance and looking good on paper with all A’s. I knew that I was longing for something deeper and more fulfilling. So, I think it was kind of a bridge of those two—my professional life and my personal life—that led me to where I am today.

CLM: Of the Ten Dimensions, which are the ones that you see people struggling with the most?

SS: I would say it all starts with the self. Most people are so focused outside of themselves—and I’ll say financial, of the ten, is the one that hits on that the most. Because most people are thinking that once they get that job promotion, once they make more money, once their 401K balance goes up, once they can buy their first home, once they pay off their school debt… well, then finally they can be happy! So, it starts from a finance standpoint because people might actually attain those milestones—they might get the job, get the new car, get the promotion—and then realize they’re never satisfied because that benchmark always gets raised to another level. This goes for people I know who are worth $20 million who are not satisfied because their neighbor has $30 million, and then that person knows someone who has $50 million. And you’re never there when you’re looking for these external benchmarks to then trigger internal happiness; it doesn’t work that way.

So, I would say once someone realizes that that’s fools’ gold, that pursuit of the external, it really gets into the personal. Really, it’s a blend. The spiritual is a big part of it; the physical too—if you don’t feel good it’s hard to perform in life. Your social structure matters, specifically because the people you are around all the time shapes the person you are, so if you’re around people who are solely focused on “greed is good” and capitalism in the traditional sense, then you are going to think that is what you need to be pursuing. So, oftentimes, re-shifting a social structure really helps someone find more of that personal balance. Emotional wellbeing is critical; there are so many people who are so stressed and beating themselves up to try to get ahead—fighting traffic, battling hundreds of emails, doing the dance everyday—thinking that once they finish those emails at midnight and once they get ten appointments in a week, then, finally, I’ll be good enough.

All of these other nine dimensions besides finance blend together because it comes down to realizing that your sense of worthiness isn’t tied to any type of performance. There’s nothing you can achieve or acquire that will allow someone to actually feel worthy. Once someone gets that eye-opener, that translates across the board—in their careers, relationships, health and their emotional wellbeing, and in the impact they’ll ultimately be able to have in the world.

CLM: How do you see peoples’ lives shift once they make that connection to the deeper aspects of Conscious Wealth? That is, once they understand that they are being psychologically driven by these unconscious things, that aren’t necessarily in alignment with their life purpose, and let them go, what happens?

SS: Oh, man! It’s really exciting! It’s incremental and sometimes it’s exponential. When someone has the AHA!–which really comes from hitting a pause button in their life and actually asking: “Am I happy or do I need to redirect my energies and focus elsewhere?” Once they make that shift, then all of a sudden, I’ve seen that things really start to fall in line. People might make major career changes and then their stress levels go down. As their stress levels go down, their health improves. As their health improves and their stress goes down, they have more family time and balance, their relationships improve. As they have more time and balance, they begin to think about ways in which they can give back, which they didn’t have time for before. There is an absolute domino effect between all these other nine dimensions that all seem to conspire in someone’s favor toward justifying and validating the decision to step away from that prior path and into what’s truly in alignment with their highest goals.

CLM: I love that, and let me play devil’s advocate for a little bit. What would you say to people who have this idea that they can’t do these things, that they can’t play more because they have bills to pay or responsibilities or a family? Because what you’re essentially saying is, follow your bliss on a certain level. Do the things that really bring you joy and happiness first. How do you do that and still create wealth in your life and still deal with responsibility?

SS: Like with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, there is a certain baseline of financial practicality that needs to be adhered to. I am not advising people to just leave all responsibility and be whimsical—not pay your mortgage bill and forget your credit card bill and stop funding your kids’ college and just go join the circus! I help them make sure that their blocking and tackling of their baseline finances are in good order. That’s why financial planning is a great portal into these conversations. Because once someone has a basic understanding of cash flow, assets and liabilities, taxes, estate planning—which are kind of the baseline four—then we can start moving up that Maslow pyramid to start working toward areas of self-actualization.

There’s a study that was done in 2010 by a couple of professors at Princeton that actually had a sample of 450,000 people that they studied over two years, and it was about the correlation between income levels and happiness. What they found was that there was a positive correlation between these peoples’ happiness and income levels up to $75,000 a year of income; beyond $75,000 a year of income, there wasn’t that much of a correlation at all with happiness levels. Typically, I’m dealing with more affluent people who are above that baseline threshold—they know that they’re going to be able to pay their rent or pay their mortgage that month—and they’re stressing out in a zone where it’s not about turning the lights on; it’s about them stressing over stuff they shouldn’t have to be stressing about. But, yes, there should be a baseline level of practicality we have with our finances; and, in doing so, it’s going to free you up to pursue your bliss in a sustainable way versus just over two months until your credit cards are capped and you have to go face reality again.

CLM: As you were talking about this, it came to me that this idea that it’s not spiritual to focus on money, that money is just a distraction from the spiritual path, this is something that comes up a lot, even though one of the Ten Dimensions of Wealth is spiritual. Can you talk to how having a healthy relationship with money can actually be in support of your spiritual path and the spiritual dimension of love? How can we include money on the spiritual path, because it’s so necessary in our day-to-day lives?

SS: Money has no value in and of itself; it’s just a representation of its value elsewhere. A dollar is just a piece of paper of paper that’s worth about four cents. A credit card is just a piece of plastic that’s worth about one cent. Gold bullion is just gold that we put a monetary value to. When we think about value, value is really energy. With money, we’re putting a lot of value, a lot of energy, into something that really doesn’t have power: a piece of paper, a piece of plastic. Instead, the spiritual integration with money is more about how that energy can flow through you into the world and make a positive difference and help others. The spiritual framework around money is really about creating value by being of service to others.

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And, when you are leveraging your gifts and being of service to others in your own unique way, then money will be a by-product of that, rather than saying: “I need to make as much money as possible and what careers will pay me the most money?” I’ve counseled a lot of young people over the years and eventually with this type of thinking they will burn out because they’re not being fueled from an authentic place. So, really, the spiritual connection to money is about authenticity, it’s about service to others, it’s about recognizing that your job is to be in full expression of your gifts into the world; and, if you do that, money will be a by-product.

CLM: In that same vein of thinking, is worthiness, which you mentioned earlier, a by product as well?

SS: First of all, for me, spirituality is an inside job; and I’ve learned that worthiness is an inside job as well. Spirituality, for me, doesn’t come from doing a bunch of things out there; and worthiness, I’ve learned the hard way, doesn’t come from retaining a bunch of things out there. All three—spirituality, worthiness and wealth—all three are inside jobs, so in that way, they’re completely connected.

CLM: So how does this tie in to life purpose? A lot of people make their money just being driven by wealth. But, after a certain point, after you make enough money, then what?

SS: It’s interesting; I’ve worked with a lot of executives over the years, and I’ve taken them through a process I call the Inspired Life Purpose Assessment (see graphic below). The best part is that when we have them look at the intersection of the four categories from the exercise—where their gifts intersect with their skills and education, what their greatest passion is and what they believe the world needs most—that intersection is their inspired life purpose. What’s really cool is that, instead of just thinking about return on money, its important for people to reflect on their return on purpose. What type of return are you getting on the purpose that’s within you that you really can’t deny? The one that has always been knocking on the door inside your soul. Return on purpose is an important dimension of wealth when we look at our Conscious Wealth assessment.

Inspired Life Purpose Assesmentto learn more about creating conscious wealth and to take your inspired life assessment, visit: missionwealth.com/redefining-wealth

CLM: Return on purpose instead of return on investment. So, the more you align with your purpose, the more return you get?

SS: Absolutely. That’s been a truth I’ve seen over and over again. Back to those examples where people are taking the job out of college that they think will pay them the most rather than saying or thinking, “My biggest priority is to be in pursuit of my inner purpose. And I’m going to be in the fullest expression of my gifts, abilities, skills, and passion to try to push this purpose forward.” If those are the two things that they focus on, I can tell you they will achieve tremendous success and tremendous wealth in the ways that matter most to them.

CLM: That framework that you just outlined sounds like it’s a perfect way for people, if they’re not sure what their purpose is, to figure out where all these things overlap and to crystallize that for them.

SS: I would just encourage people to realize that you can be in expression of your purpose and be wealthy. I think a lot of people have this mindset that there’s two camps when it comes to money: There’s the capitalist who thinks greed is good, who’s just focused on money and has no life balance and maybe limited spiritual connection; and there’s the yogi who’s meditating on a mat and has their abundance board and their vision wall, and they’re praying to be able to pay their rent that month, but they don’t have a lot of financial abundance. It’s important to realize that you can have both; one is not in conflict with the other. The people that I’ve worked with who have become the wealthiest are those that have realized that there’s an absolute integration of those two. That you can be in full expression of yourself, connected to source, amplifying your gifts, being of service, coming from a place of joy while also kicking butt at a business, being paid a fair exchange for the goods or services that they’re providing to the world. Again, that’s what money is: money is just a reflection of energy, it’s a reflection of value. When you’re coming from an authentic place, putting out your best into the world with a purpose you care deeply about, there’s going to be value, there will be money.

CLM: I love this idea, especially with the new paradigm emerging from the way that society is restructuring itself with the Internet. It’s allowing people to earn money in ways that you’ve never been able to do before. You can have a knitting store selling little personalized mittens for children and be a millionaire! You have to start to rethink your life if you’ve been operating from the old paradigm where you just have to show up and get your paycheck. You really have to reconsider what your life purpose is because that’s going to be the key to your happiness and abundance and all those things that you’re talking about.

SS: Everything is available. People feel threatened by the changes that are happening now, where more and more jobs are going to be automated—whether it’s driverless cars or robotics or it’s artificial intelligence coming into our machines—the Internet of Everything; yet, I see it the opposite. I see it as such a tremendous opportunity for you to finally say what is uniquely you and ask how can you bring that into and a place that you really care about. And you guys are a great example of that by the way!

That’s why the best companies out there that are attracting Millennials are those that have a purpose and a mission to their company and people will work for those types of companies—with even a lower income level—because they are so behind what that company is about. And Millennials want to work for a company that they believe is doing something good for the world. It’s not just about a paycheck, and that’s been a shift.

Mindful Money Seth Streeterphoto: lerina winter

Our parents’ generation would go where the jobs were. They would move the family, and they would make their life in Toledo, Ohio, if that’s where the job was. Millennials say: “Where do I want to live? How do I want to live? And, by the way, I will find a way to make my career blend into that lifestyle!”

CLM: You’ve intuitively pulled up the concept of Financial Evolution; it was kind of bouncing around in the background. What is Financial Evolution and how does that play into everything?

SS: As we’re talking about Conscious Wealth, I think there are additional trends that are supporting it besides what we spoke about before. Those trends include careers where people want to work for mission-led companies and be part of a culture that feels really aligned with them, and they‘ll make less money to work for a company like that.

When we take a look at investing, it used to be that people invested just for a return, and they wanted to maximize return. And, now, there’s over $20 trillion in socially responsible investments. People now are saying, “I want to invest according to my values. I don’t want to own tobacco companies if I’ve lost my mom to lung cancer. I don’t want to own a company that does animal testing.” Whatever someone’s values are, they can now invest according to those values. Companies are taking note, and now companies are really cleaning up their practices because they realize not only their investors but then also the consumers really care more about the products they are buying. They look at labels and they wonder is this an organic product or is this made chemical-free? Companies are waking up to a greater level of consciousness because of investment influences and consumer influences.

When we look at definitions of success, it used to be that material success was the greatest—the Porsche and the Ferrari and the boat and the mansion—that was how someone was successful. And, now, as we mentioned (and Millennials know) it’s about lifestyle—it’s about balance, it’s about time for health, it’s about purpose, it’s about giving back. Even in my career, in the financial services world, it used to be that advice was solely based on investment decisions, cash flow planning, taxes, estate planning, insurance. Now advisors are starting to measure these holistic metrics. They’re starting to talk about happiness and career alignment and return on purpose to actually measure what matters most to people. There’s a lot of wonderful trends that are also kind of shifting this greater consciousness around money and I call that the Financial Evolution.

CLM: So, here’s another kind of devil’s advocate question: Having been on both sides of the coin, where, at first, financing business was just this super-complex, obtuse thing; it seemed hard and expensive to play with and risky. But since I’ve erased that, I’ve really learned that it’s not that hard, it’s not that complicated; just some general ideas and principles that, once you understand those, things start to make sense. Taken out to a practical level—this might seem like a basic question for someone who is running a wealth management company—how can someone get started? Not everybody who’s reading the magazine is going to have millions of dollars. How can someone with $30,000 or $74,000 who wants to invest their money impactfully, how can they get started?

SS: It’s interesting that when I think of the 35-year-old who makes $70,000 a year, the level of attention that I will hear that they put into their diet, their workout regime, their travel, vacation planning, their social events that weekend, maybe even their wardrobe—they put a lot of thought into those areas. But when it comes to really building their personal wealth in the traditional financial sense, they put very little thought. Maybe they just invest in a 401K, and they just try to pay off credit cards and student loans and that’s all they really think of. We’re talking three minutes a week is all they spend thinking about this.

The first step is to have a dedicated practice to your wealth—the same way you have a dedicated practice to meditation or to your yoga practice. You have to have a dedicated practice in which you first sit and visualize what you want from your life—as far as lifestyle, as far as the types of investments you want to make, as far as the type of home you want to live in—you know, really visualize your life. Step two is making an honest assessment of where you are at today. Ask yourself: “Now that I know where I want to go, where am I today? How is my career tracking? Am I maximizing my career opportunities in my current role with my current company? How am I doing with my debts, with my savings, with my investments?” Once you then have that honest assessment, then the third step is to now develop a strategy forward. “What are the next steps that I can take?”

It comes down to kaizen: incremental small steps. First is, “I’m going to commit to spending less than I earn, so I have a surplus. I’m going to find a way to live within a certain budget and be mindful because paying myself first needs to be one of my most important bills.” Just as important as it is to pay your mortgage, you need to pay yourself first. Once you’ve committed to having that surplus to pay yourself first, then you ask: “How should I be investing this surplus?” However small it is, starting somewhere—it could be $50 a month—start there. You want to say, what’s the smartest ways I can invest? From a smart standpoint, tax-wise, you want to take advantage of pretax or tax-free type of growth vehicles. Maybe it’s your 401K with your employer; maybe it’s a SEP IRA if you’re self-employed; maybe it’s a Roth IRA; there are a lot of different tax structures that can benefit someone for long-term accumulation.

Now that you know how to invest in a smart fashion, you then ask: “Now what do I do as far as my investing within that vehicle? Within my Roth IRA or within my 401K, how can I invest that money?” That’s where you can seek professional guidance or do some research online to understand the power of compounding interest, the importance of asset allocation, the importance of rebalancing. Once you have that type of piece in place, then you can ask: “To what degree do I want to make this a socially responsible investment?” There’s mutual funds out there; there’s exchange-traded funds out there; there’s companies that can do screening on stocks and bonds for you to make that investment a socially impactful investment.

It comes down to simple steps; but it really begins with taking time to visualize, making it a priority, and then breaking it down into simple, action items the same way you would if you were trying to change your diet or begin a yoga practice.

CLM: So many people just ignore finances, especially conscious people because money has got so much stigma around it. Without guidance, without having gone to school for it, it could be a little intimidating. It’s pretty straightforward; if things get complicated, then you can just go with a financial advisor.

SS: There are also a lot of online robo-advisors available today. You could do this all from the comforts of your home and be able to have professionally managed money much cheaper than ever before. There’s really no excuse; it can be done—with a few clicks of a button, you can have a portfolio. The thing that I would encourage people to think about is not just their financial assets but that we all have a lot of forms of assets. What is your artistic capital? Maybe you have a lot of creative genius that isn’t being fully deployed with your current employer. Or, maybe you have good social capital: you have some really fantastic relationships and connections that you aren’t fully leveraging right now. Intellectual capital: what’s something that you have knowledge of or unique insight into that maybe isn’t being brought into the marketplace today? So, when you’re thinking about your assets, it’s not just how much cash and debt do I have today? It’s what are your unique assets that can be leveraged to help build more value and more financial wealth in your life?

CLM: To make this as practical as possible, let’s say someone’s in their 30s, somewhere in the middle of their life, and they’re wanting to be as successful as possible but still have fun, still honor their life purpose and have a meaningful life. What advice do you have for them?

SS: It may sound counterintuitive, but I would say they should be a lot more playful; they should have a lot more fun and have a lot more levity in their approach to life. I know that I always felt that to be successful in my career, I had to be super serious because money is a serious thing! Same with my workouts: I had to train to do an Ironman, and I’d be really serious about that. In my relationships: I want to be a really good parent. In a lot of different dimensions I’d realize this is really serious; I had a lot of responsibility in me. At some point, I realized that Buddhas are playful, and some of the most successful people out there have a kind of a gleam in their eye and a certain sense of playfulness. So, to that person I would say to think about ways in which you could have more ease, more relaxation, more playfulness. When you’re at work, smile more; I think you’ll find that you’ll actually do better. It sounds kind of counterintuitive, but those people who have a lightness about them, it brings a certain confidence, it makes you more approachable, it makes you more likable; you’re going to be more promotable if you have more playfulness and ease in your every day. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone. Just be light. Be yourself and allow your natural abilities to flow into your career. I’d say that’s the most important advice: have more ease, more joy.

CLM: Do you have any final thoughts that you’d like to share?

SS: I’d say that my passion is being a positive catalyst in people’s lives. Anyone in professional services has this ability to be almost a Trojan horse, to show up and have the other person think we’re talking about a tax return or a portfolio, but really we’re here to be a change agent in someone’s life for the positive. That is really helping my business grow exponentially across the country. You can really have the same thing. Figure out what your deepest purpose is; be bold enough to pursue that. Understand that vulnerability is strength; it’s not weakness. The more vulnerable you are, the more people are going to feel they can relate to you, and they’re going to feel like you are being truly honest and genuine with them. It’s going to serve you in your career and in your relationships. Be able to really define what wealth means to you. My experience with hundreds of families has been that wealth is not external; it’s really about internal work. Wealth is about knowing your priorities and living them. It’s about a lot more than just money and encompasses those other nine dimensions of wealth. It’s about being of service to others—the more you give the more you get—and that’s the truth. It’s about meaning; making sure you have meaning and connection every day with others and with strangers. It’s about appreciating what you have and it’s about wanting less than you have. As long as you want less than you have, by definition, you are already wealthy. Be bold enough to redefine what wealth means to you and just lean into that and watch the abundance flow your way.

About The Interviewee

Seth Streeter Seth Streeter is the Co-Founder and Chief Impact Officer of Mission Wealth, a nationally recognized and employee-owned wealth management company that empowers families to achieve their dreams. Mission Wealth manages $5 billion in assets for over 2100 families and non-profit organizations.

Headquartered in Santa Barbara, CA and Austin, TX, the firm has offices located across the country. Mission Wealth is proud of its recent Best Work Places recognition by Fortune, Investment News and Inc. Magazine and as the #1 ranked Best Places to Work for Financial Advisers for firms in its size category.

Seth is a thought-leader in the area of conscious financial planning. He helps people reframe their perspective of wealth beyond the financial to enjoy more balanced, impactful, and fulfilling lives. In 2015 he was recognized by Real Leaders magazine as one of the Top 100 visionary leaders. In 2016 he spoke on the TEDX stage, The Untethered Life: Wealth Redefined and shared his powerful message. Since this time, he has been an in demand podcast guest on numerous industry shows; including, Fidelity Fin Point, ForbesBooks, Belay Advisor and Becoming Referable. For more information and resources, visit: missionwealth.com/redefining-wealth

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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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Treating Inflammation Naturally: How to Quickly Heal from Aches and Pain

Did You Know?

Inflammation and inflammation-related diseases are one of the most commonly reported and diagnosed medical conditions with over 44% of Americans (125 million people) [1] diagnosed with a chronic inflammatory disease and many millions more experiencing mild inflammatory responses (such as painful joints, swelling, sore muscles, and headaches) on a regular basis. Over the counter anti-inflammatory medications are one of the most commonly used drugs worldwide. Over 30 million take some sort of prescription or over the counter anti-inflammatory medication every day. [2] But did you know that many of these man-made medicines can have inflammatory side effects in the long run? While pharmaceuticals can help reduce pain and inflammation quickly, taking these synthetic options for long periods of time can have disastrous side effects that take a toll on vital organs and overall health and well-being. Long-term use of anti-inflammatory medications can increase the risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, and stomach ulcers. [3]

Natural Approaches to Healing Inflammation

If you or someone you know has been struggling with acute or chronic inflammation for months or even years, now is the time to try a more natural approach. Science is showing that natural plants and herbs can be just as effective (or more effective) at treating pain and inflammation than over the counter options. [4]. The best part about using all-natural supplements for inflammation is that they don’t have any damaging long-term side effects. And, these botanicals can help to heal the underlying cause of inflammation—rather than simply manage symptoms.

Here’s a quick overview of some of the top anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements. Whether you have mild aches and pains from time to time or whether you’re struggling with a chronic inflammatory condition or autoimmune disease, when it comes to reducing both acute and inflammation in the body these plants are superstars!

The Best Herbs for Inflammation

1. Boswellia serrata (aka frankincense) is a plant native to India with a remarkable set of anti-inflammatory properties. It acts by turning off cytokines that begin the inflammatory process and stopping the formation of leukotrienes, which are the immune cells responsible for inflammation. [5]

2. Bromelain is an enzyme that comes from the stem of pineapples. It has been shown to reduce inflammation, swelling, pain, and soreness. [6]

3. Black Pepper is much more than a kitchen staple. It’s active ingredient, piperine, is a natural anti-inflammatory, and studies show that it could reduce inflammation associated with asthma, arthritis, chronic gastritis, and Alzheimer’s, and more. [4]

4. Cayenne Pepper contains the inflammation-fighting compound capsaicin, which is a potent inhibitor of substance P, the pain-producing neuropeptide that’s produced as a result of inflammation. [7]

5. Cinnamon is not just a delicious spice. Research indicates that cinnamon drastically reduces inflammation by blocking the release of inflammatory fatty acids from cell membranes and inhibiting the formation of other inflammatory substances. [7]

6. Devil’s Claw is a claw-shaped fruit native to South Africa where it has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for inflammation and as a modern treatment for arthritis pain. Numerous studies have shown it’s just as effective as common over the counter and prescription medications. [5]

7. Ginger is another cooking staple that contains potent anti-inflammatory compounds. Several studies have shown that it decreases overall inflammation and pain related to migraines, menstruation, arthritis and more, and it is just as effective as Aspirin and Ibuprofen in doing so. [8]

8. Turmeric is another plant native to India with impressive anti-inflammatory benefits. This common spice contains curcumin, an anti-inflammatory polyphenol that occurs naturally in the plant. In a double-blind study, it was shown to be more effective than pharmaceutical options at reducing pain and inflammation after surgery. [9]

9. White Willow Bark contains a compound called salicin, which has a similar anti-inflammatory effect in the body as Aspirin but without the gastrointestinal side effects. [5]

Fully Human Supplements for Inflammation

Fully Human Supplements combines all of these anti-inflammatory ingredients into one capsule. Founder, Tim Chrisman, started Fully Human Supplements after trying multiple medications and procedures that only temporarily relieved his persistent, overwhelming joint pain and arthritis. Desperate for relief, he began to extensively research natural alternatives for chronic inflammation, which led to remarkable results and the formation of Fully Human Supplements. The brand offers two natural anti-inflammatory options in two different strengths: Liberty and Freedom.

Liberty is a proactive maintenance supplement that works with your body to prevent long-term inflammation. This dosage is especially useful for athletes and people with highly active occupations or lifestyles because it helps to shorten recovery time. It also helps reduce daily inflammatory triggers from diet and stress. Freedom is a more potent and targeted dose that works at repairing chronic inflammation. This option is best for those who are actively seeking relief from chronic inflammation and inflammatory disease. As their names suggest, both Liberty and Freedom are designed to fully liberate you from inflammation.

Both Liberty and Freedom consist of the 9 anti-inflammatory super herbs and extracts listed above, all of which are scientifically shown to heal or maintain healthy inflammation levels. There are over 400 scientific studies supporting the anti-inflammatory properties of these 9 ingredients. While there are a lot of natural and safe inflammation remedies out there (from cold plunges to PEMF therapy), few are as inexpensive and effective as high-quality supplementation. Unlike over-the-counter pharmaceutical medications, both Liberty and Freedom are extremely safe and effective for long-term use.

As a former gymnast, who has struggled with pain in my wrists and lower back ever since, I decided to try out Liberty from Fully Human Supplements for myself. Here’s what I noticed after using the products for 4 weeks.

Week 1

+ Reduced redness, swelling and puffiness in hands and face (sometimes within as little as 30 minutes after taking Liberty)
+ Fewer stress headaches throughout the work week

Week 2

+ Reduced brain fog; fewer headaches
+ Increased mental clarity and focus
+ Decreased joint pain in wrists

Week 3

+ Decreased symptoms of PMS
+ Less painful menstrual cycle

Week 4

+ Less reactivity to inflammatory foods including gluten and dairy
+ Decreased backaches and pain

To liberate yourself from pain and inflammation, head over to FullyHumanSupplements.com

This article is a sponsored post written in collaboration with Fully Human Supplements, 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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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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Astrology and Crystals: The Best Stones for Each of the 12 Zodiac Signsphoto: gabby conde

Power Stones and Healing Crystals for the Zodiac

Crystals can help serve as spiritual power tools to teach us how to bring the mind to a greater sense of peace, the body into a more stable, grounded state, and the spirit into connection with the infinite from which springs all creation. Our power gemstones can remind us of a higher truth and keep us centered in that light. When we become aware of the qualities of beauty, frequency, and color and their possible uses, stone “medicine” may help us explore what our current needs are and how we may transform certain situations by using a stone as a meditative focus and an inspirational power source. Gems and minerals have patterns and pictures on their surfaces that can transport you to another world, igniting your imagination. They are very tactile and soothing to touch and hold.

How are the zodiac signs and crystals related? The idea of healing with crystals was first popularized in the 1930s when the famous American trance psychic Edgar Cayce claimed that his visions revealed that, in the time of Atlantis, crystals were used as a source of energy. He even described a crystal capstone on a centrally located pyramid that could power airships. He also mentioned various specific stones when prescribing healing protocols for the people he read for.

When it comes to astrology and crystals, each stone becomes a meditative amplifier that can help you to transform your situation. Stones can keep you centered and reminded of a higher truth. By looking to the mineral kingdom for assistance in the healing process, we are connecting to tools that enable us to look deeper within so as to obtain an understanding of the cause of the distress that is creating disease. Distress can be caused by negative beliefs, by environmental factors, or by interactions with people, which can sometimes create havoc in our energy field. When we consume alcohol or drugs, we can also affect our energy fields and cause a disruption in our vibrations.

Always remember that crystal healing should be used in conjunction with—and not as a substitute for—conventional medicine. There are many factors that make up our well-being. Illnesses need to be tended to by a trusted physician, with yourself as your best advocate. As we all know, however, stress and distress can also have a profound effect on our health. All thoughts and actions have consequences, creating harmony or disharmony. Disharmony can cause illness. Working with ritual and with healing rocks and crystals help you to create harmony, handle your stress, and feel better.

The following healing stones for the zodiac signs offer a beautiful stability and can help you focus on your strengths so that you can use them to compensate for your weaknesses. When we use crystals or stones as healing tools, they have the ability to rebalance a disruptive vibration so that we can be aware of the reason behind the distress.


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Below we describe the nature and special healing message of crystals for each sign of the zodiac. We have gathered the information for these astrological associations through working with them for many years, and below we suggest the perfect power stone for each sign.


The garnet takes its name from the resemblance of its deep red color to that of the pomegranate. It can help bring success in things you passionately believe in and, if appropriate, the sparks of sexual energy. This zodiac crystal may also be useful when wisdom and balance in this most important exchange of energies are needed. If this is so, look within to see if true love, tenderness, and genuine respect and caring are part of your romantic passion.

Garnet can help bring balance and self-awareness and destroy flightiness, leaving in its place love, romance, and sometimes lustiness, for those who need it. Because of its rich color and association with the root chakra, the garnet suggests a powerful influence for sensuality and sexuality. It may help put you in touch with your animal instincts, enabling you to act and react with their pure body wisdom. Therapists who believe in the power of gemstones use the garnet in counseling couples whose sexual chemistry has begun to wane.

For meditation and ritual purposes, the garnet is used primarily as a power stone, to enhance self-confidence and help to manifest personal and career goals. Garnet has properties useful for giving inspiration during times of confusion. The red garnet is a stone of profound love and helps to ensure fidelity in relationships. This astrology crystal is also known as a stone of patience and persistence and is emblematic of spiritual awareness and compassion.

Garnet is highly versatile—it encourages the wearer to search for answers—and the answers that come as a result of this search will be helpful and important ones. Worn on a regular basis, the stone is believed to boost energy and stimulate romantic love.

Garnet’s message: Because it has a bold energy, the garnet makes a perfect amulet for someone whose confidence or self-esteem needs bolstering. Because of its warm vibrations, it makes a good meditation stone for security and intimacy.

Other good gemstones for Aries are: bloodstone, red jasper and pyrite.


Rose quartz is the stone that can help heal the heart, as it works on an emotional level. It can help you to become more aware of the love that is all around you and can assist you in getting in touch with your emotions. Rose quartz teaches us to love ourselves more, thus opening us up to a greater universal love. When we don’t love ourselves fully, we are wounded inside, and a wound will always cry out to be healed. Rose quartz heals emotional wounds by giving compassion and comfort. It can be used to help us to overcome grief.

Like other healing crystals for zodiac signs, rose quartz’s properties include inner peace, tranquility, and all matters dealing with giving and receiving affection.

Unlike the hard-edged, pointed crystals of clear quartz, the lovely rose quartz is found in great veins running through Mother Earth like her life’s blood. Use it when compassion and generosity need to be shown, or when healing and forgiveness are needed. Rose quartz may help those who have suffered through trauma and the pain of an unhappy childhood. If this is true for you, start by forgiving yourself and others. Be gentle with yourself and others; we have all suffered wounds. From forgiveness can come a path to true healing.

You can also sleep with rose quartz beneath your pillow. The pain of a difficult past problem may come up in dreams, but you can better handle this if you affirm before you go to sleep that you are ready to release the pain.

Rose quartz’s message: Self-fulfillment and inner peace require you to love and nurture yourself and those you care about. Work on how to give love as well as how to receive it. Remember to forgive.

Other good gemstones for Taurus are: emerald, malachite and selenite.


Agate is a general protector of the entire body and the entire auric field. Agate can help us to focus on growth and healing. It attracts strength and vitality, and it has the ability to help bring your body into balance. A special property of agate is the blending and balancing of energies for power, protection, and organizational qualities, causing a stabilizing effect. Agate also can help reinforce the body’s connection to the Earth. It can give courage and dispel fears, all of which increase self-confidence. It gives you the strength to carry on, even when you feel weak or tired.

This zodiac crystal offers protection from bad dreams and also protects one from stress and worry. Agates with banded colors were placed at the head of a sleeper to give rich and varied dreams.

Since our earliest civilizations, agates have been prized gems. They were used in jewelry and as power tools in Babylonia. Conjurers in Persia used the crystal to try to affect the weather. In ancient Asia, agates were used to see the future. Studying the circular patterns helped open the pathway to receive guidance and messages by connecting the pathways between the conscious and subconscious minds.

Agate can also be enlisted for emotional healing, especially to resolve bitterness and resentments. It is believed to be a stone of harmony and therefore can help soften feelings of envy by grounding agitation. By bringing the elements of one’s being into harmony, it can improve relationships. Agate also enhances creativity and stimulates the intellect. Carry an agate when you have to make an important decision.

Agate’s message: Placing an agate under your pillow may aid with insomnia and can stimulate pleasant dreams. If you have to deal with numbers, an agate placed on your desk will help you be more precise. You’ll also be more analytical as well as creative in your approach to situations.

Other good gemstones for Gemini are: clear quartz, tiger’s eye and bi-colored tourmaline.


Carnelian grounds energy and helps us to pay attention to the present moment, thus teaching us to focus and manifest our personal power. Use it to encourage strength and the courage to prevail. Carnelian helps to ease stress and anxiety and to improve memory.

Use this astrology crystal when barriers of time and space or discouraging news threaten to stop you on your path. If this is true for you now, it is necessary for you to look below the surface of things in order for you to know what is really going on, for things are not what they seem. There is no reason to give up unless and until you know exactly how things stand. Once you do, carnelian can help you regain your courage.

Carry carnelian with you to guard against those who try to use their power over you. This zodiac crystal can also help you regain the drive you need to pursue your goals or help to give birth to a new project or flesh out an existing one. Believed to prevent depression, carnelian helps to build courage by providing self-esteem and an optimistic outlook.

Carnelian stimulates energy, physical power, and courage, and helps to ground you on the physical plane.

Early Egyptians used carnelian for amulets, as it was thought to protect the wearer from evil, and to prevent anger and envy. Renaissance sages kept a carnelian amulet in the home to protect themselves from curses.

Carnelian’s message: It offers patience while counteracting doubt and negative thoughts. It also assists in decision making by helping us ground ourselves in the present, and make decisions based not on our past, but on our present reality.

Other good gemstones for Cancer are: pearl, ammonite and moonstone.


The citrine’s sunny color helps restore the mind in much the same way that basking in the life-giving light of Father Sun does. Citrine helps one to maintain a positive outlook on life. It removes blocks and fears on all levels and helps one to better communicate with others. Citrine helps create a sense of stability, adds energy and emotional balance, and provides a rational approach to things, grounding us in the here and now.

Citrine’s energy means that a positive, optimistic attitude will produce a positive outcome. Use it when great self-confidence and self-esteem are needed. Stress and fatigue, either emotional or physical, can make life seem bleak and can make you unable to cope with challenges. Make sure to get enough rest and have some fun. Citrine can help you regain your emotional balance. We all stray from our path. How long it takes us to recover is what determines our successes and failures.

Citrine is one of the best crystals for all zodiac signs when it comes to manifesting power on both a practical and a magical level. Because it encourages a healthy ego, self-esteem, and feelings of worth, it empowers its wearer both emotionally and spiritually. New Age healers believe that the stone can increase the significance of dreams and open the mind to new and more positive thought forms. Due to its color, it is believed to strengthen the urinary and endocrine systems.

Citrine is known to clean toxic impurities out of the air and aura. On a supernatural level, it boosts willpower, happiness, and confidence, while reducing self-destructive tendencies. As a result of this, it can also bring good fortune, often in surprising and very unexpected ways.

Citrine’s message: Some therapists believe that people who are have lost a sense of identity because of an unhappy or abusive relationship can reclaim much of their personal power by meditating with citrine on a regular basis.

Other good gemstones for Leo are: amber, topaz and jasper.


This stone acts in a protective way, on both the physical and spiritual levels. Jade has long been believed to facilitate and fortify a long life. The Chinese have traditionally held jade in very high esteem, and it has a lovely history as a protective talisman.

Amulets of animals were carved to promote a healthier, longer life and would attract the protection of the spirits when needed. Jade was also used in rituals to attract wealth and fortune. Statues of this stone for abundance and protection were common. Dishes were often carved from jade. The gem was also believed to symbolize longevity, and therefore food or drink contained in jade vessels would absorb that energy.

Jade energy bestows peace, calmness, harmony, tranquility, and mental clarity, and encourages one to safely express one’s true feelings and emotions. It strongly influences the matters of the heart and can help to improve relationships. Jade is wonderful for repairing relationship connections and ties that have been lost or broken.

This stone also promotes a more unified environment so you may accomplish compromise with partners, family members, or co-workers. Jade inspires and promotes creative thought as a zodiac crystal.

For business matters, you can use jade to unite diverse individuals and get them working toward common goals. It aids in creating a harmonious atmosphere and a desire for success and abundance without materialism or greed.

Jade is also favorable for strengthening clear reasoning and in so doing stimulates excellent decision making. Because it has a balancing effect, jade motivates the wearer to believe that his or her plans and ambitions are worthy of success.

Jade’s message: This is a helpful stone for those who have a nervous temperament or who are easily overwhelmed. The loving energies of this stone will assist you in recovering from emotional trauma because it provides grounding energy and a sense of security.

Other good gemstones for Virgo are: Amazonite, sapphire and zircon.


One of the most ancient protection stones, turquoise is a sacred stone associated with sky energy because of its color. It also brings sky energy to Earth. Prized in Asian as well as Native American culture, it is known as a multipurpose stone, excellent for promoting a sense of self-awareness and the ability to communicate honestly and from the heart. The stone encourages creative thinking, as many do, but turquoise has the power to help channel that creative energy in a productive and useful way.

Turquoise is considered a lucky stone; it facilitates the attraction of abundance and prosperity. Turquoise has a balancing and grounding influence. Its properties include mental relaxation, stress reduction, confidence, attunement, and physical well-being., making it one of the most popular healing stones for the 12 zodiac signs in astrology.

The blue-green turquoise is a stone sacred to many tribes around the world. Use it when you feel the need to call on your spirit guides because you have reached an important time in your life or a crossroads. Turquoise is helpful when you need to restore communication with your Higher Self, and it stimulates your development on the spiritual level. If this is true for you now, it is time to take action to restore your faith. Life often appears meaningless when our faith in the unseen forces that surround and sustain us is weak.

Turquoise can help us not to be distracted by our sorrows. It can help restore our sense of humor so we can enjoy life’s gifts as well as its challenges, for we cannot have one without the other. Miracles can be seen every day. Turquoise is a favorite stone among New Age healers, who believe that it has the power to energize the body and spirit, as well as to balance right brain–left brain disparity.

Turquoise’s message: True communication is about more than words, and turquoise can help achieve this. Carrying a piece of turquoise will help keep you centered, and wearing it improves all the senses, including the sixth sense.

Other good gemstones for Libra are: diamond, chrysoprase and lepidolite.


Obsidian is a stone of protection that prevents one from becoming emotionally drained by others. It can work as a shield against unwanted vibrations and help protect you from physical or emotional harm. Native Americans keep this stone on them to protect them from negative energies or psychic attack.

Obsidian tends to give emotional stability in times of high stress, in part by preventing the draining of energy from the body. The energy to help with grounding is the strongest attribute available in this stone. Keeping obsidian with you helps prevent negative thought patterns and can also be used for space clearing by removing the vibrations of unhelpful or distracting entities.

Obsidian is an excellent crystal-gazing tool. Some practitioners have better luck peering into obsidian’s black depths to reach their subconscious messages than into a traditional clear quartz crystal ball.

The black, glasslike obsidian is forged in the fires of volcanoes, Mother Earth’s way of clearing away the old to make way for the new. It helps with transitions, so use it when you realize that the old must be completely released before the new can enter your life. It may also be useful when obsessions and negative thoughts and actions are blocking you. If this is happening to you, try to let every negative thought and action you encounter in yourself or in others remind you to think and act positively.

This gemstone may help you recover forgotten abilities within yourself. Obsidian can help you to become more aware of your true place in the universe by sharpening your inner vision. It will also help you become more aware of your imperfections and at the same time provide constructive solutions and insights.

Obsidian’s message: Do not give in to the desire to think and act negatively, even if others do. This is a difficult but most powerful teaching. Our negativity comes back to us in unpleasant ways. Obsidian may help you cope with negativity and keep centered in unstable times. Do not resist change.

Other good zodiac crystals for Scorpio are: onyx, ruby and black opal.


The amethyst’s purple color, the color of pure spirit and the seemingly magical things connected with it, is rare in nature. Use it when you need approval from the universe, or when peace and calm are needed. If this is so, try this basic meditation: Take a few moments to breathe calmly and focus your attention on your breathing. Let all thoughts drift away like clouds. After a while you may sense the small voice of your Higher Self. Be aware of the natural fear of not being in control or not knowing exactly what to do next on your path. Amethyst can help you trust in yourself and “let go and let God/Goddess.” Holding an amethyst may help ease the pain and sorrow of a loss or defeat.

Easily recognizable for its beautiful color, this stone is known to promote personal serenity and feelings of peace. This specific astrology crystal derives its reputation for being a healing stone from ancient and medieval times when it was used as an amulet against drunkenness. The amethyst is a power stone on many levels; holds the intention to heal the body as well as the spirit. The amethyst has long been used to open one’s psychic centers.

In folklore, this stone is believed to have a soothing and relaxing effect. Holistic healers sometimes use amethyst to ease toothache and bruising. It calms an overactive mind and brings a sense of tranquility to those who are frazzled by overwork. It is used as a dream stone and to help insomnia. For those who are psychically sensitive, it can improve the ability of second sight. As an amulet, it can be worn as a protective talisman against jealousy, envy, and deception.

Amethyst’s message: Amethyst is believed to be helpful in the treatment of insomnia. By putting an amethyst under the pillow, the troubled sleeper should experience better REM sleep, with less chance of fitful slumber.

Other good gemstones for Sagittarius are: sodalite, sugilite and tanzanite.


Amber is the oldest geological specimen to be used in jewelry. Archeologists digging primitive sites near the Baltic Sea have found evidence of amber jewelry that is approximately forty thousand years old.

This good-luck zodiac crystal brings the purifying, revitalizing force of the Sun and the absorptive, transmuting energy of the Earth together to create a powerful tool. In mythology, Apollo cried amber tears after being banished from Olympus. Medieval housewives would burn amber to bring good energy into their homes. Native American tribal healers used it in fire ceremonies.

Ancient Greeks discovered that if they rubbed a piece of amber vigorously, it became electrically charged. The early name for amber was electron, which is the root word for today’s electricity. Amber’s use as a power tool reaches back to man’s earliest history.

Amber absorbs negative energy, helps to ground one to the Earth plane, and protects the sensitive person. It helps to distribute vitality to our aura, and it centers a person during meditation. Amber can be worn or carried to help calm the nerves. Amber allows a person to receive from the universe, yet assists one in remaining physically alert.

Amber is not technically a crystal but is an organic compound. Some 360 million years ago, extinct pine trees oozed thick sticky resins. As these resins flowed, a variety of living and decomposing matter became trapped inside. Then the resin was made to fossilize under the great pressure from the Earth’s changes. Many ancient traditions associate amber with the universal life force because, essentially, actual life has been trapped inside.

Amber’s message: Amber is excellent at removing self-imposed obstacles on any projects you are attempting to create. It enhances a constructive way of behaving, fueled by self-confidence. It can attract new friendships and aid in focusing your intentions for manifestation, helping you to reach your goals.

Other good gemstones for Capricorn are: jet, smoky quartz and chrysoprase.


Mother Nature seems to have used the deep blue lapis to capture the sky in solid form. The glittering pyrite inclusions against the deep blue backdrop of this splendid stone create a striking likeness of a galaxy. Lapis is an excellent stone to help with peaceful sleep and psychic dreaming. It can bring matters more clearly to the mind. The stone will allow for cosmic communication with other dimensions of reality. Sleeping with this gemstone can help you see the meaning in your dreams more clearly by allowing you to interpret and understand the messages or information that your subconscious is providing.

Use lapis to help with success in business and other worldly pursuits. It is good to use for humanitarian quests and interests, as it has far-reaching effects, just like a galaxy. Early cultures valued lapis lazuli more highly than gold. In Egypt it was customary to bury a lapis lazuli scarab with the dead, as it was believed to offer protection. It is also believed to enhance higher love, powers of intelligence, and concentrated intention.

This zodiac crystal can help you focus on universal brotherhood and sisterhood cooperation to produce abundance. Some other properties of lapis are illumination, wisdom, mental insight, and clarity of thought. It may also help when systems of information exchange, transportation, and communication are blocked. Lapis can help you to communicate your deeply felt beliefs and put them into practice in the outer world. It can help shy, introverted people express themselves. Expressing your true self can free energies you would otherwise waste repressing. Lapis helps to release old, buried emotions, thereby helping to dispel depression.

Lapis lazuli’s message: Meditate with lapis when you need all methods for moving people, services, and facts to be as direct and simple as possible. Use it when you need a higher perspective on your situation. When blocked channels are cleared by lapis, expect energies to be a bit chaotic initially, before they calm down.

Other good gemstones for Aquarius are: fluorite, azurite and labradorite.


The opal owes its fiery beauty to the refractions of tiny imperfections and water trapped within its crystalline cells. The dance of color in opal is the result of light being radiated by microscopic silica spheres. Watching the colors flash when luminous sparkles flicker within an opal gemstone leaves you with little doubt that this is a beautiful and powerful crystal.

This astrology crystal may bring you enlightenment, integrity, or even the fires of romance. It enhances the emotions and amplifies personal traits. Opal can assist you with almost any aspect of your life, such as joy, love, or success. Let your opal fire up your heart’s desire and make your wishes come true. Opal helps magnetize opportunities for things to happen in exciting new ways. Use opal to call in good luck and good fortune, to initiate prosperity consciousness, and to encourage new ideas.

Opal acts as a magnet by helping to illuminate your interests and ability to see great possibilities. It encourages you to dance your life by amplifying your emotions and heightening your experiences.

There are two main opal categories, common and precious. Precious opals are those with the famous rainbow sparkles. Common opals are stones without fire.

If you are bored or in a rut, either type of opal can spark a flame of passion and ignite your imagination, helping you see solutions to mundane problems. It turns up the power in everything.

Adding this gemstone to any prayer, ritual, or creative work will strengthen your intention and affirmation. Shamans used opals in important ceremonies such as vision quests. For divination and oracle use, you may want to wear or hold an opal. It will enhance your attunement to the messages of the Tarot or other psychic readings.

Opal’s message: It magnifies your thoughts and feelings and promotes all intuitive abilities. In ancient times the opal was thought to be a very powerful healing stone and was believed to open up the senses of the third eye. The opal can be a doorway to your spiritual awareness.

Other good gemstones for Pisces are: aquamarine, coral and pearl

This excerpt has been reprinted with permission from Astrology for Wellness: Star Sign Guides for Body, Mind & Spirit Vitality by Monte Farber and Amy Zerner.

About The Authors

Monte Farber was born in Brooklyn, NY. He studied comparative religion and became interested in astrology in 1974 when he met his future wife and artistic collaborator, Amy Zerner. “Amy was studying astrology and I was studying Amy, so I learned astrology! It became our language of love.” Farber’s desire to make astrology understood and accessible to a broad audience led him to devise “Karma Cards: A Guide to Your Future through Astrology,” having sold over 250,000 copies in twelve languages. Farber and Zerner went on to create books, book/card sets, and unique kits that also made other esoteric systems accessible, such as the tarot, alchemy, The Goddess, talking boards, meditation, shamanism, psychic development, and relationships. Farber is now the world’s foremost creator of interactive personal guidance systems. Learn more at TheEnchantedWorld.com.

Amy Zerner is one of the leading collage artists in the world. She uses an appliqued palette of found materials, vintage textiles and amulets to make her worlds of wonder rich with layers of meaning and imagination. For forty years she has used her prodigious talent to create thousands of works of art which embody and convey the inspiration and healing power she has experienced through her study and personal application of ancient sacred teachings. Learn more at EnchantedWorld.com and AmyZerner.com.

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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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