Alternatively Speaking: What the 4 species can do for you

Alternative medicine enthusiast Natalie Marx answers your questions: How can I open up emotionally to my partner?; What is a good natural lip balm?

By NATALIE MARX
October 10, 2011 16:11
Etrog

Etrog. (photo credit: Wikicommons)

The Sefer Bahir, a kabbalistic work almost 2,000 years old, describes the four species used during Succot as four parts of a human being:

1. The Etrog represents the heart, the seat of our emotions.
2. The Hadas (myrtle) has leaves shaped like an eye.
3. The Lulav (date palm) represents the spine, from where our actions emanate.
4. The Aravah (willow) represents the lips, our speech.

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The four species must be taken together as a unit. In order to achieve happiness, we are also guided to use all of our faculties in unison. You cannot say one thing and feel another. We try to unify our feelings, our actions, our speech and our outlook. With all of these working together, we begin on the path to self-esteem, tranquillity and joy.

No two symptoms of dis-ease are individualized. Since our bodies do have the innate wisdom to heal themselves, the task of the natural medicine practitioner is to figure out how, why and where the body’s ecology/energy is out of harmony, and then offer ways to bring it back into harmony through non-toxic means. Healing will almost always occur when all the bodily systems are brought back into harmony with each other and pathogens are dealt with properly. Health and disease are conditions of the whole organism involving the complex interaction of many factors. A holistic approach therefore aims to treat the whole person by taking these factors into account. The harmonious functioning of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects are essential to recovery from and prevention of disease. 

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The four questions selected deal with each of the four species - parts of the human being.

1.  Natalie, I hope you can help me. I have been with my partner for eight months and things are going well. I find it difficult however to open up emotionally and I sense it is beginning to affect our relationship. I feel like my heart is closed. I have started to see a counselor but can you recommend anything natural I can take alongside.

I highly recommend you use flower essences. Flower essences are subtle energy medicines that affect us as a whole - mind, body and soul. Their medicinal history spans centuries. Everyone can benefit from the gentle healing energy of the most beautiful and fragrant flowers - children, teenagers, adults, the elderly and even animals. Flower essences are wonderful for balancing mental, emotional and many physical problems. Like natural guiding lights along our journey through life, they assist us through the different stages. They help us to find our inner wisdom and intuition. The healing power of flower essences frees energy blockages, and acts as a catalyst for inner change and transformation. They help bring clarity and the courage to pursue our goals and follow our dreams.

For cases where the heart is closed, I recommend the Australian Bush Flower Remedy: Bluebell. Bluebell is made in the Olgas, one of the main spiritual centers in Australia, this Essence helps to open the heart. I prescribe this to my patients when they feel cut off from their own feelings. The emotion is there, but is held within. They are subconsciously afraid to express it for they fear their feelings of love, joy, etc., are finite or not renewable. They operate from a subconscious fear that there is just not enough and that if they let go of what they have, they will not survive. This fear can often be marked by a controlling, rigid and forthright manner. I recommend taking seven drops in the morning and night for two weeks.

2. I have an extremely irritating involuntarily twitch in my left eye. I used to get this from being tired but now it seems to be happening much more frequently. Can you help?!

There can be many different causes for eye tics and I recommend that you visit your doctor if it continues to worsen. Some of the causes may be stress and/or anxiety, extreme fatigue or side-effects from some medications such as Ritalin, Dexedrine, and Adderall. It may also be as a result of withdrawals from medications such as benzodiazepine, and may also be a magnesium deficiency.

There are a number of herbal and homeopathic ingredients that can help to reduce or end bothersome excessive blinking and eye tics. One useful herbal ingredient is Hyoscyamus which has powerful antispasmodic properties and is often used to soothe nervous irritations. This ingredient is often used to treat tics.

The homeopathic ingredient Zinc met is also highly recommended as it not only supports the immune system and aids in the absorption of minerals in the body, it is also excellent at soothing the nervous system and relieving muscle spasms and fidgety movements, especially those related to exhaustion and stress. Cina is also excellent for relieving twitching and muscle spasms while Chamomilla is very soothing and can help to relive underlying stress and restlessness.

3. I sit all day at my desk and I have started to get back pain. I am only 33 years old and yet I feel like an old man every time I leave my office. Can you  recommend any good exercises I can do at work?

The tension that is created by sitting for long periods of time at a desk can definitely be mitigated by a regular practice of Yoga in your office chair!

Back pain is often exacerbated by tension in the neck, shoulders, and arms. Even a brief seated Yoga break will help to dissipate the tension that has built up in these areas over several hours of work. Below are three Yoga techniques that you can practice from your desk at work:

-Elongated back stretch

Push your chair an arm's length away from your desk. Before you begin, take three long, slow, deep breaths through your nose. Exhale each breath fully before inhaling your next breath. After three full breaths, take three more complete breaths as you raise your arms to the side and over your head for a count of five. Five counts up with an inhale and five counts down with your exhale. Now, lean forward and place your hands, palms down and shoulder-width apart, on the top of your desk. Slowly exhale and sink into the stretch. Stretch only as far as is comfortable and hold the posture for three complete breaths. Repeat two more times. Sit up slowly and pause for a moment, feeling the elongation of your spine and the relief of tension in your back and arms.

-Seated spinal twist

This Yoga pose is a great way to release tension all through your back, arms, and neck. Sit squarely on your chair with your feet planted on the floor. Take one deep inhale. As you exhale, slowly twist to the right by placing your left hand on the outside of your right knee and coil your right hand around onto the middle of the back of your chair. Continue to breath. With each exhale, twist a little deeper to the right and with each inhale allow your body to gently release a little toward the front of your chair. Continue to twist and release for thirty seconds. Release the pose and repeat on the other side.

-Seated hip stretch

Releasing tension in your hips will help to release the tension and pain in your lower back. Sit squarely on your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Take three long, deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling for five counts each. Slowly, place your right foot on top of your left knee and bend forward until you feel a nice stretch. Do not force or overstretch and only go as far forward as your body will allow. Hold for thirty seconds and repeat on the opposite side.

4. Can you recommend any good natural lip balm, I always suffer from chapped lips during the winter and want to prevent it this year. Thank you.

I recommend looking out for a natural lip balm that contains one or all of the following;  beeswax, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, lanolin, vitamin E, peppermint oil, and comfrey extract.

If you are looking for a quick alternative from home you can use olive oil which will help to soften and moisturize chapped lips quite nicely. In fact, any vegetable shortening will do. I also suggest applying a balm with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 before you go out into the sun. Lips need just as much sun protection as the rest of your skin.

Finally, a simple tip to try to avoid licking your lips. Your saliva may momentarily provide a coating of moisture, but it evaporates quickly, leaving lips drier than before. And the saliva contains digestive enzymes that dry out tissue.

This column is brought to you as general information only and unless stated otherwise is not medical advice nor is it based on medical experiments. This column is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. For more information about specific problems, please contact a doctor. 

Ask Natalie: If you have a health query and would like an alternative answer then email Natalie with your question at [email protected]

Someone Once Said:
"While we may not be able to control all that happens to us, we can control what happens inside us," - Ben Franklin.

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