Sneezy, Itchy, Runny Spring Allergies

by Marybeth Buchele HMC

Sneezy, weepy eyes, runny nose, itchy eyes, nose or skin — does this sound like you in the spring?  Then read on for some suggestions that could help you feel better.

Spring allergies can be reactions to mold or to pollens.  With homeopathy, we don’t really care what you are reacting to, we just need to observe your reactions to find a remedy that matches those reactions — and then cancel out those reactions.
So your first task is to sit down and write out, as completely as possible, with lots and lots of details, what you experience when you have spring or other allergies.

For example, make sure you include what your weepy eyes feel like:  Do they sting, do they burn, do they itch, do they itch like crazy?  Do the tears make your eyelids and cheeks tender if the tears run down your cheeks?  Are your eyes gummy or crusty when you wake up in the morning?  Are there times of day you feel better or worse?

Do this with each area of your body that is bothered by your allergies.

If there are symptoms that seem to repeat from one part of the body to the other, that is particularly important.  For example, if your eyes really itch, your ears really itch and your skin really itches, pay close attention to the itchiness you experience.

Then look at the remedy statements below to find a remedy that most closely fits your symptoms.  You might want to buy the relevant remedies before allergy season so you have them on hand. Remedies can be purchased at Menomonie Market Food Co-op, Mother Nature’s Foods in Eau Claire or ordered from Main Street Market in Rice Lake and online.

Directions for taking remedies are at the end of this article.

Allium cepa:  the symptoms this remedy helps closely resemble the symptoms you might experience if you chopped up a lot of onions, which makes sense — this remedy is made from the common red onion.  So for this remedy to work, you would have to have weepy, sore eyes and a runny nose where under your nose is sore because the nasal mucus is irritating.  You might be sneezing too.

Euphrasia:  is another remedy that can work well for allergies. With this remedy, you need to have a runny nose where your nose does NOT get sore (the nasal mucus is bland or non-irritating) but your eyes are extremely sore, they may even be quite bloodshot. You may also wake with crusty eyes and have a tickling cough.

Gelsemium:  for this remedy to help your allergies, you would need to experience weakness and drowsiness with your symptoms even though you haven’t taken a decongestant. You may have really bad sneezing attacks in the morning and may be exhausted by your sneezing.

Natrum muriaticum:  with this remedy you would need to have thick mucus from your nose, almost like egg-whites. You may also have episodes of sneezing and chapped lips.

Nux vomica:  this remedy works on nasal mucus that is fluent and very runny in the morning and daytime with a very stuffy, raw nose at night. Terrible sneezing and coughing in the morning, generally worse in the morning and after eating.

Pulsatilla:  awful, itchy, drippy eyes that are better if you put a cool cloth on them. The person who does well on this remedy will prefer being chilly rather than warm and they may cough if they lie down.

To take a homeopathic remedy successfully, take two to three doses (check the label) separated by 60 to 90 minutes.  Make sure you haven’t eaten anything for at least 30 minutes before taking the remedy.  If your symptoms haven’t changed at all after these doses, stop this remedy and look for another one.

If the remedy works and then seems to wear off, if your symptoms are the same you can successfully repeat it. If the remedy wears off and your symptoms come back and are different, find a different remedy.

Repeating a remedy that no longer seems to work will not work — the remedy won’t “kick in” because it is now the wrong remedy.

Note:  many more homeopathic remedies help with allergies, if you don’t see a remedy that matches your symptoms, check out “The Complete Homeopathy Handbook” by Miranda Castro or other homeopathy books for more information.

One caution: the remedy you choose this year might not work next year, especially if your symptoms have changed even a little.  A completely different remedy might be needed each year, this is why you should write down your symptoms as completely as possible and then file that information so you can easily find it next year.  You could stop this cycle by finding the deeper constitutional remedy, working with a practitioner at a time when you aren’t in the middle of a bad attack.

Marybeth Buchele, HMC, is a professional homeopath who has been in practice 12 years and has offices in Menomonie and St. Louis Park, MN.  She works with adults, children, and the elderly, specializing in people with complex health problems. Her website is www.healthnaturally.biz and she can be reached at 715-497-6068.

Healing with Horses

by Lisa Kuchinski

What is Equine Assisted
Learning/Coaching?

It’s interaction between humans and horses on an emotional and unconscious level. The horses assist you to expand or step out of the box you have unknowingly (or knowingly) placed yourself in. They will challenge you to be the best you can be and expand.

The horses live in a herd, which is vitally important for this process to be successful. Horses’ instincts and interactions with each other are what make this learning experience so powerful. Many of the horses at the ranch have been rescued. It’s amazing watching the horses heal as they help the individuals they are working with.

Ninety nine percent of this work is done on the ground; no riding or horse experience required. This can be done in a group or individually. All you need to bring is a willingness to try something new.

Your Day at the Ranch

When you arrive at the ranch, we introduce you to the herd of horses. You and the horses all get a chance to meet each other and get comfortable. Then we spend some time discussing what you want more of in your life and what challenge you need to overcome. We can work on team building, effective communication – the possibilities are endless.

The horses then choose with whom they will work. Sometimes it’s one horse, and other times there could be six horses that will work with you. This is done either in the arena or in the pastures. The gates are usually kept open so the horses can come and go as they please. The horses have the ability to feel our emotions on all levels. Believe it or not, the horses actually know more about what you need to release than you do. They willingly help you on your path to discovery.

Helen’s Story

A woman came out to the ranch for help with her career. (Her name has been changed to Helen.) She was given one piece of paper on which to write or draw what her perfect job would be. She then met the horses in the pasture. Five horses chose to assist her in her self discovery. She was given directions to place her paper anywhere in the pasture. The next direction was to get a horse to walk around her piece of paper. We said very little to her, because this was her self discovery; this experience is all about her, what she believes, and what she believes to be true for her. This is true for anyone who comes to the ranch. It’s all about your own self discovery.

After about thirty minutes, Helen became a little upset because the horses wouldn’t come anywhere near her. They happily ate their grass and ignored her. She asked for help, so we told her that perhaps she could read aloud what she wrote to the horses. She looked at us blankly because she didn’t write a thing on the paper. We all laughed. This experience is about having fun and to stop judging yourself. We asked another question, and as Helen answered, one of the horses slowly walked toward her. Helen continued to talk about what was important to her in a career. The next thing she knew, the horses made a circle around her. As Helen became excited about the possibilities she was creating for herself, she dropped the piece of paper. Phi (Arabian horse) started to come very close to Helen and was hearing her. Phi was next to Helen, and as Helen realized what her new career would be, Phi, with a little bit of force, placed her hoof on the paper leaving her hoof print on the paper. Tears were running down Helen’s eyes and Phi gently placed her head on her shoulder and touched her muzzles to Helen’s cheek.

Whose Beliefs are Ruling Your Life?

What a miracle this all is. Is it magic? No! As humans, we make life very difficult for ourselves. Do we know all the answers to our lives? Unconsciously/sub-consciously we do. The problem is that consciously we do not trust ourselves or love ourselves enough. We allow beliefs and values that aren’t ours to rule our lives.

This Human-Horse experience is about giving yourself time to get to know yourself/team. Being in nature and being supported by horses gives you a wonderful opportunity to be grounded and use all your five (six) senses in self/team discovery. Our outside world is a reflection of our inner world. Imagine the possibilities that are waiting for you.

The herd of horses that live on the ranch enjoy helping folks who come here. At the ranch we repay the kindness to the horses by chiropractic, acupuncture, energy work, massage, and lots of TLC.

Lisa Kuchinski has operated BE it coaching/Free Spirit Ranch since 2007. For questions please call 612-807-4740, Lisa@beitcoaching.com, www.beitcoaching.com

Coming Home

by Doug Dobberfuhl

Brendan sat back on the couch and ran his fingers through his hair, sighing.  “I moved back to my hometown two years ago. I had not lived within a 60 mile radius of the place for over 15 years, and what I experienced surprised me. At first, I just felt a little out of sorts. I had a life and identity unique from what developed growing up. But here I was, married with two children, back in the home where I had grown up. This was the place full of memories and ghosts from when I was a child. Yet at the same time I was an adult, with kids of my own.  These two worlds – my childhood me and my adult me – were colliding.”

The experience of coming home happens to many of us. It is a return to old, familiar places, people or events. The holiday season is the prime time for coming-home experiences to occur – family gatherings, getting together with childhood friends, visiting your favorite restaurant growing up, etc. It can bring up a lot of emotions, both positive and negative.  Brendan struggled coming home. It triggered him to react from that child-like place instead of from his adult state. He became reactionary, easily irritated, impatient, and full of self-doubt. It caused problems in his marriage. He returned to old coping skills that he had worked hard to let go of in previous therapy sessions.

The goal to weather the storm that often arises when coming home is to be at a place of wholeness. It is to say and believe within ourselves – “I am who I am no matter what the situation or audience.”

Coming back home is always a high risk for parts of ourselves from the past to be triggered, to bubble up to the surface.  We act and do things and say things we might not normally say or do otherwise. People and places can trigger these smaller parts of ourselves to come to the forefront. Anytime we tread upon the paths of our past, we risk doing more than just visiting – we risk slipping back in time and acting or reacting from that past time.

Do you find yourself drinking a little too much at the family holiday gathering and not really knowing why? Or maybe you have feelings of resentment that seem to come from nowhere when you get together with your siblings. Maybe you find yourself edgy, easy to anger, withdrawn or otherwise just not you. These can be totally normal reactions that accompany coming home.

To those who have had bad experiences at home, suffered disappointments or serious failures within their childhood/adolescence, coming home and staying in a healthy functional place sounds unrealistic. Wouldn’t it just be better to run away and stay away from home? Is it impossible to stay a whole, functional, integrated person even when we do walk down memory lane (figuratively or literally)?  Not at all. There are some key strategies that need to be mastered, however.

1.) Become aware of the parts of you that still live and breathe in the past. Know what they look like, how they feel and how they think. This will help you more quickly identify when they come to the surface.

2.) Face the fears of the past – clean out any stored “energy” of the past place. If you don’t do this, the energy of the past will bubble up, causing you to fragment and lose your wholeness and functional integrated “adultness.”

3.) Learn to find peace and serenity within yourself no matter where you are or who you are with. Meditation, prayer, reflective contemplation, feeling comfortable in your own skin – all this will help you be true to yourself regardless of the trigger.

Some part of us may feel fear that the old people, places, or events will not accept who we have become over the years. Affirm to yourself that the reaction of others is something you cannot control. Being true to yourself is what feels best, not living to please or fit in with whatever outside expectations or scenarios may seem to dictate.

This holiday season, prepare for those coming-home events by taking some extra time the weeks prior to meditate. Follow the three steps detailed above, and love who you are. Knowing who you are and what matters most to you today is what will help you thrive and enjoy your yesterdays as well as your tomorrows.

Doug Dobberfuhl holds a masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and has been working in the field for the past 15 years. He works with families, couples and individuals that struggle with traumatic pasts, addictions and intimacy problems. He is married with five children. He has finished writing a workbook on applying the 12 steps of recovery from a spiritual point of view, which will be published by the end of the year.  He can be reached at thedobberfuhl7@comcast.net

Ayurveda and Yoga for Holiday Serenity

by Patricia Wickman

Before you start reading this article, take a moment to ask yourself some questions. First of all, notice how you are breathing right now. Is your breathing fast? Slow? Shallow? Deep? Agitated? Calm? Also, take a mental note of how your day has gone so far. More specifically, what has been your general state of mind? Have you been rushing around and have your thoughts been scattered and fragmented? Perhaps you have been lazy today and spent most of your time in a mental fog. Have you flip-flopped back and forth between these two polarities? Do you feel like none of these apply to you? If so, you are probably an enlightened being and don’t need to read this article. That is—unless you are just too curious at this point and have to keep reading.

With the holidays come bustling crowds at the mall, warm gatherings that include family and friends, celebrations, music and dance performances, laughter, parties, holiday films, tantalizing food and drink, excited children, and more. It is possible for this ‘ho-ho-ho’ spirit to become excessive and lead one to experience the negative aspects of the season: calendars that are over-packed with activities; heavy, sugary foods that stay with us long after the holidays; and perhaps excessive spending and debauchery that can lead to lowered immunity, drained bank accounts, stress, anxiety or depression.

Ancient Yogis and Ayurvedic sages observed and wrote about this natural flow of ups and downs and refer to them as the three gunas or energies. Rajas, tamas, and sattva are the Sanskrit terms for these energies. Rajas is hyperactivity, tamas is inertia, and sattva is a balance between the two. An example of a person in a rajasic state is someone who gets behind you on the road or in a line at a register and pushes you along in a forceful way. A tamasic person is one who is lazy, drinks alcohol regularly and is generally uninterested in life. A sattvic person makes healthy food and beverage choices and is graceful, content, calm, humble, alert, and meditative (the type of enlightened being who does not need to read this article!). Although it is natural for these energies to ebb and flow during the day, a conscious soul can cultivate sattva and spend less time in rajasic or tamasic states of mind and body. Sattva may not sound like an exciting way to live your life. Maybe you prefer to live by the “what goes up, must come down” motto. If, however, you would like some ideas on how to get off the roller coaster ride, keep reading.

Get your calendar out right after you finish this article and check to see if you have allotted ‘rest and digest’ time in between holiday festivities. Examples include going to yoga classes (especially restorative yoga), meditating, going for a massage, seeking rejuvenating recreation, spending time in nature, journaling, etc. If you do not see any such activities on your calendar during the months of November and December, plan them right away. Make sure that if your schedule is dependent on spouses and children that you tell them about your appointments with your friends named deep conscious breathing, harmony, and sanity.

Eat sattvic foods and reduce or avoid rajasic or tamasic foods. Since eating is something we do everyday multiple times a day, it powerfully determines how we feel from moment to moment. Rajasic foods are acidic, hot, sour, spicy or overly salty. They increase speed and excitement in the body or mind so this includes all stimulants such as coffee, green tea, black tea, white tea, white sugar, chocolate, and soda (especially diet). Tamasic foods are dry, fermented, deep-fried, deteriorated, without flavor, microwaved, boxed, canned, frozen (frozen raw is O.K.), rancid or leftover. Heavy meats, alcohol (especially beer), cigarettes, and sedating drugs are all tamasic. Sattvic foods are fresh, easy to digest, organic and vitally alive. This includes fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, fresh dairy (local and organic are best), the highest quality meat if you are not vegetarian, herbal teas and water. Rajasic and tamasic foods leave one in an energy deficit. Eating sattvic foods is like putting money in a savings account—it inspires you and makes you feel like you have energy to spare.

Rajas, tamas and sattva are the Sanskrit terms for these energies. Rajas is hyperactivity, tamas is inertia, and sattva is a balance between the two.

This compassionate self-care not only develops sattva, but also promotes a profound and sustained sensation of being a whole person. There are a couple more Sanskrit terms to befriend during the holidays that refer to this state of being tightly packed/sane. Ojas is your vitality and immunity—the glue that holds you together. Vasant Lad says this about ojas:

It is like honey. As the honeybee collects the minute molecules of the essence of hundreds of flowers and accumulates them in the honeycomb, ojas, the pure essence of all bodily tissues, circulates via the heart and throughout the body to maintain the natural resistance of the bodily tissues. Ojas fights against aging, decay and disease. A person who has good ojas rarely becomes sick (Lad 212).

Ojas is a biological substance that is rich in soma (moon energy). Soma can be compared to serotonin—a chemical that promotes happy, calm, blissful feelings in your body and mind. What does having an abundance of ojas mean for your enjoyment of the holiday season, you ask?

Having high ojas during the holidays means that you will have your own needs for health and vitality met so that you can then turn your attention outward. As your personal ojas proliferates, it taps into cosmic or Universal ojas, which is the Love that holds the entire universe together. Having cosmic ojas will expand your awareness and this will cause your attention to veer away from selfishness and turn toward the needs and desires of those around you. You will overflow with forbearance, generosity, loving-kindness, charity and bliss—similar to the expanded awareness of Ebenezer Scrooge at the end of “A Christmas Carol.” Put sattva and ojas on your wish list this year and make it your most joyful holiday season yet.

Patricia Wickman is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, Certified Panchakarma Technician and Registered Yoga Teacher. She loves people and enjoys inspiring individuals to perceive their beauty and potential. She lives in Eau Claire, WI with her husband and two children. She owns Radiant Living Yoga and Ayurveda, LLC. For more information visit: www.rlyaa.com.

Sources: Lad, Vasant. Textbook of Ayurveda. New Mexico: The Ayurvedic Press, 2002.

Renewing Our Connection with Our Highest Sense of Self

By Kenton Whitman | We live in a world that urges us to focus on the external – on the flashing images of a television screen, on the new wonders provided by our technology, on an ever-increasing ability to communicate with people all over the globe. This world brings us many benefits, yet sometimes it can feel like all of that technology is overwhelming, and the world is moving by us so quickly that we can never catch up. Our connection with Self can be lost in the chaos, leaving us with feelings of isolation, confusion, stress, or anxiety.

Two years ago, I embarked on a mission to create a self-development school unlike any other — a program where people could devote themselves to a course of study that would completely transform their approach to Living. Out of that mission grew the Metamorphosis program and the PR/EP program — 11-month intensive training programs that help students develop their fullest emotional, spiritual, and physical potential. These training programs have just opened to the public. Here are some of the training methods used in the programs — training methods that you can use to enhance your own experience of Living.

Opening Your Senses

As we age, our senses tend to take in less and less of the world. It’s not so much about our senses growing duller, but about forgetting how to use them. It’s not difficult to re-train our senses, and the rewards can be astounding–when our senses open up, the world becomes rich with sensation, and every moment is full of beauty and mystery.

To open your senses, sit down and close your eyes, paying attention to one sense at a time. With each sense, take the time to pay attention to the complete spectrum of your perception. With touch, notice the air moving over your face and the pressure of your clothes on your flesh. With hearing, allow your focus to expand outward so that you’re aware of every sound as it blends into a symphony. When you open your eyes to pay attention to your vision, let your vision expand so that you notice the full range of your peripheral vision – a part of our vision that we usually ignore. Taste and smell can likewise be explored with focused attention.

Exercising Without Working Out

We all want to be in the best shape possible, but it can be challenging to find the time or energy for formal workouts. Luckily, there’s another option. It’s called ‘play’. When we develop a playful attitude toward movement, we can make a game of finding the most challenging or interesting way to move through our environment. This might mean sitting on a balance ball or squatting at our desk, climbing trees, parking at the far end of the parking lot, or carrying shopping baskets instead of pushing a cart. If you’re watching a movie at home, try yoga poses or stand on one foot instead of sitting on the couch. You can also give some old childhood favorites a try, from slides to swings to playground equipment. If you take this philosophy far enough, it begins to mimic the ideas of Parkour or wild-running, where participants see the entire world as their jungle-gym.

Developing Patience

This is one of the lost arts of our modern culture. The ability to sit quietly for hours at a time is almost impossible for many of us — we feel that we have too much to do, our minds race in circles, and we soon grow agitated. Yet, rehabilitating our sense of patience can be one of the most rewarding skills we can learn.

At first, sitting quietly or doing nothing can seem like torture. Our minds are used to running on fast-forward, and refuse to be still. Eventually, however, our internal pace slows, and we find that our mind clears, our senses open, and the world takes on an entirely different flavor. Learning patience in nature can be especially rewarding. If we sit quietly for long enough, the disturbance our presence creates in the woods evaporates, and soon animals begin to re-enter the scene. In this way we can experience close encounters with birds, mammals, and insects that would never be available to us when we’re moving at our usual frenetic pace.

One simple exercise is to sit someplace where you will be gifted with a ‘reward’ for your patience. Sitting near bird feeders is a great place to begin. Even a small amount of time spent in stillness, and the bravest of birds (usually the chickadees) will start to venture near, and you’ll be rewarded with the experience of getting up-close-and-personal with some of nature’s most delightful wild animals.

Reconnecting With Nature

Our connection with nature can sometimes feel severed in our world of steel, plastic, and noise. Reconnecting with nature can be as simple as going to a park and sitting on a bench as we watch the squirrels. Even small amounts of time in nature serve to rejuvenate us, calming our minds and helping us to see life issues more clearly.

If we desire a deeper connection with nature, we can learn primitive skills that allow us to engage with nature more intimately. This might mean learning how to set up a tent and camp; or it might mean learning how to make fire without matches or how to feast on edible wild plants; or it could mean learning how to blend and flow in the woods so that we can encounter wild animals and observe the quiet rhythms of nature.

Time for Learning the Art of Living

There are many paths to personal development, and we can approach the journey as a part-time hobby or as the primary focus of our lives. Giving time to yourself and encouraging others to fulfill their own potential makes the world richer for all of us — the more attention we pay to our inner growth, the more we become compassionate, passionate beings. The Chippewa Valley is blessed with a rich offering of teachers, groups, and opportunities for renewing your relationship with your Self and your world. It can seem greedy to take time for ourselves, but devoting yourself to committed self-development is like tending a large garden — you harvest more than you could ever eat yourself, and have plenty to give away to those in need.

Kenton Whitman is a writer, personal trainer, martial arts instructor, life coach, and primitive skills/nature awareness teacher out of Menomonie, WI. His Metamorphosis and PR/EP training programs are now being made available to the public. Visit www.kandrcreative.com to learn more.