Sunday, March 1, 2009

Anxiety: Herbal Tea & Meditation

By Karen Eckman, LMT

Herbal tea and meditation are two of the best natural fixes for anxiety. The drinking of beverages stimulates our digestion, which is associated with feeling grounded and secure. Two of the most recommended herbs for anxiety are Valerian and Kava Kava (be sure not to use Kava Kava if you have Liver disease). Both are very easy to find at the store. A favorite anxiety tea is chamomile, valerian and lemon zest, about a teaspoon total steeped in hot water for five minutes. Another blend is valerian, thyme, and lavender. These are meant to aid relaxation short term, so only use occasionally or for periods shorter than two months. Longer than that can increase anxiety, which is where meditation comes in.

Think of meditation as the quick fix you can do any time. Allow yourself the opportunity to turn away from outside stressors and focus on your inner calm. Take a moment to close your eyes and breathe. Notice if your breath is high in your chest. If it is, allow yourself to relax and move your breath to your belly. Now take a moment to take a mini vacation. Imagine you are on a beach somewhere warm. Use your five senses to bring you to your beach. You see bright sun, calm sparkling water, birds, and a long stretch of beach where you are all alone to relax. Feel the sand between your toes. Feel the wind caressing your skin. All you can here is the gentle waves, and the sounds of birds. Perhaps you can taste the salt on the air and the feeling of the warm air going in and out on your breath. You smell the sun and the salt and the clean fresh air. Take time to observe the crispness of the colors around you, especially the blue of the sky and the water. Whenever you are here at your private beach, everything is in its place and you don’t have any cares. You beach is just for you, private and safe. You can even imagine the perfect beach blanket or beach chair to relax on. Make this your private oasis for you to use anytime.

Also fun and very effective is to combine the two. Prepare your tea and make time, ten to fifteen minutes to sit, sip your tea, and spend some time at your own secluded place. Visualization has a wonderful effect on your physiology, and has the magic to take you any place you want to go. Even to a calmer peace of mind. “

Karen Eckman is a Licensed Massage Therapist and Herbal Apprentice at The Oriental Healing Arts Center. 907-279-0135

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