Dr. Kathy Gruver, author of The Alternative Medicine Cabinet, recently finished her PhD in Natural Health, earning Highest Honors. Kathy was thrilled to be a special guest on Lifetime Television's award-winning morning show, The Balancing Act, which can be viewed on her website, The Alternative Medicine Cabinet.
Recently, Kathy had the privilege of studying at Harvard Medical School with the famous Dr. Herbert Benson, at his Benson-Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine. Dr. Benson, author of the best-selling The Relaxation Response, is known for his pioneering work on the physiological effects of meditation and stress. The main thrust of the weeklong course was the difference between the stress response (fight-or-flight) and the relaxation response, two ways we respond to stimuli in our environment. Here's her report:
"I never considered myself a 'good' meditator. For those of you who know me, I'm type A and a go-go-go sort of person. I never felt like I could quiet my mind long enough to meditate. But I'm doing it right now and in a matter of moments can get into a relaxed place where I feel great and those intruding thoughts stop. You don't need to contort yourself into some weird body position, either. Just get comfortable and follow these two simple steps."
Step 1. Repetition. Use a word, phrase, or concentrate on your breath. For example, on the inhale, think the words I am, and on the exhale think pure health. Then repeat. This gives you something to concentrate on and relaxes the body. Some people like to count to 10 on the exhales, one number per breath. Others repeat a chant or spiritual phrase. Do whatever works for you!
Step 2: If thoughts come through, acknowledge them without judgment and go back to your repeated word or phrase. Soon you'll find fewer intrusions.
Try it, even for a few moments.
That's it. You've just meditated and invoked the Relaxation Response to stop the effects of aging and make yourself a healthier person. Congratulations!"
Editor's Note: Kathy Gruver currently has a medical massage and alternative health practice in Santa Barbara.