Natural Allergy Cures

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Natural Allergy Cures

It's that time of year again... the trees are in bloom, the grass is green, the flowers are blossoming, and mold counts are high.  Springtime is beautiful, but for many people it causes sneezing, hoarseness, coughing, runny nose, congestion, and itchy/watery eyes.  

Why do some people suffer while others seem absolutely fine?  Some immune systems overreact, releasing chemicals that cause all or some of the symptoms listed above.  But fear not-- you can get relief, without taking drugs.  As a singer, I am obsessed with finding natural cures for symptoms.  Hopefully some of these will work for you:

1.  Apple Cider Vinegar:  This is an old remedy, which helps to reduce mucus production, alkalizes your stomach, reduces hunger, helps with digestion and weight loss, and even helps to cleanse the lymphatic system.   Mix 1 tablespoon (or more) of Apple cider vinegar with a glass of water.  I prefer to use Bragg Organic vinegar in warm to hot water.  It can quickly clear your head.  Drink 3+ times a day.

2.  Probiotics:  Allergies are caused by an immune system that overreacts to foreign stimuli.  Having good, healthy bacteria in your gut will help to reduce symptoms of allergies.  This is especially important if you have taken antibiotics in the past year.  Also, eating fermented foods like kimchi, pickles, or sauerkraut helps.  Or, alternatively, cut up apples into chunks.  Add just a touch of water.  Boil on stove.  After a few minutes, the skins will look shiny, which is a sign the pectin has been released.  Shut it off, add cinnamon, and eat a few spoonfuls daily.  Helps to coat the lining of your stomach, and help the health of your gut. (See Dr. Tom O'Bryan video on youtube for further information).

3.  Neti pot with Saline Rinse and Alkalol:  The neti pot, or nasal flush,  has been used for thousands of years to help alleviate sinus and allergy issues.  It looks like a small tea pot with a long spout.  You can either buy saline packets, or make it yourself (using half a teaspoon of sea salt, mixed with a touch of baking soda).  I also like to use about a tablespoon of a product called Alkalol.  Add the saline solution and Alkalol to the neti pot.  Fill with warm water.  Pour it in one nostril, and let it drain out the other, thus flushing your sinuses.  It helps to reduce inflammation and is also great for dryness or headaches.

4.  Quercetin:  This is a natural bioflavonoid that is found in onions, apples and black tea.  It helps cells to stop releasing histamine, and is an antioxidant which helps to reduce the inflammation as well.  It also acts as a bronchodilator, opening the airway and making it easier to breathe, and is a natural cure for skin allergies, and hives as well. I take 2-4 pills as needed for allergies.  

5.  Steaming:  This is my cure for head allergies.  I place a pot of water on the stove, and add about a teaspoon of sea salt to it.  Cover it and let it boil hard.  Remove from heat and and add 4 drops of each of the following essential oils:  Clary sage, cinnamon, clove and thyme.  Cover your head with a towel and breathe in.  It will burn wherever there is bad inflammation or if your throat or lungs are swollen or congested.  This burning sensation will go away as the inflammation reduces, within a min or so.  VERY QUICK FIX, and it also reduces puffy eyes, and can be an almost immediate cure for coughing.

6.  Eat Local Honey:   Try to add a teaspoon of raw, local honey into your diet daily.  It's made from pollen, so buy locally, so you can start building up immunity to the allergens in your area. 

7.  Drink Extra Water:  When your body is inflamed, you need extra liquids to help flush out the toxins, and keep the liver detoxified.  Be sure to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day during allergy season.  

8.  Wear Sunglasses or a big Hat:  When going outside, covering your face with a large brimmed hat, or covering your eyes with sunglasses helps to reduce your pollen intake, as it prevents irritants away from your eyes and eyelids.  

9.  Shower before Bedtime:  If you have been outside during the day be sure to shower before you go to bed.  Otherwise, you will carry the pollen/allergens to bed with you.

10.  Change your Air Filters:  It's the time of year to change filters.  Replace the filters in your AC, your vacuum, your air purifier, and even your car, so that you aren't blowing pollen into your face.

11.  Vitamin C:  This is a very strong immune boosting antioxidant, which helps to lower histamine levels in your bloodstream.  Just taking 2000 mg of vitamin c daily can cut your histamine levels by nearly 40%.  

12.  Acupuncture:  Just a few tiny needles, inserted under the skin at specific points can quickly reduce or stop inflammatory immune systems.  You can also use acupressure (Acupuncture without needles) to fight allergies.  Press on your hand in the webbing between the thumb and first finger.  If you have bad allergies, you will find a very tender point.  Press and release until the pain improves.  There is a similar point on your foot, between the big toe and the next.  Find it by pushing on the top of the foot, about 1/2 inch in from the webbing.  

13.  Chinese Tea Pills: There are also various chinese pills that help to cure allergies.  The best I have found is Plum Flower Brand Bi Yan Pian, which really helps to reduce nose inflammation when you have a runny nose.  If you are congested and dried out, and it feels more like a sinus infection, I have taken Pe Min Kan Wan.  Just take as prescribed until symptoms clear up, and then stop.  

14.  Histaminum Hydrocloricum 30c:  This Boiron brand is similar to taking claritin.  Very fast acting and also cures hives. 

15.  Go Spicy:  During allergy season, cut back on the mucus producing foods like dairy and sugar and add in extra spice.  Foods like hot salsa can thin mucus and aid breathing.  

16.  Eat Pineapple:  Bromelain, a digestive enzyme, which is found naturally in pineapple, helps to reduce nasal swelling and thin mucus.

 

 

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Look into my eyes and hear me...

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Look into my eyes and hear me...

When singing, we bare our souls, standing in front of an audience, in an attempt to convey a message, and truly show how good the music is.  In essence, singing is storytelling.  

I recently taught several masterclasses in which the students asked:  What is the most important thing I can do to improve my performance?  I'm sure they were expecting me to talk about diction, lyrical line, dynamics or perhaps even vocal pedagogy.   As singers we are taught technique, languages, stage movement, and in the early years are even taught pitch and counting.  However, we are forgetting the most basic form of communication:  THE EYES.  

Definition of EYE:

(Noun): Globular organs in the head through which people see

(Verb): To look at or watch closely with interest.

I can't tell you the number of times I have watched artists performing in concert, and they sing an entire piece with their eyes closed, and then wonder why they don't have the audience sitting in the palm of their hand.  The answer is simple:  Eye contact!  Would you ever go to a job interview and look down or close your eyes every time you responded to a question?  No, because that would show a lack of self confidence, and you would come across as less believable, disinterested, insecure, or masking emotions.  The same is true when singing--THE EYES ARE THE WINDOW TO THE SOUL.    It is a form of nonverbal communication which allows you to portray confidence, and a respect for the audience, and an understanding for the music.  Use this tool to flirt with the audience, or express the emotion in your heart, and you will surely inspire.  If you sing with your eyes closed all the time, you might as well be singing in the shower for yourself, because we won't be able to fully connect with you.  

Since the beginning of time, we have valued the Eye.   In India and the yoga/meditation world we talk of awakening the 3rd eye, the Bible mentions the eye more than 800 times, and in many cultures, charms in the shape of eyes are used to protect us from bad energy.  

Eye contact is how souls catch on fire.  Practice in front of a mirror, looking into your own eyes, and you will see how important that connection is.  If you covered your face from the upper lip downward with a piece of paper, could someone still tell what you were thinking about?   Allow your eyes to tell a story.  Eye contact is more intimate than words will ever be.  

"The face is the mirror of the mind, and eyes, without speaking, confess the secrets of the heart".  --St. Jerome.

 

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Cures for Jet Lag

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Cures for Jet Lag

What day is it?  What time zone are we in?  These are just a few of the questions I've asked myself when stepping off a plane in a new location.  Many people fly for work...but have you ever thought of what singers go through?  Imagine you have flown through several time zones, your mind is foggy, you are exhausted, you feel stiff and you just want to go to bed, but instead you are stepping off that plane, meeting the musical staff,  and often have to go straight into rehearsals or a concert. (And in most cases, singers aren't rich enough to fly in the comfort of first class).  You may say, "I do that all the time for my job," but think about this:  When you get really tired the pitch of your speaking/singing voice drops into a lower range. Not a problem for the average business flyer.   However, the stress of flying, mixed with the lower vocal range, and dry sinus feeling you get, adds to the anxiety of a singer, who's entire paycheck and career depends on being able to rehearse and perform beautifully while suffering from jet lag, and hopefully not sick or dealing with altitude on top of it all.  

I lived in Beijing, China for just over a year, and found myself flying back and forth to the US (14-18+ hour flight) every 3-4 weeks, which meant I was almost constantly in a state of JET LAG.  It's a horrible feeling. 

As a professional singer, I am always striving for an easy adjustment when flying, and have discovered a few tips that could help everyone. 

Jet lag basics:

-Avoid alcohol and caffeine before bedtime

-Avoid heavy, rich foods when you first arrive at your destination

-STAY HYDRATED!  Drink tons of water on the plane and even consider drinking coconut water or water with electrolytes, as it helps to hydrate your body.  You can also bring fruit or melons to eat on the plane, as they are mainly made up of water, and will further hydrate you.

-Get out in the sun after you arrive to your destination.  The sun helps to reset your inner clock.

-Don't forget ear plugs and an eye mask for the plane, so you can attempt to sleep.  (Also helps with noisy hotels).  White noise apps are also an option, as block out the external sounds.

-Travel with items that help relax you into your bedtime routine-slippers, pillow, essential oils, etc.  (It helps to remind your body it's time to sleep).

-Traveling east is usually more difficult that traveling west--nap if you can when you arrive, but force yourself out of bed after an hour, or it will take you FOREVER to adjust to the new time zone.

CURES for jet lag:

Check into taking "No jet lag" or "Jet zone" tablets.  These are chamomile based products.  You take one pill when you take off, and one every few hours on the plane.  When you land, take it again, and take it as needed after that.  Helps you get over that fuzzy headed feeling temporarily.

If you normally have sleeping issues, you might want to try taking a low dose of melatonin.  I have found the sublingual one works great.  Take one pill about 30 min before bedtime at your destination and it helps you fall asleep and stay asleep.

For flights over 4 hours, I take this magical cure, and no longer have jet lag:  200 mg of L-theanine (a relaxing amino acid that promotes relaxation without sedation), and one pill of Integrative Therapeutics brand Cortisol Manager (relaxes and supports improved sleep).  If on a long flight and I want to sleep, I set my clock to the destination time, and take this combo about 30 min before I want to fall asleep.  I can usually sleep several hours on the plane now, without the drowsy, drugged feeling.  I take it again at bedtime after I land, and continue to take it nightly until I feel I no longer need it.  It's a magical combination for me, as allows me to sleep through the night, and wake feeling refreshed, like I had the best night's sleep of my life.  

I hope this helps anyone suffering from jet lag.  I'm not a doctor, but this is what has worked for me, without the side effects of drugs.  

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Gratitude

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Gratitude

There have been many articles and books released over the years about Gratitude and the idea that you should DO WHAT YOU LOVE and LOVE WHAT YOU DO.  I cannot think of another career where that is more important than in the Arts.  Gratitude is the driving force behind success.  Success isn't measured in money...it's measured by the joy you have in life.  

Every day I wake up now and try to meditate and express gratitude.  "I see myself in perfect health.  I see myself in absolute prosperity.  I see myself invigorated with life...Appreciating, again, this physical experience which I want so very much."

I recently read a book about Michael Jackson, and how he made the hit song THRILLER and literally had it all, but could never be grateful and honor what he had.  He was never appreciating "the present moment," as he was always worried about how he was going to get that next great hit.  I understand this struggle.

When I won the MET competition in 2000, my life took off at warp speed.  I really wasn't ready for it, and looking back maybe I wasn't mature enough to even fully appreciate it.  I wish I had been able to take it all in!  I was never truly GRATEFUL and APPRECIATIVE for what it was that I had accomplished and how far I had come.  This young girl from a small dairy farm in Wisconsin had become a classical singer, moved to New York City, and had just won the MET competition, which was broadcast around the world.  I assumed my luck would last forever.  However, I didn't know that my agent had Alzheimer's disease and was doing irreparable damage--turning down work on my behalf without even talking to me, or telling conductors I didn't like them, or didn't want to work with them.  Nor did I have any idea 9/11 was going to happen, and the US economy would take such a hit.  These were a few difficult years for me, until I started to practice true Gratitude.

In 2008 I had the great pleasure of moving to Beijing for a year.  It was an incredible year! However, I  saw people starve on the streets, or living on a yearly income that was less than my monthly latte bill at Starbucks.  It was truly a life changing lesson in Gratitude.  The world ebbs and flows, expands and contracts, and is, by it's very nature, somewhat unreliable.  If we only feel gratitude when it serves our desires, it's not true thankfulness.  No one is exempt from the twists and turns of fate, which may, at any time, take the possessions, situations, and people we love away from us.  Ironically, it's often those very moments that serve as wake up calls and remind us how lucky we are to be alive.  

Start a gratitude journal today.  Every day just write down at least 3 things you are grateful for when you wake up.  You will be surprised how this little activity can change your life forever.  

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Living with Lyme Disease

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Living with Lyme Disease

A few years ago, after suffering tremendously, I was finally diagnosed with Lyme Disease.  I was beginning to think I was crazy, with doctors telling me everything was fine, when I knew it wasn't.  By the time I was diagnosed, my vitamin D levels were almost non-existent, and I was so depressed and exhausted I could barely function.

I am now feeling a million times better, and thought I would share my story of recovery, in the hopes that it will help someone else.  I am a professional singer, not a doctor, but through my struggles I have a learned a lot, so I thought I would list some of the herbal supplements that I have taken along the journey.  So many people go to their doctors and share their symptoms, and no test is done.  If you feel this could apply to you, PLEASE CONSULT A DOCTOR AND HAVE THEM TEST YOU FOR LYME DISEASE!

Below are some of the symptoms you may experience when infected:

Early Symptoms: 

-Fatigue

-Body Chills

-Fever (with muscle/joint pain)

-Headaches

-Swollen Lymph nodes

After about 2 months you may experience:

-Arthritis

-Neck stiffness or facial palsy

-Shooting pains

-Heart palpitations

-Dizziness

Months or years later symptoms may consist of:

-Concentration and memory problems

-Possible cognitive defects

-Tingling or numbness in the feet and hands

I was diagnosed very late, and the doctor thought had probably had it for 20+ years.  Like me, many people don't get a bullseye mark, so they never know they are sick until much later.  I had many of these symptoms, but never put them together and realized what was happening, as it came on fairly slowly.

Not only are my Lyme disease symptoms reduced now, but I am feeling vocally stronger than ever.  I had no idea how much it affected my stamina, vocal strength, and breath support.  I am SO GRATEFUL to have been diagnosed with Lyme, as I have learned so much about myself in the process.  

The herbal treatments I used to treat the disease are listed below.  You don't have to take all of them, but it's a good list.  I will star the ones that worked well for me.

Eleuthro (Siberian Ginseng):  *For energy/adrenal support.  Buy liquid extract, and take 1 teaspoon 3 times a day for 1-2 months.  Then, discontinue 2 weeks.  Repeat if needed, or go to weaker strength.  (I never took more than 15 drops at a time, or it was too much of a caffeine buzz feeling for me).  

Cats Claw (also called Samento):  *Good for late stage Lyme.  Take 500 mg, 3 times daily, and increase dose by a capsule a week until taking 2000 mg.  No need to take high dose if low dose works for you.

Resveratrol 200:  *Immune enhancer.  1-2 tablets taken 3 times daily.  This is the healthy version of grapes/wine.  I still take it, but twice a day.  You will know what works for you.

Sasparilla:  Helps with Lyme die off reactions (which makes you feel achy like you have the flu).  This is the rapid release of toxins that can occur when large numbers of microbes all die at once from antimicrobial therapy.  1 capsule 3-4 times a day while die off is occurring should help you.

Stephania:  Helps reduce visual symptoms of Lyme.  1/2 teaspoon 3 times daily.

American Indian Tea:  *This helps support the immune system and comes with brewing instructions.  It tastes very bitter, but does help with energy when you are trying to recover.  It's a strong dried mushroom, and is also supposed to help your body fight breast cancer, which can occur easily with Lyme disease, as your body can't easily purge toxins and has no Vitamin d left.

Vitamin D3:  *Check with your doctor, and be sure to get tested for this.   A symptom of Lyme disease is that your Vit d3 levels can get extremely low.  Mine were almost nonexistent.  You should take about 5000 mg of vitamin d a day (Fish oil derived is best).

Solanyx:  * It is a mushroom immune booster complex that can be taken for a week if ill, or cut the dose in half and it lasts 2 weeks to help knock out a more chronic illness.

Dr. Wilson's Adrenal Rebuilder:  *Helps to detoxify and rebuild your adrenal glands, which will help you have more energy.  (Smells horrible)

Mini trampoline:  *Just jumping on a trampoline (gently) for up to 15 minutes a day will help produce tissue movement in the body, to stimulate lymphatic drainage.  You will see large improvements with this little exercise.  (And no, jumping in place on a hard surface doesn't work the same way).  

Banderol:  *Helps kill Lyme in various forms.  It is especially supportive of cats claw.  Take twice daily, 30 min before breakfast and supper.  Start with one drop, twice daily, and add a drop daily until your dose reaches 30 drops twice daily.  

Teasel Root:  *From what I can understand, this herb pushes the bad bacteria from the joints into the blood system, so your body can fight it.  It makes me VERY TIRED, but does seem to do something, as I noticed a huge difference when I began taking Banderol and Teasel root--not as many aches and pains.

Steam/Infrared Sauna:  *I also go to a Korean spa once a week to detox my body through infrared sauna, steam, and different hot rooms.  If you don't have access to this type of spa, you can buy a small, folding infrared sauna, which looks like a small tent.  Your head sticks out of the top, but the heat helps to kill the spirochetes (lyme bugs).  If you can't afford this, keep taking hot epsom salt baths, as hot as you can handle.  When your heart starts beating quickly, get out.  Intense heat helps to kill the bug.

Good luck with your journey.  Again, I am not a doctor, but this is what worked for me.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Caring for the Throat

 

I was inspired to write this week’s blog after talking to my sister on the phone.  She was sick with a horrible cold and had laryngitis, so it prompted me to sit down and think about cures that have worked for me over the years. 

We all get sick at some point, especially those of us who spend hours flying back and forth on a plane, staying in hotel rooms, or working with others in close proximity.  This time of year, with frequent temperature changes and strong northern winds, it is especially difficult.  Therefore, here are some tips for staying healthy, or recovering quickly.

The Basics:  Drink plenty of water (8+ glasses a day), get regular sleep, exercise at least 3-5 times a week, take daily probiotic pills, and have the doctor check your vitamin d levels (if you are deficient in vitamin D, you will constantly get sick).  If you do all of these things, you may be able to avoid getting sick in the first place.  However, if you have caught the dreaded cold, are suffering from allergies, notice hoarseness or laryngitis developing, or just feel slightly sick, perhaps I can help you.

Laryngitis: 

Often times Laryngitis is brought on by seasonal changes, illness, or breathing in dust or chemicals.  However, did you know there is also nerve pressure in the bones of the neck that can cause the same reaction?

-  When you start to feel hoarse the first thing I do is buy fresh ginger, honey and lemons. I boil water, and make a tea of freshly grated ginger, the juice of a lemon, and a touch of honey. Sip slowly over and over, and this should help soothe your throat.  (If you can find raw, Manuka honey, it is made from the flower of the tea tree, and has amazing antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties, making it great for sore throats/laryngitis).  While doing this, I try to relieve the tension in my upper chest and neck/back by massaging it.  Take note of any tight knots, and try to work them out, as this can lead to almost immediate relief in some people.

-  If possible, soak in a hot bath with Epsom salts, as this will open your pores and help you sweat out toxins.  Many natural food stores now carry mustard bath, which also works well.  You can do the same thing at home by peeling a grapefruit and adding the skin to your bath water.  The oil from the skin is released into the water, and will almost cause a gentle burning sensation to the skin, as it helps heat your body and stimulate circulation.  (It also smells great).

-  Place a HOT compress on the front of the neck and a COLD on the back of the neck, at the base of the skull.  This will help stimulate blood flow, to help you recover faster.

-  Increase your Vitamin A, D & C.  Taking Elderberry tablets can also help, as they work to stimulate the sinuses and moisturize your nasal passages

-  I am a firm believer in Acupuncture, but that is not always accessible to people.  Therefore, there are a few pressure points you should know about.  If you are hoarse, try pressing at the following locations.  Press a few seconds, release and repeat, or rub the area in a small, clockwise circle.

-Press the outside corners of the mouth

-Press just above the Adam’s apple in your throat

-Press the hollow space in front of each shoulder (about half way down to the armpit)

-Press the hollow at the base of the neck.  (This is the small circular indentation at the center of your neck when you look in a mirror).

For a Cold or Allergies:

- When I lived in China, if you got sick, they would take a lot of fresh ginger, cut it into chunks (no need to peel), and add to a saucepan.  They would then add a 2 liter bottle of coke and boil for 25 min or so.  (Keep an eye on it).  It starts to get a bit thick, and can easily boil over.  Drink this like tea.  The sugar in the coke increases the ginger burn and makes you sweat like mad.  Really helps you sweat out a cold and break a fever quickly.  Also, great for sore throats.  You can get the same effect using water, ginger and brown sugar, if you prefer.  (The coke was too sweet for me).

-  Another supplement, which I find particularly useful, is Bee Propolis.  Just a few tablets help clear allergies and sinus phlegm, and calm a stomach.  It also builds up your immune system.  However, don’t take daily, as this is very heating to the body.  Just take 2 tablets, twice daily. 

-  When you are first coming down with a cold/allergies, if you drink warm water with 1-2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar in it, you can avoid getting sick altogether, as it changes the PH balance in your body.  It’s great for a sore throat, or sinus phlegm.  This is a habit you can do daily.  It will help with digestion, helps to flush toxins out of the body, and some studies suggest it can help with weight loss as well.

-  Use a neti pot.  Most people are now familiar with this device.  However, I use Alkalol in my Neti pot as well.  You can buy the Neti pot and Alkalol at any pharmacy.  I make a mixture of sea salt and baking soda, and store it in a travel bottle.  When I want to rinse my sinuses, I use about a teaspoon of this salt/baking soda mixture, mixed with about 2 tablespoons of the Alkalol.  Then, add warm water, stir, and rinse nose.  The Alkalol helps to bring down swelling in the sinus passages.  It’s truly miraculous and helps with pain too. 

-  I have begun to practice Qigong, which is the study of life energy.  If your sinuses are congested, stand up tall.  Take a deep breath and see how your sinuses feel.  Then, raise one arm in the air, palm facing the opposite arm.  Hold it in the air about 10-20 seconds, and continue to breathe deeply.  Be aware of how your sinuses change.  Then, lower that hand and raise the other.  Repeat.  Just by stretching your arm, and releasing energy, your breath will change.  Now, hold one arm out in front of you, and tap on the top of it, from the shoulder to the wrist.  Repeat on the opposite arm.  You will feel your lung/air start to open up and move freely.  This is just a simple thing to do several times a day to help you avoid sickness.

-  Steam over a pot of water with essential oils.  If I am feeling swollen in my sinuses, throat or dealing with lung congestion, I simply boil a pot of water on the stove with about a tablespoon of sea salt in it.  Then, I remove from the heat, and grab a big towel.  To the pot, I add 3 drops of each of the following essential oils:  Sage, thyme, cinnamon, and clove.  Throw the towel over your head and steam.  It may burn at first.  You will notice you are very sensitive wherever you are congested.  Keep breathing in the steam, and eventually the pain goes away, and you can stop steaming at this time.  The salt gently dries out the sinus membranes, while the oils bring down swelling and fight infection. 

-Garlic is your friend.  I caught a horrible head cold while in Italy.    The maid told me to buy garlic, chop it finely, put it on a tablespoon, and swallow down with water, as if taking pills.  (Do not chew it).  Within moments, it opened my sinuses. You can also take it in pill form, if that is more convenient for you.

Good luck and breathe deeply!  

 

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Welcome to  The Healthy Diva Blog!

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Welcome to The Healthy Diva Blog!

Welcome to my new website everyone!  Please take a moment to look around, tell me what you think, and connect with me on social media.  I look forward to hearing from you. 

This month represents many new beginnings:  A new year in my life, the beginning of the Chinese “Year of the Ram”, Daylight Saving time, and the melting of snow, which in Washington, D.C. means that the cherry blossoms will be in full bloom soon.  During this time of rebirth in the world I decided to start THE HEALTHY DIVA BLOG as part of my new website.  I lived in Beijing, China a few years back, and upon returning to the US I became deathly ill.  I went to the ER several times in one week and doctors kept sending me home telling me I was fine and that it was just in my head.  They refused to acknowledge I was suffering with pain and told me I just needed anti-depressants and should go home and sleep it off.  I was so frustrated, angry, overwhelmed and sick that I didn’t know which way to turn.  Luckily a friend who saw how pale and sick I was made an emergency call to his colleague, a holistic physician.  That doctor saw me immediately and diagnosed me with Lyme disease.

That doctor gave me a protocol of herbs, which had me feeling a million times better within the first hour. I remember sitting in his chair, while receiving an IV bag of hydrogen peroxide to up my immune system, and crying as I was so grateful someone finally took the time to not only help me but acknowledge my pain.  It appears I had been infected with Lyme disease nearly 20 years before I was diagnosed, so this was not going to be an overnight recovery. 

For almost 2 years I was sleeping 16+ hours a day, my body ached and felt like I had the flu everyday, as the Lyme spirochetes died off.  It’s a very painful process, which made me feel depressed, and caused me to slow down for the first time in my life.  In the beginning I was frustrated, yet I had little energy outside of practicing or performing.  It takes an incredible amount of energy to travel, rehearse, and perform week after week.  Being a performer with the work ethic the show must go on, I had always been one to cure ailments and sickness the fastest way possible, which in the past would have meant taking any medical drug to treat my symptoms but not face the root of the problem.  Lyme disease made me slow down and discover how to regain my health and energy to sing and perform in a more natural holistic way, since there was NO quick fix this time.  I learned about natural healing, experimented with Qigong, Meditation, Yoga, Acupuncture, Acupressure, Reiki and spent all my free time between concerts and rehearsals reading Mind-Body Health books, which all helped me realize the power of mind over matter to heal.  

Three years later, I am in a very different place.   I can now see that getting sick was the best thing that ever happened to me because of this process.  As singers, but really for anyone, our breath is supported by our health.  Our bodies are constantly communicating to us through symptoms, telling us what is going on deep down inside.  We can choose to respond to these symptoms superficially or we can dig deeper and face the root of the problem.  Facing the root of my Lyme disease and making the changes I did in my life made me more sensitive as a singer to my instrument and how to treat it kindly and to not just plow through life ignoring the red flags along the way.  I came out of this experience a stronger performer and smarter singer.  I am hoping this blog will help singers and non-singers alike navigate the world of performing while trying to stay balanced and healthy at the same time.  Hopefully you will learn something new from me along the way...

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