Tips for a Healthy Back – ChatterTip August 2012
As previously mentioned the sign of Leo rules the Heart, but since we already gave you tips for a Healthy Heart a couple of years ago, this time around we’re going to cover the other area of the human anatomy that Leo rules, and that is your Back, or Spine. So this month we bring you Tips for a Healthy Back. I myself am a Leo and have had a recurring problem with my back for years! Some of you may be familiar with the author Louise Hay, and her best-selling book “You Can Heal Your Life.” After years of study she compiled a list of ailments and the underlying mental and/or emotional issues behind each one. You may scoff, but I guarantee you that her system is very accurate and makes a lot of sense. So anyone with back problems is literally dealing with issues of “support,” ranging from the emotional to the financial. We can treat our ailments from a purely physical point of view, and we can also look behind the physical to see what emotional or mental issues are really going on…
Natural Remedies for Back Aches & Pains
We all experience aches and pains at some point or another, and with the back, it can be a result of damage to the disks, ligaments, muscles, or vertebra. This may be due to poor posture, lack of exercise, obesity, lifting something too heavy, pregnancy or even depression. Some back pain is more manageable, whilst other situations may requite a visit to the Chiropractor! After I put my back out at the end of May last year, my Chiropractor literally had me out of pain, and swimming by the beginning of July, which was pretty amazing since I could barely walk that first week after I’d injured it!
Some of our familiar herbs that can be used to make a poultice for pain are Black Pepper, Cayenne, Ginger, Horseradish and Mustard, (notice they are all fiery ingredients!) but if you want a simple, over-the-counter remedy for aching muscles – take basketball player Shaquille O’Neill’s advice and buy some Icy/Hot and not only rub a generous amount into your muscles, but also on the inside of a old T-Shirt, so it all soaks in while you sleep. I don’t particularly love being all “greased up” but I do know that it helps, and every time I do it, I’m glad that I did! Another of my favorites is to simply soak in a nice warm bath, again use Ginger, Juniper or Rosemary to help with the pain, or Lavender to help you relax. Adding either some Baking Soda or Epson Salts to the bath water can help to ease the aching muscles. Bergamot and Myrrhare also both anti-inflammatory and can be useful for massage or in the bath.
Simple Stretches for the Back
Both my teachers in Astrology and Mime have talked about how much we can learn by observing mother nature and the animal kingdom. And we humans are unique (and lazy) in the simple fact that we are the only species that does not stretch or work out every day. Yes, we go to the gym and walk to the store, and many people still have “manual labor” occupations, but the animal kingdom isn’t thinking about which Zumba class it should take, it simply shimmies along anyway. Stretching regularly can help to keep the body flexible and the moving parts oiled, as it were. There are many different stretches and exercises, so here are just a few basic ones for general maintenance.
UPPER BACK – deals with lack of emotional support
Standing Forward Stretch – stand behind a chair and bend forwards at the waist, keeping the back straight. Hold the back of the chair and stand back far enough away from the chair so that you can extend your arms fully and elongate the spine so that it is parallel to the floor.
Kneeling Forward Stretch – Kneel down on the floor, and bend forwards at the waist, keeping the back straight. Extend your arms all the way forward on the floor with palms down (see illustration below).
MIDDLE BACK – deals with carrying guilt and being “stuck” in the past
Seated Forward Stretch – Just as the “middle” child is the one who doesn’t have all of the responsibility (the way the eldest child does) nor are they spoilt and get away with everything (like the youngest child does) – the middle child is literally “stuck in the middle.” So too is the Middle Back stuck between its Upper and Lower siblings, and can therefore sometimes get short shift – so here’s a seated stretch to help elongate the spine and middle back. Sit in a chair and lean forwards with head and neck relaxed as well. Go as far as feels comfortable, and if you want a greater stretch, place the arms between your legs and elongate gently towards the back legs of the chair. Always come back up slowly and place your forearms on your knees to help push you back up.
LOWER BACK – deals with lack of financial support
Lying Back Stretch – Lie on the floor on your back with legs bent and feet flat on the floor. Bend one leg first, hold at the knee and pull gently towards the chest. Straighten the leg back out and repeat on the other side. Then bend both legs at the same time, and pull the knees towards the chest. As you gently stretch you’ll feel the lower back elongate. To increase the stretch, curl your head towards your knees at the same time as pulling the knees towards your chest.