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50 plus - relaxation equals health

changing your attitude
The voice from the radio changed, the tone more urgent:

'This is Dr. Girshon Lesser reminding you that health is not something you have, it's something you do.'

At that moment I simply noted the words, intrigued by the emphasis. Later on they came back to me again and again, in fact I often find myself passing on this idea to my clients. It's strange how such a simple idea can change your attitude to everyday things and open up new possibilities.

wellness
Dr. Lesser's weekly L.A. phone-in radio programme dealt with health matters. He encouraged his listeners to focus on wellness - the positive approach to creating and maintaining good health.

Most of us still operate on the blissful ignorance principle: 'If it's bad news I don't want to know'. We generally tend to wait for a problem to occur before we even think about our health, even though we may routinely get our car serviced as preventative maintenance.

Of course, if your health has already suffered in some way you may be much more prepared to think ahead and take prompt action. Suffering can be a powerful teacher.

As Joni Mitchell wrote: 'Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone'. Even so, most of us prefer to look the other way, until the crunch comes.

the 50 mark
As we pass the fifty mark, however, our own mortality becomes a bigger issue. We tend to take a greater interest in sticking around. Losing close friends and/or parents can be a massive wake-up call about our own health.

stress and illness
I would like to make a point about a subtle and enjoyable way for you to increase your sense of well-being and reduce the likelihood of stress-related illness.

We can all learn the relaxation habit. Even though it might be difficult to get our unconscious to stop worrying (it thinks it knows what's best for us) we can teach it to do what we want by connecting an outside stimulus with a relaxed state.

can music help?
For example, one of the most effective ways is to create a calm, pleasant environment around you to make relaxing more achievable. The easiest approach, no decorating or carpentry required, is to fill your ears with music that calms you.

Music has been used throughout history to adjust our moods.

research and the healing power of music
Isn't music for entertainment? Well, yes and more. We have always responded strongly to music - sacred music adds great power to religious ceremonies and as for movies: have you ever turned down the sound during a scary film? Try it sometime - it's suddenly not so frightening.

Lots of research has been done on the healing and restorative powers of music. From the studies that showed how houseplants grew significantly better when played slow Baroque or classical Indian music (they shrank when played heavy metal!) to an American experiment which found that just 20 minutes a day of relaxing music was enough for 66 older people with chronic osteoarthritis to report more than a 50% reduction in pain levels, it seems that living organisms can't help but respond to the sounds around them.

binaural beats
Now a new kind of relaxation music is emerging that is carefully designed to trigger the parasympathetic nervous system - our natural relaxation response - causing the brain to operate in a calmer way. The technology, known as binaural beats, builds on our natural tendency to synchronise our bodies to musical stimuli

A stereo signal of white or pink noise (it sounds a little like rain) is buried in the background of the track. When we listen in stereo this signal causes the brain to resonate at the frequency generated by the signal. This frequency is chosen to match the way our brainwaves naturally act when we are deeply relaxed. It's very well researched and absolutely safe.

People who use our music tell us it makes a difference to many situations: calming crying babies, making sleep easier, reducing chronic pain or simply marking the end of a stressful working day by helping them to switch off.

create a serene mood
Probably the easiest way of creating a mood is to add background music, so why not choose the soundtrack to your life? It's fun to decide which calming sounds to use when you would like a little serenity and remember - your brain can't help but respond so go on - develop an aural fixation!

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