Tag Archive for Holistic Health

HERBS TO LIVE BY… Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm. The herb of many talents. This is one of the few herbs known as a veritable ‘medicine chest’. It’s actions are many. It’s mild, yet potent, acting almost like an herbal blend all by itself. However, in a herbal blend it has a reputation of being a powerful potentiator for the other herbs. Lemon Balm is definitely a “must have” herb for every apothecary.

COMMON NAME: Lemon Balm, Sweet Balm, Honey Balm, Bee Balm, Balm

LATIN NAME: Melissa officinalis

FAMILY: Lamiaceae (Mint)

PLANT PARTS USED: Leaf, Essential Oil

ENERGETICS: Warming (Ayurveda) or Cooling (TCM & Western Herbalism); Moistening

TASTE: Sour, “Lemon-y”, Aromatic

ACTIONS: Anti-depressant, Anti-spasmodic, Anti-viral, Carminative, Cholegogue, Diaphoretic, Emmenogogue (mild), Hepatic, Hypnotic, , Memory/Cognition Enhancer, Nervine, Sedative, Spasmolytic, Trophorestorative, Beneficial cardiovascular effects: Antiarrhythmogenic, Hypotensive, Infarct Size-Reducing, Negative Chronotropic & Dromotropic, Sedative Stimulation of Endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthesis, Styptic, Vasorelaxant, Vulnerary

SYMPTOMS:
Internal Use Anxiety, Cold, Colic, Depression, Digestion (poor), Excitability, Fever, Flu, Gas/bloating, Graves Disease, Headache, Heart Palpitations, Herpes Viruses, Hyperactivity, Hypertension, Hyperthyroidism, Memory and Cognition Booster (in low to moderate doses only), Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Insomnia, Delayed Menstruation, Nausea, Restlessness, Stomach Cramps, Teething, Urinary Infections, Viral Infection

The juice of balm glueth together greene wounds.

John Gerard, English Herbalist

Topical Use Apply the leaves to skin diseases and wounds, including chicken pox eruptions, psoriasis, eczema and venomous stings.

It is now recognized as a scientific fact that the balsamic oils of aromatic plants make excellent surgical dressings: they give off ozone and thus exercise anti-putrescent effects. Being chemical hydrocarbons , they contain so little oxygen that in wounds dressed with the fixed balsamic herbal oils, the atomic germs of disease are starved out, and the resinous part of these balsamic oils, as they dry upon the sore or wound, seal it up and effectually exclude all noxious air.

Mrs. M. Grieve

ABOUT: Lemon Balm is a herbaceous perennial plant in the mint family. When it flowers it is an attractant for bees, hence the name “bee balm”. Originally, it comes from Greece and was spread by the Romans in their travels. It is most commonly considered a native of Europe, central Asia, and Iran.

Lemon balm… “Caus(es) the mind and heart to become merry.”

~ Nicolas Culpepper, British Botanist, Herbalist & Physician (1616-1654)

Clinical trials have revealed some of the positive effects of Lemon Balm due to its ability to stimulate the neurotransmitter acetylcholine receptors. This affects mood, memory, sleep and cognition. It also stimulates GABA A receptors which have significant physiological and therapeutic implications due to Lemon balm’s ability to inhibit certain responses in the Central Nervous System and throughout the body. GABA’s ability to attach to these receptors plays a significant role in modulating anxiety, fear and stress.

Lemon Balm has traditionally been known to relieve heart palpitations, this has also been demonstrated clinically in humans. It appears that its polyphenols have antioxidant properties and the ability to scavenge free radicals. It ameliorates oxidative stress, has anti-inflammatory effects, activates M2 and antagonism of β1 receptors in the heart, is able to block voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels, stimulates endothelial nitric oxide synthesis, prevents fibrotic changes, and more.1

There are herbalists who assert that Lemon Balm has the ability to normalize thyroid hormones. Scientific studies generally look at Lemon Balm’s ability to normalize hyperthyroid conditions such as Grave’s Disease but do not generally consider its balancing properties for the underactive thyroid.

DOSE:
Oral = Tincture 2-6 dropperfuls 3x per day
Infusion (dried or fresh)= 2-3 TSPS herb per Cup 2-3 times per day

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Using Lemon Balm as a whole herb carries no significant contraindications. However, as is it a known potentiator when used with herbs it would be wise to use it apart from pharmaceuticals as well. Additionally, its sedative properties should be considered when driving or operating heavy machinery – especially at the higher dosages. It is considered safe when used in moderation during pregnancy.

FOOD ENHANCEMENT: Beverages, add a few leaves to salad, soups, sauces, marinades, etc.

Sources:

Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine by David Hoffman

A Modern Herbal by Mrs. M. Grieve F.R.H.S

HERBS TO LIVE BY… Oatstraw & Milky Oats

COMMON NAME: Oatstraw; Milky Oats, Oats Flowering Tops; Oats

LATIN NAME: Avena sativa

FAMILY: Poaceae

PLANT PART USED: Stems (Oatstraw) & Premature Seeds (Milky Oats)

ENERGETICS: Neutral to cooling, moistening

TASTE: Sweet

PRIMARY ACTIONS: Antidepressant, Antioxidant, Anti-inflammatory (topically as colloidal oatmeal), Anti-insomnia, Antispasmodic, Anxiolytic, Cardiotonic, Capillary-Strengthening, Diuretic, Galactagogue, Hypolipidemic, Nervine Tonic, Nutritive, Vasodilator, Vulnerary (Demulcent & Emollient)­

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Many herbal professionals would agree there are no problems with using oatstraw or milky oats, In theory, caution should be exercised with those who are celiac or have a recognized gluten sensitivity. While oats do not contain gluten, those with Celiac disease or gluten allergies must take care to verify the oats they select are not cross-contaminated in a facility that processes other gluten-containing grains.

Milky Oats

ABOUT: ‘Milky oats’ are the premature oat that has not yet formed a seed. When harvested at the right time the premature green seed head can be squeezed and a sticky whitish “milk” will be released.

The ‘oat straw’ is the grassy stalk of the plant that should be harvested while the oats are in the milky oats stage.

As food, oats are the seed of the mature plant that is harvested for food commonly called oatmeal or baked and added to granola or muesli. Oatmeal is a calcium channel blocker that helps to lower blood pressure. When soaked and strained the oat ‘milk’ can be consumed as a beverage or medicinally added to bath water to soothe skin conditions or applied topically to soothe skin conditions including contact dermatitis, dryness, itching, rashes, eczema (weeping), and burns.

The most common herbal remedies are those made of the oatstraw infusion and of the milky oats tincture. Though they appear simple, one should not underestimate their healing potential. Oatstraw or milky oats should be considered remedies for most anyone at any time throughout life.

Oat Straw with Milky Oats

Oatstraw can help brighten one’s mood and lift depression by inhibiting the ability of monoamine oxide-B to break down a neurotransmitter called dopamine important for mood regulation. Oatstraw also keeps phosphodiesterase-4 from causing inflammation often connected to anxiety and depression. Additionally, oatstraw increases focus through vasodilation, therefore, it may be beneficial for those with ADHD.

Oatstraw infusion is supportive of those suffering from bed-wetting, boils, flu, coughs, bladder issues, joint pain and rheumatic complaints, exhaustion, frostbite, gall bladder issues, gout, heart and/or liver issues, impetigo, lung weakness, nervous conditions, sexual debility, etc.

Ayurvedic practitioners have used a decoction of Avena sativa as an elixir for opium addiction and noticed that certain people also have found it supportive for smoking cessation.1 While this may be controversial, it is not surprising that addictions stemming from anxiety may be helped by this gentle, yet powerful nervous system trophorestorative.

To make an oatstraw infusion, place 1/4 cup of chopped organic oatstraw into a mason jar. Fill the jar with steaming hot/boiling water and cover. To extract all the minerals, allow the infusion to set overnight for a minimum of 8 hours. Then strain and drink. Keep refrigerated for up to three days. An adult may consume one cup up to three times per day.

Oatstraw tea is even safe for infants (in small doses), children, women who are pregnant or menopausal, the elderly, the convalescing and in just about every life-stage and condition of health.

The milky oats of the oat plant are made into a tincture. It must be done at the premature milky stage of the oat seed. The best tinctures are made using a very high-percentage alcohol solvent as this is necessary to extract the milky white latex exudate from the immature seed.

Milky oats is a traditional remedy used to support and restore the nervous system. especially after long periods of prolonged stress The tincture would likely be faster-acting and more appropriate in an acute situation. Old-time practitioners used milky oats tincture to promote healthy heart and nerve function as well as to encourage healthy sleep patterns, An adult dose of milky oats tincture ranges from 20-40 drops 3 or more times per day.

The Ultimate Immune Booster

Boost Your Immune System & Reduce Your Viral Load Through Forgiveness

Good health includes many health-promoting practices from eating the right foods and drinking pure water, to avoiding chemicals and getting proper rest. Spiritual and emotional factors are also important. While designed to live in the present, all of us at some point have to deal with something that keeps us emotionally and physically tied to an unpleasant person or event, and that is unforgiveness. The decision to withhold forgiveness has the deleterious power to bind us to the past through either ours or another’s action or inaction.

Unforgiveness can be thought of as an anchor that holds the emotions of hatred or bitterness, anger or rage, resentment, retaliation and even murder in place. Unforgiveness is an emotional “toxin” and an underlying factor in much physical or psychological dysfunction. Simply stated, the body cannot thrive while holding onto toxicity of any kind.

Just like an anchor is designed to keep a boat from floating away on the water, so our ability to overcome daily stressors is drastically hindered with these ties to past wounds, traumas and offenses.

When bound to the past through toxic decisions such as unforgiveness, the soul (mind, will and emotions) simply cannot operate at maximum capacity. This causes our body to enter into a heightened state of chronic stress which causes physical vitality begin to wane. These toxic emotions keep the body under chronic levels of stress, hindering the ability to repair itself.

As innervation (the excitation of nerve fibers that causes an organ, gland, muscle or body region to react beyond what is required for homeostasis) occurs, among the first systems that become affected are the amount and quality of sleep, proper digestion including the assimilation of nutrition, and the proper elimination of wastes. The mind is often inordinately occupied with wrong(s) done, rehearsing things that did not happen that might have been better said or done in the moment. This chronic insistence of holding on to the “Fight” or “Flight” of the autonomic nervous system’s “Fight or Flight” response hinders the healing processes that occur when the body returns to the “Rest and Digest” of the parasympathetic nervous system keeping the body from returning to a state of peace.

Eventually, a dip in energy levels with increasing fatigue occurs while the body adjusts to the constant state of unresolved stress. This manifests in the physical body through an energetic pathway connected to the autonomic nervous system. (For more information about this newly-discovered organ system, read about the Primo Vascular System HERE.)

Negative emotions increase the risk of having adverse health experiences, for instance, a stroke. In one study “three potential triggers stood out: anger, negative emotions – guilt, fear, nervousness, irritability, and hostility – and sudden posture changes due to a startling event. Nearly 30% of participants reported at least one of those experiences two hours before their stroke. …There was a 14-fold increase in stroke risk with both negative emotions and anger.”1

While it is not known exactly how years of negative feelings and anger affect the risk of having a stroke, it is a good idea for those who experience intense negative feelings to incorporate skills such as forgiveness to release this build-up of inner tension in a healthful manner. We will discuss this in more detail later.

A study published in the European Heart Journal on March 3, 2014, confirms these findings. “Researchers found in the two hours after an angry outburst, a person’s risk for a heart attack increased nearly five times and their risk of stroke shot up more than three times, compared to when patients were not angry. Risk for arrhythmia, or irregular heart rhythm, was also increased.”2

It is important to understand that for any negative emotion, overexpression, suppression or pretending the problem is not there takes tremendous emotional and physical resources as well as communicating toxic messages to the body. This is always harmful. This would explain why it is most beneficial for maintaining and regaining health and longevity to release the root cause of these emotions. Forgiveness of self and others often plays a key role.

In relationship to anger and cancer, researchers have found that “Extremely low anger scores have been noted in numerous studies of patients with cancer. Such low scores suggest suppression, repression, or restraint of anger. There is evidence to show that suppressed anger can be a precursor to the development of cancer, and also a factor in its progression after diagnosis. Some studies indicate that it may be beneficial for patients to mobilize anger to battle their cancer.”3

Another study found that natural killer cell counts are negatively influenced by outward expressions of anger. Natural killer cells are important in the body’s anti-tumor immune response. It is significant to note that other factors were measured which did not appear to affect natural killer cell counts such as inward anger, clinical anxiety or depression. The results of this study suggest that the unregulated expression of anger may suppress the body’s innate immunity.4 There is always unforgiveness lurking behind anger. So if someone wants to deal with anger issues, they should consider the need to forgive.

Do you want to boost your immune system and reduce your viral load? Then forgive!

A study of those living with HIV presented at the Society of Behavioral Medicine 32nd Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions “shows individuals who truly forgave someone who had hurt them in the past showed positive changes in their immune status.”5

CD4 is a type of protein that is found on immune cells such as T-cells, macrophages, and monocytes. CD4s do not neutralize infections; however, they trigger the body’s proper response to infections. The results of a blood test CD4 T-cell count are used to indicate the health of immune function. It is most commonly used in people with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). In this next study, CD4 cell percentages correlate to the health of the immune system with a significant relationship to the level of forgiveness.

“Not forgiving is like drinking poison and
expecting the other person to die.”

“We hypothesized that higher levels of forgiveness would be associated with higher CD4 cell percentages controlled for demographic and behavioral variables as well as viral load,’ Dr. Owen told Medscape Medical News. ‘And none of these variables accounted for the relationship between forgiveness and CD4 cell percentages. So, there is something special going on between forgiveness and CD4 cell counts.”5 Interestingly, this study also equated the greater the forgiveness, the higher the CD4 percentages which boosts the immune system and reduces viral load.

It has also been found that forgiveness improves immune function in those with HIV. A new study was presented at the Society of Behavioral Medicine 32nd Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions. This study included people who were living with HIV. It revealed that “individuals who truly forgave someone who had hurt them in the past showed positive changes in their immune status.”6

Another study confirms the correlation. It found the more unforgiving nature a person has, the worse mental and physical health were experienced, and conversely, demonstrated that there is a positive interaction of those who practice having a forgiving nature and a correspondingly weaker effect of stress and adverse mental health in an individual’s life.7

Caution: Unforgiveness may be detrimental to your health!

What Unforgiveness IS ~
Reverend Michael Barry, PhD, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania explained, “…Unforgiveness is a state where a person retains negative emotions, including anger and hatred, for a perpetrator of harm. ‘This creates a state of chronic anxiety, and chronic anxiety has a predictable impact on a wide range of bodily functions, including the reproductive system, the digestive system, and the immune system,’ he said.

‘There is a direct correlation between unforgiveness and our immune system, which directly affects our healing processes.”

Rev. Michael Barry, Ph.D.

For example, stress hormones, including cortisol and adrenalin, have been shown to reduce the production of natural killer cells — the ‘foot soldiers’ in the fight against cancer, he noted.

Dr. Barry’s own research has shown that almost two-thirds of cancer patients identified forgiveness as a personal issue for them, and 1 in 3 of them indicated they had severe forgiveness issues, ‘so we are aware of the emotional pain that many of our patients are in.”8

Caution: Forgiveness may be beneficial to your health!

What Forgiveness IS ~
Forgiveness is something one does for themselves. It is solely for the individual, not anyone else. Incorporating the practice of forgiveness into one’s lifestyle brings health-promoting separation for the soul and the body, breaking its destructive negatively-charged chronically stressful emotions, thoughts and behaviors anchored to a toxic past.

For those who have experienced the release of deeply forgiving another person, it is a truly liberating, burden-lightening decision for the restoration of health.

What Forgiveness is NOT ~
The act of forgiveness does not make light of or diminish the violation, pain or suffering of the wounded in any way. The kind of emotional turmoil associated with traumatic events follow people throughout their lifetimes. Sadly, unforgiveness towards self or others can affect one’s ability to succeed, experience healthy and fulfilling relationships, feel the depths and the heights of love, hope, peace and joy, and even a dramatic lessening of physical vitality.

Forgiveness is not forgetting, nor does it approve of a wrong done. It is a powerful technique that can bring separation, lessening of emotional angst, and increased ability to live with joy in the present and with confidence toward the future.

Reconciliation may or may not be appropriate as a result of forgiveness. This is different for each individual as there are situations where reconciliation is not recommended. A safe distance of separation should be kept if there is any possibility of continued emotional or physical abuse to the forgiver or their children. In some instances contact should be completely avoided.

How To Forgive? Some Pointers…
Forgivers are predominantly “faith-oriented and empathetic people who understand the meaning of forgiveness as letting go of negative emotions.”9 Their primary tools are prayer and meditation. Fostering a willingness to forgive along with a decision to not carry past burdens into the present gives the fortitude to release others deeply within their soul. The most successful forgivers fill their minds with good thoughts about themselves and their future, scripture is often used and gives added direction when walking out from past offenses.

Helpful Hints:

  • Understand what forgiveness really is
  • Acknowledge that the negativity is affecting your emotional or physical health
  • Put your feelings into words.*
  • Garner the support of family or friends*
  • Be specific. A generalized “I forgive everybody” type of prayer is not effective.
  • It is best to start small and work one’s way up to the more difficult transgressions.
  • Write down the date you have deeply forgiven someone, just in case you need a reminder.
  • Repeat forgiveness exercises as needed.

*Verbalizing one’s feelings lessen the intensity of the emotions. The reason is that the attachment of a word to an emotion decreases the amygdala’s response. As a result, this increases the response of the prefrontal cortex where thinking occurs.10 This is why people find talking about emotional issues with family, friends, or a counselor can be helpful.

Do people need to know I’ve forgiven them?
Well no, not really. Especially if they don’t know they have caused an offense. Simply forgive and enjoy the release that you have gained while moving on with your life.

Can I forgive someone who has died or left me that I will never see again?
Absolutely! Remember that forgiveness is for YOU! It’s about you and releasing your negative connections with any person or situation in the past. Freedom is merely a deeply heartfelt decision away.

Wounded People, Wound People…

Let’s face it. All of us have been hurt, and in turn have hurt someone at one time or another. The most honorable thing we can do is diligently practice forgiveness in our own lives, and where we have wounded others ask for forgiveness. In this way we help them find the release that they need by experiencing forgiveness for themselves.

Personal Story ~
When my father passed, I felt very disoriented and surprised at the effect his death had on me. Within days, the mother of friend approached me and confessed that she resented how I could be so happy all of the time. Still grieving, I was not exactly feeling “happy”.

As I looked into her pain-filled eyes and heard her words I understood that she didn’t come to accuse me, rather, she came for help. She had a point, I usually did exhibit a joy that she wanted for herself, but it wasn’t until later that I understood why.

Taking responsibility for the role I had in her offense, I replied, “I am so sorry to have caused you pain. Will you forgive me.” To which she graciously did. It wasn’t until later that the thought occurred to me that I had seen this woman almost every week, but never “noticed” the burdens she silently carried due to the painful connections to her past, until that day.

I am grateful for that exchange. Although it cost me nothing, it made me a better person and lifted a burden of precious woman who had endured much suffering during her lifetime.

How To Ask for Forgiveness? Some Pointers…
To maximize the effectiveness of requesting forgiveness, it should be thought of as a transaction. Both parties have a role.

The Process:

  1. Turn off the cell phone and eliminate all interruptions
  2. Make solid eye contact
  3. Listen and take responsibility: “I’m sorry that I (Use their words). Will you forgive me?”
    (Don’t say: “I’m sorry ‘if‘ I…” The word ‘if’ inserts doubt and shows unwillingness to take full responsibility. This makes the apology less sincere.)
  4. Wait patiently for their response
  5. Ask: “Is there anything else you need to share?”

Of course, the response you would like to hear is “Yes, I forgive you”, but that does not always happen. If you don’t get that answer, gently persist. Remember, you have nothing better to do than help this person become free. It may take time and tears for someone to verbalize or process forgiveness for a deep wounding – or for an offense that touches another deep wounded place.

If they need more time and persistence, kindness, gentleness, and love from you, agree to come back to forgiveness again later. If so, make an appointment and keep it. When ready to restart the forgiveness process, begin again at step number one.

The Most Important Thing to Teach a Child is how to Forgive.

Forgiving and needing to be forgiven is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of our humanity.

Some health issues are being discovered that are not only rooted in unforgiveness, but in self-unforgiveness or even the need to forgive God for situations and deeds caused by others that were then attributed to Him.

With practice, forgiveness becomes easier. We become more prone to forgive and establish that trait in our lives. In the end it benefits our physical and mental well-being, making it much easier to experience joy and gratitude.

At Genesis School of Natural Health it is our desire that you experience vibrant health; rewarding, deep and lasting relationships, and discovery of the joy and peace that comes with forgiveness.

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Good Boundaries Make Great Clients!

Building a natural health business can be a fun and rewarding experience. It also has potential to present difficulties that every entrepreneur has to work through. While some business owners seem to have an uncanny knack for building a business, others struggle.

Having difficulty doesn’t mean that you are not cut out for this type of thing, it only means that additional knowledge and skills are required to benefit your business – and most importantly YOU!

What is it that those with a ‘knack’ know? They know how to effectively use boundaries to accomplish their goals.

Signs that boundaries are needed.

Are you exhausted from working through the many expectations of others? Do you ever feel taken advantage of? Do others frequently ask for unsolicited freebies? Do constant interruptions decrease your productivity? Are “friend”-clients inclined to expect special treatment and favors? Are you frequently asked that ‘quick question’ that requires uncompensated research, but you do it even if you don’t have the time?

If any of these apply, you might consider the need to set boundaries. While all of these things may be a part of running a natural health business (and more), it is healthy to set your own priorities and not allow pressures inflicted from outside to ‘drive’ you. In simple terms, busy-ness does not equate with success.

“When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated.”

~ Brene’ Brown

For some professionals the need for boundaries may present as resentment or anger. The feeling of having one’s stomach ‘tied up in a knot’ at the request of or thought of a person may also reveal a lack of healthy boundaries.  Feeling consistently overwhelmed or weary, or perhaps the realization that one has been taken advantage of or too often taken for granted may be yet another sign. When pushed to wits end the otherwise happy professional might even surprise themselves with that short or cutting remark that just jumped out of their mouth. Unfortunately, it may not have occurred to them that a lack of boundaries was causing their suffering and negative feelings or that there was a remedy.

Setting Boundaries is Healthy for You!

A person who sets boundaries is a person who cares for and respects themselves.  A person who is willing to set boundaries for themselves is a person who desires to nurture themselves with self-care and self-respect.  Believe it or not, setting healthy boundaries is a primary area that the natural health professional takes care of themselves!

Also, do not be quick to harshly judge those negative feelings you may have.  Negative emotions are merely an indicator that something is amiss in a similar manner as the fuel gauge on a car indicates whether the tank is full or empty. Now that you recognize healthy boundaries are in order you can do something about it!

Don’t become discouraged should the concept of boundary-setting have you in tears.  Given some time and opportunity it is very possible to become proficient in this area. Setting healthy boundaries is a wonderful way to practice self-love and personal growth is ultimately empowering and energizing.  If this is you, take courage. YOU CAN do this! Read on to learn how.

“Compassionate people ask for what they need.  They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it.  They’re compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment.”

~ Brene’ Brown

Setting Boundaries is Healthy for Others!

For many natural health professionals, learning and practicing the skills required to create good boundaries necessitates taking a sobering inventory of themselves.  This is beneficial not only for ones-self, but also for one’s clientele.

Without boundaries, there is chaos, chaos causes stress which when prolonged results in the weakening the body.  In other words, your health will benefit from your learning to set good, healthy boundaries for yourself. Our clients, like us, benefit from applying similar techniques in their work and personal lives.  Boundary-setting tools are a great resource to have in one’s professional arsenal.

The following poem is a work of art crafted by the well-known American poet, Robert Frost.  Especially noteworthy is the relationship and understanding that is developed in the process of boundary-setting.

Mending Wall

by Robert Frost
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
‘Stay where you are until our backs are turned!’
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
‘Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.’ I could say ‘Elves’ to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’

If you would like to listen to an MP3 recording of this poem click on the link.  ->  Mending Wall by Robert Frost

How to Get Started Setting Boundaries

The place to begin is by delaying the urge to automatically say “yes” whenever a request is made.  As author/researcher Brene’ Brown, Ph.D., LMSW, states:  “The moment someone asks you to do something you don’t have the time or inclination to do is fraught with vulnerability. “Yes!” often seems like the easiest way out. But it comes at a price: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said “Sure!” in my squeaky, I-can’t-believe-I’m-doing-this voice, only to spend hours, even months, feeling angry and resentful. For women, there’s a myth that we’re supposed to do it all (and do it perfectly). Saying no cues a chorus of inner shame gremlins: “Who do you think you are?” “You’re not a very caring [mother/wife/friend/colleague].”1

“No!” is a complete sentence!

Next, practice saying the word “No” with confidence! If you have difficulty speaking it out with confidence, practice! Say No! with enthusiasm until the confidence surfaces, then practice again. Say No! in front of the mirror. Say No! in the car. Practice until it becomes a habit. And remember, “No!” is a complete sentence!  Practicing your boundaries in everyday life is key to setting effective boundaries in your business.

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say ‘No’ to almost everything.”

~ Warren Buffett

Warren Buffet an American investor and business tycoon said “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say ‘No’ to almost everything.” Isn’t that what every two-year-old child says? They are learning to set effective boundaries for themselves. A skill that will serve them well throughout their lives.

It is possible to use boundary-setting techniques to manipulate others/ This behavior ought to be rejected by the natural health professional. Manipulative boundaries are often extremely rigid and unyielding. They may be intended to make the boundary-maker feel safe or avoid anything that could possible go awry, but the downside is that manipulative boundaries actually exclusive. They serve to keep people ‘out’ instead of inviting them ‘in’-to a mutually-beneficial and rewarding relationship.

The 3 ‘C’s of Boundary-Making

What kind of boundaries should a natural health professional have? A good place to begin is by thinking about those areas in your business that would be benefited by a clearly-defined boundary. Undoubtedly, you will think of more than is listed here. Here are some examples to get you going:

Boundaries of Natural Health Professionals

  • Dates and times you are available (office, store, clinic hours)
  • ‘No show’ appointments. (Fee for cancellations?)
  • Being on time for their appointment. (How will tardiness be handled?)
  • When is payment due?
  • Preferred or acceptable, methods of payment.
  • How do you prefer to be contacted? (Email, text, phone call, etc.)
  • Client adherence to your professional recommendations, etc. (Definitely in the client’s best interest.)

After listing the boundaries you have decided upon and how you would like to handle each one, you will want to move on to the first ‘C’ of Boundary-Making.

Successful Boundaries Must Be Clear

Clear boundaries clarify expectations and set people up to succeed.  For boundaries to be respected and adhered to, clear communication is the key.

The best place to start when setting boundaries verbally is to “own’ it. This is an important step to establishing your authority and can be accomplished by making “I” statements. “I” statements are a simple way to get started. Practice the ones below and add any others that suit you. State them with confidence as with saying “No!”

“I don’t have the bandwidth for that.”
“I would be happy to answer your questions. My next available appointment is on Tuesday.
“I need time for myself outside of business hours.”
“I am not available before 10 a.m.”
“I can’t take that on.”

When offering an “I” statement, do not add further explanation as this muddles the message which will weaken the authority you would like to convey. Keep your boundary statements short and to the point.

Repetition along with enthusiasm will help build your confidence. If you have a friend with which you can practice, have them encourage you to be assertive. That is even better.

Successful Boundaries Must Be Communicated

It is a mistake to assume that others automatically know your boundaries. There are various ways to set boundaries with signs, in contracts, in policies, as well as verbally.

As was mentioned earlier, contracts, and policies and procedures are types of boundaries.  It is recommended to write out these things for the sake of clarity with your client.  However, not everything can be forethought and written.  Relationships are messy like that.  This is why we need to practice verbalizing limits.

Here is one example:  Last minute client cancellations or no-shows are costly in business.  Remember, your policies (boundaries) should be stated when the appointment is made, written where your clients can see them, and/or forwarded to them with intake paperwork.

At times it will be necessary to enforce this boundary. Practice the following statement until it can easily roll off of your tongue.

Boundary statement: “I am happy to cancel and reschedule your appointment. There is a $___ cancellation fee when less than a 48-hour notice is given.”

Obviously, we wouldn’t charge a cancellation fee every time a client cancels for any reason. After all, sometimes there are legitimate emergencies. However, being prepared for those times you have to use a boundary will help to keep you on your toes when you need it .

Successful Boundaries Must Be Consistent

Consistency is a bit more difficult in the beginning than after one has been setting boundaries for awhile. It is wise to expect some resistance when first using boundaries as with any good wall or fence there will be “fence testers”. Sometimes these are people who are genuinely surprised that there has been a change. These people generally will adapt and respect you all the more.

Another type of “fence tester’ is the manipulative or ‘toxic’ person. When you come across these as any reasonable and rational person would, just take a deep breath, relax, and calmly stick to your guns for “this too shall pass.”

“You best teach others about healthy boundaries by enforcing yours.”

~ Bryant McGill

Being habitual about consistently enforcing your boundaries shows that you respect your decision-making. Waffling demonstrates uncertainty and by doing so you undermine your own authority making it more difficult to hold your ground next time.

Take a moment and reflect back to the Mending Wall. Remember the place where the hunters passed through left a gaping hole in the stone fence? Their action made the boundary inconsistent. Inconsistency requires more effort to repair than the effort required in routine maintenance.

And that’s what this is all about isn’t it? Making your business a safe, joy-filled, and profitable venture… for YOU!

Good Boundaries Make Great Clients!

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