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 Newsletter: Soothingminds May ezine

Apologies for the long silence - I have been studying and with the exams now completed, can return to writing a Soothingminds newsletter! It has amazed me  just how much time is required to research topics and you never quite know where you will end up. Whilst investigating the herbal approaches to irritable bowel syndrome I discovered a paper describing the ancient Asklepian dream healing technique which I thought would be of particular interest  - we all have the ability to act on our dreams if we so wish.

Asklepian Dream Healing
From approximately 1300 BCE to 500CE, in Asklepian temples, physician guided patient with seemingly intractable health problems through intensive holistic retreats. In them, a wide range of therapies was invoked: exercise, nutrition, hydrotherapy, touch, astrological readings, and attendance at tragic theatre. The capstone of these efforts was incubation, a period during which the suppliant fasted, prayed, and slept in an enclosed chamber called an abaton. The patient remained in the abaton until he or she received a dream or vision in which Asklepios, the Greek god of healing, or one of his helpers, appeared. In Greece, the dream typically involved instantaneous healing by the god.

A new way to see symbols
The symbolic language of dreams is very subtle, carrying much more than is immediately apparent to us as we awaken. We need to be equally subtle in our approach, resisting the more fixed path of intellectual interpretation, which can be reductive and relatively shallow. If you have a dream dictionary, throw it away, or at least lose it for the time being! Having someone else tell you what your dream symbol means will close you down, tempting you to accept this as the only authentic explanation and then causing you to tailor your dream to fit this apparent meaning. It is better to stay open and enquiring around your symbol. Approach it from all angles, looking, learning, and questioning. 

Amber light for bipolar disorder
“Dark Therapy”, in which complete darkness is used as a mood stabilizer in bipolar disorder, roughly the converse of  light therapy for depression, has support in several preliminary studies. Although data are limited, darkness itself appears to organize and stabilize circadian rhythms. Yet insuring complete darkness from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. the following morning, as used in several studies thus far, is highly impractical and not accepted by patients.

However, recent data on the physiology of human circadian rhythm suggests that “virtual darkness” may be achievable by blocking blue wavelengths of light. A recently discovered retinal photoreceptor, whose fibers connect only to the biological clock region of the hypothalamus, has been shown to respond only to a narrow band of wavelengths around 450 nm. Amber-tinted safety glasses, which block transmission of these wavelengths, have already been shown to preserve normal nocturnal melatonin levels in a light environment which otherwise completely suppresses melatonin production. 

Nettle and apricot herbal tonic
I recently met Belinda, a medical herbalist in Whitstable. She was showing people how to make a herbal tonic that only takes 2-3 weeks to mature and here is the recipe if you wish to try whilst nettles are still plentiful. Weigh out equal amounts of apricots and stinging nettles (make sure you wear thick rubber gloves when picking) or alternatively buy dried nettles. Roughly chop nettles and apricots into smallish pieces and place in a large glass jar. Cover with a good quality red wine (13.5% proof or more). Seal the jar and place somewhere dark, giving it a daily shake and in two or three weeks time, sieve out the contents and bottle the syrup - this is a pleasant tasting tonic that will mature with age - one of Belinda's was over six years old and had a powerful bite! The tonic is a great blood enhancer packed with iron and ideal for women menstruating or feeling overworked - a teaspoon or 5ml per person per day. Visit Belinda's website to find out more about her work at

 Peace through love
"It may be long before the law of love will be recognised in international affairs. Till a new energy is harnessed and put on wheels, the captains of older energies will treat the innovation as theoretical, impractical, idealistic and so on. It may take long to lay the wires for international love, but the sanction of international non-cooperation in preference to continued physical compulsion... is a distinct progress towards the ultimate and real solution."  M. K. Gandhi.

Colour Readings
Colour energy is a wonderful tool to assist on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level. With studying over for a while I'm now able to resume distant colour readings. I use a pendulum to dowse your colour selections and record the reading onto CD . Each personal colour reading is at least 25 mins long and will be posted to you within 48 hours of receiving your order online click here

Colour Energy workshops
Autumn dates for an interactive day of learning about colour energy, healing and crystals with me are now posted so do book early to avoid disappointment