Intro to Buteyko Breathing
I love it when everything I thought I knew on a particular subject gets turned upside down! A while back I discovered that deep breathing was exactly what I did NOT need to do more of. Do you gulp air in between sentences when you talk, and sing? Most people aren’t even aware they’re doing that, but we could greatly benefit from retraining our breathing patterns.
Even if you think you know about proper breathing, please read on, because this is actually quite different from what is commonly taught as healthy breathing practices.
A Russian physician named Constantin Buteyko discovered some important principles of breathing in the 1950’s, and the breathing method he developed has a long history of safe and effective use. It corrects hyperventilation, which causes many common disorders, and surprisingly 98% of us are actually hyperventilating as our usual way of breathing!
The Buteyko method is sometimes known for treating asthma or panic attacks, but really it’s for everyone who can’t hold their breath for 60 seconds comfortably!
The Buteyko website says this about what it can correct:
“Most of all, diseases, which often accompany bronchial asthma: chronic rhinitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, hypertension, and stenocardia. Bronchial asthma and stenocardia are only 2 distinctive models, which effectively demonstrate application of the Buteyko method. However, these are, by far, not the first diseases, which can be successfully treated using the Buteyko method.
Normalization of the immune response removes appearance of various forms of allergy. Improvements in blood supply and oxygenation of the whole organism make application of the Buteyko method efficient in solving problems which are connected with toxicosis of pregnancy, sleep disturbances, insomnia, snoring, sleep apnoea, and also for a wide range of neurotic diseases of the nervous system.”
This is based on the fact that CO2 is actually not purely the waste gas we think it is. CO2 actually helps to make O2 available to the cells, by releasing hemoglobin. This is known as the Bohr effect. Without enough CO2, you can gulp air and still not feel like you’re getting enough.
This is the situation not only with asthmatics but with people who have chronic anxiety, panic attacks, depression, any condition associated with stress, all kinds of nervous and immune system disorders, cardiovascular disorders, migraine, etc.
The Buteyko reduced breathing practice stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which allows for the relaxation response. Our chronic hyperventilation is keeping us in a state of fight-or-flight all the time, where the sympathetic nervous system is stuck in the “ON” position rather than turning off most of the time when it’s not needed. We’re really not being chased by bears all the time, to be honest. And we waste loads of energy and stress many vital functions when our metabolism is stuck in that crisis mode.
Nuts and Bolts
Now, to introduce you to what a beginning Buteyko routine might look like.. And I also want to emphasize that this is just an introduction to the topic. Many people will have a better experience with coaching by a Buteyko practitioner to learn many of the more subtle aspects of the practice.
First to define some terms:
CP = Control Pause. you sit quietly, breathe normally for a minute or two, then after an exhale (don’t try to exhale every last bit of breath, just exhale naturally) hold your breath comfortably and time how long you do that before you get a strong urge to inhale. if you have to gasp or gulp air after that, you’ve gone too far; do it again. you should just be able to resume normal breathing after that. it shouldn’t be uncomfortable. a little strange, maybe, but not uncomfortable.
This is used as a diagnostic and also as a measure of your progress. if you are below 40 seconds, the Buteyko method is indicated.
RB = Reduced Breathing– this is breathing shallowly but also slowly. you sit comfortably, or reclining, and allow the breath to get “smaller.” A helpful technique i use is just noticing the breath. don’t try to do anything to it; just watch it, and it naturally gets smaller. you can put a hand on your belly to feel it rising on the inhale and going down on the exhale. You watch the movement getting smaller. also notice that there is a natural pause after the exhale, but don’t try to extend it. just “intend” to breathe smaller and slower.
A Beginning Routine:
- Do a CP
- Do 10 minutes of RB
- Do 3 minutes of normal breathing
- Do a CP
This is one set. The number of sets you need to do depends on your particular circumstances, but a general recommendation is to do one set 3x/day the first day, then increase the number of sets up to a total of 80-90 min of RB each day.
If you’ve done it correctly, the last CP should be higher. The RB is the real therapeutic part of it.
There are many variations on this, and as I mentioned before, it’s highly recommended to work with a Buteyko practitioner to guide you in practicing the method correctly and safely especially if you have health issues.
Highly Recommended Reading:
Book: Close Your Mouth, by Patrick McKeown
The best book on Buteyko theory and practice, it describes several other simple Buteyko practices that are suited to various needs.
WATER, SALT and the FUNCTION OF HYDRATION
2006, updated 2014
We all know that water is essential to life and that we’re supposed to drink up. We usually think of hydration as a matter of drinking enough quantity of water, assuming that everyone absorbs this essential substance in the same way.
But hydration has new meaning when we look beyond biochemical processes to the biophysical function of water. There’s a lot more to the story…
Dr. Batmanghelidj, author of Your Body’s Many Cries for Water, says that the root cause of most chronic health problems is chronic dehydration. Of course it’s not quite that simple, but it does makes sense that we should pay closer attention to what it really takes to get ourselves hydrated.
Hydration on the cellular level is a matter of transfering hydrogen into the cell, and hydrogen transfer is the function of the essential life energy called orgone. This is the special function of water, which is different from the solvent function by which it dissolves and flushes toxins out of the cell. Hydration itself regulates all functions of the body, and water is not just a mechanical carrier for regulatory substances.
Water that has a high orgone content could be called living water, such as artesian well water. Artesisan water is water that bubbles up, which means that it’s gone through a long compression process and is now “mature,” containing levity forces which are necessary for consciousness. It’s low in minerals as watershould be, and high in orgone.
You could assay a living water biochemically and find it to be very similar to other forms of purified or spring water. But biophysically it’s very different. Biophysics is about true function, beyond the biochemical constituents or processes. The living water will enhance the function of cellular hydration because of its crystalline structure. Processed water such as tap water lacks this crystalline structure. This means that you could drink large quantities of tap water and still not be hydrated!
WHAT IS SOLÉ
Solé is a 26% concentration of salt in water. When natural crystal salt, such as Himalayan crystal salt is dissolved in water, the water will naturally come to that saturation point, and that’s the solé. Water and salt represent the basic polarity of the two primordial forces of the universe – the radial, nether or earth forces; and the spherical, upper or cosmic forces.
This is the polarity that generates life – it’s the constant pulsation of compression and expansion that animates the universe. Wilhelm Reich was the first scientist to demonstrate this pulsatory nature of the universe. This is so significant, because we can’t get too far without the pulsation of the universe!
It’s this dynamic salt–water polarity represented by the solé solution which carries information for all life functions – the nether vegetative functions as well as the upper consciousness functions, which “marry” to create life.
Solé represents superconsciousness in that the crystal salt is merged in oneness with the water – the two resonate as one and yet the salt retains its own identity (individual freedom) when the water evaporates. Then on the cellular level, the solé facilitates hydrogen transfer to the cell, which releases electrons and is the basis of all organic energy systems.
In the face of dehydration, which the body perceives as a crisis, it manifests many symptoms well before we become aware of needing water via thirst or dry mouth. In other words, the body is crying for water before we even have overt signals.
If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.
Even in the midst of an abundance of water, it’s “water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink.” On a cellular level, the organism becomes armored against receiving the abundance, and can’t become hydrated. It’s a bit like the way we become shy in love if we’ve been rejected before, and we’re a little defensive and not so quick to open up again. The cellular stress then causes more dehydration in a vicious cycle, as the condition of dehydration itself uses up water.
This stressful situation is actually a biological trauma which triggers disease, as the German physician Ryke Geerd Hamer discovered. (Dr. Hamer’s body of work is called German New Medicine – see my article on that).
Dehydration on the psychic level as well as on the somatic level – dryness of thought and rigid attitudes – can lead to disease, especially diseases which have to do with a poverty mentality and suppression of the generative power of the life force.
Chronic dehydration then weakens the generative power, and so it can be carried to offspring, who inherit this dryness in the form of the Psoric miasm. (The chronic miasms are the inherited predispositions to disease, which we’re born with but don’t necessarily activate.) Dr. Hahnemann discovered that the essence of Psora is dryness and deficiency. We call this a kind of “glass half empty” or poverty mentality. And Dr. Reich taught that dryness resulted in a contraction, shrinking or damming up of the life force leading to disease, which he called “shrinking biopathy.”
So there is plenty of research about the effects of chronic dehydration, and much of what people are suffering from when they go to the doctor is a form of dehydration. Yet the doctor gives drugs to suppress the symptoms, many of which are just the body’s “many cries for water.”
NOT ALL SALT IS CREATED EQUAL
The best quality salt is natural crystal salt, such as Himalayan crystal salt. We all need salt – it’s just the poor quality table salt that causes many imbalances and should be avoided. But crystal salt is well tolerated by most people, even those who think they need a “low-sodium” diet. (Try buying low sodium foods and adding your own crystal salt!)
Table salt is refined sodium chloride, biophysically “dead,” acid-forming and dehydrating, and toxic because of other additives.
Sea salt from the oceans may contain pollutants, and although it has a crystal structure to some degree, it’s not the superior crystalline structure of crystal salt. The nutritive elements remain on the surface of the structure and aren’t integrated into the crystalline structure. And actually, what’s sold as sea salt and hyped as such a healthy alternative to table salt, is pure white, which means that it’s been refined, so it’s not much better than table salt.
Rock salt is the original form of salt that has not become “mature,” has not developed a crystalline structure, and so the minerals can’t be properly absorbed.
Crystal salt has been sufficiently compressed so that the minerals are ionic, and the crystalline structure has become matured, which allows the minerals to be absorbed.
WATER, NOT BEVERAGES
Beverages are drinks that contain 50 or higher TDS (total dissolved solids). Even herb teas really aren’t hydrating. When TDS is high, hydrogen and electrons are bound up, and can’t be released to the cells. So for each beverage taken, even if the beverage is nutritious, an additional glass of water is needed in order to maintain hydration.
Water should contain high orgone energy like artesian water, but it’s not always easy to find. Good options are filtered water, ideally non-fluoridated, and then re-energized by placing it on a small orgone generator. Or even just put a few quartz crystals into the container and let it sit. Even better, run the water through a vortex. There are small plastic pieces that fit between two bottles to create a vortex by pouring the water from one bottle into the other.
Some people advocate exposing drinking water to sunlight – not a good idea. The best quality water comes directly from the ground, a very dark place!
HOW MUCH DO WE NEED?
Depending on the person’s level of activity and other individual factors including health issues, each person needs roughly 1/2 ounce of water per pound of body weight, daily. Divide body weight in half, and that’s the number of ounces per day.
Living foods such as raw, unpasteurized milk from healthy, pastured animals, and fresh, raw juices also provide the living matrix that promotes proper hydration. Fresh, raw coconut water is great.
Then there’s raw milk..
Aajonus Vonderplanitz was a brilliant raw animal food researcher who advocated drinking plenty of raw milk instead of water. And there is a history of “milk cure” that has been a very powerful therapy for a wide range of health issues. It has none of the problems associated with pasteurized milk, as pasteurization denatures the protein and renders it indigestible. Commercial milk products should never be used, but their raw counterparts are supremely healing. See the recommended books below. Today, raw milk can be difficult to find, but some sources may be available from local farmers.
Marine plasma is another source of living water (used as a supplement not for everyday drinking water. ) The original research by Dr. René Quinton is available online.
BEYOND THE GLASS OF WATER
The deeper issue of hydration takes us to the mental/emotional realm, where we need to look at how we become armored on deeper levels of our being and can’t take in the “juices” of life. We know when we read something that’s dry and lifeless, it’s not physically dry, of course, but the phenomenon of dryness is there. It’s lacking the kind of moist warmth that’s characteristic of love and life.
When people are “dry” in this way, they become resistant to and unable to take in the living water of life energy. And they become dehydrated on the cellular level, because what’s going on at the physical level is the reflection of what’s going on at the psychic level.
Sometimes they can’t get hydrated no matter how much living water they drink, and that’s because the psychic level needs to get hydrated in order for the cells to become receptive to the water they need. But also by continuing to drink living water and exposing the cells to the water they need, that helps open up the pathways for the resistance to free up and for the organism to accept the loving energy of water.
Getting hydrated often involves releasing mental/emotional blockages in various ways – through Medicine (the Heilkunst system), which destroys the blockages that impede energy flow and lead to emotional armoring; and through the mental and spiritual practice of releasing the false beliefs and fears that aren’t part of who we really are.
The process of remediation and soul/spiritual development is a bit like becoming juicier! We let go to dissolve ourselves in the living waters of life. And yet we maintain our individuality, our consciousness intact. This pulsatory function of dissolving and emerging, dying and living – it’s the movement of life. Think about that next time you drink a glass of water!
Water and Salt: The Essence of Life, by Dr. Barbara Hendel
Your Body’s Many Cries for Water, by Dr. Batmanghelidj
Milk Diet, by Dr Charles Porter
The Raw Milk Cleanse, by Allyson McQuinn
This service is offered on a limited basis – please contact me if you’re interested.
I’d like to announce a service I’m offering that I think will be just the ticket when you need a quicker consult. For those who have some nagging questions about their health issues but aren’t ready to do a full consult, I’m now offering a shorter format for half my usual fee.
My fee is $30 for this mini-consult.
The mini-consult isn’t a comprehensive workup, but I always individualize my recommendations as far as possible, and you won’t receive one-size-fits-all generic responses. You will receive a detailed email with my comments and recommendations.
The mini-consult is perfect for you if you…
- need some input to help make informed choices for your health
- have specific questions about nutrition, supplements or using homeopathy
- just need some extra support when the bumps in the road feel extra bumpy
As my grandmother used to say, “What’s not to like?”
After payment, use the link provided that says “return to website” to access the online questionnaire page.
The questionnaire is optional, but helps me with pertinent input. The questionnaire is encrypted so your responses are as secure as private email.
If you prefer to just send your written description of the issue you want to address, that’s fine too.
Then I’ll be in touch shortly, usually within 2 business days.
And don’t forget to come back and visit my two websites for a wealth of free articles and resources spanning the whole gamut of natural healing.
Thanks for staying tuned!
Many people often ask me whether dynamic regimen can help with their symptoms. Sometimes it’s just one symptom, and other times it’s a laundry list, but it may include acid reflux, irritable bowel, eczema, migraines, arthritis, fatigue, frequent colds, PMS, high blood pressure, sinusitis, anxiety, depression, hair loss, etc., etc…
So in order to begin with a rational approach, rather than to just throw whatever tools we have at the symptom, hit-or-miss, we need to understand what a symptom is and what’s required in each case.
A symptom or condition is simply the outer effect of some deeper cause, not the cause itself. And that causative level needs to be understood in terms of our life force. The life force actually has two aspects, rather like the relationship between yin and yang.
One aspect of the life force is quantitative and involves processes that need to be balanced, in certain amounts. This is where you need to fill a deficiency or remove an excess of something, and this is the realm of dynamic regimen. It includes diet, nutrition, detoxification, water intake, sleep, and other lifestyle issues that impact health.
For some people, this first category—regimen—is all they need. They may simply have some imbalances that need to be corrected, and the appropriate, individualized regimen accomplishes that.
If a person has no problematic symptoms, they still need proper regimen to maintain their health. And when the body is stressed with with symptoms, we obviously need proper diet, nutrition, water, sleep, etc. So, individualized regimen is always the first step for everyone.
Dynamic regimen provides the foundation that you need for maintaining or restoring your health.
The other aspect of the life force is qualitative. This is the realm of true disease (and we use the term in a very specific way, not as conventional medicine does). When there is a disturbance in this area, it could involve emotional disturbances, shocks and traumas, infectious diseases, drug effects, and inherited predispositions to disease.
So, symptoms could be stemming from imbalances, or diseases, or both. Now it becomes clearer that to simply target the symptom and try to suppress it is not going to resolve the real problem.
Once the appropriate regimen is underway, some people need to go on for further treatment to remove deeper disease disturbances. Then I refer people for treatment with the Heilkunst system of medicine (which includes homeopathy but is much more comprehensive).
The causes may be very different for each person with the same type of symptom. For example, for one person with fatigue symptoms, regimen may be all they need to come back to balance. For another person, regimen is the foundation but they also need treatment to remove various deeper disturbances that are contributing to it.
Let’s take an example of a skin rash. For one person, the rash could be related to a food allergy; for another person it’s emotional issues; and for another person it could have been triggered by a vaccination or other trauma. Each case could have several causative factors, and each would need to be treated differently.
But the nutrition/regimen has to be there, in any case, to correct imbalances and support the healing process, fill deficiencies, balance the metabolism, help with detoxification and rebuilding new tissue, etc.
I can’t guarantee that nutrition and regimen will be the whole solution for a chronic health problem. But there can’t be a whole solution without it.
We all know about side effects of drugs (which are really primary effects, but the ones we don’t like). But rarely do we hear about the toll that drugs can take on the body as they rob us of important nutrients. Often, the drug creates a nutrient deficiency which produces a symptom, the same symptom that the drug is supposed to treat!
An example of this is “statin” drugs given to treat or prevent cardiovascular disease. Statin drugs deplete the body of CoQ10, which is an essential nutrient for heart muscle. A deficiency of CoQ10 over a period of time can lead to angina or heart attack! So the drug actually can cause the problem it’s supposed to be treating.
Below is a list of some of the nutrient depletions caused by various drugs, so you can consider supplementing accordingly. Of course, the issue of how to supplement requires a more comprehensive look, but this is a basic guideline. Generally, most of the drugs in the same class of drug will have the same nutrient depeletion effect.
DRUG TYPE NUTRIENTS IT DEPLETES
|Female hormone replacement||magnesium, vit B6|
|Statin drugs (cholesterol lowering)||coQ10, B-12, folic acid|
|Cardiac glycosides (digoxin)||calcium, magnesium|
|Diuretics||calcium, coQ10, folic acid, electrolytes|
|Antacids||B-12, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron|
|Proton-pump inhibitors||B-12, folic acid, D, iron, zinc, EFA’s|
|Aspirin||C, folic acid, iron, aminos/proteins|
|Diabetic meds||coQ10, B-12|
|Anti-depressants||coQ10, B-1, B-2, B-6, B-12, folic acid|
|Oral contraceptives||B-2, B-6, B-12, folic acid, C|
|Corticosteroids (prednisone, etc.)||C, D, folic acid, potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc,
|Laxative herbs (aloe, cascara, senna, etc.)||electrolytes, many vitamins, essential fatty acids|
|Herbal diuretics||B-1, B-6, C, co-Q10; electrolytes|
|vit A, B-complex, iron, potassium|
There are many dimensions, many levels of reality that we engage when we approach healing.
Sometimes we talk about a great technique for preventing and getting rid of dental plaque that can make a huge difference in your oral health and save teeth. Other times we talk about the deep emotional patterns that can keep you stuck in a chronic health condition, and how to become more conscious of those patterns so you can release them.
Some people prefer to work on the pragmatic side of things; and for others, it ultimately becomes most practical to work on the side that’s more difficult to access and more challenging to face, the emotional/spiritual side. Usually the best approach is an integration of both.
Personally I have felt at times that I needed a quick fix to “put out a fire” of an acute situation. That situation might have a proximal cause like “lack of iron.” But there may be deeper reasons why the body isn’t utilizing the iron it has, and then simply supplying more iron won’t work – we need to look to a deeper level of function and a deeper cause to remedy the problem.
But each person has their own unique path, and what one person needs to experience in order to heal can’t be compared to what another needs to experience.
In many areas of natural healing we encounter injunctions about what we must do in order to get well. Your intellect might agree and say, “Sure, I know I need to do that.”
But what often happens is that your unconscious is rebelling; you are feeling railroaded or admonished and not in resonance with this injunction – because your inner wisdom knows it’s not what you need right now, even if your intellect thinks so.
This is one of the important reasons why individualized guidance can be so helpful. You can get loads of great ideas about “the best new antioxidant” or “the best detox program.” No one needs my services to find out about the zillions of products that are on the market.
But do you really know that a particular product or program is what you really need at this time, and what your own body/mind is going to resonate with and make use of, safely and without causing more imbalances?
The choices that will really support your health, and not just temporarily cover up symptoms, require more than an intellectual, linear approach.
Health is more than biochemistry. Each person has a biochemical individuality – that’s complex enough! But also the blueprint for the biochemistry is the level of energy, the soul/spiritual level, and everything that manifests on the physical level has its seed in the soul/spiritual level.
That’s why we work on all these levels to get to the root of the problems and to support each level in its re-adjustment to a healthier condition.
Even dental plaque isn’t just about an imbalanced biochemistry!
But at a higher level it’s about emotional armoring – the emotional blockage we create in order to prevent the life force from expanding too much when there is a held emotional pattern of fear. The emotional armoring has its counterpart on the physical level often as muscular tension, and/or dental plaque – there are many ways the armoring can manifest.
So for example, I teach people about oral hygiene (the kind that really works safely, not the conventional dogma), and about diet and nutritional supplements to rebuild the body and remineralize the teeth, but also about the emotional issues that can be blocking the healing process.
Healing can be complex, but doesn’t need to be complicated. There are many facets, many dimensions, but a rational program can be devised that honors your completely individual path and doesn’t leave your inner child throwing a tantrum!
Here are some further thoughts on the topic of nutrition from a “dynamic” view, which addresses a deeper level of function beyond the biochemical model.
Let’s start with something our inner wisdom already knows – there’s a real difference between a “living” food and its overcooked, pasteurized, microwaved, or industrially processed counterpart. The difference is chi; prana; orgone energy. But what needs to be examined is how that energy actually works to nourish us.
What we’re really extracting from foods is not the biochemical constituents, not chemistry but energy. At the cellular level, we can see that process as hydrogen transfer – that’s why pH (hydrogen potential) is so fundamental.
Foods that sustain life are like little packages of condensed energy. What we’re doing when we eat food is essentially breaking down and appropriating the energy of the food. These forces within the food are foreign until we take them in and overcome the foreign forces and make them our own. That process is mediated through heat, and that’s what digestion is really about.
How do we come to a rational understanding of nutrition?
The problem we run into in understanding how nutrition works is that we have the language of chemistry and the concepts of energy, and we tend to use whichever one is convenient, or try to mix them together randomly rather unconsciously. We might be comfortable talking about chi or life energy in a certain context, but when it comes to nutrition we tend to want to stick to the material view and explain things in terms of chemistry, because that’s the realm of sense perception and perhaps easier to look at.
Our organs of sense perception and our ordinary cognition is more developed than the more etheric, supersensible knowing, so we use what comes easier. But to be able to grasp the meaning of the flux and flow of function, we need to develop a more etheric thinking that can see the living properties of things beyond the material level. This is what has been called the Dynamic view.
The entities and substances we’re looking at aren’t static and fixed in time and space – in this view, eating a fresh raw vegetable might be functionally identical to a practice that generates chi. The intellect looking at the material chemistry would see a big difference! But functional thinking sees a distinction rather than a separation. It sees the continuity, the same underlying phenomenon.
We need a deeper physiological basis for bridging the gap between chemistry and energy. Otherwise we have a sort of schizophrenic split between on the one hand the mystical realm of energy, and on the other hand the materialistic realm of only what we can perceive with the senses.
So we have to look at energy in a way that can be grounded in the cellular structure. The way that nourishment functions, there’s an etheric process going on whereby we use radiant energy from the sun, indirectly through food, air and water, and generate internal light. There’s actually a physiology of this inner light metabolism.
This is a true physiology that’s about the deeper functioning of forces and energies which drive the biochemistry. (Rudolf Steiner laid out this understanding clearly, although extracting it from his writing is quite a workout!)
There is a critical difference between “living” foods and processed foods. “Living” water such as artesian well water could be assayed biochemically and found similar to other forms of purified or spring water. But looking at it biophysically, it’s been seen that the living water will enhance the function of cellular hydration, because of its crystalline structure, whereas processed water doesn’t. The materialistic view will just see all water as functionally equal, and focus on the presence of material toxins as making the difference.
We can sense the difference in food and water that has a lot of life energy – they feel better and taste better. That sensing is through supersensible organs, not sense organs, and isn’t measurable in the same way, but it’s no less real. Even if we’re not yet conscious of how we’re using those supersensible organs, we still know that there is something more behind the outer structure of things. No matter how microscopically we might analyze it, there’s some living quality apart from that, which we resonate with.
We can see on the biophysical level what happens when we remove the life energy from food and water. Industrial processing destroys the inherent crystalline structure which is the key to the life-giving property of food. Crystals transfer information, so at that level it’s really the information – consciousness – that we’re internalizing by taking in nutrients. Generate your own inner light, and live in truth, and you may not need to be concerned about ingesting living foods!
Although, then we’d be guided by the higher spiritual function of Reason, and resonance which is based in love would solve the problem of what to eat.
Most of us are still in the process of transforming our relationships based on attraction (potato chips, yum!) to those based on resonance. When we eat heavily processed food which is attractive but doesn’t resonate, it becomes like a dead weight, an energy drain. Animals fed on microwaved food for a month starved, although they had access to as much quantity of food as they wanted.
Some processes like culturing foods or natural fermentation or sprouting actually enhance the crystalline structure and bring out life energy especially when it’s dormant in seeds, and that’s why traditional cultures have always used those methods – they knew the benefits instinctively if not consciously.
Seen from this perspective, living foods like raw milk from healthy animals have little in common with their commercial counterparts. When we hear about the problem with milk, it’s about the commercial, pasteurized dead material that’s sold as milk, not the live food that it was to begin with.
Those live foods are suited to us, because the biophysical function of those foods promotes inner light and life. Then we need to determine whether a particular food is resonant with our particular typology – according to various typology systems such as metabolic typing, glandular typing, blood typing, Ayurveda, etc., and take various other factors into account to put together a proper diet plan.
But aside from individual needs, we need to understand the functional reality behind nutrition. Let’s look at the way that carbs are stored as fat when we don’t need any more for biological function. We assume that we’ve simply eaten too much or the wrong proprortions of macronutrients. Or we look at smaller and smaller units of biochemical substances and relationships to try to explain what’s going on.
But digestion and metabolism has a supersensible or subtle energy function in the astral body, which is prior to all that. The breakdown of food is a function of the astral body. When the astral isn’t proprely engaged, even a diet that looks perfectly suitable to the person in theory won’t be handled properly. (The Kidney is involved in this astral function of properly transforming food and generating inner light).
The astral takes us to the soul level, so this is how we can begin to bridge the gap between body and soul – they are really a functional polarity, which is not just an abstract concept but something that we can ground in actual physiology.
What are the real principles that determine whether a vegetarian or meat diet is appropriate for a particular person?
The choice to eat meat or not is an emotionally charged issue for most people, and it taps into deeply held beliefs. But we can look at it from a dynamic view.
Plants contain etheric forces which are easy to assimilate, whereas animals contain more astral forces which require more energy to break down. This doesn’t mean that we should always go the easier route and eat only plants!
And depending on how the animal was raised, the quality of the astral forces will be different, hence animals raised on pasture and killed properly will yield more digestible food than factory farmed animal foods. And it will ground us in the body, which creates an important balance for many people.
So the choice depends on the dynamic physiology of the individual and which functions they need to stimulate and strengthen.
Animal foods are grounding, and good for a person whose “upper” bodies (ego and astral) need to be grounded in the lower metabolic pole. For those who need the grounding and incarnating properties of animal foods, a more vegetarian diet even if done meticulously with the highest quality foods can be profoundly weakening.
A more vegetarian diet frees the consciousness from the earth pole, which is why it’s favored in certain spiritual traditions. When the upper bodies are too deeply incarnated in the earth forces and need to be freed up, then a vegetarian diet is appropriate. Often the diet a person needs will change from time to time according to these functional changes; particular health challenges presenting at a particular time; typlogies such as blood type, body/glandular type, etc.
Another aspect of this issue is that animal foods with their higher astrality challenge us to bring our own digestive forces to bear to strip away the foreign astrality. If the ego/astral forces are weak, it can be difficult for the person to break down those astral forces in the food, and the foreign forces lead to food allergies and immune problems. Eating animal foods raw instead of cooked can mitigate this problem to some extent, as the raw food contains more etheric forces that are easily assimmilable.
Vegetarian diets are in this sense less challenging especially if the person doesn’t have strong ego/astral forces. But less of a challenge isn’t always what we need – it’s the challenge itself that strengthens the upper forces. We want to provide just enough stimulation for the activation and development of our own forces, but not so much as to overwhelm our resources, just as a good teacher finds that balance with a student in any learning situation.
When you’re sick, you want to concentrate on the etheric and not challenge yourself too much with breaking down the astral forces of higher protein foods, so you can take meat broths and the raw foods that are more easily assimmilable.
Water and Salt: The Essence of Life, by Dr. Barbara Hendel
Nutrition: Food, Health, and Spiritual Development, by Rudolf Steiner
Diet is a confusing and frustrating issue for many people. We’re either forcing ourselves to stick to a program that we think is healthy, and kicking ourselves for “failing,” or we’re just trying not to think about the whole thing.
Someone you know feels energized eating a certain way, while you might feel irritable and starving on that same type of diet. Clearly the key is biochemical individuality, and no “off the shelf” diet program can take your individual needs into account.
Diet is complex, yet it can be relatively simple at the same time. There is a complex of factors we need to look at to determine which foods are best for you—the foods that will strengthen your system rather than weaken it.
There’s a multitude of diet programs and opinions about what works best. Most are based on one particular aspect of diet, such as low-carb, or raw foods. People make some seeming progress with these one-size-fits-all schemes at first—mostly due to the fact that they’re eliminating the junk foods they were eating before.
Sometimes one small intervention, like cutting down on sugar or processed foods, can make a big difference. So even one of those pre-fab diets that doesn’t really fit you can give you some benefits at first, simply because of what you’re NOT eating. But we want to take it much further.
Many people believe that their food cravings are signalling a nutritional need for that particular food. But what we’re actually craving is the feeling that the food gives us, as a result of overstimulating certain endocrine glands. The overstimulation weakens and exhausts the gland, and sets up a vicious cycle in which we crave more of the food to get the stimulation.
By eating foods that strenthen the recessive glands and give the exhausted dominant gland a break, we can break that vicious cycle. Then the food cravings disappear, and the foods that are healthiest for us become the same ones we actually like!
Diet is no longer a battle of will and a matter of depriving yourself of the foods that you love. Your preferences shift as you begin to eat the foods that your particular body really needs.
You can begin to experience the deep feeling of satisfaction that comes from eating food that your body really wants and needs, which is a different experience from the kind of temporary satisfaction (followed by let-down) that comes from addictive cravings.
When you eat the foods that your exhausted dominant gland is telling you to eat, you’re relieving some tension, and that feels good in a way. But you’ll notice that you don’t really feel relaxed or satisfied in a deeper way. Something is missing…
The Four-Beat Life Cycle
There’s a cycle we naturally go through, which Wilhelm Reich called the life cycle or the four-beat cycle.
- We start with a tension, which in this case is hunger.
- It grows, and we feel charged.
- Then we need to satisfy the hunger, so we eat, and that discharges the tension.
- This should lead to a good feeling of satisfaction or relaxation.
Foods that are overstimulating and weakening for us don’t allow us to get to the relaxation, so we never feel finished. We feel relieved of hunger in a way, but still on the prowl for something else. Many people have this kind of experience fairly often.
But with the proper diet, we can be getting to the relaxation phase at every meal, feeling satisfied and complete. Hunger naturally arises again for the next meal, and we can experience the full four-beat cycle as it naturally occurs, without cutting it short and leaving ourselves stuffed yet still unsatisfied.
Regimen is the multi-dimensional field that includes diet, nutrition, exercise, proper sleep and many other lifestyle factors. This is the foundation of your health, supporting your optimal functioning by maintaining dynamic balance and promoting healing.
Improving your regimen means shoring up your life energy and strengthening yourself to resist illness and feel more healthy.
What is dynamic balance?
Balance is homeostasis, or the equilibrium of the functions of the organism. It’s dynamic because your life functions are always in interrelationship, not isolated processes, and balance is constantly adjusting according to changing conditions.
Dynamic Regimen is concerned with balancing your biochemistry, but also with the more fundamental functions that drive the biochemistry. A dynamic approach draws from this deeper understanding of the functioning of body, mind and soul/spirit.
One-size-fits-all programs and fad diets don’t work, because your biological typologies are individual, and your regimen needs to accommodate your individuality.
Here’s a common predicament –
- You’d like to upgrade your diet and lifestyle, eat healthier, maintain your best weight, have more energy and improve your resistance to illness – but popular nutritional programs don’t seem to work for you.
- You feel confused and frustrated with all the conflicting advice and multitude of hyped “health food” products.
- You’re wondering why a program that works for your friend or spouse doesn’t work for you.
- You’re tired of feeling deprived on restrictive diets and struggling with fitness plans. You know there must be a way to get your health needs and your natural desires on the same team!
Now you can work with someone who can sort through the confusion – to advise on what’s right for you as an individual, working with the wisdom of your body, not fighting it.