The Rosary Release Process

by Stephanie Brail

The Catholic rosary is an extremely powerful form of prayer using a specific set of prayer beads. You do not have to be Catholic to pray the rosary or even Christian. The following "rosary release" process helps to release fears, worries, and anything else in your life that you do not want. Try this process daily and see how your life changes.

The rosary is designed with five sections of beads called "decades." These sets of beads are called "decades" because they consist of 10 beads each. The rosary also has a tail with additional beads used when beginning the prayer cycle.

In the traditional Catholic rosary, a "mystery" from the life of Jesus is meditated upon at each decade. There are four sets of mysteries, each prayed on different days of the week. In this rosary release process, you will focus on an issue you want released at each decade instead of the mystery.


Book Review: A Course in Miracles? Or a Course in Confusion?

by Stephanie Brail

I've had a copy of A Course in Miracles since the 1990s. When I first got it, I tried reading it and could not get into it. Yet, Marianne Williamson was all the rage (Williamson's book Return to Love was a huge new age hit in the 90s), and so I felt there must be something in there for me. After all, Williamson was quoted so much at the time, it just seemed like this was some sort of grand, amazing course all serious seekers should be taking. Maybe I wasn't quite "ready" for it.

Over a decade passed, and A Course in Miracles (ACIM) is no longer the "hot" ticket it seemed to be in the 90s. For some reason, though, I still had the book in my bookshelf. It had survived many moves (even an out-of-state move). So recently, I dusted my copy of ACIM off my shelf and took another look at it.

10 Day's Worth of Mood-Boosting, Waist-Shrinking Lunch Ideas

by Elizabeth Somer, M.A., R.D.
Author of Eat Your Way to Happiness

1. Wrap It: Fill a Mission Life Balance flour tortilla with 2 ounces of turkey breast meat, 1/2 cup shredded romaine lettuce, 2 tablespoons grated carrot and 1 tablespoon low-fat Caesar salad dressing. Serve with a glass of 1% milk and a piece of fruit.

2. Salad Fixings: Top 3 cups of baby spinach and/or romaine lettuce with 1/2 cup berries, 1 tablespoon pecans, 1/2 cup broccoli florets, 1/3 cup kidney or black beans and 2 tablespoons low-fat dressing. Serve with 100% whole-grain bread and a slice of low-fat cheese.

3. Pocket It: Fill a 100% whole-wheat pita with 1/2 cup black beans, 1/4 cup grated carrot, 1/4 cup chopped cucumber, 1/4 cup diced red peppers and 2 tablespoons light Italian salad dressing. Serve with Rachel’s yogurt and a glass of 100% juice.

Living With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia

by Stephanie Brail

When you first find out you have chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia, you may be overwhelmed and confused with how to adjust your life to deal with your illness. Even after some time, it's easy to feel frustrated and alone.

Adjust Your Lifestyle
Depending on the severity of your CFS, you may need to make radical adjustments in your life. This may include leaving a full-time job to work part-time or from home. It may also mean a reduction in income and an increase in medical expenses. Be gentle with yourself. Don't expect to do it all and be it all.

How you craft a lifestyle to support your health will be individual. Here are some suggested lifestyle adjustments:

Find a job with flexible hours. Being able to take a nap in the middle of the day may be crucial to your health. Sleeping in after a night of insomnia may not mesh with a strict boss who expects employees to appear at 8 a.m. sharp, no exceptions.

Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia

by Stephanie Brail

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is more than just fatigue. To be fully diagnosed with CFS, a patient must exhibit symptoms that extend beyond just chronic tiredness.

While it's still uncertain whether chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia are two manifestations of the same illness, many of the symptoms listed below are common to both.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptoms

To follow are the main symptoms of CFS. These must be present for at least six months for a diagnosis. They usually apply to fibromyalgia patients as well:

  • Fatigue (that is not explained by another physical problem)
  • Insomnia/unrefreshing sleep
  • Memory problems and poor concentration, also known as "brain fog"
  • Joint/muscle pain
  • Headaches
  • Tender or swollen lymph nodes
  • Sore throat and other flu-like symptoms
  • Post-exertional malaise following exercise or other exertion

Possible Causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia

by Stephanie Brail

It is a medical mystery worthy of House, M.D. - finding the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia. Researchers have been stumped for decades. Here are some potential culprits:

1. Viral or Bacterial Infection

For a long time, chronic fatigue syndrome was often called "Chronic Epstein-Barr Virus Sydrome" due to the elevated levels of Epstein-Barr antibodies in many CFS patients. While the specific Epstein-Barr theory has fallen somewhat to the wayside, researchers are still looking into the roles viruses and other infections may play in the development of CFS and fibromyalgia. Current thinking seems to lean towards the idea of an infection serving as a trigger for the disease in conjunction with other factors, but not necessarily being the sole cause.

2. Sleep Disorders

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Getting Properly Diagnosed

by Stephanie Brail

One of the most frustrating aspects of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or fibromyalgia is getting a firm diagnosis. While the outlook is better for patients these days, for many years complaints and symptoms were dismissed by some doctors as psychosomatic or female hysteria, and that still happens today. This is because many doctors are still uninformed about these illnesses. And, since the majority of sufferers of both illnesses are women, some patient advocates have speculated that female patients aren't taken as seriously by their doctors.

What is Fibromyalgia?

by Stephanie Brail

Fibromyalgia is a disease that involves chronic pain as well as chronic fatigue. There's a reason that fibromyalgia is often lumped in with chronic fatigue syndrome: It's because the two may be different aspects of the same disease. Even if that ends up being not the case, many patients with fibromyalgia also seem to be diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. Both syndromes have no known cause, both affect women more than men, and both include debilitating fatigue as a main symptom. Thus, the two are inextricably linked.

Fibromyalgia has been around since the 1800s and has been known as muscular rheumatism as well as fibrositis, chronic muscle pain syndrome, and tension myalgias.

Yoga Flow at Home

by Stephanie Brail

Sometimes it's hard to get to yoga class, and even putting in a DVD can be a bit time consuming. Start learning some simple yoga flows so you can do a full yoga routine by yourself without anyone directing you.

You can find many books with diagrams or learn some yoga routines in class or via DVD. A simple standing flow could include something like:

Warrior I - Warrior II - Reverse Warrior - Warrior II

To do both sides, you would connect this series with a "vinyasa." The vinyasa is simply:

Plank - Chaturanga - Upward Dog - Downward Dog

(This is where the term "vinyasa flow" comes from.)

So you would do the vinyasa between the left and right sides. Do the flow three times and then add in whatever seated poses or backbends you like. Voila! Home yoga!


Distinguishing Between Fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

by Stephanie Brail

In our busy, hectic lives, it is common to experience fatigue as a normal response to the stresses and demands of daily life. Sometimes, this fatigue can last over a period of weeks or months, due to a pressure-filled lifestyle, acute stress, or some sort of loss or setback in life. This type of “chronic fatigue” is not the same as full-blown chronic fatigue syndrome, yet many people confuse the two.

The name “chronic fatigue syndrome” is actually a misnomer, because it does not fully communicate the multitude of symptoms other than fatigue that are present with the illness. A common frustration for sufferers with chronic fatigue syndrome is to be told by someone without the illness that they understand what it's like to have CFS because they've been tired before. It is very important to emphasize that chronic fatigue syndrome is not just about chronic fatigue.