According to US Dr Saundra Dalton-Smith there are 7 types of rest that humans need to feel fully rested. I love her quote “rest is the most underused, chemical-free, safe and effective, alternative therapy available to us.”
Apart from the bit about ‘alternative’ I agree whole heartedly. I don’t view it as alternative as it’s a thing that humans ‘can’ do naturally. But sadly, many of us have lost our resting faculties. That’s why Dr Saundra wrote her book as a response to the chronic rest deficit many of us are experiencing.
In Chinese medicine rest as an overall concept is great for the kidneys, which makes it a must do for midlife and beyond.
So what are the 7 types of rest?
1. Physical rest. I bet you think immediately of sleep, but sleep is not all types of rest, it’s one half of physical rest – it’s passive physical rest, yin in nature and relates a lot to the kidneys. And it’s not the only one way that we can benefit from rest.
We often think physical rest is just lying down but it can be active (ish) too. In fact, Qi gong, an ancient form of meditative movement is promoted in Chinese medicine for this very reason. Qi gong is a moving meditation, it’s a way to getting the mind to settle down because it’s focussing on moving the body. Slowly.
Dr Dalton-Smith called this ‘active physical’ rest because it involves movement it includes restorative yoga, massage, qi gong and acupuncture. All ways of promoting the smooth flow of energy in the body slowly and whilst resting physically. This kind of active rest relates to the energy of the liver, who’s main job is to freeflow energy.
The benefit of physical rest, be it acupuncture or just lying down is that it helps to calm and regulate the nervous system, reducing adrenaline and giving the body time off from being chased by the sabre tooth tiger.
2. Mental Rest. Some of us are better at this than others. Giving your brain a rest can be a tough one. One of the best ways to get enough mental rest is to take regular breaks from your work. Having your nose to the grindstone will impact you at night when you’re trying to sleep, because your brain will continue to try and figure things out if you haven’t given it a break during the day.
Catching up with friends can be a good way to give your mental rest a boost, it gives you a chance to stop thinking and if you’re on your own and need support meditation is your best bet. Overuse of the brain in the form of overthinking affects the spleen energy, which has an impact on digestion.
3. Sensory Rest. The modern world is rife with sensory stimulation. Multi-tasking, bright screens, constant noise and zoom calls can overwhelm our sensitive eyes and ears. The simplest way to counter sensory overload is to close your eyes for a minute or so throughout the day. Check in and see how that makes you feel.
You can also try unplugging electronics at the end of the day, reduce blue light and be strict about social media usage. Taking a sensory rest for the eyes looks after the liver, the ears takes care of the kidneys.
4. Creative Rest. If you’re constantly problem solving or having to come up with new ideas in your work or home life it can be a real pressure to keep sorting things out. Dr Saundra recommends immersing yourself in nature to soothe your creative soul. She suggests that seeing things that fill us with ‘awe and wonder’ can give us a creative rest. And if you can’t get out surround yourself with pictures of amazing places and things in nature.
Creativity is rooted in the heart. The heart needs space and calm, both of which can be derived from nature.
5. Emotional Rest. This one is not hard to figure out. When you have emotional overload it stands to reason you’ll be overwhelmed and in need of a break from it. But how did the overload come about? Is it because you haven’t been expressing yourself freely or being honest about what you need or how much you can manage. Do you have the ‘courage to be authentic’? Maybe you need a little support from your heart to tell you what it needs and your kidneys to give you the courage.
6. Social Rest. A deficit in social rest often comes about because we’re either over stretching our social capacity, in which case we need to better plan our social lives and perhaps strengthen our emotional authenticity (as above). Maybe we’re spending too much time in relationships that exhaust us rather than those that revive us. When we hang out with positive people and those we ‘get’ our social rest quotient is improved.
7. Spiritual Rest. Dr Saundra defines this as ‘the ability to connect beyond the physical and mental and feel a deep sense of belonging, love, acceptance and purpose.’ It can be about going to church but more broadly it’s about being part of a community, a place where you can be yourself. It could even be ‘communing’ with yourself through meditation. However you do it, it’s a wonderful way to nourish your heart. Incorporating spiritual rest into your daily routine is a wonderful cherry on top of the beautifully iced cake of rest.
Each of the 7 aspects of rest can be nourished beautiful using Chinese medicine. If you’d like to rest deeply in all 7 respects join me from my wellness retreat in the beautiful Andalusian mountains 5-10th September ’23. You can rest as hard as you like!
Dr Saundra’s book Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity."
About Jo Darling MBAcC Lic Acu, Founder Menopoised®
Jo Darling is an acclaimed Chinese medicine practitioner with expertise in women’s natural health and the founder of Menopoised® She’s passionate about helping women transition through menopause, whether natural or medically induced and is an experienced oncology acupuncturist.
Jo’s mission is to empower women to live healthier, happier lives sharing her 15 years of clinical experience harnessing the ancient wisdom of traditional Chinese medicine. She successfully works with patients to support them with mental and physical health imbalances from hot flushes to anxiety, low mood or low energy, migraines, insomnia and much more.
Jo integrates a range of Chinese medical techniques including acupuncture, gua sha, moxibustion and offers lifestyle advice (yang sheng) to help women help themselves. She offers both in person and remote treatment incorporating the use of essential oils to activate specific acupuncture points.
About Bazi Health Readings With Jo
Jo offers Bazi (chinese astrology) health readings to help you to understand yourself better. Through a reading with her you can find out what aspects of your health, mental and physical need more support and find out how to harness your strengths to help you feel better.
What you'll get from a reading:
* Empower yourself with greater self knowledge
* Understand you physical, emotional and mental potential
* Recognise and hone your strengths
* Learn how to support your health weaknesses
If you'd like to find out more about a Bazi health reading with Jo click here.
How Jo’s Cancer Patients Changed Her Life
Her work with cancer patients, helping to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormonal treatment has been life changing not just for her patients but also for her.
She noticed her cancer patients often experienced immediate and intense menopause symptoms (as a side effect of their treatment) and for some their hot flushes were so overwhelming they couldn’t even drive to her clinic. Menopausal herself and rocked by her best friend’s cancer diagnosis she decided enough was enough.
“I looked around for effective natural solutions, aligned with my principles and ethos that I could recommend to my patients. What I found was nothing. At least nothing that was proven to be effective that women could use at home and get the same effects as seeing an acupuncturist.
That’s when I took things into my own hands and created Menopoised®. Effective, natural, side-effect free and beautiful to boot. Because, quite frankly why shouldn’t products for menopausal women look and feel gorgeous!”
Armed with her extensive knowledge, practise-based evidence and expertise in Chinese Medicine she set about creating beautiful, effective products herself under the brand name Menopoised®.
For when your menopause is too hot to handle, helps get your cool back naturally. Each box contains four ready-to-wear magnets and 24 replacement plasters. Fast-acting, wear anytime and side effect free. Read our FAQs here.
When your menopause is getting you down, our aromatherapy pulse point oils help you Embrace Cool, Find Calm and Be Collected. Each intuitive and thoughtful blend is formulated to harness the natural healing principles of Chinese medicine.
Let the oils ancient botanical wisdom take care of you. Set of 3 x 10ml pulse point essential aromatherapy oils.
Embrace Cool releases the natural essences of wise Clary Sage, calming and balancing Geranium, refreshing Lemon and Cooling Peppermint to help take the edge off those moments of feeling overwhelmed and overheated.
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Be Collected is a clearing blend that releases the natural essences of Rosemary to help you keep it all together along with cool Peppermint and woody Cypress, for those times when you need to be on the top of your game.
This luxurious Cool and Calm cream blends pure essential oils to calm the mind, balance the hormones and cool you down when you’re feeling the heat.
When your temperature’s rising Rose Geranium supports hormonal balance and cooling Peppermint brings a breath of fresh air and clarity. Woody Frankincense instills a sense of peace whilst Lavender’s relaxing properties infuse calm. Wise and cool Clary Sage helps to calm the nerves, with an affinity for hormonal health.
Beautifully blended to nourish and restore this Cool and Calm cream harnesses the richly moisturising properties of cocoa and shea butters to help rehydrate and protect tired skin.