Saturday, March 19, 2011

Djembe Drums for Music Therapy

Ruth Williams

Hand-crafted African djembe drums are beautiful instruments with an attractive sound. Not only that, these drums are useful for therapy and healing. Rhythm is an essential part of the human experience, beginning with the sound of the mum's heartbeat while still in the womb. Drum therapy builds on that sensation to further encourage healing.

Music therapy with djembe drums can be used in many different institutional settings. For instance, school children of all ages enjoy a session of playing rhythm instruments. But the benefit goes beyond simple enjoyment. Making music has been found to be beneficial to a child's intellectual development as well as reducing stress levels, both facts which make drumming useful as therapy for children with disabilities like ADHD, mental retardation, or physical handicaps.

The djembe drum dates back about 700 years, where it was first crafted in the African country of Mali. The craftsman carves the drum from a single length of tree trunk and tops it with an animal skin head. The drum is designed to fit between the legs of the player and be drummed on with the hands. Musicians can learn traditional rhythms or play according to the way they feel.

Drum circles are used for many types of therapy. When used in a group, the sense of community aids the music in creating wellness. Drum circles have been found helpful for stroke victims, cancer sufferers, people trying to break addictions, and other people young and old who are facing challenges. Drums are used with Alzheimer's patients and it's believed that drumming can even help the immune system.

In a drum circle, the lead djembe drummer will usually lay down the rhythm for the circle, with other instruments following his lead. Other instruments used include rattles, shakers, bongo drums, rhythm sticks, and tambourines. Schools often purchase the instruments in classroom kits so that there will be something for everyone to play.

When choosing a djembe drum, it is important to think of the size of the individual who will be playing it. Heights of the drums range from 12 to 28 inches with the diameter of the head increasing proportionately. The drum should rest on the floor or chair when the player is seated. The head of the drum should be located 3 or 4 inches above the lap. Thus, the smallest children should be equipped with the shortest size of djembe drums.

For a great selection of fun childrens musical instruments, visit the Djembe Drum Shop where you can view and buy products online.

Living the Reiki Principles, Just for Today

Diane Poppleton Brown

The Reiki Principles are fundamental to the practice and understanding of Reiki. It shouldn't be forgotten that Reiki was, and still is a powerful tool, not just for healing but also for personal and spiritual growth. Even though Reiki is non-denominational and is to be enjoyed by people of any faith, (or none), to get the most out of your Reiki experience, whether that is by giving or receiving Reiki, you should aim to live by the Reiki Principles. Reiki is a life choice, a spiritual journey in, and of, itself.

There are 5 Reiki Principles which are thought to have originated in the philosophy of the Meiji Emperor of Japan in the 1800's and adopted by Dr Mikao Usui the founding father of Reiki. There are different schools of Reiki but they are all derived from Mikao Usui's initial teachings, and have these principles (or versions that have similar meanings) at their core:

Just for today, do not anger.

Just for today, do not worry.

Just for today, honour you parents, teachers and elders.

Just for today, earn your living honestly.

Just for today, show gratitude to every living thing.

Just for today, do not anger:

We all feel angry sometimes, this principle is about understanding that anger can be transformative. It is not about suppressing anger, that would not only be destructive, but also counter productive, suppressed anger tends to surface again stronger and more powerful than before. Anger often hides other emotions like fear, so recognising what we are angry about is important, maybe we feel trapped, maybe we are afraid for ourselves or others safety, perhaps someone has hurt our feelings etc. Recognising what anger looks like in ourselves and thinking about what the anger means can be the first stage of using your anger positively. Turning our anger from an automatic negative response which we have little or no control over into a calm and deliberate constructive action takes practice and perseverance. It is not going to happen overnight but we can follow the 'just for today' rule and one day at a time change our thoughts and behaviour.

Just for today, do not worry:

Firstly, most of the things we worry about do NOT happen! Secondly, worrying doesn't help. Worrying shows a lack of trust, an assumption that things will not turn out as we had hoped or planned. This is not surprising, from an early age we are taught to compete with each other, and struggle to 'make ends meet' - this fosters a fundamental lack of trust in the world around us. Bizarrely enough, the act of worrying drains our body of the very energy it will need to deal with any trauma, incident or catastrophe. So take appropriate action to reduce your worry, then 'just for today', let it go. Worry is generally fear of repercussions of past events or fear of how things in the future might hurt us, so let go of the past, trust in the Universe to provide for the future and live 'just for today'.

Just for today, honour your parents, teachers and elders:

Kindness and respect for ourselves and others is the starting point for any spiritual journey. Accepting, embracing and learning that each person's path is theirs and theirs alone create's freedom and understanding. As children we are raised to 'look up to', listen, and respect our teachers, parents and / or elders, and sometimes as we grow we forget this simple rule. So 'just for today' listen and remember... it might be surprising what we learn.

Just for today, earn your living honestly:

The world of work is a huge part of our interaction with each other, working with integrity then, is imperative to allow us to be at peace with ourselves. Earning our living honestly can be defined as being honest with our employer and customers, 'an honest day's work for an honest day's pay' is a saying I heard often when growing up. But it can also mean being honest with ourselves about our own path. Is this the right job for me, is this where I want to be? The answers to these questions bare some reflection, but if the answer is 'yes', or even (maybe especially) if it is 'no', today, this is the job we have, so 'just for today', we will give it our all, be positive, and be as good as we can be. When it is time for a change, trust in the Universe to help us to follow our chosen path.

Just for today, show gratitude to every living thing:

In this commercial world that encourages us to want more and more, we often forget to give thanks for what we actually have. Taking the decision to change our life from being obsessed with 'please can I have' to 'thank-you for what I've got' - is a real revelation. An 'attitude of gratitude' is said by some to be essential for happiness, by others it is believed to be the path to all riches. For certain, living this one principle, just for today, goes a long way towards living them all. Life is a blessing, just for today, appreciate it, acknowledge it and say thanks for it.

The key to living the Reiki Principles is the first part of each statement: 'just for today'... today is now. Live responsibly now, yesterday has already gone and tomorrow is still to come, Dr Usui is telling us to live in the present, don't spend all your time looking back or wishing for a future that isn't here yet, embrace the present, and live life revelling in the wonderfulness of today.

If you are drawn to this article, and want to learn more about Reiki, or to book a session, visit Welcome to your Reiki Journey.

Achieving Health the Good Old Classic Way

Greg Pierce

Today's world is full of stresses that we encounter everyday - stress from work, domestic duties, personal problems, conflicts in the workplace and other things that we have to face to make our lives as worthwhile as possible. Add to that little things that we have to deal with such as air pollution, traffic, squabbling children and the like. Sometimes, we all wish we could just spend our time in some faraway island where we can be free from all of these things. But our minds can only tell us that this is not possible - at least, not for a very long time. These are realities that we inevitably have to face, if we are to adhere to the standards of the good life we and our society have set upon us.

However, try as we may, there are things beyond our control that will affect us in ways we wish we never had to experience. When our health begins to suffer, that's when we become concerned. A lot of us get sick merely from having to cope with life's demands, and sometimes, we end up with even more problems to solve than what we started with. When we miss a few days in the office, for example, we are faced with more documents to process once we get back on our feet.

Hypertension, heart disease, cancers - these are only some of the evils that we all hope we will never have to face. But, of course, we cannot really expect to put up a good fight unless we do something to protect ourselves. The good thing is, there is nothing extraordinary or special about the things we need to do to strengthen our bodies against these diseases. Everything is about plain old common sense in terms of achieving good health.

There is also no special formula that you need for doing these things. You just simply choose the food you eat and how much exercise you engage in. Eating more vegetables and less meat, for example, is an all-encompassing trick to avoid illness, especially when coupled with an hour or two of jogging a day or working out in the gym. After all, our body systems only need a balance of these things in order to function as optimally as possible. A person who devotes his life trying to achieve this balance rarely becomes seriously ill, or when he does, we can trust that this is probably related to genetic factors and no longer within his control.

Still, another dimension that one may explore when trying to achieve good health is mental and spiritual wellness. We must admit this is an aspect that is least considered by people these days. While everybody is busy pumping iron at the gym or counting calories at the dinner table, their mental and spiritual health could still be suffering. Why? Because, whether we like it or not, our existence is and will always be affected by factors way beyond the physical realm. A good way to achieve mental and spiritual health is through meditation. There are many holistic health disciplines that focus on meditation as a way for the body to connect with their souls. Yoga is one. In fact, it is the most widely practiced method of achieving mental and spiritual wellness today.

If you're interested in learning yoga, find an instructor who has successfully completed a yoga certification course. There are many studios that have instructors who have not even finished a yoga teacher training course. To make sure you're learning this discipline the right way, choose the right studio with the right facilities and qualified instructors.

Adult Diapers - Which Diaper Is the Best Choice

R Skinner

The age old debate of quality verses price is just as relevant today as it has ever been. One of the many decisions faced by many as they age is the issue of how to deal with the persistent problem of incontinence. We all want to believe that we are using the best medical supplies available for ourselves as well as our loved ones however the cost of adult diapers can have a substantial impact on the family finances.

Much as is the case with baby diapers, there are multiple brand names of adult diapers as well. Some of the more well-known brands include depends diapers, attends diapers, and tranquility adult diapers as well as multiple store branded versions of urinary incontinence products. Most brands will be within 10 % of each other in price however there are some store brands which may be somewhat less expensive as well as premium brands that definitely sell for a premium.

When choosing the right incontinence product it is always a good idea to ask yourself the following questions. How important is appearance? Some products are designed to appear less bulky so as to be less noticeable when in public. How important is comfort? If you have sensitive skin you may want to give great weight in the decision making process to the degree of softness afforded to the inner liner of each product. How important is your sense of security that the diaper will not leak in or trickle down your leg in public? Should you purchase one product with specific design features for daytime use such as superior elastic around the legs to prevent leakage and other design features for overnight needs? Perhaps it would be more economical to purchase bottom dollar adult diapers for overnight use coupled with the purchase of a waterproof mattress pad in the event that your low cost choice doesn't quite do the job form time to time.

Maybe your repertoire of home health care products should consist primarily of washable products. While certainly not as convenient, in the long run washable products ranging from incontinence undergarments to bed pads are readily available and will likely be considerably cheaper over time.

Only you can determine what constitutes the best medical supplies for you. In the final analysis, the answer will very from person to person and will depend upon the things that matter most to you and your loved ones.

Ron Skinner has been involved in medical research for years. Many of his readers have signed up for his free newsletter available at for valuable information on topics ranging from incontinence to sleep apnea and nearly everything in between.