Woman doing breathwork

Photo by Ale Romo on Unsplash

You've probably been told to "just breathe" before.

But most likely, you haven't tried this kind of breathing—at least, not the kind practiced in most variants of breathwork.

Earlier this week, I spent over an hour breathing deeply and quickly to a trippy prog-rock and world music soundtrack. I used a free sample session provided by Neurodynamic Breathwork Online, a Joshua Tree-based breathwork organization that claims it "changes to your nervous systems by strengthening the neural pathways to your inner intelligence," and "changes your perspective in a powerful way, helping you to realize that you already have all of the answers inside of you."

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How Chris Cuomo Is Using CBD to Recover from Coronavirus

CBD isn't a cure for COVID-19, but it might help alleviate symptoms.

Newscaster Chris Cuomo is in the process of fighting trough coronavirus, and he's sharing his hard-won wisdom with the world.

The CNN anchor has been quarantining at his Hamptons mansion, where—in addition to the regular CDC-recommended practices—he and his wife Cristina have been trying out some alternative forms of medicine. According to her blog The Purist, Cristina worked with the energy medicine physician Dr. Linda Lancaster to craft a formula of herbs that included CBD. Lancaster is trained in "Ayurveda, medical radiesthesia, radionics, energy healing, nutrition, herbal medicine and detoxification methods," wrote Cristina. "She has relieved thousands of patients of parasites—worms, bacterial, fungal and viral—using natural protocols and homeopathics," Cristina writes.

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Music Lists

How to Heal Yourself with Music

Listen to our playlist of healing songs while reading this (linked at the bottom) for optimal effect.

Singing Bowls

Photo by Magic Bowls on Unsplash

Anyone who's ever loved a song or cried to a great album knows: Music can be truly healing.

There's actually a scientific basis for that feeling of euphoria and comfort you get from listening to certain music. Music can do a ton of extraordinary things—it can increase our dopamine levels, can affect breathing and heart rate, and can even transport us back in time by triggering our emotional memory.

Because of its unique capabilities, music has long been a popular form of healing across the world. Many ancient religions believed the world was a collection of vibrations, and "good vibrations," or harmonious sounds, could promote healing and balance, while jarring vibrations could lead to physical and mental disturbances. "In Vedic teachings, the science of the influence of sound and music is known as Gandharva Veda. Through this practice, the music of nature is used to restore balance to your mind and body," writes Vedic educator Adam Brady. "Using specific pieces of music or melodies, vibratory coherence can be strengthened, assisting with healing and helping to settle the mind."

Earth's Vibrational Frequency - Schumann Resonance Healing Music With Binaural Beatswww.youtube.com

Good Vibrationswww.youtube.com

In the modern world, music therapists are still being utilized everywhere from psychiatric facilities to nurseries to corporate retreats and beyond. In general, music therapists are trained to play specific kinds of music to evoke certain responses. Often, their work goes beyond emotions and treats physiological ailments. In some recent clinical studies, music has been able to restore lost speech, reduce side effects of cancer therapy, relieve pain, and improve life for dementia patients. It can improve symptoms for schizophrenia and other mental illnesses, and can even increase empathy. In other studies, music has literally changed the shape and increased the resiliency of human blood cells, possibly increasing the human lifespan.

This healing happens in all different ways. Sometimes, music and sound therapists use specific frequencies and sounds to target very specific ailments. Other times, lyrics play a stronger role, either motivating patients or inspiring them or making them feel less alone. Sometimes music therapy even involves teaching patients to play their own instruments and to write their own songs. Music has also long been used in social movements, with songs like "We Shall Overcome" and "Turn, Turn, Turn" playing integral roles in tying protests together. So if you've ever heard a song and felt like it changed your life, you're probably not alone—music can do a lot more than change your mood: It can also change the world.

We Shall Over Come - Mahalia Jacksonwww.youtube.com

If you're dealing with mental health issues or are simply seeking inspiration, finding a music therapist might be a great alternative to traditional talk therapy. But there are also some easy ways to also incorporate music into your self-care practice.

How to Use Music to Relieve Stress and Anxiety

If you want to use music to help with anxiety, one study from Stanford University found that three types of music reduce stress best:

  • Native American, Celtic, Indian stringed-instrments, drums and flutes
  • Sounds of rain, thunder, and nature
  • Light jazz, classical, and easy listening

You can also participate in a healing sound bath or a sound meditation, which are widely available on streaming platforms like Spotify and YouTube. Here are a bunch to listen to, via the University of Nevada. (Try "Echoes of Time," a Native American flute music piece, or "Weightless," a composition by Marconi Union designed to reduce blood pressure and lower levels of cortisol stress hormone).

Marconi Union - Weightless (Official Video)www.youtube.com

You can also try listening to recordings of Tibetan singing bowls, which are specially designed to fill your body with healing resonance.

Quick 11 min. Chakra Tune-up with Himalayan Singing Bowls HDwww.youtube.com

The Beatles - Hey Judewww.youtube.com

In general, positive-sounding and peaceful compositions will get the job done, though of course sad songs can also offer necessary catharsis.

For an optimal stress-reducing experience, make sure you drop everything and allow yourself to listen to the music. Don't use your phone or do work while listening; instead, throw on a pair of your best headphones, lock yourself in a dark room and let the sound waves wash the rest of the world away, bringing you into a magical realm of peace and harmony. This can bring your brain into an "alpha state," which is "that relaxed but alert feeling you get when activity ceases and you have a moment to reflect and recharge," according to Dr. Frank Lipman.

Use Music to Raise Your Mood

On a basic level, happy music can make you happy—though of course it doesn't always work out that way. Still, since music has such a strong effect on memory, if you're looking to raise your mood, you might seek out songs that remind you of truly happy moments.

You can even preemptively design a playlist of music that will make you happy during tough times. The next time you're about to do something fun or are feeling content, make a playlist of songs that you listen to exclusively during that experience. Listen to it over and over, and then when you're feeling nostalgic, cue up that playlist and let the memories live on.

According to a Stanford University study, upbeat, energetic, and rhythmic selections can (unsurprisingly) raise one's mood most effectively. Compositions like Duke Ellington's "Take the A Train" and upbeat Beatles tunes were specifically effective in raising subjects' moods. In addition, dancing along to music can raise endorphins, and the combination of auditory stimulation and movement that comes from dancing to music can help improve your mood even more.

Binaural beats can also help raise your mood and can lower anxiety. This semi-experimental treatment uses tones at lower than 1000 Hz, and plays different frequencies in each ear. According to proponents of this therapy, the brain independently balances out the different frequencies, creating a sense of calm.

Music can also help out with insomnia. Mike Rowland's "The Fairy Ring" and G. F. Handel's "Water Music" were effective in helping patients sleep.

Regardless of what you listen to, most music therapists suggest that you spend at least 15-20 minutes giving your full attention to your music selection.

Everywhere (Living Room Sessions)

Director, actress, and musician Charlie Taylor unveils her new music video for "Everywhere," directed by Scott Haze.

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"I love a good 3 day juice cleanse," said no one ever. Eating delicious food is more than a hobby of mine, food is literally all I think about, so I'd say that makes me kind of an expert. One time my best friend challenged me to a taco eating contest, and after I devoured 8 tacos in a matter of minutes (and of course, won the bet!), she crowned me the "food queen." I am pretty proud of that, I am not going to lie.

You know the saying "why is everything that is delicious bad for you?" I don't know the answer to that. I don't think it will surprise anyone to hear that my "expertise" sometimes comes with a price. The downside of my "see-food diet" is that I occasionally feel like bunk and I've noticed now that the older I get, the harder it hits me. This summer, to get my body feeling light and active once again, I thought about juicing. That's when a friend from work told me about the only juice cleanse she'd ever stuck with; it was the 3-day detox juice cleanse from Lemonkindthat's packed with 24 superfood-infused juices that are formulated to specifically realign your body.

I still wouldn't scream from the rooftops that I <3 juice cleanses, but when I was done, I felt amazing!! Of all my friends, I'm the last person to do a cleanse (I was pretty skeptical), but Lemonkind changed me. Here, I answer all the questions I had about it.

Why on Earth should I do a juice cleanse?

In just a few days, a cleanse can reset a sluggish metabolism, get rid of water weight, and get your body used to smaller portions. A cleanse also helps make you feel your best and gets the body back-on-track. After doing the 3-day juice cleanse, I felt physically lighter, my skin was glowing, and I experienced tremendous mental clarity. I did Sudoku like a boss on the bus.

What can I expect from a Lemonkind cleanse?

A 1-day cleanse comes with 8 juices and a 3-day Lemonkind detox will come with 24 in total. They range from 110 to 180 calories per juice, to keep you satiated as you drink one about every 2 hours. Just like the baby food in pouches, everything's in shelf-stable pouches, so they don't need to be refrigerated until they're opened (which gives you a ton of flexibility!), and they're vegan and free of allergens, gluten, GMOs, artificial ingredients, and preservatives.

Wait, how is this one different?

Most juice cleanses fail because our bodies overcompensate for hunger by increasing insulin levels (aka the "crash" and mad rush for the cookie jar). What Lemonkind gets is that a juice cleanse shouldn't leave you feeling deprived - you will definitely miss tacos, but you won't be hungry (or hangry)! Their program is made to help your body maintain its equilibrium throughout the day, leaving you feeling great.

I noticed there's sugar in their juices—is that healthy?

Yup! One major health misconception is that all sugars are made equal, when in fact, our bodies need glucose to keep us going. Lemonkind's products do not contain any added sugars, and all their juices are fresh-pressed, never made from the concentrate, so you know you're only getting the good stuff.

How much does it cost?

A 3-day cleanse costs $139.99 and a 1-day cleanse is only $49! As previously mentioned, Lemonkind's products arrive airtight (aseptic) and don't need to be refrigerated until after opening, so you can order when you want, wait for the right time to cleanse ( after your cousin's wedding, not during), oh, and you get free shipping!

So will you do it again?

After my very first cleanse, I felt physically energized and completely reset. The cleanse retrained my body to stop eating when I am feeling full and that awareness makes me stop before overindulging! The juices tasted great, so yes, I signed up to their subscription (5%off plus free priority shipping) so I can always have them around ready when I am in a need of a reset.

I can say with full confidence that this cleanse made me feel like a stronger version of myself. There's no need to ever starve your body, but juicing can definitely reset your mind, so you start eating healthier going forward.

Update: Limited Time Offer!Follow this link and use code POPDUST10 to get 10% off AND free shipping on your next Lemonkind order!


Teen Victim of Slender Man Stabbing: "I Still Sleep With Scissors"

Payton Leutner has spoken out for the first time since she was stabbed as part of attacks inspired by Slender Man.

In 2014, after a night of roller-skating at the local rink, Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier took their friend Peyton Leutner to the woods.

They stabbed her 19 times, leaving her to crawl out onto a path, where a cyclist found her. All three of the girls were twelve.

Geyser and Weier had apparently been planning this for months. It was all inspired by Slender Man—the infamous tall, thin, child-eating demon who started as a concept on Creepypasta and later ingrained himself into a generation's minds through a series of Photoshopped images and gory Internet threads.

Yesterday, the now 17-year-old Leutner spoke out for the first time since the attack. She appeared on ABC's 20/20 program, which airs this Friday night, and she apparently said that she still sleeps with broken scissors "in case someone tries to murder her again."

As for why she's decided to speak out, she said, "I feel like it's time for people to see my side rather than everyone else's."

Most of the information that exists about the Slender Man stabbing concerns Morgan and Anissa, both of whom are currently in mental institutions. But this story really began over a decade ago, in the darkest and most infected laboratory known to man: the Internet.

The first mentions of Slender Man appeared on Creepypasta's Something Awful forum. It was 2009, the era of MySpace and early Internet, and a user named Victor Surge responded to a request for spooky photos by submitting an image of a tall, thin man without a face. It was captioned, "We didn't want to go, we didn't want to kill them, but its persistent silence and outstretched arms horrified and comforted us at the same time. — 1983, photographer unknown, presumed dead."

From there, Slender Man became a viral meme, the modern equivalent of a popular folktale. Evading fact and authorship, Slender Man instead seemed to exist only in echoes and whispers. Always skeletal, thin and faceless, usually seen in the woods, he fit into the old, monstrous archetype of the children-snatcher, being the kind of specter used to discourage children from running away into the night. But unlike the cryptids and stringy-haired witches that are so common in horror movies, he has no precise precedent in folklore.

What happened to Peyton Leutner is an absurd, random tragedy, one that evades logic. It is evidence that the things the Internet dreams up can come to life. It plays into the deepest fears of every parent who has allowed their children to go out at night or go online (regardless of the fact that very few people actually are moved to violence by what they read about online). In that, it's a tale that feels particularly resonant in 2019, when it's becoming clearer that we have far less power over the Internet than we imagined, and when we know that powerful men wearing suits have been stealing children away for quite a long time.

But maybe sometimes, all this violence can become a catalyst for healing. Inspired by what happened to her, Leutner has decided to become a doctor. When asked if there's anything she would say to Morgan Geyser, Leutner said she would thank her.

Leutner said, "I would probably, initially thank her," Leutner said.

"I would say, 'Just because of what she did, I have the life I have now. I really, really like it and I have a plan," she said. "I didn't have a plan when I was 12, and now I do because of everything that I went through. Without the whole situation, I wouldn't be who I am. I've come to accept all of the scars that I have. It's just a part of me. I don't think much of them."