The 30 Day Aloha Challenge

Keep-Calm-And-Live-Aloha-2About a month ago, a friend of mine had posted on Facebook that he was doing a “30 Day Aloha Challenge.”  Part of my friend’s long post explained the challenge, “I decided to create the ALOHA ACTION CHALLENGE. I am challenging myself to be more aware of how I put aloha into action each day for 30 days. If anyone else wishes to participate, please feel free to join me and share/post your experiences of Aloha or ways in which you or someone you know has put Aloha into Action! Feel free to tag me in your post, because I would love to read about the many ways that Aloha can be expressed and shared everyday! Aloha is a practice and a way of life, much like yoga, hula, meditation, tai chi, etc.”

So there it was, I didn’t think much of it at first.  I checked his posts the first few days, and soon I began to think about the Facebook challenges that I had participated in.  First, there was the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, and then, the 22 Push-ups for 22 days to bring awareness to those who committed suicide as a result of having PTSD.  While these challenges were great because they brought awareness to the need to find a cure, it didn’t involve any action on my part.  THEN, I thought, there really isn’t a good reason NOT to do it.  In the end, I decided to blog about this because it was easier than I thought it would be, AND the results were absolutely eye-opening.  Here are some highlights and insights that I gained from this challenge.

  • In just the first few days, I decided to focus on family.  I surprised my Grandma at the care home with a smoothie and surprised my son with an Icee.  Just to see the smiles on their faces from a small gesture felt great, it already made me want to do more.
  • Observing people who provide a service, cashiers, tellers, and waiters, made me realize that we take for granted that, most of these people, no matter what is going on in their lives, put on a smile and perform acts of Aloha everyday, all day long.
  • It makes a great difference when you smile and say, “hi” or “thank you” to someone who appears to be having a rough day.  They immediately seem lighter and a little happier.
  • When we have so many material things that clutter our home, a wonderful Action of Aloha is to share your superfluous abundance with others.   I cleaned out our bathroom with my kids and gave extra unused toiletries to the YMCA because they were collecting to make goody bags for the homeless.  Through this act, we uncluttered our space and helped another person out.
  • I started to realize that this challenge was helping me to look for the positive in the world around me and look for more ways to create positivity as well.
  • I often avoid homeless people, but one day, my husband and I ended up helping a very educated and polite homeless man while we were waiting to cross the street.  He was in a wheelchair and my husband gave him a push to the nearby library and I shared the breakfast we had just bought to take home.  He changed my views and showed me that there are as many nice and scary homeless people as there are nice and scary people who have homes to live in.
  • A very important Action of Aloha is to live joyfully.
  • In a situation where someone is annoying you or being rude, the best thing to do is to make the most generous assumption about the person and the situation.  For example, if you’re driving and someone cuts you off, you can assume they have to pee really badly.
  • Forgiveness is a valuable Action of Aloha.
  • Receiving the unconditional love of a dog is one of my favorite kinds of Aloha.
  • Taking care of a healing family member reminds us that we need Aloha from one another from time to time.
  • My kids have started to think of their own Actions of Aloha
  • When you are REALLY MAD &. FRUSTRATED, sing the intro to The Lion King at the top of your lungs!”NAANTS IGONYAMA BKTHIBABAAAAAA!!!”ūü¶Ā
  • When Actions of Aloha becomes a habit, bad days don’t get you down because you know you have enjoyed so many days filled with ALOHA!

When I heard, “30 Day Aloha Action Challenge,” I thought it was going to make me tired sharing all this Aloha with everyone.  However, that’s not what it’s about.  It’s taking whatever you do everyday and making a conscious choice to just do it with a different intention in mind, an intention of Aloha.  I also learned that it’s not about trying to get attention for what you do, but thinking about what you are giving your attention to.  When you are trying to get attention for what you do, you are trying to figure out what others expect from you.  Conversely, I found it much more joyful to give my attention to Aloha from the inside out, simply sharing my own joy with others, independent of their reaction.  I found that most times, it makes them happy, at worst, you haven’t made anything worse than it already was.  I encourage you to try the challenge for any amount of days and see how it transforms your perception of yourself and the world around you.

The Healing Power of Writing

The Expressive Writing Workshop is a serendipitous manifestation of my authentic journey. In November of 2015 I was diagnosed with cutaneous lupus. It was prescribed by my doctor that I minimize my exposure to UV rays and manage my stress levels. As a result, I lessened my involvement at the family accounting firm to pursue my joy of writing. I had a rock solid plan! Well, I thought I had a rock solid plan. I was determined to send impressive pitches to local magazines and become a freelance writer. I had a few jobs, and then it was ‚Äúcrickets.‚ÄĚ

I knew I had to keep creating, not just for the benefit of others, but also for myself. I googled ‚Äúwriting therapy‚ÄĚ and spoke to a writer-friend on the subject. I found that Dr. James W. Pennebaker was the go-to expert on the subject. I immediately purchased his little book called Expressive Writing, Words that Heal (co-written by Dr. John F. Evans), and soon began to do the writing exercises in the book. The findings of Dr. Pennebaker‚Äôs 30 years of research validated why I enjoyed writing so much – writing emotionally AND physically improves overall wellness. Not only did I feel better after writing, but I also gained new awareness about some of the challenges in my life. My next thought was, ‚ÄúI have to share this with others!‚ÄĚ

I began to read more books by authors that were in the medical, psychological, neuroscience, spiritual, and creative fields. I combined all of this new knowledge with my life’s experiences and accumulated wisdom from my childhood, living abroad, illness, and my most recent emergence as a writer, and produced a workshop that aims to assist others in mapping out their own struggles and finding new wisdom. As a result I created the following process:

Steps to Emotional Wellness

SHINE THE LIGHT ON YOUR INTERIOR LIFE –¬†Go inward and identify what prevents you from thriving.

WHAT ARE THE EMOTIONS THAT NEED HEALING? Acknowledge and engage with these emotions. Tell your story of sadness, anger, frustration, resentment, guilt, hurt, jealousy, fear….Whatever! Write your story UNCENSORED.

RECOGNIZE THE BEAUTY IN THE STRUGGLE – What have you learned? How has it made you stronger? How can you do better? What do you want your life to look like going forward?

REPEAT AS NEEDED!

The above process could take 20 minutes for some challenges and 20 years for others. I’ve seen that, at first, there may be some very painful stories to face that we have not looked at for a very long time. However, over time, the more this process is maintained, the more of a habit it becomes to search for wisdom when we are faced with new obstacles. In other words, don’t expect life to get easier through this process, because, we can never predict the hardships that may come our way. Instead, you will habitually look for the lessons and wisdom when they do come or at least be able to stand in solidarity and compassion with others who share similar hardships.

Just like yoga, meditation, exercise, and a healthy diet, expressive writing is a another wellness tool to assist in taking care of our whole selves. This has become a spring board for many new projects I am creating to strengthen our emotional intelligence that involve taking this expressive writing into the creative genres of poetry and storytelling. It is the beginning of a brand new journey, and I am full of excitement to see what the universe has in ‚Äústore-y‚ÄĚ for all of us!

For more information and upcoming workshops go to the One Lucky Local Facebook page.

CRYO Therapy Hawaii by Egan Inoue Opening on January 18th

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Why would I want to go into a cryotherapy chamber? I don‚Äôt like the cold. I can‚Äôt even stand to go into the produce refrigerator at Costco, but, there was a part of me that was curious.  What are the health benefits? How does it work? Is it safe? ‚ÄĒ were just some of the questions I wanted answered. 

On Monday, January 18th, professional athlete and owner of Egan’s Training Center, Egan Inoue and Dr. Craig Haga, will hold the Grand Opening of CRYO Therapy Hawaii. Some of us who train at his gym, were able to get a pre-opening treatment. I decided to make an appointment and see what the big deal is all about. Floyd Mayweather, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant are a few professional athletes that opt for the chilly sci-fi cylinder to boost their athletic performance.I chose a whole body and facial spot treatment. Here is what I learned during my time there:

History
Cryotherapy began in Japan, developed in Europe and migrated to the United States. Treatment is intended to address pain and inflammation for sports injuries, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and skin conditions. Providers of cryotherapy are usually physical therapists, chiropractors, athletic trainers, and holistic healers.(wholebodycryotherpy.org)

How does it work?
‚ÄúWith Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) the body is exposed to ultra-low temperatures, triggering a systematic anti-inflammatory response. This modality was first utilized in Japan in 1978 to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Studies conducted over the last two decades have established WBC as a powerful treatment for inflammatory disorders and injuries. The accelerated production of collagen improves skin elasticity and texture, reversing skin aging and the appearance of cellulite.‚ÄĚ (CRYO Therapy Hawaii brochure)

What are the health benefits?
Immune system – Cryotherapy improves the function of the immune system and decreases stress levels.

Skin – Exposure to temperature -160 degrees Celsius (-256 degrees Fahrenheit) triggers the systemic release of anti-inflammatory cytokines, and decreases circulating pro-inflammatory cytokines. This internal response decreases inflammation in all areas of the body.

Musculoskeletal – The anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of cryotherapy can drastically improve joint disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. Athletes use whole body therapy to recover from injuries and improve their performance.

Endocrine – The exposure to extreme cold causes the body to turn up its metabolic rate in order to produce heat. This effect lasts for up to 42 hours after the procedure, causing the body to burn up to 800 calories following the procedure. After several procedures. The increase in metabolic rate tends to last longer. Another ‚Äúsurvival reaction‚ÄĚ to the extreme cold temperatures is the release of endorphins (hormones) that have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, and improve mood disorders. (CRYO Therapy Hawaii brochure)

Is it safe?
Based on my experience, I felt the process to be comfortable and safe. I could see why you would never do it alone. Many express concern because of the recent death of Chelsea Ake-Savacion. Although there are not many details known about her death, we do know she was alone. There is a door that latches shut and a hydraulic that lifts you up so that you end up shoulder deep in the chamber when doing the whole body cryotherapy treatments. The controls are all on the outside. So if you are in a cryotherapy chamber, you cannot access the control panels located outside, which are operated by a staff member who is with you throughout the process.

When in doubt, it is wise to consult a physician before trying the therapy. I asked one client who came for a shoulder injury about her doctor’s opinion. Her doctor had no reservations about her doing the therapy and said she could do it an unlimited amount of times as long she found it helpful.

What to expect from whole body cryotherapy
Women have the option of going in nude. Most women go in their undies, bikini, or sports bra. It’s good to have a lot of skin exposure. Men can go in undies and/or shorts.

 

When you arrive at CRYO Therapy Hawaii, you will be given a cotton robe, gloves, socks and some slip on shoes to cover your feet. You want to protect your little digits. Thus, no ‚Äúnaked time‚ÄĚ for the guys. Egan being Egan (meaning – he‚Äôs CRAZY, DO NOT TRY THIS), said he tried ‚Äúnaked time‚ÄĚ and simply put, he said, ‚ÄúIt hurts.‚ÄĚ

When you get into the large cylinder chamber, the door will be closed, and at that time, you will take off your robe. A staff member on the outside will be operating the functions of the chamber. The floor beneath you in the chamber will lift until you are shoulder deep in the chamber and you can see above its rim. The nitrogen will have already started to fill the chamber. They kept me in for about 90 seconds. You can move around, dance, or talk to staff and other clients waiting to make the time go by faster. However, it really didn‚Äôt seem long at all. At -250 degrees Fahrenheit, it sounds very uncomfortable, but I didn‚Äôt think so. My legs felt it the most, cold and tingly. Other clients said their legs felt ‚Äúcrunchy.‚ÄĚ You can go in for another treatment soon after, which Egan recommends, to receive maximum benefits. Before going in for another treatment (which I did) I had to wait for my body temperature to go back to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The reason for this is for skin safety. This time, my legs felt a bit colder.

It took a good 20-30 minutes for my core to cool down. They gave me a cup of tea and I was still shivering while I was drinking it outside in the sun at high noon. I felt really good throughout the rest of my day and slept soundly that night. The benefit of the therapy lasts up to 42 hours after the session, fighting inflammation and burning extra calories.

Spot treatment
Right after the whole body treatment I did the spot treatment for the face head and neck. In the spot treatment room, there is a large white comfy chair that the client lays in on their back. There is the machine, also known as “the elephant,” that blows nitrogen vapors through a hose. Marcia (Egan‚Äôs wife and former competitive gymnast) administered my treatment. She started in the scalp area, which felt really good. When she got to my face, it took a little getting used to. I could feel the skin tightening as the super cold vapors were blowing around my face. The benefits were much more apparent with this treatment. My skin felt much tighter and smoother instantly.


My take on cryotherapy
Although I cannot comment on the long term benefits, I did feel it alleviated tightness in my neck and shoulders. The staff at CRYO Therapy Hawaii has a lot of fun and they make the clients feel at home. It’s super quick, so it’s not like a massage experience that is longer and you can relax and maybe even take a nap. If you are looking for an anti-aging, weight loss, or anti-inflammation regiment, this is a great option. I will definitely go again.

Information
CRYO Therapy Hawaii, by Egan Inoue
2600 South King Street, Suite K106
Honolulu, HI 96826
808-397-6407

Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

www.cryotherapyhawaii.com

8 Things You Should Know When Finding a Care Home For Kupuna

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My Grandma Ruby lives in a care home. Currently, she is bound to a wheelchair and needs much care and assistance with her daily needs. She is as sharp as a tack and has a very positive attitude. When I was young, I used to sleep over at Grandma’s with my brother Tod and cousin Liane. My best memories with Grandma¬†are that she made the best namasu, never yelled at us, and when we left her house she would watch and wave at us from her porch as we drove away until we could not see her anymore. I would watch for as long as I possibly could and she would be waving until the very end. Not once did I see her go into the house before she was totally out of my sight.

It is important that Grandma who loves us so much, is happy with where she lives and the care that she receives. I also have recently helped a client at my family’s accounting firm transition from a private care home that was in a house into a community. I have been observing the vast differences in types of care and felt that in deciding the most suitable care for those we love, it can be overwhelming and there are some important things to consider when finding the perfect place.

1. Location. Be sure it is a place that is in a good location, where many family members can come to visit. Earlier this year one of our friends moved to a care home¬†recommended by a hospital that he was discharged from. His sister did not drive and could not visit him because he was so far away. She is in her 80’s and her brother is 90. I assisted in moving him closer to her home and right on the bus line. Now she visits him almost everyday. Location is so important.

2. Visiting Hours. I was shocked to find out that one care home only allowed family and friends to visit between 9:00 am and 10:00 am. One hour?! Yes, very inconvenient if you ask me. Make sure family and friends are able to visit at any reasonable hour of the day. It is the home of your loved one after all, the care home should welcome visitors because it is good for the well being of those who live there.

3. What levels of care do they provide? People enter a care home at various levels of wellness. If that level of wellness changes in such a way that more care is needed, will that care home be prepared for this change? Some care homes are not prepared and the resident might be required to find a new facility to provide them with a higher level of care.

4. Financing. What are the financial requirements for the care home you are considering? Some communities require applicants to have a certain amount of assets to qualify as well as a “buy in” sum upward from $200,000. What is the base monthly charge? If they use certain supplies like adult diapers, first aid supplies, toiletries, etc., is there an extra charge? Also the type of insurance a person has may also affect the type of care he/she receives.

5. Medication Management. Some care home residents need their medication to be managed by the care home. In his case, the care home will keep track of when they are supposed to take their prescribed medications. Usually there is also an extra monthly charge for this service. Ask the care home what their process is and who is responsible for refilling the medication. A good care home will also be in contact with the resident’s physician(s) and some even have a consulting pharmacist to advise the administering nurses and the residents.

6. Activities. Smaller care homes, especially those in residential homes, provide a television with cable. They may have some activities in the home, as well as outdoors depending on the health of the resident. Larger care homes tend to have a larger variety of activities like music, trivia games, bingo, and arts and crafts. My grandma loves to get involve with games and get her nails done by volunteers. There is usually a library with books and periodicals. Some even have iMac computers, exercise classes, a gym, and therapy pools. Movie night and musical entertainment can also be enjoyed by the residents.

7. Food. Some places have a menu you can choose from everyday or at least a few things to chose from. Other places just have the same meals for everyone. Most places offer Japanese, Filipino, and Hawaiian food among other local favorites. Also, ask what the feeding schedule is like and what the rules are regarding outside food. Some places also have a dietician to consult with to ensure that the residents’ nutritional needs are being met.

8. Communication. You should also find out what the process is when there is an update on your family member resident. If (s)he gets injured or ill, they should call a family representative within a reasonable amount of time. There should also be a periodic meeting with family representatives, usually held quarterly. This is a time when the care and condition is discussed with some of the staff and when decisions can be made or questions may be asked.

I am not a healthcare professional, but having grandparents on both sides of my family live well into their 80’s and 90’s as well as having assisted someone find a new place, I have visited many facilities and there is a huge variance in the types of care that is here on Oahu. In order to find the right fit for your loved one, I suggest visiting a few places and taking tours. If you consider the points I have mentioned, I believe you are likely to find an environment for your senior loved one to thrive in.

Egan’s Fit Body Bootcamp, More Than Just a Gym

AUTOBOTS! TRANSFORM! Well okay,¬†Egan’s Fit Body Bootcamp may not transform your body as fast as Optimus Prime can turn himself from a cab-over truck into a giant robot, but Bootcamp has transformed a lot of bodies in a short amount of time. It has also transformed my¬†outlook on¬†my capabilities¬†from the first day I began working out there. I¬†continue to be¬†surprised every day I¬†show up¬†at their Honolulu location located on S. King Street in Mo’ili’ili.¬† As a working mother of two boys, I was looking for an early morning workout group. I searched the internet and found Egan’s Fit Body Bootcamp, which is owned by professional athlete Egan Inoue and his wife, Marcia Inoue who is also a former competitive gymnast. After reading a few articles and reviews I decided to check it out and took advantage of their unlimited 21 days for $49.95 which is still being offered.¬† I used to be a runner, but running at 5 am in the dark wasn’t something I felt safe doing by myself.¬† Much to my surprise, I found more than a safe place to workout.¬† I found a positive environment of other working parents, singles, and seniors who come to sweat, challenge one another, and grow together, not just in strength and endurance, but also in character. It¬†doesn’t matter¬†how athletic or experienced you are, it’s suitable for all¬†ages and levels.¬† There is even a keiki bootcamp on Saturdays.

On Day One, Shortly after¬†Brielle, my tour guide for the morning,¬†showed me around the gym, the room was filled wall to wall with early risers ready for class.¬†¬†Wow, I never¬†knew so many people woke up so early!¬† Every 5 am class has about 40 to 50 members in attendance. ¬†On this Monday, Egan Inoue, the man himself, set up various exercise stations.¬†¬†Twenty¬†minutes into the 30 minute session, I had to rest or pass out. ¬†It’s been a while since I’ve taken an excercise class. ¬†A basic sit-up, jumping jack, or a push-up is pretty much just used as a break. ¬†Now all these are done in combination with something else. ¬†For example, doing a sit-up into a tuck jump or combining squats with jumping jacks. ¬†At 5 am, it kind of works the brain too. ¬†Towards the end, I was on the punching bags and exhausted, but, my neighbor said, “We only have 10 more seconds. Finish strong.” ¬†Those words motivated me to finish harder and faster in those last 10 seconds. ¬†Egan also went around supporting and challenging everyone, “Don’t stay comfortable!”¬†¬†I made it to the end of my first session.¬† It was a challenge but I felt strong and thought that maaayyyyybe I could do a pull-up before the end of this year. ¬†We shall¬†see, but, just the fact that at the end of my session I began to think of the possibility that I could be strong enough to do something that I could never do before was a transformation that made me start to see that the only limits are the ones we place on ourselves through our thoughts. ¬†I already intellectually knew this and used it as an affirmation, but now I actually started to FEEL IT and BELIEVE IT!

So, after Day One, I was hooked and really excited about the rest of the week and, if you can imagine, feeling quite happy and tough with all my muscle pain. I’m not sure what “tabata” means, but to me it means SUCKING WIND! ¬†Just when I thought it couldn’t get harder than the first day, this high intensity workout on my second day led by the managing trainer, Kimi Morton proved me wrong. ¬†Even when Kimi is saying stuff like, “the cure for pain is more pain, ” or threatening penalty burpees, she is a ray of sunshine! ¬†She is always challenging us with a smile! ¬†The best feeling though, is at the end of class when you look around and everyone is happy they made it through and congratulate each other with a traditional round of high-fives. 20140318-120524.jpg I was also able to enjoy a class with trainer Kyle Higa. ¬†Like all the other trainers, Kyle is a lot of fun but sets the bar of expectations high in the sky, the sky’s the limit afterall. ¬†Each day is not like the day before. ¬†Kyle said we are doing “The Big Twelve.” ¬†I was clueless, I won’t go into the details of “The Big Twelve, ” but I will say that I knew it would be another ass-kicking challenge when a veteran member said, “I’m scared.”¬† On this day we were working as a group to get through a series of exercises and couldn’t move on until everyone was done.¬† I used to hate group work in school, but this activity really¬†united the group, not only did I feel great that I had made it through the workout but that there was this added bond because we were all helping one another complete the challenge together.

Their no-diet system was also not what I expected, but when explained, made total sense to me. Marcia suggested that I keep my current eating style but just change a couple of things. In my case, I get to eat more. I learned a little about metabolism and we decided to try adding more protein and eating a little earlier in the morning before my workout.  This simple act will raise my metabolism and keep it raised throughout the day.  I was able to let go of that guilty feeling I had for eating a very creamy and cheesy gourmet meal at the new Koko Head Cafe just the day before.

Egan, Marcia and their ohana at Egan’s Fit Body Bootcamp have created a very unique environment to strengthen the body and mind. Most of the workouts are just 30 minutes. What I love about this training center is that it’s safe, fun, and challenging. The schedules are perfect for those of us who work and have families. There is a support system here that is not available at other gyms. Here, everyone encourages one another like a team mate.¬† Most of all, no one ever gave me a high-five¬†at¬†other gyms or when I used to run around Diamond Head.¬†Check out their website for more information on locations, schedules, and testimonials. I also highly recommend signing up for the newsletter where there are great tips on how to get the most out of the workouts, recipes, and current promotions. Egan’s Fit Body Bootcamp

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