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science

We've all been there.

As a young, free singleton you promised yourself you'd never use pet names for your future partner – after all, no one wants to be that couple.  

Just hearing your friends refer to their other halves as "babe", "sweetheart" or "honey" was cringey enough to make you swear off romance for the rest of your life, but then all of a sudden, life throws you a curveball and you end up with a "babe" all of your own. 

Slowly but surely the inside jokes and doting nicknames will creep their way into the relationship, and bam – you're just like every loved-up couple you've ever rolled your eyes at. 

So, why does romance turn us all into mushy, baby-talking, doe-eyed softies? 

Well, according to science, it likely stems from our parents.  

“Baby talk is used really extensively, including cross-culturally, by mothers around the world,” Florida State University neuroanthropologist Professor Dean Falk told Broadly.

“It exists for language acquisition in infants, and it also expresses love and facilitates bonding between the mother and the infant."

She believes that couples use pet names for each other because it brings them back to their childhood memories and first love – their mum. 

And while this all might sound a bit Freudian, it's actually one of the most natural ways to bond with a partner. 

So, if you've got a "baby", "chicken" or even a "darling" in your life, chances are you're onto a winner. 

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The countdown to Christmas is officially underway and we’re feeling way too excited about it. We’ve been itching to watch our favourite festive films since the summertime but managed to hold off until after Halloween.

Now that November is here, we’ll happily tune into Love Actually, The Holiday, Home Alone and Elf every single evening.

Christmas movies never fail to make us smile so we’ll be watching as many as possible this winter.

Movies like The Grinch and Miracle on 34th Street always make us feel better and science has even found evidence to prove that watching Christmas movies is actually good for you.

Researchers have found that Christmas movies release feel-good hormones. They told DoYouRemember, “It does create that neurological shift that can produce happiness. I think anything that takes us out of our normal habituation, the normal day in, day out ,signals our senses, and then our senses measure if it’s pleasing or not. Christmas decorating will spike dopamine, a feel-good hormones.”

Christmas movies can also help lower stress and reduce anxiety levels, which is ideal as we approach one of the most hectic times of the year.

Watch Hugh Grant shimmy around 10 Downing Street or cry over It’s a Wonderful Life with your nearest and dearest this winter. After all, science says it’s good for your health.

If anyone needs us we’ll be watching The Muppet Christmas Carol for the foreseeable future.

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Tossing and turning every night? Us too.

The struggle to fall asleep has been haunting us lately and there isn’t enough coffee in the world to mend our sleepy heads in the morning.

All we want is a good night’s sleep. Is that too much to ask for?

If, like us, you have trouble falling asleep at night then fear not, because scientists have discovered quite the simple solution.

And it won’t cost you a penny!

One of the main things that keeps us up at night is our worried minds. We are constantly fretting about everything and anything, whether it’s an argument with our other half or fears of not being able to pay this month’s phone bill.

There’s always something on our mind that stops us from snoozing peacefully.

But there’s something you can do to ease this problem- write your thoughts down.

Healthy Ireland recommends penning your fears and worries on a piece of paper before your head hits the pillow.

It is simple but effective. Many people even use writing as a form of therapy.

Women struggle to sleep more than men (no surprise there) so why not keep a notebook or even a scrap of paper and a pen by your bed?

Then if your mind is abuzz with anxious thoughts, all you need to do is scribble them down and try to get them out of your system.

Have you tried this method before? Did it work for you?

We cannot wait to give it a go and look forward to catching some well-needed z’s.

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So, it turns out taking regular power naps can actually make us happier. 

In a recent study conducted by the University of Hertfordshire, researchers asked over 1,000 participants to rate their happiness levels and note whether or not they napped throughout the day.

The subjects were then divided into three groups – non-nappers, short nappers and long nappers.

Results found that approximately 67 percent of short nappers claimed to feel happy, while just 56 percent of long napper and 60 percent of non-nappers said the same. 

According to Red Online, Richard Wiseman, Psychologist Professor at the university said:

"Previous research has shown that naps of under 30 minutes make you more focused, productive and creative, and these new findings suggest the tantalising possibility that you can also become happier by just taking a short nap."

"Similarly longer napping is associated with several health risks and again, this is in line with our results."

Short 'power' naps actually come with a whole host of health benefits. 

A separate study carried out by NASA found that 26-minute naps could boost alertness by up to 54 percent. 

We won't argue with those statistics. 

Professor Wiseman also stressed the need for workplaces to provide quiet napping areas for their employees.

"A large body of research shows that short naps boost performance. Many highly successful companies, such as Ben & Jerry's and Google, have installed dedicated nap spaces, and employees need to wake up to the upside of napping at work."

Now, there's an idea we can definitely get behind. 

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We've all been there.

You're in a new job, doing your thing, when the hottie from finance walks by and leaves you a red-faced, spluttering mess. 

Workplace crushes are completely natural, and what's more, they good even be good for your health and well-being. 

Well, that's according to Jason Hughes, Founder of Leicester Centre for Psychodynamic anyway.

Speaking to Stylist, Jason explained how the butterfly feeling could actually help us feel better about ourselves. 

“We all want to feel good, crushes are our imaginative and creative way of identifying those things we prize in others, which we struggle to see in ourselves.”

He continued, “Crushes help us to feel alive, help us to feel, and help us to imagine – this is especially important when we might feel that we are trapped in a routine, stuck in a job or relationship where there is little new and vibrant.''

“Don’t ignore them, but pay careful attention to them and what they might be saying about you…”

And if you think your crushing days are behind you, think again. Those lustful feelings can reveal themselves when you least expect it, even in adulthood.

See, crushes stem from the same part of the brain believed to be responsible for drug addiction.

We really are simple creatures. 

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Do you know what your first memory is?

I know mine was on my parents wedding day – I'm being lifted off a white bench outside by someone  and I can see my little white sandals on my feet as I look down at them. That's it. A three-second lightning-quick snapshot. I was a few weeks away from my second birthday.

I can still see my shoes as I get picked up off the bench – but did it ever actually happen?

A study in the journal Psychological Science says that more than likely it's a fabrication. Spooky, right? 

Researchers from the UK asked more than 6,600 people about their first childhood memory.

According to Science Alert, they found that 2,500 of participants – almost 40 percent – said that they had formed memories before the age of two-years-old. More than 890 of those people said that their their first memory takes place before they turned one.

The scientists now say though that those memories are completely imagined…they're not real memories.

So why are we convinced that they are? 

The study explained that our brains seem to be simply incapable of retaining information from before the age of three.

However, the thing is, the scientists found that people's memories were age-appropriate. 

This means that they're not memories that got muddled in time because they mention prams, cribs or wanting to communicate before knowing how to talk.

Now this is the interesting bit.

The research suggests that these recollections are actually being pieced together from photographs people have seen and stories they may have been told etc. 

"We suggest that what a rememberer has in mind when recalling fictional improbably early memories is an episodic-memory-like mental representation consisting of remembered fragments of early experience and some facts or knowledge about their own infancy/childhood," explained psychologist Shazia Akhtar. 

So do you think that you've created events in your mind that never took place?

We all know that memory isn't the most reliable of things and this study certainly gives weight to that.

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We all do it. Remember that absolutely mortifying thing you did seven years ago in school that you can't seem to shake off?

The anxiety of saying "you're welcome" instead of "thank you" when someone holds the door open for you, the sheer sweat-worthy fear of falling down (or up) the stairs on your bus, you name it, and we've worried about it.

We've always assumed that our furry little friends simply don't have these worries, but now SCIENCE (gasp) has disproved this, and we're shook. 

grim reaper wtf GIF by Studio Flox

The Royal Society scientific journal has published a study which supports the result that doggos struggle to nod off if they have anything troubling them, meaning that we're not as different as we think.

All that time that you lay in your bed, pondering that terrible moment when you asked your friend how their grand-dad up the North is getting on in his nursing home, and they reply that they are, in fact, deceased, leaving you stewing in shame.

The time in work that you were wandering around with your knickers tucked into the back of your skirt, the time you threw up at the local disco after one Blue WKD, even the time you said "keep the change" to the lad in Spar, and it was only a five cent coin.

cute puppy GIF

Doggies apparently sit up and ponder their embarrassments and worries too, maybe they get anxiety about the lack of 'good boy' praise which they received that day.

"Does my human still love me?" They think, as they rest their head on their paws, with a slow, violin concerto playing in the background.

scared dog GIF

"What if they actually don't like cleaning up my poop?"

"What if they send me to the pound and I get embroiled in the local gang war between the Pug Thugs and the Rottweiler Pilers?"

They stare glumly out of the rain-splattered window, tossing and turning following a negative experience at the dog walking park that day.

scared insomnia GIF

The study stated that dogs tend to fall asleep much faster following a negative day, presumably to escape from the terrible consequences of the day.

We still think of the horrendously awkward things we were doing in 2005, forever looking up at the blank ceiling searching for answers…

Feature image: Pets4Homes

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Kissing is fun, everybody knows that. But who would have known that the act of smooching can actually give you HEALTH BENEFITS? 

Does it heal your broken heart, clear your skin and boost your immune system? You're about to find out.

Strap yourselves in ladies, here are each and every glorious health benefit of puckering up. You should probably find someone to practice on…you know, for the sake of your body. It's a temple, isn't it?

Just don't do it like this:

mr bean love GIF

According to a 2009 scientific study, when we kiss somebody, our bodies release hormones which can actually ease stress. In the case of men, it increases bonding too. We love a good bromance alert.

Oral healthcare, anyone?

Now, we're not saying that you shouldn't brush your teeth or use mouthwash, but allegedly, a good kiss marathon is great news for your teeth and gums. How? Listen up:

Andréa Demirjian, author of Kissing: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about One of Life’s Sweetest Pleasures, explains:

“When you’re kissing, you’re secreting more saliva in your mouth. That’s the mechanism that washes away the plaque on your teeth that leads to cavities.” A shift a day keeps the dental plaque away, girlos.

allison janney kiss GIF by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

It acts as a painkiller (Seriously)

Your achy, break-y heart deserves some attention. Especially when you've got some form of cramps, like your time of the month.

Apparently, some lip action actually helps to reduce the effects of chronic pain. Some savvy scientists at Current Pharmaceutical Design conducted some research into smooching, learned that the “cuddle hormone” oxytocin is packed full of analgesic painkilling properties.

Oxytocin s released whenever you kiss and hug your partner, so do it as much as possible, we say. Blood vessel dilation after a good kissing sesh is great for reducing aches and pains, so when you're on your period, pucker up. You NEED it, right?

ryan gosling kiss GIF

Hayfever or Bae-fever?

Anyone who suffers from allergies can rejoice at this news; apparently kissing eases itchy eyes and snotty noses (ew).

Researchers at Satou Hospital in Japan investigated the protective effect of kissing against allergies, and claim that locking lips for only 30 minutes can do wonders for the immune system.

It decreases the release of histamine (the chemical which is produced in response to allergens) as it relaxes you, and also can work miracles for eczema sufferers. Is there anything a great shift can't do?

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No pressure, honeys

So apparently, kissing can even reduce your blood pressure? We've all felt butterflies in our stomachs and a weakening of the ol' knees, as well as a quickening heartbeat, and now we've figured out that kissing passionately does even more:

Demirjian explains: “It gets your heartbeat revved in a healthy way that lowers your blood pressure. It dilates the blood vessels, allowing blood to flow more freely, taking pressure off your organs, especially your heart and brain.”

Hot Diggedy Damn, we're 100 percent HERE for this science.

Feel Better In Love GIF

Let's talk about sex, baby, let's talk about you + me

Your sex life gets some HELLA drastic improvements from kissing; the two go together like Grace & Frankie, like women and vibrators, like Netflix and chill. You get the idea.

Kissing is also WAY more likely to increase your chances of having an orgasm. Lord knows we could use some of those…

As Carol Queen, the staff sexologist at Good Vibrations, explains;

“Kissing is a powerful type of foreplay… it helps increase the chances that both partners will have a good and pleasurable erotic experience.”

sexy nun GIF by Originals

Face the Facts

So BASICALLY, kissing involves more than 30 facial muscles, which can be given a major workout from a good kiss.

According to Demirjian, tongue wrestling can strengthen your neck and jawline – very good news, as these are particularly tricky spots to exercise on a daily basis.

“Your mouth has a number of facial muscles,” she says. “When those are engaged in kissing, you can tighten and tone them.”

Tighten and tone, you say? Sign us up.

muscles what GIF

2019 Mood

A perfectly-timed kiss can be the ideal mood booster. If scientists are saying it, then it must be true, right?

Puckering up can give your body a big-time release of happiness hormones, such as serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine. Ooh la la.

Those hormonal bad boys can help you relax, restore and revitalise your system. What more could you need?

romantic lady and the tramp GIF

NOW do you believe us about scientific research? 

Grab that lad or lassie and get your smooch on, it's for your own benefit, and theirs too.

Your doctor has officially given you one prescription to visit the LOVE shack *winks* 

Get it, gurrrlllll…

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When it comes to anti-ageing products, it can be difficult to narrow down the best ones. We're advised to start an anti-ageing skincare routine in our mid-20s, but where do we start?

j alexander wtf GIF

However, there's one serum that undeniably brings results, with loyal consumers and critics alike raving about it.

Lancôme Advanced Génifique has been one of the most critically successful skincare products in the industry ever since it's 2009 launch.

Leading the way in cutting-edge innovation and pioneering science, the product delivers skincare like no other using microbiome science. 

Lancôme Advanced Génifique was born out of over 197 formation trials, and has been tested on an amazing 4,000 women. There's a good reason why it has over 10,000 five-star reviews.

97 percent of women who use it would recommend it to others, and it's received over 170 awards over a decade on since it's launch.

It's hardly surprising that 25 million bottles of the serum have sold worldwide, that's one every six seconds.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Renowned for it's ability to activate the 10 signs of youth, it's efficiency is hard to deny. Younger-looking skin isn't as hard to accomplish as it seems, with products like these raising the bar for the skincare industry.

As the culmination of 15 years’ worth of research into the skin microbiome, a new Lancôme Advanced Génifique serum is born. It's withstood the test of time to become a beauty icon, and this new version promises to be timeless.

The new serum is enriched with seven prebiotic and probiotic fractions, it acts on the microbiome. Skin recovers faster, feels stronger and looks visibly younger.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The serum wasn't created easily. Researchers have been captivated by the skin microbiome, which has formed the basis of 18 scientific publications and is a breakthrough in the skincare industry.

We're made up of 50 percent human cells and 50 percent bacterial cells, with our unique skin microbiome acting like our unique signature. It's a beneficial living ecosystem of microorganisms and a vital part of the skin surface.

Our skin's healthy appearance is essentially influenced by the balance of our microbiome.

A team of 50 experts, from physicists and clinicians to dermatologists and computer scientists, based in different global centres, has been involved in this research.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Our microbiome needs to be balanced to defend and recover, as well as repairing the skin and regulating excessive inflammation.

By working with Pr. Hattori, from Waseda University, Sōdai in Japan, Lancôme researchers were able to make a huge discovery: The skin microbiome changes as we age.

Our unique microbiome can be harmed by our lifestyle and environmental conditions such as UV rays, pollution, diet, hormones and medications. This can lead to spots, ageing, dryness and wrinkles.

Lancôme scientists have found that women living in a polluted environment and display premature signs of ageing. They were then able to create the ultimate formula to act on the skin microbiome.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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New Advanced Lancôme Génifique contains three plant or biotech-based prebiotics: Mannose, α-Glucooligosaccharides and β-Fructooligosaccharides.

Allowing beneficial bacteria to grow will unlock your skin's inner potential and strength, providing radiant results. 85 percent of women who tested the product claimed their skin felt rejuvenated.

The patented, self-loading dropper releases 30 million prebiotic and probiotic fractions at each application, with an addictive and weightless texture. It absorbs rapidly, and delivers immediate results.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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With celebrity fans like Penelope Cruz, Kate Winslet, Bae Suzy, Lily Collins and Taylor Hill, you can't go wrong. 

Advanced Génifique has been tested on four continents by 4,000 women, so rest assured that the product is confident in it's success. It even suits all skin types, even sensitive skin.

Lancôme skincare plays a big role in bringing the most advanced, transformational science to women's skincare routines around the world. Don't miss their newest solution to finding youthful skin.

Lancôme Advanced Génifique can be bought in Boots stores nationwide, or on the Lancôme website.

Feature image: Instagram/@ralucasworld

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By Kate Brayden

If you have any knowledge at all about ‘alternative’ medicine, you have most likely heard whispers about crystal healing. Some refer to it as a pseudo-science, others call it life-saving. Either way, it can be an incredibly fascinating experience to try.

Before I had tested it out for myself, all I knew about the fad was that the crystals are used are normally minerals or fossilized resins, believed to have beneficial properties for both physical and spiritual wellbeing. The use of crystals as a form of medicine goes back centuries, though today this has mostly transitioned to modern or conventional forms of medicine. The practitioner of crystal healing places the crystals on different body parts based on their intuition of the client’s needs, and often corresponds to the seven chakras. Other types of practitioners place crystals around the body to construct energy grids, and surround the person with a type of healing energy.

When it comes to crystal healing and science, the topic becomes contentious. Scientific investigations have yet to validate claims that chakras or energy grids exist, and any scientific arguments for it have not been peer-reviewed; meaning they maintain unconfirmed. Other researchers argue that the crystals have the placebo effect, hence why it’s considered a pseudoscience when it comes to medical journals. Stuart McClean examined folk medicine in the past, and alleges that crystal healing contrast with other forms of alternative medicine because participants view the practice as "individuated", in other words; dependent on extreme personalisation and creative expression. Make of that what you will, but essentially it suggests that each of us can have completely different experiences when it comes to alternative medicine, dependent on our minds and spirits. If we refuse to accept it, then we can achieve no positive energy, for example. In the same way as physical, medical treatments in the modern field, not every drug or surgery will heal 100% of patients. When it comes to healing, we are all unique.

However, just because those in the medical and scientific communities who go on concrete facts alone cannot physically see the effects does not mean that the crystals don’t have any basis behind them. None of us can ever experience the physical emotions or feelings of another person, and just because the trend can’t be understood by all doesn’t mean there isn’t any validity to it. I decided to interview a crystal healer and attend a healing in order to greater comprehend the interesting practice, get a more rounded view of the type of clients who visit these practitioners and ask a healer about their experience.

One of the things which struck me when I was conducting background research into the matter was the feeling that some forms of alternative healing ‘take advantage’ of a patient, or vulnerable person, in a way. I’m assuming these people imagine tarot card readers who read a person’s pain and tell them exactly what they desire to hear in order to profit from them and their emotional needs. When I met Rebecca Singleton, I immediately knew that, at least with my chosen crystal healer, she was not using her profession to profit from the pain of others.

Rebecca Singleton
Image credit: Metta Healing

I felt a connection to her straight away, and she was both kind and empathetic, as well as noticeably calm in her demeanour. She refrained from pushing her practice or beliefs onto me, she never encouraged me to spend my hard-earned money on healing; I was there to gain a sense of relief and energy release in any way possible and she most definitely wanted to help me achieve this. Hearing about healers who are unqualified, or simply capitalising off the pain or vulnerability of others must be difficult for healers like Rebecca who aim to work with integrity; “You’ll see that a lot. Some people can be a bit pushy sometimes. I never try and be forceful, or say you have to do ten sessions or anything. I also say to them that there’s no need to come back if you don’t want to.”

I was drawn to a crystal healer for the dominant reason of my own personal experiences with the Irish healthcare system. After it took three years, three countries and thousands of Euro to find a diagnosis for my own physical pain, I felt massively disconnected from my own body. I went through rigorous physical therapy, testing, physical exams, surgeries, injections, hormones and multiple types of medication in order to find some sense of relief, most of which failed. Suffering immense pain in silence and having your voice stifled in every single GP clinic, every consultant’s office, every hospital waiting room can take it’s toll on a person. It’s easy for others to ridicule alternative healing when they haven’t been failed continuously by modern medicine. So what exactly do these other forms of feeling have which draws in hundreds of clients? I decided to experience it for myself to find answers.

Image credit: Metta Healing

According to Rebecca’s website Metta Healing, she studied numerous forms of energetic healing from; Reiki, Angelic, Seichem, Elemental, Crystals and Rahanni, using her experience to help clients individually. She ascertains that channelling energy flows brings the most dynamic healing experience possible; “It is for many a space and time just to be.” According to Rebecca, she works “intuitively” by channelling the high healing frequencies of crystals and angelic healing. It’s about peace, compassion and achieving a sense of balance.

During my healing session, I laid down on a table underneath a blanket, in a warm and dimly lit room with candles. It’s a relaxing space, with scents and an indescribable calm. One of the first questions I asked Rebecca was about cures, whether she is expected to totally cure a patient or if she ever claims to;  “I’d never claim to cure anybody of anything – never- but it would sort of speed up the healing process. If you broke your arm and the regular physical healing was two months, but you came for regular (crystal) healing, it might heal in one month. It helps your body work faster.” She works with “imbalances” in the body; alternating energy levels and the seven chakras. ”What I’d be doing is going to the root causes of pain. Let’s say you were holding emotional trauma, you’d be trying to release that. This would have a knock-on effect in terms of pain relief.”

I was intrigued by her background as a healer; how long she had practised the trade and her path from discovering crystal healing to the present day.

Image credit: Metta Healing

”I started training, doing healing, in 2006. 14 years ago, then I started practising full-time in 2009. As part of the healing training you do a bit of counselling. I was a practising yoga teacher as well. I have crystal healing, spiritual healing, angelic healing, naturopathy, homeopathy.” Fascinatingly, Rebecca’s background was in the corporate world after studying arts in college. “I found it really difficult. The company I worked for shut down and we were made redundant. I hard started doing the healing part-time. I worked in gaming, and got offered a job pretty much immediately from a big company. Everyone said I was mad when I turned it down, but I just thought that if I don’t do it now, I’d never do it. I could never go back to a 9-to-5 office situation. Even when I was on maternity leave, it’s hard coming back but I love my job, and there’s not many people who can say that. It’s traumatic, you see a lot of people who are experiencing trauma, which can be very humbling.”

How does she begin with a brand new client, who may be nervous or sceptical? “With clients, I’d sit down and try and get a background of where they’re coming from while having a chat. There are clients who just come to see what it’s like and don’t want to open up, it takes them a couple of sessions to really open up to me. “After chatting to them and doing a couple of healings with them, other stuff will come to the surface.”

The long-term healer ponders the reasons why sleep problems, fertility issues and stress are the most common notions plaguing some of her visitors. ”I have quite a few clients coming with fertility issues; it’s the stress of that. They come not necessarily for me to heal their fertility issues, but ultimately they end up getting pregnant, which is great. Of course, I’m not saying that’s just down to me, but it’s the relief of stress.” Healers can see an upsurge in business during unusual times in Irish life. “In the recession I was quite busy. I kind of thought that this was a luxury and people wouldn’t come to me, but people were stressed. People want different options nowadays; they’re getting disillusioned with modern medicine. With social media as well, people don’t get a break. There’s also disillusionment with the institution of the Church, and are seeking peace elsewhere.”

I was also curious about gender and healing, whether some are more open-minded than others about the trade; I have seen men, but most of my clients are women. I certainly have male clients though. Women are just more open to it, I think men are just a bit more cynical, and that’s fine. Usually you’ll find that if a man gets into it then they’re really into it.”

As far as the recommended length of time for visiting a healer goes, the process is intended to give you the tools to balance your own energy after seeing a professional; ”I’d usually recommend to a client to come four or five times, because the healing energy builds up over time. It might take four or five sessions every two weeks, and after that they may come every couple of months. It depends on the person, how open they are. Some people release loads of energy in the first healing, and others take three sessions to start releasing anything. It’s about trusting me and feeling comfortable, and it also depends on the issue. Some people have inner-child things going on, trauma, which can be difficult to be release. The release of it is stressful and upsetting, because it’s bringing it up again. Every day it’s a different scenario,” Rebecca muses.

Dealing with the emotional energy of another can be incredible exhausting, so the prospect of employment which features the release of a client’s burden arguably puts a strange sense of responsibility on a healer’s shoulders. “Quite often people get upset. I’d much prefer for someone to get upset and cry and release it than holding it in, because by crying you’ll release it. People often say they have no idea why they’re crying, they might have come here for something different and then they’ll end up crying. People often don’t know why they’re upset or why they’re stressed. They just think life is busy. I embrace people crying. You might find when somebody leaves, that they become emotional in the evening. I usually tell them that they might experience emotions that evening, but that they’ll feel better tomorrow.”

How does she explain her actions to new clients who are experiencing crystal healing for the first time?

“People aren’t always relaxed in the first session, they’re often wondering what exactly I’m doing. For crystal healing, crystals absorb negative energy. Let’s say there’s an imbalance in the body, or a disease in the body. If an organ was overstimulated or overactive, you’d use the crystals to sedate the organ. You’d use the organs to stimulate an underactive organ alternatively. With women who have fertility issues, I’d stimulate the reproductive organs and that area, release any heaviness or sadness that they may be carrying in this area. You might find with some women who have had a miscarriage, they are carrying huge sadness in the reproductive area, and can’t get pregnant because there’s a complete blockage in that area that I’d work on releasing. I try to make parts of the body work to their optimal levels, and you’d work with crystals and chakras. We have seven chakras in the body, they’re like energy centres. They spin with a certain amount of energy, they all should hold equal amounts of energy.”

What are the use of these mysterious crystals, and why are they unique to an individual’s needs?

”For millennia, they have used crystals in healing. In Ancient texts, they used crystals in ancient Chinese medicine. It’s transferred down over time in healing practices. People are naturally drawn to crystals. You can also use any crystal and programme it to your need. One client was going through a really bad break-up, and I gave her a big rose quartz to put beside her bed, and it actually shattered. They draw out any negative energy but they hold it as well, so you have to keep cleansing crystals. They’re like sponges. You can’t use those same crystals on other clients, you’d be putting negative energy on them. It’s so important to clear them. You can also programme crystals to do whatever you want, it sounds daft but you’ll find people get attached to them and put them in their foundations of the home or under their pillow. It’s very individual.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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I’m intrigued by her loved ones and their reaction to her trade; especially seeing as certain forms of alternative healing are ridiculed online or in the medical trade. It has garnered quite a strange reputation, which does not always match expectations. Many people envision Professor Trelawney from the Harry Potter franchise when they picture a crystal healer; armed with crystal balls, horoscopes and bohemian-styled attire. Rebecca doesn’t exactly fit this mould, she is simply a woman trying to explore unconventional ideas of peace, with the support of her family; ”My friends and family are so used to it. My own daughter is only eight months but I have four nieces and nephews and they love the crystals. They’d be asking can I do crystal healing on them, and they’d come in and play with the crystals. They’re just used to it. My own husband wouldn’t have ever had a healing before I met him, but he loves it now. He works in the corporate world and it’s very different. He begs me for healings even when I’m incredibly busy.”

Does she take offence when the media or those who work in conventional healthcare fields manipulate the idea of healing, or patronise her about modern medicine?

“My own GP is quite interested and says she wouldn’t mind coming to see me herself. My friend is a GP and she says I’m mad, so it’s all individual. Personally, I’ve had clients with really bad skin conditions, for example, and they’re just prescribed an antidepressant. That’s sort of upsetting for them, many clients are just prescribed medicines instead of holistic methods. Obviously there are times when you need modern medicine, without a doubt, but there’s a certain amount of misunderstanding with GPs. Look, they’re just looking at what’s wrong with you and then giving you a prescription, they’re not looking at the root cause. That’s what I’d be doing, trying to go to the source of the problem.” It can be argued that a large proportion of the healthcare industry only see you as the body part that you are complaining about. There is often a sense of coldness, of clinical apathy when it comes to doctors, in my own experience. A ground-breaking series of books released by Dr. John Ernest Sarno in the 1980s and 1990s changed the belief that pain was entirely physical. He consistently maintained that most non-traumatic instances of chronic pain (e.g. back pain, gastrointestinal disorders, headaches and fibromyalgia) are actually the human body manifesting of deep-seated psychological anxieties. His best-selling book, Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection, sold millions of copies and connected pain to emotions. Of course, pain is not psycho-somatic, but Sarno claimed many of his patients improved by learning and thinking about the psychosomatic connection to pain, and undergoing therapy. Our mind is extremely powerful; in my experience of pain flares, my chronic pain improved after seeing a pain counsellor, therapist and practising meditation and self-care.

Rebecca Singleton
Image credit: Metta Healing

Rebecca is skilled in multiple forms of healing, many of which are completely new to me. Soul healing immediately grasps my interest, as the idea of one’s spirit seems so inescapably difficult to understand. Rebecca has a relationship with the supernatural which appears simultaneously powerful and honest;

“Spiritual healing is a deeper level, you’d be focusing on childhood trauma, soul healing, even past life healing. I’ve often have clients who have past life coming up. It’s a bit out there, but yes I certainly believe an aspect of it. Oftentimes I would see and be aware of things during healing and I wouldn’t tell people. You know they’d be frightened or think I’m mad. There’d be people who are really open to it. My intention would never be to frighten anyone, but some people are more open than others. I’ve been practising nearly ten years full time and I definitely think people have become more open-minded and more disillusioned with modern medicine. Certainly, I’d often see things in a healing session or be aware of loved ones present in healing.”

While you can forgive the sceptics, there is something undoubtedly sincere about Rebecca and her beliefs. Whether it’s her energy, or a type of calmness and compassion which she transmits, I never had a doubt that she was intentionally misleading me with her answers. Whether or not healing is ‘the placebo effect’, or the power of the brain to connect to emotions and senses, is another story which one person alone cannot answer.

Image credit: Metta Healing

So what did Rebecca report after my 45 minutes of crystal healing? After almost an hour of quiet contemplation and meditation while she placed crystals all over my body, I was extremely curious to hear her prognosis.

“I used the amethyst to clear the third eye, first of all. Your third eye is your psychic, it’s connected to the sacral block between them. I placed a clear quartz to clear it. Funnily enough, your throat showed up. It was like a blockage of energy over the throat. It felt like, the throat shows up when you can’t communicate. I suspect it’s because people weren’t listening to you when you were saying you were in pain, and you couldn’t express it. It was being blocked. I used blue lace agate, which is good for communication. If you needed to do a presentation, blue crystals are great, they help you speak your truth. I placed rhodonite over the heart. There has never been a client I have treated who didn’t have heart stuff going on. I used a lot of rose quartz over the reproductive area. You poor thing, you’re red raw." This certainly fit with my diagnosis of having been born with far too many nerve endings in my cervix, causing intense pain in my stomach, abdomen, spine, pelvis and legs."

"Even when I was scanning the energy, all I could see was red. It was just really inflamed. I know you know this already, but even on a spiritual level, you poor thing. The crystal that I used was nearly channelling tubes of light into all your organs. It was like a blockage of energy. Whatever’s going on with your spine is causing secondary pain in the legs. You’re not grounded, so I did a good bit of grounding, I used carnelian, a dark red crystal. All seven chakras should be spinning and vibrating a similar amount of energy. Some of yours are spinning so fast, trying to keep everything going. That’s why you’re getting hot flushes, they’re just working so hard. You have a complete imbalance, so I rebalanced the area. You’d need more than one healing to sort out that area, but I would hope that you’d notice a difference, even for a couple of days."

"You get one healing, and usually lasts a few days, but it lasts longer the more healings you have.You are quite sensitive energetically, I’m sure you’re working with different people and we’re like sponges; we absorb negative energy and release it. If you’re around people who are zapping your energy, we can feel it sometimes. Shield your energy if you can. Focus on yourself, you’re great at giving out your energy but aren’t great at accepting it when others give it to you. Giving and receiving is a balance. By cooling the area down, it should give you pain relief. Every morning, visualise a blue light within your whole pained area. The power of the mind can do anything.”

For my experience, it’s about empathy. I was never believed by doctors who couldn’t physically see my pain, there wasn’t a hole with blood pouring out, there wasn’t a broken bone, signs showing on scans. If they couldn’t see it, especially from a young woman, they simply didn’t believe it. To enter a space where I was immediately relaxed, where I felt listened to and comforted, was massively valuable to me. For someone to look at my words and my emotions and spirit, and say, “You are in a great deal of pain” was monumental, it was a relief like no other.

Belief is also half of healing, and if a person attends crystal healing and truly has faith in their power, then what harm are they causing? There is no black and white when it comes to pain, whether it’s physical, emotional and spiritual.

Everyone is unique and finds peace through different methods. To only see a human body clinically, in my view, totally undermines your emotional and spiritual pain. 

Check out Rebecca Singleton's website Metta Healing if you are interested in exploring the world healing.

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Anyone daring enough to eat food off the floor (aka, everyone in the world) can rejoice this evening, as scientists have discovered that the five second rule may actually be legit. 

Germ expert Professor Anthony Hilton from Aston University has said that retrieving those delicious dropped morsels from the floor actually isn't as bad as you might think. 

While it will never be socially acceptable to eat that piece of pepperoni that slipped off your pizza and onto the floor, the experts stand behind the five second rule. 

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“Food covered in visible dirt shouldn't be eaten, but as long as it's not obviously contaminated, the science shows that food is unlikely to have picked up harmful bacteria from a few seconds spent on an indoor floor," he said

“That is not to say that germs can't transfer from the floor to the food."

“Eating food that has spent a few moments on the floor can never be entirely risk-free," said the scientist, who will present his findings at The Big Bang Science Fair in Birmingham this week. 

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“Our research has shown that the nature of the floor surface, the type of food dropped on the floor and the length of time it spends on the floor can all have an impact on the number that can transfer.”

The research was inspired by a survey of 2,000 people which found 79 per cent of people eat food that has been dropped on the floor.

At least now we can say five second rule and mean it! 

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Science has upped it's game.

Most researchers seem to be pretty busy with conducting medical studies and making valuable scientific discoveries for society's gain, but this latest survey really takes it to the next level.

Bloom & Wild have worked with London Metropolitan University to undergo an experiment to figure out when the 'love hormone', AKA oxytocin, is released.

The anti-anxiety and stress reducing hormone is pretty special, the chemicals are made when you're in love, and having some KICK-ASS sex. We heart it. 

The study measured how the brain reacts to receiving certain gifts, and it's led to some pretty interesting, and useful, results. We're not hugely surprised at what topped the list, they're all unreal.

Research also suggests that people in the first three stages of love reported higher oxytocin levels that last for roughly six months to a year. At a chemical level, can presents recreate this high of lovestruck heartbeats?

Scientists reported that the subjects of the study showed an average increase of 73pg/ml in the hormone oxytocin after getting chocolates, and 62pg/ml after receiving flowers. Feeling loved comes in all shapes and sizes, it would seem.

The official top five items or experiences included on the list which trumped having sex were; chocolate winning the number one spot, then flowers, food, shopping and booking a holiday.

Receiving chocolate apparently creates a high increase in oxytocin the same rise in oxytocin comes from sex, so a quick nip down to Butlers could solve your stress issues. 

Flowers can spark the same feeling as love, relationships and sexy times, and a study by Havas Worldwide revealed that 57 percent of millennials think that food is better than sex. Damn.

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Retail therapy also made the list, according to the experiment. The neurologist David Linden, in his book The Compass Of Pleasure, explains that the experience of shopping triggers dopamine circuitry in the brain's mesolimbic pathway.

In plain-old-English, the mesolimbic pathway is a key part of how we experience entertainment and happiness, so having a sneaky online shop at ASOS is good for you. Thank God we have a valid excuse to do this now…

Booking a holiday is better than having some intimate. alone time with a partner, according to research. 16% of Brits claim to support this, so those Aer Lingus January sales must have had people feelin' pretty damn euphoric.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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To carry out their research, Bloom & Wild and London Metropolitan University split 30 volunteers into three groups.

Each were to receive a gift of flowers, chocolate, or water, and took saliva samples before the gift arrived, and then again 10 minutes after delivery, and finally 40 minutes after receiving the gift. 

It just goes to show, chocolate should always be cherished. We're in a loving relationship with Cadbury's Dairy Milk, and there are zero signs of a break-up coming our way.

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