CategoriesEducational

The Immune System

Your immune system is a network of cells, organs, proteins and antibodies that work to protect you against bacteria, viruses and parasites. The immune system keeps a record of every microbe it has ever defeated, in the form of white blood cells. This means that if a microbe was to enter your body again, these white blood cells can destroy the microbe before it can multiply and make you feel sick. For example, you can only catch chickenpox once!

However, some infections like the flu and the common cold have many different strains. The white blood cells you’ve developed only work for one particular strain, which is why you can suffer from the flu over and over again.

So how can you support your immune system?

There are simple lifestyle changes that can support your immune system and cell function, and keep your body running correctly.

  1. Sleep is closely linked to a healthy immune system. Whilst you are sleeping, your body can focus its energy into cellular activity rather than movement or high brain activity. It is recommend that adults have at least 6 hours of sleep each night, the optimum time being 8 hours. Any less could result in your body not having adequate time to create white blood cells. This is also why you tend to sleep more when you are feeling sick, as your body knows it needs time to repair!
  2. Whole plant foods such as fruit, vegetables, seeds and nits are rich in vitamins and antioxidants, These antioxidants help decrease inflammation caused by unstable compounds called free radicals. Free radicals can be found in pollution, cigarette smoke and industrial components, and can attack the cells in your body and cause high levels of inflammation. This inflammation can lead to chronic diseases such as cancers, heart diseases and even Alzheimers!
  3. Fibre is also essential for maintaining a healthy immune system. Fibre feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut, known as gut microbiome. Having a robust gut microbiome can help keep harmful pathogens from entering the body through your digestive tract. Find fibre in wholegrain, broccoli, carrots and beans.
  4. Probiotics found in yoghurt, fermented foods and supplements are essential for a healthy immune system. Probiotics are found in your digestive tract and can help your cells differentiate from healthy normal cells to invader harmful cells.
  5. Moderate exercise is vital to keep your body healthy. Although prolonged, intense workouts can suppress your immune system, moderate exercise can give it a boost. It can reduce inflammation and provide energy for your cells to regenerate and repair, as well as removing any harmful bacteria from your lungs. You should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week to ensure a healthy body and immune system.
  6. Stress and anxiety can affect your immune system. Stress can increase the cortisol levels in your body. Cortisol is responsible for creating the ‘fight or flight’ mode, meaning all unessential body processes are put on hold until the threat is dealt with. High levels of cortisol from continuous stress can prevent the immune system from working properly, as the body still thinks there is a threat to deal with first. Stress can be reduced with daily meditation. Meditation, even for just 5 minutes, can give your mind and body time to relax and refocus, reducing any stress you may feel.
CategoriesEducational Spirituality

The Power of Reiki

What is Reiki?
The basis of Reiki is that the body has an innate ability to heal itself over time. However when we are feeling stressed, ill or anxious, our bodies prioritise energy for critical processes and we are not completely healed.  Reiki is a non-intrusive healing treatment where the Reiki practitioner boosts the energy within a body, which can then be used to heal. This extra energy is known as the Universal Energy, and is the building block for every object and every living thing; from your dishwater to your thoughts. The Universal Energy is intelligent and works on all levels; the mind, body, emotion and spirit. Your body knows exactly where this energy is needed, allowing for total harmony and balance to be restored.

Where does Reiki come from?
Although there are many references to Reiki in ancient times, it was rediscovered by a Japanese born Buddhist monk, Dr Usui, in the 1800’s. Whilst Dr Usui was working in a Christian School, he became interested in the stories of Jesus’ healing hands, and he set out to obtain these healing properties himself. His travels took him across the World and he eventually ended up at the holy mountains of Kori Yama. Here, he fasted and meditated for 21 days in order to attain a high state of consciousness. On the last day, a spiritual energy come down onto the top of his head and provided him the knowledge of the healing. He called it Reiki.

Who is Reiki for?
Reiki can be performed on any gender, any age.  It is completely safe to use Reiki in conjunction with other complementary therapies and conventional medical treatments. Reiki has no religious connections or belief systems; it is available to everyone who may wish to receive it.  Many practices have adapted the Reiki principles, and the use of Universal Energy can now be seen in Yoga, and Tai Chi.

How can Reiki help?
Reiki can be beneficial in many situations. It is especially effective during times of stress, which many of us suffer from due to our hectic lives. When our bodies are stressed, our bodies are in a constant ‘flight or fight’ mode, meaning our energy is being used up unnecessarily to fight an invisible threat. This could result in a decrease in productivity and creativity and an increase in anxiousness when dealing with important decisions. All this has a detrimental effect on our health and wellbeing.

Reiki will help add calm to your life and restore balance. Your body can use the Universal Energy to clear your mind, opening it to new ideas and possibilities. You can have an increase in productivity and stamina. Reiki can also be focused on a specific part of the body, such as an injury or discomfort, and can speed up recovery and relieve any tension. Other Reiki benefits also include;

  • Reduced fatigue
  • Improved sleep
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Deeper connection to your higher sel

Everyone’s Reiki experience is different, and your benefits may differ from others depending on what your body needs. These benefits may be felt instantly, or more than one session may be required.

At Quest, we offer Reiki treatments by our experienced Reiki Masters Carolina, Alison and Liz. Find out more information here!

And if you wanted to learn Reiki yourself, check out our Reiki Training Courses here!

CategoriesCrystals Educational

Crystal Shapes & Their Meanings

Not only do crystals come in all different colours, will all different properties, but they also come in all different shapes! These shapes have different meanings too, and whilst they don’t change the energy the crystal emits, they do change the way you receive said energy. Here are some of the common crystal shapes and their meanings so next time you’re choosing a crystal, you know it’s going to pair well with your intention and enhance the energy!

Tumblestones
The most common way for a crystal to come in is in a tumblestone. These are just pieces of crystal that have gone through a tumble machine to create a small and smooth piece that is excellent to keep in your pocket or in a dish at home. They tend to be less expensive than other pieces, so they are great for beginners or those starting their crystal collection. Even for the crystal pros, tumblestones are a must have for keeping in your pocket so you can feel it’s energy whenever you need it.

Points, Towers, Pyramids & Obelisks
These pieces can go by different names but the main principle is that they have a flat base and a point at the tip. As the name suggests, these pieces help keep you sharp and on point. It helps you keep you focused, especially on a goal or intention, making it an excellent tool for manifestation work. The flat base works as an anchor for your intention, whilst the point helps direct your intention and radiate it out through the Universe!


Spheres
These crystal pieces are perfectly round and smooth – reminiscent of the world. This is why they are excellent tools at helping us feel connected to the Universal Energy all around us and reminding us that we are a part of something greater. As they are evenly round, it also helps emit energy equally to all sides helping us feel balanced. They are great for meditative work as they fit nicely in the palm of your hand.

Wands
These crystal pieces can vary quite a bit but the principle is the same. They may be double terminated and have a point at each end, or they may have one pointed end and one smooth end, or they could be smooth both ends! Wands allow energy to flow and be directed – the energy can travel up and down, in and out. This makes them excellent tools for healing! You can release any negative energy out whilst bringing healing energy in. You can use them to intuitively scan the body to locate any blockages, or to move any energy between the chakras.

Hearts
These crystals have been carved in the shape of a heart. As the name suggests, these pieces resonate with the heart and are excellent at opening your heart chakra to all kinds of love! The energy these pieces emit are more loving and softer, making it excellent if you need gentler healing. They help us feel at peace and in harmony, free of any emotional trauma or wounds. They can also be used to enhance the energy of your relationship corner and can facilitate loving energy between two partners!

CategoriesEducational Spirituality

The Spring Equinox

In ancient times, humans all across the world would celebrate the cycles of nature and the seasonal changes. Without advanced technology, such as telescopes and satellites, humans would use the stars and sun to identify these transitions. Even though we are in very different times now, we are all still connected and influenced by the movements of the Earth. By tuning into these shifts, we can harness the Earth’s energy to help us grow, progress and transform.

The Spring Equinox occurs when the Sun crosses the equator – this will be on March 20th this year. This means the Northern Hemisphere tilts more towards the sun, resulting in longer days and warmer temperatures. In earlier times, the Spring Equinox signified the beginning of the new year as it brought regeneration, growth and abundance. Below are our favourite rituals to do at this time as the energy is perfect for them!

Spring Clean:
You’ve no doubt heard the expression ‘Spring Clean’ before, but it’s more than just cleaning your home. The Spring Equinox celebrates new life and rebirth, so honour this time by clearing both yourself and your home so you feel ready to move forward. Look closely at your environment; is there anything that is no longer serving you? Donate old clothes that you don’t wear anymore or fix anything that’s broken. Notice any habits or thoughts that are cluttering your mind and work towards clearing these away. Let your intuition guide you: what do you truly need to release to move forward?


The Time for Creation:
Spring is closely associated with new life and fertility, and brings the arrival of blossom, budding plants and new-born animals. Harness this energy and set out to achieve the new life you dream of. Whilst the Autumn provides the opportunity to clarify your intentions, Spring is the time to act. How can you achieve your goals? Create an action plan that you can follow that will help you reach them. Plant some flower seeds in the garden, focusing on your intentions and goals. Nurture your seeds and let their growth remind you of your potential.

Appreciate the Outside World:
With Spring comes warmer weather and longer days. Even if the British weather brings us rain, there will be signs of Spring all around us. Spending time outside can enhance your wellbeing dramatically, especially after spending the Winter inside, and is known for reducing depression and boosting your mood. Go for walks, sit in the park, have a BBQ or simply let the breeze flow through a window and you will feel uplifted, motivated and full of love. When you are outside, really appreciate the moment by noticing everything around you. Use all of your senses. Can you smell the flowers? Can you hear the birds chirping in the trees? Can you see the baby geese along the pond? Can you feel the warmth of the sun on your face? Bring the outside in by creating an altar in your home with items you find along your walk – a flower, a leaf or a pebble – to remind you that, whatever happens, the Outside World remains constant and available to you.

CategoriesEducational Spirituality Tips & Advice

The 7 Chakras

The Chakras are 7 energy points within your body. They start at the top of your head and go all the way to the base of your spine. The aim is for all these points to be open, balanced and in harmony. You want energy to be able to flow freely within your body so that there is harmony between the body, mind, and spirit. If any of these points are unbalanced, then it can affect you physically, emotionally, and spiritually. In Sanskrit, Chakra means ‘Wheel’ and that’s essentially it; wheels need to be balanced in weight to work properly!

The Root Chakra

Just like a tree, the roots ground and support you. It helps your ability to overcome challenges, gain independence and feel safe and secure. When this area is blocked, you may suffer from anxiety, fears and nightmares. If your root chakra is underactive, you may feel anxious and not in control. For an overactive root chakra, you may feel overly attached to something that is unhealthy for your wellbeing e.g. a job.
Location – Base of your spine
Colour – Red
Crystals – Red Jasper, Hematite

The Sacral Chakra

This chakra houses our emotions, passions, and pleasures. When this chakra is aligned, you feel great: you’re friendly, full of joy and creativity. When your sacral chakra is blocked, you may feel uninspired and emotional instability. When it is underactive, you may lack ‘joie de vivre’ and a low libido. When it is overactive, you may experience emotional fluctuations from high highs to low lows.
Location – Above the pubic bone and below the navel
Colour – Orange
Crystals – Carnelian, Tigers Eye, Sunstone

The Solar Plexus

This chakra is believed to be your source of individual power and is responsible for your self-esteem. It boosts your self-worth, willpower and commitment. When it is blocked, you may suffer from low self-esteem, which in turn can lead to anger and procrastination. An underactive solar plexus may mean you struggle to show your authentic self and make decisions. When overactive, you may be power hungry and show maniac behaviour.
Location – From the navel to the ribcage
Colour – Yellow
Crystals – Citrine, Pyrite, Amber

The Heart Chakra

This chakra is all to do with love and influences our ability to give and receive love. It’s where the physical and spiritual meet, allowing forgiveness and compassion to flow freely both to and from you. A blocked heart chakra will bring up feelings of jealously and betrayal. When underactive, you may be emotionally closed off and struggle to get over past hurts. An overactive heart chakra may mean you are too dependent and needy, with a lack of boundaries.
Location – The centre of the chest
Colour – Green
Crystals – Rose Quartz, Malachite, Jade

The Throat Chakra

Your fifth chakra is all about communication and being able to speak your inner truth. You should be able to express yourself clearly, as well as being able to fully listen. A blocked throat chakra may result in feeling unfocused and afraid of being judged. It also can manifest itself as a sore throat and/or thyroid issues. With an underactive throat chakra you may yourself ‘swallowing your words and feelings’, unable to express yourself. An overactive chakra will portray as being overly critical and judgemental of others, and well as being domineering in conversations.
Location – Throat
Colour – Blue
Crystals – Lapis Lazuli, Green Aventurine, Blue Lace Agate

The Third Eye

This chakra is believed to be the bridge between you and the outside world. It allows you to see the clear picture, as well as enhancing your intuition and your ability to tap into it. If your third eye is blocked, you’ll have trouble trusting your inner voice and learning new skills. If your lower chakras are unbalanced, chances are your third eye is too – resulting in you acting more introverted and judgemental. With an underactive third eye, you may overthink and intellectualise things without trusting your intuition. An overactive third eye can lead to an overactive imagination and a mind that wanders too much.
Location – Between the eyebrows
Colour – Indigo
Crystals – Amethyst, Labradorite, Fluorite

The Crown Chakra

This chakra represents our spiritual connection to our higher selves and the Universe. With this, we can access pure consciousness. Unlike the other chakras, the crown is often only opened fully through meditative exercises. Because of this, you may not notice if this chakra is blocked as you may just feel like your regular self – just not in a state of enlightenment. An underactive crown chakra may have you feeling disconnected, with no real direction or purpose in life. An overactive crown may have you desiring material things, yet never being satisfied.
Location – The crown of the head
Colour – Violet
Crystals – Selenite, Clear Quartz, Lepidolite

Although each chakra has its own properties, they all work together as a system. If one is out of balance, then the rest are affected. The goal is for everything to be balanced and working in harmony. It is completely normal to have one or more blocked chakras, and there are plenty of ways to establish harmony within you.

By understanding what each chakra represents, you can figure out if any of yours are unbalanced. Then you can focus on that chakra with your crystals, healing and meditative work. There are also products out there that work on all the chakras simultaneously, which is ideal if you are unsure on what is out of balance. Check out some of our favourite chakra items below!

CategoriesEducational Spirituality

The Origins of Valentine’s Day

On the 14th February people across the globe exchange gifts, send cards and spend the day with their loved ones. Although the focus is on romantic partnerships, this day can also be used to express your love to family and friends. Whether you celebrate it or not, you can’t deny that love is definitely in the air during this month. But why do we celebrate Valentine’s Day? Where did this tradition come from?

Valentine’s Day is shrouded in mystery, but we do know that it’s in celebration of St. Valentines. Unfortunately, there’s been at least 3 different St. Valentine or Valentinus.

One of the legends say that Valentine was a priest during the third century in Rome. Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made for better soldiers, so he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine didn’t agree with this, and defied the Emperor by performing marriages for young lovers in secret. When Claudius discovered this, he sentenced Valentine to death.

Another story see’s a Valentine imprisoned in a Roman prison, where people were often beaten and tortured. The legend goes that this man had recently fallen in love with a young girl, and during his time in prison and just before his death, he sent her a letter confession his love. He signed it ‘From your Valentine.’

Although we will never know which one of these stories are true (if any) they all have similar themes – that St Valentine’s was a sympathetic, heroic and most importantly, romantic figure.

Whilst some believe that the 14th February marks the death of St Valentine’s, others claim that the Christian Church chose this date in an effort to ‘Christianise’ the pagan celebration of Lupercalia.

Lupercalia is celebrated at the ides of February (15th February) and was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as the Roman founders Romulus and Remus. The festival consisted of Luperci priests sacrificing a goat for fertility and a dog for purification, and then taking the sacrificial blood and covering both women and crop fields with it. The blood was believed to make the recipient more fertile in the coming year. According to legend, all the young women would then place their names in a big urn. The bachelors would then choose a name out of the urn and become paired with their chosen woman for the year. These matches often ended in marriage! This festival was eventually outlawed with the rise of Christianity.

Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day or not, you can’t ignore it’s popularity. Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent out each year. This is the second largest card sending holiday, just falling short of Christmas!

CategoriesCrystals Educational Energy Clearing & Feng Shui Tips & Advice

The Relationship Corner

According to Feng Shui, each area of your home represents an area of your life. If the energy in this area of your home is balanced, then that area of your life will be balanced. However, if the area is cluttered or in disarray, then this can have detrimental affect on your life. You can manipulate this energy to enhance aspects of your life.

The relationship corner is found in the right hand corner of your bedroom, with your back against the bedroom door. First of all, you need to think about what you have in this corner and whether it represents love. For example, don’t keep your bin in this corner! Also throw away anything that is no longer serving you, as clutter holds onto negative energy.

Once you have done this, you can start incorporating objects that will enhance your love life and symbolise the relationships you desire.

You could put two chunks of Rose Quartz to represent yourself and your partner, or one if you are single. Rose Quartz is the crystal for love, and can help stimulate loving energies in your life. You could even place it in a heart dish for extra energy!

You could put one of our relationship figurines in this corner as well. This can represent your current relationship or the relationship you desire.

Whatever you do, make sure you place it with intention!

CategoriesEducational Others Spirituality

Welcome to the Year of the Tiger!

The Chinese Lunar calendar is different to ours, with the New Year lasting for 16 days! This year, the New Year starts on the 1st February and begins the Year of the Tiger. In Chinese Zodiac, each year is represented by a different animal. There are 12 animals, meaning there hasn’t been a year of the tiger since 2010! However, as well as the cycle of animals, there is also a cycle of 5 different elements – with 2022 being water. So we haven’t seen the Year of the Water Tiger for 60 years!

So how did the Chinese Zodiac all come about?

It all started when the Jade Emperor wanted a way to measure time. On his birthday, he told the animals that there will be a swimming race. The first twelve animals to cross the fast flowing river would be the winners and each would have a zodiac named after them.

The rat and the cat, who were best friends, couldn’t swim very well so they asked to ride on the ox. The ox agreed, but as they approached the finish line, the rat pushed the cat off into the river and jumped on the bank. This is why cats & rats have a difficult relationship now! The rat was first, and the poor ox had to settle for second.

Third place went to the tiger, as although he was a strong swimmer, the current had been very difficult.

Fourth place went to the rabbit, who jumped on floating logs to reach the other side.

Number five went to the dragon. Although it could easily fly across, he stopped to make rain for the villagers and to blow logs onto the river for the rabbit.

Then came along the horse, but before it could cross the finish line, a snake wriggled out and startled the horse. The snake came sixth and the horse was seven.

A raft came along carrying the goat, the monkey and rooster. They had worked together to build and push the raft to the shore.

Eleventh place went to the dog, who just had to stop and take a bath in the crystal clear water.

Finally, in twelfth place, came the pig. He took a long time to cross as he had to stop for some food, and then a nap.

Each animal has its own personality, and those born in that year share those traits!

The Year of the Tiger will be different for everyone depending on their animal, but tigers represent power, courage, and might. However, be careful that these traits don’t turn into cockiness!