Trigger Point Self-Care Manual: For Pain Free Movement, by Donna Finando, L.Ac., L.M.T (Healing Arts Press, Rochester, VT, 2005) $18.95.

Do you have chronic muscle pain that nothing seems to help? Trigger point therapy may hold the key to your relief. Whether from a recent slip, lifting too much or using a monitor located to one side of the keyboard, when muscles knot they cause weakness, pain or restricted movement. Many health care practitioners advise the use of RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) for the relief of muscle pain hoping they will return to their normal elastic state. However, muscles often develop taut bands, known as trigger points, which produce a predictable pain pattern. The mysterious part is that the trigger point may be located at a distance from the area that feels painful. In her Trigger Point Self-Care Manual, Donna Finando teaches you the technique of effective surface palpation to locate the trigger point and release it through manual pressure and stretching. With an index of symptoms and easy to follow diagrams and illustrations, Finando offers you the opportunity to gain control over your pain through trigger point therapy.

Sadhana: The Realization of Life, by Rabindranath Tagore (Three Leaves Press/Doubleday, New York, NY, 2004), $8.95.

What is the optimal interaction between the spiritual and material planes, the perfect blend between action and non-action? “There are many in our country who imagine action to be opposed to freedom. They think that activity, being in the material plane, is a restriction of the free spirit of the soul.” Yet Rabindranath Tagore, the Bengalis winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, exclaims that, “It is because the soul cannot find freedom within itself that it wants external action,” indeed he believes that, “the soul finds its freedom in action.” Viewing the Upanishads and the teachings of Buddha through the thick lens of culture, which some believe causes great distortion and others believe brings the crystal clarity that only lived experience fosters, Tagore comments on modern spirituality in his classic text, Sadhana, now available for the first time in paperback. Rather than the stuffiness of lofty ancient texts, Tagore’s words describe the thoughts and actions of contemporary people attempting to actualize the ancient directives. Although written with the serious air of an academic lecture, Tagore’s brief papers engage your mind and your heart through their unexpected poetry and enlightening analogies while tearing into your beliefs about the nature of your existence. Exploring the relationship of the individual to the universe; the nature of evil, the self, love, action and beauty; and the realization of the infinite, Tagore skillfully introduces the breath and depth of the questions in classical Indian spirituality. Should we focus our spiritual work on individual meditation, existing alone in isolation, worried of karmic or energetic ties tainting us and interfering with our path, or should we celebrate our interrelations, live out our love, and enjoy the playing field set forth before us?

Natural Remodeling for the Not-So-Green House, by Carol Venolia and Kelly Lerner (Lark Books -Sterling Publishing, New York, NY, 2006), $24.95.

“Ecological remodeling is not the poor cousin of the shiny new eco-home.” Nor is it about simply redecorating with earth-friendly materials or even rehabbing to make your home more energy efficient. Instead, natural remodeling transforms your dwelling into “a positive mediator – not a barrier – between you and the rest of the living world.” While utilizing far less natural resources than building a new eco-house, natural remodeling brings you into harmony with your natural surroundings and fosters enhanced joy for your family by re-synchronizing you to the movement of the sun and the direction of the wind. Based on an assessment of who you are (prefers indirect light, cooler temperatures, uses computer in home office, etc.) and the placement of your home (on a hill with a large oak tree), Carol Venolia and Kelly Lerner combine their building and architectural knowledge to awaken new ways of thinking about your home. Under their tutelage, you notice that your favorite spot has just the right mixture of sunlight and view that you love, and that if a window was added to the South wall then an even better view of the tree would be available. Or that a simple change to double hung windows would create the ventilation needed to keep the attic office usable during the summer. Bursting with technical information, case studies, inspiring images, tips for simple one day projects as well as instructions for complete rehabilitation, Natural Remodeling steers you through the maze of options to create a greener home and a greener you.

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