Freedom Closet

Healing with Copper — Mind and Body

Belief in copper’s healing properties didn’t begin with modern medical applications. The ancient Indian health system known as Ayurveda utilized copper for healing, and particularly focuses on the balance between mind and body. Ayurveda singing bowls make a soothing droning sound when played with a mallet. Similar bowls, often used for water storage, show up in various cultures throughout history, including: ancient India, Mesopotamia, Korea and even show up in biblical passages in the old testament.


Ayurveda, the Indian health system developed thousands of years ago, established a connection between health of the mind and body. It not only provides guidance for treating illness, but more importantly, serves as a guide to live and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Its teachings assert that the connection between the mind and body is inseparable and provides a number of instructions for a healthy mind and body.


In essence, Ayurveda promotes living a balanced life in harmony with nature. One Ayurvedic treatment involved the use of singing bowls. When these bowls are struck with a mallet or the mallet is rubbed around the rim of the bowl, it creates a long bell-like tone similar to a drone. This sound can be incorporated into meditation and yoga, and reportedly has calming, healing, soothing and therapeutic properties. Different bowls are made of different materials including copper, and are made in various sizes.


Singing bowls forged in Mesopotamia up to 5,000 years ago used also copper as one of the main materials. The vibrations created when struck have calming, healing and therapeutic properties. These bowls continue to appear in traditional Tibetan and Indian ceremonies, as well as being used for meditative and medicinal purposes throughout Europe, Asia and North America.


The bible also makes several mentions of copper in the Old Testament. According to 1 Chronicles and 1 Kings, King Solomon ordered that the temple be outfitted with copper. This included a large washing basin for priests. The ancient use of copper and its connection to sterilization and spirituality is a common theme.


Ayurveda practices also recommended the use of copper in water storage. According Ayurveda, drinking water from a copper vessel balances something called dashas :vata (air), kapha (water)  and pitta (fire) in your body. This is said to help digestion, aide in weight loss, slows aging, kills bacteria and help wounds heal faster, among other benefits.


Interestingly, similar bowls made of copper called Yugi/Bangjja were created in Korea. These bowls were used by the aristocracy for water storage. Techniques for making Bangjja have been passed down and Bangjja is still used today–known for its durability and sterilization. This shows that belief in copper’s usefulness transcended cultures and geography.


The Real Cost of Cheap Clothes

The fast-fashion industry faces ethical issues relating to working conditions, fair wages, sustainability, fairtrade and practicality. The availability of cheap clothes has resulted in the average consumer purchasing 60 percent more clothing in 2014 than in 2000.


Countries like Indonesia, Bangladesh and China come to mind when discussing sweatshops, however, the LA Times documented unethical practices in the U.S.:


“The U.S. Department of Labor investigated 77 Los Angeles garment factories from April through July of 2016 and found that workers were paid as little as $4 and an average of $7 an hour for 10-hour days spent sewing clothes for Forever 21, Ross Dress for Less and TJ Maxx.”


Bangladesh does, however, have some of the worst conditions in the world including ridiculously low wages, dangerous working conditions and an industry that pollutes the home of its workers. The Rana Plaza disaster claimed 1,134 lives after the commercial building collapsed in 2013. The factories housed there manufactured cheap clothing for retailers like Walmart, Benetton, Primark and Joe Fresh. Workers were forced to return to work despite concerns stemming from cracks found in the walls in days leading up to the disaster. Allegedly, the factories were pressured by the retailers to complete orders on time. Despite this catastrophe as well as numerous accounts of poor working conditions, the demand for fast fashion shows few signs of subsiding.


The New York Times returned to Savar, Bangladesh to document the changes since the disaster in April of 2018. Bangladesh exports more clothing than any other country other than China. Manufacturers save money because of low wages and their willingness to ignore regulations, standards and laws. Despite an agreement between some of the world’s largest clothing retailers and labor unions to improve conditions, major problems persist. The production of these clothes leaves behind an unacceptable amount pollution. With a population of one-million, Savar’s people suffer waterways clogged with toxic waste causing mosquitos to thrive and disease to multiply. 


Fast fashion takes an enormous toll on the environment. According to the Department of Commerce, 27 billion articles of clothing were imported to the United States in 2016. The manufacturing and cost of importing the clothing from around the world uses up resources and leaves pollution in its wake. The average American throws away 70 pounds of shoes and clothing, many containing synthetic materials that take centuries to decompose, every year. There are a multitude of environmental transgressions for which the clothing industry is responsible.


Participating in the demand for fast fashion contributes to unethical issues that cannot be solved without transforming the way we think about clothes and what to wear. That cheap tee-shirt worn only several times contains a cost far greater than the low price you paid. Making smart consumer decisions and purchasing durable goods made by artisans and workers in acceptable working conditions contributes to changing our world that currently has an unsustainable and insatiable appetite for cheap goods.

What to Wear → Don’t Even Think About It!


Many elite performers, from tech giants Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg to former president Barack Obama, wear basically the same thing every day. Endless wardrobe choices distract us while simple wardrobes reduce decision making, creating space for important decisions.


“I really want to clear my life so that I have to make as few decisions as possible,” Zuckerberg said in a Q&A with Facebook Users in 2014, “other than how to best serve this community.”


Previously, Former President Barack Obama, made a similar statement about wardrobe: “You need to focus your decision-making energy.” He continued, “You can’t be going through your day distracted by trivia.”


Dr. Joel Hoomans of Roberts Wesleyan College, says that we make over 35,000 decisions every day–what to wear, what to eat, what to buy, what to believe and so on. He goes on to explain: “Research reveals that good decisions require ‘mental energy’ that gets depleted by repeated decision-making (among other things) and impacts decision objectivity and quality.”


The decision to make less decisions makes a lot of sense, and reducing the number of articles of clothing we keep is a great start. There are claims that the average person wastes 100 hours a year deciding what to wear. On average, we experience “wardrobe panic” up to 36 times a year, yet about 30 percent of our wardrobe goes unworn.


To The Minimalists, promoters and adherents of a minimal lifestyle, decluttering is integral to their manifesto. They suggest for aspiring minimalists to wear their favorite clothes everyday–what they like and feels comfortable. Freedom Closet’s Freedom Tee is a perfect solution for anyone who wants to look good, feel comfortable and best of all, do less laundry. When you choose minimal options like Freedom Tee, you choose a more focused-energized life.


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7 Ways to Sharpen Your Focus and Increase Productivity


Lack of focus, bad habits and torrents of media distract us from achieving our goals. Many strive to produce more by eliminating these distractions. Try the following tactics to increase productivity and discover the methods that work best for you.



1. Declutter–Minimize

We all succumb to distractions, often unconsciously.  Living a minimal life helps declutter space and reduces hindrances to achieving goals.  Our mental space naturally opens when we declutter our physical spaces. Less cluttered environments facilitate greater focus.


The creator of Ugmonk demonstrated how decluttering his desk made him more productive. After decluttering our physical spaces, removing counter-productive and unnecessary behavior frees up time to do positive things. 



2. Mindfulness

Mindfulness meditation possesses scientifically demonstrable benefits. Forbes lists these scientifically proven benefits: reduced anxiety, reduced implicit age and race bias, depression prevention and treatment, improved cognition and body satisfaction.


Decreasing anxiety and improving cognition aide increased productivity. Further, mindfulness improves focus. Author of the bestseller, Sapiens, Yuval Harari, credits his abilities and success to meditation. “When you train the mind to focus on something like the breath,” Harari says in an interview with Ezra Klein, “it also gives you the discipline to focus on much bigger things and to really tell the difference between what’s important and everything else.”



3. Deep Work

Cal Newton’s books offer strategies for mitigating wasted time and boosting productivity. In his book Deep Work, Newton suggests scheduling your entire day in blocks of time. He recommends scheduling each hour of the day in your notebook or planner. Use pencil so you can easily erase and adjust your schedule. Spend your best hours (whenever you have the most energy) doing the most important and intensive work. Newton insists doing this decreases total working hours and increases free-time.



4. S. Covey’s Four Quadrant System:

Author of the famous self-help book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey, devised a quadrant system for time management. The four-quadrant system delegates any activity into one of four categories:

  1. Important and urgent
  2. Important but not urgent
  3. Urgent but not important
  4. Not urgent and not important.


The goal is to spend most of our time in quadrant two, planning for things that are important before they become urgent. We often slip into the first quadrant because important things can easily become urgent without proper planning. Analyzing how we spend time forces us to be aware when we waste it.



5. Sleep

Many people don’t get enough sleep. Over 1 in 3 Americans get less than the recommended 7 hours of sleep per night according to The Center for Disease Control. Adequate sleep has many benefits. It gives us more energy, improves our mood, boosts creativity, improves memory and makes us better problem solvers. These benefits also all promote higher productivity.



6. Exercise

Make sure you exercise! Studies show that exercise provides many of the same benefits we get from adequate sleep. Experts even propose that exercising is a part of your job. They argue that reaching one’s potential is impossible without it. Choose an activity you enjoy rather suffering through exercise that you hate.



7. Checklists

You’ve read this list, now make your own. Checklists help us keep track what we need to do and requires us to see the unchecked items when we don’t complete our tasks. Incorporate your to-do lists when you schedule your day. Also, consider using checklists as recommended in The Checklist Manifesto. The book promotes using checklists to get things right the first time, saving time and money resulting in higher productivity!

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Copper – Ancient Wonder Metal


Since ancient times, societies have discovered a myriad of practical uses for copper. Copper naturally possesses antimicrobial properties, combating microorganisms that contaminate water, cause infection, food spoilage, skin conditions and odor. The element has also been used to make tools, musical instruments, sculptures and jewelry, among other decorative pieces.


Ancient uses for copper demonstrate the element’s versatility. Ancient Egyptians used copper to make weapons and jewelry, but also in medical applications because of its sterilizing properties. The Greeks and Romans applied copper to treat infectious diseases.


Many cultures have used copper for water purification and storage. Since copper disrupts bacterial cycles it discourages microbial multiplication and keeps drinking water safe. Four-thousand years ago, Indian traditional medicine known as Ayurveda instructed citizens to boil water and dip heated copper into the water before filtering. A 2012 study found that contaminated water stored in copper containers for 16 hours showed no signs of contaminants, while contaminated water stored in glass for 16 hours remained contaminated.


Ayurveda, an Indian health system with thousands of years history, also recommended the use of copper in water storage. According Ayurveda, drinking water from a copper vessel balances your body. This is said to help digestion, slow aging, kill bacteria and help wounds heal faster. Other cultures seem to have had a similar appreciation for copper’s sterilizing properties.


Traditional Korean societies also used copper in smelting bronze ware called Bangjja or Yugi. Royal families used these copper based metalwares because they could be sterilized unlike porcelain tableware that was more commonly used. Bangjja Yugi has been designated an “Intangible Cultural Property,” to preserve the revered practice of producing these wares.


The Washington Post reported on the element’s increased use in hospitals on “high touch” areas like door handles, toilet levers and light switches. Studies found that 99.9 percent of E. coli perishes after 1 to 2 hours on a copper surface, while living for weeks on stainless steel surfaces. Copper surfaces also fight the flu, MSRA and fungi growth. The Atlanta-Hartselle Airport applied this logic when they installed drinking fountains with copper components.


The bacteria-fighting qualities of copper make it an ideal component for making clothing. Sweat and heat combine to form the perfect environment for odor-causing bacteria, and copper is a natural combatant to the bacteria that causes body odor. Other benefits of embedding copper ions into fabric include: increased durability, healthier skin and reduced inflammation. Using copper avoids the use of chemicals unlike many toxic synthetic materials.


Modern use of copper confirms what the ancients knew: copper is useful in  many different arenas from medical applications, food and water storage and in making tools.  Modern scientific studies along with ancient wisdom ensure its continued use in many different industries.

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When you’re not focusing on buying more and deciding what to wear, you can save the energy and time for more important things.

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