There is nothing quite like a cup of tea in times of stress and strife, indeed in times of crisis nothing seems more natural or as comforting as popping on the kettle to make tea. Whilst the claims of the stress relieving qualities of the brew chirped by tea lovers may have been considered a myth or old wives tale there is now scientific evidence to suggest that tea drinking actually can reduce stress levels.
A recent study, by psychologist Dr Malcolm Cross at City University London, confirmed what millions of tea-lovers have long believed – that if you are upset or anxious, it pays to make a pot of tea or a great big mug of the stuff if the mood takes you.
The findings reveal that even a single cup of tea can significantly reduce anxiety levels after suffering a stressful experience – and in some cases, make people calmer than they were before. So the age old adage of taking tea to cope with bad, sad or stressful news is something that is actually very beneficial. Indeed the psychologist found that even the act of putting the kettle on helped reduce stress by tapping into a collective conscious and symbolism, suggesting that the calming effects of tea are not just a question of biochemistry – but also a matter of its ‘Britishness’.
Psychologist Dr Malcolm Cross, of City University London, said: “The ritual of making and drinking tea – particularly during times of stress – is at the very core of British culture…Put simply, the findings illustrate what most mothers would tell us: if you’re stressed, anxious or just feeling blue, make yourself a nice calming brew.”
The findings are perhaps no surprise as us Great British Tea Drinkers for we are well versed in using tea as a crutch to get us through any crisis. Indeed when Britain faced defeat by the Axis powers of Germany and Japan. Britain did the only sensible thing it could-it went to buy tea! Not only did it buy tea, but it purchased it in huge quantities. Indeed one estimate is that the largest government purchases in 1942 were, in order of weight, bullets, tea, artillery shells, bombs and explosives.
Tea during the Second World War has been termed as Britain’s secret weapon as it created calm and semblance. Churchill is reputed to have called tea more important than ammunition and he ordered that all sailors on ships were to have unlimited tea rations. Tea’s perceived value in boosting morale and calming effects not just in Britain is illustrated by the Royal Air Force dropping 75,000 tea bombs in a single night over the occupied Netherlands. Each contained one ounce bags of tea from the Dutch East Indies and was marked “The Netherlands will rise again. Chins up.” Indeed every one of the 20 million Red Cross packages sent to prisoners of war contained a quarter pound package of Twinings Tea.
So there is little doubt in the mind of the tea drinkers of the world that tea is the stuff that can get us through war, peace, tribulation and jubilation; but what about orgasmic tea? Now, I’ve brewed a pot or two of tea in my time and even though I revel in a well brewed cuppa, I can’t ever say I’ve had an orgasmic pot, but recently I caught up with a lady called, Lera Zujeva who practices the art of taking tea ceremoniously and when I asked her about taking tea she said, ‘’I love tea, tea can be a totally orgasmic experience’’. Lera was attending a talk on Emotional Detox in Fulham and whilst I enjoyed watching a demonstration of clothes on bodywork and the talk on adopting an alkaline diet, it was Lera’s talk on the spiritually healing art of taking tea that captivated me
There was an overwhelming sense of calm emanating from Lera and as she talked about tea her whole face lit up enthusiastically. ‘It can be hard to fit meditation into our busy lives ‘, she said, ‘but we can usually find time to drink tea and tea gives us the perfect opportunity to calm down and focus and it is such a beautiful and peaceful way to bring meditation back into our daily lives. Many spiritual teachers, such as Osho, Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddha all talked about tea and how drinking it slowly and with awareness can lead you to enlightenment, or at the very least – to seeing who you really are and experiencing harmony in your life.’’
Lera offers Bespoke Tea Tours, Tea Workshops, Tea Ceremonies, Private Tea Events and Tea+ Energy Healing Sessions. I have never before encountered anyone as enthusiastic about tea before and I believe she could convert anyone to becoming a tea drinker just through her enthusiasm and passion for the stuff. As she sat with her hands wrapped around a cup of steaming tea, she appeared to shudder excitedly with anticipation, ‘’Tea is orgasmic!’’ she exclaimed, taking a sip. She gave me a satisfied grin and said‘’ Tea Ceremony is all about feeling, seeing, tasting, smelling. If we are in our heads we are not able to experience Tea Ceremony and enjoy Tea in its full potential. Hearing the sound of boiling water in a kettle, Tea leaves falling into the teapot, water pouring into the teapot from the kettle, feeling the clay bowl in our hands, its surface, it’s warmth, sensing aroma of the tea rising above the bowl, taking the first sip, tasting tea, feeling how it flows into us, into our bodies and how the Tea affects us. Tea creates focus, alertness, relaxation, and cultivates awareness’’.
Well, I keep saying that I need to incorporate more calm into my life so perhaps I’ll dispense with the coffee pot and invest in a ceremonious tea-set. Perahps, I’ll pop along to one of the Group Tea Ceremonies that Lera runs twice weekly. It certainly sounds like a wonderful idea and I also love the idea of the London Tea Tours that she operates.
Just talking to Lera about tea has made me feel relaxed and she has most definitely made the term keep calm and drink tea have real meaning.
For more information on Lera’s Tea Ceremonies visit http://t-lovers.com and for information on Emotional Detox visit http://emotionaldetox.eu/
Image Credits: Natalia Medvedeva Photography