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Easy Meditation

Posted on January 8, 2014 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (0)
     First off I will begin by apologizing for lack of blog posts. I am the biggest procrastinator. I often get caught up in the never ending to-do lists that are constantly running through my head! What tends to get lost in the pile is stuff like keeping up on this blog. Now having admitted my humanity, and lack of superhuman powers that I so desperately wish I possessed, let's talk about meditation.

     I am terrible at mediating! I believe it has a lot to do with the constant voices in my head that I mentioned above.There is this one simple meditation that is easy for someone like me to follow that I would like to share with you today.

   Please begin by taking a deep breath and while exhaling focusing your attention on your feet. You can be sitting, standing, or even laying down for this. Just breath in and out and focus your attention on the soles of your feet. Now imagine that deep from the molten center of the earths core there is a stream of molten light. This is a stream of liquid energy and it is flowing upwards and into your feet. Then imagine that this stream is in your lower legs. Next this stream flows into your upper legs. Now imagine this stream entering your abdomen, and finally the stream is all the way up into your chest. It has entered your heart center at the core of your chest. 

    The next step is to imagine outer space. Far out into the vastness of space there is a sliver light. This  bright silver light energy is coming down and entering the top of your head. Next this energy light begins to flow down your neck. Then this light flows into your shoulders and out into your arms and hands. This light then returns back up your arms and settles and gathers down into your chest. Here it meets with the energy from the earth. There in the center of your chest imagine these two streams merging into pure white light. Now imagine that this pure white light is extended from your chest out into the world with white atomic light. Think of an atomic white explosion coming from your heart center out into the world. This light is so strong and so bright that you can't look at it as it flows out into the world from your chest.

   Now slowly return your attention to your body and try and hold that feeling and imagery of white atomic light emanating from the center of your chest for the rest of your day.

     What this meditation does for me is to remind me that I am a being of both heaven and earth. It helps me to remember to be grounded and present in day to day living, but also be connected to source. By emanating white light and love from my chest center I tend to see the world in a different light. I hold more compassion for others and for myself and tend to not sweat the small stuff of day to day living.

     I hope this mediation can be of help to any of you!


Rejuvenate your Skin with Facial Massage

Posted on November 6, 2013 at 7:41 PM Comments comments (1)
     There are certain pressure points that are known to help rejuvenate the skin in Ayurevedic massage, shiatsu massage, and in Chinese medicine. Massage in Ayurvedic  is described as jarahar, the remover of old age. This is because massage provides nourishment to the skin promoting circulation of blood and lymph and calming the nervous system. 

    In Ayurvedic  these points are referred to as marmas, in Shiatsu they are referred to as Tsubo points, and in Chinese medicine they are referred to as acupressure points. Today I wanted to share some of these points for facial rejuvenation with you so you can try them at home and see the difference in your skin.

Ayurvedic Facial

                  Let’s begin with a modified Ayurvedic facial massage.



1) Cover your palms with a light amount of warm oil. Sesame seed oil is a popularly used Ayurvedic oil.
2)   Apply the oil using smooth strokes, starting from the mid line of the chin and using both of your hands sweeping outwards towards your temples. Repeat 3 x.
3)   Next place your fingers under your jaw line. Manipulate the whole area under the chin and jaw by pressing upward and releasing gently all the way from the center of your chin to the ears. Repeat 3xs.
4)   The next step starts on your left side of your face. Begin this movement by using your three fingers in the center of your chin make circular motions from chin to ear then up to temple. Repeat 3xs. Then move to your right side and repeat motion 3x.
5)   The next points will relieve tension in your cheeks and jaw. Find the hollow in between your cheekbone and jaw. Using three fingers in this hollow on each side begin massaging in circular motions outwards towards your ears and up towards your temples. Repeat this movement 3xs.
6)   Next place the tip of your index finger midway between your nose and the middle of the upper lip and gently press and hold for a count of 3.
7)   This next movement helps to release tension. Begin at the inner part of the eyebrow where it meets the bridge of the nose and pinch along the entire brow to the outer edge. Repeat this movement 3xs.
8)   The last movement helps to relieve tension over the eyes and balances the subtle energies of the body. Stoke from the tip of the nose to the area of the third eye. This is slightly above the midpoint between the eyebrows. Massage this in a gentle clockwise motion for 60-90 seconds.
 
Shiatsu Facial

     The next massage is a modified shiatsu facial. Facial oils are best when doing facial massage or a light non-sticky organic lotion also works well.

1)   Begin by pressing lightly but firmly on the top of your cheekbones. Gently rub up and down the cheek until this area becomes warm.
2)   Use your index, middle, and ring finger to gently press along the bony edge of the upper eye socket, moving from the inner to the outer corner of the eyes. Repeat 3xs and then repeat this process under the eyes 3xs.
3)   Next slowly and gently press on your closed eyelids. Slowly press in and quickly release. Repeat this 3xs
4)   Next pinch the bridge of your nose for a count of 3 then the corners of your eyes for a count of 3.
5)   With the fingertips of both hands rub the sides of your nose up and down until they become warm. Next go to the outside corners of your nostrils and moving outwards along the bottom of your cheekbone massage in circular motions till you reach the ears. Repeat this movement 3 xs.
6)   Find the hollow between your nose and your mouth and gently press in for a count of 10.
7)   The last movement is to massage the area in front of your ears in circular motions for a count of 10.

Acupressure Facial

     The last massage is utilizing acupressure points for Chinese medicine. This too has been slightly modified to be shorter. 

1)  Begin one finger width below the lower ridge of the eye socket in line with the center of the iris in an indentation of the cheek. Press gently on these spots on each side of your face and hold for 1 minute.
2)  Next find the point at the bottom of your cheekbone directly below the pupil. Press and hold gently for 1 minute.  

3) The next area is in the indentation directly behind the earlobe. Use your middle and index fingers to gently press for 1 minute.
4) The last point is the third eye point. Begin by bringing your palm together and use your middle and index fingers to lightly touch the point in between your eyebrows in the indentation where the bridge of the nose meets the center of the forehead. Gently press into this area for 2 minutes while breathing deeply.
 
     What all of the facial massage points have in common is that they promote circulation while stimulating internal organs through the Tsubo,  Marma, and Acupressure points of your body.  These ancient modalities believe that these points are connected to our inner eliminating organs, endocrine glands, and will also help to release toxins in our body. This in turn helps us to have glowing skin, relieves tension in our muscles, brings blood flow and oxygen to the skin tissues, and releases stress. The best part of the above practices is that in addition to having glowing skin these practices just feel good. So take a few minutes either in the morning or at night to try these movements on yourself and notice the difference in your skin!

 I hope this information was helpful to you and please return next week when I will share some easy meditations to try.

DIY facial

Posted on October 29, 2013 at 3:09 PM Comments comments (0)
     This week I wanted to share easy to make DIY cleanser, face mask and toner that will work wonders on your skin.  These are slightly modified from a book called Natural Beauty by Aldo Facetti.

     Let’s start with the cleanser. My mother is 69 years old and has amazing skin. One of the things she has always done was to use egg whites on her skin. This really grossed me out when I was younger, but now that I am an esthetician I know why this old time remedy works! Egg whites are high in protein, vitamins,and minerals that are good for your skin. They can also act as a pore tightener when left to dry on your skin like a mask. Please do use caution with this cleanser. If you are allergic to eggs, and/or if you have open sores on skin please do not use.

Facial Cleanser
You will need:
 1 egg white (separate the egg yolk from the egg white)
1 teaspoonful of avocado oil
2 teaspoons of lemon juice

Mix the egg white, avocado oil and lemon juice with a fork until frothy.
Spread mixture over the face massaging with fingertips.
Rinse well with warm water.

If you would like to use this as a pore tightening mask you can leave out the avocado oil.  Recipe would then just be egg whites and lemon juice. Leave this mixture on till it dries then rinse off.

If you are a vegetarian and the idea of using egg whites on your face does not work for you.
Try substituting half of a cucumber diced and blended with the avocado and lemon juice instead. You could add a few teaspoons of rice flour to thicken the mixture.  This will also add some exfoliation. Massage into skin and rinse with warm water.

Face Mask
Next is a refreshing face mask.  This mask has natural enzymes that help to gently remove dry skin.
You will need: 
3 oz of pineapple
2 oz of peeled and cored apple
½ oz of white clay/or rhassoul clay (clay can often be found at health food stores or on-line)

Peel and core the apple and cut a thick slice of ripe pineapple (remove rind) cut into smaller pieces and put into blender with the clay. 
Blend for 1 minute. If mask seems too thick add 1 teaspoonful of honey.
Put this mask on a clean face. Leave on for 15 minutes then rinse off with warm water.

Facial Toner
2 oz orange juice (organic with no sugar added or better yet juice your own)
2oz strawberry
2oz apple

Put all ingredients into the blender and blend for 1 minute.
Pour the creamy mixture into cheesecloth to remove seeds etc.
Then use a cotton ball to apply to skin.

     All of the above recipes are fresh raw foods and should be used immediately and excess should be discarded. Again do not try any of the above recipes on your skin if you have a known allergy to any of the foods or oils used.
If you wanted to stick with the natural and edible theme of this do it yourself facial-you can use avocado oil as a moisturizer at the end. You could also do as my mother did and pop open a liquid vitamin E capsule and apply to your skin.

     Have fun in the kitchen creating food for your skin! There is a reason our grandmothers used these foods to beautify their skin. Because they work!  Hope you enjoyed these recipes and please check back next week when I share some acupressure points on the face that not only help you have glowing skin but help to tonify your internal organs.

Winter skin tips

Posted on October 22, 2013 at 8:16 PM Comments comments (1)
 
     Winter skin in Idaho often means dry, itchy, and irritated. Here are a few ways to take care of that!
 
 
HYDRATION
 
 The first way to help combat dry skin is to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of quality water every day, get a humidifier to help keep some moisture in the air, and take natural oils. Hemp seed oil, chia seeds, flax seeds or fish oils all help to keep your skin hydrated from the inside out.
 
PRODUCTS
 
 
      Other factors to consider are what you are using on your skin. Soap is good for removing dirt but it can clean the skin too thoroughly, and strip it of it's natural barrier.This is also often the case with commercial shampoos and bubble baths.  When using soap look for natural soaps made with oils like coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, glyercine and products that do not contain artificial ingredients and chemicals.
 
You can even use the oil cleansing method if you skin is extremely dry. Most people like coconut oil for this but I prefer olive oil or even castor oil. Pour the oil into your hand and massage into the skin in circular motions. This is safe to use on the face and body. You can then use a wet wash cloth to gently remove excess oil.
 
EXFOLIATION
 
 
    To remove dull skin you can do skin brushing with an exfoliating mitt or a soft bristled body brush before you shower. This is best done on dry skin. Use the mitt or brush in upward circular strokes towards your lymph glands to aid in lymphadic drainage. Here is a chart to help with that :  http://www.stepup-speakout.org/images/KloseChartofLymphSystem1.jpg
 
 You can also use something called a Ddeh Meeruh cloth. You would use this in the shower after you have rinsed off any soap residue. The Ddeh Meeruh is a washing cloth and the name means push dead skin cells. It is a rough cloth that you can purchase in a Korean market or these cloths that I found online:
 
Some reviews have said they used these on their face. This should be done very gently as the skin on our face is more sensitive than our bodies and these cloths are very exfoliating.  I found a large exfoliating hydra towel by Earth Therapeutics at Fred Myer for $4.00 that works well. Hot water can contribute to dry itchy skin so try to limit the amount of time you are in the shower.
 
 
MOISTURIZE
 
 
     Once you are done bathing you can put Shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, hemp seed oil, or whatever natural oil that you prefer on damp skin to help seal in moisture.  You can also shower first to remove any dirt then take a relaxing soak in a bath with the moisturizing oils listed above added to your bath water. Be careful when getting out of the tub after these types of baths because it will be slippery! I also make some bath teas with powdered goat milk, oatmeal, and lavender flowers and throw those in the tub with me. All are very soothing and help with irritated skin.
 
I hope any of these tips were helpful and please return next week for some nourishing skin facial treatments you can make at home!
 

Gluten Free Treats

Posted on October 15, 2013 at 8:57 PM Comments comments (1)
 
        Fall is here and sugary treats are everywhere. If you have food allergies this can sometimes be difficult.  I have discovered some great Gluten free treat recipes that I wanted to share, and some are even dairy free, gluten free, and vegan treats!  These are really tasty recipes that my family has tried and approved before posting here.
 
     The first two recipes come from a book called The Gluten Free Bible from Publications International, Ltd.   My family has a history of celiac disease from great grandmother to great granddaughter so this is a wonderful book that my mother lent to me. My husband adores anything lemon so I made these for his birthday this year.
 
Gluten-Free lemon bars
1 cup Gluten free all-purpose flour blend (I used BOB’S Red Mill all purpose gluten free flour blend)
 
1 cup slivered almonds
 
½ cup (or 1 stick) cold butter, cut into pieces
 
½ cup powdered sugar
 
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel, divided
 
½ teaspoons salt
 
1 cup granulated sugar
 
3 eggs
 
1/3 cup lemon juice
 
Powdered sugar for dusting
 
1)     Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9-inch square baking pan with non stick cooking spray.
 
2)     Place flour, nuts, butter, powdered sugar, 1teaspoon lemon peel and salt into food processor. Mix until you have fine crumbs. Press this mixture into bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until a light golden brown.
 
3)     Beat the granulated sugar, eggs, lemon juice,and remaining 1 tablespoon lemon peel in a large bowl till blended. (medium speed with an electric mixer)
 
4)     Pour mixture evenly over the warm crust. Bake for 18-25 minutes or until center is set and edges are golden brown. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Dust with additional powdered sugar. Makes 18 bars.
 
 
 
The next recipe is so easy!
 
Flourless Almond Cookies
 
1 cup sugar (could probably even use coconut sugar to be healthier if you wanted)
 
1 cup almond butter
 
1 egg, lightly beaten
 
1)     Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat sugar,almond butter and egg in a large bowl with electric mixer until smooth.
 
2)     Shape dough into 24 balls; place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Flatten slightly with fork.
 
3)     Bake 10-15 minutes or until set. Remove to cool on wire rack. Makes 2 dozen cookies.
 
 
 
 
 
     This last recipe I got on line from this web site
http://madame gluten-freevegetarian.blogspot.com/2010/12/soft-pumpkin-cookies-with-vanilla.html?m=1 they are Gluten, dairy, egg-free and vegan.
 
Soft pumpkin cookies with Vanilla Frosting
 
1 cup sugar
 
1 cup organic canned pumpkin
 
½ cup vegan shortening
 
1 ¾ cups gluten free all purpose flour
 
1 teaspoon baking powder
 
1 teaspoon baking soda
 
1 teaspoon cinnamon
 
¼ teaspoon salt
 
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (if the flour blend you are using doesn’t already have xanthan gum in it-if it does omit this step)
 
For frosting
 
¼ cup Earth Balance spread
 
2 cups powdered sugar
 
1 teaspoon vanilla
 
1 to 2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
 
     To make frosting melt the spread in microwave, add powdered sugar, vanilla, and almond milk and mix until smooth.
 
     Pre heat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix sugar, pumpkin, and shortening in a large bowl. Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix until smooth.
 
     Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 8-10minutes or until golden brown.
 
     Remove cookies and let them cool completely then add frosting. These cookies turned out soft and cake like because of the canned pumpkin.
 
      I was surprised by how tasty they were and how easy all of the above treats were to make. My daughter and I spent a few hours one Sunday in the kitchen baking these goodies.  If you want to lower the sugar content you might try coconut sugar in place of granulated sugar in all of these recipes. I haven’t had a chance to experience with it myself but I do know coconut sugar is lower on the glycemic index but it’s still sugar! I think any sweetener is bad for you in excess but if this is an occasional thing (holiday treats) then we all have to indulge sometime!
 
    I hope any of these recipes are of use to you. Please return next week when we talk about the changing weather and its effect on your skin. I will give you some home tips to combat the dry skin fall weather brings in.
 

Mind, Body, Spirit : How to Integrate them into your Daily Practice

Posted on October 6, 2013 at 8:12 PM Comments comments (0)
 

      In order for a theory or practice to work for me it has to combine mind, body, and spirit. What that means for me is scientific explanations of how the mind interacts with the body, how the body interacts with the mind, and how the spirit interacts and connects it all. I am a seeker. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am constantly seeking knowledge into the field of mind, body, and spirit and how that works in everyday life.
 
     With this being my focus I am always looking for practical ways to integrate this into daily practice that can improve life. I recently have decided to spend an hour every night listening to experts in these subjects. These are neuroscientists and psychologists that discuss how stress affects the brain that will then impact the body. I have also listened to Buddhist practitioners who focus on mindfulness and how that will improve your life. The spirit components have included energy clearing, seeing the light and love in everyone, sound therapy with music that vibrates at certain frequencies to soothe the nervous system, and just being present and grateful in the moment. The underlying component in each of these teachings is simplicity. Getting into a quiet space and contemplating to be the best that you can be before you interact with another human being is step one. This enables all of us to be kinder people. Many of us don't have the time or inclination to spend years (it has been 20 years of studing herbs, spiritual practice and the science of it all at this point for me) studying these practices. With that thought in mind I wanted to try and break it down to easy-to-do practices to share with you.
 
        Let’s begin with mindfulness.  I have been listening to a series by Dr. Rick Hansen about his new book “Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence.”  This book is grounded in neuroscience and helps you figure out scientific ways of being a happy human being. Here is a link to this book if you would like to learn more: http://www.rickhanson.net/books/hardwiring-happiness
 
 
MIND
 
     Before the launch of this book he has interviewed other leaders in this field and combined them in a series that I have been listening to. Joseph Goldstein, founder of Insight Meditation Society: http://www.dharma.org/joseph-goldstein  was one of the interviews.  His topic was mindfulness. This was so simple yet so profound to me. I realized that on any given moment my mind was in a constant state of useless chatter! Running from one topic to another like a small child who has had way too much sugar! So what is someone like me to do? I have tried to “clear” my mind in the past but it doesn’t seem to work for me; his suggestion was just to be fully present in the moment.  How does one do that?
 
     Let’s begin by imagining you are someone who works on a computer all day. You could be fully mindful and aware of your fingers typing on the keys, of the words that you are typing.  Just very physically and mentally focused on what it is you are doing right now. This can be very difficult because our minds will wander into thinking about what’s for lunch or dinner, what bills are due, where you may need to drive your children and so on. You can notice these thoughts but then return to focusing on here and now.
 
     If your job is to interact with people then do that fully! Listen to them without thinking about what your reply may be. It is easier said than done but the effects can be huge on your interactions with others. Stress isn’t a physical thing (unless of course you are being chased, then yes, it is very physical) but normally stress is a perceived threat created in the mind. It is created by thinking about it over and over again. If you close off that chatter you close off the stress and calm not only your mind but also your bodys’reaction to stress. We are all aware of how stress can lead to disease so shutting it off is a worth while practice.
     That brings us to the next step in the practice: Breathing. I’m sure you have all heard how breathing is a very large component of spiritual practices, but do you understand the science behind breath?
 
BODY
 
     Dr. Stephen Porges was another one of the interviews on this series. He discussed the complex relationship in neuroscience and trauma via the polyvagal theory. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8RKC3Ga6shs&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D8RKC3Ga6shs
 
     This theory specifies two functional branches of the vagal nerve system that invoke stress responses in mammals. This is a very complex theory but the short of it is this: the branches of the vagus nerve serve different evolutionary stress responses in mammals. The more primitive branch causes immobilization and the more evolved branch is linked to self soothing and social communication behaviors. Lots of science speak going on here but what this means is that stress can shut us down if we let it. How to avoid stress shutting us down,according to this doctor and his studies, are through breathing as it has a direct calming effect on the vagal nerve. He also suggests a quiet space, vocal sounds such as the way a mother speaks in a sort of sing song voice to her children, and facial expressions such as smiling also have an impact as they all signal the vagus.
 
    To summarize: smile more often, be aware of tone and volume of voice when speaking to others, be aware of your environment and its effect on you. If your environment isn’t good, find quiet time and space for yourself every day.  And last but not least BREATHE!  This supports the para sympathetic nervous system that is the center of this vagal nerve. The long exhale breathe is the one that has been shown scientifically to have the most effect on this nerve. You gradually increase your exhalation until it is twice the length of the inhalation. Place one hand on your abdomen and take a few relaxed breathes. Feel your stomach expand on the inhalation and contract on the exhalation. Count the length of each inhalation and exhalation for several breathes. Get them to be equal in length. Once they are equal, focus on gradually increasing the exhalation by 1 to 2 seconds once every few breaths-do not strain in this- just get into a comfortable rhythm.  Do this for at least  8 to 12 times then just go back to focusing on your natural breaths for 6 to 8 times. These practices help to calm the nervous system and eliminate those stress responses in the body and in the mind. Now let’s move on to the spirit.
 
SPIRIT
 
     I have been practicing Reiki for 11 years now. Reiki is a form of energy healing that has helped me to soothe my overactive nervous system.  Before utilizing Reiki into my day to day life I had a problem even going to the grocery store. Social anxiety doesn’t even begin to describe my past issues. I’m not sure what was going on in my nervous system but for as long as I can remember I was anxious, nervous, and completely unable to be effective at social interaction. Reiki has helped me to calm that and enabled me to be more comfortable in my own skin. You can learn more about Reiki here: http://m.massageandskincaresolutions.com/Reiki-Therapy---Classes.html
 
    In my Reiki practice I cleanse my chakras daily. What are chakras? Chakras are energy centers located in the midline of the body. This is a complex system but I will give you a simple explanation for now. There are 7 major chakras and each one corresponds to different organs,different emotions, and different aspects of your ability to interact with others and with life.  You can find someone to help you clear these chakras, like myself.  This can be done in a reiki session. You can also do a daily practice of clearing your own chakras. Jonathan Goldman M.A. does sound healing and harmonics. In this field there are certain frequencies that our body responds to that help us to clear our chakras. He has a link on his web site for a 7 minute chakra tuning using sound therapy http://www.healingsounds.com/7-minute-chakra-download-page
 
    Some people may wonder if this is all in alignment with God. I would have to answer that with a resounding YES!  I honestly ask myself in everything I do, Reiki included “What would God do?”. That may sound funny to some  but that’s the truth of it. Would he try to be kind and gentle to himself and to others? Would he try to see the light and love in every human being? Would he want anyone to suffer from stress, worry,dis-ease? There is science in these practices and there is also love. Love only comes from one source. So YES this is all in alignment with God, source,creator whatever you wish to think of as your reason for being.
 
 
 To sum up the practices that I have found helpful:
 
1) Clear your mind by being fully present in every moment.
 
2) Breathe, focusing on long exhalations, smile, and speak gently.
 
3) Clear your energy centers daily.
 
These simple things help to keep me in a state of equilibrium in a world that is constantly rushing around me. I hope any of this was helpful to you in your life. Please check back next week when I will go into a completely different topic- Gluten free and diary free treats for those of us that want the holiday goodies but also have allergies.
 

Natural Treatments for Psoriasis

Posted on September 29, 2013 at 10:18 PM Comments comments (0)
 
 
     Psoriasis is a complex and frustrating skin disorder.(1)  I have had psoriasis on different parts of my body since I was a small child. Unfortunately this was something my father passed down as it is often hereditary.  It first began on my hands and feet when I was about 7, and continued to be a strange seasonal thing on my hands every fall until I was about 17. Then it went away and I had no issues until about 5 years ago when it came back. My psoriasis is thankfully mild and stays on my lower legs and hand. Why only one hand and not the other I’m not sure, but it is itchy, red, and horrible! It is worse in the winter when my skin is dry and when I stress. Some of the things that I have noticed to be helpful is attempting to not stress.  I try to meditate and exercise for stress relief. I also do topical treatments, and an anti-inflammatory diet.
 
       A topical treatment that I find helpful is to take a bath with Himalayan pink salt and bentonite clay.  This clay is primarily made of a mineral called montmorillonite that carries a negative ion charge. This helps to pull toxins from your body, promote circulation, and restore proper skin PH. Himalayan salt has 84 trace minerals that help to cleanse and detoxify the skin and seems to soothe the itchy psoriasis. I put one cup of the salt with ½ cup of clay in the bath and soak for at least 20 minutes 1 time a week. These really help my skin to heal from the psoriasis flares and make the skin not as itchy as it is healing, because if any of you have ever had psoriasis you know it itches like crazy!
 
       After I get out of the bath I apply a skin salve that I make. It is in an olive oil base that has several different herbs that help with skin issues and health. I formulated it to help with this specific issue.  Ingesting hemp seed oil and using it topically has also proven to help with eczema and psoriasis issues(2) and I have noticed an improvement in the frequency of the psoriasis out breaks when I do this.  Other topical treatments include sunlight and corticosteroids. I have only tried the topical corticosteroids once. While it did stop the itching it did not allow the skin to heal and in fact made it very thin. I’m not saying this isn’t a viable treatment for psoriasis just that it did not work for me. I also only use natural soaps on my skin as they are less drying. Olive oil soaps or hemp seed oil soaps that I have made seem to work the best.
 
        An anti-inflammatory diet (3) is also of help when dealing with skin issues. Whenever something is happening on your skin you should also consider what is happening within. Our skin is our largest detoxifying organ and if something is chronic-like psoriasis- think about your gut too. I have several digestive issues which I’m sure are the root cause of this chronic skin condition for me. I am gluten intolerant and my mother has been diagnosed with full blown celiac disease so I know I inherited that one from her. I am also allergic to several foods so I have to be careful about what I eat.  When I am not careful my skin reacts.  I take high grade probiotics, Vitamin D3, Fish oils, Chia seeds, and Hemp seed oil, B vitamins and several Ayurvedic herbs to help heal my gut as it was damaged by years of eating the glutens and not knowing I was allergic.  
 
     This seems to be a problem that I have yet to resolve in my own body but I do feel like I am making progress! I hope any of this information was helpful in your own battles with skin issues.
 
     Please check back next week when I share some interesting teaching that I have been listening to that have helped me to stress less and be more in the moment
 
 
 
 
 

Book review-THe Hormone Cure By Dr. Sara Gottfried

Posted on September 20, 2013 at 6:16 PM Comments comments (0)
   
     This is a great book for anyone who is feeling as if they aren't their best and hormones are to blame. 
 The author is Sara Gottfried, MD  and she is a  Harvard trained physician.  Through her own personal experience with hormone imbalance, and not feeling her best, she decided to create a plan to naturally and safely balance hormones.
 
    The book is called The Hormone Cure. This is a wonderful combination of education (the facts on hormone imbalances and how they happen),  alternatives to conventional pharmaceutical help for hormone imbalance,  and diet and exercise changes that help you get there.
 
 
     Each chapter focuses on a specific hormone (cortisol, estrogen, progesterone, androgens, and thyroid) 
 There are questionnaires to help you figure out what may be happening in your body. Once you have narrowed down the issue, or issues as it was in my case, there are plans to fix it.  Dr. Gottfried goes into the science of what is happening in your body. She then recommends certain supplements that help with each issue, as well as herbs, diet, exercise and stress reduction techniques.  She calls the plans of action the Gottfried Protocol.
 
 
     I really felt like this was helpful in figuring out what was going wrong with my body. The plans to correct your issues are well outlined and easy to follow.  You can pick up this book at her web site :http://www.saragottfriedmd.com/    She also offers products for sale on her site. These are products that she has developed to help address these issues, as well as a free on line quiz (from the book) to help point you in the right direction. You do not need to purchase these product in order to address the issues but they are there if needed which is nice if your aren't the DIY type of person.
 
     This is a great resource that was very helpful to me and I hope will be helpful to you.
Please visit us again next week when I talk about natural ways to tame psoriasis.

Medicinal Teas for Health and Healing

Posted on August 22, 2013 at 7:41 PM Comments comments (0)
   Let’s talk about teas. I thought we would start with cosmetic teas since I’m an esthetician. 
 
     Herbs help to detoxify the body.  Your skin is your largest eliminating organ therefore the effects of herbs and herbal teas on clearing the complexion can be achieved if you drink them frequently. Cleavers tea is said to be good for clearing acne, as is chickweed tea, chicory and Hyssop (1). Green tea has been a known anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor fighter but it also protects us from the sun’s aging rays taken internally and applied externally (2). Green tea has also been prove effective in calming inflammation in acne (3).
 
      There are several teas that help in pain relief.  Feverfew can help to cure a migraine, as can dandelion tea, or blackberry leaf tea.  Pain relief teas used topically are St.JohnsWort, Nettle, Marigold, and Arnica. I use all of these in either my skin salve or muscle rub for those wonderful pain relieving, wound healing properties.(4).
 
       Teas that help promote restful sleep are Chamomile(5), this herb has a wealth of uses! Valerian tea is said to calm the mind and nerves and aid in sleep (6). Valerian tea works even better when combined with Hops (7).
 
      There are numerous benefits to herbs and herbal teas, whole books have been written on the topic of medicinal teas.Several studies conducted at the NIH and elsewhere around the world show the benefits of consuming herbal teas for health. Drinking tea can be a relaxing and healthy ritual that aids in your overall well being!
 
       Hopefully any of this information was helpful.Please return in two weeks to learn more about herbs and health. I have a great book by a physician that discusses using food, herbs, and vitamins to aid in healthy hormones that I want to share with you.
 
 
 
References:
 
1) Ceres, Esplan.  (1984)  Herbal Teas, For Health and Healing. NewYork, New York:  Thorsons Publishers Inc.
 
 
 
4) Ceres,Esplan.  (1984)  Herbal Teas, For Health and Healing. NewYork, New York:  Thorsons Publishers Inc.
 
 
 
 

Family Adventure in Herbalism

Posted on August 15, 2013 at 6:13 PM Comments comments (0)
    ROAD TRIP

    Last week we went on a fun adventure. My family and I drove over to Eugene Oregon for something called The Free Herbalism Project. http://freeherbalismproject.com/

      FREE HERBALISM PROJECT

     This even was hosted by a company called Mountain Rose Herbs (http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/ ) that has organic herbs, oils, etc. This is an ongoing project and they plan on hosting several of these events throughout the year.  The purpose of these events is to learn more about herbs and health. This event had Rosemary Gladstar as one of the herbalist speaking. Rosemary has been an advocate for herbs and herbal healing for over 35 years. She is the author of several books on the subject, the founder of the California School of Herbal Studies, a co-founder of Traditional Medicinal Tea Company.  She currently lives and works from her home Sage Mountain Herbal Retreat Center in Vermont. http://www.sagemountain.com/rosemary-gladstar.html   In 1994 she founded United Plant Savers. This is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation and cultivation of at risk North American Medicinal Plants. www.unitedplantsavers.org

   HISTORY OF HERBS

    I have been reading Rosemary Gladstar books for years, needless to say I was so excited to hear her speak! She did not disappoint in any way. She is witty, smart, articulate and full of knowledge to share on the topic of herbalism and health. This is not only a means for her but a way of life. She is such a vibrant woman! She is 65 years old but looks to be more in her 40’s.  I suggest we all start living this way!  She spoke about how herbs can be a part of your life in your garden, in your medicine pantry, and in your beauty routines. She discussed how far we have come in terms of herbs, and how far we have yet to go. She also discussed the need to protect plants and herbs from over harvesting so we don’t use them to the point of extinction. The wealth of information continued in discussions on the medicinal uses of herbs.  There are very few side effects, if any, compared to the numerous effects of prescriptions medicines today. She also spoke about community herbalism. A group of her students help to open an herbal clinic in Vermont that is still running today. http://www.vtherbcenter.org/about-vcih/  
 Last but not least ,she also included some great facts about herbalism. Facts such as about 80 % of the world’s population relies on herbal treatments for health. It was a wonderful talk that gave me a new found perspective on herbs and their place in my life.

FREE TEA

    There was also this great group of people serving tea for FREE! Really good tea I might add. This group is called the FREE Tea Party and they have this amazing little van that they travel around in offering up tea, conversation and community. Absolutely priceless and wonderful! Here is a link to their site to learn more: http://www.freeteaparty.org/about.html

PASSION

    This event was well worth the trip and I would recommend looking into the future events in this project!  I love herbalism and will continue in my studies to become a Master Herbalist. Events like this help to further strengthen my passion and connection to learning more, doing more, and being more aware with all of it.  

    Please return next week when we discuss medicinal teas inspired by the Free Tea Party’s wonderful gesture of health and humanity!

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