Monday, July 18, 2011
Friday, July 15, 2011
Sunday, July 3, 2011
- “My budget just isn’t gonna stretch to an expensive massage this week – maybe next month”.
- “Hmm. Essential oils are expensive – I only need a few drops but they want me to pay $25 for just 15ml?”
- “Essential oils burn the skin. That means I also gotta buy a carrier oil AND a ceramic dispensing bottle. Starting to look too hard… maybe I’ll just have a glass of wine instead.”
- “I’d really like to book a massage but I have to take the kids to basketball and then I’d have to skip either my workout or the grocery shopping.”
- “Not sure exactly which oil to buy. I’ll try to remember to research that next week.”
- If you are a clothes-dryer user, put 5-10 drops of your chosen oil on a piece of cloth, pop that cloth in one of those washbags for delicates, and toss it in the dryer with your clothes for the last 5 minutes of the drying cycle. The wash bag will prevent oil spots directly on your clean clothes. The uplifting lemongrass (or whatever) infused through your laundry will make dressing for work a more uplifting experience, improve your mood and change your stress levels for the day.
- Not a clothes dryer user? Put a few drops of oil onto a piece of cardboard, pop that in an envelope, and place it in the drawer or cupboard where you store your clothes. Don’t forget to do the same with bed linens – easing into clean sheets that waft out healthful aromas leads to better sleep as well as a delightful sensual experience.
- Use a daily all-over body oil instead of a moisturizer – aromatherapy on the run. Pre-mixed, plant based and be sure it contains only essential oils and no extra nasty fragrance or chemical compounds. (See Essential Oil + Fragrance = Something Stinks )
- Add the essential oils (few drops are enough) to a bath and soak in it – that way you get to enjoy your wine as well.
- Look for an essential oil spray, spritzer or body mist at the heath-store – make sure it contains nothing more than the essential oils, alcohol and water. Pop one in the glove compartment of your car and spritz at traffic lights, before meetings, before getting out of the car and facing your kids and the evening chores. Put an essential oil spray in your handbag for a quick stress-relief hit in emergency situations like an irritatingly long queue at the bank or dealing with a lost credit card.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
So, we got that part. Artificial fragrance is bad. Essential oils are good – beneficial to good health even. So we look for products that are labeled “with essential oil of moonflower” (or whatever), we feel safe and reassured and we stop squinting at the label. It contains essential oil so it must be OK.
Maybe. But Maybe not.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
- Gently scrubbing and polishing clears clogged pores and removes potential infection from the base of hair follicles – basically that means less pimples, spots and in-grown hairs and more efficient sweating and waste removal;
- Removing the surface layer of dead skins cells enables the skin to better absorb moisture and the nutrients we may apply through plant-based oils;
- Gently scrubbing and polishing stimulates blood flow in the sub-structure of the skin; apart from assisting with the more efficient removal of wastes into the blood stream, stimulating the circulation also encourages the growth of healthy new skin cells and a better flow of important nutrients to those cells;
- Removing the surface layer of dull dead skin DOES make your skin softer, smoother and nicer to feel – it evens out the rough texture and reduces itching and irritation.
- Improved blood flow to the sub-structure of the skin WILL make your skin glow and look both younger and more attractive, although that’s not primarily why we scrub and polish.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Saturday, May 21, 2011
It seems so perfectly natural and nurturing to slather your skin with oil. Apart from the silky sensuality of applying it, all oils are good for your skin. Right? Wrong!
What’s the big deal over a bit of oil? Sadly there are many oils sold and used for both body care and massage that are downright harmful. Bad for your skin and bad for your ongoing health. Finding your way through this minefield requires you to think logically and read the label. No label showing all the ingredients? Don’t buy or use it.
Hidden Danger #1: Packaging.
All oils dissolve and break down plastics over time. Some oils do it more quickly and some plastics are more vulnerable than others, but basically, any oil in any plastic packaging is a bad idea. And yes, that applies to cooking oils as well. The plastic molecules dissolve into the oil and then you apply to your skin (or eat) which introduces the harmful petrochemical substances into your bloodstream, digestive system and internal organs.
Hidden Danger #2: “white oil”, “baby oil” or “mineral oil”.
Whatever you call it, “mineral oil” (which goes by a multitude of soft and easy-to-sell names) is a major hazard but is commonly used as the base for everything from baby oil to lots of skin treatment oils that are prettied up by the addition of a little essential oil. Mineral oil is a petroleum by-product and has been shown to increase the risk of a wide range of cancers in addition to triggering asthma, and being causal in non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and Leukemia. The US National Library of Medicine has a wide range of studies available to show just how harmful this common ingredient is. Apart from the serious health risks of regularly using mineral oils, they actually dry out the skin over time and compound the very problems you were seeking to fix. So why is it used so widely? It’s mega-cheap, odorless, doesn’t spoil and because we as consumers simply don’t ask enough questions.
Hidden Danger #3: synthetic fragrances.
Synthetic fragrances are concocted from sometimes hundreds of chemical ingredients and preservatives, and the declaration of each and every component is not required under international labeling law. The pretty way to disguise the use of these chemical ingredients is to label them as “fragrance oils”. Lots of “natural” body oil and skin preparations include “fragrance oil” as well as 100% pure essential oils. Why? It’s a backdoor way of using chemical preservatives without having to declare them. And why are synthetic fragrances so dangerous? Many of the component chemicals are what we call “estrogenic”, which means they mimic hormone activity in the body, disrupt normal hormone function and actually contribute to the development of estrogen-dependent cancers.
Hidden Danger #4: Heat Extracted Oils.
Oils are composed of long-chain fatty acids which are damaged by heat. The little bits that break off the long-chain fatty acids are toxic to the body and are also easily absorbed into the skin and bloodstream. So while cold pressed virgin coconut oil is wonderfully nourishing and healing, heat extracted coconut oil isn’t. How do you tell? Usually the heat extracted oil has a smell. Cold pressed sesame or sunflower oils have no smell at oil, whilst the heat-extracted oils have distinct odors. Heat extracted coconut oil smells like toasted coconut. As a rule of thumb, if the bottle doesn’t scream “cold pressed” to justify the much higher price, it isn’t.
Hidden Danger #5: Rancid Oil.
Rancid oil is basically oil that has is spoiled. Some oils, like sunflower oil, become rancid very, very quickly and will contaminate and spoil any oils they are blended with, causing them to spoil too. Storing many oils without refrigeration or in direct sunlight will cause them to go rancid quickly. Olive oil, for instance, needs to be stored below 30C and protected from exposure to light. That’s why good olive oil always comes in green or brown glass bottles. Notable exceptions are oils like rice bran and sesame, that are very stable under heat. How can you tell if oil is rancid? You can smell it. If it has that funky “old oil” smell, toss it. When oil becomes rancid the same process occurs as when it is heat extracted, leaving small unstable parts of the fatty acid chains in the oil which are then absorbed into your skin, vital organs and bloodstream.
So, what should you be looking for? A natural plant based oil packed in glass or aluminum. No “fragrance oils” – just pure essential oils to add natural scent. Good labeling that shows all the ingredients. A best-before date. And make sure it passes the “sniff” test.
Nourish and nurture your skin with healthy, natural oils and your skin will glow. As you reduce your exposure to chemicals and inferior oils, your body will regain balance and your health will blossom. Toss the petrochemical based lotions and aim for a light coating of easily-absorbed plant based oil every evening before bed. Enjoy the nourishing sensuality and make sure you share that feeling with someone you love whenever you can.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
There’s already more than enough written about the pre-pregnancy diet: what foods to avoid and what you should choose to eat. There’s a lot written about yoga and exercise to prepare a lean, strong, supple and flexible body that will manage the challenges of pregnancy and birth. There’s even a little bit out there written about colon cleansing pre-pregnancy to help detox your body.
So, are many women actively preparing pre-conception as a result? Sadly, apart from throwing away their contraceptives and any lingering dreams they may have had of extensive global travel, wealth and loads of personal “me” time, not really. Why? Many women simply feel it’s too hard, too challenging, “too much” and not achievable or enjoyable in the space of their stressed and busy lives.
Preparing for pregnancy doesn’t have to be onerous or difficult. Sensibly reducing your toxin load diet-wise, adding some super foods each day and starting to practice some simple yoga stretches is manageable for even the busiest woman. But did you know preparing for pregnancy can even be downright pleasurable, relaxing and fun? Smiling yet?
We learn two basic facts in high school science when we are about 13 years old, and then promptly seem to forget or sidestep this knowledge for most of the rest of our lives. (i) everything in the body works better when blood, lymph and energy are moved and stimulated and (ii) our skin is by far our largest detoxing organ.
How can we use those two simple facts to help prepare well (and enjoyably!) for pregnancy?
1. Regular therapeutic massage during your pregnancy preparation phase will have a noticeable effect on your overall health. Ask for a Thai massage, a hot Thai Herbal Massage Ball treatment or a real detoxing/lymphatic stimulating massage rather than a few touchy-feely strokes with a bit of oil. Try to breathe with the therapist during the massage and visualize your body shifting and releasing all that it does not need. Ask your therapist to use only a natural plant-based oil to make sure no extra petrochemicals find their way into your bloodstream at the time you least want them.
2. Indulge in a herbal steam. Actually, any steam or sauna treatment that encourages sweating and the release of toxins through the skin is good. A steam treatment is less harsh and drying for your skin than a sauna, and a herbal steam simply adds the benefit of healing and detoxing herbs in the most pleasurable way. Try to steam before and after your massage for optimal benefit.
3. Use herbal clays, scrubs and oils to encourage the release of toxins through your skin. The more that is released through the skin, the easier the job for your liver, kidneys and other organs to help cleanse your blood. Clean blood and clean organs mean optimal hormone function in the body, which is exactly what you want for conception and pregnancy.
4. And finally, nourish your skin from the outside with plant-based oils to ensure optimal moisture, resilience and elasticity before it becomes weight bearing. Preventing stretch marks is way, way smarter than trying to heal and repair them later when the damage has been done.
So, how does that look in summary? Massages, herbal steams, natural skin treatments and loads of plant-based nourishing oils. Are you smiling yet? Yes, all pleasurable and good for you and your new baby.
How long would I recommend you prepare pre-pregancy? I would say 9-12 months is optimal, but even
3 months can be beneficial. The better shape you are in before conception, the easier and more pleasurable the process will be.
Be well, relax and focus on enjoyable and positive pregnancy preparation – a smiling pregnant mom transmits important “happy hormones” to a baby that encourage optimal growth and development. So it really is true: what’s good and enjoyable for you is good and positive for your baby.
Enjoy the journey of creating a new life – a truly magical and wondrous adventure.