Self Lymphatic Massage. This simple technique can help to relieve allergies, headaches, tension and help increase immunity. If you have any congestion you will almost immediately feel it starting to move.
Move gently. Try this quick daily Qigong routine or skip to 6 min 30 sec for my favorite part, the yin massage! https://youtu.be/nmmNWj9YtAw
Body oiling. Before taking a shower use some oil and gently massage towards your heart starting at your feet and working up towards your torso, arms and then neck and face. You can use whatever oil you have in the kitchen: olive, sesame, coconut, sunflower and avocado oil all work great. Afterwards, the hot shower will help open your pores and allow the oil to penetrate your skin. Use a mild soap or skip soap on most of your body to allow the oil to soak in longer. Body oiling is a way to show self love, increase circulation and lymph flow, moisturize your skin and release tension.
Eat more greens! Spring brings an abundance of fresh greens. Add kale, spinach and arugula to almost any dish or eat some as a small salad before meals. The bitter taste of arugula is especially beneficial in the spring to help stimulate digestion after the slower movement of winter. Order local greens for pickup in Bel Air at https://flyingplowfarm.grazecart.com.
Probiotic rich foods. To help increase immunity and stimulate digestive health try adding more probiotic foods into your diet. Sauerkraut & Kimchi (refrigerated not canned), Kombucha, yogurt and kefir are all great sources. Eat small amounts daily. If you have taken an antibiotic in the last 6 months it is imperative that you consume probiotics to help restore your gut biome. Recipe for easy DIY Sauerkraut https://therealfoodrds.com/how-to-make-sauerkraut
Nourishing herbs for Springtime vitality:
Stinging Nettles - Nettles are one of the most nourishing herbs and come up with abundance in the spring. Their anti-histamine properties make them useful for those suffering from seasonal allergies. Nettles are rich in vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll, amino acids, silica, micronutrients and protein. They are often used to treat urinary discomfort. They make an excellent daily drink for overall vitality. Best made as a long infusion. I let mine steep overnight and then drink all day! You can also cook with fresh nettles like greens. You can find dried nettles at David’s Natural Market.
Dandelion - The leaves, flowers and roots are all used as a cleansing and cooling spring tonic. Dandelion is useful for digestion and for liver and gallbladder function making them an excellent detoxifying herb. Great to move out some winter stagnation. I like to go out in my front yard and dig up the whole plant. You can dry it and then use it as a tea or make an alcohol tincture with it by pouring alcohol over the chopped up fresh plant and shaking daily for several weeks before straining.
Interested in using more herbs for overall wellness and vitality? Join my Herbal CSA! I grow the herbs and make all the products. Receive 2-3 products a month for 6 months.
Click the link to learn more.
Enrich your massage experience with homemade herbal infused oils made with organic herbs. The skin is the largest organ in the body and needs to be cared for. Herbal oils provide nourishment to your skin and are absorbed into your bloodstream thus creating calming and healing effects.
St. John’s Wort
Rosemary is one of the most powerful essential oils on the planet! Rosemary is a small evergreen plant belonging to the mint family. It has an extremely high antioxidant content.
Research has shown that consistent use of rosemary can help prevent hair loss and promote hair growth. So try adding some directly to your shampoo. Rosemary can help improve memory and can be diffused or inhaled while studying. It is being studied for use in the treatment of Alzheimer’s. Rosemary can also reduce cortisol which is the “stress hormone”.
I love adding rosemary to my cleaning products for the kitchen and bathroom as it has lots of anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. Fill a spray bottle with vinegar and add rosemary and lemon essential oil for a powerful daily shower spray to fight mold.
Part of being human is experiencing pain. It is an essential function of our nervous system that warns us and keeps us safe. But sometimes pain can be constant and have no apparent purpose. Finding safe and effective ways to treat this pain can feel overwhelming, but there are many natural methods of pain relief easily available to everyone. Here are some ideas for treating muscle and joint pain with natural methods.
Difficulty sleeping affects millions of Americans, and on average we sleep 2 hours less per night than we did 100 years ago. If your intention for the new year is to lose weight, be healthier or have less stress then sleep hygiene is the best place to start. Here are some tips for sleeping well so that you can be the best version of yourself that this world needs!
Aromatherapy. Scents can have a powerful effect on our ability to relax and slow down. Try using a diffuser on your nightstand or making a pillow spray with essential oils and water. My favorite is a blend of lavender, cedarwood, bergamot and frankincense.
Herbs. Herbs can have powerful sedative abilities and can be used as a tea or in pill or tincture form. Herbs that can help relax the body and mind and promote sleep include skullcap, valerian, chamomile, lemon balm and passionflower.
Dim the lights. If you use your phone or watch TV before going to sleep try turning the light down on your screens. If you have an Iphone you can even set it to automatically dim at a set time. The pineal gland needs total darkness to release melatonin which not only regulates your sleep but is also a very important hormone for burning fat.
Food is medicine. Some foods naturally increase seratonin, melatonin and tryptophan which all play important roles in regulating sleep. Calcium and magnesium are important for sleep as well. Some bedtime snack ideas include warm goats milk kefir which is high in calcium and magnesium, pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate which are high in magnesium, tart cherry juice which increases melatonin, oatmeal which has anxiety reducing properties with honey and dark cherries, warm milk or nut milk with cinnamon and nutmeg, and banana with almond butter.
Exercise. If you have a small child or a dog you know the best way to wear them out so they can sleep is to get them to run around. Same is true for you! Get up and get moving every day. Start small. Go for a walk on your lunch break, put on some music and dance as hard as you can, jump on a mini trampoline before you get in the shower or do jumping jacks while you wait for your coffee. Adding in a little bit of movement here and there adds up and can make a huge difference in your ability to sleep well.
Massage. Massage therapy can help reduce insomnia and aid in better sleep by allowing your body to relax and by relieving stress. Massage can reduce fatigue and improve the quality of your sleep. Massage can decrease cortisol (stress hormone) and increase serotonin which helps regulate melatonin (sleep hormone). Massage can also help decrease stress and pain which can both be a large cause of insomnia.
It can be very difficult to love our bodies. We are constantly sold messages that our bodies are not good enough, and that they need to be fixed or changed in some way. We often feel betrayed by our bodies due to pain or poor health. We can feel like we are at war with our bodies through dieting and restriction. Many of us have painful memories and trauma associated with our bodies that can make it difficult to love the skin we inhabit. But our bodies are resilient and miraculous vessels that are with us our entire lives. Instead of trying to change or critique our bodies, lets use this season of gratitude to appreciate all that our bodies have done for us.
You can give thanks that your body has seen you through many long years of life.
You can give thanks that your body is young and healthy and strong.
You can give thanks that your body has taught you important lessons about pain and the mental and emotional strength you have in bearing it.
You can give thanks that your body has survived the ravages of cancer.
You can give thanks that your body has given rise to new life.
You can give thanks if your body honors your parents with features it received from them.
You can give thanks if your body has the senses to know beauty, the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feelings of the world around you.
You can give thanks if your body includes a mind that can think, imagine, and dream.
You can give thanks that your body has built, dug, cooked, sewn, planted, and shaped the world around it.
You can give thanks that your body has held and honored and taught the bodies of others around you.
Massage therapists are lucky people. We get to see the wonder in the bodies around us every day. It is an honor that I am perpetually grateful for. Receiving massage therapy has been an important way for me to grow to love my body and show it gratitude and appreciation. Take some time today to show your body some love. This could be as simple as and placing your hand over your heart and taking a long deep breath.If we all took a moment every day to send some love and gratitude to our bodies we could begin to collectively change the body negativity of our culture.
Last year I took a course on Ayurveda and it has helped a great deal with my own personal health and well being. Ayurveda translates as “knowledge of life”. It is an ancient life science from the Hindu tradition dating back 5,000. It is a way of living to keep the body and mind in balance and health. Ayurveda provides guidelines for daily and seasonal routines involving diet, exercises, cleansing, herbal healing and lifestyle . A person’s individual constitution, known as dosha, is also taken into account for a highly individualized approach to health.
One major aspect of Ayurveda is the change of seasons and the effect it has on our physical and emotional health. By being aware of these changes and using tools from Ayurveda to manage them, the change of season can be an enjoyable and transforming time. It is an opportunity to shift our patterns and ways of thinking and enter into a new rhythm of life guided by nature.
Ayurveda is governed by three doshas, Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Each person is a combination of these doshas and the goal of Ayurveda is to maintain the balance of one’s natural doshas. Each season has a predominant dosha and can cause a person of that dosha to become out of balance because of the excess of the elements governing that season.
We are entering fall which is Vata season, and the elements of ether and air are predominant. This can cause a person, especially those with high vata to become ungrounded and have digestive troubles, fatigue, anxiety and depression. There are many Ayurvedic grounding practices such as bathing, oiling the body, slow gentle yoga, doing a mono-diet cleanse (kitchari), using herbs and spices, eating more grounding and cooked foods such as root vegetables and much more.
I have often struggled with the change into fall and have begun to use many of these tools to ease the transition. Simply having the awareness that my body and mind will react differently to the change of season has made it easier. I can not eat, exercise and go, go, go in the fall the way I do in the summer. In our culture we often have to change very little about our lives when the seasons change. This can cause the changes we feel in our bodies and minds to sneak up on us and throw us for a loop. By embracing the changes and allowing our bodies to go through the natural shift we can find a healthier way of being. Below are several resources such as recipes, exercises and activities for aiding your body through this beautiful shift into fall.
Treating yourself to a massage can be a great way to soothe the body and replenish the mind through this transition.
Banyan Botanicals is an excellent resource for Ayurvedic supplies and articles.
Fall Ayurvedic Recipes
Fall Ayurvedic Cleanse Guide
Have you always wanted to make your own Kombucha but have no idea where to begin? I can help! I have been brewing my own Kombucha for over 2 years and have learned a lot along the way about how to make it a simple and easy process. The thought of fermenting anything can be very overwhelming for many people, but in reality it is a completely safe and natural process. All you have to do is put in a little time and love and you will have a continuous flow of delicious healthy Kombucha.
Kombucha Start-Up Program Includes:
Store bought Kombucha is very expensive and making your own Kombucha will not only save you tons of money but it can be a fun and enjoyable process. The SCOBY is a living organism and having it live in the same environment as you allows it to cultivate the right culture for your body. Caring for this living organism that in turn nourishes you, can be a deeply rewarding experience. Your friends will love coming over and having fresh home brew Kombucha, and it is a wonderfully gratifying thing to share with others.
Health Benefits of Kombucha: