Monthly Archives: August 2009

HOME SPA

roman_religion_bathThe original SPA was to detox and heal with the help of the curative powers of mineral water. In Egypt elaborate bath-rituals were acted out by the priests to cleanse themselves. The Romans and Greeks are widely known for their practice of baths and massages.The great Hippocrates (also called the Father of Medicine, doctors still take the “Hippocratic Oath“) once said; “The way to health is having a scented bath and a massage every day”. In Japan the bath-culture is a part of every-day life and in Arabic cultures there is the “Turkish bath” also called “Hammam”.

Essential oils, floral waters, herbs and oils have always been widely used for beauty and health within the bath-culture. Also used were honey, fermented milk and clays. Water-therapy was used; alternating the temperature of the water in specific patterns, also called Hydro-therapy.

Doing a SPA has plenty of benefits: It is detoxing, relaxing, up-lifting, helps with aches and pains and sleep-inducing. You don’t need an elaborate set-up with sauna, jacuzzi or pool to be able to benefit from a Spa-experience – all you need can be found in your own home. The recipes for the different products are listed at the end.

The first thing you need to do is disconnect the outside world – no phone, computer, television or radio. Put on some peaceful and relaxing music to set the mood. Make your bathroom beautiful; bring in some flowers and candles and make sure it is clean and warm. Float flower-petals in your bath.

Always start by drinking a detoxing tea, such as nettle-tea or green tea. It will start a detox-process in your body and also warm you up. The next step is to dry-brush your whole body (optional, but brilliant for skin and circulation.) you can also choose to do only the salt-rub. If you have sensitive skin choose only one option. The skin-brushing is to get your circulation going and is done cold. The salt-rub is to detox, since salt “pulls out” the toxins through your skin, and is done when you are warm and all the pores of the skin are open. The salt-rub will also peel away the top gray skin-layer, leaving your skin glowing. Don’t use salt-rub on your face or sensitive areas.

Home Spa

  • If you have only a bath you now slip into the bath and relax for 10-20 minutes. Right before you get out is a good time to do your feet. Then you get out of the bath and rub your whole body with the salt-rub and rinse it off with tepid water, don’t use soap.
  • If you have only a shower you shower first quickly with cold water (after body-brushing) and then as warm as you can. After that you rub your whole body with the salt-rub. Rinse it off with tepid water, don’t use soap.
  • If you are lucky enough to have both bath and shower separated you start off by showering quickly with cold water after the body-brushing. Then you get in the bath and soak for 10-20 min. Right before you get out is a good time to do your feet. After bath, do the salt-rub and rinse off with tepid water, don’t use soap.

Clay mask

While bathing it is wonderful to use a face-mask and a hair-conditioner. Wash it off in the final shower. If you have only a shower, you do this before your treatment, leaving the mask and conditioner on until you rinse off the salt-rub.

Usually you don’t need any body lotion after the salt rub, since it leaves you smooth and “oiled”. But if you could not resist using soap, or you have very dry skin, you can massage lotion or body-oil into your skin. Pay attention to your feet! Do your facial care as usual; toner, oil and creme.

Now REST! At least 10 minutes. Put cool pads on your eyes, lie down – well covered so you stay warm – and allow yourself total peace and relaxation. Do your home-spa on days when you know that you will not be disturbed. Cleansing in this manner is exhausting to the body. You need time to allow your body to recuperate. Always finish with a nice cup of herbal tea with some honey and/or tepid lemon-water to strengthen your liver. Eat lightly; soup or steamed veggies are best. Stay away from alcohol, meat and bread-products. This way the spa-moment will give maximum benefits. As I said; The idea of the Spa is health more than beauty because HEALTH = BEAUTY.

d.i.y.-Beauty-recipes-lip-stain

RECIPES:

ESSENTIAL OILS FOR THE BATH:

  • Relaxing: Lavender (lavandula augustifolia/l. officinalis), Ylang-Ylang (cananga odorata), Cedarwood (cedrus atlantica), Orange (citrus sinensis/c. dulcis), Petit-grain(citrus aurantium, c. sinensis), Frankincense(boswellia carterii), Sweet Marjoram(origanum majorana), Rose-wood(aniba rosaeodora), Roman Chamomile(chamaemelum nobile), Vetivert(vetiveria zizanoides), Geranium(pelargonium graveolens).
  • Detoxing, invigorating, strengthening: Lemon(citrus limon), Rosemary(rosmarinus officinalis), Pine(pinus sylvestris), Lemongrass(cymbopogon citratus), Black Pepper(piper nigrum) – careful if you have weak kidneys. Eucalyptus(eucalyptus globulus), Grapefruit(citrus x paradisi), Fennel(foeniculum vulgare).

Mix 5-10 drops of essential oils in 15ml (1 tablespoon) base: Honey, cream, unscented soap, vegetable oil, yoghurt. If you have sensitive skin, use a lower dosage. NOTE: If you seem to not smell the scents after a while, do not add more. Your nose has accustomed itself to the scent. If you leave the room for a few minutes and come back, you will smell the scent again.

SALT-RUB: You need to use high quality fine sea-salt. Cover the salt with vegetable oil; almond, apricot-kernel, grape-seed or a blend. For very dry skin mix in a bit of olive oil or shea-butter oil, they are heavier and will stay on the skin a bit longer. (Only use high quality cold-pressed veg. oils) Allow the salt to be saturated by the vegetable oil and then you can (optional) add essential oils; 5-10 drops/15ml (1 table-spoon). Lower doses for sensitive skin. The salt-rub will keep for up to 6 months. Don’t use salt-rub more than once a week. Remember that it takes the skin-cells ca 28 days to reach the surface; if you scrub (peel) to often it might cause dermatitis. (irritation or sensitivity)

HAIR-CONDITIONER: Make a blend of vegetable oils (see above) and add essential oils of choice; 2-5 drops / 15ml (1 tblspoon). Good oils for the scalp are: Dry hair: Lavender, Rosewood, Rosemary and Cedarwood, Geranium. Greasy hair: Use lighter vegetable oils such as grape-seed and Jojoba. Essential oils: Lemon, Lemongrass, Rosemary and Cedarwood, Geranium. Massage the blend into the hair and scalp, cover with a bath-cap or towel. When washing: Always put schampo in first, then rinse. Then wash as normal.

FACIAL MASK:

Clay: Green (greasy skin, acne), pink (dry skin, sensitive), white (allround). Mix with water and some vegetable oil, yoghurt and/or honey.  Add essential oils if you wish; 2 dr/15ml (1 tblspn). It is better to use calming essential oils in a clay-mask: Lavender, Rosewood, Orange, Cedar, Roman Chamomile, Geranium. Apply the mask on clean face and let sit 3-10 minutes. Note: Clays are rather active and can create redness if left too long.

Pastes:  Use your imagination; Banana, avocado, cucumber, oatmeal, green tea, vegetable oils, yoghurt, honey. Just mix your ingredients into a paste and apply. These masks are usually better to use if the skin is very sensitive. You can also add some clay for consistence.

If you are interested in more home-made beauty recipes please check out this great site: mybeautyrecipes.com.

clay

Enjoy your home-spa, give yourself time-out and luxury without spending a fortune and be good to yourself. You will look absolutely stunning!


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TOOTH-ACHE AND AROMATHERAPY

800px-ClovesI was called by a friend of mine today, she was suffering from bad pain in her mouth after a tooth-operation. The doctor wanted to give her antibiotics and she was not happy with the idea so she called me.

Now first of all I am sceptical about the antibiotics-bit since she doesn’t appear to have an infection. The operation-site has become inflamed; red, swollen and painful to the touch, I think that to use antibiotics is to overkill, better to save that for real heavy-duty infections. She took painkillers which helped momentary, but each time they wore off she was in so much pain.

My aromatherapy treatment:

  • I mixed 10 drops of essential oil of Cloves (Eugenia caraphyllata or syzygium aromaticum) with 30 drops essential oil of Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) in a small bottle.
  • Vegetable oil blend: In a 30ml bottle I mixed Calendula- and carrot-macerations with Jojobaoil.

Instructions:

  1. 1 drop neat of the essential oil blend on a moist q-tip and dab onto sore spot / tooth in mouth. This helps to anaesthetize the pain and has an antibiotic effect.
  2. 2 drops of the essential oil blend in 1/2 glass of luke-warm water and gurgle for at least 1-3 min. Spit out.
  3. 3-5 drops of the essential oil blend in 5ml (1 teaspoon) of the vegetable oil blend and massage onto the cheek. If you suffer from sensitive skin, use only 1-3 drops.

For the first 1-3 days – the acute phase – this can be done every hour. After that administer the treatment 3-5 times/day or as needed.

CAUTION: Essential oil of Cloves should be used with care and never undiluted. It contains 60-90 % eugenol which is a powerful skin-irritant. This is why I blend it with Tea tree for spot treatment in the mouth, and vegetable oil for use on the skin.

Cloves has a long history of use in dentistry.

Massage therapy and stress and anxiety in children

Massage ChildA study conducted at University of Miami Medical School, Florida, USA, revealed that massage may offer considerable help for children suffering from stress-related disorders. A 30-minute back massage was given daily for a 5-day period to 52 children who were hospitalized as suffering from depression and adjustment disorders. Subjective assessments were made by the children themselves and by the nurses based upon perceived anxiety levels, sleep patterns and the willingness of the child to be co-operative. Objective analyses were also made by analysing stress hormone levels in the both the urine and saliva. The results were then compared to a control group who were shown relaxing videotapes for 30 minutes instead of massage therapy.

 

The results of the study revealed that the children receiving a 30 minute massage were less depressed or anxious and had lower saliva cortisol levels after the massage. In addition, nurses rated the massage group as being more co-operative on the last day of the study, and noted that the children were sleeping better than the children in the control group and that their night-time sleep had increased over the 5 day period. Massage therapy also had the effect of reducing urinary cortisol and norepinephrine levels in the children suffering from depression which was not observed in any of the children in the control group.

 

The researchers were left in no doubt that massage therapy offers real benefits for children suffering from stress and anxiety.

 

Field T; Morrow C; Valdeon C; Larson S; Kuhn C; Schanberg S. Massage reduces anxiety in child and adolescent psychiatric patients. Journal of the American

New Federal Legislation Targets Baby Bath Products

Baby bathSource: Happi Magazine; Vol. 46, No. 6; June 2009

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York recently introduced the Safe Baby Products Act, which would direct the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate and regulate hazardous contaminants in personal care products marketed to or used by children.

Sen. Gillibrand-who was appointed to fill the vacancy created when Senator Hillary Clinton became U.S. Secretary of State-introduced the bill in response to a study by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, which revealed that many widely used baby shampoos and bubble baths contain formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane, which may be hazardous in certain quantities. The chemicals are not listed on labels because contaminants are exempt from labeling laws.

The campaign also recently sent a letter to Johnson & Johnson asking the company by the end of August to reformulate its personal care products so that they are free of 1,4-dioxane and preservatives that release formaldehyde.

The Safe Baby Products Act would direct FDA to test a wide range of children’s personal care products, publicly report the findings and establish good manufacturing practices to reduce or eliminate hazardous contaminants from products.

“We applaud Sen. Gillibrand for being a champion for children’s health,” said Lisa Archer, national coordinator of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

“This bill is a good step forward, because it would give parents the right to know what’s in the bath products they use on their kids, and would give FDA authority to keep dangerous chemicals out of children’s bath products. Next, we need to overhaul cosmetics laws so the FDA can fully assess and assure the safety of all personal care products.”

The campaign released its test results in March. At that time, Dr. John Bailey, chief scientist for the Personal Care Products Council, said the “extremely low” levels of chemicals in the products tested “are not a cause for health concern.”

MASSAGE & PREMATURE BABIES

massage premature baby

The Explosion of narcotic and alcohol abuse in the USA has been accompanied by a surge of premature cocaine-exposed babies who often suffer post-natal complications and exhibit poor co-ordination and motor skills along with increased stress behaviour during infancy. Researchers at the department of Pediatrics at the University Miami School of Medicine studied the effects of massage on thirty cocaine-exposed premature babies who were randomly assigned to receive massage therapy or placed in a control group as soon as they were considered medically stable.

The fifteen babies in the treatment group received three 15 minute massages over a period of three consecutive hours each day for ten days. All the babies were monitored as to weight gain, post natal complications and motor skills and compared with the babies in the control group.

The researchers found that the massage group showed significant improvements over the control group. At the end of the ten day period the babies who received massage averaged 28% greater weight gain per day (33g as opposed to 26g in the control group) even thought the dietary volume and calorific intakes were the same in both groups. The babies in the massage group also showed significantly fewer post-natal complications and stress behaviours than the control group, and they also demonstrated more mature motor skills,

This study gives a fascinating insight into the physiological benefits of massage therapy for premature cocaine exposed babies. It seems that ass little as 3 fifteen minute sessions of massage over a period of ten days can make a dramatic difference to a baby’s development and effectively reduce the main problems associated with cocaine exposure. The study indicates that massage therapy may have an increasingly significant role to play in paediatric medicine.

Wheeden A; Scafidi FA; Field T; Ironson G; Valdeon C; Bandstra E. Massage effects on cocaine-exposed pre-term neonates. Department of paediatrics, university of Miami School of Medicine, Florida 33101. Journal of Developmental Behavioural Pediatrics (United Sates) Oct. 1993, 14: 5: 318-22

CHANGING LANES

changing lanesTonight I met a young lady that has been a client of mine. When she came to me a few years ago she had just embarked on the journey of the eternally slim = anorexia/bulimia. She was also “self-medicating” = vodka and cocaine. She had just turned 17, was the biggest liar on earth and thought she had control….

Enter Mama Anna.  The girl came to see me, I saw where she was at and after that I worked with her, or rather, first she worked against me and then we worked together. She realized very quickly that I could “read” her and this made her safe. Finally she went into rehab for her eating problems. At this time she was off the vodka and cocaine. She was in rehab for 4 months and when she came out she started the  journey of healing.

Now she is a gorgeous young woman; she looks good and she is in balance. In her eyes there is a sadness and a wisdom that will always stay. She knows what suffering is, and she knows what it means to change lanes in life. She changed because she wanted to. The work I did with her was to help her want to change. It was about self-definition and where she wanted to go. When we first met she hated the person she had become, and this only pushed her further into self-abuse. Once she was clear about the fact that she could change all this, she started healing. The healing process is always long and hard.

“I take it one day at a time” she said to me with sadness in her eyes “one day at a time”.

I see pride, I see strength, I see belief….and yes, I see pain. I know that this pain will stay part of her forever, a bit of who she is. I also know that she is a mighty strong woman – I can read that behind the pain. One day there will sit before her a young girl full of lies and imbalances, and she will know what to tell the girl to give her the will to live. She will tell the girl what I told her; The Truth.

She calls me her Fairy Godmother. I am honored and touched by this show of affection. I told her the truth, and she accepted it. This young girl managed to change her whole life around, without much support, and she fights every day. She made a choice.

Changing lanes is a matter of will – nothing else.

Fairy Godmother

AROMATHERAPY TRICKS FOR EVERY DAY

OilDropThere are plenty of stuff for which you can use essential oils in a very easy way. First of all I need to point out: Essential oils should never be used undiluted on skin, so don’t try these tips with any other oils than those I tell you about. Make sure to keep them away from eyes, so wash your hands when you have been touching essential oils. (don’t want to accidentally rub them in your eyes – that really hurts and can cause severe problems.)

Do not use essential oils on children unless you have first spoken to an aromatherapist.

Make sure the materials you have are good quality, otherwise you will not get the results you want.

There are 3 oils which can be used undiluted on skin for specific problems; Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia), Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) and Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus). Vegetable oils for mixing the essential oils in should always be cold-pressed.

vegetable oils

  • Fresh small wounds and bi-stings: 1-2 drops of Lavender directly on the area. Cover with a band-aid or compress. Or put 1 drop on the band-aid and put on.  Warning: If this process is repeated too often, or during some time there is a risk that the wound grows bigger. Lavender is an essential oil, and they are very strong. This is a one-time acute treatment. After that Lavender must be diluted in vegetable oil or cream for ointment: 5 dr. of lavender to 1 tablespoon (15 ml) oil/cream.
  • Burns: Cool the area with cold water and Aloe Vera, put 1-2 drops of Lavender on the burn and cover with ice-bag until heat is gone. When cooled down, use an ointment of 5 dr. Lavender in 1 tablespoon Aloe Vera gel. Tips: Make sure you have an Aloe Vera plant in your house. When needed, you cut a piece of the leaf and rub the gel onto the wound. Aloe plants are hardy and easy to keep.

aloe-vera-plant

  • Sunburn: Rub Aloe Vera (fresh or gel) onto the burn and let it dry. Then anoint with 5 dr Lavender in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
  • Infected small wounds with pus: One drop of Tea tree on a band-aid or compress. Leave it on the wound for min. one day. If still infected with pus, repeat the treatment. Tea tree is amazing at “pulling out” the pus from a wound. Once the pus is gone, use a lavender ointment for healing.
  • Acne: Dilute Tea tree in water; 2-5 drops to 1 tablespoon (15 ml). Shake and use cotton-wool to wash the face with the tea-tree-water. This can be done as often as you wish during the day. Note: Do not use pure tea tree since it will irritate the skin and worsen the condition. When acutely infected pus-filled acne, dab on pure tea tree with the help of a moist q-tip.
  • Colds, sore throat: Gurgle with Tea tree or Eucalyptus; 2 drops in some tepid water. Gurgle at least 1 min. Repeat 3 times/day. When acute stage up to 5 times/day. Rub lavender oil into the base of your skull. Rub 1 drop neat eucalyptus oil into the sole of each foot 2-3 times/day. Use Eucalyptus as an inhalation to clear airways. ( 3 drops in a basin of hot water, cover head and basin with a towel and breath deeply, keep eyes closed. NOTE: Not for asthma sufferers) Make an ointment of 2-5 drops Eucalyptus in vegetable oil or cream and rub on chest, throat and upper back.
  • Headaches: Lavender and/or Eucalyptus rubbed into the base of the skull and the temples.
  • Tiredness: Eucalyptus on a tissue for inhalation or as a room-scent.

herbal-inhalation