Quick Guide to Natural Energy, or Chi

earthenergyEnergy; defined by wikipedia, is the property of objects, transferable among them via fundamental interactions, which can be converted into different forms, but not created or destroyed. It goes on to state that, wherever energy is present it has the same qualities no matter its form. In my day to day I work with energy. Not the type of energy that you can run your car off of or light your house up with. I am talking about the energy we all have inside of us. We take from the earth’s energy, and give back to it the very same kind, just now in a different form. If you have ever watched the movie Avatar then you might be able to grasp the kind of energy I’ll explain in my post. If you would like to feel first hand what I am going to describe, let us begin with finding your own energy. Give yourself a good 10 min to really get through the whole exercise. Start by resting comfortably, preferably somewhere quiet, as if you are going to meditate. In fact, that is very well what you are going to practice. A sort of meditation to really reach down and discover your own potential energy. Take some deep breaths. I want you to take your thumb and place it right in between your other hand’s thumb and forefinger. Do not press, just simply lay your hands across each other and feel with only your thumb. Try to let go all other thoughts that come to your mind. Focus on feeling.

How do you know what you are feeling? Is it energy or just a pulse? Energy can be felt many different ways. Some can feel heat, others vibrations, and can even be pulse like or wavy. No matter what you begin to feel, as soon as you pick up on something different than what you were feeling before (that pulsing), more than likely that is the energy being present. You know what a pulse feels like, right? It is the same feeling of your heart beating through your chest. The pulse beats right through the body. So now focus on any other sensation you can harness. I always notice my hands start to warm up, my pulse begins to fade away and I am left with the feeling of energy being transferred between my two hands.

What if you do not feel anything or it is almost undetectable? This is a case of insufficient flow of energy. Sometimes we build up energy in an area and that can cause energy to lack some where else. So in the instance of barley feeling anything, we would want to work on bringing the energy throughout you. It can be simple for some, but in the event that you are deficient, you may need some energy work done by a professional to really get the flow going. Otherwise, focus on relaxing all your muscles one by one letting go of any hold they may have on you. Let go of your tightness and feel the tension leaving your body. See if by simply depressurizing your upper body your energy is now shifting. It is your intention that will lead you to what you are looking for.

Energy, or in chinese medicine chi, can be pretty complicated if you do not have a clue what to look for. But it can also make the world of a difference when it is balanced within the body. I practice moving energy to help alleviate some of the toughest pain that people have to deal with on the daily. We do not create the energy and put it back into you. We simply take from the earth, its energy, and simply help push it through, creating a new healthy and balanced force. For more on chi and its understanding check out http://www.skepdic.com/chi.html, where they give a defintion that might make it more contextual for you. Also for more exercises on chi go to http://www.qienergyexercises.com/qi.htm for a more eastern practice of this. Leave any comments or questions and I will be happy to answer them to the best of my knowledge. Thanks!

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90 Minute Versus an Hour Massage

registered-massage-therapy-1059x445Something you can always believe for sure is the more massage the better. Why is that? In the past 50+ years massage has had some pretty amazing breakthroughs. This of course has all been around for centuries, it just took the western world this long to make sure the science was proven in these methods. But when it comes to timing, massage could mean the best or not so best massage you have experienced.

Take it from the experts, you may not reach your peak relaxation in just a 60 minure massage. This can be even shorter in places that leave you with 10 minutes less because of undressing and such. We want to get the best for our time and money so let us raise the bar.

When do you feel the most relaxed into your massage? After five years of changing the world one body at a time, I would say give yourself at least 40 minutes to relax…that is merely getting sufficient amount of time for the back muscles to fully get what they need., Then you need a good solid 30-40  more minutes to get the most beneficial muscle releases you will ever receive. Not only that but you can also cover the entire body and almost every muscle in that amount of time.

Often I ask clients if they want an area of pain to be worked and focused on, in hour or less; if that’s all they can give me, because it won’t be as beneficial to try and make the whole body fit into that time. Especially if you have something specific that needs good work, which will take time. The not so good part of speeding through is activating a knot (trigger point) or muscle that needs to be worked out but only received a few minor strokes to ease it out. They can often feel achy still and tender to the touch. If there were just a few extra minutes to add to that area you could be left feeling 100% better.

Many of my healing methods are deep tissue and trigger point work. It can achieve great lengths in ways most people didn’t think they could ever reach again. Although, I feel as if there has been some mishaps in this area that leave people shying away from receiving that treatment. It is all in the way the therapist intends to release the muscle. To be efficient and to give you the absolute, most outstanding massage, it will take time. That also means paying for what you get. A more experienced therapist will know how to peel the layers of the tissue with lighter to medium pressures but also achieve the depth you’re asking for in a deep tissue massage. Just because we are accessing deeper muscles does not mean we need to use our heaviest elbow drops to get there.

benefits-of-massageAllow us the time to melt the fascia and remove tension from the closer surface muscles,  achieving those amazing hurt-so-good feelings everyone I think should experience at least once in their lives. Giving the therapist time to get all that in would not only benefit you and your healing but also make the therapist work easier for the next time you decide to come in. Which will now happen often because if you receive anything like what I am talking about you have found yourself a new addiction. But nice thing for you it is a healthy lifestyle change that can pave the way for a better you in the future.

So when you go to get your next massage ask yourself before you go. What do I want most out of my session? How long would be just enough to relax the way I need? What areas are of most concern? Then let your massage therapist know so they can perform their best massage to your likings. Do yourself a favor. Pick a 90 minute massage if you want a full body relaxation deep tissue massage. You will thank yourself and your body will in return love you back!

Just for Today

self

Just for today I will live in today. I will not try and take on all my problems at once and see today for its real worth.

Just for today I will not allow the negatives of the world around me affect my being. There is good all around, open your eyes and believe.photo-02

Just for today I will give thanks. Thanks for just being alive. Thanks to those who make this world a better place to live.

Just for today I will let be what is. There is things you can not change and things that will just happen. Take notice and be kind to what comes.

Just for today I will love myself truly. I will not self sabotage. When I look into a mirror I will see beauty in all different ways.

Just for today I will help others find happiness in the day. You can change someones day around just with a simple smile or hug.

What will you do today to become a stronger, better you?

Hot or Cold Compress- Which is Best?

Untitled imageWhen do you use a hot or cold compress? In my profession I get asked this quite often. There are very distinct differences between hot and cold which make for better uses on different problems. So to begin with, narrow in on what you are feeling.

Is it a tension issue? Do you feel an ache or dull pain? Is there lack of blood flow or weakened muscles? These characteristics mean you would benefit from heat being applied. Heat vasodilates, or opens the vessels to allow for more blood flow. This will increase the detoxing of chemicals (i.e., lactic acid) that build up in your muscles that could be causing bath-with-epsom-saltthe issue. There are several types of ways to deliver heat to an injured area, so here are a few to try at home.

  1. Take a kitchen towel and get it damp. Place in microwave for about a minute, no more. If too hot use another dry towel around it as a barrier between the skin. This will prevent any burning.
  2. A heating pad is a great way to add heat to a larger area that needs heating. Always use a pad that has a timer to prevent any electrical fires or burning from overuse.
  3. My favorite application of a heat is to soak in a warm bath. This is an all over heating that will encourage a full body detoxification. To further your experience add a bath salt of any kind. My personal favorite is epsom salt.

You only need to apply for 20 minutes because the body has done all it can with heat by then. Instances I use heat include cramping (menstruation), headaches, trigger points (also known as knots), and almost any eye issue.

Now if the pain in the body is sharp and is tender to touch or if you have swelling or inflammation in an area then you are going to benefit more from a cold compress. Cold closes the vessels reducing the amount of fluids being pumped into an area; a process known as vasoconstricting. Ice is also very beneficial for numbing an area of pain. Here are several types of cold compress you can do at home:migraine-headaches-natural-cures-cold-hot

  1. Easy enough is to apply an ice pack from the freezer. If you don’t have one, frozen veggies work just as well. In case you have neither you can make one a few different ways.
  2. One way is to make a slushie pack by adding one half water and one half rubbing alcohol to a baggie. Seal the bag and place in freezer. The alcohol will keep the water from completely freezing and you will have a nice flexible ice pack to wrap around your injury any time.
  3. You can also make what we call boo-boo bags in preschool class. This is simply a paper towel or rag that is wet and set in a bag then frozen. We kept them on hand for any little scrape or bruise.
  4. Also simply add ice to a bag and apply to the area.

It is always best to have a barrier such as a towel to put between you and the cold compress. Cold is most effective up to 30 minutes, that is when your body has done all it can with the compress.

A method taught to me through my training as a massage therapist was called the “pump method” or contrast hot and cold hydrotherapy. This is where you use both applications one after the other to achieve a push-pull effect through the lymph system. It is best used on chronic injuries 21 days or older that need a much more efficient healing process.

When it comes to injuries always use your best judgment and consult a doctor if it is serious. Whether its to help a headache or relieve the aches a simple massage and compress can go a long way. Trust me I am a professional.

5 Natural Products You NEED in Your Home

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Most moms are into saving a buck. Well let’s be honest, what person isn’t into saving where they can? So when it comes to  remedies and ways to get stuff done around the home let’s use the best natural stuff that you probably have on hand already. If you do not have these things in your cabinet, I suggest that you acquire them and keep them in stock. There is nothing worse than running out of baking soda mid recipe because you used the last of it in the laundry yesterday. Get rid of the heartburn medication, or the $160 teeth whitening program and gain the knowledge to stop becoming a consumer junkie! Some of these are just tips I use daily and work wonders for me and others are actually proven and published methods of common uses to these items. I only wish to help lessen the load of stress while keeping the joy of health and wellness ever-growing.

coconutoil

Coconut oil-

I know we just got done hearing about the coconut craze. Coconut water this and coconut oil that. Well I’m here today to tell you again that it works! Seriously, if you have yet to go out and get a jar of virgin coconut oil; go and do it now then come back and read what I have to say. There has been so many studies and proven research done on the power of coconut; it gives you no reason to believe you would not benefit from using it at all. After my showers I use a base coat of coconut oil to moisturize my skin. Most often I add things like eucalyptus and lavender to the coconut oil to make it more fragrant and to receive the benefits from the essential oils. In my years of doing this I notice compliments like; “Your skin is as soft as a baby!” and ” What do you use? You are soooo soft.” Well yea, I rub pure coconut oil on me, so you best believe I am soft! It has also started helping to reduce the appearance of my cellulite and stretch marks. Even though my theory on this is because of the application of the oil and doesn’t necessarily mean that the SkinLayerscoconut oil is the one helping the skin, but hear me out. If coconut is a hydrating fruit with water in its genetic structure then why wouldn’t it in return hydrate the skin when applied over time? Right? I think I am onto something here. It plumps the dermal layer (see diagram to right) so that the dimples of the skin are less visible to the eye.

There is also a trend now with oils like coconut where you swish in your mouth a tablespoon to help pull impurities out of the body. This method is called oil pulling. There are studies that show that it can help reduce your swelling of gums and get rid of bacteria causing issues in your mouth. One way I use oil pulling is to prevent any further pain and swelling to a recurring abscess that grows in a pocket where I had a wisdom tooth removed. Back then I thought removing the tooth would solve the problem. Here I am 2 years later though, and that same side of my mouth is giving me problems. I am not inclined to go to the dentist again and again for them to tell me the same thing and not have any results. So I find homeopathic ways to treat my symptoms. Swishing the coconut oil helps me avoid seeing the dentist, saving myself money and avoiding further pain .

bakingsoda

Baking Soda-

This powerful kitchen staple has saved me several times, mostly with oil spills. I simply dust baking soda generously on any oil spots (we used it on butter stain the other night) and let it sit until laundry day. Baking soda is also good for removing bee stings or applying to any bug bite in general. You simply make a paste adding equal parts water and baking soda until desired texture is achieved. The benefits doesn’t even stop there! I also use it to strip my hair every so often. For this I take a tablespoon or so and mix it with shampoo, wash, then I give a rinse with a hot water and vinegar solution I make prior to shower. If you feel bubbling and foaming that is the vinegar and baking soda mixing, perfectly normal and safe, but not color safe. This strips the hair of ANYTHING! Because that is the power of baking soda! I use it for cleaning, deodorizing or even teeth whitening; it is just so versatile, there is not much it will not clean.

Vinegar-

I have never seen anyone who uses vinegar for actually eating. If you do, please leave the recipe in the comments below.  Vinegar became important to me when I learned about its cleaning properties. I am a huge advocate for anything “green”, and I will substitute any harsh cleaner in my home with an organic, if possible. ‘What does vinegar clean?” you ask. Well, just about anything. In fact, I haven’t found anything a vinegar solution won’t sanitize. That is right I said SANITIZE. For all you bleach freaks and your alcohol sprays… you don’t have to kill every bacteria to be considered clean. Get rid of the dirty ones with a vinegar solution like this great recipe I use as an all-purpose cleaner. You can keep it in a bottle, ready to go under the sink. Like I do!

Ingredients you can use:greencleaners

  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Water
  • Lemon Rind
  • Essential Oils ( I use bergamot)
  • Spray Bottle

Add vinegar and lemon rinds to a jar. You can soak the lemon rinds in vinegar for effectively up to 2 weeks. Drain the solution. At this point, just put all ingredients in a spray bottle. Don’t worry about how much is too much. You are using all natural products so add to your liking. Dilute as needed, add essential oils as needed, just play around till you find YOUR right cleaning spray. Now that you have your solution you can use it on pet stains, food ready surfaces like a cutting board and use it to clean your dog’s dishes. It is SAFE!

Now let us go further into detail about this white vinegar. It has the power to do away calcium deposits if left for an extended period of time, it can break down the buildup. I run it through my washer machine and dish washer. Another great tip is to fill up a bag with vinegar and tie it real tight on a shower head or faucet with a rubber band, letting it sit and dissolve away that blockage that has your water just not at the pressure it could be. Also, a little known secret for puppy training. Dogs avoid vinegar due to its pungent odor  So if your puppy is having problems chewing, perhaps spray a little vinegar on those said items. Now I’m not expecting you to spray your undies with vinegar or anything, just start with the couch legs or your favorite pair of shoes. It might just work for you too!

Lemon-

I figured this one deserves its own category since there is no other fruit out there like it… lime may be a close second. Citrus in general has some pretty awesome powers, but specifically lemons. Lemons have strong antibacterial, antiviral, and immune-boosting powers. They are also used as a weight loss aid by adding the juice to water and drinking it to help cleanse the liver and aid in digestion. Lemons contain many great substances like citric acid, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, bioflavonoids, and pectin which fight infection and help improve the immune system. Its strong acid level will allow it to lighten dark spots of ANY kind. The list begins at lightening the skins dark spots, it can even zap a zit, it will lighten your hair when left in and set in the sun, can lighten and brighten your whites, and it has also been used in dental health! Moving on to its cleaning abilities (which I’ll start by saying how much I enjoy the smell of lemon.) I add it to the cleaner I personally make because I feel as if, out of all the fruits, it has more ability to disinfect and improve the overall quality of the surface being cleaned. I want to give you the actual statistics on how harmful your cleaning products can be to you and your family. On Organicconsumers.com  you will not only find numbers and health risks, but you will see at the bottom of the page suggestions for cleaners on every dirty job in your home. Try the alternatives and save your friends and family.

Lemon also is a great bug deterrent. Once I had a trail of tiny little ants in which for a year I could not find their entry to try to seal them out. I simply applied a few drops of lemon oil to the trail and now I haven’t seen the vermin since!! Another tip, when placed in garbage disposal or dishwasher it can help deodorize, along with any where that needs its scent neutralized, i.e. trashcan or laundry. Also the acid from the lemons when rubbed directly onto surfaces such as copper, chrome, or stainless steel will polish and make it shine like new! I can keep going and going with lemon, so I’ll stop here and leave you with this- If life hands you lemons you can do about a 100 things with them, so let the benefits begin!

Spa scene with natural cosmetics

Essential Oils-

I left this one for last because it is probably my biggest passion in the whole wide world. There are endless amounts of benefits that plants bring us and we have extracted that and made it available to the everyday commoner to use. So why are we not using these everyday? Well, my guess is that you just don’t know where to start. There is no great way to say it- this is an investment. This is where you do not want to just stumble into your regular old corner market and buy that tea tree oil on the back counter display that has probably been sitting there for a few years. Instead, do your research and see what will serve you best with your needs. I have worked with people who have used a variety of trusted brands and I say, use what works for you. It starts as simple as using them for aromatherapies. Nowadays, the best way to really get benefits from aromatherapy is to have a diffuser for your oils. This allows the oil’s best properties to be released into the air for everyone in the home to breath. You may rub some on your hands and do deep breathing also, but note that most essentials oils are not safe to apply directly to skin without a base oil i.e. coconut oil, olive oil, or any virgin oil you like. (Some oils come with a base pre-added such as Aveda singular notes)  When added to your base oil, you can now apply them to the bottom of your feet or to your chest… well basically about any where. I drop my favorites in my coconut oil for a great moisturizer and aromatherapy fix. Now there is skepticism on whether it is safe or not to ingest essential oils, but in my own home I ingest edible grade oils through dilution (either cooking with them like in a soup or adding them to a gallon of water and ingesting over time.) Since essential oils are very powerful (for example one drop of oil can equal up to 75 cups of tea, says one blogger [http://www.granolaliving.com],) you don’t one to over do it, a little goes a long way. Later, I’ll compile a more in-depth look at essential oils and their uses but here is a quick look at what I use and for what.

  • Eucalyptus- a much newer oil to  the aromatherapy family, eucalyptus has antiseptic, anti inflammatory, decongesting, stimulating and many other qualities to benefit from. I have found in my profession it helps people with arthritis and sore muscle issues.
  • Lavender- This oil can date back to the beginning of time. Its most popular properties is its calming and sleep inducing properties. I use it for a stress fix in my baths or in my coconut oil at night. Using it in diffuser or spray for the room will get you in that mind-set of relaxation.
  • Lemon- Words like “restorative” and “tonic” are just the start. Antiseptic, astringent, antiviral and it is a febrifuge, also known as a fever reducer. Like I said, lemons are your greatest essential you will need in your home.
  • Peppermint- Your next best friend, peppermint, can help reduce pain, help clear congestion, stop stomach problems and from my own personal usage help the cramping from menstruation.
  • Tea Tree- The most important trait here is the antimicrobial… meaning it will fight and stop the growth of microbes such as e. coli. It is also an antiseptic, fungicide, and an antiviral. I have had great success using this oil to battle acne which is from its antibacterial property.

On another note, tea tree and lavender are the only two oils that can be applied directly to the skin without a base, but always do a skin patch test before applying to be safe.

Stay tuned for more awesome tips and green living! Don’t forget to share!