I’ve often felt that my work comes through my hands, whether I’m working one-on-one in the treatment room or blending formulas in the apothecary. Touch is a transmission of energy, and of intention, holding so much potential in all that we do. Our hands communicate our thoughts with subtle eloquence, but they also facilitate our most important connections, not only through our work, but in touching the things and people we love, or so simply when we prepare a meal or bring flowers to a vase. It feels especially wonderful to cherish these precise, beautiful instruments—our hands—with extra loving care. At the Spa, we always take time to protect and nourish the delicate skin of the hands, but also to activate their natural capacity for healing with massage, which so easily brings relaxation to the whole being. You can try this at home: After a bath or a shower, try wrapping the hands in a warm towel for a few moments, then treat yourself to a simple hand massage with Rose Geranium & Tangerine Body Lotion. (Working in a circular motion will encourage micro-circulation.) The formulation contains phytohormones that firm and tone the skin, while also stimulating cell metabolism and regeneration. Rose soothes the heart and rebalances the Qi. Geranium calms the nerves. At the same time, while almost every ancient medicinal tradition utilizes healing pressure points on the hands to support wellness, there are two especially sensitive points which are easy to find: the webbing between index finger and thumb is richly sensitive. The point is called the Valley of Harmony in Chinese medicine, and helps relieve overall tension and any pain. The second point is known as the Gate of Spirit, and encourages emotional calm. When your hand is palm-up, it’s easy to find a small indentation along the pinky side, just where the wrist and palm meet. You'll know this vibrant spot when you find it! And you may discover that these points could do with an extra moment or two of focus. Honoring the hands in this simple way can be a true pleasure.
If your spring has been anything like mine—bustling, busy and full to bursting—entering into summer offers the perfect opportunity to re-orient towards all that matters to us most, putting aside the to-do list for a moment in order to bring delight back into our days. Surrounded by distractions, bounded by commitments, it’s so easy to lose sight of what is truly important, especially when what we value seems small. But isn’t it funny that when we take a moment to stop and think, it’s somehow the small things that matter most? This is an expression of our true wish for joy. We often undervalue the ways in which we express our love for life, whether that might mean taking the time to walk, instead of driving, or reaching out to a friend, cooking a meal from scratch, lingering in the garden, singing in the car, letting a child plan out the afternoon, getting back into a favorite exercise routine. For myself, I love to carve out time to appreciate nature, especially the plant life all around us, which provides our living food source, as well as precious medicinal remedies, while inspiring the senses. For me, there is nothing like enjoying the simple beauty of flowers, whether in a vase or in the wild, their aroma, and their energy. Yet indulging in these love-filled, life-full luxuries can all too easily slip into last place. They’re not quantifiable, and they’re set aside in the name of practicality. But while a sensible diet and good sleep habits do wonders for our health, increasing vitality, strength and resilience, it's these small and impractically beautiful gestures that fuel the fire and re-kindle our life-force, touching the deep core of who we are. To be sure, if there was a universal holistic prescription for glowing skin, it would embrace our desire for simple happiness. There is so much potential for beauty everywhere we turn, and especially when we allow life’s small gifts back into our days, letting the truth of who we are shine.
I love how becoming conscious of aging skin has introduced so many to the vast benefits of holistic care. And yet, at the same time, I think it’s important to encourage a shift in our perception of aging, and what it means to age gracefully. Since I’m asked about this question of aging so often, I’m sharing a few of my thoughts, below, on how to age gracefully, with the hopes that it furthers our conversation and broadens our definition of what beauty means. See aging as a gift. Aging is a refinement, a deeper way of knowing yourself, and when we honor the wisdom that comes through experience, it reveals a confidence that we all recognize as elegant and graceful. We can be grateful for that instead of fighting against nature’s cycle. Embrace you. Instead of chasing youth, or trying to alter the outside, when we simply are authentically ourselves, strength comes from inside. When we buy into ideas of so-called perfection, we can’t feel fulfilled. And honestly, deep down we all know that this lie doesn’t work. When we love ourselves 100%, it radiates from within us and becomes a gift we give to others. Feel at home. There’s a simple meditation where we can each remember a time of feeling utterly “at home.” You don’t have to overthink it, but sitting quietly with eyes closed for a couple moments you can let yourself soak up that feeling, whether you connect with the feeling of sitting in your grandmother’s kitchen or on the park beach. Bathing your cells in that delicious sense of “home,” savoring the joy, is just like aging gracefully. It’s the feeling of coming home. Find a mentor. Pick out a mentor—or several! An older women who exudes that unmistakable confidence, and who can lead the way as we follow. It doesn't need to be someone we know well, or even at all. But connecting with this vision of aging beautifully, with dignity and strength, can become a conscious touchstone. Go deep. Aging happens on the surface, but when we recognize that a true connection with others happens on the energy level, the signs of aging on the face and body become irrelevant. And when we are comfortable with who we are, we have the capacity to share our gifts more fully with others. Meet beauty. Looking into the eyes of an elderly person, while holding hands and connecting by heart, is a profoundly beautiful experience. Some of my dearest clients are women who are in their late 80’s, and each time I am with them, I am reminded of their exquisite beauty and grace. To me, they are ageless.
With the remarkable recent upsurge in our collective urge to joyfully de-clutter the places where we live, there’s a revolution afoot! And I love to see friends and clients make that big leap, clearing out what is no longer loved from their homes in order to make room for what’s new, and trusting life to reveal the next chapter in these newly-opened spaces. What release and power! We can bring this exuberant cleansing drive into every aspect of our lives—especially now, supporting springtime’s upwelling of new growth with some therapeutic seasonal purification. On the physical level, that might mean choosing—even temporarily—a purifying plant-based diet that includes powerhouse foods such as artichokes, beets and avocados, all of which support the liver, our most important detoxifying organ. When the eliminatory system is overloaded, we can feel sluggish and dull, which is, in turn, reflected in the skin. But revitalizing our diets, we usher in a vibrant new energy that holds wonderful benefits for the complexion (especially when boosted by a purifying at-home facial protocol utilizing my award-winning Epi-Peel and detoxifying Purifying Luculent Masque). In the same way, on the emotional and spiritual levels, an accumulation of day-to-day stress can develop into the sort of negative build-up that holds us back, if we don’t take the opportunity to whisk it away. Many traditional cultures rely on the cleansing and protecting capacities found in a natural body of water to wash away such blockages. Spending time by a steam, lake or ocean with the intention of releasing any energies that are no longer beneficial to you can be a great support. Similarly, at home, you might take a purifying bath, steeping the warm water with a sachet of the detoxifying herbs we use in holistic medicine (1 to 2 cup blend of dried lavender flower, rosemary, mint and sage leaves), and then soaking while you hold an intention to release and re-energize. In your home, open the windows wide and let the spring breeze blow through, clearing away any stagnation. Cleanse the objects you use to keep you centered—stones, crystals, sacred jewelry or images—clearing their energy fields with resonating sound vibrations (as from a small bell) or with a natural water source, sunlight or moonlight. Really, there’s no wrong way to do it. Simply allow your creativity and intuition to guide you, and let yourself get swept up in this new and old-styled spring cleaning—inviting focus, clarity, freshness and happiness to all that we do.
Our skin has a rhythm all its own, echoing the wider rhythms of life, and when we tap into that pulse, we tap into deep beauty. On a daily basis, the skin’s natural regenerative cycle oscillates between two fundamental functions. During the daytime hours, skin actively protects us from environmental stressors, including UV light and toxins. But at night, its focus changes, and during the first half of the sleep cycle the skin works at full capacity to make cellular repairs, undoing the day’s damage. Time and again I’ve seen that when we give the skin exactly what it needs, it performs at its best, and especially when we boost the skin’s natural capacities with formulas that harness the Pure Living Energy®of the botanical world. I love the way skin absorbs botanical remedies so effortlessly. Getting in sync with the daily rhythms of this continuous cycle, a rich supply of natural antioxidants helps combat pollutants during the day, a phase that tends to peak between 7 - 11 am. At night, however, skin needs essential nutrients to rebuild collagen, ideally between the hours of 10pm - midnight, when the body’s natural anti-inflammatory levels are often at their highest. With this in mind, It’s easy to see how skin can become extra-stressed during travel, when jet-lag sets the natural cycles topsy-turvy. That said, healing is not an overnight affair. It takes intention and time, with our skin replenishing itself slowly over the course of about 27 to 35 days. Just as when preforming a cleanse, or joining a new exercise class, it’s useful to approach long-term skincare goals with this timeframe in mind. Some have found that linking up with the lunar cycle offers a sense of momentum. For example, according those who study our biorhythms, when the moon is waxing—that is, growing from crescent to full—it can be a great time to initiate rejuvenating and replenishing treatments. After the full moon, during the waning period, we can best tap in to the skin’s ability to detox, with exfoliating and purifying treatments. And yet, beyond all the practical benefits of stepping in time in this way, I think you’ll find that getting more connected with the skin—the body’s largest organ—just feels right, full of wonder and surprise, but also so beautifully simple.
“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.” — Matsuo Basho Some six weeks ago, many of us merrily started off the new year with fresh goals and resolutions, maybe intending to devote more time to exercise, or to prepare healthier meals, determined to get more accomplished. I did—so hooray for us! It feels so good to approach life with heart-set intention. But I also love how the 17th century Japanese poet Basho reminds us, in setting out, not to lock our gaze on the far horizon, lest we miss out on the friendliness of everyday wonder all along the path. Coming in for treatments at the spa, many of my favorite clients bring such an enthusiasm for harmonizing their daily habits with holistic living. Of course, this usually means making changes—sometimes big changes—trusting that our skin (body, mind and spirit) will benefit deeply when we create support for harmony. In this work, however, it is just as important to devote ourselves not only the beauty that’s out-of-reach, but to the beauty that is now. Beauty isn’t something that happens later, a feeling we need to put on hold until we get there. And just as you don’t listen to a wonderful piece of music in order to get it done, even while we stretch towards our intentions, we can enjoy the grace found in each moment. Transformation holds beauty—and it is potent. As I think many of us will agree, realizing the beauty of who we already are is a key factor in revealing an inner-glow we usually call “aging gracefully.” One very lovely, and practical, way to experience this aspect of health and healing is to let your favorite formulations do the work, while you simply relax and enjoy. One of my most powerfully rejuvenating blends, Restorative Radiance Masque, for example, is dense with nutrients and anti-oxidants. It was meticulously designed, sourced and carefully crafted to heal skin on the deepest levels. So when you apply this lavish formula to your skin, it’s all happening—the lifting, the toning, the cellular regeneration. You don’t have to fret about any of that! Restorative Radiance Masque delivers. Instead, you might bring your focus to the intoxicating scent of Jasmine as you open the jar, the sensual feeling of the clay on your fingertips and on your skin, the sweet indulgence of taking good care of yourself, or experiencing gratitude for the time and the transfer of purity and energy from nature’s most potent botanical healers. This is how we can all live with beauty—and without a feeling of lack—gently moving towards the future while fully experiencing every step along the way.
“Be willing to be a beginner every single morning” —Meister Eckhart I take such inspiration from this quote by the medieval Christian mystic Meister Eckhart, reminding all of us that when we join our hearts and minds with the ever-renewing rhythms of the natural cycle, amazing things can happen. Take, for example, the way in which we care for skin. Our skin is always telling us something, whether it’s dry and in need of nourishment, or overactive and craving calm. When we are distracted by our assumptions, however, we can miss the message. Taking good care means looking at what we think we know with fresh eyes, and dropping our assumptions in order to see what’s being revealed with a beginner’s curiosity and openness. Not an easy task—but one that is so worthwhile. Staying open to the new increases the possibilities available to each of us, offering deep access to imaginative inspiration when facing unforeseen challenges. Greeting change with flexibility is one of the most beautiful ways to relax into life. Usually, we sacrifice our beginner’s joy in exchange for a notion of progress, or control. But as meditative and mindfulness practices demonstrate, living life to the fullest means dropping into now—what’s unveiling itself at this very moment, both within and without. And, as I think you’ll agree, seeing life in this way is a very effective anti-aging technique, dissolving stress, bringing a lightness to the eyes, and a relaxed glow to the complexion. This season, I invite us all to take that first leap of faith, investing ourselves in the beauty of beginning all over again, and in honoring a love of life that keeps us young at heart, and in body and spirit.
Skin cells regenerate completely over the course of about six weeks. I love knowing that nature’s never ending cycle gives us so many opportunities to begin again. Starting over—re-establishing skin’s holistic health from the foundation up—is a great gift to ourselves. And just think of how your complexion will glow in late February! In sync with this season of renewal, I’m offering some of my favorite skin-reviving tips for the new year. We hope that these simple, foundational habits will help usher in a bright and hopeful new year. The Big Picture: Take a moment to reconsider your routine—how are your habits nurturing your skin, and where is your regimen missing the mark? Perhaps you need a makeup refresher, switching to preservative-free, mineral-based products. Trust yourself to know what your skin needs most right now, whether more daytime protection (from both the sun and toxins), or nighttime replenishment. Or both! Power Up Breakfast: While many of us eat lunch, and often dinner, away from home, breakfast offers a great chance to revive skin with the essential fatty acids it craves, especially in wintertime. For those who love juicing and smoothies, consider adding coconut water or coconut milk to your blend, or some hemp seed or flax—all so fantastically rich in omega fats. Go for eggs and avocado, or find a way to bring almonds or anti-oxidant rich pomegranate seeds into your morning meal. Reach for olive oil instead of butter. Trade green tea for coffee. Circulate Freely: Add circulation-enhancing yoga poses to any fitness regimen—including downward dog, forward bends and inversions—flushing out toxins and bringing an instant glow to the complexion. Mid-Day Restoration: That little window of time between one thing and the next can be a delight, if you carve even just a few minutes to refresh the complexion with a quick treatment masque. Close your eyes for a moment and put your feet up. Alternately, carry one of our take-along sized flower waters in your purse, for replenishment on-the-go. Prettify Your Beauty Zone: The time you take to care for skin will be so much more fulfilling when blessed with your intentions. If possible, invite natural elements into the place where you care for skin—a seashell, a candle, a beautiful stone, a flower in a vase, or a potted medicinal plant, like rosemary. Dust off that shelf or your dressing table, and edit out the products that are no longer working for you. Fresh Start: Of course, nothing supports skin’s renewal like a holistic facial. If you can, please come visit us in West Palm Beach. Otherwise, try an at-home facial treatment, exfoliating with Epi-Peel, to clear away dead skin cells, and replenishing skin with our Restorative Radiance Masque. Nighttime Nourishment: Think of winter as a seed time of year, when things are growing out of sight, in the dark and under the surface. To foster that renewal, be sure to provide skin with ample nutrients at night (it’s not a time to skimp on your favorite crème!). Similarly, give yourself all the deep sleep you need, taking advantage of every opportunity to energize and heal.
Okay—let’s catch our breath for a second. I hope that many of us are enjoying a short—but sweet!—lull between holidays, which provides not only such a great opportunity to take care of day-to-day concerns that might have slipped to the bottom of the list, but can also open a warmhearted window of time during which we can give skin a much needed rest. Nurturing ourselves in this way can feel so right. And every hour counts. Before ringing in the New Year, you might take advantage of the calm by spending as much time makeup-free as possible, giving skin a break from the irritating preservatives and allergens that most makeup contains. It’s a great mini-detox, and one that will allow you to start the New Year right with a fresh foundation. Similarly, if you’ve been on your feet—and in heels—more often than not these past weeks, this week might offer a great chance to recuperate. There are thousands of reflex points in the feet, and taking a moment to bring peace to those places, gently massaging the soles with relaxed intent, can release energy blockages that build up over time. You don’t have to be a master of reflexology—like the incredible Helya at our Spa—you can apply soft pressure where it feels good. Or you can simply allow yourself to drift for a moment. Nothing feels better than putting your feet up—and that simple gesture alone increases circulation and lends the complexion an easy glow, while soothing the nerves and giving you an energetic boost for the New Year to come. Please enjoy these days. We are sending you all our best wishes for an incredible year to come!