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Archive for the ‘Beauty’ Category

Candle Bright

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

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Happily, at the Spa we work surrounded by candles, and it’s such a luxury to absorb their warm, flickering and friendly light. Candles are soft on the eyes and cast a loving glow, while consistently clearing and cleansing the energetic fields around us and reminding us of our truest intentions. But I also love to light candles at home—they literally rekindle my inner flame, and soothing candlelight is so helpful to meditation, softening the edges both literally and figuratively, and inviting an easy tranquility that supports introspection.

It’s lovely to find a quiet space where you simply sit in solitude for a moment or two, perhaps surrounding your candle with objects that resonate for you, from nature, or from your life. (Choosing a toxin-free beeswax candle, rather than one made from petroleum-based paraffin, is best.)

The ancient practice of yogic candle gazing, or Trakata—fixing the eyes on a candle for some length of time, then, with eyes closed, visualizing the flame at the brow’s center—opens and cleanses the “third eye,” at the pineal gland, our seat of intuition, bolstering focus and concentration, bringing clarity and releasing stress. In the morning, you might light a candle while you perform your beauty ritual, or do your yoga routine, warming the heart.

During the day, you might keep a candle on your desk, bringing focus and intention to your work. And, of course, nothing is sweeter than dinner by candlelight. At the day’s end, that amber light has the added benefit of preparing the body for rest. Our circadian rhythms are hugely influenced by our exposure to light, as the eyes connect to the rest of the neurological network via the hypothalamus, regulating sleep cycles and hormonal fluctuations. Lighting a candle before bedtime is very effective.

Our connection to the warmth of fire at that moment is visceral and ancient. All that power in one small flame! As the holiday season grows near, and as we find ourselves surrounded by this symbol of hope, celebration and prayer, let’s find creative new ways to usher candlelight into our lives wherever and whenever we can.

Tammy Talks Transitioning Skin Into Fall

Friday, September 25th, 2015

Woman in a wheat field As I’m creating formulas or working with clients in the treatment room, I’m often wonderstruck by the intricate beauty of our skin. As an essential part of the body’s immune defenses, skin protects us against infection, with incredibly exacting precision. Skin cells are so intelligent, discriminating between potentially detrimental microorganisms and the beneficial, symbiotic microbiata that actually help promote immunity. And, as we all know, the relationship is reciprocal: a strong, stable immune system results in glowingly healthful skin.

At this time of year, as many of us transition into cooler weather, the body is especially vulnerable to infection. It’s a great time to shore up the immune defenses with a super-boost of beneficial nutrients. Incorporating broccoli and spinach (both rich in Vitamin A) is a wonderful way to empower your diet, while also including almonds (packed with Vitamin E) or Green Tea (a fantastic antioxidant). Vitamin C, of course, is our culture’s classic remedy, an antioxidant that supports the immune system (and also encourages healthy collagen production). It’s one of the key ingredients in many of my favorite formulations—from Purifying Cleansing Gel to Essential-C Tonic and Antioxidant Crème, with Neroli and Orange.

In the ancient ayurvedic tradition, these seasonal transitions are very important for maintaining balance, and one of the most sacred medicinal remedies, turmeric, offers a wealth of benefits to immune health and to skin as autumn arrives. For more than 4,000 years, turmeric has been celebrated as a natural antibiotic and anti-inflammatory. It offers detoxification, purifying and nourishing skin, as well as energetic cleansing and a purification of the inner life-force.

If you’re feeling low-energy, or like you might be coming down with a cold, or if you’d simply like to take advantage of all that turmeric has to offer, there are plenty of creative ways to incorporate this gorgeous golden root into your day—in soups or sauces, rice dishes or smoothies. As many of you know, I love to start the day with a glass of hot water and lemon. Mixing in a 1/8 teaspoon of freshly grated turmeric root, and a little raw honey, and, perhaps a little fresh ginger, electrifies that morning ritual. Some like to keep a little jar of honey and turmeric paste on hand (1/3 cup raw honey to 2 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric is Heidi Swanson’s recipe), stirring a little spoonful into hot water every now and again to keep the bright, bold cleansing vibes going strong all day long. Please take great care of yourself this fall!

The Beauty of Slumber

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

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Slipping into a new season provides a great opportunity to change rhythms. If your summer was dreamy and loose, transitioning to fall might mean a return to structure—and to good sleeping habits, one of the most fundamental paths to healing body, mind, spirit and skin.

We all know the telltale signs of a sleepless night—the dark circles and the dullness—but new scientific studies show that sleep deprivation effects every aspect of wellness, from cardiac health to brain function.

Of course, sleep loss also increases signs of aging—the fine lines, uneven tone and reduced elasticity. When we sleep, our cells work to undo the environmental damage of the day, making deep repairs at the foundation, and making sleep radically important for the skin. During sleep, collagen destroying cortisol levels are at their lowest, while growth hormones prolactin and melatonin, as well as anti-inflammatory beta-endorphins, are at their highest.

At the same time, skin is at its most vulnerable at night, with its ability to retain moisture greatly decreased, making a carefully chosen night cream essential. During this prime-healing span, when absorption is also optimal, skin needs rich nutrients, as well as protection against further moisture loss.

But while there are a handful of incredible formulas available to support health and healing, nothing can replicate the benefits of a solid eight hours of rest—yes, eight! Nothing beats sleep. I like to begin my evening ritual by cleansing my skin, reflecting on my day, gearing down with gentle intent. Another useful suggestion made by sleep experts is to turn off electronic devices a full 90 minutes before going to bed, switching over to reading instead. Another is keeping a consistent bedtime.

If you think of it, constantly altering your bedtime or waking time is like being continually jet-lagged. If you put your heart into it and commit to a new sleeping plan—even just for a month—I think you’ll agree that the body simply loves this so-simple luxury. Down time is actually our primetime, re-balancing everything you need to meet each day with the full force of your spirit. Sleep tight!

Unveil Radiant Skin

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015

img-1As many of you know, I’m a huge fan of dry-brushing. So let me tell you a little about how this simple habit can help purify your skin, and burnish your summer glow. As you might guess, taking a few minutes each day to dry-brush your skin with a natural-bristled brush exfoliates dead surface cells, giving skin a smooth, fresh look. Exfoliating liberates sweat and oil glands, allowing the body to breathe, while improved circulation promotes the efficient absorption of oxygen and essential nutrients that support cell regeneration.

But dry-brushing also re-activates the lymphatic system, the body’s own detoxification mechanism. When our skin can’t easily rid itself of toxins, that can stress the rest of the body. By stimulating the lymphatic system—so vital to overall health—dry brushing encourages lymphatic fluid to flush away accumulated pollutants and impurities, ridding the body of bacteria, metabolic waste, toxins and all the things that can keep us feeling sluggish and tired, which also can give the complexion a dull or puffy look. (That explains, of course, why the Lymphatic Drainage Massage is so popular at our Spa.) The skin benefits from wonderful anti-aging effects, the immune system gets a boost, and the body’s tissues are rejuvenated.

I recommend two brisk minutes of dry-brushing every morning before showering. Start at the bottom of the feet and work with swift strokes upwards along the legs, always towards the heart, which encourages lymph flow in the right direction. In the same way, brush the arms back towards the heart. Dry-brushing can help reduce the appearance of cellulite and fat deposits, though it’s important to treat these areas with a light touch, as the underlying tissues there are already damaged. Brush the back. The abdomen can be brushed in a clockwise direction. Then, more delicately, brush the chest and neck. Afterwards, a quick, tingly shower washes away toxins, followed with an application of Bulgarian Lavender Body Oil on still-damp skin ensures a total replenishment.

The feeling of the dry-brush may take a little getting used to, but once you experience the results, I think you’ll see just how valuable cultivating this simple habit can be.



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