Archive for the ‘holistic’ Category
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.
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!
With the holiday season in full swing, we’d love to share a few of our favorite ways to polish the complexion and burnish that inner glow before any fête, gala, gathering or jubilee. If you can luxuriate for just a moment, consider indulging in a pre-party bath, sprinkling a few fragrant Rosemary sprigs into the water. Likewise, scenting your facial towels with a couple drops of Rosemary essential oil might feel so right. For me, the silvery, woodsy scent of Rosemary offers such refreshing clarity—and not only does it do wonders for the skin, stimulating circulation and oxygenation, that sense of warmth and light is clearing for the mind. Crisp, bright and clean, the ancient medicinal remedy is known for strengthening and protecting our most sensitive organs, including the heart and brain. (After all, its name alone is poetically transporting, coming form the Latin words ros, for ‘dew’ and marinus, for ’sea.’ Dew of the Sea.) But there are also two wonderful Tammy Fender formulations we rely on heavily during these busy times of the year—Epi-Peel and Quintessential Serum, aka the Skin Perfecting Duo. They perform exquisitely together, offering a quick, 5-minute at-home facial that will leave you feeling revived and ready for almost anything. Before you begin, you might open and release the pores by gently steaming over a bowl of hot water steeped with your favorite detox tea blend. Otherwise, with a sweeping circular motion, apply Epi-Peel, our exfoliant, mask and peel in-one. Packed with pure Moroccan rosemary, spearmint and purifying clay, Epi-Peel gently refines pores, eliminating impurities, while boosting circulation (and that glow!). Next, comes heavenly Quintessential Serum, with high concentrations of essential fatty and gamma linolenic oils and multivitamins, and offering the tremendous anti-aging properties of pure essence of Rose. Brassica Campestris creates a protective barrier on the skin's surface to seal in all the benefits, while Frankincense smoothes the flow of chi energy, calming the nerves and heightening our spiritual consciousness. This combined treatment offers the pure polish of natural beauty at its best. I hope you’ll savor every moment that this wonderful season has to offer!
In this season of gratitude, I’d like to initiate a move towards Slow Giving, taking the time to savor every bit of the joy found in the precious moments we spend together, and bringing attentiveness to each opportunity we have to accept and to receive gifts. As we all know, sometimes the thrill of the season can turn into a runaway rush. But we have the power to slow it all down, stemming that momentum for just a moment. It feels so right to ground ourselves, literally stopping the clock so that we can deeply receive the loving happiness of these days. A pause to enjoy a flavorful bite of a favorite holiday dish. A moment to look around the room with deep appreciation for all who are there, and for those who are missed. Just singing along out-loud with a favorite holiday tune! We might bring the same intention into preparing our own gifts to give, tying on each ribbon while savoring everything we love about the person who will receive it. The gift doesn’t have to be perfect, but no matter what it is, it can hold our loving energy. In the same way, when receiving a gift ourselves, it might feel good to draw one simple breath before tearing in, resting in the radiance of the moment in order to absorb the intended generosity at the heart’s center. Of course, on a bigger scale, this holistic practice can also open us to receiving the gifts that life showers down on us every day—the nutrients in our food, the cellular healing we receive in our sleep, and even the nurturing benefits of the plants blended into our favorite skincare formulations! How true can we stay to that golden rule of giving—it’s the thought that counts. Each gift comes bearing a radiant energy, ours to accept, and, when we slow down, we can also cherish all the season's beautifully un-wrapped gifts.