Posts Tagged ‘organic’
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.
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!