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Posts Tagged ‘Wellness’

The Power of Curiosity: Keep the Spark Alive

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

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Every evening, after precious time with my family, enjoying each other’s company, I have the lucky opportunity to indulge my great private passion—reading and researching surrounded by a giant pile of books.

It may not sound exciting, but those happy hours I spend in following my curiosity absolutely fuel my days, and, as recent scientific research has shown, cultivating curiosity is one of the keys to living a joy-filled life. I’m happy to share with you some of my thoughts on tuning into curiosity.

Embrace the New: When we encounter new things, our bodies naturally release dopamine, the neurotransmitter which activates the brain’s pleasure center. This is true for trying new foods, listening to new music, making new friends, and planting new seeds. Our innate capacity for adventure brings a sweet tingle through all our cells, and especially when we are enjoying the wonders of the natural world. Visiting nature with an open sense of curiosity, allows excitement and wonder and curiosity to course through us. It is incredibly healing medicine.

Change the Channels: So often in our days, when facing the unknown, we fall into worry. Curiosity—while often described as anxiety’s close cousin—meets the unexpected with joy instead of dread. Following your own sense of curiosity creates new pathways in the brain, increasing the number of neurons and neural connections. And in helping the brain remember that love of curiosity, which was certainly there in each of us as a child, we become flexible and resilient and regain our love of surprise.

Fresh Eyes: What’s incredible, however, is that we don’t have to wander far in order to cultivate curiosity. While it’s fascinating to see life from a different perspective by breaking out of our old routines, which happens so often for me when I travel, bringing curiosity into the everyday is also a thrill. I think you’ll be amazed what can happen when you set out for a short walk or even your daily commute with the intention of seeing something you have never noticed before. The world can seem to vibrate as we tune into curiosity and suddenly so much unseen beauty is revealed in our everyday lives.

Young at Heart: When we strive to learn something new every day, the heart stays active and the mind bright. We often associate the alertness and enthusiasm of curiosity with youth, but curiosity is something that we don’t have to give up as we grow older. In fact, quite the opposite, curiosity guards the mind against rigidity as we age.

Listening In: In a way, as with meditation and many mindfulness practices, practicing curiosity has an incredible ability to bring us closer to our own intuitions, and to finding our own inner guidance. We never know what we’ll find by listening in deeply and being willing to follow the heart into fascinating new realms. But that’s the point! When we stay curious, we may even discover the kind of rich happiness that breathes fresh meaning into life.

Hands-On

Monday, June 20th, 2016

 

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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.

True Value

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

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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.

Nature’s Quiet Beauty

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

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Dear Friends,

Every day I’m amazed by the healthful discoveries—and rediscoveries—happening all around us, each supporting a different aspect of realizing a holistic lifestyle. It certainly is a different world than the one in which I began my work in holistic healing, over 25 years ago now. But there’s one aspect of holistic health that’s often overlooked, and it’s so important to us—it’s the comforting sustenance we receive when we re-connect with nature.

When we experience truly living with the land—feeling connected to the earth through the soles of your bare feet, or letting the beauty of a birdsong vibrate through your cells, or, in smelling a fresh flower, experiencing its raw healing power—in those moments we receive some of life’s biggest gifts. And yet, so often we miss the meeting, the one our souls crave, because, as you and I all know, it only happens in stillness.

Experiencing the beauty of our reconnection to this incredible, rich, joyfully astonishing planet, truly comes when we are quiet—on every level, when the distracting devices are turned off, and the inner chatter is subdued, even if it’s just for a moment. The incredible thing is that when we are silent in this way, with intention, we realize that nature is never silent. It is forever inviting us in. By listening through our own silence, nature can speak directly to the heart, no translation needed.

This month, and in celebration of Earth Day, we can give ourselves the silent gift of re-connection, allowing the energetic thrill of falling into place to reverberate inside and out. It is our peaceful, powerful truth.

Yours,

Tammy

Spring Cleansing

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

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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.

The Beauty Of Every Day

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

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“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.

 

Slow Giving

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

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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.

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!

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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