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Why Shea Nut Oil Is The Best Solution For Hair And Skin
There are many moisturizing lotions in the market that can help you moisturize your skin. Many of these lotions are not natural and should be avoided. If you want to enhance the appearance of your skin and the shine of your hair, using a natural oil such as shea nut oil is a solution you should consider. Shea nut oil allows you to get the nutrients from shea butter without the heaviness. Shea nut oil has many of the same benefits of the butter as it is useful in treating skin conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, and burns. Since the oil contains an abundance of oleic and stearic essential fatty acids, it provides many benefits for those who use it.
Shea nut oil is an extraordinary skin care product because of its richness in constituents. These constituents include unsaturated fats with a large proportion of essential fatty acids, Vitamin E and D, phytosterols, provitamin A and allantoin. All these constituents are natural and ultimately serve as a superfood for your skin and your hair. Among being a superfood for your skin and hair, it also works to repair fine lines and wrinkles, deeply moisturize and strengthen the skin, heal minor cuts and burns, heal muscle aches, and serve as a physical endurance enhancer.
Using shea nut oil works exceptionally well when treating a scalp condition such as dandruff or an itchy scalp. It can be used in a similar way as with other oils. It has the ability to soothe as well as moisturize. The shea nut oil is readily absorbed by the skin where it is then able to heal from within. If you are looking to enhance the shine of your hair, you will only need a small amount to get major shine and Conditioning benefits.
Rather than using a moisturizing lotion to moisturize your skin, you should take the benefits of using shea nut oil into consideration. Due to the abundance of fatty acids and vitamins found in shea nut oil, it is an exceptional solution for getting great looking skin and hair.
What is Shea Butter Good for?
February 24, 2012 08:12 AM
Shea butter is an all natural creamy fatty substance with exceptional moisturizing properties. It is made from the nuts of karite or shea tree that grows in the savannah regions of East and West Africa. Shea nuts are cracked, grilled, pound and boiled in water to extract the butter. Africans called it the women's gold because most of young women in Africa make a living in shea butter production.
Shea butter is so rich in antioxidants that it has the ability to heal skin diseases such as eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis and skin rashes. It gives relief from skin itch and flaking. It is rich in Vitamins A and E that hastens the healing process of such skin diseases. Vitamins A and E are powerful antioxidants that eliminate skin toxicity and shield the skin from irritants. They also prevent the skin from getting damaged. Vitamin A prevents pimples and other skin blemishes. While vitamin E keeps the skin radiantly glowing and repairs damaged skin cells.
She butter is an excellent anti stretch mark cream. The human skin is naturally elastic. However, pregnancy and weight gain cause the skin to rapidly stretched. This process affects collagen production and causes stretch marks. Collagen is glue like substance that firmly holds the cells together to prevent skin to sag. Shea butter aids in increasing collagen production to cope up with rapidly stretching skin during pregnancy and weight gain. This keeps the skin's elasticity and prevents stretch marks. Its ability to increase collagen production erases, if not reduces the appearance of stretch marks and scars. Increased collagen production firms and tones the skin and prevents it from sagging.
Shea butter and Skin Health
Shea butter is an intensive moisturizer for severe dry, flaky, rough and sunburned skin. It softens rough knees and elbows, cracked heel and calloused hands and feet.
Shea butter delays skin aging. As people age, fine lines and wrinkles start to develop. Shea butter deeply moisturizes and rejuvenates the skin thus, prevents wrinkles and early signs of aging. It is easily absorbed by the skin as it penetrates deep into the skin making it more hydrated from the inside. It hastens skin cell regeneration and allows new skin cells to grow. This process peels away old skin, revealing younger looking skin. Skin cell regeneration repairs damaged skin caused by ultra violet rays, radiation, wind and pollution. It also aids in fast healing of wounds, insect bites and burns without leaving scar or marks. It evens out skin tone, removes dark spots and other skin blemishes by continuously renewing skin cells.
Shea butter soothes skin from irritation and stress caused by hair removal. Razor shaving, waxing and plucking leave the skin stressed and irritated. They also leave red bumps that lead to roughness and dark spots. The Conditioning effect of shea butter calms red bumps and skin irritation when used as shaving cream.
Shea butter and Hair / Scalp
Shea butter works amazingly on hair and scalp, too. Dry scalp causes the it to flake. Shea butter conditions the scalp and hair follicles thus, prevents flaking and dandruf. It brings back hair's lost moisture due to frequent washing, hair styling and blow drying.
Shea butter is an excellent massage cream that treats arthritis, stiff joints and inflamed muscles. It has an anti inflammatory property relaxes swollen and stiff joints and aching muscles. It also relieves nasal congestion and inflammation when applied topically.
Adapt To The Stresses Of Life with Herbal Adaptogens
October 18, 2007 11:13 AM
Life today places a number of different types of stresses upon us. There are the normal stresses of living, of facing problems at work, financial worries and family stresses. Schedules are becoming busier as we try to pack more and more into each day, and relaxation time is cut to a minimum. For many of us, the stress starts when we waken and rush through breakfast, if we have time for one, to catch the bus or train to work, or to slip into the morning traffic rush that takes us an hour to travel 10 miles or less.
Once at work we have problems to deal with that continue throughout a rushed lunch period, and then back to the stress of trying to return home in the evening to open the bills and check if we have enough in the bank to pay them. However, that is not all.
Our environment is continually changing, and our bodies are subject to the stresses of pollution from the planes, trains and automobiles, not to mention the pesticides, preservatives plastics and harsh lighting. The noise of air Conditioning and the continual musak of the stores and shopping malls and everything else that goes to completely stress us out, weekdays and weekends.
That is ignoring the smog, the disappearing ozone layer and increased UV radiation, the greenhouse effect and global warming, El Nino and everything else that causes worry or affects the delicate balance of the body’s biochemistry. Rather than adapting to our environment we are continually striving to adapt the environment to suit our needs. We should develop a flexibility of mind and body so that we can survive these modern-day stresses, and this is where the substances known as adaptogens are important.
Adaptogens help us to adapt to the environment and withstand the stresses of modern life. The term was first used by Russian N.V. Lazarev in 1947 who defined an adaptogen as a substance meeting three specific criteria: it should cause a minimal disruption to the normal physiological function of the body, it must work by means of a range of chemical, physical and biochemical factors rather than through one specific action and must have an overall effect of normalization, so that no condition is aggravated to improve another.
There are a large number of identified adaptogens, among them several forms of ginseng: Panax, American, Siberian and Japanese; licorice, schizandra berries, rhodiola and others. These adaptogens tend to work in the body by improving the body’s availability and use of energy, improving the efficiency of removal of the metabolic waste and by-products, supporting the adrenal function so that the effects of stress are reduced or countered, improving the utilization of oxygen and helping to build up body tissue. In general the body works more efficiently in generating and using energy, muscle tissue and counteracting the effects of modern day stress, both environmental and psychological.
Of the ginsengs, Panax is very expensive for regular use, although many people prefer it. However, studies have shown that Siberian, or eleuthero ginseng, is a stronger adaptogen that Panax which is also called Korean or Chinese ginseng. In fact the other forms, including American and Japanese, tend to over-stimulate the body, and can also cause unwanted side effects such as constipation and over-excitement. The Siberian ginseng tends not to show these symptoms.
Siberian ginseng contains seven active substances known as eleutherosides A – F which are not present in the other ginsengs. These substances appear to have several properties that have been clinically proven. For example, they relieve insomnia, one of the symptoms of stress, high and low blood pressure, bronchitis, various forms of neuroses and, it is claimed, also some types of cancer. Siberian ginseng also allows humans to withstand noise, heat and extra stresses caused by severe workloads. It improves athletic performance and allows people to improve their work output under a variety of stresses. Athletes can train harder and recover quicker.
Another adaptogen is schizandra berries (also called schizandra chinensis and magnolia vine). Chinese herbalists class medicinal herbs by the five different flavors, sour, bitter, salty, acrid and sweet. Schizandra berries possess all five, and are therefore considered by the Chinese to balance all the systems of the body.
It is used in the West as a stress reducing adaptogen and is also included in sports and weight loss formulae. It helps insomnia and improves endurance and mental coordination. Schizandra is believed to be a good tonic for the liver and is often used in combination with Siberian ginseng (eleuthero) and licorice. The latter is another popular herb in China that is said to be a good tonic for the spleen. Licorice itself is a known anti-inflammatory since it contains flavanoids and saponins that promote the immune system. Licorice is thought be a useful supplement for HIV patients due to its effect on the immune system. It also increases corticosteroid levels by inhibiting the liver’s ability to break down adrenal hormone. However, people with high blood pressure should be careful with licorice since it can cause sodium retention. Like any other medication, you should seek your physician’s advice if you have any existing conditions.
Rhodiola, also referred as roseroot, is used for improved memory and enhanced vitality and it can also be used as a mood modifier. It is used by athletes of all types for increased strength and endurance, and improved cardiovascular and muscle recovery time. The Russians call it ‘Golden Root’ and it is a safe and effective adaptogen.
More and more people are turning to adaptogens to help them cope with the hustle and bustle of their daily lives, and they are becoming increasingly available from ordinary health stores. If you are finding it difficult to stay energetic and active then try them out. Not all work with every individual, but there is a large variety to choose from and most people are able to find an adaptogen that suits them and enables them to adapt to the stresses of daily life.
All Natural Hair Care Products - Salon Quality!
September 01, 2006 01:48 PM
New from Jason Natural Salon and Fragrance Free Hair Care
Jason Natural Salon Hair Care: Perfectly Styles, Perfectly Beautiful, All Natural.
This new line features a full range of functional products for healthy, style-conscious women. Jason has combined its expertise in developing natural and effective formulations with contemporary fashion to create luxurious styling and treatment specific products. Four specialized hair care systems offer a line of shampoos, conditioners, styling and finishing products to volumize, moisturize, naturalize, and style—for bold, sexy chic to soft, silky bounce. All the products are enriched with Conditioning essential oils and botanical extracts to nourish and revitalize radiantly beautiful, stylish hair.
Jason Fragrance Free: Pure and Natural
Studies indicate that 15-30% of the population reports some sensitivity to fragrance. More than 80% report that exposure to fragrances is bothersome*. Fragrance chemicals can cause health effects, primarily in the skin, lungs and brain.
Jason Fragrance Free is a line of hair and body care products formulated for individuals with fragrance or skin sensitivities and those who just want to steer clear of fragrance, dyes and synthetics. Many “unscented” products mask the odor of the formula with fragrance so they remain a potential source of skin irritation. Synthetic fragrances often contain phthalates which have been linked to birth defects and health related issues.
Unlike “unscented” products-which often contain fragrance to mask the scent of the formula—Jason Fragrance Free is truly sans fragrance. Stock up on Jason Naturals complete product line.
*”scents and Sensitivity,” Environmental Health Perspectives, the research journal of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, www.herc.org, Nov. 1998
Buy Quality Hair Care Products at Vitanet
SPA: Satisfying Personal Attention
June 14, 2005 10:32 AM
SPA: Satisfying Personal Attention by Sylvia Whitefeather Energy Times, October 12, 2004
Feeling stressed out? Looking for some time to relax and cool off, but just too busy to get away? Give yourself a spa treatment at home.
Creating your own home spa experience is easy and the benefits are many. With some common household items and a few essential oils, you can luxuriate in your own special spa experience while recharging and renewing mind, body and spirit. Indulge with a few close friends for a unique, shared experience.
Using concentrated plant oils derived from flowers and plants, aromatherapy offers an ancient healing art that has gained newfound respect in the modern world. Aroma chemicals transfer quickly into the body, and researchers are finding unique ways to employ this ancient technique, including medical applications.
Studies find that lemon balm or lavender oil reduces behavioral problems in older people with dementia (BMJ 2002; 325:1312-3). Rosemary has been found to improve memory and enhance mental functioning (Int J Neurosci 2003 Jan; 113(1):15-38).
Only a drop or two of an essential oil is needed to receive their unique healing benefits. (Always dilute essential oils; never use or apply them directly to your skin without watering them down.) Essential oils can help you relax, rejuvenate, improve your memory and increase your energy.
Some essential oils are reputed to reduce pain, kill bacteria, speed healing of injuries and help fight inflammation and infection (Natl Meeting, Amer Chem Soc, 8/02).
When you feel like you're ready to spa, take the phone off the hook, unplug the TV and set aside a special, unbothered time and day for your at-home spa experience. Next, turn your bathroom into your special place. Light fragrant candles, put on your favorite soft music and fill the tub.
When running the water you should select a water temperature that fits the effect you desire, according to Valerie Gennari Cooksley, RN, author of Healing Home Spa (Penguin). Water temperature that approximates your normal body temperature produces a sedative effect. On the other hand, hotter water-that which hovers around 100 degrees-induces sweating and helps cleanse and detoxify. In any case, limit your time in hot water to about 20 minutes. If you use cold water, only stay immersed for a few short minutes to rejuvenate and close the skin's pores.
Try adding about 10 drops of either lavender or ylang-ylang oil to a warm bath to aid in relaxation and to release tight muscles. Don't rush; soak for at least 20 minutes and let the fragrant water vaporize your cares. Dry off with a fluffy towel and wrap yourself in your favorite bathrobe.
Other bath enhancers you can add to your soak include oatmeal to soften the skin, seaweed for deep cleansing, Epsom salts to relieve aches, and baking soda to alkalize the body. Herbal sachets can be made by placing dried herbs in a muslin bag and dropping the bag into the water to release fragrances and healing chemicals.
The facial is a standard spa procedure. Hold your face over a steaming bowl of hot water that contains lemon juice or a few drops of lemon essential oil for about 15 minutes. Use a towel over your head to hold in the steam.
When your face is well moisturized, apply a facial mask. On dry skin, use either puréed, ripe avocado or a mask of honey and kelp. If your face is oily, apply either puréed, ripe bananas or a mask of peppermint oil and honey. If you are not sure of your skin type or have mixed skin, green clay can be used for a balanced facial. Green clay is rich in minerals while being antiseptic and healing, notes Valerie Ann Worwood, author of The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy (New World Library). With the addition of warm water, it creates an instant facial mask. (You can also use prepared facial masks; ask about them at your health food store.)
To apply the mask, begin at the forehead using upward strokes. Go easy around the eyes. Afterwards, put cucumber slices over your eyes and relax. Keep the mask on for about 15 minutes. Wash your face with warm water and then apply a moisturizer. Your skin should feel supple and look radiant.
Worwood recommends a few drops of rosemary oil and one tablespoon of baking soda in a basin of warm water to soothe your feet. Soaking your feet for about ten minutes softens the skin and nourishes the nails. After drying off, combine one-half cup sea salt with one-half cup of cooking oil, preferably olive, canola or sesame. Gently massage into each foot to stimulate reflex points and remove dead skin. Rinse and pat dry. Finish with a pedicure.
This salt scrub can be used on any part of the body to eliminate toxins, increase circulation, improve lymphatic movement and cleanse the pores. A popular European treatment, it is especially helpful for parts of the body that store water, such as the tummy and thighs. Rinse completely after the scrub and apply moisturizer to dry areas.
Since hands can age quickly, Worwood suggests using oils of rose, sandalwood and geranium for dry or neglected hands. You can also mix one-half cup of sugar with one-half cup cooking oil and a few drops of one of the above essential oils. Massage into each hand to moisturize and pamper your overworked hands. Rinse and apply your favorite lotion to seal in moisture. A gentle manicure adds the finishing touch.
Your special spa day wouldn't be complete without pampering your hair. Noted dermatologist David Bank, MD, suggests looking for shampoos that contain such gentle cleansers as avocado, borage oil, grapeseed oil, sunflower oil and wheat germ oil. Your shampoo should also contain moisturizing substances, such as aloe vera, to help give your locks shine and bounce.
Check your hair's condition. Oily hair-that which feels greasy within a day of washing-responds best to frequent washing with minimal Conditioning. A bad case of the frizzy tangles is a sign of dry hair, which needs a moisturizer-rich shampoo.
Revive From the Inside With Green Drinks
During your spa day, sip green drinks. Green drinks made from aquatic plants such as spirulina, seaweed and kelp contain needed minerals to nourish skin, hair and nails; these plants have been used for centuries to promote health and longevity. In addition to being high in minerals, they are also low in fat, high in fiber and rich in protein.
The marine vegetables found in green drinks help detoxify the body, support the lymphatic system, alkalize the blood and tissues, and support a healthy thyroid. Many natural food stores carry green drink powders that can be added to juice or water. Sipping on a green drink can enhance the cleansing action of your home spa treatment, balance blood sugar levels and maintain your energy level during the day.
Throughout your home spa experience, drinking spring water with a touch of lemon or lime can facilitate the elimination of toxins and keep you hydrated. Indulge in plenty of high-fiber fruits and vegetables, and avoid processed sugars and high-fat foods. Eating lightly allows your body to eliminate toxins from the inside out while you work on the outside.
As Valerie Cooksley says, "...sound health occurs when the mind, body and spirit are in perfect harmony and balance." A home spa experience takes you a step closer to that harmony.
Winter Survival Kit
June 13, 2005 07:35 PM
Winter Survival Kit by Joanne Gallo Energy Times, February 4, 2000
Now that the flesh-baring season is but a distant memory, skin care may have dropped off your list of priorities. But unless you're planning on hibernating until May, Old Man Winter can play a cruel joke on your smooth, glowing complexion-causing cumulative damage not easily remedied. Defend yourself with our survival kit and keep the harsh elements from wreaking havoc on your outer sheath.
Frigid temperatures and blustery winds take their toll on everyone's skin, whether it's normal, oily or dry. Cold dry air, combined with arid indoor heat, results in less natural sebum (oil) production. This oil acts as a protective barrier that helps hold moisture on the surface of the skin; hence less sebum leads to a rough and dry exterior. Icy winds can also cause redness as the stress induces tiny capillaries just underneath the skin's surface to burst.
So the first order of business for winter skincare is preserving your skin's moisture. Along with external methods of bundling up all exposed areas, dietary habits can help preserve moisture internally.
Skincare consultant Lynn J. Parentini, author of The Joy of Healthy Skin: A Lifetime Guide to Beautiful, Problem-Free Skin (Prentice Hall), suggests reducing your intake of coffee and tea, which act as diuretics; eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, which contain natural, vitamin-rich moisture; and increasing the amount of water you drink (those daily recommended eight glasses of water are even more important in winter).
A Cleansing Experience
Bathing can strip skin of its natural oils, so you should be careful of washing with overdrying soaps. Avoid deodorant soaps with harsh detergents which can irritate the skin, and look for milder soaps with moisturizers or a skin-softening shower gel. Neutrogena Rainbath Shower & Bath Gels gently cleanse and condition skin with a rich, full lather that won't leave a residue. Showers tend to be less drying than baths, but if you prefer soaking in a tub you can use bath oil to lubricate the skin. Also avoid very hot showers and baths as they can pull moisture out of the body.
For extremely dry and sensitive skin, shower at night and follow with a rich moisturizer. Skin then can replenish its protective oils before the morning's icy blast.
Now's the time to use a heavier cream moisturizer to counteract all these dehydrating forces, so finding the right one is imperative. In simpler times, choosing a body moisturizer came down to which one possessed the most pleasing smell. Today, lotions are formulated with nutrients and natural ingredients for powerful, soothing benefits. • CAMOCARE Soothing Cream contains patented Camillosan Camomile, a natural anti-inflammatory. This thick, therapeutic cream is great for dry patches on hands or elbows.
Face the Season
Faces need extra-special protection during winter, as moisturizers do double duty to fight the elements and aging. Many formulas contain alpha (AHA) and beta hydroxy acids: gentle exfoliants that slough off the top layer of dead skin cells to allow younger, smoother-looking skin to emerge. • Oil of Olay's Age Defying Series: Protective Renewal Lotion contains moisturizers, a beta-hydroxy complex, vitamin E and SPF 15. • Neutrogena Healthy Skin Face Lotion is formulated with alpha-hydroxy acids to ease lines, blotches and discoloration; vitamin A and pro-vitamin B5 to increase firmness and moisture levels; and antioxidant vitamins C and E to fight free radical damage and protect new skin.
So you think the sun is the least of your problems in the winter? Better reflect on that matter again. The general public has finally warmed up to wearing sunblock in the summer, but year-round protection against ultraviolet (UV) rays is crucial to avoid premature aging.
There are two types of UV rays, UVA and UVB: the former are responsible for aging and the latter for burning. Although UVB rays produce a more blatant sign of skin damage, it is limited to the epidermis, or outer layer of the skin.
UVA rays, on the other hand, don't cause any discomfort, but they penetrate deep to the dermis or second layer of skin. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Department of Dermatology have shown that chronic exposure to sunlight can cause holes and breaks in the elastin and collagen fibers that give the skin its shape, definition and supple quality. This damage is what is known as "photoaging." Severely photoaged skin appears dry, scaly, leathery, spotted and deeply wrinkled.
While the burning UVB rays are most intense during the summer months, UVA rays are prevalent year-round. Their effect on the skin is cumulative, so that the more you're exposed the more likely your skin is to age prematurely. And as only 14% of Americans wear sunscreen year-round (according to the American Academy of Dermatology), most of us are getting more UVA exposure than we realize.
" New clinical evidence proves that sun damages the skin much faster than previously thought," notes Zoe Draelos, MD, clinical associate professor of dermatology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. "It only takes small amounts of sun exposure, such as walking to the car or to the mailbox, to start skin damage."
And for those who engage in popular winter sports like skiing, UVA rays are even stronger at higher elevations. Sunblocks with high SPFs (sun protection factor) guard against UVB rays but they do not block against UVAs, so many sunscreen products do not sufficiently protect against the entire range of UVA rays.
It is crucial, then, to look for products that guard against the entire spectrum of UVA/UVB rays. Sunblocks that contain zinc oxide, titanium dioxide or Parsol 1789 provide complete protection against aging and burning rays. Try Coppertone Shade UVA Guard SPF 30, Hawaiian Tropic 30 Plus Broad Spectrum Sunblock, L'Oreal Ombrelle Sunscreen Lotion or Spray in SPF 15, or PreSun Ultra SPF 30.
Don't forget that the lips are particularly susceptible to sun damage too. In comparison to other facial skin, they have far fewer oil glands, no sweat glands, a much thinner protective outer layer and very few melanocytes, the cells that produce the protective pigment melanin. Accumulated sun exposure makes the lips less plump as UV rays damage their collagen and elastin fibers, resulting in rough spots, scaly patches or faded areas.
Even if you wear lipstick on a regular basis, most do not contain the sunscreens and conditioners you can find in a lip balm. Blistex offers a wide range of lip care products, like their new Blistex Herbal Answer, which contains the Conditioning qualities of five natural, herbal extracts: aloe, chamomile, avocado, jojoba and shea butter, plus SPF 15; Blistex Ultra Protection with SPF 30 has six protectants for advanced defense against cold, wind and sun; Blistex DCT (Daily Conditioning Treatment) with SPF 20 contains aloe, lanolin, cocoa butter, and vitamins A and E to help keep lips soft and supple. o
Ocean Treasures - For centuries, people have flocked to the sea....
June 13, 2005 10:11 AM
Ocean Treasures by Chrystle Fiedler Energy Times, January 3, 2004
For centuries, people have flocked to the sea to take advantage of its healing and restorative powers.
"The ocean is alive with energy and abundant sea life," says Susie Galvez, owner of Face Works Day Spa in Richmond, Virginia and author of Hello Beautiful (MQ Publications). "It's an abundant source. Sea products are rich in minerals like magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc, all of which are known for their deeply cleansing and antibiotic properties. When we think of the sea, we think of health, invigoration, the feeling of being alive and yet peacefully calm."
"To the ancient Greeks, the image of Aphrodite rising out of the sea was beautiful because of the nutrients that the sea plants had given her," says Linda Page, ND, in Healthy Healing (Healthy Healing Publications). Today, sea plants still provide beauty benefits. "They have a complete spectrum of chelated minerals, which makes them easier to absorb, that add lustre and shine to your hair and eyes and improve skin texture and tone."
Thalassotherapy (seawater treatment) includes using salts, mud, foliage, sand and water from the sea to stimulate, hydrate and nourish the skin, making it smoother, firmer and more resilient.
"Using sea products in treatments is both restorative and detoxifying," says Galvez. "Now with modern technology, you don't have to live anywhere near the sea to take advantage of the wonderful health and wellness benefits. Your sea retreat source can be as close as your health food store."
Seaweed's Beauty Benefits
"Pollution, stress, fatigue and bad eating habits all affect the body," says Anne Mok, LaC, a certified Chinese herbalist and co-owner of Cornerstone Healing in Brooklyn, New York. This leads to vitamin and mineral deficiencies that can result in broken capillaries, loss of firmness, skin lesions, dry scaliness and more.
The good news, Mok says, is since seaweed is packed with easy-to-absorb proteins, vitamins, minerals and lipids, it can protect against environmental pollution and ward off aging by nourishing and moisturizing the skin. "The seawater in seaweed is similar to human plasma, so it's an ideal way to get the nutritive benefits from the sea, vitamins A, C and E, and the minerals zinc, selenium and magnesium we need through the process of osmosis. Seaweed cleanses, tones and soothes the skin and regenerates body tissues, offering a new vitality and helping to maintain a youthful appearance. It also improves circulation, which has a positive effect on local fatty overloads and helps maintain the tone of the tissue." No wonder seaweed is used to firm the skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite!
Seaweed captures all the richness from the sea. "There is no genetic manipulation, fertilizer or pesticides, just the sea, light and the tides," says Mok. "[S]eaweed is ten times richer in trace elements than land plants."
Beauty aids from the sea include:
* Kelp (laminaria), a large leafy brown algae, grows along cold climate coastlines and can bring a healthy glow to skin. "Kelp powder has exfoliating properties that make it a great addition to a facial mask," Galvez adds. "It increases blood circulation and stimulates lymph production to eliminate toxins. It's also a mineral-rich body scrub for removing surface impurities."
* Crushed algae is often used in seaweed masks.
* Carrageenan, a gel extracted from Irish sea moss, is commonly used as a cosmetic thickening agent. "It's a great moisturizer that holds nutrients and water in," says Mok.
* Bladderwrack (fucus), a brown seaweed, is often used in cellulite-reducing creams to eliminate excess fluid from the skin.
A Seaweed Beauty Routine
Incorporating the benefits of seaweed into your beauty routine is easy. You can "purchase dehydrated seaweed at a natural food store to make your bath a mini-ocean," says Janice Cox, author of Natural Beauty at Home (Henry Holt & Co). "Fill the tub to the point that you're covered when you lie down," says Dr. Page. "The idea is to make your body sweat, to open your pores, release toxins and take in the sea nutrient benefits by osmosis. Boost the effect with a few drops of aromatherapy bath oils like rosemary and lavender. It'll help hold the heat in and improve your cleansing program." Rinse off and "you'll feel your skin tighten, due to the high iodine content of the seaweed," says Cox. "Your skin should also feel softer and firmer."
Seaweed and algae body wraps are ideal ways to beautify the skin, rid your body of toxins and boost well-being and health. "It starts a program of detoxification very rapidly," says Dr. Page, who has also written Detoxification: All You Need to Know (Healthy Healing Publications). "It's amazing how it encourages weight loss and cellulite reduction." "Seaweed wraps are the most effective cellulite treatments," says Mok. "Seaweed and seaweed mud, especially, stimulate the cells to improve cellular activity and increase the efficiency of lymphatic fluid, which helps break down toxic deposits that can result in cellulite.
"It's excellent Conditioning for the skin and leaves it soft and glowing," says Claudia Spagnolo, spa director for the DeFranco Spagnolo Salon and Day Spa in Great Neck, New York.
Revitalize With Sea Salts
Sea salts contain minerals-such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, iron, sulphur, phosphorus and chlorine-that have a delightfully rejuvenating and revitalizing effect on skin.
"Sea salts enhance the youthful healthy glow of the skin," says Spagnolo. "It creates a deep pore cleansing from shoulder to toe, removing rough, dry skin, helping to purify and slough off dead skin cells. It's great for an all-over exfoliation, and leaves the skin smooth and refreshed."
"Sea salt has wonderful drawing properties, promoting the removal of toxins from the skin," says Galvez, author of Ooh La La Effortless Beauty (MQ Publications). "It's high in mineral content and nourishes the body."
Sea salt also "guards against moisture loss, so it's ideal for dry skin and helps prevent aging," says Mok. In addition, it can be used to treat acne, eczema and psoriasis. Often done before a massage in spas, a "salt glow," which uses a vigorous scrub of coarse sea salts mixed with essential oils, rejuvenates and revitalizes the skin. Sea salt is also readily available at health food stores so you can do the same at home.
Mineral-rich Dead Sea salts pack a salinity of 32%. "When bathing with Dead Sea salt you don't even need to use soap because the minerals remove redundant fat and dirt," says Mok. Dead Sea minerals are often used in shampoos, conditioners and shower gels. "Galvez adds, "Dead Sea mud mineral and vitamin content is very close to that of humans, and therefore treatments using the mud penetrate deeply."
Ah! Home Spa
It's easy to turn your bathroom into an oasis of calm and create a private spa to call your own.
For a sea cure bath, mix together half a pound of sea salt and a pound of baking soda, add to a warm water bath and soak until the water has cooled, says Mok. "It's excellent for soothing itchy and dry skin and helps detoxify by pulling out toxic waste from the pores." Aromatherapy oils, like lavender, make your soak in the tub even more relaxing and luxurious. "It's a great way to de-stress after a long day at work."
A seaweed wrap can release water retention and leave legs looking their sleekest, notes Mok. "Just soak legs in a bath of warm water and Epsom salts for 5 minutes, then pat dry. Apply a seaweed mask and wrap legs with plastic wrap and a warm towel. Relax for 15 minutes. Remove towel and plastic wrap and rinse."
You can also try a sea salt rub by mixing two cups of kosher salt with one cup of olive oil until it forms a thick paste. (Be careful: the oil is slippery.) "While in the tub or shower, massage it into your skin using long strokes toward the heart, starting with your feet," says Galvez. Rinse off with warm water, use a soft washcloth to remove any residue, pat dry and apply moisturizer. "Your skin will be silky smooth and wonderfully hydrated." To create a spa environment at home, details make all the difference. "Think of your favorite beach get-a-way and go with an ocean theme," says Cox. "Include something for each of the senses." For example, put on a CD that has nature sounds. To capture the color of the water, use sea-colored towels. For scent, light candles that produce the scents of flowering plants (such as plumeria or citrus). Add "ocean" fragrance beads. When taking a bath, "use shells to scoop out sea salts or dehydrated sea weed and put them around the tub as decoration," says Cox. Smooth on a moisturizer with a sea-scented lotion when you finish your spa treatment.
When you make an at-home sea spa experience a regular part of your routine, you reap a bounty of beauty and health benefits. "In just 20 minutes you can have a mini-vacation," says Galvez. "It's cleansing and relaxing."
Then you will be ready to dive back into reality with renewed zest.
Health Movements - Joining mind and body with healthy movement generates harmony
June 12, 2005 05:49 PM
Health Movements by Sylvia Whitefeather Energy Times, December 6, 2003
Mind/body exercises like yoga (especially the super-popular Bikram variety), tai chi and Pilates aren't just trendy, they're custom made to soothe the rough edges of modern life. So often does today's fast-paced world emphasize the mental and competitive aspects of existence that its inhabitants frequently neglect the necessity of gentle movement for the body. But these exercises are an antidote to the tendency to view the mind and body as separate entities.
Modern science is validating what traditional teachers have always known: The mind dwells in every cell. Joining mind and body with healthy movement generates harmony, lowers your chance of chronic illness and promotes emotional stability.
No one knows when yoga first appeared. Historians and archaeologists figure the practice was initiated in India somewhere between 3,000 and 1,500 BCE. But the father of the modern forms of yoga is considered to be a man named Patanjali, who wrote the Yoga Sutra around 200 CE.
The literal translation of the word yoga is "union." As Jennifer Schwamm Willis notes in her book The Joy of Yoga (Marlowe), this practice represents "the union of body, mind and spirit." The purpose of learning the fundamental movements of yoga is to connect with your body, release knots of tension and improve strength and flexibility. In that way, the physical balance during a yoga session translates into inner balance during times of crisis or distress. Schwamm points out that ancient yoga practitioners believed "the aim of yoga is to quiet the fluctuations of the mind, to create stillness in order to hear one's inner voice..."
Yoga is used by many for stress relief. But it has other important uses: In a study presented by Oregon Health & Science University at the American Academy of Neurology meeting in April 2003, yoga was shown to benefit folks with multiple sclerosis. The researchers found that participants who regularly attended yoga class for six months suffered less fatigue and improved their quality of life.
A yoga class generally begins with warm-up postures, moves on to a core group of basic postures, and ends with poses meant to cool you down. An important aspect of yoga is breath work and control. Movement in and out of poses involves carefully orchestrated breath work. Inhalation and exhalation in timed sync with movement lies at the heart of yoga's benefits. Yoga beginners often feel stiff and inflexible. But with gentle, patient, regular practice, greater flexibility, strength and balance can be had. Experts say that a yoga session does not demand struggle; it asks for surrender. If one pose causes discomfort, try another.
One particular form of yoga, Bikram, is hot in terms of both popularity and room temperature: Not only is it one of the biggest trends in the fitness world, this demanding, aerobic take on yoga is conducted in heated rooms designed to maximize muscle relaxation and minimize injury risk. The heat also helps facilitate cleansing and detoxification. It was created by Bikram Choudhury, a four-time Indian yoga champ who founded the Yoga College of India in Beverly Hills, California.
As in other types of yoga, Bikram uses asanas, or poses, handed down through generations of yoga teachers. In this case, though, 26 asanas are done in a prescribed order over a 90-minute period. Everyone, from novice to expert, works out together, the idea being that each individual is working to stretch his or her own limits by becoming stronger, more flexible and less prone to illness.
Bikram yoga stresses the tourniquet effect, in which blood floods through vessels after they've momentarily been squeezed shut. This pressurizing effect is supposed to flush out debris, quickening circulation and releasing stress. The tourniquet effect also helps cleanse the lymphatic system. Proponents say Bikram improves balance, concentration and posture; increases energy; and eases sleep.
Like any other exercise program, Bikram yoga requires diligence: one center says a minimum of 10 classes over 30 days is needed for maximum benefits. And while hydration is important during all fitness routines, consuming adequate water is crucial when you're exercising in a hot room.
Tai chi (also known as taiji or tai chi ch'uan) consists of a series of fluid movements that build endurance, increase flexibility and balance, and foster alertness of mind and spirit. Tai chi developed around the 13th century as a form of martial arts in China based on the power of flow and grace, rooting and yielding, flexibility and endurance. To the onlooker, a person practicing the movements of tai chi has the quality of someone swimming in air.
This gentle form of movement can be practiced by people of almost all ages and physical conditions. Tai chi does not require special equipment, props or a floor mat. As a non-impact form of exercise, tai chi delivers minimal stress to the joints. Tai chi emphasizes proper body alignment and uses the large muscles in the legs to relieve stress from the hips, back and shoulders. It strengthens joints, increases range of motion and improves circulation of all body fluids. Like many other forms of mind/body exercise, tai chi relieves stress.
Tricia Yu, author of Tai Chi: Mind and Body (DK), has been practicing tai chi for over 30 years. She believes that tai chi not only has benefits as a health exercise, but that it "can have a beneficial effect on your mental and emotional states, as well as help you to feel connected with your surroundings." Yu adds, "Like yoga, tai chi originated in a culture that views the mind and body not as separate but rather as different expressions or states of qi-vital energy or life force."
Current research has validated the health benefits of tai chi. One study found that the knee strength of elderly people practicing tai chi improves significantly (J Gerontol A Biol Med Sci 2003 August; 58:M763-6). Participants in this study, whose average age was 72 years, benefited significantly after five months of tai chi. For the elderly, this extra strength and control translates into fewer falls and injuries.
Tai chi may help immunity. In a study published in the September 2003 issue of Psychosomatic Medicine, researchers reported that elderly folks who participated in a tai chi class for a period of 15 weeks "saw an improvement in factors that suppress shingles [a painful viral condition] increase by 50%." They also showed an increased ability to move throughout the day and a significant improvement in their general health.
Joseph Pilates (1880-1968) was a sickly child afflicted with asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever. Determined to recover his health, Pilates studied both Eastern and Western forms of exercise, incorporating moves from gymnastics, yoga and wrestling, along with controlled breathing. With his wife, Clara, Joseph Pilates developed the form of exercise known today as simply Pilates. In the 1920s, Joseph left his native Germany and came to New York City and began teaching his exercise style in dance studios.
Today, Pilates has gained acceptance both as an exercise style for fitness and as a system for physical rehabilitation. Because of its benefits, Pilates is practiced in hospitals, wellness centers, gyms and specialized Pilates studios. It is used by athletes, dancers and anyone looking to increase endurance and improve flexibility, balance and muscle tone.
The basic principle of Pilates focuses on increasing what is called core strength. Core muscle groups include the abdominal, pelvic floor and back muscles. If these muscle groups are strong, then the body is balanced and strong. The Pilates method also encourages flexibility by building long, strong muscles without bulk.
The Stott method is one of the most popular forms of Pilates. This technique combines traditional Pilates exercises with movements updated to conform with modern knowledge about the biomechanics of the human body. By stabilizing muscles in the pelvis and shoulders, and keeping the spine and pelvis in safe, neutral positions, knowledgeable Pilates instructors minimize the chance of injury during these exercises.
Pilates exercises have been shown to help reduce back pain. Researchers report that "Pilates method can be useful for patients with chronic low back pain and deConditioning" (J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2002 May; 25/4:E3).
According to Ken Endelman, the founder of Balanced Body, maker of Pilates equipment, "Pilates is a full-body exercise. It focuses on flexibility and control, not adding bulk; bulk defeats flexibility. This flexibility is particularly important as we age. Staying flexible is key, and Pilates is good at those types of things."
A Pilates routine can be structured to fit your specific physical needs or goals. Instructors use specially designed equipment along with mat work to improve fitness. The human body was designed to move. Again and again, research shows that exercise maintains health, vitality, longevity, weight and quality of life. If you match your exercise with your physical needs and goals, and your personality, you are more likely to stay with that program whether it is aerobics, walking, Pilates or yoga. For real benefits, physical fitness has to be a lifetime endeavor.
Home Spa Secrets
June 12, 2005 01:55 PM
Home Spa Secrets by Carol Perkins Energy Times, July 12, 2003
The luxurious feeling that comes over you in a pampering spa atmosphere can be yours at home without having to venture out to an exclusive resort. Lock the door, put on relaxing music and fill the air with luscious scents. Rejuvenation, regeneration and health-promoting sensations await!
If you decide to indulge in a home spa, cleansing, detoxifying and kicking back in an unstressed atmosphere, you can prepare yourself for your spa activities by sipping what Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, calls a "Living Beauty Elixir," a blend of eight ounces of unsweetened cranberry juice with two teaspoons of a green superfood mixture "rich in purifying chlorophyll and detoxifying antioxidants and nutrients."
This drink, as Dr. Gittleman points out in The Living Beauty Detox Program (Harper), "helps the liver... open up the detoxification pathways....It's a marvelous cleanser for the lymphatic system...removing wastes from the cells via the connective tissue." The green food mixture that Dr. Gittleman recommends includes nutritious items available from your local natural food store that contain chlorophyll-rich foods such as chlorella and spirulina.
Dim the Lights, Light the Candles
Setting a relaxed, soothing atmosphere is a vital part of the total home spa experience. For the right kind of luxurious ambiance, Aloha Bay's Bright Bouquets candle offers three fragrances in one vase for a selection of tantalizing aromas. Improving the experience, these 100% pure natural wax blends offer about 100 hours of clean burning for an seemingly endless at-home spa getaway (1-800-994-3267, www.alohabay.com). Once you have your candles lit and your bathtub running, you can boost your bathing experience with botanicals from the sea.
According to Linda Page, ND, PhD, author of Healthy Healing (Healthy Healing Publications), "Beauty treatments from the sea are one of nature's most ancient beauty therapies. In Greece, Aphrodite's beautiful skin, hair and sparkling eyes were attributed to plants from the sea. The collagen in sea plants is great for relieving wrinkles and brown spots."
Dr. Page suggests making a seaweed mask by mixing 1/2 tablespoon of ground kelp flakes with a tablespoon of aloe vera gel, leaving this mixture on your face and neck for 10 minutes. "This can help heal scars from facial surgery and is also good for the thyroid. Over 15 million people may have a low thyroid."
Another great mask can be made from derma e's deliciously soothing Papaya and Soy Milk Clarifying Facial Mask. Designed especially for sensitive skin, this soothing mask helps exfoliate dead skin cells and clean pores of pollution and debris while Conditioning and nourishing for silky skin (1-800-521-3342, www.dermae.net).
Dr. Page also recommends filling your tub with seaweed, which will turn the water a refreshing green. She says that "packaged seaweed soaks can be put right into the tub, or they can be used in a muslin bag which is placed in the water. That makes for an easier clean-up.
"Fill the tub about two-thirds full with very hot water, put in the seaweed (dried or fresh), which will make the water look like a green sea garden. Keep the water filling the tub slowly to maintain a warm temperature and stay in it for about 20 to 25 minutes. It's great for detoxification, and you can enhance the experience with a few drops of lavender and chamomile."
The gel from the seaweed will coat your skin. When the gel comes off, the bath is over and you have received the full regenerative effects of the plants. When you use this bath as part of your home spa, Dr. Page says that about 45 minutes should be longest you stay in the tub, and if you're using stimulating botanicals like cayenne or ginger, take these after the bath, not before.
After you climb out of the bath, you can give yourself a complete manicure with Baywood's all-in-one hand and nail formula made of dead sea salts, herbs and essential oils. Appropriately named, Baywood's Complete Manicure cream exfoliates and replenishes your skin with nutrients making it feel soft and silky in minutes (1-800-481-7169, www.bywd.com). Then you can apply soothing, nourishing creams to your hands with DreamTime's Hand Cozys that soothe away aches and arthritic pain, and comfort overworked hands. Designed like large oven mitts, these fashionable gloves make a perfect at-home spa treatment when used with your favorite nourishing hand lotion. The warmth of the Hand Cozys help your skin absorb lotion more readily, making your hands soft and supple (1-877-464-6702, www.Dreamtimeinc.com).
Relax to the Max
You should further enhance your spa experience with soothers like Intensive Care Capsules from Annemarie Borlind. These Intensive Care Caps are a weekly replenishment treatment designed to repair damage from sun and wind, offering significant relief from dry skin. Each capsule contains a high concentration of borage seed oil and natural ceramide to deliver new moisture, vitality and elasticity, while being gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin (1-800-447-7024: request a free beauty newsletter; www.borlind.com).
And you can reward your skin with Zia's Body Butter. This dream cream combines mango and shea butters to actually heal the skin while moisturizing it (1-800-334-7546, www.zianatural.com).
An indulgent highlight of your home spa experience can be treating your feet to relaxing rubs and aromatherapy.
As Frazesca Watson points out in Aromatherapy Blends & Therapies (Thorsons), a drop or two of lavender and chamomile added "to a bowl of warm water and soak(ing) the feet for approximately 10 minutes... (can) help colds, varicose veins, athlete's foot, sore and painful feet, and swollen ankles."
The most important element of your foot soak, like everything in your home spa treatment, is the calming and relaxing effect. Healing and soothing, these treatments can keep you on an even temperament in a hectic world.
So shut the light, close the shades, light the candles and get ready to spa.