Therapy By The Sea. The Beauty Benefits Of Seawater.

Tuesday October 1, 2013 | Beauty Wellness

 “I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky; and all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.” ~ John Masefield, Spunyarn: Sea Poetry & Prose

the beauty benefits of the sea

It’s so thrilling to finally live just a short drive away from the beach!

The blue shimmering waters, the sound of the waves, the fresh salty air and the warmth of the sun… hardly a day has gone by that I have not spent some time sitting at the beach, breathing it all in.

Nevermind that it’s always too cold to go swimming in the Pacific waters of Northern California!

Just standing next to the ocean alone helps to bolster an overall sense of well-being.

But the benefits are not all just in our heads.

The beauty and health benefits of seawater are numerous. And have been known throughout the ages.

The ancient Egyptians and the greeks, including Hippocrates, observed that seawater could clean and heal wounds.

And the French have even invented a term for seawater therapy, called Thalassotherapy, which advocates the use not only of seawater, but also seaweed, sand and the maritime climate to treat various ails, from rheumatism to depression.

Seawater is filled with minerals and elements that maintain overall health and improve inflammatory skin conditions, such as acne, psoriasis and dermatitis.

The two main healers are salt and potassium chloride which help to seal damaged skin. Magnesium in seawater helps skin to retain moisture, so it will feel soft and smooth.

A certain amount of sun at the beach can also help treat skin ailments, by drying the skin and making it flake off and allowing healing to take place.

Sea air also provides respiratory benefits that can improve allergies and asthma. Negative ions, which are especially abundant in environments with moving water, increase our ability to absorb oxygen.

It’s no secret that relaxing at the beach can help to lower stress levels and rejuvenate the mind.

sea

When I stand next to the ocean, I am always reminded that we are part of something vast. And I am humbled.

Because no matter how big we make our problems to be, in the grand scheme of things, our lives are nothing but a small drop in an infinite ocean.

And for me, having regular access to that perspective is incredibly therapeutic.

Breathing. And Why I Encourage Yoga For Beauty.

Tuesday April 23, 2013 | Wellness

“Breathing Is Essential!” I hear Jane Fonda say in a singsong voice from the TV screen.

I raise my eyebrow and snort out of my nose. I’m in the middle of doing a side leg lift, hands on my hip and I’m feeling extra ridiculous. “Oh really, Jane?”

That was years ago.

Please don’t ask me why I used to do Jane Fonda workout videos. It was just something my friend and I did for giggles, ok?

But to this day, I’ve never forgotten about that Jane Fonda workout. OR that ridiculous quote ringing in my head…

“Breathing is essential!”

Of course it is.

It’s a fact so OBVIOUSLY true, that oh my god, do you really need to say it?

But yes, actually you do. You do need to say it. And then repeat it. Again and again. Because most people don’t think about the importance of their breath.

Or how the quality of your breath can affect the state of your mind. 

Breathe. Creative Commons License Image.

Many of our important emotions (ie. joy, fear, anger, sadness) are associated with a signature breathing pattern. A recent article from Acne Einstein‘s blog breaks down four different signature breathing patterns.

Basically, when you’re relaxed, you tend to breathe slowly and deeply through your nose. Your breathing pattern is regular.

But when you’re stressed or angry or anxious about something, your breathing pattern changes. It becomes shallow, irregular and your ribcage becomes tense.

Even without thinking about it, your body’s breathing patterns change with your emotions. But this connection between our minds and our breaths isn’t a one-way street.

Things can also go the other way.

If you can control your breath, you can also begin to control your emotions.

Yoga as a Stress-Buster

When we let stress run amok in our lives, it can wreak damage to our physical health. And the health of our skin.

Stress and acne are strongly linked together (in my case, I would even say that it CAUSED my acne). It can flare up eczema and rosacea. And it can keep us from getting the most out of our much needed beauty sleep.

But in the face of a stressful situation, if we consciously relax our muscles and control our breaths to become deep, slow and regular breaths, we can reduce and disperse the feeling of stress.

Control over your breathing patterns means the ability to keep stress at bay. 

And this is why I constantly encourage people to practice Yoga.

Yoga is amazing at keeping your body physically fit and keeping flexibility in your spine! What’s more, the breathing exercises and lessons that you learn from yoga are incredibly valuable.

Before you can control your breathing patterns, you must first become familiar with the way you breathe while being completely relaxed.

And the best yoga pose for this is one that’s so simple you wouldn’t even think that you’re doing yoga…

SAVASANA: Complete Relaxation

Savasana (also known as Corpse Pose) is usually the pose that you take on at the end of your yoga practice.

To take on the Savasana pose, you basically lie on your back, with the weight of your body evenly distributed throughout and your spine properly aligned. Then you allow yourself to completely melt into relaxation.

The best place to practice Savasana is on the floor because it provides a firm and even surface. You can place a blanket under the length of your body. Also, to keep your body from getting cold, be sure to cover up with socks and a long sleeved shirt.

This is the best time to become familiar with your relaxed breathing pattern.

Image by Yana Stowe. Used with permission.

During Savasana, you can actively practice diaphragmatic breathing. 

This is a deep, calm type of breathing that allows the maximum amount of oxygen to enter the bloodstream:

  • Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen.
  • Breathe in slowly and evenly through your nose.
  • When you breathe in, the hand on the abdomen should rise slightly higher than the one on the chest.
  • Exhale slowly and evenly through your mouth.
  • Find a regular rhythm between your inhalations, holding the breath in and exhalations.
  • You can deepen the breathing by exhaling more air, so try gently contracting the abdominal muscles to evacuate any remaining air from the lungs.
  • During exhalations, release any contraction of your muscles.
  • Close your eyes and relax your eye muscles.
  • Soften your tongue, your jaw and the skin on your forehead.

Even though this is a relaxation exercise, Savasana does require some effort to keep your mind focused. Your mind may tend to wander over to your worries or start going over your day’s To-Do list. But if this happens, just gently bring your mind back to the present moment.

Ideally, you would do Savasana right after a yoga session.

But even if you don’t practice yoga, you can and you should practice this simple pose!

Try doing this relaxing exercise at least once every day, right before getting out of bed or right before falling asleep.

I promise it will change your life!

Image Sources:
Breathe – by Shawn Rossi. Creative Commons License. Used with attribution.
Corpse Pose – by Yana Stowe of givemeballroom.com. Used with permission.
The Perfect Gift Idea For Valentine’s Day

Tuesday February 12, 2013 | Health Wellness

If you’re still looking for a Valentine’s Day gift idea, then this is a really great idea.

There’s no need to spend any money. It’s something that will bring you closer together. AND it will feel really good.

But this is a gift that requires real work of love.

I’m talking about giving each other a nice, long, relaxing massage!

The art of massage has been around for millenia and played an important role in therapeutic medicine. Unfortunately, it fell out of popularity during the Dark Ages when religious authorities began to frown upon it. They didn’t like the idea that massages can also be quite pleasurable! But nevermind the negative and sexual connotation that continues to surround it.

The fact is, giving and receiving massages is simply a wonderful way to connect with your loved one.

While this article is geared more towards Valentine’s Day couples, massages do not have to be practiced only within the context of romantic relationships. Massages can be practiced by anyone on a regular basis throughout the year. Parents, children, and friends should also practice massages in order to achieve and maintain overall health and wellness.

Consider the numerous benefits of massage:

  • Relieves Stress & Tension. Massages work wonderfully for relieving stress and for preventing the accumulation of tension in the body. There are studies that suggest massages can also reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  • Feels AH-Mazing! Massages release endorphins, which act as a pain reliever and are also responsible for our feelings of pleasure. People often feel more relaxed and refreshed after receiving a massage.
  • Promotes Healthy Circulation. Massage is an effective way to increase blood flow and decrease lymphatic buildup. This means more oxygen and nutrients can reach your tissues and organs.
  • Strengthens the Immune System. The benefits from increased blood flow and lowered stress gives a boost to the immune-system. But also, massages reinforce the immune system by stimulating the lymphatic system which removes toxins from the body.
  • Improves Skin Tone & Texture. Stimulated blood flow improves the skin’s tone and texture. Massages can help remove dead skin cells and prevent cellulite. Also, depending on the oil used during massage, the skin can enjoy moisturizing benefits.
  • Promotes Better Sleep. Relaxing from massage can improve the quality of your sleep, which is crucial for health and beauty.
  • Creates Closeness. When you help someone to relax and relieve them of tension, a feeling of closeness can be cultivated. Massages can also help develop communication and trust within a relationship.

Some tips on making the most out of your massages:

  1. There are many helpful books on massaging techniques.
  2. You can take a couples massage training class together.
  3. Remember the oil. It makes a world of a difference. Even olive oil from the kitchen will do.
  4. Talk with each other and listen to what your partner does or does not like.
  5. The goal is to relax. The goal of the person giving the massage is to guide their partner into relaxation. The goal of the person receiving the massage is to relax. This can actually be more difficult than it sounds.
  6. Be patient with each other.

When practiced in the context of a romantic relationship, it’s important to point out that the massage should be about the massage. And not a precursor to sex.

Relaxation can be more easily achieved if the person receiving the massage is able to focus on the massage without the anticipation of amorous activities.

But you know, keep it flexible and fun.

And to enhance the delight…

Try presenting your Valentine’s Day gift in the form of a Coupon hand-made with LOVE! 

Massage Coupon Valentine's Day Gift Idea