Posts filed under Healthy Living

The Importance of a Pause

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I recently took on a new position here at the Pearl Day Spa, which has me taking on more hours and duties. I love keeping busy and accomplishing projects at the spa, but I feel the increased pace leaking into the rest of my life. More time at work means less time to get stuff done around the house. Less time for that means close to no downtime. Life has a sneaky way of getting hectic.  It may not happen intentionally, or even suddenly. Gradually more commitments are added to the calendar, and before you are aware of it, you’ve agreed to 20 events in a weekend. Okay, well maybe not 20; more like 5. But in the midst of all these events, albeit fun, you still have to keep on top of those naggy little tasks of life, like laundry and cleaning and eating and sleeping. In a crazy, hectic, tumultuous life, it can seem impossible to have any downtime. “Downtime?  You mean shirking responsibilities? That sounds like a selfish luxury I don’t have time for!”

WRONG. Downtime isn’t a luxury, it’s imperative. 

Taking a moment to press the pause button allows you to process. Think of the last book you read, or the last crazy thing you watched on Netflix.  You most likely set the book aside at some point, or pressed pause to catch up. In these instances, we allow ourselves the space and time to collect our thoughts, emotions, take a bathroom break, and then continue. So, why then, do we not use this throughout our daily schedules? 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American works 8.5 hours a day. That doesn’t leave much time for family life, errands, or self-care. But when under constant stress, the body has less time to use the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls a slew of bodily functions when at rest: digestion, hormone production, et cetera. The constant stress of a hectic schedule can also lead to an increased likelihood of mental illness, such as PTSD and Anxiety disorders. All of this can be alleviated to some degree if one remembers to pause. 

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Pausing can mean different things to each of us. For me, it means a massage every two weeks. It means laying in my hammock outside while my dog runs around the yard. It means taking a walk around the block on my lunch break. For you, it could mean making time for a pedicure on the weekend. It could even be as simple as waking up before the kids and drinking your coffee in sweet, sweet silence. I would argue that the simpler the pause, the better. Sitting in silence with your eyes closed (better known as meditation) is one of the most fruitful pauses you can take, and it takes so little effort. I would argue that for a pause to be effective it should:

  1. Not take significant action on your part-- vacations are WORK!

  2. Be something that solely benefits you

  3. Is the only thing you do during that time (no multitasking allowed!)

What might pausing look like in your life? I highly encourage you to look closely at your average day and find times or spaces in which you can make a pause. Schedule it into your calendar if you have to. Allow yourself the time to pause and do something that is relaxing, de-stressing, and most importantly-- not important!



Posted on August 22, 2019 and filed under Healthy Living, Mental Wellness, Self-care.

Tossing and Turning? Try these Sleep-Improving Tips!

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There are few things more precious to me than a good night’s sleep.  I mean it. I pride myself on my ability to sleep at pretty much any time of day for any length of time. Okay, for all my bragging about sleep abilities, even I have restless nights of tossing and turning. It’s not surprising-- one in three Americans have reported difficulties falling asleep or waking frequently throughout the night. Our hectic lives can often wreak havoc on our sleep cycles, and it can take a lot of effort on our part to rectify the damage.  Scroll down to read some methods to getting more restful and sustained sleep.

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One of the biggest factors of our lives affecting sleep is stress.  The constant go-go-go of the standard Modern American lifestyle impacts our sympathetic nervous system causing it to be constantly upregulated.  This upregulation is helpful in the hustle and bustle, keeping us moving and alert, but when it comes time to sleep, our body needs time to downregulate. Allowing our parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for functions like digestion and healing, to kick in while we rest is critical for a happy and healthy body.  But in a stressful “constantly on” world, it is increasingly difficult to downregulate, which can cause-- you guessed it-- insomnia and other sleep troubles. If you find your mind racing, or feel anxious around bed time, try some of these downregulating activities:

Meditate for 10-20 minutes. Meditation is a really great way to override your nervous system to allow for calm and relaxation.  Need some guidance? Try a guided meditation app, like Headspace or Calm.

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Yoga. Light physical activity like gentle yoga an hour before bed can help the body begin to downregulate. Specific yoga positions, like forward folds and bends are particularly beneficial in calming the nervous system.

Put away the screens.  Phones, computers, and even televisions emit blue light, which interrupts the body’s natural cues to begin getting sleepy.  I recommend turning off at least two hours before bed, and do something else, like some light reading or maybe that yoga I mentioned before.

Limit the Caffeine, Sugar, and Junk Food.  What goes into your body is just as important as what you do with it.  Caffeine has a huge impact on your ability to sleep restfully throughout the night.  Some studies have shown that ingesting caffeine up to 6 hours before bed can reduce your total sleep by one hour a night.  Sugar can also rob you of precious sleep, which can even increase your blood sugar, posing a long-term risk for diabetes. So put the cookies down, eat a healthy snack if you must, and limit that coffee to the morning.  Your body will thank you for it.

Get a massage. It can be difficult to get comfortable in bed and sleep restfully if your muscles are tense and sore. Massage not only helps soothe any physical issues you might have, but can also have a huge impact on that nervous system that’s stuck firing on all cylinders.  Schedule a massage once a month to keep the continuing benefits going. I’ve heard of this really great place called the Pear Day Spa….. :)

Sleep can be elusive to some, but hopefully some of the tips above can set you up for a more restful night.  Of course, not everything can be fixed with some yoga and less coffee-- if you have persistent sleep issues, it could be time to speak with your doctor about potential medical conditions.  

Posted on June 12, 2019 and filed under Self-care, Healthy Living.

Stressed Out? Try "Forest Bathing"

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I have this habit of spending the vast majority of my time indoors. I even semi-jokingly refer to myself as “indoorsy,” preferring to spend my free time inside rather than out in nature. But often, I find myself feeling stressed, anxious, and tired. A high-stress life of modern society can leave one feeling frazzled and depleted. When we get caught up in our daily lives hustling from one task to the next, not only does our nervous system get tired, but we can experience a sort of “tunnel vision” that has us only half experiencing life.

Here in Eugene, I feel so fortunate to live somewhere with such abundant greenspace. Just being able to sit by the Willamette and soak in the sights and sounds of nature is a little magical.  And as the weather slowly warms up and the sun peeks through the clouds, spending time outside in Oregon becomes even more enjoyable. Even my “indoorsy” self has something to enjoy outside here: the Japanese concept of Shinrin-Yoku, or “forest bathing.”

“Forest Bathing” is the idea that spending time in the forest (or whatever natural setting you might find yourself near) can positively influence your health. Proponents of Shinrin-yoku claim that the connection with our natural surroundings promotes mental and physical well-being.  Through mindfulness, observation, and sensory exploration, forest bathing can help lower stress and bring mental clarity. In studies, test subjects who took a 40-minute slow walk in a forest showed lower levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) than those who did the same physical activity in a lab setting. Pretty neat, huh?

Shinrin-yoku, at its core, does not only provide benefit to the individual, but also to the forest. The Association of Nature and Forest Therapy (ANFT) describes Forest Therapy as:

“...not an extractive process, where we treat forests as a "resource" from which we extract well being for humans. Instead, it is a deeply relational practice, characterized by a sense of loving and tender connection.”

“...not an extractive process, where we treat forests as a "resource" from which we extract well being for humans. Instead, it is a deeply relational practice, characterized by a sense of loving and tender connection.”

Now, I’m not usually one to feed into pseudoscience, but this makes some sense. It comes down to compassion for your surroundings-- when you benefit from your surroundings in a meaningful way, you tend to take care of it more. Regular Forest bathing walks provide you with a firsthand account of the health and welfare of your surroundings.  Is there trash everywhere? Can you hear birds and other wildlife? Having a mindful experience in nature opens you to small details you might otherwise miss, and gives you the opportunity to take action to take care of the environment which you find yourself in. You win, the forest wins, the birds win-- everyone wins!

The next time you find yourself depleted or stressed, take time to find nature and experience Shinrin-yoku for yourself.  Interested in learning more about Shinrin-yoku? Visit the link below for articles and lots more information from the ANFT.

https://www.natureandforesttherapy.org/

Posted on March 4, 2019 and filed under Mental Wellness, Healthy Living.

The Value of (Dis)Connection

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When was the last time you ate a meal alone without looking at your phone or computer? If you are like the vast majority of people, myself included, electronic devices have crept their way into every aspect of your life. The average American spends close to ten hours a day in front of a screen—TV, phone, or computer.  That adds up, and can be detrimental to your physical and mental health.  Beyond being a distraction, this tech-heavy lifestyle can affect your health and wellbeing in numerous ways—but it doesn’t have to.  Here are some ways to turn off and tune back into real life.

Limit & Be Discerning

When you begin to limit the amount of tech-time throughout your day, it becomes apparent how often we tend to mindlessly indulge. Is it really beneficial to binge watch Law and Order for eight hours straight? Certainly not—I can think of a lot of things to instead that have a better impact on my mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing.  Making impactful choices allows you to take control of the technology in your life, rather than becoming the proverbial slave to it. For example, once a week I only watch television I can learn something from—Nature docs, cooking shows, that sort of thing—for only an hour or so rather than all day.  This way, I feel good about the content I am watching, and I have time to put what I learn to good use.

Practice Mindfulness

Thich Nhat Hanh often tells the tale of savoring a cookie as a child.  Sitting in his front yard, he would take his time eating and being present to all his surroundings.  In much the same way, we can be present to whatever it is we are doing, be it eating, walking, or even scrolling through Facebook.  

First, only do one thing at a time. In our crazy, hectic world, multi-tasking is so encouraged that we tend to forget just how to do one thing at a time. Instead of juggling three things at once, try instead sitting in the present with one.  Don’t check your email while scrolling through social media and watching TV in the background. Instead, do one thing with your full attention, and notice all the subtleties of it.

Second, slowwww dowwwnnnn. The average user looks at an Instagram post for one second. What’s the rush?  Try this—the next time you are looking at Instagram (or Facebook, or anything online) give each post 10 seconds.  Look at all the details, read the captions, give it some thought, and then when you are ready, move on to the next.  At first 10 seconds might seem like a lot, but you will retain much more information, and be more mindful in the process.

Check out— even for a little while

Taking breaks from the constant inundation of social media, news, and images can have a great impact on mental and emotional health. Consider designating one weekend a month as a “screen-free” weekend.  Take a hike, spend time face-to-face with loved ones, or even schedule a spa day as a way to honor the present moment away from distractions. By engaging in activities in which phone use is either discouraged or impossible, you engage more fully with your surroundings.

Can’t commit to a full weekend? Try enacting a screen curfew for yourself.  Studies have shown that the blue light emitted by handheld electronics such as phones and tablets can have a dramatic effect on your sleep cycle. By shutting off all the screens at a certain time in the evening, it can alleviate these effects, and promote deeper and more restful sleep.



The Problem with Parasites & Why You Should Know About Them

Parasites aren't just a problem for people living in developing nations. A growing body of evidence suggests well over 60 million Americans now have at least one kind of parasite inside their guts...and most people don't even know they're infected! Parasitic infections can cause a whole host of problems including chronic fatigue, digestive issues, and mineral depletion. It's important for everyone to know the risk factors, warning signs, and treatments in the event of a parasitic infection.

Parasites Could Be Anywhere

It's important for people to understand that some of the most common parasites aren't visible to the naked eye. Yes, some people nowadays are infected with long tapeworms and threadworms, but the vast majority of patients with parasites have microscopic bugs such as amoebas or flukes.

Some of the most common ways people get these parasites are by eating raw meat or fish (especially sushi or pork), traveling to developing nations, drinking contaminated water, or having sexual intercourse with someone who already has a parasitic infection. Even shaking hands with someone with poor hygiene or sleeping with a pet could infect you with a parasite.

As you could see, there are many ways in which a person can get a parasite.

Related: https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/transmission/index.html

Signs of Infection

So, what are a few warning signs of a parasitic infection? Digestive issues such as constipation or diarrhea are some of the most common. A few other issues patients may experience include fatigue, intense bloating/gas after meals, and sugar cravings.

Many people with parasites also suffer from a condition known as bruxism, which refers to grinding one's teeth while sleeping. It's also common for parasites to cause various skin issues like acne breakouts, eczema, or other rashes.

Related: https://universityhealthnews.com/daily/nutrition/signs-and-symptoms-of-parasites-in-humans/

Holistic Treatments

Now that we know a bit more about parasites, how do we go about getting rid of them? Many holistic healers use a variety of anti-parasitic herbs, probiotic supplements, and a sugar-restrictive diet to kill parasitic organisms.

A few commonly used anti-parasitic foods include garlic, oregano oil, clove oil, grapefruit seed extract, and black walnut. Reducing sugar intake helps to starve out the parasites, and regular probiotic supplements help to rebuild a healthy immune system.

Throughout this treatment regime, it's important for patients to schedule regular massage and spa sessions to help deal with uncomfortable parasite die-off symptoms. In addition to reducing muscular tension, regular massages help flush the lymphatic system and naturally detoxify the liver. Alongside drinking plenty of purified water, massages greatly enhance healing during a parasite cleanse.

Related: https://www.verywellhealth.com/natural-remedies-for-intestinal-parasites-88232

Signs of Healing

As alluded to above, during a parasite cleanse you will most likely experience parasite die-off symptoms. As parasites die, they give off noxious fumes that could cause you to feel horrible. Sometimes our bodies can't deal with the toxic overload of all these harmful substances being released in such a short span of time. When this happens, we typically experience die-off symptoms, which could include headaches, diarrhea, increased fatigue, or vomiting.

Although it may appear that you're getting worse, die-off symptoms are actually positive signs of healing. To better manage these symptoms as they occur, it's recommended to schedule regular massages, drink plenty of water, and get good-quality sleep every night. You should also talk with a doctor experienced in detox symptoms to see if activated charcoal, bentonite clay, or enemas might help reduce die-off symptoms even further.

Related: https://microbeformulas.com/blogs/microbe-formulas/12-parasite-die-off-symptoms-and-how-to-fight-them

Why is No One Talking About It?

If parasites are so common, then why aren't members of the medical community talking about them? One reason is that many of the symptoms of parasites mimic other conditions like the common cold, eczema, or the flu. Many people mistakenly attribute their symptoms to some other disease and don't even think to ask for a parasites test.

Another reason for the under-diagnosis of parasites is that doctors nowadays aren't well trained in detecting these critters. Even if you go through a round of lab tests, doctors could still miss microscopic parasites.

There is Hope for People Suffering from Parasites

Parasites aren't something most of us like to discuss or even think about. Unfortunately, we all live in a very toxic world, and parasitic infections are becoming more common as people travel long distances. Thankfully, there are many all-natural remedies everyone could use should they come down with one of these nasty infestations.

Of course, all of us can also take preventative measures to help our immune system naturally ward off these bugs. Practicing good hygiene, eating probiotic-rich foods, including more veggies in our diets, exercising, and drinking plenty of purified water are a few great ways everyone can prevent ever getting infected with parasites.

Part of practicing good hygiene is making sure you have the right products. We have just the products for you! Check out what we have to offer for both men and women. Your skin and body will thank you!



Tummy Troubles? Try These Tips

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Are you having stomach problems? If so, it's possible to feel better without taking over-the-counter pain relievers, and these natural remedies might help! Here are some of the best natural remedies for an upset stomach that you probably wouldn't think of.

Drink a Small Amount of Soda

Drinking a carbonated beverage can help with nausea because after you burp up the bubbles from the soda, the level of pressure in your stomach is reduced, and that may reduce the chance that you'll vomit. In addition, putting a small amount of cocktail bitters into the drink can make this remedy even more effective. The botanicals that are used in bitters are known to calm the stomach and aid digestion.

Source: Healthline

Take Probiotics for Long-Lasting Relief

Your gut contains an entire colony of microbes, and these tiny critters help to ensure that your digestive system functions properly. Probiotic supplements contain small doses of gut bacteria, and they can often colonize your gut and remain there for the long run to ensure that you have a proper balance of internal microbes.

Try the BRAT Diet

BRAT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. This diet has been shown to be effective for many people who are experiencing diarrhea, and it can even lessen the severity of some stomach bugs.

Try an Age-Old Herbal Medicine: Ginger

Ginger has been used to curb stomach problems since ancient times, and it's not just an old wives’ tale. In fact, studies have found it to be highly effective for many types of stomach problems. Ginger root can be steeped in hot water to make a soothing tea.

Source: Migraine Again

Relax Your Stomach with Chamomile

Chamomile acts as an anti-inflammatory, and it has this effect on your stomach. As a result of this property, you are less likely to experience gastrointestinal contractions after drinking chamomile tea, and that means that you will have less pain as a result of GI spasms.

Relieve Stomach Pains With Peppermint

Refreshing peppermint leaves contain menthol, and this compound can help to lower your levels of pain. While there are many ways that you can consume peppermint, one of the best ways to consume it is to brew a cup of peppermint tea.

Drink a Small Amount of Vinegar

You're probably wondering why this would help to relieve stomach pains, and it's because the vinegar can reduce the amount of starch digestion that occurs in the stomach. That allows the starch to reach the gut, which allows it to provide nourishment to gut bacteria. A lot of people take a spoonful of apple cider vinegar each day. That practice can prevent stomach problems from developing in the first place.

Source: TruthNutra

Use a Heating Pad

While the heat does not actually reduce stomach pain, it is a great way to distract you from it. Keep in mind that it's important to avoid leaving the pad on your skin for too long as it can damage the skin. If you do not have a heating pad, you can benefit from the same principle by using hot water bottles.

Try Mimosa Pudica

Mimosa pudica is also known as the "sensitive plant," and its seeds have been used to treat stomach problems over the centuries. Mimosa pudica can help with ulcers, heavy metal build-up, and even some parasites. While this remedy might not be available in your local supermarket, it's available from many online vendors.

Source: Microbe Formulas

Take Some Baking Soda

Ordinary baking soda is chemically similar to certain types of over-the-counter antacids. Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, and this compound is highly alkaline. Drink a mix of one tablespoon of baking soda in a glass of warm water for relief from stomach upset.

Try the Most Delicious Probiotic: Yogurt

You might be less prone to stomach problems if you regularly consume yogurt. Even if you aren't a big fan of unflavored yogurt, you might find that you enjoy the taste of certain flavored yogurts. Yogurt is teeming with beneficial bacteria.

Avoid Eating Before Bed

If you are suffering from heartburn, it is especially important to avoid eating before bed. Digestion slows down during the evening, and if you have food in your stomach, it's likely to sit there for an extended period of time. Furthermore, if you have heartburn, the fact that you are lying down at night means that the acid in your stomach is more easily able to travel upward. Not only does this mean that you shouldn't eat before bed, but you should also consider propping up your head with a pillow.

Source: WebMD

Drink Rice Tea

While it may sound odd, you can actually make a decent cup of tea with rice. The hot water will extract the compounds in it that help to alleviate diarrhea. You can flavor the rice tea to enhance the taste.

Add Cardamom to Your Tea

Adding cardamom to tea can act as an anti-emetic, and this remedy has been used for many years. In addition, this home remedy for vomiting is extremely popular, and it tastes good too!

Source: The Right Tea

Drink Plenty of Clear Liquids

While it is always important to make sure that you drink plenty of water, this is especially true if you have a stomach bug. That's because vomiting and diarrhea can dehydrate you, and drinking water, clear broth or clear sodas is most effective at replenishing these fluids.

Avoid Alcohol

If you have an upset stomach, it's important that you avoid alcohol entirely, and that's because alcoholic beverages can irritate the stomach. Alcohol can worsen stomach problems, and that is still true if the cause of your stomach problems is a bad hangover.

Drink Beverages With Plenty of Electrolytes

Not only is it important to make sure that you combat fluid loss, but you should also consider drinking sports drinks and other electrolyte-infused beverages to ensure that you have the right levels of sodium and potassium.

Final Say

While these are some of the most tried-and-true ways to curb stomach problems naturally, they are not the only tips. There's plenty of information available online about getting rid of stomach problems naturally, and it's a good idea to do your own research.

If you think some of your stomach problems are stress-related, why not take some time to pamper yourself and relax? We have everything you need to to rejuvenate your mind and body and help you face the day with a clear mind.




Posted on November 15, 2018 and filed under Self-care, Healthy Living.