Health Tips

  • The Power to Heal Through Your Diet: Ayurveda's Food Sadhanas

    There exists disease amongst most of us. We run around, trying to cram as much experience into an hour, a minute and a second. We don’t give our body time to rest and we don’t consider what we truly need to be healthy. Fast food is just that, fast, not necessarily good for you. And the way we consume our food is just as important as what we consume.

    In Ayurveda there are the Food Sadhanas, the rules behind proper food consumption. Following these rules allows us to absorb the most nutrition & prana from our food. It also allows our body time to recognize its function in proper assimilation, getting the nutrition to the right sources to help keep us healthy.

  • For the Love of Self Massage, Abhyanga

    As I pour warm oil into my palm, as I vigorously rub it into my skin moving towards the heart, I bring greater consciousness to my being. I’m worshiping my temple, my body. Helping it detoxify by stimulating lymph circulation. I’m cleaning the skin by extracting the oil soluble debris. I’m providing a lubricating and protecting barrier from the elements. And, by taking the time out of my busy schedule to enjoy a quiet moment with my self, I’m reducing stress levels.

    Abhyanga, self-oil massage, is a quintessential practice for those that live in arid, windy & extremely cold environments. It is also very helpful for those that are more vata* in nature. Sneha, the Sanskrit word for “love” also refers to “oil”.

    Taking the time for the care of your self reduces stress. The weight of your hand on your body and the weight of the oil are calming to the nervous system. Rubbing oil on one’s self is like enveloping your body in a hug, so your body, mind and spirit scream “sign me up!”

    What oil do I use? When do I get to touch myself? How often? In Ayurveda, we are recognized as individuals. In acknowledging our unique make up of the elements (water, fire, earth, air & ether) and the energies and properties of these elements, different oils, herbs & timing are recommended. An herbalist versed in the energies of plants can come up with formulas that are good for most and you can use the oil at the time of day to best address your condition. For example, if you are having problems sleeping, an abhyanga and shower before bed is recommended to help relax & ground. If you feel sluggish in the morning, a brisk massage before your morning shower will help stimulate the senses.

    It is important to warm the oil. This helps the oil permeate the epidermis by opening the pores to better cleanse and nourish the skin. You may ask why oil before my shower? Again, oil helps cleanse the body by drawing dirt from the sebaceous glands. By oiling before your shower you allow the shower to rinse away the debris. There is no need to soap the whole body when oiling before showering. Wash your underarms, hair and genitals. Oil everything else: from your ears, feet, extremities, torso and face will be nurtured and fresh. You will exit your shower or bath feeling clean and moisturized.

    For a well balanced & very nourishing massage oil try my Body Oil. It has the healing and regenerating power of an assortment of essential oils and herbs blended into a base of olive, sesame and rose hip seed oil that is good for most skin. For specific medical conditions please consult a doctor before using. And if you have any questions, email me to set up an Ayurvedic consultation to dive deeper into your conditions.

    * See information about doshas to understand vata, pitta & kapha.

  • How to Use a Neti Pot to Irrigate your Sinuses

    The winds are picking up, bulbs are starting to push out of the soil and dust & pollen are thick in the air… it is time to neti. You may be a regular to it or someone that has heard of this ancient practice of sinus irrigation. There are many reasons to practice neti daily: to keep the sinuses free from irritants, to cleanse yourself of excess mucous and by using Alchemy’s Neti Salt with essential oils, you can address issues of mental stress or lethargy.

    By practicing neti you are bringing more clarity to your health and surroundings. People who neti regularly often experience less colds because the sinuses are flushed of pathogens and kept moist and lubricated to ward off the bad guys.

    Use the following instructions to perform neti:

    1. First fill the neti pot with warm distilled water, neither too hot nor cold. Just like testing a baby’s bottle, pour a bit on your arm to check the temperature.

    2. Use a ¼ tsp+ per pot. It will taste like the ocean. Mix the salt thoroughly.

    3. Place the nose cone of the neti pot into the right nostril, sealing it to the nostril with a few twists and slight pressure. Try to point the spout straight up in line with the nasal passage so as not to block the tip of the nozzle by the inside of the nose. Open your mouth and breathe gently through the mouth. Do not sniff, swallow, laugh, talk or have any movement of air through the nose while the water is flowing through.

    4. Now slowly bend forward from the waist so that the tip of the nose is the lowest point of the head; and then tilt/roll the head, so that the left nostril is now the lowest point of the nose. Tilt slowly so that water doesn't run out the top of the pot onto your face! Keep the nose cone fully sealed into the right nostril so that water doesn't leak out. Continue breathing through the mouth while the water flows. After a few seconds and the water should run out the left nostril. Keep breathing slowly and gently through the mouth.

    5. Before changing sides, blow out gently through both nostrils to clear water and mucus from the nose. It is important that you do not blow hard at this point or you will send water up into the ear tubes and sinuses. All that is needed is a couple of slow, soft blows out into the sink to remove the water in the nose. Do not pinch the nostrils to create extra force, or blow hard and vigorously.

    6. Repeat steps 3 & 4 for other nostril.

    7. If, after doing the above steps, there is still a mucus blockage, the whole process may be repeated several times until it clears.

  • Ear Candling, How to....

    Ear Candling, How to…

    Supplies You Will Need:

    • 2 ear candles
      per person
    • Paper towels
    • A bowl of water
    • A paper plate
    • A sharp knife or scissors
    • 2 wooden BBQ skewers
    • Q-tips, cotton balls
    • Ear oil or olive oil
    • A long necked lighter (you don’t want to burn your fingers)

    Coning Procedure:

    Place a towel on the resting area to protect your furniture from wax drippings. Rest the person's head on a small pillow covered with a paper napkin or towel.

    Take the paper plate and carefully cut an "x" 1 inch from the edge of the plate - with a sharp knife. Push the small tip of a new ear candle through the "x". Angle the candle so any wax drippings will fall on the plate. If you are concerned about setting the plate on fire, cover it with aluminum foil. Never use a foam plate. They are highly flammable.

    Light the large end of the candle and insert the small end into the ear, angling the candle away from the person's face

    Adjust the candle in the ear to seat it properly. (You may have the person assist you). If smoke is coming out of the ear, the candle has not been seated properly. Adjust until the smoke stops.

    Trim the burning end into the water bowl every so often & use the skewer to push the debris out of the small opening of the candle.

    Allow the candle to burn within 2-3” from the plate.

    Remove the candle and turn it upside down over the water bowl to extuinguish.

    Have the person turn over and repeat for the other ear.

    Clean out the ears with a Q-tip dipped in oil or hydrogen peroxide 3%. This soothes the nerve endings. (NOTE: Do not go deeply. Clean only the part you can see).

    If it is windy or cold, put some cotton in the person's ears for the first 3 hours to protect them. (When it's warm this isn't necessary).

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