I would be willing to bet you agree with me that supplementing your massage income with a part-time, mediocre-wage job is frustrating.
Did you miss our last workshop, A Natural Face & Neck - For You and Your Clients? Lucky for you, we've got a recipe from that workshop to try. At the end of this post you'll find our favorite recipe for a natural face toner. First, let's explore why you might want to use one! Watch this amazing video from skincare video blogger and author, Madeleine Olivia.
"Oil cleansing," sounds kind of like an oxymoron, right? Well, the idea behind the chemistry of it is like dissolves like, ie: the sebum your skin produces is best dissolved by something similar, like the jojoba oil and castor seed oil and Madeleine Olivia uses in her routine. To learn more about oil cleansing and why it's your new best friend, watch this video from the ever-inspirational feed, MindBodyGreen.
You've gently exfoliated, oil cleansed, applied toner and moisturized. Now what? To soothe your skin and refresh your facial muscles, try a jade roller. The cooling nature of jade closes pores and releases tension in areas you might not realize you have it. This next video, also from MindBodyGreen, is a great tutorial on how to use a jade facial roller, as there is somewhat of a method to it.
There you have it! An all-natural skincare routine, organic, sustainable, and easily made by hand. Want to try Madeleine's facial oil recipe? You can find certified organic golden jojoba oil, rosehip seed oil for extra nourishment, certified organic lavender essential oil, and an amber glass bottle to house your blend in our apothecary.
As promised, below you’ll find a recipe for an witch hazel facial toner, an aromatic treat. This recipe includes a couple of our organic essential oils, if you are local to us and would like to learn more I encourage you to register for our upcoming workshop Essential Oils 101: The Basics. We’ll study the steam distillation process, various uses and effects, warnings and dosages, and more! You can register here.
Organic Facial Toner
- 4oz bottle with dropper or spray top
- 1 part organic witch hazel
- 1 part liquid aloe (optional)
- 1 part organic hydrosol
- try rose for dry skin
- lavender for oily or acne-prone
- 3-6 drops essential oil
- try wild carrot seed and vetiver for dry skin
- clary sage and frankincense for oily or acne-prone
- Carefully pour witch hazel into the bottle, followed by hydrosol and liquid aloe. Aloe is optional but a great addition for dry skin.
- Add your essential oils of choice, keep in mind that most certified aromatherapists believe 3 drops is a medicinal dose. It's easy to over-do it.
- Cap + shake it up before each use! Your toner should have a shelf life of 3-6 months. (Tip: If using dropper top abstain from touching the pipette to your skin to prevent the growth of microbes.)
When the sun is shining so is my mood - I'm outside, drinking water, inspired, motivated, and *easier to rise (*my shop opens at 10am, it's no secret I'm not a morning person year round!). But still come November, it hits me like a ton of bricks; I'm sleepy, slow moving, less motivated; cold/wind/rain, sundown feels like it's in the middle of the day, my balanced diet is a stranger, and don't even get me started on my eating habits around the holidays!
The symptoms listed above describe a seasonal disorder called SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). In short, it is depression-like symptoms that occur during a certain time or season of the year. Going through this cycle starts to build habits and acceptance, and for some professionals in the healing industry, a loss of business.
Here we are in January and Oregon, like many other locations, is still several months away from seeing those mood boosting, vitamin D wearing months. So what can we do to combat this affect to ensure our minds, bodies and businesses stay balanced and healthy? Let's start here --> In an article titled "Planting a Mental Garden" Thich Nhat Hanh provides us a foundational perspective:
"In each one of us there are flowers and there is also garbage. The garbage is the anger, fear, discrimination, and jealousy within us. If you water the garbage, you will strengthen the negative seeds. If you water the flowers of compassion, understanding, and love, you will strengthen the positive seeds. What you grow is up to you. If you don’t know how to practice selective watering in your own garden, then you won’t have enough wisdom to help water the flowers in the garden of your beloved. In cultivating your own garden well, you also help to cultivate her or his garden. Even a week of practice can make a big difference. You are more than intelligent enough to do the work. You need to take your situation in hand and not allow it to get out of control. You can do it. Every time you practice walking mindfully, investing your mind and body in every step, you are taking your situation in hand. Every time you breathe in and know you are breathing in, every time you breathe out and smile to your out-breath, you are yourself, you are your own master, and you are the gardener in your own garden."
- Thich Nhat Hanh
Exactly! "What you grow is up to you", and if you are not supporting and growing your own garden, you will not have the tools to cultivate growth in others - your partner, your business, your clients. Our business as Massage Therapists is based on cultivating healing and peace for others. Your business and your clients will be grateful when you begin from within!
Cultivation in 3 parts - check it out.
01 - Invest in your body
- Hydration: If drinking water is difficult for you, as it is for me, I love working in at least 1 mug of tea a day to mix things up. Ensure you have water for your clients after every treatment.
- Sleep: Consider a simple 5min evening routine to prepare your mind for rest. You may also try incorporating non habit forming sleep aides like our natural essential oil spray Insomni Sleep. I love to spray this on my pillows morning and night.
- Consistent Movement: Incorporate something, everyday - if I'm not seeing time for it, I put it in my workday - quick walk to the post office, 5 times around the shop as I'm taking inventory, park further from the entry point of stores.
02 - Invest in your mind
- Dialog with Others: Have coffee with a friend or mentor, get to work 5min early to hold a quick conversation with your coworkers, learn a language from a simple free app like Duolingo that keeps you talking an engaged.
- Space for Self Reflection: Start a gratitude journal to look back at the blessings of your day, try a journaling initiative like Julie Cameron's Morning Pages. Add in a simple meditation or yoga practice throughout your week.
- New Perspectives: Check out new books, audio books and online videos from amazing folks like Brene Brown and Marie Forleo to create some mindful thoughts and inspiration. Sage Linskey, a Eugene author wrote The Happiest Choice a guide that offers traditional and alternative techniques for coping with forms of mental suffering.
03 - Walk Mindfully
- Give Back: Get involved - how can you use your professional skills within your community to connect and grow?
- Learn, Education & Share: Keep educating yourself on new techniques, new businesses concepts, local and national events and initiatives. Share with your friends, family, and clients these tidbits of knowledge!
- Be Mindful: Mindfully create a treatment space that supports your professional vision and allows for the power of healing to take place. Be mindful about your clients needs with the treatment, maybe it's silence, maybe it's guided breathing, maybe it's a safe space to relax.
By taking your situation in hand, you will create an open door to a healthy mind, body, and business!
"... Every time you practice walking mindfully, investing your mind and body in every step, you are taking your situation in hand ..." - Thich Nhat Hanh
What do tea tree, rosemary, ravensara, eucalyptus, lavender, and peppermint have in common?
They're all potent allies for respiratory health, and just a few of the essential oils that we blend together to make Breathe Great!
We'd like to take a moment to showcase our celebrity essential oil blend in the Urban Therapeutic Apothecary, Breathe Great.
This is our only blend with an academic study (!!!) from University of California Irvine that proved its efficacy at treating staph, strep, pneumonia, MRSA and more. Seriously! Where modern antibiotics fail, nature's pharmacy picks up the slack.
You can find this study here to learn more.
Our EO blends were formulated by certified Aromatherapist Ann Vermilye for various ailments, and below you’ll find a video of Ann discussing why she formulated this blend and its effects. (Press the "CC" button for captions)
Thanks Ann! Isn't she adorable? Stay tuned for more videos with her to come.
Many of us have fond childhood memories of a caregiver applying vapor rub to our chests, opening up our sinus passages before and sending us off to a sickly sleep from which we awoke feeling worlds better.
Unfortunately, store bought brands of vapor rubs often contain special petrolatum (processed crude oil) and turpentine, which is typically used as a paint thinner. The new "greaseless" formulas are even worse - containing parabens, diazolidinyl urea (a formaldehyde releasing chemical that is toxic upon inhalation) and PEG-100 Stearate (which is often contaminated with cancer-causing dioxane).
We decided to create our own all-natural vapor rub, and here is the recipe!
My grandmother always used to say, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,". I didn't give her words much regard growing up, but as I get older, I am beginning to see the wisdom in this old adage.
Especially during cold and flu season.
Which, if you're nestled in the Willamette Valley like we are, is in full swing! Students of all ages are packed into small, poorly-ventilated classrooms where germs a-plenty replicate at alarming rates. Remember that meningitis outbreak at the U of O a couple years back? Yikes. No thank you, please.
When I think about herbal allies to prevent picking up a winter bug, delicious elderberries come to mind. Ever-prolific on almost every continent, practitioners of folk medicine have been using them for hundreds (if not thousands) of years! We have them in our apothecary for just $1.47 per ounce. Certified organic, as always.
Nice try Monty Python, but that is hardly an insult. I mean, yeah, elderberries do smell a little funky, but if you can cook broccoli or eat fancy cheese, then you'll have no problem with elderberries. In the same way that garlic breath may be a smooch-deterrent for those who are ignorant of its amazing health benefits (garlic and onion paste straight up kills MRSA), the pungent scent of elderberry syrup simmering on the stove will grow on you faster than you can say Sambucus nigra!
Just in time for Halloween, here's a little of the witchy western folklore behind the use of elderberries. Call this festive superstition, call it white people's indigenous wisdom, but either way there is a plethora of old wives' tales from the British Isles, Europe, and Russia about the elder tree, with much of the focus on cultivating a reciprocal relationship with the plant.
"If an elder tree was cut down, a spirit known as the Elder Mother would be released and take her revenge. The tree could only safely be cut while chanting a rhyme to the Elder Mother.
The Elder Mother is thought to be the guardian of the elder trees, and it was said, until recent times in various parts of England and Scandinavia that to take wood from the elder tree one would have to ask the Elder Mother first, or else ill luck would befall the woodsman.
The woodsman would have to ask the Elder Mother like so:
'Old girl, give me some of thy wood and I will give thee some of mine when I grow into a tree.' "
- Burne, Charlotte Sophia (2003) Handbook of Folklore, Kessinger Publishing
A tale from Northamptonshire tells of man who cut a stick from an elder, and saw that the tree was bleeding. Later he meets the local witch and sees that she has a bloodied bandage on her arm. Now that's taking "you are what you eat," to a whole other level. Want to learn more about the magic and folklore of elder? The Practical Herbalist has an awesome blog post titled Elderberry History, Folklore, Myth and Magic.
Below you'll find our recipe for elderberry syrup, just a spoonful each morning will help keep colds and flu's away. You can also experiment with elderberry jams, wines, and more!