Aromatherapy

Power to treat each individual physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually

The art and science using plant oils for their therapeutic properties, treating medical and non-medical conditions or alignments in a truly holistic form either through massage, baths and inhalations. Oils are derived from natural sources such a seeds, flowers, fruit, peel, leaves, grass, roots, wood, bark and resins.

These natural plant oils are readily absorbed into the skin, our largest organ, providing a gentle physiological effect.  As a holistic practice, it is especially effective for stress release as well as an active method to employ during acute and chronic stages of illness or disease.

The popularity of Aromatherapy may have enjoyed recent boom, but the property of these essential oils have been appreciated for centuries to balance the body, mind and soul. The sensual, relaxing aroma of these fragrant oils will transport the person being massaged into the realm of bliss. Before commencing treatment, a complete assessment of lifestyle, eating habits and personal habits are taken into account. From that assessment, the blend is then prepared specific to treat their concerns/alignment therefore each blend is unique only for that individual.  It is very important that the scent also appeals to the olfactory tract, in order for the treatment to be fully appreciated. The two ways that oils safely penetrate the body is by smell/inhalation (through the nose) and absorption (through the skin). Smell by far, is the fastest way for essential oils to penetrate into the body.  Common examples include inhaling eucalyptus essential oil when you have a cough or inhaling peppermint essential oil to reduce fatigue or nausea. 

Essential oils are extremely potent/concentrated and should never be used directly onto the skin always blend them with a base oil such as Grapeseed, Coconut, Sesame, Jojoba, Almond, Olive or Sunflower.

The blend is worked into the body using a variety of techniques (can invigorate, stimulate, strengthen, tone, condition, relax, relieve, soothe, regulate, cleanse/detoxify).  While the aromas stimulate the emotional level, the gentle form of massage affects the lymphatic system.     

Aromatherapy is one of many alternative therapies which is increasingly finding acceptance as a complementary treatment that can go hand-in-hand with conventional medicine.  It cleanses negative energies both physically and mentally, may also work effectively in conjunction with other alternative therapies.



Indian Head Massage

 

The Power of Touch

Champissage (the Hindi term for the practice, and massagealso known as an Indian Head Massage is a trademarked term for an alternative medicine massage therapy.

In Champissage, the neck, shoulders, head and face are massaged with the purpose of manipulating important energy channels. The goal is to clear blocks in these significant energy channels that cause a build-up of negative energy that are purported to cause ailments. The belief is when the energy does not flow properly negative energy builds up, causing common ailments, including stress, pain, inception (sensation of pains), aches, and/or even baldness or hair loss. Massaging the hair & head is soothing and deeply relaxing.  It improves circulation, helping to nourish the hair and drain away accumulated toxins. Indian Head Massage can also relieve eyestrains, headaches, sinusitis, congestion and insomnia and, by manipulating the blood circulation to the head and neck you improve your respiratory system, lymphatic drainage, muscle tone and mobility in the head, neck and shoulder area.  Base oils can be incorporated into the head massage to assist with particular concerns/disorders such as dry or oily scalp, promote hair growth or slow down hair loss. Mustard Oil is the most popular and traditional one used.  Other good base oils to use are Sesame, Olive, Almond, Avocado, Jojoba, and Coconut.  Essential oils may also be added to treat certain conditions, and its effect is not just physical but works on an emotional level by calming the spirit, promoting relaxation and stress relieving. You & your Practitioner can discuss and decide on an appropriate blend.

Champissage is practiced all over Europe but was first brought to the west by Narendra Mehta in the 1970s. Mehta, a physical and manual therapist, took the Indian tradition of family head grooming and massage and added massage of the neck, face, and shoulders, as well as energetic aspects including shiatsu. Utilizing the knowledge of mind, body, and spirit is what makes Indian head massage so effective. 



Health Benefits of Spinach

Among the World’s Healthiest vegetables, spinach comes out at the top of the ranking list for nutrient richness. Spinach is one of the best dietary sources of lutein, which makes it a particularly important food for the promotion of healthy eyesight and the prevention of cataracts and macular degeneration.

This antioxidant – loaded green will keep you lean. Spinach is a fantastic source of carotenes, vitamin C and K, and folic acid. It’s a great source of magnesium, iron, manganese and vitamin B2. It’s also a very good source of vitamins E, B1 and B6.

Scientific study has identified no less than 13 different flavonoid compounds known as methylenedioxyflavonol glucuronides found in spinach which function as anticancer agents.

Calorie for calorie, leafy green vegetables like spinach with its delicate texture and jade green colour provide more nutrients than any other food. Although spinach is available throughout the year, its season runs from March through May and from September through October when it is the freshest, has the best flavour, and is most readily available.

Choose spinach that has vibrant deep green leaves and stems with no signs of yellowing. The leaves should look fresh and tender, and not be wilted or bruised. Avoid those that have a slimy coating as this is an indication of decay.

Do not wash spinach before storing as the exposure to water encourages spoilage. Place spinach in a plastic storage bag and wrap the bag tightly around the spinach, squeezing out as much of the air as possible. Place in refrigerator where it will keep fresh for up to 5 days.

Some Spinach Ideas: 

* For a nutrition boost, use fresh spinach leaves in a wrap or sandwich instead of lettuce.

* Add layers of spinach to your next lasagne recipe.

* Make a yummy healthy dip: Mix one package of frozen spinach (defrosted and drained of water) with 3/4 cup  of Greek Yogurt, and sprinkle any of your favourite herbs and spices.

* Stir Fry leaves with a little minced garlic, olive oil and a few chopped nuts.

* Serve any entree on a bed of spinach instead of over carbs, such as rice or pasta.

Come enjoy our Baby Spinach and Arugula Salad from our lunch menu, with Clementines, Red Onions, Candied Pecans and Poppy Seed Vinaigrette, a healthy and delicious option.



How to Kick Start Your Immune System

Even healthy people can catch a cold or flu now and then, but you can kick start your immune system’s defence against viruses and bacteria to limit your chances of getting sick this winter.

The basics are: Exercise, Rest and a Healthy Diet featuring whole foods that support your immune system and reduce inflammation. Eating onions, garlic, ginger and sage can aid in fighting infections and following a diet rich in antioxidants like fruits and vegetables, support your immune system and combat free radicals known to damage DNA and suppress your immune system. 

Avoiding sugary drinks and drinking plenty of water helps to fend off infection by filtering out your system.

Regular moderate exercise can mobilize your T cells, a type of white blood cell known to guard the body against infection. A brisk 30 minute walk daily can cut your risk in half of catching a cold.

Getting a full 8 hours of sleep each night helps to regulate your immune function which is vital to preventing sickness.

Simply keeping your hands clean is one of the best ways to ward of illness. In short boosting your immune system naturally will help you live a healthier life.

1.  Eat nutrient dense foods
2.  Exercise regularly
3.  Prioritize sleep
4.  Limit sugar consumption
5.  Use herbs for the immune system

Natural Immunity Boosters:

Oregano Oil – Helps improve your gut health by eliminating bad bacteria in your digestive system while boosting your immune system. 

Cruciferous Vegetables – Brussel Sprouts, Kale, Broccoli, Lettuce and Cabbage support your liver and immune function by boosting the liver’s ability to flush out toxins.

Ginger – Ginger helps to break down the accumulation of toxins in the organs, particularly in the lungs and sinuses.  Ginger also helps to cleanse the lymphatic system.

Garlic – One clove contains 5 mg calcium, 12 mg potassium, and more than 100 sulphuric compounds powerful enough to wipe out bacteria and infection, lower blood pressure and kill parasites in the body.

Here’s to staying healthy this holiday season!

 

 

 



Benefits of a Pregnancy Massage

Pregnancy massage therapy can be very instrumental in a women’s prenatal care and should be given careful consideration.

The health benefits of pregnancy massage to you – and baby – are many and studies indicate that prenatal massage therapy can reduce anxiety, relieve muscle aches and joint pain, improve labor outcomes and ease labor pain.

During pregnancy, your body experiences numerous changes physically as well as physiologically, which can cause serious discomfort and stress. Massage can alleviate these symptoms, as well as improve your overall well-being.

There are varying massage techniques, but the Swedish massage aims to relax muscle tension and improve lymphatic and blood circulation, which in turn reduces swelling. Many expectant mothers get terrible cramps and spasms, especially in those weight bearing muscles and joints, lower back, neck, hips and legs. Massage can provide a welcome effective relief and reduce stress on weight bearing joints.

Swedish massage also addresses many common discomforts associated with the skeletal and circulatory changes brought on by hormone shifts during pregnancy. Edema, or swelling of the joints is often caused by reduced circulation and increased pressure on major blood vessels by the heavy uterus. Massage helps to stimulate soft tissue to reduce collection of fluid in swollen joints, which also improves the removal of tissue waste carried by the body’s lymph system.

Sciatic nerve pain is experienced by many women in late pregnancy. The pressure of the uterus on the pelvic floor and lower back creates tension to the muscles of the upper and lower leg causing them to swell and put pressure on the nearby nerve. Massage therapy can significantly reduce the inflamed nerves by releasing tension on near by muscles which reduces sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy.

If you need more convincing, pregnancy massage therapy can also ease the stress and anxiety from the overwhelming feeling of what’s to come. A relaxed mom-to-be feels better, sleeps better and can better enjoy the pregnancy experience, all of which is beneficial for a healthy womb!

Before starting a prenatal massage routine, it’s a good idea to double check with your doctor first.



To Be or Not To Be Organic

More and more Consumers want certified organic foods because they know these foods are grown without genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and that they are grown and processed without the use of synthetic chemicals, fertilizers, antibiotics or hormones.

Organic food is highly regulated in Canada. Every farm, producer, processor and distributor is inspected at least once a year by the Canada Food Inspection Agency to ensure the food is truly organic.

Organic agriculture is based on a system of farming that maintains and replenishes soil fertility without the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers.

* Soil is enriched with compost, green manure and organic amendments.

* Weeds, pests and disease are controlled through crop rotation and selective use of natural non-chemical pesticides.

* Livestock are provided quality living environments and are raised without hormones or antibiotics and are not fed animal by-products. 

Natural and organic are not interchangeable terms. You may see “natural” and other terms as “all natural”, “free-range” or “hormone free” on food labels. These descriptions must be truthful, but don’t confuse them with the term ‘organic”.

Price comparisons are often made between organic and convention food items. Organic food is much more labour intensive because farmers do not rely on the same mechanical and chemical levels as conventional production. Organic certification and maintaing that status is expensive. Organic feed for animals can cost twice as much and of course there is no room for Government Subsidy as the organic farms tend to be smaller then convention farms and produce under the range for subsidy aid. But the Organic food industry is more efficient and direct with fewer steps in the supply chain from farm to table. When you buy organic food, your money goes to the actual growers of that food, and less to the shareholders and bankers behind the large grocery stores. This means you have a significant impact on farming families with your food dollars.

Did you know that conventional produce from the farm to your dinner table travels an average of 1,500 miles. This uses a lot of fossil fuel and emits carbon dioxide into the air. In addition produce must be picked while still unripe and then needs to be gassed to “ripen” after transport or the food is highly processed in factories using preservatives irradiation and other means to keep it stable for transport. Local food is the freshest food you can buy,  fruits and vegetables are harvested when they are ripe and thus full of flavour.

Many factors influence the decision to choose organic foods:

* Pesticides – Conventional growers use synthetic pesticides to protect their crops. When farmers spray pesticides it can leave a residue on the produce. People buy organic to reduce their exposure to this residues.

* Food Additives – Organic regulations ban or severely restrict the use of food additives, processing aids and fortifying agents commonly used in non-organic foods, including preservatives, artificial sweeteners, colourings and flavourings and monosodium glutamate.

* Environment – Organic farming practices are designed to benefit the environment by reducing pollution and conserving water and soil quality.

Wether you go totally organic or opt to mix conventional and organic foods, be sure to keep these tips in mind:

Wash and scrub fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water to remove dirt, bacteria and chemical traces. You should even wash items with inedible skins like melons, citrus fruits, because cutting the rinds with a knife brings contaminants to the inside.

Select a variety of food from a variety of sources to reduce your likelihood of exposure to a single pesticide.

Read food labels carefully, even if it says organic it can still be high in sugar, salt and fat ingredients, so opt for healthier alternatives.

Fruits and vegetables where organic labels matter the most because they have the highest pesticide levels when conventionally grown are:

Apples, Sweet Bell Peppers, Cucumbers, Potatoes, Grapes, Cherry Tomatoes, Kale, Summer Squash, Imported Nectarines, Peaches, Spinach, Strawberries and Hot Peppers.

In the Summer try growing your own produce in your garden, community plot, or windowsill container, you’ll know they don’t have pesticide residue and tending the garden is a healthy activity.

Through environmentally sound practices, organic producers and processors strive to sustain the health of the earth while providing food for those who inhabit it.



Meditation & Relaxation

Meditation

Meditation has great restorative powers and helps you to work at your most efficient level by keeping your mind clear throughout the day, meditation can also help you sleep better at night.

Sit in a comfortable position, scan your body and let go of any tension you may be holding in your face, neck, shoulders, upper body, hips, legs and feet. Close your eyes and breathe in an easy simple rhythm. Do not try to shut out sounds and other sensations happening around you, just let them be there and focus on your breathe drawing your attention away from the distractions. Be aware of the coolness of the air at the tip of your nose as you breathe in and the warmth of the air as you breathe out. Thoughts will inevitably arise to distract you, you can not force the mind to be empty, but do not let yourself react to these disturbances. Continue to focus on your breathe just observe and release the distractions as they happen. If you find it hard to focus on your breathe you can use a simple mantra “So Ham” it means I am that in the universal life force. Silently say “So” as you breathe in and “Ham” as you breathe out. Or you can try another simple mantra like “Om”

Eventually as you practise meditation more frequently you will learn to sit quietly but alert, observing the stillness and feeling of space. You will let yourself be in the present moment, with no thought of future or past. Becoming good at meditation takes practice, but the benefits are definitely worth your efforts.

Relaxation

Lying down is the best position for relaxation. Make sure you wear comfortable clothing and that you are warm, use a blanket if necessary. Start with your knees bent, feet hip-width apart, arms away from your body and backs of hands on the floor. The centre of your head should be on the floor if this is not comfortable then use a pillow under your head.

Stretch out through your arms to your fingertips, then relax the arms and shoulders, unless you have a back problem stretch out your legs. Flex your toes towards you and then let go. Close your eyes, relax your jaw so the teeth part slightly. Smile a little to relax your face, swallow and let your neck relax.

Become aware of your breathe entering and leaving your body with the rise and fall of your chest and abdomen. Enjoy the quiet and calm. When you are ready become aware of your surroundings, slowly wiggle your fingers and toes and take one or two deep breaths. Turn on to your right side in fetal position for a few more breaths with your eyes closed before you slowly make your way to a seated position. Open your eyes.



Health Benefits of Yoga

 Developed in India, yoga is a spiritual practice that has been evolving for over 5000 years.  Practicing yoga postures is a great way to get yourself in shape both for your body, mind and spirit. Did you know that your yoga practice can also help you manage many health conditions and diseases such as anxiety, arthritis, asthma, depression, diabetes and headaches. Yoga creates a sense of well being and calm, and stimulates your immune system which reduces stress and tension.

Not only are you improving muscle tone, flexibility, strength and stamina, but you are also boosting your self esteem and improving your concentration and creativity. You may find yourself happier, less stressed and feeling a greater sense of balance.

There are many different styles of yoga and even though they are based on the same fundamental poses, each style of yoga has a different focus.

Hatha – Slow paced, gentle and focuses on breathing and meditation. Great for beginners who want to learn the basics of yoga.

Ashtanga – Considered a power yoga, with fast paced and intense lunges and push-ups. Great for fit people looking to maintain strength and stamina and improve ones spiritual self.

Vinyasa – Similar to Hatha with basic poses and synchronized breath movements. Emphasizing the 12 poses of the Sun Salutations with each pose being matched to breathe. Good for both new and advanced yogis seeking to strengthen their bodies.

Iyengar – Focuses on body alignment using different props like straps, blocks, blankets to strengthen the body. Standing poses are often held for longer periods of time. Great for those that want to learn  the proper alignment in each pose and those with balance issues.

Hot Yoga – Practised in a room heated between 95 – 100 degrees. Great for loosening tight muscles and sweating out toxins. Helps speed up recovery from injuries and enhances your flexibility. Great for beginners and advanced yogis and those with physical injuries.

Of course there are many other types of yoga from Kundalini to restorative yoga, but it’s important for you to connect with which type of yoga is right for you. Understanding the different teaching methods and practices will help you choose the right yoga experience for you and will make your practice more rewarding and fulfilling

Beyond the health and fitness benefits, yoga improves your mental health. Reducing stress, improving relaxation, and leaving you with a sense of peace. Yoga is designed to strengthen your body, but it is a meditative exersise that creates a healthy balanced body and peaceful state of mind.

The holistic effects of yoga is attained when you become not only physically stronger and more flexible but also mentally stronger and more flexible. If the practice of yoga helps you to find peace, heal your body and create a better sense of wellbeing, it’s only logical that you will become more accepting of your spiritual nature. It is this realization that will give your practice more meaning, but also embodies your thoughts, actions and purpose, leading to a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

There is no age discrimination in yoga. Yoga has been proven to reduce pain levels among seniors with arthritis and teaches kids to be active, relive stress and to think positively. The benefits of yoga are endless.

The Girls Great Escape at the Old Mill Toronto is coming back, mark your calendars for November 8th, 2014.   See the itinerary from our last Girls Great Escape here, the Yoga dance class was a treat!