aroma therapy candleThe word aromatherapy often appears in my articles,  so I would like to share some simple  tips on how you can use it to enhance the quality of your environment and to help improve your mood.  First, go to your local health food store and check the lovely assortment of flora and fauna sitting there on the shelf!  Always make sure it says 100% pure on the label.  This means exactly what it says without that marker you may be purchasing artificial oil which will not have the same healing value.  You can, of course, purchase essential oil online but going to the store allows you to sample scents prior to buying.

If  you or anyone you live with has allergies, be very mindful when making your selection.  Avoid the strong scents at first such as eucalyptus or tea tree.  Though they have great therapeutic value, they can be very overpowering when introducing aromatherapy for the first time in your home.  Try the more simple and equally beneficial scents of citruses!  Grapefruit, sweet orange and even lemon are fantastic!  Bergamot, a citrus fruit similar to grapefruit and the main ingredient in Earl Grey tea, is one of my favorites.   Most people will not have a problem with these scents (unless they have a food allergy to them).  In addition, they have the familiarity factor which make people feel comfortable and welcome.  Citrus scents are great to use in those dark winter months to bring a little sunshine in your home and combat depression.

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Soho SanctuaryIn the heart of SoHo is nestled a fabulous retreat for ladies only, especially those who can afford it.  SoHo Sanctuary is nothing short of amazing.  For many of us unfortunately it is a special occasion kind of a treat as it is on the least affordable side of Spa menu prices.  That said, it is well worth it and is a true treat when in need.  The “ladies Only” aspect adds an element of ease to the modest type or for woman who simply want to have a cloistered experience.  There is a steam room appropriately “egg-shaped” which is infused with lavender and which the use is included in the price of the massages and body treatments.

Cost: Signature massage $125 / $185     60 minutes / 90 minutes with an additional $15.00 more for aromatherapy

Ambiance:  Tastefully and comfortingly designed with natural wood floors and soothing accents.  This has a traditional earthy spa atmosphere.  Combined with bright marble in the bathrooms for a very classic style that is at once comforting and uplifting.

Customer Service at the front desk:  Very kind and accommodating.

Hygiene:  Excellent

Quality of Service:  SoHo Sanctuary prides itself on having a massage staff that is consistently being trained in the latest techniques and continuing the professional development of its staff’s training.  This is significant in that it raises the interest and commitment level of the therapists, thus creating a better session for the client.  I have personally received about four massage therapy sessions there over the last ten years and have always had an excellent experience.

Products:  SoHo sanctuary uses the Young Living brand of essential oils for its sessions.  This is a top of the line company known for its purity and high end price.  For facials, the Dr. Haushka line is used.  Many people love this line again for its purity, but I have always found it a bit heavy.

Overall Impression:  This is a professional and full service place.  SoHo Sanctuary also offers  fitness and manicures and pedicures.  For quality and ambiance it is wonderful but as mentioned one feels it when you are leaving to pay.  It is not a place many can frequent but for a treat it is worth it.  For women who really prefer to de-compress in a female only atmosphere, this spa has my highest recommendation.

http://www.sohosanctuary.com

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neck pain shoulder pain

bach flowerThe Bach Flower Essences are a great tool for self improvement.  Dr. Richard Bach (1886-1936), a British doctor, devoted the latter part of his life to discovering and cultivating  the hidden healing properties within the trees and flowers.  The Bach flower essences can be an aid in a range of emotional issues such as  indecision, irrational fear and anxiety.  There are a multitude of Bach flower essences-38 in all.  The Bach flower essences are not meant as a substitute for medical attention or true chronic depression and anxiety disorders.  For acute or chronic issues  seek professional medical advise.  The Bach flower essences are, however, an excellent tool for someone in need of a shift in life.  I have heard them affectionately called, “Psychotherapy in a bottle.”  If one is tired of a particular pattern of behavior they find themselves doing and wants to change it, the Bach flower essences are an excellent tool.

For example, when I was in my early to mid twenties I found that whenever I had a decision to make I would consult several key friends and family members on what they would do.  While some advice is helpful it can often leave one feeling back to where they were in the first place.  All the input in the world really won’t change the final decision which in the end I found usually comes from within.  I tried the essence of Cerato, which is useful if someone does not have confidence in their own decisions.  For me at that time it came from (I believe) a fear of making a mistake or of trying to make the “right” decision.  While I’m all for research, at times opinions can really be just that-opinions.  The only truth is within especially on matters of our own choice.  I can honestly say that I did have a major shift in my ability to handle decisions and finally achieve the autonomy I needed.  This website is an extension of that principle in that I hope it helps people to tune into themselves through sensibility.

 

The Bach flower essences fall under the category of vibrational energy or vibrational medicine.  This is exactly what it sounds like.  Imagine what it feels like to sit near a tree or hold a flower in your hand.  There is a connectedness and a grace about their two energies.  They give off a certain vibration.  When one uses the Bach flower essences one is literally ingesting that essence into their being.  Sounds quite powerful and it is.  Trees and flowers have the dualistic properties of having roots reaching downward, connecting to the earth and the branches and petals reaching upward in search of sunlight and nourishment and as a catalyst for photosynthesis.  In yoga practice as in Tai qi and Qi gong practices it is these images in nature one is often striving for.  We need our connectedness as well as our ascendant qualities to thrive.  Dr. Bach understood this and as a result we now have his remedies.

Another interesting way of understanding how the Bach flower essences work is by  looking at a principle in homeopathy that is known as, “like cures like.”  If, for example, a person feels very weepy they would try the essence of weeping willow.  Another example is the Holly essence for anger issues.  The Holly leaf is very spiky as an angry or disgruntle person can appear.  I have heard of the Holly Essence being successfully used with angry teenagers.

Use of the Bach flower essences requires some self reflection.  There is an excellent remedy finder quiz on the official site that can help with this.  A word of warning is that one often feels they need most of them.  I never tell anyone to ingest anything but I know from my own experience that I have used many of them at different points in my life and they have been extremely helpful.  The Bach flower essences are in a base of alcohol if that is of any concern.

Below is an excerpt from an article by Don Hanson CPDT, BFRP, CDBC that illustrates how useful anecdotal evidence can be.

Because it is not based upon statistical research and the scientific method, anecdotal evidence is often dismissed by the scientific community, yet the following is a prime example of the role and importance that it plays. As early as the 1700’s, sailors were fed limes as a way of preventing scurvy. This practice was based strictly on anecdotal evidence. It wasn’t until 1932 and the discovery of vitamin C that the scientific method was able to prove why limes and other citrus fruits helped prevent and cure scurvy. Fortunately, no one stopped sailors from eating limes because scientists had not completed a study demonstrating that eating limes cures scurvy. Anecdotal evidence is often the first step in the discovery of new methods and ways of thinking.

 

band aidOn the playground there can unfortunately be many accidents both big and small.  Often there is no ice or first aid immediately available.  This is a simple first aid visualization one can use to help soothe a child until (you) can get home.  Of course for major injuries call 911 or go to the hospital or call your pediatrician.  This is for minor injuries that require TLC (Tender loving care) and a band aid (aka boo-boo’s and ouchies:)

When there is an accident often for moments long after the actual incident took place, people are coming up to you with concern asking what happened?  Then you are forced along with your child to go over it again and again for them.  This keeps the child returning to that painful or scary incident and not moving forward into the healing.  I have personally observed this and actually heard one dad shout out ‘hey, call a plastic surgeon”.  He was of course using humor to alleviate the situation but it was a little brash for a three year old and her mom.

For an excellent explanation of why we instinctively rub on an injury(not an open wound) see below:

“In 1965 the “Gate Control Theory” was proposed by Melzack and Wall.  It explained the relationship between pain and emotion.  According to this theory, there is a hypothetical gating mechanism occurring at the level of the spinal chord- a “gate” through which pain impulses reach the lateral spinothalmic system.  Painful impulses are transmitted by large-diameter and small diameter nerve fibers.  Stimulation of large-diameter fibers prevents the small-diameter fibers from transmitting signals.  Stimulating (rubbing, massaging) these fibers helps to suppress the sensation of pain, especially sharp pain.  Many parents and small children seem to know this instinctively.  They rub the injured spot, thus activating large-diameter fibers.  These fibers also carry a faster signal.  In essence, massage sensations win the race to the brain, and the pain sensations are blocked out because the gate is closed.” Source:  Mosby’s Fundamentals of Therapeutic Massage by Sandy Fritz

Here’s a technique to use when you want to help your child move past the accident and feel empowered that they are on their way to feeling better.  Explain to them that they have teeny tiny microscopic helpers inside their bodies that are working right now to help them feel better.  Explain ‘microscopic” as so tiny that you can’t see them (it is very cute to hear them pronounce microscopic).  There are thousands even millions of them.  This gives them a positive image to hang on to if they are still replaying the initial injury and pain in their minds over and over.  This constant replaying of the accident can also be a reaction from well meaning people asking what happened and then having to explain it as your child relives “the spill”.  Now they can respond how they have microscopic helpers and feel more empowered.  It also gives them something positive to focus on rather than the accident itself.

Using our imagination to call upon imagery for healing is very powerful.  Remember that this is scientific.  Leukocytes (white blood cells) rush to an injured area to help heal it.  These microscopic helpers are in fact helping us on a consistent basis (unless there is a pathology wherein they are compromised).  In healthy functioning blood they are essential in recovering from injury.  This is a great first Biology lesson and may help them in connecting scientific principles to every day life.  Using this knowledge empowers the child by being able to answer back to concerned adults-“I have microscopic helpers helping me and I am feeling better and better.”  “Better and better” is a phrase used in the Silva Method of Mind Techniques.  This technique is extremely useful in helping to have tools to use our minds in positive and powerful ways.  See website for more info www.silvamethod.com.

Staying in the present moment is useful for anyone recovering from injury and replacing a negative experience with a positive image is very useful in returning to a stronger , more well-functioning place both physically and mentally.