by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa Owner
Yesterday, Homespunspa Mobile Spa was invited to give mini mani’s to new mothers at the MotherFest at Mothering Touch. It was a pre-Mother’s Day mini mani marathon for me and Ranjit and the nail polish was flying!
The most popular colour choice? Good ol’ Lucky Lucky Lavender. See if you can spot the bottle in the photo below.
Homespunspa's collection of nail polish colours.
The new mothers brought their babies to the event and had a choice of treating themselves to all kinds of pampering services from Thai Massage to Belly Painting to a Photoshoot. At one point in the afternoon, there must have been at least 60 babies in the store at once. It was truly an honour and a really joyful experience for me to be so close to so many infants at the same time. One was only three weeks old! So cute!
Anyway, back to the question at hand: Does Being Pregnant Make Your Nails Grow Faster?
As each of the women sat in front of me to get their nails filed and polished, I asked many of them, just out of curiosity, if they’re finding a difference in their nails now that they’re pregnant. The surprising answer was “Yes” and most, if not all of them, had noticed how much stronger their nails were and how much faster they grew while they were pregnant. One woman said, “It must be the prenatal vitamins we’re taking.”
Prenatal vitamins are designed to help ensure better health for fetus and mother. These vitamins and supplements contain high concentrations of folic acid, calcium and iron and low amounts of vitamin A. Some brands also include Omega-3’s and DHA.
As it turns outs, it’s not the prenatal vitamins that make the nails grow stronger and faster — it’s the pregnancy hormones that are key. During pregnancy, the woman’s body starts to produce a bigger batch of hormones than usual and these hormones have a number of tasks and responsibilities. For one, they boost circulation and send a constant deluge of vital nutrients to the skin, which in turn makes nails grow faster.
So that answers that.
If you’re a new mom and can’t keep up with trimming your nails during this special time and want a little treat for yourself, please call me, Maria, at Homespunspa. I’d be happy to come to your home and give you your choice of a manicure, pedicure, facial or massage at your convenience. And the beauty of a mobile spa is…you don’t have to worry about getting a babysitter because you’ll be within earshot of your little ones the whole time. And why not invite some friends over and make it a spa party?
Anyway, I’d like to take this moment to wish all of the moms and mother figures out there and especially my own dear mother, a very happy Mother’s Day. Cheers to you!
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
I love yogurt. I used to eat a bowl full of plain, no-fat yogurt with blueberries, cinnamon and ground flax seeds along with half a toasted English muffin, slathered with margarine, plus cup of coffee with milk every morning for breakfast.
That was my stand-by for years because it was quick, easy, tasty and filling and I didn’t have to think about it. Life was good. But things change. I have decided — after watching JJ Virgin on Public TV — to see what would happen if I followed her advice and took soy, peanuts, sugar, eggs, corn, dairy and gluten out of my diet for three whole weeks. I was hoping to lose some weight and clear some skin issues. As an esthetician, I know about the relationship between good nutrition, good digestion, and healthy body weight and healthy skin and I knew the food I was eating wasn’t doing me any favours.
I knew it would be challenging to avoid bread for a few weeks. That was a given. Soy has proven to be very challenging because it seems to find its way into everything — especially gluten-free stuff — and it was in my margarine which I wasn’t aware of until I read the label. Eggs, corn and peanuts are probably the easiest, though I do like my popcorn, sunny side up eggs on Sundays, and celery with peanutbutter. I had given up dairy before and I knew what that was all about so I wasn’t too concerned about things like cheese, butter and ice cream. The yogurt, though, was closest to my heart and I was most sorry to see it go.
I didn’t think I could have my dairy and yogurt too but I’m happy to say I was wrong about that.
JJ Virgin suggested replacing dairy yogurt with coconut yogurt. I thought that was too good to be true. And what were the chances of being able to find this stuff in Canada?
Much to my surprise, I found “Cultured Coconut Milk” at a nearby Planet Organic and it was on sale! I was so excited!
Bowl of cultured coconut milk or coconut yogurt with blueberries for breakfast..
When I saw the containers of cultured coconut milk in the refrigerated dairy section of the grocery store, I picked one up and quickly read the label: Dairy free and Certified Gluten Free. Check, check. The ingredients include: coconut milk, water, organic coconut cream, chicory root extract, organic dried cane syrup, rice starch, pectin, tapioca, kelp, magnesium, locust bean gum, live cultures, guar gum, carrageenan and monk fruit extract. A serving of 175 grams has 140 calories, 5 grams of fat, 0 cholesterol, 135 mg’s of sodium, 23 grams of carbs (9 grams of fibre and 7 grams of sugar), 2 grams of protein, 0 vitamins A or C, 35% Calcium and 6% Iron.
Sounded good to me.
I couldn’t wait to taste it so I bought the coconut yogurt and tried some as soon as I got home.
Another pleasant surprise! Coconut yogurt tastes really good. Although I’m not a Top Chef Canada judge, I really think So Delicious Cultured Coconut Milk is a winner. It’s really thick, rich, creamy and smooth. It’s even thicker than no-fat Greek yogurt. The taste of the coconut is strong but it isn’t overly sweet. And this brand comes in different flavours but I’m happy with the plain. Unfortunately, it’s a bit on the expensive side. When compared to regular yogurt, the coconut yogurt container is smaller and costs as much, if not more. I may not have it everyday but I’ll have it often enough.
So far I’m on week two of the Virgin diet. I can’t say I’ve seen any difference at this point in terms of my weight and my skin but I’m pretty sure I’ll see a slight improvement at the 3-week mark. I’ll keep you posted. Finding the coconut yogurt was definitely the highlight of this entire exercise.
Have you tried to tried coconut yogurt? Did you like it? Please leave a comment.
Have you tried to avoid certain foods to see if you have issues with them? Have you read the Virgin Diet book and are thinking about taking a vacation from soy, peanuts, sugar, eggs, corn, dairy, and gluten? If so, let me know.
Till next time, Maria
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
Well, I’m officially back from my Wellness Tour in Ontario. It’s good to be back home on the west coast. I enjoyed my time and learned a lot about wellness and healing and am eager to share my new knowledge with my friends and customers.
Experiencing a true Canadian winter was a refreshing change for me. I got a taste of -25 degrees Celsius temperatures, a couple of blizzards, snow, ice, wind and all of the rest and didn’t mind the season so much. There’s nothing like a bright, sunny day in the middle of winter compared to grey skies and rain for months on end as I was used to. I was grateful to have a warm coat, dry boots, a hat, scarf and gloves which kept me warm and dry enough and thank goodness, I didn’t catch a cold like every one else around me.
I found, however, that the different climate did a number on my skin. My skin and hair became much oilier while I was away. I guess having the constant salty, ocean air blowing around me has been benefiting my skin all of these years and without it, my skin went out of balance. I wouldn’t have thought salt water breezes would be helpful until I saw that nasal spray commercial when they ask that fisherman if he has breathing problems and he says, “of course not, the salty air keeps my sinuses clear” or something like that.
Of course, there are many other factors that contribute to adult acne. We learned in school that 1 in 5 or 20% of adults over the age of 20 are currently experiencing cases of acne. You could be in your 30’s, 40’s and even 50’s and all of a sudden get bombarded with several open and closed comedones, blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pustules, pimples, cysts, redness and severe inflammation. It comes as quite a surprise because you think those days are long behind you.
Adult acne sufferers are a growing demographic and you’ll find more and more skin care companies responding to this trend by offering solutions that are taylor-made to adults and not teenagers.
Definition of Acne
Acne is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the skin, usually related to hormonal changes and overactive sebaceous glands. Symptoms include: redness, blemishes, pimples and blackheads which can be found of the face, shoulders and back.
4 Causes of Acne
- Excessive sebum/oil production.
- Abnormal Desquamation. Desquamation refers to the process of cells travelling from the bottom layer of the Epidermis (Stratum Germinativum) to the top layer (Stratum Corneum) and if this process happens either too quickly or too slowly, it’s considered abnormal and causes blocked pores.
- Proliferation of Propione Bacteria. Propione is the bacteria responsible for acne and it’s generated by Abnormal Desquamation.
- and Inflammation. The body produces inflammation as a defensive mechanism anytime it feels attacked.
There’s Hope for Adults with Acne
There are lots of things you can do to minimize acne outbreaks as an adult and in this post I’m going to cover nutrition.
If you’re suffering from adult acne, now’s the time to really kick up your nutrition and eat the healthiest foods you can find and afford. What you put into your body really shows up on your skin so be mindful. Here are some nutritional guidelines that can really help with acne breakouts for people of all ages.
- Minimize hot, spicy, acidic and salty foods.
- Minimize oily, deep fried, processed/refined and junk foods.
- Minimize refined sugar.
- Avoid eating at irregular times and late at night.
- Do not eat Iodized salt.
- Minimize common allergen foods such as milk, eggs, wheat and yeast.
- Eat lots of low-fat yogurt.
- Eat more garlic.
- Drink more water and green tea.
- Minimize pop and soft drinks.
- Replace unhealthy snacks with almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.
- Select organic, free range, hormone-free meats.
- Increase fibre-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains.
- Eat a natural, seasonally-based cuisine.
Nutrition is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many other things we can all do to keep our skin clear and healthy. I’ll post more in a couple of days.
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
My Homespunspa Wellness Tour 2012 is starting in just a few days and I’m getting really excited about my trip. But while I’m away, I don’t want to forget about exercising and lose all of the ground I’ve covered in the last several months. And with American Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays coming up, I’m sure many of you will be tempted to let your exercise routine lapse while you’re travelling to different cities to visit family and friends. My advice: Now is not the time to slack off; try to find a way to include regular exercise in your daily routine throughout the festive season and beyond.
And if you need a little extra motivation to get off your butt and move your body, I recently heard the average person consumes 3000 calories on Thanksgiving Day. That’s a lot of delicious food! If you workout regularly, you’ll definitely avoid gaining unnecessary weight and you won’t need to make any New Year’s resolutions come January 1.
“So, how do I stay fit while travelling,” you ask? Well, as much as I’d like to bring my yoga mat, 12-pound weights and treadmill on the road with me, that’s not practical. My personal trainer, Jeanette, however, came up with a brilliant solution: Bring an elastic/ resistance tube and use it. That’s the tip to stay fit on your trip.
She suggested I bring my tube with me on my trip because it’s lightweight and fits in nicely in my suitcase and there are countless strength training exercises I can do with it wherever I go.
Jeanette told me I’ve lost almost 24 inches since May and I’m not about to undo all of that hard work by discontinuing my regular workouts. I plan on running, doing abdominal crunches and push ups and using my resistance tube often.
Before launching into the exercises, make sure you’re wearing proper fitness clothes, have a bottle of water handy and you warm up for 5 minutes to get your heart rate up. Also, remember to cool down and stretch when you’ve finished your tube workout.
Obviously, you’ll need a tube for these exercises. Mine is purple (of course) and has medium resistance. It also has a casing over it to protect me if the tube ever wears thin and suddenly snaps during a workout. I think it cost me around $30 at a local fitness supply store but I don’t remember exactly. I definitely recommend adding one to your home gym.
Of course there are dozens of strength training exercises you can do with a tube but I’m just going to highlight seven. I’m sharing these instructions and illustrations with Jeanette’s permission.
1) Elastic Double Overhead Press: Stand on the tube and hold the elastic in both hands with your arms at each side and your elbows bent. Push your arms over your head, keeping your elbows no higher than your ears. Return to the starting position. Do 12 reps and 2 sets. Maintain good posture and wrist alignment and exhale while pushing your arms up and inhale while bringing them back down.
2) Elastic Double Lateral Raise: Stand on the tube and hold the handles in both hands with your arms at your sides and palms facing forward. Lift arms to shoulder level, keeping your elbows straight, then lower and repeat. Do 12 reps and 2 sets. Exhale while lifting your arms and inhale while lowering them. Maintain good posture, abdominal contraction and wrist alignment.
3) Elastic Bent Over Crossed Row: Stand on the tube with feet hip-width apart. Take the end of the tube that is under your left foot with your right hand and the end that is under your right foot with your left hand making a criss-cross with your wrists. (I have to think about this every time). Bend your knees slightly and tilt forward from the hips. Pull up the elastic and raise your hands toward your waistline then return to start. Do 12 reps and 2 sets. Exhale when pulling the tube back and bending the elbow and inhale while straightening the elbow. Keep wrist aligned, abs contracted, and spine neutral.
4) Elastic Single Biceps Curl: Stand on the tube with feet outside hip-width apart. Grab the handle with palm facing forward, keeping your arm extended. Pull up while bending at the elbow and then return to start. Do 12 reps and 2 sets with each arm. Exhale as you pull the elastic and inhale on the return. Maintain good posture and keep the abs engaged and watch your wrist alignment.
5) Lateral Biceps Curl with Elastic (External Rotation): Stand on the tube with feet hip-width apart. Grasp handles. Arms are at each side and palms are facing away from the hips. Bend elbows and pull the tube until the hand reaches the shoulder. Lower the hand and repeat. Do 12 reps and 2 sets. Exhale when bending and inhale while extending the elbow. Maintain a space between the elbow and the side of the trunk, keep abs contracted and wrists in neutral position.
6) Elastic Trunk Sidebend: Stand on the tube with your right foot and hold the other end with your right hand. Bend to the left, keeping the elbow straight. Return to start. Repeat 12 times. Switch sides and repeat, bending to the right. (I just figured out I’ve been doing this one without following the instructions and bending the wrong way… oh well). Do 12 reps and 2 sets each side. Exhale when bending the trunk and inhale when straightening the trunk. Maintain good posture and keep abs contracted.
7) Standing Hip Abduction with Tube (Outer Thigh): Stand on tube with both feet together. Place your weight on your left leg. Keep your knee straight and raise your right leg to the side. Return to the starting position. Repeat 12 times. Switch sides and repeat with your left leg. Do 12 more reps and 2 sets each side. Exhale as you abduct your leg and inhale as you lower it. Maintain good posture and keep your ankle aligned in neutral.
I hope you get a chance to try out these tube exercises. I’m sure they’ll keep me busy and fit in the coming weeks. Let me know how things go and I’ll keep you posted on my progress during my Homespunspa Wellness Tour 2012. And thanks Jeanette for your great idea!
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
Last December/January, I caught the worst cough I can remember and I don’t want to go through that ever again. I lost my voice to laryngitis for a few days, the painful, phlegmy coughing kept me and everyone in my household up at night, and it took about three weeks for the nastiness to clear out of my system.
Flu, short for influenza, is a viral illness that tends to flare up in the winter months and to involve many people in the community at the same time. Flu symptoms include: fever (38.3 to 40 degrees Celsius or 101 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit), chills, body aches, headache, pain when you move your eyes, fatigue, weakness, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, etc. It usually lasts for about 10 days and then everything will be back to normal, but the flu can also lead to more serious and dangerous complications for some.
Having a cold or flu or cough is not fun to say the least so I’ve come up with a list of home-spa-inspired suggestions that will help us all stay healthy this season.
20 things you can do to prevent, avoid, or at least minimize the flu this year:
- Immune System: Fortify your immune system and keep up your resistance to infections by eating a healthy and nutritious diet, exercising regularly and getting plenty of good quality sleep year-round.
- Avoid exposure: If you can at all help it, (easier said than done, I know), avoid contact with people who are showing flu symptoms.
- Vitamin C: Take Vitamin C supplements daily, (I like the chewable kind), and eat foods that have a high vitamin C content.
- Vitamin D: Boost your Vitamin D intake during the dark, winter months.
- Echinacea: Take Echinacea capsules or drink Echinacea tea. Echinacea is a popular healing herb that boosts the immune system, has antiviral properties and helps prevent the onset of colds.
- Zinc: Take Zinc Lozenges at the onset of a cold. This mineral is often used to reduce the length and severity of cold symptoms. Foods that contain zinc include: eggs, meat, seafood and whole grains.
- Panax Ginseng: Take Panax Ginseng supplements during the winter and especially at the onset of a cold. You will find Ginseng in products like ColdFX.
- Garlic: Eat fresh garlic (like on toast or in a salad dressing) at the onset of flu symptoms.
- Oil of Oregano: Take drops of oil of oregano to boost your immune system.
- Hydrate: Drink lots of liquids throughout the day. Choose hot tea with lemon and honey, water, orange juice, and apple juice.
- Soup: Eating a bowl of comforting chicken noodle soup may be just the recipe to alleviate your cold symptoms.
- Clean Hands: Wash your hands regularly and keep your hands away from your nose, eyes and mouth. Also, use a tissue or your upper arm when you cough or sneeze.
- Exercise: Sometimes exercising just as you are starting to feel a cold or flu coming on, may be a good idea; however, do not exercise if you have phlegmy congestion below the neck.
- Relax: Managing your stress will go a long way to keep illness at bay.
- Sauna: Sitting in a sauna for a few minutes may help flush out your cold symptoms.
- Room Sprays: Use room sprays made with essential oils like: basil, bay, benzoin, bergamot, black pepper, cajeput, citronella, coriander, eucalyptus, frankincense, ginger, grapefruit, helichrysum, juniper, lavandin, lavender, lemon, lime, marjoram, myrtle, niaouli, orange, oregano, peppermint, petitgrain, pine, rosemary, tea tree, and thyme (wow that’s a long list) to freshen the space, disinfect surfaces, help breathing and foster sleep.
- Stop smoking: You may think now isn’t the time to quit smoking altogether, but many years ago, my father went off on a fishing trip and came home with the most miserable cold and after that, he never smoked his pipe again. Quitting smoking will only increase your health in the long run.
- Flu Shot: Consider getting a flu shot early in the season.
- Stay Home: If you’re feeling sick, stay home and rest. Your co-workers and the people that you would otherwise meet when you walk down the street, would appreciate it.
- Sleep: Get lots of rest and do your best to sleep well at night.
I hope these suggestions and recommendations help keep you and your family healthy this winter. If you have any other ideas, please leave a comment and share your wisdom.
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
“The Road to Wellness is up the road and around the corner” was the lead in an article I wrote in 1998 when I was a reporter for the Peninsula News Review. My assignment was to interview a Naturopathic Doctor who had just opened a wellness clinic in Saanichton. At that time, I wasn’t as concerned about health and wellness as I am today (aah… “youth is wasted on the young…” as the saying goes) so I didn’t take advantage of what the clinic had to offer. But now, looking back, (I can still remember the long, white, billowing curtains in the treatment room), I think my conversation with the Naturopath and my visit to his clinic may have had more of an influence on me than I realized because within a couple of years of that meeting, I opened Homespunspa Enterprises, and have been on the road to wellness ever since.
Now, 12 years later, after going back to school to become an esthetician and adding a mobile spa to my business, I’ve come to a new stretch of road. Dr. Oksana Sawiak, who is a friend of my mother’s from childhood and also a holistic dentist (retired), has graciously invited me to spend some time with her in her new Integrative Wellness & Detox Centre, youwell.ca, in Norval, Ontario. Dr. Sawiak is a frontrunner in the dentistry field and throughout her 30+ year career, has focused on mercury-free/biological dentistry and is now delivering lectures on holistic dentistry, non-surgical gum treatment, pain control, hypnosis, and detoxification, etc.
I can’t wait to learn everything I can from her and her colleagues so I can transfer my new knowledge about this super-big topic of wellness to my readers and customers. I’ll be calling on my writing skills from my aforementioned journalism days and will be making regular updates on my blog about what I’m learning so everybody benefits.
I’ve already purchased my plane ticket and will be leaving Victoria in mid November. I’ve decided to call my adventure to the Toronto area, the Homespunspa Wellness Tour 2012. If you’d like to help support me while I’m on my wellness tour, (and I’d really appreciate this ) please buy a t-shirt or knick-knack from my special collection in my Café Press store. If you ask me, I think those t-shirts and mugs and blankets are pretty-darn cute.
While I’m in Toronto, I will not be available to accept any mobile spa appointments myself until I return but can facilitate any alternate arrangements with other trusted spa practitioners, if you’d like. Just send me an email and I’ll hook you up.
In the meantime, why not buy or rent a copy of the movie or book by T.C. Boyle, “The Road to Wellville” for a laugh and to catch a glimpse of the early days of how this whole wellness movement started in the first place.
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
Are you planning to celebrate a special occasion soon, like a birthday party, bridal shower, wedding, anniversary or seasonal holiday and would like to do something fun and unique for your bff’s?
How about hosting a spa party?
If a spa party sounds like a great idea to you, here’s a checklist that will help make the job easier:
- Pick a date & time: Choose a date that works for most, if not all of your guests. Spa parties usually last no more than 3 hours, so if you have plans before or after your spa party, (like dinner at a restaurant or a golf game or a night on the town) pick a time that gives you some wiggle room. There’s no point in adding stress to your special spa day by rushing to the next event.
- Pick a venue: Spa parties can be held virtually anywhere like a hotel room or office but oftentimes your home is best. Just make sure you have enough open space to accommodate your party guests and anyone else you may have hired (like caterers, massage therapists, yoga instructors) to help you with your party.
- Decide on a party budget: I know, “budget” and “party” don’t sound good together but it’s a good idea to know what you want to spend ahead of time and stay in that ballpark. Overspending on impulse purchases will dampen your fun in the long run and having a budget will keep you on track.
- Send invitations: Nowadays, you can either send your invitations electronically like through email or you can create an event on Facebook or you can hand deliver your invitations door to door. It’s up to you. On your invitations, make sure you ask your guests which types of spa services they’d prefer and let your guests know to bring things like: flip flops, if they’re getting a pedicure; pj’s; bathrobes; a bathing suit for the hot tub; a potluck item to share or cash, if you want them to pay for their own spa services and tip.
- Get a head count: Now that you have your guest list and everyone has said “Yes, I’ll be there with bells on,” know how many guests will be attending your spa party.
- Hire a local mobile spa company like Homespunspa: Mobile spa companies are popping up all over the place and I’m sure there’s a good one in your city. And if you happen to live in Victoria, BC, then please call or email Homespunspa Mobile Spa. We’d be thrilled to help make your spa party extra special and stress-free.
- Choose spa services to offer at your party: Mobile spas can deliver all kinds of spa services like manicures, pedicures, facials and massages to your guests. At Homespunspa, we have designed a mini menu of 30-minute spa treatments for spa parties which lets guests get pampered and still participate in the party.
- Prepare spa snacks and beverages: Of course, what’s a spa party without food and drinks? I recommend serving crispy kale chips and refreshing cucumber water.
- Create your spa music playlist: I’ve been collecting spa music for over 20 years, long before I became a lover of all things spa and an esthetician, and I love, love, love the Homespunspa playlist. Regardless of whether you want something quiet and relaxing or something more pop and upbeat in the background, having music will add whole nother dimension to your spa party.
- Design your spa space: It’s time to create a spa environment. First move your furniture and make room for the different spa stations. You want to create a space that allows for people to move around freely. You might also like to create some private areas for the quieter spa treatments. And don’t forget to vapourize some essential oils into the air to enhance the spa mood.
- Decorate your space: If you can swing it, try adding some spa-chic elements, like a water feature, a low-burning fire in the fire place, smooth stones with inspiring words painted on them, lit candles of all sizes, throw pillows, plushy white towels folded just so, waffle bathrobes with slippers, and leafy tropical plants with big flowers to your décor.
- What about pets and other family members? I love family pets, especially cats, but sometimes they may not be the ideal guests at your spa party. Figure out what to do with your pets ahead of time so they don’t cause a distraction. And if there are family members or roommates that will not be participating in the spa party, (like husbands during a bridal shower) give them lots of notice so they can make alternate plans.
- Decide if there will be games and/or craft activities during the party: Some people like to play spa games while others like to encourage everyone to do a short craft project during their parties. If you want to do some spa-themed crafts and use essential oils, find some home spa recipes and try making your own perfumes, massage oil blends or bath salts. These activities are completely optional but if people are up for it, they might add some fun to the spa party.
- Collect and package party favours: Once the spa party starts winding down and everyone has received their pampering spa treatments, you might want to send your guests home with some party favours (or a loot bag, as I like to say). You can keep it simple, like a bottle of nail polish, or go all out with travel-sized shampoos, conditioners, lotions, lip balms, eye shadows, soaps, candles, assorted tea bags, packets of chocolate covered almonds, costume jewellery…whatever you want. You can always ask your mobile spa ahead of time if they’d also like to contribute some free product samples or coupons to the party favour bags.
- Clean up: Your spa party was a success and you can rest assured your friends had a good time. Once the mobile spa leaves and takes all of their equipment and supplies with them, clean up will be a snap. You may even like the furniture the way it is and not feel the need to move it back.
I hope this checklist for a successful spa party helps you plan the best spa party ever. And I hope you include Homespunspa in your next spa party. Please leave a comment if you have anything to add and please share this with your friends if you have a spa party in the works right now.
by Marguerite Wright, Guest Blogger
People are asking their herbalist for that special remedy to help them get a good night’s sleep, but getting rid of insomnia may not be as simple as taking an herbal supplement. With natural healing, the goal is to get to the root cause of the issue and deal with that, rather than covering up the symptoms with medications.
More and more people are seeking remedies for sleep disorders because they are suffering from insomnia or they are struggling to remain asleep throughout the night. Unfortunately sleep disorders lead to more health issues such as a suppressed immune system, stressed nerves, over active or under active glands and drained energy reserves.
It’s so important to get the proper amount of sleep in REM (rapid eye movement) — also known as dream sleep — every night. This is how the body rejuvenates itself and does the repair and maintenance it needs. The needed hours of sleep varies from person to person, some needing only 5 or 6 hours while others needing 8 to 10 hours.
Tips for better sleep
- Establish a bedtime routine: In these stressful times we live in, we have to work harder to de-stress ourselves and do things to improve our rest. It’s important that we form a routine where we have a regular sleep pattern, retiring to bed at the same time each night.
- Sleep in a dark room because Melatonin is a hormone that is produced in the pineal gland when it is dark. It directly influences the brain to induce sleep and is further broken down into the neurotransmitter, serotonin, which helps both sleep and mood. This shows why sleeping with the television on can disturb your sleep because it is a light source.
- Depression, anxiety, and worrying are linked to insomnia. Try to clear your mind before bed. Write down your thoughts to ease your mind. Meditation and deep breathing will help you to release all your anxiety and stress.
- Use diet and exercise in your favor. Don’t eat a heavy meal right before retiring, the undigested food can interrupt your rest and is hard on your health. Drink a soothing tea that will help you relax before bedtime. Smoking cigarettes only stimulates the body and can cause sleep problems. Avoid caffeine intake, especially before bedtime and don’t take stimulating herbal supplements. Some medications can disturb your sleep also. Beware of over-the-counter medications that contain caffeine or caffeine-related substances.
- Find ways to relax and unwind. A good way to unwind is to take a walk and/or do some stretching. Yoga is a great way to unwind also. Including exercise in your daily schedule will help you rest better — just keep the heavier exercising for earlier in the day.
Suggestions from your herbalist for a good night’s rest
- Make an appointment with your herbalist: Health issues that cause insomnia can vary from person to person, this is why it’s important to meet with your herbalist to review your personal issues, list of medications and daily routine. Take the free health analysis offered at www.motherknowsbest.net.
- Eat nutritious food because it’s important to nourish the nervous system. Anxiety, tension, depression even high blood pressure can be linked to lack of vitamins needed for the nervous system. Nutrients such as Vitamin C, B-Complex, Calcium and Magnesium will help. Many of my clients love Nutri-calm, which is an antistress vitamin. Other supplements like Kava Kava, adaptogens like Siberian ginseng, and Licorice are good.
- Detoxify your liver and colon. The liver is the organ of emotion and depression can lead to insomnia. Detox the liver with supplements such as Liver Cleanse, Dandelion, and Enviro-Detox. Ask your herbalist about a full detox program like the 90 Day colon cleanse.
- Get a massage. A good massage from a professional massage therapist can help a person de-stress and get better rest.
Article written by Marguerite Wright, Certified Herbalist and Massage Therapist located in the Chicago area. Marguerite Wright is the owner of Mother Knows Best Herbal Solutions, a company she put together to assist people who want to learn more about natural solutions to health. She uses herbal supplements, homeopathic, aromatherapy, cleansing, massage and more. If you want more information on insomnia, depression, anxiety attacks or other health issues, contact your herbalist, Marguerite Wright. For every disease or disorder there is a natural alternative. All the supplements mentioned in this article are available at www.motherknowsbest.net.
by Geraldine O’Keefe, Guest Blogger
Like the 71 million Americans who suffer from various sleep issues like insomnia, hot flashes, nervousness, and anxiety, I have found myself wide awake in the middle of the night on many occasions.
Here are some tips that have worked for me and may help you get a better peaceful and sound night’s sleep.
Try incorporating these tips in to your bedtime routine:
- Pamper yourself and power down at least 30 minutes before bed. When your core temperature rises then falls (as it naturally does at night), it signals to your body that it’s time to sleep. Help the process by taking a relaxing soak before bed and add some pure, organic lavender essential oil and/or some Himalayan salts to your bathwater.
- Drink Escape to Sleep tonic, preferably on an empty stomach. It can help your body feel what it’s like to sleep naturally and soundly.
- Try not to eat past 7 p.m. and avoid caffeine.
- Make sure your bed is comfortable. If you wake up and you are achy and sore, consider a new pillow and/or mattress.
- Lower the room temperature at night. Optimal range is 60-68 F.
- Sleep in a pitch-dark room. It will help you get back to your natural rhythm.
- Incorporate Lucid Dreaming: The object of lucid dreaming is to become conscious of being in the dream state. Keep a dream journal; write down what you remember.
Learn Yoga Techniques such as Pranayama (breath control), Yoga Nidra, and Meditation:
These calming techniques can help assure that you get the 8 hours of sleep to function at your best.
- Try Pranayama which is the art of restraining and controlling the breath.
- Also try Yoga Nidra, aka yogic sleep. Yoga Nidra is a highly powerful ancient meditation that originated in the Tantras. It’s a scientific way to eliminate the root causes of all negativities.
- And Practice Meditation. Meditation will train your mind to induce consciousness.
Our minds can be like a ship at sea without a sail. Practicing yoga nidra, and/or pranayama can help you observe and control your mind which will help to bring you into a deep, restorative and healing sleep. If you realize your thoughts are stressing about something in the future or in the past, gently bring them back into the moment. BE HERE NOW and don’t let those racing, “monkey mind” thoughts keep you awake at night. I always remember a monk that said, “when you eat, eat; when you walk, walk; when you talk, talk, and of course, when you sleep, sleep.
Be kind to yourself, yoga takes practice. Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind and a regular practice can help assure your restorative sleep.
There are seven levels of consciousness. Most people are operating in the first three: waking, sleeping and dreaming. As you begin to become more conscious of your thoughts in the three states, you will begin to understand and enjoy life more. Sweet dreams, may they all come true.
Sleep Well, Live Longer!
Geraldine is an herbalist, lifetime yogi, and vegetarian who has had experience with insomnia. She decided to create an herbal sleep-aid and ultimately, her dream product, Escape to Sleep™, was born.
You can find Geraldine online @:
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
I like to start my day with one or two cups of coffee. It’s not that I can’t function without my morning coffee; I just like the taste.
Sometimes in the afternoon before I workout, I’ll have a cup of green tea (because apparently it helps you burn 19% more fat) though my personal trainer suggested drinking white tea instead because it would probably help the same way without the caffeine.
Occasionally, I like to drink a can of diet cola or have a piece of chocolate. But that’s as far as I go with my caffeine intake. I don’t buy energy drinks and wouldn’t know which brand to choose if I wanted one.
Caffeine and other stimulates can wreak havoc on your sleep cycle. Drinking caffeinated beverages can make it more difficult to fall asleep and reduce the quality of sleep. If you drink a caffeinated drink at night, you’ll likely wake up more often and will have limited deep sleep and REM sleep. All in all, less caffeine is a sleeper’s dream.
Cut down on your caffeine if you can
If you suspect that caffeine is keeping you up at night and is contributing to your insomnia, try drinking fewer caffeinated beverages in your day. But cutting down on caffeine can be easier said than done. If you go cold turkey, you may experience severe withdrawal headaches. It’s best to reduce your caffeine intake gradually. If you are having trouble sleeping at night:
- Avoid energy drinks;
- Try to limit yourself to 3 or 4 cups of tea a day;
- Try to limit yourself to 2 cups of coffee a day (and drink them earlier in the day rather than later);
- Try decaffeinated tea or coffee to see if you like the taste;
- If you’re relying on coffee to give you energy, try drinking a glass of water first because your fatigue may be related to dehydration instead;
- Replace one of your daily teas or coffees or colas or energy drinks with something like herbal teas, orange juice, or smoothies;
- Instead of drinking caffeinated beverages, go for a snack like a banana, or a few pieces of dried fruit or a granola bar.
A note on energy drinks
Saying to avoid energy drinks may sound harsh, but they are loaded with caffeine and sugar. Energy drinks are popular (especially among young people who feel they need to stay up late to study in school) because they are formulated to boost mental and physical energy. (Coffee, tea and soft drinks are not considered energy drinks even though they contain caffeine).
Energy drinks are generally made with ingredients like carbonated water, acai, ginseng, gingko biloba as well as vitamin B and other herbs. They also often contain guarana and yerba mate which are hidden sources of caffeine. Ultimately, energy drinks contain more than 3 times the amount of caffeine than a can of cola and are served in larger cans which also increases their potency.
Although drinking energy drinks can improve mental alertness, excessive consuption can cause agitation, anxiety, irritability, nausea, nervousness, abnormal heart rhythms, increased urination, sleeplessness and insomnia, especially if two or more cans are consumed in a day.
So, if you’re at a loss of why you have insomnia, look at your daily caffeine intake. You just might be able to improve the quality of your sleep with this one change. As always, write a comment and let us know your progress.