"What in the hell did I get myself into?" That is the thought running over and over in my mind the first time I dry brushed my skin. It stings. Only momentarily, but it stings something awful. Why on earth would I be naked as a jay bird dry rubbing a stiff bristle natural fiber brush over every inch of my skin before hoping in my steamy lavender magnesium bath? Well, here's why I delved deeper into my adventures of being a posh crunchy mama and started skin brushing...
One third of your body's toxins are excreted through the skin and dry brushing helps to unclog pores and excrete toxins that become trapped in the skin.
A very good friend of mine sent me an article about skin brushing (also known as dry brushing), knowing how interested I am in all methods of naturally improving health, wellness, and natural immune boosting. I read the article and did a little additional research (c'mon, its me we're talking about). Skin brushing sounded pretty awesome.
Most of us know that your skin is the largest organ of absorption and elimination. That's the reason why what you put on your skin in the way of beauty products (lotions, deodorant, perfumes, etc.) is so very important. What you put on you, goes IN YOU. Aluminum, parabens, and all manner of hormone disruptors and carcinogens are present in our medicine cabinets, and it would serve you well to go read those labels carefully. But what about what comes out of our skin? Many people exfoliate the skin on their faces regularly (hello apricot scrub, I love you), an entire spa industry is focused on facial exfoliation. But the truth is that your whole body could do with thorough and regular scrub-a-dub. Skin that is clogged with toxins and dead cells cannot function properly because the toxins are not being eliminated.
Out of all the numerous benefits (and believe me their were tons), here are what I think are the top benefits of skin brushing:
Reduces Cellulite Um WHAT?! Awesome.The first major benefit that many proponents of skin brushing claim is that it eliminates–or drastically reduces–the appearance of cellulite (example of a before and after below). This is an important element of detoxifying the body. Cellulite is actually composed of toxic fat buildup that results in the wrinkling of the skin. Brushing dry skin is believed to tighten the epidermis and contribute to the breakup of this toxic material. This is much more economical and convenient than liposuction therapy. The detoxification process can be further enhanced by taking colon cleansing, liver cleansing, and chemical and heavy metal cleansing supplements and exercising regularly.
Exfoliates Another benefit one can expect is the removal of dead skin cells. Advantages that this brings extend beyond the obvious one of removing dry, dead skin that looks dull. When dead cells are exfoliated, new cells form more quickly. The added benefit of exfoliating the skin, is clearing excess sebum oil, dirt and residue from the pores. Though it isn’t recommended to dry brush the face unless you have a special, more delicate brush, dry brushing helps improve pores on the rest of the body. Skin not only looks healthier, it actually becomes healthier as dead skin is removed from clogged pores. If you are a lover of therapeutic essential oils (like I am, uh hem), you can expect better and more thorough absorption of your oils if there isn't layers of dead skin cells to pass though.
Promotes Circulation Blood flow increases to the skin following dry brushing, and the normal process of releasing toxins through perspiration is improved. Proper exercise, spicy foods, and breathing techniques also help promote normal circulation.
Supports Muscle Tone Another advantage offered by skin brushing is the stimulation of the nervous system. Stimulated nerves activate muscle fibers and improve muscle tone. This is particularly beneficial to people who have lost weight and are looking to tighten up sagging skin.
Immune System Health One of the most important benefits of skin brushing is the supposed effect it has on the lymphatic system. This is of profound significance to the immune system. The lymphatic system is a major part of the body’s immune system. It is made up of organs and lymph nodes, ducts and vessels that transport lymph throughout the body. Many of these lymph vessels run just below the skin and proponents of dry brushing claim that brushing the skin regularly helps stimulate the normal lymph flow within the body and help the body detoxify itself naturally. White blood cells, or lymphocytes, are actually named after this major body system. Lymph circulates to our cells through channels independent of our circulatory system. However, after it has done its work, it returns to the bloodstream through valves leading into the heart. Here, the white blood cells can fight the toxic agents that threaten our health. Massaging the skin with a brush, combined with exercise, speeds up the flow of lymph and directly contributes to a stronger immune system and healthier body.
Skin Appearance A huge benefit of skin brushing is a drastic improvement in the appearance of the skin itself! Eliminating dead skin and unclogging pores results in a very noticeable improvement. For people who exercise or sit in Far Infrared Saunas, this is an excellent follow up to detoxification by sweating. The appearance of the skin also improves as new cells form more quickly, and the skin takes on a smooth luster that is noticeably brighter than the dull appearance of old, dry, and often wrinkled skin.
HOW TO DRY BRUSH YOUR SKIN
The brush used should be a long-handled bath type brush. It should contain only natural vegetable bristles. Synthetic bristles should be avoided as they may scratch or irritate the skin. The brush should be kept dry and never used for bathing. When one performs skin brushing, the body should be dry for proper effect. Wet skin may allow sliding while dry skin brushing gently stretches the skin promoting lymph flow and the sloughing off of dead skin cells.
The brush should pass over every part of the body, always toward the heart.
Standing in my bathroom, as gently as I could, using this brush against my bare skin and over my bum (Hello?! Reduces cellulite!), I seriously started to doubt the wisdom of this experiment. Ouch! But the scratchy feeling subsides very quickly. And do you know what I started to see floating in the air? MY SKIN! Flakes of skin were everywhere. Okay, so it works in removing dead cells. That's pretty cool. Gross, but pretty cool. I then continued with my regular hot epsom salt and essential oils bath, natural lotion application and called it a night.
The next morning my skin is noticeably smoother and more vibrant. My body seemed to absorb my lotion and essential oils SO MUCH BETTER. Being in the endless winter here in New England and nursing a very hungry 6 month old - my skin seems perpetually dry. This was the first morning after my soak and smear (Hot bath followed with full body oils and lotion, meant to keep your skin in better health than constant showers that strip your body of moisture. I didn't make that name up, I hate the word smear too. gross) that my skin felt as moisturized and soft as it did when I went to bed. Looking forward also to the additional benefits this will have in increasing the effectiveness of my skin absorbing my daily use of my essential oils. Wondering how many of those precious drops in the past were wasted on my dead-skin laden body. Hmm, best not to think about it.
I'm sold. Not bad for a tool that cost $5.99! I'll keep you updated on any other benefits as I see them.
Would you try skin brushing? What was your experience?
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Thrive is an online membership community that uses the power of direct buying to deliver the world’s best healthy food and natural products to our members at wholesale prices and to sponsor free Thrive memberships for low-income American families.Get the highest-quality products you love, minus the retail markup, and help American families thrive.
Beth Israel Medical Center's Dr. Woodson Merrel TAlks About Using Young Living Essential Oils at his Hospital
(From TRFW News) It’s amazing when a simple herb can make a large impact on your health; thyme is an herb with multiple beneficial uses.
Thyme was used during the embalming process in Ancient Egypt and as incense for temples in Ancient Greece. According to writer Maud Grieve, the Romans used thyme to flavor up alcoholic beverages. (1)
Hippocrates, also known as “the father of medicine” noted thyme as an amazing culinary herb that can be grown in gardens and gathered in countrysides. In one of his documents, he mentioned the therapeutic uses of thyme in treating respiratory diseases and conditions. (1,2)
Strongest antioxidant known to manToday, we see many people touting the benefits of essential oils and their ability to manage stress levels, boost mood, deal with specific pain, and fight off any infections. (2)
The essential oils of thyme support body systems and are the strongest known antioxidants. Thyme contains a large amount (between 20% to 54%) of thymol, which is a naturally occurring compound, biocides, that can destroy harmful organisms. Additionally, when thymus is used in conjunction with other biocides, such as carvacrol, the antimicrobial attributes are incredibly strong. (1,2)
The leaves, flowers, and oil of thyme are most commonly used by people for conditions such as bedwetting, diarrhea, stomach ache, arthritis, colic, sore throat, cough (including whooping cough), bronchitis, flatulence, and as a diuretic. (1) But did you know that they could also be an effective anti-cancer remedy, especially breast cancer? (3)
Shows promising treatment for breast cancerBreast cancer is less prevalent in Greek women than American women. Thyme has been used as a staple in Mediterranean cooking, which is possibly why Greek women experience less than half the incidence of breast cancer. (2)
According to the journal Nutrition and Cancer, researchers from Celal Bayar University in Turkey conducted a study to see what effect wild thyme might have on breast cancer cells, especially how wild thyme affected cell death and epigenetic events in breast cancer cells. (1,4)
Researchers in this study confirmed that wild thyme induced cell death in the breast cancer cells, noting that wild thyme “may be a promising candidate in the development of novel therapeutic drugs for breast cancer treatment.” (4)
Proven to kill 98% of breast cancer cellsIn as little as 72 hours of in vitro breast cancer treatment, thyme essential oil was able to kill 98% in human breast cancer cells (MCF-7) with a concentration of only 0.05%. However, if concentrations were used as low as 0.01%, thyme essential oil still was able to kill 40% of breast cancer cells. (2)
In other studies, thyme essential oil has also proven successful in treating oral and ovarian cancer. (5) If you’re struggling with skin issues, digestive woes, yeast infection, high blood pressure, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, or circulation, then thyme essential oil may be of benefit to you as well. (1,2)
Sources for this article include:
It's hard to take care of a family. It's hard to know everything about everything in our attempt to keep our children healthy. Should I get that vaccine? Is circumcision necessary? Should I clean out my synthetic medicine cabinet for cleaner options? How do I protect them from the epidemic of childhood cancers, allergies, obesity, asthma, autism, and many other physical/cognitive disorders that have skyrocketed in the past 20 years*. How do I afford eating cleaner and going organic?
While I cannot answer all of those questions for you (although I may try with my irreverent daily Facebook posts), I can help you right now with that last one.
How do I afford going organic? How can I afford to eat cleaner food? Budgets are tight in this economy, and the food industry giants have given us hundreds of cheap ways to fill our families bellies. But at what cost to our health? Nearly every processed non-organic product has one or more genetically modified ingredients containing trace amounts of the pesticide Round-Up. Yes, that stuff you spray on your weeds with the huge cautionary POISON label.
If you are shopping at a conventional grocery store, first thing to do is stick to the outer edges of the store. Imagine the building from an aerial viewpoint, and most stores the outer aisles following the perimeter are where they keep produce, meat, and dairy products. Buying 90% of your food here will save you from many of the empty artificial calories waiting in pretty plastic packages. While wandering over into the dark side for things like applesauce, raisins, peanut butter, or olive oil-- pick organic where available.
Most chain grocery stores now carry an organic store brand (score!) that is only marginally more expensive than its dirty alternative. The more we buy organic and reject the junk-- the more healthy options will become available.
Buying 100% locally grown organic produce is ideal. Try to find and shop local farmers markets in your area (try this nationwide organic farm finder). You will know exactly where your food comes from, what (if any) pesticides have been used, boost your local economy, and in most cases save money. No middleman, no price hike.
But if you are like most of us (or you are in a deep winter like us here in Boston) you need to buy a majority of your fresh fruits and vegetables at a typical grocery store. So how do you pick "safe" produce without breaking the bank? If you cannot buy all your produce organic, use the below Dirty Dozen, Clean Fifteen list from the Environmental Working Group [EWG] as a helpful how-to guide.
The "Dirty Dozen" represent the fruits & vegetables with highest level of pesticides found in post-wash testing, the "Clean Fifteen" had the least amount of pesticides. Now, notice I said "least amount of pesticides" not "no amount of pesticides." If your food is not organic, it will have toxic pesticides in trace amounts. No getting around that with what our government allows today's Big Agriculture to get away with.
EWG combines six different measures to test and rank your produce:
Why should I be concerned about pesticides? Pesticides are toxic by design. They are created expressly to kill living organisms -- insects, plants and fungi that are considered “pests.” Most pesticides pose health dangers to humans. These risks have been confirmed by independent research scientists and physicians across the world.
As acknowledged by U.S. and international government agencies, different pesticides have been linked to a variety of health problems, including: brain and nervous system toxicity, cancer, hormone disruption, skin, eye and lung irritation (among others), especially in infants & children whose immune systems are delicate and still developing.The health benefits of a diet rich in vegetable and fruits does in most cases outweigh the risks of this limited pesticide exposure. That does not eliminate the danger, but you can look at is as the lesser of two evils. Better and non-organic banana than Quaker Granola Bar.
Is that "eat organic" horse dead yet? Ok, here's the list then:
THe Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen Produce GUide
Click on the "Download File" to print a take-along guide!
So the next time you are shopping at Shaw's or Albertson's - bring this list with you. Remember, the "Dirty Dozen" are fruits and vegetable that MUST be bought organic, or should be skipped. The "Clean Fifteen" have the least amount of pesticides pos-wash and you can feel good about skipping the extra cost of buying organic.
What About Everything Else? While many stores now have a natural food section, watch out for food products labeled "natural" that means absolutely NOTHING. They can have GMO's, high fructose corn-syrup, the works. It is simply a very successful marketing gimmick. Only "USDA Certified Organic" is organic. This is particularly true with meats & poultry. A lot of "natural" meat (and eggs) are labeled all-natural with "no added antibiotics." Sounds good right? However, by that definition the company does not add antibiotics to the final meat/poultry/dairy product, but the animal those products are made from was still pumped full of antibiotics and hormones during its lifetime. They just didn't inject the egg directly with drugs for example. It does not mean you are consuming a product free of antibiotics, it is business as usual with new clever labeling to fool the hapless consumer (Watch a shocking video about food product labeling here).
If you are not happy with your options as far as organic food goes or you find going organic for other food besides produce too cost prohibitive, try and online grocer such as my favorite, Thrive Market.
Thrive Market offers an amazingly huge selection of well, pretty much everything organic and wholesome at an enormous discount. Everything from organic oatmeal, gluten-free chips, to shaving cream. Thrive's stated mission is to provide all-natural, wholesome foods at 25-50% off of retail price with a sustainable and charitable business model. For every new membership, they donate a membership to a low-income family. It is a great company, and a great option for you to afford organic on a budget. Try it for free with an additional 15% off your first order here.
How to re-think your food budget. We have been sold the idea that our food should be cheap. Weekly coupons in the paper, television and print media, groups promoting "extreme couponing," as well as in-store deals have us believing that we are owed the right to really inexpensive food. The GMO labeling legislation (simply requiring food manufacturers to accurately disclose the genetically modified food ingredients on the food label) in multiple states failed because companies like Kraft and Pepsi spent over $10million in advertising telling to consumers the price of their food would skyrocket if they had to tell us what is actually in it. And you know what? It worked. Moms were fearful their food bills would increase and voted down the bill, even though the increase in price claim was a flat out proven lie.
Since we have swallowed the idea of cheap food whole, Big Food then delivers. Super cheap food that is super accessible and portable. But what would happen if you changed how you view your food budget? What if you realized that the BETTER you feed your family, the more healthy and less prone to disease, allergy, cancers, cognitive disorders, infertility, and obesity they would become? What if you knew that eating organic clean food could lower your medical costs across the board and have major lifelong benefits? Would you then be able to agree that spending a few or a hundred dollars more at the store instead of on medications and doctor co-pays might be worth it?
The greatest wealth we can have is our health. You and your family deserve to eat good, wholesome, non-toxic food. You deserve to be told exactly what you are eating so you can make the best choice for your family. You deserve to know the truth about our inextricably tied food & medical industries with our government. Keep reading, keep learning. Your family is counting on you xx
I hope these few tips have helped you rethink about the cost vs. benefit of clean eating and helped you find new tools to afford the food lifestyle your family deserves. Remember, I am not your doctor and nothing stated in this article should be taken as a diagnosis or replacement for sound, well-informed medical advice from your trusted professionals and your own personal research.
Please leave your tips on how to eat clean on a budget in the comments below!
*Watch this film for an eye-opening experience about the health of your children. See "BOUGHT" here
Last night my 3 year-old son were having an epic cuddle in our bed while my 5 month old and husband slept serenely near by - or so I thought. All of a sudden a booming voracious sound came from tother side of the bed startling my toddler and myself - daddy was snoring! And loudly.
Having recently received some amazing testimonials from family members (that shall remain nameless, Dad) whose nighttime satisfaction has been forever changed for the better because of a little blue liquid called Valor. This highly potent essential oil has many uses from increasing confidence to controlling sleep apnea. Made from a proprietary blend including: spruce, rosewood, blue tansy, and frankincense. It is no hyperbole that among the best class of oils in the world, it is one of the top 3 most desired.
It has help me personally win by battle with occasional insomnia, but I had never tried it for snoring. Tip toeing to the bathroom, I grabbed the bottle and shimmied quietly back to the bed. Leaning over my noisy hubby, I stealthy dripped a few drops of the essential oil blend onto his beard at his jaw line, careful not to wake him. Before I had even gotten all the way back to the bathroom - silence. I looked to see if he had woken up or maybe adjusted his position, nope. Handsome mouth still agape, with nothing coming out but silent sleepy breaths.
"Essential oils made daddy be quiet mommy!" Oh yes, yes they did.
In general, pure essential oils can be subdivided into two distinct groups of chemical constituents; the hydrocarbons which are made up almost exclusively of terpenes (monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and diterpenes), and the oxygenated compounds which are mainly esters, aldehydes, ketones, alcohols, phenols, and oxides.
Terpenes - inhibit the accumulation of toxins and help discharge existing toxins from the liver and kidneys.
Esters - are the compounds resulting from the reaction of an alcohol with an acid (known as esterification). Esters are very common and are found in a large number of essential oils. They are anti-fungal, calming and relaxing.
Aldehydes - are highly reactive and characterized by the group C-H-O (Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen). In general, they are anti-infectious with a sedative effect on the central nervous system. They can be quite irritating when applied topically (citral being one example), but may have a profound calming effect when inhaled.
Ketones - are sometimes mucolytic and neuro-toxic when isolated from other constituents. However, all recorded toxic effects come from laboratory testing on guinea pigs and rats. No documented cases exist where oils with a high concentration of ketones (such as mugwort, tansy, sage, and wormwood) have ever caused a toxic effect on a human being. Also, large amounts of these oils would have to be consumed for them to result in a toxic neurological effect. Ketones stimulate cell regeneration, promote the formation of tissue, and liquefy mucous. They are helpful with such conditions as dry asthma, colds, flu and dry cough and are largely found in oils used for the upper respiratory system, such as hyssop, Clary sage, and sage.
Alcohols - are commonly recognized for their antiseptic and anti-viral activities. They create an uplifting quality and are regarded as non-toxic.
Terpene Alcohols stimulate the immune system, work as a diuretic and a general tonic, and are anti-bacterial as well.
Sesquiterpene Alcohols are anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-mycotic, and ulcer-protective (preventative).
Phenols - are responsible for the fregrance of an oil. They are antiseptic, anti-bacterial, and strongly stimulating but can also be quite caustic to the skin. They contain high levels of oxygenating molecules and have anioxidant properties.
Oxides - According to The American Heritage™ Dictionary of the English Language, an oxide is "a binary compound of an element or a radical with oxygen".
All pure essential oils have some anti-bacterial properties. They increase the production of white blood cells, which help fight infectious illnesses. It is through these properties that aromatic herbs have been esteemed so highly throughout the ages and so widely used during the onsets of malaria, typhoid, and of course, the epidemic plagues during the 16th century. Research has found that people who consistently use pure essential oils have a higher level of resistance to illnesses, colds, flues, and diseases than the average person. Further indications show that such individuals, after contracting a cold, flu, or other illness, will recover 60-70 percent faster than those who do not use essential oils.
The information on this page is from the Reference Guide for Essential Oils by Connie and Alan Higley. For more information on this subject, see also the book, The Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple, by David Stewart.
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...Is Your Family's Health Being Traded For Profit?
New BOUGHT Documentary Exposes Ugly Truth Behind Vaccines, GMO's and Big Pharma...
ABOUT THE BOUGHT FILM: You're about to see how Wall Street has literally "BOUGHT" your and your family's health.
The food, vaccine, drug, insurance and health industry are a multi-BILLION dollar enterprise... focused more on profits than human lives. The BOUGHT documentary takes viewers deep "inside the guts" of this despicable conspiracy...
Featuring exclusive interviews with the world's most acclaimed experts in research, medicine, holistic care and natural health... Bought exposes the hidden (and deadly) story behind it all.
We are blindly asked to let medical professionals inject our hours old newborn babies with vaccines, and continue every SINGLE YEAR until death. With more vaccines, GMO's in our food crops, & hundreds of toxic chemicals in our daily household products - how safe do you feel?
Childhood cancer, asthma, obesity, allergies, and autism are dramatically higher than 25 years ago. Shouldn't we at least be asking WHY?!
Click HERE to view BOUGHT, free until March 6th 2015