You Don't Need to be at a Spa to Have Spa Type Food

Spa Cuisine For Your Home
If you are going to take the time and make the effort to relax your mind, sooth your soul, and soak in seaweed, exfoliate, apply mud masks and massage your tired achy muscles, you should not forget to feed your body. But who wants to have to cook once you are relaxed and treated? Nobody, that's who, so here are a few recipes that are tasty and healthy, yet require minimal cooking time. Although most of these have minimal prep time, if you have a recipe that you LOVE, simply complete the preparation ahead of time, and coordinate the cooking time with your facial mask waiting time, or bath soak. Just remember that alcohol is a definite no no, and the food should be healthy, as well as tasty. DRINKS *MELON BLISS* 1/2 cantaloupe, diced and frozen 1/2 cup bottled or canned apricot nectar 1 tsp honey 1/2 cup chopped ice banana slice Place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and garnish with the banana slice. *BLUEBERRY SHIVER* 1/2 cup blueberries 1 banana, peeled and sliced 1/2 cup white grape juice 1/2 cup chopped ice 1 slice of banana Place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and garnish with a banana slice. *KIWI FIZZ* 2 medium kiwis, peeled 1 Tbs. honey 8 oz. chilled mineral water ice cubes 1 kiwi slice for garnish Place the kiwis and the honey into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour mixture into a tall glass and the mineral water and ice cubes, garnish with a kiwi slice. *CITRUS SPARKLER* 32 oz sparkling mineral water 1 cup cranberry juice 1 orange, sliced 1 lemon, sliced 1 lime, sliced 1 cup ice cubes Empty the mineral water into a large pitcher and add the cranberry juice and fruit slices. Let sit for a bit, then shake to mix well. Pour into a glass over ice cubes. *HONEY COOLER* 1/2 Honeydew melon, diced and frozen the juice of 2 limes 1 tsp. honey 1/2 cup chopped ice 1 lime slice for garnish Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. When finished pour the mixture into a glass and garnish with a lime slice. If you are not into the "smoothie" type of drinks you can always fix a nice herbal tea, or just some mineral water. It is very important to rehydrate your body during and after your spa experience. Whatever you do, resist the temptation to have a glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage. Alcohol will actually dehydrate your body and alter your blood pressure, so stick to the water, teas, and smoothies. In the next post I will give you some spa type food recipes. Have a headache, feeling blue or stressed? Try my new aromatherapy necklaces. This necklace makes it easy to carry your aromatherapy with you! Just unplug the bottle, take a few deep breaths, re-cork and no-one will know that you just had a "spa time out"! There are several custom blends to choose from, so whatever your need, it can be met in a stylish, yet practical way.

My Spring has Sprung No Matter What the Calandar Says!

With the last days of winter bearing down on us here in the eastern USA, my heart and efforts have moved into spring! My spring has sprung so to speak! Traditionally many home-makers use the spring to deep clean their houses and gardeners use it begin indoor plantings while preparing the outdoor areas on the nice, sunny days. Students, children, Mothers, Fathers, and office workers alike tend to begin showing the signs of "spring fever", with their actions becoming more and more rambunctious as the dreary days progress. As an artist I tend to excise my cabin fever by planning for the spring. I search the jewelry makers catalogs looking for new cuts of pretty stones, good deals, and interesting new combinations of stones. I "plan" to buy ones that are pretty, ones that strike my fancy, and ones that I haven't worked with for a while, if ever. I compile a "wish list", even going so far as to write down the item nubers and costs. I never total up until I have spent hours and hours shopping, and until I know that I have listed every possible desire of my heart. Then I move on to cretaing my "wish list" for my Unique Garden line. I spend hours scourering the web, comparing the prices of oils that I must have, while noting the few places that sell the exotic (read expensive here!) oils that I covent. I then make my ultimate wish list of ingredients, again not paying attention to the cost, just listing ALL my wants. No w this part really is an exercise in futility because I know full well that I will not order from a lot of these companies. While I am sure they are good at what they do, I have not delt with them, therefore I will continue to order from the places that I always have. Why mess with a good thing, right? Inevitably I will consider purchasing from some place new, but in the end I always go back to my tried and true. When you are spending so much money you expect and need high quality, so I'd rather pay the extra money to KNOW what I am getting, In the end I think this actually saves me and saves my work. I'd hate to have to spend time, money, and aggravation to return an inferior product. So this is how I have dealt with the last weeks of winter doldrums, and I have to say that I have had an especially great time compiling my lists this year! Not only did I find some interesting jewelry components, but I decided to do something that I usually don't do.........I purchased the majority of my lists! While I did cross off some of the most extravegant wishes, I kept almost all of the items I wished for! I am so jazzed! Now I am awaiting the largest material/ingredient shipment that I have ever made at one time! When they get her it will be like Christmas all over. I have to admit that I am blown away by my own boldness! lol. I convinced myself that it made more sense to make a few large purchases than to make smaller ones over many months. Afterall shipping is very expensive, you know? Lol. The endorphin rush that came as I made my list, and then as I made my purchases, is enough to keep me going through the next few dreary weeks of winter. And, after I get my boxes, I will of course have plenty of jewelry to create and lots of new recipes to whip up in the kitchen. With spring craft shows just around the corner, I think it is safe to assume that I will be able to keep busy and avoid most of the pot holes of spring fever!

Set Your Tude, Get Into the Mood!

Before you are really ready to pamper yourself (or another) with a home spa treatment, you need to begin to adjust your attitude and gather some items to enhance the mood! So here are some basics that you need have on hand, and some items that will enhance your spa treatment and your over-all experience. You can find most "basic" items that you will need right in your kitchen cabinet. The basics are the items that you will need to make, mix, use and/or store your treatments. Try to avoid tools that have silver, copper, aluminum, teflon, or cast-iron finishes. Stay with stainless steel, enamel, or glass utensils, as these will not react with any of the ingredients in treatment recipes. To create the best spa type experience, one that will bring you complete relaxation, rejuvenation and even luxury, you will need to add a second category of "basics", and those are the mood enhancing basics. These are items that will bring in the personal touches, and that will add an extra dimension to your experience. By adding these "basics", you will elevate your experience to the next level so to speak, raising it to the high level of a purchased spa package, and all for a fraction of the cost! Sooooooo, before you begin looking at books and creating recipes, make sure that you have the following on hand and ready to go! -A blender or food processor-a glass one is better than the plastic -A spice mill or coffee grinder-used to finely grind herbs -A wire whisk -Tongs-a must for picking up the hot sheet strips in body wraps -A double broiler- heats easily and melts without scorching -A x-large pot for boiling (a lobsterpot or stock pot works great) -Glass bowls for mixing -A few 2 or 3 quart sized ceramic or plastic bowls for holding seaweed, clay, salts and/or water -A very large bowl or basin for facial steams -Wooden spoons for mixing/blending -Vegetable peeler for peeling citrus fruits -Knives and a chopping board for cutting -A funnel -Glass jars and bottles for storing your preparations. Old mayonnaise, pickle or jam jars are great for this! -A strainer -Plastic bottles w/ flip top lids for storing shampoos and conditioners -Glass mason jars aka canning jars for brewing teas and making infusions -Glass measuring cup -Measuring spoon set -A dropper, preferable a glass one for measuring essential oils -A loofah sponge or bath mitt for applying body treatments -A natural bristle brush for skin treatments. This is a short-handled brush with a head about the size of your palm. -A pumice stone -Plastic wrap, a shower cap, or a plastic bag for hair treatments that need to be left on for a time period. The plastic intensifies the effect of the heat and is useful for hot oil treatments and for certain conditioners. -Disposable rubber gloves are useful when handling mud or seaweed, or applying hair treatments. -Towels- 2 or 3 over-sized bath towels to wrap up your body in, 2 standard-size towels for facial steams, or to wrap your hair in, 2 hand-towels to pat dry with, and 2 washcloths for compresses. -Cotton bed sheets- 2 or 3 for laying on and for covering yourself to maintain body heat after a massage or wrap. It is best to use unbleached, all-natural fiber sheets. -Cotton twin sheets-2. One to be cut into strips for body wraps (twin size is probably okay for this) and one to be used whole for the full-body wrap. Again, all-natural, unbleached cotton is best. -Pillows to raise your head or feet. Goose down is usually more comfortable, but synthetic fibers are easier to machine wash in case of spills. -Blankets for keeping warm after a bath, massage or wrap, or for using over the sheet. Although wool may be warmer, an all cotton blanket will be easier to wash if some of your treatment gets on it. -Shower curtain or plastic sheet is greta to retain the heat of a body wrap and/or to protect your laying surface. -Muslin sacks are great for preparing your herbal bath teas, sachets, and soaks. Those are all the basic BASICS you should need. Now for the Mood enhancing basics. These are highly preferential and you may use all or a combination of your favorites. -An Answering machine or Voice Mail will handle all of your messages, so turn off the phone ringers and leave the outside world outside! -Aromatherapy candles will enhance the effect of a bath and accentuate the mood. Make sure that you use the scent that will benefit you and your needs the most.
  • Balancing; Geranium or Lavender
  • Headache Relief; Lavender, Marjoran, or Peppermint
  • Healing; Cedarwood, Eucalyptus, or Rosemary
  • Meditation; Cedarwood, Patchouli, or Pine
  • Stress Relief; Bergamot, Grapefruit, or Lavender
-A Bathrobe will add warmth and comfort to your experience. -A Bathtub tray will help keep your extras right at hand, and your book dry. -Beverage. Make sure that you choose water with lemon, lime, or orange slices, herbal teas, or healthful type drinks. Alcoholic beverages will increase your heart rate and your body temperature, so therefore should be avoided. -Books are a great indulgance while you are soaking in a tub. So pick your favorite before you hop in! -Flowers. fresh cut flowers are a treat for your senses and make a great addition to the over-all spa type setting. -An Inflatable neck pillow will add comfort while soaking. -Music can be a distinct mood alterer, so IF you choose to use it, make sure that you choose a peaceful, relaxing cd. You can find lots of mood music in most stores, including the dollar tree, so try going outside your (musical) box. You certainly don't want to be banging your head in the tub! lol. It rather defeats the purpose. -Slippers are great for comfort and warmth after treatments. -A space heater will help keep your body warm after a massage or body wrap. *Make sure that you never leave the heater unattended.* Now that you know all the basics that you will need, take inventory and go shopping if need be. Then set aside a few hours and prepare to treat yourself to a home spa treatment. Look in back

What's That Touch?

Does the winter gray and cold have you down? Why not set some time aside and treat yourself to a home spa treatment? Look in the back posts and you will find detailed instructions for the ultimate home therapy day, including which essential oils to use for what! There are many treatments and forms of therapies, and some overlap into more than one category. I am going to try and break these into managable segments, but you will need to bear with me as I create my own categories and try to decide which is most appropriate for each therapy. As I mentioned, some will probably fit into more than one, but for now, I am going to begin with ones that require body manipulation/touch of some kind, meaning mainly massage types. No matter how they are divided, you need to understand the basics before you can decide what you want to try, and what may work for your needs. I strongly encourage you to be bold and adventuresome, to try something new. You never know when that new thing may become your next favorite thing!
Massage/Body Manipulation
  • Acupressure is an ancient Chinese technique that is based upon the theory that there are pressure points (called meridians) on the body and these points correspond to organs in the body. When pressure is applied to these points the energy pathways are stimulated and the corresponding organ and the connecting muscles are encouraged to relax.
  • Acupuncture is an ancient Asian technique that also targets the energy meridians, but this one utilizes ultra fine needles. It is used to relieve arthritic, urological and muscular tensions.
  • Electro-Acupuncture utilizes low voltage electrical current instead of the fine needles, but operates under the same principles.
  • The Alexander Technique is a bodywork system that is meant to improve posture and correct bad (physical) habits that cause stress on the body. It was named after its creator, F.M. Alexander, an Australian, in the 1890's.
  • Cranial Massage is the soothing manipulation of the pressure points of the spine, head, neck, and shoulders. It is meant to improve the floe of the cerebral spinal fluid through the nervous system, thereby relieving teeth grinding, headaches and back problems.
  • Effleurage is a massage term that is used to describe a long stroking motion that is intended to calm the nervous system.
  • Electrotherapy Treatments utilize short waves, ultrasound, infrared rays and various other forms of electricity for its results.
  • In Energy Balancing, a powerful current of healing energy comes through the therapist's hands to heal areas of illness and injury. This technique is said to clear and charg the seven major chakras and auric the body.
  • Esalen Massage is a more modern variation of the Swedish massage. Its focus is on creating deep states of relaxation, beneficial states of consciousness and a general well-being. Developed by the Esalen Institute of Big Sur, California, unlike the Swedish massge, this massage is not focused on the relieving of muscle tension or increased circulation, it is more rhythmic and hypnotic and focuses on the mind/body as a whole. The Swedish massage, by contrast, is more brisk and focuses on the body.
  • Fango Therapy combines hot parafin wax and natural volcanic ash which is then used to cover the whole body or just some parts. Fango is the Italian word for mud and it is used to increase muscle and joint mobility, promote relaxation, and allieviate aches and pains due to illness or injury.
  • The Feldenkrais Method, a movement therapy, utilizes gental muscle manipulation to help program them to work more effeciantly. Subtle changes are introduced to the client through touch in an effort to break up old patterning. This system was developed by a Russian born Israeli educator, Mosche Feldenkrais.
  • Foot/Hand Reflexology is a technique which divides the body into ten zones which correspond with a specific reflex area on the foot or hand. When you apply pressure to a particular massage point on the foot or hand it helps circulation, promotes relaxation, and releives pain in one of these ten body zones.
  • Gommage is a cleansing and rehydrating treatment that utilizes creams which are applied to the body in long, massage type movements.
  • Developed by Joseph Heller, Hellerwork is a system of deep-tissue body work to reduce stress and offer movement re-education.
  • Hydrotherapy is one of the oldest methods known to man. It refers to all water treatments such as underwater massages, hot and cold showers, mineral baths and jet sprays, for example. These help in the healing process of almost any ailment as they provide both stimulation and relaxation at the same time.
  • Jin Shin Jyutsu is a gentle Japanese massage. This technique is based upon synchronizing the pulses in two body parts (called meridians), which then releases the body's natural pain relievers and rejuvinates the immune system.
  • Lomi-Lomi is a Hawaiian massage that utilizes a rythmical rocking method.
  • Lymph Drainage utilizes a gentle and pulsating massage or pressure to specific areas of the body which are located around the lynph nodes and toward the heart. It is used extensively for the head, neck, and shoulders during facials, and is meant to increase the lymphatic flow, which in turn increases the body's internal cleasing, aka toxin drainage.
  • Massage is muscle manipulation and includes many types, such as acupressure, reflexology, polarity, effleurage, stroking, kneading, friction, rocking and others. Massage is used to stimulate circulation, reduce stress, increase suppleness and relaxation.
  • Myofacial Release restores proper function and bio-mechanics to the body's facial system through soft tissue manipulation.
  • Pfrimmer Therapy, developed by Therese Pfrimmer, is a technique that is designed to stimulate circulation and regenerate lymphatic flow in order to detoxify and oxyginate stagnant tissues by manipulating deep tissues.
  • Founded by osteopath Dr. Randolf Stone, Polarity therapy is a massage technique that combines deep pressure massage with gentle stretching and rocking which is used to achieve correct body alignment
  • Reflexology is a system of massage specifically for the feet and hands . It promotes healing, improves circulation, and relieves stress in other parts of the body.
  • Reiki, while not a massage, involves touch so I will include it here. In Reiki, the therapist places their hands on (or just above) 12 areas of the body. The hands gently rest on (or over) each area for 3-5 minutes without any manipulation at all. It is an erergetic approach to healing and is meant to induce a deep relaxation by creating a nurturing and calming effect.
  • Rocking is a massage technique where where the hands gently rock or shake the body back and forth.
  • Created by Ida Rolf, the Rolling technique is an intensive, oft times painful, massage that is used to realign the skeletal structure, improve the energy flow and relieve stress caused by emotional trauma.
  • The Russian massage technique requires percise angels for the muscles and joints deep-tissue massage. It stretches the muscles out.
  • Shiatsu is a Japanese massage technique where gentle pressure is applied to the meridian points of the nervous system's energy paths. It balances and revitalizes the immune and the endocrine systems of the body and stabilizes its energy flow.
  • Sports massage is a deep tissue massage used for treating specific muscle groups. It is often utilized around the joints.
  • Structural Integration utilizes the manipulation of deep and superficial connection tissue in addition to movement education. It is a system that relieves the patterns of stress and impaired body functioning due to poor posture, acute or chronic conditions (such as low back pain, neck or shoulder injury).
  • Swedish massage is a European technique that has been around since the late 18th century. It combines many massage techniques, including, stroking, kneading, manipulation, and tapping of the muscle tissue. This massage is meant to increase the flow of the venous blood from the extremeties, thereby shortening the recovery time from muscular strain by flushing the tissues of lactic and uric acid, and other metobolic waste. It increases circulation without increasing the workload of the heart, relaxes muscles, and improves overall circulation.
  • Tapotment is a massage that involves a light, steady tapping that causes a slight vibration of the muscles.
  • Vodder Massage was developed in 1950 by Emile Vodder, a Danish born man. It involves manual drainage of lymph.
  • Watsu is an underwater Shiatsu massage.
  • Zen Shiatsu is a Japanese art that utilizes acupressure (finger pressure) to unblock and release energy channels, producing a generilzed well-being.

CAR is set to Drive

My friend Gena of and myself will be hosting our first episode of the C.A.R. (Creative Animal Relief) radio show on blogtalk radio this coming Wednesday at 7pm EST. CAR is a new group for artists who use their crafty talents, time and energy to raise funds to be donated to vetted nonprofit (animal) charities. This group began in January as the Etsy for Animals group store closed. The leader of EFA, a social team on the Etsy site, decided that she no longer wished to pursue the groups nonprofit status, therefore the store front was not necessary (as this was what it was opened for). In light of this, a few people decided that they would like to continue working toward that nonprofit status and the greater ability to help animals that a nonprofit status allows for. Thus CAR was born. The radio show was supposed to begin in January just as we ended the EFA show, however, as most of you know, I became very ill and was unable to co-host and Gena was very busy working on CAR, so she opted to postpone until I was able to talk! Now that I am able to speak I am more than ready to go! I am so excited about our new format and our new group! The website looks great (thanks El!), we already have funds ermarked for our nonprofit status (thanks Gena!), and we are quickly gaining members (thank you!)! On this weeks radio show, , we will be discussing ; Alternative Veterinary Health Care, a Way to Heal or a just a Way to Steal Your Money? We will have Dr. Kim Bloomer and Dr. Jeannie Thomason from Animal Talk naturally as our guests to help answer questions and further define some principles of holistic veterinary care. We will also be accepting listener call in questions and/or experiences dealing with holistic/naturopathic veterinary care/treatments. We would LOVE to hear from you! We especially are interested in hearing what treatments you have tried, if they were expensive, and whether or not you feel that ? Can't join us at 7pm EST Wednesdays? That's okay, all of our shows are available on podcast anytime so you can listen anytime you want!