Showing posts with label Health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Health. Show all posts

Sunday, October 28, 2018

The App Calm - A Personal Review

I Finally Downloaded the App 'Calm' onto My Cell Phone

Since our computers spit ads and suggestions based on what we might like or want, it figured out I could use a little 'Calm' in my life.

After ignoring the App for several years, it finally got me! I downloaded it a few days ago.

The App has a free version and a paid version. I'm using the free features at the moment.

Scenes - The Feature I'm Currently Into

I use Scenes for relaxation and as a sleep aid.  However, it's the sounds of the scenes, not the visuals that I'm focused on. The scenes are beautiful and you can also watch while listening.

Scenes is essentially the same as the radios from back-in-the-day that feature a choice of background sounds such as waves, thunderstorms, forests, and more.

Simply, choose the scene and calming background sound you prefer. Put the headphones on, listen and relax. 

What We Get with 'Calm' Premium

A full library of music, meditation, and stories.
  • Guided meditations for stress, gratitude and more
  • Sleep stories are pretty cool! Put in your earphones and listen to a relaxing story to help you fall asleep. I've listened to one story included with the free portion of the App. It was hauntingly relaxing.
  • There's also music to help you focus, relax and of course, the obvious, to sleep.
  • They have Masterclasses by world-renowned mindfulness experts designed to help you take control of your thinking and guide you towards living in the now. I haven't tried this yet. However, this feature absolutely appeals to me.
Why Use Calm

With the internet and YouTube you might be asking yourself why would you need to use an App. After-all, why not just listen to videos from YouTube on your phone, or read articles you find via search. That was my original thinking as well.

The answers:
  • Convenience, no commercials
  • No need to search YouTube or the Internet for Meditation or Relaxation tools
  • Your calming tools are conveniently located in one place
  • Quick access on your phone when you need a calming break
  • Daily Calm inspirations added
  • Body Calm programs included
  • Masterclasses on Mindfulness
  • They add new music weekly
  • A full library of stories to fall asleep by, and new stories always being added
My gift to myself this Christmas, is to upgrade to premium. I do love the convenience of this App.

Here's to your peace of mind.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Should I Use a Knee Brace Support for My Arthritis

When it comes to physical aids, I'm a bit stubborn. After suffering long enough, I finally broke down and answered the above question honestly. Yes, the answer is yes.

On a really bad day, technically I need a walker when I'm out and about, and there's no way I'm ready to consider something like that. No way. On an average bad day, I would say I could use a cane, and yep, you guessed it, no way am I using one. Well, at least at this stage.

I'm a few years into my ailment now and refuse to jump into these mobility aids at this point. On a good day I do pretty well without any aids whatsoever.

The question of whether I should use a knee brace is about those really bad and just plain bad days.


I Finally Gave In and Said Yes to a Knee Support Brace

I had tried stretchable cloth type wraps that you slip on, but found them too tight. So I opted for an actual brace support.

I went to a popular drugstore chain here in Canada called Shoppers Drug Mart. After trying on several, I ended up choosing the Formedica Adjustable Knee Support. It's important to know your knee measurements to ensure you have the right size.
In-Store Purchase from
Shoppers Drug Mart
in Canada

The price was reasonable, less than $30 Canadian. They're manufactured in Quebec, Canada. It's designed to stabilize and protect the patella (knee cap). It gives weak knee muscles and ligaments stress support.

The knee brace sat in the box until a 'really bad knee day' occurred and grocery shopping was on that to-do-list.

So off I went with my knee wrapped nice and snug.

Wowza! Was I ever wrong about holding off to get one.

On a bad knee day, grocery shopping is brutal. With the knee wrap, it's 50 percent better than without it. Of course I still have pain, but the knee brace wrap provides the support needed to walk confidently without feeling I'm damaging it further, or that I'll fall.


EXOUS Knee Brace Support Protector - Relieves Patella Tendonitis - Jumpers Knee Mensicus Tear - ACL Lateral & Medial Ligament Sprains Comfort Design True Non-Slip FIT for Arthritis - Sport - RunningEXOUS Knee Brace Support Protector - Relieves Patella Tendonitis - Jumpers Knee Mensicus Tear - ACL Lateral & Medial Ligament Sprains Comfort Design True Non-Slip FIT for Arthritis - Sport - RunningMy Online Store Choice Would Have Been EXOUS Knee Support Protector

If you're in the market to get a knee wrap via online shopping, this brand is quite popular.

It's available on Amazon and best of all when you visit the product page, you'll see a handy video that tells you everything you need to know about the product, including how to measure for the right size.

Although I haven't tried this product, after doing some research, it was my online pick based on features and price.

If you have bum knees, don't hold off getting a knee brace support. Personally speaking, they've really helped me on those not so perfect days.




The Obvious Statement:

I'm not a doctor, so of course, anything medical related you should seek the advice of a professional. There I said it.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Magnetic Therapy for Relief and General Wellness

For More Than Twenty Years, Before It Was Even Fashionable, Our Family Has Been Using Magnetic Relief Products

What seems like ions ago, my brother introduced me to magnetic therapy. My first thought was, what in the heck is that, followed by, laughter.

But my Bro had the last laugh after he demonstrated what magnetic energy could do for my body.
He repeatedly spun the magnetics on a small handheld item called a MagDuo for about ten minutes, in the air, around my body, and up and down my arms.
But before doing that he had me stand with my arms out and asked me to reach my arm back as far as I could. After the air around my body had increased magnetic energy, he asked me to try to reach my arm back again, and I couldn't believe that my arm went further back by what seemed like an entire foot! Essentially it increased my range of motion. I can see why golfers love it!

Thus began my learning about the benefits of magnetic therapy.

Of course, I'm not a doctor, and the research I undertook was from reading and talking to others who used the products. What I learned about magnetic therapy was amazing.

What Magnetic Therapy is and What it Isn't
  1. It's not a cure for anything
  2. It's wellness therapy
  3. It provides relief to an area, or the body in general
  4. The results are similar to Acupuncture
  5. Magnetic energy apparently clears your Meridians
  6. It's said to increases blood flow to an area
  7. It's considered prevention as well
  8. Don't put magnets on a fresh injury (As an example, a sprain), Ice is always best first to draw blood away from the area, then about 24 to 48 hours later you could consider applying magnetics. Remember magnetics draw blood to an area, and you don't want blood drawn to an area that has a fresh injury. 
  9. All Magnetic Products are not created equal. The Magnetic Gauss (the measurement of magnetic flux density - magnetic induction) matters. Be sure to research the company selling the product to ensure they're not fly-by-night. We use Nikken magnetic products and have never used another brand or type. Nikken has been in business since about 1989.
Dr. Oz Explains Magnetics Much Better than I Can:


What I find hilarious about all of this is that we've been using Magnets since the late 1990's and back then I remember receiving many snarky-giggling comments from nay-sayers, and today it's basically accepted.

Ha figures.

To understand how magnetics work on our body, it's best to watch the above video.

I LOVE My Magnetic Necklace! Nikken Perfect Link II Magnetic Necklace, Perfect for All Occasion (Silver)I LOVE My Magnetic Necklace! Nikken Perfect Link II Magnetic Necklace, Perfect for All Occasion (Silver)
The Magnetic Products We've Used for Over 20 Years
  1. Magnetic Insoles for shoes
  2. Every bedroom in our home has a Magnetic Mattress Pad or Magnetic Blanket, or a Ceramic Reflecting Blanket on the bed
  3. We have magnetic wraps for elbows, wrists and knees
  4. I've worn a magnetic necklace for over 20 years (I've gone through 3 of them - it relieves my neck tension)
There are many additional magnetic relief products available that I couldn't possibly list here. Some are, bracelets, pet pads, sleeping masks (that mask is awesome!)… there's so many more. If you do a search you'll see the list is practically endless.

For me, I feel as though magnetics slowed down the onset of an auto-immune condition that I was diagnosed with in 2016. By slowed down, I mean, it's quite possible I could have had this condition show up ten years earlier based on the extensive history of auto-immune diseases in my family.

So many of my family members have been struggling with a variety of auto-immune diseases for decades, long before I had the issue show up. My problems didn't show until my late 50's, so in that sense I was lucky. But I want to stress that there's no hard proof to support my belief that magnetics slowed the onset, it's just something I feel.

There's a saying I heard about using magnets: "May you never know what you prevented".

Of course, you should always consult a doctor before starting a new therapy. However, don't be surprised if your doctor isn't into magnetic therapy. Many aren't, although I do believe there's a paradigm shift coming.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

How To Make The Easiest Cuticle Oil Ever

How to make the easiest cuticle oil ever
Photo's by Lou16
Today I'm going to review how to make the easiest cuticle oil ever. Once you see how easy it is you'll wonder why you haven't always made your own DIY cuticle oil!

Don't use a cuticle oil? You're not alone, it's a step many people miss out when they do their nails at home. I must admit, but cuticles were in pretty bad shape and I would just rub my hand cream into them and think 'oh well, that's just my cuticles!'

This year I've decided to treat myself my getting my nails done once a month (well it's about every three weeks, but my husband thinks it's a monthly thing LOL!) and I do love it when they pop on the cuticle oil at the end. My cuticles are looking much better, but they would look even better if I used it a little bit more often.

Now I like the idea of using natural products and not having some of the additives that you find in some skincare/personal care products being present. I also know that lemon oil is great for softening cuticles, I just had to look for some cuticle oil recipes ...

There are so many recipes for DIY cuticle oil that they would make your head spin, but many of them used so many ingredients that it just seem such an effort. Using sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, vitamin E oil and about 5 different essential oils just seemed a lot for me to recommend to people, after all we don't have all these ingredients just lying around the house do we?

Well I found a recipe that used olive oil and just two essential oils and I changed the essential oils (based on my own aromatherapy knowledge, and on what I had on hand) and I've come up with the easiest cuticle oil ever -

How to make the easiest DIY cuticle oil ever - every thing ready to begin - olive oil, lemon oil, lavender oil, bottle and funnel

Easy DIY Cuticle Oil That Your Nails Will Love!


4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 drops pure lemon essential oil
2 drops pure lavender essential oil.

Simply mix the ingredients together and keep in a bottle, I recommend seeing if you can find a nail polish style of bottle with a nail polish brush to keep it in (they didn't have any at my local store) or even a roller bottle.

These type of bottles will made it easier to apply, but aren't essential.   As you can see from my photo I just used a test tube style bottle (as I had it on hand) and I use a Q-tip to add the oil around my nails. I will let you know, however, that I have some roller bottles on order.

Lemon oil is fantastic for softening hard skin which is why it's a perfect addition to a cuticle oil. Lavender oil is a very nourishing oil, softening and just great for skin. The combination of these two oils works fantastically to help keep your cuticles looking fabulous and as an added bonus, using a cuticle oil after a manicure actually helps it stay looking beautiful for longer something I've only just found out!

                                                                                                                                                              
EXTRA TIP - if you take vitamin E capsules then simple pierce one of them and squeeze the contents into the cuticle oil.  It will make the oil even more moisturizing and rich (a much cheaper alternative to adding vitamin E oil!).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
It's very important that you use pure essential oils and not synthetic ones when making your own skincare as each essential oil brings it's own benefits and fragrant oils don't have these benefits.

I love to use Arbonne's essential oils when available, if I'm after an oil that they don't have then I make sure that the one I buy is 100% pure essential oil.

Aromatherapy Isn't Just About DIY Skincare!


You can use essential oils for lots of different things, here's a few articles that you might find interesting ...

How Aromatherapy can Help StressHow Aromatherapy Can Help Stress
Aromatherapy has proven to be very successful at helping to relieve stress, simply by using certain essential oils stress and conditions caused by stress can be alleveiated.

Essential Oil Room Humidifier and DiffuserEssential Oil Room Humidifier and Diffuser
Using essential oils in a humidifier or diffuser can add a lovely atmosphere to a room as essential oils can really help to work on your emotions from relaxing you or making you more upbeat.

Reviewing Uses for Tea Tree OilReviewing Uses for Tea Tree Oil
The herbaceous fragrance of tea tree doesn't begin to hint at how many uses there are for this essential oil from medicinal to beauty to household uses this is one very versatile essential oil.


How to make the easiest cuticle oil with only 4 ingredients
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Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Outstanding and Affordable Nordic Walking Poles, Fitness Made Easy!

Fitness and Exercise are a must for a healthy body and mind.  Nordic Walking Poles can make getting fit a little easier.  Let's Review these walking aids and see how they could fit into your life.

Growing older is not for wimps and those feint of heart, but it's something that everyone wants to do.  As you get older, it seems that keeping in shape and staying fit are harder and harder to do.  Unless you have always been an athlete, as we get older, we tend to slow down.  Not because of an innate desire to do nothing, but rather we might be having problems with arthritis, joint issues and more.  So while retirement and enjoying life is a great thing, if your mobility is not as great as it once was, you just might want to slow down or stop altogether!  

That is not the ideal way to spend your retirement years.  Activity keeps the mind and body stronger than just sitting around watching TV or playing cards.  Oh sure you can have some fun doing those things too, but don't let that become your life and your lifestyle.  Idleness is the devil's playground it is said! And the devil is Alzeimers or worse.  It has been proven that activity keeps the mind and the body in better shape than inactivity.  In the Canadian Government website regarding health of seniors it states, "Research shows that physical inactivity can cause premature death, chronic disease and disability. Health Canada encourages Canadians to integrate physical activity into their every day life; at home, at school, at work, at play and on the way ... that's active living!!"

So what is a person to do?  Well there are all kinds of "tools" available to help seniors keep active and healthy and one of these is Nordic Walking Poles.  These poles are just what they sound like, poles that you attach to your wrists to help you walk better and get exercise at the same time.  Better than just walking alone, these poles help you by encouraging you to walk easier and better.



Nordic Walking poles look something like ski poles, but they are made for walking on all kinds of terrain.  They are adjustable in height and have different tips on the bottoms of the poles to help you when walking on dirt roads, sidewalks and snow as well.  There is NO AGE LIMIT on who can use these walking poles. What I have found with them as I use them, is that it just adds a little bit of stability to every step I take.  Because of that added security, I tend to walk farther and faster too!  Walking is the number one way to keep fit, enjoy nature and the outdoors, and feel wonderful, without being exhausted at the end of the exercise time.  These are all bonuses to me.  Here's a great YouTube Video instruction for you to understand the differences between walking and Nordic Walking!



What makes using the Nordic Walking Poles so good is that used properly, you have turned a simple walk into a cardio exercise.  How is that possible?  Walking poles should be at a height that makes your arms rest at a 90 degree angle to your body.  When you walk,  you use alternating hands and feet to take the steps.  With arms swinging and your step lengthened, you are now working your heart as well as your legs and body.  It is almost like using an "Elliptical" machine in the gym, but your choice of where you walk can be much nicer than staring at a wall in a gym.

The added bonus is that you don't need to pay for a gym membership and the walking poles are very inexpensive.  You choose what time of day, where and how long you want to walk.  Take them with you on a Sunday afternoon stroll through your favorite park or "green space".  They are portable, lightweight and so easy to use. 

From all the reading I have done,  I know that Nordic Walking is a great exercise that can be done by just about everyone and it does not tire you out so much that you want to go home and drop into a chair never to move again.  It is an easy exercise that done 3 to 4 times a week, for at least 10 to 20  minutes, will keep you healthier and your body happier than just sitting around doing nothing!  Give it a try!  My thoughts are that once you start, you won't stop, and that is a good thing for sure. Just two more things that you might want to bring along for your walk and they are a good hat to keep the sun off your head and a water bottle to help you keep hydrated.  With these three items, you are good to go and I bet you will enjoy your walks so much more than before.  
Nordic Walking Sticks, Aerobic walking, fitness for seniors
          That's my "other half" checking out his fancy blue Nordic Walking Poles.  Mine are red!

P.S. as with any walking I am assuming that you will wear good walking shoes. (that's a given, right?)  




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Reviewing 3 Natural Ways to Relieve a Headache

3 natural ways to ease a headache
Headaches are no fun, but did you know that you don't have to reach for your bottle of asprin or paracetamol/tylenol when you feel one coming on. 

There are a number of natural remedies that you can try first.

I'm going to review 3 different ways to help relieve a headache that I have tried myself and have found successful. 

I have studied aromatherapy and herbology in the past, but I am not a doctor so if you have persistent headaches please consult your medical practitioner.

Using Aromatherapy to Ease a Headache


A very effective way to ease a headache is with lavender oil.   Now if you headache is caused by stress then relieving your stress levels is a great idea so check out this article -

Aromatherapy for StressReviewing How Aromatherapy Can Help Relieve Stress
If stress is getting you down then you need to use a little aromatherapy magic. Let me show you what essential oils you need to use and exactly how to use them to effectively ease stress.


Now back to lavender oil.  This is one of the few pure, essential oils that you can use undiluted.  Simply tip the bottle upside down onto your index finger on one hand and then do the same on the other.  You should end up with a drop on each finger.

You massage your fingers into your temple like the photo below -

relieve headaches by using these massage points
Photo courtesy of Lou's Designs


I used to try this for migraines (which I used to get every month before I had my daughter), it used to reduce the severity of the headache, although it didn't help with the lack of balance and light sensitivity (but you can't have everything!).

When it comes to just a standard headache, if I'm at home with lavender on hand this works really well.

Eating Almonds, Not Asprin for a Headache!


Now when I was told last year that merely eating almonds could help a headache I was a little skeptical, but then I tried it with success.  Initially I wondered if it was just a coincidence, but I have tried it a few times now and it has worked.

I have also looked into why this works and when I saw that almonds are a good source of magnesium I realized that's why they're effective.  Magnesium actually helps to relax your blood vessels and it's often when your blood vessels are tight that you get headaches.

How many almonds to take?  The recommendation is 10-12 almonds, but when I've tried them I've only taken 6-8 each time, then again when I have resorted to taking paracetamol/tylenol I only take 1 not 2.

Hydration is Vital for Keeping Headaches at Bay!


I read somewhere that dehydration is one of the leading causes of headaches, now I don't know exactly how factual that statement is, but it wouldn't surprise me.  Most people I know just do not drink enough water and by consuming more processed foods we are also digesting less water through our meals as well.

When my daughter complains of a headache the first thing I ask her is 'have you drunk much today?' the reply is usually no!  Now when you're dehydrated just drinking water sometimes isn't enough to ease the headache quickly as you need to get electrolytes into your system too.

If you have any watermelon on hand this is an excellent source of natural electrolytes and it has the added bonus that most kids who don't want to drink water will happily consume a slice or two of watermelon!

Another option is to have an electrolyte drink (often marketed as sports drinks).  This will work, but the side effect with most of the ones on the market is that they tend to be really high in sugar.  This is one of the reasons (I believe) that after drinking them you are sometimes left feeling even thirstier.

One drink that I use and also give my teenager is Arbonne's Complete Hydration as it's much lower in sugar and is formulated to hydrate on a cellular level.   This means that it doesn't leave you feeling thirsty.

Have You Tried Natural Ways to Ease A Headache?

I'd love to know if you've tried any of these three ways to ease a headache or if you have a different natural method to help your headaches.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Reviewing Greens Balance by Arbonne

greens balance - adding nutrition to your day the easy way!
Greens Balance
We all know that we need to eat lots of veggies, most of our moms would tell us to eat up our greens when we were growing up and I know I used to challenge my daughter to eat a rainbow every day when she was younger (I made sure to let her know M&Ms did NOT count!).  Sometimes it is hard to get as many serves of fruit and vegetables that we should have into our daily lives though.

It can't just be a problem for me can it?  I didn't used to have any veggies with my breakfast until I discovered green smoothies, which meant I had to up my game come lunch time.  Dinner has always been easy to fit lots of vegetables into and fruit can be consumed as a snack, but I would still have days when I came up short on my 5 serves of veg and 2 of fruit.

Next I heard that instead of 7 a day we should be eating 10 a day and I must admit my first reaction was to throw my hands up in the air and give up!

Now some readers will know that I embarked on a healthy weight loss journey in December 2017 and this has been successful in both weight loss and health benefits - I have so much more energy it's like I've rediscovered my inner spark!  My journey uses Arbonne's 30 Days to Healthy Living and Beyond plan and it was through this plan that I was introduced to Greens Balance.

So, What is Greens Balance?


Greens balance is a deep green powder that reminded me (in color and smell) of spirulina when I first saw it.  This is hardly a surprise when you look at the ingredients and see that it contains this nutrient dense algae along with wheat and barley grass and an array of different fruits and vegetables.

In just one scoop of this powder you really can say you're eating a rainbow!  A few of the fruit and vegetables that are in this powder are kale, broccoli, pomegranate, tomato, pumpkin, mango, blueberry and purple sweet potato.   As well as containing all the nutrients different colored fruit and veg provide, this powder also contains a powerful prebiotic fibre to help support a healthy digestive system.

How Do I Use Greens Balance?


As it's in powder form this makes it very easy to use, some people mix it in a little water and drink it like a shot of wheatgrass.  Personally I do not like the idea of that as I think it would taste awful!

I like to add a scoop into my breakfast smoothie, when I add cacao powder or a handful of berries I find that I can't even taste the greens balance and yet I'm getting all of that goodness.

I usually only have the one scoop a day, but when my family (and a number of work colleagues) were sick with a flu virus earlier this year I actually added a scoop to my lunchtime shake as well.  I never got the virus despite being surrounded by all the germs!

You can also add the greens balance to dishes when cooking to increase the vegetable content, I haven't personally tried this, but it sounds like a great idea.

Does It Really Help Though?


"It sounds good, but how do I know if it's doing anything for me?"  This is often a problem when you're doing lots of things to improve your health and you're not sure which ones are really necessary, but I will NOT be giving up my greens balance ......

I am feeling a lot healthier this year and my energy levels are fantastic, my immune system is awesome, my hormones are balanced, my rheumatoid arthritis is not only under control, but I wake up to no pain or stiffness at all.   Let's just say that what I'm doing is working really well.

A few weeks ago I actually ran out of greens balance (I thought I had another tub, but didn't), my order was delayed and I went 1 day with only half a scoop and 3 days with no greens balance.   Now I didn't think much of it until I got home from work on the 2nd day of not having any and I was really tired.   When I said to my husband how shattered I felt his first response was have you eaten enough?  I had eaten plenty, but that's when I realized that what was missing was the greens balance.

I am not letting the tub get too low before re-ordering again!

Do I Need Greens Balance if I Have a Good Diet?


I think I have a good diet, I have at least half a plate of vegetables with my main meal every night, lunches have been a problem in the past, but the past couple of years they have usually included either a salad or a vegetable soup (depending on the season).  Breakfast would often be my downfall, in the summer I would have some fruit and occasionally some veg included, but in winter when I used to have porridge there wouldn't be any fruit or veg. 

I still feel I need greens balance.   Only you know how much you eat, but I don't think you can ever have too much good nutrition.  I seriously am now considering it to be as important as my health insurance.

Where to Get Greens Balance?


You will need to purchase your greens balance online through any of the links I've provided, but if you want to contact me via my facebook page (Louanne Cox Business) then I can let you know how to get 20% off the standard retail price   Well worth looking into if you're planning on taking this every day.

How Long Does the Greens Balance Last?


At one scoop a day a tub of greens balance will last you 30 days.


Have More Questions?


If you want to know the full list of ingredients or have any questions that I haven't covered here then go straight to the website - here - and look at the product sheet.  Alternatively comment below or message me privately (via my facebook page or instagram).

Another Fun Way to Increase Vegetables in Your Diet


If you're not a fan of adding a nutritional supplement to your diet then you have to get creative with ways of increasing your veggie count and one way I do this is by using a spiralizer ...

easily increase your vegetable intake with a spiralizerEasily Increase Your Vegetable Intake with a Spiralizer
A fun way to increase the vegetable content of your meal is to turn vegetables into noodles. This is really easy to do with a spiralizer.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Reviewing How Aromatherapy Can Help Relieve Stress

Lavender oil for stress
Buy Your Lavender Oil Here!
I love using aromatherapy and it's awesome for many different things, but one thing that aromatherapy is often used to help with is stress.

I thought it would be handy to showcase which aromatherapy oils are the best to help relieve stress and how you can incorporate them into your lifestyle to make stress a thing of the past.

The best stress-busting essential oils that aromatherapy has to offer are:
  • Bergamot
  • Lemon
  • Lavender
  • Gerarnium
  • Chamomile
The best thing about these five oils is that they also smell absolutely divine too (a win/win).

Bergamot Oil


Bergamot oil is a very uplifting oil and is great for keeping you feeling positive and avoiding stress.  I love the smell of Bergamot - it always puts me in a 'happy' mood.

Bergamot can help with -
  • depression
  • nervous tension
  • relaxation
  • general well being

Lemon Oil

Lemon oil also has uplifting properties (most of the citrus oils do) and gives you a feeling of positivity.  Lemon oil has the advantage of being anti-bacterial and anti-viral so if your immune system is feeling the effects of too much stress, lemon oil can help.

Lemon oil can help with -
  • relaxation
  • nervous tension
  • general well being

Lavender Oil

Lavender oil has so many properties that it really is the super oil of all oils, often referred to as a first aid kit in a bottle.  Combine that with the fact that the fragrance is just as beautiful you're onto a winner!

Lavender oil can help with -
  • depression
  • headaches
  • high blood pressure
  • migrane
  • insomnia
  • nervous tension

Geranium Oil

Geranium oil is one of the few that can be blended with nearly any other oil.  It goes extremely well with rose, however and all of the citrus oils.

Geranium oil can help with -
  • depression
  • nervous tension
  • nervous pain
  • anxiety

Chamomile Oil

Chamomile oil has a very low toxicity which is why it is often used with children.

Chamomile oil can help with -
  • depression
  • headache
  • insomnia
  • irritability
  • migrane
  • hysteria

Essential oils really are a fantastic way to keep stress levels down.   I managed a shop for a number of years and we had an aromatherapy burner going all day.  My stress levels (especially considering how busy we were) were always kept under control.  My first experience of work stress didn't happen until after leaving this environment.

aromatherapy and stress relief

Common Stress Problems

Common stress problems include headaches, low libido insomnia, high blood pressure, depression, irritability, anxiety and exhaustion.

Headaches - the classic essential oil for stress headaches and migraines is lavender.  Simply put a drop on each middle finger and massage into your temples (lavender is one of the few essential oils you can use neat, usually you should dilute pure essential oils before putting onto the skin)

Insomnia - chamomile is a fantastic essential oil for helping with insomnia, especially when combined with lavender oil.   Leave a diffuser going in the bedroom or have a chamomile and lavender bath before going to bed.   When my daughter was teething she had problems sleeping so (as I didn't have a diffuser at that time) I put a couple of drops of chamomile on a hankerchief and placed this under the mattress in her cot.  It really seemed to help settle her.

Low Libido - when stress starts to affect your sex life then you want to grab some Jasmine oil (this oils has athrodisiac properties) as this works really well in combination with lavender, chamomile, bergamot or geranium.  Add a couple of drops of jasmine along with a couple of drops of one of your stress oils into a carrier oil and try a massage.

High Blood Pressure - this needs to be approached in a holistic manner, but both lavender and lemon oils are fantastic in helping to support other methods of reducing blood pressure.

How Do I Use Essential Oils?


Now that you've worked out what oils you need - what do you do with them?  Essential oils can be used in diffusers, burners, baths, massages, lotions and creams.

Diffusers


Diffusers are wonderful, if you're able to have them going at work it is fantastic.  When you're trying to convince your employer to let you have a diffuser at work point them in the direction of Takasago.  Takasago is a Japanese company who released essential oils into the office air of computer and word processing operators to see if it affected productivity.

The results showed an increase in productivity, reduction in error rates and a reduction in stress levels.  The productivity rates were all increased by between 21% and 54% depending on the oils used.  Take this to your boss and he won't just let you use a diffuser in the office he may even buy one for you!

De-Stress On Your Drive Home

Car Diffusers


Driving home you can use aromatherapy as well and reduce the chance of road rage!  Simply get a car diffuser, they usually plug into the cigarette lighter.  If you If you don't want to use one of these you can put a couple of drops of essential oil on a tissue and leave it over the airvent so that it can diffuse throughout the car. This is also a great tip for long car trips to stay alert when driving - we used a combination of lemon and rosemary on a road trip a few years ago - I'm digressing now. Back to stress!

Massages


Regular Aromatherapy massages are fantastic, if you're under a lot of stress then booking in to have a weekly massage is a great idea. A friend of mine finds that once a month is enough for her as her work stress levels aren't really high, but are fairly consistent.

Massage by itself is great for stress, but seeing an Aromatherapist means that you'll have the added benefits of the power of essential oils as well.

Baths


Baths are a fantastic way of 'washing away' the stresses of the day. The Romans and Egyptians have long known the benefits of bathing. In our quest for speed and efficiency we have switched to quick showers and have lost the relaxation of a bath along the way. Combine the relaxing properties of a bath with the power of aromatherapy and you will be much happier.

Other ways to incorporate aromatherapy are using burners, candles, body lotions and creams.

Some Helpful Aromatherapy Blends


General Formula for the Workplace


This formula will enable everyone to cope before they get stressed out and it also has the added benefit of keeping their immune systems healthy (always good in an office environment).

Bergamot 7 drops
Lavender 3 drops
Lemon 2 drops

Mix these ratios of oils together and put in a diffuser to keep your workplace happy and healthy.

Anxiety Formula


Lavender 10 drops
Geranium 10 drops
Bergamot 10 drops

This same combination works really well for Depression although in different ratios

Depression Formula (from Valerie Ann Worwood's The Fragrant Pharmacy)


Geranium 15 drops
Lavender 5 drops
Bergamot 10 drops

Geranium is a really good oil to use as an uplifting influence on your emotions and although I have already talked about using chamomile and lavender together for headaches, Geranium can also be used.

Headache Formula


Equal parts lavender , chamomile and geranium

aromatherapy to relieve stress
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Have You Used Aromatherapy to Reduce Stress?

I'd love to know which oils you used and what the results were ...


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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Why Drink Kefir? If You're Not Including this in Your Diet, You May Want to Rethink That...

Are You Familiar With Kefir?

If you haven't read up on Kefir, you're going to be surprised by all it's benefits.

In case you aren't familiar with Kefir, Kefir is fermented milk. Hey, I heard that gag.

I remember when I first told my mom about Kefir, and used the words 'fermented milk' to describe it, she about up-chucked on the spot.

However, stop right there, it's not sour milk .... it's more like drinkable yogurt.

Kefir comes from the Turkish word 'Keif' which means, "good". So that settles it, it's good.

So Why Drink Kefir?

I tripped upon Kefir's benefits about two years ago while researching inflammation remedies for a very unexpected health matter. Since then, it's been a daily (or almost daily) inclusion in my diet.

According to Healthline there are a number of Benefits to Kefir - Here's a summary of a few of Kefir's good stuff:
  1. Kefir contains high levels of vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium, vitamin K2, biotin, folate, enzymes and probiotics
  2. There are approximately 30 strains of good bacteria that help protect against bad bacteria overgrowth, tumors, leaky-gut syndrome and more.
  3. It helps to boost immunity. One of the ingredients that's unique to Kefir is Lactobacillus Kefiri which aids in the protection of other harmful bacteria like Salmonella and E. Coli.
  4. Another ingredient in Kefir is Insoluble Polysaccharide, also known as "Kefiran" and Kefiran is said to be an antimicrobial that guards against Candida. (Candida is a type of Yeast Infection that's mostly found in the mouth, vagina, intestinal tract, mucus membranes and skin). By the way Candida can give you a lot of symptoms - A white coating on your tongue, fatigue, brain fog, joint pain, gas, bloating, chronic sinus issues and more.
  5. Kefir is made from Whole Fat Dairy and has high levels of Calcium. Due to it's make-up it also helps you better absorb the calcium. All of this is good for your bones, especially if you're battling Osteoarthritis.
  6. It's anti-carcinogenic benefits make it a good cancer prevention addition to your diet.
  7. All of the above components give it the traits that aid the fight of Allergies, Irritable Bowel Syndrome as well as improving your skin.
  8. This one benefit may be hard to believe considering it's made with milk, however, it is said to help those who are lactose intolerant. Like yogurt does, Kefir does this more effectively: It's live microorganisms help your immune system suppress allergic responses.
So How Does It Taste?
Lifeway Probiotic Low Fat Plain Kefir, 32 Ounce -- 6 per case.Lifeway Probiotic Low Fat Plain Kefir, 32 Ounce -- 6 per case.
There's plain Kefir and flavored Kefir. I've had both, and tried many flavors. As mentioned above, it tastes like drinkable yogurt, but has a slight tang to it. However, it's not tangy, it just has that hint of difference from other typical drinkable yogurts.

Drink it or Make Smoothies With It

If you can't stomach drinking Kefir (and once you start drinking it, you'll oddly begin to crave it) - then make smoothies with it.

I like to keep a flavored Kefir in my fridge when I'm not in the mood to make a smoothie, and I keep a bottle of plain Kefir for smoothies. I find plain Kefir too hard to drink, but added to smoothies it's ideal.

My Favorite Kefir Smoothie Recipe:

In my Vitamix:
  • 1 Cup of Frozen Pitted Cherries (buy them in the frozen fruit section of your local grocer). The frozen cherries replace 'Ice' - If you use fresh cherries, you'll have to add ice - (too much work)
  • 1/2 Cup of Kefir (honestly I don't measure, I just kinda pour it in)
  • I'll add one single cherry flavored yogurt cup (any flavor is fine - buy regular fat yogurt, don't use any of that '0 percent stuff'- it's all fake sugar!)
  • About 1/4 cup of lemon water (we always keep lemon water in the fridge - just water with two whole lemons cut up in it) - use plain water if you must
  • Optional: a handful of spinach
  • Adjust the thickness you want by adding more or less of any of the above ingredients - just play with it. If you want a richer cherry flavor, add more cherries.
By the way, I'm not a doctor or health professional! Because of my own health issues I had to become informed on the right foods to include in my diet, and Kefir hit my radar.

Here's to your health *clinking kefir glasses*



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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Medmassager Foot Massager Review: Therapy for Feet and Legs

Why We Bought the Medmassager Foot Massager

My husband suffers from numbness in his feet. I often have restless legs and muscle spasms in my feet. Last time we shopped at Costco, they were demonstrating the Medmassager Foot Massager. My husband sat down to try it out while I finished shopping. By the time I returned, his feet felt so much better he was sold. So we brought it home.

Medmassager Foot Massager Review: Therapy for Feet and Legs
Using the Medmassager Foot Massager

Using the Medmassager Foot Massager

The foot massager is very easy to use. Just plug it in, put your feet on it, and set the speed. The cord is long enough (8 ft.) to plug into a power strip beside my chair and still stretch as far as Hubby's chair with no problem. Makes it easy to share. He uses it twice a day or more. I use it when I feel I need to. 

One can massage one's feet with or without shoes or stockings. We feel most comfortable using it with shoes on. That seems to work best if one has sensitive feet. You can feel the vibration all the way to your knee. Technically, it isn't vibration. It oscillates rather than vibrates, making the massage more effective. I'm afraid I forgot the distinction when we made the video below.  

The massager has eleven speeds. Most people start at the lowest speed and work up until they find the speed that suits them best. Hubby prefers "3." Depending on how you move the massager around and where you position your feet or calves you may ease many different kinds of pain.

  • Calf pain
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Tired feet and ankles
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Heal and Bone Spurs
  • Neuropathy
  • Tense toes
Many of the above conditions may be associated with serious medical conditions, such as diabetes. These conditions may require medical treatment, and the massager was not intended to treat these conditions. 

Here's What Hubby Has to Say about the Foot Massager

I asked Hubby to offer his opinion while he was massaging his feet tonight. Here's what he had to say. 


I realize the bar is hard to see because it's black like the rest of the massager, but it helps one position one's feet to massage the heel. One can also wrap one's toes around it. One can also move one's arch over the bar slowly to relax the area. The oscillation has really helped restore Hubby's circulation to alleviate the numbness in his toes.  



Our Recommendation 

If you suffer from sore feet, toes, or legs, this massager will probably offer you some relief. It does seem to help circulation in the leg and foot. When we first got to Costco that day we bought it, Hubby could barely walk. After sitting trying the massager in the store for a few minutes he was walking with much less pain. He didn't want to leave without taking it home. 

I don't have exactly the same kind of pain. I find the massage does help my feet relax, but even the lowest speed is fairly strong for me and also it feels good, I want to see my neurologist before using it too often. I have had neck surgery and was recently rear-ended, and I want to wait until I'm sure the oscillation is safe for me. Different conditions require different treatments. If the doctor gives his OK, I'll be using it more often. If you have reason to believe you have deteriorating disks in your spinal column, I'd consult a physician before using this. If you don't, I'd highly recommend it. 

The foot massager comes with a thorough instruction manual with hints on how to help different foot and leg problems and cautions where necessary for specific medical conditions. Read it thoroughly before using the unit for the first time. 

Also be aware that the unit is heavy when you put it on the floor and pick it up again. If you are unable to pick up things easily from the floor, you may need help using this. I  had to help my husband, who has had both hips replaced, at first, but he has since learned to use the machine by himself if I'm not around. He does have some trouble reaching the adjustment knob, and I turn off the machine for him if I'm in the room. 

You should not use the massager for periods of longer than 15 minutes at a time, so you also may want to pick up a Time Timer that shows you exactly how much time you left until the end of your massage. 






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Monday, August 14, 2017

Reviewing Gentle Yoga Accessories

Gentle Yoga with help from Yoga Accessories
I have recently joined a weekly Restorative Yoga class (also called gentle yoga). The yoga has been so beneficial to my physical and mental health that I wish I had the time to attend the class several times a week. Sadly, I do not. But I do have an internet connection and access to gentle yoga "classes" in the comfort of my own home. Whether in a class or at home, there are several items that make this Yoga more effective; mat, blanket, bolster, blocks, and a strap. I want to share a quick overview of these items and the supplier I've found.

If you are familiar with the benefits of yoga and yoga accessories, please feel free to jump ahead to the Yoga Accessories store. I have found that they offer high quality items, affordable prices, and fast delivery.


The Benefits of Gentle Yoga


I have always enjoyed yoga. And up until a few years ago, I really enjoyed the Yoga Burn type of yoga. The type where I felt as though I was working out and working up a sweat doing it. But as the years have gone by, I have gained weight, lost muscle, lost flexibility, and my lack of range of motion is embarrassing.  I have allowed a stressful job to negatively impact my health.

I needed something, some form of exercise, that suits my current physical and mental state. This gentle yoga class is good for my body as well as my mind. I am increasing flexibility and range of motion. I am also finding that the meditative style of this yoga is helping me to release stress. I am more calm and sleep much better after the yoga class. I can feel my stress level lowered.


Gentle Yoga Accessories


In this yoga class, I have been introduced to several helpful accessories; blanket, bolster, blocks, and a strap. As I have begun to do yoga at home, I have found a reliable supplier for these items.  I highly recommend Yoga Accessories for your yoga supplies.

Mat - Yoga mats are familiar things to most folks. They provide a bit of padding as well as a no-slip surface.  I love that Yoga Accessories offers mats in many different colors. They also offer mats in different thicknesses. My preference is the very thin mat that provides no-slip and a sort of hygienic barrier between me and the floor. But there are also thicker mats of you are looking for more padding.


1/8" Lightweight Classic Yoga Mat

Bolster - Bolsters come in several sizes and either a round shape or a more flattened-oval shape. I am getting a lot of use from my new round bolster. It is used to prop up the knees, to assist while laying in the child pose, and my favorite pose - laying on it along my spine. This pose seems to release tension in my back and shoulders.


small junior sized round bolster (22" x 7")

Blanket - A blanket does what a bolster does, but on a thinner scale. You can also use the blanket to sit on, adding padding between your bottom and the floor. I also often use it under my head and under my neck for padding and support. 


Yoga Accessories Traditional Mexican Yoga Blanket

Blocks - Blocks are used as props for stability and/or for comfort. For example, while in certain poses that are meant to be restful, if you aren't quite flexible enough you aren't able to relax. The blocks can be placed to help you relax.


High Density and Lightweight Foam Yoga Blocks


Strap - As I mentioned, I have lost flexibility and range of motion. A few years ago, I could grasp my hands behind my back, lean over, and raise them above my head. Now I can barely clasp my hands behind my back.  A strap can be used to help with that move until you become able to perform the move without the extra assistance.  In only 4-5 weeks time, I am noticing improvement in my flexibility and will soon be working without the strap.


8' Cinch Buckle Cotton Yoga Strap



An Amazon Prime Free Gentle Yoga Video


I love this gentle yoga so much and am realizing so many benefits from it in just a few weeks that I've begun to practice at home. I was thrilled to find a free video, that is included with my Amazon Prime membership, that is very similar to the class I attend. If you have a Prime membership, you can take a peek at Easy - Gentle Yoga with Michele Fife to see what I am trying to describe.


A relaxing and helpful pose with the help of a bolster
photo: Yoga Accessories

*photo credits: all photos from Yoga Accessories 




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Friday, August 11, 2017

Sunbeam Shoulder Wrap Heating Pad Reviewed

Sunbeam Shoulder Wrap Heating Pad Reviewed
If you ever have shoulder or neck pain, you will understand instantly why I love my Sunbeam Shoulder Wrap Heating Pad. 

After decades of trying to force a standard back heating pad to wrap around my neck, I finally invested in a heating pad that was made specifically for shoulders and necks.  It is well worth every penny I paid for it!
 
When I think of the thousands of times that I tried to hold a heating pad between my neck and shoulder, I seriously wonder why I waited so long to search for a shoulder wrap heating pad.  

Since I need both hands to type, I really don't have an easy way to hold a square heating pad in place between my neck and shoulder.  If I try to hold it in place by squeezing it between my shoulder and neck, then I end up with even worse neck pain.  Out of desperation, I've even tried tying a heating pad to my neck with a long shoe string.  Actually, that kind of worked. but I don't recommend it.  What I do recommend is the Sunbeam Shoulder Wrap Heating Pad.



The Sunbeam Shoulder Wrap Heating Pad

Sunbeam 885-911 Renue Heat Therapy Neck and Shoulder Wrap
This is truly one of the best gifts I have ever given myself!  Even if I am not in extreme pain, the warmth gives relief to my shoulders when I spend the day typing.  

The shoulder wrap heating pad has several features that I love, but my favorite is that little heated piece of fabric that goes up the back of my neck.  Having the heat situated and held in place on the vertebral segments in my neck is fabulous!  It tends to make my lower back quite jealous.

Other Wonderful Features of the Sunbeam Shoulder Wrap Heating Pad

  •  Magnetic Clasp in the front to hold it closed at the throat
  •  Multiple Heat Settings from Warm to High Heat
  •  Designed to "drape" over Shoulders and Around Neck
  •  Weighted to Hold in Place
  •  Auto Shut-off after 2 hours
  •  Super long Electric Cord  (Mine is 9 feet) 
  •  Odorless, unless you use a pain relieving cream or rub for  penetrating relief.
  •  Machine Washable
The instructions say that you can lightly spritz the wrap with water for a damp steam effect, but I have never tried that.  I use mine dry. 

 
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Sunbeam Shoulder Wrap Heating Pad Reviewed by:
House of Sylvestermouse





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