Fall is here. That means pumpkin spice, colored leaves, shorter days, and sniffles, coughs, and colds. All that wind and cold we see in the weather outside might be wreaking havoc inside you as well! According to Chinese medicine, “wind” and “cold” are two pathogenic forces that can contribute to illness when allowed to enter the body. In addition, we are often indoors in close proximity to other disease-carrying humans during the fall and winter. It’s important to take steps to strengthen your body’s immune system as well as eliminate as many risk factors as possible during this time of year. That way you can actually enjoy the family gatherings, good food, and crisp weather!
Wash Your Hands: You’ve heard it before, but I’ll say it again, washing your hands is the single best way to prevent the spread of disease. Even if you’re in the habit of regular hand washing you might not know that it takes a full 20 seconds of rubbing with soap and water to remove all the pathogens from the entire surface of your hands. It feels like a long time when you’re standing at the sink, but a few extra seconds could save you days of misery! Add a few drops of OnGuard to your liquid soap for added cleansing. If you’re not able to get to a sink, doTerra now has a convenient all-natural hand sanitizing spray with OnGuard oil, alcohol, and moisturizing apple extract that kills 99% of pathogens.
Don’t Smoke: Unless you just woke up from a five-decade nap, you know that smoking is bad for you. Specifically, nicotine suppresses the immune system and smoke of any kind can cause inflammation and irritation of the bronchial tubes. Especially if you’ve been exposed to illnesses or have other risk factors, avoid inhaling toxins!
Sleep and Rest: Get plenty of rest! Even minor sleep deprivation can put strain on your body, making you more susceptible to illness. Stress does the same, so spend some time during your waking hours resting, meditating, or doing a relaxing activity that you enjoy. You can also diffuse essential oils to help you sleep and balance your mood throughout the day.
Wear a Scarf: In Chinese medicine, wind entering the body through the back of the neck is a common way people get sick. Protect your “wind pool” (GV20) by wearing a scarf or turtle neck when outside. You should also avoid putting cold or penetrating oils such as peppermint and wintergreen on the back of your neck if you’re going outside, and instead use warm and protecting oils such as the Protective Blend (OnGuard) or arborvitae.
Take Your Vitamins: One of the best ways to avoid getting sick is to give your body all the nutrients, minerals, and energy it needs to stay healthy. I take the Lifelong Vitality Pack supplements from doTerra every day! These supplements are special because the nutrients are delivered in a form and amount that your body can actually process and use, unlike most supplements that go straight through you and provide little benefit. Ecinacea is a good herbal supplement to add this time of year as well, whether in a tincture, capsule, or tea.
Be Good to Your Gut: The digestive system contains 70% of our immune cells and is extremely important to overall health. Taking a daily probiotic supplement (such as PB Assist from doTerra) and eating yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, and other fermented foods will keep your microbiome in good shape all winter, helping you fend off colds and those heavy holiday meals.
Essential Oil Immune Boosters: doTerra’s Protective Blend (OnGuard) has amazing benefits not only to eliminate environmental threats, but also to support your body’s natural defenses. There are a number of products made with this powerful blend of wild orange, clove bud, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and rosemary for use around the home, on your body, and even internally. Diffusing this blend will help purify the air if someone in your home is sick. You can make up a dilution in a roller bottle to apply to the feet, back of neck, and acupoints. I also like to take 1-3 gelcaps of OnGuard+ for a few days if I know I’ve been exposed or I feel like something is coming on. Other oils to use include cinnamon, eucalyptus, rosemary, black pepper, thyme, arborvitae, lemon, frankincense, and the Cellular Complex (DDR Prime).
Acupoints for Immune Support: There are many acupoints you can stimulate to improve immune function, I have only listed a few here. You can use firm pressure, gentle rubbing, or a drop of essential oil with light pressure and intention to activate these points.
LI4 - Converging Valley - located on the back of hand between the thumb and finger, where the muscle is highest when they are pressed together. Overall tonic point for the body and immune system, also good for headaches and constipation. Oils: melaluca, frankincense.
LU7 - Broken Sequence - to locate this point, lock your hands together at the thumbs and find the point where your pointer finger lands on the top of the wrist bone. Good for immunity and the lungs. Oils: eucalyptus, rosemary.
LI11 - Curve Pool - located on the outside end of the elbow crease when arm is bent. Good for the immune system, fever, and elimination. Oils: rosemary, lemon, lavender.
ST36 - Three Leg Measure - located 4 fingers below the bottom of kneecap, on the outside of the shin bone. Overall tonic point, especially for digestion, energy, and immunity. Oils: ginger, rosemary, black pepper, melaluca.
You can also try this acupressure routine to stimulate several more points with self-massage. Share what keeps you healthy in the comments!
Disclaimer: These statements have not been verified by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, prevent or treat any illness.
I have a major sweet tooth. Almost every time I go to the store lately I buy a box of gluten-free cookies. Sometimes I'm not even sure how they got in my cart. It just happens. Of course, once they're in the house it's a given those cookies will be eaten in a matter of days, if not hours. So to save myself from the processed sugar and flour and ensuing symptoms, I have to find ways to feed my inner cookie monster with healthier options. I'm not much of a baker, so I am delighted when I can find a recipe that is simple, easy, and made with whole, healthy ingredients that actually tastes good!
These cookies are a fun healthy-ish way to satisfy a sweet tooth in the middle of sugar-crazy Halloween season, and it's a great way to use that spirulina powder that's been languishing in the back of your cupboard.
Original recipe for superfood holiday cookies at Healthy Crush.
Preheat oven to 350.
Mix all ingredients except spirulina, cacao nibs, and berries in a food processor or bowl until it forms a dough. Add enough spirulina to get the desired color. Some brands are more fishy-tasting than others. I recommend Purium for a nearly flavorless powder - ask me about Purium gift cards.
Roll 1tbsp of dough in your hands to form a ball and press it onto a greased cookie sheet. Press cacao nibs and goji berries to form scary faces or any other ghoulish thing you can imagine!
Bake 8-12 minutes until edges begin to brown. Let cool for 10 minutes. Enjoy! Makes one dozen cookies.
I will be offering mini sessions at this event on Friday the 6th. Come get a taste of what I do!
AND I'll be extending my new-client summer special to anyone who attends! Where else can you get a $30 full reiki session? Nowhere. Just come.
Blue Tansy is one of the two oils (along with Cedarwood) that inspired the name Blue Cedar, so I was over the moon when my favorite oil company, doTerra, announced it among their new floral oils this month. Blue Tansy is a very rare and precious oil that is unfortunately often sold in adulterated, synthetic, or diluted forms. It is made by steam distillation of Blue Tansy flowers from Morocco. The intense blue color only occurs after distillation, when chamazuline is produced. It can dye some fabrics and will turn your skin blue for a few hours, so this is one to dilute! It is very therapeutic topically at a 15% dilution ratio.
Primary Chemical Components:
Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antibacterial, antiviral, anti fungal, antihistamine, and expectorant.
Blue tansy is the oil of the Wood element in 5-Element Chinese Medicine, which corresponds to the Liver organ system. The liver process and regulates our emotions as well as our blood. In our society, the Liver system is often overworked and undernourished due to the toxins we take in and the stress we take on, which can lead to problems in all parts of the body and especially the emotions, eyes, and blood. Blue tansy is nourishing and calming to the Liver system when inhaled or applied to acupoints.
Uses for Blue Tansy Oil
Skin: Blue tansy is often used in facial products to help reduce the appearance of blemishes - just be aware of that blue color! Use at night or add one drop to your facial moisturizer.
Mood: I most often use blue tansy to regulate mood and anxiety. It's in doTerra’s grounding blend and is wonderful for releasing mental tension, stress and anger. Diffuse with cedarwood or other woody/earthy oils.
Aches and pains: this oil also helps you release physical tension when massaged topically (dilute!) into sore or tired muscles and joints. doTerra’s soothing blend contains this oil, or you can make your own blend with some fir, rosemary, lavender, wintergreen, or peppermint.
Sinuses: because of its antihistamine and soothing properties, blue tansy is a great oil to diffuse in the spring for itchy eyes/nose and sneezing, or for sinus-related headaches. You can also apply it topically on the chest, back of neck, or on acupoint LI 20 (on the outer corners of the nostrils).
Liver Qi: As a general tonic point for the Liver Organ System, apply blue tansy to LV 3 (on the top of the foot where the bones leading to the big and second toes meet). The blue tansy smudge in this photo shows you where!
A few considerations:
Especially if you have increased risk of seizures, consult your doctor before using blue tansy. Please be sure to buy this oil from a reputable company because the real stuff is very rare. And as I mentioned earlier, the blue color may stain fabrics and skin. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Want to learn how blue tansy oil can help you achieve your wellness goals? Book and appointment and find out! Comment below with other uses for blue tansy.
To kick off my new practice I am offering 3 for 1 sessions to new clients!
Book now to get three sessions for $90 through the end of September.
Because what hippie health blog is complete without a granola recipe?
I make my granola in a huge batch in a crock pot every couple months. Crock pot granola is soooooo easy and way less likely to end up burnt than the oven kind. However, if you are someone who likes very crunchy granola, this is not for you. And if you need your crock pot to get 100% shiny clean between uses, this is also not for you. I use an older crockpot that is basically dedicated to this granola recipe and it has a bit of crust on it from all the charred honey around the edge. Unlike most pot meals, you can't just throw it in and leave it all day. You will need to stir every 15-25 minutes for 2 hours, so it's the perfect thing to do on a day when you'll be doing chores or crafting at home. That's about all you need to know! Now, the recipe:
Big thanks to Stephanie O'Dea's book "Make it Fast, Cook it Slow" for the origin of this recipe! Enjoy :)
Have you ever heard the motto, “Be Prepared?” As a girl scout for many years, I certainly took that to heart and even sometimes take it too far! I always feel more comfortable heading out if I know I have everything I might need for whatever situation could arise. I have long carried a mini first aid kit, water, snacks, a knife, and other items I rarely ever use cluttering up my purse or backpack. However, when someone needs it, I’m always happy to have packed those extra things. Here are a few items I like to bring with me, whether I’m traveling for work or backpacking in the mountains.
Essential Oil First Aid Kit
This little pack has seen me through a lot of adventures!
Melaluca (tea tree)
Melaluca is a great “anti”-oil. It’s antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiparasitic, and very antiseptic so it’s great for getting rid of things you don’t want in your system physcially or energetically. *safety note - toxic to cats.
This is an oil I always have on hand because it’s so multi-purpose. Use it on burns, bites, stings, rashes, and any other skin irritation or on the feet and temples for relaxation and sleep.
Use peppermint for cooling heat, whether that’s a hot flash or fever, as well as clearing the sinuses and easing breathing. It can also be used as a mouthwash or sore muscle rub.
This oil is so supportive to pretty much every body system you can use it for pretty much anything. Primarily I keep it around to promote healing on the skin and for relaxation.
After those four, which I consider pretty universal, you can tailor your kit to your specific needs. I’ve included OnGuard because I want to support my immune system while I’m traveling and be able to disinfect surfaces or the air with my portable diffuser. I also love to have cedarwood because it’s nourishing to the skin and the scent keeps me grounded. I typically have Balance (grounding blend) with me to ease anxiety when that comes up, but if I’ve been in more of a depressed mood I’ll switch it out for Elevation (uplifiting blend). The clove oil is in an adorable tiny roller bottle and I’ve been using it on a corn on my toe. Previously I had lemongrass to support my joints. As you can see, there are a lot of ways to fill up a little keychain pack! Some of you who know me are probably wondering, “where’s the DigestZen?” Well, that’s in my pocket. Always!
Here are a few other things I like to pack in my travel tool kit (clockwise from top):
Comment below with the things you bring in your travel tool kit!
It seems like everyone I talk to lately is struggling with anxiety, not least of all myself! It's not surprising that anxiety tends to pick up in the spring. Winter is typically a time of relaxation and integration, but when the weather starts getting warmer we start making summer plans. The days are longer, so we fill them with more projects and activities. It can feel overwhelming as we get used to having more on our plates again. Some of the new projects (like starting this blog/business!!) take us outside our comfort zone and that can bring up fears and old stories that turn into gut-churning, palm-sweating, hide-under-the-covers anxiety.
From a Chinese medicine perspective, spring is the time when qi rises and corresponds to the wood element which is all about new growth and planning, the time when seeds sprout and new leaves appear to get solar energy to make the fruits of summer. Anxiety is described in Chinese medicine as qi rising or collecting above, instead of staying rooted in the body where we feel balanced and stable. All the world's energy is rising in the spring, including our body's energy, leading to anxiety for some people.
So what can we do about this energy? While anxiety, like anything, is different for each person and will have different solutions for each person, I want to share some of my favorite natural ways to address anxiety both in the moment and with daily practices. All of these can and should be combined and practiced frequently. I especially like to diffuse or apply essential oils before doing the grounding or qigong exercises to amplify the effects of each.
I want to make a quick note first that if you are experiencing generalized anxiety frequently or having severe panic attacks, you should consult a mental health professional. All of these techniques and remedies can be used in concert with prescription medications and psychotherapy.
For a wellness plan tailored to your needs, a relaxing reiki treatment, or to buy essential oils, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sometimes the need to get up and move around, if ignored long enough, will manifest as anxiety. Make sure to take movement breaks if you tend to sit all day. For mild general anxiety, try literally “shaking it off” by shaking your limbs and your whole body around for a few minutes. If you can't get up and move around, put both feet on the floor and take some slow deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Grounding is a technique from my spiritual practice that involves imagining roots or a cord dropping from your feet or pelvis into the earth to connect with the limitless energy of the planet. You can find youtube videos to guide you, or use this short recording:
This simple qigong exercise helps bring qi back down into the body where we can feel more grounded and stable. It is similar to the grounding exercise above, except that instead of tapping into the earth’s energy, we move our own energy within our aura/field.
These are just three of the many acupoints that can help with anxiety. Book a session with me or consult your acupunctirist for others that might work best for you. You can find these points by feeling around in the area described until you find a slight sore spot. Activate them with light pressure, small circles, or with essential oils.
Inner Gate (PC6) two fingers below wrist crease between tendions. Good for upset stomach caused by anxiety. Lavender, bergamot, or grounding blend.
Bubbling Spring (KD1) on center bottom of foot 1/3 of the way from toe crease to heel. This point descends the qi, dispersing heat and agitation. Vetiver is a great oil to use here to amplify its grounding qualities.
Central Dwelling (Yintang) on center of forehad between eyebrows. This point creates a sense of calm and focus. Lavender would be good to use here for anxiety or stress.
I had a hard time picking just four oils since there are so many that can help with anxiety! You can use these oils topically on the points mentioned above, bottoms of the feet, back of the neck, wrists, or inhaled from your hands or a diffuser.
Grounding blend (doTerra Balance)
This is my number one top essential oil for anxiety. If I am going into a stressfull situation I practically bathe in it! It is a blend of spruce, ho wood, frankincense, blue tansy, and blue chamomile.
This oil has a very strong decending action and can be used on the bottoms of the feet (or KD1) to help draw down qi that is rising and help you feel more grounded. I also use it in a diffuser at night to quiet the mind for sleep.
Also a very grounding and calming oil with a descending action.
Peppermint or Respiratory blend (doTerra Breathe)
This is a major multi-purpose oil and is great for calming, stress relief, and sleep when inhaled or used topically. It can also be used internally as a daily supplement for mild to moderate general anxiety and was found in one study to be as effective as prescription medications without the potential for abuse or toxic interaction with alcohol. It is important to note that you would need to take 1-2 drops per day (dissolved in a lipid such as coconut oil or sweetener such as honey) for 8-10 weeks before effects will be seen since it needs to build up in your body. Talk to your psychiatrist or naturopath if you think this could be a good option for you, and please make sure you have a very high quality oil from a reputable source before ingesting!!
To buy top-quality oils or get a wellness plan tailored to your exact needs, email me at email@example.com