…You NEED to know this!
- Non-organic cotton
- Dioxin (chemical is a result of chlorine processing)
- Lola (absolutely the best & what I use)
- Seventh Generation
- O.B. Organic Tampons
…You NEED to know this!
Bathing is an ancient practice of self-care. From Thailand to India to Russia to across the expanse of time, culture, history and the entire globe, the art of the bath has been practiced for health benefits. Not only does a good warm bath aid in relaxation and stress reduction, it can also have profound medicinal benefits.
Remember that our skin is our largest organ and the largest one we absorb things and expel things through. Drawing yourself a bath with specific herbs, minerals and medicinal natural elements can bring about healing for many ailments and/or facilitate the healing process.
Stress being the leading cause of ALL illness, it is the thing that breaks down our immune system the fastest and creates gaps in our wellness or balance. Stress decreases the ability to properly digest and absorb nutrients which can lead to deficiencies and also to weight gain, fight off infection and disease and regulate our systems (mental, emotional, physical and spiritual). So a relaxing bath has the capacity to boost your immune function significantly when practiced regularly. I say ‘practiced’ because for me the art of the bath, especially medicinal baths are a central part of my self-care and wellness practices.
Ok, what exactly is a medicinal bath?
Medicinal means ‘tending or used to cure disease or relieve pain’ and I am also using it in reference as substances or plants having healing properties. Being that our skin is our largest organ for absorbing and expelling we can draw in many medicinal properties through the medicinal bathing experience… and yes, it is an experience! Just like homeopathic, natural medicine and other holistic or alternative treatments, the medicinal bath has many, many different recipes to support different needs your body and mind may have.
I will be sharing more recipes with you over the coming months for specific ailments, so please do reply with some specific requests that may support or benefit your health. I am happy to take requests!!
With my medicinal bath recipes, I draw from my many years as an Integrative Wellness & Life Coach, studies of natural medicine, tribal healing, and more recently my pursuit of my PhD in Integrative & Natural Medicine. I use herbs, minerals, vitamins, raw plants and flowers, crystals and stones as well as essential oils.
The three favorite more simple and basic medical bath recipes that I have created and used over time are:
The Renewal Bath
¼ cup Arnica oil
5-10 drops Eucalyptus oil
10-15 drops Myrrh oil
1 cup Colloidal oatmeal
Fresh rose petals (red or pink are preferred or you may use rose water)
1 Hematite stone
1 capsule of vitamin B complex
4 small Amethyst stones
3-5 drops of cinnamon oil
3-5 drops of Grapefruit oil
1 cup Epsom salts
The Detox Bath
1.2 cup Bentonite clay
½ cup Red Moroccan clay
2 small Shungite stones (known to reduce EMF’s and other toxins)
4 table spoons of Manuka honey
4 small Amethyst stones
5-10 drops of Bergamot oil
Ginger (you can juice some ginger root, use ginger tea bags or ginger essential oil – use only a small amount)
1 cup Epsom salts
The Stress Reduction Bath
Magnesium (add about ¼ cup of liquid magnesium)
Lavender oil (10-15 drops)
1 capsule of L-Lysine (to boost the immune system)
4 small Rose Quartz crystals (or one larger one)
2 small Fluorite stone
2 small jade stones
4 small Amethyst stones
Chamomile (you may use either the fresh flowers or 4 chamomile tea bags)
5-10 drops of Bergamot oil
1 cup Epsom salts
Living A Holistic Life
By Rachel Eva, C.HT, M.NLP, MTILC
Founder of IWA (Integrative Wellness Academy), Integrative Life Coach & Health Practitioner
We hear the word holistic and holism tossed around a lot in integrative wellness and natural medicine. These terms have already flooded the health and wellness markets and made their way into popular culture.
But what exactly does this mean?
What is ‘holism’ and how can it be ‘lived’ in everyday life?
As the founder of IWA (Integrative Wellness Academy), myself and the IWA team trains and certifies thousands of integrative life coaches each year. As part of how we teach our students to coach their clients we educate them on holism as a core element to help their clients achieve health, success and balance through applying ‘holism’ through the Holistic Life Model, which I will share with you!
First, let’s define holistic and holism so you can get some simple clarity. According to dictionary.com, here are the definitions:
Philosophy – characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.
Medicine – characterized by the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the physical symptoms of a disease.
The theory that parts of a whole are in intimate interconnection, such that they cannot exist independently of the whole, or cannot be understood without reference to the whole, which is thus regarded as greater than the sum of its parts. Holism is often applied to mental states, language, and ecology.
What does this mean in more simplistic and applicable terms?
Every part of us, our minds (mental), bodies (physical), emotions (emotional) and spirits (spiritual) are interconnected and have an effect on each other, as well as an effect on each of the major areas of life; health, career & finances, family & relationships, spirituality & self-development. Furthermore, each of the major areas of our life have an effect on all aspects or parts of self (the 4 systems); mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. We need to VIEW and CARE care for the whole picture collectively, versus just a few parts in order to live the best life possible.
Before I dive in and introduce you to the Holistic Life Model, I need to further share my definitions with you for the four systems or parts of self:
The Mental System is your thought life, including your self-perception and thought patterns as well as our beliefs and conscious perceptions. This is also the way we view other things out in the world.
The Emotional System are your feelings and your emotions. It’s also your relationships with other people and also the relationship you have with yourself.
The Physical System is your physical health, as well as the tangible physical things you have in our life.
The Spiritual System is our true-self, our personal development, connection to community, world and our connection to a higher power, whatever that definition is or is not for you.
The Holistic Life Model
The holistic Life Model is living your life, caring for, balancing and bringing health to all aspects of self and all major areas of life, in other words, caring for the whole self with a ‘big picture’ approach.
So how exactly can you begin to care for and bring balance to all of these aspects of self? Here are a few steps to begin moving your life towards aligning with and practicing the Holistic Life Model:
Remember it’s a process, not an event and the goal is to MOVE towards what you want to have, do, be, experience and achieve!
The third or fourth word that many people learn to speak is either yes or no. The first words are often mamma, dada and if a person has a dog, then dog is number three, followed by yes and no.
Yes and no are two words in the English language we learn early on and use to exercise our power, express our needs and our preferences.
A yes or a no can have a significant effect on how we create what we experience in life. Often this is approached unintentionally from a place that is not rooted in self-love or honesty with oneself.
When we say yes to something we are aligning ourselves with that. A yes is also an invitation for it to be in your life and in a sense, it is agreeing with it. A person, place, thing or situation such as a request or voiced expectation from a loved one, diagnosis from a doctor or even an invitation to go on a date, gives us the opportunity to be intentional about what we allow and create in our lives.
One of my favorite and self-loving things to say is ‘I’m going to say no to this so that I can say yes to something else’. Another favorite is when I am told what I should do, before I say yes to that or agree with it, I allow myself the time and space to consider what has been shared with me as feedback. Then I determine what, if any, of that feedback will be helpful for me to take and incorporate into my life.
Give yourself permission to change your mind. You can try on a yes for size and discover it needs to become a no and vice versa.
When we say yes because we feel like we should, like it is expected of us, but it is not our truthful response, we are essentially stepping out of alignment with our true selves and saying yes to things that conflict with our truth. When we are in conflict, even on an unconscious or subconscious level, it creates chaos, unhappiness and many other problems in our lives.
We have all heard the famous saying ‘be true to thine self’ – however many of us don’t realize the consequences and disconnection from self we experience when we choose to say yes when our truth is a no.
We can still show up for our responsibilities and obligations, however we can do so in ways that do not conflict with our personal values and our authentic truth. Boundaries are helpful in managing this effectively.
In addition to setting healthy boundaries for yourself (not creating rules and controlling others – see my blog on clearing toxic relationships and boundaries) it is also important to ask ourselves the following questions when presented with invitations to make choices and express a yes or a no:
Asking ourselves these questions helps us move beyond any beliefs or perspectives that are limiting us. It helps to step away from expectations that do not serve us (typically self-inflicted expectations) and gain clarity about the bigger picture of what we are creating and moving towards in our lives.
I invite you to let go of that which no longer serves you and to give yourself permission to say yes or to say no. Practicing intentionality towards your yes’s and no’s will empower you to create the life you want and to decrease the stress and negative things impacting your life.
Let all of your answers come from honoring your higher self, your truth. Boldly curate your life with intentional yes’s and intentional no’s.
First let’s identify and understand stress and stressors a bit so that you will have a deeper understanding about where it may be creeping into your life.
First, stress has been proven to lead to physical illness, mental illness, injury, obesity and disease. In fact, stress is considering the leading cause of these! Even if you have a genetic pre-disposition towards an illness or disease, stress activates that gene. It essentially flips the light switch from the off position to the on position within our DNA. The numbers are staggering, research has shown that between 94-98% off ALL illness and disease is caused (related to?) by stress!
Stress is not just emotional. It can be mental (happening in our thought life), emotional, physical and environmental. Toxins we encounter causes stress to the immune system and our entire body functions.
So why not just remove stress from our lives? Well, in order to do this, we would have to live in a bubble and that would be stressful too! It is not the goal to completely remove all stress but to reduce stress while INCREASING OUR CAPACITY to deal with or handle stress.
Another important aspect of becoming empowered to breaking up with stress you need to consider is…
Where may I be adding to, or creating stress, in my life?
What do I gain from doing this, what do I get out of it?
Sometimes we create stress and chaos in our lives, or at the very least feed it, in order to avoid dealing with or acknowledging something we are not yet ready to face, resolve or change. It’s like creating a big loud clanking distraction that makes it almost impossible to hear or notice anything else. In order to truly break up with stress we must take ownership and accountability for the part we play in it.
So here are some simple steps to reducing stress and increasing your capacity to handle life’s stressors:
Emotional Stress Reduction
First and foremost, recognizing and honoring our emotions is a critical part of emotional stress reduction. We need to both be aware of our feelings, then process and release those emotions in a healthy and balanced way versus suppressing, avoiding or ignoring them. Secondly, we need to take ownership of our emotional life. If we are experiencing negative emotions blaming others will not help. We must each find healthy ways to experience and express our emotions. No one else can make you FEEL any emotion without your permission and YOUR participation.
Reducing emotional stress is best done through aligning yourself with your values. When our job, relationships and all other aspects of our lives are aligned with our values and our true self (versus all the beliefs and thoughts of what SHOULD be) emotional stress will be significantly decreased.
Also learning healthy boundaries and how to say NO to the things that add un-necessary emotional stress to your life will set you free from an overabundance of emotional stress.
Physical Stress Reduction
Physical stress comes when we do not properly care for our bodies and our physical environment, as well as when we are exposed to toxins through the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe. Obviously trying to control this by completely removing all physical stressors would create an even bigger imbalance, and more stress. Try to find ways that you can limit physical stressors. Balancing and responsibly managing finances, life tasks and even cleaning (decluttering and organizing greatly reduce physical stressors).
Another way to reduce physical stressors is by making a commitment to yourself to get enough sleep, water and healthy balanced meals in your system each day. You can reduce the toxins you ingest by drinking more filtered water, packing foods in glass versus plastic, eating foods that are fresh, made by you and include fruits, veggies, lean proteins and healthy fats and avoiding eating pre-prepared foods.
Mental Stress Reduction
Whenever I mention ‘mental’ health or ‘mental’ stress people often think I am referring to intelligence or expanding the mind. When I am speaking of mental stress, this is referring to your thought life. The thought life are the types of thoughts you think, especially the recurring ones. Are they negative, filled with fear, optimistic, pessimistic, balanced, loving or reactionary? You are in control of your mind and the thoughts that you think. I am not recommending avoiding negative thoughts, instead invite yourself to avoid getting into a relationship with negative thoughts and negative thought cycles. In order to have a relationship with someone or something you must invest time and attention to them. So don’t invest in your negative thoughts and allow them to go on and on and around and around repeatedly. Also learn how to let things go. Obsessing is not problem solving and only causes you to suffer.
Environmental Stress Reduction
Similar to some elements that I mentioned under ‘physical stress reduction’, environmental stressors can also be toxins. These can be in the air you breathe or the materials within the four walls where you live or work. Again, we cannot healthfully completely control our environment but we can choose to reduce environmental stress by intentionally increasing time in less stressful environments. Less traffic, less pollution, less toxic materials. Intentionally investing time in environments that ‘feel better’ will automatically begin reducing your exposure to environmental stress. We must learn to listen to what environments ‘feel’ good or better.
The two simplest ways to reduce your environmental stress are to increase time in nature, amongst its beauty, out in the cleaner air and to clean up the environment you are most in. Cleaning up your environment means participating in reducing your own foot print because we all are co-creating this toxicity we experience. It also means being intentional about your home and work space where ever you are able to do so in a balanced manner. Keeping your space clean, removing toxins, filtering your air, purifying your space and purchasing environmentally safe items such as non-toxic clothing and furniture will do more for reducing your environmental stress then you may ever imagine!
It is unrealistic and also not healthy to try to avoid everything stressful. This simply weakens our ability to cope with life. Just because something may feel difficult or ‘bad’ does not mean that it IS bad for you. Overcoming and dealing with life’s stressors not only strengthen our character and increase our capacity to cope with stress but it also builds our character. It helps us grow and expand into the type of person who can feel inner peace and have clarity and calmness of thought even amidst difficult challenges.
When increasing our capacity for stress, the metaphor I like to use most is; imagine that you are carrying around a glass of water that is half full. Every time you encounter stress it’s like adding another ounce of water in your glass. Now, if you don’t take frequent sips to empty the glass, eventually those little one ounce stressors will make your glass so full that the next one-ounce stressor will cause an overflow, a mess, that will pour out everywhere. If we are continually intentionally emptying the stress we are not thrown off balance when we encounter a new stress.
Here are some ways to increase your capacity to deal with stress and proactively manage the stress you already have:
Self-care gives you the energy you need to handle stress. It should be approached as a non-negotiable, non-optional practice in your life. If you are too busy or overloaded for self-care I recommend that you schedule it into your daily life with the same priority you would a work meeting, family obligation or doctor’s appointment! Self-care can be anything that you find helpful, enjoyable or recharging. Here are some self-care ideas I shared in one of my recent blogs, The Self-Care Home Spa Experience
Healthy boundaries that are rooted in love are a game changer for the way you experience and enjoy your life, career and relationships. Boundaries are not rules you demand from others. That is called control, not a boundary. A boundary is something you personally set and you personally respect and abide by in order to honor yourself, your needs, your values and those of the people you love. You are the only person in any relationship that can honor your boundaries. It is up to you to do so and if you do not, you are not a victim of someone else, don’t place blame on them if you did not respect your own boundary.
Most of us never learned about healthy boundaries, I know I didn’t. A great resource for beginning or expanding your personal understanding and relationship to boundaries is the book ‘Boundaries’ by Townson & Cloud.
Let That Shit Go!
Why hold on to old resentments? They are only poisoning you! No one is perfect and everyone is doing the very best they can with the information and resources they have at the time. Would you be angry at a deaf person for not hearing you speak? No, of course not. Why do we get angry and hurt when people are unable to give or do something they are not capable of? This doesn’t mean we continue in toxic relationships and it doesn’t mean that it’s okay for someone to treat you poorly. Refer back to boundaries, take responsibility for how you react and respond to others behaviors that offend or harm you. You can honor yourself, remain safe and have healthy boundaries while also no longer feeling the venom of anger and resentment in your life. A wonderful and free resource for this is found on Byron Katie’s website called The Work. Spending 10 minutes completing the free downloadable form changed my life and my perspective on the most difficult relationships in my life – www.thework.com
Put On Your Big Kid Undies and Deal with It
Stop making everything such a big F-ing deal, seriously! It’s up to you what you take offense to. I choose not to take very much personally. If you are a person who is reactionary, you are simply a bomb waiting to go off…this makes you a victim of every circumstance and completely robs you of your power! It is only when I do choose to make it all about me and take offense to something that I experience stress and pain. When a situation or circumstance is less than your desired outcome or when someone says or does something you wished would have been different, more, less or better make a conscious choice to put on your big kid undies and deal with it from a peaceful, tolerant and loving place.
Practicing Preference Versus Attachment
I am very intentional about my life, my goals, my plans and the thoughts and actions I participate in. I have a specific goal or desired outcome AND I also allow for my goals and desires to show up looking a bit different. I practice preference versus attachment. My happiness and success is not contingent on things being one way, my way or what I perceive to be the right way. In that same vein I do not have unrealistic demands or expectations on how other people in this world behave, show up in the world or what beliefs their lives reflect. I honor others and experience much peace within this world of diverse beliefs and behaviors simply because my beliefs, perspectives and values are things I have a preference for versus an attachment to.
When we are attached to something it is narrow, rigid and reflects a ‘this is the only way’ attitude. This limits us versus offers expansion, growth and the potential for greater success. Practicing the art and science of living a life guided by preference versus attachment is something that takes intentional daily practice in order to master! When you practice continually you will build your ability to do this the way you strengthen a muscle by repetitive exercise. As you weave this art into the framework of your life you will see stress melt away like a glassier exposed to 100-degree weather. You will also experience a dramatic shift in your capacity to handle stressful people, places, things and situations.
Breathing Exercises & Meditation
Both breathing exercises (deep, relaxed intentionally focused breathing) as well as meditation (any and every form) has been scientifically proven, by countless respected institutions to significantly reduce stress and increase our capacity to cope with stress. Developing a meditation or intentional breathing practice should be a custom creation by you and you alone. Try on a few, experiment and then practice the ones that work best for you as consistently as you are able. Developing a 2 minute a day practice will still have a positive impact on your stress levels. If you are new to these concepts or even just interested on my perspective on this, check out a recent blog I wrote on Demystifying Meditation