Posts Tagged With "Massage"
Boosting Your Immune System Naturally
When I see the word Immunity, my brain automatically hears I am Unity. I am Unity could mean so many things, but when it comes to the immune system, I see all the little cells holding hands and singing Kumbaya, united together for one mission: To protect and defend. This is the time of year where illness travels around school, work, and home and the flu becomes a household "experience". Building immunity is a life long endeavor, different with each stage of life, but creating a robust immune system includes the basics for everyone, young or old. Below is my simple list- believe me the list could go on, and on, and on.....but lets start here.
1) Combat emotional stress. “Stress-related disease emerges, predominantly, out of the fact that we so often activate a physiological system that has evolved for responding to acute physical emergencies, but we turn it on for months on end, worrying about mortgages, relationships, and promotions.” - Why Zebra’s Don’t Get Ulcers.
Reducing stresses such as fear, worry, and conflict, while increasing love, pleasure, and laughter can increase biochemicals such as oxytocin, natural killer cells, and Immunoglobulin A,( all increase immunity), while decreasing cortisol and adrenaline (which increase blood pressure, elevate blood sugars, and suppress the thyroid). Adopting stress reducing habits, removing negativity, and processing traumatic events, can overtime add years to your life, improve your outlook, and strengthen your immune system.
2) Let food be your medicine. Over 70% of the immune system resides in the digestive system, thus what you choose to eat (or drink), directly affects your immunity.
Many illnesses can be avoided or lessened by eating nutrient dense foods such as lean protein, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and legumes, all year round. Stay away from processed foods, sugars, trans fats, excessive alcohol, and foods that are not organic.
Organic foods are important because they are not sprayed with herbicides/pesticides, are hormone and antibiotic free, and are not derived from GMO products. These harmful compounds can alter hormone and immune function and even damage DNA.
Moderation is the key to success, and “cheating” a few times a week is fine, but cheating all day long every day of the year is going to decrease immunity, period.
3) Add Superfoods to your diet. SUPER DUPER foods (SDfoods) as I like to call them are a great example of high nutrient, low calorie foods, that are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids that strengthen immunity. Look for high Vitamin C SDfoods such as Camu Camu (YouthH2O), acai, and goji berries. Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin that squelches free radicals and helps fight infection, thus boosting immunity. I will be posting my favorite SDfoods in the next few blogs, so stay tuned.
4)Exercise. Just like healthy nutrition, exercise is at the core of having a strong immune system. Exercise improves circulation aiding the body in elimination of toxins, decreases insulin levels and reduces the harmful inflammatory chemicals created by stress. This means you need to lift something heavy at least 2-3 times per week and increase your heart rate at least 4 times per week. Stress reducing activities such as yoga, Tai Ji, Qi Gong, and meditation are also immune stimulating. Besides, losing those excess pounds can't hurt. Yippee!
5) Sleep. Many studies show that sleep deprivation decreases T cells, inflammatory cytokines increase, and thus you are more succeptable to colds and flus. Millions also suffer from sleep related disorders such as sleep apnea, which recents studies have shown increased cancer diagnosis with severity of sleep apnea. Bottom line: Your immune system needs adequate restful sleep.
6) Get your head on straight and your body aligned. As many of you know I specialize in a powerful cranial, spinal, and neurological treatment, NeuroCranial Restructuring, and I can tell you from thousands of clinical examples that being pain free and standing tall has a direct impact on the immune system. Pain itself causes cascades of chemicals to be released into the system and chronic pain just plain wears everything out including your immunity. Other treatments I like: Reiki, Manual Ligament Therapy, Reflexology, Acupunture, and Hydrotherapy.
7) Vitamin D. Living in the rainy Northwest, I can tell you most everyone here and in any other dark climate during the winter, is deficient. Vitamin D is not really a vitamin, it’s more like a super hormone, and some studies show it as or more effective than the flu vaccine. Taking Vit K2 with the D is important too, so consider this when beginning to supplement.
8) Probiotics. Since the digestive system holds most of your immunity, you need to support the good bacteria and help them thrive. Probiotics assist the body in a multitude of ways and are the true champions of our inner ecology.
9) Lastly, turn off your phone, your computer, your iPad, your X-box, your TV, your alarm clock, your WiFi.... and look others in the eye and have a real conversation, make love to your partner, hug your chidren and get outside and put your feet on the earth more. Electromagnetics are making us sick in more ways than one, but this is a topic for another blog. Connect with people, nature, and not just your devices, your immune system will thank you.
Snohomish is an amazing community of artists, healers, and it is a wonderful place to work! Our 1st Annual Holiday Arts and Health Fair was a wonderful success with women and men that came together to offer their services and creations, filling our space with much appreciated love and giving. We all enjoyed learning more about eath other, as well as meeing those of you in who came in to do some shopping, healing, or just socializing- the chemistry was fabulous!
Thank you so much to all of those involved, and especially to Rebecca Rose, Sky Valley Healing Arts amazing office manager who made it all happen! She spent countless hours getting prepared for this great event, and put much love into it's course.
Our Wonderful Vendors and Practitioners: Click below to be sent to their websites!
Alysia Tromblay Art, Jewelry, and Music
Liz Lyell Jewelry
Laura Smith Jewlery
Spicy Green Mango Clothing
Visionary Arts Paintings
Vision Quest Store
Two Braids Etched Glass
Roshi Paquin Intuitive Readings and Art
Claudia- Visiting Mexican Doctor and Mayan Massage
Brian Dotson- Reiki Master
Liz Gross- Certified Energy Therapist
Flying from Nottingham England to Limoge France took no more than an hour. After getting through what I thought was a meticulous sorting, packing, and weighing job of my bags, I still ended up having to pay 50 british pounds just to carry my purse on the plane. Ryan Air is the only airline that flies to Limoge, and believe me they milk the heck out of it. I even heard they wanted to charge for the toilet (Ryan Air is owned by an Irish fellow, so a famous ladies singing group in Ireland has made a great spoof of what it's like to fly on there- click here to watch- there are some Irish swear words- just so you can beware and have a translation:)
I was on my way to Limoge Airport to meet Norma Shipper, an American of Argentina descent who has lived in Europe for over 25 years, and is super woman and all around amazing hostess of Chateau de Montautre. I had met her through my long time friend Lacy, who has worked at the Chateau for years, and hooked us up on Facebook. Chateau de Montautre is a 36 hectar (around 70 acres) estate built in the 1400's for a French Lord in the historically rich Limousin countryside. Centrally located in France, about 305 km south of Paris, the Limousin is known for it's beautiful rolling hills, quaint farms, and quiet countryside. After two years of searching throughout the US, Bahamas, and Europe Norma and her husband, Rinne, chose the Limousin for it's pure and peaceful location, away from over crowded tourist areas. They have been tremendous stewards of the land, remodeled the chateau and entertained thousands of people from all over the world in the 12 years they have lived there.
As a child my favorite Disney character was Cinderella. French chateaus, maidens, balls, carriages, and castles were the epitamy of my childhood fantasy, and here I was, right in the middle of a Cinderella setting. Montrautre translates into "Other Mountain" referring to it's location on the highest part of the area. Built on the ruins of a Roman Temple (of which pillars still stand in the kitchen, and a mortar for grinding grain on the back porch), Montautre was once surrounded by a moat, has a stone wall, and a river runs underneath the ground. Built after the 100 year war and given to a royal general for his war time service to the King, the Chateau had always been in the same family until Norma and Rinne aquired it. It's location even spared it from the Nazi's during WWII, as it was completely hidden.
Rinne and Norma have remodeled the entire chateau, from basic stone towers full of rubble, to beautiful guest rooms, exquisit bathrooms, a medieval bar and banquet hall, coach house, pool and poolhouse, and a kitchen that is reminiscent of Cinderella's kitchen, wood heat and all. Of the many rooms in the Chateau, I enjoyed the Flower Room, high in the attic. Norma warned me that the house encouraged sleep after which I enjoyed a splendid 12 hours of my first night, and the glorious French sunrise on my last morning.
Norma's dream of Chateau de Montautre was to create a place of gathering and health. For 12 years, every night of peak season Norma, a trained chef, has prepared and served an authentic 5 course French dinner. Apertifs, hors d'oeuvres, pasta/soup, salad, main course, cheese, and dessert. (Oh and don't forget the Vin) It's quite a feast (and feat), for everyday she spends most of her day in the kitchen, while Rinne works on the grounds, builds structures, tends to the animals, and helps serve at dinner. Norma speaks at least 4 languages, so she can communicate with almost every guest. Known to make her own cheeses, pasta, and ALWAYS a handmade desert, Norma cuts no corners, and all I can say is, every meal she prepares will make you feel loved and cared for.
Whether enjoying dinner in the kitchen next to the warm fire, or in the traditional dining room with other guests sharing stories and profound moments in life, eating and drinking becomes a bonding experience. Their current dream is to move Montautre into the wellness field, turning the old stables into a spa and wellness facility, offering services and programs that incorporate the growing trend of wellness and lifestyle management. They currently offer different retreat gatherings such as painting and cooking classes, Tai Chi, and detox cleansing weeks. They rent individual rooms, the Coach house, and the entire Chateau (to families etc) in peak season, and host weddings and receptions. This is a phenomenal retreat setting, with it's beauty, quiet, and nature abound.
Animals are a big part of Montautre- horses, sheep, chickens, cats, and dogs. On the day I arrived, unfortunately their loved dog of 12 years, Chica, had died moments before I stepped off the plane. It was very sad, and for Norma who had just me, it was hard for her control her sorrow. Within the next hour I was there as they laid Chica in the ground, a very sacred moment for me to be a part of, as I know all too well the loss of an animal friend. The cats are like children, each with their own basket by the fire, and even a stray farm cat who came to the backdoor every night was lovingly served his dinner. Roaming chickens, a sheep with one leg, and Dutch horses magnificent in size and grace make Montautre not just another vacation place, it's truly a home.
We took a glorious walk through the countryside on my second day, without seeing one person or car, and there was nothing but the sound of birds and deer running through the trees. We ended up at the Chapel, a Middle Ages church renovated by Rinne. He is a master builder, a carpenter like none I have ever seen, living up to the Dutch woodworkers reputation.(check out the pictures of the renovation here.) If any of you would like a home in the French countryside, the Chapel is for sale, and words can do it no justice.
I could go on and on about the stimulating conversations with Rinne, wonderful meals prepared with love by Norma, and the true relaxation I so enjoyed at Montautre. As Norma dropped me at the Fromental train station for my next destination; Paris, I had a strange sense that I would miss the French countryside's remote peace and simplicity of life. Merci to Norma and Rinne for all their warm hospitality. It was a true pleasure, making me appreciate joy in re-creating such a special place, and experiencing a true travail de l'amour (labor or love).
To learn more about Montautre, what they have to offer, see more photos, or to plan your next wellness vacation to France visit www.montautre.com
Next stop Paris!
Cinderella ( Dr Hillary :)
Nottingham and Sherwood Forest
Nottingham, England is a beautiful "village" of around 300,000 people in the center of England. Originally a University town, Nottingham is dotted with both old and new architecture. The Sherrif of Nottingham, Robin Hood, this was once their haunts, and the accent of the native Nottingham resident is like a bird singing a song, so beautiful. My hosts, Don and Sarah Camilleri have an amazing flat right in the heart of Nottingham. Don, an engineer by trade is introducing me to what I believe will be a strong part of the Wild River Spa concept. Don is originally from the small island of Malta (close to Sicily) and arriving on a Sunday night meant I was treated to his Sunday Maltese dinner- chicken, tomato pastry, and of course wine.
Don, besides being a fabulous cook, is the design and mastermind behind a concept that was adopted from Holland, Centre Parcs. Center Parcs is day break and holiday village, started in dense woodlands creating an ecosystem with lakes, streams, and sustainably built cabins/houses, treehouses, and a village center complete with resturants, swimming facilities, stores, hiking, biking, playgrounds, sailing, golf, and the spa- Aqua Sana.
Sherwood Forest is just North of Nottingham, the land of Robin Hood. Twenty five years ago Don walked through Sherwood's dense woodlands, with not much ecosystem, water, or wildlife. Now the forest is teeming with deer and small animals. There is a lake for sailing, kayaking, and streams that are fishable. No cars are allowed in the village- only bikes and walking, so for the full week that guests are in the village, their car stays parked outside and the beauty of the forest is not scarred by the sounds of cars, and thus is very safe and promotes activity. There is an entire sporting facility, two bowling alleys, the waterpark with slides and a moving river. Center Parcs is teaming with families, (4000 people per week are staying in the village), and offers a holiday vacation like no other.
In the center of Centre Parcs is Aqua Sana- a community spa that Don has created from the ground up. Adopted from the Austrian concept, the Aqua Sana Spa is tailored for everyone (over age 16), and sends the goer through different healing rooms of water, heat, cold, and relaxation, using nature as a central theme. The list of experience rooms are as follows: Aqua Meditation Room, Finish Sauna, Greek Herbal Bath, Ice Fountain, Indian Blossom Steam room, Japanese Salt Steam Room, Japanese Zen Garden, Laconium, Multi-sensory Showers, Outdoor Heated Spa Pool, Reflexology Foot Baths, Tepidarium, Turkish Hamman, Tyrolean Garden, Tyrolean Sauna, and Water Beds.
With all those choices, there is a well mapped out routine that each visitor does, travels from cooler to hotter rooms, resting, hydrating, showering and swimming along the way. It takes about 3 hours to do the entire facility as prescribed. There are also ample wellness treatments to chose from: massages to mud wraps, reflexology to ear candles. With a beautiful cafe serving Italian fare, prossecco, and of course afternoon tea and cakes, Aqua Sana is a place to spend an entire day relaxing and rejuvenating, and is affordable, non pretenscious, and the staff is happy and helpful. After doing the 3 hour ritual of rooms, meditation garden, then a wonderful stone massage and facial I felt lighter, calmer, and my jet lag started to lift.
One big difference from the States is that Aqua Sana is co-ed. The place is full of couples, young and old, enjoying their afternoon together soaking in the waters, detoxing in the saunas, and relaxing outside in the beauty of nature. As I'll come to see on my travels deeper in Europe, the couples concept (and the inclusion of children) becomes an integral part of the healing experience. Community and membership spas are a wonderful service, they provide a healthy and relaxing activity for the ever increasing stress disease, but can this work in the States where the spa culture is not yet developed? Its a question I will continue to ponder as I move through this trip.
Center Parcs was a wonderful first introduction to the world of European spa, thanks to Don and Sarah Camilleri, such amazing hosts and now friends!
Read more about Center Parcs here.
And to see more pictures of my trip- like our Facebook page!
Best in Health,
*Next stop, the French countryside
After a long week of work in the wide open spaces of Montana, not only 15 hours later, I find myself eating a croissant and drinking cappuccino in the Charles De Gaul Paris International Airport, Paris. Today (well, yesterday) is the beginning of my three week European Wellness Adventure. It all started with my trip to Aspen, as my partners and I begin to roll out the Wild River Lodge and Wellness Spa in Washington. (Read my last blog to learn more about this) Being invited to visit Britain, Scotland, France, and Austria to explore the oldest and newest therapies using the age old healing of water, mud, sound, light, and color, as well as share my knowledge about NCR and Naturopathic Medicine, makes this not just a work trip, but a trip of a lifetime!
Russia: The beginning of my medical wellness journey.
I have only been to Europe once, on my way home from Russia where I did an internship in a sanatorium on the Black Sea for a summer. There we witnessed entire sanitoriums run with only mud, water, sun, massage, electrical, heat, and needle therapies prescribed by doctors from all over Russia. In the States we call this "alternative", but in many parts of the world, that is REAL medicine. It's cheaper, more sustainable, low force, and improves quality of life, not just relieving symptoms, and it's the basis of our Naturopathic Principles. And, it's cheaper than expensive drugs and surgery.
EUROPE: Time to learn and learn some more
With our current project we are looking to create a welllness center unlike anything in Washington, and it's now my job to figure out what it's going to entail, how big, what, etc etc. It's a big job but after months of planning, I am leaving my layover at Paris for my first destination, Nottingham, Great Britain.
There lives Sarah Camilleri, the editor and publisher of European Spa Magazine (europeanspamagazine.com) who has so graciously invited me to spend my first four days with her exploring central UK and the wellness retreats and treatments it has to offer.
I will then be traveling to middle France to visit a friends amazing countryside chateau, Paris, and then my wellness destination of Austria. There I have been invited for a week of touring the most unbelievable wellness facilities in the world. From Salzburg I will be traveling back to Scotland to meet with another friend that I met in Aspen who is going to tour me around to some spas and the sights, and mostly to consult with him and his wife regarding NCR and their youngest daughter. Then back to England, a trip to London and high tea and a possible chance to get a write up regarding NCR and our project in European Spa Magazine. It will then be time to fly back over the pond to Miami to witness the launch of GFC's (my brokerage company) new product- Youth H20 (youthh2o.com).
I can say that after 5 hours of driving, 2 hours of waiting, and 16 hours of flying, I'm waiting for the "crash", but the fact that yesterday I was driving through the great plains of Montana, and today I flew over the Eiffel Tower, my excitement is hard to hold back. Stay tuned each day for an updates, pictures, and videos, it's bound to get interesting! Now I have to finish the last episode of Dontown Abbey before the plane lands....
Dr Hillary :)