Webinar: Branding You

Building a brand is a journey, one that has a lot to teach us. At the NAA, we believe that getting where you want to be in business comes with standing out, distinguishing yourself, and branding your authentic YOU— not fitting into a mold set by others! Successful branding starts with a few key practices that will help you define yourself and your business, and create an enticing package that speaks to the customers you seek. Ready to learn more?

Join the Nutritional Aesthetics Alliance for BRANDING YOU: How to Get Paid for Being Yourself, a webinar on the top branding strategies that will transform your brand, with branding expert Shenee Howard. Howard has worked with hundreds of businesses and built over 30 digital products and classes for women entrepreneurs.

This webinar—free for all live attendees— will take place on Wednesday, July 26th at 1PM ET.

RESERVE YOUR SPOT HERE

Do not miss this one!!

In this webinar, you’ll learn:

  • The foundations of personal and professional branding
  • How to really know who your target clients are and what they need
  • How to craft your ‘Signature Story’ and translate it into your brand
  • And more!

 

This webinar is FREE for live attendees only--the replay will only be available to NAA members. If you're not a member and you want this information, register HERE, mark your calendar, and plan to join us live!

 

And if you'd like access to the replay of this webinar, plus every other webinar we've ever presented, plus a whole slew of other amazing member benefits, click HERE to become a NAA member!


Pool Smart for Healthy Skin and Hair

When the sun really shines, there’s no better place to beat the heat than in a pool. Beyond their ability to quickly cool us down, pools offer myriad benefits for mind and body. Their effect on our skin and hair aren’t always positive, however. Whether you hang out at your neighborhood pool, go for a swim during a hotel stay, have a pool in your building or backyard, or swim at your gym, you won't want to miss this guide to being pool smart for healthy skin and hair this summer—and year-'round.

Pros and cons of swimming pools

Pools can be both calming, meditative retreats and fun, social spots. Swimming provides full body exercise benefits, without impact, making pools attractive tools for physical therapy, cardio, and resistance training that’s gentle yet effective. Swimming can also be a top way to get in shape or lose weight while enjoying the process.

Of course, pool water can be damaging to skin and hair, and certain types of treated water can pose even more serious health risks. When it comes to skin, pools treated with chlorine and salt (which produce lower amounts of chlorine from salt as needed) both have the potential to damage or irritate. Undiluted chlorine is known to “irritate the skin, and can cause burning pain, inflammation, and blisters,” according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Even though chlorine in pools is highly diluted, some of its irritation and toxicity effects remain as small amounts of chlorine pass through the skin.

Children may be especially susceptible to the negative effects of chlorine. The ATSDR notes, “Because of their larger surface area:body weight ratio children are more vulnerable to toxicants absorbed through the skin.” According to Dr. Andrew Weil, chlorine is a strong oxidizing agent and irritant, harmful to eyes and skin, the respiratory passages and lungs. Weil explains that the irritant trichloramine is produced when chlorine combines with organic matter like sweat and urine in pools. It also appears that increased risk for excessive chlorine exposure comes from indoor pools, since they provide less ventilation.

How to protect yourself from the negative effects of pool water

Before swimming, take a long shower—in non-chlorinated water if possible. Skin and hair can only absorb so much water, so it’s better to absorb water from a shower with far less chlorine than heavily chlorinated pool water. You can also apply an emollient and/or occlusive moisturizer prior to swimming. This is especially helpful for those with dry skin or irritated skin conditions. Hair may benefit from the application of oil like coconut or olive, or a leave-in conditioner. Follow with a classic swim cap for the best hair protection.

After swimming, go into a sauna if possible to induce sweating. Then shower thoroughly. Dry skin types should apply an emollient moisturizer within a few minutes of showering to keep skin from over-drying. For hair, leave the pool and wash immediately with a natural shampoo, then rinse thoroughly with diluted apple cider vinegar (24-32 oz of 1:10 vinegar:water ratio), and follow with an emollient conditioner or oil. When possible, choose a saline or natural pool for less harsh effects on skin and hair.

After swimming, you may also want to dry brush and/or use a body scrub to keep follicles clear and encourage healthy perspiration and detoxification through the skin.

Overall, we think that the benefits of moderate pool use far outweigh the negative effects— especially if you use these smart tips for extra protection. You might also consider reducing your overall chlorine exposure in daily life by drinking and/or cooking with filtered water, and either using a whole house water filter or a shower filter.

Leave a comment about aromatherapy in the spa!We want to hear from you!

How do you use pools in your life during the summer season— or at other times of the year?

What precautions have you taken to protect your skin and hair from the effects of pool water?


Member Perspective: Plant-Based Protein

We're proud to showcase the opinions and expertise of our NAA members. This post, on the hot topic of plant-based protein, comes from Jennifer Masson, MA, RD, LE, a dual-licensed holistic aesthetic nutrition expert with 20+ years of experience.  Holding a Master’s Degree in Nutritional Science, Jennifer has empowered women to bring out their best selves at any age-naturally, through diet and lifestyle change. Jennifer currently lives in Florida with her husband Dr. John Masson and her two teenage sons and you can find her online at jenmassonnutrition.com.

Plant-Based Protein

— Jennifer Masson, MA, RD, LE

Attention all vegetarians-you must read this!

Thinking about going meat free? There are a ton of good reasons to skip the meat. Think longevity, good health, personal beliefs, and the environment! But no matter what the reason one thing is sure: you have to make sure you’re getting enough protein so your body can work properly.

Did you ever wonder why we need protein?  It’s essential for us to get enough protein in order to maintain and build lean muscle (translates into energy burning and stability as we get older), repair tissue (like after a hard workout and you have torn muscle fibers and want to increase the amount of muscle mass), immune function (ability to fight infection), and carry nutrients to all your cells (like oxygen and iron) so they can do their job of keeping us alive.

Proteins are made of chains of amino acids linked together. There are nine essential amino acids we can’t make and must get from food.  The rest our body can make on its own.

The thing with plant protein is that there aren’t too many sources that have all 9 essential amino acids, which are required by our body. Most plant foods lack only one amino acid, lysine.

That’s why it used to be thought that you had to combine the right foods to get the amino acids needed to make protein.  Things have changed now, so instead of eating different sources of protein at the same meal we still need to eat a variety throughout the whole day. Your body can store them in your liver for the day, ready to use when they’re needed.

The best sources of protein from plants are from soy: tempeh, tofu, and edamame. Legumes like lentils also have a good amount and come pretty close to soy in their amino acid make up.  Legumes (ex. lentils, peanuts) lack the amino acid methionine.

One thing to consider is the actual digestion and absorption of nutrients. A vegetarian may need to eat more (plant-based) protein vs a meat eater because plant protein isn’t digested as well. Your body isn’t getting as much protein from the same amount that it would from a meat or dairy source.

If you really want to know about the quality of protein you are getting from plants, you can look up the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS). The highest  score is 1.0 which is given to eggs and casein, the protein in milk.  Beef scores a close second with 0.92. Not to worry though,  if you eat a variety throughout the day you can bump it up, for example rice and beans each have a score 0.6 but combined they score 0.8.

The best thing to do if you’re vegan is to make sure you get variety, and make sure you get a high quality plant protein at every meal. If you’re a vegetarian, pescatarian, or lacto-ovo vegetarian,  you’re most likely getting enough of the right mix of amino acids during the day.

Remember not to go overboard with the ‘frankenfoods’— processed and ‘junk’ food that can be labeled organic, vegan, vegetarian or have some other health food label to get you to buy it. Eat real food, not from a box, with healthy fats, protein, and fiber and you won’t go wrong!

Here’s my list of the 8 top ways to get more plant protein in your diet:

  •      Sprinkle nuts and seeds on your salad
  •      Snack on edamame
  •      Make a smoothie with pea or hemp protein as the base
  •      Drink a latte made with soymilk
  •      Try an almond butter and fruit sandwich
  •      Use tofu in recipes that call for dairy
  •      Substitute quinoa instead of rice
  •      Spread hummus on your wrap

SOURCES:

http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/0217p26.shtml

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10867064

The opinions shared in our Member Perspective posts are those of our members, and do not necessarily represent those of the Nutritional Aesthetics Alliance.

Leave a comment about aromatherapy in the spa!We want to hear from you!

What sources of protein are staples in your diet?

Have you tried to add more plant-based protein into your diet in recent years?


Coconut Oil Confusion

If you’ve watched the news or spent time on any social media platform over the past two weeks, you’ve surely seen the news that the American Heart Association has now proclaimed that coconut oil is no healthier than butter or lard. They cite evidence that coconut oil raises LDL (aka “bad” cholesterol”), which may increase risk of heart disease and stroke.

Shortly after, the internet was flooded with articles from science, nutrition, and mainstream websites calling coconut oil’s purported health benefits “fake news,” “pseudoscience,” and “alternative facts.” Seemingly in the very next minute, the holistic, integrative, and functional health experts and influencers (many of whom are licensed medical or nutritional professionals themselves) rebutted those claims with their own articles, also citing scientific research and shedding light on past not-so-accurate proclamations by the AHA.

It’s a lot of information to sort through, and, frankly, hard to know what side to take. What do we think?

In a recent blog post, we discuss the concept of panacea or miracle foods and ingredients, and how quickly the tides can turn. While we certainly have our own personal opinions about coconut oil as a food and as a skincare ingredient, we’re also aware of the science--and we acknowledge that sometimes the science that is used to back up an opinion is old science, or science based on animal research that does not translate to the human experience. In this case, there is data to show that coconut oil raises LDL cholesterol, but it has not been proven that higher LDL cholesterol is a cause of heart disease. And that leaves the issue open to debate.

When it comes to coconut oil, as with many things, we think you should look at the evidence and make a personal call about what is right for your body. One of our own NAA founders has an allergy to coconut oil— just one example of an ingredient that, no matter how healthy for someone else, needs to be considered in the context of your personal health. Beyond that, use moderation. Even nutritious foods can turn on you if you load up on them or eat them in the wrong context.

Coconut Oil Resources

Here are some resources we know and respect who have weighed in on this coconut oil confusion. Most are pro coconut oil, for a variety of compelling reasons. For now, most of us will continue to consider it a healthy source of plant-based (if saturated) fat.

Leave a comment about aromatherapy in the spa!We want to hear from you!

We’d love to know your thoughts on this coconut oil confusion.

Will you keep using it in your cooking?

Do you have concerns about eating too much?


Buriti: Amazon Beauty Fruit

The Amazon region is known for an impressive lineup of skin superfoods, from acai and cupuacu to murumuru and maracuja. Now it’s time to add another exotic skin-nourisher to your list of Amazon treasures: buriti. Buriti is a hot skincare ingredient with a host of natural beauty benefits.

Buriti, which is usually found in cosmetics in oil or butter form, comes from a palm tree that grows in the swampy jungle areas of South America. This particular palm tree, the moriche palm, is known as the ‘tree of life,’ since every part of the tree has a use. The buriti fruit (shown above) is covered in shiny brown scales, and is enjoyed as a common snack in the region. Inside, it’s a bright yellow-orange color, hinting at its concentrated carotenoid nutrition. The orange oil that’s cold pressed from the pulp of this fruit is extremely rich in vitamin C, carotenoid antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and tocopherols. It’s naturally anti-inflammatory and has UV-protective properties, making it a great choice for soothing and protecting skin.

Who should use buriti

Buriti oil is known to be very gentle and unlikely to cause allergic or irritant reactions, so it's wonderful for use in baby products. It’s also quite high in oleic acid which makes it very nourishing, but may clog pores, so it’s not best for oily, acne-prone, or clog-prone skin. However, it makes it an excellent base for non-drying soap. You’ll currently find it used in products ranging from body butters to cream makeup and deodorants.

What to look for in buriti

To ensure that you’re getting the highest quality buriti, look for cold pressed, unrefined, and organic. Buriti oil will solidify below 75 degrees F. Though it’s sold as “buriti butter” in addition to the liquid oil, this is usually a blend of another butter from the Amazonian rainforest with the buriti oil. This makes it more shelf stable and easier to use in some preparations, and also promotes synergy among the phytonutrients in the oils. 

Did you know?

According to Nature and Culture International, there are 7.5 million acres of buriti growing in the Peruvian Amazon region.

 

Photo by Leovigildo Santos


Questioning the Trends

Trends: they’re the subject of our social media feeds and our conversations. Here at the NAA, we love to question them, and sometimes even follow them— do you? This week, we share the latest trends that we’re puzzling over, considering for ourselves and our clients, and reading up on. What do you make of these trends that overlap with the fields of nutrition and aesthetics?

Rachael: Questioning Grain Free/Paleo

I have been seeing grain-free/Paleo products made with cassava root flour EVERYWHERE. But is this a good thing? Or will it become the next big food allergy/controversy like almonds, soy, coconut, etc. due to overuse?

In the United States, we tend to adopt a “more is more” attitude for just about everything, whether it’s “supersized” quantities at a fast food restaurant, or foods that we as a society never ate large quantities of (almonds, soy, coconut), until they were touted as “replacements” for foods deemed less healthy. Soy replaces animal sources of protein, coconut and almond products replace both wheat and dairy products, and so on. What we have now is higher incidences of allergies than ever before, and an onslaught of hormone-related chronic illnesses. I always find it fascinating to shop the snack food aisle at healthy food stores like Whole Foods Market, to see what they’re coming up with now to replace hard-to-digest-for-many wheat, corn, and rice products. With the grain-free Paleo trend, and the now-popular lectin-free trend, that doesn’t leave many options. Anything made with grains, beans/legumes, pulses, and some seeds are out. What’s the replacement? I’ve started seeing crackers and chips made with cassava flour just about everywhere. I had never heard of cassava flour before. Upon research, I found that it is a gluten-free flour made from the fibrous yucca plant--the same plant that tapioca (another gluten-free substitution) is processed from. It’s purported to be the “best” gluten, grain, and nut-free option because apparently it is also unlikely to cause allergies. But does that mean that everyone should switch to cassava everything? Well, think about it. Not so long ago, soy was the healthiest food on the planet. So were coconuts. So were almonds. So were rice and quinoa. Yet now we hear of terrible allergic and irritant reactions from those foods, as well as difficulty with digestion and blood sugar management for some people with these foods. Is it possible that this will happen with cassava too?

Source: https://draxe.com/cassava-flour/

Tisha: Questioning Sleep Smoothies

I wouldn’t consider myself “on trend” per se, (if Garanimals for adults becomes a fashion craze, I will be cool again) but I do have friends, family and clients who are much cooler than me and I follow them on Instagram! One trend I’ve noticed lately is the idea of ‘sleep smoothies’: evening smoothies to help you sleep well. I grew up drinking a glass of pink milk before bed, with the maternal instructions that it would help me sleep. What was in it?  8oz of milk blended with a handful of frozen cherries. Worked like a charm, until I abandoned the practice in my teens to spare myself the calories. For many years, I heard the wave of nutritional experts warning against late night consumption of anything and felt righteous in my “nothing after 9pm” rules. Imagine my surprise when a client asked me what I thought of sleep smoothies. It seems that the science and trends now align with Grandma, and there might be a adult pink milk drink in my future. or maybe I will stick to my golden milk.  

Jolene: Questioning Fitness Trends

One of the best parts of following trends is that they can be fun, and keep things fresh, and there’s a lot to be said for adding fun and freshness when it comes to our workout routines. But I question whether following the out-of-control-train of fitness trends distracts us from connecting with our bodies in order to figure out which forms of exercise are best for us. Have you taken time to reflect on the way your body feels during and after your workouts? How about the ways that your hormonal cycles influence your fitness needs? Instead of searching for a studio to do vibrational fitness, checking in with what everyone else is doing on Instagram, or hustling off to aerial yoga because it’s the new buzzworthy activity, check in with your body and what it needs first and foremost. When you realize that you’re the only one you need to please when it comes to fitness, you can stop worrying about keeping your finger on the pulse of trends and settle into what lights your fire when it comes to fitness. It might even help you free yourself from unrealistic fitness expectations that are holding you back from really being happy with your beautiful self. Of course, it will always be fun to try a new workout or technique, but only when it’s right for you.

 

Leave a comment about aromatherapy in the spa!We want to hear from you!

What trends have you been questioning lately?

What trend have you tried recently that you’ve loved— or hated?

 


All About Eyes

Eye Care with Nutritional Aesthetics

At the NAA, we think that our eyes are more than a window to our soul. They are a mirror of our inner health, and even can tell us a few things about our age. So, what do your eyes say about you? And what products and techniques do you really need to keep them looking their best? These are just a few of the many questions we have about taking care of our eyes. This week, we are all about eyes— so you can make yours as eye-catching as possible.

Topical Eye Care

You’ve probably noticed a broad range of skincare products specific to the eye area. Do you really need them? Most of the time, yes, as the skin around the eye area has different needs from other parts of the face. The pores around your eyes are much smaller and fewer, and the skin in this area is thinner than in the rest of your face. When you choose a product to apply around your eyes, go against the instinct to look for heavy formulas, as any formula that’s too heavy won’t absorb, will likely cause irritation,  and could lead to the formation of milia (tiny, white, keratin-filled cysts) around the eyes. Instead, look for a formula that’s light, and perhaps even gently cooling for a firmer, tighter appearance. Mildly astringent herbal infusions and hydrosols (think rose, cucumber, chamomile, calendula, and some people may tolerate witch hazel) can be a good choice. Use as cool compress or as an ingredient in a finished product. In general, humectants like aloe or hyaluronic acid are not recommended in the eye area, since they can bind too much water and add to puffiness.

Keep in mind that anything you put around the eye area will wick into the eyes through the eyelashes and/or tear ducts. Avoid strong extracts, essential oils, and fragrances. When it comes to eye makeup remover, try plain jojoba oil or naturally preserved micellar waters instead of anything drying or foaming. Do not use unpreserved water-containing products in the eye area. Any product containing water and/or plant material is extremely prone to microbial contamination, and this can cause serious infection.

Before applying eye products or removing eye makeup, you should always wash your hands. Clean eye makeup brushes weekly, and discard all liquid or cream eye makeup after 3 months— without exception! Finally, despite the prevalence of multipurpose products that can be used on cheeks, lips, and eyelids, it may be best to avoid using products that you use on your mouth in your eye area to avoid infection.

For more info, check out the FDA’s eye cosmetic safety guidelines

Nutritional Eye Care

Taking great care of your eyes means nourishing them with your diet as well. Our favorite foods for eye health support the optimal function of the eye, as well as capillary health that helps prevent dark circles and puffiness. If persistent circles and puffiness are an issue for you, we also encourage you to see a qualified practitioner to explore possible food allergies or intolerances that could contribute to those issues.

For the health of your eyes, get plenty of these foods in your diet:

  • Leafy greens. These veggies are packed with lutein and zeaxanthin, which help protect your eyes from damage from light exposure.
  • Orange foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, canteloupe, and squash. These foods are high in beta carotene, which supports eye health from the inside out.
  • Omega 3-rich fatty fish. Omega 3s support the health of your retina and help prevent macular degeneration.
  • Eggs. Make sure they’re high-quality, and be sure to eat the yolk, which contains vitamin A, lutein and zeaxanthin, and protein and health fat— all supportive of optimal eye health.

NAA Member Discount

NAA members: You can find a wide selection of eye care products—from natural eye creams to vision supplements—at LuckyVitamin.com. You’ll get 10% off anything you buy at LuckyVitamin.com when you use the special discount code located in your membership dashboard! Check the dashboard for all of the details.

Not an NAA member yet? Check out our other membership benefits here!

Leave a comment about aromatherapy in the spa!We want to hear from you!

How do you take care of your eyes?

What products or foods have helped your eyes to look their best?


More Peas Please

 

It’s always a pleasant surprise when some of the tiniest gifts that nature has to offer— like seeds, nuts, and little green peas— deliver some of its most powerful benefits. This week, we’re sharing our love for humble peas, which get far too little attention, we think, given their major health and skin benefits. Read on for more reasons than you knew you needed to put peas on your grocery list or plant them in your garden this season.

Peas Nutrition

When we talk about peas, we’re usually referring to English peas, which grow in a pod and need to be shelled (removed) from the pod before eating. These types of peas are generally sweet (especially when fresh or flash frozen), inexpensive (even when purchased organic) and easy to prepare. Buy them frozen and warm them for a sweet, bright green side dish, or throw them into your stir-fries and soups at the end of cooking, just to give them enough heat to thaw without taking away from their delicate flavor. Said flavor can be enjoyed raw too, especially during the spring and early summer, when peas abound.

Other varieties of peas, like sugar snap and snow peas, have a sweet, edible pod, and often a bit more fiber and vitamin C.

Fresh or cooked, peas offer nutrition to your skin in the form of protein, vitamins C and A, and a range of minerals and B vitamins. One serving of peas contains half your daily needs for vitamin C, a key skin vitamin that helps protect against skin damage and aging, and support collagen production. The vitamin A content of peas is even higher, about 70% of your daily needs in one cup. This helps with skin cell turnover and cell repair.

Pea protein is on the rise as a nutrient-dense, vegan and vegetarian-friendly protein source that helps stabilize blood sugar and keep you feeling full. Because peas contain the anti-nutrient phytic acid, some sources suggest looking for a fermented pea protein that will be more easily digestible. One cup of cooked peas contains 8 grams of protein and 14% of your daily needs for iron, as well as an impressive range of B vitamins that help your body manage stress, as well as repair cellular damage and produce energy. The insoluble fiber in peas assists in healthy elimination, as well as a feeling of fullness, and supports your microbiome.

Have you tried?

Pea shoots are usually only available in the spring, but they make a sweet, nutrient-dense add-in for salads and other dishes. Try them too!

Leave a comment about aromatherapy in the spa!We want to hear from you!

What’s your favorite way to eat peas?

Where can you add more of these skin-friendly vegetables in your diet?

 


The Power of Presence

This week, we were inspired to write about the powerful impact of being present— in our personal lives, our careers, and in our client relationships. At a time when we are so virtually tied that we can connect with others around the world in an instant, the value of one-on-one or small group, in person presence has grown immensely. And just the same, we've seen that being present in our own lives and in our own activities, even when we’re alone, has a positive impact on our body, right down to the health of our skin. Here, we share our thoughts on the power of presence, the ways we practice it in our lives, and favorite tips that may inspire you to do the same.

The Power of Presence, In Our Words

Rachael:

For me, being present is not something that came naturally. I knew it as “pay attention,” as a kid, but always focused externally, rather than internally. Even later on, being present for others typically began with someone or something outside of myself. I first learned about the importance of being present when I became a mother. For me, that is the first time in my life where I had to 100% be there for another person, because I was the only person who could fill their needs at that time. This was presence born out of need, and it wasn’t something I cultivated from my own intention. Later on though, I began to learn that for presence to be genuine and authentic, it has to come from within, and radiate outward.

I began to focus on this aspect of presence as I studied Reiki and meditation, then yoga and aesthetics, and then plants, gemstones, and metaphysics. I realized that becoming present from within, starting with something as simple as focusing on my heartbeat or breath, is what creates the space needed to gain insight and intuition to be able to create an experience for someone else, whether in my personal life or with my clients and colleagues. When I take the time to find my breath, listen to my heart, and find the presence of my Higher Self within, the calmness that follows impacts everyone around me, regardless of the situation at hand. It’s something I have to remind myself to do often, because let’s face it, life can be chaotic--but in those moments, being present has always led to the best possible outcome.

Tisha:

I, like James Joyce's Mr.Duffy, tend to “live a short distance from my body.” I admit to spending much of my time in my head, riding out a bubbling current of interpretations, imaginings, and intentions. If I am not thinking about what is happening, I am probably thinking about what I might say, do, or think about doing next. For me, cultivating more presence requires a very deliberate effort to physically inhabit or feel the now. I must bridge the gap and come back to my body.

Over the years I have tried many different things to increase presence and bridge this gap. Of course, first, I thought about it- reading books by Thich Nhat Hanh and Eckhart Tolle and listening to TED talks on presence. Then, I tried not thinking about it, trying to slow the bubbling mind current down to a slow stream via formal meditation practices. Eventually, I came to realize that I am the most successful when I keep my efforts childishly simple and focused on body sensation.

I point my toes. I ground my feet. I feel my pulse. I let out an exaggerated sigh. I massage my temples. I ask myself and my clients questions that elicit feeling vs. thinking responses. I shift my body’s position. I introduce contrast, like a warm shower, a tart lemon slice or a cool spritz of rose water and then celebrate the details of what I feel, hear, taste, hear,or smell. I pet the dog and I let my hand be moved by the gentle rise and fall of his chest as he breathes; I marvel at his superior presence in this moment, and in doing so, I increase my own.

Jolene:

Confession: I’ve been a multitasker for as long as I can remember. I have been known to execute one task while planning a second and brainstorming a third (fourth, fifth, etc.) But too much multitasking and and a constant to-do list has led me lose touch with the present moment more than a few times. And that’s just not sustainable—or healthy. I’ve worked hard to turn some of the big catalysts that took my multitasking into overdrive (think: starting a business, becoming a mother) into inspiration to be more present. I divide my week between full work days and full mom days, rather than divide my mind, trying to do both at once. I practice this, aiming not to feel guilt about setting these boundaries, and I’m absolutely a better mom and a better coach for it.

In my coaching practice, I ask each of my clients to create a ritual that they will make time for before each session that we have together— and I do the same. A simple act like brewing a cup of tea, lighting a candle, inhaling essential oils, or practicing a breathing exercise brings each of us more fully to the present moment. And on my own time, I find that I’m always more present when I’m using my senses. That’s one of the reasons that I love to cook, to take walks, and travel. It’s hard not to be present when you’re discovering or experimenting with something new.

Finally, I’ve found that my body digests and receives food better (which has a big impact on my skin!) when I practice presence at mealtime. In my book of daily inspiration, Eat Pretty Every Day, I created recurring entries called Mealtime Mantras that are meant to bring more presence to meals, by encouraging my readers (and myself) to take a moment to breathe, reflect, and think of or recite one of these mantras. You might also say a prayer, bless your food, or simply engage your senses with the sights and scents of the food in front of you. That’s the best thing about presence: it’s just a chance to slow down, connect, and feel. It’s a gift that you can give and take as often as you need.

Leave a comment about aromatherapy in the spa!We want to hear from you!

How do you create presence in your own life, or your practice?

How have you seen the power of presence affect your client relationships?


Carrier Oil Closeup: Evening Primrose Oil

Fatty acid-packed evening primrose oil is cold pressed from the seeds of the primrose flower, a common wildflower in North America. Evening primrose oil is most often found in skincare as one component of a blend, since it’s expensive and has a short shelf life. It has extensive skin-health benefits, both as a topical and internal oil. Here’s a look at the history and many uses of this deeply nourishing carrier oil:

Early uses of the evening primrose plant

Evening primrose flower

Native Americans used a poultice of the evening primrose plant to remedy many conditions, including stomach aches and sore throats.

Why choose evening primrose oil for your skin?

Evening primrose oil makes a wonderful carrier oil or a component of a carrier oil blend, as it’s highly emollient, nourishing, and easily absorbed. This rich oil is prized for its content of fatty acids, especially the omega-6 acids linolenic acid (about 70%) and gamma linolenic acid, or GLA, (about 10%) which help strengthen the skin barrier and reduce moisture loss. Evening primrose oil can be especially well-suited for mature skin, or skin that is parched or irritated, as with eczema or dermatitis. Evening primrose oil helps maintain stratum corneum adhesion. It also reduces inflammation, boosts circulation, improves tone and elasticity, and may be healing to acne and eczema. It has a light, sweet scent and a medium yellow color.

What to consider when using evening primrose oil:

Evening primrose oil has a short shelf life. Store it in the fridge, and use it within 6 to 9 months. If you wish to use small amounts of evening primrose oil, look for capsules rather than a large quantity that could become rancid before you use it all.

Evening primrose oil: Did you know?

Evening primrose oil may have skin-health benefits when taken internally as a supplement as well. Evening primrose oil is commonly utilized to help improve hormonal acne, eczema, psoriasis, and atopic dermatitis, as well as to balance other hormonal fluctuations. Supplementation with evening primrose oil has also been shown to improve skin elasticity, moisture, and firmness. Talk to your doctor for dosage recommendations.

Sources and Further Reading:

Truth in Aging. What is it: Evening Primrose Oil. Retrieved 4/30/17.

Essential Oils, Neal’s Yard Remedies, 2016 DK Publishing.

 

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