A Luxury Treatment

The ancient art of bathing

The ritual of bathing is not a new idea. It is well documented that the ancient Greeks and Romans practiced water cures, better known as Balneology. Traditionally, free-flowing water exposed to the sun is said to be particularly therapeutic. This is because the water is able to absorb the solar power and pass it on to the body. In fact, most ailments were treated with fresh air, sunlight and water.

THE BATH

There is an art to bathing. Firstly, the temperature mustn’t be too hot. A relaxing bath should be very warm but never scalding. At just the right temperature, around 40-45 degrees Celsius, a warm bath will better prepare you for sleep. If the weather is on the warmer side, a cooler bath will energise and is an excellent tonic for the skin. Be discerning with what you add to your bath. Anything too bubbly is not recommended as it will likely dry out the skin. It is better to choose something that will benefit the skin. I recommend either Epsom or Himalayan salts blended with essential oils. Add a generous handful for muscle relaxation, high mineral content and pH balancing properties. Try Jacqueline Evans Rose & Vanilla Bath Salts, $26.95 or Therapie Himalayan Detox Salts, $15. 

BEFORE AND AFTER

Your pre-and post- bath ritual is just as important. Dry body brushing is very effective at sloughing off dead skin cells and stimulating circulation. Start at the feet and work your way up the limbs in long strokes towards the heart. When done consistently over a few months, skin becomes smoother and more radiant. Post bath, gently pat the skin dry, being careful not to remove too much of the oils added to the bath. Wrap up warm and try to avoid letting too much body warmth escape.

Only bathe for 20 minutes maximum. It’s imperative to keep hydrated post-bath to avoid a headache. After drying, hydrate your body with an organic body oil or cream. This last point is particularly important because your skin will more even more receptive to what you apply so avoid anything with synthetic fragrance or parabens.

If you don’t have a tub or do not like to soak your whole body, a warm foot-bath with the addition of salts can be beneficial for detoxifying via the feet and stimulating circulation. This also has a powerful sedative action when suffering from a headache or general aches and pains.

Now that it’s warming up outside, don’t forget about mother nature’s bath- the sea. Salty sea water is abundant in minerals and sea air is high in fortified oxygen molecules. In other words, it is a natural disinfectant for the entire body.

No matter how you choose to do it, it’s nutritional, stimulating, cleansing, detoxifying ad relaxing. There really is no better way to reward your body and your spirit. 

The Human Aura

Studies by Metaphysicians have shown that the human body is surrounded by a coloured rim known as the aura. It is best thought of as a form of energy and it is becoming more apparent our individual aura has the ability to change or be influenced by both physical and psychological forces such as illness or stress. The bio-energetic aspect of the human aura can also be positively influenced by meditation, reiki and aromatherapy. Essential oils have been compared to human blood in that while they are not the entire plant, they are complete in themselves and like blood, they contain the elements and characteristics of the plant from which they come. After all, essential oils function energetically too. 

Explore our range of Vitruvi essential oils or learn more by picking up a copy of The Fragrant Pharmacy by Valerie Ann Worwood. Burning Palo Santo or Wild Sage is another effective way to shift energies. We also highly recommend the Palo Santo Space Mist by Happy Society.

 

Inside and out: 4 fabulous foods for your skin

1.     Seaweed

This nutrient-rich algae has been revered for centuries for its abundance of minerals. Internally, it is a source of Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, and E, and minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, chromium, iodine, zinc and other trace elements. Brilliant for supporting Thyroid function which in turn is good for metabolism and healthy skin. Sprinkle Dulse (a type of seaweed) flakes in soups, stocks, stews, miso, stirfrys or savoury dishes. Alternatively, use to ‘salt' pasta or potato boiling water. Topically, it is a powerful source of hydration without overwhelming the skin. Find Sea Algae Extract in our Kypris Antioxidant Dew and Moonlight Catalyst.

2.     Papaya

This delicious exotic fruit gives us hints of goodness with its beautiful colour. The orangey-red indicates the high beta-carotene content and it is brimming with vitamin C. Most importantly, it contains an enzyme called Papain which aids in digestion of proteins. One of my favourite snacks is a papaya ‘boat’. Simply scoop the seeds out of half a papaya, fill with organic full-fat yoghurt and sprinkle some activated nuts and seeds over top. Completely delicious and nutritious. Fortunately, the benefits of Papain extend to the skin and are amazing when used topically. Enzymes work to break down the bonds between dead skin cells, leaving you with a softer, smoother complexion. Find it in our Josh Rosebrook Active Enzyme Exfoliator. This superb product is both a manual and chemical exfoliant. On damp skin, gently work the product in circular motions and then leave for 10-30 minutes while the enzymes work to further exfoliate the skin. Genius. 

3.     Pumpkin seeds

A truly valued source of zinc. Need I say more? Just in case you’ve forgotten, zinc is found in every cell in the body and is necessary for skin integrity, a healthy immune system, happy hormones and for the repair of genetic material. Make sure your pumpkin seeds have been activated (a process of soaking and dehydrating to reduce a naturally occurring substance called phytates which otherwise impedes absorption of minerals). Pumpkin seed oil is found in our favourite Neroli Cleansing Oil by Wildcrafted Organics.

4.     Cucumber

The humble cucumber is surprisingly high in polyphenols aka antioxidants and can potentially inhibit the activity of pro-inflammatory enzymes like cyclo-oxygenase 2 (COX-2). It has a pleasing nutrient profile and should be enjoyed regularly. I always swear by the age-old remedy of placing a slice of cucumber over each eye to reduce puffiness. Soothing cucumber extract can be found in Therapie Restore Aura Spray. 

Sleep Well

Sleep. The thing we crave, the thing that sometimes eludes us, frustrates us, pleases us, revives us. We spend so much time in bed but are you spending your mattress time wisely?

Naturopaths often refer to something called sleep hygiene. It is a term used to describe our habits surrounding our bed time routine and how to get the best night’s sleep. Even if you don’t wake in the night, you may still be getting poor quality sleep which leaves you feeling completely un-refreshed in the morning:

Here are some of the basics:

·       Seven to eight hours is ideal. In bed by 10 and asleep by 10.30. 

·       Switching off from technology 30 mins before bed. Artificial light stimulates the release of hormones that we want lower at night. That's right, no phone, iPad, laptop or TV. No working in bed. The bed is for sex and sleep. Try picking up a book instead. 

·       Room must be completely dark for the release of melatonin. 

·       Try to maintain your sleep/wake cycle on weekends or days off.

After a few weeks of implementing these strategies, you should be well on your way to consistently restful nights. However, should your body be a little more stubborn, you can utilise these gems:

·       Bliss Elixir No.3 Nerve Nectar. This powder whisked into warm milk is very soothing. With Lavender, Chamomile and Scullcap it is particularly beneficial if you can’t sleep due to nervous tension or anxiety. Available in store soon. 

·       Pure and simple Lavender oil shouldn’t be dismissed. Try 1-2 drops on your pillow.

·       Have a hot bath as close to bed time as possible. We recommend adding fragrant salts for maximum benefit. Try Therapie Himalayan Detox Salts for its incredibly relaxing oil blend.

·       Our skin does the most repair while we sleep. Allow your skin to make the most out of your slumber by applying a layer of Wildcrafted Organics Rejuvenating Serum for deep hydration or Kypris Moonlight Catalyst for cell renewal. 

I get asked so frequently what the best remedy for dark circles is and my answer is always the same- better sleep! And of course, if lack of sleep is a serious problem for you please see a Naturopath or your preferred healthcare practitioner. 

 

Spring Cleaning All Year Round

The liver is one of our main detoxifying organs (along with our kidneys, lungs, skin and bowels). A cleanse or a detox is viewed as something we decide to undertake when we are feeling sluggish, tired or simply because we want to support overall health. I always like to remind my clients that we are in fact detoxifying 24/7. If you’re a busy bee, why not try incorporating cleansing foods on a daily basis? Below, I’ve put together some of my favourite ‘swaps’ and tips.

Coffee. For a healthy body, a coffee per day isn’t necessarily the enemy but if you find yourself stressed on a regular basis or suffering from a chronic condition, it may be time to find an alternative if you usually have multiple cups. A healthy hot cacao (chocolate) or Dandelion 'coffee' are the perfect alternatives. You can make a hot chocolate with full cream milk or coconut milk, cacao, a touch of raw honey and lots of cinnamon. Or I highly recommend Ceremony Cacao as a healthy ready-made alternative. Dandelion 'coffee' is usually found with a roasted chicory base. This coffee alternative is an excellent tonic for the liver and stomach. Both of these are such tasty and beneficial formulas, you can brew a pot morning or evening!

Letting go. Ok so this one isn’t a swap but it’s essential for good health. Holding onto negative feelings or resentment is one of the biggest obstacles to a healthy mind and body.

Exercise. Swap one 30 min TV show for a walk daily. It’ll clear your mind and boost circulation and lymphatic drainage for enhanced detoxification. You’ll feel the difference in no time.

Antioxidants. When attempting a DIY cleanse, many people forget that it’s not just a process of taking away but also putting nutrients back in. Antioxidants are an essential part of the cleansing process as they mop up the free radicals that have been liberated. Glutathione is one of the most powerful antioxidants. Good sources include artichokes, asparagus, turmeric, broccoli, avocado, garlic, grapefruit and cinnamon.

Nutmeg. Nutmeg is our secret spice for better sleep. Sleep is essential for adequate detoxification and healing to take place. Try a cup of warm coconut milk, honey and just a sprinkling of nutmeg an hour before bed.

Skin. At Luna we are all about skin health. Part of the detoxification process includes swapping synthetic products for natural, nourishing ones. Book in for a facial and we can help you find the perfect products.

Elimination. Unfortunately, there are some foods that just have to go. Namely, refined sugar, refined wheat and trans-fat. If you’re struggling with cravings, make cinnamon, cacao and organic berries your best friends instead. 

Luna Lessons

Welcome to the very first blog post from Luna Beauty & Apothecary.  Perhaps you have been using natural skincare for some time or this is a new world for you. Either way, I am all about supporting what works for you- the individual. My knowledge of health and beauty is continually growing and while I may know more than the average guy or gal, I love learning from my clients and don’t for a second pretend to know all. But I do hope I can at least offer a token or two of wisdom that has come not only from my textbooks but from interactions and observations. This is what I do all day, every day. And I love it. So please join me in my passion as I open a discussion about the ins-and-outs of the human body and all the fabulous things we anoint it with.

Where to start?

Even the most ‘low maintenance’ individuals can’t deny they put something on their skin everyday whether it be a simple sunscreen, deodorant or a spritz of fragrance. It all counts! That’s why it so important for everyone to be considerate personally and environmentally about what they use. As consumers, our dollar is our vote and this applies to all aspects of consumerism from what household products you choose to the food you eat.

There is now a plethora of ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ products out there and it can be daunting and confusing at times. The best way to navigate through them is to start by looking at the company. What are their values and philosophy? Where are the products manufactured? Do they test on animals? The unfortunate truth is, if the product is particularly cheap, chances are there isn’t an abundance of skin-loving botanicals. Quality manufacturing and ingredients cost money- that’s just the way it is. For example, be weary of mainstream supermarket brands who have chemical laden products who suddenly have an ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ range. You need to be able to see through the marketing  and grasp they are simply yet another company trying to cash in on eco-trends. There is no integrity and transparency there. The good news is there are some amazing, truly trustworthy brands out there. After assessing the brand as a whole, the next step is to look at the label. This brings us to our first lesson.

How to read an ingredients list:

·       A brand will often use common names or ‘plain English’ in brackets to help you easily identify ingredients at a glance.

·       A synthetic or naturally-derived ingredients will just have the INCI or ‘chemical’ name listed. For example, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is really just Sodium Lauryl Sulfate.

·       All ingredients are required to be listed in order of weight from highest to percentage to lowest.

·       If you are looking for key ingredients, a general rule is to check that they appear in the top two thirds of the list. In the lower third, they may not be in a percentage high enough to have real benefit for the skin.

·       This also works in reverse. The ingredients you might be worried about at the end of the list probably makes up a very low percentage of the total product.

·       Remember concentration counts in both instances- an ingredient may well be harmful at 80% but harmless at 0.3%. Likewise, some ingredients actually function better at lower concentrations. For example, salicylic acid can be beneficial at as low as 1%.

What is natural skincare?

Natural skincare is an unregulated term and broadly used by brands to denote the use of natural ingredients and exclusion of undesirable synthetics. The brands we stock are largely ‘natural’ as opposed to those that use a small percentage of natural ingredients.

A note on organic…

Almost all of the brands we stock use a high percentage of organic or wildcrafted ingredients but have opted not to pay for certification.