Chakras

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The 7 Chakras are the energy centers in our body in which energy flows through.
Blocked energy in our 7 Chakras can often lead to illness so it’s important to understand what each Chakra represents and what we can do to keep this energy flowing freely. Here’s our quick summary:

1. Root Chakra – Represents our foundation and feeling of being grounded.
Location: Base of spine in tailbone area.
Emotional issues: Survival issues such as financial independence, money, and food.

2. Sacral Chakra – Our connection and ability to accept others and new experiences.
Location: Lower abdomen, about 2 inches below the navel and 2 inches in.
Emotional issues: Sense of abundance, well-being, pleasure, sexuality.

3. Solar Plexus Chakra – Our ability to be confident and in-control of our lives.
Location: Upper abdomen in the stomach area.
Emotional issues: Self-worth, self-confidence, self-esteem.

4. Heart Chakra – Our ability to love.
Location: Center of chest just above heart.
Emotional issues: Love, joy, inner peace.

5. Throat Chakra – Our ability to communicate.
Location: Throat.
Emotional issues: Communication, self-expression of feelings, the truth.

6. Third Eye Chakra – Our ability to focus on and see the big picture.
Location: Forehead between the eyes. (Also called the Brow Chakra)
Emotional issues: Intuition, imagination, wisdom, ability to think and make decisions.

7. Crown Chakra – The highest Chakra represents our ability to be fully connected spiritually.
Location: The very top of the head.
Emotional issues: Inner and outer beauty, our connection to spirituality, pure bliss.

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Skin analysis

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One of the most important steps in your practice is to take the time to perform a thorough skin analysis with a client (whether old or new). A brief look at their face does not provide enough information to sanction a more insightful, comprehensive profile to establish a more accurate pathway for long-term skin correction. Old paradigms no longer work. Statements such as normal-dry, combination, and sensitive are understatements when establishing the leading causes of these conditions and their effects on cells and systems. Furthermore, treatment and product choice is based on this analysis service. Your goal is to bring your client’s skin health into a more balanced state.

Examples: Repair of the acid mantle supports the skin’s first line of defense. It helps correct the natural moisturizing factors within bilayers. Rejuvenation of the spinosum layers may help with a more even dispersion of pigment. Attention to rebuilding the dermal structures improves overall skin density and texture.
Begin with a thorough health evaluation that includes age, skin type, nutrition, lifestyle, medications, genetic history and predispositions (as in, intrinsic characteristics such as eczema and allergic contact dermatitis and potential conditions), as well as extrinsic characteristics due to the client’s daily activities and lifestyle.
Secondly, ascertain the levels of damage. This becomes more apparent through careful examination of information obtained from the visual, the written, and your diagnostic tools.

Level 1: Oxidative Stress and Lipid Peroxidation that initiates its damage within the cells environs and membrane

Level 2: Mitochondria DNA damage. Destruction has cascaded to the membrane of the mitochondria.

Level 3: Mitochondria aging along with cellular senescence is a final result that affects the entire cell.

Lastly, invest in diagnostic tools such as a skin scanner and another electronic aid. Newer electronic devices can measure key indicators of the true health of the skin.

Lipid Levels: Skin lipids contribute to the first three lines of the skin barrier defense when determining the nutritional needs of the skin.
Epidermal Hydration: Measures the free water available in the dermal reservoir that is an indicator of the enzymatic action necessary for maintaining the barrier function.

Melanin Density: Reveals the melanin density down to the dermal junction. It is an indicator of the rate that melanogenesis occurs and potential hidden risk factors.

Erythema: This measures the level of vascularity and density of the microcirculation system within the dermis. Vascular matting (telangiectasia) is an indicator that there are issues with the breakdown of dermal structures such as at the dermal/epidermal junction as well as in the collagenmatrix.

The time invested in this service shows that you are a serious skin care professional who understands the science of the skin, the association between skin structure, function, and the leading causes of a skin condition. Moreover, you understand the cascade effect of structural breakdown within the skin such as what occurs in a poor acid mantle, the bilayers within stratumcorneum, damaged melanocytes, the flattening of the rete pegs at the epidermal/dermal junction and in the collagenmatrix. And one very important consideration is that you decrease your liability by avoiding potential mistakes.

Stress-free foods

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Reach for these items next time you’re feeling under pressure, under the weather, or just too close to that breaking point. Munching on these stress-free foods will help pull you back into the game.

Oranges
A German study in Psychopharmacology found that vitamin C helps reduce stress and return blood pressure and cortisol to normal levels after a stressful situation. Vitamin C is also well-known for boosting your immune system.

Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes can be particularly stress-reducing because they can satisfy the urge you get for carbohydrates and sweets when you are under a great deal of stress. They are packed full of beta-carotene and other vitamins, and the fiber helps your body to process the carbohydrates in a slow and steady manner.

Dried Apricots
Apricots are rich in magnesium, which is a stress-buster and a natural muscle relaxant as well.

Almonds, Pistachios & Walnuts
Almonds are packed with B and E vitamins, which help boost your immune system, and walnuts and pistachios help lower blood pressure.

Turkey
Turkey contains an amino acid called L-tryptophan. This amino acid triggers the release of serotonin, which is a feel-good brain chemical. This is the reason why many people who eat turkey feel relaxed, or even tired, after eating it. L-Tryptophan has a documented calming effect.

Spinach
A deficiency in magnesium can cause migraine headaches and a feeling of fatigue. One cup of spinach provides 40 percent of your daily needs for magnesium.

Salmon
Diets high in omega-3 fatty acids protect against heart disease. A study from Diabetes & Metabolism found that omega-3s keep the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline from peaking.

Avocados
The monounsaturated fats and potassium in avocados help lower blood pressure. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says that one of the best ways to lower blood pressure is to consume enough potassium (avocados have more than bananas).

Green Vegetables
Broccoli, kale, and other dark green vegetables are powerhouses of vitamins that help replenish our bodies in times of stress. Snack Attact:

Acne Causes

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Three factors contribute to the formation of acne:

Overproduction of oil (sebum)
Irregular shedding of dead skin cells resulting in irritation of the hair follicles of your skin
Buildup of bacteria
Acne occurs when the hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. Hair follicles are connected to sebaceous glands. These glands secrete an oily substance known as sebum to lubricate your hair and skin. Sebum normally travels up along the hair shafts and then out through the openings of the hair follicles onto the surface of your skin. When your body produces an excess amount of sebum and dead skin cells, the two can build up in the hair follicles and form together as a soft plug, creating an environment where bacteria can thrive.

This plug may cause the follicle wall to bulge and produce a whitehead. Or, the plug may be open to the surface and may darken, causing a blackhead. Pimples are raised red spots with a white center that develop when blocked hair follicles become inflamed or infected. Blockages and inflammation that develop deep inside hair follicles produce lumps beneath the surface of your skin called cysts. Other pores in your skin, which are the openings of the sweat glands onto your skin, aren’t normally involved in acne.

Factors that may worsen acne
These factors can trigger or aggravate an existing case of acne:

Hormones. Androgens are hormones that increase in boys and girls during puberty and cause the sebaceous glands to enlarge and make more sebum. Hormonal changes related to pregnancy and the use of oral contraceptives can also affect sebum production.
Certain medications. Drugs containing corticosteroids, androgens or lithium are known to cause acne.
Diet. Studies indicate that certain dietary factors, including dairy products and carbohydrate-rich foods — such as bread, bagels and chips, which increase blood sugar — may trigger acne.
Acne myths
Contrary to what some people think, these factors have little effect on acne:

Greasy foods and chocolate have proved to have little to no effect on the development or course of acne.
Dirty skin. Acne isn’t caused by dirt. In fact, scrubbing the skin too hard or cleansing with harsh soaps or chemicals irritates the skin and can make acne worse. Simple cleansing of the skin to remove excess oil and dead skin cells is all that’s required.

Endocrine System & Your Skin

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I’m not an expert by any means, and I definitely don’t have all the answers, but I do feel like I have a good grasp of the basics and I can share with you what I’ve learnt and what’s really helped me to clear my hormonal acne….so you too can hopefully do the same

Your Endocrine System

The Endocrine System is a collection of glands that are throughout your body. A gland is a group of cells that produces and secrets chemicals. Your glands select and remove materials from the blood, processes them, and secretes the finished chemical product for use somewhere in the body.

These glands secrete hormones. Hormones are chemicals that travel around your body, transferring instructions and information from your glands to cells in other parts of your body. They are often referred to as your body’s ‘messengers’ that deliver messages to different parts of your body to coordinate certain bodily functions.

Many different types of hormones travel through your bloodstream but each type of hormone is designed to affect only certain cells. These cells will have receptors on them that are specific for a certain hormone. This way, your body can make sure that the correct cells get the correct messages.

You can see an example of this in the diagram I made below:

Hormones influence almost every cell, organ, and function of our bodies.

Hormones regulate and influence:

Weight Regulation
Your Immune Function
Body Fat Composition
Energy Levels
Anti-aging
Regulating Mood
Sexual Function
Reproductive Processes
Growth rate
Tissue Function
Metabolism
Generally, your endocrine system is in charge of body processes that develop slowly (e.g. cell growth). Faster body processes like breathing is controlled by your nervous system. Even though your endocrine system and nervous system are separate systems, they often work together to make sure your body functions properly.

Hormones are grouped into three classes based on their structure:

Steroids – these hormones are lipids made from cholesterol, such as sex hormones. They are secreted from the sex organs, adrenal glands and placenta.
Peptides – are short chains of amino acids that are secreted by the pituitary gland, parathyroid gland, heart, stomach, liver, and kidneys. Most hormones are peptides.
Amines – these are made from an amino acid secreted from the thyroid gland and adrenal glands.
All hormones are important, but the ones I want to focus on in this series that has the most impact on hormonal acne are the Steroid hormones (in particular sex hormones).

The Endocrine Glands

The major glands that make up the human endocrine system include the:

hypothalamus
pituitary gland
thyroid gland
parathyroid glands
adrenal glands
pineal gland
reproductive glands (which include the ovaries and testes)
Although the endocrine glands are the main producers of hormones, other non-endocrine organs produce and release hormones too, such as the brain, skin, heart, lungs, kidneys, thymus and liver.

The Hypothalamus

The Hypothalamus is a group of specialized cells in the lower central part of the brain and is the main link between the endocrine system and the nervous system. It helps to regulate your appetite, body temperature and metabolism. Nerve cells in the Hypothalamus control the Pituitary Gland by secreting ‘releasing’ hormones that are designed to tell the pituitary gland whether to make more of a certain hormone or make less of it. It basically controls the amount of hormones the pituitary gland produces.

The Pituitary Gland

Although it’s controlled by the hypothalamus, the pituitary glad is often called the ‘master gland’ because it makes hormones that control several other endocrine glands such as the Thyroid, Adrenals, and Reproduction Glands. It’s located just beneath the hypothalamus at the base of the brain and is about the size of a pea.

The production and secretion of hormones by the pituitary gland can be influenced by things such as your emotions, feelings, environment and changes in the season. This is because the hypothalamus will send information from the brain about things such as feelings, light exposure pattens, environment, temperature etc to the pituitary gland.

Some of the main hormones produced and secreted by the Pituitary Gland:

Growth hormone – stimulates growth of bone and tissue.
Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) – stimulates the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones (A lack of thyroid hormones either because of a defect in the pituitary or the thyroid itself is called hypothyroidism.)
Adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH) – stimulates the adrenal gland to produce several related steroid hormones
Luteinizing hormone (LH) and Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) – hormones that control sexual function and production of the sex steroids, estrogen and progesterone in females or testosterone in males
Prolactin – hormone that stimulates milk production in females
Thyroid Gland

The thyroid gland produces thyroid hormones (called thyroxine and triiodothyronine) which regulates your metabolism by controlling the rate at which you burn fuels from foods to produce energy. They are also important for brain and nervous system developments and the growth of your bones. They also help maintain normal blood pressure, muscle tone, heart rate, reproductive functions, and digestion.

Parathyroid Glands

The Parathyroid glands are 2 pairs of tiny glands embedded in the surface of the thyroid gland (one pair each side). They work together to release parathyroid hormone which regulates the level of calcium there is in the blood and bone metabolism.

Adrenal Glands

These are two triangular glands located on the top of each of your kidneys. The adrenal glands have two parts; an inner and an outer part. These 2 parts produce different sets of hormones, and each has a different function.

1) Outer Part (Adrenal Cortex) – produces steroid hormones called corticosteroids that regulate salt and water balance in the body, the body’s response to stress (fight or flight response), metabolism, the immune system, and sexual development and function.

Mineralocorticoids – they maintain electrolyte balance. These are hormones such as Aldosterone.
Glucocorticoids – they produce a long-term, slow response to stress by raising blood glucose levels through the breakdown of fats and proteins; they also suppress the immune response and inhibit the inflammatory response. These are hormones such as Cortisol.
Sex Hormones – such as Testosterone, Progesterone, Estrogen. These are all produced by the adrenal glands in both males and female (smaller amounts of progesterone and estrogen in males and smaller amounts of testosterone in females).
2) Inner Part (Adrenal Medulla) – produces amine hormones called catecholamines, these are; epinephrine (also called adrenaline) and norepinephrine which help the body to deal with stress.

Pineal Gland

The pineal gland is in the middle of the brain and secretes melatonin that helps to regulate your sleep cycle.

Reproductive Glands

These glands are the testes in males and the ovaries in females, and are the main sources for sex hormones. The testes produce androgens and control the development of male characteristics and the ovaries produce estrogens and progesterone that control the development of female characteristics.

The Pancreas

One part of the pancreas (the exocrine pancreas) secretes digestive enzymes while the other part of the pancreas (the endocrine pancreas) secretes 2 hormones that regulate your blood sugar levels; Insulin which is released to help bring down blood sugar levels (by telling cells to take up glucose (sugar), and Glucagon which releases glucose back into the blood when blood sugar levels get too low.

Hormones

Here are some of the main hormones that I’m going to talk about in this series and how they influence your overall health and in particular your acne.

Progesterone – opposes estrogen, allows for gestation of a child, protects against cancer, progesterone is used to make testosterone and estrogen.

Testosterone – dominant male hormone (but also present in females), opposes estrogen, protects against cancer, associated with will power and physical strength.

Estrogen – regulates healthy metabolism, opposes progesterone and testosterone, increases cell growth rates, initiates weight gain.

DHEA – protects against cancer, improves memory, improves immune system, lowers body fat, increases muscle mass, protects the brain.

DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) – Testosterone can be converted into another androgen called DHT. This is a potent form of testosterone that is responsible for male secondary sexual characteristics like deepening of voice, facial and body hair, oily skin, sex drive and function. This form of testosterone is the most closely related to hormonal acne that’s the cause of ’excess androgens’.

Cortisol – mood hormone, helps us adapt to stress, stimulates appetite, improves digestion, stimulates brain, muscles, circulatory system and lungs, fights leukemia and lumphomas.

Insulin – is a hormone produces by the pancreas that regulates your blood sugar levels. It helps to do this by causing cells in the liver, fat tissue and muscles to take up glucose (sugar) when your blood sugar levels are too high (such as after you’ve eaten).

Vitamin D – is a hormone, not a vitamin, activates 10% of our healing genes, increases bone density, improves immunity, fights cancer, improves mood.

How Are Hormones Made?

All of these Steroid hormones mentioned above are made from Cholesterol. All hormones have pregnenolone and progesterone as basic precursors. The diagram below shows how hormones are all made from (good) cholesterol. Some of the hormones in this pathway can be converted into others, and some can convert back, while others cannot.

Why is this important for acne sufferers?

Learning about your hormones and your body is really helpful for people with hormonal acne because you will have a better understand of what your body needs and how to clear your acne. You don’t have to know too much of the ‘science’ behind it all, but a basic understanding is enough to often come up with a solution that’s right for you and your body. If you feel overwhelmed and confused by your hormonal acne, learning about it and ‘demystifying’ it will help you to feel more confident and positive about how you can get healthy again and clear your skin for good.

Apple Cider Vinegar & it’s Benefits

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Apple cider vinegar is my new obsession. I recently began taking apple cider vinegar shots a few times a day for a quick and effective energy burst. However, I’ve since discovered so many other useful ways to incorporate apple cider vinegar (ACV) into my daily routine.

It’s effective for pretty much anything—your skin, your hair, your house, and even your pets can benefit from its qualities. Raw, organic, unfiltered and unpasteurized, apple cider vinegar is so much more than a salad dressing!

1. Apple cider vinegar can detoxify your home.

It’s made from apple juice and is fermented to hard apple cider. It’s then fermented a second time to become apple cider vinegar. By using ACV in lieu of other products, we instantly decrease the consumption of unnatural chemicals in our homes and daily lives.

2. It can make your hair shine.

Apple cider vinegar can be used as a rinse for your hair after shampooing, and will boost your hair’s body and shine. I recommend recycling an old shampoo bottle, then filling it with 1/2 a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a cup of cold water. Pour the solution through your hair after shampooing several times a week for dramatic results.

3. Natural apple cider vinegar regulates the pH of your skin.

Dilute ACV with two parts water, and spread the concoction over your face with a cotton ball to replace your current toner. You can do this at night after washing, and in the morning before you apply your moisturizer. A dab of apple cider vinegar can also be left on the skin overnight to fade age spots or acne scars.

It’s also a recommended agent for warts. For warts, soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar, then fasten the cotton ball over the wart with a Band-Aid overnight. The skin may swell some as it reacts with the solution. However, the wart will fall off. Once it falls off, the treatment should be continued for a few more days, to make sure the wart doesn’t return.

4. It can remove stains from teeth.

Rub teeth directly with apple cider vinegar, and rinse with water.

5. It can soothe sunburnt skin.

Add a cup of apple cider vinegar to your bath, and soak for 10 minutes to eliminate discomfort from sunburn.

6. Apple cider vinegar can be used as a natural aftershave.

Fill a bottle with equal parts apple cider vinegar and water, and shake before applying to the face.

7. It’s an all-natural massage treatment.

Rubbing apple cider vinegar on your hands and feet will give massage-like benefits and relief to tired hands and feet.

8. Apple cider vinegar can aid in weight loss.

For daily weight management, add 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to 16 ounces of water. This concoction can be sipped throughout the day. Data shows some limited, yet significant, weight loss benefits from sustained daily intake of acetic acid (which is a main ingredient in apple cider vinegar).

In a 2009 study published in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, it was found that subjects that consumed acetic acid for 12 weeks experienced significant declines in body weight, abdominal fat, waist circumference and triglycerides. Triglycerides contribute to the bad cholesterol that we want to avoid.

9. Apple cider vinegar will balance your entire inner body system.

The body constantly strives to achieve a state of equilibrium. Apple cider vinegar helps the body maintain a healthy alkaline pH level. Research shows that higher acid levels (lower pH level) leads to a lack of energy and higher incidences of infection. Hence, my desire to sip some a few times a day for a natural boost of energy.

10. It can help you detox.

As part of balancing the body’s pH, apple cider vinegar creates an overall detoxification of the body. Research shows that it can help stimulate cardiovascular circulation and help detoxify the liver.

11. ACV is great for your lymphatic system.

This miracle vinegar helps to break up mucous throughout the body and cleanse the lymph nodes. Believe it or not, research suggests that apple cider vinegar can help with allergies because of its ability to reduce mucous and sinus congestion. When reducing the effects of allergies, it can also help stave off sinus infections and their related symptoms, such as sore throats and headaches.

12. It can help your body get rid of candida.

This vinegar is rich in natural enzymes that can help rid your body of candida—yeasts that are attributed to thrush in humans. Candida also is blamed for creating symptoms of fatigue, poor memory, sugar cravings, and yeast infections.

13. ACV can help you reduce heartburn.

Though it might seem like an oxymoron to treat stomach acid with an acid-containing vinegar, there is research suggesting that apple cider vinegar works by correcting low acid, hence reducing heartburn. Natural remedy experts say you should begin to feel relief very shortly after taking a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar followed by a glass of water. Note that apple cider vinegar will not give relief if you have an ulcer.

14. The use of apple cider vinegar is effective in repelling fleas on your pets.

One part vinegar and one part water can be sprayed on your pets fur and rubbed in generously to the skin. Saturate the entire coat, and continue every day for a few days to a week. Any flea infestation will surely be gone.

15. It’s an all-natural room freshener.

Apple cider vinegar will clean your toilets and leave your bathroom smelling like apples! Just pour apple cider vinegar into the toilet, and allow it to sit overnight. It can also be used in dishwashers as a substitute for dish detergent. Mix 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar with 1 cup water, and you can use this solution to clean microwaves, kitchen surfaces, windows, glasses and mirrors, too.

As you can see, apple cider vinegar is a miracle product that cab be used in a multitude of ways. I highly recommend its use!

Body Scrub

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What are the benefits of a body scrub?
Exfoliation is one of the primary keys to a healthy skin. The removal of coarse skin and dead cells allows for better penetration of products such as oils and lotions, leaving the skin soft & smooth. All Body Scrub recipes help to remove dead cells from your skin, allowing new cells to grow. A scrub can be really invigorating as well, and improve the circulation of blood and lymph to the surface of the skin, helping to fight cellulite and improve your skin tone.

A body scrub also forms the basis of other body treatments:
* it prepares your skin for an even tan
* it opens the pores and wakens the skin before a body treatment
* the oils used can relax or stimulate your senses ready for any similarly-focused treatment that you might be having afterwards.

SALT SCRUB INSTRUCTIONS

YOU WILL NEED:
1. refined sea salt (about 1-2 cups per scrub)
2. oil to cover
3. potentially: dedicated pajamas & towel
4. good, strong cleanser for the tub

Get yourself some refined sea salt (in the bulk area – usually about .50/#) and sunflower or safflower oil. (Any oil will do, these are simply nice and cheap! If you run cold or tend toward stagnancy, inertia, or lack of motivation, raw sesame oil is a great choice, too.) Add the two in a jar or bowl, stopping at toothpaste consistency. Start with just a little bit, unless you want to make a lot to keep for later. (It will keep, so feel free – a mason jar is great for storage and looks nice, too.)
Stand in the tub as it fills (to contain the mess), take a handful of the mixture and scrub your skin, working in the direction of your venous return and lymph flow – from your feet towards your heart, then from your hands towards your heart. Keep scrubbing one area until the skin turns pink, then move on to the next area. (The pinkness indicates circulation.) Once you’re done scrubbing your whole body, soak in the tub – oil, salt, and all. The oil will penetrate your skin deeply (with the water and heat) and the salt, as it dissolves in the water, will pull toxins from your body. Hence: nourishing and detoxifying.
Do not soap off – if you’re feeling over-oily, just rinse a little off in the shower. (Make sure to have a dedicated pair of PJs and a towel for the purpose – after a few scrubs your clothes will get a little oily. Also be sure to clean the tub/shower with hot hot hot water after – vinegar and baking soda or bon ami also help.)
Salt scrubs increase lymph flow and circulation, hydrate the tissues and nerves. (In instances where lymphatic stagnancy is present, they can often contribute to weight loss.) They also aid motivation, groundedness and healthy boundaries.

Do not use the body scrub too often because frequent scrubbing can damage the young skin layer once the dead skin is off the body surface. You can use a body scrub once every week or two. Also remember to use a very gentle body scrub in case you have a dry skin. Also be very careful during winter when too much scrubbing can damage already dry skin.