The benefits of using clay in cosmetics

The Benefits of Using Clay in Cosmetics

For centuries mineral-rich clay has been used as a natural agent to beautify the skin. Clay minerals may comprise 15% of the volume of the earth’s crust. In soil, clays are generally the most important adsorbents for inorganic metals and organic solutes as well, this gives them their mineral content. Their presence in our soils is imperative for plants growth and nutrient density. They are an extremely important natural resource and have many uses. 

“it (the clay) absorbs all of those properties of nature. It takes on the energy, so when you look at it as a substance, you can say that it’s the sum of the pull of nature’s energy.”

Different powdered clays are used as the basis for facial body masks popular in many spas, think mud baths! They are largely used for their ability to absorb excess oils, dead skin cells and potential toxins from the skin. They are often paired with powdered herbs and nutrients to enhance their abilities to heal, tone, soften and detoxify the skin. Applying clay to cosmetics may help to exfoliate, clean and invigorate the skin whilst improving blood circulation (you can often feel some heat and see redness after a clay mask for this reason. When the effect softens down the skin normally looks glowing).

As well as being in masks, clays are added to natural scrubs (for their natural exfoliating properties, natural vegetable soaps (as they can enhance their lather capabilities), some clays are used in toothpaste, deodorant and also shampoo or face cleansing bars. We use clay in the bath with essential oils and as a ‘talc’, I also add clay to my dry shampoo recipe.

TOP TIPS:

  • Wet your face at night, apply your clay, and just begin to lightly massage the clay in for about two or three minutes for a soft, natural exfoliation. Apply a nutritious oil infused with essential oils afterwards for a real treat for the skin.
  • Mix clay with a liquid to make a paste:
  • You can add ground coffee, salt, oats, almond flour or desiccated coconut to increase the exfoliant properties.
  • Add herbal teas like chamomile, calendula, rooibos or rosewater to the clay for a calming and nutrient dense combination.
  • Add apple cider vinegar, kombucha or kefir to the clay to increase detoxification and to make your skin tighter, brighter and simply glowing!
  • Rinse off your mask using just water. You may have to gently scrub a little with your fingers to get it off. It tends to try to stick to your skin.
  • I mix raw cacao and red clay with arrowroot flour for my dry shampoo!
  • Avoid getting clay in mouth, eyes, ears, nose.
  • After a clay mask tone the skin with a little rose water or kefir/water spray
  • Moisturiser will be soaked into the skin with greater effect after a clay mask.
  • Clays mix nicely with activated charcoal.
  • Clay infused sponges work really nicely and gently on the skin.
  • Traditionally clays have been taken externally or internally. Consider contacting a practitioner like myself for advice with this.

Different clays have different properties and are ideal for different skin types and also different needs. The clays come from all over the world and different locations will have different mineral constituents. The mineral content and physical structure of each clay will help to determine the desired effect for the skin.

Different clays for different reasons:

Bentonite clay:

Bentonite clay is a generic term made of rocks that come from volcanic ash beds. Settled on the ground the ash has immersed itself into the soil, Bentonite is found wherever volcanic eruptions have occurred and where the ash beds have not been destroyed by erosion. Today most of the clay available to buy is harvested in western U.S. (mostly Wyoming), Greece, France, India, Australia and Italy. You may see it as Bentonite or Montmorillonite clay, the two names are interchangeable.

Bentonite is a very popular clay with many for skin benefits. With its strong negative electrical charge, it is seen to draw out positively charged toxins like a magnet. Also as one of the most absorbable clays bentonite is also helpful for oily skin. Normally used for tightening, brightening, acne-clearing and toxin reducing, bentonite is also very good for first aid.

Bentonite clay swells when mixed with liquid, making it a highly porous and absorbing substance. It can actually absorb more than its initial mass, including any swelling from excess fluid anywhere in the body. It is also great to add to scars, stretch marks and red skin.

THE BENEFITS:

  • Antiseptic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • May reduce scars, stretch marks, rosacea or liver spots.
  • Softens and detoxifies the skin
  • Soothes dermatitis.
  • Hydrates the hair.
  • Decreases eye puffiness: Moisten the under-eye area (be careful to be away from the eye itself) and apply quite a thick paste application of clay/apple cider vinegar or water around the eyes. Leave it on for up to 20 minutes, then wash it off. 
  • For a first aid paste good for cuts, bruises, sores or blisters: Mix bentonite clay powder with baking soda, water and turmeric. You can also add cooled thyme or calendula tea to maximize the effect it has on your skin.

Red Clay:

Used for its beauty benefits since the dawn of time, also known as Rhassoul clay, this ancient clay is mined from Morocco. It is considered more rare and pure than other clays, it was reserved for Egyptian royalty in the past. Extremely high in minerals and trace elements it owes its colour to a high concentration of iron oxide. This clay is used to stimulate microcirculation in the blood vessels helping to improve circulation to the skin and remove toxins and impurities.

Like Bentonite clay the minerals cause a negative charge, most toxins in your skin are positively charged, so this clay is also the perfect magnet. However, this clay is excellent for more sensitive and drier skins as it also has elasticity and texture-improving effects. Gentle enough for daily use in small doses like in soap, makes a great exfoliator and in a hair mask or shampoo may absorb excess build-up on hair, restoring volume, and shine. It is also very good on sensitive scalps.

THE BENEFITS:

  • Gentle and effective exfoliant
  • improves dryness and scaliness of skin
  • clarifies skins texture and firmness.
  • Mattifies and unifies the complexion
  • absorbs impurities and detoxifies skin to revive and brighten the complexion
  • Reduces redness and soothes discomfort caused by irritations
  • Acts as a natural colour in makeup or dry shampoo
  • Absorbs excess sebum from the skin and hair
  • Restores body, silkiness and shine to hair

Pink clay:

A mix of red and white clay, pink clay enjoys the benefits of both. It is great for sensitive and mature skin and has the benefits of both bentonite and rhassoul clay. Considered to be the mildest of all the clays, Pink Clay masks do not remove the skin’s natural oils, making it perfect for tight, dry and dehydrated skin.

THE BENEFITS:

  • Restores radiance to the skin.
  • Reduces irritation and inflammation.
  • Treats damaged skin by promoting healthy cell renewal.
  • Good to use on scars and stretch marks
  • May help to reduce wrinkles
  • Softens and hydrates the skin.
  • Cleanses and refreshes dull, tired and dry skin.
  • Eliminates redness.
  • Smoothens the skin’s texture.
  • Revitalizes the scalp and hair.

Green Clay:

Green clay, also referred to as green illite, sea clay or Montmorillonite clay. Found in abundant deposits in France (also extracted from other places in the world including China and the U.S.), it is mined several thousand feet below the earth’s crust (up to two thousand feet below the surface). A naturally occurring material rich in nutrients, it gets its greenish hue from the presence of blue-green algae and chlorophyll left by decomposed plant life mixed with Iron oxides. Once the clay is mined it is brought out into the sun to remove excess water and moisture and to make it the powder we can use. 

The clay’s amazing detoxifying quality of this material is best demonstrated by its use in 1986, when it was used in a massive quantity to cover and neutralise the nuclear reactor site at Chernobyl. It was also added to chocolate to help people to detoxify it from their body. Green clay has also been used for centuries in a poultice and Arizona State University reports their researchers have found French green clay effective in inhibiting Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhimurium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus and Mycobacterium marinum. These bacteria can play a part in serious skin infections.

French green clay is also excellent for exfoliation and pore-tightening. It is another very absorbent clay that especially drinks up oil from the skin and hair, it also encourages blood towards the surface of your skin, giving you a bit of a tingling sensation as it boosts circulation. Extremely nutrient-rich, green clay also contains dolomite, manganese, silica, copper, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc and calcium.

THE BENEFITS:

  • Helps hair that is oily, shiny or dull.
  • Softens dry or rough skin.
  • removes dirt from the skin and scalp.
  • Great used in deodorant.
  • Daily mask can help regulate your skin’s sebum production to reduce oiliness.
  • Clears acne and reduces blackheads
  • Calms and soothes eczema, rashes, psoriasis.
  • Improves skin condition and appearance.
  • Purifies and balances the scalp and clears dandruff.
  • Detoxifys body.
  • Great used in first aid and in poltices.
  • Good to use in toothpaste especially with gum issues.

Get in contact below for some recommendations for brands and how to use them….

What are the Chakras?

What are the Chakras?

Why do we use them?

How do they help in mindfulness?

You may be aware of the mindfulness course Inner Rainbow Mindfulness. The basic structure of the course is based on the 7 colours of the rainbow, connected to 7 themes and runs over 7 weeks. Many have asked us why we do this and many have heard the word ‘chakra’ and felt uncomfortable or intrigued. Here is what this structure looks like, why we have them, and how it helps mindfulness…

The entire universe is made of energy, and your body is no exception.

Have a look at this post on using frequencies to heal our body. Long before modern medicines, technology and science, ancient cultures (from East to West) held their own concept and understanding of mind, spirit or soul as distinct from the physical body. We all know that all living things carry a life force, energy, chi or soul with them. It separates us from alive and dead. Once that energy leaves, we are only a physical body that can no longer function. Our living matrix is a complex network connecting all body systems, organs and cells together.

Always considered ‘woo’ by the modern scientific community, energy medicine has been often looked at as quackery, fraud or witchcraft! However our bodies are electromagnetic in nature, on this we all agree, and science has measured these frequencies with machines, like X-ray, EKG, thermography, PET and MRI for many years. Also the scientific community have been interested in  using technological research, ranging from holographic patterning (3D images) to Kirlian photography, to observe the human energy field (HEF) and been even been able to begin to demonstrate it’s existence. They are able to recognise networks of complex energy fields which interact with our physical and cellular systems. They have even noted DNA’s positive and negative response to pulsing magnetic fields (see here, here and here).

All healing, natural and pharmaceutical is rooted in science.

There are vibrations from everything in the universe, physical and emotional. Conditions that influence you, consciously or subconsciously will be reflected in your physical and emotional self. They are intrinsically connected. Your inner energy body as well as your external environment influence these reflections. Your upbringing, culture, and geography, for instance, all affect your perception of health and how you should/could be.

Children are more aware of their energy systems and react to them with less consciousness baggage.

They may lack the intellectual capacity and maturity to use words to describe and explain how their body feels. However they can be very true to themselves and react very well to colour, textures, smells, tastes and gut instinct. They are able to use their senses without too much attachment to other things and this can give an amazing opportunity to help them consciously connect their body and mind to achieve true balance and health. 

The chakra system originated in India between 1500 and 500 BC. The map of the chakras connects with various TCM Meridian points flowing along the spine and even the modern images of the autonomic nervous system. They have have been the main means of accessing non-physical areas of your body before surgery. There are thought to be over 110 chakras in the body,  seven are considered major. These seven line up vertically on key points along the middle of the physical body. They each have a corresponding colour from red through to violet.

Within your body you have an Inner Rainbow. 

By learning about the 7 chakras, you can become more in tune with the natural energy cycles of your body and mind. By removing the spiritual belief system of the chakras, we can use them energetically to open up themes and areas of the body. Each chakra has a colour and core issues attached to it.

Using the colours and themes we can link the Bach Flower Remedies and affirmations we use each week, the aromatherapy oils used in the room spray, the different Brain Gym exercise goals and areas they support, the acupressure points used to help reduce the intensity of emotions to the potential core issues. 

By doing this, those on the course are able to approach each weeks issue and theme through a non-threatening or confusing way. The language can become simpler and more accessible. We can all sit and think about a colour entering and exiting your body, however when asked to confront or release a big emotion can have much conscious trauma attached to it.

Here is an overview of each Chakra or Colour and what we aim to work through in that weeks class:

RED/ BROWN

THEMES: “I Have”

Survival, safety, grounding, connected to the earth, family, right to live, who am I? 

ELEMENT: Earth

SENSE: Smell

CORE ISSUES: Security, trust, identity, family, society/school, health, prosperity.

The first week resonates with grounding and feeling stability and security. Many of us feel consciously safe, however the body may resonate subconsciously as unsafe.  You may even feel afraid to change, be unwilling to accept habits, thought patterns or transition is even possible. This can be because of our childhood, c-sections have been seen to possibly re-wire primal instincts and the nervous system response. Relearning new habits and reactions can take time, change can only happen when we feel safe and we trust.

We explore and discuss who we are, our names, feeling safe in the strangeness and perceptions of the course ahead. Introduce the concept of mindfulness as being, “Just noticing”.  Feeling safe in the knowledge that there is no wrong or right, only opinion. We discuss the sense of smell and explore what that opens up. We discuss red foods and what a ‘real’food actually is. Explore smells and how smells make us feel. We try a simple meditation and brain gym exercise. We use an Emotion Stress Release point (acupressure points) to release any fear or nerves.

OUTCOMES: Feel comfortable and safe in change and a new routine. Be open to your environment and begin to feel connection to breath and the body through the sense of smell. 

 

ORANGE

THEMES: “I Feel”

Relationships, how we feel, identity, passion

ELEMENT: Water

SENSE: Taste

CORE ISSUES: Pleasure, creativity, imagination, what we like, reactions, impulses, movement & connection, emotions

We discuss anger and fear being connected. How we react and why, most importantly strategies to help us to change our reactions. By feeling safe, warm, connected and protected we can come out of fight or flight mode and have more flow in life. We talk about how we can work on being present and aware and mindful in your interactions with others

We discuss identity, what that means, also that we are not our emotions, that we feel them and they can come and go. Every emotion is important and noticing, without judgement, about how we feel is key. When we know how we feel we can begin to make decisions about if we want to continue to feel that way.

We are introduced to more tools and we start to move our body to feel more flow in our surroundings. We discuss the sense of taste and explore what that opens up. We discuss orange foods.

OUTCOMES: Feel more open and relaxed to begin to notice how we feel. We do not need to be perfect, everyone makes mistakes.

 

YELLOW

THEMES: “I Am Me”

Self-confidence, identity, personal power, respect, ego, concern about outward appearance

ELEMENTFire

SENSESight

CORE ISSUESPersonal power, respect, humility, will, energy

We learn about our personal fire, how it can be too weak and too strong. Life can be hard and we can still be strong for ourselves. We can take responsibility for our decisions and look inside to know the answer for ourselves. Mistakes can be learnt from and there is great strength in humility and compassion.

Our physical energy is linked to how we feel and we explore how we speak and move can change how we feel. Personal power is important and our beliefs and feelings are important. I am responsible for my happiness.

OUTCOMES: Feel confident in different situations. Feel free to make own decisions for your benefit. To release past issues and begin each day new and with confidence and strength. 

GREEN

THEMES: “I Love”

Love, acceptance of self and others, unconditional love, balance, forgiveness and compassion 

ELEMENT: Air

SENSE: Touch

CORE ISSUES: Respect for self and world around you, intimacy, acceptance, empathy and compassion.

It is really important to feel and give kindness towards yourself and/or others. To create peace and harmony we must first look in the mirror and be kind. We play trust games and communicate to feel safe. We talk about green food and how important food is to nourish and heal.

We explore and discuss love, why we are the most important person to love. We can only feel empathy and compassion when we love ourselves enough to give more love out. We discuss the sense of touch, how that creates trust and when is it ok to touch and when is it ok to have boundaries. To have confidence and love for ourselves to say no to ideas and experiences that do not resonate with our body and mind.

OUTCOMES: Feel comfortable saying “I love me, I am special” in the mirror. Know that love is something to give and to receive.

BLUE

THEMES: “I Hear”

Personal truth communication, Creative identity, self expression, choice, communication and listening, balance of logic and emotion

SENSE: Listening

CORE ISSUES: Be comfortable with change and making decisions, communicate truth, courage, forgiveness, finding one’s own voice

Communication to yourself and the world around you is so important. Many of us struggle to say what we think through fear of being wrong or upsetting the other person. We learn different ways of communicating our feelings by drawing them and acting them out. We discuss whole body listening and how to deal with distractions. Focus can be really hard, trying to notice something different every day or using a listening meditation to hear all the different sounds can help you maintain focus by keeping interest there. 

Practising gratitude can be really simple. Using our journals, we stay in the present moment to list what we are grateful for. It can make a big difference.

OUTCOMES:Be able to communicate effectively through a variety of mediums, write, draw, speak, move and act. Know when to use each one to be an effective communicator. Help others to have space to communicate and be a good listener.

PURPLE

THEMES: “I Perceive”

Intuition, insight, sensory perception, imagination, visualisation

SENSE: Intuition (Sixth sense, gut instinct- connects all the other senses)

CORE ISSUES: Wisdom, experience, intuition, imagination, manifesting abundance, dreams, 

 

The pineal gland in the brain is in the shape of an eye, hence the term Third Eye. The Egyptians and other ancient cultures knew about this and understood that it took in information from the world around them and sometimes believed even information beyond the stars could come through. The pineal gland lets the brain know when it is night and day, it is responsible for melatonin (sleep hormone) and serotonin (happy hormone).

We discuss screens and over stimulation. Also we put together a sleep tool kit in class and make goals to reduce screen time, especially when eating or before bed. We empower with knowledge to set the goals by themselves. To give back responsibility of body and mind to the individual.

The meditation is all about feeling the magic, joy and excitement about life. About being able to manifest what you want from life. This helps to provide energy and motivation in the present to go after their dreams. A valuable feeling to be able to tap into.

OUTCOMES: To feel grater control over their lives, to find something they want and to have the energy and motivation to go after it. To trust their instinct and make choices in the present moment free from fear.

PINK

THEMES: “I Know”

the way you express who you are and your connection to the universe, ability to trust life, values, ethics, courage, faith and inspiration

CORE ISSUES: Belief systems, awareness and consciousness.

The Crown chakra is a sum of all the pieces. We review and repeat our favourite games, journal activity or exercise. We goal set for the future based on how we feel at the end. We get ready to come back and go a bit deeper into each colour to find more understanding about ourselves. We learn how we are all connected and how to use our tools in real life.

OUTCOMES: Round up and set goals for the future. Connect all the work we have done and trouble shoot some scenarios to help integrate new tools. 

 

 

Navigate and support your cycle like the wonder woman you are

If you want to talk about any of the parts of your cycle I am happy to answer your questions or book a session… 

Navigate and Support Your Cycle

How the menstrual cycle keeps turning and how you can make it work for your life.

Getting to know how you feel during the contrasting times of your menstrual cycle is imperative to whole body health and happiness! All women need to understand their body, having 4 seasons every month means accepting change. Trying to continue with the same exercise, eating habits and social life every day as if it is the same can cause physical and emotional turmoil within us all. It is a huge governing force on how we see and feel the world around us. It should not be suppressed or ignored. Life would also be better if we stopped calling it a curse or a pain.

Being able to navigate and support your cycle can really lead the way to whole body health.

Healthy fats are essential to a healthy cycle. Low fat/ high carbohydrate diets may disrupt the normal flow and may also contribute to symptoms of PMS, cramps and clots. A diet rich in dense protein, eggs, green vegetables, fruit, fermented foods and drinks and lots of healing fats can contribute to smooth sailing through the ebbs and flows of life! Support your menstrual cycle by reducing refined sugar and starch in your diet, they give zero nutrition and zero comfort!

Never follow an exercise or diet plan that does not take your hormones into consideration. Women and men do need to train differently to be able to remain balanced. Men have cycles too!

Instead nourish your body, mind and soul with the following tips…

To help you to even know where you are in your cycle have a look at clue charting app, there is another good one for apple users called My Moontime. Also teas like this Moon cycle tea are great all around balance throughout the month. This is my favourite image to help you to understand how it all fits together. You can see how it builds and wanes.

menstrual_periods

1

Menstruation 

(week 1: New beginnings as we prepare for new potential)

Day one of your menstrual cycle begins with your bleed. I always feel a sense of renewal and energy when my period begins hopefully you should also begin to feel better. After the possible ups and downs and dull aches of your last cycle, you begin to feel renewed and refreshed. After winter, comes spring. You may become increasingly optimistic, and your energy begins to be able turn outward towards the world again.

A healthy period may last between 3-7 days. There should be maybe a little cramping on day one but largely it should be pain free, maybe light spotting at the beginning and end. Using a menstrual cup can hugely benefit both your body and the environment. It can also give you a huge amount of information about the colour, consistency and volume of your bleed. This is information that is very important to chart and notice.

Many people tend to want to ignore and have as little to do with their bleed as possible. This is undermining a huge part of what it is to be a woman. Menstrual blood is being investigated for all its profound properties and nutrient value (i.e stem cells not for consuming!!!!). It is not just blood! Make sure you are aware of how you speak about your menstrual cycle to yourself and others, changing your viewpoint can have an enormous impact on your body and those of our daughters, sisters, mothers and friends.

The cramping during your period is not unlike Braxton hicks. Your cervix is firm and low and must slightly open to allow menstrual blood to pass through. the cramping occurs when the muscles in your uterus contract to release the menstrual lining and the cervix to open. If you are also tight in that area because you sit down too much or hold stress in our abdomen area, you may feel more pain.

High blood sugar levels can also use up much needed magnesisum, this is responsible for relaxing muscles which is a possibility why we get those chocolate cravings during this time. By reducing your refined sugar intake, you almost always see a reduction in period cramps. Also try some teas like raspberry leaf (not just for when you are pregnant!) which strengthens your uterine muscles and nettle which gives us a good mineral profile to help our body do what it needs to more efficiently and to better effect.

During your bleed, you may feel introverted and introspective. Just like a seedling needs nourishment and space to grow, so does our body. Some quietness and deliberate rest time can be tremendously helpful. I often like to get into nature, a short walk during your day can feel great. If not why not try a simple breathing technique, see here for some easy ones to try.

Being Mindful about

Things to consider:

  • Make a date with yourself, preferably in or near nature. If not, have a look at some pictures of nature, maybe from your last holiday or bucket list destinations. This is not an ideal time to begin something new or be meeting new people, however you are warming to the idea.

  • Goal setting works well at this time. Make lists of things to do and places to visit. Find inspiration and start to take steps forward.

  • Take hot baths with dead sea salt and feel good essential oils like bergamot, lavender and clary sage and maybe try to go to bed an hour earlier than normal.

  • Warm compresses (hot water bottle or cherry stones) or light exercise may ease cramps. You could also try this homeopathic blend.

  • Try to resist cravings of simple sugars and processed foods. In the long term, they are not what the body is actually looking for. Try to comfort the body in alternative ways. Eat real chocolate or raw cacao. Consume lots of healthy fats like eggs, avocado, coconut and nut butters instead.

  • Write in your journal (see here), and reflect on the events and happenings of the past month. By charting you can see how you feel today compared to other days in the cycle and in other cycles. By truly getting to know our cycle we can have greater care and attention towards our emotional selves.

  • Be kind to your body and speak to yourself in a positive manner

  • Although it may be the last thing you want to do, sex can be very enjoyable at this time, take time to explore each other’s bodies and pay homage to how wonderful they are.

  • Exercise can be gentle movement and stretching like yoga and walking. At this time, your hips and abdominal area are doing a lot and may be tight. You may add stress to ligaments that are attached to your uterus.

  • Drink blood building teas like nettle, raspberry leaf, chai, turmeric milk and try adding collagen to your drinks for extra protein and energy.

  • Try and use a menstrual cup, reusable pads or underwear, if not use biodegradable and organic tampons or pads during your menstrual phase. This is for the good of your body and the environment

  • Bach Flower Remedies can help to remove any mood swings or physical cramps. Have a look at using Crab Apple, Cherry Plum, Clematis, Rock Water, Holly and Mustard. Rescue remedy can also help.

Summer

Follicular Phase

(week 2- Lots of energy for new growth)

The summer is normally when we all feel our best. Full of energy, motivation and of course beautiful and sexy.  You are able to look outward at the world around you as you are able to tackle projects and relationships.

This is when you feel like being life of the party, people are also attracted towards you and you feel like interactions are easier and more fun. Not necessarily connected to the menstrual cycle, this is when you feel full of optimism and hope, energy is high and open

This phase follows just after menstruation. It’s called the Follicular phase because your pituitary gland (in your brain) releases a hormone called Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), which stimulates the follicles in your ovaries to mature and ultimately release an egg in a few days. 

During this time in your menstrual cycle you may notice that your cervical fluid takes on a wetter consistency. It can sometimes also look creamy. Your skin may look and feel better and you begin to pay more attention to your outward appearance. 

Your appetite may also change, you may feel lighter and less weighed down. We also rarely connect this to being in our menstrual cycle.

Your sex drive begins to become ignited and you may find yourself feeling flirtier or playful and start window shopping at the men around you. You may become more impulsive and more likely to strike up conversations with strangers.

You may feel a boost of energy during this time of the month, and often see improvement of your mood and brain function. You may feel clearer, more motivated and have more stamina. You may even feel more assertive and willing to take risks. This is a wonderful time to plan what it is that you want and set future intentions.

Exercise will be more fun and you will be able to push yourself and have set harder and faster goals in this week. You may feel stronger and more likely to hit new PB’s

 

Summer

Things to consider:

  • This is a valuable time to initiate new projects at work or at home and make important decisions. If you are a writer you may have a promising idea of the outline and direction of what you want to write at this time.

  • Write all your ideas down, in the next couple of weeks you will be able to go deeper into those ideas and fill them with substance.

  • Brainstorming and problem solving will be become easier and more fun during this phase. Managing things and being organised will help you to stay on top of things and not get carried away with all the energy you have.

  • Start being social – This is the time to schedule time to meet with friends, be out with the kids, start networking, go and experience new things, like an art class or a language class you’ve never tried. You are also more likely to want to go on a date night or to a party now.

  • Smile and talk to people. You may feel confident and adventurous, you never know where an opening may take you.

  • Your body becomes better able to handle strenuous exercise during this time too, This is when you may find you are able to hit some PB’s. Try Olympic lifting and other weighted challenges during this time. You will also enjoy circuits and run sprints.

  • You may really like the essential oils Thyme and Ylang Ylang at this point. 

  • Bach Flower Remedies can help have a look at Wild Rose, Sclerathus, Cerato, Honeysuckle, White Chestnut, Elm and Beech

Spring (1)

 Ovulatory Phase

(week 3 Harvest the rewards of all that hard work and bank some points)

Ovulation is the culmination of all the hard work your hormones and body has been building up in your menstrual cycle for the last couple of weeks. It is also the shortest phase of your menstrual cycle and may last for 2-3 days. After your egg gets released from its follicle into your fallopian tube it may survive for 12-24 hours travelling down towards your uterus. Some people can feel ovulation, others have very vivid dreams during this time.

At this point your sex drive may well be at its highest! The eggs main aim is to be fertilised or it will die. All the hormones come together to rise to their peak levels (see the first image), stimulating the effects of this phase.

You may feel that you look better and feel more confident. You may find it easier to communicate your thoughts and emotions. Our base instincts kick in at this point, to find a mate. If you do not want to become pregnant, this is the time in your menstrual cycle to be very cautious about safe sex.

You may even feel like you look more attractive during this time, skin may be clearer, hair glossier and generally and you may feel more confident about your appearance. You may find yourself dressing in brighter more revealing clothing subconsciously during this time. Your senses may become heightened, your sense of sight, smell, taste and touch feeling more obvious.

You may notice that Your cervical fluid is very clear or viscous egg-white fluid, with lots of elasticity, this is to help sperm to reach the egg and to also ensure the right environment for egg fertilisation. Your cervix will also become softer, and may move higher and open, this is helpful for orgasm.

After ovulation (about day 3-4 of this part of the cycle), oestrogen takes a steep nose dive, but luckily the still rising progesterone catches you from falling all the way to rock bottom. You don’t feel as excited, energetic and confident as in the flirty summer. Doubt and insecurity creep up on you, and you may begin to feel cranky, grouchy or moody. Your energy begins to turn inward now, and you feel the need for some downtime to just catch a breath and chill.

Autumn

Things to consider:

  • This is an ideal time to look for a new job and go to interviews, pitch your ideas, start a new health plan, ask for a raise or more responsibility at work, go network and make plans for the future.

  • If you know you must do public speaking or attend functions try to schedule them in this part of your cycle.

  • Push through limitations and surprise yourself

  • Get out of the house. Go dancing with friends or try something completely different for date night. If you are single, look around and be proactive, have fun and be yourself.

  • Take advantage of the high energy levels during these few days. You should continue to enjoy lots of physical activity, especially group workouts. This is when you go running, spinning, kickboxing or group dance classes. High energy and lots of focus, so get out there and start challenging your body.

  • Bach Flower Remedies can help. Have a look at Rock Water, Beech, Vine, White Chestnut, Vervain, Chicory and Olive.

 

Spring

Luteal Phase

(week 4- Take the time to rest and heal whilst honouring your creative side)

After the oestrogen high of the last few days, it will take a dive in week 4. All the energy in the menstrual cycle can sometimes land with a thud. Primal instincts make us move more inward to heal and rest. You will find yourself beginning to wind down and become calmer.

Progesterone is a heat-inducing hormone which may raise your basal body temperature for the remainder of this phase of your menstrual cycle. If the environment around you is hot, you may find yourself irritated by the heat and not able to cool down.

Your cervical fluid may lose its egg-white elastic or wetter consistency and start to become stickier. If there is no pregnancy, oestrogen and progesterone will decline which will eventually cause the uterine lining to shed (your bleed). Essentially your body goes into mourning because you did not create a baby (even if you had no desire to!). 

You may feel more subdued, prone to possible angry outbursts, crying may surprise you, frustration, more fatigue and it may be harder to focus and concentrate. After the high of summer and beauty of autumn, winter can sometime send us running under the covers.

Progesterone has been seen to be a natural sleep aid and anti-anxiety hormone. So you may feel more fatigued prone to napping and more sedate than before. All you may want is to do is withdraw and hibernate in your little cave. That is just fine. Recognise that about your menstrual cycle and honour it.

Be OK with saying “no” and understanding why you just can’t be bothered to see that friend you were pestering to go out with the week before. You may choose different friends at this time of the month because you require a softer focus. Most of them will be on their own menstrual cycle roller coaster.

Be kind to yourself, explain why you may feel different to yourself and others. Emotional communication is essential and important as it leaves less misunderstanding at the door. When you honour your body’s instinct and innate need for rest and recuperation at this point, you will enhance your ability to get more out of the upcoming active phases of your cycle next time around.

You may feel isolated during this stage of your cycle but know that you are not alone. There is nothing wrong with feeling this way, shh the voice in your head telling you to get up and out. There is a remarkable cascade of hormonal events taking place, spring is around the corner

Winter

Things to Consider:

  • Feed yourself with healthy fats rather than sugar at this time. Sugar peaks and toughs makes mood swings more frequent and acute. This is an enjoyable time to get into the kitchen and learn a new recipe that nourishes and is kind to the body.

  • Try to stay away from anything that may irritate your body like grains or dairy. You are more likely to have a skin reaction now too.

  • Practice kind and nourishing self-care during the week before your period. Find what makes you feel nourished and balanced Yoga, massage, reiki, meditation or hiking in nature are all good things to seek out during this time.

  • Go to bed earlier or maybe sleep in late one morning. Read a favourite book or listen to music. 

  • Comfort yourself by being alone and creative. Now is the time to paint, draw, write from the heart and feel empathy for others.

  • Now is a valuable time for nesting, write your to-do lists and find the lists you write in “summer” to add substance and to get things done.

  • Bach Flower Remedies can help. Have a look at Walnut, Chestnut Bud, Larch, Willow, Agrimony, Gorse, Sweet Chestnut.

If you want to talk about any of the parts of your cycle I am happy to answer your questions or book a session

Navigate and Support Your Cycle (2)

 

What is Brain Gym?

What are Brain Gym exercises-

During Inner Rainbow Mindfulness 7 week Course the participants will have the chance to learn and practice Brain Gym or Movement Therapy Exercises each week. These are a great way to improve focus, switch on the brain, practice physical coordination and reconnect the body and mind. You’ll be able to continue using them at home using the videos found in the exclusive online content that goes with the course!

 

So what is Brain Gym? Learn more here.

 

Brain Gym, Educational Kinesiology or Movement Therapy is a series of movements, done with intention and designed to ‘wake-up’ the brain or to stimulate brain function. Its focus is improved learning and mental organisation. The idea is that these are simple exercises that anyone can do at home or at work or at school and they are often used with children who have special needs or need to improve their learning ability. They are designed to strengthen the relationship between body and mind and so are particularly interesting in this time when so many of our activities are cerebral.

The Brain Gym programme was developed by Paul E. Dennison and Gail E. Dennison and grew out of Educational Kinesiology. It is a set of 26 exercises or activites. Brain Gym or Movement Therapy is often used by therapists or in school classrooms with a reported increase in concentration and reading and listening skills.

 

Brain gym images

Brain Gym exercises are used to improve focus; children (or adults) repeat the exercises regularly and slowly. In children using these exercises there is often a noticeable improvement in memory, concentration, relationships and communication, and physical coordination. Though it is not 100% clear how and why this happens the thinking is that it exercises areas of the brain and strengthens neurological pathways that may not be well used otherwise. It allows participants to practice and strengthen physical coordination pathways and used to support children having developmental issues in this area. The therapy also requires them to be focused and present (i.e. mindful) during the exercises, supporting a habit of focus and single-mindedness. The exercises stimulate particular areas of the brain to improve its function, improve the integration between brain parts and links between the two hemispheres.

Children (and adults) often habitually rely more heavily on one hemisphere of the brain and under use the other, particularly in times of stress. This then means the other side of the brain is under utilised and therefore the person may not be functioning optimally. A lot of Brain gym exercises are designed to cross over from one side to the other – for example making sideways figure eights or putting an elbow to the opposite knee. The aim is to strengthen the connections between left and right brain activity, strengthen neural pathways and improve coordination. When our brains work better our whole body works better and we have an increased sense of well being.

During one-on-one and class sessions, the client is observed to see which exercises will best help them – consideration is given to how their body is when they stand and sit, what behavioral traits they display, their hand-eye coordination, what head or body movements they use, if they can move both sides of the body simultaneously, whether hips and shoulders can be moved at the same time etc. After using the specific exercises people should notice their mental processes are better organised and they are able to focus. But the exercises can be used by everyone and are not limited to those with learning difficulties or coordination problems. They are a great accompaniment to life and learning.

For a great explanation and more indepth discussion about it I like this article which focuses on one of the exercises; http://heartsatplay.com/the-cross-crawl-a-remarkable-movement/

For an old but interesting research project focused on improving reading in classrooms http://www.movementbasedlearning.com/articles/articles/readingproject.html

Or if you are interested in Educational Kinesiology and Brain Gym http://www.braingym.org.uk/about-edu-k/

Kate Baldwin is a qualified Kinesiologist and can be found at http://thebalancesession.com

What is Kinesiology

What is Kinesiology

What is Kinesiology

Written by Kate Baldwin

Kinesiology is an alternative health practice that arose from Chiropractics in the 1960’s. It combines a detailed understanding of Anatomy and Physiology with Eastern energy practices. It looks for the root causes behind symptoms, health concerns, emotional trouble or the inability to move forward and works to address the underlying problems so that the body can heal itself and equilibrium can be restored. Kinesiology is designed to attempt to remove blocks and unsupportive mental processes, allowing people to reach their health, emotional or life goals. The practice considers the body-mind and energy of a person to all be important in achieving balance and looks for stresses in any or all of these systems – considering the person as a whole.  

 

Kinesiology uses manual-muscle monitoring – testing how a muscle functions by pressing gently on the muscle to see how it responds – to identify imbalances.  In this way kinesiologists get direct feedback from the body and use the body as a bio-feedback machine – the muscles allow Kinesiologists to find subconscious problems and work with people who can’t communicate verbally, don’t wish to talk about issues or are very young children. Each treatment programme is unique and individual as it follows what the body – i.e. the muscle response- says. When a muscle responds differently to what is expected this provides clues to the underlying causes, allowing the treatment to pin-point the real issue and identify what will help.   

Kids kinesiology inner rainbow images

Numerous, non-invasive, correction techniques are used to help the body remove stresses or blockages. Corrections will vary depending on the type of kinesiology being used and the kinesiogist’s background but may include acupressure, needle-less acupuncture (using a tai-shin), reflex point stimulation, emotional stress release, nutritional advice, counseling, sound/ vibration, massage, coaching, cranial release therapy, bach flower remedies, lymphatic point stimulation, exercises or affirmations. A Kinesiologist will usually provide guidelines for the client to continue the healing process at home. 

 

The meridian and acupuncture system of Traditional Chinese Medicine is very much part of Kinesiology. Consideration is given to the the meridian-organ-gland-muscle relationship and in NeuroEnergetic Kinsiology and Applied Physiology acupuncture points, alone or in combination, are used to find problems, drill down into them and to heal or restore balance. Consideration is also given to all the body’s physical systems, the environment and the emotions and how they all affect and interact with each other. For example if there is a problem with digestion you could look at any number of things to help such as the muscular system (smooth muscle and fascia), the hormonal system, neurotransmitters such as serotonin, the stress response, brain parts like the amygdala that deal with the stress response, the TCM meridian system and specific acupuncture points, environmental toxins etc.  

kinesiology acupoints

How the stress (fight/flight/freeze) response gets subconsciously activated and what these reactions, hormones and neurotransmitters do to the body and mind in the short and long term are often relevant to a Kinesiology balance and are investigated with a client. 

 

One way to understand Kinesiology is to think of the body-mind-energy as an electrical circuit! When functioning optimally the circuit flows smoothly with little resistance and all the appliances connected to the circuit function properly. Sometimes switches get turned on or off and fuses blow – affecting the circuit and the appliances that it operates. This is like an out of balance body, if the flow is not smooth then various parts of it may malfunction! Kinesiologists test the circuits, find those switches that are off or fuses that have blown and reset them so that the circuit flows freely again. Another way to look at it is to think of a stream – if there are numerous boulders and stones upstream the flow downstream will be effected, if we are downstream we will see the interrupted, uneven flow but maybe unaware of the boulders and stones upstream. Kinesiology goes upstream to find and remove the stones, starting with the largest boulders and helping to reestablish the river flow.  

 

Kate Baldwin, Kinesiologist, www.thebalancesession.com 

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