What’s My Secret Weapon For a Good Night’s Sleep?

0604-cant-sleep-0717

Posted by Judy Moon

Magnesium oil. That’s right, magnesium oil.

First of all, I feel that sleep is underrated. I think we don’t really put enough emphasis on getting enough sleep, and the health benefits of good, quality, restful, restorative sleep. Webmd explains nine reasons to sleep more.

I personally don’t have a problem falling asleep, it’s staying asleep that was my problem. There are lots of reasons why this can happen for people.

So I have made going to bed a real ritual.

Herbal tea, no electronic screens after nine, my bedroom is a sleep sanctuary – no TV etc.,  I do my best to go to bed at the same time every night, I turn the lights in my home down in the evening and start sending the message to my brain – “hey, we’re going to sleep soon”, I use some lavender essential oil on my feet and at the suggestion of a health coach, I started using magnesium oil on my feet at night.

Pure magic! I now sleep like a rock.

Dr. Mark Hyman, refers to magnesium as the “relaxation mineral”, and here is a GREAT post about all of it’s benefits.

Ancient Minerals was the brand recommended to me. A drop of DoTerra lavender essential oil rubbed in to the bottom of my feet, 3 sprays of Magnesium Oil on each foot, socks, Bon Nuit!

I will warn you that the Magnesium oil is a little drying, so I make sure I am also treating my feet by exfoliating daily with a pumice and lathering them up with a rich moisturizer. I’d choose something with some rich Shea butter.

Good night, sleep tight, and don’t let the bed bugs bite!

Cucumber Madness

cucumber

Posted by Judy Moon

I have been doing my best to squeeze the last bits left from summer. I know fall is just around the corner – the back to school supplies are out, the fall fashion magazines are arriving, the farmer’s markets are exploding with the abundance of the summer growing season.

I have a great soup recipe to share from Dr. Axe using one of my favorites- cucumbers! My love of cucumbers started as a kid. My mom would always make us cucumber sandwiches in the summer. Mary Moon would always start a sandwich, ANY sandwich with butter on one slice of the bread, and for the cucumber sandwich she mixed a little white vinegar in some mayonnaise and coated the other slice with that. She then piled on thinly sliced peeled cucumbers, a little salt and pepper and if we were being fancy that day, which we usually were, she would cut the crusts off and cut the sandwich into triangles. Pure heaven! I always channel Mary and make at least one of those sandwiches per summer and was really excited to try this soup recipe since I am such a fan of cucumbers.

When I tell you this is one of the easiest soups I have ever made, I kid you not! I made it before work, yes, that’s how quick it is and it was chilled, all the flavors had married and was ready to roll when I got home from work. Cucumbers are also crazy good for you – who knew?

This would make a great starter to a meal, or on a hot day, it was a perfect dinner for Joe and I with some guacamole and chips! Chilled glass of sangria optional.

Squeeze in those last beach days, eat some cucumbers, and savor those summer days that are left and memories of those you love.

Secret Cucumber Detox Soup Recipe
Total Time: 5 minutes Serves: 4
1 cucumber (peeled and de-seeded plus additional cuke for garnish)
1 tbsp onion (minced)
1 avocado, peeled
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
1/4 tsp Chili Powder
1 dash of Cayenne Pepper
1 cup water
Paprika for garnish

Throw avocado, cucumber, onion, oil, lemon juice, vinegar and water in vita-mix.

Puree on high speed until smooth.

Blend in salt, chili powder and remaining ingredients.

Serve, garnishing with extra cucumber cubes and smoked paprika if desired.

Don’t Just Stand There. Let’s Get To It. Strike A Pose. There’s Nothing To It.

Wonder_Woman

Posted by Judy Moon

Queue the sexy male dancers with their open white shirts flapping in the breeze. I’m not sure if I’ve ever quoted Madonna before, but I love Vogue and couldn’t help myself.

I’ve been on a roll lately having lots of fun with words. Specifically the energy behind words and the effects that the energy of the words has.

As if all of that hasn’t been enough fun, a client recently gave me an article she thought I would like. I have the best clients who love to share things with me, from homemade Vidalia onion jam, foie gras from Paris, to this cool article Power To The People by Jennifer Altmann. The article is about Power Posing and how our bodies can make us feel more powerful, Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist has done research on how “our bodies change our mind, our minds can change our behavior, and our behavior can change our outcomes.” The article discusses “high power poses” – those that convey strength – think standing like wonder woman with your hands on your hips vs.” low power poses” – closed positions, hunched over, limbs tucked together.

The research shows that standing or sitting a certain way has measurable effects. In as little as just two minutes – holding a Power Pose can increase testosterone levels and decrease cortisol, the stress hormone level. Not only does the body language affect how others perceive you, it affects how you perceive yourself.

Everything is energy, so it just makes sense that not only do words have vibrations that can affect us, but so do the postures and gestures of the body.

So I am totally stoked now to add a Power Pose to my morning ritual. The article and research talks a lot about using the poses in stressful situations, like right before you have to give a talk, or right before a job interview, but I think it would be a super-duper self care ritual to just start your day with some Mirror Work and then, strike a pose… Madonna music optional. Who doesn’t want to reduce their cortisol level? I’m in!

Here’s a link to Amy’s TED talk.

Break out your super hero cape and let’s get our strength and power on!

Jennifer Harrison and Big Blue Prenatal Massage!

prenatal

We’re excited that we have a new therapist on board – Jennifer Harrison who has brought in the Big Blue cushion system to bring on the pregnancy relief!

Big Blue is a cushion system designed specifically for supporting the dynamic needs of our clients during pregnancy.  Developed by Oakworks Inc, manufactures of high quality tables and massage specific equipment since 1977. Jennifer nicknamed JMA’s second set of prenatal cushions Big Blue, based on her deep ocean hue and expansive range of support.

These cushions allow Mom to relax in a side lying position that supports a growing baby, allows for full extension of the side body, encourages neutral orientation of the hip and shoulders, relieves downward pressure at the hip and shoulder joints and cradles the head and neck for optimal comfort.

Since Jennifer Harrison’s arrival at JMA availability of prenatal services has expanded and we can now offer prenatal massage in both our treatment rooms simultaniously! Imagine you and your BFF experiencing prenatal massage during the same appointment time.

Sweet Spring Songs

Posted by Gwyn MacDonald

Have you heard the birdsongs lately? They have changed, just like the weather. Suddenly cardinal is singing louder and longer and earlier then a few weeks ago. I hear it in the mornings outside my window and in the garden too. All the birds sound brighter, as if they were announcing with joy that spring has arrived.

And it is getting on time to find a mate so that’s definitely something to sing about!

Hearing this change of sound is one of my favorite parts of spring. It always makes me stop and take notice. Slow down and really listen. And it also always makes me smile!

Soon mockingbird will be running through his repertoire and red winged black bird will arrive as well. But it’s those first brilliant sounds that I love best, the ones that remind me a new season is arriving and to pay attention!

Thanks birdies!

Saved by the Fermented Veg!

IMG_0773

Posted by Gwyn MacDonald

Well, it seems winter is leaving us and as much as I love it… I’m really ready for spring! I do my best to keep up with my fresh veggie consumption in the winter, making yummy salads with shredded kale and cabbage, but sometimes I really crave that brightness that new spring veggies provides. So in those last two very long months of February and March, before the

new spinach, radish and pea shoots, I made a few batches of fermented veg.

Super easy and yummy, fermented veggies are crisp, bright and a bit tart, all the right things to perk up a meal and my taste buds. They are also a great source of the good gut bacteria that we could all use a bit more of.

I made them regularly many years ago but fell out of the practice. Plus we have a nice selection of fermented veg makers in the city so the convenience of grabbing a jar off the shelf may have had a little something to do with it (a favorite is Cobblestone Krautery).

But I decided to get back to it myself. There are many websites and books out there to get you started. I went to Cultures for Health, just to refresh my memory.

There are a dizzying array of fabulous products on the site, but also a TON of great recipes to get you started and a good bit of information about cultured veggies and other products and the process of fermentation itself. I started with a variation on this Carrot Kraut recipe and I added red cabbage and leeks just for fun.

Fermented foods have been around for thousands of years and are used in every culture. Fermenting prolongs “shelf” life of foods and also bumps up the good bacteria that are already present in many foods by creating an environment for them to grow and flourish. These good bacteria feed our guts, improve digestion and enhance our overall health.

You can ferment lots of stuff! My husband has been making kombucha, his own red wine and pear cider vinegars as well as a lovely raspberry shrub! Oh and a bit of beer and sourdough bread too… maybe he should be writing this post! Oh yeah, maybe he was part of my fermented veg inspiration too.

A book he loves, and may be the fermentation “bible” for some is, The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz. Talk about fermenting anything! This guy does it all and has written a very thorough and interesting book. Inspiring ferments from all over the world. Have fun!

“Pickled pea shoots” anyone?

Cheers!

Lovely Lavender

fresh lavender flowers pic

Posted by Gwyn MacDonald

We had a sneak preview of spring weather on Tuesday, with warm sun and cool breezes. I stopped by the garden between clients to get a boost from the crocus and mini iris that have been blooming steadily for a few weeks now. I walked around the garden, catching glimpses of little goodies slowly but surely poking out of the earth. So good for the spirit to see that!

And I really only intended to observe… but suddenly I found the clippers in my hand, my jacket thrown aside and there I was, pruning away the winter!

I cleared the old, withered leaves from the lambs ear, cut the dried stems from the chrysanthemums and straightened the wire frame that will soon be entwined with a lovely, low growing pink clematis. Then I noticed the lavender plant toppling out into the aisle. “ Oh my, do you need a haircut!” I made sure some new growths were beginning to show and then began to trim away last years ramblings.

And I’m so glad I did! In a rush, that sweet, dusty, herbal fragrance was all around me. I’ve trimmed this variety of lavender many times but don’t remember it ever smelling so sweet. I was already in a chill state of mind puttering around with my plant friends but this just enhanced it ten fold. As I continued to trim, the intensity of the fragrance grew and so did the smile on my face!

I, like many people, love lavender. The plants are beautiful, in all shades of greeny/grey, with flat, needle like or feathery leaves and all different variations in scent. Used for centuries to brighten the spirits and calm the nerves, as well as an antiseptic and addition to foods. Nothing like lavender shortbread cookies! Yum!

It is our most requested aromatherapy oil at the massage studio, helping our clients (and us!) settle their minds and bodies and get back in tune.

Here are my favorite ways to use lavender:

  • Last year for my birthday Judy gave me a bottle of Hauschka’s Moor Lavender Calming Bath Essence. WOW! It is so incredible. I use it, as she suggested, around my temples or just a light touch around my eyes, along my nose and cheeks and then down the jaw line, before I go to bed some nights. It is so soothing, I can’t help but relax (Thank you Judy!)!
  • I put 10-15 drops of lavender essential oil in an Epsom salt bath and then soak away the day. Or just a drop or two on my finger tips and then run them through my hair before I get into bed and ease into sleep.
  • Another favorite is lavender honey. A local lavender farm in Tabernacle, New Jersey, owned and operated by Toni and Steve Price, sells their honey along with sachets and bath salts at some of our farmer’s markets in the city. Lovely stuff! They also offer “cut your own ”lavender days so check out their website if you are interested. Very cool folks!

Happy Lavender-ing!