Why Therapeutic Massage

When people ask me how can massage help me or does massage really improve sport performance. I tell them to imagine wearing the tightest clothes they could possible put on and go to work, run around the block, play a sport or work around the house. how do you think your body would feel at the end of the day? That’s what your muscles feel like. What the chances that you would end up tearing your breeches or shirt during the day? Watch this video to get a better idea of why your muscle are like tight clothes.


Neti Pot + Essential Oils = Sinus Support

Sinus congestion?  This might be of help!

You may be way more familiar with Neti Pot use than I am, I’m just learning.  Honestly the idea made me make a face like this sweet kid.  

Last winter I was dealing with some congested sinuses so I gathered up my courage and gave it a try.  Well, I found that the neti pot really does do a great job at cleaning out those stuffy sinuses. 

I was curious though, would adding essential oil to my neti pot help clear out my sinuses even  more and offer respiratory support?

I was a bit anxious the first time I added essential oils to my neti pot. 
Was it going to burn or sting? 
It didn’t, and it offered me even more relief.  Yahoo!!

Important tips on how to add essential oils to a neti pot!

  • Follow the directions that came with the neti pot.
  • Drop in the correct amount of salt mixture.
  • Add one drop (or two if it comes out) of essential oil into the salt.
  • Then add the water and mix it all up
  • Go and “neti!”

I’ve used Eucalyptus globulus, Myrtle or Eucalyptus Blue – really whatever sinus oil that seems to fit at that time.

If you give it a try – let me know your results 

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If you are concerned, frustrated and worried about what your picky eater is or is not eating, then this is the group for you!

We are a group of Moms and Dads who feel that the more involved your kiddo is in the process of planning or creating a meal, the higher the chances are that they will eat actually it!  Not only do we share how to get your Picky Eater involved in creating meals, but we also have some health tips and info!  Each week we’ll have a food or ingredient to focus on along with a kid friend recipe.  We’ll show you how to get your kiddo involved in making that recipe!   Join the conversation here!  Moms and Dads of Picky Eaters FB Group

Get your Picky Eater involved in Meal Prep right away!   Learn how to teach your kiddo to slice and get a FREE cookbook!

Home Made Bath Salts and Scrubs

We have completely become a “Make Your Own Body Scrub” family 100% of the time now! Why? Well the first reason is because it is so stinky easy, the second is I can easily tailor each scrub for each person and season and third because it is a very doable way to reduce toxins that are coming into my home.

Toxins? Really?
Yup, sorry to say but in common store bought bath scrubs there are man made chemicals that are not supporting the health of our bodies at all! All those cute, smelly, glittery, colorful, fruity, flowery shower and bath scrubs have “yuck”in them. I’m going to concentrate on telling you about just two of them; phthalates and SLS.

Phthalates are those man made molecules that give the wonderful smell to our bath products. These smelly molecules are well known for causing skin or respiratory irritation, they are hormones disruptors (so that means that they are messing with our hormones) and they have been labeled as carcinogenic (can cause cancer) “with exposure over a long period of time”.

What would you consider “exposure over a long period of time”? Well, when you consider that you are being exposed to these molecules every time you take a shower with products that contain phthalates, put on perfume that contains phthalates, use hand soap that contains phthalates and breath air fresheners that contain phthalates – I’d say you are being exposed to palates for “a long period of time”. This is why it is important to get these guys out of your house! Making your own scrubs is one easy way to do it!

Another common molecule is Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). SLS is what creates the bubbles in our cleansing products, gives the lubrication in shaving cream and keeps all the ingredients mixed in the bottle. This molecule goes by many names and has cousins. SLS has been debated a lot – is it bad for us or isn’t it? Depending on what you read, you’ll get different answers. The one statement that sticks out for me is the statement from Dr. Mercola.

But high levels of SLS intake, either orally or through the skin, are not ordinarily experienced in normal cosmetics use it’s the gradual, cumulative effects of long-term, repeated exposures that are the real concern. And there is a serious lack of long-term studies on ALL of the chemicals in these products so we don’t really know what the long-term effects are. It’s not just repeated exposure to one chemicals it’s the combined effect of thousands of little chemical exposures, day in and day out, that is of concern.
(Read Dr. Mercola’s full article.)

So to eliminate my family’s gradual and cumulative effects (this is becoming a common theme!) to Sodium laurel sulfate we just have chosen to reduce exposure to it as much as possible! So check out how easy it is to make your bath scrubs and reduce your “gradual and cumulative effects” too!

Great For Every Season!

One of the reasons I really like my scrubs is that they make my skin feel great. I get some gentle exfoliation going on with the Epsom salt and the oil hydrates my skin. I rarely find myself putting on lotion anymore, even in the dry winter.

In the summer, I add less oil and really enjoy the scrubbing from the salts. It is perfect after a day of working in the yard, as it makes all the itchiess go away.  I really like to add peppermint essential oil to summer scrubs for that “peppermint patty cool” feeling.

In the winter I like to add essential oils to support our respiratory and immune system like Thieves, one of my favorites blends from Young Living Essential Oils.  In our winter scrubs I’ll add more oil to help combat dryness.

Of course if you need some relaxation before bed – make a scrub that has Stress Away blend or Lavender.  You can also toss some of this in a bath for the same “oily” support.

Just 3 Ingredients for Your Scrub

All you need to make your bath scrubs is Epsom salts, safflower oil and essential oils! Three ingredients and you are done! Of course, you can always switch things up a bit. Some people like to add pink sea salt with their Epsom salts or mix coconut oil with safflower oil. It is up to you. To keep things easy, this is what we do. You’ll be amazed at the precision necessary for measuring out ingredients 😉

Step 1

The main ingredients you need are:

  • Epsom Salt
  • Safflower Oil
  • Essential Oil
  • A glass container with a lid.

If you want to get fancy, you can always change up the “salt”.
Pink Himalayan salt adds color and minerals. 
You can also add Kosher or Sea salt for more exfoliation.

Make sure the container you are using is glass so that it does not break down from the essential oils.
You also want a lid so that it does not dry out or the essential oils evaporate.

I prefer a smaller container so I can mix up a new scrub weekly. 

Step 2

Add Epsom salt first, and fill your container to almost full.

Step 3

Then add your oil.  You don’t want to put too much oil because then it will be to oily. 
Just like any recipe, start with less and then add. 
In this jelly jar I guess I added about 2 table spoons. 

You can us other oils too.  I like Safflower oil because it absorbs nicely and doesn’t leave a heavy sticky feeling. 
I avoid olive oil because of that. 
Other oils I like are coconut oil, avocado oil and grape seed oil. 

Of course, you can mix your oils and find a blend that you really like or just simply use what you have on hand.

Steps 4 and 5

After you add your safflower oil then just put in a 2-3 drops of your chosen essential oil in the safflower oil.

Put the top on and then…

“Shake it, shake, shake, shake it like a polaroid picture!” to get it all mixed up.

Steps 6

Open it up and check it out.

All of the oil and salts should be mixed up nicely.

You don’t want it dry and you don’t want it too wet.

You’ll have to try it out to see if your bath scrub Goldie Locks is happy!

Use a spoon to scoop some out in your hand so the container doesn’t fill up with water and you don’t feel so icky if you share.

All you need to do is jump in the shower like usual, get all wet and scrub up with your home made scrub!  Then rinse off!  How easy is that??

Kudos to your for decreasing the “cumulative long term effect” of SLS and phthalates for you and your family!!  Way to go!!

Where to Get Your Ingredients.

You can find canning jars at Walmart for around $8 for a dozen.
You can find a 4 pound bag of Epsom salts, also at Walmart for $6.
We always get organic Safflower oil because our skin is the largest organ of our body and can absorb some toxic molecules easily. We have found good organic safflower oil at Whole Foods.
We are also pretty picky on our essential oils too and only get Young Living Essential Oils.

If you are new to Essential Oils and want to “take the leap” and get your feet wet, I recommend the “Premium Starter Kit”.





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HealthySteps Tips

Toxin Free Deodorant

Are you concerned about the chemicals that are found in your self care products?  You are not alone!  More and more people are doing the research and finding out that a lot of their store bought products sitting in their bathrooms are not supporting their health at all – in fact, many of these man made molecules may be even harming your health.

Dr. Mercola has a great article giving some facts on what is in self care products and why you should make a change.

We have been making our self care products for a long time.  We’ve been experimenting for a while, and have found that this Pit Paste works the best for us.  I’ve shared this simple recipe with others who have been pleasantly surprised at how well it works to reduce odor.   Let us know how it works for you!

Toxin Free House Hold Cleaner

If you are on the path of reducing toxins in your body, then you need to get rid of those toxins in your home!  It is estimated that the average home has 62 toxic chemicals in it.  Getting rid of toxic store bought cleaners is a major way to reduce the number of toxins that your family is exposed to.  It also is a great money saver too.

Watch the video to see how to easily make a toxin free and effective house hold cleaner.

Note:  I forgot to mention in the video that you want to use Distilled White Vinegar, because when it is distilled, the vinegar smell goes away very quickly!


Simple way to make a Moist Heat Pack

An effective self care tool is a moist heat pack.  You can use moist heat packs at home to help reduce muscleMake moist heat pack tension from a long day on the computer or from working out.  People often ask we choose to use moist heat vs. dry heat.  Here are my thoughts:

  • Dry heat makes my skin itchy.
  • I don’t like to use an electric hot pack because it is adding more electric current to your field – I am a believer that we are exposed to enough electrical currents as is.
  • There is not an extra costs to making a moist heat pack – everyone has a couple of towels.
  • I have never seen anyone burn their skin when falling asleep with a moist heat pack – I’ve seen plenty “I feel asleep with my heating pad on” burns.
  • Moist heat seems to go deeper into the muscle.
  • Moist heat is a perfect complement to essential oils for muscle relaxation.
  • I think moist heat works better – and I even found a study to support my bias.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24171053

Three easy steps to making a moist heat pack.

1. Get your “hot” towel ready – usually a hand towel is a good size, but you can also use a face towel for small areas or a bath towel to cover a large area.  Fold it in thirds the long way or “hot dog” way.
Now roll it up like a sleeping bag.
(Add your essential oils to the skin if you are using them.)

2. You now need hot water…  you can use the hot water from the tap or heat up some water in a kettle.  You want the water Hot – but not so hot that it will burn your skin.
Hold your rolled “hot” towel over the sink or bowl and pour your hot water in the middle of the rolled “hot” towel.  Add water to both sides and squeeze it out.  The goal is for the water to be hot – but not so hot that you can’t manage squeezing it out with your hands.  Sometime I press it against the bowl and use my knuckles.  This my personal safety control – I know if my hands can’t touch it for a few seconds – then it is too hot!

3. The last step is to make a “Hot Pack Sandwich” by laying a dry towel on the skin, then unroll the hot moist towel and cover up the hot moist towel with another dry towel.  Sometimes you can use one bath dry towel and make a “Pita Bread Hot Pack”, (just fold it in half with the hot moist towel in between) saving on towels to wash.

Just allow that hot pack to cool off naturally.

While you are “cooking” you can snooze if you’d like – no worries about it getting too hot like electric hot pads.

I use this moist heat pack method at the end of Raindrop Technique – and everybody loves it!

Some Oils I like to use with a Tight Muscle Moist Heat Pack are:
Deep Relief Blend
Stress Away Blend

Back Pain and Massage

Whether it’s a pulled muscle from yoga class or an afternoon basketball game, or a long-term pain caused by injury, most of usNeuroMuscular Picture copy will come to know the beast that is called back pain. In fact, when it comes to low-back pain specifically, researchers say that 70-85 percent of the population will experience it at some point in their lives.

Experts say the cause of back pain can be the result of several factors. High on the list is stress. When our body is stressed, we literally begin to pull inward: the shoulders roll forward and move up to the ears, the neck disappears, and the back tightens in the new posture. “It’s an armoring effect,” says Angie Parris-Raney, a Denver-based massage therapist who specializes in deep-tissue massage and sports therapy. “That protective mode, with the muscles in flex, can even result in visceral problems,” she says, where the pain also affects internal organs.

In addition to stress, poor posture, bad ergonomics, lack of exercise, arthritis, osteoporosis, a sedentary lifestyle, overexertion, pregnancy, fibromyalgia, excess weight, and more can contribute to pain.

Those who suffer with back pain know there are no easy answers for chasing the pain away. Physical therapy has proven effective for some sufferers, as has chiropractic and acupuncture, but massage therapy is also making a name for itself when it comes to providing relief. In fact, research has shown that massage can be a great friend to the back-pain sufferer.

“Massage therapists have long treated low-back pain safely and effectively,” says Les Sweeney, president of Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals. “They have done so less expensively and less invasively than is possible with other treatments.”

In fact, a study by the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle found that massage was more effective at treating low-back pain than medication. Patients who received massage once a week for 10 weeks were more likely to report that their back pain had improved, and improvements were still present six months after the study. Other research from the University of Miami School of Medicine and the Touch Research Institute showed that massage can decrease stress and long-term pain, improve sleep and range of motion, and help lower the incidence of depression and anxiety that often accompanies back pain.

Whitney Lowe, owner of Oregon’s Orthopedic Massage Education and Research Institute, says the benefits of massage for back pain depend on the primary cause of the pain. “If it is predominantly muscular pain, then massage has a great deal to offer in reducing pain associated with chronic muscle tightness, spasms, myofascial trigger points, or those types of problems. If it’s something caused by a joint alignment problem or compression on a nerve, for example, then the role of massage might be somewhat different, such as helping to address the biomechanical dysfunctions, but not really being able to get pressure off the nerve itself.”

When it comes to back pain, there are a lot of options out there. Ultimately, massage, and its myriad benefits, might be a viable answer. For back pain sufferers, Parris-Raney says massage can work wonders. “Massage can help relax the body, relax the psyche, and improve a client’s range of motion and circulation to the affected tissues,” she says. Not only can massage help directly with the pain, but it can also make life a little easier, too. “Massage lets you tap into the parasympathetic system,” she says, “and tap into all the good hormones that help you sleep better and help you handle stressors along the way.” All of that helps in building a healthier back and a happier you.

Benefits of MassageFrom stress relief to skin rejuvenation, the benefits of massage are extensive. When it comes to managing back pain, however, there are some specific benefits touch therapy can offer:

–Improved circulation. With increased circulation comes faster recovery time for sore, overworked muscle tissues.
–Increased release of endorphins. The prevalence of these natural painkillers is boosted every time you have a massage. This can only help in managing pain.
–Improved movement. Range of motion and flexibility both get a boost with massage.
–Increased relaxation. When you relax, your muscles relax, thereby calming the pain.

Article by Karrie Osborn