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Flu season is in full swing right now. Either you’re sick, or your kids are sick, or your neighbors’ kids are sick.
The cashier at the grocery store is sniffling.
When you recently went shopping at Target, every time you heard a sneeze or a cough, didn’t you twitch ever so slightly?
Today, I sit down with Massage Therapist Kendra McLean, and she provides some excellent wellness insight.
To be honest, I don’t sit, I lie down on Kendra’s massage table and ask her some questions.
She has some great words of wisdom to offer on the journey to wellness.
As I stare up at the ceiling, covered in a warm comfy sheet, Kendra starts working on a problem I have been experiencing with my left leg.
I take a deep breath and start complaining about how everybody is sick right now.
She responds, saying, “preventing illness starts with caring for yourself.”
“You can’t snap your fingers and have a great immune system.”
Of course, I hear, “snap fingers for a great immune system,” so, I’m really glad she wrote her responses down in an email after my massage!
Kendra goes on to say, “It often takes six months to build a good immune system if it is indeed in a poor state.”
Oh great, so I’ll be in wonderful shape by August!
Kendra shares, “we should all start now to build our immunities for the next flu season.”
But, how does one do that, I question as she finds knot after knot on my left leg.
Have you ever had your quad worked on? It’s a tad painful, just saying.
In her lovely calm voice, Kendra tells me, “eat a well-balanced diet that include a lot of vitamin C.”
“Turmeric helps to maintain healthy muscle, joint, or cartilage function as well as copaiba and black pepper oil.”
I have heard about turmeric, but I have never heard of copaiba oil, which also reduces inflammation. I didn’t know that black pepper oil is good for tendons and supports immune systems.
Heck, I just thought black pepper was for cooking.
As I lie there, I realize that we have so much at our fingertips to empower us towards wellness.
Kendra continues, “not all oils are safe to ingest. Young Living, a company that sells essential oils, has a vitality line that is FDA approved to ingest.”
Kendra uses Young Living essential oils in her practice and at home on her family and herself, so it must be good.
Not only should we focus on essential oils, but Kendra mentions that we should also take probiotics daily.
“A good healthy digestive track aids in a good immune system,” she tells me as she finds yet another knot on my leg, but this time it is on my sartorius, which is on the outside of my quad.
Truth be known, I didn’t even know I had a sartorius, nor did I know it was possible for the sartorius to become irritable and cause knee pain.
I work on breathing while she works on the knots in my irritable sartorius. Kendra puts in a word of caution about using hand sanitizers. “Don’t overuse hand sanitizers. Better yet, avoid using it when possible. A good old fashion handwashing is the better choice.”
I have heard about the dangers of hand sanitizers before; although it is a good reminder, I’m not surprised by it.
I ask Kendra, once I’m sick, what can I do?
“You need to drink water, listen to your body and rest. Get a lot of rest.”
I lie there on the table, arms by my side, taking big breaths while she finds knots on my abductor magnus because my muscle to the right of my quad must have felt left out. I work out with interval training three times a week and teach and practice yoga nearly every day.
Sometimes, when my body begins to get stronger, old issues flare up. For today, weak hips lead to a sore knee caused by my sartorius and abductor magnus pulling on my knee.
One issue leads to another.
It would be nice to think that my body was easy to fix, as in:
That’s not how anyone’s body works, though.
When I was in a car wreck a few years back, I had a headache after the incident that lasted what seemed like forever. I had to get physical therapy and massage therapy on my neck to stop the headaches.
Wellness is the same way.
We can’t just drink a shot of orange juice and be on our way.
We have to incorporate different modalities to help fix what ails us.
Luckily, there is a lot that we can do to help us move towards wellness.
She asks me to relax and breathe as she works on my ankles and my other leg. It’s so easy to tense up and hold my breath when I’m getting a massage, but that’s not going to help direct me towards wellness.
I take a deep breath, and she continues, ”Young Living essential oils make a product called Thieves, which is an overall good immune boosting agent. The type of oil you use depends on the kind of sickness you have.”
“Your feet have the biggest pores, so applying essential oils to your feet will help the oils absorb into your system faster.”
“A good hot foot soak will help open the pores making the healing properties of the oils work even faster.”
Kendra asks me to roll over on my stomach. I place my face on the soft ring and stare down at the floor as she continues to talk working on my neck and back muscles.
“I use eucalyptus on my feet and chest to open up my airways and suport a healthy respiratory system.”
“Oregano is great to help support the body’s natural defenses and strengthen the immune system. When you use oregano oil, I suggest upping probiotics because oregano can kill all bacteria in the gut, bad and good, so it is important to replace the good bacteria that was killed off.”
“It’s also good to reduce the use of chemicals in your life.”
“Young Living has a cleaning line, or you can make your own cleaning products.”
“There are many recipes available on the web.”
After I got home, I looked some recipes up with the help of my computer, and Kendra was right, there are many to be found. Here’s an interesting article from MoneyCrashers.com entitled 11 Homemade Natural Cleaning Products.
While I was back on the table, Kendra tells me, “I use Young Living oils on my family of six and have had wonderful results. I recently used the oils to put a halt to a stomach bug one of my children had. Another child came down with a virus, and by using Young Living oils, her symptoms lasted a ¼ of the average longevity of the virus. I’ve also had great outcomes using the oils to heal wounds with no scar left behind.”
I am happy that my back isn’t as jacked up as my left leg. My neck is often an issue, but Kendra focuses more on my back to help settle me down from all the tensing I just did while she worked on my leg.
While I begin to relax, I asked her if the oils interfere with antibiotics from a doctor.
She replies, “If you are on an antibiotic, you should talk to your doctor prior to using essential oils. Most of the time, it’s safe, but you should never assume.”
Kendra asks me to turn back over while she works on my shoulders and scalp. I stare up at the ceiling and ask, “What do you believe are the three top things we can do for overall health?”
? and a good night’s sleep
Basically, live a balanced life!
2. Practice healthy eating habits
3. Use essential oils when at all possible before reaching for medications or even before using household cleaners that are full of chemicals
Since Kendra is a Massage Therapist, I ask her how her profession helps with overall health?
Regular massage helps with
Kendra tells me our session for the day is over, and she quietly leaves the room. I slowly get up from the massage table and get dressed. My knee feels better, I’m breathing calmly, and I have an overall feeling of wellness. I glance in the mirror on my way out of the room and my hair is a poofy mess from the scalp massage and oil, but I don’t care because it’s all about the journey to wellness.
Kendra McLean is a Massage Therapist with a focus in pre and postnatal massage, raindrop technique, sports massage, trigger point therapy, and deep tissue massage.
She works with Sara Toogood for Bodywork Connections which exclusively uses all Young Living oils customized and tailored to the needs of clients.
To schedule an appointment with Kendra, go to http://bodyworkconnections.com/
If you’d like to learn more about Young Living oils, check out the resources tab at bodyworkconnections.com/resources
Are you looking to improve your home? Here are three quick fixes to create a cozier home through lighting, scent, and a few of your favorite things.
When you walk into a room that is bright and sunny, your mood lifts. Conversely, a darkened room can be soothing. The lighting in your home matters. Open your blinds or shades to let the sunlight in your home, unless you are trying to beat the heat by keeping your curtains drawn.
Overhead lights can brighten a room, yet they can be harsh. Turn off the ceiling light and use lamps to create a subtle lighting effect.
Is there a room that bugs you? Try changing out the lighting fixture. Now, I know they can be expensive, but you don’t need to spend a great deal of money on lighting fixtures. I like to shop around at local lighting stores and write down the name and manufacturer of the ceiling light I am interested in buying. Then, I comparison shop online to find the best deal. I’ve had great luck finding deals on Build.com.
Smells can be calming or irritating. Place an essential oils diffuser filled with water and a few drops of lavender and lemon oil and notice how the mood of the room elevates. Now, leave some old fish in the trash can for a few days and watch the mood decline. (You really don’t want to do that, but you get the idea.)
Essential oils are the easiest way to keep a room odor-happy. You could always use fresh flowers, but be sure to change the water daily to prevent the yucky smell that comes from bacteria forming in the water and around the stems. Another way to brighten the aroma in your home is to plant flowers around your windows or screened doors that give off a scent. I love planting ultra violet petunias. Their scent gently flows through the screens of my open windows in the early evenings.
In this day and age of home renovation tv shows, most of my neighbors aspire to live in that perfect HGTV dream home. Here is the problem, though, you don’t want your house to look and feel sterile. Those shows provide suggestions, not templates, for homes. To fight against creating a home that looks just like everyone else’s, you want to add something of yourself to each room whether it is designer approved or not. You see, ultimately, this is your home, and you should have at least one of your favorite things in each room. At least!
It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone but you. In my living room, I have the phone from my long gone Grandma’s house. It’s the phone she would use to call me, and I find great comfort in seeing it every day.
Make sure each room of your house has something of you in it to uplift your mood. My daughters are much older now, but I still have the pottery chicken and angel they made me in elementary school proudly displayed in my china cabinet. I think it’s a chicken and an angel…
Make your home more positive without using a lot of money. Through the use of lighting, scents and a few of your favorite things, you can add comfort to the place you call home.
I’d love to hear what you do to make your home cozier! Could you please send me a comment below? ?
If you want to have wellness, you’ve got to take care of yourself. An easy step towards wellness is to go soak in a tub!
You’ve got ten minutes, don’t you?
I’ll give you my Epsom Salt Bath recipe so you can go take a soak as you journey towards wellness.
As a toddler, one of my daughters had a very wealthy friend. Her mother was so generous with her time and always opened her home for playdates. She gave all of the moms a tour of her 10,000 plus square foot home during the first playdate. I remember the mom as being a very kind and humble person, yet I also remember her standing in her very large bathroom, motioning to her very large tub, telling us that she had this fantastic tub, but never had the time to use it.
She had a maid.
She had great wealth.
Yet, she couldn’t find ten minutes to soak in her own tub?
There’s something wrong with that.
If you’ve never taken a ten-minute soak in your own bathtub, you might not understand, so I challenge you to take a soak.
Fill your tub with warm water, get in, and just relax for ten minutes.
If you don’t have ten minutes to soak in your own tub, then you may need to look at how you are spending your time.
Let’s amp-up the Me-Time and add Epsom salts with essential oils to the water.
That’s where you might draw the line.
Those little containers of lavender-infused Epsom salt can run from $5 to $50, and they definitely don’t last long, especially if you are like me and pour in a good two cups per bath. But hang on, my simple recipe helps create more for less.
You may now be thinking, “More for less is great, but what is all the fuss about Epsom salt?”
Well, Epsom salt was discovered in the early 1600’s in Epsom, England. It’s been around for some time now.
Although I use it for sore muscles AND wellness, Epsom salt is also used for arthritis, sprains, sleeplessness, ingrown toenails, and the list goes on! (Check out some other uses at “Why Take An Epsom Salt Bath?” at WebMD.)
Some people drink Epsom salt, but I don’t want to encourage that here because of the health risks. Check out some of these risks at WebMD.
Soaking for a good 10 minutes in a warm tub with a couple of scoops of Epsom salt helps me relax and refocus.
Here is my simple recipe to keep your bathroom stocked with Epsom salt for your next soak!
I bought mine from Bed Bath and Beyond for $9.99. This one-time purchase is reusable and will last indefinitely, as long as you don’t drop it!
I found the one I like at World Market for $7.99. This is also a one time purchase and lasts indefinitely.
I purchase fine grain Epsom salt in a 50 lb bag from Salt Works for $49.99. The bag usually lasts me about a year.
I use Radha essential oils and they cost about $12.95 – $14.95 for a 4 oz bottle, which lasts me about six months. It would last longer, but I also use the oils in diffusers as well as mixing it in the Epsom salt.
Now, go take a soak for ten minutes. You deserve it!
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