Sea Salt Beauty Treatments

Sea Salt Beauty Treatments

What would life be like without salt? The stuff known to scientists as sodium chloride is essential to human life. A reasonable amount of dietary salt helps to maintain cells and transmit information throughout the body. Did you know that salt can also be used to promote beautiful, radiant skin?

Here are five ways you can use sea salt as a beauty treatment:

1. Exfoliate

Whether you buy Dead Sea Salt body scrubs or make your own with almond oil and sea salt, a salt scrub can be used to polish away dead skin cells almost anywhere on your body. Apply to wet skin and rinse thoroughly afterward.

2. Perfect Your Pearly Whites

Combine one part sea salt with two parts baking soda to make an effective tooth and tongue cleaner that costs a mere fraction of the price of most commercial toothpaste.

3. Saltwater Soak

Toss two or three handfuls of sea salt into your bath as the tub is filling. Let your cares soak away as the salt enhances your skin tone.

4. Purify Your Pores

Sea salt contains plenty of calcium that can help clear acne-prone skin in a hurry. Use a face-friendly exfoliating agent, or make your own with olive oil and sea salt. Massage gently onto wet skin and then rinse it away.

5. Say Goodbye to Dandruff

Add sea salt to your final rinse to help say farewell to itchy flakes.

Sea salt is preferable to regular table salt because it’s not been processed in any way. Typical table salt goes through several processes before being packaged for sale at your local supermarket.

On the other hand, natural sea salt contains potassium and other vital nutrients that are washed away during commercial manufacturing.

Click here to see iHerb’s selection of Sea Salt Beauty Products! New to iHerb?  Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off your first order.

References

Salt Uses and Tips; Saltworks US; accessed July 11, 2014

Long, April; Sea Salt Benefits; Elle magazine; January 10, 2012; accessed July 11, 2014

Why Do We Need Salt?; Royal Society of Chemistry; accessed July 11, 2014

Chowdhury, Nilankeeta; 15 Best Benefits of Sea Salt for Skin, Hair and Health; August 21, 2013; accessed July 11, 2014

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Filed under Skin Health, Women's Health/Beauty Info

Recent News on Children and Spray Sunscreens

Recent News on Children and Spray Sunscreens

Spray-on sunscreens have become very popular with adults and children alike. Using the spray bottle means that one does not have to put lotion on their hands first and spread the sunscreen around. These sprays are also a fast way to apply lotion to kids, who often don’t want to stand still very long. However, the FDA is investigating these sprays for nanoparticles, which can cause asthma attacks and breathing problems in some people.

Even worse, the nanoparticles have been shown to cause developmental delays in animal studies. These particles are formed from zinc oxide and titanium dioxide compounds, which are found in most sunscreens. This year, Consumer Reports recommended that spray sunscreens not be used on children at all because children are most susceptible to these effects. It is also recommended that no one use the sprays on their face or mouth area.

Besides the Consumer Reports warning, the American Academy of Dermatology supports this position along with many pediatricians. Overall, lotions are available that don’t have this problem, so it seems reasonable for parents to be cautious with using spray sunscreens, at least until more research is completed.

Sometimes developmental delays do not show up for many years, and it is generally young children who are the largest users of these sprays. If your child is asthmatic, they will often react to spray around the mouth and nose and could have an attack due to their habitual response to these influences. Parents who have the sprays can squirt the sunscreen on their hands and rub it on their children. The Federal Food and Drug Administration had not yet reviewed the research, nor have they made a recommendation.

There is also a potential of uneven coverage with sprays, which often necessitates spraying an area more than once. This is less of an issue with lotions where it is clear what body areas have been covered.

Natural and plant based sunscreens are available in lotion form. According to Consumer Reports, it may be wise to avoid using spray sunscreens on kids until more studies are completed.

Click here for a selection of iHerb’s Sunblock, Sunburn and Sun Protection Products! New to iHerb? Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off any first order.

Resources

Consumer Reports, “Don’t Spray Sunscreen on Kids, At Least For Now,” accessed July 10, 2014

The 21 Most Affordable Natural Sunscreens; Good Housekeeping; accessed July 16, 2014

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Filed under Children's and Teen Health, Skin Health

The Best Sundried Tomatoes Made Right at Home

Dried tomatoes

If you love sun-dried tomatoes and want to try drying your own, the first thing you should know is which types of tomatoes dry the best. The smaller, firmer, and meatier the tomato is, the better it is for drying. Therefore, cherry, plum and Roma tomatoes are your top choices.

Although some people prefer to, you do not have to remove the seeds before drying. Try drying out some with their seeds and some without to discover your taste preference. The same goes for the skins. Some people prefer to dry them with their skins, and some prefer to dry them without.

If you prefer skinless tomatoes, just put a few tomatoes into a pot of boiling water for a little over 30 seconds, and then plop them into ice water. This process allows the skins to slip off with minimal effort.

Then, cut your tomatoes into lengthwise quarters and discard any unusable parts — including the seeds, if you prefer them seedless. Place the quarters onto the dehydrating tray of your food dehydrator or on a cookie sheet, spreading them out so that they don’t touch. You may want to season with sea salt, thyme, oregano or basil, depending on your taste.

When using a food dehydrator, set the temperature for 140 degrees and allow the tomato slices to dehydrate for three to eight hours. Oven drying takes 10 to 20 hours at 150 degrees. When drying tomatoes outside spread the fruit slices onto a tray with holes, like food dehydrator trays, and place that tray over a cookie sheet to catch the juicy runoff. Cover your fruits with a light cloth to keep dust and insects away; weight down the cloth on the edges. Drying outside in hot weather typically takes two days. Store them inside spice containers or freezer bags.

It’s nice to know that even in their dried state, tomatoes keep their fiber, minerals and supply both vitamins A and K. Get creative! Use your dried tomatoes in breads, pesto, salads, dips, spreads, and egg dishes such as quiches and omelets.

iHerb sells thousands of natural food items, everything from stevia to gluten free flours to much more!  Click here to take a look at our product offerings.  If  you’re new to iHerb, you can use Rewards Code WOW123 to get $10 off your first order with a minimum $40 purchase or $5 off orders less than $40.

References

How to Make Sun-Dried Tomatoes; PicYourOwn; accessed April 28, 2014

Drying Tomatoes FAQs; Tomatodirt; accessed on April 28, 2014

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Filed under Recipes

Are Relaxation Drinks Safe?

Are Relaxation Drinks Safe

Due to our increasingly stressful lifestyles, the newest craze on the market is relaxation drinks. Most are a combination of herbs, amino acids and natural hormones; but do they actually work?

One study suggests that while you pay a premium price for some of these beverages, you don’t always get what’s on the label.

Relaxation Drink Ingredients

A number of ingredients are included in varying formulations in relaxation drinks, and most are safe when consumed in moderation. However some have potentially dangerous medication interactions.

Herbs such as Valerian root and Kava have been used for centuries for relaxation and sleep. Studies show that amino acids 5-HTP and L-Theanine may promote relaxation. GABA has been shown to relieve anxiety for some people and Melatonin may safely promote sleep.

Prevention magazine conducted a review of several brands and found that some of the ingredients that were claimed to be included were not present, or they were in much smaller amounts than stated on the label. Many times, this is due to the tendency of that substance to break down in liquid or to degrade quickly. For example, one product claimed to contain Valerian, which was not found at all. It would be more reliable to take the supplement itself to get the best results.

Dangers of Excessive Use

In the same Prevention study, one brand claimed to contain Kava. You should not take Kava if you are a regular drinker, have existing liver problems or have just taken acetaminophen. Valerian is another ingredient that Dr. Andrew Weil recommends not using on a regular basis, due to the potential for dependency.

Don’t use relaxation drinks if you will be driving or operating machinery. Dr. Mehmet Oz recommends – avoid them while doing anything requiring focus and concentration.

Click here to check out iHerb’s selection of Relaxation Drinks! New to iHerb? Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off your first order.

References

Dr. Tasneem Bhatia; What You Need to Know About Relaxation Drinks; doctoroz.com; accessed March 4, 2014

The Editors of Prevention; The Truth About Relaxation Drinks; ABCnews.go.com; accessed March 4, 2014

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Filed under Food (Benefits, Cooking and Nutrition), General Health

How to Give an Amazing Massage!

How to Give an Amazing Massage!

A massage is a great way to relieve tension and help reduce soreness after exercise or even a minor injury. However, most people really don’t know the basics of giving a massage, even if they take a stab at it from time to time.

Fortunately, learning how to give a massage isn’t the most difficult thing in the world – at least when it comes to the very basics. You still won’t be a professional, but you’ll be leaps and bounds better at relieving tension and pain than you were before.

Improve the Environment

Amateur massages are all about reducing tension, stress and minor pain. That’s why it’s important to make the mood right. Turn the lights down, play some soft music and keep plenty of light massage oil and towels handy. That’s pretty much all you need to start out right.

Don’t Push too Hard

One of the most common mistakes that people make when giving a massage is putting too much pressure on the body. All you really need to do is use enough force, so that you feel the muscle underneath the skin move. That’s enough. If you push any harder than that, you risk causing discomfort. The only time when a little more force might be needed is when you find a knot or kink in the muscle. Gently knead the knot with a little more pressure.

Go with the Grain

Another common mistake people make when giving a massage is going against the grain of the muscle; it’s generally a technique better left to massage experts since it can be very painful if done wrong. It can actually lead to more pain than was already there, so work with the grain only.

Focus on the Shoulders

The shoulders are where most people carry all of their tension, so they are a good place to focus your efforts. Go slowly and use your thumbs in a downward motion to reduce tension.

Companion Articles:

Three Amazing Massage Oil Recipes
Massage: Time to Try a New Style?
A Healing Touch: Can a Massage Ease Depression?
Helping Hands: Massage Therapy for Well-Being and Pain Relief

Click here for iHerb’s selection of Massage Oils! New to iHerb? Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off your first order!

References

Harnish, Amelia; How to Give a Killer Massage; Ladies’ Home Journal; accessed July 4, 2014

Richer, Steve; Essential Knowledge: How to Give a Great Massage; Ask Men; accessed July 4, 2014

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Filed under General Health

Delicious DIY Raisins

Delicious DIY Raisins

Raisins seem to be increasing in price; however, raisins are so good for you that you really do not want to go without them. Turning grapes into raisins isn’t hard to do. There are a couple different ways to achieve these tasty, nutritious treats right at home.

Sun Drying

The sun’s heat evaporates the water, which causes the sugar content of the grapes to caramelize. Because you dry your fruit yourself to your standards, the fruit will be more tender than raisins that have sat on the store shelf for weeks or perhaps even months.

To dry them in the sun, first gently wash them and pat them dry. Then, spread them onto a cookie sheet, making sure that none touch. Find a spot outside where the warmth is good. Cover your grapes with a clean cloth (such as a dish cloth) and weight that down, so it will not blow away. Let them sit, bringing them inside each evening. Repeat this for about three days or until your grapes are shriveled into tasty, wrinkly raisins of a more delightful flavor than one could find at most stores.

Food Dehydrator Method

Pluck the raisins from their stem and wash them. Place them into either a wire basket or a deep-frying basket and then into a pot of boiling water for no longer than 60 seconds to blanch them. Immediately rinse them in a bowl of cold water, letting them sit for a while in it, stirring occasionally. Some people like to add a little lemon juice at this stage. Then, dry them off and arrange them so that none touches each other within the dehydrator tray. Use the 130-150 degree temperature setting for a couple of hours and then lower it, allowing the raisins to dehydrate for approximately 24 hours.

Enjoy!

Click here to check out iHerb’s selection of Raisin Products! New to iHerb? Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off your first order.

References

Stacyah; Making Raisins with a Food Dehydrator; Instructables.com; accessed on April 28, 2014

Make Your Own Raisins, Tasty Summer Experiment; Planet-Science.com; accessed on April 28, 2014

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Filed under Recipes

Three Amazing Massage Oil Recipes

Three Amazing Massage Oil Recipes

Making your own massage oils can help you tailor the blend to your desired purpose, which may be hard to come by if you’re looking to buy pre-made massage oils. Use these three simple DIY massage oil recipes to prepare your own and you will have some on hand whenever you need it. Store the oils in a cool, dark place like the medicine cabinet when not in use.

Citrus Soothing Massage Oil

Combine 1 ounce of argan oil with 3 drops lavender essential oil, 6 drops clary sage essential oil and 2 drops of lemon essential oil in a small bowl. Stir the mixture and funnel it into a small, dark glass bottle to keep the light out.

Massage Oil for Sore Muscles

Mix 1 ounce of sweet almond oil with 2 drops ginger essential oil, 4 drops peppermint essential oil, one drop black pepper essential oil and 5 drops eucalyptus essential oil. Transfer to a dark glass container and shake well before using.

Ultra-Relaxing Massage Oil

Blend 1 ounce of sweet almond oil with 8 drops of Roman chamomile essential oil and 2 drops of natural lavender essential oil. Stir the mixture and funnel it into a small dark glass container for storage.

Tips & Tricks

If you want massage oil that’s a bit heavier and particularly good for dry skin, try using avocado oil instead of argan or sweet almond oil. Just make sure you don’t use too much of the mixture, or it may be hard to get off the skin quickly.

You can easily double or triple the recipes above if you want to make more massage oil at one time. However, you shouldn’t make more of the mixture than you think you might use in about six months, as the essential oils will begin to lose their potency.

Companion Articles:

How to Give an Amazing Massage!
Massage: Time to Try a New Style?
A Healing Touch: Can a Massage Ease Depression?
Helping Hands: Massage Therapy for Well-Being and Pain Relief

Click here for iHerb’s selection of Massage Oils! New to iHerb? Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off your first order!

References

Massage Magazine Staff; How to Make Your Own Massage Lotions and Oils; Massage Magazine; accessed July 6, 2014

AromaWeb Staff; Aromatherapy Massage Oil Recipe; AromaWeb; accessed July 6, 2014

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Filed under General Health

Natural Acne Remedies to Check Out

Natural Acne Remedies to Check Out

Acne is a problem that negatively impacts a huge number of teenagers because of hormonal changes, and in most cases, acne breakouts are simply a normal part of life. However, when acne affects adults, it can be very embarrassing. Unfortunately, many of the over-the-counter treatments for acne as well as those prescribed by a dermatologist contain harmful chemicals. That’s why many people turn to alternative treatments to help them cure acne. Below, you’ll find some of the best alternative treatments for acne. They may not all work for you personally, but they could be beneficial and make you look and feel better.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil has antibiotic properties, and it’s also soothing, making it an ideal choice for acne sufferers. Tea tree oil is even used in many over-the-counter acne remedies that contain other chemical ingredients. This oil may be drying to some people, so use it sparingly until you see how it works for your skin.

Manuka Honey

Manuka honey can be particularly beneficial for acne sufferers, both topically and taken internally, because it has antibacterial and wound-healing properties. While acne could be due to a hormonal issue, bacteria is another leading cause of pimples, especially in adults.

Use a Cold Pack

Ice may not seem like an effective treatment for acne, but it can actually make quite a difference, especially in how your acne looks. Acne that’s inflamed and irritated tends to look worse. Using cold packs regularly can help to reduce that inflammation and make your skin look better. Just don’t use frozen packs directly on skin; it can cause irritation. Use a cloth or pack made specifically for use on the face.

Click here to check out iHerb’s selection of Acne Products! New to iHerb? Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off your first order.

References

WebMD Staff; Alternative Treatments for Acne; WebMD; Accessed May 16, 2014

Balfour, Antonia; 5 Holistic Ways to Treat Acne; MindBodyGreen; Accessed May 16, 2014

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Filed under Skin Health

Massage: Time to Try a New Style?

Massage: Time to Try a New Style?
An excellent massage offers a range of benefits for both body and mind. Numerous massage techniques are practiced around the world. Here are descriptions of four marvelous massage styles we consider some of the best.

Swedish Massage

A classic Swedish massage involves long gliding strokes, percussive tapping and gentle kneading of the outermost skin and muscles. The most common massage in health spas, Swedish massage may effectively release muscle tension and improve joint mobility. In Sweden, the technique is known as ‘classic massage.’

Shiatsu Massage

The philosophy behind traditional Japanese shiatsu massage asserts that the human body holds an energy force called Qi, or chi. Blockages of vital energy are said to be manipulated and released by finger pressure applied to specific points located along an energy meridian.

Hawaiian Lomi Lomi Massage

Passed down to current practitioners from the ancient Polynesians, Lomi Lomi massage involves elements of the hula dance, quiet chanting and rhythmic breathing patterns. As is the case with Japanese shiatsu, Hawaiian tradition maintains that energy fields within the body can become blocked, thereby disrupting health and happiness.

Stone Massage

Stone massage therapy may involve cold or hot stones or a combination of both. Cold stone therapists keep smooth flat stones, usually made of marble, in a bowl of ice water until the moment of use. Hot stone massage therapy entails the use of heavy, heated river stones that are placed along the backbone and other body parts.

Any massage may be enhanced by the incorporation of aromatic fragrances in the form of massage oils and scented candles. A quick, in-a-chair massage can be a delightful midday refresher, but a long, luxurious massage can be heavenly.

Companion Articles:

How to Give an Amazing Massage!
Three Amazing Massage Oil Recipes

A Healing Touch: Can a Massage Ease Depression?
Helping Hands: Massage Therapy for Well-Being and Pain Relief

Click here for iHerb’s selection of Massage Oils! New to iHerb? Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off your first order!

References

Kathy Wong, N.D.; 10 Most Popular Types of Massage; About Alternative Medicine; May 16, 2014; accessed July 6, 2014

Mayo Clinic Staff: Massage: Get in Touch with its Many Benefits; Mayo Clinic; January 30, 2013; accessed July 6, 2014

Lakainapali, Tracey; Hawaiian Lomi Lomi Massage; Aloha International; accessed July 6, 2014

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Filed under Alternative Therapies, General Health

Do You Need Daily Aspirin?

Do You Need Daily Aspirin

Prostaglandin is a hormone-like substance that can affect the body negatively. Taking a low daily dose of aspirin decreases the production of prostaglandin in the body, which reduces pain and fever and prevents the clumping action of platelets.

Most heart attacks occur when a blood clot stops blood flow to the heart by blocking a vessel. A significant number of strokes are caused when blood vessels feeding the brain are restricted. Helping to lower the clot-forming process by making blood platelets less likely to form lowers the chances of a blockage occurring.

Family History

There are a few groups of people that would benefit from taking a low daily dose of aspirin, such as those who have a strong family history of cancer of the colon, stomach, rectum and esophagus or dementia, because aspirin has proven effective at reducing the risk of a number of diseases. A daily dose in the area of 75 to 100 milligrams is considered safe and effective; however speak to your doctor about the dose that is right for you.

If the same group of people is at risk for developing gastrointestinal complications, they might consider combining aspirin therapy with a prescription proton-pump inhibitor to reduce the production of gastric acid.

Risk Factors

People who would clearly benefit from a daily dose of aspirin are those who are at high risk for stroke, angina or heart attacks. Those with diabetes or multiple risk factors for developing heart disease, such as smokers or people with high cholesterol or high blood pressure, could also be good candidates for daily aspirin therapy.

Those who have had a heart attack or stroke will likely be prescribed a daily dose of aspirin by their doctor unless there is a history of stomach ulcers or a serious allergy. It is important to take aspirin as prescribed. Any changes to dosage should be discussed with a physician in advance. Before starting to take an aspirin daily, it is wise to speak with a physician to weigh the benefits and risks based on an individual’s personal health history, weight and prescription medications currently being taken.

Thanks to its ability to help prevent heart attacks and strokes, many people can benefit from taking a low daily dose of aspirin.

Alternatives

Some people do not tolerate aspirin and therefor look for alternatives. White willow bark is considered “nature’s aspirin” and may be better for certain people. Topical arnica cream may alleviate certain types of pain and reduce inflammation, depending on the condition.

Click here to check out iHerb’s selection of Aspirin! New to iHerb? Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off your first order.

References

Aspirin’s Protective Powers May Now Guard Against Cancer, Too; WebMD; Accessed June 10, 2014

An Aspirin a Day or Not; WebMD, Accessed June 10, 2014

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Filed under Cholesterol, Heart and Hypertension Health