Many people enjoy the relaxation and soothing effects of sitting in a hot tub.  Often people will have them installed in their backyard, or perhaps even a spa bathtub installed in their home as a simple luxury.  However, what a lot of people may not realize is that there are actual health benefits associated with hot tub use! What exactly are these benefits ? We thought we’d give you what we think are the top five advantages experienced when soaking in that warm water while the jets swirl and ease out your aches and pains.

Hot Tub Benefits

  1. STRESS RELIEF- Those words alone are worth enjoying a soak in a spa. Why do hot tubs promote stress relief? After a long period of time stress can create an array of symptoms, from muscle tension, headaches, to fatigue and chronic illness.  Soaking in the warm water of a hot tub helps the body to relax and unwind. Coupled with the massaging power of the jets helping to relieve that muscle tension, it helps both your body and mind relax and reset.
  2. HELPS WITH SLEEP- Sleep studies done have shown that millions of people suffer from insomnia and other sleep issues.  While a lot of sleep deprivation can be chalked up to stress and day to day worries, others have serious conditions. Whatever the case, soaking in a hot tub a couple of hours before bed will relax you, regulate body temperature and allow for a more peaceful and deeper sleep.. Not to mention falling asleep will happen a lot easier.
  3. ARTHRITIS RELIEF- Believe it or not the The Arthritis Foundation published an article on the benefits of hot tubs and spas for arthritic patients.  Rick from Patio Splash a reputable hot tub and spa business also shared with us that about 50% of his customers are installing a hot tub for arthritis relief.  Why? Regular dips in your hot tub help keep joints and circulation moving. The warm water helps to relax the joints and offers relieve almost instantly. With some of the stress taken off of your joints they become stronger which helps to improve flexibility. Add in a few water exercises a few times a week and you will find that the long term pain relief you will be begin to feel is definitely worth that hot tub purchase
  4. BACK PAIN BE GONE- Did you know that the #2 reason people visit their doctor in the U.S. is because of back pain?  Therapy centered around the use of hot tubs has been proven to have both long term and short term relief and benefits for back pain. With an abundant rise in prescription pain pills and opioid addiction, hot tub therapy is a more natural, drug free route to help in reduce the often numbing pain of those with back related issues.
  5. GREAT FOR ATHLETES- Whether you play tennis on the weekends with friends, are an avid hiker, participate in Crossfit, or are a runner enthusiast soaking in a hot tub a few times a week is ideal for those who exercise.  Hot tubs promote circulation, take pressure and tension off of sore muscles, while the jets can gently work out the kinks in overused muscles.

For those of you who visit our site regularly you know that we like to promote natural healing and overall wellness for the mind body and spirit.  Hot tubs and spas can help aid in a variety of different ailments as well as promote stress and muscle relief for overall health. While it is choice to have a hot tub at home you can also utilize these found at your local pool or gym.  If you are experiencing any of the above issues we suggest trying some hot tub therapy. You will feel the results instantly as well as experience long term benefits.

Essential oils may not be able to completely replace traditional medicine, however, they DEFINITELY offer up a SAFE and NATURAL alternative. It is important to note that while essential oils are great for means of therapeutic relief of minor symptoms and alignments, the quality of the oil is what the benefits really rely on.  For example peppermint is a oil to use for headaches, stomach aches, or beginning of migraine symptoms. If you buy a cheap version the therapeutic benefits may not entirely be there. In general you get what you pay for! Now that we have established a few key points when it comes to the use of essential oils over traditional medicine, we thought we would give you a short list of the most beneficial and widely used essential oils out there and what their purpose is.

Lemon- this essential oil offers a cleansing effect to the air.  Think musty, enclosed spaces where the air just doesn’t feel very fresh.  Using a lemon oil will not only help to cleanse this stifled air but it also acts a mood uplifter.

Lavender- One of the most commonly used essential oils it is known as a relaxer/sedative.  It also packs some anti inflammatory properties making it great for minor pains. It can also help with some of the symptoms that can cause anxiety.

Peppermint-  Although we went over this incredible oil a bit, it not only helps with headaches and stomach pain, but indeed has been found to increase energy and concentration.  

Frankincense- this oil is said to help those in need of digestive support.  It’s also known to help strengthen the immune system and help with relaxation

So what happens then if you mix oils together?  Is it even possible? In Fact it is! There are different blend recipes that you can find to help with multiple symptoms.  Let’s reference our old friend peppermint once again. Peppermint can be blended together with Tea Tree, Lemon, Eucalyptus, Laurel Leaf, and Ravensara to create a respiratory blend. This blend can help relieve minor congestion caused by sinuses and can help sooth breathing.  This being said how do you actually apply essential oils? Can you eat them, do you rub them into your skin?

 3 Different Methods To Applying Essential Oils

  1. Topical- Some oils may need to be mixed with a little coconut oil or shea butter but can be applied to pressure points such as the wrists or neck area, or to the bottoms of your feet
  2. Ingesting-  ONLY if the essential oil is a FOOD GRADE oil can you ingest it.  If it is, it is best to ingest the oil with food or drink
  3. Aromatherapy-  Special oil diffusers are available that allow you to add a few drops of the essential oil of your choice and then it is dispersed into the air.  Using it in bedrooms, living rooms, bathrooms, and even offices can be a nice compliment to the air for all.

While essential oils can definitely add a more natural approach to treating symptoms it is always best to consult your physician when adding anything new to your medication routine.  Those with terminal or serious illnesses such as cancer should definitely consult your doctor as well as continue with the medicine you have been traditionally prescribed.

 

All of us are after something.  Whether it be some type of spiritual awakening, decompressing from the demands of everyday life, weightloss/detox, or simply to find peace & quiet while being one with nature, there is a wellness retreat out there that offers just that.  Wellness retreats have been around for decades but perhaps are gaining popularity as of late. Afterall in the modern world everyone is plugged into some form of technology, working, moving and rarely stopping for a breath of unscheduled fresh air! Wellness retreats offer, demanding on your needs, various forms of relaxation, activities, and serenity in a beautiful atmosphere that allows you to detach from the hustle and bustle of life and find your clarity and inner peace once again.

We have complied some of the crem de la crem of wellness retreats for our readers. With a variety of focuses these retreats are guaranteed to get you to your place of zen!

Amazing Wellness Retreats

  • Love Yoga Safari- This 5 star safari takes you to Kenya, Africa for a yoga, pranayama, & meditation retreat.  Private tours and safaris mixed in with the retreats other activities leave you feeling at peace with a little bit of adventure mixed in.  You will visit Amboseli National Park & Zanzibar
  • Mii Amo Zen Of Happy Retreat- Found in Sedona, Arizona this retreat focuses on the use of fitness, beauty and spiritual tools to help you reconnect with your truest & best self. You can opt to be whisked away by PHX Limo Service to the retreats beautiful red desert tranquil atmosphere
  • Sky Ting Yoga Retreat- A week long yoga retreat in beautiful Belize.  You will focus on daily yoga practice, clean eating, and relaxation.
  • Spirit Weavers Retreat-  This female only retreat in captivating Cave Junction, Oregon focuses on spirituality and conscious-rising rituals.  Those who enjoy this retreat will benefit from cleansing your spirit, no cell phone service, eating only fermented foods, herbal workshops, and meditation
  • Brenners Park Hotel & Spa- An extravagant European hotel offering an incredible detox program.  The program includes personal training, custom meal plans, cleansing remedies & techniques, group fitness, and 5 star spa service and accommodations
  • Grand Bharat Spa & Resort- Located in Haryana, India this spa offers a personalized retreat for all.  Filled with holistic body treatments, herbal oil massages, hydrotherapy, and 5 different mind and body programs to choose from you can customize your idea of a wellness retreat.

These are just a few of the many choices of incredible wellness retreats out there.  Whichever retreat you choose should incorporate the benefits that you are seeking the most.  A week long getaway tob a wellness retreat can be just what is needed to re-center, refresh and rejuvenate your whole being!

When one thinks of zen, meditation, aligning our energy and the power of intention we tend to think of Buddha.  His smiling cherub of a face comes to mind and perhaps many of his quotes of wisdom passed along through the decades.  After all, Buddha was a dynamic teacher of the ways to end suffering or Dukkha and find true and complete happiness. To understand Buddha’s teachings, that include both The Four Noble Truths and The Eightfold Path we must first understand him.

Who Is Buddha?

Buddha was born in Nepal to a wealthy family and lived a life of luxury.  One day when he ventured out past the castle gates he saw 3 very real truths of life.  The sick, the old, and the dead. He began to contemplate life and it’s meaning. Overtime he found that the path to happiness first starts with understanding the root cause of your suffering.  From there you must first identify The Four Noble Truths and then you must follow the Eightfold Path. Once you have done this you will find true and complete happiness. The kind of happiness that is not attached to anyone or anything material, but the ultimate type of happiness that comes from within oneself.  However, accomplishing this Eightfold Path is a lot harder than it may seem, achieving complete control of the mind is no small task in itself. In fact to even begin to achieve this you must adhere to a daily practice of mindful thought and action.

Meditation is one of the most well known tools to begin to practice mindful thought and action.  Meditation teaches you to live and be present in the here and now and not dwell on either the past or the future. Mediation is one of the key tools to achieving greatness with the eightfold path.

The Four Noble Truths

  • The Truth Of Suffering
  • The Truth Of The Cause Of Ones Suffering
  • The Truth of The End To Your Suffering
  • The Truth Of The Path That Will Lead To The end Of Ones suffering

Once you have identified and completely understand these truths, it is only then that you are ready to set about on your Eightfold Path.

The EightFold Path

  1. Right Understanding- Understanding and believing in the  Four Noble Truths
  2. Right Thought- Committing to follow the Buddhism way of thought.  Practicing mindful thought and actions daily.
  3. Right Speech- Speaking with intention & positivity.  Never allowing gossip, negative feelings, lies etc past your lips.  You must only speak truths and have a voice of compassion
  4. Right Conduct- Mindful of your actions and the intent of your actions.  Not reacting out of anger or for any other negative purpose. Your conduct must reflect the truth in your speech
  5. Right Means Of Living- your job or means to making a living is of ethical practice and moral standards.
  6. Right Mental Attitude- You do not harbor or allow feelings of jealousy, anger or malicious intent cloud your mind or thoughts.
  7. Right Mindfulness-  You have a keen positive sense of your overall complete health.  Mind, body, and soul
  8. Right Concentration- regular mediation practices as to achieve your highest level of understanding

Buddha was always known to be smiling.  In all of the statues, art, pictures and such that replicate him he is found with a big cheeky grin.  If you were to take a moment and really look at his smile you may find that it is one of a higher magnitude than most.  Buddha's smile did not come from self satisfaction, materialistic possessions, of from egocentric beginnings.. Instead it came from the complete happiness that radiated from his being because of his dedication to the Eightfold Path  

Back pain is indeed a serious health issue worldwide, and even specifically in the U.S., and there are some stats to support this. Across the globe, lower back pain is the biggest cause of physical disabilities. Back pain is cited as the most common reason for absenteeism from work.
In the U.S itself, it is estimated that over 80% of the population will suffer from severe back pain issues at least once throughout their lives. If we put this into a monetary value, estimates are that Americans spend north of $50 billion annually on back related issues. Now that we have an idea of the magnitude of the problem, let’s try and see how it’s caused.

In this article, we’re concerned with the emotional issues relating to back pain. The notion that emotional stress can be a cause of physical pain is certainly not new. There have been studies to establish this. There are certain logical reasons as to how emotional stress of any kind can cause physical harm. When one is angry, for example, the blood flow to certain muscles is diminished. Anxiety and rage also cause muscle tension, which leads to them getting fatigued. Stress may cause lack of sleep, or a loss in appetite. That will further reduce the body’s immunity, thus causing or exacerbating physical pain.

One more reason is that once under stress, the body activates the ‘Sympathetic Nervous System’. This part of the nervous system is responsible for dealing with involuntary actions pertaining to any perceived threats. Thing is, after a stressful event, the nervous system may not return back to its normal state for a while. This can cause an increase in blood pressure and in blood sugar, and in turn this messes with the immune system. In this case, there’s essentially an unresolved trauma in the nervous system. Therefore, the physical pain one experiences is a signal of sorts that an underlying emotional issue needs to be addressed, which will help in restoring the nervous system to its normal mode.

Any kind of pain caused from emotional stress becomes part of the ‘pain cycle’. This idea suggests that initially, stress can be the cause of physical discomfort. This discomfort or pain then makes one even more stressful/angry, therefore further feeding and worsening the initial pain. This cycle continues thus making the condition worse.

Ideally, a wholesome treatment for this kind of back pain involves multiple aspects, including emotional, physical, and environmental factors.

Let’s also briefly walk through the work of the late Dr John Sarno on this topic. His views on back pain are a bit radical and extreme, in the sense that he claims that almost all back pain related cases are due to unresolved emotional issues, and that in those cases, no physical treatment is needed at all. The term Dr. Sarno uses is ‘Tension Myotisis Syndrome (TMS)’. He claimed that stress/anger caused muscle tension to build up unconsciously within the body (in this case, the back), and in the case of any external unfavourable event, this pain suddenly gets triggered. This part is somewhat similar to what’s mentioned earlier in the article, and may be true.

What makes his theories controversial is the fact that he attributes all kinds of back pain exclusively to emotional issues, particularly unexpressed anger, even when a medical diagnosis would indicate that the cause is a physical one (e.g. slipped disc).

Furthermore, his treatment for almost all his patients would be two-fold, involving no physical treatment whatsoever. The first part would be educating the patient on what causes his back pain, and then addressing and accepting the underlying emotional issue head on. The next step would be resuming all previous physical activities as usual, and unlearning all that was previously believed to be true about back ache (things like, there’s a certain way to sit/stand, etc.). He also advocated stopping any physical treatment that the patient was undergoing.

Obviously, the vast majority of the medical community is quite sceptical about Dr. Sarno’s theory and methods. While we can say little about TMS, one thing is certain – there are clear links to stress/anger and physical pain, and it would be best to consider this as one of the causes when confronted with a back ache. Additionally, seeking professional medical help in case of back pain should always be the course of action.

Himalayan Pink Sea Salt Lamps seem to be just about everywhere these days.  You can even purchase Himalayan Pink Sea Salt in natural food based stores such as Trader Joe’s.  The pink salt is said to have all of your antioxidants in it when consumed.  So what is it about these Pink Salt lamps and what is the low down on them?

The most important factor and why most people are attracted to these natural lamps is because of their ability to cleanse and deodorize the air.   Himalayan Salt Lamps have the power to remove dust, pollen, smoke and other types of particles and contaminants from the air.  How do they do this?  It is through a process called Hygroscopy.  Hygroscopy is the process in which the salt attracts the water molecules from the surrounding environment and is able to act as a filter and absorb those molecules.  The lamp becomes heated due to the light bulb in it’s center and is able to filter out the foreign particles which stay trapped in the salt of the lamp.  The clean water molecules are then released back into the environment producing cleaner air.  

These beautiful lamps are also capable of reducing allergy and asthma related symptoms.  Because of it’s ability to filter out the foreign particles in the air a lot of allergens and positive ions are removed as  well. Positive ions are mostly created from the multitude of electronics we constantly have surrounding us.  They are harmful to us when inhaled because they help to make the little hairs that protect our windpipe from allowing toxins into our lungs sluggish.  When these little hairs become sluggish they then allow for more toxins to filter through.  The lamp is able to absorb these positive ions and thus release negative ions back into our surrounding environment.  The negative ions are beneficial to our health and much better for us to inhale.  

Lastly they also help boost energy levels.  When we go on a beautiful hike, or ride our bike in nature, or simply put our feet in the ocean negative ions are produced.  As you recall negative ions are beneficial to us and in turn help to create adrenaline and energy in our systems.  With the filtration process that happens through the lamp turning those positive ions into negative ones it thus produces energy boosting benefits!

Adding natural things to our daily lives that benefit our overall health and also our mind are key to longevity.  With all of the electronics, and preservative produced food it is crucial that we use and practice as many natural techniques as possible to help benefit our mind, body and souls!!

There are many things in life that bring us joy, happiness, or a sense of freedom and energy.  One that I can speak for personally is travel.  Travel creates some of the best teachings and experiences that life has to offer.  It allows you to explore other places, people and things.  Different scenery, different weather norms.  It allows us to experience what is new to us but common life for other people.  However, that is not all that travel has to offer.  Travel is also great for your health in all aspects really, mind, body and soul.

 Travel helps us take a step back from hectic everyday life.  It allows us to relax and de-stress in an environment other than our own.  It helps us to step away from schedules, and to do list’s and duties.  A friend of mine who does Hawaii nature tours on the island of Oahu, told me that halfway into her tour she starts to see people visibly relax.  They look at the beauty around them and kind of lose themselves in the moment of where they are and what they are seeing.  She said it’s actually quite incredible to see.

Another health benefit is that travel actually decreases the risk of heart disease.  Yes because of the de-stressing and relaxation benefits traveling produces, and the mere fact it helps us step away and decompress from constant everyday stresses, it promotes heart health and lowers your risk of heart disease.  In a study done those that traveled less and took less time off work tended to have higher heart disease risk factors.

Traveling also helps us reconnect to what really matters.  Often in everyday life's hustle and bustle we start to neglect the things that we really enjoy or that are most important to us.  Taking a walk on the beach or doing that awesome hike while on vacation helps us reconnect with nature.  Also planning a trip with a loved one or partner helps  us to spend quality time with each other and enjoy interacting with one another.

In light of the freeing effects, travel seems to help us increase our spontaneity and self discovery.  Being exposed to new things and new adventures helps us to live outside our comfort zones and try new things.  It is also found that because you feel relaxed and a little more free on vacation your guard is down a bit and you are open to try new things.  Like surfing in Hawaii, or snowboarding in the Utah mountains.  In doing new things you then discover more about yourself.  You may even find new passions or hobbies.  

The exposure to new cultures is perhaps one of the greatest benefits of traveling in my opinion.  By exploring new places and countries, you are exposed to how people live, eat, interact, and spend their free time.  You see how another part of the world lives and what is the norm for them.  From housing, to food preparation, and the types of food they eat.  It’s quite amazing to learn about other people's ways of life on this planet that we share.  

With cultural exposure comes education.  Traveling is perhaps one of the best forms of education out there.  It gives the individual first hand experience at different religions, food, history, and beliefs.  Having this type of exposure helps us submerge ourselves in the entirety of it and experience it for ourselves.

Traveling is something that can be enjoyed solo or with others.  It can lead us to find our passions in life or to make that big move into the unknown and toward something new.  It allows our mind, body and souls to align and enjoy life in that moment.  It frees us from life's constraints and allows us to reconnect with ourselves.  Mind, Body, Soul!

Outside the box...out of your comfort zone...shake things up!  Those are all just a few saying we have heard in our lifetimes refering to change and what is positive for the soul.  Perhaps my favorite of all time however is “ Get comfortable with being uncomfortable”,  said by personal trainer turned celebrity, Jillian Michaels, those words could not ring anymore true.  We as people like the idea of comfort.  We like knowing what is before us and the idea of routine.  Afterall if you know how to do something and do it well it builds confidence and allows you to shine brighter.  However what it often does not allow you to do is branch out and grow.  When I say grow I mean in different forms, through different outlets.   Most of us may not be exactly happy with everything that we are doing in life.  A lot of times this unhappiness is the mundane routine of our jobs that we feel we need to stay at because it is our source of income and means for survival.  Lets face it, it also is what allows us to take vacations and buy the finer things in life.  But how do you know that there is something else that you are extremely talented at, that you enjoy doing if you never branch out and explore the unknown also known as  the uncomfortable?  The fact is you don’t.  But most of us stay within the boundry lines of our daily routine, our job we may hate and the city we live in because it is what we know.

The first thing you need to remind yourself if you find that you are one of these people(most of us are) is  “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable!”  Realize that sometimes in order to grow we have to believe in ourselves and trust our abilities to make a change and find what truly makes us happy.   Life is way too short to never explore,to never really get out there and take leaps and risks.  Life should not just be an existence but a happy enjoyable time here on this Earth surrounded by the people we love and care about.  

Make it your daily mantra.  Repeat it to yourself when you feel the depths of routine weighing down on you. Today is the day to “GET COMFORTABLE WITH BEING UNCOMFORTABLE” We only get this one life…. start living it to it’s fullest potential!  

 

Possibly one of my favorite artists of all time is Charles Bansky.  His expression through his art and his simplistic style catch the eye of many and the attention of everyone!  I recently came across the above picture as a friend of mines post on my instagram feed.  It speaks volumes of truth in so many ways.  It interprets where we are in the world as a country, nation, and as people.  This picture basically is a representation of oil.  It depicts the way America has moved to other countries to strip them of their oil to create a false leadership for the United States.  We are no more in control then if we didn’t have everyone else’s oil.  In fact we are now the bully in the equation and nobody likes a bully!! Our Nation is no longer about all of us being brother’s and sister’s or that humanity is unified and we have compassion, emotion, and a duty to each other to treat everyone equally.  No, our nation is instead split into groups who think they are better than the next.  So if we really can’t gain a strong presence and foundation throughout the world we may as well take everyone’s oil and prove that we are leaders!?

In the wake of the many natural disasters that have occurred recently, hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, floods etc. we have still not found anymore unity.  There are those that get out there and make a difference, that feel for the people that have no homes, cars, food or clean water.  But still the number is higher for those that turn a blind eye simply because they are not in that severe of a position in the wake of a huge natural disaster.  

This picture spoke volumes to me when I first saw it on my news feed.  The caption my friend provided made me think and feel even more.  At the same time I realized how powerful of an expression art is.  How it can speak volumes by a simple drawing or painting and really create a bigger awareness of problems and issues.  So thank you Charles Bansky for being a beautiful artist, for expressing the underlying truth of the world we live in and for adding so much more depth to a life that is beginning to only be a surface facade.

I wanted to add a different perspective to my previous post. We all don't necessarily see the world in the same light, so it's good to get out of how we perceive it, and look at through different eyes.

I cam across this video the other day and it's pretty hilarious, its not really totally applicable, but I think it adds some good contrast to my literal interpretations. Be warned that it may not be for all audiences. Enjoy