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The Body Shop’s special-edition Banana collection

When you think of ethical beauty brands, it’s quite likely that The Body Shop is at the top of your list – they have been campaigning to end animal testing since the late 80’s.

So it will come as little surprise that the brand’s newest launch is tackling a whole new sustainability issue: food waste.

The Body Shop’s special-edition Banana collection is made using real banana puree from wonky bananas that supermarkets won’t buy. This way, the small-scale Community Trade farmers in Ecuador, don’t lose out on their less aesthetically pleasing produce, which helps them to compete with the bigger plantations and stay afloat in a notoriously exploitative industry.

The new products join the brands much loved Banana shampoo, conditioner and hair mask. New to the range are the super Nourishing Body Butter, Hyaluronic-acid infused Body Yogurt and an indulgent Shower Cream.

And if that’s not enough to tempt you, all of the new products are 100% vegan and have a creamy banana and coconut scent which is perfect for summer!

Banana Body Yogurt 200ml

The Body Shop Special-Edition Banana Body Yogurt, £8.50, The Body Shop.

Rachel x

Please note that I was not paid in any to endorse the brand or any of their products.

Infrared Sauna: Can You Really Sweat Out Toxins?

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For thousands of years, many cultures have used heat bathing, to cleanse and heal the body.  Today, saunas are still a popular way to increase health and vitality. Saunas can help you relax, and research is proving other long-term potential benefits for your health, including relief from pain due to injury or arthritis, positive effects on blood pressure, and faster wound healing. Some research even shows a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular events.

How Do Saunas Work?

Saunas use heat to cause you to sweat while also increasing your heart rate – as if you were exercising. Originally, saunas consisted of just a small fire built underneath an enclosed space. Today, traditional saunas use heaters to heat rocks, which warm the air in the room and ultimately warm your body.

Newer infrared saunas are now becoming popular as well. Most infrared saunas use far-infrared (FIR) light. The term “far” refers to where the infrared waves fall on the light spectrum. Some saunas also use near infrared light (NIR) and mid infrared light (MIR). NIR light may promote skin renewal, improved cellular functioning, and wound healing.  MIR light can penetrate deeper into the body’s soft tissue where inflammation occurs, and may speed up the healing process. FIR light reaches deepest into the body, where toxins are stored. Some infrared saunas contain the full spectrum of light.

Unlike traditional saunas which heat the air, an infrared sauna uses light to heat your body in much the same way the sun does.  So, an infrared sauna can produce the same benefits as a traditional sauna, but at a lower temperature of between 120 and 140ºF compared to the temperature range of a traditional sauna, which is typically between 150 and 185º F.

Can You Really Sweat Out Toxins?

Many people believe that sweating is a great way to release toxins and other impurities from your body. One theory is that fever is the body’s way of ridding itself of toxins, and a sauna creates a self-induced fever.

The primary organs of detox in the body are your liver and kidneys. The reason your body sweats is to cool its internal temperature. When analyzed, sweat is comprised mostly of water and a tiny bit of salt. There is no exception when it comes to sweat caused by a traditional sauna — studies show sweat caused by a traditional sauna is 95-97% water and the rest is salt, with a tiny bit of protein and urea. In other words, it’s not made up of “toxins”.

The main reason you feel good after sweating — whether after exercise or a sauna — is that your body releases endorphins.  It does not necessarily mean that you are releasing toxins. But, there may be an exception when it comes to infrared saunas.

As humans, we are all bio-accumulators. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), we all have dangerous toxins stored in our bodies, including pesticides and mycotoxins. We retain these toxins in our bodies’ fatty tissues, including breast milk, the liver, and blood plasma. Most of these environmental toxins are known to contribute to a whole host of diseases, including cancer, arthritis, autoimmune disease, autism, fibromyalgia, cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s and more.

While most sweat is comprised of water and little salt, studies show that 15-20% of infrared sauna-induced sweat is composed of cholesterol, fat-soluble toxins, heavy metals, sulfuric acid, and ammonia (as well as sodium and uric acid.) In other words, an infrared sauna may enable your body to eliminate environmental toxins through sweat.

10 Benefits of Infrared Sauna

Many doctors agree that the use of an infrared sauna is one of the most powerful healing therapies. There are many studies that document the effectiveness of sauna therapy for hypertension, congestive heart failure, and for post-myocardial infarction care. In addition, there are proven benefits of infrared sauna for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic fatigue, chronic pain, or addictions.

Here are some of the more common benefits of infrared sauna:

Provides temporary relief from pain

The dry heat from an infrared sauna can relieve soreness due to over exertion by helping to loosen tight muscles. This helps with recovery time for athletes and the rest of us after a hard workout. One reason is because, during a sauna, beta endorphins and norepinephrine are released. This temporarily raises your body’s pain threshold. However, one study reported in Clinical Rheumatology found that the dry heat of infrared saunas may reverse chronic pain and stiffness in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis whose conditions are typically aggravated by humidity. The study also showed that infrared saunas were well tolerated and had no adverse effects.

Helps with weight loss

A sauna increases your heart rate just like when you exercise. Used regularly, saunas can help increase your metabolism. Some infrared sauna manufacturers claim that users can burn anywhere from 300-600 calories in one sauna session. In addition, some studies have shown that sauna therapy can release toxins stored in fat tissues that can otherwise prevent weight loss. These toxins include heavy metals, and fat-soluble chemicals.

Improves heart rate variability

One of the key indicators of a healthy heart is heart rate variability (HRV).  The more variability you have between heart beats, the better. If you are under chronic stress or have a condition where you cannot exercise, your heart rate can become less variable. Infrared saunas not only give your heart a workout, they help to relax your body and mind, reduce autonomic nervous stimulation and improve your HRV.

Increases circulation

Heat causes your blood vessels to dilate. As blood is drawn closer to the skin’s surface, your blood vessels expand to accommodate increased blood flow. This allows your blood vessels to become more elastic over time. This can improve circulation and decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Maintains healthy looking skin

Many people swear the infrared sauna is their secret to glowing skin.  This could actually be true. Studies show that infrared sauna can improve psoriasis and other skin conditions. Far infrared saunas stimulate blood circulation in your skin, which in turn may help boost your skin’s ability to produce collagen.  And, sweating may accelerate your skin’s ability to detox traces of dirt, makeup, pollution, heavy metals, and alcohol.  Finally, the heat relaxes tense facial muscles.

Supports kidney function

Releasing toxins through sweating can help support kidney function by reducing the load put on your kidneys. Some doctors recommend infrared sauna use for their patients on dialysis.

Reduces blood pressure

Abnormal blood pressure can be a coronary risk factor.  Several studies have shown that infrared sauna therapy lowers blood pressure significantly with regular use. However, these same studies show that this benefit is true only when using infrared saunas.  People who used conventional saunas showed no improvement in blood pressure.

Lowers your risk of dementia

According to a 2016 Finnish study, regular sauna bathing is associated with a lower risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. And, the more frequently you take a sauna the better. In the study, those who took a sauna between 4-7 times per week for 15 minutes had a 66 percent lower risk of dementia (all forms) and a 65 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease than those taking a sauna just once a week. One of the ways saunas may help protect your brain is by stimulating the production of brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) in much the same way aerobic exercise does, helping to bulk up grey matter through neurogenesis.

Improves your immunity

Some studies show that regular saunas can reduce your chance of getting a cold by 30 percent. In addition, infrared saunas have even been shown to help prevent a cold from getting worse. One of the reasons is that a sauna-induced fever may stimulate the immune system to increase production of white blood cells and antibodies.

Promotes a sense of well-being

Saunas have been traditionally used to produce a feeling of relaxation. The heat helps to relieve physical and emotional tension in your muscles, including your face and neck muscles, by triggering the body’s parasympathetic nervous system. This relaxation effect is one of the biggest benefits to using a sauna. When you are relaxed, your energy levels increase, and you sleep better at night — thus, increasing your sense of well-being.

How To Use An Infrared Sauna

If you are healthy, infrared sauna can be a great way to enhance your health and well-being.

In addition, sauna use can benefit many health conditions.  However, be sure to check with your GP before using a sauna, especially if you have asthma or other breathing problems, heart disease, epilepsy, or blood pressure that is too high or too low,

Here’s what you should know before getting started:

  • Start slowly. Give your body time to adjust to the heat.  Start with short sessions of no more than 15 minutes and gradually work your way up to 30 minutes per session several times a week.
  • Remove accessories. Be sure to take off anything metallic, including jewelry, before using a sauna.  You will also want to remove glasses and contacts.
  • Listen to your body. If you begin to feel uncomfortable symptoms, such as dizziness, headache, nausea, or fatigue, get out of the sauna, cool off and hydrate. If you continue to feel ill whenever you use a sauna, discontinue use all together.
  • Take time to cool down. It’s best to towel the sweat off your body and wait for a few minutes while your body naturally cools down. Do not immediately get into a cool or cold shower.
  • Rinse off. Once you have cooled down, rinse off or shower.  Keep the temperature of the shower comfortable – the water should not be too hot or too cold.
  • Drink water. Water is the best way to hydrate. Be sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after your sauna.

Do not use a sauna if you are pregnant, take stimulants, tranquilizers or other mind-altering drugs, or if you are under the influence of alcohol.

Have you used an infrared sauna? I’d love to hear how you’ve benefited.

 

Rachel x

8 Natural Ways To Boost Your Energy

Next time fatigue starts to set in, avoid caffeine and try one of these simple tricks to give your body a little oomph!

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1 Small but mighty

Studies suggest that just a handful of raisins can fuel a workout, so when you’re feeling a little slow reach for these tiny bites of goodness.

2 Scentsational

Try aromatherapy to help you stay alert. Diffusing citrus essential oils such as orange, lemon or grapefruit is a great way to refresh and boost energy.

3 Food exchange

Swap white carbs for brown, these have much more fibre which means they are digested slower, preventing the highs and lows that cause our energy to crash.

4 Colour therapy

According to science, yellow is the colour most commonly linked with a healthy mood and alertness, closely followed by positive shades orange and lilac, so why not place a bold array of blooms on your desk? The gorgeous smell will help to boost your mind too!

5 Stay hydrated

Even a five percent drop in hydration can make you feel fatigued and fuzzy, when you hit the 4pm wall, swerve the coffee and simply reach for a glass of H20.

6 A head start

Give yourself an Indian head massage when you’re feeling lethargic. A vigorous scalp massage is a wonderful pick-me-up that can be done at any time to increase circulation to the head and boost energy.

7 Phone a friend

Research conducted by the department of psychology at the University of Wisconsin found that hearing a supportive or familiar voice prompts the brain to release oxytocin, a stress-fighting mood-elevating hormone. So when you need a boost, give mum a ring.

8 Spice up your life

In ayurvedic medicine, turmeric has been used to raise energy levels in people suffering from lethargy or depression. The scent and taste of turmeric, when used in foods and teas, can uplift your senses and invigorate your body.

 

Rachel x

How to Do a Body Scan Meditation

One of the best ways you can become more aware of your body is by doing a body scan meditation. The whole goal of this meditation is to focus on one part of the body at a time and tune into how it feels without trying to change it.

Completing a body scan can help you identify any physical pain or sensations you may be feeling and any links between those physical feelings and your emotions. It can serve as a valuable regular practice that can help you discover ways to work through any stress, anxiety, tension or other physical pain in the body.

Step-By-Step Process

Like all forms of meditation, a body scan is meant to be simple. Here are 11 steps to help you successfully complete a full body scan meditation.

1: Lie down or sit comfortably in a place where you won’t be interrupted.

2: Start by bringing your awareness to your breathing. Take three deep breaths as you mindfully tune into your thoughts and emotions, observing them as they flow freely.

3: Choose to start your body scan either at the top of your head or the tip of your toes. You’ll work down or up from there.

4: As you place your awareness on that body part, tune into what you feel there. You may feel pain, aching, itchiness, tingling, firmness, lightness, heaviness, warmth, coldness, or possibly even nothing.

5: Once you’re aware of what you physically feel in that area, expand your awareness to see if it also triggers your emotional state (a positive feeling, a negative feeling, or a neutral feeling).

6: Now bring your awareness back your breath and feel it reach down through your entire body as you breathe in, then exhale as you let go of any tension in the body part you just focused on.

7: Remember not to try and control anything — just let those physical and emotional feelings be as they are.

8: Move up or down to the next body part. If you started from your toes, you’d move to the soles of your feet. If you started from the top of your head, you’d move to your ears or your forehead.

9: Repeat steps 4 to 7 as you move through each individual body part.

10: Take as little as five minutes or as long as 45 minutes to go through each part of your body.

11: When finished, take a minute or so to just be aware and feel your entire body as whole, relaxed, and loved — even if you still feel any discomfort in some areas.

This is the perfect meditation practice when you’re just waking up in the morning or lying down at night to go to bed. A morning body scan will help you feel more present and in tune with your body throughout the day while a night time body scan will help you relax more effectively so you can drift off to sleep.

Try it for yourself. You’ll be surprised just how healing such a simple practice can be!

Rachel x

10 Beauty Tricks With Coconut Oil

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When you think about the health benefits of coconut oil, the last thing that might come to mind is rubbing the edible plant grease all over your face! Or your arms. Or coconut oil for your hair. But a growing body of research, countless experts, and an army of natural-beauty devotees swear by the stuff for just about everything!

Coconut oil is used in many natural beauty products, and for good reason: It’s naturally antibacterial and anti fungal, coconut oil for skin is an excellent moisturizer, it can penetrate hair better than other oils, and, well, it smells amazing!

Here are my favorite 10 beauty uses for coconut oil that don’t require spending a fortune on store-bought products. In fact, all you need is one thing: Raw (and preferably organic) virgin coconut oil.

1. Deep-condition your strands overnight

There’s a reason many conditioners contain coconut oil: It’s better able to penetrate hair (and prevent protein loss) than mineral and sunflower oil, according to research. Apply a 10p sized dollop to your hair, comb it, and then pile it into a loose bun. You’ll want to place a soft towel over your pillow or sleep in a shower cap. In the morning, shampoo as usual.

2. Tame frizz

If you struggle with taming your mane, coconut oil can definitely help. Calm your frizzy, flyaway strands with just a bit of oil to leave your hair looking smooth and polished. As an alternative to straightening serum.

3. Add shine

Smooth a tiny amount of organic coconut oil onto your ends of your hair to add a little shine if you have dark hair. Remember that a dab will do you: Any more and your hair might appear greasy

4. Remove eye makeup

Yes, coconut oil even works on waterproof mascara! Put a little on a cotton ball and gently sweep it over your eyes, paying attention to your under-eyes as well. The oil does a great job breaking down waxy, inky eye makeup, and leaves the delicate area hydrated, too. Once you’re done, wash your face as usual.

5. Freshen your breath

Remember oil pulling? Turns out, swishing coconut oil around in your mouth may actually pull the toxicity out of your mouth. Just swirl it around your mouth for 10 to 20 minutes until it turns a milky white color, then spit it out into the trash and rinse with water. If this sounds like a gross way to spend 15 minutes, you’d be surprised—it becomes routine fairly quickly and can even feel meditative and relaxing.

6. Soothe dry hands

This won’t work for dry hands when you’re on the go, but at home, coconut oil for skin can work wonders on your dishwashing-parched hands. You can get a jar at your local grocery store, keep a jar of organic extra virgin coconut oil by the kitchen sink and put a little on after washing hands to keep them soft. And if you cook with coconut oil—you can sub it for butter in baking recipes because it’s solid at room temperature—scoop out a little extra for your hands, too!

7. Moisturize your body

A recent study found that when applied topically, virgin organic coconut oil for skin can speed up wound healing, and found it to be effective in increasing hydration and reducing water loss in seriously dry skin.

8. Have a little rubdown

Many store-bought massage oils have either coconut or jojoba oil as their base. Cut out the middleman and go straight to the bottle. It’s slippery, skin-friendly, and moisturizing.

9. Nourish cracked cuticles

Massaging coconut oil into your cuticles and the skin around your nails can bring some much-needed moisture to an often overlooked part of the body.

10. Relieve psoriasis

Apply coconut oil to relieve itchy, scaly skin caused by psoriasis.

Rachel x

Top 5 Yoga Studios in Brighton

As a spiritual and creative hub it is little surprise that yoga has taken off in Brighton in a huge way! There are plenty of dedicated studios across the city offering a variety of yoga styles and classes, Brighton also hosts its very own annual Yoga Festival!

Channel your inner yogi at one of my top five yoga studios in Brighton …

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Yoga in The Lanes

Beginners, intermediate or experts are all welcome at Yoga in the Lanes. Located just a short walk from Brighton station, this spacious studio boasts a great reputation and offers an average of 5 classes a day. The studio specializes in Bikram Yoga (Hot Yoga).

Find out more

The Float Spa

The Float Spa is a hugely popular destination in Hove for practicing yoga, it boasts a lovely dedicated studio with friendly staff. The studio offers a wide range of classes, for beginners to more experienced yogis, with highly experienced teachers on hand to help adapt technique depending on your level.

Find out more 

Yoga for all at Yellowave

Yoga teacher Melanie Melvin holds a weekly class every Sunday at Yellowave Brighton. Offering a beautiful view of the seafront, it’s the perfect way to relax your mind and get yourself ready for the week. Mats are provided, the class is open to all levels and you can just drop in on the day. Having studied yoga for over 20 years Melanie knows all the ins and outs of Yoga.

Find out more

Yoga-in-Brighton

Revitalise

Revitalise is a well-being center that specialize in 5 different types of Yoga – Mysore Self Practice, Vinyasa flow, Hatha, Ashtanga and Yin Yang. Their group classes are small but intimate, ensuring the attention is on you allowing for the teacher to help with quicker development and understanding. Suitable for all abilities, each student receives quality guidance and personal advice depending on their level.

Find out more

Unity Studio & School

Unity Studio & School is based on Lewes Road, Brighton. Unity offers group classes, workshops, teacher training as well as private one to one classes. The studio can hold up to 20 people, making an ideal size for group classes. Classes vary and include Ashtanga, Yin Yoga and Aerial yoga. With an ethos of meeting new people and connecting, you’re guaranteed to leave with more than just a great mindset and increased flexibility!

Find out more

Rachel x

 

 

Weleda Skin Food

Weleda Skin Food is the perfect all-natural multi-tasker to pack for your beach holiday, camping trip or festival. Replenish dry skin after swimming, smooth rough patches on feet, soothe shoulders glowing after a little too much sunshine, or protect lips from drying air-con on the plane. It’s your summertime saviour.

Skin Food the 100% certified natural all-rounder skin food

If there’s just one thing you need to take with you to a desert island, it’s this little green magic tube. Skin Food is a universal saviour of dry, rough skin on faces, elbows, hands and feet – wherever you take a lot out of your skin, let Skin Food put it back in. With extracts of gentle viola tricolor, calendula and chamomile, in a rich, thick base of oils and beeswax, Skin Food loves your skin back to its best.

One Cream, Eight Solutions

  • Replenishing cream for hands, elbows, knees and heels
  • Face mask
  • Nourishes chapped lips
  • Easy cuticle care
  • Makeup primer
  • Revitalises tired skin
  • Highlight cheekbones
  • Treat split ends

What’s inside?

Organic Rosemary Leaf Extract:

used in many Weleda products. Known for its revitalising, stimulating and warming action, improving circulation.

Organic Pansy Extract:

known for its soothing and healing properties and has a long traditional use for rough, cracked skin.

Organic Calendula:

has a long list of traditional medicinal uses and this outstanding strength is contradictory to a Calendula plant’s own vulnerability to water imbalance.

Organic Chamomile Extract:

are gentle and soothing and are ideal for delicate or sensitive skin. It is often in combination with calendula for gentle skin care.  

Rachel x

 

Please note I was not paid to endorse this product and all information taken from Weleda, no copyright infringement intended. 

 

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