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Jade Roller Beauty Benefits

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For the last year the beauty enthusiasts among us have been obsessed with traditional Chinese derma rollers made of jade – or other gemstones like rose quartz – which have seen a resurgence in popularity.

Jade rollers are not just a huge hit because of their low price tags:

Why the resurgence?

Their new-found popularity could be explained in multiple ways. Given that data from Pinterest’s 48 million beauty lovers reported that ‘derma roller’ pins were saved a major 345% more in 2017, there’s no denying the fact that they look good on social media. Then there’s the fact that the devices, used for facial massage, are said to help sculpt the features – by encouraging drainage and toning muscles.

The recent wellness movement marrying skincare with self-care may also play a part in its resurgence. As we’re all buying into crystal-infused beauty, it makes sense to incorporate tools made of gemstones that not only grant us time out for a ritualistic daily facial, but made of materials revered for their restorative properties, benefit our skin in multiple ways, too.

The beauty benefits

The main benefits of self-massage using a jade roller are that of “drainage”, by encouraging the lymphatic system’s natural detoxification process, and brightening – by boosting the circulation and blood flow beneath the skin creating a visible glow.

Jade is really good for evening your skin tone, for cooling and calming the skin and a way of treating yourself to a daily facial. Jade rollers also have a cool surface that’s super smooth and allows you to access into muscles and tissues with a pressure that is more effective than manual massage than your hands alone, while still being gentle and safe.

Technique tips

It’s best to use your roller on clean skin, before the use of your skincare products. Cleanse your face, then roller, then apply your eye products, serums and moisturizers. In the evening, you might like to add a little oil to the rolling action, in which case cleanse, apply a small amount of oil to the surface of the skin, use the roller and rinse off any excess oil left on the tool.

While seemingly simple, they can be used in different ways. It’s best to use the roller back and forth, up and down and out to the side, to get the most out of it for an uplifting massage. Working around your facial contours, adding more pressure with the upwards motion – you want to lift the muscles with this action.

To encourage lymph drainage, imagine the bridge of your nose is the central point and roll away from that in all directions. Imagine you are very gently rolling all the toxin build up outward and downwards, finally rolling outward along your jaw and down the channel that runs down your neck by your ear.

The best buy

The Yu Ling Jade Facial Roller come in a single (£18) and double (£22) version, the duel-ended one featuring a smaller stone on the opposite end for use around the eye area. Positioned as relieving tension, while giving the skin and tissue a ‘lift’, it’s got rave reviews on Cult Beauty where you’ll also find detailed instructions on how to use it.

Rachel x

A Beginners Guide to Chakras

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There are seven major chakras. They are located at the base of the spine, at the reproductive centre, at the solar plexus, the heart, the throat, the brow and at the crown of the head. These sites in turn represent the body’s major systems: excretion, reproduction, digestion, circulation, respiration and the complex functions of cognition. The crown chakra is sometimes regarded as a unique centre of consciousness and not counted with the first six chakras. It is important to note that there are other minor centres also in the hands, feet and behind the knees.

Chakra is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘wheel’ and denotes a point of intersection where mind and body meet. Chakras can also be called lotus flowers, symbolising the unfolding of flower petals, which metaphorically describe the opening of a chakra. Lotus flowers are sacred in India. Growing from mud, they symbolise a path of development from a primitive being to a fully blossoming consciousness, mirroring the base chakra rooted in Earth, which evolves into a lotus flower with a thousand petals at the crown of the head. Like lotuses, chakras have ‘petals’ which vary in number from chakra to chakra. Beginning at the bottom with the first chakra, the petals number four, six, ten, twelve, sixteen, two, and a thousand petals. Like flowers, chakras can be open or closed, dying or budding, depending on the state of consciousness within.

The chakras are traditionally represented through symbols. Their functions and nature are described not through words but through symbolic images. This is the traditional approach of all esoteric traditions, for the symbol is richer in meaning than the word.

The chakras carry the colours of the rainbow spectrum, and a shape also represents each. The first five chakras also have animal symbols that express the nature of the chakra, and an elemental symbol. There are also common associations between the chakras and the glands of the endocrine system, so when we are ‘balancing the chakras’ we are, at a physical level, balancing the glands of the endocrine system. This is of course a very simplistic explanation of the chakra system of energy.

Root Chakra

Location: Perineum (the area mid-way between the anus and the genitals). The chakra face downwards, between the legs, the stem faces upwards into the central.

Key words: Survival

Colour: Red

Element: Earth

Sense: Smell

Endocrine gland: Adrenals

Imbalance: An imbalance in the base chakra can make a person feel as if they are underground and unfocused, they may feel weak, lack of confidence and be unable to achieve their goals.

Sacral Chakra

Location: The chakra is approximately two fingers below the navel,

Key words: Reproduction

Colour: Orange

Element: Water

Sense: Taste

Endocrine gland: Ovaries and testes, it energies also effects the urino-genital organs, the uterus, the kidneys, the lower digestive organs and the lower back.

Imbalance: A person with an imbalance in this chakra may bury their emotions and be over sensitive, an imbalance may also lead to sexual difficulties, infertility problems and blocks of creativity

Solar Plexus Chakra

Location: Just below the sternum, extending down the navel. The stem is in a corresponding position at the back.

Key words: Personal power, will, self-esteem

Colour: Yellow

Element: Fire

Sense: Sight

Endocrine gland: Pancreas

Imbalance: People who are under a lot of stress will show imbalances in this chakra. It is in this chakra that negative energies relating to thoughts and feelings are processed. Imbalances may result in depression, insecurity, lack of confidence and worries about what others think.

Heart Chakra

Location: On the same level as the physical heart but in the centre of the body. Stem is at the back.

Key word: Love (unconditional)

Colour: Green

Element: Air

Sense: Touch

Endocrine gland: Thymus

Imbalance: If the energy does not flow freely between the solar plexus and the heart, or between the heart and the throat, it can lead to energy withdrawal into the body; a person with an imbalance in this chakra may feel unloved, be afraid of loving, feel unworthy of love or be afraid of rejection. This chakra represents ‘unconditional’ love.

Throat Chakra

Location: The neck, with petals at the front and stem at the back.

Key word: Communication

Colour: Blue

Element: Ether

Sense: Hearing

Endocrine gland: Thyroid and parathyroid

Imbalance: Imbalances in this chakra will have an impact on speaking one’s mind. It also deals with issues of truth and expression of the soul. As well as speech, an imbalance in this chakra may affect one’s willingness to hear.

Third Eye Chakra

Location: Above and between the eyes. The stem is at the back of the head.

Key words: Inspiration, insight, completeness

Colour: Indigo

Element: Light

Sense: There is no sense for this chakra

Endocrine gland: Pineal

Imbalance: The third eye chakra is central to ‘seeing’ past, present and future events. It is the storehouse of memories and imagination and is associated with intellect, understanding and intuition. Imbalances in this chakra may indicate someone afraid to look into the future, afraid of success, unassertive and undisciplined.

Crown Chakra

Location: At the top of the head with petals facing upwards and the stem going down into the central column.

Key words: Knowledge, understanding, release

Colour: Diamond, white, gold or violet

Element: Thought

Sense: There is no sense for this chakra

Endocrine gland: Pituitary

Imbalance: An imbalance in this chakra may be reflected in an unwillingness to open up to our spiritual potential.

Rachel x

 

Why Meditation Is Amazing For Your Mental Health

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There’s no denying that meditation has officially gone mainstream. Gone are the days where people turned their noses up and wrote it off as a bit weird. Now, there are a growing number of meditation classes being offered as well as some brilliant apps to help us find calm anytime and anywhere.

Taking a few minutes to meditate every day with the goal of becoming more mindful, or focused on and accepting of the present, is a great way to relieve stress. But it’s even more powerful than you think. Mindfulness meditation helps ease mental health conditions like depression and anxiety—so much so, that some clinicians are trying it as a course of treatment before turning to medication.

Here’s how meditation can help put you in control of your mental health.

Meditating actually changes your brain, and with it, the way your body responds to stress. Which works wonders on depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Studies have been suggesting for the past decade that meditation can bring big health benefits, but it wasn’t until recent years that research has looked into exactly how it can change the brain.

A recent study, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, studied 35 unemployed men and women experiencing the major stress of searching for a job, and found significant changes to the brain on scans done after just three days of mindfulness meditation. Specifically, there was more activity in the portions dedicated to processing stress, focus, and calmness. In blood tests, the subjects also showed lower levels of an important marker of inflammation – even four months after the study!

It’s this impact on the body’s stress response that seems to make meditation so effective in treating mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, and PTSD

Meditation can even take the place of medication for some people.

One study published in 2015 in The Lancet showed that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), a treatment that combines mindfulness meditation with traditional cognitive behavioural therapy, was just as effective at preventing recurrence of depression as antidepressants—even for those with a larger risk of relapsing.

For the best results, meditate every day, first thing in the morning. And you can start with just five minutes.

Research has yet to pinpoint the magic time requirement to see these brain changes and improve mental health outcomes. But  ideally you should try to do it every day for 10-12 minutes. Four to fives times per week is great too, if you really can’t get to seven. The key is to be consistent.

A lot of my clients are health conscious, so I equate meditation with going to the gym. Think of meditation as mental fitness, you’re not going to get fit working out one day a week; it needs to be several times a week. We’re changing mental muscles in your brain, and it takes repetition and consistency for those changes to occur. If you’ve never meditated before, start with just five minutes or even just noticing your breathe and being aware. For many people, that’s going to seem like an eternity! Get used to focusing on your breath and stopping your mind when it wanders, and once that five minutes is flying by, increase your time to ten minutes.

 

Rachel x

Please Note: if you are suffering from a mental health condition it is always best to speak to your GP, I have also included in this post links to the mental health charity Mind who can also offer help and advice.  

 

12 Signs You Could Be Magnesium Deficient

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If you read my post talking about food intolerances and intolerance testing, you will know that my nutritionist discovered that I was Magnesium deficient.  Magnesium plays an integral part in keeping us healthy and our biochemistry in balance. Magnesium, along with calcium, potassium, chloride, and sodium are all electrolytes, needed for our brain, nerves, heart, eyes, immune system, and muscles to function. When magnesium levels are optimal in our body, we thrive. When we are magnesium deficient, it throws our perfectly balanced biochemistry out of balance, and can cause a whole host of health problems.

Often one of the most overlooked nutrient deficiencies is magnesium deficiency, and that is a serious problem because your body needs magnesium to accomplish 300 incredibly important biochemical reactions. Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body, so if you are deficient (like 50 to 90 percent of us are)—then you are probably feeling some symptoms!

There are four main reasons most of us are low in magnesium:

  • Poor nutrition
  • Medications that deplete magnesium (such as antibiotics)
  • Soil depletion
  • Chronic gut problems (e.g., leaky gut syndrome), which compromise magnesium absorption

While these are fairly common issues and not always a sign of magnesium deficiency, here are some the things that can happen when you’re lacking in magnesium.

1. Adrenal fatigue

As someone who has personally struggled with fatigue (although not adrenal fatigue) , I can attest to magnesium’s role in calming stress levels and rehabbing hormones. Magnesium helps to regulate cortisol levels, allowing for more balanced hormone production.

2. Anxiety or depression

Magnesium calms down the excitatory NMDA receptor. Without it, calcium and glutamate activate NMDA, which can lead to depression and anxiety.

3. Chronic fatigue syndrome

A study published in the revered medical journal Lancet found that out of hundreds of people with chronic fatigue syndrome, half of them were deficient in magnesium, and magnesium injections of 580 mg saw improvements of their symptoms.

4. High blood pressure

Studies have shown that people who supplemented with magnesium were able to lower their blood pressure levels by up to 12 points.

5. Heart problems

A study published in the American Journal of Cardiology found that a lower level of magnesium intake increased the risk of coronary heart disease by 50 to 80 percent. In a different double-blind, placebo-controlled study, people received either magnesium or a placebo for one year. For one month, the magnesium group received 6,000 milligrams of magnesium orotate, and 3,000 milligrams of magnesium orotate for 11 months. Afterward, only 52 percent of the placebo group was still alive, compared with 76 percent of the magnesium group.

6. Inflammation

One commonality between just about every chronic health condition is inflammation. Magnesium has been shown to decrease CRP and NfKb – which are two inflammatory  markers in blood.

7. Migraines and other types of headaches

Half of people in the United Kingdom get at least one headache every month, and millions are debilitated by painful migraines. An estimated 50 percent of those suffering from migraines are magnesium deficient. Research has found that 60 percent of those with chronic migraines have genetic changes that decrease their body’s ability to metabolise magnesium, which relaxes blood vessels in the brain. Ionized magnesium administered through an IV significantly reduced pain within 15 minutes in more than 80 percent of patients.

8. Muscle cramps and spasms

Random spasms and cramps in your legs and other parts of your body aren’t actually random—they are the most common sign of magnesium deficiency.

9. Poor memory

MIT researchers found that magnesium plays a pivotal role in regulating brain receptors needed for learning and memory function, and that supplementing with magnesium helped clear ‘brain fog’. Magnesium can also enhance the brain’s ability to change, heal, and grow new neural pathways, which is essential to slowing down and even reversing cognitive decline.

10. Skin health

A Polish study found that people with skin allergies saw dramatic improvements in their skin with magnesium supplementation.

11. Sleep trouble

Research has found that magnesium supplementation helped improve all the major physiological markers associated with insomnia. One major example: GABA is the calming, restful neurotransmitter, and GABA receptors in the brain need magnesium to work correctly.

12. Weak bones

Magnesium is a key nutrient for strong, healthy bones. A randomised controlled study found that 300 milligrams of supplemental magnesium increased bone mineral content when taken for a year. Two American Journal of Clinical Nutrition studies found that the more deficient someone was in magnesium, the lower their bone density was, increasing the risk of Osteoporosis and fractures.

What to do if you suspect your magnesium is low.

If you have any signs of magnesium deficiency, talk to your doctor about getting your magnesium levels tested. If you are deficient, start adding more magnesium-rich foods to your diet, such as:

  • Spinach
  • Dark chocolate
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Almonds
  • Black beans
  • Avocado
  • Salmon
  • Kefir
  • Figs
  • Banana

It’s really difficult to replenish your magnesium just through diet, so if you feel like you can’t possibly eat any more spinach, or are still deficient,  I recommend taking a magnesium supplement. It is generally suggest to take around 500mg each day. Supplementing with magnesium is generally considered safe but can cause diarrhoea when taking too much for your body, so start at a lower dose and work your way up.

Always talk to your GP before starting to take any supplements.

Rachel x
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