Is your winter mood bad for business?

When the sun is shining so is my mood - I'm outside, drinking water, inspired, motivated, and *easier to rise (*my shop opens at 10am, it's no secret I'm not a morning person year round!). But still come November, it hits me like a ton of bricks; I'm sleepy, slow moving, less motivated; cold/wind/rain, sundown feels like it's in the middle of the day, my balanced diet is a stranger, and don't even get me started on my eating habits around the holidays! 

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The symptoms listed above describe a seasonal disorder called SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). In short, it is depression-like symptoms that occur during a certain time or season of the year.  Going through this cycle starts to build habits and acceptance, and for some professionals in the healing industry, a loss of business. 

Here we are in January and Oregon, like many other locations, is still several months away from seeing those mood boosting, vitamin D wearing months.  So what can we do to combat this affect to ensure our minds, bodies and businesses stay balanced and healthy?  Let's start here -->  In an article titled "Planting a Mental Garden" Thich Nhat Hanh provides us a foundational perspective: 

 

"In each one of us there are flowers and there is also garbage. The garbage is the anger, fear, discrimination, and jealousy within us. If you water the garbage, you will strengthen the negative seeds. If you water the flowers of compassion, understanding, and love, you will strengthen the positive seeds. What you grow is up to you.  If you don’t know how to practice selective watering in your own garden, then you won’t have enough wisdom to help water the flowers in the garden of your beloved. In cultivating your own garden well, you also help to cultivate her or his garden. Even a week of practice can make a big difference. You are more than intelligent enough to do the work. You need to take your situation in hand and not allow it to get out of control. You can do it. Every time you practice walking mindfully, investing your mind and body in every step, you are taking your situation in hand. Every time you breathe in and know you are breathing in, every time you breathe out and smile to your out-breath, you are yourself, you are your own master, and you are the gardener in your own garden."

- Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Exactly! "What you grow is up to you", and if you are not supporting and growing your own garden, you will not have the tools to cultivate growth in others - your partner, your business, your clients. Our business as Massage Therapists is based on cultivating healing and peace for others. Your business and your clients will be grateful when you begin from within! 

Cultivation in 3 parts - check it out. 

01 - Invest in your body

  • Hydration: If drinking water is difficult for you, as it is for me, I love working in at least 1 mug of tea a day to mix things up. Ensure you have water for your clients after every treatment.  
  • Sleep: Consider a simple 5min evening routine to prepare your mind for rest. You may also try incorporating non habit forming sleep aides like our natural essential oil spray Insomni Sleep. I love to spray this on my pillows morning and night.   
  • Consistent Movement: Incorporate something, everyday - if I'm not seeing time for it, I put it in my workday - quick walk to the post office, 5 times around the shop as I'm taking inventory, park further from the entry point of stores. 

02 - Invest in your mind

  • Dialog with Others: Have coffee with a friend or mentor, get to work 5min early to hold a quick conversation with your coworkers, learn a language from a simple free app like Duolingo that keeps you talking an engaged.
  • Space for Self Reflection: Start a gratitude journal to look back at the blessings of your day, try a journaling initiative like Julie Cameron's Morning Pages. Add in a simple meditation or yoga practice throughout your week. 
  • New Perspectives: Check out new books, audio books and online videos from amazing folks like Brene Brown and Marie Forleo to create some mindful thoughts and inspiration. Sage Linskey, a Eugene author wrote The Happiest Choice a guide that offers traditional and alternative techniques for coping with forms of mental suffering.

03 - Walk Mindfully

  • Give Back: Get involved - how can you use your professional skills within your community to connect and grow? 
  • Learn, Education & Share: Keep educating yourself on new techniques, new businesses concepts, local and national events and initiatives. Share with your friends, family, and clients these tidbits of knowledge!  
  • Be Mindful: Mindfully create a treatment space that supports your professional vision and allows for the power of healing to take place. Be mindful about your clients needs with the treatment, maybe it's silence, maybe it's guided breathing, maybe it's a safe space to relax. 

By taking your situation in hand, you will create an open door to a healthy mind, body, and business! 

"... Every time you practice walking mindfully, investing your mind and body in every step, you are taking your situation in hand ..." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Interested in diving further into starting or growing your massage practice?

Check out the mymassageadvisor page for additional professional support!  

Many Blessings - Brenda Stebbeds, LMT

Breath is Life: Why not Breathe Great?

 Eucalyptus globulus, from Franz Eugen Köhler’s Medizinal-Pflanzen 1887

Eucalyptus globulus, from Franz Eugen Köhler’s Medizinal-Pflanzen 1887

What do tea tree, rosemary, ravensara, eucalyptus, lavender, and peppermint have in common?

They're all potent allies for respiratory health, and just a few of the essential oils that we blend together to make Breathe Great!

We'd like to take a moment to showcase our celebrity essential oil blend in the Urban Therapeutic Apothecary, Breathe Great.

This is our only blend with an academic study (!!!) from University of California Irvine that proved its efficacy at treating staph, strep, pneumonia, MRSA and more. Seriously! Where modern antibiotics fail, nature's pharmacy picks up the slack. 

You can find this study here to learn more. 

Our EO blends were formulated by certified Aromatherapist Ann Vermilye for various ailments, and below you’ll find a video of Ann discussing why she formulated this blend and its effects. (Press the "CC" button for captions)

Thanks Ann! Isn't she adorable? Stay tuned for more videos with her to come.

Many of us have fond childhood memories of a caregiver applying vapor rub to our chests, opening up our sinus passages before and sending us off to a sickly sleep from which we awoke feeling worlds better.

Unfortunately, store bought brands of vapor rubs often contain special petrolatum (processed crude oil) and turpentine, which is typically used as a paint thinner. The new "greaseless" formulas are even worse - containing parabens, diazolidinyl urea (a formaldehyde releasing chemical that is toxic upon inhalation) and PEG-100 Stearate (which is often contaminated with cancer-causing dioxane).

We decided to create our own all-natural vapor rub, and here is the recipe!

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Listen to your Elders

 Franz Eugen Koehler,  Koehlers Medizinal-Pflanzen in naturgetreuen Abbildungen und kurz erläuterndem Texte (1883-1914), Gera - Germany

Franz Eugen Koehler, Koehlers Medizinal-Pflanzen in naturgetreuen Abbildungen und kurz erläuterndem Texte(1883-1914), Gera - Germany

My grandmother always used to say, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,". I didn't give her words much regard growing up, but as I get older, I am beginning to see the wisdom in this old adage.

Especially during cold and flu season.

Which, if you're nestled in the Willamette Valley like we are, is in full swing! Students of all ages are packed into small, poorly-ventilated classrooms where germs a-plenty replicate at alarming rates. Remember that meningitis outbreak at the U of O a couple years back? Yikes.  No thank you, please.

When I think about herbal allies to prevent picking up a winter bug, delicious elderberries come to mind. Ever-prolific on almost every continent, practitioners of folk medicine have been using them for hundreds (if not thousands) of years! We have them in our apothecary for just $1.47 per ounce. Certified organic, as always.

 Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

Nice try Monty Python, but that is hardly an insult. I mean, yeah, elderberries do smell a little funky, but if you can cook broccoli or eat fancy cheese, then you'll have no problem with elderberries. In the same way that garlic breath may be a smooch-deterrent for those who are ignorant of its amazing health benefits (garlic and onion paste straight up kills MRSA), the pungent scent of elderberry syrup simmering on the stove will grow on you faster than you can say Sambucus nigra!

Just in time for Halloween, here's a little of the witchy western folklore behind the use of elderberries. Call this festive superstition, call it white people's indigenous wisdom, but either way there is a plethora of old wives' tales from the British Isles, Europe, and Russia about the elder tree, with much of the focus on cultivating a reciprocal relationship with the plant.

 Andersen's Fairytales, Hans Christian Andersen, Published by Grosset & Dunlap (1945), Illustrated by Arthur Szyk

Andersen's Fairytales, Hans Christian Andersen, Published by Grosset & Dunlap (1945), Illustrated by Arthur Szyk

 

"If an elder tree was cut down, a spirit known as the Elder Mother would be released and take her revenge. The tree could only safely be cut while chanting a rhyme to the Elder Mother.

The Elder Mother is thought to be the guardian of the elder trees, and it was said, until recent times in various parts of England and Scandinavia that to take wood from the elder tree one would have to ask the Elder Mother first, or else ill luck would befall the woodsman.

The woodsman would have to ask the Elder Mother like so:

'Old girl, give me some of thy wood and I will give thee some of mine when I grow into a tree.' "

- Burne, Charlotte Sophia (2003) Handbook of Folklore, Kessinger Publishing

 

A tale from Northamptonshire tells of man who cut a stick from an elder, and saw that the tree was bleeding. Later he meets the local witch and sees that she has a bloodied bandage on her arm.  Now that's taking "you are what you eat," to a whole other level. Want to learn more about the magic and folklore of elder? The Practical Herbalist has an awesome blog post titled Elderberry History, Folklore, Myth and Magic.

Below you'll find our recipe for elderberry syrup, just a spoonful each morning will help keep colds and flu's away. You can also experiment with elderberry jams, wines, and more!

Winter is coming. Ready for Fall Term?

Violet here. It's that time of year again! When I hear the words "back to school," the nostalgic scent-memories of pencil shavings, old books, and brand new clothes carry me away to a simpler time when Kindergarten seemed like an exciting new world full of possibility. 

These days, preparing for classes is less about sharpening pencils and double-knotting shoelaces, and more about being vigilant about self care to ensure I have a clear and open mind, ready to receive and retain the knowledge my instructors have to dispense. Luckily for me, I won't have to memorize all the bones and muscles in the body unlike students at the Lane Community College's Massage Therapy Program. Regardless of whether you're an aspiring academic or a student of the world, below you'll find our tips for staying afloat while diving into a new curriculum. 


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Eating well can be difficult on the go, and personally, I lapse most when it comes to breakfast. LivingLove Superfoods is a local company crafting small-batch superfood protein powders that I have come to rely on as part of my morning routine. Developed by a nutritional therapist, both the Everything Good and Performance Blend powders are full of protein, essential fatty acids, green vegetables, probiotics, and adaptogens. The best part? They're a cinch to mix into a mason jar full of milk (nut, dairy or otherwise) and dash out the door. You can find them here in our shop where they're eligible for your student discount! Feed your body well, and suddenly everything feels better. 


 Rosmarinus officinalis,  Flora de Filipinas  1880

Rosmarinus officinalis, Flora de Filipinas 1880

Now that we have the nutrition part covered, let's talk about helpful study habits. Do you already enjoy the aromatherapy of essential oils? Awesome!

One study from the Northumbria University’s Department of Psychology found that pupils working in a room with the aroma of rosemary, in the form of an essential oil, achieved 5% to 7% better results in memory tests. Apparently this isn't a new discovery, ancient Greek students wore garlands of rosemary in exams. Ophelia, in Shakespeare's play Hamlet, says, "There's rosemary, that's for remembrance."

We sell certified organic rosemary essential oil in our apothecary for $10.00 per dram, that's just $9.00 for therapy students and professionals! Northumbria University have also found that sage, ginseng, lemon balm and gingko biloba can all have positive effects on improving mental performance. Plants make such great allies, and when I'm feeling less than stellar they're always there to lend a helping hand. Err, leaf?  


Okay so you've gone to class, you've studied hard, and now it's time to unwind. Rest is paramount in keeping your brain healthy and nourished, and therefore able to retain and recall all the stuff you've just packed into it. As the days begin lengthening and temperatures drop, bathtub season approaches.

Ever heard of epsom salts? I'm sure you have! People have been using it as a folk remedy for hundreds of years. Find them in the UT apothecary, add some essential oils, and bam! Heaven on earth, waiting to be added to a tub near you. After a jam-packed day I find nothing better than a nice long soak. Even if I don't "have time" for a bath, soaking my feet works wonders. 

Kirsten Antony, Registered Nurse and Certified Reflexologist practicing Holistic Nursing for over 20 years writes,

 Epsom Salt aka Magnesium Sulfate is a chemical compound made up of magnesium, sulfur and oxygen. Soak it up!

Epsom Salt aka Magnesium Sulfate is a chemical compound made up of magnesium, sulfur and oxygen. Soak it up!

 "Of the multitude of benefits, regular use of Epsom salts have been shown to improve sleep, reduce inflammation, improve muscle cramps, wound healing, healing of skin conditions such as athletes foot and toenail fungus, build healthy skin, joints and nerves and removes of toxins from the body.

Another benefit of Epsom Salt is that it has the potential to improve the mood. Magnesium helps to produce serotonin which is a chemical the body produces to induce relaxation, a feeling of well-being and happiness."


Well there's a few tips for now! Keep in mind that the Urban Therapeutic team is here to be your ally on this journey toward your new career. Stop in anytime for other keen ways to make the most out of your time spent learning, absorbing and exploring. 

Good luck out there!
- Violet

Summer Skincare in the Urban Apothecary

Couldn’t make it to our Outdoor Skin: Build a Natural First Aid Kit workshop last week? No worries! Here are a few of the recipes we created together. All supplies are available in our apothecary.

 

Figure 14 from Deutschlands Flora in Abbildungen, 1796

All-natural Sunscreen Oil

  • 1 oz Shea Butter
    (SPF 6)

  • 1 oz Fractionated Coconut Oil  
    (SPF 4-6)

  • 1 tsp Red Raspberry Seed Oil
    (SPF 30-45)

  • 1 or 2 drops Vitamin E

  • 2 oz Squeeze Bottle

 Put butter and oils in a heat proof glass container. Warm just until the Shea Butter is melted. Add the Vitamin E oil and blend. Pour into a 2 oz squeeze bottle and let cool. This will set up to a semi-opaque oil.

 

 

 

 

from Volume 3 of Franz Eugen Köhler’s Medizinal-Pflanzen or Medicinal Plants, 1887

Anti-Bacterial Sanitizer

  • Witch Hazel

  • 6 drops Tea Tree Oil
    (antibacterial, anti-microbial, anti-septic)

  • 15ml bottle with reducer top

Fill the bottle with Witch Hazel, then add Tea Tree Essential Oil. So simple!

We do not recommend adding the essential oil first as most essential oils are extremely potent and will begin to break down whatever plastic container they are added to. Not a problem if you’re using glass, but it’s always good to establish best practices.

(other essential oils that could be used include Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Lemongrass, Rosemary)

 

 

 

Thymus vulgaris - Köhler's Medizinal Pflanzen

Natural Insect Repellent  

  • 7.5 ml Distilled Water

  • 7.5 ml Witch Hazel

  • 15ml Spray bottle

  • 20  Drops of the following essential oils (5 drops each):

○ Citronella (insect repellent, antibacterial, antiseptic, antifungal)
○ Thyme thymol (insect repellent, antibacterial, antiseptic; a study by the American Mosquito Control Association discovered thyme essential oil had a 91% protection rate against female mosquitoes)
 ○ Cedarwood (insect repellent, antiseptic, antifungal)
 ○ Lemongrass (insect repellent, antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiseptic) 

 (If you do not have all of these essential oils, use a combination of the ones that you do have)

Pour the water and Witch Hazel into the bottle. Add the essential oils. Place lid on bottle. Shake well before each use.

 

 

What else do you put in your all-natural First Aid Kit? Comment below!