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How to: Hydrotherapy

Nothing says cleansing quite like washing everything off your body, and hydrotherapy goes the extra mile, leaving you invigorated and boosting your mood, circulation, and lymphatic system. I love this home practice, and it feels especially necessary in a time when access to bathhouses and other shared therapeutic spaces are limited.

1. Start by drybrushing your full body. Make sure to always direct your strokes towards the heart and spend extra time in areas where lymph nodes are concentrated. See here for a more detailed description of our preferred ritual. Dry brushing stimulates your lymph system, clears stagnant skin and break up, and wakes up your entire body.

2. Run a cold shower. If you need to ease your way in, start with your feet. Your feet have lots of nerve endings, and this will help stimulate your nervous system right away. When you're ready, bring your whole body under cold water. Cold water constricts your blood vessels, helping to increase blood flow.

3. Vigorously massage your whole body with your hands to create warmth and get your blood flowing! Focus on keeping your body and breath moving. Aim to stay under the water for at least two minutes. By the end, you should feel warm. For an extra exfoliation, lather up one of these sustainable sisal shower poofs with liquid soap and scrub up your body, again going towards the heart!

4. Towel off and apply your favorite Smoke body oil to damp skin. 

Go into your day glowing with this ancient recipe for radiance!


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5 Ways to Cultivate Creativity in Quarantine (and Beyond)

I expected the constraints, what I would not be allowed to do, what would stop or cease to be possible. What I didn’t expect was what that change would make possible, that when we remove or shift elements of our lives, there is necessarily new space.

When I walk outside or talk with friends, there is grief and loss, but there is also a swell of new life and experiences. In all its limits, quarantine can be a deeply generative space. Confined to our own homes, we have the freedom to imagine what is possible, to experiment, and create. Creativity isn’t about making you happier, fitter, or more productive, it’s about reminding yourself of what is possible. It doesn’t need to look any specific way or like anything at all.

Here are a few of my favorite practices for cultivating creativity:

1.  Journaling - This is a space where I can express myself without the pressure of having my writing be for or about anything but me. Journaling gets the creative juices flowing, and helps us process our subconscious and conscious thoughts. I follow the Artist's Way practice of free-writing 3 pages first thing in the morning, but If a blank page feels intimidating, I love Ev'Yan Whitney's sensuality workbooks and Alex Elle's journals with focuses like meditation, gratitude, and self-care.

2.  Make a wildflower bouquet - Foraging flowers reconnects me to nature, my senses, and the abundance of the world around me. There is no wrong way, just an instinctual pull to the colors, smells, and textures that move me. See our Instagram for ample evidence

3. Make a playlist - Sometimes I pick a place, feeling, or memory to evoke. Other times I approach playlists as a gift I can send to someone I love or just as a collection of rhythms that make me want to move my body. Here’s one I made for my breath work class last year that I’ve been revisiting lately.

4. Read some poetry - Poetry always reconnects me to a more imaginative, sometimes more powerful way of sensing the world around me. As a shorter form, it’s also a great way to remind myself of the pleasures of reading without worrying if I can commit to a whole book right now. Try anything by Audre Lorde, Mary Oliver, or Rupi Kaur.

5. Start a project that feels a little silly - Follow through with a wild and fleeting idea to make something that doesn’t serve a specific purpose. Write a song, bake cookies, recreate a craft you loved making as a child. I've been reflecting on practices my younger self enjoyed, and giving into those. Even listening to influential albums from my past has helped to jostle my creativity in new ways! 

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Guest Post: Jennifer Mills

Jennifer is one of our favorite New Orleans-based holistic esthetician and the owner of Ritual Body Wellness. We asked her to share her top tips making her feel like a lucid (even radiant!) human during these quarantimes...

1. At-Home Probiotic Enzyme Mask

No esthi(tician), no problem! I am a firm believer in a minimal approach to skin health. Rarely do I suggest retail masks or the countless blogger DIY-masks on the web. Most are problematic or simply do not work, and the skin is a delicate ecosystem where we must nourish skin flora, barrier integrity, and optimal pH.

So, try this: A 1:1 ratio of organic, full-fat, plain yogurt, such as Stonyfield or Siggi's plus Manuka or local honey. Whisk in a bowl, apply to cleansed skin with a mask brush, and leave on for 10-15 minutes. The alpha hydroxy acids in the yogurt gently exfoliate and moisturize. It’s a natural anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and full of zinc (great for dermatitis, rosacea, dry, acneic, and all skin types).

The real MVP are the live bacterial strains that help to balance the skins’ flora for a healthy chain reaction. Honey helps to emulsify and dissolve dull skin while deeply conditioning and helping to resolve acne lesions. My clients have been obsessed with this for years…leaves the skin GLOWING.

2. Big Vitamin D Energy

Balanced hormones and sunlight are like birds of a feather. I LOVE the sun-working out or laying out, I’m here for it. It is truly serving my mental health right now. “Laying out” looks a lot different than it did in the 80’s and 90’s when it was common to skip any SPF and lather cooking oil on. Yak! Yet, correctly and safely micro-dosing in the sun has its’ benefits including increased LIBIDO and SKIN benefits. And healthy testosterone levels in men and women are cardinal to a healthy libido.

Several studies suggest that with simply 30 minutes of sunlight we can naturally increase our Vitamin D, testosterone, and counter Seasonal Affective Disorder. Estrogen is also balanced by the additional Vitamin D synthesis, and in return your skin could thank you. And natural perspiration will help cleanse the pores.

As always, wear a clean, ZINC SPF on your face and décolletage-I like to cover the tops of my hands as well. Know your body, some skin types can handle 30 minutes of bare sun exposure while others, like red heads, might only be able to go for 10 minutes or so. We don’t want any pinkness or burning. With all that said, I lather on Khus Khus Herbal Copious CBD body serum, grab a book, and lay out nude for 30 minutes daily. Big Vitamin D energy for sure.  

3. Form Your Coven

Friendships are really important for mental health and longevity. The Blue Zone studies-demographic work done by Gianni Pes and Michel Poulain that identified the concentrations of extreme longevity and centenarians across the globe-found that one lifestyle factor shared in all the Blue Zones is a strong social network. Weekly meals and dates with friends, family meals, and community contribution show lower rates of hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and cancer in several studies. So, grab yourself a cup of tea or glass of vino and chat with your friends weekly for your mental health! Salud!

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