Posted by Judy Moon
Queue the sexy male dancers with their open white shirts flapping in the breeze. I’m not sure if I’ve ever quoted Madonna before, but I love Vogue and couldn’t help myself.
I’ve been on a roll lately having lots of fun with words. Specifically the energy behind words and the effects that the energy of the words has.
As if all of that hasn’t been enough fun, a client recently gave me an article she thought I would like. I have the best clients who love to share things with me, from homemade Vidalia onion jam, foie gras from Paris, to this cool article Power To The People by Jennifer Altmann. The article is about Power Posing and how our bodies can make us feel more powerful, Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist has done research on how “our bodies change our mind, our minds can change our behavior, and our behavior can change our outcomes.” The article discusses “high power poses” – those that convey strength – think standing like wonder woman with your hands on your hips vs.” low power poses” – closed positions, hunched over, limbs tucked together.
The research shows that standing or sitting a certain way has measurable effects. In as little as just two minutes – holding a Power Pose can increase testosterone levels and decrease cortisol, the stress hormone level. Not only does the body language affect how others perceive you, it affects how you perceive yourself.
Everything is energy, so it just makes sense that not only do words have vibrations that can affect us, but so do the postures and gestures of the body.
So I am totally stoked now to add a Power Pose to my morning ritual. The article and research talks a lot about using the poses in stressful situations, like right before you have to give a talk, or right before a job interview, but I think it would be a super-duper self care ritual to just start your day with some Mirror Work and then, strike a pose… Madonna music optional. Who doesn’t want to reduce their cortisol level? I’m in!
Break out your super hero cape and let’s get our strength and power on!
Posted by Judy Moon
I wanted to follow up on my Mirror Work. I have to be honest and say that I did not do it EVERY single day. However I did it ALMOST every day.
The weekends just throw me off. I am such a creature of habit, and I have my rituals and my routines and for some reason Saturday comes, my husband and I are both home at the same time and some of my rituals fly out the window. It’s okay, I don’t like rigidity. So not being perfect makes me happy on some level.
Back to business – I have been doing my mirror work and saying “I love you Judy” nine times while looking myself right in the eyes. Sometimes I do it several times a day (almost) everyday.
What have I noticed?
It got easier the more I did it.
I believed it the more I did it.
I smiled at myself the more I did it.
I felt kind of… bad… the days I missed it.
The biggest observation that I’ve made is that it is shutting down the negative self-talk, criticism and chatter.
Danielle Laport, who is way cool, had a recent blog post – Words can make you sick. Or healed. I loved it! She and her son did an experiment with an apple that they slice in half and put in clear containers next to each other on a windowsill. One apple they say nice things to and the other one they trash talk. I did a similar experiment with seeds and wrote about it in Do You Believe in Magic? and I had a similar experience to theirs. The apple they praised barely browned. The other apple became rotten and moldy. The seeds that I gave loving words to sprouted. The ones that I ignored (I felt guilty saying bad things to them, so I just ignored them, however, I have no clue what my husband Joe was saying !) never came up.
That left such an imprint in my mind. When I am saying the words I love you to myself, I imagine the energy and vibration that causes seeds to grow and thrive and apples to preserve and not decay. If I have a negative or critical thought now, because let’s face it, they pop in now and then, I imagine that rotting moldy apple and I think , “don’t do that to yourself!”
The Mirror Work has made me more mindful of the words I am using especially about or around myself not only when I am looking in the mirror, but also as I go through my day. Words are powerful and have an energetic charge that we often ignore, forget or take for granted. Be mindful of them. Treat them as sacred.
So the moral of the story is “don’t become a rotten apple”
I love you!
We’re excited that we have a new therapist on board – Jennifer Harrison who has brought in the Big Blue cushion system to bring on the pregnancy relief!
Big Blue is a cushion system designed specifically for supporting the dynamic needs of our clients during pregnancy. Developed by Oakworks Inc, manufactures of high quality tables and massage specific equipment since 1977. Jennifer nicknamed JMA’s second set of prenatal cushions Big Blue, based on her deep ocean hue and expansive range of support.
These cushions allow Mom to relax in a side lying position that supports a growing baby, allows for full extension of the side body, encourages neutral orientation of the hip and shoulders, relieves downward pressure at the hip and shoulder joints and cradles the head and neck for optimal comfort.
Since Jennifer Harrison’s arrival at JMA availability of prenatal services has expanded and we can now offer prenatal massage in both our treatment rooms simultaniously! Imagine you and your BFF experiencing prenatal massage during the same appointment time.
Posted by Gwyn MacDonald
Well, it seems winter is leaving us and as much as I love it… I’m really ready for spring! I do my best to keep up with my fresh veggie consumption in the winter, making yummy salads with shredded kale and cabbage, but sometimes I really crave that brightness that new spring veggies provides. So in those last two very long months of February and March, before the
new spinach, radish and pea shoots, I made a few batches of fermented veg.
Super easy and yummy, fermented veggies are crisp, bright and a bit tart, all the right things to perk up a meal and my taste buds. They are also a great source of the good gut bacteria that we could all use a bit more of.
I made them regularly many years ago but fell out of the practice. Plus we have a nice selection of fermented veg makers in the city so the convenience of grabbing a jar off the shelf may have had a little something to do with it (a favorite is Cobblestone Krautery).
But I decided to get back to it myself. There are many websites and books out there to get you started. I went to Cultures for Health, just to refresh my memory.
There are a dizzying array of fabulous products on the site, but also a TON of great recipes to get you started and a good bit of information about cultured veggies and other products and the process of fermentation itself. I started with a variation on this Carrot Kraut recipe and I added red cabbage and leeks just for fun.
Fermented foods have been around for thousands of years and are used in every culture. Fermenting prolongs “shelf” life of foods and also bumps up the good bacteria that are already present in many foods by creating an environment for them to grow and flourish. These good bacteria feed our guts, improve digestion and enhance our overall health.
You can ferment lots of stuff! My husband has been making kombucha, his own red wine and pear cider vinegars as well as a lovely raspberry shrub! Oh and a bit of beer and sourdough bread too… maybe he should be writing this post! Oh yeah, maybe he was part of my fermented veg inspiration too.
A book he loves, and may be the fermentation “bible” for some is, The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz. Talk about fermenting anything! This guy does it all and has written a very thorough and interesting book. Inspiring ferments from all over the world. Have fun!
“Pickled pea shoots” anyone?
Posted by Gwyn MacDonald
We had a sneak preview of spring weather on Tuesday, with warm sun and cool breezes. I stopped by the garden between clients to get a boost from the crocus and mini iris that have been blooming steadily for a few weeks now. I walked around the garden, catching glimpses of little goodies slowly but surely poking out of the earth. So good for the spirit to see that!
And I really only intended to observe… but suddenly I found the clippers in my hand, my jacket thrown aside and there I was, pruning away the winter!
I cleared the old, withered leaves from the lambs ear, cut the dried stems from the chrysanthemums and straightened the wire frame that will soon be entwined with a lovely, low growing pink clematis. Then I noticed the lavender plant toppling out into the aisle. “ Oh my, do you need a haircut!” I made sure some new growths were beginning to show and then began to trim away last years ramblings.
And I’m so glad I did! In a rush, that sweet, dusty, herbal fragrance was all around me. I’ve trimmed this variety of lavender many times but don’t remember it ever smelling so sweet. I was already in a chill state of mind puttering around with my plant friends but this just enhanced it ten fold. As I continued to trim, the intensity of the fragrance grew and so did the smile on my face!
I, like many people, love lavender. The plants are beautiful, in all shades of greeny/grey, with flat, needle like or feathery leaves and all different variations in scent. Used for centuries to brighten the spirits and calm the nerves, as well as an antiseptic and addition to foods. Nothing like lavender shortbread cookies! Yum!
It is our most requested aromatherapy oil at the massage studio, helping our clients (and us!) settle their minds and bodies and get back in tune.
Here are my favorite ways to use lavender:
- Last year for my birthday Judy gave me a bottle of Hauschka’s Moor Lavender Calming Bath Essence. WOW! It is so incredible. I use it, as she suggested, around my temples or just a light touch around my eyes, along my nose and cheeks and then down the jaw line, before I go to bed some nights. It is so soothing, I can’t help but relax (Thank you Judy!)!
- I put 10-15 drops of lavender essential oil in an Epsom salt bath and then soak away the day. Or just a drop or two on my finger tips and then run them through my hair before I get into bed and ease into sleep.
- Another favorite is lavender honey. A local lavender farm in Tabernacle, New Jersey, owned and operated by Toni and Steve Price, sells their honey along with sachets and bath salts at some of our farmer’s markets in the city. Lovely stuff! They also offer “cut your own ”lavender days so check out their website if you are interested. Very cool folks!
Posted by Gwyn MacDonald
I just watched a new documentary about sleep (and you should too!) created by the National Institutes of Health and National Geographic.
Or should I say our insane LACK of sleep here in the United States! Wow! The numbers of folks getting 6 hours of sleep or less each night is staggering and frightening if we consider how many of them drive on our highways daily.
There are tons of facts to absorb in this documentary and I already know how important sleep is to our general health, but this was a real wake up call (oh, sorry for that pun…) to the negative health consequences that come from chronic lack of sleep.
According to the NIH, chronic sleep deprivation is linked to an increased risk of diabetes, unhealthy weight gain, heart conditions, cancer, hormone imbalances (especially those associated with blood sugar) and emotional and mental health instabilities. There is also ongoing research about the connection between Alzheimer’s disease and sleep’s restorative role in brain and overall health. Very interesting!
To paraphrase one of the documentaries many experts, a man associated with highway and traffic safety agencies; “Every aspect of human behavior is impaired and degraded by lack of sleep. Situational awareness, memory, communication, decision making and reaction time have all been shown to drop by 20-50%.” Chronic sleep loss also creates a 40% deficit in the capacity of the brain to make and hold on to new memories.
I’m not trying to scare you but watching this documentary scared me a little bit. In a good way actually. I’ve started to take my sleep much more seriously. Now I’m not chronically sleep deprived in anyway, but I don’t sleep well on a regular basis. Most of that comes from having a very active and often anxious brain. Or from having a cup of caffeine at 4 in the afternoon, or that extra glass of wine with dinner. Or from staring at my computer screen right before I go to bed. All things I am aware of but have chosen not to take so seriously. Until now!
So I’ve begun to change some of these little things that will make a big difference in my sleep habits:
- No computer 30 minutes or more before bed
- No caffeine after noon
- Less alcohol or none with dinner during the work week
- Chamomile or other calming herbal tea 30 minutes before bed
- Light, humorous reading or breathing & meditation in bed before lights out
I’ve noticed a difference! I am getting deeper and almost uninterrupted sleep. Getting more exercise during the week will help as well. One suggestion in the documentary that I haven’t tried yet is waking up at the same time every day regardless of when you go to sleep. This technique is often used for folks with insomnia but can be helpful for all of us to get us back in tune with our natural rhythms. Here’s to a good nights sleep!
Cheers! (with herbal tea!)
Posted by Judy Moon
Since there are still some colds, flus and viruses floating around here in Philadelphia, I thought I would share a recipe that I received from my sweet sister in law who is a hospice nurse. I am not sure of the original source of this recipe, so thank you to whoever came up with it.
My husband Joe was recently down for the count and I pulled this baby out of the recipe file and was not disappointed.
It was quick, simple, smelled divine, made my hubby feel better and I think it may have helped me too! (I somehow managed to dodge the flu!)
It may sound intense, I know – 4 whole onions and 2 heads of garlic- it sounds like a lot but it definitely mellowed as it cooked.
The recipe instructs you to strain it and just use the broth, which I did since Joe just wanted broth, but I tasted it with the onions, etc, before I strained it and it was mighty good. I will be adding this soup to our regular repertoire of go to recipes.
Old Fashioned Garlic and Onion Soup
For colds, flu, respiratory infections or for prevention especially in winter season
4 large white or yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 whole heads of garlic, separated and peeled
2 tsp. thyme
4 tbs. olive oil
6 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 bay leaf
2 tbs. honey
4 tbs. each fresh basil and parsley
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
sea salt, fresh ground pepper to taste
In a large stockpot sauté the onions, garlic and thyme in olive oil until golden brown. This step sweetens and mellows the intensity of the garlic and onions. (To peel garlic cloves, smash the individual cloves with the flat side of a chef’s knife and slip out of the skins.) Add the vegetable stock, white wine, and bay leaf. Slowly cook for 2 to 3 hours. Strain liquid, and then add honey, fresh basil and parsley, sea salt, fresh ground black pepper and cayenne.
Onions and garlic are both antibacterial in action, as in the herb thyme. Cayenne pepper is recommended if there is a fever present, while basil and parsley are detoxifying herbs.
This is an excellent soup to drink during any type of infection or cold, or to simply enjoy as a first course to a meal.
Enjoy and be well!
Posted by Judy Moon
Winter is here whether we like or not. It has it’s good and bad, just like anything. There’s nothing like a steaming cup of hot chocolate on a cold day, or snuggling in to watch a movie on a snowy day rocking your favorite sweater.
One of the down sides for sure is dry skin.
I have recently read over and over on various Facebook posts and blog posts about how we don’t need to shower every day and how it is actually bad for you to do so especially in winter.
I couldn’t disagree more with this, in fact it makes me crazy!
My first reaction is what are people washing with – Spic and Span?
First my disclaimer – I am not a dermatologist, skin expert or esthetician. I am speaking from what I have learned, (as a massage therapist, I touch a lot of skin!) and what I have observed from my own experience and my own skin. Clearly if you have skin conditions you need to talk to a doctor, but I think this type of skin care makes sense for most people.
The skin is an organ. Let’s repeat that out loud – “my skin is an organ”
“I need to treat it like that.” In fact it’s the largest organ of the body. It has three main functions – protection, regulation and sensation.
The skin renews itself about every 30 days. If this dead skin builds up, it can leave a dull, flat even scaly appearance.
Exfoliation is key! You must remove the dry dead skin first. This will also help with the penetration of whatever products you are using. If you moisturize without exfoliating, you are just moisturizing that already dead layer of skin.
How do you exfoliate?
There are lots of ways to do this –
- Dry Brushing
- Hot Towel Scrubbing – ditch that nylon scrubbing thing you have in your shower and treat yourself to an old friend – a wash cloth. It is much gentler on the skin and holds the hot water better – the hot water stimulates the pores to open. Rub the warm washcloth in gentle circles all over your body. Guess what – you are also stimulating your lymphatic system – an added bonus!
- Salt and Sugar Scrubs – once a week I use a lavender sugar scrub for an extra deep exfoliation. There’s tons of DIY recipes and already make products to purchase – I personally love the Lavender Scrub from Trade Joe’s
All of these stimulating things are doing just that – stimulating the skin to do what it is supposed to do – function, regenerate cells, breathe, produce it’s own natural oils. Wake it up!
What the heck are you washing with?
Now that we have our skin alive and awake and doing it’s job, what are you going to wash it with? That’s a personal choice, but I would suggest using something that doesn’t have a ton of ingredients in it and if it does, can you pronounce them and do you know what they are? Now that your pores are open do you want to absorb those ingredients? I love Copa soaps. I feel clean and fresh after a shower and they smell divine. We sell them at the studio or you can purchase them online. My favorite is the Vetiver.
So, you’ve exfoliated, cleansed and now you need to moisturize.
Again, personal preference. Same rules apply. Read your label and think about what you are putting on the largest organ of your body. I’ve heard it said that you shouldn’t put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t put in your mouth. That’s extreme for sure, but it kind of makes sense. I use coconut oil right from the jar. I bought a cute flip top jar that I transfer it to and I add some rose essential oil to it. But you can literally use it straight from the jar it comes in.
We offer a dry brush treatment that can help get you started with a good skin care regime. We dry brush your whole body and then follow it with a therapeutic massage letting all of the oils soak in to your fresh new skin. You get to take home your brush, instructions and your new soft skin.
Showering every day is bad for you skin? I take a screaming hot shower daily, so I say, I think we have to agree to disagree.
Posted by Judy Moon
I am in the home stretch now of the 21 day Clean Program and feeling fantastic! My last post Let’s Talk Dirty described in detail just how I roll up my sleeves and dive in to this yearly endeavor. There’s a lot of information to share and I tried to break it down and keep it simple. I forgot to mention two important things –
I would HIGHLY recommend getting yourself a high speed powerful blender. If you have the cash, the Vitamix is the Rolls Royce of blenders. Everyone who I know who has one LOVES it. At the recommendation of a friend, I went with the Montel Williams Health Master, 4 payments of $33.33. I wasn’t sure if this was something I was really going to stick with at the time, so I wasn’t ready to make the commitment to the Vitamix. I can honestly say that blender is used at least 4 times a day in my house between my husband and myself and I love it. It does everything the Vitamix does and it’s never disappointed me. There are several other options out there, Nutri Bullet, Ninja, Blendtec to name a few. There’s lots of comparisons and charts and blogs – do your homework, see which one speaks to you. You won’t be sorry you did.
Getting some extra bodywork during the cleanse is a great way to support all of the hard work you body is doing. You may feel a little headachey if you are a big caffeine drinker, you may feel tired and sluggish in the beginning, or your digestion may get a little sluggish at first. Getting some therapeutic massage, reflexology, thai massage, shiatsu or reiki will make the process so much easier.
I leave you with one of my favorite recipes that I discovered last year during Clean. It’s from goop – you can always count on Gwyneth, like if you are looking for a juicer – her 2014 gift guide listed the Easy Health Angel Juicer Gold, only $4,739. I love what it said underneath it – “Absurd, but awesome.” All kidding aside, I found this super yummy recipe on goop last year and it is the perfect breakfast when the sky is grey and the thermometer outside reads ten degrees!
Chai Gingerbread Shake
Dr. Alejandro Junger
Blend until smooth. Drink before it cools for optimal digestion and to warm you up!
- 1 cup warm brewed rooibos chai tea (easy to find)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger (or a tablespoon or two of fresh squeezed ginger juice)
- 1/2 cup almond or coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- coconut nectar, raw honey or stevia to taste
- optional: 1 scoop protein powder of your choice
Posted by Judy Moon
I recently went to the most beautiful wedding. Good friends of ours got married in a park where the leaves were just starting to turn those soft beautiful shades of gold and the light from the sun peeking through the branches. They stood under an arbor that the groom made himself (it’s nice to have a handy man!), decorated with hydrangea and fall grasses and they spoke their vows to each other with all of us as witnesses. It was lovely. Not a dry eye in the crowd, not even my husband!
The reception was equally as wonderful – a brunch at Bolete restaurant,– farm to table food – chicken and biscuit sliders, halibut ceviche tacos, mushroom flatbreads, duck hash with poached eggs, butterscotch pudding, just to name a few of the highlights. The groom not only is handy, but is also a Mixologist and had a very swanky cocktail menu with catchy names.
Spending a weekend of fun, amazing food, raising your glass for many toasts is one of my favorite ways to spend time with friends, especially if you are celebrating such a special occasion. However it can also leave you feeling like you got kicked in the pants!
Luckily, I happened to see this “secret detox drink” that someone shared on Facebook. I love synchronicity – need a detox – here you go! I have done my share of cleanses, juice cleanses, etc, but I was looking for something new and not as extreme as the 21 day Clean program I usually do in January. This was appealing to me since it’s a variation on some things I am already doing daily- I already drink water with lemon and apple cider vinegar every morning, so this is just more of that with some cinnamon and some cayenne. Kind of like the Master Cleanse, but you only do this for 2 weeks and you just eat healthy meals. You just drink the secret detox drink 20 minutes before your meals. I will keep you posted on my experience and if it rejuvenated me at all!
Photo from Megan Keller Photography
Posted by Gwyn MacDonald
It’s short and sweet today folks, but very, very important.
As I’ve said before, all we have are moments and before we know it many moments have passed before we realize how long it’s been since we’ve seen a dear friend or called a distant relative or thanked someone for helping us when we needed it.
Tell the people you love that you love them! Freely and Often!
And if you are with them, give them a hug too! Don’t think I need to add too much more here, do I?