Benefits of Massage

This is part two of a three part series about self care. You can find the first post here about the Benefits of Practicing Yoga. Part three will be coming soon on the Benefits of Chiropractic Care.

Confession: I used to work for a large massage therapy franchise. I learned a lot more about the benefits of massage while working there, but I was drinking the koolaid long before I started my position there and I continue to be passionate about massage today. I can’t say I remember exactly when my first massage was, but I know it was sometime during high school and I have been getting regular massage ever since.

While many people view massage as a luxury, and I do agree that it is one and I have been lucky to be able to get so many massages, I also believe it is a necessity for many people. The overall view of massage has gotten better over the years, but I hope more people especially those that need it most can view it as a necessity and if at all possible, can find the time and money to make it a happen. It can be expensive, but so is medication as well as other not as healthy coping mechanisms that are commonly used for relieving issues or ailments that our bodies and minds experience.

For me, massage has done so much including helping to alleviate the migraine headaches I used to suffer from, helping me sleep better – medication free, relieving stress and anxiety and so much more. I challenge you to change your frame of mind and consider massage as an investment in your health and the following information will touch on why.

Well, when most of us think massage, we think….relax, de-stress and work out those problem areas and those are great benefits alone, but massage can do so much more than that…

I’m not a big fan of medication in general and prefer to choose the natural way when possible instead of masking the problem or altering my natural body chemistry and immune system. Massage therapy has been proven in multiple studies to be just as effective as other treatment methods for chronic back pain and it doesn’t stop there. Research continues to show the enormous benefits of touch—which range from treating chronic diseases, neurological disorders, and injuries, to alleviating the tensions of modern lifestyles. Slowly, the medical community is also embracing bodywork, and massage is becoming an integral part of hospice care and neonatal intensive care units. Many hospitals are also incorporating on-site massage practitioners and even spas to treat post surgery or pain patients as part of the recovery process.

Speaking of immunity, a 2010 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that massage also boosts patients’ white blood cell count which plays a large role in defending the body from disease. Massage also enhances immunity by stimulating lymph flow which is part of the body’s natural defense system.

If you sit at a desk all day for your job, regular massage can actually counteract the damage from sitting in this position for prolonged periods of time. Naturally, we are not meant to sit at a desk everyday, all day and this causes postural stress as well as creating weakness in the shoulders, glutes and lower back area. This in turn can equal pain and discomfort. Massage can alleviate these painful areas, by improving range of motion while stretching weak, tight or atrophied muscles.

Have trouble sleeping? An estimated 50 to 70 million Americans experience sleep issues that affect their health, often leading to low work performance, slowed reaction time, obesity, higher risk of long-term disease, and substance abuse. The chemistry of sleep is relevant in relation to massage because it directly influences the body’s production of serotonin, which is essential for the production of melatonin. A study on back pain, published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, demonstrated that in addition to a decrease in long-term pain, subjects receiving massage experienced improved sleep and an increase in serotonin levels.

Massage is also known to sooth and lessen feelings of depression and anxiety. A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, found that patients who were depressed and anxious were much more relaxed and happy, and had reduced stress levels after massage. Just 60-minutes of massage can lower cortisol, a hormone that’s produced in response to stress, by an average of 30 percent. By lowering cortisol and increasing serotonin, you’re boosting your body’s ability to fight off pain, anxiety and feelings of sadness. Furthermore, clients often report a sense of perspective and clarity after receiving a massage. The emotional balance bodywork provides can often be just as vital and valuable as the more tangible physical benefits.

Massage can also:

  • Assist with shorter, easier labor for expectant mothers and shorten maternity hospital stays
  • Ease medication dependence
  • Help athletes of any level prepare for, and recover from, strenuous workouts
  • Improve the condition of the body’s largest organ—the skin
  • Increase joint flexibility
  • Promote tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue and stretch marks
  • Pump oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, improving circulation
  • Reduce post-surgery adhesions and swelling
  • Reduce spasms and cramping
  • Relax and soften injured, tired, and overused muscles
  • Release endorphins—amino acids that work as the body’s natural painkiller
  • Relieve migraine pain

The power of touch is truly amazing as you just read or possibly already know. I encourage you to continue to learn even more about the benefits of massage and research any particular ailments or troubles you may be suffering from to see if and how massage can help. For me, getting regular massage is something I prioritize as part of my healthy lifestyle and routine. To keep my mind and body balanced and in tip top shape. Taking care of ourselves is so important and sometimes it’s easy to forget this in the busy world we currently live in. Take a moment for yourself…for your health. In turn, those around you that you care about most will benefit in the best way, by having you around as long as possible, in your healthiest happiest form.

Lots of love and good health,

Tasha, The Non-Toxic Newbie

Sources:

http://www.sleepreviewmag.com/2014/05/massage-therapy-sleep/

http://www.massagetherapy.com/learnmore/benefits.php

http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/health/6-surprising-health-benefits-of-massage-therapy/5/

http://mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/can-massage-relieve-symptoms-of-depression-anxiety-and-stress

 

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Green Beauty After Christmas Sales

I hope you all are having a very happy holiday season!

Before I had my own blog, I would always love when my favorite bloggers would post the best Black Friday or After Christmas Sales with online coupon codes. It just made it so easy to have a list to pick and choose from and easily browse, so here’s me giving it a try to make it easier on you to have the best green beauty and skincare sales all in one place.

There’s something really awesome about the fact that you can do some credit card damage while in your pj’s, watching Netflix and drinking a cup of coffee. Plus, you might even have some of those Visa gift cards which makes it even more fun and less guilt-inducing to shop from home. Here’s the list:

Petal & Post – Luxury Organic Beauty & Eco Lifestyle Store:

20% off your entire order with code BoxingDay20

LaMav Organic Skin Science – Organic Skin Care, Makeup, and Body Care:

20% off store-wide with code SAVENOW

Scrub Supply Co.- 100% natural and vegan face and body scrubs:

50% off all scrubs! Use code Scrub50

Fitglow Beauty – Nutrient Infused Skincare & Mineral Makeup:

15% off everything with code GET15, 35% off orders over $290 with code GET35

100% Pure – All Natural Beauty Products:

Annual Trunk Sale, up to 60% off, use link above

Vapour Beauty – Natural, Luxury Makeup & Skincare:

15% off everything today only, no code needed

Vita Liberata – Luxury, Organic Tanning & Skincare:

30% off everything sitewide, no code needed

Nourish Organic Skincare:

Up to 25% off holiday gift sets, use link above

Junebug Soap Co.- Handcrafted Bath & Body Products:

20% off everything through Jan. 1st, use code HOLIDAY20

The Truth Beauty Company – Eco Beauty Boutique:

15% off everything, use code treatyourself

Jane Iredale – Mineral Makeup & Natural Skincare:

15% off champagne eye products using code CHEERS, valid through 1/1

Au Naturale Cosmetics:

25% off with code THEYGAVEMEFRUITCAKE

Also…

Spend $50 on etsy.com and receive $10 towards your next purchase, ends 12/27

Happy Shopping!

Lots of love and good health,

Tasha, The Non-Toxic Newbie

 

 

 

22 Weeks Pregnant

22weeks

Due Date: April 25, 2017 or the ultrasound tech said April 28, 2017 based on measurements

How far along: 22 weeks

Size of baby: A coconut or a guinea pig (These are so funny and also confusing to me)

How many weeks to go: 18 weeks…This is exciting, but scary!

Maternity clothes: I’m loving my new Blanqi Maternity Belly Support leggings. These are amazing. I live in leggings these days and have two by Ingrid & Isabel, but these ones blow those out of the water. I got them 50% off right after Thanksgiving.

Stretch marks: No new stretch marks! And that belly is really growing and stretching now! My belly button is almost all the way out! I am still using THE BEST Baby Belly Butter by Nature Bare Body Care. Check out my review here. I’m almost out of my first tub though and will definitely be ordering more.

Sleep: Sleep is going pretty well. I do get up to pee at least once a night. Sorry if that’s TMI!

Best moment of this week: Visiting Minnesota and seeing my husband’s side of the family. We stayed at the cutest B&B. It was a nice little surprise from my in-laws and husband. Although it was insanely cold while we were there, it’s nice to escape AZ and enjoy some snow and wintery feels 🙂

Miss anything: Wine! I wasn’t missing it at all until the holidays rolled around and I’m seeing everyone drinking it around me.

Movement: YES! This has been so exciting. I feel baby move the most right after I get in bed. It’s like the baby knows I’m winding down so he decides to wind up. Haha!

Food cravings: Hot Chocolate or Tea

Anything making you queasy or sick: Stress: I’ve been very stressed lately and it’s been making me feel queasy and a bit off health wise. It truly is crazy how much the mind and body are connected. Yoga has helped with de-stressing and I have a pre-natal massage scheduled today! It’s so important to take care of ourselves mentally and physically. Blog post on my thoughts on massage will be coming soon 🙂

Have you started to show yet: Oh ya, that belly is really popping now. I have also gained a large amount of weight in the past 4 weeks. Talk about a growth spurt!

Gender: BOY!

Wedding rings on or off: On, I think the cold weather is definitely helping with the swelling.

Mood: Thankful

Favorite pregnancy or baby product: Organic Pregnancy Tea by Traditional Medicinals. It has some great organic ingredients that support a healthy pregnancy like Raspberry Leaf which tones the uterus and helps prepare the womb for childbirth.

Looking forward to: A relaxing holiday weekend. Putting together our baby registry and catching up on all those birth DVDs we need to watch!

I hope you all enjoy the holidays and enjoy spending time with your loved ones 🙂

Lots of love and good health,

Tasha, The Non-Toxic Newbie

*Idea for list of weekly pregnancy questions found here from 5 Ways to Document Your Pregnancy-Scottsdale Mom’s Blog, written by Adrienne of Dream Book Design.

My 2016 Beauty & Skincare Favorites

I haven’t been in the natural/non-toxic game very long, but it’s been long enough to try out some different products, begin to build my favorites and weed out the not so great ones. So I thought I’d do an end of the year roundup of my current non-toxic and natural favorites in beauty and skincare with links so you can go shop or learn more about them.

Beauty:

Primer- Luminous Primer by 100% Pure

Foundation- Vita-Active Foundation by Fitglow Beauty & Glow Time Full Coverage BB Cream by Jane Iredale

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Tinted Moisturizer- Everything Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 by Honest Beauty

Concealer- Un-Cover Up 11 by RMS

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Powder- Beyond Matte Powder by Jane Iredale

Highlighter- Luminizing Powder in Dawn Reflection by Honest Beauty

Bronzer- Baked Foundation “Dark” by Antonym

Blush- Baked Blush “Peach” by Antonym

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Lip Crayon/Liner- Lipstick Pencil “Naturelle” by Antonym

Lip Gloss- Lip Gloss in Generous Kiss by Honest Beauty

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Lip Stain- Just Kissed Lip & Cheek Stain in Forever Pink by Jane Iredale

Eyeliner- True Velvet Eyeliner in Truly Black by Honest Beauty

Mascara- Organic Wear Mascara by Physicians Formula

Eye Shadow- Eyeshadow Trio in Sable Brown by Honest Beauty

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Eyebrows- Liz Brow by Ecobrow

Lip Balm- Rink Stick by Rink Organics

Shampoo & Conditioner- Truly Restored Shampoo & Conditioner by Honest Beauty

Leave-in Conditioner- Sweet Spirit Leave-in Conditioner by Innersense

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Hair Oil- Harmonic Healing Oil by Innersense or 100% Pure Argan Oil by Josie Maran

Texturizer- Inner Peace Whipped Creme Texturizer by Innersense

Skincare:

Cleanser- Black Clay Facial Soap by Osmia Organics & Sea Foam Complete Face Wash by Pacifica

Face Oils- Antioxidant Dew by Kypris & Organic Rose Hip Oil by RosehipPLUS

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Moisturizer- Women’s Face Lotion by Rink Organics

Face Scrub- Brightening Facial Scrub by Acure Organics

Serum- Renew Serum by Fitglow Beauty (discontinued)

Mask- Pore Clarifying Red Clay Mask by Acure Organics & Indian Healing Clay Deep Pore Cleansing Mask by Aztec Secret

Eye Cream- Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream by 100% Pure

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Body Wash- Organic Body Wash by Junebug Soap Co. & Peppermint Pure Castile Soap by Dr. Bronner’s & Ultra-Hydrating Body Wash by Acure Organics

Body Lotion- Fragrance Free Ultra- Hydrating Body Lotion by Acure Organics & Orange Lavender Organic Body Lotion by Dr. Bronner’s

Hand Soap: Natural Hand Soap by Puracy

A goal of mine for 2017 is to discover and shop even more small businesses and businesses that give back a portion of their earnings to great causes.

I would love to hear what some of your non-toxic, natural and organic beauty or skincare must-haves are! Please comment below if you wish to share a product I just have to try 🙂 Also let me know if you are interested in a full post about any of the items listed above.

Thanks for checking out my 2016 Round Up!

Lots of love and good health,

Tasha, The Non-Toxic Newbie

 

 

Benefits of Practicing Yoga

I am definitely not a yoga pro or expert, but I do know that I love and believe in the practice and never regret going to a class. I’ve done bikram, hot, flow, summits, vinyasa, hatha, now prenatal and even essential oil yoga. I love it so much that I thought I would do a post on yoga benefits as well as tips for starting out if you are new to it. Because of the somewhat recent rise in popularity, chances are you have heard of yoga and probably experienced a few different types as well. Maybe you loved it, maybe you hated it. Maybe you just did it because it was a free class and you vow to try everything once. Either way, I hope you learn something new about it in this post and possibly give it another try if you aren’t yet sold.

Because of all the different types of yoga out there, yoga can be a bit overwhelming and intimidating if you are new to it. My advice is to start with a beginner’s class and also to try different types if you aren’t feeling the first type of class you take. Just because I love yoga, doesn’t mean I love every type out there. I have found the types I enjoy most and that push me just enough out of my comfort zone. I think the teacher is also a huge aspect of the practice and what you get out of it. I have had great teachers and not so great, but because of this I now know what to look for and what I personally need in a yoga teacher.

Once you try a few different types of yoga, you will also slowly discover the type you are looking for. Are you a fast paced yogi who likes to get a good cardio workout in as well and break a sweat? Or are you a slow, flow, meditative yogi who would rather use the time to unwind and relax your body? I’m definitely the latter, but it took quite a few classes to discover this. Every once and awhile, I’ll crave a more fast paced or intense class though, and it’s good to mix it up and keep your body guessing. Another tip and something that can be difficult is to keep the focus on yourself in class. Try not to compare yourself and your practice to others around you. Each person is at a different level and you should only compare your own practice to your previous one and shift the focus on your own personal improvements.

Yoga can also be hard for a lot of people because it forces us to slow down, focus on our breathing and push out incoming thoughts from the outside world. This can be a challenge especially in today’s day and age of go go go and multi-tasking. “What? You mean you actually want me to just focus on my breathing and tune everything else out for a whole hour?” Believe me, I get it, but just this hour alone can be exactly what our bodies and minds need and are oftentimes yearning and subtly asking for. This leads me to just a few of the myriad of benefits that come from practicing yoga…there truly are so many…

  • Improves flexibility
  • Builds muscle strength
  • Improves posture
  • Prevents cartilage and joint breakdown
  • Protects your spine
  • Improves back pain and other ailments
  • Betters your bone health
  • Increases blood flow
  • Drains your lymph nodes
  • Boosts immunity
  • Lowers the risk of heart attack
  • Relieves depression
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Regulates adrenal glands
  • Improves mood
  • Improves mental focus
  • Relieves stress
  • Improves balance
  • Releases tension
  • Improves quality of sleep
  • Boosts immune system function
  • Increases inner strength and self-esteem
  • Builds self awareness and positive transformation
  • Aids in fertility
  • Eases asthma symptoms
  • Fights arthritis
  • Improves memory
  • Encourages self care

As you can see, there are so many possible benefits for both your body and mind. The last benefit listed is “encourages self care.” I believe in the following trifecta of self care as part of my own healthy lifestyle: yoga, chiropractic work and massage. I think these three practices are so important and often overlooked, so this post is the first in a series of three where I will highlight the benefits of these three self care methods that I feel greatly improve quality of life and overall health.

So what do I personally get out of yoga? Well, all of the above over time and through practice on a regular basis…but what I notice most after even one yoga class is mental clarity and awareness, improved mood and gratuity, flexibility, less tension, less back/hip pain and lastly, I always sleep better the night after a practice. These are instant benefits that I see and feel right away and that are improving me for the better. It’s okay to take time for yourself, especially when yoga is involved. Taking time to improve and care for ourselves is a domino effect towards those we interact with daily and those we love the most. We are happier and healthier and can therefore be our best self for others.

I encourage you to give yoga a first or second try. Have patience in finding a type of yoga you enjoy and respond positively to, find a teacher you like and let your busy mind take a break from the daily hustle and bustle. Give yoga a chance to work its magic and give yourself a chance to feel and see the instant and long term benefits.

Lots of love and good health,

Tasha, The Non-Toxic Newbie

Sources:

http://www.yogajournal.com/article/health/count-yoga-38-ways-yoga-keeps-fit/

http://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness-pictures/10-surprising-health-perks-of-yoga.aspx#01