Hand Reflexology Uncovered…

Hand Reflexology uncovered… by one of our therapists Gini

Reflexology is a safe, non-invasive therapy that we literally have at hand (and foot!) wherever we go. Whilst booking yourself in for a treatment is always a great option, reflexology is something that we can all carry out on ourselves if we need a quick health fix.  Most people associate reflexology with the feet, but we can actually carry out reflexology on ourselves by applying pressure to the reflexes on our hands.

Here are my 5 quick and easy steps for self help reflexology: 

1. Studies have shown that reflexology can relieve stress. Knowing that we have our hands available at all times is therefore very reassuring.

We can calm the nervous system by accessing the brain reflex and the spine reflex. The brain reflex lies at the tips of our fingers, so simply pinch and hold several times. The spine runs down the side of the thumb; reflexologists use a thumb walking technique, but this isn’t necessary if you are using reflexology for a quick fix. Just add pressure to the area, in whatever way feels most natuaral to you.

The diaphragm and the solar plexus are also great reflexes to work to ease stress and tensions. Massage across the hand just underneath where the fingers meet the palm. This will actually be the lungs, but if you go a touch further down the palm of the hand and work across you hit the diaphragm line and solar plexus. Practice some relaxing breath work techniques by inhaling for 4 and exhaling for 6, at the same time and you will really feel the benefits.

If it’s convenient try giving yourself 5 – 10 minutes, using these relaxation techniques.

2. Congestion and colds can cause a lot of discomfort, particularly around the face and in the head. Work the whole of the fingers to connect to the reflexes in the face. Working them on the front and back and around the sides, really give them a good old massage! Once again pinch the tips of the fingers to work the brain reflex for any headaches.

3. For back pain! Whether it’s tension around the shoulders, or discomfort in your lower back, connect to the spine reflex on your hand. Try pressing the edge of your thumbs against each other so that they massage each other. Simple and effective!

4. If you suffer from IBS or bloating after meals, there is a great way of working the digestive reflexes using a golf ball. The reflex for the colon and the small intestines sit at the lower palm of your hands. Take the golf ball and connect to these reflexes by holding it between your two palms, and rolling it around the lower part of your hands. Just remember to pop the golf ball in your bag so you can do this anywhere at anytime!

5. Having trouble sleeping? Reflexology can be great for helping with insomnia. The pineal gland that is found in the brain is the regulator of sleep, as it produces the hormone melatonin. If you’re off balance in this area, connect with the tip of the thumb where the pineal reflex sits; my advice is roll the tips of the thumbs together so that they are massaging each other, nice and easy and something you can do when you are tucked up in bed. Remember to make sure there is no light creeping into your bedroom too, as this stops the release of melatonin which is essential for sleep!

My advice is to work from hand to hand so if you get interupted you can be sure you are balanced!

Don’t worry if you forget these reflexes, just give yourself an over all hand massage and be assured that this is having a balancing effect, and just make sure you take off your shoes and walk barefoot when possible! Feeling the grass underneath your feet, or the sand in-between your toes, enjoy the feeling of being balanced and grounded by the earth.

You can also meet Gini on our retreats as she is our invaluable retreat assistant too! 

EX-HALE your way to Relaxation…

How about if we all had a certain magical power within us? A magical power which can ease stress and tension, reduce anxiety and make many of life’s stresses feel manageable… Oh wait – we do! Our own breath is a hugely powerful resource which many of us can learn to tap into very simply and with incredible results.

As yogis have known for centuries—and, as medical science is beginning to discover—the breath has amazing recuperative powers. By controlling the breath (a practice called Pranayama), the yogis found, they could alter their state of mind.

Not all breaths are created equal. A great, simple breathing exercise for calming both the nervous system and the overworked mind is a timed breath where the exhale is longer than the inhale. When your exhale is even a few counts longer than your inhale, the vagus nerve (running from the neck down through the diaphragm) sends a signal to your brain to turn up your parasympathetic nervous system and turn down your sympathetic nervous system.

The sympathetic nervous system commands your fight or flight response, and when that fires, your heart rate and breathing increases, and stress hormones like cortisol start pumping through your bloodstream, preparing your body to face the threat. If the threat is, “A lion is chasing me and I need to run for my life” this is helpful. If the threat is, “I am late for work” this is not a particularly valid threat, and in fact it can be damaging to the other systems of the body.

The parasympathetic nervous system, on the other hand, controls your rest, relax, and digest responses. When the parasympathetic system is dominant, your breathing slows, your heart rate drops, your blood pressure lowers as the blood vessels relax, and your body is put into a state of calm and healing.

Here’s how to Ex-hale your way to Relaxation:
1* To begin, sit still and tall somewhere comfortable. Close your eyes and being breathing through your nose.

2* Inhale for a count of 1. Hold the breath in for a count of 1 and exhale gently, counting out for 4… and finish by holding the breath out for a count of 1. Keep your breathing even and smooth.

3* If the 2-4 count feels too short try increasing the breath lengths to 4 in and 6 out, or 6 in and 8 out, and so on. But if longer breaths create any anxiety there is no need to push yourself. The most important thing is that the exhale is longer than the inhale, not the absolute length of the breath.

Namaste! x

7 Steps to soul-mind and skin luminescence

Marion Stone, natural skincare expert and LIA therapy facialist par excellence offers 7 healthy lifestyle tips for obtaining a radiant glow from the inside out – look and feel luminous in soul, mind and skin.   We are delighted to have Marion on board as a key part of our retreat hosting team and just love her practical, simple steps – read on to glide from the bronzed glows of summer-time into a September skin and soul that shines:

1. CLEANSE AND MOISTURISE – EVERY NIGHT!

Whether it’s a day in the city or a day in Ibiza; the pollution of the city, the dehydration and exposure to ageing rays of the sun, the salty air, layers of suntan cream and dusty / dirty roads will affect the condition of your skin.  So it’s important to get that all off at the end of the night. EVERY NIGHT! If you don’t it will all remain on your skin, rub down into your pores AND rub off onto your lovely pillows too.  A good nightly cleanse is so much more important than a morning ritual because our skin repairs when we sleep. DON’T cleanse your face with shower gel… PLEASE……get a good cleanser that is right for your skin or it can make it even more oily / dry. And always cleanse with a flannel or mitt so that you gently exfoliate at the same time.

combination / oily skin: choose one with rosemary, lavender,  jojoba or tea tree – something balancing and calming.

 dry skin: needs a gentle cleanser that hydrates so one with rose and camomile is great.

sensitive skins: can look for calendula, which is soothing and healing.

Top Tip: Think about how your skin feels after cleansing – if your skin feels TIGHT it is a sign that the cleanser you are using is too astringent and can strip the skin of its natural sebum (oil) on the epidermis.

2. DARK LEAFY GREENS!  (JUICE or EAT )
Seems obvious I know but do you really eat enough? Whatever you eat in your diet I can guarantee you that eating MORE dark leafy greens will give amazing results to your skin AND give you more energy. Look for seasonal greens at local farmers markets for the freshest, most vitamin packed fare.  Broccoli, Kale and Spinach all are liver boosters which boosts the brightness of your skin too.  Needless to say… organic and locally sourced is THE way.
And whilst we are on the subject of nutrition…

3. COFFEE OR WATER & LEMON? Hmmmm?
I know, you hear it all the time. We all bang on about it. But I can truly say with conviction that starting your day with a hot water and lemon will be AMAZING for your skin. It alkalises the body (whilst coffee makes it acidic – ouch! Acid reflux) and helps to cleanse the system of any toxin build up whilst rehydrating your organs – including your skin – the biggest organ of all. Remember: toxins means dull skin – fact.

4. LIE BACK AND THINK OF YOUR WRINKLES!! 
Yes, going to sleep on your back really works – trust me I’m 50!
I’d like you to do an experiment right now for me:
Rest your head sideways, on your hand, I mean really rest it heavily as you would on a pillow and look at it in the mirror……see what I mean? Now imagine doing that for 8 hours a night, every night.
If you practice lying on your back while you sleep you allow all the tiny facial muscles to relax naturally PLUS you will reduce the wrinkles in your décolletage too. Double bonus time!

5. WATCH YOUR THOUGHTS…
It is a proven fact that a more positive attitude to life produces and more positive life. Take it from me I’ve been on the opposite side of this philosophy! So watch those negative thoughts because they produce stress and we all know where stress can take us.

6. MEDITATE 
Meditation calms the mind and reduces stress. FACT. Reduced stress in your life reduces wrinkles. FACT.
Learning to focus on the present moment that is your breath (rather than worrying about your future or dwelling on the past) is a powerful tool to combat stress and anxiety.
This is why my HEALING FACIALS really work like no other facial you have ever had before. Guiding you through a relaxing meditative visualisation at the start of my treatment stimulates your mind and body to go into a floating state of relaxation. This allows all the tiny muscles in your face to soften and release any tension….so you’re half way there even before I’ve started the whole gorgeous facial.

7. INVEST IN REGULAR ME TIME!
I know, I know, you don’t have time. But just as with meditation, it is so important to take time out for yourself as a priority in your busy schedule. Many people merely wait for their once a year yoga and wellness retreat or holiday – and this can be a great “reset” – yet to keep glowing all year around, schedule in “me-time!” as often as possible and feel the benefits of the extra energy  zings!

I know this all may sound like a lot but little by little on a daily basis will bring huge benefits to your well-being.

Contact Ibiza Retreats to book a healing holistic HEAVEN facial with me (see below) I’m really looking forward to meeting you.

Love, light and luminesence!

 

Attachment-1 Want to experience Marion’s healing hands and an LIA therapy facial?  It gives you an indulgent, 30 minute massage of the shoulders, neck, face and head; releasing tension, and stimulating those oh so important blood and lymphatic systems for a plump and lustrous looking glow….from the inside out, luxurious all natural products for sloughing off dead skin and improving circulation with peelings followed by a zinging bee-venom face mask to incite natural collagen production.

Visit her website www.marionstone.com for further information or email info@ibizaretreats.com for a special autumn offer!

 

Think GLOBAL, eat LOCAL

Do you often “buy organic” because you want the most nutritious, ecologically sound and, quite honestly tasty and delicious produce?   Yes – organic is definitely better for your health – and vital for the health of our beloved planet, however, the best for your system and our eco-system, as well as being the most nutritious, is organic produce that is locally sourced… and also in season, rather than being flown in from thousands of miles away.  

Health organisations around the world concur that this is the best way to maximise your intake of vitamins and minerals. And whether you are eating a fresh apple in England or Germany, Tomatoes off the vine in Italy, or a cold slice of fresh Ibizan watermelon in summertime, s well juicing you up with an all-natural taste-sensation, doesn’t it make you feel instantly more alive?

Create harmony within your body and with the environment around you through honouring the ebb and flow of nature’s abundant offerings season by season.  

Eat seasonally and locally: listen to your body…. and you will FEEL the benefits of this.. root vegetables are earthy, denser, grounding and comforting during the autumnal and winter months,  the cooling and rehydrating qualities of cucumbers help the body maintain its equilibrium in the heat of summer time.  All whilst benefiting the world around you:

* Save on carbon output and noise pollution from planes and save the oil and petrol fuelling the trucks that carry produce across the world.

* Invigorate the local economy and inspire local farmers to grow healthy produce without the use of toxic chemicals whilst minimising the use of preservatives that aid longer shelf life.

* Encourage more love and respect for your countryside by appreciating the seasonal produce that magically appears, from heart-shaped tomatoes to the August-September flush of grapes, figs, almonds and persimmons, Ibiza is juicy and abundant… what fresh fare is local to you now?

* Nourish your system by ingesting food that has come directly from vine and field to table that is as full as possible of vitamins and minerals, supporting organ function and energy requirements by eating what is in season.

* Create awareness and spread the EAT LOCAL consciousness amongst family, friends as you glow with more health and energy!

We are ever-more inspired by the expanding network of healthy organic restaurants and cafes around Ibiza! Amongst many…  wonderful places for meetings too… we are passionate about Passion cafes from Ibiza town, to Playa D’en Bossa, Santa Eulalia to BFit (thank you Lana Love for sewing more seeds of love – literally!) – La Paloma cafe and restaurant in San Lorenzo have a permanent place in our hearts (and what an amazing “final lunch” for retreat-guests to gather and feed before they enter the retreats), ditto for celebratory suppers! – whilst Wild Beets in Santa Gertrudis has shaken up our palates with new raw sensations and when in Benirras…. we simply head for the SeJuiced bar after our morning swims and early evening snorkels for meditational communions with the fishes..  San Joan village is home to the sophisticated Spanish organic cuisine at the higher-end Giri cafe or take a quick-healthy fix trip down The Rabbit Hole in San Rafael.

We get our glow on with daily juices and smoothies!

We are juice-and-smoothie-junkies of the healthy-happy kind- drinking pure goodness in the easiest-to-digest when on your feet, or in the heat, before and after teaching yoga and in-between coaching and wellness sessions.   They help our digestive system to stay relaxed whilst we focus fully on our clients.  Find juices all over the island and… wondering what to do for produce? Organic farms like Can Muson near Santa Eulalia are blossoming all over our white island, Community-conscious cooperatives offer you a box of produce in return for some weeding, watering and picking handiwork , or,  for door-to-door delivery –   contact ibizencoorganic@gmail.com you can have plenty of fresh seasonal produce delivered to your door for your own amazing juice creations.    Wonder what to do with the excess? Simply soup or stew those left in the box, or put all in the oven, with garlic and fresh rosemary for a delicious, flavour-infusing roasting…. mmmmmmmmmm

The art of letting go…with gentleness

Do you find you pushing yourself within your yoga practice?  Or criticising yourself when you are not “up in time” to strengthen, stretch and breath before jumping in the shower and heading to work?   Many of us have been cultured to and conditioned to believe that pushing ourselves beyond our limits is a GOOD thing: that this performance-based practice is what will enable us to “succeed”.  Yet yoga is not about becoming that perfect figure of 8 physically.  Hatha yoga – “Ha” = sun and “Tha” = moon.  Yoga is an art and a tool-kit for reunifying body, mind and spirit, to live healthily and in harmony, by reawakening your body’s intelligence so you can stay in balance physically and emotionally, by balancing the male, solar “action” energy with the female, lunar “receiving and letting go”.

So for all you amazing, powerful yogis, retreaters and life-travellers out there… we invite you to ask yourself honestly:  “how often am I pushing myself to keep going beyond what really feels good”?  How often am I trying to prove that “I can” when my body has been saying no?  Do I have the discipline to “rest and receive” when my body truly needs this?  As this is the secret, lovely readers, to health, happiness and longevity (and isn’t that really what success is all about?).

Yoga is a magnifying glass for clarifying areas of imbalance, of pain or tightness and discomfort – as well as a medicine for self-knowledge and healing.  It highlights blockages and, with breath work and a mindful, meditative yoga practice, you can learn to release the tightness.  You can allow your body to soothe the pain and heal the discomfort holistically by releasing the blockages when your body – mind – and often soul…    are ready.    And to do so, requires gentleness.  To gently “allow” the release, with the breath, to happen when your body and soul are truly ready.

The paradox is that “letting go” cannot be done with the mind.  The more you focus your thoughts and attention on what you want to let go of, the more fixed in your system it becomes.  So this is why the breath is the key, to release.  By focussing the mind on the breath, a space is created, the thoughts slow down and, with practice, can even cease.  By breathing into the parts of the body that feel tight, tired or tense with intention, you are creating space around the muscles, the tightness, the tension.

You can empower this release with gentleness, by creating a “Sankalpa” or healing intention.  Thoughts become things… the cells within your body and their components and are dynamic, so you can visualise the healing or releasing to empower your intention.  Every cell in your body is a conscious organism doing everything possible to enhance your wellbeing.  Metabolic healing, which reharmonises your body, is based on enzyme activity and these enzymes are directly influenced by your intentions or thoughts.

en” If we perceive our situation to be positive and ideal for healing then this changes the environment within our body. This directly influences cellular events and consequently our health. When someone is actively trying to improve their health, regardless of what the medical condition is, the goal is to change cell metabolism so that balance can be restored.” www.dreamhealer.com

If you are over-riding your inner-signals that tell you when you are physically tired, the adrenalin that circulates starts to knock out the para-sympathetic nervous system, which is what enables the body to truly and totally rest.  So how can you rest into a daily practice that enables you to live a happy, healthy, harmonious life, so here are 5 steps for letting go…. with gentleness.

* Make sure your daily practice feels realistic, so that rather than feeling you are failing when you do not do it, you can choose times of day that complement your lifestyle.  5 – 10 minutes every morning is much more beneficial than 1.5 hours once a week.

* Observe your natural cycles and rhythms – women have moon cycles, our energy fluctuates at different times of our 28 day cycle, whilst men and women can all monitor your physical, emotional and energetic cycles as biorhythms (which you can read about here):

* Ask yourself each day by placing your hands on your body and feeling your whole self – how am I feeling? in Body? In Mind? In Spirit? How is my energy?

* Set your “Sankalpa” (Sanscrit for “intention”) for the benefits you wish to receive i.e.: balance, calm, feeling centred and grounded, energised, uplifted.  The difference between a true Sankalpa and a mind-let goal is that a Sankalpa is NOT sent from the “misguiding” ego, senses or conditioning (what you think you OUGHT to be feeling).  It comes from your inner-truth and, therefore is in alignment with your highest good and holistic wellbeing and that of the world around you.  If you keep intending “energy” when your body is actually full of nervous energy because you haven’t stopped for a week, then actually what you need may be “peace and release”.

* Listen and feel into your body’s feedback when you set your Sankalpa…   and sculpt your practice to suit YOUR rhythm just for today – ask yourself, how long and at what intensity will be of greatest benefit to me?

 

We have a very simple question that we like to ask ourselves at Ibiza Retreats: is it a pleasure or a pressure?   

We answer this questions by feeling into ourselves….   does it feel good, right, compelling? or is our breath shortening, chest tightening?

We invite you to get to know your physical reactions and responses to be able to listen to your body, to be gentle with yourselves and to en JOY living in greater health and harmony.

 

With so much love….  x Larah & Susie x