Category: Healthy Lifestyle

SUGAR REPLACEMENTS

Article by  Dominika Zielińska

HONEY

True wholesome honey releases sugar in the blood more slowly. It may also contain small amounts of vitamins, minerals and propolis.

MOLASSES

Molasses provide a good substitute for sugar, which can be used, for example, for baking cookies. It is a rich source of vitamins B1, B2, B3 and iron, calcium and potassium.

MAPLE SYRUP

It is less sweet, but richer in minerals than sugar. When buying a product, make sure that it contains only maple syrup (often there are substitutes: water, sugar and flavors).

FRUIT AND FRUIT CONCENTRATES

These products, whose basic ingredient is pineapples, pears, peaches, grapes or other fruits, contain a certain amount of primary nutrients. These are great additions to cakes and pastries as well as breakfast cereals. You can buy them in health food stores or do it yourself, mixing fresh fruit with fruit juice.

DATES AND OTHER DRIED FRUITS

They can be added to cakes, pastries and other products as natural “sweeteners”.

FRESH FRUIT

Fruits are an ideal way to sweeten breakfast cereals and natural yogurt.

 

SWEET SYRUP

Malt syrup made from barley or rice, contains a certain amount of nutrients found in the cereals from which it was produced, such as vitamins K, B, A and C and calcium. You can buy it in health food stores.

LICORICE ROOT

It gives a pleasant, sweet taste to herbal teas.

Dominika Zielińska – dietician/nutritionist

She obtained her master’s degree of Dietetics and bachelor’s studies of Artistic education in the field of musical art at the University of Rzeszów in Poland.

During her studies, she participated in numerous courses and trainings, among others in: anorexia and bulimia, celiac disease and primary lactose intolerance, population health –  tacking health inequalities at regional level, fat burning and the role of hormones, oncological nutrition, infant nutrition and diet for the elderly.

During her studies she took n active part in the activities of the Scientific Circle of Dieticians at the University of Rzeszów and the organization of and participation in the  1st, 2nd, 3rdNational Scientific Conference of Students and PhD Students “Medical Aspects of Human Nutrition”.

In 2016, she published in W.Kruk, M. Marć: Public health, part 4: Threats to public health and the challenges of health education. Chapter 5 (Dominika Zielińska) Influence of information and advertising provided in the mass media on the spontaneous use of drugs in the case of ailments not requiring medical intervention.
She is a highly creative individual, very communicative and with interpersonal skills, eager to learn new skills.
Her hobbies are nutrition and healthy food, music and singing, but also scientific activity.
Email: dominique.z@o2.pl

„LIGHT” PRODUCTS

Article by  Dominika Zielińska

The food industry offers a lot of products for people who care about their figure. Low-fat or low-sugar versions of many products fill supermarket shelves. However, the value of such food as helpful in slimming is debatable and some products have a worse nutritional value than their “fattening” counterparts.

NON-FAT PRODUCTS

Store shelves are filled with products recommended as low-fat, „light” or cholesterol-free. Are they healthier than their full-fat versions? The percentage of calories from fat is more important than the percentage of fat in a given product. To calculate this, we must multiply the total number of grams of fat in the product by 9, divide the result by the total number of calories and multiply by 100. We can then conclude that many foods presented as low fat are in fact very fatty products. For example, in cream cheese containing 30% fat, 86% of calories are from fat. The low-fat cheese has 15% fat, which is half of what the full-fat version is. However, when we do the calculations, we discover that the percentage of calories from fat is 73, so it is not a particularly low fat product.

Many items such as ice cream, biscuits and reduced-fat yogurt have increased sugar added to improve taste or consistency. For health and weight reduction, a better solution is to reduce the consumption of fatty foods and their substitutes and replace them with more fruits and vegetables.

WHAT IS IN THE MIDDLE?

„Light” food producers, on the one hand, eliminating sugars and fats, have to replace them with other ingredients to keep the product in its original shape. Sugars are often replaced (often in very large quantities) with synthetic sweeteners that are less caloric than traditional sugar, but their can have unpredictable effects on the body, including the increase of the level of insulin in the blood. In the case of fats, the proportion of these substances, which is not always sufficient, is reduced at the production stage. Then, starch and thickening substances are used as replacements, e.g. modified starch, locust bean gum, inulin, pectin, xanthan gum. To obtain a taste that is comparable to the traditional product, manufacturers often use substances imitating or even enhancing the taste. That is, additional portions of synthetic chemistry.

MORE THAN 0%?

Therefore, all products under the “0%” banner do not contain empty space instead of fats or sugars, but only “clever” chemicals that keep our product unchanged. Following the persuasions of producers, consumers reach for “0% sugar” snacks in the hope that eating a few pieces will not affect their waist circumference. This cannot be more far removed from the truth. Eating the “0%” product means that the body sends a faster signal that it needs more calories, so instead of 1 bar, in the short time we will eat 3 and the total caloric balance will be comparable to eating some popular bar or sometimes even higher.

DIETARY BEVERAGES

In addition to artificial sweeteners, another component that is potentially harmful to health is caffeine, found in many dietetic beverages. It causes an immediate impression of energy flow, crispness and well-being. However, it is an addictive substance and many of us need caffeine as an impulse that will help us survive the hardships of the day. Regular drinking of caffeinated beverages leads to feelings of tiredness, headaches, depressed mood, insomnia, irritability and anxiety. There are serious concerns about the potential for the influence of caffeine on the development of prostate, pancreatic and bladder cancer.

Although dietary foods and drinks are recommended for those who want to lose weight, their alleged advantages are more often advertising than reliable information. Manufacturers of many of these articles claim that they help in weight loss and when used as part of a low-calorie diet. It is true that every product, regardless of how many calories or unhealthy ingredients it contains, can help you lose weight only when used with a low-calorie diet. In fact, it is not the product, but the reduction of calories that leads to weight loss. What’s more, a good amount of such slimming product contains almost as many calories as its regular counterpart. The solution to reducing the caloric content of a meal is to use a smaller amount of such a product for its preparation. 

Dominika Zielińska – dietician/nutritionist

She obtained her master’s degree of Dietetics and bachelor’s studies of Artistic education in the field of musical art at the University of Rzeszów in Poland.

During her studies, she participated in numerous courses and trainings, among others in: anorexia and bulimia, celiac disease and primary lactose intolerance, population health –  tacking health inequalities at regional level, fat burning and the role of hormones, oncological nutrition, infant nutrition and diet for the elderly.

During her studies she took n active part in the activities of the Scientific Circle of Dieticians at the University of Rzeszów and the organization of and participation in the  1st, 2nd, 3rdNational Scientific Conference of Students and PhD Students “Medical Aspects of Human Nutrition”.

In 2016, she published in W.Kruk, M. Marć: Public health, part 4: Threats to public health and the challenges of health education. Chapter 5 (Dominika Zielińska) Influence of information and advertising provided in the mass media on the spontaneous use of drugs in the case of ailments not requiring medical intervention.
She is a highly creative individual, very communicative and with interpersonal skills, eager to learn new skills.
Her hobbies are nutrition and healthy food, music and singing, but also scientific activity.
Email: dominique.z@o2.pl

Cooking Without Fat

Article by  Dominika Zielińska

WAYS OF NO-FAT COOKING

Dietary modification that is beneficial for health consists mainly in reducing the amount of fat. In addition to choosing low-fat products, we are able to reduce the consumption of fat used in cooking. This article shows how to prepare meals with reduced fat.

  • Steam cooking is fast, fat-free and minimizes nutrient losses. It is the most convenient method of preparing fish and vegetable dishes.
  • Slow cooking is another convenient way to prepare a meal, but it causes greater loss of nutrients.
  • Short boiling in boiling water is an indirect method between slow cooking and steaming. It is often used to prepare fish dishes. The fish or other product is put in a container with water, covered and boiled. This method requires the addition of a small amount of fat and saves most of the nutrients.
  • Frying or roasting without fat can be used to prepare meat and poultry dishes. Do not add oil or other fat during this process. The meat should be placed on a metal “basket” so that the fat drips from it.
  • Grilling is a low-fat method, suitable for making fillets of meat, poultry, fish and some vegetables, such as tomatoes and peppers. Avoid grilling over an open fire, because there is a connection between this way of baking meat and the risk of developing some cancers.

AVOID SHALLOW OR DEEP FRYING

Each type of frying causes an increase in the amount of fat in the product, so frying should be avoided. Not only does the fat cover its surface, it penetrates deeper. What’s more, heating oil to high temperatures can change its properties, causing the formation of harmful ingredients. Stir frying requires a small amount of fat, so it is healthier.

USING NON-STICK DISHES

When you have to fry something, use a pan or saucepan with a bottom to which the food does not stick. Thanks to this, you will reduce the amount of added fat. Remove the fried product from the pan when it’s ready.

REMOVING SKIN FROM POULTRY

Remove skin from poultry before cooking. Also remove as much as possible of the visible fat before cooking dishes such as roast or goulash, so that the least amount of fat is found on the plate. After cooking, cool the food and remove the coagulated fat from its surface, and then re-heat it and serve it on the table.

USE LOW FAT MILK PRODUCTS

Full-fat milk can be easily replaced with skimmed or semi-skimmed milk. Cream can be mixed with natural yogurt or replace it completely with low-fat yogurt. You can also use lean cheese instead of full fat in various dishes. Even if you need to use some fat, such as butter, its amount can be reduced by 1/3 without harming the taste of the dish.

ADDING FAT TO MEALS WHEN THEY ARE READY

For vegetables and salads, it is best to add the fat raw, i.e. make the sauce with a tablespoon of a good vegetable oil or olive oil at the end.

Dominika Zielińska – dietician/nutritionist

She obtained her master’s degree of Dietetics and bachelor’s studies of Artistic education in the field of musical art at the University of Rzeszów in Poland.

During her studies, she participated in numerous courses and trainings, among others in: anorexia and bulimia, celiac disease and primary lactose intolerance, population health –  tacking health inequalities at regional level, fat burning and the role of hormones, oncological nutrition, infant nutrition and diet for the elderly.

During her studies she took n active part in the activities of the Scientific Circle of Dieticians at the University of Rzeszów and the organization of and participation in the  1st, 2nd, 3rdNational Scientific Conference of Students and PhD Students “Medical Aspects of Human Nutrition”.

In 2016, she published in W.Kruk, M. Marć: Public health, part 4: Threats to public health and the challenges of health education. Chapter 5 (Dominika Zielińska) Influence of information and advertising provided in the mass media on the spontaneous use of drugs in the case of ailments not requiring medical intervention.
She is a highly creative individual, very communicative and with interpersonal skills, eager to learn new skills.
Her hobbies are nutrition and healthy food, music and singing, but also scientific activity.
Email: dominique.z@o2.pl

Salt

Article by  Dominika Zielińska

SODIUM (NA)

This metallic element is important for life. It is the main component of table salt, spread throughout the body in the fluid surrounding the cells. It plays a very important role in maintaining the osmotic pressure in the tissues, allowing the flow of oxygen and nutrients to and from the cells.

It stimulates kidney function and keeps calcium in a dissolved state, preventing the formation of kidney stones. It also stimulates the secretion of sweat and digestive juices, supporting digestion. Prevents heart attacks, improves mood in people with low blood pressure, who are often fatigued. Together with potassium, it participates in neurotransmission and maintains the acid-base balance in the body.

Excess sodium causes an increase in blood pressure, narrowing of the blood vessels and retention of water in the body, which leads to hypertensive disease and edema. People who suffer from high blood pressure, narrowing of blood vessels, heart disease and people who are overweight are advised to avoid salt and use a low-sodium diet.

You can replace the salt with potassium-based substitutes or use herbs and spices like celery, basil, caraway, mustard and parsley.

Sodium deficiency is rare, but it can occur as a result of excessive sweating. The most sodium is found in such natural sources as table salt, kelp, seaweed, meat, beets, carrots, beetroot stalks and nuts.

Note: Excess sodium should be balanced by increasing the amount of potassium, because sodium causes excretion of potassium in the urine.

THE REDUCTION OF SALT CONTENT IN DIET

The salt contained in the food comes from two main sources, it is added to the dish during cooking (or we are adding the dish already at the table) or it is present in the purchased finished products. To reduce the intake of salt for health benefits, it is worth using the following suggestions:

  • If you want to reduce salt intake by 30%, do not add it to the dishes while cooking and remove the salt shaker from the table.
  • In order to reduce the salt intake by 60%, do not add it to the dishes while cooking, remove the salt shaker from the table and do not used ready-made salted food products during preparation (containing the so-called added salt)
  • Try to replace the salt with herbs and spices.

IS THE SEA SALES BETTER THAN ORDINARY SALT?

Salt sold in stores can be referred to as, for example, table salt, rock salt, sea salt. The sodium content in each salt variant is identical. Because sodium is the element whose excessive consumption harms health, the advantages or health benefit ​​of any salt variety over another is irrelevant.

PRODUCTS CONTAINING ADDED SALT

All of the products listed below can contain a lot of salt, which was added during preparation, so it is best to avoid them. If possible, study the composition of the product on the label to make sure it is not adhered to.

  • Bacon, ham, salted beef, burgers, pâtés, canned meat
  • Fish fingers, crustaceans, smoked fish, canned fish
  • „Instant” dishes
  • Some breakfast cereals containing a lot of fiber, referred to as “healthy”
  • Prepared soups and sauces in bags or cans
  • Broth, mushroom cubes, etc.
  • Butter (except unsalted), margarine, cheese
  • Puffs, salted nuts, salty sticks and other types of snacks

SALT REPLACEMENTS

There is evidence that salt adversely affects blood pressure increases the risk of serious diseases such as heart attack or stroke. However, there are several ways to replace table salt with its healthier counterparts or substitutes.

Unpurified sea salt

Sea salt contains a lot of minerals and trace elements that can offset its potentially harmful effects. You can buy it in health food stores. However, like regular salt, it should be used in moderation.

Low-sodium, high-potassium salt

The main ingredient of this salt is potassium chloride, not sodium. It is now widely used for the benefit of health. Some studies have shown that potassium helps in lowering blood pressure.

Dried chopped vegetables or herbs

There are salt substitutes consisting of dried vegetables and spice plants or only herbal spices. They can be used as natural spices, reducing or even eliminating the need for salting dishes.

Thanks to the use of aromatic plants instead of salt, we can get the perfect taste of dishes and improve your health. 

Dominika Zielińska – dietician/nutritionist

She obtained her master’s degree of Dietetics and bachelor’s studies of Artistic education in the field of musical art at the University of Rzeszów in Poland.

During her studies, she participated in numerous courses and trainings, among others in: anorexia and bulimia, celiac disease and primary lactose intolerance, population health –  tacking health inequalities at regional level, fat burning and the role of hormones, oncological nutrition, infant nutrition and diet for the elderly.

During her studies she took n active part in the activities of the Scientific Circle of Dieticians at the University of Rzeszów and the organization of and participation in the  1st, 2nd, 3rdNational Scientific Conference of Students and PhD Students “Medical Aspects of Human Nutrition”.

In 2016, she published in W.Kruk, M. Marć: Public health, part 4: Threats to public health and the challenges of health education. Chapter 5 (Dominika Zielińska) Influence of information and advertising provided in the mass media on the spontaneous use of drugs in the case of ailments not requiring medical intervention.
She is a highly creative individual, very communicative and with interpersonal skills, eager to learn new skills.
Her hobbies are nutrition and healthy food, music and singing, but also scientific activity.
Email: dominique.z@o2.pl

Categories: Healthy Lifestyle

Bad Drain

Article by  Dominika Zielińska

When digestive processes run quickly and efficiently, the body assimilates the right amount of nutrients. If digestion occurs too slowly, the undigested food ferments
in the intestines causing abdominal discomfort as well as inadequate absorption of nutrients.

What are the causes of bad digestion?

  • Inaccurate chewing – most often caused by eating too fast. Chewing plays a very important role in the digestive process. Insufficient shredding of food impedes digestion and absorption of nutrients.
  • Large meals – the digestive system can process a certain amount of food at a given time. The more you eat, the lower your chances of digesting the food you consume.
  • Drinking too much liquid during a meal – fluids taken with food dilute the digestive juices secreted in the digestive system (gastric acid, pancreatic, intestinal, bile). Dilution of these juices worsens the efficiency of digestion and disrupts its course, because they are not in the right amount and concentration.
  • Late meal time – at the end of the day, digestive processes slow down, so late suppers are a frequent cause of gastrointestinal discomfort.
  • Stress – as commonly known, stress adversely affects digestive processes. During stressful time, the gastric mucosa may be irritable.
  • Insufficient release of acid or digestive enzymes – some people do not produce enough stomach acid or digestive enzymes.

What ailments are associated with poor digestion of food?

If the digestion is incomplete, the undigested food is fermented in the intestines. This is the cause of gas overproduction, flatulence, nausea, bloating and discomfort
in the abdomen. Incorrect digestion often leads to constipation, diarrhea, and sometimes alternating occurrence of these disorders.

Do your best:

  • Thoroughly chew the food – each bite should be chewed 20 – 30 times.
    Thanks to this, the digestive system will be able to stimulate the secretion of enzymes, and the shredded food will be absorbed faster.
  • Consume a few small meals – hearty meals can overload the digestive system, so avoid eating large meals.
  • Keep the appetizing look of your meals – this promotes the secretion of digestive juices, which facilitates digestion.
  • Avoid eating at a late time – do not eat directly at bedtime, because food will stay in your stomach overnight.
  • Do not use drugs for indigestion (unless instructed by a doctor) è antacids reduce the efficiency of digestion.
  • Eat slowly – the feeling of fullness develops around 20 minutes into a meal. By eating slowly we will avoid overeating.
  • Eat in peace – eat a meal without doing any work, without stress and without disturbing it by watching TV, reading or other activities.
  • Eat without hurry – dedicate enough time to a meal to eat slowly with pleasure and then relax for a few minutes.

Websites with good digestion advice:

https://therealfoodrds.com/5-ways-to-improve-your-digestion-naturally/
https://www.rd.com/health/healthy-eating/foods-bad-digestive-health/
https://www.everydayhealth.com/digestive-health/tips-for-better-digestive-health/

Dominika Zielińska – dietician/nutritionist

She obtained her master’s degree of Dietetics and bachelor’s studies of Artistic education in the field of musical art at the University of Rzeszów in Poland.

During her studies, she participated in numerous courses and trainings, among others in: anorexia and bulimia, celiac disease and primary lactose intolerance, population health –  tacking health inequalities at regional level, fat burning and the role of hormones, oncological nutrition, infant nutrition and diet for the elderly.

During her studies she took n active part in the activities of the Scientific Circle of Dieticians at the University of Rzeszów and the organization of and participation in the  1st, 2nd, 3rdNational Scientific Conference of Students and PhD Students “Medical Aspects of Human Nutrition”.

In 2016, she published in W.Kruk, M. Marć: Public health, part 4: Threats to public health and the challenges of health education. Chapter 5 (Dominika Zielińska) Influence of information and advertising provided in the mass media on the spontaneous use of drugs in the case of ailments not requiring medical intervention.
She is a highly creative individual, very communicative and with interpersonal skills, eager to learn new skills.
Her hobbies are nutrition and healthy food, music and singing, but also scientific activity.
Email: dominique.z@o2.pl

Categories: Healthy Lifestyle

Hydration vs Dehydration

Article by  Dominika Zielińska

When we think about nourishing ourselves, we often forget about proper hydration
of the body… and after all, water is essential for the proper functioning of the body. Water should constitute 50 – 65% of body weight depending on many factors, including sex and age. 

How much water should you drink?

It is assumed that per 1 kilogram of body weight we need 30 ml of water per day. Thanks to this you can now easily calculate how much you should drink a day.

E.g: A person weighing 70 kg should drink 2.1 liters of water daily. (70 kg x 30 ml = 2.1 L)

When should you drink more water?

Our system regulates the water content in our body every day, but there are situations in our lives, in which we need more water. These are among others: 

  • high physical activity, competitive sport
  • fever
  • diarrhea, vomiting
  • taking thermoregulators or diuretics
  • being in a country where there temperature is always high

What happens if this water runs out in our body?

  • dizziness
  • muscle pain, cramps
  • abnormal heartbeat
  • abdominal pain
  • constipation
  • drop in blood pressure

How easy is it to recognize dehydration?

The color of urine is provides information for us and tells on how dehydrated or hydrated we are.

picture from „Nutrition Guide – True Sport USADA” p. 25. 

What liquids to choose?

It is best to consume non-carbonated mineral water, but you can also choose weak herbal infusions and weak tea without sugar. A good source of water is fresh fruit
and vegetables or 100% fruit/vegetable juices without added sugar that provide additional nutrients, especially vitamins and minerals.

Good advice!

Do not wait until you feel a dry throat… Drink water, maintain a constant level
of hydration and enjoy the well-being all the time! 

Dominika Zielińska – dietician/nutritionist

She obtained her master’s degree of Dietetics and bachelor’s studies of Artistic education in the field of musical art at the University of Rzeszów in Poland.

During her studies, she participated in numerous courses and trainings, among others in: anorexia and bulimia, celiac disease and primary lactose intolerance, population health –  tacking health inequalities at regional level, fat burning and the role of hormones, oncological nutrition, infant nutrition and diet for the elderly.

During her studies she took n active part in the activities of the Scientific Circle of Dieticians at the University of Rzeszów and the organization of and participation in the  1st, 2nd, 3rdNational Scientific Conference of Students and PhD Students “Medical Aspects of Human Nutrition”.

In 2016, she published in W.Kruk, M. Marć: Public health, part 4: Threats to public health and the challenges of health education. Chapter 5 (Dominika Zielińska) Influence of information and advertising provided in the mass media on the spontaneous use of drugs in the case of ailments not requiring medical intervention.
She is a highly creative individual, very communicative and with interpersonal skills, eager to learn new skills.
Her hobbies are nutrition and healthy food, music and singing, but also scientific activity.
Email: dominique.z@o2.pl

Categories: Healthy Lifestyle

Psychological aspects of obesity

Article by  Karolina Jakiel

Obesity is defined as a state of pathological increase in the amount of fat in the body, which is also an integral component of the body. It is the fastest-spreading disease of the 21st century. It is a global problem. Both the causes and the effects of obesity have a diverse character. Obesity, in addition to physiological complications, can also lead to problems with the social and psychological basis of the individual. Scientific research shows that obese people have a negative self-image, reduced self-esteem, lower self-efficacy, difficulties with changing situation, and often suffer from mood disorders resulting in depression.

Psychological effects of obesity

Excessive body weight can lead to numerous psychological problems as follows:

Depression and mood disorders

Scientific research proves a close relationship between obesity and the symptoms of depression and between obesity and an episode of depression in an interview. Among women with obesity, higher BMI was associated with a higher incidence of depression and suicidal thoughts.

There are also cases in which depression is the cause of obesity. The reason for this may be taking antidepressants or eating too much food as a way to deal with a depressed mood. These people often reach for high-energy products such as sweets and fatty foods. Sweets cause the secretion of serotonin called the happiness hormone, however, this condition doesn’t last too long. It is followed by remors, a reduced mood, and a sense of inefficacy. Ingestion of excessive high-calorie products causes an increase in body weight, its increase causes a worse mood, the patient tries to cope with this state again by overeating, which leads to a vicious cycle.

Decreased sense of self-efficacy

Self-efficacy refers to the individual’s beliefs about one’s ability to mobilize energy and cognitive resources to meet the demands of the environment. Our own efficacy influences the making of right decisions as well as formulating and achieving goals. People with low self-efficacy are afraid to undertake new tasks and challenges. They are dominated by feelings of powerlessness and lack of influence on a given situation. The state of reduced self-efficacy impedes the process of introducing nutritional changes and adhering to the undertaken task.

Feeling negative emotions

Unsuccessful attempts to reduce excessive body weight can cause a growing sense of guilt, resentment, a sense of injustice, and a sense of shame caused by your own appearance. A negative perception of your own appearance also contributes to a lower self-esteem. In some cases, low self-esteem is additionally strengthened by negative reactions from others, lack of support and incorrect stereotypes about obese people.

A negative image of your own body

Pressure from culture and society regarding an ideal figure in obese people may cause dissatisfaction with their appearance. In addition, negative opinions of other people and comparisons with others will have a negative impact on the perception of yourself.

Obsessive thinking about food and calories

Obese people who are on restrictive diet are obsessively paying attention to food and calories. For people with obesity focusing on food is better than focusing on body weight. Trying to stop thoughts of eating paradoxically causes more frequent thinking about eating and the desire to reach for food.

Eating disorders co-occurring with obesity

Obesity is also accompanied by eating disorders such as binge eating disorder, nightly disorder, sleep-related eating disorder, bulimia nervosa and numerous addictions, including addiction to food.

Effects of diets

In many cases, the decision to change eating habits and the slimming process is an additional source of tension. People who are on restrictive diets often experience depression, anxiety, irritation, irritability, as well as frequent and exaggerated thinking about food. However, these conditions only apply to some people on low-calorie diets. In other people, weight reduction can significantly reduce the sense of anxiety and improve their mental functioning.

Karolina Jakiel – master of dietetics specialist in psychodietetics.
She obtained her master’s degree at the University of Rzeszow in Poland, completed post-graduate studies in psychodietetics at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities (SWPS University) in Katowice in Poland.
During her studies, she participated in numerous courses and trainings, among others: diagnostics in the office of a dietician, insulin resistance, psychodietetics, sports dietetics, oncological dietetics, and diet for the elderly.
During her studies she took an active part in the activities of the Scientific Circle of Dieticians at the University of Rzeszow.
She is interested in healthy eating and shares her ideas through her profile in social media.

Can we eat water? – Fruits and vegetables as a source of water

Article by  Karolina Jakiel 

Drinking water is one of the most important activities that should be performed every day. Water has many important functions in the human body: it is a structural part of tissues and cells, affects the digestive process, supports the transport of nutrients and participates in the regulation of body temperature. Deficiency can cause many serious health consequences. However, this seemingly easy thing is in fact often overlooked by many people. But there is a way to deliver this valuable ingredient to our body. On warm days it’s worth the water .. eat! Yes, I suggest eating water. Every day, about one-third of the water taken by adults is supplied in a solid food, the majority comes from fruits and vegetables. When eating fruits and vegetables, we supplement water, but also vitamins and minerals.

What are the products that are worth reaching for?

Cucumber

92-95% of cucumber is water.
This discrepancy is conditioned by the variety of cucumber. Has small amounts of vitamins A, C and B vitamins (B1, B3 and B6). These are found in the cucumber pulp. In addition, there are also folic acid and certain minerals: zinc, iron, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, sodium and magnesium. It is refreshing in taste, juicy and crunchy. Perfect for salads or drinks.

Zucchini

Zucchini consists of 94% water.
It has a very low energy value, 100 g is just 15 kcal. It is rich in minerals, such as iron, magnesium or potassium, B vitamins, vitamin C, which strengthens the body, vitamin A, which has a positive effect on vision and vitamin K, involved in hematopoietic processes.

Watermelon
Watermelon contains 92% water.
In addition, it contains vitamin C, which affects the immune system, the condition of blood vessels, makes the skin more elastic and improves its condition, vitamin A affecting the improvement of vision, vitamins B1, B2 and B6 and minerals: potassium, magnesium, copper, calcium, phosphorus , iron, zinc, sodium, manganese. In addition, we find citric and malic acids in the flesh that give the fruit a characteristic taste, as well as β-carotene and lycopene, which act together as antioxidants. Watermelons have refreshing and quenching thirst, and on hot days help to reduce body temperature, preventing overheating of the body.

Melon

90% of this fruit consists of water.
Has a slightly laxative and diuretic effect, which is also used to treat kidney and urinary problems. It has oxidative properties due to the presence of beta-carotene and vitamin E. It is a rich source of vitamins: A, C, D, P, and also from the group of B vitamins (B1, B2, B6). Has folic acid recommended for pregnant women, but also magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, iodine and phosphorus 

Celery
Water contributes towards 96% of this vegetable. Stalks of celery contain vitamins A, C and E, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium and iron and small amounts of folic acid.
It is a low calorie product containing about 5-7 kcal in 100 g of the product, thus supporting the process of slimming, has properties that remove toxins from the body, cleansing it and improving its function. It also stimulates the digestive processes and prevents constipation, which is promoted by the content of fiber.

Peppers

92% of peppers is water. It is rich in β-carotene, that is provitamin A. Paprika also contains vitamin A, a large amount of vitamins C and E and vitamins from the group B. In its composition contains folic acid, which ensures the proper development of the child’s nervous system. It contains a number of minerals including calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium and copper. It’s a source of dietary fiber, which supports the digestive system. Consuming paprika has a positive effect on eyesight, strengthens blood vessels, regulates blood pressure, improves the body’s immunity. Hot peppers thanks to the presence of capsaicin support the fat burning process. However, they aren’t recommended for people with digestive problems.

Grapefruit

Grapefruit contains 90% water.
It’s characterized by a high content of vitamin C, is also rich in B vitamins

(folic acid, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin) and large amounts of vitamin E, which enhance antioxidant effects. This fruit is recommended during slimming diets due to its low calorie content. Grapefruit has antioxidant properties (lycopene, naringenin) that prevent cancer and destroy free radicals. It positively affects the level of LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, improves the immune system (vitamin C) and improves liver function. However, neither the fruit nor the juice should be consumed with anti-cancer drugs, statins and medicines for hypertension.

Pineapple

It consists of 87% water. Pineapple is rich in vitamin C, which strengthens the body and protects against infections. You will also find vitamins from the B group (B1, B2, B6), A and PP. In addition is also contains copper, zinc, iron, manganese or potassium.
Pineapple through the fiber contained in it regulates the intestinal function and gives a feeling of satiety

Tomato

Tomato is 94% water.
They contain a large dose of vitamin C, which increases the body’s resistance and strengthens the walls of blood vessels. Tomatoes also contain folic acid, vitamin K, A, B1, B2 and B6, which are responsible for proper cellular functions. They contain dietary fiber, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium and sodium. Tomatoes are recommended for people diagnosed with diabetes due to the low glycemic index. They have antioxidant properties and have a positive effect on the functioning of the nervous and circulatory systems.

Karolina Jakiel – master of dietetics specialist in psychodietetics.
She obtained her master’s degree at the University of Rzeszow in Poland, completed post-graduate studies in psychodietetics at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities (SWPS University) in Katowice in Poland.
During her studies, she participated in numerous courses and trainings, among others: diagnostics in the office of a dietician, insulin resistance, psychodietetics, sports dietetics, oncological dietetics, and diet for the elderly.
During her studies she took an active part in the activities of the Scientific Circle of Dieticians at the University of Rzeszow.
She is interested in healthy eating and shares her ideas through her profile in social media.

Categories: Healthy Lifestyle

Pain and Essential Oils

Article by Alexia Buttigieg

Do you ever wonder why pain exists? Wouldn’t it be a better place if there were no aches and pains and we wouldn’t have to listen to ourselves or people around us grumble that the pain is killing us? Living with pain has become the norm!! We get a headache or lower back pain, sciatica or stiff neck… but of course it shouldn’t be this way!  So what is really happening?

Pain happens for one simple reason: to protect you. If your brain registers pain, you typically stop doing what caused it. It goes back to the “fight or flight” instinct, says Sujittra Tongprasert, MD, an anesthesiologist from the University of Louisville Hospital in Kentucky. Pain is the body’s way of letting you know that what you are doing is harmful, and that you need to stop.

But then again can we stop? Does our lifestyle or family needs allow us to do that? Most of the time the answer is NO. Sadly but truly, whether it is due to work or family commitments, we have to live with pain.  No matter the age, gender, social position, pain is becoming a companion leading us to become gloomy, irritable and angry.

What to do?

In all situations there are various possibilities for relieving pain, all kind of pain. In my belief over the years as a massage therapist and aromatherapist I came to understand that the lifestyle is crucial. “The right approach to pain is different for each individual, a cookie-cutter treatment plan isn’t the answer’’. everyone has to adapt to their age, condition, climate etc… various professionals can help to deal with all kind of ailments which also must include a good balanced diet and some form of movement. Then there is the part where I come in or let’s say my precious little friends, the essential oils. But let’s discuss a bit pain threshold as to understand better why everyone needs different treatments even with essential oils.

Pain treshold:

Studies show there might be 3 reasons as why people differ in the way and intensity that they feel pain: the neurotransmitter dopamine is able to stimulate the release of endorphins which are pain relievers. There is a psychological part, meaning that if the body is mentally happy pain might be less evident. Pain also depends on the level of oestrogen, where studies found that the higher the hormone the less pain there is, explaining why a woman doesn’t have a constant pain threshold which changes according to her hormones.  So this also indicates that a woman might need to change her diet and her habits according to her menstrual cycle.

Back to essential oils:

One should always emphasize the importance of essential oils being pure and of good quality and of keeping to the amounts required, not exceeding in the dosage. They have to be ALWAYS diluted – whether it is for room vaporising or body application they should never be used neat!

Basil Fortifying; stimulating; helpful for depression. Treats digestive aches and pains, chest complaints and travel sickness. Do not use on people with high blood pressure or epilepsy; avoid during pregnancy; not suitable for children.
Bergamot Helpful for depression and anxiety; uplifting; mood enhancer; reviving Treats colds, coughs, sore throats, and travel sickness; acts as an insect repellent Do not use before sunbathing; can irritate sensitive skin
Benzoin Calming; eases nervous tension Treats coughs, laryngitis, aching muscles, sluggish circulation and travel sickness Can irritate sensitive skin
Cedarwood Settles nerves Treats aches and pains, water retention; treats scalp problems like dandruff; acts as an insect repellent Avoid during pregnancy; may irritate sensitive skin
Chamomile Calming; sedating; eases nervous tension Eases pain; treats insomnia (mild enough for babies and children)
Cinnamon Combats mental exhaustion Treats chills and improves poor circulation Avoid if pregnant, suffer from high blood pressure, are epileptic, or have sensitive skin; do not use for children.
Citronella Refreshing; combats mental fatigue Treats colds and flu; combats fatigue; acts as an insect repellent
Clary Sage Mood enhancer; calming and reassuring Treats muscular aches and pains, throat infections, hormone imbalance Avoid during pregnancy; do not use if alcohol has been consumed
Clove Soothes toothache; acts as an insect repellent Always use in weak dilutions; avoid during pregnancy not suitable for kids
Cypress Calms nerves Treats cellulite, haemorrhoids, and poor circulation Avoid during pregnancy
Eucalyptus Clears the head; acts as a stimulant; eases mental fatigue Treats colds and flu, muscular aches and pains, wounds, and insect bites Not suitable for small children or during pregnancy
Fennel Revitalizes; eases nervous tension Treats constipation and relieves flatulence; stimulates lactation in nursing mothers Avoid during pregnancy
Geranium Mood enhancer Acts as an insect repellent; soothes tender breasts; treats cellulite, head lice, and hormone imbalance Avoid during pregnancy
Ginger Combats mental exhaustion Treats nausea, fatigue, poor circulation, and indigestion Avoid during pregnancy, if suffering from high blood pressure or epilepsy; do not use with homeopathic medication
Grapefruit Uplifting; mood enhancer Treats cellulite, muscle fatigue, and morning sickness Do not use before sunbathing
Juniper Stimulates and boosts mental clarity Treats poor circulation, muscular aches and pains, rheumatism, and gout; acts as a diuretic Avoid during pregnancy, if suffering from high blood pressure, or if epileptic
Lavender Balances and calms emotions Treats inflammation, wounds, colds and flu, cystitis, headaches, insomnia, and athlete’s foot
Lemongrass Relieves nerves and eases stress Treats poor circulation, indigestion; breaks a fever; acts as an insect repellent
Mandarin Calms nerves and gently sedates; mood enhancer Eases fluid retention; aids in digestion and quells stomach aches, especially in children
Marjoram Deeply relaxing; helpful for anxiety, stress and shock Loosens stiff muscles; eases aches, pains, and arthritis; treats insomnia Avoid during pregnancy; do not use on people with low blood pressure
Myrrh Calms and soothes nerves Treats yeast infection, chilblains, athlete’s foot, and coughs; promotes healthy circulation Avoid during pregnancy
Neroli Helps grief; reduces anxiety; helps relieve postnatal and menopausal depression Promotes healthy circulation; eases palpitations; helps prevent and treat stretch marks
Niaouli Revives and refreshes Decongestant for colds, flu and bronchial ailments; treats aches and pains; promotes healthy circulation Avoid during pregnancy; do not use for babies and children less than two years old
Orange Enhances concentration; helps relieve stress Helps reduce and treat cellulite; eases constipation Do not use before sunbathing
Peppermint Revives and boosts a tired mind; calms nerves Aids digestion and helps relieve nausea; eases headaches, treats colds and flu; soothes muscular pain Do not use with homeopathic medication; avoid during the first three months of pregnancy
Petitgrain Helps relieve stress and nervous exhaustion; mood enhancer Calms indigestion and muscular tension
Pine Helps relieve stress and nervous exhaustion; calms nerves Eases breathing, especially for colds, flu and asthma; eases muscular aches and pains; helps reduce excessive perspiration
Rosemary Stimulates the mind to combat mental exhaustion and fatigue Useful for treating rheumatism; gets rid of head lice; stimulates circulation; relieves colds and flu Avoid during pregnancy; do not use on people suffering from high blood pressure or epilepsy
Tea Tree Treats athlete’s foot, plantar warts, cold sores, blemishes, acne, insect bites, yeast infections, colds and flu
Thyme Strengthens and restores vitality Treats aches and pains, laryngitis, sore throats, tonsillitis, colds, and flu; treats cellulite; improves circulation Avoid during pregnancy; do not use on people suffering from high blood pressure or epilepsy
Vetivert Helps lift depression and relaxes the mind Eases arthritis, rheumatism, stiff joints and muscles; soothes aches and pains
Ylang Ylang Aphrodisiac Eases palpitations

 

This is just a guideline chart to help you for reference. It must be kept in mind that not more than 2 essential oils can be mixed together if you are not given directions by a professional.

Using essential oils in diffusers is very simple but always follow the instructions given by the machine supplier. If using it in a candle aroma diffuser, add 2 drops to every 5 ml of water.

If oils are used on the skin these must be diluted in a carrier oil with no more than 2 drops in 5ml of desired oil. For kids over 3 years use 1 drop to 5ml, while for kids under 3 years consult a professional for dosage. NEVER ingest essential oils!! Avoid eye ear and mucous membranes. Keep away from the reach of kids. Always ask a professional when in doubt.

If essential oils are added to a bath, these must be mixed before in a cup of full fat milk or one spoon of honey before putting in the water.

Other alternative remedies go along with aromatherapy like, as mentioned already, regular baths, massages and also reflexology, tui na, acupuncture, hot stone massage, reiki, saunas. Be open in trying these alternative treatments to pain as they might be the key to a more healthy you.

 

All information provided with best interest for a healthier lifestyle, is intended to be used as general information-only and is in no way intended to replace medical advice, is not to be used as a medical treatment program, nor to diagnose or cure of any disease or medical condition. Always consult with a qualified physician for medical advice.  

References:

http://www.thewolfeclinic.com/pain-everyone-experiences-it/

“The Gene for Pain Tolerance”, http://www.bio.davidson.edu/courses/genomics/2003/talbert/pain.html http://www.thewolfeclinic.com/essential-oils-quick-reference-guide/

 


Alexia Buttigieg is a Holistic Therapist who is passionate about everything that can help people feel better in a more natural approach, from massage to self-therapy to essential oils and reflexology. She believes that stress cannot be avoided but nature has given us all we need to reduce it, and live a more balanced existence. She started her career as a Beauty therapist and has achieved diplomas in Esteticienne and Physiatrics, where she was able to understand the anatomy and physiology of the human body. She furthered her studies by achieving diplomas in Reflexology (including palliative care) and Aromatherapy. Other certificate courses include tui na, facial analysis and ayurvedic stone massage.  In these past years she has ventured into natural cosmetics and read for a diploma and an advanced diploma in organic skincare formulation, which harmonises her passions for Aromatherapy and organic skincare treatments. Alexia still feels like her first role is being a mother to her daughter and prioritises family and their well-being. She may be contacted at naturannis@gmail.com

Categories: Healthy Lifestyle

Yoga for Diabetes

Article by Ray Cacciattolo

Diabetes can affect people at any age, leading to many complications like heart disease, kidney failure, blindness and even amputations. With the rising number of persons in Malta being diagnosed with diabetes, it is no wonder that the need for treating the disease is on the increase.

One way to keep diabetes under control is through yoga practice. Turning to yoga is an effort to keep this condition under control and improve overall quality of life. Yoga for diabetes provides unique benefits that can effectively restore the body to a state of natural health and proper function.

It has been scientifically proven that yoga helps to reduce the level of sugar in the blood and improve glucose metabolism; along with lowering blood pressure and keeping weight in check. Yoga practice can reduce the severity of the symptoms and slowing the rate of progression of the disease, apart from lessening the possibility of further complications.

A study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, found that practising yoga regularly caused short-term improvement in fasting glucose. It has been discovered that direct stimulation of the pancreas by certain yoga postures revitalised its capacity to produce insulin. Yogic exercise has also been shown to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, both of which are often accompanying symptoms for diabetes.  In another study, it has been found that subjects who practiced yoga had an increase in measures of nerve conduction.

By integrating the mind with the body, yoga can relieve the daily stresses that often lie at the heart of diabetic symptoms. The stress we experience in our day to day lives can accumulate and lead to ‘emotional eating’, which in turn leads to obesity. Stress increases the secretion of glucagon (a hormone responsible for increasing blood glucose levels) in the body. The consistent practice of yoga can help reduce stress in the mind and protect the body from its adverse effects. This, in turn, reduces the amount of glucagon and improves the action of insulin.

Yoga can directly and indirectly have a great positive effect on diabetes. It increases willpower, self-confidence, strength and discipline, which can all be of a great help with weight loss and other health issues. For those looking for how to prevent diabetes or gain relief from the disease, adopting a healthy lifestyle that incorporates yoga for diabetes can offer a better way of life.


Ray Cacciattolo, founder of Functional Fitness Yoga (Malta), is a fully qualified Yoga Instructor (Yoga Alliance 2011), Pilates Instructor (National exercise & Sports Trainers Association 2007), Hatha Yoga Teacher (C.h. Dip. Yoga, Kevala Centre 2005) and Sport Yoga Instructor (National Exercise & Sports trainers Association 2004). Ray started the practice of yoga in 2001 to increase his fitness level. It immediately struck him that practice of yoga is highly beneficial on the physical, mental and emotional level. He highly considers yoga as a way of life, a means not just to get physically fit but also to obtain and maintain inner well-being, harmony and a deep sense of peace. It is his passion sharing the many benefits that yoga has to offer to every person, whatever the age, level of fitness and shape of the body. His teaching experience includes yoga with the visually impaired and blind persons and yoga in prison. He may be contacted at email address:raycacciattolo@gmail.com; contact number: 79555574; website: www.rayogamalta.com ; fb: Ra Yoga Malta

Fat Loss VS Weight Loss. What should we measure?


Article by Brian Zammit

Nowadays a lot of emphasis is being made on the importance of reaching the ideal weight, for several reasons. This awareness is positive because people are increasingly becoming more knowledgeable about the hazards of being overweight. However, this insight is also creating misconceptions about what should be one’s ideal weight.

The standard procedure used to find out the ideal weight is the Body Mass Index (BMI). This simple formula divides weight (in kilograms) by height (in metres) squared. The result is then compared to a table. Children and people up to 20 years follow a different table.

As shown in the picture, even though fat and muscle have the same weight, the volume is different. With exercise muscles get stronger and therefore bigger, whilst fat tissue shrinks. Since muscle tissue is denser than fat, lean people who start strength training will gain weight. This is normal and healthy. Someone who trains regularly with heavy weights will most likely fall within the category of overweight and perhaps even obese.

Skinfold testing is an assessment measure which checks how much fat tissue there is under the skin. This test is done by means of a special calliper and various readings are recorded from different body parts. This test gives a more accurate picture about how much body fat a particular person has. Therefore whereas BMI gives a generic depiction of one’s weight, skinfold testing gives a more accurate snapshot of an individual’s fat tissue.

At home one can self-assess physical changes by taking the measurements from different body parts. These will give a better understanding about your improvement or regression, compared to just checking your weight. As already explained relying on just weight may be misleading if not interpreted in the right circumstances.

Strong is the new skinny. One should exercise in order to increase muscle mass, consequently shrinking fat tissue. This will result in a stronger and toned body. Focus should be on fat loss not weight loss.

Yours in Health,

Brian


Brian Zammit is a certified personal trainer, gym instructor and teacher of Physical Education, obtaining all qualifications from the University of Malta. Brian continued to enrich his knowledge by qualifying as a hypertension and exercise instructor and a pre/post-natal exercise instructor, attaining both qualifications from CORE Fitness Education, UK. As a personal trainer, Brian is recognised by the European Register for Fitness Professionals.

Brian believes that doing exercise should become a way of life. Exercising with good technique is important to improve and to reduce the possibility of getting injured. He aims to specialise in different areas of health and fitness so that people with health issues can start exercising with minimal risk.

Contact number: +356 79 063 293

Facebook: Brian Zammit Personal Trainer

Email: brianzpersonaltrainer@gmail.com

Categories: Healthy Lifestyle

New Year New You

Article by Brian Zammit

The beginning of the New Year is always characterised by resolutions. Most people WISH to improve their health but they stumble on the following hurdles:

  • Lose motivation after a couple of days/ weeks.
  • Do not know from where to start.
  • Do not know how to plan an exercise session.
  • Lack will power and postpone the start.
  • Lack support from people close to them.

What should you do to get started?

  • Set short term goals! A ten minute walk is an improvement when compared to just watching TV after work.
  • Plan your day. I’m sure you can find at least twenty minutes to exercise. Try to slot exercise early morning, but if you don’t manage I suggest that you do it at the end of the day. Even if you are very tired exercise will regenerate you. Try it out!
  • Search online for exercises. This will help you to stay motivated and try different movements.
  • Seek professional advice.
  • Forget about transforming your body in a couple of weeks. You have to work hard and do it regularly. Exercise has to become part of your lifestyle.

Happy New Year to All and good luck in your fitness adventure!


Brian Zammit is a certified personal trainer, gym instructor and teacher of Physical Education, obtaining all qualifications from the University of Malta. Brian continued to enrich his knowledge by qualifying as a hypertension and exercise instructor and a pre/post-natal exercise instructor, attaining both qualifications from CORE Fitness Education, UK. As a personal trainer, Brian is recognised by the European Register for Fitness Professionals.

Brian believes that doing exercise should become a way of life. Exercising with good technique is important to improve and to reduce the possibility of getting injured. He aims to specialise in different areas of health and fitness so that people with health issues can start exercising with minimal risk.

Contact number: +356 79 063 293

Facebook: Brian Zammit Personal Trainer

Email: brianzpersonaltrainer@gmail.com

Categories: Healthy Lifestyle

The Relevance of Yoga in our Daily Life

Article by Ray Cacciattolo

It is not surprising that currently there is a greater awareness of the benefits of yoga, including better mental and physical health. More and more people are seeking refuge in the practice of yoga as a way of achieving and maintaining inner peace, calm and well-being.

Yoga can be used as a practical tool in our daily life to destress and function better. Initially, many take up yoga just to improve their physical fitness or as therapy to treat a physical ailment. In many instances, it soon becomes a ‘need’; an important means to deal effectively with daily situations, rather than an alternative form of physical activity.

Through yoga, you become more attuned to your emotions. An increased sense of awareness enables you to have a better mental control. You become calmer and more tolerant, and eventually end up reacting in a positive or at least not in a destructive way when dealing with difficult or unpleasant situations. Your tolerance threshold is improved to the extent that you are less likely to become angry, frustrated and upset.

The ever-increasing life stressors like excessive workload demands, health, relationship and financial problems can negatively influence our well-being. All this can lead to anxiety disorders, mood swings, insomnia and even depression. It is scientifically proven that yoga is an effective therapy to help individuals facing health challenges at any level to manage their condition, reduce symptoms, increase vitality and improve attitude.

Yoga is surely not a ‘fashion or a trend’ that will lose its relevance by time. Since its origin dates back to over 4000 years, it has continuously and certainly proven its significance.

With today’s fast living pace and the ever-increasing daily stressors, an appropriate tool like yoga is an asset to our life. Its net effect is like recharging a battery, making it easier to improve your quality of life on the physical, mental and emotional levels. By finding a right style of yoga according to your needs and a good yoga instructor who you resonate with, you will embark on a smoother journey in life.


Ray Cacciattolo, founder of Functional Fitness Yoga (Malta), is a fully qualified Yoga Instructor (Yoga Alliance 2011), Pilates Instructor (National exercise & Sports Trainers Association 2007), Hatha Yoga Teacher (C.h. Dip. Yoga, Kevala Centre 2005) and Sport Yoga Instructor (National Exercise & Sports trainers Association 2004). Ray started the practice of yoga in 2001 to increase his fitness level. It immediately struck him that practice of yoga is highly beneficial on the physical, mental and emotional level. He highly considers yoga as a way of life, a means not just to get physically fit but also to obtain and maintain inner well-being, harmony and a deep sense of peace. It is his passion sharing the many benefits that yoga has to offer to every person, whatever the age, level of fitness and shape of the body. His teaching experience includes yoga with the visually impaired and blind persons and yoga in prison. He may be contacted at email address:raycacciattolo@gmail.com; contact number: 79555574; website:www.rayogamalta.com ; fb: Ra Yoga Malta

Categories: Healthy Lifestyle

Yoga For Anxiety

Article by Ray Cacciattolo

Anxyoga1iety is a general term for several disorders that cause nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worrying. It is an insidious emotional problem. Nearly every person has the feeling of anxiety at some point in his/her life. However, when it becomes out of control, it can cause distressing symptoms, including insomnia, migraines, intestinal problems, dizziness, heart palpitations and even panic attacks.

The physical practice of yoga has a direct effect on the parasympathetic nervous system (relaxation response) of the body. A good yoga practice burns off the tense energy that can contribute to anxiety and helps bring about a feeling of relyoga3axation.

Controlling the breath turns out to be the entry point to calming down an overactive stress response system. Deep, smooth, quiet and even breathing promotes calmness of the mind.

Other breathing practices such as abdominal breathing and lengthening the exhalation relative to the inhalation help to reduce the symptoms of anxiety.

Yoga helpyoga2s in slowing down the rush of thoughts. Through yoga your mind becomes relaxed and more aware of the present moment. You are more aware of what is within your control. External factors which are not within your control you just try not to let them affect you in negative way. Yoga teaches you to let go of all the worries about the future.

By applying the above yogic techniques, you will be on your way to a better quality of life, your health and well-being. You will simply feel better even by just improving your sleeping pattern.


Ray Cacciattolo, founder of Functional Fitness Yoga (Malta), is a fully qualified Yoga Instructor (Yoga Alliance 2011), Pilates Instructor (National exercise & Sports Trainers Association 2007), Hatha Yoga Teacher (C.h. Dip. Yoga, Kevala Centre 2005) and Sport Yoga Instructor (National Exercise & Sports trainers Association 2004). Ray started the practice of yoga in 2001 to increase his fitness level. It immediately struck him that practice of yoga is highly beneficial on the physical, mental and emotional level. He highly considers yoga as a way of life, a means not just to get physically fit but also to obtain and maintain inner well-being, harmony and a deep sense of peace. It is his passion sharing the many benefits that yoga has to offer to every person, whatever the age, level of fitness and shape of the body. His teaching experience includes yoga with the visually impaired and blind persons and yoga in prison. He may be contacted at email address:raycacciattolo@gmail.com; contact number: 79555574; website: www.rayogamalta.com ; fb: Ra Yoga Malta

Categories: Healthy Lifestyle

Back to school and aromatherapy

back_to_school

Article by Alexia Buttigieg

And now summer is over and everyone is back to winter routine:  the students, or those who have kids or else those who work in the education sector. In a way it seems like almost everyone is affected by this event. It might become hectic and create excessive tension in the students, the parents or the teachers. Essential oils can play an important role at the beginning of the scholastic year.

Firstly, I would like to share with you why I do not approve of vaporising essential oils in a class of pupils, no matter their age. Recently some DIY bloggers where promoting the idea of having essential oilsdiffusers in schools. While it would in theory be great, unfortunately this is not possible. Having a class of 15 to more individuals in one room and choosing one essential oils that fits all is impossible. No not even the lavender which we think is safe for all. Although essential oils are natural substances, people can still get allergic reactions to them. If used incorrectly they can harm  the wellbeing of an individual, so before attempting any DIY please be cautious mostly where kids are concerned.

Having said that, at home we all know our family members and we can choose the correct oils for the family. Essential oils are best absorbed through the body by inhalation either by using electric diffusers or diffuser reed sticks, which help the microscopic natural chemicals to go through our system. Below are a few essential oils that can help in some situations that usually are accompanied by school stress;

If a vaporiser is used please follow the instructions of supplier on amount of drops to be put in water.

Vaporisers should not be used for more than 3 hours at a stretch.

If reed diffusers are used, do not use more than 5 drops in 10 ml of alcohol. Please ask for advice when blending 2 or more essential oils.reed-diffuser

Improving and supporting the immune system: Thyme, Ravensara, Helichrysum, Oregano, Rosemary, Myrrh, Lemongrass, Lavender,  Chamomile, Melissa, Lemon, Cinnamon, Clove,  Melalueca, Vetiver.

Stimulating Essential Oils: Rosemary, Ginger, Peppermint, Lemon, Eucalyptus, Pine, Nutmeg, Pepper. Note that Peppermint and Eucalyptus should not be used on small kids.

To help relieve anxiety: Jasmine, Benzoin resinoid, Bergamot, Rose, Cedarwood, Rosewood,  Lemon, Lime, Patchouli, Geranium, Bergamot, Lavender, Neroli, Ylang ylang.

For bed wetting as of anxiety: Cypress essential oil.

Poor concentration: Clary Sage, Cardamom, Rosemary, Peppermint, Basil, Lemon, Frankincense.

Lack of confidence or low self esteem: Jasmine essential oil ( Do not use jasmine if there is any pregnant woman in the household)

Tension headaches: Chamomile (German, Roman), Lavender, Peppermint, Spearmint, Rosewood, Rosemary, Balsam fir, Valerian, Clove, Eucalyptus, Basil.

Hyperactitvity: Valerian, Lavender, Cedarwood, Roman Chamomile, Vetiver, Peppermint.

Panic attacks: Lavender, Rosewood, Sweet Marjoram.

Head lice: In this case the oils should not be inhaled but mixed in a medium of apple cider vinegar and water. This can be used as a preventative measure, but if lice are already present an  anti lice shampoo is to be used as well, together  with a fine toothed comb. 6 drops of thyme to 15 ml of organic apple cider vinegar to 500ml of filtered water. Mix and apply to hair after shampoo. Use comb to brush. Thyme or Rosemary essential oils are recommended. Can be used as preventative measure every time the hair is washed.  Choose either one essential oil or other. Please do not use neat tea tree oil on a child scalp, there is no study supporting the theory and there is a risk of causing  allergic reactions. If tea tree oil is used as a general antiseptic this must be mixed by using a few drops in an unscented conditioner.

Using essential oils in a relaxing evening routine can also help in inducing better rest and calmer sleeps. If used in a bath remember to mix essential oils in full fat milk or in a spoon of honey since oils are not water soluble. Adding salts to the bath like dead sea salts or Epsom salts can add benefits.

Finishing the bath while massaging yourself or the kids with a light absorbing oil like poppy seed oil and adding a few drops of desired essential oil to enhance the relaxing ritual.

I must add that to the essential oils, one must ensure that students are having the right amount of sleep, are also having a nutritive diet, that there is some exercise involved. In addition, we must  also keep a dialogue to understand if there are any issues that are bothering them in the school environment.

This information is provided with best intentions and from best sources but one must keep in mind not to take essential oils very lightly. Please do seek professional advice if in doubt, not all information on the internet comes from a reliable source and one must be careful most when there are DIY recipes created to promote a certain company or product. Please do drop an email and Iwill be very happy to help if you have any questions, or ask any qualified aromatherapist before venturing in an aromatherapy blend with more than 2 essential oils.

Wishing you all a cosy autumn and aromatic smelling homes.

Sources:

Aromatherapy workbook by Marcel Lavabre

Essential oils integrative medical guide: buiding immunity, increasing longevity, and enhancing mental performance with Therapeutic grade essential oils by D. Gary young,ND, essential science publishing.

The practice of Aromatherapy by Jean Valnet, M.D 1990


Alexia Buttigieg is a holistic therapist who is passionate about everything that can help people feel better in a more natural approach, from massage to self-therapy to essential oils and reflexology. She believes that stress cannot be avoided but nature has given us all we need to reduce it, and live a more balanced existence. She started her career as a Beauty therapist and has achieved diplomas in Esteticienne and Physiatrics, where she was able to understand the anatomy and physiology of the human body. She furthered her studies by achieving diplomas in Reflexology (including palliative care) and Aromatherapy. Other certificate courses include tui na, facial analysis and ayurvedic stone massage.  In these past years she has ventured into natural cosmetics and read for a diploma and an advanced diploma in organic skincare formulation, which harmonises her passions for Aromatherapy and organic skincare treatments. Alexia still feels like her first role is being a mother to her daughter and prioritises family and their well-being. She may be contacted at naturannis@gmail.com

Categories: Healthy Lifestyle

The Ancient Healing Art of Reflexology

Article by Rita Briffa

The ancient healing art of Reflexology enhances the natural ability of the body to heal itself by restoring and maintaining the body’s natural balance.

reflexology-flower

What is Reflexology?

Reflexology is a natural healing art based on the principles that there are reflexes in the hands and feet that correspond to every part, gland and organ of the body.  Reflexology is a holistic therapy. Reflexology uses massage to reflex areas found in the feet and the hands. It is healthier to use the feet for Reflexology.

In the feet, there are reflex areas corresponding to all the parts of the body. These areas are arranged in such a way as to form a map of the body in the feet. The right foot corresponds to the right side of the body and the left foot corresponds to the left side of the body.

By having the whole body represented in the feet, Reflexology offers the healthy method of treating the whole body and of treating the body holistically. This is an important factor of a natural therapy and allows not only symptoms to be treated but also the causes of symptoms.

Through application of pressure on these reflexes, reflexology relieves tension, improves circulation and promotes the natural function of the related areas of the body.

In ancient times, we stimulated reflexes naturally by walking barefoot over rocks, stones and rough ground, or by using our hands more often to climb, build or work. In today’s modern world we have lost much of nature’s way of maintaining a balanced and healthy equilibrium. Reflexology helps to restore this balance and promote natural health and vitality.

Although Reflexology does not diagnose or treat specific ailments by definition, it has proven highly successful over time to relieve symptoms or ease pain or discomfort that have manifested themselves physically in the body – either as a result of stress, trauma or disease.

Reflexology does not claim to be a ‘cure-all’ but numerous different disorders have been successfully treated by this method. These disorders include such things as migraine, sinus problems, hormonal imbalances, breathing disorders, digestive problems, circulatory problems, back problems and tension and stress. Most people who have experienced treatment would agree that the method can be most beneficial and is also a very relaxing therapy.

Reflexology is a therapeutic method of relieving pain. It stimulates specific pressure points on the feet and hands. This controlled pressure alleviates the source of the discomfort. In good health, Reflexology is effective for promoting wellbeing and for preventing illness as it may be for relieving symptoms of stress, injury, and illness.

Reflexologists work according to maps of predefined pressure points that are located on the hands and feet. These pressure points are connected directly through the nervous system and affect the bodily organs and glands. The reflexologist works on the pressure points according to specific techniques of reflexology therapy. By means of this touching therapy, any part of the body that is the source of pain, illness, or potential weakness can be strengthened through the application of pressure at the respective foot or hand location.

Origins of reflexology

Reflexology is an ancient healing art. Although its origins are not well documented, there is evidence that it was practiced in ancient Egypt, China and India.

There are pictures on the walls of a Sixth Dynasty Egyptian tomb (c. 2450 B.C.) that show two seated men receiving massage on their hands and feet. From Egypt Reflexology may have entered the Western world during the conquests of the Roman Empire.

Reflexology has also been traced to pre-dynastic China (possibly as early as 3000 B.C.) and to ancient Indian medicine. The Inca civilization may have used the theories of reflexology and passed on the practice of this treatment to the Native Americans.

In the 1890s Sir Henry Head first studied the notions of reflexology in the U.K. At the same time therapists in Germany and Russia were researching similar notions of reflexology with a different focus.

Less than twenty years later, William H. Fitzgerald presented a similar perception that he called zone therapy. Fitzgerald’s zone theory was a method of relieving pain through the application of pressure to specific locations throughout the entire body. Fitzgerald divided the body into 10 vertical zones, five on each side, which extended from the head to the fingertips and toes, and from front to back. Every aspect of the human body appears in one of these 10 zones, and each zone has a reflex area on the hands and feet. Fitzgerald and his colleague, Dr. Edwin Bowers, demonstrated that by applying pressure on one area of the body, they could reduce pain in a corresponding part. In 1917, Fitzgerald and Bowers published Relieving Pain at Home, an explanation of zone therapy.

In the 1930s, Eunice D. Ingham went further into the theory of reflexology. It was ascertained that pressure points on the human foot were situated in a mirror image of the corresponding organs of the body.

Ingham formed the basis of reflexology, in Stories the Feet Can Tell, published in 1938. Although Ingham’s work in reflexology was inaccurately described as zone therapy by some, there are differences between the two therapies of pressure therapy.

Among the more marked differences, reflexology defines a precise correlation between pressure points and afflicted areas of the body. Furthermore, Ingham divided each foot and hand into 12 respective pressure zones, in contrast to the 10 vertical divisions that encompass the entire body in Fitzgerald’s zone therapy.

In 1968 Dwight Byers and Eusebia Messenger, established the National Institute of Reflexology. By the early 1970s the Institute had grown and was renamed the International Institute of Reflexology.

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Recent popularity of reflexology

For several reasons, in recent years reflexology has enjoyed a lot of popularity. Today we are exposed to high levels of stress in our jobs, our homes and travels. Stress is without a doubt one of the main causes of physical and mental pain and suffering, as well as contributing to making symptoms, other diseases or conditions much worse. Reflexology is a great stress reducer.

Even though many people are trying to eat organic or healthy foods, even those ‘healthy’ foods grown today are grown in soil conditions that are greatly depleted in basic minerals and nutrients compared to the days of our grandparents. This means that even though people are trying to improve their diet, it is not easy to do. This lack of minerals combined with stress puts more pressure on our immune system and health. Reflexology works to allow the body to work to heal itself and normalize functions.

People are turning more and more to complimentary or natural health care that focuses on pro-active maintenance and holistic or entire body well being.

Reflexology offers an all-natural therapy that does not require anything other than gentle manipulation to stimulate the body’s natural healing mechanisms to normalize and heal.  It is gaining popularity primarily due to the enthusiasm of those who have found and realized the benefits.

How does it work?

In a typical reflexology treatment, the therapist and patient have a preliminary discussion prior to therapy, to enable the therapist to focus more accurately on the patient’s specific complaints and to determine the appropriate pressure points for treatment.

A reflexology session involves pressure treatment that is most commonly administered in foot therapy sessions of approximately 40–45 minutes in duration. The foot therapy may be followed by a brief 15-minute hand therapy session. No artificial devices or special equipment are associated with this therapy. The human hand is the primary tool used in reflexology. The therapist applies controlled pressure with the thumb and forefinger, generally working toward the heel of the foot or the outer palm of the hand. Reflexology therapy is not massage, and it is not a substitute for medical treatment.

Reflexology is a complex system that identifies and addresses the mass of 7,000 nerve endings that are contained in the foot. Additional reflexology addresses the nerves that are located in the hand. This is a completely natural therapy that affords relief without the use of drugs.

Reflexology is safe

Reflexology is extremely safe. It may even be self-administered in a limited form whenever desired. The qualified reflexologist offers a clear and open disclaimer that reflexology does not constitute medical treatment in any form, nor is reflexology given as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. The ultimate purpose of the therapy is to promote wellness; fundamentally it is a form of preventive therapy. Reflexology compliments other medical treatments and relieves pain and stimulates healing.

People with serious and long-term medical problems are urged to seek the advice of a physician. A consultation with a reflexologist is recommended in order to determine the safety and appropriateness of reflexology therapy for a specific health problem or condition.

Preparations

In order to realize maximum benefit from a reflexology session, the therapist as well as the patient should be situated so as to afford optimal comfort for both. Patients in general receive treatment in a reclining position, with the therapist positioned as necessary—to work on the bare feet, or alternately on the bare hands.

A reflexology patient removes both shoes and socks in order to receive treatment. No other preparation is involved. No prescription drugs, creams, oils, or lotions are used on the skin.

How Can Reflexology Help You?

The body has the ability to heal itself. Following illness, stress, injury or disease, it is in a state of “imbalance”, and vital energy pathways are blocked, preventing the body from functioning effectively. Reflexology can be used to restore and maintain the body’s natural equilibrium and encourage healing.

A reflexologist uses hands only to apply gentle pressure to the feet. For each person the application and the effect of the therapy is unique. Sensitive, trained hands can detect tiny deposits and imbalances in the feet, and by working on these points, the reflexologist can release blockages and restore the free flow of energy to the whole body.

Tensions are eased, and circulation and elimination is improved. This gentle therapy encourages the body to heal itself at its own pace, often counteracting a lifetime of misuse.

What Happens When You Go For Treatment?

On your first visit there is a preliminary talk with the practitioner. The reflexologist then begins to work on your feet, or hands if necessary, noting problem areas. There may be discomfort in some places, but it is fleeting, and is an indication of congestion or imbalance in a corresponding part of the body. For the most part, the sensation is pleasant and soothing. Reflexology will relax you while stimulating the body’s own healing mechanisms.

Usually a treatment session lasts for about one hour. A course of treatment varies in length depending on your body’s needs. Your reflexologist will discuss this with you at the first session. After the first treatment or two your body may respond in a very definite way: you may have a feeling of well being and relaxation; or you may feel lethargic, nauseous or tearful, but this is transitory. It is, however, vital information for reflexologist, as it shows how your body is responding to treatment.

Who can benefit from reflexology?

Since reflexology treats the whole person, not the symptoms of disease, most people benefit from treatment. The therapy brings relief to a wide range of acute and chronic conditions, and is suitable for all ages.

Once your body is in-tune, it is wise to have regular treatments in order to help maintain health and well being. An increasing number of people are using this safe, natural therapy as a way of relaxing, balancing and harmonizing the body.

Benefits of reflexology

Reflexology promotes healing by stimulating the nerves in the body and encouraging the flow of blood. In the process, reflexology not only relieves pain, but also heals the source of the pain.

Reflexologists relate numerous success stories in the treatment of a variety of conditions and injuries. Persons who suffer from chronic conditions are encouraged to experience reflexology therapy to alleviate its symptoms. Frequent brief sessions of reflexology therapy are also recommended as an alternative to drug therapy for controlling muscle pain associated with fibromyalgia. Reflexology is also effective in relieving difficult breathing caused by tightness in the muscles of the patient’s neck and throat.

Benefits of Reflexology:

  • Relieves sore and tired feet by reducing bloating and stimulating nerve function
  • Improves body posture and blood circulation
  • Reduces depression and brings on a deep state of relaxation,
  • Relieves the pain associated with arthritis
  • Helps digestion and eliminates toxins,
  • Prevents migraines,
  • Speeds recovery after injury or surgery,
  • Helps relieve sleep disorders,
  • Soothes the pains of pregnancy, even those occurring after the baby is born.
  • Assists pain management in cancer, MS, arthritis, fibromylgia and other chronic conditions

How to find a good therapist?

There are several good reflexology therapists. In searching for a good therapist; it is advisable to go with your gut feeling. You cannot decide solely on the prices they charge as this can be misleading. A high price does not mean the best service.

So it is suggested that you ask your friends or relatives who made use of the services by this therapist. Or else browse the website or the social media and get an idea on how they work and any reviews or comments on their services.

And finally reflexology cannot go wrong. So in the event that you go and do not feel satisfied with the service, then you can decide not to go again. Or you may be satisfied and make another appointment.


Rita Briffa, Wellbeing Consultant gives treatments with Reiki, Reflexology, Talking Therapy (Holistic Guidance), Bach Flower Remedies and Encaustic Art therapies.

Rita also teaches Reiki at all levels up to Master Teacher level.

Rita Briffa

Wellbeing Consultant

B.A. (Gen.) M.A. (Qual) Certificate in Management (MIM)

Traditional Reiki Master Teacher,

Diploma in Bach Flower Remedies,

Certificate in Gestalt Psychotherapy,

Certificate in Reflexology,

Encaustic Art and Colour Therapy Healing,

Website: www.wellbeingconsultantmalta.com

E-mail: ritabriffa@gmail.com                                                                                            Skype. rita.briffa

Categories: Healthy Lifestyle

Stings, Sun and Aromatherapy fun!

Summer(4)

Article by Alexia Buttigieg

Summer is here, and of course along with it the heat, mosquitoes and jellyfish also tag along. Essential oils have a great effect as repellents for insects and are also very soothing as summer first aiders.

This is the natural shopping list for your summer:

  • Witch hazel
  • Aloe vera gel
  • Lavender essential oil
  • Lavandin essential oil
  • Eucalyptus Lemon essential oil
  • Chamomile roman essential oil.

Worrying us the most are the jellyfish stings, and gosh they do hurt! These are treated best with Lavender essential oil, as first aid and can be applied undiluted and then mixed with aloe vera gel up to 1% to keep up the treatment. Some would recommend using Vinegar and for some it is effective. There is no scientific evidence regarding this, but still many swear by it. Though first aiders recommend to wash area with warm clear water for some minutes and after the undiluted Lavender should be applied to avoid venom entering the system.

Next?  Insect stings!!!

First I would like to spare a word about what to avoid in an insect repellent . DEET!

The EPA says that if used as directed, bug sprays containing DEET are not harmful to us, although long-term exposure is. When you spray it on your skin, it gets absorbed and eventually enters the bloodstream. It pumps through your nervous system and has been proven to kill brain cells, causing neurological damage. If you have heavy exposure to DEET, you may experience memory loss, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and shortness of breath. Mosquito bites aren’t looking so bad now, huh? DEET could be considered a poison, but the EPA feels that small doses are OK for us. So if you’re using a product containing DEET, follow the directions on the bottle. Don’t over-apply, and as soon as you go inside, wash your skin off with soap and water.

I don’t wish to use scaremongering but there are safer ingredients to be used so it’s up to the individual to decide to go for this ingredient, and if you choose to, make sure at least is in low dosage. More than that make sure if used on kids they do not put their hands in their mouth or get it in their eyes or mucous membrane.

Natural Mosquito spray repellent:

There are various essential oils that work as mosquito repellent; Citronella, Eucalyptus Lemon, Patchouli, Lemongrass, Lavandin, geranium bourbon.  All are effective mostly in vaporisers and aromatherapy diffusers. These essential oils should be added to water at a maximum of 3.5% if outside, 2% if indoors and if small pets or kids are present at 1%. One should not expose oneself to the fumes for more than 3 hours at a stretch. When applied to the skin things work differently. These essential oils mentioned can cause skin sensitisation if used in high percentages. My favourite one for kids is; eucalyptus Lemon at 0.6% which is safer than citronella on the skin and Lavandin at 0.3% which is a lavender hybrid and apart than having insect repellent properties has also calming effects on the skin. These should be mixed in witch hazel and placed in a small dark bottle. Always shake before use as to disperse essential oils. Mix in small quantities. Spray on skin avoiding eyes and mouth.

Lemon eucalyptus: This essential oil is so effective against bugs that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered lemon eucalyptus oil as a natural “biopesticide repellent”.

If bitten or stung  Chamomile at 0.25% and Lavender at 0.75% are very soothing and calming. These can be mixed in sweet almond oil, calendula oil or even aloe vera gel.

Tip for your home!! Clove and peppermint essential oils at 2% in white vinegar acts as an ant repellent. Spray areas where ants are present.

Essential oils do not offer any kind of sun filter, No base oils are proven to be a sun filter. So it is clear that essential oils mixed in base oils are not to be applied before sun exposure and proper sun protection should be applied. There is no 100% natural sun protection cream but there are various sun screens with natural and organic oils with non nano zinc oxides which are not able to penetrate deep into the skin but keep on the surface meaning they are safer for us.  Having said that, after sun can easily be done with 100% natural DIY ingredients:

Aloe vera gel mixed with 0.75% of Lavender and 0.25% Roman Chamomile. Keep refrigerated if you decide to mix a large batch and use a spoon or spatula to scoop out product since aloe vera has a high percentage of water to avoid contamination. This can be done also for sunburn and can be applied thickly on the effected area, Apply several times a day.

Citrus-based essential oils absorb higher amounts of the sun’s energy, creating sun sensitivities. Avoid applying these oils when planning to spend time outside, as the oils can cause the skin area to burn faster: Bitter orange, Grapefruit, Bergamot, Lime, Lemon,Tangerine, Sweet orange.

In summer, essential oils should be kept in a cool dry place. Avoid leaving them in the sun if taking any. For example, when lavender is taken to the beach as first aid rescue, place it in a cooler.

All the above information is given from research from books and sites with best intentions but one would always recommend a patch test on the inner elbow whenever a new essential oil is used.

References:

Complete book of aromatherapy by Valerie Worwood

Ifra dermal limits

EPA site

An introductory guide to aromatherapy by Louise Tucker.


Alexia Buttigieg is a holistic therapist who is passionate about everything that can help people feel better in a more natural approach, from massage to self-therapy to essential oils and reflexology. She believes that stress cannot be avoided but nature has given us all we need to reduce it, and live a more balanced existence. She started her career as a Beauty therapist and has achieved diplomas in Esteticienne and Physiatrics, where she was able to understand the anatomy and physiology of the human body. She furthered her studies by achieving diplomas in Reflexology (including palliative care) and Aromatherapy. Other certificate courses include tui na, facial analysis and ayurvedic stone massage.  In these past years she has ventured into natural cosmetics and read for a diploma and an advanced diploma in organic skincare formulation, which harmonises her passions for Aromatherapy and organic skincare treatments. Alexia still feels like her first role is being a mother to her daughter and prioritises family and their well-being. She may be contacted at naturannis@gmail.com

Categories: Healthy Lifestyle

Hydrosols in Aromatherapy

steamdistillation1

Article by Alexia Buttigieg

I bet that you all heard rose water mentioned by our grandmas, who used it for everything and swore by it! And no wonder, they are so spot on. The benefits of these aromatic waters is fantastic.

They are also known as floral waters, but the appropriate words are hydrosols or hydrolats which both make sense. Hydro means water part than sol is a solution in Latin, and lat is milk in Latin which is the appearance of the finished product after distillation. This is a by product of distilled essential oils where on one side you get the plant matter’s essential oil and the other side this hydrolat is collected.

It must be said that hydrosols are cheaper than essential oils, and these do not need to be diluted and can be used directly on thHydrosolse skin. Hydrosols are very safe for babies pregnant ladies and small pets still with some exceptions (always ask your aromatherapist if you have any of the mentioned situation). They are ideal as face toners, for calming diaper rash, refreshing linen, as a room fragrance, added to steamers or steam irons ( must state that appliance is compatible ) added to the rinse cycle in washing machine, added to baths, used as deodorants or  body freshener. So as you might notice the uses are vast and not only eliminating possible toxic synthetic fragrances from your home but they also have added therapeutic benefits of which I will mention a few to have an idea.

One must keep in mind that most hydrosols have a shorter shelf life than fellow oils, but usually the date would be marked on the purchased bottle. Also if you notice any sediments or change in smell it might be that it has gone bad. It is mandatory in the EU that purchased hydrolats must be properly preserved ideally with preservatives accepted by natural cosmetics associations and that only those are added to the hydrosols and no other fancy ingredient. Store in a dark cool place away from heat and sunlight.

These are a few hydrolats available on the market;

Rose water: soothes dry skin, balancing.

Witch hazel: soothes, astringent, calms inflammation, used for combination skins and acne but also diaper rash

Tea tree: fights infections, antiseptic, cooling, helps fight infection.

Chamomile: healing of skin, calms swelling, anti allergenic and anti irritant.

Lavender: antiseptic, cooling, calming, bactericidal, regenerating.

There are so many more to choose from but these should be a good starting point for those who are new to hydrosols. More will be available on the market as they are regaining popularity. And like essential oils buy from reputable sellers. One last note to add is that you might notice that the same purchased hydrosol might differ in smell or colour from the previous purchase. It is totally ok. This happens because climate, cultivation and time of distillation will make an impact on end result leaving the hydrosol with a different smell and sometimes colour too, but in my belief is the beauty of nature and what makes natural products unique.


Alexia Buttigieg is a holistic therapist who is passionate about everything that can help people feel better in a more natural approach, from massage to self-therapy to essential oils and reflexology. She believes that stress cannot be avoided but nature has given us all we need to reduce it, and live a more balanced existence. She started her career as a Beauty therapist and has achieved diplomas in Esteticienne and Physiatrics, where she was able to understand the anatomy and physiology of the human body. She furthered her studies by achieving diplomas in Reflexology (including palliative care) and Aromatherapy. Other certificate courses include tui na, facial analysis and ayurvedic stone massage.  In these past years she has ventured into natural cosmetics and read for a diploma and an advanced diploma in organic skincare formulation, which harmonises her passions for Aromatherapy and organic skincare treatments. Alexia still feels like her first role is being a mother to her daughter and prioritises family and their well-being. She may be contacted at naturannis@gmail.com

 

Categories: Healthy Lifestyle

An Introduction to Reiki

Close up head portrait of young woman having facial massage in spa. Therapist massaging woman’s head against colorful background.

Article By Rita Briffa

WHAT IS REIKI?

Reiki is a natural energy therapy that promotes health and wellbeing. Reiki can be used as part of the treatment of minor to chronic illnesses. It can also be an integral part in prevention from disease as it calms the mind and increases relaxation. Reiki increases inner calmness and brings about greater peace.

WHAT HAPPENS DURING A REIKI TREATMENT?

During a Reiki treatment, the hands are gently and lightly placed on the client’s body. Reiki is given through clothing. So a client can remain fully dressed during the treatment. The energy flow is very soft and comforting. Often clients fall asleep and experience a deep state of relaxation. The mind calms down, the breathing slows down and clients feel well, serene, at peace and happy! Often Reiki gets clients back in touch with their inner power to heal and be happy!

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF REIKI?

One hour treatment of Reiki is equivalent to four hours of sleep, with benefits such as increased oxygen supply to the blood and cells. This clinical observation combined with the relaxation state, makes Reiki a most effective natural stress reliever. Regular use of Reiki leads to an increase in general vitality and well being and a sense of inner peace.

REIKI …

Can be used as part of the treatment of many common conditions;

Increases pain management;

Increases energy and vitality;

Dramatically eliminates stress and tension; and,

Raises levels of self esteem and self confidence.


Rita Briffa B.A. (Gen.); M.A. (Qual); Certificate in Management (MIM) is a Wellbeing Consultant and founder of the Healing Hands School of Reiki in Malta. She teaches all levels of Reiki up to Masters’ level and gives treatments with Holistic guidance, Reiki, Reflexology, Bach Flower Remedies and Encaustic Art Therapy. In 1997 Rita started her training in Reiki with The Reiki Network. That year she achieved her first and second degrees in the field, followed by a Reiki 3A course with the Reiki Network in 1998. In 2001 she completed a Foundation Course in Gestalt Psychotherapy at GPTIM. In 2004, Rita finished a course in Reflexology at the Arran School of Reflexology, Scotland.  Her calling to Reiki led her to start a two-year Master training course in 2002, from which she graduated as Reiki Master, and then started teaching Reiki in 2004 and attained Master Teacher Degree in 2014. In 2012, Rita followed a course in Encaustic Art therapy in Limassol, Cyprus. In May 2015 Rita achieved a distinction in her Diploma in Bach Flower Remedies with the Da Vinci College of Holistic Medicine in Cyprus. That same year, Rita completed a course in Abundance Coaching. She may be contacted at Website:www.wellbeingconsultantmalta.com E-mail:ritabriffa@gmail.com

Categories: Healthy Lifestyle

Carrier Oils

rosemary olive oil

Article by Alexia Buttigieg

Also known as fixed or base, and in Aromatherapy these oils are as important as essential oils. These are thicker and not volatile, they carry vitamins and nutrients to the skin but are only able to penetrate through the surface of the skin as their molecular structure is much thicker than that of essential oils. However, they are the perfect vehicle to transport the volatile essential oil through our skin.
Oils have been used for centuries even before essential oils existed and are used in culinary, medicinal and beauty industries. As oils are essential to our diet these are also essential to our skin, and according to the skin type and purpose different oils must be used.
These contain mostly GLA’s and fatty acids. They vary in texture and penetration rate and also in function. Oils are liquid at room temperature while butters are solid at room temperature. There are also waxes that are used in aromatherapy like beeswax and candelila. Examples of butters are shea and cocoa. Some examples of oils are olive, sweet almond, borage and sunflower. The meaning of an unrefined oil is that this has been pressed and filtered but did not go under further treatment, while when an oil or butter has been refined this would have gone under treatment to change the smell and texture of final product. Virgin oil is when it has gone under pressure mostly mechanical and just filtered. When an oil is hydrogenated this goes through a process of adding hydrogen atoms to unsaturated oil or butter making it stable and increasing its shelf life but also removing some important nutrients as of the process it would have undergone. Infused oils are dry plant materials that have been soaked in the oil and the extract would have transferred into the oil making it more beneficial. Lipids, a word used to describe oils and butters in aromatherapy can be found both in animals and mostly in the plant kingdom. And they are used in massage, baths and soap making.
There is a whole study behind oils and it is very scientific. It is very interesting to know that oils are pressed from the seed of the plant and then used for its purpose. Countries like Africa produce a high amount of shea butter and Africans use it for everything, their skin is very dry and needs protection from the harmful uv rays. In Mongolia where it is very cold they use animal fats and sea buckthorn oil which also has medicinal purpose for them. In Malta we are very proud of our olive oil and Borage seed oil (fidloqqom). Both are very good to preserve moisture and are anti inflammatory, soothe damaged skin and are anti ageing. While olive oil is very thick and takes a while to absorb, Borage on the other hand is a dry oil which absorbs really fast. Organic oils are available on the market, these would have been grown naturally without the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Usually they are higher in price but will retain more benefits than a hydrogenated refined oil. This does not mean that using the latter is bad for you but you get more benefits in using an oil which has not been treated but had gone only through pressing as it would retain all essential fatty acids and nutrients.

Here is a quick recipe for aching muscles:
Infused rosemary olive oil. This is done by washing the rosemary leaves in warm water with a spoon of bicarbonate of soda, dry with kitchen paper and hang dry the herb until it is dehydrated. In a glass jar place ½ a litre of olive oil and immerse the rosemary leaves in it. Attention: all matter must be under the oil as it would create mould when exposed to air. Leave in the sun for a few days, remembering to stir the jar gently once a day. After this process, transfer the oil to a dark glass bottle and label with date. This could be used on its own for muscle pain and rheumatic pains.

Reference: Power of the Seed: Your Guide to Oils for Health & Beauty (2015) by Susan M. Parker


Alexia Buttigieg is a holistic therapist who is passionate about everything that can help people feel better in a more natural approach, from massage to self-therapy to essential oils and reflexology. She believes that stress cannot be avoided but nature has given us all we need to reduce it, and live a more balanced existence. She started her career as a Beauty therapist and has achieved diplomas in Esteticienne and Physiatrics, where she was able to understand the anatomy and physiology of the human body. She furthered her studies by achieving diplomas in Reflexology (including palliative care) and Aromatherapy. Other certificate courses include tui na, facial analysis and ayurvedic stone massage.  In these past years she has ventured into natural cosmetics and read for a diploma and an advanced diploma in organic skincare formulation, which harmonises her passions for Aromatherapy and organic skincare treatments. Alexia still feels like her first role is being a mother to her daughter and prioritises family and their well-being. She may be contacted at naturannis@gmail.com

Categories: Healthy Lifestyle

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