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Nourish Mind, Body and Spirit

This is a copy of an interview with Holly published October 16 on DeliveryRank here:

Holly Dunbar is a Licensed Massage Therapist, Registered Herbalist, and Certified Aromatherapist. With a deep-rooted connection to the healing potential of plants she founded New Moon Bodywork & Botanicals, a haven for those seeking the delicate balance of bodywork and botanical remedies. In this exclusive interview feature on DeliveryRank, Holly shares her journey, insights, and wisdom, unraveling the profound impact of incorporating herbal remedies into our daily routines and embracing the innate healing abilities of the natural world.

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Honoring the Humble Weeds – A Journey Back to the Plants

By Holly Dunbar, LMT, RH (AHG), Certified Aromatherapist

Do you remember the first time a plant spoke directly to you in a way that proved life-changing?  I often attribute a fleeting moment of childhood that inspired my lifelong relationship with plants, when I was four years old and burned my finger on a hot stove.  My Mother split an aloe branch from a plant we had growing in a sunny window and rubbed it on my finger, explaining how it would soothe the pain and help the skin to heal.  As the mucilage of the plant did exactly that my eyes widened in amazement, and the spark was ignited that set me on a course of discovery to unravel the mysteries inherent in leaf, flower, and fruit.  I was so taken with the experience that I divided the plant and planted the divisions in plastic yogurt cups to distribute to friends and neighbors.  What started as a spark, led to more discoveries and explorations of plants- eating berries in the woods, digging up roots, discovering fairy rings of mushrooms, and watching the leaves of Sassafras evolve into “mittens.”  I was fortunate to have a wild child experience that I so wish every child could have- freedom to roam the woods, pick your dinner from the garden, raise animals, and ride your horse off into the sunset.

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Essential Oils, the Sense of Smell and Human Intelligence

By Holly Dunbar, LMT, RH (AHG), Certified Aromatherapist

Aromatherapy has an obvious connection to the olfactory system, our sense of smell, whose nerves extend directly into the brain.  The olfactory bulb sends an odorant signal to the limbic system of the brain in the space of 1-3 seconds.  Smell is the only sense humans possess that has this direct pathway to the brain.  Also known as the “old brain,” because it’s association with our primal urges and evolutionary development as humans, the limbic system governs both primitive and emotional drives, such as thirst and hunger, sexual urges, emotions, and the habits and behaviors which define our personality.  It is what drives our choices between attraction and revulsion, safety or danger, and pursuit or avoidance.

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Exploring the Energetics of Essential Oils

By Holly Dunbar, LMT, RH (AHG), Certified Aromatherapist

(A version of this article was published in Plant Healer Quarterly, #47, June 2022)

Two trains of thought tend to emerge when one broaches the subject of the energetics of essential oils – one branches to the vibrational energy, and the other to the classification of the oils’ thermal properties.  The thermal nature of essential oils- whether an oil is cooling, warming, or somewhere in between, is not as consistently defined as it is in herbal medicine. While the application of aromatic oils has been used by humans since antiquity, Aromatherapy as we know it today is a much younger holistic modality than herbal medicine’s 5,000-year written history, which perhaps explains the deficiency of classification in energetic principles.  There is still much to be learned about essential oils, a potent product that results from distillation, pressing, or chemical extraction.  Essential oils’ intricate chemistry, their interaction on the physical and mental level, and their synergistic effects with one another, is key to deciphering the science of aromatherapy. 

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The Many Benefits of Ionic Foot Detox

By Marcia Renne, Registered Massage Practitioner

An ionic foot detox is a safe process used to assist the body in removing toxins through the large pores of the feet.  While detoxification through the feet is an ancient practice, this process utilizes a special machine which detoxifies the body at deeper levels than other methods.  The detoxification process has been scientifically evaluated through patients’ blood and urine samples following a session that detects heavy metals and other toxic elements.  

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What is Gua Sha?

Gua Sha is one of the oldest recorded forms of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It involves using tools, such as jade, with a lubricant to scrape or rub parts of the skin. Gua means to rub or scrape, and Sha is a type of stagnant energy or blood stasis. The intent of the treatment is to stimulate blood circulation to improve the health of the tissues. Gua Sha can be used when a person is dealing with an acute or chronic disorder, or when experiencing aching or tension in the muscles.

Gua Sha is not only used to treat areas of the body, but can be done on the face as well. When performed as a facial treatment less pressure is used along with a slower speed. As with the body, the Facial Gua Sha also improves the health of the skin and tissues by promoting circulation of blood and lymph. By using a light pressure, along with a little friction and a light stretch, a bit of heat is created in the tissues, improving micro-circulation. Gua Sha helps to detoxify the face, allowing the release of muscle tension and helps break down muscle adhesions, has a sculpting and contouring effect on the tissues, and can even make the skin look more radiant.

Natural skin care tools and techniques, like Gua Sha, are recently becoming more popular. Facial Gua Sha can now be found on spa or holistic practice menus, with tools available for purchase at your local stores and online. Facial Gua Sha is a natural, gentle treatment that can be done by your skin care professional, and one that can become part of a home care regimen to maintain healthy, radiant skin.

Submitted by Melanie Pittman
Licensed Massage Therapist & Esthetician

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Essential Oils for Anxiety Relief

Anxiety is a prevalent emotion currently, as in a matter of weeks, we have found our normal routines dramatically altered, businesses shuttered, finances strained, and even the way we shop for groceries a different experience.  Self-care becomes vital in times like these, as stress is not only detrimental to our feeling of well-being, but suppresses our immune system, lowering our body’s ability to fight infection.  How can aromatherapy and the use of essential oils help us in this difficult period?

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Products to Support Immunity and General Wellness

Some products we make may be of particular use during this viral pandemic, due to the content of anti-viral oils. Or, perhaps your hands feel the effects of so much hand washing! Our hand soap and balms may be the perfect solution for dry skin relief. Below are a few products that are particularly relevant at this time:

Pure Essential Oils 

Essential oils can be used in diffusion, inhaled directly, applied to the body directly in lotions, oils, and salves; or added to the bath or used in the shower. Essential oils, with some exceptions, should always be diluted with respect to their potency. These pure plant oils provide emotional support, pain relief, and have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, as well as many other properties that support physical and mental well-being.

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Change of Season and Transitional Skin

As the seasons change you may notice a change in your skin. You could see a difference in skin tone – freckles or dark spots caused by exposure to the summer sun. Maybe you notice clogged pores from consistent or heavy SPF use. The skin’s oil production may increase or decrease, or you may feel dry patches or texture changes. The change of season may be a shock to the system, and your skin could begin to transition. With the shift from Summer to Fall the temperature and humidity drop quickly, so our skin has to work harder to maintain hydration. This can lead to cracks in the epidermis (the outer layer of our skin), causing loss of hydration and possible inflammation. Things like taking hotter showers and the use of heaters in the home also contribute to this. Our skin may need extra attention during this time.

The skin likes consistency. To achieve this it is important to pay attention to your skin and change your routine with the change of seasons. Change of season requires a shift in the products we are using. Some suggestions include: switching to a creamy cleanser that does not foam so as to not strip the skin of its natural oils; the use of serums that focus on hydration or lightening; adding retinols back into your routine; increasing moisturizing, maybe even a heavier moisturizer; and always remembering to continue the use of a good sunscreen.

There are services offered at our favorite spa or skin care practice that we can receive to help us during this transitional skin period. Exfoliation services, like peels, can help even out skin tone and texture, while also reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Services that target deep pore cleaning can help remove blackheads and debris caused from months of using heavy sunscreen. Facials that focus on adding moisture and hydration are always beneficial.

Paying attention to your skin is key during the change of seasons. Change your routine to suit your changing skin and help keep your skin balanced. Make an appointment to see your Esthetician for a service that repairs, revitalizes and nourishes your skin.

Submitted by Melanie Pittman
LMT, Licensed Esthetician

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An Intro to Reiki

Life can be stressful. It is often jam packed with family, work and other necessary activities. Sometimes you need a break for self-care and restoring balance in your life. Reiki is a “time-out” just for you. It is a non-invasive, gentle energy recharge. All living beings have life force energy. Good health and well being occur when your energy is flowing openly and freely. Reiki practioners simply channel your own energy to assist in opening any blockages within the body’s chakras.

Reiki sessions at New Moon last 60 minutes. Clients will complete an intake form and discuss any concerns prior to the session. During the actual session, the client will rest comfortably on a massage table with shoes removed. Clients are fully clothed during the session, which can be hands on with light touch, or hands slightly above the client’s body. Peaceful and soothing music will accentuate the environment and the Reiki practioner will work silently until the end of the session.

Recipients of Reiki may feel warmth or tingling during the session. Some feel no particular sensation but a deep relaxation, stress reduction and well-being. It is not uncommon for some clients to fall asleep! If this happens the benefits of Reiki will still occur. Occasionally clients will experience an emotional release during or following a Reiki session. This is a normal response as your blocked chakras have no opened and are filled with energy. Your own energetic body is in control of the amount of energy during a Reiki session, therefore regular appointments are encouraged.

When the energy in your body becomes blocked or weakened the onset of physical and emotional imbalances may occur. Reiki is a spiritual healing art that works by channeling positive energy into your body. Reiki practioners place their hands on the affected areas of your body that may need a boost. Your body then takes in the energy where it is needed the most. All Reiki is set with the intention to send the energy for the greatest and highest good of the recipient.

Research studies have documented decreased blood pressure, heart rate and stress hormones in addition to increasing the immune system strength due to the effects of relaxation. Multiple scientific studies have long proven the short and long-term effects stress has on your body. Several cellular changes occur within your body during a stress response. Certain hormones are released to protect the body and aid in its survival. When the body is exposed to these hormones for extended periods, cellular damage, inflammation and the onset of disease may begin. Reiki is a method to increase the relaxation response and decrease stress levels. This assists in your own body’s ability to repair cellular damage and heal itself. Just as cells migrate to heal a broken bone or to clot bleeding, relaxation and reduction of stress helps cells respond to the relaxation and stress reduction. Reiki is an effective tool in the process of finding and maintaining balance within your mind, body and spirit.

Reiki sessions can have physical, emotional and mental health benefits. Relaxation, stress reduction, pain management assistance, and reducing anxiety and depression are just some of those benefits. Self-care is an important practice in maintaining the hectic work life balance. Anyone suffering from stress, burnout or tension should consider a Reiki session. It can be an adjunct in your goal of good health and wellness. Call New Moon today to schedule your next Reiki appointment.

Submitted by Carolyn Engleson
BSN, RN, HBN-BC; Reiki Master Practitioner