Beauty, Cultivated Report, Wellness
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How The Well: Free Ways To Practice Self-Care Without Having To Buy One Product

Wellness and spas might seem like a luxury, but in fact, they are a necessity.

Spas and wellness have become part of a billion dollar industry, and while that means more people we are willing to pay for self-care and healing, it also means that those who cannot afford it get left behind. With new and innovative brands and treatments on the horizon the next frontier of wellness might become even more expensive and inaccessible. Wellness and spas might seem like a luxury, but in fact, they are a necessity. This is especially true when you, or someone you love, suffers with an “invisible illness”, and could use extra self-care. An invisible illness is a label that explains what it feels like living with a chronic illness that often does not exhibit obvious physical symptoms to those around us. Major depressive disorder, anxiety disorders, PTSD, arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus and Crohn’s disease are just a few examples of illnesses that are painful but not always visible. Invisible diseases are not invisible to those who lives with them – to them the effects of the illness are very real, debilitating and often times chronic.

Social media would have you believe that you need to buy a ton of products in order to practice self-care. We scroll, compare ourselves, shop unnecessary skincare, and worry that we are not doing enough for our wellbeing. The good news is, you are being sold products and a wellness lifestyle you might not need.

Vintage spa ad from Budapest

Presenting four ways you can practice self-care in ways that are beneficial and free.

Water Therapy. Ancient texts tell us that humans worshipped, and understood, the healing power of plants and water. In the past, medical community often prescribed trips to the country or to thermal spas in order to heal all types of ailments. German priest, Sebastian Kneipp, is a great example of someone who advocated naturopathic medicine. After healing from tuberculosis with the help of cold baths in the Danube river, he proceeded to help cholera patients. People travelled to seek his treatment and he gladly provided it for free. During the course of his research on the powers of hydrotherapy, Father Kneipp supplemented his forms of therapy with additional healing methods: plants, exercise, nutrition and balance. To this day, these are the Five Pillars of the Kneipp brand. The “Water Cure”, in addition to Kneipp’s other healing methods, is meant to strengthen the entire system and promote circulation.

Image courtesy of Kneipp.com

How To: Try the Contrast Shower

A contrast shower is exactly what it sounds like. Alternating between very warm and very cold water. Try it 2 or 3 times at the end of your shower routine, always ending your shower with cold water. Cold showers are a good way to wake yourself up and gain more energy. The benefits of contrast showers are similar to those you might get from a hot and cold plunge at the spa – improved circulation, help with muscle aches, energy boost, healthier skin and hair, but most importantly depression alleviation (cold shower boosts a flow of blood into your brain, causing a quick release of endorphins). The results are euphoric. If you have a heart condition, make sure to check with your doctor first.

As a hydrotherapist, writer, and inventor of the American Costume (a less restrictive dress for women), Harriet N. Austin was a woman ahead of her time. This is her manual on how to take baths.

At-Home Baths

Sebastian Kneipp is not the only example of someone who helped prescribe the “water cure”. The father of medicine himself, Hippocrates, prescribed and documented hydrotherapy as a powerful treatment. Whether you enjoy meditating to the sound of waves, swimming in the lake, drinking water, or playing a water sport, you are taking part in healing and nurturing yourself with the powerful force that is water. Baths are known to have many benefits, and one of them is better sleep. If you have trouble sleeping a warm bath one or two hours before bedtime will likely result in better and deeper sleep. Studies have shown that when we soak in a warm bath the increased blood circulation helps rid us of warmth through our hands and feet, therefore lowering the core body temperature. Since our body temperature lowers around bedtime, giving the process a nudge will help you fall asleep faster. This proves that baths are not just for hygiene or relaxation, but can be therapeutic.

Photography by Melissa Askew

Grounding or Earthing. I know what you are thinking – grounding sounds like a wellness buzzword, but this is no trend. Humans knowingly, or unknowingly, do this since birth. We enjoy putting our bare feet in grass or sand, feeling the earth. It is as simple as taking your shoes off and making direct skin contact with the surface of the earth. Your local park, forest, or backyard is available and free. Earth supplies endless electrons to heal and recharge you. Studies have shown that doing this helps with inflammation, immune responses, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. One could say that grounding is a free gift from Mother Earth. Try it for yourself, and get the kids involved.

Tapping and Acupressure. Tapping works like accupresure. This ancient Chinese remedy uses fingers instead of needles, so it is free and available for you to do at home. Tapping is becoming a legitimate form of therapy used by the medical community with studies being done on the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) for anyone who suffers with depression and anxiety. This self-help therapy can be taught to you by your doctor or you can try it out on your own. Tapping stimulates the flow of dopamine and can help with anxiety, stress, PTSD, pain, and depression. Learning about acupressure points can also help you with muscle and headache pain, stimulate circulation, improves sleep and digestion, and promote lymphatic drainage.

Getty Images. The karate chop point is first in your 9 point sequence.

How To: Using The Tapping Technique

Tapping can help you relax because it sends calming signals to the brain, but it can also help you with a specific goal. No matter what you seek (ex: more self-love, anxiety-relief or anger management), come up with a positive affirmative statement to repeat to yourself while you go through your tapping routine. The typical statement begins with: “Even though I have this anxiety, I love and accept myself.” You can fill in your own “even though I have.”

Instructions: Choose a side. The side of your body does not matter. Tap with two fingers, your point and middle finger will do. Then learn the main points where you will start tapping.

Hand. More specifically the karate chop point of your hand, where the fleshy part is.

Brow. More specifically where the beginning of your eyebrow begins.

Cheekbone. Slide down the eyebrow, more specifically to the side of your face where the eyebrows ends and your cheekbone begins.

Underneath the eye. More specifically, in the middle of

Underneath the nose.

Chin. More specifically on the crease between your lip and your chin.

Both sides of your collarbone. You can take your whole hand and with extended fingers tap both at the same time. One other way of doing this is by crossing your arms and tapping with your fingers on the collar bone.

Underneath your armpit.

Top of head.

DIY Skin Care: Store bought skin care is convenient, but expensive, and full of ingredients you can’t pronounce. From Ayurvedic skincare to Slavic herbal treatments, many women all over the world rely on ingredients picked directly from nature. You might have all the skincare ingredients you need right in your refrigerator or garden and not even know it. If you find yourself low on cash and in a bind, get innovative. You would be surprised to know how many celebrities rely on their homemade recipes to get that glowing and camera-ready complexion.

Stephanie Gerber’s Hello Glow recipe book is one of our favorite DIY recipe books out there. The Hello Glow website provides free recipes.

Our tried-and-true at-home recipes

Anti-inflammatory And Brightening Face Mask: Mix 1/2 cup of plain greek yogurt with one teaspoon of turmeric and one spoon of honey. For an even more effective mask, add in a few drops of lemon (be careful with adding too much lemon as it can be acidic).

Nettle Hair Extract For Shiny Hair:

  • Pick fresh nettle in your garden. Nettle is a weed so it is widely available. If you are in a bind, purchase it from an herbal shop. Be aware: Do not handle nettle with bare hands! The plant is harmless but stings. My grandmother picked it with her bare hands as she swore it helped with arthritis.
  • Depending on how much extract you will need, either use a medium pot or a large pot of water, and bring to boil.
  • Remove the pot from the burner and throw in nettle leaves or whole plants.
  • Allow the plans to steep for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Drain with a colander and you will be left with just the liquid. What you are left with is a natural hair extract to be used after your shampoo. To cool it, put it in the refrigerator.
  • Simply rinse your hair after washing. There is no need to keep it on your hair for longer than a new minutes. Rinse out and follow with conditioner.

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