The healing and balancing power of gemstones and crystals has long been a part of holistic and alternative practices. From placing them on specific parts of the body, to using them as meditative tools, to more esoteric practices, gemstones are rife with potent spiritual and healing energy. So we got really excited to see that this energy is being harnessed into wonderful holistic, organic skincare products by Gemstone Organic!
The Sea of Galilee has long had a reputation for benefits to beauty, health, and even spirit. The volcanic thermal springs and mineral rich waters from this mythical body of water and it’s surroundings make for an intensely healing base for an amazing line of natural skincare products, especially when combined with raw, plant-based ingredients. This is Lavido, and I have been falling more and more in love with this line every day that I’ve used it!
Starting with the Gentle Exfoliator Cream, with cold-pressed pomegranate seed oil, lemon, and macadamia nut, which smells heavenly, and delivers beautiful exfoliation paired with deep hydration, renewal and brightening. Followed by the Alert Eye Cream, with plant-based hyaluronic acid, cold-pressed avocado oil, and citrus oils that keeps eyes looking younger, more awake, and totally de-puffed in a light, creamy formula. And, of course, my favorite, the Invigorating Facial Serum, with cold-pressed evening primrose oil, frankincense and rose hip that prevents aging, deeply hydrates skin, and I kid you not, smells like aromatherapy heaven.
Not only are these beautiful products clinically proven to work wonders on your skin, they’re also lovingly concocted with the utmost attention to detail. Every ingredient is chosen for maximum benefit (and of course, the crucial olfactory element). My skincare routine has taken on a heavenly spa-like feel with these luxurious beauties. I can’t wait to try out the whole line!
By: Natasha Uspensky
Yes, some stress and anxiety are a natural part of every day life. But how much is too much? How much is “normal”? If your stress and anxiety causes you to:
- Lose sleep, or experience poor quality sleep
- Emotionally eat or over eat
- Turn to drugs, alcohol, or other substances for relief
- Avoid social gatherings, giving presentations, or other situations that may out you on the spot
- Experience stress-related health issues like ulcers, IBS, fibromyalgia, adrenal fatigue, weight gain (particularly around your midsection), or chronic inflammation
…then your stress and anxiety are out of hand. This is not something to “just deal with,” ignore, or drown in medication.
Just the mention of a yeast infection leaves most women cringing. What many don’t realize, however, is that the Candida albicans organism, a yeast organism that lives naturally within the body, exists in men, women, and children. It’s usually quite tame, kept in balance by the good bacteria in your body, but when things become unbalanced, infections occur – and women aren’t the only ones who suffer.
Myth #1: Only Women Get Yeast Infections
It’s surprising how many medical doctors actually still believe this one, because some people believe that the only “true” yeast infections are in fact vaginal yeast infections. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s true that the female vaginal yeast infection is very common, but there are other types of yeast infections that occur regularly as well. Oral thrush, athlete’s foot, ringworm, jock itch, and other fungal skin irritations are all caused by a Candida overgrowth. Just about anyone can develop a yeast infection of some form at some point in his life.
Myth #2: My Doctor Will Diagnose My Candida Yeast Infection.
This isn’t actually true. While many doctors are familiar with the acute conditions I just mentioned, they don’t really understand how chronic Candida can impact the body. If you have frequent exposure to antibiotics, take hormonal birth control or hormone replacement therapy, eat a high carbohydrate diet, drink alcohol regularly, or have a lot of stress in your life and a compromised adrenal function, you may be fueling the yeast organism in your body. When this happens, you may experience recurring infections (like those above), or you may end up with other symptoms as your body succumbs to the overgrowth.
If your doctor recognizes your acute symptoms, you’ll likely receive a short-term treatment and your infection will probably come back – likely stronger than before. If your doctor misdiagnoses you, you’ll likely receive an antibiotic or other medication that does nothing but make your condition only worse.
What conditions are you likely to be misdiagnosed with? The list is comprehensive but includes irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue, urinary tract infections, many different kinds of skin infections (much more common than you think), psoriasis (which I believe is mainly driven by yeast infection and bad bacteria), heart palpitations, and a laundry list of other symptoms. As you can see, many of these conditions will potentially be treated with antibiotics by your doctor, if they’re actually caused by a bacterial infection, that is. Others may be treated with antidepressants or a host of other drugs. Yet the underlying yeast infection remains, and continues unabated.
Myth #3: Antibiotics Cure Infections
Antibiotics cure bacterial infections. That’s it, a sad but unfortunately true myth. One of the biggest problems with medicine today is the misconception that antibiotics are a cure-all for any condition. Doctors know this, but they’re also unfortunately faced with many patients who believe that antibiotics will “cure” them of any ailment, whether it’s the common cold or some other type of virus, or even a fungal infection. The truth, in the case of yeast, is that antibiotics can actually cause yeast infections. Antibiotics, when attacking the bad bacteria in your body, can’t discriminate between the healthy and beneficial bacteria and the damaging bacteria. This means they attack all of the bacteria, leaving you with very little good digestive flora to stop the overgrowth of Candida. This is why many women get vaginal yeast infections right after taking antibiotics. And it also means that those who take these kinds of drugs regularly need to rely on them increasingly, as their resistance becomes gradually weaker. Yeasts are clever little organisms, and just like bacteria, they become increasingly resistant to the effects of antifungal and antibiotic drugs over time, making them increasingly stronger. Those who take antibiotics frequently never fully recover from Candida and, as time passes, the overgrowth of Candida eventually spreads throughout the body. The digestive system becomes increasingly weaker as the beneficial bacteria become increasingly scarce, and fungi and unfriendly bacteria begin to proliferate in increasing numbers causing gas, bloating and general digestive unwellness.
This mechanism also allows the small intestine to become increasingly permeable, a condition I have written about extensively called “leaky gut syndrome”. This condition will set you up for developing food allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, diarrhea, and potentially a host of other conditions which some may even pass off as “gluten intolerance”, a term heard all too often these days. And it all began with the indiscriminate taking of antibiotics. My advice is for you to think twice before taking recurring antibiotics; I would not like you to potentially contemplate years of “undiagnosable” bowel dysfunction, because in most instances antibiotics are not necessary for self-limiting infections.
Myth #4: Candida Infections Don’t Count as STDs
Theoretically, a Candida yeast infection is not a true STD. It’s not categorized that way by mainstream medicine, anyway. The problem is that yeast can be transmitted from partner to partner during intimate contact, oral or otherwise. If one partner has a yeast infection, both should be treated to avoid passing it back and forth. You will also want to observe good hygiene and use precautions when necessary.
Myth #5: Douching Will Wash The Yeast Away
No, it will not! Douching is almost never recommended for any condition, and in the case of a vaginal yeast infection, douching in some instances can actually make things worse. Some women believe that a vinegar douche will kill yeast, but the truth is that Candida can grow in both acidic and alkaline environments. All you’ll do is successfully upset the natural balance of flora in your vaginal area. You may even make your condition worse by washing bacteria into your genital areas and into our urinary tact if you douche the wrong way. I recommend a three-stage approach for acute vaginal yeast infections, and a combination of a three-stage approach and a two-step approach for chronic vaginal yeast infections. Douching can be beneficial, but needs to be carefully considered as part of a treatment program which comprises local as well as systemic treatment.
Myth #6: Antifungal Medications Will Cure My Yeast Infection
This is partially true. If you have an acute vaginal infection, athlete’s foot, or some other variety, then an over the counter medication may likely clear things up within a few days. But will it really “clear things up” or just suppress the symptoms? My concerns with continual symptom suppression is that you may ending up driving the symptoms further into the body, and there is certainly sufficient evidence linking vaginal yeast infections with endometriosis (1).
If you have a chronic infection impacting your entire body (or recurring infections), you may need more than antifungals. Most Candida diet plans recommend a clean diet free of any type of food that will feed the yeast organism in your body. This means cutting out processed foods, carbohydrates, and a list of other items. You’ll eat healthy foods while taking antifungals, probiotics, and some supplements to boost your immune system and restore digestive function. You’ll be interested in specialized foods to help balance the digestive system, foods like garlic and oregano. Curing chronic or systemic Candida takes quite a bit of time, up to three to six months or even longer in some chronic cases, and is something you’ll need to take very seriously. The good news is that once you’re finished, you’ll probably never want to go back to an unhealthy eating lifestyle again. You can read more about proper candida diet here.
Myth #7: Yeast Infections Are Not Life Threatening
Let’s get serious for a moment. At their core, yeast infections like the ones we’ve talked about here are not life threatening. Those acute vaginal infections and cases of athlete’s foot are downright irritating. Chronic Candida, or candidiasis, can make you feel awful. When caught and treated, your life is not threatened. The most dangerous form of Candida is Candidemia, which occurs when the fungal yeast organism enters your bloodstream. This is incredibly rare and most often occurs in those with severely compromised immune systems – like people who have undergone chemotherapy for cancer, those who have HIV/AIDS, or those who have medical ports and serious medical conditions. These cases are few and far between.
The Candida yeast organism can live quietly in your body without notice. Just make sure you take quick action if it rears its ugly head. The faster a yeast infection – of any kind – is diagnosed, the easier it will be to treat.
1. Lamb K, Nichols TR (1986). Endometriosis: A comparison of associated disease histories. Am. J. Prev. Med. 2:324-329
About the Author: Dr. Eric Bakker, ND has spent the past 20+ years of his career studying the Candida yeast organism. Please visit him at yeastinfection.org to learn more about how yeast can impact your health and what to do about it.
By: Stephanie Heino
As you might have heard, scientists tell us that everything is made up of energy. And this is something ancient cultures have known for thousands of years. The well-developed and proven healing systems of traditional Chinese medicine are based around even flow of energy. Energy flows through different pathways, called Meridians, around the body. This energy that I am talking about has intense focal points called Chakras. There are 7 main chakras in our bodies.
A healthy system works with an even flow of energy. But if the flow of energy gets blocked it works just like a garden hose getting plugged leading the entire system to be dysfunctional. The same thing happens in our body, if just one of the chakra centers is out of balance it can affect everything. And yes, it does feel like you are out of balance.
If you chose to not go and see an energetic healer for a treatment, alternatively, you can work on yourself. But for those of us without a developed psychic sight, how do we know what chakras need attention? Luckily, there are often proven physical, emotional and mental conditions that suggest where attention is needed. When you get the hang of it, it makes sense and your intuition will guide you further. Chakra meditation is a form of meditation that is concentrative, recharging, and cleansing. Chakra meditation is used as a balancing form of meditation, channelling in good energy and and ridding the body of negative energy. The chakras that are the centers for energy within the body, and using chakra meditation helps to keep that energy balanced and aligned.
Chakra meditation can be performed in a couple of different positions including lying down or sitting in a position that feels comfortable and relaxed (cross-legged on the floor works great). It is important that the head and back are aligned. While practicing chakra meditation, many people choose to listen to soft, soothing music or to listen to complementary music that is soft and relaxing. It is important to remember that this form of meditation is very powerful and you should take the effects into consideration before you begin. Usually, it is an excellent idea to start out with a chakra meditation instructor to properly guide you. Chakra meditation uses thought, contemplation, and reflection on the various chakras to bring about the balance that is needed and also to provide more energy as well. As you are meditating, it takes deliberation to focus on the chakras and to get rid of problems and negative energy that may be held in each. If you are going to practice chakra meditation it is important that you understand the seven chakras and how they effect the body and mind, so let me tell you a little bit about each.
Below you see a figure illustrating the chakras from the base of your spine and all the way up to the top of your head. Notice the colours of each chakra, as you will use them in your work.
- The Root Chakra is located at the base of the spine.
It vibrates with the color frequency of Red. This is the location for your stability, balance and security.
- The Naval (or Sacral) Chakra is located in the lower abdomen.
It vibrates with the color frequency of Orange. The place for passion and sexuality. It is also the location for psychic abilities and higher consciousness.
- The Solar Plexus Chakra is located between the navel and sternum. It vibrates with the color frequency of Yellow. This is where spontaneous actions and energy are located. It is also the place where our willpower can be found.
- The Heart Chakra is located in the center of the chest at the same height as the physical heart. It vibrates with the color frequency of Green. This is the center for compassion and unconditional love.
- The Throat Chakra is located in the throat region. It vibrates with the color frequency of Blue. This is where our communication abilities and our ability to express our selves verbally are located.
- The Brow Chakra (Third Eye) is located in the center of the forehead. It vibrates with the color frequency of Indigo. This is our window to the spiritual world. This eye has the ability to see beyond the physical world.
- The Crown Chakra is located on top of the head. It vibrates with the color frequency of Violet, or pure white light. This chakra is the direct channel to higher consciousness and getting in contact with our Higher Self, which can work as a guide, if you learn to listen to it.
Step by step Chakra meditation guide to open your Chakras – Root to Crown.
Start off by sitting comfortably in the Lotus position or in any posture you find most comfortable. Take a few deep belly breaths, feeling all your tensions, anxieties, and stressors leave your body with each exhalation.
The Closed Flower. Close your eyes and take a deep breath all the way down to your root chakra. Imagine a bright red colour at your root chakra area. This is the Chakra of stability and security. Visualize a closed flower on that area. As you breathe in, imagine that the air carries a warm energy to the root chakra flower, which slowly opens. Feel how you are allowing your chakra to heal and be free.
Sensing. Use your senses and see the red colour clearly in your minds eye. Feel the colour slowly expand from the root chakra flower and stretch out through your legs and all the way down to your toes. Feel it expand from its source up through your body, out your arms and all the way to your fingers. The bright red chakra colour stream also enters your head and fills your whole body with its warmth.
Opening The Flower. Feel the love and security as the root chakra flower continues to open, making you feel more and more safe. Say to yourself (mentally) that you will not allow anything to come in the way of the blossoming of this root flower. Any bad experiences or any obstacles are not powerful enough to close this remarkable flower. When you feel that your Chakra has opened, let the bright red colour float upward to your second Chakra, the Sacral Chakra below your naval, and blend with its warm orange colour.
The Closed Sacral Flower. See the orange closed sacral chakra flower at your second chakra. Breathe in deeply and feel how the energy is carried to the closed orange sacral flower, and how it stimulates it to open up just a bit. See how the bright colour from the chakra flower slowly leaks out and expands from this Sacral Chakra to all sides.
Sensing. Visualize clearly in your mind how the orange colour moves through the bright red root chakra colour and further down to your thighs and legs and finally reaches your feet and toes. Feel how warm and pleasant the sensation is. The warm orange colour also moves upward like the red root colour, passes through your stomach and your chest, and fills it all with a warm secure feeling. It also reaches your arms, hands and finger and your head, filling it all with love and security.
Opening The Flower. Allow your sacral chakra to open. You are in a safe and secure environment so allow it to open up and embrace the world as it has become much stronger now. Your source for passion and sexuality and even some psychic abilities is opening and is sharing its warmth and its qualities with the rest of the body and the rest of the world. It does not have to hide anymore, so allow your sacral chakra flower to remain open no matter what the future may bring.
Continue. Do the above chakra exercise for each chakra, but remember to change the chakras individual qualities and colour. Try to work with each chakra for at least 5 minutes. Do not rush through the meditation.
Chakra meditation is a great investment in balancing your body, mind and spirit. Comment below and share how you felt afterwards. Good luck!