Fragrance & Travel
By Myrna Beardshear
Director of Spa & Wellness
Jet lag and other problems encountered while traveling and changing time zones can leave you feeling bad for days and missing out on enjoying your precious vacation days. Some of the problems that traveling can present are sleeping difficulties, being alert and focused in meetings and digestive problems. Nasal congestion and headaches are also common for travelers.
An aromatherapy treatment is known to help with these problems. A genuine aromatherapy treatment consisting of pressure point massage working over the autonomic nervous system helps to regulate the body systems and having an aromatherapy treatment before and after a trip is a great way to help your body adjust.
There are several aromatherapy treatments that you can do at home or in the comfort of your hotel room.
To help you sleep: Relax in a warm bath after adding a few drops of vetivert and chamomile essential oils. Soak and inhale the aroma.
Circulation and swollen ankles: Remember to drink lots of water on your flight, walk whenever possible, avoid caffeine and alcohol and exercise your feet and ankles while you are sitting. When you reach your destination blend some essential oils of citrus with juniper oil (a good diuretic) into a vegetable oil. Massage your feet and legs and lie down with your feet raised.
Headaches: Traveling with a small bottle of lavender essential oil is a wonderful way to treat headaches. I always travel with a small washcloth and when I have a headache a soak it in cold water and sprinkle a few drops of Lavender on it. Place on the forehead or the back of the neck and relax.
Nasal Congestion: Sprinkle a few drops of Eucalyptus oil on a tissue and inhale. The bonus is that Eucalyptus is an antibacterial agent and using it will probably help to fight off some of those awful bugs present in recirculated airplane air.
When you need to wake up and focus try a shower or bath with essential oils of rosemary before going to your meeting.
Wild or Farmed Fish?
By Dale Van Sky, Executive Chef
When planning new menus or nightly market fish specials, I mostly choose wild fish that is sustainable. A good source for researching the sustainability of seafood is the Monterey Bay Aquarium website.
However, if I choose a farmed fish, I first research the farming methods that are used. Some farms use growth hormones to increase production and food coloring pellets to achieve a more natural flesh color. I look for farms that do not use hormones and have a natural water circulatory system (pulling water from the ocean that circulates through the ponds and is then released back into the ocean).
The Monterey Bay Aquarium website will also provide you with information on how frequently you should consume seafood and mercury levels.
Benefits of Yoga
When incorporating Yoga into your life, you can expect to enjoy the following benefits:
Yoga Benefits for the Physical Body
- Increases flexibility.
- Increases lubrication of the joints, ligaments and tendons.
- Massages and stimulates the organs and glands of the body.
- Detoxifies the body by flushing out toxins.
- Increases muscle tone and strength.
Yoga Benefits for the Mind & Spirit
- Reduces stress.
- Introduces the harmonization of the mind and body.
- Improves emotional wellness.
- Improves self esteem.
- Increases clarity of mind.
By Myrna Beardshear,
Director of Spa & Wellness
It is so easy to get caught up in the anti-aging game and lose sight of what is really important. That is, who we are and how the sum of all our experiences has brought us to where we are and what we can be in the future. Newspaper executive, Katharine Graham said, “No one can avoid aging, but aging productively is something else.”
When reflecting on the past it is all too easy to get caught up in remembering misfortunes, mistakes and regrets. It is better to reflect on the lessons learned, the strength gained and the wisdom earned from what has been and live with the serenity of knowing the strength you have gained from the sum of your experiences.
We, in the spa industry, are aware of the importance of the baby boomer generation and the desire that people have to look younger and feel fit and healthy. We research every new product and through the marvels of modern science and technology we are able to offer facials and body treatments that will make us look younger. We study anti-aging nutrition and the importance of being aware the importance what we put into our body. We educate our guests on the importance of regular exercise and how crucial it is to overall health and offer fitness regimes to keep the boomers agile and trim.
At Red Mountain Resort we go further by offering Life Coaching for those who find themselves at a point in their life where their goals are not as clear and who need a new direction in order to remain vibrant and productive.
Energy Therapy is offered to clear negative emotions on a mental, emotional and physical level in an easy, non-invasive way. It can release stress of any kind whether from years of abuse or daily things that tends to overwhelm our emotional circuitry. By changing energy patterns as well as subconscious beliefs, this helps people heal from past or current traumas without having to re-traumatize them or spend years coming to terms with their painful and challenging past
Meditation workshops help guests understand the benefits of meditation, the process of meditation, types of meditation and how to meditate. Tai Chi shows us how we can move gracefully and slowly with physical and mental strength.
I love the lessons that can be learned from butterflies. The butterfly is symbolic of change and transformation in people’s lives. The butterfly is a reminder to stay present in life, to be in the moment. Many have learned to look for the butterfly in their life, to live life to the fullest, to appreciate each moment and express gratitude freely.
Most butterflies live very short lives, only a week or two, except for the Angel Wing and Monarch live about six months. It is at maturity that the butterfly is the most beautiful. The short life span and beauty of the butterfly is symbolic of early spiritual growth. Lessons of life will be shown during sometimes difficult formative years and come to light as the butterfly spirit begins to fly. They hold the gift of transformation and soul evolution. Butterflies remind us not to take life so seriously. They represent the element of air, quickly changing and ever moving, so gracefully. Butterflies are messengers of the moment. They are especially sensitive to the harmony of earth and we can learn from them to stop disturbing the natural design of life and to flow with events in a gentler, natural way.
When we learn not to have resentments and regrets but rather to rejoice in the life we have had and then to look to the future and resolve to do whatever we can to life a rich life and to make a positive difference in the lives of all that we touch, we will truly have learned to age well.
Ref: The Lessons of the Butterfly
Interview with Mark Montgomery, Licensed Acupuncturist & Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner
By Dr. Brad Crump, Health Services Manager
Q: Mark, how long have you been practicing Acupuncture and what was it that drew you to become a licensed acupuncturist?
A: As strange as it may seem, I was drawn to acupuncture because I come from a long line of Western medical doctors. My father was a surgeon as was my grandfather, his father and his grandfather. My grandfather, who practiced general medicine in rural New York from the late 1920s through the mid-1970s, was really my role model. As a young boy, back in the 60s when doctors still made house calls, I used to accompany him on trips to visit patients in the countryside. After his death many people told me that he hadn’t just been their family doctor—they had considered him part of their family. And because he’d delivered multiple generations of babies in many families throughout the county and watched those kids grow to adulthood, he had a very unique view of the intergenerational health of those families. That sense of relationship was the foundation of his practice.
When I finished college and was pondering careers I thought about going to medical school, but I frankly didn’t see that sense of community-based medicine being taught or practiced in mainstream Western medicine anymore. That led me to research other options and acupuncture struck me as offering the closest thing to that model that I could find.
Q: Acupuncture has such a long history and proven effectiveness, yet it is not fully understood by those who have never experienced its tremendous benefits. In simple terms, how would you describe Acupuncture philosophy and science and its objective?
A: Over the thousands of years since it developed in China, acupuncture has spread to dozens of countries where it evolved in different ways—so in a sense it’s inaccurate to speak of it as a single, monolithic entity. Nonetheless, there are certain principles that all schools or traditions of acupuncture have in common: the idea that good health is a function of abundant and harmonious flow of energy throughout the body; the corollary that disease, and in particular pain, is a function of a blockage of this flow; the belief that by observing nature we can learn about ourselves and how to manage our health; and the idea that harmony and health are expressed throughout nature in alternating cycles of activity and rest. This is the concept—often mocked as New Age mumbo jumbo by people who don’t understand it—of Yin/Yang theory. It is actually a powerful and beautifully elegant way of understanding health and the natural world.
Q: For those who will experience acupuncture for the first time, what can they expect during the first experience?
A: It varies from person to person. When the needles are inserted many people experience a slight prick, followed by a tugging sensation, a sense of heaviness at the point of insertion or even a dull ache. This is what the Chinese call “da qi” or the “qi sensation.” As they lie with the needles in for 30–45 minutes, many people experience either a sense of heaviness throughout their body or, conversely, a sense of lightness, as though they are floating above the table. Many also experience a sense of energy moving through their body or what I call “lighting up”—brief, intermittent intense sensations at the points of insertion. By the end of the treatment most people feel rested and refreshed and often, if they came in for relief from pain, the pain has substantially subsided.
Q: Like most alternative therapies, acupuncture seeks to bring balance and to manage the underlying causes of health issues, but are there certain issues for which people seek Acupuncture treatment?
A: Sure. A great deal of my practice centers on pain relief, either chronic or acute. I’d say 75% of the people who come to me for pain relief leave feeling significantly better. That being said, it’s also important to note that to resolve chronic or even intense acute conditions often requires an entire course of treatment. Many of the people I treat at Red Mountain have never had acupuncture before. They come to see me because they want to try it out and they trust Red Mountain to provide a safe and comfortable experience. After we’ve finished, part of my job is to recommend specifics of how to follow up at home. And because I have contacts with colleagues in many other states I can often recommend a specific practitioner.
So, pain relief is a one of the big reasons people come but remember, from an acupuncture point of view pain is an expression of blocked energy flow, so when we can help the body to resolve the underlying blockage the pain usually disappears or diminishes, along with the issue that’s causing it. Another way of looking at this is that acupuncture doesn’t actually cure or heal anything—it just gives the body a boost in doing what it already knows how to do, which is to heal itself. From that perspective it becomes clear that acupuncture can actually help with just about any condition: musculo-skeletal, hormonal, digestive, circulatory, respiratory, even emotional.
Q: I was also intrigued when we talked about the benefits of acupuncture protocols on hypothyroid or low functioning thyroid issues. This is a significant issue and one that is increasing. From a Chinese medicine approach, namely acupuncture, what approach is taken to help those dealing with low functioning thyroid?
A: Thyroid issues are another example of the way acupuncture uses Yin/Yang theory to explain pathology. From a Chinese medical perspective both hypothyroid conditions and hyperthyroid conditions such as Grave’s disease are actually a function of deficiency states even though they express in very different ways. So even though hyperthyroid conditions usually result in symptoms of sympathetic excess it’s nevertheless important to treat the underlying deficiencies that have led to those symptoms. Hypothyroid conditions are actually more straightforward in that they derive from a simpler condition of deficiency expressed as fatigue, weight gain, etc. In Chinese medicine we tonify the liver and kidneys to nudge the thyroid back to a higher level of functioning. You might think of the process as being similar to “turning up the pilot light” of a person’s metabolism. This is usually done through a combination of acupuncture and herbs.
Q: Another area that people may not associate acupuncture with is weight loss. What role does acupuncture play in weight loss?
A: In my experience weight gain has a lot to do with both systemic inflammation and with stress interfering with sympathetic/parasympathetic regulation, which of course affects hormones, digestion, sleep, immune function and the body’s general ability to repair and replenish itself. By reducing inflammation and helping the body to regulate the nervous system (i.e., helping to move the body from “fight or flight” into “rest and digest”) acupuncture can play an important role in weight loss, or, as I prefer to say, “health gain.” This often shows up as a decrease in appetite or other cravings, an increase in basal metabolic rate, greater endocrine balance and an overall greater sense of peace and relaxation.
Q: Mark, you are also a Qi Gong practitioner and have recently introduced an activity called the Qi Gong Awareness Walk. Could you speak to what the walk is and the expected benefits? By the way, our guests who have done it rave about it.
A: The Awareness Walk is an attempt to distill some of the concepts we’ve been talking about into a brief experiential exercise. Like acupuncture, qi gong is an art which through the centuries has spawned many different schools. Some of them are more focused on health cultivation, some more focused on martial arts applications But all have the goal of teaching practitioners to sense and balance their own energy—a sort of “self-acupuncture without needles,” if you like. Recent research on sympathetic vs. parasympathetic arousal and the adrenal stress reaction has indicated that these states of mind are characterized by very specific types of movement and use of the senses—“Waking the Tiger” by wildlife biologist-turned-psychologist, Peter Levine, documents this beautifully. What I’ve learned over several decades of qi gong practice is that it is possible to induce deeper, more peaceful states of consciousness by learning and practicing the movements of qi gong. But I’ve also learned that these deeper states not only trigger but are also triggered by using one’s vision in a very specific way—by learning to use one’s peripheral vision to enter what I call “the peripheral awareness state,” which is characterized by a sense of deep relaxation, trust, safety and the ability to access insight and wisdom. The activity only lasts two hours—and to really learn this skill can take up to 12 hours—but most people walk away feeling that they now understand—and know how to access—a depth of awareness that they’ve perhaps experienced at certain points in their lives but never consciously controlled.
Mark, we appreciate this wonderful and helpful information. You are a great resource for so many that have visited Red Mountain Resort and I know having spoken with so many that they have received so much from working with you. Thank you for all you do.Add a comment
Five Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Personal Trainer
By Kim Watters, Fitness Manager
Hiring a personal trainer is just that, it’s personal. You will be spending a lot of one-on-one time with this person, so look for someone you can respect, trust and genuinely like.
Here are some questions to help you get started.
- What certifications do you have?
Some reputable certification associations include the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA) and American Council on Exercise (ACE). There is plenty of information online if you choose to research these organizations or any others.
- Do you stay up-to-date with what’s new in the fitness industry?
You will want someone who continues to educate themselves no matter how long they have been a trainer.
- What is your training philosophy?
Look for answers including how they plan to motivate you, and how they assess their clients.
- Do you have references from current clients?
Take the time to contact a few of these clients; talking to just one could be misleading.
- Where do you train your clients?
If you want to train at your gym, at home or outside make sure your trainer can accommodate your needs. Some trainers will expect you to get a membership at their gym and this will be an additional cost to you.
There are a variety of personal trainers available, so whether you want your trainer to be a drill sergeant, nurturer or cheerleader choose wisely. You will depend on them to educate you, motivate you and help you reach your goals.Add a comment
Curried Chicken Salad
(Serves 6, ½ Cup servings)
1 pound Diced Chicken Meat
¼ Cup Diced Celery
¼ Cup Diced Red Onions
2 Tbsp. Toasted Coconut
½ Cup Pineapple (optional)
(Makes ½ Cup)
¼ Cup Lite Mayonnaise
¼ Cup Plain Yogurt
1 ½ tsp. Yellow Curry Powder
1 tsp. Table Grind Black Pepper
1 tsp. Fructose (equal amount sugar can be used)
¼ tsp. Kosher Salt
- Add all dressing ingredients and let set for at least one hour.
- Mix with chicken, celery, onions and coconut.
What Does the Chef Cook on His Day Off?
By Dale Van Sky,
Although I do not have as much opportunity to cook at home as I would like to, one of my most favorite dinners (and most frequently requested by my wife) is Beef Stroganoff on Basmati Rice. There are many recipes for this classic dish and I will share mine with you.
Beef Stroganoff on Basmati Rice
4 Tbsp Smart Balance butter substitute (could use butter or margarine)
1 Pound Beef Sirloin (trimmed of all outer fat and sliced 1” long, 1/4” thick by 1/2” thin strips)
1/4 Cup Yellow Onions (diced 1/4”)
1/2 Cup Mushrooms (sliced 1/4”)
4 Tbsp Whole Wheat Flour (for nutritional benefits and color)
1/4 Cup Liquid Aminos (could use 2 -3 beef bouillon cubes)
1/4 Cup Red Wine (preferably one you would have with the meal)
1-1/4 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
Salt & Pepper to taste
- Melt Smart Balance on high heat in large sauté pan until it starts to smoke.
- Add Beef Sirloin Strips and sauté until browned.
- Add diced Onions and sliced Mushrooms. Cook until the Onions stat to turn clear.
- Stir in Whole Wheat Flour and reduce heat to low. Cook 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Stir in Red Wine, Water and Liquid Aminos. Turn heat up and bring to a boil (it will be very thick, the Sour Cream will thin it).
- Turn heat off and blend in Sour Cream.
- Add Salt and Pepper to taste.
Note: Use two parts Water to one part Rice.
1 Cup Basmati White Rice
2 Cups Water
- Bring Water to a boil in a 1 qt. sauce pan.
- Stir in Basmati Rice.
- Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for approximately 20 minutes (all water should be absorbed).
- Place 1/2 cup Basmati Rice in center of plate.
- Top with 1 cup Beef Stroganoff.
- Place 1 Tbsp. of Sour Cream on top and enjoy.
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