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Get more out of your beauty therapy sessions after you’ve left the clinic

In order to obtain the best results from your in-clinic treatments, you need to continue with a home-based regime. Most of us have lifestyles that are fast-paced and hectic, often leaving us feeling exhausted and burnt-out. Our skin begins to look lifeless and spots start to appear. Take a break from your usual routine to give your skin a restorative and necessary booster treatment.

Here’s how to stimulate and clear your body with a home spa regime.

To detoxify and clean the body internally and externally:

  • Drink herbal tea throughout the day
  • Also drink at least two litres of spring water per day (room temperature or warm)
  • Exercise gently for 20 minutes at least three times a week
  • Eat fresh vegetables and fruit, preferably raw
  • Eliminate smoking, caffeine and alcohol
  • Eliminate sugar and dairy from your diet
  • Reduce the fat in your diet. Replace with extra virgin olive oil and other quality oils like flax seed, avocado, walnut etc
  • Eliminate red meat. Eat fish every second day. (Avoid eating it deep fried or battered.)
  • Eliminate yeast and wheat from your diet
  • Avoid white rice and white flour. Replace with brown rice and wholemeal flour
  • Eliminate pickled and fermented foods such as soy sauce
  • Breathe deeply and fill your lungs with fresh air
  • Make peace with yourself and your environment

Learning to Breathe Correctly

By Megan Douglas, B.Hsc, naturopath and medical herbalist

We are all aware that stress is common. Practising correct breathing habits will also benefit you greatly.

It imparts extra energy, keeps the body loose and relaxed and installs a certain calmness that can only assist you in feeling comfortable and regenerated.

A stressful lifestyle makes us breathe more quickly and less deeply and with bad breathing habits it is easier to become emotionally anxious. Conversely, our negative reactions make us easily excited or angry, causing shallow and fast breathing. You may notice that when one is restless, troubled or confused we tend towards shallow breathing even more than is our normal habit.

Breathing is so much a part of our lives that we tend to take it for granted. Ancient philosophers and yogis, through their calmness and intellect, discovered the powers of controlled breathing techniques. We inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide – each time we inhale the body receives oxygen which is converted to fuel to charge or activate the body parts. Each time we exhale the body throws out toxic wastes in the form of carbon dioxide.

Most of us use only a fraction of our lung capacity while breathing and by doing so we unknowingly put a lot of pressure on our body system. Quick, shallow breathing results in oxygen starvation which can lead to a poor immune system, sleep disorders, fatigue, heart diseases, anxiety and premature ageing.

Deep breathing reduces stress, deepens insight, expands consciousness and increases intuitive perception. It heals the body and can be used successfully to treat many conditions such as asthma, anxiety, panic attacks and sleep apnea. Shallow breathing blocks energy and healing to the body whereas deep, rhythmical breathing generates energy and power.

Simple breathing exercises

If you wish to make deep, abdominal breathing an integral part of your daily life, first familiarise yourself with natural abdominal breathing, which involves four distinct stages: Inhalation, retention, exhalation and pause.

Inhalation: One of the most common errors during inhalation is to try to fill the lungs completely on each inhalation. One should never force inhalation beyond comfortable capacity. About two-thirds full is the right measure for an inhalation.

Retention: If properly performed, even brief retention of breath provides profound therapeutic benefits to every organ, gland and functional system in the body. Taoists refer to breath retention as womb breathing because the lungs don’t move. The foetus in the womb receives oxygen and energy directly through the umbilical cord, not the lungs. Breath retention for 3-4 seconds slows down heart beat, reduces blood pressure substantially, and triggers cellular respiration.

Exhalation: This is more important than inhalation as one has to first thoroughly empty the lungs in order to fill them properly with fresh air. Empty lungs in reverse order of inhalation, starting at the top and ending at the bottom.
Pause: When the lungs are completely empty, pause for a few seconds to permit the abdominal wall and the diaphragm to relax again, then commence a slow inhalation.

The complete breathing process should be slow, will expand the abdomen and ribcage while inhaling and follow just the reverse process when exhaling: Breathe out the air while letting the abdomen cave in. Deep breathing is at its best done with a nice straight back but I also encourage clients to practice deep, relaxed breathing while waiting in that frustrating traffic jam, while at the computer or office desk or while confronting an annoying situation. Somehow it just makes it better!

I suggest to clients that they practise deep breathing exercises for at least five minutes a day until this system of breathing becomes more like second nature; in fact just as nature intended us to breathe.