Published in Montgomery County Women’s Journal,
By Cherise Morello-Pons
Learn the truth about organic hair color versus standard hair dye.
By Cherise Morello-Pons
By Eric Devlin ([email protected])
Reflexology, Reiki and Raindrop Technique . . . Wellness Treatments That Support the Body’s Need for Balance
Written by Francesca Barone
As undisputed as the benefits of Conventional Medicine are, there is growing awareness of the uses of Alternative and Complimentary treatments in conjunction with Conventional Medicine to support and maintain wellness.
Reflexology, Reiki and Raindrop Technique are a few of the Alternative and Complimentary modalities available. Each works to bring the body, mind and emotions into balance, supporting the body’s wellness.
Reflexology is based on energy flow. It aids in stress and pain reduction, improves circulation, stimulates the digestive system, releases toxins and enhances the body's energy flow.
Finger and thumb pressure are applied to specific organ-corresponding pressure points on the hands, feet and/or ears for the benefit of certain internal organs. Reflexology is not a diagnostic tool though it is used in conjunction with other treatments and for help in healing.
Many people relate Reflexology to Massage Therapy, but they are two different processes. Both therapies use touch, but the approach of each is different. While Massage uses stroking, kneading, and friction to relax muscles, Reflexology uses specific pressure points that relate to organs and body systems. Reflexology works from the inside out while Massage works from the outside in.
The first recorded information on the practice of reflexology is a pictograph from 2330 BC in the tomb of Ankhmahor. Marco Polo introduced this therapy to Europe by translating a Chinese Massage book into the Italian language. In 1917 William H. Fitzgerald, M.D. introduced Reflexology in the United States.
Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that promotes healing. Reiki treats the whole person - body, emotions, mind and spirit - creating beneficial effects that include relaxation and feelings of peace, and wellbeing.
Reiki is administered by "laying on hands" and is based on the concept that unseen "life force energy" flows through us. If one's "life force energy" is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.
Reiki is a Japanese word meaning "Universal Life-Force-Energy" with "Ki" referring to energy which underlies everything. Reiki is a system for channeling that energy to someone for the purpose of healing. Reiki works in conjunction with all other medical or therapeutic techniques to relieve side effects and promote recovery.
Although there are references to Reiki energy going back over 2500 years, as evidenced in Sanskrit Sutras, and the writings of Tibetan Monks, Reiki, as it is practiced today, began in the early 1900s with Dr. Usai in Japan. It was brought to the West by Mrs. Takata in 1938 and it remained an oral tradition until 1982 when transcripts of Mrs. Takata’s trainings were made.
Raindrop Technique gently drops seven single essential oils and two blends along the spine, like raindrops, to restore balance and health to organs and muscles, boosting the immune system, releasing dormant bacteria, viruses and fungi in the spine and releasing stuck emotions. The oils help support the body by opening energy flow throughout the body. The essential oils are also applied to the spinal reflexes of the feet through Reflexology.
Particular Essential Oils have particular therapeutic benefits; such as, Thyme and Oregano essential oils supporting the immune system and releasing toxins in the body, and Basil and Marjoram which each relax muscles and have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.
Essential Oils have been used for therapeutic purposes for nearly 6,000 years. The ancient Chinese, Indian, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans used essential oils for therapeutic, hygienic, ritualistic and spiritual purposes. Modern use of essential oils began in France in the 1930’s thanks to the work of a chemist, physician and a nurse.
The growing movement to eat more natural, organic, and healthy food has swept the world and inspired a new generation of more physically fit, mentally aware, and healthier people whose longevity is far more sustainable than previous generations.
However, new research has clearly demonstrated that the importance of what actually enters our bloodstream and organs has been too focused on what we eat. What about our largest organ – our skin?
Any product that is applied to our skin is soaked directly into our bloodstream. This has been particularly useful for medicines that have a need to bypass the digestive system. Unlike food, which gets filtering help from the stomach and intestines, the skin has no filtering system to the bloodstream. Ongoing research has found that the scalp is the single best place on the body to administer topical medication as it is the area where the skin has the densest amount of follicles and pores.
A new study published in the ‘New England Journal of Medicine’ entitled “Keratinous Fiber Wicking and Follicular Penetration” examines how 25 common hair care chemicals are absorbed by hair fibers like “microscopic straws” that draw the chemicals into the follicle where they can be dissolved in the bloodstream. Chemicals that were historically thought to be harmless because they are unable to penetrate skin have a much higher degree of bio-availability when “sucked” into the scalp through porous hair fibers. The dangers of salon products are only compounded by their ease of access into the blood stream. According to the lead researcher “…the medulla of the hair has an amplifying effect on the potency of these chemicals. This study changes our entire world view on hair toxicology.”
Since 2004, leading researchers have been proving a link between common ingredients in most shampoos and conditioners (like parabens) to breast cancer and other cancers. Recent research from the ‘Journal of Applied Toxicology’ indicates that nearly all women with breast cancer have parabens in their breast tissue. The link between other chemical toxins commonly found in shampoos and conditioners (such as sodium laurel sulfates used as a “sudsing” agent) has also been closely linked to cancer.
What about the chemical treatments commonly performed in salons? Hair straightening, coloring and perming products contain chemicals that are carcinogenic, toxic, and dangerous to our overall health. The simple act of breathing in many of these toxins (ammonia, resorcinol, formaldehyde, toluene-2.5, diamine sulfate and thioglycolates) can cause long-term health concerns which put salon professionals, who are exposed to fumes from these toxins every day, at particular danger.
Many people are under the false perception that the United States Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) regulates the ingredients of cosmetics and guard consumers against the dangers of salon products. This is completely untrue. The FDA only regulates food and drugs, not hair care products or cosmetics. While the FDA has rules requiring cosmetic and hair care products be safe and properly labeled, the rules are ambiguous and to some extent rely on self-regulation as products are neither approved nor routinely reviewed.
A licensed salon professional understands that their clients are relying on them to provide safe, high-quality, well-informed and creative salon services to help them realize an ideal image. They understand that while products in the salon industry are not regulated by a government authority, it is their professional duty to ensure that their clients maximize their overall beauty without sacrificing their client’s health, safety or well-being.
Organic hair color and products safely bridge the divide and enable you to rest assured about your health when on a path linked with caring for your skin and hair.
As with food, you can easily find hair care products that are really inexpensive. Remember, you become what you put on your skin and in your body.
Look for products with natural oils (coconut, carrot seed, etc.), natural butters (shea, cocoa, etc.), food-derived proteins and essential oils (lemon, orange, geranium, lavender, etc.). Avoid:
> Parabens (methyl-, propyl-, butyl-paraben, etc.)
> Sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate (SLS or SLES)
> Petrolatum (Petroleum Jelly)
> Propylene glycol
> Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethalnolamine (TEA)
> Imidazoldinyl, urea and diazolidinyl urea
> Ethoxylated ingredients (those starting with PEG- or ending with –ETH)
If you have products in your shower and you're wondering about the safety of their ingredients, check out the ‘Skin Deep Cosmetics Safety Database’, which allows you to search for many products, as well as specific ingredients to learn about scientific test results.
Take good care of your hair and be mindful of your overall health that results from that care. You’ll see it each time you look in the mirror and know it was worth it.
Cherise Morello-Pons is the creator of Jade Organic Salon.
She is a certified Organic Colorist through Organic Color Systems.
She is a certified Reiki Level III Master and has been the recipient of numerous awards and industry certifications over the past 30 years.
By Cherise Morello-Pons