Friday, April 27, 2012

Extend the Benefits of Massage: Part 1

There I was, lying on the massage table, basking in the afterglow of an hour of totally relaxing massage bliss. Do I really have to get up now? The reality of daily life was slowly creeping in.

How can I make the most of this experience and carry the tranquility of this moment throughout my day? My week? Anyone who has ever had a great massage has likely had these thoughts. There are a number of things you can do to maximize the physical and emotional benefits, post-massage.

Consider scheduling your massage at the end of the day to avoid making a mad dash back to the office or picking the kids up and running them to their myriad of activities. Try not to fall into a routine of drinking coffee to keep you revved up for the next thing on your list for the day.

Savor the moment. Make the most of extending your massage. Enjoy a cup of tea in a quiet setting or take a nice long bath with candles and soothing music. We may be aware of relaxation techniques such as meditation or deep breathing to sustain that inner peace, but there are also things we can do to help our physical bodies garner the maximum benefits of massage.


Eat lightly and drink plenty of water. These are two of the simplest ways to continue the cleansing process initiated by massage. The Swedish style or lymphatic drainage massage is best supported by a light diet of steamed vegetables or fresh fruit. Fresh squeezed juices such as carrot, beet, and parsley are often recommended in a cleansing regime.

Deep tissue massage needs protein to help rebuild connective tissue that has been heavily worked. Following any style of massage you should avoid stimulants, sweets and fatty foods. It is also important to drink plenty of fluids after a massage. A minimum of one quart of water or herb tea is required, but two quarts is best. Electrolyte replacement beverages, such as coconut water, are beneficial.


Physical manipulation can stir up a lot of toxins and drinking lymphatic cleansing herbal teas such as cleavers and calendula are very helpful in continuing the detoxification process. Also useful is supporting the organs of detoxification such as the kidneys and liver with burdock, dandelion, parsley, yarrow, and celery seed.

Nervine tonic teas such as wild oat, vervain, chamomile, linden, or passion flower can help sustain a calm interior and maintain a sane life in a world filled with stress and high tension. Sore muscles can benefit from circulatory stimulant herbs such as ginger and peppermint, or a liniment infused with cayenne and rosemary oil. The antispasmodic activity of crampbark, black haw and kava is also useful for muscle cramps.

Let’s not forget the benefits of fragrant plants in the form of essential oils. The scent alone is enough to trigger a memory association in the brain, bringing you back to the massage table and that same state of relaxation, if only in your mind. Studies have shown that is all it takes to relive the benefits.

If your massage therapist used lavender scented oil for your treatment, using it in the bath can help recall the experience. Lavender oil itself has many benefits. Its healing attributes for the body include benefits for sore muscles, insomnia, stress and depression. It is healing for burns, bites or abrasions of the skin, and it helps to slow the aging process with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties; best of all, most people find the fragrance appealingly pleasant.

About the Author:
Mindy Green is a nationally recognized authority on botanicals and co-author of Aromatherapy, A Complete Guide to the Healing Art, 2009. Friend her on Facebook or see more at

>>To learn more about the benefits of using herbs and holistic nutrition as part of your health and wellness routine, click here for a schedule of accredited online holistic health classes and wellness programs from ACHS.

*Note: This information has not been reviewed by the FDA. This information has been provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. Before making any significant changes to your health routine, always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

ACHS President Dorene Petersen Contributes to Rose! Herb of the Year 2012 Published by International Herb Association

 Earth Day is every day! Learn more about the natural, green therapeutic benefits of the essential oil of Rose beyond smelling sweet. Rose! Herb of the Year 2012™ published by International Herb Association (IHA) includes the informative chapter, “Essential Oil of Rose,” written by Dorene Petersen, Wellness Expert and President of the American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS).

“There is a growing interest in a green, all-natural lifestyle every day, not just on Earth Day. People are seeking out ways to use all-natural, plant-based products in their daily life­–to clean, to treat, and to pamper. The essential oil of Rose certainly fits the bill,” says President Dorene Petersen.

Rose! Herb of the Year 2012™, with content provided by over 25 expert contributors, offers a detailed presentation of the Rose-Rosa, the natural and beloved flower. This book is full of history, lore, botany, cultivation, and medicinal information of the Rose. Chapters include green and natural recipes for the kitchen, bath, and apothecary.

“There are many uses for the essential oil of Rose beyond perfumes. People are surprised to learn how much organic material is needed to produce natural distilled Rose oil. It can take 10,000 lbs. of Rose flowers to produce one lb. of oil. One can quickly see why pure distilled Rose oil is precious and commonly adulterated,” adds Petersen.

Signed copies of Rose! Herb of the Year 2012™, organic essential oil of Rose, and other green living products are available through the ACHS’s Apothecary Shoppe College Store online here or on-campus at: 5940 SW Hood Ave. Portland, OR 97239.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spring Clean Your Body: A Basic Introduction to Fasting

We spring clean our house, but how often do we spring clean our body?

Fasting--or abstaining from solid foods for a time--assists the body to cleanse. By eliminating food, the enormous energy required to digest food is released and put to the task of spring-cleaning the body. The liver and entire digestive system is given a well-earned rest.*

Fasting begins as soon as you stop eating. There are many types of fasts, and the duration will depend on your work commitments and physical and mental state. Each person is different and will respond differently to fasting, so listen to your own body. However, there are some basic rules:
  • Consult your physician or naturopathic doctor before undertaking a fast if you are on medication or have any medical condition.
  • No smoking or drinking alcohol, coffee, or tea. You may want to cut down consumption of these items gradually in the weeks before the fast.
  • Discontinue vitamin supplements.
  • Two days before a fast, eat light foods: mainly vegetables and fruits.
  • You may want to try a fresh-foods diet as an alternative to fasting to begin with.
  • Allow yourself to rest when you feel like it during the fast. You may experience discomfort, headaches, dizziness, and nausea as toxins are eliminated.
  • Avoid stress and concentrate on positive thoughts.
  • Fast on vegetable and fruit juice (freshly extracted), pure water, or herb teas. It is important to drink at least eight large glasses of water a day.
  • It is important to have a bowel movement once a day while fasting. Use senna leaf tea, linseed tea, yellow dock root and burdock root decoctions or capsules, or enemas if necessary.
  • Exercise regularly: walking is ideal.
  • Resume eating gradually after fasting. Start with a piece of fruit or lightly steamed vegetables. Take two to three days, depending on the duration of the fast, to resume normal food intake. Never overeat.
The benefits of fasting are enormous.* It allows the body to throw off toxins and regenerate tissue, and it can result in heightened self-awareness. If you decide to fast for longer than three days, seek guidance from your physician, naturopathic doctor, holistic nutritionist, or other experienced practitioner.

*NOTE: This information has not been reviewed by the FDA. This information has been provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. You should always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health routine.

Monday, April 2, 2012

10 Tips from ACHS Seed Starting and Growing Herbs in Pots Community Wellness Workshop

Thanks to everyone who came out for the Seed Starting and Growing Herbs in Pots workshop with Erika Yigzaw, ACHS Chief Institutional Officer and Master Gardener, on March 29, 2012. We had a lot of fun learning how to get a jump on our spring gardens, and hope you did, too!

For those who were unable to attend ... not to worry ... we'll have a video of the presentation live on ACHStv soon. You can subscribe to ACHStv on YouTube here for automatic notification of when the video goes live and for dozens of gardening how-to videos.

Scroll down to read 10 top tips from Master Gardener Erika Yigzaw's presentation.

When container gardening:
  1. Use seed starting mix or good-quality potting soil.
  2. Make sure your container has a hole in bottom for drainage; dampen the soil and then allow to dry for few hours before planting seeds.
  3. Fertilize! Organic, liquid fertilizer works great. Compost tea may be a good sub: to make, put kitchen waste into a stocking, soak in gallon of water, and portion onto plants.
  4. After the first leaves appear you may transplant if you want.
  5. When grouping, think of the types of conditions each plant likes and group accordingly.
When ground gardening:
  1. Plant seed as far down as the size of the seed (same with bulbs). If the seeds are really small, such as poppy, scatter across the top of the soil.
  2. Do not over-till the ground.
  3. If you can grab a handful of dirt and squeeze moisture out, the ground is still too wet to plant.
  4. If using a raised bed, the temperature will be approx 15 degrees warmer for the plant than when in the ground. Make the bed 6-8" taller with compost.
  5. Do not over-water. Dampen the soil and then allow to dry for few hours before planting seeds.
Are you a master container gardener? We'd love to hear from you! What are your favorite herbs to grow in containers for the spring and summer seasons?

>>To learn more about herbal medicine training, including harvesting and using herbs for personal health and wellness, check out American College herbal medicine courses online here.