TRIED & TRUTH
I’m not a dry brushing newbie––I’ve been doing it for years. But, like most of the beauty regimens that require an extra few minutes of my time, I always eventually quit it. Then, I read an article about its benefits and before ya know it, I’m back to the brush. Wash, rinse, repeat… you get it. This time, however, I decided to pay attention to how I felt and looked after a month of dry brushing.
My brush of choice is a Merben Sisal Looped Body Brush. I don’t really have any special technique; I just follow the standard protocol, which is long, sweeping strokes upwards, starting at the feet and moving up the body, always brushing towards the heart. This time around, I did it every morning… with a few “I’m too tired,” “My dog is staring me at me and it’s creeping me out” exceptions.
My results? I must say, I did notice that I had a bit more energy each morning; I felt more vibrant, inside and out. I should have taken before and after pictures, but my skin definitely looked smoother and had less visible cellulite (my tan didn’t seem to last as long but it is from a bottle). I can’t speak too much to my immune system functions since my dry brushing trial was through the summer, a time in which I’m always relatively healthy; I’ll try again during cold and flu season. All in all, this is definitely something worth doing, even if you fall off the wagon sometimes (I mean, goodness know how many times you’ve “given up” carbs…).
I didn’t realize how ticklish I was until I started dry brushing. It took me a good two to three times to get the hang of it, but now that it’s a part of my routine, I’m loving it. The idea behind dry brushing is that you move a stiff, dry brush with a wooden handle from your feet up your body in the direction of your heart. Now, having been a dancer for most of my youth, I consider myself a pretty well-coordinated individual. But it took me a good few times to truly get into the groove of it and feel confident in what I was doing. It feels a bit rough, which is just the exfoliation process, but you definitely feel energized after––that’s the increase in blood circulation and lymphatic drainage. And personally speaking, I love the sun (sorry, I know that’s “wrong” but I do), so the fact that dry brushing clears away your dead skin cells is amazing.
Just like with any change you make to your daily routine, it takes a little time to really embrace and become efficient with dry brushing; but after some time, I think you’ll love all that it delivers to your skin and your day. Just take five minutes for yourself in the morning and you’ll be glad for this fad.
In my search for an IR sauna treatment, I was happy to find one that could accommodate both Julia and me, together. I figured having company would make the time go by quicker––if left on my own, I’m sure I would have cracked after the 2,536th sweat droplet. Plus, as an added bonus, this sauna offered light therapy. Now, I’d done IR saunas before, as a naturopath, so I was prepared for what to expect. Julia, however, had never, so I figured I would be her motivation and her guide. HA!
We arrived at a beautiful meditation and wellness clinic. After checking in, we were shown to the lounge, where we sipped chaga lemonade and took photos of ourselves in hanging wicker egg chairs. After recovering from an embarrassing changeroom incident, we were shown to our lovely sauna: a private room with lounge chairs, lush foliage and plenty of water. I set my clothes down, grabbed a glass of water and prepared for the torture. The temperature was a balmy 136 degrees Fahrenheit and we had chosen a calming violet light treatment. “This isn’t so bad,” I thought. “This will be fine… it’s warm… not HOT… not as bad as I expected.”
15 minutes later and, OH. YEA. This was the heat I’d been expecting. I was getting nice and salty, and my iPhone’s heat warning had already been set off twice. But it was ok: I had done it before, I could do it again.
25 minutes in, the temperature was at its max. I was dripping and Julia was sitting in a pool of her own sweat that was starting to spill over to my side. Had all that time that had passed between my last IR treatment and this one caused my memory to fade? I was getting antsy and I was only just over halfway to the end. I poured some water on my hands and feet, and used a cold washcloth to wipe the sweat from my stinging eyes. Julia seemed to be loving it––she sat there dissecting the latest episode of KUWTK (props to her for her power of distraction). I myself would have loved for a power outage to happen or for a fire alarm to go off, but no such luck; I had to make it through the whole session if I wanted this treatment’s maximum benefits. So, I utilized every last cold cloth and drank glass after glass of water, counting down the last few minutes. Finally, I made it. And I was salty, wet, hot and satisfied (that’s what she said).
I love a good sweat. I work out nearly every day and I’m a sweaty mess every single time. I love it. So, naturally, you’d think I’m quite comfortable in a sauna, right? Try 60 minutes in a sauna.
Michelle and I went to Hoame to experience their infrared sauna, a type of sauna that’s becoming increasingly popular as they’re apparently more beneficial the more you use them. I actually found that the time went by super fast, thanks to having Michelle with me, and I was very interested to learn about the various benefits of radiant heat versus those of your common steam sauna. There was also an optional light therapy for boosting your skin and mood. I highly recommend it. I felt amazing afterward and could easily do it once a day if I had the time. I’ll definitely be doing it again!
Given the never-ending winter my city seemed to be experiencing when I decided to try cryotherapy, I wasn’t sure I wanted to submit myself to temperatures so low they could freeze my nose off. However, I mustered as much courage as I could, stripped down to my Calvins and hopped into a giant tank. Instantly, I was hit with a blast of cold and raised up to a level where my chin was above the blast zone. As soon as I thought, “I’ll never make it two minutes in here” I was thoughtfully reminded that the session was actually three minutes. Fifteen seconds in I was implementing the breathing techniques I was taught to use during labour. My body felt cold; my muscles frozen. Though, it wasn’t a scary feeling: I was too cold to be scared (or anxious, or happy or sad, for that matter). I only felt cold.
At the halfway mark, with 90 seconds to go, I was able to spit out a half-assed joke about joining the White Walkers, so I knew I would be ok. I kept breathing, ignoring the way my skin felt like it was both on fire and extremely icy. I counted down the last five seconds with the practitioners, then they opened the tank and I stumbled out. My skin was tingling and I was too cold to get dressed, but within 30 seconds I could feel my body returning to itself, so I got dressed and bounced around to get things moving. After a couple minutes post–treatment, I felt the blood rush back into my limbs and I started to warm up. I continued to bop around, but I felt invigorated. I had more energy, I was happier, and I felt “good” all over. Now, I didn’t go into the treatment with any health concerns or injuries, so I don’t have a strong baseline. But I can say that the treatment definitely got me feeling like Whoa!
Firstly, I hate being cold. I absolutely prefer summer to winter, humidity to frigidity. That said, I work out a ton, and although I luckily don’t have any injuries, I thought I might benefit from cryotherapy since my muscles and joints get a lot of wear and tear. Plus, my back and neck get sore from carrying three little kids around, you know? So, I figured cryotherapy would offer me some relief.
Well, not so much. It was a short blast of extremely cold (albeit refreshing) air that left me freezing all day long. You know when you have the chills and just can’t shake them? That’s what I dealt with all day. Even after a hot shower, I had a hard time getting over the blast.
On a positive note, I felt slightly more energized immediately after getting out of the machine. But I didn’t experience any long-lasting benefits. I wondered if it would be different had you an injury or chronic pain, but Michelle has neither and she felt great. So, I’m still in search of a therapy that makes me feel like Superwoman.
One of my first experiences with an IV drip (I may have been a guinea pig back in med school) was a few years ago, in Vegas. I’d heard about a fancy bus that would come to your hotel room to cure your hangover. So, I of course called them immediately and booked a drip for my group; our night prior had been filled with plenty of booze, food, dancing and more booze, and had lacked any evidence of water (ice cubes don’t count, apparently), sleep or good decisions. And so it was that at 10 a.m. a single knock on our door changed my life forever: in walked the drip team with the promise of redemption.
After they took our vitals and medical histories, we got comfortable and let the IV do its work. A bright-yellow bag that hung over my head dripped fluid into my severely dehydrated veins. The beautifully hued cocktail contained saline, vitamins, minerals and a few prescription extras for headache, nausea, heartburn and anxiety. The drip itself was painless, minus the initial prick, and lasted about 30 minutes. I felt and tasted nothing throughout the treatment, but some say they can taste the B vitamins or feel a slight burn as the fluid enters the veins (both are common and harmless side effects). Finally, about one hour after the treatment, I felt as if I’d never had a hangover. I felt energetic, more focused, and full of life. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Since that experience, I’ve had many more drips: some for hangovers, others for general well–being and immune-system support. The protocol is relatively standard but the cocktails change according to what I need. I know that they work for me because I always leave feeling great. Julia, however, is more of a one and done gal. See what she has to say, below.
I was nervous about trying an IV drip. Something about having so many vitamins and minerals pumped into my veins all at once was making me anxious. I’d witnessed my closest friends getting it done, multiple times, yet still I felt nervous.
There are many IV drip cocktails available, and the one I received had an additional dose of Glutathione, the mother of all antioxidants. My experience of the procedure was as relaxing as you’d think it would be, what with a needle shoved into my vein. My nerves were calm after meeting with my ND, but I experienced some soreness about halfway through and had my delivery adjusted. The pain did subside a little, but afterwards I felt totally wiped. I waited to feel like Superwoman, but mostly I just felt hungover (ironically, IV drips are supposed to ease hangovers). I lay on my sofa for the rest of the day in regret, which totally sucked. I may give it another go down the road, but I definitely didn’t experience anything positive from it, whatsoever.
Though it’s seemingly a common practice, and despite speaking to many who’ve done it and loved it, I was still unsure about getting a colonic. I just didn’t know if I wanted water shot into my tush––you know? But, for the sake of our readers, I said f*ck it, I’ll try it once. And to my surprise… it was way worse than I expected (and honestly, thank goodness because had I known it was that uncomfortable, I likely wouldn’t have tried it).
I wasn’t shy about the whole thing; I’ve had two babies, and given my medical training, I’ve seen and been in all the orifices of the body. So, in she went, and, just my luck, the first insertion didn’t “connect.” Out it came and in a new one went. The second time worked and I felt the water start flowing. The feeling of the water filling my intestine was similar to that of cramps and it was only somewhat relieved as the water was emptied. The filling and emptying cycle continued for about 30 minutes and I was on my back the entire time. I would have preferred to be on my side, fetal-like (the way I’ve heard most people do it), so I wouldn’t have to look into the practitioner’s eyes the whole time and make small talk.
The process wasn’t the most painful thing I’ve been through, but it was one of the most not enjoyable. When it was finished, I waddled to the bathroom, squeezing my cheeks together for dear life. After a few minutes of relaxing on the throne, I got up and dressed, expecting to feel empty, healthy and squeaky clean. But I felt none of that! I’d been told I might feel bloated for a bit, which I did, but it unfortunately also lasted the rest of the day and night. To be fair, I did go in with no health issues or digestive complaints, so I wasn’t expecting to see any specific improvement. If I did have an ailment that a colonic would relieve, I would let someone drug me and bring me back for another treatment. Until then, however, this fanny remains exit–only!
Sometimes I do things I truly believe in, with the high hope that they’ll make a positive difference in my life. Other times, I feel like I try things just to say I tried them. And then there are colonics.
Five minutes into mine, I knew I wanted it to be over. It wasn’t physically painful, but it was mentally brutal. I was uncomfortable, I felt strange, and I had a really hard time believing that I was doing something good for myself. I know many people do this regularly and feel great after. But I don’t think it did anything for me, during or after. As soon as it was over (the procedure took about 35 to 40 minutes for me), I felt bloated and nervous about what else was going come out of me. I also felt weaker and kind of sick afterward, though it might have been just anxiety. They say you should take probiotics to help bring back all the good flora into your system, which I did, but it took me a while to feel healthy and strong again. Plus, I was nervous about what to eat after to avoid any gas or further bloating, and I just kept asking myself, “Why, oh why, did you do this?!” Needless to say, I won’t do it again.