Whispers from the Well – Fall 2017

Welcome the Autumn Equinox 
Fall Cleansing Time…. 
After a summer spent enjoying long warm days, late dinners, and cold drinks, fall is now upon us. The leaves are changing colors and the air has become a little dryer and cooler as the daylight hours diminish. According to traditional Ayurvedic principles, our bodies are trying to adjust and become more like our exterior environment, dry and cool. Cleansing at this time of year helps keep our bodies in balance. Changes in the fall leave us imbalanced and can create excess toxins that can accumulate in our system, both physically and psychosomatically, creating sickness of all sorts. Cleansing our bodies each spring and fall, with the change of seasons, is the perfect time to engage in such peaceful sense withdrawal. 
    We are at the Autumn Equinox now. Both equinoxes are the best times of the year to detox. In fact, not only are they the two times of year when your body naturally has the highest energy for pushing toxicity out of your cells, but they are also the two times of year when your body needs a big ‘clearing out’ and cleansing. Your body is designed to go through a deep detox at this time, as its preparation for winter. You can avoid becoming ill by being aware of the massive effort your body is making right now to throw off toxicity, and supporting it in its efforts to do so. Take advantage of these natural cycles of the universe to improve your health.
 
Simple Ways to Detox:
• Focus your diet on alkalizing whole foods, especially vegetable juices, green smoothies, soups and salads.
• Get plenty of rest to leave your body maximum energy for its cleansing endeavors. Most importantly, aim to be in bed by 9pm each night, and asleep by 10pm, as your organs of elimination require those two hours of sleep before midnight in order to function optimally.
• Consider a short period of just raw juice for a deeper detox this equinox.
• Do hot baths, saunas and hydrotherapy to assist your cleansing process.
 
The shift in energy that takes place at the equinoxes will throw toxicity out of your cells whether you like it or not. So depending on what you do, you will either move in a direction of greater healing or greater dis-ease. It is wise to choose the healing path.
 

 
Building Immunity in Fall….

    Autumn has arrived, riding in on the winds of change. What a blessing to feel the sprinkling of those light rains after such hot dry days. The crisp air on my neck and ears reminds me to cover up with a jacket and scarf, and to replenish the woodpile for the cold months ahead. The ripe hanging clusters of elderberries remind me to start nourishing my immune system for the cold and flu season on its way. The crunch of leaves beneath my feet reminds me of the dryness, not only of this approaching season, but also of the drought, and how our bodies must thirst for moisture. I am reminded to let go of what I do not need, just as the trees begin to cut off nutrients to their leaves and let them fall. I feel a welling of sadness for summer’s end, and for all of the lives affected by the forest fires.  Then I breathe deeply of the fall air and feel a sense of beauty and peace. I am reminded to begin to draw inward and protect, to turn towards the core of what is important.  Just as the roots surviving beneath the burned soils will give birth to life in a new form come spring. 
    New seasons offer us an opportunity to align our actions with the natural rhythms moving through and all around us. Ancient Chinese physicians observed the natural cycle of seasons and passed down everyday practices for staying healthy and harmonizing our own energy with that of our environment. From the Huangdi Neijing, a classical Chinese Medicine text:
    “In the three months of Autumn, all things in nature reach their full maturity. The grains ripen and harvesting occurs. The heavenly energy cools, as does the weather. The wind begins to stir. This is the changing or pivoting point when the yang, or active, phase turns into its opposite, the yin, or passive, phase. One should retire with the sunset and arise with the dawn.”
Here are some of my favorite ways to build immunity and stay healthy and balanced this time of year. I hope they serve you WELL….
 
Reduce stress & tension, stay well-rested When we are strong and healthy, we are able to protect ourselves from most of the germs that continually surround us. When we let stress, tension, and exhaustion compromise our immunity, we become more susceptible to infection. Find a way to relax and release stress on a daily basis, with such methods as yoga, gratitude, deep breaths, meditation, exercise, walks in nature, massage, and acupuncture. The Nei Ching advised people to go to sleep early, rest well and rise late, after the sun’s rays have warmed the atmosphere a bit. This preserves your own Yang Qi for the task of warming the body. Even busy, working people can boost their health by sleeping in on weekends.
 
Stay hydrated – Fall dryness can also compromise our immunity and make us susceptible to illness – dry respiratory cilia and cervical lymph can lead to irritated sinuses and sore throats, and create an environment where pathogens can take hold.  Drink plenty of warm liquids throughout the day, and use a humidifier if your home or office is dry from a heater or fireplace (though avoid adding moisture if your home tends to be damp, moist, or moldy).
 
Eat for the season and your gut health Autumn weather becomes more yin and calls for warming dishes. Trade in the fresh raw salads for oven-roasted seasonal veggies and warm soups. When cooking, throw in some onions, ginger, garlic or mustard. These pungent foods are known to benefit the Lung organ and reduce damp and phlegm congestion. We also need to nourish our gut health, since 80% of our immune system lives in the healthy flora of our gut lining. Eat quality high-fat, high-protein, insulating and lubricating foods such as warm bone broths and stock, grass-fed red meats and game, fatty fish, root veggies, nuts (if soaked, sprouted), organ meats, and include regular fermented foods and medical strength probiotic supplements. Avoid excess refined sugars and flours, alcohol, unprepared grains, and other highly processed foods as much as possible. If you tend toward phlegm, also avoid excessive damp foods like dairy and fruit juice (concentrated sugars). 
 
Protect yourself from cold and wind The Lungs and Large Intestine are the organs associated with the fall in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The Lungs control the circulation of the Wei-Qi, the defensive Qi that protects us from the invasion of flu and colds. The Wei-Qi circulates on the surface between the skin and muscles and works to warm the body. If the Wei-Qi is weak, the skin and muscles will not be warmed properly. This is why we tend to feel cold when we are sick. Protect your Lungs and defensive Qi by covering up with a jacket and scarf on chilly windy days, especially around the back of the neck.
Saline nasal wash/Neti Pot The nose is the opening to the lungs, and you can prevent colds by keeping your nose and sinuses clean and clear.
 
Wash hands frequently This time of year brings us indoors more often and in closer vicinity to others. Remember to protect yourself in simple ways.
 
Take preventative herbs to build immunity Such as Elderberry and Echinacea tinctures/syrups and/or the Chinese herbal formula Jade Wind Screen (ask your acupuncturist first if this formula is appropriate for you, and discontinue taking if you come down with an acute illness).
 
Schedule a seasonal tune-up Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine are wonderful tools to strengthen the immune system. A few needles inserted into key points along the body’s energy pathways can balance circulation of blood and energy and consolidate the outer defense layers of the skin and muscle (Wei-Qi) to protect against viruses and germs. 
 
Article by Jenny Johnston, Licensed Acupuncturist in Santa Cruz
 

     
Benefits of Cold Plunge After Sauna
In many Nordic cultures, a full sauna session includes 15 or 20 minutes in the heat followed by an ice-cold run outside, dip in cold water, or cool shower. This hot/cold hydrotherapy is repeated until there’s not an ounce of tension in the body. The alternate extremes provide a different, intense experience. Ice swimming is an increasingly popular activity in sauna-loving Finland.
 
Hot and Cold Water Therapy has been around for centuries as “contrast therapy,” also known as “hot/cold immersion therapy.” Your body’s blood circulatory system constricts with cold and expands with heat, thus increasing blood flow in the limbs and overall circulation, thereby flushing out toxins from the body. The combination of heat and cold can have some health advantages. The sudden cold makes skin blood vessels constrict rapidly, elevating blood pressure. It has been used since the Roman times for sports therapy. It feels great and invigorates or ‘pumps you up’ to recover from any injury. A cold plunge after a sauna session has real benefits.
 
Avoiding Inflammation – People with rheumatoid arthritis and related illnesses experience relief during their sauna session because joint fluid becomes more supple, but sometimes the inflammation can flare up worse the next day. A cold immersion after the sauna prevents this problem and helps ease painful symptoms.
 
Cold Immersion after the sauna might also help improve blood flow and faster recovery from muscle damage and soreness. A cold shower or plunge has a rejuvenating effect on the skin due to the increased blood flow.
 
Enhancing Pleasure – A cold dip increases the sauna’s elevation of heart rate, adrenaline, and endorphins that ease your pain and lighten your mood. Due to the high density of cold receptors in the skin, cold showers send electrical impulses from peripheral nerve endings to the brain, which results in an anti-depressive effect.
 
Benefits of Hot/Cold Therapy include:  
• Softening and tightening the skin
• Improving artery elasticity
• Natural energy boost
• Improving circulation
• Remove toxins from muscles 
• Reducing inflammation
• Directing blood flow to vital organs
• Strengthening immune system
• Boosting endorphins, natural anti-depressant 
• Speeding up healing
• Improving muscle tone
• Reducing pain and muscle soreness
• Decreasing congestion
 
Once again science shows that traditions lasted for centuries for good reason. Taking the time (and the bravery) to take a chilly plunge, or cold shower after a sauna gives you more benefit than the sauna alone. Best to check with your doctor before taking a sauna followed by cold plunge or shower.
 
Currently Well Within Spa has only one soaking tub available for a cold plunge, our Onsen Tub Room. We hope to have more cold plunges available in the near future. You can also try our aromatherapy body scrubs for increased detoxification and a delightful exfoliating experience. Happy Autumn Cleaning!
 

This Fall in RetailTo assist your fall cleanse…

Natural Body Brushes We have a wonderful selection of natural wooden body brushes for exfoliation and bringing circulation to the body. We also have pumice stones and sticks, ayate wash cloths, and nail brushes to choose from. They all make wonderful gifts too!

Aromatherapy Salt Scrubs   Our salt scrubs gently exfoliates your skin, with aromaitc and therapeutic benefits. They are made with sea salts and almond oil infused with our own blend of organic flowers and herbs. Use of salt scrubs yield a rosy glow and enhanced circulation to the skin, leaving your body feeling silky smooth and soft. Available in three delightful fragrances…

Soothing Salt Scrub This sweetly fragrant salt scrub has soothing flowers and essential oils that provide a delightful aromatherapy experience. The floral ingredients calm and relax your body and mind.

Balancing Salt Scrub — This heavenly fragrant salt scrub has the essence of flowers and essential oils that provide a relaxing aromatherapy experience. The floral ingredients can neutralize stress and tension and assist in hormonal balancing.

Energizing Salt Scrub — This enlivening fragrant salt scrub has the essence of herbs and essential oils that provide an energizing aromatherapy experience. The herbal ingredients help lift your spirits and invigorate your chi.

… 20% off through November  

‘The Well’ Spotlight…

Our Massage Therapist, Laury McInerney  

I started working at Well Within Spa in November 2016, and after 30 years of doing massage therapy, I feel like I have finally arrived. 🙂 I have never had a more beautiful and serene work environment, nor have I ever been surrounded by co-workers who I feel are like-minded in terms of health, wellness and healing! I hope I am working at Well Within Spa until I retire, which probably won’t be for a long time!
    I call the massage work I do of all the styles of work I have done over the years. I have studied Swedish, Deep Tissue, Sports Massage, Shiatsu, Acupressure, and Polarity Therapy. I have spent a fair amount of time working with chiropractors on client’s with back and neck injuries. I typically draw from all the modalities I have studied during a massage session, an eclectic and intuitive combination. My current days at Well Within are Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday (Doubles room) from 10-430pm.
    While I’m not working at Well Within, I work as a personal fitness trainer at Bodyworks, a private studio on Seabright Avenue in Santa Cruz, and I teach private and small group yoga classes. I also sing and play guitar and perform original songs as well as jazz, pop, folk, rock music with my band, locally on a regular basis. Thank you Well Within for providing a work environment and schedule that is conducive to all that I love to do!
 
 

 
Send Us Your Thoughts…

Please send us your ideas or photos for our quarterly e-newsletter, that goes out on each Solstice and Equinox, to all our friends of Well Within Spa.
 
“Walk as if you are kissing
the Earth with your feet.”
— Thich Nhat Hanh
 


The Autumn Garden

“In the garden, Autumn is, indeed the crowning glory of the year, bringing us the fruition of months of thought and care and toil. And at no season, safe perhaps in Daffodil time, do we get such superb colour effects as from August to November.”
— Rose G. Kingsley

 

Enjoy a Relaxing Soak
in one of our Hot Tubs

 

“In the garden, Autumn is, indeed the crowning glory of the year, bringing us the fruition of months of thought and care and toil. And at no season, safe perhaps in Daffodil time, do we get such superb colour effects as from August to November.”

— Rose G. Kingsley


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Together Wednesdays

— Weekly Special for Two —

In Our Doubles Massage Room 10am to 10pm Bring a friend or loved one for two 50-minute massages plus 50-minute hot tub and sauna for two… Special $185

— Wednesdays only —