Whispers from the Well – Winter 2015

Welcome the Winter Solstice
Outdoor Winter Activities
We are so fortunate to live on the California Central Coast, where the weather is mild and the landscape (and seascape) are naturally beautiful. Even in the winter, we are able to have outdoor activities all year round. It has been a little chilly this fall, but we usually still have clear and warm afternoons to get outside and take off our jackets. It is not unusual this time of year to even see people in shorts and t-shirts, jogging along West Cliff Drive or sitting in the sunshine at an outdoor café. Santa Cruz and the Central Coast have moderate temperatures and such exquisite scenery, that it is no wonder that people come visit in the winter from icy places such as Montana, Wisconsin and New York. We may not have snow for our winter outdoor activities, but our fair area has plenty to offer.
    So what activities does our part of the world have to offer in the winter?…. Surfing at world-class cold water surf spots like Steamers Lane in Santa Cruz or Mavericks on the north coast of Half Moon Bay… Incredible Hiking Trails in the Redwood forests, such as Nisene Marks State Park in Aptos, Fall Creek in Henry Cowell State Park in Felton, and Pogonip Open Space Preserve near UCSC, with the fresh crisp air after a nice rain… Mountain Biking at Wilder Ranch, Pogonip or along scenic West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz… Rock Climbing at Castle Rock State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains or Pinnacles National Park an hour and half south near Soledad… Kayaking on the pristine Monterey Bay Sanctuary in kelp forests or wetlands… and don’t forget tide pooling, fishing and boating. Our area is teeming with amazing outdoor activities to experience nature’s beauty and the wildlife, even in the winter!
    After a long cold day of outdoor activities, come warm up and relax your body in our hot tubs and saunas, overlooking our koi pond and Japanese garden. We are downtown Santa Cruz, close to the wharf on the Monterey Bay. Ahhh…. Welcome to Well Within Spa.


 Warming Up This Winter
There is nothing better for your body on a cold damp day, than to warm your body to the core. Soaking in our hot tubs and relaxing in our saunas does just that. A deep healthy invigorating sweat keeps your internal body temperature warm for an extended time. Regular heat bathing in a sauna assists with increasing your circulation, relaxing muscles and joints, improving cardiovascular performance, burning calories, detoxifying and cleansing the skin, relieving stress, stimulating the release of endorphins, and can help fight illness, induce a deeper relaxing sleep, and just feels great. The increased blood flow soothes the aches and pains and speeds up the body’s natural healing process. Deep sweating in a sauna can help reduce levels of heavy metals and chemicals that are common toxins that our bodies absorb from our daily environment. No wonder more and more doctors and healthcare providers are recommending its purifying benefits.
    Sauna bathing is one of the oldest health strategies and beauty secrets in terms of cleansing the skin. Deep sweating allows the epidermal layer to be cleansed of bacteria, and flushes away the dead skin cells, leaving your skin with a clear and natural healthy glow. They say that the minerals and nutrients in sweat actually plump up our tiny wrinkles and maintain the collagen structure of our skin.

SaunaJemila Sweating is a way of energizing the skin, much like exercising is to the muscles of our body. It is cleansing the skin from the inside out, not just topical cleansing. Flushing the body wastes from the pores through sweating on a regular basis, eventually brings vitality and tone back to your skin.
    We all know that stress can negatively affect our health. The wonderful calming heat of the sauna is a warm quiet space without outside distractions, where you can unwind and let go of your worries and stress. As we go through our stressful everyday lives, the sauna provides a pampering still retreat were we can restore our body and soul. Our tensions fade and mentally we emerge relaxed, revived and ready for whatever the day may bring.
    Remember to rehydrate your skin after those long soaks and sauna bathing. We offer wonderful natural and organic lotions and other skin care products in our retail department to nourish your body. This winter we are highlighting our Warming Ginger Hand Lotion and Warming Ginger Bath Salts. Try them out and give them as a gift this season.

In Our Retail This Winter Enjoy our Wonderful….  
Warming Ginger Hand & Body Lotion A rich moisturizing aromatherapy lotion for all skin types. The fragrance of this warming and soothing moisturizer reminds you of gingerbread. Perfect for this time of year! It is rich in organic oils, herbs, flowers and the spicy warmth of ginger root.
Warming Ginger Bath SaltsThese cleansing body salts are silky soft and fragrant with the aromatherapy blend of warming ginger that will draw out toxins and stimulate circulation. The perfect pair with our Warming Ginger Lotion. 
 … 20% off through February 

This Season…  Infuse Your Life with Aromatherapy
This time of year conjures up the smells of cinnamon and spice. It is a wonderful season to infuse your homes with the aroma of nature’s healing herbal gifts and essential oils. Here are a few of the most common yet powerful aromatherapy oils that we have all heard of, and that can help us build up our immune systems, especially during the cold of winter.
    The sweet and spicy oil and fragrance of Cinnamon helps relax tight muscles, ease painful joints, and relieve cramps. Researchers have found that the therapeutic use of cinnamon reduces drowsiness, irritability, and headache pain. In one study, the aroma of cinnamon in the room helped participants to concentrate and perform better. You can add 2-3 drops of the essential oil to an ounce of almond or sesame oil for a warming liniment that increases circulation and sweating. It is a natural stimulant and could irritate mucous membranes, so use sparingly. Try putting some cinnamon sticks and orange slices in a small pot of water. Leave it on low heat for a delightfully warming and uplifting smell throughout your holiday gatherings and winter months.
    There are several other aromatherapy essential oils that can help to increase the activity of your immune system, such as Bay Laurel, Frankincense, Oregano and Sage. Eucalyptus is another aromatherapy oil with powerful medicinal properties. The Aborigines used eucalyptus to heal most wounds they encountered because it has antimicrobial and antiseptic properties that can help heal wounds very quickly, without a trace of infection. Eucalyptus essential oil also works as an expectorant, is anti-inflammatory, and helps to cleanse the body of toxins and harmful microorganisms that can make you sick. A study from NYU Medical School found that using eucalyptus was effective at treating allergies and sinus issues.
    Try putting a branch of fresh eucalyptus in your shower or a few drops of the essential oil in a diffuser before you go to sleep to open your sinuses and fend off those respiratory colds or flu. Or put a few drops in your vacuum and clothes dryer filter to freshen up and sanitize them. It is also great mixed with tea tree oil for killing mold and cleansing the air in your home.
    Peppermint is one of the most versatile oils in the world and has been used effectively for thousands of years. It can be used topically to help with headaches, indigestion, muscle pain, bad breath, and even to increase mental alertness.  For detoxifying, peppermint may help reduce cravings and your interest in sugary foods. It is often recommended for digestive disorders since it has anti-nausea benefits and a soothing effect on the gastric lining and colon because of its ability to reduce muscle spasms. It also works well as a cooling soothing tea for colds and flu because it has anti-microbial properties, clears the respiratory tract, and relieves headaches.
    Try applying a few drops of peppermint oil mixed with lavender oil for achy joints and to cool muscles, much like an ice pack. Or try adding a few drops to your shampoo and conditioner to stimulate the scalp, energize your mind and to wake up!
     As you discover more about the incredible healing properties of pure essential oils, you will begin to realize just how powerful and beneficial they can be, not just for your body, but also your mental and emotional well-being.


‘The Well’ Spotlight…

Our Massage Therapist, Felicity McKnight….    

    Has been a practicing Massage Therapist for twenty-six years as well as being a Massage Educator for more then a decade. She has taught as well as developed the nationally approved Swedish massage curriculum for Heartwood Institute in northern California. Locally, she was part of the teaching staff at Twin lakes Healing College of the Healing Arts in Santa Cruz from 2002-07. Felicity helped co-create and taught the Swedish and Deep Tissue massage program for Mount Madonna Institute in Watsonville. In 2010 she was also part of the Massage Therapy teaching team at Kripalu Institute in Stockbridge, MA.
    Felicity began working at the Well Within thirteen years ago. “I feel completely blessed each day coming into work. The Well Within for me is much more then a spa: it is a family of dedicated, compassionate, and deeply gifted healers. We support and encourage one another to expand our understanding of massage therapy and in turn share with you, our community.”  
    Felicity has also been a visual artist from a young age. Her work is expressed through vividly painted sculptural creations. She has been showing her work in Santa Cruz and beyond for the past fifteen years. If not in her studio, Felicity may be found juggling out and about in town or simply soaking up the sun.