Our ancestors left us with a lot more than just genes and a predisposition for loving carbs (thanks, French great great great grandparents). They also knew how to do a lot with a little. There are so many ancient techniques for living healthfully, and as much as wellness trends come and go, these are timeless practices that can help you get back to basics, and embrace the heritage of being human.
Smudging is a technique used to clean the energy of a space – to move out and purify old air, vibes, etc. It’s traditionally done with a sage stick, which is dried sage brush that is bundled together with some twine (though you can use many plants or herbs depending on what’s available). You light one end of the stick to create some smoke (but no actual flame), and use fanning gestures to circulate air. Some people like to say affirmations, prayers, etc. while they do this to help bring in good and intentional energy.
Our ancestors, especially in Native American cultures used smudging as a ceremonial act, and a way to clean the energy before a big event. Some people liken it to doing a deep clean of your house before you have special company over.
If using a sage stick, it’s good to note that sage itself has many health benefits like boosting your immune system, preventing chronic disease, and helping with digestive function.
Sage has been used for thousands of years and is still relevant.
2. Using the power steam
It sounds so simple, because it is. Hot water in many forms can be brilliantly healing and detoxifying. Steam in particular is so good for us because it’s gentle.
Using steam is a great way to detox your skin without the harshness of hot water on your face and body, and without other agents working dirt and toxins out. Filling your sink or a bowl up with hot water and then placing your face over it for 3 minutes can really help you nourish your body’s largest organ and solve skin irritations, dehydration, and relieve allergy symptoms.
Diffusing essential oils is another way to use the power of steam to heal your body. When the oils travel into the air via the hot water particles, they are able to not only help our bodies function, but also to cleanse the air around us. One of the least invasive ways to shift your body’s chemistry is to absorb oils in the air.
Next time cold and allergy season comes around, try diffusing lemon and peppermint to keep the house and yourself protected.
Or if you want sweet dreams, diffuse lavender and cedarwood.
3. Hand reflexology
The Japanese believed that your hands hold a lot of stress and emotions. They also believed that each finger represented and controlled certain feelings.
Gently massaging your fingers to diffuse daily worries can help you re-balance and become better aware of what situations in life are ailing you.
According to the Japanese: the thumb controls anxiety and doubt, the index finger helps you eliminate fear, the middle finger controls anger and resentment, the ring finger fights sadness and depression, and the pinky boosts your confidence and self-image.
To balance your emotions, wrap your opposite hand with all fingers around the finger you want to target, and hold your finger until you feel your pulse (about 1 minute), then gently twist and massage the finger, as well as the palm.
4. Taking a salt bath
Many of us don’t make time to take an actual bath, but the benefits are tremendous. Even if you can work in one 30 minute salt bath a month, that will help.
Salt is very detoxifying and helps draw out an impurities in the body. Soaking in a salt bath (Himalayan or Epsom salts recommended) helps to rebalance the minerals in your body, extract damaging debris, and relieve pain, stress, aches, and skin disorders like eczema or psoriasis.
The other wonderful factor of taking a bath is the silence. A benefit of relaxation while you are physically occupied (like in a bath) is the undistracted time to quiet your mind, meditate, reflect, and just be.
We fill our time up with so much noise and often can’t unwind because we are just too distracted.
Music even counts as a distraction, so sit in the silence and let your body completely mellow and get back to a neutral vibration.
These techniques may seem like no-brainers, but how often are you taking the time to nourish and heal your body simply from the demands of daily life? There are a ton of products that we can buy as well – fancy products that make fancy promises. I’m here to tell you there are 1,000 natural ways to approach your body, your health, and your happiness that are free.