Smudging A Space

Loose Sage to be used for Smudging
Loose Sage to be used for Smudging

Smudging: A Native American traditional way of using smoke to purify a space.  It is a ritual of burning herbs, and using the smoke produced to alter energy for one’s self or another, or to cleanse the energy of a specific space. Smudging is commonly used today in Wellness facilities to clear out any downbeat energy and to purify the space so that guests are welcomed to a pure environment in which they will not be affected by any negative “stuff”.  Many herbs can be used for the smudging ritual cleansing. The most common ones include sage, and sweet grass, or cedar. Sage is used as a part of many Native American ceremonies because of its purification powers. In the Sun Dance Ceremony, the dancers wear wreathes of sage on their heads, and chew the leaves to alleviate their thirst. Sage is associated with purity, with things of the spirit, and of the heavens.

Sweet Grass is another herb used almost universally among North American tribal peoples. Its fresh, clean smell, which is something like new-mown hay, is said to drive away negative thoughts and ill spirits. It is used in the sweat lodge, in healing ceremonies, and in many kinds of purification and dedication ceremonies.

Cedar is especially effective in dispelling negative energy. The evergreen needles of the cedar, rather than the bark, are used for smudging.  When working with an herb that comes in loose form, such as evergreen needles of the cedar, it is necessary to vary your smudging technique somewhat from that used with herbs which can be bound into bundles.

Lighting the Herbs (bundled herbs): To create smudge smoke, light the bundle of herbs. When the herbs are ignited, blow the fire out and the bundle will continue to smoke. With your free hand, hold a fireproof bowl underneath the smoking herbs to catch any sparks.  To get the effect you are looking for, most of the time all it takes is a quick waft of the smudge stick throughout the area you feel needs cleansing; however if you feel the space needs additional work, then additional time, energy and a potential smudging ceremony is the way to go.  Information on how to do a smudging ceremony is available online.

When you are completed with your smudging, tap the smoking herbs firmly in the bowl in the kitchen sink, just in case they are not completely out.

If you are working with loose herbs: You will want to place the herbs in a fireproof bowl, which can be placed on safe surfaces. After they ignite you can gently blow out the fire and leave the herbs smoldering within the bowl. The bowl is likely to remain very hot, and you could burn yourself if you try to pick it up. So it is necessary to leave it on a heat-proof surface.

A word of caution about smudging: herbs can continue to smolder for a long time even after they are apparently completely extinguished, so it is very important never to leave them unattended because of the risk of starting a fire in your home.

If you are curious of where to purchase herbs for smudging, check out your local health and wellness store.  We at Kneaded Relief use Community Pharmacy here in Madison, WI.

3 Deep Breaths for Road Rage

Kneaded Relief is located in Fitchburg, WI just outside of Madison, WI (our state capital).  One of the major arteries into and out of the city is what we refer to as the “Beltline”.  The Beltline is fantastic in that it runs through the city and can get you to a large portion of the places you need to go in an orderly manner; however when there is construction, an accident, or any random traffic related issue the once fabulous Beltline can become your worst nightmare.  Furthermore, if you planned to be anywhere by a certain time and the Beltline is “slow moving” there is a very good chance you will be late or miss whatever you needed to get to.

It is our assumption that there are many of you who have a similar major highway, road, etc. that you travel upon daily.  Due to this, we wanted to bring up the 3 Deep Breaths Rule.  In our line of work we use the 3 Deep Breaths rule often to help our guests calm the mind and body before a service begins.  You take 3 Deep Breaths (in thru the nose and out thru the mouth – as if you are blowing out birthday candles).  By the 3rd breath the hope is that your body begins to relax and your mind begins to eliminate the many thoughts that are screaming through it.  How this ties into driving is this…when on your route, if you run across a situation that is going to cause you to be late or brings on any feelings of road rage, try the 3 Deep Breaths Rule.  Remind yourself that getting angry or upset will not make traffic go any faster, it will not make you feel any better, and it will not make you a better driver.  On our Beltline, there are multiple electronic signs that periodically flash how many traffic deaths we have had in 2015.  We personally do not want to see that number rise as we drive to and from work, so next time you come in contact with a traffic “headache” remember the 3 Deep Breaths Rule.

In thru the nose and out thru the mouth….ahhhhh….so much better.

Painting Your Nails is a Wellness Practice

Painting your nails can be healthy for your soul – we think.

Paint your nails for Wellness.
Paint your nails for Wellness.

There has been a plethora of information out there regarding how colors make you feel.  Here at the spa we purposefully painted our walls colors that would invoke the feelings of peace and calm and relaxation.  We wanted guests to walk in and feel at ease.  A lot of salons have their staff dress in all black so that the service provider fades into the background and the client gets the attention.  Marketing in particular has really taken this concept of “Color Psychology” and run with it.  Think of websites and how the colors used matches the feelings those places want to create.  Some businesses use color to get noticed or to get a certain reaction from the public.  What are the feelings you get from a bright red billboard vs. a neutral one?

Taking this color psychology idea and running with it, we believe that painting your nails can have an effect on how you feel.  Let’s take the color red.  Painting your nails a bright shade of red could evoke the feelings of passion and excitement within you, or maybe it could spark those feelings in a significant other.  Or how about the color blue?  Maybe for the summer you pick a blue shade the color of the Caribbean Sea.  This could conjure up a feeling of bliss and memories of a beautiful beach scene.  Maybe you go with Pink.  Pink makes you feel young at heart and alive.  It is the color of bubble gum and spring flowers.  You want to feel trendy – try aquamarine, you want to feel sophisticated, why not go with a steel gray.

Give your soul a Wellness pick-me-up with a $10.00 bottle of nail polish.

Farmers Market – Old Practice, New Fondness

Farmers Market Fitchburg, WI
Farmers Market Fitchburg, WI

Supporting your local Farmers Market is a great way to incorporate a Wellness practice into your life.  Farmers Markets have been around for years, but recently there has been an insurgence in their popularity.  Buying locally and eating organically are two ways that Farmers Markets can benefit you and the community you live in.  There is something magical about going back and doing things the “old” way.  Eating fresh, homegrown produce and grass fed beef is like a mouth awakening.  There is nothing that tastes as good.

Besides the wonderful food you can purchase at a Farmers Market, there is also a sense of camaraderie at each market.  You feel like you are working together to better the lives of your family and those around you.  A Farmers Market really embodies Wellness.  So we are empowering you this week to check out your local Farmers Market.  From that try to make one meal from the items that you find at the market.  Oh and don’t forget a beautiful bouquet of flowers for your table and maybe a fresh bar of soap to re-awaken the senses during your morning shower.

Let’s just say it is hip to hit up the Farmers Market.

The Weight of Monday

Starting Over on a Monday
Starting Over on a Monday

It is Monday again, and most people associate Monday with “starting over”.  Last week you started your new diet, by Wednesday you cheated on it a little, and by the weekend it was fully blown, so you committed to Monday being the day you would start over.  Monday feels like a fresh start, but in reality it is just another beginning to a failed attempt.  The cycle needs to be stopped, so at Kneaded Relief we say to start your new adventure be it a diet, or a healthy lifestyle change, or a new workout routine on a Wednesday or Thursday or really any day besides Monday.  Take the weight off by starting on a day that doesn’t carry so much weight.  Autumn Calabrese – Celebrity Fitness Instructor says, “if you are tired of starting over, stop quitting.”  Find a way to break the cycle and take the pressure off Monday.  You just might start to enjoy Mondays a little bit more.

Increasing Wellness with Blogging

Kneaded Relief Front DoorOur mission is to increase a client’s overall wellness.  This blog is designed to help with that journey.  In the spa and wellness industry we run across (pun intended) a variety of areas that could really use a blog post for additional explanation.  At Kneaded Relief we plan on using this blog to expand on what we provide our guests and hopefully give some additional insight into the world of wellness.

We look forward to sharing this wellness journey with you.