My experience with a Facial Rejuvenation treatment

If you have been following my blog or social media pages for a while, you know that I’m a huge supporter of all the little things that can help us to take a better care of ourselves on a daily basis. Many people think that self-care means having at least one day off each week to spend taking care of themselves and having only that single thing to do. We all know that reality is a little bit different, things don’t always go as planned and it’s not so common having the chance to dedicate one entire day each week to yourself. So, it’s important to think about what you can do on a daily basis to show yourself some love… small choices that seem simple but can actually be life-changing!

I’d like to help you figure out what you can do at home in first place and also simple treatments that you can book without necessarily have to take a day off at the spa. That’s why I’d like to meet other people who work in the wellness world and give you some examples of HOW YOU CAN EASILY SUPPORT YOUR WELL-BEING in different ways… you’ll hear from my voice about the treatment, how does it work, how it made me feel and which are the benefits that I’ve noticed.

Recently, I had the pleasure to try a Chinese Cupping and Gua Sha Facial Rejuvenation treatment with Amanda Nordell at Dublin Wellness Centre: it’s a treatment based on a combination of different techniques that Amanda carefully adapts to your own needs.

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What is it all about? The treatment lasts approx. 1 hour and includes the use of gua sha tools, a jade roller, natural facial oils, cupping (with silicone cups), basalt stones, and a face mask. You can also get a standard acupuncture treatment as part of the session as an extra support for your well-being and general balance. It’s a relaxing hour and even if it may sound a bit scary getting cupping on your face, the truth is that it doesn’t hurt and leaves no red marks, my skin was refreshed and rejuvenated following the treatment.

The combination of facial cupping and gua sha is both relaxing for the mind and body, and invigorating for the complexion and facial muscles. For this kind of treatment, Amanda works with clients who have a wide range of needs, including who have specific skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, psoriasis, or eczema and also with people who want to prevent/reduce the signs of aging. The facial can help reduce fine lines and wrinkles and reduce sagging tendencies. As she mentioned to me, there’s no downtime after the session and this makes it even easier for all of us thinking to fit this relaxing time into a busy schedule.

What I really loved about the treatment (apart from the glowing skin that I had right after it) is the idea that it helps your whole face to find its balance again and to shine from the inside out – it’s a way to give some extra support to your skin and muscles on their everyday job. No magic tricks or big promises: it’s a deep and gentle facial massage based on specific instruments, nutrients (from oils and masks), and temperatures.

Something else I really appreciated is the approach that Amanda has toward natural products. We are all aware that the word “natural” is used to advertise a wide range of stuff (and often is the perfect way to trick customers) and it can have several meanings – the best thing to do is having a better look at what there is actually behind the “natural” label. As Amanda mentioned to me, her focus is on getting products that are organic when possible, and free from parabens, silicones, mineral oil, and alcohol.

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SOME DETAILS…

My specific needs: I’ve received the treatment a few days after having a cold, with a sinus inflammation, a dry skin (I tend to have a dry skin due to psoriasis but this time was also due to the previous cold), and a few hormonal spots. Amanda took some time before starting the treatment to have a chat, tell me that the treatment could also be helpful for my sinus inflammation, explain to me that she decided to use a hydrating bamboo mask and that the hormonal spots may worsen after the session but only because the skin is clearing itself. The results: right after the treatment I was relaxed and energised at the same time – it’s a facial but it lasts one hour, so it actually feels like taking a proper “self-care break” in the middle of the day. I’ve noticed immediately the re-hydration and a clear change in my skin’s texture, the entire face looked (and felt) renovated and refreshed – hormonal spots cleared after a few days and I had a good improvement in my sinus inflammation. I always preach about listening to your body and what mine told me in the evening after the session with Amanda was to slow down and take more time off (I even went in bed way earlier than usual). Every time I go for a treatment or I do something to take care of myself, I always feel some extra motivation afterward to keep doing it and to be more consistent in adding self-care into my priorities (when I’m busy I tend to forget about using face creams, oils, self-massage, etc).

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The treatment is divided into several steps: it starts with a gentle and quick massage to apply the oil, then the use of some tools (jade roller, gua sha, etc..) not only helps with muscles and blood circulation, but it also allows the oil to be absorbed better into the skin. Gua sha, jade roller, and cupping are used before the mask, then basalt stones are the final part of the session. The tools for gua sha are used to do a gentle scraping action on the skin (this means that the layers are starting to be stimulated – you’ll also feel the skin that gets warmer), while the jade roller is naturally cold and massages the face. The technique used for cupping promotes circulation and relieves muscle tension (warm temperature), the mask nourishes the skin and the basalt stones are used again to massage the face.

Even if I love getting a massage and I truly believe that treatments like massage or acupuncture are a great and simple way to support our well-being (from both personal experience and from what I’ve learned in my training to become a Lomi Lomi massage therapist), I’m usually not keen in booking myself in for a facial. But this treatment is actually something completely different because it involves the use of tools and all the different steps follow a logical pathway that you can clearly understand and feel with all the little changes on your skin.

I would definitely recommend having this treatment with Amanda if you live in Dublin or nearby – it’s a good value for money (€65) and her non-judgemental, experienced, and down-to-earth approach will definitely help you to feel comfortable and enjoy the treatment. I also hope that what I’ve written here will be helpful and inspiring for all of you who live somewhere else!

Chiara x

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ABOUT AMANDA:

Amanda is a registered acupuncturist with AFPA, the oldest and largest professional body for practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Ireland. She is a graduate of The Acupuncture Foundation of Ireland and has completed a clinical internship at the WHO Collaborative Center of Traditional Medicine at Nanjing University, China. This programme consisted of extensive clinical instruction at Jiangsu Province General Hospital and Military Hospital 454.

Amanda was privileged to work with the renowned Dr. Wen Lei Qiao during her time in China. Dr. Qiao’s treatment philosophy is well respected across Europe and the world. Her principles of pain-free needling, use of a few needles as possible along with a gentle, consultative approach with clients is proven to create optimum results. Amanda adheres to this approach and in addition to traditional body acupuncture she uses abdominal, auricular (ear) and wrist-ankle acupuncture techniques. Also, traditional Chinese cupping therapy and moxibustion.

Amanda has 20 years of experience working in the areas of health and social care firstly as a nurse and subsequently in the area of child and vulnerable adult protection. She has worked in general medicine, surgery, pediatrics, care of the elderly, mental health, learning disability and addiction. Amanda draws on this knowledge to provide a holistic, person-centered experience for each patient treating them according to their unique specific symptoms.

Through the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine, she focuses on promoting health, preventing illness, and treating health challenges through natural alternatives that complement and enhance Western Medicine treatments.

To find more details about the treatments and schedule an appointment with Amanda, click HERE: www.amandanordell.com

Può arrivare il punto in cui anche la positività diventa troppa?

(read in English)

Tutto il mondo che ruota intorno alle varie sfaccettature del benessere sembra essere immerso in un’ondata di energia positiva – devo dire che questo è decisamente qualcosa che apprezzo, ma riconosco anche che sia importante tracciare dei confini a livello personale, perchè tutta questa positività, ad un certo punto, può inziare ad essere troppa. Bisogna imparare ad affrontare anche gli aspetti negativi delle cose, essere in grado di viverli e, coscientemente, andare avanti – non puoi semplicemente nascondere le cose sotto al tappeto, perchè prima o poi verranno fuori comunque.

Più o meno questo è quello che è accaduto a me di recente, così ho pensato di condividere qualche parola su questa storia perchè potrebbe essere utile per qualcun’altro.

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Io sono il tipo di persona che solitamente pretende tanto da sè stessa – sebbene riesca ad essere abbastanza realistica nei confronti delle altre persone, spesso finisco per avere invece alte aspettative verso di me. Anno dopo anno, ho imparato pian piano a gestire meglio questa cosa, a “lasciar correre” un po’ ogni tanto, a concedermi di fare (o non fare) le cose seguendo i miei tempi, ed a iniziare ad accettare di più le cose per quello che sono – non è facile, ma ne vale la pena.

Lo scorso anno ho subito un’operazione al seno (la seconda nel giro di pochi anni – preoccupante lì per lì, ma nulla di grave) e mi è servito un intero anno per “vivere” veramente quest’esperienza. Tutto è andato alla perfezione, non ho avuto nessuna complicazione dopo l’operazione come era accaduto la prima volta, ed io ero contenta per il fatto di sentirmi così in forma che non ho nemmeno perso giorni di lavoro (complice anche il vantaggio di lavorare da casa!). Sapevo che avrei ricevuto una chiamata per l’operazione, quindi ho avuto tutto il tempo per organizzarmi al meglio: cucinare e congelare cose da mangiare già pronte, assicurarmi che la dispensa fosse piena di tutti gli ingredienti che mi potrebbero essere stati utili, preparare in anticipo materiale per i social media per far andare comunque avanti la mia attività, programmare l’agenda in modo da non avere consulenze nei giorni subito dopo l’operazione, e, soprattutto, fare tantissime raccomandazioni al mio ragazzo sul continuare a mangiare bene, giusto nel caso che qualcosa andasse storto. Inoltre, devo riconoscere che il mio corpo ha davvero collaborato, recuperando in fretta ed al meglio.

“Guardiamo al lato positivo, sono stata così fortunata!” – questo è stato il mio mantra durante lo scorso anno. Non c’è nulla di sbagliato con tutta questa positività, giusto? Pur volendo essere d’accordo su questo punto, la verità è un po’ diversa… in pratica ho deciso di nascondere sotto al tappeto tutte le paure, ansie, preoccupazioni, lacrime, ed ogni altro pensiero negativo. Dovevano tornare a galla ad un certo punto…

Qualche settimana fa, leggendo una serie di cose nemmeno collegate (che parlavano di donne e mentalità/approccio verso sè stessi, ed altre cose invece legate al portare la pratica yoga al di fuori del tappettino – la maggior parte lette sulle pagine Instagram di Nicky Clinch e Kino MacGregor), ho finalmente capito che a volte devi smetterla di voler trovare a tutti costi il lato positivo delle cose e focalizzarti solo su di esso, ma devi semplicemente dare al tuo corpo ed alla tua mente un po’ di tempo per guarire. Questo era il punto mancante nella mia storia.

I miei clienti dicono spesso che apprezzano il mio approccio pieno di positività e quanto esso gli serva come ispirazione, ma è importante anche imparare a delineare qualche confine qui e là. Sì, senza dubbio sono stata fortunata, ho dovuto solo prendere un bello spavento e poi poter tirare un sospiro di sollievo perchè era andato tutto bene, avevo solo un’altra cicatrice – ma dovevo anche rispettare e riconoscere quello che è stato il mio percorso. Nell’ultimo anno, sia a causa di un dolore fastidioso e ricorrente che mi ha accompagnata per gran parte delparecchio tempo, sia per alcuni blocchi “emozionali”, non sono riuscita ad essere costante con la mia pratica yoga come avrei voluto – c’era sempre qualcosa ad un certo punto che mi bloccava, come la paura di ogni piccolo spiraglio che si potesse aprire durante la pratica (era una cosa anche legata a tutte le posizioni che vengono chiamate “heart openers” – se hai un pochino di familiarità con lo yoga, capisci quello che intendo quando parlo di “spiragli”, che non sono qualcosa di fisico ma più a livello di emozioni).. quindi ho iniziato ad evitare alcune posizioni per un po’, ed a volte finivo proprio per evitare tutta la pratica.

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Capisco che per qualcuno questo discorso possa sembrare come una serie di scuse e devo ammettere che per un po’ l’ho pensato anche io – ad un certo punto mi sono convinta di essere semplicemente pigra ed aver iniziato ad inventare scuse di conseguenza… ecco tornato quell’atteggiamento che non mi concede nessun tipo di errore o debolezza! Poi però, ho provato a:

* essere semplicemente più gentile e comprensiva con me stessa
* pensare a quello che avrei detto a qualcuno che si fosse trovato nella mia stessa situazione
* accettare le cose per quello che sono e concedermi un po’ di tempo
* capire che queste non erano scuse, ma una barriera protettiva

Sono stati mesi ricchi di pazienza e comprensione, finchè non ho finalmente capito che era arrivato il momento di cambiare qualcosa. Durante gli ultimi anni ho lavorato tanto su me stessa per cercare di essere più presente e consapevole non solo riguardo l’alimentazione, ma in ogni aspetto della mia vita – il punto è che quando cerchi di evitare o nascondere una parte di quello che provi, non puoi essere del tutto presente e consapevole di quello che succede. Questo non vuole dire escludere a priori un senso di gratitudine o un approccio positivo, ma significa soltanto che hai imparato a rispettare e riconoscere sia gli aspetti positivi che quelli negativi per quello che sono: parte di te.

Capire che dovevo rispettare il mio percorso per quello che è, il mio corpo per essere stato forte, e me stessa per essere stata coraggiosa, mi ha fatto finalmente affrontare tutti gli spiragli che vanno via via aprendosi durante la pratica yoga e mi ha fatto accettare che “sì, sono stata fortunata e le cose sarebbero potute andare peggio, ma questo è il mio percorso, e se ha degli aspetti negativi va bene parlarne (e viverli) ad alta voce”.

Chiara x

Is there a thing like “too much positivity”?

(read in Italian)

I really love the positive energy that there is all around the wellness world but it’s important to learn how to set your own boundaries because even positivity can sometimes start to be overwhelming. You need to learn to face all the negative sides of things as well, be able to live them and consciously move on – you can’t simply sweep things under the carpet, because at some stage they will come up anyway.

This is basically what happened to me recently and I thought that sharing this brief story may be helpful for some of you.

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I am the kind of person that usually pretends a lot from herself – while I tend to be more realistic towards other people, I often have high expectations regarding myself. Year after year, I have slowly learned to let go a little, to allow myself to do (or not do) things at my own pace, and to introduce a certain degree of “acceptance” – not easy, but worth it.

Last year, I had to go through a breast surgery (the second one in a few years time – scary, but nothing to be worried about now) and it took me one whole year to truly “live” the experience. Everything went really smooth, I didn’t have any post-op issue like I had after the first one, and I was delighted with the idea of feeling so good that I didn’t even miss days of work (perks of working from home!). I was expecting a call for the surgery so I had time to organise everything: cook and freeze meals, stock up the kitchen with all the foods that could come in useful, plan social media posts to keep my business running, a schedule with no clients’ appointments for the days right after the surgery, and plenty of recommendations for my boyfriend to keep eating well, just in case something goes wrong. In addition, my body did an amazing job and recovered well and quickly.

“Let’s look at the positive side, I have been so lucky!” – this has been my mantra for the past year. Nothing wrong with all this positivity, right? I would agree with you, but the truth is… I have basically decided to sweep under the carpet all the fear, anxiety, worries, tears, and any other negative thought. They had to come out at some stage…

A few weeks ago, reading things here and there (mainly about women and mindset, and stuff related to the yoga practice outside of the mat – most of them coming from Nicky Clinch and Kino MacGregor Instagram feeds) I have finally realised that sometimes you just need to stop looking for the positive side of things all the time, and simply give your body and mind time to heal. This was the missing point of my story.

Even my clients tell me all the time that they appreciate my positive approach and how I inspire them with it, but you also need to set some realistic boundaries. Yes, I have been lucky, I just had to feel scared and then relieved ’cause everything was fine, I only had another scar – but I needed to honor my journey. During the last year, both a recurrent annoying pain that has been with me for a lot of time and some sort of emotional blockages, didn’t allow me to do my yoga practice as I wanted – at some stage there was always something that stopped me, like a fear of each small “opening” that could occur during the practice (especially anything related to the heart openers – if you are familiar with yoga, you understand what I mean by “openings”, that are not something physical but emotional).. so I have been avoiding specific poses for a while, and sometimes even the entire practice.

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I know that this will sound like a bunch of excuses to some of you, because it has been the same for me as well – at some stage, I though that I was simply being lazy and coming up with any sort of excuses… here comes again the self-judgement that doesn’t allow mistakes or weaknesses! But then, I have tried to:

* simply be kind to myself
* think about what I would have said to somebody else in the same situation
* accept the situation and give myself some time
* understand that these were not excuses, but a defensive barrier

Months full of patience and kindness, until I have realised that it was finally time to change something. During the last years, I have done a lot of work to be more aware around food and regarding each area of my life, but when you try to avoid or hide part of your feelings you can’t be fully aware of what’s actually going on – this doesn’t mean that you can’t be grateful or have a positive mindset, but that you have learned to honor both positive and negative feelings for what they are: part of you.

Realising that I needed to honor my journey for what it is, my body for being strong, and myself for being brave, allowed me to finally face the fears of “openings” during my yoga practice and to accept that “yes, I have been lucky and things could have been worse, but this is my journey, and if has some negative sides, it’s perfectly fine to tell (and live) them out loud”.

Chiara x

3 Benefits that you can get from being more aware around food

Wondering how being more aware and eating with intention can change/improve your everyday life or your relationship with food and with yourself? Wondering how starting to be truly aware of the entire process of eating and don’t only mindless getting some fuel for your body can make a difference for you? Let’s talk about 3 main benefits that you can get.

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1) RECLAIM YOUR TRUE SELF AND START FEELING YOUR BEST

Starting to be more AWARE of the entire process of nourishing, means working on the connection with your body and the food that you CHOOSE to eat, but it also means that you’ll truly put into practice the idea of moving from eating to nourishing. Learn how to listen and trust your body – start giving it what it needs, and not ignoring the messages that will eventually send you even in the busiest times. Start putting yourself first and love taking care of yourself, so you’ll be able to start felling your best!

2) LEARN MORE ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHAT YOU WANT

Check the difference between “I want to lose weight so I will start a diet next Monday” and “Lately I have been eating too many sweets because I look for them every time that I’m stressed, so I want to sort out this issue at its roots, find a way to de-stress and try new healthier snacks

=> the idea behind the first sentence is looking for a quick fix without questioning the resolution or asking yourself why you should do that and how you feel now or which benefits you will get from accomplishing this goal

=> read again the second sentence. Can you see how this one is not only more complete but is already getting you on a different pathway and motivates you to ask yourself more questions about that idea of losing weight?

  • You don’t need to COMPARE yourself to others
  • You need to be focused on what really matters TO YOU
  • You don’t need to fit into a general resolution but what you should do instead is create INTENTIONS with a non-judgemental approach

Big, bright and shiny resolutions are definitely attractive, but WORKING ON YOURSELF is so rewarding in the long term! Being more aware means start doing this every day and get to know yourself better.

3) START BREAKING UP WITH THE DIETING MINDSET

A few days ago, I was talking with a new client about diets and why they aren’t the right tool to start having a healthier lifestyle or a better relationship with food.

For example: the idea of cheat days – when you have a healthy relationship with food, you don’t need this kind of things. The idea of a restrictive diet for 5/6 days a week and then a free day is only creating more limitations and a wrong mindset: you finally feel free to eat on that day and end up overeating because you know that all those things are NOT ALLOWED on regular days.

  • how can this approach help you to learn more about your body and its needs?
  • how can you truly enjoy your food if the idea is “I NEED to follow these restrictions today, then I will finally eat EVERYTHING that I want on my cheat day“?
  • how can you truly learn to eat with intention, and understand what you like or don’t like?
  • what will you do when your diet will come to an end? Which teachings will you get for your future?

The main goal is generally just one: lose weight. But there are a bunch of things that can help you in reaching your goal and that the classic dieting mindset doesn’t take into account, such as:

  • which are the reasons why you need to lose weight?
  • what else you can do apart from working on the food that you eat?
  • how do you feel about having to lose weight?
  • do you have a healthy relationship with your body?
  • how is your appetite? Do you recognise well when you are full or hungry?

I truly believe that it’s important to check-in with yourself very well before starting a journey like this one or any other wellness-related programs. You need to be aware of what can be disruptive for your mindset and what can help you in MOVING FORWARD.

Unfortunately, it’s so easy to lose confidence in your body or your food choices, and feeling like you are NOT ENOUGH… but, on the other hand, it’s not so easy to get back having a positive, strong and motivated mindset. So, try to PUT YOURSELF FIRST every day, try to choose what is best for you with a critical point of view and start being more AWARE. It’s NOT wasted time!

REMEMBERif you are not willing to take action, you can’t expect the results that you are looking for!

Chiara x



Would you like to start having a different approach to WHAT YOU EAT AND WHY YOU CHOOSE IT? Are you ready for a change but need some help to get started? Click on the button below to take the first step:

I’M READY!

 

Holiday Gift Guide

For your wellness enthusiast friend, for your loved ones, for yourself. My holiday gift guide that will hopefully make everybody happy.

I always need to be connected somehow with the gifts that I’m making, feel that there is a reason why I’m choosing that option, and from a general point of view, I don’t feel that need to buy just because I need to. So, here there’s my brief wellness-inspired list – put on some Christmas songs, prepare a cup of hot chocolate (spiced, like this one) and have a look at some of my favourite gift options! Chiara x

BOOKS

Green Kitchen Travels – packed with interesting recipes from all over the world (vegetarian/vegan)

Green Kitchen At Home – for the everyday healthy cooking (vegetarian/vegan)

Veggie Hotels – for anyone passionate about veggie food and travel

Tartine Book n°3 – a must-have for anyone interested in sourdough bread and baking

The Cultured Club: Fabulous Funky Fermentation Recipes – recipes and techniques for the fermentation enthusiast or the newbie

Grown & Gathered – learn more about growing, cooking and connecting with the food that you put on your table

 

 

HOME AND SELF-CARE

Manduka yoga mats, towels, props, and clothing – great quality and a particular attention to the environment

SuperBee Wax Wraps – reusable beeswax wraps

Grown & Gathered shop – reusable bags for your grocery shopping and storage bags

Kinvara Skincare – selected ingredients and combinations to nourish your skin

Samaya Ayurveda Skincare – ayurvedic-inspired formulations to take great care of your skin

Brookfield Farm and The Bearded Candle Makers – natural candles

Velona’s Jungle b&b – why don’t give the gift of a stay in the heart of Florence? A b&b with a particular attention to the design of their rooms, the history and nature around the city – but also with an attention to the environment and veggie-friendly.

And last, but not for importance: give the gift of an Ashtanga Yoga course to a newbie or give the gift of a package of classes at their favourite shala to your loved ones who are already practising. For those of you in Dublin, check out: Ashtanga Yoga Ireland and Ashtanga Yoga Dublin.

 

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Velona’s Jungle b&b

 

 

 


 

Want to start improving your lifestyle immediately and get clear on your goals? Click here to book today your FREE DIET EVALUATION CALL

Pear and Nuts Crumble

Playing with oats… again! This time to make a naturally sweetened dessert that will be a great plan-ahead breakfast. I have a deep love for both granola and crumbles – this one has a great mix of nutty taste, spices and a little bit of crunchiness. There’s no added sugar and just a few simple ingredients – each of them a staple of many healthy eating pantries. I definitely try to have all the time oats, flour, nuts, extra virgin olive oil, spices, and fresh fruit in my kitchen.

Not only nutrient-packed but also a delicious and easy to make treat – it’s a win-win recipe!

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Pear and Nuts Crumble

Ingredients:

(serves 2)*
for the crumble:
3 tbsp rolled oats (choose the gluten-free option if needed)
1 ½ tbsp whole grain flour (any kind of whole grain flour will work well)
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 handful of hazelnuts, chopped
2 tsp almond butter
1 ½ tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lukewarm water
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
a pinch of salt

for the fruit layer:
1 large pear
a handful of raspberries
a splash of lemon juice
½ tsp cinnamon powder
a pinch of nutmeg

In a large bowl, mix all the things that go in the crumble – add the water as last ingredients (you will need enough water to allow the crumble to combine together but not to form one big piece).

Prepare the fruit for the bottom layer: chop in small pieces the pear and mix it with raspberries, lemon juice, and spices – mix well and place them in the single-serving pots (as you can see from the pictures, I have used a couple of oven-safe mini cocottes). Place the crumble on top of your fruit and bake in the oven at 180°C for approx. 20 minutes (check them from time to time ’cause the crumble tends to burn easily).

Serve as itself, preferably warm or with a dollop of yogurt or labneh.

*If you want to make these crumble in a larger baking tray, just increase the amount of ingredients.

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Get ready to take the first step toward a healthier lifestyle, click here to book today your FREE DIET EVALUATION CALL:book now black