Thursday, 22 December 2011

This Winter, Keep Healthy With Herbs

In the winter time, we find almost everyone around sniffing, sneezing and coughing. Changing of the seasons is the time when our immune system is trying to adjust and the body is most vulnerable to infections. 

At such a time, diet is of the utmost importance. Why resort to cough syrups and medications when Nature has given us food substances with naturally warm properties? 

Two main herbal foods which are a must-have are:


Ginger tea is great to prevent and cure common cold. When added to your food it gives great flavour and aroma. Ginger can even be applied on the body to soothe aching joints and muscles. 

It helps fight infections, boosts immunity, is used in hot formentation in arthtitis, gout, oedema and other forms of joint and muscle pain. It provides relief from respiratory disorders like cough, cold, pneumonia, asthma, bronchitis etc. A powder of dry ginger mixed with sesame oil and massaged on the joint provides relief. Dried ginger powder made into a paste with warm water can be applied on the forehead, cheek bone area and nose to help melt congested sinuses. However, it can bring out skin reactions in those with sensitive skin so use with care. 


This is my favourite remedy. Tulsi or Holy Basil is easily grown in the garden or balcony. This holy plant is anti-asthmatic and anti-infective. It increases respiratory resistance. It helps in instant relief from cough and one can even put 3-4 Tulsi leaves in the jugs of drinking water. Tulsi juice made by pounding its leaves with a few drops of ginger and honey helps strengthen immunity.

Also, do try and spend some time sunbathing in the warm soothing rays of the morning or evening sun. 

These little things when put in practice go a long way in preserving one's health. 

Remember, Nature's wonders are always at our disposal. However, I would not recommend self-diagnosis in severe cases. Always consult a physician or medical authority in case the matter is more than just a slight cough or cold. 

Stay Healthy!

Mr. Pinakin Shah- Head, Pristine Senses Academy, 
Body-Mind Therapist and Trainer, Reiki Practitioner and  Naturopath.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Suffering from White Heads?

I used to suffer a lot from White Heads. This was not just due to hormonal changes in the body, but as I later realized, one of the major factors that made them worse was my diet.

Being very fond of chocolates, I used to eat one almost every day. This caused a lot of ‘chemical imbalance’ in the body, leading to not just white heads but also to allergies.

Many of you who must be suffering from the same might know that white heads don’t look good, can increase in size to resemble a boil and can even be painful. One challenge I faced in tackling my problem was that I cannot use scented creams. Unfortunately it is difficult to get unscented creams around here. So the only other choice (I thank my stars for it) is to find home remedies for the same.

Through my research I found that there are a few possible causes for white heads:

  1. Hormonal changes in the body
  2. Accumulation of hardened sebum (oil) in pores of the skin
  3. Exposure to sun and dirt
  4. Lack of hygiene
  5. Unhealthy lifestyle, disturbed sleep, unhealthy food.
  6. Impurities in the blood.

These are a few tips for Diet changes:
Always stick to seasonal, nutritious food with lots of fibre, including fruits and green leafy vegetables. They will never fail you in any condition under the sun.
Drink adequate water.

Include food with Zinc, Vitamin B2 and Vitamin A like spinach, pumpkin seeds, beans, tofu, carrots, apricots, sprouts, alfa-alfa seeds, brown rice, potato, yoghurt mushrooms, green beans, sunflower seeds, whole grain foods, legumes, turnip greens, beets, lotus stems, radish leaves, papaya, raisins etc.

Avoid non-vegetarian, fried, fatty and junk food.
Avoid alcohol, caffeine, pastries, chocolates and soft drinks.

Home Applications for White Heads
·       Rub your face with lemon skin and wash off. It helps open the pores.
·       Take facial steam once a week to prevent whiteheads.
·       Make a paste of sandalwood and rose water. Apply on affected area and wash off after 20-30 minutes with lukewarm water.
·       Apply paste of Fenugreek leaves in water over face every night and wash with warm water.
·       Take 50 ml raw milk, add a mix of a pinch of salt and 2 tsp lime juice in it. Use it as a cleansing lotion. It helps clean the deep pores of the skin.

Beware of:
·       Left-over make-up on skin at night.
·       Excessive use of chemical cosmetics.
·       Squeezing the white head (If you do so, it will spread on the face and even leave scars)
·       Stress

Must Do’s
·       De-stress through relaxation techniques and massage or reflexology once a week.
·       Exercise on a regular basis.

This may sound like a lot, but is actually very simple to follow. All you need to do is start with any one of the above tips and make a regular and healthy habit out of it.

Slowly you will notice the improvement… as I have.

Stay Well!

Ankita Shah.
(Director & Trainer at Pristine Senses Academy, Yoga Teacher, Writer, Reflexologist, Massage Trainer and Reiki Master)

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Dry Hair in Winter?

The air is slowly turning cooler and with it come a host of skin problems. 
One most worrying problem is that of dry hair. 

Here is a tip for keeping hair healthy, thick and dandruff-free in the winter.
Take 1tsp Almond oil.
Add 1 tsp Amla juice to it.
Massage the mixture onto the scalp.

This mixture helps thicken and grow hair and prevent dandruff and graying.

Stay Well !!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Nip in the air causing despair? Fight that dryness using secret weapons from your kitchen!

Chapped lips, flaky skin and dry itchy hair and dandruff mark the onset of winter. 

A wonderful natural way to keep the skin hydrated and healthy is to eat fruits with high water content like strawberries, apricots, orange, carrots and green leafy vegetables. 
Drink enough water during the day and avoid eating processed and fried food. 
Avoid using chemicals on the skin like harsh soaps, cold creams, cleansing creams and make-up. 
Protect yourself from harsh sun.

Use the following recipe for keeping the skin moist and hydrated naturally:
  • 2 tbsp yoghurt
  • 1 tsp honey
  • You can add some oatmeal to this mixture.

 - Apply the mixture on the face, wash off after 10-15 minutes. 
- You can use the same recipe for the whole body too.
- Yogurt and honey moisturize the skin. 
- Honey is an antimicrobial agent and also helps heal minor abrasions and burns.
- Oatmeal heals and soothes dry skin and helps remove dead skin cells.

You can also add 1 bowl of honey to your bathing water to make your skin rich and smooth. 

Try it and do give us the feedback!

Stay Well, Stay hydrated!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Reflexology Treatment for Snoring

Snoring Sleeping Zz Smiley Clip Art
In one of the seminars on health that I had attended, a doctor once said that if a person snores, his/her sleep is a disturbed sleep. I had never snored in my life. However, one day I had caught a terrible cold and had an almost completely blocked nasal passage. That night I just could not breathe without the snoring noise. It was pretty embarrassing as I was travelling with colleagues and they were disturbed by the sounds.

Later when I was introduced to Reflexology, I did some more research on snoring and its causes. So here I'm sharing with you some of the ways we can tackle the problem.

If snoring is your regular problem, it won't just be uncomfortable for you, it will disturb the sleep of your spouse or sibling whom you share the room with. This later results in disturbed state of mind, irritability and lethargy during the day. So do not take snoring lightly, treat it immediately.

So what causes snoring?

  • As my experience proves, snoring occurs due to blockage of the nasal passage which can occur due to  cold/ infection.
  • When sleeping, the throat muscles relax, narrowing the air passage, resulting in snoring.
  • Faulty sleeping positions.
  • Excessive smoking and alcohol intake.
  • Accumulation of fat around the throat or obesity.
  • Throat weakness or disposition of the jaw.


Reflexology on the respiratory areas of the foot helps cure snoring. This is because reflexology on respiratory region results in deeper, more relaxed and slower breathing, which prevents forceful intake of breath through the throat. 
Also, in case of cough or cold, reflexology helps in releasing the mucus and removal of toxins. Curing the infection can open up the nasal passage.

The areas shown in the picture are the ones to work on:

Note: The corresponding area on the upper surface of the foot should also be worked on.

Other Necessary Lifestyle Modifications:
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol.
  • Avoid sleeping on your back.
  • Avoid breathing through the mouth.
  • Reduce excess body weight.
  • Practice Pranayamas regularly- Ujjayi Pranayama, Brahmari Pranayama, Yogendra Pranayama 1-9.
  • Practice Asanas that involve chest expansion and also Simhasana  which is extremely good for the throat and voice.  
  • Keep your nasal passage clean through Kriyas like Jalaneti and Jihvamulashodhanam.
  • It has been found that Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) has also been very effective in curing snoring.
Caution: Reflexology Treatment should be done by a trained Reflexologist.
All Yogic practices must be done under the guidance of a trained yoga therapist. 

Sleep Well !!

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Swedish Massage Therapy

Over centuries, massage in various forms has been practiced in different civilizations for its medicinal, therapeutic, soothing and invigorating effects on the body. Ancient book records and hyroglyphics on cave walls prove that the science of this healing therapy was known years ago in China, Japan, Egypt, India and to many other civilizations such as the Romans, Greeks and Persians.

Today, this same knowledge has been rediscovered and infused with modern knowledge and techniques, has given rise to a new era of ‘Alternate Medicine.’ Among the most popular therapies today, is the Classic/ Swedish Massage which is a soft tissue, gentle and soothing full body massage (excluding face and head).

It is not clear who actually was responsible for development of this type of massage. It was generally believed that a Swede named Henri Peter Ling developed Swedish Massage in 1812 at the University of Stockholm. However, a Dutch practitioner, Johan Georg Mezger is generally given credit for coining the French terms for the basic strokes used during the massage.

The basic strokes used in Swedish Massage are:

  1. Effleurage: Long soothing, stroking movements with the palms of the hands.
  2. Petrissage: A number of movements including kneading and rolling of skin.
  3. Friction: Penetrating circular movements which involved deep pressure to one particular site of muscle tension, using the thumb, fingertips and knuckles.
  4. Tapotement: Which include fast and stimulating movements including cupping, hacking, pounding, etc.

The strokes used in Swedish Massage form the basis of all other massages. There are many other massages that are a combination of Swedish Massage techniques and other deep tissue massage techniques and therapies.

Swedish Massage has shown amazing results in terms of physical, psychological and spiritual health. It is especially useful for:
·       Relaxation
·       Stimulation
·       Rejuvenation
·       Healing skin
·       Relief to tense muscles
·       Improved sleep patterns
·       Stress relief, etc.

It is now widely known that stress and mental strain is the main cause of around 85% diseases. By providing a much needed relief and relaxation in today’s day and age of hurry, worry and curry, Swedish Massage proves to be beneficial to your overall wellbeing.

However, there are certain contraindicatons to this massage. A therapist as well as client needs to be aware of these. Thus, the therapist must perform a detailed client consultation before commencing treatment and a client must be forthright about any medical conditions he/she may be suffering from. Pre-massage consultation is of utmost importance and it is irresponsible on any spa/ salon/ therapist’s part to commence treatment without it.

Some of the contraindications to massage are:
·       High Blood Pressure
·       Heart Disease/ Stroke
·       Pregnancy
·       Cancer
·       Fever
·       Varicose Veins
·       Oedema
·       Headache/ Migraine
·       Physical Injury
·       Osteporosis
·       Acute Infectious Conditions
·       Inflammation of any kind
·       Bruises

It is not necessary that if you have the above mentioned conditions, you cannot have a massage. The massage treatment can be modified accordingly, or the consultation of a doctor might be required by the therapist.

Finally, a detailed knowledge of anatomy and physiology, medical conditions and correct massage techniques is required to perform Swedish Massage. So therapists, make sure you choose the right school which includes this in the curriculum and clients, make sure you are going to a certified and well trained massage therapist.

Stay Well!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Essential (Aromatic) Oils

It is believed that the ancient Egyptians were the first to discover the theraputic use of plants and their oils. Romans and Greeks were also aware of this science. Pure essential oils extracted by steam distillation, etc. were used in medicine between the 17th and late 19th century. Later their uses were confined to perfumes.

The medicinal properties of essential oils was rediscovered in the 1920s, when a French chemist, Dr. Maurice Gattefosse, burned his hand and successfully treated it with the essential oil of Lavender. 

Aromatherapy Essential Oils are highly concentrated, pure, extracts of plants and plant material like leaves, twigs, berries, bark, wood, root, flowers, and the peel of citrus fruits.

They are highly volatile and readily evaporate into the air. Theraputic pols have many beneficial properties and can affect the body through inhalation and through the skin. It is found that certain scents stimulate the senses and thus the brain, triggering healing. Essential oils not only affect a person psychologically, but also physiologically. 

Essential oils have the power to calm, stimulate, help balance the hormones, improve digestion, energy levels, immunity and can even prevent and combat infection and kill bacteria. They have proven useful in healing muscle aches and pains and even flu. 

Essential oils belong to different families and have different uses based on the properties of their plants. By knowing the plant family to which the oil belongs, we can better understand its nature, properties and effects as the oil properties will follow the common properties representative of their plant family.

The families of essential oils are:

·       Burseraceae (Resin Family).
·       Compositae (Sunflower Family)
·       Pinaceae (Pine Family)
·       Gramineae or Poaceae (Grass Family)
·       Lamiaceae or Labiatae (Mint Family)
·       Lauraceae (Laurel Family)

Aromatherapy can be applied in many creative ways to heal others and yourself. You can use some of the oils in a bath, scrub, inhalation, on pillow or clothes and can even be applied on to the skin. The best way to enhance any treatment like a massage or reflexology is to add aromatherapy to it. 

In aromatherapy massage, essential oils are mixed with a carrier oil like sweet almond, apricot kernel or grapeseed oil. The combination and concentration of the oils depends on the requirement for the client and the properties of the oils. 

Some of the essential oils used regularly are Peppermint, Blood Orange, Lavender, Champaka, Rose, Chamomile, Geranium, Rosemary, Coffee, Apple, Bergamont, Frankincense, Myrrh, Eucalyptus, Jasmine, Sandalwood, etc.

Inspite of the amazing uses of essential oils, they can prove to be counter productive if used in the wrong way by an untrained therapist. It is very important to know the properties, nature and exact uses of essential oils before trying them out. So if you wish to add an essential oil or combination of oils to your treatment, make sure you know what you are doing. For your benefit, we will talk about the uses and individual properties of each oil in future posts.

Hope you will enjoy reading them. 

Happy Healing!

Monday, 5 September 2011

Monday, 29 August 2011

It Takes Time to Heal

Alternative Medicine is not magic, it is a science based on hundreds of years of experience and experimentation. It helps heal the body naturally, without any use of chemicals that bring about strong and instant reactions in the body. For this very reason, it takes time to bring about healing.

No disease occurs suddenly. It manifests slowly and if the signs are recognized at an early stage, preventive measures can be taken. However, not everyone knows how to read the signs and they finally realize only when they really feel unbearable pain or sickness. At this stage, they might come to you for healing and look for immediate results after the first session itself.

As therapists, it is our responsibility to first explain to them how healing takes place. In any kind of alternative medicine, energy channels are cleared up and healing is stimulated. Toxins come out in natural forms like sweat, mucous, urine, etc. Since the elimination process is natural, it will take time and will depend on the regularity of the treatments. 

You can even include this information as a clause in the consent form the clients will fill and sign. They are welcome to take a trial session first, and if they like it, advice them to book the next session (it is up to you to judge how often they need treatment). They are likely to ask how long it will take to heal. Inform them that recovery time depends on the nature and intensity of the problem, the reaction of the client's body to the treatment, frequency of treatment, etc. It is different for everyone and can be gauged with regular treatment. You can take notes and record the progress of each client for a better study.

However, remember that alternative medicine is not a replacement for medical treatment. Make sure clients with serious problems have a doctor's written approval. 

After each session, ask for client feedback on how they feel. Call them the next day to see how they are progressing. But emphasize on regularity!! Otherwise all efforts on both parts will be void. 

Work hard and keep healing!!

Monday, 8 August 2011

Flexibility Brings More Business!

Did you know that the more flexible your body is, the more flexible and adjusting your nature becomes? In fact, in Palmistry, it is believed that if the thumb is flexible and you can bend backwards almost to 90 degrees, you are of flexible nature. Try it and see what your nature really is like!

But no, in terms of business I don't mean you get more customers if you do gymnastics...

Flexibility in service- customization, is the one thing a customer looks for when going in for any kind of therapy, may it be a foot massage, hair treatment, or even just applying nail polish.

People love being pampered, but they want to be pampered in their way, not yours. Whether we believe it or not, having a fixed package or style of doing things will not bring you more business.

For example, a customer is coming to you for a foot reflexology treatment. However, he is having shoulder pain and would like to also have a short neck, head and shoulder massage as the icing on the cake. It is true that foot reflexology alone can help in relieving most of the pain, but isn't it relaxing and oh so satisfying to have a last minute (complementary) surprise addition to your treatment?

It shows that the therapist cares for what the customer feels, needs and wants, and is not only after making a quick buck.

When sitting in the waiting room in one of the foot spas, I came across one such a customer who requested something additional for his pain but was told, "Sorry, we have only these and these treatments. We cannot help you." It is sad to see that even spas, made for pampering the clients, claiming to 'give you a most satisfying experience' are so inflexible when it comes to your needs.

If you charge by the hour and are going to the client's house to treat them, make it a point not to have other appointments too close to each other. Some clients find it easier to open up to you after a treatment and share their feelings. 5-10 minutes more will not kill you. It will only build a stronger image of you in your client's mind. Of course, some people have a habit of going on and on, but a therapist must have the skill to be able to wind up the talk on time.

This time for emotional release is very important for clients, because most problems result from those emotions, which are released with therapy. During the therapy, it is better to not talk, so the only time one can talk is after.

The client is the most important person. If they feel they are being cared for and are getting real quality service, they will tell others about you. Soon you will have a long list of clientele without even much of marketing on your part. Your business will grow, only by spending a few extra minutes with each client.

Do share your thoughts, comments and experiences when it comes to serving the client in your own special way. What else do you do for increasing your clientele without much expenditure on marketing?

Stay Well !!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Reiki Healing

About Reiki
Dr. Mikao Usui

Reiki is fast becoming a popular healing therapy. As awareness of alternative therapies increases, people are resorting to this amazing energy healing technique.

Reiki, in Japanese means Universal Life-force Energy. Some form or other of energy healing has been practiced since ancient times. There are many stories of healing powers of Saints and Yogis. There are also stories of Jesus Christ healing people, in the Bible. However, one can say that this secret to healing was rediscovered by Dr. Mikao Usui in Japan.

Passed on from person to person, this knowledge and ability to heal has been spread to many practitioners today over the world.

How Does Reiki Work?

There is a very powerful, positive healing energy in the Universe. An attuned practitioner of Reiki becomes a channel for this energy to flow through them, to the patient/ client via their hands.

This energy is sent to every Chakra (Energy Centre) of the body. It is said that most diseases and imbalances in the body are due to blockages in the energy flow of the body.

This is also explained in Yoga when talking about Pranayama. In Yoga, Prana is the bio-energy that is responsible for functioning of the body. Through Pranayama, this energy is channelled correctly and harnessed, and that leads to longer lifespan and good physical and mental health.

In the same way, Reiki is that positive life-force energy that flows into the body, healing you, removing your toxins and opening up the channels.
Jesus Christ Healing the sick

Reiki Treatment Procedure

Many people find the concept of Reiki strange and unbelievable, but after a therapy session, I have found many people raise their eyebrows incredulously and claiming that, “It really worked!” To those who doubt Reiki, I’d just say, try not to judge something without knowing about/ trying it properly.

A typical therapy session would involve clearing negative energies from the room first. Then the client lies on the back, relaxed, with eyes closed. The therapist starts from the head, spends some time on each chakra and moves down to the feet. Then the same is done with the client lying face down. It is possible that the client may fall asleep during the session, which is quite common and it does not affect the healing.  

Reiki can be used for local healing eg. small cuts and wounds, and can even be sent over a distance eg. the practitioner from his/ her own home can send it to the client who is at his/ her home.

Benefits of Reiki

Reiki is a very safe technique. It has been found to help cure almost all problems under the sun, including physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual. There is still a lot to discover when it comes to the potential of Reiki in healing. It has been found useful in curing sleeplessness, breathing problems, stress, pain, swellings, emotional and past issues, etc. to name just a few. Of course, a note of caution, it does not mean that you do not take medical treatments if your body requires it.

It has almost no side effects. However, some people experience a little increase of pain/ problem before they are healed. This is because Reiki leads to removal of toxins in the natural way. So, the body tries to remove through the usual methods – urine, cold, cough, faeces, sweat and even some emotional release like crying. These all differ from person to person and don’t necessarily occur.

After Reiki

During Reiki, one generally feels warm in the part being healed. In my experience, there have been many people who feel vibrations, waves, tingling sensation and even cold. Some even claim to have seen some visions. They feel relaxed and positive after the session and sometimes in just the first session or after regular healing sessions, see a marked improvement in their condition.

So if you’re looking for a natural way of healing, do try Reiki. You may be surprised, like many others before you.

Stay Well !!

-          ­Ankita Shah
Reiki Master, Yoga Teacher,
Reflexologist, Massage Therapist.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Traditional Reflexology for Foot Spas

These days we find many foot spas coming up in every nook and cranny of Mumbai. It is evident that foot massage is becoming very popular among the masses in urban India. However the question that arises is; is there any foot spa that is completely unique?

Unfortunately, all foot spas are cashing in on the same theme, a mix of Thai foot massage with head, shoulder, hand massage and a bit of reflexology, generally done with a tool. If a prospective client enquires and asks whether Reflexology treatment is available, they are told it is. But what they actually get is quite different from traditional reflexology.

Traditional Reflexology belongs more in the alternative medicine rather than in the massage/ spa category. This is because:

·       In traditional reflexology, oil or cream is not used as it makes the thumb or fingers slip, preventing the therapist from stimulating each point properly. Instead, a bit of talc powder is used.
·       It is not recommended to use any instruments in reflexology unlike what is done in most of the current spas. Fingers and Thumbs are the best tools for reflexology as they help the therapist to feel any possible knots or tenderness in the feet.
·       A few massage techniques are used during reflexology for warming up the feet and relaxing the client. However, these techniques are used only as a starter, a bit in the middle and as dessert during treatment. The actual treatment mainly involves thumb/ finger walking, pivoting and finger rotary pressure.

It is sad that a traditional reflexology spa/ clinic is still difficult to find in a city like Mumbai where almost every single person requires a healing treatment for their stress, tension and the resultant diseases.

Most spa owners believe that there will be more ROI if they offer the ‘popular’ treatments, but the market soon gets saturated with the same kind of services. What we need to realize is that popularity can be created by using the right kind of marketing techniques. And the best bet for survival of any spa is to offer something unique and niche. 

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The Body-Mind Connection

Have you noticed that when we are disturbed and thinking a lot, our eyes keep moving around unfocussed and hazy? When we are anxious, we tend to hold our breath. When we are relieved, we exhale slow and long. When we are angry and disagree with someone, our body becomes rigid and closed.

The close connection of body and mind should not come as a surprise. The mind was made to control every part of the body, being the headquarters. The body was made to work well and send warning signals to the mind in case of anything going wrong.

However, we are so immersed in the outside material world, busy making money, partying, indulging in tasty food and drink and other temptations to our senses, that we have forgotten the real reason that our body and mind exist for.

When we focus our mind on too many things and negativity, instead of on taking care of the body and then keep the body busy with all kinds of garbage dumped in it, instead of letting it function naturally, things slowly go awry.

The mind and body are connected through a unique wiring of nerves. And the energy to ‘act’ is transferred through energy channels called meridians. When we abuse the mind and body, problems occur in their connection. Toxins and impurities block the channels and body and mind begin to suffer through gradual suffocation due to lack of nutrients and energy. What results is an expected tirade of physical, psychological and emotional diseases.

There are a few options getting out of this trap. Chemicals in the form of medicines can be resorted to, Ayurveda provides many solutions and along with alternative therapies, we have a chance to heal.

Alternative therapies like Foot Reflexology, Massage, Aromatherapy, Reiki, Scrubs and Wraps help in removing the blockages and in clearing up energy channels. We cannot live a completely ideal lifestyle in this day and age but alternative therapies on a regular basis can help prevent permanent blockages in meridians.

This is how these therapies can help heal a person or prevent diseases. It is simple logic that our ancestors understood years ago and have passed on to us. The solution is in our hands. We just need to choose it.