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Win a Celtic Herbal Exotic Wood & Ylang Ylang bathtime bundle

**Please note this competition is now closed. Our lucky winner was reader Paula King**

Celtic Herbal has been on a mission this Autumn to revive good, old-fashioned bath night. The natural soap and skincare specialist even launched the Great British Bath Night campaign (28 October – 6 November) to help remind people what they were missing – and, in the process, unearthed some little-known facts about bathing.

Did you know, for example?

  • Most people believe a shower saves more water than a bath, but with more powerful, longer-lasting showers this is not always the case. An average bath uses 80 litres of water, while an eight-minute power shower uses 136 litres.
  • Research conducted by Loughborough University found that lying in a 40 degree bath also effectively reduces blood sugar levels.  The study suggested an hour spent in the tub can also burn around 126 calories – that’s as many calories as 30 minutes out walking.
  • Whole-body immersion bathing in warm water (~40°C) is common in Japan and exerts sufficient hyperthermic action to induce vasodilatation and increase blood flow, supplying more oxygen and nutrients to the periphery. Cross-sectional studies report better subjective health status with an immersion bathing habit.
  • Visual analog scale scores were significantly better for fatigue, stress, pain, and smile and tended to be better for self-reported heath and skin condition after bathing intervention than after showering intervention. The SF-8 Health Survey showed significantly better general health, mental health, role emotional, and social functioning scores.
  • Profile of Mood State scores were lower for stress, tension-anxiety, anger-hostility, and depression-dejection. Immersion bathing, but not shower bathing, exerts hyperthermic action that induces increased blood flow and metabolic waste elimination, which may afford physical refreshment. Immersion bathing should improve both physical and emotional aspects of quality of life.
  • Habitual hot water bathing protects cardiovascular function in the middle-aged to elderly.
  • We spend a total of more than six months of our lives in the bath or shower.

Win a Celtic Herbal bathtime bundle

Holistic Scotland Magazine has a Celtic Herbal Exotic Wood & Ylang Ylang bathing bundle from the brand’s Wellness range to give away to one lucky winner to help their bathtime become more relaxing and therapeutic.

The prize includes:

    • 1 x Exotic Wood & Ylang Ylang Soap 100g
    • 1 x Exotic Wood & Ylang Ylang Bath Oil 100ml
  • 1 x Exotic Wood Bath Salts with Ylang Ylang 350g

To be in with a chance of winning, just fill out your details below and we’ll enter you into the prize draw. The closing date for entries is 12 noon on 31 December 2018. Good luck!

For great herbs to use in the bath, pick up a copy of the December/January issue of Holistic Scotland Magazine. Or, to find out more about Great British Bath Night and why bathing is so good for us, head to the Celtic Herbal blog.

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Get 25% off Air Naturel this Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Make the most of Black Friday and Cyber Monday by claiming 25% off Air Naturel products, which include aromatherapy diffusers, purifiers, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, fan heaters and more, using our unique discount code.

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Air Naturel Airom aromatherapy diffuser in black or copper,  normally £59.99  down to £44.99 including free P&P 

 

The discount is valid from Friday, 16 November (Black Friday) until Friday, 30 November (Cyber Monday) 2018.

Just visit Air Naturel online and enter code BF25 at the checkout.

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Tips for a healthy, happy Christmas

Christmas is notoriously about indulging and ‘getting merry’ with those close to you – but it’s important to take a step back and think about your health, as well as the health of your family and friends, before the festive season starts.  Dr Hilary, GP & health broadcaster, shares his top tips…

Dr Hilary Jones
Dr Hilary Jones
  1. Avoid the temptations

Did you know, the average British person consumes 6,000 calories on Christmas day (three times the average daily amount for women)? And let’s not forget the calories of alcohol.  Despite its association with merriment, alcohol is actually a depressant – and it lowers your sleep quality. Its weekly recommendation is 14 units a week which equates to seven 175ml glasses of wine or seven pints of lager, so don’t be afraid to say no to that extra glass of mulled wine!

Tip: There are some easy ways to eat healthily over the holidays, for example:  choose anti-oxidant rich dark chocolate over the super sweet liqueur filled selection; seek vitamin rich foods like sweet potato, spinach and broccoli to keep your energy levels up; limit your alcohol intake, and don’t forget to drink plenty of water.

2. Keep an eye on loved ones

Christmas is the perfect opportunity to organise a gathering and catch up with friends and family.  It also gives you the chance to ensure your relatives, friends and neighbours, who you may not have seen in a while, are healthy and happy. Look out for any changes – for example, feelings of lethargy or weakness may be an indicator of type 2 diabetes; physical unsteadiness may be an indication of osteoporosis; and being asked to repeat what you have said may highlight a hearing problem. So, be alert to even small differences, as latest research shows that hearing loss can increase someone’s chance of developing dementia by 2-5 times if left undiagnosed.

Tip: Be attentive to any deterioration in your loved ones’ health – you are much more likely to notice any changes than they are, especially if you haven’t seen them for a while.  It might be a good time to gently suggest a health check-up. If you notice your family member or friend is having difficulty following the conversation, suggest they get their hearing checked by booking in for a free hearing test at their local Hidden Hearing branch by calling 0800 037 2060.

3. Stay physically active

A shocking survey by the British Heart Foundation revealed that British people spend an average of 178 hours sitting down over the festive period – make sure you’re not one of them by staying active this Christmas.

Tip: Something as simple as a daily walk has been shown to improve your health. A study by the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress found that just 15 minutes of brisk walking a day can add up to seven years to your life, so why start your daily walks before the Christmas season commences? Alternatively, if you want to stay indoors and avoid the cold weather, get in some exercise by playing games with your younger family members, whether that be a kickaround with a football or an exaggerated version of classic charades!

4. Take it easy

Try not to stress out too much over fitting in every dinner or party invitation, or the seasonal strain on your finances – you don’t have to say yes to everything.  Enjoy the holidays by spending time doing what you want to do rather than constantly catering for the needs of others.  A survey of 1,000 Brits revealed that 81% of people find Christmas stressful, so it’s important to switch off and take some time for yourself.

Tip: Stop thinking about your Christmas checklist and schedule in some quiet time to de-stress, either by reading a book, relaxing in a bubble bath or just by sitting down and watching a movie. It may be a good idea to do your Christmas shopping in advance to avoid the crowds, freeing you up to spend more time relaxing with or without friends

5. Set yourself a New Year’s resolution

See the New Year as an opportunity for re-evaluating where you are in life, and where you’re headed. Set yourself some goals to make 2019 your happiest and healthiest year yet. New Year resolutions are a great opportunity to infuse your brain with extra motivation, but it’s important not to be too ambitious when setting your resolution – make sure it’s something you really want to achieve.

Tip: Take time to really consider areas in life you wish to improve – perhaps you want to start a new fitness regime, get a promotion at work or write a book – create a realistic timeline for yourself to make your goal achievable.  This could also be made fun for the whole family, a friendly competition to keep you all motivated. Each member of the family can choose one or multiple goals and together you can check-in regularly on your progress, with rewards being offered at each milestone.

 

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5 reasons to hit the dance floor this Christmas and New Year

London-based adult education college City Lit quizzed two health and fitness experts on the benefits of dancing and how it can help to combat loneliness – especially among the older generation. According to the experts, dancing can even make us look and feel younger…

According to Dr Khan, a GP at Harley Street Skin Clinic who specialises in anti-ageing, and chartered physiotherapist Tim Allardyce, who’s based at Surrey Physio, these are just some of the benefits of dancing:

  1. Dancing keeps you active

This might be an obvious one for some, but as we get older, staying active can help us to live longer and give us a better quality of life. Dr Khan says the physical aspects of dance mean it’s great exercise for your physical health, such as heart health, as well as cardiovascular, motor and aerobic fitness. The majority of dance is also low impact, so you can get your heart rate up without worrying about damaging your joints or other parts of your body.

2) It’s great for bone density

Dancing is also a great way to improve bone strength. Tim Allardyce says that as we get older, we naturally start to lose bone density, and some people can develop osteoporosis, which is a weakening of the bone. Exercise like dancing is great for increasing bone density and helping to keep bones and joints strong. It’s also great for flexibility, especially in the arms and shoulders, which are more prone to stiffness the older we get. Dancing encourages us to lift our arms and use rotation to improve mobility in our back and shoulders.

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3) Dancing improves your balance

Co-ordination and balance are two other things that dancing helps to improve. Tim says that as we age, we become more prone to falling. Dancing builds leg strength and improves our balance, in turn making it less likely for us to suffer from a fall. Regular dancing will improve the strength and endurance of your legs, helping to improve your balance.

4) It’s great for mental health

As well as many physical benefits, dance is also great for mental health. Dr Khan believes that dancing regularly is a fantastic way to reduce the risk of illnesses that are more common in older people, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. The brain work and memory exercises involved in dancing keep the brain active and therefore keep it healthy.

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5) Dancing keeps us social

Reducing the risk of illness isn’t the only mental benefit associated with dancing. The social aspect can be fantastic for older people (and anyone else!), particularly if they are susceptible to feeling lonely. Meeting up with likeminded people on a regular basis is great for combatting loneliness, reducing low mood as well as stimulating cognitive and social skills, according to Dr Khan.

 

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Avoid the stress and start the Christmas season with self-care

Holistic health and wellness coach Tara Jackson, who is offering a free 31-day self-care challenge throughout December, talks about the benefits of a laid back Christmas full of love and self-care for your mind, body and soul 

December is all about Christmas and all that it has come to represent, or at least it seems that way when you live in one of the biggest cities in the western world.

This, for an introvert like myself, can feel a bit too much – overwhelming and even forced year after year.

Back in the days when I used to work full time in an office December was THE season for partying. Come December 1, I would typically eat and drink to my heart’s content, attend lots of office and social engagements, spend a LOT of money and be feeling so bloated and tired that I’d often stay in for New Year’s Eve.

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I would then jump on the bandwagon of the typical January detox dieting to counteract how I’d been living throughout December.

Aside from the partying, there’s also a lot of pressure and expectation (whether self-induced or external) and life seems to get particularly hectic around Christmas. I find that a lot of people I know (me included, although less these days) cram in more social engagements than they have all year and feel they have to shop for people who they may not have even seen in months.

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There’s also the natural desire to want to hibernate, which comes from the darker days (in the northern hemisphere) combined with tiredness as the year starts to draw to a close.

Now, don’t get me wrong there’s also a lot of magic and beauty around Christmas – generosity, love, sparkly lights (who doesn’t love them?), celebrating, coming together and sharing.

I know it’s a time of year that many love and look forward to, I love certain parts of it – the warmth, fun and being with people I love.

But there’s also a lot I personally find can be too much or that I don’t agree with – the over indulgence, consumerism (with Christmas advertising urging you to spend and consume as much as possible) and feelings of obligation to name a few.

This is usually followed by the feelings of guilt and general exhaustion that come after the season if and when you overdo it.

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How about a December where you do things differently, where you allow for spaciousness, retreating and gentleness (without the guilt) – which actually are natural things for us to want to do in this month with the shortest days in the northern hemisphere?

How about a month where you honour the season of the year, but also take part in some of the kinder and more loving aspects of what Christmas is all about? How about a December where you don’t overdo it (whilst still enjoying it) and are kind and loving to yourself – body, mind and soul?

Take my free 31-day self-care challenge throughout December, to help you care for yourself, avoid the overwhelm, but also still feel love and compassion and super importantly, still have fun! It will include a daily email to your inbox with a simple tip or action to keep self-care at the forefront, so you aren’t feeling frazzled come January 1!

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