Category: Feng Shui

Feng Shui Friday – Bring me some wood!

Most people I know love getting a bunch of beautiful flowers. So do I. Especially when my darling husband brings me a big bouquet of roses for no specific reason. Those are the best!

Did you know that flowers represent the Wood element in Feng Shui? Wood is all about new beginnings and fresh energy. Maybe that is why flowers are used in romantic courtship? Flowers are a representation of the fresh, new and exciting energy surrounding a new relationship and therefore the perfect representation of those wonderful feelings.

Wood in Feng Shui is also related to Spring and the expansive energy of growth. So whenever you feel like you need a new beginning or some moving forward in any area of you life, using living plants, trees or flowers can help with that.

The Wood element in Feng Shui also represents the East and South east compass directions, the eldest son and daughter in the family and is associated with thunder and wind. The organs connected with the Wood element are liver and gall bladder. Traditionally Wood is also associated with health, family relationships, abundance and wealth.

Green, healthy plants will do wonders for your indoor air quality. Not only do they attract positive chi (energy), they also help clean the indoor air. Green, leafy plants are extra important in an office environment as they help neutralise some of the not so healthy effects of electrical equipment. If you can, place a healthy green plant in close proximity to your computer screen and feel better for it!

If you have a dark corner or a space that you don’t like, placing a plant there will change the feel and energy of that space. Plants and flowers are wonderful representations of healthy, vital energy.

So next time you give or receive a bunch of flowers, you can think of all the positive attributes associated with them and appreciate them even  more!

And by the way… Why not treat yourself to some lovely flowers this weekend?

Happy Feng Shui Friday!

 

Feel Good Group - Roses

 

 

Feng Shui Friday – Top 5 Tips for Abundance

Contrary to common belief there actually is no one “wealth corner” in you home. So If you ever hear someone talking about “activating my wealth corner” (often this is associated with placing a green plant in said “corner”) they may be barking up the wrong tree.

In traditional Feng Shui, there are actually a few areas of your home that represent and reflect your wealth and abundance. I have listed these below with some cereal tips and ideas what to look for and what to do to improve your ability to attract abundance and wealth.

 

1.The South East sector of your home or office

The South East compass sector of your home or office is related to wealth and abundance. Look at what is located in this area of your building. Do you have a bathroom, toilet or laundry here? This indicates that you might be feeling like money is going down the drain, or that there is a never ending flow of money going out. Ideally you would want an active area of your home or business in this compass sector to support the energy of abundance.

 

2. The front of your home or office

The front of your home or office represents opportunities. It is very important that your building looks welcoming from the street, and that the way in is easy to find. If it’s not easy to find your entrance, Qi (energy) will have difficulty finding its way to you and as a result so will opportunities. As a follow on from that, if you cannot attract opportunities into your life or business, you also cannot attract opportunities to make money, get a pay rise, have new customers come through your door etc. You get the drift!

 

3. The entrance of your home or office

The entrance of your home or office relates specifically to the opportunities you have to do well financially while living or working in this building. To really know what is going on in this part of a building you would need to have a Feng Shui consultation tailored specifically to you your home or office conducted by a consultant trained in Flying Stars Feng Shui.

By analysing the Feng Shui of your entrance a trained consultant can get a very good idea of what can be done to support your finances in the best possible way. If you are currently challenged in this area, making changes around your entrance can be the catalyst you need to get unstuck. If you’re already doing great, then supporting your successes energetically can propel you even further forward.

No matter what else may be recommended, an easy to find entrance with lots of light, no clutter and a general welcoming feeling is paramount for attracting wealth and opportunities into your life. This is something anyone can do on their own.

 

4. The kitchen

The kitchen is said to represent the wealth of the home because this is where food is kept and prepared. If your office has a proper kitchen, this also applies here.

It’s important to keep your kitchen in order, clean and functional to help create a positive flow for wealth and abundance.

A dirty, greasy stove creates health problems and symbolically blocks the family’s income potential. Therefore I recommend you make sure that all burners are working, and that the stove is kept clean at all times. Use all burners or hotplates regularly to support all working members of the household to be able to generate an income. Don’t keep using the same hotplate/burner, mix it up a little and rotate it around as evenly as you can.

 

5. Your dining table

Always have a bowl of fresh fruit sitting on your dining table to symbolise abundance. You can also place a mirror so that it reflects your dining table. This represents an abundance of food (and hence wealth) as well as social connections and interactions as a mirror is said to bring you more of what it reflects.

If you have a staff sting area in your office with a proper table and chairs, placing a bowl of fresh fruit there is a great idea. And it might inspire your staff to some healthy eating too!

 

That’s it! These five areas of your home or office combined represent your wealth and abundance. All of them need to be in balance and looked after for your best abilities to create wealth and abundance to be put forward.

The most important out of the five is your front door. And that’s where it gets interesting when conducting a consultation. Sometimes the Feng Shui of an entrance is anything but supportive of wealth and abundance. That situation can be rectified by putting Feng Shui cures or enhancements in place. But that’s a different blog all together…

If you want to know more about Feng Shui for abundance and wealth or have any questions, please get in touch.

To your abundance!

Feel Good Group - Bowl of fresh fruit for abundance

A bowl of fresh fruit for abundance.

 

 

Feng Shui Friday – Geopathic Stress or What your cat is telling you…

Those of you who have a cat companion know that they like to sleep in weird places sometimes. There can be a spot in the middle of the floor that makes absolutely no sense to pick as a favourite spot, yet this is where your beloved cat chooses to sleep – all the time!

There might be a perfectly reasonable explanation for that. Cats, as opposed to dogs, are attracted to Geopathic stress. They like to sleep in it. Dogs on the other hand will avoid it. So if you have an area in your one where your dog just won’t go for no apparent reason, that’s as much an indicator as a sleeping cat that this area likely is affected by Geopathic stress.

And what is Geopathic stress?

Geopathic stress is a wide term used to describe several different phenomena that have an impact on the Earth’s magnetic and/or gravitational fields and the effects this in turn has on a site or person. Put very simply, Geopathic stress is when something is going on in the Earth that is causing an imbalance, and this energy reaches the surface of the Earth and affects people, animals and plants in that area.

There are several forms of Geopathic Stress

  • Geological faults are faults, fractures or cavities found in the ground. A fault line is the surface trace of a geological fault. It is along these fault lines that most earthquakes appear.
  • Geomagnetic lines, the Earth is surrounded by geomagnetic lines that can be likened by the acupuncture meridians of the human body. They travel between the poles of the Earth in a corkscrew manner. Geomagnetic lines are one to two metres wide and always move in a north to south direction.
  • Watercourses are streams or veins of subterranean water.
  • Hartmann and Curry grids are energetic grids that relate to the physical and geopathic stress of any given environment. The Hartmann grid is related to human consciousness, while the Curry grid relates to the Earth’s consciousness.

This is by no means a complete list of Geopathic stressors, and it gives you an idea on what I’m talking about.

So why is this important?

Our environment affects our bodies. In today’s modern society we meet a lot of challenges when it comes to living a healthy life, such as electro magnetic radiation, chemicals, radio and micro waves to only name a few. There is also a link between the Earth and our health that is not commonly spoken about, the connection between Geopathic stress and illnesses.

Each organ system in the human body has its own particular frequency with which it resonates. This means that if something outside of the human body resonates with the same frequency, this phenomenon will have the ability to affect the organ system within the human body. If the frequency of the outside source resonates in harmony with the human body a positive effect will be experienced. However, if the outside source is in any form of dissonance with the organ system then the body will be adversely affected and over a period of time being in this situation may lead to the development of an illness.

Feel Good Group - Geopathic Stress Symptoms

What to look for

Signs that tell you that a new geopathic stressor might have been introduced in your environment include insomnia, restless sleep, anxiety, bedwetting or sleep walking in children, as well as ant or wasp nests where there were none before.

What to do

Get a professional Geomancer or Feng Shui consultant with training in Geomancy to do a site assessment for you. A geomancer can neutralise any stresses in the environment that might be contributing to imbalance in the site by implementing geomantic cures. These are cures that are placed in the Earth to help bring balance to the site.

I encourage you to look at your home with new eyes. Has anything changed lately? Is your cat sleeping in a weird spot? Is your dog avoiding certain areas with no apparent explanation? And have you noticed any changes in your health and wellbeing?

Listen to your cat and feel better for it.

Source: Olsen, A. 2010, Geobiology, Australian College of Environmental Studies, Melbourne.

Feng Shui Friday – I see the light!

My husband showed me this awesome picture that one of our friends sent him (thanks for the inspiration Ian!). It’s a solar energy fuelled garden mirror that reflects the sun into your home. Such a brilliant idea!

I’m sure most of you have noticed the difference in feeling in a room that is dark and gloomy, and a room that is bathing in natural light. Walking into a sunlit room always makes me smile. It just feels better. Maybe it’s because we actually need sunlight for our survival? Without the sun we can not live, it’s as simple as that. Growing up in Sweden where it’s dark for half the year and then very light for the other half, I’ve certainly noticed the difference in how I felt. Even now living in Sydney I notice how much easier it is to get up in the morning now that the light is returning.

So no wonder that lighting and natural light in a home is such an important aspect of the atmosphere.

If you don’t have enough natural light in your home, using artificial lighting in the form of various lamps will certainly make a difference for the ambiance. It might not have an effect on your health in the way that the sun does, and it certainly will help you feel more at home and happier.

You can of course also use light to create certain moods for certain occasions. I find that at night, especially in winter, I really enjoy candle light. It’s softer on the eyes and it has that cosy feeling, well it does for me anyway. And who can avoid being mesmerised and lose themselves at least a little while staring into an open fire?

Take a look at the light sources around you and notice how you feel in that space. Happy? Lighthearted? Heavy? Gloomy?

If you find that you feel uncomfortable at your desk for expamle, look at the lighting situation around you. In many modern offices lighting is actually appalling! Most of the light is coming from fluorescent lights that sit high above your head, and sometimes even shine you in the eyes. It’s also possible to be affected by too much, too bright daylight coming in through the windows. With the overhead lights and sunlight from windows, the best that you can sometimes do is move your desk a little. If that doesn’t work, ask if you can have the light moved, or if you can put some blinds or curtains up in the window. If lighting at your desk is not sufficient, that is much easier to rectify. Get an appropriate table lamp, and problem solved.

I encourage you to take a look around you, really look at the light where you spend your time. What do you like about it? What don’t you like about it? And what can you do to make it a way that you like and that serves you?

Happy Feng Shui Friday!

PS. For those of you who like the solar powered garden mirror idea, check out the Home Heliostat via the link below:

http://wikoda.com

Feel Good Group - Home Heliostat from Wikoda

The Sunflower – Home Heliostat from Wikoda

Feng Shui Friday – Yin and Yang

I hear lots of people refer to yin and yang these days, which is awesome! This means that the concept of these opposite and complimentary forces of the universe is becoming well known and something that people are resonating with. Yay! But what does it really mean?

Anything can be considered yin or yang depending on what you are comparing it to. For example, a flower is considered yang compared to a blade of grass and yin compared to a tree. Sometimes the definition yin or yang has got to do with size, but not always. There are also objects, feelings and actions that are generally considered yin or yang in nature. The moon is yin while the sun is yang for example. Here’s a short list with some more examples:

YANG:
– sun
– day
– masculine
– warm
– light
– active

YIN:
– moon
– night
– feminine
– cold
– dark
– passive

The concept of yin and yang comes from the Tao and it describes the law of unity of opposites, put simply, how opposites really only can exist in relation to each other. So in a way you can say that up creates down, high creates low, dark creates light and yin creates yang, and vice versa.

The qualities of yin and yang are complementary and they interact with each other within a greater whole, as part of a dynamic system. The yin and yang qualities can be stronger within specific objects and they often change over time.

Certain rooms of your house will have yang energy, while others are more yin. Generally speaking this comes down to the activities you do in these rooms and how often you spend time there. Your bedroom for example is yin as you sleep in there, while your living room often is yang as you spend your time there participating in different activities.

How can this knowledge benefit you? The main thing I would recommend is to look at the way you are utilising the rooms and spaces in your home, what do you want them to be? Active or relaxing? Then furnish and decorate according to the use of the space. Bright, uplifting colours in your office and living room. Calm, soothing colours in your bedroom or meditation nook.

You can change your mood and state of mind with colours and light, the brighter the light and colours, the more yang the energy and the more active you will feel in this space. The more soothing the colours and the more dimmed the lights, the more yin the energy and the calmer you will feel in this space.

Put this to practice and see how it works for you! Feel free to post and met me know how you go, I’d love to hear about it!

Happy Feng Shui Friday!

Feel Good Group - YinYang

Neo and Rufus sleeping together in a Yin – Yang pattern

 

Feng Shui Friday – Clean out your sock drawer

How is this related to Feng Shui I hear you ask? Let me tell you – it is!

Clutter is one of the worst enemies we can encounter when creating positive flow of Qi (energy). Why is that? It gets in the way, it weighs the energy down and it generally stops the flow. Not just the Qi flow, but also the flow of ideas, the flow of opportunities, the flow of inspiration and ability to take action. Clutter creates a negative, heavy and messy feeling wherever it is present. And it doesn’t work hiding it away behind closed doors or in shut drawers. The clutter is till there. And you know it!

I believe we’re all here to create something magical, wonderful and worthwhile. We’re here to give value to the people around us, our community, the world and ourselves. And clutter gets in the way of us doing that.

You might have a great idea that you’ve never actioned. You might have promised your kids you would do something for them. Or maybe your parents? Or you have a strict deadline, and still can’t seem to find the motivation to get to work. So you’re stuck in one way or another. You don’t know where to begin. You don’t know where to turn for inspiration…

There is an easy solution! Clean or declutter something! It can be anything really.

I always suggest starting with your sock drawer. Why is that? It’s normally not a very big task. Most people haven’t done it in years. It may take you 15-30 minutes at the most and the result is amazing. You will not believe how such a small thing can make you feel so good and so light!

So there’s my tip for today. Whenever you’re stuck – clean or declutter something. This will bring in new ideas, fresh energy and it will inspire you to keep going. It’s a simple concept. And it works.

Happy Feng Shui Friday!

 

 

How to stay healthy this winter using Feng Shui

You’re taking your vitamin C and echinacea, you’re rugging up, you have your warming cup of tea in front of the heater at night and still you can’t seem to fight off that cold or flu. It’s frustrating! Here’s some tips on how you can increase your health and build up your immune system by applying Feng Shui principles to your bedroom.

Why the bedroom?

In Feng Shui the energetic and physical set-up of your bedroom represents your health as well as your relationships. How well you sleep and how much rest your body gets during the night correlates directly to your health situation.

A healthy environment in your bedroom is paramount to help your body relax and recuperate during the night. If your body is busy fighting off energetic imbalances in your bedroom environment during the night, there is no time for the immune system to fight off infections!

Position your bed for health

For the best possible Feng Shui in your bedroom your bed head should always be up against a solid wall to give you support while you’re sleeping. You should be able to see the the whole room, including the door, while lying bed. If your body is in line with the door when lying in bed you should keep the door closed at night to avoid having “arrows” of energy directed at you all night as this is exhausting for your body. You should not be able to see your own reflection in a mirror while in bed. According to Feng Shui it is not recommended to have mirrors in the bedroom at all as they disturb your sleep.

If you can’t put your bed head against a solid wall, a window with the blinds or curtains closed at night is your next best option.

In Feng Shui it’s highly recommended to never put your bed head against a wall shared with a bathroom or laundry, as this will have a draining effect on your energy. Sleeping against a wall shared with a wet room may cause you to wake up feeling tired and drained. You want to give your body energy at night, not take energy away from it.

Don’t go with the flow

It’s a common thing these days to want to “be in the flow”. At night while sleeping, this is actually one of the worst places to be!

When lying in bed it’s very important to stay out of the Qi (energy) flow in your bedroom as much as possible. Qi flow relates to how energy moves throughout your bedroom. Most often Qi enters via the bedroom door and exists via the window. If your bed is placed in this energy flow path I recommend closing your door at night. This will block the flow of Qi and make for a more restful sleep for you.

You also want to stay out of air flow in winter. When it’s hot in summer sleeping in the breeze from an open window is one of the most fabulous things you can do in my opinion. In winter, not so much!

If you’re sleeping by a window you are best to put up thick curtains and keep them shut at night. This is to avoid any draft from the window reaching your head. I’m assuming here that your head is probably the only body part sticking out from under the warm and cosy doona, and as a result the most likely to get cold.

You might have heard that “most of your body heat escapes via your head as heat rises in the body”. This is actually not true, however if your head is the only part not covered by a blanket or doona at night it WILL be where most of your body heat escapes. So avoid sleeping in a draft simply to avoid getting cold.

It’s also best if your bed is raised off the floor. In winter the draft along the floor is normally worse than anywhere else and it’s beneficial for your health to avoid sleeping in such a draft if you can.

Ban EMFs from your bedroom

It’s cold outside, you’re freezing and despite that hot cup of tea you’re still not warm. Jumping into a cold bed doesn’t really seem like such a great idea. So you go out and get an electric blanket. Bad idea!

All electrical appliances create EMFs (Electro Magnetic Fields), as long as they are plugged into the wall. Electric fields are created from anything that contains electricity under pressure. Magnetic Fields are created as a result of current, i.e. flowing electricity. This only occurs when an appliance is being used.

An electric blanket will emit a high level magnetic field while heating, as well as an electric field. If you sleep with the blanket turned on all night you’re lying directly on top of a strong EMF and this is not at all healthy for your body. Even if you turn the heating off in the blanket when you go to bed, there is still an electric field being emitted.

Our bodies need time and opportunity to rest and recuperate during the night. Having to “deal with” the effects of EMFs during this time is not supportive of your body and may have adverse effects on your health.

There is an ongoing debate and research around what influences EMFs have on human health. The strongest evidence that EMF exposure has adverse effects on human health can be found in studies done on EMFs and childhood leukaemia. There are also a number of other diseases and conditions that have been associated with EMF exposure, such as cancers (including brain tumours), clinical depression, suicide, miscarriages, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Therefore I highly recommend that you switch off all electrical appliances in the bedroom while sleeping, and never, ever sleep in close proximity to the meter box. I even recommend not using a clock radio in your bedroom. Please avoid charging your mobile phone in your bedroom too, or using it as your alarm clock. The exact impact of microwaves and radio signals on our bodies while we sleep is fairly unknown at this stage, however the research that is being done is not looking good.

Use a good old fashioned hot water bottle instead of that electric blanket and go back to an battery operated alarm clock!

Don’t get dry in July

In winter I think most of us would agree that living in a home with reverse cycle air conditioning or central heating is very comfortable and the way to go. Well, let’s look at it, is it really all that fabulous?

Breathing in heated, dry air is actually not great for your body. In fact, dry air is one of the major causes of respiratory infections, nose bleeds and repeated episodes of winter colds. A lack of moisture in your indoor air can stop your immune system from effectively taking care of germs and it may even promote the growth of some bacteria and viruses.

So what can you do?

One way to get around these problems is to use a proper humidifier system in your home. This kind of system will not only regulate the dryness of the air in winter, it will also do the opposite in summer and handle any heightened moisture levels. This method is comparatively expensive and a bit of an ordeal to get installed. Not something you can easily do on your own.

Instead you can invest in a portable humidifier. They come in various sizes and prices and if you do some research online you can find some really good ones.

Another way of adding some moisture back into your indoor air is to simply use a good old oil burner. This won’t be as effective as a humidifier and it will still make a difference. I prefer using oil burners that are not electrical. I like ones with big bowls for water/essential oil as that way I know I won’t run out of water for as long as the tea light still burns. And of course with this alternative you can add your favourite essential oils to the water and create a lovely ambience in your bedroom too!

Now it’s up to you. Time to take action and support your good health this winter! Move your bed if you have to, close your bedroom door, fill that hot water bottle and light up your oil burner!

To your excellent health,
Sara

What’s the Feng Shui like in here?

This is the most common question I get whenever I tell someone I am a Feng Shui consultant. And that makes sense. I totally understand that people are curious and want to know. I want to answer them in the best way I can. And that is not always as easy as you might think.

There are several different traditions, or schools, of Feng Shui. The most well known and used in the Western world (USA in particular) is the BTB or Black Sect school. My understanding of this school of Feng Shui is that it’s a simplified version where parts of several traditional schools of Feng Shui have been mixed and that it was “put together” in China in the 1970’s or -80’s when the interest in Feng Shui started growing in the West. See, people in the West back then figured out that whatever China was doing seemed to be working, and they wanted this information. The Chinese of course, being clever, didn’t want to share too much of this ancient knowledge and “give away” their advantage in knowing how Feng Shui really worked, so they created BTB “for export”. A simplified, easy to use, relatively easy to understand form of Feng Shui built on chosen parts of traditional methods.

BTB is the “typical” Feng Shui that most people I meet have heard of and that uses the nine square Bagua where there is a “wealth” corner, a “relationship” corner etc. in your home. The thought is that you align this nine square Bagua to your front door, and from that you figure out where the nine different sections are placed in your home. If I were trained in this form of Feng Shui, I would easily be able to answer a question such as “What’s the Feng Shui like in here?”.

Feel Group Group - A picture of the 9 square BTB Bagua that I consider to be too simple to be useful.

BTB/Black Hat Sect Bagua – Too simple to be effective

As you might have guessed by now, I am not trained in BTB Feng Shui. Like most other people with an interest in this area I have read several books about it, before I did my training I even overlaid the nine square Bagua on my home and on my office and my desk at work for success. My only problem was… there came no success out of doing that! Things stayed the same.

That’s when I started investigating into the world of Feng Shui a little deeper and found out that there were other, so called traditional schools of Feng Shui, and that these were said to be more accurate and providing better information as they were calculated individually and adapted to each building.

That made a lot of sense to me. I believe that the more specific I can be, the better I can help someone, or the more meaningful the information I provide will be. Compare it to getting your personal horoscope done up by a professional astrologist that takes your place, date and time of birth into consideration, or reading the general information for your star sign. Which one would be more accurate?

So I decided traditional Feng Shui was the go for me. Little did I know that my choice would make it a little bit difficult to answer the question “What’s the Feng Shui like in here?” in an easy way in conversation.

Please understand that I am not here to discredit BTB Feng Shui! It is now really big in the West and the people working with it swears by it. The consultants say it works for them and their clients say it works for them too. All good.

It didn’t work for me and that’s why I went looking for more. And I found it in the traditional schools of Feng Shui.

Form School works with the forms inside and outside your home. Everything in our surroundings can be classified into a form, or element (in Feng Shui these words are interchangeable). There are Five elements in the world; Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood. Each element has certain characteristics and is associated with certain materials, colours and forms.

To give an accurate Feng Shui reading using Form School I need to take into consideration where your home is located, what is in your surroundings and how this may affect your home. I also look at what types of Forms are in certain areas outside and inside your home. From this information I can draw conclusions as to what the energetic impact is on you and your home.

The next traditional school is Compass School. This school relates to the different compass directions in your home and what rooms and objects within your home are best placed in which compass sections and what colours are best used in which sections. Compass School Feng Shui can also be used to create support for specific family members or certain areas of your life. This will add another level of understanding of what is going on in your home energetically.

And finally we have the most accurate and advanced out of all the traditional schools of Feng Shui, Flying Star School. Flying Star school is based on numerology and is calculated for your home from its construction date and the facing compass direction of your building. Using this information an intricate energetic map is created that is then interpreted and overlaid on your home in line with the facing compass direction and from that further conclusions on the energetic set up can be drawn. Flying Star School is used to put Feng Shui enhancements in place to create balance and harmony in your home. The main areas I can work with using Flying Star school is your health, wealth and relationships.

A Flying Star reading cannot be done “on the spot” answering a question such as: “What is the Feng Shui like in here?”. And there in lies my dilemma when asked that question!

So while I am certainly able to answer the question “What’s the Feng Shui like in here?” from a visual perspective and give some ideas on furniture placement for enhanced energy flow, that is only a very small part of the whole picture. There is no way I can give a comprehensive and accurate answer to this question from a Flying Star school point of view just by stepping into the space. And in my opinion, that’s the reading that I need to do to really give a person the best possible answer to that question.

That’s how answering a seemingly simple question can be quite a tricky task!

I hope this information is useful in explaining how I look at Feng Shui and what works for me. Thank you for reading!

Feng Shui and Personal care products

In Feng Shui we talk about the importance of setting your outer environment up in a way that supports your health, wealth and relationships. Supporting a positive flow of energy (qi) in your home is paramount in making the most out of the energies you have around you and creating a healthy home. Today I want to talk about something else you can do to specifically support your health – choosing the best form of personal care products.

Commercial personal care products are not good for you

It might come as s bit of a shock or surprise that most, if not all, mainstream commercial personal care products contain various substances that are anything but good for your health. Most of these substances are chemically created and/or petroleum based. Petrochemicals are all derived from petroleum and hide in our personal care products under various fancy names, such as diethanolamine (DEA for short), paraffin and mineral oil to name but a few. So the stuff you are using to make your skin look younger, feel softer or smoother is probably casing some unwanted effects on the inside.

What you put on your skin matters

Your skin is your biggest organ, it covers all of your body. And research now shows that whatever you put on your skin is absorbed into your blood stream faster than things you eat. So what you put on your skin is very, very important for your health. Many modern day personal care products also contain penetration enhancers to help drive whatever ingredients are in that product deeper into your skin for a “better effect”. If the original ingredient is not good for you, then the penetration enhancer will make the problem worse faster.

It surprises me that so many people today are very conscious about what they eat, and yet keep using commercial personal care products without even reading the labels. To be healthy in today’s world we have to look at everything we put in and ON our bodies. Without being conscious of what you put on your skin, you are running a big risk of contaminating your body from the outside in. I don’t want to be a spoil sport and scare you – I do want you to wake up to the fact that commercial personal care products are rarely (if ever) good for you and they are not safe to use!

Many diseases are linked to substances found in personal care products

Many commonly used ingredients in personal care products have been linked to cancer and other diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. The accumulative effect of these various ingredients when used together has not really been researched, so we don’t actually know what happens in our bodies when we mix a number of ingredients that on their own have adverse effects on our health. This is one of the things that really made me think twice about what personal care products I use. Am I willing to experiment on my own body? For me, the answer was no.

Something that really hit home with me when I started learning about personal care products was what is in commercial deodorants, especially antiperspirants. What is used to prevent the natural way for the body to regulate its temperature, i.e. perspiration, is various forms of aluminium compounds. These chemicals are plainly neurotoxins and have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, among other things. When I found that out, I went out and bought a natural, certified organic deodorant straight away. In the beginning I felt really awkward and was afraid of spreading BO. And I did smell a bit more to begin with. Now I have found a few natural deodorants that really work for me. It took some time and experimentation. And I think it’s definitely worth it. I don’t smell and I also don’t put any neurotoxins under my armpits any more. An interesting fact to be aware of when it comes to deodorants is that the adverse health effects of the unnatural ingredients in commercial products have a bigger effect on women overall. Why is that? Women tend to shave their armpits to a higher extent than men. Having the hair left on your skin actually helps prevent the absorption of toxins into your body.

Another thing to be aware of is the fact that absorption of any unhealthy chemicals is made easier in the shower and bath. The warm water will open up the pores on your skin and hence make the uptake of whatever you are using a lot quicker. When washing your hair for example, the uptake of any chemicals present in your shampoo is made nice and easy by the warmed up, open pores of your scalp. Normally we will help these substances along the way with some nice massaging too and then we have the actual strands of hair helping with the transport of any substances into the follicles where absorption is even quicker.

The cosmetic industry is self-regulated

Another piece of information I think is worth mentioning here is the fact that the cosmetic industry is self-regulated. There is no authority looking after your interests as far as product safety is concerned. No one is regulating how much of this and that is safe to use and no one is officially checking for compounding effects of several different substances being used together. One of the biggest unknowns (and therefore possibly biggest risks too) I see here is the perfume industry. Due to “secret recipes” there is no way to even know what types of chemicals are used to create your favourite fragrance. Once I found that out, I stopped using perfumes all together. The only thing that I now use to smell nice is various types of essential oils. Yes, they evaporate quicker than a perfume would. That’s because they are all natural and have no chemicals in them to make the fragrance stay on my skin for longer. So I just put them on a little more frequently. In my opinion I smell better and I’m not putting unknown, potentially health hazardous substances into my body. Knowing that makes me feel a lot better.

What to do?

So what can you do? I recommend using Certified Organic products as much as possible. Note that just because a product is said to be “Natural” or “Organic” it doesn’t mean it’s safe to use. Anything containing a carbon atom can be called organic, and anything that comes from the Earth can be said to be natural. And less serious companies do use this kind of deception when promoting their products. You have to be just as mindful about what is in your personal care products as you are about what is in your food these days! Read the labels and work on finding Certified Organic products.

I particularly recommend to never, ever buy or use any products containing the below:

  • Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS): causes skin and eye irritation, suspected liver toxicity, can cause or promote acne, penetrates skin and accumulates in vital organs, cause eczema, is toxic to aquatic organisms.
  • Aluminium compounds (Aluminium Chlorohydrate, Aluminium Hydroxide etc.): strong evidence of human neuro toxicity, suspected respiratory toxicity, alters the function of the blood-brain barrier. Aluminium containing deodorants should be avoided at all costs as it is a neurotoxin linked with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Parabens (Butyl, Ethyl, Methyl etc.): petroleum derived. Can cause allergic reactions and rashes. Known to be highly toxic. Has an estrogenic (feminizing) effect on the body. A 2004 study found that 18 of 20 breast tumours contained significant amounts of parabens.
  • PEGs (Polyethylene Glycols): derived from petroleum products, can cause eye, skin and gastro-intestinal irritations, allergic reactions and nausea among other things. They are also suspected carcinogens.
  • Phtalates: suspected endocrine, reproductive, developmental and neuro toxicity. Further health effects include liver and kidney damage, birth defects, testicular cancer and various reproductive disorders.

Where to begin?

So where to begin now? Should you clean out all your personal care products, pop them in the bin and buy new stuff? Well, that of course would be ideal for your health! Economically though, that’s not very clever. I suggest you start changing to certified organic products gradually when whatever you are using now runs out. So when your current deodorant runs out, buy a certified organic one. Then when your shampoo runs out, buy a certified organic one. You get the drift! Sometimes you can’t find certified organic products, then look for alternatives that are as natural as possible. Your local health food store can probably be a great help, that’s where I first started my explorations.

There is also a great little shopping companion that you can use to quickly check whether an ingredient is safe to use or not, “The Chemical Maze” by Bill Statham. This nifty little book also comes as an i-Phone app and has information on food additives as well as cosmetic ingredients.

Please also have a look at the resources list at the bottom of this article where I have listed the books and websites I’ve used to gather information. They are all worth checking out and there is a lot of useful information in all of them.

I’ve also added a few websites for products that I have used personally and that work for me. I’m not here to promote any specific brands or products (I’m not getting any kickbacks from any of these companies). I’ve just listed them here because I personally like them and to give you somewhere to start looking.

Please add any comments or questions you might have and I will do my best to answer then for you. I hope you find this information helpful and that it might inspire you to start making some changes, if you haven’t already.

To your good health,

Sara

Facts and literature

Benis, K. 2009, Sick Building Syndrome – Cosmetics, (DVD), Australian College of Environmental Studies, Melbourne.

Bijlsma, N. 2009, Sick Building Syndrome, Australian College of Environmental Studies, Melbourne.

Statham, B. 2008, The Chemical Maze Shopping Companion, Hyde Park Press, Australia.

Environmental Working Group – Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, availble online: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/

Truth In Aging – the honest truth about beauty & personal care products, available online: http://www.truthinaging.com/

Product websites

Australian Bushflower Essences: http://ausflowers.com.au/Products/Skincare/Love-System-Products

Miessence: http://retail.mionegroup.com/home.jsf

Sukin: http://www.sukinorganics.com/

Organic formulations: http://www.organicformulations.com/products/18/australian-biologika (this is the deodorant that I use)

(These are all Australian as this is where I’m based)

iPhone app

Chemical Maze by Bill Statham

Five Must-Do Feng Shui Tips for your Home

I have a great article featured in the Innersense – Inspired Living Magazine’s March issue 2012 on how to get started with Feng Shui. Just a few simple tips that will make a big difference in your home. You don’t need any special products or anything to follow these tips, just get started straight away!

You can check out the online e-magazie here: Innersense – Inspired Living Magazine March issue 2012, or read the full article below. Enjoy!

Article

Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese philosophy on creating balanced environments and harmonious energies. In this article I will share with you some of my top tips that will make your home inviting, balanced and relaxing. That is what most of my customers want and what I imagine you want in your home too. You may be surprised at just how much difference you can make by applying these simple principles.
 

Make your entrance welcoming

The entrance of your home represents opportunities coming into your life and is a reflection of your ability to create wealth while living in this home. Keep your entrance light, welcoming, free of clutter and easy to find from the street. Place a picture or representation of what you want to attract into your life opposite your front door, so that it’s the first thing you see coming home.
 

Create a positive flow of energy (Qi)

A flow of positive energy (Qi) in your home will help you create a balanced, peaceful and happy environment. Qi should move around in a slow, meandering and steady flow. This is best created by placing beautiful objects and furniture in your home in a position that invites energy to linger. I find it helps to look at Qi as if it were a child. What would most entice a child to move from one place to another whilst exploring and discovering your home? Think interesting furniture, colours, textures, light…
 

Set up your bedroom for great sleep

Your bedroom is your haven where you can relax and recuperate. Keep it free from clutter and leave any “busy work” outside your bedroom door. This means no book shelves, no work desks, no computers etc. Never, ever charge your mobile phone on your night stand or use your phone as your alarm clock. Make sure your bed head is up against a solid wall and that you can see the bedroom door clearly when lying in bed. Avoid mirrors in the bedroom as they disturb your sleep.
 

Steer clear of clutter

Clutter weighs on your mind and creates stagnant energy where it is accumulated. In my opinion it kills the spirit of your home. There is no place you can put clutter without it affecting you! We are all energetically connected to everything we own. Clutter is like constantly dragging your past around with you, so let it go.

A great rule of thumb is a yearly Spring clean. Go over everything you own and really look at it. Ask yourself: do I love it? do I use it? do I need it? If the answer is no, get rid of it.
 

Avoid EMFs (Electro Magnetic Fields)

All electrical appliances create EMFs, as long as they are plugged into the wall. Modern studies have linked a variety of diseases with to spending time in EMFs, such as childhood leukaemia, other cancers (including brain tumours), clinical depression, suicide, miscarriages and Alzheimer’s disease. The best way to avoid EMFs is distance. Keep at least two meters away from your TV, never watch the food being heated in the microwave and avoid electrical appliances in your bedroom altogether.

That’s it! If you follow these five steps you are on your way to a healthy, balanced and happy home that feels good! Enjoy the process and good luck!

To your health,
Sara