It is my mission at cityWell to provide affordable and accessible preventive health care to a wide range of urban wellness seekers while making self-care part of everyday life and not just a luxury.
Now, more than ever we need to find ways to bring well-being into our homes and into our lives, by creating simple rituals to help us feel WELL, cared for and connected to our bodies.
With House of Well, it will be my goal to share the many rituals I have cultivated over the years to heal my body and my mind.
It has been a while since my last post.. I am excited to share some tips on how to keep your spirits bright and your skin feeling soft!
Winter revival (and survival) - cityWell’s guide for feeling WELL
Dry Brush or not dry brush? That is the question!
This has been on my mind since early winter. Everyone is talking about dry brushing! Why dry brushing, you ask? Well, let me explain.
First, consider dry brushing as a ritual. Take time to give yourself and your skin some attention, you deserve it! Dry brushing not only stimulates the lymphatic system, but also exfoliates skin and gives you a moment to connect with your body.
The art of dry-brushing
This ancient self-care ritual has been practiced for thousands of years and still has staying power today. Dry body brushing has been used by almost all great civilisations - ancient Egyptians, Ayurvedic tradition in India.
How to do it properly? Always brush using small sweeping strokes toward the heart. Why? Well, because you work with the body lymph flow. The lymphatic system travels up toward the neck. You will move the lymph under the skin to get rid of toxins accumulated in your body.
Starting by the top of your feet, move up to your legs, inner thighs, groin area (that has a lot of lymph nodes). Then, brush your belly, your sides and under the arms (the arm pits also have lots of lymph nodes). Lastly, brush from your fingers up to your arms and shoulders.
Use a brush with a long handle for your back, and if you are lucky to live with someone it can be a nice trade “I’ll dry brush your back, if you brush mine.” 🙂 Don’t forget your face! You might want to use a smaller brush, with soft bristles for sensitive skin. I just bought one while in Vermont. Find them online in our shop.
Once again, use an upward motion on the neck, the jaw line, the cheeks, around the eyes, the nostrils, between the eyebrows, the forehead and the temples. When you are done, it is the perfect time to take a nice shower or a bath. You don’t have to, but it’s an easy way to incorporate dry-brushing into your routine.
Finish by applying a body oil or a moisturizer of your choice (apply on moist skin for best results). My favorite body oil for winter is Restore - our woody and grounding blend. It smells so good!
For the face, I love the Petal Mist and Facial oil from Aba Love Apothecary. Apply and gently massage your face, and if you have one you can even use a jade roller. Almost as good as going to the spa!
If you prefer to have someone else do it, treat yourself to our Facial Rejuvenator (we use Petal Mist and Facial oil from Aba Love Apothecary) combined with 30 mins of private steam. It’s a dream!
Dry brushing is great but don’t do it more than once a week (once every two weeks for those with extra sensitive skin). The important thing is taking time for yourself.
Heal your heels
Lately, I have been asking my clients about their concerns … and one answered “cracked heels!” I understand exactly what she is talking about! I have myself painful-looking cracked heels!
Last week, I was pleasantly surprised when Rebecca, my massage therapist, took it upon herself to massage my feet and apply Shea body butter. Within seconds it felt better, and after a day or two my heels were soft again!
If your feet are very cracked use an antibacterial ointment like Bacitracin, it will work wonders!
Treat your feet!
Another wonderful (and inexpensive) self-care ritual,I love, especially after a long day of work, is getting a foot soak. All you need is a bowl large enough to fit both feet comfortably (you can get a cheap plastic one from your corner dollar store), warm water, Epsom salts and a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
Or you can purchase our Revive Bath Salts, made with Epsom salts, essential oils of Basil, Peppermint, Rosemary, and dried Rosemary. They are wonderful!
However, if you want to make it at home, check out how I do it! https://www.instagram.com/tv/B_5tqdNjobR/?igshid=18anydml1zs83
After the soak, apply a moisturizer, and put socks on! Cozy up with a cocktail, a glass of wine or fresh-brewed tea. It will give you the feeling of pure luxury and care and all the while, you will be healing those aching heels. Maybe you can even trade foot soak and massage with a friend or a loved one?
Take good care and until next time. Treat your body WELL!
My favorite winter cocktail(s) 🍷❄🥃
It’s been a long winter, lots of snow and cold... and one thing that has gotten me through these dark days has been the comfort and delight of warm winter drinks...
SPICED MULLED WINE
I have been experimenting with mulled wine and hot toddies! They are the perfect tonic for the winter blues and just a nice experience to make on your own, and it smells good too!
For the mulled wine, a very typical winter holiday drink in Europe, start with a nice dark full body red... it does not need to be fancy, just full-bodied. Get two cinnamon sticks, 10 cloves, an orange and Applejack brandy (or any brand of your choice). Again, it does not need to be fancy.
Heat up the wine (on low) with the cinnamon sticks, a couple of orange slices, the cloves and add the brandy (a cup or two, I don't measure!) Let it simmer for at least a couple of hours. Add some star anise to add a bit more flavor and sweetness... it smells so yummy as it’s being made! Sip and enjoy on a cozy snow day. Santé!
CLASSIC HOT TODDY
The hot toddy is making a comeback, though not sure it ever left? It is known for being a comforting tonic when one is feeling unwell but it is just a great way to warm up after a cold day. I have been a big fan of “to-go” cocktails and have picked up mine on my way home from work a few nights, but then, I decided to make my own after a friend gifted me some fragrant star anise.
In a medium saucepan, heat about 2 or 3 cups of water, the juice from a lemon, honey, and add a few lemon slices with the rind to get the flavor of the oils (thanks again Pai).
If you like spice and want to add a bit more warmth, add some fresh ginger, the star anise is a nice touch too!
Don’t forget the bourbon or whiskey. My friend KatiPai from Dirty Precious not only dropped off me off some gingery deliciousness at my door but recommended Heaven Hill, or 12 Roses 🌹 but any mid-grade whiskey will do!
Let it simmer for 30 mins or so, the longer the better :). Let it cool down for a few minutes and pour into your favorite mug or taller toddy glass.
Sip on your couch with a good book. Enjoy yourself and feel the heat in your chest and your belly as it warms from the inside out 🙂
TURMERIC TODDY TEA
If you would like a healing hot tonic sans the alcohol you can try a turmeric toddy 🙂 I just made that up!
Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory spice commonly used in South Asian cuisine. It has gained a lot of popularity over the years. It has a mild flavor, (yet the look of it can be intimidating). It is great to add to rice dishes and soups. It is worth a try and it is healthy for you!
In a small pot, add water, fresh sliced ginger and lemon and bring to boil, add the turmeric and honey and let it simmer on low for about 10 mins. Add a bit more honey to taste and enjoy this healing winter tonic!
WELL TIP: I always make a little bit more to sip throughout the day.