Cupping Your Way Into The New Year

Cupping therapy has been on the rise over the past few years. Modern techniques have reinvigorated an ancient practice, and discovered even more benefits. Karin from Bellabaci demystified the practice for us and made us eager to include it in our regular wellness routines!

TRADITIONAL CUPPING: WHERE IT STARTED

Cupping Therapy is an ancient treatment method of creating healing in the body through negative pressure by means of suction. It stems from China, Egypt and Greece.

The main principle is to create a surge of blood flow underneath the cup, to an area of disease. This action stimulates white blood cells, pain relief receptors and localized healing takes place. The “cup” during the ancient times were animal horns, which then progressed to bamboo and eventually glass cups. The negative pressure is created by dipping a piece of cotton wool, held by long tweezer, into alcohol. When it catches alight, the practitioner puts it into the cup for a few seconds as this “sucks” out the air. It is then placed on the skin immediately to create suction.

The negative pressure and suction reaches up to 10cm into the soft tissue, attachments and organs. It pulls out toxins and inflammation from the body to the surface of the skin where the lymphatic system eliminates them. Once an adhesion or congestion is pulled away from its source, fresh blood, energy and fluids rush in to expedite healing.

DRY VS WET CUPPING

Wet cupping is only performed by trained physicians. The skin in the area of concern is scraped with a sharp object, and the cup is placed over the scrapes. The cup then fills with blood. The blood is dark and almost “sticky” as the toxins, mucous and de-oxygenated blood is pulled into the cup. After 10-20min, the doctor will remove the cups and wipe away the excreted fluids. Please note that wet cupping should not be performed by anyone that is not trained and has the necessary credentials.

Dry Cupping, also known as static cupping, is where the cup is placed on the skin for 2-10 min on an area of concern. The cups are removed afterwards and there is no scraping or bleeding.

MODERN CUPPING – THE BELLABACI WAY

Bellabaci Int is the original creator of the hand-squeezable silicone cups for face and body. The system is used by professionals and at home around the globe and is currently available in 25 countries in many luxury spas and resorts. Oil is applied to the skin which serves as the medium that the cup gently glides on the body or face. The treatment offers from superficial to deep muscular therapy, and is a wonderful and natural solution for anyone needing from pain relief to anti-aging.

WHAT CONDITIONS ARE TREATED BY CUPPING?

There are few conditions cupping cannot treat. Examples are pain, stiffness, spasms, headaches and migraines, fluid retention, digestive issues, sprains, strains, skin ageing, cellulite, insomnia, and the list goes on!

Regular cupping treatments should be the go-to to provide relief for anything from bloating to headaches. Cupping also works on the nervous system to calm and relax those suffering from stress or anxiety. Increased blood flow to the brain can help boost serotonin production, which is your much needed “happy hormone”, aiding those who suffer from depression.

FACIAL CUPPING

Facial cupping is becoming increasingly popular as the negative pressure massage addresses many concerns with one action. The cups are never used for stationary cupping on the face unless used by a practiotioner for bell’s palsy or other medical concerns. The cups provide a deep cleanse by dislodging dead skin cells and congestion, provides collagen stimulation for wrinkles and reduces fluid retention to kiss away eye bags.

CUPPING FOR CELLULITE

Mechanical manipulation is probably the most effective method to reduce the appearance of cellulite. Just a 10min massage at home while watching TV or having a professional course with your local spa will provide jaw-dropping results in just 2 weeks. From the very first treatment, a result will be seen and felt, and cumulative results will be on the cards if you are consistent in your treatments. It is much like exercise, the more you do, the better your results.

DOES IT HURT?

The cup will leave a “cup-kiss” which may be misconstrued as a bruise. The mark has no sensation of pain and is purely an indication of the high level of toxins present in the blood. Relief can be felt immediately after the cups are removed.

MASSAGE THERAPY AND CUPPING

Cupping massage is versatile in the fact that it can be combined with basically any form of massage to increase on results.

Cupping massage can leave the client feeling like what we call a “Bellabaci Zombie”. This is because cupping provides the deepest sense of relaxation and It may take the client a bit longer to get changed after the massage! It is normal to feel thirsty after the session due to the massage being highly detoxifying. A fantastic feeling of release can be experienced on a physical, emotional and mental level.

If the suction is too much, there may be a pulling sensation as the upper layers are not prepared yet. Do tell your therapist to use less suction, it should never feel painful.

Massage cupping treatments are available at Sediko Bush Spa, One and Only Spa, Life Day Spa.

CUPPING TREATMENTS AT HOME

Home care for cupping is essential to assist with acute bouts of pain and to build cumulative results.

The Bellabaci 3 Step Rituals contains everything you need to perform a professional treatment at home. In the box you will find a set of cups in 2 strengths, which are soft and hard. The soft cup is used for the first month to treat the body gently, from the outside in. The upper layers of skin will need strengthening first, before you move on to the hard cup. If you begin with the hard cup and work to deep, it may be painful and lead to bruising. After one month, the hard cup is used on the firmer parts of the body and the soft cup for the more sensitive areas such as the inside of the upper arms and thighs. The massage oil should be applied liberally to aid the cup for smooth gliding.

10min a day, 2-3 times per week is more effective than a longer session once a week. Do consume 8 glasses of water per day to help the detoxification process along. It should never hurt or feel uncomfortable. Just adjust the suction to achieve a comfortable depth. Consistency is key, as with everything in life in order to achieve results!

Bellabaci home kits are available from Faithful to Nature, Yemaya Spa & Vitasoul.

ARTICLE BY KARIN VAN DER MERWE AT BELLABACI

International is a leader in modernised Cupping Massage Therapy and handcrafted health and wellness products. Bellabaci uses the latest in technology, science and eastern medicine to create superior quality products for luxury Spas and health-conscious consumers in USA, UK, Europe, Brazil, The Baltics, The East, Africa and more.

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SA Spa Association 2021 – Restructured, including FREE Membership

The South African Spa Association is the ambassador for the Spa Industry, with representation in all aspects related to spas, such as health and wellness, tourism and hospitality, education and training.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MEMBERSHIP?

In addition to Member Spa Certification, the list of FREE Benefits and Additional PAID Benefits for each member of the SA Spa Association is extensive, with new benefits being constantly added, we therefore encourage members to visit the website on a regular basis.

FREE MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS INCLUDE

  1. Spa Association Logo and Digital Certificate: All Spa Association members receive and are allowed to use the logo and certificate during active membership status on their website, collateral marketing material, promotions and client communication. Credibility with the client is established, as each spa is site inspected and conforms to the code of conduct and passes the Site Inspection.
    2. Regular Newsletters and Updates through the Website and Social Media Page
    3.  Free listing only on the SA Spa Association Website: includes name of spa, category, area, website (not linked) and Tel number.
    4.  Les Nouvelles Esthetiques Spa Conference, endorsed by the SA Spa Association: A discount for all spa association members attending the annual 2 day spa conference. South Africa’s leading educational event for spa, wellness and hospitality professionals.

ADDITIONAL PAID MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS

The SA Spa Association is based on a Project System, allowing spas to build their own spa membership puzzle and us as an Association to introduce more quality endorsed options to our members. In the case of all course, workshops and conferences attended, certificates will be issued to the attendees.

For more information on membership, membership categories, sponsorships or how your spa can participate in this important industry initiative, please contact us.

All spas need to complete an application form. Download here.

Contact South African Spa Association on 083 267 2773 or e-mail: info@saspaassociation.co.za.

All Eyes On My Brows

It’s all about  Brow Lamination, Lash Lifting and Henna Tinting – if this is the first time you’re hearing these words, don’t panic. They are all simple and painless processes that will leave you feeling fresher than ever! Trending at the moment, it will help us end our 2020 with a BANG….and banging brows and lashes!

These days’ people look at your eyebrows before they even look at your shoes. Due to wearing masks, the main focal point of the face has been eyes. Are you on board with the trend? Or are you like many of us looking for the easy solution to great brows and lashes.

All we seem to be doing is juggling Zoom meeting after Zoom meeting. One thing’s for sure you may get away with track pants and slippers but from shoulder up you need look picture perfect every day. Or shall I say “Zoom perfect” and you want to do it without spending hours in front of the mirror.

Beauty Warriors Hack: All you really need to have done are your brows and lashes and it changes your whole face as well as boosts your confidence.

NO MICROBLADING FOR YOU?

Beauty Warriors did some research into brow filling. How we could better improve our morning routine?

It takes a lot more work than expected to create a ‘natural’ beauty look every morning. Semi-permanent beauty treatments, such as eyebrows and eyelash tinting can streamline morning routines and avoid you having to add layers of make-up every day. There are days where you want to experiment with your look and then there are days when you just want to get going. We are here to help you get ready quicker so you can look effortlessly beautiful with minimal effort. A semi-permanent brow treatment seemed a natural progression and fit with our ‘less fuss’ beauty philosophy.

BROW LAMINATION

Brow lamination is a process whereby the brows hairs are “relaxed” and set into the desired position or style that the client is looking for. Whether it be a fluffed up brow or something more controlled, a brow lamination is a great way to be able to do your brows without worrying about it being permanent.

It typically lasts between 6-8 weeks and the results are insane! Brow lamination can be done on all sorts of brows. It can control or tame wild/course brows or give a fuller look to someone with minimal brow hair.

The process is about 45 minutes to an hour and is completely pain free (I know right? How exciting!) the brows are then shaped and tinted for a fuller brow effect.

Your old brows are history!

LASH LIFTING

Lash lifting is a process whereby the client’s lashes are folded back (curled) onto a silicone pad with the eyes closed and are relaxed and set in this position. The lift is essentially a “perm” without all the old nasty ingredients originally related to perming. There is actually a treatment in some brands products that strengthens and builds your lashes.

The lashes are then tinted to really bring out the eye. The desired curl can be achieved depending on what the client wants. It can also be done on most lashes and will last between 6-8 weeks!

This process takes about an hour and a half in combination with the brow lamination. The outcome of the process allows for the eye to have a “lifted” effect and the lashes look longer and fuller. Mascara look without having to use mascara.

HENNA FOR YOUR BROWS?

Until now, we have been filling in our brows with makeup pencils and brow gels. We tried this semi-permanent eyebrow treatment myself and we must say that we were very happy with the results. Our model chose a dark brown henna, that is a shade darker than her hair colour. Beauty therapists always advise you to go for a more natural look but when it comes to brows, our model is all about the drama.

5 MIN TO GREAT BROWS

Henna brows are applied just like a regular brow tint would be. You paint the product on, wait 5 minutes and then gently remove. Henna is a natural plant pigment from the Hina tree making it perfect for sensitive skin types. I would still recommend trying the tint on your arm first before applying to your face just in case you do have a reaction or experience sensitivity. It’s less intense and less-permanent than micro-blading and lasts for up to four weeks with no pain or downtime.

The process was quick, easy, and painless. Once our model was done her beauty therapist handed her the mirror to assess her new brows. On inspection, they’re darker than my usual brow tint and I love them! I feel so beautiful.

Having gently cleansed my face that evening, and again the following morning, she examined her brows in the bathroom mirror and surprisingly, they’re as perfect as if I’d spent five minutes filling them in. They’re bold, defined and appear completely natural. I only needed to brush them up before I’m out the door.

HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR HENNA BROWS

Avoid cleansing the brow area on the day of treatment. My boyfriend commented on how great they looked and best of all, three weeks later and I’ve only just rekindled my relationship with Elizabeth Arden Brow Gel which I glide over my brows for a more defined shape. It seems henna brows are right in line with my busy business woman routine. I highly recommend this experience.

These brows cost our model R350 and our model went to a lady who works from home in Pretoria. I recommend inquiring about this treatment at your nearest beauty salon today.

3 MAKE UP TIPS FOR GREAT BROWS

  1. Map your brows out – see that they start and end where they are supposed to and that they are both equal, otherwise clean up the extra hairs or fill in the gaps where you need to
  2. Find a product that works for you – it could be powder, pomade or pencil but you will see what gives you your desired effect 
  3. Your brows should always be a shade darker than the hair on your head to bring out and frame your eyes 

Thanks to Bianca McCann, professional make-up artist, for her contributions to this article. Follow her on Instagram.

 

FaceGym: Don’t skip face day!

With exercise showing benefits that go far beyond the gym and a healthy heart rate, people are looking for new workouts and all the physical, mental and emotional benefits they bring. There are no shortages of ways to strengthen our bodies but do we ever consider our most visible muscles? The ones we think to exercise the least? FaceGym (also known as face yoga) just may be a good, safe alternative to traditional facelifts.

WHAT IS FACEGYM?

FaceGym was developed in London in 2016 to help people tone their facial muscles, improve skin elasticity, and work towards a more vital appearance.

Workouts use a variety of kneading, flicking and pressure techniques to warm up the muscles before the fun begins. The workout includes cardio-simulating massages, mild impulse therapy with the FaceGym Electro Pro, and a cool-down session with stone rollers. From start to finish, the process follows the warm-up, exercise, and cool-down arc of any other effective muscle exercise.

But strengthening and toning are only part of the benefits of FaceGym. As with all muscles, regular stretching and exercise aren’t just about strength and fitness, but also flexibility. Working the facial muscles helps to lower strain and improve blood flow. This is linked to fewer migraines caused by tension in the face and neck.

FaceGym workouts also help produce collagen: a natural protein in the body responsible for skin texture and reducing inflammation.

WARM-UP

It starts with removing all makeup and cosmetics. You can come in with your game face already on or have it cleared at the centre. The important thing is to make sure your skin is ready for the essential oils, moisturisers and contact from expert hands.

The session starts with a stress ball massage to stretch and warm up the muscles. Every major muscle in the brow, cheeks, jaw, temple, neck and upper chest is stretched. Although this is an exercise for the facial muscles, stimulating blood-flow from the chest up ensures a more effective workout.

CARDIO & TONING

The cardio session ramps up the stimulation with a deep tissue massage to the face’s major muscle groups. The heat and pressure of strong circulation also carries more oxygen through the vessels, releasing energy into the muscles. This part of the process has many of the same sensations as a good jog.

The middle third of the main workout focuses on toning. This is done mainly through an electric pulse device called the FaceGym Electro Pro. The mild electro-pulses help the muscles contract and flex and is painless for the most part. Electronic impulse devices are mostly used to firm up targeted muscles, but have also been used to relieve chronic pain.

The main workout ends with a skin IV treatment. Your FaceGym trainer starts with a deep cleanse of your skin to remove impurities and prepare it for the final part. The treatment is done through a high-pressure air IV that pushes an exfoliating solution into the skin without the need to break through the skin barrier.  One of the main benefits of this solution is its anti-oxidising agents, which help to prevent cell damage.

COOL-DOWN

With the muscles warm and energised, it’s time for the final part of the FaceGym treatment. The trainer cools and stretches the muscles one last time with jade rollers. Not only does this help to lower lactic acid build-up, but cooling the muscles post-workout lowers the risk of strains and kick-starts the recovery process.

IS FACEGYM FOR ME?

Like with any exercise, you have to decide what works best for you.

Many people would like to tone their jawlines and improve contours around their cheeks.  One of the biggest struggles with working out is that we can’t actually target where our bodies burn or store fats. That’s just down to genetics. That said, one of the key benefits to muscle workouts is that stronger muscles burn more fat and help give a more toned look overall.

The other good news is FaceGym’s health benefits aren’t just based on aesthetics. Cardio workouts in the face and neck have shown to relieve tension headaches by relaxing the muscles and stimulating blood flow. There’s also something to be said for the relaxation that comes with a trained professional helping you through the entire process.

If you have sensitive skin, however, you should sit with a trained professional to discuss any potential side effects. As with any exercise or treatment, it should be safety first.

Currently, the official FaceGym centres are only available in London, New York and Los Angeles. There is, however, a growing number of wellness centres offering similar treatments in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Images courtesy of https://www.instagram.com/facegym.

Fixing My Broken Vajayjay Part 2

We continue with our second instalment regarding cures for Vaginismus. The first part can be found here.

PSYCHOTHERAPY FOR VAGINISMUS

What keeps on coming up is the need to address the psychological aspect of vagnismus, and not just the physical. I know what you thinking, it’s just going to be a lot of talking and how is that going to help?

First step is to book with the right professional. It needs to be with a sex therapist or a psychologist that has a strong focus in sexual therapy. The psychological fear response of having sex can be so strong that it can make penetration absolutely impossible. The fear needs to be unpacked for you to understand what is driving the fear and then overcome it.

It could be anything, the fear of losing control, a negative sexual experience, anticipating pain due to conditioning. Also, religious beliefs, sexual abuse, a medical trauma, relationship issues and the list goes on.

The therapy will also give you more insight into yourself and break the belief that Vaginismus is “all in your head”. It helps you to discover a deep connection with your pelvis and teaches you that penetration is ok.

Team Beauty Warriors strongly suggests that you include your partner in these sessions when you are comfortable. The impact of you withdrawing in intimacy often leaves your partner feeling like they have done something wrong. This can lead to more relationship issues.

BOTOX FOR YOUR BITS

This is an option to help overregulated muscle contractions. Botulinum toxin was first used as a purely medical treatment for migraines, teeth grinding, neck spams, overactive bladder etc. It would make sense to use it in the treatment of Vaginismus. The vaginal muscles are in a constant state of tightness and varying degrees of spasm.

The right dosage of botulinum toxin would assist in relaxing the muscle and deregulating the stress response to the area. This makes penetration easier, reducing the fear and helping with the pain cycle. This can be done by an aesthetic medical practitioner, a doctor who specialises in woman’s sexual health or a fertility doctor.

Other medical interventions which could be incorporated are anti-anxiety and muscle relaxant medication.

WarningWe never recommend vaginal botulinum toxin done in isolation. Vaginismus needs a multi-disciplinary approach for effective treatment and results.

CLINICAL HYPNOTHERAPY AS AN OPTION

“Hypnotherapy is an altered state of consciousness similar to relaxation, meditation, and prayer. Once in these altered states, access is provided to deeper levels of the psyche,” explains Dr Elmari Mulder Craig. Dr Mulder Craig is a European-Certified Sexologist and Relationship Expert, Clinical Hypnotherapist and Psychotherapist. She is also a part of the My Sexual Health team.

She is one of South Africa’s best-known sexologists. A globally recognized authority in the fields of sexuality and relationships and has 25 years’ experience in private practice. Dr Mulder Craig goes on to say, “Trauma can also induce powerful biochemical responses in the brain. The brain becomes habituated to these same biochemical responses. The body-mind is set to maintain a state of vigilance to protect from further assault.”

This would certainly be the case for woman you suffer from Vaginismus. The cellular memory of a sexual abuse or trauma related to the pelvic floor region unconsciously reacts in a protective state. The muscles go into an involuntary spam just thinking about penetration.

Dr Mulder Craig explains, “For many childhood sexual abuse survivors, sexuality has become associated with a very negative and humiliating experience. The body and sexual pleasure, is seen as dirty and disgusting.”

“Sexual activity can trigger flashbacks in which one experiences the emergence of old traumatic memories. It can also evoke feelings of pain, fear, betrayal, guilt, shame, revulsion, and helplessness. Aversion to sexuality may cause some to completely shut down.”

WHAT IS HYPNOTHERAPY?

In the therapeutic process of deep healing and release of past traumas, the three most important elements are:

  1. The Energetic Somatic release of the painful emotions which in turn releases the shock and body armouring. This is embedded in the body’s musculature and nervous system.
  2. Containment of the process and the client’s energy. The hypnotic trance is induced, managed and terminated all in an orderly way. The therapist titrate the emotions through the extinguishing process and to help the client create a safe resource state. With anchors that they can always return to and use as a refuge when they feel overwhelmed. Ego strengthening is begun before the therapeutic part of the session, and continued throughout the corrective experiences of empowerment.
  3. The Corrective Experience. Whether there is an abreaction or not the adult part comes in to express for the child. Being in a hypnotherapy state creates a safe space to release childhood trauma. This is what the child could not express at the time of the trauma thus overcoming early inhibitions. The child’s experience is legitimized in. The client learns to attribute the abusive behaviour to the abuser, not accepting blame themselves. This in turn helps to discriminate between self-identity and introjected qualities taken on from others. They reconnect memories and emotions to events, giving meaning to past events that were traumatic. Neural integration is being achieved.

HOW DOES HYPNOTHERAPY WORK?

“When we reach our clients in their physical and emotional experience, as well as their cognitive and mental understanding shifts can take place.” Dr Mulder Craig stresses “Talking alone is not sufficient to heal trauma. The memories are carried deep in the unconscious embedded in the body. Recording ‘fears set down at a young age’ in the amygdala, the one part of the brain that never forgets. That’s why therapy is seldom successfully done in one or two sessions.”

She adds, “The beauty of hypnotherapy is that we can follow the bridge that takes us through the life of a person. It helps us get right to the sources of dysfunctional patterns and anxiety. Hypnotherapy treats the complete mind, body and emotions as one complete package, and we can do that all at the same time.”

Team Beauty Warriors had to give clinical hypnotherapy a bash. We would definitely say that is works. It leaves you feeling extremely liberated once you have off loaded. However we must admit that you need to be open to it. Like any therapy it is something that you can doubt or resist. Or else it simply won’t work. Promise you are not going to cluck like a chicken or do hands stands and not remember. You are fully aware of what is going on around you; you are just in a very relaxed state.

OTHER RECOMMENDED MODALITIES

It is all about getting your pelvis in a state of relaxation. Getting to know what works for you and then find the combination that yields best results. So the other treatments that you may want to investigate are:

  • Yoga
  • Pilates to strength your core. Ensure that you breath to relax the pelvic floor muscles in the exercise
  • Stretch therapy
  • Trauma release therapy
  • Connective tissue massage
  • Cranial sacral therapy

Our parting words – Become aware of the emotional stresses in your life. Listen to how your body reacts and which stresses trigger pelvic floor pain. Use the above therapies to help regulate your negative responses to these stresses. Massage, extended foreplay can help relaxation before sex. Your position during sexual activity is important; explore what works for you to enjoy free pain sex.

How to Help Someone With Depression?

It seems 2020 was the year that broke everyone. Whether it was fears of the pandemic, isolation, financial struggles or uncertainty about the future, mental health took a toll.

According to statistics from the South African Depression & Anxiety Group (SADAG), 1 in 5 South Africans will experience a depressive episode in their lives. Tragically, two-thirds of these people will not receive treatment.

WHAT DOES DEPRESSION LOOK LIKE?

SADAG indicates that someone suffering from a depressive episode may suffer from the following:

  • Feeling sad, anxious or “empty” most of the time
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed
  • Feeling hopeless about life
  • Feeling helpless or guilty
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Loss of energy, feeling “slow” or fatigued
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts
  • Restlessness, irritability, anger
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering things or making decisions
  • Physical symptoms that don’t respond to treatment, such as headaches, stomach pain, back pain, chest pain, despite being checked by a doctor

A person with depression may suffer from a few of these indicators or many. Depression takes many forms.

With so many people who suffer from a mental illness, therefore it’s very possible someone you may know does too. How do you even begin to help them?

UNDERSTANDING DEPRESSION

The best way to help your loved one is to try and understand what they are going through. Try and research their mental illness. There is a lot of stigma and misinformation about mental illnesses, so being informed will be beneficial. It will also make the your friend feel seen and understood. Depression is very isolating and treating it like the case of “the blues” can be disheartening for the person suffering. This will only make them create emotional walls around them. Avoid using phrases like “Pull yourself together” or “Get over it”.

If they are on medication, take the time to understand the side effects which also might affect their behaviour.

A FRIEND INDEED

Depression can convince a person that they are a burden whom no one wants to deal with. Therefore as a friend, you need to show that you care.

It is vital to listen, rather than speak and also not to take up space talking about your own experiences. Depression makes it hard for people to open up, so when they do, allow them that space. Let them tell you what they need and how you can assist, rather than assuming you know best.

They may withdraw in their depression. Let them know you are thinking of them by text and phone call. Continue to include them in invites to do things.

It is important to remember that depression is an illness, therefore try not to judge or blame them for their actions. However, persistent toxic behaviour should be called out if it is hurting the people and relationships around them. It is common for a depressed person to lash out at those around them – don’t take it personally!

ACTIVE STEPS TO TAKE

You cannot change feeling depressed but you can change how you cope with it. Someone who suffers from depression may feel unmotivated to do anything, however this will contribute to them feeling “useless”. Therefore it would help to gently encourage them to do daily tasks – nothing too big though, as they may become overwhelmed. Start off with “workable tasks”:

  1. Something they can control (i.e., it doesn’t depend on others)
  2. Manageable (i.e., not overwhelming)
  3. Realistic for them (not for someone else)
  4. Measurable (i.e., they know whether or not it is done or getting done)

Light exercise helps too. Adding endorphins will always be a good pick-me-up.

Maintaining a good sleep schedule is also a key factor. Sleeping too little or too much will negatively impact your mental health.

It is important to also practice mindfulness and self-compassion during these times. Dr Kirstin Neff of says, “Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings – after all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect?”. Dr Neff has included several exercises on her website that may help your loved one.

Should there be little or no improvement or episodes become more frequent, consider encouraging therapy. So many people see psychologists nowadays for all manner of things – there is no shame in needing some outside input. SADAG has many resources on getting the help needed as well as talking to trained counsellors.

DON’T POUR FROM AN EMPTY CUP

Unfortunately caring for a person with a mental illness may start taking it’s toll. It is important to set up boundaries and give time and energy when you have the capacity to do so. It is possible to help, while putting yourself first.

When things feel hard, take a step back and re-evaluate. Know when you have reached the limit on what you can handle and when to hand the reins over to a professional. Your need for assistance in the matter is valid.

If you feel like your loved one is at risk of harming themselves, please contact the South African Depression & Anxiety Group 24-hour suicide prevention line on 0800 567 567.

Does Alkaline Water Actually Work?

When water claims to be anti-aging, then you know it’s going to sell by the gallon. It is said that drinking alkaline water helps slow down the aging process, prevents chronic diseases and regulates your body’s pH levels. The reasoning is that alkaline water assists to neutralise acid levels in the body, which normal water can’t do.

Here’s the elevator pitch: We ingest far too many foods that are high in acid. Meat, fish, sugars, processed grains, fizzy drinks, alcohol and coffee are among the culprits. Hence we need to neutralise the effect of these foods in our body. Water that is ‘alkalised’ with a higher pH does the counterbalances these acidic foods.

WHAT IS ALKALINE WATER?

It is all about the pH, alkaline water is water that has been ionized, which means the pH level of water is higher. Normal drinking water generally has a neutral pH of 7. A substance with a pH under 7 is more acidic and higher would be alkaline.

Typically alkaline water has a pH of 8-9. Alkaline water must also contain alkaline minerals and negative oxidation reduction potential (ORP). ORP gives the alkaline water its anti-oxidant value.

WHAT’S ALL THE HYPE ABOUT?

Well celebrities have done the big uptake – Beyoncé and Miranda Kerr are reportedly hooked. The likes of Cameron Diaz and Gwyneth Paltrow and Mark Wahlberg, who endorses a brand with a higher pH, have all been spotted drinking it.

Alkaline water brands claims together with celebrity marketing make it seem like miracle water.  Here are some of the manufacturers’ claims:

  • Anti-aging properties (via liquid antioxidants that absorb more quickly into the human body)
  • Improves the appearance of skin, hair and nails
  • Can help with weight loss
  • Immune system support
  • Detoxifying properties
  • Superior hydration
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Cancer resistant
  • Increased energy levels
  • Colon cleansing properties

DOES IT REALLY WORK?

Alkaline water has caused a huge amount of controversy. Most medical experts believe that there is not enough research and scientific evidence to support all the health claims. There are also differences in findings due to various brands having varied pH levels.

The one claim that has sound value is that alkaline water can treat acid reflux. Makes sense if you think about it, as the water hits the stomach it should neutralise the excessive acid. A study published in the Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology found that water with a pH of 8.8 deactivates pepsin, a digestive enzyme found in the stomach. Pepsin is the main enzyme that causes acid reflux.

Another study of 100 people found a noteworthy difference in the blood viscosity after consuming alkaline water. This was compared to regular water after strenuous exercise. Viscosity is the direct measurement of how efficiently blood flows through the vessels. The researchers proposed having thinner blood could help people get oxygen more efficiently after exercise.

According to a study published in the Shanghai Journal of Preventive Medicine, drinking alkaline water may be beneficial for people who suffer from high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

THE RISKS OF ALKALINE WATER

Our body’s blood pH levels are regulated at 7.35 to 7.45, which is already slightly alkaline, similar to tap water. Ingesting a higher pH in large quantities may cause complications.

It could have the reverse effect to the acid reflux benefit and have a negative effect on your digestive system. Significantly lowering your natural stomach acid, which kills bacteria could lead to other complications. This may also lead to gastrointestinal and skin issues.

THE BOTTOM LINE

If you are jumping on this trend, ensure that you are drinking naturally filtered alkaline water without contaminants. This is considered as safe as it is infused with natural minerals. However artificially sourced alkaline water is advised against as it may not contain many minerals. This could affect your digestive system and cause mineral loss.

Beauty Warriors conclusion is that, it not necessarily better or unsafe. The issue is the extensive health claims that the manufactures proclaim. This is what most medical professionals will tell you as well.

You can purchase alkaline water at some supermarkets, online or at health stores. You can also purchase water ionizers for home use or make your own. Use baking soda which is alkaline and has a pH level of 9.

You will need about four litres of water, mix in a half tablespoon of baking soda. Shake until the baking soda dissolves completely. Once dissolved, and then have a glass. You can also add a bit of lemon juice to it as this becomes alkaline when ingested.

Fixing My Broken Vajayjay! Part 1

There is no need to live with sexual pain in the 21st century. In our first installment we explained what Vaginismus is, a condition associated with sexual anxiety and pain. Now we are taking a look at the cure.

We live in such a technological advanced world that will soon have door-to-door drone pizza delivery. So why is there so little written and spoken about women’s sexual pain in South Africa?

“30 percent of women reported some difficulty with pain the last time they had sex”, according to an article in Psychology Today.

Our focus in this article is to cover what can be done about it and the different treatment modalities available. Because guess what? There is a lot you can do!

BEAUTY WARRIORS DEEP DIVE

We are excited to say that Beauty Warriors research uncovered a multitude of options that can assist with Vaginismus. Clinical hypnotherapy to Botox and all the in between. On a more serious note, our investigation revealed that a visit to a specialist physiotherapist or a session with a sexual psychologist does wonders. Sounds a little extreme?

In actual fact, Vaginismus is a condition that more often than not needs a multi-disciplinary approach. The key point being that you need to figure out what works for you. The psychological role of the fear response is real and does need to be addressed when looking at a treatment program.

South Africa has finally caught up with the world and women now have varied options to consider. A proper diagnosis is the first step – this condition is often not properly diagnosed.

The best option is a gynaecologist that has sexual dysfunction training, a woman’s health physiotherapist or book an appointment at My Sexual Health. There are so many conditions associated with painful intercourse that correct diagnosis is important.

VAGINISMUS VS DYSPAREUNIA

Often confused with Vaginisumus, the most common condition associated with painful intercourse is Dyspareunia.

Dyspareunia can be superficial or deep. Superficial dyspareunia occurs in or around the vaginal entrance. Common symptoms include superficial vulval pain, itching, burning and stinging. Pain may be constant but can also be triggered by nonsexual activities such as exercise.

Common causes may be inadequate lubrication, vaginal infection, topical irritants, urethral problems, radiotherapy or sexual trauma. Deep dyspareunia, pain resulting from pelvic thrusting during intercourse, is common. It may be caused by pelvic inflammatory disease, local surgery, endometriosis, genital or pelvic tumors, irritable bowel syndrome, urinary tract infections or ovarian cysts.

BREAK THE PAIN CYCLE

Once you have your diagnosis that it is Vaginismus, we would strongly advise seeing someone like Hester Van Aswegen, a woman’s health physiotherapist. She deals with pelvic floor dysfunction as well as ante- and post-natal physio. The main area of focus is to break the cycle of pain.

“Vaginismus is curable, 100% curable.” says Van Aswegen, “It takes time and guidance and it takes an approach that addresses the issues that contribute to this. You cannot begin to treat vaginismus unless you address the physical, psychological and the social problems associated with it.”

WHAT ARE PELVIC FLOOR MUSCLES?

They are like a hammock or a sling, and they support the bladder, uterus, prostate and rectum. They also wrap around your urethra, rectum, and vagina (in women). These muscles must be able to contract to maintain continence, and to relax allowing for urination and bowel movements, and in women, sexual intercourse. With Vaginismus, these muscles go into an involuntary spasm from fear of pain.

“The goal is to achieve good relaxation of the pelvic floor to allow for pain-free sex and also normal function of the pelvic floor so that there are no other problems with the bladder or bowels either”,  Van Aswegen explains. “We want to teach a woman to have control over her body and give her the tools to manage the condition. For some it is once off and for others they might need to manage it for the rest of their lives.”

VAGINISMUS PHYSIOTHERAPY PROGRAM

– Pelvic floor physical therapy can include manual therapy techniques e.g. myofascial and trigger point release. Scar tissue mobilisation as well as neural mobilisation to reduce tension and muscle spasm.

– Breathing techniques to increase relaxation of the muscles in this area. Van Aswegen empathises, “It is essential to teach correct breathing and mindfulness/awareness of tension patterns in the body and what is happening in pelvic floor muscles during everyday life.”

– Rehabilitation and exercises to normalise the muscles are part of the treatment. Often includes stretching and relaxation type exercises as well as postural and core exercises as needed.

– Women can use vaginal dilators to stretch the muscles physically, which help desensitise the area. They also help you become less fearful of touch and more comfortable to insert something into the vagina.

– Machines used can include biofeedback – to down train or strengthen the muscles if necessary and also other methods like dry needling / tens / electrotherapy.

Aswegen concludes by saying that, “Home exercises include lots of breathing techniques, relaxation, stretches and dilator use. Then eventually following a sensate focus programme and reintroducing sexual intercourse once it is pain-free to insert a dilator into the vagina.”

Look out for Part 2, coming in out in a few days where we look at other cures such as psychotherapy, hypnotherapy and botox!

Beauty Bargains: New Online Beauty Store

After the financial strain of living in a pandemic, being able to get beauty products as at bargain prices is a life saver!

Beauty Bargains SA is a platform that brings you your favourite, high quality products at the best possible prices. Prices are discounted by at least 20% off of all listed recommended selling prices.

Linked to the store is an affiliate program which can be joined by anyone, and it is completely free. As an affiliate you have the opportunity to earn 10% back in cash on all purchases made through your affiliate link. Your affiliate link can be shared with your friends, family and colleagues.

The bigger purpose behind Beauty Bargains SA is to create a ‘pay it forward’ platform where everyone has the opportunity to make a little extra money by being supported by their friends, who in return are supported by their respective friends and networks.

The platform is still growing but in the future will feature products ranging from skin, body, nails, perfume, accessories, jewellery etc.

Looking great has never felt this good.

Find them on Facebook & Instagram

Professional Beauty to host live event in November

The Professional Beauty Buyers Forum & Conference will take place on 1 and 2 November at Gallagher Convention Centre, with all COVID-19 safety protocols and social distancing regulations in place.

Not only will this exciting networking event be jam-packed with informative seminars presented by top speakers in all things beauty, nails, spa and medical aesthetics, there will also be a table top sales forum, where delegates will be able to interact with top brands.

The event comprises the Medical Aesthetics Conference, which takes place on 1 November, while the Professional Beauty Conference will run on 2 November.

Says Phil Woods, commercial director of Professional Beauty SA: ‘The COVID-19 pandemic lockdown prohibited us from holding our annual trade shows in Durban and Cape Town, as well as our flagship Johannesburg event in September. After months of hosting free online industry seminars, it’s now time for us to connect with industry stakeholders in person.

“Obviously, safety is a primary concern, so all delegates, speakers and exhibitors will be required to wear a face mask. Social distancing is strictly controlled at Gallagher Convention Centre, which has 60 automatic hand sanitsers. We will register each and every single attendee. Visiting this event will be safer than visiting a shopping mall as all delegates’ details are recorded just as if visiting a salon or spa.”

A nominal fee of R550 per day will be charged per delegate for access to the seminars and the Buyers Forum, as well for lunch and refreshments. Due to social distancing regulations, numbers are limited.

Avoid disappointment and book your seat by clicking here.