…it was a real discovery. I assume most of you would have heard about acupuncture by now, yes you know the one, that treatment where you have pins stuck into your body. You must be asking yourself “now where’s the appeal in that?”
When I came to try it for the first time I went to the session underprepared with a friend (the one in the header picture). Traditional Chinese Medicine is highly regarded here in Malaysia.
It was very easy to find a suitable healing and relaxation centre just a few street away from my home in Kuala Lumpur, right in China town. To be honest with you, we were both a little naïve and with only a minimal view of what to expect.
That’s why I am here to help you out and give you a few key pointers about how to prepare for your first session.
My first visit was full of little surprises and one of the main things I learned was the various different styles and techniques of acupuncture that were available.
Having an awareness and knowledge of what to expect will hopefully give you that little bit of confidence to go and try it out and ease your mind of those posing questions to ensure there are no surprises when you go and give Acupuncture a whirl. 😉
∴The main “need to knows”
So before you got to your first session there are a few things you just need to know:
We’ve all done it, felt a bit off colour or sick and then cancelled an appointment. Acupuncture can actually treat more than pain and can even be used to treat your annoying cold or stomach bug or even further medical conditions such as stress or other types of disorders.
You should always eat and never make the mistake of attending an acupuncture session on an empty stomach. Eating prior to treatment, even if only a small snack helps ensure the body has enough energy. This is known to assist in acupunctures treatment potential. If you don’t eat you may experience dizzy spells or feel light headed.
If your thoughts were anything like mine, I was always under the impression that you had to remove your close for acupuncture, just like you would for a massage. This is not the case.
Although Acupuncturists obviously have to access areas under your clothes they intend to ensure that skin is exposed in small portions. Loose clothing is always a good idea.
When I went for my first Acupuncture I was asked a number of what could be in the views of some people awkward or embarrassing questions. Do not be alarmed this is just a simple way for the Acupuncturists to find out more about you your health and lifestyle and what you hope to achieve from taking part in the treatment.
∴ The equipment really isn’t that scary
By my own admissions I take hygiene very seriously and one of my initial concerns was to do with the equipment used.
I had no reason to worry:
Acupuncture needles are not the same as hypodermic ones they are thinner and more flexible
Needles are not reused
Needles are not the only equipment there is other equipment or techniques
Quite often one treatment is not sufficient and further sessions may be required
∴How did I feel?
My first session of Acupuncture left me feeling totally relaxed, invigorated and to an extent relieved of some of my pains. I would describe Acupuncture as a pleasurable and easily tolerable pain that after every session left me feeling ecstatic.
So now I have settled your concerns all that is left to do is for you to give it a try. I assure you that once you have tried it you will only want more. Go and see for yourself and you’ll feel that relaxed it will be as if you are walking with one foot off the ground.
This year I made myself a promise that I was going to take time for myself. Whether it is five minute or maybe an hour to do something that relaxes me or de-stresses me. Today I am sharing with you one of those things which is taking bubble baths. I also wanted to share my three essential products that make my bath time extra special.
∴A bit of History
The Onsen is the Japanese bathing ritual based on soaking in scalding bath water and sweating to achieve good health and relaxation.
Spiritual pursuits of purity, hygiene and ritual purification were an important part of Japanese culture and bathing was done communally without regard for division of the sexes.
What about Turkey? The Turkish bath is also called a Hammam.
It is an Arabic word meaning ‘spreader of warmth’ and represents in the East a very long and rich culture of bathing of the Romans, Ottomans, Persians and Arabs.
Nowadays, you can find a few hammam spa across Paris as well.
Hungary is the country that pops into my mind when I think bathing traditions. A traditional thermal bath dating back to the 16th century.
Nowadays, it is with no surprise that Hungary is the largest medicinal bath in all Europe! A stop in Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is a fabulous experience and an amazing week trip away.
∴ A Salt Bath
A salt bath is among the oldest baths out there, and has been used for many years to help people relax and unwind. Yes, a more leisurely soak with bathing ingredients carefully chosen will support internal cleansing, overall health and even to remedy specific ailments or injuries.
∴My Bath Essentials
1. Epsom Salt. High in magnesium, it has beneficial properties that can soothe the body, mind and soul. It is a must-have!
Improved heart and circulatory health, reducing irregular heartbeats, preventing hardening of the arteries, reducing blood clots and lowering blood pressure.
Improved ability for the body to use insulin, reducing the incidence or severity of diabetes.
Flushed toxins and heavy metals from the cells, easing muscle pain and helping the body to eliminate harmful substances.
Improved nerve function by electrolyte regulation. Also, calcium is the main conductor for electrical current in the body, and magnesium is necessary to maintain proper calcium levels in the blood.
Relieved stress. Excess adrenaline and stress are believed to drain magnesium, a natural stress reliever, from the body. Magnesium is necessary for the body to bind adequate amounts of serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical within the brain that creates a feeling of well being and relaxation.
2.Sea Salt. According to OrganicFact.com, the mineral content in Dead Sea salt have long been appreciated for their rejuvenating effects on the skin. Bathing in a Dead Sea salt solution helps in keeping the skin moisturized and revitalized.
3.Ground Ginger. Ginger, as we all know, has a peculiar fragrance and is a strong spice offering several beauty benefits. It is packed with antioxidants and is antiseptic in nature, which makes it extremely useful to resolve problems like signs of anti-ageing, acne, skin burns, but also… dandruff!
4.Apple Cider Vinegar
5. Baking Soda. Baking soda isn’t only for baking. Combined with water, it contains strong healing properties that help soothe the skin.
And, the OiB suggestion, some a few drops of lavender essential oil. (You know that I am a big fan of lavender essential oil. In my previous article, I mentioned its benefits to help falling asleep like a baby!) You can also use other essential oil made to ease the relaxation process:
Lavender – Calming
Grapefruit – Uplifting
Peppermint – Fatigue
Cedarwood – Depression
Chamomile & Rosemary – Headache
Thank you for stopping by, feel free to comment below 😉
Exhilarating, comfortable, and affordable are just some of the ways expats describe their life in Asia. I recall leaving China for Malaysia back in 2013 – and before UK to China in 2012 – I felt mixed feeling of excitement and fear of unknown.
Now, I look back and I know that squeezing my life into a suitcase and leaving our native Paris was the best decision that I could have possibly made. Because when you move away, when you turn your life into a journey filled with uncertainty, you grow up in unexpected ways.
You face new challenges, you get to know parts of you you didn’t know existed, you’re amazed at yourself and at the world. You learn, you broaden your horizons. You unlearn, and after coming down and embracing a few lessons, you start growing in humility. You evolve. You feel homesick… and you shape memories that will stay with you forever.
Today in OiB, I will use Angie Cartells original post published in Spanish in 2014 to convey the contradictions you experiment you live abroad. If you’ve ever lived away from home or embarked on a long journey, I’m sure you too have felt these 17 things that change forever when you live abroad.
1. ADRENALIN BECOMES PART OF YOUR LIFE.
From the moment you decide to move abroad, your life turns into a powerful mix of emotions – learning, improvising, dealing with the unexpected… All your senses sharpen up, and for a while the word “routine” is dismissed from your vocabulary to make space for an ever rising adrenalin thrill ride. New places, new habits, new challenges, new people. Starting anew should terrify you, but it’s unusually addictive.
2.BUT WHEN YOU GO BACK… EVERYTHING LOOKS THE SAME.
That’s why, when you get a few days off and fly back home, it strikes you how little everything has changed. Your life’s been changing at a non-stop pace, and you’re on holidays and ready to share all those anecdotes you’ve been piling up. But, at home, life’s the same as ever. Everyone keeps struggling with their daily chores, and it suddenly strikes you: life won’t stop for you.
3.YOU LACK THE (AND YET YOU HAVE TOO MANY) WORDS.
When someone asks you about your new life, you lack the right words to convey all you’re experiencing. Yet later, in the middle of a random conversation, something reminds you about ‘that time when’…, and you have to hold your tongue because you don’t want to overwhelm everyone with stories from your ‘other country’ and come across as pretentious.
4.YOU COME TO UNDERSTAND THAT COURAGE IS OVERRATED.
Lots of people will tell you how brave you are – they too would move abroad if they weren’t so scared. And you, even though you’ve been scared, too, know that courage makes up about 10% of life-changing decisions. The other 90% is purely about wanting it with all your heart. Do you want to do it, do you really feel like doing it? Then do it. From the moment we decide to jump, we’re no longer cowards nor courageous – whatever comes our way, we deal with it.
«It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.»
5. AND, SUDDENLY, YOU’RE FREE.
You’ve always been free, but freedom feels different now. Now that you’ve given up every comfort and made it work thousands of miles away from home… you feel like you’re capable of anything!
6.YOU NO LONGER SPEAK ONE PARTICULAR LANGUAGE.
Sometimes you unintentionally let a word from another language slip. Other times you can only think of a way of saying something… with that perfect word which, by the way, is in the wrong language. When you interact with a foreign language on a daily basis, you learn and unlearn at the same time. All the while you’re soaking up cultural references and swear words in your second language, you find yourself reading in your mother tongue so it won’t get rusty. Like that time when Homer took a home winemaking course and forgot how to drive.
7.YOU LEARN TO SAY GOODBYE… AND TO ENJOY YOURSELF.
You soon realize that now, most things and people in your life are just passing through, and you instinctively play down the importance of most situations. You perfect the right balance between bonding and letting go – a perpetual battle between nostalgia and pragmatism.
8. YOU HAVE TWO OF EVERYTHING.
Two SIM cards (one of them packed with phone numbers from all over the world), two library cards, two bank accounts… And two types of coins, which always end up mysteriously mixing when you’re about to pay for something.
9.NORMAL? WHAT’S NORMAL?
Living abroad, like traveling, makes you realise that ‘normal’ only means socially or culturally accepted. When you plunge into a different culture and a different society, your notion of normality soon falls apart. You learn there are other ways of doing things, and after a while, you too take to that habit you never thought you’d embrace. You also get to know yourself a little better, because you discover that some things you really believe in, while others are just a cultural heritage of the society you grew up in.
10.YOU BECOME A TOURIST IN YOUR OWN CITY.
That tourist trap you may not have visited in your country only adds up to the never-ending list of things to do in your new home, and you soon become quite the expert on your new city. But when someone comes over for a few days and asks for some suggestions, you find it really hard to recommend but a few things – if it were up to you, you’d recommend visiting everything!
I try to head home once a year, and each time, the same scenario happens: I succeed to get lost in the parisian metro, see myself checking and re-checking the metro map hoping to arrive on time when meeting friends.
11.YOU LEARN HOW TO BE PATIENT… AND HOW TO ASK FOR HELP.
When you live abroad, the simplest task can become a huge challenge. Processing paperwork, finding the right word, knowing which bus to take. There’s always moments of distress, but you’re soon filled with more patience than you ever knew you had in you, and accept that asking for help is not only inevitable, but also a very healthy habit.
12.TIME IS MEASURED IN TINY LITTLE MOMENTS.
It’s as if you were looking through the car window – everything moves really slowly at the back, in the distance, while in front of you life passes by at full speed. On the one hand, you receive news from home – birthdays you missed, people who left without you getting the chance to say goodbye one last time, celebrations you won’t be able to attend. On the other hand, in your new home life goes by at top speed. Time is so distorted now, that you learn how to measure it in tiny little moments, either a Skype call with your family and old friends or a pint with the new ones.
13.NOSTALGIA STRIKES WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT.
A food, a song, a smell. The smallest trifle can overwhelm you with homesickness. You miss those little things you never thought you’d miss, and you’d give anything to go back to that place, even if it were just for an instant. Or to share that feeling with someone who’d understand you…
14.BUT YOU KNOW IT’S NOT WHERE, BUT WHEN AND HOW.
Although deep down, you know you don’t miss a place, but a strange and magical conjunction of the right place, the right moment and the right people. That year when you traveled, when you shared your life with special ones, when you were so happy. There’s a tiny bit of who you were scattered among all the places you’ve lived in, but sometimes going back to that place is not enough to stop missing it.
I’m sure you’ve heard about life-changing trips. Well, they’re not a commonplace – living abroad is a trip that will profoundly change your life and who you are. It will shake up your roots, your certainties and your fears. Living in Edinburgh changed us forever in many ways, and if it weren’t for that experience, we probably wouldn’t be about to embark on our next life adventure right now. Maybe you won’t realise it, or even believe it, before you do it. But after some time, one day you’ll see it crystal clear. You’ve evolved, you’ve got scars, you’ve lived. You’ve changed.
16.YOU FIT YOUR HOME INTO A SUITCASE.
From the moment you squeeze your life into a suitcase (or, if you’re lucky with your airline, two), whatever you thought ‘home’ was doesn’t exist anymore. Almost anything you can touch can be replaced – wherever you travel, you’ll end up stockpiling new clothes, new books, new mugs. But there will come a day when you’ll suddenly feel at home in your new city. Home is the person traveling with you, the people you leave behind, the streets where your life takes place. Home is also the random stuff in your new flat, those things you’ll get rid of in the blink of an eye when the time to leave comes. Home is all those memories, all those long-distance calls with your family and friends, a bunch of pictures. Home is where the heart is.
17. AND… THERE’S NO TURNING BACK.
Now you know what it means to give up comfort, what starting from scratch and marveling at the world every day feels like. And it being such a huge, endless world… How could you choose not to keep traveling and discovering it?
Have you ever lived abroad? Is there anything you would add to this list? Drop us a comment and tell us about your experience!
When I started using coconut oil as an occasional deep conditioner for my hair, I also found quite a few sources saying it could be used as a natural deodorant. Nearly all skincare products or beauty products that are typically made with toxic and harmful ingredients can be made using coconut oil. Coconut oil deodorant is just another one to add to the list.
Disclosing today in OiB my personal experience in DIY homemade Deodorant.
So, you know me? I gave it a try, and it worked… kind of. It had to be reapplied later in the day, and didn’t work well in the heat of tropical climat or through a heavy workout. Coconut oil itself was not enought. I desperately wanted another solution, so when I ran out of deodorant over a month ago, I finally made my own.
∴Choosing Your Essential Oils
You can use whatever blend of essential oils you like in the recipe below, and I suggest putting at least one oil into your mix with antiseptic/antibacterial properties. Here are some natural antibacterial essential oils for you to consider:
The trick to tinkering with essential oils is knowing their strength. Lemon and lemongrass oils, for example, are very naturally strong. Just a few drops will do the trick in this DIY deodorant recipe, I personally used Tea-tree essential oil.
My advice when getting used to essential oils is to start small. Add a few drops, mix, smell, repeat. You can always add more, but you can’t take away.
∴DIY Deodorant Recipe
Materials & Supplies
Small, wide-mouth glass jar. You need to be able to get your fingers in there, because you apply this with your fingers.
1/4 cup baking soda – Baking soda absorbs moisture, which helps keep you dry.
10-15 drops essential oil of your choice – See the section above. If you don’t want to tinker, start with 5-8 drops of lavender, depending on how strong you want the scent to be.
Simple. You can basically make this DIY deodorant right in your jelly jar. Spoon in the baking soda, add your essential oil, and mix it up well. Voila!
∴How to Apply Your DIY Deodorant
It’s best to apply this right out of the shower. Give the jar a good shake before opening, then dip clean, dry fingers in, and pat the deodorant onto your pits. I do this over the sink, because it’s a little bit messier than applying stick deodorant. Pat – don’t rub – until the powder is no longer visible on your pits, and you’re good to go.