Herbs, Massage oil and Obsession

I love herbs. I am drawn to them (right now my husband says obsessed), but I never know as much as I would like about them. During my trainings for Arvigo Maya Abdominal Therapy I learned about the herbal formulations developed by Rosita Arvigo, and bought several herbs for personal use. I made tinctures from these herbs which was really fascinating and exciting for me. A tincture is a plant extract made by soaking herbs in liquid such as alcohol, vinegar, or glycerin.  This liquid can then be used therapeutically.  I decide to learn more about herbs and bought the book Homegrown Herbs: A Complete Guide to Growing, Using, and Enjoying More than 100 Herbs by Tammi HartungThis book was easy and extremely interesting to read and provided me with a lot of valuable and useful information. I now have many more books about herbs which I love!

I am always very excited to see the herbs emerge in my garden each year. It was delightful to choose the herbs and make space for them near my kitchen where I could watch them grow and have easy access to them, and each year I add a few more.  My son has taken a special liking to mint and likes to pick and eat a few leaves as he passes by. I have also planted rosemary, thyme, chives, lemon balm, basil, parsley, sage, catmint, calendula, elderberry, skullcap, feverfew, valerian and lavender.  Most of these are perennials so they should come back again each year. I love to see the things that I plant come back year after year- it’s like getting a bunch of presents every spring! I have used these herbs quite a bit in my cooking over the last few weeks, which by itself has huge health benefits. I just choose two or three herbs that I think go well together which will also complement whatever I am cooking.

These same herbs can be prepared in different ways and used medicinally. I use rosemary all the time when I roast chicken and vegetables. It is also said to have antibacterial and antiseptic properties. It is useful for the treatment of colds, flu and headaches. It can be infused into oil and used for massage of aching joints and painful muscles. I’ve found rosemary very easy to grow and use in my everyday cooking.  You can too! Choose an herb that you like and are most likely to use in your cooking.  Grow it somewhere convenient (often this can even be indoors).  Snip a few leaves to use next time you are cooking and you will be increasing the healing effect, and the flavor, of your food.  Let me know what herbs you love and how you like to use them. I can never know too much about those lovely herbs!

Five Easy Ways to Improve Your Health (and a Laugh)

Here are five simple ways you can improve your health every day.  Even if you add only one or two of these to your daily life you will be doing yourself a terrific favor!

1. Moving Along.  Drink warm or hot water every morning before you put anything else in your body. This helps to cleanse your system and get things moving along. For a greater effect add some lemon to your water.

2. Breathe Deeply.  Proper breathing is one of the most important contributors to good health. Breathe deeply, letting your belly be soft and expand as your lungs fill with air.  Allow your lungs to fill all the way to the bottom.

3. Spice It Up.  Use spices (such as turmeric, garlic, cumin, ginger and cinnamon) often and generously in your food and drink.  Food is medicine and spices have multitudes of antioxidants and healing properties.

4. Five Minute Massage.  Give yourself a five minute foot massage or belly rub each night before going to bed. Use plenty of warm oil such as olive, safflower or jojoba (organic if possible) and add a few drops of essential oil such as lavender or sweet orange for enhanced benefits. Both types of massage help you relax, destress and be present in your body.  Foot massage can access the reflexology points which correspond to all parts of your body; abdominal massage can improve digestion and elimination among many other benefits.


5. Plant Yourself.  Buy some indoor plants; they purify the air and increase the humidity, reducing allergies and sinusitis. Bringing nature into our homes helps us to feel happier, more grounded (my favorite word) and less stressed.


Laugh. Laughter decreases stress hormones and can act as a powerful muscle relaxer. Laughter can help you breathe deeper, strengthen your immune system, forget about pain and lower blood pressure. If you need a little help with this one and you like the plant tip then watch this little number.

Five Minutes to Care for Yourself

Hopefully we all know, even if we have not implemented it yet, the importance of self-care. As women, sometimes it is hard for us to make the time to do this on a regular basis (or at all).  We think there are so many things that need to be done before we make time to care for ourselves! Giving yourself a foot massage is something that will take you five minutes and can have a great return in the well-being department.  I find it especially helpful to quiet a busy mind and produce a peaceful night's sleep (also works well for the kids). Here are some guidelines for giving yourself a foot massage (or self-abhyanga). You can use whatever oil you have handy, and if you want to add a drop of lavender essential oil to your carrier oil, even better. If you choose to get more specific you can select an oil that is best suited to your type or dosha.  So tonight when you get ready for bed remember: five minutes to care for yourself is not a whole lot to ask. I know you would do it for someone you loved, why not for yourself?

Ground Yourself

I went on a nature walk with my husband and son last week. (Funny, I typed nurture instead of nature first.  Significant - I think so.) My family and I used to take walks on trails nearby our house about once a week for a few hours.  We have gotten out of the habit and I really miss it.  It is one of the best ways I have found to keep myself grounded. Grounded meaning sane, fairly relaxed and generally well balanced. I think it does the same for my kids (even if they don't want to admit it, and they usually complain about going).  Something about being outside in the woods, breathing in the fresh air and quiet with my feet touching the ground, makes me feel well. And happy. And at peace. The other things that do this for me are massage (of course), yoga and exercise, spending time with my family and friends, listening to music and using essential oils. OK, and also sometimes a great dessert, especially something warm and chocolaty.

What things make you feel grounded?  Do you take time to do these activities?  Or see these people?  We need to. This is how we keep ourselves healthy, happy and sane. It is good self-care; make it a priority.


Mayan Abdominal Massage and a great story...

I recently read a very interesting book. It was Sastun: My Apprenticeship with a Maya Healer by Rosita Arvigo. It is the story of how Rosita learned the Mayan art of natural healing from Don Elijio Panti, a well-respected healer in the rainforest of Brazil.

Why did I end up reading this book? I am interested in The Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy® which is taught by Rosita and the Arvigo® Institute. I am taking a self-care class offered by them in a few weeks and I am very excited about it. Mayan abdominal massage can help with symptoms such as painful or irregular menstrual cycles and ovulation, bladder or yeast infections, peri menopause, menopausal symptoms, infertility, PMS/Depression with menstruation, and can enhance pregnancy and aid in labor and birthing. The techniques work to restore the body to its natural balance by correcting the position of organs that have shifted and restrict the flow of blood, lymph, nerve and chi energy.

I read the book hoping to find out more about The Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy®.  I was surprised how much I enjoyed the actual story of Rosita’s time with Don Elijiio.  I think you might find it interesting too. 

For more information about The Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy® visit https://www.arvigotherapy.com.

Is Aromatherapy Just a Good Smelling Candle?

I used to think aromatherapy was something simple and fun, nothing that would really affect my health or well-being.  Just some body lotion or a candle that smelled yummy.  Um... I think I have changed my mind.

It started a few years ago when I began to use essential oils at home; a few drops of lavender here, a sprinkle of tea tree oil there.  The oils seemed to be quite effective, and they smelled great too - bonus!  Lately I have begun to use essential oils more and more - every day in fact.  I use them not only for myself, but for my friends and family as well.  I bought them intending to use them in large part for my clients.  As it turns out, I am using them in my own household even more.  Lavender for a burn, eucalyptus in the shower and in a chest rub for congestion, and ylang ylang and sweet orange in my ghee for my evening abhyanga (aka foot rub- I’ll cover that in another post).  I love using these incredibly lovely, effective, versatile and therapeutic oils.  I feel like I have my very own healing garden and chemistry set all rolled into one.

Essential oils can be used in room sprays, cleaning solutions, bath salts, massage oils, lotions, and salves.  They can be inhaled, put in the bath, and rubbed on the body (when diluted in carrier oil).  They can help with all kinds of common issues including muscle pain, hormonal balance, PMS, depression and anxiety, colds, cradle cap, insomnia, and fatigue.  How terrific is that?  Also, as a brilliant side effect, everyone comments on how great you smell.

If you are interested in learning more about essential oils I can recommend several good books.  My collection is growing by the day.

Blessings and be well,




Wellness in Bloom Massage & Bodywork for Women - Bolton, MA - 508.410.1138
Copyright © 2014, Rebecca Susi.  All rights reserved.
ARVIGO® and THE ARVIGO TECHNIQUES OF MAYA ABDOMINAL THERAPY® are trademarks owned by the Arvigo Institute, LLC and are used herein by permission of The Arvigo Institute, LLC. ©2016 by The Arvigo Institute LLC.  All Rights Reserved.