Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Seaweed

Another post from my aromatherapy blog...

Originally published: Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Aug/Sep 2005 Newsletter

Seaweed is our topic this month...

What is Seaweed?
Seaweed has long been reputed to remineralize and detoxify the body, revitalize the skin and heal wounds. In fact, French studies have shown that the minerals in seaweed do have the ability to penetrate the skin. But, can seaweed really reduce wrinkles, tighten the skin, and eliminate cellulite?

When it comes to skin, there's a lot to like about seaweed. It's packed with minerals, and nutrients like Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and essential fatty acids. However, to realize seaweed's full effects on the skin, the right amount must be applied. Most of the products on the market today contain miniscule amounts of seaweed and seaweed extracts. Hardly enough to make a difference on the skin, even when applied regularly.

Another consideration is that seaweed should be as pure as possible to ensure that its minerals and vitamins are retained. Buying dried seaweed, in its original sheet form, at the local health food store is one of the best ways to reap its benefits for the body. To maximize the benefits of the seaweed and to increase its penetration into the skin, the skin should be dry brushed with a natural bristle brush first to stimulate the outer layer of the skin.
Possibly, the best way to reap the benefits of seaweed is to incorporate it into your daily diet. It's no secret that what you put into your body ultimately reflects on the outside. Chopped seaweed can be tossed in salads, eaten with sushi, sprinkled into soups, and used in baked goods like cookies and breads.

Despite all its benefits, there is one seaweed claim that may not hold water. Seaweed has long been reported as a cure for cellulite. Most experts agree and studies have shown that seaweed does not cure cellulite. Cellulite is largely genetic, has nothing to do with how fit you are, and is virtually impossible to get rid of. Most of the products on the market today can only improve the appearance of cellulite and they do not contain seaweed as an active ingredient. The underlying cellulite is still there waiting for you to stop using the product so that it can make its comeback. If you can't afford the expensive spa treatments that are used nowadays to treat cellulite, an easy and cheap remedy is regular and vigorous massage of the affected area. This can be incorporated into a daily dry brushing routine.

Seaweed comes in several different forms:

Kelp-(Laminaria), the most prolific sea plant on America's shores, contains vitamins A, B, E, D and K, is a main source of vitamin C and rich in minerals.
Dulse-(Palmariapalmata), rich in iron, protein, and vitamin A, is delicious with walnuts, spinach and rice.
Kombu-(Laminaria digitata, setchelli, horsetail kelp) is a meaty, high-protein seaweed.
Hijiki-is a mineral-rich, high-fiber seaweed, with 20 percent protein, vitamin A, carotenes and calcium. Hijiki has the most calcium of any sea green, 1400 mg per 100 gr. of dry weight.
Wakame-(Alaria, undaria) is a high- protein, high- calcium seaweed, with carotenes, iron and vitamin C and is widely used in the Orient for hair growth and luster and for skin tone.
Nori-(Porphyra, laver) is a red sea plant with a sweet, meaty taste when dried.
Arame-(Eisenia bycyclis) is one of the ocean's richest sources of iodine.
Sea Palm-(Postelsia palmaeformis), American arame, grows only on the Pacific coast of North America. It has a sweet, salty taste that goes especially well as a vegetable, rice or salad topping.
Bladderwrack-Bladderwrack is packed with vitamin K, an excellent adrenal stimulant.
Irish moss-(Chondrus crispus, carrageen) is full of electrolyte minerals--calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium.

Recipe- Seaweed Mineral Spa Bath


High quality, dried seaweed can be purchased at health food stores. The cost is about $15.00 for a dried pound, which is enough for about five baths.

1. Boil water in a large pot filled about 3/4 full and remove from heat.

2. Add about 3 ounces of seaweed to hot water and steep for thirty minutes.

3. Fill bath with water, add seaweed "tea" to bath—seaweed and all.

4. Add 2 drops cypress essential oil, 3 drops lemon essential oil, 1 drop juniper essential oil, 1 drop lavender essential oil to the bath, if desired.

5. Relax in bath for twenty to thirty minutes.

6. Rub seaweed gently over skin, if desired, to transfer seaweed's gel to skin surface.

For best results do not rinse seaweed residue off skin for at least an hour. After your bath, pat skin dry with a towel, wrap yourself in a soft, warm robe, drink water to rehydrate and relax! Repeat once a week for one month. If you have thyroid problems, please consult your physician first.

Who knew...

When my mom had my two youngest brothers, I was in high school. Maybe it was because I wasn't responsible for their full time care but they seemed like such easy babies. Taking care of Cayden is making me realize that there is so much I didn't know and probably still don't know. Breastfeeding sounded simple enough but I've learned that you have to make sure they're latched on properly, that they nurse for a certain amount of time, that they nurse on each breast, that you're pumping when you're not able to breastfeed...yadayadayada. I always thought that as long as they're sucking, they're eating. Wrong. Apparently, some babies like to comfort nurse. I've just realized that my boy has such a strong sucking reflex that he has spent quite a bit of time using my nipple as a pacifier when I thought he was nursing. I had no idea. We also got into the habit of him falling asleep on the breast. Now he won't fall asleep on his own. I'm started trying to put him down to sleep when he's sleepy but not asleep. He cries and sticks his hands and fingers in his mouth to suck on because he needs it to feel soothed. Surprisingly, he still will not take a pacifier. He's still holding out for the breast.

Although I try to be strong and not put him back on the breast sometimes he cries so frantically that I cave and put him on the breast hoping that he really is hungry and doesn't just want to comfort nurse. No. He sucks superficially and falls asleep almost immediately. This is what we've been struggling with for the past two weeks. He gets super fussy from about 6 p.m. to 10 or 11 at night and it's so tempting to stick my nipple in his mouth so he'll just go to sleep but I know that will just start another cycle of him sucking on my nipple for hours and crying when I try to remove the nipple and put him down to sleep. He's wonderful during the day but there's just something about night time.

Did I mention that he hates to sleep in his crib? He hates to sleep on his back. He hates having his diaper changed. He hates his sponge baths. I would love to give him a real bath but he still cries when I sponge bathe him so I can only imagine how he would react if I submersed him in water.

Despite all this, I still think he is a wonderful baby and I feel lucky to have him. We'll work through the comfort nursing thing and all those other issues I'm sure. I just thought that caring for a baby would be a lot more straightforward than I'm experiencing. They cry. You feed them, burp them, change them and they stop crying. Wrong again!