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Salt Cave of Darien

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October 16, 2019 - DIY Himalayan Salt Scrub

It may not be easy to find a non-irritating scrub to your skin that is also free of toxins. So make your own! For Wednesday Wellness, here is an easy receipe for a Himalayan Honey Salt Scrub sure to soothe your skin. The Himalayan salt will be exfoliating and detoxifying to the skin and it should not interfere with any of your other scents or products. The honey will be soothing on the skin and moisturizing. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 cups of finely ground Himalayan salt

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

3 drops of your choice of essential oil (optional)

Containers needed: large bowl and spoon, microwavable dish, container for finished jar (glass recommended)

Directions: Pour the Himalayan salt into the large bowl. Melt the coconut oil in the microwave (do it in small increments so as not to overcook it). Once done, add the honey to the oil and slowly add the essential oil (if you are using it) until it smells good to you. Pour the complete mixture into the large bowl and combine it with the salt using the spoon. Once it cools, spoon the lovely scrub into the container and run to the shower/bath to try it out! Be sure to moisturize after the shower/bath in order to trap the moisture and benefits into your skin.

Stay Salty, Arianne

October 9, 2019 - Take it step by step

The beginning is the most important part of the work. Plato.

Do you get overwhelmed with your things to do list? I currently am experiencing that mired feeling. I feel I have to tackle the list head on and check the whole task off the list. Then I am disappointed when I am slogging my way through and I do not finish.

What I need to learn and do.... Take it step by step. When a task seems too overwhelming, it is best to break it down into manageable steps. This way, I can complete the small part of the task, feel like I accomplished something and move on to the next part. When I take it step by step, I can get to the top.

Stay Salty, Arianne

October 2, 2019 - Yoga Nidra: Stop struggling and just float

The term Yoga Nidra can be intimidating sounding. People often think that this is an actual yoga class that may have you try to twist into a tree or an eagle so they are nervous. In reality, yoga nidra is all done from a reclined chair and the amazing part is you do not do any of the work. A practioner does a guided meditation to bring you to this state of consciousness between waking and sleeping, similar to that feeling of being about to drop off to sleep but where you are still aware of your surroundings. Literally meaning yogic sleep,yogic is based on a school of Hindu philosophy advocating and prescribing a course of physical and mental disciplines which set you free and sleep — well, that is a really wonderful word that I love! — but it is more of a semi-sleep state. You are relaxed when you let go of everything which is how you feel when you are floating because you stopped struggling. Yoga Nidra asks you to simply let go.

What does it do for you? To begin with, one hour of yoga nidra is equal to a few hours sleep. It also helps you find your intention and begin to zero in on your calling. It is the most profound relaxation which helps rest, restore, de-stress and increase awareness. Coupled with salt therapy, it leaves you in a different state altogether while you breathe clearly.

I think I need to go sleep now!

Stay Salty, Arianne

We offer Yoga Nidra at the Salt Cave. This Sunday at 1:30 with Joy Hoffman is meant for a parent/guardian and their pre-teen/teen. This gives the student an opportunity to learn how to use imagery to de-stress and relax in face of the constant pressure our kids face. Hope you both can join us!

September 25, 2019 - Raise your hand if you experience stress. Me, too! Here is the why and how we should learn to handle it better.

We often are faced with challenges and bumps along the way in this thing called life. I have had some stressful days at my job as a real estate attorney that seemed to collide with something at home that bumped up against an obligation I needed to do, all while not thinking of how I have to still go food shopping and do this or that…. Sound familiar? The interesting thing is to know how this internal stress affects us.

Our ability to be resilient during a stressful or traumatic event is built into our body’s mechanisms. It is called the autonomic nervous system which contains two subsections. The first is the sympathetic nervous system which is known as the fight or flight response. If we are faced with stress, cortisol could be released into the bloodstream. Before this happens, it could be offset by the second subsystem, the parasympathetic system, that is for relaxation, digestion, and regeneration. When these two systems work together, they function in a rhythm that keeps you in good physical and mental health. But, as we all know, this is not always the case. Letting chronic stress and unresolved trauma go on too long will create an imbalance, thereby allowing the cortisol into the bloodstream. Although coristol does have have lot of good functions, it is also known as the stress hormone so, when it is off, it may affect weight, anxiety, and depression. It is important to find a way to handle stress in a quick way thereby bringing you back to a feeling of safety.

There are many ways to experience what this healthy response should feel like in a stressful moment. Practicing yoga is a restorative practice that has many poses and mantras that can help. Small needles in Acupuncture are placed into the body at points that can help it to decompress. Learning to meditate is another way to learn how to clear the mind and clear the negative feelings. CBD oil is another solution for some. When one ingests the CBD oil, it reacts with their system to keep calm. More on CBD another week! There are also progressive muscle relaxation techniques that allow you to feel what tension is in the body so you know when the real thing is starting. The Salt Cave of Darien offers all of these practices and products along with another great relaxer, salt therapy! Due to its anti-inflammation properties, it helps relax and calm the body.

So the bottom line is that we need to start finding ways to know when we feel stressed and turn it around on its head fast. We owe it to ourselves and our health.

Stay salty, Arianne

Picture from Count Your Rainbows.

September 18, 2019 - Meet Gilly, our salty yoga teacher, and her salty dog, Flash!

I had a chance to talk to our yoga instructor, Gilly, about her transition into yoga. Her reason behind her motivation is very interesting and inspiring! And you get to meet, Flash, her new dog!

You made the change late in life to yoga. What was your inspiration?

Gilly: I quit drinking 7 years ago and that inspired me to embark on an overall healthier lifestyle. Yoga is fantastic for recovery (I could go on and on here!). It has also given me access to a wonderful new community. I am constantly surrounded by inspiration now!

When confronted with a challenge, how do you handle it?

Gilly: We are always growing and rediscovering parts of ourselves. It is important to take a challenge and view it from multiple perspectives. The right path will eventually come to you.

If you could give one piece of advice to new yogis, what would it be?

Do not be afraid to be a beginner. Everyone was a beginner at one point. Just be where you are and grow at your own pace. It is an amazing journey but there is no destination.

If you were not you, who would you be?

Gilly: But I am me, everyone else is taken!

You recently got an adorable beagle dog. What is the best lesson that you have learned from Flash?

Gilly: He is a rescue beagle so he spent the first 2 years of his life in a veterinarian school for research. I love watching him see things for the first time, like when he first went to the beach. We should all look at things as a new experience. You appreciate life more.

Flash: Woof!!

Gilly teaches Yoga Flow, a class designed to take in your level of expertise, on Monday nights at 6:15 p.m. and she is available for private group classes. Stay Salty, Arianne

September 4, 2019 - 5 Reasons to have a Himalayan Salt Bath

Salt baths have been used medicinally for centuries. The 16th century Greek doctor, Paracelsus, declared that "brine is better than all the health spas arising out of nature". I love to take a bath every week so as to decompress, have a chance to read and have some alone time - if I miss it, I feel the difference! Just 30 minutes will do too since UCLA top heads. There is nothing I love more than putting salt into my bath so I looked into all its great benefits.

First off, research confirms that mineral baths, also known as balneotherapy, is a wonderful stress reliever. As Himalayan Salt has 84 essential minerals and nutrients, the hot water helps release those into the water for absorption through the skin which is known as dermal absorption. Ahhhh....

What?? You need more than that awesome reason??? Ok! The next reason is that we help detoxify our body through a process called reverse osmosis. This allows harmful toxins to be be pulled out of the body and magnesium and sulfates, necessary for our body.

The third reason is to ease aches and pains. Regularly bathing in a saline solution will alleviate pain when inflammation is reduced. Good reason to take a bath after a workout!

Some will love the fourth reason as it will help some sleep well. A 1997 Cornell Medical Center study points out that taking a bath in a hot tub would cause your body temperature to rise then go into a rapid cooling period once out. This process will relax and prepare your body for sleep.

The last reason relates to skin care. Those wonderful minerals can become a protective barrier to hold in the body's hydration. Your skin is less likely to become wrinkly after soaking for awhile.

These reasons sounds so divine.... I better go run a bath. Hope you have the chance to do so weekly too!

Stay Salty, Arianne

August 28, 2019 - Be aware of "reality"

Do not let reality ruin your life. Funny statement, right? But saw this on a recent crossing by foot on the Williamsburge Bridge that gave me pause. What does it mean though?

Considering that people give "real" updates, the question is, how "real" are they? With so many programs and photo filters, it is easier now than ever to alter the look of their life. People only present their vision — ahem, version — of life. I know of people that only show the happy version but fail to update their viewers on the not-so-happy updates. The overall lesson is to examine any posting with a cautious eye — except for my picture — it is real, ha!

Stay Salty, Arianne

August 21, 2019 - Ready, Set, Grill!

As we move towards the end of summer (say what?) and Labor Day, there will be a mad rush to get some grilling in. A wonderful and different way to grill is using a Himalayan salt tile. This tile is so great and versatile that it can be used on the stove top and in the oven too! The benefit of cooking with this tile is that it transfers the wonderful 84 elements and minerals contained in Himalayan salt onto your food. It is also a safe vessel for your food instead of aluminum and plastic. Many also claim to feel energetic due to its ancient origin as it has had the most time to absorb the Sun and the Earth. Plus it looks so pretty and can also be used as a serving tray. It will be sure to complement your food in taste and look.

A simple chicken recipe is to use the salt tile as a press. Also known as Pollo al mattone (mattone is a heavy tile in Italian), this simple cooking method brings the food in contact with the grill uniformly. The outside gets crisped while the inside remains moist. To begin, you need to prepare and heat your salt tile according to its directions. It is important to use the tile correctly in order to maintain the life use of it.

While waiting for it to warm, take your chicken breasts and coat it with some olive oil and rub with the cut sides of garlic cloves. Place the chicken on the grill and then place a hot salt block on top of them to press them down (use grill gloves or thick oven mitts). Close the lid and cook until the chicken is grill marked, about 15 minutes depending on the thickness. Then flip the chicken and place the salt tile back on top of the chicken, close the lid and cook until a thermometer reads 170 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes. When it is cooked through, remove the chicken from the grill and salt blocks, let it rest for 5 minutes and then cut it into parts. Drizzle with lemon juice and serve on a salad, rice or as the main dish.

Now hit that grill and enjoy a delicious meal! Season your life!!! Stay and Grill Salty, Arianne

August 14, 2019 - Beach sense

This past week was spent on vacation at the beach in Rhode Island with my family and some of our friends. Being on vacation is always nice, of course, but being surrounded by the beach elements has always felt very calming. It got me to thinking on the reasons why this happens with our mind and body. Here are some interesting reasons on how it affects our four senses.

Smelling salt air can contribute to your soothed state. You know I had to mention salt air!! It has been established as a great healer of the respiratory system. The air has tiny beads of sea water enriched with salt, iodine, magnesium and trace elements which is dispersed into the air by wind and waves. According to Richard Shuster, PsyD, clinical psychologist, beach air near waterfalls and ocean have oxygen atoms with an extra electron making them negative ions (NBC Universal, July 29, 2017) which help calm and relax.

The sound of the ocean can put us in a blissful state of calm with its repetitive, undulating sound. This activates our parasympathetic system which calms our inner selves. It is often why it is a top choice for sound machines used for sleeping.

The color blue, of course, is known for its association with calm, peace, security and relaxation. Staring at the blue ocean can put us in a mild meditative state as it actually changes our brain waves. It makes us calm and open. Blue is known as the most popular color.

Touching the sand is a very pleasing tactile sensation and a natural exfoliation tool. It can actually calm you down as you let it run through your fingers and toes. The salt water is good for your skin with the magnesium which benefits the elasticity and appearance.

So the beach can affect the four senses in the most pleasing way. Being near any body of water has many health benefits for mind and body that scientists call "blue space". I am happy to report that I was very blue this vacation!

Stay Salty, Arianne

August 7, 2019 - Take Time for Myself

This week, my blog will be short because I am taking time for myself! Ha! We are leaving for a nice family vacation shortly and I am really looking forward to relaxing. Normally my trip would be to a new location and I would try to cram in all of the sights for maximum exposure. This is our annual beach trip and I already have had maximum exposure to the sights. I will know when to relax and when to gear up to move. And this year, we are bringing our nephew along for his first time so it will be exciting to go visit some of the tourist spots and landmarks through fresh eyes.

So hope you all can find a little opportunity to do it for yourself. Whether it is from reading a book for 10 minutes to getting away to making that next move in Words With Friends, do carve out a little time for yourself. It is so important in order to reset.

Stay Salty, Arianne

Reprinted with permission from Permission Slips by Mary Vernal. A really great book that gives you topics to help you to see things in a new way, pursue your dream and never give up.

July 31, 2019 - Earth, Water, Fire and Air — not a rock band but these elements rock!

The ancient Greeks inspired so much — including uncovering the benefit of salt for health, for one! — and they introduced the physical elements of Fire, Water, Air and Earth, later supported by Aristotle. They believed that the world is composed of these elements and that it is essential to life. To bring balance, these elements should be incorporated. What are some great ways to incorporate these elements into your life?

Our very own Sound Bowl and Meditation Artist, Alison DeNicola, wrote an article recently on two practices that use these elements and help "awaken the magic" (Natural Awakenings, Jan 2019). Yoga, a wonderful practice, incorporates moves embodied in five elements. These movements allow you the "ability to calm the mind and to begin the journey of uncovering the inner landscape" within you and becoming more intuitive.

Alison also goes on to discuss Tarot as another way to tap into your intuition. This system of cards, most commonly 78, represents the archetypes and symbols of an individual's personal journey. The suits in the cards embody these elements as well — cups equal water, pentacles are earth, swords are air and wands equal Fire. When you meditate on these images, you can "access powerful information about our own intuitive nature".

Another way to incorporate the elements is through the ancient Chinese practice of Feng Shui. It is even in the name as Feng is Chinese for wind and Shui is for water. Shapes and materials can represent these elements which should be placed in every room to balance each other and make for a calming atmosphere.

Try bringing these elements into your imagery during meditation as another option. This will allow you to harmonize your relationship with nature. Picture that night sky for air or a candle for fire. Seeing this in to your mediation often will allow you to explore and understand to the entire universe.

Enjoy finding ways to incorporate these elements into your everyday life! Stay Salty, Arianne.

Alison DeNicola is our sound bowl and meditation master and she does monthly events at the Salt Cave so be sure to join us for this amazing event!

July 25, 2019 - How I paid $1 for my gratitude!

”Silent gratitude isn't very much use to anyone” Gertrude Stein. Recently I was at the gym, when I went to the water fountain. I overheard a dad with his son at the nearby vending machines. They were trying to purchase something but the machine only took a dollar and he did not have any. I stopped and dug out a dollar to give to them. I will admit — I wasn't paying attention at first, then I thought I was too busy because I had to meet the rest of my family and then I stopped the nonsense in my mind. Of course I had time to dig out a dollar, for goodness sake!

When I handed that dollar to the dad, he, resisted at first, then profusely thanked me, his son thanked me and he told me that he would pay me back somehow. The effusiveness of their gratitude was overwhelming and heartfelt. I left feeling so upbeat and it put a smile on my face for when I joined my family which led to a fun afternoon. So Gertrude really was on to something. What if that dad just took my money with a quick ”thanks”? I would have felt like I did something nice and then moved on. But his reaction over something simple did more — it made me feel GOOD about the fact that I stopped myself and took the time to help — solidifying that it is worth it to pay it forward and no gesture is too small. I teach my kids to say thank you, and I practice it myself, but it is this genuine, heartfelt thanks that I am going to start working on next. To tell this stranger, family member, friend, that I appreciate them. And all actions will not all get this particular big reaction but it is ok. I will believe that they appreciated it and it will bring that warm feeling back to me. So, I really want to thank you and I appreciate your taking the time to read my blog! It means a lot because you took some time out of your busy day.

Stay Salty, Arianne

July 17, 2019 - What is halotherapy? Everything you wanted to know about wet and dry salt therapy

You may be asking yourself, what is this thing? Or know of it but want to know more. Our friends at Select Salt put together a nice synopsis explaining what it is and the differences which is reprinted here. Halotherapy is relatively new to North America, but not in other parts of the globe. Many countries have utilized this benecial practice for more than nine centuries! Halotherapy literally means salttherapy when broken down into its parts. Halo is a derivative of the Greek word alas, meaning salt. Therapy of course refers to a form of treatment that is used for either physical or psychological purposes. Salt therapy treatment can take on two methods: dry or wet. The difference is based on the way salt is used. That said, both methods reap the same benefits to the user.

  • WET HALOTHERAPY. What is it? Wet halotherapy treatment combines raw salt minerals or crystals mixed with water. Have you ever heard the old adage that breathing ocean air opens the sinuses or improves health? Actually, this adage is based on scientic proof. The Lung Institute asserts that misty, salty ocean air improves conditions such as lung disease or cystic fibrosis. This is done, in part by thinning the mucus in the body and decreasing sinus pressure. Wet halotherapy treatment comes from the same principle of mixing water with salt to gain therapeutic benefit. Where did it originate? This application has been around as long as humans have harnessed the benefits of naturally occurring saline waters. These could be found in the Dead Sea and elsewhere. One of the first uses of wet halotherapy as a medicinal treatment comes from TWELFTH CENTURY POLAND. Here, bathers utilized naturally occurring salt mineral waters as a way to alleviate illness and ward off bad health. Wet halotherapy can take on many forms. Users can ingest salty water or soak in salt pools. Or they can breathe in salty air from nearby wet halotherapy sources, such as water cascades. How is it administered today? In modern-day salt caves, wet halotherapy is most often produced from water cascades in salt rooms or caves. Watercascades serve both form and function. For example, they are often included as an aesthetic feature in caves. And, they are constructed of soft wood, metals and raw salt bricks. Water is infused with salt, or it gently cascades over salt crystals, dispersing negative ions and minerals into the air. This air is then breathed through air passageways, opening up the lungs and airways, and producing therapeutic benefits. What is more, salt cascades are impactful, visual accents to any modern-day salt cave.
  • DRY HALOTHERAPY. What is it? Dry halotherapy uses salt minerals or crystals on their own, without the addition of water. Dry halotherapy relies on the dispersion of salt minerals into the air, which are absorbed into the body through inhalation. The natural, healthy ions and minerals contained within the saline crystals benefit the body. Furthermore, the beauty of the salt caves in which the dry halotherapy is administered produce a holistic wellness experience. Where did it originate? Naturally occurring salt caves are found through the world, with many open to the public. Some of the most famous caves are found in Europe. The most well known options are either the WIELICZKA SALT MINE in southern Poland or the HEALING SALT CAVERNS OF BERCHTESGADEN, Germany.How is it administered today? Modern salt caves are able to reproduce the microclimate of those naturally occurring caves by utilizing a machine called a halogenerator. Halogenerators, like those provided by Select Salt, act as diffusers. They consistently disperse the beneficial minerals and negative ions found in salt throughout a controlled environment. To benefit from this unique microclimate, one must simply enter a salt cave, relax and breathe deeply. This enables the body to inhale and absorb the salty richness of the air. The benefits of a salt cave If you go to the right place, you can combine these wet and dry halotherapy elements in a single treatment. Many spas and wellness centres that offer salt caves use halogenerators and water cascades in their construction. This creates an even richer salt environment to enjoy. It is a perfect way to soothe the body, mind and spirit while utilizing the many applications of halotherapy.

    Stay Salty, Arianne

  • July 10, 2019 - De-stress by releasing responsibilities

    Right? As I sit here mid-summer with my kids, this really rings true. They are at the ages now (14 and 11) where they do not need constant watching or camp or the filling in of time. But they do need to know what their responsibilities are and to do them. Not only does it help them grow to become a better adults but it takes stress away from me and from the demands on my time. I am guilty of helping out too much so it is my goal to change my ways — and theirs! It may take some struggles and require extra amounts of my time now (we are still working on my son's thank you cards for his birthday presents a month later) but, in the future, the plan is for it to become second nature. I hope. Please.

    Reprinted with permission from Permission Slips by Mary Vernal. A really great book that gives you topics to help you to see things in a new way, pursue your dream and never give up.

    Stay Salty, Arianne

    July 3, 2019 - Dog Days of Summer - what it means and 8 tips on how to stay cool

    NOW it is the Dog Days of Summer! This is a traditional time period of 40 days that starts today and ends August 11th which coincides with the sunset rising of the Dog Star, Sirius, according to The Old Farmer's Almanac. The ancient Egyptians used Sirius as a "watchdog" to signal possible flooding since the last time Sirius appeared was before the season of Nile's flooding. It is often associated with extreme heat and the most hot and sultry weather — although we can now see that in days outside of this time period. Sirius's rising, which happens in the middle, does not mean there is any added radiation or heat. The heat is actually a direct result of the Earth's tilt. During the summer in the Northern Hemisphere, the tilt of the Earth causes the Sun's rays to hit at a more direct angle, and for a longer period of time through the day. So get ready for those longer, hotter days! How can you stay cool and not pant like your dog? Try these tips out:

  • 1) PEPPERMINT TEA has menthol which makes your insides cool and tingly. This can trick your body into feeling cold. Another interesting option, spray mint tea onto your skin! It does evaporative and mentholated cooling.
  • 2) GET A DEHUMIDIFIER to keep moisture down where you spend the most time. Humidity makes the heat feel worse so this will pull the moisture from the air and make it feel less muggy. And it helps make your air conditioner more efficient by removing the moisture from the air so your air conditioner does not have to cool and dehumidify it first.
  • 3) SOAK YOUR FEET IN COOL WATER to relieve the pulse points spots (where your blood vessels are close to the surface) so you cool down fast. Helps with any swelling too!
  • 4) WATER, WATER, WATER — drink at least ½ of your body weight in water. Use water to wet towels or place ice packs under your armpits, behind your neck and in your groin area when overheated.
  • 5) TAKE YOUR VITAMIN C. A research study at the University of Alabama found it can delay sweat gland fatigue with a dose as small as 250 milligrams.
  • 6) SWITCH SCENTS. Sandalwood smells nice and it is used in Ayurveda to lower your body temperature.
  • 7) TURN OFF LIGHTS IN YOUR HOME. Incandescent and some LED bulbs can produce heat when you are light your home. Plus you will save money!
  • 8) TAKE IN A SALT CAVE SESSION, where our temperature remains at 68-70 degrees inside the cave at the Salt Cave of Darien and you get the salt therapy (aka halotherapy).
  • Woof! Stay Salty, Arianne

    June 26, 2019 - Stress relief - the Salt Cave and its benefits

    Hi! I'm Arianne, the owner of the Salt Cave of Darien. I'm also a wife, mom of a tween and teen (help me, ha, ha!), design consultant (a.k.a. cleaner), chief bottle washer... well, you get the idea. I opened the salt cave in 2017 as a direct response to stress from my original career as an attorney and from this whole balancing act. The luxurious salt cave has been my best, healthy mid-life crisis! This salt cave is the first of its kind in Darien, Connecticut. And I am so happy that I got into this business of bringing healthy and natural benefits to people like you. We've all heard about the problems of inflammation, especially as we get older, and one of the key benefits of salt is its strong anti-inflammatory properties. People who have respiratory issues can get relief when an inflamed area is reduced and the dry salt binds to mucous in the chest which you then expel out of your body. Arthritis can be helped by time in the salt cave because it reduces joint inflammation, allowing people to move around more easily and with less pain. Skin conditions, such as eczema and rosacea, are soothed as the salt stimulates the cell regeneration process and exfoliates the skin. I have eczema and rosacea and I've seen an improvement in my skin after spending time in the cave. But one of the biggest benefits I find is in easing stress. My stressful career had been causing me many nail-biter nights! I didn't want to keep living with stress and being frazzled with my kids who are at impressionable ages. Besides not being able to spend quality time with them, I was teaching them the wrong way to approach a job and letting stress to overwhelm me. I had a chance to visit a salt cave and then I went to visit the inspirational Wieliczka Salt Mine near Krakow, Poland to learn more about all the conditions that it can help. I will talk more about what I learned from the mine in the future but my research was all it took to convince me to open my own salt cave in 2017. The salt cave's beautiful, calming environment immediately makes me pause and appreciate the beauty. The colors are soothing and the light and sounds are peaceful. Once the salt works through my body and decreases my clenched system, I feel so much more relaxed. Harvard researchers, in their Woman's Healthy Study in 2010, found that women who have high stress levels in their jobs have a 40% higher risk of heart disease (www.health.harved.edu). A scary number! It is my wellness intention to manage that stress and create a more peaceful environment for myself and those around me. I am excited for this new journey and so grateful to be able to share it with you. Stay Salty, Arianne