Matcha Green Tea

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Matcha Green Tea

Matcha tea has been known as a ceremonial Japanese tea.  It’s a whole new world of green tea. The tender shade-grown leaves are stone-ground into a fine powder. Most tea is steeped, but U-MATCHA is blended with water and then it’s ready to drink. Just like all of the other teas we offer at the spa it’s rich in nutrients and flavor, with the added benefit of digesting the green tea leaves in their ground form. The flavors of U-MATCHA are referred to as umami, which means yummy in Japanese. This sweet, bright tea is great for welcoming the Winter time. Halcyon sells three types of U-MATCHA tea, natural, chai, chia seeds.

We also have four flavors of Super Green Tea, which contain Japanese Matcha, green tea, and herbs in the tea bags which are steeped. These come in four flavors: Immunity with echinacea and elderflower, Lean Green with cinnamon and garcinia cambogia,  Brain Boost with ginko biloba and black currant, and Serenity with lavender and holy basil.  All four of these teas are USDA organic certified.

Skin Care Regime

RECOMMENDED SKIN CARE REGIME

  • STEP 1Cleanse – Select a cleanser for your skin type. Use a circular motion, covering the entire face for 30 seconds twice a day.
  • STEP 2Tone – Apply a toner to balance the pH of your skin and to infuse vitamins and minerals.
  • STEP 3Treat – Use one of our active serums or oils to your skin goal to increase firmness,  reduce acne or rosacea.
  • STEP 4Moisturize – Hydrate and soften the skin with a moisturizer selected for your skin type. During the day you may want a light moisturizer, you can  add a couple drops of water to make a thin layer for daytime, and at night you may want a thicker layer.  Eye care – select a eye to address your needs such as anti-aging or dark circles.
  • STEP 5Protect – Apply Sun Defense Minerals or use a moisturizer with sun screen during the day.

How Downward Dog Can Improve Your Dining Experience

cinamon wellnessWe all know that yoga can do wonderful things for the mind and body, such as reduce anxiety, increase strength, and improve overall function.  But did you know that yoga can actually heighten the five senses, and more specifically enhance the smell and flavor of food?

To better understand yoga’s impact on enjoyable eating, we must first explore the senses of smell and taste.

Strong senses of smell and taste are of course vital to having an appetite and to experiencing pleasure while eating, but they also exercise the centers of the brain that house memory and emotion.  A smell bypasses any thought evaluation and goes straight to the amygdala and hippocampus.  This explains the effectiveness of aroma therapy, and the reason a smell can jog an old childhood memory and bring forth an associated emotion.

It’s no surprise the smell and taste are very closely related and work together.  This explains your loss of taste when you have a cold.  But what many people don’t know about smell and taste, is that just like the senses of sight and sound, they weaken with age and exposure to harsh elements.  And just like a muscle or skill, if you don’t use them, you can lose them.

Overexposure to strong chemical smells or extra spicy food can damage smell and taste.  And while there are no tools such as eyeglasses or hearing aids, to improve diminished senses of smell and taste, there are things you can do to sharpen these senses.  This is where yoga comes in.

If there is one thing yoga does, it is encourages you to sloooowwww dooowwwwn—to be more present instead of living in your thoughts.  Being aware of what you’re experiencing in the moment is exactly what is required to maintain and enhance your senses of smell and taste.

Think about it.  Are you more likely to notice the taste of your food at a quiet, sit-down dinner or in front of the TV?  There’s a reason the saying isn’t “work and smell the roses” or “hurry and smell the roses”.  It’s because you have to STOP in order to really smell the roses.  Just like you need stop to smell the cloves and to taste the cinnamon.  If you are distracted while you’re eating, the signals being sent to your brain via your nose and mouth, are more likely to go unnoticed, and overtime will become less and less noticeable.

Take the advice of Ron Winnegrad, director of International Flavors & Fragrance Inc.’s New York perfumery school, “if you’re drinking a cup of coffee or tea, actually smell it before you drink it.  If you do this on a regular basis you will increase your sense of smell.”

Research also shows that the senses of taste and smell are heightened after exercise.  It’s suspected this is because of the increased moisture in the nose after physical activity.  Think of a dog’s wet nose after a walk.  The same is happening inside the human nose, enhancing the sense of smell and therefore taste.

Practicing yoga not only provides us with the physical activity needed to maintain the functions of the body and the senses, but it also gives us that reminder to slow down and take in all of the delightful scents and delicious flavors the world has to offer.

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The Powers of the Pumpkin

Eminence Pumpkin

Pies, parfaits, soups, and lattes!  Pumpkin is everywhere!

Its popularity may peak after autumn, but the pumpkin’s health and beauty benefits are going to make you crave the orange gourd all year long.

Orange you glad you ate your pumpkin?

Pumpkins get their bright orange hue from beta-carotene.  Known for its immune-boosting powers, beta-carotene is essential for eye health and has also been linked to preventing coronary heart disease. And what’s great is you don’t have to puree your own pumpkin to get the benefits!  One cup of canned pumpkin has seven grams of fiber, three grams of protein and only 80 calories. Plus, canned and fresh pumpkin is packed with vitamins and provides over half of the daily value of vitamin K.

Pumpkin and your skin

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Pumpkin and pumpkin seed oil can be found in many skin products as well as some hair products.  Not only does pumpkin make for an amazingly scented experience, it also has powerful skin rejuvenating qualities.  With its high levels of essential fatty acids and antioxidants, and an assortment of vitamins and minerals, a pumpkin treatment will leave you glowing like a jack-o-lantern (minus the orange-ness).

Is it the pumpkin pie, or are you just happy to see me?

In a study cited by The New York Times, researchers at the Chicago foundation asked men attached to a plethysmograph (a device measuring changes in various parts of the body) to sniff 30 different odors. Out of all of the smells, the combination of lavender and pumpkin pie had the greatest arousal effect, increasing blood flow by 40 percent.  So even just the SMELL of pumpkin can improve body function.

The Pumpkin’s Powerhouse:  Seeds!

You don’t have to enjoy the taste of pumpkin to reap the benefits of its greatest health source.  One ounce of pumpkin seeds (about 140 seeds) is packed with protein, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.  Studies suggest pumpkin seeds provide a number of health benefits, such as blocking the enlargement of the prostate gland, lowering the risk of bladder stones, and even helping to prevent depression.  Pumpkin seeds are also high in Omega fatty acids, and their phytosterol compounds are believed to lower cholesterol levels.

Need some help catching ZZZ’s?  Pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil is high in the sleep-enhancing amino acid tryptophan which helps ensure a good night’s sleep.  Seeds are also high in the heart-healing mineral magnesium, which has been shown to support relaxation and also help with restless leg syndrome.

Consumption

The most beneficial way to consume pumpkin seeds is to eat them raw.  And because pumpkin seeds are highly portable and require no refrigeration, they make an excellent snack to keep with you when you’re on the go.  As for the rest of the pumpkin, the delicious recipes and ways to incorporate are endless.

If you’re ready to indulge in all of the health benefits of pumpkin, check out Halcyon Spa’s pumpkin products, treatments, and upcoming food events featuring, you guessed it, PUMPKIN!  If you’d like more health and wellness knowledge, sign up for the Halcyon Spa newsletter on our home page.

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HALCYON SPA’S NEW PUMPKIN SERVICES & PRODUCTS

Try our new Yam and Pumpkin Peel with a facial or facial massage or our new Pumpkin Body Wrap.
October Promotion $10 off any facial or facial massage.

Contact us today!

Reflexology: Not Just A Treat For Your Hands & Feet

Would you like a foot rub?  How about a hand massage?  What about a foot AND hand rub that can aid your digestion, relieve your headaches, and promote overall body function?

You’re in luck!  This wonderful treatment actually exists, and it’s called reflexology.

Reflexology is an ancient healing practice which involves the application of pressure to specific points and areas on the feet, hands, and ears. These areas and reflex points correspond to different body organs and body systems.  When the appropriate form of pressure is applied to these areas and points, it can have a very beneficial effect on the overall health of the body.

How is reflexology different than massage?

While both massage and reflexology use touch, the approaches are very different.  Massage, as you most likely know, can be applied to many parts of the body, and can involve many different techniques such as kneading, friction, and rubbing.  Like reflexology, massage can relax the muscles and has the ability to improve internal body functioning.

But whereas massage works from the outside in, reflexology is said to work from the inside out.

Reflexology techniques are applied only to the hands, feet and ears, but not in order to relax these three areas; that’s just an added bonus.  Very specific points and areas of the hands, feet, and ears are stimulated in a very specific way in order to create a response in a corresponding area of the body.  It’s sounds complex, but don’t worry.  There are trained reflexology practitioners who know every little point and its corresponding partner.  Using micro-movement techniques, such as thumb or finger walking, they target your body’s specific needs and promote overall balance and function.

What are the benefits of reflexology?

In addition to providing relaxation and promoting overall body function, reflexology has also had positive effects on treating back pain, migraines, bladder problems, menopausal and period symptoms, and sinusitis.

Although reflexology is not used to diagnose or cure health disorders, millions of people around the world use it to complement other treatments when addressing conditions like cancer, cardiovascular and kidney disorders, anxiety, digestion problems including IBS, asthma, and diabetes.

What can I expect from a reflexology session?

Many reflexology sessions are similar to a massage therapy session with the exception of the areas of the body being worked on.  At a good location, you can expect the same relaxing environment, a comfortable place for you to sit or lie, and a knowledgeable practitioner.  Unless you’re receiving reflexology along with another treatment, only your socks and shoes need to be removed.  A complete reflexology therapy session typically focuses on all of the points of the feet, hands, and sometimes the outer ear. The session generally starts at the fingers or toes, and works down to the heel of the hand or foot, then works the areas on the sides and top.

Whether you come into a session with specific needs or the practitioner locates congestion, tightness, or pain during the session, specific pressure and techniques will be used to target those concerns and attempt to bring the body back to balance.  Experiences with reflexology sessions vary from a general sense of relaxation, to a conscious, internal awareness or sense of energy in the corresponding area of the body the practitioner is targeting through the foot, hand or ear.

Where can I get reflexology?

Check out your local spas, holistic health practices, and wellness centers to find a reflexology practitioner near you.  If you’re in the Greater St. Louis area, Halcyon Spa offers reflexology as well as many other revitalizing and relaxing treatments and services.  Click here to make your appointment, and you’ll be on your way to a more balanced you.

Beyond the Tap: Hydrating with Food

It’s no secret that proper hydration is a key component of a healthy functioning body.  It keeps organs lubricated, energy levels stable, skin glowing, and hair healthy and strong.

The guideline most people associate with hydration is the “rule of eight,” or eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.  This of course varies depending on your gender, weight, sweat output, climate, health status, if your breast feeding or pregnant, if your name ends in a “Y”, if you were born in a leap year….

The point is, it’s different for everyone.

That is not to say the “rule of eight” isn’t a good guideline to follow, but for many people, tracking ounces, counting glasses and just remembering to drink, is easier said than done.  Before you know it, it’s 2 in the afternoon, and you’re still sitting with the cold remains of your first coffee.

And in case you were wondering, the catch-up and chug game is not nearly as beneficial as continuous water intake, and can actually flush vitamins and nutrients away before your body has had the chance to absorb them.

Another, and some say better way to give your body the fluids it needs, is to incorporate more hydrating foods into your diet.  According to Dr. Howard Murod, a leading expert on health and skin care and author of The Water Secret, “eating water” has many benefits and can actually keep you hydrated longer than simply drinking water.

Cucumbers, mixed greens, zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers, and raspberries are among the many fruits and vegetables that are composed of mostly water, with watermelon, strawberries, and tomatoes topping the charts at greater than 90% water make-up.  Unlike drinking water alone, fruits and veggies provide your body with additional and substantial vitamins and nutrients.  And if you’re in Missouri, you might recognize that most of these foods can be grown in your backyard!

Load your meals and snacks with luscious fruits and veggies and spend less time counting glasses.  Keep sliced veggies and fruits around at all times for an easily accessible snack/drink combo.

Stop chugging and start munching!  Hydrate with food throughout the day.   Your body will thank you!

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Want some more positive food knowledge?  Join us!

HALCYON DAYS PRESENTS:  VEGETARIAN LUNCH EDUCATION SERIES

FARM TABLE 5-COURSE VEGETARIAN DINNERS

-FRIDAYS THIS FALL IN AUGUSTA, MO-

 

VEGETARIAN LUNCH EDUCATION SERIES 

Nourish your mind, body, and appetite with a seasonal and organic vegetarian lunch at Ebenezer UCC Fellowship Hall in Augusta, MO.  A special guest will join you at the table to share knowledge about health and wellness.  Limit 12 per meal.   Each Friday in October.  Noon to 1:30 PM. See schedule below for topics and prices.  Contact Halcyon Spa for reservations.

FARM TABLE 5-COURSE VEGETARIAN DINNERS 

Join Kathy Kessler, owner of Halcyon Spa, on Friday evenings for 5-course dinners featuring seasonal and local harvest, vegetarian cuisine.  Fabulous cooks Robin Gallaher and Kathy Kessler will mindfully create gourmet dinners with appetizer, soup, salad, entree and dessert served with Republic of Tea.  Each meal will be limited to 12 guests for one seating at 7:00 PM around a large table at the Ebenezer UCC Fellowship Hall.  Get your friends together or make it a date night, and experience the art of creating flavorful food with earth’s gifts of fruit, vegetables, grains, seeds and nuts. Gluten Free and Vegan optional.   Contact Halcyon Spa for reservations. ~$35

SCHEDULE FOR VEGETARIAN LUNCH EDUCATION SERIES

Friday, October 4, “Get Cultured!” with Kim Lebbing of Healthy Tummies: Learn the art of culturing your own vegetables!  Cultured vegetables have been treasured for their ability to support the immune system for thousands of years all over the world.  In this class you will learn the basics of cultured food and why it is an important addition to your diet.  Learn how to  make Kimchi, Pickled Cucumbers, Pickled Red Peppers, Pineapple Chutney, and Lemon-Gingerade.  In addition Kim will speak about the health benefits of cultured, fermented foods, broths and stocks for nutrition and heath of the gut.    ~$35

Friday, October 11, “Transformation.  Being Empowered to Make a Different Choice!”  with Kathy Kessler, PT, LMT, RYT-500 and owner of Halcyon Spa:   Listen to Kathy speak of how she went from being a carnivore, sugar addict, binge eater;  to eating more mindfully with a gluten free and a vegetarian lifestyle.  The tricks she has found to help her find balance in her life with exercise, a social life, running a business and practicing yoga.  Hear her heart felt  story about being diagnosed with Graves Disease and how is ended up being a blessing along her life’s journey; as she shares books, philosophies on health and wellness, and personal challenges.  ~$15

Friday, October 18, “Foundation of Supplements for Wellness” with Kristen Brokaw of OrthoMolecular: Learn the foundation of supplements for basic wellness as Kristen shares product knowledge, key ingredients, and words to look for when shopping for supplements.  She will explain the key purposes of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, pro-biotics, digestive enzymes and Omega 3, 6 & 9.  Kristen has been bringing her enthusiasm for nutrition to health practitioners for the last 7 years. As a representative for Ortho Molecular Products, her strength is making complex nutritional topics easy to understand and applicable to daily life. She knows the difficulties of maintaining your health in this busy world. Join her for a discussion on what constitutes Foundational Nutrition and demystify the confusion around supplements.   ~$15

Friday, October 25, “The Plan” with Robin Gallaher, The Fabulous Cook for Halcyon Days: Hear about Robin’s personal experience with The Plan diet, and exploring various food impacts on your body.  Robin will share recipes, tricks and her personal quest to find the right diet for herself in this inspirational story.  She is a natural in the kitchen, and loves searching for new recipes, and trying them out with friends and family, then making them her own with slight variations.   ~$15

Why Taking a Vacation is Your Obligation

Did you know only 57% of Americans take their allotted vacation days?

As a country we are known for our workaholism.  Whatever the title may be (employee, parent, boss, volunteer), we are constantly on the go and rarely take the opportunity to focus on ourselves.

The state of being “frazzled” has not only become the norm, but practically a desire.  We’ve convinced ourselves that frazzled equals productive.  If you aren’t stressed, you’re not doing enough.

Well it turns out that this frame of mind can be harmful to you, your job, and your relationships with others.  Maybe taking items off your plate does not seem possible right now, or maybe you’ve simply forgotten how to relax.  Not to worry.  There is a proven way to regain calmness, energy, and optimism.

GET…..A……WAY.  Plan a vacation!  Get out of town!  As often as possible!

This may not be a shocker to you.  You may chuckle and say, “easier said than done.”  You may be thinking that you just took that trip with the kids and your parents, or that you have that work conference coming up in January.  You may feel too guilty about even pondering the idea.  YOU, my friend, are especially who needs a vacation.

THE WHY

MIND: If you’re the type of person who thinks, I’ll relax some day when I retire, you may be interested to find out that like so many other functions of the mind, if you don’t use it, you lose it.  Psychologist Deborah Mulhern suggests that not taking time off can make it harder for our minds and bodies to relax now – and from now on.  Mulhern says, “The neural connections that produce feelings of calm and peacefulness become weaker, making it actually more difficult to shift into less-stressed modes.”

Another psychologist, Francine Lederer observes, “most people have better life perspective and are more motivated to achieve their goals after a vacation.”  Lederer calls the impact of vacations on mental health “profound.”  She also states that employees report feeling more creative after they’ve disconnected from work.

BODY: According to an article posted by The World of Psychology, vacations have been found to cut the risk of heart attack by 30% in men and 50% in women, improve sleep patterns, and reduce physical complaints of pain and discomfort.

Another study conducted by the U.S. Army and University of California determined that groups of workers who took a five day break from email experienced lasting more natural heart rates.  So even just “unplugging” alone can serve as a vacation for your body.

SPIRIT:  Psychology suggests removing yourself from your comforts and routine is one of the only times you are able to truly reflect on your life, appreciate your blessings, and consider changes you’d like to make.  Its during peaceful vacations that people often come to a better understanding of their beliefs and feel the most spiritual.

And in case you still feel guilty about leaving work and family behind, post-vacation is when people report they feel most connected to loved-ones, and employers report better job performance.  When you take a vacation for your mind, body and spirit, you will feel rejuvenated, recharged, and able to be a better you.

THE HOW

A vacation for your mind, body, and spirit doesn’t need to be expensive or elaborate (in fact the less planning required the better).  It doesn’t even need to be far away.  It just has to be a break from your routine, a chance to unwind, regroup and take a step back to examine your life from a new place with a new perspective.

Offer to house-sit for friends or family going out of town.  Book a cabin for the weekend.  Stay at a local B&B for the night.  Spend a day in nature, alone.

The best part is, the effects of even a short getaway can last for weeks!  And on top of that, research has also shown that simply looking forward to a planned vacation can have the same positive effects of actually being on vacation.  So schedule a getaway for YOU today, and instantly begin soaking up some R&R.

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Halcyon Spa has created the ultimate vacation for mind, body, and spirit with the opening of

The Halcyon Spa B&B Guest Room.

The private and serene guest room is tucked behind the spa, providing guests with easy access to spa services, an opportunity to relax on our porch and gazebo, and the chance to take in the peaceful charm of Augusta, MO.   A stay includes a light snack upon arrival, complimentary use of the sauna and attendance to yoga classes, and breakfast of organic seasonal fresh fruit with oatmeal and yogurt delivered to your door.  The room features a king size bed, small kitchenette area with mini-fridge and Keurig, spacious bathroom with dual shower heads, and a patio off the room.  This is the perfect place to unwind, reflect, and rejuvenate.

The Halcyon Spa B&B Spa Guesthouse and Spa Studio are now taking reservations. Contact us today!