Note from Annie: My life was unexpectedly enriched one day about 10 years ago when I received a call out of the clear blue from Carol Merrill, the game show hostess who opened doors on “Let’s Make a Deal,” a popular 70s TV show with Monty Hall. I was soon to learn that Merrill was now opening doors to a whole new world for those lucky enough to know her&mdashhow to live a healthy and natural lifestyle. Today, open your door to Carol as she has offered us her top 10 favorite spa secrets, starting with her first question, “Can I eat this?”
Before applying most products to my skin I ask myself, “Can I eat this”? As a result I make much wiser choices, such as avocado, almonds, bananas, cucumber, etc. One of my favorite facial scrubs is 1/4 cup almonds blended with 1/2 cup water (strain and just use almond residue in strainer). Another is 1/4 cup avocado mashed with 1 tbsp. cornmeal. I wet my face well with filtered water before applying either scrub.
FRESH LEMON MOUTHWASH
Upon rising I head straight to the kitchen, cut open a lemon and squeeze half of it into 1/2 cup filtered water. I take a good sized sip and swish it around and hold it in my mouth for a minute or so. And with what’s leftover, I make a lemonade for drinking later by adding extra water and a little organic maple syrup.
DRY SKIN BRUSHING
When I read that brushing the entire body with a long-handled, natural bristle brush was one of the best ways to help the body detoxify, I took off for the health store and purchased one (they are stiff when new but get softer as they’re used). I often like to do the brushing in the bathroom where the sun shines in to see the dead cells/skin come flying off my body.
UNSCENTED PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS
I started using unscented products when I learned that our lungs really don’t like most scented ones; I was told that things we inhale end up in our blood stream. Now, I can’t stand any scented products unless they’re totally natural and ever so subtle.
The skin under the arms is an open pathway for anything smeared on or sprayed to enter the body. The plot thickens when we shave and make tiny cuts, not all visible, opening other pathways directly into the bloodstream. I just use plain old baking soda under my arms (thank you, Annie!). It’s naturally unscented and works like a charm.
STERILIZING WITH GRAIN ALCOHOL OR VODKA
I began using grain alcohol (Everclear) and/or vodka for sterilizing when I read that it’s very important to avoid isopropyl alcohol /rubbing alcohol. I use grain alcohol or vodka for cuts and wounds, for spraying my natural bristle tooth brush, and to sterilize any place in the bathroom that needs special attention.
One of my favorite yoga practices is Richard Hittleman’s Scalp Massage. I sit cross-legged on my exercise pad and take both hands and gently tug my hair and massage my scalp intermittently for a minute or more two times per week. This practice is not only good for your hair but it also improves the circulation between the skin, skull and brain.
I tend to soak my feet and legs in the ocean at least 2-3 days per week for 15-30 minutes. The salt in the water is great for drawing out toxins, and the minerals provide an array of nutrients. For those that don’t live near relatively clean ocean water I’ve heard that soaking one’s feet in just plain water at home, preferably filtered, (approximate temperature of 108 degrees) for 20 minutes every other day, is also very effective for drawing toxins out of the body.
My favorite place for a foot massage (except when my husband gives me one) is at the ocean’s edge where there are small rocks or very course sand. Just 5 minutes of digging my feet in and twisting and turning leaves me with tingling feet and an overall feeling of well-being. Creating your own rock massage spot at home would be very easy too, as different size rocks can be collected or purchased.
EXERCISE…NOT TOO MUCH
The key to my being consistent and therefore successful with exercise was when I decided that: 1) I would do each exercise program (walking, yoga and three different floor programs) never more than 30 minutes. 2) I would alternate my exercises so I would do each one 3-4 days per week instead of daily. 3) I would take Sundays off because I’d earned it!