Staying Healthy Through the Winter Months

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Are you wondering how to keep your immune system strong over the winter? Some of us may have already fallen victim to winter's wrath. Do you get stressed over the holidays or leading up to them? Silly question -- better yet, are you stressed just thinking about the holidays?  Who's not?

As the months get colder and the daylight hours get shorter our bodies need some extra care and support to, let's face it, just to survive winter. Vitamin D is at it's all-time low for my fellow Minnesotans and access to fresh seasonal vegetables is limited. Remind me again why we choose to live here? To top it all off the holidays provide us with the extra little kick of emotional and mental stress to push our bodies over the edge. We love our families, but sometimes it can just be too much. Am I right? So in addition to being thankful this holiday season, practice a great deal of self care with daily tips for Honu to keep healthy throughout winter!

Tip #1: Fuel your body with the right nutrients

When November and December are filled with holiday party on top of holiday party it’s easy to go off the deep end. As much as we hate to admit, chances are we're consuming way more sugar, fat, and alcohol than what would normally appear in our everyday diets. While great in the moment, this holiday YOLO may cause you to feel fatigue, bloating, brain fog or just downright not good.

To help stay balanced eat plenty of organic vegetables - fresh, frozen, or extra points for fermented. Fermented foods contain health promoting bacteria called "probiotics" that are beneficial for the gut (they're basically best friends).

Drink green juices or make your own homemade soups and bone broth to get important vitamins and minerals your body needs to support a healthy immune system.

Staying hydrated is another "must do" since as we often are more vulnerable to getting sick when we become dehydrated. A good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces to ensure that you are getting enough fluids.

Finally, consider adding supplements to your daily routine such as Vitamin D and a good probiotic (remember above?) in the winter months to keep your immune system strong. Since the majority of your immune system lives in the gut it is extremely important to keep the digestive tract working at its best.

Tip #2: Keep Moving

Our bodies like movement. As hard as it can be during the winter months to get motivated to go outside, keep your body moving. Find a type of exercise that you really enjoy and stick with it. I've discovered that if you embrace a winter activity like going for a bundled up walk, cross country skiing or snow shoeing you learn not to curse every time it snows. For updated cross country ski trail reports around the metro, check out Skinny Ski!  And the DNR has awesome info on great places to snowshoe (my all-time favorite winter activity)!

If you're fond of heat, take some hot yoga classes or other indoor group fitness classes. My friends at RiverGarden Yoga or Yoke Fitness would love to see you this winter! And just down West 7th from Honu! Crack the code on winter by doing something you enjoy and do it because you want to, not because you feel you have to.

Tip #3: Sleep

Let's take a note from our hibernating friends and embrace the sleep -- you're body naturally needs more of it during these shorter days. This may require changing up your routine a little. When we're short on time, sleep always seems like it's the first thing to go. If you need incentive, remember your immune system is healing and replenishing while you sleep. Sleep can also change your overall state and well-being (and everyone likes a happy person).

Another thing to consider when getting plenty of sleep, is getting good quality sleep. Yep…I’m going there. Consider turning off all electronics a couple hours before bed and do not sleep with any electronics in your bedroom. Why? Well, electronics are known to keep the mind stimulated therefore making it harder to fall asleep and they give off harmful electromagnetic radiation. Rather than beating that next level of Candy Crush, take a relaxing Epsom salt bath, read a good book, meditate or journal before you turn in for the night.

Tip #4: Managing holiday stress

The holidays are a magical time of spend with those you love. Unfortunately, it's easy to max out and wind up feeling a great deal of stress during this time of year as well. I've told you before, but I'm telling you again, stress is the main culprit of disease. And while I could list all the things that lead to feeling mental and emotional stress, it's what you do to manage your stress that really matters.

One of the easiest and most basic things we can do when we start feeling stressed is to take a break.  All I'm asking is that you pause and breathe - one minute or 20 minutes.  I don't care.  Just do it. It's essential to find a moment of peace to calm your nervous system. When you're breathing, take a deep breath through the belly and when you exhale, imagine letting go of all the stress. This breathing can be a quick pause while you are at work or lead to a deeper mediation.

Yoga and massage (shameless plug) are other ways to focus on the breath and let go of the stress in your body.  Just saying.

Tip #5: Say “No” more than you say "yes"

Do you feel obligated to say “yes” to every holiday party or event you are invited to? Do you feel guilty if you don’t go? But stressed when you do go because you have to make a trip to the grocery store or buy a gift? First off, ditch the guilt. Honor yourself by respectfully declining the things that do not serve you and saying "yes" to what does. If it is not something that will be bring you joy this holiday season, then it’s time to start saying "no".

It's likely that the first time you say "no" you will be plagued with guilt (from yourself and maybe others), but those feelings will pass. Remember?  I said ditch the guilt. In time you will start to feel happier and more fulfilled when you only say “yes” to the things in your life that you truly want to do. You will also be way less stressed and overwhelmed because you are doing fewer, more meaningful things.

Tip #6: BodyMind Coaching

Do you feel chronically stressed out during the holiday season? Like you are constantly running from place to place with no time to breath? I hear you and I'm here for you -- to provide you with the extra support you need to eliminate the holiday stress that manifests in your body through BodyMind Coaching.

Free consultations are the name of the game. Send me an email to set up your first BodyMind coaching session or just to chat about what is BodyMind coaching. Sessions typically start by identifying how stress shows up in your life and troubleshooting ways to eliminate it. All of this is with the ultimate goal of getting you to a healthier, happier, and pain free life.

How do you know when you are too sick to come in for a massage?

Massage is a great way to help boost your immune system and prevent you from getting sick, but what if you already feeling sick? Are the benefits still the same?

If you just received a reminder text/email but are starting to feel like you're coming down with something, then it may be a good idea to reschedule your massage. Your body is fighting hard to get you feeling better and the last thing you want to do is get any worse. Massage can help increase circulation and help release the toxins in your body, but when you're sick a massage may overload the immune system.

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms stay home and reschedule:

·       Body aches

·       Fever

·       Chills

·       Nausea/vomiting

·       Anything highly contagious (as your massage therapist I ask not only to prevent myself from getting sick, but for other clients coming in after you)

Be mindful of how you are feeling when you have an upcoming massage scheduled. While it may be disappointing to miss your dose of self-care, there are other ways to take care of your body when you're sick such as a hot Epsom salt bath, rest, bone broth or hot tea!

I also have some great essential oils recommendations and carry them in house to help with your recovery:

·       Good Samaritan

·       Immunity Boost

·       Frankincense

·       Ginger

At Honu Therapeutic Massage I ask for a 24 hour notice if you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment. If you have any questions or are unsure if you should reschedule, please don't hesitate to contact me.


My first attempt at Aerial Yoga

Are you always caring for others? Always putting yourself last? Or not feeling supported in your life? Then this may be the perfect self care activity for you! Aerial yoga uses nylon fabric, similar to a hammock to support and cradle you while you are deepening your practicing yoga.

 Clockwise from top left: inversion, half pigeon, and savasana.

Clockwise from top left: inversion, half pigeon, and savasana.

If you haven't tried Aerial Yoga before here is my take on it. At first it may feel like you are training to be in the circus, but once you get over that feeling and back into your body it can feel very freeing. Freedom for your mind and body. It's a great way to mix up your routine workouts and yoga practice, improve your balance, and of course have fun! 

Aerial yoga not only deepens your yoga practice, but it's similar to dance where you learn to move your body in ways that you normally don't. Also, since you are doing inversions fully supported by a nylon fabric there is some trust involved -- not only with the supported fabric, but with yourself and your body as well. 

I would definitely recommend considering Aerial Yoga! Tula Yoga and Wellness in Saint Paul, MN where I took my intro aerial workshop.  They have classes as well!  Instructors were encouraging and eager to help those with injuries modify.



Make your own bug and tick spray

They are out in full force! With the winter being mild and then all the rain this spring, mosquitoes and ticks are making quite an appearance. 

Are you looking for an alternative option to keep the bugs away? Something without all the chemicals, but equally as effective? Here's what I use for bug spray when I am enjoying the Minnesota summer nights -- essential oils!

Plants produce essential oils to repel bugs from eating their leaves and flowers, so why not use essential oils on your skin to keep the bugs off. Veraditas by Pranaram makes an organic bug repellent concentrate called BUG OFF! It's super easy to use, because it's already a blend of oils that all play a part in keeping the bugs away. This oil includes organic eucalyptus, citriodora, lemongrass, rose geranium, lavender, and peppermint. All you need to do is take a 4 ounce dark glass spray bottle, add 40-70 drops of BUG OFF and fill with purified water. Another option would be to mix with an organic unscented lotion. This is also safe for your dogs, but since dogs are more sensitive to smell, only rub a very small amount behind the shoulder blades and tail. Avoid anything near their face and nose.  

I often use this spray during the day when I am outdoors hiking, camping or out in long grass to avoid ticks (secret tip! I add extra geranium oil to my bug spray to help keep the ticks away.) Applying some Rose Geranium essential oil to my ankles, wrists, and behind my knees can also be effective at keeping bugs at bay.

If you do happen to get the occasional mosquito bite, Veraditas Bug Eraser works miracles. Made of Clove, Tea Tree, Lavender, and Peppermint, it can help reduce the itching, redness and inflammation associated with the bite.

Stop by to pick some up or ask about Veraditas Essential Oils at your next appointment!

*note that rose oil is contraindicated when pregnant and use in very small amounts when using on dogs. 



Recent adventures in NOLA

The hubby and I recently took a trip to New Orleans to celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary. Now, if you happen to know me this is not my typical vacation spot. I usually opt for Hawaii or some amazing warm beach vacation to completely unwind and relax. Surprisingly, New Orleans has been on my bucket list for some time now and I heard April is a great time to visit. This was definitely a much-needed vacation and opportunity to celebrate one year of blissful marriage!

Let’s just start by saying this city is amazing! If you like food, music, art, and history this is the place to be. Everything about this trip was perfect! We started our trip by watching our wedding video, hunny moon video clips, and endless photos on the flight there.  We had the perfect studio Airbnb and the weather in the 80’s.  Humid and sunny -- not too different than my go-to beach vacations! We had bikes at our Airbnb and as it turns out biking is really the best way to get around the city.

With only 4 days we had to dive in and see what this city had to offer. We lumped together all the recommendations (there were so many, because there are more than 900 places to eat) from our friends that have been there before and from our Airbnb hosts.  When I first thought about the food, my head kept saying “how am I going to survive there with my dietary restrictions (no gluten, no dairy)…I’m not going to find any food that I can eat” …Boy was I wrong!   There were so many places with gluten free and dairy free options. And not to mention the seafood. It was so fresh and unexpectedly non-fried. Yippee!  I had some of the best food I’ve ever had on vacation.

Follow me on Instagram (@honumassage) to see all the food porn including vegan blueberry pancakes, vegan crepes with strawberries and coconut cream, breakfast tacos, coconut curry with shrimp, fresh ahi, paraline bacon, arugula and crab salad with fennel and grapefruit, and of course I had to try broiled crayfish (except I was unable to eat them the correct way… there was no sucking the heads…ekk!).  Is your mouth watering yet?

Some of the highlights of our trip were city park, the garden district, magazine street, the cemeteries, Frenchman street, riding the street car along St. Charles street, Preservation Hall and all the wonderful music everywhere we went. We also enjoyed all the warm-hearted people. They all have such a love for that city and they just want to have a good time. I enjoyed meeting the locals and learning about all the history there. What they say about southern hospitality is really true! Justin also loved being called hunny and dear by all the ladies.

The trip was so much more than just exploring the city, but enjoying each other's company and having one-on-one time with no interruptions or work -- just the two of us is a wonderful city. It’s good for our souls to step aside and take time for what is important to us in life. I value my relationships, especially my relationship with my husband. It’s so easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of life and not focus on what is really, truly important to us. I also value travel and exploring. I am the first to admit that I don’t do this enough, but I am working on it and hope to be able to be writing another blog post about travel shortly.

Life is too short to not enjoy what you love doing! Fill yourself us with what makes your soul happy!

Featured Oil: Frankincense


Frankincense has become one of my favorite oils because it has so many benefits like:

  • Skin regeneration
  • Boosting immunity
  • Upper respiratory support
  • Reducing pain and  inflammation
  • Nervous system support

Besides the benefits I really enjoy the scent of Frankincense. I tend to use Frankincense in my essential oil diffuser along with Good Samaritan for immunity and respiratory issues, in a spray to purify/cleanse my massage room between clients, in my yoga and meditation practice, and even in beard oil for my husband. I also just started using it in the new Veraditas roll-on bottles. This makes it so easy to apply on the go. 

Made from a resin from the Boswellia trees in Somalia and distilled in Vermont, Frankincense has been associated with many religions for years to enhance spirituality, meditation and prayer. This ancient oil was used by Egyptians for embalming and the mummification process. In Christianity, Frankincense, Myrrh and Gold were the three gifts presented at the birth of Christ by the three wise men. Due to its history, Frankincense is considered one of the most precious, prized, and sacred Essential Oils.  

Beard Oil Recipe Using Frankincense:

If you have a beard or a husband that loves his beard, this is the perfect blend.

To make your own Beard Oil, you will need:

  • 1oz amber glass bottle
  • almond oil, jojoba, or castor oil
  • Veriditas Botanicals essential oils:

To your glass bottle, add 30 drops of Frankincense, 15 drops of Atlas Cedar, and 6 drops of Vetiver essential oils. You can adjust the scent as needed for your liking. Then fill the remainder of the bottle with your base oil of choice. Shake well to blend.

Defusing Frankincense:

One of my favorite blends to diffuse is mixing equal parts of Veraditas Frankincense, Good Samaritan and Sweet Orange. It will depend on the size of your diffuser and your room size, but generally use 5-12 drops total depending how strong you would like it. 

Muscle tension/soreness:

For those muscle aches and pains between massage appointments mix Veriditas Frankincense with Organic Arnica Plant Oil. Combine thoroughly before applying affected areas. 

What's your favorite way to use Frankincense essential oils? 

Why I choose Veriditas Botanicals Essential Oils.


It's been far too long since I last shared my favorite things (cue Oprah).  Remember my blog post on why I use organic oils/ creams not just in my massage business, but my life as well? It's an oldie, but a goodie -- check it out here.  Well, in part two I'm focusing on my favorite essential oils.  Per usual I go with only the purest and best quality for myself and for my clients! 

Here's the back story: I’ve been using essential oils since massage school 11 years ago. I still remember my very first trip upcountry to the beautiful lavender farms in Maui where I purchased my first lavender oil. This was also back when they only used their single source of lavender to make all their oils and products.  Demand has forced their hand into outsourcing since they sell more than they can grow.  Unfortunately, I find this to be a common issue for several essential oil companies.

Over the years I have used a variety of quality oils sold at health food stores, co-ops, and online. While I found some great oils for my business and everyday life, I never considered selling them to my clients. Then a couple years ago I came across Veriditas Botanicals at a local health food store. I was so excited to learn more that I started researching the company and I attended one of their education classes to test their oils. I was instantly in love with the products and the company's mission. The quality of the oils was so much more than what I have been using in the past. 

The etymology of Veriditas says it all. Veraditas means green and truth in latin. As described on their website, "Hildegard created the word Veriditas to mark the moment that God heals one thru a living plant – or the “greening” power of plant medicine. The moment the plant enters and heals you is the moment of “Veriditas”! We believe that by combining nature’s vitality with time-tested practices and modern discernment, a model for self-care evolves." Since I strongly believe in the benefits of self care and using plants as medicine I knew instantly this was the company trust. 

They are not only a Minnesota based company, but organic and Eco certified as well. This means they care about the earth, the purity and safety of the oils, and support small organic farming. That fact that this company only sells oils to other companies with similar missions and values is something to be admired.  Honu Therapeutic Massage is one such business!

I am excited to announce that I just recently doubled my inventory.  Why?  Because I use essential oils for nearly everything!  You’ll see them in my diffuser as aromatherapy, on your skin during your massage session, and cleansing the air in a spray or hydrosol. I also use them in my daily routine as cleaning products, breath fresheners and air fresheners, in Epsom salt baths and body care, on my feet and my pillow…there are endless possibilities and benefits with essential oils.

Follow Honu Therapeutic Massage on Facebook as I will be featuring one oil each week with the specific benefits, tips on use, and how to relieve ailments!

For a complete list of why to choose Veriditas essential oils click here!

Introducing massage with cupping at Honu

New service at Honu Therapeutic Massage!  Cupping: an ancient technique used in combination with massage to increase circulation and alleviate tension in the body.