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Jul 19, 2018

Practicing Self-Love

by Meagan Randall

In today's society it isn't uncommon for us to try to meet the status quo, there are so many societal standards. Due to our upbringing and surroundings atmosphere we strive to be what society expects of us. But in doing so, how much of our true selves do we end up sacrificing? I'd like to hit on the topic of self-love and acceptance.

Self-love and acceptance is the state of appreciation and compassion for oneself; it is quieting the inner critic that we have become accustomed to in our day to day lives. In practicing self-love we are able to be aware of the strengths and weaknesses, and can find satisfaction within despite any past errors or mistakes. With this knowledge, we are able to grow and in confidence, acceptance, and love; not just for ourselves, but for others as well.

Here are a few ways to practice in self-love and appreciation.

  • Treat yourself and as you would treat your loved ones.

- Would you talk to your friend or loved one in the same manner you speak to yourself?

  • Forgive Yourself.
    • Allow understanding of an action.
    • What did you need at the time, what need was being fulfilled.
  • Set boundaries.
    • Learn when to say no. It's OK to say no to things that may deplete you.
  • Respect your emotions.
    • Surrender to your emotions, feel them, move through them. Don't hold onto them.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others.
    • We all grow and learn in our own time and space.
    • We all have different talents and abilities.
    • You are where you need to be.
  • Let go of those toxic people in your life.
    • You deserve to be treated well. Make yourself a priority.

By practicing these few things on a daily basis you will find yourself on a journey towards the self- love, appreciation, forgiveness, and positivity you deserve in your life.

Jul 19, 2018

Massage is for Everyone - Even you!

by Shaelynn Brackett

There is a lot of reasons people think they don’t need a massage. They may believe it is a luxury, an indulgence of rich, bored housewives, that it has sexual undertones, etc. None of this is true. In fact, true massage therapy is incredibly good for your health, and an essential part of your preventative care. It has many benefits, and with all the different modalities available, there is something for everyone. Let’s talk about massage therapy and its benefits, and how it really is for YOU!


Massage therapy dates back at least over 5,000 years, used in many ancient cultures for its medical benefits. It has been passed down through oral traditions, and the first written records are found in China & Egypt as early as 2700 BCE, found in the first known Chinese text called “The Yellow Emperor's Classic Book of Internal Medicine.” Depictions of massage therapy can be found in Egyptian tomb paintings.  Modern Swedish massage was developed in the early 1800’s. Ayurvedic massage dates back thousands of years as well.

Massage Modalities

Now that we have gotten the hard stuff out of the way. There is a massage for EVERYONE! Let's talk about the different modalities of massage and which modality will work the best for you. There are as many as 250 different types of massage and bodywork, and the list keeps getting bigger. These modalities range from energy work (that doesn’t involve touch) to deep, rigorous work. Each modality uses different strokes, techniques, approaches, pressure, and movements as well as focus on different targeted areas.

Here are some of the modalities:

  • Swedish massage is the most common massage and was developed in the 1800’s. It utilizes light to medium pressure and is good for improving circulation, easing muscle tension, relaxation and improving flexibility.
  • Deep Tissue massage manipulates the deeper tissues and uses moderate to hard pressure for tension release, focusing on the muscles located just below the surface of the top muscle. It is used to release toxins and for deeply held problems and issues such as chronically tight muscles, strains and injury.
  • Deep Pressure massage is performed with deep pressure that is sustained and strong with intense pressure throughout the entire full body session. This is typically used to prep the muscles for deep tissue massage and will open the first two layers of muscle tissue, helping to eliminate aches and pains.
  • Trigger point is commonly used and paired with deep tissue work for the release of specific tight areas within the muscle tissue. These tight areas are caused by adhesions of the fascia and a shortening of muscle fibers resulting in a trigger point. These specific points can cause what is called a referred pain pattern in another area.
  • Prenatal or Pregnancy massage incorporates basic massage techniques that are safe for a pregnant woman. This is most commonly done with the client positioned on her side with pillows or cushions for support. Prenatal massage helps to reduce swelling and fatigue as well as tension and aches that arise from the additional weight of pregnancy.
  • Hot Stone utilizes hot stone to help relax the tissues on a deeper level. Heated rocks are used to provide compression with a slower rhythm. Typically found in a spa. Other Spa techniques used are scrubs, dry brushing, and aromatherapy, which utilizes essential oils to enhance the massage.
  • Sports Massage is a targeted form of massage for athletes. Done both before and after sporting events, it helps to relieve swelling and tension, improve flexibility, prevent injuries, enhance performance and reduce fatigue.
  • Thai or Thai Yoga massage is based on ancient healing techniques from India & Asia. It is an interactive manipulation of the body using passive stretching, gentle pressure and deep compressions to improve flexibility, stimulate internal organs, reduce stress & tension, as well as loosen stagnation in the body leaving you energized and renewed.
  • Myofascial Release is where therapists manipulate connective tissue, using friction and stretching. All muscles, arteries, bones and organs are held together by a thin sheath of fibrous tissue called fascia (that thin, translucent, layer covering a chicken breast when you cut into it). Fascia can be affected by prolonged tension, trauma, stress, injury and not enough movement. When the fascia gets tight or damaged it can lead to tension, inflammation, constricted movement and pain.
  • Lymph Drainage Massage uses very light, circular massage in the direction of the body’s lymphatic flow. Lymph is the clear fluid containing white blood cells that flows throughout our tissues, collecting bacteria (not unlike a garbage truck) and brings them to our lymph nodes where the bacteria can be destroyed. The lymphatic system is responsible for our immunity. Lymph massage is helpful in moving metabolic waste out of the body, reducing swelling after surgery or injury, cellulite reduction and improving the immune system. It is contraindicated for people with infections, tumors, undiagnosed lumps or people with heart issues.
  • Craniosacral is a form of bodywork that uses gentle touch to manipulate the synarthrodial joints of the cranium. The craniosacral system is comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds and protects the brain and spinal cord. This system plays a vital role in maintaining the environment that the central nervous system functions in. This modality helps to free up the tissues in this system, enhancing the flow of the fluid which helps improve whole body function, boost the immune system, promote relaxation and balances the central nervous system.
  • Acupressure dates back 5000 years and is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is similar to acupuncture but uses deep finger pressure instead of needles to stimulate energy. It applies pressure to specific points in the body to help remove blockages, increase energy flow, reduce stress and promote health and harmony in the body.
  • Shiatsu is the most widely known form of acupressure and uses rhythmic pressure from 3-10 seconds on specific points along the body's meridians to unblock and stimulate the flow of energy. This modality may also use gentle stretching and range of motion manipulation.
  • Reflexology is an acupressure technique that focuses on the hands and feet and is used to relieve tension and treat illness using reflex points or meridian pathways that are linked to every part of the body. It is an ancient form of therapy with evidence dating back to China, Egypt and the North American, Native American Tribes from hundreds to thousands of years. 
  • Structural Integration, Rolfing, and Hellerwork all work on the idea that when one part of the body is out of balance or misaligned, the rest of the body attempts to compensate until the entire structure is weakened. These modalities manipulate the myofascial tissues and assist the body to reorganize, lengthen and integrate itself into wholeness. While Hellerwork follows the same principles as Rolfing & Structural Integration, it has more emphasis on client/practitioner dialogue to work on releasing patterns of stress and movement exercises to eliminate bad habits.
  • Lomi Lomi is a Hawaiian restorative massage technique that has been handed down from ancient Hawaiian healers. The strokes are similar to shiatsu but gentler and shorter, using pressure with the fingers at certain points. Two identifying techniques of authentic LomiLomi are the emphasis on spirit-body connection and the use of the forearms and elbows as practitioner tools. There are two styles of Lomi Lomi. The first style is Temple Style, which uses primarily forearms while integrating movements that are circles or figure eights. This is designed to confuse the thinking mind, inviting the client to surrender and let go of anything no longer serving them. The second style is Sacred Lomi which has roots in Temple Style, but also incorporates many principles and practices that support practitioners and clients on their quest to heal themselves and others. The practitioner is taught to listen with their entire being and to surrender to the guidance of divinity, which allows grace to transmute all stuck energies to pure light and love.  All styles of Lomi Lomi integrate some form of movement, chant, prayers, as well as the core intention of aloha.
  • Integrative massage is combined with the use of deep breath work to help assist in the release of emotional issues trapped in the body. Long fluid strokes are used to move energy from the head down and out through the hands and feet.
  • Reiki is a spiritual, vibrational healing art practice. The word Reiki comes from the Japanese words, Rei- Universal Life and Ki- Energy. This tradition was founded in the early 20th century and is based on the principle that the therapist can help channel energy into the client by means of light, non-invasive placement of the hands in specific positions, either on or above the body. There is no massage or manipulation. It is believed to help relieve pain, restore vitality, promote balance physically and emotionally and aid in spiritual growth.
  • Trauma Touch Therapy is a ten-session certified program designed to meet the needs of clients who have experienced trauma or abuse in their lives. The client and therapist create an emotionally safe and nurturing environment where healthy boundaries can develop. Through this focused awareness of sensation, breath, and movement in the body, one can be gently reconnected with the emotions, mind and spirit, while helping to heal trauma.

These are just some of the many modalities out there. Each modality has a specific target and there could be multiple modalities for one issue. Massage isn’t just for vacation or the rich. Massage isn’t “sex work.” Massage is a necessity for your body! Do some research to find out what will work best for you and then go look for a therapist that will be your perfect fit. Happy massaging!

Jul 19, 2018

National Parks and the Road Less Traveled

by Scott VanZalinge

There are 58 National Parks in the US, many of which are visited often, and are known even to those who haven't visited them. Among the most visited parks are: The Great Smoky Mountains, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier Bay, and The Grand Canyon. But how much do we know about the rest of the parks? I've chosen a handful of lesser visited National Parks which I find very interesting, and worth making a trip.

Capitol Reef - I've started in Utah, my home, and the home of RidgeCrest Herbals, and I’ve chosen the two least visited National Parks in the state - Capitol Reef and Canyonlands. Capitol Reef National Park is an extraordinary place, which encompasses the “Waterpocket Fold” a 65 million year old warp in the earth’s crust, and the largest exposed monocline in North America. It offers vibrantly colored cliffs, arches, white domes shaped like the US capitol building (for which this park is named), and hundreds of miles of trails and unpaved roads that allow you to access the all-encompassing beauty.

Canyonlands National Park is just east of Capitol Reef, both of which are located in South Central Utah. Canyonlands is broken into four districts - the Island in the Sky, the Needles, the Maze, and the rivers that course through the park. The districts share a primitive desert atmosphere while they each retain their own character. The park is suited for many recreational uses including mountain biking, hiking, backpacking, and four-wheeling. Both parks are full of historical and cultural remnants, and both are absolutely awesome places to visit. Whether sticking to the highways or hiking deep into the backcountry, you're sure to find something spectacular.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison is a very narrow and deep canyon located in western Colorado. Through the canyon flows the Gunnison river, which drops an average of 34 feet per mile, making it the 5th steepest mountain descent in North America. What I like about a place like this is its ability to make you feel small - this is what drives me to visit National Parks. Upon their magnificence, they have the ability to make one feel insignificant. In these moments, when I'm a speck in size compared to my surroundings, I find tranquility.

Congaree - This park in South Carolina preserves the largest portion of old growth floodplain forest left in North America. I chose this park because it is unique, and living in Utah does not subject me to a lot of swampland. I would very much like to experience this unique environment. Some of the trees in this forest are the tallest in the Eastern United States, and there are a wide array of animal species including bobcats, deer, coyotes, armadillos, turkeys, feral dogs, and pigs. The waters have amphibians, turtles, snakes, alligators, and many varieties of fish. There are both primitive and backcountry campsites available, and many trails to navigate your way through the forest, including both land and mapped out waterways which are accessed via canoe. There is also a 2.4 mile elevated boardwalk which you can use for strolling or bird watching.

Dry Tortugas - This national park is one of the most interesting I have read about - It is a small group of islands located in the Gulf of Mexico, near the Florida Keys. On one of the islands holds an old civil war fort, Fort Jefferson. The fort is the largest masonry structure in the Americas, constructed from over 16 million bricks. There's a lot of history here, stories about Fort Jefferson, shipwrecks, early Spanish explorers, island battles, and even tales found in fictional literary works like “Treasure Island” and “The President's Shadow.” Another thing I found interesting about Dry Tortugas is the disappearance and reappearance of some of its smaller islands. Its former islands include Southwest Key, Northeast Key, and North Key, which all disappeared by 1875, while Bird Key disappeared in 1935. The islands are only accessible by boat or plane.

There is so much to do in this world, so many places to see, and so many experiences just waiting to take place. Yet, these experiences don't need to come at the higher cost associated with more popular parks such as higher priced hotel accommodations, having to drive further distances, or putting up with a crowd. Solidarity is held high in my book, and I'm finding that just because a place (whether a National Park or some other attraction) is less visited, doesn’t mean it's any less extraordinary or enjoyable. I encourage everyone to find a National Park near you, one you haven't visited, and go. I've made it my New Year's resolution to visit all of the National Parks in Utah that I haven't been to, and I hope you make it out to explore the world. Safe travels!

Jul 19, 2018

Homemade Compost Tea

by RidgeCrest Herbals

Homemade Compost Tea Fertilizer

What you'll need:

Weeds, relatively dirt free.

A 5-gallon bucket

Heavy rocks



A few days (depending on where you live and the amount of sunlight)

Container to keep Compost Tea in (another bucket with a lid or something similar that pours easily)

Place your bucket in a sunny location. Fill your bucket about 1/3 with weeds. Place heavy rocks on top of your weeds. Fill with water. Let rest 3-5 days in the sun or until it starts to stink (WARNING: DO NOT get this on your clothes or wear clothes you don't care about. The smell is permanent and will not come out). Pour liquid into a container (keeping particles out of it - may want a strainer of some kind). When you're ready to use - dilute tea as follows: 10 parts water, 1 part tea. Water plants accordingly. 

NOTE: Do not use the tea full strength - it is highly concentrated and can kill your plants! It must be diluted before use. 

Jul 18, 2018

July Window to Wanderlust

by Abbie Warnock-Matthews

Jul 5, 2018

Your Experience is Valid, Too

by Aspen Anderson

I think the issue was that I had too much coffee. That is pretty hard to do, but when combined with a day of talking with people at a convention, as an introvert I definitely overextended myself. As I stood at my booth nodding as a woman told me the terrible story of how she found an abandoned puppy in a trash bag, trying to find the right combination of sympathy and active listening facial expressions, the conversation weighed on me and I felt dizzy and claustrophobic. It is a common feeling for me when someone I don't know well is talking and I don't know if the conversation will be easy to get out of. My social anxiety always keeps me thinking three sentences ahead, worrying that I time my reactions too soon or too late, make my voice or expressions too strong or not strong enough to express them properly. As the day went on, I tried everything I could think of to get my nerves to calm down - I hid in the bathroom for twenty minutes, I made sure I ate, I tried to breathe and take a walk. Nothing helped. My nerves were still raw. I would be speaking on the main stage, but I minded that much less than one-on-one conversations, so I knew it wasn't nerves. I was just tired and overcaffeinated. 

Desperately wishing I had brought some sort of anti-anxiety medication with me, I looked across the room and saw a booth heavy-laden with crystals. While other people in my social circles swore by their healing properties, it was not something that resonated with my often over-analytical mind. But at this point, I would try anything. 

I wandered over and asked the man tending the booth if he had anything for anxiety. He asked what kind, and when I told him it was social anxiety, he nodded, and much like I do when someone tells me their dog struggled with arthritis, his hand seemed to itch to rush to a solution he had explained hundreds of times before. He led me around to the edge of the booth and handed me a piece of black tourmaline. 

The effect was immediate. The weight of the large piece felt solid in my hand, grounding and secure. My arm almost felt like it was vibrating, warming, and the tension that had been in my chest all day long making it difficult to concentrate began to ease. It didn't disappear, but it felt like healing balm was being applied to my raw insides and that it would be over soon. I bought the large crystal on the spot and clung to it until I finally felt like I was myself again. I don't like believing in anything I don't understand, but sometimes comprehension can take a back seat to experience. If you find something that works, you don't need a thousand scientific studies to validate your personal experience. Just knowing it helps can be enough.  

Jul 5, 2018

The Benefits of Bitters

by Brittini Gehring, MH

We are all familiar with the idea of craving something sweet or salty. But do you ever crave something bitter? While bitters may not currently be on your cravings list, your body is wise and will start to hunger after the benefits of bitters over time. All three of these flavors have evolved into descriptions of feelings and personality traits. Being “sweet” is a good thing. Observing that someone is “salty” refers to sass, irritation, and even a foul mouth, but is still an upbeat term used humorously. “Bitter,” on the other hand, is a negative word to describe a level of nastiness no one wants to be around! While you may not want to be bitter emotionally, from a digestive perspective, bitter foods are where it’s at! If you are not accustomed to bitters, you should be. Here are the reasons bitters should be your go-to flavor.

Dietary Wellness Assistant - Bitters assist your body in making healthier food choices overall. Bitters help to curb cravings while stimulating an appetite for nutritious foods.

Nutrient Rich - Bitters are usually those dark leafy greens that are too often misunderstood at the grocery store, or they can be found amongst the weeds you are constantly battling in your yard. Regardless of where you find them, it would be sensible to take the time to look them over at the store and research how to prepare them. Or turn some of your weed patches into fresh produce at no cost! In doing so, you will load your body with oodles of potent nutrients that are both highly nutritious and protective for your cells.

Tastebud Sidekick - Bitters jump into action the second you put them in your mouth, waking up taste buds and kicking them into hyperdrive. Due to their biting flavor, chewing bitters helps activate the brain to start releasing digestive chemicals and notifying the digestive players in the body. They help stimulate enzymes in the saliva that alert the digestive system to start creating bile. Taking bitters in capsule form would, of course, override this action, but are still beneficial.

Digestive Companion - Bitters are your best friend when it comes to the digestive process. Amongst some of the supportive actions instigated by bitters are the ability to encourage certain organs such as the stomach, pancreas, and liver to effectively produce crucial digestive enzymes, support smooth muscle function, enhance digestion time, fight negative digestive responses, and help support healthy digestive tissue over time.

Healthy Organ Advocate - Your organs benefit greatly from bitters. Bitters support a healthy pancreas, normal blood sugar balance and a healthy bloodstream. They gently nourish the liver and support liver function and detoxification.

These are just some of the benefits of adding bitters to your diet. Bitter extracts go great in cocktails, too, and a big push culturally for bitters has been driven by creative bar concoctions (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) as well creative culinary recipes that include bitters in soups, salads, pies, and ice cream! Overall, bitters benefit your body and support health and wellness in ways no other food or supplement can.

Jul 5, 2018

The Best Reasons to Buy Local Produce

by Matt Warnock

People across America are mystifying their neighbors, as they discover the strange and wonderful joys of buying local produce. With a well-stocked supermarket on nearly every corner, why would people drive for miles and line up early on a Saturday morning to pay higher prices for vegetables by visiting a local farm stand, co-op, or farmer's market? If you don't know, you haven't tried it yet. But here are my top reasons.

1. Know your food. There is great comfort in buying your food right at the source. Want to know whether your produce has been organically grown? Would you rather look for a sticker, or personally ask the family that grew it?

2. More and better varieties. Supermarkets typically carry only one or two varieties of tomatoes, potatoes, onions, apples, and pears; a few kinds of lettuce; and usually only one or two other kinds of produce. But local farmers may be trying out a wide variety of different strains, including unique and flavorful heirloom varieties, that you may never see in a supermarket.

3. Field ripened and preservative-free. Supermarket produce is often picked well before it is ripe, then coated with wax or other preservatives to slow ripening while it is transported, and stored until it is finally ripe enough for sale. Warehouse ripened produce can't hope to compare in flavor or nutrition to produce that has ripened in a sunny field until nearly bursting with goodness.

4. Earth-friendly. Supermarket produce may travel for thousands of miles to its destination, using expensive and often non-renewable resources for processing, refrigeration, transportation, packaging, display, and lighting.

5. Support your local economy. Almost all of the money spent in your local farmer's market stays around to help and support your neighbors, rather than taking a side trip through some multi-national corporation on the other end of the country or world. And it encourages more of the same, helping to preserve the diversity and health of our mutual food supply.

Jul 3, 2018

DIY Laundry Detergent

by RidgeCrest Herbals

1 C. Borax

1 C. Washing Soda

1 bar Fels Naptha or Equivalent Castille Soap, shredded or ground

1 C. OxyClean 

30-40 drops of your favorite Essential Oils

Use a cheese grater or food processor to grind down your bar soap. Mix all ingredients, except essential oils, until well combined. Add in essential oils and mix again. Use 1 - 2 TBSP's for high-efficiency washers or 2 - 4 TBSP's for regular washers.

Jul 3, 2018

July Organtics

by RidgeCrest Herbals

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