Living the WELL Life


Starting Your Engine

Thursday, November 01, 2012

From the many different courses I have designed and teach, my favourite of all time is entitled Ladies Start your Engines. When I started to study TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) many moons ago, I took to it like a duck to water. 

Think about the engines in our cars. What would happen to them if we didn’t check them in for an annual overhaul? They would dry up, rust, and even breakdown. What made such sense to me in TCM was the analogy of taking care of our bodies in much the same way we take care of our cars. As each season changes, the organs pertaining to that particular season present themselves for an annual service. How clever is that?  That’s how Ladies Start your Engines was born. 

I look at the body as either being in a ‘plum’ state or a ‘prune’ state. And that is how I always start my lectures. Would you like to be a plum or a prune?  We are like a juicy wee plum when we are born and then we start to dry out with age.  We age even faster if we don’t take care of our bodies.  Seaweed can help us get back in tune with our ‘plum state.’  Sea vegetables increase the yin fluids in the body hydrating our cells from the inside out and bathing in seaweed hydrates us from the outside in. Good eh! What a plan!

As a long time promoter of seaweed, I am sure I must have been a mermaid in my last life. At the tender age of 15, I discovered the benefits of kelp and much to the amusement of my friends I incorporated seaweed into my life in various ways. Cooking with it, bathing in it, and grinding it to a powder to make facials. In my native Scotland, seaweed was also an ingredient used in bread making.

As many of you will be aware from the wonderful teachings of Christina, an array of seaweeds can be used for making teas, soups, side dishes, stews and so much more. I thought it would be interesting to share with you the many benefits of seaweed and encourage you to start using it on a regular basis, if you don’t already do so.

Here in Scotland, we have been enjoying the benefits of seaweed from the Scottish islands for hundreds of years. Naturally healing, moisturizing and anti-aging, seaweed is rich in vitamins, minerals and anti-cellulite properties. Unwinding in a hot bath infused with mineral sea salts containing over 85 natural trace minerals is sheer bliss.

I purchase the dried seaweed for my husband Bill and I and we indulge ourselves in a wonderful restorative seaweed bath once or twice weekly. The gel that is released is just gorgeous and feels amazing on the skin. I have listed below some of the great benefits to your overall health. Wherever you are in the world, check out some local suppliers and incorporate this seaweed bathing into your routine.

Seaweed Bath and Its Benefits

We all know that seaweeds purify and maintain the ecological balance of the ocean. They can perform the same purification process on your body, too. The rejuvenating effects of eliminating toxins from the body can refresh us physically and mentally. A seaweed bath can create an invigorating effect by balancing the vital ingredients that constitute the body’s chemical structure. They are highly recommended for treatment of psoriasis and eczema.

Seaweed is said to possess an electrolytic magnetic action and so it releases excess body fluids from the congested cells, dissipating fatty wastes through the skin pores. In addition, they also replace depleted minerals such as potassium and iodine, boosting thyroid activity and helping to maintain adrenal regulation and hormone balance. 

When clients enroll in my Natural Woman retreats, they enjoy two seaweed baths along with steam and sauna sessions throughout the 6 day programme. They eat an amazing wholefoods plant based diet, have tasty medicinal teas prepared for them daily, and of course I put them through their paces each morning with my choice of workout from chiball, tai chi or yoga. 

My cooking classes have a different theme each day with fun titles. I teach the clients specific dishes to restore the functioning of various organs as they learn the huge benefits of eating a hormone balanced diet.    Incorporating sea vegetables into their life will assists in removing the nutritional stress from their over-tired bodies.   They are always delighted and grateful to have been exposed to the versatility of seaweed. By the time they leave, they say to me…. Marlene, my engine is on fire….. I am raring to go….. Now that makes me smile. 

What is Seaweed Therapy?

Seaweed therapy is recommended by its proponents for those affected by insomnia or sleep apnea. By improving the quality of sleep, it automatically enhances your immunity levels and helps you feel relaxed and fresh. A regular seaweed bath can minimize cellulite development on the skin by purifying it and giving your body a healthy toned look.

Seaweed body wraps help in toning up body muscle and speeding up the metabolism. They improve circulation, whilst ejecting the toxins out of the body. Seaweed therapy also aids in providing relief from joint and muscle aches and is of immense help in treating conditions such as arthritis, eczema and psoriasis. Countries such as France, Spain, Italy, Ireland and Greece have facilities known as thalassotherapy spas (loosely translated from the original Greek word as “sea therapy”).

They provide relief to thousands of tourists who visit these countries every year specifically to get benefit from these natural spas. The presence of sea weed, such as bladder wrack and kelp, help in conditions such as psoriasis and the detoxification of the body by opening up the pores, ejecting toxins, accumulated grime and dirt from the skins layers.

Seaweed therapy is gaining rapid popularity because of the wide range of health benefits that it offers without any having any adverse effects on the body.

How it works: A nicotine patch allows the body to absorb nicotine through the skin. The minerals and trace elements released by seaweed in hot water are absorbed through the skin in the same way, through a process called osmosis. Minerals are very important to vitalize body cells. However, minerals cannot be produced or restored inside of the body. Thalassotherapy enables the body to replenish essential revitalizing natural elements and mineral salts. Seaweed contains mineral salts that can help the skin to hold its moisture better, which helps to smooth fine lines.
How to Take a Seaweed Bath

Place half a bag of bladder wrack kelp or knotted wrack kelp seaweed in a bath of hot water. The seaweed will turn a beautiful spring green and the water will turn a rich brown as the seaweed release their minerals. You can add an herbal bath oil, if desired, to help hold the heat in and pleasantly scent the water. Let the bath cool enough to get in. As you soak, the gel from the seaweed will transfer onto your skin.

This coating increases perspiration to release toxins from your system and replaces them by osmosis with minerals. It also helps to rejuvenate your skin, de-stress, stimulate the thyroid, help weight loss, ease eczema, reduce the appearance of cellulite, and relax the whole body and mind.

Seaweed Body Wrap 
You can also make seaweed wrap by adding bladder wrack to a bowl of hot water leaving to soak; then placing a bandage in the gel, wrap the bandage around an area to be firmed up (buttocks or belly or arms) leave for 30 mins and then remove. Why not try a detoxing seaweed foot spa? Simply fill a basin with hot water. Soak some dried seaweed for 20 minutes and let the water come to a comfortable temperature. Pop your feet in, sit back and relax and enjoy the soothing benefits of this treatment. The feet are the framework of our body and so many of us neglect them, so give your feet a wee bit of TLC. Now and again, they will thank you for it. 

Seaweed Facial
Rejuvenate Your Skin with a Simple Seaweed Facial Mask. This simple facial mask will leave your face feeling incredibly soft, smooth and looking absolutely radiant. This mask contains kelp, honey, and aloe vera and helps the skin to hold its moisture better, which helps to smooth fine lines. Adding honey to your mask adds additional moisture to the skin. Honey is a natural humectant that is rich in vitamins, minerals, enzymes and sugar. The sugar and enzymes in honey gently exfoliate the skin. When possible, use raw honey to ensure that you get the maximum quality and benefit of this wonderful golden treat. Aloe Vera has been known for its amazing healing properties for centuries. It has been used to help heal burns, eczema, sores, acne, insect bites, and more. It’s an antiseptic, highly lubricant, and penetrates deep into the skin.

Here is a recipe for a simple mask: 
1 tbsp. Kelp powder
½ tbsp. honey (raw honey is best)
½ tbsp. Aloe vera gel (99.9% pure)


Mix all ingredients in a bowl and apply to a clean face. Leave the mask on for 15 minutes and rinse with lukewarm water. To enjoy glowing, healthy looking skin, use this mask twice a week. I promise once you try this mask, you will make it a regular part of your beauty programme.

One last note: simply change one word…….from Ladies to Gents Start your Engines and be just like my beloved Bill Tara, 70 years old and he can still out cycle me! I reckon it’s because I keep sharing my trade secrets with him and cooking amazing healthy food every day. Enjoy the wonderful benefits of seaweed. 

For more information about Marlene, visit her website at www.marlenewatsontara.com 

 



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