Luminere Featured on Best of Chicago

Airing in both August and October, Luminere will be featured on Ion network's Best of Chicago. The mini segment can also be viewed on the website homepage.

You know what's better though than being featured on Best of Chicago? Your referrals, which is the majority of Luminere's extensive clientele. Thank you for your continued support. You are more cherished than you know.

Developing the Senses… Color Therapy, Crystals, Aromatherapy, and the Chakras

chakras1 Developing the Senses… Color Therapy, Crystals, Aromatherapy, and the Chakras

What is color? Color is light, an electromagnetic energy that comes in different wavelengths. When these wavelengths bounce off objects they create light. Different speeds, intensities, absorbent and reflective qualities determine the colors we see. Our bodies are made up of this same energy. Within our system we have different energy centers that vibrate at different frequencies. The seven main energy centers are called chakras. Each chakra is directly associated with and affected by a specific color due to a unique frequency. Our chakras are responsible for much of our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. When these centers become weak or out of line, color is one of the most effective vibrational remedies to restore balance and strength to our system.

The olfactory sense is found in one of the earliest developed parts of the brain, and has one of the most dramatic emotional effects on us. Only essential oils, as opposed to impure oils, have real therapeutic value. They are absorbed in two ways. First, inhaling the scent carried it through your nose to your lungs, where it is then absorbed into the bloodstream. Second, by applying the oil to your skin, it is absorbed through the cellular membrane. Twenty-first century life gives rise to many genuine sources of anxiety. Essential oils are helpful in easing a number of psychological problems such as anxiety, grief, mental fatigue, depression, poor appetite, lethargy, memory loss and much more. Aromatherapy is connected to the idea of holism, meaning one must care for the whole person. This begins with the senses. Essential oils, like color and crystals and like us all, are pure energy. Essential oils work on all levels of the human body. Each essential oil has its own properties which work with various body systems and organs - just like the chakras, color and crystals.

The history of color healing goes back over 5,000 years, from the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, Native American’s, and Tibetans to present day practitioners and healers. The ancient Egyptians wore amulets of colored stones. They wore red to treat diseases and building strength, yellow to create happiness, and green to increase fertility. Today we use blue light on Newborn babies with jaundice in our hospitals. We know that some prisons use pink rooms to calm the more violent criminal. Also, many police stations use blue rooms for their interrogations, as the suspect is more apt to tell the truth in a blue room. Quartz Crystals have been used since ancient times as powerful healing objects and Meditation tools, and to make medicinal elixirs. Wise adepts have long known about their qualities and have used Crystals for powerful talismans and amulets. Throughout history people have valued the beauty of Quartz Crystals and have used them for ornamental decoration.

 

Why The Stress Alchemy Ritual Is Not Just Good for Relaxation...

Skin care professionals, such as estheticians and dermatologists, can help minimizethe effects of stress and emotions on skin, hair and nails. This information from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) shows how proper care can aid emotional health.

In the emotional roller coaster of life, sometimes the down periods have long-lasting effects on more than just our mood. In fact, numerous studies link factors that impact our emotional well-being—such as stress, depression and anxiety—to an increase in skin, hair or nail problems. Now, dermatologists are advising patients to recognize these secondary symptoms and to seek treatment early before they cause additional stress.

Speaking at the American Academy of Dermatology’s academy, dermatologist and clinical psychologist Richard G. Fried, MD, PhD, FAAD, of Yardley, PA, discussed the reciprocal relationship between feelings and appearance, and how failing to address these concerns can affect how we look, feel and function.

“When patients are going through a rough period in their lives, negative emotions can wreak havoc on their appearance,” said Dr. Fried. “So, as a result, patients might start to notice that their hair is thinning, their skin is inflamed or their nails are brittle, which can be physical manifestations of their mental state. These unwanted physical changes can have a profoundly negative impact on how they feel. The negative emotions can trigger a vicious cycle of worsening skin, hair and nails leading to worsening of their emotional state and can lead to further worsening of the skin problem. Dermatologists can play a key role in helping patients not only alleviate these physical symptoms, but also help enhance their quality of life during a difficult time.”

Stress can manifest itself on one’s appearance in many ways, primarily by making the skin more sensitive and more reactive. For example, Dr. Fried noted that stress can make rosacea more red, result in acne lesions that are more inflamed and more persistent, cause brittle nails and ridging of the nails, cause hair loss, cause or worsen hives, and cause excessive perspiration. In addition, stress also is a known trigger or can be a worsening factor for fever blisters, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis and has even been shown to impair skin barrier function and dehydrate the skin, allowing more irritants, allergens, and infectious agents to penetrate the skin and cause problems. Stressed skin often appears stressed, distressed and older.

“When it comes to treating patients who we suspect may be experiencing skin, hair or nail problems as a result of stress or other emotional factors, it is helpful to ask them whether their skin seems to look or feel worse when they are stressed,” said Dr. Fried. “Beyond the direct physiological effects of stress, patients under stress also tend to neglect or abuse their skin, lacking the energy and motivation to adhere to their skin care regimens. There also might be signs of stress-related behaviors—such as scratching, pulling or rubbing—that can exacerbate problems.”

To successfully treat stress-related dermatologic conditions, Dr. Fried recommends that traditional dermatologic therapies should be used in conjunction with appropriate stress management strategies. For example, Dr. Fried discussed how stress reduction interventions and techniques can reduce the culmination of negative events that can worsen many of these problems. To illustrate the seriousness of living with skin problems, Dr. Fried points to studies showing that people tend to be more distressed by skin, hair or nail problems since they are so visible and uncomfortable, than by other serious medical conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes.

"When dermatologists treat both the skin and stress, the skin often clears more quickly and completely as the native influences of stress are diminished,” said Dr. Fried. “Consequently, their overall anxiety level can decrease and they may start to feel better about how they look and how they’re feeling emotionally.”

Moving to the microscopic level, Dr. Fried added that stress reduction can decrease the release of pro-inflammatory stress hormones and chemicals. For example, release of neuropeptides, stress chemicals released from the nerve endings, can be reduced with stress management techniques. This often results in skin that looks and functions better. These interventions can reduce blood vessel overactivity, resulting in less blushing or flushing. Decreasing stress allows the patient to focus more positive energy on good skin care rather than negative behaviors.

 

Taken from Skin Inc., a trade publication for skin care therapists.

Posted: February 20, 2009

Common Ingredients in Skin Care to Steer Clear From

Starbuck's recent announcement that the red dye in their Strawberry Frappuccino is actually made out of crushed insects is enough to make one think about the various products consumed on a daily basis.  What exactly is in everything that I use?  Are these products good for me?  Just as what you eat is detrimental to your well-being, so are the beauty products that you put on your skin.  Considering that it takes any substance 26 seconds from the time it touches your skin until it can be traced throughout your bloodstream, here are some products that Luminere recommends you try to steer clear of.

Parabens

A golden oldie in toxic beauty circles, these substances have a chemical structure surprisingly like estrogen’s. The EPA itself admits that all parabens have endocrine-disrupting effects. Meaning the body thinks you have extra estrogen – weight gain, depression, even cancer and birth abnormalities can result.

Propylene Glycol (and Other Glycols)

These cosmetic forms of mineral oil are found in many skin and hair products. As well as anti-freeze, fabric softener, wallpaper stripper, sealant and paint. Often warned as a skin irritant, this petrochemical is as unnecessary as it is ubiquitous.

Toxic Minerals

Minerals in skin care (and makeup) are just as unregulated as the rest of the industry. Before they go into products, they through major chemical processes that make “natural” claims dubious, and can include potentially irritating, toxic minerals such as talc and beyond.

In addition, nano-particles have created concerns about penetrating beyond the skin to issues, organs (brain included) and perhaps the cells.

Triclosan

The dirty secret of cleansers, this pesticide—yes, that’s right—is classified as a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. EPA. It bioaccumulates in fatty tissues and is often found in breast milk and blood. It’s also linked to hormone-disruption, developmental defects, and liver toxicity. Heavy use has resulted in drug-resistant rogue bacteria.

Enthoxylates

Frequently found in baby and children’s shampoo and bubble bath, this is used in embalming fluid, fumigants and auto coolants. Don’t check the label – it’s rarely listed.

Petrochemicals

Petrolatum, mineral oil, petroleum jelly – it goes by many names but these crude oil derivatives not only interrupt the skin’s own moisturizing powers, they can cause breakouts, cell sluggishness and great sun susceptibility. Petrochemicals are also a hotbed for contamination and are of course, extremely not sustainable. However, they are cheap.

Pesticides

Pesticides kill living things. It’s what they do. You’re a living thing.

Phthalates

In 2002, three-quarters of the 72 products tested by the Environmental Working Group contained phthalates, chemicals linked to birth defects, feminization of infant boys, liver and kidney damage, and infertility.

These chemicals are what make plastics soft and pliable, in everything from bottles to vinyl belts. And they are everywhere—including your hair products. They are what keeps perfumes from escaping and helps conventionally made products smooth, straighten or hold.

Likely the cause of the hermaphrodite fish, these endocrine disruptors have serious effects on kids and pregnant women. These chemicals have been definitively linked to effects from early puberty to feminizing boys. They also create dioxins that contaminate the air, soil and water.

Sulfates

These detergents make foam foamy, suds sudsy, and the rest of you a little too squeaky. Not only do these strip out your hair color, they disrupt natural oils and can create irritation.

Silicone

Silicone is technically a “natural” product derived from sand, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Regular use can lead to allergic reactions, sensitivities and breakouts. It is non-digestible and non-recyclable, that doesn’t biodegrade.

No Artificial “Fragrance”

By law, “fragrance” is a trade secret that doesn’t need to be revealed, creating a loophole big enough to hide 200 mystery ingredients, usually synthetic or very occasionally animal. Headaches, dizziness, rash, irritation and other chemical sensitivities can sometimes result.

via http://www.intelligentnutrients.com/ by Horst Rechelbacher

Sources:

NPR - Is That A Crushed Bug In Your Frothy Starbucks Drink?

Stress And Acne

Stress and Acne  

Ever wonder how stress actually can lead to a breakout?  Exactly what was the sequence of events from having something stressful happen to having that blemish on your face?

Stress causes worsening of acne in two ways. First, by stimulating adrenal glands to produce more hormones.

 In stressful situations the hypothalamus releases a chemical called corticotropin -releasing hormone (CRH). The oil glands of skin are known to produce both CRH and CRH receptors. So, when the CRH receptors come in contact with extra CRH, it induced sebum production by oil glands which ultimately resulted in the exacerbation of acne. In other words, stress causes your brain to release chemicals that increase the oil production which then in turn begin to clog the pore, allowing the natural P. acne bacteria in your skin to begin to overproduce.

Secondly, stress causes or worsens acne by slowing down the healing process.

It has also been established that psychological stress can decrease the wound healing capacity of immune systems by up to 40%. This factor doubles the impact of stress on acne.

Stress not only affects acne flare-up, in general it worsens the overall skin condition. It induces the adrenal glands into overproduction of cortisol, a steroid, which in turn makes sebaceous glands produce more oil and make skin extra oily. And, when stressed, who doesn't reach for the bag of chips rather than that apple. This isn't always the best for your skin either.
Endorphins produced while doing fitness activity, even something as simple as taking a walk, helps reduce stress. So let's put stress in its place by getting out of our hibernation and getting active.

Midwinter's Day Rejuvenation

Happy December All! I'm so glad you're here.  Let's take a moment to include amongst the holiday celebration the age-old observance of Midwinter's Day.

December 22nd marks the shortest day of the year for this winter, the day when the Earth's tilt in the northern hemisphere is farthest from the Sun. In observance of this day, most every culture has created a way of incorporating its meaning.  Of the Solstices and Equinoxes, the Winter Solstice was the most important, since it marked the rebirth of the sun after the shortest day. The Roman midwinter holiday, Saturnalia, was both a gigantic fair and a festival of the home. Riotous merry-making took place, and the halls of houses were decked with boughs of laurel and evergreen trees. The custom of mummers, or carolers, and yule logs burning were popular in the British Isles and Northern Europe. In Sweden, where it's known as St. Lucy's Day, young girls don white dresses and a wreath of candles and awaken their families with cakes and song.

 
While each culture has there own tradition, one consistent themes is the candle to represent the ever increasing return of the light. Candles are one of the most ancient ways of providing light, so they have come to be its quintessential symbol.
 
Luminere was, in many respects, a Midwinter's creation. The shop opened its doors not shortly before the solstice. More importantly, its meaning had deep roots for me in this holiday. What seems like a lifetime ago now, I was once both a student and a teacher in academia. As a student, I was experiencing some severe challenges one semester, mainly with what is commonly known as 'the old boy's club.' By the end of the year, I was exhausted and felt war weary. Like I'd been in a ship that'd been tossed about by a deadly storm, one I wasn't sure I'd make it out of in one piece. Almost without thinking, I became an expatriate, relinquishing all student duties to take refuge in the French department for a semester. There I found a friend, a professor who had come from the University of Chicago and was smart in many ways. She taught me some valuable lessons, most of which did not pertain to France. It was here I'd first experienced luminere, or a light-bearing journey. I delighted in the French culture, language, and sentiments. More than this, I hung low for a while, taking a respite, gathering my strength, figuring it out. And it made all the difference. By Spring, I'd found my stride again, and felt a little wiser than before.
 
Take time this Midwinter's Day. As a personal ritual of illumination, designate a candle as your "solstice" candle and then assign to it a prayer or wish for bringing more light and warmth into a particular area of your life. As the candle softly glows, remember also all the blessings you already have that light and warm your life. Know that your wish is granted just as so many others have been.

Free Radicals and Antioxidants: An Inside Job

We all understand that the skin must age at some point but do you know how this process occurs and what simple steps you can take to diminish aging effects? Oxidation is the culprit and its henchmen are free radicals. When a cell begins to break down, the electron is lost. The cell then latches to another cell in attempts of gaining its electron. These cells lacking the electron are known as reactive oxygen species (ROS), or free radicals, and are the main determinant in aging.

Certainly, like most things concerning skin, the susceptibility to free radicals are genetic. Other primary causes? You guessed it: over exposure to sun and dehydration.

Antioxidants are the best defense for the skin. Some work through different mechanisms of action, either preventing the formation of free radicals or binding existing free radicals so they think they've gained an electron and stop attacking other cells.

The antioxidants for the skin are Vitamins A, C, and E.

Vitamin A, retinoic acid, supports the overall health of the skin and aids in the functioning and repair of skin cells. It's also been shown to improve the skin's elasticity.

Vitamin C, ascorbic acid, is needed for proper repair of the skin and tissues and promotes collagen production.

Vitamin E, tocopherol, helps to heal damage to tissues and, when, used with vitamin A, helps protect the skin from sun damage.

And don't forget the boosters, such as Alpha Lipoic Acid. It is one of the most powerful antioxidant supplements available, helping to combat the signs of aging by maintaining a cell's metabolic function so it can perform at optimal levels. It also increases the positive effects of other antioxidants present in the body such as Vitamin C and E by protecting them and supporting their function.

There is one more thing I have to say while on the topic of aging. I hear throughout the week concerns about looking older. It is my honest appraisal that until you recognize your own beauty, there isn't a cream, a treatment, a procedure, or a vitamin that is going to give this to you. Focus on health because health is beauty. I understand you can't go around all day saying "I'm beautiful, I'm beautiful" and be content about letting it rest at that.

But why not?