During this 7 –week series on BEAUTY we will be discussing many different aspects of taking care of yourself on the outside. We have been and are consistently focused in Pilates on the inside- the bones, the muscles, fascia, posture and the systems. Now it’s time to see how we can up our game on the outside. Since I have a lot to say, I figured I would write it down and then just do a quick overview in class. I welcome ANY and ALL contributions on items that have worked for you.


There is an arsenal of tools out there for maintaining your beauty and youthful appearance. Lord knows I have tried them all or at least most of them. Some have been life savers some have been a waste of my hard earned cash. Here I’ve compiled a list of items that I feel I have to have to keep me looking and feeling great- my holy grails.

1. Silk pillowcases– ok, I know I sound like a princess here but these have really been a huge help with several things:
 It helps you to keep your hair smooth and untangled while you sleep. I actually find that my hair is smoother the 2nd day after washing when I sleep on these pillowcases and you don’t get crazy kinks and rooster tails.
 These pillowcases keep you cool all night. No sweaty faces.
 They don’t absorb all your costly anti-aging creams like cotton does.
 They help to eliminate sleep creases and help reduce wrinkles. If you are a side sleeper this is important. Just a warning. When you go to buy them at a store you may get steered to the satin sheet section. Do not buy satin! I’ve done that. You will sweat all night. Your face will stick to the pillowcase. You need to get 100% silk. You can find these on Amazon or at SoftSurroundings.com on-line. They are a tad costly but well worth it. They machine wash and then you hang dry. They do last a long time! http://www.softsurroundings.com/P/Silk_Pillowcase


2. Great make-up brushes– If you are a painter you know the importance of good brushes. Each brush has a purpose and the size and bristles are key to a great painting. Now your canvas is your face. Use the right brush for the eyes and for the face and your makeup can look flawless. You will get the products you to work at their best. There are many brands out there, and you can find some that fit your budget. (beware of the cheap sets at target, Walmart, Costco etc.) some of my favorite brands ( and I’ve tried many) are “It Cosmetic” brushes available at Ulta. These are amazing quality and do not shed. They wash up very well and last.
A more budget friendly version is the “Real Technique” brushes-available at Ulta, Walgreens, and Meijers. Clean your brushes regularly too. Use a brush cleaner like Cinema Secrets (http://www.amazon.com/Cinema-Secrets-Brush-Cleaner-32oz/dp/B002HMYF8W ) antibacterial soap or baby shampoo.

3. Beauty Blender– So you don’t care for using brushes to apply foundation? Try a Beauty Blender sponge (http://www.sephora.com/beautyblender-P228913 ) This amazing sponge will give you flawless application. You use it DAMP. That’s a must. Don’t try to use it dry. It won’t give you the same finish. Wet and then press in a hand towel. NO water should come out when you are ready to use it. It’s pricey -$20 for a sponge and all the makeup artists use them. DO NOT BE FOOLED. This sponge is patented and is NOT the same as all the cheap versions out there. If you want a dupe for beauty blender, one that is more budget friendly, try the “Real Techniques” sponge. I use this one. It works exactly the same to me (and a lot of the beauty gurus agree) and is only $6.99. http://www.ulta.com/ulta/browse/productDetail.jsp?productId=xlsImpprod5960824&skuId=2265607&CPMID=CSBING&CAWELAID=330000200000039737&catargetid=330000200000529015&CADEVICE=c
To clean these use Dove soap bar. I’ve tried everything to clean these so they aren’t stained and the soap that works the best is Dove bar. Rub the soap in with warm water and squeeze out the excess foundation and water.

4. Clarisonic– This hand held facial cleaner is the best! I do not feel like my face is clean without it. It’s an investment but will last a long time. I purchased mine from QVC. I’ve had mine for years with no problems. They come in a large version that you can use on your face and body and a smaller version the MIA that is easy to travel with. You just replace the brush heads every 3 months. You can get these at Ulta, Sephora.
The charge lasts for weeks. It gently yet deeply cleanses pores without abrasion or harsh chemicals, removing six times more makeup than manual cleansing so that products absorb better and your skin is more receptive to skincare ingredients. With regular daily use, it reduces dry skin patches, oily areas and blemishes and immediately leaves skin feeling and looking smoother. It’s even waterproof so you can use it in the shower.

So let me know if you use any of these products or if you have others that I NEED to know about. Coming up in the future weeks– Nails, Skin care and more. I can’t wait to share with you.

Is REST Really What You Need to Heal?


When people come to me with pain issues ( which happens multiple times daily) I am always a bit perplexed as to why their physicians tell them to simply go home and- rest.  There are so many reasons that we have pain.  Most of the time you will know why.  Sometimes it is unknown causes.  While there are certainly times in our lives when rest is appropriate for healing, my experience and education  has taught me that “movement heals” far greater than rest.  When have you ever heard of someone having a joint replaced or ligament fixed and told to go home sit and do nothing til it heals? If that were the case us therapists would not have jobs.

The question I would like you to ask yourself  is “what do you do for MOST each day?”  What I mean is, what activities do you spend most of your time doing?  Not just exercise and major activity, but in terms of your job, what you do at home after work, and how do you do it? My opinion is that you are at REST more than you think you are, and these so-called  rest activities are many times one of the major culprits of pain for people and the cause of the slow healing.

If you are a chronic pain sufferer or have postural pain like neck and low back.  I challenge you to do a log for a few days.  Log how many hours you spend sitting, sleeping, driving, laying on the couch, reading, texting, sitting at your computer.  I think you will be surprised as to how much “rest” time you are actually doing.  What the next challenge is- is to evaluate your postural positions while doing these activities— or better yet have a spouse or family member TELL you how you look doing these activities. I just told my hubby this morning how horribly he was slouching over his Cheerios.  You may find that the culprit to your chronic  pain is entirely due to your very own- rest position.  Poor postural alignment at rest allows some muscles to tighten while others to lengthen. These imbalances cause pain.  You are resting more than you think people- and your body is screaming in pain at you trying to get your attention !

Instead of popping several pain killers or using heat/ice etc.  Why not get up and move? A short walk, a quick spin on the bike, gentle stretching?  Your goal when healing is repetitive gentle, non-harmful movement done regularly. You cannot say-“well , I did aerobics today for an hour” and then be in your rest positions the rest of the day. Movement every 1/2 hour during waking hours is what you need if you have pain.  If by chance you try to get a referral to see a professional to help with pain, and your healthcare provider tells you to take Advil and rest for 2 weeks and then maybe they will give you a referral– find yourself a new physician.  There is no reason that you should not be in charge of your healing and making things right sooner rather then later. Later is usually when the muscles, your mind and your movement have already gotten into a pain cycle which is usually hard to break and extends the healing process.

 If you came to see me in the clinic, you would not be encouraged to cancel your appointment if you had pain.  You would come to therapy and work through the pain in a non- destructive way. You are also given a home program to be done throughout your day ( not just for 1 hour and then done) . I tell all my clients that if you are seeing me 3 times a week for an hour– that is about 2-3% of your time.  You can’t accomplish much in that time so you need to follow through and keep moving on your own. 

So look at your log– do your rest activities FAR out weigh your non-rest activities? Are you moving enough and are you resting in good alignment that promotes healthy bone and muscle positioning?  To put a twist on Smokey the Bears theme– only YOU can prevent Pain. So move frequently and rest efficiently !

By infinityhealthmi Posted in Mind

You Get What You Think About……


One of my favorite sayings that I read in one of Dr Wayne Dyer’s books is “You get what you think about, whether you want it or not”.  That is a pretty powerful statement when you think about it.  They say that every day we have over 60,000 thoughts and that many of them are the same each day. So if you are thinking positive thoughts you are great. If you are thinking mostly negative thoughts or dwell on pain symptoms or think of impending doom–oh boy– not so good for you.

As a fitness trainer and in my role as physical therapist I have many clients come to me with concerns about health.  They have a symptom and their minds immediately go to the worst case scenario ( I have cancer, I may need surgery)  or they mention their symptoms to a close physician /nurse friend and they respond by saying “Oh it could be ____ or _____”  OR they do go and see a professional and they scare them and say ” We need to rule out ______, _____, ____- etc, Of course the most horrible of diagnoses get mentioned. Immediately your mind returns again to the worst case scenario.  This really bothers me   since our minds are so powerful,  and I have seen first hand how this can move anyone in a positive or negative direction.  We can actually manifest REAL symptoms within the body to match what our thoughts are. 

Here’s an example– you go to see a scary movie,  you watch and it gets to the scary part. Your heart rate increases, your blood pressure increases, you start to breathe more rapidly, you swallow hard , even scream.  The movie has  tricked your mind in to believing that the chainsaw murderer is really after YOU.  Even though in reality you know you  are not in the actual situation. We do the same in our Pilates classes when we do visualization meditation.  Instead you visualize being at the beach or on an island or in your most sacred space. You experience the feelings that come along with being in this scene– however with much more pleasing results. Your breathing , heart rate, blood pressure etc all slow down. We have even done visualizations to change blood flow, which can be used to help with migraine headaches.  Either scenario – scary movie or beach scene– you responded to your very own thoughts.  

SO what’s my point?  IT’S THIS–You have control over your thoughts.  You have control over the scenario you choose to envision.  So why not pick the more pleasant one? Why not wake in the morning  ( those of you with pain) and set your intention for the day as–” today I will feel good, today my body will flow through all my activities with lightness and ease.” Talk yourself into feeling good, see it in your mind, feel it.  If you have pain or talk to someone who gives you a negative response or negative idea– change that thought to suit your positive outlook and don’t allow they negative thought to come into your mind.  Of course– things  do happen, people get sick , joints hurt , injuries happen. BUT even in those situations you are still the one in charge of the thoughts that you think. You are in the driver’s seat.  So drive to a nice positive place and keep Dr Dyer’s words close at hand– YOU GET WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT WHETHER YOU WANT IT OR NOT.

By infinityhealthmi Posted in Mind