Deep Breathing Advice from Clinic Director Austyn Mcallister of the Sears Institute for Anti-Aging Medicine
We begin every facial treatment with deep cleansing breaths. It’s one of the best ways to relax and relieve stress.
Here’s one of the most effective breathing exercises I learned from Dr. Sears:
First: Empty your lungs until there’s no more air. Exhale completely. Force out every drop.
Second: Inhale deeply for a slow count of 4. Fill your lungs until you can’t inhale any more.
Third: Hold your breath for a slow count of 7. Anticipating the exhalation creates a calming effect.
Fourth: Now exhale for a count of 8. Empty your lungs fully, then push out any remaining air. This is the part we usually forget, but it’s the most crucial. As you exhale, you will feel yourself relax.
Every now and then I get a frantic call from a patient who has an important event coming up. Like a high school reunion or the wedding of an old friend.
Whatever the occasion, the pressure is on for a woman to look her best.
And looking your best starts with flawless skin — and a relaxed state of mind.
So when these patients call, I set them up with our aesthetician here at the Sears Institute for Anti-Aging Medicine and recommend they have our new full spa signature facial.
There’s nothing like having a customized spa treatment to make you look — and feel — your most attractive.
And facials have proven relaxation benefits to help your skin look its best…
A study published in the journal BioMed Research International found that a 45-minute facial significantly reduced anxiety, stress and negative mood.1
The study involved 32 healthy women aged 20 to 40. Before and after the facial, the women’s stress levels were determined using various measurements. These included an electrocardiogram (ECG), the Profile of Mood States and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory.
Results revealed that parasympathetic nervous activity increased during the facial. Your parasympathetic nervous activity is responsible for rest and recovery, resulting in a relaxed physical state.
And as I tell my patients, a relaxed state of mind is the first step to flawless skin. It’s a vital first step in the facials we provide…
Here at my clinic, our aesthetician will lead you through a couple of deep cleansing breaths — in through the nose, and out through the mouth. This will help you start to fully relax.
Next comes a gentle scalp massage or shoulder rub.
This is followed by a misting of lavender oil to further relieve tension. I consider this a key step to any facial.
Lavender oil is the most-used essential oil in the world. But its therapeutic benefits date back thousands of years. The Romans and Egyptians often used lavender oil aromatically for relaxation purposes.
In fact, when King Tut’s tomb was opened in 1923, the scent of lavender could still be identified — after nearly 3,000 years.
Legend says that lavender has such a calming effect, it was even used in ancient times to tame lions and tigers!
And today, science is confirming the calming effects of this oil. Numerous studies have found that lavender effectively reduces insomnia, stress and anxiety. A brand new study found that lavender oil is as effective as the prescription drugs Xanax, Valium and Prozac for reducing signs of anxiety in women.2
And without any dangerous side effects.
Additional studies show lavender can also:
- Ease restlessness, nervousness and insomnia3
- Help relieve depression symptoms4
- Reduce severe agitation related to dementia5
If you are interested in learning more about the facials we offer at the Sears Institute for Anti-Aging Medicine, please call Austyn or any other member of my staff at 561-784-7852. They will be happy to answer any questions.
Get the Calming Effects of Lavender Oil in Your Own Home
You can mist undiluted oil in the air, like we do at the clinic during a facial. But there are other ways you can use the oil for stress relief:
- Breathe it in. Place a few drops on a cotton cloth and inhale as necessary to relieve stress. If you don’t have skin sensitivity, you can dab the undiluted oil directly on your wrists. (If you choose to dilute, combine 2 drops of lavender oil with a half teaspoon of coconut oil.)
- Add it to your bath. Mix up 15-20 drops of lavender essential oil with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and 1 cup of Epsom salts. Disperse it in a warm bath and soak your stress away.
- Make your own anti-anxiety pillow spray mist. Combine 1 ounce witch hazel, 3 ounces distilled water, 10 drops of lavender oil and 10 drops of clary sage oil in a dark colored glass spray bottle. Spritz your pillow every night before bed for a better night’s sleep.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
P.S. Keep an eye on your inbox next week. Now that you know how to relax your skin, I’m going to send you the second step to our signature facial. I discovered this skin-saving secret while hiking high in the Andes Mountains. And I’ll tell you how this wild Peruvian rose can give you flawless skin.
1. Hatayama T, et al. “The facial massage reduced anxiety and negative mood status, and increased sympathetic nervous activity.” Biomed Res. 2008;29(6):317-320.
2. Cooley J. “Lavender reduces signs of anxiety in women. Research shows that lavender oil is just as effective as Xanax, Valium, or Prozac for signs of anxiety in women.” University Health News Daily. April 3, 2018.
3. Lewith GT, et al. “A single-blinded, randomized pilot study evaluating the aroma of Lavandula augustifolia as a treatment for mild insomnia.” J Altern Complement Med. 2005;11(4):631-637.
4. Akhondzadeh S, et al. “Comparison of Lavandula angustifolia Mill. tincture and imipramine in the treatment of mild to moderate depression: A double-blind, randomized trial.” Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2003;27(1):123-127.
5. Lin PW, et al. “Efficacy of aromatherapy (Lavandula angustifolia) as an intervention for agitated behaviours in Chinese older persons with dementia: A cross-over randomized trial.” Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2007;22(5):405-410.