Sunday, September 19, 2010

"Taking Time for Me" Series: Pampering for Pennies

Pampering for Pennies? Yes!!! 

Stressed? Head aching? No time for yourself? Join the club! But how can we de-stress without spending lots of money? Blogger and certified massage therapist Carrie Burgan knows how.

This is the 1st of 3 sponsored guest posts in the series "Taking Time for Me" where Carrie will share tips on loving our bodies.  So pull up a chair and discover the joy of Pampering Yourself For Pennies...

It is most definitely possible to pamper yourself for pennies… or completely free! Many of my clients ask me how they can replicate the joy of their massage experience at home. I make sure to take 5-30 minutes a week (or more!) to pamper myself at home and I love sharing those tips with them. Because Free Is My Life readers love a good deal (aren’t “pennies” and “free” great deals?) I’m going to share some of my at-home pampering tips with you!

Aromas: Think therapy, not fragrance!
Aromatherapy has become very popular over the last two decades. Because of the popularity, many people offering scented products slap the word “aromatherapy” on them and they sell like hotcakes. Aromatherapy refers not to “fragrance,” but to the use of essential oils. One of the nicest things you can purchase for your medicine (and pamper) cabinet are pure essential oils.

Pure essential oils (made without synthetic chemicals or additives) are derived from herbs and plants and are said to have medicinal properties. Most of them should be diluted in a “carrier oil” or gel like sweet almond, coconut, vegetable, olive or aloe vera to safely be used on the skin. Some oils, like lavender and tea tree, can be used directly on the skin, but it’s a good idea to consult an essential oil book first.

Lavender, while being an excellent healer of bug bite itch and minor burns and cuts, is also purported to be very relaxing. One bottle of pure lavender essential oil will run between $4-10 and will last for months if stored properly. It can be used to scent dream pillows, homemade cosmetics, homemade cleaning products, as well as used in baths, sprayed (diluted) onto sheets or pillowcases, and even used to scent vacuum filters! One lasting bottle will cost you pennies (or less) per use. Pure essential oils are definitely a must-add to your pamper routine!

Scrub, scrub, scrub!
You can easily make homemade scrubs at home for little or no money. This will leave you with a spa-like experience without the cost. To make a basic salt scrub to exfoliate your skin, use ½ cup of salt (experiment with different coarseness and types, but table salt with iodine added is generally not recommended) and ½ cup of oil, like those mentioned above. You can then add approximately 12-15 drops of pure essential oils if desired, but this is not necessary.

Try various things like sugar and different types of oils to find a blend that works for you. Discontinue use if you have any skin reactions and make sure to take caution in the shower… The scrubs can be slippery!

Water, water everywhere!
Hydrotherapy encompasses many types of therapies, but there is one thing all of them have in common—water. When you put cold ice on an injury, it is hydrotherapy (also called cryotherapy, as “cryo” means “ice”). Moist heat packs at the spa, soaking in a hot tub, or steaming stuffy sinuses are all considered hydrotherapy because you are using water.

Some ideas for using water include having a steam bath by placing a bowl of water on a table, adding some pure essential oils, and covering your head near (not in!) the bowl to breathe in the vapors and open your pores. You could also take a nice, soothing bath with homemade bath salts after a long day of work. Try to use your massaging showerhead to hit tight spots on your neck and shoulders for a soothing hydrotherapy massage.

Many products offer not one but two or more uses. These products are called “multitaskers”. Pure, unrefined shea butter, for example, is available for $3-5 at most beauty supply stores and can be used on the skin, as massage cream, in the hair, or in your own make-at-home beauty concoctions. Tea tree oil can be used to help a stuffy nose (see the “water” section above) as well as helping skin blemishes and disinfecting small cuts. Cream conditioners are great for your hair, but if you’re doing at-home pampering, try it for a luxurious shave “cream”. Use your imagination to get a lot of mileage out of things you already own.

Cash in coupons!
If you trade coupons with your spouse, significant other or kids for birthdays or holidays, cash them in. Make sure to tell them that you like pampering sessions before they make the coupons! Spouses or significant others are usually pretty happy to cash in a good with hand and foot massage. (Shower or wash first to avoid subjecting them to “funky feet”!) Kids can give coupons for things like hair brushing or shoulder rubs. Consider integrating this into your gift-giving to save money and get some quality time as an added bonus.

Hopefully these tips will help you to get started pampering yourself at home. If you have tips and ideas to do home-pampering, please share them in the comments!

Click here to see all the posts in this series
Carrie Burgan, owner of Revolve Massage Therapy, is a nationally certified massage therapist, natural health enthusiast, and self-proclaimed "lover of life" in the Metro Detroit area. She feels that although worn down by time, stress and the environment, we can take care to maintain the temples we have been given - our bodies! She is also available for private parties, events, and to speak to your groups about massage. Find out more at

Find out more about Carrie on Twitter at @CarrieB_Massage and on Facebook at RevolveMassage where she announces special deals and freebies on her massage services.
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