KM Herbals Blog
As humans, we are diurnal creatures, so our circadian rhythms revolve around the patterns of the sun. Sunshine lifts our spirits, revitalizes our souls and nourishes many of our body functions. After sunset, our bodies begin to cool, kicking off melatonin production and preparing us for sleep. Melatonin is the hormone that regulates our sleep-wake cycle and allows for a deep night’s sleep. Around sunrise, they do the opposite, decreasing melatonin and increasing our core body temperature.
Our bodies are designed to synergize with the rays of the sun, and our skin contains all the necessary intelligence to absorb and produce beneficial nutrients from it. We see this in plants all the time. The interaction of the sun on our skin is our form of photosynthesis. Sunlight produces beneficial nutrients that our bodies require. Sun rays penetrate deep into our epidermis to produce melanin and to lubricate the organs, muscles, skin and bones. Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin which is synthesized through the skin and is dependent on the sun. Vitamin D is as necessary to us as human beings as the Sun itself. Wise amounts of sunlight are also associated with stronger bones and teeth.
Beware! Artificial Lighting Ahead
In today’s sun-deprived world, we are constantly exposed to artificial lighting from our smartphones, tablets, and computers. Because these devices emit blue light into our environment, they seriously interfere with our circadian rhythms. Our brain misinterprets the light as sunlight. Using these devices at bedtime encourages our brain to keep us up at a time when we should be preparing for the rejuvenation and regeneration of our bodies. Becoming aware of the time spent in front of our tech devices and how it affects our well-being, gives us time for reflection and pause.
The Sun emits full-spectrum light. It includes those same blue wavelengths of light our technical devices have, but in a much more holistic form. By exposing our eyes to this light early in the morning, we signal to our brain that it’s time to suppress melatonin production. In response, our brain will increase cortisol production. Cortisol and melatonin operate indirectly to each other. Cortisol is known as our stress hormone and is a crucial hormone to protect overall health and well-being. This activating hormone energizes our body and prepares us to meet the day.
Greater exposure to sunlight is associated with a release in serotonin. Serotonin plays an important role in melatonin production, as our pineal gland metabolizes serotonin into melatonin. Serotonin is also known as the “happy” hormone for its ability to lift our mood.
Rethinking Sun Care
It's time to rethink chemical sunscreens that can disrupt our epidermal ecosystem and cause reactions with the sun. Replacing these with therapeutic essential oils and botanicals that interact with the sun for their potency and strength, is a holistic approach to living in greater harmony with the planet. “SPF” can only be used for synthetic sunscreens, while nature supplies an abundance of botanicals that are sun protective. Organic nut and seed oils of virgin coconut, olive, golden jojoba, tamanu, Seabuckthorn, raspberry seed and fair trade, unrefined shea butter, along with effective after sun solutions, Aloe Vera, Seabuckthorn oil and lavender, helicrysum and carrot seed essential oils are all great options for protection. All of the nut and seed oils can be put on after sun exposure as well.
When choosing a time in the sun, the best time of day for making vitamin D is the morning up until noon. We must be aware of how each of us individually takes their time in the sun. Sun hats and light long sleeved shirts are sometimes required in the later parts of the day or longer times of exposure. Taking time in the morning for a moment with the sun can make all the difference in our outlook for the day. Greet the Sun each day with awe, and it will shower you with its warmth and let the elements bathe you in peace and serenity.
Kim Manley is the creator and formulator of KM Herbals, as well as a practicing AromaHerbalist, massage therapist, flower essence practitioner, Reiki practitioner, educator and researcher.
Making Your Mark
Private label is an increasingly buzz-worthy phrase across many industries. It refers to the process through which a manufacturer produces products for use under another party's brand name. This is a common practice in the wellness, beauty, food and fashion industries—and a wonderful tool for those with unique branding visions and business philosophies.
In many ways, private labeling is an equalizing force in the massage industry as it provides small businesses and solo practitioners the opportunity to create an original brand, a message and a service rather than relying on well-known, existing brands.
Private Labeling very democratically adds more voices to the conversation, creating healthy competition and naturally allowing each brand to seek out its chosen mode of promotion and visibility to meet its target consumer.
Making a plan and taking inventory...
Your Branding Needs
Private label manufacturers are responsible for creating the product that will later be branded by their clients. These manufacturers vary greatly in both size and scope of services. Often, large organizations accept highly customized requests for product creation and branding and have absorbed all parts of the packaging, labeling and shipping processes. Smaller manufacturers might allow for lower minimum orders but potentially require a more hands-on approach to label design and packaging.
Regardless of size, most manufacturers offer a list of established stock formulas at wholesale prices from which to hand-select those that best fit your business and branding needs, which gives you the time and freedom to control your product marketing, pricing and distribution.
Once branded, the distributor of these goods is the client—you—meaning these products are now your very own to incorporate into your practice in the way you see fit.
What You Give
As straightforward a consideration as it might be, it’s important to note that private labeling, creating your very own brand or line, requires both time and energy–and for many solo practitioners, both of these may be in short supply. It is crucial, therefore, before beginning, to have a clear vision and a clear budget in mind.
Private labeling will require some design work on your part—meaning it is a chance to get creative. It will require you to invest yourself, to ultimately make something that is entirely your own in order to tell a unique story.
Developing a strong relationship with a trusted manufacturer whose services align with your business needs and available resources and taking some time to intentionally strategize on the front-end, will pay off tenfold.
What You Get
The benefits of private labeling include increased visibility, differentiation, added value and retail opportunities!
Let’s look at each of these benefits:
1. Increased visibility equals increased recognition. There are many benefits of private labeling. The first and most apparent, is the ability to establish a brand for oneself. Developing a brand necessarily increases your visibility, gives your practice a name as well as an image and a story to travel via word-of-mouth, and over time increases brand recognition.
2. Point of difference. By creating a unique product, customers return to the only location that carries your offerings: yours. Establishing this point of difference between you and your competitors also reflects a level of professionalism and intention that won’t go unnoticed by your clientele.
3. Add value to sessions. Private labeling is an opportunity to increase customer loyalty and retention by establishing additional value to their unique experience with you. Round out a client’s session while also offering a reminder to schedule their next session by allowing them to take a product used in the session home for continued use– labeled and packaged to remind them of you.
4. Retail opportunity. Many practitioners choose to offer their private labeled products for retail purchase to clients after a session, adding a beautiful custom touch to the experience and generating additional income.
Your Future Brand
Before anything else, it’s important to set your intention. Your endeavors will be all the more successful for it - taking just a beat before diving in will help you get clear on the very underpinnings of your future brand. Ask yourself: What is my purpose? Why am I a massage practitioner? What do I love most about my career?
Returning to the core inspiration for your practice will illuminate whether your initial branding ideas align or diverge from your business. Ask yourself: What is my vision? Why is branding my business important to me? What am I trying to say? What networks am I building? What professional relationships do I want to foster, and what are my goals for each? What channels of distribution will I use? Where will my clients be able to find my intentionally designed and crafted products?
Having clarity on the answers to these questions will give you stable footing to take on the three major steps of branding your label: logo design, label layout and printing.
Logos & Labels
Establishing your logo is essential to the private label process. Your logo design should express your branding while simultaneously acting as its centerpiece. Bold yet simple logos are more memorable, easier to identify from far away and cost less to print.
While you are welcome to seek out a professional graphic artist on your own for custom logo design, remember that many private label manufacturers also supply these resources through referral to an in-house graphic artist when you begin the private label process.
The next step is laying out the label design for each product, which includes these primary elements:
Consider how the labels will be printed and applied. Find out if the manufacturer include this in its private labeling costs or if additional fees will apply.
Ordering unlabeled or unbranded products from a manufacturer is a viable option for those hoping to cut the costs of label fees. It allows an entirely blank canvas to tell your story, and is most often the option chosen by those who prefer to design their labels through a third party or already have a label ready to apply.
Label design resources offered by the manufacturer work best when you have a specific vision in mind. Many offer in-house or, by referral, a professional designer for branding customization or opportunities to gain hands-on experience through online label layout options.
Customizable templates are offered as a way to simplify the customization process. If you already have a logo designed, it can be dropped into the existing template of your choice, and with some minor additions such as the name of your product and company information, becomes a brand of your own.
Branded lines offered by some manufacturers are always a viable choice, although they do not fall under the private label umbrella. Here, the labeling work is done for you, while still allowing for added value to the client and retail opportunities from your treatment room.
Realizing your vision!
Tell Your Story
The choice to brand your business in any way is a choice to tell your story to the world. Private labeling is a creative and profitable way to do just that.
Taking the time to consider the recommendations above will lend a degree of empowerment to undertaking one of the single biggest decisions you can make for your business.
Feet – our source of stability, of balance, of traction and propulsion. Too often overlooked and undervalued, they are our means of mobility and independence. They are also our consistent point of contact with the earth!
Though our feet bear the brunt of gravity, our sensitive soles also allow us an intimate means of feeling our source, our home, our Pachamama beneath us. How often do you take your shoes off and walk barefoot in the grass or wiggle your toes in the sand?
Most of us spend the majority of our lives with our feet encased - for support and for protection - but contemporary sciences and the recent rediscovery of ancient wisdom points to the importance and power of taking time within our busy lives to reunite our bare feet with nature.
The process of ‘grounding’ or ‘earthing’ refers to our electrical connection with the earth, balancing our natural charge as individuals as well as reducing the voltages of electromagnetic radiation we experience daily through our use of technology.
Earth Day acts as an annual reminder of the many ways in which our planet sustains us, as a people and as individuals. It’s a time of renewed appreciation and respect, but also an opportunity to assess the ways in which distance may have grown between us and our most original source…
Sustainability in Relationships
Most of us understand the value of living sustainably – for the planet and for ourselves. We understand that carpooling, shorter showers, and recycling can reduce our carbon footprint – lightening our impact and allowing valuable natural resources to thrive. Sustainability has become such a coveted and even commodified notion, in fact, that those harboring a keen eye and fierce social conscience have come to seek out brands in daily life that make ‘eco-friendliness’ a priority. We can all do our part to further conversations, contribute to the needed work of environmental programs, and vote with each and every dollar.
But for most of us, our ability to manifest sustainable practices, choices, and partnerships will remain limited until we are first able to model each within ourselves and in our closest relationships…which can often prove to be the most difficult. Relationships are at the heart of sustainability. We, as human beings, continue to live as a part of a deeply interdependent ecosystem in both biological and emotional ways. Our actions (and even our existence) have an inevitable and tangible impact on those around us.
This reality carries with it the opportunity to be intentional about the form that these impacts and impressions take, expanding our awareness to consider the well-being of the whole. The principles of biodynamics when applied to farming and agriculture, in many ways, parallel how we structure and navigate our relational world – placing this plant strategically in the shade of another or recognizing that it’s best not to store the cow manure next to your water source. Extending the wisdom and key philosophies of this practice to our daily lives may, in fact, offer insights into how to build a more sustainable world, beginning at the source.
Biodynamic gardening seeks to mirror the inevitable interdependence of the plant kingdom that exists in nature. It recognizes the ways in which each individual plant (and person) naturally offer one another unique and mutual support. The means of support might vary between species, but each meets a need of those around it. Applying this to our personal lives, we might take a moment to reflect on the ways that we as individuals most naturally support others. We might take inventory of all those we trust and on whom we’ve naturally come to rely. We can examine the ways that interdependence starkly differs from unhealthy reliance and attachment in our lives and embrace it in all its mutual glory!
Avoidance of Chemicals & Artificial Fertilizers
We all know what we’re talking about here. Chemicals and artificial fertilizers are used as mindless short-cuts in the agricultural process – sacrificing quality for quantity in the name of mass yield. Most of us need not look far to identify examples in our own lives where we might opt for the feel good that lacks substance, for the things and people that distract but ultimately leave us less fulfilled. The artificial can sometimes be difficult for us acknowledge and release, but harder still are the toxic presences in our lives. These are examples of interdependence morphing into co-dependence and can often be difficult to see until the runoff pools and becomes a greater problem.
Though much easier said than done, we must be patient with ourselves. We must trust that our tendency to hold on to toxic connections longer than is sustainable points to a need we are hoping to fill, and that by having faith in the process of letting go we create room for powerful new shoots to grow.
Diversification and Decentralization
Diversification can be a challenge for those of us who prefer a tight circle of community that largely reflects our own values back to us – there is security in this. But for growth to occur, biodynamic gardeners recognize the value of planting diverse crops.
They view the differences of each as potential complements to one another, assisting in building strong interdependent relationships.
Decentralization refers to the ability to create a full and rich community rather than a purely an insular one. Consider what it is that you are ‘watering’ in your life – to what do you give the most attention and provide the most nourishment needed to grow? Perhaps it is all in one place, leaving other areas dry and barren. Perhaps it is a light mist over everything equally without taking the time to listen to each relationship’s unique needs.
Knowing when and what to water is a subtle science learned through experience and made stronger through reflection.
Because relationships are at the root of it all.
I was feeling sluggish. It’s true. My thoughts going in and out like waves, each cresting, then overtaking the next – never staying put. Spaced and wandering rather than falling in line like I’d always taught them to. I could hear my muffled heartbeat in my ears – a slow and steady drumbeat. I imagined my blood circulating, moving through my veins like molasses.
Albeit I’d had the flu all weekend, but sluggish is something winter can do to you.
It’s strange, isn’t it? The way you can feel sore from not moving? Tired from not exerting? That’s because it’s the natural state of things for our bodies to move, to bend, to circulate. This is the way that our many interdependent systems work best - fueled and running smoothly. And of course, it proves all the more important to bolster our immunity during the cold wet winter months.
Along with important work done daily and naturally by our circulatory, digestive, urinary, respiratory, and lymphatic systems, the skin is a primary means of our body’s detoxification! Though undeniably a wellness buzzword, detoxification is a process as essential and innate to us as breathing. The skin is the interface between our external and internal world and is so often our first indication systemic imbalance.
Keeping the skin open allows for the release of toxins and absorption of nutrients most efficiently. While the circulatory system is powered by the heart, and our respiratory system by our breath, the lymphatic system requires motion (and hydration!) to be stimulated. Lying just under the surface of the skin, the lymphatic system can also be stimulated through the simple yet ancient practice of dry brushing.
This practice can be done once a day just before showering, bathing, entering a steam room, or sauna. You will use 1-2 drops of detoxifying essential oil on the brush before applying it to the body (we recommend sprinkling the drops on your palm first and sliding the bristles over it to distribute them evenly). Gently running the bristles of the brush, lightly coated with essential oil, along the surface of the skin from extremities inward, towards the heart, in light thorough strokes.
Essential oils can deeply enhance the benefits of this practice. Some essential oils known for their detoxifying abilities are:
** We recommend diffusing the essential oils in your bathroom and dry brushing before taking a bath with aromatherapeutic bath salts. **
Explore our most detoxifying essential oils for purchase below!
I was feeling sluggish. It’s true. It’s something winter can do to you. And dry brushing is something you can do for yourself!
Exfoliation – a process of sloughing off our outermost layer. Though not the most pleasant of imagery, we know we all do it…the evidence is everywhere, from the dust on our windowsill to the hair we snake from the drain. It is our human equivalent of molting, shedding, of metamorphosis.
The Latin root of the verb ‘exfoliate’ is to be ‘stripped of leaves’ - and how appropriate – not only in its visual parallel to our skin, but also as an indication of the changing of the seasons. Yes, we experienced the orange-hued foliage and crunchy leaves beneath our feet in the fall, but there is also something to be said for the perpetual exfoliation and regeneration that occurs within us and around us all year long. In so many ways we intentionally and subconsciously let go of what’s dead and no longer serving us to reveal what’s most alive!
The dawning of the new year provides a time of reflection and introspection from which we carve out paths towards change. But it isn’t until the days begin to lengthen and the light to remerge that we experience the warmth and the clarity needed to truly let go. The metaphor can be stretched further, of course, to both the benefits and risks of shedding our layers. Exfoliating too much, going too deep too fast, can cause irritation. It takes true education, practice, and understanding of the self (and skin) to recognize what is ‘new’ and what is ‘raw.’
And what’s truly amazing is that the fresh and supple skin, or inspiration, or version of ourselves that we reveal isn’t actually new at all, rather it is ‘RE-newed’! So perhaps what exfoliation truly reveals to us is our core, our central essence, what’s been within us all along, rather than simply a need for cleansing. And we could all use that reminder and revelation!
In the month of February, where the expansion of the light and of the earth begins truly taking shape, let us ask (and remind) ourselves about our core, our origin, the pieces we neither can nor wish to change. What is the core of your practice? Why do you love the work that you do? What unique essence would exfoliation reveal to you?
For KMH, our inspiration quite literally came from within – in the form of a little one. Kim Manley, our founder and creator’s, enthusiasm for formulating personal care products developed while awaiting the arrival of her daughter, Bonnie Rose. Concerned about the harsh chemicals used in mainstream baby care products, Kim instead created her own collection of gentle and soothing formulas, planting the seed from which her business has grown.
Our passion, the core revealed to us in the exfoliation of the external, is a commitment to quality, purity, and intention. Our mission to now supplying industry professionals with the same tender and carefully-crafted products is our love and our calling – and it renews us.
In the month to come, look forward to further reflection and education on the process of exfoliation!
Self-Care. We hear this term often…amidst photos of everyday yogis and yoginis and Pinterest recipes made in mason jars. Our ever-accelerating world has acknowledged the power of a pause - of a breath, of silence - and created a push for a holistic understanding of wellness. This trend, while finding inspiration in practices as ancient as crystals and Ayurveda, is still a challenge to define and even more challenging to put into practice.
Let self-care be your first step to self-love!
A beautiful sentiment to be sure, and one that KM believes to its core – reflected in our mission to the intention infused in each of our beautiful products – and yet, this progression from self-care to self-love isn’t always that simple, now is it?
Consider the way that we so often discuss ‘self-care’ as a society. Though meant to empower of us each as individuals, ‘self-care’ has in many ways become commodified – from products and retreats, to cookbooks and workshops. The risk inherent in this commodification is the assumption that through consumption, through continual striving, we will eventually achieve wholeness. That the state of health and belonging exists somewhere beyond ourselves.
But I suggest turning inward as an alternative to always reaching. It is only by keeping a keen and open ear in our own direction that we can clearly hear what we truly need, as unique individuals. Like your very own piece of art, a self-care practice can borrow from a variety of modalities, each adding a distinct hue to your palette!
It is widely acknowledged that creating ritual and taking time to invest in oneself ultimately yields a healthier, happier individual - that self-care can, in fact, be a first step to self-love. So why does this prove so difficult? Where does the process get interrupted?
More than ever, our voices matter. In a time of shifting paradigms and sociocultural transition, our collective power to influence and to shape our world has never been more valuable. This January, thousands met in various locations all over the world to reaffirm commitment to building a positive and just future for all as a part of The Women’s March. The rally sought to engage and empower all people to support women's rights, human rights, as well as social and environmental justice.
As I stood in the square in the cold January sunshine, I couldn’t help but glance around me at the many people, the many signs, the many causes, the many stories that surrounded me. Not one of ours was the same. And yet, we each had something to say. We listened together, we danced together, we sang together, and we raised our voices in a chorus of distinct rhythms and melodies. But we did share a voice. As Margaret Mead once said we should, ‘never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.’
It occurred to me then, that what we each ultimately seek is acceptance and belonging, and that perhaps this same truth is shared when our self-care practice fails to manifest the deep and loving relationships we hope to build within ourselves. What emerged was the need for acceptance – of all colors and creeds. That it is through acceptance that we find healing.
Perhaps it is self-acceptance that need be the bedrock of our self-care practice. Perhaps it is acknowledging and respecting exactly where we are in the process rather than keeping our eye on some distant horizon that will allow for self-care to be our first step on the path to self-love.
While this may prove an ideal, it can also be difficult to know where to begin! Consider the following as potential places to start:
Offer yourself acceptance on your journey to self-love through self-care – because the world needs your unique voice.
At KM Herbals, we are committed to inspiring action and embodying holistic business practices by serving our community and prioritizing sustainability at every stage of our manufacturing process.
An inevitable consequence of the modern lifestyle is unrelenting extraction from our precious earth. We seek to revive, rebuild, and reinvest in a flourishing and vibrant planet for all...and for our future!
Sustainability in Action...is creating:
Sweet, Spicy, and Stimulating!
As the days get shorter and evenings chillier...as foliage turns a fiery spectrum of yellows and reds, and crunch beneath our feet...
It is the time for winter warming!
KMH holds deep respect for the interplay and healthy balance of both light and dark. While our lighter products serve to clarify and uplift, our rich winter line provides your body the warmth and nourishment it needs.
At KM Herbals, We Make Every Product Fresh to Order
This means that only when we receive your order, via phone, email, or the web, does the process officially begin! Only then are the freshest of ingredients hand-crafted into our premiere formulations with care, and sent straight to you...without spending time on a shelf.
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