Magazine Review: Body+Soul March 2008 Issue: Scents, Stress and Stomach Woes

Body+Soul March 2008My boyfriend has a nose like a dog. Because of this, I’ve become accustomed to not wearing perfume and opening the bathroom window after I apply scented lotions. When it comes to cleaning, whether it be the kitchen counters or our weekly two loads of laundry, I have to be sure to use all natural scents that won’t make him dizzy. You could say that his nose is the same as a person with sensitive skin.

When I read the “Making Sense of Scents” feature article (page 107) in this month’s Body+Soul, I identified with it right away. As a child, I used to have terrible skin reactions when my mother would use anything other than Tide laundry detergent and Downy softener. Though I am not sure if it had anything to do with the scents in the products, reading that “skin allergies are the most common and proven adverse reactions to synthetic fragrances” sure did get me thinking.

Writer Frances Lefkowitz provides a great amount of data to back up the fact that all these unnatural smells infiltrating our senses are having nothing but negative effects. Of course, no article of this kind would be good without some helpful suggestions to avoid these chemicals, and those are provided thoroughly.

One major effect that scents can have on a human is altering emotions and moods. Unpleasant or bitter smells usually make my intestines clench up, which leads to a most uncomfortable day. According to “Belly Up” (page 64), by the same Frances Lefkowitz from the previous article, Traditional Chinese Medicine’s chi nei tsang (CNT) massage technique might be just what I need.

After nearly throwing my back out while exercising yesterday, I think I’ll be trying the stretches in “Morning Wake-up” (page 70) more frequently from now on. I’ve always had problems with my lower back, thanks to carrying such a heavy chest on a thin frame, but being right in the middle of abs exercises and feeling that debilitating pain stressed me out. Thanks to Cheryl Richardson’s “Sweet Surrender” (page 37), I reminded myself that there is only so much that I can do to strengthen my back – sometimes, it is just not happy and I have to work around that.

“Things often work out for the best in ways that we can’t possibly imaging and don’t expect,” she says on the second page. Ironically, that is something that my own mother has been telling me since before I was in school. The concept of accepting a lack of total control over just about anything is quite humbling and somewhat reassuring in the fact that we are all connected – everything we do affects each other so we should consider these concepts before acting, especially when the environment is involved.

Other swank highlights from the March issue: “Women and Anger” (page 82); “Pantry Primer: Pasta” (page 54); “Happiness @ Work” (page 98); “Size Matters” (page 56).

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