Don’t stress if you still have gifts to buy for Christmas! I shared some of my top last-minute restorative gifts yesterday with Marty Gonzalez, KRON 4 Morning News weekend anchor. They’ll help ease active minds, increase well-being, and relax tight muscles — all for $25 or less. And while you’re at it, treat yourself to one (or all seven) of these super health solutions.
1. Gaiam Restore™ Multi-Point Massager – $10
Your muscles adapt to the demands you place on it. If they’re chronically tight and you don’t do anything to change that, your body will tend to stay that way. Eventually, your posture changes (i.e., your head jets forward, your shoulders hunch, your abdomen sinks in, and your legs tighten up).
This massager targets trigger points in small muscles with deep pressure depending on how much you “dig” in. If you prefer a more relaxing session, just lighten up on the amount of pressure you apply.
The Multi-point Massager has six outer prongs and one longer center prong. This allows you to easily “tilt” it and hit multiple pressure points at the same time. Especially good for massaging the tight upper chest muscles if you have poor posture (rounded shoulders). A great massager for partners!
Karen’s Fit Tip: If you carry your stress in your shoulders, turn the massager upside down and place the KNOB of the massager into the “knot” at the top of your shoulder, hold it there while you add pressure, then roll your shoulders backward in small continuous circular motions while you work out the knot.
2. Whole Foods™ Aromatherapy Travel Fan Diffuser – $14
This compact (2 in x 4 in) diffuser is perfect when you want the benefits of aromatherapy while you’re on the go. No water or heat needed to operate. It also has a continuous soft color changing light. It’s truly portable — no electricity needed. Includes five 1″ round absorbing pads which are refillable when needed. Available at Whole Foods Market (the Whole Body Care section) and on Amazon.
3. Everyone Essential Oils Blend (Relax) – $14
Pair these pure essential oils with the diffuser. No synthetic fragrances. This soothing aromatherapy blend contains essentials oils that can help you relax: Lavender, Vetiver, Lavandin, Ylang Ylang, Orange, and Frankincense. Includes a dropper inside. Available at Whole Foods Market (the Whole Body Care section) and on Amazon.
4. Gaiam Restore™ Pinpoint Back Massager – $25
I LOVE this back massager!! Yes, love it! I’ve tried different brands and varieties (including the larger S-shape style) of this type of back massager, and this one is a winner. The material is strong, yet it still has some flex. (The flexibility factor was problematic with some I tried — either too much or not enough.)
What I love most is its size. The “hook” can fit in a carryon, laptop bag, even a backpack. That means, when you start to tense up at the office, on a plane, train, BART, wherever, you can relieve pain in your neck, shoulders and back on the spot before it becomes unbearable.
5. Gaiam Restore™ Multi-Grip Stretch Strap – $13
When muscles are tight, they shorten. Stretching physically elongates tight muscles and is a natural way to healthy relaxation. I like this strap because of the multi-grip features. These multiple holds allow for progressive stretching and is especially good for those with limited flexibility. Great for quadricep stretches if your quads are too tight, and you can’t grab your ankle.
6. Wine Smarts™ Game – $25
Improve your wine smarts with this drinking and thinking game! It’s a great way to restore your sanity and forget about the disorders of the day. Wine Smarts is a question-and-answer game that makes learning about wine easy and fun. There are four categories of questions: Grape, Vocabulary, Region, and Wild Card (includes history, trivia, and other bits of info). 100 questions. Quiz yourself when you want to unwind.
7. Lékué Silicone Steam Case + Cookbook – $25
Here’s a solution to needing healthy food fast! The Lékué (pronounced “lay-koo-ay”) steam case can microwave a meal in three minutes! No reason to run to the local fast food joint anymore. Comes with a quick, healthy cookbook (27 recipes) and in two sizes: 1-2 person and 3-4 person.
Karen’s Fit Tip: Remember… all microwaves are different. In particular, these steam cases are made in Spain where microwaves are 800 watts and those in the U.S. are typically 1,000 watts. You may have to play around with the cooking times and power levels. Cooking on power level 10 (high) may need to be cut back to 70 or 80 percent — power level 7 or 8 (medium high).
Have a very Merry Christmas!