As I continue my quest and expand my understanding of what it means to live well with a chronic illness, more and more I am drawn to alternative and non-traditional healing options.
I shop nearly exclusively at health food stores these days, choosing the organic option over the non-organic if available. I read, study, and research to make the smartest choices, but ultimately, my body is the best indicator of what is best for me. The more I tune in, the more I notice the relationship between what I put on and in my body to how I am feeling. Lotions and sunscreen filled with chemicals dry my skin and make me feel toxic. Fruits covered in pesticide make me nauseous. Eating foods containing gluten gives me instant pain in my back and neck, and a headache that can last for days. I could go on, but I think you get the picture.
I am fortunate to have many alternative shopping options where I live, including one of my favorite places to shop Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy. Pharmaca opened in my neighborhood nearly two years ago, and has become my go-to store for health and beauty products, vitamins and supplements, and so much more. They have grain-free food options for my pets, a large assortment of essential oils and herbal teas, and even carry one of my favorite greeting card lines – Papyrus. That’s why when I was contacted about doing a review and giveaway of the store for FibroHaven I jumped at the chance.
Pharmaca is a truly beautiful shopping experience. The stores are colorful, very well merchandised, easy to navigate, and the staff is always friendly and helpful.
On my most recent trip I was in search of non-toxic sunscreen. I spend a lot of time at the beach, summertime or not, and am well past my days of competing with my girlfriends to see who can get the darkest tan. In particular I was looking for a mineral-based sunscreen, with active ingredients of zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. Natural sunscreens, made with organic and mineral sunblocks, are free of worrisome ingredients, but can be more expensive. I was pleased, and not the least bit surprised to see Pharmaca had a few options that fit my needs. My decision came down to two.
MyChelle Sun Shield is an SPF 28, mineral-based, full spectrum UVA/UVB sun defense that, according to the manufacturer: is environmentally-safe, and offers powerfully effective protection, yet is gentle enough for infants and non-irritating near the eyes. Translucent Zinc (11.6%) and Titanium Dioxides (0.67%) provide a safe alternative to harsh chemical sunscreens. The addition of soothing Aloe and Vitamin E help reduce signs of sun induced irritation.
True Natural Sunscreen gets its SPF 30 from an equal combination of active ingredients Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide (6% each). Inactive ingredients include coconut oil, shea butter, eucalyptus and jojoba oils. According to the manufacturer: The Caribbean Coconut scent from aromatic Coconut Oil is sweet and subtle and safe for sensitive skin. This gentle and all natural mineral based formula provides an instant shield against damaging UVA and UVB rays for the face and body – reducing the risk of skin cancer and premature aging of the skin. Biodegradable, gluten-free and vegan – its the perfect choice for you, your family and the environment.
I can attest, the smell is heavenly, and True Natural is the sunscreen I selected. I have yet to wear it, but once again I was very pleased with the selection of natural options at Pharmaca.
And I seldom get out of there with just the one thing I went in for. They have a great selection of gluten-free snacks and bars, so I grabbed one of my favorites – Zing chocolate coconut bar. I really do love coconut!
I also replenished the Vitamin D3 and Biotin I was running low on, and indulged in something I have wanted for a long time – a himalayan salt candle holder. The basic premise behind a himalayan salt lamp or candle holder is to help cleanse your indoor air and provide an attractive soothing light in your home. It is definitely attractive and soothing! I light it when I am meditating or doing yoga and it calms me.
One bag and about $50 later I was out the door. Another successful and enjoyable Pharmaca shopping experience.
Pharmaca stores are located in California, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington. And as a “thank you” for writing this review, they are giving away one $50 gift certificate to a lucky FibroHaven commenter.
The $50 Pharmaca Gift-Certificate Giveaway
All you have to do is leave a comment either here on this blog, or on FibroHaven’s Facebook page under a posting about the giveaway. Leave a comment, and share what shifts you are making to live as well as possible with chronic illness. It can be related to the types of products you use, the supplements you take, the foods you eat, how you soothe yourself, or your overall state of wellbeing.
The winner will be chosen at random on August 4, 2013, and will be announced both here and on our facebook page. Once announced, I will contact you for your mailing address to provide Pharmaca, and they will mail you the certificate.
And to make your shopping experience even more enticing, you can print this Pharmaca $10 off coupon to take with you into the store. That’s enough savings for your own himalayan salt candle holder!
The gift certificate is for in-store use only. It is not for online purchases, so click on the link above to see if there is a Pharmaca in your neighborhood.
I look forward to reading your comments!
I’m using Malic Acid and D-Ribose, acupuncture, walking, chiropractic and diet to feel better. It takes work, but it is so worth it!
So that’s what they are all about! I have driven past this store curious but knowing what it was! Thanks for the review, it sounds like something I would love. I am on the same wellness path as you Dannette but sadly cannot afford to buy things any more. Maybe when we get on our feet again , I will pay them a visit. Thanks for letting us all know about them. Blesskngs
I use good raw food multivitamins, D3, chiropractic and yoga. Since I also have restless leg and periodic limb movements of sleep I take Lyrica daily.
I currently shop at the Pharmaca store in Sonoma, CA. I love the varieties of free tea they offer while you shop or wait for a prescription
Julie Roefs says
Thank you so much for such an informative & enticing review! I truly cannot wait to make a trip here! I also need to be so careful with body & self-care products & it is not always easy to find a good resource. I recently regretted passing up the purchase of a Himalayan salt candle holder at a festival & it’s so great to know I can find one here 😉 My regimen mostly consists of yoga, meditation, Reiki, all the B vitamins & aminos & D3, magnesium & inositol, gluten & dairy free…as well as always staying open to learning new possibilities for healing & listening to how the body & spirit responds…Namaste!
Ellie Courpas says
Keeping my life as stress free, staying religious with my vitamins, yoga as often as.I can.. Even workingas hard as I can to live not to hurt, Fibo still rears its ugly head. Maybe a salt sodium light as shown would help. Thanks for your blogs..
ML DIBB says
I find that I am at my most pain-free if I can get regular massages and stay on a regimen of water aerobics for regular exercise. I also wear only natural fabrics, as I find that my skin is hyper-sensitive to polyesters. I avoid all strong odors, and am especially careful not to ingest fumes of petro-based products such as gasoline or insecticides and other garden products. Pharmaca is a fabulous store, and it is wonderful to be able to find nontoxic cosmetics and supplements in one location.
I’ve been looking for some non-toxic sunscreen
Laura Murphy says
I am so glad you reviewed sunscreens. I’ve been spending more time indoors this summer and have been scared to put anything on my skin that my baby will touch. My favorite wellness items lately include exploring essential oils (just learned Oregano oil is great for the immune system, lavender for sleep), my vitamins and supplements, and I LOVE my salt lamp.
I eat a primarily plant based diet with tons of kale, amaranth and quinoa, get massage every two weeks minimum (more if needed) and make sure I get a minimum of 7000 steps per day, aiming for 10,000. Somedays I can’t get to my step goal so I make sure to stretch and do whatever I can to keep moving!
As long as I stay as active as I can, my pain levels stay manageable.
I want to shop at Pharmaca! I’ve always wanted one of those himalayan salt lamps too.
Right now I’m trying to figure out my tolerance for exercise. No yoga for a few days = stiffness and pain, 20 minutes of aerobic type exercise = a day of feeling achy and lethargic. It’s hard to find the balance. I’m also experimenting with different essential oils to help with pain, fog and fatigue. So far, I haven’t found a miraculous treatment for brain fog but I’m not giving up yet!
Eugenia Taylor says
I have minimized my meat intake to a little chicken, turkey, or now and then bit of pork. I eat lots of fruit and vegetables. I eat seafood reguary. While walking is very difficult, I do workouts with my 3lb weights.
Lori S says
I am in the process of simplifying, organizing and clearing out all the peripheral STUFF in my home and life. It is a huge project (especially while struggling with chronic health issues) but I am looking forward to a greater sense of calm and manageability. Be gone clutter…and bring on the de-stressing calm! Also….PROBIOTICS! Kefir, kimchi and a good commercial probiotic to strengthen the immune system.
Thanks for the opportunity to participate in this giveaway from Pharmaca!
Joy Rosenberg says
I love Pharmaca! I like to stop in there for bargains on all my supplements or sometimes just to see what’s new. Love the soothing setup, the knowledgeable sales staff, the welcoming environment. Also great for a last-minute gift (recently bought a lavender-scented pillow for my daughter-in-law). Coping with fibro is a full-time job (in addition to the paying full-time job I need to have) and requires a lot of positive thinking, plus strict adherence to clean eating, supplements, gentle exercise, and rest. I’m not always successful, but I do know the things that work for me.
We have a winner. Using random.org, every person who commented either here or on Facebook was entered into the drawing. Bridget Marie Clancy, who left her comment on FibroHaven’s Facebook page was selected as the winner. Thank you all for participating and sharing your alternative health techniques. Knowledge is power!
As a holistic nurse, I am always looking for places like this for my clients to have access to various things that will help them.
The most important is unprocessed sea salt.
If you like natural treatments, then you might want to check out the Water Cures Protocol….http://www.watercures.org/natural-remedy-for-fibromyalgia.html
This is based on the premise that dehydration is the cause of what you are dealing with. Drinking water will not help as it is slightly diuretic. Coffee and tea are only slightly more so according to one study. We need salt and potassium to get the water into our body and keep it there. It has to be in the right proportion though. It just so happens that unprocessed sea salt, Real Salt or Himalayan salt has the right balance.
For those who cannot exercise, I found some research on PubMed that indicates that if we only imagine we are exercising, we can have a positive benefit on our muscles and our brain.
So, it would be like taking 5 or 10 minutes out of our day and in our mind, imagine that we were walking, doing strength training or what ever. The key is repetition. They found that people who did this improved their strength by a considerable amount.
I will have more information on the exercises once my site is built. My website is new but I have been working with people dealing with FM as well as depression for over a decade now using holistic treatments. The challenge I have is once my clients get better, they do not need me any more.
As to the depression, I send people to the water cures site. http://www.watercures.org/warning-signs-of-depression.html
It woks for most and is almost free (the salt costs $5- 7)
Kelly Sherman says
I would love to have one ofthe hymilayan lamps!