Essential Oils Blog

Chakra Synergies for Self Care

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


 

Have you heard about Plant Therapy’s new Chakra Synergies Set?

Wondering what it is all about?

Wondering if it is for you?

Wondering how to get started?

I am super excited about this offering.

The intention of the Chakra Synergy line is to create simplicity and accessibility for those who wish to bring self-balancing practices into our self-care routines for a greater sense of wellbeing.

As with the mind and body, aromatherapy can provide powerful support for our spirit to support a greater sense of  balance from the inside out.

So, let’s get started on learning more about Chakras!

 

 

 

 

How Chakras Impact Our Wellbeing

Chakras are subtle energy centers that intersect with our mind, body, and spirit. The major chakras are located along our spine in ascending order from base to crown. These chakras take in and transmit energy throughout our entire being.

When our chakras are in balance our natural energy flows smoothly, creating a sense of overall well-being. Stress, negative thinking, and wounds or traumas to any part of our being can disrupt this vital balance.

If you are new to the concept of chakras, how they impact our well-being, and how aromatherapy can help, I recommend you start by reading “So What Exactly is Subtle Aromatherapy” for an introduction to the basics.

This is just the beginning, of course. Like aromatherapy, energy work provides a vast path to develop and deepen your learning.  And, like other areas of aromatherapy, there are reputable thought leaders, teachers, and authors specific to subtle aromatherapy should you wish to study this synergy for the spirit.

 

 

How to Choose a Chakra Synergy for Your Needs

These synergies were created with the intention of gently supporting balance in each of the unique chakras.

 

 

GROUNDED FOUNDATION

Chakra: 1ST/ROOT

Location:  Base of Spine

Concerns:  Sense safety, security, and trust in the world, while feeling present and grounded and present in our body.

 

 

 

 

 

JOYFUL CREATION

Chakra: 2ND/SACRAL

Location: Lower Abdomen

Concerns:  Ability to experience emotional security, passion, and pleasure in creative expression and connection to others.

 

 

 

 

 

SELF MANIFESTATION

 Chakra: 3rd /SOLAR PLEXUS

Location: Solar Plexus

Concern: Sense of self-esteem, self-worth, self-respect, and self-confidence while retaining warmth and graciousness toward others.

 

 

 

 

 

LOVING COMPASSION

Chakra: 4th/HEART

Location:  Center of Breastbone

Concerns: Open to love, acceptance, forgiveness, and compassion for self and others

 

 

 

 

 

TRUE EXPRESSION

 Chakra: 5th/THROAT

Location: Center of Throat

Concerns: Ability to identify and speak your true needs while in integrity with yourself and others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLEAR INTUITION

Chakra: 6th/THIRD EYE

Location: Center of Forehead/ Between Brows

Concerns: Ability to clearly “see” conceptually and symbolically through intuition, perception, visualization, and imagination.

 

 

 

 

 

 

HIGHER CONNECTION

 Chakra: 7th/CROWN

Location: Top of Head

Concerns: Sense of connection to a higher consciousness, higher purpose, and higher self.

 

 

 

 

How to Use the Chakra Synergies

Because we are working with our subtle body — which houses our spirit, our core essence and our natural energy flow — we recommend you use these synergies at a much less intensity than used for the mind and body in order to resonate, rather than overwhelm, the subtle nature of our energy.

 

  • Dilution: Use at 1 drop per teaspoon, or 6 drops per ounce for a 1% dilution. Use a more subtle scent in direct inhalation, or room diffusion. A drop will do for passive diffusion.

 

  • Inhalation: Inhalation from the bottle is too overwhelming to the senses and subtle body. Simply add 1 drop to a tissue or cotton ball, or aromatherapy jewelry. You can also add 5 drops per 100 ml to your diffuser and run for a short period, or add 15 drops to your personal inhaler and breathe in gently. You may also choose to use these at half-strength if the scent is more strong than subtle depending on your proximity. The key is to get a gentle hint of the scent and not to overwhelm the senses.

 

  • Topical Application: Dilute to 1% in Jojoba or other carrier oil of your choice. You may wish to anoint your chakras. Anointing is an ancient practice across spiritual traditions in which an oil is applied with intention. It is often used for protection, to connect with the sacred, to empower, and to support wellness. You may wish to anoint your chakra, pulse points, or nearby areas of the body. For the first chakra, you may use the soles of the feet and/or touch behind the knees.

 

  • Combination: Add drops diluted to 1% to the hands and then anoint the chakra, pulse point, or body area desired. Then, bring the hands up to inhale and relax into a mindful balancing practice.

 

How to Combine Chakra Synergies with Mindfulness Techniques

When working with aromatherapy for the spirit, we can create an even more expansive experience when combined with mindfulness techniques such as these outlined below.  This synergy for the senses can help  bring  balance, harmony, and well-being within our whole being.

Please know there are no hard and fast rules, but rather an artful practice based on intention and intuition.  Allow yourself to unplug from your thinking mind, and tap into your inner wisdom.

To help you on your way, I have outlined some traditionally accepted and accessible suggestions as a starting point. The most important thing is to find what works for your unique needs at any given time.

 

Intention – Setting a clear purpose and using your synergy with that purpose in mind. This is likely the most important aspect when using aromatherapy to bring balance to the subtle body.

Suggested Usage: direct inhalation

 

Affirmation– Replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts. These are always stated in the present tense. And, you might want to consider aligning them with the concerns of the chakra with which you are working. For example, if you are working to bring balance to your 1st Chakra, you might like to affirm “I am safe.”

Suggested Usage: direct inhalation, anointing

 

Visualization: Using your mind’s eye to create a healing image on which to focus. You might choose to focus on a generally soothing and calming image, or you may wish to create a healing image specific to the chakra with which you are working.

Suggested Usage: diffusion, direct inhalation, anointing

 

Meditation: Calming the conscious mind to allow for inward introspection and higher information. This is when you can hear your spirit speak while you are soothing the mind and the body.

Suggested Usage: diffusion, direct inhalation, anointing

 

As you can see subtle aromatherapy is another approach to enhancing our wellbeing by bringing gentle support to the spirit. The synergies are meant to help make the practice of subtle aromatherapy accessible whether it is new to you, or you are an experienced practitioner.

The synergies themselves are created with the intention of resonating with each chakra in combination with the power of your conscious intention. They are not meant to simply apply to “fix a symptom,” but rather to support you in bringing self-balancing techniques into your self-care routines to enhance your overall well-being.

I hope this helps you on your way. Should you wish to explore the chakras and subtle aromatherapy more, you will find some reputable resources listed below. I wish you well on your wellness journey!

 


Sources:

Davis, Patricia. Subtle Aromatherapy. Saffron Walden: C.W. Daniel, 1992. Print

Judith, Anodea, and Selene Vega. The Sevenfold Journey: Reclaiming Mind, Body & Spirit through the Chakras. Freedom, CA: Crossing, 1993. Print.

Judith, Anodea. Eastern Body, Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self. Berkeley: Celestial Arts, 2004. Print.

Keim, Joni, and Ruah Bull. Aromatherapy & Subtle Energy Techniques: Compassionate Healing with Essential Oils. N.p.: CreateSpace, 2015. Print.

 

Carrier oils – The Other Part of the Equation

Carrier oils have become so exciting to me! I used to think of them as just oils used to dilute essential oils. But in reality, there is much more to them than that. Did you know that Argan Carrier Oil can help with scars and with the skin’s elasticity as well as to nourish the hair? Camellia Carrier Oil is great for mature skin, and to help when you’ve experienced sun damage…Rosehip Carrier Oil is rejuvenating to the skin, can be used on minor burns and wounds, and can be helpful for other skin issues. Some carrier oils like Jojoba (which is really a wax) and Meadowfoam can actually extend the shelf life of other carrier oils. Jojoba is also most like our natural sebum and is well received by our skin and rich in Vitamin E. Tamanu is one of the newest carrier oils that we have and one we are very excited about. This shimmery, thicker carrier oil  is amazing at helping with skin issues, irritations, and minor wounds.  It is best used in a blend because of it’s viscosity and strong scent.

We must remember that these carriers come from plants as well and have their own constituents. Although they are not concentrated like essential oils (which makes them very safe), they do have properties and characteristics of their own. They can determine how fast an essential oil will penetrate, depending on the viscosity of the carrier and how many Omega 9’s that they contain. Carrier oils can be blended as well, to create a synergy of their own and be helpful in adding to the benefits of an essential oil, when combined.

 

Correct storage is important with carrier oils because they are made up of fats, which can go rancid.  Most carrier oils, should be stored in the refrigerator.  The shelf life is much shorter than essential oils, so by all means use them up! Don’t save them for a special occasion or you’ll be missing out daily on the benefits of these great oils. If your oil is approaching a year in age, and you still have a full bottle then try using it as a cleanser or moisturizer. Then you can see which carrier oils agree with your skin type. Many have found the the Oil Cleanse Method to be beneficial for them.

It’s a personal decision whether to buy an expeller pressed, which is extracted by steam method, or a cold pressed carrier oil.  While cold pressed does retain more of the beneficial oils, there are benefits to steam distilling too. These beneficial properties can be acquired that didn’t exist without steam distillation, as in the case of fractionated coconut oil; fractionated coconut oil will gain more caprylic acid through steam distillation and in other carrier oils it will decrease the fatty acids.

We’ve created a chart that will be an easy reference for the single carrier oils that we currently carry.  It can help with the basic questions about carriers and will be helpful for a quick comparison regarding different common issues.

 

At Plant Therapy, we have an extensive, lovely selection of carrier oils.  Here is a list of the single carrier oils that we carry:

Amond Carrier Oil (Virgin, Sweet)

Apricot Kernel Oil

Argan Carrier Oil (Organic)

Avocado Carrier Oil

Camellia Seed Carrier Oil

Coconut (Fractionated) Carrier Oil

Evening Primrose Carrier Oil

Grapeseend carrier Oil

 Hazelnut Carrier Oil 

Hemp Seed Carrier Oil

Hemp Seed Carrier Oil  (Organic)

Jojoba (Golden) Carrier Oil

Meadowfoam Carrier Oil

Sunflower Carrier Oil (organic)

Tamanu Carrier Oil

 

Download Carrier Oil Chart HERE:

Carrier oil preferences are an individual choice and everyone has different skin types. We hope that you will explore carrier oils and their benefits.

 

Which carrier oil is your favorite?

 

References:

Price, Len and Shirley.  Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy and Massage. 

Worword, Valerie Ann.   The Complete Book of Essential oils and Aromatherapy.

The Many Methods of Diffusion

 

My first assignment when I started working at Plant Therapy was to test diffusers as I did not yet have a computer to work on.  I really knew nothing about them. I sorted through a very large pile of diffusers and organized them by brand and style. That night at home I got online to do some research on them.

The definition of diffusion is “the spreading of something more widely”. “The natural process in which the atoms, molecules or ions of different substances intermix due to their spontaneous random motion”. (4)

There are various ways of diffusing essential oils, some of which I will address. Nebulizers, Ultrasonic diffusers, room sprays, aromatherapy jewelry, steam inhalation,  personal inhalers, and passive diffusions such as our Lil Stinkers or a  simple tissue.

 

The nebulizer is the most powerful of all and what I found myself to be working with and testing on my first project. With this diffuser you get a continuous and constant flow of essential oil. A  10 ml bottle attaches directly to the diffuser. A jet of air blowing across a small tube creates a vacuum that pulls the oil from the bottle through a tube. The air blowing at the top of the tube blows the oil in a fine mist or spray. This type of diffusion puts the whole oil into the air in the form of tiny droplets. You don’t need heat or water with this diffuser. Be sure to take a look at Plant Therapy’s Advanced Aromatherapy Diffuser.

The ultrasonic diffuser is almost the same as the nebulizer in that it also produces a fine mist, but this one uses water. This unit emits electronic frequencies to cause a small disk under the surface of the liquid (usually water) to vibrate at a very fast rate. These ultrasonic vibrations break the essential oil(s) into tiny microparticles, dispersing the oil in a fine mist. These tiny particles are more easily absorbed by the lungs for a greater therapeutic effect on the body, mind, and spirit. This unit doubles as a humidifier as it uses water. The AromaFuse Diffuser is one of our most popular diffusers.

Room sprays are another way to get essential oils into the air. Simply fill a  4 oz spray bottle with water and/or witch hazel, adding 9 drops of essential oil for every 1 ounce of liquid. Remember that essential oils and water do not mix well, so shake well before using. This is a 1% dilution; to get a 2% dilution use 18 drops of oil per ounce of water. This needs to be stored in a PET bottle or glass bottle as over time essential oils will deteriorate plastic. PET plastics are safe and approved for use with essential oils. If using water, you will also need to add a preservative such as Optiphen Plus if you won’t be using it within a few days.

Diffuser Necklaces are straight forward in their application. Apply 1 to 2 drops of oil on the necklace pad, wood bead, etc. The oils are near the face, they evaporate and you inhale the molecules as the evaporation process takes place. Diffusers that you wear around your neck can be beautiful and functional.

With a tissue, you just put a drop or two on the tissue and keep it near you. You can tuck it in the vent of your car or hold it close to your nose. It needs to be refreshed every hour. The cost is very little and requires no equipment. Plant Therapy also carries a line of Lil’ Stinkers which are plush pals for the children to use.  Using essential oils in these ways – by passive diffusion, is one of the quickest methods to disburse aromatic molecules. With this method, the oils evaporate very quickly and the aroma will not stay very long as it will not reach very far. This is great if you are trying to keep the oils in your personal space when traveling on a plane, or in your work space at that office.

I  also learned about steam inhalation and personal inhalers. Steam inhalation is a method of introducing warm, moist air into lungs via the nose and throat for therapeutic benefits. This is a method for treating respiratory issues.  Heating water in a bowl then adding 1 drop of essential oil and putting a towel over your head while breathing in the mist from the bowl is one way of using steam inhalation.

A personal inhaler delivers scent into the body via the lungs. Inhalation is an effective method of use for essential oils so a personal inhaler is very convenient as they are portable. This is a much more concentrated inhalation application than just putting a drop on a tissue, or in a room diffuser. They are in a protective shell so there is very little evaporation of essential oil and they have a very long shelf life.

“It is not advisable to directly and intensively inhale essential oils for longer than 15-20 minutes, such as with steam inhalation. However, this does not apply to ambient inhalation from essential oils vaporized into the air. If you are diffusing essential oils, it is safer to do this intermittently than constantly, all day long. Ideally, diffuse essential oils for 30-60 minutes. This is not only safer, but it’s also more effective as both our bodies and our nervous system habituate to essential oils after this period. Whenever you are using or diffusing essential oils, some air exchange (fresh air) is advisable.” (3)

When an essential oil is inhaled, the odor travels up the nose to where they are trapped by olfactory membranes. They are then carried to the limbic system. From the limbic system, odor messages are sent to the other parts of the brain like the pituitary, pineal and amygdala. They also travel to the body stimulating the autonomic nervous system, endocrine system, organ functions, secretions of antibodies, hormones and enzymes throughout the body. Smell is the only sense that goes directly to the limbic system. The oils are great for helping and regulating mood. (2)

When choosing essential oils to diffuse there are many things to consider; smell, strength of aroma, properties of the oils and what you are looking for them to assist you with.

All essential oils are not meant to be diffused. Some of the oils are considered unsafe for use around children. Some of the hot oils can be irritating to the mucous membrane at any age and caution should be used when diffusing.  Plant Therapy was one of the first companies to develop a  KidSafe® line of essential oils. Robert Tisserand, author of Essential Oil Safety worked with us to formulate these oils that are safe for kids ages 2-10. (1)

In conclusion, there are many types of diffusers that can be used and I do not think that there is a right or wrong diffuser to use. The circumstances and personal preference will influence which diffuser you choose. In the office, we try to use personal inhalers as there are some that are allergic or can react adversely to certain oils. On occasion, we will diffuse the oils in an ultrasonic diffuser or nebulizer keeping in mind others at the work place. Because I have children at home, I am very careful of the oils that I diffuse. I diffuse only when needed to avoid over exposure. Everyone’s situation is different so there are different times and places to use each of the discussed diffusers. Learning about diffusers and oils over the past three years has been very helpful in keeping my family safe when diffusing.  Happy diffusing!

 

Resources

1 Tisserand, Young (2014) Essential oil Safety: A Guide of Health Care Profesionsals 2nd Edition (add place of publication : publisher)

2 Shanti Dechen: The Nasal Inhaler: Aromatherapy’s unsung Hero  https://naha.org/naha-blog/the-nasal-inhaler-aromatherapys-unsung-hero

3  Tisserand institute How to use essential Oils Safely  http://tisserandinstitute.org/safety/safety-guidelines/

4 Wikipedia Inhaler definition  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inhaler

 

GC/MS Testing and Why It Is Important

 

Here at Plant Therapy each and every one of our batches of oil are GC-MS tested for quality and purity. These batch specific GC-MS reports are available right on our website for the convenience of our customers. Often times we are asked what a GC-MS test is, why it is so important, and how to read the tests. These are important questions and today we are happy to address them for you.

 

What is a GC-MS test?

Before we can discuss why GC-MS testing is so important we must first determine what a GC-MS test is. In a recent discussion with Alexis St-Gelais, one of the chemists we work with from Laboratoire PhytoChemia, he defined GC-MS testing when applied to essential oils as “an analytical chemistry technique allowing for separation, identification and partial quantitation of individual volatile molecules present in an essential oil. The technique thus allows to fingerprint the essential oil sample, whose profile can then be compared with reference profiles and screened for contaminants or adulterants.” [1]

 

A GC-MS test is completed using two separate techniques, GC or Gas Chromatography, and MS or Mass Spectrometry. To really know what GC-MS is we must discuss the separate parts and what takes place in the process. “The GC separates the chemical mixture into pulses of pure chemicals based on volatility or ease with which they evaporate into gas. Similar to a running race where a group of people begin at the starting line but as the race proceeds the runners separate based on their speed. The chemicals in the mixture separate based on their volatility. In general small molecules travel more quickly than larger molecules.” [2]

 

“The MS identifies and quantifies the chemicals based on structure. Let’s say after completing a puzzle you accidentally drop it on the floor. Some parts of the puzzle remain attached together and some individual pieces break off completely. By looking at these various pieces you are still able to get an idea of what the original puzzle looked like. This is very similar to the way the mass spectrometer works.” [2]

 

Why is GC-S Testing Important?

Now that we know what a GC-MS test is and how it works let’s discuss why it is so important when it comes to essential oils. As Alexis mentioned this test allows us to fingerprint each sample showing us the unique identity of the essential oil. These tests are very important from a quality standpoint as it shows us the oils chemical makeup. Most contaminants or adulterants show up with these tests, and for those that don’t, if we suspect that some of what looks like a natural constituent of an oil might be a synthetic addition, we use chiral analysis – a more sophisticated form of gas chromatography – to find out if it is in fact, a natural constituent or a synthetic addition.

 

GC-MS testing is also important because it shows us a breakdown of the main chemical constituents that give an essential oil some of its therapeutic properties. For example, if you would like to create a blend to help you relax before bedtime you might look for an essential oil that has a high content of Linalool. Along with having many other benefits this constituent has shown to be helpful for sleep and relaxation. By viewing the batch specific GC-MS reports for oils like Ho Wood Essential Oil, Coriander Essential Oil, and Lavender Essential Oil you can determine that each of these oils have higher content of Linalool making them good choices for such a blend.

 

The safety considerations of each individual oil are also determined by the chemical profile. For example, here at Plant Therapy we do not include essential oils that have a high 1,8-Cineole content in our KidSafe line. We avoid high amounts of this constituent with children as it may cause breathing issues for some. Through GC-MS testing we can determine the levels of 1,8-Cineole and decide whether or not an essential oil will be a part of our KidSafe line.

 

How to Read Plant Therapy’s GC-MS Reports

The first page of Plant Therapy’s batch specific GC-MS reports will always be a Key Constituent chart that is created in house by our team of Aromatherapists. This chart includes any constituents that are present at higher than 1%. When blending based on constituents this is often the page we recommend using as it contains the main chemical components that give an essential oil the majority of its therapeutic benefits. This page also provides the results of organeleptical testing performed by world renowned essential oil expert, Robert Tisserand. If an oil has a chemotype you can often find this information in Robert’s comments. In addition, you can find the botanical name and the country of origin of the essential oil on this page.

 

The following page of the GC-MS report is called a sample identification page. This page contains both Plant Therapy’s lot specific batch code and Phytochemia’s internal code. You can also find information on the method of testing used, the analyst, and the date of the analysis.

 

The next page or pages will include a list of the identified compounds, the percentage of which they are found in the essential oil, and the molecular class. When viewing these pages you may notice that there are two different columns listed with percentages, BP5 and WAX. These are two different types of GC-MS analysis. One is no more or less correct than the other. It reminds us that these numbers are never precise. In these two columns you may find percentages that are listed in brackets meaning that two or more constituents are represented by one number and that the analysis was unable to identify the correct percentage of each constituent. For our Key Constituent Chart we pull the majority of the constituents from the BP5 column. If we find that there is a coeluting percentage we then turn to the WAX test results. After all of the components of the oil have been identified you will then find the conclusion from the lab.

 

The last page or pages consist of the Mass Spectrum which is defined as “a spectrum of charged particles, arranged in order of mass or mass-to-charge ratios.” [3] This provides the same information that is listed in the identified compound list but in graph form.

 

Plant Therapy is one of the only essential oil companies that offers batch specific GC/MS reports for our customers to review. You can find these reports under the “Test Reports” tab on the product page of the single essential oils.  If you have any additional questions on GC-MS testing or Plant Therapy’s reports please feel free to email our Aromatherapist team at aromatherapist@planttherapy.com.

 

[1] Alexis St-Gelais, M. Sc., chimiste, Directeur scientifique, Laboratoire PhytoChemia

[2] https://courses.ecampus.oregonstate.edu/oer/gcms/

[3] http://www.dictionary.com/browse/mass-spectrum

When All is Said and Done, It’s Really an Individual Journey

 

Many people ask, “What is an essential oil that will be a foolproof treatment for….” Well, the truth is while there are generalizations, there are exceptions and what might work for one, might not work for another. That is to say, although some specific essential or blends have been successful in helping many, it’s not a guarantee that it will work for all. There’s more of a guarantee that there will be a few that it won’t work for.

When I discovered essential oils, years ago, I used them ignorantly and luckily didn’t become sensitized to essential oils or harm myself using them. Most of the time, they just sat on the shelf, because I didn’t know exactly what to do with them! Gradually, I began reading and researching and when I began working for Plant Therapy, a whole new world opened up for me. It was an aha moment as I became educated on safe methods and I learned just how effective and powerful that essential oils can be. I also learned more about the many constituents (the natural chemical compounds in oils) that essential oils contain. Not all of these chemicals or combinations are right for everyone. For instance, for children, there are safer, gentle oils that Plant Therapy recommends and we label them KidSafe® . For the elderly, Wintergreen or Cinnamon Leaf would not be my first choice, as they are strong oils with cautions. For some on medications, I might choose another oil than Chamomile German, which can have interactions with some medications.

Concerning myself, I have realized that I have a sensitive system, and some essential oil are better choices than others. So, while one oil, may be calming for someone, it may not be for me.  For many, Lavender is the definite choice when it comes to a calming oil. Although I love it and find it useful for many purposes, I don’t find it calming for my individual makeup. When the topic of scent comes up, we all have our druthers on which essential oils smell the best. Or I may have different preferences for blends addressing discomfort or skin issues than another. I absolutely love Vetiver, while others might find it unappealing. Others love the florals, and for me they are overpowering. I also love Chamomile Roman to calm and balance one’s system, and to help with swelling. Others, sadly, may not give it a chance because they don’t love the scent. The wonderful thing about essential oils though, is that they are multi-taskers and many address similar issues. So if you are wanting a calming essential oil, but aren’t crazy about the Chamomile Roman, don’t be discouraged. There are other options.  Some examples of other calming oils are; Bergamot, Orange Sweet, Cedarwood,  Patchouli, Vetiver and Melissa.

When someone says to me, “That essential oil doesn’t work.” I may smile just a bit, as I ponder that all of Plant Therapy’s essential oils are of the highest quality and have been tested several times to verify that. I like that a specific oil is not just tested once, and then those are the results that our customers will see forever, but every single batch of essential oils that comes into Plant Therapy is tested, so you know exactly what you are getting.  So, I know that although this person may not have found the perfect fit for them, it may be very effective for someone else’s body chemistry.  Also, it’s interesting that essential oils blended with other essential oils create a new synergy. It can be even more effective than if used alone. If someone doesn’t care for plain Lavender or Cedarwood Atlas, perhaps blending it with Orange Sweet or Bergamot, may make it your favorite oil blend ever.

Plant Therapy stands behind of it’s essential oils, and our customers can rest assured that if they are not 100% satisfied, they can receive a full refund, so there are no risks in purchasing an oil that you may not be sure that you will like. It certainly is a journey, and as we learn more and study each oil, and experiment a bit, we will find what works for us and how to use these precious substances to make our life better. Remember that like a lot of things, using essential oils is a journey, and oftentimes more enjoyable, when taking your time, learning along the way, and deciding what works best for your personal needs.

 

 

So What Exactly is Subtle Aromatherapy?

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


It probably has not escaped your notice that when we talk about the therapeutic value of aromatherapy, we often refer to the benefits for mind and body, as well as the spirit.

And, recently, we discussed how holistic aromatherapy helps bring balance to all three aspects in What Does Holistic Have to Do With Our Health. It is this harmony in our whole being that helps us sustain better wellbeing.

Sometimes, though, it is best to approach the specific needs of one aspect of our being, before the rest of our selves can come back into a better state of balance. Most of us are familiar with how aromatherapy can support the needs of mind and our body. But, what about when it comes to support of the spirit?

By nature, this realm may feel more ethereal, but it is no less important. Balance in our spirit in actuality is a vitally important source of our wellbeing.

In The Wonderful Wide World of Aromatherapy, we outlined the many approaches to aromatherapy practice. When we want to start by specifically addressing the needs of the spirit, we turn to the practice of subtle aromatherapy. 

So, what exactly is subtle aromatherapy?

With subtle aromatherapy, we use essential oils and aromatic extracts to support sources of imbalance in our core being with the intention of encouraging wellness from the inside out. Rather than starting with the mind, or the body, we start with what we often refer to as the spirit, but more specifically encompassing our entire subtle body.

From this perspective, we see ourselves as whole beings comprised of the following interconnected aspects of our existence:

  • Emotional/Mental Body
  • Physical Body
  • Subtle Body

Our subtle body includes what we would call our spirit, life force, soul or core essence, our psyche, and our natural energy flow.

It is important to note when we are talking about caring for the spirit, or our subtle body, we are not talking about religion, nor the supernatural. Subtle aromatherapy transcends our own personal belief systems about our core essence and how we individually see and feel a sense of connection to higher consciousness while working with our natural energy flow.

Just as with our mental/emotional bodies, and our physical body, our subtle body seeks balance. Imbalances in our energy flow frequently form as blocks. We can work to release these blocks with various approaches to influence the energy flow in the subtle body. When we are out of balance to the point our whole being cannot compensate, we can seek support from qualified practitioners.

 

How Do We Balance Our Natural Energy Flow?

From an Eastern medicine perspective, there are two traditions of working with energy which you are likely familiar. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) comes to us from ancient China. Acupuncture is one of the most visible aspects of TCM to bring balance to our natural energy flow through the meridian pathways. From ancient India, we have Ayurveda. In this tradition of medicine, our natural energy flows through the chakra system. One familiar aspect of the Ayurvedic tradition is yoga, which helped introduce the concept of chakras to the West.  The flow of yoga helps to open and move our energy through the chakras.

From the Western perspective, we have combined modern studies of psychology and human development with ancient understandings of the chakra and general energy systems. We can create balance in an approach called energy medicine or energy healing by using our hands. There are many types of techniques with qualified and professional hands-on practitioners. Reiki and Therapeutic Touch are two common examples often performed in major medical centers.

My personal training and experience is with the western approach to energy medicine and the chakra system. Before I trained as an  aromatherapy practitioner, I trained as a hands-on energy medicine practitioner. During my clinical internship at a large, urban, bustling teaching hospital, the patients I served during that 6 months reported a nearly 60% reduction in pain overall measured pre- and post-energy therapy sessions.

Because I was grounded in both energy work and aromatherapy, I intuitively longed to bring both together into one practice.  I was delighted to discover others had already done so opening up the path for me for learn and practice both of my passions through the synergy of subtle aromatherapy.

In 1991, Patricia Davis published “Subtle Aromatherapy,” in which she discusses bringing together aromatherapy and chakra balancing into one practice. In essence, she defined subtle aromatherapy as working with aromatic essences to affect non-physical elements of our being.[1]

In 1997, Gabriel Mojay published “Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit.” In his work, Mojay discusses the use of essential oils for healing the psyche and the spirit by influencing energy flow from the perspective Traditional Chinese Medicine.[2]

Both pioneering works put to paper what many had intuitively felt creating pathways to learning that remain relevant and often referred today. Today, there are even more aromatherapy thought leaders, educators and practitioners coming from both systems of energy work to pursue your area of passion.

Depending on your own unique needs, the practice of subtle aromatherapy can be integrated to support other forms of healing while under the care of professionals and it can be approached independently as part of your self-care routine at home.

 

How Chakras Impact Our Health

As part of our subtle body, chakras are wheel-shaped energy centers that intersect with our emotional/mental bodies and our physical body. The chakras take in and transmit energy throughout our entire being working as a system of intermeshing gears.[3]

 When our chakras are in balance, our natural energy flows smoothly creating a sense of overall wellbeing.  Fear, stress, chronic negative thinking and belief systems, repressed emotions, wounds and traumas, or sudden shock can disrupt this vital balance creating either excesses or deficiencies in our energy flow.  Many times, this distress  manifests as  as blockages and stagnation.

Most often, we are working with the seven major chakras located along our spine in ascending order from base to crown. In addition to location, each chakra has an assigned color. And, each chakra is associated with states of our psyche, as well as the energy flow in a specific region of the physical body.

The following is a very brief overview of the seven major chakras:

 

1st Chakra – Root

Color: Red

Location: base of spine/perineum

Concerns: Self-Preservationsurvival, support, belonging

In Balance: Sense of safety, security, and trust in the world, while feeling present and grounded and present in our body.

 

2nd Chakra – Sacral

Color: Orange

Location: 2” below naval

Concerns: Self-Gratificationcreation, emotions, relationships, growth

In Balance: Ability to experience emotional security, passion and pleasure in creative expression and connection to others.

 

3rd Chakra – Solar Plexus

Color: Yellow

Location: 2” above navel

Concerns: Personal Manifestationpersonal power, identity, self-worth

In Balance — Sense of self-esteem, self-worth, self-respect and self-confidence while retaining warmth and graciousness toward others.

 

4th Chakra – Heart

Color: Green or Rose

Location: Center of chest

Concerns: Loving Compassionlove and acceptance of self and others, unconditional love, empathy

In Balance: Open to love, acceptance, forgiveness and compassion for self and others

 

5th Chakra – Throat

Color: Light Blue

Location: Center of Throat

Concerns: Self-Expression/Communication — speaking and hearing truth

In Balance: Ability to identify and speak your true needs while in integrity with yourself and others.

 

6th Chakra – Third Eye/Brow

Color: Indigo

Location: Center of Forehead (between brows)

Concerns: Self-Reflection/Intuition — perspective, insight, clarity, imagination

In Balance: Ability to clearly “see” conceptually and symbolically through intuition, perception, visualization and imagination.

 

7th Chakra — Crown

Color: Violet/White

Location: Top of Head

Concerns: Higher Connectionsense of oneness, higher consciousness

In Balance: Sense of connection to a higher consciousness, higher purpose, and higher self.

 

Working with Subtle Aromatherapy to Balance Your Chakras

As its own form of energy work the intention of subtle aromatherapy is to influence the balance in our natural energy flow by “drawing on the subtle, energetic or vibrational qualities of the oils, rather than their physical properties.[4]

 Many aspects  can go into choosing an oil, or synergy, to help support balance in the subtle body include:

  • Color of plant part used
  • Color of the essential oil or extract
  • Color or quality of the smell
  • Part of the plant used/function of that part
  • Therapeutic function of the oil or plant
  • Nature of the plant – shape, climate, conditions, geography, how it grows
  • Folklore of the plant – how used historically

Below are examples of some more commonly used essential oils to help bring balance to the chakras. This is by no means an exhaustive list, nor will every oil work for every being. This is simply a possible point to start you on your exploration.

 

1st Chakra — Cedarwood, Patchouli, Vetiver

2nd Chakra — Cardamom, Orange, Jasmine Absolute

3rd Chakra – Black Pepper, Pine, Rosemary

4th Chakra — Bergamot, Mandarin, Rose Otto

5th Charka – Chamomile German, Chamomile Roman, Lavender

6th Chakra –Clary Sage, Elemi, Spruce

7th Chakra – Frankincense, Myrrh, Sandalwood

 

When you are feeling an imbalance associated with a particular chakra, or energy center, you can choose essential oils or synergies to incorporate into your self-care routines.

Because we are working with our subtle body, we want to use essential oils and extracts at much less intensity than would be used for the mind and body in order to resonate, rather than overwhelm, the subtle nature of our energy.

Use at 1 drop per teaspoon, or 6 drops per ounce for a 1% dilution. Use a more subtle scent in direct inhalation, or room diffusion. A drop will do for passive diffusion.

Now that we have discussed what subtle aromatherapy is, we can go on to discuss the basics of how incorporate this approach at home. Look for our next blog where we will discuss how we can bring a synergy of subtle aromatherapy self-balancing techniques into our self-care routines.

 


Sources:

[1] Davis, Patricia. Subtle Aromatherapy. Saffron Walden: C.W. Daniel, 1992. Print.

[2] Mojay, Gabriel. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: A Guide to Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance through Essential Oils. London: Gaia, 1997. Print.

[3] Judith, Anodea, and Selene Vega. The Sevenfold Journey: Reclaiming Mind, Body & Spirit through the Chakras. Freedom, CA: Crossing, 1993. Print.

[4] Davis, Patricia. Subtle Aromatherapy. Saffron Walden: C.W. Daniel, 1992. Print.

Davis, Patricia. Subtle Aromatherapy. Saffron Walden: C.W. Daniel, 1992. Print.

Mojay, Gabriel. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: A Guide to Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance through Essential Oils. London: Gaia, 1997. Print.

Judith, Anodea, and Selene Vega. The Sevenfold Journey: Reclaiming Mind, Body & Spirit through the Chakras. Freedom, CA: Crossing, 1993. Print.

Judith, Anodea. Eastern Body, Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self. Berkeley: Celestial Arts, 2004. Print.

Keim, Joni, and Ruah Bull. Aromatherapy & Subtle Energy Techniques: Compassionate Healing with Essential Oils. N.p.: CreateSpace, 2015. Print.

 

 

 

What Is the Big Deal About CO2’s?

 

There’s a new kid in town so to speak, and his name is CO2. Not many know a lot about him, but he’s here to make a name for himself.

CO2’s have surprisingly been around for decades, developed to be used within the food industry. We know that they have beneficial properties and qualities that can be used to our benefit when used topically or diffused. As they’ve grown in popularity and lowered a bit in price, more people have gotten to know about these exceptional extracts.

This extraction process differs from steam distillation, which is the most well- known method of extracting essential oils. With CO2 extracts, Carbon Dioxide  is pressurized until it’s a liquid. It is used as the solvent to remove the oil from the plant material.  With this solvent, there is no residue left behind,  and the precious oil is removed using much lower temperatures, so less properties within the oils are sacrificed.

“An easily perceived example of the difference between steam distilled and subcritical CO2 extraction is the comparison of the two types of extract of ginger (zingiber officinalis). Several of the pungent principles of ginger known as shagaols and gingerols only occur in trace amounts in the essential oil, where in the CO2 extract they are the major components…The cool temperatures of subcritical CO2 extraction also allow the collection of very volatile constituents which are lost in steam distillation. One of these constituents, hex-1-enal, gives the smell of freshly squeezed root ginger, and is found in subcritical CO2, but not in the essential oil.” [1]

 

There are some added bonuses to CO2’s.The smell is closer to the actual plant and to me, are crisp, clean scents. Essential oils can vary a great deal in the scent, dependent on things like climate, conditions, and each batch. With a CO2, they still can vary a bit, but they smell like what you expect them to. Turmeric CO2 smells like the spice turmeric. Lavender Fower CO2 smells like a field of lavender. The scent is very distinct and pristine.

Another benefit is they have a greater shelf life. As mentioned in one of Plant Therapy’s blog article,  “August Oil of the Month – Lavender Flower CO2“,  CO2s are longer lasting than essential oils.  Also, in many cases, CO2s require less oil when using topically as they are more powerful. A very little can go a long way. Here is an example; our Chamomile German, which we recommend diluting at a 2-3% dilution for use on the body. Our Chamomile German CO2 only takes the minute amount of 0.1%-0.2%, for topical application. Not all CO2s offer this dramatic a reduction, but many do require less.

CO2’s are an exciting new prospect. They are not to be jumped into head first, but researched and determined whether they are the best and safest choice for your needs. We always want to give our customers choices and options, whether it is regular essential oils, organic oils, KidSafe® oils, or CO2 extracts. We hope you will become acquainted with a CO2 today.

 

Reference;

[1] Bowles, Joy E. The Chemistry of Aromaherapeutic Oils. Allen & Unwin. 2014. Print.

 

August Oil Of The Month – Lavender Flower CO2

When I toured the Lavender farms in Washington recently, I learned that the extraction for Lavender essential oil is generally extracted and steam distilled from the buds because it produces more oil. But this precious oil is extracted from the open flowers using CO2 as the vehicle.

This lovely oil has a pure, beautiful floral scent, more like the actual plant. It has many of the same qualities as the Lavender that you know and love. It is still calming and relaxing as many of you know Lavender to be and it still can help with skin irritations and for facial blends. The difference with CO2s the scent is usually purer, vibrant and closer to the scent of the actual plant. Also, the temperatures in which the plant material is subjected to during the extraction process (using CO2) is much less, and so more of the beneficial properties can be obtained.  In this first batch of our Lavender Flower CO2, there are several components, not found in the essential oil, that Robert Tisserand says “make the CO2 extract much more long-lasting than the essential oil.”  It also picks up more of the respiratory constituents, camphor and 1,8 cineole.

 

Lavender Flower CO2  will be a wonderful addition to our Lavender family;

Lavender Lavandula angustifolia essential oil

Lavender Fine Lavandula angustifolia essential oil

Lavandin Lavandula x intermedia essential oil

Lavender Hydrosol

Lavender Aloe Jelly

Lavender Lotion

Lavender Body Cream

Lavender Set

If you are ready for the Lavender of Lavender oils, then Lavender Flower CO2 is for you. Here is a recipe that you can try.

Multi purpose blend (this can be used on blemishes, bug bites, minor scrapes and sore muscles too!)

3 drops of Lavender Flower CO2 Lavandula angustifolia

2 drops of Chamomile Roman  Chamamelum nobile

2 drops of  Bergamot Citrus bergamia

2 drops of Cedarwood Atlas Cedrus atlantica

10 ml of carrier oil or Aloe Vera Jelly

 

Download Product Template Sheet here.

When Precious Oils Are Priceless

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


In recent blogs, I have shared a few inspiration lists of some of my favorite oils that suit specific approaches and needs.  In My Top Five Workhorse Oils, we discussed what I consider the powerhouses that pretty much cover the bases of the basics. These essential oils are well rounded, readily available, with very few safety concerns.

As part of the series on holistic aromatherapy, I shared My Top Three Oils for Whole Being Balance. These, too, pack a punch by providing support to encourage balance for all three levels of our being — mind, body and spirit. These, again, are generally accessible and provide a lot of bang for the buck.

So, when and why would we want to use the pricier oils?  Though they may have multiple therapeutic uses, some of the precious oils can be powerful in a more singular way.  When we need them for their high therapeutic value in these certain situations, and there is no real substitute, Precious Oils Are Priceless.

Let’s discuss three precious oils that can be powerfully priceless:  Melissa, Neroli, and Rose Otto

Each of these essential oils are often sought for significant support to soothe heightened mental and emotional distress.  While some of their actions overlap, each helps in a different way.  And, each can be priceless in episodes that impact our existence when our mind is fogged, our feelings are intense, our body is flooded with the fight or flight reaction, and our spirits feel frozen.

Please know that aromatherapy is never a replacement for care from your professional health provider.  Aromatherapy, however,  can provide powerful support as part of your overall plan of care. Every person has unique needs and responses to all approaches to care, including aromatherapy. If you are under the care of health provider, please advise them if you wish to include aromatherapy as part of your care plan.  If you experience significant distress,  and aromatherapy does not provide relief in your self-care routine, please be prepared to seek professional support. 

A few things to note:

  • When supporting mental or emotional distress, inhalation is the best approach. Direct inhalation, such as through a personal inhaler, provides fastest and most effective route for settling the nerves and soothing emotions.
  • It is best to create a synergy so the senses do not associate a single scent with distress as a negative event or feeling. You can start with a mini-master blend as indicated in the sample synergies below.
  •  I find it is best to first test with a drop or two on a tissue to see how the synergy makes you feel.  If you feel a negative reaction, the tissue can easily and quickly be removed.
  • If the synergy creates a positive feeling, you can, then, create a personal inhaler for follow up use when needed wherever you are. Simply increase the synergies below to 15 drops.
  •  Each of the essential oils below have assertive scents. You won’t need much to mix into your synergy.
  • Plant Therapy offers each of these precious essential oils in 2.5 ml sizes to help make the price point even more accessible.

 

When Precious Oils are Priceless

 

Melissa Melissa officinalis:  

Melissa can be very calming and settling to the nerves after one experiences a shock to the system or traumatic event. It can help to restore us to our senses.

It also can be emotionally balancing, revitalizing, uplifting and strengthening making it invaluable for nervous tension, anxiousness, bereavement, and feeling down. And, it helps to ease emotional blocks.

Cautions: Not KidSafe® . To avoid the risk of various safety issues, we recommend a maximum dilution of 1% for topical applications.

Relax and Restore

2 drops Fragonia  Taxandria fragrans

2 drops Lime Citrus x aurantifolia

1 drop Melissa Melissa officinalis

 

 

Neroli Citrus x aurantium:  

Neroli can significantly soothe the emotions and calm the nerves for those who experience an alarming sense of anxiousness or panicky fear helping us to find our sense of tranquility.

Neroli is considered very uplifting for serious sadness and helps to ease grief and sorrow.  It is helpful for sudden shock and for agitation. Neroli can also open us to positive energy and help bring us back into balance.

Cautions: None Known.

 

Balance the Senses

2 drops Geranium Bourbon  Pelargonium x asperum

2 drops Neroli Citrus x aurantium

1 drop Orange Sweet Citrus sinensis

 

 

Rose Otto Rosa x damascena: 

Rose Otto is often cited as the primary essential oil to help  ease the spectrum of emotional shocks to the heart, including heartbreak, heartache, grief, sorrow and loss.

Emotionally, rose is considered calming, uplifting, balancing and strengthening.  Rose is also invaluable for supporting the spirit by promoting unconditional love and compassion for self and others.

Cautions:  Not KidSafe® We recommend a maximum dilution of 0.6% for topical applications.

Heart Soothe

2 drops Fragonia Taxandria fragrans

2 drops Rhododendron Rhododendron anthopogon*

1 drop Rose Otto (diluted 10%)  Rosa x damascena**

 

*  Rhododendron was featured as an Oil of the Month by Plant Therapy.  Based upon its popularity, it may stocked for general sale in the future.

** I’ve chosen the pre-diluted version of Rose Otto offered by Plant Therapy both for budget and for managing its powerfully assertive scent. You may also choose to purchase it undiluted, which you can find in the 2.5 ml sizes as well.

 


Sources:

Lawless, Julia. Aromatherapy and the Mind. HarperCollins Publishers. 2014. Kindle Edition.

Keim, Joni, and Ruah Bull. Aromatherapy & Subtle Energy Techniques: Compassionate Healing with Essential Oils. N.p.: CreateSpace, 2015. Print.

Keville, Kathi, and Mindy Green. Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art. Berkeley, CA: Crossing, 2009. Print.

Shutes, Jade. The Dynamics of Blending: A Guide to Blending and a Reference Manual for Essential Oils and Base Materials. Willow Springs, NC: NW College for Herbal and Aromatic Studies, 2011. Print.

A New Respect for Lavender

 

If you were on a game show, and they asked, “Name an essential oil.” I am sure that the host would say, “Survey says, Lavender!” Even if people have never used it, they probably have heard of it, or may even know that it is helpful for calming. It is in so many products, like soaps, body washes, shampoos, lotions, candles, ointments, and much more.

I recently had the opportunity to go to a Lavender festival in Washington state. I really don’t need much of an excuse to go near the ocean, but throw in a Lavender festival, and I had it booked 6 months ago! I apparently wasn’t the only one with the idea, for as we drew nearer, it took 2 hours to drive 16 miles. When I saw the first farm and Lavender field, I knew it was all worth it. The beautiful, straight, colorful rows were so overwhelmingly striking. My husband, being the great sport that he is, let me take it all in and patiently waited and listened to me go on and on. I walked through the romantic, perfumed, variegated fields of many varieties and colors and gained a greater appreciation for Lavender. I always valued this versatile essential oil, which was originally used in medieval times to ward off plague and disease (it’s a natural deterrent and kept the fleas at bay), but now I understood. I understood why it’s earned its place in the hearts of essential oil lovers.

Lavender is actually in the same family as mint. There are dozens of varieties of Lavender and it was a surprise to see the assorted colors. Pinks, Whites, Blues and many shades of the well-known Purple. There is even yellow Lavender. The flower heads varied a bit in appearance from variety to variety. The sterile hybrid of Lavender, called Lavandin Lavendula x intermedia is actually what is used for the “Lavender” scent in many products. Lavandin is a cross between true Lavender Lavendula angustifolia and Spike Lavender (Lavendula latifolia).  Lavender Essential Oil has more Esters, which is balancing and calming, and helpful with swelling.  Spike Lavender has more Oxides and also alcohol, which help with congestion, respiratory issues and for fighting seasonal threats. So Lavandin, has the qualities of both. We also have Lavender Fine, which is also Lavendula angustifolia, but a different variety grown in France and has a lovely softer scent.

The size of the plant also varied, from small compact shrubs to large, tall bushes. We toured about 6 farms, and each field was striking and almost as calming to view as the essential oil is itself. At B & B Farms in Sequim, WA, we were told that the biggest problem with growing Lavender, is over-watering and poor drainage.  He mentioned that the essential oil was extracted mostly from the unopened flowers, as this produced the most oil. He talked about that it took about a tote full of tightly compacted Lavender to produce just several ounces of essential oil. We saw as they sickled by hand the bunches of Lavender to be used for drying and how they bundled them and hung them in the barns to dry.

As we smelled that sweet, flowery scent wafting from farm to farm and I couldn’t help but think of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, lying down in the fields of flowers (albeit not Lavender) and going to sleep. I thought of its calming properties, how I have used it to help with muscle or joint pain. That it’s the first thing that I grab for a minor burn or bee sting. How it is good in cleaning products, body products and for skin issues.  It was a wonderful experience for a fan and student of essential oils. I’m grateful that I could go and that I could share it with our customers and Facebook members of our Safe Essential Oil Recipe group. Sometimes it’s easy to overlook old standbys when there are so many new, exciting essential oils coming out.   I feel that Lavender was put here to help us and benefit us and we would do well to learn more about it. I am including a couple of recipes that I hope you will like.

 

Oil Treatment for Hair

2 drops of Lavender or Lavender Fine

1 drop of Rosemary

1 drop of Cedarwood Virginian

1 ounce of Argan Carrier Oil

Mix well and apply to hair and leave on for 30-60 minutes and then wash out. This can be used on hair once a week.

 

Muscle and Mind Relaxing Massage Blend

8 drops of Lavender

6 drops of Copaiba

4 drops of Marjoram Sweet

4 drop of Bergamot

2 drops of Chamomile Roman

2 ounce of carrier oil ( I like our Marvelous Massage Carrier Oil Blend)

Blend well and store in a glass or PET plastic bottle.