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Essential Oils Blog

Recipes Archives

Castile Soap DIY’s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients: Saponified Organic Cocos Nucifera (Coconut Oil), Saponified Organic Otea Europaea (Olive Oil), Saponified Organic Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba Oil), Rosemary Extract, Organic Aloe Vera.

 

Now that Plant Therapy has added Castile Soap to our line of products, I went in search of different ways to use it. To my surprise, there are hundreds of uses for it! While I am testing out and tweaking these recipes I thought I would share a few of my favorites.

 

Foaming Hand Soap

Here’s what you ‘ll need:

Here’s what you’ll do:

  1. Add the water to the foaming pump dispenser
  2. Add Castile Soap
  3. Add  Optiphen +
  4. Add essential oil
  5. Replace cap, shake well

 

Multi-Purpose Spray

What you’ll need:

  • 5 ounces water
  • 3 ounces white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Castile Soap
  • 1/2 teaspoon Polysorbate 20
  • 25-30 drops essential oil (I use Germ Destroyer or Germ Fighter in most batches )
  • Spray Bottle

What you’ll do:

  1.  Add all ingredients to the spray bottle and shake well.
  2. Spray and wipe.

 

Body Wash

What you’ll need;

What you’ll do;

  1. Measure all ingredients.
  2. Pour into bottle.
  3. Shake well.
  4. Store in your bathroom and use as you would a traditional body wash.

 

Fruit and Veggie Wash

What you’ll need:

A bowl of cool water (approximately 2 quarts)

5-6 drops Castile Soap

2 drops Lemon Essential Oil

Mix together and that’s it! There is no need to rinse your fruit and veggies, they are ready to go. If you are not using them right away, just drain and store in the fridge.

 

KidSafe Shampoo

What you’ll Need:

4 ounces Castile Soap

1 tablespoon Carrier Oil of choice

4 oz plastic bottle

18 drops of KidSafe Synergy or KidSafe Single Essential Oil of choice.  (Lavender, Tea Tree or Get “Em Gone are great options).

What you’ll do;

  1. Measure ingredients.
  2. Pour into bottle.
  3. Shake well.
  4. Store in your bathroom and use as you would a traditional body wash.

 

Bubbling Bath Salts

What you’ll need:

What you’ll do:

  1. Measure Epsom salt, pour into medium bowl and set aside
  2. Measure 1 TBSP coconut oil, into small dish or beaker, set aside
  3. Measure 2 mL essential oil with graduated cylinder {or drop 40-45 drops}. Pour into coconut oil
  4. Measure body wash
  5. Add carrier/essential oils mixture to the body wash, stirring well. Mixture will turn opaque and thicken slightly as you stir
  6. Add carrier/essential oil/body wash mixture to Epsom salt
  7. Stir well
  8. Package in a container of your choice, but do be sure it’s airtight!

To use, run about 1/4 cup under your warm water as you fill the tub. This is the perfect way to send yourself or your little one, or yourself, off to bed all calm and snuggly!

 

Plant Therapy’s Castile Soap is unscented making it safe for kids and adults alike to use for effective and safe cleaning. This soap is perfect for hand, body, and face washing, as well as for dishes, mopping, and other household chores. This green, nontoxic soap base is perfect because of its many, many uses. We will be sharing more of these many uses with you soon!

 

How do you like to use Castile Soap?

 

 

My Top Three Oils for Whole Being Balance

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


Recently, we discussed the practice of holistic care in “What Does Holistic Have to Do with Our Health.” Essentially, we are caring for mind, body and spirit to bring balance to our whole being for a greater state of wellbeing.

You may recall from “Food for Thought, that our mind, body and spirit are interconnected. Depending on our state of mind, our body and spirit are impacted in chemical messages from the brain created by stress. This distress of the mind, especially over the long-term, can lead to dis-ease due to our body’s inability to compensate and re-balance.

Aromatherapy, in particular, the practice of holistic aromatherapy, is the perfect partner for helping to support harmony on all three levels of our existence. When we can find balance within ourselves and our environment,  we can experience a greater sense of optimal wellbeing.

Each essential oil and extract has its own therapeutic profile and value, often with multiple core applications.

And, often, we blend synergies from a selection of essential oils to create the holistic profile we are seeking as we did to accompany self-balancing activities outlined in Balancing Our Whole Being.”

There are, however, some essential oils and extracts that are just excellent at equally supporting and entire being.

I find myself reaching over and again for three in particular when I want well-rounded and robust support to bring my being back into balance.

The three I love the most for holistic use are: Bergamot, Fragonia and Blue Yarrow. Oh my goodness, do I love the gifts of these oils.

On their own, they are wonderful to bring equilibrium to mind, body and spirit. Mixed in other synergies, they enhance the holistic value. In my opinion, blended together, they create something extraordinary.

Below, you will find why I consider these my top three essences as my very favorites for holistic support on all three levels — mind, body and spirit.

In addition, I have included one of my very favorite blends with the added benefit of a soothing bath. I find this one of the best ways to find balance from within for my whole being.

As always, I  encourage you to consider options that match your own unique needs.

 

Bergamot Citrus bergamia  (bergapten free)

Bergamot is a favorite for its array of uses and its sunny scent. Bergamot is an incredibly uplifting, calming and balancing essential oil.

It is especially helpful when you feel off balance due to nervous tension and when you need to invite in more positive thinking and energy.

Mind:  Balancing to emotions. Uplifting and calming.  Promotes positive thinking while helping to release negative emotions.

Body: Supports the body in returning to a state of relaxation. Soothes the nervous system and smooths nervous tension held in the tissues.

Spirit: Helps to harmonize the spirit, especially when affected by strong, negative emotions. Supports the ability to receive positive energy and helps our natural energy to flow smoothly.

 

 

Fragonia Taxandria fragrans

Fragonia is highly valued for its uniquely balanced composition. It, too, has a wide array of core therapeutic uses and has a soft, refreshing scent.

It is especially helpful for letting go of old emotional thought patterns and negative energy blocks that are impacting your balance and wellbeing.

Mind:  Helps to release old emotional patterns. Calming and uplifting, it helps to reduce worry and nervous tension.

Body:  Balancing to the nervous system. Relaxing and relieving to nervous tension creating discomfort in the body.

Spirit:  Helps to release deep-seated blocks in the energy flow caused by old wounds. Strengthening to the spirit.

 

 

Blue Yarrow – Achillea millefolium

Blue yarrow has been prized throughout time for its ability to support wounds on all levels. Though it provides powerful support, it is gentle in nature.

Its “blue” constituents are especially helpful to bring a cooling sense of balance to  heated conditions of mind, body and spirit.

Mind:  Supports emotional equilibrium. Helps to calm worry and nervous tension.

Body: Calming to the nervous system. Relaxing and relieving for nervous tension held in the tissues.

Spirit:  Powerful support in releasing blocks created by repressed strong, negative emotions. Helps to support a smooth natural energy flow. Balanced between opposing energies, it helps to equalize these energies in our own being.

 

Balancing Bath Blend

2 drops Bergamot  Citrus bergamia

2 drops Fragonia Taxandria fragrans

1 drop Blue Yarrow Achillea millefolium

Mix with 2 T natural, unscented body wash

Add 1/2 c of Epsom Salts and mix.

Add to your warm bath and soak for 20 minutes.

Bringing the best of the abilities from my top three oils for whole being balance. This is an especially wonderful immersion experience before bedtime. 

 


Sources:

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

Lawless, Julia. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Aromatic Oils in Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Health & Well-being. New York: Fall River, 2014. Print.

Mojay, Gabriel. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: A Guide to Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance through Essential Oils. London: Gaia, 2005. Print.

Shutes, Jade. The Dynamics of Blending: A Guide to Blending . Willow Springs, NC: NW College for Herbal and Aromatic Studies, 2011. Print.

Zeck, Robbi. The Blossoming Heart: Aromatherapy for Healing and Transformation. East Ivanhoe, Victoria: Aroma Tours, 2004. Print.

DIY Perfume

 

Essential Oils are used for practical purposes, but from time to time it is nice to be able to use them to make us feel good and smell good. Below are 3 recipes that Plant Therapy’s Certified Aromatherapists really enjoy. And for those of you who took advantage of Plant Therapy’s Day 5  Sale and received the perfume bottle as a free gift, you will love adding these to your recipe file.

 

Woodland Blooms

3 drops Mandarin Citrus reticulata

2 drops Cedarwood Himalayan Cedrus deodara

1 drop Jasmine Absolute Jasminum sambac

6 drops Polysorbate 20

Blend with 10 ml (1/3 oz) of witch hazel or alcohol such as vodka or rum.

 

Peaceful Spring

2 drops Sandalwood Australian Santalum spicatum

2 drops Neroli Citrus x aurantium

2 drops Bergamot Citrus bergamia

6 drops Polysorbate 20

Blend with 10 ml (1/3 oz) of witch hazel or alcohol such as vodka or rum.

 

Vanilla Orange Blossoms

3 drops Orange Blood Citrus sinensis

2 drops Vanilla Oleoresin Vanilla planifolia

1 drop Ylang Ylang Complete Cananga odorata

6 drops Polysorbate 20

Blend with 10 ml (1/3 oz) of witch hazel or alcohol such as vodka or rum.

 

Reflections of a Summer Lover

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


Oh happy days are here!

I am a child of summer.  And, my inner child remains happiest in the season of the sun. This I have learned about myself.

Summer is when my spirit feels most buoyant and unbound. Joy is easier to access as it readily bubbles to the surface.

If winter is the hibernal season, and spring is of renewal, for me summer is a  season of sustenance.

Our mind, body and spirits are nourished by the abundance of sunshine and daylight, the refreshing array fresh fruit and vegetables, the heady scent of summer blooms, and the frequency of the dazzling dragonflies. For many, these beautiful, blessed dragonflies — whose magical beauty shimmers under the summer sun —  represent and remind us of the ability to reflect light for the greater good.

I arrived in this world as a native to perpetually sunny Southern California. Though I was born in December, it was as summer-like, bright, 85-degree-day.

Reflecting back, I realize my spirit has always sought the sun  ever since  to find and create summer for my soul wherever I happen to be.

As a child in Southern California there was joyful abandon playing outdoors and walking barefoot in the grass, especially with the heady scent of the orange groves at the end of our street.

Later, I lived by the beach there and spent every summer day of my teen-age years barefoot in the sand and jumping through the waves.

To this day, I prefer my feet unbound to feel more grounded. If I am not barefoot, then flip flops are the footwear of choice. From my perspective, you cannot have too many pairs.

In my early adulthood, I moved to the Midwest for work. That’s when I quickly realized I needed sunlight and warmth to feel vital and nourished. What I had taken for granted, now needed to be recreated. If it was going to take awhile for summer to come to me where I was, then I needed to go in search of  summer.

Winters breaks became tropical getaways to the Caribbean where the season of the sun was only a flight away.  Immediately upon arrival, my whole being was transported by the soft air, shimmering waters, and the sun in the sky. Not only did my body thaw, but any tension I carried immediately melted away.  Breathing in the sea breeze allowed me to clear the clutter in my head, returning back to real life with a sense of renewed clarity.

Later, I moved to New England with shorter winters, but also shorter summers. This meant ensuring that I savored every drop of summer while it was in season. I joined the tradition of spending idyllic long weekends on Cape Cod. Crossing that bridge from the mainland marked the point where I was able to let go of the go-go-go and relax into loafing.

Now, I live on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Another west coast for sunsets on the sea and walks on the beach framed by turquoise water and white sugar sand.  And, though actual summer  is a swelter, but most of the rest of the year we live in season as if it  is part of our daily life.  My challenge here is taking the time from daily life to enjoy living in paradise.

No matter where you live, and what your experience, you can always create your own summer for the spirit. Aromatherapy offers a natural opportunity to help create that buoyant and relaxed state of mind.   Even when you can’t break away to chase the sun, a sniff of the synergies evoking the sense of summer can transport you instantly to to a mini-break in your own mind’s eye.

For me, the sensory experiences of the summer season call for a switch to scents that are fresher and cooling  such as citrus and mints.

To help you get started, or to inspire you to create your own experiences, I offer below some summer loving synergies curated from my own collection to evoke favorite seasonal memories.

These were created for inhalation purposes to most readily connect with the mind and spirit. I prefer to make these in a personal inhaler to have with me when needed. You may also choose to use your diffuser, with the exception of the Beach Rose synergy because the rose otto 10% is diluted in vegetable oil, which can damage the unit.

 

I wish you an abundance of sun in your spirit!

 

Inner Child

This uplifting and cheerful blend helps restore my joy of the simple life on a sunny day during my childhood in Southern California.

2 drops Grapefruit Pink, Citrus x paradisi

2 drops Mandarin, Citrus reticulata

1 drop Spearmint, Mentha spicata

 

Mental Mojito

This refreshing and revitalizing scent helps when I need that sense of clear -headed clarity created after a Caribbean Vacation. 

3 drops Lime, Citrus x aurantifolia

2 drops Peppermint,  Mentha x piperita

 

Beach Rose  

This soothing scent is evocative of the slow days, sand dunes, and snow cones of Cape Cod where I crossed the bridge into a state of contentment and relaxation.

2 drops Rose Otto (Diluted at 10%)  Rosa damascena 

2 drops Sandalwood Australian, Santalum spicatum

1 drop BergamotCitrus bergamia

 

Sangria Siesta 

(for Inhalation)

This deeply relaxing and uplifting synergy is reflective of the lazy days of a Florida summer calling for loafing on the lanai for rest and reflection.

2 drops Davana, Artemisia pallens

1 drop Lemon, Citrus x limon

1 drop Lime, Citrus x aurantifolia

1 drop Orange SweetCitrus sinensis

Immortelle Skin

 

Personally, I LOVE the smell of fresh coffee in the morning, so using this scrub in the shower before work gives me that extra boost I need to get up and going.  Plus, it smells delicious….and tastes good too! (Only because I accidentally got it in my mouth, but I DO NOT recommend eating my facial scrub!)

Growing up, I was blessed with blemish prone, oily skin and to this day I still struggle with occasional breakouts of pimples, blackheads, or clogged pores. I always thought that at the young age of 27 (okay, okay ….. 31) I would be over the pre-pubescent era and free of its evil clutches, but sadly many of us still suffer with some form of blemish our entire lives.

So, the challenge began. I needed to find something that would both clean and moisturize my skin without irritating it or drying it up. I tried countless over-the counter products, but they would either be too drying – which would cause my face to over-produce oil, in turn causing more breakouts (defeating the purpose), or too oily which would give me that too “shiny” look in pictures.

As I began working more with essential oils and carrier oils, I learned about the benefits of use and which ones are most effective in a given situation. Also, early in the testing stages, I found salt scrubs to be too abrasive for the sensitive skin on my face; which is why I decided to try a sugar scrub instead.

Initially, when I tried this scrub for the first time, my first thought (while I was rinsing it off) was, “Wow – this is wayyyyy too greasy!” But, after you towel dry and wipe off any excess oil, you will love the way your skin feels. Now that I have used it 3 times this first week, I cannot believe what it has done for my face. My pores feel tighter, my skin feels smoother, more hydrated, and for some reason, my everyday makeup just looks better.

Now before I give you the recipe, let me list some of the benefits of the ingredients I chose to use in this recipe:

Sugar – Sugar helps remove the outermost layer of dead skin and leaves your skin soft and smooth without causing pain or being too overly aggressive on the skin.

Coffee Grounds – The caffeine in coffee helps increase circulation, exfoliates, softens, and smooths skin.

Virgin Coconut Oil – This is the most versatile oil for the body and is extremely hydrating to skin.

Organic Moroccan Argan Oil – Argan is incredibly conditioning and known for its skin rejuvenating properties, rich in Vitamin E, and smooths fine lines and improves skin elasticity. Perfect for those prone to breakouts or those who have sensitive skin.

Near Perfection – This Carrier Oil Blend helps minimize the appearance of imperfections, is skin balancing, softens and conditions irritated skin, and contains Tamanu Oil, which extends to a wide range of natural treatments for blemishes and general oily skin.

Helichrysum Italicum – Also known as Immortelle, alleviates the appearance of bruising, rejuvenates the look of healthy skin, and helps reduce the appearance of fine lines, scars, and stretch marks.

Carrot Seed – Nourishes, rejuvenates, assists with healing,  and softening and smoothing to the skin.

Geranium Egyptian – Well known for the ability to help tone skin and revitalize complexion, and is very skin balancing.

Rose Absolute – Cooling, soothing, perfect for dry skin, helps minimize the appearance of scarring,  calming, and smooths skin.

Elemi – Rejuvenating, helps reduce the appearance of fine lines, skin supporting, and restores healthy younger-looking skin.

Organic Rose Hydrosol – Aids with blemishes, reduces redness, aids in removing dirt and oil in pores, and is safe for spraying directly on the skin. Hydrosols are also safe for children and pets alike.

Ingredients:

1 Cup Organic Brown Sugar

1/4 Cup Granulated White Sugar

2 Tbsp (Used) Coffee Grounds

1/4 Cup Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

1/4 Cup Organic Argan Oil

2 Tablespoons Near Perfection (Blend of Almond Oil, Jojoba Oil, Avocado Oil, Tamanu Oil, and Vitamin E)

Rose Hydrosol in a spray bottle

 

 

Essential Oils:

Helichrysum Italicum – 6 Drops

Carrot Seed – 6 Drops

Geranium Egyptian – 6 Drops

Rose Absolute – 3 Drops

Elemi – 12 Drops

Directions:

  1. Combine both sugars in a large bowl and mix together.
  2. Add all carrier oils to the dry sugar blend.
  3. Add all essential oils and mix thoroughly.
  4. Use no more than 3 times the first week – then use once a week to maintain a healthy glow.
  5. Use the Rose Hydrosol nightly as a facial toner.

For the Facial Scrub and Toning System I created, I recommend washing your face first, then using the scrub 1-3 times a week depending the needs of your skin.

Begin by gently wetting your face, then take about a quarter sized amount in your hands and gently massage your face with it for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Rinse well and towel dry. Next, spray the Rose Hydrosol directly on your face (as a nightly toner) immediately following the scrub. You will feel a difference almost immediately; first with how smooth and hydrated your face feels, and then with how tight your pores start to look and feel. I promise you, this is a scrub you won’t want to live without!

For this recipe, I intentionally wanted to keep my essential oil dilution rate below a 1% since it will be used on the face and used frequently.

What are your morning routines that help put a “spring in your step”?

Balancing Our Whole Being

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


In our last blog, “What Does Holistic Have to Do With Our Health” from the Essential Education series, we discussed the meaning and impact of of holistic health practices on our whole being. Essentially, we are caring for our whole person – bringing balance to mind, body, and spirit – for a restorative sense wellbeing.

We also discussed a specific self-care practice combining massage, hydrotherapy (through bath or shower) and aromatherapy to create a synergy for our senses. This allowed us to support our whole health at home in the tradition of Hippocrates, the Father of Western medicine, made modern by aromatherapy pioneer, Marguerite Maury.

Holistic health practitioners continue to incorporate another teaching of  Hippocrates:

 

Everyone has a doctor in him or her; we just have to help it in its work. The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.”

To sustain optimal well being our mind, body and spirit consistently strive for balance. In Eastern Medicine and Energy Medicine, we think of balance in our natural energy flow. In Western Medicine, we think of this as homeostasis. This is the natural healing force within each of us.

Chronic disruption to our equilibrium can challenge our whole being beyond its ability to compensate and rebalance. This impacts our capacity to heal and can lead to dis-ease.

 

In addition, to the “aromatic bath and scented massage” as discussed in “What Does Holistic Have to Do With Our Health,” we have available to us many other self-balancing techniques from both ancient and modern traditions to incorporate into our self-care routines.

Because many of us experience nervous tension and worry that takes us out of balance, I’ve offered three options to help restore our mind, body and spirit in this situation.  I encourage you to  explore and experience what works best for you. Know you can begin with the mind, body or spirit after determining which area is of most concern, but each option can help to restore balance to our whole being.

All are designed as options for when we are on the go. We may not always have the time to be in a quiet space, but we can always create our own inner quiet space regardless of where we happen to be.

As always, aromatherapy can play a significant supporting role by creating a synergy with our other self-care practices. As we discussed previously, the intention of holistic aromatherapy is to help bring balance to mind, body and spirit to encourage our own natural healing process. With this in mind, we are going integrate aromatherapy with the practices below for a more expansive experience.

 

CALMING THE MIND

Experiencing meditation, along with aromatherapy, can help quiet our busy, repetitive, or anxious thoughts allowing us to balance the physical and subtle bodies. This also allows us to be in the present moment, go inward for introspection and hit the reset button.

Quiet Mind

This helps to quiet busy thoughts and expand our ability to go inward.

6 drops Basil Linolool (Ocimum basilicum)

6 drops Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)

3 drops Sandalwood (Santalum album)

Add to a personal aroma inhaler

 

Aromatic Meditation in Seven Simple Steps:

(Adapted from Yoga Journal June 2014) [1]

  1. Choose an aromatherapy blend and inhale deeply in each nostril. (see above)
  2. Find a quiet place to sit comfortably
  3. Gently close your eyes.
  4. Notice your breath, without trying to control it.
  5. Breathe gently through your nose and bring your focus to each inhalation and exhalation.
  6. Count each breath
  7. When you find thoughts coming to the surface, simply notice them like clouds floating by (without judgment) and return your attention to counting your breath.

 

 

RELAXING THE BODY

Manual tension release provides support for the physical body to relax and rebalance. This aromatic head massage, adapted from the ayurvedic experience, can relieve tight discomfort in the head and neck to create a cascade effect throughout the body helping to ease your mind, body and spirit back into a state of relaxation.

Heads Up

This is also helpful if you experience excruciating head and neck tension that can side-line you feeling unwell.

4 drops Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)

3 drops Marjoram, Sweet (Origanum majorana)

2 drops Basil Linalool (Ocimum basilicum)

2 drops Helichrysum Italicum (Helichrysum italicum)

2 drops Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

2 drops Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis ct 1,8-Cineole)

Add to a 10 ml roller bottle and top with jojoba oil. Note, this is a 5% blend meant for spot treatment and short-term use.

 

Aromatic Ayurvedic Head Massage

(Adapted from Massage Bodywork Magazine Sept/Oct. 2008) [2]

  1. Apply your aromatherapy blend (see above) to your temples. Gently massage with your fingertips in circular pattern. Continue for at least one minute.
  2.  Next,  you may wish to apply a small amount of the aromatherapy blend to your fingertips.  Gently “shampoo” your entire scalp in small circles with your fingertips. Begin at the temples and move toward the back of the head. Continue for at least one-minute.
  3. Finish by gently “combing” the scalp with your fingertips. Begin with fingertips above the forehead, at the hairline, and comb over the top of the head and toward the neck and shoulders. Repeat up to 10 times

 

 

SOOTHING THE SPIRIT

Reflexology is the practice of bringing various aspects of the body back into balance by working through corresponding reflex points on the foot. These steps are intended bring our energy back downward from our head toward our feet soothing nervous tension felt in our physical and emotional bodies and regrounding us into a present calming state.

 

Balance Points

In practicing yoga, you become aware of centering your weight on the four corners of your feet so that your posture is in balance and you feel firmly balanced. This blend creates that sense of feeling squarely centered and grounded. 

2 drops Fragonia (Agonis fragrans)

2 drops Sandalwood (Santalum album)

1 drop Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)

1 drop Ginger CO2 (Zingiber officinalis)

Add to 1 oz unscented lotion.

 

Soothing Scented Reflexology Release

  • Apply only the smallest amount of lotion to cover the first foot, without being slippery.
  • Warm up the foot with gentle massage of the sole and top surface using gliding stroke with your fingertips and thumb.
  • Next, you are going to work with the Solar Plexus Point, known as the “panic button.”
  • The Solar Plexus Point is located just under the balls of your feet, in the very center of the two. Often you will feel tension when it is pressed.
  • Practice deep breathing by gently and slowly inhaling into the lungs and exhaling completely.
  • Gently press your thumb into this point and and circle in a clockwise direction until you feel a release of tension.
  • You may finish using both thumbs in a “diaphragm spread” by simultaneously pulling each thumb under the balls of the foot, from the center outward toward the edges.
  • Repeat other foot.

 


Sources:

[1] Quinn, Corina. “Reset Your Health.” Yoga Journal June 2014: 22. Print.

[2] Weber, Kristine Kaoverii., and Neil Sutherland. Healing Self-massage: Over 100 Simple Techniques for Re-energizing Body and Mind. London: Collins & Brown, 2005. Print. cited by  Smith, Laurie Chance. “Soothe Stress With Self-Massage || Massage Therapy Articles.”Massage Therapy: Everybody Deserves a Massage. Associated Massage and Bodywork Professionals, Sept. 2008. Web. 23 May 2017.

DIY Deodorant

By: Kimberly Daun, Certified Aromatherapist

 

I was recently talking to a friend of mine about traditional deodorants.  Our conversation was eye opening as she enlightened me to just how harmful they can be.  Upon conducting research, I found there to be aluminum in virtually all store bought brands.  Not being entirely sure what that would do to my body, I decided to find out for myself.  Some of the most alarming side effects are that it clogs your pores and therefore minimizes your ability to sweat.  My initial response to that information was, well, isn’t that what deodorant is supposed to do?  However, our bodies were made to sweat, as it in an effective and healthy way of eliminating toxins.  I think we already have enough hygiene products that we don’t feel entirely comfortable using, or even some where we avoid the ingredients label all together.  I set out to find a homemade deodorant recipe that I felt was safe and would help me maintain my hygienic sanity as two of my boys approach their teen years.  As an added bonus, it’s only 1/3 of the cost of traditional deodorants. After some trial and error, the best one I have found is the following coconut oil deodorant recipe.

 

Baking Soda: I use this often to neutralize odors around the house.  It helps balance your’ body’s PH levels keeping you smelling nice. You know your skin the best, if you feel like this ingredient is a bit abrasive for you then replacing it with arrowroot powder will give you the same results. If replacing it entirely doesn’t resonate with your skin type either you can use both baking soda and arrowroot powder and find a good balance of both. Luckily with this recipe you can fine tune it to you or your family’s needs.

Arrow Root: Absorbs excess moisture and the contains calcium chloride to help balance your PH levels.

Corn Starch: Rather than blocking your pores, like store bought deodorant, it helps to absorb excess moisture.  It can help soothe skin irritation, relieve issues caused by warm/damp environments, and keep your underarms nice and dry.

Virgin Coconut Oil: This is another ingredient that helps keep your body balanced and eliminate skin conditions that can potentially cause an unpleasant odor.  The high content of Lauric Acid found in coconut oil offers a nice support to your immune system.

Bentonite Clay: This is my favorite ingredient because it actually HELPS your body by drawing out toxins, keeping your lymph nodes clear.  Your lymph nodes are a part of your body largely responsible for fighting infection, illness, and eliminating things the body doesn’t need or may be harmful.  Keeping your lymph nodes clear is necessary for a fully functioning immune system. How cool to add an extra boost to your health by using your deodorant, and it doesn’t stain!

Tea Tree:Essential Oil: Warm and damp places are an ideal place for fungus and other germs, aka our underarms on any given day. Luckily, Tea Tree Essential Oil is a great remedy for the unwanted substances and whatever odor could accompany them. Tea Tree has a high content of Terpinen-4-ol which is what makes unpleasant odor lose the battle. If you struggle with skin sensitivity or razor burn Tea Tree can also help with bumps, break outs, and general skin irritation. Because of its immune boosting constituents it has health benefits that extend far beyond your underarms. Not only do I LOVE the aroma of Tea Tree but it was also the first essential oil I was introduced to so it has a special place for me. Because, of the previous factors Tea Tree was the best options for me, however if you want a bit more soft and synergistic aroma, Lavender is a really fabulous addition.  Not only does it help with odors but it also has a very calming effect on the mind and body.

Beeswax I used this to ensure the deodorant would stay solid at room temperature.  We throw these in our gym bags and I would hate to open it up to a melted mess when I need deodorant the most!  Not to mention the benefits of vitamin A for your skin and immune system.

 

What you’ll need

 

What you’ll do

  1. Over a double boiler melt beeswax and coconut oil.
  2. Remove from heat.
  3. Whisk in dry ingredients and essential oils.
  4. Pour into Twist Tube.
  5. Let sit until hard.

 

I specifically wanted to stay with a 1% dilution for my essential oils since we’ll be using this often.  This will help minimize the risks associated with sensitization.  This is my FAVORITE natural deodorant recipe, and has given me the option of never going back to expensive and unsafe store bought deodorant.  Using this natural deodorant helps me to smell nice and boost my immune system.

 

 

What are your favorite essential oils to combat unpleasant odors?

 

 

What Does Holistic Have to Do With Our Health?

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


Those of us attracted to natural health and healing often hear, and use, the word holistic, as in “holistic health” and “holistic aromatherapy.” But, do we really understand the true essence of its meaning?

What exactly does holistic mean? And, what does it really have to do with our health?

Does it mean:

Natural health?

Alternative health?

Eastern medicine?

Something else?

So, let’s discuss. I believe it is important we understand its historical and present significance so that we may make informed choices about how to use and practice holistic health within its intended context.

The word holistic is derived from the Greek “holos,” which means “whole, entire, or complete.”[1] When we look at something holistically, we are viewing the “whole” entity made up of interconnected and interdependent parts, rather than focusing parts themselves as independent elements.[2]

Distilled down to its fundamental level, holistic health and healing very simply means we are looking at our “whole person,” or “whole being.”

So what does that mean?

In holistic, or “whole person” health, we see our whole being made up of mind, body and spirit. And, these interconnected elements of our existence must be in balance within ourselves, and with our environment, for us to experience optimal wellbeing.

Eastern traditions of healing have been approached care of the whole person for more than 3,000 years. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), originating in China, and Ayurveda from India, both stress the mind, body and spirit connection, as well as the need for balance in our natural energy flow for optimal health.

Ayurvedic medicine utilizes diet, yoga, meditation, breathing exercises and massage as means to support balance.[3] In TCM, acupuncture, diet, herbal remedies, and gentle movement such as Tai Chi are used to restore a state of harmony.[4]

 

What is considered the advent of modern western medicine also began as a holistic approach more than 2,500 years ago. Hippocrates, acknowledged as the Father of Western (or Modern) Medicine, is credited with taking medicine out of the supernatural and into the natural world among western health practitioners. Rather than a punishment from the deities, he believed that disease was a result of imbalances within our mind, body and spirit, as well as environmental factors.

Hippocrates also believed the body contains its own natural self-healing mechanism that seeks and requires balance for good health. Thus, he saw the role of the health practitioner was to help bring the whole person back into balance, as well as looking at sources that may be the cause of imbalance.[5] In treating the individual rather than the disease, Hippocrates employed natural healing therapies such diet, hydrotherapy, movement and massage.[6]

By the 17th century, the belief that mind, body and spirit existed as one interconnected aspect of our being fell out of favor. Due to religious doctrines of the time, this concept created interference in the advancement of medicine. Rene Descartes, credited, as the Father of Modern Philosophy, argued the mind and body were separate entities.

This revised view of the body as a biological collection of mechanical parts allowed for the study of anatomy and physiology paving the way for many medical advances we benefit from today. Today, this biomedical approach is still the primary practice, more than 300 years later, where health is defined as the absence of disease with a focus on how to eliminate biological factors that cause disease. But, it is also argued this view has created limitations in in our understanding and advancement of healing the person as a whole.[7]

Any practice that did not fit within the parameters of the biomedical approach became mistrusted and marginalized. Once outside the mainstream, holistic medicine became synonymous with alternative medicine. Worse, alternative medicine became the recipient of an even greater negative connotation due to those who preyed upon the desperately ill from the shadows by promising false cures that stemmed from neither modern medicine nor ancient traditions.

In 1998, Congress founded the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) to test the efficacy and safety of treatments available to patients who were pursuing them outside of mainstream medicine.[8]

As research showed many modalities, such as massage and acupuncture, to be safe, soothing and not interfering with conventional treatments, they began to find acceptance under the now coined “complementary” health status. This implied a treatment considered “in addition to” conventional medicine vs. the alternative “instead of.”

With continued study validating the efficacy of these natural approaches, the newly renamed Center for Complementary and Integrative Health in 2015 renewed efforts to encourage increased research into holistic modalities and new study methodologies to suit their nature.  [9]

While scientific exploration continues to verify, explain and reveal new information about efficacy and safety, it may take time to unlock the many mysteries of the natural healing arts. In the meantime, many argue the documented use and effectiveness handed down through the ages creates a valuable body of historical evidence based upon trial and error and replicated empirical demonstration.

When it comes to holistic health, we seem to have come full circle from Hippocrates to Harvard. Whole-person healing is enjoying a resurgence of research across our major academic medical centers under the headings such as mind/body medicine, systems biology and functional medicine. And, many top teaching hospitals offer natural healing modalities as part of their clinical practice for their patients. Holistic healing combined with conventional medicine is referred to as integrative health or medicine creating a sense of working together in synergy.

In the meantime, holistic health practices continue to thrive on their own, offering either Eastern and Western approaches. Whole-person approaches such as acupuncture, massage, yoga and aromatherapy have become mainstream for the masses as people experience the benefits of balancing their beings.

One modern, yet historically familiar, definition of a holistic health practitioner is as follows:

Holistic health practitioners believe that the whole person is made up of interdependent parts, and if one part is not working properly, all the other parts will be affected. In this way, if people have imbalances (physical, emotional, or spiritual) in their lives, it can negatively affect their overall health.”

With this in mind, practitioners may call upon both conventional and natural methods of healing from both the Eastern and Western traditions, not only to treat symptoms, but most importantly to look at source issues that may be leading to health concerns.[10]

 

Where does aromatherapy fit in?

Aromatherapy is the perfect partner in caring for your whole person. Approached in a holistic way, these aromatic essences can impact the wellbeing of our whole being – mind, body and spirit – putting nature in our hands to use as support for coming back into a healing state of balance.

In “The Wonderful Wide World of Aromatherapy,” we discuss dynamic and diverse ways  in which aromatherapy is practiced. The modern approach to holistic aromatherapy was introduced in 1961 by Marguerite Maury. Drawing upon the practices of both Eastern and Western holistic health, Maury sought to integrate aromatherapy in a way that would impact the psyche, physiological and psychological needs of each unique individual.[11]

Today, the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy defines the practice as:

The art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit.  It seeks to unify physiological, psychological and spiritual processes to enhance an individual’s innate healing process.”

Maury’s use of aromatherapy to enhance our whole being through aromatic massage echoes the often-quoted dictate of Hippocrates.

The way to health is to have an aromatic bath and a scented massage every day.”

It is with this holistic health advice in mind, from historical to modern perspective, that we can recreate our own whole-person restorative experience. We will combine aromatherapy with hydrotherapy and massage in a self-care routine as outlined below.

No worries if you don’t enjoy the bath. Benefits can also be enjoyed under the sensory-soothing spray of the shower. Bonus if you have a massaging-type shower head.

 

 

1) Choose a Synergy (or, use these as inspiration to create your own)

 

Balancing Bath Soak

2 drops fragonia

2 drops bergamot

1 drop ho wood

Helps to soothe and balance the mind, body and spirit.

 

 Bathe the Day Away

2 drops ho wood

2 drops palo santo*

1 drop rose otto 10%

Helps to harmonize the mind, body and spirit with a sense of inner peace and overall wellbeing.

*Palo Santo was a recent offering through the Oil of the Month club.

 

Fresh Awakening

2 drops bergamot

2 drops rosemary

1 drop spearmint

Relaxing to the body, awakening to the mind, while inviting joyful energy to the spirit.

 

Revitalizing Rain

2 drops frankincense carteri

2 drops spearmint

1 drop eucalyptus globulus

Uplifting and invigorating to the mind, while soothing to the body. Calming and clarifying, while promoting inner-contemplation.

 

2) Create a Bath or Shower Blend

 

For a Bath Blend:

5 drops (total) essential oil blend

1-2 T unscented, natural body wash

Mix well. Then, add:

½ c Epsom salts

Add to running water and soak. 

 

For a Shower Blend:

5-10 drops (total) essential oil blend

1 oz unscented, natural body wash

PET plastic squeeze bottle

Shake vigorously

May multiply blend per ounce based on the ratio above

 

3) Experience a Self-Massage in Bath or Shower:

  • You will need a natural bristle bathing brush (I have one with a long handle for the shower and detachable brush for the bath).
  • In the bath, apply unscented soap or body wash, while soaking in your aromatherapy blend.
  • In the shower, apply your shower gel with essential oil blend.

 

Self-Massage Steps:

  • Use comfortable, circular strokes
  • Apply your strokes so the flow of circulation moves toward the heart.
  • Start at the top of an area first, working upward toward the heart then move to the areas below to work upward.
  • Start with the left side, then work the right side in the following order:
  1. Upper Arm. Lower Arm
  2. Upper Leg. Lower Leg
  3. Switch Sides.
  4. Then, move to:
  5. Chest. Abdomen
  6. Upper Back. Lower Back (Don’t forget the buttocks)

This will provide you with a full body massage. Bonus if you massage your head with your fingertips. A head massage could also be completed while washing your hair.

 


Sources:

[1] “holo-“. Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. 3 May. 2017. <Dictionary.com

[2] “Holistic.” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 02 May 2017.

[3] “Ayurvedic Medicine.” The Free Dictionary. Farlex, n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2017.

[4] “Traditional Chinese Medicine: In Depth.” National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 23 Mar. 2017. Web. 27 Apr. 2017.

[5] “Hippocrates.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Apr. 2017. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.

[6] Osborne, David K. “HIPPOCRATES.” Greek Medic2007. GreekMedicine.net, 2007. Web. 27 Apr. 2017.

[7] Mehta, Neeta. “Mind-body Dualism: A Critique from a Health Perspective.” Mens Sana Monographs. Medknow Publications, Jan. 2011. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

[8] “NCCIH Facts-at-a-Glance and Mission.” National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 03 June 2016. Web. 02 May 2017.

[9] “Objective 1: Advance Fundamental Science and Methods Development.” National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 03 June 2016. Web. 02 May 2017.

[10] “What Is Holistic Medicine?” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.

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

 

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