Poised for Spring (Wellness Wednesday)

Happy First Day of Spring! We have sunny, cloudless skies and slightly milder weather today, so I’m soaking up the cheer and enjoying birdsong.

Interestingly, in the middle of all this sun and hope and good vibes, I am dealing with anxiety. If you struggle with depression and anxiety, do you find that anxiety heightens during months of fluctuating weather, such as Spring and Fall? Mine does. And as a result, I am always looking for tools that I can use to settle my mind and emotions. I do yoga, drink herbal teas, take an herbal supplement and use essential oils in various ways to alleviate anxiety.

Today I have two aromatherapy blends to share with you that combine some of my favorite oils that will help with grounding, calming, centering, steadying, etc., along with plenty of other benefits.

First, is a massage blend. I chose four essential oils for this blend:

Vetiver: Vetiveria zizanioides; Part of plant used: Roots of grass; Botanical family: Poaceae; Vetiver is strengthening to the immune system, eases muscular aches and pains, helpful for anxiety and depression, nourishing and healing to the skin, is grounding, centering, gathers your thoughts together when you feel scattered in your thinking, is balancing and stabilizing.

Black Spruce:Picea Mariana; Part of plant used: Needles; Botanical family: Pinaceae: Black Spruce is a decongestant, eases minor pain and inflammation, is antimicrobial, antispasmodic, builds confidence, is revitalizing to the mind.

Lavender: Lavandula angustifolia; Part of plant used: Flowering tops; Botanical family: Lamiaceae: Lavender is anti-inflammatory, is good for wound healing, eases muscular aches and pains, is calming and soothing, eases and helps with nervous exhaustion, anxiety, depression, and panic attacks.

Green Mandarin: Citrus reticulata: Part of plant used: Peel/zest of fruit; Botanical family: Rutaceae: Green Mandarin is useful for easing nervous tension, anxiety, depression, headaches, stress, is nurturing, warming, calming.

Steady Spring Massage Blend

In a 2 oz. PET plastic bottle or glass bottle, combine the following:

5 drops Vetiver

8 drops Green Mandarin

13 drops Black Spruce

18 drops Lavender

After you add the essential oils to the bottle, fill the rest of it up with refined sesame oil, olive oil, sweet almond oil, or jojoba. Screw cap on tightly, shake well, and store in a cool, dark place.

To use: Massage into back, shoulders, chest, arms, legs, feet.

The second is a diffuser blend. Here are the essential oils I chose:

Frankincense: Boswellia carteri; Part of plant used: Resin; Botanical family: Burseraceae Frankincense relieves anxiety, tension, supports reflection, contemplation, and prayer, alleviates feelings of despair, is anti-inflammatory, a wound healer, good for respiratory system.

Cypress: Cupressus sempervirens; Part of plant used: Leaves, twigs, cones; Botanical family: Cupressaceae; Cypress is a decongestant, supports healthy lung and airway function, is calming, helpful for alleviating feelings of sadness and during times of transition and bereavement.

Black Spruce: see above

Lavender: see above

Steady Spring Diffuser Blend

2 drops Frankincense

2 drops Cypress

4 drops Black Spruce

5 drops Lavender

Drop into diffuser, fill with water, and diffuse for an hour at a time.

The information I’ve shared with you today comes from my Level 1 Aromatherapy Course from New York Institute of Aromatic Studies.

I’d love to know what you think of either of these blends if you make them. Also, let me know in comments what essential oils you want to learn about or what kinds of recipes you are looking for.

Self-Care for Scurrying Souls

On this day before Thanksgiving, whether you are shopping, cooking, or traveling to be with loved ones, most likely you are in motion and, possibly, going non-stop. You are thinking of that long shopping list, all the pies you need to bake (or pick up), or are making sure you remembered to pack all the necessities before you get in the car and start the long trip to Grandma’s.

I get it. I’ve been there. This Thanksgiving, my biggest stress is to continue making products to get into my Etsy shop and to sell at upcoming craft fairs. I feel like an elf in Santa’s workshop.

Yesterday I took product photos until my back ached like I’d been weeding the garden for hours. Then I sat in my office chair for the rest of the day and late into the evening editing photos, listing products on Etsy, and making ornaments. 

Although the day started off with a pretty challenging Vinyasa class on YogaGlo, the rest of the day I forgot I lived in an actual body and didn’t take care of myself. My diffuser sat on my desk unused, my throat was dry because I didn’t drink enough water, and my back ached from all the photography, and sitting and hunching in my chair. 

You know what’s great about our bodies? They only put up with so much and then they lay down the law. My back and neck sent up a cry of protest overnight and I woke up with a lot of soreness and stiffness.

I am using Arnica gel on my neck and shoulders and a pain blend massage oil on my back.

I am drinking tea and plenty of water.

I am diffusing a great blend for my stuffy nose and asthma, and am getting up to walk around periodically.

I am taking time for short yoga sessions.

I am reading poetry because it lifts me up in ways prose can’t. (Currently I’m reading Devotions by Mary Oliver.)

So today will be a different story and I’ll still get plenty of work done. This is my plan:

The takeaway from this tale: don’t wait until you’re sick or in pain to take care of yourself!!! Do it right now!

And now for my diffuser blend. You may not have heard of the first two essential oils, but I encourage you to incorporate them into your life. I get most of my oils from Aromatics International. They have some pretty amazing deals for Black Friday week. Here’s a link for $15 off your first order.

Niaouli has fruity, fresh, warm and camphor-like qualities. It is great to support the immune system and healthy airway and lung function. It is antibacterial, anti fungal, soothes pain and inflammation, and is a decongestant. 

Spike Lavender is not the same as regular Lavender. It has a touch of camphor-like aroma, it is stimulating and energizing, is great for healthy lung function, and helps with pain and inflammation.

Cypress has a woodsy, balsamic, resinous aroma. It is good for healthy breathing; it promotes proper circulation, is calming and uplifting to emotions, and has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, decongestant, and antibacterial qualities.

Breathe Clear, Feel Better Diffuser Blend (I use the greater number of drops because I’m in a large, drafty room; if you’re in a small space, you can use less.) 

Niaouli 6-10 drops

Spike Lavender 3-5 drops

Cypress 3-5 drops

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my dear readers! Remember to take time for yourself today!!!

*This post contains affiliate links. It helps pay for this blog. If you choose to purchase through a link, it will benefit me in a small way at no cost to you. 

A Diffuser Blend to Boost Your Mood (Wellness Wednesday)

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Am I the only one who has been fighting the blues now that the weather is colder and dusk settles sooner? No, I didn’t think so. I’m reading (and loving) The Upward Spiral and taking a look at my life and asking myself how I can make small changes in my day that can benefit my depressed brain and boost my mood.

As I study for my aromatherapy certification, I am learning so much about how aroma affects the brain and the emotions, as well as the physical body. Just breathing in certain aromas can change your mood, prevent you from getting a cold, or help strengthen your immune system.

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Some folks think aromatherapy is weird and a bunch of hippie New Age nonsense. Well, they’re actually just shutting down a whole world of wellness possibilities. Think about it: don’t you get a cold because you breathe in someone else’s cold virus some of the time? Of course, you can also get sick from touching a contaminated surface and rubbing your eyes or putting your hand into your mouth. But if sickness can come to us through the air we breathe, why is it so hard to believe we can boost our mood, stay well or prevent a cold, for example, through breathing in a diffused essential oil blend?

Just yesterday afternoon, I was feeling weepy and blue. I set the coffee kettle on the stove to boil, and grabbed Gabriel Mojay’s Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit from the library shelf. After leafing through a few of the pages on depression, and using my intuition and sense of smell, I came up with this blend.

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Lift Me Up Fall Diffuser Blend:

5 drops Cypress

2 drops Juniper

3 drops Sweet Orange

Fill your Diffuser to the fill line with distilled water, add the drops of essential oils and turn it on. Diffuse for 30 minutes to an hour at a time.

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Within half an hour of diffusing, I stopped in the middle of my work and it hit me: the sadness and emotional heaviness had completely lifted! All I could think was, Thank You, God! I am so grateful for the very real power to heal holistically that is available to us through what we find in Nature. It’s amazing and very empowering on a personal level!

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I’d love to hear about how you stay well and boost your mood during the Fall! Do you have a favorite diffuser blend? Please share with us in the comments!

PS, if you want to learn more about essential oils for free, this link will take you to the The Essential Oils & Aromatherapy Summit airing 12-6pm EST October 23-26.

* This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you choose to make a purchase through one of the links here, it benefits me in a very small way at no extra cost to you!

Starting My Aromatherapy Education

 

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I was a teenager when I first bumped up against the likes of Lavender and Patchouli and a host of herbal and homeopathic medicines that my friend’s mother used in their home for common complaints.

In my late teens I decided I wanted an herb garden. As I worked at a bookstore, I read books on herb gardening and herbal medicine and was fascinated to learn how to make my own lip balm, salt and sugar scrubs, body butter, and more using natural and plant-based ingredients.

When I was raising my children, I read books on homeopathy and natural medicines so that I could limit my kids’ exposure to pharmaceutical drugs, whether prescription or over-the-counter. For everyday things like colds and coughs, trouble sleeping, minor earaches, insect repellent, and immune-system building, I went to Nature as often as I could. My kids roll their eyes even now, but I believe it was better for their health.

I also made some of my own cleaning products, incorporating essential oils such as tea tree, lavender, eucalyptus and lemon into my recipes. Cleaning a bathroom or mopping the kitchen became almost a delight because of the pleasant aroma of the oils.

This past December, I decided to join Young Living as a member, which enables me to purchase their products at a discount and also allows me to directly sell to others. For the most part, I am delighted with the quality and ease of use of all the essential oils and blends I’ve purchased. That said, there are other reputable companies that sell essential oils and I purchase from them as well.

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As I began to read Young Living literature and the information that is spread around the internet about essential oils, I felt a need to start an education in aromatherapy. I needed to learn how to safely administer oils to myself and loved ones. I wasn’t completely sure what are the best practices for making blends, butters, salves, balms, etc. But I wanted to learn what those were if I’m going to continue to sell natural body care products.

Looking up recipes on Pinterest is fine and most of the time I love the results, but I clearly needed to know how much and which oils to put together and why.

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Just because a substance is natural doesn’t mean it can’t harm you. (I’ll blog about this subject more in an upcoming post.) And when I’ve heard the dosing advice, particularly for internal use, that friends of mine have been given, I wince, thinking about the possible harm they could be doing to themselves in the name of essential oils and natural remedies/wellness. This can give aromatherapy a bad reputation. Any one of us who sell essential oils or make and sell aromatherapy products owe it to our customers, friends, and family to do this the right way.

Within weeks, I realized how ignorant I was and decided that I wasn’t going to take an essential oil company’s word at face value. Not that I’m assuming they’re lying, but ethically speaking, receiving education from an institution of learning, rather than a commercial enterprise selling the product they’re educating about, seems more responsible. I needed to go to school and that’s what I’ve been doing.

I signed up for two free webinars with Andrea Butje at Aromahead Institute. Following those, I enrolled in two online classes at Aromahead. I also signed up for a free 18-hour online class from New York Institute for Aromatic Studies taught by Jade Shutes. I’m thoroughly enjoying this class and am considering enrolling in classes there eventually as well. My goal is to at least become a Level 1 Certified Aromatherapist so that I am knowledgable enough to formulate my own blends and products for sale, and to be able to use aromatherapy for myself, family, and friends in a responsible manner. And who knows where this path will lead?

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