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.

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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