Daily Archives: June 4, 2009

ESSENTIAL OIL QUALITY – part 1 -background


Quality is the most important aspect when using essential oils. All the wonderful effects the oils have will only happen when there is a high quality pure essential oil.
To understand why this is even an issue, you need to understand the world of scents; how they are used and where they come from. The largest users of essential oils are the food-industry and perfume/toiletries industry. These industries need consistency more than quality, the oils need to be the same year after year to fit the “recipe”. Such conformation is not possible since essential oils are natural; it would be like expecting a wine to be exactly the same every year. Living stuff will chemically vary depending on soil, weather conditions, fertilizer and harvesting methods/time. Like with wines, if you harvest the same plant in exactly the same way and the same time every year, you will still get a different yield; both in chemistry and bulk.

Essential oils are complex mixtures of different chemicals. The balance between these chemicals is what gives an oil its specific character. Each essential oil has one or two main chemicals that make up the biggest percentage of the oil, for example; linalol in lavender, menthol in peppermint, cineol in eucalyptus. Aside from these there are many, many other chemicals that make up one oil; In rose there are 3-400 identified chemicals and almost as many that are, to this day, unidentified. No matter how small the amounts of chemicals might be, they are part of the whole and very important for the quality and effects of the essential oils. Each essential oil has its own synergy.
In nature these different chemicals are used as messengers. Each molecule has its own signature and “message”. For a human being we need as little as 8 molecules to react to the “message” of a scent. We need about 30-40 molecules to consciously notice the scent. This is why the essential oils are so powerful; they are communicating with every cell in the body – for which a minute amount of molecules are necessary. To make a comparison:
Pheromones – there are alarm pheromones, food trail pheromones, sex pheromones, and many others that affect behavior or physiology. We have all heard about them, still the term “pheromone” was introduced by Peter Karlson and Martin Lüscher in as late as 1959. (wikipedia)
Essential oils and Pheromones work much in the same way. Actually many pheromones are made up from the same molecules as essential oils.

When you smell a full good quality essential oil it is like magic, the scent is limitless. The way to smell an oil is thus:
Keep the bottle or tissue a few cm from your nose and inhale deeply 2 or 3 times. Essential oils are volatile and will very easily enter your olfactory system. Compare an essential oil to a synthetic oil and feel the difference.

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CREATIVE CHANGES

Changes in the skyThe most important idea for success or fulfilling of dreams is limitlessness. There exists no limits except for the ones we create for ourselves. Even physical limits; I have seen a one-legged ballet-dancer…I am sure a lot of people told him it couldn’t be done.

Write down what you want to do. Make it as clear as possible; you need to see and feel yourself in this position, doing this thing. You need to become this person. When you wake up in the morning you are this person, during the day you act like this person. In this way you will start creating your vision with your daily actions.
Talk to people you trust, tell them what you are doing, where you are going. You will be amazed at how helpful people are.

If you don’t believe, you can’t achieve

Make an inventory: Your strengths, your weaknesses. Ask trusted friends and colleagues for input and write it all down. Build on the list. Every thing you learned is a strength: language-course, pottery, political history…whatever. We all have a lot of knowledge that we don’t value enough since it has been acquired from interest, not work. Well, if it was from interest (hobby) the knowledge is probably pretty good and useful. Who said this knowledge could not be part of your work?

Make sure that you really know your weaknesses, because this will always be your greatest strength. You need to open up to criticism and embrace it as a way to grow. Input from others can tell us a lot about ourselves, and give us a chance to expand. Work on you character and strengthen that which is weak.

Seek out people who are in your chosen area of work, ask questions, build a network. Tell people that you are looking for work. This is the best way to find a job. People who know you and know your assets will put in a word for you at the right place and right time. This is an automatic introduction that will put you ahead of the queue.

Being without a job is stressful and insecure and you might have to down-size your life to fit with your new situation. The most important thing is to keep busy.
Fill your time with positive action; join a network or club to meet people and exchange ideas. Take care of your health so you get strong and fit. Enjoy your family and friends. Take up a hobby or interest that you long wanted to do but couldn’t find the time. Study.
When our time is full we complain about all we don’t have time to do. And when we suddenly find ourselves with plenty of time, we do nothing and complain of having no work.

Everything that happens has 2 sides to it. It is for us to choose how we look upon it. If you can’t change a situation, find a way to use it or accept it.

There is a time for waiting and there is a time for action. When the time is for waiting make sure you fill it with positive things that will enhance your growth and strength for the time of action when it will be needed.

THE SELF

Know Thyself
Knowing others, one is learned;
Knowing thyself, one is enlightened.
Conquering others requires force;
Conquering oneself requires strength.
Knowing contentment, one is rich;
Having perseverance, one is firm;
Abiding in the center, one endures;
Even in dying, one enjoys eternal life.

Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, XXXIII

New times have come and this new time looks threatening; banks are emptying, businesses closing down, masses of people are made redundant; not even the governments can stop this disastrous flood…and it has only just begun. There are many more layers to the present situation than meets the eye. Where did it come from? And why? Somewhere along the line we must have lost focus for a situation of such tremendous proportions to occur. I think this question is pondered my many, and I can hear the direction of the answers: Greed, unproportional power, loosing sight of reality and loss of personal responsability.
From this terrible situation a new awareness is growing, we speak now of ethics and morale, responsability and global awareness. This is a good thing.

This is a time for self-scrutinization; to know and master the Self – to become our own master in every step of life.
We are all programmed and molded by our society and our peers. We are not always sure if the path we are treading is the right one. And if it is the right path…will it stay the right path, or will we have to change directions? We are governed by fear and limits, more than we wish to acknowledge, believing ourselves unworthy or too weak to fulfill our dreams – whatever they may be. And the ones who do step off the path and succeed are seen as “specially gifted” – which they are not, they just transgressed the initial programming and “went for it”.

In these dramatic times of change lie opportunities and possibilities in abundance. This is a time for meeting, knowing and shaping the Self so that we can follow a chosen life-path.
Did you lose your job doing the only thing you know, and can’t find a new one? What will you do? From this viewpoint the future looks rather bleak – BUT; what if this is a new chance for you? Is there something else you always wanted to do and you now have the chance to do it? Perhaps this is just about changing paths in life…maybe this is the biggest opportunity you ever had.

You need to become your own Agent for Change. Recreate yourself, embrace the new possibilities and go for it…in the next blog I will give you valuable tips on how to get there…

STRESS part 4

Peaceful skiesStress eats us alive and we don’t even notice it. Our warning-systems have been working overtime for so long, we don’t hear them anymore. A stressed animal tends to move continuously and endlessly in the same pattern without too much awareness of its surroundings. People find this horrible to watch; at the zoo for example. Little do we realize that we react much in the same way.

The pattern needs to be broken, and I will present you with some fast, easy and basic ways of doing this:

1) Movement

Do something nice; take a walk in the park or around the block, put on some music and dance. These activities create a positive hormonal reaction in the brain and you will feel that the air around you gets slightly less dense and the cobwebs in your brain lighten up a bit.
Keep it short and easy so it is do-able. You will find that this takes only a small portion of your time while releasing you from some of the stress.

2) Relaxation

Find a quiet spot where you can relax for a little while. Again; keep it short and easy.
Depending on where you are: Either lie or sit comfortably with your eyes closed. Concentrate on your breathing and feel it slowing down and deepening. You want to breath all the way down in your abdomen. If your thoughts start wandering, allow them, but don’t get caught up. Just watch the thoughts as though they are detached from you, like being at the movies. Or you could create beautiful and relaxing visualizations for yourself.
Set an alarm for 10 min so you can truly relax, knowing that there is a limit and you don’t need to check the time. Remember to also cover yourself with a blanket or put on a sweater since circulation slows in relaxation and you don’t want to feel cold.

3) Thought-patterns and emotion

First question: Is this really important right now? Can I do anything about this right now?
If the answer is no; let it go and concentrate on what is important here & now.

One of the strongest emotions that hits us in times of stress is anguish and fear. Usually these feelings are accompanied by thoughts of what should have been done, what has not been done, what can go wrong and why.
The only way to handle this is by reconstructing the thought-patterns as above. Classify the ifs and hows in order of importance, do some little thing that will make a difference right now and take a walk or relax.
I use the notion of “normalizing activities”: This is an activity that gives a sense of achievement without creating stress = de-stressing. (One of the most important “healers” when stressed is the feeling of achievement; a job well done. This will immediately lower the pressure in our system, creating the positive hormonal reaction in the brain.)
Normalizing activities can be: Cooking, sewing, ironing, gardening, cleaning, sorting…anything that is done with ease and gives a sense of accomplishment. Don’t choose something you hate, but you do not need to love it either.

What I call positive hormonal reaction in the brain is a kind of reward-system; relaxation and peace. Amongst these hormones are: serotonine, endorphine, oxytocine.

On the “action”-side are adrenaline and cortisole amongst others. They are the “kickers” that make things happen. These chemicals need to be “used up” by movement. If not, they create an imbalance that we know as stress. Another way to disperse these chemicals are by massage.

Avicenna (Abu Ali Sina Balkhi 980-1037) was a Persan physician and philosopher. “The book of healing” and “The canon of medicine” were his best known written works. In “The canon of medicine” he writes:

“Massage is used to disperse matter that was not dispersed by movement.

He knew his business and nothing is new under the sun

STRESS part 3

fire out of controlExisting in stress-mode is to loose sight of yourself, over time it is like a fire out of control. We are adaptive and that is, in a way, our worst enemy. People can go through complete personality changes while in the duration of stress, and even though other people tell them so, they have no way of seeing it themselves. Under stress we get snappy, moody, scatter-brained and sometimes even more hyper – trying to press more and more into the days. We spin out of control and we don’t even have a clue. I have met people who told me they hardly had any stress – only moments before they hit the wall and went on a 3-year sick-leave, stress makes people unreliable.
Denial is also part of the problem; a lot of people consider it a weakness to experience stress, they need to show that they can keep everything together,  no matter what. This is the first idea that has to go; strength is to realize that there is a problem, only then can something be changed. Stressed people are unreliable
The first thing you need to do is to recognize and isolate the stressors, and there are many ways to do this. After that you need to pin-point how stress affects you; please see the list in the last blog-entry. Try to keep sight of your “normal balance-level”
With this assessment, you can start making small changes that will help you deal with the stress. If you are under moderate stress, you can do this yourself – maybe with the help of a mentor, coach or therapist. If the stress-levels are higher and you feel really swamped, you might definately need an experienced stress-therapist/coach.

to be continued…

STRESS part 2

Here is an overview of what kind of problems stress might cause in an individual:

Musculo-skeletal

  • Pain/strain in back, shoulders, neck
  • Muscle inflammation
  • Posture-problems
  • Headaches

Digestive

  • Heart-burn
  • Ulcers
  • Poor digestion
  • Gastritis
  • Pain

Circulatory system

  • Numbing/tingling in arms/legs
  • Heart palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • High blood pressure

Emotional/Psychological

  • Sleeping disorders
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Panic-attacks
  • Depression*
  • Aggressiveness
  • Suicide

Mental

Problems with:

  • Concentration
  • Learning
  • Memorizing
  • Decision-making

*(Predicted to be the leading occupational disease of the 21st century, responsible for more days lost than any other single factor.)

STRESS part 1

tree_frostStress is good, stress is necessary and stress is excitement. Stress is what got us, as a species, this far. Without stress not much would ever happen and we would become extinct.

There is a wish to differentiate between stress and stress:
Inner stress/outer stress
Good stress/bad stress
I do not differentiate, stress is stress. Sometimes it leads us forward, even saving our lives. Other times it is deteriorating to health.
Examples of stress:
A new love-affair; we eat less, sleep less, heart goes overtime, as does the brain. We feel great, feeding – as it were – on our natural drugs – hormones.
Danger: blood rushes to muscles and brain, supercharging us for the mission of survival.

Stress as a problem arises when the demands on us are higher than we can answer to, or when we are locked in a situation over which we have no control at all.
Stress is individual, both in how we perceive it – how much stress we can handle – and how it manifests in our lives. The symptoms of stress are always individual, therefore it can be very difficult to pinpoint and manage the problem.

A lot of research is being done to find the “cure” for stress, which to my opinion is pure rubbish; a pill that would stop or inhibit our natural stress-responses would be a catastrophy to mankind.
The only way to handle stress is on an individual level: each person needs to take responsability for their own lives. There is no “cure”, and stress will not go away, or lessen. I believe we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg.
Since stress is an individual reaction to a given set of circumstances, individuals have to start making choices about what is important. The biggest stressor in society today is the vastness of choice. We never stop wanting more or other.

To be continued…