Monthly Archives: January 2010

THE OBSERVER EFFECT

I stumbled upon this blog today, and I found it really interesting, if you are interested in physics, take a look. I found this film and decided to share it with you  – the observer effect. It ties in nicely with what I have earlier written about thought-patterns and creative thought. Tell me what you think.

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BBC – Earth News – Blue tits embrace ‘aromatherapy’

Blue Tit taken by Phil Palmer (www.BirdHolidays.co.uk)

It’s well known that plants use the essential oil to attract insects for pollination or to protect themselves from bacteria (or fungi as presented in an earlier post on Oud) and other attacks. Some plants even use the essential oil to take more space from surrounding plants.

I have written earlier about the pheromones and how important they are to – among other – insects when finding a mate. They can scent the odoforious pheromones over extremely large areas. Essential oils and pheromones are very much alike, they act as messages.

Essential oils are known to be anti-bacterial, some more than others. Apparently even animals know this, blue tits use herbs to help their hatchlings stay healthy:

Check out this site:

BBC – Earth News – Blue tits embrace ‘aromatherapy’.

AROMATHERAPY & CHILDREN

I have quite a few children brought to me for different reasons, ranging in age from 5 to 16 years old. There are plenty of reasons why a child / adolescent would need to see a therapist not least because of stress. Growing up is not so easy and there are so many different signals and pressures in a child’s life to make it confusing. At different points in life we need different back-ups – I am one.

Today I want to tell you about one child in particular – with the permisson of his parents. I will call him Joe.

Joe’s parents brought him to me when he was 11 yrs old. He had been vaccinated with the rubella-vaccine while he had a cold and after that he had slowly slipped into a non-communicable state. He would not make eye-contact, hardly played, very quiet, disappearing into himself when spoken to. He was hunched over with his arms across his chest, facing the floor. His whole posture screamed of protection and tuning out the world. He was failing badly at school and his condition just seemed to get worse. His parents had tried everything; doctors, psychiatrists, nutritionists, homeopathy…to no avail, he would not connect with anybody. When they asked me for help I told them that we could try, but there are never any guarantees in my line of work. Still they wanted to give it a try.

The first time I met Joe he would not meet my eyes or talk to me. Trying out oils for him would not function in the normal way and, of course, I could not get close to him or touch him. So we set up a meeting where some of his friends from school would be around and I joined them in their games. By doing this I could get some connection to Joe and through this connection choose oils for him. The oils that came to me were: Angelica (angelica archangelica), Frankincense (boswellia carterii) and Orange (citrus sinensis). I blended these essential oils in vegetable oil for the parents to massage him every evening before bed during one month.

When I saw him one month late he was much changed. He carried himself straighter, met my eyes for short moments and would even play with me and the other kids. He was curious about the oils and watched me intently when I chose “his” oils. Still he would not take part in the choosing. The moment I talked to him or tried to connect, he would withdraw into himself. This time the oils chosen were: Patchouli (pogostemon patchouli / p. cablin), Cypress (cupressus sempervirens) and Mandarine (citrus reticulata) again they were blended in vegetable oil for the daily bed-time-massage.

One month later he was like an extremely shy boy; the school had commented on his positive changes. He even played the flute on stage with the other children at school. His parents were very happy. He would look at me and talk to me, but refused to choose oils, though he was definitely curious. Oils chosen were: Vetiver (vetiveria zizanoides), Mandarine (citrus reticulata) and Rose absolute (rosa damascena). Blended in veg. oil. Same procedure with the evening massages, but this time for a 3-month period as I felt he needed to “land” in himself with the help of one oil-blend.

The 4th time I saw Joe, 3 months later,  he was good. He was like any boy; back straight, met my eyes, talked and chose the oils himself. He was doing much better at school; both in his work and connection with other children. He had started to play football. He told me that he loved the oils, that “they made him feel safe so he didn’t need to live in his box”. (his words) The oils he chose were: Bergamott (citrus bergamia), Rose otto (rosa centifolia), Benzoin (styrax benzoin). Blended in veg. oil. Same procedure with the massage at bedtime. At this point I terminated the treatments of Joe, telling him that he could come back anytime he wanted but that he didn’t need me anymore. Joe was very proud.

A little more than a year later, Joe came back since he wanted some oils just for the times he felt low. He chose: Patchouli (pogostemon patchouli / p.cablin), Orange (citrus sinensis) and Elemi (canarium luzonicum /c. commune) blended in veg. oil.

Last year (almost 4 years later) I saw him at a fair, helping children climb a pile of crates. He looked so strong and happy, next to him stood his girlfriend.

THE MYSTICAL SCENT OF OUD

Oud is an oil that has fascinated me for the last 18 years. Its scent is mystical, mythical and magical, this is why I want to present this profile to you.

Oud or Agarwood or Aloeswood (Aquilaria agollocha, A. malaccensis, A. crassna) is an evergreen tree native to the forests of Northeast India, Bhutan and Southeast Asia; Viet Nam, Kambodja, Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea. The tree reaches a height of about 40m with a diameter of about 60cm. It bears sweetly-scented snow-white flowers. For the oil to exist, the tree needs to be infected with a fungi; Phialophora parasitica. The tree produces this oleoresin to protect itself against the fungi by saturating the heartwood. The longer time a tree is infected, the deeper and darker the oleoresin gets. This can take up to a 100 years and inevitably ends with the tree dying. By this time the heartwood is almost black, deeply saturated and scented by the oleoresin. The heartwood of an uninfected tree is light and pale-colored.

Extraction methods:

  • Water extraction: The wood is immersed in water for about 3 months, after which it is put into stills (huge burners) where it is cooked for many hours until the resin dissolves and floats to the top of the water; Indian distillation method.
  • Steam distillation of the wood-chips; Mostly used by East Asian countries.
  • CO2 extraction: When a certain amount of pressure is applied to CO2 (carbon dioxide) this gas turns into liquid. This liquid CO2 can be used as a very inert, safe, “liquid solvent.” CO2 is the gas we all breathe out of our lungs. It is also the gas that plants themselves thrive on.

Because of the immense popularity of this plant-matter for oil, perfume and incense, the trees are now endangered species  protected world-wide under the CITES-convention (http://www.cites.org/) and by laws in the different countries. Even so a large number of trees are illegally cut down to obtain this hugely expensive material.

There are many grades of Oud; First-grade (the highest quality) is one of the most expensive natural products in the world. The pricing lies around 13 000 dollars/pound of oil. (0,453kg) The oils from wild trees (illegal) catch an even higher price, more than 27 000 dollars/pound. The whole-sale price for a decent quality oil is around 1000-1400 dollars/ounce. (30ml)

In Assam, India a few families have started plantations with Aquilaria agollocha, ensuring the survival of this precious tree and its hidden gifts. Most reputed Oud-traders today, trade with plantation-grown oils and wood. Due to the success of the plantations in Assam other countries are following suit; Thailand, Cambodia, Viet Nam and other areas in Southeast Asia.

History

Oud has a long history of use in the eastern parts of the world; Buddhist monks use ut for meditation, saying it aids in the transmutation of ignorance. Tibetan monks use it to calm the mind and spirit. Sufis use it for esoteric ceremonies and in China it is considered to have psychoactive properties. Oud has been used as incense, aromatic oil and medicine for thousands of years. It is mentioned in the Bible (under the name of Aloewood): “Nicodemus used pounded aloewood to embalm the body of Christ”. The Prophet Muhammed of Islam mentions in the Koran 1400 years ago; “Treat with Indian Oud, for it has healing for seven diseases”. In Egypt Oud was used by the Pharaos for embalming. Buddha called it the “Scent of Nirvana“.

The Scent

Complex, balsamic, deep woody fragrance. Tenacious basenote, it lingers longer than any other known scent. The scent is rare and powerful. Blended with other precious oils such as Rose (r.centifolia, r. damascena), Jasmin (jasminus officinalis), Sandalwood (santalum album), it enhances them and creates a blend which is deeply soulful.

Uses

A well-known aphrodisiac; use it as a perfume neat on the skin (I recommend a patch-test for sensitive skin) or diluted in Jojoba-oil or alcohol. The skin will release its scent over the course of 12-15 hours. (It is tested safe to use undiluted on skin.) The oil is viscous and in room-temperature it stays thick. To make it thinner, put the bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes.

It has been used by Chinese, Tibetan, Ayurvedic and Unani physicians in practice to treat various disease and mental illness.The list of ailments that can be helped by Oud oil is vast. I will not document it here, since considering the price and rarity of this oil, it is better used for higher purposes such as meditation and personal growth. During my research I have found that every eastern culture names Oud in treatment of the respiratory and digestive systems. This is interesting because these two systems are both deeply connected to life-force, and the most outstanding feature of Oud is its magical and mystical properties when used in meditation; It connects Heaven and Earth within us, creating balance, inner peace and enlightment.

MOTIVATION

This is something that has been popping up a lot lately; for myself, my clients and also as a workshop I am doing with some other people.

So what is motivation? The most basic motivation is survival; we’re all genetically engineered to be motivated for that…and we are prepared to do anything it takes – even if we might not believe that from our comfort zones. But this is “cave-man-level”. What about motivation from a perfectly normal point? How do we find it, and more important; how do we keep it?

Habits are strong powers in our lives; how we eat, exercise (or not), smoking, drinking, sleeping… to change any of this takes a tremendous effort. Our thought-patterns are also part of our make-up but in a much more subtle way. Habit and thought-patterns are the biggest influencing powers when it comes to motivation and follow-through. The more comfortable we are, the harder it is to keep up motivation; but when something happens, such as a disease, suddenly nothing is to difficult to beat it – motivation is up and running 100% = survival motivation.

  • Set a goal.
  • Set a time-span. With larger goals it is important to break it down into smaller parts to ensure that you succeed by reaching these smaller parts. This spurs you forward to the next part-goal.
  • Find your motivation. WHY do you want this? Make this very clear to yourself and write it down so you can see it every day. Make it your mantra.
  • Motivation stays 2-7 days maximum, then you have to review it, tweak it, re-kindle it. If not, you will just quit here. This is the toughest part because this is where mind-set or thought-patterns kick in. And if they are negative, motivation is out the window.
  • Find somebody to hold you responsible. It is much easier to re-kindle motivation if you have somebody trusted to pep you and push you forward. When you feel motivation flagging, talk to this person.

When you are changing something or trying to reach a goal you need to be very clear and specific about what you want. This needs to be “larger than life” in your mind. Because you always start out enthusiastic and full of self-confidence, making some very powerful “feel-good-hormones” move in your system. But after a few days “normality” leaks in, negative thought-patterns make themselves heard and you feel low. At this point most people quit, this is the difference between winners and losers; winners just keep on working on their goal, no matter how bleak everything might seem, they dredge up their motivation from under the stone where it hid and kicks it into life again. The clearer your picture or idea is, the easier to get back on track and stay there.

There are always solutions.

Here are 2 movies to depict motivation, I find the first one horrible…it’s extreme and might have the total opposite effect – demotivation.The second one many of you have already seen. It is truly about motivation, Nick Vujicic is the man! This, of course, is my point of view, for some video #1 is truly motivating. Whatever makes you tick…

I would love to hear from you on motivation; ideas, experiences – anything – share!

“MELTDOWN” training/diet

Now I will tell you about this training/diet program I am following. I chose to do it for my health; I want to stay strong, lean and fit so I can better enjoy my life. I know it’s only up to me, so when I was offered this chance, I grabbed it to “kick-start” myself. Many people found it strange that I would start such a hard-core program on the first of January, others think it’s crazy to invest so much energy, but this is something I do for myself, a measure of how much I value myself. I am prepared to take 30 days and totally concentrate them on me. It is also about motivation and self-control, I need to know that I am creating my life, that it is not “just happening to me”.

The program is called “Meltdown” and is put together by London-based personal trainer/coach Dax Moy. You can find him and his work on this link:

http://www.londonpersonaltrainingstudio.com

The program runs for 30 days, every day, and consists of 2 parts:

  • The Elimination Diet (ED) which can be downloaded free from above link.
  • The training program: Every day without fail you train 4 times/day for an average of 15-20 min./session. Every 5 days the program is changed to maximize the results. The exercises are all different, targeting every muscle in your body.

While I am on this program I receive all the information I need via internet. Also what nutritional aids I need to take, when to tweak my diet and why and some pep-talks. The information on new exercises are done both in writing and with pictures/movies. Very detailed and very clear.

I am now doing the 12th day of this program and I am feeling fantastic, energized but also tired. I can feel a dip. What is amazing about this is the awareness it creates about body and mind. I feel more balanced than since….I can’t even remember (and I am quite a balanced person).

In the last post I talked about soreness and stiffness. Well, that has all passed some time back, but training every day has left my muscles slightly tired and sensitive, so I have made a new oil that I now use before training:

  • Rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis) 15 dr
  • Lemongrass (cymbopogon citratus)  15 dr
  • Ginger (zingiber officinalis) 15 dr

Blended in 30 ml vegetable oil. Again, this is a strong dosage, and it is good to do the sensitivity-test before using. This blend helps with circulation and warmth (ginger) since I tend to easily feel cold (especially now – what is with this arctic winter!!!) I also take magnesium to help with the energy metabolism and muscle function as it eliminates acids from muscles.

Other nutrients during this 30 day “ordeal” 🙂 are: Multivitamin, omega-3, zinc, barley-grass and chlorella. I also make sure that when I buy my food, I look for the best, most nutritious I can find.

TRAINING

I have started a training/diet program that will run all through January. It is brilliant and I am really happy with it. Only thing is that I was so stiff and sore for the first 3 days I could hardly move. Still I kept training, doing the programs as scheduled. What was interesting was that the more I moved the better I felt, even though I was still in pain. I mean; walking down the stairs or sitting on the loo became major obstacles to be hurdled only with ample preparation, not to mention bending down…OUCH! My muscles seem to be growing so quickly (and painfully) that I have the feeling they are trying to burst through my skin to do their super-power-thing. Well, you get the picture. To combat this I made (of course) a blend of essential oils to rub on my poor suffering muscles (they actually even hurt to the touch!).

The saving blend:

  • Lavender (lavandula augustifolia) 15 dr.
  • Rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis) 15 dr.
  • Black Pepper (piper nigrum) 15 dr.
  • Marjoram (origanum majorana) 15 dr.

Blended in 30ml of vegetable oil. This is a very strong blend, normally these amounts of essential oils would be diluted in 60ml veg. oil. Always test strong dosages first on the inside of your arm, leave 12-24 hours to make sure you don’t get a negative reaction. I am not very sensitive, so I can use this dilution which is about 6%.

I apply this blend to all the sore areas; chest, thighs back and front, knees and bum 3-4 times daily. Now that the soreness is passing, I will use it less and probably change to another blend to back-up my training. I will tell you about that later.

The biggest point in this whole 30-day meltdown-program is motivation. Every day I need to plan my meals and training (4x 15-20min sessions/day). When I was so sore I was really low on motivation, but then I brought out that gorgeous little red number I haven’t been able to wear since I quit smoking and BOOM – motivation kicks into over-drive. 🙂

Oh yes, if you are interested in this fantastic program check it out on the link below. Here you can also download (for free!) a sample of the Elimination Diet that I use. Remember diet is not only about weight, it is about health.

http://www.daxmoy-pts.co.uk/