Tag Archives: alternatives

STRONGER THAN YOU THINK – BELIEVE IT!

I have had a client with Multiple Sclerosis. She was diagnosed in her late teens, 20 years ago, so this has been a part of her life most of her life. She was surprisingly mobile considering how long she had been ill, but as it goes with MS, it comes in waves, each time leaving her a little worse. I can’t heal MS with aromatherapy, but I can help with mobility, mind-set/belief and emotions. She went to a physiotherapist (who sent her to me) for mobility and balance. As with all diseases where constant medication is involved, there was a degree of toxicity in the body and she suffered from poor balance, especially on her left side. She couldn’t raise her arms and her ribcage was pushed forward, making her a bit wobbly. The skin on her face and back was hard and closed, with very bad circulation. Her dietary habits were fine and I suggested she add Omega3 and chlorella.

For the first session I did a full-body massage with the oils of Hyssop (hyssopus officinalis) and Melissa, lemon-balm (melissa officinalis). We talked about belief-systems. She had learned to believe that she will get worse by the year and finally die from her disease. Every time she got a “wave” she expected the worst. I told her that there is no known cure for MS and yes, she will probably get worse. But she does have a life and after so many years she is still doing fine, so why not believe the best? She liked the idea and went home with that and an oil-blend for her skin and emotional state: Lemon grass (cymbopogon citratus) and Rosewood (aniba rosaeodora).

Next session after 2 weeks, I had done some research and used Cistus (cistus labdanum), Bay leaf (laurus nobilis) and Black spruce (picea mariana) for a full-body massage. She loved the blend and brought a bottle home to use on her shoulders, arms and feet. She reported feeling wonderful since the last massage; seeing an improvement in balance and skin.

Next session, 3 weeks later, she was low on arrival. She was in a “wave” and feeling very bad. Her balance had worsened, her mobility was down and she was depressed. I gave her a full-body massage with Clary sage (salvia sclarea), Roman Chamomile (chamameleum nobile) and Geranium (pelargonium graveolens). During the massage I worked on relaxing her stiff joints and suddenly she had full mobility in her arms – for the first time in many years. She was deeply relaxed and felt very good. As she got off the table, her balance was better, she could move her arms over her head and her back was straighter. I gave her stretching exercises to do every day to keep and improve mobility even more.

We talked then of belief again: How she actually didn’t have all the problems she thought; she was more mobile and better balanced than she believed. But all her adult life she has been told that this would happen to her and, being a good girl, she “obeyed”. This again points to the connection body & mind and how it is impossible to separate the two. The lady didn’t get worse after her last “wave”, because at this point she found out that she was stronger than she thought. She still has to fight fear and despair every day, but now she has a belief that she can also have a fulfilling life, and this change in outlook has gained her so much ground in physical healing as well as emotional.

Every cure for disease that exists today came from somewhere. There was a time when these diseases could not be cured, when the belief-system said “you will die”. Today people survive and live with all kinds of diseases that don’t have cures; cancer, aids, hepatitis C… I believe it can be done. I believe you need to be honest about a persons condition and not give false hopes, but show them that miracles (albeit small) happen all the time; point out the miracles, the positive and the results will be better. This is such a vital part of healing, I can’t believe it is overlooked. But maybe that is the job of people like me, who can afford to give the time a client needs. Maybe it is time to integrate us alternative therapists in the medical system.

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DERMATITIS

(picture from: www.medical-look.com/Skin_diseases/)

Many people suffer from dermatitis (eczema) on small or large areas of their bodies,very often on the hands and arms.  (You can read more about dermatitis here.) One type of dermatitis, contact dermatitis, is a reaction to a substance which the body part is in contact with for a prolonged time. This can be brought on by most any substance that can be an irritant to the skin, even essential oils – especially in high doses. Over the years, two of my aromatherapy pupils have developed contact dermatitis to essential oils after 2-4 years of exposure and this condition seems to be irreversible. I am not saying stop using the oils, just be aware of the fact that they are strong substances and need to be used with care.

The skin-cells have a life-span of about 28 days. They are “born” in the lowest level of the skin, epidermis, at which point they are round and plump, filled with fluid. On their journey up towards the surface they get flatter and drier, depositing the protein keratin which  cements the cells together and creates the upper, protective layer of skin, epidermis. When this “journey” is out of balance, it will show as skin-problems – dermatitis.

The most used substance to deal with dermatitis is cortisone which is a steroid hormone. By suppressing the immune system, cortisone reduces inflammation, pain and swelling. It is extremely effective but it only suppresses, it doesn’t heal. Once you stop using cortisone the problem re-occurs. Over time cortisone causes the skin to become very dry.

ALTERNATIVES: (always see a therapist if your problems are serious or get worse. Don’t use essential oils if you are not sure that they won’t irritate your skin.)

  • Castor oil (ricinus officinalis) A client of mine, a builder, told me that he always had problems with hardened skin and deep cracks on his hands. Then they started keeping the bolts for the scaffolding in jars of castor oil so they would not rust. Since then his hands were much better. I started using castor oil on cracked, dry skin with great results. Very heavy texture, needs to be blended.
  • Shea butter (butyrospermum parkii), Shea butter oil. Anti-inflammatory & protective
  • Coconut oil (cocos nucifera) more a butter, solid in room-temp, melts on skin.  Protective film on skin, softening
  • Macerations (herbal infused oils) such as Marigold (calendula officinalis), St Johns Wort (hypericum perforatum)
  • Jojoba-oil (simmondsia chinensis) resembles the skins sebum and helps protect the skin.
  • Bees wax (cera alba) Protection, creates a protective film.
  • Cocoa butter (theobroma cacao) Solid in room-temp. melts on skin. Softening & calming.
  • Vegetable oils with anti-inflammatory properties; Andiroba oil (carapa guianensis), Argan oil (argana spinosa), Borage oil (borago officinalis), Cashew nut oil (anacardium occidentale), Evening primrose oil (oenothera biennis), Kukui nut oil (aleurites moluccana), Olive oil (olea europaea).
  • Vegetable oils with calming properties that can be used as bases for blending: Apricot kernel oil (prunus armeniaca), Peach kernel oil (prunus persica), Sunflower oil (helianthus annuus), Walnut oil (juglans regia)
  • Essential oils; Lavender (lavandula augustifolia), Chamomile (matricaria chamomilla), Yarrow (achillea millefolium).

When working with beeswax, you need to melt it in a bain-marie together with butters or fats such as shea butter, coconut oil, cocoa butter and vegetable oils. Add special vegetable oils last, together with essential oils (if you use them), when the liquid starts to cool. You can see a basic recipe for a balm here.