Tag Archives: rosemary

SENIORS & STRESS

Seniors are a growing but invisible group in society. More often than not do they come to the point of moving into a home where they can be properly looked after. This is an intensely stressful event. Some people choose to move into a home of their choice at the time of their choice, but they are few. Most seniors slide into a solitary life in their own homes until they can’t manage it anymore and then are moved to a senior home. At this point they often become confused, scared, depressed and angry.

From these negative feelings arise many problems; circulatory, emotional, sleep-disorders, appetite and digestion. Sometimes seniors deteriorate very quickly in a home; the older we get, the more loath we become to leave our familiar – and therefor safe – surroundings and when this safety is taken away the world falls apart. When there is also mental confusion, a move at this time in life can become a huge trauma.

AROMATHERAPY:

I have done some work in retirement homes using essential oils and the results are amazing! By using carefully blended oils in proper dosages a lot can be done. Together with massage they work wonders on stressed individuals. Massage can be as simple as stroking somebody’s hand, bringing peace to the person. There is no need for massage-training, all that is needed is care. Scents in diffusers also help with emotional balance and a stress-free environment.  Anxiety, fear, stress, confusion, depression, anger….all schoolbook examples on areas where essential oils are helpful.

  • Emotional disorders: Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia), Orange (Citrus sinensis), Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), Frankincense (Boswellia carterii), Rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora), Petit grain (Citrus aurantium), Bergamott (Citrus bergamia), Ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata). When severe: Neroli (Citrus aurantium ssp. amara var pumilla), Rose (Rosa damascena), Melissa (Melissa officinalis).  Massage, diffusion.
  • Sleeping disorders: Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia), Bitter orange (Citrus aurantium), Ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata). Massage, diffusion.
  • Stimulating appetite: Lemon (Citrus limon), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). Diffusion 20 min. before mealtimes.
  • Mental stimulation: Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia), Lemon (Citrus limon), Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), Peppermint (Mentha piperita)

Seniors are frail in many ways, not least physically. Always contact a professional aromatherapist before using essential oils.

INVISIBLE STRESS

(Escher: Labyrinth)

I am working with a young woman who suffers from an invisible, high-level stress. Her stress comes from inside and even though she’s plenty busy, this is not the source of her problems. The first signs were head-aches that over time became both more frequent and painful. Then she became aggressive and worried. After 4 months she was seriously ill with constant migraine, nausea, constipation, mood-swings and night-mares. One day she fainted in the street and was brought to the hospital where she underwent all the tests in the book: Brain-scan, neurology-tests, blood-analysis – the works. Nothing could be found. The doctors diagnosed migraine and gave her different kinds of medication, constantly increasing the strength but nothing helped, the girl was seriously ill.

At this point enter the complementary forces:

After talks with her it is obvious that she has an enormous need of controlling her world, everything must be perfect – which is also mirrored in her appearance and surroundings. She helps her friends with everything she can and is always available when needed. The feeling I get is that her head is stuck in a labyrinth box. There is such tremendous mental pressure that it has turned into pain, she can find no clarity and when she tries to figure things out she gets confused. She is angry and negative towards her state and scared that it will not go away.

  1. Going over her diet and taking out all stimulants; sugar, tea, alcohol.
  2. Teaching her about mind-mapping (see an earlier post) and how to find clarity. At this point she gets angry and can not find any “clues” in her mind-mapping. I take her through a mind-game and she relaxes as an “inner door” opens. When she feels the results, she is pleased.
  3. Brain-movies: In a guided meditation I take her to a nice place which is her own and where she feels happy. This place is where she will go to heal. I make sure she remembers the path to this sacred place and tell her to do this every night until falling asleep there.
  4. Breathing exercises and how to control the mood-swings by recognizing signals.
  5. physiotherapy for the tension in head, back and stomach – 3 sessions in 2 weeks.
  6. Full-body massage once a week and home-massage of face and neck twice a day with essential oils.
  7. A small roll-on phial with pure essential oils to be carried in hand-bag and used at first sign of headaches; massage temples and nape of neck.

Used oils:

  • Geranium (pelargonium graveolens) Emotional balance.
  • Ylang-Ylang (cananga odorata) Anger-control.
  • Rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis) Clarity of mind.
  • Mandarin (Citrus reticulata) Lighten up the inner child.
  • Sandalwood (santalum album) Spirituality and cooling energy.
  • Roman Chamomile (Chamameleum nobile) Deeply relaxing on all levels. Safety
  • Pepper-mint (mentha piperita) Head-aches.
  • Eucalyptus (eucalyptus globulus) Head-aches and clarity.
  • Lavender high altitude (lavandula augustifolia) Head-aches, calming and relaxing.

MOOD-SWINGS

We all get them; mood-swings. They usually kick in when we least of all expect it, and isn’t it strange that they only go in one direction…down? Or maybe we do have positive mood-swings, sudden bursts of inexplicable joy and happiness – of course we do, but they aren’t a problem, they are pure bliss. But the other ones; irritation, sadness, anger, impatience….the nasty lot, when they kick in it can get really bad, not only for ourselves but also for those around us.  This way of using oils is a for temporary measures – mood-swings – if the situation doesn’t change and the mood doesn’t “swing back”, you should see a certified aromatherapist for more profound help.

Here is a short list of oils to help you through those bad times:

  • PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) and other hormonal issues (women): Geranium (pelargonium graveolens), Clary Sage (salvia sclarea).
  • Anger and frustration: Ylang-Ylang (cananga odorata complet), Petit grain (citrus aurantium), Patchouli (pogostemon cablin)
  • Sad and gloomy: Bergamott (citrus bergamia), Orange (citrus sinensis), Mandarine (citrus reticulata).
  • Sluggish and slow: Rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis), Lemongrass (cymbopogon citratus), Peppermint (mentha piperita), May Chang (litsea cubeba).
  • Cold and lonely: Cinnamon (cinnamomum zeylanicum), Marjoram (origanum majorana).
  • Insecurity: Rosewood (aniba rosaeodora), Lavender (lavandula augustifolia/officinalis), Roman Chamomile (chamaemelum nobile)
  • Anxiety, nervousness: Frankincense (boswellia carterii), Neroli (citrus aurantium var amara), Vetiver (vetiveria zizanoides)

There are so many useful oils for each description, the list goes on and on. These are a few of the most common oils that are also quite versatile, therefor making them a good buy for your home aromatherapy kit. Try the oils to find the one that fits you the best.

The best way to use essential oils for mood is by inhalation: Place 1-2 drops on a handkerchief and inhale deeply as needed. You can carry it with you during the day. When home, bathing is a wonderful way of relieving emotional imbalances. Make sure you rest after the bath.

Note: Cinnamon has a high content of phenols which makes it irritating to the skin. It should always be used in dilution (except in inhalation)

“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/

HOME SPA

roman_religion_bathThe original SPA was to detox and heal with the help of the curative powers of mineral water. In Egypt elaborate bath-rituals were acted out by the priests to cleanse themselves. The Romans and Greeks are widely known for their practice of baths and massages.The great Hippocrates (also called the Father of Medicine, doctors still take the “Hippocratic Oath“) once said; “The way to health is having a scented bath and a massage every day”. In Japan the bath-culture is a part of every-day life and in Arabic cultures there is the “Turkish bath” also called “Hammam”.

Essential oils, floral waters, herbs and oils have always been widely used for beauty and health within the bath-culture. Also used were honey, fermented milk and clays. Water-therapy was used; alternating the temperature of the water in specific patterns, also called Hydro-therapy.

Doing a SPA has plenty of benefits: It is detoxing, relaxing, up-lifting, helps with aches and pains and sleep-inducing. You don’t need an elaborate set-up with sauna, jacuzzi or pool to be able to benefit from a Spa-experience – all you need can be found in your own home. The recipes for the different products are listed at the end.

The first thing you need to do is disconnect the outside world – no phone, computer, television or radio. Put on some peaceful and relaxing music to set the mood. Make your bathroom beautiful; bring in some flowers and candles and make sure it is clean and warm. Float flower-petals in your bath.

Always start by drinking a detoxing tea, such as nettle-tea or green tea. It will start a detox-process in your body and also warm you up. The next step is to dry-brush your whole body (optional, but brilliant for skin and circulation.) you can also choose to do only the salt-rub. If you have sensitive skin choose only one option. The skin-brushing is to get your circulation going and is done cold. The salt-rub is to detox, since salt “pulls out” the toxins through your skin, and is done when you are warm and all the pores of the skin are open. The salt-rub will also peel away the top gray skin-layer, leaving your skin glowing. Don’t use salt-rub on your face or sensitive areas.

Home Spa

  • If you have only a bath you now slip into the bath and relax for 10-20 minutes. Right before you get out is a good time to do your feet. Then you get out of the bath and rub your whole body with the salt-rub and rinse it off with tepid water, don’t use soap.
  • If you have only a shower you shower first quickly with cold water (after body-brushing) and then as warm as you can. After that you rub your whole body with the salt-rub. Rinse it off with tepid water, don’t use soap.
  • If you are lucky enough to have both bath and shower separated you start off by showering quickly with cold water after the body-brushing. Then you get in the bath and soak for 10-20 min. Right before you get out is a good time to do your feet. After bath, do the salt-rub and rinse off with tepid water, don’t use soap.

Clay mask

While bathing it is wonderful to use a face-mask and a hair-conditioner. Wash it off in the final shower. If you have only a shower, you do this before your treatment, leaving the mask and conditioner on until you rinse off the salt-rub.

Usually you don’t need any body lotion after the salt rub, since it leaves you smooth and “oiled”. But if you could not resist using soap, or you have very dry skin, you can massage lotion or body-oil into your skin. Pay attention to your feet! Do your facial care as usual; toner, oil and creme.

Now REST! At least 10 minutes. Put cool pads on your eyes, lie down – well covered so you stay warm – and allow yourself total peace and relaxation. Do your home-spa on days when you know that you will not be disturbed. Cleansing in this manner is exhausting to the body. You need time to allow your body to recuperate. Always finish with a nice cup of herbal tea with some honey and/or tepid lemon-water to strengthen your liver. Eat lightly; soup or steamed veggies are best. Stay away from alcohol, meat and bread-products. This way the spa-moment will give maximum benefits. As I said; The idea of the Spa is health more than beauty because HEALTH = BEAUTY.

d.i.y.-Beauty-recipes-lip-stain

RECIPES:

ESSENTIAL OILS FOR THE BATH:

  • Relaxing: Lavender (lavandula augustifolia/l. officinalis), Ylang-Ylang (cananga odorata), Cedarwood (cedrus atlantica), Orange (citrus sinensis/c. dulcis), Petit-grain(citrus aurantium, c. sinensis), Frankincense(boswellia carterii), Sweet Marjoram(origanum majorana), Rose-wood(aniba rosaeodora), Roman Chamomile(chamaemelum nobile), Vetivert(vetiveria zizanoides), Geranium(pelargonium graveolens).
  • Detoxing, invigorating, strengthening: Lemon(citrus limon), Rosemary(rosmarinus officinalis), Pine(pinus sylvestris), Lemongrass(cymbopogon citratus), Black Pepper(piper nigrum) – careful if you have weak kidneys. Eucalyptus(eucalyptus globulus), Grapefruit(citrus x paradisi), Fennel(foeniculum vulgare).

Mix 5-10 drops of essential oils in 15ml (1 tablespoon) base: Honey, cream, unscented soap, vegetable oil, yoghurt. If you have sensitive skin, use a lower dosage. NOTE: If you seem to not smell the scents after a while, do not add more. Your nose has accustomed itself to the scent. If you leave the room for a few minutes and come back, you will smell the scent again.

SALT-RUB: You need to use high quality fine sea-salt. Cover the salt with vegetable oil; almond, apricot-kernel, grape-seed or a blend. For very dry skin mix in a bit of olive oil or shea-butter oil, they are heavier and will stay on the skin a bit longer. (Only use high quality cold-pressed veg. oils) Allow the salt to be saturated by the vegetable oil and then you can (optional) add essential oils; 5-10 drops/15ml (1 table-spoon). Lower doses for sensitive skin. The salt-rub will keep for up to 6 months. Don’t use salt-rub more than once a week. Remember that it takes the skin-cells ca 28 days to reach the surface; if you scrub (peel) to often it might cause dermatitis. (irritation or sensitivity)

HAIR-CONDITIONER: Make a blend of vegetable oils (see above) and add essential oils of choice; 2-5 drops / 15ml (1 tblspoon). Good oils for the scalp are: Dry hair: Lavender, Rosewood, Rosemary and Cedarwood, Geranium. Greasy hair: Use lighter vegetable oils such as grape-seed and Jojoba. Essential oils: Lemon, Lemongrass, Rosemary and Cedarwood, Geranium. Massage the blend into the hair and scalp, cover with a bath-cap or towel. When washing: Always put schampo in first, then rinse. Then wash as normal.

FACIAL MASK:

Clay: Green (greasy skin, acne), pink (dry skin, sensitive), white (allround). Mix with water and some vegetable oil, yoghurt and/or honey.  Add essential oils if you wish; 2 dr/15ml (1 tblspn). It is better to use calming essential oils in a clay-mask: Lavender, Rosewood, Orange, Cedar, Roman Chamomile, Geranium. Apply the mask on clean face and let sit 3-10 minutes. Note: Clays are rather active and can create redness if left too long.

Pastes:  Use your imagination; Banana, avocado, cucumber, oatmeal, green tea, vegetable oils, yoghurt, honey. Just mix your ingredients into a paste and apply. These masks are usually better to use if the skin is very sensitive. You can also add some clay for consistence.

If you are interested in more home-made beauty recipes please check out this great site: mybeautyrecipes.com.

clay

Enjoy your home-spa, give yourself time-out and luxury without spending a fortune and be good to yourself. You will look absolutely stunning!


ESSENTIAL OILS AND EMOTION

essential-oilEssential oils are wonderful mood-enhancers. I have many clients experiencing depression and anxiety from stress. While stress takes time to balance, the emotions involved can quite readily be helped with essential oils.
Usually the scents/blends I use for people are chosen specifically for them and then used in a massage. This way the system is programmed for relaxation from this specific blend. I have found this to be an effective way to “open the door” for further work with stress. An overloaded system and/or brain can not assimilate information…this is one of the reasons the downward-spiral of stress is so debilitating; handling stress comes from knowledge and conscious choices. You learn to handle stress, it doesn’t just happen.

When stressed or depressed we are very bad at helping ourselves. Even if we know how to do it, we don’t manage to do it. Everything is too much, and nothing feels very important anymore. The only thing we feel we can do is close our eyes and hope for it all to go away.

This is where the brilliance of essential oils come in: It is actually enough to open the bottle and inhale deeply from it to feel some release. When I say inhale, I mean inhale. Take a deep breath and bring the scent of the oil as deep into yourself as you can. Close your eyes while doing it, and feel what happens to you.
This is the simplest and most basic way of using an essential oil for mood-enhancement. You can also put a few (3-5) drops on a tissue or handkerchief and carry it around with you for use during the day. Since essential oils are volatile, you might need to refresh the oil after a few hours.

The choice of oil is individual. It is all about what you feel. Smell essential oils and see what they do to you. Remember that your system usually can handle only about 5 different oils at a time, then it is suffused. Go outside, breath some fresh air and then you can smell some more. This, of course, is highly individual.

ESSENTIAL OILS:

Woody oils are grounding and strengthening:
Cedar (cedrus atlantica) Warming and calming.
Cypress (cupressus sempervirens) Strengthening and balancing.
Rosewood (aniba rosaeodora) Balancing, relaxing and uplifting

Resinous oils are protective and warming:
Frankincense (boswellia carterii) Uplifting, deepens breathing, meditation.
Myrrh (commiphora myrrha) Warming and emotionally healing.
Benzoin (styrax benzoin) Warming, euphoric, calming, protecting.

Floral oils are calming uplifting and emotionally releasing:
Geranium (pelargonium graveolens) Very balancing when there is also anger, frustration or irritation.
Lavender (lavandula officinalis / augustifolia) Wonderfully calming when there are also sleeping-problems.
Ylang-Ylang (cananga odorata) Uplifting, euphoric and very good where there is anger. (High doses can give head-ache and/or nausea)

Citrus oils are uplifting and refreshing. They also blend well with the above-mentioned oils. Citrus oils carry sun-energy and this can be helpful during the wintermonths.
Orange (citrus sinensis) Sweet, uplifting.
Lemon (citrus limon) Refreshing, clears the mind
Mandarin (citrus reticulata) Sweet, helps the inner child.

Another great oil when there is sluggishness, tiredness (physical & emotional):
Rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis) Uplifting, clears the mind, stimulating.

Orange blossomNote: Essential oils are not drugs. They work with the body. If your system is exhausted and you need to sleep, even the most stimulating oil will not keep you alert.
Also note that if depression is severe it is good to bring in some stimulating oils (citrus, rosemary) since the more calming oils can enhance depression in higher doses.

QUALITY: Buy good quality oils. If the oil is of an inferior quality, you will not have the benefits. Essential oils are natural, they have life-energy. If they are handled and stored wrongly they will lose their properties. E.O are quite costly but they go a long way. Always look for the latin name on the label, this way you are sure that you get the real thing. (There are many different cedars, for example, and one of them is slightly toxic to the system.)
The label should also say 100% pure essential oil.

WARNING: Essential oils are highly concentrated and can be irritating to the skin and mucous membranes. Do not use them internally, do not use neat on skin, keep away from eyes, children and pets.