Tag Archives: training

ETHICAL essential oils

When I first started with aromatherapy and essential oils in the late 80’s, the largest obstacle in reaching people was the complete lack of awareness. “Aromatherapy, what’s that? Some kind of mumbo-jumbo?” Another obstacle was finding good quality essential oils since most oils went to the large market-place; perfumery, food-stuffs etc. Finding pure, unadulterated, organic or wild essential oils was not easy…Especially in Sweden which was nowhere-land when it came to aromatherapy. We were a small group of 4 or 5 people working with essential oils in Sweden at the time and we worked very hard on the quality issue. UK was way ahead at the time and that’s where we would find most of our essential oils; from people such as Robert Tisserand, Shirley Price and Jan Kusmirek, who had worked for years on creating a niche for quality oils and spending time traveling to growers and producers all over the world to make it happen.

At the time we talked about ethics; the ethics of aromatherapy, essential oils and vegetable oils. Ethics is also about sustainability; when you cut a tree you plant another one…Or two. Organic was not really on the agenda at the time, public knowledge about essential oils and aromatherapy was more or less non-extinct, and hard work was put in to create an awareness about ethical essential oils.

Fast-forward till today: Aromatherapy is a house-hold word, everybody knows about essential oils. By putting the word “aromatherapy” on a product, a promise is somehow made; this will do more for you, no matter if it is a washing-powder or a spa. It has become the great magic word; everybody wants aromatherapy. (And it’s always written, for some obscure reason, in italics 🙂 ) Aromatherapy has become a marketing word, as far from the real thing as is possible.

Now there are all kinds of statements around the quality of essential oils; organic, bio, natural, certified pure therapeutic grade and so on. Most of this is pure marketing and have no value what-so-ever when it comes to defining the quality of an essential oil, without thorough analysis you can sell most anything under any flag and get away with it, quality is hard to discern without years of experience.

MLM-companies now sell “certified pure therapeutic grade oils“, check this link for the truth, or rather untruth, about that statement. Anybody can say anything about essential oils without any training whatsoever, selling oils under false pretences. Aromatherapy is about therapy and takes training. Essential oils are powerful substances that should be used with care. They are also a gift from nature and should be treated with respect and care. You do not take from nature without giving something back, she is not a money-cow.

The moment therapeutic essential oils became money-makers, ruthlessness entered the field. The magic of these precious substances is reduced to dollars and cents and the respect for nature went out the window. Here is to give you an idea: One year France exported 3 tonnes of lemon-balm (melissa officinalis), a very expensive oil, to Morocco. Morocco in turn exported 9 tonnes of lemon-balm that year. Only problem is; Morocco had, at the time, no production of lemon-balm…Makes you think, doesn’t it, what is really in the little expensive bottles you buy. And don’t be fooled by fancy labeling with certifications on them – often they are just marketing, nothing else. Inform yourself, get some basic knowledge and use your common sense. Demand information, ask questions and make sure that you get what you pay for. If somebody comes to your door to sell you essential oils…beware.

Finally; I would like to exchange all the rubbish certifications with the word ethical. And I would like to see traceability and documentation to this fact.

Check out my earlier posts on aromatherapy and essential oils profiles to get an idea of what true aromatherapy is and how much plant-matter is needed to get even a small amount of essential oils.

Advertisements

ESSENTIAL OIL SAFETY for home use

Sometimes I meet people who are either very afraid of using essential oils, or very careless. I think essential oil safety is an issue that needs addressing. The bulk of essential oils are used by the food, cosmetics and toiletries industry. It is mainly used as a taste-enhancer in foods or as a scent in different household and cosmetic products. Therapeutic grade essential oils are used by aromatherapists, natural perfumers, natural skin-care manufacturers and laymen (anybody who enjoys using oils around the house). Therapeutic grade means either ecologically / traditionally grown or wild harvested.

Essential oils are concentrates which means that they are strong. You don’t rub the entire content of a 10ml bottle into your skin or put it in your bath; you use some drops. There is a huge amount of information on how to use EO’s around the house and if you follow the advice given, there should be no problem. An aromatherapist has received in-depth training on EO’s; how, why and when to use them (or not). Often they use the oils in different dosages or ways than you would find in a book. This doesn’t mean that the oils suddenly become dangerous, it just means that with training you learn to use EO’s therapeutically for specific problems. You won’t find this in books, it is not for laymen to play around with and if using EO’s would be that easy there is no point with professional training.

Popular literature give people access to these wonderful oils without causing themselves harm. That’s why the dosages are kept low, administration routes are safe and many oils have warnings. When your therapist uses any of the “dangerous” oils, the ones with warnings, she/he has a reason. It’s like medicine; you can buy aspirin over the counter but not antibiotics… Essential oils are widely available and if people would use them in a seriously therapeutic way without knowledge there would arise so many problems that the oils would become restricted.

In the early 90’s Tea tree was banned because there were many reports of skin irritations, subsequently Tea tree was deemed hazardous and taken of the market. We know today that Tea tree is a very safe and useful oil but at the time popular belief said you could use the oil for any skin-problem, mainly acne, but there was no information on dosage or how to use it, therefore careless use was what created the problem, not the oil itself. Sage (Salvia officinalis) is an EO that should be used with caution yet it is a cooking herb. It’s all about concentration and dosage.

Do enjoy these gorgeous oils carefully and when you are not sure or you are facing a serious problem, contact a professional. You won’t find the answer in a book or on the internet.

THE ART OF SILENCE

Everybody who works with people need to take an oath of silence, even if it is only to themselves. As a therapist or coach you learn so much about the people you work with, private stuff, and for them to feel safe you need to make sure they understand that everything stays between the two of you. Everything! You also need to stay non-judgmental in your evaluation of their status and progress. I would like to stretch it and say that this also goes for friend-ship.

I never speak of my clients except very special cases that I use as examples when I am doing conferences or trainings and then I always ask permission and make sure nobody knows who the client is.

When I meet a client “in the street” I don’t mention how we know each-other, I just say hello and stick to non-committal small talk. If they want to bring up our client-therapist relationship, it’s up to them. I never ignore a client, no matter how nervous they may seem to see me in another setting. And trust me, sometimes they look very uncomfortable. If somebody asks I just say that we have met “somewhere”.

Another point is when I work one-on-one with people who are related in any way; It does happen that they ask me about each-other, looking for information or wanting me to interfere in some way. I very clearly make them aware that this will not happen unless they come to see me together.

I don’t ask my private clients for testimonials to use as publicity since this puts them in a very awkward situation; if they are happy with my work they will feel they are letting me down if they say no, and most people don’t feel comfortable giving testimonials, even if their name is not mentioned: It moves the energetics of our work from private to public.

In my early days I was not as well-trained in these matters and I made slips and mistakes, always wanting to kick myself afterwards. Nowadays, whatever goes on in the treatment-room stays there. A special place has been created in me that has no connection to my world outside or to me. It is the “treatment-room within me”, so to speak.

All my clients are referrals; from other clients or health-professionals and the reason for this is because I can be trusted. This is the best publicity ever.

CHILDREN

Children live and act from their hearts until they are told differently. A child is forever telling their world around them of their love; little physical gestures, a picture, doing a chore unasked… The list is long. If you pay attention to this, and see the child and her efforts, she will stay loving and generous. All children need to be seen, not because they are children, but because they are people who will become adults. Biologically a child needs to be seen to survive, not only on an emotional level, but also physical; a child who is seen will be fed and cared for. The worst thing that can happen to a child is indifference.

If you are indifferent to a child and forget to pay attention to their communication they will try another way, usually the opposite, by becoming obnoxious, loud and aggressive. This kind of behaviour always attracts attention, and the child got what it wanted – even though it is not positive: A seen child is fed and cared for. This stretches all the way back to our origins. We might have evolved but our basic needs are still the same.

Children are constantly hungry for knowledge; they are forever asking why, what is that, how does it function. They learn and remember easily and effortlessly, because usually what they want to know is connected to understanding their world. A child will always learn from her level of need. I have seen children teach themselves to read, swim, ride, count and much more, only from curiosity and need. Still society seems to believe that if children are not trained according to the “rules” of schooling, they will grow up to be uneducated imbeciles!

Often children are forced into a pattern of learning that does not fit with their development or skills and they feel stupid. A child who feels stupid either gives up or fights. A child learns while in movement, still we force them to sit still. A child can hold concentration for a maximum of 20 minutes, how many minutes does a class last? Children need to move constantly through the day, yet the sit and sit for hours.

We are guides for our children, our job is to back them up on their journey to becoming adults, not to tell them what to do. Children, more often than not, have a much stronger sense for right and wrong than do adults and their world is non-judgemental and caring.

I heard about this school: Sudbury Valley School where the whole learning process is built on children’s ability to “get what they need”. Take a look and prepare yourself to be most impressed by their work.

“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/

ESSENTIAL OIL & SCENT HISTORY part 4

During the 16:th to 18:th centuries the art of distilling plants had grown to become an every-day matter. Every mansion had its own distillery and the pharmacies of the time distilled essential oils for medicinal purposes. The doctor would make out a recipe, and the pharmacies would blend the medicines.

In this time herbal medicine grew immensely with the founding of the Royal Society in Britain, the plant classifications by Linnaeus and the great herbals by, amongst others, Culpeper, Gerard and Parkinson. By the end of the 18:th century, essential oils were widely used in medicine alongside herbs, essential oils being the strongest form of medicine in existence.

The late 19:th and early 20:th century saw the flourishing of chemistry as a discipline. As plant cures and essential oils could be synthesized in a laboratory – the cures both stronger and faster in action, essential oils began to lose their place in the pharmacopoeiae.

In the early 1900’s a French chemist, RenĂ©-Maurice GattefossĂ© – the father of aromatherapy, rediscovered the effectiveness of essential oils when he after a severe burn dipped his hand in pure lavender-oil and noted the speed of recovery; the pain was instantly subdued, there was no infection nor scarring. This made him devote himself to the study of esssential oils. He discovered that the oils could penetrate the skin to access the blood-stream and chemically interact with the chemistry of the body. In 1937 he published the book “L’aromathĂ©rapie” that became the first textbook on essential oils.

Dr. Jean Valnet followed in GattefossĂ©’s footsteps. He was an army-doctor during WW2. As antibiotics were hard to come by in wartime, he used essential oils with great success. After the war he opened a clinic where he success-fully used essential oils for both physical and psychological healing. Much of his work was based on the antiseptic properties of essential oils. In 1964 Dr Valnet published a book; “AromathĂ©rapie se soigner par les essences de plantes”.

At this stage aromatherapy began popping up all over Europe; Italian doctors Gatti and Cojola start researching the psychological effects of essential oils in the 20:s; In the 70:s their work was followed up by Professor Paolo Rovesti at the University of Milan.

Mme Maury, an Austrian cosmetologist, introduced the idea of massage combined with essential oils in the 50:s. Not being a doctor, she was looking for other ways of administering the essential oils. By blending – or diluting – them with vegetable oil, the resulting blend was milder and could be used directly on the skin without irritating it. Most of her clients were healthy women that wanted beauty-treatments and the results of the aromatherapy was astounding; not only did it make the skin look better, it also had other effects such as relief from rheumathic pain, stronger libido, better and deeper sleep and an overall mood-enhancing effect. In the early 60:s Mme Maury opened her first clinic in London where she also held workshops and training. Some well-known names trained for her in the late 70:s; Robert Tisserand, Shirley Price and Patricia Davis are some of them.

The final break-through for aromatherapy as a valued alternative health practice came in the late 80:s and early 90:s when it finally became a recognized profession in many countries. In Britain and Sweden the training is state-supported and sometimes subsidized.