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.
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.
Posted in Aromatherapy, Lifestyle, Massage, Stress
Tagged anxiety, appetite, bergamott, fear, frailty, geranium, lavender, lemon, Massage, melissa, mental stimulation, neroli, orange, peppermint, retirement home, rosemary, seniors, sleep, Stress, ylang-ylang
New years Eve is coming up and party-time is upon us. Here are some “I-feel-great” party-blends for that razzle ‘n dazzle:
- Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata) + Grapefruit (Citrus paradisii) + Pine (Pinus sylvestris)
- Rose (Rosa centifolia) + Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) + Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans)
- Jasmine (Jasminum officinale) + Black pepper (Piper nigrum) + Ginger (Zingiber officinale) + Sandalwood (Santalum album)
- Petit grain (Citrus aurantium) + Mandarine (Citrus reticulata) + Bergamott (Citrus bergamia)
- Myrrh (Commiphora myrrah) + Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) + Rose (Rosa centifolia)
For body-scent use about 5-10 drops of a blend in 15-20ml veg. oil or unscented lotion. For perfume: 20-30 drops in 10ml jojoba-oil.
The day after (all that bubbly…) your liver might need some extra support: Start the day with lemon-water; Squeeze 1/2 lemon into a glass of warm (not hot) water and drink first thing. Blend 1 drop of rose otto in 5ml (1 teaspoon) of veg. oil and rub over your liver a few times during the day. The liver is situated on the right side of your body, under the lower ribs. Rub some of the blend into your temples as well 🙂
Beware of using Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea) together with alcohol; it can give some negative side-effects. In the old days clary sage (the herb) was often blended in wine to create a slightly hallucinogenic and euphoric effect…usually followed by a massive headache.
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL AND ENJOY!!!
Posted in Aromatherapy, Lifestyle, perfume, Wellness
Tagged alcohol, bergamott, black pepper, blends, clary sage, fragrances, geranium, ginger, jasmine, liver, mandarine, myrrh, new year, nutmeg, party, patchouli, perfume, petit grain, pine, rose, sandalwood, ylang-ylang
To many people this time of year brings an all-time low. It gets colder and darker and our energy plummets. This is believed to occur because the hormone serotonin decreases when there is less light.
There are plenty of ways how to bring energy and joy back into life as the nights get longer (and actually start creeping into daytime…).
- Enjoy the season; This is a time to go indoors; light candles, buy flowers, make your home cozy; this is your space of retreat. Experience the bliss of sitting in the warmth of your home with lit candles, watching the cold darkness outside.
- Pamper yourself: Take warm baths, create a home-spa; rub, buff, peel and moisturize! Go for a massage.
- Un-clutter: Go through ”all that stuff”; pictures, books, papers, clothes. Use this indoor-time to clear your living-space and allow yourself the joy of uncluttered living. Believe it or not, but this is a great boost for serotonine-levels in the brain. Clutter creates stress.
- Meditation: Take time out each day for yourself, 10 minutes is enough. Light some candles, put on relaxing music, lie or sit comfortably, close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. Really bring the breath all the way down into your belly. Set a timer so you don’t have to worry about the timing. These minutes will feel longer than they are… Great energizer!
- Get outside EVERY day: Even for only a little while. Your system needs day-light and exercise in order to function. It doesn’t matter what the weather is like. Just get out there and walk or jump around for a while. It will boost your energy-levels and you will feel great! (then you can crawl onto your sofa with a steaming cup of tea and a good book, or movie…BLISS!)
- Herbal teas & natural remedies: St Johns wort, Lemonbalm, lavender… Stay clear of too much stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol and sugars.
- Aromatherapy: Of course. Essential oils are a great help to help with emotions and stress. They also work directly with the hormonal system. Use uplifting oils in a burner or on a tissue to inhale. Great scents for winter are: Citrus-oils (orange, mandarin, lemon, grape…), Lavender, Ylang-ylang, Geranium and/or whatever you prefer. Remember; essential oils are strongly concentrated and only a few drops are needed to have an effect.
- Thought-patterns: When you feel yourself thinking negatively, change your thoughts, think of uplifting things.
Remember: This doesn’t just happen by itself. You are responsible for your well-being. No matter how difficult or un-attractive it might seem to exercise, for example. Just do it and you will notice what an incredible change it makes!
In the times when people still lived in harmony with nature and seasonal changes, this was a time for togetherness and preparation for the hectic spring/summer season. Bedtime came earlier because of the dark.When we remember the rhythm of the seasons and allow ourselves to fit into this rhythm, we handle seasonal changes better. Once spring comes again there will be an explosion of action and energy…then we need to be rested.
For ideas on how to use essential oils, see earlier posts under the “aromatherapy” category.
Posted in Aromatherapy, Lifestyle, Personal development, Stress, Wellness
Tagged bath, candles, citrus, clutter, cold, darkness, day-light, energy, exercise, geranium, herbal teas, lavender, lemonbalm, Massage, meditation, positive, seasons, serotonin, St Johns wort, thought-patterns, winter blues, ylang-ylang
Fragrances have through time been associated with sensuality, love and passion. Humanity has forever looked for the scents which are aphrodisiac in nature, turning people’s heads, making them breathless with desire. Essential oils are amongst these scents; since ancient times have they been used to induce passion and love. Scents as widely removed as clover and rose are on this list.
When researching aphrodisiac scents I noticed that the idea of aphrodisiacs has changed through the times, depending on society and whims. At one time the strongest aphrodisiacs were thought to be musk and civet – taken from the sex-glands of the muskrat and civet-cat. These are strong pheromones that supposedly stimulate the vomeronasal organ, or VNO. Today it is known that this part of the olfactory system is used to “pick up” pheromones between individuals of the same species.
Over time the idea of aphrodisiacs has gone through most scents we know today, from grasses and spices, through woods and roots to flowers. (Though some flowers were always thought to be aphrodisiacs.) I think it also had something to do with the abundance of human smells in the earlier days. In a letter from Napoleon to Josephine he writes: ” I will be home in 3 months, don’t wash”. This gives an idea of the pheromone power!
I personally believe that sensuality is a combination of many things; pheromones – we enjoy the other person’s smell, food, relaxation, scent and, of course for women, monthly cycle. Body smell is made up of pheromones; as much as we enjoy the scent of our loved ones, as badly do we experience the smell of someone we don’t like. One of the first signs of “falling out of love” is when we no longer enjoy the other person’s smell.
(“Researchers have already shown that ‘man sweat’ can elicit some unusual physiological responses in some women: an increased heart rate, a better mood, and sexual arousal.” Read the article here)
Perfumes are designed to make people attractive to each-other. Male perfumes are usually the scents that mostly attract women and vice verse. Today there is a whole industry creating perfumes with pheromones (synthetic) to enhance the attraction of the other sex.
Here is a list over the most commonly used aphrodisiac essential oils, there are of course many more. Sniff around and go with your feelings. The best-known aphrodisiacs are often warming and bring you into contact with emotion and body. To access the emotional areas of the brain, true essential oils are needed, not synthetic scents.
Use them in the bath, as air-spray, massage-oil, perfume and/or room-scent. Spray them on your linen and on your hair. Use your imagination and have fun. Just remember dosages and possible sensitization. For best effect, use them sparsely – too much scent dulls the mind and can give head-aches instead. Be careful with floral oils if there is asthma or allergy.
Posted in Aromatherapy, perfume
Tagged aphrodisiac, bath, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, civet, clary sage, clove, essential oils, flowers, ginger, history, jasmine, Massage, musk, Napoleon, Oud, patchouli, perfume, pheromones, relaxation, rose, sandalwood, sensuality, sex, smell, vanilla, vomeronasal organ, ylang-ylang
This is the (shortened) story of how I gave birth to my last child at home. It was a beautiful September day and I had worked during the day, giving aromatherapy treatments. In the afternoon my body told me “stop and go home”, so I did. I pottered around the house, cooked dinner for my family and did homework with the children. At 8pm the water broke and I put the 3 children to bed while a storm starting brewing outside. At 10pm my contractions were accelerating quickly, as was the storm – by now trying to take the roof of the house and flatten the forest around us. The electricity was gone so we lit a fire in the living-room and got water from the well (no water without electricity). We called the midwife who said she’d come at once. Considering that she had about 60 km to go in the very bad storm, I prepared myself for giving birth alone with my hubby. The children were sleeping soundly, so I did not have to concentrate on them.
I had a blend to use for massage during the contractions to help relax me; Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia), Ylang-Ylang (Cananga odorata) and Mandarine (Citrus reticulata). Hubby massaged my lower back during the contractions, and in between we danced. Dancing is a brilliant way of helping baby down the passage and it keeps mum moving and happy. The more you move your hips, the easier the baby comes.
At 11.30pm the midwife and her assistant came, dodging falling trees all along the way – midwives must be amongst the bravest people on earth! By now we had moved into birth-state in the living-room; candles, a fire and Neroli (Citrus aurantium ssp amara var. pumilla) in the diffuser. The ladies hugged me and moved into the kitchen to leave us alone until it was time for Baby to come. Right before midnight they came back into the room, just in time to sit by while Baby exited. (Apparently they could hear that it was time by the sounds I made) That’s all they did, they sat in the other end of the room while we had our baby. Not once did they touch Baby, they guided hubby through the clearing of passages and cutting of cord. Then they made us tea, changed the linen in our bed and sang a welcome song for Baby. Since the baby came at precisely midnight, we decided on the next day for her birthday. Finally, with Baby in my arms, I slept until it was time to get the other kids up for school.
Magic, pure magic.
Posted in Aromatherapy, Babies & Children
Tagged baby, birth, children, dancing, essential oils, home-birth, lavender, magic, mandarine, midwife, neroli, Pregnancy, ylang-ylang
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.
- Going over her diet and taking out all stimulants; sugar, tea, alcohol.
- 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.
- 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.
- Breathing exercises and how to control the mood-swings by recognizing signals.
- physiotherapy for the tension in head, back and stomach – 3 sessions in 2 weeks.
- Full-body massage once a week and home-massage of face and neck twice a day with essential oils.
- 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.
Posted in Aromatherapy, Personal development, Stress
Tagged breathing, diet, essential oils, eucalyptus, geranium, head-aches, healing, inner stress, lavender, mandarine, Massage, meditation, migraine, mind-map, nausea, pain, pepper-mint, roman chamomile, rosemary, sandalwood, ylang-ylang
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)
Posted in Aromatherapy, Lifestyle, Scents, Stress, Wellness
Tagged anger, anxiety, Aromatherapy, cinnamon, clary sage, essential oils, frankincense, geranium, inhalation, lavender, lemongrass, Lifestyle, lonely, marjoram, may chang, mood-swings, neroli, patchouli, peppermint, petit grain, PMS, roman chamomile, rosemary, rosewood, sadness, Scents, Stress, vetiver, Wellness, ylang-ylang