Properly Applying Essential Oils

Essential oils are highly concentrated and therefore it is not recommended to apply them in their pure form directly to the skin. Using a small amount of oil diluted in water will provide better results.

Aromatherapy can be achieved by several different methods. Knowing how to properly use essential oils in different applications will lead to greater benefits.

  • Baths – adding aromatherapy oils to your bath water is an easy way to achieving their health benefits. By simply adding a few drops to the bathwater and blending before you submerge yourself, the aroma will trigger your olfactory senses. This is turn will help to increase your circulation and bring help to bring out physical harmony.
  • Lotions/Creams/Salves – by adding a few drops of fragrant oil to your favorite lotions, for example cocoa butter or shea butter will stimulate healing properties. To create your own fragrant blend, apply to any unscented lotion.
  • Aromatherapy Vapor Inhalation – this is the foundation of aromatherapy treatments. Steam inhalation is a great way to alleviate sinus or respiratory issues. Add five drops of aromatic oil to steaming water and inhale the aroma using a towel tent; this will keep the aroma from escaping.
  • Aromatherapy Massage – this is one of the most popular methods of aromatherapy. By blending drops of fragrant oil with your favorite lotion (e.g. almond, cocoa butter or shea butter) can affect the body both psychologically and physiologically depending on which essential oil you use. To energize the senses, peppermint is great whereas lavender is more of a relaxing scent. Essential oils used during massage trigger the olfactory senses. Some oils may also be absorbed into the skin and the blood stream to produce healing effects.
  • Compress – by adding a few drops of your preferred oil into a bowl of warm water, immerse a washcloth into the blend and wring out. Use the washcloth as a compress by applying to the area of the body that needs pain relief. Warm essential oil compresses are great for sore muscles, forehead and stomach pains and menstrual cramps.
  • Dishwater/Clothes Washer/Dryers – the anti-bacterial properties of essential oils can dramatically promote greater hygiene. By adding a few drops of lemon to your dishwater will clean the dishes and makes the kitchen smell great. Use Purification essential oil in the laundry to kill bacteria and germs found in clothes. The same can be done for the dryer by applying the oil to a wet towel or from a mist spray bottle directly into the dryer.
  • Cleaning/Disinfecting – apply a few drops of lemon, spruce, or fir oil on a dust cloth or ten drops in water in a spray bottle to polish furniture and to clean and disinfect kitchens and bathrooms.

These simple tips of the proper way to use aromatherapy essential oils can lead to a more relaxing and healthier lifestyle.

Your Renewable Energy Plan

You know the feeling – your alarm goes off at 6:30am, you’re in a deep sleep, your head feels foggy and the only thought going through your head is “Pleeeease can I just have 5 more minutes?” Even if you consider yourself to be a morning person you are probably far from firing on all cylinders when you first open your eyes. Here’s a few tips to get your energy humming and put a little more fuel in your tank as you waken to your day:

  1. Let the sun in and stretch your body – Exposure to light stimulates your brain to stop producing melatonin (the hormone that keeps you sleepy), it literally wakes up your body at a cellular level. As light enters your body and particularly your brain it resets the brains suprachiasmatic nucleus (I hope I spelled that correctly!) – this is the part of your brain that controls your body’s natural energy and circadian rhythms. The stretch will send your body a message that it is time to begin moving and in response your body temperature will rise and increase blood flow to your brain. So open the blinds, throw back the curtains and greet the day with a super stretch!
  2. Scent your shower – This is one of my personal favorites and really helps to wake me up in the morning. Scent your shower with stimulating smells, it can be anything you like however aromatherapy oils of citrus, eucalyptus and mint are known to stimulate a surge of energy through the body which clears the mind and gives you a quick mood lift.And who doesn’t want that to start their day?
  3. Breathe – Yes I know I say this a lot but it’s the primary way you bring energy into your body on a regular basis. Hunching over as you drag yourself our of bed can restrict your breathing, leading to a habit of shallow breathing which means you’re getting less oxygen to the brain and so you feel less mentally alert and energetic. So take a moment to breathe deeply and relax your shoulders. Place a hand on your belly and feel it expand as you inhale. Then exhale completely and watch your hand go down. The more carbon dioxide you expel the more space you are clearing for your next breath.
  4. Eat a colorful breakfast – Don’t just mindlessly reach for the coffee in the morning or you will deplete your energy before you start. This is arguably the most important meal of the day and you want to fill your plate with as much color as possible. Natural, unprocessed color. Combine the color with lean protein and complex fibre rich carbohydrates which are slowly digested and keep your blood sugar steady.
  5. Shake up your routine – Your brain responds to novel experiences with a rush of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine which keep you alert and focused. Now you don’t need to dive off a cliff first thing every morning to stimulate your energy, just take something ordinary and switch it up… if you’re right handed brush your teeth with your left or take a different route to work. Anything to make you feel alive and place you firmly in the drivers seat of your own life, ready to take on the day!

How to Stop Mind Chatter When Trying to Sleep

You know the feeling: it’s time for bed, you’re tired, but your mind doesn’t want to stop chattering to itself. And in the process, it’s stopping you from going to sleep. It’s just racing around as though it’s the middle of the day. Here are some tips to help you get over the problem of your mind chatter stopping you from getting to sleep.

Start unwinding about an hour before going to bed

Part of the problem with mind chatter is that our mind doesn’t have an on/off switch.

It really has trouble moving from being fully engaged to doing something more restful.

I find that by starting to unwind and slow down about an hour before bed time, my mind has chance to finish most of the chatter it had started and allows me to get to sleep without too much interference from the background chattering.

Cut down on the caffeine

Caffeine is obviously in things like coffee and cola. But it’s also in tea, so simply swapping from coffee to tea won’t necessarily do the trick.

Students know to drink coffee and pop caffeine tablets to help them stay awake to study.

Which means that you need to do the opposite to help you quiet your mind and get a good night’s rest.

A good rule of thumb is to reduce your caffeine intake from about midday and cut it out altogether from mid to late afternoon.

But a word of warning: caffeine is a powerful drug, so cut down gradually rather than go cold turkey. Otherwise it won’t be mind chatter that’s keeping you awake, it will be a nasty throbbing headache instead.

Have a nice warm bath

This goes well with the first tip.

A nice, long, warm bath is a great way to unwind. It also helps sooth your body and helps you to relax.

If you’re feeling especially keen, light some aromatherapy candles to add to the atmosphere but even without those, a warm bath in subdued lighting can go a long way to relaxing you and cutting down the mind chatter.

Turn off all lights

The darker your room, the better.

That means turning off or covering all lights – even the alarm clock or the standby light on the television (which you shouldn’t have been watching just before retiring to sleep anyway!).

A pitch black room is best – you may need to get a blackout lining for your curtains or blinds but it’s well worth the investment.

Learn to relax

Relaxation is something we instinctively knew when we were younger but seem to forget as we get older.

You can learn to relax using methods such as yoga, meditation (a breathing meditation is simple and works very well) or hypnosis.

Some people seem to find it difficult to switch off, so listening to a pre-recorded relaxation track can be a good way to nudge your body in the right direction.

If you combine that with some binaural beats – a high tech name for playing two slightly different tones, one in each ear – then you’ve got a recipe for a really excellent night’s sleep.