Posts Tagged ‘essential oils’

Subtle Aromatherapy & Flower Essences

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

There’s a rumor out there that flower essences and aromatherapy don’t mix well together.  They say that somehow the aromatherapy scents will destroy the delicate vibrational remedies.  Maybe  this happens with people who believe it, but it’s never happened to any blend I’ve created, using both modalities at he same time.  My guidance in the matter, has always been to blend the essential oils first, then add the carrier oil or water, and then add the flower essences.  After which, I allow everything to intermingle for several hours and become one.

Some of you may be wondering what the dickens is a flower essence?? In short, this is a vibrational remedy.  It is created by picking the organic flower of  your choice, putting it in a bowl of water and then setting the bowl of water out in the sunlight for several hours.  The sun, with it’s life giving energies, infuses the flower’s essence or vibration in the water.  We then call this the Mother Essence.  Stock bottles are made in homeopathic style, by taking 3-7 drops of the Mother Essence, and dropping them into a 1 oz. bottle, and adding distilled water.  Dosage bottles are made in the same fashion, by dropping 3-7 drops of the stock essence into another bottle (1 oz. – 1/3 oz.), and filling the bottle with distilled water.  Some companies you can experiment with are:  Bach Flower Remedies, Flower Essence Society, Desert Essence, Perelandra, Pegasus, and Green Hope Farms.

Flower essences work under the guises of the Doctrine of Signatures.  Meaning that each flower resonates to a different emotional issue that we may have.  In the beginning, flower essences were only made to help us heal emotional distress, in it’s many forms.  However, as flower essences became more popular, many remedies were created to help with our spiritual awakening, as well.

I’ve been working with flower essences for over 20 years and have accumulated over 200 bottles in the interim.  And I do use them whenever I blend a subtle aromatherapy formula.  I have always found this double wammy of potency, makes a far superior product.

You may have noticed, however, for pets I only use flower essences in a number of products. This is because flower essences, unlike essential oils, can be used with  all animals without side effects.  Essential oil blends can be toxic to cats, and a little over powering to birds as well.  Much of my research on this subject has also revealed that it is always wise to let your pet smell the essential oil blend first to see if they like it.  We must remember and honor that animals are way more sensitive about scents than we are.

What have your experiences been, with combining aromatherapy & flower essences?

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Subtle Aromatherapy and Meditation

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

The hook for most of us to meditate, is that it can help us to reduce the stress that we create in our hectic day to day lives.  And if this is your primary focus for meditation, aromatherapy can certainly help with calming essential oils like  lavender, rose, or chamomile.  As we breathe these oils in we can feel ourselves relax, and move into a better mood.

That’s great!, but how does it work? When we inhale essential oils, whether by diffuser, or in a blend, we trigger thousands of olfactory nerve cells in our nose, that carries the scent directly to our olfactory bulb, located to the back of our nose.  The nerve endings of the olfactory bulb, then send the scent directly to our limbic brain, that houses such instincts as our memories, emotions, sex drive, hunger, and pleasure.  That is why some scents  can remind us of  long ago memories, shift our moods, or be considered aphrodisiacs.

However, relaxation is only a side-effect of meditation.  The true reason to meditate is to gain a higher consciousness.  And if this is your goal,  Subtle Aromatherapy is a great way to access and enhance your deeper meditation skills.  Sandalwood for instance, has a long history in India, Tibet and China of bringing one into higher states of consciousness, by stilling the mind of it’s incessant chatter, while calming and toning the nervous system.  Sandalwood also has a subtle grounding affect , so it is related to the crown and base chakras.  Unfortunately, these days, we cannot work with the infamous Mysore Sandalwood, since the tree is almost extinct.  Due to unsustainable harvesting practices in India, obtaining Mysore Sandalwood legally, is nearly impossible.  However, Australian Sandalwood is a good substitute.

Known since ancient times, Frankincense has been used spiritually in the Middle East, Greek, and Roman civilizations.  Egyptians, Jews, and Romans alike have burned it in their ceremonies and rituals.  Frankincense is known to  profoundly affect us spiritually and psychologically, by stilling the mind, calming our central nervous systems, and helping us to break free from mundane attachment.  Frankincense is also subtly grounding.  It opens the crown chakra, balances the third eye, and connects us to the earth through our base chakra.

Another excellent aid in reaching higher consciousness in meditation is Lotus Attar. Seen as a sacred flower for millenia, it has been put on Hindu, Buddhist and Egyptian alters as offerings to the Gods.   Opening our Crown chakra, Lotus attar will help us to transcend our earthly bonds and experience our Divinity.  It has beeen seen as a symbol for spiritual enlightenment, and it’s purpose is to accelerate our spiritual evolvement.  Relaxing and euphoric, it’s a must for anyone wanting to enhance their meditations.  There are three different colors of Lotus, pink, white and blue;  each containing it’s own subtlety of scent and function.  When Attars are made, the essential oils are infused in odorless sandalwood during or directly after the distillation process. As a fixative, sandalwood helps to expand the bouquet and creates a long lasting scent.  So whether you inhale or anoint, you can benefit from the affects of lotus and sandalwood, in Lotus Attar.

Tell us about your experiences with Subtle Aromatherapy and Meditation!

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Subtle Aromatherapay: An Overview

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Other than being an aromatherapist, I also have an 18 year old spiritual healing practice, where I use aromatherapy and other vibrational therapies with my clients.  In the previous entries, I have mostly focused on the physical properties of carrier and essential oils and how to use them.  In this next category, we will go beyond the physical and delve into our “hidden anatomy” and how we can work with aromatherapy to heal it.

Essential oils are very complex Beings.  Each is composed of  200-500 different chemical components.  And it’s this complexity, that allows  them to work with the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions.  However, you can only find this complexity with top notch essential oils.  That is why it is imperative in subtle aromatherapy that you only work with high quality oils.

Most of the information about subtle aromatherapy comes from the ancient past, through the writings of mystics, alchemists, fables, folklore, legend and myth.   However, like the shaman, we too can glean information about subtle aromatherapy by getting in touch with the plant’s essence or spirit.  In this way, the plant itself, can tell us what the best uses of it’s essential oil can be.  It is through our own experimentation and experience, however, that we truly learn about the gift of subtle aromatherapy.

There are many facets of subtle aromatherapy.  The most common being, how essential  oils affect our subtle bodies, and help in our meditations, that  includes affirmations, visualizations, and other transformative techniques for inner work.  Subtle aromatherapy can also be applied when doing planetary healing, absent healing, ceremony and ritual.  And we can combine this technique with other vibrational therapies, such as color, flower essences and sound.

So, join me as we take a left hand turn from the physical attributes of carrier oils, to learn some unique ways of working with essential oils through subtle aromatherapy.

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Aromatherapy Carrier Oils: An Experiencial Overview

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Over the years I have worked with a number of aromatherapy carrier oils.  In the beginning, I used the “old faithfuls” like sweet almond and grapeseed oils, and later on branched out and experimented with others.

I think the main thing I was looking for was a carrier oil that had healing properties of it’s own, yet penetrated the skin quickly.  Mentally, I  had difficulties with grapeseed oil, because I was always circumspect of the amount of pesticides it had.  In those days, organic carrier oils were pretty much nonexistent, or ungodly expensive.  Then, I found out that grapeseed oil also went rancid very quickly.  And without grapeseed, sweet almond oil is really too heavy to use.  So enter Macadamia Nut oil.  I used this carrier for quite a while for everyday aromatherapy blends.  It is lighter and penetrates the skin faster than sweet almond, however, I found that it separated and got heavier than the former in the refrigerator .  Plus, it was more difficult to find on a consistent basis.

When I decided to sell my essential oil blends to the public, I needed to do more aromatherapy carrier oil research.  Now I needed a carrier that not only penetrated the skin easily, but one that would have a longer shelf life.  I certainly didn’t want my products going rancid before or after they were purchased.  Then I found out about Golden Jojoba. This carrier is not really an oil, but rather a wax, and because of this, it has the added advantage of not staining fabric.   It is cold pressed from the Jojoba bean.  It’s Ph is very similar to our skin’s, it penetrates quickly and feels smooth and silky when applied.  And yes, it will stay fresh a long time; up to two years.  Organic Golden Jojoba, is also easily obtained at a reasonable price.  I buy from The Jojoba Company. They now sell organic and a pesticide free Golden Jojoba.  Unlike most of the books out there that insist that you mix jojoba with other aromatherapy carrier oils, I use it on it’s own for all of my everyday blends.

I’ve also experimented with many expensive carrier oils that are good for facial products.  Rose hip seed oil, borage oil, tamanu, centella, argan to name a few.  And I’m always curious about new ones as they become available.  I always love experimenting on myself before deciding whether or not to use it in my retail facial blend.

So in this next leg along our aromatic journey, I’ll be talking about the diverse selection of carrier oils that are available for you to play with.  I trust you will have as much fun reading, as I will have writing!

Let us know what your favorite carrier oil is!

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Essential Oils: Why is Quality Important?

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Essential oils (EO’s) are extremely complex in nature.  They have between 200-500 different chemical components.  And it is because of this diffuse chemical structure, that essential oils have a wide range of healing properties.  However, only high quality (EO’s) will be extremely complex.  When you use lower quality essential oils, many of the nuances associated with that oil, will no longer be there.  For instance, both high and low quality essential oils may work well topically, but  when applied subtlety (energetically), only the higher quality EO will actually work.

Adulteration is another reason to buy high quality essential oils and to know your supplier.  What are their essential oils standards?  Where are they getting their essential oils?  Are the essential oils processed at a low temperature?  All of these questions are relevant when looking for high quality oils.

It is also important to buy organic and/or wildcrafted essential oils whenever possible.  Any pesticides used when the plant were grown, will become concentrated during processing.

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Essential Oils: Should We Use Them Undiluted on Our Skin?

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

This is a rather controversial topic.  In one camp we have the followers of essential oil guru Gary Young, who developed the now famous RainDrop Therapy.  And in the other one, are the clinical aromatherapists, who are dead set against using undiluted oils on your skin.  So what’s going on?

I think the first thing we must ascertain is, what are the risks? As I have said before, essential oils (EO’s) do not stay in your body very long (4-6 hours).  So putting undiluted essential oils on the body, runs the risk of liver damage.  Essential oils are also highly concentrated liquids from plants, and many of them are what you would term “hot”.  This means that when put on the skin undiluted, you run the risk of burning your client.  Even if the EO is not “hot”, there is still the risk of irritation.  And last, but certainly not least, is the risk of sensitization.   This means that by getting a huge blast of EO’s, some people may develop an allergic reaction to all EO’s.

What responsibilities do we have as practitioners? Because our clients put their trust in us, we need to be well informed about many facets of the essential oils we are using.  This usually takes years of study and/or training.  I would also hope that all practitioners keep their client’s best interests at heart and not take risks with their health.

In the 20 years I’ve been working with essential oils, my experience has been that less is more.  In the end, this is your decision to make.  But unlike ingesting EO’s, this decision includes someone else.  So choose wisely.

Please tell us your opinions about this controversial topic!

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Essential Oils: Should We Ingest Them?

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

There is a lot of conflicting information out there concerning this topic.  Old school people will tell you absolutely not!  Yet, I see over and over again on reputable sights, such as the AIA (Association for International Aromatherapists) newsletter, recipes on how to cook with them.  Then, there are those who put essential oils in water  or capsules and ingest them for one reason or another.  What’s a person to do?

In the end, you will have to decide for yourself.  However, in the meantime, here’s the scoop on essential oils.  Essential oils are highly concentrated liquids from plants, and many of them are what you would term “hot”.  This means that if you were to ingest them, chances are they would burn your throat and other body parts as they went down to your stomach.  Essential oils also do not mix with water.  So, if you used this medium you would still be getting the essential oil’s  full strength in your body.

Essential oils also do not stay in your body very long.  They are there only 4-6 hours.  And because of this, ingesting them would probably stress or possibly damage your liver.  Taking them in a capsule, will help your throat, but it will not help your liver.  Our bodies deal with so many environmental and food toxins everyday as it is.  Is is wise to feed it something else that may also harm it?  Liver damage is also hard to detect.

So if you are tempted, you need to ask yourself some serious questions.  Why do I want to do this?  And is it important enough to risk bodily harm?  My answer to this dilemma is to side with caution,  and not ingest essential oils.

Please share your opinions about this!

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Essential Oils: Did the Ancients Use Them?

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Although ancient people did use plants for their rituals, incense,  medicines, and embalming  practices, they were not using essential oils as we know them today.  Instead, they worked with macerates or infused oils.  These are made by placing plant leaves, petals and sometimes stalks in a vegetable oil, letting it sit in a warm place for 2-3 weeks.  As the plant material turned brown, during this process, it was replaced with fresh plant parts.  This action continued until the desired infused strength was reached.

The Persians and people from India also used Attars.  Although the extraction method is classified as steam distillation, the end product is very different from our western essential oils.  During or directly after the extraction of the plant essence, it was mixed with Sandalwood or another fixative.  This expanded the bouquet and enabled it to be long-lasting.  This method was usually used to make perfumes.  Historical records show that this method began during the 10th century AD and the Persians are given credit for it’s invention.

The ancients also used resins from trees such as pine, frankincense and myrrh to make incense  and medicinal goods.

Essential oils as we know them today in the west, are relatively new.  They were first brought into use by European scientists and doctors around 1907.  Then in 1937, the Father of today’s aromatherapy movement, French chemist, Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, popularized the word aromatherapy.  Since then, essential oils have been made and used all over the world.

Do you have anything to add to the history of essential oils?

 

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Co2 Extraction: “The New Kid on the Block”

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Extraction is the newest from of essential oil extraction.  So how does it work?

When carbon dioxide is put under extreme pressure, it turns into a liquid.  This liquid acts like a solvent and extracts  the plant’s essence.  When the pressure is released, the carbon dioxide returns back into a gaseous state, leaving no residue behind.  Although the yields of this process are high, and it is extremely clean, these products may not be used because of their extremely high cost.

Because plants utilize CO2 in their living state, this process is very compatible with plant material and won’t damage it.  At lower temperatures, the end result resembles a product of steam distillation.  It is light and delicate.  The higher the temperature, the more waxes, plant particles and oils are extracted and it becomes more like an absolute.

CO2 extractions are very potent and have high therapeutic properties.  They make it easier to handle resins and gums, and give us essences from plants that cannot be steam distilled.

Tell us about your experiences with CO2 extractions!

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