BODY SCRUBS

BODY SCRUBS

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You may not even need to leave the house to make these luxurious body scrubs.  With just 3 ingredients and 3 minutes to make you can spend more time pampering and have some spare change in your pocket!

Care for Your Skin

Consider your skin to be like a unique fabric, as with a delicate silk garment if you want it to last any length of time and remain in good nick you should pay attention to the care instructions.  Fire it in the washing machine on a hot wash with heavy-duty detergent and it may be the last time you get to wear it.  You can’t replace your skin so taking care of it is a start.  Luckily it has the most amazing capacity to repair itself and with some extra help from Nature that process can be greatly enhanced.

Body Scrubs

An essential oil salt scrub is an excellent way to exfoliate, energise and help to detoxify your skin.  It’s so easy and affordable to make and free from any nasty or undesirable additives leaving your skin thoroughly moisturised.

6 Tablespoons Epsom Salt

6 Tablespoons Sweet Almond Oil*

30 Drops (total) Essential oils * 

  • Choose from the blends of essential oils (below) or use your own favourites and mix thoroughly with the salt and vegetable oil.

  • Store in a water tight container, this will keep for approximately 6 weeks.

  • Ideally use scrub once or twice a week on dry skin while standing in the shower, work up the legs, arms, shoulders, neck and torso then rinse off.

  • Be mindful that your hands & feet are now oily and take care not to slip.  Do not use shower gel or shampoo.  Pat skin dry and enjoy softy, silky skin.

*30 drops in 60 ml carrier = approximately 1%, half this amount for pregnancy, children, sensitive skin  

The Organic Body Oil in the above picture is unfortunately no longer available due to a world shortage of macadamia which was one of the main ingredients in the blend.

ESSENTIAL OIL COMBINATIONS

Restore / Rejuvenate Blend

Rose Otto (5%)* or Absolute (7%)* – 25 drops

Frankincense – 10 drops

Sandalwood – 15 drops

Relax / Calm Blend

Lavender – 10 drops

Roman Camomile (16%)* – 25 drops

Imortelle or Carrot Seed – 15 drops

Revitalise / Detox Blend

Geranium – 15 drops

Juniperberry – 10 drops

Grapefruit – 5 drops

The above three blends of essential oils can also be diluted in a carrier oil and used for massage, as a body oil or bath oil.  Use 30 drops of essential oil in 20 ml (2 tablespoons approx) carrier oil will give you a 3% dilution.  For sensitive skin and children use 5 to 10 drops of essential oil in 20 ml carrier to give approx. 0.5%  to 1% dilution.body bath massage oil

Instead of Sweet Almond Oil you could try Avocado, Wheatgerm or Calendula all of which have nourishing skin properties.

veg oils

*Pure & precious oils like Rose and Camomile are often sold in dilutions in order to allow customers access these costly gems at affordable prices eg a 2.5 g bottle of pure Rose retails at around €50.00 whereas a 5ml Rose Otto @ 5% dilution retails at around  €7.95. When using precious oils such as Rose and Camomile that are pre diluted  increase essential oil from 30 drops to 50 drops (total in the above quantities of salt & oil.)

Quick Fix

Choose a Massage / Body oil from Atlantic Aromatics range and add 6 tablespoons of oil to the 6 tablespoons of salt et voila, you’re all set!

Epsom Salt

The main active ingredients in Epsom Salt are Magnesium and Sulphate. Both help to reduce inflammation and relax muscles.  Renowned for its ‘drawing properties’ Epsom salt helps the body to eliminate toxins.  5kg costs about €12.00.  An Epsom salt bath is a great way to absorb magnesium, 3 mugs into the bath and soak, for great tips and further info on the benefits of using Epsom Salt (even on your roses!) see The Epsom Salt Council website ~ www.epsomsaltcouncil.org

Happy Scrubbing!

SILVER FISH & CEDARWOOD ESSENTIAL OIL

Why do I find Silver Fish creepy?  Creepy in a seemingly unreasonable way.  Apparently I’m not alone which makes me feel better about this.  Mind you, I’ve decided not to include any pictures of them here!  Instead, say hello to an aromatic giant, cedrus atlantica.

cedar

Cedarwood is a natural insect repellent and has been used for centuries as a building material due to these properties.  Many moons ago I volunteered on a straw bale house project in Mayo that had the most beautiful cedarwood shingle roof.

cedar_shingles

I’m not sure when I spotted the first silver fish at home and I’m puzzled as my house is super dry having  underfloor heating upstairs and down.  They are known to like damp environments, mind you my location in the west of Ireland certainly qualifies there!  Perhaps they came in with old books, apparently they love the binding glue.  Who knows.

I have been using Cedarwood essential oil with great results. Six months ago I tried the following and have not spotted one up until last week prompting me to repeat these steps:

I’ve been a fan of Cedarwood balls for some time.

Coated them in the  pure essential oil:

cedar

Then placed them in organza bags to hang in wardrobes etc:

cedar-2

I advise not to allow them (when freshly oiled) in direct contact with any precious fabric.  A few drops on the underside of drawer liner paper is another approach and avoids direct contact with clothing or other contents.  A few drops on the wooden surround of a drawer or wardrobe is also effective.

waverly_drawers_1

The other useful method is to place 6-8 drops on a cotton pad, fold it 2 or three times and slide in underneath skirting boards in any room you have seen silver fish.

cedarwood skirting boards.jpg

If unpacking festive decorations from the attic or bringing items in from the shed keep an eye out for these unwanted visitors.  The cedarwood balls are useful to use as a deterrent when storing items or clothing away.  You can find them in some health stores, hardware stores or on line.  Pure and organic essential oil of Atlas Cedarwood available in good health stores.

Further information:

http://cedaroil.com/fleainsect-infestation/silverfish/

Season’s Greetings All.  Wishing you an aromatic festive time!

THE WARMTH OF GINGER……. chilblains, joints and muscles

ginger-oil

Ginger is extremely useful when feeling cold or suffering from poor circulation.   The essential oil is often used in blends for joint and muscular pain (or in a compress).  For both purposes it blends well with Black Pepper oil, Sweet Marjoram, Rosemary and Lavender.

Warming Blend

This rubefacient blend may be very beneficial to use with chilblains.  Having spent a childhood in welly boots and on horseback, freezing blocks of ice for feet led to chilblains. While I did get them on my hands they were always worse on my toes.  I successfully rid myself of these pesky and painful visitors by applying a similar blend at least once a day.

FOR ADULTS:  try a 3% dilution: 15 drops (total) of above oils in 10ml / 1 tablespoon of carrier.

FOR CHILDREN / SENSITIVE SKIN: approx 1.5% dilution:  7 drops (total) essential oils in 10ml / 1 tablespoon of carrier.

It did take a few months and  following winters I used the blend as a preventative measure.

The combination of the oils together with the action of massage will improve circulation locally provided applications are regular .

chillblains

Chilblains can itch ferociously and crack which in turn can be painful and cause local irritation.

BALMS

Balms usually incorporate beeswax and or shea or cacao butter with other vegetable oils to create a soothing application.  They are more solid and melt upon contact with the skin.

This recipe is what I suggest for cracked skin and may help when the area is very itchy.

CRACKED FOOT OINTMENT 

BEESWAX     ~ 8 grammes (melt on low heat & remove from heat)

Add

AVOCADO        ~ 20ml

CALENDULA   ~ 20ml

JOJOBA             ~ 10ml

May require further very gentle warming before adding essential oils. To make a ‘thinner’ ointment add more vegetable oil.

BENZOIN      ~ 20 drops

ROMAN CAMOMILE ~ 20 drops

GERMAN CAMOMILE      ~ 20 drops

img_1600_1Pour into suitable containers to set.

DO

Be vigilant with gloves / socks.  I had gloves everywhere at one point, in different coat pockets and bags so I wasn’t caught out.  Proper footwear (not too tight), insoles and  thermal socks can help prevent chilblains from developing.

AVOID

Placing your frozen feet or hands directly near heat, while tempting it is not recommended and can exacerbate the condition.

Poor circulation can be improved or addressed by a number of different herbal remedies and supplements, seek advise from your local health store to effectively address this.  Poor circulation is often hereditary.  However should you have any concerns be sure to seek medical advice.

GINGER OIL ……. a super soothing friend of the digestive, circulatory and muscularskeletal systems

 

Tummy

Whether it’s an upset tummy, nausea, bloating, travel sickness or general tummy discomfort, Ginger oil is one of my go to oils.  Ginger is termed as a spice and has a strong association with the digestive system helping to settle it when it’s out of kilter.  It’s been around for a while, according to Salvatore Battaglia’s wonderful book (The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy) the first known recorded use of Ginger was in China circa 500 BC, by Confucius no less!

Ginger essential oil (zingiber officinale) is distilled from the root and up until recently I only came across oil distilled from the dried root or by a Co2 extraction which was my preference. Recently I am besotted by an organic Ginger oil from Madagascar which is steam distilled from FRESH ginger root and it smells divine.   With eyes closed while inhaling this oil you would think you had just minced large quantities of fresh ginger root.  Aromatically speaking it is fresh, cleansing, woody, warm and spicy.

In aromatherapy it considered to be a soothing tonic to the digestive system.  For this purpose it blends well with Spearmint or Peppermint oils and another digestive hero Cardamon oil.  This is a super soothing tummy blend, feels a bit like a warm comforting blanket!   I tend to opt for Aloe Vera Gel as a carrier for tummy applications as it dries in quickly without any oily residue.

PicMonkey Collage

For younger children Spearmint is a gentle oil and with it’s sweet aroma is quite appealing to children.

SUPER SOOTHING TUMMY BLEND (Approx 2% Dilution)

1 Tablespoon of Carrier (Vegetable oil or Aloe Vera Gel)
4 Drops of Ginger
3 Drops of Peppermint or Spearmint
3 Drops of Cardamon
(For children mix 1 drop of each of the above e.oils with carrier)

Avoid using Peppermint oil on children under 3 years of age.

It is generally recommended that only Lavender & Roman Camomile essential oils be used on babies (3 years and under) at a 0.5% dilution or less (1-3 drops in 10ml carrier)

APPLICATION

With applications on the tummy area ALWAYS WORK IN A CLOCKWISE DIRECTION. This follows the natural direction of the peristaltic movement in the gut.

THE WARMTH OF GINGER……. muscles, joints & chilblains

Tempted to stop at tummy’s, I can’t where Ginger oil is concerned!!   Ginger is extremely useful when feeling cold or suffering from poor circulation.   Often used in blends for joint and muscular pain (or in a compress).  For both purposes it blends well with Black Pepper oil, Sweet Marjoram, Rosemary and Lavender.

Warming Blend

This blend could be used for chilblains.  Having spent a childhood in welly boots and on horseback, freezing blocks of ice for feet led to chilblains.  I successfully rid myself of these pesky and painful visitors by applying a similar blend at least once a day, for adults try a 3% strength: 15 drops (total) of above oils in 10ml / 1 tablespoon of carrier.  It did take a few months and  following winters I used the blend as a preventative measure.

The combination of the oils together with the action of massage will improve circulation locally provided applications are regular . Placing your frozen feet or hands directly near heat, while tempting is not recommended and can exacerbate the condition. Being vigilant with gloves / socks and proper footwear can help prevent chilblains from developing.

Poor circulation can be improved by a number of different herbal remedies and supplements, seek advise from your local health store to effectively address this.

In a burner / diffuser, Ginger and Mandarin oils sing harmoniously together.

All things Aromatic to you all throughout 2016!

 

 

AROMATHERAPY BATH ……. the do’s and don’ts with little one’s

There are many benefits to an aromatherapy bath.  Most little ones enjoy regular baths and many parents choose to use essential oils.  Soothing, calming  Lavender and Camomile are noted for their relaxing properties.  They are the only two essential oils suitable for babies (over 2 months) and young children (under 3 years).

IMPORTANT POINT’S TO REMEMBER

  • Undiluted oils should not be added to the bath

Essential oils are not water soluble which means they will float in a film on top of the water.

  • Use milk or *vegetable oil to dilute essential oils into

Both milk and vegetable oils will disperse evenly throughout the bathwater together with the essential oil.  Nut milk, oat milk etc may also be selected.

DILUTING OILS 3

*If using vegetable oil caution is required as the bath can be quite slippy

  • Add the essential oil blend when you have finished filling the bath

If you add the oil blend when running the bath the essential oils will have vapourised out of the water!   While essential oil vapours will be inhaled via the respiratory system you also want them to be absorbed through the skin while soaking in the bath.

Diluting

  • Diluting Essential Oils

Quantity equals safety and while stressed out parents may feel like doubling up on the amount of Lavender they put in their fractious darlings bath, this would not be in keeping with safe use of aromatherapy.  Know  your dosage.

For an Adult 3% is the general maximum dilution.  

For Pregnancy, Elderly and Children 1% and less

For Babies (over 2 months) and young Children (under 3 years) only use Lavender and Camomile at 0.5%.

In 10ml of Carrier (this applies to all diluting for massage, body lotion or bath)

1% = 5 drops

2% = 10 drops

3% = 15 drops

Some companies use a very large dropper insert (sometimes I think it is so you fly through your bottle of oil).  The above quantities are for small dropper inserts which are safer as you can be accurate and confident when preparing children’s baths.

Baby's Bath

HOW MANY DROPS OF OIL TO MIX FOR A BABY’S BATH?

2 drops of Lavender or Camomile (or 1 drop of each) mixed with 10ml (approx 1 tablespoon) of vegetable oil or milk.  This is approximately a 0.5% blend which is the recommended dilution for Baby’s and Toddlers.

Only Lavender and Camomile oils should be used with Baby’s, over 8 weeks of age up to 3 years of age.

HOW MANY DROPS OF OIL TO MIX FOR A CHILD’S BATH?

5 drops of essential oil mixed with 10ml (approx 1 tablespoon) of vegetable oil or milk.   

measuring

A DESIGNATED MEASURING CUP OR TRAVEL BOTTLE IS IDEAL TO USE FOR MIXING 

quality

ESSENTIAL OIL QUALITY

Not all essential oils are the same.  Quality and purity of an essential oil is directly linked to efficacy and safety.  

Consider the diverse quality in other markets such as honey, olive oil and wine.  As happens with other produce, essential oils can be adulterated and contain synthetic ingredients which may be harmful to the user.

Choose genuine, pure essential oils, organic where possible from a reputable supplier.

Do not use old oils (for bath, massage, inhalation) that you have had for a long time, especially if there is only a tiny bit left in the bottle.  

For most essential oils (not including citrus and pine), stored suitably, 3 years is a general guideline to ensure the oil is in good condition.  In some cases and oil may be in good condition after this length of time.

Store essential oils out of direct sunshine and in a cool place.

COUNTING SHEEP? SUFFERING FROM ANXIETY? Discover the power of Lavender ………….

Lavender oil has so many terrific uses we can often lose sight of its tremendous efficacy for specific ailments or situations.

You don’t have to be a health expert to understand the importance of getting a good nights sleep, after all, ‘sleep well’ is often one of the last things we say upon retiring to bed and in the morning it is often the first thing we enquire about.

Poor sleep patterns can cause a plethora of health problems and so many people complain of difficulties sleeping.  The causes are endless and of course worth investigating.  For example myself and my Mum both have the same autoimmune thyroid condition and yet opposite sleep patterns.  She wakens most nights around 3 am and has difficulty getting back to sleep.  (I on the other hand could sleep for Ireland which might sound fantastic but I assure you, it has many downsides).

For years, Mum has used a drop or 2 of organic Lavender oil under her pillow.  When waking in the wee small hours she places another drop under her pillow.  Recently she phoned saying she was out of Lavender oil and without it, was having problems returning to slumber.  Lavender stocks suitably replenished greatly improved her ability to fall back asleep.

Roman Camomile is another oil known to have relaxation properties.  I find it to have the most comforting and pleasing aroma.  Alternating between Lavender and Camomile can be useful.  Roman Camomile is a little pricey (lots of teeny tiny flowers are required to extract small quantities of the oil!) at €17.50 for 2.5 g.  It is also available in a 16% dilution for €7.95 however due to the carrier oil this would stain bed linen.

My suggestion to help ensure a good nights sleep or improve poor sleep patterns is to apply oils to the feet before bed time.  My preferred carrier is Aloe Vera Gel for ease of use (it dry’s very fast and is non greasy so no marking floors, carpets, bed linen etc). This can be a very simple, time efficient and effective treatment.

SLEEP ENHANCING FOOT GEL

Aloe Gel

Preparation Time 2 minutes!  Application Time 2 minutes!

Aloe Vera Gel 50ml

Organic Lavender Oil 50 drops

Or

Organic Roman Camomile Oil 50 drops

Mix ingredients thoroughly, store in a jar and keep where you will remember to use it!  Apply a small marble size onto each foot before bed time.  This mix would be a great morning and evening application for anyone suffering with anxiety or stress.

I have spoken before about very annoying ‘Pillow Mists’ and ‘Sweet Dream Sprays’, these are gimmicky over priced products with all kinds of ingredients that you don’t need.

QUALITY MATTERS

quality

It is worth repeating over and over that all oils are not the same and quality equals efficacy.  A cheap oil, the kind that may be used for its fragrance in toiletries or laundry detergent does not have the same therapeutic properties as a high quality, pure and organic essential oil.

You can buy a litre of Lavender oil from approx.. €80.00 up to €800.00 and call all of it pure Lavender oil!  Know what you are buying.

LAVENDER TABLETS

P5489626

As mentioned, the cause of poor sleep patterns are worth investigating.  Anxiety is often attributed to insomnia.  One pharmaceutical company is so impressed with the anti-anxiety properties of Lavender they have developed a tablet.

In 2012 I was lucky enough to attend a very enlightening lecture on the background behind this product from an independent aromatherapist, Eliane Zimmermann.   The product Lasea is licensed for sale in Germany and contains 80 mg Lavandula angustifolia

Robert Tisserand does a great job at describing Lasea here

http://roberttisserand.com/2010/11/no-suspension-of-disbelief-required/

SIMPLE REMEDIES

cgdonotdisturbpillows

While new scientific findings are terrific and vital sometimes it is the old reliable simple steps which help to address a situation.  Combined efforts (there is never a single magic ingredient) such as the basics, fresh air, healthy food, plenty of rest (you can rest without actually sleeping) go a long way to restoring our wellbeing.  Incorporating essential oils in different ways can be a terrific addition to other efforts when trying to correct a health or wellbeing issue.  Go on, make that sleep gel, apply it to your feet nightly, place a bottle of Lavender beside your bed …………………….. may aromatic sleep  be yours.

ATHLETES FOOT ~ Aromatherapy combined with a 60° laundry cycle?

foot-fungus-funny

If I had a penny for every person who has asked me about treating athletes foot…… it is a very stubborn condition and according to Wiki affects 15% globally (wonder how they get those stats!)

Please see the section below on laundry.  There is some research that may partly explain why so many individuals report ineffective results when trying to treat athletes foot.

The following information may, I hope help you or a family member effectively treat athletes foot.

Firstly, some information about athletes foot (tinea pedis)

  • It is a fungal infection

  • It can be caused by a number of different fungii

  • It is caused by the same fungii that causes ring worm

  • It is infectious

  • It may cause itching, scaling and cracked skin

  • Normally effects in between the toes

  • Can spread to other parts of the feet and body

 Tea TreeON TEA TREE OIL

Tea Tree oils is widely associated as being the ‘medicine chest oil’.   It certainly is an all-rounder or broad spectrum due to it’s many properties, antiviral, antibacterial, antiseptic and of course antifungal.   There is a plethora of research on Tea Tree oil

Not all Tea Tree oils are the same so for efficacy choose a high quality and preferably organic oil.  Always use ‘fresh’ Tea Tree oil, old or oxidised oil may cause irritation.

The following study using Tea Tree oil showed promising results

158 people with athlete’s foot were treated with placebo, 25% tea tree oil solution, or 50% tea tree oil solution, applied twice daily for 4 weeks. In the 50% tea tree oil group, 64% were cured; in the 25% tea tree oil group, 55% were cured.  More Info

Please note that it is advisable to start at lower dosages and work up.  25% is quite a high dilution so be mindful of washing hands following application or wear disposable type gloves if you have very sensitive skin.

coconut_20oilON COCONUT OIL

Coconut oil has been associated with the treatment of candida and while this is a different type of fungus to athletes foot, research has suggested that medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil inhibit an action in fungus which is responsible for enabling it to penetrate into human skin.  More Info

While I am focusing on topical applications there is an abundance of research regarding the many health benefits of including coconut oil in your diet.  Seek advice from your local health food store or do a little research yourself.  As is so often the case, effective treatment regularly involves ‘inside and out’ action.

On LaundryON LAUNDRY

Now, I have to say the matter of inappropriate laundering of socks and other garments scuppering effective treatment of athletes foot never occurred to me.  It makes a lot of sense and I imagine this may be something many people overlook.  Could this be one of the reasons why the condition is so stubborn to cure?

Tests have revealed that a 60 degree washing cycle is required to eliminate fungus spores from fabrics. More Info

On top of that, one research found that socks not suitably washed to remove spores could infect other garments if stored together.   Those suffering from athletes foot should store their socks separately. More Info

TIPS

  • Dry feet thoroughly

  • Apply Tea Tree treatment twice a day

  • Change your shoes in the evening

  • Wear cotton socks (and launder them effectively)

  • Leather insoles help feet to breathe*

  • Synthetic insoles will create a warm and moist environment perfect for fungus

    * I have seen Ecco leather insoles to help keep feet dry and comfortable.  These can be wiped with a damp cloth using a vinegar and tea tree solution.  Cedarwood insoles are widely available  with similar claims.