Tag Archives: anxiety

The Health Benefits of a Walk in the Bush

The Health Benefits of a Walk in the Bush

We ought to take outdoor walks, to refresh and raise our spirits by deep breathing in the open air.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca

There has been a lot written about shinrin-yoku a Japanese term meaning “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing.” In Australia we’d probably call it “bush bathing.’

The idea is to take a slow walk through the forest, bush or any natural area stopping to admire anything that takes your fancy. This could be a leaf, tree, flower or rock. It doesn’t have to be a long walk, 15 or 20 minutes is often enough to benefit from the calming and restorative effects a walk in the bush can bring.

Rock formation at Salt Pan Creek

There are many reasons why a walk in the bush or forest can be beneficial for your health but the main reason given by researchers is that many trees give off compounds that support our immune system. Although this fact wasn’t known at the time, there were doctors in the past that set up sanatoriums in European pine forests to treat tuberculosis with great success.

Another reason to try shinrin-yoku is its stress relieving benefits that include lowering blood pressure, lower cortisol levels, headache relief, improved sleep, greater creativity, improved mood and increased energy. Simply breathing in deeply during your walk can help you experience these benefits.

symptoms of stress

You don’t need to find a long bush track to experience these effects. You could get the same benefits in a small park by sitting under a tree and taking the time to admire its leaves, flowers or bark while inhaling deeply. On one of my walks to the next suburb there is a small grove of eucalypts that I could walk through in 2 minutes or less but I take the time to slow down and admire the way each is different. It only takes a few minutes but is very uplifting. I’m also very lucky to have a bush track and river minutes from where I live.

Park bench

As shinrin-yoku is at its core taking the time to admire nature and slow down you could also spend time in your garden admiring the trees, flowers, herbs or whatever else you maybe growing there. Taking this time to slow down  helps to relieve your stress and the symptoms that accompany it.

But what if you don’t live near any nature and don’t have a garden you can retreat to? Essential oils can come to your aid. You can bring the scents of the bush or forest into your home and enjoy the benefits these little power houses bring.

Essential oils

Choose 2 or 3 essential oils from those below and place 6-8 drops in total in a diffuser to bring the bush or forest to you. You can also add them to a personal inhaler that you can take with you whereever you go. In addition to the benefits above these oils are very beneficial for the respiratory system.

Buddha wood – Eremophila mitchellii – uplifting, muscular aches and pains

Cajeput – Melaleuca cajeputi – lethargy, focus, respiratory issues

Cedarwood – Cedrus atlantica – grounding, courage, respiratory issues

Cypress – Cupressus sempervirens – emotional and physical transition, respiratory issues

Eucalyptus – Eucalyptus radiata – hemmed in, overwhelm, respiratory issues

Eucalyptus Staigeriana – Eucalyptus staigeriana – uplifting, anxiety, respiratory issues

Fragonia – Agonis fragrans – anxiety, stress, focus, muscular aches and pains, respiratory issues

Juniper – Juniperus communis – cleansing, worry, arthritis, mental fatigue

Kunzea – Kunzea ambigua – nervous tension, emotional and physical pain, muscular aches

Lemon Myrtle – Backhousia citriodora – stress, focus, uplifting, respiratory issues

Lemon scented tea tree – Leptospermum petersonii – concentration, air purifier, respiratory issues

Niaouli – Melaleuca quinquenervia – stress, mental fatigue, respiratory issues, muscular aches and pains

Pine – Pinus sylvestris – self-worth, self-confidence, respiratory issues

Australian Sandalwood – Santalum spicatum – contemplation, stress, respiratory issues

Silver Fir – Abies alba – clarity, anxiety, stress, respiratory issues

Spruce – Picea mariana – mental fatigue, clarity, centring, burnout, respiratory issues

Tea Tree – Melaleuca alternifolia – tolerance, positive outlook, respiratory issues

Source:
Battaglia S, The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy. Third Edition, Vol.1The Perfect Potion, Australia (2018)

Black Pepper (Piper Nigrum)

black pepper header

Black Pepper is strength and fortitude, giving us the bravery to venture forth into places unknown and unseen. Valerie Ann Worwood

Family: Piperaceae

Aroma: Warm, spicy like aroma

Colour: Pale amber

black-pepper-vinePlant: A perennial woody vine up to 5 metres high with heart shaped leaves and small white flowers. The berries turn red to black as they mature.

Main Growing Areas: India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brazil, Sri Lanka.
Major Constituents: Beta-caryophyllene, delta-3-carene, limonene and alpha and beta pinene, sabinene.

Interesting snippets: Black pepper is one of the oldest known spices and in medieval Europe was worth its weight in gold.

In Roman times taxes were paid with black pepper instead of coins.

The Greeks used it to combat fever.

If the fruits ripen before drying they yield white pepper.

To give them the ability to cover large distances on foot, the mendicant monks of India, swallow 7-9 grains of pepper a day.

Part of Plant used / Extraction: Dried crushed black peppercorns by steam distillation.

Therapeutic actions: Muscular aches and pains, tired and aching limbs, warming oil for cold hands and feet, severe bruising, stimulates appetite, expels wind, constipation, onset of colds or flu with headaches, chills and fatigue. May help if you are trying to quit smoking.

Emotional and Spiritual:
Black pepper helps to strengthen your willpower and determination so that you are able to overcome obstacles, face challenges and persevere during difficult times.

Addresses the feelings of anxiety, worry, lack and despair that can make you feel powerless and stimulates the courage and determination to face your fears and overcome them, thus increasing your self-confidence and self-worth. Helps to digest any feelings of frustration and anger you may have about yourself.

Patricia Davis writes that black pepper helps us to get a move on at times when our lives feel stuck. It helps move blocks that can prevent movement between one chakra and another, especially between the solar plexus and heart.

Black pepper enables us to listen to the inner voice of inspiration, and to take chances knowing that, whatever happens, we alone have taken them writes Valerie Ann Worwood

Robbi Zeck notes that you are in charge of your life and to take responsibility for what you say, think, feel and do. Being accountable also means letting go of blame and judgement of yourself and others.

Aromatherapy Insight Card:Black Pepper Aromatherapy Insight CardDIRECTION
Helps you find your direction in life. You have no idea or some idea of where you want to head in life, but you are running out of the emotional stamina to keep going. The warmth of Black Pepper assists in loosening blockages that may be holding you back. You are trustworthy and loyal but feel responsible for everything and everyone, use Black Pepper to stay focused on your path. Allow your ability to motivate others to bring warmth and confidence to yourself. Follow your direction in life and prosper.

Fragrant Change Healing Card: I take responsibility for my life choices and decisions.Black Pepper FCHCContemplations for the Soul Card:Black Pepper CFTS cardAre you continually blaming others and fate for whatever goes wrong in your life?
Do you lean on or cling to others wanting them to make decisions for you?
Do you lack trust in your own judgement and continually worry about the decisions you have made?
It’s time to stop and stand on your own two feet. You have the inner strength to take responsibility for your actions and their consequences.
Decide now whether you want to stay stuck blaming everyone and everything but yourself for whatever happens in your life or to move on and take back your power.
Whenever a decision needs to be made and you are unsure which path to take, be still, listen to your inner guidance and act.
Whatever the outcome take responsibility for it knowing that you are taking charge of your life and the direction it takes.

Safety: Non-toxic can be an irritant on sensitive skin if the oil is old or oxidized.

Note: Black pepper is often adulterated with turpentine oil, a-phellandrene, limonene from orange terpenes and clove leaf terpenes so it is important that you know and trust your supplier.

Sources: Battaglia S, The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy. The Perfect Potion, Australia (1995)
Battaglia S, The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy. Third Edition, Vol.1The Perfect Potion, Australia (2018)
Bowles E.J, The A to Z of Essential Oils. New Burlington Books (2003)
Davis P, Subtle Aromatherapy. The C.W.Daniel Company Ltd. (1992)
Eidson D, Vibrational Aromatherapy. Revealing the essence of nature through aromatherapy’s use of essential oils. Frog Ltd, Berkley, California (2000)
Hodges C, Fragrant Change Healing Cards (2015)
Hodges C. Contemplations for the Soul (2016)
Jefferies J, Osborn K, Aromatherapy Insight Cards. Living Energy, Aust. (2nd Ed. 2005)
Kerr J, Black Pepper Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.1 (1997)
Tisserand R and Young R, Essential Oil Safety Second Edition, Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, (2014)
Lawless J, Complete Essential Oils. Element Books (1995)
Worwood V.A, The Fragrant Heavens. Doubleday Publishing UK (1999)
Zeck R, The Blossoming Heart. Aroma Tours (2004)

 

Pine (Pinus sylvestris)

Pine header

To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug.
Helen Keller

Family: Pinaceae

Synonyms: Forest pine, Scotch pine, Scots pine, Norway pine, pine needle

Aroma: Strong, fresh, resinous

Colour: Clear

Plant: Tall evergreen tree with reddish brown deeply fissured bark and a flat crown. The needles are 2.5 to 5cm long and 1-2mm broad, a glaucous blue-green turning darker green to dark yellow green in winter.

Main Growing Areas: Northern Europe, North America

Major Constituents: Borneol, borynl acetate, a- and β-pinene, limonene, delta-3-carene

Interesting snippets: Hippocrates recommended pine for pulmonary problems and throat infections.

The city of Venice in Italy has been sitting on a bed of pine since 810.

Pine trees typically live for 150 years but may live as long as 300 years.

In Japanese myths, ‘The Tree of Life’ is sometimes associated with the pine.

Spirit lovers are said to inhabit pine trees and live to a very old age.

In classical Kyogen theatre the image of a large pine tree always provides the stage backdrop.

pine cone and needlesPart of Plant used /Extraction: Fresh, young needles, pine cones, tips of the bough / steam distillation

Therapeutic actions: Pine eases colds, flu, coughs, laryngitis, bronchitis, catarrh and sinus congestion. Helpful for rheumatic, neuralgic and muscular aches and pains

Emotional and Spiritual: Feeling helpless and unworthy. Mental fatigue, promotes feelings of energy and well-being. Instils feelings of confidence, courage and clarity. Clear a healing or meditation space when feeling depleted on all levels, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Robbi Zeck writes that pine validates and strengthens your own unique gifts and talents encouraging a simple knowing and belief of your self-worth.

Gabriel Mojay writes that pine is indicated where there is a weakness of ‘boundary’ and of self-identity – where one cannot distinguish others’ responsibilities from one’s own. Pine works to dissipate both a negative self-image and feelings of remorse, replacing undue guilt with forgiveness and self-acceptance.

Valerie Ann Worwood writes that pine teaches that it is love and generosity of spirit that endures – in the hearts of those we have loved and known and in our children.

Aromatherapy Insight Card:

Pine aromatherapy insight cardSELF WORTH
It is time to stop rescuing others and rescue yourself. Be strong but flexible, managing the knocks in life, living your own life and letting others live their own journey. Protect your boundaries; be true to you, treating yourself with honour and respect. Let go of negative experiences and move forward to a place where you feel fantastic about yourself. Remember you cannot rescue others; they need to do it for themselves. Allowing them to grow their way allows you to grow.

Fragrant Change Healing Card: I have the self-confidence to stand tall and allow the world to see the unique person I am.

Pine FCHC

Contemplations for the Soul Card:

Pine CFTS CardDo you feel worthless or not worthy of having all you wish for?
Do you put everyone’s wishes and wants before your own?
Why are you denying or hiding your unique gifts and talents?
Do you feel the need to take responsibility for other people’s mistakes?
Stop hiding! Stand tall and accept that your opinions matter and that you are good enough to reach your goals.
Value and have confidence in yourself and others will too.
Ignore everyone or thought that tells you you are not good enough to attain your dreams.
Don’t allow others to overstep your boundaries and stop feeling responsible for the mistakes or choices other people make.

Safety: Non-irritating, non-toxic, skin sensitising when oxidised. May be adulterated with turpentine oil or mixtures of pinene, camphene and bornyl acetate.

Sources: Battaglia S, The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy. The Perfect Potion, Australia (1995)
Davis, P, Aromatherapy An A-Z. The C.W.Daniel Company Ltd. (1996)
Hodges C, Fragrant change Healing Cards (2015)
Hodges C. Contemplations for the Soul (2016)
Jefferies J, Pine Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.42 (2008)
Jefferies J, Osborn. K, Aromatherapy Insight Cards. Living Energy, Aust. (2nd Ed. 2005)
Keim Loughran J, Bull R, Aromatherapy Anointing Oils, Frog Books (2001)
Mojay G, Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit. Hodder and Stoughton (1996)
Tisserand R and Young R, Essential Oil Safety Second Edition, Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014 Pages 398 – 399
Worwood, V.A, The Fragrant Heavens. Doubleday Publishing UK (1999)
Zeck R, The Blossoming Heart. Aroma Tours (2004)

 

 

 

 

 

Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin)

patchouli header

Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae)

Synonyms: P. patchouly, patchouli oil

Aroma: Rich, sweet, herbaceous, aromatic, spicy and woody balsamic. Patchouli gets better with age.

Colour: Deep orange red

Patchouli flowerPlant: Evergreen herb with large fragrant leaves and hairy square stems that grows to a metre tall. On axillary and terminal stems flower spikes of clusters of tiny white to purple flowers form. As these fade fine brown seeds form in small capsules like tiny knots on the spikes.

Main Growing Areas: Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, China, India, Mauritius, East and West Indies, Paraguay, Vietnam

Major Constituents: patchouli alcohol, alpha and beta patchoulene may contribute to anti-itching properties of the oil, beta-caryophyllene – anti-inflammatory, beta-elemene – antitumour

Interesting snippets: In the 18th and 19th centuries Chinese traders travelling to the Middle East used patchouli to treat carpets and fabrics to prevent moths laying their eggs in the cloth and fungal deterioration.

In the 1960’s hippies used patchouli to cover the smell of burnt cannabis.

During the Vietnam War, American soldiers used patchouli to mask the smell of the graves of enemy soldiers killed in combat.

Dried patchouli leaves were placed amongst the folds of Indian cashmere shawls in Victorian times to protect them from moths.

Part of Plant used / Extraction: Dried fermented leaves by steam distillation.

Therapeutic actions: nausea, headaches, colds, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, haemorrhoids, cracked sore skin, eczema, psoriasis, tinea, acne, impetigo, herpes

Emotional and Spiritual: depression, anxiety, stress, insomnia, nervousness

Patricia Davis writes that patchouli is especially valuable for dreamers and people who tend to neglect or feel detached from their physical bodies. Patchouli helps to ground and integrate energy and keep us in touch with our physical selves.

Robbi Zeck writes that the rich, musty, wood scent of Patchouli awakens within the soul a deep yearning for the comforting presence of peace, bringing Spiritual insights to all realms.
Patchouli’s slow peacefulness brings about a state of mind and wholehearted feeling where unification occurs with the soul on all levels.

Gabriel Mojay writes that patchouli is good for those who, due to excessive mental activity and nervous strain, feel ‘out of touch’ with their body and their sensuality.

Aromatherapy Insight Card:

Patchouli Insight card

UNITY
Feeling trapped in one of many areas of your life and feeling like those areas are not working together? Patchouli unites all levels of your existence, allowing you to focus and bring heart and head to work together, rising above self-imposed barriers and enjoying all that life presents. Patchouli awakens a sense of peace that reaches into all areas of your life. Don’t get ruffled and caught in the false ego. Stay self-assured, and realize your real strength lies in being you.

Fragrant Change Healing Card: I feel a sense of peace in all areas of my life.

Contemplations for the Soul:

Patchouli CFTS

Is your mind on a continual loop making you unable to think clearly due to worry?
Have you imposed limits on what you think you can achieve?
Do you feel you have to be someone else to achieve your goals?
Do you long for peace in your life?
Realize that worry will not improve the situation and will banish peace from your life.
Try grounding yourself by going outside and putting your bare feet on the ground.
Breathe slowly in and out until you feel calmer then look at what action you can take to reduce your worry.
Know that you can be yourself and still achieve your goals.
Peace be with you.

Safety: Non-irritating, non-sensitising, non-toxic

Sources: Battaglia S, The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy. The Perfect Potion, Australia (1995)
Bowles E.J, The A to Z of Essential Oils. New Burlington Books (2003)
Davis P, Subtle Aromatherapy. The C.W.Daniel Company Ltd. (1992)
Hodges C. Contemplations for the Soul (2016)
Hodges C, Fragrant Change Healing Cards (2015)
Jefferies J, Patchouli Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.39 (2007)
Jefferies J, Osborn K, Aromatherapy Insight Cards. Living Energy, Aust. (2nd Ed. 2005)
Mojay G, Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit. Hodder and Stoughton (1996)
Zeck R, The Blossoming Heart. Aroma Tours (2004)

 

Tamarack (Larix laricina)

Tamarack header

Family: Pinaceae

Synonyms: Eastern larch, American larch, Alaskan larch, Tamarack larch. Tamarack is thought to derive from the Native American word for tree, hackmatack.

Aroma: Fresh, airy, woody, piney.

Colour: Transparent, slightly yellow.

tamarack-trees-in-autumnPlant: A small to medium-sized, deciduous conifer with wide-spreading, shallow roots and a sparse, open, narrow, conical crown that can grow up to 25 metres. It has a straight trunk covered with bark that is thin, smooth and gray when young; thicker, rough, scaly and reddish brown when mature. The inner bark layer is reddish purple.

The Tamarack tree is the only conifer which is not evergreen. The feathery soft, light green needles turn a brilliant yellow in autumn before dropping.

Main Growing Areas: Alaska, Canada, United States.

Major Constituents: The oil is composed primarily of esters (including bornyl acetate) and monoterpenes (including pinene and limonene).

Interesting snippets: Native Americans used the tree’s roots for cordage, the wood for arrow shafts and the bark for medicinal purposes. Early white settlers used the soft needles as a pillow and mattress stuffing and the roots of large trees for ship construction.

Because of its durability and resistance to decay tamarack is used for posts, poles, mine timbers, and railroad ties.

Part of Plant used / Extraction: Needles and twigs / Steam distillation

Therapeutic actions: Headache, nasal congestion, coughs, bronchitis, pneumonia, colds, flu.

Emotional and Spiritual: Nervous fatigue, anxiety, clarity of thought, energizing and uplifting.

Aromatics International on their website describe Tamarack’s emotional and spiritual properties thus: Larch needles, before gently falling away in the fall, turn a brilliant yellow. This reminds us how Larch easily invites forgiveness and self-acceptance with a fresh start in the spring as its needles come back, soft and green. Larch withstands very cold weather and is incredibly adaptable, reminding us of a strong image and identity, qualities that are reflected in the energetic aspects of this oil. Also reflected in the properties of this oil, larch likes full sun, providing positive energy and casting a small shadow, emotionally revitalizing the dampened spirit.

Safety: Non-irritating, non-sensitising, non-toxic

Sources: Berkowsky B, Berkowsky’s Synthesis Materia Medica/Spiritualis of Essential Oils (2006)
https://www.aromatics.com/products/essential-oils/larch-tamarack
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larix_laricina

Using Essential Oils To Relieve Stress

Using Essential Oils To Relieve Stress

Essential oils are an easy and pleasant way to help you cope with the symptoms of stress.

What Is Stress?
Stress is a state of mind, usually accompanied by physical and emotional symptoms. We all experience stress at some time in our lives. As we are all unique, what acts as a stressor to one person, may not cause any reaction in another.

work-stress-3

Stress can be caused by work pressures, boredom, family issues, finances, school or university exams, the death of a loved one or something as simple as being caught in a traffic jam. Stress can lower your resistance and increase your susceptibility to illness, especially if it is allowed to continue for long periods of time. Stress can cause muscular pain, especially in the neck, back and shoulders, high blood pressure, chronic headaches, weight loss, anxiety, insomnia, lethargy, shallow breathing, loss of appetite, difficulty concentrating, loss of your sense of humour and mood swings.

symptoms of work stress

To avoid the many health issues associated with stress, it’s important to take appropriate action on a regular basis, to release stress physically and emotionally.

Using Essential Oils To Treat Stress
Essential oils are a safe and effective treatment to help you cope with stress. They help boost your mood, energise you and can help ease muscle tension and pain.

relaxing aroma massageMassaging with essential oils is one of the best ways to calm the mind and release muscular aches and pains. A monthly aromatherapy massage works wonders in keeping your stress under control.

If you suffer from headaches and don’t have time for a professional massage, self-massaging with essential oils, especially to the neck, shoulders and the scalp can be very helpful . Add 1 drop of essential oil to 2 mls of vegetable oil or 5 drops of essential oil to 10mls of vegetable oil.

Woman Lying in a Bathtub6-8 drops of essential oil can be used in a warm bath to help ease tired muscles and calm the mind. Run the bath, add the oils and swish the oils in the water. The oils will sit on top of the water. If you want to disperse the oils through the water, place the drops of essential oils in a cup of full cream milk and add to your bathwater.

Alternatively, after showering place 4-6 drops of essential oil on a face cloth or sponge and rub the cloth briskly over your body.

Allow your feet to soak in a foot spa to which 4-5 drops of essential oil have been added. Following up with a foot massage will help relieve your aching feet, as well as your stress.

diffuserPlacing 4-6 drops of essential oil into a diffuser can help calm or liven up your mood. Using essential oils such as lemon and orange can also help increase your appetite if stress has caused a loss of appetite.

Calm Breeze InhalerYou can place your favourite essential oil on a tissue to smell when needed or place 4 drops of your favourite essential oil on a cotton ball, insert in a small bottle with a tight fitting lid and open the bottle and inhale the fragrance, as and when you need. another option is to use a personal inhaler

Finally, you can wear your essential oil blend as a perfume. To create this blend, just follow the same steps as described above for massage.

Essential Oils to Relieve Stress
Although there are many oils that can be used to help with stress, the following oils are readily available and relatively inexpensive.

Chamomile Roman (Anthemis nobilis)
Chronic tension, insomnia, muscular aches and pains, headaches and nervous indigestion. She is also useful for calming irritable children and colicky infants. (Can be bought in a 3-5% blend in jojoba.)

Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)
To ease of muscular aches and pains, helps to calm the mind and restore a positive outlook and vitality.

Frankincense (Boswellia carteri)
To help with anxiety, slows down breathing, calming and centring the mind.

Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
For lethargy, chronic anxiety, eases frustration and irritability, nervous exhaustion due overwork and stress.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia or Lavandula officinalis)
Lavender is one of the most useful oils for stress. She calms and soothes the nerves, relieves tension both muscular and emotional. She helps with stress headaches and insomnia. Lavender is considered an aromatic rescue remedy helping to relax the body and mind and is useful for panic and anxiety attacks.

Orange Sweet (Citrus sinensis)
Poor appetite, nauseous headaches, tension, insomnia, eases frustration, moodiness and irritability.

Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii)
Insomnia, anxiety, nervous exhaustion, calming and uplifting, poor appetite.

Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
Enhances concentration and study, apathy, mental and physical fatigue, uplifts the spirit.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Poor concentration, anxiety, muscular stiffness and pain, can help bolster self-confidence and calm an overactive nervous system

Some Blends To Get You Started
Here are some blends to get you started. Enjoy making your own combinations using your favourite essential oils.

Anxiety
Lavender 2 drops, palmarosa 2 drops, geranium 1 drop in 10mls vegetable oil for massage or in a diffuser to vaporise.

Sore, stiff or tight muscles
Eucalyptus 3 drops, lavender 2 drops, rosemary 1 drop in 10mls vegetable oil for massage.

Tension headache
Lavender 2 drops, geranium 2 drops, sweet orange 1 drop in 10mls vegetable oil for massage. Massage neck, shoulders and temples with the blend. You can then massage the scalp without the blend if you wish.

Nausea
Peppermint 2 drops, sweet orange 2 drops in 10mls vegetable oil massaged into the stomach area.

Exhaustion
Peppermint 2 drops, eucalyptus 2 drops, rosemary 2 drops in a diffuser.

I am available to do aromatherapy massages on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays in Padstow. Phone or email for an appointment.

Lime Essential Oil (Citrus aurantifolia)

lime

Lime essential oil is available as both a steam distilled and cold pressed essential oil. Please note that the cold pressed oil is photosensitive while the distilled is not.

Family: Rutaceae

Synonyms: Key lime, West Indian lime.

Aroma: Distilled – fruity, citrus, fresh, sharp. Cold pressed – intensely fresh, rich and citrus.

Colour: Distilled – pale yellow to almost clear. Cold pressed – yellowish green to olive green.

lime-treePlant: Bushy tree that grows up to 4 metres or more and has small, round, greenish yellow fruit.

Main Growing Areas: Mexico, Peru, West Indies.

Major Constituents: Limonene, geranial, gamma-terpinene, 1,8 cineole.

Interesting snippets: Lime originated in southeast Asia and made its way to Europe by India, Palestine and Egypt.
Columbus brought lime seeds to the Americas where orchards were quickly established.
Lime was used to prevent scurvy in the crew during long voyages on sailing ships.

Part of Plant used / Extraction: Peel of unripe skin is used for cold extraction and the whole fruit or juice is used for steam distillation.

Therapeutic actions: Coughs, bronchitis, sinusitis, poor digestion, insect bites and minor cuts.

Emotional and Spiritual: Stimulates and refreshes a tired mind. Apathy, anxiety, depression.
Robbi Zeck writes that the tangy, bright fragrance of Lime settles calms and refreshes the emotions, allowing feelings to be explored and released constructively.

Aromatherapy Insight Card:

lime

EASES STRESS
Ease through changes without getting hot under the collar. Lime takes you to that place where life is sweet and easy. Take some time out from the business of life. Learn to ease-off and handle life’s challenges in a way that achieves only positives. Sometimes we just need some time-out away from the heavy going of life. Send your emotions on a holiday.

Fragrant Change Healing Card: I stay calm and relaxed under pressure.

FCHC lime

Safety: Non-irritating, non-sensitising, non-toxic.

Sources: Bowles E.J, The A to Z of Essential Oils. New Burlington Books (2003)
Hodges C, Fragrant Change Healing Cards (2015)
Jefferies J, Lime Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.38 (2007)
Jefferies J, Osborn. K, Aromatherapy Insight Cards. Living Energy, Aust. (2nd Ed. 2005)
Zeck R, The Blossoming Heart. Aroma Tours (2004)

Mandarin (Citrus reticulata)

mandarin

Family: Rutaceae

Synonyms: C.nobilis, C.deliciosa, C. madurensis

Aroma: Sweet, fresh, citrus, mandarin

Colour: Green, reddish orange.

Mandarins 22Plant: Smaller and more spreading than the orange tree with smaller leaves and fruit which are slightly flattened at both ends.

Main Growing Areas: Brazil, Spain, Italy, California, China, Australia.

Major Constituents: a-pinene, a-thujone, limonene, y-terpinolene, methyl N methyl- anthranilate.

Interesting snippets: The fruit was a traditional gift to the mandarins of China.
Symbol of prosperity and good fortune during Chinese New Year.
The giant swallowtail butterfly relies on the citrus family for larval food to produce the caterpillars.

Part of Plant used / Extraction: Fruit peel is cold pressed.

Therapeutic actions: In France mandarin is considered a safe children’s remedy for indigestion and hiccups. Antispasmodic, useful for PMS and cramped muscles. Prevents stretchmarks in pregnancy.

Emotional and Spiritual: Uplifting, depression, anxiety, irritable over-tired children.

Aromatherapy Insight Card:Mandarin

HAPPINESS
Mandarin oil brings that happiness and childlike quality to life.
Time to lighten up and enjoy life. I always think of a child peeling a mandarin when I smell this aroma. I see their faces lighting up as they peel the fruit with ease. Bring out your inner child to play, and remove abuse and grimness from your life. Stop dwelling on the past and let’s get back to enjoying life again.
Mandarin allows you to feel calm and soothed, but, at the same time, refreshed and inspired. Be happy.

Fragrant Change Healing Card: I make time for fun and play every day.

Mandarin

Safety: Non-irritating, non-sensitising, non-toxic. Keep in the fridge to prolong her shelf life (around a year). If she smells pinelike don’t use her on the skin as she may cause skin sensitization. Can still be used in a vaporiser or for cleaning without problems.

Sources: Atterby D, Mandarin Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.44 (2009)
Battaglia S, The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy. The Perfect Potion, Australia (1995)
Bowles E.J, The A to Z of Essential Oils. New Burlington Books (2003)
Jefferies J, Osborn. K, Aromatherapy Insight Cards. Living Energy, Aust. (2nd Ed. 2005)

Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis / Chamaemelum nobile)

Roman chamomile

I have written about German Chamomile previously.  Roman Chamomile is considered a safe oil to use on children and excellent for emotional issues.

Family: Asteraceae, Compositae

Synonyms: English chamomile, garden chamomile, true chamomile

Aroma: Sweet, hay-like, herbaceous scent with a hint of apples.

Colour: Pale yellow.

Roman chamomilePlant: Bushy feathery leaves on a 25cm long stem containing a single flower. The flowers are larger than those of German chamomile.

Main Growing Areas: Italy, France, England, USA.

Major Constituents: a-pinene, camphene, sabinene, methallyl angelate.

Interesting snippets: Roman chamomile has a long history as a healing herb. It has been used by the Greeks, Romans and Moors.
In Tudor England it was known as the ‘plant’s physician’ as it was believed to encourage the good health of nearby plants.

Part of Plant used / Extraction: Flower heads / steam distillation. 5kg of fresh flowers yields approximately 1kg of dried flowers. This yields about 1% oil when distilled.
Roman chamomile is an expensive oil because it is very labour intensive. The harvest season lasts about two and a half months with the flowers being harvested every two weeks. The percentage of oil obtained from each distillation is also very low. You can buy good quality Roman chamomile in a 3 to 5% dilution in jojoba. This makes the oil very affordable.

Therapeutic actions: Teething pain and colic in children. Menstrual pain, muscular aches and pains. Indigestion and nausea. Use in a blend to massage the abdomen / stomach.

Emotional and Spiritual: Nervous tension, stress, tension headaches, anxiety and insomnia. Considered a calming and relaxing oil. Helpful to settle children who have nightmares or insomnia. Try combining with lavender or mandarin.
Joni Keim Loughran and Ruah Bull write that Roman chamomile gives us a calm acceptance of our own limitations.

Fragrant Change Healing Card: I treat myself gently and lovingly especially when those around me don’t.

Roman chamomile FCHC

Contemplations for the Soul Card:

Roman chamomile CFTS card

Are you feeling let down by someone or impatient like a child waiting for something to happen?
Are you feeling grumpy, discontented or frustrated about some issue in your life?
Perhaps you have let others walk all over you in an effort to win their love or approval.
It’s time to let go of the worry, tears, pain, hurt, resentment and anxiety that has been plaguing you.
Consider if it is worth keeping those people in your life who do not respect you and if not let them go.
Forgive and be gentle with yourself for being fooled by someone or something.
It’s time to trust again and ask for the help and support you need.

Safety: Non-irritating, non-sensitizing although there have been rare cases of contact dermatitis.

Sources:
Battaglia S, The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy. The Perfect Potion, Australia (1995)
Hodges C. Contemplations for the Soul (2016)
Hodges C, Fragrant Change Healing Cards (2015)
Keim Loughran J, Bull R, Aromatherapy & Subtle energy techniques, Frog Books (2000)
Kerr J, Chamomile Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.6 (1998)

17 Ways to Lessen Work Stress

17 ways to lessen work stress

Stress is caused by being “here” but wanting to be “there”
Eckhart Tolle

When I worked in Japan in the late 80’s and early 90’s karoshi (death from overwork) was often talked about as many Japanese men would spend a lot of time at work, do overtime and then go out drinking with their boss and colleagues or go to language class. Most of this behaviour was due to peer pressure and cultural expectations.

nursesRecently I read in the newspaper that those working in health care, social services, shipping and construction are dying because of it. Many young Japanese women today are also victims of karoshi. When I speak of over work I’m not talking about a few hours overtime but up to 100 or 160 hours of overtime in the month before their death. Karoshi not only includes death from heart attack and stroke but also suicide from those who can no longer cope with the insane hours and stress placed upon them.

Here in Australia few people die from work stress but many are unhealthy and unhappy because of it.

It is not only stress from overwork that can kill you but studies have shown that failing to take your annual holidays puts you at a greater risk of dying of a heart attack. It’s also a good idea to take the weekend off from work. Turn off the phone, ipad, android or laptop and spend some time with your family and friends so you can go back to work feeling refreshed and better able to deal with whatever work throws your way.

The time to relax

Symptoms of work stress
symptoms of work stressWork stress may not end in death or suicide due to depression but there are many other symptoms that can indicate work stress is affecting your health. These include apathy, anxiety, loss of interest in work, elevated blood pressure, insomnia, digestive problems, dizziness, nausea, headaches, migraines, tight, stiff neck and shoulders, drug and alcohol abuse, trouble concentrating, not being able to rest even when you do take time off, withdrawing from family and friends.

17 ways to lessen work stress
It may not be possible to stop work stress but you can help negate some of its effects by improving your physical and emotional well-being before stress and overwork threatens your health. Try to do at least 5 of the following regularly. Your body, mind and spirit will thank you for it.

Prioritizing your work dayLearn to communicate better with your boss and co-workers.

Prioritize your work day and do the most important tasks first.

Whenever possible delegate tasks.

Exercise each day for e.g. walking, swimming, playing tennis, football, dancing.

Having a good laughSpend quality time with family and friends.

Spend time in meditation or visualising something that represents peace for you.

relaxing aroma massageHave a regular aroma massage – clients having monthly massages find they are better able to handle both work and life stresses.

Take a few deep, slow breaths when stress and anxiety threaten to overtake you.

Greeting the dayDo yoga or tai chi regularly.

Vaporize relaxing or uplifting essential oils like lavender, sweet orange, Roman chamomile, grapefruit, petitgrain, spruce, frankincense.

Watch comedy shows or read funny books and have a good belly laugh.

listening to musicListen to music.

Play with your children and animals.

Get enough sleep. Essential oils that can help you relax and get to sleep include lavender, Roman chamomile, sweet marjoram, neroli, valerian, sandalwood.

Healthy foodEat regular healthy meals. Don’t skip meals as this can leave you tired, anxious and irritable as well as being unable to concentrate.

Leave for work earlier in the morning to avoid traffic jams or crowded trains.

Take time away from work and use your weekends to refresh yourself.