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Well-being is NOT a luxury

Posted on 5 June, 2013 at 9:54 Comments comments (6)

In these days of austerity, we are all trying to cut back where we can to help make ends meet. But very often the first things we make cuts on are the things we consider ‘frivolous’ and self-indulgent, things that make us feel good about ourselves and help us to relax. The truth is that this should be the complete the opposite, in difficult and stressful times we should be taking more time out to relax and de-stress our bodies. This enables us to be far better equipped to cope with life’s problems. Watching the news has never been more depressing than in recent months and leads to us feeling low, by taking a little time out from the everyday grind we can give ourselves a boost, which in turn leads to a far more positive outlook on life and its stresses and strains.
The human body strives for a state of homeostasis; this is when all systems within the body are working together, the body balanced and healthy; physically, mentally and spiritually. To achieve this state we need to allow our bodies to relax. Allowing yourself to relax is not a frivolous pleasure, it is vital to health.  Relaxation is scientifically proven to reduce blood pressure and decrease muscle tension. We are all familiar with the signs of stress; tightness in the stomach, jaw, neck and back, shallow breathing, clammy hands, fatigue and a pounding heart. When stressed the body releases adrenalin and other chemicals like noradrenaline, the heart rate increases, blood vessels dilate and with a decrease in metabolism, extra glucose surges into the blood steam to give you extra fuel. With all this going on in the body it is easy to see why it can sometimes be an unpleasant experience. Prolonged exposure to stress has also been linked to memory loss. The adrenal glands secrete a hormone called cortisol in times of stress and in trials scientists have been able to induce memory loss in elderly patients by elevating the level of cortisol. So you can see that sustained exposure to stressful situations can have a negative and sometimes irreversible effect on the human body.
Holistic therapies are an excellent way to prioritise time for relaxation whether you choose massage, reflexology, or any other form of touch therapy it can all have a positive effect on the body, mind and spirit. Engaging in a therapy you enjoy helps you to unwind and forget the world, even if just for a short while and allows the body to find a state of equilibrium.  

So time to let go, unwind and allow that body to relax. Do not underestimate the powers of being pampered. The expectation of doing something positive for your own health can be healing in itself. Do not feel guilty or self-indulgent; relaxation is a fundamental need of the body, mind and spirit.   

Using Essential Oils Safely Around the Home

Posted on 16 April, 2013 at 11:03 Comments comments (5)
I am often asked about using essential oils safely at home. My first response is always check the oils you are considering using- most modern essential oils should have an expiry date so check this. Essential oils are a natural product and do not contain preservatives so anything out of date should not be used on the skin as there is a risk of skin irritation. 
Once you have established that the oils are in date check where you store them. Essential oils should be kept in their original dark coloured bottles. These dark coloured bottles protect the contents from sunlight, which can have a detrimental effect on essential oils, so the bathroom window sill is definitely not the place to keep them! They also need to be kept at a fairly constant temperature normal room temperature; extremes of heat/cold can cause the oils to deteriorate very quickly. Keep out of reach of children.
Methods of use
Massage
Essential oils are always diluted in suitable carrier oil or lotion. Use 3 drops of essential oil to 10ml carrier. Reduce down to 1-2 drops for facial use, and for use on children. 
Inhalation
Add 8-12 drops of essential oil in 2 pints of hot water. Pour water into bowl, added essential oils cover the head with a towel and inhale. Take care; do not let oils enter the eye area. Asthma suffers should not use. Not a suitable method for young children.
Vaporisation
As essential oils are inhaled with this method it is excellent for creating a mood atmosphere, using in the sick room as a disinfectant and for removing unpleasant smells. The traditional oil burners with a tea light underneath are effective when 3-5 drops of essential oil are added to water. For electric appliances designed for this use follow manufacturer’s instructions, but usually 3-5 drops is sufficient. Keep well out of reach of children.
Direct Inhalation
Pour 2-3 drops of essential oil onto a tissue and sniff or use straight from the bottle by holding it about 5cm away from the nostrils and breathing deeply. Alternatively rub one drop of essential oil into the palms of the hands, cover the nose and mouth and inhale. Stick to the tissue method for children, and 1-2 drops is sufficient.
Bathing
Fill the bath with warm water and turn off the taps. ALWAYS dilute the essential oils. Add 3-6 drops of chosen essential oils to 1 tablespoon of carrier e.g. almond oil, full fat milk, honey, any non-perfumed bubble bath. Use only 1 drop of essential oil well diluted for children. 
Foot Baths
As for bathing but use 1-4 drops of essential oil and soak feet for 5/10 minutes- bliss!
Essential oils are concentrated and should always be used with care. Follow instructions given and do not be tempted to add more drops than recommended. Unless under an Aromatherapists guidance essential oils should not be used neat on the skin, but dissolved in a carrier oil, full fat milk, honey or other base. They must never be taken internally. 
As always please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any further advice