Blog Archives for category Essential Oils
Many of my clients suffer from menstrual cramps. When they see me, I use a variety of essential oils to help them. Some of the oils I use are Geranium, Clary Sage, Lavender, Cypress, Peppermint and Marjoram. I will usually combine Clary Sage and Cypress or Peppermint and gently apply the oils through a very gentle abdominal massage. After I apply the oils, I then apply a hot compress which helps push the oils into the system.
You can do this yourself. To treat with a hot compress, I would recommend applying coconut oil or another carrier oil to your abdomen and then apply the essential oils. Next, get a warm towel. You can use warm tap water to get the towel warm. Just wring it out and lay the towel on the abdomen and cover with a dry towel. I like to cover people with a comfy blanket on top of all that and suggest leaving the hot compress on for 15 minutes. This should bring great relief.
Feel free to experiment with the list of essential oils I’ve provided above. I recommend that women who regularly experience menstrual cramps begin this treatment each month a few days before your period.
When people first experience my bodywork, they often comment that they have never experienced anything like it before. Like many massage therapists, I combine a wide range of techniques to meet the needs of my clients on any given day. During each session, I am likely to combine essential oil therapy, energy work (both Reiki and Cranial Sacral) with a wide range of Western and Eastern massage techniques.
Of all of the different massage techniques to which I have been exposed or in which I have been trained, two techniques have influenced me profoundly. My first experience with massage was more than 30 years ago, when I had my first ever massage at the Esalen Institute, located just south of Monterey, CA. For years, I thought that this was the way all massage therapy was done. It wasn’t until I moved back to Washington, DC that I discovered Swedish or western massage was quite different from the nurturing, integrative and flowing massage that is a characteristic of Esalen massage.
When I became a massage therapy student, I learned the traditional Swedish style of massage. But, I was determined when I began my own practice that I would integrate much of what I experienced at Esalen into my own work. And then, I discovered Lomi Lomi, a Hawaiian form of massage and that changed the course of my work forever.
Lomi Lomi is more than a physical technique. Lomi Lomi involves a holistic approach to the person and seeks to heal and promote wellness in body, mind and spirit. In the Hawaiian language Lomi Lomi literally means “to and from,” referring both to the massage motion as well as to the healing energy that passes between the practitioner and the receiver. There are various kinds of lomi massage including “polole lomi,” the mother’s gentle hand; “oluea lomi,” harmonizing body, mind and spirit; and “oluli lomi,” igniting the life force.
Lomi Lomi is part of a broader Hawaiian belief system that embraces the body, spirit and healing. Therefore it traditionally includes the elements of prayer, breath and energy, rooted in the ancient Hawaiian philosophy known as Huna. It relaxes the nervous system, increases circulation and creates a tangible sense of well being. It is useful for maintaining health, and relieving pain from injury and debilitating illness.
What is it like to experience lomi lomi? This video provides an excellent example of a typical Lomi Lomi session.
Lomi Lomi differs from other forms of massage in many ways. It is an experience that overwhelms the mind with sensations and at the same time communicates an acceptance and a nurturing of the inner self. Most massage techniques work on only one level, usually the physical such as in remedial massage. Massage is often used in stress management but not necessarily addressing or transcending the cause of the stress. Lomi Lomi changes the way you think, feel, move and breathe.
Some of my clients request a full Lomi Lomi session. But, even for those who don’t I incorporate many of the same techniques into a massage session customized specifically for the client. Lomi Lomi is the “dance of massage,” and is just as wonderful to give as to receive.
Why don’t you schedule your Lomi Lomi session with me today?
The fifties – time for initiation into menopause
Menopause is a time in a woman’s life that can be a period of deepening wisdom and inner reflection. Medically, menopause means the ceasing of menstruation. Hormone levels begin to change and the adrenal glands become the primary source of hormonal support.
Some tips to stay healthy in your 50′s
- Increase essential fatty acids such as fish oil and vitamin E
- Take supplements that nourish and support the endocrine glands
- Make sure your diet includes vitamin C, vitamin B5 (best taken in a B-complex formula) and magnesium
Essential Oil Blend for Female Hormonal Balance
- 2 drops of Clary Sage
- 1 drop of Geranium
- 1 drop Ylang Ylang
This is a good blend for menopause discomfort, hot flashes, PMS and general female hormone balance. Clary sage releases dopamine in the brain, and some people experience a joyous almost euphoric response. It balances estrogen and helps balance the central nervous system. Geranium gently stimulates the adrenals, which play an integral part during menopause and hormone fluctuations.
Combine the oils and apply daily to the soles of the feet or to the abdomen.
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) refers to healing modalities that don’t fall into conventional Western medical philosophy, including bodywork, acupuncture, herbology, homeopathy and mind/body techniques. CAM is becoming a more familiar term as approximately 125 million Americans suffering from chronic illness — arthritis, back pain, hypertension, and depression — look for solutions that conventional medicine can’t provide.
“Complementary” modalities are used together with conventional medicine, such as utilizing aromatherapy to lessen a patient’s discomfort following surgery. “Alternative” modalities are used in place of conventional medicine, such as using herbs to treat stomach upset rather than taking pharmaceuticals. And the merging of alternative and conventional medicine is referred to as “integrative medicine,” connoting the idea of combining the best of both healing philosophies.
CAM is continually gaining the respect of the Western medical system, as indicated by the nearly 100 medical schools now offering courses in alternative therapies. The University of Arizona is an exceptional model of such a school, offering the nation’s only postgraduate, two-year Program in Integrative Medicine (PIM). Founded in 1994, PIM is designed to teach small groups of physicians how to integrate holistic modalities into their practices. These doctors are committed to a fundamental redesign of medical education including such principles as:
- Appropriate use of conventional and alternative methods to facilitate the body’s innate healing response
- Consideration of all factors that influence health, including mind, spirit, and community
- A philosophy that neither rejects conventional medicine nor accepts alternative medicine uncritically
For more information and research about CAM, visit the nonprofit Alternative Medicine Foundation.
This is the fourth article in a six part series on women’s health. In today’s post, I include an essential oils formula for adrenal fatigue. During this stage of your life, it’s especially important to maintain hormonal balance and adrenal health is critical.
Your 40′s are full of change.
During this decade, a women begins the transition into perimenopause, the five-ten year period before the onset of menopause. Hormonal shifts such as an excess of estrogen and declining progesterone often lead to unpredictable moods, heavy flow, hot flashes, night sweats, headaches and weight gain.
- Strengthen the digestive system by adding digestive enzymes and probiotics to your daily regimen
- Magnesium, selenium, iodine and vitamin A help improve thyroid function
- Regular exercise and proper nutrition are especially important
Essential Oils Blend for Adrenal Fatigue / Burnout
- 3 drops Pine Needle essential oil
- 2 Frankincense essential oil
- 2 drops Pine Bark essential oil
This formula is wonderful for “re-setting” the adrenal/pituitary response. It is best used in a fractionated coconut oil or grapeseed oil base. Pine needle or balsam fir oil is excellent for burnout and exhaustion. Its rejuvenating properties aid in balancing adrenal hormones and have a positive effect on the nearby kidneys. Frankincense helps to regulate the endocrine system by balancing hormones in the body (especially the pituitary and pineal glands.)
Frankincense also oxygenates the brain. Pine bark essential oil acts a restorative to the adrenals and tired bodily systems.
In your 30′s you are feeling more confident in your identity but your body also begins to show subtle signs of aging. Many women in their 30′s are thinking of motherhood or are giving birth fo the first time. This is therefore the time to focus on adopting a healthy diet and balanced lifestyle.
- Get enough of vitamins A and D, which play a vital role in normal reproduction and fertility
- Eat an anti-oxidant rich diet to help fight back breast cancer risk
- Maintain an exercise routine
- Perform regular, monthly breast self-examination</li>
Essential Oils Formula for Breast Health
This is a very simple blend that may be used daily. Combine essential oils with 1 teaspoon of carrier oil (fractionated coconut oil or grape seed oil work well) and massage into breasts. Don’t forget to massage into the arm pit, as this is where lymph nodes are located.
• 2 drops Geranium Essential Oil
• 2 drops Frankincense Essential Oil
I wanted to share some information on women’s health that I’ve received from doTerra, the line of essential oils that I use in my practice. doTerra has developed a line of products specifically formulated for women’s health. This is the first in a 6 part series. And, I’ve also included an essential oil formula for hormone balance at the end of this post.
Women are incredible. They are strong, yet vulnerable; compassionate, insightful and always willing to sacrifice. Women are capable of so much and they often put the needs of others before their own; however, there is one women’s need that should not be her last priority – her health. Simple daily choices and general awareness can keep you vital and glowing for years to come.
Hormones play a profound impact on your health. Estrogen and progesterone stimulate, regulate and / or control all vital bodily functions in women, as well as affect certain neurotransmitters that determine mood and thinking processes. Is it any wonder that hormone balance is key to maintaining optimal wellness throughout your life?
What contributes to hormone imbalances?
- Sugar and sugar substitutes
- Refined carbohydrates
- Trans fats
- Pesticide-laden foods
- Lack of sleep
- Stress and emotional upsets
- Chemicals in personal care products
- Lack of exercise
- Eat plenty of organically grown whole foods such as fresh vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts
- Incorporate healthy fats into your diet, such as extra virgin olive oil, fish oil, flaxseed oil and coconut oil
- Drink filtered water and stay hydrated
- Eat regular, balanced meals
- Get seven to eight hours of sleep every night
- Practice relaxation and meditation techniques
- Exercise regularly
Essential Oil Formula for Female Hormone Balance
• 2 drops Clary Sage
• 1 drop Geranium
• 1 drop Ylang Ylang
This is a good blend for menopause discomfort, hot flashes, PMS and general female hormone balance. You can use this blend daily. Apply to the soles of the feet in the morning and in the evening before you go to bed. Clary sage releases dopamine in the brain, and some people experience a joyous almost euphoric response. It balances estrogen and helps balance the central nervous system. Geranium gently stimulates the adrenals, which play an integral part during menopause and hormone fluctuations.
As you lie on the table under crisp, fresh sheets, hushed music draws you into the moment. The smell of sage and other essential oils fills the air and you hear the gentle sound of massage oil being warmed in your therapist’s hands. Once the session gets underway, the daily stressors and aching muscles fade into an oblivious 60 minutes of relief, and all you can comprehend right now is not wanting it to end.
But what if that hour of massage did more for you than just take the pressures of the day away? What if that gentle, Swedish massage helped you combat cancer? What if bodywork helped you recover from a strained hamstring in half the time? What if your sleep, digestion, and mood all improved with massage and bodywork? What if these weren’t just “what if’s”?
Evidence is showing that the more massage you can allow yourself, the better you’ll feel. Here’s why:
Massage as a healing tool has been around for thousands of years in many cultures. Touching is a natural human reaction to pain and stress, and for conveying compassion and support. When you bump your head or have a sore calf, the natural response is to rub it to feel better. The same was true of our earliest ancestors.
Healers throughout time and throughout the world have instinctually and independently developed a wide range of therapeutic techniques using touch. Many are still in use today, and with good reason. We now have scientific proof of the benefits of massage — benefits ranging from treating chronic diseases and injuries to alleviating the growing tensions of our modern lifestyles. Having a massage does more than just relax your body and mind — there are specific physiological and psychological changes that occur, and even more so when massage is utilized as a preventative, frequent therapy and not simply mere luxury. Massage not only feels good, but it can cure what ails you.
The Fallout of Stress
Experts estimate that 80 percent to 90 percent of disease is stress-related. Massage and bodywork is there to combat that frightening number by helping us remember what it means to relax. The physical changes massage brings to your body can have a positive effect in many areas of your life. Besides increasing relaxation and decreasing anxiety, massage lowers blood pressure, increases circulation, improves injury recovery, encourages deep sleep, and increases concentration. It reduces fatigue and gives you more energy to handle stressful situations.
Massage is a perfect elixir for good health, but it can also provide an integration of body and mind. By producing a meditative state or heightened awareness of the present moment, massage can provide emotional and spiritual balance, bringing with it true relaxation and peace.
The incredible benefits of massage are doubly powerful if taken in regular “doses.” Researchers from the Touch Research Institute (TRI) at the University of Miami, found that recipients of massage can benefit even in small doses (15 minutes of chair massage or a half-hour table session). They also note that receiving bodywork two to three times a week is even more beneficial. While this may not be feasible, it’s nice to know that this “medicine” only gets better with frequency.
What It Does
In an age of technical and, at times, impersonal medicine, massage offers a drug-free, non-invasive, and humanistic approach based on the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Following is a brief list of the many known, research-based benefits of massage and bodywork:
- Increases circulation, allowing the body to pump more oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs,
- Stimulates the flow of lymph, the body’s natural defense system, against toxic invaders. For example, in breast cancer patients, massage has been shown to increase the cells that fight cancer. Furthermore, increased circulation of blood and lymph systems improves the condition of the body’s largest organ — the skin,
- Relaxes and softens injured and overused muscles,
- Reduces spasms and cramping,
- Increases joint flexibility,
- Reduces recovery time and helps prepare the body for strenuous workouts, reducing subsequent muscle pain of athletes at any level,
- Releases endorphins — the body’s natural painkiller — and is proving very beneficial in patients with chronic illness, injury, and post-op pain,
- Reduces post-surgery adhesions and edema and can be used to reduce and realign scar tissue after healing has occurred,
- Improves range-of-motion and decreases discomfort for patients with low back pain,
- Relieves pain for migraine sufferers and decreases the need for medication,
- Provides exercise and stretching for atrophied muscles and reduces shortening of the muscles for those with restricted range of motion,
- Assists with shorter labor for expectant mothers, as well as reduces the need for medication, eases postpartum depression and anxiety, and contributes to a shorter hospital stay.
The benefits of massage are diverse. No matter how great it feels, massage isn’t just a luxury, it’s a health necessity.
Take the first step. Schedule an appointment with me today by using my online scheduling system.
According to one survey, traffic in our nation’s capital where I live, is the fourth worst in the country. The three cities that are ahead of DC are (in order), Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. I’ve driven in all of those places, and believe me, there is not much difference between the worst on this list.
I drive about 40 minutes (on a good day!) from my home to my office in Arlington. The most direct route has me driving into the teeth of the worst traffic in the area. And like most drivers, I get frustrated and upset whenever someone cuts me off, drives too slowly, or changes lanes without signalling.
This past summer, I noticed that I was becoming really upset and tense during my daily commute. It’s not a feeling that I enjoyed, but what could I do about it? I certainly did not want to bring this tension and anger into my work, into sessions with my clients. After all, I was supposed to help them relieve tension and anxiety, not contribute to it.
The answer was actually pretty simple. I just let those feelings go. As traffic increased and became more congested, I decided that I needed to let that tension, created by all the drivers around me, to just pass through me. I decided I was not going take it on, and not let it stick.
Whenever I felt myself becoming tense or anxious during my commute, I would focus on my breath, breathing deeply and slowly from deep within my belly. I performed little grounding meditations while driving to help bring on a sense of calm and well-being. I kept telling myself that all of these people around me are just trying to do the same thing that I wanted to do: get to work, drop a child off at school, attend a meeting, or drive home. Once I realized that we were all in this together, that we all were trying to do the same thing, it became much easier remain calm even during the very worst of the rush hour. My daily commute became an extension of my meditative and mindfulness practice.
I also did some very practical things this past summer that helped me to reinforce the practices I performed in my car each day.
I started keeping my car scrupulously clean. I subscribed to a service at the local car wash that allows me to get my car washed once a day. I usually don’t do this, but I always go in at least once a week, and often several times during the week. I decided that if I were going to spend more than an hour a day in my car, that it would be a pleasant and relaxing experience. I apply essential oils to the inside of my car. A blend of patchouli, bergamot, sandlewood, rose absolute, jasmine, cinnamon, vetiver and ylang ylang laced with vanilla helped create a powerful proprioceptive anchor onto which my calming meditations could cling. Friends who ride in my car now say that driving with me is like getting a massage!
The end result is that I am able to get through my day and release anger that would otherwise build up. Is it perfect? No, of course not. Do I still get frustrated when traffic backs up? Of course I do. But, each moment of frustration and anger creates an opportunity for me to release and let it go. And rather than get down on myself, I embrace these opportunities to start each moment fresh. It is part of the “art” of letting go of anger. It takes practice, but it is so worth it!