Important information for Base Formula Blog users

The information provided on the Base Formula blog is for personal information and interest only. It is not intended to offer professional medical advice or treatment for any condition. We recommend that you consult your GP or nurse if you have any health concerns whatsoever. Our advice has been provided on the basis that there are no known contra-indications to treatment. If you have any health problems or are taking any medication you should seek advice from your healthcare provider prior to using aromatherapy. We would also advise that you make an appointment with a local aromatherapist who will be able to take a full case history and offer you tailored treatment advice. Please note that Base Formula accepts no liability for misuse of essential oils or other products or for any reliance on the information provided within.

Please visit our website for more details on using essential oils safely and effectively.

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Base oil of the month – Raspberry Seed

Raspberry Seed OilRaspberry Seed Oil (Rubus idaeus) is a highly nutritious base oil that contains 83% essential fatty acids (Omegas 3 and 6) as well as high levels of Vitamins A and E. This makes it excellent for inflamed skin conditions such as acne rosacea, eczema and psoriasis. It is also good for mature, dry skin and for use within facial oils.

In a study conducted in 2000, and published by Elsevier Science Ltd, Raspberry Seed Oil was shown to have SPF (Sun protection factor) of between 28 and 50 for UVB rays and 8 for UVA rays! This is principally due to the polyphenols, potent anti-oxidants which are also found in olives, green tea and red wine. For this reason Raspberry Seed Oil is often added to natural sun protection creams.

Aromatherapy Recipes using Raspberry Seed Oil:

Face Oil For Mature Skin:

40ml Apricot Kernel Oil, 10ml Jojoba Oil, 10ml Raspberry Seed Oil, 8 drops Geranium essential oil, 8 Lavender, 6 Frankincense, 2 Neroli and 2 Rose.

Body Lotion For Eczema:

120ml Organic Moisturising Lotion, 5ml Argan Oil, 10ml Raspberry Seed Oil, 10 drops Lavender essential oil, 8 Geranium, 2 drops German Chamomile and 2 Yarrow.

After-Sun Cream:

80ml Organic Moisturising Cream, 10ml Raspberry Seed Oil, 5ml Avocado Oil, 20 drops Lavender essential oil, 8 Roman Chamomile, 4 Spearmint and 4 Yarrow.

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

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Posted in Base oil of the month, Natural Health & Beauty Tagged with: , , , , ,

Essential oil of the month – Lavender

lavender2Lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia) is just about the most versatile, effective “all-round” power-house that our aromatherapy kit could possibly offer. It has an unmistakable scent that is at once floral and herbaceous, fruity and woody. Its scent and therapeutic actions reflects its highly complex chemical structure, and the concentration of the various active elements vary according to the soil, weather patterns, climate and conditions in which it is grown.  The best quality Lavender essential oil is said to grow in the Mediterranean, from where the Romans first transplanted it throughout Northern Europe and England.

Lavender essential oil has powerful and effective actions on the physical, emotional and spiritual levels. It blends well with a huge range of other essential oils and is said to synergistically improve the actions of other essential oils.

I like to call it “Fast aid in a bottle” as it is one of the few essential oils that most aromatherapists agree can be used neat on bites, stings and scratches, and especially effectively on burns and bruises.

Other uses include:

  • Nervous system: for headaches/migraines, insomnia, stress, anxiety. Combined with oils such as Peppermint, Marjoram, Roman Chamomile, Geranium, Rose, Bergamot, Ylang Ylang, Frankincense and Sandalwood.
  • Skin: for eczema/irritation, infection, phlebitis. Combined with oils such as Yarrow, German Chamomile, Rose, Vetivert, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Bergamot, Cypress and Myrrh.
  • Musculoskeletal system: for pain, strains, inflammation, tension, spasm. Combined with Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Ginger, Lemon, Black Pepper, Juniper, Marjoram, Clary Sage, Plai and Geranium.

Aromatherapy recipes using Lavender essential oil:

Sunburn Salve:
Mix 50ml Aloe Vera & Seaweed Gel, 15 drops Lavender essential oil, 5 Roman Chamomile and 2 Spearmint.

Muscle Rub for Aches & Pains:
Mix 50ml Grapeseed Oil, 20 drops Lavender essential oil, 10 Marjoram, 5 Plai and 2 Ginger.

Headache Balm:

Blend 50ml Aloe Vera & Rose Gel, 10 drops Lavender essential oil and 2 drops each of Neroli and Peppermint. Massage into the temples and back of neck.

Alternatively for a ready-made solution for sunburn, aches, pains and headaches try our multi-functional Cooling Gel with Cornmint and Lavender.

Relaxing Bath Soak:

Blend 15ml SLS Free Bath & Shower Gel, 6 drops Lavender essential oil, 4 Sweet Orange and 2 Neroli and add to the bath once the water has run.

Calming Massage Oil for Kids:

Mix 30ml Grapeseed oil, 6 drops Lavender essential oil, 2 Roman Chamomile and 4 Mandarin and use for massage to calm, soothe and prepare them for bed!

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

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Posted in Essential Oils of the Month, Natural Health & Beauty Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Discover the powers of the Summer herb garden

HerbsHerbs are incredibly cheap to buy, easy to seed and grow, with many growing profusely once established. Most are perennial, and many of those that aren’t are easy to gather seeds from, if you let them “run to seed” at the end of the season.

As many herbs originate from the Mediterranean, most are also hardy in long, dry Summer-times, or drier areas of the garden.

Most herbs are also an excellent option for “first time gardeners”, as they are not easily predated upon by garden pests, due to their very strong scent and bitter taste. They also – very importantly – provide wonderful flowers for bees and wild pollinators, especially Lavender, Sage, Borage, Thyme, Chives and Chamomile.

Herbs can be grown effectively in small gardens, on balconies, in window boxes and verandas and even inside, so they really do represent the perfect option whatever your circumstances.

Some herbs, such as Comfrey – often referred to as the “miracle herb” – can be used to create free garden fertiliser for hungry food producing plants, and even helps plants susceptible to attack from fungi and virus! Comfrey will go well in almost any type of soil, and has an incredibly deep root system – roots will grow down to a depth of 20 – 30 feet – which is one of the reasons why it is able to draw up a huge range of trace minerals and nutrients that are unavailable to many other plants. It is said to be the only plant to contain a form of Vitamin B12.

We can use Comfrey in 3 different ways in the garden:

  1. As a green fertilizer – just cut up the leaves and sprinkle on the ground to break down and feed your plants and enrich your soil.
  2. To add to your compost heap to activate the decomposition process and increase nutrition.
  3. To make “Comfrey Tea Liquid Fertilizer”. Just add cut leaves to a large container of water – leave to rot for 2-3 weeks and spray onto plants.

In this form – this “soluble fertilizer” is rich in many nutrients and minerals – especially copper, and can boost plant immunity and help combat “leaf curl” on fruit trees.

Herbs are also incredibly versatile in the kitchen. They can be a fabulous addition to salads, and add fantastic flavour and colour to a multitude of foods, both fresh, frozen and dried. They dry and store easily, can be harvested regularly throughout the Summer, and used for sweet and savoury dishes, drinks and herb teas. They also help preserve foods and slow down the oxidising action.

Medicinally, herbs have the most amazing versatility, and have been used for many thousands of years – herbal medicine probably represents the most ancient form of Natural Medicine. Essential oils distilled from herbs represent some of the most powerful oils known to the world of aromatherapy, and we don’t always need to use the distillation process to access the essential oils that are so useful and effective.

Essential oils are released (albeit in a less pure and concentrated form) when we add fresh herbs to hot water for herb teas, inhalations, or use bundles of tied herbs for aromatic baths. We can also add herbs to vegetable oils and high quality vinegars for culinary uses.

So whilst nothing will ever replace the sheer ease of use and therapeutic power of pure essential oils and base oils, never under-estimate the medicinal herbs in your garden, and the way they were originally used. They can be easy to use, safe and gentle in their action, and can provide you with a powerful addition to your natural medicine chest.

In addition, there is something inherently gratifying and completely sustainable, in being able to go outside into your garden and harvest what you need to add to the food you eat and the medicinal action you require.

Here are some natural remedies to give you further green inspiration!

  • For indigestion or heart burn (especially after a rich meal) take a few handfuls of fresh Peppermint and add to a teapot or clean cafetiere. Steep for 5 – 10 minutes and sip 1-2 cups. If suffering from bloating and wind, you can include fresh Fennel leaves too.
  • To aid restful sleep do the same as above but using fresh Chamomile flowers.
  • For a sore throat, make a tea with 6 fresh Sage leaves and 4 sprigs Thyme, and gargle with it hot or cold.
  • If suffering from a cold or flu make up olive oil vinaigrette and add 1-2 cloves of fresh garlic and pour on fresh salad, including some raw parsley which will increase nutrients and boost immunity whilst neutralising garlic odour on breath!
  • For tiredness and tension tie together a bunch of herbs including Lavender, Lemon Balm, Chamomile and Rosemary. Hang under hot water tap and run a bath. To add to the effect – add 1 cup of Dead Sea Salt or Himalayan Pink Salt. Then soak and relax!

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

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Posted in Natural Health & Beauty Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,

De-stress and unwind on your Summer holiday!

holiday stressAre you in a panic and suffering stress on the lead up to your Summer holiday? Whilst it can be a very exciting time of year, all the last minute rushing around (whether that be shopping for the holiday essentials, packing, cleaning the house, doing a hand-over at work, getting the kids ready, or just tying up any loose ends) can make it hard to finally unwind.

In fact, it is often so challenging the Telegraph recently reported that an Institute of Leadership and Management’s study found it takes people TWO DAYS, on average, to unwind once actually on holiday! Not only this, but 90% of people worry about going back to work to a deluge of emails, and 80% actually still respond to emails whilst away, finding it so hard to relax that they inevitably don’t. There is no wonder really as to why it is so hard to wind down, with the constant pressures of a fast-paced modern society and such easily accessible technology. However, with this in mind, why not swap your fast-pace and technology for something a bit more calming and natural, and make sure you really unwind on your break, starting just before you go?

Top tips to kick-start your relaxation

No matter where you are going (even if you are just having time off at home), there are a few crucial tips to help kick-start your relaxation:

  • Be prepared – try and make time to organise everything in advance rather than leaving it to the last minute, so that you have time to unwind before you go and whilst on holiday.
  • Switch your phone off straight after finishing work – don’t give in to temptation to read all your work-related emails.
  • Book a relaxing treatment – whether that is an aromatherapy massage or something else like reflexology, hot stones or Swedish massage, this will help calm your nervous system in advance of your holiday and really get you in that ‘holiday mindset’. Why not try a treatment you don’t usually have to help you get into the mode of experiencing something ‘different‘ – for example Thai Yoga massage? Better still, book a treatment whilst you are on holiday too, at the start of your break!
  • Utilise some lovely essential oils with relaxing, sedating properties that can help you unwind and promote calmer feelings.

Tried and tested stress-busting essential oils:

Supportively calming emotional stress: Cypress

A few months ago I received a Base Formula order I had been expecting and, so excited was I that I rushed about hurriedly to open the box. In doing so, I managed to drop one of my brand new bottles of essential oil and it smashed all over my floor. Because I was so stressed and in such a rush, I immediately wanted to burst into tears because my brand new bottle of essential oil had now gone; clearly my nervous system had gone into overdrive and had had enough! However, despite wanting to, all of a sudden I found that I couldn’t cry. Not knowing which essential oil had smashed, I scooped up the remains and found it to be Cypress oil. The moral of this story is that I was actually quite fortunate to smash this particular essential oil; as the aroma that suddenly wafted throughout my room was effective enough to calm my stress. So, my top ‘unwinding’ essential oil for immense pre-holiday stress is, of course, Cypress – offering great support in times of upheaval to restore calm and stop those tears! Use it in a diffuser before you go, whilst finishing off at work, packing or sorting things ready for your holiday, as it is also an oil that can encourage focus!

Balancing the body and soothing stress: Rose

Rose essential oil is very nurturing, offering mental, emotional and physical support during times of stress. Uplifting and soothing, as well as hormonally balancing (making it a great oil for women), it helps alleviate anxiety and nervous tension! Perfect for easing that holiday stress, why not mix a few drops with a cup of full-fat milk and add it to your night-time bath for a de-stressing soak on the run up to your holiday. Lie and relax whilst doing some deep, abdominal breathing to fully-maximise the inhalation of the oil.

Relaxing, unwinding and aiding sleep: Lavender

Lavender essential oil is perhaps one of the most ‘universal’ oils. This is a great one to take on holiday with you as not only is it extremely relaxing, but it is also great in the Summer holiday first-aid kit for things like minor burns, insect bites, aches and pains, and also as an anti-viral and insect repellent. Unlike other essential oils, you can apply this neat to the pulse points on your wrist to help you unwind and get into holiday mode. It will also bust any holiday insomnia you might get from being in strange surroundings! Pop 3-4 drops in a rollette bottle with 10ml Sweet Almond carrier oil and apply to your pulse points as and when needed – both before and during your holiday. If you like Rose essential oil, you could add a drop or two of that as well.

Calming the holiday excitement: Mandarin

A cheery, comforting oil that is generally safe for use with children, Mandarin essential oil is very calming for the nerves, soothing restlessness (great for the combatting the over-excitement of going away), and also helping aid sleep. Pop some in a diffuser a night or two before you go away to help keep the kids calm! Take it away with you to have the same effect when they are there. If you can’t take or access your diffuser, try popping three drops of Mandarin essential oil on a cotton pad and place it by the bed, close enough to be inhaled, but at a safe distance from touching the skin.

Fear of flying stresses: Neroli, Lemon and Geranium

Neroli and Lemon are lovely essential oils to help with any worries about flying. Neroli is very relaxing and soothing for fear, whilst Lemon is more uplifting, which can help with jet lag. Make sure you adapt to the time-zone by sleeping at the right time – maintain a sensible bedtime schedule as far as possible, and use appropriate essential oils to help with either sleeping or keeping awake where needed. Neroli and Lavender will help aid sleep, whereas Lemon will help you wake up as it helps bust stress-related fatigue and enhances mental performance, so use accordingly to how you feel. Geranium essential oil will aid rebalancing of hormones which are involved in regulating your sleep regime, so try and utilise this oil whilst you are away, especially if you are going on a long-haul flight. Put a few drops on a hanky and sniff regularly during the flight!

Mini essential oil travel kit

As you can see, there are many aromatherapy oils that can help you unwind on your holiday, but it can be hard to take them all with you. So why not make up a mini travel kit so you can take the ‘essentials’? A full bottle of Lavender essential oil is always useful, and you could always decant some other essential oils into smaller bottles. Alternatively, if you are trying the oils before you go away, why not make up a really calming, de-stressing blend with your favourites and store in a rollette bottle to save space in your luggage? See which ones work best for you (as aromatherapy is very individual) on the run-up to your break, and blend two or three essential oils together – 1-2 drops of each (up to a maximum of 4 drops) in 10ml Sweet Almond carrier oil.

So, don’t take two days before you can relax into your break. Unwinding on holiday is easier than you think – pop the oils on your pulse points, shut the technological world away, and off you go to enjoy your time: stress-free!

Happy holidays!

Nicole Barton
Guest Blogger & Consultant Aromatherapist
Chalet Holistics

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Posted in Natural Health & Beauty Tagged with: , , ,

Summer’s natural aromatherapy essentials

lavenderAs I was enjoying the recent sunshine, it got me thinking about my favourite seasonal aromatherapy scents and all the wonderful ways that you can use natural essential oils during the Summer months!

Whether soothing stress with Summery scents, detoxing to lose weight before your summer hols, combating creepy crawly bites, or trying to get glowing Summer skin, there is an essential oil to help you achieve your balance! Read on for some of my favourite seasonal essentials.

Soothing Summer Stress

Packing for holiday? Rushing round in the heat? Whilst Summer is a time of fun, it is equally a time of year filled with things that can create stress – so, why not try some essential oils that can help you let it all go? Bergamot essential oil has a lovely sunny scent that can help you relax. I particularly like mixing it with Neroli essential oil to really help you unwind! Diffuse these citrusy aromas using an Aroma Stone, or mix 2 drops of each essential oil and 10ml of carrier oil (such as Rosehip or Sweet Almond Oil) in a Rollette bottle, and roll onto pulse points as required. Alternatively why not book yourself a bespoke Aromatherapy massage to totally de-stress? This way the oils will get into your system and can stay there for up to a week – great just before going on holiday to really get you in that holiday mode!

Summer First Aid

Now it can be a common misconception that Aromatherapy is just for relaxation! You might not automatically think of essential oils as part of a First Aid kit, but this is, ultimately, what essential oils are for: to help heal! The Aromatherapy Trade Council confirms its definition as “the use of plant oils to assist the body to heal and maintain itself”. So how can essential oils help?

  • Lavender essential oil: this is great for lots of Summer challenges – apply neat to minor burns, bites, stings, cuts and bruises; it can help them all. It also helps headaches, muscular aches and insomnia!
  • Tea Tree essential oil: another important one for the First Aid kit because it is antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-fungal – dab one drop, neat, onto minor cuts, bruises and abrasions, or use it on spots, as well as Athlete’s Foot and other fungal infections.
  • Peppermint essential oil: is a fantastic Summer oil to incorporate into a spray because it is very cooling! It is a great insect repellent (even though it smells lovely and refreshing to us!) and itch reliever for bites, as well as being an excellent digestive aid. Mix a few drops into a spray bottle of either water or a natural hydrolat such as Orange Flower for extra skin-toning properties. Spritz yourself with this blend as and when you want to feel cool, or if you have been sunburned. This is good for cleansing and hydrating your skin as well! Remember to keep your hydrolat blend in the fridge though to preserve its shelf-life – and to make it even more refreshing!
  • Eucalyptus essential oil: useful for its anti-viral properties to blitz those Summer viruses.

If applying essential oils to your body, carriers are also crucial to have in your First Aid kit to mix essential oils into. Avocado, Jojoba or Rosehip oils make excellent moisturisers. Alternatively Aloe Vera Gels are great for cooling. Whichever you prefer, both will soothe the skin as well as help the essential oils to be absorbed. Never apply essential oils neat (other than Lavender and Tea Tree) – they need diluting at 1-2%, which equates to roughly 2-4 drops of essential oil in 10ml of carrier!

A Summer note of caution however: some essential oils are photosensitive – often citrus oils such as Bergamot, Lemon, Grapefruit, Mandarin, Lime and Sweet Orange – as well as Patchouli, so please do not apply these to your skin before going out into the sun.

Deterring Creepy Crawlies

Of course, whilst Summer is so much fun in many ways, bugs are one of this season’s hindrances. Essential oils can help with deterring them though:

  • Spiders and ants (the crawlers) don’t like Peppermint essential oil – dot it around the edges of your room on cotton pads, or outside, or try using your Peppermint spray from your Summer First Aid kit!
  • Flies, midges and mosquitos (the fliers) don’t like Citronella, Lemongrass or Lemon Eucalyptus. If you’re indoors, try diffusing these aromatherapy oils, or, if outdoors, create a natural insect repellent spray with 100ml Witch Hazel Hydrolat and 10-12 drops of each of the three essential oils!

Pre-Holiday Detox & Weight Loss

Pre-holiday detoxes are common these days to try and aid weight loss and achieve the perfect ‘beach body’. This year’s new craze seems to be ‘teatoxes.’ However, you might achieve healthier detoxing effects using essential oils (NOT ‘in’ the tea, obviously!) and a healthy eating plan. Book a lymphatic-system stimulating Aromatherapy massage to help combat oedema, water retention and rid toxins, or mix Lemon, Fennel and Juniperberry essential oils in a carrier oil (remembering the dilution rules) and self-massage them into your abdomen each morning to help your digestive system become more efficient. Diffuse Grapefruit and/or Peppermint essential oil to help suppress the appetite – this can really help if you are dieting!

If you really like herbal teas, they can support alongside this – try Green Tea with a squeeze of lemon to support cleansing from the inside-out. This can be great not only for detoxing the body and supporting weight loss, but also to help keep your body hydrated and skin looking fresh!

Summer Skincare

Likewise, essential oils can help with those Summer-skin issues like re-hydrating dry skin caused by air-conditioning or sunburn. For dry or sun-damaged skin, try blending a facial spritz with Rose Hydrolat (or Orange Flower Hydrolat for usually ‘oily’ skin that has become dehydrated) and Lavender, Rose or Sweet Orange essential oils. I also find that a few drops of Lavender and Sweet Orange added to a light moisturising base cream or lotion (at no more than 2% dilution) is lovely and balancing for dry skin. These oils are also great for helping you to relax and de-stress. Alternatively, our Aloe Vera Gels make lovely, ready-made alternatives for sunburned skin.

Please note these are not substitutes for sun cream. Remember to wear this to protect your skin whenever you are in the sun.

‘THE’ Holiday Essential

With limited space in your Summer suitcase or handbag, and so many wonderful essential oils to choose from, how do you pick just one to take on holiday? If I had to choose, the best Summer holiday essential oil for me would be Lavender because it is so versatile and you can apply it neat! It calms nerves, is soothing, cooling, analgesic, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. It also aids sleep and is a natural insect repellent! Practically a whole First Aid Kit in one small bottle!

So, whilst you’re out enjoying the sun this year, remember that Summer – whilst a fabulous time of year – can have its challenges; though essential oils can help support and re-balance you. Above all else this sunny season, don’t forget to enjoy your oils – they’re essential!

Nicole Barton
Guest Blogger & Consultant Aromatherapist
Chalet Holistics

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Posted in Natural Health & Beauty Tagged with: , , , , ,

Top to toe aromatherapy solutions for Summer problems

We all look forward to Summer, but for some, it can bring a whole host of irritating problems and complaints – from dry split ends through to unsightly cracked heels. Here are our favourite top to toe aromatherapy tips for treating some of the most common summer problems:-

Coconut Hair Balm

For dry, damaged and lack lustre hair: 60ml warmed Extra Virgin Coconut Butter, 20ml Jojoba Oil, 8 drops Ylang Ylang essential oil, 8 Geranium, 4 Patchouli and 4 Frankincense. Massage approx. 20ml into hair and scalp and leave in for 10 minutes or up to 1 hour. Rub shampoo into the hair before applying water. Rinse and reapply shampoo for a second time to remove all traces of oil.

A Spot of Magic

Hot and humid weather in Summer can lead to oily skin, blocked pores and blemishes. Try dabbing a drop of neat Tea Tree essential oil onto blemishes with a cotton bud to help fight infection and dry the spot out quicker.

Anti-Cellulite Massage Oil

Worried about exposing those dimply areas? Mix 120ml Sweet Almond Oil, 10ml Jojoba Oil, 5ml Red Carrot Oil, 5ml Argan Oil, 20 drops Lavender essential oil, 20 Geranium, 10 Juniper, 10 Cypress and 6 Lemon. Massage into affected areas after a bath or shower.

Cooling Bath & Shower Gel

Great for heat rash, fatigue or general lethargy: 120ml SLS Free Bath & Shower Gel, 5ml Vitamin E Oil, 5ml Argan Oil, 8 drops Lime essential oil, 8 Geranium, 4 Spearmint, 4 Yarrow and 4 Peppermint. Do not use before bed as the essential oils may have a mildly stimulating effect.

Irritation & Pain Relief

Dab a few drops of neat Lavender essential oil onto insect bites, stings, bruises, bangs, scratches and splinters.

After Sun Gel

Got caught in the sun? Mix 80ml Aloe Vera & Seaweed Gel, 5ml Argan Oil, 5ml Vitamin E Oil, 20 drops Lavender essential oil, 5 Yarrow, 4 German Chamomile and 2 Spearmint. Massage into the skin after a bath or shower to moisturise and reduce inflammation.

Muscle Pain / Strain Lotion

Overdone those summer activites? Mix 100ml Moisturising Lotion, 20 drops Lavender essential oil, 6 drops Arnica, 6 German Chamomile, 4 Rosemary and 2 Peppermint. Rub lotion into affected area, apply ice and elevate where possible.

Smooth Heel Ointment

Want to wear sandals but worried about those dry, cracked heels? Blend 50ml Moisturising Cream, 10ml Jojoba Oil, 5ml Vitamin E Oil, 10 drops Frankincense essential oil, 5 Benzoin, 5 Tea Tree and 2 Peppermint. File down the hard, rough skin on your heel, and then massage in the cream morning and night.

Smelly Feet Spritz

Freshen up with 100ml Witch Hazel Hydrolat, 10 drops Cypress essential oil, 5 Lemon and 5 Tea Tree. Shake well before use and spray regularly.

Click here for more summer skincare recipes.

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

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Posted in Make Your Own Recipes, Natural Health & Beauty Tagged with: , , , ,

Base oil of the month – Sesame

Sesame Seed Oil (Sesamum indicum) has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years and is a popular choice for Indian Head Massage. It is rich in various vitamins and minerals which also makes it a useful addition to base oils for skin restructuring, moisturising, and boosting skin integrity. It has high levels of anti-oxidants which help prevent free radical damage, and makes it a useful addition to sunscreen blends – although not advisable in serious exposure to hot sun!

Visit our website to find out more.

Aromatherapy blends using Sesame Seed Oil:-

Body Oil For Dry Skin:

80ml Apricot Kernel Oil, 10ml Jojoba Oil, 10ml Sesame Seed Oil, 10 drops Lavender essential oil, 10 Geranium, 5 Roman Chamomile and 3 Rose.

Rich Body Exfoliating Gel:

80ml Aloe Vera & Rose Hydrating Gel, 10ml Sesame Seed Oil, 10ml Jojoba Oil, 40ml Bamboo Exfoliating Gel, 1 tablespoon fine grade Dead Sea Salt, 10 drops Ylang Ylang essential oil, 10 Geranium, 4 Lemon and 4 Lime.

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

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Posted in General

Essential oil of the month – Melissa

Melissa (Melissa officinalis), also called lemon balm, is a prolific herb from the mint family that grows like a weed. The plant has lemon-scented leaves and produces small white flowers in the summer that are full of nectar and attractive to bees (Melissa is the Greek word for honey bee). Melissa essential oil is steam distilled from the plant’s flowering tops and leaves, and although the herb grows vigorously it has a high water content and yields very little essential oil – which is why it is an expensive oil to buy.

Melissa essential oil is easily and often adulterated with Lemon, Lemongrass or Lemon Verbena, but true Melissa oil has a glorious lemon scent – as if lemon has been mixed with newly mown grass and earth. It is very distinctive and unique in both its fragrance and therapeutic properties.

Key properties of Melissa essential oil:-

Emotional:

  • Comforting and calming for those stricken by shock, grief, depression and anxiety
  • Calming and confidence boosting for feelings of vulnerability and insecurity
  • Helps stabilise mood swings, especially when related to hormonal fluctuations

Physical:

  • Helps to regulate the menstrual cycle
  • Helps relieve coughs and colds and can be helpful for those prone to asthma (do not use in inhalations for asthma)
  • Helps to lower high blood pressure

Melissa can also be used as a great insect repellent – although Citronella is preferable in relation to the cost!

Safety note: Melissa essential oil can be a mild sensitizer and irritant – so for this reason, along with the cost, we tend to use it at a 1% dilution. It is not recommended for use undiluted in a bath as it can cause inflammation even if used in relatively small amounts with those who have sensitive skins.

Aromatherapy blends using Melissa essential oil:

To calm erratic moods and nervousness: Massage with 25ml Sweet Almond Oil, 5ml St John’s Wort, 2 drops Melissa essential oil, 2 Neroli, 4 Roman Chamomile and 6 Lavender.

To help ease high blood pressure: 25ml Sweet Almond Oil, 5ml St John’s Wort, 2 drops Melissa essential oil, 2 Neroli, 4 drops Marjoram and 4 Ylang Ylang. (Not to be used for very high blood pressure unless checked with Doctor).

To help ease coughs and congestion: Steam inhalation with 1 drop Melissa essential oil, 2 Eucalyptus and 4 Tea Tree.

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

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Posted in Essential Oils of the Month Tagged with: , , , , ,

Integrating aromatherapy & becoming a flexible therapist

footbathSo often, we see Aromatherapy listed as a very separate treatment on a holistic therapist’s menu. But why does it have to be an entirely standalone treatment?

Aromatherapy dates back thousands of years; Chinese, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and many other cultures used it as their main form of medicine until synthetic medicine established. It was French chemist, Gattefossé, who first coined the term, in 1928, professing pure essential oils to be beneficial as long as they were not broken down.

A ‘whole’ new world: The integrative holistic approach

Where historical cultures experimented with complementary medicines like Aromatherapy, the modern world of medicine, whilst obviously much more advanced, can sometimes also seem reductionist, preferring the simple and obvious, seeing things as either ‘black or white': things either are or they aren’t. Quite often, our medical world works with cause and effect, looking at only part of the picture – suggesting that if you have a headache you take headache tablets to make it go away. Whilst this may help, simplification theories argue that science has been reduced to make things simple. But are things really as simple and easy as modern society suggests?

As holistic therapists we appreciate the value of seeing the person as a ‘whole’ – we consider the world to be all different shades of grey, rather than just ‘black or white’. That headache might be caused by emotional stress and the prescribed tablet might not work on the deeper layers of such underlying causes – only the symptoms. Our therapies complement the medical world; we appreciate the ‘holistic’ view, seeking to also help the underlying problem and treat the whole – it’s what we, as aromatherapists, believe in. However, if we appreciate this, why not take it further?

Why do we, or perhaps our clients, so often tend to see our therapies as so separate? “I’ll have XYZ treatment please,” clients might say. Is it because of how we design our therapy menus, centred on treatment options rather than time options, or is it because we’re used to things being so simplified? At risk of sounding extreme, why do we book appointments according to which particular treatment the client desires – specifying ‘treatment XYZ’ – and not just allocate time for a ‘holistic therapy’ appointment and treat as appropriate to that client on that particular day, whether that be Reflexology with a little Reiki, or some Aromatherapy with Indian Head Massage? Why not integrate therapies as appropriate to that specific client at that time?

The idea of flexible Aromatherapy: Mix, match and add essential oils!

What we’re questioning is: why does Aromatherapy and the use of essential oils have to be just a standalone treatment? For many of us, it may not be; but it’s an interesting question!

Aromatherapy can be integrative; essential oils can be combined with other therapies, and/or Aromatherapy Massage can be combined with a little of another treatment at the beginning or end of a session – mixing and matching as appropriate!

Add essential oils

One of my favourite ways to integrate Aromatherapy into other treatments is by utilising essential oils in other therapies. For example, we can use essential oils in Reflexology. This is particularly poignant because some argue that the powers of absorption of essential oils might be better in your feet – so what better way to encourage the body to heal than by giving a double healing whammy – utilising essential oils whilst stimulating the reflexes to work the body through Reflexology?

You might already use essential oils, such as Tea Tree or Lemon, whilst doing Reflexology – to help cleanse the feet. However, it’s also about being more selective with the essential oils we use during Reflexology! Why not tailor a blend, in a carrier oil, to the client’s needs so that the feet can absorb the oils and have an effect on that client’s treatment objectives? For example, if the client is tired, we might work the pineal gland reflex during Reflexology, but we could simultaneously use Grapefruit essential oil in our Reflexology medium to help energise that client, or if there is a hormonal imbalance we might work reflexes to support this whilst using a blend of Geranium and Rose.

Likewise, essential oils can be beneficial in this way in all holistic treatments – combined with Indian Head Massage, Reiki, facials, and anything else you offer. It can also be a nice way to start a treatment and set the scene – I often introduce my Indian Head Massage treatment by asking the client to take deep breaths and doing some Aromatherapy breathing with cleansing Lime essential oil!

Mix and match

What about the massage part of Aromatherapy, you might ask? Of course, we don’t want to ignore that! The concentration on light massage of the spine (stimulating the nervous system) and the lymphatic system plays a huge part in Aromatherapy which is not to be ignored. So, whilst there can be benefits from integrating essential oils into other therapies, the power of a full Aromatherapy treatment should not be ignored. Aromatherapy massage, however, can be mixed and matched with other therapies – e.g. by adding extra time on for a little bit of additional Reiki, Reflexology, or whatever the client needs, at the end of their Aromatherapy massage treatment. Sometimes it is just thinking outside the box as to how to best utilise the client’s time.

Being a flexible therapist is just about this: if the client could benefit from it, put it into their treatment. Being an Aromatherapist is not about making a client choose between therapies, it’s about helping that client’s health at the time. Likewise, it can be adding little things in, like an Aroma Foot Soak, to tailor an Aromatherapy session to that client. Essential-oil-loving-clients – if you’re reading – why not ask your therapists to integrate?

Finding the balance – Don’t lose the essence or over-stimulate

A note of caution, however, is that we do have to be careful when taking an integrated approach to therapies, ensuring we enhance the treatment rather than compromise it. We need to be mindful about what treatment mix we combine essential oils with so as not to a) lose the essence of Aromatherapy as a standalone treatment, and b) over-stimulate the client by mixing more stimulating therapies with very powerful essential oils. For example, we might not want to combine essential oils with just a plain full body Swedish massage, not just because it loses the critical importance of why we do Aromatherapy (i.e. gently working the spine and nervous system so that the oils are the focus), but also so it is not over-stimulating. A new client to Aromatherapy, who might be sensitive to the power of essential oils, might require less treatment time with very stimulating Aromatherapy massage but could have this combined with a less toxin-stimulating treatment such as Reiki – or they might want to try a Reflexology treatment with essential oils so they can get to experience the power of the oils before trying a full Aromatherapy treatment.

We must not combine too much, and we must not lose the balance; though, if done correctly, an integrative approach to Aromatherapy and use of essential oils can really enhance the therapies we offer. It offers choice and flexibility and reinforces the holistic approach.

Tips for integrating Aromatherapy into other therapies

Some great ways to integrate and enhance Aromatherapy are:

Aromatherapy Foot Soak:

Include a foot soak during your consultation, using essential oils. Try adding Himilayan Pink Salt mixed with Rose or Lavender essential oil to calm the client at the start of the treatment.

Facial Blends:

If you are an Aromatherapist that offers facials, you can obviously mix your own bespoke facial blends. Try using hydrolats as cleansers and toners, and lovely essential oils such as Chamomile, Jasmine, Sweet Orange or Mandarin in appropriate carrier oils for balancing skin, depending on the skin type. You can also mix up a range of bespoke moisturising blends with cosmetic basescarrier oils and pure essential oils.

Diffusing during treatment:

You might already diffuse essential oils during your other therapies – but how about you make it part of the consultation so that the client gets to choose the blend based on their needs and objectives? This is a lovely way to introduce Aromatherapy to clients who may not know much about it – and they get the benefit of the oils whilst enjoying their other treatment.

There are so many ways to integrate Aromatherapy into everything you offer – so remember to think outside the box: mix, match and add essential oils!

Nicole Barton
Guest Blogger & Consultant Aromatherapist
Chalet Holistics

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Base oil of the month – Peach Kernel

peach kernelPeach Kernel Oil (Prunus persica) is a light, rich, readily absorbable carrier oil which makes an excellent facial oil and body oil for dry, dehydrated or damaged skin. It contains high levels of essential fatty acids (oleic and linoleic), and Vitamins A and E. It is especially useful for dry, mature skin where elasticity has been lost. It can also be used to help reduce inflammation in skin that is irritated and reddened.

Peach Kernel oil is as easily absorbed as Apricot Kernel Oil but is richer in nutrients.

Aromatherapy recipes using Peach Kernel Oil:-

Facial Oil For Mature Skin:

20ml Peach Kernel Oil, 5ml Jojoba Oil, 2ml Red Carrot Oil, 2 drops Neroli essential oil, 2 Benzoin, 2 Yarrow, 4 Frankincense and 4 Geranium. Apply a thin layer to the face and neck 3 times a week and leave on for a mimimum of 30 minutes. Rinse off or massage in any remaining oil.

 After Sun Body Oil: 

30ml Peach Kernel Oil, 10ml Vitamin E Oil, 5ml Red Carrot Oil, 5ml Argan Oil, 20 drops Lavender essential oil, 5 Neroli, 5 Patchouli and 5 Frankincense.

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

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Posted in Base oil of the month, Make Your Own Recipes, Natural Health & Beauty Tagged with: , , , , ,
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