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

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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Essential oil of the month – Clary Sage

clarysageClary Sage (Salvia sclarea) essential oil is used as a safer alternative to Sage essential oil– but has all of its therapeutic qualities and more. It is safe, non toxic and non-sensitising, but should not be used by those who are pregnant- as its an “emmenagogue”, which means it can help to stimulate menstruation with its oestrogenic mimicking properties.

Apart from its unusual heavy, nutty, herbaceous aroma, it is also a “different” oil in relation to its euphoric properties – where for some it can induce a state similar to alcoholic inebriation! Clary Sage essential oil can also cause drowsiness and is best used in the home environment and not before driving, or in conjunction with alcohol. It is also said to induce very vivid dreams.

Therapeutically Clary Sage oil is best used for:-

  • Balancing female hormones (irregular periods, painful periods, menopause, PMS/PMT)
  • For stress, depression, anxiety, mood swings and any stress related illness
  • As an aphrodisiac (especially where stress is a factor)
  • For muscular pain and spasm including period pains and labour pains
  • Its antispasmodic nature can also be very useful in easing a “tight chest” before an asthma attack kicks in

Aromatherapy recipes using Clary Sage essential oil:

Aromatherapy Bath for Muscular Tension & Period Pains:

Dissolve 2 cups of Himalayan Pink Salt in hot water in the base of the bath. Once dissolved run the rest of the bath. Mix 10ml full fat milk with 8 drops of Lavender essential oil, 3 Clary Sage and 3 Marjoram. Add to the water and agitate gently to disperse. Soak for 20 minutes.

Massage Oil for Mood Swings, Anxiety and Stress:

30ml Grapeseed Oil, 4 drops Tangerine, 4 Geranium, 3 Clary Sage and 2 Neroli.

Aphrodisiac Massage Oil (euphoric, antidepressant and stress relieving):

30ml Sweet Almond Oil, 6 drops of Bergamot, 4 Clary Sage and 2 Jasmine.

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

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

Aromatherapy and hormones

Aromatherapy & hormonesOur hormones are part of our Endocrine System, which covers all glands, including the Pituitary Gland, the Thyroid, Adrenals, Pancreas, the Ovaries and the Testis. Hormones are chemicals produced by these glands that flow through the blood stream influencing how we think and feel. They govern the action and activity, strength and functioning of many of our organs and metabolic processes.  As Patricia Davies states: “A characteristic of hormones is that they influence body functions at a distance from the point of origin of the hormone. For this reason they are known as chemical messengers”.

The balance of hormones is affected and influenced by many different factors, including:

  • Nutrition – vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, carbohydrates/sugars
  • Stimulants – caffeine, alcohol, recreational drugs
  • Medication
  • Exercise levels
  • Stress

There is still a great deal of research being conducted in relation to plant hormones and their effect on our endocrine system.  On a basic level, it is thought that essential oils effect our general endocrine system by the plant hormones – “phytohormones” – mimicking human hormones and helping to re-balance, stimulate or calm. The other action is thought to relate to the actual action on specific glands – such as Eucalyptus or Juniper helping to re-balance blood sugar levels – or Geranium and Rosemary stimulating the Adrenal Cortex.

As far as aromatherapy is concerned, we tend to focus on using the essential oils’ action on the emotions relating to certain conditions – as well as the conditions themselves, such as Pre-Menstrual Tension or Period Pain.

Herbal Medicine – both Western and Chinese – uses the actual plant materials medicinal action to help restore hormonal balance. Homeopathy, Acupuncture and Nutritional Medicine can be great options for regulating hormonal fluctuations.

For menopausal symptoms and hot flushes – one of the best herbal combinations I have come across is “Menotune” and “NightGrace” by “Herbs Of Grace” in Newmarket. Medication should be an absolute last resort, as there are so many side-effects, while Natural Medicine can offer such a range of safe, gentle and effective options. The hormonal system is vast in its various different influences – therefore it is often a holistic approach – a combination of therapies that can create the best results. As the Natural Medicine approach is also addressing the fundamental root causes of the issues – not merely alleviating the symptoms – the resolution of the issues is more likely to be long term. It is important to remember that symptoms are our body’s way of communicating to us what it needs to redress the imbalances – so suppressing these indications can lead to more health issues in the future.

Aromatherapy can help redress hormonal imbalances via a number of ways:-

Stress Reduction

Vaporising essential oils, aromatherapy baths, aromatherapy bath salts and aromatherapy massage can all help reduce the effects of adrenalin and cortisol – the fight or flight hormones produced by the adrenal glands. Massage also helps the body flush these chemicals out of the blood stream more efficiently, and can help to reduce stress related inflammation. Useful essential oils for relieving stress would include: Lavender, Neroli, Sandalwood, Benzoin, Patchouli, Vetiver, Jasmine, Bergamot, Sweet Orange, Ylang Ylang and Roman Chamomile.

Hormone Fluctuation

Certain essential oils have constituent elements – phytohormones (plant hormones) – that mimic/reinforce the activity of certain human hormones. Aromatherapy oils such as Geranium, Rose, Agnus Castus (not stocked by Base Formula), Palmarosa, Marjoram, Fennel and Clary Sage contain oestrogen like substances that help balance hormonal fluctuations and can therefore be helpful for PMT, menopause and period problems.

Hormone Production

Some phytohormones trigger or balance hormone production from certain glands. Essential oils such as Geranium, Basil and Rosemary stimulate the adrenal cortex, whilst Juniper and Eucalyptus can help reduce excessive blood sugar levels by their action on the pancreas.

Stimulating Circulation & Detoxification

Stimulating the circulation and detoxification process can help restore balance in various endocrinal activities following periods of intense stress, strain or shock. Essential oils such as Lemon, Juniper, Fennel, Geranium, Bergamot, Neroli, Thyme, Black Pepper and Ginger can help relieve bloating, joint and muscle pain, headaches, poor immunity and hormonal irregularities by helping rid the body of the after-effects of high stress levels. Bath salts such as Himalayan Pink Salts and Dead Sea Salts can also stimulate detoxification and can be combined with essential oils to great effect.

You might also find the following blogs useful:-

Aromatherapy advice for pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS/PMT)
Aromatherapy and the menopause

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

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

Natural ways to boost concentration

Clear concentrationCan’t concentrate?? It happens to us all. So much to get done and yet you just can’t seem to clear your mind enough to get on with making the list – let alone acting on it. Then you give yourself a hard time, pulling your mood down, and thus lowering your ability to get on with achieving those positive goals.

So here’s the help you need. Creating a clear, focused mind is well within your grasp – as are most of the goals you ever set yourself. The only thing that limits most of us is our inability to recognize that our capabilities are unlimited!

Being able to concentrate is part attitude, part nutrition, part exercise, part natural stimulants and part organization of your time. Here’s our fabulous plan of action to help:-

Health

If you are constantly tired, foggy headed or experience consistently fluctuating mood – you need to look at your diet, lifestyle and stress levels. Our bodies are wonderful at giving us early warning signals, but we do have to take note of those warnings.

Constant tiredness 

Is often associated with blood sugar issues. Eating processed foods in general and foods high in refined white sugar will create a brief peak of energy then an energy debt. It’s hard on the pancreas too – predisposing you to weight gain and diabetes. Try eating savoury foods as snacks – eating little and often, taking your food to work to reduce the likelihood of you snacking on the sweets, cakes and biscuits so often around in the workplace. Try nuts and seeds, hummus and veggie crudités, fresh fruit and soup for lunch. Remember the greatest cause of tiredness and brain fog (plus headaches) is dehydration. Aim for a minimum of 1.5 litres of water daily, more if you are exercising or highly stressed. If you prefer hot drinks try hot water with fresh lemon in place of tea or coffee.

Constant tiredness can also be the result of acute tension in the back, neck and shoulder area, that moves up into your neck. Check your posture – especially if you drive or sit at the computer a lot. Regular aromatherapy massage with essential oils that stimulate energy and circulation will also help restore muscular relaxation and blood flow to the brain! Try 3oml Sweet Almond Oil with 4 drops Rosemary essential oil, 2 Black Pepper, 6 Lavender and 3 Plai.

Consistently fluctuating mood 

As well as blood sugar issues as mentioned above – it could be a hormone imbalance – so check those Essential Fatty Acids. A deficiency often causes issues such as difficulty in concentrating and mood swings. Also look at your intake of Zinc and B vitamins. A thyroid test may also be a sensible option – especially if you experience weight gain and constant tiredness too. Supplements may be useful here. For more advice try the BioCare helpline: 0121 433 8702

Aromatherapy oils that can help balance and harmonise include Lavender, Bergamot, Neroli and Geranium. Vaporise 6 drops Bergamot essential oil and 4 Geranium in your place of work to help lift and calm your mood. You can also massage our 5% Neroli Light essential oil into the pulse points on the wrist and temples/back of neck if you start to feel your mood dropping.

High stress levels

If your stress levels are consistently high, make sure your exercise levels are too! This will help your body release the adrenalin and cortisol that can undermine health and vitality. The release of endorphins will also help maintain your mood and your capacity to cope positively. Make sure your nutrition levels are high to help counteract the fact that you’ll use those nutrients up faster if your stress levels stay high. Pay particular attention to super foods such as leafy green vegetables, avocado, nuts and seeds, fresh fruit and oily fish.

Regular aromatherapy massage is excellent to help you get the creative stimulation from the stress, without it undermining your health and wellbeing. Essential oils that lift the spirits and calm the mood – whilst releasing the tension in your body – are ideal for those working under high pressure. Try 25ml Sweet Almond Oil, 5ml Argan Oil, 4 drops Frankincense, 6 Bergamot, 4 Ylang Ylang and 1 Rose essential oil.

Attitude

Remember to stay solution focused. Regularly acknowledge (to yourself) what you are achieving every day, week and month without emphasizing what you don’t manage. Be good to yourself. Maintaining positive “internal dialogue” is very important. Beating yourself up over what you perceive you lack or don’t manage to cover, wastes energy, demotivates you and reduces your capacity to achieve your goals. You get more of what you focus on the most in life – so if you focus on negative imaginings you’ll soon create a reality that is far less than what you are capable of!

A strong person knows when to ask for help. If you notice that your concentration is failing due to a negative attitude creeping in – get some help! Try hypnotherapy – as it maybe a challenging experience from the past clouding the present. Thought Field Therapy can also be excellent in helping restore confidence and mental clarity.

Organisation

Remember being organized is important – but leave time for fun, frivolity and spontaneity as well! If you over commit yourself your brain will soon refuse to focus clearly as it’s over loaded and feels “full up”.

Making lists can be extremely helpful. Make sure that they are realistically achievable in the time you have though! You could break them down into daily, weekly and monthly tasks to make them possible to cover.

Remember, if your work load is high, delegate some of the things that you can, to take the pressure off yourself. Sometimes a Life Coaching session or two can be useful – to bring a neutral perspective into how you organize your life.

Book in your “you time”. If you don’t book in time for exercise, friends and family, or your therapy – such as aromatherapy massage – work will suddenly dominate your every move. Health and wellbeing needs to be the essential foundation on which you build a positive life.

The ability to concentrate clearly when you need to – will be an indication you have the balance right.

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

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

Meet our new guest blogger Nicole Barton

Nicole-Web-261x300We are delighted to welcome on board new guest blogger – Nicole Barton HDipCT (VTCT) MFHT MBA.

Nicole is passionate about all things ‘holistic’ – particularly Aromatherapy.  Originally a Brand Manager in the beauty industry, her journey into the holistic world began when she experienced the stresses and strains of an imbalanced modern life, developing Chronic Fatigue.  Realising her passion, after holistically healing herself, she then set up Chalet Holistics – a specialist wellbeing centre in Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire – where she now sympathetically supports people back to balance!

Nicole offers a range of treatments including Aromatherapy, Reflexology, Reiki, Sticks and Stones Massage, Swedish Massage and traditional Indian Champissage (Indian Head Massage).

Her favourite essential oils include Sweet Orange (used at any excuse!), Lavender (for sleep) and Cypress (for restoring calm during episodes of non-existent-though-attempted uncontrollable crying when she accidentally smashed the bottle from a new order – a long story; which she may just have to blog about!

Read Nicole’s first fascinating blog on how aromatherapy helped a client, with no sense of smell, to rediscover her nose!

If you are interested in writing for our aromatherapy blog please email us to discuss your ideas.

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Open up your nose – an aromatherapy journey!

sense-of-smellSo, you probably know that essential oils can bring about healing responses – that’s why we use them! These can be ‘emotional’ ones, due to our sense of smell linking with the part of the brain that is responsible for emotions. They can also help to promote physical healing. In addition to this, essential oils can also trigger ‘unexpected’ healing responses.

One particular new aromatherapy client I treated recently experienced a very interesting and unusual healing response – and it was a great learning curve. “I have no sense of smell,” she said, when I explained the treatment. I wondered – how effective could aromatherapy be in this instance, given that it works strongly with this particular sense?

Aromatherapy consultation with no sense of smell

Whilst many people perceive aromatherapy to be more about the ‘massage’ – often thinking of it as just a ‘massage with smelly oils’ – we aromatherapists understand that it works predominantly with the olfactory system – your sense of smell! So how might it work without this important aspect?

Well, we decided, let’s persevere! We undertook the usual detailed consultation to try and understand more about this client’s healing needs. With aromatherapy, they say you usually like the smell of oils your body needs to help heal itself, so, after establishing three objectives a client wants help with, I usually do a selective ‘smell test’ to determine which essential oils the client is drawn to most. This particular client couldn’t smell many of them at all – to begin with…

The journey of smells

Week one was interesting – she only managed to smell one or two essential oils (it was actually a surprise to her that she could smell any) – and, interestingly, they were mostly top to middle notes and not base notes. What does this say about what her body needs, I wondered? One of her objectives was to feel ‘uplifted,’ so could she only smell the top and middle note ‘uplifting’ oils that her body required? Would the essential oils even make a difference if she couldn’t smell them? I had so many questions due to that crucial ‘sense of smell’ being missing.

Well, the aromatherapy oils did have an effect – of course, they do absorb into the blood stream so they still have a chemical effect on the body – but this is thought-provoking given that aromatherapy is so closely connected to the olfactory system. What was more fascinating was that the range of oils she could smell was improving; as the weeks went on, the client was not only getting benefits, which included feeling more relaxed and less anxious, her skin feeling more balanced, sleeping better and her digestion improving, but her sense of smell was developing too.

Unexpected responses: A new, intuitive sense, in eight weeks!

By the end of this eight-week treatment journey, the client could smell ALL of the essential oils. This was not what we had expected – we just wanted to see how the oils could still support someone without a sense of smell. However, not only had they helped her body and mind to heal but – perhaps most importantly – the client felt that aromatherapy had “opened up her nose to a whole new world.” She had thought she had no sense of smell prior to treatment but by the end of a course of therapy she could smell all the essential oils, and other things too! The oils had stimulated something in the olfactory system.

She was also drawn to the oils she needed – one week liking something and the next not liking it because she no longer needed it. One week she adored Geranium, the next she hated it (and one week she couldn’t smell it despite craving it the week before). I realised that this not only shows just how clever, intuitive and sensitive the body is to know what it wants, but also quite how effective essential oils can be. Her new found, highly sensitive, sense of smell had also learned to support the body in selecting what she needed! This also reinforces that aromatherapy is not just about the physical ‘massage’ (despite this still helping in the absence of her sense of smell) as people often think – but that your sense of smell is a crucial part of the process too.

The moral of the story? The next time someone thinks they can’t benefit from aromatherapy because they don’t have a sense of smell, don’t assume that it won’t help them – who knows what unexpected effects it might have! This client was so happy, believing aromatherapy to be wonderful, and is now a firm advocate of the powerful benefits of essential oils; and what a great example to highlight how effectively essential oils – and, indeed, the power of Mother Nature – can be.

Practical blending advice

From this experience, I would NOT encourage anyone who thinks they have ‘no sense of smell’ to try and smell ALL the essential oils at once. Whilst tempting, this might overload and confuse the olfactory system, which may already be stressed or overloaded with chemicals that are impairing it in the first place. Instead, ‘smell test’ a maximum of 4-6 essential oils in one session, and try to work using a blend of the 3 most suitable oils for the person’s objectives on that day. If they can smell any and like them, choose those over others as they are possibly able to smell them because their bodies need them and they are drawn to them! Don’t worry if they can’t smell any – they can still have an effect.

This also highlights the importance of great aftercare as well as consultation. For therapists, advise your client on how to use essential oils safely at home – perhaps just one a week to help educate their sense of smell. You might well “open up their noses”, making them more sensitive to the smells their bodies need too! This applies with every client, not just those who can’t smell.

Nicole Barton
Guest Blogger & Consultant Aromatherapist
Chalet Holistics

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