Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Essential Oils 101: Safety and Precautions

Essential oils are a wonderful tool for supporting your body naturally. Even though they are natural, there are still precautions to take to ensure that you're using this tool safely and effectively. As I've stated before, there are many opinions about how to use essential oils and lots of contradicting information. I encourage everyone to learn as much as they can about the oils and decide what feels right for you. Don't just take the word of someone who is selling the oil. 

This is what I've learned over the years and what I feel like is right for me. 

1. Before applying oils for the first time, try a drop to see if your skin is sensitive to it. Some people may not tolerate oils "neat" and require the oil to be diluted with a carrier oil. Some oils may cause an allergic reaction even if it is diluted. Every body is unique and what works for one person may not work for another. Applying oils to the feet is not only effective for distributing the oils throughout the body, but there's less chance of the skin on the feet being sensitive to the oils.

2. If you experience discomfort from using an essential oil, apply a carrier oil over the sensitive area. Do not rinse it with water--the water will enhance the action of the oil and can make the reaction stronger. The carrier oil will dilute the essential oil and lessen the discomfort. 

3. Always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil when applying to children or babies. Their skin is more sensitive and they are more likely to experience discomfort from undiluted oils. 

4. Never take oils internally. This is where you'll find a lot of contradicting information. I've noticed that only multi-level marketing companies promote the ingestion of essential oils. Everyone else in the aromatherapy industry (people who have studied the oils for themselves for years) believe that oils should only be ingested under close supervision of a trained professional, or not at all. There are some oils widely known as being toxic (causing injury and death) that should NEVER be taken internally, including eucalyptus and wintergreen. Yet multi-level marketing companies encourage the ingestion of eucalyptus oil by itself or in a blend. If you do choose to ingest essential oils, do you due diligence and educate yourself extensively on the subject--don't just take the advice of the person selling the oil. And always check the label before you ingest an oil to see if it contains a toxic oil.

5. Keep out of reach of children. There's something about those little bottles that is so appealing to kids! My daughter got into my oils once when I was busy in another room and got peppermint on her hands. Then she rubbed her eyes. And then she screamed. She still hates peppermint oil to this day. Oils should be kept away from little hands that could get the oil into their eyes, onto their sensitive skin, or into their bellies. 

6. Use oils with caution for pregnancy. Generally, blends are safer to use when pregnant than single oils. There are many single oils that should not be used during pregnancy, but are safe to use in a blend. Research what oils you can and can't use during pregnancy, and always proceed with caution. Some oils that are generally safe to use during pregnancy may cause a reaction for you.  

7. Do not blend oils unless it is a trusted recipe. This is something that I don't think a lot of people understand: when you blend oils together, it changes the way they act. To blend oils requires extensive knowledge and experience. There are a lot of roller bottle recipes on the internet that combine single oils together. I personally don't trust those recipes. I prefer to use the blends created by the professionals. 

8. Do not allow essential oils to be heated. High temperatures destroy the essential oil. If your oils are accidentally left in a car or in the sun, allow the oils to cool to room temperature before opening the lid. Cold temperatures generally do not damage the therapeutic properties of the oils. If the oils have been exposed to cold, allow them to return to room temperature. Do not apply any heat to warm them (you can hold them in your hand to warm them). 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

My Favorite Way to Use Essential Oils

I woke up with a head cold, so I thought I would show you my favorite way to use essential oils: on my feet! I talk about putting the oils on the feet a lot, but sometimes that can be confusing. Hopefully it will make more sense if I show you! 

Friday, May 22, 2015

My Favorite Hand Soap

About a year and a half ago I started cutting out chemicals around the house to better support my body. The chemicals and fragrances in soaps and perfumes have an effect on our hormones, and since I have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) I need to do everything I can to avoid hormone disruptions.

I came across a recipe for homemade foaming hand soap using essential oils and tweaked it a little to make it just right. I emptied my old Bath and Body Works foaming soap bottles (that was a little painful at first, let me tell you!) and they work perfectly for this recipe. You can also buy foaming soap bottles online. Most recipes for hand soap use tea tree oil to make it anti-bacterial. I like to use the blend SpiceC from Butterfly Express because of it's warm citrus/spice smell. SpiceC is similar to Deliverance and is also anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and supports the immune system. (It's also my favorite oil to diffuse around the house!)

DIY Foaming Hand Soap

An empty foaming soap bottle that's been rinsed out
2-3 Tbsp Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Soap (I like the unscented kind)
20-30 drops of SpiceC essential oil

After rinsing the soap bottle well, add 3 Tablespoons of Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Soap and 20-30 drops of SpiceC essential oil. Add water to just below the neck of the bottle (it will foam up and spill out when you put the lid on). Screw on the lid and gently shake the bottle to mix. You may need to shake the bottle a few times over the next 24 hours to re-mix the ingredients.

I love how easy and affordable it is to make this soap--less than a dollar per bottle! You can find Dr. Bronner's soap at most health food stores or online. I get mine from Natural Grocer's.

You can read more about SpiceC here: http://butterflyexpressions.org/information/Blends/SpiceC

Friday, May 15, 2015

Muscle Testing

In a previous post I briefly mentioned that you can use muscle testing to determine which oil your body needs (or you can test for someone else too). Here's a little more information about how to do that for those that are interested.

Muscle testing is an energy test to determine truth. It's a method of accessing the subconscious mind and the body. It can be used for a variety of reasons, including allergy testing, emotional release techniques, deciding if a supplement is beneficial for your body, and on and on. Some people refer to it as an internal lie detector. The idea is that your subconscious knows what is true (and what is not) and that if you are in the presence of truth, or say a true statement, then your muscles will be able to hold strong against applied pressure. If you are in the presence of an untruth, or if you say an untrue statement, then your muscles cannot hold strong against applied pressure. Untruth weakens our body.

I use muscle testing to determine which oils to use on myself, my family, or my foot zoning clients. When a person comes to me for a foot zone, I have no idea what is going on in their bodies when they sit down in front of me. But my energy can ask their energy what it needs. When my kids are sick or having a rough time, I have an idea of what they need, but I don't understand the whole picture of what's going on inside their little bodies and minds. But I can use this simple energy test to choose which oils, out of the 100+ oils that I have, will be the most beneficial for them at that moment.

The thing that fascinates me most about muscle testing is that you can muscle test for anyone, anywhere in the world! They don't have to be sitting right next to you. Energy is not limited by time or space. My sister can text me from across the country and ask me to muscle test something for her and I can get the same answer as I would if she was right beside me. Very cool! Just make sure that you ask for permission to test for someone else. You don't even have to verbally ask the person; just ask yourself, "Can I test for ______?" and the muscle test can answer for you.

The keys to muscle testing correctly are practice, having an open, clear mind, and being energetically balanced. If you are distracted, stressed, nervous, or if you think you know what the answer should be, then you will have a hard time getting a good answer from a muscle test. There was a period of 1-2 years where I couldn't muscle test at all because the stress in my life made me too imbalanced.

To prepare yourself to muscle test, try these simple things:

1. Take a deep breath. Or two. Or three.
2. Ground your energy by imagining your energy reaching down and connecting with the earth.
3. Clear your mind of distractions and pre-conceived ideas, setting the intention to seek the truth.

There are innumerable methods for muscle testing. As you practice and play around with it, you'll find what feels most comfortable to you. I've gone through 5 different ways to muscle test to find the method that I am currently using (flicking a finger on one hand). My least favorite methods are the ones that require another person present to push down on your arm (pictured below) or to pull your fingers apart.

A good one to start out with is the sway test. This is a great video that explains the sway test really well. It's also a good example of how our opinions and bias can affect the muscle test. This lady has decided that ingesting essential oils is good and beneficial, and it is reflected in the muscle test. If I were to muscle test if I should ingest essential oils, I would most likely get a firm "no" since I firmly believe that oils should not be ingested. That's why muscle testing can be tricky and isn't an exact science.

I like part 2 of her muscle testing videos to show other ways to muscle test using your hands:

For a more in-depth understanding of muscle testing, Dr. Nelson (creator of The Body Code) has a webinar posted that goes into more detail. I haven't been able to sit down and listen to the full 90 minutes, but I like what I've heard so far! You can listen by clicking here.

Muscle testing is a lot of fun to practice! Throughout the day, practice getting a "yes" answer or a "no" answer just to see how it feels. The more you practice, the better you'll get. As always, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me!