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Tuesday, 24 May 2011 19:21

Finding Balance in an Unbalanced World

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We live in challenging times and our health and well-being is dependent on our ability to not react to what is happening around us and to focus on what we can do to improve our lives without getting caught up with fear, anxiety, stress and now, the economy. There is a saying that we cannot control what is happening to us from the outside; we can only control how we respond. The more out of balance we are the more our relationships, careers, finances, emotions, and health will suffer. Chinese medicine believes that 90 percent of disease has its source in emotional imbalances.

So in times of imbalance, it’s time to take a deep breath; find your center; quiet your mind; collect your thoughts; gather your facts; tap into your intuition; and focus on the answer as it applies to you.  It’s also important to pamper yourself more, focus on getting a good night’s sleep, stimulate your cardiovascular, and move stagnant energy in order to restore vitality and improve immunity. This article will focus on how using aromatherapy daily can help bring you back into balance and help you stay balanced.
When I think about balance, I always think about the color green. Not only is green the color that represents the heart, but it is also the color of nature. If you want to be balanced, then being in nature and connecting with the heart are sure ways to restore harmony. If you live close to nature, it is as simple as taking a step outside. If you do not, then this will be more challenging as it is connecting with the natural world on a daily basis that is important. Aromatherapy, through the use of essential oils, is the perfect solution because if you cannot connect with the natural world, let the natural world connect with you. There are hundreds of essential oils available globally from multiple countries and multiple species in everyone’s price range. Even though I recommend organic when available, it is always better to use a less expensive essential oil than nothing at all.

Plants suffer equally from environmental stress and adapt accordingly, so it stands to reason that essential oils from these plants will assist us to do the same. Having a selection of essential oils in your life is like having the energy of plants in your possession without the need to travel. Since they are often packaged in sizes from one eighth of an ounce to a half ounce, they are not only affordable, but they are easily transportable. Every bottle contains the potential energy of the plant that is between 75 to 100 times more concentrated than the dried herb. In each half ounce bottles there is 450 drops of essential oil that is the equivalent of hundreds of pounds of plant material. For instance, it takes 330 pounds of plant material to make half ounce of true melissa essential oil. Please note that only pure unadulterated essential oils will have therapeutic benefits.
Using essential oils by themselves are already beneficial and I am sure that many of you are familiar with using tea tree on a bite, peppermint on a headache, and lavender in a bath. However, we are all very complex and we often need more complex formulations to address multiple challenges that are affecting us simultaneously. This is why many essential oil companies promote essential oil synergies made from several essential oils where each essential oil in the synergy needs to be beneficial for one particular aspect of say a respiratory challenge. It’s not enough just to use eucalyptus for the lungs; we also need essential oils that will loosen, fluidify, and expel mucus as well as oils that will address aches and pains, irritability, fevers, and restlessness. The ability to make complex formulations is to place inside the blend all that needs to be corrected in an individual and then apply through inhalation, formulation, multiple applications in order to address outcomes.
Inhalation is unavoidable as all essential oils have a smell and it is impossible to smell something and think at the same time. Once you focus on the smell, you disengage the mind, especially if you take a deep breath at the same time. Smells have access to the pleasure centers of the brain as well as all our memories, basic drives, and to the hypothalamus that tells us when we have had enough of anything, including food, work, or stress. There are also devices and diffusers specifically used to disperse essential oils into an environment where you can experience small doses throughout the day of blends that can have a relaxing or energizing response. This even included the use of pure aromatic candles, made with pure essential oils. Ninety-five percent of the candles sold are made with synthetic fragrances and are more likely to give you a headache than a therapeutic sensory experience. Blends of lavender, marjoram, and ylang ylang can be calming while peppermint, rosemary, and ginger can be stimulating.
Formulation refers to easy to use end products where you do not need to focus on the essential oils but on what you want and know that you will use either in the form of an aromatherapy bath, lotion, massage oil, or specialty product. These pre-blended products can be purchased online and do vary in quality and concentration. For a product to be effective, it needs to be as organic as possible and where essential oils are used in concentrations that can not only be smelled, but felt fully.
Application is through touch. There is no finer healing experience than combining therapeutic grade essential oils through healing touch by a practitioner who is not only skilled, but is sensitive to energy and balance through intent. In order to change, it is necessary to repeat applications as one dose rarely affects you for more than a short period of time. When you use the same formula throughout one’s day, the brain re-wires itself and eventually desires the blend that is creating the positive effect. Eventually, just thinking about a specific fragrant blend can create the same outcome because fragrances are stored chemically as part of our cellular memory and can be released in micro amounts into our systems.
Outcomes refers to the goal that you have in why you are using essential oil based products to begin with. An outcome may be to lose weight (grapefruit), to increase the benefits of exercise (eucalyptus, fir) or to be able to relax and switch off at the end of a hard days work (lavender). Some people have the idea that application is all that it takes to say lose weight when we all know that only exercise and limiting one’s food intake will truly be effective. It is far more beneficial if you use essential oils while exercising, practicing yoga (frankincense), meditating (cistus), or for a specific purpose rather than just using them to feel better in the short term.

Today’s stressful world is causing many people to have to work more, sleep less, and even skip meals. In addition if you’re on your feet all day, not only does this cause challenges to one’s feet but lower back pain (tarragon, birch) from poor posture and kidney and adrenal fatigue (pine). If you are working with your hands all day doing repetitive tasks, there is a chance that you have symptoms of carpel tunnel (birch), joint stiffness (juniper), muscle tension (clary sage), and even the beginnings of arthritis (vetiver). If your not sleeping well or skipping sleep the chances are is that you’re performance will suffer and your lower back pain will get worse as you rely on adrenalin to get your through the day. Did you know that when you’re tired, you eat more and that people who cut their sleeping from seven hours a night to five or less faced double the risk of cardiovascular challenges? If you’re tired and skipping meals, you may binge sometime during the day on the foods that are rich in fat and sugar and then it’s not just if you will crash but when. If you cannot stop your mind from thinking then not only will you suffer from fatigue but you will make more mistakes and have a tendency to over react to everything. Everybody needs an aromatic time out and a time to recover in order to re-boot.
Most of the time, your applications will need to be self-administered as who has the time or resources for regular treatments in an already overworked, overstuffed schedule. This of course is incorrect thinking as being worked on allows your nervous system to calm down (chamomile roman) and your vitality to increase (rosewood). It takes one action to produce the opposite reaction. It does not always need to be a 90 minute major overhaul; it could be a 10 minute foot rub, scalp massage, or hand and arm treatment (marjoram, tarragon, spearmint). Trading treatments is the answer and all you have to do is schedule yourself as though you are the client where you are your priority for at least 10 to 15 minutes of every day. Using essential oils in concentration on the scalp, hands, feet and along the spine (for alignment) can bring 10 times the result compared to using only touch. While personal touch is an anecdote for mental and physical isolation, essential oils are the anti-freeze that removes the rigidity, resistance, and all the toxins and emotional stagnation that can be found in one’s cells, blood, lymph, tissues, muscles, and joints. Essential oils soften the mind (cedarwood), open the heart (rose), calm the soul (angelica), and put us in a more balanced space where we can reflect and feel good about ourselves; a place where we know we will be OK.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, we are born out of balance in a world that is constantly correcting itself through the elements. These five elements are wood (the color green and seaweed), fire (the color red and minerals), earth (the color yellow and mustard); metal (the color white and Dead Sea salts) and water (the color blue or black and mud). If we add essential oils to products that represent these elements, we can not only receive health benefits, but we can also help balance all that is physical, emotional, and spiritual.
Paracelsus said that the way to health was through and aromatic bath and in some cases it was recommended that one take up to three baths per day, beginning in the morning. This has nothing to do with cleaning but more to do with using baths as a form of therapy, Bath Therapy. Baths are unique in that they are a forced time out if you soak for at least 15 minutes in salts that are fragranced with essential oils. Eventually, your body will get used to the way it feels after an aromatic bath and will crave baths on a daily basis. If you combine a bath with the intent of sleeping better just before bed, your body will remember the sensory experience and if it works, will remember what it took to get there.
After the bath, one can dry brush the skin daily, where essential oils can be added to a tightly woven skin mitt or brush and brushed over the entire body (rosewood, palmarosa, lavender). This is like a do-it-yourself acupuncture treatment. Dry brushing is one of the best things that you can do for your health and has dozens of benefits. In addition a drop or two of two essential oils rubbed along the spine (peppermint, sweet thyme) can be a great boost when you feel fatigue and a great replacement for caffeine. Following the dry brushing, one can add an aromatic body lotion (ylang ylang, jasmine), body oil, face oil, scalp oil/shine (cedarwood, sage, rosemary), foot rub (ginger), and customized perfume (jasmine, neroli, and patchouli). It’s about applying to your bath, scalp, temples, feet, and any other part of your body where you feel discomfort or stagnation. Essential oils can be inhaled by placing one drop in between your hands and rubbing gently together. You can then place your hands on any part of the body that is troubling you from assisting with breathing (ravintsara), stimulating (cardamom), or sedating the intestines (marjoram), for muscle aches (tarragon) or pains including mental overload (peppermint, ginger) and headaches (marjoram). If your personal care products do not contain essential oils, you are missing out on the most potent and effective of all alternative medicines.
Before bed one can soak in foaming milk bath fragranced with lavender, chamomile and rosewood for a sedating experience before slipping under the covers for what may be the best night sleep. The beauty of essential oils and aromatherapy is that there is a blend or oil for every mood or emotion, every physical condition or symptom, and even essential oils that will help open the mind and increase one’s clarity. I do not just mean smelling them, but instead using them in every part of your life from the minute you wake until the last thing at night.
Staying balanced is dependent on whether you can find harmony between all aspects of yourself including your emotions (water), mind (metal), passion (fire), ability to be grounded (earth), and your ability to complete things (wood). There is no doubt that we need to focus on all aspects of ourselves simultaneously to gain balance and we also need a lot of self-discipline to maintain balance. Using essential oils each day is the key to finding harmony as they help regulate the energy responsible for maintaining balance. Using formulas that contain every part of the plant combining with action orientated outcomes can bring incredible changes.

Michael Scholes is the president of the Laboratory of Flowers and aromatherapy apothecary that specializes in organic essential oils and products for bath body, skin, hair, spa, and the environment. He has spent the last two decades teaching and consulting for companies and individuals worldwide. He has over 20 years experience as a master blender and formulator and trainer in aromatherapy with over 20,000 students worldwide and over 15,000 hours of teaching experience. www.labofflowers.com, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 703-433-32499


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