Spiritual Scents Aromatherapy Blog

Spreading the natural healing word one blog at a time

December’s Essential Oil Duo: Frankincense & Myrrh December 5, 2010

I know what you’re thinking, “she picked a couple of easy ones for December”. Okay, okay, I get it. Frankincense, Myrrh…Christmas, the 3 Kings, and the Gifts bestowed upon the blessed baby Jesus. Now, hold on there! Before you turn away from this special pair of essential oils for the month of December, just give me a second to explain.

I actually almost picked a couple of other essential oils for this month, like clove and cinnamon. Although those two would’ve also been perfect for December (warming, strengthening, memory recalls etc), I chose a couple of essential oils that have an interesting history, story and purpose attached to them. When I think of December, yes, of course I think of Christmas…but I also think of fond memories this time of year: special school programs and gift exchanging with classmates, family gatherings, school breaks…a time for reflection of the past year, a time to share stories, a time to give to the less fortunate and think of one another.

This is where Frankincense and Myrrh come in.

Both essential oils come from the Burseraceae family.
Frankincense is a small shrubby tree with white flowers. A cut into the bark of the tree will produce a milky, white resin (thick, syrupy like) liquid that hardens into orange-brown tears. The resin is what is steam-distilled to obtain the essential oil.
Myrrh is also a small shrubby tree or a shrubby bush that produces a yellow resin that hardens into more reddish-brown tears when the bark is cut into. The essential oil is from steam-distilling the hardened resin tears as well.

Because frankincense and myrrh were hard to come by during historical times, they were considered rare and therefore, highly valued. The resins were burned as an offering to the gods and used as incense to ward off evil energies/spirits. Only the richest of the rich had access to frankincense and myrrh back then.

Today, frankincense essential oil is valued for its ability to slow down and deepen the breath. This is especially useful when rapid breathing is related to fear, anxiety, nervous tension and stress. Frankincense, in this way, is also useful for someone who suffers from respiratory issues such as colds, bronchitis, asthma, coughs and sore throats that may make it difficult for a person to take that deep breath and slow down. It smells divine (to most people), although others may associate it with church.
Spiritually, it is valuable in prayers and meditation as it stills the mind and helps one to focus on the intention of prayers. The energy of frankincense is very protecting and is used to drive away bad spirits and break links with the past (useful in times of forgiveness).

Myrrh, on the other hand, functions differently. Physically, Myrrh is a great anti-infectious and anti-fungal! It is used effectively to treat athlete’s foot, wounds and infections. In fact, it was used this way thousands of years ago when ancient Greek soldiers carried myrrh with them not only to treat wounds, but for psychic protection as well. Because of Myrrh’s anti-inflammatory abilities, it is used not only in skin care but also to treat coughs and colds. It is soothing, healing and helps to restore the body and mind.


Spiritually, myrrh is all about peace and tranquility, REALLY! Just like frankincense, it is one of the most spiritual oils and is used for meditation as well. Myrrh’s energy is all about moving on in life and helps those who may feel stuck.

So, wouldn’t you agree that these two essential oils are perfect for December? I mean, think about it. This is the month when our skin suffers from dryness (at least where I’m from) and the cool air. Colds, coughs and flu are also common this time of year. When it comes to our spiritual and emotional health, December is often a time in which we take time to reflect, meditate, pray and be thankful. It’s a time in which we feel hopeful that peace and tranquility will be in store for us in the coming year- a time of forgiveness and a time to move on!

 

Aromatherapy “Copy Rights” November 16, 2010

Okay, here’s the deal, I don’t make blends to try to copy another existing product, PERIOD. Not to sound harsh or anything, but I have been receiving a number of requests for advice on blending….then when I offer to help, I am given a list of ingredients on the back of some product and asked to try to copy it (not in those exact words, but somewhat that way).

Every Aromatherapist has their own way of incorporating essential oils into their practice. Some make products such as perfumes or pre-calculated blends, while others use essential oils to incorporate into a massage treatment, for mood altering effects, and so on and so forth. As I have mentioned before, aromatherapy can be used in a vast number of ways. In my own practice, aromatherapy is incorporated into an aromatic treatment program for holistic care, intentional blending, and life balancing. As a nurse, I enjoy educating people on how essential oils can be used as a complementary treatment in conjunction with prescribed medications and their own medical plan of care. Once in a while, I may make a product- but that is often times intentional…like for an event, for someone’s healing practice intentions, for the season…or whatever I feel the energy in the air is calling for. Whatever the product may be, it’s custom made and/or made to fit a particular purpose, event, health concern, or intention. I have NEVER tried to copy an existing product because I STRONGLY believe that, in order to keep the integrity of my practice, customized blending is a MUST.

Now, let’s say that you noticed that a product with essential oils in it has a certain effect on you, and you like it, a lot. Then, fine, we can examine which essential oils are in that product, talk about what they each do and what they are used for, then talk about what YOU are looking for and then see if we can incorporate those essential oils (and maybe others that may help you with whatever you need) into your own custom blend. How’s that? I can do that.

See, the thing is, when people give me a list on back of a product, often times those ingredients are made for mass marketing….so the intention behind that product is most likely aimed at money making. I mean, you now, hey…it’s a business product. If you buy aromatherapy products made exclusively by an Aromatherapist, the energy and intention in that product is different. Most likely, the Aromatherapist made it with the good intention of helping others. They didn’t make a product because it just smells good or because the blend seems pleasing or helps a majority of people find relief and therefore…”let’s make money”. And, “how can you tell?” you may ask….because of the ingredients IN the product. Yes, I see essential oils are on the label…but what quality essential oils did they use? Did the people making the product even CARE about the quality, or were they focusing on the cost of the essential oil? PLUS, the other ingredients that are on those labels are CHEAP (the carrier oils used, the water, etc.) and include essential oil enhancing, stretching, or adulterating components…to enhance the essential oil aromas…meaning, the essential oils may work to some effect, but not the way they COULD . It SMELLS like there is a good amount of essential oil in there, but the other ingredients tell me that they put SOME essential oils in there but added other things to make them stand out more or stretch their smell.

So, you like buying “aromatherapy” product? Fine, so do I. But, just try to pay attention to WHO is selling you the product. Are there Aromatherapists behind the products (or some type of essential oil chemist or expert?) This is an important factor to take into consideration, because the aromatherapist KNOWS about the importance of quality essential oils and ingredients. They take this VERY seriously when making their products. Or is the company familiar with natural, organic ingredients? KNOW who you are buying these products from. I don’t sell products, but I know some Aromatherapists that do….and that is who I would buy products from. I have even bought products from farmers who produce essential oils……mmmmm, YUM!

Don’t believe me and think that I may be some angst Aromatherapist out for control and over thinking my profession? How about trying an experiment then? Try it! Buy a mass produced product that may be cheaper and have a STRONGer aroma of essential oils….then buy something lovingly made by a farmer, Aromatherapist (or Aromatherapist company), or organic ingredients producer that may have a more subtle aroma but may cost a little more. Compare the two after using for a while and see if you notice a difference? You will be amazed; it’s an eye opening experiment.

My clients, family, friends, and some colleagues tell me, without me asking them, that there is a difference in mass products versus intentional blending in the aromatherapy products they buy. Of course, I’m biased, but there is a significant difference to me.

 

The Gulf of Mexico: Never Underestimate Our Water’s Healing Powers! August 14, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lorraine @ 10:12 pm
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It has been quite a while since I blogged about healing or any related experience. Not that anyone would care, but it’s just nice to put something out there on a regular basis to spread the word and hope that maybe one person may find some of this sharing useful or even slightly interesting.

Summer does for me what it does for so many people I know, it brings about a sort of laziness and laid back attitude that is absolutely necessary for human survival. Well…okay, maybe not “absolutely necessary” for human survival, but a MUST to prevent burn-out that stems from constantly going throughout the entire year. And where do we go when we are constantly going? I never have a clue to that answer.

As such, in order to save myself from complete self-destruction, my family and I took our well-planned trip down to Panama City, Florida. I must admit though, I was really worried about the possible conditions of the water. You see, I have this special relationship with the Gulf. A couple years ago, during my very first visit, I was filled with so much happiness and light from soaking myself in its’ waters that I was just overwhelmed by the Gulf’s beauty. The clear greenish blue water, the warmth and the energy….just awesome! Additionally, the good friends we went to visit there were like ONE with the energy there. What I mean by this is that they seemed to just enhance the place, being as wonderfully loving and beautiful as they were….it just made the WHOLE experience so much better.

This year, however, was a whole different ball game. We weren’t going to visit Panama City just to be a nuisance to our friends down there. Oh, no! This time it was all about serious business. I was sooooo tired and worn out from this past year’s many events that I felt that the only thing that could save me was Panama City and friendship. I needed friendship therapy REAL bad. But, would the Gulf of Mexico be able to give me what I needed this time? Or, was my dear Gulf wounded by human’s greed and mistakes? Did I even have the RIGHT to ask from the Gulf anything at all? I was being selfish, so I decided to try to do something for it….maybe some reiki?

So, that’s where I was, in mid-June, in Panama City accompanied by a posse of husband, daughter and our BFF family ( we are best of friends with my dear cousin, her husband and their children). We were extremely excited to rekindle with our angelic friends down in the city and explore the new restaurant they had just opened up (I mean, explore with our taste buds, ‘cause girlfriend can COOK up some mean Filipino dishes).

Aside from laughing and catching up with friends, I found myself in awe as I approached the clean, fresh, not-invaded-yet-by-oil waters. The sand was cool, even in all that heat (as always), and as smooth as baby powder. The waters were about 85 degrees and filled with, yet again, loving energy. My intention was to do some reiki while in the waters over there, especially concentrating on the Gulf of Mexico. I wanted to protect it this time, surround it with loving light, fill it with healing energies and ask that it receives all that it needs to make it through what may be the inevitable. I was worried that it was weakened and, maybe, even saddened by what had occurred.
So, when I finally stepped foot into the Gulf (and oooohhh, what a feeling that was), I was instead greeted by waters that wanted to heal ME. I was overcome, overwhelmed and in disbelief. With all its suffering at that moment and considering the fact that it was mistreated and abused, these waters wanted to GIVE. Unbelievable!

Not to get off subject, but prior to this I had been experiencing episodes of great weakness, migraines and just a feeling of general malaise. It was probably from stress that stemmed from a year of going, going, going and drama, drama, drama AND spinning around in a circle that lead to…confusion as I tried to stabilize and figure out the business end of this healing practice (I just couldn’t put “business” and “healing” in the same sentence congruently). And not being aware of it, I couldn’t heal myself- of course. It hadn’t really hit me that I was running on empty all that time until that very moment that I drenched myself in the waters. It was only at that very moment that I felt like, “Ghee, I need a vacation really bad!”. And just to add to the confusion of this blog and get off the subject even more… before we left, I was struck by this strong feeling that I needed to make a nice aromatherapy Panama City blend, just for myself. I filled it with relaxing, grounding, stress-relieving, sun tanning, mmmm mmmm good essential oils such as sandalwood, bergamot, lemongrass, rosalina, lavender and peppermint. I melted some coconut oil and jojoba together and infused it with my yummy blend. I then instructed myself to use it every day and night. So, this was my official vacation blend. And I tell you, this blend used in Panama’s energy was just perfect! I felt, well, sort of- how should I say this? High? Giddy?, well just SUPER relaxed and really good!

So, I found myself progressively getting better day by day in Panama City. Wearing my blend everyday, I was either in the water or near it in some way, engrossing myself in laughter, rich conversations and filling myself with great food. We were either at the bay, in the lake (just right in our own back yard!) in the beach, or in some kind of water- the source was all the same. Each time I got in the water, I did some reiki. Remarkably, I gave and then the waters gave back to me 10 fold what I was trying to do for it! By the end of the week, I was a new person (I didn’t even look like myself, I went from my usual pale skin to a REALLY tanned brown due to my mistake of putting too much bergamot and lemongrass in my blend). Nonetheless, I was glowing big time and my natural sense for life, love and joy came beaming through my in every possible way that it could not be contained. I even asked permission (from the water and Mother Nature) to collect some of the shells and sand to take back home with me and my yogic friend who was healing her ankle. I went in the water, did some reiki and asked for a miracle- that the oil spill will stop and that our waters will somehow be rescued. I felt a great deal of sadness, guilt and grief, which was at times overwhelming as I watched the happy dolphins playing in the waves, the birds dipping in and out of the water and the fish that swam around us, but at the same time felt that the waters were saying, “hey don’t worry, everything will be okay, REALLY”.
I soaked myself in these waters as much as I could the entire time, returning from our vacation completely healed!

Since my return, I had been lighting a candle from a wonderful artist and candle maker that makes candles for special purposes (like angel candles, healing candles etc.). I bought her candle made especially for the Gulf of Mexico’s waters, animals, and people. Every day I would light it and send loving energy over their way, but my worries have subsided since hearing one of the boat captains tell us “We will make it through whatever comes, not to worry, this is not the first time we experienced a catastrophe…Mother Nature has a way of healing…but it will take time”.

 

Citrus paradisi (Grapefruit) April’s Essential Oil April 4, 2010

Grapefruit: Perfect for Holistic Spring Cleaning!

Refreshing and stimulating, two words that describe exactly what many of us feel we need to get us started this spring season. Spring is often affiliated with renewal, new beginnings, shedding the old and de-cluttering. So, whether or not you are coming out of a cold and ugly winter, as I am, this essential oil can help you in many ways.

Citrus paradisi, also known as Grapefruit, is wonderful for this time of year. This essential oil is a well known antidepressant and stimulant, which is useful if you have been really bogged down by the winter, have had a rough year, or have been emotionally and psychologically affected by the many tragedies that we have been faced with globally. Grapefruit also has detoxifying abilities, and works by stimulating the lymphatic system. It is useful in treating cellulite and obesity. This joyful citrus essential oil is definitely clearing in every way imaginable, helping us to not only rid our bodies of whatever excess it may be holding on to, but also cleansing us of unnecessary junk that may be lingering in our minds and spirits. It is, truly, a disinfectant and an antiseptic physically, emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically.

So, why not give it a try for some holistic spring cleaning? Grapefruit is a happy, sunny, energetic essential oil that we can all benefit from this April. Use it in a pure, organic salt carrier with a touch of organic jojoba oil as a natural salt glow scrub or bath soak for the ultimate detoxifying spring treatment!

 

Uplifting the Skin & Emotions: the Palmarosa Effect February 23, 2010


Who would have thought that this essential oil could be so magical? My goodness! I received my order of essential oil vials today which is always an exciting event for me. I ordered my usual oils: lavender, peppermint, sweet orange, t-tree, sweet marjoram, etc. etc. But, this time I also ordered something that I usually don’t incorporate into my aromatic treatment programs, and that was Cymbopogon martinii- also known as Palmarosa.

As I dug through the package to check all my oils, I was drawn to Palmarosa. Like a kid opening up a new toy, I couldn’t wait to open up my vial of Palmarosa to take a little whiff of its aroma. As I un-twisted the cap, I could already feel the joyful energy of this essential oil and as soon as I smelled it, I knew that this was something special. It smelled delicious, magical, uplifting, comforting- everything good and delightful came to mind.

I have a wonderful collection of essential oils that have satisfied every single need that has come to my office. I never thought of ordering anything different other than what I usually have because there really was not need for it. This time, however, was different. My daughter had been suffering from a severe case of Eczema which was exacerbated and worsened by an allergic or adverse reaction to an antibiotic treatment. I was thankful for what the positive effects the antibiotic treatment had on my daughter, saving her from an infection that could have gotten worse. However, what it left her with was an awful systemic rash and an out of control Eczema.

We have been incorporating an extensive, intense, time consuming aromatic skin treatment program into her daily routine. What a challenge it has been. Her doctor has taken a peak at it when it started to worsen, but I agree with him that it is her Eczema and that the choices with dealing with it are pretty much limited, medically, to steroidal ointments and hydrating creams. Perhaps she could have been placed on steroid pills and other meds- but this was not a good option since her immune system had already been so compromised by the infection she had that required her to be on antibiotic treatments in the first place.

When this nightmare is all over, I will share my daughter’s experience, but for now, back to Palmarosa.

We are towards the end of this long journey in dealing with the acute phases of her Eczema and skin issues. After an extensive program of incorporating calendula infused creams, aloe vera gels, and humectants such as salve ointments infused with essential oils of lavender, t-tree, patchouli and others…we have reached a point in which she now needs Palmarosa.

Palmarosa has hydrating properties that is great for dry, undernourished skin. It also has anti-inflammatory effect and the ability to balance out sebum production. Palmarosa assists in the regeneration of new skin cells, helping damaged skin to heal, and minimizing scarring. In addition to these properties, it also possesses antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Psychologically, it can help to relax the nerves, control restlessness, anxiety, and help with insomnia. This is great for someone who has Eczema that is exacerbated or worsened by stressful conditions or may feel stressed out due to the Eczema itself.

With its beautiful lemony aroma laced with an undertone of a rose like scent, this was something that we enjoyed adding to her existing cream. I can’t wait to see the effects it has on all of us at home, especially my daughter.