There’s nothing like that feeling after you’ve worked out – you’re all proud of yourself, energized and your body is thanking you. Oxygen is pumping and the endorphins (hopefully) are flowing! But let’s face it, sometimes just getting your running shoes on and getting out the door, or making it to your gym class can be challenging; and sometimes, we feel a bit more worn out afterwards than we hoped. Here are 3 simple ways to use essential oils to help your workouts that I can personally vouch for – they’re simple, not time-consuming, but will help you to get the most out of your workouts, and help the recovery afterwards.
We decided just yesterday that we’d have a quick escape to Palm Desert this weekend, to have some R&R before family descends upon our home for Christmas (which will be great fun and a bit chaotic all at once). We also have a couple of great trips lined up, to Cancun in January and London in February to celebrate my Dad’s 80th birthday. I’m not one to pack light, but I’m always trying to – so I’ve whittled down my copious collection of essential oil bottles, and these are the five oils I always travel with, whether it be a weekend or a month away! I tend to use blends more than individual oils, as I feel they are synergistically combined, but that’s just my personal preference.
We’ve talked a lot about hormones recently, so to round it off, I’m going to add my top picks of essential oils to help get things back in balance. You can read about dietary factors, lifestyle factors and the role of phytoestrogens in previous posts to get caught up on those things. Now we turn to essential oils and hormone balance.
My favorite essential oil blend for hormones is a blend called Clary Calm. It is a blend of 12 essential oils that can help manage symptoms of hormonal change. It comes in a roller bottle, and can be easily applied to the skin on the lower abdomen or on the feet.
I love making roller bottles with essential oils, mostly because of how convenient it is to apply them that way. But also for our kids, it allows us to apply the oils to their skin, already diluted with fractionated coconut oil. This makes a very safe way to use oils for children, given that essential oils are potent and a little bit goes a long way. Here are five of my favorite roller bottle recipes for kids:
Last post we talked about sleep hygiene and the importance of maintaining good sleep habits and a reliable sleep schedule. Sometimes, the reality is that good quality sleep is not forthcoming, and we need a little help along the way. Natural sleep aids are the safest way to help, without many of the side effects and even addiction potential of pharmaceuticals. I have been fortunate to try a new line of sleep supplements that has just been released, and I have to say I’m loving them. The new face of Serenity essential oil blend, and the brand new Serenity Restful blend capsules, have me sleeping like a baby!
Do you ever get that feeling that your brain is spinning and overexcited, to the point where you can’t really focus and there are some feelings of anxiousness that go along with it? I know I am prone to that – sometimes I feel like my brain is in overdrive, but that takes away from my focus rather than contributing to it. Petitgrain essential oil calms the brain and supports healthy cognition.
Petitgrain comes from the leaf of the bitter orange plant. It is somewhat similar in chemistry to lavender – and therefore has similar calming and soothing effects. Men tend to like Petitgrain because it’s not as florally-smelling as lavender, so they can be calm without smelling all girly! It is a little more earthy smelling, with some secondary notes of citrus and floral. One of the other differences is that while lavender is made up of many different chemical constituents (around 64), petitgrain has just 17 main ones. This does not necessarily give it less activity; in fact when oils are made up of fewer compounds, there can be even greater activity and benefit as those compounds are more concentrated.
What I love the most about Petitgrain is the calming effect it has on the nervous system, both centrally and peripherally. Therefore it increases calm feelings, can reduce sad and anxious feelings, and can increase sleeping time and quality. One of it’s major chemical constituents, linalool, inhibits GABA transaminase – the enzyme that breaks down GABA. The net result is more GABA in the brain which has a calming effect, while at the same time increasing focus and clarity. Linalool also exites receptors for serotonin, dopamine and other neurotransmitters – thus further supporting greater cognitive function and sense of peace and happiness.
In the peripheral nervous system, Petitgrain also acts in a soothing fashion, so it can reduce over-excitability of nerves and the discomfort that might come from that. In those cases the best way to use Petitgrain is on the affected area. For calming and focussing the brain, Petitgrain can be diffused, or taken internally.
Another benefit of Petitgrain is to support the immune system. We all know that stress reduces our immune system’s capability to keep us healthy. This is largely because of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis; the sympathetic nervous system activation (commonly known as fight or flight response) has a suppressive action on immune cells. Linolool restores neutraphils and lymphocytes (two types of immune cells) to normal levels, and upregulates genes that are critical for the healthy functioning of the immune system.
Petitgrain smells so good, and has such great benefits. doTERRA has been working on sourcing and harvesting Petitgrain and it is now available to us. It’s fast becoming one of my favorite essential oils – I have been putting a drop between my palms and just rubbing it on my shoulders, that way I get the benefit of inhaling the aromas. I also have mixed it in a diffuser with Citrus Bliss and that was a delicious combination.
I know a lot of parents who love essential oils and utilize them with their kids … but tend to pull them out when problems arise. I personally use essential oils with my daughter on a daily basis, and feel that it contributes to her overall health and well-being, and helps to prevent health issues in the first place. To help other parents who might desire this too, I want to offer 8 everyday uses for essential oils in children. Not everyone is going to do all of these every day, that might seem overwhelming, but at least you have a starting point to work from.
Well it’s that time of year again – the kids are going back to school, summer is coming to an end, vacations are now a collection of photos and good memories. For some this is a fun and exciting time, for others, filled with angst and dread. I’m still trying to figure out where the last year went – it seems like just yesterday we started Valentina in preschool, and now she’s moving up to the next class, with new teachers and a new classroom. I’m counting on sending her back to school with essential oils to help us with the transition. [Read more…]
Since it’s the middle of summer, and many of us (at least in the Northern Hemisphere) are spending a lot of time outdoors, it is good to have some tools on hand to help offset the effects of the sun. Of course, nothing substitutes for a good quality sunscreen (I like the Environmental Working Group’s summary of the best, least toxic brands), but this soothing after sun lotion can be a lovely, relieving cream to apply at the end of the day. It is soothing, cooling and healing.
Here’s the recipe:-
Summer is a great time to travel with the family – road trips, camping, hiking – it’s a great time to be outdoors and enjoying nature. With travel comes a certain amount of exposure to things that you wouldn’t necessarily be exposed to at home, such as 200 other people’s germs on the plane; sun exposure; and friendly or unfriendly bugs. I know when I travel I always carry a small kit of essential oils to cover these contingencies. I just feel better knowing that I have safe and natural options for taking care of my family, given that we all want to optimize our travel experience and have the most fun and relaxed time possible. These are what I consider must have essential oils for your summer travels.