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Aromatherapy and Stress Relief

What is Aromatherapy

You might think of aromatherapyas a more modern type of alternative treatment, but the use of essential oils to improve brain function, health and well being has been around for thousands of years.


We’re not exactly sure when people discovered or first started using aromatic plants in this way, but it’s thought this technique may have developed in ancient China. There is text documenting the use of incense to help create a harmonious and balanced atmosphere.

The word aromatherapy is derived from the word “aroma” meaning smell or fragrance, and “therapy”, meaning treatment. Treatment can involve essential oils made from bark, stems, leaves, flowers or roots of a plant.

Egyptiansalso attempted to distill oils, and they used cedar wood, cinnamon, nutmeg, myrrh, and clove to embalm their dead. Traces of herbs still hung faintly in the air when a tomb was opened in the early 1900’s, and residue was found on the body.

There is evidence the Egyptians were able to (albeit somewhat crudely) distill cedar wood, the general consensus is that other herbs were used as infusions.

The Greeks also used infusions and distillation to benefit from the medicinal properties of herbs. Hippocrates himself used aromatherapy to not only enjoy the scent, but also to increase good health.

One famous perfume with medicinal properties created by the Greeks, involved mixing a blend of herbs, including myrrh, into a fatty base. This not only smelled wonderful, but also had anti-inflammatory properties, and was applied to the skin to help heal wounds.

Not to be outdone, the Romans had the help of a book written by one of their own, describing the properties and uses of over 500 plants. However, the Romans focused far more on extractions for floral water and not so much for essential oils.

Aromatherapy Uses


Aromatherapy”as a term came into use only after 1937 when Rene-Maurice Gattefosse (a French chemist) burned his hand in a lab accident. He happened to have a pot of lavender water nearby, and out of instinct plunged his hand in to cool it.

Afterward, he noticed the lavender water had appeared to help prevent the burn from getting as bad as it could (should) have been, and seemed to have helped heal the wound. This spurred him on to do further research about the medical benefits of herbs.


The use of essential oils in aromatherapy offers many benefits, and they can be applied in various ways. Utilizing a diffuser is a wonderful method to not only improve your mood, but also make your home smell nice, and is also a great way to welcome visitors inside.

Not only will a diffuser help to lift your mood as the diffuser sprays tiny droplets into the air with water, any beneficial properties will also be dispersed, and will increase the health of your environment.

Citrus essential oil, for example, is anti-bacterial and can attack germs and bacteria floating around in your indoor environment, so you’re less likely to inhale them and suffer ill effects.


Various essential oils are available to help uplift your mood in a number of ways. By trying out a variety of oils you can find what works best for you. Lavender for instance, is soothing, and can help make your space relaxing. Or, if you need some pep in your step, citrus scents or peppermint are great for this. 

Aromatherapycan also be used when the oil is applied to the skin either through massage, or a dab behind the ears or wrists. Angelica is a popular massage oil because it promotes calm, reduces anxiety, and helps promote a good solid sleep for those suffering the effects of insomnia.


In Germany, Angelica was also referred to as the “oil of angels” because of the level of peace it brought those who used it. Another great oil for massage is Coriander oil. Coriander has warming properties, and will promote a better digestive system, and improve circulation.

If you use a moisturizer, why not create your own using essential oils? In this way you eliminate dry skin, and benefit from the healing properties of your favorite scents.

Try blending several oil carrier oils such as coconut oil, almond oil, jojoba oil or even olive oil. Add a few drops of essential oil and mix thoroughly. You’ll want to store your cream in a glass jar out of direct sunlight, and use whenever you need a boost!
 

If you suffer from sore muscles try a blend with peppermint oil, which helps to soothe and cool aches and pains throughout your body. Peppermint is also said to increase mental alertness, so it’s a good oil to use before that important meeting or school exam.



Additional Essential Oils and Their Benefits

Patchouli is a strong smell, but those who like it tend to use it for everything. This oil helps to reduce anxiety, reduce cellulite and bloating, and will help you in your fight against smoking, over eating, or other addictions.

Eucalyptus can help those with respiratory issues by quickly and efficiently opening up the sinuses. It also has cooling properties, so if you suffer from headaches or migraines, try a bit of eucalyptus oil on your temples or the back of your neck for relief.

When it comes to stress and anxiety relief, it’s hard to beat the benefits of lavender oil. This delightful smelling herb lends itself well to instilling a sense of calm and tranquility, and can help those with depression.

Use lavender in your diffuser or dab it onto your wrists. You can also use it along with laundry soap to make your clothes carry hints of this lovely herb all day.

Ylang ylang, like lavender, is another essential oil used for calming and quieting the mind. It can also help soothe nausea, may reduce high blood pressure, and can help improve skin conditions.

Essential oils offer powerful aromatherapy benefits you can easily integrate into your life. They are widely available, and enjoyable to use.


ABOUT OUR GUEST AUTHOR: Nina Wells, from Steam Shower Store has over 10 years of experience in writing health related topics, and specializes in the health benefits of saunas and hydrotherapy.
essensu™ … Garden Fresh Holistic Skincare™

Posted on 13 Mar 2017 In: Health, Natural

New Series: Frugal and Healthy!

I’ve decided to start a new series on healthfoodlover.com: frugal and healthy!

frugal-and-healthy

In addition to the recipes, i’ll be noting how much each ingredient costs, costs per serve and where I buy the ingredients from as well as nutritional content.

Stay tuned and I hope you enjoy this series as it unfolds.

– Michelle.

Posted on 29 Dec 2016 In: Health, Natural

How Your Home May Be Making You Sick


Indoor pollution
                                Photo via Pixabay by Pexels

It used to be the word “pollution” brought to mind images of factories and car emissions, dirty lakes and overfull landfills, while “detoxification” was something associated only with cleansing the body of drugs. 

Now, however, there is a very different type of pollution happening, and many people aren’t even aware of it … or the fact that it might be making them sick.

“The whole concept of indoor pollution is quite new. For a long time, our focus was on what was going on in the environment outside our homes. But in the last decade or so, we’ve realized that the indoor environment can be making you sick,” says author Jeffrey May.

The problem lies not with how clean your house may be, but with all the hidden places you may not think to clean, like the air and heating ducts. 

The average home has several little spaces that are breeding grounds for bacteria and mold, so it’s important to know where to check if you or your family begin exhibiting symptoms consistent with indoor pollution, such as headaches, constant sinus issues, or trouble breathing.


How Your Home May Be Affecting Your Health

HVAC System

The air ducts in your home are likely filled with traces of water — condensation which forms every time your air conditioning unit kicks on — that can breed germs, bacteria, and mold. Have the vents and ducts professionally cleaned every two years if possible.

It’s also important to not forget the heating system. Furnace filters can attract copious amounts of lint, dust, and debris, that not only keeps your heating system from working properly, and hikes up your utility bills — but also sends those particles back out into the air, where you breathe them in. Change the filter as often as every month to keep your furnace working properly.

Smart Meters

Smart meters — small devices usually installed on the outside of a home to measure utility usage — have become a popular fixture for many homeowners, as they send data automatically to a utility company using radio frequency waves

However, the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified smart meters as “possibly carcinogenic” to humans, and while it’s impossible to do a true study on just how dangerous they may be, it’s important for those who are already at risk for cancer, to know the risks associated with these meters.

The Bathroom

Your bathroom may appear to be clean at a glance, but the one thing many people overlook is the bottom of the bathmat. If you step out of the shower to dry yourself, your bath mat will take on quite a bit of water, and when it soaks through to the bottom and stays up against the floor, conditions are perfect for mold and bacteria

Wash your mats in hot water once a week and, after your shower, pick it up and lay it over the shower rod to air dry. Better yet, dry yourself while you’re still standing in the tub to cut down on the amount of water that will hit the mat.

While it can be alarming to think about, knowing the issues your home faces will help you to become proactive in keeping you and your family safe and healthy. 


~ by Charlotte Meier, Guest Author
essensu™ … Garden Fresh Holistic Skincare™

Posted on 4 Jan 2016 In: Food

New 5 Star Restaurant Secret Recipe

Today I have a yummy 5 star secret recipe for you that comes from Copenhagen Pastry in Culver City, California. Copenhagen Pastry is a Danish bakeshop offering traditional breads, cakes and pastries. One of the tasty treats they offer are the Napoleon hats. Butter cookies with an almond flavored filling and a rich chocolate coating. You can easily recreate these cookies at home using the recipe below.

Copenhagen Pastry Napoleon Hats

Cookie Dough:
2 1/2 cups (300 g) flour1
1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon (150 g) powdered sugar
1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks, or 200 g) butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (66 g) water

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, mix together the flour and powdered sugar. With the mixer running, start adding the butter cubes and continue mixing until all the butter is added and the mixture has a wet sand-like consistency.

Make an indentation in the middle of mixture and add the egg yolk and water. Mix just until all of the ingredients are combined to
form a dough. Form the dough into a flat square and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill until the dough is firm, at least 30 minutes.

Remove the dough to a lightly-floured work surface and roll to a thickness of about 1/8-inch. Use a 3-inch round cutter to cut 20 circles from the dough. Arrange the circles on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Almond paste:
8 ounces (275 g) raw slivered almonds
1/3 cup light agave sweetener
2 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons (20 g) egg white

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the almonds until they are very-finely ground. With the processor running, add the agave and almond extract in a slow stream until the mixture comes together to form a ball. Add the sugar and pulse until it is incorporated, then the egg white. Continue running until the mixture again forms a ball, stopping and scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl once or twice if needed.

Refrigerate the paste for at least 30 minutes to cool, then divide the mixture into 20 balls (each using a heaping tablespoon of paste).

Napoleon hats:
Almond paste balls
Prepared dough circles
Melted chocolate, for coating

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a ball of almond paste in the center of each dough circle. Fold the cookie dough around the ball and press in three places using your fingers. Bake the cookies until the tops of the balls and edges of the cookies are golden brown.

Place the cookies on a rack until they are cool, then dip the bottoms of the cookies in the melted chocolate. Invert the cookies so the chocolate can dry.

Makes 20 Cookies.

Source: LA Times

 

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