I can’t think of a snappier title for this blog post but one thing’s for sure, it does what it says on the tin! Whilst we are all trying to stay home & stay safe, during these unprecedented times of COVID19 & coronavirus, I’ve been dabbling with my essential oils (EOs), creating therapeutic blends to vaporise in the home environment, making aromatherapy candles and practising yoga!
And, if you’ve tuned into any of my free online beginners yoga classes (all available to watch on the replay here, just scroll to Videos in the Menu), or you’ve attended my in-person classes locally, you will be aware that I strongly advocate the use of aromatherapy oils, during yoga practice & beyond!
So, what is aromatherapy?
In a nutshell, aromatherapy is a holistic treatment (primarily seen in massage, bathing, vaporising, hot & cold compresses & steam inhalation) utilising nature’s EOs.
These precious natural oils are extracted from pure botanical sources (eg flower petals, leaves, bark, roots, resin & so on) using the least harmful methods, such as steam distillation & maceration, in order to harness their therapeutic properties.
During a holistic treatment, EOs are selected according to the specific needs of the recipient. They are blended in a vegetable carrier oil (such as sweet almond, grape seed jojoba or coconut, even olive oil will do) if being applied topically (such as in massage or bathing) or added directly to water (for vaporisation or inhalation methods).
The therapeutic effects take place once the oils penetrate the skin & reach the blood stream during the massage route or, via inhalation, when they reach the olfactory nervous system. In both cases triggering appropriate chemical responses within the body or mind respectively.
A note of caution
Whilst most EOs are freely available in the UK over the counter, make no mistake, they are extremely potent and, if used inappropriately (ie wrong dilution, skin exposed to sunlight, swallowed etc) can be highly toxic.
Trust me, before qualifying as an holistic aromatherapist, I learnt the hard way!
The first time I came across a selection of oils at a friend’s house, for whom I was house-sitting, I was tempted to add a selection of her EOs to the bath water to see if they’d help me feel better whilst enduring a common cold & chest infection. It was lucky I was visiting my GP later that day as, following my over-zealous addition of undiluted oils to the bathwater, I soon started to experience prickling sensations on the skin and, after leaping from the bath when it became unbearable, found myself to be covered in bright red wheals where the oils had literally clung to and scorched my skin! Needless to say, the doc wasn’t very impressed with my attempts at self-treatment.
That said, with a little bit of know-how, & when carried out correctly, it is possible to self-treat at home without suffering the consequences I did.
I have written a chapter on the precise procedure in my Menopause Mastery Guide, which you can download for FREE here and learn how to carry out a “home-spa treatment” both safely and effectively. There are also some sample EO blends (ie, oils that have been diluted in appropriate carrier oil) that you can try out for various menopause symptoms and non-serious health conditions.
I must add a disclaimer here – these are general usage recommendations only – so if you are in any doubt whatsoever, please consult your GP first before trying any form of self-treatment at home.
You may also wish to consult with a fully insured holistic aromatherapy practitioner (which I am, read more here) but via a face-to-face consultation (either online or in-person once lockdown restrictions are lifted) rather than following these generic instructions. That way, they can at least recommend a treatment for your unique requirements.
Otherwise, if you are just looking for preventative or prophylactic solutions, and are happy to do so at your own risk, then please dive into my above-mentioned free guide by clicking on the image below.
So, how can aromatherapy help you to stay home & stay safe?
As divulged in my various online yoga classes, there are several ways in which this holistic therapy can help you stay on top of your health game whilst you stay home.
Firstly, & most importantly, by supporting your immune function. It would be very easy to go off at a tangent here and start discussing how the immune system works physiologically, but I’m holding myself back!
So, if you’d like to read up more on the subject yourself, here’s a link to a recent scientific study review of the effect of EOs on immune function – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6943609/ – enjoy!
Suffice to say, I’ve done my research over the years, and I can vouch for the fact that many EOs have immunoregulatory properties, thereby supporting the body’s own immune function to protect against external pathogens and disease.
And how does aromatherapy combine with yoga to assist our immune function?
Well, if you’ve practiced yoga with me before, you will have heard me state often that yoga can help gut function.
What’s this got to do with the immune system?
And, you will also have heard me state that the majority of our immune system is located within the gut. Fact!
Dr Mark Hyman, in his article – https://www.ecowatch.com/how-good-gut-health-can-boost-your-immune-system-1882013643.html – states:
“Your gut wall houses 70 percent of the cells that make up your immune system. You might not attribute digestive problems with allergies, arthritis, autoimmune diseases (irritable bowel syndrome, acne, chronic fatigue), mood disorders, autism, dementia and cancer. Many diseases seemingly unrelated are actually caused by gut problems.”
Using aromatherapy oils, together with yoga’s proven physical and mental benefits will, therefore, enable you to stay home & stay safe – literally, it’s a no-brainer!
Let’s take a look at how you can stay home & stay safe
Here are some example scenarios where yoga, combined with the positive effects of aromatherapy, might help you stay safer & healthier – especially during this current COVID19 crisis:
|Condition/Properties||Yoga Asana/Meditation/Pranayama||Aromatherapy/Essential Oils|
|Immune system regulation||Twisting postures – standing/seated (eg to work on the digestive system); inversions (forward folds etc to regulate hormone function); legs up the wall (viparita karani) for cardiovascular function||Ginger, eucalyptus, black pepper, rosemary, cardamom, cinnamon, grapefruit; immunostimulant, aids digestion/detox processes, reduces inflammation|
|Anti-stress (down-regulates sympathetic nervous system – ie slows down tendency towards “fight or flight”); Calming (of mental chatter, stress hormones, etc)- up regulates parasympathetic nervous system (ready for “rest & digest”)||Forward folds (seated/standing); Child’s pose, Rabbit pose, Eagle pose, savasana (corpse); pranayama (eg brahmari breath) & meditation – encourages deeper breathing||Lavender, mandarin, bergamot, rose, chamomile, frankincense, lemon, rose, cedar wood – induces sleep, relaxation, anti-inflammatory, modulates cortisol/adrenaline (stress hormone) production, supporting & soothing|
|Anti-viral; anti-bacterial; anti-septic||Twisting & balancing postures; plough pose, shoulder stand, fish pose,||Rosemary, orange, cinnamon, clove, garlic, pine, carrot seed – anti-viral effects
Lavender & tea tree – antibacterial
|Sinusitis; respiratory problems; cough||Downward facing dog, Childs pose (sinus clearing); breath work including kapalabhati (skull-shining) & nadi sodhana (alternate nostril) breathing;
Backbends (chest/lung-opening) eg bridge, camel, wheel, cobra, locust, bow
|Rosemary, eucalyptus, cajeput, cedarwood, lemon, thyme, clove, cinnamon, tea tree, camphor, cypress – clearing, expectorant, soothing, anti-bacterial|
|Low mood, mood swings, emotional issues, anxiety, depression, anger||Hip opening postures; fish, childs, inversions (head/handstand, forward folds etc), boat, balancing postures; meditation/pranayama – brahmari breath – for mind quietening; sitali breath – cooling (for anger etc)||Geranium, cypress, frankincense, sandalwood, patchouli, vetivert, bergamot, may chang, rose, chamomile – balancing (esp hormones), grounding, uplifting, comforting, anti-inflammatory|
|Pain relief, nerve pain, neuralgia; fibromyalgia, polymyalgia rheumatica etc||Backbends – cobra, locust, bridge
Pigeon, reclined pigeon – eg sciatica (& other hip openers)
Various postures, depending on pain type
|Lavender, roman/german chamomile, ginger, yarrow, clove, basil, peppermint, thyme – soothing, anti-inflammatory, cooling|
|Brain fog, poor concentration, mental clarity||Inversions, forward folds (standing & seated), Childs pose, meditation; pranayama – brahmari breath||Clary sage, rosemary, basil, lemon, peppermint|
|Loneliness/tearfulness/can’t express emotions||Standing & seated postures for grounding; hip openers for emotional release||Rose, bergamot, cypress, clary sage, helichrysum, sandalwood – emotionally supportive, comforting, grounding|
|Insecurity/worry/feelings of instability||Standing & seated postures (for grounding)||Frankincense, cedar wood, sandalwood, patchouli, vetiver, lavender – grounding, calming|
If you’d like further information on the above or, indeed, you don’t see what you are looking for, then please do get in touch here. I am always here to help. Plus, I’d love to know what you’ve been doing, whilst you stay home, to stay safe!
And don’t forget to sign up for further free resources &/or our free Menopause Mastery Guide here.
In closing I wish you and your loved ones good health during this uncertain period of our lives. As the poet, Rumi, once said, know that “this too shall pass”.
And finally, remember, you can always follow and join my free live beginners yoga classes on our Facebook page here or find out about our online classes by clicking the image below, so that you can stay home and stay safe with aromatherapy & yoga!