Posts tagged aromatherapy

Heal the Body with Foot Massage

I am sure you have heard of healing foot massage. In fact, it was a big craze a few years ago and people couldn’t keep foot massagers in stock. But what many people discovered was that general foot massage, with no goals in mind, is only good for relieving foot pain or general foot exhaustion after being on the feet all day but it did nothing for general well being. But this is only because a general foot massager won’t do the trick. You have to know what parts of the feet directly influence which parts of the body in order for food massage to help with healing your body. Also, you can find out where your body is in trouble with foot pressure and I will show you how to do this, too. It’s all really the same thing. If you know what’s wrong with you.. ie, you have a headache, then you can go to a certain portion of the foot, massage it and get releif for your headache. Conversely, if you don’t have any idea why you feel like crap, you can feel around your foot, applying pressure and rubbing gently, until you uncover the area that gives you grief. That area will directly relate to a part of the body and it is this part of the body that is in need of help. Sound hard? Sound complicated? It’s not! I will show you with diagrams and written directions how to do all of this just by rubbing your feet.

This type of massage is called reflexology. However, I do not have training in these  methods so I am just passing on what I have experienced through my own massage therapy. I will not claim this to be “reflexology” but sort of my own map of the areas on the foot that will help relieve physical pain and discomfort. Now, I will include maps of the feet to show you where to find the area on your foot. Also, conversely, I will show you which area of the body is indicated by pain or discomfort in your feet. But do not consider these maps to be related to reflexology or to have any connection to that practice. These are not reflexology maps. In this method, which is not relexology, you will also use essential oils in a base massage oil while you do it. You will use the oils whenever you massage, although massage without the oils won’t do any harm. The technique is just far more productive with the oils. I will give you the recipes for the oils you will use on each part of the foot and you should follow them exactly and not improvise. It’s far better to do without than to work with only a part of a recipe or an improvisation that may not only be ineffective but could be harmful. So follow instructions.

I want you to begin the process by sitting down when you have the time and won’t be interrupted. After you get good at it, you can massage your feet on a quick break at work but at first you should have quiet time to concentrate. Start by washing your feet so you won’t be distracted by any smells or end up rubbing glass or stones into your feet. Your feet pick up all sorts of stuff even when you have shoes on so be mindful of that. After washing and drying your feet, sit down and start rubbing the bottom of the foot. You can start anywhere, just be sure to rub every part of the foot, moving from area to area and paying attention to how it feels as you do it. There will be really sensitive areas, areas that cause pain or discomfort and areas that feel so good you might even get ecstatic. Pay attention to what areas on your foot create each sensation. Be especially mindful of strong physical responses, even good ones. If there is repulsion or irritation when rubbing a certain area, please be mindful of this as well. You do not have to continue massaging that area right now but you should be aware that this area will be cause for concern. So start rubbing your feet, moving from area to area, from the toes to the heel, and pay attention to the responses your body gives you. And then move on to the instructions and charts I am providing you in order to start the healing process.

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Natural Safe Ways to Freshen the Air

The smells inside our caves can get pretty rank, even if we’re really clean and neat. I am constantly cleaning myself and the trash alone makes the living room smell like a dumpster. And then there’s the cat boxes in the bedrooms, the left over lingering odor from several cooked meals a day, the smelly shoes that my sister loves to leave all over the place.. etc.. You get the picture. You know it in your own home. The temptation to grab the Lysol or the Febreze is almost overwhelming. I am guilty of this, too. When the cats make a mess or my father spills his coffee, I reach for a can. The couch actually smells like a Febreze factory. But I am a hypocrite because I am a believer and a promoter of natural living and this is a far cry from natural. Chemical fragrances are dangerous. I have already done a post on that and you can read it HERE. So why would I use them? Oh, they are convenient and I am so busy. It is much faster to grab a can and spray than it is to devise another solution at the moment. But it really isn’t all that hard to fix this problem and I am going to start doing it this weekend.

In the past, I have also turned to candles and incense. This has been a time honored international tradition that we borrowed from the Middle East and Asia. But it’s a dangerous one. The smoke from these burning scents are dangerous for our lungs, sinuses and overall health. I discovered my chronic sinus problems at the time were caused by the smoke from the incense I loved so much. So I just don’t recommend Incense. Candles have been proven to cause cancer in much the same way cigarettes do. It is not a good idea to stand around burning candles or to suck in the fragrance from a burning candle, no matter how lovely that fragrance is. So I am not going to recommend using candles or incense to solve odor problems.

But I do I have some great ideas for odor control. Some require recipes while others require a simple change of habit. Some of the things we get used to doing day after day make the matter worse. I, myself, get into habits and patterns that I am reluctant to change because I think it’s going to be hard or tiring or take up too much time. Don’t wait until you are sweating over the broom or the vacuum before thinking about making a change. Get started while you are sitting around or planning your day. The most important part of any change is making the mental note and the decision to do it. We gear up for change, toy with it in our minds, work up the energy and determination needed for it. But the decision to start is a big step. Once you focus yourself on the change needed, you will eventually find yourself just doing it. So let’s get started today!

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How to Do Aromatherapy Massage

The most important thing in performing excellent aromatherapy massage is the choice of oil. As well, the quality of the oil is of utmost importance to the experience and the results. It is the inherent healing properties in herbs that lend the oils their magic and the scents that they impart have everything to do with how well someone feels afterwards. If you use a lousy oil or an impure oil the effects can be dramatically poor. In fact, you might even make someone feel worse if you massage them with a rancid or ineffective oil. So always be careful in the choosing and using of your oils and whenever possible make your own and use it fresh.

Although this blog is too small a format to go into the ins and outs of physical massage, such as where to rub or how hard, which is tantamount to technique. This is what is taught to those who choose to attend school for massage therapy and get a certificate for their trouble. It is extensive and involved, with lessons in biology and muscular anatomy as well as a metaphysical look at which area is affected by what oil or herb. If you wish to become a massage therapist there are many reputable schools that can teach you this trade but it isn’t going to be easy and it isn’t going to be free. However, here, in this format, I can teach you about the oils and how to make your own effective oils for the private massages you choose to perform on those special people in your life.

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Insomnia Cure: Homemade Sleep Pillows

I am sure you’ve heard of herbal sleep pillows. There was a popularity surge a few years back and a lot of people were making and selling them. But I think the popularity waned because of the way they were presented. There was no flexibility and you could only buy a pillow in whatever herb they offered, mostly Chamomile. Also, the pillows were small and made for insertion into your current bed pillow, dimming the scent and lowering the effect. If you bought some of the paper stuffed sachets they were selling for use as pillow inserts you would have been really unhappy. Crunchy, stiff and not strong smelling, they were a waste of money.

But what about making sleep pillows for yourself and your family? You do not have to be a seamstress or crafter to do this, I can hardly sew a hem straight and I can do it. In fact, I have made everything from sleep pillows to fabric sachets and I have loved the results. You can do the same for very little cost, very little aptitude and very little trouble. Let me show you how.

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Detox in the Bath

Everyone is trying to detox these days. Some for health conditions they can’t shake and others to cleanse their system of dangerous toxins that they fear will affect their health. No matter the reason, detoxing is a good idea. There are many varied ways to do it, some of them more difficult or painful than others. For many years, our elders believed that getting into a sauna or a thermal bath would do the trick and perhaps it did and still will. But I fear this is just not enough in our modern high tech world where everything is plastic, made from chemicals, loaded with drugs and genetically modified. Forget irradiation. We used to worry about that and now it has become the lesser of a dozen evils.

If you are looking for ways to detox your system on a daily basis that doesn’t require purging, colon cleansing, long terms of medication and drinking strange brews, then consider making detox baths. As adults, few of us clamber into a bathtub anymore. We are mostly too big to be comfortable there, opting instead to stand in a hot shower. I am one of those. I actually hate lolling around in a bathtub with half my body overexposed, not really submerged. But there is a lot to be said for sitting baths; my brother uses them to help him reduce his spinal cysts and my sister uses them for hemorrhoids.  And sitting in a detox bath can have overall very enjoyable effects on the body.

Consider the fact that hot water draws toxins out of the body to the skin’s surface, a principle at work in the saunas and thermal baths our parents pursued. But this is also true when the water cools; the cooling off pulls toxins from the skin. Epsom salts are known to encourage this detoxification by causing you to sweat. Other salts-all highly alkaline and cleansing-used in baths include sea salt, baking soda, clay, and Dead Sea salts. Personally, I have made herbal baths with fresh herbs and baking soda and found them to be useful. Peppermint is wonderful; I highly recommend it for opening pores, opening orifices and allowing steam from the bath to penetrate and for toxins to sweat away. A bath made of fresh peppermint and baking soda is a wonderful way to cleanse the body, both inside and out. Try these recipes and see how they work for you:

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Aromatherapy from A-Z

You’ve heard a lot about aromatherapy over the past decade, as it has gained in popularity. It is the use of oils of herbs and plants to alter mood and promote healing. Most of the oils are made from herbs and flowers, common ones like Lavender and Basil. Huge amounts of these herbs and flowers are used in the making of the oil (1,000 lbs of jasmine, for instance, makes only one lb of oil), which guarantees intense potency in every blend. You can always make your own oils if you wish, but many of these are already available commercially at reasonable prices.

Most commonly, the oils are used in the bath (The water should be no more than l00°F and the oils should be put in at the end) or in a diffuser or placed on a handkerchief and inhaled when you need a lift. Although the descriptions give general uses for healing, aromatherapy is limited to the external use of the oil. Usually just the inhalation of the oil, massage with or bathing in the oil. And since essential oils are very potent, they should always be diluted with a base oil such as sweet almond or grapeseed before being put on your skin. And don’t ingest any or get any in your eyes. So do not use the oils as listed internally; only fresh herbs or tonics are to be ingested this way, not the oils.

If you are pregnant or have a chronic illness of any kind, consult your physician before using any.

Here are some of the most common oils and their qualities:

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Essential Oils for Anxiety

Boy, oh, boy, do we need help with anxiety these days! I mean, seriously. Our economy is in a melt down, many of us have lost our jobs, violent crime is on the rise and health insurance is a rare animal. What on earth would you do if you got sick? I mean, right now? If you think about it, anxiety makes people sick more than any other mental activity. You worry and your heart and nerves go haywire. Losing sleep, fretting, building on your own fears. It’s like the 800 pound Gorilla. Anxiety. In the middle of your life.

If you know anything about herbs you know that many herbs are good for anxiety. Teas made of Chamomile, Kava Kava and Valerian make people relax and they work really well. But did you know that you can use essential oils, externally, to reduce stress? Did you know that certain odors and certain atmospheres are conducive to anxiety and others are conducive to relaxation? You know that a hot bath, candlelight, a glass of wine, soft music, all these things help us relax. But when the fear goes really deep, the bug a boos are keeping us frantic all the time, these usual methods fall short. I can grit my teeth through a hot bath and tap my foot through a glass of wine. And when I’m really wound up, soft music just makes me cranky.

At these times, when the world is driving your blood pressure through the roof, you need something that changes the environment entirely and works from the inside out. Smells, colors, certain flavors do this very subtly, working from the inside out, changing our moods. But did you know that essential oils have all of these properties? Through their odor and texture they create a taste in our mouths that is translated through our glands and tissue. We react to these subtle influences in the same way that we react to certain foods and aromas. Let me show you which oils work and how.

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