Happy New Year!

spirit horse

 

I’d like to thank you for your interest in my blog over the last year.  I really value your comments and feedback!

I wish you all the very best for 2016.  May your new year be filled with peace, love and laughter and may it bring you health, happiness and many rich blessings 🙂  ♡

 

Advertisements

Essential Oils: molecules, electrical impulses and energy

EO workshop

I recently attended a very interesting workshop entitled “Essential Oils: molecules, electrical impulses and energy“, organised by Jane Lawson of The Natural Approach in Cheltenham and lead by Cathy Skipper.

I’ve been interested in essential oils for some time, since my Mum trained as an aromatherapist years ago, and I use a few staples at home, including lavender and tea tree, but recently I’ve been keen to learn more.  I have attended other workshops of Jane’s and they are always very informative, so I knew this one would not disappoint.

Cathy started by explaining exactly what essential oils are: they are the volatile, light, aromatic fraction of the plant, extracted by steam distillation.  (Citrus oils are the exception in that they are mechanically extracted, ie they are cold pressed, and are therefore still true ‘essences’ – products that exist within the untreated plant which are altered by the heat of the steam distillation process).

distillation

Essential oils are the secondary metabolites of the plant and form part of its immune / defence system.  They actually aren’t oils in themselves, but are lipophilic – that is they blend more easily with oils than with water.  This makes them easily absorbed by the skin.

We also looked briefly at hydrosols, another product of the distillation process.  These are not merely a diluted form of an essential oil; they are the hydrophilic (‘water loving’) part of the distilled product, which collects at the bottom, under the less dense oil.  They will contain some oil molecules in suspension and also the water will hold a ‘memory’ of the oil.  They are a gentler form which can be used without the caution necessary with the stronger oils but still with the beneficial effects.

Three aspects of essential oils have been studied:

  • substance
    • their chemical constituents – the molecules they contain
    • analysed using gas chromatography
  • electrical
    • this relates to their use in air diffusion
    • this use has its own protocol
  • energetic
    • oils can be incredibly effective, even at minute dilutions
    • this relates to light diffraction off the molecules
    • even one sniff can have a profound impact

*One important point to note is that essential oils are highly concentrated and for this reason it is very important to use organic oils.  If oils are produced from non-organic plants the chemicals these contain would contaminate the oils, and in a higher concentration than in the raw plant material.

The effects of a particular essential oil depend on its chemical constituents and we looked at a few of these, including monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes and diterpenes.  Monoterpenes are the lightest of the compounds and appear first in the distillation process.  (The weight of the molecules is determined by the number of carbon atoms they contain.)  In industrial distillation the process is sometimes stopped before the later, heavier molecules have been extracted.  It makes the process simpler and cheaper however it means that some of the plant essences, and therefore the beneficial synergy of the composition, is lost.

We also had the opportunity to sample some of the oils and explore our responses to them.  It was interesting to see the variety among the group ranging from extreme dislike, through neutral to wanting to sit and sniff the oil all day!  Some people even experienced emotional reactions to some of the oils.

essential oils

On the second day we looked at chemotypes.  The chemical composition of oils can vary depending on the soil in which they are grown, the climate and time of harvest.  This can affect how the oils work and even the level of caution that needs to be used with them.

Take for example rosemary (Rosmarinus officionalis).  This can come in the following chemotypes:

  • camphor
  • verbenone
  • 8 cineol

The chemotype shows the predominant chemical constituent of the oil.  Which one you choose will depend on what you want to work on, how you want to use it, and the acceptable level of the stronger, more irritating or even toxic, compounds.

Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia) comes in the following forms:

  • stoechas – mucolytic (ie it promotes the production of mucus in the body)
  • spicata – good for burns
  • lavendin – a hybrid form of lavender which contains a lot of keytones. These are neurotoxic and must be used with care.

Lavender can also be classified according to the altitude at which it is grown.  The higher the altitude, the more esters the oil will contain.

From this you can see why it is so important to know the chemotype of any oil you intend to use.

november workshop

Oils are classified according to the properties of their constituents.  Some are drying (or apolar) while others have an ability to bind with water (polar).  Some are cooling (more yin in nature) whereas others are more stimulating.  When choosing which oils to use, you need to consider the issue being treated, the characteristics of the person in question, the general properties of the oil and its particular chemotype.

This workshop has given me a deeper understanding of, and respect for, essential oils.  I already knew that some need to be used with caution and even some of the basic oils can be unsuitable for some people.  Did you know that lavender oil should be used with caution if someone has low blood pressure as the oil can cause it to drop further and that clary sage can cause night terrors if taken within 12-24 hours of alcohol?

We also learnt that essential oils could play a much bigger role in health care in the future as bacteria and viruses struggle to develop immunity to them.  This is due to the large number of chemical compounds which they contain which makes it difficult for pathogens to adapt to them.

I would highly recommend taking a look at the workshops offered by The Natural Approach.  This was an amazing 2 days and great fun as we sampled oils, learnt about their uses and even got to do some blending.

Click here to find out more and learn how to use these amazing oils safely and effectively for greater health and wellbeing.

Life Lessons…

 

This has not been an easy post for me to write and in fact I’ve been skirting around it for a while, feeling that it is an important thing to share, but not quite getting round to doing so.  Partly this has been because I’ve been struggling with the issue and the lessons it has had to teach me and I hadn’t fully taken these on board.  Also, to be honest, I’ve been wondering how it will look for me, a wellbeing therapist, to share this…  It’s actually still a work in progress, but I feel that I have taken some steps and a shift is happening, and writing this is part of that journey…

So what am I talking about?  Well, as you might know, I am currently making the shift from my first career as a sign language interpreter, into creating a business around my passion for horses and for supporting their wellbeing, and the wellbeing of their owners / carers through nutrition, connection and energetic balance.  In going through this process however, I have allowed myself to get out of balance, to the point where I became unwell.  This has been a wake-up call for me.  I realised that my body had been sending me messages for some time, telling me that I needed to slow down, but I had chosen to ignore these and instead listen to the conditioning of our society which says that you should ‘push on through’: “work harder; be productive; failure is not an option; success requires struggle; work hard now and reap the rewards later”.  Is any of this sounding familiar?

rushing

The problem was that by ignoring my body’s gentle requests for rest, it decided that it needed to shout louder in order to be heard and in the end I succumbed to one of the winter bugs that is doing the rounds and ended up losing my voice and feeling rather sorry for myself.  My body had taken control and demanded that I take a break!

exhaustion stop

Looking at it from another perspective, it also gave me the opportunity for reflection and re-evaluation…  What do I really want in my life?  What are my priorities?  How can I support other people to find wellness if I neglect my own?

I had also noticed that my little 4-legged mirror / teacher, Kali Cat, was reacting to my situation.  She was reflecting my restlessness and unsettled feelings and would regularly show her displeasure when I spent long periods of time working on the computer – she howls and demands that I take some time out to just sit with her, being present and reconnecting.

I feel I am being challenged to focus more on Being than on doing.  As a detail-oriented perfectionist this does not come easy to me!  However I realise that balance is critical.  For me, that means being able to be open and honest with myself about what I can achieve and where my priorities lie, rather than looking for external approval and trying to be all things to all people.  I want to be free to speak and live from my heart in order to be able to listen and understand others and where they are on their journey.  This experience has also brought home to me that if I am running on an empty tank, I cannot possibly have anything to give to anyone else.  I have a whole new understanding of the importance of supporting and nourishing myself before I can offer this to others.

empty tank

Recently I have been listening to some audio-books and recordings of Jerry and Esther Hicks on the teachings of ‘Abraham’ (for example: The Amazing Power of Deliberate Intent: Living the Art of Allowing – Finding the Path to Joy through Energy Balance).  This has taught me to look on my emotions as teachers.  If I feel unease or discomfort in a situation it is because something in my thinking about that situation is not resonating with Who I Really Am – ie with my inner wise self, or my ‘Highest Self’.  This is helping me to explore my ‘shadow’ side, looking at why I felt the need to push myself so hard, to the point where I felt disconnected and anxious and my behaviour started to reflect this in ways that were less than positive!  I can now start to look at the fears and needs behind these feelings and then use a variety of methods to support myself, eg making sure I eat healthily and get plenty of rest; recommitting to my meditation practice; using EFT and other relaxation techniques; practising mindfulness and being present in order to connect with my inner wisdom so that I can be coherent and true to myself.

In my work, I have heard so many people say that they feel an overwhelming sense of busy-ness and lack of time for the things they want to do.  Many also say they feel that issues around their health often seem to be in the hands of professionals and they feel powerless to effect positive changes for themselves.  I too was finding myself getting sucked in to this experience, but it was leaving me very uneasy as it actually goes against what I believe.  Thankfully this short dose of enforced rest and re-evaluation has helped me to reconnect with Who I Really Am.  I have remembered that I am the only one who can judge what is right for me: I have the power of choice and can choose what I want my life to be like, and how I want to achieve this.  For me that means continuing to explore this journey of wellbeing, learning new lessons every day and then sharing these in the hope that they will be meaningful to others on their journeys.

meditation

I also believe that my thoughts determine my experience, therefore my sense of ‘struggle’ is unnecessary and probably comes from conditioned beliefs rather than from the situation itself.  I would prefer to view Life as an adventure where each new experience is neither ‘good’ nor ‘bad’ but rather holds some valuable teaching to help me along the way.

I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts:

  • Have you been experiencing that sense of overwhelm and being caught up on a never-ending cycle of busy-ness?
  • Or have you felt that a health issue is taking over some aspect of your life and you are struggling to make any improvement?
  • Do you have a related experience that you’d like to share?

Please leave a comment or you can contact me through my website: equenergy.com