What’s the best way to use essential oils?

What’s the best way to use essential oils?

Buying essential oils with plans to incorporate them into your self care is almost a rite of passage into the world of natural health. A common question I get from clients who’ve done this is, “Now what?”  A good starting point for learning about essential oils is knowing how to use them. This is a simple question with a complex, long answer. There are some basics though that can provide a good guide to using essential oils safely. So, when do you diffuse essential oils versus apply them to the skin? The sort of simple answer: the best way to administer essential oils depends on what effect is needed. When it’s best to inhale essential oils Use inhalation when there is an issue with the respiratory system, or you want to enhance mood. Inhalation can be done through diffusers, steam tents, aroma lamps, personal inhalers, or smelling the oil directly from the bottle.  When breathing in the oil, molecules enter the respiratory system and then go into the bloodstream to affect the body pharmacologically.  These molecules are far less diluted if you smell an oil in its pure form, close to the nose, so that a higher percentage of the molecules make it into the bloodstream. This is done best through personal inhalers and smelling the oils from the bottle. When you inhale an essential oil two things happen.  The scent of the oil triggers an electrical signal to the brain via the olfactory bulb that then activates a psychological response (memories, pleasant associations, “I like this smell”) The molecules that make up the essential oil enter the respiratory...
Divinely Feminine Chypre Perfume Made with Essential Oils

Divinely Feminine Chypre Perfume Made with Essential Oils

Divine feminine in scent form – wearing chypre perfume infuses me with deep, grounded feminine power. Creating chypre perfume with essential oils adds a healing element to the experience, heightening the fragrance to otherworldly levels. What is chypre perfume? Chypres are a decadent, sophisticated, wildly feminine family of perfumes that evoke early afternoon, barefoot springtime walks on beds of thick moss through old growth forests. Pronounced “sheep-ra” (a fun word to say with a languid French accent), these complex fragrances are built around woody, mossy accords from patchouli, oakmoss, and labdanum, with a citrus top note (traditionally bergamot). They are warm, woody love fests, which makes sense: Chypres were named after the French word for Cyprus, the island birthplace of Aphrodite, Goddess of Love. The chypre family of perfumes includes versions with woody, fruity, floral, leather, green, or fresh overtones. I gravitate toward the floral which adds rose, jasmine, or other flowery scents to the profile and gives the fragrance a lovely sweetness. What is used in chypre perfumes? Meleg Perfumes posted an exciting floral chypre formula which I adapted to an essential oil based solid perfume style. The outcome: out of this world! It transports me to a place of full-hearted, fully-realized feminine power. Mr. Meleg’s original chypre formula: 20 parts bergamot 1 part oakmoss 2 parts patchouli .2 parts labdanum .3 parts rose .3 parts jasmine or ylang ylang .1 part alpha ionon (optional) .1 part c-12 aldehyde at 1% .1 parts vanillin Civet musk to your taste My chypre adaptation with essential oils I made one jar of aromatherapy solid perfume, as follows. 1 drop patchouli...
Flower Essences versus Essential Oils

Flower Essences versus Essential Oils

Essential oils are practically a household term at this point. I bet you have at least one friend who is currently selling oils or you have experimented with them yourself. Maybe you even have a Pinterest board of favorite blends and use your diffuser as a natural air freshener. But very few of my clients are familiar with or have much knowledge of flower essences. If this sounds like you, you are missing out on a whole other world of healing and emotional support. What are flower essences? Part of the field of vibrational medicine, flower essences are infusions in which the energy of a flower has been imprinted into water (usually with a tiny amount of brandy or other alcohol for preservation). They have no aroma, which is the most obvious difference between essential oils and flower essences. They are safe to use internally, on the skin, and in room sprays, for any person or animal. Plants vibrate at a similar frequency to the higher vibration emotions, and when introduced into the body they help the person shift the lower frequency emotions like fear, and move toward higher ones like joy. They can be catalysts for deep healing. They work with a person’s healing process, gently shifting the energy of the body into a more healthy realm. They do not mask negative aspects but rather help integrate and then bring the person’s energy into a harmonious state. “Flower essences are energetic imprints of the life force of plants which interact with these subtle bodies of the human being, and evoke specific qualities within us. We can say that...
Creating a Seasonal Atmosphere with Essential Oils

Creating a Seasonal Atmosphere with Essential Oils

Evoke the feeling of Spring, Summer, Winter or Fall any time of year, or provide an extra boost to the season at hand with essential oils. Each season we instinctively mirror the activities of Nature. Spring is a time of rebirth for the flowers, trees, and animals, and a time of “spring cleaning” of our homes, minds, and hearts for us. Essential oils with energetic brightness like bergamot, lemon verbena, and lime support new beginnings and fresh starts. Summer is a time of growth and well-being in Nature, as it is a time when we naturally are more active, drawn to the outdoors, and feeling relaxed. Those feelings can be evoked year round with the gorgeous floral notes of neroli, rose, and ylang ylang essential oils. Autumn innately brings back-to-school busyness (even if you aren’t in school anymore) and a deep desire to complete any lingering projects from the Spring and Summer. We see this in Nature, too, with the squirrels storing away their nuts, and the bounty of the Summer growing season ready for harvest. Essential oils like melissa, cypress, and nutmeg support our need to keep our energy up as we scurry from place to place and complete our to do lists. Winter finds animals hibernating, plants and trees digging deep into the earth, Nature quietly at rest and restoring its energy. Our lives also slow down, and we nestle in with our families. We tend to be more introspective and quiet this time of year, with its longer nights and shorter days. Essential oils that can help us adapt and thrive during Winter are warming spices like cardamom, cinnamon, and clove. Download the full...
Seasonal Health and Transitions

Seasonal Health and Transitions

Essential oils were made for easing anxiety, depression, heaviness of spirit, and sadness, all of which can creep into our lives during the change of seasons. Essential oils are at their most effective for these times of transition, when we need an infusion of brightness and grounding. Comment below with which oils have worked for you, or with questions about how to use the ones I’ve suggested in the graphic. Have a wonderful autumn! Download the full Seasonal Health & Transitions...
Blending Musically

Blending Musically

I struggle mightily with expressing my vision and approach to healing work in a way that adequately represents it. To me, essential oils are the essence of Nature’s beauty and spirit, and deeply associated with God’s love and care for us. My healing work with essential oils comes through me, from a place both inside and outside myself. There is a rhythm to my process and a strong connection inside me to what I can only describe as artful creation. One day I may be gifted with the best words to explain what my work means to me and how I feel while creating it. Kandinsky to the rescue Meanwhile, Wassily Kandinsky, in his 1914 book Concerning the Spiritual in Art, has found a way to express something that has helped me understand myself and the world. Isn’t it great how art and literature can do that? He writes about how different forms of art are getting closer to each other, closer to harmonizing and utilizing the strengths of one to augment the message in another. He is particulary focused on the powerful role of music in this merging. With few exceptions music has been for some centuries the art which has devoted itself not to the reproduction of natural phenomena, but rather to the expression of the artist’s soul, in musical sound.1 He goes on to say that in order for this borrowing of method to succeed it must come from a place of internal, fundamental understanding of the borrowed form. The adoption of musical methods to painting in the late 1800s and early 1900s (the time period about which he...

Home remedies for battling mosquito bites

Mosquitoes! Those vampiric little demons, sucking out our life blood and replacing it with itchiness, welts, and about a thousand other plagues, have ruined my ability to go into my backyard from May through October. Who cares if you have cool names like “Asian Tiger” and “Cattail,” mosquito? You make puppies sick! You kill around one million people EVERY YEAR! You’re just no good. Experts say that one in 10 people are super attractive to mosquitoes. As a member of that 10%, and someone who is averse to putting highly toxic chemicals all over the skin, I’ve been conducting a one-woman experiment in natural, safe mosquito repelling for over 10 years. Here’s what I’ve figured out for me and my family that keeps mosquitoes from finding us delicious: To fight our foe we have a 3-pronged battle plan. Preparation. About 20-30 minutes before we go into a Potential Mosquito Situation (PMS – ha!), we take a B Complex vitamin. I discovered this completely by accident one summer, when I noticed a mosquito approach my arm, hover over it, and then fly away. It clicked in my brain (call it intuition) that I’d just taken a B Complex, which does make pee smell really weird. Maybe I smelled weird to the mosquito! Through trial and error (the error mostly being me forgetting to take the B complex, then getting eaten alive), I figured out that B Complex keeps mosquitoes off of me. It works for my daughter, too. “Well,” you may be saying, “perhaps you have some sort of mutant genetic makeup that causes this to work.” To that I...

Neko Case Flings Me Into Space

Oh, that Voice! That VOICE!! And to hear it in Radio City Music Hall, the pinnacle of good acoustics… it was truly magic. Neko Case and her aggressively-bearded band dazzled and amused with a performance that included a smattering of selections from each album and some hilarious banter with her sidekick/backup vocalist/stand up comedienne-in-residence Kelly Hogan. She’s touring to support her new album The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You. It’s yet another album from her where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and its parts are utterly glorious. Neko Case is known for the force of her voice, and the beauty of her lyrics. Seeing Neko live was every bit as spiritually and auditorially fulfilling as I had hoped it would be. It was a beautifully wrapped and beribboned present. The impact of her voice and poetic lyrics in such an acoustically blessed venue was pretty damn powerful. When an artist like Neko Case unleashes her voice and taps into the power of music as a means of transcension, it is a vehicle that takes you to the top of the mountain and then catapults you into the heavens. [Ed. note: This used to be an embedded video of her performance of Night Still Comes on Jimmy Fallon a couple weeks ago, but the video has been evaporated for what I’m sure are nefarious reasons.] From Night Still Comes: Did they poison my food? Is it cause I’m a girl? If I puked up some sonnets, would you call me a miracle? I’m gonna...

A rose by any other name would still be … squid

Flowers are pretty. They smell good (most of the time). They symbolize emotions like love, joy, and friendship. In aromatherapy the essential oils from flowers are used to promote health, wellness, and harmony. The same cannot be said for stomach of bull, duck tongues, deer eyelids, or chicken combs but somehow Heide Hatry brings out the beauty and emotion in these unlikely objects. I caught her exhibit “Not a Rose” at Stux Gallery this past weekend by happy chance. The photograph shown above caught my eye as I walked by in search of gelato. “What a gorgeous photograph of delicate blossoms,” thought I. Then I caught the caption, and I was hooked. There were maybe 40 photos on display, each one showcasing grotesque parts of animals shaped into lush, exotic, and gorgeous “flowers.” I had a huge smile on my face as I moved from print to print, equal parts amazed and delighted at Hatry’s ability to pull beauty out of what most people would think gross. To me she’s proving that beauty and art are truly everywhere and in everything, from a deer esophagus to a sliced sheep penis. Take a step back and her “flowers” are as gorgeous as anything found in nature. Take a step closer and find the beauty in the disturbing. Heide Hatry is a New York based artist from southern...

Best of 2012

Confession: I didn’t do a great job of staying on top of new music in 2012. There was a three-month miracle where we had a really good indie radio station in the NYC area but as quickly as it appeared it converted to sports radio. One evening I’m grooving to the Wombats, the next morning it’s two guys yelling about the Yankees. A few bands that stood out in 2012 (in my admittedly limited experience) are Atlas Genius, the Wombats, Grimes, and Azealia Banks. I was supposed to see Grimes but the show got cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. I was also supposed to see Azealia Banks but got in a car accident earlier that day and was soaking in a hot tub that night instead. Not really a stellar music year. However, 2012 is the year I met in person one of the members of my Holy Trinity: Kristin Hersh! Behold: She performed an all-acoustic night at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York in April. I was in bliss. First off, it’s a gorgeous space. Secondly, she was amazing in every way. She alternated reading from her book Rat Girl with performing songs and being utterly and smartly charming. She played a lot from her early Throwing Muses days, and I was so happy I was just about levitating off my chair. Fish, Hate My Way, Vicky’s Box, and so many more, all done with just her voice and her acoustic guitar. After the show she talked to every person lined up to meet her, including me. I was so starstruck when I met her that...