Tag Archives: Aromatherapy

Nightly Rituals

I don’t know about you, but I have a difficult time relaxing and quieting my mind at night. Ironically, I work hard to ease into a restful state.  In doing so, I’ve noticed that there are certain rituals that I must follow.

Do you have a restless mind, and need to unwind?

What you COULD do is establish nightly rituals that let your body and mind know that it’s time for bed.

Here are 3 things that I do, before I go to sleep:

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1. Treat my feet: I always wash my feet before bedtime. I have a deeply-rooted need to crawl into bed with clean feet. In addition, I moisturize them with organic jojoba oil, then cover them with socks. It never fails to relax and reassure me.

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2. Diffuse essential oils that make “scents”: I select one, or more, essential oils to scent my room at night.  Lavender is my favorite, due to its sleep-promoting properties. However, lately, I’ve been using frankincense for its meditative benefits.  Each of these oils has served as a base for my calming combinations.

3. Cue the music: I play relaxation music in my bedroom, which also helps to create a calming atmosphere.   I’m currently loving the Calm Radio Om, Spa, and Sleep channels.  Their soothing sounds help me to drift-off to dream land.

What are YOUR nightly rituals?

Please comment and share!

XOXO

Holistically Healthy in the Hospital

Hospital Symbol

As I mentioned before, I am a total germaphobe, who feels incredibly uncomfortable in hospitals.  So, when I had to have surgery, I was forced to get over it for the duration of my procedure and overnight stay.  *Shudders*

Here are 8 things that I did to stay holistically healthy in the hospital:

1.  Probiotics:  I used ReNew Life’s Ultimate Flora Critical Care variety ahead of time to boost my immune system.

2.  Arnica:  Before my surgery date, I took some homeopathic pellets for their anti-inflammatory benefits.

3.  Shoe covers:  You know the disposable ones that are worn in hospitals?  Well, yours truly asked for a pair to use so that my “special socks” wouldn’t touch the hospital floors…Ewww!

4.  Humor:  My situation was no laughing matter; however, I managed to share a few laughs with my team before surgery.  This helped me to stay positive, as I faced some of my greatest fears.

5.  Human touch:  I needed it when I woke up dazed, confused, and panicked about my surgical outcome.  I repeatedly asked my husband to kiss my forehead, and his presence and touch calmed and comforted me.  Before he was brought to my bedside, I tried to ask a nurse to do this; but I couldn’t get the words out…LOL!!!

6.  Aromatherapy:  “Calming” essential oil blend + diffuser + “Nighty Night” spritzer from Desert Sage Herbs = “Best Smelling Room on the Floor,” as voted by my nurses.  *Takes a bow*

7.  Called for clean-up:  I had to call 3 times, to be exact (Why???).  I insisted on having our bathroom cleaned after my roommate’s husband spent the night and used our facilities…multiple times…REALLY?!?!

8.  BYOF:  Despite being pressured to consume the hospital fare, I politely declined and had my husband bring me food and drinks from a local Whole Foods Market.  I requested coconut water; fresh green juice with lemon, ginger, jicama, and turmeric; seaweed snacks; raw kale salad; and vegetable soup.  The nourishment from the coconut water, green juice, and seaweed snacks alone brought my body back to life and set me on a course for early discharge.  Hallelujah!

What would you do to stay holistically healthy in a conventional hospital environment?

Have a happy, safe, and fun holiday weekend!

XOXO

 

 

 

 

Sage Advice

IMG_4330In preparation for my surgery, and to create a healing oasis at home, I went to Desert Sage Herbs.  Brittney Sounart and her mother, Vicki Greener, opened this holistic center in 1999; and have provided me and my family with healing help for the past 9 years.  They offer classes, holistic health services, and a retail shop.  It feels like home, and it smells soooo good inside!

IMG_4266One week prior to my surgery, I scheduled an herbal consultation with Brittney.  During this time, I shared the details of my situation, and told her that I wanted to purchase some products to help me heal quickly and completely after my procedure.  We laughed, cried (Well, I did.), hugged, and re-grouped, as we developed a plan together.  The plan was as follows:  to support healing of my tissues after surgery, while supporting my adrenals and nervous system; liver detoxification; lymphatic and immune system support.  Once our plan was in place, Brittney proceeded to custom-blend all sorts of goodies for me…

IMG_4160Brittney suggested that I take arnica, before and after surgery, for its anti-inflammatory properties.  She also created an herbal “Healing Tea” (nettle leaf, holy basil, linden flower, calendula flower, red raspberry leaf, slippery elm bark, and horsetail) for me.  In addition, she concocted a “Healing Tonic” (gotu kola, milk thistle, milky oats, cleavers, horse chestnut, echinacea root, and ginger root).  And, since I love smoothies, Brittney whipped up a “Smoothie Powder” (ashwagandha root, shatavari root, maca root, and spirulina) too.  YAHTZEE!!!

Brittney Sounart, Clinical Herbalist at Desert Sage Herbs.

Brittney Sounart, Clinical Herbalist at Desert Sage Herbs.

I am all about aromatherapy.  So, Brittney suggested their “Nighty-Night” spritzer for use at home, in the hospital, or on the go.   She also whipped-up a “Calming” essential oil blend of lavender, clary sage, and bergamot.  I place 10-12 drops on the pad of my new aromatherapy diffuser, plug it into an outlet, and the results are “spa-like.”  I love my diffuser so much that when I found out that there was a smaller version for cars, I pounced!  Don’t judge me…

IMG_4166Honestly, I could have gone crazy and done a LOT more damage.  But I decided to be good and to stay focused on what was absolutely necessary to get me through my surgery and healing process.  I believe that the items that I purchased have helped me tremendously.

IMG_4285I am so grateful to Brittney for her caring heart and expertise.  LOVE HER!!!

Desert Sage Herbs is located at 1728 N Alma School Rd, Chandler, AZ 85224.

Pssst…Don’t trip!…They ship!!!  😉

Have a wonderful weekend!

XOXO

 

A Healing Oasis At Home

Me in my master bedroom on Mother’s Day 2014.

During the weeks prior to my surgery, I was in major nesting mode.  Seriously!  You would have thought that I was having another baby!  NOT!!!  Since I knew that my hospital stay would be short-lived, in comparison to my recovery time, I planned to create a “new and improved” environment  where I could rest and recover, while surrounded by friends and family.  Although I added extra errands to my pre-surgery schedule, I was quite pleased with the results.  In fact, I was so excited to get home to my sanctuary, that it motivated me to do whatever was necessary to be discharged from the hospital as soon as possible.  Here are some things that I did to create a healing oasis at home:

1.  Add aromatherapy:  I purchased an aromatherapy diffuser and a “Calming” essential oil blend of lavender, bergamot, and clary sage from Desert Sage Herbs.  I plugged the diffuser into the wall and took my room from blah to spa!  In addition, I treated myself to Cire Trudon candles in the Abd Al-Kader and L’Admirable scents, and placed them in my entry and living areas.  *sigh*

2.  Plant placement:  What better way to liven up a space than with plants?  I visited a local nursery and brought home a Dracaena ‘Janet Craig.’  Low-maintenance, air-purifying, and health-promoting, I am loving it, and I look forward to adding more greenery to my mix.

3.  Bring on the bedding:  Knowing that I would be spending a lot of time in bed, I felt that it was important to make mine as comfortable and inviting as possible.  I managed to keep things budget-friendly by doing a “spruce-up,” as opposed to an “extreme bed makeover.”  I bought this sheet set in Midnight/Ivory during a sale at West Elm.  Yesssss!  Then, I found a Peacock Alley coverlet set at Tuesday Morning.  Score!  Finally, I purchased a duvet set at Home Goods, which had all of the right colors to tie my master bedroom together.  Gotta love it when that happens!

4.  Clear out the clutter:  I believe that clutter to the eye is clutter to the mind.  So, I purged and organized my space before surgery because I knew that I wouldn’t have the energy to do it afterwards.  I’m so glad that I did because I am enjoying my space that much more.  For me, a clutter-free, organized space produces a calming effect.  Ahhh…

5.  Let there be light:  I sleep next to a large window in my bedroom.  Everyday, I open my shutters to let in sunlight and to enjoy my backyard view.  It’s so simple, and it [literally] brightens my day!

6.  Soothing sounds:  I have surround sound speakers in my master bedroom.  So, I asked my family to play smooth jazz, classical, and relaxation music for me to enjoy.  One of my favorite Internet radio stations is Calm Radio Om.  Sooo nice!

How do you create a healing oasis at home?

 

 

Aria’s Birth Story

As a holistic health enthusiast, I wanted the most natural pregnancy and birthing experience possible.  After all, I considered this another leg of my health journey.  Although my pregnancy was confirmed by an OB/GYN, I quickly left her care to pursue my dream.  This led me to the Bethany Birthing Center in Phoenix, where I received all of my prenatal care and, ultimately, delivered my first child.

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Since I love water, swimming, and taking baths, a water birth seemed like an ideal way for me to experience natural childbirth.  Although I did interview a few home birth midwives toward the end of my pregnancy, I decided to stick with my original plan to go to Bethany.  My husband and I both felt more comfortable with this plan for our first child.  We figured that if things went well, then I could do a home birth the next time around.  My estimated due date (EDD) was July 18, 2006.  After a few days of pre-labor symptoms, things got really interesting on July 16th:

I missed church that day, due to cramps, contractions, low backache, and other “fun stuff.”  My symptoms worsened as the day progressed, so I tried to relax in an aromatherapy bath that afternoon.  At around 5:30pm, I felt a contraction radiate around my torso.  This was a major turning point (Hello, active labor! ).  My husband and I consulted with my doulas, then he called the birthing center to find out if/when we should come.  Meanwhile, Doula Michelle came to our house and labored with me in my room from 7:30pm – 8:30pm.  She really saved the day, since my other doula was too far away and had to meet us at the birthing center.  On our way to Bethany, Michelle labored with me in the back seat of my car with my husband driving and my mom riding in the front.  Longest. Hour. Ever.

We arrived at Bethany at about 9:30pm.  There, I went to the restroom, then was checked by a nurse.  I was 5 – 6 cm dialated.  After I requested the jacuzzi room, the tub was filled, my lavender candle was lit, and my music turned on.  I continued to labor in the jacuzzi:  I laid on my side, blew raspberries, brayed like a horse, cried out, squatted, wagged my tailbone, did cat/cow stretches, and breathed deeply.  At this point, my fingers were pruning and I wondered if I could make it through.  The baby’s heartbeat remained strong and steady, which was a relief.  Labor hurt but not as much as I thought it would.  Finally, Midwife Connie checked me and offered to push the remainder of my cervix out of the way so that I could deliver my baby.  I agreed and she did.   My birthing team instructed me to hold up my legs, sit on the edge of the jacuzzi seat, and push.  At first, I felt awkward, but I finally settled into a position and went for it.  I was offered the opportunity to get out of the tub, but I refused to leave the water.   It really took the edge off of my labor.  8 pushes and 40-50 minutes later, I felt the baby’s head, which motivated me to push her out.  This was a magical moment for all of us.  My daughter was born, I helped to lift her out of the water, and placed her on my stomach.  Afterwards, I settled into bed, breastfed and rested.  What an amazing experience!

Though I had some postpartum challenges, my daughter’s birth was textbook-perfect, which is why I wasn’t “scurred” to home birth my son, 22 months later.  I’m so grateful that I was able to labor in the comfort of my own home, make the 1-hour trip to the birthing center, and have a relatively smooth delivery after 8 hours of labor.  I remember the soft glow and smell of my lavender candle, the soothing sound of Deva Premal’s singing, the comfort of the warm water, and the support of my doulas, my husband, and my mom.  This provided me with the perfect “home away from home” experience.  The 5-month road to recovery was a long one.  But my daughter and I went on to overcome many obstacles, heal, and bond.  And I couldn’t be more proud of my “peanut.”

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Happy Birthday, Aria!

5 Essential Oils To Have On-Hand

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Image courtesy of wikiHow

I was first exposed to essential oils 12 years ago, during a massage appointment with a therapist who worked exclusively with oils.  She created custom aromatherapy blends on the spot, based on her clients’ physical and emotional needs.  Her use of essential oils, combined with her bodywork technique, was AH-MAZING!!!  I was inspired to complete a massage therapy certification program, work at a spa, and start my own business.

Although I no longer practice massage, I incorporate aromatherapy into my family’s regimen for health and well-being.  Here are 5 essential oils that I luuurve, a few of the benefits that they offer, and examples of how I use them:

1.  Lavender

A must-have in any essential oil kit, this is one of the safest, most versatile oils.  Lavender is calming, helps soothe and heal skin conditions, and is anti-bacterial.  For stress relief, I like to place a few drops in my hands, rub them together, cup them under my nose, and breathe deeply.

2.  Peppermint

One of the most widely accepted oils, peppermint is a digestive aid,  stimulant, and immunity booster.  I place a few drops in the toilet to relieve constipation, which was especially helpful to me post-partum.  Just sayin’…

3.  Eucalyptus

This oil is one of the most popular and is useful for treating respiratory ailments, relieving congestion, and purifying the air.  I place 10-20 drops in a vaporizer to remedy nasal and chest congestion due to colds, flu, and allergies.  It works well overnight, plus it creates a “spa-like” effect in your room.

4.  Bergamot

With its floral, citrus scent, bergamot is uplifting, anti-bacterial, and anti-microbial.  I blend it with lavender, clary sage,  and water into a “calming” spritzer that I carry in my bag to use as needed.  Gotta love aromatherapy on-the-go!

5.  Rosemary

Rosemary is clarifying, improves circulation, and helps to relieve pain.  I recently placed some drops in a spray bottle with water and taught some aphids not to mess with my garden.  Buh-bye, pests!

A great way to learn more about essential oils, and to support local businesses, is to visit an herb shop near you.  Furthermore, your local herb shop has relationships with essential oil suppliers, and thus knowledge about the quality and source of the oils.  100% pure, therapeutic quality, organic essential oils are best.  Keep out of reach of children, and check contraindications on all oils.  When in doubt, consult your health care provider and/or a qualified and trained aromatherapy practitioner prior to use.

What are your favorite essential oils, and how do you use them?

 

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