Search Term: " Sachets "
SPA: Satisfying Personal Attention
June 14, 2005 10:32 AM
SPA: Satisfying Personal Attention by Sylvia Whitefeather Energy Times, October 12, 2004
Feeling stressed out? Looking for some time to relax and cool off, but just too busy to get away? Give yourself a spa treatment at home.
Creating your own home spa experience is easy and the benefits are many. With some common household items and a few essential oils, you can luxuriate in your own special spa experience while recharging and renewing mind, body and spirit. Indulge with a few close friends for a unique, shared experience.
Using concentrated plant oils derived from flowers and plants, aromatherapy offers an ancient healing art that has gained newfound respect in the modern world. Aroma chemicals transfer quickly into the body, and researchers are finding unique ways to employ this ancient technique, including medical applications.
Studies find that lemon balm or lavender oil reduces behavioral problems in older people with dementia (BMJ 2002; 325:1312-3). Rosemary has been found to improve memory and enhance mental functioning (Int J Neurosci 2003 Jan; 113(1):15-38).
Only a drop or two of an essential oil is needed to receive their unique healing benefits. (Always dilute essential oils; never use or apply them directly to your skin without watering them down.) Essential oils can help you relax, rejuvenate, improve your memory and increase your energy.
Some essential oils are reputed to reduce pain, kill bacteria, speed healing of injuries and help fight inflammation and infection (Natl Meeting, Amer Chem Soc, 8/02).
When you feel like you're ready to spa, take the phone off the hook, unplug the TV and set aside a special, unbothered time and day for your at-home spa experience. Next, turn your bathroom into your special place. Light fragrant candles, put on your favorite soft music and fill the tub.
When running the water you should select a water temperature that fits the effect you desire, according to Valerie Gennari Cooksley, RN, author of Healing Home Spa (Penguin). Water temperature that approximates your normal body temperature produces a sedative effect. On the other hand, hotter water-that which hovers around 100 degrees-induces sweating and helps cleanse and detoxify. In any case, limit your time in hot water to about 20 minutes. If you use cold water, only stay immersed for a few short minutes to rejuvenate and close the skin's pores.
Try adding about 10 drops of either lavender or ylang-ylang oil to a warm bath to aid in relaxation and to release tight muscles. Don't rush; soak for at least 20 minutes and let the fragrant water vaporize your cares. Dry off with a fluffy towel and wrap yourself in your favorite bathrobe.
Other bath enhancers you can add to your soak include oatmeal to soften the skin, seaweed for deep cleansing, Epsom salts to relieve aches, and baking soda to alkalize the body. Herbal Sachets can be made by placing dried herbs in a muslin bag and dropping the bag into the water to release fragrances and healing chemicals.
The facial is a standard spa procedure. Hold your face over a steaming bowl of hot water that contains lemon juice or a few drops of lemon essential oil for about 15 minutes. Use a towel over your head to hold in the steam.
When your face is well moisturized, apply a facial mask. On dry skin, use either puréed, ripe avocado or a mask of honey and kelp. If your face is oily, apply either puréed, ripe bananas or a mask of peppermint oil and honey. If you are not sure of your skin type or have mixed skin, green clay can be used for a balanced facial. Green clay is rich in minerals while being antiseptic and healing, notes Valerie Ann Worwood, author of The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy (New World Library). With the addition of warm water, it creates an instant facial mask. (You can also use prepared facial masks; ask about them at your health food store.)
To apply the mask, begin at the forehead using upward strokes. Go easy around the eyes. Afterwards, put cucumber slices over your eyes and relax. Keep the mask on for about 15 minutes. Wash your face with warm water and then apply a moisturizer. Your skin should feel supple and look radiant.
Worwood recommends a few drops of rosemary oil and one tablespoon of baking soda in a basin of warm water to soothe your feet. Soaking your feet for about ten minutes softens the skin and nourishes the nails. After drying off, combine one-half cup sea salt with one-half cup of cooking oil, preferably olive, canola or sesame. Gently massage into each foot to stimulate reflex points and remove dead skin. Rinse and pat dry. Finish with a pedicure.
This salt scrub can be used on any part of the body to eliminate toxins, increase circulation, improve lymphatic movement and cleanse the pores. A popular European treatment, it is especially helpful for parts of the body that store water, such as the tummy and thighs. Rinse completely after the scrub and apply moisturizer to dry areas.
Since hands can age quickly, Worwood suggests using oils of rose, sandalwood and geranium for dry or neglected hands. You can also mix one-half cup of sugar with one-half cup cooking oil and a few drops of one of the above essential oils. Massage into each hand to moisturize and pamper your overworked hands. Rinse and apply your favorite lotion to seal in moisture. A gentle manicure adds the finishing touch.
Your special spa day wouldn't be complete without pampering your hair. Noted dermatologist David Bank, MD, suggests looking for shampoos that contain such gentle cleansers as avocado, borage oil, grapeseed oil, sunflower oil and wheat germ oil. Your shampoo should also contain moisturizing substances, such as aloe vera, to help give your locks shine and bounce.
Check your hair's condition. Oily hair-that which feels greasy within a day of washing-responds best to frequent washing with minimal conditioning. A bad case of the frizzy tangles is a sign of dry hair, which needs a moisturizer-rich shampoo.
Revive From the Inside With Green Drinks
During your spa day, sip green drinks. Green drinks made from aquatic plants such as spirulina, seaweed and kelp contain needed minerals to nourish skin, hair and nails; these plants have been used for centuries to promote health and longevity. In addition to being high in minerals, they are also low in fat, high in fiber and rich in protein.
The marine vegetables found in green drinks help detoxify the body, support the lymphatic system, alkalize the blood and tissues, and support a healthy thyroid. Many natural food stores carry green drink powders that can be added to juice or water. Sipping on a green drink can enhance the cleansing action of your home spa treatment, balance blood sugar levels and maintain your energy level during the day.
Throughout your home spa experience, drinking spring water with a touch of lemon or lime can facilitate the elimination of toxins and keep you hydrated. Indulge in plenty of high-fiber fruits and vegetables, and avoid processed sugars and high-fat foods. Eating lightly allows your body to eliminate toxins from the inside out while you work on the outside.
As Valerie Cooksley says, "...sound health occurs when the mind, body and spirit are in perfect harmony and balance." A home spa experience takes you a step closer to that harmony.
June 10, 2005 05:38 PM
Aromessentials by Joanne Gallo , February 3, 2002
Aromessentials By Joanne Gallo
But aromatherapy is more than just a '90s-style novelty. The practice of using aromatic essential oils for psychological and physical well-being dates back more than 4,000 years to medicinal practices in Egypt and India.
The term "aromatherapy" was coined in 1937 by French cosmetic chemist R.M. Gattefosse, who discovered the benefits of essential oil after burning his hand in a laboratory accident. Gattefosse immersed his hand into the nearest available cool liquid: a vat of lavender oil. The near miraculous soothing of his pain and rapid healing spurred him to dedicate his life to the study of aromatic plants and their therapeutic effects.
How it Works
For those who turn their noses up at this most seemingly-subtle of senses, keep in mind that the perception of smell is 10,000 times more sensitive than the sense of taste. "The sense of smell is the sense of the imagination," noted French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau; this emotional connection lies at the heart of aromatherapy.
Aromas are transmitted rapidly from olfactory cells in the nose to the limbic system in the brain which perceives and responds to emotion, pleasure and memory. Scents trigger the limbic system to release neurochemicals which influence mood. Well-known neurochemicals like endorphins and serotonin help create a sense of well-being.
When you inhale essential oils, some of the molecules travel to the lungs, where they proceed to enter the bloodstream and circulate throughout the body.
Oils applied to the skin are absorbed into the bloodstream as well. Because they are oil/fat soluble, essential oils are highly absorbed by the body, where they circulate for anywhere from 20 minutes to 24 hours and are eventually eliminated through sweat and other bodily secretions.
Essential oils are extremely potent and volatile: approximately 75 to 100 times more concentrated than dried herbs.
Most essential oils are steam distilled from herbs, flowers and plants. Others are cold expressed from the rind of the fruit, which produces the purest essential oils because no heat or chemical treatment is involved.
The components of various oils are beneficial for a wide variety of beauty and hygiene conditions. Some of the more indispensable essential oils include:
Chamomile (anthemis nobilis): soothing properties for sensitive and inflamed skin; calming, balancing and relaxing.
Clary Sage (salvia sclarea): warming, female balancing herb used for PMS; calms anxiety, tension and stress; also used as a muscle relaxant for aches and pains.
Eucalyptus (eucalyptus globulus): antibacterial; fresh, herbal menthol aroma; widely used as an inhalant for colds, coughs and congestion; excellent for massaging tired or sore muscles.
Geranium (pelargonium graveolens): one of the best all-around tonic oils for mind and body; soothes nervous tension and mood swings; balances female hormones and PMS; gently astringent and antiseptic, it improves general tone and texture of skin.
Jasmine (jasminum grandiflorum): a warm, rich, sensual floral scent used historically as an aphrodisiac; moisturizing for dry/mature skin.
Lemon (citrus limonum): refreshing and invigorating; eases tension and depression; useful for oily skin and treatment of acne.
Peppermint (mentha piperita): cool, menthol, invigorating stimulant; cleans and purifies the skin.
Rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis): stimulating and uplifting; purifying and cleansing for all skin types; warm and penetrating for massage to ease muscular aches and pains.
Tea Tree (melaleuca alternifolia): an antiseptic from the leaves of the Australian tea tree; antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral; excellent for skin irritations like cold sores, insect bites and acne.
Ylang Ylang (cananga odorata): enticing and sensual; helps alleviate anger, stress, insomnia and hypertension; helps balance the skin's sebaceous secretions.
Essential oils can be utilized in a variety of ways: in electric or candle-based diffusers, to spread the aroma through a room; in Sachets and air fresheners; added to shampoos and lotions; or diluted and applied to pulse points like the temples, on neck or on wrists. Undiluted essential oils should never be applied to the skin. First mix them with carrier oils: pure vegetable oils such as sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil and apricot kernel oil. Use a general guideline of six to 18 drops of essential oil per one ounce of vegetable oil. Blended, diluted oils are also available which can be used directly on your skin.
Pond's Aromatherapy Capsules come in four scents: Happy, which is fruity and floral; Romantic,with musk and vanilla; Relaxing, a floral and woodsy aroma; and Energizing, with fresh citrus and bright floral scents.
Sarah Michaels offers four essential oil blends: Sensual Jasmine, Soothing Lavender, Refreshing Citrus and Invigorating Peppermint.
The San Francisco Soap Company's Simply Be Well Line features an essential oil light ring set, a diffuser that uses the heat of a light bulb to spread an aroma through your room.
One of the most popular and luxurious ways to enjoy aromatherapy is in a steaming hot bath. Numerous bath products formulated with plant essences can turn your tub time into a rejuvenating experience. Body & Earth features Body Wash, Foam Bath and Soap in five essences: Vanilla Serenity, Lavender Whisper, Playful Peach, Raspberry Rapture and Pear Essence.
The Healing Garden offers a full line of aromatherapy products; try their Tangerinetherapy Wake Up Call Body Cleanser, Gingerlily Therapy Upbeat Bath & Shower Gel; or Minttherapy Fresh Start Bath & Shower Gel.
Simply Be Well products take traditional aromatherapy one step further by combining essential oils with herbal extracts and natural nutrients.
The line includes Shower Gel and Bath Salts in four fragrances: Explore contains ginkgo, eucalyptus, lemon and vitamin B6; Share features dong quai, passionflower, ylang ylang and zinc; Unwind includes kava kava, geranium, lavender and vitamin E; and Celebrate contains ginseng, wild mint, hemp and vitamin C.
Yardley London Bar Soaps, formulated with botanicals and moisturizers, are available in five fragrances: soothing English Lavender, exfoliating Oatmeal and Almond, Aloe Vera for natural healing, skin-softening Chamomile Essence, and astringent Evening Primrose.
"Aromatherapy and the cosmetic use of essential oils have made a tremendous contribution to skin care," asserts Joni Loughran, author of Natural Skin Care: Alternative & Traditional Techniques (Frog, Ltd.). "Every type of skin (such as oily, dry, and normal) can benefit." Some of the natural products that can help balance your skin include these:
Kiss My Face Foaming Facial Cleanser for Normal/Oily skin features citrus oils which act as antiseptics, marigold for healing, licorice root for toning, lavender to normalize oil production, plus the antioxidant green tea.
Kiss My Face's Gentle Face Cleaner for Normal/Dry skin includes essential oils plus organic, detoxifying herbs goldenseal and red clover, echinacea and rose hips with natural vitamin C.
Naturistics Almond Facial Moisture Cream contains almond, allantoin and calendula to smooth dry skin; Wild Chamomile Facial Lotion with rose hips and honeysuckle soothes and conditions rough skin.
Simply Be Well products, which use essential oils combined with herbal extracts like ginkgo and dong quai, are available in Body Lotion and Body Mist.
Wicks and Sticks
Perhaps the easiest way to get your aromatherapy fix is to light a candle and just sit back, relax and breathe.
The Healing Garden offers a wide variety of aromatic candles to suit your every mood; try their Green Teatherapy Meditation Candle; Jasminetherapy Embrace the Light Love Candle; or Lavendertherapy Peace & Tranquility Candle.