Aromatherapy 101

Aromatherapy” is such a buzz word these days.  The current popularity seems to be part of the throw back movement to the patchouli scented 1970s when we all tried to be “natural”.  But the fact that for ten bucks you can add-on some fake “aromatherapy” to a massage or pedicure tells us that main stream doesn’t really know what they are doing and is using the trend for the mass market. We need to educate ourselves.

Aromatherapy is the ancient art and science of healing through the use of essential oils, which are delicate plant extracts considered to be the ‘blood’ or ‘essential’ life-force of plants. As such, essential oils are abundantly rich in complex nutrients much like human blood. Each essential oil carries its own unique botanical profile of healing nutrients, providing a host of therapeutic possibilities to the aromatherapy practitioner.

Although essential oils may vary greatly in their nutrient profiles and specific usage, one quality they all have in common is their cytophylactic nature. Cytophylaxis is a biological mechanism in which cellular activity increases to prevent cells from being damaged. This mechanism, in part, is due to the inherent oxygen carrying capacity within the oils. Like human blood, essential oils transport oxygen and key nutrients to tissues for health and healing.  Cellular oxygenation is touted amongst many scientists as the premise of age and disease-reversal, more commonly known as The Fountain of Youth. It is interesting to observe that essential oils, when handled and stored properly, have extraordinarily long shelf lives, as their regenerative qualities are also naturally self-regenerative!

Due to the remarkable cytophylactic nature of essential oils, seemingly intractable health conditions can be addressed with great success. In Europe, where aromatherapy is commonly employed by physicians, essential oils are used with superlative effects in treating serious conditions such as 2nd and 3rd degree burns, infectious diseases, organ and gland malfunction, psychological conditions, as well as many other issues.

Perhaps the most common method of use with essential oils is in topical skincare. Here, severely damaged skin can heal through the potent regenerative qualities of this liquid phytonutrition. Burns, growths, wrinkles, cysts, pimples, age spots, skin discoloration and rough texture all respond to essential oils, which are safely and easily absorbed through the skin.  While some oils help skin regenerate by stimulating its natural sloughing and rebuilding process, other oils may slow this process to allow for healing from wounds. Each oil heals damaged skin tissue in its own way and offers additional unique qualities that are selected for a specific condition by the practitioner.

When practicing or utilizing aromatherapy, choosing high quality essential oils is of top priority. Due to their highly concentrated nature, it is critical to use oils that are organic or wildcrafted, minimally processed and properly stored. If a plant is treated with exogenous harmful chemicals, those chemicals get concentrated into the plant blood (essential oils), which then transport into the extraction process and into bottles! This chemical transfer process is the same with human consumption of harmful chemicals in food, which get stored in the fatty tissues and blood once they are ingested.

Understanding the complex nature of essential oils and the processing of them will guide a person to a reputable dealer and/or practitioner that can help them choose what is best for their particular skins needs.  

I use various essential oils in my skincare products and also offer certain blends that compliment our daily lives.  See more here…

Home remedies for stressed out Holiday skin

Holiday-shopping-1Holiday-ShoppingIs your fa, la, la, la, la dragging? Are you relying on all those holiday cookies and jolts of caffeine to keep you going, topped off with celebratory alcoholic beverages?  Most of us have way tooooooo much to do this season and right about now—in this most rushed week of the year—our skin starts revolting.

All those “cures” for exhaustion and stress actually create more stress on the body & skin by triggering the immune system.  Adrenaline is released into the skin causing hormonal cysts and the body redirects water & minerals from the surface of the skin to the inside offering more protection for its core inner organs leaving the surface of the skin depleted.  The effect creates the appearance of lack-lustre, blotchy and dry skin that is  itchy and prone to those big, red cyst-type break-outs that never seem to come to a head.

AT HOME QUICK FIXES:

  1. Avoid soapy cleansers; instead remove make-up with oils like sweet almond or argan or rosehip by massaging in and removing with a warm, wet washcloth.  Better yet, use Euchlora Emolulite Cleanser with added benefits.  The oil conditions the skin so it can withstand the stress.
  2. Take a steamy shower or bath with pure lavender essential oil to decompress your stressy spirits and to provide an anti-inflamatory, anti-septic measure for your skin.
  3. Use clay masques to detoxify the skin.  Euchlora’s Terraflora Masque is really spectacular.
  4. Apply cold wet water compresses to the skin to drench it and calm it.  Again add a couple drops of pure lavender essential oil to the water.  Or let me blend something beautiful just for your individual countenance.
  5. Drench those break-out bumps with anti-histamine eye drops.  It will reduce the swelling and in many cases make it disappear.
  6. Moisturize morning and night to keep the skin strengthened.

PREVENTATIVE MEASURES:

  1. Drink LOTS of water to flush the stress hormones from the body and help replenish water loss in the skin.  I know, I know, I know….
  2. I love the little tablets called Calms Forte available at Health Food Stores and some grocery stores in that section.  They calm the nervous system which in turn curbs the release of the hormones that deplete the skin and the body.
  3. Take something off your list so that your nervous system can relax a little.

BE HAPPY, BE WELL…I am thinking about you and your skin!  Jane

Product knowledge; MeadowMilk Gentle Cleanser

DSC05788MeadowMilk Gentle Cleanse is a soothing honey-scented face cleansing lotion that glides on silky smooth to dissolve all make-up and dirt while balancing the immune-system flora present on the surface of the skin leaving it moist and conditioned.  It incorporates the natural enzymatic action in meadow-harvested honey to break down dead skin cells while essential nutrients in Meadowfoam seed oil offer anti-aging cleansing.  Cold processed, this is truly like active nutrition for your skin and most skin types will benefit from it used as part of a routine.  (NOTE: many of you will prefer this to the Bio-Tanical Cleanser as it goes on similar to the previous Conditioning Biotic Cleanser).

The main active ingredient in this cleanser is local honey from the North Family Farm in Canterbury, New Hampshire.  Harvested from bees that forage the non-polluted meadows of the 1792 North Family Shaker farmland, this is a gorgeously scented, luscious honey teaming with healthy flora and active enzymes.  Enzymes work to break down proteins and debris thus it is as good for the surface of the skin as well as our gut.  Introducing the essences of plant material contained within also helps keep our immune system boosted (the skin is the largest part of our immune system!)

The second main ingredient is Meadowfoam Seed oil.  This highly stable anti-oxident oil is cold pressed from the seeds of Limnanthes Alba plant noted for its superior nutritional quality and its ability heal the skin.  Oil is the best solvent for grease so while conditioning the skin, the Meadowfoam seed oil also breaks down & emulsifies sebum, perspiration and make-up to wash away with a warm cloth.  Like the C.B.C. many of you will enjoy spreading it on, leaving it in place like a masque then just adding water later to whiten it up to remove.

 

Spring Detox for the Skin

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While the calendar says spring is almost here, we are still under a bit of snow here in the Northeast.  Nature has its own calendar ways, dumping snow & rain when it feels the need to eliminate, raising and lowering temperatures on a whim and tricking our senses into thinking we are all together in a different time and place.   It’s these sensory changes that regulate our skin.

Our bodies are a mirror of the world around us, with our internal waters ebbing and flowing in sync with the tides of the ocean, expanding and contracting with temperature, and our skin measures it all.  Loaded with sensory nerves like a mass of diodes, our skin registers and displays the information from our external environment (think windburn or suntan) but it also measures the information from our internal environment as well; what goes into our bodies and what our body manufactures itself.

“You are what you eat” is an old adage that would be more aptly stated as, “What you eat creates what you are” because food as fuel only stimulates the functions of our body to do what it should do, to release hormones that guide it.  In fact less than 20% of what we eat ever makes it outward to the skin but the hormones that food stimulate always make it there.  Chocolate does not cause acne (like the old school dermatologists used to claim) but the overindulgence of any stimulant will spike the adrenaline hormone which in turn can cause acne.

After a winter of cold temperatures our body has stored up composites of our food including all those not-so-good concentrates like chemical additives that mimic misdirected hormones.  This storage of toxic waste in the body can contribute to toxic inter-cellular waste in the skin as well, triggering malformation of the cells which in turn creates early aging and breakouts.  So with spring and the warmer weather nearly here, it is time to think about deep cleansing and detoxifying the whole body to improve your skin.

The old-ways wisdom of “taking a tonic” in the spring was in fact true.  Drinking “juiced” blends of spring greens is detoxifying because nature knows to pack itself full of what we need this time of year.  Getting a lymphatic drainage or aromatherapy massage as well as chiropractic adjustments will aid the body in releasing waste.  And also getting a detoxifying facial will have amazing results; all of these practices working hand in hand are ‘tonics” for your skin.

My daughter Whitney Bakaleinikoff is a certified Holistic Diet Counselor and she offers this detoxing juice blend recipe for us all this year.  Yum!

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Blend the following ingredients in a high-powered blender until you have a bright green sweet, zingy shake.

  • a handful of organic spinach
  • 1/2 peeled Meyer lemon, plus a bit of zest
  • 1/4 c. fresh pineapple
  • 1/4 c. pineapple juice or orange juice
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2″ fresh peeled ginger
  • sprinkle of cayenne
  • a small handful of chia or flax seeds
  • fresh water to cover the ingredients

These ingredients are rich in antioxidants, enzymes and essential fatty acids to reduce inflammation, enhance cellular respiration and aid in overall body detoxification. Great for spring allergies, sluggish digestion, joint/muscle pain and inflammation, immunity and overall increased vitality.