Aromatic First Aid: Summertime for many equates to enjoying the hot seasonal days gardening, hiking, camping, traveling, vacationing at the beach, and participating in extra sports activities. Still, spending more time outside in the summer heat makes one prone to dry skin, excessive sun exposure, dehydration, and more cuts, scrapes and rashes compared to any other time of year. It has been established that what is applied to the skin is as significant as what is placed in our bodies by way of food and nutrition making it all the more essential to create better choices for your first response treatment of minor skin conditions. In addition, avoiding skin sensitizing and potentially harmful chemicals, such as petroleum-based compounds and costly pharmaceuticals, makes it equally important to use natural alternatives for the health conscious.
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Detoxifying with essential oils: Open an alternative health magazine, read the signs in the windows of a spa or health food store, check out the website of your local health practice - chances are you'll see "Detoxifying" treatments offered - from foot baths, to FAR infrared saunas, to cleansing diets and aromatherapy massage. Every culture features traditional practices that help our human bodies detoxify - sweat lodges and saunas, cleansing fasts and herbal teas, hot springs and mud baths. These traditions accelerate the ways our bodies already work to detoxify. We continuously eliminate toxins through our digestive, urinary, integumentary (skin), circulatory, respiratory, and lymphatic systems. Traditional detoxification treatments are designed to enhance these built-in mechanisms. And it seems that human beings have always sought out and devised ways to cleanse the body of unwanted by products of foods, especially cooked and smoked foods, the remnants of stress and fatigue, occasional encounters with natural toxins (forest fires? volcanic eruptions? radioactive meteorites?) and sporadic bouts of deliberate intoxication (fermented beverages, kava kava, yohimbe, peyote, marijuana, etc.).
Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara) is the fragrance of orange trees blossoming under the Moroccan and Tunisian sun. It is the fragrance that greets farmers as they begin another spring day of harvesting, gently plucking the tiny golden gems that shine from inside green citrus foliage. Many factors will influence the quality of the neroli oil: each blossom must be plucked when it is just starting to open; the buds must be gathered only on warm sunny days; the flowers cannot be bruised; leaflets and petioles must not be included. By the end of the day, the clothing and weather-aged hands of the dark-skinned harvesters will be saturated with an intoxicating aroma desired by queens and empresses, sheiks and maharajas.
Celestial Aromatherapy: One of the first things I encountered on my personal journey into the field of holistic health was astrology. That may seem like a strange statement but actually, it is not a big leap from astrology to health matters and, in fact, there is a whole branch of this art called Medical Astrology. When astrology crossed my path in NYC in the late 1970's I quickly realized that because the birth chart could indicate health and the root of medical conditions, my clients would want to have some idea of what to do with the information I conveyed. Certain clients would have Aquarius on the 6th house cusp or some other indication indicating the need for more unusual forms of healthcare to solve their problems. I decided to become familiar with alternatives (Aquarius is on my own 6th house of health) and this lead me from nutrition to massage and that was how aromatherapy came into my life.
Spring Renewal: Just like spring cleaning our homes, our skin can benefit from exfoliation as we transition from the cold drying winter months to springtime. Pollution, smoke, dryness, UV rays, stress and more are the factors that accelerate the aging process for both men and women. The benefits of exfoliation will be noticeable right away and should be part of your daily or weekly facial/body cleansing routine.