How to sleep better without drugs

The Bed, by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1893

The Bed, by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1893

This is a big topic and I’m not going to pretend that I’m going to cover all the various aspects of sleep disorders (such as sleep apnoea, of which there are different types and is a whole subject in itself). I will focus on one of the most common sleep disorders: insomnia. There are a number of factors that lead to poor sleep, which if addressed will make big improvements on the quality of your sleep. And yes there are a number of essential oils and oil blends that can help one sleep and sleep better.

The major factors leading to poor sleep

Mind. Too much mind chatter or perhaps a case of stress, worry and anxiety. You may be looking at psychological causes here that need to be addressed. According to Gary Young, when we are stressed, we are in “sympathetic override” – our body is responding as if we are in a fight or flight situation. But instead of this being just short-term many people live in this state most of their lives. As a consequence it affects sleep. Stress can also raise the acidity level in your body (see the next section below under Body) through hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol.

There are a number of essential oils that are good at balancing the nervous systems, and promoting relaxation and sleep. Meditation would also certainly be a tool you would want to consider here as a means of dealing with this, as well as getting some counselling if you are suffering acute anxiety and trying to get a handle on various issues in your life.  Check out my posts  Essential Oils for Anxiety and Panic Attacks, 15 essential oils for stress relief  and Great essential oil blends for stress relief for essential oils that help with stress and anxiety. Not surprisingly many of these same oils are also help with sleep.

Read the rest of this entry

Oil blend: Valor™

ValorA happy 2013 to you all folks.
In this post we begin a regular feature in this blog, where we take a close look at an oil blend. Last year, I wrote a blog for Wellbeing, entitled The magic of essential oil blends. In it I pointed out, that when we mix 2 or more essential oils together to make a blend, you end up with almost an entirely new essential oil; a potent essential oil that is ‘greater than the sum of it’s parts’, if you like.
So kicking off this new feature, I’m going to discuss what is probably one of my favourite oil blends – Valor™

Valor™ for confidence
Developed by Gary Young, Valor™, it contains the oils of Spruce, Rosewood, Blue Tansy, Frankincense and Almond oil as the carrier oil.  It’s based on a recipe found in the Roman ruins of Herculaneum. The Romans would apply this blend on their soldiers and gladiators before battle to instill them with confidence and courage – hence the name Valor. Gary developed this blend for a similar reason. This is the blend to use before that interview, important meeting or stage performance. My father recently used it before giving a eulogy at a funeral and it certainly helped him. I use it each morning before work, as an alternative to after-shaves and eau de colognes, because I love the smell; but I’m certainly aware of the power of this oil. Any time you are about to face a difficult situation that has you feeling afraid or uncomfortable use Valor™.  You can certainly diffuse it or inhale it, but I tend to apply 2-4 drops in my hand and rub it on my shoulders and back of the neck.

Valor™ to balance and align your body
Valor™ is also known as the “chiropractor in a bottle” for good reason. Valor™ helps re-align and balance the skeletal part of the body as well as the electrical energies within the body.[1] Just six drops rubbed into the soles of the feet or along the spine. It has even been known to help with scoliosis, and to change anaerobic mutated cells back into aerobic normal cells. If you are a massage therapist, try rubbing a few drops on the feet of your patient 5-10 minutes before you start your massage. Then rub 5-6 drops along the back. Chiropractors will find that this technique assists them in carrying out a skeletal alignment.

Here is technique you can apply to your partner before you go to sleep at night. It takes about 10-15 minutes, but you will have an amazing night’s sleep:

  • Remove any jewellery or watches (person being balanced and the balancer).
  • Apply three drops on to the sole of your hand and rub your hands together 3 times clockwise (This apparently re-aligns the molecules.
  • Rub the oil over the soles of the feet.
  • Hold the soles of the person’s feet with your palms – right palm to the left sole, left palm to the right sole.
  • You will feel something akin to a pulsing or heat in one foot. When you feel the same sensation/s in the other foot, the person has been balanced.

Valor™ experiences
Here’s what some other people had to say about Valor:

Valor promotes a feeling of confidence
Wanda Stachowski
WY, United States
I am so excited about using Valor! As a small business owner in sales, I often experience anxiety in approaching new contacts or making my follow-up calls. Using Valor has helped immensely! It gives me a feeling of confidence which projects in my demeanor. Using Valor in this way helps me to focus on my client rather than my insecurities. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!

A good night time oil
Ann Barrante
CT, United States
We use Valor on my daughter every night. It has helped her sleep more peacefully and she has no more night terrors. We tried lavender well as Peace & Calming and neither seemed to bring her the peace she finds from Valor. She asks for valor every night and now has her own bottle. She applies it to her big toes, her wrists and her temples. Then she inhales and thinks of a happy thought.
We also found Valor decreases my husbands snoring a lot. It has not gotten rid of it but has softened it to a tiny noise. Valor is a good oil to have on hand. Sweet dreams!

Valor aligned my spine
Corry Heinrich
NY, United States
I have had 2 back surgeries in 5 years. My body hadn’t been aligned for a long time before them and certainly wasn’t after them. I started using the oils for the pain in my back and down my leg. I applied them every hour in the beginning. It is my belief that valor was key in aligning my body. I used valor every morning. I put it on the bottom of my feet. The reflex points for your spine are along the inside of your foot. About half way in to the second bottle of valor is when the shift happened (about 3 months). I was walking down the stairs one morning and my body had a shift. I felt my hips drop in to place and I felt every disc in my back line up. A huge weight was lifted that morning and I have felt more centered ever since.

You can send questions to the people above or read other people’s testimonies here

If you have any further questions regarding Valor™, we’ll certainly try and answer them for you. Just drop us an email. If you’d like to order some Valor™, just click here, then click on Join Now and select Retail Customer. You will then be asked to fill in a once off membership form, before putting in your order.

Till next time
Cheers
Anthony

Disclaimer: Please remember that anything discussed here does not constitute medical advice and cannot substitute for appropriate medical care. Where essential oils are mentioned, it’s recommended you use only pure, unadulterated therapeutic grade essential oils and follow the safety directions of the manufacturer.

[1] Gary Young made this observation when he first developed Valor: “Valor has a very low frequency of 47 Hz, which works with the skeletal frequency of the bones. The bones have an electrical frequency of 45 Hz. These frequencies together allow the muscles and tendons to relax and the bones and vertebrae to move and self-correct the skeletal alignment.” Young, D Gary ND. Aromatherapy: the Essential Beginning, Essential Press Publishing, 1996

Travelling in India with essential oils

 I was asked just recently what essential oils and essential oil products I took with us to our trip to India last year. So this post is bit of a run-down on what we took and why.
Bear in mind we didn’t need to use all these things.

Food and snacks:

  • Balance complete
  • Ningxia red sachets
  • Wolfberry crisp bars

Being a little unsure of what to expect with regards to food, we brought some food and snacks with us. As it turned out, we had no problems food wise. However the following things came in handy for breakfasts and snacks when out and about. Balance complete is a delicious meal replacement powder, that is high in fiber, protein, good fats, enzymes, vitamins and minerals. I combined this with Ningxia Red juice, which we brought in small sachets, and local coconut water. Coconut water is a nutritious beverage in its own right (see my post The benefits of coconut water). The wolfberry crisp bars came in handy on the long drives we occasionally had travelling through India.

Read the rest of this entry

At the Young Living convention in Brisbane, last year (Oct 13-15th 2011), I attended the lectures of Dr Peter Minke.
Dr Peter Minke, a survivor of cancer, is a prominent advocate of healthy lifestyles and an avid user of therapeutic grade essential oils. Married with four children, Dr Minke explained why essential oils should form an integral part of every family’s first aid.
For Peter Minke, therapeutic grade essential oils fulfill all the requirements for a first aid tool. These are that they should be:
  • safe
  • easily available
  • easy to carry
  • easy to apply
  • easy to regulate the amount used
  • durable with long shelf life
  • fast acting
He outlined 6 key principles in the use of therapeutic grade essential oils as first aid tools for the family.
Principle 1: Expect therapeutic results from therapeutic grade essential oils. 
Dr Minke says don’t waste your time (and risk your health) with recreational fragrances. Only therapeutic grade essential oils will give you therapeutic effects. There are thousands of peer reviewed studies and journal articles documenting the effects of therapeutic grade essential oils. There are some things to consider regarding the safe use of essential oils:
  • Essential oils and water don’t mix. If you find that an oil is too hot on the skin, don’t use water. If it burns put vegetable oil on it first. This will draw up the essential oil. Then you can use soap and water.
  • Babies and menthol don’t mix. Don’t use peppermint or wintergreen with children under 3. One in 10,000 are sensitive to menthol. It can anesthetise the respiratory system.
  • Some oils are photo-sensitive (mostly citrus), so don’t put them on skin that will be exposed to the sun.
  • In first aid speed matters. With bumps and burns each passing moment allows for more swelling, inflammation and tissue damage. Likewise with bleeding, stings and bites, panic and extreme stress – work quickly.
Principle 2: Use what you have.
Some examples:
When Dr Minke’s 4 year old child had a fall and bumped his forehead – he used the blend Valor*
Another example was where he got 15 ant bites on his foot and it swelled up – he put the blend Purification* on it quickly.
Or if he got overheated out in the sun – Peppermint oil on his ear.
His wife became anxious during labor – she inhaled Lavender oil and it brought her blood pressure down.
A nose bleed on his son – he put Cypress oil on his arm.
If you see the kids are starting to get sick, start giving them Thieves* oil blend or Immupower* blend.
For babies some oils are harsh. Oils such as LemonMyrtle and Frankincense are gentle. Dilute them with V6 if there is any sensitivity.
Principle 3: Be a super sleuth
  • Watch for signs of change – better or worse
  • Expect immediate results.
  • Change the programme if it’s not working.
  • And bring the oils with you when you’re waiting in or on your way to the emergency room.
Early intervention is best.
Principle 4: Body Weight Equivalent
Use less on a baby. 1 drop on a 10 lb baby is like 20 drops on a 200 lb adult (2.2 lb to the kilogram).
Dr Minke’s favourite oils for infants include: Valor*LemonMyrtleLavender and Frankincense.
Diaper bag essentials: Valor*CypressPurification* and Thieves
Home essentials: FrankincenseLavenderLemonPeppermintMyrtleImmupower* and Deep Relief* roll-on.
Principle 5: Frequency, Intensity and Duration
How much oil to use? Enough oil often enough for long enough to make a difference. Watch for signs of improvement or change.
Dr Minke uses about 1-3 drops of oil for a small child (0-5 years of age)
Principle 6: Be prepared.
Last but not least, you can’t use oils if you don’t have any oils.
Till Next time
Cheers
Anthony
(* Blends: Deep Relief roll-on (made of Peppermint, Wintergreen, Copaiba and Palo Santo essential oils); Immupower (made up of  Hyssop, mountain savory, cistus, ravensara, frankincense, oregano, clove, cumin and idaho tansy essential oils); Purification (made up of Citronella, lemongrass, rosemary, Melaleuca, lavandin and myrtle); and Valor (made up of spruce, rosewood, blue tansy and frankincense in a base of almond oil).
About Dr Peter Minke:

Peter Minke received his Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular and Cell Biology from Texas A&M University in 1992, graduating Magna Cum Laude with University Honors. Dr. Minke went on to complete a Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in Biology in 1998.

Dr. Minke currently works as a bodywork and movement specialist as a certified Aston-Patterning® Practitioner and Licensed Massage Therapist. Peter has over 15 years of clinical experience in private practice, over 1100 hours of hands on training in advanced movement and bodywork, and has helped hundreds of people achieve better body movement patterns for improved quality of life and athletic performance. Peter’s background as a cancer survivor and wellness enthusiast has led him to advocate for health conscious lifestyle choices. Dr. Minke is an international trainer and speaker on numerous wellness topics including plant-based diet, non-toxic lifestyle, stress management, therapeutic use of essential oils, and cleansing.

Having lived overseas for eight of his first sixteen years, Peter’s experiences growing up have provided a view of the world as a global community. His family returned to the United States in 1985 to Houston, Texas. Peter now considers Bryan, Texas his home where he lives with his wife Amy and their four boys. Peter and Amy enjoy homeschooling and are dedicated to providing an at-home learning environment for their children. His two websites are:

Disclaimer: Please remember that anything discussed here does not
constitute medical advice and cannot substitute for appropriate medical care. Where essential oils are mentioned, it’s recommended you use only pure, unadulterated therapeutic grade essential oils and follow the safety directions of the manufacturer

Interview on Beyond The Heart

Hi Folks, this is an interview I recently gave (October 8th 2011) for the web radio programme – Beyond the Heart- hosted by Jenetta Haim. I talk about how I got into essential oils as well as how and why essential oils work. Check it out at :

Beyond the Heart with Jenetta Haim Aromatherapy 10/08 by The Difference | Blog Talk Radio

Cheers

Anthony

Essential oils for pregnancy

Essential oils can be valuable to women going through pregnancy. Stretch marks, skin elasticity, tearing of skin during childbirth, stress and anxiety – these are things that essential oils can help with.

To improve skin elasticity and reduce stretch marks -

Lavender and Myrrh can assist here. Also the oil Geranium and the oil blend Gentle Baby. Gentle Baby is a Young Living blend containing Rosewood, Lemon, Lavender, Jasmine, Roman Chamomile, Bergamot, Ylang Ylang, Palmarosa, Rose and Geranium. Essential oil blends are very potent. Somehow mixing these oils together creates something greater than the sum of its parts.

To use: Dilute 1 part essential oil with 1 part vegetable oil (can be almond oil, grape seed oil, olive oil or fractionated coconut oil) Massage over the abdomen during the entire pregnancy to prevent scarring and on the perineum (tissue between vagina and rectum) to help it stretch during childbirth. It can also be massaged over the back, neck and feet area or diffused into the environment to relieve anxiety and engender serenity (Avoid applying on bare skin, if you intend going outdoors because a number of the oils are sensitive to the sun).

For relief of anxiety -

A number of oils diffused, inhaled or massaged can relieve stress and anxiety. Gentle Baby I’ve already mentioned. Others include Joy and Valor.   Joy is a YL oil blend containing Rose, Bergamot, Mandarin, Ylang Ylang, Lemon, Geranium, Jasmine, Palmarosa, Roman Chamomile and Rosewood. Again, avoid applying to bare skin, if you are going to be exposed to sunlight. Valor contains Rosewood, Blue Tansy, Frankincense and Spruce. Many of these oils were used by the ancient Romans to instil courage and self-confidence before battle; not that you’re going to go off to war or anything like that, although I suspect some of my fellow women may certainly associate childbirth with battle. :-)  Valor will help reduce some of the stress before and after childbirth.

Essential Oils to avoid during pregnancy -

A number of essential oils mimic the hormones in our bodies and as such can disrupt normal pregnancy development. These should be avoided, while you’re pregnant. These include : Basil, Calamus, Clary Sage, Fennel, Hyssop, Nutmeg, Rosemary, Sage, Tansy, and Tarragon.

On a similar note, we only ever recommend the use of pure, unadulterated and therapeutic grade essential oils (See our article from March this year). Anything less and you risk doing yourself and your baby serious harm. If you want to use oils that are therapeutic grade in quality or would like more information on the oils mentioned in this article , please contact us.

My best wishes to all mums-to be out there,

Gavina

Disclaimer: Please remember that anything discussed here does not
constitute medical advice and cannot substitute for appropriate medical care. Where essential oils are mentioned, it’s recommended you use only pure, unadulterated therapeutic grade essential oils and follow the safety directions of the manufacturer.

Many of you may know someone, perhaps close to you, who is afflicted by anxiety, worry and panic attacks. Perhaps that person may even be you, or was in the past. Someone I know with this issue, inspired me to look into the matter; hence this article (I shall continue with the subject of essential oils for skin care at a later date – Anthony).

The Oxford dictionary defines someone who is anxious as being “troubled and uneasy in mind”. I am no psychologist, but I see anxiety as an acute form of stress; so bad you can’t sleep at night, you feel depressed and can’t seem to feel a sense of joy in life. I don’t know about you, but emotional pain can be as debilitating if not more so than pain of the physical variety.

And sure if you go to your doctor he or she will prescribe the usual cocktail of drugs to somehow allow you to continue with your life. But often these come with their own bevy of side effects. If you want to avoid the synthetics, the pharmaceuticals, then essential oils are a great alternative. They have the capacity to enter the blood stream very quickly, repair DNA, penetrate the blood-brain barrier and in so doing bring much needed oxygen into the brain. The hows and whys of why essential oils can benefit us emotionally, I’ll leave for another time.  So what are the oils that will help someone suffering from anxiety, worry and panic attacks? Read the rest of this entry

What essential oils do I take to work?

For a long time I’ve been in the habit of carrying a small case of essential oils, in my briefcase, going to work each day. While the contents have varied somewhat over time, there are a number oils I like to have on hand.

Peppermint. Peppermint is, if not one of my favourite essential oils, then certainly the most used.  For me it’s come in handy for two reasons. If I’ve gone out to lunch with friends and perhaps have eaten a little too much or the wrong combination of foods and developed a tummy ache, this is the oil for me. I’ll rub 2-3 drops on my stomach area and within less than a minute, I get relief. The other alternative is to put the drops in some water and drink it.

The other way it’s handy is as a relief for headaches, particularly those that might be caused by back ache or tension. I’ll rub it on the back of the neck and again it provides me with relief. You just have to be careful that you don’t get it in your eyes, so I suggest washing your hands very well after using it.

Lavender. This is also a good one for headaches, particularly those that are cold related. The incidence of headaches for me is pretty low, so I haven’t used this one as much. I simply apply 2-3 drops on the temple and forehead.

Purification. This one is a Young Living blend (and all the oils I’ve mentioned up to now are YL – refer to my About page for the Whys) that consists of Citronella, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Melaleuca, Lavandin and Myrtle.  Incidentally, in a series of recent lab tests at Weber State University in Utah, Lemongrass was found to be the most effective essential oil against the MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) bug. (1)

Purification is a good oil to have around in the event of cuts, scrapes and insect bites. In this case I apply it directly to the wound, again 2-3 drops depending on the wound. It’s also useful in cleaning the air. So here, a person could either use it in a diffuser or put it on cotton balls and leave these in desks, drawers, rubbish tins or vents.

Thieves Waterless Hand Purifier. I could write a whole article just on the essential oil blend – Thieves – that is the main ingredient in this product (watch this space in the near future). I would regard Thieves as one of the most powerful oils in my arsenal. Thieves is made up of the oils of Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus Radiata and Rosemary. Thieves has powerful anti-fungal, anti-microbial and anti-viral properties. Working on the desk of a busy public library, handling hundreds of books and items each day, this waterless hand purifier comes in very handy. We unfortunately get back some pretty grotty books. No need to rush off to the bathroom sink each time. Just a drop or two of the Thieves hand purifier in the hands, rub them well and I’ve diminished significantly the possibility of infection as well as having my hands smell great.

Valor Essential oil roll-on. I work in an environment that’s not well air conditioned, so I can get pretty hot and perspired after shifting books or working with computer cabling. And I don’t have the luxury of going for a shower whenever I want. This is where the Valor roll-on comes in handy. Valor is an essential oil blend made up of the essential oils Spruce, Rosewood, Blue Tansy and Frankincense. It smells great!

I can either rub a little on my wrists, neck and collarbone, or as I’ve done a number of times, I rub a little on my hands and then rub my hands in the armpit area. There’s a lot more that can be said about Valor and I will come back to it in future. What I’ll say for now is that it’s a very potent oil blend that serves as more than just an aftershave or deodorant. Having said that, it makes a fabulously safe alternative to a lot of the ‘products’ people put on their bodies as deodorants, colognes and perfumes, but which is loaded with chemicals and what-not. Till next time.

Cheers,

Anthony

Disclaimer: Please remember that anything discussed here does not
constitute medical advice and cannot substitute for appropriate medical care. Where essential oils are mentioned, it’s recommended you use only pure, unadulterated therapeutic grade essential oils and follow the safety directions of the manufacturer.

(1) The scientific data was published in an article entitled, Inhibition of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) by Essential Oils in the Flavour and Fragrance Journal, 23:444-449, (2008).