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Sore Throats, Essential Oil & Salt Therapy

Where do I begin?  Let me start with my diagnosis – viral pharyngitis – aka Sore Throat.

Remember, as a kid, when you got a sore throat, you took a few days off from school and hung out on the couch, binge watching Looney Tunes all day? That always seemed to do the trick, but for some reason, adults are NOT ALLOWED, or too busy, to follow this simple natural therapy!  Instead I drag myself to the local stat clinic, pay a hefty co-pay and wait a hefty amount of time to have someone look down my throat and say ‘aaah.’

A ‘quick strep’ test later (which came back negative), and the lovely PA skips in to tell me the news – and offers me a steroid shot to help with the discomfort.  I politely say no thanks, and she looks puzzled – like I’m rejecting her treatment.  She rolls her eyes and shrugs me off, leaving the room and mumbling something about checking out at the front desk.

So I get it – the compulsion that modern medicine has to prescribe a treatment, and the confusion it creates when a patient rejects the treatment.  So what did I do?  I used Mother Nature’s remedies of course!

100% Pure Essential Oil Therapy

I returned home and grabbed my Young Living essential oils.  I rubbed Thieves on the soles of my feet, twice daily (upon waking and sleeping), and alternated rubbing Thieves and RC on my throat every four hours.  I gargled twice daily with warm filtered water, thieves, and himalayan sea salt……

And while I’m on it, let’s talk about sea salt…..I had no idea what an unbelievable, curative treatment this would prove to be!  Dry salt therapy is very beneficial for overall general wellness as it assists in removing toxicity from the respiratory system. And that’s not all…..let me try and break it down.

100% Natural Salt Therapy

I visited one of my new favorite local places just a short distance from my home for a little salt TLC-  Island Salt & Spa.  First let me say how WONDERFUL the women are who own and work there.  They are so inviting and engaging from the moment you enter this charming space – you know you’re in for a treat!  The aesthetic of the place is equally fantastic – from the exposed brick walls, soft lighting, delightful diffusing, and soft background music.  It really should be called Salt Heaven!

Salt Therapy is a 100% natural alternative to support a number of respiratory, lung and skin conditions, and can benefit people of all ages – ranging from infants to adults.  According to what has been written about the myriad of benefits, salt therapy can provide relief from numerous conditions including (but not limited to):

Allergies, Asthma, Bronchitis, Cold & Flu, COPD, Cystic Fibrosis, Ear Infections, Emphysema, Pneumonia, Rhinitis, Sinusitis, Snoring, Stress, Fatigue….

And one of the best aspects of this therapy is that there are no known adverse side effects.  Reported benefits extend well beyond a particular ailment.  Due to the numerous pollens, toxins, airborne irritants, pollution, airborne diseases, etc., Salt Therapy can help us combat numerous ailments and support wellness by helping our body combat and remove the toxicity from our respiratory system!

Halotherapy is an excellent way to cleanse and detox the lungs as well as invigorate the entire body with increased lung capacity and oxygen intake. Sea salt’s additional benefits include a reduction in fluid retention, an ability to calm the central nervous system, elevate our moods, and slow the skin aging process. Island Salt and Spa in Long Island can introduce you to the benefits of a therapeutic salt therapy. Book online now or call 631.573.6113 to speak with one of our representatives.

So this is how it works.  Negatively charged ions, have a positive effect on your health and well being (love your salt lamps right?).  They elevate your mood and energy levels, while simultaneously removing airborne bacteria, viruses, dust, mold and other allergens!  These negative ions have the capacity to attach to these airborne irritants, removing them from the air by negatively charging them – no chemical sprays required!  The process makes them so heavy that they can no longer remain in the air for you to breathe in.  And the dry salt that surrounds you creates an environment that is hostile to the growth of germs and other microbes.  It’s antiseptic and tranquil at the same time!

Let me elaborate further on my actual salt therapy experience – the one that cleared up my pharyngitis/tonsilitis/sore throat with the help of essential oils and WITHOUT unnecessary antibiotics or steroids!

I don’t know about you, but isn’t this room absolutely breathtaking???  I entered a room made almost entirely of salt, and an immediate sense of calming relaxation took hold.  The melodious drift of the soft music, the delicate crunch of the loose Himalayan salt floor, the placating comfort of the zero gravity chairs (replete with a blanket if you’d like), the distinct taste of salt in the air – all encouraged peace, quiet and tranquility.  It also coached the cough and soreness in my throat right out of me!  My almost 30 minute session was both relaxing and therapeutic.  But don’t wear all black as I often do (it’s slimming!) because I exited with a deliciously fine coating of therapeutic salt.  My whole body thanked me!

When I returned to the reception area feeling more relaxed, revived and healthful than when I entered, I was encouraged to drink lots and lots of water—this is a highly detoxifying process and water aids the body in the elimination of its toxins.And rest assured – the salty environment encourages the body’s release of pathogens, but creates an equally hostile environment for them too, so the worry of spreading germs should not be a worry at all.

Happy Healing everyone!

Featured post

ESSENTIAL OILS — WHAT’S ALL THE HYPE ABOUT?

WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL OILS?

Volatile liquids and aromatic compounds that are distilled or pressed from plants! Essential oils may be sourced from the seeds, roots, flowers and leaves of plants, as well as from an entire shrub or resin from a tree, and are far more potent than the botanicals from which they are derived.  Through careful steam distillation, hydro-distillation or cold pressing, the phytochemicals in the plants are amplified in the resulting oil. Each may contain hundreds of molecular compounds – phytochemicals – that are known to have protective or disease preventive properties. Plants produce these chemicals to protect themselves but recent research demonstrates that they can also protect and support all the systems in our own bodies.

The phytochemicals present in essential oils can have profound effects on the human body. Synthetic or inorganic substances do not contain any life force. By comparison, the organic compounds in essential oils are recognized by the human body and are known to have powerful antioxidant, anti-microbial, enzymatic, hormonal and emotional supportive effects.  They can also be vital in supporting a healthy neurological and immune system too. 

Plants not only play a vital role in the ecological balance of our planet, but they have also been linked to the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of mankind for thousands of years. Records dating back 4500 years document the use of plant substances with aromatic properties used in rituals, beauty care, food preparation and medicinal practices. Timeless traditions have supported the use of plants as man’s first medicines and are considered the root of today’s pharmaceuticals.  And they’re making a modern comeback!

WHY SHOULD WE CARE?

In a word? TOXINS. Harmful synthetic chemical compounds.  The kinds that are known to cause chronic illnesses, developmental delays, reproductive abnormalities, neurological disorders (the list goes on), and yes- even cancer.

Synthetic chemicals are abundant because they are easy to produce and cheap to make.  Science has led to so many important discoveries and life-altering gifts to humanity, but it has also increased our chemical burden. And we are sicker for it. Less than 100 years ago, man-made synthetic chemicals were used far more sparingly than they are today. Over 80,000 man-made chemicals are known to be in use in our modern world. The EPA has tallied over 10,000 of these ingredients lurking in our cosmetics, food and consumer products. Yet, only 200 of these chemicals have been tested by the FDA for safety, and companies are under no legal or regulatory obligation to assess how these chemicals may harm our health. Out of the 200 chemicals tested, only five have been regulated and the last time our federal chemical safety law was updated? 1976 (Natural Resources Defense Council). We are behind the times.

Just because we can reach for a product on the shelves of our favorite corner pharmacy or home goods retailer, does not make it safe. Just ask the European Union. Now 28 countries strong, the EU has more stringent and protective laws for cosmetics than the US. Since 2013 a law banning 1,328 chemicals from cosmetics that are known or suspected to cause cancer, genetic mutation, reproductive harm or birth defects went into effect in the EU.  In contrast, the U.S. FDA has only banned or restricted 11 chemicals from cosmetics. Unlike the United States, EU law requires pre-market safety assessments of cosmetics, mandatory registration of cosmetic products, government authorization for the use of nanomaterials and prohibits animal testing for cosmetic purposes. Not so in our country.

HOW CAN ESSENTIAL OILS HELP REDUCE OUR CHEMICAL BURDEN?

Essential oils are Mother Nature’s alternative to using harsh synthetic and toxic chemicals.  They also have the added benefit and potential for therapeutically supporting every system of our body and restoring balance.  It’s widely accepted that plants can heal the body, and that a plant-based diet can lead to better health.  The very oils that are responsible for healing and promoting longevity for the plant can also have an extraordinary impact on our own health as well. 

The average American home contains over 63 hazardous products.  The items in our personal care and household cleaning products contain hidden toxins and harmful by-products. As such, we are exposed to an estimated 400+ synthetic chemicals each day! Our indoor air quality is estimated to be 7 times more polluted than the outdoor air. And the average American woman applies 300 chemicals to her body a day – 80 of them before breakfast! If you’re curious, you can find out more here: www.davidsuzuki.org and here EPA’s Toxic Chemical List.

A national study on chemical exposure called, “Is It In Us?” revealed that phthalates, BPA and PBDEs were found in blood samples from every person who took part in the study. The CDC also monitors the effect of environmental chemicals which is available in depth here: http://www.cdc.gov/exposurereport.

So it’s not just what we eat that influences our health, but also what we put onto our skin and what we inhale that can make a difference.  And that’s where essential oils can play a key supporting role. Becoming aware is the first step in knowing more.  And when we know more, we can do better!   

The purity of an essential oil determines its safety and potency*, and its potency is affected by preserving the delicate constituents in the plant. These constituents can be affected by a vast number of variables, including the part(s) of the plant used, soil conditions, fertilizers used, geographical region, climate, altitude, harvesting methods and distillation processes.  Like a fine wine, the purity and therefore potency of essential oils are in the hands of the maker!

Here is an example of the importance of precise timing during distillation. Cypress has 280 known chemical constituents that must all be present to have its full therapeutic benefits. Distilling for 24 hours will yield that result. But distilling for 20 hours yields only 20 constituents, and fewer hours yields no therapeutic benefit whatsoever. Unfortunately, time is money, and most Cypress available in the US is distilled for fewer than four hours. 

*A brief note on the importance of sourcing quality essential oils.  Like the food we eat, how plants are seeded (non-GMO), cultivated (pesticide free), harvested (without solvents, child labor, harmful farming practices, etc.) distilled (proper temperatures/pressures, first distillation), and bottled (no additives, fragrances or fillers) are important factors to consider when choosing your essential oils.  Please do your research and ask questions.

HOW ARE ESSENTIAL OILS USED?

Aromatically. Topically. Internally. Together, these three approaches highlight the versatility and power of essential oils.  An integrated approach can offer tremendous benefits.

When we use essential oils aromatically, that means we are inhaling them to receive their benefits.  Inhaling oils from their bottles, our palms, aromatherapy jewelry, ultrasonic diffusers and homemade spritzers and perfumes are quick and easy ways to use essential oils. Within seconds the phytochemicals have crossed the blood-brain barrier.  Within 20 seconds they are traveling in our blood stream.  And within 20 minutes they have made a complete trip around the body.

Traveling the olfactory pathways, the aromatic compounds in essential oils reach the limbic region of our brains within seconds. The limbic system is responsible for such things as heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance, just to name only a few. 

It’s also our emotional control center.  Anxiety, depression, fear, anger, joy (etc.) all emanate from this region.  And if that wasn’t enough, the limbic region also houses the hypothalamus, one of the most important areas of the brain responsible for things like body temperature, hunger, thirst, fatigue, sleep, circadian cycles and hormone release.  Aromatically, essential oils can have a profound physiological and psychological effect, and using them can open up pathways to improved health and wellness.

When we use essential oils topically, it means that we are using our body’s largest organ – our skin- as a transport mechanism.  Proper dilution with a suitable carrier oil – or fatty oil – allows the body to equalize the absorption rate of the oil.  It also protects our skin as the highly concentrated oils get to work.  Carrier oils are fatty oils that many of us already have in our pantries – coconut oil, avocado oil, grape seed oil, cocoa butter, shea butter, olive oil, etc! Other carriers include witch hazel and vodka which are most often reserved for sprays and perfumes.  Some high quality, pure and absolute essential oils can also be used “neat” – without the aid of carrier oils to maximize their therapeutic benefits. Dilution charts are widely available for reference.

Recipes for homemade body butters, shower gels, shampoos, room sprays, perfumes, lotions and other essential oil infused products are becoming widely available.  Making our own essential-oil infused products not only allows us to ditch harmful toxins, but it also provides great therapeutic benefits.  Gathering with family and friends for some apothecary in the kitchen can also create a foundation for awareness, education and better health, and more intimate relationships with those we care about!

High quality, absolutely pure essential oils can also be taken internally. Essential oils can be dropped on the tongue and taken sublingually.  They can be dropped in our teas and beverages.  They can be added to veggie capsules and taken like a traditional dietary supplement.  They can also be used in the kitchen to season our favorite recipes. Check your high-quality essential oils and select those that are GRAS – generally regarded as safe- when using them internally.  This is a convenient marker used by the FDA that indicates the essential oil has a well documented history of safe use.  It also serves to assist the oily enthusiast in selecting which oils to use as flavor enhancers and dietary supplements. 

If you’re just starting out using essential oils, consult your essential oil labels for dilution help and consider the guidance of your health care practitioner if you are taking medications, pregnant/nursing or otherwise under care.

HOW DO I KNOW IF ESSENTIAL OILS ARE RIGHT FOR ME AND MY FAMILY?

We don’t know what we don’t know.  So if you’re curious about them, try them.  See how your body responds.  Follow the labeling directions.  Ask an experienced Aromatherapist, Naturopathic Doctor, Healer, Wellness Coach, or friend for help.  Start by gradually eliminating harmful products from your kitchen and bathroom.  Make a list of the things that concern you most, and prioritize what you’d like to switch out for a healthier version.  Collect recipes on your Pinterest board that you can make with your family and friends. Do a little apothecary in the kitchen.  Return to homemade gift giving and start making those bath fizzles, rollerball perfumes, immune support rollers, healing salves and more!  Just do it!    

If you are interested in learning how your favorite personal care and household cleaning products measure up in terms of their toxic load, there are two helpful apps HealthyLiving, and Think Dirty.  These can be particularly useful when identifying, prioritizing and replacing the harmful toxic products lurking in your home and cabinets.  

If you are interested in learning how to create a healing home and support a toxin free lifestyle with the help of essential oils, you can contact Maggie at 917-301-1734.  Maggie is a student of aromatherapy and Certified Life Coach with an MBA in Finance and Entrepreneur Management.  As a former Wall Street exec and corporate castoff, Maggie is on a mission to help people and families live better with less toxins, by educating, coaching and empowering them to be the best versions of themselves. 

DIY: Fizzy Bath Eggs (Super Kid Friendly)

beeskneesEssential Oils are so easy to incorporate in so many things we use in our lives.  I wanted to share an easy recipe that you can whip up in your kitchen.  It’s especially fun to do with friends and kids, and this mixture can be stuffed into any type of mold you like.  I used this particular recipe at a workshop I hosted with 20 kids (ages 6-10), and we used those easter eggs they sell at the local dollar store.  You can use other molds too, like the silicon trays that come in all sorts of fun shapes, as these little bath fizzies make great gifts too!!!!

Not only are you using 100% natural ingredients, but you are creating a DIY project that your children and friends can enjoy too – AND you are saving money.  Bath bombs are usually filled with other ingredients like ‘fragrances’ and are more expensive than this little concoction to make.

To make approximately one dozen fizzy egg bath treats you’ll need:

INGREDIENTS:

1 ¾ CUPS BAKING SODA

1 CUP CITRIC ACID (in addition you can add 1 cup epsom salts for a therapeutic bath, but we omitted here as the epsom package doesn’t recommend using for children <6 years as it can act as a laxative – probably from ingesting the bath water!)

2 CUPS CORN STARCH

NATURAL FOOD COLORING/JUICES (made from beets, turmeric, grapes, etc.)

YOUR FAVORITE DROPS OF ESSENTIAL OIL (Lavender, Orange) – and of course I trust nothing other than Young Living essential oils! Click here to see Why Young Living?

OTHER MATERIALS NEEDED:

PLASTIC EASTER EGG CONTAINERS

GLASS BOWL FOR MIXING DRY INGREDIENTS

SPRAY BOTTLE

DIRECTIONS:

  1. MIX DRY INGREDIENTS TOGETHER IN GLASS BOWL
  2. ADD COLORING TO SPRAY BOTTLE (FEW DROPS), FILL WITH WATER
  3. DROP 15-25 DROPS OF YOUR FAVORITE ESSENTIAL OIL INTO DRY MIXTURE – STIR TO INCORPORATE
  4. SLOWLY SPRAY DRY MIXTURE WITH WATER/COLOR, GO SLOW AS YOU ARE TRYING TO AVOID THE VOLCANIC EXPLOSION! KEEP STIRRING UNTIL THE ‘REACTION’ SUBSIDES
  5. CONTINUE TO STIR MIXTURE, SLOWLING SPRAYING TO MINIMIZE/AVOID REACTION UNTIL CONSISTENCY IS LIKE WET STAND (LIKE THAT KINETIC SAND STUFF!)
  6. PACK EACH SIDE OF YOUR EGG (SOMETIMES IT HELPS TO OIL THE INSIDE OF THE EGG FOR EASIER REMOVAL – OPTIONAL)
  7. ADD A LITTLE EXTRA IN THE CENTER TO HELP JOIN THE TWO HALVES
  8. PUT HALVES OF EGGS TOGETHER AND LET DRY OVERNIGHT

bath bomb on a scarf

There is a lot of science here, but art too.  It takes a bit of practice and patience to get the consistency just so.  When you over water the mixture it will continue to expand…..so keep some extra dry mixture on hand to add to the batch to calm it down!

Remember that this mixture can be added to silicon trays and other molds.  You can also place in your freezer for 12 hours to rush the drying process along.

You can extract your beautiful fizzies and store them in an air tight container – I usually use a mason jar and keep it in the bathroom for bath time!  As they also make great gifts, you can place them in mini mason jars, or even an egg container, print out your own fun labels, and give with love!

From my heart to your household, with love!

DIY Natural Perfume

april_3I used to shop at the large cosmetic stores, and their discount counterparts.  I was always amazed, and dismayed, at the endless selection of perfumes – and their prices.  One particular favorite of mine was sooooo expensive, that I used it so sparingly and asked for it only on the most special occasions.  What’s the point of that?

Fast-forward….I am older, ahem, I mean wiser, and in discovering the world of essential oils, I stumbled upon some amazing applications.  Now, as far as perfume goes, I prefer to eliminate chemicals from my fragrances, smell FABULOUS (not just sparingly or on special occasions), and not break the bank.  And that’s possible with the world’s best essential oils on hand!

This recipe is ridiculously quick, cheap, and easy.  And it allows you the freedom to blend whatever scents your heart (or your Sig-Os) desires!  In this particular recipe, you only need (3) ingredients and a few minutes (literally) of your time!

INGREDIENTS:

3 1/2 tablespoons of natural beeswax
5 tablespoons of organic coconut oil
30 drops (any combination YOU like) of essential oil (I like Stress Away & Lavender)

Here’s a quick video that lays it all out for you if you’re a more visual person.  But it’s super simple.  In a double-boiler, melt the beeswax.  Once melted, add the coconut oil.  Once combined, remove from heat and let cool for a minute.  Stir in drops of your favorite essential oil(s).  Pour into container(s) of your choice.  There you have it!

This is a great way to carry your favorite scents.  I’ll also let you in on a little secret – it makes a great lip balm too!  I love being able to quickly, affordably, and with the help of Mother Nature’s ingredients, make a personal care product that has a few uses.  This also makes a great gift too – especially if poured into a special keepsake for that special person.

Happiness is a Choice

It is true that triumph can evolve from adversity – that life’s greatest lessons and opportunities cadsc_0013n rise from the ashes of tragedy and heartbreak. I know this to be true personally. And if you look for it, you will find evidence to support this.

That’s why happiness is a choice. It does not come easy to all and is often elusive. But I promise, that no matter how dark your hour or how deep your despair, you can rise above it. You can transcend it. BELIEVE.  Just ask a butterfly.

To overcome adversity is a choice you decide to make and you have been given everything you need to succeed- it is not something you find in a flash sale, it’s not pinned on Pinterest, you can’t like it or share it, or buy it on Amazon – it was granted to you at your very birth- sewn into your very soul. And you can harvest it. 
💕

After unsuccessful marriages (fueled by alcohol abuse and infidelity), a less-than-full life spent climbing the ladder in Corporate America, numerous fertility challenges (a baby post 40?), caring for a terminally-ill parent (cancer sucks), displacement and PTSD from 9/11, recovering from SuperStorm Sandy (see what I mean?)….I found TRUE HAPPINESS.  But it required patience (that took time, faith (I questioned it often), self-development and introspection (the truth hurts) – all of which led me to the love of my life!

So please know that anything is possible.  THOUGHTS BECOME THINGS. So make sure you redirect your thinking when you’re being hard on yourself.  You can be your own worst enemy or your biggest supporter.  You get to decide.

I have learned the importance of my difficult life’s lessons.  I’ve learned to take the time to be mission-driven, mindful, kind, authentic and purposeful. And I’m always happy to reach out to someone who needs some support!

DIY Essential Oil Recipe: Cold/Flu Salve

The recipe for this salve is best suited for those age five years and older.

Today’s Essential Oil (EO) tincture is for respiratory support. If you are looking to combat this season’s cold and flu season, this quick little mixture can do the trick.  It can help loosen congestion, sooth a cough, and encourage a restful state.

Recipe:

1/4 cup organic oil (jojoba, sesame, coconut)
1/4 ounce organic beeswax
Thieves (15 drops), Lavender (10 drops), Peppermint (5 drops)

Melt beeswax in double-boiler or using mason jar set in boiling water
Once melted, add your choice of oil
Once fully melted and combined, remove from heat

Mix oils together and pour into glass or metal container
Carefully pour melted mixture into tin
Let cool and set

Application Suggestions:

Apply a small amount of salve to chest, neck and back as needed.  Can also be applied to soles of feet at bedtime, covering with socks.

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