Saturday, December 29, 2012

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

November Article

Featured Article

Hospice Pediatrics
By Lisa M. Browder, ICA, CR, RA

I'll be honest -- pediatric care makes me a little nervous. Most of the available literature on pediatrics deals with common childhood issues. Although other hospices are using essential oils effectively for symptom management with their pediatric patients, there is no information-sharing network to allow us to work together, or even to know that others doing similar work exist. So I use the available literature on aromatherapy and childcare and then apply my own sleuthing technique: I quiz the nurses for relevant information on symptoms and their likely causes, determine whether it is an acute issue or an ongoing challenge, sort through essential oils that would be helpful, eliminate the ones I think might be too strong for the child's age and/or disease process, figure out what delivery method would be most effective and vary the dilution rate as necessary. These youngest hospice patients are rarely able to tell me how I am doing, so my assessment of success or failure has a different standard; it relies on nursing reports and visual cues such as a resolving skin issue, an unfurrowed brow, deeper sleep patterns; relief from constipation, or cessation of whimpering or crying.

Our pediatric program manager identified the top five pediatric diagnoses as holoprosencephaly, neurodegenerative disorders, severe cerebral palsy, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and chromosomal anomalies. Even pronouncing them is a challenge; they just sound scary. However, I have learned these formidable-sounding diagnoses have some common treatable symptoms, like constipation, irritability, skin issues and muscular aches.

With holoprosencephaly, the lobes of the brain have failed to develop. These little ones suffer from mobility issues, seizures, visual and hearing disturbances, irritability, agitation and contractures. Our program manager says holoproscencephaly babies appear to be born more often to diabetic mothers. These babies do extremely well with specially-blended crèmes for muscular aches and pains and agitation; each applied topically by our massage therapist. Additionally, in the acute-care units we diffuse lavender (Lavandula augustifolia) at bedside.

Neurodegenerative disorders are particularly thorny and there are enough of them that many do not even have names. These children are normal at birth but somewhere between 5 and 10 years old begin to "reverse," a condition distinguished by sudden tripping, falling and/or balance issues. They go on to develop spasticity and contractures. Many of these are older pediatric patients, so they may take a lot of pharmaceutical medications which can cause serious constipation. My formula to relieve this includes lavender, rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis ct verbenone), ginger (Zingiber officinale), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) and black pepper (Piper nigrum).

Some of these children do well with a combination of essential oils and massage. Others will not tolerate touch. Since it is unpredictable, we usually send in the massage therapist with a topical crème to see how the child responds. One of our patients, a 17-year-old, only liked his head touched, so the massage therapist did cranial work with him. Another, a 9-year-old with Batten disease (a fatal, inherited disorder of the nervous system), responded extremely well to both massage and reflexology and particularly loved the aromatherapy blends created for him. He was constantly restless and had frequent seizure activity. When the inhaler stick created for his breathing was held up to his nose, his movements ceased and he would inhale, deeply and audibly. The inhaler contained lavender, eucalyptus radiata, chamomile (Anthemis nobilis), myrtle (Myrtus communis) and peppermint (Mentha x piperita).

Severe cerebral palsy is frequently accompanied by other diagnoses so there may be multiple symptoms to sort out. These children show a loss of mobility and lose the ability to speak. Their muscle control is affected and they often have scoliosis and contractures. They benefit from a combination of massage and essential oils. We use a topical blend of lavender, rosemary, juniper (Juniperus communis), black pepper, fennel and peppermint. These patients may not be able to speak, but the essential oils still affect emotional centers so we frequently see a softening of facial features accompanied by soft sounds that the mothers identify as pleasure reactions.

Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is due to a lack of oxygen to the brain and most commonly occurs during the birth process. The affected part of the brain dies, dissolves and becomes fluid on the brain. Vision and hearing are affected and these babies suffer from contractures and spasticity. We worked with a 27-week-old baby that would only allow our massage therapist (not even his mother) to touch his feet. She used a lavender crème applied topically to help him relax.

Then there are the babies born with chromosomal anomalies such as Trisomy 18 or Trisomy 13. These diseases involve an extra copy of a numbered chromosome rather than the normal two sets and the extra material interferes with normal development. According to the National Institute of Health, these children may have clenched hands, crossed legs, low-set ears, mental retardation and sometimes a cleft lip or palate. They will frequently have clenched fingers and, as our nurse told me, they "usually just require a relaxing environment." They are good candidates for a bedside diffuser and/or hand massage with a lavender crème.

I was recently asked to blend something for one of our patients with an unidentified skin issue. Tiny blister-like raised areas appear, open up, scab over and eventually disappear. The child does not appear uncomfortable and no pattern has emerged to identify a possible source. Even a dermatologist has been unable to identify the issue. I made a .5 percent formulation in grape seed oil (Vitis vinifera) of sweet orange (Citrus sinensis), tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) and Roman chamomile and suggested massaging a small amount into the affected areas after his bath. I chose the tea tree for its antifungal/antibacterial/anti-infectious properties, chamomile for inflammation, and sweet orange primarily for aroma. There has been a marked improvement, with the spots healing rapidly. One of the nurses told me, "It looks like someone vacuumed his skin."

The majority of my blends are between .5-1 percent but I have also used a 2 percent constipation blend and a 3 percent blend for dry/patchy skin. There have been no negative results reported. To the contrary, many of the stronger blends have been the most successful and in the shortest amount of time. So although some of the diagnoses in pediatric hospice sound daunting, my experience has been nothing but positive. These smallest of our patients with their life-limiting illnesses respond exceedingly well (and quickly) to essential oils.

Lisa Browder is a certified reflexologist, Reiki practitioner and Registered Aromatherapist. She is the Complementary Therapies Manager at Nathan Adelson Hospice in Las Vegas. Lisa is a Professional Member of NAHA, and is NAHA Regional Director for Nevada. She is the owner of Scentsibility. Visit her new web-site at: 

To purchase Lisa's NAHA Teleconference Presentation on Hospice and Essential Oils, visit the NAHA website: and click on link to Teleconference recordings.

Note: Articles appearing in the NAHA e-newsletters, e-journals and other published materials fall under the NAHA publishing rights and are published with the author's permission. Copying, reposting or publishing these articles without written permission from NAHA constitues an infridgment of copyright law. You are welcome to post a link to the NAHA Blog which includes past articles.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

October Article

Combating Flus and Blues with Aromatherapy
By Shanti Dechen, RA, CCAP, LMT, CYI

FALL is here! Along with the change of season, for some Fall also brings colds, flus, and emotional stresses. Living a healthy, natural life today can be an overwhelming challenge. Schedules are stretched to the maximum, eating habits are poor and often eating happens on the run, environmental toxins are everywhere, and stress levels are at an all time high. All of these factors can impair our immune system. When the immune system is weak, the body becomes vulnerable, creating an opening for viruses and bacteria to invade. Maintaining a strong healthy immune system is a vital element to achieve and retain good health.

Build up the immune system naturally:
Get adequate rest and sleep
Exercise regularly
Use essential oils daily
Eat healthy foods; eliminate processed foods and increase healthy nutrients
Reduce stress levels
Use appropriate herbal supplements

Essential Oils
Essential oils are natural immune system boosters. Their concentrated chemical components include anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-septic properties and more. Essential oils can reach and absorb into the bloodstream in as little as 20 minutes. This can assist the immune system, cleansing the cells of toxins and enhancing their ability to absorb oxygen and nutrients.

A few essential oils that are terrific immune stimulants: Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica), Everlasting (Helichrysum italicum) and Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium)

Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica)
Family: Lauraceae

Immune System Benefits: Ravensara is a strong antiviral oil and can be used for colds and flu, bronchitis, catarrh, colds, earache, lung infections, pneumonia, rhinitis, sinusitis, throat infections and whooping cough. Ravensara is also effective to reduce joint pain, lymph congestion, fevers, fatigue, muscular aches and pains, and as a nerve tonic.

Precautions: Non-toxic, non-irritant when used in moderation.

Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium)
Family: Myrtaceae

Immune System Benefits: Wide spectrum anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory. Manuka helps keep infections at bay, including colds, flu, fever, and related muscle pain. It is excellent to diffuse as inhalation therapy as an expectorant for congestion in the nasal passages and respiratory infections, and for coughs, sinusitis, and whooping cough. It has disinfectant properties useful against bacteria and infectious diseases.

The Maori people used manuka as an important part of their natural medicine. It is believed that leaves of both manuka and tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) were used by Captain Cook to make a tea drink, thus given the name Tea Tree.

Precautions: Non-toxic, non-irritant when used in moderation.

Everlasting or Immortelle (Helichrysum italicum) aka (Helichrysum angustifolium)
Family: Asteraceae (Compositae)

Immune System Benefits: Strengthens the immune system: antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and relaxes the nerves. The expectorant properties assist to relieve congestion in asthma, bronchitis, chronic cough, colds, catarrh, whooping cough, flu. It also helps with fever and antispasmodic properties help with cough, asthma, aching muscles and spasms.Everlasting is healing for physical and emotional wounds.

Precautions: Non-toxic, non-irritant when used in moderation. The anticoagulant properties of everlasting are contraindicated if one is taking blood-thinning medication. Not recommended for children under 12 or during pregnancy.

Aromatherapy Applications to Strengthen the Immune System:

Diffuser, room spritzer, bath, compress, massage or body oil.

Bath: Mix 5-7 drops of essential oils into 1 tsp. of carrier oil (organic sweet almond, sunflower, sesame or safflower oil) or vegetable glycerin or aloe vera gel, and then add to bath. (Suggested bath blend: 2 drops manuka, 2 drops ravensara and 2 drops everlasting.) Always check essential oil precautions; see link below.

Compress: Mix 3-5 drops of essential oils and 1 tsp. of carrier oil, vegetable glycerin or aloe vera gel and add to water. Soak compress, wring out and apply.

Suggested use for respiratory issues: apply 2 drops of each manuka, ravensara, and everlasting, diluted in 1 tsp. of carrier oil, to the upper back and then apply a warm towel over the area.

Massage Oil or Body Oil (1 oz.): Mix essential oils in a simple choice of carrier oil which can include sweet almond oil, sunflower, safflower or sesame. Use a 2% dilution per 1oz, up to 12 drops total for general use. Use a 1% dilution for children, elders, pregnancy and those with sensitive skin, up to 6 drops total.

Feeling SAD? Seasonal Affective Disorder, also know as winter depression, winter blues, or seasonal depression, is a mood disorder in which people that have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms in the fall or winter. Common symptoms include feeling blue, lethargic, fatigued, unmotivated and depressed. One may also oversleep, gain weight and crave carbohydrates more than usual.

Use natural methods to feel more like yourself again:
Light therapy
Nutritional supplementation
Essential Oils

Upon inhalation, essential oils can affect the limbic system in the brain in as little as 20 seconds. This can assist in becoming more alert, centered and grounded.

Let's look at a few essential oils that are mentally and emotionally uplifting:
Orange (Citrus sinensis), Rose Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) and Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens).

Orange (Citrus sinensis)
Family: Rutaceae

Emotional/Mental Benefits: Can reduce anxiety, stress, nervous exhaustion; boosts self-esteem, confidence, hope and mental strength, and uplifts spirits. The happy oil!

Precautions: May irritate sensitive skin; do not use without diluting first in carrier oil or in the bath. Orange is safe for entire pregnancy but use in moderation at a 1% dilution or less. Use mandarin (Citrus reticulata var. mandarin) instead for children under 6 years of age.

Rose Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
Family: Geraniaceae

Emotional/Mental Benefits: Balancing effect on the nervous system; relieves anxiety and depression, lifts spirits, improves mental clarity.

Precautions: Not for long-term use with history of estrogen dependent cancer (not more than 10 days); not ideal for children under 14; can be used in moderation during the third trimester of pregnancy;

Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)
Family: Cupressaceae

Emotional/Mental Benefits: Strengthens and restores overburdened system, calms nervous tension, alleviates stress related conditions, assists with grounding and wellbeing.

Precautions: Avoid with history of estrogen dependent cancer; avoid during pregnancy.

Essential Oil Applications for Emotional Uplifting

Uses: Inhalation through nasal inhaler, diffusion, room spritzer, bath, massage or body oil.

Tissue or Cotton Ball: Add 2-3 drops of essential oil onto a tissue or cotton ball and inhale.

Nasal Inhaler: Saturate the felt wick with essential oils and load into capsule; inhale as needed.

Room Spritzer (2 oz.): In 1 TBSP of vegetable glycerin, add 10-15 drops of essential oils, shake well and then add water or geranium hydrosol. Try the essential oil formulation of 8 drops orange, 4 drops rose geranium and 6 drops cypress.

Nebulizing Diffuser: Add 15-20 drops of essential oils into glass nebulizer, run for 10-20 minutes to increase immune stimulation. Benefits the respiratory system and uplifts the emotions.

With proper use, aromatherapy can be used to boost the immune system and also uplift the mind and emotions. Aromatherapy is a fantastic therapy to include in a healthy lifestyle.

Shanti Dechen is a Nationally Certified Massage Therapist, Certified Clinical Aromatherapy Practitioner and Instructor, Certified Chi Nei Tsang Practitioner and Instructor, Body Mind Clearing Practitioner, and a Certified Yoga Instructor with over 15,000 hours of training in holistic modalities. Shanti has been a holistic health practitioner since 1979. She specializes in aligning health and balance in daily life by using the modalities of Clinical Aromatherapy, Herbology, Massage, Chi Nei Tsang: Internal Organ Rejuvenation, Reflexology, Nutrition, Bodymind Clearing, Cranio-sacral therapy, Energy Medicine, Qigong and Acupressure.

Shanti's love and enthusiasm for aromatherapy, plant medicine, herbology, and holistic healing lead her to establish Aroma Apothecary Healing Arts Academy in 2002. Shanti and her husband Jampa Stewart, an acupuncturist, tai chi and qi gong instructor, live in a beautiful small mountain community in Crestone, Colorado and teach in many areas around the world. Shanti has been a Professional Member of NAHA and an NCBTMB CE provider for ten years. She joined NAHA to be part of a growing profession in the US and is the NAHA Regional Director for Colorado.

To learn more about Shanti visit her website at

Visit the NAHA website to purchase Shanti's NAHA Teleconference recordings on Five Element Aromatherapy and Subtle Essence Alchemy.

Note: Articles appearing in the NAHA e-newsletters, e-journals and other published materials fall under the NAHA publishing rights and are published with the author's permission. Copying, reposting or publishing these articles without written permission from NAHA constitues an infridgment of copyright law. You are welcome to post a link to the NAHA Blog which includes past articles.

September Article

Aromatherapy Support for ADHD/ADD and Anxiety
By Haly JensenHof, BS, MA, LPC, RA

We know that ADHD/ADD has been diagnosed for decades; however, do we really understand these pervasive diagnoses? We know that ADHD is Attention Deficit with Hyperactive behavior, and that ADD is Attention Deficit on its own, but do we really know the root cause of these disorders? There are many theories circulating about what causes ADHD/ADD such as chemical imbalance, faulty neurological wiring, food allergies, but I propose that a lot of ADHD/ADD is due to severe anxiety. Seldom is ADD diagnosed without the addition of hyperactivity. Therefore, for the purposes of this discussion ADHD will be the diagnosis. During my twenty years as a mental health professional working with children, I observed hundreds of children diagnosed with ADHD, and an equal amount of children diagnosed with an Anxiety Disorder. Many times both diagnoses were given to the same child.

To the casual observer, and to the professional mental health provider, the symptoms of both ADHD and Anxiety Disorders are one and the same. Many of the symptoms observed in ADHD are the same as those found in Anxiety Disorders. These symptoms include: inability to concentrate, being fidgety, difficulty going to sleep or staying asleep, irritability and emotional outbursts, inattentiveness; restlessness, moving from one activity to another without completion of tasks, poor academic performance, and poor interpersonal relationships. Because of these similarities in symptoms many questions arise, such as: Which diagnosis fits best, or do both fit? What should the treatment protocol be? What psychotropic medications should be prescribed, and is that the preferred course of action? It can certainly be very confusing to parents, teachers, and the mental health professional. To further complicate the matter, both ADHD and Anxiety Disorders are typically diagnosed between the ages of six and seven years, both diagnoses must have duration of symptoms for approximately six months, and both have symptom severity fluctuations depending on settings.

I have always held it is easier to diagnose Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder than it is to diagnose an Anxiety disorder. It is easier to ask the parent if the child's behavior falls into the diagnostic profile of ADHD than it is to take a deeper look into the child's environment, social and domestic situations, and internal dialogue. Because ADHD is typically diagnosed at approximately the same time the child is entering school, I believe the picture is clouded even further. For example, a child is being asked to enter into a foreign environment filled with peers and adults he doesn't know and adhere to a new, strict, regimented schedule. He is asked to leave his primary caretakers, the familiarity of his home or daycare setting, his "comfort items," like a favorite stuffed animal, blanket, toys, and his more relaxed, enjoyable daily schedule. Now, if an adult is asked to leave the comfort of his or her home/work setting, diminish daily contact with family, friends, or coworkers, leave behind the cell phone or laptop and begin following an unfamiliar schedule, wouldn't a level of anxiety and distress follow? However, there is a difference between the child and adult; the adult has learned skills and methods of dealing with anxiety, the child has not yet learned these skills. The adult can verbalize her anxiety, while the child can rarely state what is upsetting him.

Other anxiety provoking factors also need to be investigated, such as: Is there a chaotic, abusive, toxic home environment? Is the primary caretaker an anxious or depressed individual? Is this the first time the child is being separated from the primary caretaker? Have there been changes in the home, e.g., addition or loss of a family member or beloved pet, or a move? What has the child's exposure to peers been in the past? All of these questions need to be asked before a definitive diagnosis can be made for ADHD or an Anxiety Disorder. All too often it is easier to diagnose ADHD based upon the surface symptoms and prescribe a psychotropic medication than it is to delve into the psychosocial factors influencing a child.
What should you do once your child has been diagnosed with ADHD and/or an Anxiety Disorder? There are play therapy and talk therapy approaches, but these take months, if not years, to show marked improvement in behavior and cognition. There are conventional psychotropic medications like Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall, and Stratera, all of which have unpleasant side effects and take time to reach therapeutic levels. But fortunately, there is also Aromatherapy. This can show improvement immediately, has no detrimental side effects, costs much less and, in my opinion, is a much more pleasant experience for the child and the primary caregivers.

The first Aromatherapy approach I would suggest would be to address the issue as if it were an Anxiety Disorder. There are several essential oils that can be utilized. Some of the essential oils effective for anxiety include: Benzoin (Styrax benzoin), Celery Seed (Apium graveolens), Myrtle (Myrtus communis), Orange (Citrus sinensis), Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii), and Petitgrain (Citrus aurantium).

All of these essential oils help instill a sense of calm which is needed by the child feeling constant anxiety. If the child responds positively to the use of these essential oils it is then likely that the symptoms are related to an Anxiety Disorder and not necessarily ADHD.

Essential oils that are most commonly used to assist with anxiety are also listed as being useful for ADHD. In fact, during my research on ADHD and essential oils I have not found any essential oils that address ADHD symptoms without also being effective for anxiety. If the child has a dual diagnosis of ADHD and an Anxiety Disorder there are essential oils that are listed as being helpful for both conditions: Basil (Ocimum basilicum), Bergamot (Citrus bergamia), Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica), Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile and Matricaria chamomilla), Dill Seed (Anethum graveolens), Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Lemon (Citrus limon), Marjoram (Origanum marjorana), Peppermint (Mentha piperita), and Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides). The essential oils can be used singly or in a blend.

If the goal is to promote restful sleep, the selected essential oils can be diffused in the child's room with an ionic diffuser. A linen spray of distilled water and essential oils can also be used on the bedding and stuffed animals. A room spray, made in the same manner as the linen spray, can also be sprayed into the child's room. After determining contraindications, calming baths before bedtime using a single oil or a blend can also be utilized to help prepare the child for sleep. Calming massage blends can also be used during times when a child needs a soothing influence.

During the daytime, perhaps on school days, the child can wear a terra cotta pendant or other aromatherapy jewelry infused with essential oils to provide continual support throughout the day. A personal inhaler, which can be carried by the child and used during times of distress, could also be provided. If the child happens to be in a more progressive school that allows the diffusion of essential oils the teacher could diffuse a single oil or blend of oils into the classroom. It would be helpful to the child with ADHD or anxiety, as well as benefitting other children in the classroom. These are but a few of the methods with essential oils that can help a child suffering from ADHD and/or anxiety experience more calm, gain clarity of thought, be more grounded and centered, and have improved emotional and behavioral health.


Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition; Washington, DC; (1994); American Psychiatric Association; 1994.

Battaglia, Salvatore; The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, 2nd Edition; Brisbane, Australia; The International Center of Holistic Aromatherapy; 2009.

Lawless, Julia; The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils; Rockport, MA; Element Books Limited; 1995.

Sellar, Wanda; The Directory of Essential Oils; London, UK, Vermillion; 2005.

Haly is a formally trained Clinical Aromatherapist who received the bulk of her training from Shanti Dechen at Aroma Apothecary Healing Art Academy. Haly specializes in individualized therapeutic blending to assist clients with physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.

In conjunction with her aromatherapy skills, Haly also uses her skills as a mental health therapist to assist each client to gain a healthy balance and regulate and maintain overall health.

Prior to becoming an aromatherapist, Haly was a psychotherapist and clinical case manager at a residential treatment facility for children. Haly has also been an adoption therapist and taught college level psychology courses. In her work at the residential treatment facility, Haly helped children and their families overcome severe emotional and behavioral disruptions. It was through the use of diffusing essential oils in her office that Haly became more and more interested in the practice of aromatherapy. This interest resulted in Haly leaving her active mental health therapy practice and pursuing her education in aromatherapy. Haly is a Professional Member of NAHA and the NAHA Regional Director for Wyoming.

Haly lives in a small town in Wyoming with her husband and three active terriers.

To learn more about Haly, please visit her website:

Visit the NAHA website to purchase Haly's NAHA Teleconference recording on: Aromatherapy Support for ADD/ADHD and Anxiety.

Note: Articles appearing in the NAHA e-newsletters, e-journals and other published materials fall under the NAHA publishing rights and are published with the author's permission. Copying, reposting or publishing these articles without written permission from NAHA constitues an infridgment of copyright law.  You are welcome to post a link to the NAHA Blog which includes past articles.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

August Article

Aromatherapy Support for Bronchial Asthma

By Dr. Vivian Lunny, MD, RA, MDMA, FIFA

Although spring is over and summer is here, there seems to be an increasing number of people developing bronchial asthma. This could be due to all the fires, humidity and extreme temperature changes which keep occurring worldwide. That makes this article relevant for all of us, as it is very likely that we've just had to or will have to help a client or relative who suddenly develops this condition.

Even those who have never suffered with asthma will experience a reaction, when exposed to an allergen or environmental substance that triggers a reaction, within minutes of exposure. This is due to their immune mast cells producing histamine, leucotriene C4 and prostaglandin D2. Note: their reaction levels may be detected with specialized tests, beyond the scope of this article.

Although asthma is a common condition that affects all age groups, one-third of all cases occur in children under 10 years of age. This means that approximately three million children in the fifth grade and below suffer from this disorder.

A typical acute asthmatic attack is marked by wheezing, labored breathing, tightness in the chest, and a dry cough. An asthma attack may be brought on by any allergen, a chronic infection in the sinuses or bronchial tubes, stressful emotional situations, hormonal changes, irritants such as cigarette smoke, extreme environmental temperature and humidity changes, and exercise levels. It may begin suddenly with severe symptoms, or build gradually with increasing difficulty in breathing. Asthmatic attacks produce a feeling of suffocation and the inability to hold a conversation without frequently pausing to catch one's breath.

Aroma-therapeutic Management

The criteria for the choice of essential oils for the treatment of bronchial asthma is based on the need to work on restoring balance to the immune response, ameliorating congestion of the respiratory tract mucosae, as well as alleviating fatigue, exhaustion and stress.

The following properties are desirable for the essential oils chosen: immunomodulant, decongestant, anti-inflammatory, astringent, adrenal stimulant.

Immunomodulant: restores balance to the immune response.

Decongestant: removes congestion and excess fluid.

Anti-inflammatory: reduces inflammation and prevents secondary infections.

Astringent: draws together or constricts tissues that are stopping the flow of blood or exocrine gland secretions.

Adrenal stimulant: stimulates the production and release of the adrenal hormones, particularly adrenalin and cortisol, activating the body's fight-or-flight response.

Methods of treatment for a client with asthma:

Inhalations: To help to clear the blocked and constricted bronchi and prevent secondary infections, prepare the following blend/s for use in steam inhalation, direct inhalation via a tissue, or for use in a diffuser unit.

Steam inhalation method: make a pot of boiling water, remove water from stove and place on a heat proof surface, cover your head with a towel to form a tent over the water, add essential oils and inhale the aromas.  Safety Note: Be sure to keep you eyes closed.

2 drops of essential oil of Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
2 drops of essential oil of Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica)
2 drops of essential oil of Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus radiata)

Another formulation for inhalation:

3 drops of essential oil of Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis)
2 drops of essential oil of Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
1 drop of essential oil of Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)

For asthma sufferers who have very light skin and a sensitive personality type, the following blend of oils is very effective:

3 drops of essential oil of Cedarwood Atlas (Cedrus atlantica)
1 drop of essential oil of Cypress (Cupresus sempervirens)

Gargles: For an aching sore throat, gargle with one drop of essential oil of lemon (Citrus limonum) and 1 drop of essential oil of lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) mixed in a glass of warm water. Repeat three times a day. Or, prepare a gargle formulation containing 30 ml of peppermint hydrosol (Mentha piperita) to which you have added 1 drop of essential oil of thyme ct linalol (Thymus vulgaris CT linalool) and one drop of essential oil of lemonbalm (Melisa officinalis). Note: Be sure to shake well before using and not swallow any of the mixture.

Massage: Prepare a massage formulation with 10 ml of Rosehip oil (Rosa rubiginosa) as a carrier and add: 3 drops of essential oil of Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis), 4 drops of essential oil of Cypress (Cupresus sempervirens) and 3 drops of essential oil of Cedarwood Atlas (Cedrus atlantica). Apply this to the neck and forehead (sinus area) three times a day during three consecutive days, discontinue for the following three days and repeat again. This 10 ml preparation should be sufficient for a three day application.

Spritzer Mist Spray: Prepare a 1 oz. room spritzer mist spray with equal parts of hydrosols of Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) and Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and add two drops of essential oil of Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and two drops of essential oil of Cypress (Cupresus sempervirens). Spray around the bedroom at night time to help decongest the nasal passages.

Bathing or Showering: Upon waking and before retiring at night, bathing is a beneficial addition to the treatment; the choice of essential oils will depend on the main complaints of each person. Essential oils may include: Black Spruce (Picea mariana), Pine (Pinus sylvestris) and Cedarwood Virginia (Juniperus virginiana). Add 6-8 drops total of the essential oils blended in a carrier such as milk, honey or Epsom salts and add this to the bath water.

General Treatment Measures: Try to stay away from the allergens as much as possible, and consume a diet which is free of dairy products and rich in vitamin C and antioxidants.

Conventional Medical Treatment: It is important that the aromatherapist is aware of the treatment that is already being given by the client's physician and works with the physician as an integrated team for the greatest benefit of the client.

The possible drugs being used are:

A) Antihistamines

B) Bronchodilators

C) Topical anti-inflammatory steroids

The information in this article is not meant to diagnose or take the place of professional health care.

Dr. Vivian Nadya Lunny is a graduate Medical Doctor, Author, Teacher, Holistic Healer, Clinical Aromatherapy Practitioner and Teacher, Reiki Master and Psychotronics Master Practitioner. Her intuition, empathy and thoughtfulness are the keys to her personality.

Dr. Lunny is a Professional Member of NAHA and the NAHA Regional Director for Canada. To learn more about Dr. Vivian Lunny, please visit her web-site: 

Visit the NAHA website to purchase Dr. Lunny's teleconference presentations on CD, which include the following topics: Essential Oils for Hormonal Support Part 1-3 and  Aromatic Solutions for Chronic Pain Sydromes:

Note: Articles appearing in the NAHA e-newsletters, e-journals and other published materials fall under the NAHA publishing rights and are published with the author's permission. Copying, reposting or publishing these articles without written permission from NAHA constitues an infridgment of copyright law. You are welcome to post a link to the NAHA Blog which includes past articles.

Monday, July 16, 2012

July Featured Article

Essential Oils for Insomnia

By Dr. Joie Power, Ph.D.

Insomnia is a common problem among a wide range of patients, including elderly and hospitalized patients. Essential oil of lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) has been shown in many studies to be effective in resolving insomnia.

A review of a sampling of these studies indicates that in addition to promoting improved sleep, the use of lavender essential oil has also been shown to result in greater daytime alertness, calmness and less confusion and aggressiveness as well as decreased need for nighttime sedation.

It is important to use the right kind of lavender for insomnia (Lavandula angustifolia, Lavandula vera, or Lavandula officinalis), as some species of lavender are stimulating and can aggravate insomnia (Lavandula latifolia and Lavandula stoechas). It is also important to limit the number of drops of lavender applied alone or as part of a blend to 4 drops per application as even the relaxing lavender oils become stimulating in higher doses.

Other essential oils that have been shown in clinical studies to effectively promote sleep include spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi), Melissa (Melissa officinalis), bergamot (Citrus bergamia), European basil (Ocimum basilicum), Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis), sweet orange (Citrus sinensis), marjoram (Origanum majorana) and valerian (Valeriana officinalis). Of all the essential oils mentioned for promoting sleep, lavender has the greatest body of supportive evidence.

Essential oils can be used to promote sleep by diffusing 3 to 5 drops of a single oil or a blend of oils through a fan diffuser for one to two hours beginning 30 minutes prior to bedtime. If the patient wakes during the night, the procedure can be repeated. Alternatively, you may place 3 to 5 drops of essential oil on a cotton ball set on a dish or in a salt shaker near the bedside; or, you may use three to 5 drops essential oil diluted in 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil for a hand and/or foot massage at bedtime and repeated at 4 hour intervals if needed. When assisting elderly or debilitated patients, use a lower dose of only 1-3 drops of a single oil in the blend.

A suggested formula for improving sleep and decreasing nighttime agitation:
Lavender essential oil - 70%

Roman chamomile essential oil - 15%

Marjoram essential oil - 5%

Bergamot essential oil - 10%

This blend is effective for many patients in acute and long-term settings and is available as Deeper Sleep from Artisan Aromatics.

Dr. Joie Power is a retired board certified neuropsychologist and former Assistant Professor of Surgery/Neurosurgery at the Medical College of Georgia, where she performed intra-operative cortical mapping with renowned neurosurgeon Herman Flanigan, M.D. She has over 20 years of clinical experience in both in-patient and out-patient settings and during her years of practice has also been both a practitioner and student of alternative healing methods, including herbal medicine, aromatherapy, Reiki, Chinese Medicine, and other energetic healing systems. Her extensive formal training and experience in the olfactory and limbic systems of the brain give her a unique qualification for understanding the actions of essential oils in the body.

Dr. Power is the founder and former owner of Dreaming Earth Botanicals and is now a clinical consultant for Artisan Aromatics as well as an internationally known writer and teacher in the fields of aromatherapy and alternative medicine. Her approach to aromatherapy weaves together her solid scientific training and strong clinical skills with a holistic philosophy that honors body, mind and spirit. Joie is a Professional Member of NAHA and a Moderator for the NAHA Members Only Group for the topic: PSN and Aromatherapy.

To learn more about Dr. Joie Power, please visit her website:

Click here to purchase Dr. Power's NAHA Teleconference Presentations (2010 and 2012)
2012: Psychoneuroimmunology: The Science of the Mind/Body Connection and what it means for the Practice of Aromatherapy
2010: Aromatic Pathways in the Brain; How Smell effects the Mind and Body

Copyright © 2012 Joie Power, Ph.D. / The Aromatherapy School All Rights Reserved

Note: Articles appearing in the NAHA e-newsletters, e-journals and other published materials fall under the NAHA publishing rights and are published with the author's permission. Copying, reposting or publishing these articles without written permission from NAHA constitues an infridgment of copyright law. You are welcome to post a link to the NAHA Blog which includes past articles.

Would you like to contribute an article for a future NAHA E-newsletter? Click here to download the Writer's Guidelines.

June Featured Article

Growing Aromatic and Medicinal Herbs

By Lesley Wooler, B.Sc., RA, CYI, Herbalist

There is a wide range of plants for your herb garden to consider for use in herbal infusions. It's important to remember that almost all herbs need a lot of sun, at least 6 hours a day, especially the ones that are high in volatile oils. They also prefer a well drained and somewhat sandy soil. Container gardening is an option if you have limited space.

Some planting tips:

1) Keep larger plants in the back or center if garden is round, with sizes graduating down in height to the outside edge.

2) If the garden is large, don't forget to leave room for a path for easy access for harvesting and weeding.

3) Consider the type of mulch you would like to use to inhibit weed growth. Many gardeners use landscape fabric for weed control along with the mulch.
4) Herbs do need air circulation to prevent mold so watch for overcrowding.

5) Have easy access to water to avoid the need for dragging hoses or carrying water a long distance.

6) Water the plants from the base and try to avoid misting and wetting the leaves too much as that can encourage mold and fungal problems.

Decide on your selection of plants and their future uses before going to the garden center or you may end up with an overabundance of plant material. If you are just starting out, keep your list small. Anyone who loves plants finds it difficult to resist purchasing endless varieties when walking through greenhouses of lush plants and flowers.

Basic choices would include: lavender (Lavendula angustifolia), thyme (Thymus vulgaris), calendula (Calendula officinalis), St. Johnswort (Hypericum perforatum), oregano (Origanum vulgare), marjoram (Origanum majorana), chamomile (Roman Chamomile) (Anthemis nobilis), a perennial groundcover and German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita), an annual, comfrey (Symphytum officinale) (be sure to leave room for this plant as it grows tall and wide), lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) (best grown in a pot if you live in the Northeast), echinacea (Echinacea purpurea), goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) (this plant does require shade but I recommend growing it as it is overharvested and on the endangered plant list), and arnica (Arnica montana) (for topical use only).

Safety note: Do not plant Arnica if you have small children as this plant is poisonous. The flowers are used to make a powerful healing oil for muscular pain. While many of the mints are nice, they can be invasive so I would recommend planting them in their pot right into the ground. This cuts down on their spreading throughout your yard.

Remember to keep a journal of what you planted, the date/season when planted, and it also helps to add photos of your plants and your garden for future reference. Take note of any insects or diseases that they incur. Fortunately, most herbs tend to be disease and insect free because of the volatile oils they contain.

After doing a little research this list can be easily extended. Many of our common medicinal weeds can be harvested from nature so they do not need to be planted and actually grow better in the wild. These would include dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), chickweed (Stellaria media) and plantain (Plantago majoris) which can all be made into herbal infused oils and used in massage oils, skin care and wound healing salves. The infused flowers of dandelion make a powerful healing oil for any muscular tension in the neck and shoulder area. Chickweed makes a soothing oil for skin care and plantain is wonderful in salves for cuts, scrapes, insect bites, etc.

Once your plants are established, and to encourage more growth, pinch off the new growth on lateral branches. You can harvest these leaves for further use, either culinary or medicinally. The flavor for cooking is best before the herbs begin to flower. If harvesting herbs for making infused oils, be sure to dry wilt them in a shaded area for at least 24 hours before adding oil or mold may appear. I usually lay them on a screen but an open weave basket works well, too. For drying for later use, hang in tied bunches in a warm, dark, dry area. Many herbs can also be put in the freezer for future use. You can place them between layers of wax paper, freeze and then store. Or for culinary use put them in ice cube trays and freeze so they can be easily removed at a future time. These can be added to soups, stews and sauces.

Another thing to take into consideration when planting is what makes up the local wildlife, be it deer, bees or birds. Many herbs, because of the volatile oils they contain are deer resistant, especially mints (Menthe spp.), lavender (Lavendula spp.), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), sage (Salvia spp.), bee balm (Monarda spp.) and yarrow (Achillea millefolium). You might like to consider plants that would attract hummingbirds or butterflies to your garden. If so, then choose bee balm (Monarda spp.) and butterflyweed (Asclepias sp.). Annuals such as pineapple sage (Salvia elegans) and cardinal flower vine (Ipomoea quamoclit) are great hummingbird attractors.

To make an herbal infused oil, dry wilt the plant material for 24 hours to remove excess moisture and prevent mold. Place herbs in a clean, sterile jar and add enough oil to cover the plant material. Choice of oils may vary according to preference. Olive oil has its own medicinal properties and works well in salves. Almond oil or apricot kernel oil work well in skin care and are much lighter than olive oil in both texture and scent. Keep the infused herbal oil in a sunny location, whether in your garden or a bright window sill, for approximately a month. Strain the herbs off through cheesecloth and place the resulting infused oil in a glass jar. They will keep much longer if they are refrigerated. Calendula oil will turn a beautiful golden/pale orange color. Comfrey, chickweed and plantain oils will have a green hue and St. Johnswort will become a deep, rich red, formed by its hypericin content. This is the chemical constituent that gives the plant its botanical name - Hypericum perforatum. The taxonomic name perforatum comes from the tiny holes that can be seen in the leaves when held up to the sunlight, making them truly look perforated. This oil is a must for any herbal first aid kit along with calendula oil. Calendula is an amazing anti-inflammatory and works great in skin care.

St. Johnswort works well for nerve and tissue damage, wound healing and for a scar oil blend. The addition of essential oils to these infused herbal oils makes them incredible healing agents.

Once you get a little more adventurous in your garden design and plant selections, you can 'branch out' to many of the cultivars and eclectic varieties of herbs and perennials as well as the infinite selections of annuals. Try your hand at variegated sages (Salvia spp.), thymes (Thymus spp.), oreganos (Origanum spp.) or something like bronze fennel (Foeniculum vulgare "Purpurea"). Entice your taste buds with Thai, African, Black Opal or Lemon Basil (Ocimum spp). You could try growing a selection of all lemon scented herbs - lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), lemon verbena (Aloysia citrodora), lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus), lemon thyme (Thymus x citriodora), etc., and so on. You get the idea. Or plant a grouping of plants with silvery foliage or just white flowers for night viewing. Most of the white flowering plants are heavily scented and look beautiful in the moonlight. The list of ideas is endless as are all the possibilities. Let your imagination run wild as you make your own connection to the green world.

Lesley A. Wooler B.Sc., RA, CYT, earned her degree in Horticulture from the University of RI. She completed her first herbal apprenticeship and advanced herbal studies in the 1990's and is the owner of The Herb Wyfe Holistic Health Center in Wickford, RI. She has served for eight years on the council for NEHA (North East Herbal Association); the past 4 years as its President. Lesley is also a member of the following organizations: United Plant Savers, American Botanical Council, Herb Society of America, American Horticultural Society, Rhode Island Wild Plant Society and O-SHA (Ocean State Herbal Association) and NAHA (National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy). Lesley is also the NAHA Regional Director for Rhode Island.

She received over 230 hours of aromatherapy training at The Center for Holistic Botanical Studies where she was also on staff. She studied with Valerie Ann Worwood for over 4 years and is a Level IV Aroma Genera Practitioner. She has been teaching aromatherapy classes throughout the New England area for over 15 years.

Lesley is a Flower Essence Practitioner, having completed her training with David Dalton of Delta Gardens in 2000. She is also a professional member of FES (Flower Essence Society). She loves using her knowledge of herbs, essential oils and flower essences in combination to make healing remedies for her clients.

Lesley has maintained her own landscape/gardening business, "Gardening with Finesse," for the past 12 years and is a RI/CH (Rhode Island Certified Horticulturist) through RINLA (Rhode Island Nursery and Landscape Association). She completed her Master Gardener program through URI in 1984. She enjoys sharing her love of the Green World with others.

To learn more about Lesley please visit her website:

Click here to purchase Lesley's NAHA Teleconference Presentation: Learn How to Make Aromatic Infused Oils.

Note: Articles appearing in the NAHA e-newsletters, e-journals and other published materials fall under the NAHA publishing rights and are published with the author's permission. Copying, reposting or publishing these articles without written permission from NAHA constitues an infridgment of copyright law. You are welcome to post a link to the NAHA Blog which includes past articles.

Would you like to contribute an article for a future NAHA E-newsletter? Click here to download the Writer's Guidelines.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

May Featured Article

Reformatting your Energetic Architecture using Essential Oils

By Mindy Green, MS, RA, RH (AHG)

Aromatic plants have been used throughout time in medicine, cosmetic care, spiritual practices and ritual ceremonies. For nearly a century, modern science has known that the chemical constituents found in essential oils have therapeutic value, and that essential oils offer a multitude of chemical constituents that are effective against a wide variety of pathogens.

Recent photographic technology that magnifies plant secretory cells gives us an intimate look at the amazing structures that produce these remarkable essential oils.[1] The biological activities of these components have been well researched and are potential healing adjuncts in holistic and integrative medicine as well as conventional palliative care. Through their scientific analysis and obvious efficacy in treating different disorders, it is reasonable to view them as potent healing agents for the physical body. There are various applications and implications of these functional fragrances in wide ranging therapies from traditional medicine to spa application, and they are being effectively used throughout the world in medical facilities that have open-minded health policies.

This information is useful and progressive from the perspective of today's need to revamp most medical models, but healing the physical body is only one aspect of true healing. With the new millennium's foray into quantum healing and psychoneuroimmunology, science has proven what many ancient healing traditions have inherently known - that dis-ease begins with emotional/spiritual disharmony that later manifests as physical symptoms. Essential oils offer us more than the physicality of their biological activity. These same chemical constituents and their aromas offer the opportunity to create a deeper wholeness through balancing body, mind and spirit, thus allowing us the opportunity to achieve true and lasting health. Essential oils can heal at both a cellular and spiritual level, weaving the two into a wholeness that is undeniable and inseparable.

Human beings all share a biological familiarity with plants. Our physical bodies have evolved over countless generations with plant allies as food, medicine and spiritual partners. Our cells are encrypted to recognize the chemical constituents in plants and utilize them in the most efficacious ways. Though we may have strayed in the last hundred years or so through the use of newly developed chemical food substitutes and pharmaceuticals, we are still inherently programmed to distinguish these compounds, and it benefits us greatly to consume and utilize them in a variety of ways.

Dis-ease, at its most basic core (the emotional level), occurs through the perception of separation from Spirit. This is the deepest misconception that humans buy into, and it is arguably the thing that ultimately makes us ill. Many researchers in the field of quantum healing have proven that we need not be victims of our DNA and that we have the ability to heal ourselves at the deepest levels (see Bruce Lipton, The Biology of Belief). I believe that plant scents have a vital role in this arena. Every culture with a long history of traditional healing has one thing in common: that of breath practices. It is commonly acknowledged that this is the doorway to prana, chi, and life force. The word "inspire" means to breathe in, but also to possess and emanate passion. In the Greek language, spirit and wind are the same word. We all share inspiration, our breath, and it hangs in the ethers. Aroma is the link between spirit and matter, between what is physical and what is unseen. It taps our deepest emotions and carries us to our oldest memories. Through the aroma of plants we are offered something less concrete but just as real - the opportunity to connect to nature and our own Source Energy, and the reminder that we are whole at our truest level. It is here that we create our own spiritual wholeness and 'Wellth.'

When we consider that the process of olfaction occurs in the limbic brain, it makes sense; this primitive brain, which is often referred to as the reptilian brain, processes memory and emotion. We unconsciously monitor the air around us with every breath we take, sniffing out the possibilities that affect our very survival - food, danger, mating and more. Modern day physicians acknowledge that mood is most effectively and quickly changed through the sense of smell. Pleasant aromas can uplift the spirit and reduce stress which accounts for up to 90% of medical visits. Stress reduction is the first step in finding peace within, and it is waiting for us with every fragrant breath at our disposal when we are among plants.

Emotional pain, the precursor to physical imbalance, resides in the cellular memory of our bodies. Many aspects of quantum healing show us that it is possible to reformat the energetic patterns that create imbalances. Scent is a communication system that holds information; given the right aromas, this communication system has the ability to unravel false beliefs about ourselves that keep us separate from our impeccable and perfect uniqueness. These aromas have the ability to recreate the fractal blueprint that allows us to find balance and reinforce the knowledge that we are all perfect reflections of Spirit and that we are worthy of echoing that knowledge in our daily lives with every inhalation (inspiration).

The Ancients have associated certain plant fragrances with being able to link us more effectively with the body of knowledge that lies within us all - that which is our birthright as living souls in physical form. One might be so bold as to connect this portion of the mind with the link to All Knowledge, or as we were told in Star Wars, The Force. Some of these recognized sacred scents in history include rose (Rosa damascena), frankincense (Boswellia cateri), sandalwood (Santalum album), palo santo (Bursera graveolens), cedar (Cedrus atlantica) and countless others, depending upon what plants are native to specific cultural regions. Even the most common essential oils -- such as lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) or ylang ylang (Cananga odorata) -- can have spiritual connotations, especially if they are aromas that you find appealing, connecting and comforting.

Whatever scents you choose, utilizing them in a way that helps you calm, center and breathe more deeply will help you to listen to your own inner voice, the place with all the answers you will ever need. We are living in a time of transformation which will rebirth us into a more enlightened era. This new cycle of creativity is calling forth ways in which we can become fundamentally more of who we are meant to be. It requires a great deal of letting go of old routines and philosophies, ushering in new dynamics of presence and being open to new experiences. Regardless of your spiritual or relaxation practices, I encourage everyone to breathe in essential oils, still yourself, listen and be inspired.

[1] Secretory Structures of Aromatic and Medicinal Plants: A Review and Atlas of Micrographs, Katerina P. Svobada and Tomas G. Svoboda, 2000

This article was originally published in the ARC (Aromatherapy Registration Council) March 2012 Newsletter and republished in the NAHA newsletter with permission from the author.

Mindy Green is an esthetician, nationally certified Registered Aromatherapist and professional member of the American Herbalists Guild. An active educator and consultant, her vast credentials and positions in botany, aromatherapy and skin care include her current role as committee chair for botanicals in cosmetics for the American Herbal Products Association and as an advisory board member for the American Botanical Council, publishers of HerbalGram magazine. From 2003-2009 Mindy worked in the botanical research division of Aveda's Research and Development department as their clinical aromatherapist. She enjoys writing and is the author of three books and 55 published articles. To learn more about Mindy, please visit her website:

Click here to purchase Mindy's Teleconference Presentation: 'Aromatic Medicine in a Clinical Setting'.
Click here to purchase Mindy's Teleconference Presentation: 'Graceful Aging - A Holistic Approach'.

Click here to purchase Mindy's book co-authored with Kathi Keville: Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Arts.

Would you like to contribute an article for a future NAHA E-newsletter? Click here to download the Writer's Guidelines.

Monday, April 30, 2012

April Featured Article

Celebrate Earth Day with this Kid-Friendly Project!

By Liz Fulcher, RA, CMT

April 22, 2012 is Earth Day and the perfect time to introduce children as young as three years of age to the concept of keeping our planet healthy. Letting them make something as simple, fun and safe as an organic cleaning scrub can be a fun way to disguise a lesson in green living, aromatherapy and botany -- all in one!

If you have kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews, or you're in charge of other people's kids at a daycare or school, this aromatic project will easily fill an hour of time.
The ingredients are inexpensive, natural and kid-friendly. Cleanup is easy and afterward the kitchen or classroom will really smell great.

One morning last year when my grandson Bean was three, we did this project and he just loved it. His Mom was thrilled, too, when he presented her with the aromatic soft scrub he had made all by himself (well, almost)!

Here is the recipe I used with my grandson along with some suggestions to make the activity fun and educational:

1 C Baking Soda (Arm & Hammer or Bob's Red Mill...both are aluminum-free)

4 Tablespoons of Organic Liquid Castile Soap (like Dr. Bronners)

2 Tablespoons White Vinegar

15 drops of organic Sweet Orange essential oil (Citrus sinensis)

15 drops of organic Scotch Pine essential oil (Pinus sylvestris)

15 drops of organic Spike Lavender essential oil (Lavendula latifolia)

Labels and fine point markers

If possible, an orange, a bit of a pine tree branch and some lavender flowers.


Big bowl, spatula, wide-mouth 16 ounce container

1. Measure out the baking soda and let your child pour it into the big bowl. Children tend to lean down into everything so remind them to keep their heads back to avoid the fine powder puffing up into their faces.

2. Get your camera. Now let them slowly pour the vinegar over the baking soda and catch the great faces they make as they experience the dramatic fizz that occurs when these two substances meet!

3. Add the liquid castile soap.

4. Open the bottle of orange essential oil. Invite them to sniff it from the bottle or on a tissue. Pick up your orange (fruit) and talk about how essential oil is formed inside the skin and how clever Mother Nature is to give us something that smells so good and also keeps us healthy. Let them drop the essential oil in while counting out, etc. When working with small children, please supervise closely because getting any of these essential oils in the eyes or nostrils will burn. If that happens, use olive oil to remove the essential oil, rather than water.

5. Now open the bottle of lavender essential oil for them to smell. Pick up the lavender flowers and talk about how the oil is formed inside the flowers, and tell them about how this oil can not only kill germs but it also helps us feel calm when we are scared or having a bad day. Have them add drops of this oil to the batch.

6. Do the same thing with your Scotch Pine, using words like "fresh" or "woodsy" to help give them language around aromas. You might want to say something about how great a Christmas pine tree smells or a walk in the forest and that this oil will not only kill harmful germs but helps us breath better, too. They can drop that into the batch as well.

7. Finally, let the child stir the mixture until it becomes smooth and creamy. If it's too dry you can add a shot of castile soap or vinegar. The soft scrub should have the consistency of icing.

8. Spoon the soft scrub into your 16 ounce container and add a label with the child's name and date. Let them make up a clever Earth Day name!

Finally, I suggest you let the child actually use their new creation. Put a blob of the scrub on a sponge and let them rub it around the inside of the sink so they can experience the aroma and texture and see how well it cleans the sink.

Be sure to have fun with this; play some nice background music and let them know how using natural things can help every person and animal on the planet for a long, long time.
Oh, and please let me know if you figure out a way to keep them having that kind of enthusiasm for cleaning well into their teenage years!

Liz Fulcher, CA, RA, is a Clinical Aromatherapist and Aromatherapy Educator who offers classes in essential oils throughout the year at her school, Aromatic Wisdom Institute which includes a NAHA-approved 235-Hour Aromatherapy Certification Program.

To learn more about Liz, click here to visit her web-site: Aromatic Wisdom Institute

Click here to purchase Liz's NAHA Teleconference Presentation: Learn How to Make and Use Essential Oil SoulCollage Cards.

Would you like to contribute an article for a future NAHA E-newsletter? Click here to download the Writer's Guidelines.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

March Featured Article

Taking Care of Yourself with Aromatherapy as an Aromatherapist
By Sharon Falsetto, CA, BA (Hons)

Working as an aromatherapist is, to many, a dream job - being surrounded with scents and oils all day long and making lots of aromatherapy potions and lotions to make people feel better! What could be better? However, like many jobs, we often get so involved in what we are doing for other people that we forget to take a minute and take care of ourselves, too. But if we don't take care of ourselves, who will? And what better way to do it than with aromatherapy!

With this is mind, I decided to start paying better attention to my own body in 2012 by using aromatherapy. Although I do use aromatherapy in my daily skincare routine, it is not often that I think of using the aromatherapy bath scrubs, salts, candles and lotions that I make for other people, spending the time to take care of me once in a while!

If you take the time to look after yourself, you will find that your business and your clients will begin to benefit, too. Taking an aromatic bath, for example, will also give you inspiring alone time space where you can think more clearly and creatively for your business. Without the distractions of the outside world, alone with only the scents of the essential oils, ideas begin to flow more freely and clearly than when you are trying to answer e-mails, the phone, keep up with order queries and check what is going on in the social media world!

Certain essential oils can also help protect you against stress or winter colds; for example, the citrus oils such as sweet orange (Citrus sinensis), lemon (Citrus limon) or lime (Citrus aurantifolia) are great oils for lifting your spirits and dealing with sniffles at the same time. Use a candle fragranced by these essential oils - or add them to an aromatherapy diffuser. You can also put a few of drops, diluted in Epsom salts, in a warm bath and let the steam from the bath carry the aromas to your nose.

Aromatherapy can be used in various ways but sometimes bath scrubs and salts get put into the "luxury" box rather than the "necessary" box. But, made with right essential oils, scrubs and bath salts can be healing to your body. They take care of your skin and are soothing to the emotions, too. Choose beneficial essential oils for both the skin and the mind. Some of my favorites include rose (Rosa damascena), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and ylang ylang (Cananga odorata).

Here are a couple of my own recipes to help you make the most of your next soak in the tub. Just make sure you use aromatherapy candles made with essential oils for the full therapeutic experience!

Daytime Coffee Sugar Scrub
1 oz turbinado sugar
1oz brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground coffee
2 teaspoons jojoba oil
2 teaspoons almond oil
1 teaspoon raw honey
Mix all the ingredients in a jar.

I find that if you make this scrub the day before you plan to use it and leave it in the refrigerator overnight it is much better to use than making it just before you plan to use it. Apply to your body (avoiding the face) in small circular movements. Leave on for about five minutes and wash off. This scrub leaves your skin feeling silky smooth! You could mix in one of your favorite essential oils, too, but I find that the therapeutic benefits of both the jojoba oil and almond oil - plus the honey which has been used in skincare for centuries - is adequate. Just make sure you use raw honey (which maintains its therapeutic properties) and not the processed honey that is commonly found on the grocery store shelf.

Nighttime Bath Soak
2 oz sea salt
1 oz baking soda
15 drops lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
10 drops ylang ylang essential oil (Cananga odorata)
10 drops sweet orange essential oil (Citrus sinensis var. dulcis)

Mix all of the ingredients together in a jar and add to your bath water as desired. You can also use Dead Sea salts, Epsom salts or Himalayan pink salts in this recipe, depending upon your preference. The mix of lavender, ylang ylang and sweet orange essential oils leaves you feeling relaxed, pampered and uplifted.

Bed Time Spritzer
2 oz distilled water
15 drops of lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
10 drops of Roman chamomile essential oil (Chamaemelum nobile)

Mix the essential oils with the distilled water in a spray bottle and spritz onto your pillow before going to sleep. The mix of lavender and Roman chamomile essential oils is a great choice for those who have difficulty getting to sleep or suffer from occasional bouts of insomnia.

After spending a bit of quality aromatherapy time with yourself, you will feel relaxed, rested and ready to take care of others once again. Put your own body back in balance with a little bit of your own aromatherapy advice!

All recipes are intended for topical use only. If irritation occurs discontinue use.

Sharon Falsetto is a UK certified clinical aromatherapist who trained with Penny Price Aromatherapy. After traveling widely, personal circumstances led her to move to the United States in 2006; she founded her own aromatherapy practice, Sedona Aromatherapie, in 2007. Sharon creates custom aromatherapy blends for weddings, spas and therapists and has an extensive web-store of handmade aromatherapy products and gifts. She also has a graduate honors degree in business, a diploma in reflexology and over ten years experience of UK government health related services.

Sharon writes about aromatherapy through her own blog, Aromatherapy Notes, and through guest posts on blogs, websites, e-journals and paid articles in other publications.

Sharon is the NAHA Secretary and NAHA Regional Director for Arizona. To learn more about Sharon please visit her website at http://http//

Would you like to contribute an article for a future NAHA E-newsletter? Click here to download the Writer's Guidelines.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

February Article

Featured Article
Healing Hands-part of an aromatic tool kit
By Kelly Holland Azzaro, RA, CCAP, CBFP, LMT

As a professional practitioner who works with her hands on a daily basis to give holistic therapies (by way of aromatherapy, reflexology, Swedish, therapeutic, clinical, hot stone, acupressure, lymphatic, cranial sacral, Reiki, facial and scalp massage) for over twenty years, I sometimes take for granted how hard my hands really work for me and my clients. These hands of mine are strong yet soft to the touch from immersion in carrier oils and natural scrubs, sculpted from years of accurate work and aged like a fine wine, or better yet, a rich rose essential oil. My work seems to develop more each year as clients share how they benefit from the healing modality that massage and aromatherapy offers on many levels.

I could easily forget that essential oils offer amazing therapeutic properties and a variety of applications as this is second nature. Then a client will ask: 'Wow, what is that amazing scent on the tissue you put in the face cradle for me?' I place a different scent for each client. A simple recipe would be one drop of lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and one drop of lemon (Citrus limonum), two of the most attainable and easy to use essential oils in aromatherapy, to help that client achieve relaxation and stress relief. The lemon also helps most clients let go of the brain fog from a day or week filled with mental tasks, cluttered thoughts and decisions. The lavender tops off the relaxation process by producing a sense of peace and the ability to breathe deeply and let go of tension.

This gets me to wondering how it is that such easy going scents elicit such instant changes in a client, shifting their energy from tense to relaxed, stressed to calm, chatty to snoring. Is it the instant aroma to brain effect, the agreeability of the scent, the client's appreciation for the extra benefit of essential oil therapy and the touch of caring, experienced hands?. Though we know the power of the nose to brain and lungs to blood, I'm sure it is a bit of all these benefits combined. The effort of taking the time and energy to learn about true aromatherapy and how it can be added into so many holistic therapies, especially massage therapy, is surely something that is well worth the effort and investment.

When times are stressful for clients and they come to you for the gift you give in your own healing hands, isn't is wonderful that you have an aromatic tool kit filled with aromas of therapeutic and emotional value? Clients also give you the opportunity to grow and learn. Each session brings the potential to expand your awareness of effective essential oil applications, massage techniques and to generate the abundance of health, happiness and prosperity for both of you. (I personally feel that a massage session without essential oils is like the proverbial day without sunshine.)

Take a look at your hands and be grateful for the strength that they provide in your work, the gentleness they offer by extending a helping hand to someone in need, the wisdom seen in the faith, love and life palm lines and then the gift of passing all onto others by teaching and example. Hands are indeed healing tools on many levels.

Give back to your wonderful hands by treating them with love and respect. Here are a few aromatic ways you can treat yourself and others to a special hand pampering:

Aromatic Hand Exfoliant Scrub Recipe: 4 ounce size

Turbinado and white sugar: 3 ounces total (mix these sugars in a ratio based on your needs: turbinado is a natural sugar that is larger grained then simple white sugar while white sugar offers a lighter texture for more sensitive skin)

Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) or your favorite carrier oil:

1 ounce

Pure Essential Oils of:

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) 4- 6 drops

Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) 8-10 drops

Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis) 8 drops

Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata) 4 drops

After scrubbing each hand, remove the aromatic sugar granules with a moist warm towel (or rinse under sink if self applying) and follow with a hand massage using your favorite hand cream or try the recipe below:

Healing Hands Oil Treatment: 4 ounce size

Base: 4 ounces of: Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) and Apricot Kernel oil (Prunus armeniaca) (or make a base out of your favorite carrier, such as sweet almond oil or, for a thicker consistency and intense moisture combine olive and avocado oil)

Essential Oils:

Carrot Seed (Daucus carota) 4-6 drops

Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) 4 drops

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) 4-6 drops

Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii) 4-6 drops

Note: Recipes are for topical use only. If irritation occurs discontinue use. Keep out of reach of children and pets.

Kelly Holland Azzaro, RA, CCAP, CBFP, LMT, is a Registered Aromatherapist, Certified Clinical Aromatherapy Practitioner, Certified Bach Flower Practitioner, Licensed Massage Therapist, Reiki Practitioner and President of NAHA (National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy).

Kelly has over 20 years professional experience and educational training in Canine and Equine Acupressure-Massage Therapies, Intuitive Animal Communication, Crystal-Gemstone Therapy, Reiki, Aromatherapy and Flower Essence Therapy for people and their animal friends. Kelly has also created 'Ashi Aromatics Blends', an all natural botanical product line for both people and pets. Kelly Holland Azzaro is approved by the National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) as a Continuing Education Approved Provider. She offers classes in Animal Aromatherapy and Flower Essences for Pets. To learn more about Kelly visit her website

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Friday, January 27, 2012

January 2012 Article

Featured Article
Warming for Winter

By Shellie Enteen, BA, RA, LMT

Those who live in the Northern Hemisphere are now experiencing the cooler days and cold nights of winter. Some have already seen big snows, others light dustings. But whether or not the snows and ice have arrived where you live, airborne respiratory symptoms are sure to be making the rounds.

For those of us who have knowledge of and access to pure essential oils, there are easy ways to warm up winter and fortify the body, increasing the ability to ward off common winter woes. This is a time when we reach for some of the more stimulating essences to create air diffusions, aromatic bath salts and body oils.

Winter is a good time to choose essential oils that have the ability to detoxify our system as this helps the liver and kidneys do their jobs and relieves overload. That relieves stress on the immune system, which has to handle what our natural elimination routes can't manage along with any invading 'bugs.' A happy immune system is ready to take on encounters with a respiratory virus or other pathogen, keeping us healthy and strong throughout the season. A detoxifying blend can also help remove unwelcome after effects of overeating during the holidays. And a detoxifying bath will greatly assist in relieving symptoms of colds and flu if we have succumbed.

The classic detox combo is Juniper Berry (Juniperus communis) and Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). Other essences that boost cleansing affects are Carrot Seed (Daucus carota), Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi), Fennel Seed (Foeniculum vulgare), Lavender (Lavandula spica and Lavandula officinalis), Lemon (Citrus limonum)*, Sweet Orange (Citrus senensis var. dulcis), Mandarin (Citrus reticulata var. mandarin) and Tangerine (Citrus reticulata var. tangerine).

A wonderful and enjoyable detox bath might be created with the following:
2 cups of Epsom Salts

6 drops of Lavender Spike

6 drops of Sweet Orange

2 drops of Rosemary

2 drops of Juniper

Mix the essential oils well into the salts and let that mixture rest, covered, for 20 minutes to half an hour for good absorption of the essences. In the meantime, prepare yourself and start to run a tub that will be hot, but not uncomfortably so. For a detox bath, sweating is desirable whereas with other baths you are best staying just below the perspiration level.

Bring the mixture with you and after you are seated in the bath, swirl in the scented salts and inhale deeply to receive the aromatic airborne effects. Then soak for 10 minutes, adding more hot water if necessary. Towel dry and dress. It's best not to take a detox bath too close to bedtime as you will have effects that might disturb your sleep.

Another way we warm ourselves for winter is by choosing to diffuse the wonderful, stimulating and protective spice oils, like Ginger (Zingiber officinale), Cinnamon (Cinnamonun zeylanicum), Clove (Eugenia caryophyllata), Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) and Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum). Add several of these to the evergreen oils, especially Fir (Abies siberica), Juniper or Pine (Pinus sylvestris) and add a splash of citrus, such as Sweet Orange, Tangerine or Mandarin. This will create a protective, fortifying and uplifting seasonal scent to surround you at home, work, or in the car. Make an air spray by putting about 25 drops of the blend into 1 oz of distilled water in a mister bottle, or use the blend in any other type of diffuser you prefer.

A body oil or moisturizer can be created by using rich, moisturizing Sesame oil or an unscented, no wax formula body lotion. Choose one or more of the rubefacient essences that are not very irritating to the skin, such as Pine, Rosemary, or Cardamom, and add other skin supportive oils to suit your aromatic palate, like Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), Palmarosa (Cymbopogan martinii), Vetiver (Vetiveria zizoanides), Patchouli (Pogostemom cablin) or the florals -- Rose (Rosa damascena), Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara) or Jasmine (Jasminum grandiflorum). Use after bathing and as a hand lotion and enjoy the warmth of extra circulation to the skin while you combat the dryness that also comes with winter.

Shellie Enteen, BA, RA, LMT, has been an Aromatherapist, holistic health provider, astrologer, interfaith minister and educator for over 30 years. She is a Registered Aromatherapist and current VP of the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy and contributing editor for The Aromatherapy Journal. Shellie teaches classes on Bach Flower Remedies, Aromatherapy (Intro, Special Topic, Continuing Ed for Massage Therapists and Professional Level), EFT, Intro to Jin Shin Jyutsu energy/bodywork as well as astrology and tarot. Her articles have appeared in The Mountain Astrologer and The Aromatherapy Journal. Shellie writes a regular column, "The Aromatic Message" for Massage Today magazine and she had the cover story for Massage Magazine, October 2011 issue, on Aromatherapy and Massage. Shellie will be presenting a three day CE workshop for Massage Therapists in Charleston, SC, in March 2011 through the SC AMTA.

A free monthly newsletter is available through her website and her poetry and fiction can be viewed at

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