Friday, January 27, 2012
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 www.astralessence.com and her poetry and fiction can be viewed at www.shelliewrites.com.
Would you like to contribute an article for a future NAHA E-newsletter? Click here to download the Writer's Guidelines.