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Essential oils for cold and flu

Essential Oils for Cold and Flu

Written by: Claire Kenny

 

When you get a cold your instincts may tell you rush to the doctors and get an antibiotic, now by all means if you are feeling very poorly or if you have any underlying issues make an appointment with your doctor, however if it is simply a cold virus the best action to take is rest up as much as possible, drink plenty of fluids, increase your Vitamin-C intake and add moisture to the air, as you are doing that why not add these oils to help boost your immunity, fight off a cough and congestion and help kill those airborne germs.

Essential oils have known antibacterial and antiviral properties making them very useful during the cold and flu season.  In most cases, the essential oils can provide a layer of protection in the air while other oils can help alleviate common symptoms while supporting the healing process.  There are many ways to use essential oils to fight off colds and flu during their peak months. Here are a few ways to use essential oils to neutralize air borne illnesses.

There are many different ways to use essential oils around the home and office.

 Diffusing Essential Oils

Diffusing is perhaps one of the best ways to benefit from the effects of essential oils. You have a few options of diffusion.  There are cold water diffusers, oil burners, a bowl of hot water and add a few drops of the oils or a good one if you don’t have any of the above is to get a wet facecloth and soak in a bowl with the oils and apply to your radiator.

But how do you know which ones work best? Some of the strongest germ-fighting oils come from plants. These include cinnamon, thyme, clove, tea tree and oregano. Combine these powerful oils with those known to support the immune system such as lavender, eucalyptus and any citrus oils like lemon, lime and orange. Many of these deter the growth of viruses and should be used during the weeks you tend to stay indoors because of cooler weather.

Tissue or cotton ball Breather

One useful way to fight congestion is to create a tissue or cotton ball breathing aid. Use a small pack of tissues or cotton balls and place six drops of eucalyptus oil and four drops of lavender oil in a few different areas in the tissues or cotton balls. Place them into a zip lock bag and seal it. Put it in your bag and take it along with you if you are fighting off a cold. When you feel congestion coming on, take them and hold it up close to your nose. Breathe deeply. This will help alleviate congestion.

Peppermint and eucalyptus oil can both help open the airways. You can use them separately or together for sinus congestion, lung congestion, or for respiratory issues of any kind.

Eucalyptus oil as a nasal decongestant works exceptionally well.

Those with chronic chest congestion issues like bronchitis and COPD, elderly people, or anyone pregnant or nursing should choose Eucalyptus radiata. Don’t use eucalyptus this way for children.

Balm

Create your own effective balm to help fight off congestion and coughing. Use a dark jar (as essential oils need to be kept out direct sunlight) to mix these essential oils.

  • 1 TBL coconut oil
  • 8 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil
  • 5 drops of Lavender essential oil
  • 2 drops of Thyme essential oil

Eucalyptus helps fight congestion as well as coughing; thyme is extremely antiviral. Lavender fights viruses and bacteria and helps promote relaxation. Rub about a teaspoon of the mix on your chest before going to bed. It can help you get some much-needed rest and breathe easier.

Here is a great aromatherapy immune system booster to keep you feeling your best you can make up wither a roller ball bottle blend using coconut oil and the following oils.

  • 6 drops Geranium
  • 5 drops Eucalyptus
  • 5 drops Tea Tree

Oils to Use for Congestion and Influenza

Here’s a list of some of the most popular oils. It’s a good idea to keep these versatile oils on hand for a lot of different reasons, but they are beneficial for helping soothe symptoms and in some instances to use for home remedies.

Peppermint can help soothe headaches, relieve congestion and sometimes relieve a fever. Dilute it with a carrier oil and apply it to the chest, bottoms of your feet or temples.

Lemon is a natural and effective decongestant and has antiviral properties.

Oregano is thought to be antibacterial, anti-parasitic, antiviral and antifungal. Diffuse it or put it in a vaporizer.

Lavender can aid with relief of cold and flu symptoms while it helps relax muscles and ease a headache.

Eucalyptus helps ease the respiratory system during a bout with the flu or a cold. Create a soothing rub by blending it with a carrier oil. It can be used as an ointment. Rub it on our chest and shoulders for cough relief.

Cinnamon Essential oil of cinnamon has powerful antifungal and antioxidant properties that help bolster the body’s immune system. A little bit of this essential oil, however, goes a long way. It has a richer scent than the ground spice, but it’s an essential oil you’ll want to use—even a small amount is effective, and the aroma is comforting.

Clove essential oil is a rich spice that adds warmth to a cold and flu blend while opening nasal airways and improving breathing. Clove is also an excellent companion oil that will boost the scent of other spices or sweeten the sharpness of eucalyptus. Just a drop or two, though—like cinnamon, clove’s robust aroma can overpower. These distinct spice oils (clove and cinnamon) will help you avoid getting sick when it seems as if everyone is sneezing in your direction.

Black Pepper less aggressive than cinnamon or clove, yet still effective for easing influenza’s aches and pains, black pepper is a woodsy, green aromatic that smells very little like the table spice, but offers a similar stimulating kick. Blend it with other essential oils to tackle bugs and viruses and add a bright scent to the mix.

Grand Fir is a decongestant that also offers anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing properties, especially when combined with clove. Grand fir can be added to a massage oil blend or to a bath (along with a carrier oil) to relieve achy muscles and joints associated with seasonal colds or the flu.

Geranium Many people enjoy the smell of geranium. But the scent is just one of its many charms. It is antiseptic and antibacterial, which not only makes it great in blends but can help you disinfect the air and surfaces in your home.  Geranium is relaxing as well and can help mask the odor of more medicinal oils that may be in blends for sickness.

Lemon oil helps invigorate the lymphatic system, which can be sluggish in times of illness. It may surprise you to know that even though the scent is stimulating, this oil is quite calming and can actually act as a mild stimulant.  This is a photosensitizing oil, and should not be used on the skin undiluted or before going out in the sun.

Peppermint Along with ginger, peppermint tea has long been used to reduce nausea and make people feel better.  If you have been exposed to oils for any length of time, I’m sure you’ve heard someone recommend peppermint oil for coughs at some point.  Many commercial supplements contain peppermint. It can help for a variety of ailments including gastrointestinal issues, respiratory and sinus infections, and coughs and colds.

Rosemary  is one of those oils to have on hand all of the time. It can help soothe aches and pains that come with the cold and flu and is helpful to diffuse for a cough. Not only this, it can help calm anxiety that may be plaguing you while you’re ill and can help ease your pounding head as well.

Thyme Both of these oils are a good choice. There are numerous variations and chemotypes of thyme. Both of these have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties.  Thyme has been used throughout history for medicinal purposes. Hippocrates even recommended the herb for respiratory conditions, and we can still benefit from it today.

 

Winter Warmer Roller Blend

Roll this aromatic blend on the inner wrist and dab a dot under your nose and breathe deeply. Not only is this blend naturally antiviral, it’s also emotionally uplifting for when you’re feeling under the weather. Use coconut as your carrier,

  • 2 drops Eucalyptus
  • 2 drops Cinnamon
  • 2 drops Clove
  • 6 drops Black Pepper
  • 8 drops Lavender

Breathe Easy Blends

You can add these blends to a diffuser or use them to make a massage oil: mix oils in a 1 oz. glass bottle with a carrier oil such as grapeseed or sweet almond oil.

Blend

  • 8 drops Eucalyptus
  • 8 drops Black Pepper
  • 12 drops Lavandin

Blend

  • 4 drops Eucalyptus
  • 10 drops Lavandin
  • 14 drops Green Mandarin

Immune Boosting Blend

Here is a great aromatherapy immune system booster to keep you feeling your best you can make up using a roller ball bottle blend using coconut oil and the following oils.

  • 6 drops Geranium
  • 5 drops Eucalyptus
  • 5 drops Tea Tree

Healthy Tip: Make effective use of your respiratory blends. A few times daily, apply blends in a circular motion on the chest and solar plexus, the base of and behind your neck, behind your ears, and on other lymph nodes. Then place a drop under the nose to hasten the benefits of aromatherapy.

Colds:

  • 2 Drops Eucalyptus
  • 2 drops Rosemary
  • 1 drop Lemon

Mix a teaspoon of carrier oil of choice. Rub a bit over the temples, forehead, chest, and neck areas.

 Head Colds:

  • 10 drops Ravensara
  • 5 drops Ho wood
  • 5 drops Palmarosa
  • 5 drops Thyme linalol.

Mix together and add six drops to diffuse for colds.

 Coughs With Mucus

  • 2 drops Eucalyptus radiata
  • 2 drops Thyme linalol
  • 1 drop Tea Tree
  • 1 drop Geranium

Add this mix to your diffuser or another humidifying method.

 Sinus Congestion

  • 2 drops Cardamom
  • 2 drops Rosemary
  • 1 drop each Eucalyptus, Peppermint, and Tea Tree

This blend works well to either diffuse or add to a bowl of hot water for steam inhalation. Place your head over the bowl and a towel on the back of your head and breathe in the steam for 10 minutes or so, until the water cools.

 For Fever

  • 2 drops Lavender or Peppermint
  • 2 drops Eucalyptus

More often than not, these illnesses come with a raised temperature. Luckily, there are essential oils that are antifebrile, which means they can help reduce fevers.  Add the above oils to a bath will have a cooling effect. Be sure to mix the drops with a little carrier oil or aloe vera juice before adding to the bath water, as the bath can become slippy.

Toddler Cold

If you are dealing with a little one who’s sick, don’t use the steam inhalation method as they can burn themselves with the hot water. For a toddler cold, diffuse a five-drop mix of any of the following oils:

  • Chamomile, Roman
  • Geranium
  • Lavender
  • Tea Tree

The above oils are appropriate for babies and children above seven months old.

Just remember that with oils, less is more. Here are a handful more tips for you to get rid of that cold using essential oils.

  • 3-8 drops of single or blended oil are suitable for a bath. Mix with a teaspoon or tablespoon of carrier or aloe vera juice first.
  • For compresses, whether hot or cold, disperse 3-10 drops of oil in water prior to soaking.
  • Cotton swabs or tissues only need a drop or two.
  • Follow your diffuser instructions to determine the number of drops.
  • For humidifiers, use up to eight drops per pint.
  • If using a bowl of water for inhalation, only 3-5 drops are needed.
  • Ten to 30 drops of essential oil can be added to each ounce of carrier oil (30 mL). Use sparingly over the area being massaged.
  • Purify the air by adding 10-20 drops of your favorite viral-busting oil or blend to a pint of water in a spray bottle. Shake well before each use.

 

There are special circumstances to be aware of when using essential oils for congestion, colds, and the flu.

Children, Elderly, and the Chronically Sick

Care must always be taken around particular groups of people. Babies and toddlers are especially susceptible to being harmed by oils.

For instance, there have been cases of seizures due to eucalyptus oil in small children.

Asthmatics

People with asthma can have severe attacks just being around essential oils. Even recipes for breathing them in can be dangerous.

Please use care when diffusing around asthmatics as well as giving them any other type of remedy involving essential oils.

 

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Anyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding should always be careful what they breathe in, ingest, or use on their body topically. While many oils are safe, others are not. Please consult with an expert on which oils you may or may not use.

 

 

 

Let Me Try

It’s not about how long we live but how well we live.

There are so many things that we are told not to do in life: Don’t smoke, don’t drink coffee, stay away from fatty foods and keep as active as possible.

But where is the balance?  To live a truly Holistic life you need to find that balance.  Yes, I drink coffee, my exercise consists of running around after my two wild boys and constantly going from A to B doing jobs for the centre, I eat red meat and I am not Phoebe from friends, although I do sing like her.  But I am for the most part happy, healthy-ish but mostly I am content with my life which I believe makes me complete.

If I were to believe everything I have seen online, on peoples beautiful posed Instagram feed, on the front cover of nearly all the magazines, on numerous online articles about a tablet to cure this and that, stay away from all medications, macro, micro diets, to supplement or not supplement and so and so on, I should be 6 feet under by now.

I believe that good health and happiness go way beyond the physical, you must embrace the beautiful mess that life is, warts and all, and learn to be the best version of yourself on any given day.

Life is trial and error.  You fail and you fall, then you get up and try again.  Life is a journey and we learn a lot from the bumpy roads.  I am still on that road.

My perspective on what a healthy person is:

A happy healthy person doesn’t wish their life away, or dwell on past events.  They are able to love and to be loved, they have strong relationships but love their own company and independence, so if that love were to leave, they are strong enough to make the most of their new lives.

They know how important it is to forgive.  Holding onto grudges and hurt feelings only affects the person who holds onto them.  You don’t have to be loved by everyone or try to please everyone, this is an impossible task and the quickest way to pile on layers of self-doubt and misery.

They have a realistic self-awareness.  In other words, they can see their own weaknesses and their own shortcomings, without trying to change the people around them.  Working on self-improvement is a lifelong challenge that they accept with open arms.

They can laugh at themselves.  If you can see the funny and incongruous side of life, even during stressful moments, it can be to your advantage.  Expecting yourself to be perfect is the quickest way to discontent. Do the best you can—which may or may not be good enough—but that’s all you can do.  Accept it, smile, move on and give yourself a break. Stop worrying!

They are not judgmental.   They walk their own path and learn from their own mistakes, never reminding other people of theirs.

They don’t complain.  There’s much to complain about today.  And there are times when we need to get things off of our chests to keep from exploding, and that’ okay.   However, constantly complaining and never trying to fix the issues is not a habit of healthy people.

This is my take on how life should be, as this is life it is not always possible.  I embrace this fact and every single day my mantra is “Let me try”.

 

Smells like home

Smells like home…

written by: Claire Kenny 08/09/2018


For as long as I can remember, my mother always had a bottle of essential oils ready for nearly all of our minor ailments when growing up.
When it came to exam times, interviews even the debs, mam would just pop into her wooden box of magic and make up blends that we could apply to our pulse points or even to our clothes. Our house always smelled safe.
Some of these blends even today remind of feeling safe and secure rather than the stress I was going through at the time of applying them.
Aromatherapy is the practice of inhaling the scent of essential oils to improve your mental and physical well-being.
One theory of how they work is that by stimulating the smell receptors in your nose, they can send messages to your nervous system. They are also thought to have a subtle effect on the body’s chemical and energy systems. Because of this, aromatherapy is often used as a natural remedy to relieve anxiety and stress.
Essential oils must be diluted with a carrier oil before they’re applied to the skin. This reduces your risk of irritation. For adults, every 15 drops of essential oil should be diluted with 1 ounce of carrier oil. For children, the ratio is 3 to 6 drops of essential oil to 1 ounce of carrier oil. Some popular carrier oils are almond, coconut, and jojoba.
Essential oils should never be ingested, despite claims on the internet that suggest otherwise. There’s not enough research on any one essential oil to prove it’s safe to swallow. Each essential oil is very different, and some are toxic.

Below is a list of some of my favourite essentials oil for anxiety and stress.

Valerian

Valerian is an herb that has been used since ancient times. It’s thought to contain compounds that promote sleep and calm nerves. It can have a mild sedative effect on the body.
How to use: Add a few drops of valerian oil to an aromatherapy diffuser and inhale. Ideally use Valerian at home in the evening as it may make you sleepy or relaxed.

Lavender

Lavender is one of the most popular aromatherapy oils. Lavender aromatherapy is thought to calm anxiety by impacting the limbic system, the part of the brain that controls emotions.
How to use: Enjoy a relaxing lavender bath by combining several drops of lavender oil with a teaspoon of carrier oil or an unscented bath gel. Stir the mixture into warm bathwater just before entering.

Jasmine

Jasmine oil has a gorgeous floral scent. Inhaling jasmine oil can promote a sense of well-being and romance. Unlike some other essential oils used for anxiety, jasmine oil is thought to calm the nervous system without causing sleepiness.
How to use: Inhale jasmine oil directly from the bottle or allow the scent to fill the room through a diffuser.

Sweet basil

Sweet basil essential oil comes from the same herb that you use in cooking. In aromatherapy, it’s thought to help calm the mind and relieve stress.
The phenol compounds in sweet basil oil helped relieve anxiety. These compounds were found to be less sedating than the anxiety medication diazepam.
How to use: Add several drops of sweet basil oil to a room diffuser or inhale through an inhaler tube.

Bergamot

Bergamot oil comes from bergamot oranges and has an invigorating citrus scent. Bergamot helps relieve anxiety and improve mood.
When used topically, bergamot may increase sun sensitivity.
How to use: Place a few drops of bergamot oil onto a cotton ball or handkerchief. Inhale the aroma two to three times to help relieve anxiety.

Chamomile

Chamomile is well-known for its relaxing and sedating properties and intoxicating scent. There isn’t much research on chamomile essential oil for anxiety.
How to use: Massage diluted chamomile oil into your skin or add it to a warm bath.

Rose

Rose essential oil is extracted from rose petals. Roses have an enchanting floral scent known to relax the senses.
Using a rose aromatherapy footbath can reduce anxiety in pregnant women during labour. Not be used unless in labour.
How to use: Soak your feet in a basin filled with warm water and diluted Rose essential oil. You can also add rose oil to your favourite non-scented moisturizer or shea butter and massage into skin.

Vetiver

Vetiver may be less known than other essential oils, but it’s not less effective. Vetiver oil comes from the grassy vetiver plant native to India. It has a sweet, earthy scent and is used as an aphrodisiac.
How to use: Enjoy a relaxing massage with diluted vetiver oil, or add it to a diffuser.

Ylang Ylang

Floral-scented Ylang Ylang is used in aromatherapy to promote relaxation. Inhaling a blend of Ylang Ylang, lavender, and bergamot lowered stress and anxiety levels, blood pressure, heart rate, and serum cortisol.
How to use: Apply diluted Ylang Ylang to your skin, add to a room diffuser, or inhale directly.

Frankincense

Frankincense oil is made from the resin of the Boswellia tree. It has a musky, sweet aroma that’s thought to ease anxiety. A beautiful massage blend of frankincense, lavender, and bergamot can improve anxiety, depression, and sometimes even pain in people with terminal cancer.
How to use: Massage diluted frankincense oil onto your hands or feet. You can also add frankincense to a diffuser.

Clary sage

Clary sage is different from the common herb used to make stuffing at Thanksgiving. It has a woody, herbal odour. Due to its calming abilities, it’s often used as an aphrodisiac.
Clary sage can ease tension and help control cortisol levels in women. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone. High cortisol levels may increase your risk of anxiety and depression.
How to use: Inhale clary sage oil directly when you feel anxious, or massage the diluted oil into your skin. Do not use clary sage while pregnant as it can cause contractions.

Patchouli

Musky patchouli is used in Ayurvedic medicine to relieve anxiety, stress, and depression. It’s often combined with other essential oils such as lavender. Patchouli is thought to promote calmness and relaxation, though most evidence is anecdotal.
How to use: To relieve anxiety, inhale patchouli oil directly or add it diluted to a warm bath or room diffuser.

Geranium

Geranium oil is distilled from the geranium plant.
For women in the first stage of labour, inhaling geranium oil effectively reduced their anxiety during labour. It may also help decrease diastolic blood pressure.
How to use: Apply a few drops geranium oil to a cotton ball and waft under your nose a few times.

Lemon balm

Lemon balm has a fresh, uplifting aroma. In aromatherapy, it has a soothing, restorative effect. Most success stories on inhaling lemon balm for anxiety are anecdotal. It may also improve sleep.
How to use: Lemon balm is a great oil to add to a diffuser to add scent to an entire room. You can also inhale it directly.

Marjoram

Also known as oregano, sweet marjoram is thought to calm nervousness and anxiety. It’s also used to ease headaches, a common symptom of anxiety.
How to use: Dilute marjoram with a carrier oil and rub into your temples. You may also apply to your wrists or add to a diffuser.

Fennel

Fennel is best known as a cooking spice. It has an anise aroma and is used to treat many anxiety side effects such as digestive problems. It may also help relieve anxiety that’s related to menopause and other conditions.
Using fennel essential oil has been known to help menopause side effects such as anxiety, hot flashes, sleep problems, and depression.
How to use: Add diluted fennel oil to a warm bath to help relax your body and your mind.

What to do before use:

Essential oils may cause an allergic reaction when used topically. To avoid this, it’s important to do a patch test on a small area of skin before use.
Place a few drops of diluted essential oil on your wrist or elbow, and cover the spot with a bandage. Check the area in 24 hours. If you experience any redness, rash, or itching, the oil isn’t safe for you to use on your skin.
Essential oils aren’t safe for everyone. Talk to your doctor before using essential oils if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or have an underlying medical condition. You should also consult your doctor before using essential oils on children.
Remember: Not all essential oils are created equal, so you should only buy them from a reputable source.

The tell tale signs that you are not getting enough water

Are you drinking enough water?

Written be Claire Kenny 05/09/2018

Did you know that on average, the adult human body is made up of around 65% water. To put that in perspective, the average amount of blood in the adult human body is only about 7% of their body weight. Everyday activities, not to mention strenuous exertion, can quickly deplete the body’s water storage through sweat and urination and lead to signs and symptoms of dehydration if enough water isn’t consumed and replaced.

How Much Water Should You Drink Per Day?

Water requirements vary by age, activity, weight, and lifestyle, but a good rule of thumb to follow is eight full eight-ounce glasses per day. To stave off dehydration, some less active, smaller people may require a little less. Meanwhile, more active people may require more.

Dehydration affects the body on a widespread level, and, unattended, it can even lead to death. One of the best ways to know how much water you should drink each day is by simply following the signals  your body gives off as it enters dehydration.

 

Signs That Your Body Isn’t Getting Enough Water:

Headache

Our brains are around 80% water. So, dehydration affects the brain hard and fast. The lack of water supply  causes a restricted flow of oxygenated blood to the brain, which can cause swelling and opening of the blood vessels. It also causes the brain to shrink and draw away from the skull, which triggers pain receptors, which can either bring on a headache or increase the severity of an existing headache.

loss of concentration and low moods

As your body is primarily made up of water,  and our brains are almost 80% water, your body relies on water to help oxygenated blood to flow to your brain, without this water consumption your brain can start to look like a dried out sponge which can result in symptoms of confusion, disorientation, dizziness, moodiness, irritability, and general lack of mental acuity. As you increase your water intake, you’ll see your focus, mood, and concentration begin to improve.  So in short to help with your concentration at work or study, to stop you from shouting at everyone around you and to help aid your memory recall, you guessed it, DRINK MORE WATER.

Dry skin, mouth and eyes

If you have ever wondered why your skin is looking a little lifeless, your constantly reaching for your lip balm or your eyes are always itchy, your lips, nose, mouth, airway, and eyes are lined with mucus membranes that secrete mucus to protect and moisturize. Without enough water, mucus membranes dry out and can cause dried mouth, lips, eyes, skin, and airway.   Did you know that another sign of dehydration can be bad breath.  So if you want your skin to glow like a 14 year old again just increase your water consumption.

Persistently Feeling Hungry And Thirsty

If I forget to have my daily water consumption my stomach will start to growl, which actually is the hypothalamus sending a signal to your stomach to ask for substance, this is so commonly mistaken for feeling hungry, so if you have just eaten your main meal and this is happening, please don’t reach for the packet of biscuits, why not reach for a glass of water and you will be amazed at how much better you will feel.  Your metabolisim actually slows down when you don’t drink enough water which can become part of the reason behind weight gain. Your metabolism needs water to burn off fat.  So before you reach for the fad diet teas and pills, why not just increase your water consumption and you could shed those extra pounds.

Dark and smelly urine

Normal urine is a pale straw yellow color and pretty odorless. When you are showing signs of dehydration your urine can be dark amber and has a very strong musky odor.  The reason behind this is that there are more toxins and waste than liquid(water) to dilute it.  You can actually go to the toilet less when dehydrated as your body will strive to keep as much water in it’s system for survival.  So the next time you go to the loo, just have a little peek before you flush and remember straw in good and dark amber is bad.

Frequent UTI’s

Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s) are most often caused by bacteria in the urinary tract. Proper hydration helps move that bacteria on out of the body. Dehydration, however, allows the bacteria to stick around and create urinary tract and bladder infections.

Tiredness

Yes the kids have just gone back to school and you now possibly have a little more time on your hands, so why are still feeling so tired?  Without the proper water consumption our body goes into what is know as survival mode.  This is were the body will try and reserve as much energy as possible for the vital functions of life, heart, lungs and kidneys; everything else becomes second fiddle, so your larger muscle groups and brain are not getting enough of the much needed oxygenated blood, which can make even the smallest of tasks feel like a marathon.  With proper water intake your energy levels will increase and you feel less like a zombie and more like you again.

Muscle Spasms And Cramping

As stated above as your large muscle groups are not getting the beautiful rich oxygenated blood to keep them all supple and relaxed, the weakened muscles can cramp and spasm as a result,this can include bad period cramps and spasms.  When you increase your water intake this should help those cramps ease if dehydration is the cause.

As you can see, dehydration takes a huge toll on everything from your skin to your muscles. Listen to the cues your body is sending you so that you can drink enough water and avoid dehydration.

 

Please note that if you have persistent symptoms that are concerning you, please don’t hesitate to contact your GP to rule everything else out.

 

It’s good to talk

written by: Claire Kenny 06/09/2018

Since opening the centre, now over 5 years ago, I have been asked countless times “why don’t I incorporate an online booking system to make life faster and easier for the clients and students that we have the pleasure of looking after.”

There is no doubt that these new systems have increased efficiency by leaps and bounds, but what has been sacrificed is human interaction and a direct connection to the exchange of value.

Have you ever booked online for a yoga class and arrived with your new mat and baggy tracksuit bottoms, as you are a complete beginner, and been met with a packed studio of twenty somethings in very tight Lycra doing handstands against the wall jammed in like sardines?  I have and boy did I hot foot it out of there and vowed that I would never try Yoga again. Don’t worry I have since.

Have you ever booked online for a massage as a treat after a really hard long week to be met by a deep tissue therapist, who yes is amazing at what they do but you feel like you have been beaten up with a baseball bat and all you wanted was sounds of whales in the background, candles lighting and a little hug of a massage?  I have, and was left disappointed, not by the therapist, but by the system and not being able to ask for a relaxing light massage and sip of herbal tea afterwards.

Now I do understand that life is so fast paced and there is an app for everything to make life simpler, but at what cost?

If time is so precious; then what if you do make that mistake of booking in for the wrong class or with the wrong therapist?  If you take the time to make a 2 minute call to us here at the centre, we will know exactly what you need and what would suit you best.  So rather than make that mistake that will cost you an hour or more from your already busy life, give us a call as we like to talk here at the centre.

For the full list of classes that are all starting new terms this week and next just click the following links:

www.riverholsitic.ie/classes

For a full list of therapies that you would like to try but may not know what exactly is involved use the link below:

www.riverholistic.ie/therapies

Then you guessed it, just give us a call and let us help you make the right choice the first time.

 

Claire

 

 

 

 

Natural ways to treat head lice

Tis the season to see these oh so common bugs in our little darlings hair.
With the schools now open for business this is the busiest time for there pesky pests.
It can be so hard to get rid of them once they have made your little ones head its home.
Below you are going to find different options that can work with curbing the itch and constant battle to rid them from your home.
I would always recommend as a prevention to work with the other parents of the children in your child’s class.
What I do for both my sons classes is to ask all the parents to use a fine tooth comb every Sunday without fail, it only takes about 10-20 min depending on hair length. If everyone were to do this you can honestly stop the constant letters coming home in your child’s schoolbag.
I also add about 15 drops tea tree oil to all of our shampoo’s to help with prevention.

Luckily, these natural remedy treatment can help eliminate even the most stubborn lice:

1. Almond Oil or Olive Oil

Both almond oil and olive oil are effective home remedies for lice, as they work to smother or suffocate lice, slowing them down to make them easier to remove with a comb. Coat the hair with oil after separating the hair into several small sections, keeping them separate with clips. Work under good lighting so you can see clearly, and be sure to frequently rinse the comb with hot running water. After combing through the hair, shampoo and rinse twice, then thoroughly clean the towel and comb. Use this remedy every day for one week.

2. Essential Oils

Several essential oils have been proven to help eliminate lice with the help of combing, including nutmeg, peppermint, red thyme, cinnamon, eucalyptus, clove, neem and lavender. Always check for allergies before using a new essential oil. Add between 3 and 10 drops of essential oil to 2 oz of olive oil, then let it sit on the scalp overnight, for a minimum of 12 hours. Comb everything out then shampoo twice.

3. Neem Oil

Neem oil is a natural insecticide. It can help get rid of lice safely and effectively. Buy a shampoo that contains neem oil, or add several teaspoons of neem oil to your own shampoo, and use it regularly.

4. Garlic and Lime Juice (very smelly, but very effective)

Garlic’s strong fragrance can suffocate lice. Make a paste by grinding 8-10 garlic cloves and mixing them with 2-3 teaspoons of lime juice. Apply the mixture to the scalp and let it sit for 30 minutes before thoroughly rinsing it with warm water.

5. Mayonnaise or Coconut Oil

Use mayonnaise or coconut oil to saturate the scalp and hair, then cover the head with a shower cap for 12-24 hours. Heat the shower cap, then shampoo the hair without getting it wet. Cover scalp again for 30 minutes to allow the oil to break down, then thoroughly rinse the hair and comb through it. Go through the hair section by section with the comb, and be sure to rinse it regularly with hot water. Shampoo hair with no water once more, and wear a shower cap overnight to prevent lice from returning.

6. Nit Comb

For children under two years old, comb wet hair using a fine-toothed nit comb. For best results, comb while the hair is wet and contains conditioner. Comb out the hair two times each session for 3-4 days.

8. Treat the Home

To help prevent a re-infestation, try these steps:
Wash their coats as the hoods and collars will always have eggs left.
Wash brushes and combs daily in hot water to dislodge lice.
Seal items that are non-washable and touched the head, in a plastic bag for 2 weeks.
Change towels, pajamas, sheets and pillowcases daily.
Vacuum the part of a child’s car seat cover that touches the child’s head daily.

How massage can affect your overall health

How massage therapy can improve your overall health

By Claire Kenny 17/07/2018

 

Some people still believe massage therapy is an indulgence purely for relaxation. The health benefits of massage, however, have proven otherwise.

Today we know that our mind-body connection means excessive stress brings on or exacerbates illness by reducing our own natural immunity to disease. People who value their health know that, like a healthy diet and exercise, regular massage treatments are a valuable part of a stress-reduction plan.

Anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions can be better managed with massage therapy, according an article on the Mayo Clinic website (mayoclinic.org). In addition, massage helps reduce or alleviate headaches, joint pain, digestive disorders, fibromyalgia and much more.

Massage therapy has many forms, applied according to a therapist’s training and a client’s ailments. Some commonly known techniques are Swedish, hot stone, deep tissue, prenatal, and sports massage.

Holistic massage is a combination of various movements used to manipulate muscles through the application of pressure to either soothe or stimulate the whole body. It aims to balance the “whole” person and the effects will vary with each individual.

This therapy helps in the relief of a wide range of problems physiologically and psychologically, they include:

Relaxation of the whole body, reducing stress and anxiety

Gives a “lift” to the emotions and increases positive feelings

Encourages deeper and therefore more efficient and relaxed breathing

Relieves muscle fatigue, soreness and stiffness

Encourages sleep

It promotes suppleness of the muscles, improves circulation and reduces stress.

Balances digestion and waste removal.

With regular Holistic Massages you will find that you have increased energy levels as there is less energy spent in holding the body in a state of tension and strain. In this fast moving world, shouldn’t we all have some real time out!

Hot Stone massage involves the use of water-heated basalt stones of varying sizes in combination with Swedish massage techniques. The heat of the stones helps muscles relax more quickly than in traditional massage, allowing manipulation of a greater intensity.

The benefits of Hot stone massage

Muscular aches, pains, sprains and strains.

Poor circulation

Rheumatic and arthritic conditions

Back pain

Stress, anxiety and tension

The term deep tissue massage refers to increased pressure applied by a therapist aiming to alleviate chronic pain and increase range of motion. This type of massage can be painful. Although some call it a “good pain,” any massage therapy should be done only to the client’s tolerance.

Deep tissue massage is a specialized massage aimed at the deeper tissue structures of the muscles. This massage uses many of the same movements and techniques as Swedish massage, but the pressure will generally be more intense. It is also a more focused type of massage, as the therapist works to release chronic muscle tension or knots (also known as adhesions).

PREGNANCY MASSAGE can help alleviate many of the symptoms and conditions associated with pregnancy. During this amazing time of physical and emotional change, pregnancy massage can be of enormous benefit to both the mother and baby.

Amoungst many benefits, massage during pregnancy has been found to help alleviate the following complaints:

Muscle tension,

Muscle spasm & cramping,

Sciatic pain ,

Swelling oedema

Back, neck and shoulder discomfort caused by hormonal and postural changes.

Improve quality of sleep

Reduce headaches

Relieve heartburn

Balance mood-swings and help depression.

It reduces stress and allows the mother to relax, both important for during the pregnancy and labour.

The health of the baby is enhanced by the pregnancy massage through increasing blood circulation, lymph circulation, reducing oedema and increasing cellular respiration. Massage helps the mother to feel nurtured and pampered and this can then be passed onto the baby.  Pregnancy massage assists in reducing tension in the weight bearing joints and other bone and muscle structures.

It also helps maximize breathing capacity which is needed during labor and delivery.

Sports massage can help relieve soft-tissue aches and muscle stiffness to prepare for events or recover from exercise. This type of massage isn’t just for sports injuries though. It can be beneficial to anyone who engages in repetitive physical activity, which is hard on the body.

It’s always best to check with your doctor before starting any new health regimen, including massage therapy.

Massage therapy is good for almost anyone, whether they are active or sedentary. So the next time you’re stressed, overwhelmed or in pain, consider getting a massage. It may help your overall health to massage that issue out of your tissue

www.riverholistic.ie/therapies

Scalp relaxation techniques

Relaxation is something most of us don’t really know of, specifically because of the fast-paced lives we lead. Try out these relaxation techniques for yourself and see how it leaves you feeling great in almost no time at all.

SIDE SCALP MANEUVER

Relax your scalp by doing a side scalp laxity exercise, this is a great way to rid yourself of all that stress. Sit upright in a chair and place your hands on the sides of your head such that each palm is above each ear. Straighten your fingers, but make sure you do not clasp them together. Slowly begin moving your scalp up and down, keeping in mind not to move your fingers. Move your scalp for about two minutes before removing your hands. Relax for about 10 seconds before repeat this exercise for about 10 times.

HEAD KNOCK MASSAGE

Massaging your scalp helps to increase the blood circulation to your hair follicles. This helps in the prevention of hair loss while improving your overall hair health. Try the head knock massage, which is an ancient Indonesian technique. Stand straight with your feet about shoulder-width apart and be sure to continue breathing normally throughout this exercise. Begin lowering your upper body by bending ever so slightly at the waist, allowing your spine to or curve. Bend up till the point where you find your head slightly below your waist level. Remember to position your legs straight and curve your fingers to the knuckle. Use the knuckle of your index finger to gently tap your scalp with your knuckle. Use your other knuckles as well. Now, cover as much of your scalp as you can – the front, back, sides and lobe area of your scalp, while gently tapping the hair area. Perform this knuckle massage for about 30 seconds. Stop and return your body to the standing position. Relax for about 10 seconds before repeating this scalp massage exercise while standing up.

CIRCULAR MASSAGE

Say goodbye to hair loss with this circular massage exercise. Start in an upright position seated comfortably and pour in a few drops of rosemary essential oil onto your scalp. You may also use vitamin E oil. Now, use the tips of your fingers to massage your scalp. Start on the right side of your scalp. Be sure to work small sections of your scalp and use circular motions for the first three to five minutes. Reverse this direction and work in counter-clockwise circular motions for the next two minutes. Be sure to massage your entire scalp area up to the hairline. Try not to use your fingernails as this is likely to damage your scalp. Massage your scalp for five minutes daily.

INDIAN HEAD MASSAGE

This treatment focuses on the blood circulation in the head, neck, and shoulders. A great deal of pressure is used in this technique, but it isn’t painful at all. This massage is best carried out by a professional. So give us a call at 018310888 or email info@riverholistic.ie and we can help ease all of the daily tension away.

It’s okay you got this

Going through fertility treatment can be a challenging experience both physically and emotionally. All matter of scenarios might be running through your head, with so many questions, what ifs and more. You might be researching the topic or constantly wanting to think about it.

Some days you may feel completely overwhelmed with the process, so it is important to put some strategies in place early, to help you cope during these times.

 

#1 Be kind to yourself

Fertility treatment can be an emotional rollercoaster; it is normal to find you cope well some days and others your emotions are a little overwhelming. On those tougher days, consider taking time out for yourself to engage in whatever self-care works best for you – it may be having a good cry, time alone, time with friends or family, doing something you enjoy.

 

#2 Develop and maintain good self-care practices

Make these part of your daily or weekly routine and use them regularly; prioritise these to assist with your well-being. Self-care is very personal but could include things such as reading, music, exercise, time with family or friends, soak in a bath, fresh flowers, meditation, engaging with spirituality etc.

#3 Focus on the things that you can control

By doing this you can be proactive and channel your energy into things you have the ability to influence which many people find empowering. Things you can control include diet, exercise, sleep, self-care etc. but be balanced in this and don’t be too restrictive.

#4 Consider limiting the amount of time spent focussing on infertility

You could set a daily time limit (e.g. 30 minutes) or a specific number of times per week. During this time give yourself permission to think about, talk about, research infertility and treatment as much as you like, but once the time is over try to set it aside until the same time the next day/occasion. Although difficult, it is important not to let fertility treatment consume you.

 #5 Try to live in the moment

It is easy for your mind to wander too far ahead worrying about all the what ifs. Try to deal with each moment or difficulty as it arises. Mindfulness can be very helpful in allowing us to stay more in the present moment.

#6 Keep the lines of communication open

It is important to talk with others, particularly your partner about your thoughts and feelings.

 #7 Prioritise reconnecting with your partner and rejuvenating your relationship

Fertility treatment can take a toll on your relationship. Try to do things that help to put the fun and spontaneity back into your relationship. Reconnect with all the things about each other that drew you together in the first place.

#8 Consider keeping a gratitude journal

Noting down three things a day that you are grateful/thankful for. These could be related to fertility or could be completely separate. Even in tough times, if we look hard enough there are often other little things in our life that give us hope and lead us to feel thankful.

 #9 Ask for help if needed

If your feelings seem to be increasing in intensity or lasting more than a few days please seek professional support through your specialist.

We are always here to help with your journey through IVF, ART, pregnancy and all that comes with it.

We have a full list of therapies that would include body treatments, talk therapies and classes.

Just call us on 018310888 or email info@riverholistic.ie

xxxx

 

CLAIRE

Natural treatments for psoriatic arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic disease marked by inflammation in the joints and skin. This disease is progressive, worsening over time. If left untreated, psoriatic arthritis can lead to joint damage.
Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a form of arthritis that mainly affects people who have psoriasis or those with a family history of psoriasis. Often, those with PsA have joint pain and inflammation combined with the inflamed, itchy, red patches of skin covered with silvery scales that are typical of psoriasis itself.
The progression of PsA may be slowed with traditional therapies and the symptoms may ease. Alternative remedies may complement these therapies and may help people with PsA feel more in control of the disease.

Natural remedies.
Apple cider vinegar, when applied to psoriasis on the scalp, may help to treat PsA.
There are many natural remedies to try for PsA. Most of these do not have much scientific research supporting their use. The use of these remedies is backed mainly by anecdotal evidence.

Natural remedies for psoriatic arthritis include the following:

Apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar has a lot of buzz for, supposedly, being a miracle cure-all. For treating PsA, people may find it useful if applied to patches of psoriasis on the scalp. However, this should be avoided if the areas are cracked and bleeding.
• Tea tree oil. This essential oil may ease skin inflammation caused by PsA. However, science is cautious to recommend this as a treatment because it may aggravate more sensitive skin.
• Oats. Adding oats to a bath or using oats in a paste can help relieve itchy patches of psoriasis. While there’s little scientific evidence supporting oats as a treatment for psoriasis, oats are highly regarded in folk medicine as one of nature’s best skin soothers.
• Turmeric. Turmeric is highly regarded for its anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shownturmeric may be able to alter gene expression, easing PsA symptoms. People with PsA can either add the spice liberally to their food or take turmeric capsules.
• Capsaicin. Capsaicin is what makes chili peppers hot and may be useful by blocking pain receptors. Some research has also found that when used in over-the-counter creams, capsaicin may reduce psoriasis symptoms as well.
Aloe vera. This soothing balm from an aloe plant may provide cooling comfort for irritated patches of psoriatic skin. However, aloe vera should only be used topically and never ingested. Taking it orally may be dangerous.
• Epsom salts. A warm bath with Epsom salts may help reduce joint pain and inflammation. Epsom salts contain magnesium, a mineral that boosts bone health and may soothe itchy skin. Warm water also helps loosen joints and relieve pain. People with diabetes should be wary when using soaks of Epsom salts as they can stimulate the release of insulin.
• Oregon grape. Some studies suggest that applying creams with Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium) can ease psoriasis skin irritation. Like aloe vera, Oregon grape should only be used topically.
• Fish oil. Joint pain may be reduced by fish oil. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil help block inflammation and ease painful swelling.
• Ginger. A root of ginger is well-known in folk medicine for having many anti-inflammatory properties. Some studies have shown that taking ginger three times a day can reduce knee pain caused by osteoarthritis.
When trying these natural remedies, people with PsA should remember that these remedies are not a substitute for prescribed treatments.

Alternative therapies

Massage therapy may help to alleviate joint pain and provide relief from arthritis-related discomfort.
There are a number of alternative therapies available to complement PsA treatment. These therapies should not replace the traditional treatments for PsA but can provide some additional relief and quality of life benefits.

Alternative therapies include the following:
Massage therapy. A massage therapist trained in dealing with PsA can help relieve joint discomfort and release tight muscles and joints. A massage can provide significant relief from arthritis-related discomfort.
Acupuncture. This technique involves sticking needles into various pressure points to relieve chronic pain. No studies show its usefulness for PsA but some patients with chronic pain do find acupuncture helpful.
• Acupressure. Acupressure involves putting pressure onto different points of the body to reduce pain and pressure, stimulate the immune system, and release tension.

 

Diet
Eating more healthily will not cure PsA but eating well does promote good health and well-being. People with PsA should strive to maintain a healthy weight and stay mindful of their diet.

 

Following these healthy eating tips may help:
• eating plenty of fruits and vegetables
• getting protein through lean meat, beans, and legumes
• choosing low-fat and fat-free dairy products
• avoiding refined sugar and bad carbohydrates such as processed white breads and pasta
• choosing whole grains when possible
• drinking plenty of water
Anyone with PsA may benefit from keeping a food journal and planning healthful meals.
Lifestyle tips
The symptoms of PsA often flare up during periods of stress or fatigue. It may help people with PsA to change their lifestyle to reduce stress since stress is associated with increased inflammation. Doing so also helps people to get adequate sleep so that the body can heal itself.
The following tips and suggestions may help:
Relaxing. Using aromatherapy, breathing techniques, and keeping a journal may help manage stress and promote relaxation.

Getting gentle exercise. Exercise is recommended for people with PsA. They may find yoga and tai chi particularly useful for helping to loosen stiff joints and release stress.
Meditating. Meditation may result in a deeper level of relaxation that may help alleviate stress, so helping prevent or manage symptoms of PsA.
Getting enough sleep. Sleep is crucial to allowing inflammation to heal and to promoting good health.
Taking a warm bath. Spa therapy, including hydrotherapy like a warm bath, can loosen joints and ease pain and inflammation associated with PsA. These therapies can also promote relaxation and decrease stress.
Practicing mindfulness. Being mindful involves checking in with the body and taking stock of how its feeling. It also involves being aware of any situations that may cause unnecessary stress.
An increased sense of physical awareness can help people to catch a flare of symptoms early so that they deal with it before it worsens. Doing so may prevent a worse flare from occurring.
When combining lifestyle remedies with other forms of treatment for PsA, people may find an increased quality of life and more relief. However, lifestyle remedies and natural therapies are not a substitute for a doctor’s care and traditional treatments.

 

When to see a doctor
Anyone who thinks they are experiencing symptoms of PsA should see a doctor for diagnosis and to begin treatment. As the disease is progressive, beginning treatment early is crucial.
Anyone with psoriasis or a family history of psoriasis should be screened regularly for PsA by a doctor.
People with PsA should also see a doctor regularly and should speak to one before starting or changing treatments. This includes any natural or alternative remedies.
Some natural remedies may interact with prescribed medication or may not be recommended for pregnant or breast-feeding women.

 

 

 

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