48 hours in a day

Some big news was brought to my attention last week, which I’m super excited for (but I can’t share yet – sorry!). There was one problem with it, though.

With this news comes work and dedication, which concerned me because I’m already strapped for time as a full time student in one course, part time in three others, as well as an entrepreneur for my day job and housewife, to boot, while trying to work on studio renovations and personal health, fitness and other affairs that take priority.

I’m already running on empty. How am I supposed to fit it all in??

I love my business and I hate ignoring it and putting it aside…. But at the same time, I started it so that I can have that flexibility and freedom if I needed it. The courses I am taking are to add value to the services I’m offering, and the renovations for improving accessibility to those services. These are all coming together nicely, but I’m finding that deadlines are approaching far too quickly than I can keep up with. My files are in disarray, my workspace needs some TLC, I still have product packaging to redesign and website updates to perform, nevermind the research paper to start and case studies that are nearing completion, but all have to be typed up.  Oh, and then there are exams to study for.

Adding this one extra thing I need to do is actually not possible without dropping something else… or at least stretching the day into a 48 hour cycle. So business updates, resources and products are about to become scarce again in order give me time to get these projects done – hopefully on time. They all have deadlines for June, which is when I hope can find some semblance of routine and easy momentum again.

I love my business, which is why I’m always looking to improve it.

As for the other news…

That comes later. 😊

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Break the Cycle

We all live by certain patterns in our lives, many of which have been learned from childhood. Some of these patterns are normal day-to-day life and have no positive or negative effect – they just are how we go about our day. Other patterns, though, can be detrimental to our state of health and happiness, and we find ourselves stuck in a self-fulfilling cycle of repetition.

That cycle will keep repeating, if we let it. The only way off of that train is to break the cycle, or pattern.

But isn’t that easier said than done.

We’ll take an example of my own that I have to break time and time again. Before I actually started to break the habit, though, I was stuck in a downward spiral where the habits and patterns were getting worse and causing more problems each time I went around.

In most cycles there are five stages we go through before repeating the pattern again, and we’re going to use my own weight loss sabotage for an example.

Stage 1: Denial of the problem, or placing blame elsewhere, with no intention to change.

When someone is living in a cycle, they may deny that there’s any behavior that needs to change at all. They aren’t aware that there’s an issue.

I  knew I was a bit on the bigger side, but didn’t think it was a problem. My cholesterol levels and bloodwork all came back normal, so I figured I was just fine. I also had troubles with my knee after breaking it, and had been wanting a consult with a specialist in order to get help. I had nothing but problems with doctors not believing there was an issue beyond my weight, however, and I had many, many terrible confrontations with physicians who refused to help me. I didn’t want to visit another doctor – my anxiety for visiting a physician over rode any concern for my weight. So I decided to just be happy where I was.

Other examples that I’ve heard from others include:

  “I don’t cook, so I can’t eat healthier.”

                “I’m too stressed to think about this now.”

                “I’d rather be fat and happy than skinny and miserable.”

                “I travel too much and don’t have time to cook.”

If you really consider the options above, they are easily passed over without taking responsibility for action – my own example included. All I had to do was look at the BMI chart to know something was wrong – and I did, but decided that doctors were on glue. I was well over the obese range, but figured it wasn’t a big deal. To be fair, I still consider the BMI chart a bit “out there”, because people can’t really all be lumped into the same category. However, there’s a difference between a little overweight, and morbidly obese…. and I was in the morbidly obese range on that dreaded chart. I didn’t have just a few pounds to lose – I had roughly 110 pounds to get to a healthy weight for the type of build I have.

And the signs that it was affecting my health were all there. I was short of breath, I hurt everywhere, all of the time. I didn’t fit into any of my plus sized clothes. I was self conscious, I felt terrible and I was exhausted all of the time. I stressed when it came time to going out and doing anything because I couldn’t find anything that I thought made me looked good enough – even new clothes. Despite the signs, though, I wasn’t ready to accept there was an issue.

And what about the other excuses that are presented above?

                Every single one can be argued. It depends on your desire for change, the reasons for that change, and your willingness to look at options and act on them. Without wanting to break out of that cycle – you won’t. Without being aware of that cycle, you won’t even know to want to break out of it. There’s nothing wrong with that – as long as you’re ok with it. But if you’re NOT ok with remaining in the same habits and routine – then perhaps that’s something to carefully consider and figure out the reasons why you stay in it.

Stage 2: Aware of the problem without action.

And then something makes you wake up to the behavior in question. You start seeing things that you may not like. You become aware of it – but don’t do anything about it except watch.

Over time I realized that there was a real problem with my weight. I realized that my husband couldn’t really wrap my hands around me comfortably, and I was horribly aware of hands on the folds on my back whenever anyone put their hands on my back or gave me a hug. I didn’t want to be hugged anymore (and I’m a hugger!!). I was uncomfortable. I hated photos of myself. I couldn’t fit into new pants I had bought not that long ago. And I started looking at what is considered a “normal” weight range – and even the highest range of the “overweight” category was 60 pounds less than what I weighed at the time. That’s not so much weight, right? But it was, on my short 5’2” frame.
And the more aware of it I became, the more stressed it made me, and the more comfort food I turned to – making the situation even worse.

Step 3: Making the resolution to change.

For many people, New Year’s is the time for resolutions. For those keen on making changes in their lives to find a way to be happier, however, they become resolved in that moment to make a change.

For me, I did just that. I hurt so bad that I’d cry getting out of bed in the morning. I felt terrible, had no energy, and simply had enough. I couldn’t live like that anymore. I decided to make the change, and started looking into the best ways for me to do that.
Short-Determination-Quotes-and-Status

Step 4: Making the change

This is where people jump into a new habit or behavior and become hyper aware of it, focused on making the new habit “stick”. They may set reminders, or make appointments, or leave sticky notes. They take the steps needed to make that change that they’ve resolved to.

I decided to start light. I started trying to eat healthier. For exercise, I began with yoga asanas every day. They were enough, and I hurt just from a short 10 minute practice. But I did it, and when I felt I could add a little more, I started using the Wii Fit a little bit each day when I felt able. And then I started to walk around the block. Yes, just one block. It hurt every damned day, and I was taking handfuls of OTC meds to get through it, but I did it. I started looking into diets, nutrition and options for weight loss, but I didn’t just jump on any bandwagon. I researched it carefully before making any big decisions or changes.

Step 5: Maintaining new habits

This step is one of promise and hope. The one where people have been living their change in behavior or habits and are able to sustain their new way of living.

With the new determination, also came new levels of pain. I was struggling. I was hesitant to visit another GP, so I visited Natural Health Services and was able to get a prescription for medical marijuana, which helped me push past pain. I struggled with dosing at first, but I was able to find a happy balance to keep moving forward. While it helped with the pain, however, my knee was collapsing to the side, and I was concerned about damaging it further. This was one of the issues that had held me back for so long, so in order to keep moving forward I wanted to make sure I wasn’t putting the integrity of the joint at further risk of injury.

In my resolve to get help, I made an appointment to see a doctor in order to get a referral to a specialist. The appointment went terribly. I felt judged, dehumanized and unsupported. I was demoralized. And this is the step I’d normally get to.

Step 6: Relapse

Things happen, and life gets in the way. Something derails that track that people are on with their new habits, and they fall out of their new routine and back into old behaviors. Sometimes there’s no real reason for it, and other times external factors come into play to influence it.

This is where I’d repeat my cycle. This is the defining moment in my own cycle that I’d normally start over again, and decide that I was fine with how I was and go back to where I was comfortable so I didn’t have to deal with the anxiety, the dehumanizing treatment or the ridicule.

Back to Step 1?

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Or…..

 

Break Free!

Does your pattern repeat, or do you break free from it and continue your new life?

This time I didn’t fall back into old patterns. This time I pushed forward, because I wanted to feel better. I was definitely not feeling hopeful, but I pushed through my dismay. I bought a weight scale. I knew I had lost some weight at this point, but I made a goal to lose another 90 pounds, which would put me on the high end of the “normal” range on the BMI chart. Soon after that dreaded appointment, I received a post card in the mail for a new clinic in Leduc, and decided to give them a try. My anxiety was so high that she asked me how I was doing and I started to cry. Funny, how anxiety works. She was compassionate and could see that I was sincerely struggling. She commended my use of marijuana and sent the referral for the specialist before I even left the clinic. I had been trying to get this referral for 2 years without success, and suddenly I had renewed hope. She also send me with a prescription for a psychologist, should I choose to use it (also on my request, because I was not feeling very capable at the time). I left in higher spirits than I had in a long time. I continued with the new routine, slowly building up on it.

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60 lbs down in this photo – wearing the exact same outfit in both.

It’s been nearly two years since my resolution to change. It’s been about one year since that appointment with a physician that took me seriously enough to help me move forward. It did take awhile to build those new habits and routines, but I’m doing it. I’ve solidly lost 65 pounds and am still working on my progress. I’m still partaking in physiotherapy to increase strength to keep my knee from collapsing, which it no longer does. I frequent the  gym daily, have taken up martial arts training, can outrun most people I know now, am underway with yoga teacher training, and rarely even need to use the marijuana for pain relief. I don’t use it recreationally, so it goes untouched for longer periods of time. It used to be taken every morning and evening – but now I use it maybe once a week. Sometimes once every two weeks.

When something else came up last summer that threatened my new routine, I called in the psychology card – I was NOT going back to that place again. I was NOT starting my old habits again. As difficult as it was for me to make that phone call, it was an important phone call to make, and one that I don’t regret to this day. The therapist I found fits me well, and he has given me valuable tools to keep out of the cycle I have gone back to way too many times.

If it hadn’t been for that one physician to treat me like a person, I’m not sure I could have come this far. I still attend that same clinic, although with a different doctor because she moved to a different location. He is just as compassionate, though, and I no longer experience anxiety walking into that clinic. Sometimes you just have to find the right care team.

 

Cycles CAN be broken. New habits CAN be maintained. Change CAN happen.

 

You don’t fail until you give up.

 

Sometimes it’s a lot of work, but if you want it badly enough, you can make it happen.

 

Find your big enough reason why.

 

You’ve got this.

 

With love.

Ctrl+Alt+Del

I’ve been off since last week. Not myself. Last Monday, to be exact, when I ended up in emerg due to an extreme allergic reaction to my bird. Allot has happened in that time, including a full body and mind shut-down. And since then, my mind has been chaotic. The little things that wouldn’t normally be an issue suddenly got under my skin, I’ve been growly, I’ve been uncertain, I’ve been doubtful and all of the things that I haven’t experienced since the summer.

What….. is going…… on…..?

I figured it out, for the most part. The sudden rehoming of my bird was devastating, and I didn’t allow myself to feel the grief of that loss. I’m having ongoing confrontational issues with people nearby. I totally fell for a scam. The medication cocktail I was sent home with made me COMPLETELY loopy for most of last week and threw me off of routine. Nevermind off routine – I have no routine. It was completely annihilated and destroyed. There’s other things going on, but all of these are so little, and things that normally wouldn’t affect me this much. And I finally had to stop and just breathe, even though I felt the upheaval of anxiety stick in my throat. But I found a deep breath. And then another.

Anxiety had hit me like a tornado, and I didn’t realize what it is until I was in the middle of it.

And then I asked myself what any of the pileup of drama has to do with me. And that was the thing that I needed most. Because most of it had nothing at all to do with me. 

One of the things I’ve had to really get control of over the years is OTHER people’s emotions. I carry them, like I described in the entry I wrote about over the weekend. I pick up on other people’s troubles and celebrations and feel them like they’re my own. And while I’ve learned to separate their’s from mine over time, those boundaries were suddenly mixed and jumbled and I couldn’t figure out ass from tea-kettle. The reaction and the meds threw me way off my norm, and I’m sure was the cause of sudden confusion.

But asking that one little question – what any of it has to do with me – suddenly made things feel right again. Mostly. I have a routine to pick up again. I can feel myself calming, my focus returning and my heart slowing. And I need to get back into my gym, asana and kata routine. I finally feel capable of doing that again.

People do and say things that are often mean. They spend time trying to discredit others rather than build their own credibility. They point fingers, lash out, twist words and call names. And why?

Isn’t that the question of the day. It always, always comes down to the self.

There is no reason to be unkind. Ever. No reason to yell. No reason to point fingers. No reason to spend more effort discrediting a person rather than proving another reliable. No reason to treat people poorly or unjustly or unfairly. There’s no reason to treat anyone any differently than the person that they are. And we’re all people. And we all deserve to be recognized as such.

Even if they have starred in hundreds of movies. Even if they have 122,000 social media followers. Even if they are actually outright wrong. Even if you just don’t like them, and don’t have a reason. Even if they keep interrupting you. Even if they made a mistake. Even if that mistake was a terrible one. That business is not yours – unless you make it yours.

It’s ok to disagree. It’s ok to dislike someone. It’s ok to feel what you do. What what they do is their business, and what you do is yours. So what if they don’t like you – why does that have to affect you? So what if they disagree – they have learned something differently. You can tell them they are wrong, but if they don’t believe you then they have reason not to, just as much as you have reason to believe what they don’t. And that’s their business. So what if they keep interrupting you – sure, it’s rude, but that doesn’t mean that you have to be rude back. How you respond is your business, and how you react is a reflection of how much you let them affect you.

And the reality is, no one should have that much effect over anyone else.

The issues I’ve had to shoulder are minor, have all been dealt with and there’s no reason for any of it to affect me whatsoever. But I found myself speculating, criticizing, judging – and I hated it. So why did it affect me? Why did I become so critical again?

Because I allowed it. And now, I’m taking that control back again, because I have better things to feel, amazing things to do and gentle ripples to send out, and not disastrous waves.

And, with that, I’m excited for my next training weekend, which I’m sure will also help me get back into alignment with myself once again. I slipped, but by knowing that I can do better I’m reminding myself that I’m human, just like everyone else. Would I forgive someone else for slipping? I wouldn’t need to, because there’s nothing to forgive. There’s nothing I really did that needs forgiveness, although I have been carrying around this idea that I’ve done something wrong. But most of the wrongs have been thoughts and ideas, and there were no actions taken that need forgiveness. For anyone else faced with this situation I’d help them back up, and help them find forgiveness of their own.

I deserve to be a people, too, and treat myself the same as I would anyone else.

Hari Om.

Essential Oils for Ingestion

There are so many misconceptions regarding the use of essential oils, which is why I’ve been working on safety so hard. They are unregulated, and there are many untrained individuals who are using them in ways that can be more harmful than not, and encouraging others to do the same. I get it – people are wanting to make the best choices for themselves and their family, and they want others to take part in their passions and love them just as much. No one wants to know that something they are so passionate about can actually be harmful. They have found something to believe in, something they want to believe is good for them and for the world, and with so much conflicting information it’s hard to know the best sources to trust, even thought there’s enough information to look at and question. But questions aren’t  always asked, so answers aren’t given – or sought after.

I always encourage people to do what’s best for them.

Sometimes, I disagree that what they are doing is best for them. But that’s only my concern if they want it to be. It’s a hard place to be, sometimes, especially when they come to me for help after the damage has been done.

But I guess others have had to watch me do the same to myself before. No one could tell me otherwise until I learned the hard way. And that’s why I’m continuing to provide as much information as I can in order to try to reach out to people wanting to know more.

It’s quite often I hear people tell me that their essential oil brand is FDA approved, Certified Therapeutic Grade, and food-safe before explaining the benefits of dropping the oils directly into their water, onto their food or other uses that make me cringe, knowing the harm that could potentially be underway and not being able to do anything about it.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not 100% against the internal use of essential oils. They have a time and a place, with proper training, advice and reasons.

I have only ever known ONE case where someone with an uncommon medical issue received advice from a properly trained individual in order to help solve the issue – and then promptly discontinue treatment when it was no longer needed. All others I know that ingest oils do so without advice from trained professionals and have had concerns regarding burned skin, indigestion, diarrhea, dizziness and many other uncomfortable symptoms and reactions that could have been prevented.

First, the Certified Therapeutic Grade essential oils are really no different than other quality oils. This certification is an in-house, trademarked standard for that specific company only and a reflection of their own quality control measures. That isn’t to say that it’s a good system in place or not – but it’s important to know that there is no regulating body for essential oil grades, and this is their own method of safety standard that does not extend outside of that company.

The use of essential oils has been encouraged for use as flavorings in foods, which is meant to be for large quantities. By dipping a toothpick in essential oil, you can use this small amount to flavor an entire cookie batch by stirring the toothpick into the batter. At some point, this method has been changed to put multiple drops of oil in water (which don’t mix, so there’s no proper dilution) or in cooking and smoothies. Keep in mind, however, the benefits of using the whole plant. Essential oils are extractions and do not contain the same chemical make-up as the whole plant. Even drinking tea has better nutritional value than the essential oil, as many of the constituents that are still in the plant you have infusing in your water are left behind in the distillation process for the oil. Another common comment is the amount of “X” plant matter can be ingested in just one drop – but it is not realistic to consume this much of anything in a day (nevermind missing out on the same constituents that do not pass through distillation). There can be too much of a good thing, and moderation is the key to a good balance. A similar effect can also be had from the use of culinary extracts as opposed to essential oils.

I understand that people are opting for more natural options for living, but if they have any understanding or care for the natural world they may want to reconsider the waste that is being encouraged by these practices. It takes so much plant matter to make such a small amount of oil, and it hurts my heart to know of the waste being made in order to have too much flavoring in water that isn’t even used by the body. We are stripping the environment of its natural sources for no real purpose, especially since there are better options to consider.

Another misrepresentation of internal dosing is health maintenance. We do not take antibiotics to prevent illness, nor other medications with a specific purpose, and essential oils should be treated the same way. They have amazing properties that can help alleviate specific ailments and symptoms, but once the issue has been dealt with there is no longer a need to continue the treatment.

Further, the FDA does not approve products. They review notifications for new ingredients and safety measures. They do not provide or review effectiveness of the product. They have made generalized guidelines that indicate that certain products and ingredients are considered safe when used in accordance to their intended use.

(1) The quantity of a substance added to food does not exceed the amount reasonably required to accomplish its intended physical, nutritional, or other technical effect in food; and

(2) The quantity of a substance that becomes a component of food as a result of its use in the manufacturing, processing, or packaging of food, and which is not intended to accomplish any physical or other technical effect in the food itself, shall be reduced to the extent reasonably possible.

Regarding dietary supplements: https://www.fda.gov/Food/DietarySupplements/UsingDietarySupplements/ucm109760.htm
Cosmetics vs Drugs: https://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductsIngredients/Products/ucm127054.htm
Food products generally recognized as safe: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=182.1

There are so many sources and articles regarding reactions and harm from the misuse of essential oils, and the report numbers are increasing the more they are being used. I know the buzzwords make these companies sound like the cream of the crop and the best of the butter and safest of safe, but please question carefully, and consider the drawbacks of the overuse of essential oils – if not for yourself, then for your family, or even for nature itself. We all want to live a more natural life, but there is nothing natural about the unnecessary abuse of nature that is happening every day, and the risks we take that can cause more harm to our health than good. There’s a balance to be had, and it’s time to level the playing field a little.

Please check out some of the resources below for more.

ingestion

Information about DoTerra’s CTPG Trademark: 
https://www.doterra.com/US/en/cptg-testing-process
https://trademarks.justia.com/776/83/cptg-certified-pure-therapeutic-77683687.html

Further resources:
http://roberttisserand.com/2015/08/robert-tisserand-interviewed-on-ingestion-dilution-and-other-safety-issues/
http://lifeholistically.com/essential-oil-safety-usage/
http://www.thebarefootdragonfly.com/friends-dont-let-friends-drink-essential-oils/

Injury reports: http://aromatherapyunited.org/injury-reports/injury-reports-2016/

Thank you to the English Aromatherapist for the great video!

 

 

Spit ‘n Polish

Working in NICU was an experience I’ll never forget, with people I’ll always remember. I was blessed with  many experiences – some beautiful miracles, and some of devastating sadness. There is one baby in particular that I’m glad to still have in my life. He that was born with doubt coming from every corner. His parents were told he’d never survive. He’d suffer. That he wouldn’t have a good life. And his parents said “Let’s let him decide.” His parents gave him every chance he deserved, and he is amazing in every way. 

That baby boy fought. He lived through love. He survived despite every professional opinion. His Down Syndrome is a testament to his battle, but his smiles are not. His smile and his excitement lights up the room and fills your heart with absolute joy and excitement. His radiance is infectious and you can’t help but feel the love that spills out of this child’s every ounce of being. His once tiny hands have expanded into 8 years of expansive hugs and affection, because this boy is all about love, no matter what. No matter who mistreats him, no matter what is said to him, he still responds with love because it’s what he knows, what he feels and what he believes.  He knows when people don’t believe in him, and he does his best anyways. His excitement over day to day life is something I’m learning to share more and more of every day.

 Despite everything he has been told he can’t do, he is proving everyone wrong. Every day. With joy, determination and love – there’s no resentment, no anger or grudges or judging. Just pure joy for life. This little boy is everything that is right with the world, and he is one of my heroes.

There was a time not-so-long ago that I was considered the Queen of Sarcasm. I was called a loose canon, fiery, vocal and strong. 

What isn’t really well known is that the sarcastic front was a wall to separate myself from the world. I needed that armor to feel safe, strong and protected against people I thought were out to hurt me for reasons I didn’t understand. I was afraid to let people see the soft side that was bigger and more vulnerable than my hardass I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude I showed to the world. I didn’t want people to know how much I was already hurting, and how easily I could be hurt even more. So I made myself a thick wall of protection – which didn’t protect me as a person so much as just deflect the illusion of the person I thought I wanted to be. And I thought I wanted to be indestructible. I wanted to be unflinching. I wanted to be firm and grounded and resilient. So that’s what I tried to show people. 

The reality is that I was a mess. I hurt – all the time. I was angry. I worked against myself more often than I encouraged myself. I flinched at every question, cried at every failure and cowered at every confrontation against my person. I just didn’t want that to show, so my sarcasm was – I thought – my armor. 

I’ve recently realized that I don’t carry that armor anymore. Sarcastic comments don’t fit right. They don’t feel safe. They don’t sound real. They don’t seem to belong in my life anymore. 

And they are not loving. 

At some point my armor has fallen off, and I explored this vulnerability with curiosity – because I didn’t feel vulnerable. I didn’t feel targeted. I didnt feel judged. I didn’t feel angry. I didn’t feel burdened or scared or cowardly or desperate or exposed. I didn’t feel any of those things I thought I would feel if I were to let myself just be. 

I just felt me. Truly, authentically, lovingly me. Not good or bad, not happy or angry or uncertain. Just me – with all the bits that make up who I am.  

And there was a spark there I’ve never known before. It was warm, comfortable and safe. It was a light that I just knew I could follow. It was secure. It was real and tangible and vibrant. 

It was home. 

And it was me. 

The armor I felt was needed was a target – not only for other people but for myself. I was my own worst enemy and the one I feared the most, and by being so critical of myself I never actually realized that the judgements from other people were really their own deflection of their own misgivings, and my armor absorbed their judgments and insecurities as my own, just as their armor absorbed my own insecurities as well. I’d try to rehome those feelings onto others, but a piece always stuck with me until I was heavy, tired and exhausted from trying to carry the weight of everyone else’s problems. 

We all have a front to show, and I now believe that it’s a direct reflection of our relationship with our true self. 

There are days.  I still have doubts and misgivings and regrets and worries. I’m human! I make mistakes, I fall, I hurt and feel. But I accept that now. I’m done with confining myself to prevent further suffering and I’m ready to grow and learn more!! The ones that hurt me before, I accept they did to build up their own armour, and one day I hope they learn that its ok to be vulnerable, and it’s ok to be human. And I’m sorry to those that I hurt while trying to do the same. I hope by accepting my nature and by living my truth, I’m able to reverse some of the harm that I’ve done. 

We can all do better. Starting with being honest with ourselves. 

Let people show you what they can do instead of telling them what they can’t. Show people who you really are instead of being afraid of who you aren’t. Live. Let live. Be true. Just be. 

Much love,

Krystal

Essential Oils & Shelf Life

BEAUTIFUL-ESSENTIAL-OILS-in-amber-bottles-and-plants-3

Has anyone ever told you that the highest quality of certified essential oils will never go bad? That they can actually reverse the aging process?

I have. Too many times.

I would love the opportunity to go back in time. To see what things were like, to try to understand why people chose certain paths and made the decisions they did. It would help me understand humanity a little better. Alas, I am not a time traveler (….yet…. just get me a Delorian….)

 

We can’t reverse, or even stop, the effects of time. We do not have that kind of control. If it were up to me, I’d never want to see us have that kind of control. Things that have been done are already done, and the best lesson we can learn from that is to move on and do better.

All things must come, and all things must pass. All in their due time. The only one that has control of that is time itself – but what we can control is what we do in that time.

Unfortunately to many, this also includes essential oils. It’s a great fantasy to believe that essential oils are magical substances that can cure the world, but they’re not. They’re wonderful, they have many amazing uses and benefits, but even these oils come with cautions and an end-life.

anti-aging-formulaIf used properly, essential oils can help to reduce the signs of aging. This is NOT reversing the aging process. This means that you are taking care of your skin, offering it more than just what the essential oil offers (such as increased blood flow from massage, or moisture therapy, or other benefits that essential oils alone do not provide). Your skin LOVES this! But it still ages, and there’s nothing that can reverse that. You can treat it well. You can nourish it, moisturize it, keep it as healthy as you’re able to – but it will still age with the rest of you. I’m sorry to be the bearer of that bad news.

(I, for one, am grateful. I don’t want to live forever!)

Essential oils are volatile in nature, which means that they evaporate easily at normal temperatures, which is the reason that it is suggested keeping them refrigerated. Certain chemical constituents are more prone to degrading than others, especially when in contact with oxygen. The oils essentially combine with oxygen, and this is known as “oxidation”. You can also see this phenomenon in metals. Rust is formed when iron or an iron alloy is exposed to oxygen and moisture for long periods of time. My car is my own mobile expression of this art form….

Oxidation changes the composition of your oils, which can increase your chances of reacting to it. When you suffer from sensitization, your immune system has kicked into effect and you develop an allergic response, and this can have permanent effects. Not only is it possible that you’ll not be able to use that specific oil again, but there is also the potential that you may not be able to use an oil with similar compounds, as well. If the compound you reacted to is limonene, this could mean the end of your use of most citrus oils.

All oils have varying shelf life, and by properly storing them you may be able to extend it. But not forever.

The very general guidelines are estimates only for the shelf life of essential oils:

  • Citrus and conifer oils are best used within 1 year
  • Other monoterpenes that have been properly stored are best used within 1-2 years
  • Sesquiterpene oils can last upwards of 4-8 years.
  • All other oils last about 2-3 years
  • Half the times listed above if stored at room temperature!

To store your oils properly, remember to:

  • Keep your oils in a dark glass container
  • Keep your containers sealed
  • Store your oils in a refrigerator
  • “Bottle down” your oils when there’s too much air space – use smaller containers, and multiple if needed – to prevent them from coming into contact with more air than necessary.
  • Open the bottle as little as possible – the use of inhaler tubes instead of sniffing from the bottle will help prevent your oils from evaporating faster!

 
shelf-life

The information provided is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to test, treat or diagnose health problems or diseases. This information is not meant to be a substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional.

Reactions vs Detox

I’ve heard many people tell me stories about their experiences with essential oils. One friend in particular shared a story about an essential oil party she attended. A peppermint oil was applied to the back of her neck, and the burning sensation she felt was intense, painful, and spread when she got it on her hands. She had a hard time washing it off. She was told this was good for her! I don’t remember if this particular case explained that this was a “detox reaction”, but I’ve heard this too many times to count.

There’s a big difference between a reaction and a detox.

“A reaction occurs as an adverse physiological response to a substance that has been breathed in, ingested, or touched.”

In other words, a reaction occurs with the ADDITION of something. It can be a food, essential oil, plant, animal or anything else you may come into contact with.

“A detox is a process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances.”

Detoxification is the REMOVAL of something from your system, such as an alcohol or drug detox. This can also happen with the removal of certain foods from your regular diet – such as sugar and caffeine.

Aromatherapy associations and well-known, long term professionals strongly advocate against the use of undiluted (or “neat”) application of essential oils for this very reason. Raindrop therapy is not recommended, either. (See the Aromatherpy Registration Council’s policy by clicking here.)

National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy: “Avoid the use of undiluted essential oils on the skin, unless otherwise indicated.”

Alliance of International Aromatherapists: “Essential oils are concentrated substances, and because of this we do not recommend using them without diluting them first.”

Canadian Federation of Aromatherapy: “Essential Oils are highly concentrated and should not be used directly on the skin or near the eyes. Using oils neat on the skin can create a rash, itching, an allergic reaction, and even severe pain.”

Tisserand Institute: “Do not apply undiluted essential oils to your skin. It’s that simple.”

The English Aromatherapist: “Even 100% premium quality essential oils need to be diluted before being applied to the skin.”

The Barefoot Dragonfly: “Less is more in the aromatherapy world, diluted percentages of essential oils are used in topical applications usually 1-5%, though sometimes fractions of percentages are employed.”

Lifeholistically: “Since they are so concentrated, they need to be diluted to avoid irritation for children and adults.”

Is that enough to convince you, yet? There is no reason to use undiluted oils, even for (especially for!) Raindrop therapy. Just because one drop is good, doesn’t mean that two will be better! That burning sensation you may feel after a Raindrop Therapy sensation is NOT a detox – it’s a reaction, and it’s your body’s way of trying to communication with you!

Essential oils are highly concentrated. When you make juice from concentrate, you typically mix it with water. The same applies to concentrated cleaners and soap. Think about that. If you dilute other concentrated substances, why would the same not apply to essential oils?

Due to the volatile nature of essential oils, they tend to flash off when exposed to the air. The effects of this also wicks moisture from the skin and can cause dryness. When applying directly to the skin, it’s reasonable to consider that the essential oils will dissipate before having a  chance to be absorbed. Diluting them in a carrier oil will not only help retain the oil for longer, but will moisturize and protect the skin for a longer period of time, as well as reduce the risks of sensitization and reactions.

Safety concerns aside, diluting essential oils is also favorable for your pocketbook, as well as the environment.

As with  ANY substance, discontinue use immediately if you notice any irritation.

For more myth busting, this is one of my favorite places to send people to read more. Dr. Pappas is straight forward and clear on his opinion at Essential Oil University.

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The information provided is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to test, treat or diagnose health problems or diseases. This information is not meant to be a substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional.