<![CDATA[FALCON ROSE HOLISTIC HEALTH - FLOWER GRIMOIRE]]>Fri, 24 Jan 2020 23:28:27 +0100Weebly<![CDATA[My Essential Oil of the Year: Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)]]>Thu, 02 Jan 2020 21:39:35 GMThttp://falconrose.com/falcon-rose-blog/my-essential-oil-of-the-year-clary-sage-salvia-sclarea
Happy New Year! Here's hoping you are getting off to a positive start for 2020. Many people are busy making plans and resolutions. Often this is a creative process and includes activities such as choosing a word of the year,  totem animal, crystal or theme. I myself have been busy looking at different ideas around this and decided, why not choose an essential oil ally to work with during this new year? 
So today I sat down with my box of oils and explored what I was drawn to. Things like Thyme ct. linalool, marjoram, geranium and lavender all waived at me. All are supportive to the feminine and emotional body in strengthening, balancing and protective ways. But it was clary sage that pulled me in to linger.

Clary sage (Salvia sclarea) is part of the Lamiacea family, which also includes what we think of as garden sage (Salvia officinalis). However, the chemical profile of Clary sage is quite different. The essential oil has up to 75% linalyl acetate, which has been studied in terms of its effect on inflammation and the regulation of the nervous system.  Clary sage  CO2 extract can have very large amounts of sclareol, which has been studied for its potential to inhibit growth of tumour cells. It's a serious oil with serious potential to help us as women in terms of our health and wellness. 

This lovely herb was well known during the Hellenic and Roman period, as monographs from this era have survived. It was even a fashionable remedy during the medieval period for ailments which included uterine and menstrual complaints and as a general nerve tonic. It fell out of use for some time toward the end of the medieval period and has only in the past decade or so begun to make a comeback. 

In my practice at Falcon Rose, Clary sage is a favourite among my female clients who are in a process of cleansing themselves of emotional or physical stress so that they can emerge from their time of healing clearer, stronger and more balanced in themselves. It blends so beautifully with other allies that are strongly aligned to the more lunar, female energies. Oils such as lavender, geranium, marjoram, yang ylang and even vetiver are wonderful blend buddies. Truly beautiful synergies can be created and I have found the simple triad of clary sage, lavender and geranium can work true miracles with my clients when used regularly in massage and aromatic baths. 

Clary can be part of treating PMS, irregular periods and menstrual cramps in a powerful way, something I can attest to personally. While spiritually, Clary sage is said to work with the 6th chakra of dreaming, intuition and trusting one's own ability to see their life with clarity and inspiration. 

For me personally, 2020 is looking to be a year where matters of the womb will be addressed on many levels: looking at how I mother myself, what my relationship is to 'care taking' (the light and shadow), how I birth things in my own life and how I can work on allowing more time for ideas and creativity to gestate instead of feeling a need to force things into being. Ultimately I hope for more balance in all of these areas, less inflammation and a deeper appreciation of my own feminine energies in the way they are - not how I believe they should be.  

One of the words that came to me strongly when I smelled this oil today was: Emerging.

I plan to work with Clary sage this year in a number of ways. Everything from reading new monographs and books, creative writing and artwork that I feel inspired to make, to adding some drops to my personal body oil or bath bubbles. As a professional therapist, I have learned that there is always more we can learn from the plants we choose (or who choose us). A whole lifetime isn't enough to ever fully know these materials. It starts with what you understand from reading and research. Then there's what you experience from smelling or having personal contact with a plant yourself. Next, there's a powerful and deep layer to be gained by observing how a plant works therapeutically with clients over time.  I believe there's something else that we can discover from partnering deeply with a plant for an extended period of time and being open to what else it can reveal, and that's what I aim to learn this year! 

Do you have a plant or essential oil that you feel is speaking to you? Would you like help to choose one for yourself and have guidance on safe usage? Why not come in for a session and see what speaks to you? 

Wishing you a peaceful, strong and deep year to be you! 
Bibliography

Aromatherapeutic Blending, Peace-Rhind, Singing Dragon, 2016
Aromatherapy & Essential Oils Handbook for Everyday Wellness, Puchon & Cantele, 2014
Aromatherapy & Subtle Energy Techniques, Kiem & Bull, 2015
Aromatica, Holmes, Singing Dragon, 2016
Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, Lawless, Harper Thorsons, 2014

Articles Referenced:
Sclareol inhibits cell proliferation and sensitises cells to the antiproliferative effect of... 
Anti-inflammatory effect of linelool and linalyl acetate constituents in essential oils


]]>
<![CDATA[INTERVIEW WITH AN AROMATHERAPIST]]>Tue, 03 Dec 2019 16:24:48 GMThttp://falconrose.com/falcon-rose-blog/interview-with-an-aromatherapist
A fun interview with writer and brand consultant, Natali Drake. Fun stuffabout me, Falcon Rose, how I got inspired and what it's like to spend a day in my life! 
​How did you get into holistic healing and aromatherapy?
I have struggled with depression and anxiety during different points in my life. I got frustrated with the fact that I was only ever offered drugs or talk therapies. Don’t get me wrong, therapy has been a wonderful part of my life, and drugs are sometimes needed – but I often yearned for something more. Something that spoke to a deeper part of me.
 
I had always been interested in natural health, nature and magic. So I started to research and learn more about these therapies and try them myself. I got so much out of connecting with nature, especially as an addition to more traditional healing methods. It became a huge life passion resulting in years of study, and eventually becoming a certified clinical aromatherapist and masseur.
 

Did your upbringing inspire you in any way?
Yes, for sure. I grew up in a very rural and natural part of the USA. It was remote and you had to develop a type of self-sufficiency to get through the days - especially the hard winters. 
I also grew up with grandparents who fought in the second world war and ran a farm. They were very down-to-earth people. My grandmother was a nurse and a social worker but she also knew how to feed twenty farmhands on whatever she could find. So there was always this sense of making things comfortable and welcoming for others, while at the same time needing to have this strong connection to nature for survival.

 
How do you enjoy connecting with nature?
For me it can be as simple as looking out the window at a tree and telling it how beautiful it is, or thanking a storm for passing through and cleaning everything with rain. I absolutely love going to remote places on holiday and just being out in the wild. Hiking in the Swiss Alps, off-roading in the Outback, walking through the rainforest. You get to a point where everything is totally still and your body starts to attune to that. It’s a wonderful feeling. 


Tell us a funny story about working with spiritual energies and the world of flowers. 
I’ll never forget the first time I really connected with an essential oil and knew there was more going on than a glass bottle full of liquid. I was in a health food store in Upstate New York that featured one of those essential oil displays. I reached for the bottle of pine essential oil thinking, oh yeah it will smell like floor cleaner and I was completely amazed at what real pine actually smells like. I was transported in that moment and I saw myself standing inside a ring of pine trees in some primordial forest. I heard a voice say, “We are pine. We help people deepen their connection to their own wisdom. We help people to feel safe, to detox their body and emotions…” 
It kind of went on like that for a while and I felt like I’d fallen completely out of time and space.

I remember coming back to myself with kind of jump and looked around the health food store thinking, oh my god, how long have I been standing here? It was then I realized there was a lot more to the power of plants, scent and essential oils than just something to pour into your bubble bath!


Many people are dubious about the healing magic of plants and spiritual therapy. What would be your answer to that?
Yeah, I can totally understand that. There are a lot of companies now who are making BIG money on this concept, offering products based on very little know-how or expertise. People are actually getting hurt because they’re sold an essential oil and not given correct information on safety and usage. 
 
Humans have been working with nature and energy since the beginning of time – it’s nothing new. For those seeking scientific research about the power of plants and alternative healing, there are many academic papers that have been published in leading scientific journals. In fact, I'm lucky enough to be having my own paper on CBD and essential oils published in In Essence in the coming year.
 
The world isn’t a binary place, and in order to appreciate and benefit from holistic health practices, that doesn’t mean you need to dismiss more traditional Western medicine too. There is space and need for both, and once you are in tune with your body it will tell you what it needs.
 
On a less academic level, I believe that if a person smells an essential oil and it brings them joy, or pulls up a long-lost memory that comforts them, or inspires them to want to stop using products full of these artificial smells and harmful chemicals, how can that be a bad thing? 
 
Spiritual therapy means different things to different people – but it can be as simple as engaging with something natural resulting in a positive change to the way you think about yourself or your life. 

 
How can people differentiate between a reputable practitioner and someone taking advantage of a person's fragile emotional state?

What a good question!
 
I would say you need to look for their credentials and check that it’s not from “abc123therapists”…you know what I mean. You can have a great love of plant therapies, massage, coaching etc, but that’s not enough to offer your healing services to others. Studying this type of medicine and receiving an accredited qualification prepares you for ethical and meaningful ways to connect with those who need your skills the most. 

You wouldn’t accept surgery off just anyone that wants to help you – so why should you seek help from an aromatherapist who can’t prove they have the qualifications and experience to help you in the right way. Do your research first!


As well as aromatherapy you also offer readings, chakra balancing and spiritual therapy. Tell us more about that.
It's fair to say I was born with a good dose of intuitive ability. Some people are really good at maths or playing an instrument or painting – some parts of their brain is more highly attuned than others, giving them a certain talent. For me it was a sixth sense that came in full whack from a young age. And I’ve spent most of my life figuring out how to balance and incorporate that into my world in a meaningful way – because it’s not going anywhere. 
 
I discovered early on that I had a natural talent for readings, working with energy and coaching people from a more spiritual perspective. I often see and feel things that other people can’t. Using that ability to help others gives me a great sense of joy.


You had to study really hard to get to where you are today. Is there anything further you'd like to learn in your field?
Absolutely! There’s always so much more to learn about essential oils, new ones being distilled, new techniques for applying them to the body and the new meanings they can convey to us as our understanding of the world changes. 
 
I’m also really interested in how flower essences can help us develop our own intuition and creative abilities.


What are the three things people should look for when choosing an aromatherapist?
  • Accreditation. You want to see that they have studied for at least a couple of years with an accredited school and are listing this on their sites.
  • Some type of commitment to ethics and sustainability. If you are working with natural remedies, hopefully this is part of your ethos.
  • Enthusiasm. People can take this field so seriously that they forget to have fun and inspire their clients to also feel the joy of connecting with nature.


What three things do you love about your job? 
  • I love that every day I’m surrounded by all these magical little bottles full of the most wonderful things which I can mix into blends any time I feel like. It’s so creative and wonderful just to be around the oils.
  • The people I meet. My clients are such interesting people. I learn so much about them and the world as seen through their eyes. I am constantly amazed at the bravery and courage of other people, and it’s really changed the way I think. If someone cuts me off on the highway, instead of being mad I send them love. For all I know they just got the worst news of their life and are racing home to their children. We all face so much in our lives and yet here we are. I try to start with compassion and leave judgment behind.
  • The creative process. To me essential oils are like a palette of smell. And each smell can create a certain mood, healing effect on the body or just pure joy. 

 
Tell us what a day in your life looks like
Well I do love my sleep! So coffee is absolutely the first thing to start my day. People can be dismissive of coffee but it really is a power food. So is chocolate! Coffee grounds me and helps me feel like the day has begun.
 
I live in a small village in the Netherlands so once I’m ready to go it’s either a walk to the station or packing up my messenger bike and heading off to The Hague! 
 
My practice is in a cute little suburb called Zeeheldenkwartier. The building was once a schoolhouse for girls and young women in the 19th century and my office is on the top floor in what used to be the servant’s quarters. It’s extremely cosy and has a cool view. 
 
I meet with clients, prepare oil blends and keep up with my notes and records. If it’s a slower day, I might pack off early and enjoy a bike ride along the nature reserve near my house. I try to do this as often as possible. It’s where the falcons roost and also my way of “letting it all go” as I watch the greenery go by. 

Evenings are almost always filled with homecooked meals, lazy cats and my pretty sweet husband. 
]]>
<![CDATA[HOW FALCON ROSE GOT HER NAME]]>Mon, 02 Dec 2019 19:15:27 GMThttp://falconrose.com/falcon-rose-blog/how-falcon-rose-got-her-name
Many people have asked me why I named my practice Falcon Rose.

I’m an aromatherapist, so the Rose part is easy to guess.
Rose is one of the most beloved flowers and essential oils we have. It works on so many levels, especially the emotions. It's an opener of the heart and a healer of wounds. For example, cuts on the skin can be healed by using rose petals and rose oil. 

So why did I choose the imagery of a falcon?
 
Near where I live in the south of the Netherlands, there’s a bird sanctuary that has falcons. I first started to notice them about four years ago while on my daily walks. One day I felt as though one of them was asking me to follow. So I did, and she lead me to her nesting and hunting territory. Delighted, I would sit and study her and her mate for hours. 
 
Falcons are amazing birds! They are the very definition of determination and strength. Once they have decided on a target they will hunt it relentlessly for as long as it takes until they reach their goal. Nothing can stop them!
 
The more I studied the falcons, the more I noticed other birds of prey on my travels such as local hawks, red kites on a trip to France, and owls. I became captivated by birds of prey and eventually sought out lessons where I got to work with a bald eagle. 
 
Studying birds of prey taught me so much about myself and who I want to be as a person. When things get hard for these birds, they don't quit. Us humans could learn a thing or two from them when it comes to perseverance. We to need to find our strength, tend to our nests, feel the sun on our backs, and keep flying another day.
 
During my own walk through life, I’ve discovered you need both the determination of a falcon and an open heart like a rose to be fully present and engaged. One without the other is only half of what makes us whole and balanced individuals. 
 
The name "Falcon Rose", came to me as the energy of a powerful female healer who works closely with the forces of nature. She is nature, magic, healing and creative determination in one. When you work with Falcon Rose, this is the energy that will meet you and help you find these qualities in yourself. 
]]>
<![CDATA[AROMATHERAPY FOR EMPATHS]]>Mon, 30 Sep 2019 15:26:17 GMThttp://falconrose.com/falcon-rose-blog/aromatherapy-for-empaths
One area of spiritual health that is near and dear to me is that of being Empathic or a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). An Empath or HSP is someone who deeply feels what another person is feeling by taking it into their auric field.
Empaths are highly sensitive, often with very big emotional and energetic bodies which can act as sponges, absorbing the emotions of the people around them and then experiencing those feelings as if they were their own. They can also literally “throw” their energetic body out at another person in order to feel into that person’s own energy and emotions. Sometimes it even goes so far as an Empath feeling the other person’s physical pain and/or taking on the other person’s issues into themselves. If you work in a healing profession that last fact is especially relevant! 

Being an Empath or HSP is a gift! You have the potential to spread an awful lot of love, hope and compassion in this world. A lot of people can experience it more as burden however, until they learn how to balance and manage it. Let me explain... 

Most Empaths have no idea that this dynamic of carrying other people's emotions is in play. As a result, they are often plagued with the consequences. Things like feeling emotionally unstable, feeling very tired and drained or even depressed for “no reason”, having difficulty with stress and anxiety in crowds, having a feeling that they need to help other people before they help themselves and being uncomfortable with intimacy.

I myself am an Empath, and spent many years taking on other people’s feelings and pain because: a. I didn’t realise I was doing it, and b. I subconsciously felt that if I helped people, they would value and 'like' me. I struggled with crowds, and I especially struggled with social interactions where a person would be telling me one thing, but I would 'feel' their emotions were the complete opposite. I also had a lot of people in my life who subconsciously knew that I would open up and take on their burdens for them, so would always contact me when feeling angry or upset and dump it on me – feel much better in themselves and then walk away leaving it all on my plate! This is called a 'toxic relationship'!

Once I became aware that I was Empathic and that this was going on – my first step was to just observe myself. I was astonished to notice that I would actually lean forward or get closer to people as I was 'feeling into' their energy, while making myself very open for them to 'deposit' their unwanted emotions into my field. I came to understand that for ME (and it’s not the same for everyone) I had been using my Empathic abilities as a form of protection. Meaning – that if I could feel what people were feeling, I could identify whether or not they were dangerous or a threat to me – and therefore keep myself safe. OR it meant that if I was taking on other people’s burdens for them – I was making myself someone that they wouldn’t want to hurt because I provided this service for them. These psychological reasons for my thoughts and behaviour stemmed from traumatic experiences in my past, a lack of self-worth and no real trust that the Universe is safe and loving.

I began to address and heal those wounds in a very intentional way. While it's possible to make changes very quickly, to really change the patterns behind them does take time and commitment.

Over the years, I learned how to keep my Empathic abilities in balance and not always open and chaotic. One thing about being an Empath who has worked to balance that ability in a healthy way, is that it makes me very good at working with clients to help them understand their own feelings. When a client or friend asks me to work with them to process their emotions, I am able to connect my energy with theirs very easily to help them reach deeper insights into their feelings and listen to their inner guidance. And importantly – I don’t take any of their feelings into ME or carry it around in myself after the session is over. And I certainly never open up that mutual energetic connection without them first asking me to!
Aside from learning how to shied myself and work on healing the parts of myself that felt unworthy and unsafe – a HUGE help for me in learning to balance Empathic abilities has been essential oils.
Essential oils have physical as well as vibrational healing properties. Different oils have different 'personalities' – just like people, and they will work with people in various areas to help heal their life.

There are a couple of essential oils in particular that are VERY helpful for Empaths and those working on bringing their abilities into more balance. Below I have made a list of a few oils for different areas you may be working with. It’s always important when working with oils to chose ones that resonate with you. So for example, if you are very put off by the smell of Sage – choose something else 
To use any of these oils, simply pick one or two that appeal to you and put 1-2 drops of oil per each teaspoon of a carrier (like almond or grapeseed oil). You can then anoint yourself with the blend as a perfume, or carry the bottle with you to inhale the fragrance when you feel you need the extra support.

Shields – Sage, Patchouli, Frankincense, Bay Laurel.
Shielding essential oils support us to keep our own energy bodies closed, keeping our energy to ourselves and not allowing other people to penetrate and drain us energetically. Empaths have a tendency to attract psychic vampires into their lives until they can learn to properly shield. If you are feeling that you need help keeping your energetic body closed, or that you are dealing with a psychic vampire – choose one of the oils from this list and ask that it work with you on shielding.

Self-love boosters – Jasmine, Neroli, Rose Otto, Sandalwood
Many Empaths take on the burdens of others because they have a core belief that they aren’t worthy of receiving their own healing or of being accepted for who they are as opposed to what they can do for others. These oils will work with you on opening your heart to receive back from the Universe and heal the parts of yourself that feel undeserving of love.

Grounding – Ginger, Black Pepper, Rosemary, Vetiver
Because so many Empaths spend much of their time projecting themselves outside of their own bodies, it can be difficult at first to stay grounded and present in your own physical body. Any one of these oils will work with you on feeling safe and rooted to your own physicality.


Safety
You can experiment with any of the oils outlined here but stick to the dilution that I mentioned above and never ingest or apply near infants or children.
Or you can book a private consultation with me and I will help you with this process personally.  
]]>
<![CDATA[Are Dating Apps really the best way to find love? It depends…]]>Tue, 17 Sep 2019 10:47:42 GMThttp://falconrose.com/falcon-rose-blog/are-dating-apps-really-the-best-way-to-find-love-it-depends
Looking for love starts with your state of mind.
THE DILEMA
I was in the car with my husband the other day talking about our endless quest to find a new house. We live in a rather small village in South Holland and have been wanting to move closer to our jobs and social networks. The housing market in the Netherlands is increasingly tight and we’ve been searching without much luck for over a year. 
 
In the Netherlands, most people use an app called ‘Funda’ which lists all available properties by geographical location. We’ve spent literally days and even weeks of our lives scrolling through Funda listings and trying to get appointments to view properties. Typically you and twenty other people are booked at a time and bidding wars eventually ensure until the highest bidder wins. It’s actually quite grim.
 
So we’re driving along talking about our house struggle and I said, ‘you know, our conversation sounds like the same conversation I have with a lot of my clients who are looking for love. They have Tinder and we have Funda, and we all just keep swiping!’ We laughed about it but it really did make me stop and think. 
 
I talk to a lot of people these days who are searching for love and relationships. Most are using various dating apps and hoping to get a match. They go on dates, many of which are a nightmare, and every now and then they meet someone who they have a longer-term relationship with. I have to say that I personally do not know anyone who met their long-term partner in this way. I kind of feel like it’s an urban legend, but people using the apps all swear to me that they know someone who found their partner on an app. 
 
More often than not though, I am hearing very creepy and very sad stories about these dating experiences and I’m not alone. Psychologist Jenna Birch wrote an article in Psychology Today describing the new normal in dating as ‘Soul Sucking’. She lists problems such as accountability, the temptation of endless choice and the lack of basic social graces that app dating can engender. 
 
So allow me if you will to weigh in on this from a vibrational perspective. If that’s too weird for you, please feel free to substitute vibrational with ‘basic psychology about self-esteem’. 

THE BIOLOGY AND PSYCHOLOGY OF ATTRACTION
My observation has been that most people are searching for relationships in life as a direct mirror to where they are at in themselves. So if a person has some inner fears, low self esteem, lack of belief in themselves etc, they will very typically attract someone who shares some or all of those same traits, and the dance begins. There is nothing wrong with this per se, as many people find that it’s possible to grow and develop through relationships. The problem with the apps is that some of our most basic primal and natural ‘attraction’ methods are cut off at the knees. 
 
For example, things like sense of smell, observation of a person in social and working environments or even the sound of their voice are actually all very big factors in the natural attraction process.  Director of research at Manchester University, Daniel M. Davis has written a book called The Compatibility Gene which suggests that we choose lasting partners based on our ability to actually smell gene compatibility. I listened to a few lectures about this as clinical aromatherapy student that were totally fascinating. 
 
The other main factor that I believe can really throw a wrench in your dating life – app or not – is the vibration or level of self-worth you are approaching it from. One of the things that eventually really turned us off from continuing to use Funda at all, was the sense of sad desperation it created in our lives. Checking daily listings, hoping to get appointments, putting in frantic bids and being passed over for someone with a bigger wallet. Sound familiar? This kind of approach energetically set us up in an almost ‘beggar mentality’ which did not help us find a house or feel particularly good about the process.
 
Same can be said for dating with an app that encourages you to seek, bid and hope for acceptance. If you are approaching that with a mindset that says, ‘I just so hope I find a match or love or someone who accepts me’, chances are you are going to keep yourself stuck in a very unpleasant cycle of painful experiences and disappointments. To be fair, same could be said if you approach dating off the apps, but the immediacy of availability and lack of sensory perception (think gut reaction) that the apps offer can make this a real self-esteem clusterfuck very quickly. 
 
I think the only chance people really have of success with the apps is if they are coming from a place of almost happy-go-lucky energy. A perspective that says, ‘well this could be fun, but I have no expectations and let’s just see what happens.’ I have friends who have taken that approach, and while they didn’t meet a lasting partner, they did see very quickly that the app scene wasn’t for them and were spared more heartbreaking situations. 

SO WHAT'S THE SOLUTION?
So what’s the solution here? Well I’m going to make myself sound like an old, boring married (kind of am!) and say that if you’re looking for love (or a house, or job or anything really!) first step is to work on YOU. Look at your motivations for wanting these things and do an inventory of how well you are loving yourself right now. If the honest answer is ‘not so much’, then instead of investing in dating, invest in yourself. Start a new hobby, take a class, get a pet and walk them a lot. Put yourself in an energy of high regard for yourself and watch what happens. The likelihood of actually meeting someone who shares your interests, values and lifestyle is also a lot higher of course, when you are actually out doing things you enjoy! If you don't know what you enjoy, time to find out!
 
I’ve met all of my longer-term partners and my husband through totally random acts that were about me just going about my life. One serious boyfriend came into my life at the dog park. Another was sent to do I.T. training at my company.  I met my husband when we were seated next to each other at a work dinner in Germany.  I could never have planned or forced these scenarios to happen. I was not looking for a relationship and my main focus in each case was just doing my thing. 
 
LET IT COME TO YOU
Which brings me back to our house… The house we currently live in fell into our laps a few years ago. We had an appointment with someone who happened to be an estate agent. She told us she had a house she thought we would really like, so out of a sense of fun we went and had a look. We put in a casual offer which was rejected. So we laughed and said, ‘oh well!’ and went about our life. A week later, the sellers called back and were delighted to accept our offer. Point is, we didn’t watch the pot. We approached it all with a bit of fun and no expectation. Which is exactly why we’ve abandoned Funda and decided to forget the search. Enjoying the life we have as much as possible, doing some home improvements on where we are and ‘letting go’ is no doubt how the next place will find us, when the time is right. 
 
I have every confidence that if you are truly honest with yourself about your motivations and take a similar approach, you will experience the same success. What you are looking for will find you, when you’re ready for it. 
 
Lauren Keizer-Gilbert, MIFPA is a licensed clinical aromatherapist and body-mind-spirit professional based in The Hague, Netherlands.
REFERENCES
Birch, J. (2018, June 27). Are Dating Apps Creating Too Many Problems? Retrieved September 17 2019, from Psychology Today : https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/navigating-the-love-gap/201806/are-dating-apps-creating-too-many-problems
Forbes, P. (2013, August 8). The Compatibility Gene by Daniel M Davis – review. Retrieved September 17, 2019, from The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/aug/08/compatibility-gene-daniel-davis-review
]]>
<![CDATA[Is a Yoni more Spiritual Than a Vagina? (Hint: No)]]>Mon, 16 Sep 2019 15:53:03 GMThttp://falconrose.com/falcon-rose-blog/is-a-yoni-more-spiritual-than-a-vagina-hint-no
Someone said the word yoni to me personally for the first time at a recent movement and meditation class. It was suggested that we visualise ‘embracing our yonis’ and imagine them being bathed in light and love (smirk) before settling in for silent reflection.
 
Open my Insta feed and there it is again. Yoni wands, yoni eggs, yoni tea, yoni massage (eek). OK…so what the hell is a yoni?
Interesting that you should ask because when I Googled around in search of clear anatomical reference, I got a lot of different answers. No one could really agree on which specific anatomical organ the yoni is meant to represent. The uterus? Vagina? Clitoris? I saw it all. I eventually read on a site called Yonifest.org that the word yoni actually transcends anatomy (ohhhh….) because it’s the temple where the divine female essence can be honoured. Okay then. 

I think part of the appeal of this vague word is that in the English language, there is no single word that encompasses all of the female reproductive system. You’ve got the internal organs such as the uterus (womb) and vagina and external such as the labia and clitoris. It is kind of convenient to have a single word that can apparently encompass it all.
 
But is this really helpful? As a massage therapist I am often so surprised that many women have no idea where their uterus or ovaries are located in the pelvis, or how often women don’t know the names of their own sexual organs. I personally find it not only helpful to know but also empowering. If for example you need to visit a doctor about pain or discomfort, it’s really useful to know your own anatomy and not rely on what someone else tells you alone.  Sexual health educators also stress using correct anatomical terminology as it leads to a decrease in sexual abuse; children and adults who know the correct terminology are more likely to disclose. Food for thought. 
 
I mean don’t get me wrong, I’m all for women feeling like they have permission to consider their reproductive organs in a more sacred or special way. For many centuries, women have felt  that this part of their body is rather abstract, serving only clinical or sexual purposes. But I need to draw some lines when something that is passed off as 'spiritual' is actually unfounded or even dangerous. 
 
So let’s put on our common sense hats and talk about some of the latest 'yoni trends'. 
 
YONI WANDS AND EGGS
 What pray-tell are these? Well, in most cases these are objects shaped like they sound, made out of jade or other crystals and intended for insertion in the vagina. Wands are meant to act as dildos and the eggs are purported to help strengthen the pelvic floor, give you better orgasms and 'balance hormones' to name a few claims. Jade eggs got a lot of notoriety on the lifestyle website Goop.com.  The site was eventually fined $145,000 for making unsubstantiated claims about the eggs. Health professionals have been highly critical, citing things like infection, constipation and pelvic pain as potential outcomes of putting a rock egg in your vagina every day. 
 
The wands are being marketed as 'self-care devices' and women are encouraged to take a 'yoni care day' where I guess they masturbate with porous crystal and hope not to get a bacterial infection? In fact, many gynecologists have weighed in on the outright dangers of using micro-porous materials such as quartz crystal, because of the potential for it to grow bacteria that can cause infection or even toxic shock syndrome (TSS). 
 
YONI TEAS
OK so let’s move on to yoni teas. If, like me, you read that and thought it must just be some kind of herbal tea made with herbs that are toning to the uterus or help with cramps – you’d be wrong. I was pretty surprised when I read about what this actually is, which is basically a teabag that you use to 'steam and detox' your vagina in the bath. Yes…

So how it works is you drop the teabag into the hot bath and let it steep before getting in and/or hover your vagina over the rising steam so that it can 'cleanse and detox' your bits. In some cases, women are advised to actually insert the tea bag into the vagina. 
 
Health experts warn that anything inserted into the vagina that disrupts the natural bacterial environment is potentially going to cause problems. The vagina is actually quite good at self-regulating and doesn’t need ‘cleansing and detoxing’. They further warn of the unhealthy example that is set by these products, which imply that vaginas need to ‘smell better’ or be ‘cleansed’. Um, yeah
 
Lastly, let’s talk about…
 
YONI MASSAGE
So considering that the word yoni doesn’t actually refer to specific anatomy, what exactly does this mean? 
 
Well I’m sorry to say that what it typically means is that someone, who can have any level of training from a gynacologist to a rando who paid $29.95 for an online training,  is going to literally insert their fingers into your vagina, move them around eventually touch your cervix. 
 
I’m not kidding and as a health professional I was really floored. This is presented as a type of therapy that helps women to heal. Well, if it has helped you, I’m glad? But for most people this is so incredibly outrageous, especially considering that the level of training a person may have had can be minimal. If a woman disassociates during her massage, is this person qualified to address that? Are there any studies to prove that a stranger touching your cervix is in some way healing? 
 
 
PERSPECTIVE
What is happening in the bigger picture here where our sexual organs have been reduced to buzz words that are used to sell us therapies and products that are not only weird but potentially harmful? Is it really empowering to women to continue to not use actual anatomical terms and be sold products and services which have little or no proven benefits at best? 

As a woman, it personally bugs me to be sent messages that my vagina is in some way flawed, dirty, frigid, too tight, too loose or whatever. As if we don’t have enough to deal with via the bombardment on our external body, now we’re asked to look at what is 'wrong' internally as well. 
 
Now it’s absolutely true that women can have a history of both physical and emotional trauma associated with their reproductive organs. Rape and assault, miscarriage, traumatic birth – none of these are a joke and you have my deepest compassion if this is you.  However, you deserve qualified, professional help from people who are not only trained, but experienced and can give you the best level of support.
 
I also get it that kegels are real and can be difficult. But it shouldn’t be dangerous or all-consuming and there are plenty of safe products and health professionals who can guide you in that arena. 
 
In other cases, dare I say it, 'relax, your vagina is fine…' You don’t need to lose sleep, self esteem or money over these products and services. 
 
As a licensed professional aromatherapist and massage therapist, I’m sometimes asked by clients how they can better connect with their female anatomy, perhaps due to cramps, bloating or help dealing with grief.  I don’t promise to balance hormones or increase fertility, but I do teach my clients the facts about their body and safe, gentle ways to feel connected through external massage. I also have cards of trusted professional therapists on hand at all times and make referrals when the needs of the client go beyond my scope. 
 
A really nice thing to do, especially during or just after your period is some gentle external massage on the pelvis and breasts. Essential oils such as lavender and chamomile blended in a carrier oil like grapeseed can provide additional benefits as well. Massage can be comforting, encourage circulation and potentially relieve some discomfort from fluid retention and cramps.  I offer these types of services and education to private clients who I have done a full medical background interview with and work to their specific needs. Many women find it empowering to understand their anatomy and have a simple and gentle way of supporting their health.

Whatever self care you decide to use, as always, keep it safe, keep it professional and be sure to enjoy every moment of it! 

Lauren Keizer-Gilbert, MIFPA is a licensed clinical aromatherapist and body-mind-spirit professional based in The Hague, Netherlands.
REFERENCES

Belluz, J. (2018, September 6). Goop was fined $145,000 for its claims about jade eggs for vaginas. It’s still selling them. Retrieved from www.vox.com : https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/parenting/the-serious-education-of-teaching-kids-correct-names-for-genitals/article23313079/

Bielska, Z. (2015, March 5). Why you should teach your kids correct names for genitals. Retrieved September 15, 2019, from www.theglobeandmail.com: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/parenting/the-serious-education-of-teaching-kids-correct-names-for-genitals/article23313079/

Boundless. (n.d.). The Female Reproductive System. Retrieved September 15, 2019, from www.boundless.com: https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-ap/chapter/the-female-reproductive-system/

GOOP. (2019, September 15). JADE EGG. Retrieved from www.goop.com: https://shop.goop.com/shop/products/jade-egg?country=USA

Raghuran, Y. (n.d.). Anatomy of Female Reproductive System - Ayurvedic Perspective . Retrieved from easyayurveda.com : https://easyayurveda.com/2018/11/29/female-reproductive-system/

Roshini, R. (2017, November 22). Can 'Yoni Teas' Really Make Your Vagina Smell Nice? A Doctor Weighs In. Retrieved September 15, 2019, from www.health.com: https://www.health.com/sexual-health/yoni-teas

Scott, E. (2017, September 2). It’s not a good idea to use herbal yoni tea to detox your vagina Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2017/09/02/its-not-a-good-idea-to-use-herbal-yoni-tea-to-detox-your-vagina-6898138/?ito=cbshare Twitter: https://
twitter.com/MetroUK | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK/. Retrieved September 15, 2019, from www.metro.co.uk: https://metro.co.uk/2017/09/02/its-not-a-good-idea-to-use-herbal-yoni-tea-to-detox-your-vagina-6898138/

Thompson Publishing. (n.d.). Yoni Massage Online Training Course. Retrieved September 15, 2019, from www.proprofs.com : https://www.proprofs.com/store/course/?id=64765

Yoni Fest. (n.d.). Did You Say Yoni? Retrieved from www.yonifest.org: http://www.yonifest.org/definition-yoni-english
]]>
<![CDATA[Why You Need Lymphatic Drainage Massage with Aromatherapy!]]>Sun, 21 Jul 2019 09:50:02 GMThttp://falconrose.com/falcon-rose-blog/why-you-need-lymphatic-drainage-massage
So you've been hearing about lymphatic drainage massage and wondering what's so special about it? Well, here's the post where I will give you the goods! 
I confess, before I started to do my own training in this form of massage, I also had no idea what it was or why it was something anyone would want. I was also a person who didn't particularly even like massage, after some experiences where I found it painful - not only during the treatment, but in the days that followed. 

I was delighted to discover that there could be a highly effective form of massage to treat inflammation, water retention, pain and acute stress that was virtually painless, extremely relaxing and paired beautifully with essential oils. 

So what exactly is the lymphatic system? 
Picture
If you're not sure what the lymphatic system is, you're not alone. It's one of those body systems that most of us have vaguely heard of, but that's about it. You can think of it as a network of tissues and organs in the body that help us to eliminate dead cells, toxins and waste. It also transports lymph, a fluid our bodies naturally produce, which contain white blood cells. These cells are a critical part of how our immune system functions. When our lymphatic system is healthy, it efficiently removes waste and excess fluid from our bodies, as well as keeps our immune system strong. I'd say that's pretty important, right?! When our lymphatic system is unhealthy, lymph becomes stagnant, creating inflammation, pain and poor immune function. 

The Role of Massage in Lymph Health
So what can we do to keep this system strong and functioning well? In short, we need to move our bodies. Unlike our arteries and veins, which move blood and nutrients around our bodies via a pump (the heart!), our lymph system has no pump. Movement such as exercise, stretching and yoga are excellent ways to move the muscles and organs, which in their own way "massage" the lymphatic system and keep it mobile.

Additionally, we can receive manual therapies to achieve this in a very specific and powerful way. Enter the drainage massage as well as other techniques such as Gua sha (a technique used in Traditional Chinese Medicine).

The Technique
Lymph drainage massage uses very specific sweeping movements combined with various pressure points, lifting, squeezing and dragging movements around the body to stimulate the movement and "drainage" of the lymph. It is extremely gentle, relaxing and rhythmic! However, the power of this treatment should not be underestimated. It can be thought of as a full-body detox with each session. Many of my clients are amazed at how something so gentle can give  them so many benefits - without the soreness sometimes associated with other forms of massage.

Benefits
Regular lymphatic drainage massage, especially with essential oils, can have a profound effect on the body and immune system. It can reduce water weight, reduce pain and inflammation throughout the body and increase healthy immune function. People report benefits such as lower stress, better sleep, improved digestion, better mobility and increased energy in the days that follow. It has been proven to help reduce symptoms during hay fever season and lower the occurrence of colds and flus in winter. To get the best results, I encourage 2 treatments per month during acute conditions and once every 3-5 weeks for maintenance. 

Combining with Aromatherapy
Working with the healing benefits of essential oils is what my practice is all about. The massage itself if very powerful, but by blending specific oils for each client, I can really help you take your health and healing to the next level. Some oils are more relevant to pain relief, while others are more beneficial for releasing water weight, or soothing inflamed tissues. This is where working with a clinical aromatherapist can really help you get to the heart of what ails you and relax, knowing you are in the care of expert hands. As a clinically trained therapist, I will never "overdo" it and am careful to listen to each client's wishes and levels of sensitivity. 

Whatever your specific goals are, know that the benefits of receiving compassionate touch together with organic essential oils and their beautiful aromas will add a depth of pleasure and peace to your experience that you simply have to try to believe!

So often we are so hard on ourselves! Many time our bodies end up taking the brunt of this and it can be so healing to simply rest and experience softness during your treatment.
Try it!
If you'd like to experience the truly amazing benefits of this therapy for yourself, please do get in touch as I'd love to welcome you for your very own appointment at my private practice in The Hague. 

If you live in another region or country, you can still experience the wonderful benefits of this massage by looking for qualified professionals who can offer you a high level of experience. You and your body deserve to receive only the best care, so do ask questions and do feel for yourself if a treatment or therapist is correct for you. A good therapist will ask you about your medical history, inquire as to what your wishes and goals are, and be happy to make adjustments to your preferences and needs. 

Wishing you a happy and healthy summer!

]]>
<![CDATA[THE ULTIMATE AROMATHERAPY DIFFUSER  GUIDE]]>Wed, 05 Jun 2019 09:35:53 GMThttp://falconrose.com/falcon-rose-blog/the-ultimate-aromatherapy-diffuser-type-guide
So many diffusers out there, but which one is right for you? Get expert advice and make an empowered purchase!
Today's post is based on a client question. Megan writes: 

"I’m interested in experimenting with essential oils but I don’t know what kind of diffuser to get. I see really cheap ones to use with candles, and really expensive electronic ones. I don’t have much to spend on something I don’t know much about yet. But I’m a bit overwhelmed by the diffuser choices. What should I get?"
Well, great question Megan! It can indeed be pretty confusing, and there are a variety of prices. So I've created - the Ultimate Aromatherapy Diffuser Guide - Let's go! 

WHAT DOES A DIFFUSER DO?

Picture
First things first. What is a diffuser and why do you even care? An aromatherapy diffuser describes any kind of device for diffusing essential oils. What this means is, that via some type of either heat or pressure, the essential oil molecules are released and dispersed into the air so that you can breathe them in. 

Breathing in essential oils is really one of the most powerful and effective ways to work with them. The tiny odour molecules enter the body via the olfactory and respiratory systems and make almost instant contact with a part of the brain called the limbic system. This is the area where we store many of our memories and emotional responses. Due to our brain's anatomy, It's a fact that you can have a response to a smell before you even know what that response is. Think about it... you're feeling blue, you smell something that "lights up" a happy memory for you - and you can have a mood response before you are even conscious of it happening. Cool huh?

The particles also enter our lungs and make their way to our bloodstream. So if you are dealing with things like asthma, respiratory infections, flu or general anxiety, diffusing specific essential oils in your environment can be a very powerful way to "take in" their medicinal qualities.



Tip:  Intermittent diffusing (30-60 min on followed by 30-60 min off) is proven to be both more effective and safer than constant diffusing. 

​TYPES OF DIFFUSERS

So now that we know why you might want to diffuse…let’s talk about TYPES. There are 4 main types on the market today: Heat diffusers, Evaporative Diffusers, Ultrasonic or Humidifying Diffusers and Nebulizing Diffusers. What? Yes. Let’s get into it. 

Picture
HEAT DIFFUSERS: Average Price: $10-20

As the name suggest, these diffusers require some type of heat source.  This can be a tea light candle underneath a ceramic basin, a lamp ring, or a ceramic dish that gets plugged into the wall.  The idea is that the heat causes the essential oils to evaporate, releasing the molecules into the air. It does work, but the heat also causes some damage to oils as they are released into the air, and so you are likely not getting as high of a therapeutic value from them as you could. I have found that if you are diffusing before bed for a few minutes, it’s OK, but if you need to diffuse for a longer period or have a serious respiratory issue you’re working to heal, this would not be my first choice. That being said, I've gotten by using a large ceramic diffuser during flu season when it was all I had. I've also had asthma clients who find this to be a great method because it's a very casual dispersal as opposed to a concentrated stream. 
One of the pros is that they are completely silent! 
 
If you do go for this option, it’s important to know that you need to add WATER to the basin or dish and not add your essential oils neat. This will prevent the oils from being completely damaged by the heat.  I do have a really beautiful, handmade ceramic diffuser that was gifted to me by a friend. I have used it in the bedroom before bed, as well as other small spaces for a limited amount of time. My first ever diffuser was a lamp ring, and using it right before bed was pleasant and very affordable! 


Picture
EVAPORATIVE DIFFUSERS: Average Price: $25-40

Evaporative diffusers work by pushing air past the essential oils and dispersing them into the air. Typically there is a disposable pad or filter that you put your drops of essential oils on, insert into the diffuser and the fan will then blow air up and out, taking the odour molecules with it. This works perfectly fine, however the pads are often not re-usable and have to be replaced. Also, the smaller molecules will tend to blow out of the diffuser first, and so there will not be a consistent smell coming from the diffuser for the entire 30-60 minutes that you run it. Additionally, these types of diffusers can be noisy, depending on the type of fan motor it uses. 

I’ve used an evaporative diffuser with success in small spaces where the goal was mainly to improve the smell. For example, to ‘clear the air’ after a meeting, or ‘set the tone’ before an appointment. It will disperse the molecules faster than a heat diffuser. It's also a dry dispersal, no water needed, and you don’t need to use much essential oil to get the job done. Cons are – can come with non-reusable pads or filters that need to be replaced, and be noisy. 




Picture
ULTRASONIC/HUMIDIFYING DIFFUSERS: AVERAGE PRICE: $15-$50

These diffusers work without using any type of heat source. Instead, there is an internal plastic reservoir that holds water and essential oils, and a plate that vibrates. This vibration causes the water and essential oil molecules to ‘break up’ and be dispersed into the air. While it does look like a stream of ‘smoke’ leaving the diffuser, it’s quite cool to the touch as no heat has been used. 
 
The pros are that these diffusers tend to be pretty quiet, require minimal essential oil to get the job done and the oils are not degraded by heat. It’s not really a con, but for some people it may be annoying to know that you really must clean the plastic reservoir daily. This is because essential oils will eat through plastic if left there long enough, and because standing water will breed bacteria which you would then be dispersing into your environment. Yuck. A quick wash with soap and hot water once a day is enough, but some people may find this taxing. Additionally, this type of diffuser will put more moisture into the air, which may be unwanted, depending on your needs.

Price-wise, there are a lot of options. Everything from small USB minis around $15 and more deluxe models around $50-$60.

I tend to use ultrasonic diffusers in my home and office when there is a need. Especially if flu is going around, or I just want to freshen things up a bit.  They are typically pretty quiet, though you may hear the sound of lightly running water from the internal reservoir. 


Picture
NEBULIZING DIFFUSERS - Average price: $50-$100 

These may be the most visually pretty diffusers and are often touted as ‘the best’. The way they work is that either an entire bottle of essential oil is hooked up to an internal nozzle, or a glass pipette is used to transfer essential oil into an internal glass tube. Air is then blown across either the tube or the essential oil bottle and dispersers the complete molecule into the air at once. 
 
I have to say that while these are pretty specky diffusers and do allow for the whole molecule to go into the air at once, I only use a nebulzing diffuser in very specific and usually more clinical situations. Say I have a client who is dealing with a very pernicious upper respiratory infection and needs to sit in a room and really breathe in the complete oils as part of their treatment.  If I just want to make the room smell nice or benefit from the essential oils in a more general therapeutic way, the other diffusers are sufficient. So, I wouldn’t feel pressured that this is the ‘best’ in all situations. 
 
These diffusers are on the expensive side, highly breakable if you have kids or pets and use up lot of essential oil in comparison to other diffusers. I personally would not find it appropriate to run one of these daily or for long periods of time as this can be incredibly potent and there’s just no need. Essential oils are potent therapeutic medicines, and there can be too much of a good thing.


Picture
AROMA STONE - $5-$10

OK so I like to throw this one in as I actually use it all the time and it’s great for those on a tight budget! It’s basically a piece of porous ceramic that you can drip a few drops of essential oils on and place next to the bed or on your desk. What I love about this is that you get just enough of the smell to enjoy it, but it doesn’t overpower you. I wouldn’t choose this if I was trying to treat an illness, but for general relaxation and enjoyment, I love it! Cons are…if you use different oils, especially base oils like vetiver and patchouli, it can get kind of murky and start to smell like “all the oils”. So I use it for a specific blend I like, or just a couple of oils that I regularly combine together. I have never tried to wash one, but I suppose you could give it a try and then leave it out in the full sun for a day or two and it may be good as new again.
This one from Prima Vera comes in a cute little tin and I bought it for under $5!   




So there you have it! The ins and outs of types of diffusers! It wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t also leave you with a few tips for how to diffuse and a little blend to try at home. 
 
USAGE TIPS
You really don’t need a LOT of essential oils to receive their benefits. Whether it’s a heat, evaporative or ultrasonic diffuser – stick to 5-7 drops diffused for 30-60 minutes at a time. Then stop. 
 
I don’t actually think that it’s healthy to diffuse all day, every day. I certainly don’t. I would wonder what the reason is and if there are other more gentle solutions. Too much of an essential oil can be harmful, causing headaches or other types of sensitivity. Lavender has a sedating or relaxing effect, but too much lavender is actually stimulating! When I work in my clinic, I'm required to have good ventilation and open the windows after clients leave to clear the air. I have absolutely had that "jittery rush" from over-exposure to essential oils and it's not nice!  


WARNINGS
It’s also not recommended to diffuse with very young children in the room as some oils, such as peppermint, eucalyptus (and others) can constrict the airways of infants and young children.  Other oils can trigger people with asthma, so as a general rule, diffuse for yourself or consult with a professional on blends more suitable for public spaces.

INSPIRATION 

Some nice times to diffuse are – before bed, when meditating or taking a bath.  It can be a very enjoyable way to connect with aromatherapy, but use common sense. I have also been known to set up my diffuser after a party to clear out any air-borne germs that may have come in and for 20 min at the end of the day during cold and flu season. Experiment with what combinations uplift or relax you and go ahead and get creative with it! 

BEDTIME DIFFUSER BLEND
This is a blend I use on those days where I just want to lay in bed and decompress quietly for 20 min before “switching off”.  It’s very soothing for me and I hope it will be for you, too! 

Lavender – 2 drops
Petitgrain – 2 drops 
Sweet Marjoram – 2 drops 


I hope you've enjoyed getting some tips and recommendations and wishing you lots of peace and enjoyment with your personal aromatherapy journey!



]]>
<![CDATA[Menopause: A Holistic Approach With Aromatherapy]]>Wed, 24 Apr 2019 17:32:39 GMThttp://falconrose.com/falcon-rose-blog/menopause-a-holistic-approach-with-aromatherapy
I’m just going to say it. For far too long now, the entire concept of Menopause has been treated like something to be “managed”, “suffered through” or “medicated”. Many women dread the day that this very important rite of passage begins and are offered very little support and encouragement to not only embrace, but celebrate this time in their life. 
The reality is, that this is a time when women are able to welcome and hold a great deal of power, stepping into deeper roles of leadership and wisdom keepers for their families and communities. Today, I want to share with you how a holistic approach to menopause can be not only effective, but move beyond  effective and into transformational. 
 
THE FACTS
So what is menopause? And more importantly if you are reading this, what is perimenopause? Menopause is often incorrectly defined as the cessation of fertility in a woman’s life. I say incorrectly because while it is true that a woman can no longer conceive a child once she has entered into menopause, it’s incorrect that she is no longer fertile. Women are always fertile. Fertility is the state of being able to create, a state that all women are in, all the time, and I find it very disconcerting that we describe menopause as the cessation of fertility. Let’s be very specific here and say that it is the cessation of a woman’s ability to biologically create a human baby inside of her body. Maori healer and elder, Atarangi Muru, also speaks about this in her work, and the corrosive label that “infertility” creates.
 
Menopause is clinically defined as not having a menstrual period for twelve consecutive months. So that means if you don’t have a period for 11 months, and then you do, the 12 month counter is then reset. 
 

Perimenopause is the phase before menopause, where periods are hit or miss, where estrogen and progesterone levels are dropping off and many of the symptoms associated with this transition “show up”. Some of these symptoms include: night sweats, hot flashes, interrupted sleep, joint pain, depression, loss of energy and loss of concentration.
 
I would like to add that some other “signs and symptoms” that the text books won’t mention are: increased drive to pursue passions and goals, increased sex drive (Yes! Don’t let them fool you with this one!), increased sense of purpose and power, increased desire to create boundaries and make room for one’s sacred self. Many women discover entire new chapters, talents, relationships and careers in their lives at and beyond menopause! 
 
Perimenopause can start as early as your late thirties or as late as your late fifties. It is very much dependent on the individual. It can last anywhere from one to five years with most women reporting that about two to three years is the average. 


What are the typical responses from the medical community? 
Typically, a woman who is going through perimenopause who seeks medical advice will be given two options by her primary doctor or gynaecologist:

 a. nothing, this is a natural process!
 b. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT). 

 
HRT
HRT is a treatment option where a woman is given hormones, either synthetic or biological in origin, in order to offset the 40-60% loss of estrogen and total loss of progesterone. HRT got a very bad rap following the release of the Women’s Health Initiative study that was released in 2002. The results were presented in a way that suggested that there is a drastic increased risk of breast cancer, heart attack and stroke for women who participate in HRT. However, more recent studies (Dessapt & Gourdy 2012) have indicated that the risks were overstated and that several years of HRT will do no long-term damage in most cases.
 
However, HRT still presents unpleasant side effects such as weight gain, bloating and break-through bleeding. The origins of some of these medicines are not exactly pleasant, not to mention, it does send the body a message that a process that has naturally started should be in some way controlled or dampened down. In some cases, this may be warranted or even desired, depending on the needs and wishes of the individual. It’s a valid choice that some women make, and I respect every woman’s right to choose what is best for her.
 
There is increasing support however, for the use of plant-based estrogens to alleviate the severity of symptoms (Bedell et al 2012). I further suggest that as plant-based medicines are natural and have their own energetic signatures, there is added value in working with them as teachers, healers and wisdom givers that a synthetic drug is just never going to provide. 


WHAT DOES AROMATHERAPY HAVE TO OFFER?
So where and how does aromatherapy come into the picture? 
Are there estrogenic essential oils and are they effective at helping a woman to feel more supported and in balance during peri and post menopause? 
 
First, aromatherapy can help and offers the most by the application of essential oils in gentle massage,  the use of personal inhalers, patches and hydrosol sprays. Some common estrogenic essential oils are Clary sage (Salvia sclarea), Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) and Rose (Rosa damascene). There are of course others but they should be used with caution and in consultation. 
 

THE EVIDENCE
OK Lauren, but is there evidence? Come on, I want the evidence! 
 
Yes. Yes there is. For all my soul sisters out there who, like me, love it when both the spiritual and clinical evidence is available, here we go. 
 
A 2005 study by Murakami et al took a sample of fifteen women who were experiencing perimenopausal symptoms. They were examined by their gynaecologists to get a base line report, and then given aromatherapy massages once a week as well as an aromatherapy mixture to apply to the skin four times a week. They were seen by their gynaecologists again after one month and thirteen out of the fifteen women saw a reduction in the severity of their symptoms. 
 
A second study by Darsareh et all (2012) provided bi-weekly aromatherapy massages to ninety women including a control group. All participants saw improvements to their lives, but the perimenopausal group saw the most improvements and especially to their symptoms. 
 
So the research is there and this is really great news. 

 
MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE AS A THERAPIST 
As a student working through my case studies, I chose to explore the topic of peri and post menopause as a research topic. I wanted to learn as much as I could from real women, and get hands-on experience. 
 
The first thing I did with each woman who participated, was to sit and just listen to her experience. I would ask questions and gather information that would help me best support her, but job #1 was to be a person who could validate her experiences in a positive environment. 
 
At the end of their course of treatments, everyone had seem some form of improvement, but what they all told me was that the most helpful thing I had done for them was to simply care about what they were going through and treat their experiences like they mattered. Most indicated that their regular doctor gave them ten minutes at most and the standard options of HRT or nothing. 

 
THE TRULY HOLISTIC APPROACH
Perimenopause a huge physical, but also emotional, mental and spiritual change in a woman’s life. To not have your chosen primary caregiver be able to properly acknowledge and validate that is in my frank opinion, a big, bad deal. I know most doctors don’t have the time and are doing their best, but it would be great if there was at least some form of acknowledgement of the importance of this time by the people responsible for shepherding us in our health. 

There is a grieving process to be honoured, as well as a celebration to be cultivated. We acknowledge a young woman’s first period as well as the birth of new babies (and the making of new mothers) with sanctity and celebration. There are special breakfasts, showers, gifts and hopefully, at the very least a few hugs from other women who are happy to walk with you through these rites of passage. 
 
So when was the last time you heard of someone throwing a menopause celebration brunch or a Crone passage party? How about never. Or very infrequently, which I hope to see change.
 
A truly holistic approach needs to start there, with validating women’s experiences, honouring what they go through and planting the seeds that  some form of celebration is important and possible. Secondly, the holistic approach seeks to offer individual and natural options that are evidence-based and compassionate to the needs of the human being sitting in front of you. If we can’t start with validating the experience and expand into an individual protocol, then what are we even doing? 
 
The Crone aspect of the triple goddess is not one to be trifled with. Try it and report back, if you dare! I would argue that menopause is perhaps the deepest experience in a woman’s life. It’s her time to step into the accumulated power and wisdom she has gathered thus far, and wield it. As a holistic therapist, it’s my honour to walk with any woman during this time and be a part of her support and positivity crew. The Goddess takes infinite forms, all of which are critical to life.  I hope to see the celebrations and respect due to the Crone flourish and take root in society once again. When we honour the wisdom keepers of our society, we invite prosperity for all.

 
 
Lauren Keizer-Gilbert is a clinical aromatherapist, massage therapist and aromatic reflex therapist specializing in women’s holistic health. To learn more about Lauren and her work or to book your own consultation, please contact visit the website at www.falconrose.com


References:
Aromatica, Holmes, 2016
Aromatherapy for Health Professionals, Price & Price, 2011
Clinical Aromatherapy: Essential Oils in Healthcare, Buckle, 2014
Essential Oil Safety, Tisserand & Young, 2016
It's Your Hormones, Redmond & Geoffrey, 2006
Menopause and Cardiovascular Risk, Dessapt & Gourdy, 2012




 
 

]]>
<![CDATA[Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)]]>Mon, 08 Apr 2019 14:41:00 GMThttp://falconrose.com/falcon-rose-blog/bergamot-citrus-bergamia
I just love Bergamot oil. When I smell it, I immediately smile and feel more at peace in myself and with the world. It brings up comforting images: cosy kitchens in winter with the snow falling and a hot cup of earl grey tea, early-morning breakfast with marmalade toast, or hot nights in Cyprus eating preserved bergamot rind while sipping Ouzo. I could go on
THE FACTS
Bergamot is expressed from the rind of the fruit, which grows on a small tree. It's actually a cross between Citrus limetta and Citrus sinensis. It's a member of the Rutacea or "citrus" family and very beloved throughout Italy and the Mediterranean. Its fragrance is warm, comforting and reminds many people of Earl Grey tea!  That's because bergamot essence combined with black tea is in fact what gives Earl Grey that distinctive aroma and flavour. 

AROMA
The aroma of Bergamot essential oil is both sweet and bitter with a touch of dark floral at the same time. Some distillations can come across a bit powdery as well. It's very rare that I work with someone who doesn't like the smell of bergamot! 

MAIN THERAPEUTIC PROPERTIES
One of the more well documented uses of bergamot is its positive effect on the nervous system – helping to uplift depressed feelings soothe anxiety and nervous tension. 
According to research by Saiyudthong and Mekseepralard, bergamot has effects similar to diazepam. It also helps with stress-related conditions in general, skin complaints, digestive complaints, respirator complaints and urinary system related issues.
 
 
A LITTLE BIT OF CHEMISTRY
Monoterpenes – 62.80%, Esters – 27.46%, 
 
Chemist E. Joy Bowles describes Monoterpenes as having a drying and dissolving effect. This would help to explain why bergamot respiratory complaints as it would dry out the mucus. Esters have a sedative, anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect, all of which would prove useful for different aspects of an over-stimulated nervous system. 
 

CONTRAINDICATIONS
This oil is photo-toxic, meaning that when applied to the skin and put under UV light from the sun or a tanning bed, it can cause burns and blisters to form. It's important to dilute essential oils in a vegetable carrier such as coconut or grapeseed before applying to the skin.  A maximum dermal limit of 0.4% dilution must be observed with Bergamot. If not, you have to avoid direct sun and UV beds for a minimum of 12 hours.
 
TIP: It is possible to use "bergepten free"bergamot, in which case photo-toxicity will not be an issue.
 
BLEND EXPERIMENTS

To help you get a feel for bergamot, try a couple of these blend experiments. You can put a drop of each oil on a tissue or 1 drop of oil per 5ml. So, say you have 2 drops, that's 10ml carrier oil (for example grapeseed oil). This is a safe dilution to work with for most people. 

Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) + Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
This combination brings out the sweetness of the lavender and the richness of the bergamot. I would love to use this combination in a bath soak or in a body lotion, especially when feeling emotionally fragile. It’s so comforting. ​

Directions: 1 drop of each on a tissue, waived in front of your nose.
OR:
  • 10ml grapeseed oil
  • 1 drop bergamot
  • 1 drop lavender 

TIP: You could then use this in a bath, on your skin after a shower or blended 50/50 with a plain hand cream.

Bergamot + Lavender + Benzoin (Styrax benzoin)
It's such a heavenly smell, adding even more richness and depth. Every time I make this blend, I literally want someone to massage me with it immediately. It's so comforting to people recovering from burnout, nervous tension, depression. 

Directions: 1 drop of each on a tissue, waived in front of your nose.
OR:
  • 15ml grapeseed oil
  • 1 drop bergamot
  • 1 drop lavender 
  • 2 drops benzoin

TIP: You could then use this in a bath, on your skin after a shower or blended 50/50 with a plain hand cream.

Bergamot + Lavander + SBenzoin + Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
This is also a very nice combination – but the geranium takes it to a different place than the previous blends, giving it a more medicinal quality. If the previous blends were focusing on relaxation and the nervous system, this has now brought the endocrine system into the picture more strongly. I think this combination would be nice with an Epsom salt bath as a once a month cleanse. 

Directions: 1 drop of each on a tissue, waived in front of your nose.

OR:
  • 20 ml grapeseed oil
  • 1 drop bergamot
  • 1 drop lavender 
  • 1 drop benzoin
  • 1 drop geranium

TIP: You could then use this in a bath, on your skin after a shower or blended 50/50 with a plain hand cream. 

FOR FUN!
I found this very cool recipe from Lorraine Elliot over at  "Not Quite Nigella"  for a “London Fog” tea cake, using Earl Grey.  I would be really interested to add a teaspoon of bergamot hydrosol to the cream topping, just to see how that works out!

Hope you enjoyed working with Bergamot today, and happy sniffing! 
]]>
<![CDATA[​Environmental Issues and Sandalwood]]>Tue, 02 Apr 2019 19:10:26 GMThttp://falconrose.com/falcon-rose-blog/environmental-issues-and-sandalwood
Sandalwood. We all know and love it. But what are the ethical implications of using it?
Picture
Sandalwood (Santalum album) has been used in the Far East primarily for health and spiritual applications dating back 3,000 years. It appeared in Vedic texts as early as 500 B.C. and in Sanskrit medicinal texts in 1,000 A.D. Egyptians, Buddhists, Tibetans and Ayurvedic practitioners alike found uses for sandalwood ranging from spiritual practices, to treating respiratory infections and venereal disease to embalming and cosmetics.
 
By the 16thcentury, and thanks to trade routes between the Far East and the West, Sandalwood was also part of the Western pharmacopeia. King Henry III of France was reputed to have used Sandalwood as part of a linen powder to scent his clothes and Catherine de Medici was renowned for seeking out the finest ingredients to use in her perfumes. 
 
In modern times, however, the demand for Sandalwood has grown significantly, thanks to its use not only in Ayurvedic medicines, incense, and essential oils, but also for the cosmetic, perfume and flavoring industries. Traditionally, the main supplier of Santalum album has been India, a region where the plant grows native and boasts a rich historical use.
 
According to research, between 1950 and 1970, an average of 480,000 sandalwood trees were harvested annually in India to meet the demands of trade. By 1974, research indicated that there were only 350,000 sandalwood trees left and the industry was halted. Some explanations for why the tree suddenly became so scarce are that it takes approximately 20 years for a tree to mature, at which point the heart wood and roots can be used to produce an essential oil, shavings and powders, i.e. the entire  tree must be felled. Additionally, the trees are partially parasitic: they require host trees to both receive nutrients from by binding to the roots as well as protection from intense sunlight by the host’s canopy. If new trees and host plants are not promptly re-planted and if harvesting is not staggered in a sustainable way with proper soil maintenance, then it is easy to see how total deforestation and devastation of the Santalum album species occurred. 
 
As a result of these problems, the Santalum album trade was halted/greatly reduced. While other species of Sandalwood were produced or attempts made, none were so successful as the Santalum spicata species native to Australia. 
 
Larger scale production of this species had already begun as early as the 1960’s but really began to pick up steam in the 90’s and 00’s. Santalum spicata has a somewhat different constituency profile from Santalum album, as this graphic from the Tisserand Institute displays: 


However, as efforts have been made to ensure that the growth and harvest of Sandalwood in Australia does not repeat the destructive patterns witnessed in India, Santalum spicata products are considered generally more ethical and environmentally friendly for consumers. 
 
There are however, some arguments against this. Locals to the Ord River, a region of Western Australia where large Sandalwood plantations exist, fear that such large amounts of arable land have been used for an as of yet unproven crop past the first 20 years. They argue that as the roots of the plant leave deposits in the soil, should the industry fail, it may leave their limited arable land useless for future food crops.
 
Locals have also voiced dismay at the amount of mango crops that were removed to make room for the Sandalwood plantations and cite additional hardship to their local economy. The reason for this is that mango crops required larger numbers of seasonal laborers than the sandalwood plantations and many of the micro economies in the region depended on the backpackers and seasonal labor force for their own businesses. 
 
Lastly, it is worth pointing out that of the two main producers of sandalwood in Australia: Santanol and Quintis, Quintis has recently faced scandal and near bankruptcy after being investigated and found at fault for fraudulent avoidance of export charges. While this may not have immediate environmental impacts, it is worth noting that should Quintis go into administration, Santanol is poised to take ownership and become the single and largest producer in Australia. As the main financial backers for Santanol are a global conglomerate who have been described by Santanol’s Chief Executive Oficer, Remi Clero, as having no difficulties providing stable financial resources to back the company, this may not be in the best interest of the local people or the local environmental standards. 
 
In conclusion, while efforts to produce more environmentally friendly sandalwood products in Australia have been made, the oil remains somewhat contentious and will likely continue to be so in coming years. 
 
 
 
References: 
 
Perfumed the Axe That Laid it Low: The Endangerment of Sandalwood in Southern India
http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0019464613515553
(Last accessed 24/4/2018)
 
Santalum Album Oil Rejuvenated
http://tisserandinstitute.org/santalum-album-oil-rejuvenated/
(Last accessed 25/4/2018)
 
Threatened East Indian Sandalwood (Santalum album) Thrives in Australia
https://www.kellyablard.com/sustainability/threatened-east-indian-sandalwood-santalum-album-thrives-in-australia/
(Last accessed 25/4/2018)
 
Environmental Impact of Essential Oils
https://www.dariennewsonline.com/opinion/article/EarthTalk-The-environmental-impact-of-essential-4904614.php
(Last accessed 25/4/2018)
 
Sandalwood Plantations a Disaster for the Ord River
https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/sandalwood-plantations-disaster-ord-river
(Last accessed 25/4/2018)
 
Indian Sandalwood Company Santanol having ‘Year of Acceleration’ and Uneffected by Quintis Drama
http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2017-09-13/indian-sandalwood-company-santanol-unaffected-by-quintis-dramas/8885582
(Last accessed 24/4/2018)
 
Quintis Avoids the Chop: Embattled Sandalwood Company Thrown Life-line by Creditors
http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2017-09-01/quintis-avoids-the-chop-given-lifeline-by-creditors/8851898
(Last accessed 25/4/2018)
 
Soren Aandahl: The American Short-Seller Targeting Quintis
http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2017-03-31/soren-aandahl-american-short-seller-targeting-quintis/8402194
(Last accessed 25/4/2018)
 
The Artifice of Beauty, Pointer, 2005



]]>
<![CDATA[AROMATHERAPY FOR HAY FEVER]]>Mon, 01 Apr 2019 14:40:57 GMThttp://falconrose.com/falcon-rose-blog/aromatherapy-for-hay-fever
Welcome spring! 
Here in the Netherlands spring has definitely sprung and we are enjoying warmer weather and lots of birdsong. The trees have blossomed, grass is growing again and leaves start to peak out between all the twigs and branches
It's such a beautiful pastel landscape and I love to get out on my bike as much as possible to soak it all up! Yet...it's also a time that many people start to get that familiar scratchy, itchy feeling in their throat, nose and eyes. I hear a lot of sneezing when I'm out and about and I myself used to struggle terribly at this time of year. 

I'm going to share with you a really simple recipe for a hay-fever inhaler that has worked very well for me and many of my clients. In fact, I no longer need to take allergy medication at all after sticking with this inhaler for the first couple of weeks in spring. 

Here's what you need: 
A 5 or 10ml glass aromatherapy bottle with a dripper orifice and cap and the following essential oils: Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis), Green Myrtle (Myrtus communis), Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and Lemon (Citrus limon). 

You can also buy blank plastic inhalers that have a wick inside, but because I am trying to use less plastic in my life, this method will also work just as well. 

Open the glass bottle, remove the orifice dripper and add the following:


Roman chamomile - 2 drops
Green Myrtle - 4 drops
Lavender - 2 drops 
Lemon - 2 drops


Put the orifice dripper top back in and close with the lid. Roll gently back and forth between the palms of your hands a few times and open the cap again. Place one finger over your left nostril as you place the aromatherapy bottle under your right nostril and take a few deep, even breaths through the nostril. Then repeat on the other side.

You can do this once an hour or so, as needed. If you are lucky, it will really make a huge difference and maybe you won't need to bust out the allergy pills this season.

As always, if you have any serious health concerns such as asthma or severe allergies, please consult with your primary care giver or specialist first! 

Wishing you a beautiful and easy-breathy springtime! 
]]>