<![CDATA[FALCON ROSE HOLISTIC HEALTH - SYNERGY BLOG]]>Thu, 20 Jun 2019 17:09:10 +0200Weebly<![CDATA[THE ULTIMATE AROMATHERAPY DIFFUSER  GUIDE]]>Wed, 05 Jun 2019 09:35:53 GMThttp://falconrose.com/synergy-blog/the-ultimate-aromatherapy-diffuser-type-guide
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?

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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. 

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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! 


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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. 




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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. 


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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.


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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!



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<![CDATA[Menopause: A Holistic Approach With Aromatherapy]]>Wed, 24 Apr 2019 17:32:39 GMThttp://falconrose.com/synergy-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




 
 

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<![CDATA[Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)]]>Mon, 08 Apr 2019 14:41:00 GMThttp://falconrose.com/synergy-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! 
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