Reflections on A to Z Challenge

This was my very first year of participating on the AtoZChallenge and I have to admit I found it really fun, and confess that I did not get to visit as many blogs as I should have done throughout the challenge. Apologies but I hope to catch up with some of you over the coming weeks. I find the blogosphere a bit like a blackhole, you click on a link to a blog and you end up going down a wormhole, only to get released 5 hours later when your bum has gone numb, from sitting too long.

I wrote a lot of my posts over the Easter weekend and scheduled them in advance. There were a couple of letters, W springs to mind, where the word was not forthcoming, and only came to me through the month, after a chance word was said to me. You can read Witch or Wise Woman to see what happened to give me that post. Scheduling does not come without it’s own perils, like getting the wrong letter for the day. W went out before T I think. I must confess I also never got round to writing X. I had it all typed in my mind, but never got round to putting onto wordpress. Did anybody notice?

I would like to thank all those who gave me such lovely feedback, including in no particular order:

https://promptlings.wordpress.com/

https://thejaidev.wordpress.com/

https://spiritualdragonfly.wordpress.com/

https://lexicalcreations.wordpress.com/

https://prabhatks.wordpress.com/

https://annalevensonpsy.wordpress.com/

Welcome, especially if this is your first visit

https://pluviolover.wordpress.com/

Welcome

https://doc2poet.wordpress.com/

https://artistpath.wordpress.com/

https://waldina.com/

https://susanjhernandez.wordpress.com/

https://shirleyjdietz.com/

https://recipetosuccess.wordpress.com/

https://vivachiro.wordpress.com/

https://ionanerissa.wordpress.com/

https://lessonsfrommydaughter.me/

https://savingshards.wordpress.com/

https://meinthemiddlewrites.com/

After going and searching for all my interactors I realise that there are more than I thought. I miss your emails popping into my inbox letting me know that you have inteeracted on my blog. I am so glad that so many of you found it useful and informative. I would love to know if any of you have started to get to know any smelly friends any better?

pablo(21) As part of the challenge I hope that 1 couple will consider calling in on us when the cruise around the British isles next year. I hope to call in on someone in New Brunswick, Nove scotia area when we get to cruise there, and more friendships have been forged globally as a result of this challenge. Since it has finished I am writing more on my other blog This Pilgrims Progress, and I would love to see some of you over there, as I chronicle my journey through life.

Blessings Joy

Shop here for Aromatherapy Oils in the UK

 

 

 

Z is for Zingiber officinale

Amphora gingerGinger               Zingiber officinale              Keyword: Digestive

This lovely warming oil should be used in small doses. Great for bilious attacks and travel sickness. Great in a burner with orange.

It is a wonderful oil for use in a blend for muscular aches and pains especially after physical activity. Should be avoided on sensitive skin so best to do a skin test before using on large areas of the skin

Not for use with children at any age.

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Well we have come to the end of the AtoZChallenge. I have loved having so many of you along and leaving so many wonderful comments. I am glad to have given you an insight into the wonderful world of aromatherapy, and how you can help keep yourself healthy with these natural products.

Blessings Joy

Y is for Ylang-ylang

Ylang ylang                          Cananga odorata                        Keyword: Confidence

Ylang ylang means flower of flowers. It has an exotic fragrance and has been called poor man’s Jasmine as it has similar aphrodisical properties but is less expensive. It is the base for many perfumes.

It is a warming oil and helps to instil confidence, therefore useful before interviews or presentation, use the night before to get a good night’s sleep.

Not for use with children of any age.

****************************************************************************Amphora Ylang YlangOver to YOU! I would love to hear your experiences with essential oils. Since this challenge started have you taken the plunge and begun to explore the way these tiny powerful ninja oils can help you to stay healthy. So many of my posts have been writen and re-writen as the month has progressed as you shared your thoughts with me. I hope you enjoy the oils as much as I do, and that you have become friends with some smelly ones. Blessings  Joy

V is for Verbena, Vetivert & Violet

Verbena                           Lippia citriodora                             Keyword : Refreshing

This oil is like a sweet lemon, and as it suggests, it is a refreshing and uplifting whilst soothing the parasympathetic nervous system.

Works on the digestive system, controlling stomach spasms, nausea, indigestion and flatulence. May also stimulate the appetite, so useful for those who may have gone off their food!

 

Vetivert                       Andropogon muricatus                           Keyword: Grounding

Amphora vetivertThis oil has a smoky, earthy aroma. It is known as the oil of tranquillty for its calming action, useful for stress and tension. Helpful for people who are out of balance and require grounding. Can be useful in helping people ease of tranquillisers.

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Amphora violet leaf diluted

Violet Leaf                       Viola odorata                                   Keyword: Healing

This oil is highly prized in the perfume industry. I must admit to having very little knowledge of it myself. I do have it in my collection, and will be using it in the  near future and noting the effect that it has.

I am currently using Galbanium as my new found oil, and am giving that a few weeks use, before introducing a new oil. Maybe a post for May?

Thank you for continuing to be with me almost to the end of the AtoZChallenge. Due to a scheduling mistake W was published last week, and can be read on Witch or Wise Woman

 

U is for Unction

Unction is a word we don’t hear much isn’t it? The dictionary definitions are :

1. The act of anointing as part of a religious, ceremonial, or healing ritual.
2. An ointment or oil; a salve.
3. Something that serves to soothe; a balm.
Aromatherapy oils can serve all 3 definitions, so to follow on from yesterdays SacredSpaces I have chosen to look at the Act of Anointing:

In Exodus 30 in the Old Testament, we read of the Anointing Oil composed of myrrh, cinnamon, calamus (that’s a new 1 on me) and cassia, diluted in olive oil. Now I believe olive oil was used because this was plentiful in the Holy Land. If it had been another country, then I believe Sweet Almond Oil may have been used, or grapeseed oil, whichever was grown locally. This oil was used for the anointing of the tabernacle and the priests and High Priests, to make them most holy.

We also read of the Incense which was composed of “fragrant spices, frankincense, gum resins galbanum and something referred to as onycha, which seems to be a debatable substance, as to what it really is. There are references to a sea mollusc, but I seriously don’t think that it is derived from an animal, if it is, it would be one of the very few essential oils to be obtained from an animal. There is a gland of an animal that produces musk, but that is the only 1 that I can think of. My money would be on it being Labdanum, which is obtained from the rock rose. It sounds much more of a likely candidate than a sea snail.

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain went through an Anointment at her Coronation discussed in this clip here:

In R is for……. I talked about Rainbow Valley, an intention of my lovely friend Lindsay, who has a vision to create a sanctuary where people can go to be in control when dealing with a diagnosis of cancer. I am going to invest in some of these oils mentioned here and experiment with the effects that they have on me, before considering using them on others.

I am so glad that I have taken part in this AtoZChallenge, it has taken me out of my comfort zone, and led me to expand my knowledge of aromatherapy and I am soon going to be making some more smelly friends. I hope I have encouraged some of you to make new smelly friends too.

Blessings Joy

 

S is for Sacred Spaces

Mama 2016 Conference

OK so how many of you noticed that I posted W instead of S on Friday? It was a scheduling mis-calculation, or was it? I had been pretty up together on my AtoZChallenge, writing so much of it over the 4 day Easter Holiday and scheduling them, although I have to admit that as the month has gone on, posts have been edited and re-edited as things have happened that I wanted to include as my way of journaling what effect this challenge has had on not just me, but my practice as well. But S just wasn’t coming to mind, and now I know why.

I have just been on an amazing 2 day Conference called the MaMa Conference, which was held right on my doorstep, right here in Ayr. It is organised by the most amazing woman, Cass McNamara, who is an Independent Midwife, the inventor of the “CUB” a unique “seat” which encourages women to birth upright and organiser of MaMa Conferences. So what has this got to do with aromatherapy and S.

Well for those of you who have ever been around a birthing woman, you will know just what a sacred space you are in. It is a space that we must keep holy, for the birth process to play out. The dance of Mother and Baby as they work together to bring the baby Earthside, is a very sacred thing indeed. When the Space is allowed to remain Sacred then a wonderful thing happens. When it is upset and becomes a place of Science rather than Sacred that is when we have women feeling disempowered, disappointed and failures. As I sat and listened to all these people, mainly women, talk about the things that they are doing to return the birth environment to a Sacred Space, I felt priviledged to be among them. I must admit I have not always felt part of the female half of the species. I have never really got the whole “women together” thing, but as I took part in the tribal, hip swaying I began to experience what unites us. As I was mesmorised by the buttocks in front of me, doing the pelvic movements, whilst on our hands and knees, I glimpsed a thin veil of connectedness to all the birthing women who had gone before me. I felt the Earthly pull of the female spirit calling me to join them.  I am truly becoming a Wise Woman as I get older, and looking forward to developing my skills in many Sacred Spaces.

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Thank you for joining me in this Sacred Space.

Blessings Joy

 

 

 

T is for Tangerine Ti-tree and Topical

Tangerine:                               Citrus reticulata                                       Keyword: Calmative

This citrus oil is akin to Mandarin and not too dis-similar to Orange but subtler. It is more kind on the skin in the bath, although it is phototoxic, so not to be used if going out into strong sunlight after use on the skin.

Amphora tangerine

Tangerine

Helpful with stress and tension, with it’s soothing action on the nervous system. This extends to the digestive system, settling stomach and gastric complaints.

A gentle oil which can be used on young children.

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Tea Tree                         Melaleuca alternifolia                    Keyword:                Antiseptic

This essential oil has a strong medicinal aroma and has an unsurpassed reputation as an immune system stimulant. Anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal. Can be applied neat to the skin. Headlice hate the smell and is found in many lice deterrent shampoos, lotions and potions

Amphora Tea Tree

Tangerine

May come into it’s own in the influenza season. My money is on it. Burn it in a blend thoughout the winter in preference to have any vaccination.

 

 

 

TOPICAL

We have looked at massaging blends into the skin back in Blends and Massage. Contrary to a range of aromatherapy which has become very popular in recent years, I do not advocate putting neat essential oils on the skin, apart from lavender and ti-tree. I also do not recommend many essential oils to be used on babies and very young children. That’s my personal view, and I know there are many that would disagree. What do you think?

Thank you for following my journey through the AtoZChallenge

Blessings Joy

 

W is for Wise Woman or Witch

When I began the AtoZChallenge I struggled to find a word beginning with W. For most of April I was going to do “Water” and talk about taking a bath, and adding an essential oil or two under the running water, but about a week ago, one of my regulars came to see me for Chiropractic treatment. He had had a very painful big toe the last time he had been to see me, and as the McTimoney method of Chiropractic is a whole body technique, he asked me to avoid touching his toe that day. Well a month later I must admit I had forgotten about it, and inadvertently pulled his big toe. He yelped. I apologised.

We met the very next day, at a business networking event, which is when he said that I was a witch! I had healed his toe which had been painful for months!

So thank you Bobby for giving me my W.

Wise woman or Witch, Witch or Wise Women. In most cultures in antiquity it was the Wise Woman who was the keeper of the herbs, and knew exactly which plant to use to make the compress, to keep her family and the rest of the community healthy. It was the Wise Woman who sat with the birthing Mother, who brewed tea of the herbal variety when a child was feverish, it was the Wise Woman who sat with the dying, helping the Soul to birth into the next world, using her skills and knowledge to make that journey as peaceful as possible. It has been many a year since I left the Nursing profession, when I took great deal of pride and satisfaction in caring for the dying, even without a bag of herbs to help ease their journey. It was not needed, we had 20th Century drugs to do that instead. And so I watched many a tortured body fight it’s way out of this world and into the next, wherever that is. I have my faith, but understand that not everybody reading this has the same belief, so I leave it to you to imagine where the next world is.

In researching for this post I came across the work of Susun Weed and Corinna Wood, who express the sentiment that Wise Women are still around, caring for their families, cooking healthy meals for them, and mopping fevered brows when their child has a fever, but to my mind they are far more likely to be reaching for the calpol or ibuprofen rather than trusting their knowledge of local woodland plants or herbs that they are growing in their herb garden. But it made me realise that all my life I have been a Wise Woman. Yes I have tried to feed my family healthy nutritious meals to keep them from getting sick. I did my best, they did not always appreciate what I was trying to do. As I write this I am in the middle of a Nutrition course, I am still adding to my knowledge all the time. My family have left the coop, and I have more time on my hands to take care of others, and become even wiser still.

I am so grateful to the AtoZChallenge, for giving me the opportunity to gain an even deeper love and appreciation for my smelly friends than I had when I started the challenge. I have invested in different oils, oils that I have discovered, ones that were mentioned in the Old Testament of the Bible. I have been given the opportunity to work with people who have been given the diagnosis of cancer. I pray that God will give me the Wisdom to work gracefully with this people. I have another blog called This Pilgrims Progress. I started it years ago, but never really kept up with it. Maybe now is the time to write down my learnings from this next step on the journey with aromatherapy on that blog, and who knows maybe next April I will be writing my AtoZchallenge from there. Here are a few more Wise Women that I discovered as part of the challenge.

https://promptlings.wordpress.com/one-seekers-journey/comment-page-1/#comment-12556

https://spiritualdragonfly.wordpress.com/about/comment-page-1/

 

For now I will leave you, my Nimbus 2000 is waiting to take me up to bed, where the Wise One is sleeping. Must be the potion I gave him earlier.

Blessings Joy

R is for Rainbow Valley, Rose, Rosemary & Rose Geranium

The weekend of 9th/10th April, I was priviledged to go and listen to Dr Sondra Barrett talk on the topic of the Secret of Your Cells. It was an amazing weekend, and 1 that will have an influence on my life for years to come I am sure. I met a team of 3 ladies who are on a mission, to open a centre for people who have been given a cancer diagnosis, to go and receive health care that is so removed from that of the NHS, to boost their health with nutrition, visualisation, and complementary treatments. 

You can read more on Rainbow Valley’s website. I have offered to go and do some gentle aromatherapy, with some visualisation with essential oils in a burner/diffuser. It is a learning curve for me. As an aromatherapist and trained nurse, I have experience of nursing people who have a diagnosis, so I am so looking forward to being involved in this. If you would like to donate to Rainbow Valley click here to be taken to their fundraising suggestion page. I am sure they will appreciate it.

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Rose Otto                  Rose centifolia/rose damascena                   Keyword: Cleansing

Amphora rose otto dilutedConsidered to be the Queen of Oils. It is an excellent oil for purification on both the physical and emotional level. It is the ultimate “female” oil with renowned properties for all female Amphora rose geraniumreproductive system issues. An excellent tonic for the womb, calming PMT, although Rose geranium is a cheaper option as Rose is an expensive essential oil. Rose Geranium is of the Geranium family and not the rose.

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Rosemary                    Rosemarie officinalis                                  Keyword: Stimulant

Amphora RosemaryA pentrating and stimulating oil with many uses. A good oil for the stimulating effect it has on both physical and mental levels. It energises and activates the brain, it is said to inprove the memory when inhaled. Also renowned scalp tonic for hair loss and dandruff.

Mental stimulant, clarity of thoughts.

Not to be used on babies, infants or when pregnant. Chakra 6th Third eye/Brow

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Rosewood                      Aniba rosaeaodora                               Keyword: Balancing

A great oil for boosting a failing immune system especially in chronic conditions.

Reputedly helpful for those who have suffered from sexually abused, with its warm and comforting action.

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Thank you for watching and reading. Tomorrow is S is for Sacred, Sandalwood and Studies

Blessings Joy

 

P is for Pregnancy, Patchouli, Petitgrain & Peppermint

PREGNANCY

This weekend I will be attending the MaMa Conference in Ayr, Scotland, and bringing the delights of my talents in the field of pregnancy and birth. Mama Conference 2016Aromatherapy is suitable for use during pregnancy and labour, but careful consideration needs to be used when choosing the essential oil in pregnancy, as so many have the ability to regulate the menstrual cycle, and therefore need to be avoided in the early stages of pregnancy. I am therefore not going to list the oils here, as I would prefer anyone thinking of using aromatherapy during pregnancy and labour to consult someone who has experience in using them. I will however share my experience and stories with you.

When I was heavily pregnant with my daughter, I was fortunate enough to have the offer from my Community Midwife, to come into hospital with me, and help me with her birth. Due to the midwife’s own family commitments, and my being 10 days late, I needed to go into labour before Sunday. I woke up Saturday morning feeling some pains, so I got up, and they stopped. I waited all day for them to return, but they didn’t, so I ran myself a bath and added Clary Sage and Jasmine to the water, and soaked in there for half an hour. At 6 pm I went to bed and woke up at 10 pm, having had a great sleep, to find myself in labour. To cut a long story short, my daughter was born just over 12 hours later at 11.16 am on Sunday morning, with my Community Midwife there to assist.

Since giving birth, I trained as a McTimoney Chiropractor, with a keen interest in working with pregnant ladies, helping them to prepare their bodies, especially getting the pelvis in alignment, to give them the maximum chance of giving birth naturally. For one of my clients, she unfortunately had a smallbleed whilst in labour, so was monitored closely, so her husband was unable to massage her back and belly as she would have wished, with the blend of Jasmine and Clary Sage that I had made up for them to use from 37 week onwards.

Instead he applied the oil to the pulse points on her wrist, and to the amazement of the midwife in attendance, her contractions were much more efficient when the oil was applied. The midwife was so interested that she asked them not to put the oil on so that she could observe the force of the contraction, and it was a less effective contraction!

So well worth giving aromatherapy a go in my opinion and experience! But please consult an aromatherapist who has had training in this area.

Oils Beginning with the Letter P

  Patchouli                            Pogostemon patchouli                    Keyword: Pervasive

Amphora PatchouliWidely used in traditional Indian medicine, Patchouli has a sweet musky fragrance which may be a bit pervasive for some. It is often used as a base for perfume. It has a reputation for being the “hippy” oil of the 60’s. Like no other oil, Patchouli is a marmite oil, you either love it or hate it.

It is useful in curbing the appetite, as well as helping to firm up loose skin, so a useful oil in dieting and tightening up any loose skin which may result in weight loss. Care must be taken when using patchouli as although generally sedating, as a base note, it can be stimulating if overused.

Not suitable for young children

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Peppermint                                            Mentha piperita                          Keyword: Cooling

Most of us have probably used peppermint oil, possibly without even knowing that we are doing so. Peppermint is an ingredient of many sweets, or candies, and many of us will have popped a mint in our mouths to help settle a stomach, or used mints in a situation where we want to stay awake, due to it being a top note. Peppermint is renowned for it’s action on the digestive system. Amphora Peppermint

Beware of using Peppermint if taking homeopathic remedies.

USEFUL HINT: Many insects and vermin do not like peppermint and I have heard that spiders don’t take kindly to it either. I once used it to keep ants at bay, and spent hours watching them avoid the trail of peppermint oil that I had laid in the hallway.

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Petitgrain                        Citrus Vulgaris/aurantium                    Keyword: Panic and Anxiety

Amphora petitgrainPetitgrain is one of three oils obtained from the Orange tree, the other oils being Orange and Neroli. It is distilled from the leaves and shoots and is a popular oil used in cologne.

It is useful in states of panic and anxiety. Neroli is the oil of choice for stress, but as it is very expensive, petitgrain is a cheaper alternative.
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Tomorrow is Q so it is over to you for Questions.

Thanks for reading, Blessings Joy