Floral Waters in the Fourth Trimester

Aromatherapy in the Fourth Trimester:

Aarin with rose scented pram.

After giving birth recently, I have found myself using floral waters (also known as flower waters, hydrolats & hydrosols) in various ways to support myself and my new born son.

In the main I avoided using essential oils in pregnancy because they are so potent and can cross the placenta*, but floral waters are extremely gentle so are perfect in pregnancy, when breast feeding and for baby care as well as for delicate sensitive skin. You do need to make sure you get a good source of floral water, so you get the qualities, similar to the essential oil, in it (don’t grab a rose water from the supermarket). I have a small range of the most useful flower waters here that come in spray bottles: rose, lavender, chamomile & neroli. https://shop.essentialoilsandyou.co.uk/collections/custom-skin-care

You can get a wider range of floral waters from Oshadhi here: https://oshadhi.co.uk/hydrosols-hydrolats/

Here are my top tips on using floral waters in the fourth trimester:

Click to shop floral waters.

Baby bottom care: I have spent a lot of my time cleaning a tiny bottom with rose water during nappy changes to make sure his skin doesn’t get sore. A friend recommended I make up a flask of hot water to keep by my nappy changing station, so I had this with a small bowl and some cotton pads ready for cleaning when nappy changing. I pour a little of the hot water from the flask into the bowl, allow to cool slightly, dip the cotton pad into the water and then spritz rose water on each side of the pad. Depending on how messy it is I may do this a few times and his delicate skin gets the nourishing properties of the rose water along with the anti-microbial action.

When I notice his skin is red, then I use chamomile water as it’s particularly anti-inflammatory, so more helpful for this, lavender water would also be suitable. I sometimes just pat the chamomile or lavender water on his skin so it’s more effective. If I’m out and about, I just use a gentle wet wipe, and can spritz the floral water on this for extra nourishment.

Nipple care: to make sure my nipples don’t get sore from breast feeding I spritz them with lavender or rose water several times throughout the day. It’s so gentle it would not be an issue using it if the baby is then feeding shortly after.

Episiotomy care: I had an episiotomy which made life a bit more uncomfortable for the first few weeks after the birth, it meant I had to be careful keeping the cut clean to avoid infection and as I couldn’t have a bath due to stitches. I used lavender flower water which acts as a gentle antiseptic. After a shower and before bed I would soak a cotton pad in lavender or chamomile water and gently clean the area.

I also applied my scar care balm (click here for recipe or click here to order) made of rosehip oil, myrrh, lavender and chamomile essential oils, to support the cut healing & avoid infection. I applied this around the area while it was still closing and directly on it when completely sealed.

Skin care: I ended up with several spritzer bottles of lavender, rose, chamomile & neroli flower waters around the house so I would also give my face a spray whenever one was nearby for nourishing my skin and refreshing my senses.

*It is possible to use certain essential oils in pregnancy and with babies, but generally only for specific issues and you would need to be treated by an experienced, qualified practitioner.

 

Deepening Self-Care and Care for All.

Illustration by Kelly Basford.

When I first completed my aromatherapy training, I treated a lot of pregnant women. It was a true pleasure and privilege and I noticed how willing they were to bring a much deeper level of care to themselves, something that I did not see as abundant among women. Of course, it is a time when in many ways a woman is at the mercy of her body and has to adjust many things in the way she lives her life. But I did note, that many chose to do more loving things for the sake of the baby they were carrying, that they would not have made solely for themselves. For example eating more carefully, not pushing themselves, cutting out food and drink that wasn’t supportive, such as alcohol and coffee.
There were things that I was choosing for myself back then, even though I wasn’t pregnant, nor had been. The overriding reason for making these choices was still the messages I received from my body that I chose to respond to, although perhaps not as obvious as when someone is pregnant, they are still there. I was more focussed on health generally due to having entered a career in the healthcare industry. The more I did listen to my body, the more I became aware of my body’s messages and the more deeply I began to care for myself, with the results being many amazing and sometimes quite unexpected unfoldments, change and opportunities.

Art by Kelly Basford.
Now, more than 10 years later I am pregnant myself and a realisation dropped in. Even though I feel I do take care of myself, without perfection and listen to my body, as the realisation of carrying a child and preparing to bring them into the world began to feel real, I had a thought: my choices were now, not just about me, they were about me and one other. As this thought came, I immediately realised that I still, in the main, live my life for myself, and that really it should not take having another being inside me to make me consider more than myself in any choice I make – it was a bit of a shock and felt horrible to admit. True, building a self caring way in my every day means I am able to support myself and others more so than if I didn’t, so self care is still a priority, infact my foundation. And true, there is a huge impact on my child whatever I do, especially when I’m pregnant and in the early childhood stages, so the child will naturally be considered. But, the question that came was: is that really any different to the impact that the way I live every part of my life has on all others?
 
Painting by Kelly Basford.
What if we all truly understood that every choice, action, movement, even thought, actually does have an impact on everyone? There is a huge ripple effect that comes from each of us, and that can be felt by all on some level.
 
If we were fish in the sea, each movement of our fins, tails, mouth, etc. would have a tangible ripple effect in the water, that all the other fish and sea life live in and would feel. Just because we don’t see air in the same way as the water they live in, it is surely just another medium that our movements will ripple out and touch others by…
So, this mini revelation really highlighted to me that every choice I take, every move I make, counts for all.
 
For more writing on the philosophy of life, I recommend checking out the following fabulous blogs:
 
 
 

Face Masks and Essential Oils

If you need or feel to wear a face mask, you may like to use essential oils to enhance the experience:

  • simply drop your favourite essential oil onto the mask and enjoy the scent on your journey;
  • if you need to go out and you feel vulnerable, choose an essential oil to help with feelings of anxiety, eg. neroli or lavender.
  • use an essential oil to give your immune system a little boost, eg. tea tree or thyme.

You can either sprinkle a drop or two of the essential oil onto the mask, but be careful if the mask is precious and the essential oil has a colour to it that might stain.

Alternatively, you can use a roller ball blend of essential oils to apply to the skin above your lip and below your nose before you place your face mask on. Click here to order a blend designed to your specific needs or send an email to laura@essentialoilsandyou.co.uk with your request. The blend contains essential oils diluted in a carrier oil (I usually use apricot kernel oil as it is very gentle), so it is suitable to apply to the skin.  Note that undiluted essential oils are not suitable for skin application as they are too concentrated but they can be dropped onto the mask.

These are the most beautiful face masks I have come across, made from silk so they feel divine on your skin, designed, hand printed and hand made by Sophie Darling in Brighton, UK.

www.SophieDarling.com

Self Care For All

‘Nature’s confetti’ by David Pearce.

In any situation we face, we are always offered space to surrender and to bring focus to deeply caring and supporting ourselves.  Right now, in the midst of the corona virus outbreak, you may be considered a ‘key worker’, in which case, likely under huge pressure, or on ‘lock down’ and unable to leave your home, either way, there are many challenges at play.

Making self-care our natural way in our every day life, not only supports ourselves, but naturally then supports all of those around us – therefore there is a great responsibility in attending to this.

As you know, I love to share how essential oils can simply nourish our health and wellbeing, they can be particularly helpful for supporting the respiratory system and for moments of stress and duress, so here’s a few blogs that spring to mind with this focus in mind:

‘Autumn fire’ by David Pearce.

Click here for ‘Unimed Living’  website for more support and inspiration on bringing self-care into your natural way.

Any purchases from the web shop will come with a FREE inhaler stick until end of May 2020 (or while stocks allow). You can request the scent/blend or I can make one to suit you. Inhaler sticks are also available to purchase for just £2.50.

Click here for an informative article on Essential Oils and Coronaviruses from the Tisserand Institute.

How to make Aromatherapy Inhaler Sticks with Essential Oils

Inhalation of essential oils is the fastest method for them to be taken into and used by your body.  The inhalation method is particularly useful for treating respiratory conditions, such as colds, coughs, sinusitis, it’s also helpful for nausea, headaches and for calming feelings of stress and anxiety.

One thing of notable value is that all essential oils have, at varying degrees of potency, an anti-microbial action, often anti-viral, anti-bacterial & even insecticidal. Therefore, using an inhaler stick is a great way to help protect yourself from the plethora of bugs, viruses, colds, flus etc. that are often doing the rounds in our societies.

I tend to take them with me when I’m travelling on a plane, train or sometimes in an automobile – they are particularly useful for travel sickness too (see recipes below). They fit in your pocket, so you can take them out whenever you feel to, and they don’t tend to impose on others around you.

How to make an inhaler stick: They are incredibly simple to make, all you need is:

You can choose one or several essential oils to add to your inhaler stick, see recipe examples below. The total number of drops you add should come to 10.

How to use your inhaler stick: take the lid off, bring the stick just below your nose and take a few deep and gentle in breaths and then let your body relax and respond. You can use it as and when you feel too.

Recipe inspiration:

Clearing, (bug & germ busting):

  • eucalyptus (globulus type is strongest), peppermint, rosemary, thyme (any type), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) (you can use one or all of the oils suggested but the total no. of drops should add up to 10).

Calming (stress, anxiety, and hay fever):

  • lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), chamomile (roman), neroli (orange blossom), (you can use one or all of the oils suggested but the total no. of drops should add up to 10).

Anti-Nausea (morning sickness, travel sickness and also anxiety when it causes stomach aches):

  • spearmint, cardamom, neroli (orange blossom), (you can use one or all of the oils suggested but the total no. of drops should add up to 10).

Love Bomb – choose your favourite scent and use it just because… useful on public transport if it doesn’t smell great, if you feel distracted and want something to support returning to your body, can be comforting and supportive.

Shelf life approximately 12 months, if the scent fades and you can manage to get the cap undone, you can refresh with more drops of essential oil.

I like this company ‘Kare & Kind’ for inhalers sticks as they come in multiple colours, labels to stick on , pipettes to drop oils on with and holders to ensure you don’t get oil on your fingers.

If you have particular symptoms you would like support with, get in touch for advice on which essential oils to add to your inhaler stick, or order one to be designed & made for you (this is usually more cost effective if you don’t have your own collection of essential oils to make one with): Bespoke Inhaler Stick.

Tips:

  • Choose essential oils that you enjoy the scent of – if you like the action of the essential oil but not the smell then there is always an alternative option – e.g. if you don’t like tea tree, try lavender.
  • If you use more than one essential oil, try them on ‘scent strips’ to see how they blend together first.

Safety:

  • *when choosing essential oils ensure you are clear about any contraindications, some essential oils should be avoided with children, in pregnancy, with epilepsy, cardiac fibrillation, blood clotting disorders, ragweed allergies – check with a qualified aromatherapist for advice.

How to make Bath Salts with Essential Oils


First of all, it’s really important to know that essential oils are hydrophobic, meaning they don’t mix with water. Because essential oils are extremely concentrated, they should never be used undiluted on the skin, even if you just want to add a few drops of essential oil to the bath, they need to be diluted first (check out How to Use Essential Oils in the Bath for full details).

The same principle goes for making bath salts, the essential oils must be diluted first. Adding them to salt is not enough because when you add the mix to the bath water, the salt ‘melts’, leaving undiluted essential oils floating on top of the bath water and in direct contact with your skin. So, first add the essential oils to a fatty base oil such as olive or almond oil, this can then be mixed in with the bath salts – when added to the bath the salt will melt and you will be left with essential oils dispersed in the base oil, which will give the added benefit of nourishing your skin*.

Bath Salt Recipe (the basic components that you can tweak to your taste):

  • Salt – 200 grams,
  • Base/Carrier Oil – 10 grams (or ml if simpler to measure) of any nut/seed/fruit oil e.g. almond/sunflower/olive oil,
  • Essential Oil – 5 drops (choose 1 or several essential oils to use but ensure the ‘total’ number of drops is 5).
    • pour the base oil into a jug, then add the drops of essential oil and stir,
    • pour the salt into a large bowl, add the blend of base and essential oil and mix thoroughly,
    • add a hand full of the salt mix to the bath, do so once the water is run and you are ready to step in (if you add it while the water is still running, the essential oils in the mix will evaporate with the steam).

Muscle Relaxing Bath Salt Recipe:

  • Epsom Salt** – 200 grams,
  • Oil – 10 grams – arnica (macerated in olive oil),
  • Essential Oil – 5 drops – lavender, black pepper &/or chamomile.

Skin Soothing Bath Salt Recipe:

  • Dead Sea Salt** – 200 grams,
  • Base Oil – 10 grams – calendula (macerated in olive oil), apricot &/or. camellia,
  • Essential Oil – 5 drops – chamomile, lavender &/or neroli (orange blossom).

Refreshing Bath Salt Recipe:

  • Salt (your choice, see below**) – 200 grams,
  • Oil – 10 grams – your choice eg. olive, almond, apricot oil,
  • Essential Oil – 5 drops – rosemary, mandarin &/or coriander seed.

Tip: If you want to add flowers & petals to your bath salts, (e.g. rose, lavender, chamomile) sprinkle a few spoonfuls into the mix, enough for your desired visual effect. Note, that it can make the bath more difficult to clean afterwards, so wrapping all the salts/flowers/oils into a muslin cloth and tying them up with string will mean you don’t need to collect all the petals after your bath.

* Caution, due to the base oil the bath can be slippery so be careful not to slip!

** Epsom Salt is more suitable for muscle aches & pains. Dead Sea Salt is more suitable for soothing the skin – I usually use a mix of both in my blends to get the benefits of both.

Digestive Massage with Essential Oils

Click image to enlarge.

Instructions for self digestive massage:

This is a treatment you can easily give yourself whenever you feel to. It can help with digestive problems such as IBS, bloating, constipation, general discomfort, loss of appetite and digestive anxiousness*.

You can use just olive oil, but if you would like essential oils to enhance the treatment then see the suggested blends below.

Lay down in a comfortable supported position. This is really important, you want to make sure you’re able to completely relax, it could be on your bed, sofa, a massage table or on the floor if you can support your body enough. Have a steady place ready for the oil to stand that you can reach and it’s not likely to be knocked over and wear clothes that can reveal your tummy area. You may need a towel under you incase the oil runs, blankets to keep you cosy and pillows or cushions to support your body (for your head or under knees).

Once you’re set, place one hand on your heart to help settle your body and use the other hand to massage the oil or ‘digestive blend’ around your tummy.  Do this in small, gentle, anti-clockwise circles, initially just to apply the oil. Then you will follow the route of your digestive system, which goes clockwise, but make your massage movements anti-clockwise… begin at the stomach, just under your ribcage, then around the centre of your tummy covering the ‘small intestine’ area, gradually move down towards the start of the ‘ascending colon’, follow this up the right side of your body, then across the body as it becomes the ‘transverse colon’ and finally to the ‘descending colon’ down the left side of your body. You may feel to repeat, to focus on certain areas and to take a moment to rest once complete.

I actually love doing this before I go to sleep at night and would love to be able to continue laying there until I fall asleep but I have to get up to wash the oil off my hands, especially if I’ve used an essential oil blend.

*The massage is a support, not a longterm cure for symptoms, but it can help relieve and clear in the moment. You should consult your doctor if symptoms persist.

Here are some blend suggestions, they are also available to purchase as a ‘Bespoke Blend’ designed for your personal situation:

Clearing digestive blend (strong):

Gentle digestive blend:

Anxiety digestive blend:

  • Olive oil, 10mls (you can use other nut, seed or fruit oils such as almond or apricot oil)
  • Lavender essential oil, 2 drops
  • Neroli essential oil, 2 drops
  • Can be used in pregnancy, with children and on sensitive or elderly skin, but only use 1 drop of each essential oil instead of 2).

Digestive massage and other treatments are available to book with me at Brighton & Hove Therapies in Brighton, UK. Please call to arrange: 07828954020.

 

Essential Oil Diffusing Jewellery

Introducing OYL’E London – Essential Oil Diffusing Jewellery.

OYL’E London Pendant – ROSE GOLD £109.99

Last year I met Sumera Shamim at one of my natural perfumery workshops and she shared her plan to make essential oil diffusing jewellery. I could tell immediately that what she would design was going to be exquisite and would reflect her own beautiful style.

When she got in touch to let me know her range of jewellery was ready I was not disappointed, every detail has been carefully considered and the design so elegant and delicate.

The collection is made from 925 Sterling Silver and Rhodium plated allowing durability. The OYL’E pendant is designed to open with ease, but not accidentally, and holds a bespoke 100% pure wool bead perfectly. The vents that make up the pendant are constructed specifically to slowly diffuse your chosen essential oil & aroma throughout the day. The chains are adjustable, allowing them to be worn quickly and easily.

OYL’E London Pendant – SILVER £109.99

I have been wearing my bracelets and pendants for a couple of months now, and the initial captivation has not worn off, in fact it has deepened as the real magic of the product comes into play. Each morning I decide between the rose gold and the silver jewellery and then I decide which scent I want to wear.

The essential oils are sprinkled onto a little ball of organic washable wool and then encapsulated in the sphere. I currently have a few balls with different combinations of oils on. Every now and then they need refreshing and sometimes a new oil is added to the mix.

It’s a lovely moment in my morning ritual that I am then reminded of through out my day. Often I take the pendant to my nose and enjoy the perfume, and sometimes if I bend down and the pendant swings I notice the scent. I have a different blend inside the bracelet and so get to enjoy two smells.

OYL’E London Bracelet – ROSE GOLD £94.99

This really is a beautiful way to use essential oils, some of my clients use them to support their health, one made a blend to help with a cold, one for feelings of anxiety and one for morning sickness.

At the moment I have rose, neroli & pink pepper in my pendant, and sandalwood, myrrh & black pepper in my bracelet…

 

Click here to view & purchase OYL’E London jewellery.

Click here for essential oils to sprinkle into your jewellery.

Essential Oil Safety – Is it OK to use lavender essential oil undiluted on your skin?

When I trained 10 years ago, I was taught that it was generally accepted to be safe to use lavender and tea tree essential oils undiluted on the skin. A drop applied neat to a specific area such as a spot, cut, burn, insect bite or a graze was considered appropriate as an anti-septic, to ease pain & inflammation and help the area to heal more effectively and efficiently. It’s something that I’ve practised myself and also advised clients to do so, but after investigating essential oil safety more deeply recently, my view on this has now changed.

The safe use of essential oils is a hot topic in the world of professional aromatherapy right now because there is a huge amount of unsafe use promoted on the internet, mainly by MLM (multi-level marketing) companies, especially with regards to using oils internally and undiluted on the skin, with severe outcomes.

You should never use essential oils internally without professional support from someone experienced in using oils in this way – it is worth noting that it would be quite rare that it would be recommended, and should definitely not be used for boosting general health.

You should never use essential oils undiluted internally; drinking a few drops of essential oil in a glass of water would expose the delicate lining of your digestive system to a neat oil, (since essential oils do not mix with water) it could burn and cause serious damage.

Mayfield Lavender Farm

If you consider how much plant material is needed to make such a tiny bottle of oil, you get an idea of how concentrated it is; 250 pounds of lavender for just 1 pound of lavender oil, 1200 rose flowers for just 20 drops of rose oil.

I had never had a ‘reaction’ to an essential oil (apart from a few I’ve disliked the scent of), but a few months ago during a course making an alcohol perfume, my skin responded in this way (see image below) after dropping an essential oil mixed with alcohol on it, it passed after about 20 minutes and may have been due to the alcohol. I have handled essential oils pretty much every day for 10 years without problems but this goes to show that you can never be sure and should always be careful.

Reaction to a blend of essential oil & alcohol.

If you do happen to get an essential oil on your skin and have a ‘reaction (which could include burning, itching, a rash or hives) then you can apply olive oil or another base product to the area as this will help to dilute it. Even if you have used lavender neat on your skin without any initial reactions or irritation it could still cause ‘sensitisation’. which can occur after over use of a product.

What does sensitisation mean?

  • it’s an immune response to using an oil regularly over a period of time,
  • symptoms could include a rash, hives, blisters, sores, burning, cracked skin & shortness of breath,
  • it could mean that you can never use that oil again.

If, like me, you use lavender for a myriad of reasons, it would be a real shame to one day find you can’t use it all, so it’s wise to take precautions.

Using essential oils is not a case of the more you use the better the effect, so you do not miss out by diluting the oil, in fact it is usually more beneficial to be used in a carrier product.

Advantages of diluting essential oils:

  • base oils are nourishing to the skin,
  • you use a lot less oil which reduces the demand which means less impact on the environment,
  • you use less and therefore spend less.

I now have a bottle of ready to use lavender essential oil blended in olive oil in the house for all those moments when I need it. If you want to make a ready to use blend you can either add 5 drops to 10ml of base oil (or 2 drops in 10ml for children & sensitive skin), or if you have a different sized container, click here to refer to the blending chart to check how many drops to use.

Click for How to Use Essential Oils in the Bath

Do not dilute essential oil when using in a diffuser or burner, in an inhaler stick, if you sprinkle lavender on your pillow at night, or use it in your ironing water. None of these are going directly on your skin and using a base oil would stain sheets or damage diffusers.

Since lavender is one of the safest essential oils to use, all other essential oils should also be diluted before use on the skin, including in the bath.

The Importance of You in a Relationship with Essential Oils

When we think of relationships most of us will automatically refer to the one we have with an intimate partner, but actually we are having a relationship with everything all of the time, even with inanimate objects such as a chair, or with our computer. We have a relationship with our environment, with sleep, with work and with food… so of course we can have a relationship with essential oils too. And, in all cases, we are either having a healthy, harmonious relationship or not.

Essential Oils and You is about bringing awareness to the relationship we have with ourselves and how that can be reflected in how we use the oils.

Essential Oils + You = Relationship.

The question is though, what kind of relationship is that?

The quality of your ingredients will play a part in the quality of the outcome, so using quality essential oils is important but what is the quality that ‘you’ bring to the relationship?

Whatever it is that you are having a relationship with, ‘You’ are the common ingredient, and the relationship you have with yourself will have a great impact on the outcome. And so, ‘the way’ you relate to you and the quality of care that you bring to you is really important.

When it comes to using an essential oil, I have had many clients who ask for an oil to ‘fix’ back pain, or an oil to ‘solve’ sleep problems. It is possible to use them in this way, i.e. to match the symptom with an essential oil with properties to address that symptom.
For example, lavender essential oil has pain relieving and calming properties, so it can support back pain and sleep problems. But, what about the affect of ‘you’ in that equation?
What if it is the quality of our intention behind using the oils that matters most? Do we just want relief from a situation so we can continue living in a way that has contributed to those ailments? Or do we want the true healing on offer?

What if your purpose in using the oils was more like this:

I have back pain, there are lots of things going on in my life that I think may be causing it, and some that seem to make it worse, how can I support myself best to change or address these things that are resulting in back pain?

When we ask ourselves these questions, then there is the potential for true healing to be the result, rather than bypassing the issue that caused the symptom and just addressing the outcome. The more honest you can be with yourself, the more you get to discover about yourself and the quality of your relationship with yourself deepens. You then bring a different intention to the way you can use essential oils (support rather than relief) and a different quality to all your relationships.

So the equation has the potential to look something like this:

Essential Oils + You = an unfolding relationship with more honesty, more care, more awareness, more understanding, more nurturing, more love… in relation to everything in life, and hopefully along the way the symptoms will improve or pass as you deal with the root causes.

Your most important relationship is the one you have with your self, because you are the key ingredient in your relationships with everything else in your life, whether it be the way you use essential oils, the way you express with your colleagues at work, or the way you put yourself to sleep each night… You are the most important ingredient in every relationship.