alternative therapies

Essential Oils Part II-Sneak Peek At My Week Using Essential Oils

What I personally love about essential oils (EOs) is that using them can be a very intuitive and creative process.  

What do I mean by that?

Each of us is created differently and as such our oil needs will be unique to us.  Without delving too deeply into the "hows" of EOs, I will say that EOs are truly the "life source" of the plant from which they are extracted. They are the highly concentrated oil from the plant, that is collected and bottled once it has gone through the distilling process.  Young Living Essential Oils has a Seed to Seal process that was a large part of why I decided to choose them as my oil supplier.  Each oil contains different chemical constituents, and when these chemical constituents interact with us at a sensory and cellular level we can feel better and our overall health efforts can be supported.  This is where the creativity and intuitiveness comes in.  

Many people are familiar with the scent of lavender and how it can be extremely calming and relaxing.  In fact, lavender is often used in spa environments for that very reason.  Many of us may also know that lemon is very fresh smelling and when mixed with vinegar or baking soda can offer itself as a great cleaning agent.  There is a reason most mouthwashes and toothpastes are peppermint flavored...You guessed it! It's fresh taste and scent helps to combat bad breath! Starting with this most basic of information, EOs can be used in a similar fashion.  

Certain oils are known for helping to support various systems of the body.  If for example, you are suffering from seasonal respiratory distress, combining lavender, lemon and peppermint in a diffuser can help support your overall respiratory system.  Should you have a sudden upset stomach or indigestion from that delicious spicy Thai food, Di-Gize, a blend of oils which contains Tarragon, Ginger, Peppermint, Fennel and Anise among other oils can help support your digestive system.  My daily question then becomes "which of my systems need the most support today"? To paint a picture of what this looks like for me, I'll give you an example of one of my days last week.

I actually "started" my day the night before by diffusing something relaxing, so that I could feel that sense of peace and relaxation while sleeping.  I used about 8 drops of Lavender oil and set my diffuser to the "intermittent" setting, so that it was on for 30 seconds and then off for 30 seconds for 7 hours, maximizing my oil by not running continuously through the night.  I love how my diffuser can run while I sleep and I can enjoy the scent unmonitored (unlike a candle).

When I woke up the next day (feeling mighty rested I must say), right off I drank a glass of warm water with 2 drops of *Lemon Vitality Oil in it.  So refreshing and a great eye opener.  

*Fun Fact* -Lemon Oil is made from the rind of the lemon rather than the pulp (which is used to make lemon juice). It takes about 75 lemons to make enough for one 15 ml bottle of Lemon Essential Oil. This is why one drop of Lemon essential oil is so concentrated and full of goodness.

*Young Living Vitality Oils are Generally Regarded as Safe for consumption and are labeled as such.

I then brushed my teeth with 1 drop of Thieves Vitality oil dropped right on top of my toothpaste. It not only gives my toothpaste a spicy kick (think cinnamon and cloves) but it is a great way to support my gum health!

Before I started working, I moved a load of laundry from the washer to the dryer and guess what-I no longer use Bounce sheets! Instead, I take a damp washcloth, add about 3-4 drops of Purification Oil (both of my kids favorite scent) and toss it into the dryer with the clothes.  The laundry comes out smelling amazing (think Lemongrass, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Myrtle, Citronella and Lavender)! *Side note-While we love the scent of Purification Blend, bugs not so much! You can apply this bad boy right to your skin and then head outdoors for a hike or bike ride.  The oils help support the bug deterrent system! (Not sure if that is a thing?! But you know what I mean)

Time to get down to business! I had computer work time and two coaching appointments on the agenda.  I put Lemon and Peppermint in my diffuser (6 drops of each) to put a little energetic pep in my step and dove head first into the rest of the day.

I went to lunch with my dad and when we got back, my Great Dane Miso had consumed most of the contents of the kitchen trash can.  This is a rare occurrence these days, after 6 years we have gotten pretty good at making sure the garbage lid is locked and the counters are cleared of enticing foods when we leave.  Not today.  There were remnants of corn on the cob, chicken scraps, you name it she consumed it...and the aftermath was not good.  Poor thing had an upset tummy that night-apparent by her pouting, laying very still and vomiting (more than once). I combined 2 drops of Di-Gize with Apricot Seed Oil and applied it to her tummy.  Let me tell you, a sick Great Dane is no fun.  

Later that night after dinner, hubs and I went for a walk in the neighborhood.  I had seen blossoms starting to form on the trees earlier in the day, and knowing how I can often experience some seasonal respiratory discomfort, I added a 2 drops each of lemon, lavender and peppermint oil to my water (in a glass bottle as the oils can disintegrate plastic) and off we went. 

I could go on and on about the many ways that I am using my oils. About how each day I am discovering something new.  (Peppermint brownies anyone?!) I love that every time I find a new way to use them, I am supporting my wellness baseline in some way.  I am making one small change for the better.

A few things to note-does everyday go like this? Not at all.  In fact since every day is different, so are the oils that I use.  Some days I use more, some days I use less.  They have become my "go to" because in each of the scenarios mentioned above, I could turn to synthetic products to support the same things and I figure if there's a natural way to support myself I want to try that first.  We are already exposed to so many chemicals and substances that don't benefit us, why add to it? Feel free to browse around my Young Living Essential Oils page and research for yourself some of the types of products that are available. 

I have learned so much through my process of researching oils and would love to answer any questions that you may have.  I'm available via phone anytime, click the button below to chat about oils! What are you curious about?

ADHD and Alternative Therapies

I want to take a few minutes to share my perspective on the role that alternative therapies can play as a part of an overall treatment plan for someone with ADHD.  

First I want to make it clear that medication and therapy have been scientifically shown to produce the best treatment outcomes in the management of ADHD.  In addition, coaching has been shown to be very helpful in the areas of goal setting, support and accountability.  With that being said, for different reasons, there are people that may turn to alternative therapies as a way to either complement more traditional treatments, or as a first stepping stone to deciding how to proceed with treatment.  There are some people that do not tolerate medication well, or that may have another underlying medical condition that prevents them from using medication.  Should you decide to experiment with alternative therapies, I encourage you to discuss it openly with your Dr.   

ADHD affects people to differing degrees and in different ways.  For each individual the remedies can look as different as the symptoms can.  For me personally, I have never tolerated medications very well.  I can probably even count on both hands the number of times that I have taken aspirin.  Not because I don't like the idea of it, more that I would always experience a side effect (no matter how mild) that just made it "not worth it" to me.  This pushed me to look for other ways to feel better.  

My whole purpose in doing this project, of taking small steps to improve my ADHD baseline is to find out a few things.  For example,

if I tried all of the things or suggestions of things that can potentially help me to feel better in general, how would I then experience my ADHD? Would it shift on the scale of how disruptive it is to me?

As it is, I find my days varying greatly. Some days are fantastic, others are a struggle, some are exhausting, more than a few feel unproductive, others feel like a sprint and some feel like a marathon.  I get that some of this is to be expected, even "normal", but in my world, the ADHD world, these seemingly small things can throw a person greatly off course. 

Would improving my overall wellness baseline help with continuity? Would it help to pull together some of those extreme variances into more of a steady constant?

I'm curious by nature and so have decided to test it.  All of it.  And then share the results with you.    

Acupuncture, essential oils, meditation, nutritional supplements, herbal remedies, biofeedback, flower remedies, exercise, music, Reiki, Craniosacral therapy, the list can go on and on.  What truly helps? What doesn't? My guess is that it will be different for each person.  I am trying what I'm curious about and sharing how I feel about it.  If there is an alternative therapy that you are curious about, submit a request to me via email and who knows, you just may find a blog post about it! Stay tuned, more next week.  ~Shaun

The Wonder of Weighted Blankets

So have you heard of weighted blankets? They have been around since about 2008, but are really making an appearance right now.  They are commonly used by Occupational Therapists and can have a calming effect on children experiencing anxiety disorders, or children that have autism, sensory processing disorder or adhd.  I find them intriguing for a few reasons.  

First, when my son (who is ADHD Inattentive like me) was much, much younger (around the age of 2-3 years old) he would end bath time by asking me to "wrap him up like a taco".  It was a game we played each night.  He would get out of the tub and do this little dance, hopping around from one foot to the other, and say "mom,  mom, wrap me up like a taco, please"! I don't remember what started this, but the way this worked was I would lay his towel out on the floor and he would lay down on one end of it and I would roll him up in the towel fairly snug. I'd then scoop him up until he dried off.  Something about the blanket wrapped around him was comforting.  I remember he just loved it.  We laugh about it now.  As a side note, in 6th grade he announced that his dream job would be to work at Taco Bell.  Fast forward to the age of 18 and he still loves tacos, but that's where the taco obsession ends.

I've also noticed that I have always liked to be snug in my bed.  It's the way that I sleep the best.  Even when the weather's warm, I'll turn the temperature in the room down so that I can sleep with a heavier blanket on top.  Also, if I'm sitting downstairs watching tv with my hubby, I always have a blanket on my lap.  It just feels, more comfy.

I've not really ever made the connection between these things and weighted blankets.  I have to say, it does have me curious.  Weighted blankets are not hard to find, but they are pricey! Although if they do what they say they will do, they would be well worth it. As a general guideline, your blanket should weigh about 10% of your ideal body weight if you're an adult.  If you are making or ordering the blanket for a child, it should weigh 5% of their body weight + 1 or 2 lbs.   

A few places to look for a weighted blanket are Etsy and Amazon.  There's even a DIY version that I'm gonna try and make.  You can find the instructions here on the MamaSmiles Website.  I'll do a follow up and let you know how easy or difficult that is and to share the pictures of my completed project.

For more information, check out this short video that I shared last week on my Facebook Page. What's been your experience with weighted blankets? Have you heard of them before? 

Happy Friday! ~Shaun