You are ok as you are. If you become a butterfly or not,
I respect you for caterpilling along doing your transitional thing.
Walking your path. Even if you’re in a cocoon waiting to strut your beautiful wings and are afraid that they’re too damn bright.
I love you for it.
You are becoming. You are a caterpillar. There are so many unhelpful stories about ‘becoming’ We judge ourselves for not being there You want to be a writer but haven’t been published You want a group of friends who ‘get you’ You want to get up and sing but you weren’t ‘born with it’ You want to heal that hurt but that’s not what happens in your family
None of this is helpful as it resides in the end result.
The polarity of ‘it’ or ‘not it’
You are either something or not something
We deny the greyness of liminality The space between
The object à
the juicy shades of colour as we change shedding skin
Yet if we are going to become anything We have to cross the wobbly bridge and keep looking on Without dwelling too long on the possible fall Or fitting in when you get there
Come as you are Caterpillar or butterfly Cocoon or thought
Strut your becomingness It is imbibed with all the wisdom you need Just come
One thing that is difficult about being an aromatherapist is the amount of knowledge that is assumed about it so therefore the amount of generalised statements that get banded about.
First of all ‘essential oils’ cover such a wide range of properties it makes little sense to talk about them as such, so we tend to consider them in groups of properties or chemical components.
It is an area that should not be waded into without a great deal of respect for the plant and a great deal of respect for yourself and the knowledge of trained aromatherapists.
Something that has come up for discussion recently is the use of antiviral and antimicrobial properties of essential oils.
As a clinical aromatherapist we are trained to blend oils at quantities and dosages to be antiviral and anti-microbial.
I have despaired reading facebook posts and pinterest recipes for putting ‘some’ tea tree and lavender into a hand sanitiser. This may be because most people have only heard of these oils and assume that all essential oils are the same.
This is a huge misconception. If you compare lavender and clove, it is like comparing a hammer with a toothpick. You simply can’t consider them to be the same.
There are three active chemistries which are antiviral in certain oils which are blended in hydrolats which form the base of my sprays. The antiviral components are the carbon double-bonded phenols of cinnamon leaf and clove bud, the aldehydes of Lemongrass and the Oxides and Alcohols of the distilled Ravensara and Eucalyptus globulus. Hydrolats are the water-based by-product of distillation. This distilled water is free from impurities and holds the same therapeutic properties as the essential oil in a minor dosage.
One issue with using essential oils on the corona virus and at this time is that there are a lot of people who really have very little knowledge of the chemistry of essential oils giving people advice and there is no direct research on this strain of the virus.
There is also a difference between oils and substances which are antiviral and those which are viricidal. Equally, there is a huge range in the quality of essential oils being used. This is why I am extremely scrupulous about who I buy from and why. The essential oils that I have mentioned, purchased from a supplier Penny Price who provide me with the exact chemotype of the plant and gas chromatography which gives the exact chemical make up of each oil.
As a clinical aromatherapist with the International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists, we know how to blend suitably for respiratory, airborne viruses and use a range of chemistries which work synergistically together to deactivate and reduce the impact of viruses. This is something that has been tested over time with influenza strains and herpes viruses. As there is no testing, there is no guarantees but there is the surety that using all of these chemical components boosts the immune system, the respiratory system and prevents the re-infection due to the anti-microbial action and the anti-viral properties work at de-activating the viruses.
However, I am extremely sceptical when people mention ‘some’ essential oils as though they are all the same and especially lavender which is much better suited to burns than viruses.
I would wholeheartedly recommend using essential oils in cleaning and sanitising but use advice from a trained aromatherapist who understands dosages and chemistry properly. Otherwise, we risk losing credibility in our industry and this would be detrimental to people’s health and well being as aromatherapy serves such a key role in fighting bacteria and viruses.
If we are working towards a chemical-free, toxin free future, we must do so following the expertise of those who are trained and qualified to blend in a way which is strong enough to overcome bacteria, microbes and viruses yet gentle enough not to damage our skin, body systems and the environment.
This morning brought all of the magical tingles to my heart! Gorgeous gorgeous session with the most amazing and inspiring children.
When Deborah and I met we were so excited that we shared a vision for yoga for additional needs.
We had some conversations and quickly made some important decisions about what we thought it should look like and include.
From my background as a SENCO and holistic therapist, I brought some tools for developing interaction and calm, developed for children with autism but wholly beneficial for all children with communication difficulties.
We set intentions about how the sessions should feel that we would invite children to the activities but have no expectation as we knew that if we created the right environment it would happen.
We included Movement Based Learning, something that Deborah has recently trained in to bring sensory integration and benefits to the vestibular system.
We use sound, massage, aromatherapy, all holistic tools which make the sessions truly magical.
Once we find out who is on the course, we select the right ingredients to suit them. We are currently on our third course and having some amazing feedback.
Today I found out that one of the dads had gone out and created an aromatherapy blend for his daughter based on my advice and that she absolutely loved it.
Another dad told me that this class is the best thing his son has ever done. My heart popped open again.
During our animal sun salutation song we see week after week more strength and coordination as the children learn the songs and know what is coming next.
Deborah and I are so grateful we have been able to do this and looking forwards to bringing more sessions to more children across Leeds.
Yesterday I spoke about the narrative of change – compassionately receiving yourself as you change and evolve each day.
As a species, we are naturally expansive, evolving and changing. We have the capacity to learn every day with the determination of a toddler learning to walk or a bird learning to fly.
Yet some of the things we have learnt before we were seven become ‘hard wired’ and interfere with this process:
Don’t rock the boat….
We want to evolve yet we fear change. We are so contradictory. How we feel is our internal compass, and without that decisions are difficult to make and energy doesn’t flow because our hearts and minds are disconnected.
Yet results don’t lie, people are unhappier than ever, stress related illness is at levels higher than ever.
The old way of supressing emotions no longer serves us. The old way of not expressing how we feel makes us disconnected from ourselves and unable to express the truth in our hearts and the old way of resisting change has left us fearful, ill and with a planet that is suffering.
What happens when we don’t feel or express? The heart doesn’t connect with the body, has no voice, no validation
The circuitry of self-love and self-actualisation becomes blocked which leads to addiction. The endless loop of distraction as anyway to numb the hurt.
Gabor Mate has been celebrated recently in his connections that “all addictions, alcohol or drugs, sex addiction or internet addiction, gambling or shopping – are attempts to regulate our internal states, because we’re not comfortable and the discomfort originates in childhood.”
In place of the natural flow of the chakras to become our best selves and most fulfilled, we have outsourced the self-love and self-care to something else.
We have learnt to cling to things which make us feel safe yet we have to unravel to loosen or stuckness to move forwards with ease.
The first place we need to feel safe is inside our own hearts
The chakra-healing work I do with aromatherapy, energy reading and guided meditation is energetic and creative – imagining, drawing, moving, retuning with essential oils. We create new space to grow and new connections within the body, new expressions, new communication.
The oils I recommend for change are also cited with Valerie Ann Worward “Aromatherapy for the Soul” – a book I would really recommend
Cedarwood “allows us to look into our past while looking forward to the future in strength of heart and wisdom, and with security and love”
Elemi “a fragrance of placidity, of the quiet need to hear our own soul speak from the depth withing”
Orange “conquers fear of letting go, and obssessions. The fragrance uplifts those with obsession so they can see the full spectrum of life”
To create something new, it must first be imagined, then the energy can flow there – opening new space energetically which is how the oils work in chakra- healing work. Then being able to connect the mind’s eye with the area and recreate the flow of love through each cell will bring back your power to being able to feel, express and be who you really are.
When we talk about top, middle and base notes, what do we mean?
Each essential oil carries its own vibration that can be measured at the rate at which it evaporates and leaves the blend. Top notes have the highest vibration and base notes the lowest so will stay longest so they will be the lingering scent.
When you first smell a blend, it will be the top note that you smell first,
rising to the surface, then the middle, then the base. The synergy of the oils
will be different depending on which oils are blended together. This is why we
blend, to make something greater than the sum of its parts yet maintaining the
Some oils for me really bring each other’s best
characteristics out. I love the synergy of Marjoram and Lemongrass the middle
and notes as well as Nutmeg and Lavender. It makes me think of the contrasts in
colour that make each brighter.
La terre est bleue comme une orange,
The earth is blue like an orange.
(L’amour la poésie ) Paul Éluard 1929
The contrast of the Marjoram and Lemongrass together makes one another resonate brighter. Just like the image of the orange and blue that works in the mind to make the blue more vibrant because of the stark contrast which is complementary. Both colours seem fuller and more true because they are contrasted and therefore show more of their true essence. This works in the blending of oils as well. By using oils that vibrate at different frequencies together, we can make their true essence stand out more.
Top notes are good for vibrating energy out of the body and connecting with a higher version of ourselves. I use Lemongrass in my crown chakra spray for this reason. I use Lemon in my arthritis blend for its ability to ‘flush’ the joints with other oils in my blend that reduce pain, the Lemon then takes it away through the blood stream and into the urine. Emotionally, I see top notes as the light at the end of a tunnel or the sun flickering between the leaves. It can show you the way.
Middle notes have an affinity with the middle chakras and creating balance in the body. Middle notes are oils such as Chamomile Roman, Clary Sage and Geranium. They create the heart of the blend and as I do during my meditations, I connect with the heart first, the emotional body. Essential oils create pathways in the body energetically, paving the way for new connections to be made between the heart and the sacrum for example or the heart and the third eye, drawing of all of its wisdom and being more whole.
Base notes are the foundation, like the onions and spice we add to the pan before we make a pot of delicious food. Base notes bring the vibration lower and more grounded in situations where people may be ‘too much in their head’ or suffering panic attacks or feeling light headed. Base notes work the same way that lightening is earthed into the ground and transmuted, they send excesses of energy back to the Earth. Base notes are often woody, like Cedarwood Atlas or Frankincense or can be used for sleep and calm. They can be the root, like Valerian or Vetiver or the flower like Ylang Ylang. They are sturdy oils that bring a sense of power and strength.
Each blend I make will combine notes in this way so that the oils are given chance to be expressed without being blurred into too many of the same frequency. I also combine the chemistries for the purpose of the blend or plant families or elements. Yet the principal is the same: allowing each oil the space to express its uniqueness and flavour as part of the blend bringing the ‘tuning’ of the body into balance.
The aftermath of the CBD bandwagon.. is thankfully that
credibility is being given to the medicinal molecules found in certain plants
known as their healing powers. They are adorned with these for their own
protection but as we share over 95% of our DNA with plants, they can help us
Medicine started in the garden and in the cooking pot. Our
first medicine is always food yet CBD seems to be one of the only oils getting
acclaim. I feel this is very media-biased and misleading as the value for money
for a very under regulated market is very patchy with very high expectations
and little knowledge about how to use these alternative medicines. I worry that
thousands are being wasted on an expensive sticking plaster without the quality
consultations undertaken by aromatherapists, herbalists and those who are
attuned to using plant energies and using them with care and respect.
The CBD interest and credibility over the past few years has
been fantastic for alternative and holistic medicine. I do feel incredulous
however that it can be accepted as medicine, whereas other essential oils that
have been used for thousands of years are still treated with scepticism.
Does CBD have qualities that aren’t found in other plants?
No, it is, however a deep anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving substance.
However, it wouln’t be my first choice for arthritic pain simply because I can
make blends which are equally if not more effective at a fraction of the price.
It wouldn’t be my first choice for hayfever or flu either.
I am, however, hoping that the celebrity status given to CBD
above other essential oils will raise the profile in a safe and health-bringing
way. One thing I find time and time again however is that the very way we look
at health is crisis-lead not preventative and based around body parts rather
than the whole body as a system which it is.
It is, in part the way we learn about the body and medicine
in the West. We think ‘earache’ and want to stick something in our ears,
forgetting that we are a whole body system which at the most basic, cellular
level is absolutely intrinsically connected. An infection is an infection so
the whole body needs to be treated from the point of view of rest, diet and
Much of the basis of medicine is based on masking symptoms
without getting to the root cause. I have met people on my journey who have
taken a cellular approach to getting themselves well and done things like
reversed thyroid issues, ulcerative colitis, diabetes. In general, medical
practice is working around 20 years behind current research.
We have a ‘chasing pain’ attitude to illness. If one thing
hurts, we assume it is the source of the pain and needs to be dealt with in
isolation. Everyone’s bodies have a ‘weak spot’ where their pain manifests. It
is not necessarily where it starts.
Take my massages for example: I am always being asked ‘just
do my shoulders’. I completely get it, life is short and money can seem scarce.
I want to share with you the most beautiful part of my job.
It is watching as the racing heart calms and resets finding
peace, the brow unravels and the stomach loses its grip with gentle gurgles of
joy. The eyes that wake up are relaxed and rested, refocused without carrying
the load they came in with. Most often this happens when I am massaging feet or
heads because there are so many buttons there to switch back to peace and send
the internal ‘you are safe and well’ message to your body.
Your shoulders are
tensing because your mind is racing and you are holding too much emotional
baggage round your neck. This is a whole-body approach.
The moment when you finish and you say you feel ‘amazing’ and ‘completely blissed out’ is what normal should feel like. Regular massage helps you find which way is up again, re-orientate yourself back to you.
It is so powerful, lying on the table and tuning into
yourself. When I first started getting massages and acupuncture treatments I
felt like a complete diva but my body, mind and soul were craving it. I would
see colours, drift off and find a rest far deeper than I was getting in my
sleep at night.
Sometimes what is in the bottle helps, but it is only a tool
like any other. Really connecting to the root causes is what brings about real
benefits to health.