Tension in the Chest and Arms
We all tend to experience some sort of tension or stress in certain areas of the body and often times it can be a chronic problem. There are various events like sports accidents or trauma that may leave injury but these issues can also stem from emotional baggage. Moving on from the head and neck to the chest and arms we begin to explore a highly energetic area of the body. The heart chakra is an area where we feel love or on the other side of the spectrum, fear. It is impossible to feel both at the same time and therefore in times of great danger people tend to feel tightness or discomfort in their chest. When we have been shamed or disillusioned at some point in our lives the heart chakra responds by closing up. Moreover, when our hearts are open and we feel secure we tend to sit up straight and move our arms freely. Circulation is linked up with the heart chakra and when we are closed off in that area we may feel tingling or numbness in our arms and hands. We need the blood to flow in order for our life force to reach our extremities. Geranium essential oil has been helpful in relieving stagnant energy and encouraging blood flow. This particular oil is a wonderful tonic for the heart and tends to calm the wearer with tender maternal vibrations. Applying a drop or two to your favorite lotion and massaging the feet before embarking on your day will help to quell coldness in the feet and toes. Remember to show love to others even when you may not feel loving. Just as we study in order to pass an exam we need to create healthy habits to remind ourselves how good it feels to love and be loved in return. With the fast paced lifestyle so many of us lead today it is easy to run on autopilot, just floating through life. Let us not forget the simple and easy steps we can take towards a healthier and more fulfilling life like the act of giving another a hug or a smile. When we allow our heart chakras to beam with gratitude others will take notice and maybe, just maybe they will pay it forward. Take a moment to reclaim your loving power by stopping in for a healing session and allowing your heart to open and flourish.
Diffusing Essential Oils Aromatically
Are you aware of how powerful the sense of smell can be on your emotional and psychological wellbeing? Our noses are able to pick up on thousands of different odors all at once. When something foul smelling comes in to our system, we immediately react with a sneeze or perhaps even a headache. When something pleasing enters our sense of smell, we react with a smile and an uplifting attitude. The chemical definition of aroma states that individual compounds are able to interact with olfactory receptors in our nose, head and face. Because each essential oil contains a different blueprint, different oils will affect us in different ways. Those smell receptors high up in the nasal cavity are linked up with our limbic system and therefore the scent of an essential oil can have quite a strong impact on our emotions. You may find that a particular essential oil helps to aid in the reduction of anxious feelings while another reminds you of a soothing place from your past. Moreover, essential oils also interact with the hypothalamus and may even aid in the regulation of blood pressure, sleep and memory.
When using a diffuser, look for a unit that does not use heat to emit aroma. Heating essential oils can alter their delicate and intricate chemistry so opt for a cold air diffuser instead. Simply placing a drop of your favorite calming oil in the palm of your hand and inhaling before entering a stressful situation like a doctors appointment or an interview can be very helpful in maintaining feelings of calm and peace. Our talented therapists enjoy using a wide array of essential oils during their healing sessions. Just walking into a room filled with a mellow blend of essential oils like Lavender or Vetiver can bring the client from a place of extroversion to a place of stillness and introspection. Our sense of smell is linked up with so much more than previously thought and diffusing essential oils is a great way to boost the mood, improve sleep and maintain a healthy and happy household. If you have any questions about diffusers, please don’t hesitate to ask! Be well.
By Sarah McCallum
Head and Neck Tension
As an Aries (rules the head) with the moon in Taurus (rules the throat) I typically suffer from pain and tension in my head and neck. I have experienced many a night where I used acupressure and yoga in order to avoid a full-blown migraine. While pain management seems like a daunting and impossible task at times it is actually an incredibly insightful process through which you learn a lot about your body and mind. For instance, the areas of tension for myself differ from those of my clients and my loved ones. My father experiences low back pain, something I rarely encounter, and for my mother it tends to be sciatica. Interestingly enough my father is a Virgo/Libra cusp, think low back and digestive processes, while my mother is a Libra, think gluteus. Your astrological make up can directly influence your tolerance to pain as well as the sensitive and vulnerable areas of your body. You may also find relief from using essential oils aligned with your astrological footprint. Some of my favorites happen to be strongly identified with Aries: Peppermint and Rose. Both of these essential oils work to immediately relax the muscles in my head and neck while calming the mind and opening the heart. I have to pay attention to the emotional connection related to stiffness in these specific areas as well. The neck represents your ability to see both sides of any given situation, therefore when we find tension in this area it is wise to focus on accepting the validity of opinions that may not be our own. Tension in the head can be the result of over analytical thought processes and obsessive worry. Meditation and yoga may be hugely helpful in shutting down and tuning out those persistent negative thoughts. No matter what type of fatigue you are dealing with being able to stay open to a variety of healing modalities is always important. Stop by the spa and relax with one of our talented therapists. We are all differing in our approach to healing and that is what makes us such a successful team!
By Sarah McCallum
There is something in the air this time of year and it smells divine. The sights and scents of fall are not only comforting and delicious but they can be quite healing as well. Take Clove for example, this spice is a wonderful antioxidant and therefore helpful in boosting immunity. We could all use a little extra boost in our health when the seasons begin to change and the temperatures drop. Fall is a time of introversion, reflection and preparation for the winter months. As the cooler temperatures roll in our internal heat also declines and we need extra help increasing our circulation. Ginger essential oil has been known to help light our internal fires and get our blood moving. Both Clove and Ginger will come to the rescue when dealing with any type of digestive upset. Ginger helps to warm the digestive tract while Clove reduces bacteria found in the gut. Black Pepper has been known to aid in the reduction of cold hands and feet while also delivering a powerful punch of Vitamin K. Try a drop or two in your lotion and apply topically to the body before heading out into the chilly fall weather. Cinnamon essential oil not only smells divine but also increases heart health by raising the internal body temperature and improving circulation. Regular use of the powdered spice as well as the essential oil of Cinnamon has been shown to help reduce the risk of heart attack. Cardamom, typically found in Chai tea, is a wonderfully powerful antimicrobial spice. Try using a drop of Cardamom essential oil in a few tablespoons of water as a chemical free alternative to your mouthwash in order to fight oral infections. The aroma is uplifting and works as a stimulant thus Cardamom is best used in the morning. In my opinion, all of these essential oils can be tossed into a diffuser for a fantastic fall scent. Each essential oil listed above when applied to the body topically, always diluted, can help decrease muscular strain and joint pain. Therefore, next time you’re feeling bogged down by the hectic schedule of the fall season please stop by the spa for an aromatherapy massage treatment featuring a spicy scent. We will make sure to prepare your body for the busy months to come. You will leave feeling rejuvenated and refreshed!
By Sarah McCallum, Massage Therapist at NLMSC
Topical Application for Children
I would like to discuss the process of applying essential oils to adolescents and children. The typical amount and usage of certain oils on adults is not at all appropriate for youngsters because of their sensitive skin and delicate constitutions. When using essential oils on a child always dilute in a tablespoon or more of carrier oils like coconut or almond before applying to the skin. Use caution when applying essential oils to areas that are more sensitive like the belly or the neck and be sure to use only a drop or two to start. The spine and bottoms of the feet are my favorite spots to apply essential oils to my child as well as my clients. It is a good idea to wait about 20 minutes after application; do not expect the child to show results immediately. My toddler responds beautifully to calming essential oils like Vetiver, Roman Chamomile and Cedarwood but I always allow him time to wind down in the bath tub before expecting a mellow mood. Moreover, the amount of essential oil used will totally dictate the outcome, so be conservative when using essential oils on anyone but especially with children. Remember that a drop alone is very powerful and using too much of an essential oil can be harmful and ineffective. Just because you are dealing with a typically toddler meltdown doesn’t mean it is time to apply a boat load of oil, always start with a drop or two, wait 20 minutes and then add a drop or two more if needed. Never use essential oils like Lemongrass, Clove, Oregano or Peppermint on a child who is under the age of being able to verbalize their feelings. These oils can cause a burning or cooling sensation that may send your little one into a fit of rage. That’s not to say that they aren’t fabulous essential oils but I suggest waiting until you can explain the possible side effects to the child before using those particular oils regularly. Oils like Lavender, Spearmint, Lemon, Roman Chamomile, Wild Orange, Cedarwood and Vetiver are all safe, effective, soothing and excellent choices for children. Remember that every body is very unique and just because one essential oil becomes a favorite of your child doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best oil for every child. With proper dilution and application knowledge you and your kids will be off to a very productive and healthy fall season!
By Sarah McCallum, Massage Therapist at NLMSC
By: Kristen and Bethany