Category Archives: Aromatherapy

How holistic aromatherapy can help you get ready for a race in the desert?

Essential oils are powerful little plant concentrate…so close to water! So when it is all about keeping water inside, they surely can help. Yes, water…we are talking about fighting heat and making an effort.

As a reminder, you need water for three reasons:

  1. When they contract, your muscles produce heat, which leads to a loss of water.
  2. During physical activity (especially when intense and extended) we sweat, which means we lose water and salt.
  3. Finally, if the outside temperature is hot, the body temperature intensifies, leading to even more water and salt loss.

Losing water and salt can lead to dehydration, one of the main factor responsible for counter-performance, able to deteriorate the athlete’s health: muscle injuries, cramping, tendinitis, heart failure, fainting.
When your brain is not properly hydrated you cannot perceive sensations as accurately, your may lack lucidity, lose your technique and might make wrong tactic choices.
Finally, remember that losing 1% of your weight in water is equivalent to lose 10% of your strength.  You don’t need to lose your strength when you compete.
So, of course, you have to get properly hydrated.

You have to drink 300 ml of water one hour before any physical activity when it is hot outside.

Do not wait to feel thirsty to drink, because thirst is the information sent from your brain telling you that you are already dehydrated.

If your effort lasts longer than one hour, use a sports drink to replenish your salt.
Here is my own home-made Gatorade which has the benefit of being completely natural and a lot less expensive

Fill up a 2-liter bottle with 1 liter of water:

  • Add 1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice (or grapefruit).
  • 1/3 cup of honey in which you add 1 drop lemon essential oil.
  • A pinch of salt.
  •  2 crushed calcium/magnesium tablets.

Shake well and keep in small bottles.

Do not keep this drink in a very cool place

It is important to drink at room temperature when your body is hot, so you are not imposing too much effort on your body to adapt its temperature to this cold liquid. Generally speaking, do not drink cold. Drink warm as often as possible.

It is very important to assist your body in its temperature regulation job.

For that, here is a massage blend that involves naturally cooling essential oils as well as naturally anti-inflammatory compounds.

For 25 ml of arnica infused base oil, add:

  • 5 drops Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii).
  • 5 drops Basil (Ocimum basilicum).
  • 10 drops lemon (Citrus lemon).
  • 5 drops black.
  • Spruce (Picea mariana). 

Massage your back, legs and feet with a little of the blend, as often as needed, before, during and after the effort.

Palmarosa naturally cools off your body, while supporting your immune system.
Basil is a powerful antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory oil.
Lemon supports your cardiac and circulatory system.
Black spruce is a powerful tonic for nervous system and supports physical endurance.

Do try this cooling blend!

This is the kind of tools that might help you make the difference and lead you to win a race in the desert!

 

 

Hiking with chamomile!

Who never tried to get lost deep in nature, on a green or dirty path, with a bike or a pair of walking shoes, ready for a day of hiking?

Who never met these groups of “pros” who seem to have everything, all the material, the equipment, and most of all, the energy?

Perhaps are you a real trailer, or simply like me a nature lover who periodically needs to immerse in silence, earth infused smells and the feeling of getting lost…

In anyways, pro or not, this is all about hiking, a real sport, as natural for the human as simply walking.

Walking has so many advantages, it could be considered as one of the best sports ever

If you think about it, walking is a complete exercise, based on a double balance mechanism using both arms and legs.

An international team of scientists has shown that men and women should walk about 12000 steps in a day to stay healthy.

Walking is actually a very recommended sport for people suffering from chronic pains, fibromyalgia and arthritis but also again stress…it helps you to empty your brain! To use more senses…

You might wonder how aromatherapy gets implicated here…well, it does, thanks to chamomile.

First, chamomile grows wild a little bit everywhere. You can have it in you garden but you can meet some wild bushes of it in the wild. It is as if it were made available to the hiker, on purpose, by Mother Nature.

Let me explain.

Roman chamomile (Anthémis nobilis) is a powerful anti-inflammatory oil, analgesic, bactericide, cicatrizing, tonic, anti-spasmodic, anti-parasitic, anti-pyretic.

Applying it with massage oil on your legs, your back, your shoulders and your feet is very convenient and efficient way of preventing unwanted pains, before, during and after your hike.

Keeping with you a little tube with a blended chamomile essential oil is also a good way to keep a powerful pharmacy with you since this oils is also well known to help with toothache, skin inflammation, itchiness, stomach ache, diarrhea, ulcer, vomiting, nausea and gastritis.

And on the emotional side, this oil makes wonders for anxiety, nervous system, tensions, anger and fear!

If hiking is for you a therapeutic anti-stress tool, pairing the experience with chamomile essential oil will make it even more pleasant and powerful.

Here are some blend suggestions to massage before, during and after your hike.

Have 10 ml of your favorite base oil  (macadamia, arnica infused, grape seed) ready in a little dispenser and add:

• 3 drops Anthemis nobilis EO
• 2 drops Cedrus atlantica EO
• 5 drops Citrus lemon EO

Massage on your chest and fore arms before and during hiking to help you improve your breathing and lower your mucus production.

On the same amount of base, add:

• 2 drops Anthemis nobilis EO
• 3 drops Cupressus sempervirens EO
• 5 drops Eucalyptus radiata EO

Massage on your chest before and during the effort to help you in case of cough and any respiratory infection

On the same amount of base, add:

• 3 drops Anthemis nobilis EO
• 5 drops Picea mariana EO
• 2 drops Nardostachys jatamansi EO

Massage during and after the hike to help you sustain your energy, cope with the heat and the physical effort

If you want children to benefit from these blends, simply double the amount of base oil.

When enjoying nature, isn’t it even better to benefit from what it made available to us to keep us safe and happy? 

Enjoy your hike, with chamomile…

Are you using the power of sleep?

Most research works today show how much sleep is essential to our mental health (sleep is food for the brain), to our weight, but also to our physical health, especially when you are an athlete. And today, more and more are in deep need of sleep.

There is so much to say about sleep, but what is the purpose of today is its link with inflammation. If you have been reading my other articles, you are certainly aware now of how inflammation is a root to most of chronic diseases and unfortunately to your pains and aches.

As an athlete, you don’t need more pains and aches in your life.

So, some facts.

Have you ever heard of fibromyalgia?

This is a very debilitating condition that is a good illustration of how sleep deprivation work to feed pain in your body. People with fibromyalgia have such a light sleep that they never enter the deep sleep phase that nerve endings need for their regeneration.

So the irritated and inflamed nerve fibers get more and more inflamed, which induces lack of memory and focus, anxiety, depression, lack of coordination, skin issues and, of course, pain.

Actually, lack of sleep, even a few hours during one night, can lead the immune system to fight your body healthy tissues and organs, trigger a cellular circuit that feeds inflammation and damage nerve endings. This is what happens with fibromyalgia. But once pain is there, it is very difficult to get some sleep…This is the beginning of a vicious circle…

Indeed, tissue repair and growth are under the control of growth hormone, which is secreted during sleep! This is why physical recovery happens during deep, slow sleep. And this is why, lack of sleep can lead to unwanted pains, nerve degeneration, and all the diseases that even an athlete can be the victim of!

So do not take the chance.

Here is how aromatherapy can help you improve the quality of your sleep

The aromatherapy of sleep

Since we want to avoid the possible toxicity of taking sleeping pills (which are not curative anyways), we want to start avoiding what creates the lack of sleep.

Here is a list of what doesn’t help:

  • Alcohol.
  • Coffee.
  • Tea.
  • Chocolate.
  • Energy drinks.
  • Marijuana.
  • Birth control pill.
  • Beta blockers and thyroid medicines.
  • Late exercise.

Here is a list of what does help:

  • Herb teas (to replace hot milk…) : chamomile, sage, verbena, peppermint (it is sedative).
  • Exercises, but in the morning or not after 5:00 pm (too stimulating), except for Qi kong or Tai chi, any stretching is good.
  • Progressive relaxation: laying down on the floor, pull on each of your limbs one after the other, and release. Contract your face and release, relax your tong, your forehead, contract and release your shoulders. Visualize your are like butter on a beach, melting under the sun…feel yourself spreading on the floor.
  • Get yourself some music to induce sleep: for some it’s going to be classical (adagios), for other planning esoteric music…find yours!
  • Control your blood sugar : your brain is strongly dependent on glucose to function. A drop in blood sugar is enough to stimulate adrenalin and cortisol secretion, which stimulates awakening. So to maintain a good glucose level, stay away from quick refined sugar (candies, sweets, refined/white foods, alcohol) and chose slow sugars, low glycemic index carbs.

5-HTP

Serotonin plays an important role in sleep as it increases deep sleep without making you sleep longer. 5-Hydrosytryptophan is a natural serotonin precursor, and clinical studies have shown how it induces and maintain sleep, even at low dose. Simply take 100 to 300 mg, 45 min before retiring.

Melatonin 

3 grams of melatonin taken in the same time will increase your chances to fall into Morpheus’s arms!

Here are the essential oils that will help you:

I have categorized them to help you adapt each formula to your needs.

If your bad sleep comes from anxiety…

Massage your belly, around the ombilic, 3 mn, with this blend at night :

In 5 ml of base oil (1 tbs), add:

  1. 1 drop Ylang Ylang EO.
  2. 1 drop Patchouli EO.
  3. 1 drop Frankincense EO.
  4. 2 drops May chang EO.

If you feel your problem is nervous, over-excitement…find someone to massage your back with this blend:

In 5 ml base oil, add:

  1. 2 drops Green mandarin EO.
  2. 1 drop Valerian EO.
  3. 2 drops true Lavender EO.

and you may also massage your fore arms with this oil, several times a day if you wish to feel calmer.

If you feel you could benefit from the anti-anxiety blend as well, simply mix them together (you’ll get 10 ml of blend total) and massage your belly and your arms with it.

What to eat?

Finally, make sure what you eat is not making your blood sugar tilt on the wrong side, so this concerns especially your diner. Think complete carbs, avoid fruits, avoid cheese and red meat.

To conclude, having a proper quality sleep may involve a few adjustments in your routine or even your lifestyle, but when a pain free life is at stake, isn’t it worth it?

 

Riding in the city

No one needs Tour de France season to love to bicycle in the summer…and during the year! Growing up, my bike was my key to liberty, way before I was old enough to have a car. Since I was ten, I love the idea of taking my bicycle to reach any destination in town and still taking it for a ride with my friends in the country.

Today, if you take your bicycle in the city, you’d better take it also in the countryside regularly, at least to clean up your lungs from pollution. A study recently showed that cyclists absorb four times more fine particles than car drivers in town. This intoxication increases the risks of respiratory and cardiac diseases…

Of course, the more you breathe, the more you are exposed to pollution. The problem is that it is very difficult for cyclists today to avoid pollution, especially during hot days, even in the mountains.

There are certainly some solutions…

What about wearing a mask?

Made out of electrostatic coal, these masks are efficient against certain allergens, some pollutants and a number of bad odors. Actually, a simple cloth worn as a mask can already diminish up to 20% of very fine dust. But this device has a side effect: It forces the cyclist to deepen his breathing. Breathing deeper, he also breathes more particles. Not the ideal…

So, I would like to share a few aromatic tricks with you

  • Avoid hyperventilation: ride quietly and breathe through your nose, which filters air better than the mouth. To help your control your cardiac rhythm, and your breathing, try this essential oil mix on your chest before you go: In 5 ml of almond oil, add 3 drops of litsea cubeba (may chang) essential oil and 2 drops of lavendula angustifolia (true lavender). You can also chose to simply put this mix in a vial and smell it regularly.
  • Adapt your itinerary! It sounds evident, but it makes a bid difference! Stay away from traffic.
  • Avoid riding on hot days.
  • Protect your respiratory system with this cleansing and immune stimulant blend: In 5 ml of almond oil, add 3 drops of picea mariana essential oil (black spruce) and 3 drops of citrus lemonum (lemon) essential oil. Massage your chest and your lower back with this blend before you go. You’ll feel energized and protected.
  •  If you plan a long ride on a hot day, mix both blends: in 10 ml of almond oil, add 3 drops of litsea cubeba, 2 drops of lavendula antustifolia, 3 drops of picea mariana and 3 drops of citrus lemonum.

And do not forget to drink!

Enjoy your ride!

Sport and heart health: Make the right choices!

I work in a wellness centre where we are several therapists offering various techniques that complement each other. One of theses therapists, Frank, offers massage therapy.

He is an athlete, training every day. At 60, he is still very lean, muscled, what we call “in shape”.

It is very common for us to treat each other, and Frank loves my aromatherapy treatments. This is how I discovered that sometimes, an athlete is not always very healthy.

Putting your hands on someone allows you to discover much about the person, and I came to realize that one could be an athlete and still take tons of medication for cardiovascular issues.

These medications have side effects. If you are an athlete, you don’t need the side effects and you have access to alternatives

Actually, there are many things doctors won’t tell you about those medications and more importantly, how to avoid them. So I will.

First: Cholesterol and statines.

We know today that there are at least five different types of cholesterol LDL (the bad one) and five others of cholesterol HDL (the good one).

Statines such as Crestor or Lipitor are supposed to lower your cholesterol, but not one study could prove that lowering LDL cholesterol prevents any disease.

The problem is that statines artificially lower cholesterol by inhibiting an important enzyme involved in the cholesterol production.

The side effects are:

  • Inflammation
  • Muscle degeneration
  • Kidney failure
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  •  Cardiovascular diseases
  •  Death.

Today, Coenzyme Q10 are a much better option to protect yourself

Here is what Dr Weill says about CoQ10 : “Coenzyme Q10 is beneficial for heart health in many ways. It assists in maintaining the normal oxidative state of LDL cholesterol, helps assure circulatory health, and supports optimal functioning of the heart muscle. CoQ10 may also help support the health of vessel walls. A number of medical studies demonstrate supplemental CoQ10’s beneficial effects, most of which stem from its vital role in oxygen utilization and energy production, particularly in heart muscle cells”.

I will add that cholesterol level doesn’t mean much…what is important is to know the type of LDL particles you are producing. But most importantly, if cholesterol scares you, be aware that it is not the main problem but inflammation is.

Inflammation is worse than cholesterol

More and more professional understand this and continue to prescribe statines, less for cholesterol than for its slight anti-inflammatory action.

So basically, you need some anti-inflammatory tools and lifestyle.

Which means: no sugar, less stress, no candidosis inducing foods and medicines.

If you already are under cardiovascular medicines, here is a little protocol that may help you move towards more natural and safe alternatives.

Ask for a HS-CRP test to measure inflammation in your body

If this is the case, before you take any medicine, go the simple way:

Identify if you have some chronic candidosis polluting your body and feeding internal inflammation (the reason why you have athlete’s foot, recurrent headaches, moodiness, joint ache, chronic constipation or diarrhea, bloating etc…). A simple spit test is a good way to start: first thing in the morning, spit in a glass of water. If you saliva completely dissolves in the water you are good. If you see some white clouds, a white carpet forming on the bottom of the glass, white threads falling slowly in the water, this is candida. And until you correct the overgrowth of this yeast in your body, you won’t be able to fight inflammation naturally (and medications will feed the candida). You have to be aware that candidiasis pericarditis and candidiasis myocarditis are two dangerous heart diseases, induced by candida overgrowth, and usually identified during the autopsy. Prevention is the only way out. So in case this is an issue you need help with, here is a page that gives you some safe and effective aromatic solutions ( http://www.clubequilibrenaturel.com/antifungal-balance/).

Now, if you take a blood thinner (such as Warfarin), here is an aromatic blend composed of very fluidifying essential oils: lemon, wintergreen and clove. In 5 ml of base oil, add 1 drop of clove EO, 1 drop of wintergreen EO and 3 drops of lemon EO. Massage your forearms alternatively with your belly using this blend, once a day, every day, until your next blood test.

Increase your consumption of vitamin K inhibiting foods: Dried cherries , omega 3 fish oil, nuts, cayenne pepper, avocado, pomegranate juice, raisins, and cranberry juice.

To conclude, there are plenty available options that allow you to safely enjoy your favorite sport: if you already have a physical discipline, adding a few nutritional and practical changes to your routine may help you improve your health a great deal.

So, the next thing to do is to give it a try! 

Essential oils

What do you really know about essential oils?

I realized recently that over the year I’ve been writing these articles, but I didn’t introduce you to any essential oils. I simply offered you some blends that you benefit from for various activities, but I never actually explained important things about these oils and how you can choose to benefit from them.

So, this is going to change.

Today, I’ll introduce you to a very simple but very potent essential oil, easy to find anywhere, and especially easy to use in summer.

I am talking about citrus lemonum, or Lemon.

This essential oil comes from Italy, California or Argentina . Here are its principal properties :

Antianemic, antitumor, antifungal, antitoxic, decongestant, expectorant, insecticide, astringent, tonic nervous, antimicrobial, antibacterial, antisclerotic, antispasmodic, depurative, febrifuge, immuno-stimulating.

It is especially efficient when you suffer from bronchitis, excess mucus, sinusitis, asthma , sore throat and flu.

This oil stimulates your blood circulation, strengthens capillaries, varicose veins, thins the blood, prevents thrombosis, help arteriosclerosis, hemorrhoids and phlebitis.

What does that mean? It means that any athlete should use this oil, atleast as a preventive measure.

Of course, you can choose to add a few drops of it in a massage blend and regularly benefit from it through a good body massage, but it can be even more effective.

You can actually use it to replace a fresh lemon in many ways, in your food.

Before you start sprinkling lemon essential oil a little bit everywhere, let’s cover some basic rules.

The use of essential oils in the kitchen: Basic rules

These oils not only are tasty and smell good but they also have real therapeutic virtues.

We must respect the fact that they act on the body ( much better! ) and we should not have a heavy hand using them.

Fat is compulsory: essential oils are soluble fat and must be diluted in fat before you put them in your mouth.  So, you must ensure that the drops are properly dispersed in a preparation, whether hot or cold, thanks to a fat base (butter, coconut milk , almond milk , yogurt, coconut oil etc. … )

 Do not cook the EO … it is better to add it at the end of the preparation. This is a plus to enjoy the properties of the selected botanical source.

You no longer need to infuse herbs such as thyme, cloves or dried rosemary: simply add one or two drops before you serve your dish, and voilà !

For example:

  1. After having mixed your soup, add a drop of EO in a little yogurt or chicken broth before adding it to the soup.
  2. In a dessert (lemon curd, chocolate pudding, custard), add a drop of EO when the preparation has cooled down.
  3. In a hot sauce dish, add a drop of EO before serving to enhance the flavor of the sauce. (A drop of basil in tomato sauce…)
  4. Similarly, it will be useless to infuse thyme, nutmeg or cloves in cooking water if you add a drop at the end of the preparation!
  5. In a cake batter, add from 1 to 3 drops of … lemon, orange or cinnamon EO before placing it in the oven. The EO • Cinnamon cassia gives a sweet taste to the preparation that can replace the addition of a sweetener in a granola, for example.

Mint is good in chocolate preparations.

Lemon, orange, tangerine, pink adorn make better cookies, granola, waffle …

Basil, lemon, fennel, rosemary combine work very well with a vinaigrette or a tomato sauce.

Pepper and ginger give depth to a curry. But the bonus is that in addition, you will enjoy the anti-fungal, anti-bacterial cleansing and rebalancing of most of these oils.

Here is a little recipe to put you on track

Fresh raw soup with avocado

  • 2 garlic cloves.
  • 3 peeled avocados.
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice.
  • 500 ml of whole milk.
  • 1 handful of fresh coriander roughly chopped.
  • 1 pinch of cumin.
  • 1 large pinch of salt.
  • 1 onion, chopped.
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a drop of lemon EO.
  • 2 tablespoons of yoghurt from sheep or goat.
  • A handful of alfalfa sprouts.
  • In a blender, pour half the milk, lime juice, cumin, coriander, salt, garlic and avocado flesh.
  • Mix everything.
  • In a saucepan (medium heat,) melt the onion in olive oil for 5 minutes.
  • Add the remaining milk and bring it to a simmer.
  • Add the mixture to the avocado, adjust the seasoning, add the EO stirring well, pour into cups and garnish with a dollop of yogurt and a few alfalfa sprouts.

If you need more guidance to use essential oils, you’ll find my user’s manual here: http://www.clubequilibrenaturel.com/essential-oils-user-manual/

Do you fear for your joints?

This is the marathons and races season, and you might hesitate to participate to these adventures because you are worried for your joints…

Indeed, lots of people think that osteoarthritis comes from wear of the cartilage in the joints. Constantly rubbing against each other, cartilage bones eventually erode, get thinner and thinner, like car brakes that you forget to change.

Therefore, some think that to prevent osteoarthritis, the best thing is to avoid joints overuse such as intense sport, running, races, in order to avoid the thinning of the cartilages.

But this is absolutely not the way it works! Remember that your body is a living being, unlike a car.

Cartilage, like all other living tissues, is able to adapt and  is strengthened when put to work

If one day, your cartilage stops regenerating, disappears or breaks, it will be because you have a problem. By you I mean, your body.

To be more exact, it suggests that your body doesn’t get enough food to regenerate, and by food I mean, quality nutriments.

It can also suggest that your body is too acidic and might be exposed to inflammation and degeneration.

You can easily fix that with diet and essential oils

But what you have to know is that a study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise suggests that people who practice regular running have less than half the chances to develop osteoarthritis, than others.

The explanation could be as follows:

Cartilage is not irrigated by blood vessels. However, it is composed of living cells, which need to be fed. The food is in the synovial fluid that bathes the joint. Each press of the cartilage allows the flow of synovial fluid in the cartilage cells and the feeding of nutrients.

If you hardly move, your cartilage simply starves.

But this doesn’t need to be this way!

If you have sensitive joints, walking can be sufficient to start with, and, as I wrote above, diet and aromatherapy can help to put you on track.

Make sure you favor alkalinizing foods (helping you fight acidity and necrosis). Most vegetables and fresh food promotes alkalinity.

Therefore, the best remains to avoid what promotes acidity, basically, meat and dairy products.

Nevertheless, you have to know that very healthy foods also promote acidity and must be balanced with neutral or alkalinity forming foods.

Here are very common acidity forming foods :

  • Whole milk.
  • Butter.
  • Lentils, boiled.
  • White bread.
  • Whole-wheat cooked spaghetti.
  • Plain bagel.
  • Peanuts, dry-roasted.
  • Walnuts.
  • Hotdog.
  • Chicken.
  • Lean beef.
  • Wild cooked trout.
  • Whole egg, hard-boiled egg.
  • Oats.
  • Brown rice.
  • Cooked salmon.
  • White canned tuna fish.
  • Mozzarella.
  • Canned sardines.
  • Cooked turkey bacon.
  • American/cheddar cheese.
  • Parmesan cheese (most acid-producing).

It is best to balance this list with alkaline promoting foods such as :

  • Draft beer (most neutral).
  • Honey.
  • Asparagus.
  • Margarine.
  • White wine.
  • Broccoli.
  • Marmalade.
  • Mineral water.
  • Watermelon.
  • Apples.
  • Red wine.
  • Zucchini.
  • Hazelnuts.
  • Green beans.
  • Tomatoes.
  • Cherries.
  • Radishes.
  • Cauliflower.
  • Potatoes.
  • Apricots.
  • Carrots.
  • Celery.
  • Bananas.
  • Spinach.
  • Raisins (most alkaline-promoting).

Now comes aromatherapy

What you want is taming inflammation, which means cooling your joints.

Here are the best cooling essential oils to massage on your knees, ankles and hips

In 10 ml of arnica infused base oil, add the following Essential oils:

  • 3 drops of Blue chamomile (matricaria chamomilla).
  • 2 drops of Peppermint (menthe piperita).
  • 5 drops of Rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis).

These powerful anti-inflammatory essential oils are also pain fighting oils that will help you start or continue to exercise, the fearless way.