Achieving Hormonal Balance

Let’s face it, being mum is a crazy journey! It’s exhilarating and exhausting all at once, we have days where we feel like superwoman and we have days where we feel like Superman when he’s on kryptonite. What we don’t need as women is an unhealthy hormone balance to screw with our mood, emotions and our weight, which screws with our self-esteem, our digestion, our sleep and other key areas of our life as well!

Essential oils can be be very powerful in rebalancing our hormones. Unlike drugs you may be prescribed by a doctor, the oils do not contain hormones, but have properties that stimulate hormone production and balance. First of all, how do we recognize our hormones are out of sync?

There are a variety of symptoms that we can look out for:

  • irritability, anxiousness
  • PMS
  • menopausal symptoms that interfere with day to day life
  • heavy periods, irregular cycles
  • inability to lose weight
  • breast tenderness
  • hair loss
  • fatigue, insomnia
  • hypothyroidism
  • lack of sex drive
  • dryness “down below”
  • Sore joints and tendonitis
  • increase in belly fat.

This is just a few indications that your hormones could be out of balance.  And it can be different hormones “out of whack.”

The following oils can balance estrogen levels:

  • Clary Sage and fennel (both phytoestrogenic oils)
  • Lavender (naturally lowers cortisol levels)
  • Frankincense (balances hormone levels, which reduces symptoms associated with menstruation and menopause)
  • Basil (great for period pain and increases the body’s natural response to both physical and emotional stress, while conditioning you to cope better)
  • Geranium (an adaptogen oil ).

I use Geranium every day for its overall balancing effect on female hormones.  As I am breastfeeding I have suspected low estrogen, but I also suffer from adrenal fatigue, so this is a great oil for me. I rub it over my kidneys mixed in fractionated coconut oil and frankincense daily. Of course, stress can also cause low estrogen in all its different guises (dietary, emotional, too much work and not enough sleep, environmental toxins, or pain and inflammation) and it definitely causes adrenal fatigue over an extended period of time. So it’s really important to work on this also to avoid a state of chronic stress that causes your cortisol levels to rise, which in turn causes drops in estrogen and progesterone that can cause menstrual irregularities, weight gain, estrogen dominance, and infertility.

Out of all the essential oils listed above Clary sage is the most commonly related to hormone balance and has been used since Medieval times for balancing hormones and relieving pain.  You can dilute a few drops in fractionated coconut oil and rub into your ankles daily. Or, if menstrual cramps are painful, rub the mixture directly onto your stomach and ovary area for pain relief. Add geranium to the blend to enhance pain relief.

You can also add a few drops of clary sage and geranium to a warm bath and enjoy a soak.  Or buy my Balancing Bath Melts that use this blend.

There is a great article on the doTERRA blog about hormonal balance, which also talks about the importance of diet in hormonal balance and introduces some of the doTERRA products available for hormone health. For example, the doTERRA® Phytoestrogen Lifetime Complex contains plant-based phytoestrogens, flax seed extract, and pomegranate extract. The ClaryCalm® Monthly Blend is a specially formulated blend of 12 essential oils that can be applied to the skin for a soothing effect.

There are other things you can do to support your hormonal balance.  Dietary stress (eating the wrong foods for your body, or too many processed foods), emotional stress, too much work and not enough sleep and environmental toxins have a hugely negative effect on your hormone balance.  I refer a lot in this blog to reducing your toxic load by following a more natural way of life.  I have decided to elaborate on this and other ways to get and stay healthy in a free 30-page e-book available when you subscribe to my newsletter.  Look out for the launch of this on my Facebook page in the next few weeks!

The final thing I recommend to keep hormonal imbalances from wreaking havoc is a Liver Detox with Lemon Essential Oil.  The liver regulates the sex hormones, primarily estrogen.

A Dutch study has found that the compounds in lemon peels, a large component of doTERRA’s lemon essential oil, improve liver functions like hormone regulation by lowering liver cholesterol.  You can add 1-5 drops of lemon essential oil to a glass of 250ml water each morning and drink before you eat or drink anything else. I do this for blocks of 6-12 weeks when I feel my body needs it.

You can also buy my beautifully delicate blend of Evening Primrose Oil and doTERRA Balance, Frankincense, Geranium, Clary Sage and Lavender in a rollerball for $10.

I add Balance to the oils I recommend above because it contains Blue Chamomile, Ho Wood and Frankincense to support with stress, quiet the mind and uplift mood, but also Spruce that has a hormone mimicking action that helps reestablish balance, especially in the pituitary, thyroid, adrenal and reproductive glands. You can apply to the t-zone on your face and rub in like a moisturiser nightly, apply directly to hormonal breakouts or use on the soles of your feet/ankles daily to support hormonal balance. Contact me to order yours now.

Oils can also be ordered in these handy packs of 4 mini bottles in a beautiful purple or black carry case that you can take out and about with you for use when you need to.  $60 with your choice of 4 oils.

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Please note, what works for one person may not work for another and my experience/products should not replace advice from a doctor.

Much love x x

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How Essential Oils Can Boost Your Weight Loss

Today I am chugging away on my Slim & Sassy essential oil blend after food cravings got the better of me yesterday!  It made me wonder if people actually know how helpful essential oils are when it comes to a weight loss/fitness journey, so I thought I’d share some facts!

As you may or may not know, I coach TERRAfit challenges.  I also take part in them when I have my own personal goals to meet.  At the moment I am training towards my next muay thai fight.  My essential oils and doTERRA products are a big part of why/how I succeed. Now I am back into my muay thai training they are making a big difference there too.

Essential oils are a catalyst that can help you reach your goals faster and boost the effectiveness of your efforts.

A key reason for this is digestion.

Digestion is paramount to your health and maintaining a healthy weight. A healthy digestive system allows the proper nutrient absorption needed for overall health. The blend that I am drinking today, Slim & Sassy contains Grapefruit Peel, Lemon Peel, Peppermint Plant, Ginger Root, and Cinnamon Bark essential oils that help promote digestive health, but also healthy metabolism, help manage hunger cravings, calm your stomach and lift your mood!  Slim & Sassy is also a diuretic, stimulant, and is calorie free.

Maintaining healthy insulin and sugar levels is imperative to weight management. Eating healthy, nutritionally dense foods along with using essential oils like cinnamon and grapefruit will increase your chances of maintaining healthy weight loss.

Another thing that I know influences my eating and weight patterns are hormones!  I am in the process of writing a whole blog about essential oils and hormonal balance, but for now let it be said, essential oils can be amazing for healthy hormonal balance!

Hormones assist just about every function in the body. Hormonal imbalances dramatically affect weight management. Essential oils are uniquely intelligent and work with hormones for cellular communication.

Check out this video and blog from Dr Axe about his top 3 essential oils to balance hormones naturally.

The other essential oils that I generally use with my Slim & Sassy are Lemon, Wild Orange and Frankincense.  These detoxify and boost energy levels significantly and the citrus oils and frankincense in particular support healthy adrenal function as well, which is really important for me, as I am currently battling adrenal fatigue. Basil, coriander and geranium are also helpful for adrenal health.

It has been suggested that a major reason we hold onto weight is because of toxicity. Many of the doTERRA products I sell are aimed helping us reduce our “toxic load”.  We encounter toxins daily and the organs that help to filter toxins are overloaded. Toxins accumulate in our fat cells and until we can eliminate the toxins the fat cells are there to stay, so use your lemon oil every day for a period of time, along with clean eating and exercise to detoxify.  You will also get gloriously soft skin.

Next, circulation is important to increasing tone and shedding excess fat.   Essential oils that help with circulation are cypress, basil, rosemary, cinnamon, peppermint, lemongrass and frankincense. You can apply the oils before, during and after workouts.

The final two areas in which essential oils can be really helpful are respiratory function and endurance.  Your muscles need oxygen to repair themselves after exercise.  They will repair faster with essential oils.  Blends like Breathe improve your respiratory function and peppermint oil is being studied with athletes for its effectiveness at increasing endurance levels, with positive results. I have a fellow kickboxer trialing peppermint essential oil at the moment, so watch this space for her feedback!

If you want a one-to-one chat about how essential oils might be able to support your weight loss and/or fitness, drop me an email to nzessentialmum@gmail.com.  I can also share more info about the TERRAfit challenges!  You can buy essential oils and the Slim & Sassy Product Line at my retail shop.  Click here.

slim & sassy range

Much Love until next time x x

Essential Mum

 

Common Myth that Essential Oils are Expensive BUSTED!

Yes, good quality, pure essential oils will cost you money outright (read about why here), but all the other stuff you are buying when you could be buying essential oils is more expensive in the long run!

The quality of the essential oils you use and thus their potency, means that the quantity you use each time is MINIMAL.

I’ll give you an example.  My 19 week old baby came down with a cold yesterday.  In addition to breastmilk and some vitamin c, I used 1 drop of Melaleuca (0.01c/drop*), 1 drop of Lemon (0.07c/drop*) and 1 drop of Frankincense (0.46c/drop*) in 3 tablespoons of fractionated oil ($1.50) in a roller bottle ($1.45) that is probably going to last me 6 months (and cost me $3.49).  Let’s call this List 1.

Let’s compare that to what I would have spent at the pharmacy, pre-essential oils…  This is List 2!

Nasal Aspirator to suck out the snot – NZ$24.95

Vicks – NZ$12.50 – to clear her airways

Pamol – $12 – to relieve her pain and help her settle.

Total – $49.45

Now let’s look at why you might want to be avoiding those things in List 2…

  • The nasal aspirator:  Look how delicate your baby is on the outside.  I don’t even want to hazard a guess at how delicate they are on the inside, especially in places like the nasal lining.  Plus, my daughter always found nasal aspiration traumatising!
  • Vicks VapoRub:  I could write an essay on why I wouldn’t put this on my babies’ skins, even with a barge pole!  I won’t.  I will let you do your own research.  Have a look at the recommendations about dose and age first off.  Firstly, many parents don’t realize that most doctors do not recommend the use of Vicks for children under 2. One reason is because it contains camphor, which is linked to causing seizures.  Also, swallowing just a few teaspoons of camphor (we all know what toddlers are like) — one of the main ingredients in VapoRub — can cause fatal poisoning in toddlers. Topical camphor absorbed through mucous membranes or broken skin also can be toxic and another study found the ointment to cause inflammation in young children, as well as increase mucus!  Next just have a wee investigation into the ingredients, which are seemingly natural on the surface.  However, there are some worrying reports around some of the ingredients, like petrolatum (Petrolatum Health Report):  “Among the studies linking the petrolatum impurity PAHs [polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons] to breast cancer is a Columbia University study in which researchers found that the breast tissue of women with breast cancer was 2.6 times more likely to contain elevated levels of PAHs bound to DNA (called DNA adducts) than the breast tissue of women without breast cancer (Rundle et al. 2000). Serious questions need to be answered over the safety of petrolatum or petroleum jelly as it is more commonly known.”  Skin Deep Report on Petrolatum (from the Environmental Working Group’s website):  “Breast cancer and impurities. EWG’s [Environmental Working Group’s] assessment of product ingredient labels and data on cancer-causing chemicals identified three common impurities in personal care products that are linked to mammary tumors in animal studies — ethylene oxide, PAHs [polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons], and 1,3-butadiene. The ingredients for which these impurities are of concern are used in one of every four personal care products on the market.”  Finally, check out this groovy fact!  “Some of the ingredients in Vicks, notably the menthol, trick the brain into thinking that it is easier to breathe by triggering a cold sensation, which is processed as indicating more airflow,” he said. “Vicks may make you feel better but it can’t help you breathe better”(CBS).“”This may be of little physiologic consequence in older children and adults, but in infants and small children, this potentially can lead to respiratory distress,” the study’s authors concluded” (CBS). 
  • Pamol:  Again, I could write an essay and it’s a topic that gets peoples’ backs up so I won’t!  But, I will say to once again look at the ingredients (if you can find a full ingredients list.  Google it.  It’s hard to find info outside of the active ingredient, but basically Pamol contains e-numbers and an artificial sweetener that may act as a possible carcinogen and needs to be further investigated for its potential effect on an increase in the incidence of cancer.)  Also, paracetomol is hugely liver toxic, even in adults and is the number 1 cause of liver failure in the UK, and the number 2 cause in the US (of cases requiring liver transplantation).  It is more common than viral hepatitis leading to acute (sudden) liver failure.  So, in small children, an accidental overdose can lead to liver failure.  Accidental overdose is easier than you think when you look at how many combination products include paracetomol, including over the counter cough syrups, Nyquil, pain formulas and more.

So finally, let’s look at the benefits of going with List 1 and the multitude of other things you can use these powerful essential oils for, increasing your bang for your buck!

  • Lemon Essential Oil is great for the respiratory system, but will also boost your energy and clean your whole house!
  • Tea Tree Essential Oil (Melaleuca) has antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic and antiviral properties, so will fight those bugs and has been used for centuries to soothe and help heal damaged skin. It has antibacterial, antiseptic, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties, so is great in the cleaning and first aid box too!
  • Frankincense Essential Oil is a must for physical and emotional wellbeing.  It increases ability to focus, grounds, de-stresses and calms the nervous system.  It supports the respiratory tract and can support the body’s ability to keep existing cells and tissues healthy and promote healthy cell regeneration.  It is also an astringent to strengthen gums and hair roots, stop wounds from bleeding and speed up the healing of cuts, acne, insect bites, and boils!  Pure Frankincense is very gentle; even more so than Lavender. It has no known adverse effects yet it’s an essential oil that stands out above all others for it’s regenerative properties on a cellular level. Frankincense has antiseptic, antibacterial, stimulating, analgesic (weak, but better than pamol for me anyway), and expectorant properties.

“But I wouldn’t know where to start using my oils to get my value for money!”

If these were the words on the tip of your tongue and I just beat you to saying them, don’t fret!  If you buy from me you get all the support you need and more.  I have a newsletter, blog and offer one-to-one support.  For example, read my recent (and timely) blog post here about the oils that I recommend for colds and flus.

Have I got your attention yet?

Essential Oils will save you money and improve your health.

If you want to give them a try and are a mum, like me, you need to get your hands on this starter kit of 10 essential oils in 5ml bottles that you will use every day! Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 3.23.23 PM

The FAMILY PHYSICIAN KIT includes:

– Lavender: For sleeping, calming, sunburns, bites, anxiety, PMS, inflammation and more!

– Peppermint: For headaches, IBS, cold + flu, memory, athletic performance and more!

– On Guard: To protect against sickness, get over cold/flu quicker and cleaning

– Breathe: For asthma, croup (amazing for this), coughs/colds, snoring

– Lemon: For sore throats, energy, wellness, heartburn, cleaning and more!

– Melaleuca: For spots, flakey scalp, healing skin issues, allergies, first aid, cleaning and more!

– Oregano: For infections, allergies, pneumonia, warts and more

– Frankincense: Where do I start?  It’s liquid gold.  Read my blog post here!

– Deep blue: For aches, pains, injuries

– Digest Zen: For tummy aches, gas, bloating, any stomach issues

– On Guard and Peppermint beadlets – same uses as above but for on the go

– A 1 year membership with doTERRA to get your essential oils and other wellness products at a 25% discount*

If you are interested in getting started with oils without a kit like this, but with this awesome discount, you can do so by signing up for your wholesale account here.  You just have to pay the US$35 membership fee, which is waived with a starter kit.

Click “wholesale prices”, enter your information and either build your first order by selecting Introductory Packet or collect your custom kit! The best value is to either buy the family physician kit or the family wellness kit. Both of these include major discounts on the oils and your US$35 wholesale membership fee is FREE.

** ALSO, if you sign up by April 30th 2016 with a kit, you will get a FREE ROSEMARY ESSENTIAL OIL  to fight those winter bugs!

Please comment below with questions or feel free to email me at nzessentialmum@gmail.com

Much love x x

10 Must Haves to Survive & Thrive this Winter!

1. Lavender Essential Oil

Great for the whole family and a multitude of uses Lavender essential oil has powerful antimicrobial properties, but it is gentle enough for use with children.  So this should be a go to for our littlies to fight illness and boost the immune system.  If your littlie is struggling to get to sleep at night because of feeling yucky, place 2 drops of lavender essential oil and 2 drops of roman chamomile essential oil in the diffuser and run at 18 minute intervals through the night.

2. Lemon Essential Oil

Lemon essential oil is great for the respiratory system, but will also boost energy when that fatigue of fighting illness sets in.  Diffuse 3 drops of lemon with 3 drops of peppermint for relief with a boost.

3. Peppermint Essential Oil

As well as clearing your nasal passages like a gush of arctic air, peppermint essential oil is an immune stimulant.   Immune stimulants can strengthen the immune system by directly inhibiting the micro-organisms, or by stimulating the immune system. Lavender and lemon also work in the same way.   Peppermint can also lower a fever if you want/need to do this.  Dilute in a carrier oil and apply to the feet.  Or inhale from the bottle to clear your nose.  Avoid using with children under 6 years old.

4. Tea Tree Essential Oil

Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca) has antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic and antiviral properties. Used in a diffuser or within a carrier oil in the bath, tea tree oil is a great alternative for littlies under 6 to help fight the congestion and the resulting discomfort caused by the cold or the flu.

5. Oregano Essential Oil

Known as “nature’s antibiotic” this is a “hot” and powerful essential oil that must be diluted and used with care.  It will work to rid your body of the nasties making you feel unwell.  I use this as my last resort if other remedies haven’t worked because like an antibiotic it can affect your gut flora, although certainly not so badly as a pharmaceutical antibiotic and you only want to be using it for a few days.  Take 3-4 drops 2-3 times daily for up to 3 days.  I place in a capsule with Frankincense, Melaleuca, Lemon and On Guard (read more on this magical blend next!)

6.  On Guard Essential Oil

on guard meme

I love this blend of oils.  It is known as doTERRA’s Protective Blend because the mix of oils strengthen the immune system and work with each other to create a powerful blend gentle enough for your kids.

When I feel any illness coming on, when I notice symptoms in my girls or if there is lots of illness around I start applying On Guard to the soles of the feet in a carrier oil.  If this doesn’t work I go to the Frankincense, Melaleuca, Lemon and On Guard mix in a capsule 3 times a day (without the oregano) and then the oregano is my final step if this still doesn’t work.  Believe me, if you get onto using On Guard fast enough, 9 times out of 10 it will work!  doTERRA also do this blend as a handy (excuse the pun) foaming handwash to kill germs, a cleaner concentrate, a toothpaste and beadlets for on the go!

7. Frankincense Essential Oil

I’ve already mentioned use of Frankincense as part of my capsule mix when illness hits.  This is because Frankincense supports the respiratory tract and calms the mind while the immune system fights viruses.

Pure Frankincense is very gentle; even more so than Lavender. It has no known adverse effects yet it’s an essential oil that stands out above all others for it’s regenerative properties on a cellular level. Frankincense has antiseptic, antibacterial, stimulating, analgesic (weak), and expectorant properties, so is great to calm a cough.

For children under 6, Lavender & Frankincense  together, on bottoms of feet or along the spine is a also a great mix to keep a child calm and relaxed during illness and discomfort.

8. Deep Blue Essential Oil

You know those aches and pains you get with the flu?  Well, long and short is you won’t with this blend.  Unfortunately the Deep Blue blend should be avoided when pregnant or breastfeeding, which is a shame as there are many aches and pains associated with these conditions too!  Also avoid using with children under 6.

9. Breathe Essential Oil

Another amazing proprietary blend from doTERRA.  Breathe includes Lemon, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Thyme, Melissa, and Cardamom and will help to maintains clear airways and support breathing when congestion hits and support overall respiratory health.

10. Digestzen Essential Oil

Flus don’t just hit your respiratory system.  When you or the children get the dreaded stomach flu it can really suck!  (And we don’t need any more detail than that …)

In partnership with On Guard to kill germs, rub the DigestZen blend (already diluted in coconut oil) on the abdomen.  It’s a blend of ginger, peppermint, tarragon, fennel, caraway, coriander and anise, each with properties specifically aimed at stomach/digestive upset.

Where to Buy Your Essential Oils to Stock up your Natural Medicine Cabinet for Winter!

This is one of the most vital things you must know about essential oils… Not all essential oils are created equally. Many are filled with chemical nasties and will not work therapeutically at all, so when buying, make sure you are buying therapeutic grade from a reputable supplier. If you want to order from the doTERRA range click here.  If you want to read about you can get hold of these oils at a huge discount by ordering them as part of a kit, click here.  As always, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me!

Have I missed anything?  Do you have an essential oil or other natural medicine recommendation for cold and flu?  If so, comment below!

Much love x x

I am suffering from adrenal fatigue.  It is something that has plagued me for a few years, which I can’t seem to fully recover from.  It is estimated to affect around 80 percent of people in the world and yet some doctors refuse to believe it exists.  The term ‘adrenal fatigue’  was coined in 1998 by a naturopath called Dr. Wilson, who wanted to distinguish between below optimal adrenal function resulting from stress and adrenal insufficiency caused by Addison’s disease and excess cortisol caused by Cushing’s Syndrome.  He wrote what is now a very celebrated book called Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome and described a condition that he had observed after years of working with stressed-out patients in the 1980s and 1990s.

Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, a neurophysiologist at the private Nightingale Hospital for mental health issues in London and the author of Tired But Wired, has seen a 50 per cent increase in clients showing early signs of adrenal fatigue. “Ten years ago, about two people in a room of 30 would put their hands up. Now a fifth of my clients show signs.”

She describes the key early sign as digestion problems, “as stress takes blood and energy away from the large organs such as the intestine and diverts it to the muscles to prepare for ‘fight or flight’ during stressful situations”. This is a natural response, she explains, but it’s meant to be over quickly so the body can recover. “Today, most people live permanently in this ‘fight or flight’ state, constantly releasing stress hormones and never letting themselves recover.”

I believe my problems started way back in 2009 when I was suffering prolonged, chronic stress; the culmination of which ultimately led me to fall completely over, mentally and physically in 2010 and from that day forward I had to rebuild my life.  What we call a complete burnout, I guess.  Turns out my adrenal glands – two walnut-sized glands that sit just above my kidneys – also burnt out.  It is only recent studies that are corroborating this fact.  A 2013 study, published in the International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health, reported that those with burnout were found to have lower levels of cortisol because their relentlessly stressed-out adrenal glands had lost the ability to produce it.

The World Health Organisation recognised adrenal fatigue as a disorder in 2010.

Unsurprisingly, fatigue is one of the most common Adrenal Fatigue symptoms, but there are many other different ways it can present, both physical and mental, and people can present different “packages” of symptoms as well.

After my burnout I found it almost impossible to get out of bed in the morning and I spent most of my day feeling awful and fatigued.  I was also getting constantly sick.  I now know that consistently high levels of cortisol,  which present in the early stages of adrenal fatigue, suppress your immune response and leave you vulnerable to infection. I am now in a much later stage of Adrenal Fatigue, which presents as consistently low levels of cortisol.  This has an array of symptoms, including causing me to have really low blood sugar in the morning, which now does the opposite to before and wakes me up at sparrows because I feel so hungry!

My doctor explained to me that basically my adrenals have become unable to produce enough of the hormones I need, so my cortisol is low, along with neurotransmitters like adrenaline and norepinephrine.  This causes me to have constantly low blood pressure that makes me feel dizzy when I stand up (my midwife commented that if her BP was as low as mine was she’d be dead), decreased enjoyment in life sometimes and a low libido, my memory is foggy and my fuse is dangerously short and I use coffee just to keep going.  I also have other weird symptoms that I can only link to my adrenal fatigue because they are there when my cortisol is at its lowest:  weird dry skin around my finger nails, pain in my lower back, extreme tiredness an hour after I exercise, a constant need to pee and possibly the weirdest is a kind of numbness in my fingers that causes me to have a terrible grip, making me drop things I grasp for.

One of the most upsetting symptoms for me though, due to these hormone imbalances and especially because I am a mum, is the short fuse and my complete inability to handle stress; much more so than the low energy levels throughout the day that I cope with, even though on some days I feel a completely unrelenting tiredness.

It’s bad.  My life is busy and stress is unavoidable.  I have a nearly 3 year old who could contend for an Oscar for the drama she finds in most every day situations and I am working too and juggling that with her and my 3 month old.  For people not affected by adrenal insufficiency, when stress inevitably happens the adrenals release hormones like cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine. These hormones regulate the stress response and increase strength, focus and awareness. What happens to me is more like something out of a horror movie.  I lose it, I shout, I get anxious and then most often I feel deeply depressed about how I have reacted because my loved ones bear the brunt of it.  I used to see these emotions as my enemies and hide from them, dismiss them and pretend they never happened.  I have stopped doing that now in favour of a better way, which I will talk about in a minute, and I have committed to replenishing my adrenal energy, which has already made a massive difference to how I feel each day.

The first thing I did was remove hard-to-digest foods from my diet and toxins/chemicals from my environment.  As you’ll see if you follow Essential Mum I do really well with this latter thing!!  The diet took a bit of a hammering during my pregnancy though, where I slipped back into some really bad habits.  So in January I began doTERRA’s TERRAfit programme and it’s really helped me to get back on track with eating regular, healthy meals, especially nutrient-dense, refined sugar free foods packed with healthy fat, fibre, good quality proteins and as many organic mineral rich vegetables as possible, which is going to help me overcome this adrenal insufficiency.  I have also started using a magnesium spray every day and added himalayan salt to my diet (it has a LOT more minerals than table salt that benefit adrenal glands.)  TERRAfit also provides me with a comprehensive, effective exercise programme, although I have to be careful not to cause more adrenal fatigue by exercising too vigorously.

I am also trying to minimize stress.  Another really amazing thing about TERRAfit is that it motivates you to look at your health from the inside out and work on much more than weight loss.  I have taken time to focus on the things that make me feel stressed and how I can eliminate or minimise them and I have invested in me by identifying where I can dedicate some time every day to self care.  I am not going to deny that I still feel completely overwhelmed some days.  Luckily, I am one of these people whose default is to act like the completely opposite is true when someone asks “how are you”… cue big smile and the word “GREAT!” 😉  Luckily, this is also a journey in progress.

A big part of my journey has been the use of my essential oils.  There are a few that can help with Adrenal Fatigue, that I won’t list here, but instead share what is working for me.  I am using a healing combination of Serenity, Balance and Frankincense to de-stress and calm my nervous system, Wild Orange to stop anxiety in its tracks and perk me up in the afternoons, Bergamot when I feel down and for general immune support, adrenal support and to reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and burnout, Slim & Sassy to regulate my blood sugar and finally, geranium for immune support and as a general overall tonic for stress, anxiety and mild depression.

There are 3 ways you can apply essential oils and timing/location is important.  For example, Frankincense is one I am now using every day.  It increases my ability to focus and grounds me.  I use it every day in the morning.  Serenity helps me sleep, so I use it every evening.

I make Geranium part of my beauty regime.  I use it as a moisturiser mixed with fractionated coconut oils and I rub it over my kidneys, which is where your adrenals are located.

On those days where I do feel completely exhausted I add in Rosemary to my routine.  It is a good strengthening tonic for the whole body.

If you are interested in learning more about how to use essential oils for emotions I am running a course this Thursday night, March 17th, in Bucklands Beach, Auckland, where I will talk in detail about  how to master your emotions using essential oils and we will make your very own action plan to integrate them and other emotional support and therapies, in order to increase your capacity to enjoy life, cope with stress, and focus on important personal priorities.

If you too are suffering from adrenal fatigue there are 10 things that you can do straight away to begin your healing journey, and in my opinion they are things we should do anyway for wellness!

  1. woman sleeping peacefully in bed, alarm clockRest when you feel tired; don’t try and be superman/woman and push through!
  2. Sleep between 8–10 hours a night
  3. Avoid staying up late and stay on a regular sleep cycle — ideally, in bed before 10 p.m
  4. Laugh and do something fun every day
  5. Minimize stress
  6. Eat on a regular food cycle, and reduce your caffeine and sugar addiction
  7. Exercise (even moderate exercise and walking can help)
  8. Avoid negative people and negative self-talk
  9. Take time for yourself (do something relaxing) every day
  10. Seek counsel or support for any traumatic experiences

Numbers 4, 8 and 9 are 3 things we will look at in the Emotions Course!  Thankfully, our bodies are made to heal, but the words we say and the things we do, especially in reaction to stress have a great impact on our body and its ability to heal. Before I said that I used to see my emotions as my enemies and hide from them, dismiss them and pretend they never happen.  Now I acknowledge them and I am kind to myself.  I assess why I reacted the way I did (both the situation that was causing the stress and my emotional state at the time), how I could have reacted differently, how I can react better next time and how I can minimise the stress that caused the reaction in the first place.  This isn’t causing change overnight!  This is a long journey and I am changing habits and healing damage that has taken years to create. So, I am being kind to myself. I am ridding my mind of negative thoughts and choosing to be around positive people and stay positive about myself as well.  And heck, sometimes now I am even able to laugh about those reactions, especially with the help of my little girl!  She really is a little too wise for her own good sometimes.  Her acknowledgement of my reactions, while horrible that she does see this other side of mummy, is a good thing because she is helping me to change me and be a better person and we laugh together.  And as we laugh and have a hug I feel the stress decrease and my whole body relax!  Don’t underestimate the value of laughter and enjoyment as a recuperative tool.

Click here to learn about buying 100% pure, therapeutic essential oils and why I recommend them.

To register for the Emotions course, visit Eventbrite here.  Click into the Facebook event page and select “interested” to learn more about the course and receive updates and offers.

Much love x x

Using Essential Oils for Eczema… What’s at the root of that itch?

Eczema is a word I have heard a lot recently. It affects adults and children alike and can cause almost unbearable discomfort. Eden suffered as a really young baby, before I discovered dairy was a problem for her, coming through my breastmilk. When I researched these irritated, inflamed red patches I learned that eczema is a general term used to describe varying skin conditions that result in inflamed and discolored skin; but what could I do?

It didn’t take long once we figured out the problems related to dairy that it wasn’t actually the eczema that needed treating, but her gut. However, in the meantime her upsetting symptoms did need relief. She did not seem to scratch, but the skin was sore and really inflamed and angry.

Bergamot is an essential oil that has balancing qualities related to both the digestive system and emotional healing, as well as properties to heal the skin.

Bergamot supports building confidence and enhancing mood. It is also used to kill bacteria, heal scars and minimize marks on the skin.

In traditional Chinese medicine, bergamot is used to help with the flow of vital energy so the digestive system can work properly. It’s also used to soothe indigestion and gas. So for Eden this was a GREAT choice of oil and I made her up a blend with Lavender, Melaleuca, Roman Chamomile, Oregano and jojoba oil.

Oils, however, are very subjective, what works for one person may not work for next, depending on what the person’s body really needs to heal.

So, with this blog I thought I would go through the best oils to alleviate the symptoms of eczema (inflammation, dryness, itching, etc.) while healing damaged skin and restoring general moisture in the affected areas if necessary.

  1. Melaleuca Essential Oil

It seems whatever I am writing about (skin, hair, cleaning) that Melaleuca is at the top of my list! It is a strong oil though, so it’s not for everyone and it needs to be very heavily diluted for very small babies.

This oil is the one to choose if the eczema is ‘angry’, appears infected or again, you think the eczema is related to an imbalance in the gut; specifically an overgrowth in Candida Albicans.

Melaleuca is better known as tea tree oil and it has been used for centuries to soothe and help heal damaged skin. It has antibacterial, antiseptic, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties to help heal the skin.

The ancient aborigines of Australia bathed in Melaleuca to help heal their skin and ailments.  The lakes were known as golden, with mystical powers, which were later realised to be from the leaves of the tea tree oil plant, the Melaleuca Alternofolia, which had fallen into the water and mud, giving the lake its mystical healing power.

2. Geranium Essential Oil

Geranium is great for rehydrating dry skin, so if your skin is really dry and chapped, this is a great choice.

Geranium essential oil is taken from the leaves, flowers and stems of the plant loved for its pink and red flowers. It is very balancing and nurturing and suits almost all skin types. It kills bacteria and other skin germs, and has anti-inflammatory properties. It is often recommended for aging skin, as well as eczema, but can also help heal burns and clear head lice. It is a good essential oil for reducing cellulite. I wouldn’t be without geranium in my Essential Oil box and like other floral oils it is considered emotionally uplifting, so I use it a lot in my diffuser or in homemade perfume.

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3. Lavender Essential Oil

I would choose this essential oil first and always include it in a blend for something skin related. Lavender is a powerful healer because it has antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, calming, moisturizing, and anti-inflammatory properties. If applying lavender at night it really supports sleep.

Lavender essential oil comes from the steam distillation of the flowering tops of the plant.  dōTERRA’s Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil is indigenous to the Provence region of France. The high altitudes at which lavender is grown results in the plant having higher ester and sesquiterpene alcohol content, thereby increasing its therapeutic benefits.

The oil suits most skin types. You can use it for acne, athlete’s foot, dermititis, burns, psoriasis, ringworm, stings and insect bites, as well as eczema. It is one of the few essential oils that is so gentle it can be applied neat (undiluted) to the skin. So it is a great choice for children. Still dilute it for them though! Using lavender will reduce the potential of eczema to scar.

4. Patchouli Essential Oil

Patchouli essential oil comes from a herbal shrub that grows in the East. It is mainly produced in India, China, Malaysia and South America. It has a distinct earthy sweet smell that became popular in America in the 60’s and is often associated with the age of Aquarius and the hippie revolution! Many women and men would wear it as a perfume on its own.

Patchouli is really good for those eczema sufferers whose skin is actually predisposed to being oily. It won’t over hydrate your skin leaving it greasy or block up pores.

You can also use patchouli to heal burns and eliminate dandruff.

5. Myrrh Essential Oil

Myrrh essential oil comes from the sap (or tears) of the branches and wood of myrrh. The oil is mainly produced in Africa, India, and the Middle East. It is a versatile oil – good for dry/chapped skin and oily skin and can help reduce the look of wrinkles. It is also heals scars and wounds. Use myrrh for weeping eczema.

Apply a few times a day until healed.

6. Frankincense Essential Oil

If your eczema is very inflamed this anti-inflammatory essential oil is a great one to use. It also increases the potency of the other essential oils if you use it in a blend.

7. Helichrysum Essential Oil

This is a very effective essential oil for itching and pain. It is also anti-inflammatory and promotes skin renewal. Use it when eczema strikes acutely with severe discomfort. Add to blends for longer term use to encourage cell growth.

8. Roman Chamomile Essential Oil

Finally, this is another good oil to reduce inflammation and soothe dry, itchy skin. It’s a great choice (diluted) for babies and children because it also encourages sleep! I tend to add this oil to most blends I make for eczema.

If you would like a blend made up for your skin issue, please contact me nzessentialmum@gmail.com

You can source your doTERRA oils to get some relief from you eczema woes here!

I hope this blog has been helpful!

Don’t forget to share your successes in the comments!

Much love x x

 

 

My Beautiful Birth

This post is not about oils, although granted, they did play a part in my birth; as they do all areas of my life!

This post is about the much anticipated day we welcomed a new Angel into our lives. Eden’s little sister. Jade Adia 💚 Born 6:32am, 21st December 2015.

I am sharing this story in support of Homebirth Aotearoa and my midwives, whose calm and unwavering trust in the birthing process allowed me to have the undisturbed birth at home that we dreamed of, and hopefully as inspiration/hope/ strength to women hoping to birth vaginally after c-section. I read so many stories of women being told what their bodies can and can’t do by midwives, obstetricians and other people. I am not doubting they know their stuff or disregarding the small risk (0.05%) associated with birthing vaginally after c-section, but I am very much in support of the natural process of birthing. I believe that a woman’s body is powerful and I am in support of midwives who embrace this power and support it.

My whole state of mind and physical state after my homebirth are so different to after my c-section, after which I struggled physically and mentally for a while. I put this down to my hormones being allowed to work as they should. I am feeling so proud, happy, in love with my beautiful little girl and while the details of my whole homebirthing journey are already  fuzzy (like replaying an old movie in my mind 😉), I hope sharing this story inspires other women to investigate homebirth as an option and helps other vbac mums to have faith in their bodies… You got this!

Saturday 20th December, 2015

Being a little “overdue” (41 weeks), having had some false starts, (including Friday night, all night, with no sleep!) and knowing baby was in a good position, I decided to try some acupuncture to get things going. The first surge came with applying the electrodes to the acupuncture needles in my back! And from thereon they continued; irregularly, but strongly until I decided to try and get some sleep at 8:30pm. That didn’t last long! I was out in the lounge telling my husband at 10pm that I thought we should probably time them, as they were feeling very strong and regular. Having had the false starts he looked unconvinced and said he was actually just about to head to bed! 😉 Timer on I distracted myself with a film on the tv. By 10:30pm we’d tracked a surge every 5 minutes and so I called my lovely midwife, Donna, to check in. We made a plan to track for another half hour, update and then she would know if to come over. She arrived around midnight just as the film finished. My husband was conked out on the couch!

The next few hours were this surreal buzz of non-invasive activity. The pool was filled in our spare room, which I had lovingly transformed into my own “birthing boudoir”, with affirmations hung, crystals, fairy lights and candles. Around the pool being filled with the kettle, hose and pots boiling on the stove, the midwives did their own thing. I was hardly aware they were there! Frankincense diffused into my living room helping me to feel grounded and relaxed. (I had a number of oils prepared to birth [more at the end], but didn’t ultimately use them).

I stopped timing the surges and just managed them as they came with breath. I moved around and changed position a lot, which surprised me because I’d felt so knackered and uncomfortable during that day! At first I listened to music then I turned the music off and continued in silence. That was a little eerie and unsettling. It was like my mind had this space to contemplate and I began to feel anxious about what was to come. I breathed in the frankincense oil deeply, 3 deep grounding breaths between surges and put my hypnobirthing affirmations on my Walkman. That helped a lot to ground me and give me focus. Donna must have heard my breaths getting more vocal and frequent because she suddenly appeared and suggested it was time to get in the pool.

The water was so comforting. All night then I rode the waves of the surges, using breath and sound to manage the sensations as they grew stronger. I had to stay in the now, face each one as it came and not think about the next one because they were becoming more challenging. From thereon things are quite a blur until that startling moment where a surge (that had become increasingly “pushy”) caused a little pop (my waters breaking) and allowed me to clearly feel baby’s head move down. I felt an overwhelming rush of pride (that we’d come this far, that baby had coped so well and that there had been no interventions to this point – just checking baby’s heartbeat!) With each surge now I knew it wouldn’t be long before I held my baby in my arms.

I lost control a bit, my controlled groans/growls became more like screams and I did feel fear, but I tried to trust my body’s process and relax into it, helped by Donna’s touch and reminders to open and soften. And then Jade’s head was there and I could touch it and with the surges that followed out slid the rest of her as I awkwardly tried to bring her up to my chest. Another little girl 😊 So beautiful and perfect.

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Eden saw her sister arrive earthside, as daddy went to wake her. Her expression mimicked everyone else in the room’s, no fear, just happiness and amazement at Jade’s arrival. I have no pictures, so I am just going to have to remember these incredible moments.

Regarding the essential oils that I had on hand for my birth, please see my next newsletter for details of this. Or visit my Shop to view Essential Mum birthing kits.  You can subscribe to my newsletter by dropping me an email to nzessentialmum@gmail.com with the word SUBSCRIBE in the email subject!

Much love x x

Step out of your COMFORT ZONE…to your LUXURY ZONE!

Warning. Long rambling blog post ahead. Make a cup of tea, make yourself comfortable, because believe me, when I get to my point, it’s going to be worth it!

I am going to hazard a guess that nearly everyone reading this will have tried an essential oil for something at some time in their life, whether on a natural health journey or not – lavender to calm, chamomile to soothe, some yummy blend in a diffuser to make the house smell nice… And if not in the form of an oil, they have experienced the power of a plant or herb, like peppermint tea for an upset tummy.

I am very passionate (as you might have guessed) about how and why we have gotten so far away from the powerful properties of plants in the first place, related to our healing, to reach for modern day drugs and all their dangerous side effects as a first option. Did you know many of them find their origins in the chemicals that are found in plants anyway?

Take aspirin as an example. Many moons ago in the mid-eighteenth century, willow bark extract became recognized for its specific effects on fever, pain and inflammation. By the nineteenth century pharmacists were experimenting with and prescribing a variety of chemicals related to the active component of willow extract, called salicylic acid.  In 1829, scientists discovered that it was the compound called salicin in willow plants that give you the pain relief. The problem was that it was tough on the stomach and a ‘buffering’ of the compound was needed.  Cue French Chemist, Charles Frederick Gerdhardt.  In 1853 he neutralized salicylic acid by buffering it with sodium and acetyl chloride, creating acetylsalicylic acid.  This was rediscovered in 1899 by a German Chemist names Felix Hoffman (who worked for Bayer) and thus the ‘Wonder Drug’ Aspirin was patented, on February 27, 1900.

Aspirin is now used for fevers, pain and inflammation (and other things), but has some serious side effects for the unlucky ones, which last much longer than the effects of a headache. What baffles me is that this is what the original willow bark was used for in the first place, and successfully.

In my bid to get back to the natural when I had Eden, rather than use over the counter remedies for the discomforts that come part and parcel with being a bubba, I stocked my wellness toolbox with essential oils (amongst other thing like vitamin c and probiotics, but that’s a whole other blog post!) as my “go to” in cases of illness or discomfort:

  • Lavender for sleep and to calm
  • Chamomile to run along her jaw line when teething and clove to rub directly on her gums when it got really bad
  • Melaleuca for bad nappy rash and thrush
  • And peppermint when she was stuffed up from colds.

This was as adventurous as I got in those early days, but I was amazed by how these remedies worked so well for us. 

Inspired and I guess curious, it was at this point that I invested in dōTERRA’s Family Physician Kit and dared to take my oil use to the next level…

When this magical box arrived my eyes opened wide to the possibilities… Lemon, oregano, a number of oil blends and then I saw it…. Frankincense!

I began to read about this oil straight away because while I had heard about the benefits of the other oils, to be honest all I knew about Frankincense was that it was one of the gifts offered by the three wise men to the newborn Jesus! I guess this made it pretty special, but how it could help me I was unsure.

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I began to read… I learned that Frankincense comes from the Boswellia genustrees, particularly Boswellia sacra and Boswellia carteriis; a tree or shrub that produces a gum or resin that can be steam distilled into an essential oil. Its aroma is uniquely warm, deep, rich and kind of like incense (sounded good so far). The high level of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes in this oil are what promote the body’s natural healing processes.

As I began to look at what areas of my life could incorporate this luxurious oil, the possibilities seemed endless! And exciting.  It seemed I could replace many of my shop bought beauty products with frankincense alternatives and then there was the ways in which Frankincense could support my emotional well-being. It all felt a bit too good to be true, so I began experimenting.

The first thing I created was a simple moisturiser using coconut oil as a carrier for my face. I am naturally ruddy in the cheeks, which I hate, and had tried numerous creams to help, which hadn’t and were expensive. In fact I had resorted to just using straight coconut oil, which left my skin beautifully soft and hydrated, but was not supporting the reduction in the blemishes and din’t get rid of break-outs.  Using my Frankincense moisturiser, within 3 days I saw a difference!

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I have since changed the carrier oil in my moisturiser to fractionated coconut oil from just a cold pressed organic coconut oil because I discovered that the solid fats in the cold pressed were clogging up my pores and this was not clearing (and was possibly causing) the breakouts.  I still use the cold pressed oil with Frankincense to rub onto my big baby bump, as frankincense can support the body’s ability to keep existing cells and tissues healthy and promote healthy cell regeneration.

A property of Frankincense that has really interested me is to do with comforting in times of stress and despair, and clearing the mind; useful for visualizing and improving one’s spiritual connection.  I must admit that I personally do not use oils much for aromatherapy.  I often diffuse for my daughter and see benefits, but I guess for me I didn’t see a “need”.  Now I know that is not true and that I have really been missing out.  As an anxiety sufferer, Frankincense has proved to be a very effective sedative for me that induces a feeling of mental peace, relaxation, and satisfaction, and helps relieve my anxiety (or anger or stress), whatever the negative emotion.  I inhale 3 deep breaths of Frankincense in the morning and I feel my mind clearing.  I am now waiting on the delivery of a beautiful clay necklace to diffuse the oil when I need it at other times – challenging meetings, when being a mum gets hectic or if I feel fear or anxious for any reason – any occasion where I feel I need to let go of lower vibrations, deceptions and negativity.

I am now looking at Frankincense’s uses as an astringent to strengthen gums and hair roots, stop wounds from bleeding and speed up the healing of cuts, acne, insect bites, and boils.

I am fascinated by this oil’s connection to improving overall wellness, especially spiritually because I think we all have moments of darkness.  Can this powerful oil really shield the body and soul from negative influences?

I guess only more experience with this oil will tell.  I was definitely sticking to my comfort zone when I first started my journey with oils and was both surprised and impressed by what we are now achieving as a family by using all the oils incorporated in the Family Physician Kit.  And the great thing is that once you have your good quality oils you can make so many things yourself, rather than buying over the counter – for beauty, cleaning, well pretty much anything!  And I guess as a mum we spend so much time looking at the things we need to make sure things are clean and safe and good for our family, but with Frankincense you can do all of this and still have a bit of luxury for yourself!

I will leave you with this luxurious bath salts recipe for the next time you get (or make!) a moment for yourself (I call this the Cleopatra)…

Take:

  • 1/2 cup Epsom Salts
  • 1/2 cup Dead Sea Salts
  • 2 tsp Baking soda
  • 8-10 drops Frankincense essential oil (where to buy)
  • 8-10 drops Lavender essential oil (where to buy)

And… mix all the above ingredients together and throw them in the bath! (Don’t bathe with soap at the same time otherwise you will be washing away all the important nutrients before they’ve had a chance to be absorbed through your skin.  A good excuse to have to lie still for 15-20 minutes!)

ENJOY xxxx

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