Just Add Oils to a New You!—Part 1

We all struggle with something—and more often than not, it involves our health. We recently took a poll to see what area you, our readers, struggle with the most. So let’s discuss these areas and find out how we can use essential oils to overcome these health struggles.

Staying Motivated

About 16% of pollers said that their biggest struggle is staying motivated. If you fall under this category, then let’s talk about your goal. When making exercise and nutrition goals this year, try utilizing these principles so you can stay motivated to achieve them.

  • Take a good, hard look at where you are now. It is important to be honest with yourself.
  • Determine where you want to be. Be positive as you do this.
  • Keep goals “SMART”:
    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Attainable
    • Relevant
    • Time-bound
  • Be accountable to someone. Talk about your goals to others, ask a friend to follow up with you, and write a letter to yourself so that, at the very least, you are accountable to yourself. One of our readers suggests:

    “Keep a little journal, and each day quickly jot down if you succeeded or failed with your goal that day and, most importantly, WHY. This helps you know what areas you need to improve or if you should adjust your goal. It also helps you remember the days you succeeded and the positive results that came from succeeding so you can stay motivated.” —Anonymous

  • Break larger goals into smaller steps. If your goal has more than 5 steps, it may be too big or too broad, and you may want to convert it into 2 smaller goals instead.
  • As you narrow down the steps to your goals, be realistic and figure out where your barriers or pitfalls will be and how you will overcome them. (Note: If you don’t know your barriers or pitfalls, keeping a journal each day, as mentioned above, will help you discover them.) This is where essential oils will be the most useful. Modern Essentials can be a great tool in helping you discover ways essential oils can be used to help you overcome the barriers and pitfalls that may prevent you from realizing your goals.

For example, let’s say your desire is to increase your physical activity, and you determine that your goal is to exercise 6 days a week for 30 minutes. Your first step may be to wake up at 6:30 AM. One barrier to this step may be that you have a hard time waking up that early. Maybe you can’t wake up in the morning because you have a hard time falling asleep at night. Maybe you are too anxious at night, or you have a hard time breathing, or you just need something to help you relax. Once you determine the reason for your sleeping problems, you can look in Modern Essentials for some essential oils to try.
Here is a worksheet you can use to help you set your goal, determine your steps, and figure out the barriers and how you can overcome them. You can also use this paper to hold yourself accountable and track the results of your success.

You can also try out this diffuser blend to help you stay motivated:

Exercising

Another 17% of our readers said that their biggest health struggle is exercising. If you fall under this category, let’s take a look at some common barriers or pitfalls you may be facing:

  • No time. Some of us are incredibly busy, but most of us could still fit in a little exercise if we made it a priority. If you have a hard time finding time to exercise, try one of these tips:
    • Pick shorter but harder exercise routines. For example, jumping rope for 10 minutes provides your body with approximately the same workout as running for 30 minutes.
    • As you start exercising, try setting a timer for 10 minutes the first day, 10 minutes and 30 seconds the second day, 11 minutes the third day, and so on—gradually increasing the amount of time each day until you reach a set amount of time that works for you.
    • Consider setting a goal to do a set number of exercises each day, then work them in throughout the day. For example, your goal could be to do 3 sets of 30 sit-ups, 4 sets of 20 lunges (10 on each leg), 3 sets of 10 push-ups, and 2 sets of running stairs each day. Then, throughout the day, simply complete a set of something whenever you have a break (or make breaks to do a little exercise). Try doing a set of sit-ups after waking up, then another after throwing in a load of laundry, and another before going to bed. After each bathroom break, you could do a set of lunges as you walk back to your desk or down the hall. Every time you need to go up a set of stairs, try running up, back down, and then up again. When you need to pick up something off the floor, do a set of push-ups first. As you make these short bursts of exercise a habit, you’ll find that every little bit goes a long way.
    • Drive less; walk more. Try parking at the back of the parking lot or even a few blocks away so you can walk a little extra when you are running your errands, getting lunch, or going to or from work.

  • Exercise is boring. So make it fun! Pick something that you enjoy doing. Try some of the following, and see if any of them work for you:
    • Jumping rope
    • Playing a sport like basketball, soccer, frisbee, etc.
    • Walking with a friend or while listening to an audio book
    • Listening to music as you run
    • Taking a zumba class (you could do this in person or look up routines online)
    • Putting on some upbeat music and having a dance party
    • Looking up 1-song exercise routines and doing a couple
    • Doing yoga or pilates
    • Working out with your kids (do planks, dance, jump, tumble, put them on your knees and fly them like an airplane, run around a playground, play tag, assign exercises to numbers and roll a dice to see what you have to do, etc.)
    • Finding an exercise buddy
  • Exercising makes me sore. Your muscles should only be sore the first week or 2 after starting to exercise. If you are consistent with it, you’ll find that you can exercise without becoming sore. For the first couple weeks, try this Sore Muscles Salve as you push through the painful stage, and keep exercising. And don’t forget to drink water! Staying hydrated helps keep your body pain free.
  • No energy. If you seem to run out of energy quickly, try doing some of these:

Source: Modern Essentials™: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils, 8th Edition.

Check out “Just Add Oils to a New You!—Part 2” to read about our essential oil (and general) tips for losing weight, eating healthy, drinking water, overcoming depression, breaking addictions, and sleeping.

Sore Muscles Salve

Give your sore muscles some relief with this salve. The essential oils in this recipe may not only help soothe muscle pains, but they also create a warming/cooling effect that makes this salve extra special!
Continue reading

See Modern Essentials: Sports Injuries

sportsBeing active is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. The positive endorphins released during exercise will lift depression, boost energy, and strengthen cardiac function. Increasing muscle mass and strength also helps the body burn fat and build endurance. It’s important to keep those muscles and connective tissues that make movement possible healthy.

Overuse of a muscle in repeated motion, tension, stress, strain, and injury can cause discomfort and pain during muscle movement. When an injury takes place as a result of exercise or sports, there are several essential oils that can be useful in the healing process. Here are some oils you can try the next time you experience a sports-related injury.

Aches and Pains

  • Birch
  • Clove
  • Peppermint
  • Chamomile
  • Ginger
  • Lavender
Bruises

  • Helichrysum
  • Geranium
  • Fennel
  • Lavender
Cartilage Injury

  • Birch
  • Wintergreen
  • Marjoram
  • Lemongrass
  • White fir
  • Peppermint
Cramps and
Charley Horses

  • Lemongrass
    with peppermint
  • Marjoram
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Thyme
  • Vetiver
  • Roman chamomile
  • Cypress
  • Grapefruit
  • Clary sage
  • Lavender
Sprains

  • Marjoram
  • Lemongrass
  • White fir
  • Helichrysum
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Vetiver
  • Eucalyptus
  • Clove
  • Ginger
  • Lavender
Tendinitis

  • Marjoram
  • Lavender

Tension and Stiffness

  • Marjoram
  • Peppermint
  • Helichrysum
  • Juniper berry
  • Lavender
  • Roman chamomile

Some injuries can be avoided by stretching before exercise and getting plenty of hydration during and after working out or playing sports. But sometimes injuries happen no matter how careful we are. Essential oils applied with a roller bottle, mixed in a balm, or blended for massage can help accelerate the healing process.

Sources:
Modern Essentials™: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils, 8th Edition, pp. 289, 303–306.

Frozen Eucalyptus Mint Towels

Need something that will leave you feeling refreshed even after being outside in the hot summer sun? These Frozen Eucalyptus Mint Towels could be just the thing you need. Not only are they cool to the touch, but the essential oils will help the cooling sensation last even longer on your skin and may help you feel energized as you breathe in the pleasant aroma. You could even try using them after a good workout!

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These frozen towels are simple to make, and you may want to double or triple the recipe below so you can always have one in the freezer whenever you need one!

Step 1: Mix epsom salts and essential oils together. The epsom salts help the essential oils mix with the water so the oils will be distributed throughout all the washcloths you use rather than only being absorbed into the first towel.

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Step 2: Add warm water, and stir until the salts are dissolved.

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Step 3: Soak the washcloths in the water, and wring out the excess liquid.
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Step 4: Fold each washcloth in half and roll it up.
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Step 5: Place the washcloths in the freezer until frozen (about 2 hours).

Step 6: Enjoy the cooling sensation as you place the frozen washcloth anywhere on your skin! It will stay cool longer if you leave it rolled up and slowly unroll the towel as it thaws.

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Frozen Eucalyptus Mint Towels

  • Servings: 2 towels
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp. (5 g) Epsom Salt
  • 2 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 2 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 1 cup (240 ml) warm water
  • 2 washcloths

Instructions:

  1. Place epsom salt in bowl or 16 oz. PET Jar. Add essential oils, and mix together.
  2. Pour in the warm water, and stir until the epsom salt is dissolved.
  3. Dip the washcloths in the liquid, and wring out the excess.
  4. Fold each washcloth in half and roll it up.
  5. Place in the freezer and freeze for a couple hours.
  6. To use, place the frozen towel anywhere that you need cooling such as your face, head, arms, feet, etc. Use rolled up, then unroll as it thaws to make the coolness last as long as possible.

Essential Health and Wellness with Modern Essentials™

At the start of a new year, many are refreshing their goals of being more active or improving their diet. If these are your goals, we would like to show you how essential oils can help you achieve them. The information below is a compilation from the new sections, “Essential Living for a Balanced, Healthy Life,” “Nutrition and Essential Oils,” and “Exercise and Essential Oils,” found in the 7th edition of Modern Essentials™.

Physical Health: Nutrition

Modern research is finding that food may be the most basic of preventative medicines. There is no magic concoction that will guarantee that you get all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your body needs. Eating properly is the easiest way to control your health and ensure that your body is provided with all the nutrients it needs.

Developing a healthy diet depends on daily consistency. Following the below guidelines will provide a solid foundation to a healthy diet that will quickly become second nature.

6 Principles of Good Nutrition

1. Adequacy: Getting enough of what you need.
Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are 3 necessary nutrients that provide fuel for the body. The other 3 nutrients—vitamins, minerals, and water—are chemicals used by the body to convert carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into energy.
Sufficient amounts of water are needed to regulate the body’s chemical processes, excrete waste as urine, control body temperature through sweat, and humidify the air we breathe. Eating a nutritionally-dense diet is the easiest way to guarantee the consumption of needed nutrients in adequate amounts. Fresh foods, rather than process foods, are more likely to provide the proper amounts of nutrients needed by the body.

2. Balance: Getting the right amount of what you need.
Cells need the right balance of nutrients to thrive. Too much of a nutrient or too little of a nutrient can cause disease. Eating nutritious foods is the best way to ensure you that you are harvesting all your needed nutrients from your diet. Nutrition supplements are meant to supplement good eating, not replace it. Fad diets, that list main food groups to avoid, will not help and will probably do more damage than good. The more restricted a diet is, the more likely a diet will be nutritionally deficient. If you are following a diet, you will need to plan a little more carefully to ensure you are still getting all the basic nutrients.

3. Calorie Control: Getting the right amount of energy.
Energy intake is directly associated with energy expenditure. Active adults, growing teenagers, and pregnant women require different calorie consumption than the average adult. The most effective way to control calorie consumption is by spreading out food intake over the whole day. Eating small, nutrient balanced meals throughout the day will help maintain a level energy state and avoid excessive hunger.

4. Nutritional Density: Getting the most from your calories.
In general, the more processed a food is, the less nutritionally dense it is. We are bombarded with nutritionally weak food choices that will fill us up but leave us deficient in many needed vitamins and minerals. When trying to determine which foods are nutritionally dense, remember that real foods, like fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans, will provide more nutrition that processed foods, like potato chips, fruit juices, and white bread.

5. Moderation: Getting just enough—not too much.
Eat an assortment of grains, vegetables, fruits, protein foods, and dairy. Most people will not have a hard time eating moderate amounts of these basic food groups. However, foods rich in salt, sugar, and fat should be eaten moderately. Some suggest that if you crave sweets or processed foods, you can eat 100 calories of it without doing damage to your body. Eating just a little can help you satisfy your craving and move on.

6. Variety: Getting nutrients—not bored.
A monotonous diet is likely to produce deficiencies in certain food groups and even certain nutrients. Trying new foods and recipes is an exciting and enjoyable way to add variety to your diet.

Physical Health: Exercise

A strong argument can be made that regular, sustained exercise is even more important to maintaining a healthy body weight than just limiting the number of calories we consume. In addition to contributing to overall health, regular exercise can help increase energy, build muscle, promote healthy body weight, enhance cardiovascular health, increase flexibility, and contribute to better mental and emotional health.

WomenJoggers_600

Essential oils can support the body and mind in many different ways to help enhance success during exercise. Modern Essentials™ contains more information about the many ways exercise can support the body and some of the many ways essential oils can help support the body before, during, and after physical activity.

3 Principles of Healthy Activity

1. Regular: Building Habits
A study showed that people who binge exercised throughout their life only had a slightly lower chance of heart disease than people who didn’t exercise at all. On the other hand, it is estimated that those living a sedentary lifestyle have approximately twice the risk of developing coronary heart disease than those who exercise regularly.

2. Type:

  • Aerobic: Building the Cardiovascular System. Aerobic exercises include activities such as dancing, walking, jogging, swimming, bicycling, hiking, tennis, or basketball.
  • Resistance: Building Muscle. Some resistance exercises include weightlifting, elastic resistance, push-ups, pull-ups, squats, and yoga. Keeping up your muscle mass is important because it helps your body keep dexterity and bone mass. Increased muscle mass can help increase overall metabolism in the body, as muscle tissue naturally burns more calories than fat tissue.
  • Flexibility: Building Range of Motion. Sufficient flexibility of muscles, tendons, and connective tissue is important in maintaining proper posture and helping to prevent injuries. Stretching before and after strenuous physical activity can be a good way to help prevent injury and to keep muscles loose.

3. Variety: Building an Active Lifestyle.
It is important to change up your exercise activities so you don’t get bored. Find things you enjoy doing, and do something different every day.

Principles of Making Goals

GoalWithoutPlanIsWish_600When making exercise and nutrition goals this year, try utilizing these principles so you can keep your goals.

  • Take a good, hard look at where you are now. It is important to be honest with yourself.
  • Determine where you want to be. Be positive as you do this.
  • Keep goals SMART:
    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Attainable
    • Relevant
    • Time Bound
  • Be accountable to someone. Talk about your goals to others, ask a friend to follow up with you, and write a letter to yourself so, at the very least, you are accountable to yourself.
  • Break larger goals into smaller steps. If your goal has more than 5 steps, your goal may be too big or too broad, and it may be better to convert it into 2 goals instead.
  • As you narrow down the steps to your goals, be realistic and figure out where your barriers or pitfalls will be and how you will overcome them. This is where essential oils will be the most useful. Modern Essentials™ can be a great tool in helping you discover ways essential oils can be used to help you overcome the barriers and pitfalls that may prevent you from realizing your goals.

For example, let’s say your desire is to increase your physical activity, and you determine that your goal is to exercise 6 days a week for 30 minutes. Your first step may be to wake up at 6:30 am. One barrier to this step may be that you have a hard time waking up that early. Maybe you can’t wake up in the morning because you have a hard time falling asleep at night. Maybe you are too anxious at nights or you have a hard time breathing or you just need something to help you relax. Once you determine the reason, you can look in Modern Essentials™ for some essential oils to try.

Here is a worksheet you can use to help you set your goal, determine your steps, and figure out the barriers and how you can overcome them. You can also use this paper to hold yourself accountable and track the results of your success.

Teaching a Class on Health and Wellness with Modern Essentials™

Last Wednesday morning, we taught a class at the AromaTools™ building in Pleasant Grove, UT, on this topic. We want to share the class with you so that you can learn and then be able to hold a class of your own to share this information with others.

WellnessWednesdayClass_600

In preparation for this class, do the following:

  • Review this article and read Modern Essentials™, 7th Edition, pp. 66–74; 78–80.
  • Print out a goal worksheet for everyone attending the class. You may want to print extras in case the attendees want to take more than one home.
  • Be prepared with at least one Modern Essentials™ for your attendees to reference, though more than one copy is preferable. Old editions will work for referencing conditions.

When teaching this class, do the following:

  • Start with an introduction to good nutrition, exercise, and setting goals.
  • Brainstorm, as a group, ways you can improve your diet or be more physically active.
  • Allow participants time to fill out the goal worksheet, and look up ways in Modern Essentials™ to overcome potential barriers by incorporating the use of essential oils.

Extra Ideas:

  • Encourage discussion and participation by handing out nutritious snacks such as apples or mandarin oranges when comments are made.
  • Provide essential oil and fruit–infused water with strawberry and/or lemon slices and  lemon essential oil.

Sources:
Modern Essentials™: A Contemporary Guide to the Use of Essential Oils, 7th Edition, pp. 66–74; 78–80

Make Yoga a Part of Your Life This Year!

In some way or another, exercising is probably one of your new year’s resolutions. So, why not start with yoga? There are many benefits to practicing yoga, such as increased flexibility, muscle strength, and tone; improved breathing, energy, and vitality; cardio and circulatory health; and weight reduction. In fact, new research published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that yoga can be as beneficial to weight loss and lowering blood pressure as exercises such as cycling or brisk walking are.

Yoga_Lifestyle

Along with physical benefits, yoga is beneficial for improving mental health. It has also been known to reduce stress, enhance sleep, and improve mental well-being.

So, if you have a goal this year to exercise more, maybe you should give yoga a try. According to Laura Holbrook, “As human beings we seek out experiences that make us feel good. We crave that altered state, whether it be through food, music, or overindulgence in anything. We all have habits, some of which can lead to negative consequences. So the question is … how can we achieve a natural high with positive consequences? Through the practice of yoga breathing and postures we quiet the inner critic and wake up our true authentic voice.”

The use of essential oils while practicing yoga really enhances the benefits of yoga. Learn more about these benefits and how to incorporate essential oils into your yoga routines with the following informational materials:

AromaTools™ also offers several options for yoga apparel, such as tank tops, short-sleeve shirts, capris, and pants to help you get started. Even if you aren’t into yoga, these items are comfortable to work out in or even for lounging around the house.

Sources:
European Journal of Preventive Cardiology: http://cpr.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/12/02/2047487314562741.full.pdf
Essential Yoga by Laura Holbrook: https://www.aromatools.com/DVD_Essential_Yoga_p/DT8619K.htm