DIY Salve Jar Advent Calendar

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Have you tried doing an advent calendar leading up to Christmas? This is often a fun tradition, especially with kids, to help keep the focus on family and serving rather than on getting and receiving. Even if you don’t have children, it can be a great way to keep up the holiday cheer and count down to the holiday. So, regardless of your circumstances, you can make this advent calendar a fun tradition to start this year!

Using salve jars as an advent calendar allows you to hide activity ideas, recipes, diffuser blends in sample vials, chocOILates, symbols of the activity, or other small items or treats inside that can be enjoyed each day leading up to Christmas. The salve jars are attached to a magnet board or refrigerator with the use of strong magnets glued to the bottoms of the jars.

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This cute advent calendar we are sharing today uses stickers with numbers on them that you apply to the tops of the salve jars, and then the salve jars are arranged in the pattern of a Christmas tree. This calendar also features labels listing various holiday activities, essential oil crafts and recipes, service ideas, and more that can be applied to the inside of the salve jars. You can also include the provided recipe cards that correlate with the activity ideas.

Here are the downloadable files:
Christmas Tree Number Stickers (print them on these labels)
Activity Idea Stickers (print them on these labels)
Recipe Cards (print them on regular or card stock paper)
Christmas Tree Pattern

If you have other activities you would like to do, you can always print them out on regular paper, cut them up, and place them in the salve jars on the days you wish to do each activity. Also, if you would rather create your own designs for the numbers, these blank labels work well on these salve jars.

To use, simply start on December 1st with salve jar #1, and complete the activity for that day. Continue each day with the salve jar that correlates with the date until you reach Christmas Day!

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Salve Jar Advent Calendar

Supplies:

Instructions:

  1. Use the templates to print the labels, or create your own.
  2. Attach the magnets to the bottoms of the salve jars. Attach the number labels to the tops of the salve jars.
  3. Decide what activities you want to do, and assign them to the day you want to do them. Then apply the activity stickers inside the associated salve jar. You can always rearrange the activities by changing the lids.
  4. Add any other items associated with the activity, such as recipe cards, sample vials for diffuser blends, etc.
  5. Attach the salve jars to your magnet board.
  6. To use, starting on December 1st, open the salve jar with the number that correlates with the date and complete the activity. Continue every day as you count down to Christmas!

Update 11/18/2016: We now have these small tins that would work really well for this project! Check them out here: 2 oz. Tin Can with Window Lid.

Essential Oil Spotlight: Frankincense


frankincenseFrankincense essential oil is steam-distilled from the resin of trees and shrubs in the Burseraceae family. The aroma helps to focus energy, improve concentration, and enhance meditation.

Historically, frankincense was used in the Middle East as an ingredient in holy incense for sacrificial ceremonies and to improve communication with the Creator. The French use it for asthma, depression, and ulcers.

This oil acts as an antidepressant, anticancer, antiseptic, and sedative. It is commonly used to treat allergies, bronchitis, colds, headaches, sores, strep throat, and typhoid. Frankincense is generally recognized as safe for consumption by the FDA and can be used topically, diffused, or taken orally.

To learn more about frankincense essential oil and many other pure essential oils, see the book Modern Essentials™: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils.

Sources: Modern Essentials™: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils, 8th Edition, p. 63.

Essential Oils For Him

Some men don’t always take the best care of themselves. However, even a busy man can find easy ways to slip healthy habits into his daily routine. Getting a good night’s rest and regular exercise can be a challenge but can be achieved by planning ahead and prioritizing time. Eating well and taking supplements are also important components to a healthy lifestyle, as well as eliminating toxic chemicals from commonly used body care products.

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Essential oils are naturally beneficial and are a wonderful alternative to harsh chemicals, fillers, and perfumes that are in many of the products men use daily. DIY body care can be healthier and save you money!  Here are some links to great essential oil recipes and tips that men can try:

Shaving Cream and Aftershave

Body Wash

Deodorant

Lip Balm

Essential Oils for Sports

Hand Degreaser

Hand and Foot Salve

Dry Shampoo

These would also make fantastic holiday gifts to show the men in your life that you care!

Learn more about how you can use essential oils for body care in the book Modern Essentials™: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils, 8th Edition.

 

 

Class Idea: Ribbon Christmas Tree Diffusers

These Ribbon Christmas Tree Diffusers are simple to make and incredibly adorable! Hang one up in your car as a diffuser, on your Christmas tree as an ornament, or anywhere else you want to decorate and add a little holiday scent. Gifting one of these is also a great way to introduce a friend to essential oils.

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Use This Craft in a Make & Take Class

These Ribbon Christmas Tree Diffusers also make a fun make-and-take project at an essential oil class! Just start with a short lesson about essential oils, and then mingle with your guests as they make their own Ribbon Christmas Tree Diffusers.

Here are the items you will need from AromaTools®:

Other items you’ll need to gather:

  • Printed instructions
  • Ribbon
  • Rulers
  • Scissors
  • Markers
  • Beads
  • Thread or thin elastic string
  • Needles (want to make sure your string can fit through your needles.)
  • Clear fingernail polish (or other fray-stopping glue)
  • Essential oils (such as a Christmas blend or a few single essential oils that your guests can make their own blend with)
  • Distilled water

Depending on the number of people attending your class, you can set this up in the following stations:

  • Materials Station. This station should include various types of ribbon, rulers or another way to measure out the ribbon, scissors, and a variety of beads (you’ll need small beads to help tie off the string and larger beads to use as the tree trunk). Every ribbon tree requires 2 small beads and 10 larger beads. Make sure to include a list of materials needed.
  • Ribbon Tree Assembly Station(s). Have markers, rulers, elastic string, scissors, needles, and clear nail polish at this station with instructions for making the Ribbon Trees.
  • Essential Oil Station. This is where your guests can make their own essential oil spray. You’ll need the 15 ml spray bottles, vegetable glycerin, essential oils, and distilled water with instructions for making the sprays. If you have a holiday-scented essential oil blend, it would be easy to just offer that. If not, you can offer a few single essential oils and recipes for your guests to make their own holiday-scented blend. Here are a couple holiday blends you can try: Holiday Diffuser Blends, Citrus Spice Diffuser Blend, Autumn-Scented Essential Oil Blends.

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Ribbon Christmas Tree Diffuser

  • Servings: 1
  • Time: 10–15 minutes active
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients & Supplies:

Ribbon Trees:

  • Ribbon
  • Rulers
  • Scissors
  • Permanent marker
  • Beads
  • Thread or thin elastic string
  • Needles (make sure your string can fit through your needles)
  • Clear fingernail polish (or other fray-stopping glue)

Essential Oil Spray:

Instructions:

  1. Cut a piece of ribbon 19″ (48 cm) long. Use a marker to place a small dot in the center of the ribbon 2″ (5 cm) from one end of the ribbon to mark your starting point. From this point, make additional marks along the ribbon, spacing them apart at these increments: 2 3/4″ (7 cm), 2 1/2″ (6.5 cm), 2 1/4″ (6 cm), 2″ (5.5 cm), 1 3/4″ (5 cm), 1 1/2″ (4.5 cm), 1 1/4″ (4 cm), 1″ (3.5 cm), etc. (the spaces between the marks should gradually get smaller by a 1/4″ [.5 cm] as you move down the ribbon).at_rct_ribbon
  2. Select your beads. You’ll need 2 small beads to secure the ends and 10 larger beads for the “trunk” of the tree.
  3. Cut a piece of thread/string about 30″ (76 cm) long (you’ll need about 10–12″ [25.5–30.5 cm] for the tree and extra for the loop at the top). Thread your needle, and tie the ends of the string together.at_rct_beads
  4. Put your needle through the ribbon at the starting point (the mark 2″ [5 cm] from the end), then through a large bead, then through a small bead; continue threading around the small bead, back through the large bead, and back through the ribbon at the same mark. This secures the bottom of the tree. Now put the needle through another large bead, through the ribbon at the next mark, through another large bead, through the ribbon at the 3rd mark, and repeat until all the large beads are gone. After the last bead is threaded, put the needle through the small bead, then around the small bead, back through the large bead, and back through the last mark on the ribbon. Tie a knot, then go back up through the ribbon, large bead, and small bead. Tie another knot a 2–4″ (5–10 cm) above the tree (or however big you want your hanging loop to be), and cut the thread.at_rct_assembly
  5. Finish by cutting the ribbon ends to where you think it looks good, and apply clear nail polish or glue to the ends to help prevent fraying.at_rct_finishing
  6. Make an essential oil spray by placing 1/4 tsp. (1.5 ml) vegetable glycerin in the 15 ml bottle. Add 4–6 drops of essential oil. Fill the rest with distilled water, and screw on the spray top. Shake to combine.
  7. To use, spray your essential oil spray on the ribbon tree, and hang wherever you desire. Refresh the scent by spraying the tree again with more of the essential oil spray.at_rct_sprayingeo

Kool-Aid® Lip Balm and Holiday Gift Guide

These colored lip balms are so fun to make for any woman, young or old! The Kool-Aid® not only gives the lip balms a vibrant color, but also a fun taste. You can even add peppermint essential oil to give your lips a cooling sensation with each use! With the recipe provided below, you can make a big batch of the same color/flavor, or you can get creative and make a bunch of different ones!

Kool-Aid® Lip Balm

  • Servings: 4–10
  • Time: 15–30 minutes active; 30 minutes inactive
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Using a kitchen scale, measure out the beeswax and cocoa butter, and place in a double boiler. (Note: you can create a double boiler by placing ingredients in a heat-proof glass dish and placing the dish in a water-filled pan.) Heat over low heat until melted.
  2. Meanwhile, place drink mix in a glass dish, and add just enough hot water to make a paste.
  3. Once the beeswax and cocoa butter are melted, add jojoba oil and honey, and keep warming until everything is melted. Let cool slightly, and stir in essential oil if desired.
  4. Add oil mixture to drink mix, and stir/mash with the back of a spoon until it is thoroughly combined.
  5. Place lip balm in a zip-top bag, and snip off a small hole in a corner with scissors. Squeeze the lip balm into the containers by twisting the bag and squeezing down. Tap the container against a hard surface to help it move to the bottom of the container. Continue until the containers are full.
  6. Place containers in fridge until the lip balm has fully cooled.

Note: If you want to make multiple flavors, just prep your drink mix in separate
bowls, and only use 1/8–1/4 tsp. per dish. Then stir in 1/2–1 Tbsp. (7.5–15 ml) of the oil mixture. This should fill 1 lip gloss container or 2 lip balm dispensers.

This recipe was featured in our new online Gift Guide. Take a look at all the other fun recipes and gift ideas!
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Essential Oil Troubleshooting

While essential oils are safe and effective alternatives for natural health, there may be times when undesirable reactions occur. On the occasion that this happens, it’s important to be prepared so you know what to do.

In the following situations, you will see a recurring theme about needing to dilute the essential oils and to use carrier oil (instead of water) to relieve pain. We’ve included more information about why these things are important at the end of this article.

Burning Sensation

Problem: You experience a burning sensation after applying essential oils.
Immediate Solution: If you are experiencing a burning sensation, apply some carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil, coconut oil, or olive oil to the area immediately to help dilute the essential oil and provide relief.
Long-Term Solutions: There are a few reasons you may experience a burning sensation:

  • The oil used may be considered a “hot” oil. Some examples of hot oils include cassia, cinnamon, oregano, and thyme. Other “warm” oils include black pepper, clove, Douglas fir, and lemongrass. When using these oils topically, it is best to dilute them with a carrier oil to avoid this burning sensation.
  • You could have sensitive skin. If this is the case, you should make sure to dilute essential oils with a carrier oil before you apply them topically.
  • You may be applying the oil to a sensitive area on your body. If you want to apply essential oils to a sensitive area, always dilute first!
  • Perhaps you tried adding essential oils to a bath without using an emulsifier like bath gel, epsom salt, cream, vegetable glycerin, etc. When you don’t mix essential oils with an emulsifier, they tend to float on top of the bathwater. This could result in an undiluted application to a very sensitive area of the body. It is important to use an emulsifier when adding essential oils to a bath.

Rash

Problem: A rash developed after applying essential oils.
Immediate Solution: Rub some carrier oil on the rash to help dilute the essential oils and provide relief.
Long-Term Solutions: If a rash occurs from application of oils to the skin, it may be due to the oils reacting with accumulated synthetic chemicals (toxins) that are trapped in the fatty layers of the skin. Here are a few things you can try next time you apply the oils:

  1. Dilute the oils first (1–3 drops of oil to 1/2 tsp. [2.5 ml] of carrier oil).
  2. Reduce the number of oils used with each application (use one oil at a time).
  3. Reduce the amount of oil (number of drops) used.
  4. Reduce the frequency of application (more time between applications).

Drinking pure water helps promote the elimination of accumulated toxins from the body. Initiating programs to cleanse the bowels and blood will also help remove toxins and reduce the possible recurrences of the rash. If the rashes persist, discontinue the use of oils and consult a healthcare professional.

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Oils in the Eyes

Problem: You accidentally got oils in your eyes, and they sting really bad.
Immediate Solution: Saturate a tissue with a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil, coconut oil, or olive oil, and dab at your eyes until the pain goes away.
Long-Term Solutions:

  • We don’t recommend applying essential oils directly to the eye, but if needed, you can rub the oils around the bone surrounding the eye. However, be very careful about not letting the oil get into your eyes.
  • Even when you aren’t applying essential oils anywhere near your face, your hands likely have essential oils on them after applying oils to your body or to someone else. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap before touching your eyes after using essential oils.
  • Also, avoid putting essential oils on children’s hands and wrists; children have a particularly difficult time not touching or rubbing their eyes.

Ingested Too Much Oil

Problem: You ingested too much oil, or (more likely) you caught your child with an opened oil bottle and think they put it in their mouth.
Immediate Solution: The best thing to do is eat or drink milk, yogurt, or honey (if child is older than 12 months) to help dilute the ingested oil. You also may want to call poison control to see if they have any further instructions.
Long-Term Solutions:

  • Only use a very small amount of essential oil if you are taking it internally. Be sure to use only high-quality essential oils that are labeled for internal use. Also make sure to dilute the essential oils at least 1:1 with olive oil before ingesting.
  • Keep your essential oils out of reach of children to prevent situations like this.

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Essential Oil/Carrier Oil Stains on Clothing

Problem: An essential oil or carrier oil left a stain on clothing, fabric, wood, or furniture.
Immediate Solution: Soak up as much oil as possible with a paper towel; then treat as you would a grease stain.
Long-Term Solution: The best way to avoid this is to be careful with your oils and not use an excessive amount of them.


Why and How to Dilute Essential Oils

Since essential oils are very potent, and some oils may cause irritation, diluting the essential oil with a carrier oil is recommended. Children, pregnant women, and those with sensitive skin should always dilute essential oils. Diluting an essential oil in carrier oil is also a great way to help spread the essential oil over a larger area.

To dilute an essential oil, simply mix it with the recommended amount of carrier oil. You can do this at the time of application by mixing the oils in the palm of your hand or in a small glass dish; or you can prepare a diluted essential oil mixture ahead of time and store it in a bottle. A roll-on bottle (or roller bottle) is useful for diluting an essential oil for topical application and applying essential oils easily to the skin. A dropper bottle can help you easily dilute essential oils to take internally by capsule.
Click on any of the following links for more information:
The Art of Roller Bottle Blending (includes dilution recommendations)
Essential Oil Application: Topical
All About Carrier Oils—FAQs and Information Charts

Oils and Water Do NOT Mix

If you experience pain after applying essential oils for any of the reasons discussed above, it is very important not to run to the sink and try to use water. Here’s what Modern Essentials says to do: “ALWAYS use a vegetable oil such as fractionated coconut oil or olive oil to dilute the essential oil and relieve discomfort. NEVER use water to dilute the essential oil. Since water and oil don’t mix, placing water over the essential oil can actually drive the oil deeper into the tissue, increasing the feeling of discomfort. Placing a carrier oil over the essential oil will cause the essential oil to mix with and be dispersed within the carrier oil, helping to relieve discomfort” (Modern Essentials, 8th Edition, inside front cover).

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

Essential Oil Spotlight: Clove

cloveClove essential oil is steam distilled from the bud and stem of the Myrtaceae. Its spicy, warm, and woody aroma is said to be a mental stimulant.

Historically, clove was used for skin infections, digestive upsets, intestinal parasites, hernia, childbirth, and toothaches.

The French use clove for impotence, intestinal parasites, memory deficiency, pain, plague, toothache, and wounds. The Chinese also use cloves for diarrhea, hernia, bad breath, and bronchitis.

Clove oil is believed to support the cardiovascular, digestive, immune, and respiratory systems. It may also be used to treat arthritis, insect bites, rheumatism, and warts. Clove is known to have antifungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties.

Used aromatically, clove may influence healing, improve memory, and create a feeling of courage. It is regarded as safe for human consumption by the FDA and can be taken internally or used topically.

To learn more about clove essential oil, see the book Modern Essentials™: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils.

Sources: Modern Essentials™: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils, 8th Edition, p. 52.

 

‘Tis the Season for Sickness

Seasonal changes can stress our immune systems, making us more susceptible to illness. Diffusing Protective Blend and using it on household surfaces can help avoid trouble. But it’s also best to be prepared with some “simple solutions,” should sickness strike.

Easy tips and recipes for colds, cold sores, congestion, cough, earache, and fever can be found in our new booklet, “Modern Essentials: Simple Solutions”—along with 150 entries for other common ailments.

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Colds:

  • Blend 5 drops each lemon and thyme in 1 Tbs. (15 ml) jojoba oil. Apply a small amount to throat, forehead, chest, and back of neck 2–3 times daily.
  • For adults and children, you can also diffuse thyme oil in an aromatherapy diffuser.

Cold Sores:

  • Combine 4 tsp. (6 g) beeswax pellets, 1 Tbs. (10 g) cocoa butter, and 3 Tbs. (45 ml) jojoba oil, and melt in a microwave (30 seconds at a time, stirring in between) or in a double boiler. Cool slightly, and add 5 drops each helichrysum, melissa, and peppermint. Pour into small jars or lip balm containers, and allow to cool completely. Apply a small amount to cold sores as needed.

Congestion:

  • Diffuse Respiratory Blend in an aromatherapy diffuser.
  • Drop 2 drops eucalyptus and 1 drop peppermint on the floor of the shower to inhale the vapors while showering.
  • Combine 6 Tbs. (90 ml) coconut oil and 1½ Tbs. (7.5 g) beeswax pellets, and melt in a microwave (30 seconds at a time, stirring in between) or in a double boiler. Let cool slightly, and add 20 drops eucalyptus, 15 drops lemon, and 20 drops peppermint. Pour into small jars or salve containers, and allow to cool completely. Apply a small amount on the chest and throat as needed.

Cough:

  • Diffuse Respiratory Blend in an aromatherapy diffuser.
  • Mix 1 drop each eucalyptus and lemon with 1 Tbs. (15 ml) honey (local and raw preferred). Blend about 1/3 of this mixture in 1 cup (240 ml) warm water, and drink slowly.
  • Combine 1 drop each eucalyptus, lemon, and melaleuca with 1 tsp. (5 ml) jojoba oil, and apply over chest and back.

Earache:

  • Put 1 drop each basil and melaleuca on a piece of cotton ball. Place over (not in) the ear canal for 30 minutes.
  • For children, dilute above combination with carrier oil or garlic oil extract (can pierce and use garlic capsules)—which also has antibacterial and antiviral properties.

Fever:

  • Blend 2 drops each eucalyptus and peppermint in bowl of cool water. Moisten a washcloth with this water, and sponge the forehead, back of neck, and feet.

Source: “Modern Essentials: Simple Solutions” Booklet

For more helpful tips, see our article on Staying Healthy This Winter Season.

’Tis also the season for sharing, so be sure to pass along these tips for making winter days more merry and bright.

Winter Hand and Foot Salve

Do your hands and feet get really dry in the winter? If so, you may want to try this deeply moisturizing Winter Hand and Foot Salve this year!
at_winterhandsalveThis salve is a little bit on the oily side, but that just makes it even better for dry winter skin! Rub it into your hands and feet each morning and night, and you will notice a huge difference.

Making a salve is actually pretty simple to do. Simply follow these instructions, and you’ll do just fine!

Winter Hand and Foot Salve

  • Servings: Yield=4 oz. (120 ml)
  • Time: 15 minutes active; 1 hour inactive
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Using a kitchen scale, measure out the beeswax and cocoa butter in a heat-proof glass container.
  2. Create a double boiler by placing the glass container in a pan filled with an inch of water. Melt the beeswax and cocoa butter over low heat until completely melted.
  3. In a separate glass dish, measure out the avocado oil, sweet almond oil, and coconut oil on the kitchen scale. Add these oils to the melted beeswax and cocoa butter, and continue to heat until all oils are melted and incorporated.
  4. Remove from heat, and allow to cool for 5–10 minutes before adding the vitamin E oil and essential oils. Stir to combine, then pour mixture into your final container(s).
  5. To use, rub salve on hands and feet as needed.

Extra Ideas:

  • A little bit of this salve can go a long way! You can use this recipe and place in four 1 oz. glass salve jars or two 2 oz. glass salve jars and give away to family or friends.
  • Try making a twist-up lotion bar by pouring this recipe into 2 large deodorant containers or 8 small deodorant containers.
  • If you have really dry hands or feet, try this technique: apply a fair amount of this salve on the area, let it sit for 5–10 minutes, and then brush the area with a nail brush or other soft-bristle brush to release all the dead skin and deeply moisturize the area.

Chart Your Own Course with Emotional Aromatherapy!

Ever feel overtaken by knee-jerk emotional responses? Want to be less reactive and respond proactively? Need to feel more joy and happiness in daily living?
Emotional aromatherapy can help! That was the hopeful message delivered in a recent class by Amanda Porter—certified emotional healing facilitator, co-founder of Enlighten, and co-author of Emotions and Essential Oils: A Modern Resource for Healing.

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Life is an Emotional Journey

Everyone will feel a full range of emotions throughout their life. We may think of emotions in contrast to rational thought, but Amanda asserts, “We’re intelligently designed to have emotions. Their purpose is to teach us, but too often we focus on feeling guilty about them instead. We have to accept, learn, and then change our response in order for emotions to serve us.” Otherwise, emotions can act as overbearing back-seat drivers, taking us where we don’t want to go—again and again!

Get in the Driver’s Seat

One of the most important neurological findings about emotions is that they exist as part of a chemical process in the brain. When an emotional stimulus is repeated, a pre-programmed chemical response becomes more entrenched.

An exciting property of essential oils is their ability to help create new neuropathways. Inhaled aromas directly stimulate the limbic system, which is responsible for processing smell, memory, and emotion. The unique chemical signals of essential oils offer new information to the brain, helping to interrupt old responses and create a new emotional experience.
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Call for Roadside Assistance

To prompt desired shifts in feeling and behavior, essential oils that correspond to emotional states should be used both routinely and in the moment. Besides this chemical support, important helps such as meditation, prayer, and perhaps counseling or therapy should be part of an overall wellness pattern.

One of Amanda’s practical tools is the “Emotions & Essential Oils” Wheel, a double-sided, laminated chart that aligns 51 oils and blends to over 100 emotions—positive and negative. A companion resource book, Emotions & Essential Oils, helps further identify and understand emotions and oils. Rounding out the products are a companion CD and a new tear pad sheet, “Take the Wheel.”

This post is a review of a Wellness Wednesday class at Elevé™ Event Center—sponsored by AromaTools®. Click here to see more articles about Wellness Wednesday classes.

EO Life Hack: Fill Capsules with a Dropper Top

Do you get frustrated when you try to fill a capsule with essential oil and end up getting oil on the side of the capsule or accidentally pour in too many drops? A glass dropper top can make filling capsules a breeze! It fits inside the capsule opening and makes it easy to get a single drop out. Now you can get the right number of drops and never have to deal with a capsule-filling mess again!

Also, to make filling capsules even easier, you can pre-mix your essential oil formula and dilute it 1:1 with olive oil in a dropper bottle. That way it is already diluted and ready to use when you need it! Click here for more information about using capsules with essential oils.

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