becca 04-15-10

Aromatherapy: Essential Oils

By Becca Sorgert
Staff Writer

The 2010 Fargo Holistic Expo may provide jokes about granola heads for some and for others provide an alternative to the corporate healthcare mindset. The Holistic Expo, on Saturday, April 17 and Sunday, April 18, at the Civic Center, offers information, products, and services surrounding spirituality, sound therapy, rejuvenation, psychics, animal communication, biofeedback, acupuncture, Ki-stones, and more, including Aromatherapy.

This writer became even more interested in aromatherapy after her 22-toed cat was diagnosed with anxiety, after moving three times, in the past two months. Besides putting scaredy-cat Sheldon on kitty-Prozac, aromatherapy was suggested.

Aromatherapy uses essential oils for the mind, body, and spirit. Advantages of using aromatherapy are relaxation, stress relief, mood enhancement, relief to minor cuts, improved skin tone, regulated hormones, decreased menstrual cramps, relaxed muscles, improved sleep, and boosting the immune, respiratory, and circulatory systems. Aromatherapy doesn’t necessarily claim to treat major illnesses, but some discomforts that illnesses cause can be alleviated.
Essential oils, the foundation of aromatherapy, are natural mixtures of fragrant flowers, leaves, bark, roots, and seeds. These oils are not oily, leave no residue, and evaporate when exposed to the air. One can find these oils in downtown Fargo at health food and other stores, and of course at this year’s Holistic Expo being held at the Fargo Civic Auditorium on April 17-18 from 10-5 pm.

Our bodies can differentiate about 10,000 smells. When an aroma travels up through our noses to our brains, the limbic system releases endorphins, neurotransmitters, and other chemicals depending on what a particular smell triggers.

With over 1,000 essential oils with their own benefits, there is an oil for everyone. For irritability, consider using sandalwood, cedarwood, or frankincense. For anxiety and depression, use lavender, geranium, or bergamot.

Lavendar, sweet orange, and bergamot are the three main ingredients in the expensive pet diffuser I was convinced to buy to take care of my sweet kitty. Surprised to see that the first two oils are the scents I have been using lately, making my own helps the budget and affirms my commitment to DIY – Do It Yourself.

It is important to learn about using essential oils and aromatherapy before going head over heels for them. Since essential oils are highly concentrated plant material, less can be more. Overdoing scents can damage one’s organs.

To use these oils, one can use them out of the bottle, as is, or add to a carrier oil. Carrier oils, vegetable-based oils that have been cold-pressed without scent, make it easier to use essential oils and enrich the aroma to soak into the skin and blood stream. Jojoba and sweet almond oil are excellent carrier oils. Do not confuse carrier oils with oils that one cooks with.

In a warm bath, use bath oil or two to four drops of your oil of choice. To create your own bath oil use two ounces of carrier oil and 20 drops of Lavender, or a different scent or two. Use ¼ ounce per bath. Add scents to your bath close to the time you hop in the tub. If you dilly dally before you get in, your scent may evaporate.

To fill your home with aromas, add one to two drops of oil to steaming, not boiling, water. For a spray or diffuser, fill a spray bottle with water, two to six drops of essential oil, and a tad bit of inexpensive witch hazel which will allow the fragrance to disperse in the air. The spray bottle method with Lavender is also helpful if you are a cat lady with friends who are allergic to cats.

Ann Walker, owner of Aihu Essentials for Healing, will be a vender and facilitate a workshop at the Holistic Expo. With a background in health care, Walker saw increasing auto-immune conditions along with higher stroke rates, anxiety, and stress in women. A pressing factor for Walker to begin Aihu was to encourage women to become “more proactive in managing stress,” she states.

“Women are not taking adequate time to take care of themselves,” asserts Walker, in her seventh year of her business that focuses on the green and healing factors of essential oils. The line of Aihu products are all made in Minnesota.

Walker’s workshop “The Deeper Wound – Lingering Toxins Within” will be Saturday, April 17, from 1 to 1:50 pm. Participants will “ take a look at exactly what effect your everyday cleaning products and skin care products have on your health and the health of your family,” she says. Products that are usually within a home include ingredients such as alcohol which dries skin and causes lung irritation.

Essential oils are a key ingredient of Walker’s products. Oils “go all the way back to ancient times for remedies and their scent,” Walker attests, and are a “wonderful way to scent a room or products because of their healing properties to feel better and increase stimulation.”

For the onset of a headache, Walker suggests using Peppermint which increases circulation and decreases nausea.

Since moving into the building of lost souls, as my neighbor calls it, where Alice the pigeon coos too early in the morning and beer bottles grow in the front lawn, the experiment with using essential oils more seems to be effective. Sheldon is attentive to areas where his aromatherapy is located. He makes his nightly laps into each room over and over again, purrs, keeps his momma’s feet warm at night, and grooms all of our companies’ hair. Close to being fully adjusted to our quaint new home, if we weren’t believers in the benefits of essential oils before, we are now. I’ll meet you at the expo and we’ll compare photos of our auras!

For more information about Aihu Essentials for Healing, visit http://www.aihu.net; for the 2010 Holistic Expo, visit http://www.edgelife.net.

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