How art thou? It’s been a minute, but we’ll get all caught up and it’ll be as if we never went anywhere.
Now we’ve covered the doom and gloom of the adverse effects of stress, insomnia on overall health we are moving on to alternative therapies that can be beneficial in dealing with them. I’ve tried a few, others are still on my bucket list (I have a curious mind) and some I’ve just heard about but doubt I’ll ever be bothered with them.
Aromatherapy is not just amazing and effective, I think it is an easy gateway into holistic remedies in my opinion so of course, it’s my go to. I am already an unrepentant essential oil fanatic plus it was my first foray into natural healing so it is a no-brainer for me. A lot of oils have stress relieving and relaxing properties, some take it a step further to relax muscles, nerves and induce sleep due to their sedative properties for restful sleep and you wake up without the grogginess that sometimes occurs with the use of their chemical based alternatives.
I choose my oils for various reasons but those with the ability to ground, center balance and help calm a restless mind (aka my middle name) are those I cannot do without. Reason being, most of my insomnia is not from a lack of tiredness, nope, I usually am to the nth degree, my eyes become raw and sometimes start to water from sheer exhaustion, my hyperactive, I.T.K (I too know) brain is what mucks it up for the rest of my body…very annoying!!
Some of my favorites in no particular order include Galbanum, Tulsi, Bergamot, Balsam of Peru, Wild Carrot Seed, Winter Cherry, Hyssop, Myrtle, Labdanum, Cypress, Cedarwood, Palmarosa, Lavender (I love the sweetness of our Kashmir and the richness of Fine Population, French…not so much, for some reason it just doesn’t do it for me) Chamomile (I prefer Roman but German will do in a pinch), Myrrh, Elemi and Monoi de Tahiti (not an EO but still amazing). When needed I bring out the big guns i.e. Neroli, Vetiver, Melissa, Valerian Root, Spikenard, Mysore a.k.a East Indian Sandalwood (my personal oil collection is a thing of beauty for me to behold, some people do shoes, I do oils…to each man his own).
I’m saving my coins so I can add Bulgarian Rose (Otto), Cannabis and Tuberose Essential Oils to the mix, but with prices ranging between $600 to over $1500/oz (30ml) …e go wait small. I’m still in recovery from replacing the Mysore (East Indian) Sandalwood, Melissa, Spikenard, Jasmine Sambac and Jasmine Grandiflorum I bought for myself jeje o but our lovely customers refused to allow me use them in peace until they were all gone, after all the trouble I went to in finding them, but as they say "the customer is King/Queen". Pure, high quality oils, give me so much joy but some of them can be difficult to find and cost a pretty penny which means I have to choose between an oil and a handbag (2 of my 3 vices)…..so unfair!!
My choice of oils for any issue is based on how it affects me as well as scent, not all of them smell amazing e.g. I love how Myrtle calms, balances and grounds me, its amazing on my skin, it helps when my thyroid levels are out of whack and it helps diffuse my anger or just regulate my emotions but I don’t like the initial scent, the dry out is beautiful but the initial hit you get when you inhale it I could do without, but suck it up I must, because I need it. Some I can tolerate only when they are blended with other oils, where each one brings a certain desired effect to the party and a scent I can live with.
Plus, oils are easy to use, you can go fancy with a diffuser, vaporizer, oil burner etc. or keep it simple by making an easy spray with your oil, some distilled water in a spray bottle and just blend, shake and spray (wash out an old one or you can get some good ones from @naturalsupplies on Instagram) or just put a few drops on your pillow. To use them topically, add a few drops of the oil or blend to a base oil and just apply to the back of the neck, temples, inner elbow, soles of your feet or rub between your palms and inhale…for me anything that doesn’t take too much of a time commitment is what I’m after.
But when I have time or just stressed to capacity and need something more, I take it to the bathroom and involve water which is essentially combining hydro and aroma therapies together. Hydrotherapy in its own right is amazing, and is often used in treating pain from sports injury, arthritis, rheumatism and during recovery from these issues to build muscle strength. While you’re in water everything feels easy, yet you are actually getting good exercise because the water is actually creating a force you’re working against so the muscles get more of a work out while the water is soothing .its funny how it works but it does.
Ideally at home, a bathtub is what you’re after to really enjoy this, just fill your bathtub with hot water, add bath salts , bombs or whatever floats your boat, add your essential oil or blend to a suitable dispersal agent (VERY IMPORTANT I recommend a carrier oil, it works just right and we all have at least one even if its olive or coconut oil in the kitchen) pour in the water and inhale the steam while waiting for the water to cool to a comfortable warmth before stepping in.
Essential oils are volatile and in the hot water a glorious, healing, aromatic steam is created so as you inhale, their effects begin to kick in, this is great because if you have a cold or respiratory issue and the oils you are using have decongestant, expectorant and or mucolytic properties, it helps open the airways and expel mucus to improve breathing while soothing and relaxing you.
The reason why a dispersal agent is imperative is that essential oils are technically not oils in the sense of a coconut, olive or those kind of oils, and are both volatile as mentioned and anhydrous i.e. they do not mix with water so the carrier oil acts in the water as it would outside of it by creating a buffer between you and the potent EOs while helping to carry them safely into the bloodstream where the work commences. If you do not use a dispersal agent then you are technically just placing yourself into water with pure undiluted essential oils with nothing as a barrier which as we all know by now is unsafe and therefore inadvisable.
But like many of us in Lagos, I don’t have a bathtub, only a shower and since I cannot open the pipes and add my oil blend, it is back to what most of us in Nigeria are used to which is a bucket and bowl to pack the water in…..local style. Just add your blend to the bucket of hot water and inhale keeping your face a few inches away from the water, you can create a tent with a towel over your head to capture the steam. This helps with respiratory issues and or serves as a facial steam to help soften the skin before you exfoliate, a process that helps remove sebum, dirt and other build up easier (the whole myth about using hot water to open up the pores and then cold water to close them is just that..a myth). When its cooled down enough for you, either soak your feet in it and relax (I do this during the exfoliating mask stages of home spa days) or just use it to bathe as you would normally.
I’ve also tried meditation, quite unsuccessfully for years (see the aforementioned I.T.K brain) but lately, I’ve been getting better and it really helps. There are two basic types; Concentration and Mindfulness meditation, the former is a bit too much for me at times but the latter I am beginning to find easier as it is more up my alley. Concentration meditation as the name implies is focusing on a single point e.g. a mantra, gong, sound, breathing etc. and every time your mind wanders you aim your focus back on this point till your mind stays there to the exclusion of everything else and you become centered and grounded. Mindfulness meditation entails allowing thoughts to drift through the mind without involving yourself in them or any judgement while remaining aware of these thoughts and or feelings. This creates a space where you begin to understand how your mind works and your emotional reaction to events that over time helps promote inner balance and peace.
Most alternative therapies are rooted in ancient Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, which include but are not limited to Tai Chi (I love), Acupuncture (oddly effective, considering all the needles I had in me) Acupressure (Bucket list), Massage (but of course), Qi Gong (too much for me), Reiki (Bucket list), Energy medicine (*insert eye roll* puhleeze), Yoga (great), Reflexology (amazeballs).
Have you tried or would be willing to try any of these practices? Which other ones have you heard of or practice now? Share in comments
Well in other news, this is September aka the best month of the year, for 2 reasons; its full-on rainy season (I love the rain) and my birthday is in a few days#septemberqueen#virgosdoitbest. In case the last sentence didn’t give me away, I’m one of those annoying birthday people and everyone close to me has to hold themselves back from strangling me...I do the absolute most! I’m honestly still wondering why my birthday is not an International holiday….delusions of grandeur you say? But why not? I was raised to go big or go home.
Anyways, I’m feeling generous so we’ll be having a give away starting tomorrow, still trying to figure out what the terms should be but it’ll be good so stay tuned.
I’m off to watch TV as usual but I think I am back to posting regularly now, just needed a break to refocus, which I hope I have been able to, but we’ll see.
We only have one body, when we treat it well it returns the favor.