People just love scent. The candle, air freshener and essential oil industries are booming for this reason. Essential oils can be used to scent and clean the air and can have therapeutic benefits. Those who love essential oils are eager to share their benefits and pleasing aspects, but is it safe to diffuse in public spaces, offices and classrooms? To answer that question we need to understand some things about what essential oils are and how they work.
The use of essential oils for their therapeutic properties is Aromatherapy and the practice of Aromatherapy falls under the umbrella of Herbalism. Herbalism is the use of plants as medicine to support our health and wellbeing. When we use essential oils we are using one of the most potent and concentrated forms of plant medicine. We cannot separate the therapeutic effects of essential oils from their inherent scents. And this is the concept that needs to be understood when diffusing essential oils. When we release the volatile molecules into the air and smell them we are influencing our bodies in some way or other.
Not everyone reacts the same way to the components that make up essential oils. If you choose to diffuse essential oils in the office or classroom it is important to think about a few things beforehand. People can be allergic to essential oils because, though they don’t contain proteins, they do contain haptens which bind with proteins in the body where they can trigger an allergic response. Some folks are just very sensitive to scents and can suffer from headaches caused by exposure to natural and/or synthetic aromas. While some essential oils can be known for their particular effects, there are people who can have idiosyncratic reactions to a specific oil. For instance, lavender is considered to be a calming oil but for some it is a stimulant. And lastly, essential oils can interact with medications, making them more or less effective depending on the combination.
With those things in mind, now what? Well you can ask permission. If you are a classroom teacher you can ask for parental permission. You can ask your boss or co-workers if having a diffuser running would bother them. If people don’t want to partake then it is important to respect their wishes and know that you still have options. You may be able to wear aromatic jewelry, a scented oil or carry a personal inhaler. To clean classroom air you may be able to use the diffuser when children are not in the room.
Essential oils are vastly helpful to us for a variety of uses and purposes. Responsible and educated use can go a long way in furthering the effectiveness and acceptance of Aromatherapy. So, is it safe to diffuse essential oils in a public space? In my opinion, the answer is no, it isn’t safe nor is it appropriate to diffuse essential oils at therapeutic levels without prior consent or knowledge. For guidelines regarding safe use of an ultrasonic diffuser see my post called Using a Diffuser.
The leaves are turning and the nights are getting colder. We are getting ready to tuck the garden in. The horses are looking like wooly mammoths and we are preparing for the change of the season. Normally we would be starting our fall craft fairs next week, but there is nothing normal about this year. All of our fall shows were cancelled. We have one intrepid group that is trying a virtual craft fair for the first time and we are excited to be included in that venture. Check out the Ayer Cultural Councils FB page for their Virtual Craft Fair information.
We will be looking forward to adding some new ways to connect with folks. Center for Inner wellness is undergoing a shift and we wish them well in their future endeavors. Emily Smith will continue there with SNLaw. We have some ideas for the space at 26 Main Street including a regular Pop Up Shop, virtual classes and creative get togethers. I have been looking at getting my You Tube Channel set up so that I can share educational videos on a variety of topics. We will share the links here and on FB and Instagram as they become available. We hope to connect with you all in the near future. Be Well! Kay
Have you seen the dream pillows that I make? They are small, portable and easy to slip inside your pillowcase or keep next to your bed. I construct them from durable upholstery fabric and I fill them with flax and jasmine rice. They contain a convenient pocket for holding small items charged with intention to bring dreams to fruition. The dream pillow works on the same concept as traditional herbal pillows in which herbs were placed in cloth sachets to influence dreaming and to aid sleep. You can place herbs, a cotton ball with a drop or two of an essential oil, tumbled stones, a talisman, a hand written intention or an image into the pocket. The pillow can even be infused with Reiki. The side pocket allows items to be changed as needed. The herbs and other items can be used in any combination you desire to foster relaxation and peace of mind, to support the attainment of a goal or to manifest specific results. To learn more about herbal combinations and more about dream pillows see Making Herbal Dream Pillows by Jim Long, Storey Books, 1998. For more about using tumbled stones or crystals read The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall, Godsfield Press, 2003. To choose a complementary essential oil consult Aromatherapy for Healing the spirit by Gabriel Mojay, Gaia Books, 2005. I will have an assortment of dream pillows uploaded to the shop within a day or two. Meanwhile, here is to wishing that your dreams come true.
Hello Everyone, Maureen and I have been thinking about ways to keep the Center for Inner wellness relevant and vibrant during a pandemic!?! Due to the COVID 19 safety guidelines in person classes, meetups and consults are almost impossible. We have been looking at ways to offer our services remotely. While we are developing a Youtube channel and an online class platform, we are already providing Distance Reiki Sessions and Aromatherapy Consultations by telephone.
Reiki is uniquely adapted to remote sessions since we all embody Ki energy and are part of a larger connected whole. Reiki clients report the same feelings of relaxation, happiness, empowerment, optimism and pain relief from their remote sessions. Practitioners of Distance Reiki use intention and connection to send universal life force energy across time and space. Distance Reiki is one way to link to and channel the healing life force energy in all of us.
We would be happy to schedule a Distance Reiki Session or an Aromatherapy Consultation with you. Contact us through the www.cfiwellness.com website.
The easiest and most basic thing that we can do to avoid viruses like the novel Cornonavirus Covid-19 is to regularly wash our hands. This may seem like a no-brainer but a study from Michigan State University found that 1 in 10 people don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom and only 5% wash their hands with soap long enough to remove harmful germs and bacteria! In fact studies have also shown that a disturbing number of people have bacteria and even fecal matter on their hands, this then transfers onto cell phones, money, credit cards and surfaces like door handles. So maybe we do need to revisit this most basic technique for halting the spread of Coronavirus. Of course, washing our hands only after we go to the bathroom isn’t enough to protect us from the Coronavirus. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that we also wash our hands before preparing food or eating, after handling animals or pets, after handling garbage, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, and now they have expanded those recommendations to include:
After you have been in a public place and touched an item or surface that may be frequently touched by other people, such as door handles, tables, gas pumps, shopping carts, or electronic cashier registers/screens, etc.
Before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth because that’s how germs enter our bodies.
The CDC has the following recommendations for proper handwashing.
Washing your hands is easy, and it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community—from your home and workplace to childcare facilities and hospitals.
Follow these five steps every time.
1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
These steps may seem simple, but remember that only 5% of people actually followed them after using the bathroom! We should be washing our hands this way regularly, especially if we need to leave our homes to visit essential businesses or if we are still working at those businesses. The friction generated by scrubbing and lathering hands helps to lift dirt, grease, and microbes from skin.
How exactly does soap and handwashing work to destroy Corona virus molecules? Viruses are actually not alive. They are a self-assembled nanoparticle in which the weakest link is the lipid (fatty) bilayer. This is where the soap comes in. Soap damages the fat membrane and the virus falls apart and is no longer active. The soap also lifts the virus from the skin during the handwashing process and then the destroyed virus washes down the drain. This video from Vox demonstrates how soap works against a virus.
This video helps to show how to do a thorough handwashing that gets between all the fingers and cleans the entire hand. Seeing how the purple paint is spread really helps to remind us that a quick wash leaves most of the hand unwashed.
The CDC and other health organizations recommend that you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. This ensures that there is enough friction and lather so that the virus can be broken down. The usual tip is to sing Happy Birthday through twice, but that may feel a bit boring. You might want to make up your own fun song. Or you can go to this website and type in a song and artist and it makes up this handy handwashing guide with the lyrics. Here is an example that I made with the song Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees because that is what we are trying to do, stay alive.
Handwashing is even more effective than wearing gloves. Gloves are best for use in medical facilities where they will be regularly discarded and replaced to avoid contamination. For the regular person washing our hands allows us to remove any bacteria and prevent us from spreading it to many surfaces. Alcohol based hand sanitizers can also be used but are not as effective at destroying viruses. The virus needs to come into contact with the sanitizer and we often don’t use enough to completely coat our hands. Hand sanitizers are best used in between handwashing but do not replace washing with soap and water.
What is Soap?
Soap is made from lye (sodium or potassium hydroxide) and oils (either animal or plant fats) and water. When the fats and lye mix they undergo a process called saponification which results in soap. Soap has been made for at least 5,000 years. Those early soaps were made from ashes boiled with animal fats and tended to be very harsh. Today thanks to science, math, and technology we can much more easily determine proper ratios and make soap which is not too harsh for our skin. The modern day soap maker can use a lye calculator such as SoapCalc to calculate their recipe so that the soap will be cleansing while not stripping the skin of our protective oils. Those protective oils are important because overly dry hands may crack and split and make it easier for a virus or other bacteria to enter the body.
Much of what we call soap is actually a detergent, not true soap. Detergents are made from sulfactants that bind to oil and dirt and remove them. Common detergents that you probably have in your home is laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, dish soap (think Dawn) and even Dove bar “soap” is not real soap! In fact most liquid “soaps” are actually detergents. There are liquid soaps that are actually true soap, castille soap is the most common form (like Dr. Bronner’s), but most of the “soap” you will find on the shelves at your local store is not really soap. The benefit of detergents is that they do not leave a residue behind and are free-rinsing. Soap on the other hand is biodegradable unlike most detergents.
Some people may think that bar soap is unhygienic because many people handle the bar, but how often do you wash your liquid soap dispenser? The bar of soap will naturally break down any virus that gets on the soap but virus could potentially survive on a soap dispenser for many hours. To keep your bar of soap in best condition and to ensure it lasts all you need to do is make sure it is in a soap dish that drains and allows for it to dry.
One of the additional benefits of real soap is that you can buy it from local soap makers, often made with local and all natural ingredients. We make our soaps with honey from our bees. Honey is a natural humectant (holds in moisture) and helps to give a beautiful lather to our soaps. We also use colloidal oats in our bars which are great for the skin. This all means that our soaps will help you to keep your hands clean while also ensuring that your skin stays healthy and vibrant despite more frequent handwashing. You can check out our soaps at our online shop.