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Yoga and Essential Oils

March 25, 2015

We hear about yoga seemingly everywhere these days.  The same can be said for essential oils.  Both are becoming SO popular.  This is because they are BOTH awesome, and when you combine them, something pretty magical happens.  (If you are unfamiliar with yoga or essential oils – scroll down for some definitions)

You may not always be able to practice yoga in nature, but you can bring nature to you by using essential oils to incorporate the aromas of our natural world into your yoga practice.

You may not always be able to practice yoga in nature, but you can bring nature to you by using essential oils to incorporate the aromas of our natural world into your yoga practice.

Combining the power and benefits of Yoga and Essential Oils will only help make your yoga practice more relaxing, more energizing, and more balancing.

So what exactly are some benefits of Yoga and Essential Oils?  Here’s just a few of my favourites!

– Increased Flexibility and Stronger Core Muscles
– Supports Relaxation and Natural Sleep Patterns
– Easier and More Comfortable Body Movement
– More Energy and Feeling of Vitality
– Better Circulation and More Oxygen
– Help the Lymph System
– Release Stress and Tension
– Balance Mood and Enhance Emotional Wellbeing
– Release Toxins in the Body

Essential oils can bring clarity of mind and they also bring increased natural healing when accompanied with yoga. Yoga can be challenging but it really  can help get you on the road to a healthier body, mind, and spirit.

If you are interested in trying out some aromayoga and you happen to live in Regina, Sk.  Check out the studio where I teach for the aroma yoga class times and dates.  http://www.everydaysacred.ca/schedule/

If you already have a home practice (meaning you do yoga on your own at home)  start incorporating the essential oils into your yoga practice by starting with this simple little sequence.  First put your desired oil or oil blend into your diffuser and turn it out.  This will benefit you through the entire session.  Then start with a nice deep aromatic experience, by applying a drop or two into your hands and cupping your hands over your mouth and nose.  Breathe deeply and slowing for 5 breathes.  Next add a little bit of coconut oil to your hands to dilute your essential oil.  Then apply the remaining oil to your neck and throat.  Massage into these areas, and then move to the back of your neck, behind your ears, and into the base of your scalp. Also you can massage the remaining oil (or add another drop) into your low back, which is the adrenal and kidney region and then finally along the bottoms of your feet.  Now you are ready to begin your regular yoga practice with the added healthful benefits of oils.

I hope you enjoy this new heavenly way to begin your yoga practice!  Try it out and share your experiences in a comment!

Namaste,

Marie

What’s Yoga?

Yoga is a Sanskrit word used to describe an ancient meditative practice used to unite the body, mind and spirit. In contemporary culture, many view yoga as a form of movement involving stretching into certain postures. Yoga is far more than that, as through the movements, known as asanas or poses, we begin to quiet the mind and focus in the present moment -creating a meditative quality to our day and practice, which can bring balance to the body, mind and spirit.

Yoga is practiced in so many forms today, that it defies simple description. There are yoga programs offered by trained instructors all over the world in specialized yoga studios or outdoors at the park, or on the beach, at the gym or in a church, at your desk at work or on a plane, in your own living room or hotel room while following an online yoga website. Yoga is practiced by many different people of all ages, shapes and sizes, all around the world.

What are Essential Oils?

If you have ever enjoyed the scent of a rose, or the pine tree when you bring it in at Christmas, or the smell of a fresh cut orange, then you’ve experienced the aromatic qualities of essential oils. These naturally occurring, volatile aromatic compounds are found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of all botanicals. They can be both beautifully and powerfully fragrant. In addition to giving plants their distinctive smells, essential oils protect plants and play a role in plant pollination. In addition to their intrinsic benefits to plants and being beautifully fragrant to people, essential oils have long been used for food preparation, beauty treatment, and health care practices.

How to Choose the Right Diffuser for You and Your Family

February 5, 2015

doterra diffuser debateDiffusing essential oils is one of the nicest and HEALTHIEST ways to make your home smell good.  In addition to just making your house a more pleasant place to be, essential oils also have the ability to clean the air, to open airways, and to positively affect your mood.  (If you are up for hard science, you might like to check out the website www.aromaticscience.com for listing of all published research on essential oil use).

In order to diffuse oils effectively, you’ll need a diffuser.  That’s a little machine that will put essential oils into the air.  I frequently get asked about which doTERRA diffuser is the best.  So in case you’ve been wondering, here’s my thoughts.  I hope this helps you make your decision…

How to Choose the Right Diffuser for Your Family…

The reason there are 4 different doTERRA diffusers is because they work in different ways and which is best will depend on what you need it to do and which one works better for your goals. Here are the pros and cons as I see them:

Lotus Diffuser

It looks beautiful and has a soothing blue light.  You put a little water in it mixed with oils and it’s like a little humidifier. The Lotus diffuser won’t stay on for more than an hour and will only run up to two hours without having to refill. You also have to clean it regularly or it gets water deposits and won’t work well.  It’s easy to clean though. lotus-diffuser-light-on It comes with a little brush and every 6 months or so, I brush the silver ultrasonic metal piece and then it works like a charm again.    I love having my lotus diffuser on my kitchen counter.   For me, I don’t like being locked in to the same scent all day long, I love that with the lotus I can change the aroma after two hours.  However having to refill it that often drives some people crazy.   To me it’s big advantage is that it is very quiet to run – just a slight sound of moving water which I find lovely.   In addition, with the newest model, the lovely blue light can be turn off or left on.

 

Aroma Ace Diffuser

To me, it is worth the little bit of extra money for the Aroma Ace Diffuser.   The main drawback is that it’s pretty noisy.  If it’s running in my kitchen in the day, I don’t even notice hearing it, but in my bedroom at night, it drives me nuts!   My husband on the other hand finds it to be a soothing white noise though and can easily sleep through it.  I like to run it upstairs when I put the kids to bed with either serenity or vetiver.   You can learn more about serenity here http://doterrablog.com/eo-spotlight-serenity-calming-blend-2/ and more about vetiver here  http://doterrablog.com/eo-spotlight-vetiver-2/   Both are great oils for promoting a restful sleep.   The nice thing about the aroma ace is that it’s so adjustable – you control the rate of diffuser from low to high, and you control how long it says on and how long it stays off for.   So for example, at the kids’ bedtime we set it to run at medium on for 10 minutes on and off for 20 minutes.  aroma-ace-diffuserAbout 2 hours later when we go to bed we shut it off but the aroma lasts in the air for 3-4 hours.  And that’s enough for us.  I know someone who uses it at their massage clinic – there they set it to run at low on for 5 minutes and off for 10 minutes and it alternates on and off in that sequence all day.  It would great for at the clinic because they can set it and forget about it.  The one downside is that if you run an oil on high on for 30 minutes and off for 2 minutes continuously day and night in that setting, a 15ml bottle of oil would last about a week.  Depending on the oil, that can get quite expensive.   This kind of diffuser uses a different technology so the oil isn’t mixed with water – you just screw the bottle directly into the diffuser.

 

Aroma Lite Diffuser

I love the Aroma Lite; it’s a close tie with Lotus for  my favorite doTERRA diffuser. I still use the Lotus in the kitchen because I love to change the essential oil scent frequently and I LOVE how pretty it looks.  I love having the Aroma Ace upstairs because it’s less prepping than the Aroma Lite or Lotus since you don’t have to put water in it.

BUT I love the Aroma Lite for it’s all around usefulness.  It’s great for bedroom during the night because it is really quiet and you can turn the light off and it will run for up to  8 hours.  If someone has a cough in your family, then having some breathe oil diffusing all night long will make a world of difference in the quality of their sleep. aroma_lite Similar to the lotus diffuser, the aromalite uses water and oil together and ultra sonic diffusion to create the mist.   Therefore it will need cleaning for the water deposits but I have found it easier to clean that the lotus diffuser, because it’s easier to get access to the little silver plate instead that you need to clean.    I like that that the little purple light but it can be turned off or on.  The other reason I love this one, is that it’s a great diffuser to travel with.  It’s small and compact and fits easily into a suitcase.    It’s actually compact enough that I can put in it in my purse when I travel to teach classes.   It’s final pro is that is covers a large area up to 1000 square feet.

Petal Diffuser

The petal diffuser is the newest in my collection of diffusers.  I think the part I like the most about this diffuser is the price point.  It’s about half the cost of the other ones.  It uses ultrasonic diffuser similar to the lotus and the aromalite, so it also needs to be cleaned from time to time.  The tank of water is slightly smaller than the aromalite, so the petal’s maximum diffusion time is 4 hours.  You can also set it to run for 1 hour, 2 hours or 4 hours.  It has a little purple light which can be turned on or off.  The top white petal diffuserpart of the diffuser will glow and lovely quite lovely turned on.  It works great as a night light as well.   In my experience, many families like to have a diffuser in each child’s bedroom.    This one is probably your best bet for that option because it’s easier on the pocket book.   If you are just starting out with oils and are looking for your first diffuser, I think this would be a good choice.  It’s quiet, has a cute design, is versatile and works well.  It covers about 100 square feet.

Hypnobirthing Babies are Calmer!

November 21, 2014

Time and time again as HypnoBirthing Educators, we meet babies born using the HypnoBirthing method who are alert, calm, and content from the moment they are born. Even in cases where the birth didn’t go according to plan, these babies seem to be well-adjusted and ready to embrace life on the outside.

A short online survey gathered information about 113 children, 72 of whom were born using HypnoBirthing, and 41 who were not. The survey was shared by HBCEs online using social media. Parents were invited to respond in respect to each of their children.

The research confirmed exactly what we knew about HypnoBirthing babies; they are more likely to be calm (92% vs. 78% of the other babies), content (78% vs. 63%), alert (99% vs. 85%) and happy babies (92% vs. 78%). Their parents are also more likely to describe them as good sleepers (71% vs. 54%) and easy babies (83% vs. 61%).

These same traits were also apparent in older children. The children born using HypnoBirthing were more often described as content (83% vs. 63%), happy (97% vs. 83%), and calm (70% vs. 57%), as well as less fussy (8% vs. 23%).

The majority of the HypnoBirthing parents who responded to the survey did feel that HypnoBirthing had influenced their child’s temperament. There Easy-sleeper-alertwere numerous accounts of babies that entered the world calm and alert and remained that way.

“I am 100% certain that Grace’s acute perception, rapid language development and extremely kind and sociable demeanour are all related to the calm, natural HypnoBirth that she experienced. You could tell she was “with” us from the very moment she was born.”

“From the moment my daughter was born, and still at four yrs old, she has been gentle and soft. She was an easy content baby and still is.”

“When he was born, he was put onto my chest and stared straight into my eyes. He never cried, he was so alert yet so calm. I strongly believe that HypnoBirthing had a great deal to do with that!!”

The full report is available at: http://www.envisagehypnobirthing.co.nz/2014/09/18/benefits-hypnobirthing/

Deep Gratitude to Esther Croft for compiling this research!

Blessings,

Marie

On Being the Mommy

May 21, 2014

print3x5In my line of work, I come across a fair number of reflections about motherhood, and while I enjoy most of them, this one remains my favorite.

I’m deeply grateful for Anna Quindlen’s wisdom and I hope to always remember who the experts truly are.

I hope you enjoy it as much as me!

Marie

On Being the Mommy
by Anna Quindlen

If not for the photographs, I might have a hard time believing they ever existed. The pensive infant with the swipe of dark bangs and the black button eyes of a Raggedy Andy doll. The placid baby with the yellow ringlets and the high piping voice. The sturdy toddler with the lower lip that curled into an apostrophe above her chin. ALL MY BABIES are gone now.

I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief. I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like. Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves.

Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber duckie at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past.

Everything in all the books I once pored over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach. T. Berry Brazelton. Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education, all grown obsolete. Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are, they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages dust would rise like memories. What those books taught me, finally, and what the women on the playground taught me, and the well-meaning relations — what they taught me was that they couldn’t really teach me very much at all.

Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless essay. No one knows anything. One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can be managed only with a stern voice and a timeout.

One boy is toilet trained at 3, his brother at 2. When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome. To a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then soothing. Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the research will follow.

First science said environment was the great shaper of human nature. But it certainly seemed as though those babies had distinct personalities, some contemplative, some gregarious, some crabby. And eventually science said that was right, and that they were hard-wired exactly as we had suspected. Still, the temptation to defer to the experts was huge.

The literate parent, who approaches everything; cooking, decorating, life as though there were a paper due or an exam scheduled, is in particular peril when the kids arrive.

How silly it all seems now, the obsessing about language acquisition and physical milestones, the riding the waves of normal, gifted, hyperactive, all those labels that reduced individuality to a series of cubbyholes. But I could not help myself. I had watched my mother casually raise five children born over 10 years, but by watching her I intuitively knew that I was engaged in the greatest and potentially most catastrophic task of my life. I knew that there were mothers who had worried with good reason, that there were children who would have great challenges to meet.

We were lucky; ours were not among them. Nothing horrible or astonishing happened: there was hernia surgery, some stitches, a broken arm and a fuchsia cast to go with it. Mostly ours were the ordinary everyday terrors and miracles of raising a child, and our children’s challenges the old familiar ones of learning to live as themselves in the world. The trick was to get past my fears, my ego and my inadequacies to help them do that.

I remember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr. Brazelton’s books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month-old who did not walk. Was there something wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged? Was I insane? Last year he went to China. Next year he goes to college. He can talk just fine. He can walk, too.

Every part of raising children is humbling, too. Believe me, mistakes were made. They have all been enshrined in the Remember-When-Mom-Did Hall of Fame. The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language, mine, not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The times I arrived late for preschool pickup. The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, What did you get wrong? (She insisted I include that.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald’s drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the window. (They all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons. What was I thinking?

But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.

Even today I’m not sure what worked and what didn’t, what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I’d done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be. The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top.

And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world, who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity. That’s what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts. It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were.

 

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The Boredom of Motherhood

 I call my sister… “What are you doing?”  Would you like to come over and watch ladybugs with us?”  a note of desperation in my voice.  We’ve been at this ladybug watching for a while now and I’m finding it hard to stay interested.  I’m craving adult conversion.   Happily Dana obliges me and comes over for the visit.

Whoever thought that mothering would be boring?  I sure didn’t when I signed on.  I assumed I’d be busy.  And I am, overwhelmingly so sometimes.  But what I never imagined was that I could be busy and bored at the same time.   Keep Reading

 

 

Loving Kindness Meditation for Pregnancy and for Moms

Hypno_0004CUI clearly remember the moment I first encountered loving kindness meditation. Laying on the floor of a unfamiliar yoga studio in a new city back in 2000 – the instructor directed us to relax our bodies and then invited us to follow her in a meditation in which we directed kindness to another. As she led us through it, I felt my heart open and so many warm, soft and peaceful feelings of love followed through me. I was hooked.

Years later when I became pregnant with my daughter I adapted the wording and began practicing this form of meditation to connect with her. It worked beautifully. And so I began teaching it in my prenatal yoga classes and in my HypnoBirthing childbirth preparation courses.   Keep Reading

 

Welcoming Emmett: Our Labour and Birth Story

March 20, 2014

emmett-webThere were a few different ideas of when our “due date” was.  According to the pie chart at the doctor’s office – the one that calculates a due date based on your last monthly cycle, our baby was to be born on June 21st – the summer solstice.  Our first ultrasound at 13 weeks indicated otherwise, and gave us a due date of June 19th.  My mom, however, told me our baby would be born exactly 266 days from conception, just as all her babies had been born – so that was the date in our heads – June 24th, 2013.  And just as my mom predicted, I went into labour on the morning of the 24th.

It was a Monday, and the weather was beautiful.  We got up in the morning a bit earlier than normal to get ready and make the drive out to Fort Qu’Appelle where our midwife, Debbie was.  When we got in the car around 0900, I felt a mild tightening, something that felt much like period cramps.  After about 20 minutes of these cramps coming and going, I decided to secretly time them – I felt like I could have been imagining them and didn’t want to get too excited.  Sure enough, they kept on happening – regularly for 30 seconds a time every 3 minutes.  When I told Brennan, he turned down the music – we were listening to the new National album and he was pretty into it, “are you serious?” he asked, and we both grinned.  When we got to the Women’s Health Centre, and then into the room to see Debbie, I still couldn’t believe this could be it.  She asked how things were going, and I casually responded “I think I might be in labour?”.  She got me on the bed, did a quick check with her own grin and said “I never like to say anything, but I can say that I don’t need to do anything to help you along”.  We did a non stress test which indicated that my contractions were, in fact, coming in fairly regular intervals and consistent in their strength.  “How do you feel” she asked, and I told her that they felt great  – surges through my body that were telling me that my baby was coming, and they actually felt really good!!  With a quick “I’ll probably be seeing you later” we were on our way back to Regina.

I had made plans with a friend and her 11 month old daughter to go to Wascana pool for the afternoon.  I couldn’t see why this wouldn’t still be a good idea, I loved being in water so much and it really was a beautiful day.  Of course, I told her that my labour had started and we spent the afternoon giggling like school girls and floating around the pool.  It was fun to have this “secret labour” – there were a number of people who, staring at my round pregnant belly asked when I was due and I could hardly stop myself from saying “Right Now!”

Brennan and I met back up at home around 1730.  By this time, the surges were a little more intense, but they were still about 3 minutes apart.  I asked Brennan to make one of my favourite meals – a quinoa vegetable dish with peanut sauce and pickles on top.  While he was busy in the kitchen, I lit the candles I had received at my blessingway from all the supportive women in my life, played the affirmations that Brennan and I had written and recorded in his studio and found myself on all fours rocking back and forth.  I was so happy that our baby was coming to us.  I felt safe, confident and secure.  I was blown away with the powerful feelings rushing through my body and feeling strong and ready.  When Brennan came upstairs with supper around 1830, I joined him in the bathroom where I had moved my music, a number of candles, and my yoga mat.  I had a few bites of supper, and felt a powerful surge that caused me to throw up.  With each surge after that, I continued to throw up.  It was strange, and definitely unexpected.  I didn’t feel ill at all, and hadn’t been sick my entire pregnancy!  As the surges continued and became more intense, I moved into our clawfoot tub.  I found myself going deeply inside my own head, closing my eyes, and giving in to what I can only describe as my natural birthing instincts.  The surges continued to fill me with a deep knowing that our baby was coming and that my body knew what to do.  I also had a lot of help from Brennan, who could anticipate when a surge was going to start, support me from a laying position and catch my vomit which continued to shoot out of me with every surge!    Throughout this entire time, Brennan had been in contact with our Doula who came over to check on us and noted how well we were coping thus far, and with our Midwife, who encouraged us over the phone.  At 2100, during one of the surges, we heard a loud “POP”, and my water broke in the tub!  And what a relief!  Brennan called the midwife and she told us to meet her at the hospital around 2230.  He shot off a message with the plan to the doula, and I continued to labour in the tub while he packed up the car.  When he came back up, he helped my out of the tub, and I had a few more surges sitting on the toilet.  At this point, we saw the bloody show and knew things were continuing to progress.  My surges were at least a minute and a half, and still about three minutes apart,  Brennan helped find my clothes and we ventured out to the car.  Once outside, I had another strong contraction that brought me to my knees, invited a loud moan and a whole lot of pressure.  I rode to the hospital on my hands and knees, moaning through each contraction.  Our doula followed us and stayed with me while Brennan registered me and brought out a wheelchair.  There wasn’t any way I was going to sit though!  I rode on all fours all the way up to Labour and Delivery!  I guess they figured I was definitely in labour and I skipped triage and was put into a room immediately.

Our midwife, with impeccable timing arrived just as we got into the room, checked me and said “You’re at 9cm – perhaps you’ll have your baby today just as you expected!”  We figured this meant no time to set up the birthing pool and I got into a squatting position on the bed where I began to push.  Very quickly, and with only the tip of my finger, I could feel my baby’s head!!  “It has hair!” I said!  My surges continued as they had, powerful and regular for a long time,  We tried moving into different positions, squatting, hands and knees, side lying, back lying, on the toilet, lunging – you name it, I would try it.  But baby had other plans and really just wanted to stay inside.

At 0300, we decided to do a consult with the OBGYN on call.  Have I mentioned that up until this point I hadn’t opened my eyes??  I was so deeply in my own birthing world I hadn’t bothered to take a look around the room and was happy to see everyones smiling and encouraging faces!  When the doctor came in, she was, unfortunately quite rude.  She questioned why I hadn’t been given any pain medications (because I didn’t feel I needed them), she asked why I didn’t have an IV drip (because I had been drinking tons of water), and seemed upset and annoyed at my decision to keep on labouring instead of accepting her offer of interventions (baby was not stressed, I felt like I could go on).  With no medical reason to intervene, I opted to continue labouring and reconsult when she was out of surgery in a couple of hours.  In those next two hours I really thought “this is it”  I tuned into my body even more and negotiated with it to bring our baby to us.  We tried more positions and I pushed and pushed and pushed.  Baby was so close, the head would emerge slightly with each surge but it wasn’t enough to complete the birth.

When the doctor returned, there had still been no progression and so I agreed to try the suction.  She apologized for her rudeness earlier, explaining that she was not usually so blunt and brief but she had a c-section to attend to.  We accepted her apology and made our birthing wishes clear to her – that we didn’t want any unnecessary interventions, that we wanted delayed cord clamping, to discover the sex of our baby and that mine and baby’s care would continue to be under the midwife after our baby was born.  To say that she seemed annoyed all over again would be a bit of an understatement, but she agreed.  With the suction attached to our baby’s head, it took three more contractions before fully coming into our world. Our midwife took our baby from the doctors hands and put him on my chest.  Our doula was able to remind them that we wanted to discover the sex of our baby, “He’s a boy!!” I discovered!!  For the next hour we cuddled with our son skin to skin while they worked on fixing me up.  Emmett latched on and breast fed while Brennan and I drifted off to sleep.  After everything had settled we weighed and measured him.  He was 8lbs, 13oz, and 20.5inches long.  A healthy and very calm baby who continues to nurse well, sleep well, and of course, steal the hearts of everyone he has met!

I loved birthing our baby.  I felt so supported by the people I had chosen to be around me as I brought him into this world and so deeply in tune with my own body. I am proud of myself and the people around me who continued to challenge the push for medical intervention, but also for being open to the turn that it took when my labour stalled and we needed to go down a different path. I am forever grateful for my husband, Brennan, our midwife, Debbie, our two doulas, Angie and Karen, our hypnobirthing instructor, Marie, and to all those who encouraged us to believe in the power and art of birth and advocate for the importance of choice in the whole process.  I am so excited to do it again someday, with even greater confidence than before!

written by Jaclyn R.

 

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Benefits of Vernix – it’s amazing stuff (and here’s the scientific research to prove it)

The white stuff you see on baby’s back and head is vernix. The thicker the vernix is, the more you are able see it.

Here are several abstracts on the antibacterial properties of vernix.  There’s a good reason why babies should not be bathed right away after birth.  The power of vernix is truly astounding.  Its main benefits are its various antimicrobial properties, which help protect a newborn against a wide variety of infections.  Keep Reading.

 

Welcome to the World Markus

At 4 days postdate I was starting to get a bit antsy waiting for baby to arrive.  Wednesday was an emotional day for me.  So that evening I decided to take my own advice and watch a love story to get the oxytocen flowing.  It seemed to work (that in combination with the acupuncture of Tuesday) and I woke up at 2:30 am with surges.  I didn’t want to get my hopes up, so I just relaxed into them and waited to see what would happen.  Sure enough they were coming consistently.   Keep Reading

 

 

 

 

Why I love Clary Sage Essential Oil

February 6, 2014

I need clary sage essential oilIt’s no secret that women are different from men. Women give birth, have menstrual pain, breastfeed, have hot flashes, and are sometimes known to have the occasional mood swing. Clary Sage essential oil then should also be no secret to women!

This is one of my all time favorite oils.  Here is why…

Clary Sage essential oil is known for its uplifting and mood-lightening attributes and also for its anti-fungal, antispasmodic, sedative, and soothing properties. Clary Sage has traditionally been used by women to soothe monthly discomfort associated with their menstrual cycles and to help with emotional stress, damaged hair, hot flashes, lactation, mood swings, and more.

There is even research on the subject.  Clary Sage was shown to help with relieving menstrual pain, alleviating pain during labor, and helping relieve anxiety.

  • Study: An aromatherapy massage (consisting of clary sage and other essential oils) may be an effective treatment for menstrual pain in high school girls. Read the full study here.
  • Study: An observational study done by midwives over the last 8 years have suggested that aromatherapy using clary sage and chamomile essential oil are effective in alleviating pain and that aromatherapy can be effective in reducing maternal anxiety, fear and/or pain during labor.  Read more about the study here.
  • Study: One study found that animals who were given clary sage essential oil-enriched food from the date of conception, showed a significant reduction of dominant and anxiety-like behavior compared to animals who were given sunflower oil-enriched food. Clary Sage essential oil, in this study, was found to posses anxiety relieving properties. Read more about the study here.

It’s no wonder why Clary Sage should be every woman’s best friend!

 

Tips from dōTERRA:cs1

For menstrual discomfort, massage 3-5 drops of Clary Sage onto your abdomen.

Diffuse to help uplift your mood.

Add Clary Sage to your Epsom salt bath to help relieve nerves and anxiety. Combine Clary Sage and Roman Chamomile essential oils for an even more relaxing bath.

Use Clary Sage to make a deep Deep Hair Conditioner to help stimulate the scalp and promote hair growth.

Put 1-2 drops on your pillow to help you have a better night’s rest.

Tips from dōTERRA Facebook Fans:

“I used [Clary Sage] for labor pains and to start milk production. I had it in just 1 day after my daughters birth! Loved it!” -Josh-Sylvia McBride

“I put it in my shampoo and on my feet at night. Clary Sage is by far my favorite oil. My body finally feels regulated and I’ve been losing less hair in my shower”-Jaclyn Smith

“I put it on my abdomen for menstrual cramps and they are gone within minutes! I would chose Clary Sage over Ibuprofen any day!” -Amanda Deeter Freestone

“I apply to ankles and feet and heart center for night hot flashes. Also apply to pulse points (wrists, neck) for the calming benefits during the day. Will have to try the liver area. Love Clary Sage!” -Renee Frensko

“It helps relieve my headaches” -Starla Allen

“I use it mixed with coconut oil for hair massage to keep my hair thick and healthy.” -Arpita Chadha

“I use it to help me sleep at night. Put a drop on back of neck and 1 drop on front of neck – 15 minutes later – sleeping.” -Jeri Harwell

I hope you find this essential oil as helpful as I do!

Marie
ps. Information is reprinted with permission from dōTERRA.  Check out their very awesome blog for more information about essential oils.   http://doterrablog.com/eo-spotlight-clary-sage-natures-gift-for-women
ps. I love the brand dōTERRA.  DōTERRA’s essential oil are certified pure therapeutic grade, so if you use them, you can rest easy knowing that you are putting the best on your body.  Cheaper essential oils often contain contaminants and synthetic components which can destroy their therapeutic value.  Click here to learn more about certified pure therapeutic grade.

If you enjoyed learning about this essential oil, you might also like these two articles.

Lavender leaf and EOWhat Makes DoTERRA Essential Oils Different?

Although there are good essential oils available to consumers, many products claiming to be essential oils often are not pure aromatic extracts and often contain fillers and non-aromatic compounds. Furthermore, there are no current regulatory standards for the descriptive use of the “therapeutic grade” for products labeled as essential oils. The CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® mark represents dōTERRA’s own internal standards for sourcing and testing 100% pure aromatic botanical extracts using independent laboratory analysis. The dōTERRA brand and registered CPTG mark represent dōTERRA’s guarantee of 100% pure essential oil extracts that meet high standards for both purity and material composition and for accurate product labeling.   Keep Reading…

Homemade Lotion barDIY : Lotion Bars for Extreme Skin Hydration

My kids and I made these lotion bars with essential oils as Christmas gifts this year.  I absolutely LOVE them and so did everyone we gave them too.  So I decided that they are worth blogging about.

Here are some of the ways I think they would be awesome to use. 

1. Dry hands – knuckles that crack and bleed because of dryness.

2. Sore noses – ’tis the season for colds, and repeated run-ins with the tissue box can leave your nose red and sore.   Keep Reading

DIY : Lotion Bars for Extreme Skin Hydration

December 29, 2013

Homemade Lotion barMy kids and I made these lotion bars as Christmas gifts this year.  I absolutely LOVE them and so did everyone we gave them too.  So I decided that they are worth blogging about.

Here are some of the ways I think they would be awesome to use.

1. Dry hands – knuckles that crack and bleed because of dryness.

2. Sore noses – ’tis the season for colds, and repeated run-ins with the tissue box can leave your nose red and sore.

3. Chafed skin – the lotion bar won’t prevent the skin from chafing but it does an awesome awesome job at helping it heal.

4. Eczema – especially good when you add the essential oils that are great for healing eczema to the recipe (see notes below).

5. Diaper rash – all the ingredients in this recipe are great for the skin and safe for little ones.  It can be used with every diaper change as a way to keep your baby’s sensitive skin healthy.

6. Growing Bellies – this use is especially for the pregnant ladies.  During pregnancy the skin stretches so much that it can often feel tight and itchy.  These lotion bars are the prefect remedy for that.

7. Mystery Rash – sometimes this just happens.  You get a rash in one area of your body for some strange unknown reason.  The lotion bar is a great way to help the skin heal.  As a small aside, a rash can sometimes be stress related, a sort of last-straw situation because of an overloaded immune system.  In other words, when the immune system can’t take any more, a rash shows up signaling “I’m done!”.

8. Dry Gardening hands – I LOVE gardening, but I don’t enjoy how much the dirt drys out my skin even when I’m wearing gloves.  I’ve taken to applying lotion before putting on my gloves, but it often wasn’t enough.  Now I can’t wait for spring and to use these lotion bars instead!I’m sure that as you read this blog you might come up with additional uses for the lotion bar.  Actually once you start using it, you might wonder how you ever lived without one. Made of coconut oil, cocoa butter, vitamin E, a bit of beeswax and essential oils, these natural moisturizing lotion bars will nourish and soothe your dry skin and you get to feel good about all the ingredients.  To use the bar, just run it over your skin and let your body’s natural heat melt the lotion for some extreme skin hydration.

Now the nitty-gritty…
Below is what you’ll need.  You’ll be able to find all the ingredients at your local health food store.  I recommend getting local beeswax if you can.  Some beekeepers today are using chemicals in the hives to rid them of mites and disease. Some even feed the bees rather than letting them foraging naturally, which in turn puts a non-natural product into the wax that then goes on your SKIN!  Support and know your local beekeepers and know that quality untreated wax is a tad more expensive but you will see the rewards!  So many amazing things are in wax that will make your skin glow.  If you are getting the beeswax at your local health food store, just ask where it is from and then phone the producer to be sure it’s free of chemicals.
As for the scent of the beeswax, generally the lighter the wax the less strong scent you will smell. You will never get rid of it entirely because of all the lovely florals and pollen inside.   However, the lighter wax is younger and hasn’t “soaked” up that much honey floral smell.  Darker wax can be older wax or even a darker honey from certain flowers could have occupied the wax giving a distinct flavor.
The bars are hard because of the beeswax.  The coconut oil, the cocoa butter and the essential oil do the moisturizing and healing, and the beeswax forms a protective layer over the skin to lock in the moisture and prevent further damage from water, etc.  You can experiment with more beeswax (2/3 cup) if you want a harder bar.
As for which dōTERRA essential oils to use.. well here are some of my personal favourites.  If you live somewhere cold and dry, like me here in Saskatchewan, and you don’t need to worry about sun exposure, then citrus bliss or wild orange is lovely.  I found that I really needed to use about 30 drops to be able to smell the citrus aroma balanced with the coconut and beeswax aromas.  Citrus oils applied to the skin can make your skin more photosensitive, so that’s not a good choice if you spend a lot of time in the sun.   If you are looking for a blend of oils that is really great for very dry skin, then I like using 10 drops of each of the following: lavender, melaleuca, and roman chamomile.   For a calming scent, I really like dōTERRA serenity blend.   I love myrrh and sandalwood together and each of those oils are great for dry skin, but they are a bit more pricey.   Geranium and Lavender would also be a lovely blend.  And finally if you are a fan of peppermint, it can work great in this recipe.  Just like the above discussion about the quality of the beeswax, if you are putting it on your skin, your body is absorbing it, so you want the best quality possible.   DōTERRA’s essential oil are certified pure therapeutic grade, so if you use them, you can rest easy knowing that you are putting the best on your body.  Cheaper essential oils often contain contaminants and synthetic components which can destroy their therapeutic value.  Click here to learn more about certified pure therapeutic grade.
Doterra lotion bar
Ingredients

1/3 to 1/4 cup beeswax

½ cup coconut oil

½ cup cocoa butter

1 teaspoon vitamin E oil

15 – 30 drops of dōTERRA essential oil

clean old mason jar

silicone mold (you can find these at kitchen stores and craft stores)

Directions
1. Measure all ingredients, except for essential oils, in a large glass jar.  An old mason jar works the best.  Then you don’t have to worry about cleaning it out after.
2. Place the jar in a saucepan or pot with 1-2 inches of water.  (Just make sure the water doesn’t boil away on you).Homemade Lotion Bar
3. Stir occasionally and wait for the ingredient to melt; this usually takes between 10-15 minutes. (The coconut oil and cocoa butter melt quickly, the beeswax will take longer.)
4. Once all the ingredients are melted together, remove from heat.  Let it rest for 3-5 minutes, then add your essential oils and stir.
5. Pour the mixture into the silicone mold.
6. Let the mixture harden for 2-3 hours.  If you want to go faster (maybe because you decide to make for four batches at once, like I did) when wait 10 minutes so they are a little bit hard and don’t spill, and then move them to your fridge.  Then by the time the next batch is ready to pour, you’ll be able to use the mold again.
7. Pop the lotion bars out of the mold and store in a cool place until ready to use.  Once ready for use, I like to store my lotion bar in a little round tin.  I’ve had good luck at reusing little tins from other things such as mints, and I recently found some at my local dollar store.

Please post and let me know how you are using your lotion bar.

Marie

If you enjoyed reading this post, you might also like these two articles…

Lavender leaf and EOWhat Makes DoTERRA Essential Oils Different?

Although there are good essential oils available to consumers, many products claiming to be essential oils often are not pure aromatic extracts and often contain fillers and non-aromatic compounds. Furthermore, there are no current regulatory standards for the descriptive use of the “therapeutic grade” for products labeled as essential oils. The CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® mark represents dōTERRA’s own internal standards for sourcing and testing 100% pure aromatic botanical extracts using independent laboratory analysis. The dōTERRA brand and registered CPTG mark represent dōTERRA’s guarantee of 100% pure essential oil extracts that meet high standards for both purity and material composition and for accurate product labeling.   Keep Reading…

Make your own poo-pourriDIY : Make Your Own Poo-Pourri

What is it?  It is a blend of essential oils that virtually eliminates bathroom odors.  Here’s how to use it.

BEFORE “nature calls”, shake the bottle and then spritz the #2 Spray into the toilet bowl. Approximately 3 or 4 spritzes should do it. Then do your “business”. The oils will disperse over the water creating a vapor barrier and trapping any offensive odors!   Keep reading to learn how to make your own.

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