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You probably won’t be surprised to hear that exercise is good for your body. Regular physical activity keeps your weight at healthy levels, maintains muscle mass, and keeps joints and tendons comfortably flexible as you age. But, did you also know that exercise is good for your mental health too? Regular exercise benefits your brain, especially when you combine good physical habits with powerful aromatherapy practices targeted toward whole-body wellness.
When you make an effort to keep your body active, it’s not a coincidence that you feel less anxious, less stressed and generally happier. Exercise releases dopamine, changes the stress hormones in your bloodstream and eases feelings of anxiety. But you can enjoy even more benefits from your exercise routine with the synergistic benefits of essential oil aromatherapy. Here is how to use essential oils health benefits to augment that happy-brain effect.
The key to long-term fitness is to do it often … even on cold, dark winter mornings when you really don’t feel like getting out of bed. Help yourself by creating a pre-workout routine using N8 Essential’s certified organic Energize Blend. This mix of bright citrus oils and energizing natural peppermint oil will get your muscles and mind in the right state to rock your sweat session. Diffuse a few drops of Energize Blend for 30 minutes before your workout to ease your body into activity, and you’ll likely feel more energized when you step off the treadmill as when you put that first groggy foot on the floor for the morning.
Turning Up the Intensity
It’s not until you get really moving that your body begins to release dopamine, a chemical that plays a key role in mental balance and whole-body happiness. As we age, we lose some of our natural stores of dopamine—but these can be replaced during any form of exercise in what is termed as a “runner’s high.” You can reach this natural state of euphoria faster by warming your muscles with a dilution of certified organic eucalyptus essential oil. The sweet honey-and-mint scent of this oil offers your body a natural boost to help you reach peak performance more efficiently.
Athletes and medical advice both say that allowing time for your muscles to recover between hard-core exercise is almost important as the exercise itself. Help your muscles and mind ease into recovery mode with the mellow floral-wood spice of certified organic lavender essential oil. Rub a dilution deep into muscles and joints for feelings of relief from soreness and stress. And breathe the sweet scent to help wind down emotionally after an especially intense session.
So the next time you’re feeling down, stressed or anxious, use the power of aromatherapy to get off the couch and get some exercise. You’ll not only feel more energized and calm — you’ll be a healthier and happier person. Whether you’re an ultra-marathon guru or a fresh Zumba recruit, everybody could use a little support to take their exercise efforts to the next level.
Your nose is underrated, according to science. Besides being an excellent way to identify wet dog and wasabi, your olfactory sense is a direct path to your brain—emotions, memories, even the chemical toolbox your brain uses to keep your body healthy. Research has shown that childhood memories linked to scent stay with you throughout life. That means the smell of woodsmoke or the sweet tang of orange peel can pull you back to experiences and emotions across decades of time—and this mental shortcut can be used as a safe, easy-to-use form of alternative medicine.
When you understand the biophysical mechanics behind aromatherapy, it makes sense that this process has an outsized physical and psychological impact using just your sense of smell. From perceptions of physical pain to emotional catharsis, studies have shown that aromatherapy offers multiple powerful health benefits, including:
Aromatherapy works by stimulating smell receptors in the nose, which sends messages through the nervous system to the limbic system — the part of the brain that controls emotions. By tapping into this master control system, numerous serious health problems can be eased and mental/emotional challenges can be alleviated.
One of the biggest advantages of essential oil aromatherapy is that anyone with a good sense of smell can give it a go. When used as recommended, the vast majority of essential oils are both safe and easy to use. We suggest starting with a simple experiment … breathe the scent of an essential oil directly from the bottle. Take note of how you feel, and how your body reacts over the next several hours. When you find an oil you like, you can also get efficient exposure to using an ultrasonic diffuser. These simple devices use tap water and a few drops of essential oil to fill a room with aromatherapy mist. They also offer the advantage of allowing you to easily blend two or more of your favorite oils for a synergistic effect.
When first experimenting with aromatherapy, begin by looking at an essential oil uses chart to determine what kind of results you want for your body. Is your goal deeper relaxation? Try N8 Essentials certified organic Lavender essential oil. Do you need energy late in the day? Go for our certified organic Orange or Peppermint essential oils. Each N8 product has a nuanced aromatherapy effect—Eucalyptus offers warm focus, Geranium brings a tension-busting emotional calm. The essential oil that will work best for your body depends both on your physical chemistry and your mental association with that particular scent. So jump in and begin experimenting with essential oil aromatherapy … it’s a sweet and comforting way to practice natural self-care for both your body and your mind.
If you’ve ever shared a house with a teenager (bless you and your cardiovascular health), then you’ll understand the challenge of trying and getting their lanky, unreasonably long limbs untangled from blankets and balanced on their colossal feet before noon. Medical professionals know that kids need more sleep … and parents know that teenagers often choose not to get it. It can make weekday mornings something of a challenge for families … especially in winter, when shorter days keep it dark many mornings and 7 a.m. still feels like the dead of night.
Good habits can help teens wake up and (here’s the key) stay awake in the morning. A regular bedtime, banning screens from the bedroom, and a healthy breakfast will give you a good start … and essential oil diffusion can be an important part of the routine. N8 Essential’s certified organic Energize Blend is a sweet combination of premier natural constituents designed to work on both a physical and mental level to naturally wake up body and brain. And, the great thing about this sweet blend is that you don’t necessarily have to be in your teenager’s face for them to enjoy the benefits. Placing a few personal care products in their stumbling path every morning can do the trick … Energize Blend infused shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion all offer the sweet natural energy found in these essential oils while your teenagers do what they do in the bathroom every morning … for an unreasonably long time.
Or, if you feel like getting more in their face for some morning attitude adjustment, there is a way to do that too. Diffuse a few drops of Energize Blend combined with certified organic clary sage and a drop or two of certified organic frankincense in their bedroom in the morning. The Energize Blend helps body and brain to move to a higher level of alertness, the organic clary sage works to balance and lift the mood, and grounding organic frankincense helps the aromatherapy effect to last beyond the first bell of the morning.
There is no guarantee that using Energize essential oil blend around your teen will mean they’ll save you any hot water this week, but at least they’ll have a smile on their face while they use it up.
Teenage Sunshine Energy Recipe
4 drops certified organic Energize Blend
1 drop certified organic clary sage
2 drops certified organic frankincense
Combine all oils in a diffuser with room temperature water. This “spiked” blend recipe adds mood balance and grounded mental resilience to the sweet and uplifting blend found in the Energize Blend. Mist in the morning for a positive attitude and energy, or use anytime your teenager needs an adjustment of attitude or a positive outlook.
Nothing can derail a day quite like unexpected gastrointestinal distress. But don’t let an upset stomach keep you off your feet for long. Essential oils can help to ease symptoms, recover your equilibrium more quickly and even stop the trouble before it starts. Try these tricks to ease feelings of an upset stomach with natural essential oils.
Stop the trouble before it starts. Whether you overindulged on Taco Tuesday or forgot that your lactose intolerance actually still includes chocolate chunk ice cream, some gut problems are a result of poor food choices. Essential oils can help tame an unruly appetite before it gets you into deep water, gastrointestinally speaking. Diffusing certified organic grapefruit essential oil or a combination of certified organic peppermint and your favorite bright citrus oil can help to curb an unhealthy or unreasonable appetite and let your brain make smarter food decisions in the first place.
Support your gut from the outside. Often, stomach problems are really muscle problems. Discomfort in the gut is often caused by cramping of the muscles in your abdomen and around your intestines. Ease muscle discomfort from the outside by massaging a dilution of N8 Essential’s certified organic Digest Blend across your abdomen and lower back for feelings of calm comfort and relief. Dilute the full-strength blend with a neutral carrier oil and massage it gently with your fingers into problem areas to ease feelings of cramping and discomfort.
Look at your feet. Lastly, some people also find gut relief by massaging essential oils into their feet, using a reflexology chart to target specific areas of the body.
The next time you feel an upset stomach coming on, think of these 3 easy solutions that will help get you on track again in a natural way.
My best Halloween look seems to be in the morning, unfortunately. Sometimes I wake up puffy-eyed from a night’s rest, making me appear as if I’ve escaped from Hogwarts for the first few hours of the day. As I age it gets worse. I’m not alone – mild swelling or puffiness under the eyes is common as you get older. It is a purely cosmetic concern … in time, the tissues around your eyes weaken. The fat that helps support the eyes moves into the lower eyelids, causing the lids to appear puffy. Fluid also may accumulate in the space below your eyes, adding to the swelling.
But there could be other reasons for those bags under your eyes. They can also be caused by allergies, fluid retention, eye infection, irritation or other causes. For some people, under-eye puffiness can appear just before the onset of their period, with hormonal changes causing the change. Whatever the reason, you can ease the appearance of bags under your eyes using essential oils. Here are a few techniques to try:
Run, run as fast as you can! Let’s face it, you’ll probably catch me within the first two meters because I’m getting too old to sprint. I may be slow, but I still love to run, walk, hike, trot, and saunter – and my hardworking feet do the brunt of the work.
This year I’ve spent more time listening to my body. It’s telling me to take better care of my feet. One natural treat I use is a gingerbread sugar scrub … it’s a deliciously scented combination of warm essential oils, sweet sugars for exfoliation, and natural carrier oils for hydration. But be warned … you’ll likely love it so much that you’ll want to double or triple the batch so that you can share it with friends and neighbors. It also makes an excellent gift.
If you do share this scrub, be sure to let the recipient know about the benefits of the organic essential oils they’ll be using. Certified organic ginger has a natural power to protect your skin from outside threats and sweet organic clove supports healthy skin resilience and is deeply relaxing to muscles and mind.
You can use the scrub to work down calluses and to remove dead skin on your feet (and hands too). Work it between your toes for stimulating and beneficial aromatherapy massage. It’s easy to use; wet your feet while you are taking a shower or bath (or use it outside the bathroom with a towel underneath your feet to keep things clean). Scoop about a teaspoon of the scrub into your hand and spread it across the skin of your damp feet. Massage it against thicker skin and across areas that need massage support. To make the experience feel smoother, wet your hands again as you work. When you are done, rinse away the sugars with warm water, but leave the oils to absorb for more benefits. Follow with a healthy layer of Energize Lotion for a balanced and hydrating finish.
Gingerbread Sugar Scrub Recipe
6 drops certified organic ginger essential oil
4 drops certified organic clove essential oil
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup carrier oil of your choice
¼ cup almond oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice
½ teaspoon vanilla powder (optional)
Mason-style jar with lid
In a medium bowl combine all ingredients except oils. Gradually add carrier oil & almond oil until scrub reaches a thick but spreadable consistency. Add essential oils and blend well. Scoop into mason jar and seal.
I really thought we’d have flying cars by now. And, robot maids. Based on the TV programming of my childhood, it’s where I believed we were headed. Not only don’t we have those conveniences, but we’ve also still yet to find a better solution for defrosting car windows or curing the common cold. It’s a constant shock to me that despite all the advances we’ve made in science and medicine, we still haven’t discovered strategies to address some really basic problems in life.
Bad breath, for one. Why haven’t we solved bad breath yet? Everyone struggles with it on occasion, and the best we can do is cover it up with mouthwash or gum. This is not the future I envisioned. But it may actually be that an answer to bad breath could be found in the ancient past. Recently growing in popularity is the practice of oil pulling – an ancient tradition dating back to Ayurvedic medicine in India over 3,000 years ago. Oil pulling is the practice of swishing oil (we suggest fractionated coconut) around your mouth, gums and teeth for better oral health. Its benefits may include eliminating bacteria, easing bad breath, preventing tartar buildup, inhibiting tooth decay and easing the problem of bleeding gums.
To try it just use one or two tablespoons of coconut oil and a drop of an essential oil … certified organic peppermint or certified organic clove. (Remember, you won’t be swallowing these oils, just swishing them in your mouth before discarding them.) Start with five minutes a day of swishing … with a goal of eventually working up to 15 or 20. The longer you “pull,” the more bacteria you’ll remove, but 5 or 10 minutes still offer benefits. A gentle swishing, pushing, and sucking the oil through your teeth is the best technique … don’t work too hard. And don’t swallow. If you find yourself wanting to swallow, you may have too much oil in your mouth. Try again with a smaller amount.
Remember not to spit it down the sink when you are done, as the oil could clog your plumbing. Just discard the used oil into a trash can. Finally, when you start oil pulling, don’t skip brushing and flossing. It should never replace regular visits to your dentist or a traditional brushing routine – but it is a great supplemental therapy.
Oil Pulling Mouthwash Recipe
1 drop certified organic peppermint or clove
2 tablespoons of best-quality fractionated coconut oil
Combine the coconut oil and essential oil and blend well. Place in your mouth. (Remember, you won’t be swallowing these oils, just swishing them in your mouth before discarding them.) Start swishing with a goal of five minutes a day in the beginning. Work up to 15 or 20 minutes if possible. The longer you pull, the more bacteria you’ll remove. A gentle swishing, pushing, and sucking the oil through your teeth is the best technique. If you find yourself wanting to swallow, try again with a smaller amount of oil. Discard the oil in a trash can, not the sink. Brush your teeth as normal.