Carrier, Fixed, Vegetable Oils

I first studied Aromatherapy back in the early 90’s and it was all centred around Essential oils, their beautiful aromas and therapeutic uses. When I formally qualified as an Aromatherapist in 2002, I started to realise that the carriers we were using were equally as important and choosing the correct one led to an increase in therapeutic value. Nowadays us Aromatherapists have access to a lot more botanical extracts like butters, hydrosols or aromatic waters, CO2 extracts, clays and powders. 

Today I want to focus on carrier oils and their amazing benefits in the care of our skin. 

Carrier Oils, also known as Fixed oil or Vegetable and Nut oils are lipid extracts from Nuts and Seeds. They are packed with Essential Fatty Acids, the ones we can’t make internally.  Nuts and seeds go through a process of extraction, either Cold Pressing or Refining. 

The latter introduces heat into the extraction process which can alter the structure of the fatty acids in the oil and destroy the aroma. I try to source Organic Cold Pressed Oils where possible, however aroma needs to be considered as the cold pressed oils will still contain a nutty aroma. 

So let’s think about oils in relation to our skin. The skin has many functions but one important one is protection. An oil and water barrier on the surface of our skin, called the acid mantle has a pH which gives a slightly antimicrobial function to the skin. When we are under stress or as the skin ages, the oil aspect of the acid mantle is reduced, leaving our skin dry and because the protective quality is now lower, the skin becomes sensitive. Anything else that adds to this dryness will increase sensitivity. Think about central heating, air conditioning, difference in weather patterns – too hot or too cold, medication or poor diet.

“Dry skin and atopical eczema typically always show up poor lipid barriers and low ceramide content in the Epidermis” (Kusmirek, 2002)

Now that we can see the benefit to dry and sensitive skin, what about our Oily skin types. Many of us are wary about applying oils to oily skin because we think it will make the condition worse. Some oils can actually benefit oily skin, if they are not too thick and viscous. I tend to use a combination of light oils which will moisturise the epidermis but not leave an oily residue on the skin. Some carriers have been known to balance oil levels on the skin because they resemble sebum, the skins natural oils. 

It’s important to note that treating skin conditions must also take into account the diet and lifestyle.  There are many internal factors to consider also. While we are focused here on the external application of oils to the skin, we must also look at getting these essential fatty acids through our diets.  

When I started using oils in my skincare, it was a foreign concept but nowadays the Beauty market is saturated with facial oils and serums. Today’s formulation is quick and simple. A blend of carrier oils to suit your skin type. Use what you have at home or order a few that suit your skin. I wouldn’t order huge quantities unless you are making big batches. You can add some essential oils if you want but remember Know your oils. Know their effects on the skin, their contraindications, their cautions and make sure you like the aroma

This is a formula I use for my Dry and sometimes sensitive skin:

Carrier OilReason%
AvocadoCan penetrate better than most oils. Really softening and moisturising
to the skin. Recommended for dry skin types. Prevents premature aging.
30%
Rosehip Seed Oil Regenerates the skin, reduces ageing, scarring, wrinkles. Light.
Penetrates the skin well
30%
Argan OilVery high in antioxidants and Vitamin E. Very nourishing to skin
and preserves its elasticity
17.5%
JojobaBalancing to the Acid mantle. Non-greasy. 15%
Vitamin EAntioxidant to prolong the shelf life of your blend 1%
Essential OilAdds to the therapeutic value of the blend.
Consider Contraindications to skin
1.5%
  • Blend your oils together in a glass container 
  • Add the Vitamin E and stir well. If you are using your product quickly and dont have access to Vitamin E, add the 1% to the carrier oil total
  • Add the Essential oils and stir well. If you decide to leave out the essential oils, add the 1.5% to the carrier oil total
  • Decant into a Dropper Bottle
  • Label 
  • Store well (out of direct sunlight or heat) 
  • Place 5-10 drops on your skin and massage in – Use morning and evening

Let me know how you get on or if this is useful. Below is a table of my favourite fixed oils, along with images from my favourite supplier of Organic Cold Pressed Oils Flying Wild This fabulous range created by Arno is everything you need when sourcing really good quality ingredients, not to mention the beautiful packaging. Please look him up. His blog is full of more great info on carrier oils. In the meantime, Please feel free to use the table below as a guideline for choosing your oils. Experiment and find what works best for you. Have Fun!

In’joy

Mi

🌸

OIL MAIN EFA’sBENEFITS IN SKINCARE
ALMOND (SWEET)Oleic, Linoleic and Palmetic AcidsNourishing to dry skin, soothes inflammation, irritation and prevents moisture loss
APRICOT KERNELOleic, Linoleic and Palmetic acids Very similar to Almond. Suitable to dry sensitive ageing skin
ARGANOleic, Linoleic, Palmetic and Steric acidsHigh in Antioxidants and Vitamin E. Nourishing and protective to skin, nails and hair. Regenerative and Firming
AVOCADOOleic, Palmetic, Linoleic and Palmitoleic acidsSoftening and moisturising to dry skin and skin inflammation. Can penetrate the skin a little more than most oils.
BORAGELinoleic, Gamma Linoleic, Oleic, Stearic and Eicosenoic acids Useful for recreating and maintaining normal skin function. Regenerates the skin. Adds suppleness. High in GLA
CASTORRicinoleic acidQuite thick and viscous. Softening to the skin.
CHIA SEED Alphalinolenic and Linoliec acids High in Antioxidants. Light oil. Hydrating and strengthening to the skin.
COCONUTLauric, Myristic, Caprylic, Capric, Palmitic, Oleic and Stearic AcidsSoftening and Lubricating for the skin and hair. Melts at body temperature.
EVENING PRIMROSELinoleic, Palmitic, Gamma Linoleic acids Beneficial for dry scaly skin. Speeds up the healing process. Repairs skin tissue.
HAZELNUTOleic, Linoleic, Palmetic and Stearic AcidsAbsorbs well into the skin, leaving a non greasy feel. Has a slight tightening and toning effect. Good for Oily skin.
HEMP SEEDLinoleic, Linolenic, Oleic, Plametic Acids Strengthening to the skin and hair. Has anti-inflammatory benefits for hot irritated skin.
JOJOBAEicosenoic, Oleic, Decosenoic acids Fantastic for sebum (oil) control on the skin. Leaves non greasy feeling on the skin. All skin types.
MACADAMIAOleic, Palmitoleic, Palmitic AcidsProtects the skin from ageing. Provides suppleness and moisture. Vanishes into the skin, leaving no residue.
POMEGRANATE SEED Punicic High in Antioxidants. Boosts the tone of the skin. Beneficial for inflamed dry skin.
ROSEHIPLinoliec, alpha linolenic, Oleic acids Skin Regeneration – scars, wounds, ageing. Very light, absorbs well into the skin.
SESAMEOleic, Linoleic, Palmitic acidsUsed in Ayurvedic trandition to warm and ground. Nourishes and Moisturises dry skins.
SUNFLOWERLinoleic, Oleic Acids Softening and Moisturising benefits on the skin. Beautiful yellow color.
WALNUTLinoliec, Linolenic, Palmitic and Oleic Acids Softening to the skin. Beneficial for itchy dry irritated skin.

References

Davis, P. (2000). Aromatherapy and A-Z. Essex: The Bridgewater Book Company Ltd.

Kusmirek, J. (2002). Liquid Sunshine. Vegetable oils for Aromatherapy . Somerset : Floramicus.

Price, L. (2008). Carrier Oils for Aromtherapy and Massage . Oxford: Riverhead Publishing .

Righton, J. G. (2018). Handmade Spa. Natrual Treatments to Revive and Restore . London: Quarto.

Mango & Lime Lip Balm

Although my treatment room is closed to visitors, I’ve been keeping in contact with my clients over the last few weeks and some have said that their lips are extremely dry. Say no more, I’m off to make a balm 😂

I’ve been popping these lip balms into all orders this week and while I’m sharing some formulations, I thought I would share this with you too. Its Super Easy and great to make with the kids too.

Ingredients%
Mango Butter (Substitute for Shea if you need to) 9%
Avacado Oil (or Any carrier oil you choose) 50%
Sweet Almond (Or any carrier oil you choose) 30%
Beeswax 9%
Vitamin E0.5%
Lime Essential Oil (Distilled) If you decide not to add essential oils, add the 1.5% to the carrier oil portion1.5%
  • Clean your space. If you are working in your kitchen, remove any food items and wipe down counter tops. Keep the area free from young children and pets if possible. 
  • Place the Beeswax, Sweet Almond Oil and Mango Butter in a Glass Jug or Bowl in a Baine Marie 
  • Heat gradually until melted.  Not too hot. Make sure you don’t have the water bubbling in the pot. Make sure no steam or water enters the mixture. 
  • Layout your Lipbalm cases so they are ready for filling
  • Use small jars if you need to
  • When beeswax and butter has melted, Add Avocado Oil and Vitamin E – Stir Well until cloudiness disappears
  • Remove from the Heat and add Essential Oil – Stir Well
  • Pour the contents into your waiting containers
  • Leave the Lids off until cooled
  • Allow to cool at Room Temperature
  • Gradual cooling will ensure there are no cracks in the top of your Balm
  • Label each container
  • Store well (out of direct sunshine or heat)
  • Apply to lips as needed💋

This balm is really soft and moisturising to the lips. If you decide to swap the Mango for Shea butter, the aroma will be slightly different so play around with a few blends and see what works. Remember Know your oils. Know their effects on the skin, their contraindications, their cautions and make sure you like the aroma.

And ……. have lots of fun

Stay Safe !

In’Joy

Mi

🌸

nourishing face Balm

If you know anything about me, you know that I love a good Balm. They are usually multifunctional and depending on the blend, have the ability to soothe, nourish and boost the skin. I have been making this particular face balm for the last number of years. I use it personally in my own skin care routine as an evening leave on mask and it has been enjoyed by the participants of my facial workshops. The method is simple and easy. I hope you enjoy it.

Ingredients
Vegetable Oils (Fixed or Carrier Oils) You can blend a few together to get the therapeutic
value you need. I love Rosehip, Sesame, Castor, Coconut, Peach Kernel, Sweet Almond,
Sunflower, Avocado, Jojoba.
88.5% 
Beeswax – to solidify the product 9%
Essential Oil Blend – Choose from your favourites. Know your oils. Know their effects on the skin, their contraindications, their cautions and make sure you like the aroma1.5% 
Vitamin E – Antioxidant which will prolong the shelf life of your blend1% 
Total 100%  

If you need some clarification on the weighing and choosing Essential oils, hop over to my Mango Whip Post and find more info there. Taking note of how much of each oil you use is very important. You never know when you are going to hit on a great smelling product and to recreate it, you will need exact quantities. 

  • Clean your space. If you are working in your kitchen, remove any food items and wipe down counter tops. Keep the area free from young children and pets if possible. 
  • Place the Beeswax and Fractionated Coconut Oil in a Glass Jug or Bowl in a Baine Marie 
  • Heat gradually until melted.  Not too hot. Make sure you don’t have the water bubbling in the pot. Make sure no steam or water enters the mixture. 
  • Blend your essential oils together in a small measuring cup so that you can quickly add to your product later. 
  • Layout your Jars so they are ready for filling
  • When the beeswax is melted, add in the remaining carrier oils. You may notice a cloudiness as the oils start to solidify, keep stirring over the heat until this disappears
  • Add Vitamin E – Stir Well
  • Remove from the Heat and add Essential Oils – Stir Well
  • Pour the contents into your waiting jars
  • Leave the Lids off until cooled
  • Allow to cool at Room Temperature
  • Gradual cooling will ensure there are no cracks in the top of your Balm
  • When cooled, Label each jar and store well

The Nourishing Face Balm is a solid balm which will immediate liquify when it comes into contact with the skin. It can be used in very small amounts to boost and moisturise the skin. You can apply a little more as a Balm Mask and leave it sitting on the skin over night or you can thickly apply it to the skin, leave it on for 15-20 minutes and then remove with a warm flannel. The quality of the balm will depend on your choice of carrier oils and essential oils so give this some thought before you jump in.

I’d love to know how you get on.

Most importantly…. Have Fun 

In’Joy

Mi

🌸

Mango Whip

Butters can be so hydrating and nourishing but in their raw state, they require some effort to rub them into the skin. By whipping a butter we introduce some air and some fixed oils and make it lighter, fluffier and easier to use. This is my method for Whipped Mango Butter. Video shows a quick version of the process. Read below for more detailed instructions. Feel free to play around with the formula and make it your own. Make a blending date with yourself, Take your time and have fun.

If you would like to know how the formula and percentages are calculated, you can follow along here. If you’re not that interested and you just want the main details, skip to the pink box below and start from there.  

Im using the following percentages to yield a smooth fluffy butter.

Ingredients
Mango Butter  75% 
Fractionated Coconut Oil 22.5%
Essential Oil Blend 1.5% 
Vitamin E1% 
Total 100%  

Decide on how much you would like to make and then calculate amount of ingredients needed. If we take the easy example of 100g, then we would need 

Ingredients
Mango Butter  75g
Fractionated Coconut Oil 22.5g 
Essential Oil Blend 1.5g 
Vitamin E1g 
Total 100g  

In my batch today, I wanted to make up 200g so I calculated the following : 

Ingredients
Mango Butter  150g
Fractionated Coconut Oil 45g 
Essential Oil Blend 3g 
Vitamin E2g 
Total 200g  

You might need a small scale to measure out the essential oils and Vitamin E. If you don’t have one, you could use the logic that 1g is the same as 25-30 drops of essential oil. (It will all depend on the oil and the dropper size etc).  So for this formulation you would need somewhere between 75 and 90 drops of essential oil. When I weighed out my essential oils, it turned out to be 84 drops in total. Using the same thinking, we can measure out the Vitamin E (2ml) as being approx 60 drops. 

So that brings our formulation calculations to : 

Ingredients 
Mango Butter  150g
Fractionated Coconut Oil 45g 
Essential Oil Blend **84 drops
Vitamin E60 drops
Total 200g  

**. Choose Essential Oils that you like and won’t irritate the skin. As I’m formulating to support the skin, I tend to choose from Palmarosa, Patchouli, Bergamot, Lavender, Blue Chamomile, Lemon Expressed, Sandalwood, Frankincense, Neroli, Geranium.  If you are curious how they might blend together, hold 2 open bottles together, in front of your chest and wait for the aroma to reach your nose. You can then add in another aroma or take one away. Finding a blend you like is a gradual process where you will tweek quantities each time until you reach an aroma you love. Start off blending 2 or 3 oils together. I rarely go above 5. Know your oils. Know their effects on the skin, their contraindications, their cautions and make sure you like the aroma. Taking note of how much of each oil you used is very important. You never know when you are going to hit on a great smelling product and to recreate it, you will need exact quantities. 

Ok so let’s get started on the good stuff … Making the Product. 

  • Clean your space. If you are working in your kitchen, remove any food items and wipe down counter tops. Keep the area free from young children and pets if possible. 
  • Place the Mango Butter and Fractionated Coconut Oil in a Glass Jug or Bowl in a Baine Marie 
  • Heat gradually until melted.  Not too hot. Make sure you don’t have the water bubbling in the pot. Hot water should be enough to melt the butter. Make sure no steam or water enters the mixture. 
  • While you are waiting for the butter to melt, Blend your essential oils together in a small measuring cup so that you can quickly add to your product later.  
  • When your butter is melted, Remove the Jug from the Heat and allow it to stand for a few minutes. You can clear away your workspace while you wait.
  • Fill a pot or Bowl with cold water and let the jug sit in the water. The oil & butter will begin to solidify around the edges 
  • Keeping the jug in the cold water, Use a hand mixer to whip by starting at slow speed and increasing gradually to medium speed until the mixture has an even consistency.  
  • The contents of the jug will continue to cool as you mix. This can take anything from 5-10mins depending on the temperature. 
  • To speed up the process place an ice block in the pot and allow the jug to sit on it. I usually find that cold water does the trick for me. 

When the butter starts to get light and fluffy, turn off your mixer, put your Vitamin E and Essential Oils in and begin mixing for another few minutes. I usually use a plastic jug so that the blades of the mixer can hit the side safely and ensure all product is mixed evenly. 

  • Remove the Jug from the pot. Wipe away the moisture from the outside. With a spatula, place your whipped butter into a food bag and cut the corner with a clean scissors. 
  • Pipe the butter into jars. Half fill a jar, then stop and bang the jar lightly to ensure the mixture fills the bottom and edges.  Place the lids on as soon as you can and label each jar.  

The Mango Coco Whip has a beautiful soft creamy texture. Apply in small amounts. Initially it may feel a little oily but it absorbs into the skin after a few minutes. I use it after a shower on particularly dry areas, elbows, knees, ankles and this week ….. my poor dry hands.  The backs of my hands and between the fingers are the areas worse effected by the increased hand washing and sanitising.  

Let me know how you get on. I’m here if you encounter any problems. 

Have Fun 

In’Joy

Mi

🌸

Inspiration

I’m buzzing through this week, filled with inspiration, magical, belly fizzing, can’t sit still inspiration. Do you know the type? It’s such a great feeling. I want to hold on to it forever. I know the pattern by now and like most other things, it will probably dip over the coming days. While its bubbling away though, I thought I would explore its energy a little.  

What is it that delivers the ultimate inspiration experience? This week I witnessed somebody’s dream coming to fruition. I saw somebody go out of their way to help another without a second thought, I heard a really inspiring story of human resilience and I got to take in the beautiful blue view of sunny Dublin Bay. All of these are nice events but what gives them the edge, the oomph that we feel when True Inspiration is pulsing through our veins.  I think there is more to it than just the reality of what we are observing. 

Wayne Dyer (Author of Inspiration, Your Ultimate Calling) teaches that when we feel inspired (in-spirit), we are living ‘in’ our spirit. We are less focused on the material world and the busy random thoughts of the mind. We are connecting to our invisibleness, our soul, our source. Living from this perspective is beneficial to our happiness because when we are inspired, guess what …. We’re happy out! We are walking ourselves down a meaningful path, one which will fulfil us to the core and bring about positive change in our lives.

Let’s not just stop at the feeling of inspiration though. What can we do to ensure that this energy is not lost?  How can we harness the inspiration so that it drives us to do something worthwhile. In the past I have been left frustrated when inspiration, excitement and great ideas would vanish as quickly as they had arrived. Now I have a process. Personally I feel that Inspiration needs space. When I’m graced with its presence,  I like to give it room to grow and plan. I meditate, journal and write about it for a while to discover where its guiding me. This enables me to break down my ideas into manageable goals and begin taking steps in the right direction. 

Wayne also wrote about the wisdom of Pantajali and his words inhabit my mind now as I ponder this subject. 

“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds, your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world.”  …….. “Dormant forces, faculties, and talents become alive and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”

Now read that again !! 

I love these words. Dormant forces and talents become alive. That means up to now these forces and talents have been asleep. Often times we hold ourselves back because we don’t feel we have the ability. Who knows what talents lie sleeping inside just waiting for the moment when they can rise up and guide us into a whole new reality. 

Wishing you a weekend of Inspiration and Fun 

Until next time,

Be Well

Mi

🌸

Resources :

Soul Care is Self Care

I have automatically created the intention of Simplicity for 2020. It started with a New Year, New Wardrobe project, which quickly launched me into a ‘clearing out’ vibe.  Having recycled way too many bags of clothes and linens, I moved on to the Office. This led to hours and hours of scanning and shredding and ended in a firm commitment to a paper free environment. My home has reaped the benefits and it has also given some clarity to my mind and emotions. Who thought clearing out could be so therapeutic. I am infused with a ‘Keep it Clear and Keep it Simple’ Vibe and I have to say it feels good. 

Taking this approach to selfcare is something I wanted to explore. Most of the wonderful clients that visit me at Clinic One Eleven will end up thinking about selfcare in some form or another. Clients visit for many reasons ranging from physical health concerns to more mental and emotional health care. No matter what the presenting condition, there is almost always an underlying stress issue in some form or other.  Having the space of the consultation or treatment allows the client to discover what this issue is and then we look at some sort of resolution, which in a lot of cases ends up to be … yes you guessed it … selfcare. 

Sometimes we hear this advice from loved ones as we cry, moan, blame, sniffle, feeling overwhelmed by life. They gently offer comfort and say, you need to look after yourself more.

So what is selfcare and why do we need it? 

In its most basic form, selfcare is Caring for ourselves. I want to say, this doesn’t just mean our basic needs, it demands a bit more than that. However, If we look at basic needs, being fed, watered and rested, there are days when some of us can’t even manage that. We eat on the go, skip meals, don’t drink enough water and fail to get enough sleep. So for some of us, Self Care will start with making sure our basic needs are met. 

Then I like to consider what I call Soul Care. This ventures more into the emotional and mental realm and looks at activities or absence of activities that feed our soul. What can we do on a day to day basis that makes our soul happy.  Let me pose a few questions : 

  • What things are you doing to make you ‘FEEL’ good ? 
  • Are you being Kind to yourself ?
  • What is your self talk like? Do you overly criticise yourself ? 
  • Are you exercising or moving and feeling good about it ? 
  • Are you giving your mind time to slow down and relax?
  • Are you switching off from the bombardment of news stories and social media every now and again? 
  • Are you feeding your mind with positivity and inspiration? 
  • Are you embracing your creativity? 

Finding actions to the above questions can give us some idea of where we can explore more self/soul care. I can hear and feel the resistance rising already. I’m too busy. I don’t have 5 mins to myself at the moment, how am I ever going to accomplish this? The thoughts of it are too stressful. This feels selfish when so many others need my attention. This would be lovely in an ideal world. 

Well, let’s just break it down a little and maybe start with 5 mins. Sitting quietly for 5 mins and contemplating soul care is an act of selfcare. Reading this article and contemplating soul care is an act of selfcare. The main thing to remember is to not stop there. Tomorrow look for 6 mins. In ten days you will be doing 15 mins per day.  Why not get the calendar out now and put some time in there to spend with your lovely self. Treat it like a meeting with your favourite person. Actually why not just BE your favourite person?

When we consistently invest in Soul Care, it takes the edge of the stress. It stops it building up to a point where we feel overwhelmed. And ….. it feeds our lovely soul with happy soulful experiences. Maybe it’s worth doing a Soul Care stock take and see what needs to be replenished ? 

And remember …. Keep it Simple ! 

Have a great day all

Until next time, Be well

Mi

X

The Magic behind Reflexology (Part 1)

I arrived at the Reflexology NI Conference firmly planted in my comfy shoes and left 2 days later walking on air and humming with good vibes ..

Last weekend saw a boom of energy hit Portrush as Reflexologists from far and wide and ten amazing speakers gathered for the Reflexology NI Conference at the Magherabuoy House Hotel.  The idea was conceived 18 months ago (over a few G&T’s) when Dorothy Kelly, Andrea Clarke and RoseAnna Gallop contemplated bringing some Reflexology Leaders to Northern Ireland for the first EVER ReflexologyNI Conference. After a long gestation and intense labour, we all got to share in the magical birth of an Inspiring 2 Day Event … and … wet the babies head with a few more G&T’s.

I feel so blessed to have been in attendance and wanted to share with you some of what inspired me over the 2 days. It may take a few posts to get through everything.

Saturday started with a very enthusiastic shake up from Nuala McKeever who took to stage and shared some laughter yoga with us. Yep – straight out of our comfort zone and my comfortable shoes, but huge fun as our blood moved a little quicker and our energy a little higher.

Ziggie Bergman followed with her presentation on how she developed her own modern method of Facial Reflexology. Ziggie and many other speakers over the weekend, spoke openly about their challenges when they hear the word ‘No’. Often this rejection or restriction is just what we need to push ourselves forward, hone our creations and become true innovators. This really got me thinking about where in my life I was experiencing that ‘No’. I realised a little later on, my No was coming from inside me – tied up in a few limiting beliefs and old thought patterns. Luckily for me, the tools for disentanglement were coming up in the following days.

Louise Brogan also gave a very inspiring presentation on Social Media Strategy. ‘Hands up who has a Social Media strategy’, she asked? I thought I did until I heard her talk about what posts go where. What you post to Facebook is not necessarily what you post on Instagram. She got us all to look within and decide who are we trying to reach with our posts, what are we trying to say, why are we posting and when. Louise is a huge Bruce Springsteen fan so she managed to drive her message home by comparing Social Media Strategy to a Bruce concert. Now that’s a lesson I will remember. Louise also has a podcast called the Social Bee Podcast. https://socialbeeni.com

While I’m on the topic of Social Media, I will mention Lily Murdock who handled all of the Social Media Marketing for the Conference. Lily has developed a manual for those who need a little help identifying their Social Media message. Her Facebook Group is called Lily Francesca Social Media I bought Lily’s manual earlier in the year and there are some really good practical exercises in there and some great advice.

One last feature today is Susan Quayle’s, The Children’s Reflexology Programme. Susan’s time on stage was a little different and took the form of a conversation with Andrea (interviewer) and the audience. It was a lovely interactive experience for us all.

Susan has developed a programme which is so far reaching, it starts to blow your mind just thinking about it. She runs training which basically teaches you to teach Childrens reflexology to parents and carers. She has created some beautifully illustrated children’s books to accompany the learning about Mouse and his Friends. Each of the animals in the story represents a different reflex on the foot and as the story progresses, the child gets a gentle reflexology treatment. Can you think of anything more adorable ?

As the children get a little older they can read the stories to each other and give themselves a reflexology treatment. Susan is passionate about working with Children and spreading the message of reflexology to our next generation. You can find out more at https://www.kidsreflex.co.uk/

I don’t know about you but it makes me feel wonderful, knowing that we have educators like these at the forefront of our industry, leading us with compassion and a deep love for Reflexology.

I will continue this post in sections over the next few days as I group the other speakers and lessons learned into the following :

  • Reproductive Health
  • Foot Reading
  • Self Care
  • Know your Products

In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed reading, be sure to check out the Links posted and be well and happy, Mi 🌸

Stone Craze or just crazy

I have been teaching Stone Therapy since 2008 in some form or other. I began with Stone Massage and naturally moved into Stone Reflexology and Stone Facial along the way.  Hot Stone massage became very mainstream about 10 years ago and with every new craze, it took on many shapes and forms, from full body 90 minute luxury treatments to add on options for manicures and pedicures.  I remember my first ever stone kit. The heater barely fit in my treatment room. It contained over 80 stones of various shapes and sizes and it cost a small fortune. I loved it though. The stones felt smooth, warm and alive with energy.

Over the years I have studied and integrated new therapies and let go of others, however, I have kept my stones close by and used them alongside my other treatments.  My kits have also evolved, thankfully getting smaller and neater and only require minimal space nowadays.

So what is it about the stones that still afford them a place in my heart … and my Clinic?

When you think of a hot stone treatment, you immediately think of heat and that’s probably the biggest benefit of this therapy. Heat increases the circulation of blood and lymph to the area bringing essential nutrients and oxygen to the cells as well as removing some waste products. Heat is also very comforting and when warmth penetrates through the tissues, it releases any tension in tight tense muscles and relaxation spreads throughout.

With Stone Reflexology, we gain these benefits specifically on the feet and legs, one of the areas that receive the least circulation. Clients with cold feet can benefit from the comfort and application of hot stones. Muscles of the legs have no option but to relax as the warmth floods the tissues. Reflexologists can then adapt the stones to work certain reflexes or reflex areas. Stone Therapy Reflexology is designed to allow you the option of using stones, while also holding firm on the integrity and authenticity of your reflexology treatment. It is not a new way to perform reflexology but importantly a tool which you can mould to suit a specific problem area. Think of a tight tense reflex which might require some heavy thumb work. The heat of the stones can make this area much easier to approach, quickly releasing tension in the tissues and bringing circulation to where it is needed. This offers a way to really enhance a treatment and complement your routine.

If we think of the benefits in terms of the Stone Facial (another extremity), warm stones increase circulation to the dermis, once again bringing nutrients and oxygen and providing a glow to the skin. Tense muscles in the face and head are softened and somehow, overactive minds calm down.  I have seen this time and time again with my clients.

The stones themselves are beautiful smooth basalt stones. They originate from volcanic rock or lava and they have the ability to stay hot for anything from 5-10 minutes but this greatly depends on the size of stone and funnily enough, the client who is receiving the heat. They are sanitised before every client, heated in a stone heater and are safely applied to the body at the correct temperature.

When I began working with basalt stones, I found them slightly disruptive to the flow of my treatment, but I have now honed my skills and adjusted the process so that interruption is at an all-time low.

At this point, I’ve not yet mentioned cold stones. We do incorporate Cold Stones into all stone therapy treatments and they too have their benefits and can feel amazing when used at the right time for the right reasons. Application is tailored to the client and they provide the necessary balance needed, a yin to the yang.

Apart from the client benefits, what can Therapists expect ?

Therapists can add this feature to their treatment menu at a relatively low cost. The Training cost is €150 and the kits themselves cost anything from €100 – €200 depending on the size you want. I use a lot less stones now than I did in the early days. During the training, we use approximately 20 stones. You then decide if you want to stick with that or reduce them.

The training incorporates a full treatment and access to Video afterwards for practice and refining your skills. I absolutely love sharing these teachings with therapists. The stones are amazing and the routines are relaxing and grounding.

Full course details at www.soulbalance.com

Upcoming Workshops : Kildare

Saturday 19thOctober – Stone Facial

Saturday 02ndNovember – Stone Reflexology

Request your Stone Therapy Treatment today online at www.michelledelaney.ie 

Summer School of Formulation Fun

As you guys already know, I love to dabble in a little formulation. As a Herbalist / Aromatherapist, whipping up a remedy here and there is all par for the course at my clinic, however, my remedies tend to be more on the medicinal side and less about luxury skin care products. Occasionally I might create some lip balms as treats for my clients but normally my products are put together in minutes, prescribed and used in a matter of days. I have thought about expanding my formulation skills but the big world of antioxidants and preservatives scares me and frankly I’ve never managed to find the time.

In June I came across the fabulous, Essential Formulation online course delivered by Lise Anderson of LisaLise Pure Natural Skincare and Robert Tisserand of the Tisserand Institute. I had completed the Essential Oil Safety Masterclass last year with Robert and I loved it, so I decided this might be a nice summer learning activity.

Every Tuesday evening, notebook at the ready, I logged on to a live lecture with Lise and in the company of many other learners from all corners of the world, we got to experience the safe and creative art of skincare formulation. Lisa is an excellent mentor. She has lots of experience and she is wonderfully generous with her knowledge of this growing business. Week after week, we explored everything from balms and serums to water based sprays, face masks and bath products. The lessons were practical and filled with tonnes of information and handy tips and tricks so you can make the most of your new creative, skincare formulating talents. Not only did we learn to expand our formulation skills, we also discovered how to prolong the shelf life of our products with antioxidants and preservatives. Yes the world of preservatives is a minefield but Lisa taught us how to navigate it with some ease.

Robert also lectured on essential oils and shared his own unique blending process. If you are part of the Aromatherapy global community, then Robert needs no introduction. If however, you are new to this topic, let me just say this … in all my years studying (I started in the late 80’s) and even before that, Robert has been out there at the leading edge with new information, research and safety. He is truly a world expert in Aromatherapy.  This industry is growing rapidly and not all the information out there is correct or safe. Having Robert lead the way on safety through his books, blogs and teachings is important to those of us working with or using essential oils.  Watching him blend during this course was really quite special and his formulas are pretty wow.

Each weeks lesson finished with a Q&A facilitated by Hana Tisserand, COO of the Tisserand Institute. Hana is so lovely. She’s also very professional, patient and somehow managed to get to all the questions and support everyone through the learning journey. Learners then take to the dedicated forums in the following days to ask more questions, interact with each other and share details of their great successes AND failures with their product making. Yes, you can fail here and it’s completely ok. In fact, it’s encouraged. How else are we to learn?

To make sure that we grasp the learning of a particular topic, a weekly assignment is issued in the form of a quiz. You can take this at your leisure, when you have had time to read over your notes. After 8 weeks, we received a final assessment which incorporates everything learned so far.

I was expecting a great experience and I wasn’t disappointed. This course was fun, detailed  and inspiring. The momentum of the training was perfect. Somehow, Robert Hana and Lisa managed to create the perfect balance between delivering the information and allowing you the time to digest and absorb, before moving on to the next topic. When online training is delivered from a professional platform by such a dedicated team at the Tisserand Institute, it feels like you are all in the same room, sharing in the fun of learning and feeling completely supported throughout. My kind of learning environment!

Now when I think of formulating, my plan is more structured. I have a new set of skills to lean on. I have an updated format to work from. I no longer fear the failure that sometimes comes with trying new things. Instead I embrace creativity with my ideas and I’m enjoying the testing phase, while making lots of notes as I go. Watch this space guys, you never know what is coming down the line.

fullsizeoutput_1fb1Another fab course completed, another heart full and another notebook (or two) filled with exciting new information. Now might be the time to shop for more notebooks. Who am I kidding, it’s always time to shop for more notebooks.

If you love Aromatherapy and/or fabulous skin care and feel like broadening your experience, connect with these Wonderful Mentors when you get a chance. And to you Aromatherapists out there who are looking for some CPD training, this may be just the right choice for you.

Robert Tisserand  https://tisserandinstitute.org/

Lise Anderson https://www.lisalise.com/

There is always more to learn.

Mi

H2 Oohhhhh !!!

‘Make sure you continue drinking enough water’, she said as she handed me the full glass. 

I was thirsty now after my hour-long massage so I emptied the glass easily, however, I knew that over the next few days, my thirst would decrease and I would return to my old habits, drinking too much tea and slowly becoming dehydrated again.    


Sound familiar ???

Some of us really struggle to get enough good clean water into our bodies on a daily basis.  The guidelines state that we need 30ml per kilo of body weight. One Stone is equivalent to just over 6kilos. So for example: if you weigh 70 kilos, you will need 2100ml or just over 2litres per day. If you are exercising or losing fluids more than usual, then you will need even more.

urine-hydration

If we become dehydrated, we may experience

  • low energy
  • dry skin
  • headaches
  • low urine output – dark coloured urine
  • dizziness
  • poor concentration and memory
  • constipation
  • creaky joints and
  • an overall feeling of sluggishness.

Often times we turn to stimulants, like coffee and tea to give ourselves a boost. These act as diuretics and stimulate the kidneys to make more urine, flushing, even more, fluids out of the body. Doh !!!

So how can we ensure that we drink enough water, EVERYDAY? 

Well, firstly I believe that we if know WHY we need to hydrate our bodies, we might be more likely to give our water intake a little more of our attention. In my opinion, education is half the battle.  So if you are up for a little Anatomy Lesson, I promise to keep it short and sweet.

human-anatomy-animated-word-cloud-text-design-animation-kinetic-typography_rlwcvvcvg_thumbnail-small05Cells. Cells. Cells.  It all starts with the Cells. Our bodies are made up of approx 50 trillion cells.  Each of these 50,000,000,000,000 cells contain 70% water. Suspended in this cellular fluid are organelles which help the cell to carry out its job efficiently. These jobs include :

  • Taking in all the nutrients from our food and turning them into something great, giving energy to the cell and proteins to build and repair.
  • Taking in Oxygen and using it to create energy
  • Removing Carbon Dioxide and other waste products
  • Responding to changes in the surrounding environment
  • Moving
  • Reproducing new cells
  • Growing
  • Finding a unique purpose (Becoming bone cell or a hair cell)

normal-dehydrated-cell1

As you can imagine, a day in the life of a cell can be quite full. The ultimate multitasker! When they become dehydrated, all of the above functions are harder to complete. If I had so much on my to-do list, I would want to know I had a good backup. So its no wonder that our cells need their full quota of water and other nutrition to function optimally.

  • Cells come together and form groups
  • These groups of cells are called Tissues
  • Tissues come together and form Organ Systems
  • Our main Organ Systems are: Skin, Skeletal, Muscular, Cardiovascular, Lymphatic, Endocrine, Digestive, Respiratory, Nervous, Reproductive, Urinary
  • All of these organ systems work together to form our highly intelligent Human Body, a family of 50,000,000,000,000 cells all constantly communicating with each other.

A well-hydrated body will go a good way towards creating: hydrated skin, flexibility, and strength in the muscular system, good circulation, strong immune system, balanced hormones, good digestion, great sleep and an overall feeling of wellbeing – why? – because each cell is doing a great job.

Here are a few tips to increase Water in your diet: 

  1. Invest in a good water bottle. Fill it up first thing in the morning with good clean water (if you live in an area where fluoride is present, you may think about investing in a filter), carry it with you and drink your daily quota gradually throughout the day.
  2. Flavour your water with some fresh fruit or herbs. I like Mint/Basil/Cucumber
  3. If you are the type of person that likes to track and measure your progress, search the App Store for Daily Water app and find one that suits your device.
  4. Eat more Watery foods: Fresh fruit and Veg, especially cucumber, zucchini, melon. Or at this time of year, soups might be more to your taste. Juices & smoothies might suit the milder months.
  5. Swap your sugary drinks for water and substitute your Tea and Coffee with some herbal teas. Most stores now stock a wide range of herbal teas so you are sure to find something you like. This is where I get the majority of my water intake. (stay posted for  some herbal tea posts soon)

It sounds so simple eh?  Often when we start to become unbalanced, its time to get back to the simple things in life. Where better to start?

Your Happy Cells will thank you 🙂

I leave you with this short interview  – You are a community of 50 trillion cells – Bruce H. Lipton

In’joy