Essential Oils for Christmas: Guest Blog from Ecotherapist Hayley Gillard

essential-oils-for-christmas

Essential Oils for Christmas.

This time of year is filled with wonderful smells.

The roast dinner wafting around the house, smoky log fires, fresh Christmas trees and warm spicy gingerbread.

I love feeling cosy this time of year.  Lighting candles, putting pyjamas on the radiators and enjoying warming cups of cocoa. When the weather is cold, dark and grey, it’s really easy to stay inside snuggled up and warm.

As an Ecotherapist I work outdoors.  Using nature as therapy. This time of year people definitely opt for their sessions round big cosy campfires.  Or ask how we can bring nature inside instead!

Aromatherapy is a wonderful way to do that.  I’m always happy to share my go-to essential oils for Christmas.

 

 

Essential Oils: A Brief History

Of course, the best nature-connection benefits still come from being outdoors.

But using essential oils is a great natural way to help body and mind.  And a perfect way of bringing nature inside. I’ve been an Aromatherapist for about 14 years now.  I use essential oils to support lots of ailments and conditions. And to help me and my clients with stress, anxiety and concentration. Or to help boost relaxation and encourage sleep.

Essential oils are the purest part of a plant and have been used for thousands of years as a natural medicine.

They originated in the Far East in Ayurvedic medicine.  And were also used in Ancient Egypt in the embalming process and as incense and perfume.

We also hear about essential oils in the story of the birth of Jesus.  The three kings bought gifts of frankincense and myrrh. The wonderful spicy and opulent scents travelled to Europe with trade routes and they were very prized and very precious.

By the 16th century essential oils were found in every apothecary on every street corner and were used to treat all sorts of medical problems.

With the boom of the perfume industry, people started to look to create the smells of the essential oils much more cheaply. The smells were then created synthetically in factories.  The oils smelt nice, but because they were not made from plants, they lost all of their therapeutic properties. Aromatherapy as a medicine became discredited.

Gradually, as people become more and more concerned with what we are putting in and on our bodies, we are turning to plants once again to help us. A more plant based diet perhaps? A deeper connection to the natural world? A more natural way of living?

 

Essential Oils for Christmas

You can use essential oils in so many ways. This time of year they really come into their own as so many of the gorgeous spices and plants remind us of Christmases past. They can help reduce festive stress, remove pet smells before guests arrive or liven up gifts.

Here’s some ideas for using essential oils for Christmas in your home. And bringing nature inside.

 

Frankincense

My favourite oil at any time of year, but especially Christmas! This oil is spicy, opulent and earthy. It’s often used for grounding or in spiritual connectedness. Many people associate this oil with grandeur and luxury, as it is often used in grand museums and places of worship. Frankincense boosts the immune system which is great for this time of year. It helps reduces stress and blood pressure and also helps to relieve pain. You should avoid this oil if pregnant.

I’d use this oil in an oil burner mixed with water on it’s own or mixed with something like lemon or cedarwood. The wonderful smells of the orient are linked to the festive time of year and will make your room feel cosy and welcoming.

It really is one of the best essential oils for Christmas.

Sweet Orange

A lovely refreshing, energising and vibrant oil made from the rind and zest of the fruit. You can experiment with this oil, adding it to the tops of warm radiators or lightbulbs or putting a few drops into your bath.

My favourite way to use this oil is in my own natural skincare and orange works amazingly in a body scrub. As orange is uplifting and energising it’s great to wake yourself up in the morning, and to use in the shower.

Try out this recipe using fresh orange rind or orange essential oil.

 

essential oils for christmas winter warmer body scrub

Pine 

If you have a log burner or an open fire this one is another of the fantastic essential oils for Christmas! You can burn fresh pine cones, pine needles or branches to release that amazing wintery fresh smell into your home.

Pine is great at decongesting so great for reducing symptoms of colds and flu. It eases sinus problems, catarrh and sore throats The really fresh smell of pine is great at eliminating bad odours, so is nice to burn if you have guests coming over.

A few drops in an oil burner works well or you could add a few drops to the top of a candle, on your towels in the bathroom or onto old potpourri.

 

If you’re a Christmas lover like me, or you’re looking at ways to connect with nature more over the winter I absolutely recommend trying essential oils for Christmas. They work psychologically with smells reminding us of things that are relaxing (or energising/opulent/warming etc.), physiologically by influencing the hormones within the system and physically through the use of massage, natural skincare and applying diluted oils.

Merry Christmas!

Love, Hayley x

 

Hayley Gillard is an Ecotherapist and a Life Coach and uses nature to help people to manage their emotional wellbeing. She runs regular outdoor workshops and retreats as well as DIY retreat kits, one to one coaching and online programmes. You can find out more about her work at www.hayleygillard.com and www.wildgoosecic.co.uk

 

Safety

You should always check the contraindications of an oil before you use it. Some oils are not suitable for certain conditions e.g. pregnancy and epilepsy. Some oils are not suitable for use before going out in the sun. Always check before you use.

Never ingest an oil. Whilst there are natural plant oils in the food we eat in the discipline of Aromatherapy we never ingest any essential oils.

Do not apply an essential oil directly to the skin. Essential oils should always be diluted before use. This can be done in a plant oil, salt or milk for example.

The recommended dilution of an essential oil is:

1% essential oil dilution = 1 drop per 5ml or 2 drops per 10ml etc. (recommended for elderly, frail, people with allergies or sensitivities, children under 4, and during pregnancy)

2% essential oil dilution = 2 drops per 5ml or 4 drops per 10ml etc. (normal fit, strong, healthy, well individuals)

3% essential oil dilution = 3 drops per 5ml or 6 drops per 10ml etc. (for local area application only i.e. application to a specific part / small area of the body only (excluding the face)

 

 

 

 

Winter Skin Care – by Skin Guru Louise Thomas-Minns

winter skin care

Winter Skin Care –  Guest Blog by Skin Guru Louise Thomas-Minns.

As Autumn fades and Winter arrives in its full force, it’s time to get ahead of the game. Yes,  the temperature outside is dropping and the heating is going on indoors.

We should always take into consideration the changes that seasons have on our skin’s health. Winter is no exception.

I’ve highlighted below some of the key tips for winter skin care  to ensure your skin stays on top form!

 

#1 Review Your Winter Skin Care Routine.

How do we know when it’s time to change up our daily skin routine?

You have to really listen to your skin. If your skin doesn’t feel comfortable then a product is not working as intended.

It’s time for a change!

Does your skin feel tight? Is your skin experiencing excessive flaking? Are you producing more oil than normal? Yes, dehydration/water loss increases oil within the skin.

If the products aren’t working any more, your skin will let you know.

 

#2 Perform Your Night Time Routine.

When the heat is on at night that means your skin has dry air blowing on it for about seven hours or more while you sleep.

The dry air looks for moisture wherever it can get it and that means taking it from your skin. A process of Osmosis.

This makes your night time skin care routine crucial in the winter so you can prevent unnecessary dryness.

Firstly turn down the thermostat a little and wear an extra layer or two.

You should be using a night time moisturiser that is appropriate for your skin type. Rule of thumb is water in oil if you are oily and oil in water if you’re drier.  Many clients believe their night time moisturiser has to be heavy, greasy or oil based to last through the night, but that is not always true.

The most important aspect of skin care is matching your products with your skin type so you’re giving your skin exactly what it needs.

 

#3 Use a Humidifier In Your Bedroom Especially if You Are Acne Prone.

Before switching to heavier products try out this secret, yet simple, solution.

Put a humidifier in your bedroom!

This trick will work, for both dry skin and those prone to outbreaks.

When we feel our skin getting dryer our first idea is to use a heavier, creamier moisturiser. For acne-prone skin a heavier product could contain “comedogenic” ingredients – it means they can increase clogged pores.  And no-one wants clogged pores with an already acne prone skin!

A humidifier will put more moisture into the air, which will regulate your bedroom’s environment. Your skin can grab more hydration without causing you to buy a new moisturiser.

 

#4 Incorporate More Products Into Your Winter Skin Care Routine.

The basics of just cleansing and moisturising may not be enough as your skin changes with the winter climate.

Applying moisturiser consistently is important.

BUT when your skin craves more hydration, the answer is not adding on extra layers of your moisturiser product.

The solution for alleviating tight, dry skin is using a specialty serum or elixir to accompany your moisturiser. Use the serum underneath your moisturiser to hydrate the skin because the damp skin will help to absorb your regular moisturiser more effectively.

Also use the 60 second rule. Get your serums and moisturisers onto your skin within 60 seconds of cleansing.

Why not add a drop of oil to your regular moisturiser if you still feel a bit parched?

 

I hope my top winter skin care tips help keep you looking and feeling great this winter. Get more hints, tips and recommendations on my website and social media including Facebook, Instagram and You Tube. The U and Your Skin Lounge – where we treat clients – is in Norwich, UK.

Love, Louise x

 

Louise Thomas-Minns
CIBTAC BABTAC CIDESCO Cert Ed
Celebrity skin therapist and company director
www.uandyourskin.co.uk
01603 633633