Just Breathe…


Living on Canada’s west coast surrounded by trees, I was more concerned about daughter’s year-round hay fever and the air quality in my home. I thought about outdoor air quality in the abstract, but never about how it directly affected me or my family. It is so easy to get caught up in our own lives.

This past summer was a wake-up call.  “Summer 2017 has been B.C’s  worst wildfire season on record, & as of Sept 28, more than 100 fires are still burning.”  Many communities have been impacted, like Williams Lake, 100 Mile House & the Elephant Hill fire, near Cache Creek & Ashcroft. The smoke affected the air quality near the fires but it also affected air quality in different areas throughout the province.  One day this past summer, I was outside in the middle of the afternoon, everything was hazy, the air felt thick, & it was hard to breathe.

I have never thought much about breathing other than if I had a chest cold or sinus congestion. From the moment of our birth, our body’s  “autonomic nervous system” controls our breathing; we don’t even have to think about it. Adults breathe anywhere from 12-20 times per minute. If you do the math, (which I did), that adds up to 17,280 – 28,800 breaths per day (depending on your fitness and/or stress levels). While we can’t-do a lot about outdoor pollution personally (well other than voting in governments that have strong environmental protection plans, writing letters/ petitions to your MP or MLA, and recycling! Sorry that was just a little rant), we can do something about the air quality in our homes.

Things you can do:

  • Get rid of chemical cleaners, laundry detergents, fabric refreshers, and Synthetic Room Sprays/ Plugins.
  • Avoid using Incense & candles with synthetic fragrances, or at least limit their use and get some ventilation into the room. (I am finding that these 2 things really bother me.)
  • Go more natural with your Personal Body Care Products. There are a lot of products available, but educate yourself & read the labels to find the best ones. (No one in my house is allowed to use a certain type of Body Spray because it affects my breathing.)
  • Air out your home frequently. Many manufactured items in your home will continue to off-gas to some extent. Older homes were drafty so this wasn’t as much of a problem, but newer homes are more airtight so it is important to open some windows periodically, especially during the winter months.
  • Consider getting some plants in your home. NASA calls plants part of “Nature’s Life Support System”. Peace Lilies, Spider Plants, English Ivy & Weeping Fig plants are a few to consider; they are fairly hardy & are thought to help with air quality due to the photosynthesis process.

And you can also use Aromatherapy in your home. When using essential oils, cheaper isn’t better, quality is. It is important that you find a reputable supplier that sell pure, hopefully, organic &  unadulterated oils; that your suppliers know where their oils come from & they share all the important information with you. (And if someone wants to sell you “100% pure therapeutic grade essential oils, know that this is a registered trademark of the company. There is no organization that oversees the quality of essential oils.) At a minimum you need to know:

Continue reading “Just Breathe…”

Diffusing with an “Open Heart”

First Posted October 2014

500_aromasens14K__33346.1429820271.1280.1280 (1)While I love the ambiance of a candle diffuser, my favorite way to diffuse essential oils is with an ultrasonic diffuser. In the water bowl of these diffusers, there is a small metal disc that vibrates by “ultrasonic frequencies,” which break up the essential oil and water into tiny particles, which form a fine, cool mist, that is then dispersed into the air.

It is also important not to run your diffuser for long periods of time because:

  • The molecules of essential oils diffuse through the air fairly quickly and you are still getting the effects. even though you’ve gotten used to the scent and you can’t smell it anymore.If you diffuse all day long you may be exposing yourself to too much essential oil. It is also important to change it up and not use the same blends all of the time.
  • The first few times that you that you use your diffuser, use 3-6 drops of your blend and diffuse for 15 – 30 min, to see how you like the scent, but more importantly, to see how you feel. When using your diffuser, Author Robert Tisserand (2014) says,  “Don’t diffuse for long periods of time, 30 – 60 minutes is good, or 30 minutes on and 60 minutes off”. Check the timer setting on your diffuser to find the best one for you and your environment.
  • If you have a baby or small children in your home, please use caution when deciding which essential oil to use in your diffuser (check the chem. type). You will also have to adjust the number of drops that you use in your diffuser & adjust the time, 15 – 30 min depending on the age and health of your child. With aromatherapy, less is always more.

I prefer to diffuse essential oils for about 20 – 30 min, 2 -3 times throughout the day. This way I can use an uplifting blend in the morning, and a more relaxing blend later in the day to help me unwind…

One of my favorite blends that I like to diffuse later in the day is called “Open Heart”. I 100_6389discovered Fragonia essential oil a few months ago, and I knew right away what I wanted to blend it with. Open Heart is a blend of Fragonia, Clary Sage, as well as Rosemary, Cypress, Tangerine, Lemon & Ylang Ylang essential oils. And while I love the blend, it’s the Fragonia essential oil that I want to rhapsodize about:

Fragonia is relatively new essential oil from Western Australia. It is actually trademarked by  “Paperbark Oils”, a small family run company. Early studies were done by Dr Daniel Penoel, a well-known French physician who studies the therapeutic uses of essential oils. He believed that Fragonia was able to release emotional blockages and bring balance to the emotional and physical body.
In her clinical study ‘Agonis fragrans and the Female Menstrual Cycle’, Aromatherapist Karen Wallwork found that Fragonia’s balancing effect is helpful for regulating hormones.And even after learning all these interesting facts about Fragonia, the thing that inspires me the most about this lovely oil is how it heals your spirit. Robbi Zeck N.D. said it best:
“Fragonia carries a unique energy pattern bringing the gift of the power of love. In each of us, love is already in place. Perhaps you can simply, let love, love you.” Now that to me is the best form of Self-Care…

My Blog is for information only &  replace medical advice.
Essential Oils are not for ingestion & should always be diluted before topical use.

If you are using a candle diffuser, never leave it unattended.  “Open Heart” diffuser blend is for ages 6 & up.

Zeck, R. (2004). The Blossoming Heart: Aromatherapy for healing and transformation
(pp. 80 – 81). East Ivanhoe, Victoria: Aroma Tours.pp. 80 – 81). East Ivanhoe, Victoria: Aroma Tours.