Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Question & Answer: Preparation for Birth Wounds

I am expecting my first child in a couple weeks and would like to make a preparation to use on any birth wounds that I might get. Could you recommend anything?”

I would recommend mixing some aloe vera gel with lavender and tea tree essential oils which can be used on birth wounds of any kind including caesarean scars and stitches. Keep the gel in the fridge and apply 3/4 times a day. It will help speed up healing, reduce pain and inflammation, and help prevent infection. According to the Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants by Andrew Chevallier, extensive research has been carried out since the 1930s showing
“that the clear gel has a dramatic ability to heal wounds, ulcers and burns, putting a protective coat on the affected area and speeding up the rate of healing. This action is in part due to the presence of aloectin B, which stimulates the immune system.”
A spray can also be made using the essential oils mentioned above along with witch hazel.
“Witch hazel contains large quantities of tannins. These have a drying, astringent effect, causing the tightening up of proteins in the skin and across the surface of abrasions. This creates a protective covering that increases resistance to inflammation and promotes healing of broken skin.”
You could also place a small amount of either of these blends on a sanitary pad to wear if you would prefer that to applying them direct.

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Monday, 14 September 2009

Spa Review: Center Parcs, Longleat Forest

Steam Rooms and Saunas in a Spa
Photo by hendry.
At the weekend I visited the Aqua Sana spa at Longleat Forest Center Parcs. It was my first trip to a spa so I was very excited. I’ve used steam rooms and saunas before at swimming pools and gyms but never in a spa.

On arrival, I was given a warm white robe to change in to and a towel to take round with me. The spa was very peaceful and everyone who was using it was very respectful of each other keeping talking to a minimum so that we could all benefit from the relaxation experience.

Soft relaxation music was played in to the steam and meditation rooms and the surrounding relaxation areas. There were about 15 different rooms to use including steam rooms, meditation rooms, saunas, relaxation area, experience showers, ice fountain, and a small outdoor heated pool.

I spent 3 hours in the spa and spent most of the time in the steam rooms and saunas. If I had had more time, I may have also made use of the relaxation areas as they were amazing. There was a zen garden, water beds, giant beanbags, and loungers that all looked very comfortable and inviting.

My favourite steam room was the Indian Blossom steam room which was the hottest and most humid of all the steam rooms and the steam was infused with eucalyptus and menthol which did wonders for my sinus congestion. My second favourite was the Japanese salt steam room which had heated seats and the steam was infused with mineral salts and mint.

My favourite sauna was the Tyrolean Sauna which was a traditional wooden lined sauna with the aromas of pine and mountain herbs and was very hot indeed. After some time in the sauna, I rubbed a handful of flaky ice from the ice fountain all over my body which felt really refreshing.

I felt amazing afterwards and my skill felt so soft – I don’t recall it ever being that soft before! In the evening I did have a bit of a detox/healing response but it didn’t last long.

I loved my first spa experience very much. I can’t decide whether I like steam rooms or saunas more. Planning my next trip to a spa as I write…

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Friday, 11 September 2009

Balance Holistics Now on Twitter!

Over the months I have heard various people talking about Twitter but never really new what it was or how to use it until now. I have just joined Twitter to update people on things relating to Balance Holistics and this blog and anything else I think is interesting. My Twitter profile can be viewed and followed at https://twitter.com/balanceholistic. My last five updates can also be viewed in the right sidebar under ‘Balance Holistics on Twitter.’ I hope you enjoy my tweets!

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Thursday, 10 September 2009

Question Time: Essential Oils for Scarring

I regularly get asked questions by existing clients and people via email regarding wellbeing, complementary therapies, and various ailments. So I decided to include some of these questions and my answers here on my blog. For the first Question Time post, the question is:

“Are there any oils that I can use to help speed up the healing of wounds and help reduce scarring?”

Arnica is good for helping reduce any bruising that may be surrounding the wound, it is an anti-inflammatory, and helps scar healing and reduction. Helicrysium is an excellent anti-inflammatory and helps with tissue regeneration. Rosehip Seed oil and Hazelnut oil are also good choices for the carrier oil.

As for the essential oils, I would definitely use lavender. When wounds start healing, the area can often itch so I would recommend perhaps including German chamomile to help counteract this. Mandarin and sage are also good for scars as is carrot seed, frankincense, patchouli, and vetiver.

For a 30ml blend, I would recommend mixing 15ml Rosehip seed with 15ml of either Hazulnet or Arnica then add 20 drops of Helicyrsium (1ml) and 20 drops of lavender. Then 15-20 drops split between the other essential oils that you decide to use – perhaps 10 drops frankincense, 5 drops mandarin, 3 drops German chamomile, and 2 drops sage. It is quite a strong blend so it shouldn't be used all over the body - just on the affected areas 2-3 times a day. It will help speed up the healing process, reduce any redness and inflammation, and hopefully reduce the scarring.

Always perform a patch test first.

If you would like your question to feature in a future Question Time post, please post your question as a comment or email me.

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Tuesday, 8 September 2009

The Herbal Medicine Chest

I already have several herbal remedies, essential oils and homeopathic remedies in my medicine chest which I find invaluable. While reading a book from the library titled Home Hints and Tips: The New Guide to Natural, Safe and Healthy Living by Rosamond Richardson, I found a section on the herbal medicine chest. It suggested the following remedies to keep in your cupboard:

Aloe Vera – the gel can be used for minor burns and scalds, sunburn, stretch marks, warts, wounds and grazes, eczema and dermatitis, and dehydrated skin.

Arnica – the cream can be used on bruises, sprains and strains, and stiff and aching muscles while the arnica homeopathic pillules can be taken when you have sustained an injury, are in pain, or have experienced shock or trauma.

Calendula – the cream can be used on acne, boils, athlete’s foot, bites and stings, nappy rash, bruises, minor wounds, and swellings.

Chamomile – the chamomile essential oil can be blended with a carrier oil such as sweet almond oil and used for a wide variety of skin conditions including nappy rash, eczema and dermatitis, sore and itching skin, bites and stings, sore nipples and muscles spasms. A cream is also available which can be used for the same conditions. German Chamomile is the best variation of chamomile for skin conditions. Chamomile tea is excellent for insomnia, indigestion, morning sickness, and relaxation.

Clove – a couple drops of the essential oil can be used to help toothache – place 2-3 drops on some cotton wool and dab on to the surrounding area.

Comfrey – a cream or ointment can be used for bruises, acne, boils, fractures and wounds, fungal skin infections, psoriasis, and stiff and aching joints.

Echinecea – both tablets and tincture are available and can be used to help stimulate the immune system when under attack for example during a cold / flu. It can also help coughs, fevers, mild asthma and cold sores.

Garlic – capsules can be taken to increase your resistance to infections and can be used for colds and flu, coughs and bronchitis. It also helps to lower blood pressure and can be used for cold sores and digestive infections.

Hypercium – the cream is very effective for cramps, neuralgia, cold sores, back pain, and stiff and aching joints and muscles. The oil can be used on minor wounds and burns.

Lavender – the lavender essential oil can be used for headaches, back pain, asthma, irritability, insomnia, relaxation and much more. It can be used neat on insect stings and bites, spots, and cold sores. Add it to a carrier oil to massage stiff and aching muscles and joints.

Meadowsweet – the tablets can be used for rheumatic aches while a tea made from meadowsweet can help with stomach acidity, heartburn, and diarrhoea.

Neem – the oil can be used to treat head lice, skin rashes, ringworm, and it is also a powerful insect repellent. The cream can be used for eczema, proriasis, acne and many other skin conditions.

Slippery Elm – the capsules are good for coughs and bronchitis. The powder is good for acidity and indigestion while the tablets are good for diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome, and haemorrhoids.

Tea Tree – the tea tree essential oil is good for stings, bites, wounds, skin infection, ringworm, athlete’s foot, minor burns, warts and corns, and much more. It can also be used undiluted on the skin but if it is to be used on a large area of skin it is best to dilute it in a carrier oil first. It can be used to treat thrush by mixing 2-3 drops with 1 tsp of olive oil and place on a tampon to insert. Leave it in for 2-3 hours, remove, and repeat if required.

Thyme – the essential oil is good for bites, stings, scabies, sciatica, ringworm, rheumatic pain, athlete’s foot, and thrush. This essential oil must be diluted before use.

Valerian & Hops – tablets are available to help insomnia, relieve stress, tension and anxiety. Valerian is also available as an essential oil which can be placed on a tissue on your pillow at night.

White Willow – tablets can help arthritis, rheumatic pain, back pain, stiff and aching joints, and fever. It also reduces night sweats and hot flushes in menopause.

Witch Hazel – this can be used on insect bites and stings, sore skin, rashes, broken and varicose veins, bruises, and eczema.

Out of these 18 herbal medicine chest essentials I have 10 which is pretty good going but I will make a trip to the nearest health food store to stock up on the others – you never know when they might come in handy. I would also add a pot of tiger balm to this list for muscle aches and pains as well as eucalyptus essential oil for steam inhalations.

I found this list quite interesting and I will be looking in to some of the individual items in more detail in future posts. Some of them have already been discussed in more detail such as the arnica homeopathic pillules, tea tree, lavender, and chamomile essential oils.

Ensure that you follow the directions carefully on any products you purchase and take note of any cautions.

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