Posts tagged ‘essential oils’

October 2, 2013

The A-Choo Choo Train Has Arrived!

Achoo Choo

Chronic coughing, watery eyes, and sinus pressure is nothing to sneeze about! If you’re an audible reminder of the change of seasons, perhaps it’s time to take your allergies seriously.  When I was younger, I used to hide before coughing, and held in my sneezes (which someone told me would blow out my eardrums and ruin my hearing. So far so good there… although I stopped holding in my sneezes out of that fear.) Here’s your allergy edition of “Did You Know?”

Hopefully you’ll find one or two nuggets of new information that will save your makeup from running, your nose from chaffing, and maybe make you a little more pleasant as we navigate through the fall allergy season.

right sneeze Wrong sneeze

Did you know…

  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizers don’t effectively remove all allergens. They kill bacteria, but not necessarily food proteins, whichcause food allergies.
  • Combatting inflammation is key to keeping your sinuses clear. Spirulina, Eyebright, Butterbur, Bromelain, and Goldenseal have all been recommended for allergy relief.
  • Showering off after spending time outdoors is a huge help in reducing the spread of allergens. A quick rinse after spending time outdoors can help remove allergens from your skin and hair and prevent them from spreading to clothes, furniture, pillowcases, and other surfaces.

A favorite home remedy that takes me back to childhood is the steam bowl. Pour boiling water into a bowl and with a towel over your head, hover your face over the bowl (not too close—it is boiling water!) This creates a steam to breathe in deeply and open up clogged passageways. For an added bonus, add a few drops of  Eucalyptus oil, which has both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Ahh!

(BEAUTY TIP: While your pores are open from the steam bowl, wipe Witch Hazel on your face for a natural toner and antiseptic.)

Finally—here are two favorite recipes to soothe and decongest you through allergy season.

Lemon WaterPeppy Lemon Water

Warm lemon water with a few drops of peppermint oil (yep, t

hat’s all. So easy, you can have several detoxing, decongesting cups.)

The lemon water has soothing and detoxing properties, and the peppermint will assist with inflammation.

Hot Cucumber Rolls

Mix together wasabi paste and red pepper hummus (or regular hummus and add crushed red pepper)

Slice crisp red, green, and yellow bell peppers

Thinly slice a cucumber long-ways (not the normal way)

Spread the hummus paste lightly onto half a cucumber slice

Roll two or three pepper slices into each cucumber and secure with a toothpick (for parties, add a almond-stuffed olive or a mint leaf

to the toothpick before securing to the roll.)

The wasabi and red peppers both have elements that work as temporary decongestants and cucumbers are detoxing helpers! All of these are feel-good ingredients to comfort yourself and your allergy-stricken body.

For more holistic tips and remedies, check out or message me at for information on what I use to stay allergy-free (and away from sickness altogether!)

February 12, 2013

Love on the Run


Hi, there! It’s Brooke here. Valentine’s Day is growing closer—will you be ready? By that I mean have you been treating yourself with loving kindness? Or have you been running yourself ragged moving at Mach 10, desperately hoping you don’t fall apart before you finish all the things that MUST BE DONE? I have absolutely no idea what that feels like—ha! With this craziness in mind, I’d like to share several of my favorite tricks on how to relax when your time is tight. As with any healthy relationship, not every caring gesture has to be grand. Little things can be profoundly powerful, as you will see.

breathe rock

Deep Breathing: You’d think we’d know how to breathe correctly, seeing as how we’ve been doing it all our lives. But we would be wrong. Most of us breathe shallowly from our chest, our shoulders naturally rising on every intake of breath. Yes, this gets the job done, but at a cost. We form the habit of shallow breathing and the muscles we use to do this (chest, shoulders, neck, and back) compensate by becoming stiff and tight. When we are stressed or worried, especially over a period of time, our body’s stress response causes us to take short, small breaths, which then causes our shoulders to creep upward toward our ears, when then causes those shoulder, upper back, and neck muscles to tighten up. Before we know it, we feel breathless and trapped, with burning, aching muscles and a raging tension headache. No, no. This won’t do!

Try It!

Start by putting your left hand on your chest and your right hand on your belly. Now, breathe in like you normally do (using your mouth or your nose), with your chest rising below your left hand. That should feel natural to you. Now, breathe in through your nose while expanding your belly below your right hand. Do you feel the difference? Try it again, noticing the way your breath slows down as you inhale through your nose and the larger capacity your “belly,” or diaphragm, has for expanding. This is called deep breathing, or belly breathing. This action floods your cells with oxygen, clearing up your muddled mind, and slows your heartbeat, lowering your blood pressure. Take another deep, slow breath in through your nose, expanding your belly, and then breathe out from your mouth. Do this 3-5 times.

love hand

Healing Touch: It’s nice to have a great massage therapist on your speed dial, but escaping to her quiet studio for an hour is not always possible. Luckily, you can enjoy the healing power of touch given by your own two hands.

Try It!

First, find a calm place. Then as you look at your hands, set your intention to spread healing through your touch. This doesn’t have to be weird or woo-woo. Just notice the warmth and strength of your hands as you work. Starting at your left hand, use your right hand to firmly squeeze the muscles of your left palm and fingers. Then let go and move up your wrist an inch, then squeeze again. Let go and inch your way up your arm the same way, firmly squeezing then moving up, all the way to where your shoulder meets your neck. Then switch hands, and work your way from your right wrist up to the top of your right shoulder. Gently place the palms of both hands on either side of your neck, resting your fingers around the back of your neck (but don’t squeeze!). Just rest your hands gently around your neck for 10 seconds.

occipital massage

If you have a tension headache, this is your go-to move: Take your palms and place them gently over your ears, then spread your fingers out. Your thumbs should be almost touching along the bony ridge on the back of your head. Now take your thumbs and move them outward along that ridge to the bony edge half an inch behind your ears. If you feel softness and not bone, keep moving away from your ear until you feel the bony ridge of the base of your skull. Hook your thumbs underneath that bony ridge and press upward firmly (according to your comfort level) and hold for 10-15 seconds. Then move each thumb half an inch toward the middle of the back of your head and press upward again and hold. Do this until your thumbs meet in the middle.

Now, press the heels of your hands into your scalp, moving around your head after each squeeze. Take your fingertips, and carefully press your temples (or rub in circles). You may want to wash your hands for this next part if your skin is prone to breakouts. Your face is delicate, so you will use just your fingertips now. Start at the middle of your chin and gently squeeze your skin along your jawbone between your thumb and first two fingers, working out toward your ears. Then, come back to the center and while keeping your mouth relaxed, squeeze your lips between your fingertips—it’s probably best that you do this move looking away from other people (or toward a mirror if you need a laugh!). Now, starting at the crease where your cheeks meet your nose, gently press two or three fingertips in place along your cheekbone, working in little increments toward your ear. Then come back to the center, and with one or two fingertips, do the same gentle press along the lower orbital bone (below your eye), working outward and around the entire bone (above your eyes). For an instant stress reliever: Starting at the inner edge of each eyebrow, squeeze and hold the eyebrow between your thumb and forefinger for 8-10 seconds. Then work your way outward, squeezing the eyebrow as you go.

lavendar bushes

Soothing Scents: Depending on your mood, you may lean toward calming scents or revitalizing ones. There are so many lovely possibilities when aromatherapy is involved, but we’ll explore just a few. If you are in need of peace and relaxation, try lavender or eucalyptus essential oils. These scents are classic choices for all manner of calming rest. If you need a little boost, peppermint, spearmint, or wintergreen are excellent choices. Another category of invigorating scents are the evergreens—cedar, spruce, and pine. You can find these essential oils in grocery stores, online, or my favorite massage supply store—Body Logic ( for $4-$15. These oils are very powerful, so if you want to use them on your skin, be sure to dilute them by adding them to a safe carrier oil or unscented lotion. You can also use these oils by making “smelling salts”—put ½ teaspoon of kosher salt into a little glass vial and then add 5 drops of your favorite scent and cover tightly. Anytime you need a whiff, just open the vial for a portable pick-me-up. You can also add a few drops of oil to a tissue or paper towel tucked nearby and enjoy. And if you don’t have oil, a nice fragrant (unused) tea bag unwrapped on your desk can transport you in no time flat (my favorite for tea-bag aromatherapy is Tazo tea in Earl Grey).

For Valentine’s Day and every day, may you find a few stolen moments to treat yourself to some TLC. Goodness knows we all need it!

XO, Brooke