Essential oils have gone mainstream! It’s all the rage. But, did you know the practice if Aromatherapy has been around a very, very long time? I’m not going to go into a drawn out story of a French gentleman by the name of Gattafosse (excuse me, I know I missed an accent in there; French is not my native tongue). Nor will I ramble about how he plunged his hand into a vat of pure lavender oil after it burned in a perfumery lab accident. I will tell you, he became amazed at the wonderful healing of his wounds and coined the term aromatherapy….and hence, the modern era craze began.

Essential oils are all the craze
Essential oils are all the craze

 

Essential oils have been around for as long as plants have been around (translation: long darn time). There are historical accounts of using essential oils in ancient Egypt. They are mentioned throughout the Bible and other religious texts of the world. Essential oils are an essential part of history and they are back in a huge way!

 

About 16 years ago, I had the pleasure of going to Utah for a week of classes. It was a week of intensive holistic education. I learned about different types of administration of remedies, classification of herbs, and so much more…including essential oils and aromatherapy. I consider myself lucky for having been able to attend such an intensive.

 

I learned a lot about essential oils. I learned about balancing blends; which oils are traditionally used for which complaints; how to dilute oils; and more. One thing I learned, which I think is very important to point out, is that there is no certification body for the “grading” of essential oils in the USA today. What that means is that, at this very moment as I type this, there is no independent certification body serving to grade essential oils as “pure” or “therapeutic” grade or “perfume” grade or whatever other classification you hear a company claiming. There are companies out there that can document and prove to you that their oils are authentic. They are using the word “authentic” to mean that their oils are not cut or diluted down with any synthetic and/or natural substance. This is a good thing. These companies can also tell you exactly from where their oils are derived. This is also a very good thing.

General ground rules for using essential oils

-always dilute your oils

Although distributors of some oils say theirs are different, no one knows how you and your body are going to react to an oil until you use it. It is best to start with a low concentration. You can add more, but you cannot take away.

-do not ingest straight oils

There are companies out there with distributors insisting their oils are safe to ingest. While some essential oils are derived from plant foods and spices, I do not suggest just throwing them your mouth willy nilly! The only oils I’ve ever done this with are peppermint and wintergreen oils. I only did it for myself, and have never recommended anyone else do this. Essential oils can burn. They can burn the skin and the tongue and mouth tissues, too. Caution should be used. Extreme dilution of oils without chemical additives can be done with the proper education and experience. However, I would not suggest jumping right in to something like that!

 

-do not apply just any straight oil

Some oils are what is referred to as “hot” oils. Oregano, cinnamon, etc are examples of “hot” oils. These may burn the skin and should be applied neat (the term used a straight, undiluted application to the skin). Olive oil, almond oil, sunflower oil and safflower oil are my personal favorite carrier oils for skin application.

 

-use oils that smell good to you

This is not rocket science. If you think an oil stinks, it probably is not the oil for you.

 

Please remember that essential oils are extremely concentrated. I’ll leave you with this video showing how a steam extracted oil can be produced. Keep a close eye on the amount of raw materials and the tiny amount of oil. Then, you will understand the cost and the concentration.

 

 

Earlier, I wrote about metabolic age as an important measurement of your body’s functionality. It is a newer measurement than resting metabolic rate or your basal metabolic rate. Both of these terms refer to the amount of calories a person burns while the body is at rest (not involved in exercise). This is sometimes referred to as your BMR.

BMR Calculations

For women:

BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)

For men:

BMR = 666 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches ) – (6.8 x age in years)

Once you have your BMR, you can then compare to other in your same age bracket.

Your metabolic age is simply the age at which your body is functioning.

So, if you are 5 foot 4 inches, female and have the same BMI as a 16 year old female of that height and weight, your metabolic age is 16. You can find many charts and calculator tools online.

Another option is to use various scales that measure your metabolic age.

As a trained IN.form coach, I use a biotracker. This is a fancy name for  a scale that takes various measurements. I input the sex, age, height, and activity level. It then does the calculations for weight, body fat, daily caloric intake, hydration levels, visceral fat, bmi, bone mass and metabolic age. Not a single one of these measurements is an end-all and be-all. The idea is that the weight, visceral fat, metabolic age, bmi, and body fat all come down, while the other numbers go up. These measurements are merely tools to give visual confirmation and feedback to confirm we are doing the right things for our bodies. It can be a huge motivation to see those numbers change. I know it was for me. Especially when my initial reading was 92! (Completely, not kidding….it was a whopping 92!! I was functioning. metabolically as a 92 year old woman….at 40!)

How do we increase our metabolism?

-Exercise

Move your body! Just get up and move. It does not matter what kind of exercise you choose to do. Just pick one. The best kind of exercise for you is one you will do!

-Supplements

Some synergystic blends of supplements may help speed

-Proper Sleep

This is an area where I lag behind. I tend to burn the midnight oil. Not getting adequate rest can work against weight management efforts. Most experts agree that an adult should get between seven to 10 hours of sleep a night. Eight hours is a nice middle ground.

-Stress management

This is where I REALLY fall behind. My stress management, at this time, sucks! As a wholistic consultant and IN.form coach, I know I should probably serve as an example. However, let’s face it. I am human just like all of you. My stress levels have been through the roof, at times! That’s when I find myself eating and grabbing the chocolate. I also know that certain adrenal hormones, produced as a reaction to stress, block weight loss attempts!

Whatever you do, know that there is always a tomorrow.

So your readings one day aren’t that great. Oh well. The world did not quit spinning. You try again. And again. The idea is to keep up the effort. Everyday you make another small change for the better. You then become better and better until you are the best you there is to be!

 

It’s the new year! All thew champagne is gone. All the party poppers have been sprung. You are now left with a brand new year. What are YOU going to do with it? Do you really want an “all new you”? I’m hoping to just improve and refine the “me” I already am!

I recently did a periscope broadcast on just this very topic (you can find me on periscope and twitter under @herbchick1, by the way). I urge you to share. What are your resolutions for 2016? I’ve got mine! I’m aiming to do my belly dance drills daily; become more avid in the use of my kettle bell (hopefully pushing along the loss of my baby apron); reduce my metabolic age (more coming on this very, very soon); and revamp my diet. In the spirit of that last one, please check out the video below. Just changing one thing at a time, like reducing your wheat consumption, can make a world of difference!

Enjoy! And hit me with those resolutions, people! They mean more when you put them in writing!