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Make Your Own Aromatherapy Bath Salts Easily from Basic Ingredients

set of salt for bath placed on marble table

 

Creating your own aromatherapy bath salts is a terrific way to enjoy aromatherapy at home. Surprisingly, bath salts are very affordable to make and require no harsh ingredients. In fact, the main ingredients in bath salts include baking soda, table salt and epsom salt. Each of these are commonly found in a local grocery or retail store and are safe to use. The advantage to creating your own bath salts is that you can tailor the recipe to your needs and preferences. This way, you also know that the ingredients are going into your product safe for you to use.

Basic Aromatherapy Bath Salt Recipe 

First, you’ll need a large mixing bowl and spoon reserved for this type of project. Essential oils are not easily washed out, especially if you use plastic, so keep this bowl separate from your food prep bowls. The next step is to add 3 cups of epsom salt, 2 cups of baking soda and 1 cup of table salt into the mixing bowl. You can also add pink Himalayan salt or sea salt instead of table salt. Once each of the ingredients are added, begin mixing them with your hand or the spoon.

Coloring your Aromatherapy bath salts

If you’d like to color your bath salts, food coloring is a great option. If I’m coloring my bath salts, I try to match the color to the intended purpose of the bath salts. For example, if I’m making lavender bath salts for relaxation, I would choose a calming color like blue or purple.

Once mixing is complete, slowly add the food coloring to the mixture. Adding more drops will darken the color and adding fewer will make it softer. If you’re blending colors, such as blue and red to make purple, mix them before adding to the bath salts. Otherwise, you will end up with splotches of red and blue, not an even purple.

set of salt for bath placed on marble table
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Adding the essential oils

The final step is to add essential oils until the desired scent is achieved. While I have made lavender bath salts by adding the lavender essential oil directly to the salt mixture, it is best to dilute the essential oils in a carrier oil. This is especially important with things like peppermint essential oil that could be very uncomfortable in a bath if not diluted properly (essential oils do not dilute in water!)

I like to use 1-2 tablespoons of carrier oil and add the essential oils until I get the scent level I’m needing. Ten drops of essential oil per cup of bath salts is a good guideline to start. I then add the diluted essential oils to the salt mixture and blend well.

Essential oil alternatives

If you’d prefer not to use essential oils, you can use skin safe fragrance oils or a bit of your favorite perfume. Just be absolutely sure anything you add is made to use on skin. I would use the same method for adding the fragrance as for essential oils.

Storing your Aromatherapy bath Salts

For the best results, store your bath salts in an airtight container. I like using glass canning jars because they are reusable, the essential oils don’t get embedded into the glass, and they are pretty. If you choose to use glass too, just be careful not to drop them in the tub.

Aromatherapy bath salts

I do offer aromatherapy bath salts in my shop, so check them out if you’d prefer not to make them yourself. 🙂

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Aromatherapy for healing the Mind and Body

two clear glass bottles with liquids

 

Aroma is very powerful. We all have certain scents that bring back memories or evoke certain thoughts and feelings. It’s no wonder, then, that for thousands of years people have used scents to evoke a physical response and to heal. Strong evidence was found to link aromatherapy to many ancient traditions. Though aromatic oils have been used to treat and cure various ailments and conditions for centuries, the formal study on their properties only started in 1928.

What is Aromatherapy?

In its simplest form, aromatherapy is the use of scent, usually in the form of essential plant oils for therapeutic purposes. The essential oils are normally used to relieve a person from stress and a variety of stress-related conditions. They are also used for promoting a person’s general well being and invigorating the body and psyche.

How does it work?

Aromatherapy works by inducing our olfactory nerve cells with aromatic oils, which then carries the message to our limbic system in the brain. The limbic system is the part of the brain responsible for controlling memory and emotions.

Aromatherapy is concerned in the workings of both our physical and emotional selves. Physically, aromatherapy helps in relieving specific conditions by stimulating our nervous, immune and circulatory systems. In emotions, however, they work by evoking pleasant memories and uplifting our mood.

Although the medical community is not in agreement over whether aromatherapy in itself is instrumental to healing various medical conditions, the idea of recovery through aromatherapy is widely accepted. Think of eucalyptus for easing cold symptoms, minty or peppery salves for soothing achy muscles and lavender, rose or frankincense for relieving stress.

How are essential oils made? 

Essential oils are derived from the distillation of the parts of a plant. They can come from the leaves, roots, flowers, stems or bark. They hold the true essence of the plants from which they originally came in high concentration. Though termed as oil, essential oils normally do not have all of the real properties of oil. It is important to note that, like oil, essential oils do not dilute in water. Their high concentration means that they should not be ingested or used without properly diluting them in a carrier oil first.  

clear glass bottles on white surface
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How are essential oils used?

Essential oils are used in a variety of methods. A few are through inhalation, by blending them with a carrier oil and adding them to bathwater, or by the application of the diluted oil on the body.

You should only use pure essential oils for aromatherapy. You want to look for 100% essential oils, not fragrance oils when choosing oils for aromatherapy. Be aware, though that labels like “therapeutic grade” do not have a standardized meaning, nor are essential oils FDA approved.

Commonly Used Oils in Aromatherapy

Carrier (base) oils

The following is a list of the most common oils used in aromatherapy. First are the common carrier oils (also known as vegetable oils or base oils).

  • Almond, Sweet
  • Apricot Kernel
  • Avocado
  • Borage
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Coconut
  • Grapeseed
  • Jojoba
  • Olive
  • Rose Hip
  • Shea Butter (carrier)
  • Sunflower

Essential Oils

Next are some of the most commonly used essential oils. Everyone has their own preference, so expect some variation depending on the practitioner. 

  • Frankincense
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Sweet Orange
  • Tea Tree
selective focus of essential oil bottles
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Essential Oils to Avoid

Below are some essential oils that are not recommended to use in aromatherapy. This is especially true if you are not supervised by a professional, licensed aromatherapist. This is not an extensive list, so please, know your essential oil before using it. Remember, essential oils are highly concentrated. Just because something is safe as a food does not mean it is safe as an essential oil.

  • Almond, Bitter
  • Arnica
  • Birch, Sweet
  • Broom, Spanish
  • Calamus
  • Camphor
  • Garlic
  • Horseradish
  • Mugwort
  • Mustard
  • Onion
  • Pennyroyal
  • Rue
  • Sassafras
  • Thuja
  • Wintergreen
  • Wormwood

Aromatherapy at Work 

You’ll find aromatherapists in a variety of work environments including in private practice, natural health clinics, health clubs, spas and holistic medical practices, among others.

While there is limited formal research on aromatherapy, therapists and physicians often prescribe aromatic essential oils for a range of complaints. These include colds and flus, insomnia, sinusitis, migraines, digestive problems and muscle pains. Most people are familiar with using lavender for insomnia or peppermint and eucalyptus for congestion. While I’ve probably said this about a million times by now, essential oils should never be taken orally. They should also be diluted in a carrier oil and used sparingly at first until you know how you react to them.

Aromatherapy for You

If you’re interested in learning more to begin using aromatherapy yourself, check out my 9 Tips For Aromatherapy Beginners

If you’d like to read some of the research on the medicinal use of essential oils, here are a few articles for you:

The Effectiveness of Aromatherapy in Reducing Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Aromatherapy: Do Essential Oils Really Work?

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New Self Care Content Coming

flat lay photo of alternative medicines

Good morning! I hope everyone who celebrates had a happy holiday weekend, and to everyone else, I hope your weekend was also awesome.

Between children, cancer treatment and just life in general, things have been pretty hectic. I’ve often complained that I feel like I took better care of myself before I was diagnosed. My diet has definitely suffered, and too much of my spare time lately is spent “doom scrolling”.

There’s nothing wrong with comfort food and relaxing with whatever form of entertainment for a while, but I feel like it’s time to start focusing on getting myself healthy beyond fighting breast cancer. I have two Kadcyla treatments remaining (yay!). That will conclude my “active” cancer treatment. I still have years of estrogen-blocking medicine, but a pill a day is very different that multiple doctors appointments in a month, or week, and chemo fatigue. I am totally looking forward to it, but also worry that, without the constant business of treatment, I will be left feeling a little, “what now?”

To help me focus on my health, and give me some direction to all my new free time, I want to focus not just on diet, but things like aromatherapy, herbalism, yoga, meditation and journaling. These are all things I’ve thoroughly enjoyed in the past but have gotten put aside in all the chaos.

green leafed plant beside clear glass mg
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To keep me focused, I will be sharing some of that information here, both as informative articles and candid posts about my personal experiences. There will still be plenty of crafty tips and tutorials, because creating is something that I have to do. (Remembering to photograph the process and actually post about it is something I need to work on, lol.)

If you subscribe and would rather not get the new content, let me know and I will figure out how to organize my mailing list so that everyone gets the content they want. 🙂

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9 Helpful Tips for Aromatherapy Beginners

 

Aromatherapy is a useful tool for health and wellness. Learning to use essential oils safely and effectively is a bit daunting at first, though. Here are nine simple tips to get you started.

9 Tips For Aromatherapy Beginners

1. Buy One or Two Aromatherapy Books

First of all, it’s good to have a book or two to for easy reference. Choose just one or two books to start your aromatherapy library. It’s best to choose books that are general resources to begin. This gives you some basic information and helps you discover the areas in which you have the most interest. A knowledgeable author will not recommend ingesting essential oils or using them undiluted (neat) topically. Steer clear of any books recommending ingestion or neat usage.

The only possible exceptions are undiluted topical use of lavender and tea tree oil, however the safest route is always to dilute in a carrier oil.

2. Join Aromatherapy Discussion Forums

Facebook groups, Instagram pages and other forums are great resources for aromatherapy newbies. Read past discussions, ask questions, and learn from others. This is my favorite Facebook group for learning about essential oil safety: Using Essential Oils Safely. 

Essential Oils for Aromatherapy
Essential Oils

3. Choose Five or Ten Essential Oils to Start

Though you may be tempted to buy more, try to begin with just five or ten different essential oils. Because essential oils can be pricey, you may want to experiment with a few at first. Then you can invest in more if you decide to pursue aromatherapy further. Some of my favorites are lavender, tea tree, peppermint, lemon and rosemary.  

4. Make Sure to Buy 100%, Pure, Unadulterated Essential Oils

When you buy essential oils, choose well-known and reputable manufacturers. Avoid anything described as synthetic, fragrance, and/or perfume oils. These are not essential oils; they contain man-made chemicals and have no aromatherapeutic value.

Further more, good quality essential oils do not have to cost a fortune. Some of my favorite brands are Now, Plant Therapy, Aura Cacia, Eden’s Garden and Garden of Life. I personally avoid the MLM brands due to some of their business practices. 

5. Buy at Least One Carrier Oil

For nearly all topical aromatherapy applications, you will need to dilute essential oils with a carrier oil. Good all-purpose carrier oils include sweet almond oil, coconut oil, olive oil, and grapeseed oil.

Choose a good quality carrier oil based on the application and your skin type, and use only a few drops of essential oil(s) per ounce of carrier oil. As you learn more about essential oils, you can play around with the dilution ratios depending on your needs. 

My favorites are coconut for normal to oily skin and olive for dry skin. I like these because they are easy to find just about anywhere.

6. Store Your Oils Properly

Essential oils should be stored only in dark glass containers. Since essential oils are volatile, keep the lids tightly closed. Essential oils and carrier oils should be stored away from heat and light. Carrier oils will go rancid eventually, so it’s best to buy smaller quantities. 

Blending Essential Oils in Carrier Oil

7. Learn How to Do a Patch Test

Essential oils can cause adverse reactions due to allergy or sensitization over time. A patch test helps to determine whether you might react to a particular essential oil. It is important to perform a skin patch test on yourself with each new oil you want to use topically. 

8. Don’t Use Aromatherapy with Children or Pets

Until you are thoroughly familiar with essential oils and associated safety issues, don’t use them on children or pets, or while pregnant or breastfeeding. Cats, in particular, may be adversely affected by essential oils. Make sure essential oils are kept out of reach of children. 

9. Don’t Ingest Essential Oils

Lastly, do not ingest essential oils. When taken internally, essential oils can damage your esophagus and liver. Some essential oils that are safe to use topically may be quite toxic if taken internally. In addition, some essential oils may interact with prescription or over the counter drugs. The only safe way to ever ingest essential oils is under the care of a licensed, knowledgeable aromatherapist, encapsulated with a carrier oil and for a brief period of time to treat a specific condition. Even then, it would be best to choose another option, such as an herbal infusion or tincture or medication prescribed by your doctor. This is true even for essential oils labeled “therapeutic grade” or similar.

As you experiment with and learn more about aromatherapy, you will become more confident using essential oils. There is so much to explore, so be safe and have fun!

Essential oils and herbal supplements are not FDA approved. This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered as a recommendation or an endorsement of any particular medical or health treatment. Please consult a health care provider before pursuing any herbal or aromatherapy treatments.

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7 Amazing Uses for Aloe Vera Gel

I’m always on the lookout for simple, natural products that don’t cost an arm and a leg. It’s especially important when it comes to products that I use on my skin. Skin absorbs so much. One product I’ve found that is natural, inexpensive and a great multitasker is aloe vera gel.

Aloe Vera Plant

Skin irritations

When you think of using aloe topically, you probably think of soothing a sunburn. You can also use it to sooth other burns as well as minor cuts and scrapes.

Aloe vera hand sanitizer

There are tons of recipes online for diy hand sanitizers using aloe vera as one of the base ingredients. I’m not a big hand sanitizer fan, but I like the look of these recipes from Wellness Mama. She has two different formulas. One is a gentle aloe and essential oil only recipe for home or children to use, and one is a stronger formula for when something more potent is needed.

Hair gel

Aloe gel can be used as a hair gel, too. In my experience, it provides a light hold, and isn’t stiff or sticky as long as you don’t overdo it. It also leaves your hair soft and silky afterward, unlike most hair gels which contain alcohol or other ingredients that dry your hair. To tame flyaways, I like to rub a drop of aloe between my palms and smooth over the ends of my hair.

Brows

Try aloe on your brows to keep them in shape. Since aloe gel is clear, you don’t have to worry about finding the right color to match. Dip an old, cleaned mascara wand, eyebrow brush or toothbrush in aloe and brush your eyebrows into shape. It’s also great for soothing your skin after plucking or waxing your brows.

Hair conditioner

If the ends of your hair dry, rub a little aloe on them to help smooth and condition them. I’ve also heard you can use aloe gel in place of a regular, rinse out conditioner, although I haven’t tried it yet.

Moisturizer

Aloe is a great moisturizer for your skin. It leaves your skin feeling soft but not greasy.

Skin refresher

I’ve heard that aloe gel works well to refresh your skin in situations where you may not be able to wash your face regularly like camping and traveling. Just massage it on and gently wipe off the excess.

Exfoliating with aloe vera

Mix aloe with salt or sugar for a great exfoliating scrub. When making scrubs, sugar tends to be a little more gentle, but salt is more antibacterial.

Which aloe vera gel is best?

The way to get the freshest aloe gel, of course, is to grow your own aloe plant. If you’re like me and have a hard time keeping plants alive, or you just want to pick up a bottle or two so you’ll have plenty on hand, spring and summer are good times to get it. Specialty health stores will stock it year round, but right now it’s easier to find in discount stores and supermarkets with their seasonal products.

The most important thing to look for is 100% pure aloe. Pure aloe will be clear. Steer clear of the blue and green aloe gels. They contain added ingredients to help “cool” a sunburn. These ingredients are okay (although unnecessary) for sunburns, but you don’t want to use these aloe blends for anything other than soothing a sunburn.

One brand that’s fairly easy for me to find is Fruit of the Earth. I think I paid around $5-$7 for a 24 ounce bottle. Not bad when you compare it to a comparably-sized bottle of lotion, or conditioner, or moisturizer, or hair gel, all of which can be replaced with aloe.

What aloe tips have I left out? Share yours with me.

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Aloe vera uses
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Frankincense and Myrrh Soap is Back!

Frankincense and myrrh was one of my first customer requests years ago when I began soap making. Over time, there’s been a few variations in the recipe.

For the first time ever, this year’s Frankincense and Myrrh soap is 100% synthetic fragrance free. Instead, I used pure frankincense and myrrh essential oils. Then, I added a touch of orange Valencia essential oil to sweeten it. The end result is a warm, piney scent. It is a bit more subtle than what you get with synthetic fragrance oils, so the scent isn’t overwhelming. Plus, you get the benefits of true essential oils.

I also formulated this batch to lather up like my other shampoo bars. For travelling, shampoo bars are the way to go. With a bar, there’s no worries about leaking in your luggage or TSA liquid restrictions. No plastic bottles also means no BPA concerns and less environmental impact.

Everyone needs soap. Frankincense and Myrrh handmade soap makes a great stocking stuffer or small gift for teachers or coworkers. Right now, use coupon code “ShopSmall18” for 30% off your entire order at the SubEarthan Cottage shop

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Essential Oil Rollers Available at SubEarthan Cottage

Pumpkin lavender roll on Lemongrass

When used properly, essential oils are a wonderful tool for health and well-being. After much research, I now offer seven essential oil blends at SubEarthan Cottage in convenient roll-on form. Each blend is able to be customized for dilution, which is very important if you intend to use them on children or sensitive individuals. You can also choose between coconut, sweet almond and olive oils for the carrier. If none of my blends work for your needs, there is the option to choose a single essential oil or your own custom blend.

I personally carry two blends with me at all times. They are “Peace” and “Balance”.

Peace

Peace Essential Oil Blend
Peace essential oil blend

Peace is a blend of Frankincense, Lavender, Orange and Patchouli essential oils. I love it for days when things get a bit crazy. It’s like a mini-vacation in a bottle.

Balance

Balance essential oil roller
Balance essential oil roller

Balance is a blend of pure Clary Sage, Lavender, Frankincense and Myrrh essential oils. Those oils are thought to help with pms, mood swings and all the other fun that comes with monthly hormone shifts. Since the oils in Balance may effect hormones, this blend is not suitable for pregnant women.

Relax

Relax essential oil blend
Relax essential oil blend

Relax is a blend of pure Lavender, Frankincense and Orange essential oils. It’s great for helping you unwind after a busy day.

Focus

Focus Essential oil Blend
Focus essential oil blend

Focus is a blend of pure peppermint and orange essential oils. The bright, crisp scents may help keep you alert and focused.

Release

Release essential oil blend
Release essential oil blend

Release is a blend of pure lavender, peppermint and frankincense essential oils. I like rolling it on tense muscles.

Soothe

Soothe essential oil blend
Soothe essential oil blend

Soothe is a blend of pure eucalyptus, frankincense and lemon essential oils. It’s basically a nicer, less goopy version of the chest rub your mom made you use when you were sick. Eucalyptus is one of the essential oils that should not be used on children, so if you are interested in a version for children, let me know and I can swap the eucalyptus for something kid-friendly.

Spring

Spring essential oil blend
Spring essential oil blend

Spring is a blend of pure lavender, peppermint and lemon essential oils. If you’re like me, spring and fall are torture due to all the pollen in the air. These oils are supposed to help ease seasonal allergy symptoms. I personally haven’t put it to the test yet, but I’m sure by October I’ll be able to give a full review.

I go into more usage safety in the product listings, so be sure to read and ask questions if needed. I am always happy to make adjustments to the blends to better fit your needs.

Right now, everything at SubEarthan Cottage is on sale for 30% off, including the essential oil rollers, so now is a great time to try them for yourself.