The beginning of the Spring season is when I like to focus on detoxification. After a long winter spent in slumber allowing myself to be comfy with my nose in the books planning for the months ahead, I begin plotting for the new season of growth. I am getting ready to move and refresh my mind, body and spirit. There is something about the Spring Equinox that delivers feelings of renewal through my soul.
As nature begins to awaken and the days become longer it gives me the opportunity to restore myself physically, emotionally and energetically.
I start this seasonal ritual by incorporating foods that have cleansing properties and support the liver, colon, kidneys and lungs. Some of these include bitter leafy greens like arugula & radicchio, steamed vegetables, herbal teas such as peppermint and ginger with a teaspoon of raw honey, and warm water with lemon in the morning & throughout the day.
I begin to move my body more by incorporating gentle yoga practices into my morning routine and by taking brisk 40 minute walks 4-5 times a week. This initiates the process of cleansing and the release of toxin build up bringing us out of stagnancy from the winter months.
While proper nourishment and movement helps to support the liver, colon, kidneys & lungs, using particular essential oils in various self care practices can enhance and support detox and cleansing.
Essential oils can intensify the process by decongesting tissue, assist with lymph drainage, alleviate fluid retention while producing a positive state of mind. Using essential oils topically can help vitalize the natural cleansing process.
Here are some self care practices, using essential oils, that I incorporate into my detox & cleansing routine.
Dry Skin Brushing
Dry brushing exfoliates the skin, unclogs pores, improves circulation and promotes lymph flow and drainage. The best time to perform this ritual is before a shower. It stimulates the nervous system allowing you to feel uplifted and invigorated. Use a natural, stiff bristled brush with a long handle to reach hard to get to places like the back.
Are you new to dry brushing?
Start at the feet, including your toes and work in long strokes on the limbs upwards toward the heart.
Use circular strokes on the abdomen, knees and back. Use lighter and gentle pressure on the chest & neck.
Shower immediately after to remove dead skin cells and flaky skin. Can be done daily.
Massage your skin with an essential oil infused oil blend or lotion after gently drying off to retain moisture & nourish and replenish the skin.
**Do not use a dry brush on damaged, inflamed or broken skin, or skin cancer. Avoid moles, skin tags and warts.
Soaking in a tub of warm water (as warm as you handle, but not scalding) with Epsom and Pink Himalayan salts and an essential oil blend can activate movement of fluid in the tissues and increase perspiration which releases toxins from the skin. This type of bath will detoxify your whole body while relaxing tired, sore and achy muscles bringing you to a calm mind space.
Epsom salts contain a high level of magnesium which pull out toxins from the surface of the skin, relieves inflammation & stress and leaves the skin looking and feeling healthy. Pink Himalayan salts are the purest form of salt on the Earth and contain over 80 trace minerals. They balance the PH of the skin, remove and release toxins and promote a relaxing and calming bathing experience.
Some of the oils I use in bath blends are:
Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis) - lymphatic stimulant, calming, improves sleep
Cedarwood Atlas (Cedrus atlantica)- regenerative, improves the appearance of cellulite, alleviates tension
Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) - diuretic, fluid retention, decongests tissue
Massage/ Self Massage
Receiving or giving yourself a gentle and soothing foot massage before bed can help you to relax and ground yourself for a restful sleep. This helps to warm achy muscles, release stress & tension and reduce fluid retention and swelling.
Some of the oils I use for foot massage are:
Ginger (Zingiber officinale)- improves circulation, alleviates muscle tension, warming
Juniper Berry (Juniperus communis)- fluid retention, tonic for the liver and digestive system, soothes nervous tension and negative energies
Lemon (Citrus limon)- stimulates the lymphatic system for detoxification, alleviates mental fatigue and physical exhaustion.
**Lemon essential oil is phototoxic. Avoid UV exposure for 12 hours prior to applying to the skin.
When I combine these gentle self care practices into my Spring cleansing routine it enhances the benefits and leaves me feeling uplifted and invigorated.
When working with essential oils it is especially important to use them with safety in mind.
Here are some basic guidelines:
Dilution- Always dilute your essential oils in a carrier oil before applying to the skin. Do a patch test first. They are very powerful and concentrated and can cause sensitization and irritation if applied directly onto the skin.
Keep oils away from mucous membranes- eyes, ears, nose (inside) & genitalia.
Phototoxicity- This happens when the skin has a reaction in the presence of UV rays or sun exposure. This can occur when certain essential oils, mainly in the citrus family, are applied to skin before or while being exposed to the sun. Some examples are orange, lime, grapefruit & tangerine. Angelica root and St. John’s Wort is also on the photosensitive list. These oils become toxic when exposed to UV light and can cause sun damage which ranges from a blotchy red rash, dark pigmentation or spots or burns. Avoid UV rays for 12 hours after applying to exposed skin.
Oxidation- When an essential oil is exposed to oxygen it starts to destroy the natural constituents. This process is called oxidation. It can cause the oils to become very irritating to the skin and cause sensitization. Heat and light can also destroy oils. Always store your oils in a glass or metal bottle, with the cap on tight, in a cool dark place.
If an oil is accidentally ingested by a child, call your local Poison Control immediately. A small dosage of essential oil can be very toxic, and can seriously harm a child or cause death. Keep all essential oils stored away from children. Essential Oils are flammable. Keep them away from open flames or fire hazards.
These are the methods & self care practices that I use to revive and renew my body, mind and spirit from the slumber of the winter months. I hope I have encouraged you to begin a gentle cleanse for yourself this season using these simple self care practices with aromatherapy and essential oils. If you would like more information on my service offerings and how to book a consultation, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/NancyLAromatherapy