Sunday, February 24, 2013

Tim Blakley Q & A

In 1999 I had the pleasure of attending the Medicinal Herb Conference in Cooperstown NY and hearing world renouned aromatherapist Tim Blakley speak in person. I was immediately filled with a an admiration for this man and his character, manner and of course, knowledge. Sponsored by the Center for Agricultural Development and Entrepreneurship, the event took place at the The Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown NY a town most famous for being home of the national Baseball Hall of Fame. As a side note, it is also where my first son was born, in the Birthing Center at Bassett Hospital! He is 16 this year and enjoys having that little claim to fame. 

Anyways, Tim now serves as staff aromatherapist for Aura Cacia Aromatherapy and last week he held a live Q & A on his facebook page. So I thought I would condense the best info from the session on this blog, because Tim is a wealth of common sense information on aromatherapy. Here he is, enjoying the euphoric scent of a field of organic Ylang Ylang trees in Madagascar.

The focus of the Q & A was using essential oils in the workplace. All of the following are direct quotes from Tim ; Read On ~ !

 'Any oil you use in a salve or balm has to be in it for a specific purpose. Generally you don't use harsh oils like thyme, oregano, cinnamon leaf, etc. unless you have a good reason. I use lavender in almost every salve I make though.'

'For the afternoon 'blah's you have several choices. Let's start with peppermint for short term invigoration but in the long run a continual diffused citrus is ideal.'

'For subtle the first trick is to have a small fan diffuser. These are battery run and they simply blow air over a pad you place oil(s) on. You can direct it right at your face so it’s easy to control the direction of the flow. It will still fill up the air around your workers eventually but because you are blowing it right at your face you don’t need as much oil.'

 'Now if you are feeling a bit of stress and need to mellow out a bit, then we use some different oils. I’m an old fashioned guy, I like lavender. To me it’s just perfect for a diffuser. Sometimes I’ll add a drop of another oil to it, maybe clary sage or a bit of Neroli. When I’m really feeling a bit pinched I like to rub a little Rose Absolute Precious(already pre-blended in Jojoba carrier oil) under my nose and maybe behind my ear.'

 'Though seldom discussed, keeping your work place ‘clean’ during the winter cold and flu season can be a challenge. We’ve discussed diffusers which of course help clean the air but the trick part is your hands. We often can’t go to the bathroom every time we touch some shared office instrument to wash our hands so we need to have a simple way to do this at your desk. A simple lavender/tea tree spritzer can be effective.
 Lavender and Tea Tree Hand Spritzer
50 drops of lavender
20 drops of tea tree
Mix into 1 oz of water in a spritzer bottle, shake and spray on your hand when needed'

'When work gets the best of me and head is just bursting, I like to put a little diluted peppermint on my temples, a little diluted lavender, and then I put my feet in hot water. To the hot water I add a little Rosemary, warms up my feet ever more, gets my blood flowing '

 'During the morning hours my favorite blend is peppermint and rosemary, two very complementary oils that will leave your mind fresh and your body invigorated.'

'Also at work you occasionally need to improve your ‘scent’. I often zip into bathrooms while traveling and get out my rose absolute precious(in jojoba oil) and lavender. Seven drops of Rose and 3 drops of lavender, half in one armpit, half in the other, and I’m good to go!'

'At night, before bed, I often take a bath and use Rose, German Chamomile, lavender and Ylang Ylang in my bath. Ylang Ylang really slows down your brain, very relaxing at night, my favorite before bed.'

'I also spritz my pillows in my hotel rooms with a lavender blend, 30 drops of lavender in an ounce of water, shake and spray.  There is always confusion about lavender.... What is Spike Lavender, what is Lavandin, etc.  Spike lavender is a different species than the common English lavender that we all know. It grows taller and is more productive but unlike english lavender it's loaded with camphor, this makes it a very different oil. Spike lavender is crossed with English Lavender to create a hybrid, Lavandin, which is also high in camphor. It is unfortunately often sold as 'lavender' as it's less expensive. One of my new favorites is Tasmanian Lavender. It comes from a single farm in Tasmania that has been selecting out 'sweeter' smelling plants for nearly 100 years and have thus created an oil that is simply put, soft, sweet and lovely.'

' When I"m feeling just a little too stuffy I like a blend of peppermint and frankincense diluted with a little carrier oil right under my nose.
I also like to diffuse frankincense into my airspace at the same time, almost everyone likes the scent of frankincense.' 

'Lemon Balm is a very nice oil, calming, soothing, not overpowering in scent when diluted. My mother likes it when there is a little scent in the room and sometimes I'll rub just a little tiny bit on her feet or hands.'

'When we smell an oil it goes right to the part of our brain, the limbic part, where our memory is centered. Scent and memory are very closely aligned and you can use this to your advantage. If you have an oil that you like, one that makes you feel good, you can use the scent memory association at any time to make you feel better. I call this your ‘go to’ oil and you can use it whenever you feel a bit uncomfortable or overwhelmed. I have a handful of ‘go to’ oils and my favorites are lavender, rose and especially vanilla. Vanilla simply makes me feel better. Kids also respond to scent/memory and I’ve found that they generally love vanilla over just about any other oil.'

'I'm not sure any oil will guarantee a stress free day but I start everyday with Peppermint. It surely gives you a boost in the morning, helps with concentration but also tends to reduce some of your frustration. If you have to drive to work, nothing is better than peppermint in the car. During the morning hours my favorite blend is peppermint and rosemary, two very complementary oils that will leave your mind fresh and your body invigorated. '

'Rose is one of the most famous and popular oils historically for facial use. I often use it with lavender, together they are cleansing, astringent, soothing and ideal for most facial 'conditions'. I often use Tamanu as the carrier oils for those oils as well.'

'If you are standing on your feet a lot at work I’d suggest you try a little peppermint. A drop or two on your socks before you put your shoes on will cool your down and invigorate you for hours! It feels great, especially on hot days. I had a co-worker who once put 9 drops of peppermint on her foot accidentally while we were at a natural products show. She was overwhelmed by it, too stimulated in the foot! Just a couple drops is plenty for virtually the whole day.'

'Tea Tree  is of course still a top 5 selling oil though nowhere near in the same category as lavender or peppermint. Its a very versatile oil and since I'm a plant junkie I use it in my little nursery regularly. I clean my old pots and flats with tea tree to make them ready for the next use. It's an ideal gargling oil. I do a mix of Tea Tree, Peppermint and Myrrh and I always gargle in a little fat.
Why fat, well the oils emulsify in the fat and thus swish around your mouth much better than if you used water. I use half and half on the road(free at Starbucks) and at home I use soy or rice milk. They are much better than gargling in water. I also soak my toothpicks in an oil blend, usually tea tree and peppermint. It really makes the toothpicks much more 'productive.'

Thanks Tim, for answering all those questions! Aura Cacia hosts one of these chats every month at their Facebook Page . And I do want to try that Tasmanian Lavender it sounds dreamy!


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