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Inspired By Butterflies

Why the name inspired by butterflies for my page?

Some of you know me for years, others have just met me, and a few may only know me as a name on Facebook. But I challenge each of you on this page to reach out and get to know what inspires the friends around you. 

Butterflies.... Butterflies have inspired me. Not just because butterflies happen to be the symbol of lupus. But because of a quote I came across many years ago: "just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly. (unknown)"
See, I was that caterpillar. I was given this lupus diagnosis. Didn't understand the disease. Felt like my life as I knew it was falling apart because I couldn't keep up with it. Then, once I accepted that I had this disease, but that I could choose to live it the way I wanted, everything changed. I was empowered by changing my mindset to say that I alone could chose to be happy. Just because I had a certain set of limitations in life, didn't mean I couldn't stop living. And I was determined to change my mental drudge and reach out to control those things I could. 

One of those things was reaching into my alternative medicine roots and looking for ways I could actively take care of myself. Not being dependent on western medicine alone to pull me out of this rut. I went back to acupuncture. I changed some of my eating habits. I surrounded myself with positive energy.  And I started using essential oils, essentially all thru the day here and there. 
So this page is dedicated to talking about what has inspired me and I hope that what I post here will inspire you as well. This page is not meant to be a sales pitch, but I will happily post reasons to buy these oils that I use myself. I will share information from others because I believe in always learning. I will share funnies to inspire you to smile in the day. Please share my page with others that you think might need a little inspiration to starting 2017 with a happy heart and healthier goals. 


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Updates from Julie Folger

 Don't go to the hospital without your diffuser and oils!

Don't go to the hospital without your diffuser and oils!

Last week my Mom had knee replacement surgery, and among the things she packed were her diffuser and oils! Makes this little aromatherapist daughter so proud! Turned out she was the most popular room on the floor. The staff were congregating at her doorway to visit, to exchange reports, and to wait for the next call light. There were many questions and there were a few who knew about the oils, "My girlfriend uses those, I can smell the thieves...," so I know we were not the first to introduce them. 

So why not bring your diffuser friends? If you goggle search it, you will find that there are several studies talking about the use of aromatherapy post surgically, in delivery/postpartum units, and more. For my friends at convention, remember Dr. Olie talking about his experience with patients' family members asking to use them? I can foresee in the next 5 years that asking for a diffuser will be just as common as some durable medical equipment. The benefits and possibilities are endless!

Let's talk history of aromatherapy in healthcare for a moment. During the Crimean War, Florence Nightingale was stationed in Turkey. While there she managed to reduce mortality rates by 45% simply by ordering the hospital to be cleaned. Conditions were bad, beyond bad, with neglected patients and medical supplies in short supply. Hygienic conditions were so bad that massive infections were common, and soldiers could be found lying on the bare floors surrounded by vermin. With Cholera and typhus on the rise, soldiers were more likely to die in the hospital that on the battlefields.  Imagine your own anxiety and fears of common hospital acquired infections in today's healthcare and multiply that for these soldiers. Times have changed from 1954 but there are things from that experience which modern medicine could learn from. 

It was under these conditions that Florence Nightingale first began to use aromatherapy and essential oils.  She is credited with putting lavender on the brows of injured soldiers, believing correctly that the lavender would soothe them and she believed that “modifying the noxious aspects of the critical care environment” was very important. (McDowell B. Nontraditional therapies for the PICU, part 1. J Spec Pediatric Nursing 2005).  She saw it work. She he benefits for herself. In a letter she wrote later, she ordered Myrrh as well. It was clear that like me, she saw the proof herself and wanted to explore more. 

As a nurse, I am very familiar with the impact of Nightingale's legacy on the profession of nursing, but until I began my studies with the school of aromatic studies, I did not appreciate the role she played in introducing aromatherapy in the nursing profession.  According to, “the most prominent nurse aromatherapist was Madame Marguerite Maury (1895–1968)”. Madme Maury is credited with classifying essential oils and it is believed that she established the first aromatherapy clinics in Paris, England, and Switzerland.

So bring this back to present day shall we. Let's drive the profession a little more and until hospitals decide to offer the aromatherapy to us, we will bring it WITH us to them. During her stay, there were no complaints that I am aware of about the aromas. We kept the diffusion ratios low because after all the hospital rooms are generally smaller than an open space at home. It was common sense that after surgery when nausea can be a factor, you do not want heavy aroma. Just a little will do I promise!

So what was the plan for mom? Well we had a few recipes that I wrote out for her to use and we alternated them thru the day. 

Post operative nausea/post anesthesia grogginess: frankincense and peppermint. Why? Well, the frankincense was chosen for its calming effects and combat post surgical anxieties and pain stimulus from the adrenaline, and peppermint to calm the stomach and mind. 

Midday: frankincense and Thieves as she became more alert and was practicing her breathing techniques on the little apparatus. I had acquired a touch of a cold between chemo and travel and I didn't want to share that with Mom during such a critical time. Plus the combination helped support her immune system and well as respiratory system after her busy morning. 

Evening and bedtime: frankincense and lavender. She was beginning to get a little restless as some of the pain blocks were wearing off and her pain levels had been under excellent control without heavy doses of narcotics, but as a nurse I knew day 2 was going to be hard so we were mentally prepping for a good night sleep, in a strange place and with interruptions. 

Day 2 was much of the same. She packed her Dew Drop diffuser which ran for approximately 4 hrs at a time. We didn't need to be concerned about "vaporizers" as the care center was later on, because the diffuser does not use a filter, and can be sterilized and cleaned between uses if needed. That is the beauty of our hospital quality products. 

By bedtime of day 2, the pain and over ambition of PT was taking it's toll and her pain was worse. It was back to lavender and frankincense to help calm the nerves and sooth her emotions just like Nightingale demonstrated to us. 

Mom did think that the diffuser made a difference for her emotionally. I would have loved to test out a few more oils, but I didn't want to push my luck on the cooperation of the hospital staff with our trials. But we will continue with our diffuser combinations at the rehab facility and I added another one of frankincense and orange to the list and orange and peppermint to help boost the moods as she struggles with frustration over limitations and wanting to heal faster. I think all of us can understand the desire to get our lives back to normal as quickly as possible after an injury or surgery, but the body does require some time to heal. Did you notice all the frankincense?  

One of the beautiful things about the oils that I cannot begin to empathize enough to users is the multifaceted uses for the oils. It is not like advil that you are just taking for pain or fever, the oils can do any number of things all at the same time. Some oils have affinities to multiple organ systems and if chosen correctly can offer significant support to the injured body as well as the psyche. 

I encourage you to read more about the research out there on hospital use, but if anyone questions your methods, remind them that aromatherapy is being used in hospitals, pain clinics, oncology services, and even emergency rooms around the world and have been for decades. Let's embrace this and be part of the movement to show them the best ways to use the oils. I did offer to do an in-service for the staff at their nursing desk, no one took me up on it this time, but if you know of health care facilities that would like to learn, I am happy to come speak and share. 

So I hope that many of you have no need to think about bringing your diffuser because you stay out of the hospital, but for those that do, maybe this will give you some inspiration to make the experience more pleasant.  Be well my friends and keep those diffusers running even at home!


Why all the hype about detox baths?

I've heard the excuses, and I admit that I was reluctant to take one too. A bath? How is a bath going to really help me? Well, believe it or not there is some science behind that art of a detox bath. 

There is something to be said for generations of wisdom, and our scientific basis now is not new or unique. We can look back to the romans and greeks to see these bath trends. They knew toxins were a problem from the beginning of of medicine and healing. Did you know that after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, a survey was conducted and showed that several survey respondents used Ayurvedic methods of detoxification (such as detox baths) and indicated improvement in respiratory symptoms, fatigue, and depression? The evidence is out there and you don't have to search far. How many of you have used a sauna? 

Our lifestyles don't offer us many changes to eliminate sources of toxins, with the exception of  making dietary changes, so it is up to us to help our bodies along. We are constantly filling our bodies with toxins even from the physiological stress in our daily lives. Support is key here. Our bodies were designed with their own detoxification pathways right, the liver is working hard, but ultimately it is the entire body working to do this. Every second your cells are working to clear out toxins , but without the nutrients required to work at its optimal performance, that detoxification process slows downs. Where do we get the toxins from? We are constantly exposed through food, gadgets, workplaces, and in our own homes. Did you know that another study indicated that we are actually exposed to fewer toxins in our workplaces than in our own homes according to a Occupational Health report? 

This my friends is why I believe so firmly in the simple art of a detox bath. We provide our cells with minerals such as the magnesium and the sulfates that the cells need. This is also why I believe in incorporating the essential oils into those baths. Think about mother nature's role, the trees detox the air we breath right? The plants and trees around us can be our allies in the process.

So the steps are simple, and I have posted previously about my 'go-to' bath recipe, but there are several different types of detox baths you can do depending on the problem at hand. Let's describe just a few:

Baking Soda Baths- exposure to some foods and digestive impairments as well as swollen glands, sore throat, soreness of the gums and mouth.

Epsom Salt Baths- According to the Epsom Salt Industry Council, a simple soak is beneficial for heart and circulatory health, can lower blood pressure, help ease muscle pain and eliminates harmful substances from the body. It also improves nerve function by encouraging proper regulation of electrolytes. 

Sea Salt and Baking Soda Baths- Said to be therapeutic for any exposure to environmental radiation, x-rays, plane flights or airport screenings.  

Apple Cider Vinegar Baths- The best bath choice for those with yeast issues that may be effecting the skin. The acidity also may be the reason the ACV bath draws out uric acid in the body so particularly helpful for someone with gout. So this bath in general is good for viral infections, muscle aches and pains such as post exercise or even joint issues such as arthritis and tendonitis. 

But might I suggest that you not try to make a super bath by mixing these all together! There is science at work remember. You are effectively changing the pH and the balance of electrolytes in the bath water for flow of toxins across the layers of the skin. By mixing some of these you can actually cause them to compete with one another. The exception here is my favorite combination that I use with the baking soda and Sea salt since they are both Alkaline and do not compete with each other. One should note that baths can be used in pregnancy and have actually been shown very effective for postpartum care, but you should still speak with your health care professional. 

Since I was feeling so good recently, I took a little hiatus from my regular bath routine, but generally a bath 2-3 times per week is a great regimen to support the body and soul. If you saw my recent Facebook live video about the connections between the gut health and the brain health you may start to put together how much of an impact there is between the two, and a simple bath that reduces adrenaline and cortisol, meanwhile removing toxins that can impair gut function, might just be a key step to reversing some health issues in your own body. I encourage you to really evaluate what you are doing to nurture yourself. Maybe spend the next month making an effort to add a bath to your weekly routine!

As for my friends that were curious about my bath last night and reminded me to share this with all of you? Well the travel and stress, mixed with chemo the weeks prior caught up to me....i.e. I wasn't doing baths and taking care of my body. So a good bath last night and man was I sweating out the bullets almost instantly! It was crazy how good I felt in just moments. Even after the bath my husband noticed that my cold symptoms had changed. My nose had opened up and I was finally able to work out the crud. No fever all day today and no sore throat...just after a simple bath. Oh, but wait, yeah I added some oily goodness too! 

What was it?
R.C.: to support my breathing and cleanse the airways. Eucalyptus was exactly what I needed!
Frank: Well I add it to just about every bath, but this time my purpose was to support the immune system.
Lavender: One study (Ueno-lio T, et al. Life Sci. 2014) concluded that this essential oil prevents allergic inflammation as well as the enlargement of mucous cells.  Plus it is pretty soothing to a body that just spent a day walking the Ren Faire!
Peppermint: To help open the airways, sooth the sore tissues and help breakup mucus. 
Cypress: Again this is one I use often, but the Chinese value it for its benefits to the liver and respiratory system and again, this bath was all about supporting those organs right? Liver to cleanse the crud and respiratory to breath clear and easy. 

At the faire, there was a young woman selling homemade bath bombs and she really was the inspiration for the post. The thing was the bombs were made with "fragrance oils" and I'm sure she was surprised by my obvious sad face. I was about to buy some but I won't use anything but the good stuff.  I did talk to her briefly about the difference in therapeutic quality oils so I am hoping that she will make some changes. But beware if you are looking for bath shortcuts my friends! Thats my story. Now go get some pure Epsom Salts, some baking soda, Sea Salts, and apple cider vinegar and stock up your pantry so some fun bath mixing!

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