Alternatives A-Z – Part 2

Donna Easto, C.H., H.C., M.H.,
Certified Herbal Educator

Aromatherapy is a form of herbal medicine that uses therapeutic-grade aromatic essential oils distilled or extracted from different parts of a plant—blossom, fruit, leaf, stem, bark, wood or resin. These pure essential oils can be used to enhance beauty, health, physical and mental well-being, combat stress, fungi and bacteria, and boost the immune system. The most effective methods of introducing essential oils to the body are through massage and inhalation, accounting for its use in conjunction with other healing therapies such as massage, yoga and reflexology. 

Some useful hints for using EOs in the home: Kitchen: place 5 drops of antibacterial lemon or tea tree oil on your dishcloth as you wipe down your counter. Insect stings: Bee, apply a cold compress of analgesic, antiseptic Chamomile essential oil as long as possible and apply 1 drop of Chamomile essential oil neat three times a day for two days. Wasp, wasp stings are alkaline so treat with apple cider or wine vinegar (1 tsp) and add 2 drops each of analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic Lavender essential oil and Chamomile essential oil. Mix well and apply to the area three times a day. Spider bites, in a teaspoon of alcohol dilute 3 drops of Lavender essential oil and 2 drops of Chamomile essential oil. Blend well and apply to the area three times.

Ayurveda is a very old and very complex healing system from India. It uses a “constitution model” to provide guidance regarding diet and lifestyle to maintain and improve bodily health. The three body types, or doshas, are Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Each type has unique characteristics. The Vata dosha consists of the elements of space and air, the Pitta dosha of fire and water, the Kapha dosha of water and earth. For a complete harmonious living environment, it is necessary to have these five elements in balance. One dosha is usually more dominant and guides the way to a lifestyle that suits you best. You may also have a second dominant dosha. An equal blend of all three, known as Tri-doshic, is rare. Dosha type is determined by our “natural state”— what we were born with: hair, stature, eye colour, as well as inherent personality and characteristics. You might be creative, fast, wiry, light, cold and dry like Vata; laid-back, soft, heavy, slow and “chill” like Kapha; or have the intense, fiery nature of Pitta in both body and mind.  The Ayurvedic practitioner will focus on you as a person rather than your ailments, and make recommendations on food, exercise, medical treatments, environment, and even career choices based upon your prakriti (body type).

Biofeedback involves the use of an electronic monitoring device to collect information on numerous physiological systems. Electrodes are connected to your skin to pick up information on functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, brain wave activity, and skin temperature. The information is converted into signals and the biofeedback practitioner will assess the results and train you to alter or slow down the signals through techniques such as controlled deep breathing, mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation and guided visualization. A biofeedback session typically lasts about 50 minutes.

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