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Nature in a Bottle

It’s not that long ago that any beauty product worthy of its place on the shop shelves had to flaunt its high-tech ingredients and its ability to deal with the external: to smooth wrinkles or whisk away cellulite. As a holistic beauty therapist opening a Spa 20 years ago, I was particularly overwhelmed with this new type of techno beauty. Products full of ingredients which you couldn’t spell and machinery and gadgets galore. I used to feel daunted wondering if this was what my customers would really want, but I chose to hang on to my belief and faith in Aromatherapy and natures gifts.

In stark contrast to our fast-paced world of computers, mobile phones, e mails, social media, I’m involved with reminding modern beauty therapists and consumers on the pure and powerful effectiveness of plants, flowers and herbs to soothe our minds along with our skin. It seems that many a modern woman is longing to get back to nature - to all things simple, comforting and uncomplicated. It’s our antidote to stressful modern life.

I’ve been studying alternative therapies for over 30 years. (Once regarded as the preserve of crackpots!) I was never the type of ‘hippie’ to go and knit my own sandals, but everyone did think I was slightly barmy. It’s like music to my ears now to see the organic movement booming, aromatherapy growing in popularity and complimentary therapy finding a way to run alongside Western Medicine.

The use of natural ingredients in beauty products is far from new-they’ve been used for centuries. Even Cleopatra knew the potent healing power of plant extracts. The combination of sensuous aromas and magical components have a powerful effect on our skin or hair, lifting our spirits and calming our minds.

Best of all they stop the world, if only for 5 minutes and allow us to escape the treadmill of life we may have put ourselves on. When we have taken a little time out with these holistic soothers, we can return to the world recharged and better able to cope. Life might be just too hectic to take a walk in the woods whenever we like, but by adding a few drops of Cedarwood essential oil to the bath we can conjure up the heady refreshing atmosphere of a mountain forest in an instant. The element of ritual is crucial to our culture and I am an advocate of women creating a small personal space, maybe with a few special objects, crystals or candles. Just a place to sit, reflect and focus on one thing instead of 30 for a change. If setting aside time for quiet contemplation is out of the question, we can at least build some sacrosanct time in the bathroom. Choosing some oils to suit our mood, a handful of Dead Sea Salt and at least 20 minutes (with no technology!), has such a therapeutic benefit, treating the inner self as well as looking after the skin. You could even try a self-massage with your favourite base oil or body lotion.

Here are some of my favourite combinations which can be added to your bath or natural body lotion. Roughly speaking, 10 drops in milk or vodka for your bath (essential oils aren’t water soluble so don’t add straight to water). 10 drops added to 10ml of lotion or carrier oil.

I Vant to be Alone! (PMS)

6 drops Geranium

2 drops Clary Sage

2 drops Chamomile

Menopause Madness

6 drops Geranium

2 drops Clary Sage

2 drops Cypress

Feeling Frazzled (Anxiety & Stress)

6 drops Ylang-Ylang

2 drops Lavender

2 drops Chamomile

Feeling Frumpy (too many mince pies)

4 drops Grapefruit

2 drops Lemon

6 drops Juniper

2 drops Fennel

Duvet Days (comfort & release)

3 drops Lemon

3 drops Lavender

3 drops Chamomile

2 drops Cedarwood

Titchmarch Torture (Too much gardening)

2 drops Marjoram

2 drops Clary Sage

4 drops Lavender

2 drops Chamomile

Happy Bathing!

Please note these blends and quantities are suggestions for the average adult. For children or the elderly, use less and if you are pregnant please check back with me for advice.

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