Caring for your Respiratory System

When at rest, the average person breathes anywhere from 12-20 times per minute. Multiply that by that over the course of an average day and you will take up to 30,000 breaths a day. Most days, you don’t pay attention to your breathing. But when you catch a respiratory infection or have stuffed up sinuses, you are probably very aware of how much you are breathing. And how much harder it has become.

While the science of aromatherapy and its affects on the human emotions is very interesting, today we are going to talk about just plain ol’ breathing in and out. At the most basic level, you breathe in oxygenated air, it is circulated through your lungs where it drops off that wonderful, life giving oxygen molecule, picks up those no longer need carbon dioxide molecules and exhales them back out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out.

But what happens when you have a stuffy nose? Or a cough? This process becomes much harder. It affects the way we breathe in, often having to use our mouths instead of nose. This can decrease the amount of oxygen you are breathing which then makes you more tired. It impacts our ability to taste either decreasing or removing the sense temporarily. It causes headaches from the pressure in your face and head. It keeps us from sleeping well at night.

What are some natural ways to resolve breathing issues?

Sinus steamer
  • Try filling a large bowl with warm, steaming water. Add essential oils known for opening up the airways. Peppermint. Eucalyptus. Lemon. Or try a blend of oils like doTerra’s Breathe. Place your face at a safe distance away from the water and cover your head with a towel. Breathe deeply for 10-15 mins, then take a break. Repeat as needed to empty out the sinus cavities.
shower melts

Have you ever heard of a shower melt? Basically you make little tablets to throw in the bottom of a hot shower that melt and release the aromas of scents that will help to open up the airways and release the sinus pressure. Follow my Shower Melt recipe from here. I like using doTerra Eucalyptus oil.

respiratory salve

Do you remember being rubbed down with Vicks as a kid? Two dots under your nose and all over your chest? Well, this is my favorite thing to do for my kids. But I make my own chest rub. Use a glass dish and regular coconut oil. Heat it up in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Add in Peppermint, Tea Tree, and Lemon oil. Let it cool and harden. And now you have your own all natural chest rub. Apply to the chest as soon as there is a runny nose. Because that is where the drainage will go next.

diffuser

And last but not least, utilize diffusing. I call this the “set it and forget it” treatment method. This is by far the quickest and easiest way to get relief from your cough and sinus pressure. Especially at night. We’ve all experienced a sleepless night because of a cough or drainage. Setting up a diffuser on your nightstand with airway opening essential oils like Eucalyptus, Lemon, or Peppermint will allow you to receive the benefits while support good rest. Good sleep is a vital piece of getting well.

Where do I find good oils to make these recipes?

I am so glad you asked this important question. I have found a brand I trust and use on myself and my family. To buy Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Lemon, or all three together, just click on the links provided.

I’m always happy to answer additional questions. Contact me here.

What to do with my Essential Oil Starter Kit?

You may be surprised to learn that I meet people all the time who went to an essential oil class, bought a starter kit or a few oils that smelled good that evening, received the kit in the mail, and then never opened it. Let me repeat that, never opened the box.  Maybe you’re reading this and you aren’t surprised because you are this person?

Why are People Avoiding the Essential Oils they Buy?

What causes people to not open the box? Is it fear of what is inside? Have you lost interest in trying options? Are they too busy to sit down and learn a new way of managing their health? Are you afraid they are going to hurt themselves with the oils? Did you make a purchase because learned some new information but now you can’t remember what facts convinced you these were the right oils for your natural journey?

If you are one of the people who has not opened your box and you can answer yes to one or more of the questions above then today is your day! Let’s open that box!!!

Steps to Getting Started with Your Essential Oil Starter Kit

Step One

Find your box of oils. Brush off the dust. Cut open the tape that’s keeping it closed and take it to a comfortable spot. Get yourself a glass of water and collect any oily supplies you might already have in your home. Examples include a diffuser, some coconut oil (fractionated or otherwise), or maybe a book or handout you have about essential oils. 

Step Two

Open that baby up! Take out everything in the box and set it out in front of you. What do you have in front of you? Bottles of oils? Supplements? Rubs or lotions? Some of these will have multiple uses, some will have a single purpose.

Oils. Each bottle should have the name of the oil on the front of the bottle. Does it say Lemon or Peppermint or Lavender? This should mean that is the only oil in that specific bottle. Just Lemon. Just Peppermint. Just Lavender. If you are using a high-quality theraputic grade essential oil then this will be the case.

If you see a name like Serenity or OnGaurd or Breathe on the bottle this indicates a blend of oils. Look on the back of the bottle, it should list for you exactly what oils comprise that specific blend. One other thing to note: the front of the label should tell you how much oil is in the bottle. The most common sizes are 5ml, 15ml, or 30ml. ML stands for milliliter. 

Step Three

Choose a bottle of oil to open. Go with one you might recognize. Smell the inside of the cap. How does it smell to you? Refreshing? Calming? Bitter? Terrible? While essential oils are powerful tools, not all are aromatically pleasing. Repeat this process with each bottle. Is there one or two oils that you really liked? Try them in a diffuser.

Not sure how to use your diffuser, check out my diffuser tutorial here

Here are a few of my favorite diffuser recipes I use in my home.

Step Four

Now, wasn’t that simple? You are on your way to using your kit! But don’t stop there. Each essential oil has multiple ways you can utilize it, however, since I am not sitting next to you to see exactly what oils you have in your kit.

Because of this, our tutorial is limited to the basic steps of getting started. But that doesn’t mean you should stop there. I love helping people get started using their oils. I offer wellness consultations in person or over the phone. If we are able to meet face to face I will bring goodies to help you with the next few steps. Send me a message through this site to get started.

Aromatherapy

Our sense of smell is one of the most powerful influences over our minds, body, and emotions. Think about the past week. How has your sense of smell affected you? Did you walk into the kitchen, smell dinner cooking and immediately your stomach growled? Did someone pass by you wearing too much cologne and immediately were overcome with negative feelings and maybe a nauseousness? Did an old sweater or blanket smell like a family member and immediately past memories popped into your mind and a feeling of happiness, or even sadness, wash over you? This is the power of aromatherapy.

The human nose can distinguish millions of different smells through hundreds of smell receptors. By comparison, we only have three types of photoreceptors for visual stimuli and less than one hundred taste receptors. Now, indulge me for a minute as we talk very generally on how scent triggers emotions in the brain. 

Aromas are exogenous ligands received by the smell receptors in your nose. These receptors are part of the limbic system of your body which controls the emotion, motivation, learning, and memory parts of your brain. Because this system is so quickly and easily stimulated, it is important to recognize that some scents may have adverse results while some will have positive results. For example, a scent that triggers the amygdala of the brain will release a warning of danger to your body and your adrenal glands will produce adrenaline in a fight or flight reaction. When they say “You can smell danger”, they are right!

How Does this Apply to Me?

Now, how does this all translate for you? Choosing specific aromas will trigger different reactions within your body. Some scents are used for calming the mind and soul, while others are used for energy and boosting your mood. Plus you will have the added benefit of certain oils boosting the immune system, decreasing sinus congestion, or calming that nagging cough.  There are two main ways I like to use aromatherapy.

Two Ways to Use Aromatherapy

First, a diffuser. This is the easiest and most convenient way to add aromatherapy into your home or workplace. Diffusers can be found online, in your starter kit, or your local drug store. A diffuser volatiles or disperses the oil into the air allowing us to breathe it in and easily be absorbed by the body. They say it only takes 20 seconds for the scent to reach your brain triggering all the beautiful parts of the brain to do what they were made for. If you’re not sure how to set up a diffuser, check out my tutorial here.

Second, use your hands. Place one drop of the oil into the palm of your hand, rub together between both hands, then hold them both up to your nose and breathe in and out for 30 seconds. Your own body can be a diffuser for your mind. Anytime. Anywhere. 

If you have been unsure of essential oils, simply add one or two to your diffuser and allow your home to be the beneficiary of the happy feelings they can bring.

Do you have more questions about essential oils or the best way to implement aromatherapy in your house? Send me a message! I’d love to help you craft a strategy that will help you meet your naturalist goals.