By Charlynn Avery
I still remember my first massage. It was my 20th birthday, and I wanted to do something special to commemorate the beginning of my third decade of life. I decided to get a massage because I wanted to be pampered and to feel relaxed. At the time, the thought of massage as a regular practice was the furthest thing from my mind. It would be a once-a-year luxury experience; something I couldn’t budget on a regular basis as a struggling college student.
Once I got off the table, however, my perspective had changed completely. Of course I felt relaxed but it went so much further than that – on every level, I was improved. My skin glowed, my muscles felt loose, I stood up straighter, I slept better and I felt happy. I remember saying that it was the best $60 I had ever spent on myself. And a few years later, I found myself in massage school with the goal of helping others achieve that very same realization.
Benefits of massage
I hear a lot of folks say that massage is a luxury and is too expensive to do on a regular basis. However, with the many proven benefits of massage it should be part of a regular health care regimen for long-term physical, emotional and mental well-being. One of my favorite clients from a few years ago shared the way she was able to budget massage into her life – she simply swapped a detrimental habit (smoking) for massage. She said, “I decided to reward myself for not smoking by getting a monthly massage. In addition to making my doctor happier, the expense of massage was much less than my pack-a-day smoking habit.” Continue reading
A stunning, late-winter Iowa sunset pouring through the windows in my home.
By Tom Havran
I just built a house with my partner of 21 years, and it was the most stressful thing I’ve ever attempted. It’s the first house I’ve built — and it will be the last if I can help it! Inclement weather delayed groundbreaking for two months and completion by four. Costs were underestimated by about a third. The building site was broken into twice and thousands of dollars in equipment and materials were stolen. The endless decision-making on every fixture, feature, appliance, color, floor covering, door latch, ad infinitum, was like brokering the end of WW III. But finally, our house is done and we’re moving in. We’ve weathered the stressful process and made a long-yearned for dream a beautiful reality, and we’re grateful.
We’re most grateful for the learning that comes from building a home. We discovered it’s not the square footage, the upscale fixtures or the comfortable furnishings that create a sense of place, it’s the people and the love that the house shelters that are its most precious features. In building a house, we’ve come to know what it truly takes to create a home. Thieves can steal all the stuff in your house, a tornado can blow it down, or a fire can consume it, but if you still have one another, then you still have what it takes to have a home.
Home aromatherapy — diffusing the therapeutic properties of essential oils into your home — is another intangible that can help make your house a home. Scents have a powerful effect on our emotional well-being and some help us feel comfortable and secure — ideal for a home environment. Here are a few of the oils that are helping us make our new house a home: Continue reading
By Tom Havran
A desire to show how much we care fuels our search for the perfect holiday gifts each year, yet few store-bought items are as heartfelt as handcrafted, personalized gifts. This year, choose conviviality rather than a mad rush to the mall by hosting an aromatherapy gift assembly line DIY party with your family or a group of friends.
This set of Soothing and Refreshing aromatherapy gifts — including a homemade bath salt blend, a body oil and a hydrating aromatherapy mist — are both nice to receive and fun to make! Continue reading
By Tom Havran
Hooray! The kids are out of our hair and back in school … or soon will be. But I wonder if the teachers and their aides are “hooraying” as enthusiastically as we are?
We expect a lot from our teachers, not least because they have proven themselves as some of the most important people we will ever encounter in our lives. Whether you’re headed back into the classroom yourself or sending a child to school this month, consider making the day more pleasant with these aromatherapy tips for teachers.
Diffuse essential oils. Some days, students need inspiration to tackle new learning; others days, a teacher simply needs a moment of quiet! Rather than relying on the overwhelming, artificial scents of fragrance oils, invest in a simple vaporizer that will subtly and deliciously fortify the air of the classroom. To use, simply place a few drops of essential oils on the vaporizer pad. It will quickly become a classroom tool for both learning and teaching. Continue reading
If you’ve ever used an essential oil during yoga, you know what a difference it makes. Perhaps the scent of lavender deepens your relaxation in savasana. Or, you begin your yoga practice by inhaling peppermint to energize you. But, did you know that essential oils can enhance your yoga practice even after “Namaste”?
From the practical (like cleaning a yoga mat) to the spiritual, Aura Cacia aromatherapist and yogi Charlynn Avery describes many ways that essential oils are important to a serious yoga practice in her blog posts for Alignyo, an online yoga hub.
Catch up on Charlynn’s top yoga posts below, and be sure to subscribe or “like” Aura Cacia on Facebook for future posts!
By Katie Shatzer
This month, we pulled out the grill and began to embrace the flavors of summer. From that slight char on a burger to the crunch of fresh zucchini, summer food is about savoring the moment. And that’s my goal for this summer in general — slow down, appreciate the moment and eat some good food.
Find some inspiration in the summer recipe ideas and relaxation tips in our May web finds:
- If you enjoy a good burger (made with grass-fed, hormone-free beef, of course), it’s hard to beat one cooked on the grill. Topped with cheese. And bacon. Need I say more to convince you that these Bacon Cheddar Ranch Pub Burgers from simply scratch are a good idea?
- For the vegan crowd (or really, any crowd — who says meat-eaters and vegans can’t enjoy the same good recipe), we have a solution to the woeful summer problem of over-producing zucchini plants. Try using them in place of taco shells, as in this stuffed zucchini recipe from We Heart Vegan.
Photo courtesy of We Heart Vegan
By Charlynn Avery
Have you ever considered what creates the aroma of that “new car scent” air freshener dangling from your rear view mirror?
Sure, it may help you ignore the reality that your car is not, in fact, new. But it won’t give you the benefits of pure essential oils. Below, I’ll give you ideas for how to make your own homemade air freshener that smells great, looks good and is perfectly natural.
Most commercial air fresheners come in one strength, which is often overwhelming. With a homemade air freshener, you can choose the strength of the aroma and refresh it as needed. So, as you create your own air freshener, you’ll use essential oils and your creativity to formulate an aroma that works best for you, in terms of both preference and aromatherapy benefits. You control the naturalness as well as the potency of the resulting air freshener.
By Katie Shatzer, social media specialist
After an indulgent holiday season, January might not seem like much fun. We return to routine, attempt self-improvement through resolutions we’ve likely already forgotten (can you list yours?), and brave the onslaught of truly wintry weather. Thank goodness that, through it all, we had the Internet to keep us creative, motivated and, let’s just admit it, entertained.
Enjoy some of our favorite finds from the web this month:
Iowa Girl Eats’ Cheesy Taco Soup recipe is perfect for a chilly winter day.
- Continue reading
By Tom Havran
We spend a lot of time indoors during the winter months. All those weeks spent huddling from the cold in our sealed homes and offices aren’t that different from being trapped in the recycled air of an airplane cabin. Think of all that exhaled air you’re re-breathing – the need to purify, cleanse and refresh the atmosphere around you becomes critical. Fortunately, you can do so easily with essential oils.
First, arm yourself with pure Aura Cacia essential oils. Top choices for essential oils with air-purifying or cleansing benefits include:
By Tom Havran
With winter storm Draco bearing down on us as I write, it seems like an odd time to write about taking a moment to “chill.” But when I think about it a little more, what can be more stress-inducing than a “life-threatening” blizzard? Yes, taking a moment to chill is completely appropriate – from power outages to white-knuckle driving, I’m going to need to remain cool-headed the next few days.
One of my favorite fan-submitted “chill moment” photos, submitted by Sarah Katherine M. on our Facebook page earlier this year.
Severe weather is one of any number of anxiety-inducing, stressful life moments that we regularly face. That’s why, earlier this year, Aura Cacia set out to take a National Moment of Chill during certain universally recognized stressful days, encouraging our fans to take a personal time-out and simply “chill.”
The first National Moment of Chill was held on Monday, Jan. 23. This midwinter date certainly is a major stress-inducer for many reasons: the post-holiday let-down sets in, the holiday bills are due, and it’s back to the routine reality of our everyday work load. It’s also the absolute dead of winter and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) season. It was an appropriate day to set aside time to relax and be present – a time to recognize that you own the solution for overcoming the stress, tension and anxiety in your life.