manage your pup’s arthritis, joint, and muscle pain with essential oils

puppain

Our oldest dog, Jake, is now 13+ years old. He’s a mix breed built like a dachshund or corgi–long body, short legs. We always knew that would cause stress on his back, hips, and joints, and it’s definitely showing now with his age. He has a tougher time jumping up on furniture, his back legs are weak and occasionally tremble, and he struggles to stand firmly on tile and other slippery surfaces.

We had tried some meds from the vet, but none of them helped much. Plus, they were expensive and came with potential long-term side effects. Being a family focused on natural remedies whenever possible, I started to research essential oils for arthritic dogs. I tried a couple different combinations and application methods (what might work great for one person or dog might not work at all for another) and found one that helped! I now use a roller bottle for him 2-3 times per day, and he gets the doTERRA Deep Blue® supplement once a day. I am amazed with the improvements in a short period of time!

The Roller Bottle:

Because he’s a small dog (and a dog in general), it’s important to use the right dilution when using essential oils for him. To mix up this roller bottle, you’ll need a 10-mL roller bottle (amber or cobalt preferred) and fractionated coconut oil in addition to the essential oils. Not sure where to get the roller bottle? Click here. *NOTE: be sure to use only certified pure therapeutic grade essential oils. I use and recommend doTERRA oils. Make it:

  1. Add 3 drops each of peppermint, lavender, lemongrass, and frankincense essential oil to a 10-mL roller bottle.
  2. Fill bottle with fractionated coconut oil.
  3. Shake to mix.

To use it, roll it under the dog’s “armpits” or along the spine. Be sure to get the oils on the skin rather than allowing them to just soak into the hair. Apply 2-3 times per day for ongoing maintenance or as needed for injuries.

The Deep Blue® Supplement:

There’s no better explanation of this awesome product than the one right from the doTERRA website:

“The brand name Deep Blue® is synonymous with relief for sore and tired muscles. The CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® essential oil blend as well as the rub have provided comfort to many and are trusted among their users. It only makes sense that an ingestible supplement would complement the topical benefits of the Deep Blue product line.*

Deep Blue Polyphenol Complex delivers polyphenol extracts of frankincense, turmeric, green tea, ginger, pomegranate, and grape seed, and is designed to provide soothing support to aching muscles and to other occasional discomfort.* Take as needed when discomfort presents itself, or take it every day for long-lasting benefits.*”

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

For adults, the dosage of this supplement is two capsules per day (one morning and one evening) with food. In addition to Jake (who is about 15 pounds), we also have a German shepherd dog mix weighing about 65 pounds. Since she has the typical GSD hips, we give her the Deep Blue® supplement as well. I split one capsule between the two of them, once per day (I give it in the morning). I open the capsule and sprinkle about 2/3 of the powder onto Bergen’s (the GSD) food and the rest onto Jake’s.

Since we started the roller bottle and Deep Blue® supplement, Jake is getting around much better, and we were able to stop giving Bergen her daily dose of Deramaxx®. It’s empowering knowing I’m helping manage their mobility with all-natural supplements!

Want to learn more about essential oils for pets? Check out this post!

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homemade, natural sunscreen that WORKS!

sunscreen

One of the top things requested when we made the switch to natural products was an all-natural sunscreen that actually worked. My first attempt was terrible and didn’t work at all. Being the guinea pig for that was fun! The second attempt, however, works great and is easy to make! Before I get to the recipe, I want to explain the ingredients a bit.

Non-nano Zinc Oxide

The primary ingredient in this recipe that provides the UVA and UVB protection is non-nano zinc oxide powder. Let me first explain the difference between nano and non-nano. When folks first started using zinc oxide powder, they were using nano powder. That means the powder was fine–and I mean super fine. The problem was it was so small that it actually seeped into skin pores and ultimately into the blood stream. Zinc oxide powder is a mineral and is perfectly safe externally, but you don’t want to get it into your blood stream. Non-nano is just big enough for that to not be a problem. It still provides all the awesome protection properties without getting into your pores. All that said, be sure to choose a non-nano zinc oxide powder. A link is provided below for the one I use.

Like most powders, zinc oxide can be a health risk if inhaled. Therefore, when mixing the recipe, be careful not to inhale the powder. I recommend wearing a mask to reduce risk. Once mixed into the lotion, there is NO risk with the zinc oxide powder.

With 2 ounces of non-nano zinc oxide powder mixed into 8 ounces of lotion, the approximate SPF value is 20. For each additional ounce added, that approximate SPF goes up 10. For example, for SPF 30, add 3 ounces non-nano zinc oxide powder to 8 ounces lotion.

Carrot Seed Oil & Red Raspberry Seed Oil

Carrot seed oil and red raspberry seed oil are believed by some to add SPF values to lotions. However, no conclusive studies have verified it for either, and there’s a mountain of information out there claiming the opposite. For that reason, I call them optional in the recipe below. I include them, though, because they both offer wonderful antioxidant properties, and they are rich in Omega fatty acids. Additionally, carrot seed oil has a good amount of Vitamin E in it, which acts as a great natural preservative. Again, links to purchase both are provided below.

Lotion

The zinc oxide powder and oils (if used) can be mixed into any lotion if you’d like. Since I like to use homemade, natural products, I start with my own homemade lotion (recipe here) and add to it. *Note the lotion recipe yields 16 ounces of lotion.

Ingredients:

Make It:

  1. Put lotion into medium bowl. (I use an immersion blender, so I put the lotion into a tall, cylindrical container. A hand mixer will also work.)
  2. Using an immersion blender or hand mixer, gradually blend in non-nano zinc oxide powder, 1 tbsp at a time.
  3. When zinc oxide powder is blended in, blend in oils if using.
  4. Transfer to half pint jar or other container for storage.
  5. Store in the refrigerator for best results.

why you should switch to natural deodorant

When making the switch to natural products in your home, deodorant is often one we cringe about. No one wants to be smelly or have pit stains. But do you know what antiperspirants do? They stop a natural body process–sweating. While the sweat might be an inconvenience at times, our body needs to do it. Stopping that isn’t a great idea. So how do you make the switch, and why is it so important?

Aluminum

One of the biggest downsides to antiperspirants is its inclusion of aluminum in the ingredient list. How does antiperspirant work? The aluminum essentially clogs up your pores to keep the perspiration in. That sweat then builds up and gets trapped just under the skin. That can cause all sorts of things like bumps and irritated skin and buildup of bacteria. The acidity of the aluminum tends to react with your clothing and ultimately causes those lovely yellow pit stains on your white shirts. Numerous studies have also been conducted suggesting aluminum can be responsible for Alzheimer’s and cancer.

Beyond Aluminum

Aluminum is just the tip of the iceberg. Keep reading those ingredients, and you’ll find a whole lot of other chemicals that have been linked to various ailments and diseases:

  • Parabens (methyl, ethyl, propyl, benzyl, butyl): endocrine disruption, environmental toxin, cancer, reproductive disorders, premature aging, immune toxicant, allergens
  • Phthalates: cancer, birth defects, infertility, allergens
  • Proplyene glycol: skin, eyes, and lungs irritation; reproductive and fetal neurotoxin linked to kidney and liver damage; enhanced skin absorption
  • Silica: possible carcinogen if contaminated with crystalline quartz; skin, eyes and lungs irritation
  • Steareths: endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive toxicity, skin irritation
  • Talc: non-reproductive organ system toxin, possible carcinogen if contaminated with asbestiform fibers
  • Triclosan: antibacterial agent banned in several countries due to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria; endocrine disruption; muscle weakness; skin, eyes, and lungs irritation

How to Make the Switch to Natural

Making the switch can be tough! When I switched, I was one of the few able to do it without having any trouble. I switched cold turkey and never looked back! For some, though, switching can be a bit tougher. When switching, consider these tips:

  • Give a new deodorant at least two weeks. It can take time for your body to adjust. Some people find they sweat more than usual due to their body detoxing and expelling stored-up sweat.
  • To speed up the detox period, be sure to wash daily (or even 2-3 times daily) with natural soap and water. Additionally, exfoliate your pits twice a week. Apply deodorant after each cleanse.
  • Wear more natural fibers (cotton, hemp, etc.) during the transition period. Polyesters and acrylic fibers have a tendency to trap extra moisture.

I know it can sound a bit daunting (and maybe even a little scary) to switch to natural deodorant, but it is absolutely worth it! Your health will thank you!

homemade bug spray that WORKS!

bugspray

When we made the switch to all-natural products, one of the things most frequently requested by my family and readers was a recipe for all-natural bug spray that actually works. I mixed this up a few weeks ago, and then it got cold again, so I didn’t get to try it for a while. Last week, I went out to mow just before dusk. After only a few minutes, I was getting bombarded by mosquitoes, so I applied my bug spray and headed back out. I immediately noticed a difference! The mosquitoes were leaving me alone. I’ve used it a couple times since then, and I still love it.

You’ll need an 8-oz. glass spray bottle, preferably cobalt or amber. Not sure where to get one? See this post.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup filtered water*
  • 1/3 cup witch hazel or vodka (improves dispersion when spraying; I always use vodka)
  • 1/2 tsp vegetable glycerine
  • 6 drops each essential oils: peppermint, lemongrass, lavender, eucalyptus, geranium, cedarwood, melaleuca

To make, simply add all ingredients to your bottle, and shake. Be sure to shake before each use, as it may separate a bit. Do not spray directly on your face. Instead, spray into your hands and rub on face and ears.

*The recipe as-is works great if you’re wearing long sleeves and pants and are spraying the repellent on your clothing. If your skin is exposed, it won’t last long and will thus require frequent reapplication. For skin spray, replace half (or more) of the water in the recipe with fractionated coconut oil.

^Because this spray is all-natural, you may find you need to reapply it more often.

skin to bloodstream: 26 seconds

26 seconds. When we put something on our skin (be it soap, lotion, sunblock, or anything else we touch), its ingredients are in our bloodstream in 26 seconds. Yes, seconds. Once those ingredients hit our bloodstream, they circulate through the entire body and begin to affect all sorts of bodily functions.

Now with that in mind, grab a couple of your personal care items – your face wash, your lotion, your hand soap, whatever you have handy. Read the ingredient list. How many things are too difficult to pronounce? How many are things you’ve never heard of? How many are harsh chemicals? Now think about those things entering your bloodstream in 26 seconds.

A few months ago, I called it quits. I got rid of all the harsh chemicals and synthetic-based products in our house. And I’m not even talking about just the things that touch our skin; I’m also talking about the ibuprofen, the cold medicine, the dishwasher detergent, the cleaning products…anything that included artificial ingredients. You know what happened? My toddler who had had a months-long, never-ending cold was finally healthy and snot-free. I stopped needing daily allergy medication (that I’d been taking for over ten years). The dogs are flea- and tick-free without using Frontline or K9 Advantix or any of those other spot-on treatments. The list goes on and on.

Next time you grab one of those items, take a glance through the ingredient list. If you don’t still want to use it, contact me to learn how to convert your home to an all-natural one!

conventional and holistic medicine: integration for success

I read an article recently about the benefits of integrating holistic medicine with conventional approaches. Everything it touched on hit home for me and my approach to our family’s healthcare. I’ve said it before, and my opinion won’t change: conventional medicine and preventive care (like vaccines and regular checkups) are essential to our well-being. But, I also believe in the power of our body’s ability to heal itself with the right tools. Integrating holistic medicine with conventional medicine is (in my opinion) the key to our health.

Our bodies are amazing creations – built to withstand and heal. Unfortunately, though, we hinder those abilities every day when we put things on our skin or into our bodies that are filled with harsh chemicals and artificial ingredients. Now, our bodies have to combat those toxins, and sometimes, they just can’t keep up. For many of us, this is when we reach for yet another chemical to fight those symptoms – the pain relievers, the cold medicine, even the lotion to deal with the rash or dry skin. (The list could go on and on.) Now, in addition to fighting the original toxins, our bodies are given more toxins to fight.

Herein lies the vicious cycle – toxins to fight toxins. What if instead of “treating” the symptoms, we dealt with the cause? What if we ate whole foods instead of processed foods? What if we repaired our cells, so they could do their job and repair our bodies? What if we balanced our omegas by getting enough omega 3s? What if, what if, what if?

What if instead of saying “what if,” we actually made the changes? There’s a crazy thought! A couple months ago, I joined doTERRA, and I haven’t looked back! I’ll be the first to admit: my diet is not awesome, and I don’t always make the best choices. It’s getting better, though! I’m focusing on eating more whole foods and drinking more water. I’ve also started taking an awesome trio of supplements to help my body do its job: a whole foods, multivitamin to make up for some of the things I’m missing in my diet; an omega 3 to balance the omega 6s I get in my diet already; and a cellular complex supplement to fight oxidative stress and promote cell well-being. Finally, I’ve replaced our entire medicine cabinet with all-natural, essential oil-based remedies.

Are you ready to join me on this journey? Contact me today to get started.

transforming our health care

We started using essential oils for our dogs (for calming, deodorizing, and other things) a few years ago. Having worked in the pet industry for almost ten years, I’d seen it all on the store shelves – sprays and supplements for calming, sprays for deodorizing, countless different shampoos and conditioners, spot-on treatments and collars for flea and tick prevention, you name it. They all had one thing in common, though: they were FILLED with chemicals and other artificial ingredients. I didn’t like the idea of putting those things on (or into the stomachs of) our dogs, so I started looking for natural alternatives.

Fast forward a few years, and our family has now transformed our health care! Don’t get me wrong; we go to the doctor for our regular check-ups and vaccinations for our son. Our dogs see the vet annually for their vaccinations and dental care. But, gone are the days of reaching for pain killers for a headache, cold medicine for a stuffy nose, and even my daily allergy medicine!

Our “medicine cabinet” now includes homemade, all-natural remedies for aches and pains, cough and congestion, cut and scrape care, and more. I also have a roller bottle to help boost the immune system. The dogs wear homemade, all-natural flea/tick collars that work great. I have a roller bottle to ease my dog’s arthritis pain and stiffness.

It’s empowering knowing what to do when you feel the sniffles come on or some tension in your head. It’s awesome knowing I don’t have to take pills to manage my allergies. Did I also mention these homemade remedies are generally far cheaper than their store-bought, chemical-filled counterparts? And the best part of course – they’re natural. No weird side effects; no unknown, lasting concerns; safe for our whole family.

Interested in learning more? Contact me today for more information, and check out my other blog posts for recipes.