Home Remedy for Muscle and Joint Pain

When I was in high school, I remember my left knee getting awfully sore and swollen during my senior year–particularly after physical activity. As a show choir member (we did lots of dancing if you’re not familiar with show choir) and golfer, I was fairly active. As a right-handed golfer, specifically, my left knee took the majority of the turning and follow-through weight. With summer fast approaching, marching band was coming, and I was the captain of the colorguard. Let me just say we did A LOT of running, often wearing shoes or even strappy sandals with no support.

I finally decided to get it checked out at the doctor. I was told I had bursitis. If you’re not familiar with bursitis, it’s the inflammation of the small, fluid-filled sacs (bursae) that lubricate and cushion your joints. My doctor recommended a compression sleeve whenever I was participating in physical activity, followed by a rotation of heat and ice to ease the pain and swelling.  Though basic home treatment typically clears it up in a few weeks, it’s not uncommon for recurrent flare ups to happen.

After high school, I’ll admit I was fairly lazy and not nearly as active, so I didn’t have many issues for several years. At the ripe old age of 32, I decided it was time to get into shape. I started with Insanity at home. For the record, Insanity is indeed insane. Works great though if you stick to it! After I finished that, I thought it sounded like a good idea to become a runner. I always liked the idea of being a runner, but I’d never done it. Why not start in your 30s with no help?

I’ll tell you why not: your body isn’t ready for it, and proper shoes are ESSENTIAL. I went into it cold turkey and picked shoes I thought were cool–Five Fingers. While I loved the feeling of nearly shoeless running, I quickly learned it was a terrible idea for me. When my left knee started to get sore just minutes into a jog, I knew something was up. Back to the doctor I went. He diagnosed me with a sprained MCL, due to overpronation. He also suspected a bit of flare up of bursitis.

I was told no running for 2-3 weeks, and when I was ready to start again, I needed different shoes–shoes that better supported my gait and would minimize overpronation. I also incorporated a compression sleeve with side braces when I started running again to help stabilize my knee. Though all of these things helped, my age wasn’t on my side, and I still had some minor discomfort following runs, volleyball games, and sometimes even lawn mowing. That’s when I turned to essential oils for the last bit of relief.

I made a roller bottle that I would apply after any sort of physical activity, and let me say it helps a ton! It includes the essential oils of copaiba, Deep Blue (a doTERRA proprietary blend), and frankincense. Let’s first talk about why I chose those three oils:

  • Copaiba is a powerful antioxidant known to reduce pain and inflammation*.
  • Deep Blue is a doTERRA proprietary blend containing the oils of wintergreen, camphor, peppermint, ylang ylang, helichrysum, blue tansy, blue chamomile, and osmanthus. This combination of oils has an amazing cooling effect and provides great relief to achy muscles and joints*.
  • Frankincense is often referred to as the “king of oils” for its many health benefits. It has a warming and soothing effect that nicely counters the cooling effect of Deep Blue. (Think Icy Hot.)

Become a doTERRA wholesale member today to get the absolute best pricing on certified pure therapeutic grade essential oils available!

The last ingredient you’ll need is fractionated coconut oil. I love Molivera Organics, and I typically order it on Amazon. The especially handy thing about this particular bottle is that it comes with a pump top. That makes it easy to fill your roller bottle! Get it here.

For storage, you’ll need a 10-mL roller bottle. For ease of application, I prefer a steel roller ball vs. a plastic one; it just rolls more nicely. Additionally, I like to store mine in cobalt or amber glass to prolong the life of the oils. When not in use, keep your roller bottle in a cool, dark place. Need roller bottles? Get a 6-pack here or a 24-pack here. Okay, now we’re ready to make your roller bottle!

Ingredients:

  • 15 drops Deep Blue essential oil blend
  • 7 drops copaiba essential oil
  • 3 drops frankincense essential oil
  • Fractionated coconut oil

Make It:

  1. Add essential oils to your roller bottle.
  2. Fill the bottle with fractionated coconut oil.
  3. Cap and shake gently.

To use it, simply roll it on as needed to your achy muscles and joints. When possible, allow to dry before covering with clothing.

Don’t want to make it yourself? Buy it now.

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*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.

Easy Homemade Hair & Body Wash

Ya know what I love most about homemade hair and body wash? I can customize it in any way to suit my needs. Plus, since I know what’s going into it, I know it’s all-natural and free of artificial additives, chemicals, and preservatives. That means it’s better for my skin and hair. It’s a win-win!

What’s in It?

The recipe calls for just five ingredients–and one of them is water! The other ingredients include Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile liquid soap, carrier oil, essential oils, and xantham gum (a thickening agent).

Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile liquid soap is organic and vegan. It is a wonderful moisturizing soap, and since I use the unscented one, it’s gentle enough for babies, kids, and folks with sensitive skin. Carrier oils have various benefits depending on your needs. Certain carrier oils are ideal for things like dry skin, oily skin, acne-prone skin, dandruff, and more. Check out this post for more information on choosing the right carrier oil for your skin type and this one on choosing the right carrier for your hair type. Like carrier oils, various essential oils can also have benefits for different needs. Choose the best ones for you by visiting the links above.

Remember also that not all essential oils are created equal. The FDA only requires 5% purity for an essential oil bottle to be labeled 100% pure. I know, right?! Just because the label says it’s pure doesn’t mean it is. Do your homework on the companies and their testing practices to ensure you’re getting pure oils. I only use and recommend doTERRA oils. If you’d like to order doTERRA oils, click here for more information.

The other things you’ll need to make your own hair and body wash are a blender and a 16-ounce dark glass (amber or cobalt) pump bottle. I like these bottles from Amazon. Why dark glass you’re wondering? Essential oils can degrade over time when exposed to light. Storing them in a cool, dark place prolongs their potency. They also have the ability (citrus oils especially) to eat through plastic over time. Plus, glass bottles can be washed, sanitized, and used again and again! Plastic bottles would need to be replaced with each new batch.

Ready to make it? Click the links in the ingredient list for purchase info if you don’t have them on hand.

Ingredients:

Make It:

  1. Blend water, carrier oil, and essential oils in a blender on low for 3-5 seconds.
  2. Add xantham gum, and blend on low for 5-7 seconds or until thickened slightly.
  3. Add liquid castile soap, and pulse (do NOT blend) 2-4 times to incorporate.
  4. Pour into pump bottle.

You’ll likely notice this recipe doesn’t get as sudsy as your typical shampoo or body wash. Without the artificial ingredients that produce the bubbles, that’s completely normal! Rest assured, though, it’s still doing its job.

Don’t want to make it yourself? Buy it now!

De-stink Your Dogs, Naturally!

One of our dogs is a German shepherd mix, which means she has a medium-length, thick coat with an even thicker undercoat. She also LOVES to swim! One dip in the lake, and her smell will send you running for days! That coat just traps everything in. It takes a long time to dry, and the lovely lake smell just lingers in there.

Dog groomers recommend you bathe your dog no more than once every 6-8 weeks. Why not? Over-bathing can quickly lead to dry, dandruffy skin and excess shedding. So how do you manage the stink between baths? Use this great deodorizing spray! Simply spray into coat, work in with your hands, and allow it to air dry. For heavier, thicker coats, two or three applications may be required to fully deodorize.

Now I know you can buy all sorts of waterless shampoos and deodorizing sprays at the pet store, but I would encourage you to read through the ingredient list. Most of them include all sorts of artificial ingredients and harsh chemicals. Those ingredients typically just mask the smell, and they often dry out the dog’s skin and coat as well.

This recipe uses only filtered water and certified pure therapeutic grade essential oils. Essential oils are unique because they can actually alter the chemical compound of other things. That means they can change what’s causing the stink and get rid of it completely. Now, be sure to use only pure oils–I ONLY use and recommend doTERRA oils (get yours here). Certainly don’t use the oils available at your grocery and box stores; most of them aren’t pure…even if they claim to be.

If your dog has dry, itchy skin to begin with, you can also replace half the water in the recipe with pure aloe juice (get it here). Aloe is widely known for its soothing qualities and can be quite beneficial for dogs with dry, irritated, or itchy skin.

Additionally, you’ll need a glass spray bottle for storage. Pure essential oils are quite potent and can eat through plastic bottles over time. Cobalt or amber glass also maintain the purity of the oils for longer periods of time than clear glass. Get them here. Store your spray in a cool, dark area when not in use.

The recipe below is for a four-ounce bottle. You can of course adjust quantities as needed for smaller or larger bottles. If your dog has especially dry, irritated, or itchy skin, you can also add 2 drops frankincense to the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • Filtered water
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil
  • 3 drops Roman chamomile essential oil
  • 2 drops peppermint essential oil

To make it, simply add essential oils to your bottle, fill with water, cap, and shake. Shake before each use. Then, spray over the dog’s coat, work in with your hands, and allow to air dry.

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DIY, All-natural Shower Melts

A while back, I posted my bath bomb recipe. If you read it, you know I’m not a bath person. Well, it turns out lots of you aren’t either! I got several questions about an equivalent “shower bomb.” The idea is the same, really. Call them what you want, but I like the name “shower melts.”

In any case, you just drop one on the bottom of your shower, just at the edge of the water. As you shower, the melt will slowly dissolve, providing the same benefits of bath bombs–essential oils for relaxing, energizing, or whatever benefit you’d like; and a great aroma. They also can of course be used as bath bombs; they’re just smaller than your typical bath bomb.

I make these in a great silicone mold (see the picture below) that I also use to make my dishwasher detergent tabs. The nice thing about this mold vs. the steel molds used for bath bombs is that the release is perfect! No fighting to get them out. If you need a mold, I highly recommend this one from Amazon.

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The recipe I use for these is the same as my bath bomb recipe. I highly recommend the use of a digital scale to measure the dry ingredients, but I’ve also provided approximate measurements if you don’t have one.

Ingredients:

  • Dry:
    • 2 ounces baking soda (approx. 1/4 cup)
    • 1 ounces citric acid (approx. 2 tbsp.)
    • 1 ounces salt of choice (approx. 2 tbsp.)
    • 1 ounces arrowroot flour (approx. 1/4 cup)
    • 1/8 tsp mineral mica powder color of choice (or more if you want the colors to be more vibrant; can also be omitted for plain white melts)
  • Wet:
    • 1/2 tbsp liquid oil of choice
    • 1/2 tsp witch hazel (or water)
    • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract (or water)
    • 10-15 drops essential oils of choice

Make Them:

  1. Place a medium plastic bowl on your digital scale, and zero it out.
  2. Add the dry ingredients, watching the weight as you go.
  3. When all dry ingredients are in the bowl, remove it from the scale, and stir the ingredients together; I just use my hands. Be sure to break up any clumps with your fingers.
  4. Mix the wet ingredients in a separate small bowl. I like to use a small Pyrex glass measuring cup. It makes for easy pouring when you’re ready to add the liquids to the dry ingredients.
  5. Stir wet ingredients thoroughly.
  6. SLOWLY pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Do small amounts at a time, or the dry ingredients will start to fizz up. I like to pour little bits in with my left hand and use my right hand to mix it in.
  7. Using your hand(s), mix the wet ingredients into the dry. In the end, it should be the consistency of lightly damp sand. If you squeeze some together in your hand, it should hold its form but not be hard.
  8. Transfer the mixture into your molds. Press firmly to ensure the mixture will hold together when it’s dry.
  9. Allow the molds to sit for several hours until the melts are dry and hard. In a dryer environment, they should be dry in 6-8 hours (or even sooner). In a more humid environment, drying may take 24 or more hours.
  10. Pop the melts out of the molds when they’re dry.
  11. Store in an airtight container or bag until ready to use.

If you’re using the molds I referenced above, this recipe will yield approximately 15 melts. You can certainly double or triple the batch to make more at one time.

Don’t want to make them yourself? Buy them now!

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Colic Relief with Essential Oils

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Being a parent is tough; there are no ifs, ands, or buts, or about it. Newborns bring with them a whole set of unique challenges. Between middle-of-the-night feedings, constant diaper changes, and all the other struggles that come with newborns, parents are just plain tired. We’re told to “sleep when they sleep,” which in theory is great, but who has time for that?

The time when they’re sleeping is when you finally have a few minutes to clean up the kitchen, throw in some laundry, or just grab the mail. Or if you’re like me, you’re working from home, so those precious minutes when they’re sleeping are when you’re trying to get some work done. Throw colic into the mix, and your stress level doubles. No matter what we do, we just can’t seem to console the poor little one.

Our son was less than a week old when the colic started in. As a first-time parent, I didn’t even know what was going on. I knew he was fussy almost all the time, but I didn’t know why. Then I learned about colic. I had of course heard the word but had no idea what it really was. I still don’t. What I do know, though, is it’s no fun, and it’s often digestion- or gas-related.

Our first phone call was to the chiropractor. My chiropractor has two (now grown) boys of his own, and he has tons of experience with chiropractic care for people of all ages–including babies and young kids. When I called to make the appointment, I was nearly in tears just explaining what was happening. I was ecstatic to get in that same afternoon. By the time we arrived at the appointment, I was desperate for anything that would just calm him for more than a few minutes.

After a brief discussion of the delivery and a Q&A about his current health and behavior, I handed the little man over to our doctor. He made a couple tiny adjustments and passed him back, and we were on our way. It was like a light switch! He went from seemingly nonstop fussy to happy and chill almost immediately. My husband, who had previously been a bit unsure of chiropractic care, was SOLD.

To help our little guy going forward, I also mixed up a roller bottle with essential oils and fractionated coconut oil. For babies under a year, you only need about 4 drops of essential oils in a 10-mL roller bottle. Be sure to use only certified pure therapeutic grade oils–especially on babies and kids. I use and recommend doTERRA oils. Sign up as a wholesale member today, and order doTERRA oils for 25% off retail price!

Ok, enough talk. Ready for the roller bottle recipe?

Ingredients:

Make It:

  1. Add essential oils to your roller bottle.
  2. Fill with fractionated coconut oil.
  3. Cap and shake.
  4. To use it, apply after feeding or as needed to baby’s tummy in clockwise circles around the belly button.

*Lavender and wild orange worked great for us, but you may find other oils are more successful for you and your little one. Other good options to consider are cardamom, ginger, and chamomile. What other natural remedies have you found success with for colic?

Simple Sugar Scrub Recipe

 

SugarScrubSugar scrubs are awesome for exfoliating and deep cleansing. They’re also super easy and inexpensive to make yourself!

You can customize it however you’d like using white or brown sugar (or a combination of both) and essential oils of your choosing. Different essential oils can add not only a great fragrance but also various benefits including relaxation (lavender, cedarwood, and vetiver are great options), invigoration (peppermint or wild orange), acne and blemish fighting (melaleuca, lemon, grapefruit, and lavender), and more.

You can even add coffee grounds, vanilla extract, cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice…the options really are endless.

Sugar scrubs are also great for your whole body! I especially love them for my feet during the summer months to smooth and get rid of dry skin, but they’re awesome everywhere including your arms, legs, elbows, and face! The most basic recipe is:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar (white or light brown)
  • 1/2 cup light oil (I personally use coconut oil, melted but not hot; but avocado and sweet almond are great options as well)
  • 10-20 drops essential oils of choice

Make It:

  1. If using coconut oil, melt in 30-second intervals in a glass bowl or pitcher in the microwave OR in a double boiler over low heat. Allow to cool slightly before adding essential oils and sugar.
  2. For other oils already in liquid form, skip step 1.
  3. Stir together liquid oil and essential oils.
  4. Stir in sugar.
  5. Transfer to a glass jar for storage.

That’s it! Super easy, inexpensive, and full of benefits.

Variations:

  • The sugar simply acts as an exfoliant. Lots of other things can be used in place of the sugar and serve the same purpose such as salt (epsom salt, sea salt, and kosher salt work well), baking soda, coffee grounds (you can even use used coffee grounds), ground oatmeal, and ground rice.
  • Other liquids can also be used in place of the oil. Try raw, unfiltered honey or whole milk or cream (keep in mind if you use milk, you’ll want to store your scrub in the fridge and use it within a week or so). Milk alternatives like coconut milk are also good options. If you use honey, I recommend doing half honey and half oil to keep it from getting too thick.
  • Fresh citrus juices like lemon and grapefruit are great cleansers. You can also use zest from the peel.

What do you like to use in your homemade scrubs? Share your ideas in the comments!

Get Relief from Your Cold with All-natural Essential Oils

 

coldcare

We’ve all been there: the first signs of an oncoming cold appear. Maybe for you it’s a scratchy throat or a runny nose or an annoying cough. Whatever that sign is, we all react in a similar way–UGH.

Several years ago, I was quick to reach for over-the-counter “remedies” when these symptoms hit. I just needed something to stop the runny nose; soothe the scratchy, sore throat; unplug the plugged nose; and curb the cough. For me, it was often Dayquil and Nyquil. Maybe it’s something else for you, but the idea is the same: just let me get through the day and night with some relief!

I realized, though, that there’s a problem with all of these drugstore products. They don’t actually fix the underlying problem. They simply mask the symptoms. So what does fix the problem? Our bodies. With time, our body will fight the common cold on its own. We can shorten that time by taking care of ourselves: getting good rest, drinking lots of fluids, and eating good foods. But what if we could do something else? What if we could help our bodies heal faster?

That question led me to essential oils over a year ago. If our bodies truly are capable of healing themselves, then maybe we can help our bodies do that. Certainly, we can do the things I mentioned above to take better care of ourselves, but we can also use all-natural essential oils to help.

Essential oils are able to penetrate cell walls. Why does that matter? It means they can get into the affected cells and fix them from the inside out. When the cells are healthier, they can heal our bodies faster. By choosing oils appropriate for fighting the common cold, then, we can help our bodies heal faster, and we can get relief from the symptoms. Double win!

I make this easy roller bottle blend for everyone in our house. Since I have young kids, I have different bottles with different dilutions. Young kids are more sensitive and will respond to treatment with fewer drops of essential oil than adults, so it’s important to mix your bottles with the right dilution:

  • Infants one year and under: 2-4 drops essential oil
  • Toddlers age 1 to 5: 4-8 drops essential oil
  • Kids age 6 to 12: 8-14 drops essential oil
  • Ages 13+: 14-20 drops essential oil

You’ll first need roller bottles to fill. To prolong effectiveness, it’s best to store essential oils in dark glass like amber or cobalt. I like these from Amazon. You can also use clear bottles like these if you store them in a cool, dark place and use them within a few months.

As for the essential oils, be sure to use only certified pure therapeutic grade oils. I only use and recommend doTERRA oils (if you need oils, click that link!). You’ll also need a carrier oil to fill your bottle and to aid in the application of the oils. I like fractionated coconut oil, but sweet almond oil and other light oils are also good options.

Ingredients:

  • Essential oils
    • Infants one year and under: 1-2 drops lemon, 1-2 drops lavender
    • Toddlers age 1 to 5: 1-2 drops Breathe (doTERRA proprietary blend), 2-4 drops lavender, 2 drops lemon
    • Kids age 6 to 12: 2-4 drops Breathe, 3-6 drops lavender, 3-4 drops lemon
    • Ages 13+: 6-9 drops Breathe, 4-6 drops lavender, 4-6 drops lemon
  • Fractionated coconut oil (or other carrier oil of choice)

Make It:

  1. Add essential oils to roller bottle.
  2. Fill with carrier oil.
  3. Cap and shake gently.

Use It:

  • For infants and toddlers, apply to feet bottoms every 3-6 hours as needed. It works best if you put socks on after application.
  • For older kids and adults, apply to feet bottoms and/or spine every 3-6 hours as needed. When applying to the spine, I like to apply it in small circles, making my way up or down the spine.