Articles about Aromatherapy
Sawasdikha, just in case you wondered why I do not wear any cosmetics anymore... even my hair shampoo is 100% natural. It is called Implan by the way, and no, I am not trying to sell it to you...
You may find this article very informative.
Have a great day,
For more info, please contact us.
Why Your Natural, Organic Soap, Cosmetics and Other Personal Care Products May Be Bad for You By Jill Richardson, AlterNet
Posted on September 20, 2010 http://www.alternet.org/story/148232/
It all began with toxic nail polish.
About a decade ago, Jane Houlihan, who is now the senior vice president
of research at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), was researching phthalates, a class of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, in nail polish.
A few years later, the organization Health Care Without Harm,
which was working to get phthalates out of medical supplies and equipment, noticed data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
showing that women of child-bearing age had high levels of phthalates in their bodies.
They wondered why -- and suspected cosmetics.
Teaming up with Houlihan and EWG, they tested a wide range of personal care products -- none of which listed phthalates on their labels --
and found that over 70 percent contained phthalates.
The environmental groups then wondered what other chemicals were used in the cosmetics and personal care products that we put on our bodies every day. A lot, as it turns out.
As EWG and partner organizations like the Breast Cancer Fund and Women's Voices for the Earth began researching chemicals in commonly used cosmetics, they found phthalates, formaldehyde, 1,4-dioxane (a carcinogen), and even lead in everyday products like lipstick, nail polish, deodorant, and shampoo.
Many more ingredients had NOT been tested for safety -- ever.
"Reading labels is important" says Stacy Malkan,
one of the original co-founders of the cosmetics campaign and author of Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry, "but there are even more dangerous ingredients that aren't listed on the label.
And it doesn't have to be this way."
Revelations like these led them to organize the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics in 2004.
They began by sending out letters to cosmetics companies,
asking them to sign their Compact for Safe Cosmetics,
"a pledge to replace all hazardous chemicals with safer alternatives."
That year, EWG launched its Skin Deep database, rating the safety of cosmetics and cosmetic ingredients.
The first year, 100 companies signed the Compact (but most major companies did not), and the Skin Deep database listed about 7,000 products.
Today, over 1,500 companies have signed the Compact,
and the Skin Deep database lists over 60,000 products.
Recently, the Campaign worked with Annie Leonard to produce the video
The Story of Cosmetics.
Also, a bill before Congress, the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010, would require more safety testing before ingredients are used in products.
In 2006, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics celebrated a victory when major nail polish brands OPI, Orly and Sally Hansen removed a "toxic trio" of chemicals (dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde and toluene) from their products.
Nneka Leiba, a research analyst at EWG, says that many of the problematic ingredients are preservatives, including endocrine-disrupting parabens, formaldehyde, formaldehyde-releasing chemicals,
and suspected carcinogen BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole).
She stressed that many teen products EWG tested contained parabens and phthalates, which both have estrogenic effects, a significant finding because bodies of teenagers are especially sensitive to hormones.
"Right now, we're not seeing a lot of preservatives being used that don't have associated hazards," says Leiba.
"We would like to see more options for companies and many more studies on the safety of these chemicals. Alternatively, we encourage companies to add 'best by' dates to cosmetics and stress their importance to consumers."
While the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics works to remove all harmful ingredients from cosmetics, some consumers rely on cosmetics brands marketed as organic and natural, hoping those products are safe.
As Diane Kaye and Jim Hahn, founders of the body care products company Terressentials, could tell you, the word "natural" -- or even "organic" -- on a label means very little.
Kaye is a cancer survivor who, at age 29, underwent an experimental, aggressive chemotherapy treatment that cured her cancer but left her with extreme chemical sensitivities.
She and her husband purged toxic products from their home, adopted organic macrobiotic diets, and tried natural and organic cosmetics.
Kaye's body still reacted to these products.
"We were washing our hair with bar soaps and using olive oil as moisturizer," she recalls, telling how she abandoned even the so-called natural brands of cosmetics.
Kaye and Hahn first created Terressentials products for their own personal use. And as they shared their creations with friends in cancer support groups, they found there was a demand for products made from safe, organic ingredients.
In 1996, they moved from the city to a farm in rural Maryland and turned their hobby into a business. Yet even today, nearly a decade and a half later, Terressentials is only one of a minority of companies whose products are USDA-certified organic.
What's more, many stores refuse to stock their products.
Some stores complain about having to deal with their small, artisanal business, wishing to place one order with one distribution company for every product in their store every few weeks, taking advantage of bulk discounts (not to mention the free lunches they get when their rep from the distribution company visits).
But there might be another reason why Terressentials products aren't on the shelves of more health food stores. One honest store rep told Kaye she couldn't stock Terressentials products because their pure, natural ingredients would blow the cover on the other not-so-natural brands of "natural" cosmetics.
Another source of truly organic -- and safe -- products is Dr. Bronner's.
David Bronner, the current president of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps,
descends from a line of German-Jewish soap makers who have made liquid and bar soaps since 1858.
Emanuel Bronner, David's grandfather, immigrated to America in 1929
and began making the product we know as Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Soap in 1948. Back then, there was no such thing as USDA organic certification, but Emanuel wanted his soaps to be as natural as possible.
Today, David continues -- and even improves upon -- his grandfather's tradition. The company went certified organic in 2003 and fair trade in 2007.
Both Terressentials and Dr. Bronner's are signers of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics.
They also participate in another campaign, one called Coming Clean,
started by Organic Consumers Association (OCA) in 2004, the same year the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics was founded.
(Full disclosure: I have served on the policy advisory board of Organic Consumers Association since 2007.)
Ronnie Cummins, executive director of OCA, supported the work of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics but felt there was a niche OCA could fill to help consumers get the safe products they demanded.
The word "organic" is strictly regulated in food, but it meant practically nothing on the bottle of a shampoo or lotion.
To Cummins, that made no sense. "A bottle of olive oil cannot claim it's organic unless it's actually organic if you are going to eat it, but what if it is used as massage oil?"
The Coming Clean Web site includes "naughty" and "nice" lists,
calling out brands like Avalon Organics, Desert Essence, Giovanni, Jason,
Kiss My Face, and Nature's Gate for fraudulently labeling products "organic" and praising other brands for actually attaining and accurately labeling USDA organic certification.
Coming Clean had one of its first victories in 2005, when it settled out of court with the USDA, which promised to enforce the USDA certified organic seal on cosmetics that met the organic standards for food.
More recently, Whole Foods Market (which carries most of the not-so-organic brands listed above) announced that by June 2011, it would require its suppliers to either reformulate their products so they are organic or remove misleading labels claiming to be organic.
Coming Clean teamed up with the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and environmental health consumer advocate David Steinman in 2008,
when it tested -- and found -- the carcinogen 1,4-dioxane in "natural" and "organic" products.
1,4-dioxane, which was also found in a number of conventional, popular cosmetics brands, is a byproduct of a process called ethoxylation, which OCA refers to as "a cheap short-cut companies use to provide mildness to harsh ingredients."
Ethoxylation requires the use of the petrochemical ethylene oxide (a carcinogen), and it generates 1,4-dioxane as a byproduct.
Five brands tested free of 1,4-dioxane:
Sensibility Soaps (Nourish),
and Dr. Hauschka.
Perhaps this is because brands like Dr. Bronner's and Terressentials do not contain detergents.
David Bronner points out that his company's products are soaps, not detergents, a distinction that many consumers are unaware of. Soaps, alkaline salts with fatty acids, are produced by a simple, straightforward reaction that has been used by humans for thousands of years. Long ago, humans used wood ash to obtain the alkaline salt that would turn vegetable or animal oils and fats into soap. Making detergent, on the other hand, is a more complex, energy-intensive process. Many detergents are made with petrochemicals like ethoxylates. While all cosmetics should be safe (and free of 1,4-dioxane), most consumers do not think they are purchasing petrochemicals when they select a "natural" or "organic" product off the shelf.
The European Union, which initially banned a list of 1,100 toxic chemicals from cosmetics in 2003, now bans over 1,300 chemicals.
Meanwhile, in the U.S. consumers still are not promised safety, nor can they trust claims of "natural" or "organic." And new safety issues are arising before old ones are resolved (Cummins worries about newly developed products using nanotechnology).
American consumers have had options like Dr. Bronner's for decades,
and opportunities to obtain truly safe cosmetics exploded when the Internet became a part of everyday life in the 1990s.
But it is still the responsibility of the consumer to become informed about cosmetic safety and seek out safe products.
The vast majority of Americans who simply go to the store and choose a product off the shelf (assuming that any product legally sold in a store is inherently safe) receive no guarantee of safety.
Jill Richardson is the founder of the blog La Vida Locavore and a member of the Organic Consumers Association policy advisory board. She is the author of Recipe for America: Why Our Food System Is Broken and What We Can Do to Fix It..
© 2010 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/148232/
Aromatherapy, the Therapy That Makes Scents
by Corinne Friedman
For thousands of years, the pure essences distilled from aromatic plants
have been prized for their health-giving qualities.
Using the beneficial properties of oils, you can treat common ailments,
promote good health and emotional well-being,and enhance every aspect of your life.
These potent, volatile essences are nature's gift to mind, body, and spirit.
Essential oils can evoke smell imagery...
sometimes the smell of a certain aroma can instantly bring back memories of a childhood scene.
Some scents can make us feel relaxed while others can make us feel energized and alive.
This is the power of aroma.
For centuries it has been common knowledge that scents produce mental and physical responses.
Using plant, flower, and spice essences for beauty treatments
(and to help with physical ailments) has been practiced since ancient times.
Today, aromatherapy is moving out of the "health alternatives" and into the mainstream,
such as in the workplace (to improve productivity, especially in the afternoon,
when companies release lemon or peppermint through vent ducts
- a great"pick-me-up"!).
Airlines and hotels are also looking at aromatherapy as a jet-lag cure.
We believe that essential oils contain the vital force of plants, hormones, vitamins,
enzymes, minerals, and the consciousness of the plant.
They provide a therapeutic effect by elevating or suppressing action within the body.
The oils enhance brain wave functions and improve psychic and spiritual awareness,
working directly with the sensory motor system, and thus bringing balance to the body.
The analysis of chemical components of essential oils demonstrate
that they have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-parasitic qualities.
Many of the oils also support the function of the immune system
by acting as an antiseptic and healing agent.
Additionally, some oils can affect the hormonal system,
while others can stimulate an opening to emotional blocks.
I have witnessed the profound effects of essential oils, creating mental,
emotional, and physical shifts.
People report feeling more joyful, happier, and uplifted.
I like applying lemongrass on the pulse points, such as the temples, wrists,
and ankles to enhance emotional expression.
In addition, rubbing lavender on the feet aids in relaxation and promotes balance.
Essential oils have a tremendous affect on our bodies,
and will continue to play a major role in our health preservation
during these times of increasing disease and stress.
Sometimes the quality of essential oils can vary greatly.
Because essential oils carry specific vibratory frequency,
they must be of excellent quality.
Corinne Friedman began working with the holistic model in 1980
and has been practicing Aromatherapy since 1990.
She practices Aromatherapy at her company:
Renewal, located in Palo Alto, California, USA.
For more info, please contact us.