Review of 25th Edition of The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy

 

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Notice the post it notes…

When I was first dealing with my Lyme disease during the fall and winter of 2016, I was doing lots of research, both online, in books, and in person. With so many issues popping up daily, there was never enough information to help me find the right solution.

By spring, I had starting feeling better, after having several months of a new diet and numerous appointments with medical and holistic practitioners. I was ready to try something else to help me heal even more, and I had the opportunity to learn about essential oils at a workshop at a local organic nursery. I also spoke with a few representatives who sold them for various companies. While this newfound knowledge was very informative and helpful, my own experience with Lyme taught me that my body had become extremely sensitive to foods and compounds. I wasn’t really looking to sign up for programs and pay money for products I may or may not use or may be a source of more pain and complications for me.

In end, I decided that the best route for me to take would be to find a good book to help me learn which oils to use for what purposes. And that is when I discovered Valerie Worwood’s book The Complete Book of Aromatherapy, New World Library, 1991.

As a ‘rookie’ in the essential oil world, I loved this book. Not only was it easy to use, it was also very comprehensive in its approach of how to use the oils for what purposes. There were recipes for any type of use: cooking, cleaning, or germ fighting. In the back, there was a listing of reputable oil companies to purchase from, which for me, was great information. With my own immune system so compromised at the time, and so many companies were jumping on the EO bandwagon, this was very helpful information for me. Interestingly enough, she does list the two major essential oil companies, Young Living, and doTerra, in her first book. But due to my own knowledge of the bad blood between the two businesses, I personally boycotted those two and purchased other recommended oils at local stores in my area.

The 25th anniversary edition has recently been published, (2016) and I was fortunate enough to receive a copy from the publisher. And much like the first volume, this one also is a great edition to anyone’s library.

Ms. Worwood’s does a deeper exploration of the history of essential oils in this volume; and for me, this is a great asset to the book.   My epiphany about the health value in using essential oils came when reading this section. Our ‘advanced’ technological and medical age has overshadowed the fact that these oils have been used for thousands of years by various cultures across the globe. My own health issues combined with this knowledge about essential oils really indicated to me that the medical community needs to takes notice of ways to help people heal from aliments without the use of synthetic or manmade compounds. Imagine if more doctors used more natural ways to healing the body!  They may be out of a business, but we’d be a healthier community, for sure!

The 25th edition has great reference charts for oils as well—a dilution chart, conversion charts, a quick reference chart about oils, and also more detailed profiles on essential oils which grace the pages of this book from beginning to end.

What I love about the new book is that there is notably more information for all types of ailments at any age, from birth all the way to what she gently describes as the ‘maturing’ years.   I have family members dealing with stress, fatigue and other more serious health issues. Ms. Wormwood details explicitly how oils can be used in any number of situations. While she does specifically state that this book is not intended to heal or substitute for medical advice, I do find that as a Lyme disease warrior, there is something in here for everyone. Whether you are interested in more ‘green cleaning’, ways to use essential oils in cooking, or just want to learn something new about a very old and everlasting health practice, this is an informative and easy to reference book to have on hand.

As someone who is now at the point in my learning to start to experiment more with essential oils to improve my health further, I am happy that this book is gracing my coffee table. ( I reference it quite often—it hasn’t made it to the bookshelf yet!)

Yours in Lyme Adventures,

 

TWL

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One Year Ago

December 2016

 

One year ago, I was diagnosed with Lyme.

lymeheadAnd I still can remember all the difficulties I faced as my Lyme progressed from annoying symptoms to full-blown pain, brain fog, dietary issues, weakness, and exhaustion, and finally, being out of work for six months.

I can remember early on, trying to keep a semblance of routine at home and make my daughter’s lunch for school. That 10-minute job caused me extreme exhaustion, and a return trip to bed for two hours.

I remember trying to exercise on the advice of medical doctors, which never went well.  Later on in that winter, I tried vacuuming a 5×7 rug. I needed a three-hour nap after that.

I remember starting what I call my Lyme Bible.  It contained sections with each doctors’ contact information, copies of my blood work reports, diagnoses, as well as my food diary and symptoms tracker.  DataScientistJobDescriptions

I remember my husband asking me one morning, “Where is the jelly?” And I literally did not know. I couldn’t tell him, and I got upset because I knew my brain was literally fading a way bit by bit, and there wasn’t anything that any medical doctor was telling me that was helpful or hopeful.

I remember being frustrated listening to people with MD after their names giving me any number of diagnoses: Lyme, not Lyme, fibromyalgia, coxsackie, EBV, a virus…and even, “Yes, you have Lyme, coxsackie, and EBV in your blood work, but we don’t know what is causing your symptoms. Just eat right and exercise.” I’ve got letters that I’ve started that I intend to send to all these medical professionals to both ease my conscience and anger, but also potentially change how they actually address a patient’s course of treatment when they have Lyme disease.

I remember hearing about a holistic practitioner that helped a cancer patient who had tremendous results after major health issues. At that point, I was ready to find a new avenue that didn’t lead me to another medical doctor whose hands were tied against me.20160413_103853

I remember thinking during my first appointment, his methods seemed so strange and out of the box in terms of medical treatment as I knew it, and yet, after only 4 months, I was back at work full-time and able to conquer my full teaching day without turning into a puddle by 10:30 am!

I remember feeling so tired from work, I was in bed by 5:30, and still not rested to face the next day. Squeezing the shampoo bottle in the shower bothered my right thumb, and drying my hair with the hair dryer made my elbows hurt tremendously. Even driving would bother my elbows.  And reading…forget it.  After ten minutes,  I could feel my mind drifting away from the words on the page.

I remember a time last year when I didn’t put the my prized under-the-counter radio on when I was in the kitchen.  It’s presence changed from a comfort to just noise. The feeling of wanting music on had left me, and it didn’t bother me for many months that I didn’t put the radio on to keep me company.

Tonight, I connected my Bluetooth Pandora on my phone to that radio. I listened to a Martina McBride holiday channel, and I sang along to almost every song. It was  like a drug to me; I realized how much I had missed my music and I finally had the chance to enjoy it again.  I had to force myself to turn it off and go sit down when tiredness of the day trumped the music.

As I am writing this, I am thinking of how fortunate I am that my health has returned almost to normal and I am enjoying things that I couldn’t do a year ago.

What a difference a year makes!

Yours In Lyme Adventures,

TWL

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Love Notes

 

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I went back to work the August after an unexpected medical leave in January 2016.

It’s been good to be back, even with the challenges of a larger group of students with varying levels of specific needs.

One of the things I love about teaching Kindergarten is that I can literally shape how a child views anything–even the most mundane task–just by my reaction or how I present it to them.  Work they need to do becomes “a project” or “a puzzle”. Assessments or small group work  becomes “working with Mrs. T” time –-and everyone LOVES one on one time with the teacher! Even a little post-it lunch box note from Mom turns into a glorious love note. The kids BEAM when I gush, “OH LOOK!!!! Mommy wrote you a LOVE NOTE!!” We read it together and the child toddles off with a smile on his or her face, so happy they got a love note from home.

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Sometimes, the children bring in pictures for me—beautiful Kindergarten drawings of us together, sometimes with a drawing of my faithful puppet Red Word Fred intermingled with the hearts and shapes and colors. This year, I’ve had a few of my scholars  say, “I made you a love note,” handing their treasure over to me when we collect the mail at the start of the day. I gush and preen over each note, thanking the child and putting it up on my bulletin board behind my table. My bulletin board is already filled with these notes, and I decided it was time to give back the love to my students.

This past Friday, I sent each of them home with a love note from me. Since we do mail in the morning, I had to remind them they couldn’t open it up now, or on the bus, or at the YMCA program after school. They had to wait until they got home to share it with their families.

Their reactions were priceless as they were handed folded notes. Some said thank you, some sat there in awe, looking at their name and heart drawn on the front, reminding me of Charlie Bucket when he found the Golden Ticket, and others were literally just beaming with joy and smiles. I had enclosed both a note and a dot-to-dot page. I’m not sure what will transpire as far as an extra little goodie inside each week—I haven’t planned that far ahead– but my goal is to give them each a love note every Friday morning to read at home.fullsizerender

I hope the love gets passed around this year between home and school!

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Yours in Lyme Adventures,

TWL

 

 

Purpose

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As a Kindergarten teacher, we are told to give our students a ‘purpose‘ for reading, or writing, or math. The feeling is that children need to learn not just the content, but ‘why’ a particular task is important to the topic and how it relates to the topic, or its purpose.

In the ‘olden days’ of Kindergarten, our purpose as teachers was to help children function on a social level. Kindergarten children had ample time to play and explore all kinds of materials and mediums for learning. Academic learning was secondary to social growth. Block play, dramatic play, thematic art projects, singing songs and participating in whole and small group activities were the hallmark of a strong educational program. If you were really lucky, your child’s teacher actually PLAYED A PIANO in class and sang along with the children! And Kindergarten was a half-day program.

Now, the purpose of Kindergarten is not social development, but rather academic prowess.

Even with tragic events like Columbine, Aurora, and most recently Newtown, social goals are not at the helm. Yes, we are instructed to collect data on our student’s behaviors if they are negatively impacted learning, but it is in addition to all the mounds of academic assessments that we complete on our youngest learners each week. And the social workers are working twice as hard to address so many social issues that impact a child’s classroom experience. They are presenting curriculum in classrooms, holding Lunch Bunch social groups, and assisting teachers in implementing behavior charts and collecting data points. They attend PPTs to help monitor and address student behaviors and work with children, teachers, and parents to address social issues and concerns.

Kindergarten is a pivotal year when it comes to social learning and development.  Some of my students still come to Kindergarten as their first school experience. No preschool, no daycare, and no other ‘academic’ setting but my classroom. For these students, I worry. I worry that their sole memory of Kindergarten is going to reading, writing, and math, and not what friendships they made or how they learned fun songs or played with friends in the blocks or kitchen area.

I was hired at the turning point when the district I work for went from half day to full day. With those extra hours came more academic learning for the children, not more social learning.  In the past 16 years, children as young as 4 years old are learning sight words, reading strategies, and how to write sentences and illustrate with corresponding pictures. Gone is rest time, gone is hours of creative play. I still put time in every day for recess and free choice centers, but an hour a day total is not enough for young children to thrive socially.

Mental health, or what I believe to be social health, is clearly on the back burner when it comes to education in the United States. We want our children to be top of the class academically at the expense of their social and emotional well-being.   We see this over and over in the news. Children are in pain and act out against people with violence. It is only when these acts are displayed across the media that we stop, shake our heads, demand action, and then grow silent again. Dismantling a broken educational system is more difficult than making necessary positive social changes for students, I guess.  And the changes I’m talking about aren’t major.  We can still do reading, writing and math in Kindergarten.  But not hours of it as the backbone of our youngest learners day.  We need to infuse age appropriate concepts in these areas through play activities, literature rich experiences, and time outside exploring nature and the community.  Mr. Rogers said it best, “Play is the work of children.” I truly believe that play and social growth should be the main purpose of Kindergarten.  When children  can handle social cues and experiences as second nature, academic learning is much easier, more fulfilling, and everlasting.

Think about when you tried to learn a new skill when you were a kid. Did you do it when someone told you to do it, or when you were interested in it?  How lasting was the learning?  What memories do you have of your teachers?  And why do you have those particular memories, either good or bad?

We teachers have had to implement No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and Common Core over the years. Each of  programs put forth by our national government profess to help students reach their full potential. But it’s not their social potential that is addressed in these laws, but their academic potential.

We set high academic standards for students to reach, but what about setting high social and emotional standards and letting academic teaching come at an age appropriate time across all grade levels?  With the academic bar raised in Kindergarten, the trickle up effect forces children at all successive grade levels to perform well above their grade level as well. And think about what these goals do to the ESOL and Special Education population!

What is the purpose of a 4-year-old Kindergarten student being able to independently read and retell a book for an assessment if that child can’t sit engaged for a literature-rich story experience?

What is the purpose of completing a math activity if a young child doesn’t understand the basics of taking turns when working in groups?

What is the purpose of writing a story with letters and sounds if the child isn’t ready to understand how letters and sounds work?

 

What is the purpose of education if we are focusing on one area at the expense of another?

 

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