Nature’s Ingredients with Vennie Chou
By Anita Kalnay, RA®, EOT®
Vennie Chou caught my attention when she posted a Facebook comment on using flowers to create colour naturally for bath salts. Prior to that, I had seen her name as a member of the Natural Perfume Foundation, (1) but we had never met.
Amazing people sometimes come in the most humble of packages! Although Vennie is not an aromatherapist, her job as senior technologist at the B.C. Cancer Institute, of which she is a 32-year veteran, involves the use of colour in determining malignancy of cell tissue.
“My job is ‘playing with colour.’ I use chemical colour to dye the tissues that come from surgery. I take a removed organ, slice it up, and colour it with different chemicals. From that I can tell which cells are cancer cells and which are other cells. I call it ‘the body shop’ (she laughs)
“In cancer testing, we use logwood, which is a purple-blue natural dye that colours the nuclei in the cells that hold the DNA. A tumour nuclei looks very different than a normal nuclei. We look at the colour, the shade, and can tell, just by looking at the colours, the state of health of the cell.
“There is a lot of funding in cancer research to ‘cure,’ but there is no funding toward prevention!
“That’s why I study naturals. To get away from chemicals.
“My goal is to find natural alternatives to products we use daily, such as lotions, hair colour, shampoos, soaps, toothpaste etc. For example I use a combination of henna and indigo to create a black hair dye, or cassia and amla for blonde hair.”
Vennie was appalled at having to wear full PPE at work, while working with the very same chemicals that were in health and beauty products. Her motivation was “to do it different,” to explore naturals as alternatives. So, after work, she started to apply her laboratory and science skills to create her own personal care products at home.
Creating Coloured Bath Salts with Flowers
How did you come up with this idea?
“Originally, I wanted to create an anti-fungal, anti-bacterial foot soak using thyme and oregano. I picked the plants live, mixed them with epsom salt and put them in the blender with the idea of ‘breaking up’ the plant material. When I picked blue pansy, I got blue bath salts, roses gave me pink salts, lavender didn’t have much colour, but it had a beautiful scent! Calendula marigold was bright gold and totally therapeutic, anti-inflammatory and calming.
“I picked the flowers, pulled the petals off, added epsom salt, put it in the blender and as it mixed, the flowers totally disappeared into the salt. Then I laid it on a paper grocery bag to dry.
“Some plants have more ‘juice.’ Where thyme might dry in a day, marigold would take three to four days. And it also depends on how much plant material you put in the blend and the depth of colour that you want.”
Being the scientist that she is, Vennie observed her bath salts over a period of a year and noticed that the colour was still active and had stayed the same.
Vennie particularly liked pink peony flower, the original peony, which apparently is non-toxic and has a strong rose like scent. She suggests blending peonies with rose petals, as the peony has larger and more petals than roses and offers a vibrant pink colour.
Dry as many of the raw materials as you can, over the summer, then try to play with it, especially after the summer season is over.
Here are some other colour ideas:
Keep good notes.
Take pictures, so you can refer back to them.
Explore. You can add lavender and marigold to salts, to make a light purple with yellow, for instance
Look at the yin/yang of the plants/herbs, often most visible in the growing conditions of the plant.
Consider the WHOLE process as natural therapy
“I don’t like products that have gone through a lot of processing. The only process I do is rinse the bugs off the flower, then add the salts and some moisturizing oil.”
-Grate some coconut butter into the epsom salt to add a cream colour. When added to hot water, it will dissolve.
-Grate some 90% dark chocolate and mix into the salts. Add some grated cacao butter for scent.
Consider plant material such as fruit or vegetables. Cut a small piece of watermelon and blend into the salts for a cooling effect. Very nice with lemon verbena and lemon zest. Make a pillow or eye bag with the dried materials, too!
Does it have to be Epsom salts?
“Epsom salt is easy to use because it is very drying. But you can blend it with pink Himalayan salts or dead sea salts.” (Which I find take on more water in our coastal environment.)
“Colour is a BIG part of therapy. It is therapeutic and relaxing just watching it dissolve in the bath or a foot bath”
Both Vennie and I explored colour as part of the textile art industry. I originally explored it as a silk painter and after taking several colour classes at the Emily Carr College of Art and Design, discovered that the colours I was dyeing changed my mood. That was my introduction to the healing arts.
Vennie took classes at Maiwa Handprints on Granville Island, where she learned about natural dyes and mordants that can be used in textiles to replace chemical products. Her goal is to “eliminate all the ‘crap’ we buy and replace it with plants.”
“Natural dyes and plant materials have been used for thousands of years all over the world.
“I used alkanet root to dye my textiles. It offers a beautiful range of purples. In Japan and Turkey, the plant is used as a compress on a wound to help it heal very fast. The Japanese use this plant and this idea with diabetics. It helps wounds to heal fast and it is also antiseptic.
“You can take part of the root and soak it in oil. The red colour soaks into the oil. I call it an alkanet infusion. Then take the oil and blend it with salts. It enhances the moisturizing properties of the salts.”
Her research also correlated these natural materials to Chinese medicine, eg. indigo root used to treat lungs, asthma and colds. It also inspired her to research the herbs used and the countries and traditions that used them.
“About the only thing I don’t make is my own toilet paper,” and, strangely enough, just the day before our interview I found a reference to using mullein leaf as a natural toilet paper when out in the bush as it is large, soft and fuzzy.
“The textile industry is the second largest polluter in the world! The first is the petroleum industry. If we can eliminate chemical dyes and replace them with naturals, then we can clean up the world!
“I knit as well, and the moths in my house will only eat the synthetic or chemical dyes. I have been dyeing yarns for about 20 years and I never have to store them separately as a cashmere sweater dyed with natural dyes will never have holes from moths. The bugs won’t eat the natural dyes, because the mordants bind with the fibre creating a natural chemistry that is deadly to bugs.”
“I want to expand what I do. I use chemicals all the time at my job and I just hate it. How can I live a modern life avoiding these products? It’s been a long journey, over 25 years of exploring so far!”
- Every failure is a lesson. So it is constant research and development. I have had lots of projects that didn’t work.
- In inspiration there is possibility. I want to open up the possibilities, the dimensions, horizons, so people will start looking around, researching and learning about natural materials.
- I love my walks in nature, and that’s what started the process over 25 years ago now.
“I am working with a doctor of Chinese medicine to create products for skin. I was watching a TCM documentary, in Chinese, and they mentioned some plants that might grow in our area here in B.C. So, I went to a Chinese herbal store, to buy them to dye my textiles. I discovered that gardenia seed pods were used in history to dye the emperor’s clothing, the ‘royal gold’ colour.”
It was humorous to hear Vennie talk about going into an herbal apothecary and buying huge bags of product for textile dyeing.
“So, history meets colour, meets herbal use… I incorporated the Empress Herbal Blend formula into my facial cleanser, which is very good for freckles and brown spots, meaning age spots.”
Vennie’s Formula for Age Spots
At this point my curiosity on age spots took over! Age spots are often brought out via heat such as sun exposure and also UV rays emitted by older computer monitors. Vennie offered her recipe for an age spot mask.
I noticed my age spots shortly after I went into menopause and immediately after going to Oregon for much of the summer, where we spent most of our time outdoors. And the sun is much hotter in Oregon.
- Mint, peppermint leaf or use a peppermint tea bag
- Mung bean, unsprouted
- Barley flour grains
- Dried chrysanthemum flower, available in a Chinese herbal store, or tea store
- Use a coffee grinder and grind into a powder.
- Add water or add your favourite hydrasol to moisten.
- Make it into a paste and apply as a mask.
- Don’t add any essential oils to the blend.
The face has a yang energy. Use plain water or a cooling hydrasol (e.g. rose, neroli, lavender, peppermint), not rosemary or other warming hydrosol.
The whole idea is to cool the skin:
Play with it at home for yourself!
You can also sell the product by putting instructions on it, e.g. add your own water.
Vennie does not have a website, but her Facebook page offers a world of wisdom and has some great pictures to guide the process!
1. Natural Perfume Foundation IPF
2. 40+ Edible Flowers (and How to Use Them)
Recap and Afterthoughts
By Kathleen Jaggassar, CCC, RA®, EOT®
The central theme of our June 2022 Coffee Saturday was Aromatherapy and the Scope of Practice. We discussed the differences between aromatherapy and aromatic medicine, and the ingestion of essential oils (EOs). Colleen Thompson explained that since we do not have aromatic medicine in Canada, the ingestion of EOs falls under a medical doctor’s scope of practice. In fact, Health Canada and the Province of BC explicitly state that EOs are not to be ingested. We discussed how to approach this issue with clients. We talked about the value of education, and we touched on the risks associated with various methods of application. Koyama and Heinbickel discuss how the method of intake (diffuser, ingestion or topical) will interact with the bodily system related to the application (olfactory, digestive and skin) and that currently there isn’t a comprehensive understanding of how these physical systems interact with each constituent or combinations of constituents. An extensive body of research demonstrates that inhalation is the safest method of aromatherapy. Tisserand and Young provide a thorough resource on inhalation and topical safety, informing Health Canada guidelines. All these resources can educate our clients to make an informed decision about using EOs.
We also touched on counselling and aromatherapy and how an aromatherapist might know when they were engaging in counselling. Kathleen said that an aromatherapist would be outside their scope of practice when they begin to process an issue with a client. The Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) defines counselling and psychotherapy as “a relational process based upon the ethical use of specific professional competencies to facilitate human change.” Kathleen gave numerous examples of what this could look like during a session. Storytelling, guided meditations or spiritual journeys are all within the scope of aromatherapy practice. When a client engages an aromatherapist in a discussion about their concerns or begins to tell a story, an aromatherapist could use empathetic phrases such as, “That must have been really difficult for you,” “I am here with you now,” and “I can imagine this is a terrifying diagnosis.” Empathy is conceptualized as the ability to re-experience or share the emotions of another person. Emotional regulation (the state by which a person returns to baseline after an emotional reaction) is indicated in many mental health issues. Emotional regulation is highly impacted by an empathetic response. Therefore, it’s reasonable to expect that empathy alone can initiate a transformation.
However, remember that to engage in counselling, you must use a specific set of professional competencies that far exceed an empathetic response. This discussion raised the question of what to do when a client starts talking about trauma or tells you they want to work through a psychological problem. Kathleen suggested explaining the scope of practice to clients by telling them you are willing to listen to their stories. Still, you cannot help them work through their problem, and you know of someone who can help (Kathleen strongly recommends engaging a counsellor as a referral source so you can be prepared for this circumstance). In summary, as an aromatherapist, your primary focus must be using EOs to promote mental and physical health and, through their use, remediate and treat client health symptoms and diagnosed medical concerns. The experience you chose to administer EOs to your client is arguably, the “therapy” in “aromatherapy.”
 Health Canada. Aromatherapy – Essential Oils [Internet]. 2018. Available from http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=aromatherap&lang=eng
 Health Link BC. Aromatherapy (Essential Oil Therapy) [Internet]/ 2021. Available from https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/aromatherapy-essential-oils-therapy
 Koyama, S., & Heinbockel, T. (2020). The effects of essential oils and terpenes in relation to their routes of intake and application. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 21(5), 1558. https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/21/5/1558
 Aćimović, M. (2021). Essential oils: Inhalation aromatherapy—a comprehensive review. J. Agron. Technol. Eng. Manag, 4, 547-557.
 Tisserand, R., & Young, R. (2014). Essential oil safety: A guide for health care professionals.
 Health Canada. Aromatherapy – Essential Oils [Internet]. 2018. Available from http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=aromatherap&lang=eng
 CCPA. Who are counsellors/psychotherapists? [Internet]. 2022. Available from https://www.ccpa-accp.ca/profession-and-regulation/
 Lamm, C., & Tomova, L. (2018). The neural bases of empathy in humans. In Neuronal correlates of empathy (pp. 25-36). Academic Press. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128053973000036
 Engen, H. G., & Singer, T. (2013). Empathy circuits. Current opinion in neurobiology, 23(2), 275-282. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23219409/
By Anita Kalnay, RA®, EOT®
Recently, the Spiritual PhytoEssencing (SPE) community created a blend called Born Free. This blend was formulated by Dr. Bruce Berkowsky in response to the traumatization of the people of Ukraine that has so deeply touched us all.
According to Dr. Berkowsky, the intent of the blend is to “soften the layer of trauma.” It will be used by Acupuncturists Without Borders (AWB) practitioners in their work with Ukrainian refugees. The recommended protocol is to apply two drops of the blend to six specific acupuncture points after needling in order to deepen the action of the treatment: CV (conception vessel) 6,15, and 17; kidney 7; and heart 9.
Alternative points will also be used in accordance with needling patterns, as government regulations and cultural sensitivities vary from one refugee camp to another (these camps are located in several different European countries).
The SPE Blending Process
SPE blending does not simply involve static drop counts for each oil used, but rather it is a fluid process that involves conscious soul-to-soul connection to each oil. Additionally: “In SPE, deep acting blends are built in layers in order to create a three-dimensional dynamic and to reflect the lower-to-higher layered nature of the soul.”
The members of the SPE group all have had the opportunity to create the blend and relate to it through their own experiences. The blend itself is created in small batches, with a series of layers constructed on different days (one layer per day).
There are two central references used in the SPE blending process:
1. Berkowsky’s Synthesis Materia Medica/Spiritualis of Essential Oils, which offers an in-depth profile of the inner soul nature of 122 essential oils. (The most extensive description of this kind that I have ever seen in our field.)
2. The SPE Repertory of Essential Oils, currently about 2,500 rubrics (regarding symptoms, constitutional traits, reactional modes, etc.) divided into three sections: general; mental, emotional and dreams; and physical.
Creating the Blend
“The Ukraine situation is a staggering social trauma . . . including disturbing visuals and high intensity explosives.”
“The premise of the Born Free blend is to create a light-infused aromatic frequency that can carry and transmit the wave frequency information of solace and peace.”
─ Dr. Berkowsky
Recently, Dr. Berkowsky and his Spiritual PhytoEssencing students conducted what he refers to as a cosmic light projection. Cosmic light projections involve the use of transmitter/receivers designed by Dr. Berkowsky that are constructed of stones and crystals arranged in a very specific pattern. These stones and crystals surround a bowl that contains a SPE essential oil blend (in this case, the Born Free blend) and selected SPE gemstone essences (Dr. Berkowsky uses his Natural World Alchemy Method to produce all of the SPE gemstone essences).
All participants set up their transmitter/receivers that link into, and amplify, the signal generated by Dr. Berkowsky’s much larger transmitter/receiver station (his station features copper pyramids surrounded by copper spirals, pulsed electromagnetic field generators and a scalar light wave generator).
Quantum physicists suggest that scalar waves can pass beyond the time/space dimension into what they refer to as the non-local space. The non-local space is populated by an infinity of wave forms that can store and transfer information. As the non-local space is beyond the time/space universe, it enables the transmission of healing energies to distant locations.
Essential oils and gemstone essences vibrate information-bearing waveforms of characteristic frequencies. With the proper alchemy technology and the power of intention, these waveforms are readily and instantly transmitted via the non-local space to distant places.
Dr. Berkowsky suggests that “In the case of Ukraine, the idea was to bring some solace to the individuals. The healing impact of this projection, subtle as it was, still served at a quantum level as a contribution to the healing of these people.
“The projection spread light not just to Ukraine, but also the Russian people, tens of thousands of whom who are being used, and dying, as cannon fodder in a brutal and utterly pointless war that they have been thrust into against their will. Russia is an autocratic state. As John Edward Acton famously wrote, ‘Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’”
The Born Free Blend
Born Free is referred to in SPE as a situational blend, which a blend that is specific for ameliorating the psychospiritual impact of a particular situation (e.g. grief, divorce, disease, etc.), as opposed to a deep-acting constitutional blend. Situational blends can be highly customized for a particular individual or can be formulated to have general relevance for a large group of people (as with the Born Free blend). On the other hand, SPE deep-acting constitutional blends are tailored to engage with the unique, soul-nature archetypal pattern of one particular individual’s inner-core identity and so have no relevance regarding anyone else.
Born Free Blend Formulation
The rubrics selected from the SPE Repertory of Essential Oils for the formulation of Born Free to help identify relevant essential oils were:
Third Chakra (Solar Plexus)
- To support the will of the Ukrainian people during this brutal assault.
- This chakra is the seat of will.
Desire to Escape
In this case, to flee the bombs and missiles that are laying waste to their towns and cities.
The central themes of the typhoid miasm are danger of losing your place of comfort if you don’t do something soon; sudden loss; critical period; danger, risk, urgency; do or die—either successfully resolve the crisis through short, intense effort or die if the effort fails; impatience; and taking risks.
There is a focus upon recovering lost ground—wants the same thing back that was lost; reaching a position of comfort; grab it, want it all right now; an intense short effort is needed to find rest. In the failed state of this miasm, there may be collapse, loss of will, inactivity, defeatism.
Fourth Chakra (Heart)
To address feelings of disheartenment and to help assuage emotional wounding.
Netzach-Victory (one of the Tree of Life vessels)
In Hebrew, Netzach means victory. It is the vessel that sustains the soul’s potential for overcoming obstacles and any factor that interferes with the divine energy flow.
Associated with nurturing, grounding and connection to the land to address feelings of deprivation and disconnection from the homeland.
Associated with fear and anxiety.
Smaller rubrics used include fear (of being murdered), passionate (about freedom and national identity), and grief.
The goal of the blend (reflected cumulatively in the above rubrics) is to support hope and will and to assuage emotional trauma.
The blend contains 11 main component oils and 3 alchemy essential oils. SPE features various alchemy techniques developed by Dr. Berkowsky. The three alchemy oils in this blend served as the “surrounding essence,” “invisible sparks” and “magic drops.”
Use of the Blend
The blend was prepared and then diluted to 5% in unprocessed jojoba oil. The AWB practitioners will be taking the blend to various refugee camps in Europe.
Approximately 30 people can be treated with the contents of one 15 mL bottle of the 5% dilution. Thus, 10 bottles can be used to treat 300 people.
My personal experience of making and using the blend was a softening of the issues that I felt were obstacles and limitations in my own personal life, including an immediate reduction in ongoing hip pain that I have felt since the COVID lockdown.
I also used the blend in a massage with a client, who is a well-known Buddhist teacher. He continued to use it as a take-home blend and had vivid dreams that offered resolution. He also sent a blend to a Star Group healing program of which he is a member. Those of us who used the blend had similar experiences.
Because I study the Gene Keys, I intuitively correlated the Born Free blend with the 57th Gene Key, which is very much about moving beyond the field of suffering and unease into trust and clarity with gentleness.
As I continue to use the blend at home, I have noticed a softening of the worries that might otherwise plague my mind as obstacles or limitations. It truly speaks to the heart of compassion in a gentle way! Also, as our community opens its doors to refugees from Ukraine, I feel that I now have a tool that I can offer them that in some way may comfort their journey of loss and relocation and welcome them into new freedoms here in Canada.
If the blend and process of creating Born Free sparked your interest, please contact Dr. Berkowsky to receive the formulation at https://naturalhealthscience.com/contact-us/. If you are interested in creating, preparing and using the blend in direct reference to the Ukraine situation, or personally with clients or family members, please feel free to share your experiences!
If you would like to train in the art of Spiritual PhytoEssencing (SPE), Dr. Berkowsky is initiating a very affordable SPE Membership Program that, for a low annual fee will provide you access to his SPE Members-only e-mail messages, and monthly classes, certain recordings, cosmic light projections and blending exercises. At discounted prices, you would also have access to his SPE Gemstone Essences and SPE essential oil blends and reference guides (such as the SPE Repertory of EOs). He is also in the process of making arrangements with certain essential oil retailers to offer high-quality oils to SPE members at discounted prices. The membership program is scheduled to begin in August.
About the author: Anita Kalnay, RA®, EOT®, has 30 years of experience as an aromatherapist and intuitive healer. She holds a diploma in Spiritual PhytoEssencing and has more than 3,200 certified hours in various natural health modalities. She is also a natural perfume designer and works with more than 500 essential oils. Located in the Comox Valley, BC, Anita currently serves on the CAOA board of directors. You can learn more about Anita at www.genieinabottle.ca.
By Anita Kalnay, RA®, EOT®
What kind of clients are you attracting as a practitioner?
Often those are the exact clients that become your teachers and, in fact, I have learned everything from my clients as a practitioner over the years.
Recently, I had a request to explore how aromatherapy might fit into the management of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. Which is very interesting because I am dealing with just that myself and at the beginning stage of figuring it all out!
According to a recent CBC interview, 20% of our population will soon be over the age of 60. Also during the COVID period, almost all of my female clients and many friends were complaining about right-hip issues and pain, including me!
Because I love Ayurveda I decided to take Intermediate/Advanced Ayurveda, Osteoporosis (2) by KP Khalsa (1), a well-known herbalist, Ayurvedic practitioner and teacher as part of additional CEU credits.
It was insightful in understanding the slow progression of the disease itself and the possibilities for alleviating pain and encouraging the natural healing process.
Some of the basics
There are 206 bones in the human body, making up 70% of our body mass!
Bone is a living tissue, constantly being remodelled. It is the mineral bank for the body, storing minerals as they come and go. Blood mineral content does not change, remaining stable. However, blood draws its minerals from the bone, and that’s what changes!
Osteoporosis is when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. As a result, bones become weak and may break from a fall or even from sneezing or a minor bump.
My client reported over-exercising as the cause of her thigh and joint pain, which affected her much loved ability to dance! She attributed her issues to osteoporosis.
The Three Main Elements in Bone Are Earth, Air and Water
Earth is the dominant element, or kapha. Air is the dominant dysregulation or, in Ayurveda, the vata type. Bones are 80% earth and 20% air as they are porous.
The natural home of vata is the air/space element and includes the large intestine, pelvis, thigh, ear, bone and skin.
This was a cue to linking the hip conditions I observed with accompanying low back pain to osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. Osteoarthritis being a degeneration of the tissue around the bones.
Good bones are strong and stable like the kapha earth/water constitutional type, including good teeth and nails. Psychological kaphas are also forgiving and hard working.
And interestingly the pitta or fire/oil types rarely get osteoporosis as they are more inclined to -itis types of issues, e.g. rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.
In Ayurveda there are always three causes for every type of disease to consider—vata, pitta or kapha. Each requires a different approach to food, lifestyle patterns, and treatment including the use of aromatics and herbs.
Often osteoporosis that is in the later stages can be complex and tridoshic to treat. The idea is to plan for 20 years ahead, meaning when you are 40, begin preventive maintenance.
Is osteoporosis curable?
No, but according to Khalsa, that does not mean it is not treatable.
Who gets osteoporosis?
Usually someone in their later or vata years. Post-menopausal women also report increases in bone-density loss. Secondary characteristics of bone-density loss can also include loss of hair and public hair. And the most characteristic symptom to look for might be bluish colour of the sclera or white area surrounding the eye. A bluish colour surrounding the iris can be an indicator of osteoporosis.
Characteristically, “Caucasian American women over 50 with blue eyes have more chance of a healthy skeleton slipping away every year.”(3) Black women luck out as they typically have greater bone density.
In looking at inheritance, Ayurveda suggests that all hard things in the body are inherited from the father, e.g. bones, while all soft tissue is inherited from the mother.
Prevent osteoporosis by getting a bone density test. With treatment, it takes about five years to notice improvement and can only be tested with bone-density testing. Osteoporosis itself does not cause pain, but rather it is the falls and injuries that cause the pain.
Excessive Vata Causes of Osteoporosis
Anyone can score as excessive vata. Our lifestyle routines such as diet, sleep, our jobs and family responsibilities, how we spend our leisure time, the hobbies we do and the friends we keep are all part of our cumulated lifestyle patterns.
Vata’s main pattern is irregularity. Vatas are consistently inconsistent! Some people have a vata dosha or constitutional birth type, while 70% of disease can be attributed to vata imbalances in any type.
Experiencing 30 years of excessive vata lifestyle and diet can cause us to wear down. Also recent disruptions that shift our routines can bring on vata dysregulation. All of us have been challenged with several years of COVID disruption and many are still in active transition between what was and what is now.
Signs of excessive vata include:
In the later stages of vata dysregulation:
Main areas affected:
Vata excess results in thinner and more fragile membrane health, including the membranes that surround the bones.
As bone mass decreases:
Vata is divided into sub-doshas, which indicate the flow of the energy movement itself and where it might be restricted or compromised, much like a river with a dam or obstruction. These are called sub-doshas. Treatments such as acupuncture and TCM also consider these in balancing the flow as part of their treatment modalities.
Since air is the central force in vata, that air can flow in different directions. These directions create the sub-dosha categories. And air requires unrestricted flow.
Prana vata, located in the head, air/energy that moves in a downward flow including the breath and food/digestion. Symptoms of dysregulation can include: anxiety, fear, anger, stroke and breathlessness.
Udana vata, located in the chest, air that flows upwards, air that propels out of the body, e.g. exhalation, burping, nausea, vomiting. Symptoms of speech disturbances such as stuttering, muttering, memory loss, directionless, depression, skin discolouration, hoarse voice, asthma.
Vayana vata, located near the heart and moves everywhere in all directions, i.e. moves blood and oxygen to all parts of the body. Symptoms of poor circulation, ischemic heart/brain diseases, stroke, circulation and muscle activities.
Samana vata, located near the digestive fire and moves into the gastro intestinal tract. Symptoms of appetite loss, indigestion, distressed peristalsis, gas, malabsorption.
Apana vata, located in the lower pelvic area, large intestine, bladder, genitals. The movement is downward and out of the body. Symptoms include constipation, diarrhea, dysfunction of menstruation, gas, sex, backache.
The best reference book for aromatherapy in relation to essential oils for each of these sub-doshas is Ayurveda and Aromatherapy: The EARTH Essentials Guide to Ancient Wisdom and Modern Healing (4) by Dr. Light Miller (see illustration).
At this point I would suggest that the course offered by KP Khalsa covers far more information and is very helpful in identifying the causes and also herbal supports as well for osteoporosis.
How Do We Address and Treat Osteoporosis with Our Clients?
Each of us may be trained in different complementary modalities.
Here are a few ideas:
Together you can track patterns and look at the history of how they might have led to osteoporosis. Most of the time and as a result of information available on the internet, many clients have a lot of knowledge that they have collected on their condition. What they likely haven’t collected is recognizing how that all fits together as a pattern. This is where our listening skills come in and also visual diagramming and client intake information including history and family history.
Bone-density testing can be done initially and repeated regularly to track results. Expect the journey to be at least a five-year process! I have used bio-feedback, which also offers a detailed list of vitamins and minerals that may be depleted or even overused and ,depending on your service provider, offers a 44-page printout as a reference. It is also affordable and can be used to understand baseline heath, identify both chronic and acute symptoms, and, over time, provide a record of progressive change.
In this case, discuss and create some sources of either referral or information sourcing to help the client identify dietary and lifestyle issues and support. I love the joyfulbelly.com (5) platform as the dosha tests are free and there is an enormous data base of both diet and lifestyle suggestions, including online introductory and affordable courses. Clients need a connection to discussion and accountability. That may or may not be your focus as a practitioner but consider where or who to refer them to for ongoing support based on their game plan.
In my case, as one who offers Ayurvedic oils used in massage, the application of body oiling is the primary treatment in Ayurveda for vata conditions! We know that essential oils, more than anything, can help to restore balance to the autonomic nervous system quickly and effectively. This can include booking regular body oiling treatments and creating products for at-home use including body oil and applications to soothe and balance the nervous system. Also, I can relate my choice of oils to the sub-dosha categories listed above and reference them in the book listed.
Although I am certainly not an herbalist, there are many over-the-counter vitamin supports that can be considered and often the stores themselves are well-informed and clients can be referred to specialists in this area for a consultation. KP Khalsa offers online consultations as well. The main supplements to consider are mineral supplements. In Ayurveda, these are constructed of seashell and calcium compounds. Also “hard” compounds such as Indian frankincense (Boswellia serrata) (9), which is from a hard resin, can be used.
What Is Working for Me
Since I have been troubled by many of these issues myself, I have personally received the most noticeable benefits from:
I truly wish there were more practitioners available to offer Abyanga body massage, which requires the generous use of herbal base oils (8). There are too few of us out there and many of my favourite Ayurvedic suppliers do not ship to Canada.
So, YES, the treatment is worth the effort!
Expect the process to take at least five years to restore bone density and rebuild the tissues.
And balancing vata is the number-one focus along with supporting the earth element of kapha.
Dr. Khalsa also offers simpler online courses to support learning more about osteoporosis (11).
Repertory (6) Categories to Consider for Essential Oils
Angelica; balsam fir; bergamot; blue chamomile; blue cypress; calendula; cardamom; carrot seed; cassia; cedarwood; champaca; cinnamon; cistus; clary sage; clove; coriander; elemi; Douglas fir; eucalyptus; fenugreek; frankincense; Gandhi root; geranium; ginger; goldenrod; guaiac wood; helichrysum; jasmine; juniper; laurel; lemon; lemongrass; monarda; myrrh; nagarmotha; neroli; nettle; olive leaf; oregano; palo santo; patchouli; pemou; peppermint; pine; plai; prickly ash; rhododendron; Roman chamomile; sage; sandalwood; santolina; silver fir; spikenard; tagetes; tamarack; thuja; tuberose; valerian; vetiver; violet; wintergreen; ylang ylang
Balsam fir; bergamot; black spruce; carrot seed; cedarwood; champaca; juniper; leleshwa; lime; mastic; olive leaf; oregano; rhododendron; santolina; savory; seaweed; silver fir; spikenard; tamarack; thuja
Blue chamomile; cedarwood; clary sage; cypress; helichrysum; juniper; neroli; Peru balsam; ravensara; santolina
Weakness, lumbar and sacral
Ammi visnaga; anise; balsam fir; balsam poplar; benzoin; bitter orange; blue chamomile; buchu; camphor; carrot seed; cassia; catnip; cedarwood; celery seed; clove; copaiba; cypress; dill; Douglas fir; fenugreek; frankincense; garlic; ginger; guaiac wood; helichrysum; hemp; hyssop; jasmine; laurel; lavender; ledum; lemon; litsea; marjoram; monarda; neroli; nutmeg; olive leaf; oregano; orris root; palmarosa; peppermint; Peru balsam; pine; plai; Roman chamomile; rosemary; rosewood; savory; seaweed; spearmint; spikenard; St. John’s wort; tarragon; thuja; thyme; tobacco leaf; turmeric; valerian; vetiver; yarrow
Anise; balsam fir; bergamot; bitter orange peel; black pepper; black spruce; blue chamomile; blue cypress; calendula; caraway; cardamom; carrot seed; cassia; cedarwood; champaca; cinnamon; cistus; clary sage; clove; coriander; elemi; Douglas fir; eucalyptus; fenugreek; frankincense; Gandhi root; geranium; ginger; goldenrod; greenheart wood; guaiac wood; helichrysum; hyssop; jasmine; juniper; ledum; leleshwa; lemon; lemongrass; lime; mastic; monarda; myrrh; nagarmotha; neroli; niaouli; olive leaf; oregano; palo santo; pemou; peppermint; petitgrain bigarade; pine; plai; rhododendron; Roman chamomile; sage; sandalwood; santolina; saro; savory; seaweed; silver fir; spikenard; tagetes; tamarack; thuja; thyme; tuberose; valerian; vetiver; violet; white spruce; wintergreen; ylang ylang
Here is an interesting although complex research paper that investigates the following essential oils in relation to bone tissue repair and regeneration, including the use of St. John’s wort, rosemary, ylang ylang, white poplar, eucalyptus, lavender and grapeseed.
Medications can be a contributing and causative factor. source: (7)
Long-term use of certain medications may make you more likely to develop bone loss and osteoporosis, such as:
Your comments are welcome! What have you found that worked? Please share your thoughts, observations, insights and suggestions.
Hello everyone! Anita Kalnay has written a wonderful piece on Bergamot, which we have included below. Let's start our conversation by sharing how each of us uses Bergamot in practice.
By Anita Kalnay, RA®
Bergamot can be used in blends for many different reasons. It is an oil of illumination and considered a “light” remedy (1). For that reason, it has often been associated as an essential oil for the psyche . . . as well as a wonderful oil for physical issues.
There are two poles: light and dark. Bergamot can “shine a light” within the darkness. Often these periods of darkness are dark nights of the soul. They are times of inward reflection, perhaps dejection and soul searching. Berkowski said that the bergamot individual seeks illumination (1). Often that is presupposed by a feeling of being stuck or a frustrated inability toretain emotional constancy, and to make fruitful commitments to the choices that life presents.
Bergamot is a balancing oil for the nervous system (2), as well as an adaptogen. Adaptogens effectively dance with the nervous system until the rhythm is fully integrated, creating harmony and balance in an otherwise polarized expressive system. When the nervous system polarizes, the stress on the body to find balance takes more work and can feel like a tennis match rather than a dance. ME/you/ME/you rather than US together enjoying the moment and the movement. In a nutshell, the bergamot-type individual needs to restore the dance and the rhythm—the joy and the flow, the idea being to “breach this oscillation” of deeply entrenched duality that causes so much stress otherwise. And when we can do that, it is stabilizing. And that in a nutshell is the magic of bergamot!
Clincher: We must ensure that the bergaptene is present in the distilled bergamot essential oil. Why? Because that is the element within the plant that “attracts” the light. The Bergaptene-free essential oil in effect isolates the bergaptene element out of the final product. And of course, nature would never do that!
Legislation and safety regulations in many areas of the world have required that bergamot be the bergaptene-free version for safety reasons. So, if you are a formulator and create products for general use, the bergaptene-free version will be the bergamot of choice for your use and there are available guidelines based on product development and safe application and usage (5).
However, if you are blending for depression, anxiety, stress-related emotional symptoms such as ADHD, SADS, agitation, fear, insomnia, discouragement, frustration, shyness, lack of self-confidence and nerve-sense-system pain (1), each of these would benefit from the original unadulterated version of bergamot.
There are non-dermal ways to utilize bergamot as well as appropriate and safe dilutions. Client education regarding safe application is also essential and helpful (e.g. do not apply to exposed skin as burning may occur). It might be quite fine to apply it under a covered area of skin or before bed etc. Or “dot” on only and inhale, as is the option with natural perfumes and stronger blends. Refer to Tisserand and Young (6) as a guideline for general aromatherapy use.
So, both can be used, and for different reasons entirely. It’s an idea to be sure to have a bottle of both in your kit and experiment. My experiments over the years have also shown that the bergaptene-free version of bergamot goes off much faster and when stored in a bottle with a dropper lid in fact turned entirely black in a short time, while the regular bergamot did not. Just interesting!
The Essence of Magic: Tarot, Ritual and Aromatherapy by Mary K. Greer(3) is a vintage and nearly impossible to get book now, but wonderful and one of my favourite books to reference essential oils and astrology. Bergamot is listed under the signs of the sun (fire), Jupiter (fire) and Sagittarius (fire). It relates primarily to the elements of fire and air and pitta/vata in Ayurveda.
In the tarot, bergamot is related to card #14, the temperance card, which is for balance, moderation, patience, and purpose. “Temperance refers to rebirth and renewal after ‘letting go’.” (2) Although many may not be into tarot cards, they do inspire creative introspection and can be very useful in guiding the inward journey, especially when used in conjunction with journal writing or contemplation.
This is a lovely quote that summarizes the influence of bergamot and its relation to temperance: “Temperance refers to having the compassion for mistakes and using your ability to heal yourself by correcting imbalances and reconciling opposing beliefs . . . bridging gaps and catalyzing change”. (3)
In Ayurveda, bergamot clears excessive heat (pitta). Balancing the activity of the hypothalamus, it helps maintain appropriate temperature and temperament. (3)
Energetically, bergamot fruit is a lemon/green colour, which relates to the third and fourth chakras, the solar plexus (yellow) and heart (green/pink). “The solar plexus aligns with the heart to overcome power and control issues. (Especially where the mind “judges” something as good or bad in a “conflicting: or polarized way). Bergamot releases fear and trauma from the cellular memory of the physical body as the “mental” body becomes clearer and calmer”. (4) Bergamot is well known to relieve depressive patterns (through its guiding “light”) and stress-related conflicting thoughts.
As our energies assimilate to the energies of the essential oil itself, there is often a
transformational process of “rebirth” when the heart and solar plexus align. Irritability is calmed and the light of joy returns. Bergamot cools excessive heat in the body, burning away what no longer serves us and “stimulates the body’s etheric thyroid (energetic) to balance the body’s thermostat.” (4) I have also found it to be a very good balancing oil when used in a hormone blend.
Much of the relationship stress that we encounter might be the relationship to our own nature. Insightful bergamot can “turn on the light” as we continue to discover our own inner nature, and reclaim our essence, hold onto and shine it brightly no matter what is going on in the world around us!
Repertory suggestions for bergamot
The Berkowsky repertory (1) is conclusive especially for psycho-spiritual type of considerations. A 2022 edition is now available. It is 152 pages long and divided into three sections: general, emotional, and physical references.
Considering the theme that much of our recent world is so polarized as we look around us, perhaps blending with bergamot will allow us to see through the confusion that so many of us feel and witness.
Essential oils that showed up the most often (intuitively) in relation to the repertory references used:
How to use this information:
Create your blend with intention, selecting the essential oils that you have in your kit. If you are doing this with a client, you might present the oils to them to sniff on separate strips, have them line up their favourites in order and remove the ones that they don’t feel an attraction.
Sometimes with clients this can be challenging as many, if not all, of the oils, might be new to them to sniff and they might not appreciate the effect of the oils, so don’t overwhelm your client. Often I will do intuitive additions too! Or knowledge-based, as the case might be.
Having said that, a little can go a long way and using just a few of the oils might illuminate the effect for that particular client as we are all very different and sense our situations quite differently.
In working with any essential oil, the nose knows. There will be a visceral attraction or repulsion and, with that in mind, it is easy to create a blend based on that sense alone. I use scent strips, which are easy and fast for a client to sniff and put in order of their favourites, then create the blend based on their selection.
Intention is the key to creating the focus for just what the action of the blend is all about to the client, or yourself if it is for you.
No two people would ever pick the same blend, and that is half the fun of why we love our job as aromatherapists!
Oils selected from list (you can create your own selection):
Blended in a 10 mL roller applicator in oil
Blend is 6.6% essential oil in dilution
NOTE: the bergamot in this blend is at 2.2%. If using for psycho-spiritual focus (e.g. using the non-FCF bergamot), apply safety application guidelines or dilute the blend to 10 drops per ounce (30 mL) of carrier oil. Suggested use for psycho-spiritual is the dot on the wrist and sniff method (1). This offers full potency at low application and works fastest directly through the limbic system.
Otherwise, Eden Botanicals states that “Bergamot FCF is one of the few citrus peel oils that has the benefit of wearability in both perfumes and body oils without the potential risk of phototoxicity”
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