Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Essential Oils Made Easy

Welcome to the world of essential oils! Consider this your introduction to everything aromatherapy. I began using essential oils with my children on an almost daily basis once they turned 6 months, and I have noticed that they got sick less often than other kids and recover from illnesses faster. To get the biggest aromatherapy benefit, it is important to work with essential oil blends that contain high levels of plant actives and are synthetic additive and pesticide free. That’s where California Baby comes in: All California Baby® blends are tested by a third party for purity and developed in consultation with an aromatherapist; we only use oils that are known for their safety and efficacy and use them at appropriate levels for babies and kids.
Even if you're new to aromatherapy, becoming a skilled user is a snap. Soon enough, you’ll find that using essential oils is an easy and indispensable wellness tool to keep in your “Mommy bag of tricks.” Ready to start using essential oils? Here’s all you need to know about California Baby’s blends and how to use them.

Why Our Blends Are Different:

They’re safe for sensitive skin: Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts; most are not meant to be used directly on the skin. Because oil and water don’t mix, California Baby® Bath Drops contain a small amount of lecithin (sourced from safflower oil) to emulsify our blends into bath water. This does not affect the aromatherapeutic value, but it does protect sensitive skin by not allowing the oils to come into contact with skin.
  1. They’re safe for the environment: California Baby® uses only pure essential oils that have been tested for purity and guaranteed pesticide free.
  2. They’re effective: We test our essential oils for the active constituents in each to ensure they meet our exacting requirements.
  3. They’re versatile: We offer our essential oils in blends and single oil notes; there are advantages to both and each have their different uses. Our blends are created with thought to synergy—they are “aromatherapy quality,” like doctors prescribe in Europe, blended to function, smell great, and leave the senses dazzled. California Baby’s single note essential oils, Tea Tree and French Lavender, are ultra-pure and chosen for their healing and therapeutic properties. Certain essential oils have been known for centuries to contain particular therapeutic properties. Lavender in particular is well known to have anti-bacterial and healing properties and is an oil that has been used in various medical studies. Tea tree oil is another oil that has a solid track record and is well studied, especially in its native Australia.
  4. Tip: With aromatherapy, less is more and a little goes a long way. For example, just a touch of lavender on a zit will dry it up overnight (keep away from eyes). Need anti-fungal action? A drop of Tea Tree can help. The easiest way to apply is to drop directly onto a Q-tip.
Note: California Baby® blends are safe to use as directed in a bath, ages 6 months and up--but, as always, consult with your pediatrician or Naturopathic doctor before starting any new therapy. If irritation occurs, stop use and consult a health professional. The quantities noted in this article are based on a full tub sized bath filled with water.

Our Scent Bar

French Lavender™ dab onto the skin with a Q-tip; our oil is the highest quality available. No well-stocked first-aid kit should be without this “perfect” oil.

Tea Tree™ is a powerful anti-fungal; it works on athlete’s foot, ring worm, and when blended into a carrier, works as part of a home made lice treatment.

Bathroom Freshener™ is a lemony floral blend that works to chase away all kinds of unwanted scents. Perfect for the diaper pail, but may be used anywhere in the home when used with a diffuser.

Calming™ our proprietary blend includes French lavender and works to promote calmness and ensure a good night’s sleep.

Eucalyptus Ease™ (formerly know as Colds & Flu) works to unlock mucus and ease congestion with a blend of eucalyptus and Douglas fir.

Super Booster™
(formally known as Resistance Builder) works to stimulate the immune system’s own defenses by utilizing the anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties of tea tree, lavender and clove. This blend may be used anytime and is especially helpful when illness is present or suspected.

Overtired & Cranky™ includes Roman chamomile and tangerine and works to change a mood from cranky to sweet!

How To Use California Baby® Essential Oils:

In the Bath: Fill your tub with warm water; drop 4-10 drops of our Bath Drop blend into a plain water bath, then once the water lever has been reached, swirl your hand through to mix.

In Combination with CALIFORNIA BABY® BUBBLE BATH: Our essential oil blends are synergistic; add any California Baby® Bath Drop essential oil blend to a tub filled with California Baby® bubble bath. Once bubble level has been reached, swirl your hand through bath water to mix.

To Add Scent To Our SUPER SENSITIVE MASSAGE OIL: California Baby® Super Sensitive Massage Oil is a pure unscented vegan nut free carrier oil. Use it on its own or add our single note or blended essential oils to create your own signature scent. Add 36 drops to our 4.5 ounce bottle; or, 8 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil. Shake vigorously to mix before every use.

To Refresh the Scent of Our Pre-Blended Massage Oils: California Baby® massage oils are dynamically scented. You may notice that over time, as the blend opens, different components of the oils emerge. You can refresh or increase the scent at anytime using this ratio: 4 drops for every 2 ounces of massage oil. Shake to incorporate before each use.

In the CALIFORNIA BABY® PLUG-IN DIFFUSER: Add scent to every room of your house…naturally. Aerosol sprays, candles and other types of synthetic air fresheners can overwhelm the senses and may exacerbate chemical sensitivities, cause headaches and trigger allergies. Instead of exposing your children to synthetic scents, nourish their souls with natural, beautiful high quality essential oils. Add 5-10 drops of your favorite blend or single note oil to the diffuser pad* and it will fill the room with just the right amount of scent—with added aromatherapeutic benefits like reduced tension, soothed senses and more.
* Be sure to place the pad with the oil FACE DOWN to come into contact with the diffuser's ceramic plate.

Tips, tricks & info:

In a pinch, you may use our Calming™ Botanical Moisturizing Cream as a carrier. Here’s how: First, scoop a big dollop (about 2 tablespoons) into the palm of your hand. Then, create an indent with your finger in the center (think mashed potatoes and gravy) and place 1 drop of essential oil into the center and mix gently with your finger. Rub your hands together vigorously to emulsify and apply where needed.
  • We add a small amount of special lecithin (safflower source) to emulsify the oil and water in our blends. This keeps the essential oils from coming into contact with sensitive skin. The lecithin does not dilute the aromatherapeutic value or experience.
Because the “thickness” of essential oils can vary, some may be a little slow coming out of the bottle. Be patient and allow the plastic insert to draw in some air to release the oil. The more the product is used, the faster the dropping action. Do not shake; tapping on the bottom of the bottle while upside down, is helpful.

Now you’ve got all the aromatherapeutic know-how you need to get started. By incorporating aromatherapy and other natural health care practices such as homeopathy, herbs, vitamins and acupuncture, you can work to reduce the need for antibiotics, which are causing more and more resistant bacteria strains due to over use. After all, the human immune system is pretty incredible; sometimes all we need to do is simply give it a nudge in the right direction.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Massage me! - The benefits of infant massage

Studies have shown that infants benefit from the gentle touch of massage just as much as adults do. Massage is known to alleviate muscle tightness, stiffness, tension and cramping. It is also known to increase flexibility and increase oxygen and nutrients to the cells of the body. The power of gentle touch in baby’s first year of life is very important to both child and parent. Share with baby the benefits that result from a gentle relaxing massage.

Colic can be a nightmare and difficult to deal with. There are many massage techniques that can ease the pain and discomfort of spasms or gas. They can help to disperse gas, ease muscle spasms, tone the digestive system and help it to work efficiently. It is not a miracle cure, and can take a few days to ease, but in my experience it can be more effective than a pharmaceutical remedy. Of course there can be other considerations – for example, the mother’s diet can be a factor if baby is breastfed, therefore it is wise to examine the possible causes in addition to giving a regular massage. Besides helping to relieve colic, there are also massage techniques that can help ease teething and emotional stress.

Benefits for infants:
  • Stimulates circulation
  • Improves muscle tone
  • Releases stress
  • Improves sleeping patterns
  • Stimulates right/left brain development and coordination
  • Increases sense of being loved and accepted
Benefits for Parents:
  • Provides quality bonding time
  • Promotes increased awareness of the baby and their needs
When to massage baby:
  • Choose a time that best suits your family
  • Try to wait 20 minutes after baby has eaten
  • If baby is too upset, it is not a good idea to massage
Equipment for baby’s massage

  • Massage oil
  • A warm room with closed windows
  • Soft and quiet music (optional)
  • Towels so massage oil does not get on anything
  • Warm loving hands, free of jewelry
How to massage baby
  • Begin with baby’s feet (massaging the feet is very relaxing)
  • Use firm but gentle and slow movements
  • Slowly move up the lower leg to the thigh and across the hips
  • Next, put both hands on baby’s shoulders and gently stroke from the shoulders towards the middle of the chest
  • Another option would be starting at baby’s shoulders and massage down the arms to the fingers.
  • Continue with tummy. Tummy strokes should go in circles; clockwise as you look at the baby’s tummy.  (Only massage the tummy if it is soft and baby doesn’t become unsettled or squirmy).
  • When massaging the tummy, think of it as a clock and start the massage at 5:00 and gently move clockwise down to 6:00 and then up to 12:00 and back down to 5:00.
  • Follow with massaging the face, gently use your index finger tips and use small circular motions across the forehead and lightly on the cheeks. You can also use these movements starting at the nose and moving outwards.
  • End the massage by massaging the feet. If baby is really relaxed and loves their pampering, you can turn baby onto their tummy and keep massaging.
  • Place baby on tummy. Starting from the head, use gentle strokes moving down the back to the legs and end on the feet.
Note: Baby will be relaxed after their massage, so dress slowly and in a relaxed way to keep the feeling of comfort.

California Baby oils safe for baby’s massage

  • Super Sensitive - No fragrance or scent making agents for baby’s extra sensitive skin- the perfect choice for newborn babies. You can also add any of our essential oil blends (30-45 drops) to create your own massage oil blend. Do not exceed 45 drops
  • Calming - Calm baby with aromatherapy of French Lavender
  • I Love You - Let baby experience how much you love them with the Ylang Ylang and sweet orange blend oil
  • Overtired and Cranky – Ease a cranky baby with a blend of essential oils that includes Roman chamomile
  • Colds & Flu – Ease the discomfort that a cold brings with Douglas fir and eucalyptus aromatherapy. Use the Heart Massage Technique to loosen congestion in the chest. Gently move hands from center of baby’s chest up towards the neck, then outwards to the sides, bringing them back together in a heart-shaped motion.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Organic Call-To-Action

As a member of the Organic Trade Association, a group that works to promote organic agriculture in the U.S., I get the skinny on lots of inside info, facts, regulations, rule making... I'm not a policy wonk and sometimes the plowing through page after page of techo-lingo can be a bit much. Since I consider myself an advocate for health and the environment, I receive lots of 'Calls To Action' and many times I do send an email to my Governor or Senator, or I sign the petition. In fact, I contacted my Senator to increase solar panel funding/rebates so that average person can benefit from the free power that the sun provides just this morning.

I don't expect everyone to make that kind of effort because most folks have a household to run, kids to shuttle to school and dinner to put on the table. BUT, today is an exception because I think there is a particular issue that affects us all. Organic agriculture need our help. One might think otherwise because it seems organic is everywhere- and it is; but it is still niche and "Big Agriculture" is kinda piggy and they want all the funds to themselves.

If organic produce is important for your family, please take a moment and answer the Call-To-Action from the Organic Trade Association and put in your two cents. It's easy; just follow the links below to find your elected federal official.



OTA Logo

October 31, 2011

OTA latest news

Members respond to call to advocate for organic in the upcoming Farm Bill
As of this morning, 5,257 letters and calls have been sent and made to federal officials by OTA members and friends urging them to advocate for organic as they make tough decisions about what to save in the upcoming Farm Bill. Agriculture leadership has said it plans to have the Farm Bill planning completed by tomorrow. OTA thanks its members who have contacted their Congressmen and Senators, and reminds those who haven't that there still is time to do so. In the 2008 Farm Bill, the organic sector received support for critical programs resulting in increased staffing and oversight at the National Organic Program (NOP), data collection on organic agriculture, increased research at land-grant universities on organic farming, and support to reduce the cost of certification for small producers and handlers. These essential programs are now at risk, with everything under scrutiny. For those who have yet to act, OTA urges that you call or e-mail your Congressman and Senator today. See OTA's Farm Bill pages to learn more about its organic Farm Bill priorities. Don't miss this critical opportunity to preserve the well-being of your business and the organic industry.