By Amanda Coleman
Essential oils are a vast and interesting subject that have been getting a lot of attention lately. They certainly aren't a new subject. They've actually been in use for thousands of years, but have been rapidly gaining popularity in the last several decades. With all the chemicals, additives, and unknown ingredients in so much of the product market today, many people have turned to essential oils for a natural alternative for everything from cleaning, to skincare, to first aid. But where do you start?
I participated in an Introduction to Essential Oils Class here at the shop, taught by Amanda Murphy from Wellness Paths, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who's interested in exploring essential oils. It was an excellent opportunity to ask questions, experience the aromas of some of the oils, and discuss the every day uses. But most importantly, the safety of the use of essential oils was properly explained.
Essential oils have many amazing properties, but it's necessary to remember that they're highly concentrated, and need to be used mindfully. With few exceptions, essential oils shouldn't be applied directly to the skin. And some essential oils are contraindicated with certain health conditions. But all of these concerns were covered very well in the class, and I left feeling much more confident about my ability to experiment and explore the world of essential oils.
If you'd like to attend an Essential Oils class, please visit our Facebook Page for upcoming events. Send us a message, and we'll add you to the list for our next class!
by Pallas Hutchison
My oldest daughter failed her hearing tests at school for three years (Kindergarten through second grade) before we got referred to a specialist. On the assumption that she was partially deaf, we had begun to work some simple sign language into our lives just in case it got worse over the years. The specialist assured us this was not the case.
My daughter is not deaf, she has an over-abundance of cerumen or earwax that blocked the ear canal and impaired her hearing. She was prescribed drops to put in her ears at night that would soften the wax. We came back a week later to have her ears flushed out. Afterwards, she took another hearing test and scored perfectly. Unfortunately, this is an ongoing problem and she will need to have her ears flushed 2-4 times each year.
Having the ears flushed out is something I have experienced only once in my life. Only once because I will not willingly undergo the process again. Even having used the drops as directed, ear flushing is extremely painful and messy. Hot water is sprayed directly into the ear canal using something similar to a dentistry tool. A cup is held under the ear to catch the water and wax as it splashes out. It feels like severe constipation in the ear canal. There is heat and pressure and pain. The wax blobs don't want to come out.
Forcing a child to go through this procedure multiple times is difficult. Despite her knowing the benefit, she fought against it as fiercely as she fights getting against blood drawn or vaccination shots. Another option had to be available. This is when I was introduced to ear candling.
Ear candling, for my daughter, provides quick and painless results. She can hear her teachers at school, her friends on the bus, and the family around the dinner table. After several years of doing this at home for my family, I began to look into the science behind it I hopes that I could offer other people the same relief that my daughter found. This could easily be added to the service menu of my massage practice. To my surprise, the science proving the efficacy of ear candling doesn't exist.
Most of the websites I've looked at that advocate ear candling fall into two categories: commercial or anecdotal. The commercial sites want to sell their products (ear candles and accessories) to make a profit. The anecdotal websites are similar to this blog; individual people sharing their experiences with minimal science behind it. The science websites tell a very different tale.
Not everyone advocates ear candling. In fact, ear candling is condemned as dangerous and ineffective by the Mayo Clinic, the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, the American Academy of Audiology... These are objective and academic resources that offer unbiased information and research studies. WebMD and other anecdotal sites agree that ear candling is an ineffective remedy for earwax removal. The FDA is also vocal in its opposition of this practice.
My research reminded me of the important role earwax plays in protecting the ear. Firstly, it provides waterproofing. Secondly, the acidity level creates an environment that deters bacterial growth. (WebMD) My assumption of how ear candling actually worked proved false. Multiple studies have proven that there is no vacuum and there is not enough reverse pressure to suck out sticky earwax.
Further exploration into the legalities and liabilities of offering this revealed that ear candling is specifically prohibited for massage and cosmetology establishments. I will continue to perform ear candling for my family because it works for us. However, I will not be offering this as a service through Oasis Massage.
Do you have an experience with ear candling? Which side of the argument do you support? Share your thoughts below!
by Amanda Coleman
As we discussed previously, Reiki is a healing technique based around the principle of channeling energy to activate the natural healing processes within the body. The origins of Reiki are unknown, but Reiki as we understand it today can be mainly credited to three individuals. Dr. Mikao Usui, Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, and Mrs. Hawayo Takata.
It's said that Dr. Mikao Usui rediscovered Reiki during a period of fasting and meditation in the early 1900's. His first school/clinic was opened in Harajuku, Tokyo in April of 1922. By 1925 Dr. Usui was in such high demand he opened a larger school in Nakano. In the years that followed Dr. Usui is believed to have taught over 2,000 people with only 15-17 reaching the highest level (what is known now as “Reiki Master”).
Dr. Chujiro Hayashi started his Reiki training with Usui Sensei in 1925. It is believed he was one of the last Reiki Masters trained by Usui and is credited with the further development of the Reiki hand positions that we now use in the West. One of his last initiates, Mrs. Hawayo Takata, brought her knowledge and training to Hawaii, introducing Reiki to the United States.
Reiki is normally split into 3 levels: Reiki 1, Reiki 2 and Master level, each with their own “attunement” or initiation. The attunement ceremony isn't easily explained, but it is commonly described as the Reiki Master channeling and sharing reiki energy with the student. Once this channel has been opened, the student can then practice and learn to use this energy for themselves and other people. Attunement is given at each level, can be given many times, and is usually a powerful experience for both the teacher and student.
Coming Soon! In Part 3, we'll discuss what to expect during a treatment.
By Amanda Coleman
Since I've just recently joined the team here at Oasis, my familiarity with the world of alternative medicine extends only as far as I've read, and Reiki is something I've always wanted to know more about. When talking about “energy work”, Reiki seems to be one of the first things to come to mind. These days, Reiki is very commonly paired with massage, as the styles of treatment complement each other and work towards a similar purpose. I did some more reading on the subject, and thought I'd share with you some of the interesting things I found.
The word Reiki comes from a combination of the Japanese words Rei, meaning God's wisdom, or the Higher Power, and Ki, meaning life force energy. When combined, Reiki means “spiritually guided life force energy.” And though Reiki is based on this spiritual energy, it is not a religion and does not require any specific religious beliefs. By definition from the Oxford Dictionary, Reiki is “a healing technique based on the principle that the therapist can channel energy into the patient by means of touch, to activate the natural healing processes of the patient's body and restore physical and emotional well-being.”
Reiki is a holistic therapy intended to:
One of the most impressive, and unique qualities of Reiki, is that there are no side effects or adverse reactions, and no contraindications. Which means trying Reiki is completely risk free in the sense that even if it doesn't work, there's no risk of negative side effects or unintended consequences. Very few things in life are so safe to try. So really it begs the question: Why not?
If you'd like to learn more, keep an eye out for our next section of this series: Origins and the Attunement (Training) Process.
by Pallas Hutchison
Reiki training is done in three levels or attunements. With each attunement, the amount of energy goes up. This is similar, in my mind at least, to the wattage on a lightbulb. My hands are still how I make my living but I have performed no miracles using Reiki. (I say this tongue-in-cheek but cannot discount the many documented stories of miracles performed by energy workers.) However, my life has changed dramatically since I began this journey into energy work.
A few months after the first attunement, I discovered and connected with an older brother, five years older than myself. We have more in common, both in personality and appearance, than the siblings I was raised with. Despite having several siblings already, I have never been especially close with any of them until this newest member of my family. I won the sibling lottery. Although this is an inspiring story from an objective standpoint, I didn't attribute this to Reiki.
However, I had the second attunement for Reiki and again my life drastically changed. I won a housing lottery through Habitat for Humanity that will make me a homeowner much sooner than I had ever expected. I can't say these changes are a result of Reiki. After all, correlation does not equal causation. Perhaps it is a case of "physician heal thyself." Before I can perform miracles, I must first have a healthy position for my own life. It could be coincidence. It could be kismet. But I can't wait to get the third attunement just to see how my life changes next.