Monday, December 17, 2012

Got Good Scents ?
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   Your nose knows. Tied to memories, our sense of smell speaks to our hearts.
As human animals, our sense of smell guides us in many ways towards staying healthy.

    One of the most important factors impacting staying healthy or becoming healthier comes from your home's IAQ.
Indoor Air Quality, or IAQ, effects you, your children and even your pets. Good IAQ supports good physical and mental health and overall well being, while studies show that poor or bad IAQ contributes to a wide variety of maladies from acute to chronic, such as headaches, itchy eyes and skin, foggy thinking, irritability, asthma and much more.
Research has found that air pollution levels in our homes can be much greater than those outside (2-5 times greater,in fact). And most folks spend a great deal of time indoors, especially during the holidays.

    Among the many factors involved in IAQ, one may surprise you.
Did you know that those pretty candles with their enticing aromas can be quite toxic and have quite negative health effects? That is if they're made with synthetic, chemically derived fragrances. In our world today, our noses can be fooled!

    Candle companies are not required to disclose ingredients, and when 'fragrance' is listed on the label, there can a soup of hundreds of chemicals covered by that one word. One chemical group used to scent candles, called phthalates, has been shown to cause birth defects and reproductive problems, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
    Just by sitting there, without being burned, synthetically scented candles are still outgassing (emitting their chemicals into the air), adversely impacting your health.

    In addition to the scenting chemicals, the materials that the candles of are made of also determines how they can impact our health, and IAQ. Even without the soup of scenting chemicals, the soot and smoke from petroleum, the typical material of most candles, including birthday candles and tealights, presents another health liability and bad IAQ.

So, what to do?

    Candles are an integral part of many holidays, and across the year throughout our daily lives. Adding beauty to our spaces, they are a soul nourishing presence.
    Surrounding ourselves with wonderful, healthy aromas increases our well being.
No need to banish candles and scents from our homes, just stay away from the unhealthy ones!

Here are some delicious solutions for scenting your home:

1. Choose candles made of organic soy (unless organically grown, 91% or more of soy is genetically engineered), organic vegetable wax, or beeswax. All can be found in a panoply of sizes, shapes, colors, with a wide variety of scents. There are even beeswax candles of specifically for Channukah and birthdays. Beewax has its own innate sweet smell and is of course, unprocessed and natural.

2. Read the labels. Buy ONLY those that say they are scented with organic essential oils.

3. Bring nature indoors. Fruit and flowers, leaves and branches, along with pinecones, all carry lovely scents and can be beautiful decorations. Make sure to bring in only those that you know are not contaminated with chemicals.

4. Make or purchase organic potpourri from dried rose, lavender, hibiscus, calendula or other organic petals. Place in open or partially covered bowls, or wrap in small pieces of cloth. Add 1 drop of organic essential oil to the mixture to enhance and extend the life of your mixture. [Keep essential oils away from direct contact with your skin.]

5. Place a few drops organic lavender essential oil in a small bowl of room temperature water. For larger rooms, use several bowls. 

6. Place organic essential oil diffuser sticks in a beautiful glass or ceramic jar.

7. For a refreshing room spray: In a small glass bottle with a spray top, combine a few drops of essentials with water and a small amount of organic carrier oil such as almond or grapeseed.

By making conscious, health promoting choices, we can have great scents for the holidays and beyond!

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