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ayurveda and aromatherapy | interview with marissa mele

Episode 30 features another interview with Cleveland local Ayurveda expert Marissa Mele.  In this episode we discuss where we are on the Ayurvedic calendar and Marissa shares diet and lifestyle tips to stay balanced through the cold winter months.  We then dive into the topic of ayurveda and aromatherapy.  Marissa offers so much great information about aromatherapy for both the beginner and seasoned user of essential oils.  She highlights essential oils for staying balanced during the cold months and specifically for each dosha.  She also offer tips for beginners and shares a wonderful recipe for the diffuser, or a room or body spray.  Marissa is offering a discount on her new Ayurveda product line to anyone who listens to this episode.  Listen in toward the end for a special code to use on her website.

Show notes:

  • Intro music created by Zen Jenn on Apple Loops and Dark Tabla by Kaya Project

  • Don’t know your Dosha?  Follow the link below to take a quiz.

  • Link to Dosha elements and attribute on Ayurveda.com

  • Click here to check out Marissa’s website FivePrana.com 

  • We’re in late Fall and moving into Winter so Vata (air) is still at work currently and Kapha (water and earth) energy is beginning and on it’s way.  Most of us are beginning to shift activities indoors and if you like the outdoors during the cooler months be sure to bundle up to stay warm.  We are working to keep our body warm and healthy during the cooler months in the Northern Hemisphere.

  • We may be feeling more congestion with coughs and colds.  We also get more respiratory infections.  We might feel more tired, sluggish and heavy with less day light.  We might begin to feel more attachment to things and feelings of greed and even seasonal depression might begin to creep in.  On the flip side we can feel more love and compassion for those close to us during the long nights.

  • Simple tips for diet and lifestyle for cold winter months.

    • Keep in mind Ayurvedic principle:  Like increases like and opposites balance.

    • Keep the body warm with warming cooked foods.  Use warming spices and eat more soups and stews.  It’s not the time of year to be eating raw and uncooked cold foods.

    • We can do a dry brushing of the skin and make sure we oil the body with Abyanga self massage techniques and by using nasya oil for the nose, and oil ear cavities with warming sesame oil.  Think about lubricating the body from the inside out.

    • Routine is important.  Keep a regular steady sleep routine and meditation practice.  Melissa recommends a loving kindness meditation which is very helpful this time of year.  Link to my loving kindness meditation by clicking here.

    • Pranayama practices are good this time of year to help detoxify the body.  Alternate Nostril Breathing is great for all doshas and Kapalabhati breath is great for Kapha folks but not so much for Vata and Pitta folks.

  • The history of essential oils date back to 45oo BC and the Egyptians were one of the first cultures to use them.  They expanded and evolved into other cultures including India and the Middle East very soon after.  Melissa speaks about details of how essential oils are made and have been made over thousands of years.

  • Make sure you buy oils that are steam distilled which is the most pure method of producing the oils.  She notes that you get what you pay for with regards to quality.  Faster distilling methods are less potent and tend to be cheaper in price.  Slower distilling will increase the strength and value of the oil.  Spend your money wisely because there are a lot of adulterated products.  Make sure the company is fair trade.

  • Melissa recommends Floracopia Brand because they make a lot Ayurveda oils, they practice fair trade, and they offer much transparency.  Ask for fact sheets from companies that you are not sure about.  Oils that you buy in the grocery store may be better to use in cleaning products but not on the skin.

  • Ayurveda has been practiced for 6000 years and is considered the first medicine.  Essential oils are considered the original forms of medicine.  Rose oil and Lavender have been used most predominately since the very beginning of Ayurveda.

  • Marissa recommends the book Ayurveda and Aromatherapy by Dr. Light Miller

  • We talk a little about why aromatherapy has become more popular and available today and how we as a culture we are trying to move away from toxins in our home and environment.

  • Marissa uses essential oils in her practice with clients

    • in the treatment room she uses a dosha friendly oil in a diffuser

    • during a consultation she will include information about oils to heal whatever ails each client per visit

    • she also uses essential oils in her product line

  • At home Marissa suggest using:

    • a water diffuser at home to clear up congestion.  You don’t have to spend a lot, feel free to spend under $20 for a diffuser.

    • You can use them on the skin but make sure you dilute with a carrier oil using the percentage dilution suggestion per dosha listed below

    • Purchase your favorite natural product unscented and add your favorite oil to already made products.  Use a 1% dilution for Pitta, 2% for Vata, and 3% for Kapha.  Marissa notes that products with fragrances are using fake, toxic or adulterated products sold as fragrances.

    • We also talk about the use of incense at home as a ritual but use incense that is non toxic

  • For winter months use these oils in your diffuser:

    • spice oils such as clove, cinnamon, cardamom, pine oils, eucalyptus, rosemary is great for focus (Marissa suggests using rosemary, lavender and bergamot blend for work or study), frankincense (great for meditation), ginger (great for nausea), lavender, and tulsi (great for headaches especially sinus headaches)

  • Check out Marissa’s first episode on the podcast to learn more specifically about the doshas and take the dosha quiz included in the link above

  • Marissa recommends oils for each dosha.  She adds that a dosha out of balance always takes precedence over seasonal imbalances, so stick with oils for your dosha first.  She also notes that we should only use oils that are pleasing to our individual taste.  We don’t want to have negative associations with essential oils.  We will automatically be attracted to scents that are good for us.

    • Vata (air and ether):  use warming and moisturizing oils and they are good to use in cooler months

      • lavender, clary sage (women’s oil but good for calming anxious mind), jatamansi (calming, relaxing and heavy), and jasmine

    • Pitta (fire and water):  rose and sandalwood (soothing for skin and cooling,  put one drop of sandalwood on the third eye during yoga practice), bergamot (only citrus oil pitta can use), chamomile (more for night time as it makes us sleepy), geranium, vetiver (grounding and relaxing), and ylang ylang

    • Kapha (earth and water):  eucalyptus, tulsi, cedar, juniper, tea tree, myrrh, and frankincense

  • If you are a newbie to working with essential oils begin by using a diffuser.  It spreads the smell around the room really well.  Start by using very little and learn what scents appeal to you.  Use recipes online but vet them well.  Marissa suggests that our sense of smell is tied to our memories.  Create happy vibes with smells and use them to lift your mood when you are feeling down and depressed.

  • Marissa offers fabulous recipe as a diffuser blend or as a room or body spray

    • 1 drop of cinnamon, 2 drops of clove, 2 drops of cardamom, 1 drop of cedar, 1 drop of ginger, 2 drops of orange

    • Mix and match any of these or use them all together which covers all levels of notes

    • Top notes are orange which dissipate soonest

    • Middle notes are clove, cardamom and ginger

    • Base notes are cinnamon and cedar which linger for a while

  • If you are pregnant or nursing don’t use oils that promote menstruation which are called emmenagogue oils and they include angelica, chamomile, cinnamon, clary sage, ginger, jasmine, juniper, myrrh, peppermint, rose, rosemary, sweet fennel and sweet marjoram.  Be mindful if you have kids in the home also or if you have high blood pressure.  Do the research!!

  • Do not put essential oils in your bathtub as they will touch directly onto our skin.  Put them in your favorite non scented natural soaps.

  • Marissa is now selling her handmade product line!  She is making tea, spice products and body care products like saffron eye ghee (which I love and highly recommend), ubtins and body massage oils.  Body products are available on her website and the tea and spice blends she sells at her practice space and will be selling at upcoming local craft and gift fairs in Cleveland.

  • Marissa is offer my listeners 10% off by using the code PRANA on the website

  • As final notes Marissa suggests starting to experiment with cleaning products and use scents that appeal to you.  Ayurveda teaches we have to learn to trust our own inner intuition based on Ayurvedic recommendations and Dosha essential oil suggestions.  Nothing is Dogma and we really have to learn what works best for us!

Thank you for listening and your continued support!

Peace, Oms & Blessings,

Zen Jenn