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Dead Sea Salts Are Best for Psoriasis
This post is taken directly from one of our favorite websites – Brambleberry.com. Posted by Soap Queen at www.soapqueen.com on Friday, July 13th, 2012
When it comes to skin care, are all salts created equal? Not according to a study done by the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, which tested the effects of “common salt” (like table salt) vs. the effects of Dead Sea Salts.
Testers took once daily baths for a controlled amount of time, and the results came back in favor of the attributes of the Dead Sea salts, particularly in the treatment of psoriasis vulgaris (a skin condition involving rapidly dividing, overactive cells that causes patchy, scaly skin). The study also concluded that bathing with any type of salt can benefit skin conditions like psoriasis, however the high concentration of chloride and bromide in salts from the Dead Sea have a particular impact on certain skin conditions.
Check out our soothing LilyPad Dead Sea Bath Salts for an affordable, everyday luxury.
Aromatherapy is a nice treatment because it has few (if any) known side effects. It can be used passively (for instance, you can fill the room with scent while you attend to other things, relieving stress in the process). It also can be easily combined with other treatments (like massage, yoga, or meditation), for increased benefit. Aromatherapy products are widely available, making it a convenient option.
If there’s a scent that you like, simply the fact that it’s pleasing to you can put you in a different mood. If it seems to work for you, then by all means, use it! If you find that its effects are not what you were looking for, there are plenty of other scents that have been proven effective – just choose another and try again.
Here are some ideas for aromatherapy use:
• Body Products
These can be nice because they are subtle – creating a scent that stays with you, but can’t necessarily be smelled by others unless they’re very close. You can rub the LilyPad Massage Oil/Moisturizer all over your skin, dab a few drops of skin-safe essential oils on pulse points, or spritz with the LilyPad Aromatherapy Mists, and enjoy a nice pick-me-up.
• Aromatherapy Massage
Aromatherapy combined with massage carried greater benefits than either motif alone. Give yourself a massage, trade with a friend, or pay for a massage from a professional (believe us, it is well worth the money)! Try the LilyPad’s Massage Oils and Moisturizers for this, and give Personal Best Bodyworks a call!
• Aromatherapy Meditation and Yoga
Aromatherapy can enhance the relaxation benefits of meditation and yoga. It can provide a focal point and offer the passive stress relief benefits of aromatherapy. Even a five-minute meditatative break can have benefits.
• Aromatherapy Baths
There is nothing more relaxing then soaking in a warm, scented bath in low lighting. This has the benefits of soothing tired muscles, helping to induce sleep, and reducing stress by aromatherapy. Pour a little of the LilyPad’s Massage Oil and Moisturizer in your bath, or (coming soon!) try our LilyPad Bath Salts!
Aromatherapy may have its’ origins in history with the use of infused aromatic oils, made by mashing dried plant material in heated oils, and then filtering the plant material out. Many such oils are described by Dioscorides, (40-90 AD) the Greek physician, pharmacologist and botanist who published De Materia Medica – a 5-volume encyclopedia about herbal medicine and related medicinal substances (a pharmacopeia), that was widely read for more than 1,500 years. Distilled essential oils have been utilized for medicinal purposes since the invention of distillation in the eleventh century. This is when the Persian polymath Ibn S?n? (Avicenna) isolated essential oils using steam distillation.
The concept of aromatherapy was first presented in moden-day society by a small number of European scientists and doctors, in about 1907. By 1937, the word appeared in print in a French book written by René-Maurice Gattefossé on the subject: Aromathérapie: Les Huiles Essentielles, Hormones Végétales. The French surgeon Jean Valnet is credited with pioneering the medicinal uses of essential oils when he utilized them as antiseptics for wound treatment in soldiers during the second World War.
An essential oil is a concentrated liquid containing volatile aromatic compounds from plants. Essential oils are also known as volatile oils or aetherolea, or simply as the “oil of” the plant from which they were extracted, such as oil of clove. An oil is “essential” in the sense that it carries a distinctive scent, or essence, of the plant. Essential oils as a group do not need to have any specific chemical properties in common, beyond conveying characteristic fragrances. They are generally extracted by distillation, but also can be processed by solvent extraction.
The LilyPad utilizes only the highest quality essential oils in our products, and chooses organic or wild-crafted whenever possible.
Aromatherapy is the treatment or prevention of disease by use of essential oils, and is a form of alternative medicine that uses volatile plant materials and other aromatic compounds for the purpose of altering a person’s mind, mood, cognitive function or health. There are a variety of uses, such as: for pain, stress, and anxiety reduction, enhancement of energy and short-term memory, relaxation, hair loss prevention, reduction of eczema-induced itching, wound healing, muscular and rheumatic pain reduction, reduction of skin inflammation, improvement of sleep, improvement of fungal, viral, and bacterial infections, stimulation of the immune system, improvement of skin tone, relief from tension headaches, aid in digestive disorders, aid in women’s problems, relieve congestion, and to boost respiratory system strength.
Have you every wondered how aromatherapy works? Their are two basic mechanisms to understand the effects of aromatherapy.
- The influence of aroma on the brain. Studies have shown that aromatherapy has an effect on brain waves, and can alter behavior. To better understand aromatherapy benefits, it helps to know how your body processes smells. The sense of smell is pretty powerful – the body can distinguish around 10,000 different scents. As scents are inhaled, the smell moves across the olfactory nerves located inside of the nose and then up into the part of the brain that controls our moods, our memories, and our ability to learn. This area is called the limbic system, and, when stimulated, it releases endorphins, neurotransmitters, and other ‘feel-good’ chemicals.
- The direct pharmacological effects of the essential oils – aromatherapy works by absorbing essential oils into the skin and blood stream. One of the advantages to topical application of essential oils is that they can go directly to the spot where you need them the most.
An aromatherapy massage is a great way to reap the benefits of topical application of essential oils along with the soothing therapeutic benefits of massage. Sounds like you should try the LilyPad’s Aromatherapy Mists and Massage Oils – one of life’s affordable luxuries! You can also experience the powerful effects of aromatherapy each time you bathe by using one of the LilyPad’s naturally scented herbal soaps.
The LilyPad uses only sustainably harvested and processed palm oil. Why sustainable palm oil? The past few decades have seen rapid expansion in the production of palm oil throughout the tropics and sub-tropics, driven by ever- increasing global demand for edible oils. Starting in the 1990s, areas under palm oil cultivation have increased by about 45%, mostly in Malaysia and Indonesia. This quick growth has unsurprisingly put pressure on the environment and on the communities where the palm is cultivated. While better managed plantations and palm oil smallholdings serve as models of sustainable agriculture, in terms of economic performance as well as social and environmental responsibility, there is concern that not all palm oil is always being produced sustainably. Large areas of forests with rich biodiversity and high conservation value are being threatened due to the development of new palm plantations. Clear-cutting and the utilization of fire for soil preparation for palm planting on a large scale is exacerbating the problem. The expansion of palm plantations has also given rise to social conflicts between indigenous communities and growers. These are all reasons why sustainable palm oil is seen as the only way to continue to supply the demand of much needed vegetable oil without harming the planet or its people.
After the fall of the Roman Empire in Western Europe, (500 A.D.) there was little soap making in the European Dark Ages. However, in the Byzantine Empire, (the remains of the eastern Mediterranean Roman world), and in the expanding Arab world soap was made and used. It is a popular misconception that people did not bathe in the Middle Ages. There were public bathhouses, called stews, where people bathed with soap in large wooden tubs. Nobles and rich merchants had their own private baths. Around the 8th century soap making was revived in Italy and Spain. By the 13th century, France also became a producer of soap for the European market, and in the 14th century, soap-making began in England. However, in general, people of the Renaissance moved away from the idea of keeping the body clean. They preferred to cover the body with heavy scents. But interestingly, this is when the history of soap making becomes more concrete. Marseilles emerged as the first great center of soap making and remained an important producer through the Middle Ages. Genoa, Venice, and Bari, Italy came to rival Marseilles, as did Castile in Spain. Each of these regions had a plentiful supply of olive oil and barilla (a fleshy plant whose ashes were used to make lye).
Soaps produced in the south of Europe, Italy, Spain, and the southern ports of France (Marseilles and Castile soaps) were made from olive oil. Soap made using olive oil was considered to be of a higher quality than those made by the soap producers of England and northern France, because the northern soap makers were not able obtain olive oil and thus made their soap with animal fats. Tallow, the fat from cattle, was the primary fat used, however, northern European soap makers sometimes made soap from fish oil. Soaps made from the poorer quality animal fats and oils, while adequate for laundry and textile usage, were not desirable for bathing and washing. The olive oil soap from southern Europe was better for bathing, which resulted in a healthy soap trade.
By 1700, there were 63 soap companies in London, England, even though soap was still more of a curiosity than a household item. This changed with the medical discovery of bacteria and the concern that cleanliness could be a means of eliminating disease-producing germs. Once the ritual of utilizing soap for cleansing became widespread, people would save ashes from their fires for months. When they had enough fat left over from daily activities such as butchering or olive oil production, they would make soap. The inexact process included filling a barrel with ashes, with a layer of straw at the bottom as a filter. They would then pour the water through the ashes and let it drain into a bucket at the bottom. This produced a lye solution, and was considered strong enough to make soap when an egg would float on the surface. The fat was then rendered and mixed with the lye solution to make soap. This (often very harsh) soap was then used for washing clothes and floors and the occasional bath. There was no printed recipe for soap making at this time and a soap maker had to judge the strength and quality of the lye and its reactions. In 1832, the French chemist Eugene-Michel Chevreul demystified soap by showing that saponification was a chemical process splitting fat and lye into soap and glycerin. Soon it was discovered that adding palm kernel oil produced a soap that lathered more easily. Soap started to be wrapped and named to give it product distinction, and aggressive marketing and advertising began. By 1890 many variations of soap were offered, with the five major United States companies being, Colgate, Morse Taylor, Albert, Pears, and Bailey. A bar of Colgate’s Cashmere Bouquet cost 25 cents, which was pretty expensive considering a quart of milk cost 5 cents.
The first recorded accounts of soap were on Sumerian clay tablets dating back to 2500 B.C. - One Sumerian tablet describes soap made from water, alkali, and cassia oil. At that time in history soap was used primarily for the washing of wool, not for personal cleansing.
It is well documented that the Egyptians bathed regularly and that they combined animal and vegetable oils with alkaline salts to create a soap-like substance for washing. It is also well known that Cleopatra (69 B.C. – 30 B.C.) attributed her beauty to her baths in horse milk.
The earliest legend of a modern-day “soap” discovery is from ancient Rome, and most likely gave soap its familiar name. It is said that the ancient Romans were washing clothes in the Tiber River at the bottom of Sapo Hill/Mount Sapo, above which was an area where animals were ritually sacrificed. The launderers began to notice that their laundry was much cleaner than when it was done elsewhere. This area was where the remnants of the sacrifice area came down the hill and ran into the river water. It was perceived correctly that a very strong cleansing agent was produced as the fat from the sacrificed animals merged with the wood ashes and river water. The word saponification – the chemical name for the soap making reaction, and the Latin word for soap, “sapo” – may be derived from Sapo Hill/Mount Sapo. This legend attributing the discovery of soap-making to the Romans might have been created in response to the Celtic claim at discovering the process. The Celtic initially utilized soap for cleansing wool with some evidence that it was being used for bathing and washing before the Roman invasion. It is likely that both discovered the soap-making process at approximately the same time.
Although well known for their public baths, (first built in 312 B.C.) soap was not generally utilized for personal cleansing at the time of the ancient Romans. (It would have made the public baths lathery and messy.) The Greeks (followed by the Romans) would rub their bodies with olive oil and sand for cleansing. A scraper, called a strigil, was then used to scrape off the mixture, and also removed dirt, grease, and dead cells from the skin. Herb salves were applied after the “bath”. Throughout history people have also been known to take baths in herb waters and other additions thought to be beneficial.
One of the first definite tangible proofs of soap making was from ancient Rome. Pliny the elder, a Roman historian (23 A.D – 79 A.D.), described soap being made from goat’s tallow and wood ashes, usually beech, and wrote of common salt being added to make the soap hard. The ruins at Pompeii (79 A.D.) revealed a soap factory complete with finished bars cut and stacked, ready for sale. During the early centuries there is written evidence of soap being used by physicians in the treatment of disease. Soap for personal washing became popular during the late centuries of the Roman era, for instance, Zosimos of Panopolis (300 AD) describes soap and soap-making.
Galen, a noted Greek physician (AD 129 – 199) describes soap-making using lye and recommended washing to carry away impurities from the body and clothes. He also recommended that soap could be beneficial for certain skin ailments.
The chemical reaction that takes place in the process is pretty complex. Exact quantities of oils (acids) must be mixed with a base of very alkaline water. (Sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide are commonly used to make the alkaline mixture). This mixture gradually thickens while being constantly stirred. The reaction that takes place when the acids, base, and water are completely combined creates soap, and is called saponification. The soap is then poured into a mold for approximately 24 hours to harden. It is then removed from the mold and allowed to “cure” for (ideally) 6 weeks. This process of soap making is called “cold-process”, as it is not necessary to cook the mixture – the heat generated when mixing the ingredients is enough to incite the chemical reaction. In addition, the LilyPad has adjusted our recipes to have less of the alkaline water, which leaves extra oil in the finished soap. This process creates a super-fatted soap bar that is very moisturizing. In the process of soap making, glycerin is produced. Commercial manufacturers remove the glycerin from their soap to use in other products (like lotion). This “soap” without the glycerin can leave your skin dry and itchy – you then need lotion to re-moisturize. Sounds fishy, eh? The LilyPad’s handmade soap retains all of the natural glycerin so your skin stays soft and pampered. We only add pure essential oils, natural clay, herbs, and botanicals to achieve various scents and healing properties for our soaps. All of our soaps are handmade in small batches to ensure the highest quality and consistency. Never tested on animals, only on the LilyPad’s family and friends!
Hand made herbal soap using only fresh, natural and local ingredients