Archive | November, 2013

Synthetic or natural? Let me get out my calculator

14 Nov

I was just sent an article listing all the companies (that the authors know of!) that make body products like shower gel, shampoo and soap with a known carcinogen in them, cocamide diethanolamine (cocamide DEA). Read the article at  http://ecowatch.com/2013/08/29/cancer-causing-chemical-in-shampoos/ . This stuff is a chemically modified version of coconut oil, and is used as a thickening or foaming agent; it was listed last year as a known carcinogen in California.  The Center for Environmental Health has brought lawsuits against some of these companies, and issued warnings to others.  My complaint is, why do we put poisons in our products?  One of my clients looked at me with pity in her eyes, saying, “It’s about profit, of course.” She was in my studio to have essential oils blended into the hand cream I make; we spent half an hour intuiting between us which oils were perfect for her, given her physical complaints and emotional state. Again, I was astounded at the process and the result: she ended up with a blend that evoked the beloved cut alfalfa fragrance from her country upbringing, which seemed exactly what she needed.  We were both amazed at how her bodymind spoke invisibly, offering insight into what she needed.  Equally wonderful was the knowledge that the plants from which these oils came- rose, elemi, lemon and lavender- all have healing characteristics that span many layers, forming a web of healing energy.

And this is what most of the companies that make products for us don’t get: not only will they profit monetarily more from healthy products, but the entire planet and its inhabitants will also thrive, and live another day to buy another one of their products!! ( Gee; you mean if I kill my customers, it may affect my bottom line??)

This is not to say that all naturally occurring, plant-based products are fine for everyone; for example, someone may have a reaction to a plant that is estrogenic, meaning it has hormone-like properties of estrogen. Or someone else will be allergic to rosemary or eucalyptus.  I believe, though, that because we’re surrounding ourselves with synthetic fragrances, chemically altered compounds and downright poisonous chemicals, our bodies have become super sensitive to everything, much like the profligate use of herbicides has led to the evolution of “super weeds”, which are now more and more resistant to herbicides, thus requiring the use of more and more powerful herbicides to control them.

Needless to say, this situation is untenable.  It’s poisoning our bodies and our nest, commonly called the Planet Earth. Unless you make your own body products, it’s difficult to ascertain whether a product you’re buying is safe to use.  Generally, organic products are better, but please make sure the container has a label on it that says USDA Certified Organic; that at least reassures the consumer that the company has gone through a stringent process of certification, and isn’t just “greenwashing”.   If you’d like to learn more about carcinogens in your body products, visit this page:  http://www.safecosmetics.org/article.php?list=type&type=33    from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.  If you’d like to start making some of your own products for yourself, I recommend this book: Organic Body Care Recipes by Stephanie Tourles.  I used her book to make the aforementioned hand/ foot/ lip/face cream I sell to my clients.  It works great, feels great, and I’m not putting something on (and thus into) my body that will hurt me.  It’s a concept to embrace!

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