Awakening Spirit Blog

The Awakening Spirit Story

n_girlOne of the coolest things we learned was how to let the oils introduce themselves to us. You put the oil under your nose and allow the fragrance to introduce itself to you. It was amazing to see what your first response was to the oil. I think that is why I like some oils better than others. Some seemed happy and fun and others were more serious. By that I mean I LOVE neroli. It is my happy oil. I had one prior to that but when I discovered neroli, it took the cake. Still is today! The more serious oils were the medicinal smelling oils. I love them also but they put me in a different mind set. That is what is wonderful about the oils. They bring a part of themselves into your life and you feel it instantly.

Kathleen Flanagan PortraitKathleen Flanagan, CEO and Founder of Awakening Spirit, Aromatherapist, Sound Therapist, Esthetician and Author.

The Awakening Spirit Story

My same friend told me that Mindy Green, who lived in Boulder, was putting on an event about making Christmas gifts with essential oils. I feel in love! I got so excited that I bought a bunch of stuff and started making the different products. I was feeling so good. So much so that I started getting rid of all the chemicals in my house – cleaning products. I had no idea how bad I felt until I started feeling better.

Awakening Spirit became an aromatherapy company and opened January 1, 1995.

I was very progressive back then in aromatherapy. Most people hadn’t heard of it or even how long aromatherapy had been around. I spent a lot of time educating people.

I started out by doing arts and craft shows all over Colorado. I had a different look and logo back then. I had a nature girl with bright colors and ribbons in her hair. I would wear pastels with ribbons in my hair. People used to follow me to my booth. It was really strange when I noticed that. It was a lot of fun – but hard work.

Sometimes I got lucky when someone saw something on TV and it was sitting on my table. It was during that time when I went to school to become certified in aromatherapy and really understand what I was getting into. My instructor was amazed at how intuitive I was with the oils. When we were asked why we chose the oils for our cases studies, I always said because I was told to use them! She was a nurse and that didn’t fly to well with her but it did scare her somewhat because it was so natural for me. She even mentioned it. Class was a lot fun.

Kathleen Flanagan PortraitKathleen Flanagan, CEO and Founder of Awakening Spirit, Aromatherapist, Sound Therapist, Esthetician and Author.

The Awakening Spirit Story

A friend of mine and I went to the botanical gardens and she told me that lavender was good for headaches. I thought she was crazy. I bought a bottle regardless because I was desperate. A headache was coming on so I smelled the oil. I went home and started cleaning my house and then I realized that I should have been in a full migraine and I wasn’t. I didn’t even like the smell of lavender back then. It worked. What I came to learn is that if I smelled the lavender before the headache anchored in, I was okay. Once it set in, nothing stopped it.

The day finally came when I could no longer take the migraines. I had just gotten out of scalding hot shower and I laid on the floor crying and begging God to take my life. I asked him “how can I do your work, if I can’t even move?” Truly, I wanted to die because the pain was just too much to take.

Shortly thereafter, I was talking to a co-worker and she suggested I see a naturopath. I had candida all over my body. I had to stop feeding it. She put me on Coptis, a Chinese herbal medicine. It was horrible! I had to take two bottles. She said no one ever had to take it as long as me. As the candida was dying, I smelled like bread (yeast). I also was very depressed because I felt it dying and it was not happy. It was very strange.

Kathleen Flanagan PortraitKathleen Flanagan, CEO and Founder of Awakening Spirit, Aromatherapist, Sound Therapist, Esthetician and Author.

The Awakening Spirit Story

After three days, I was taken out of intensive care and put in a regular room. All I wanted to do was sleep and that was something you don’t do in a hospital. I finally asked my doctor to let me sleep. When I did wake I was swarmed with nurses to do whatever it is they were suppose to do. I was on oxygen that went through water to keep my throat moist. One night I woke up coughing, in the middle of night with my water bottle empty. I rang for the nurse and no one came. In the morning, I told the doctor what happened. I thought he didn’t care and yet when I rang for the nurse about my water being emptied later that day, their was no moss growing under their feet! I guess the doctor yelled at them! I was going to be discharged that day but ended up staying another day. When I finally went home, I slept for three days. I never woke. I had no idea I was that sick. It took several months before I recovered from that episode. I was placed on 500 mg of antibiotics for 30 days and 250 mg for an additional two weeks. I didn’t know it then but that was malpractice.

The antibiotics caused candida. Again, I didn’t know it until years later and my health was seriously impaired. I was in severe migraine headaches that lasted 2-3 days every week! I researched everything. I got rid of foods that caused headaches. I took herbs, took scalding hot showers, massages and nothing worked.

Kathleen Flanagan PortraitKathleen Flanagan, CEO and Founder of Awakening Spirit, Aromatherapist, Sound Therapist, Esthetician and Author.

The Awakening Spirit Story

Anyways, she finally arrived and took me to the clinic. When I got in the office, a girl comes into the room to take a culture of my throat. I could not open my mouth very wide because it was so soar. She hit my throat wrong and I ended up holding on to her for dear life and gasping for air. I was terrified.

The doctor came in an yelled at me that I should be in a hospital and not in her clinic. I was borderline conscious at that moment. The next thing I knew, paramedics were around me putting needles in my arm and taking me to the hospital. I was so bad that they prepped the operating room for a tracheotomy. It took the doctor an hour to arrive. I was put on oxygen.

While I waited for the doctor, I was trying to get out of my body so I could leave (die). The next thing I saw was Mother Mary came in at the foot of my bed and started yelling at me. I was not to leave and to stop trying. I was stunned. I had no idea they yelled! I was totally at attention during that episode. When she dematerialized, I saw my mother and doctor come into the room. The doctor put a probe down my nose to determine what was going on with my throat. I had a severe sinus infection. My epiglottis was swollen from the constant drip from my sinuses. I was given steroids and placed in intensive care. I only had a sore throat! Needless to say, I learned something that day.

Kathleen Flanagan PortraitKathleen Flanagan, CEO and Founder of Awakening Spirit, Aromatherapist, Sound Therapist, Esthetician and Author.

The Awakening Spirit Story

Kathleen Flanagan PortraitHi Everyone,

I thought I would talk about how and why I got into aromatherapy. It started many years ago. I had an acute sinus infection and didn’t know for months. I would look at pictures of myself and I looked like I was putting on weight even though I wasn’t. My face was puffy. That is what I was seeing. During the course of the sinus infection, I started getting really tired and I couldn’t breathe especially when I laid down to go to sleep. It was Thanksgiving and I told my family I would rather die than be put under a knife. Now, I had no idea why I said that, I just wanted everyone to know they had no right to make any decisions for me.

Within one to two weeks thereafter, I ended up in the hospital. I absolutely could not breathe. I was very scared. I asked my husband to take me to the doctor. He refused (wonder why we are divorced!) I then asked him to call my mother. He did but wouldn’t ask her to take me to the doctor. So, I asked him to call my sister. He finally asked! I was so glad I really mattered to my sister since it took her close to two hours to get to my house. If I had more oxygen going to my brain, I would have called an ambulance myself since it was such an inconvenience for everyone to help me. After all it was just a soar throat!

Kathleen Flanagan, CEO and Founder of Awakening Spirit, Aromatherapist, Sound Therapist, Esthetician and Author.

pH Made Simple – Part Two

Understanding How pH Works With Skin Care Products – Part Two

A chemical peel actually takes your skin to an acidic level, where you are actually burning the skin to create the skin to sluff. A peel is anywhere from a pH1 to pH3. An esthetician may perform chemical peels from 1.5% to 3% depending upon the state regulations and they work on the epidermis. Dermatologists may go lower because they are working on the dermal layer, the skin below the surface. The peel stimulates the skin cells to accelerate new growth as well as remove the epidermis. That is why your skin looks new and fresh after the sluffing is completed. It literally is new skin. It is extremely important that you wear sun block to prevent damage to the new skin.

When the peeling process is completed, your skin is also more receptive to uptake the products because it is no longer pushing its way through the dead skin cells. Improper cleaning, not using exfoliates and aging all effect how quickly we sluff the dead cells from our skin. Besides chemical peeling, microdermabrasion also removes the dead skin.

It is important to use good cleansers on your skin to bring it into an alkaline state to remove the dirt and impurities. If you have any serums, this is the perfect time to apply them because your skin is in a receptive state to uptake the serum and to have the most benefit. Then, tone your skin to bring the skin back to the acidic level. When you apply the moisturize while your skin is still wet from the toner, you won’t need as much and it creates a barrier to protect your skin from the environmental stresses. These steps will help you maintain a youthful appearance and keep your skin glowing.

Kathleen Flanagan PortraitKathleen Flanagan, CEO and Founder of Awakening Spirit, Aromatherapist, Sound Therapist, Esthetician and Author.

pH Made Simple – Understanding How pH Works With Skin Care Products

The pH in our skin determines how products are going to respond. pH determines the acidity or alkalinity on a scale of 0 to 14. Anything below 7.0 is acidic and anything above 7.0 is alkaline. Therefore, 7.0 is neutral which actually extends from 6.5 to 7.5.

The pH scale is on a logarithmic scale or it is a 10-fold change in pH. For example, if you have a pH of 8, it is 10 times more alkaline than a pH of 7. If there is a change in two numbers than the change is 100 fold. In other words, the pH of 8 is 100 times more alkaline than a pH of 10.

Our skin has an acid mantle of 4.5 to 6.2. This mantle protects our skin from the many assaults it faces everyday. The acid mantle is made up of sweat and sebum (oil) to protect the skin from certain bacteria and microorganisms. If the acid mantle lowers or rises to much, inflammation occurs. That is why it is important to maintain a healthy skin care regime.

The cleansers that we use on our skin are alkaline. They are generally a pH10. This allows the skin to be cleansed and be in a state to receive the cleaning. If you use soap on your face, and nothing else, then your skin is exposed to all the elements. It has no protection. You will then see comedones (blackheads) or milia (whiteheads) on your skin.

Kathleen Flanagan PortraitKathleen Flanagan, CEO and Founder of Awakening Spirit, Aromatherapist, Sound Therapist, Esthetician and Author.

Do You Know What Your Skin Needs? Part Three-2

skin_care_grpForms of Vit­a­min C

Vit­a­min C is the skin’s most impor­tant water-soluble vit­a­min. It pro­tects skin from envi­ron­men­tal stresses, sun dam­age and the causes of aging. The immune stim­u­lat­ing prop­er­ties are well doc­u­mented, and it helps improve der­mal blood sup­ply and may help improve skin pig­men­ta­tion. It is avail­able in sev­eral forms vary­ing in sta­bil­ity and effectiveness.

Ascor­bic Acid: water-soluble, anti-oxidant, stays on sur­face, poor pen­e­tra­tion, very poor sta­bil­ity, helps lighten skin and exfo­li­ate dead cells

Ascor­byl Palmi­tate: fat-soluble (lipophilic), deep pen­e­trat­ing, sooth­ing, soft­en­ing, mois­tur­iz­ing and heal­ing, best if used topically

Ascor­byl Tetraisopalmi­tate: fat-soluble (lipophilic), deep pen­e­trat­ing, very mois­tur­iz­ing, heal­ing and sooth­ing, improves skin pigmentation

Stim­u­la­tion – Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids stim­u­late and exfo­li­ate the skin. This process encour­ages fresh lay­ers to the sur­face and enhances skin tis­sue growth.

Nour­ish­ment – As these younger cells sur­face, top­i­cal nutri­ents, includ­ing vit­a­mins A, C, D, E, K and essen­tial fatty acids nour­ish and accel­er­ate the growth process.

Do You Know What Your Skin Needs? Part Three


Important Active Ingredients

Allan­toin: Bio­genic skin soft­ener which accel­er­ates heal­ing and improves skin hydration

Ara­binoglac­tan (Galac­toara­bi­nan): Immune stimulating, anti-aging poly­sac­cha­ride with gen­tle stimulating properties

Col­la­gen Ampli­fier Sys­tem: Pep­tide based, stim­u­lates col­la­gen production

Beta Glu­can: Enhances skin immu­nity and wound clos­ing, pro­tects against UV dam­age and hydrates skin

CoQ10: Helps ener­gize new skin cell growth

Decyl Polyglu­co­side: Gen­tle, foam­ing skin cleanser derived from corn

Hyaluronic Acid: Bio­genic mois­tur­iz­ing agent with sig­nif­i­cant water-binding properties

Jojoba Oil: A non-comedogenic, anti-bacterial non-oil that is sim­i­lar to nat­ural human lipids

Lac­tic Acid: Mild alpha hydroxy acid which acts as a skin soft­ener and lightener

NaPCA: A bio­genic humec­tant that holds onto water mol­e­cules to keep skin cells hydrated

Peg-7 Gyc­eryl Cocoate: A refat­ting agent that pre­vents irri­ta­tion from occur­ring dur­ing cleansing

Phos­pho­lipids: Bio­gen­tic skin soft­ener, moisturizing, anti-irritant, improves trans­der­mal penetration

Resor­ci­nol: A pow­er­ful anti-bacterial agent with anti-acne, peel­ing and exfo­li­at­ing properties

Sal­i­cylic Acid: A beta hydroxy acid, breaks up oil and has pow­er­ful skin stim­u­lat­ing and anti-bacterial properties

Squalane: The pre­dom­i­nate lipid found in human skin, extremely pen­e­trat­ing and skin softening

Tocotrienols: Pow­er­ful anti-oxidants form of Vitamin E

Vit­a­min A/Retinol: Improves skin elasticity, epidermal and der­mal thick­en­ing, can help reverse photo dam­age, enhances new skin cell growth, retexturizes

Vit­a­min C: Col­la­gen stim­u­lat­ing, anti-aging, protective, heal­ing, skin soft­en­ing prop­er­ties, helps even skin pigmentation

Vit­a­min D: Impor­tant for skin cell stabilization, improves skin heal­ing and immunity

Vit­a­min E: Mois­tur­izes skin from within, aids tis­sue repair and pro­tects from envi­ron­men­tal stress

Vit­a­min K: Helps sup­port small blood vessels, improves spi­der vein con­di­tions, heals bruising

Forms of Vit­a­min A

Vit­a­min A is the skin’s most impor­tant fat-soluble nutri­ent. It is referred to as a skin cell normalizer.  This means that Vit­a­min A can stim­u­late cell growth for heal­ing and anti-aging effects OR slow down cell growth to improve skin con­di­tions like acne or pso­ri­a­sis. It is avail­able in three main forms:

Retinoic Acid: Rx, stim­u­lates col­la­gen, anti-aging ben­e­fits, con­trols growth of cells (used for acne) exfo­lia­tive, dry­ing and may induce sun reactions

Retinol: non-Rx, sim­i­lar effects as Retinoic Acid but milder

Retinyl Palmi­tate: mois­tur­iz­ing, less effec­tive on cell or fiber growth, sooth­ing and non-exfoliative

Do You Know What Your Skin Needs? Part Two

skin_care_grpWhat is pH?

Acidic and basic are two extremes that describe chem­i­cals, just like hot and cold are two extremes that describe tem­per­a­ture. Mix­ing acids and bases can can­cel out their extreme effects, much like mix­ing hot and cold water can even out water tem­per­a­ture. A sub­stance that is nei­ther acidic nor basic is neutral.

The pH scale mea­sure how acidic or basic a sub­stance is. It ranges from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neu­tral. A pH less than 7 is acidic and a pH greater than 7 is basic.

Pure water is neu­tral, with a pH of 7.0. When chem­i­cals are mixed with water, the mix­ture can become either acidic or basic. Vine­gar and lemon juice are acidic sub­stances, while laun­dry deter­gents and bar soaps are basic or alkaline.

The skin pro­duces both sebum and sweat, which cre­ate a bar­rier on the sur­face of the skin cer­tain forms of bac­te­ria and microor­gan­isms, and it may be a fac­tor in the nat­ural skin shed­ding and renewal process. The pH of the acid man­tle varies between 4.5 and 6.2. Skin care prod­ucts should be below the skin’s pH of 4.5 — 6.8 to have max­i­mum effects on the skin.

Very strong acids, such as sul­fu­ric acid, can pro­duce chem­i­cal burns that basi­cally destroy the epidermis. Likewise, highly alka­line sub­stances, such as lye, can also pro­duce inflam­ma­tion and in some cases, chemical burns.

pH adjusters or buffer­ing agents are fre­quently added to skin care prod­ucts. These addi­tives keep pH at the cor­rect level to pro­duce the desired effect, while keep­ing the prod­uct safe and non-irritating to the skin.

0     1     2      3     4     5     6     7     8     9    10    11   12    13  14

←                                    ↑                                                         →

Increas­ing Acid­ity       Neu­tral                         Increas­ing Basicity

Alpha Peel 40%                  =             pH 1.8

Cocoa Cola                         =             pH 2.5

Skin                                     =             pH 4.5 — 6.0

Max­i­mum results are achieved when the pH is between 1.8 — 6.8.

Next time we will dis­cuss active ingre­di­ents that are ben­e­fi­cial to the skin.

Do You Know What Your Skin Needs? Part One-3

skin_care_grpDehydration is a condition that can be seen on all skin types. Dehydrated skin lacks water. Drinking plenty of water and hydrating the skin with moisturizers and humectants can help minimize the negative effects of dryness and dehydration.

Occlusive is a heavier product such as an emollient cream to keep moisture in the skin.

Humectants are ingredients that attract water/moisture to the skin and soften the surface, diminish lines caused by dryness; glycerin is a humectant used in creams and lotion.

Next time we will talk about pH.