Homemade air fresheners
Fun, easy, natural, homemade ways to freshen the air indoors!
Indoor air quality is becoming more of an issue as people are spending more and more time indoors. Most of us have seen reports on common dangerous household pollutants such as deadly molds, lead from paints, asbestos, and many others. What many people are not aware of are the dangerous chemicals we are willingly bringing into our homes and using in the form of air fresheners! Many commercial air fresheners use chemicals that have detrimental side effects such as agents that deaden your sense of smell, oils that coat your nasal passages, chemicals that can be damaging to skin and eyes, and ingredients that can be very poisonous if accidentally ingested. In addition to being potentially dangerous, many commercial air fresheners don't actually freshen the air, they just mask one odor with another! So, what are we to do if we want a pleasant smelling indoor environment? Try a more natural approach!
The very best way to make indoor air smell good is to maintain a clean environment. Remove the source of any offensive odors instead of just trying to cover up a bad smell with a good one. Cleanliness goes a long way in maintaining a pleasant and healthy environment. Plain white vinegar can be purchased for very little and is an excellent stain and odor fighter, as well as an air freshener. White vinegar can be diluted in a bucket of water and used to mop floors that are moldy, mildewy, have a pet odor, or any other offensive odor. The same solution of vinegar and water can also be used on carpets. Be sure to do a small "test spot" on any surface you are going to clean to make sure it will not be damaged by the vinegar.
The absolute easiest and cheapest way to truely freshen indoor air is to open up widows and doors and allow outside air into your home. Not only will the fresh air smell good, it will help remove any toxic air that might have been building up in your home.
A wide assortment of air fresheners can be found hiding in your kitchen cabinets. Many of the herbs and spices we cook with also make wonderful air fresheners (such as cinnamon, clove, ginger, rosemary, basil, etc.). Try boiling your favorites alone or combined. Scented extracts (such as vanilla, almond, etc.) can also be used. Try dabbing some onto cotton balls and then placing the cotton balls throughout your home. Another kitchen staple renowned for removing odors is baking soda. An open box of baking soda placed in a room will help eliminate odors, especially musty mildew odors. A cup of vinegar can also be used in the same fashion to help remove smells. Simply fill several small bowls with vinegar and place in the area of the offensive smell.
Potpourri is a fun and versatile home air freshener. It can be homemade using dried flowers, herbs, and scented oil or purchased pre-made. Potpourri can be placed in pretty containers throughout the home, in sachets and tucked into closets and drawers. Or even boiled in simmer pots* for an extra strong scent.
Scented oils alone also make wonderful air fresheners. They come in a wide variety of scents and potencies. Oils can be dabbed onto cotton balls, or placed into special porous containers made to hold oils and dissipate their scent. Oils can also be added to boiling water to enhance their scent, or used in simmer pots*.
Be creative when looking for ways to pleasantly scent the air in you home. Even something as simple as a loaf of baking bread could be considered an air freshener if you like the smell. Cut flowers, opening the windows to the smell of a freshly mowed lawn, cutting lemons and placing them out in the open for a fresh blast of citrus scent are all fun, natural, simple ways to make your home smell good!
* A simmer pot is a small kettle shaped pot with an enclosed heating element on the bottom of the pot. It plugs into a standard wall outlet and heats the contents in the pot to enhance their aromas.
What is music therapy?
Ageneral introduction to the increasingly popular technique of what music therapy is.
The benefits of music therapy in relieving stress and improving relaxation are widely accepted, as is its value in the well being of children and the elderly. Some studies have shown that music can affect the rhythm of breathing and heartbeat, and can alter blood pressure.
As we enter the 21st century, we are all aware of the pressures of daily life - home, family and work combine to increase levels of tension, and finding your own personal cure for stress becomes more important. Finding time to relax, however, can be hard when you're always on the go; people today are spending more time working and less time on leisure activities, which directly impacts on their levels of stress. Music is a great antidote to the demands of life today - whether you play a favorite CD, attend concert recitals or play an instrument - the therapeutic benefits of music can calm even the most troubled mind.
Music must be as old as language: speech is basically musical, and rhythm and phrasing are even more fundamental to language than the meanings of the words themselves. The use of music as therapy therefore probably predates the appearance of any written records. It is known that the ancient Egyptians and Greeks thought highly of the curative powers of music - in Greece, Apollo was the god of both music and healing. It was also in Greece that Pythagoras formulated the rules of harmonics and used them as the basis for a school of philosophy and medicine. Similarly, musical cultures evolved in ancient civilizations such as those in China, Persia and India as well as Europe. It has long been used for self-expression and as a healing remedy, and there are numerous accounts of the healing properties of music in the Bible.
What is music therapy?
At the simplest level, music has the power to soothe and calm, and to enhance or alter moods. Media advertisers, shopping outlets, film moguls and many others exploit the power of music for one purpose or another. Hospitals are increasingly using music as a means of creating a peaceful atmosphere in which treatment can be carried out more easily and with greater success. In addition, many practitioners of music therapy use passive music - simply listening to music - in treating patients who suffer from emotional disorders such as anxiety and depression, autism and other developmental disorders. Such therapists believe that music promotes healing through the vibrational energy of different tones or pitches of sound, and that exposure to music can help to bring the tissues and organs of the body into harmony. Active music therapy, on the other hand, is mainly used in the treatment of those who have difficulty in expressing themselves and relating to other people. It may also be valuable in the care of those suffering from Alzheimer's disease. It can help the elderly and disabled to maintain healthy mind and body coordination.
Consulting a Therapist
Therapy usually involves group sessions at least once a week, each session lasting an hour or longer. You will be encouraged to participate in the group in playing musical instruments or singing. It is not important if you are not musical - rhythmic shaking of a tambourine or beating a drum can be just as satisfying as playing a flute or viola. Music sessions - under the leadership of the therapist - are geared to the needs of the individual patient.
Music therapy is ideal for self-help. You can enrich your life if you can spare the time to learn a musical instrument; or listen to special therapeutic tapes or choose music from your own collection that accurately reflects your current mood or the mood you want to experience. For instance, if you want to feel confident, listen to brisk, cheerful music; if you want to feel romantic, choose something soft and melodic. However, this technique is not just to alter your mood, but also an avenue to explore and examine a specific, usually adverse, frame of mind. For instance, if you are feeling irate, it may be therapeutic to play "angry" music, which will allow you to look for the roots of your antagonism and exorcize them. You may also want to try a technique known as "toning", which involves singing at the most primitive level, using grunts and groans, and cries and sighs, as a way of venting and releasing pent-up emotions.