DIY Chest Rub
With the arrival of winter, so comes cold & flu season. I’ve written various posts in the past on how we support our immune systems and get through the discomforts of common colds with natural remedies. If making elderberry syrup or diffusing immune & respiratory blends interests you, then definitely take a look through the various blog posts & DIY recipes or touch base to attend a free workshop.
Another tried & true recipe we always have on hand at the start of cold season (and really most of the year with all the bugs my little ones come home with): DIY Chest Rub
As you may know, congestion plays a vital role in our immune systems amazing and natural ability of keeping us healthy. It basically has the job of clearing out the unwanted germs. For this reason, I generally avoid decongestants, as I prefer to allow my body to do what it is designed to do. But that doesn’t mean I need to suffer, nor do my little ones when we are dealing with a cold.
Beyond simply diffusing to keep the pathways moist and open, Vapor or Chest rubs are another great addition to your wellness cabinet and are readily available over the counter. They can really make a difference in assisting the body work through a cold, while still allowing you to BREATHE & most importantly, SLEEP! Unfortunately, however, most chest rubs also can contain some really nasty ingredients. For example, the leading brands often include turpentine (a lung irritant) and petrolatum, a by-product linked to cancer, reproductive toxicity & immunotoxicity. The greaseless formulas have parabens as well as diazolidinyl (a formaldehyde-releasing chemical)… Just to name a few. Even the more natural brands that don’t have these filler/base ingredients are often loaded with essential oils of unknown quality which come with their own plethora of issues.
Considering we know it only takes 26 seconds for anything applied to our skin to get absorbed into our bloodstream, we steer clear of any nasty ingredients linked to long-term health consequences. Yes even when only ‘linked’ and not necessarily proven to cause. I figure, why take the gamble with my families health when there are perfectly safe and effective alternatives?
A simple DIY recipe for a chest rub is a great solution. 3 ingredients for the base + essential oils of your choice to help support the respiratory system and you are all set. You’ll find the full recipe and step by step instructions below, but just to inspire you with how simple it really is, all you’ll need: coconut oil + shea butter or cocoa butter + beeswax + your essential oils. Melt them down together and then let them solidify. Voila!
*A few important notes: essential oil safety advice varies, even among the experts. Therefore, you must make an informed decision based on what you feel comfortable with for you and your family.
Common sense disclaimer: This isn’t intended as medical advice, just another option to switch & ditch a product for a more natural alternative. As always, go see your health care provider if you feel the need.
We are hosting a Winter Wellness Masterclass in June at the Bowling Club & also have our Oily Mamas Playgroup on Tuesdays throughout term for anyone local to the Gerringong area. If either of these interest you, feel free to get in touch for details. We would love to have you join us.
Some of our favourite blends to use in a chest rub:
RC, Raven, Immupower or Kidscents Refresh
Or create your own Synergy:
Kid-friendly: Lavender, Frankincense, Lemon, Juniper, Cedarwood
12 and Older: Juniper, Eucalyptus Radiata, Peppermint, Rosemary, Lavender
*Be sure to double check safe dilution ratios before using any oils topically.
Below is a generic chest rub recipe. However, make sure you are using your oils safely by following the label instructions, using a reference guide or consulting with a qualified aromatherapist if you need more guidance.
For babies under 2 years old, I apply a really diluted version of this with the oils I’m comfortable using to the soles of their feet + I diffuse. The moisture from the diffuser is really helpful in itself and just doing a drop or two total of either a respiratory support blend or an immune support blend is enough.
D I Y Chest Rub Recipe:
Add to double broiler over medium heat (If you do not have a double broiler, simply put a pyrex measuring cup inside a saucepan with it’s handle resting over the side, so it’s not quite touching the bottom of the pot. See photo and refer to saucepan on the left.
- 1 TBS shaved beeswax or pellets/wafers (the smaller, the faster they melt)
- 1/4 Cup Good Quality Olive, Coconut, Almond, Avocado or other favorite carrier oil
- 1/4 Cup Good Quality Shea Butter or Cacao Butter
*I emphasize good quality because a little goes a long way and if you’re making the effort to reduce the toxins by DIY + your using such incredible quality essential oils, it would be a shame to ruin all that by adding an olive oil that is loaded with pesticides and over-processed.
Allow to melt while stirring occasionally (I rest a lid over the saucepan and watch closely as it tends to melt much quicker – beeswax can take awhile)!
After completely melted, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before adding essential oils. Overheating your oils can adversely affect the integrity of the therapeutic constituents.
Add the total oil drops you are comfortable with. I personally like to add 20 drops total for this recipe. If I’m feeling I need a little bit more strength when applying it to myself, I’ll just add another drop or two directly to my palm with the chest rub and apply accordingly.
Store in a glass jar. I’ve never experienced this DIY ‘expire’ or ‘go off’ but I generally feel comfortable using it within a few months.
Apply to chest, back and/or soles of feet as you feel appropriate based on recipe followed, age and needs.
See below article by Dr. Lindsey Elmore regarding using respiratory oils such as eucalyptus and peppermint on children.
See below blog post regarding essential oils in the nursery.