What are Essential Oils
Essential oils are a gift from nature, the powerful life or essence of the plant. Each essential oil is unique based on its constituent makeup. The ancients understood the power of essential oils and their usage dates to the ancient Egyptians. The benefits are numerous which be explained later.
Not All Essential Oils are Created Equal
As with any purchase it is best to be informed regarding the product whether it be food, makeup, body lotion, an electronic device, home appliance or furniture. Research prior to a purchase is always advisable especially when considering essential oils.
Today’s market is flooded with essential oils and many of the less expensive oils contain synthetics, buyer beware. Quality is paramount when using and essential oil. To obtain purity, essential oils are extracted from plants with specialized equipment. The components of an essential oil can vary depending on growing methods, soil conditions, types of fertilizers and pest control as well as when the plant is harvested and how the oil is extracted and more. All these factors play a crucial role in maintaining the therapeutic properties of an essential oil. Two oils with the same will have a different constituent makeup depending on growing conditions to extraction process. A pure unadulterated essential oil will maintain the healing and therapeutic properties.
Essential Oils and the Body
Essential oils enter the body via direct application, inhalation, or ingestion. (Ingestion of essential oils will not be discussed). Essential oils penetrate the cell membrane and travel thru the blood and tissues. Essential oils can reach areas of the brain controlling emotions, memory, heart rate, homeostasis and more. It has been found certain oils have the following properties: antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, calming, uplifting, decrease muscle tension, decrease stress, increase joy and more.
How to Use Essential Oils
One of the easiest ways to enjoy essential oils is with a cold-water diffuser. Inhaling the aroma is a great way for the family to reap the benefits and invigorate or calm your surroundings. The oil enters our body by way of the nose or olfactory sense and can effect parts of your brain which control emotions. Some scents may invoke a calming or an uplifting feeling. Follow the directions on your diffuser to determine quantities of oil and water and how long an oil should be diffused. Always pay attention to how your body responds.
Direct inhalation is exactly as it sounds. Place one drop of the oil of choice in your hand rub the palms together and loosely cup over the nose and mouth to inhale the scent of the oil. Always refer to the information on the oil of choice.
The skin is our bodies largest organ and an easy way to accept an essential oil. Depending on the oil and your skin sensitivity you may apply an oil with or without (neat) a carrier oil. A carrier oil is a medium to disperse the essential oil such as almond, coconut oil or another pure unscented oil. It is best to use a carrier oil when you are new to an oil, have sensitive skin or with known “hot” oils. Reference material will determine the makeup of your oil and any precautions. Generally speaking “hot” oils are cinnamon, clove, lemongrass, oregano and thyme to list a few. Always pay attention to your skin and follow your intuition.
Another simple way to receive the benefits of an oil is to apply a drop of an oil to the bottoms of your feet. The soles of the feet have many receptors and thus a pathway for oils to enter the body.
Essential oils can be added to your bath salts (no more than 10 drops per half cup of salts).
Create your own or purchase premade essential oil roll-ons. You can use the roll-on as you would a perfume but with the added benefit of a natural scent and therapeutic properties.
My Favorite Oils
Lavender essential oil is a favorite for its relaxing aroma and is a popular choice for my massage clients. Another great way to use lavender oil is to make a spritzer spray for bed pillows for relaxation and a restful sleep.
Pan Away essential oil is great for sore muscles and pairs well with hot stone massage when working on deep tissues. Pan Away mixed with a little carrier oil and applied to the shoulders or legs after a workout or stressful day helps to sooth the musculature.
Thieves essential oil has beneficial anti-viral properties making it a go-to oil to diffuse during cold and flu season and apply neat to the bottoms of my feet for an added immunity boost.
Lemon essential oil is great at removing the sticky residue left over from a price tag or band aid. When diffused with lavender the combination is an uplifting scent in my diffuser.
Stress Away essential oil is a wonderful calming scent when diffused in the home and when traveling is a constant companion as a roll-on in my purse.
So many oils and so many favorites!
When using essential oils, it is best to test an area first for sensitivity. Keep oils away from children as you would any medicines. Use caution during use around pets or children. It is best if pregnant women follow specific guidelines. Be aware of oils that increase photo sensitivity (typically citrus oils and some blends). Keep essential oils away from eyes, mucus membranes, and never put in ears. Caution is advised with some oils for those with epilepsy or hypertension. Direct inhalation not recommended for asthmatic conditions. Consult your practitioner if you have concerns or questions. This is general information always consult a practitioner for specifics.
Essential oils are a gift from nature and can help you in many ways. Choose a high-quality oil and always listen to your body. Your body knows best. Everyone reacts differently to these beautiful oils, let your body guide you.
Click here for information on starting your essential oil collection.