If I told you that essential oils saved my life, would you believe me? Let me tell you a story. In February 2017 I started my journey as an energy healing practitioner. I took my Reiki 1 course and it was great. Super eye opening and well, it opened up some other things too. I had so much energy suppressed and pent up that I experienced what many call a “healing crisis”. This is when your body is overwhelmed with the amount of energy and changes, physically it’s trying to purge and adjust, but it ends up with a response of sickness.
For some it doesn’t happen and for others it can be mild. For me, it was not mild, it was quite severe. For 3 weeks I battled a “bronchitis-like virus” as labeled by the urgent care facility I visited…twice. After xrays, antibiotics, tea, and some other things, I was at a loss. Finally I decided to tell my Reiki Master what was going on and she knew exactly what to do. After a few days, I was sleeping, eating, and on the mend.
Essential oils have been around since the beginning of time. Okay, that may be an exaggeration, but let’s just say thousands of years. We’re familiar with the three wise men bringing baby Jesus gifts of frankincense and myrrh. It’s also fairly widely known about the use of oils for health and well-being in ancient Egypt and in other civilizations. Even as far back as the Ming dynasty, essential oils have been used to improve quality of life, celebrate milestones, and enhance spiritual connectedness.
What are essential oils and how do they work?
Essential oils are extracts from plants, flowers, trees, roots, and some other naturally occurring elements in nature. They are the goodness from the plant etc in its purest form. You will usually see that they’ve gone through a cold press or distillation process to get the oil itself. You know how people talk about the healing powers of herbs and nature? Well, this is it! When you get essential oils in pure form, they are super potent and can yield many benefits for our bodies and overall well-being.
There’s actually a lot of science behind the way essential oils work for us. I was surprised to find that the chemistry and chemical reactions in our bodies can be quite complex, but was also fascinated as well…because I love this stuff! In short, when we smell a scent it stimulates our olfactory system, which is everything in our nose and nasal cavity. This has connections to both the brain and respiration, or breathing. With oils, in particular, the scent goes in and penetrates all of the tissues in your nose and can be transported to the brain where it can stimulate areas associated with emotions, memory, and our general well-being, or the limbic system.
You know when you smell something, say fresh baked cookies or someone’s perfume, and it automatically triggers a memory or a feeling? It’s the same thing. All of these different reactions are taking place when you take that big sniff in. When you have a single oil it can be extremely beneficial, but when you blend them and those atoms and ions get to blend…it can be magical!
How can you use them?
There are several different ways to use oils, but the three most common ways are: topically, aromatically, ingesting. Wait, by ingesting do you mean I can consume them? Yup, that exactly! Here’s a little more:
- Topically: You can use essential oils by applying them topically to the skin. Since our skin is often referred to as our biggest organ, why couldn’t this be a great way to reap the benefits of an oil? There are some common places to place oils on the body, like the wrists, bottoms of the feet, and behind the ears, but you can put them just about anywhere. Depending on your purpose, there is a rhyme and reason to put an oil on a specific area of the body. There are also precautions to take as well when using oils on the skin, but I’ll talk more about that later.
- Aromatically: Most people think about aromatherapy and diffusing oils when this word comes up. The same way we like the smell of a candle or incense, we would diffuse oils to improve the smell of a room, but with oils, we’re doing more than that. Remember, our nose gets activated and then triggers other reactions to happen. Oils in the air can improve mood, stimulate different emotions, and completely shift the energy of a space. Just as easily as one can diffuse, you can also put a couple of drops of an oil in your hand, rub, and inhale. This will trigger the same response as diffusing, but may not last as long. I’ve heard of studies where mood and brain activity are monitored in a person to measure any changes before and after smelling certain oils. And there’s a change! It’s cool stuff.
- Ingesting: Yup, you can ingest oils. There are a number of ways this can be done from cooking to supplements to putting a few drops in water. You name it, I think I’ve done it. But needless to say, consuming products infused with essential oils can be life changing. Why? Well essential oils are known to cross over barriers in the body that regular foods/liquids cannot. The goodness of the oils can cross cellular membranes, stand up to “harsh” environments in the gut and tissues to be delivered wholly whereas regular foods may not be able to. This means our bodies get to experience more of the goodness and then benefits of the components of the oils.
I’m going to do another post on low tox or no-tox living and the way essential oils and products promote this, because it’s information that is needed today. Many of us aren’t taught the way to interpret labels or do research on ingredients to know whether or not they are helpful to our bodies. I’ve found this information to be extremely helpful for my own health, so spreading the knowledge is what I will do!
Okay, this all sounds good, but are there any precautions I should take?
Yes! Like any other product, essential oils shouldn’t be used as a crutch for something. They generally aren’t used medicinally long term, and if that’s the case, there may be something else going on that needs to be addressed. Even though oils have numerous benefits, they can cause different reactions to different bodies, so just as someone can have an allergic reaction to a tree or a flower, the same can occur with oils.
There are also some oils that are not good to ingest; guides exist to help with this, but if you have any questions, I’m happy to help. There are also oils that are better to use with a carrier oil, which means you add the essential oil to something like fractionated coconut oil or a natural, plain lotion to dilute its potency and minimize reaction to the skin. This can also extend the benefits by prolonging the oils components on the skin and into the body.
I will also say that the source of your oils matters. I’ve mentioned three different ways to consume these products and when you think about it, you want to make sure you’re using high quality ingredients and processes to make anything essential oil related. For that reason, I use both DoTerra and Young Living products.
I know you can purchase oils from plenty of other vendors, but I personally like the fact that global sourcing information is readily available for oil products and the science behind why they create certain products is available as well. And lastly, the independent testing that is performed to validate the quality and integrity of the products can be used for therapeutic practices. All of these are important when it comes to our health and I like knowing the commitment that is made in these areas.
How do I use essential oils?
Well, at the top I said that essential oils saved my life. I kinda say in jest, but I really do believe it because that is the only thing that worked when I was sickest. So, I go back to the same products if ever I feel like my body is headed toward under the weather.
- General well-being: There are several products in my “cabinet” related to boost immunity or to assist in killing bacteria or things like that.
- Use in sessions: Sometimes I use oils when having in person sessions. A client may need to smell a specific scent so I will either diffuse it for them or have them apply the oil to the area of the body that’s most appropriate. If in a virtual session, I may diffuse something that helps with intuition if that feels relevant.
- Supplements/Infusions: I have several supplements that are infused with essential oils. There are so many benefits! I take a daily multivitamin and then have others I take if my body wants them. I have things ranging from protein powder, vitamins/minerals, lotions, soaps, and cleaners. All infused with oils to enhance the naturally occurring goodness.
- Diffusing: I started diffusing when I work and am actually diffusing now as I type. But there are times where I want a specific smell, so I’ll let it go for a couple of hours. I’ve found some smells good for productivity and others for calming, so you just try it out and see what works for you.
- If I need a boost: There are several oils that I’ll either smell or use in a roll on for a pick me up.
There’s literally an oil or blend for everything. I’m convinced of that. So, the uses and benefits are endless. And this has been proven time and again for thousands of years across the world. I’m so glad that I’ve been able to find this information and these products because I don’t know where I’d be without them.
When starting, I used frankincense, lemon, lavender, peppermint, a multivitamin, and OnGuard (a DoTerra blend). Most companies have a kit that gives you a variety of starter oils for basic needs and then you expand from there. I got that, but used the ones I listed most often. One thing that I’ve found is we use our intuition when it comes to the oils/products we use. Our bodies know what we need, so if we think to stop for a second and ask what we need, the right ones will present themselves.
Whew! That was a lot, huh? I really trust in the power of natural solutions when it comes to our health and overall environment. There is so much to know and share when it comes to this stuff, so if there is more you’d like to know about feel free to shoot me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. Like I said earlier, I use both DoTerra and Young Living products, so I can speak to the products from a consumer perspective, but also from a health coach, and energetic perspective. And when you open up your imagination for the energetic stuff, it gets really cool. If you’d like to set up some time for a consult, let me know that as well. You can click here to do that.