Using Essential Oils as a Health Care Tool
What are Essential Oils ?
Essential oils are basically plant extracts. They're made by steaming or pressing various parts of a plant (flowers, bark, leaves or fruit) to capture the compounds that produce fragrance. It can take several pounds of a plant to produce a single bottle of essential oil. In addition to creating scent, essential oils work as a protective barrier to the plant, kind of like its immune system.
What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils for therapeutic benefit.
Using essential oils for therapeutic benefit is not a new concept, in fact aromatherapy is a practice that is centuries old.
The use of aromatherapy, herbal medicines and flower remedies was once the only form of healing.
The use of nature to heal is even so powerful that when most pharmaceutical medications were made, they mimicked compounds found in plants.
Methods of using Essential Oils
Inhalation through diffusion or hands....
"When inhaled, the scent molecules in essential oils travel from the olfactory nerves directly to the brain and especially impact the amygdala, the emotional centre of the brain." - Harpreet Gujral (Hopkins Medicine)
This fact has made essential oils a powerful tool for emotional health and wellbeing, within seconds these scent molecules can send a calming signal to our brain. Wether you need your mood to be elevated with oils like Orange, Peppermint and other citruses OR if you need calming with the gentle touch of Lavender or Cedarwood... essential oils have a powerful effect.
Topically, via the skin....
Essential oils can also be absorbed by the skin (once applied topically the EO is absorb through the skin and into the blood stream in minutes, getting to work at one with your body), being the largest organ of our body the skin can not be overlooked... not only due the BENEFITS of applying oils topically but also the RISK of using other nasty chemicals on the skin. Essential oils also create a great opportunity to replace some nasty skin care options and also increase our health by topical application.
Diluting essential oils in a carrier oil allows soothing massage to relieve tense muscles with Wintergreen or peppermint, applying the protective blend down the spine and to soles of the feet helps support immunity or the use of Lavender in skincare promotes calming and healing to the skin. The benefits are endless and don't stop here.
In some cases, SOME essential oils can also be used for flavouring purposes and/or used internally to support different health concerns. Oils like Peppermint can assist in soothing an upset tummy and can elevate energy levels. Lemon is a great detoxifier, a single drop to water is a get start to the day, or flavour your salad dressing. Not all essential oils are created equally though, even companies who state 'pure' on labels does not mean they are safe to ingest. Please ensure you check labels to confirm if it is safe for flavouring and NEVER ingest 'any old essential oil'. (more on quality and how to ensure you are getting pure, below)
Not sure about using oils internally? No problem, do some research ask for advice and guidance, if your still not comfortable then don't use this method, everyone is individual and ingestion is not necessary.
Why essentials oils work and what are they good for?
Essential oils come from living plants, living beings like the human body. A plant starts as a seed, develops and grows, evolves, lives and dies... just like the human body.
Many studies show that the cells within an essential oil extracted from living plants are very similar to that of the human body. The molecules within these oils are thus so small that they have the ability to penetrate through the cell membrane of a human.
What does this mean in layman's terms? Essential oils have the ability to work at one with the body, almost like they 'seek and find' the areas that need support... naturally.
Often you will find with synthetically made compounds, the human body can experience side effects, this often comes from the synthetic side of these compounds. Generally people experience far less side effects when using natural remedies like essential oils, herbal medicines, herbal teas, flower remedies etc.
What kinds of things can aromatherapy assist with?
Head and neck tension
Mood and Emotion
Immune system support
Topical skin and wound healing
Supporting healthy digestive function
Cell and brain function Support
Assist with calming and meditation techniques
How to find quality essential oils..
The most important thing to consider when shopping for essential oils is product quality.
But figuring out which oils are the best is challenging, since there's no government that provides a grading system or certification for essential oils. A big problem? Many companies claim their essential oils are "therapeutic grade," but that's just a marketing term.
Unfortunately, there are lots of essential oils you might find online or in stores that aren't harvested correctly or may have something in them that isn't listed on the label. - Harpreet Gujral (Hopkins Medicine)
Here are some tips to help you shop for pure essential oils:
Look at the label: It should include the Latin name of the plant, information on purity or other ingredients added to it, and the country in which the plant was grown.
Assess the company: Purchase products from a well-known and reputable aromatherapy company. Look for companies who are 'an open book', if there is nothing to hide they should have all harvesting, distilling and product information available.
Choose dark-colored, glass containers: Pure essential oils are highly concentrated. They can dissolve plastic bottles over time, tainting the oil. Most companies package essential oils in small brown or blue glass bottles to protect the quality.
Avoid "fragrance oils": Fragrance or perfume oils are made from essential oils combined with chemicals or entirely from chemicals. They're not suitable for aromatherapy or any type of topical application.
Compare prices: Essential oils range in price, depending on how involved harvesting and production are. Within a line, there should be a wide variety of prices — rose absolute or sandalwood oils will be more expensive, while wild orange oil will be on the less expensive end. If you find a rock-bottom price for an expensive essential oil, it probably isn't pure.
Essential oils can lift your mood and make you feel good with just a whiff of their fragrance. For some people they may even help alleviate the symptoms of various conditions.
For more information on how to incorporate them into a healthy lifestyle, contact Britt Barlow at The Whole-istic Life, we support doTERRA essential oil brand and can assist customers in gaining access to a top quality essential oil with plenty of ongoing support.