Essential oils have come to the forefront of many people’s minds thanks to larger companies like Young Living and DoTerra advertising them. This is where larger companies with big pocket books can do and have done good in raising awareness for health and the wonderful benefits of essential oils. You might be wondering what an essential oil is. Basically, an essential oil is a volatile aromatic compound that gives a plant or a flower its scent. These chemical compounds “are small organic molecules that tend to change quickly from their solid or liquid state to a gas at room temperature” (https://www.doterra.com/US/en/what-is-an-essential-oil). According to DoTerra’s website there are around 3,000 volatile aromatic compounds found and each vary from plant to plant, region to region, and species to species. The oils are extracted from the plants in a variety of ways–steam distillation, expression, enfleurage, solvents, and carbon dioxide. Steam distillation is the most popular ways essential oils are extracted.
There are many, many uses for essential oils. Companies like DoTerra and Young Living are starting to team up with hospitals and universities to use essential oils in the health care system and spread the knowledge of essential oil usage to hopefully help combat anything from colds to more serious ailments such as MS, Parkinson’s, and the like without the side-effects that pharmaceutical drugs possess. Here are some of the wonderful benefits and uses for essential oils:
- Melaleuca (tea tree oil): This essential oil is an anti-fungal oil and is known to contain purifying agents, so it is wonderful to use as a cleaner, air purifier, and it can be used neat on the skin to help with acne, blemishes, athlete’s foot, etc. I use melaleuca in my steam cleaner on my wood floors. Not only does it clean well, but my floors smell divine.
- Lavender: This essential oil is widely recognizable. Most people know what lavender smells like. Lavender is wonderful in that it is antibacterial (I put it in my steamer with the melaleuca), it is calming, and can help with sleep. I use lavender with clients who are feeling anxious or tense. Lavender brings a sense of calm over a person and helps with relaxation.
- Cinnamon: This oil promotes healthy metabolic function (according to DoTerra), and it helps maintain a healthy immune system. This is also known as a “warming” oil because it does bring heat to the body when smelled or applied topically. It is a strong oil so needs to be added to a carrier oil (jojoba oil or fractionated coconut oil is what I use) when applied to the skin and only a little is needed at a time. I use this oil most around cold/flu season. When I start to feel down I apply some to my chest and feet and within a day or two I immediately start feeling better.
- Peppermint: This oil is a “cooling” oil in that when applied or smelled it has a cooling effect on the body. Peppermint is known to help with sore muscles, aches and pains; mothers who are weaning their children off of breast milk will use peppermint because it will help dry up the milk; it is a very calming oil. When used with lavender, peppermint is wonderful in promoting peace and calming effects on the mind and body.
- Clary Sage: This is one of my absolute favorite and go-to oils. This oil is known for hormone balancing, calming, and assisting in sleep. I use this oil to help with postpartum anxiety and depression (obviously I’m not a doctor, so if you have these ailments talk to them as well), PMS, and during other times of hormonal imbalance (menopause, puberty, etc.). This is a magical oil that I use for myself almost daily because of its wonderful smell and calming effects it has for me.
This is a very quick overview of essential oils. Some good resources include DoTerra and Young living along with some links at the end of this blog. I love essential oils and love using them in my practice. I’m not an expert on them and am fascinated at how much I still have to learn, but I do research them constantly and have a wonderful book to which I refer when I have a client asking for aromatherapy and looking for something specific. Mother Earth has graced us with wonderful medicines that can, literally, grow in our back yards. Again, I’m not saying to replace Western Medicine entirely, but how wonderful is it that we can use plants to help heal ourselves? Plants are so powerful and life-giving to us. We don’t need to overthink it. If we research and connect with our intuitions we know how to heal ourselves and work with Mother Earth and all of her gifts to help that. Add in massage and maybe even some Reiki and you can heal yourself. I invite you to look into essential oils and their healing properties. There are too many to cover in one blog, but I will revisit them as I continue to explore and learn them as well.
My aromatherapy massages are tailored to your needs and wants. If you are feeling anxious and maybe feeling like a cold is coming on, I will use peppermint and lemon together to help combat anxiety and bring immune boosting properties to help you feel better. With the massage that flushes out toxins, the oils help your body and mind and even assists in flushing out the toxins. If you had a baby and are tired, anxious, and feeling emotional, I will do a mix of clary sage and vetiver topically along with lavender in the diffuser to help address all of those issues while bringing a sense of calm over you with a massage.
Essential oils and massage go together like chocolate and peanut butter; they are the perfect duo.
Further reading and resources: