Round Out Your Wellness Routine with Essential Oils

By CARRIE STENSRUD

Using Essential oils as healing agents dates back to ancient Egyptian, Roman, and Greek cultures. Natural oils have a stigma, but optimum health is a universal desire, so why miss out on their positive effects on your health? Consider rounding out your wellness routine with essential oils.

Essential oils are highly concentrated molecules distilled from plants. When extracted, they capture the “essential” aromatic and chemical properties of the plants they came from.

Natural Remedies

As people learn more about the benefits of essential oils, they come to rely on these natural remedies for their health, home, and beauty routines.

Of course there is a time and a place for traditional medicine. Oils should not replace physician-recommended therapies. Consider them for short-term remedies and ritualistic inspiration.

They create an environment of peace and alleviate feelings of stagnation and are meant to supplement, enrich, and nourish your relationship with yourself.

Aromatic Applications

The most common way to use essential oil is aromatically. When you smell an essential oil, receptor cells receive the aroma and send signals to the limbic system of the brain.

This is the area of the brain that also triggers a childhood memory or brings you back to a certain place or time by way of a familiar smell. The odor molecules facilitate a connection with memory and emotion.

To enjoy the aromatic benefits, rub a drop or two into the palm of your hand, cup your hands near your face and inhale deeply.

Another option is through steam inhalation. Place several drops in a bowl of hot water, place your face over the bowl, and cover your head with a towel to keep the steam concentrated near your face.

Diffusion

Diffusing oils with a diffuser is a preferred method for many and proves to be safe and effective. This method mixes oil with water and releases the mixture as fine, airborne particles. This fills a room with energetic properties, to affect you as you breathe. It’s easy to create customized blends.

Topical Applications

Another common way to use oils is topically. Place drops of diluted oil on certain energy centers of body, such as your wrists, behind the ears, on your temples and feet. For instance, you can dab peppermint oil on your feet to reduce a fever. Eucalyptus oil applied to the temples can alleviate headache.

Oils are fat soluble and immediately absorbed by the skin. Topically apply them “neat,” meaning straight from the bottle. You may also dilute with a carrier oil, such as fractionated coconut oil or jojoba oil.

In the Bath

In the bath, Use oils by first mixing several drops with a cup or two of epsom salts, then adding the mixture to the bathwater.

Ingesting essential oils internally is an ongoing topic of discussion and is advised with caution. As with any dietary supplement, be sure you do your research.

Oils are highly concentrated, and a single drop in a cup of water might be the equivalent to 20 or more cups of tea.

Here are a few essential oils that can have positive effects on your overall wellbeing:

  • Peppermint—relieves nausea, curbs sugar cravings
  • Lavender—calms, enhances communication, promotes sleep
  • Lemon—restores mental flexibility
  • Grapefruit—supports metabolism
  • Geranium—softens anger, fosters forgiveness
  • Ylang-ylang—contains aphrodisiac properties
  • Clary Sage or Sandalwood—alleviates symptoms of impotence
A final word of caution

All citrus oils (grapefruit, lemon, wild orange) are sensitive to light and should not be used topically while exposed to sunlight.

When in doubt, dilute all oils with a carrier oil before applying directly to skin. Connect with an herbalist or aromatherapist to obtain samples and discuss specific issues or ailments.

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