Healthcare, just like any industry, can have fads. Someone is always pitching me the newest and greatest product. Some products I love because I understand the science behind them, I’ve used them and I can critically evaluate the usefulness they will have for my clients before I recommend them. However whenever something gains momentum to the point I’m getting “pitched” from multiple directions, it always comes across as “sales-y” and immediately gets my back up.
This was how I felt about essential oils when they first came on to my radar. I’m very cautious not to allow the business side of healthcare overrun the healthcare side of healthcare and I wasn’t initially sure were supporting the use of essential oils fell in the continuum. That being said, I had made several choices to make our home and lifestyle cleaner and less toxic in the last year and introducing botanically pure oils resonated with that thinking. I let down my guard and gave them a try.
After six months of using them in our home, I’m amazed at their versatility and effectiveness. We have eliminated most, if not all, chemical cleaners in our home. They are a first line of defence when the sniffles creep into the house. They support our emotional well-being and ease the aches and pains of my athletic lifestyle.
This past weekend, we welcomed our former RMT, Halinka Prevett, of The Happy and Healthy Place to discuss how to use these essential oils safely to increase wellness in our homes and lives. Here are some of the take home messages from our lecture.
They are a tool, not a solution.
Essential oil use can definitely decrease toxicity and improve wellness. However, if your main grocery store is McDonald’s and your exercise is getting up to change the channel, chances are they are not going to be your silver bullet. Like all things healthy, they work best in combination with a conscious and persistent healthy lifestyle.
They are nature’s medicine but not a replacement for Western medicine.
Essential oils are plant derivatives that in nature can be used to promote health or act as a defence system. Peer reviewed clinical studies have demonstrated their effectiveness in fighting influenza and modulating our emotional state. They are not however a replacement from the medical advice of your physician. Do not use them as such.
Not all oils are created equal.
The old saying you get what you pay for is often true when it comes to essential oils. Synthetic oils that are commonly found in health food stores, may be less of an investment, but are often packed with fillers which make them unsafe to be ingested or applied topically. Always purchase Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG). These oils are ethically and sustainably harvested from their most ideal growing source and are rigorously tested for purity and potency. Their only ingredient is the oil itself and a very little goes a long, long way justifying the cost.
Oils can be applied multiple ways.
Oils can be applied aromatically, topically or internally and not all oils are safe for all applications. Aromatic diffusion is the quickest way to notice an emotional change as the oil is absorbed into our limbic system in less than 20 seconds. Topical application directly to the skin and soles of the feet can also have wonderful effects but should be properly diluted for those with skin sensitivity and children. Lastly internal application has a greater systemic effect but you should choose you oils carefully and use veggie tabs for ingestion to protect your sensitive gastrointestinal system.
Here are a couple of my favourite applications that we are using in our house right now:
Seasonal Allergy Roller Bottle
6 drops of CPTG Lavender
9 drops CPTG Lemon
15 drops CPTG Peppermint
Fractionated coconut oil
Combine the above ingredients in a 10 ml roller bottle, filling it to the top with the coconut oil. Apply to the soles of the feet (your feet have the biggest pores and therefore are the best place for topical absorption) at night and in the morning. I keep this bottle in my purse and apply to my sinus areas on days I’m feeling especially congested.
Bye bye toxic kitchen and bathroom cleaners. Here is my homemade cleaner:
3 cups white vinegar
1 cup distilled water
6 drops CPTG Lemon
6 drops CPTG Wild Orange
2 drops CPTG Melaleuca / Tea Tree
Combine the above ingredients in a glass spray bottle and use on your countertops, porcelain and other household surfaces.
Morning or Workout Get up and Go
2 drops CPTG Wild Orange
2 drops CPTG Peppermint
I put this directly into my hands, inhale aromatically and then rub the balance on my chest and neck first thing in the morning, before a workout (studies show peppermint increases grip strength and vertical jump) or when I need clarity and focus. Those with sensitive skin should dilute with a carrier oil.
Sleepy Time Diffuser
3 drops CPTG Lavender
3 drops CPTG Vetiver
We combine these in an oscillating diffuser in our daughter’s room and our own bedroom when we start our bedtime routine. They promote relaxation and help everyone get to sleep. It also smells glorious!
To learn more about essential oils, check out our website at www.mydoterra.com/rpmphysiotherapy for recipes, DIYs and other great ideas and product information. I can also be contacted directly if you would like to sit down and discuss how you can incorporate these fantastic tools into your lifestyle.