What Are Essential Oils:
Essential oils are concentrated extracts taken from the roots, leaves, seeds, or blossoms of plants. Each contains its own mix of active ingredients. Some oils are used to promote physical healing like indigestion or headaches. Other oils are best used for emotional healing. For example, orange blossom oil contains a large amount of an active ingredient that promotes a sense of calm when inhaled deeply.
The History of Essential Oils
Essential oils have been used for therapeutic purposes for nearly 6,000 years. The ancient Chinese, Indians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans used them in cosmetics, perfumes, and drugs. Essential oils were also commonly used for spiritual, therapeutic, hygienic, and ritualistic purposes.
In 1910 French chemist and scholar René-Maurice Gattefossé discovered the virtues of the essential oil of lavender. Gattefossé badly burned his hand during an experiment in a perfumery plant and soaked it in a tub that had lavender essential oil in it. He was later amazed at how quickly his burn healed and experienced very little scarring. This inspired him to experiment with essential oils on soldiers in the military hospitals during the First World War.
Aromatherapy did not become popular in the United States until the 1980s. Today, many lotions, candles, and beauty products are sold as “aromatherapy.” However, many of these products contain synthetic fragrances that do not have the same properties as essential oils and are not recommended. Only medical grade, high quality essential oils should be used for physical and emotional healing.
How Essesnial Oils Work:
The effects of aromatherapy result from the binding of chemical components in the essential oil to receptors in the olfactory bulb, impacting the brain’s emotional center, the limbic system, the oldest area in the brain which is a network of structures in the brain involved in memory and emotions.
The limbic system then triggers nerve impulses. These impulses lead to other areas of the brain that are responsible for secreting hormones and regulating body functions. All of these responses are determined by the specific qualities of the essential oil being used, and can range from relaxing to stimulating.
The entire process from the initial inhalation of the oil to corresponding gland secretion takes place in a matter of seconds. Therefore, a simple inhalation can cause changes in the body from stimulating the immune system, to initiating the digestive system into action and so almost immediately.
The Benefits of Using Essential Oils:
Essential oil benefits come from their antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. These healing oils are rapidly growing in popularity because they act as natural medicine without any side effects.
Essential oils are used to support the body in a variety of ways. It can be beneficial in relieving pain, improve mood and depression, and promote a sense of relaxation just to name a few.
They can also be used for wound healing, hair loss, many emotional issues and even to clean your house. When properly formulated and distributed, essential oils can be helpful in a multitude of ways only limited by your imagination.
Three Ways To Use Essential Oils
Essential oils are typically distributed through the olfactory system (smell) and topically. They can also be ingested but that isn’t recommended without supervision. Essential oils can be used a single oil at a time or in complex blends.
The sense of smell is a tool that can elicit powerful physiologic, mental, and emotional responses. For this reason, essential oils have an especially powerful effect via aromatic application.
Some essential oils induce uplifting or invigorating effects, while others are more calming. Diffusion is one of the simplest methods for using essential oils aromatically. You can buy a diffuser but they are not required. To achieve the same health benefits without buying a diffuser, simply placing a few drops of essential oil in the palm of your hand that is then cupped around the nose as you breathe deeply a few times and repeat as needed.
Other ways to diffuse essential oils:
- Apply oil to a cotton ball and place in the air vents of your vehicle.
- Mix oils in a spray bottle with water and mist over furniture, carpet, or linens
- Add oil to a batch of laundry or to dryer sheets
- Use in household surface cleaners by putting in a clean spray bottle with water
Essential oils work as a topical application to the skin because of its permeability to fat soluble substances or oil. Essential oil molecules are so tiny that when they are applied to the skin; they are able to pass through the outer layer of the epidermis. From here the oil molecule is absorbed through the inner layer, into the capillaries and finally the bloodstream.
Also, the larger the area of skin that is covered, the more essential oils will be absorbed. Density of the skin is also a factor. Essential oil is easier to absorb on thinner skin areas because of its permeability. Clean skin that is free of dirt and lotion improves absorption. Using a light massage will increase the blood flow to the area of application, in turn improving distribution throughout the body.
The other factor to consider when applying essential oils to the skin is the quality and permeability of the carrier oil in which the essential oil is diluted. ORMUS oil, or living oil, is thought to have alchemic healing properties in itself and is the vital for dispensing essential oils.
ORMUS comes from the acronym Orbitally Rearranged Monoatomic Elements, or ORMEs. It was discovered in the late 1970s by David Hudson, an Arizona farmer who noticed some very strange materials on his land as he was mining for gold. During the next decade, Hudson spent several million dollars trying to understand how to create this substance and work with it.
Sweet Almond and Grapeseed Oil are less viscous and will penetrate the skin more easily than thicker Olive or Avocado oils.
It’s always advisable to use several small doses throughout the day rather than a single large dose. Start with the lowest possible dose (1–2 drops). A topical dose can be repeated every 4–6 hours as needed. Because every individual is unique, the dose will vary for each individual based on size, age, and overall health status.
Beneficial Areas You Can Apply Essential Oils:
- Back of neck
- Forehead and temples
- Chest and abdomen
- Arms, legs, bottom of feet
Other Effective Methods of Topical Application:
- Add a few drops of oil to a warm bath
- Make a hot or cold compress by soaking a towel or cloth in water, adding essential oils, and then applying to the desired area
- Add oil to a lotion or moisturizer and then apply to skin for massage or to hydrate
Sensitive Areas to be Avoided:
- Some facial areas, such as the skin around the eyes
- Eyes and inner ears
- Broken, damaged, or otherwise injured skin although many oils will help with wound care because of their anti-microbial, anti-septic qualities
When ingested by mouth, essential oils directly enter the blood stream through your stomach. Essential oils are lipid soluble so they are readily transported to all organs of the body, including the brain.
The composition of essential oils is highly complex. Each possesses a unique set of biochemical properties that react with cells and organs in different ways. Although there are many benefits to taking essential oils orally, proper dosing according to labeling recommendations and other professional guidelines should be strictly followed to avoid toxicity.
Who Should Avoid Essential Oils
Pregnant women, people with severe asthma or breathing issues, and highly sensitive people with a history of allergies should only use essential oils under the guidance of a trained professional and with full knowledge of your physician.
People with high blood pressure should avoid stimulating essential oils, such as rosemary and spike lavender.
People with estrogen dependent tumors (such as breast or ovarian cancer) should not use oils with estrogen like compounds such as fennel, aniseed, sage, and clary-sage.
There have been many improvements of symptoms using essential oils during cancer treatments but people receiving chemotherapy should talk to their doctor before trying them.