The Real Deal: Essential Oils – Use Safely & Reap the Rewards

Essential oils are a staple in my home.  I reach for them over and over again. When I need a pick-me-up or help winding down, they are my go-to!  My first aid, wellness and beauty staples.  They are throughout my home, dotted in cleaners, balms and diffusers. They are powerful little bottles!  Because they are so powerful, a single drop can be much stronger than we think. It takes thirty to fifty roses to make just one drop of rose otto essential oil!  We have to use them wisely, especially when we are using them on our bodies.

Safely using them for aromatherapy and topically is quite easy! Diluting the oils is the key.

Some brands may tout their oils as being safe enough to ingest but I simply don’t think it’s safe or necessary in order to reap the benefits of the oils. We can benefit from them without ingesting them and essential oils are not regulated enough to be taken internally!

Aromatherapy

Take a deep breath! Many oils can be beneficial just by inhalation.  A quick sniff of peppermint can awaken the senses, while a quick sniff of lavender can calm the mind.  To do this you can simply remove the cap and breath in the scent.  Studies have shown that athletes who take a whiff of peppermint oil before a work-out can increase their physical output.

Diffusers are a fantastic way to enjoy the aromatherapy of oils.  They use water to dilute and disperse the oils into the air.  Some diffusers will run for six hours on a small amount of water.  These are fantastic ways to help when you have a cold or stuffy nose.  You can add some peppermint and eucalyptus to a diffuser to help open up your airways.  Or find some of the amazing blends that brands premix for you.  Some really great ones are focused on helping boost immunity, drifting you to sleep (something I use every night!) and even ones for focus for those times where you feel like your mind is in too many places.

You can make your own diffuser in the shower by adding some drops of an oil to the floor or your hot shower.  The steam will carry the essential oil scents through the air. Again, using the opening aromas of the eucalyptus or peppermint when you might be sick or stuffy, but citrus ones make for an uplifting morning with notes of happy scents and for night time showers, you can add in some lavender or one of the calming sleep mixes. In addition to the aromatherapy of the oils, when you are using your oils, certain ones carry the terpenes (the compounds responsible for the scents of most plants) from the plants that are power packed with benefits!

Topically

Almost all essential oils can be applied topically but they must be mixed into a carrier oil to dilute.  Essential oils are so potent and powerful that some of them, if applied directly to the skin, can cause some irritation.  Lavender may be one of the exceptions to the rule for most people.  Lavender can be applied to burns, insect bites and stings without a carrier oil to immediately soothe and calm the skin.

Topically essential oils can be applied to sore muscles for ache and pain relief, even for headache pain relief.  A mix of jojoba and peppermint oil is a staple in my desk drawer to thwart any headaches from stress or extended computer screen time.  Just a dab on the temples and base of the occipital bone helps relieve a headache faster than any medication that takes time to run through the body’s system. Essential oils are often found in many skin soothing butters, mixed with other carrier oils and carrier oils can be any of your favorites.  Coconut, jojoba, almond, castor; this list goes on and on.

Some essential oils, you will find are stronger than others!  Take oregano oil for example.  This is a very strong oil, it’s great for killing off bacterial infections and it is known to be a hot oil.  When it hits sensitive tissues on the body, it will feel hot.  One drop should be diluted to a tablespoon of a carrier oil due to its potency.

The key to experimenting with essential oils is to always start with less, give your concoction a try and then add more, slowly, one drop at a time.  Less really is best!

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