USING ESSENTIAL OILS
By Louise Sayers
You may never have considered using essential oils, but it is likely that they are already part of your everyday life. They are used extensively within the beauty and relaxation world and have powerful healing properties. Also known as aromatherapy oils, they are substances extracted from the roots, stalks, flowers, leaves or fruits of a plant.
Popular oils include:
- Tea tree
How Can They Help Me?
Essential oils have numerous effects on the human body including metabolism, vital organs and the nervous and endocrine system. The majority are antiseptic, and many have an analgesic effect. Each has unique properties and is used for different purposes. Rosemary, for example, can aid memory (a useful one to know) and geranium is good for anxiety. Lavender is often used to aid relaxation because it stimulates the neurochemical serotonin, which induces sleep.
Essential oils can also be used to help with rheumatism, menopausal bleeding, indigestion, headaches, migraines, insect bites, stings, depression, shock, fear, insomnia, fatigue, asthma, inflammation, peripheral neuropathy and alopecia.
How can I incorporate them into my life?
You may well be doing this already. Good quality candles, soaps and beauty products will often incorporate them. Here are a few more ideas:
- Use a burner or diffuser. These perfume a room and improve your well-being at the same time. Create whatever effect you want – calming, uplifting, meditative, focused. Use the oils individually or blended.
- Give yourself a massage using massage oil. After shaking the bottle well apply a small amount of oil to one palm. Rub the palms together to warm the oil and then massage onto the skin. Or get your partner to help.
- Treat yourself to a relaxing or invigorating bath by adding a few drops of your chosen oil. Go one step further and have a candlelit bath!
- Use soaps that have been produced using essential oils. Notice how your olfactory senses come to life.
- Use a pulse point rollerball. These are used to give specific effects – clear mind, inner harmony, total de-stress, vitality and so on. Roll onto pulse points and breathe in the aromatherapeutic fragrance. Keep in your bag or on your desk and apply throughout the day.
Where can I buy them?
Essential oils can be bought in health food shops, chemists or online. They vary considerably in price and quality. Neal’s Yard is a very good place to start for high-quality oils. If possible, buy organically sourced. Some oils cost less than others. Lavender is cheaper than rose or jasmine oil, for example; it is all down to production and yield. Look out for sales and increase your collection gradually.
Notes of Caution!
Essential oils are incredibly beneficial but need to be used respectfully and with care:
- Make sure you use correctly and store safely
- Be aware of contra-indications; some oils should not be combined
- They are potent in very small quantities; a few drops go a very long way
While most are safe to use at home, some essential oils should only be used by trained aromatherapists. If you are unsure, check!
Using essential oils is an ancient practice with evidence revealing they were used Before Christ! There is a good reason they are still so popular today and once you consciously bring them into your life, you will reap the benefits. If you want more detailed information about the benefits of aromatherapy you will find Healthline a useful starting point.