By now you’ve probably heard the hype over essential oils, but do you know the whole story? These naturally-derived products have become all the rage for holistic remedies, household cleansing, and overall wellness. If your Pinterest feed is overflowing in oils and you’re looking for tips and tricks, look no further. Here’s everything you need to know about essential oils so you can turn your home into a spa-worthy oasis.
Essential Oils and Memories
The limbic system of the brain controls memory and emotion and is activated by your sense of smell. When you indulge in aromatherapy, the scents you choose can bring back memories of previous experiences, places, even people. Have you ever passed by a stranger and their perfume reminds you of a loved one? Ever walked past a bakery and the freshly-baked cookies take you back to Sundays with your grandmother? This olfactory sense is often the cause of the success of essential oils. When you diffuse or apply an oil that’s familiar or calming, it can reduce stress and anxiety.
The next time you need a night of self-care, grab your diffuser, and set up a spa right in your bedroom for ultimate relaxation. Some of the most common oils for anxiety and stress are lavender, valerian, bergamot, and rose. Each of these all-natural oils can be used in a variety of ways. Diffusers are a great way to enjoy aromatherapy without having to apply the oil directly. You can also choose to place a few drops in your bath, roll them onto your skin, or soak them in a cotton ball to inhale directly.
Many essential oils have been shown to improve chronic health conditions from pain management to insomnia. Patients who apply peppermint oil, for example, have shown a decrease in IBS pain. Others with chronic insomnia choose to diffuse lavender and chamomile and find themselves not only falling asleep faster but staying asleep longer.
This holistic form of healing is thought to be a result of anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties in the oils that can fight off bacteria and increase immune functioning. For example, some patients will diffuse tea tree or eucalyptus oils during bouts of sinusitis to clear their nasal passages and ease breathing. Others have found relief from nausea by inhaling peppermint oil or placing a small amount directly under their nose. Eucalyptus oil has even been used to repel insects and soothe aching muscles when mixed with lotions. The possibilities are endless, and research on the effectiveness is ever-evolving.
Do Your Homework
The most important part of introducing essential oils into your routine is by doing so safely and correctly. Some oils need to be diluted with a carrier oil and others can’t be applied directly. Take the time to research the oils you’re considering and the most effective ways to do so. Consult with your doctor or aromatherapist before applying, inhaling, or ingesting an oil. You want to be sure that your home spa is safe, effective, and comforting.
Essential oils are not FDA-approved and research is continuously being done for the best practices. While many have found great relief, results will vary from person to person. Be patient with the process and give the oils time to make an impact. You might not see an immediate change, but with continual use, your body can adjust and find relief with these holistic methods of healing. It’s also important to be sure you’re purchasing quality oils.
Look for reputable brands, dark-colored containers, and pure ingredients on the labels before using. Many cheaper brands will mix natural oils with fragrances that can cause irritation of the skin or adverse allergic reactions. Labels with simple ingredients are your best bet — bonus points if the Latin names of the plants are used!