Essential Oils have been pretty popular today – if you scroll through Facebook, visit Walmart or even sign up for email updates from many retailers, you may see that they occasionally focus on these little bottles as an alternative to self care.
I wasn’t always interested in them, and at one point in time, I would have thought nothing of going into the store and buying them off the shelf.
When I was pregnant with my 4th, I had a friend pitch me about essential oils. First thought? Salesy… good gosh. Pet peeve, I hate that stuff. Go away – thankful at this point for the unfollow option on Facebook (I won’t lie.. I went on about my life as normal.
It wasn’t but a week or two and that same friend approached me again. My second instinct was “why me? Seriously – go after someone else.”
I caved, and this huge kit with all these oils, and from the moment it arrived, I opened them to smell them, then stuck the entire package in my kitchen cabinet up high. It stayed there for 6 months until we put our house on the market to sell.
Right around that time, David was taking quite a bit of time off work and always wanted me to drive him to the doctor. It wasn’t until that time that I discovered that his post-deployment issues were getting incredibly worse. He was temperamental, depressed, unhappy, and constantly seeing a doctor. He was on a ton of different medicines, which destroyed his gut bacteria – he was always sick, feeling crappy, and always tired.
It was at that point in time that I wanted to help him find another route to help him get better – as his wife, and someone I have been married to for 16 years, it’s incredibly hard to see your spouse struggle. He was an emotional mess. His immune system was shot and he was incredibly unhappy.
We’re hitting 2017 folks. It’s been 3 years. We have come a LONG way.
So.. about those essential oils..
I bought them, and they remained in the cabinet for a long time. When I got these oils, I was added to a large Facebook group where I learned how to use them, how they could support various systems (sleep, thyroid, respiratory, etc.) I didn’t really do anything but lurk in this group but it became evident that *perhaps* they could help David.
So we made some changes.
We incorporated oils in our health in various ways.
We made dietary changes – jumped into a CSA for local organic produce.
We found a farm in our area that had Raw Milk – my husband was lactose intolerant and did not think he could drink milk. He learned that raw milk would help repair his gut with beneficial bacteria and enzymes. He discovered that he was intolerant to processed milk – not raw milk. Guess what? 3 years later and he drinks milk regularly.
We made a commitment to forego anything that wouldn’t help us in those areas above. That included passing by Starbucks, ditching caffeine, ditching the Fry’s Friday Freebie and tossing out every commercial cleaner and synthetically created personal care item we own. For me, it meant that we would forego blogging food deals that we wouldn’t take part in ourselves. It meant a huge drop in readership, we let blog staff go since revenue was down. It also inspired us to put more efforts into our 2nd blog.
Totally not easy.
3 years later, he has come a long way. He’s not on medication. He isn’t constantly taking off work due to being an emotional wreck and both of us have found better balance, even if it did mean a drop in income.
Here are a few things we learned about our experience:
Eating better isn’t always easy. In fact, it’s incredibly hard. Sometimes you just want to swallow a huge pizza and guzzle a Coca Cola but you have to tell yourself no.
Eating organic does make a difference. But eating local organic produce is an even better choice.
Essential Oils only work when you use them. They aren’t like medicine. You have to be consistent. You have to use them. Period.
Fragrance Oils and Essential Oils are not the same thing. Most of the Oils you see in store are synthetically created fragrance oils. They are not and should not be used in the same way as Essential Oils.
Essential Oils are not really oils. They are botanical extracts of plant materials – they can come from flowers, herbs, trees and other plant material.
What works for one person may not work for another. This goes for any life change. But when it comes to Essential Oils, the same oil may work differently for different people, and that is because each of us has a different body composition.
Essential Oils are non-water based phytochemicals, they are made of aromatic compounds. They are concentrated. A little goes a long way.
Essential Oil constituents are small in molecular size. This means that they can penetrate the skin quickly – unlike toxic chemicals that make up your beauty products and cleaners, essential oil constituents do not accumulate in the body over time.
Essential Oils cannot be patented. After all, they are derived from plants/plant material. You will never see them branded as a pharmaceutical drug.
Essential Oils are fat soluble. That means they are capable of penetrating cell walls.. Items that are lipid soluble can pass through the cell membrane – they can affect every cell of the body within 20 minutes. They can then metabolize just like other nutrients can.
Food allergies will transpire the same in Essential Oils. If you are allergic to basil, then you will be allergic to basil essential oil.
It takes a LOT of plants to produce essential oils. In some cases, several thousand pounds.
Sleep is important. So is work. But finding a balance between the two is probably one of the most important things you can do. Sufficient rests means you will be in a better mood, it means you will be happier and it means less sugar cravings. Essential Oils can help you sleep better.
Essential Oils work well. But not everyone will think so. We are so conditioned to Western Medicine that anything other than the norm will always be largely questioned.
So how do you find the right oils? Given that there are essential oils in almost every store, and available online, how do you know what the best options are?
Let me tell you that there are many opinions on essential oils – from using them internally to applying them on kids, on pets, to using them for various purposes related to your health. The FDA does not do much in the way of essential oils other than hold a list of ingredients (GRAS – Generally recognized as safe) that are safe for those essential oils that we use as food additives, cosmetics, etc. But in terms of showing you an alternative, they don’t really do that – they approve prescription items and over the counter drugs.
When my husband was in the hospital this past spring, he had nasal surgery – they could not control his bleeding. For 7 hours, the doctor went through a myriad of drugs to help the bleeding stop so they could send him to his room upstairs. That bleeding was making my husband panic. Stress feed the bleeding and so the cycle continued. I will never forget waiting for the doctor to leave, and ripping off his socks in the triage area to slather essential oils on the bottom of his feet. My goal? To help him find emotional stability so that he could relax, and the bleeding could come to a standstill. The nurse thought I was silly and told me to go home.. she would call me when/if they found something that worked.
That was hard.
There are no organizations or government entities available that monitor the quality of essential oils – which is why it’s important to realize that what you buy in stores coined “pure and natural” is done so very loosely.
I personally didn’t always know that oils were so different – at one point in my life I assumed that oils were oils and (the typical) cheaper is better .. but I was obviously wrong, too.
We could probably get our oils anywhere but we have chosen to get ours from a company that has full transparency to allow us to visit their farms – a company that uses essential oils to ward off pests in lieu of pesticides, and weed control by hand. Not to mention a company that has over 20 years of research and experience. From the moment they source the seed to the moment they bottle the oil, they have full control.
I’m not sure where you are in terms of your personal healthcare journey – or, what your goals are for this upcoming year, but 3 years ago, my goal with my husband was to help him become more reliant on himself for wellness, instead of the traditional visit and medication.
Being able to reach for an Essential Oil versus a medication is monumental for us – it provides a whole new meaning to wellness and self care.