This article was first published in Issue #74 of the Crazy Wisdom Community Journal. Read the full issue here. By Michelle Meier Malloch
By Michelle Meier Malloch
Sure, essential oils can leave your home smelling of fresh cut lavender or the bright citrusy scent of lemons, but they are so much more than a pretty aroma. Did you know they could be used to support healthy emotions, keep you alert, focused, calm, and relaxed? All this is made possible in the limbic system, which is our emotional brain. Our limbic system supports five major functions: emotions, behavior, motivation, long-term memory, and sense of smell. As you inhale essential oils, the tiny molecules enter the nasal cavity and pass by the olfactory bulb. Your olfactory bulb is a part of your limbic system and therefore your response to an aroma is going to be emotional before it can be rational. This all happens in three seconds!
First things first, all essential oils are not created equal! I am sure you have noticed that essential oils are everywhere these days. But I am here to tell you that there is a huge difference in quality between brands. To get the most therapeutic benefit from your essential oils look for 100% therapeutic grade. Your essential oils should not have flammability warning labels on the bottle (these oils are in a base of alcohol) or the words “fragrance or parfum” as these will have synthetic ingredients. Some oils are pre-diluted with carrier oil that makes them less expensive and less potent. Do your research and go with a trusted company.
Essential oils can be used aromatically by adding them in a diffuser, inhaling them direct from the bottle, in diffuser jewelry (that can be worm in lieu of synthetic fragrances), be made into sprays to freshen your home and linens, or mixed with Epsom salts in a warm aromatic bath. Essential oils also have benefits when applied topically to the skin and can actually be found within the bloodstream in as little as 26 seconds.
When applying essential oils to the skin there are a few safety precautions to consider. Some essential oils can be applied to the skin “neat,” meaning straight from the bottle, and some require carrier oil such as coconut, jojoba, or olive oil. Be sure to check the bottle for dilution recommendations, and if you have sensitive skin test a small area first. Carrier oils help to dilute the essential oils and are great when applying oil to a large area such as with massage.
Some places to apply essential oils are pressure points at the temples, wrists, and behind ears. Apply the oils to your energy centers of the body or chakras, to the bottoms of your feet at the vita flex points (reflexology), or anywhere you feel drawn to that needs extra support. Essential oils can also be applied over different organs in the body to help with emotions. Our organs are linked to different emotions. We hold onto fear in our kidneys and anger in our liver. By applying oils to these areas of the body it can help facilitate release.
Feeling stressed or anxious? Try adding a few drops of calming oils such as lavender, frankincense, Roman chamomile, or cedarwood to the palm of your hands, rub them together to activate, then cup hands over your nose and mouth and take three slow deep breaths. As you breathe deeply and inhale the oils they create a calming effect in the body.
Frankincense is distilled from tree resin and has been used for centuries in spiritual rituals and ceremony. It can be used during meditation to increase spiritual awareness, calm the mind, and promote emotional balance.
Roman soldiers, to clear their minds before battles, historically used Roman chamomile flowers. It is relaxing and can help balance and release emotions, calm anger, and diffuse irritability.
One way I like to use my oils is through scent memory recall. In the morning I choose an essential oil and an affirmation or intention for the day. While inhaling the essential oils I repeat my affirmation or intention. I then apply the oil to my skin, and as I smell the aroma throughout the day, I am reminded of the intention I set. By inhaling lavender and repeating the positive affirmation “I am calm and relaxed” you can help reduce stress. If you need courage before a big presentation use Roman chamomile and repeat “I am fearless.”
Having a down day and need a little pick me up? Citrus oils such as lemon and bergamot are very uplifting and refreshing to the body, mind, and your mood. Feeling tired and need a boost of energy? Skip that second cup of coffee and try diffusing or applying lemon and peppermint together. Peppermint is invigorating, purifying, and stimulating to the mind and can help you remain focused.
Palo santo and sage can be beneficial to help clear out negative energy in the body or in a physical space. You can add these oils to a diffuser to clear a space, make a room clearing spray, or apply them to your body. I find palo santo to be very grounding when applied to the bottoms of my feet. Fun fact, it takes two years after a palo santo tree has been cut for the oil to be pulled into the heartwood (dense central wood of trunk) and can only then be extracted and distilled. Palo santo has been used in rituals for purification and cleansing and can help with spiritual awareness and emotional balance.
As you can see there is so much more to essential oils than just aromas and this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Since 2013, Michelle Meier Malloch has been a natural living advocate and essential oil educator, helping others on their journey to a toxin free lifestyle with Young Living Essential Oils. She is a creative soul who crafts home remedies and natural products using essential oils, loves cooking from scratch, and creating art from elements found in nature. To learn more, please visit her website naturallyyl.com or contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.