What Are Essential Oils?
As an Esthetician, I’ve known about essential oils and their role in skin care for a while, but I never knew they had therapeutic benefits for the whole body! In fact I only started looking further into it because I had a few friends start using oils in their lives and their testimonies are what drove me to do more research.
What Is An Essential Oil?
Essential oils are part of a plants immune system. Depending on the plant, its unique oil can do many things including protecting the plant from fungi, bacteria, and pretty much anything the plant needs protection from and it also heals the plant. It is essentially the life blood of the plant.
When great care is taken in growing and harvesting the plants and distilling the oils, the end product can have these same therapeutic properties present in the very plant it came from! This, to me, is the coolest thing about essential oils. Plants are incredibly resilient and living things, and we are able to extract the essence of all the beneficial properties of that plant.
Oils Used In History
Essential oils are gaining more recognition worldwide, but their use is definitely not new. In fact, essential oils have been used throughout the world for thousands of years. There are over 600 references to essential oils and/or the plants from which they were extracted from in the Bible, and one of the most well-known references to essential oils is of the Magi bringing frankincense and myrrh to Jesus at his birth. Frankincense is actually one of my favorite daily oils!
FUN FACT: Young Living makes a kit with 12 biblical essential oils called The Oils of Ancient Scripture!
Why Use Essential Oils?
There are so many benefits to using all the different oils that I couldn’t possibly get into all of them in one post (I will eventually get into the benefits of different oils), but the main benefit is to support all the different systems in your body and overall wellness. Modern lifestyles don’t always create the best conditions for physical and mental wellness. Poor diet, environmental toxins, and lack of exercise can leave you feeling fatigued and unbalanced but essential oils are used to help restore balance and energy and wellness to your individual systems. Essential oils aren’t just beneficial for physical wellness but also support your mental health as well! When you inhale an oil, the pure constituents stimulate the olfactory receptors and activate regions in the brain associated with memory, emotion, spiritual awareness and state of mind. Isn’t that amazing?!
How are Essential Oils used?
There are three different ways to utilize oils, aromatically, topically and internally.
To inhale an oil, you can simply inhale directly from the bottle or you can use an essential oil diffuser, which diffuses an oil into the air for hours at a time. When inhaling, it only takes approximately 22 seconds for an oil to reach the brain! When you inhale an aroma, your olfactory system sends signals to the limbic part of your brain, which is what activates emotions and memories. The limbic system is only accessable through smell, which is why oils are an amazing option for those with anxiety and depression. Medication cannot reach the limbic system so it cannot treat the problem, only the symptoms.
Using oils topically is my favorite method because you can apply the oil directly where you are needing support or you can simply put a couple drops on the bottom of your feet, which is the most absorbent part of your body. Essential oils have an incredibly small molecular structure so they are rapidly absorbed by the skin, similar to peptides. When applied topically, it only takes approximately 2 to 3 minutes to enter the bloodstream, 20 minutes to affect every single cell in the body! That blows my mind every time!
The last way to use oils is internally. You can add a drop or two to water or tea (my favorite is a couple drops of lemon oil in my water!), you can also put a drop straight on your tongue or you can add them to food as well as put them in a vegetable capsule and swallow it like a pill if you don’t like the taste. If you do choose to use any citrus oils in water or any type of beverage, make sure you use glass or stainless steel. Citrus oils will break down plastic and styrofoam and you don’t want that floating in your drink!
There are lots of essential oils products and companies out there but if you want to know why I chose Young Living, then click here.
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