Essential oils have a profound effect on our health and well-being. Our sense of smell is the only one of our five senses that transmits impulses to a part of our brain called the limbic system—the seat of our emotions—where anxiety, fear, anger, depression, and joy originate. As a result, this area controls heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance.
An essential oil is referred to as the “life blood” of the plant. It is an aromatic, volatile liquid within plant parts such as branches, fruits, shrubs, bark, needles, flowers, roots, bushes, and seeds. When carefully and properly extracted, essential oils are far more potent than their herb form. When applied topically, essential oils can penetrate the skin and travel throughout the entire body within minutes.
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Inhale directly (straight from the bottle); Diffuse them (add water to fill line of your diffuser, then add a few drops of your favorite oil); or add a few drops of oil into a bowl of hot water, cover your head and bowl with a towel, and breathe deeply.
Add a drop of essential oil to a glass of water or rice milk; or put several drops into an empty vegetable capsule and swallow with water.
Psst! Put rice into a small bowl and as you fill the capsules, stand them up because they can leak and get sticky. By the way, citrus oils will eventually dissolve veggie caps, so either add a carrier oil or take the capsule immediately.
Roll onto desired area with rollerball; or massage a few drops of essential oil and a carrier oil of your choice (like olive, grapeseed, V-6, or coconut oil) onto preferred parts of the body.
Another option is to allow 1 drop of oil to fall into your non-dominant hand, take your “peace fingers” of your dominant hand and rub the oil in 3 clockwise circles to activate the oil to your energy. Rub your palms together and cup hands over nose and mouth (without touching oil to your eyes!) and inhale the oil, taking it into all of your cells. Then, using your intuition, apply the oil on your body wherever you feel like you need it most (back of the neck, abdomen, bottom of the feet, etc).
Applying oils to the bottom of the feet is a wonderful way to use the oils—especially for kids—because the skin is less sensitive and the biggest pores are located here, allowing the oils to be absorbed faster. And, there’s a complete network of Vita-Flex points (imagine a map of your body on your feet) that stimulate all internal body systems.
The vast majority of essential oils are extracted using high heat, high pressure, and chemical solvents. Although the final product may still contain the aroma of the plant, these harsh processing methods destroy the therapeutic qualities of the oils. Using lesser-quality oils for therapeutic purposes is never recommended and can be extremely toxic.
It’s also difficult to tell the true quality of the oil because there are no standards when it comes to labeling a bottle of essential oil. Organic terms and descriptions like “all natural,” “therapeutic-grade,” or “100% pure essential oil” are often used to make a product sound better than it actually is. In the industry, we call this greenwashing—promoting the perception that a company’s products, aims, or policies are environmentally friendly. Companies that are mass-producing cheap oils ($8-12) pay very little attention to the way oils are processed.
Although there isn’t a lot of regulation, there are two key guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that are not only important to understand about oils, but about any product labeled “natural.”
On a more positive note, the FDA has recently asked Gary Young, the founder of Young Living Essential Oils, to help set standards for essential oil labeling because of his expertise and Young Living’s meticulous practices. Just one more reason I trust in the quality of this brand!
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