What I Like About Essential Oils
1. Affect emotional health, which affect their physical health
People basically hire me to “feel” better. Whether that is dropping a couple pounds or recovering from a heart attack most of my clients want to have a better emotional outlook about themselves.
One way or another I have had a conversation about an emotional situation which is causing them stress/sadness. The emotional effect of essential oils isn’t just from the scent. Processed (fake) fragrances can smell nice too. The constituents in a specific essential oil are believed to act on the limbic system, the emotional center of the brain. As a Health Fitness Specialist, I believe the potential for essential oils to positively affect one’s emotional state makes them a valuable tool in an overall health and fitness program. Notice I say “potentially” none of these therapeutic oils are intended to treat or cure disease/diagnosed conditions.
2. Essential oils act quickly and can influence behavior
Essential oils, applied topically, penetrate the skin and enter the blood stream quickly. When inhaled, they can also be absorbed through the nasal cavity and cross the blood-brain barrier. As a result, they can have an almost-immediate effect. This is one of the main reasons for myself to use oils! I’ve heard from numerous people about how quickly they “feel” a difference in mood, energy, stress or calmness of mind. When they feel different, they often behave differently. With more energy, they may move more. With a better mood or less perceived stress, they may avoid emotional eating. Feeling calmer at night, they may get to sleep earlier.
3. Therapeutic Essential Oils, are about as natural as you can get for “natural products”
Essential oils come from various parts of the plant, depending on the essential oil – the leaves, stems, seeds, woody parts. For an essential oil to be maximally therapeutic, the plant matter must be steam distilled at very specific temperatures, for a very specific period of time. These variables change with each type of essential oil. Many essential oil brands use solvents for extracting oils, and fillers or synthetic chemicals to “extend” the oil, making it cheaper, and likely less therapeutic if therapeutic at all. With proper distillation techniques, the finished oil should match the Association Francaise de Normalisation (ANFOR) standards for essential oils. The ANFOR standards dictate the ratio of various constituents necessary to be considered a true essential oil. Essential oil companies do not have to test their oils against these standards to sell them as essential oils, although Young Living Essential Oils always does. The company I recommend. I bring this up because there are a lot of essential oil products on the market, and there will continue to be more as essential oils gain in popularity and mainstream appeal. And trust me when I say not all are created equally! It’s just like with supplements. Just because two products are both labeled as “multivitamins,” it doesn’t mean they both offer much in the way of health benefits. There is a huge range in quality and efficacy. It’s the same thing with essential oils. Perfume or food-grade essential oils may smell like essential oils, but they don’t contain the same constituents to match the ANFOR standards. When they contain synthetic chemicals or even “organic” solvents, they shouldn’t be applied topically and certainly not ingested. The labels on many essential oil products won’t always tell the full story, either.
4. Essential oils can help the body do a better job of what it should already be doing
When I talk to people about the difference between supplements and essential oils, I often describe it this way.
Most supplements provide nutrients your body needs to build, repair and create energy. These could be vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, essential fatty acids and more.
Essential oils help the body do a better job of what it should already be doing.
Sesquiterpenes, found in a number of essential oils, can influence the pineal gland to secrete melatonin. That’s something the pineal gland should already be doing, but lifestyle choices can disrupt the process. Supplementing with melatonin is a way to supply the body with the melatonin it’s lacking in the short-term, but eventually, you want to body to do it on its own.
That’s where essential oils can be beneficial.
Essential oils can act on a number of other of the body’s processes as well, helping to bring it into balance. They have been studied for their effects on hormones, blood pressure, digestion, sleep, memory, pain, antioxidant status and more.
I really see supplements and essential oils as complementary, both supporting overall health. Of course, both are most effective when someone eats and exercises appropriately, and has control over his or her lifestyle.
There’s much more to discuss about essential oils, but I’ll save that for another time!
Summing it up
No one needs to be an expert in essential oils to benefit from them. Getting immersed in the science is an interesting journey (at least for nerds like me), but it isn’t necessary to get started with using and experiencing the benefits of essential oils.