I’m taking a 4-week workshop on essentials oils run by my friend and colleague, Katherine Krupka, and, while I’ve learned so much about them over the past couple of years, I’m still surprised by how much more there is to learn.
I use them on myself and on clients. I apply them to various parts of my body, I ingest them, I even cook with them (stay tuned for recipes). They change my mood, they change the mood of the people around me, as well as improve the overall functioning of my body (especially my digestion) and alleviate muscle pain. Unbelievable.
So, what are essential oils? Well, essentially, they’re the lifeblood of a plant. They can come from the flowers, the bark of a tree, or even the roots or seeds. According to ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and Chinese manuscripts, priests and physicians were using essential oils thousands of years ago to heal the sick. They are the oldest form of medicine known to man and were considered more valuable than gold. And based on the effects and outcomes I’ve received through using them, I’d still consider them more valuable than gold.
But before I go any further, let me clarify: I’m talking about THERAPEUTIC GRADE OILS. Not the crap you can find at Whole Foods (sorry, Aura Cacia) or anything labeled “natural,” “pure,” or “organic” (terms that aren’t regulated when talking about oils). Those oils are good for sniffing, I guess, but if you want to use them to effect change, quality is EVERYTHING. And if they’re not therapeutic grade (98% of the oils on the market aren’t), you’re likely to be very disappointed with the outcome.
Some basics (there are hundreds of oils and blends that do many different things for the body and mind, but let’s just stick to a few for now:
Lavender: Most people use it for calming and relaxing purposes, but it’s also used to soothe burns, cuts, headaches and insomnia. Its antiseptic properties are astounding.
Peppermint: Awesome for digestion and energizing the body/mind. Inhaling the oil or adding a drop to your glass of water will wake you up and improve your focus and productivity. Rub it on your stomach if you’re feeling ill or on your temples if you’re getting a headache.
Marjoram: Yes, you can cook with it, but you can also rub it on sore muscles. Its warming properties soothe achy backs, necks, and feet. It’s a mainstay in my practice and I use it extensively on my athletes and weekend warriors.
Clary Sage: Uplifting and relaxing – great for relieving both the mental and physical symptoms of PMS. Add a few drops to a warm bath, rub some on your abdominal region or simply inhale from the bottle.
Ylang Ylang: It’s soft, flowery fragrance can calm you and bring about a sense of relaxation. It can also help release feelings of anger, tension and nervous irritability. Apply it to your hair for a natural conditioner.
These are just a few of the many oils (not even counting the blends out there that are AMAZING) that can do so much with just a few drops. To learn more, click here.