by Lindsay Adams
As we round the corner, acknowledging that it’s been over a year since the world shut down due to COVID-19, one of the many things the past 12+ months have given us is a deeper look into our own health and the health of our loved ones. In our attempts to avoid the virus, we’ve taken a hard look into our habits, lifestyle, health history, and the things we do each day to contribute to, or compromise, our overall wellness. We’ve spent countless hours assessing our risk of getting sick, and in the midst of that, it’s likely we’ve learned a thing or two.
It’s probably safe to say that most of us have picked up at least one or two good health habits as a result of the past year and have chosen to add those to what’s sometimes referred to as our “wellness toolbox.” We all know that managing our health encompasses many areas, our physical, emotional, and spiritual health being the biggies. And these are like plates that we try to keep spinning in the air simultaneously, desperately hoping to achieve “balance.” Never have we been more willing to take a bigger picture look at all the things that contribute to our overall state of being, and never have we been more willing to try new things.
Enter essential oils. For some, these are not new at all, and in fact, they may be part of your wellness arsenal even as we speak. The truth is that plants have always been part of our healing, and many modern pharmaceuticals still contain essential elements from plants. It seems as if essential oils have gained popularity in recent years and can be found in the most common places (i.e., Walgreens and your local grocery store, to name a couple), but what exactly are essential oils, and could they have a place in your toolbox?
Simply put, essential oils represent nature in its most concentrated form. Essential oils are volatile substances (ones that quickly evaporate) contained in and extracted from the bark, roots, flowers, leaves, fruit, nuts, or resins of plants or trees. A single drop contains a complex network of molecules that deliver a myriad of effects to the body. They have been used medicinally for thousands of years. Although they are not currently regulated by the FDA, there are thousands of peer-reviewed articles published worldwide that discuss their efficacy.
The long and short of their true power is not in facilitating one-time therapeutic effects (as we’ve come to know and expect of more traditional medicine), but in addressing physiological disharmony and helping your body achieve the inner balance it needs to do the healing it was designed to do. So, you can see that incorporating essential oils into your lifestyle may also require a bit of a mindset shift around how to best support our health. One of the best things about essential oils is that we can use them in several different ways – aromatically, topically, and in some cases (and with great safety) internally as well.
Getting started with essential oils can be as simple as diffusing a few of your favorite aromas in your home. A diffuser is a device that allows the essential oil to mix with water and be dispersed as a tiny mist throughout the air. Diffusing oils not only purifies the air but can create a unique environment to support your emotional wellness.
For example, have you ever stepped foot into a health spa where you were greeted by a gentle waft of lavender or eucalyptus? You immediately take a deep inhale and exhale, your shoulders relax, and you can feel the stress start to melt away. Or, have you walked into the kitchen of a friend as her cinnamon-infused pumpkin bread was coming out of the oven, and you felt a warm, cozy stillness that just made you want to settle in? I could go on and on… the aroma of fresh-cut flowers, oranges, or a whiff of pure peppermint that wakes you up… all of which are made up of essential oils.
And their powerful nature isn’t limited to supporting the health of our bodies. Essential oils are powerful cleaning agents as well. As a matter of fact, a few simple ingredients like baking soda, white vinegar, and distilled water paired with your favorite essential oils like lemon, pine or peppermint, can be used to clean and sanitize your home without harmful and toxic chemicals; many of which have been linked to chronic disease and hormone disruptions.
The long and short of it is that essential oils are the perfect complement to your wellness routine if you are looking for a holistic approach to your health. We are all wise to the fact that we need to get serious about the root causes of some of the inflictions that we are all suffering from. No longer can we seek out a quick-fix for our common issues like minor pain, stress, sleep, immunity, etc. We need to find ways to help our bodies function optimally and vibrantly. We need to know ourselves well enough to create our protocols that include the things that heal us, bring us joy and peace, and help us be the best we can for ourselves, our loved ones, and our world.
A return to nature and the gifts we have already received from Mother Earth may be just the place to start.
(For more information about essential oils, consider these resources: The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood, or The Healing Power of Essential Oils by Eric Zielinsky)
Lindsay Adams is a wife and mother of three grown children who is “encouraging women to live a well & happy life at each new stage.” You can find her, as well as additional information on essential oils, at getoiling.com/LindsayAdams