Essential oils have become part of popular culture these days, but they have been used for thousands of years for healing, aromatherapy and rejuvenation. There are countless varieties of essential oils to choose from, not to mention countless ways to use them.
“It’s a way to get back to nature and put your senses in order,” says Lindsay Labelle, Supplements Team Member at Goodness Me Natural Food Market in Barrie. “You can use essential oils to heal, soothe and invigorate your senses. If we’re talking about stress, lavender is an essential oil you can put directly on skin or in the bath that won’t burn the skin or leave a rash (like tea tree oil can).” Most essential oils need to be mixed with a carrier such as coconut or olive oil when being used topically.
“Lavender helps get rid of the toxins,” informs Labelle. She says essential oils can be mixed with a carrier and rubbed on the bottom of the feet.
Although essential oils can be used topically for health and wellness, they are often used in a diffuser. Diffusers are made in a variety of different styles and range from expensive to inexpensive. They are different than a vaporizer or humidifier.
“A vaporizer just pumps out a lot of moisture. It’s not recommended to use essential oil in a vaporizer. When using a diffuser, you’re actually diffusing water with the oil,” says Carey Clarke, Owner of Candles with Care in Orillia. Diffusers disperse a fine mist in the air that keeps the purity of the oil together and allows the scent to linger.
Naturally scenting the air in your home with essential oils can boost your mood, or even help get rid of a headache. The most important thing to be aware of when using essential oils is the purity of them and how they have been processed.
“A lot of people use peppermint for headaches. You want to make sure you check out how the essential oil is made though. You want to stick with something that is an actual essential oil and not an absolute (an oil extracted with alcohol). You’re breathing it in. The purer the oil, the better,” says Dana Marie Panos, Owner at the Organic Body Shop Factory in Barrie. “Chemical oils can actually give you a headache. You want to know how the oil was extracted.”
It’s also important to know the difference between a fragrance oil and an essential oil. “Essential oil is 100% plant derived. A fragrance oil starts with an essential oil, but then synthetic oils are added. Fragrance oils tend to be thicker and shouldn’t be used in a diffuser because they will gum it up,” advises Clarke.
Citrus oils such as lemon grass and grapefruit leave an uplifting scent. Aromas such as geranium and frankincense help with anxiety. Lavender, chamomile and marjoram are good for insomnia, says Labelle. Essential oils can also be used as a cleaning agent when mixed with a base of vinegar, water and baking soda.
Panos says the most important piece of advice when using essential oil to heal and revitalize your mind and body is to educate yourself on how it has been processed.
Candles with Care, Orillia