Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Essential Oils Part 2

By Lisa Sussman, PsyD
Health Psychologist

For today’s blog, I will continue with one of my favorite topics, essential oils, specifically focusing on the three methods of application: aromatic, topical, and internal. I’ll also discuss why you might choose one method over another and give some examples of the types of essential oils you can use with each method.

If you missed my earlier blog, which provides a basic understanding of what essential oils are, how they work, where to find research, and how to check for quality and safety for use, check it out here before reading this one.

Aromatic: In aromatic application, you breathe in the tiny volatile essential oil molecules as they are dispersed in the air. This is a quick way to improve mood (uplift and calm) and energy levels (stimulate, sedate, and ground), as well as affect quality of breathing and clear the air of pathogens. Diffusing with a water-based diffuser, putting a drop or two of an essential oil on a cotton ball, or a lava stone bracelet, or spraying the air and sheets are all great aromatic options. Even inhaling the aroma from the bottle or taking a drop in your palms and cupping your palms near your face and taking a few deep breaths are effective ways to get the therapeutic benefits of essential oils. I caution against using scented candles or a diffuser which works via heat, as although the room may smell nice, you won’t get therapeutic benefits. I wouldn't dream of going to sleep without my routine of diffusing immunity and respiratory boosting and sedating essential oils such as eucalyptus, clove, wild orange, vetiver, lavender, and cedarwood. I also keep my calming, uplifting, and energizing essential oils with me at work and in my purse for deeply inhaling on the go when I'm starting to feel tired, stressed, or upset. One of the things I love about diffusing essential oils is that everyone in the room benefits!

Topical: Massaging essential oils directly on the area of concern, or on the reflex points or on bottoms of the feet, can provide comfort and relief, as the essential oils quickly absorb into the skin and then distribute to the body. Topically applied oils also boost the immune system. Soaking in a bath or applying a warm compress with a couple of drops of essential oil are other forms of topical methods of use. Please take precautions as needed: dilute with a carrier oil such as coconut or jojoba oil or unscented body lotions for hotter oils such as oregano, for sensitive skin, and for young children and older adults. Diluting also slows down the rate the essential oils are absorbed and minimizes evaporation. In addition, avoid getting essential oils in your eyes or ears, and avoid direct contact with sunlight for up to 12 hours when applying citrus oils on exposed skin due to photosensitivity. Every morning I massage essential oils into the bottom of my feet, and I add a drop or two of an invigorating and skin-enhancing essential oil to a dollop of nontoxic, unscented lotion and apply as my daily body lotion.

Internal: Internal use of essential oils supports the intestinal tract, aids in digestion, impacts nutrient absorption for brain health, and influences neurotransmitter activity. Be sure the essential oil is safe for internal use (read the label, look at purity, testing, GRAS, etc.), and remember that just one drop goes a long way. Essential oils can be put in a veggie cap (or pre-made in a soft gel) and swallowed, put directly in the mouth/under the tongue, or added to food and drinks. My favorite ways are adding a drop of peppermint, cinnamon, or ginger to my morning smoothie and a drop of lime, wild orange, grapefruit or lemon essential oil into my drinking and sparkling water. Adding small amounts of essential oils to food and drink has both therapeutic value and adds flavor!

There are so many ways to enjoy and derive health benefits from essential oils. While there is a lot to learn, it is a fun journey, and there are countless resources to assist you as you explore how you can bring essential oils into your healthy lifestyle.

1 comment:

  1. Since you introduced me to the benefits of daily use of essential oils, I feel a quick energy boost at work from my orange scented oil. A few drops on my Terra cotta disc in the morning and I'm ready to go for the day..Thanks Lisa!