Not too long ago I was in your shoes. Googling this whole “oil thing”. I had been invited to home parties, had a few friends suggest it for common ailments but for all intensive purposes, I was skeptical at best. I have done corporate sales for a living most of my life and for that reason I am not easily “sold” on much of anything. So I went to a few parties to support some of my dear friends but that was about the extent of my interest. But my journey to a healthier family kept making me curious. Here is the long version of how becoming “more crunchy” originated for my family, it starts a long time ago in a galaxy far far away … Opps, thats another story. To skip to the “Too long, didn’t read version” scroll down. But before you do that, please note *Disclaimer: The information on this website is based upon my research and personal use of Essential Oils. I am not a doctor. Statements, products, and techniques mentioned have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Read the full disclaimer here.
A little less than 3 months after my husband and I said our “I Do’s” he got sick after a business trip. He went to the doctor and they said Strep Throat. Gave him antibiotics and sent him on his way. They called him with his results and said you didn’t test positive for Strep but we are sure thats what it is. Not sure what kind of Doctor logic that is but we took them for their word. Few weeks later he was still sick. Doctor says it must be Mono wait 6 weeks and you will be fine. 8 weeks later my husband was still sick. On multiple occasions we reminded the Doctors my husband had testicular cancer at 25. Every time that was blown off since if it reoccurs it will be usually within 3 years at tops 5. But it was a nagging feeling my husband had even though it had been 10 years at this point. If I am honest, I blew off his nagging feeling too. He was the picture perfect of health. I lived off caffeine, junk food and reality television. He ate healthy, cycled 100 miles on the weekend and never even had 1 cigarette in his life. Finally after 3 months of him being sick they ran out of options and decided to check his lymph nodes. He had not even been home for an hour from his quick outpatient procedure when they called and said I needed to bring him back right away. Getting a cancer diagnosis is obviously devastating. What I didn’t expect was the bluntness (understandable) and how quickly everything in your life changes, even when its not you with the cancer. I will never forget the Doctor just blurting out, “So your cancer is back but this time it is a 14 cm mass in your chest, two 3cm masses in your abdomen and in your lymph nodes. We need to run some more tests to make sure it hasn’t reached your brain. We will set that test tonight because you need to start Chemotherapy right away!”. No one knows how they will react in this situation. I was a newlywed and suddenly was terrified we wouldn’t make it through sickness and health for even a year. I had what can only be called a poor reaction to this statement. My response to the Doctor in that moment looking at my still drugged up Husband who was barley following anything was to say … wait for it … “I need to go down stairs and feed the meter because our time is almost up”. Seriously, thats what I said. Truth is I walked out, cried hysterically all the way to the parking meter, fed it got back in the elevator, wiped away my tears and walked back in like nothing happened. I felt sucker punched and like I couldn’t breath but i was determined to put on a brave face for my husband. The next 6 months were a blur of 5 hours of chemo therapy a day, running IV’s on the weekend (yes, they actually send someone to your house to teach you this and bonus I am no longer needle phobic) and multiple ER visits. It was a very difficult time frame. It is very hard to just stand by and not be able to help the person you love. This is the moment my drive to have a healthier family and home started. Don’t worry this has nothing to do with oils, bear with me. Since I couldn’t make him feel better from the chemo I was determined to make our home healthier. Determined I would become healthier since statistically it should have been me and I didn’t want to have him experience the other side of the coin as well. I made 100 instant decisions that of course didn’t stick because I had no idea what I was doing. But a few easy ones did. I got an air purifier. I learned to cook a few vegetables and I got an awesome blender for smoothies. I had changed our products to “less chemical” options… unfortunately I fell for marketing but more on that later. 6 Months later my husband was deemed cancer free.
While some of our lifestyle changes stuck more didn’t. Mostly because they were too complicated, expensive or we didn’t know what we were doing.
The next huge jump in lifestyle change came when we wanted to get pregnant. We had fertility issues and I made it my job to be sure my body was pumped and primed for a baby. Smoothies became a big part of getting me to actually eat breakfast everyday and not just down coffee and a donut. I also focused on finding really easy healthy and quick dinners. Then it happened after lots of credit card debt and hundreds of doctors appointments and poking and probing … I was pregnant! That joy was quickly replaced with anxiety because we had worked so hard to get here I was terrified something would happen to take it away. One day while pregnant I was overcome with the smell of the cleaner I was using to clean our shower. I instantly thought no way is this good for me to breath and that means its not good for this human I am currently growing. I read a few books on pregnancy and learned about toxins in the home and the everyday products we use. Household cleaners became my first “change out”. I first switched to products that just happened to have the whole “green marketing” thing down in my rush to fix everything. I was also continuing my research and quickly learned that was a mistake. It was around this time one of my friends suggested I make my own products to which i replied “I am pregnant, I work full time and have 1 hubby, 3 dogs and 2 fish … ain’t no one got time for that!” So I then joined a popular subscription program for green products. While i certainly liked some of their goods I was finding the cleaning products left much to be desired. My girlfriend gave me an essential oil sample of lemon and a recipe to just try. I made the counter cleaner and was VERY happy with the results but no way was I telling her that! So she could try and rope me into her “snake oil cult of mommies”. From there I bought some random essential oils from the grocery store. They were OK but I lost my curiosity in oils a bit because it wasn’t working as well. I stuck with the lemon one from my girlfriend for cleaning but that was mostly it.
Shortly after that and still pregnant I was putting on my BB cream one weekend afternoon to head out to the store. I noticed I was running low and figured I would get some more at the mall. I looked under my counter for the box I had saved so I would know exactly which fancy name they used to describe “fairly pasty”. When reading the box I noticed something that I not only didn’t expect but had never seen before. It was a warning about using the product while pregnant. Needless to say I freaked out! I rummaged through all my products with cell phone in hand googling everything and its toxicity. I ended up with a huge pile of make-up soon to be donated to my friends with the warning, “this makeup is trying to kill you … but its a great color for you!” Let me tell you this devastated me because I had a lot of money invested in these products and was certain anything natural was going to suck. I spent the day researching skincare and makeup products that were safe. I came up with a list of brands that I saw good reviews for and went and got a few products from a place i knew i could return the items too since I was so sure they would be awful. One of the switches i made was to an oil based skincare routine … again, I was sure this would be tragic for my skin and break me out like crazy. I was very wrong. I had a few minor break outs the first week or two but after that my skin looked better than it ever had. I also was starting to feel really good about these changes to my personal products. It was really nice knowing that I didn’t have to worry about anything I was putting on my body. Skin is our largest organ it is also incredibly absorbent and I had been slathering mine in chemicals and fragrances. An added bonus is once i replaced all this stuff my husbands allergies eased up.
With Baby on the way, my research into a healthy home and lifestyle increased even more. I knew I was eating right and doing everything possible to have a healthy pregnancy but what happens when this tiny human exits my body. Suddenly I was looking into “off gasing”, toxic paint on cribs and “What is really in that diaper rash cream and baby shampoo?” Around this time I went to a friend of a friend’s Essential Oils for Baby and Mama class. To be honest I said I would go for the free food and to catch up with friends. While I was there I actually learned a lot and heard a lot of the things I already knew from my research mentioned. I bought a few oils and went home with the idea of using them for a few things here and there but no real dedication. After all, I am not some sort of super crunchy do it yourself mama.
If you have been scrolling … STOP HERE-
To make a long story ideally less long, it was really several years before essential oils became a big part of my life. To say I was skeptical would be an understatement. But much like I research everything like some sort of former CIA agent who thinks they have been cheated on, I kept writing off what I felt when it came to oils. It just all seemed too zany for my taste. But hell if i didn’t jump on whatever new crazy smoothie additive that Gwyneth Paltrow was swearing by for energy this week. Thats the thing, once I realized it was no crazier then adding an Acai Bowl or Smoothie in the AM to my diet my resistance softened . I know the health benefits of eating right and self care are there, I know it makes me feel better but when I had those same results with the help of Oils, I blew it off. With the kiddo around, I needed more non-toxic cleaners and got some solid recipes from Pinterest and I am very happy with them and the safety for every one in our home, fur babies included! I loved using Aragon oil in my skin care routine but found adding Frankincense really gave my skin a fantastic glow. I also used Frankincense with 2 other oils on my C-Section scar and have noticed how much better the skins texture is. The digestive blend has really helped my husband deal with his discomfort from food sensitivities! The muscle blend and cream for my aching back from sitting at a computer for hours and hours a day. I started adding oils to salts for baths to get some “me” relation time. I can list tons of ways I have added them to my life and feel they have benefited my families wellness but financially. We have saved a ton! I will never be the crazy (and factually incorrect) person to tell you Essential Oils can cure you of a disease but I will tell you that giving them a try in your home will never be something you regret.
Are you ready to make wellness changes for yourself and your Tribe? .. You are! ::High Five::
What is an Essential Oil and why do I want to be Oily?
The Science-y stuff – If you have ever enjoyed the scent of a rose or lemon, you’ve experienced the aromatic qualities of essential oils. These naturally occurring, volatile aromatic compounds are found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. We think of them most frequently for their strong aromatic properties, but they are complex substances made from many different chemicals (as many as 300 ingredients in one essential oil!) with many beneficial properties. In addition to giving plants their distinctive smells, essential oils protect plants and play a role in plant pollination.
There are several different ways to extract essential oils, and all require elaborate equipment. Most extraction techniques are based on the fact that the majority of essential oils mix with oils, fats, alcohol, and certain solvents, but not with water. Some methods are more suitable for certain plants than others, depending on the plant’s chemical make-up. Most pure essential oils are extracted from plants through steam distillation. Freshly picked plants are suspended over boiling water, and the steam pulls the oils out of the plant. The steam rises, is captured in a vessel, and is pushed along tubing. Then the steam is rapidly cooled, causing it to condense back into water. Since water and essential oils do not mix, the two separate, and the essential oil is collected.
A bit of EO History -In addition to their intrinsic benefits to plants and being beautifully fragrant to people, essential oils have long been used for food preparation, beauty treatment, and health care practices. For centuries, civilizations have utilized the benefits of essential oils. Myrrh was used by the Ancient Grecians and Romans to help heal wounds and as act an anti-inflammatory. In the 1920s, Famous French Chemist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse was badly burned in an accident in his lab and observed that by dipping his skin into Lavender, he eliminated infection and prevented scarring. When King Tut’s tomb was opened 350 liters of essential oils were discovered in alabaster jars. It’s been documented that Cleopatra, who was famous for her beauty and charm, used essential oils for her personal treatments. I’ll let you out of History class now and on to why you are really still reading this …
How do they work?
Once extracted, Essential oils have a very small molecular structure that allows for quick absorption into the skin, tissues and cells of the body. They differ from fatty oils (like those in vegetables or nuts) that come from large molecules because they cannot penetrate your cells so they are not therapeutic in that same manner. For instance, most vegetable oils will stay on your skin because they are not small enough to get into your system where essential oils will soak right into your skin. This is called transdermal delivery, which means they can actually pass through your skin and into your circulatory system and cells.
Many essential oils are so potent that when used topically or internally they must be diluted with a carrier oil like olive or fractioned coconut oil.
Another way that essential oils enter the body is inhalation through the nose or mouth. The olfactory system includes all physical organs or cells relating to, or contributing to, the sense of smell. When we inhale through the nose, airborne molecules interact with the olfactory organs and, almost immediately, the brain. Molecules inhaled through the nose or mouth are also carried to the lungs and interact with the respiratory system. Thus, inhaled essential oils can affect the body through several systems and pathways.
During inhalation, odor molecules travel through the nose and affect the brain through a variety of receptor sites, one of which is the limbic system, which is commonly referred to as the “emotional brain.”The limbic system supports a variety of functions including emotion, behavior, motivation, long-term memory, and olfaction. Emotional life is largely housed in the limbic system, and it has a great deal to do with the formation of memories.This relationship helps explain why smells often trigger emotions. Knowing this, we can hypothesize how inhalation of essential oils can have some very profound physiological and psychological effects!
Fast Fact: One drop of pure peppermint essential oil contains the equivalent of 28 cups of peppermint tea!
OK … I know what they are, How do I use them?
The 3 ways to use Essential Oils are:
So I know what they are and how to use them … But why? Why on earth do I want to dab all my crevasses with oils?
Valid question. When I was first researching I asked myself … this sounds great and all but it “sounds great” like I want to live on a desert island without my cell phone. Yes! I do want to do that but it also sounds like a logistical nightmare. Everyone’s answer to this will be different but I can cover a few of the more powerful ones here. You want to gain some control over your health and wellness. You want to support your immune system naturally. You don’t think a pill has to be the answer to every normal or minor ailment such as occasional sleeplessness. You would like to reduce the chemical toxic load of your home. You would like to restore your mental alertness mid-day without chugging another Starbucks. You want your home or beauty products to smell good and now know how awful the chemical fragrances are for you. You have little ones or pets and want to create a safer environment for them by using natural cleaning products. You would like to be able to pronounce the names of the ingredients in not only you household products but your skin care.
So I understand why I want to slather myself and loved ones in oils now, So what’s the catch?
Since they are products of nature, the quality of essential oils is affected by growing conditions, the particular species of plant, extraction techniques, and storage, among other factors. Even the type of soil, temperature, and cloud cover affect some oils. To determine the quality of an essential oil, you’ll need to be concerned with three crucial characteristics — purity, grade, and integrity. In order to be an educated consumer and purchase good quality essential oils, you need to understand how an essential oil is extracted from the plant (which you learned above) as well as what differentiates a good quality essential oil from a poor quality one. You can’t tell just by looking. But using a high quality oil is essential to achieving maximum healing benefits from your aromatherapy applications. And, in the long run, buying high quality oils will be easier on your pocketbook, too.
Because standards for quality control of essential oils do not currently exist in the United States, it is VERY important to find reputable sources that sell good quality essential oils if you are planning to use them for health-related purposes. Whether you buy essential oils in a store, from an individual, or from the internet, be sure to read any information provided on the label or website, or ask questions about quality. Essential Oils are “hot!” right now and it is creating a booming market for lower grade product. I purchased a few highly rated sets off of Amazon when I was first looking to expand. They were like water, the droppers basically spilled half the bottle and they smelled very artificial. Like a Glade Plug-in. They also had warnings on them “Not for internal use”. Which I speculate are there for a variety of reasons – Possibly not a a pure product (like mentioned above the EO industry is NOT regulated), doesn’t want to be sued, will burn my insides upon contact. Truth is … IT’S REALLY hard to research all of this! It becomes very over whelming. Once I got truly educated on Oils, experienced the difference between the low quality VS high quality oils, I understood why people become almost cultist about “their” oil brands. It comes down to finding a brand you can trust. If you would like my two cents on what brands I use, please use the contact for below.
Fun Fact: The average Essential Oil bottle has 250 drops in it. So you will get a lot of uses in that tiny bottle!
If you have made it this far … You are AWESOME!
If you have made it this far listening to me ramble (probably putting up with several spelling & grammatical errors in the process) I would love for you to contact me so I can personally help customize a plan for the specific needs for you and your family! I do this free of charge since its a passion for me but I do book up quickly as I occasionally need to sleep and shower. Please contact me through the form below to get started on your plan today. I WILL never sell your email address to the spam gremlins! No one likes either of those things and you can count me among them.