Updated: May 29, 2020
Frequently, clients step into my acupuncture office and the first thing they say is, "wow it smells wonderful in here!" Scent plays a crucial part in our lives and the way we function. The olfactory system sends messages to the limbic system, which plays a vital role in our mood, memory, behavior, and emotions.
Before science discovered how scent affects our limbic system, our ancestors long understood the healing power of aromatherapy. Evidence has shown that ancient Egyptians have utilized aromatherapy and distilled essential oils since 1,500BC. So how have things transformed in modern-day aromatherapy, and how can we incorporate essential oils into our daily lives? I interviewed Kasius, who has been working with essential oils for years, for her insights into this world. Kasius is a certified Health Coach and Wellness Advocate. She assists people in their holistic wellness journey through her company The Wishingwell.
How did you become interested in essential oils?
I took an interest in essential oils about 12 years
ago. I did not have the depth of knowledge that I do now, however, I knew that they are powerful and medicinal. My studies in essential oils deepened in 2015 when I learned about a company that could provide essential oils that were certified pure and sustainably sourced. What can you use essential oils for?
Essential oils can be utilized in various ways. The most common use would be aromatherapy. Just as you would enjoy the burst of citrus aroma from peeling an orange or cutting lemon, essential oils are often diffused. Diffusing essential oils is the easiest and most effortless way to experience the benefits of an oil. The olfactory system, one of our five senses, is one the most memorable senses, and essential oils can leave quite the impression. Diffusing a few to a dozen drops of your favorite oil(s) can really alter the atmosphere. It's great for a restful and peaceful sleep, make your space feel big, clean, calm, or invigorating. Although it's been debated by some, the purest of oils can also be ingested. Ingesting essential oils for healing benefits is as old as time. If you can eat the plant, its oil, if pure, normally is also safe to eat. Cooking with essential oils, adding them to juices, shakes, and salads or dishes can be such a fun way to incorporate them into your life. Lastly is topical use. Most essential oils bought in the store will warn the consumer to test their skin before using with lotions or directly to the skin and hair. The concern with store-bought oils is that there is no specialist to assist you with usage. There are several do's and don'ts when it comes to using essential oils, particularly when it comes to topical usage as these are potent substances. Essential oils can provide great relief to skin, scalp, and hair issues when used properly.
Top 3 essential oils you recommend to keep in everyone's home?
The top 3 essential oils that I would recommend for everyone are peppermint, lavender, and frankincense. The first reason is that all of them are multipurpose. These essential oils can be ingested and used for the house-hold, on pets, and more. Peppermint for example is great in a chocolate shake! 1 drop in a 16oz chocolate "anything" will definitely excite your taste buds and enhance the shake. Peppermint essential oil is a vasodilator, when applied to the skin, it immediately brings blood to that area, increasing circulation and therefore increasing the flow of oxygen. The menthol in peppermint oil is also what makes it feel so cooling. This oil diluted with water can make a cooling body spray on a hot summer day. Spiders also hate peppermint oil and can hence effectively drive them away! For cleaning or to create a more open atmosphere, peppermint essential oil can be diffused or sprayed.
Lavender is the most popular essential oil and most people's go-to. Its usage is far and wide. Traditionally known for its calming benefits, lavender oil has also been known to help heal burns, reduce scars, and assist in the healing of more serious terminal illnesses. Like peppermint, lavender oil wards off insects such as spiders, mosquitoes, ticks, ants, and fleas. When you're outdoors, it's a great item to carry with you.
Frankincense doesn't get the attention it deserves! It's such a gem and priced as such. This essential oil and its usage date back thousands of years ago. It was one of the three gifts that the three kings gave Christians, Son of God, Jesus. To put it into perspective, this oil was given above land, security, and food. Frankincense essential oil has anti-aging properties, can pass through the human blood-brain barrier, and is anti-inflammatory. It is extremely grounding and goes well with more oils than I can recall. It's extremely diverse and effective.
What is a good essential oil for anxiety and how to use it?
A great essential oil for anxiety would be a blend that I created called Super 8. I have had such amazing testimonials about this harmonious blend of 8 oils. It is available on my site in the shop section. To use this oil, you apply it to the bottoms of your feet, the nape of your neck, inside of your wrist, and on the ear bone. Another great option would be a blend called Adaptive. What are some essential oils geat for immunity?
Lemon, tea tree, and Onguard essential oils are great. Your favorite oil and why?
It is difficult to choose a favorite essential oil because I have fallen in love with so many for different reasons. I guess if I would have to choose just one... whew this is hard, I'd say douglas fir. Most "tree/ fir" essential oils are extremely calming and grounding. Understand that trees are literally "rooted" and connected deeply far and wide. Although it can smell seasonal at times, the peaceful feelings and zen-like state that comes over me when using douglas fir, is something that I yearn for. It also blends well with other essential oils.
What are the precautions one should take when using essential oils?
I would advise that people new to essential oils to read literature on the topic, as there are a lot of great resources out there. Aroma Tools and Oil Life have some great books. Another way to be safe is to work with someone with years of experience with essential oils and is familiar with the properties of various oils. No essential oil is like the other, but there are several oils that are multi-purpose and can be used to treat the same thing.
Some key factors to note about essential oils is that the best ones will be in a dark glass bottle. They should be stored in a cool dark place. (This includes olive oil). Essential oils such as lavender, peppermint, most if not all citrus oils, are ingestible. But if the label says otherwise, it's not safe. It could be cut with synthetics, cutters, or additives that could be harmful over long periods of time and shouldn't be ingested, used on the skin, or with aromatherapy. Citrus sun-sensitive oils should not be used on the skin and worn outside in direct sunlight as they are sun-sensitive and may cause skin damage such as burning. If essential oils get in the eye, do not use water to rinse it out. Use coconut oil or a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil.
What are you doing during this unprecedented time to be kind to yourself?
To be kind to myself right now, I have been taking the opportunity to sleep. With the demands of my life, it isn't realistic to sleep more than 5-6 hours a day and be productive. With COVID19 slowing things down a bit, and implementing several restrictions, I have dedicated more time to sleep. Now I sleep between 6-7 hours and on a rare day, 8 hours.