“The art of healing comes from nature and not a physician. Therefore, the physician must start from nature with an open mind.” – Paracelsus
Since the beginning of time, humans have used plant and herb concoctions to help heal their minds, bodies, and spirits. When using these medicinal properties, the goal was always to cure the ailment, rather than just treat it.
Unfortunately, much of the “healing” aspect of humanity has become lost in society. Nowadays, modern medicine focuses on treating conditions, instead of curing them.
Luckily, we can still learn about and access these incredible herbal concoctions from our ancestors. In this Beginner’s Guide to Essential Oils, we’re going to focus on how to use essential oils to help heal your mind body and soul. Ready to dive in?
1.) What is Aromatherapy?
The term “aromatherapy” was first coined in 1937 by French scientist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse in his book, Aromathérapie.
After an experiment in his lab caused an explosion, and his hand caught on fire, Gattefosse ran outside and rolled in the grass to extinguish the flame. Shortly after the accident, his hand began to develop gangrene. This was in 1910, a time before antibiotics were readily available to fend off bacterial infections.
With nothing to lose (except his hand…which if left untreated would have to be cut off), he dipped his hand into a canister of lavender essential oil. After a rough night of pain and profuse sweating, he noticed his hand had already begun to heal by the morning.
Not only did Gattefosse’s hand heal, but it also healed with almost no scaring. This is what inspired his book Aromathérapie which details the benefits of essential oils, and how to use them.
Aromatherapy is “a holistic healing treatment that uses natural plant extracts to promote health and well-being.” The medicinal oils are proven to enhance both physical and emotional health.
How are Essential Oils Made?
There are a variety of ways to make essential oils, here are two of the most common processes:
Using steam distillation, essential oils can be extracted from plants.
Here’s how it works: shortly after the plants are picked, they’re suspended over boiling water. The steam pulls the oils out of the plant and is captured into a vessel. Then the steam is rapidly cooled, which allows it to turn back into water. Once this happens, the oil and water separate and the oil can be collected.
Plant oils can also be collected by a process known as “expression”. This method is done by pressing the oils out of the plant’s skins, seeds, and flesh. Citrus essential oils such as lemon and orange commonly are collected using this method because the oil in their peels is easy to press out.
How Are Essential Oils Used?
Essential oils can be used in a variety of ways and to treat a variety of conditions including stress, depression, anxiety, nasal congestion, respiratory viruses etc.
You can breathe the oils in via an essential oil diffuser, add a few drops to your bath or apply them directly onto your skin. Any oils applied to the skin need to be diluted, otherwise, they can burn your skin!
As a beginner, one of the easiest ways to do this is to purchase skin-ready oils — for this, I recommend Petal & Leaf Essentials because they’re all organic, easy-to-use and come with “how to use” instructions.
Here are some of the places you can rub your skin-ready oils:
- Right at location
- Soles of feet
- Ears – outside or behind (don’t put oils in your ears!)
- Pulse points
- Upper back
- Nape of neck
- Along the spine
Once the oils are inhaled via skin application or diffuser, they’ll be drawn into the lungs and trickle into your bloodstream — and this is how they begin to work their magic!
Your sense of smell draws aromas into your brain’s limbic system, which is responsible for your feelings of joy, pleasure, fear, anxiety etc. When the aromas pass through these parts, they can act as a mood-calming or boosting agent.
What Essential Oils Should I Use?
Depending on your specific wellness needs and goals, the oils you use will vary. Here are some of the best oils to get started:
Lavender Essential Oil: Use this oil when you are looking to relax your mind and body. Lavender is a calming agent that can help reduce your stress and anxiety.
What’s more — lavender essential oil is also great for treating burns (just as Rene-Maurice Gattefosse did when he burned his hand!). Rub 2 to 3 drops on your minor burn, and enjoy immediate pain-relief.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil: If you have a cold, sore throat or another respiratory virus, eucalyptus essential oil can work as an internal healing agent to clear your sinuses and help fend off viruses!
Researchers have found eucalyptus essential oil contains “broad-spectrum antimicrobial action make it an attractive alternative to pharmaceuticals.”
Apply diffused eucalyptus oil directly to the area, or use a room diffuser to inhale it directly. This will allow the oil to travel into your bloodstream and respiratory system to start working immediately.
With regular use, you can even boost your immune system and reduce your chances of getting respiratory viruses!
Citrus Essential Oil: Citrus essential oils have a multitude of uses, and are great to keep in stock at home! Not only do they work to enhance your mood, but they also balance emotions which helps in reducing stress and anxiety.
Both lemon and orange essential oils make great air fresheners and can act as germ-fighting cleaning agents. Apply a few drops directly to the surfaces you’d like to clean or mix them with water. Not only will your house smell amazing, but it will also be super clean!
Both of these essential oils can also boost your energy and immune system by adding them to your drinking water in the morning. Rather than adding the extracted oils you’d buy at the store, use the actual peel from a lemon or orange, and let it sit in hot water and distill until cool. Then drink and enjoy!
Important note: Do NOT pour pure citrus essential oil directly into your water as this can be too potent and unsafe to consume. Make sure you’re using fresh peels instead!
Peppermint Essential Oil: Use this oil if you need to focus or gain clarity. The strong smell will instantly jolt your brain into an awakened state which will help you increase your concentration.
Peppermint oil is also great to soothe muscle and joint pains. Rub a few diluted drops onto your sore parts for quick relief.
If you’re like me and prefer a simple approach to using essential oils, then ready-made combination blends are the best way to go. Here are some of my favorites:
1.) Protection Daily Immunity Blend: Made with fractionated coconut oil, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, rosemary, and tea tree oil. This blend is used for year-round protection from the elements and is applied by rolling it gently on the feet and back of the spine. Use morning and night for best results.
2.) Revive Uplifting Blend: Made with fractionated coconut oil, grapefruit, lemon, orange and peppermint oil. This blend can be used anytime you need an immunity or energy boost. Apply to temples, pulse points and back of the neck. Breathe in a few times to help it circulate through your limbic system and bloodstream.
3.) Midnight Nightime Blend: Made with fractionated coconut oil, lavender, eucalyptus, vanilla, marjoram, bergamot, and frankincense oil. This blend should be used before bed to help you relax and drift off into a peaceful sleep. Apply by rolling on chest, wrists, back of neck and pillow before bed.
4.) Zen Calming Blend: Made with fractionated coconut oil, lavender, ylang ylang and yuzu oil. Use this blend when you’re feeling stressed, anxious or looking to calm your mind and relax. Apply by rolling on pulse points, chest, behind the neck and down the spine. Before capping, place under the nose and inhale for a count of 5. Then sit back and enjoy the feelings of peace and relaxation!
With all the benefits, it’s easy to see why essential oils truly are essential. Start incorporating them into your daily routine and enjoy a happier and healthier mind, body and soul!
Ready to get started? Share this post and comment below to be entered to win a bottle of Zen Calming Essential Oil!*
*Must reside in the US to qualify to win. Winner will be selected at random on January 1st, 2019 and announced on this post!
About Antasha Durbin: Antasha is a spiritual writer, life-long student of the universe, and psychic tarot card reader. Her website, cajspirituality.com, is dedicated to casualizing the spiritual experience and making it attainable for anyone, anywhere, anytime. Follow her for free, easy-to-digest and highly actionable advice on spirituality, mindfulness and empowered living.