What are Essential Oils?
More & more, we are rethinking what goes into, & onto our bodies. After years of stuffing preservative-laced food down our throats, & massaging carcinogenic chemicals into our skin, it is becoming apparent that the man-made chemicals we are forcing our bodies to process, are doing more harm than good. This revelation has brought with it, a push to avoid harmful chemicals in favour of naturally occurring compounds. Here at The Essential Life, we feel that Essential Oils are a big part of that push.
In creating The Essential Life, it was my goal to create a community with Essential Oils & natural living at its core. I wanted to create a space for the sharing of information & experiences. I truly believe that, through the sharing of information, we can work together to make natural living easier for all of us. It is my hope that you will join me in sharing the message of living better through natural & organic living.
If you have information to share, or if you'd like to share your experience with Essential Oils, natural living & life in general, contact us at info@TheEssentialLife.org. You are the reason we are here & we would love nothing more than to continue making this space all about the members of The Essential Life community by sharing stories & giving you a platform from which you can share your thoughts & wisdom.
A Brief Introduction to Essential Oils
What are Essential Oils?
Essential Oils are naturally occurring compounds derived from the leaves, stems, flowers, bark, or roots of a plant which are usually extracted via steam distillation (though other extraction processes are sometimes used). Essential Oils are, literally, the essence of the plant, & these highly concentrated & fragrant oils are proven to have potent psychological & physiological effects.
What's even better is that Essential Oils smell amazing!
How do Essential Oils Work?
The benefits of Essential Oils can be achieved either by topical application, or through inhalation. These are the two fastest & most effective pathways into your body. Something we want you all to remember is that, when applying Essential Oils to your body, it is important to dilute them first into what we call "carrier oils". Carrier oils are a base for topical blends. Our favourite carrier oil to use is coconut oil, but you can use whichever oil you prefer, or whatever you have handy. If all you've got is some olive oil in your cupboard, that will work fine.
Another way of experiencing the healing power of Essential Oils is through inhalation. Inhaling Essential Oils is the fastest way to experience their health benefits. Here at The Essential Life, we definitely recommend investing in an ultrasonic diffuser. If you're not quite ready to make that kind of commitment, however, you can inhale Essential Oils by placing a few drops on your palm, cupping your hands around your nose & mouth & inhaling deeply 15-20 times.
The "cupping method" of inhalation is also a great breathing exercise which helps to calm the spirit.
Essential Oil Blends
Many Essential Oil retailers sell premixed blends of Essential Oils. The benefit of utilizing a blend versus a single oil, is that the oils are blended to create a specific effect. As a consumer, it can also be a cost efficient way to get what you need without having to splurge on each individual oil.
The downside of purchasing pre-blended oils is that you have no control over what oils are in that blend & in what concentration. The dark side of this point is that a number of retailers have altered the purity of their oils when using them in blends. Often times, blends sold as 100% pure Essential Oils have been padded out with, at best, carrier oils, at worst, fillers & preservatives.
It's up to you if you want to take the risk on blends. If you're not worried about cost, you can also purchase individual Essential Oils from a retailer that you trust & create your own blends at home. Creating your own Essential Oil blend is a lot of fun & we have a ton of Essential Oil recipes you can try out & alter to make your own. Stay tuned to The Essential Life to learn all about using Essential Oils.
Essential Oil Purity
The effectiveness of an Essential Oil is directly related to the purity of that oil. For this reason, it is important to be sure you are using pure Essential Oils which are free of fillers, or synthetic compounds.
Oils which have been adulterated (which is a fancy way of saying altered), will lack therapeutic properties altogether. Oils which have been diluted (usually with a carrier oil like jojoba oil), will still be effective, but markedly less-so. Additionally, when used topically, painful adverse reactions might occur as your skin reacts to whatever synthetic chemicals has been added to the oil.
It's important that you find an Essential Oil supplier you can trust. Here at The Essential Life, we purchase our Essential Oils here. We've been using Spark Naturals' Essential Oils for three years now & we've been nothing but pleased with their quality, pureness & affordability.