We all have them ... an assortment of essential oils we have collected that sit in a box or on a shelf. Besides the diffuser and a dab here or there, few of us REALLY know how to use them. Or at least, I didn't until recently.
Last month I spoke with a couple of local essential oil experts. They schooled me on how to use essential oils safely and effectively. I also got some specific recommendations for inflammation - the theme of many of my posts and a group online program I coordinated last month at the clinic.
But inflammation is more than aches/pains. It can manifest with digestive distress, gas/bloating, hormonal imbalances and even brain fog. Here is what I learned.
How To Use Essential Oils
Sjoukje Remark is a RMT, clinical director of Continuum Wellness in Toronto, mom of three and an essential oil enthusiast. She sat down with me and explained her favourite three ways to absorb the benefits of essential oils.
"There are many essential oils that have properties that can help support the body's healing process naturally. Pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils can help to alleviate headaches, soothe skin irritation, calm digestive upset, fight cough and cold symptoms and reduce muscle and joint pain attributed to illness, injury, inflammation or stress.
Researchers found that certain oils reduced the expression of the inflammatory COX-2 enzyme by at least 25 percent like Clove, Thyme and Eucalyptus. And Lavender has been shown to help reduce pain and stress in those with Osteoarthritis. There are essential oils that have analgesic properties that can provide relief for headaches and essential oils like Frankincense, Lavender and Copaiba that are suited for the skin and for calming nerves and reducing stress."
Sjoukje recommends using essential oils in the following ways.
Essential Oil Diffusers
Simply add 3 - 5 drops in your diffuser so you can absorb the healing benefits through inhalation. It's important to CLEAN your diffuser after each use. Simply wipe down with water and a clean cloth in between uses, and once a week, clean your diffuser with soap and warm water. You can also use an essential oil blend specific for cleaning. She recommends Thieves by Yonge Living.
Essential Oils and Inhalation
You can put a couple of drops into your hands and simply sweep your hands up and around your nose/mouth to breathe in the aromatic benefits. Be careful to wash your hands afterwards to avoid eye contact.
Essential Oils For Topical Use
This was my favourite. Sometimes, people can have a reaction when oils are applied directly to the skin. You can still gain the benefits by using a carrier oil.
For topical application, use a carrier oil like sweet almond oil, fractionated coconut oil or grapeseed oil. Then you add a few drops of your favourite blends to the mix. She recommended using a roller ball (you can buy online at an inexpensive price). This way, you can make your own custom topical applications.
For me, I'm going to explore making custom perfumes for different moods - uplifting, calm and even focus. That would be amazing for the kids, wouldn't it? Apparently the mixture of lemon and rosemary has been shown to improve memory while studying. I'm wondering if the schools would object during test time?
For the full video on my convo with Sjoukje, watch here!
Top Oils for Inflammation
I also reached out to another colleague for help in better understanding essential oils. Carly Cooper is a Life Coach, essential oil educator, author, mom and unshakeable optimist. She always has a great remedy to recommend.
I asked Carly for some better understanding on what oils to use for inflammation. Here are her favourites.
Frankincense - Great oil for immune support and cellular health. Helps reduce inflammation. Apply 1-2 drops on area of concern or apply to the bottom of the feet.
Peppermint - Reduces inflammation and pain, cools, invigorates and stimulates blood flow. Add 1 - 2 drops on area of concern (hello hangover halo), or use a diffuser / inhalation method.
Turmeric - A great oil to support all systems in the body, respiratory, sore muscles, great for metabolism, circulation, digestion, and skin. 1- 2 drops on area of concern. We also learned about the benefits of turmeric / curcumin a few weeks ago in my blog!
DDR Prime by DoTerra- A regenerating, corrective and repairing oil. This antioxidant blend will protect your cellular health from free radicals. It includes a blend of clove, thyme, litsea, wild orange, frankincense, lemongrass and others. Use 1 - 2 drops on area of concern, diffuser or inhalation.
Copaiba - I first learned about the healing benefits of copaiba with my daughter's heal and pain she was feeling. It is a great oil to use for pain and inflammation, detoxifying for the liver, respiratory system, anti viral, anti bacterial, anti fungal, supports the digestive system, skin and nervous system. Apply 1 - 2 drops to area of concern or diffuse.
Beyond these, I also recommend lavender (great for skin, relaxing muscles and sleep), eucalyptus (strains, sprains and joint pain) and ginger (digestive).
How To Choose A Good Essential Oil Brand
This last part makes me nervous. There are a lot of popular, pretty brands out there. However, I question their purity. For me, the top considerations are:
Price point - If it is inexpensive, why? Remember, this is your health and if you are going to use oils for therapeutic purposes, make sure you buy quality.
Manufacturer - Where are the herbs harvested? What are the checks/balances to ensure no synthetics are added? Remember, many hormonal disrupters are synthetics found in chemicals, plastics and petroleum based products - meaning, they are oil based.
Do your research before you drink - there a lots of essential oil food grade products coming to market. Again, do your research before you swallow!
The oils I buy and use are from Yonge Living and DoTerra - these are the companies that Sjoukje and Carly represent. I know from my own research, they grow their own ingredients and have stringent safety measures in place. If you have any questions on their recommendations, purity or other, I encourage you to ask them directly. They are much better informed to provide you with the essential information you need!
Sjoukje Remark, Registered Massage Therapist/Clinic Director of Continuum Wellness www.continuumwellness.ca
Carly Cooper, Life Coach and Essential Oils Educator