Better Living with Essential Oils - What Is It & How Do It Work?
is capable of healing itself naturally, if adequate nutrition is provided. Most times it does not need synthetic medications to take over its job, but simply the right support tools to enable it to do what it was engineered to do.
Sometimes your body becomes overwhelmed by the chemicals it encounters, and the stress it must deal with. These are introduced from the foods we eat that can contain pesticides, the chemicals we use to clean our home, which are often toxic, the medicines we take (that treat one symptom, but have harmful side effects), and other environmental toxins in the air we breath and the water we drink.
If we do not provide the proper balance, we overwhelm our immune system, and may need some help.
Essential oils can provide us with that help! They have been used throughout the world, for thousands of years, for medical and therapeutic benefits, and are referenced in the Bible over 500 times...36 books in the Old Testament and 10 books in the New Testament!
What are Essential Oils?
Essential Oils are extracted volatile aromatic compounds found in leaves, flowers, stems, roots, and seeds of plants and citrus fruits, and are 50 times more potent than herbs. For the plants and trees, these extracted oils provide protection from predators or threatening outside forces, and promote healthy reproduction and pollination, assisting the plant to flourish in its environment. They are distilled from the plant using several different collection methods including steam distillation, cold pressing, and solvent extraction.
How do Essential Oils Work?
Since humans are carbon-based, like plants, these oil extracts are also beneficial to the human body, in a similar way to how they help the plants to thrive. Because essential oils are volatile compounds, that are both molecularly sized and fat soluble, they:
Change quickly from their solid or liquid phase to a gaseous phase at room temperature, allowing them to move through the air and directly interact with the olfactory sensors in the nose. From there, they travel to the brain where they are translated into information, connect with memories / emotions and trigger chemical responses, creating a desired mood, very much like mood altering drugs with healthful results.
Pass through the dermal layers of the skin, and are absorbed directly into the bloodstream and provide a variety of benefits at the cellular level.
Can be ingested and easily pass through the intestinal walls, into the blood stream for a direct impact on all of your body's systems.
This makes them a powerful promoter of physical, mental and emotional health, and are powerful support tools which can help your body heal itself. This is backed by an ever increasing body of scientific validation,, and fast becoming the number one choice as the natural way to keep oneself, and one’s loved ones, healthy.
I will go into more detail on this later, but before we get too far down the path, it is VERY IMPORTANT to note that not all essential oils are good quality, and therefore, not all essential oils are beneficial.
I recently learned firsthand that Mayo Clinic, has introduced essential oil’s into their patient regimen, to assist in relieving stress in a number of situations. And they are also being used by select dentists focused on patient well-being, to assist nervous patients in reducing anxiety during dental procedures.
How To Use Essential Oils
The myriad benefits of Essential Oils can be introduced to your body in three different ways: Aromatic, Topical and Internal. Here are the mechanics behind each:
1. Aromatic (Smelling)
When you inhale the oil, the scent travels through the nasal cavity. There, it attaches to olfactory receptors which contain cilia (hairs) layered in mucus. The oil molecules dissolve in the mucus. Your olfactory receptors are attached to sensory neurons which make up the Cranial Nerve I. The scent signal travels through the ethmoid bone to your brain. It first stops at the Olfactory Cortex, where the smell is interpreted, and then translated into a snapshot of information. This snapshot then follows two paths in your brain:
A. Frontal lobe where the scent is identified logically
B. Hypothalamus and Amygdala (the Limbic System or part that deals with emotions)
The Amygdala (Storehouse of Trauma) contains the densest concentration of neuropeptides affecting cellular memory. It is constantly on the lookout for threats to your body, but it cannot differentiate between REAL & perceived threats. It links sense of smell to your memories and passes any concerns on to Hypothalamus.
The Hypothalamus (Command Center of the Brain) converts mental thoughts and emotions into ligands (neuropeptides). It then coordinates the release of specific messenger molecule chemicals to attach to certain receptor sites of the cells in your body and effect cell function. What the Hypothalamus “believes to be true” determines the hormone or chemical released.
In stressful situations, the Hypothalamus notifies the pituitary gland, which alerts the adrenal gland, which sets off the alarm for fight or flight stress response and releases cortisol and adrenaline. In calming situations, serotonin, dopamine or oxytocin are released to provide a calming effect.
Essential oils can also travel through the nose and take the route into your lungs and into your bloodstream through the alveola. Once the oil gets into your bloodstream, the oil molecules themselves can impact your bodies' organs and systems directly.
The easiest way to aromatically use essential oils is to open a bottle and simply breathe in. This is known as direct inhalation. Diffusing essential oils through a device that can evaporate an essential oil into the environment is another way, and finally, essential oils can be added to water or alcohol in a spray bottle and then spritzed into the air to freshen surfaces, or on the body, for a cooling and soothing effect.
2. Topical (Applying to Skin)
Topical application involves applying oils to the largest organ of your body, the skin. They can be applied directly or combined with a carrier oil as mentioned above. Because they are a lipid soluble substance, they penetrate the skin easily and are readily absorbed, where they can remain providing benefits in a localized area. Be sure to test for sensitivity and avoid sensitive skin around the eyes, inner ears and genitals.
There are a few different ways you can apply essential oils, depending on the effect you require:
Apply directly to the soles of the feet. This is ideal as the feet have large pores that readily absorb the oils.
Apply to the chest to promote feelings of clear breathing
Apply to the Abdomen to relieve stomach cramping, and promote healthy digestive function
Apply to temples, forehead, base of skull and neck to relieve tension and promote relaxation
Add a few drops of an oil to your facial cleanser, moisturizer, or body lotion.
Dilute essential oils with carrier oils mentioned above and then apply them directly to the problem areas.
If oils are massaged into your skin, they will get deeper into the dermal layers and provide an even greater, longer lasting impact. When using oils topically, you will also experience the scent and receive the aromatic benefits, since the scent of the oil lingers on your skin for an hour or more. And for an even more awesome combined experience, essential oils can be combined with epsom salts or JNC Better Living's specialty blend of Vinyasa Minerals to create a rejuvenating bathing experience.
3. Internal (Ingesting)
When an essential oil is ingested, it travels from the mouth to the stomach and into the small intestine. As a lipid soluble compound, the essential oil can easily be absorbed through the small intestine walls. There, they enter the lymph vessels before making their way into the bloodstream. Once they enter the blood stream, they can be transported to all of the body’s organs, and even the brain where they can provide tremendous benefits at the cellular level.
Cooking with essential oils is similar to including herbs in your food for flavor. However essential oils are much more potent than whole plants, necessitating relatively small amounts of oils to be effective.
Internal use of essential oils is the most potent method of use, and proper dosing for internal use should be followed according to the label recommendations and professional guidelines, as all ingested food / substances can be toxic if taken in too high doses.
Following is a list of essential oils that are GENERALLY SAFE FOR INTERNAL USE:
Not all oils are safe for consumption, so make certain that you are using properly. For your reference, the following is a list of oils that should NEVER BE CONSUMED INTERNALLY:
Essential oils can be consumed internally through a number of methods:
Adding directly to water, tea or yogurt
Cooking or baking with them similar to other spices (1 tsp of regular dried herb = 1 drop oil)
Putting a couple drops into a Vegetarian / Gel Cap (similar to taking a pill)
Placing a drop under your tongue
There are so many benefits you can get with Essential Oils that once you start them, you will be wondering why you didn’t do it years before like I did! Check our website for more information!
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