Essential Oils: Two Questions You Must Ask Yourself

The essential oil craze doesn’t seem to be losing momentum. In fact, it’s only becoming more popular as research studies support the use to quality oils. Every day there is more and more awareness of the hazards of the chemicals in our mainstream products. But before diving in, there are two questions everyone should ask themselves.

And they both start with “why.”

Personally, I’ve always been more proactive about my health than most. Coupled with a stubborn belief that my body could heal itself, I’ve lived a health life. VERY healthy compared to modern American standards. Still, a year ago I sat where you are sitting right now, wanting to improve my health and wondering if this was the right step. And I needed to find my own answers.

First question: Why start with essential oils?

I have to be honest, essential oils seemed like a big jump away from the chemical-free cleaning I was researching at the time. How could these little distilled marvels be the gateway into natural living I was looking for?

It started with realizing essential oils are the simplest way to get your feet wet in a natural lifestyle. There is no brewing/fermenting/juicing/etc. to get started. The learning curve is really short — just a few basics and you’re set.

Used by the drop, they come out of the bottle ready to go. There are no additives, no other ingredients, just liquid distilled from plant matter. And quality oils are powerful. One drop of peppermint oil is equivalent to 24 cups of peppermint tea. Just a tiny bit goes a long way; within 21 minutes of application the essential oil effects every cell in your body. Their roll is anatomical support — cardiovascular, endocrine, muscular, nervous, you name it.

When it comes to horseback riding, I’m a huge advocate for taking care of yourself first. If the rider is struggling with an injury, it will be evident in how they ride and can cause problems for the horse. It’s the same way with our health: take care of your body first, then move on to the other issues (like swapping out chemical cleaners). Give yourself the right foundation so you can be more effective everywhere else.

Second question: Why do I trust Young Living?

There are so many companies out there, from mom-and-pop shops to multi-million dollar businesses. I found all the options overwhelming. In terms of quality, how was I supposed to know which oil was good and which one was bad? Especially after I learned there is no governing body over the processing or labeling of essential oils. The FDA does not actually have a classification for “essential oils” and what goes on the label falls under Federal Trade Commission laws. And as a general rule under the FTC laws, manufacturers are not required to disclose “trade secrets” on the label.

Hmm…to me, that sounds like there are a lot of ways to produce cheap or ineffective essential oils. So how is the public supposed to know what is real and what isn’t a quality oil? Like most things, it takes research. I won’t exhaust you with all of my findings — you’re a brilliant individual and I know you’ll do your own research. But I can tell you that when it comes to trusting what is inside each bottle, there has to be high standards and integrity.

I found that Young Living is a leader in the modern essential oil movement. They own more farms than any other company and they believe in raising crops in their natural environment. Their standards for raising those crops is unparalleled (we’re talking hand-weeding acres upon acres of lavender fields…). They own their own distilleries, which promises plant matter doesn’t lose potency due to travel time. They also have some of the only technology in the world to properly analyze distilled batches to ensure peak constituents — and if a batch doesn’t meet their standards, it isn’t distributed. Wow…talk about integrity.

And how did the answers to my Why’s work out in the long run?

I won’t bamboozle you, I’m no aromatherapist. My biggest qualification to tell you about the path I’ve walked is experience. Experience with pain. Experience with things that don’t work — including lesser essential oils. And experience with things that DO work.

We got plugging in with essential oils from Young Living about a year and a half ago. They were our gateway into natural living. We started using them proactively on a daily basis. Without really meaning to, we developed our own wellness regimen and re-trained our brains in how to think about our health. Then we slowly removed toxic items in our homes one at a time, replacing them with plant-based, organic solutions from the same company.

Shortly after that fateful decision (cue dramatic drum roll), things began to change. Little by little, our “issues” disappeared. We got sick less often and healed quicker. Things I had ignored now had a solution. Better yet, whenever I needed something for my young child, I was confident. I knew what to use, how much and when, with absolutely no fear of nasty side affects. That — for this new mom — meant the world.

Essential oils aren’t just a light-hearted way to “keep healthy.” It’s the biggest reason I see people not getting the results they need. Incorporating oils into your life takes intentional action. Aromatherapist Jen O’Sullivan puts it this way:

“They should be viewed as another wellness regimen upon which we embark. You don’t brush your teeth or take a shower only when you feel like it. When you want results and overall wellness, you do something long-term and with deliberate dedication.” (French Aromatherapy)

Ready to build a solid foundation of essential oil knowledge? Check out my next post.

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Resources:

FDA/FTC regulations: http://graceinoils.com/essential-oils-regulated-u-s/

More Than a Scent: Essential Oils Aid The Immune System. By Jane G Goldberg, 2011. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/essential-oils-health_b_868303

French Aromatherapy. By Jen O’Sullivan, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform 2016