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Should Essential Oils be a Part of Your Wellness Plan? - The Joy Quest

Should Essential Oils be a Part of Your Wellness Plan?

Essential Oils Research #1

Can essential oils, particularly lavender, help us thrive in a stressful world?
–Photo Jakob Owens, from unsplash.com

We’re in a high stress world—from pollutants in the air and water, to our often hectic lives with complicated working relationships, families, and friends. Money and health consume us. Worldviews clash in an increasingly globalized environment. Thoughts of the future are less optimistic and more fearful than recent memory. (How quickly we forget the nuclear bomb age which continues with us today, but set far away in the recesses of our brain. We couldn’t be that crazy, could we? Let’s not think of it, because of course humanity is that broken on a personal and interpersonal way …) 

The spiritual element continues to be number one

Those who have read my blogs and books know I believe a spiritual life is the most important element for dealing with all that “stuff.” However, God gave us a brain and gave us responsibility for the earth and its elements. 

With our brain, we know we have to eat well, sleep deeply, exercise intelligently, meditate and breathe sincerely. Truly, if you’re not doing these, take a first step right now! My blog’s motivating purpose is to encourage you, challenge you, and help you take these steps.
And if there is something else out there that can help us, we should educate ourselves and take action there, too.

Essential oils need research

I’m not an expert on essential oils. But I know what I like, and I know how I feel when I use them. They are natural, and I believe they are harmless if used correctly.  So, I want to do research, experiment, and share my experiences in an ongoing series of blogs. This is my first blog about essential oils, and I hope you’re reading it first as it sets us up on our journey.

There are proper and safe ways to use essential oils, and we’ll research those as we explore this world.  There are many myths and legends, too. What is true? The essential oil experience has become a “fad,” and a profitable business. We have to take responsibility for ourselves—we all need to do “due diligence” research.

As I former newspaper journalist, I want to know through research and personal experience. So, I will take it slow and provide you with what I learn.

Chill out with Lavender

I often use Lavender in a diffuser when I want to relax, and I also put a dab on my pillow for a better sleep. In addition, I use it after a gym workout to calm my body and mind, usually adding several drops to a bucket of water, and sprinkling it on the sauna’s hot rocks. Experientially, I feel my mind and body relax and my mood elevated.

So, this seems a good place to start our research. A Medical News Today article reports that lavender helps treat anxiety, fungal infections, and hair loss, according to medical studies. However, evidence does not yet prove lavender treats depression, high blood pressure, nausea, menstrual pain, or eczema and others. The Food and Drug Administration has not approved lavender and recommends it not be taken in place of prescribed medicines.

I take this with the proverbial “grain of salt“ because I believe in alternative medicine as much or more than tradition medicine, and I believe the FDA has a bias. However, the FDA should be cautious about all potential “medicine” because of the potential for exploitation and unknown effects.

How to use

I inhale lavender in various ways, as I’ve mentioned.  Some believe it is best used topically—directly to the skin. They dilute lavender oil to two percent by mixing it with a carrier oil such as jojoba, olive, and grapeseed. Then, the blend is massaged directly onto temples, wrists, or under the nose. Again, I advise, please do your own research.  Use any essential oil how you feel most comfortable. 

How does it actually work? 

Many studies—where brain activity is monitored by electroencephalograms—show that essential oils can have an immediate effect. The scent goes in our nose to the olfactory epithelium, a highly sensitive nerve bulb that transmits directly to the emotional center of our brain.

Lavender is also good for concentration and focus

Some studies show lavender is also good for concentration and focus , which makes sense if it relaxes and removes stress … A Japanese study found that students, exposed to lavender oil, improved their concentration, likely because it lessened stimulation and decreased stress, so the students felt refreshed as they headed back to work.

So, I feel by experience, and by modest research, only a piece of which I’m including here, that lavender is a valuable part of my overall wellness. I encourage you to do your own research beyond this short blog, and only experiment after doing the research. Lavender is relatively simple and benign. (Check out the Medical News Today article for potential risks. Other essential oils may have more side effects and may need more careful application.

May you be blessed as you seek your path to a more joyful life.

PS: Please contribute your knowledge and experience to this topic. Thank you!

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Scott is an author, blogger and coach--in all things he's an encourager. A Stephen Minister with a M.A. in Pastoral Counseling, Scott seeks to help others find more joy in life through brain, body, financial, community, and spiritual development. Our goal is to help reduce stress, depression, anxiety, and loss of focus. I want to empower and energize people seeking freedom from boredom, low motivation, low self-esteem, unnecessary anxiety or the shroud of sadness. Together, let’s maximize the joyful opportunities in life, and reach our potential. His latest books can be found at https://scottdouglasmartell.com

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