If we are going to talk about total wellness, I have to bring up the wonderful benefits of essential oils. These are such a stress reliever for me, and so much more. What exactly are essential oils? They are natural compounds extracted from plants that contain the characteristic fragrance of the plant from which they came. These oils are extracted from the plants by a process called distillation using steam. Different oils have different functions due to their properties. I will discuss some of my favorite benefits of these oils in this post, but you will find that there are numerous benefits to your health with a more in depth look at essential oils.
When purchasing oils it is very important that you are confident in the purity of the brand you use. The purest oils that are extracted with extreme care and protected in storage is what you want. The quality and composition of these delicate oils can be damaged if not handled properly. Oils must be kept in dark glass containers to protect them from the sunlight. My favorite oils are from Rocky Mountain Oil. This is a company I truly 100% trust, and you can find them here.
The easiest way to get the benefits from these oils is through an oil diffuser. My favorite one is shown here. This one adds such a beautiful, calming affect to a room, and runs on a timer to make things easier for you. Add some water to the diffuser, then add 3-5 drops of your choice of oil and turn on the diffuser. Using essential oils aromatically can have a very positive effect on emotions and physiology. Having an oil diffuser on can completely change the mood in a room and create a very calming environment. This can be a life saver after a long and stressful shift!
Another way to use essential oils is in a bath. This way you are getting the oils through your skin and also through inhalation. I love to use lavender essential oil with some epsom salt for a very relaxing and stress relieving bath. Since oil and water don't mix, the salt helps to disperse the oil. To try this, use six drops of oil mixed with 2 tablespoons of epsom salt and add to a warm bath. I love the feel of my skin after this, not to mention how relaxed my entire body feels. This type of bath will also help flush toxins from your entire body. Lavender is one of my favorites for helping calm any anxiety and also for helping with sleep. It truly works!!!
Do you lack motivation from time to time? Or maybe all the time? Maybe you're not motivate d to get to the gym, or prep your meals. Peppermint essential oil provides a great boost for your state of mind and energy level. It can increase your alertness and give you a little "pep" in your step to get you going. It is such a clean scent to me and I love diffusing this in my home regularly. Nice alternative to drinking too much coffee (if there is such a thing)!
And one of my very favorite benefits from essential oils is their antibacterial and antiviral properties. Oregano oil itself may be just as effective as antibiotics in killing certain bugs. Research has shown that essential oils from oregano oil may even kill MRSA! Us nurses hate MRSA!!! Just the thought of wearing those isolation gowns makes me break out in a sweat. But an essential oil that fights that? That's pretty amazing, isn't it? You can use the steam treatment yourself to try to rid yourself of a nasty cold or sinus infection by using a blend that contains oregano oil. My favorite is Immune Strength from RMO (click here). Boil a pot of water, then turn heat off and let cool for one minute. Add 3-6 drops of essential oil, use a towel to cover your head, and breathe in the steam. This can do wonders to open up your nasal passages and also help get all those antibacterial and antiviral properties to kill off what's bugging you.
There are many other great uses for essential oils that I will get into in more depth in future posts. Obviously, discontinue use of any oil if any adverse reactions should occur, and do not use directly on your skin without a carrier oil. I would never advise ingesting any oils, although some will say it's okay. Do not use on babies, and use with extreme caution around small children. For now, just know that creating a stress relieving environment at home with a diffuser and some great essential oils can be a life saver and just purely enjoyable.
Terri Wentzell is a registered nurse with more than 20 years of experience. She is also a certified personal trainer, wellness coach, fitness nutrition coach, and sport yoga instructor.