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Harnessing Healing Powers?

Opinions vary on whether essential oils have specific health benefits or are merely wishful thinking. Regardless of which camp you fall into, one thing most can agree on is do your research.

Ryann Gordon
March 29, 2017

Essential oils have become a hotly debated topic in the modern beauty scene. People rave about them and rely on them for everything from aromatherapy to facial cleansing. They’ve been known to alleviate pain from headaches and muscle soreness, and also symptoms of cancer, autism and ADHD.

At the same time there is also plenty
of info and research out there that is contradictory, and some opinions that go so far as to call the oils a scam.

So, how much can we actually trust essential oils? How far can we go with them? And, most importantly, are they actually making a change in the lives of believers?

Though humans have used botanical essences for thousands of years, essential oils as we know them today are extracted from plants by steam distillation or, in the case of citrus oils, mechanical expression. Proponents not only use essential oils in body care, but also diffuse them through the air, pour them into bathwater, inhale their vapors and apply them to reflexology points on the bottoms of their feet. Some people even ingest them.

Cindy Hutchins Neuschwander is a passionate advocate of essential oils, and she believes that discovering them changed her life. After first coming across them at a fragrance home party three years ago, she’s been using them religiously ever since.

“Essential oils are really not oils at all,” she says. “They are the life blood of plants. In fact, if you get them on your clothing they don’t even leave a spot.”

And just like a miracle, they’ve proven their worth. Neuschwander has gotten her entire family involved and on the essential oil train, using them for everything from headaches and arthritis pain to toe fungus and acne. She also uses them for all her beauty needs.

“They support asthma; shorten the life of bruises; soothe our sore throats. We even completely rid our 4-year-old grandson of warts all over his little arms in a month,” she says.

Neuschwander raves about the proven success of her beloved oils. She uses them topically through diffusion and also orally, which she takes through drops or capsules.

“I totally love my essential oils,” she admits, “We are completely committed to the benefits of essential oils. I’m confident we can take care of most minor health concerns that come at our family with their help.”

And with passion like this
it’s hard to deny some believe that essential oils do provide a benefit. But, if your curiosity is now piqued, how do you get started? Simple: start
with research. Here are some tips to help you out.

Breathe In
Utilize oils for aromatherapy. Invest in an air diffuser. Fill a small basin with water and plop in a few drops of your chosen essential oil, and a fan emits a scented mist. But for a true therapeutic effect, opt for a nebulizer, which shoots oil particles straight into the air sans water. Lavender and basil are known for their calming properties, while peppermint has been known to treat anxiety, and lemongrass relieves stress.

Be Weary
Don’t jump in all at once. Start with simple changes, like aromatherapy, and don’t ingest or put the oils directly on your skin. Use bases to dilute oils when using in face wash or moisturizer and don’t use more than a couple of drops at a time. They smell great, yes, but they’re strong.

Now, be easy. Don’t ever scrub your skin or scalp too hard, but
do get a nice exfoliation in every once and awhile. Lavender is useful in enhancing blood circulation on the skin and scalp, while peppermint, clove, cinnamon, sage and eucalyptus have been historically used for dental health. Rose Hill oil is known for brightening the skin, being rich in vitamin C, and jasmine oil with coconut oil does work on stretch marks.

Take into account the preventative work done by oils like lemongrass, which also acts as an insect repellant, and eucalyptus, for insect bite relief. Along with eucalyptus, orange and tea tree oil have been known to possess antibacterial/antiseptic properties and fight fungal infection better than many over-the-counter medicines.

Be Picky
While lavender and peppermint might both help to relieve anxiety, lavender works more for aromatherapy and respiratory problems, unlike peppermint, which would be more effective for digestion or an upset stomach.

Lemongrass has been used as a pain reliever for muscle pain, menstrual cramps, migraines, stomachaches and toothaches, which were also historically treated with clove. Eucalyptus, on the other hand, has been successful in treating congestion for years before allergy medicine was commercialized.

Be Skeptical
Check out the manufacturer’s philosophy and the retailer’s commitment to bringing you the highest-quality oil available.
There is no group that oversees the essential oil industry, and there is no seal of approval. Don’t believe everything you read on the package. Not everything manufacturers print is 100 percent true. Do research on the different remedies you are seeking and be weary when shopping. Seek out the highest quality before you purchase anything. After all, this is going on or in your body in some way ... so don’t be cheap.