During our recent visit home I was a little unnerved by how many of my friends and family had become essential oil pushers. Any time someone mentioned having even the smallest of ailments they were treated to an array of aromatherapy options. “Oh you have a headache? I have an oil for that!”, “You’re feeling stressed? I’m sure there’s an oil that helps.”, “You have an upset stomach? Let me check my essential oil guide.”
While Nathan went running every time his Mom pulled out her box of essential oils I was quite willing to give it a try.
Although I was a bit skeptical of the whole multi-level marketing aspect that I thought was behind the recent revival of this ancient therapy, I was nonetheless interested in learning more about the oils themselves. After all, wasn’t I always in search of new ways of improving life quality and balance? Preferably in a natural, holistic way?
So I did some research. I knew that essential oils and aromatherapy were by no means a new invention but I was intrigued to find out how important of a role they had played throughout history. Also how complex the science is regarding the production and use of these oils.
There are records dating back over 6,000 years describing the use of aromatics for religious rituals, the treatment of illness and cosmetic use.
The Egyptians believed smell to be the most important of all senses and therefore essential oils were…well…essential to their way of life. In ancient China and India these oils were used for medicine and the Greeks and Romans for massage and personal hygiene as detailed in this history of aromatherapy. There is also much mention of essential oils in the bible. Remember the wise men bringing gifts of frankincense and myrrh? Yep those are essential oils
Unfortunately, as with many things, much of the knowledge regarding essential oils was lost during the dark ages and the use was not revived until the 20th century. First in Europe and now more recently in North America. India is the only country where it is said they have maintained the knowledge and use uninterrupted.
Convinced that there was enough history and studies providing proof of the benefits I decided to try it for myself.
The first test was on a wasp sting. I tried all the usual remedies with little relief but the use of a few drops of lavender and peppermint helped almost instantly. My next chance to test out the oils was when I was staying with my family who were all down with a nasty cold virus. My sister gave me Thieves which is a blend of different oils and is said to help support the immune system and therefore aid in fighting off viruses (there’s actually an interesting story behind this blend). Not only did I not get sick but I used it on the first signs of a cold sore (gross I know) and it literally killed it before it had a chance to take hold.
So far the only other oil I have used is a blend of peppermint, lavender and frankincense which are oils which can help clear the mind and improve concentration, something I need desperately most days. I have been putting a couple of drops in my palms and I inhale it throughout the day. Voila…I am now a genius! Ok so it’s not that drastic of a change but I do find myself being more productive and feel more clear headed.
*Disclaimer: Now I’m not a doctor or a trained aroma therapist, I’m just relaying what has worked for me. As with anything you should always do your own research.
All of this got me to thinking. “How I could use these oils to help maintain good health and balance while traveling?”
So I decided to consult an expert. Laura Grieves has been using and selling essential oils for 10 years and has taken educational courses including a program at the Center of Aromatherapy, Research and Education so she knows a thing or two. I asked her about her personal experiences and also about how travelers and life-balance seekers could make use of the essential oils. She gave me some great information to share with you all.
However I feel like this post is quite long enough…or maybe I need some more of my brain blend. Regardless, I’ve decided to keep you in suspense a little longer and you’ll have to check back for the second part of this story: “Essential Oils for the Traveler”