A few weeks ago I attended a workshop in central London about essential oils, as I was interested to find out a little about what these are and how they can be used to support good health.
The session was run by Madeleine Bergquist, who is working in partnership with a company called doTERRA, to promote and sell their essential oils, as one of their ‘Independent Wellness Advocates’.
Madeleine has strong knowledge about the products and seemed genuinely passionate about promoting them, it was a great introduction to essential oils. Firstly she explained that essential oils are not actually oils. They are simply naturally occurring compounds that come from plants. They have various roles within the plant such as aiding pollination; and often have a powerful aroma to them.
Madeleine also explained that essential oils can be used to treat a number of health complaints, although she did stress that they shouldn’t be used instead of Western medicine, but rather to complement it.
There are various ways of using essential oils:
1) Inhaling them directly (smelling the oil from the bottle, applying a few drops to a tissue or pillow case, or inhaling through steaming water)
2) Inhaling them indirectly (through a diffuser or a spray)
3) Ingesting them into the body (*direct application to the skin – this can be done in an aromatherapy massage, or in some cases you might put a drop onto your tongue or in a glass of drinking water).
*DO NOT INGEST ANY ESSENTIAL OILS WITHOUT READING THE LABEL TO CHECK THIS IS SAFE AND APPROPRIATE.
I bought a starter kit (shown above) containing three of the more popular/commonly used essential oils: lavender, peppermint and lemon. Although I don’t think the lavender is the most pleasant smell, it’s thought to be relaxing and useful to aid sleep. Since purchasing the kit I’ve frequently been putting a couple of drops of lavender onto a tissue on my pillow when I go to bed, to help me relax and fall asleep. My favourite smell however is the wild orange. As you might expect it has a powerful, sweet, citrus smell, similar to pink grapefruit.