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Natural Health News and Articles

Aromatherapy and Pain Management

Aromatherapy, a form of therapy that uses scents and essential oils from plant extracts to relieve the body of discomfort and pain, has been used for thousands of years across many cultures and countries. Different types of aromatherapy have been used throughout history to manage both acute and chronic pain for centuries. Different types of aromatherapy are integrated in different ways. How you treat chronic pain will vary from how you treat acute pain and different aromatic extracts and plants are used for different ailments. Here is a list of common aromatics and their uses:

  • Chamomile – an essential oil with anti-inflammatory properties, it has been known to help with tension, headaches, migraines, menstrual cramps, and back pain. It is also known to be a digestive aid.
  • Lavender – an essential oil that is touted as being one of the best for pain management. It is helpful for muscle cramps and strains, headaches, neuralgia, nervous tension, and can help relieve mood swings.
  • Sandalwood – an essential oil that is considered to be one of the most valued for aromatherapy. It can soothe muscle tension, improve circulation, and help with the sciatica.
  • Sweet Marjoram – an essential oil that has potent sedative properties. It helps soothe muscle stiffness and cramps, improves circulation, and is used in treatment for Rheumatism and osteoarthritis.
  • Vetiver – an essential oil that helps detoxify tissue, balance the central nervous system, and can be beneficial for tension and depression.

Aromatherapy has been a major type of therapy for those diagnosed with MS and is also becoming a pain management option during labor and delivery. While most of the oils used in aromatherapy are strong, you can use them at home simply by dropping a few drops in your bath water or using them as an aid for massage.

If you are looking for pain management and don’t want to contaminate your body with chemicals, aromatherapy may be just the outlet that you are looking for.

Reference:

Photo Credit: flickr.com/photos/naomi_king/7796400432/

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Essential Oils for Managing Emotions

This guide offers ideas for how to use aromatherapy and essential oil treatment for addressing different emotional states. It was originally produced and found on the Holland & Barrett website.

Essential Oils for Managing Emotions


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Natural Health News and Articles

Natural Treatments for Motion Sickness – Acupressure, Aromatherapy, and Nutrition

Motion sickness is a condition where one’s brain confuses visual and sensory stimuli, resulting in feelings of nausea and imbalance. Feelings of nausea may be caused by acceleration and deceleration while traveling by car, train, sea, air, or by other means.

When suffering from motion sickness, one’s inner ear (vestibular system) senses motion, but the eyes inform the brain that things are stationary. The resulting discordance causes one’s brain to conclude that one of the senses is hallucinating and that this hallucination is a result of ingesting poison. In response, the brain responds by inducing vomiting, to clear the supposed toxin.

Common initial symptoms associated with motion sickness are nausea, headache, and general uneasiness. Symptoms may progress in severity and include vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, excessive yawning, inability to concentrate, excessive sweating and salivation, pallor (when one turns white), and severe distress.

Conventional treatments include over-the-counter or prescription medication, and natural remedies include dietary and herbal treatments. Common over-the-counter products used to treat and prevent symptoms associated with motion sickness include antihistamines like dimenhydrinate (Dramamine), and meclizine (Antivert and Bonine, for example).

While there are various ways to alleviate symptoms like nausea and dizziness, natural treatments may have fewer side effects and can work preventatively. Acupuncture, aromatherapy, and ginger supplements are gentle and effective ways of treating motion sickness.

Acupressure for Motion Sickness

As a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture supports the idea that our bodies, out of balance due to years of stress and unhealthy lifestyle choices, can be brought back to equilibrium through the practice of needling points on energy channels (located throughout the body) called meridians. Acupressure, or shiatsu, works with the same system of meridians and points but does not use needles. A shiatsu practitioner uses his or her fingers to hold down acupressure points on the body, therefore rebalancing one’s chi, or life force, to promote health.

Sufferers of motion sickness can self-apply acupressure to key areas of the body. Use the point below to combat any symptoms of motion sickness.

  • P6 – Nei Guan – Inner Pass (Pericardium Meridian)
    Location: On the palmar side of the forearm, about two finger-breadths above (away from the hand) the wrist crease.
    Purpose: Treats stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting. Helps with clarity of thought and suppressing pain.

To implement a self-treatment at home, hold down the Nei Guan acupressure point and massage gently for several minutes. Alternate so that both arms have been treated.

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy uses the medicinal properties of essential oils drawn from plants and herbs to combat a variety of conditions ranging from skin disorders and infections to stress and immune deficiencies. Each essential oil emits a biofrequency that is sensed by the body. Imbalances in the body and symptoms associated with motion sickness can be “tuned” as the body responds to the oils with respect to its own biofrequency. Because of this specificity, each individual responds differently to an essential oil. Therapy is best when customized by testing essential oils and gauging the body’s response, however, some key essential oils universally assist in relieving motion sickness, one of which is peppermint oil.

Peppermint Oil
At the onset of nausea or motion sickness, open a bottle of peppermint essential oil and inhale the odor. Breathe deeply until symptoms have subsided.

Diet & Nutrition

Ginger is often recommended for preventing seasickness 2, and is found to be better than dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) or placebo at combatting symptoms of motion sickness (Mowrey and Clayson 1982).3 With the benefit of not causing drowsiness like other motion sickness medications, ginger helps to alleviate symptoms of nausea.

To use ginger to avoid motion sickness while traveling, take the following steps.

To combat motion sickness while at home, you can also make ginger drinks at home.

  • Make fresh ginger juice or a fresh infusion of ginger tea. Ginger tea can be made by putting one teaspoon of ground culinary ginger into a cup of boiling water, letting it steep for 5-10 minutes, and drinking as often as needed.

The wonderful thing about these therapies is that they are preventative and can be used while traveling anywhere. As always, before implementing any natural treatments, please consult a physician for safety information.

Written by Nicole Kagan

Reviewed & edited by Dr. Jeffrey C. Lederman, DO, MPH and Julie A. Cerrato, PhD, AP, CYT, CAP

  1. https://wholesomeone.com/condition/motion-sickness
  2. Schmid R, Schick T, Steffen R, Tschopp A, Wilk T. Comparison of seven commonly used agents for prophylaxis of seasickness. J Travel Med. 1994;1(4):203–6. [PubMed]
  3. Mowrey D. B, Clayson D. E. Motion sickness, ginger, and psychophysics. Lancet. 1982;1(8273):655–7. [PubMed]

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Company

Balanced Guru

balancedguru.com

 

What does your company stand for?

“Balanced Guru is founded with a conscious and passionate commitment to promoting the wellbeing of both customers and the planet. By combining ancient eastern wisdom with modern western science, Balanced Guru formulations integrate the benefits of aromatherapy and wholesome ingredients to balance health and beauty through physical, emotional and spiritual wellness. Balanced Guru crafts wholesome, high quality natural products that are certified organic, cruelty free and sustainable. Jars and bottles are made with 100% recycled and recyclable post-consumer resin while packaging, marketing and shipping materials are made with 100% recycled and recyclable paper while labels and formulations are 100% biodegradable and free of harmful chemicals and toxins.”

 

Balanced Guru Empowering MistWhat is your most popular product?

“Balanced Guru’s Empowering Energy Mist is an organic playful and powerful combustion that promotes balance with an organic blend of Sandalwood, Vetiver, Peppermint, Lavender, Bergamot, and Pine.”

 

Why do people love it?

“Balanced Guru’s Empowering Energy Mist is carefully crafted to promote spiritual and physical wellness through aromatherapy and is specifically designed to stimulate playfulness, a strong balanced ego, and healthy self-esteem. Pure, healing essential oils derived from natural plant and flower essences naturally add fragrance and immediately restore physical and emotional balance. Empowering Energy Mist also promote the wellness of the planet by being cruelty-free, sustainably sourced and utilizing 100% recycled packaging and labeling materials.”

 

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Natural Health News and Articles

5 Essential Oils to Keep on Hand

Are you looking for a natural way to fight common illnesses? Essential oils might be the answer.

Nandini Weitzman, a licensed clinical nutritionist in the state of New York and an alternative health practitioner who has been using Young Living essential oils and oil-based products for 13 years, recommends that you keep five essential oils on hand to help ward off or reduce the severity of a cold, cough, virus, fever or flu.

These oils are oregano, lemon, peppermint, a respiratory blend and Thieves. A respiratory blend is a mix of myrtle, spruce, peppermint, pine, lavender and marjoram oils and three varieties of eucalyptus oil. Thieves is a blend of clove, cinnamon bark, rosemary, lemon and eucalyptus radiata oils.

While all five oils work to ease common illnesses, they have their specialties.

  • Thieves and oregano are best for the flu.
  • Lemon oil is most effective in warding off or reducing the severity of a virus.
  • Thieves and oregano can be good at controlling a virus, too.
  • Peppermint is best known for reducing or preventing a cold, cough or fever.
  • RC works well when it’s applied to the chest or back or when it’s diffused or inhaled for sinus or chest relief.
  • Thieves works well to combat a cough. The essential oil can ward off the illness if you act quickly as soon as you feel the first signs of getting sick. The oil helps reduce the severity of the sickness if you act after you’re sick.

How to Use These Oils
You can breathe in these oils so they enter the body through the nose and lungs, rub them on the skin for quick absorption, or consume the oils in a capsule or lozenge. Nandini recommends using a cold air essential oil diffuser to diffuse the oil into the air and breathe it in. She says this method is especially effective because smelling is our most direct sense, sending the oil directly to the amygdala, the part of the brain where the seat of emotions is located.

Breathing the oil into your sinuses and lungs can help prevent or alleviate the mucus buildup from a cold or a cough. Cold air diffusers also protect the oil quality, unlike heat, which can damage the oil and make it less effective.

You also can boil any size pot of water, add four or five drops of oil to the boiled water, cover your head with a towel and, while holding your head over the liquid, let the steam enter your sinuses and lungs. The oils, carried by the steam water molecules, will start to release and neutralize the pathogens that have taken residence in these areas.

Applying Oil Directly on the Skin
For flu you can apply the oil in strokes to the back, right next to the spine. The skin absorbs the oil quickly as essential oils naturally penetrate the cell wall and work inside the cell. Nandini also suggests putting a drop or two of oil on a warm washcloth and then placing the washcloth on your chest to help ease chest colds. She recommends rubbing some oil directly on your chest or back to fight a cold or a virus.

Naturally Reduce Your Baby’s Fever
An easy way to reduce a fever in a baby is to put a drop of peppermint oil on the tip of your finger and then run your finger along the bottom of the baby’s foot. Let the oil sit on the baby’s foot for a short time and the fever should decrease. You can let the baby smell the remaining oil on your hand. This method also can work on older children. If a child complains about the scent, simply put a sock on the child’s foot to mask the smell.

Lozenges for a Cough
For coughs, you can try a Thieves oil-based throat lozenge, spray or mouthwash. If you take a lozenge, Nandini recommends keeping it between the back teeth and cheek to allow the juice of the lozenge to drip along the back of your throat. So, the next time you feel like you’re getting sick, perhaps consider one of these essential oils for a natural road to recovery.

Nandini Weitzman can be reached at nandiniyes@hotmail.com.

– By Jessica Braun
Jessica Braun is a writer and an editor at WholesomeONE. She can be reached at jessica.braun[at]wholesomeone[dot]com.



 

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Natural Health News and Articles

Frankincense Oil: Salvation for the Del Duca Family

When many people hear the word frankincense they think of the Three Wise Men and their gift for baby Jesus. For Tracy Del Duca and her 9-year-old son Sebastian, however, frankincense oil brings to mind a miracle of a different kind.

“Essential oils have completely changed our lives,” says Tracy. And if anyone should know about life changing events, it’s the Del Ducas.

The youngest of five children, Sebastian was only 22 months old when he snuck through a hole in the fence at a church softball game. Trapped on the inside Tracy watched in horror as he headed toward the street and into the path of an oncoming car. Tracy screamed out to alert the driver but the elderly woman became flustered and hit the gas instead of the brake. Little Sebastian was thrown about 80 feet.

His injuries were extensive. His heart stopped at the scene but a paramedic got it re-started. Doctors determined almost every bone in his body was broken and his head was too swollen to insert a shunt. Still he remained alive and so too did the family’s hope.

After months of Sebastian in a coma, the doctors told the Del Ducas there was nothing more they could do and they essentially sent him home to die. Tracy did not give up, however. Instead she got busy.

“We did a bunch of research into all these alternative health practices and every time we’d bring something to the doctors they’d laugh at us and tell us it was futile,” she remembers. “But once they had absolutely nothing else they could do for him it gave us carte blanche to look into all these alternative therapies we found—and we found many of them to be very beneficial.”

With the help of a chiropractic neurologist, the Del Ducas began weaning Sebastian off all of the drugs. He had been in a coma for about two years but as the medications worked their way out of his system something miraculous happened. He woke up.

Not surprisingly Sebastian still has health challenges. One recurring problem is seizures that can strike at any time. Over the years there have been times of less seizures and times of more. At one point after a bout of encephalitis he wound up back in the hospital and back on anti-seizure meds which put him into another coma.

Again the Del Ducas weaned him off the drugs and had some luck keeping the seizures at bay with various alternative treatments. However, within the last seven months the seizures have returned. On average Sebastian suffers three to four a month but sometimes they can be as frequent as several in a day. Given their past experiences, the Del Ducas felt they had to find an alternative to the traditional anti-seizure meds.

A friend told Tracy about a YouTube video of a family who used an essential oil containing frankincense to control their daughter’s seizures. The next time Sebastian had a seizure Tracy grabbed the frankincense, put a drop on his head and a drop on each toe and after two seconds the seizure stopped. Ditto the following seizure.

“It’s uncanny. There are many things we do that we know help with seizures but this is just amazing,” she says. “It’s gotten to the point I have a school teacher who comes to the house and once in a while takes him to the library and she won’t go anywhere without frankincense oil in her pocket because she has seen what it does.”

Tracy is a convert and encourages anyone wanting to learn about frankincense and other essential oils to do their homework. As a place to begin she recommends several books on essential oils by Dr. Gary Young along with his website Young Living.

“To have something like this is huge,” Tracy says. “I can’t begin to tell you how much it has enhanced our lives.”

Kristen Stewart is a freelance writer specializing in health, nutrition, parenting and lifestyle topics. To learn more, visit her website at www.kristenestewart.com.


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Natural Health News and Articles

How to Make Your Own Vicks Vapor Shower Discs

If you’re feeling stuffy and don’t want to take a lot of medication, try making your own Vicks-inspired shower vapor discs to clear your nose. This simple project will result in a soothing vapor mist that will help melt away your colds symptoms with very little work.

Step One

Gather your ingredients and tools. For this home remedy you will need:

  • 2-3 cups of baking soda
  • Water
  • Eucalyptus, Lavender, and Rosemary oil
  • Muffin tin
  • Muffin Liners

Step Two

Put your baking soda in a mixing bowl. Slowly mix in enough water to create a thick paste. It should resemble putty.

Step Three

Add 15 drops of each oil to the putty mixture. Step Four Spoon mixture into lined muffin tin and let it sit out to dry for 12-18 hours. Once the mixture is set, simply unwrap the disc and place in the tub while your shower.

The disc should melt away while the water runs over it, creating a soothing vapor mist to relieve clogged nasal passages in its wake. With just three simple steps you can create an all-natural solution to nasal allergies and colds.  They are safe for the whole family and a breeze to create with just a few easy ingredients.

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Natural Health News and Articles

How Essential Oils Heal

As essential oils grow in popularity, many people want to know more about their benefits and healing properties. We spoke with Scott Johnson at Young Living Essential Oils last week and asked him a few questions about how these fragrant and powerful oils work.

According to Johnson, PhD and director of Global Education and U.S. Sales at Young Living, “one of the things that makes essential oils so special is their ability to rapidly absorb into the human body.” The reason for this is that essential oils are fat-soluble nutrients, so they are attracted to the lipid (fat) membranes that surround our cells. “They penetrate our cell membranes, delivering nutrients to various cells and tissues to support health,” explains Johnson. Compounds of essential oils can be detected in the blood within minutes if applied topically on the skin.

Furthermore, essential oils can be used in a variety of ways, both internally and externally, and they have unique healing properties. If you’re using an essential oil to treat sore muscles, for example, it might be best to apply the oil topically. If you want to cleanse your body, however, you might take the essential oil internally. “It all depends on what you’re trying to accomplish,” affirms Johnson.

Natural essential oils are made through a unique distillation process that involves extracting oil from plant material or resin. There are several methods—essential oil can be steam-distilled, hydro-distilled with the use of water, or cold-pressed with the aid of citrus oil that comes from the rind of the fruit.

Because essential oils are potent, rapid, and very volatile, people with certain conditions—like pregnancy, epilepsy or fever—must be especially cautious while using them. If you’re pregnant, stay away from oils that have phytoestrogens (like anise, clary sage, fennel, and mugwort), as these may stimulate uterine contractions. Also keep in mind that some oils (bergamot and citrus oils, for example) are photosynthesizing, so if you go into the sun with them they may discolor skin or create depigmentation.

That being said, essential oils are generally very safe to use. Indeed, the safety and natural benefits of essential oils were qualities that led visionary founder Dr. Gary Young to the creation of Young Living in 1993. A pioneer in essential oil study and production, Dr. Young made essential oils more readily available to people through a wholesale business model. He also helped spread awareness about the health benefits of each essential oil, and established Young Living’s five-step Seed to Seal process—“seed,” “cultivate,” “distill,” “test,” and “seal.” This process ensures the purity of each essential oil and serves as the foundation for Young Living’s distribution of essential oil around the world today.

Written by Nicole Kagan

[themedy_toggle icon=”plus” heading=”Reference” onload=”closed”]

  • How do I choose and use essential oils?(2013, July 16).
    takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/aromatherapy/how-do-i-choose-and-use-essential-oils

More on Aromatherapy & Essential Oils

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Uses for the Essential Oil Lavender

Lavender oil can be used for acne, migraines, insomnia, wounds, dandruff, hay fever, bug bites, sunburn, and nausea.

The infographic from LeonsBeautyTipsandSecrets offers a summary of the different applications of lavender oil.

Uses for the Essential Oil Lavender


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History and Use of Essential Oils

Essential oils are liquids that are generally distilled by steam or water from the leaves, stems, flowers, barks, or roots of a plant. Once extracted, the oils can be used for skin treatment, mood enhancement and other health benefits.

The infographic found at BulkApothecary.com displays a history, the different types and various uses.

History and Use of Essential Oils



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Natural Health News and Articles

Juvenile Fibromyalgia: Identifying and Managing Fibromyalgia in Children

What is Juvenile Fibromyalgia?

Juvenile Primary Fibromyalgia Syndrome (JPFS) is part of a group of conditions collectively known as Musculoskeletal Pain Syndrome. Juvenile Primary Fibromyalgia Syndrome, or JPFS, is a condition that results in symptoms of overall musculoskeletal and joint pain and fatigue. Data is sparse in the area of prevalence, but it is thought that up to 7% of children under 18 have JPFS or similar condition. It is more common in females and the diagnosis in children usually occurs between the ages of 13 and 15.

Along with joint pain and fatigue, other symptoms include disturbed sleep, morning stiffness, headaches, abdominal pain, irritable bowel, tight muscles and periods of swelling. Depression and anxiety are often present. JPFS is frequently triggered by an injury, illness or stress. Many patients with JPFS also have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

How Is Juvenile Fibromyalgia Diagnosed?

Diagnosing JPFS starts with a medical exam which includes a family history, physical exam and a tender point test of all 18 sites. Diagnostic tests should be conducted to rule out all rheumatic diseases and arthritis. To meet diagnostic criteria there must be patient report of pain in three or more body areas over a minimum of three months. In addition, at least five painful tender points must be experienced upon palpation during the exam. Additional symptoms such as difficulty with sleep, irritable bowels, fatigue and headache are often present and these symptoms tend to worsen with stress and/or anxiety.

JPFS can have severe effects on a child’s physical and emotional functioning. School attendance, socialization, and general quality of life are all impacted by this condition.

Managing Juvenile Fibromyalgia Holistically

JPFS is incurable but its symptoms can be controlled by understanding and preventing triggers, maintaining a focus on physical and psychosocial wellness,  and effective management of pain symptoms. As with the treatment of any minor, family involvement is a critical part of the treatment plan.

A traditional therapeutic treatment approach involves a team. This team consists of a combination of collaborating professionals to include at minimum: a pediatric  rheumatologist, physical therapist, and psychologist along with the identified patient and his or her family. The traditional treatment course utilizes a combination of medication, exercise, physical therapy and a form of psychotherapy called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

A holistic treatment approach is meant to be “in addition to,” not necessarily “instead of a” traditional treatment approach. In general, holistic treatments focus on addressing all aspects of an individual, not just the physical. The overarching philosophy is to live a more balanced lifestyle and understand that physical illnesses are the symptoms of a greater imbalance that may or may not have a root cause in the physical. Holistic treatment of JPFS may include the traditional therapies discussed above in concert with non-traditional medicine.

Recently published studies suggest that the use of Yoga, Tai Chi, and/or Acupuncture may reduce pain, fatigue and stiffness and improve quality of life in patients with Fibromyalgia. Many living with Fibromyalgia manage their diet and nutrition to alleviate symptoms and also utilize therapeutic massage to ease muscle soreness. However, there has not been enough scientific evidence supporting the use of vitamins, nutrition or massage to date.

Many alternative treatments can assist with pain management in Fibromyalgia.  Though patients report positive outcomes in using these alternative treatments, scientific support has not been substantially rigorous enough to make any hard effectiveness claims. Nonetheless, so many are searching for holistic treatments and will consider these minimally-invasive treatments to avoid medication side-effects and to adopt a balanced approach to health and wellness.

The following alternative treatments have been used in the treatment of Fibromyalgia:

No child need be robbed of a full life following a diagnosis of JPFS. Incorporating a holistic approach to the treatment of JPFS most often includes the traditional route of coping strategies, physical exercise, physical therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, and perhaps medication with any of the alternative treatments that help reduce or alleviate the associated symptoms of Fibromyalgia.

By Alicia DiFabio, Psy.D.

Resources

  • fibromyalgia-treatment.com
  • Treating Juvenile Fibromyalgia by Jennifer Cerbasi, (2012) FoxNews.com
  • webmd.com – Fibromyalgia Guide
  • KidsHealth.org – Fibromyalgia.

 

Alicia DiFabio, Psy.D. is a freelance writer with a doctorate in psychology. Her personal essays and parenting articles have appeared in various newspapers and magazines. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and four girls, one of whom has extensive special needs. She can be found writing about her adventures in parenting at her blog, Lost In Holland.

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Treatment

Aromatherapy

Whether you choose to breathe them in, rub them on, or gargle with them, essential oils have been used to treat a host of physical and emotional ailments for at least 6,000 years. From Egyptian to Roman to Native American societies, there is a host of recorded data that documents how ancient societies utilized the powerful healing processes found naturally in essential oils. This practice is known today as aromatherapy.

The method of extracting essential oils from various plants, flowers, and seeds comprises a unique sect of herbal medicine that is recognized for its incredible healing properties. From skin diseases to respiratory infections to gastrointestinal health, aromatherapy is a versatile form of treatment since it can be used for a variety of conditions. The secret to its effectiveness lies in the powerful antiseptic, antibacterial, and antifungal properties found naturally in almost all essential oils.

Most essential oils contain the germ-fighting agents necessary to knock out bacteria, fungi, yeast, parasites, and viruses. And unlike pharmaceutical drugs, essential oils interact with multiple body systems at once, making aromatherapy a broad-spectrum form of treatment. The reason behind this rapid absorption of essential oils in our bodies is due to the fact that our bodies and essential oils contain many of the same naturally occurring chemicals. Because of this similar composition, our systems very easily absorb and employ the complex chemical treatments found in essential oils.

How To Use

The best way to determine how to use aromatherapy is to consider the ailment you are treating. Almost every essential oil can be inhaled, making inhalation through various methods a popular form of treatment. This method is best used when treating respiratory conditions, colds, flu, and addressing emotional and mental disturbances. For a skin condition, wound, or burn, a topical application would be the most effective. Ingestion is a popular method throughout the world, but few essential oils can be consumed. Before taking any essential oils by mouth, it is imperative to consult with your physician as certain essential oils pose a toxic threat when ingested. There are several different ways to unlock the antiseptic properties present in essential oils.

Inhalation

The first and fastest form of treatment is inhalation. Inhalation is an ideal aromatherapy technique as it safe on the system and employs our sense of smell, the most powerful of senses. Through sense of smell, the healing properties of essential oil rapidly interact with body systems connected to emotion, nervous system, body temperature, and appetite.

Steam Tent

Creating a steam tent is most beneficial when treating cold and flu symptoms. To do so, simply boil a pot of water, remove from heat, and add in about three drops of your essential oil of choice. Create a tent around your face by standing a few inches over the pot, covering your head with a towel, and trapping the steam around you. You will want to inhale the steam deeply for a few minutes, or until your nasal passages clear and your cough subsides. Be sure to stay far enough from the pot to avoid burning your face.

Diffusion

Another inhalation method is with the use of an essential oil diffuser. As with a steam tent, you will want to add three drops of essential oil to the water-filled diffuser. Diffusers come in different forms; some are candle-lit and others are electric. As the diffuser is activated and heats up, the water will steam and release the essential oil into the air. You will want to breath deeply and slowly to take in the essential oil molecules that are released through the diffuser.

External Application

Another common method is through external application.  Utilizing essential oils in a bath is the preferred method of treatment as the warm water assists in the absorption of essential oils into the skin. As Hippocrates taught, “a perfumed bath and a scented massage everyday is the way to good health.” A recommended dosage for a full bath is 3-15 drops per tub. This form of application is effective as it is one of the few therapies that can rapidly penetrate body tissues.

Massage

An essential oil massage is an excellent form of therapy that will also alleviate the pain and itching associated with viral and fungal skin infections. To create aromatherapy massage oil, combine 10 drops essential oil for every ounce of vegetable oil or lotion. To treat physical injuries using aromatherapy, a compress soaked in essential oils will provide a soothing effect and reduce swelling of the injured area. To create the compress, utilize 5 drops of your chosen essential oil in 1 cup of water and soak the compress in the solution.

Spray

In some cases of illness, a throat spray or gargle made of essential oils may be the most effective form of treatment. This can be easily created by combining two drops of essential oil into a teaspoon of honey and taking by mouth, or by adding 1-2 drops of essential oil to 1/4 cup of water and using as a gargle to treat throat infections. It is common practice in European countries such as France to ingest essential oils to treat certain forms of organ dysfunction. However, it is vital to consult a physician before taking any oils internally, especially if you are pregnant as a few varieties of essential oils can cause a toxic reaction when ingested.

Types of Essential Oils and Their Uses

There are over fifty kinds of essential oil that are used therapeutically. Here is a complete list of those most commonly used. As always, be sure to consult your physician before use.

  • Angelica: The seed and root oils from this plant contain properties that effectively manage menstruation, digestion, and coughing. However, this essential oil can over-stimulate the central nervous system, making it important to use sparingly and with caution.
  • Anise: This delicious tasting (and smelling!) essential oil is useful as a lactation stimulant while breastfeeding, and can soothe muscle spasms, indigestion, and insomnia. It is vital to control the amount of anise essential oil used due to the fact that large doses can cause skin rashes and retard proper circulation.
  • Basil: Basil is used to treat the herpes and shingles viruses, headaches, and indigestion issues. It also acts as a lactation stimulant and aids in the treatment of mental and emotional disorders.
  • Bay: The essential oil derived from the leaf of the bay tree relieves sinus and chest congestion and is used to improve memory and lymphatic circulation throughout the body.
  • Benzoin: This antiseptic and antifungal essential oil also alleviates dry skin and provides emotional support.
  • Bergamot: This refreshing essential oil can be used to battle the viruses responsible for flu, herpes, shingles, and chickenpox, ease digestion, and act as an anti-inflammatory for the urinary tract system, mouth, throat, and skin.
  • Birch: Often made available for purchase under the moniker “wintergreen” essential oil, birch is useful in treating psoriasis and relieving arthritis and muscle pain. However, large amounts of birch are toxic to the system, so use with caution.
  • Carrot Seed: No, this essential oil is not distilled from the carrots in your refrigerator. Carrot seed actually comes from the seeds of the plant Queen Anne’s lace, a distant ancestor of today’s carrot. This oil can be used to treat skin disorders such as eczema, rashes and certain precancerous skin conditions.
  • Cedarwood: Cedarwood is most useful in treating respiratory and urinary infections, and can also be used to fight off acne, dandruff, and chronic itching. Avoid all cedar oils while pregnant.
  • Chamomile: This versatile essential oil is used to treat a host of conditions. Chamomile acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, pain reducer, and addresses indigestion, ulcers, and liver damage. This essential oil is also commonly used to treat insomnia and acts as a powerful antidepressant.
  • Cinnamon: Cinnamon can be used to treat urinary tract infections, diarrhea, and is helpful to relieve tension. However, you will want to dilute cinnamon essential oil with a less potent essential oil, as cinnamon is a potential skin irritant.
  • Citronella: While this essential oil is more commonly known as an insect repellant, citronella is also useful in treating colds and infections. Be cautious with topical applications as it can cause skin irritation.
  • Clary sage: Clary sage is used throughout Europe as a sore throat remedy and also can be used to alleviate pain and menopause symptoms. Clary sage should not be combined with alcohol.
  • Clove bud: This essential oil is used to fight infections such as colds, flu, and chest congestion. It can also act as a stress reliever and memory stimulant.
  • Coriander: Coriander is an antiseptic essential oil that eases pain and inflammation associated with arthritis and acts as an antiseptic in treating flu, cystitis, and diarrhea.
  • Cypress: Use this essential oil to treat sinus and lung congestion or to ease symptoms associated with low blood pressure, hemorrhoids, and varicose veins.
  • Dill: Dill is useful in treating indigestion and can also be helpful as an appetite suppressant.
  • Eucalyptus: The essential oil derived from the eucalyptus tree is a powerful antiviral agent. It is useful in treating throat infections, fever, flu, chest congestion, and herpes.
  • Fennel: Fennel is commonly used as a lactation stimulant, but can also be helpful in treating indigestion, urinary tract disorders, and to quickly heal bruises. Do not use if you have epilepsy as fennel can over-stimulate the central nervous system.
  • Fir: Use this essential oil to treat asthma, chronic cough, and to soothe muscle pain.
  • Frankincense: This valuable essential oil treats fungal infections, ulcers, lung sensitivity, and chronic diarrhea. Additionally, frankincense has been used throughout the ancient world to increase consciousness and relaxation.
  • Geranium: Geranium possesses both antiviral and antifungal properties, making it an important treatment for shingles, herpes, and ringworm. This essential oil can also be used to treat menopausal symptoms and regulate blood pressure.
  • Ginger: Ginger can be used internally to alleviate digestion issues such as nausea, diarrhea, gas, and loss of appetite. It can also address infections of the lungs and urinary system.
  • Helichrysum: Use Helichrysum to treat bronchitis, asthma, and pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.
  • Inula: Inula is mostly used to treat skin infections and herpes, but can also relieve sinus, chest congestion, muscle pain, and inflammation.
  • Jasmine: This essential oil is sometimes used to treat complications with the prostate. It also acts to soothe headaches.
  • Juniper: Bronchial infections, eczema, and hemorrhoids are all treated with this essential oil. Use with caution as overuse can over stimulate the kidneys.
  • Labdanum: This antiseptic essential oil is used to treat colds, coughs, wounds, and hemorrhoids.
  • Lavender: This quintessential aromatherapy oil contains the broadest reaching of benefits. From treating burns and eczema to lung and sinus infections, indigestion, and skin infections, lavender is a go-to ingredient in aromatherapy treatment.
  • Lemon: The essential oil derived from the lemon peel is antiseptic and antioxidant. Use it to treat viral and bacterial infections, aid with digestion issues, and boost immunity.
  • Lemongrass: This antiseptic essential oil can be used to ward off scabies and ringworm and to treat headache and indigestion pain.
  • Marjoram: Use Marjoram in treating colds, flu, migraines, and high blood pressure. It is also useful as a topical skin application in treating bruises, burns, bacterial and fungal infections.
  • Melissa: This essential oil contains both antiseptic and antiviral properties and is an appropriate treatment for strep, herpes, chickenpox, chest congestion, and high blood pressure.
  • Myrrh: Use myrrh as an external application on yeast infections, eczema, skin infections, ringworm, and wounds. It can also be used to boost immunity and aid with digestion, coughs, and diarrhea.
  • Myrtle: Used throughout the ages to treat the complexion, myrtle is also helpful in treating respiratory infections, muscle spasms, and varicose veins.
  • Neroli: Neroli is particularly useful in treating symptoms of menopause. It also addresses circulation problems like high blood pressure and hemorrhoids.
  • Niaouli: Use this essential oil on bacterial and fungal infections as well as in treating respiratory allergies.
  • Palmarosa: Palmarosa contains wonderful antiseptic and antiviral properties that are useful in treating acne, skin infections, and herpes.
  • Patchouli: Patchouli holds antiseptic abilities and is used to treat eczema, athlete’s foot, and skin inflammation.
  • Pepper, black: Pepper can be helpful in caring for colds, flu, urinary tract infections, and food poisoning. It is important to be cautious when using topically as pepper can be a skin irritant.
  • Peppermint: Peppermint is a powerful antiseptic essential oil and is used to destroy bacteria, viruses, and parasites found in the digestive tract. It also helps to alleviate sinus and lung congestion, irritable-bowel syndrome and the itching associated with ringworm, herpes, scabies, and poison ivy.
  • Ravensare: This essential oil is an important antiseptic treatment against flu, bronchitis, viral infections, and sinus congestion.
  • Rose: Rose oil is a strong antiseptic that fights infection and can also treat asthma, liver dysfunction, and depression.
  • Rosemary: This essential oil stimulates the nervous system, lowers cholesterol and alleviates chest congestion, sore throat and sore muscles.
  • Rosewood: Rosewood is a sweet-smelling essential oil that treats infections, colds, headaches, and nausea.
  • Sage: This antiseptic essential oil is used to fight throat and mouth infections. It should be used with caution as it contains a potential neurotoxin that is especially harmful to individuals prone to seizures.
  • Sandalwood: Sandalwood is primarily used to treat genital and urinary tract infections and can also be helpful with nerve pain, inflammation, and persistent coughs.
  • Tangerine: This gentle essential oil taken from the peel of a tangerine combats sleep and digestive disorders. It is a wonderful essential oil to use on children and pregnant women due to its extremely safe and mild composition.
  • Tea Tree: Similar to eucalyptus essential oil, tea tree oil contains strong antiseptic properties. It is useful in fighting vaginal, sinus, fungal, and viral infections. Like lavender, this is a popular essential oil for use in aromatherapy due to its extremely powerful and versatile nature in treating a host of conditions.
  • Thyme: This antibacterial essential oil eliminates intestinal worms, chest congestion, and indigestion. In the past, Thyme was actually used to treat whooping cough. Due to its powerful antibiotic nature, it is not recommended for daily use.
  • Vetiver: Use vetiver to increase circulation, treat muscle pain and sprains, and improve liver function.
  • Ylang-ylang: This sweet-smelling essential oil lowers blood pressure, relaxes muscle spasms, and acts as a strong sedative. Be wary to limit dosage, as high concentrations have been known to cause headaches.

Precautions

It is vital to be aware of the potentially toxic effect of some essential oils, especially for children and pregnant women. A few essential oils that are potentially toxic when ingested include bitter almond, hyssop, mugwart, oregano, pennyroyal, sassafras, savory, and thuja. Additionally, essential oils in their natural state are extremely concentrated and have the potential to burn or irritate skin and other sensitive tissues. It is important to dilute essential oils that pose a potential irritation to the skin with less irritating oils before topical application. The following essential oils should be diluted before use:

  • Bay rum
  • Birch
  • Black pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Citronella
  • Clove
  • Cumin
  • Thyme

For elderly, allergenic individuals, or someone who has a serious health condition such as asthma, epilepsy, or heart disease, consult with your physician before the use of any essential oils. For continual use, be sure to vary the essential oils that you employ in your treatment, as overexposure of one kind of essential oil may be harmful to your liver and kidney functions over time.

Summary

From anise to cypress to lavender, there is a bounty of useful and medicinal essential oils that will banish viral, fungal, and bacterial infections all the while improving sleep, mood, and emotional health. From Egyptian civilization through today, aromatherapy has played a major role in addressing common illnesses and ailments.

By following sage medical advice and adherence to the recommendations provided here, you can employ and benefit from the antiviral and antibiotic properties drawn from the beautiful flowers, trees, and plants that surround us everyday.

As Kurt Schnaubelt, Ph.D and Director of the Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy in San Rafael, California, puts it, “for many common infectious diseases, aromatherapy offers more effective and more wholesome solutions than conventional medicine.”

  • Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide. New York: Celestial Arts.
  • Natural Healing Wisdom & Know-How. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Inc.
  • Essential Oils for Beginners. California: Althea Press