Hello again, friends! Last week we started talking about aromatherapy: what it is and some of its benefits. This week we’re going to take a closer look at my personal favorite source for aromatherapy, essential oils. Essential oils have been my go-to for self-care for several years now. I use essential oils for just everything that I can, from skin and haircare to pain relief to just making my home feel cozier and more welcoming.
What they are and what they do.
So, what are essential oils? Basically, they are super concentrated plant extracts obtained by pressing or steaming different parts of the plant. Check out this post from Young Living describing the various extraction methods they use to get their oils. They are the pure essence of the plant, so essential oils don’t just smell like the plants they come from; they have all of the benefits too! “Plants are made of structural materials and phytochemicals. These chemicals have properties that not only benefit the plant but benefit people, too,”
Ok, so they’re plant extracts…so what? What do they do? How will they help me take care of myself? That’s a bit more complicated. The benefit each oil has is dependent on the specific plant it came from and the phytochemical constituents of the plant. For example, let’s use menthol since it’s a key constituent of one of the most popular essential oils out there, mentha piperita. Or, as we know it, peppermint! Menthol is well known for its cooling properties, but there are many other great benefits, like its antibacterial, antifungal, antipruritic (anti-itch), and analgesic (pain-relieving) properties. These are just the benefits of the constituents of one specific essential oil; there are several others that we can look into in the future.
There are a ton of ways to incorporate essential oils into your self-care! The most obvious one is to put them in your diffuser to create a relaxing atmosphere, but there’s a lot more. Like, you can incorporate them into your hair and skincare or add them to a carrier oil for a nice massage. You can use them in meditation and in things like sugar scrubs and bath salts! There’s a whole lot more that can be done with them, and I promise we will go over them, along with specific oils and blends. Sorry, this post ended up being shorter than usual, I’m still working on finding the balance between this and school, but we’ll get there! Finding this balance, just like self-care, is a journey. And it’s one that I’m excited to take with you guys. So until next week, take care of yourselves, friends.