I get asked all the time whether I believe that essential oils actually work. The answer has changed for me over the years. At first, my answer was no. Then I discovered that I was using a low-quality oil. Next, I had to learn how to use them effectively. Now I’ve helped many on their journey along the way find the same success that I’ve found.
In the end, we choose to use them in our family because we have experienced amazing success. I think for many, whether they are a valuable resource depends upon the person’s expectations of them. If you expect a bottle in your closet to cure the world of every discomfort and ailment on the planet, merely because they exist in your home, you’ll be disappointed. If you use them to support your health & wellness regularly, as a preventative wellness tool rather than a cure for big problems that have developed from years of neglect, you’ll be just as disappointed in oils as you may be in modern medicine.
In this post, I will fill you in on the pitfalls I experienced. I’ll also explore more about that with you to break it all down. But first, my story . . .
I first tried out some essential oils when my husband came home from a doctor’s appointment with a sticky note in his hand. On it, were the names of two oils his doctor had recommended that he try for the stubborn toenail fungus he’d been battling his whole life.
At that point in my life – I knew little to nothing about what essential oils were, how to use them or why we’d want to use them.
His doctor told him she’d seen more successful cases where people helped their nails grow in healthy using the essential oils he had written down, than the physician had seen with prescriptions. That got my attention. The alternative was an expensive and painful surgery which wouldn’t guarantee any cure because the problem could return when his nails re-grew.
So off to the local health store I went.
What I didn’t know at the time was that all essential oils are not created equal. I assumed (wrongfully), that if a label said it was 100% pure essential oil and that it was labeled as therapeutic grade, that the two competitor bottles contained the same substance. I was wrong.
With the first couple bottles in hand, my husband began applying the oils. After months and months of consistent and repetitive use, he saw little to no change. So the bottles sat in our cupboard and life went on. I didn’t give the matter much more thought.
As life went on, we soon found our family blessed with the birth of our fourth son. I was still home with him on maternity leave at the time. But I was just gearing up to begin working again at my law practice full time.
I was struggling.
My fourth baby boy had been born a bit earlier than expected and he wasn’t digesting his milk well. We’d tried all the traditional methods of cutting foods out of my diet because I was nursing – to rule out an allergy. In the end, his pediatrician thought it was simply a sensitivity resulting from his digestive tract being a bit immature since he was born early via c-section.
Digestive problems meant gas pains. Gas pain for a baby means more trouble sleeping. That led to one sleep-deprived mama.
So as I was getting ready to return to work full-time, sleep-deprived and exhausted, I didn’t know how I was going to do it. Then I saw a friend bragging about how she was diffusing essential oils to help her young son sleep through the night. I immediately messaged her and thought – whatever she’s doing, I am going to try it. So I dove in a little deeper with essential oils. I snagged a diffuser and some basic oils to try.
As I began using my oils more, I started doing more research. I was curious about them more and more as I saw some success for my family. The oils were helping my little one sleep better. So I wondered what else we could do with them.
I found a couple research articles (ones that appeared legitimate), where scientists had studied whether some oils might be able to support our digestive tract. Bingo! They were speaking my language!
So I researched proper dilution ratios, mixed up a roller, and applied the oils to my son’s abdomen. Low and behold, he began to have healthy bowel movements within about an hour of applying the oils. I was a believer – then and there! His regular digestive movements led to less gas which improved his sleep patterns even more. I was a happy mama again!!!
From there, I dug even deeper. I found articles about how some oils were studied for their potential to boost our immune system, to support respiratory function, to ease common daily discomfort, and to support a calm and soothing energy. Who doesn’t need more of all of that!
From there, we began diffusing almost non-stop throughout the days and nights. I quickly expanded my collection to the point where I now diffuse oils in nearly every room of our house.
I have blends I love to diffuse for uplifting aromas (for gloomy winter days), to assist in focus and concentration (which is great for my son who struggles to focus after school when he’s doing homework), for calming my mood (when my anxiety ramps up), and so much more. Every day of the winter months, for at least 4-6 hours I diffuse a blend that contains oils that have been studied for their immune-boosting properties. I figured what could it hurt.
Our results have been that our family has been sick less often. When we do get sick, we avoid passing every illness we get to every member of our household. I’m gonna let that sink in. There are 7 of us. So if one of us were to get it, we all used to get it. That was a nightmare! And last, we bounce back quickly!
Now we also incorporated some supplements to help boost our immune system because the more I learned, the more I realized that I trusted plant-based products to support our bodies.
But I’ll tell you that I don’t regret my decision to give essential oils a try one bit. In fact, it was one of the best decisions I made for our family’s overall health & wellness!
You can research the myths and claims and studies surrounding essential oils for days. You’ll find conflicting information. You’ll find some crazy opinions. In the end, you may have to try them out for yourself – but know where your oils are coming from!
What I know beyond my own personal experience is that a close family member was regrettably diagnosed with cancer. In that family member’s journey, they came to me with a list of oils that their doctor recommended that they use to ease unpleasant symptoms of their treatment plan. The recommendation list was printed on paper from a well-known medical provider.
I also know that when I first started on my journey, I sought the approval of my children’s pediatrician. He didn’t discourage me one bit. In fact, he chuckled and said he was surprised it took me that long to begin using them. And when one of my kids was diagnosed ill with influenza, the pediatrician’s staff was astonished at how well he recovered and credited our immune boosting protocol as a big reason he bounced back in less than 36 hours.
Now, my personal stories are not a medical claim. I am not a controlled study. We also exercise, eat healthy, and work to provide a well-rounded path of wellness. But I will never be without my essential oils.
Remember how my story began? Well let’s just say that my husband was pleased with the new oils I found.
If you’ve never given them a try, you should be careful to ensure that you know what you’re getting. I buy essential oils that come from a company that is heavily involved in the sourcing of every drop of oil they sell. They have a system in place to ensure that their oils are not adulterated, are a high-quality therapeutic grade, and I have experienced the difference in quality.
Some ground rules to know if you’ve found quality oils:
- They shouldn’t smell sweet; they should smell like a plant. Essential oils are the essence of a plant. So they should smell just like the plant itself. They are generally earthy and plant-like in scent.
- They shouldn’t have an expiration date. Although the therapeutic value drops as an essential oil ages, an expiration date is an indicator that there is something more than essential oil in that bottle (like a carrier oil or a different substance that dilutes it).
- If the essential oil indicates it is only for aromatherapy and cannot be applied to the skin, that is a big warning sign. Essential oils can all be safely applied to skin within limits. Citrus oils should never be applied to an area exposed to sunlight because they are photosensitive. And many oils should be diluted. But a true, pure, therapeutic-grade essential oil can be applied to the skin.
- If the essential oil is generally safe for ingesting (like lemon oil) but the brand you’re looking at is not safe for ingesting, it’s because the company selling it doesn’t know what is truly in that bottle. So I won’t buy oils like that!
Last but not least – educate yourself. There are a few oils that can be unsafe for those with a seizure disorder and for nursing/pregnant mamas. Thankfully there are some great resources that exist to help you on your journey.
Bottom line – if you’re interested in giving oils a try – I say go for it. But know what you’re buying and learn how to use them safely. Be sure to find educational resources to help you. If you need to know where to start, let me know and I am happy to help share some additional tips from my journey!
I hope you found this helpful to begin to navigate the world of essential oils. There is so much more I could share, but this is a beginners starting point! As always I hope this post finds you happy, healthy & thriving in life!