by Lisa M. Wolfson
I was introduced to essential oils while receiving treatment for breast cancer, as a way to relieve the nausea, stomach discomfort and anxiety that were side effects of chemotherapy and radiation.
Essential oils are highly aromatic liquids found in specialized cells or glands of plants and extracted through distillation. Essential oils are highly concentrated, so a little goes a long way. They can be beneficial simply through inhalation. Therapeutic grade essential oils can also be ingested.
Throughout my treatments and still today I carry a change purse with small bottles of essential oils from youngliving.com. My original tool kit contained peppermint, lemon, frankincense and lavender.
Peppermint can act to relax or invigorate, depending on the circumstances for which it is used. I used peppermint oil to help with nausea by adding a drop to herbal tea or placing a drop on my tongue. I also place a drop on my tongue for freshening my breath. I apply a drop of peppermint oil under my nose each morning to jump start my day. I also apply it throughout the day at the back of my neck and shoulders to keep my energy up. You can also inhale or rub a drop of peppermint oil on your stomach to help with minor intestinal discomfort when travelling. I often diffuse peppermint oil for a nice relaxing, cooling fresh scent. Inhale or diffuse peppermint essential oil mid-morning to curb the desire to snack.
My morning routine contains a few drops of lemon oil in my water to detoxify my blood and liver, making it a staple in my cancer prevention plan. Inhaling lemon oil can be a great replenisher for your mind, body and spirit. Add it to your salads or chicken dishes for added flavor. Lemon oil also has many household uses that can replace unhealthy chemicals. Lemon and water in a spray bottle can be used to help cleanse and sanitize surfaces.
I add a few drops of lavender oil with water in a spray bottle and lightly spray my bed sheets for relaxing sleep. Diffusing or inhaling lavender oil can help calm my mind, body and spirit after a hard day’s work. It can help set the mood for social gatherings. Lavender can be used to soothe minor burns and chapped skin. You can put a few drops of lavender on a cotton ball and place in a drawer or closet to scent your linens and repel moths and insects. A few drops on dryer sheets can also deodorize and freshen linens.
Frankincense has always been a calming scent for me, instilling a spiritual connection and imparting the warming sense of the holidays. Diffused frankincense sets a mood of familiarity and recollection of happy occasions. I feel safe and at ease when surrounded by the scent of frankincense. Frankincense also has anti-tumoral properties. Many breast cancer survivors gently rub frankincense on their breasts as part of their prevention protocol. Sandalwood, another favorite of mine, is often used for this purpose as well.
Since starting with these basic essential oils I have expanded to others such as ylang ylang, angelica and blue tansy. I make a kit for my son at the start of each year of school, containing the basic lemon and orange for ingesting, lavender for calming and peppermint for digestion and alertness. Then we usually add a new blend for fun.
Essential oils make great gifts, providing a quick mood lifter. They offer calming relief to someone going through difficult times. Many hospitals are using essential oils like lavender and peppermint to create a calming, soft-scented environment. The gentle smell of essential oils adds to their therapeutic benefits — they create a warm, calm atmosphere while also aiding with some of the issues patients are experiencing.
Whether using essential oils for specific benefits or the mere enjoyment of the many scents, everyone can find some pleasing scents and enjoy exploring the uses and benefits alike. And it is always wonderful to walk into someone’s home or office and be pleasantly surprised by an inviting scent.
Lisa Wolfson is a Reiki Master and lives in Rockville Centre, NY.