Mind+Body+Spirit - March 2019
- story by Denise Jacobs
As a patchouli gal from way back, I am happy to have discovered a resurgence in the use of essential oils right here in our Gulf Coast neighborhood. Maybe it has something to do with the gnats.
Some contend that essential oils make good insect repellent. Just the other day I ran into someone buying a Vanilla-Musk cologne at The Dollar Store as a gnat repellent. It’s apparently so popular that an entire local Little League team smells like vanilla cupcakes when they get on the field — or so I’m told. Reminds me of my high school favorite, Tabu by Dana.
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Today’s essential oils marketplace includes both essential oils —compounds extracted from plants — and oil blends with their own unique aromas (think Musk). Essential oil aficionados credit oils with the ability to support all the systems of the human body, emotionally, physically and spiritually.
Oils are recommended for mood management, exercise and weight management, sleep, self care, and household cleaning—and insect repellant. The oils are said to uplift and energize, and who couldn’t use more of that?
Much like a living plant, an essential oil captures a plant’s scent and flavor — or its essence. As you might imagine, peppermint is associated with boosting energy and helping with digestion.
Lavender — local Young Living (YL) Essential Oils distributor Jamie Skladzien’s best seller — is used for stress release. Sandalwood is said to calm nerves, Chamomile to increase mood and relaxation, and Tea Tree oil to reduce infection.
While some studies have shown that use of essential oils might have health benefits, most medical professionals are still skeptical (this Mayo Clinic article is typically cautious). Yet, testimonials abound about the benefits of aromatherapy with essential oils.
Starfish Café owner, Di Filhart was diagnosed with early-moderate Alzheimer’s in 2014. She was on medication, and the disease was progressing. With the support of Skladzien, who owns Mane Salon, right across the street from the Starfish Café), Filhart began a protocol using essential oils to fight the dreadful disease. Twenty-one months later, Filhart credits the oils with recovery of her cognitive function.
Carole Sullivan, a long-time client, has found that a combination of Peppermint and YL PanAway rid her of shoulder discomfort and help her sleep at night. Holly Bishop Moran, Pass Christian, finds that essential oils have enhanced her prayer life and spiritual well-being.
On the other hand, a 2015 Washington Post article entitled “When it Comes to Essential Oils, do your Research,” presents a still-relevant argument that, while essential oils can offer health benefits, they can also be harmful if used incorrectly.
As with any reputable distributor, Skladzien would tell you the same. The use of essential oils is not without risk. It is probably just common sense to test your skin before applying, to dilute oils, and to follow a doctor or expert’s recommendations for usage.
Personally, rather than risk guilt by association with the musky, sweet, spicy hint of counter-culture revolution, free love, and Jefferson Airplane, my heavy use of Patchouli went the way of Birkenstocks in 2001 when I began my career as a university writing instructor at Louisiana State University.
Still, I am a fan of many of several essential oil blends and deeply enamored with their metaphorical names, like Gratitude, Acceptance, Release, Peace & Calming, Grace, Dream Catcher, and Envision--you get the idea.
To me, the names alone are strong medicine. I’ve found that working with the intention of a particular oil—whether I’m diffusing it or mixing it with a carrier oil and slathering it on my wrists—helps me move in a particular direction.
I like to practice writing “under the influence” of different oils and blends. One of my best experiences is with YL’s Surrender, a mesh of Lavender, Black Spruce, and Roman Chamomile. The literature suggests that the blend helps cast off the inhibitions that might limit our potential.
In the end, surrender is an essential aspect of creativity, right? There comes a moment when we have to cast off the inner critic and surrender to the process. Still, whether it is the alchemy of the oil blend or the metaphor of surrender that makes the difference, I couldn’t say. Maybe a little of both.
This article should not be considered as medical advice.