By Julia Ziegler, Marketing Intern
Essential oils have been around for thousands of years, yet they are just starting to gain attention in our modern world. Essential oils are concentrated extracts taken from the roots, leaves, seeds, or blossoms of a plant. Compared to modern, man-made pharmaceuticals, the idea of a natural remedy appeals to people. While only small amounts of research have been done on the biological effect of essential oils, in a culture where respected evidence is the leading focus of physicians and institutions, more research is in progress due to rising popularity.
Essential oils are used for a variety of purposes. They are known to cleanse and detoxify organs, strengthen the immune system, and offer emotional well-being. They can be inhaled through the nose or massaged into the skin — but all oils need be used with caution. Oils work by entering the body through the olfactory and limbic systems, as olfactory receptors are directly linked to the brain.
Kathleen Johnson, outpatient chemical health case manager, runs an aromatherapy group at Vinland. Kathleen is a strong believer in using essential oils in her everyday life, as well as with clients.
“Essential oils help boost moods and clear minds,” Kathleen said. “Lavender is known to calm the mind. Frankincense is good for meditating, calming, and spirituality. A blended oil called Thieves helps with cravings and urges, specifically nicotine.”
Lavender is a popular essential oil that has been used for centuries as a remedy for insomnia, anxiety, and depression. When the scent is inhaled, research shows lavender has sedative effects, slowing down the heart rate and putting one in a relaxed state. Frankincense is another century-old essential oil that was commonly burned as incense in ancient times. It is used to relieve anxiety and stress, as it inspires feelings of peace and heightens mental clarity.
Melissa Brickley, outpatient office associate, also supports essential oil use. She uses essential oils during her yoga classes with clients at Vinland.
“The most effective way to use essential oils for multiple people is by diffusing them and letting them purify the air,” Melissa said. “When essential oils are diffused, they remove toxins and balance the ions in the air. The oils I diffuse promote spirituality and meditation.”
The feedback from Vinland clients is positive. “A lot of clients say the oils work for improving their mood,” Kathleen said. “There were a few men who were brought to me because they were angry and upset. They were open to trying lavender oil for a calming effect, and they loved it and said it worked. One man kept coming back and asking for more.”
“I think there is a big shift in health care practices in general right now,” Melissa said about the growing popularity of essential oils. “Essential oils are something anyone can do. They are an easy, effective way for people to take charge of their own health.”
Disclaimer: The FDA has not evaluated or approved essential oils for medicinal use. This information is provided for educational purposes only. Please consult your physician before using essential oils.
Learn more about the research of essential oils at http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/treatment/aromatherapy