Nurses, like me, are taught about the holism of human beings and how adopting a holistic approach can enable us to address our patients’ health needs and concerns even better. This means that other facets of humanity, apart from physiological aspect of the human body, must be tapped and/or explored.
This is the very reason why I developed deep interest on essential oils.
In my previous post entitled “Are EOs the Bomb?”, I mentioned that I purchased several essential oils from a local online seller called Oiler Moms. Here in the Philippines, they sell essential oils in various amounts and forms. They have it in inhalers, which I and my boyfriend tried a couple of months ago, as well as decanted or re-bottled. My recent purchase came in cute 3 ml bottles as shown in the photo above.
Ever since I got them last Wednesday (20 February 2019), I haven’t stopped using them. This is so I would know if they, indeed, work as essential oil enthusiasts claim them to be. Accordingly, I’ve been using the “focus blend” relentlessly in the hope that I can complement, if not substitute, my need for caffeine in accomplishing my law school readings.
But before I tell you my thoughts about how I respond to these essential oils, let me give you some fast facts and/or information, which I culled from some online sources, about them.
What are essential oils?
According to Healthline, essential oils are compounds extracted from plants. They are obtained through distillation or mechanical methods. Others are extracted through expression or supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2) extraction. However, it is to be noted that they are called “essential” oils because they are “essences” extracted from plants, not because they are indispensable to human life.
According to one of University of Minnesota’s Taking Charge of Your Health & Well Being posts, not all plants produce essential oils. However, when one does, these oils may be extracted from its roots, leaves, flowers, or fruits. Well, perhaps, that explains why some of the essential oils I’ve tried do not smell citrus or fruity at all. Some smell like wood or grass.
How exactly do essential oils work?
Honestly, this is what puzzles me a lot. The results of various studies conducted on this matter are scant and most of the time equivocal.
According to some research and online reports I’ve read in the past, essential oils are mere placebos. This means that they have no direct medical benefit, but nevertheless make people feel better or benefit psychologically. Imagine your good old teddy bear calming you during the storm or in the dark when you were a kid? That’s more like it.
On the other hand, some users claim that essential oils provide a number of therapeutic benefits whether inhaled or used topically. Most claims for positive results pertain to alleviation of symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress. Some even say that essential oils are concentration boosters. Again, this is one of the main reasons why I was drawn to trying them out. Meanwhile, in some NCBI studies, essential oils are found to be working effectively only when combined with several other interventions.
Sadly, no single bunch of studies point categorically and clearly to any medicinal or therapeutic benefit that may be derived from essential oils. All of them recommend that “further studies must be done on the subject matter.
How to use essential oils?
Essential oils may be used topically or on the skin while others may be inhaled via inhalers. If you are feeling fancier, you may use oil diffusers to inhale them.
Some say it can be mixed with food or drinks (I have a friend who actually does it!), but I will not recommend that really. Neither does the Australian Department of Health, which maintains that “essential oils are not safe to consume and can cause significant poisoning even if small amounts are ingested”.
As for me, I use my essential oils topically. I have no choice; I purchased mine in rollies.
So, how was my response to my essential oils?
So far, it’s good. The essential oils I purchased has been serving me well, making me fall asleep easier and focus more than before.
I am one of those who experience so much trouble in sleeping but are too “in denial” to call themselves insomniac (Lol). Perhaps, this is due to my “shattered” circadian rhythm (also known as “sleep-wake cycle) from having to stay up late to do freelance writing work and read my law school lessons until the wee hours of the morning. When I was still working a 9-6 job in the government, I pretty much have a consistent sleeping time. Maybe because too much stress from administrative work leaves me with no other choice but sleep. Now, my boyfriend and family members liken me to a night owl or vampire. But then, when I used the “sleep blend” from Oiler Mom’s stash, and combined it with the so called vita flex points for sleep, I snoozed off almost easily!
As for the “focus blend” I mentioned above, I have used it a number of times while reading at home and in our law school library. It has this woody but gentle smell that I find calming at the same time. I use it whenever I have to read concepts on Taxation Law. So far, it keeps me focused and uplifts my mood despite having to digest taxing taxation concepts (No pun intended!).
However, I’d like to make sure.
As justices and lawyers would say, “to doubt is to sustain.” As a nurse and woman of science, I don’t want to jump to hasty conclusions. As researches on essential oils reveal that they work under mixed conditions, I cannot be complacent. While I have not experienced adverse reactions from using them, I cannot say yet whether or not they really have a therapeutic value on their own. Their effects on me might still be influenced by certain conditions. Perhaps, I was just too stressed out from attending my law school classes when I used the essential oils, enough for me to snooze off easily. It could be that the ambiance in our law school library was just too conducive for reading and learning, which made it possible for me to concentrate on my readings for five hours straight.
I have to try using my essential oils under different environments and circumstances just to check if I will respond favorably and in the same way I did these past few days.
At any rate, I’ll keep you posted.