Connection, Rituals and Nurturing – How to use Essential Oils in Daily Life.

Essential oils are a potent tool to support health and well-being, from chronic illness to the common cold. There are an array of oils to choose from, each with powerful properties that help ease many symptoms both in the body and the mind. There are a myriad of ways they can be used too, which can actually be a little overwhelming, but no matter what my symptoms may be, or what essential oil I feel like using, there are three main ways that I incorporate them into my daily life:

Connection – to support a consistent connection with my body and to reconnect to myself when I feel out of sorts;

Esoteric Healing Eye Pillow
Taking a moment to reconnect with a scented healing eye pillow.

Rituals – to use the oils in daily rituals that support me to live with a steady rhythm and stay connected with what’s around me;

Simply lighting a scented candle when taking a shower makes all the difference to my morning.
Simply lighting a scented candle when taking a shower makes all the difference to my morning.

Nurturing – to use essential oils in a nurturing way that supports developing a deeper relationship with myself.

Feeling what part of my body I want apply cream to.

These ways can look quite different for each individual person, so here are some practical examples of how it can play out for me:

Connection – If I’m feeling a bit stressed, tired or distracted, I may take five minutes to sit and massage my wrists with some hand cream or massage oil blended with myrrh essential oil. This area feels particularly delicate to me and this action allows me to feel how tender my body is, so quite quickly it brings me back to myself which gives me a chance to address what ever is going on that resulted in me feeling out of sorts -hence the re-connection.

Using myrrh essential oil on my wrists.
Using myrrh essential oil on my wrists.

Rituals – In my daily tasks I like to bring a little touch of magic to what I do, I might add a sprinkle of lavender oil into my laundry powder or a few drops of lemon oil onto kitchen surfaces when I’m cleaning. It’s a way of bringing my innate quality to every day life and recognizing each moment as precious.

Appreciating the lavender bags in my wardrobe each morning when I choose what to wear.
Appreciating the lavender bags in my wardrobe each morning when I choose what to wear.

Nurturing – The more I build the connection with myself and the daily rituals in my life, the more deeply I feel I naturally nurture myself. It seems that if I care enough to commit to the other two, the nurturing builds by itself. It’s like I have more respect and time to care for myself. Rose is my favorite oil to use in this way, at the moment its in my face cream which also gets applied to other areas of my body that need attention, it’s likely to be in a perfume that I make (that I quite often just wear to bed) or a few drops in my shower gel which means my skin gets massaged with rose each morning –very delicious.

Adding a little rose oil to my face cream & cherishing myself as I apply it.
Adding a little rose oil to my face cream & cherishing myself as I apply it.

These are all simple ways that I use the oils and they don’t take too much time up. Everyone could use essential oils in their day to day life, perhaps in different practical ways depending on what they like and the practicalities of their day. But by bringing the focus to connection, rituals and nurturing, it tends to avoid the oils becoming just another quick fix for ailments and supports addressing the route cause of the issue. It also allows me to appreciate the real beauty and power in the oils, but also how important my part is in supporting my health and wellbeing.

If you would like to discuss how essential oils can support you or request a Bespoke Blend you can email me directly at laura@essenstialoilsandyou.co.uk.

For more inspiration on how to use essential oils read Nurture, Cherish, Adore – inspired by Natalie Benhayon.

Click here for more tips on developing Self Care Rituals.

How to use Essential Oils from Trees to Support our Respiratory System and in Skin Care.

One of the many things I love about essential oils is how the effect on our body is connected to the plant itself and that plants action in life. Trees produce oxygen by their mode of respiration which supports us with our respiration, so, it seems natural for the essential oil to support conditions that affect our respiratory system, like colds and coughs. When you breath in essential oils you can feel it in your body straight away, and this is very prominent with tree oils such as eucalyptus and pine. You can feel them cleaning and clearing as they pass from the tip of your nose deep down into your lungs. I feel my chest expand, even my posture changes and I will naturally be more open and stand taller – just like a tree. Everything is connected so it goes beyond the respiratory system, but it’s a good example of feeling for yourself in your body, how the oils can support.

Frankincense & myrrh have a less fierce action on the respiratory system, much more calming, helping to bring a gentleness back to your breath. They are a great support for conditions such as asthma, panic attacks, stress, anxiety and for use in meditation.

Click here for links to free gentle breath meditation audios, they are quick, simple and a very practical support for real life.

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Image care of Unimed Living

Frankincense is a great oil to scent the room with when you’re taking a moment to breath gently. Myrrh has a much subtler smell so doesn’t work that well in a burner, I prefer to massage this into my wrists to support connection with myself. Click here to read my blog on using myrrh in this way.

Frankincense and myrrh are also examples of how essential oils can act on our bodies in the same way they do so as a tree in life. The essential oil comes from the resin that is produced by the tree when the bark is cut or injured. The resin is a sticky, thick, goo that covers the affected area and then hardens to seal and protect the damaged site, it’s a bit like the way humans form a scab to protect their bodies when the skin is broken.

Can you see why frankincense and myrrh are used in skin care? The resin is healing the tree and the oil that is produced from the resin is used for it’s healing properties on our skin. Frankincense is one of the most popular ingredients in many skin care products. Myrrh is particularly affective in helping festering and difficult to heal wounds, especially in the mouth -it’s useful for mouth ulcers and popular in oral care for this reason (see my blog on gargling with myrrh for more details).  I also like to use myrrh on dry, hard, cracked skin, it’s the base of my blend for scars and usually appears in the skin care products I make -it has recently been working wonders for a client with bed sores.

Benzoin is similar to frankincense and myrrh, it is a tree that produces a resin that is made into an essential oil. It is very protective to the skin but has a very pleasing vanilla like scent that makes it particularly comforting to use for stress and anxiousness as well as in skin care.

I find that even the character of trees confirms how they work on the body. Large, tall strong trees like pines and firs and huge eucalyptus trees with tonnes of leaves are very expansive to the respiratory system, powerfully cleansing and clearing. Whereas the more delicate small trees like frankincense and myrrh work in a more gentle way, supporting reconnecting when you feel out of sorts. Both are very powerful but very different in action, a reflection of ourselves as humans; we all have different strengths and qualities that offer support in different ways.

Boswellia carteri tree
Boswellia carteri – the tree that produces frankincense essential oil from its resin.

You could not compare the delicacy of a flower that may last a few days or weeks to the strength of a huge oak that could live for generations. One is not better than another, for each brings a natural beauty that is needed. In this same way, we can appreciate each other for our natural qualities, we all have something to bring to this world of value and it is a true gift for humanity when we share these in full.

A List of the most popular Essential Oils, their Uses and Cautions.

A list of the most popular Essential Oils, their Uses & Cautions (in alphabetical order).

To help you choose which essential oils to use in what ever you’re making, be it bath blend or room scent, here is a list you can refer to with some of their most useful properties and any cautions you need to be aware of.

I will be constantly updating this list, so if there are any essential oils that do not appear yet or that you would like more details on, then please contact me, or comment on the post and I can add to the list.

Basil (sweet basil) ~ Supports digestive problems, another great oil for a tummy balm blend.

Caution ~ Avoid in pregnancy (due to varied methyl chavicol/estragole content). Maximum 2% blend strength. 

Basil essential oil

Black pepper ~ Similar to eucalyptus in effect – powerfully clearing, specifically great for respiratory system, especially lungs. Also great for muscle aches & pains but black pepper is much more warming and gentle than eucalyptus. A lovely oil to use in the evening in a bath blend, or if you feel you are run down or ‘coming down’ with something.

Caution ~ possible irritant to some in high dose.

Cardamom ~ Gently soothing tummy aches and nausea, supports appetite and is refreshing and comforting. A great oil for children, for travel sickness or for morning sickness.

Chamomile (german) ~ Very anti-inflammatory, so perfect for any condition with inflammation from bumps and bruises to arthritis and gout. It’s also good for skin inflammation especially bites, but Roman Chamomile ay be more suitable if it’s for delicate sore skin, as it’s more gentle.

Caution ~ Sensitisation possible, avoid with ragweed allergy.

Chamomile

Chamomile (roman) ~ Gentle, soothing and calming, great for very delicate skin, and skin conditions. Relieves itching, and allergies.  See my blog on Chamomile for Skin Conditons  for more details. A great oil for children.

Caution ~ Potential sensitivity to those with ragweed allergy.

Clove ~ Very powerful pain reliever, especially where there is nerve pain. Useful for toothaches and for warming and releasing aches and pains.

Caution ~ Maximum blend strength 1%. Sensitisation possible. Caution with hyper sensitive, diseased or damaged skin. Not suitable for children under 2 years.

Eucalyptus (globulus) ~ Powerfully clearing, specifically great for respiratory system, especially lungs. Also great for muscle aches & pains.

Eucalyptus radiata ~ this species of eucalyptus is more gentle than the globulus, so I would use it with children, elderly, or if someone feels the globulus is too fierce.

Frankincense ~ A fantastic skin oil, very good for dry and mature types. Also good for calming and focusing on breathing so very useful in a burner to scent the room and to help calm anxiety.

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Geranium ~ Very sweet and feminine, balances the endocrine system, a great oil to use to support females cycles and any hormone related issues, including irregular periods and menopause. A very lovely, sweet and fresh oil for young women.

geranium essential oil

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) ~ Powerfully cleansing and clearing. Helps clear stress and tension. Great for supporting sleep. Very anti-microbial and great natural antiseptic. See my blog on Lavender Essential First Aid  for more details.

Caution ~ There are no cautions with Lavandula angustifolia, it is a very user friendly oil, but just ensure you buy a pure, good quality oil, especially if you intend to use it neat on your skin -you don’t want to be using a synthetic perfume quality oil on a spot or graze.

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Lemon ~ Cleansing and detoxifying, ideal for using in a face cleansing balm (with lavender). Fantastic oil to use in a burner to cleanse and brighten the atmosphere especially when someone is sick.

Caution ~ Phototoxic, meaning it reacts with sunlight (and sun beds), so avoid use on skin if exposed to sunshine. Citrus oils have a shorter shelf life, meaning they react with oxygen much quicker and can cause sensitisation and irritation.

Lemon essential oil

Mandarin ~ Very gentle to the skin, soothing and calming, a lovely one to add to an evening blend or for use in a blend for stretch marks. A great oil for children.

Myrrh ~ Deeply healing skin oil, especially for festering, difficult to heal wounds.  Great for connecting to and supporting breathing very gently. See my blog on Myrrh Essential Oil for more details and Gargling with Myrrh for oral problems.

Caution ~ Avoid in pregnancy, although can be useful in 3rd trimester to prepare for birth -seek professional advise here though.

Myrrh

Neroli (orange blossom) ~ Apart from smelling completely beautiful and delicate, it is very soothing and calming to the nervous system, and so has an amazing effect on all that the nervous system controls, so this would include digestion, muscle tension & emotions. It is a great oil for melting stress, and anxiety.

Peppermint ~ Great for muscle aches and pains, sometimes has a tingling sensation, great for refreshing feet. Supports digestion, would make a great tummy or foot balm.

Caution ~ Do not use if cardiac fibrillation. Maximum blend strength 3%. Avoid use with babies.

Rose (Rose otto – Rosa damascena or Rose absolute – Rosa centifolia)~ Deeply nurturing, great for those self-loving moments. Very supportive for women and men. A gorgeous oil to use in beauty and skin care, particularly for mature and dry skin.

Leonardo da vinci flower study

Thyme (Mild – Thyme linalool)~ Powerfully anti-microbial, and anti-fungal, great for coughs, especially deep chesty ones. A fantastic oil to include in a blend for athletes foot.

Caution ~ Use this mild version of thyme. Avoid use on hyper sensitive or damaged skin. Do not use with children under 2 years. Maximum blend strength 2%.

herbs

Yarrow ~ this unusual bright ink blue oil is highly anti-inflammatory and is great for any conditions where inflammation is present e.g. gout, arthritis, allergies, pain, breaks, strains. See my blog on Yarrow Essential Oil for more information.

Caution ~ yarrow can contain a varying amount of camphor in it, which means it is advisable to avoid with epilepsy, in pregnancy, and could cause sensitisation in ragweed allergy sufferers.

yarrow essential oils

Note: Always ensure you buy good quality essential oils from a trustworthy source. I will be launching my own range of essential oils very soon, in the meantime you can contact me to purchase: laura@essentialoilsandyou.co.uk

How to Gargle with Myrrh Essential Oil

After recently blogging about Myrrh essential oil and how amazing it is for massaging the wrists, I am now presented with a new opportunity to use it to support myself.  I’ve come down with a very sore throat, and have been using it in a mouth gargle to help soothe and disinfect my mouth.

Mouth Gargle Recipe:

A mouth gargle is so simple to prepare.

All you need is a trusty egg cup (or any little container to hold enough water for a mouth full),

some water,

and one or two drops of essential oil.

Instructions:

Fill the egg cup or small container with water, and add 1-2 drops of essential oil, then take the water into your mouth, and gargle for as long as you can.  Do not swallow.  I usually rinse my mouth with water afterwards as the taste isn’t that good.

You can also use lavender or tea tree essential oil in place of myrrh.  Or you could try one drop of myrrh and one drop of lavender.

I chose to use myrrh essential oil because it is very good for oral care.  It is antimicrobial, anti-septic, anti-inflammatory, anti-catarrhal and an expectorant so very useful for coughs and sore throats.

You can use this same recipe for a natural mouth wash after cleaning your teeth, and peppermint would be a refreshing essential oil to use here.

Myrrh is also very useful for other oral issues such as mouth ulcers, bad breath, laryngitis,  gum disease and oral thrush because it is anti-fungal, and can be used as a gargle or mouth rinse to help with these conditions.

How to use Myrrh Essential Oil – Connection and Massage

Myrrh essential oil is a great oil for supporting connection with self, its subtle aroma encourages a level of stillness to allow an appreciation of the scent. Gently massaged around your wrists brings focus to this delicate area of the body. The oil is made from a resin produced by the Commiphora myrrha tree; when the bark of this tree is damaged or cut the resin is released to seal the wound and this action is mimicked by the essential oil which is used in deep and difficult wound care.

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I wanted to share my recent experience of using myrrh essential oil in a cream or an oil and massaging it into my wrists. My wrists feel very delicate and precious, and it becomes natural to do this massage very tenderly and to really take the time to feel my wrists.

My wrists seems to be a piece of my body that in the past I hadn’t given much focus to. A friend of mine, Chris James, made a point of getting people to feel their wrists during one of his workshops (his workshops are an amazing way to really connect with your self).  He literally kept saying ‘Feel Your Wrists’ throughout the entire weekend.  It resonated with me and I started to notice many points through out my daily life that my wrists were being used.  Right now as I type on my key board for example, and when I’m driving in my car, these were initially two very obvious moments that were easy to bring attention to my wrists during the day.  As I began to notice them more, I actually realised how rough and careless I could be with them, the way I picked things up, closed doors or dried them in a hurry and I became aware of aches and discomfort. When I noticed this, I’d consciously take a moment to let go of any tension and let my wrists go floppy. Now, if I’m in  my car and stuck in traffic or at lights, then I often turn my wrists over as gently as I can and then back again or I notice if I’m holding the steering wheel with tension, and let my hold become more relaxed. When I’m at work I have a ‘wrist guard’  and a ‘mouse guard’ which is a foam pad to support my wrists as I’m typing, it lets my hands drop down, which feels more supportive to me.  I have recently incorporated a specific stretch for my wrists and hands during my morning exercises, all very simple ways to support my wrists.

It still took some time before I actually sat down to do a massage though, as there was something uncomfortable about massaging my wrists, it feels like such a tender, sensitive part of my body.  I knew I was avoiding it, so I began with just holding or feeling my wrists and then just massaging them without any cream or oil if they ached.

Eventually I decided I wanted to give my wrists that extra bit of care and attention and I began by mixing a couple of drops of myrrh essential oil into a pot of cream (see my blog on how many drops to use in a blend).  Myrrh is a particularly viscous oil and it takes  a really long time for a drop to fall from the bottle* so this process encouraged me to be present and if I noticed I was impatient, then I’d know I really needed to slow down and let the drop fall naturally.  The massage itself only takes a few moments, and I generally apply a little cream in anti-clockwise circles, when I’m in bed in the evening.  Sometimes they feel tender, sore or achey, and I  just notice this, and except that I have been using them a little too harshly and this awareness generally leads to naturally becoming more gentle when I use them.

I’ve been bringing focus to my wrists (as well as hands and finger tips) for some time now, and looking back over the last year, I can really appreciate how the more attention I have bought to this part of my body, the more gentle I have become with them.  It’s in the way I wash my hands, apply lotion afterwards, the way I close doors, chop vegetables, the way I open boxes or do the washing up. I feel the flow of this gentleness beyond my wrists, it’s up my forearms, across my shoulders and even in the way I use my whole body. I am more aware and more gentle than in the past and it continues to deepen. I can really appreciate how beautiful my wrists, hands and fingertips are and often enjoy moving them with grace and delicacy as if I’m dancing.

See my previous blog posts Taking care of your hands and Essential Oils in Hand & Nail care for more related reading.

Click here to buy Myrrh Essential Oil.

*Please note that myrrh essential oil oxidises very easily -this means that it reacts with oxygen, and it actually becomes very very sticky and stiff, so although you do need to be patient when dropping it from the bottle because it is thick, it is possible that it will oxidise and at some point will no longer drop from the bottle, in fact it can reach a point where you can’t get the lid off. Mine never usually lasts this long, but it would depend on how much it is exposed to the air, or if the bottle is close to empty then there is more air that it can react with.