Monday, 6 October 2014

Essential Oils - More than just a lovely smell?






Ok, so, the main thing you need to remember when you read this post is that I am seriously pro modern medicine.

I literally have the biggest medicine cabinet in the world. If you have any kind of minor ailment, then I probably have something for it. Particularly after my horrendous morning sickness, which only made me add more drugs to my collection.

I'm the one telling people to take a damn paracetamol if they have a headache. For me, there has been a lot of time, effort and energy spent on research so that these drugs can be developed, licensed and sold, and they are there to be used.

I took the anti sickness tablets that were offered to me during my pregnancies (and very gratefully). I had the most medical labour and delivery possible bar a c-section. I was induced, at my request, and made it perfectly clear that I was not going to labour without an epidural. And I'd do exactly the same should I ever find myself needing to give birth to a baby again.

I am a huge control freak, and if I can control it, I am definitely going to select that option. Controlling when I went into labour and the pain levels was a no brainer for me. I also happily accepted the advice on taking painkillers during my recovery period and took them exactly as I was instructed.

Can you spot the however coming up? ;-)

However, especially since I've had my two babies, I have been wishing that there weren't so many side effects to the medications that are littering my medicine cabinet. Even my contraceptive pill (which I have taken without thought for well over a decade) has so many potential side effects and increased risks that it does occasionally keep me up at night, trying to come up with an equally convenient alternative.

I'm sure everyone knows that the key to staying as healthy as possible, and therefore not needing many of the over the counter medications, is a good diet, lots of sleep and reduction in stress levels. Which is all well and good when you are actually in control of all of that. My diet is good, and getting better all the time, but there are two tiny whirlwinds in charge of my sleep and my stress level, and they have complete disregard for either.

So sometimes I have a brain busting headache. Sometimes I get a stomach bug from the bug infested being that is a child in nursery. Sometimes I have to deal with time of the month cramps... you get the picture.

My kids teethe, and it hurts them. They get every bout of the flu going round. They get chest infections and need antibiotics (not to mention the fun of trying to nebulise a two year old!). And I feel pretty helpless. I can't really fix most of their problems, because they are kids and they are building their immune systems, so catching every bug going is pretty inevitable. The only options that have really been available to me are things like paracetamol, ibuprofen and anti sickness medication.

It's funny, once you open yourself up to diet and lifestyle changes, exactly how many things appear that you just had no idea about. The information on the internet is absolutely amazing, and yet I seem to spend most of my time on Facebook reading about what people have for lunch and the funny pictures they find of random cats.

So when you start using the internet for what it was intended for, the results are fascinating. One lifestyle change leads on to another and another and another. All the information well presented with links to research and science type stuff that I really love!

So, one of my favourite Paleo blogs is The Paleo Mama. I love the way Jackie writes and the glimpses you get into her life. So while I'm reading her blog, obviously it doesn't just contain information about the Paleo diet and recipes (however useful they may be). Her blog, like most blogs, deals with topics that are close to her heart, or bouncing around in her head.

One of those topics was essential oils. I skipped most of these posts initially, after all, essential oils were just what was added to massage oil when you went to the spa to make the oil smell nice, right?

Hmmmm wrong, apparently. According to the internet research I have done, there are actual medical studies on the effects of essential oils, and essential oils actually seem to be doing our bodies some good.

Like this study where the essential oil Melissa was added to a lotion and applied to the arms and legs of patients who developed severe agitation as part of the progression of their severe dementia. 60% of the patients who were given the essential oil mix (rather than the placebo) showed a reduction in their clinical agitation score (CMAI).

Further reading also made me realise that quite a few of the medicines that are prescribed are actually derived from plants. For example codeine and morphine are both derived from the poppy. See here for a list of other medications derived from plants, the list is far too long and complicated to post here!

Who knew?

Definitely not me.

But I guess, when you consider that our bodies are what we put into them, and what our bodies seem to respond to is natural, unprocessed produce, perhaps it isn't such a leap to suggest that using concentrated doses of plants (i.e. essential oils) can support the body and assist the body to heal itself.

I guess that just as I looked at the clean eating diet, the gluten free diet and the Paleo diet as a bit of an experiment, "try it out and see what happens, it can't hurt", I should look at essential oils in the same way. If they don't make a difference, no harm done, and if it can help, even in the smallest of ways, isn't that worth knowing?

I think that it is. I think it is worth a try. And so I embark on one of the strangest things I have ever done. Adding essential oils into my life to see if they can actually improve my health and the health of my family.

I wasn't really sure where to start, there are so many other essential oil companies out there. So I did some reading and I decided that for me, and for my own personal science experiment, I was going to use doTERRA essential oils.

I will report back with my findings, no matter how bizarre they may turn out to be!

If you are interested in doTERRA essential oils, click here for details on how to get started!

Please join my Facebook group on essential oils and like my Facebook page to be kept up to date on my latest blog posts. 

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