The Empowered Patient Series – September 2018
Back in the year 2000, I was still pretty new in my massage therapy practice when I became pregnant in November. I had received some aromatherapy training during my massage school, so I knew there were some properties in essential oils that would not be safe to use during pregnancy. Thank goodness for the internet back then and I was able to find out which essential oils (eo’s) I needed to avoid. Apparently my favorite massage lotion had Sage eo in it, and Sage (Salvia officinalis) is known as an abortifacient, which means it causes an abortion. Well I certainly didn’t want that!
I also had high blood pressure during my pregnancy, so that meant I could not use anything that could potentially raise my blood pressure such as rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) or juniper (Juniperi communis). Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea) is also an essential oil that needs to be avoided during pregnancy because it acts on the body just like estrogen.
Have you noticed that every time I write out the name of an essential oil, it’s followed by a name in parenthesis? This is the scientific or Latin name of the essential oil. It is always written in italics with the first name capitalized but not the second. Why is this important?
Most people are quite familiar with the benefits of Lavender essential oil. But how many different types of lavender are there? Quite a few. The Lavender that is most commonly used is Lavandula angustifolia also known as true lavender or common lavender. This type is what gives us those wonderful properties of the essential oil that we all love so much. There are other types that are less potent and less expensive, so any time you want to purchase Lavender eo, make sure you see (Lavandula angustifolia) after the name.
My favorite story to tell about essential oils, and the history of how essential oils became the healing products that we know today, is the story of a French chemist and perfumist, Rene Maurice Gattefosse. In 1910, Monsieur Gattefosse was burned in a laboratory explosion, which left untreated would have caused gangrene. He applied the “essence of Lavender” to his hands which he claimed “stopped the gasification of tissue”. He later wrote a book in 1937 called Aromatherapie, which was the first time the phrase aromatherapy was used.
To this day, Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil is always kept in my kitchen so that it can be applied to a burn instantly. Try this the next time you burn your hand on the toaster or oven. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and Tea Tree (Mellaleuca alternifolia) are the only two essential oils that can be applied neat, meaning directly to the skin without needing a carrier oil. Carrier oils are used to dilute essential oils so the eo’s can be applied directly to the skin. These are usually extracted oils from nuts, seeds or kernals of plants such as almond, olive, coconut, etc. For massage oils in a pinch, I’d use the olive oil from my kitchen cabinet and blend the eo’s directly from there. This is the easiest, most readily available, however, olive oil, including extra virgin olive oil, still has a mild scent to it and can therefore, effect the desired scent of the essential oils. My personal favorite now is to use extra virgin coconut oil, which sometimes still has that scent, but I like it better.
Now, because I’m “old school” with my aromatherapy teachings, I still hold true to these two oils being the only oils I would apply neat to the skin. Almost 20 years later, it seems that everyone is willing to apply essential oils neat to the skin. Young Living is an essential oil company who created an entire Raindrop Technique which applies quite a few of the savory essential oils neat to the skin along the spine. I am NOT in favor of this, nor do I recommend this, however many people swear by this.
I am rather a connoisseur, okay let’s face it, I’m a SNOB when it comes to essential oils. I tend to really resonate with the rather expensive and rare oils and resins and I know what to smell for when judging the appropriateness of an essential oil. I guess I am a bit of a sommelier (wine steward) of essential oils. I also love to tell the stories about how some of the oils came to be.
I had an aromatherapy company in the early 2000’s where my partner and I would do “Home Fragrance Parties”. Similar to a Pampered Chef party or a Tupperware Party, we would have a hostess invite all of her friends and we would tell the stories about the essential oils to include the physical healing properties, emotional and even spiritual properties. We made products such as whipped body butter, lotion bars, anointing oils, etc. When the tsunami of 2004 hit Sri Lanka and the Pacific Rim, many of our raw materials became too expensive to buy and make products, so we closed the company and I focused on my massage practice instead.
I have finally decided to partner with DoTerra oils because I like their oils and how they are cleanly cultivated. Unfortunately, their oils are on the more expensive side compared to what you can purchase at Whole Foods, or now even Target sells essential oils. The old adage of “you get what you pay for” plays an important role in this. You are getting a rather high quality product, enough that I am impressed to provide these oils in my practice.
Disclaimer. Integrity is one of my highest values and I do not believe it is appropriate for a doctor to be involved in what is essentially a multi level marketing company. I have no problem selling products directly to my patients, but I will not ever try to sign up a patient to sell products under my name. Unfortunately, this is the only way that these companies do business, therefore, it’s utterly important to me to find an individual who knows just as much, if not more, about essential oils as I do. I have found this person. She is Brenna Gregg.
Brenna will be presenting in the next Empowered Patient Series on Wednesday, September 19, 2018, 7pm, at the Fusion Chiropractic office. This is a free event and there is never an obligation to purchase anything at these events. The Empowered Patient Series is all about educating people about their options and communication in healthcare. Brenna will be available to tell her story and how you can use essential oils in your life. If you are interested in further information, we will have that information available for you so that you can meet with Brenna at a future time if you are so interested.
Please invite your friends to this event. You do not have to be a current patient to attend these events. Snacks and drinks will be provided. If you are interested in how to make some of these essential oil products such as whipped body butter or lotion bars, just let me know and we will schedule that class as well.