Tuesday, 3 May 2016

The Power of Essential Oils, and why I can't make a recommendation for YOUR mental health



Recently I was part of an online forum in which I was asked to write about essential oils that are good for mental health. I couldn't do it. Firstly I am not an aromatherapist. I may have been using essential oils for close to thirty years for my own health, but I haven't done any formal training. I started courses a few times, but found them boring and quit. I don't want to answer multiple choice questions on how the Egyptians used oils, I want read about research and evidence.  I can read about research, clinical trials, case histories and opinions in books and online for myself. So can you! Secondly, I am not trained in mental health either. You can see my dilemma. How could I advise on such a thing.  I was that told I was over thinking things, and that I should just write about some oils that might help. That’s already been done though. By people that know much more than me (such as Gayle Eversole, Alternative Mental Health). I definitely believe oils have aided my mental health in the past, and I really hope you find something that helps you too. And although I decided I wasn't in a position to advise, I did decide to share my “over thinking”, for anyone that was interested. A copy of what I wrote follows.


Firstly let’s think about how we as modern western humans usually deal with our health issues. Somehow, over the last hundred years or so, maybe a little more, we have started to outsource our own health. Health is no longer a thing we feel in charge of ourselves. If we are sick we go to a doctor. We trustingly pick up the prescription, head off to the pharmacy and shell out a few more $$$ and take whatever little pill s/he gives us. We without really questioning or knowing what it is, or what it does, or where it comes from, or how it was made, or what evidence there is that it even works, or what the side effects might be. S/he’s the expert right? Better just do what the doctor says. The symptoms may go away. They may not. You might go back for more medicine, or give up, or wait until you're really sick again. Or maybe a naturopath? A more holistic approach, a step in the right direction? Perhaps, but you're still outsourcing your health to someone else, who is undoubtedly charging you for that service.

We do the same with diet too. Outsourcing what we eat. Should go to Weight Watchers or slimming world? Shall I be Paleo, or vegan? I know, I’ll buy everything gluten free, maybe dairy free… What about exercise? Should I do Step, or Spinning? How about this supplement, or that one. I know, I’ll ask someone…

At the end of the day, what this means is that we have given away our power with regard to managing our own health. We’ve done it willingly, and worse still we pay for the privilege. If we pay it must work. Capitalism has our own individual health working for it. If I consulted someone else and they said do this, they must be right. I don't know anything. I am powerless to help myself. I need a doctor/coach/dietitian/trainer/therapist.

I know this because I have been one of these people. Everything in this story has happened to me.

It’s true that all of these people can help and give you ideas. And I could tell you that I was in a really dark space mentally, feeling totally powerless over my whole life and that Balance Essential oil blend really seemed to help turn that around, and that within a month I felt invincible and had taken charge of my own destiny again. Or I could tell you that Citrus Bliss did the same for my friend who was in an abusive marriage and that she managed to leave, with three small children in tow! But I wont tell you to buy either of them or that they will work for you. I have no idea what will work for you. I don't know your situation or your history, or anything. The person who knows you best is YOU.

Another thing is that we are approaching the oils with the same attitude that we have been conditioned to use modern medicine. I have this symptom, what should I use to get rid of it. Although there is a lot of research out there about different oils being useful for different symptoms, there also seems to be lots of talk about using the oils to correct imbalances in your body, so that it can heal itself. Our immune system is amazing, when its working properly. Our body is a fabulous machine, finely tuned by years of evolution. We’re pretty damned awesome.

And this brings me to the thing I love about Essential Oils.  They have given me back the power to help myself, and my family and friends. They are our first go to for everything. I use them for cleaning, deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, travel sickness, to stay awake, to go to sleep, to balance hormones, boost the immune system...  But if was to tell you that I think you need to buy a bottle of balance to help your mental health, firstly I may be wrong, and most importantly I would be denying you the chance to have this power yourself.

Knowing that you have the power to heal yourself is a huge step towards healing anything and great for your mental well being.

There is a lot of information out there. Dr Google has lots of recommendations. You might find the info conflicting because that's the way it is. What works for one person might not necessarily work for the next because we are different. A friend was telling me just today about an experiment on cholesterol lowering foods, and what worked for one person actually made another person have higher cholesterol. There is no one size fits all. I would say that if you really want to know how oils can help you read and research a lot online, see what resonates with you, and then experiment. If you know someone like me that a whole collection of oils, ask for a sample. Give it a try.

I personally was drawn to balance essential oil by the smell. Something attracted me to it and at that time and I couldn’t get enough of it. I don't use it so much these days.  One person I listened to on the Essential Oils Summit, was Dr Susan Lawton. She suggested that if you want to know what you need, smell a few oils that have been shown to help others and see which one you are drawn to the most, then try that. Many people believe this helps. I have been to a few massage therapists that get you to choose the oil they are going to use that day in that way. It does make sense to me that the human body might be able to sniff out what it needs, and this is the way I would recommend if you have the option.

With regard to the Citrus Bliss that I sent to my friend… I have known her for a long time. Her relationship was toxic. She was physically and mentally abused. She had said she would leave many times, but he wore her down and convinced her to stay, for the kids, because she was nothing without him and wouldn’t cope. I had been reading about Citrus Bliss. It seemed to offer what she needed; to destress, focus, and energise. There is actually real scientific evidence that citrus oils can lift the mood too, particularly Lemon oil and Bergamot (Robert Tisserand talks about this here). I recommend you read all you can about an oil, and see if it fits with what you need right now. If it resonates with you, give it a try.

So there. Thats my view on oils for mental health. It's up to you. You have the power, don't give it to me or anyone else. Read, research, listen to other people’s stories and ideas but then do what feels right for you. YOU know you best. Honest, you do.


Lemons - Citrus oils have been shown to help lift the mood - Citrus Bliss
Citrus oils are commonly used to lift mood

If you are interested to know more about how you can start to take charge of your own health with essential oils please contact me

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