Thursday, May 25, 2017

Essentially, Oils Can Make a Difference

My friend and co-worker Melanie has good ideas. She is the one who introduced me to audiobooks, and I'm forever grateful. I'm trying out a standing desk now, which is a good option (but never for the whole eight hours at work), and I've begun using essential oils in a diffuser.

I was skeptical. I understood how sniffing a pungent smell could affect my sinuses (thanks, Passover horseradish!), but it never occurred to me that they could change my environment.

Until both Melanie and I came down with the flu within about 48 hours.

Melanie had essential oils in her office, and she dabbed some eucalyptus on a tissue and taped it to my blowing heater. The smell emanated through the small room and my sinuses felt the relief. At lunch, I picked up a diffuser at lunch and some essential oils, and set up the diffuser in my bedroom.

Alas, diffusers all feature lights — and no matter the claims, there is no true "unlit" phase of any diffuser I've reviewed or purchased (and I've purchased a few). I prefer a dark bedroom at night, so I have rigged a cover for the lit area. It doesn't quash it, but it does tap it down a bit. Additional light tip: darker lights are less bothersome at night.

I was a little overwhelmed by the oil choices. At work, I wanted to be calm but alert. At home, I wanted to go to sleep. How should I combine oils to do that, and more, without earning certification in aromatherapy? Well, choose a couple of websites or books, decide what you think will work for you, and experiment.

I like Valerian root, but I sent a floral, citrusy mix to my granddaughters. My friend in a new home got tea tree oil and lavender. I have Rosemary in the office, and mix lavender with everything. So far, so good. Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble, nothing has wilted, exploded, or melted.

(You do want to keep an eye on furniture and books near the diffuser. I have a marble nightstand, and dust stuck better to the surface after the diffuser went into action. At work, my diffuser aims up toward the ceiling, and my desk and accessories haven't changed texture — but I attribute that to the cleaning staff, rather than the oils.)

Apparently, I am the last person to this party: a few other friends also were in the know. A friend had just met an essential oil expert before we began discussing it, and another had thought about using them but didn't know where to begin.

Essential oils have been around for a while, and I have found they they can help me accomplish my physical goals, whether it's sleep, alertness, calm, creative thinking, cleansed air, open sinuses, clear skin — or more.

I recommend choosing a reliable resource for information, and making sure the oils are good quality. Use oils only as directed, and read the instructions: if they alert you to photosensitivity or skin sensitivity, take the alert seriously. Do not be subject of the horror story of the person who uses oils right before hopping into a tanning bed, or doesn't add them to the proper base materials, or just pours them into a cleanser off the drug store shelf.

Sure, the current commercial focus on essential oils and diffusers may fade, but remember that oils have been around for centuries, and will be around long after any "fad" fades. Much like acupuncture and meditation, good practices will remain, and will work for you, for years to come. Try something new, or old — or new to you, and learn something about yourself and your environment.

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