Let’s start here: I am not a medical doctor. I am a woman with a curious brain and believer in natural healing. The following is my opinion and should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult your physician regarding your own health.
I may be guilty of making this mistake from time to time as a regular essential oil user myself. I am so thrilled that more and more people are coming to know the effectiveness of these natural oils, but I’m also worried about the direction I see some people going in their usage. For years, I’ve been bothered by the idea of having to rely on a pill (or loads of pills) to help us feel “well”. That feeling is actually one of the reasons we started using essential oils in the first place. I believe, when possible, in letting the body heal itself with the help of natural remedies (herbs, real food, rest, etc) so essential oils make sense for us. I don’t believe in masking symptoms just to feel better, I’m all about feeling better of course, but I want to get to the root of the problem and BE well, not just feel well.
If you’ve searched “essential oil safety”, you’ll see that most of my fellow natural living bloggers have a link in that Google list. I could mirror their sentiments of caution about purity, dilution, allergies to oils, and safety during pregnancy and when using on children.
I could, and maybe I should at some point, but none of those things are the topic for today. While each of these precautions is important, very important, I don’t think any one of them is the “biggest mistake” we are making. Once I get this one out of the way, I think the rest will fall into place. This mistake, I think, will act as an umbrella for most of those mentioned above.
First, I want to say that if you’re using essential oils at all, please educate yourself. You may be able to drink 5 cups of peppermint tea a day but peppermint oil (and all oils) are far more potent! One to two drops of any oil is enough at a time or in one day, depending on the intended purpose.
The Biggest Mistake (I think) Essential Oil Users are Making
I know you’re ready for me to be out with it already, but I just wanted to add that this is my opinion and I have no doubt that some of my fellow “essential oil advocates” are not going to like this and will possible disagree. They have that right, and that’s okay with me.
The biggest mistake essential oil users make is treating the oils as if they are supreme.
There, I said it. In the same way that we’ve treated pills and other “quick fixes” as the answer, some essential oil users believe the oils to be a “cure all”.
Not every user, so don’t put your defenses up just yet, oily friend! I don’t know you and how you’re using your oils, this is a general statement based on articles I’ve read and groups that I’m in. Time and time again I see new (and experienced) users asking what oil to use for this or that and while there are oils that will help, I would catch myself chiming in with other solutions to try (keep reading to see some of them). Maybe some of them are taking other measures to help their body achieve optimal health, I don’t know this for sure, but based on the conversations I’ve seen and heard, I’m assuming that a lot of users are in fact treating their oils as supreme. Supreme meaning the best solution and/or the only solution.
Now listen up, I know how effective oils are. Remember, I use them daily for different things. I’ve seen sunburns disappear in a matter of hours, colds reduced to nothing in a day, sinus infections, bug bites, sore muscles, you name it and I’ve used an oil for it! They do work, there’s no doubt about it. I don’t leave the house without my oils.
Essential oils, while a more natural choice than most conventional medicine, should not simply be a replacement. They can be a replacement, but they shouldn’t simply be a replacement. Oils are most effective when taken in conjunction with other natural tools. The most important thing we can do physically for our body is to eat real, whole food. Many of our ailments would disappear if we properly nourished our bodies. Some would even argue that mental illnesses would disappear with a proper diet.
Too many people are relying on oils that suppress appetite to lose weight and not nourishing their bodies with real food or moving daily to shed the pounds. Too many people are using oils that zap headaches, but they aren’t hydrated. Too many parents want a quick fix for their child’s hyperactivity, but they still feed them junk food with artificial coloring. Too many people are taking oils daily for allergies, but won’t consider building their gut flora.
Proper nutrition aside, listening to and understanding your body is another great way to help it heal. Slow life and listen, know your body. Is that kink in your back new? Feeling congested this morning? Listen and equip yourself (through education) with other natural remedies that work in conjunction with your oils.
A Few Natural Remedies for Optimal Health
If you’re feeling ill, cut wheat and sugar from your diet. These two foods cause inflammation and feed bad bacteria in our bodies both of which cause most of our ailments. Eat cultured dairy (kefir is great, skip the yogurt–it’s high in sugar and artificial junk!). Eat lots of vegetables. Eat lots of fat, which helps you absorb the vitamins and minerals in your foods. Cut out processed foods. I know, “research is inconclusive” but I’m saying it anyway. All of the additives, artificial colors and flavors, hidden sugars are not good for our bodies. Eat foods rich in probiotics like kombucha, sourdough, sauerkraut. Eat real food. Try it for just 30 days and see what your body feels like.
A lot of physical ailments would be reduced to nothing if we were properly hydrated. Water flushes toxins from our body and reduces inflammation. Too many people think they’re hydrating their bodies from other sources, tea, coffee, soda, but our bodies need water! Bone broth is probably the single most important liquid to add to your diet, and not just when you’re ill, drinking it daily will prevent many illnesses. Water + Bone Broth = Health, it’s almost that simple.
Honestly, one of the most under utilized natural remedies is rest. Take a day off, even if you aren’t paid. Cancel the play date, skip the game. Your body will heal quicker if it’s not being stressed. Grab a cup of tea (or bone broth!) and relax. The dishes will wait, the kids can entertain themselves for 30 minutes. Fevers are a sign that something is not right with your body, so instead of masking the symptom (fever), rest and allow your body to heal. Ask for help if you need it, but get rest!
My life will never be the same. The real benefit of my monthly adjustment is to get my back into place, but there are many other benefits, including sinus improvements, colic, healthy pregnancy, sciatica, and more. Plus, it just makes you feel better. I never realize how tight my muscles are until I’ve been adjusted.
I saved this one for last because it’s also a part of the oils “being supreme” mindset I see all too often and I may just go on for another day about this one. Or you may not be a Believer and in that case, you didn’t have to put up with this at the beginning and you got what you needed from this post. The following is specifically for Christian essential oil users.
As a Christian, I believe that since essential oils are natural and from the earth, that they are God-created (Genesis 1: 11). It’s one way that we choose to honor him and his creation (not that taking pills does not honor him, please don’t go down that rabbit hole and miss the point entirely). Whether it’s a physical ailment (chronic back pain, sinus infection) or mental ailment (anxiety, stress), I believe that praying about these things and asking the Lord to take them from me is the best thing I can do for my body. I pray for understanding too. Why is my back hurting, posture? Then, I spend more time stretching and focus on core workouts to stabilize. Why the anxiety, Lord? Maybe it’s lack of planning and then feeling overwhelmed. Okay, then I’ll set up a work schedule or make a list of daily tasks.
I hope that God takes away your pain, physical or mental, but he may not. That does not mean prayer is futile or should cease. Even Christians get this wrong sometimes. If you ask God to take away your neck pain, maybe he’ll put a chiropractor’s commercial on the radio, maybe he won’t. I don’t know how he’ll answer your prayer, but he will. And yes, silence is also an answer. Sometimes we must suffer through to be humbled by him. He is God, we are not and nor are essential oils. He is the Supreme Healer.
I admittedly don’t do this as often as I used to, but when we first started using oils I can remember praying as I was using them. Every time. I would ask God to work through the oils, for this natural remedy, a part of his creation, to help heal our bodies. I have no doubt that when I prayed over our oil usage, God set healing into motion.
There are times in which a headache will strike and the first thing I do is reach for my Peppermint. I don’t give a thought to how much water I’ve drank or if said headache might be stemming from something else. I just want relief, and I’m so glad I have a natural medicine cabinet to rely on now! There are times when I treat my oils as supreme, but I know that they aren’t Supreme. They are a tool for me.
Whether God is your Supreme Healer or not, my hope is that you will leave here and spend the next 4 hours reading about natural remedies. Okay, maybe not 4 hours, but I hope you have a desire to learn how to heal naturally. Essential oils are great, and I am so glad you’re using them (so so glad). I hope they are but the first step into your simple, natural life though. Simple, natural healing a process, but educating yourself on the limitless natural remedies will change your life. Let your oils, a gift of the earth, be just another tool in your natural healing kit.