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The essentials of essential oils and your Seasonal Affective Disorder

Welcome and welcome back! Just to follow-up from the last post, I hope that there is a man out there that got picked up by the algorithm and has had a chance to "drop in" to see what condition his condition is in (a line from the 1968 hit by The First Edition). And, if there is one thing to take away it is: remember that it's OK to be SAD, (we just don't want to see any man live that way). This week's word for women applys for men as well. So, let's get to the essentials of essential oils.

First, they have been around for centuries; dating back to the days of the Egyptians and used for all sorts of practical application. Essential oils were often used in burial preparation, as ambient perfumes, purification of the air, as sacrifices to the gods, medicinal purposes in baths, as massage oils or as a medicine.

Secondly, essential oils are called essential because they are the "essence" of a plant. Plants produce essential oils to protect themselves from environmental threats. Because of the compounds found in them, essential oils offer biological assistance; protection from environmental threats, to soothe the body and calm the mind. Essential oils are made of volatile aromatic compounds; small organic molecules that tend to change from the liquid state to the gas state at room temperature. It is incredible to know that the molecules are so small that a single drop of essential oil contains 40 TRILLION molecules. The reason they are typed as volatile is that they tend to evaporate quickly at room temperature; thus making them volatile. Their volatile property is what makes the smell so POTENT! Further, it is the PROPERTIES of each essential oil that make it an ideal choice for either aromatic use, topical application or internal benefit.

For this blog post, I want to focus on essential oils for their aromatic value, specific to management of symptoms in seasonal depression. Aromatherapy refers to how the oil is delivered to assist in relaxation, uplifting mood and soothing anxious feelings. Through the use of a diffuser, one can experience the essence of essential oils from a few minutes to several hours. For instance, diffusing oils first thing in the morning can help to awaken the senses and set your mood in a positive way. During the day, another oil diffusion can help stabilize mood, help with focus and keep the mind alert. Then, at night, diffusion can help to relax and calm the body to encourage the body to get a good night's rest.

Diffusion of essential oils is obtained through the use of a diffuser with the addition of water and several drops of essential oil. The diffuser emits a scented mist and when you find your favorite oils, it is just a heavenly experience. Most diffusers plug into the wall socket and have several timer preferences as well as light options (for ambiance). Other diffusers are rechargeable, holding a charge for around three hours of diffusion. The rechargeable diffusers are great for travel and "on the go" opportunities. LOXIM makes one that doesn't require water; it diffuses the oil straight. Diffusers are available at different price points, various styles and timing/light options. Doterra even makes one that is personal size and can be carried in its pouch to the office etc. So, do your own research and think about what features are important to you to make a good choice for your regime.

As for the oils themselves, there are numerous companies that sell essential oils. However, because I have tried several brands, I prefer Doterra brand oils. If you go online to their website you can read where each oil is sourced from. Their videos explain how their oils are extracted and distilled. There are so many choices and everything I have in my own personal stash is wonderful!. I diffuse oils everyday and apply oil topically before bed. Again, do some online research so you can decide which brand and what oil(s) is right for you.

To give you a few essential oil suggestions to diffuse first thing in the morning to wake up the mind and body I suggest you try any of these: Peppermint, Orange, Grapefruit, Lemon and Spearmint. These stimulate the same nerve that's activated when you are revived with smelling salts! During the day, to uplift and refresh you try: Rosemary, Basil, Bergamot, Cedarwood and Cypress. NOTE: all of the above oils can be used interchangeably; the point is that these uplift mood, which is what you want with SAD. To end the day and help you to relax these oils are very helpful: Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Neroli, Marjoram and Clary Sage. The choices are vast so start with one or two to get yourself going and fill in later to build your own personal approach to manage your SAD symptoms.

NOTE: A little goes a long way in the world of essential oils. Diffuse according to the directions with water level and add only 1-3 drops to see if you like the scent. Reactions are rare. But, should you have one, make certain you add circulation to the room. And using woodsy oils like Cinnamon Bark, Clove or Oregano require less drops than citrus oils. Be sure to read the directions on your diffuser AND usage recommendation on each bottle of oil.

Next week I'll give suggestions on ways to use essential oils topically and the following week, internally. The blogs will be relative to those with SAD symptoms. Until then, have a great week...Jeanine


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