Walk in the Sun: Being of Essence {The Spa}

2017 Summer Series

Summer is a good time to try to refocus by giving myself a bit of slack and time off for a self-retreat and going, literally or figuratively, back to my roots. It is also a good opportunity to build on what has made me feel better during the rest of the year. Essential oils have been one of my latest discoveries and are playing an ever increasing role in my everyday life. 

I had heard about essential oils before. Sure. Then I met a young lady who has been part of my new life ever since our first encounter, when we poured our hearts out. Call it women intuition, it clicked. When it is that simple and spontaneous, why question it? Why overthink?

Among her recurring topics of conversation were essential oils. It’s become one of her passions, quite simply. I do believe that’s the first reason why her interest was contagious and when she offered my first ever guide on essential oils and wooden box, that’s all I needed to take the plunge, with an extra little help from her and  her knowledge.

Thanks to her and Pranarom’s Dominique Baudoux’s guide, Guide pratique Aromathérapie familiale et scientifique, I am now hooked on essential oils and all their fields of application. The book can be compared to a quick start guide: to the point, well-structured and easily readable even for a beginner like me, it gives first-hand pieces of advice and direct access to the essence of oils. 

What is it all about? It’s about going back to ancient techniques of aromatherapy - think Australia’s Aborigens - to complement or supplement our traditional medication and therapeutic processes, to improve our wellbeing, both physical and mental. These volatile aromatic compounds are present in nature, all around us, the sky is the limit if you think about the number of plants surrounding us. If you’ve ever smelled a flower, you’ve experienced the fragrance of essential oils. Based on their volatile compound, essential oils will have a specific aroma and offer specific benefits to be leveraged in aromatherapy.

Thanks to different extraction techniques, the oils are taken out of the plant: the flower, the stem, the seeds, the roots and basically every single component of the plant can be used. Essential oils are long-lasting liquids to be stored in glass bottles. Based on the symptoms and disease, you will choose the relevant blend that you can either make yourself or ask your pharmacist (who should have received a specific training) to make it for you. 

There is no question that essential oils, at least for me, will ever replace medication and a good old visit to the GP, but as for many other things in life, mixing up, testing and finding what works best for me is the key to my balance. As a result, I am relying mainly on two methods whenever using essential oils alone or as blends:

-Aromatic: via the sense of smell. Oils are easily absorbed by smell receptors that are linked to the limbic system in the brain.

-Topic: to be applied to skin, they penetrate easily and act directly on the desired spot.

-Internal: I only use this method to alleviate physical asthenia (read below) and I am very cautious whenever I do because I am well aware that essential oils can be toxic for our body. This method though (3 drops under the tongue) has been the most efficient for me up to now, meaning that I do feel relief quite quickly.

Dominique Baudoux’s quick guide is one to read because there are hundreds of essential oils in the world to drown yourself into! Luckily and wisely enough, he focuses on 12 of them, giving the most common blends for some of the most widespread ailments. In a way, I see it as a personal pharmacy I can resort to anytime, anywhere. As I type, I am about 2,000km away from where I normally live; in my luggage, 5 small bottles of essential oil mixtures:

1. Depression p. 94
2. Physical asthenia p. 65
3. Mental asthenia p. 64
4. Constipation p. 85
5. Wart p. 143

How did I make the complex blends? Easy peasy, thanks to these books:

Making these mixtures is a delicate and precise process to be taken seriously, just as for medications. To be honest with you, just as I thoroughly enjoy the making of a cake by following a detailed recipe, I tend to fully let go and enjoy the oil making process: it helps me focus while I know I am taking time for myself and my family. In the end, even the process of choosing the oils, making the right dosage, labelling the glass containers has become a form of wellbeing and mindfulness I have come to embrace fully every time. Think soothing ritual, precise gestures and healthy ingredients. 

Have you ever used essential oils? What were your expectations? In what way have they met (or not) them? What are your favorite blends and methods of absorption? In what circumstances have you found out about essential oils and aromatherapy? Tell me everything, come on!

Credits: Canva

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