It’s no secret that we try to live as natural, and toxin free, as possible in our home. We strive to maintain a strong immune system and mental health. It's the same thing when it comes to our healthcare. If there is a way to treat something in a natural way, that's exactly what we're going to do! Nature gave us earth-derived materials that have powerful medicinal properties. And we are on a path to learn as much about them as possible.
Now, don't get me wrong, I am thankful that modern medicine exists for emergencies. Still, the doctor is not a place we want to visit often. Up until recently both methods I will mention today were a relatively unknown and underground subject. The interest existed only in progressive spa centers and alternative medicine enthusiasts. In recent years however, interest has risen in both the broader audience and celebrities. Even so they have rapidly increased in popularity over the last years.
Essential oils have been around since ancient times and used by a number of different civilizations. As for the fields of application, they have been used pretty much everywhere. The second one, a bit less popular but a growing trend nonetheless is crystals, gemstones and their spiritual properties.
The definition of essential oil is a liquid of high concentration of a plant’s chemical component (essence). Since oil is part of the definition, many may believe that it is an important part of the mixture. In truth this happens because at the time the term first appeared, any liquid that would not mix with water (hydrophobic) was labeled “oil”.
As the essential oils and aromatherapy are a method in use through time, new techniques came up for the extraction of the components that have the desired effect (smell, color, taste etc.). From cold pressing (the method used to extract olive oil) to steam extraction (first noted on Arab Iberia).
A characteristic of essential oils is that they are called volatile, because they evaporate easily. They are also very potent in terms of smell and taste to the point where they may trigger allergies and irritations if used improperly . To this day, their applications vary. They serve as ingredients to other mixtures, aromatic decorations, aromatherapy and even medicine.
With advances on medicine, more effective drugs have replaced the essential oils as remedies. However, aromatherapy is used as complimentary treatment to this day. Especially in stress-related health issues and other psychophysical causes.
The treatment based on the use of essential oils to bring a specific mental state is known as Aromatherapy. Aromatherapy uses essential oils for two main purposes. One is to impose a specific mental state, most commonly relaxation and stress relief. The other one is to counter a negative experience such as headaches, troubled sleep or ease certain inflammation effects. Even though some essential oils can be used as cosmetics or skincare, these treatments refer to very specific uses of very specific oils.
There are three ways to apply essential oils, by dispersing the vapor in a certain room (diffusion) or direct inhaling. The other most popular method is using them in massage or simply rubbing it on a specific area for absorption through the skin. Although less common, some essential oils are suitable for oral use or can be mixed in with food.
These are the main uses of essential oils in aromatherapy. There are many more ways they can be useful. They can be in apparel, by soaking pieces of cloth or wood in essential oil and using them in accessories. Some of them can also pose as ointments and creams, being applied on a regular basis.
While there are infinite recipes for mixtures exist, three of the most characteristic essential oils and their uses are:
- Lavender: Most commonly effective for relaxation.
- Bergamot: countering insomnia
- Sandalwood: For relief from anxiety
Before you get started however, keep in mind that essential oils have to be used with caution and according to instructions. While they are natural and earth-derived materials, these oils are highly concentrated. It is very important to use as intended, many oils are not meant to be directly applied to skin and be extra careful about oral consumptions. All application methods require you to dilute the oil before using it (usually between 3-5%).
The next method we will talk about, is closely tied to ancient Asian culture. While present at most ancient civilizations, the most popular one is by far the way they are represented in the Asian tradition. The basis of this philosophy is the chakra/Qi concept (Reiki).
Across different civilizations, the general idea is that there is energy in every part of the universe. That energy affect the human body and the mental state of a person. According to Asian philosophy, some events or elements can bring in negative energy while others may bring positive. This same energy can have effects on a person’s emotions and even physical results, such as accelerated healing. On top of the value of their rarity and appearance, crystals and mineral formations are believed to possess such energy. It is easy to see why since you might remember yourself as a kid collecting pebbles at the beach.
As was the case with essential oils, different crystals will have different effects. While there is a general consent of essential oil applications and their effects, crystal healing is way more subjective. The use of crystals and gemstones on alternative therapies varies a lot more. The attributes and effects of different crystals may vary depending on the practitioner that you ask.
Dependent as it may be to the individual, one of the most common beliefs is that clear quartz has healing properties. Rose quartz, also known as the love stone, is supposed to help you bring trust and wellness in your personal relations. Another example would be lapis lazuli, a blue stone which the ancient Egyptians believed to ward off illness.
Some relate crystals with the Qi and chakra gates of the body, a technique known as Reiki. Reiki sessions revolve around placing the stones to the responding chakra gates in order for the energy to flow freely through the body.
Others believe that keeping them close or maintaining contact with them is enough to have the desired effect. Another opinion claims that placing the crystals in a specific formation can form an energy grid. Depending on the desired effect, simply having them present during a certain activity like Yoga or meditation.
Crystal healing usually requires the help of a practitioner. You can also look up different abilities of crystals and find the one suiting you. If you think this is too much, you didn’t wait for me to tell you how gemstones can be used as decorations or jewelry did you? You can also take advantage of the physical appearance of the crystal and disguise them as decorations.
Before you get started, keep some important facts in mind. Another issue that has risen with the demand for crystals is ethical practice. Although both essential oils and crystals are earth-derived materials, the demand has put pressure on the production line. At first these activities seem to encourage harmful behavior to the environment. The mentality of both practices mentioned today are very respectful to nature. Make sure that your supplier complies with cruelty-free ethics. Some essential oils might need to have preservatives to prevent the growth of mold and pathogens. Before disregarding them as non-organic products, let it be known that most of the preservatives are plant-based.
Most professionals will tell you that the most important elements are patience and consistency. The crystal itself will not work like magic. Results won’t show in a day. And most importantly not by itself.