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Essential Oils - Ancient Medicine

Essential oils are best known for their use in aromatherapy and often play an important role in complementary medicine today. Pure essential oils are highly concentrated compounds that have been pressed or distilled from plants. Said to be mankind's first medicine, essential oils were highly valued in ancient times; the earliest evidence recorded is found as far back as 5000 BCE. Utilized by cultures around the world, essential oils have a rich healing history with a wide array of applications and properties that are antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antidepressant.

Our sense of smell is one of the most powerful senses in the human body. Aromas can trigger emotional and even physical responses. When we inhale and detect an aroma our olfactory cells produce a nerve impulse, triggering the emotional brian, also known as the limbic system. Because the limbic system is heavily involved in emotional and behavioral responses and connected to parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and stress, as we inhale healing aromas we trigger positive reactions in the body.

There are few precautions tied to this complementary medicine and incorporating essential oils into body work is a holistic approach. It is important to be aware of contraindications as some oils are not safe to use when pregnant or breastfeeding as well as if you will experience prolonged UV exposure. When used with care, essential oils can be a beautiful addition to your wellness routine.

In my practice, I offer clients a safe space to explore and integrate essential oils into their session to enhance their healing experience. Aromatherapy massage may increase relaxation, decrease pain, and may even improve mood. Oils can be applied directly to the skin, diffused in the treatment room or diluted with massage oil and applied to the skin. A few common requests from clients include bergamont, peppermint and lavender. I’ll share a few details below, but please note this is not a complete list of information.

Bergamont is a bright, citrusy oil commonly used for anxiety, muscle aches, and pains. An analgesic, antidepressant, and anti-inflammatory, bergamot blends well with clary sage, lemongrass and lavender.

Peppermint is fresh, minty, and cooling. It’s often applied topically for muscle tension and can be inhaled to help relieve congestion or ease headaches. Peppermint is an analgesic, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, and blends well with lavender, rosemary, and eucalyptus.

Lavender is calming, relaxing, and healing. Commonly used to relieve stress, anxiety and insomnia, lavender can also be used for cut/wound care, eczema and asthma. Lavender is antibacterial, antidepressant and antispasmodic – often blended with bergamot, clary sage, and lemon.

Discovering the powerful properties of essential oils has spread healing knowledge, enhancing the health and well-being for many. Weaving this ancient medicine into the modern world, we are empowered to improve our emotional, mental and physical well-being, naturally. What a gift.

If you are interested in learning more about essential oils, I have linked a few of my favorite essential oil books below:

Aromatherapy for Self-Care, Sarah Swanberg, MS, LAC

The Beginners Guide to Essential Oils, Christina Anthis

Essential Oils Handbook, Amy Leigh Mercree

Stephanie McCutchin is a Licensed Massage Therapist and owner ofSakom Massage and Wellness. The word Sakom is inspired by the Menominee language and translates to extending peace to yourself and others. Creating a peaceful space for clients to relax, recharge, and recuperate is the main focus at Sakom. Stephanie’s practice is located in the historicWillow Tree Wellness center in the heart of Lodi, Wisconsin. The center is solely dedicated to professional healers who offer a variety of services. To learn more about massage and to book your appointment today call, 608-564-5330 orclick here.

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