Your Guide to Essential Oils by Heritage Acupuncture

What’s the most convenient way to have an herbal medicine cabinet in your home? An essential oil collection gives you an infinite number of ways to address physical, emotional and beauty concerns – all while making your home smell amazing. At Heritage Acupuncture, we use essential oils to make our treatment room smell great, to cleanse the air and to relax clients. We also include essential oils in skin care services. With these aromatic plant extracts, it’s easy to adjust a treatment for a particular skin type – whether the skin is oily, dry or sensitive.

Your choices in essential oils number in the hundreds. So where do you start learning about them? If you focus on your health and wellness needs, you can try out different oils and get an idea of their powerful effects. This four-part series by Heritage Acupuncture will explore the use of essential oils for aromatherapy, skin care and household use.

First of all, what is an essential oil? These liquids are the results of a distillation process – typically from steam or water – of the leaves, flowers, bark, roots or other parts of a plant. The result is a concentrated extract that can be inhaled, applied to the body (usually combined with carrier oils) or even, in the case of medical grade oils, ingested.

Your essential oil collection could range from flowers like rose to food substances such as orange peel to resins such as amber. Their hundreds of uses include helping to alleviate aches and pains, heal the skin, relieve insomnia and reduce stress.

If you’d like to get started experiencing the healing properties of essential oils, here are a few tried and true home remedies. Note: Always check for allergies before using essential oils by applying a small amount to the skin. Many oils must be diluted in a carrier oil before application. A good user’s guide is The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood.

  • Burns: Lavender is one of the handfuls of essential oils that may be applied directly to the skin without dilution in carrier oil. For minor household burns (those without an open wound), apply lavender directly to the affected area and repeat every 3-4 hours.
  • Airline Travel: Are you prone to respiratory infections after flying? Open up a bottle of eucalyptus essential oil and move it slowly under both nostrils inhaling deeply every half hour or so during your flight. You will definitely fare better in the stale recycled air with this preventative measure.
  • General air freshening: Here’s where your choices are unlimited. Do you like a sweeter smell? Try one of the flower essential oils, such as jasmine. Do you enjoy a citrus smell? Your choices include lemon, orange, mandarin, lemongrass and bergamot essential oils. Many essential oil companies make blends that cater to your mood or goal, whether it’s de-stressing, concentrating or alleviating depression.
You’re probably wondering where to purchase essential oils. Again, the choices are infinite and everyone’s got an opinion and/or preference. If you’d like to know our preferences, feel free to email us at info@localhost/heritage.

Join us for the next part of this series, where we’ll discuss more benefits of diffusing essential oils for aromatherapy.

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Heritage Acupuncture serves the Durham Chapel Hill RTP area and offers acupuncture, Chinese herbalism and Asian skin care services. Janet Lee, L.Ac., specializes in orthopedics and internal medicine.

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