Whilst being the oldest of all systems, phytotherapy and aromatherapy are also those which have most effectively proved themselves, fashion permitting.
— Dr. Jean Valnet, French army physician, surgeon and clinical aromatherapy pioneer (1920-1995)

I was officially introduced to essential oils by a colleague of mine during one of the equine craniosacral classes I took. Up until then, I thought essential oils smelled good, but was not convinced that they had much therapeutic value. Little did I know. She offered some to a horse - just let it smell the bottle and the reaction was astonishing. The horse calmed down right away.

I also remember putting a little bit of lemongrass oil on my wrists and the aroma made me feel so good and uplifted.

Our sense of smell is our most immediate sense and the olfactory cells generate nerve impulses. The areas in the brain where the nerve impulses are interpreted are closely associated with memory and emotion. Humans can differentiate about 10000 different odor molecules. Horses and other animals may have even more.

Have you ever walked into a place and instantaneously relaxed because of the wonderful smell?

Essential Oils:

  • are highly concentrated - depending on the plant, a ton or more of plant matter may be required to yield just one liter of EO
  • are therapeutically potent and effective
  • have a long shelf life
  • can be used internally, topically or inhaled

Here are some tips when choosing and using essential oils:

  • Diffuse your favorite essential oil of the day by either adding a few drops to your shower, using a diffuser or a cup with hot water.
  • Have essential oils like lavender or melaleuca oil (tea tree oil) ready in your medicine cabinet to treat minor injuries.
  • Follow instructions carefully, as some restrictions do apply - some oils need to be diluted and others are photosensitive.
  • To be able to use essential oils directly on your skin use only high quality organic and therapeutic essential oils.
  • Consider using a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil, grapeseed oil, jojoba oil or safflower oil
  • Remember: less is more. These oils are more potent and powerful than you think.

 

One of my favorite oils to use for my regular CranioSacral Therapy sessions is 'Balance':

The warm, woody aroma of Balance Grounding Blend creates a sense of calm and well-being. It is a perfect blend of Spruce, Ho Wood, Frankincense, Blue Tansy, and Blue Chamomile with Fractionated Coconut Oil and offers an enticing fragrance that promotes tranquility and a sense of balance. Spruce, one of the oils in Balance, was used by Native Americans for medicinal and spiritual reasons and is still used today to bring harmony to the mind and body. Ho Wood, Blue Tansy, and Blue Chamomile can soothe sore muscles and joints, promotes circulation, and relax the body, while Frankincense supports cellular health and overall well-being.

Primary Benefits:

  • Promotes whole-body relaxation
  • Soothes sore muscles and joints
  • Evokes feelings of tranquility and balance

Uses: 

Begin your day by putting Balance on the bottom ofyour feet to lessen stress throughout the day.

Balance is a great oil blend to use during an AromaTouch Hand Massage.

Feeling anxious? Apply Balance to your wrists or neck to help with nerves.

 

In my equine practice cedarwood and vetiver are very popular with horses - especially those that live in bigger barns and equestrian centers.

Cedarwood is known for its rich hue and warm, woody scent. Its use dates back to Biblical times. Cedarwood is native to cold climates, thriving in high altitudes and growing up to 100 feet. It has very grounding and calming properties, is an effective bug repellent and improves respiratory function.

Vetiver has traditionally been used to help with emotional, hormonal and balance issues. It is very calming.

Rosemary essential oil I have used successfully with horses on stall rest. It increases circulation and is uplifting. 

When a horse picks fennel essential oil I know that is needs help with its gastrointestinal system

 

These are just a few tips and ideas. If you have any further questions, please contact me at Kerstin@ready2heal.net and I will help you pick the right oils and blends for you, your family and your horse or other pet.

How do essential interact with our bodies?

Essential oils are fat soluble and can be easily absorbed through tissues. This will not only result in regional and localized effects but reaches and affects the entire body. 

What is a carrier oil?

A carrier oil is any lipid-based (fat-based) substance used to dilute oils, including grape seed, avocado, and almond oils; however, most readily available carrier oils are unstable and go rancid quite easily.

Fractionated coconut oil has the advantage of being very table at all temperatures and in all environments. It is also non-aromatic and does not alter the aromatic properties of the essential oils.

Do I still get the same effects when I use a carrier oil?

Many people mistakenly think that using a carrier oil somehow reduces the effectiveness of the essential oil, when in fact, there are many benefits from diluting the oils. Dilution increases the surface area of absorption through dry skin, and prevents sensitivities. It is never wrong to dilute, especially when using oils with more potent chemistry. Determining when and how to dilute is a personal decision that should be based on usage preferences, oil chemistry, and personal sensitivity.

There is a growing trend to seek out medicine with a more human face, medicine which deals with human beings and not just their pathologies. Hence the revival of interest in traditional therapies and milder medical remedies which seek not so much to destroy pathogens as to restore the human body’s capacity to resist them.
— Paul Lannoye, 'Report on the State of Non-Conventional Medicine" European Parliament, Oct. 27, 1994, http://www.europarl.europa.eu