At the end of January 2020 I began using essential oils in our home. I posted about our experiences a few times on my Instagram stories and in return received quite a few questions about using oils. I thought I’d write a blog post to answer them all and also to share a little bit of our story and the reasons behind why we decided to get started with using essential oils.
One of my 20 goals for 2020 is to practice better self care and part of that involves doing things for me, acknowledging the things I have an interest in and actively pursuing them. I’ve been curious about using essential oils for a long time and had been thinking seriously about taking the plunge with trying them out for several months towards the end of last year (before the stress of trying to move house took over every single waking – and sleeping! – thought). We finally moved into our new home just before Christmas 2019 and, after giving ourselves a few weeks to settle in, it seemed to be the perfect time to go for it.
Why we started using essential oils
I’d heard so many positive things about the multiple benefits of using essential oils and I really wanted to start as I mean to go on in our new home: to find a way to reduce the toxins in our home and the products we use; and to make intentional changes that would help our family feel generally healthier, happier and improve our wellbeing.
There is a lot of information out there and I did find it quite overwhelming when I first started looking into it all. The main benefit I knew of was how much Lavender is supposed to help support better sleep and if I’m honest, that was the primary reason I made the decision to get started with using essential oils initially.
To give you a little bit of background information… Mimi, my middle daughter who is now twelve years old, has slept restlessly since she was a toddler and it has seemed to be getting worse over the last two or three years. She had permanent dark circles under her eyes and was constantly exhausted (even after taking a prescribed iron supplement for several months). Every time I checked on her before I went to bed at night she would be tossing and turning, sitting bolt upright even though she was ‘asleep’, mumbling and talking, waving her arms around, and I even caught her sleepwalking a couple of times.
She loves playing sport so we got her a Fitbit for her 11th birthday last year. Out of curiosity I started tracking her sleep patterns through the app on my phone. I knew it would be disturbed but I was actually really shocked at just how poor her quality of sleep was – some nights she was losing over two hours of sleep through restlessness or being awake. This lack of sleep consequently had a massively detrimental impact on her ability to concentrate, her energy levels, her moods and her behaviours, which were becoming harder and harder for her (and us) to manage. You can read more about the history of that side of things in this post here.
You can see from the screenshot on the left what a typical night used to look like for her. This was the night before we started using essential oils. The dark blue sections on the chart are when she’s asleep. All the vertical lines (light blue and red) are when she’s either restless or awake and the figures for exactly how much sleep she lost out on are at the bottom. Seventy three minutes! Look how broken her sleep was – it’s no wonder she was permanently exhausted.
I figured I had nothing to lose and thought we’d give Lavender essential oil a try in an effort to support Mimi’s sleep. I told myself that if it helped even a little bit, I’d carry on. If there was no change, I would stop. I did my research, committed myself to giving it a chance (whilst not expecting miracles), bought a ‘starter kit’ of oils and a diffuser from Young Living and we tested it out.
From the very first night of diffusing Lavender essential oil her sleep improved dramatically. She was only awake/restless for 20 minutes and for the rest of that day she was like a different child – happy, smiley, no meltdowns, full of energy. That was enough to convince me. We have used Lavender oil in a diffuser every single night ever since and it has made a huge positive difference to the quality of her sleep.
There are still occasional nights where she sleeps fitfully – if she’s injured herself whilst playing sport and can’t get comfortable, or if she’s particularly anxious about something coming up the following day (Sunday nights before school for example). We still have meltdowns from her too, though they do seem to be less regular than they were. Overall the pattern has been an overwhelmingly positive one.
Having seen the success that Lavender oil had in supporting Mimi’s sleep, I slowly began introducing other different oils from the starter kit I’d bought into our routine for various different purposes. Lemon, Peppermint, Frankinsence, and blends called StressAway and Thieves all became firm favourites too and, having experienced the benefits of them I’ve now dramatically expanded my collection of essential oils and we have been using them ever since.
The screenshot below shows an example of a night’s sleep for Mimi whilst diffusing Lavender oil. (A weekend night – she gets up earlier for a school day). Look at the difference! Far fewer vertical lines and only 20 minutes of lost sleep.
What are essential oils?
The power of plants and botanicals has long been recognised and essential oils have been used for thousands of years for their healing properties as well as physical, emotional and spiritual purposes. They’re often called ‘man’s first medicine’ and ancient writings from all around the world document their uses in rituals and traditions spanning the centuries.
In simple terms, essential oils are concentrated natural extracts from plants that capture the plant’s ‘essence’, ie: it’s aroma, flavour and wellness qualities. The oils are far more potent and powerful than the plants from which they’re extracted, meaning that a little goes a really long way.
Which brand should I use?
There are a lot of essential oil brands out there for you to potentially choose from. Ultimately, you need to choose the brand or company that feels right for you. Make sure you do your research into each of them. It’s best to make sure that whichever brand you choose uses 100% pure, organic essential oils with no added ingredients, that the botanicals are ethically farmed and sustainably sourced, and that the oils are extracted through a process of steam distillation and/or are cold pressed. You really do get what you pay for with essential oils and quality is incredibly important.
I spent weeks researching several different brands (including doTerra, Young Living, Tisserand, various health food shop own brands and more). For me, Young Living easily came out on top and so I signed up, bought a starter kit and dived in.
Why we chose Young Living Essential Oils
Choosing to step into the unfamiliar world of essential oils felt like a big decision for me and I like to be sure of the companies I choose to spend my money with before I commit myself. After all the research I did, Young Living seemed to tick all the boxes that were important to me, and matched a lot of my values, which is why I opted to sign up with them.
They have a ‘Seed To Seal Promise‘, which means that every step of the 5-step process of producing their oils and products, from the moment they plant the seed in the ground to the moment the seal is placed on the bottle, is of the best possible quality. It’s Young Living’s commitment to conscientious and ethical sourcing; sustainable farming; clean, pure ingredients; scientifically proven research and the highest standards in the essential oils industry. Young Living also have a Foundation that aids communities all around the world that are in need.
Apart from the quality standards, the main thing that swung it for me was the vast community of support in the shape of other Young Living members. Facebook groups, video tutorials, Instagram feeds… there are so many people out there who were willing to help out, always ready with an answer to any question and who immediately made me feel like I had a place in their community, like I belonged. There is a huge array of information and tips on how to use essential oils, ideas for different diffuser and roller blends, plus all the varied uses for the oils beyond the basics. It made something that initially felt completely overwhelming, much more accessible and easy to integrate into our daily lives.
I also love that Young Living have a dedicated range of oils for kids that are pre-diluted and safe to use with little ones, meaning that they can begin to take charge of their own wellness.
How do you use essential oils?
Essential oils can be used in so many different ways to help support your family’s health & wellness as individuals as well as in and around the home. They’re so easy to use too! The most common ways to use them are aromatically and topically. Here are some examples of ways you can get started with using essential oils:
- Diffuse them in your home
- Rub a couple of drops in your hands and breathe in the scent (or just take the lid off the bottle and inhale)
- Make rollers of your favourite blends and use them as perfume and/or for emotional support
- Buy pre-made rollers to keep in your pocket or bag for when you are out and about
- Mix with a carrier oil and use them on your body
- Diffuse them in your car
- Put a few drops in your shower or add to your bath
- Clean your home with them – Thieves cleaning products are AMAZING!
- Add them to your skincare and/or haircare routine
The possibilities and potential really are endless. These little bottles of oils have very much become a part of our daily routine and lifestyle and after the initial couple of weeks of getting used to them and remembering to use them, I don’t think twice now about reaching for them.
What do they actually do?
We all like to have clean, fresh smelling homes and to look after ourselves inside and out. We regularly buy products that promise to help us achieve those things. The trouble is that the products we habitually use in our homes and on our skin are full of harsh and harmful chemicals that can disrupt our body’s natural balances, upset our hormones, cause/worsen allergies and are even known carcinogens.
Most people enjoy lighting a scented candle from time to time for example. Did you know that they actively pump toxins into the air that you then breathe in? I think most of us have probably stocked up on antibacterial surface cleaners and wipes over the last few months too – a different product for every room in the house right?!
What if you could achieve the same clean, fresh smelling home without the need for all of those chemicals, by using products that actually remove the toxins from the air around you and naturally get rid of bacteria? That’s exactly what essential oils do. Also, our skin is our largest organ – whatever we put on our body goes into our body so surely it’s better to have 100% natural products that actually provide benefits to our health and wellness rather than synthetic ones that can create all sorts of physical issues?
Many essential oils have anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant properties, as backed-up by scientific studies and research, all of which help support physical, mental and emotional health and wellness in various ways.
What benefits might I get from using essential oils?
There are so many benefits to using essential oils. We started using them for sleep support and it’s just grown from there – once I realised how much support they can offer in other areas there really was no looking back. Here are some of the benefits you might get from using essential oils:
Less toxins in your home: By using them as natural cleaning products and because they help purify the air
Less toxins on your skin: Our skin is our biggest organ and everything we put on it gets absorbed into our body. Most toiletries and beauty products are full of unpronounceable chemicals. Using essential oils in your skincare and beauty routine instead can make such a powerful difference to how you look and feel.
Sleep support: Lavender is the most well known essential oil for promoting sleep support and there are other ones that can help support restful sleep too.
Emotional support: Essential oils (both singles and blends) can be grounding, uplifting, calming, relaxing, energising, comforting, refreshing, empowering and so many more things besides. Use them to enhance feelings that are already there or to help manifest feelings that you want. Our olfactory sense (sense of smell) is one of the most powerful of all of our senses – scents go directly to the limbic system in our brain (the part that organises and processes emotional responses and memories) and can actively influence our moods and behaviours.
Skin support: Essential oils can support our skin by helping cuts to heal, improving the appearance of fine lines, soothing bug bites, reducing scarring and so much more. I use essential oils to make a ‘glow’ face serum and my skin is looking and feeling the best it’s ever felt.
Digestion support: Particular essential oils (eg: peppermint) can be really beneficial in helping to soothe and settle tummy troubles.
Hormonal support: Certain essential oils can aid with supporting hormones during your monthly cycle and during the menopause.
Respiratory support: Essential oils such as eucalyptus and peppermint can help to clear congestion, reduce mucus and open airways.
Immunity support: A Young Living blend called ‘Thieves’ is incredible for immunity support. It’s a unique combination of oils that has been around since the days of the bubonic plague – back then, thieves who were stealing from the sick and dying used this specific blend of oils to stop themselves from getting ill too. That’s how it got it’s name!
Travel support: Oils can be used for boosting energy and immunity, calming travel anxieties and reducing motion sickness.
Discomfort relief: Tummy-aches, headaches, back-ache, sore muscles… there are so many oils that can help relieve discomfort. They don’t replace medication of course, but I now reach for our ‘headache roller’ before I’ll take paracetamol and the girls ask for it before they ask for Calpol.
Seasonal support: Symptoms of seasonal sniffles and sensitivities can be supported by using particular blends of oils – we find the Lavender, Lemon and Peppermint seems to work quite well for the two hayfever sufferers in our household.
What we love most about using essential oils
So. Many. Things!
Honestly – we love them. Even my husband (who is the biggest sceptic on the planet about things like this) is on board with using them, having seen the positive effect they’ve had on Mimi’s sleeping patterns and felt the benefits for himself in other ways. I especially love that the girls are learning to take charge of their own wellness – both physical and emotional. If Lola has a tummyache she’ll often ask for Tummygize; if Ella is feeling a bit stressed or anxious she’ll ask for some drops of StressAway in her shower; they’ve made their own personal rollers of their favourite scents that they can use whenever they feel like it; and all three of them take it in turns to fill up the diffuser every night.
“There’s an oil for that” is a phrase that I’ve become very familiar with over the last six months as I’ve been immersing myself in the world of essential oils. They really can be used for so many things (as described above) and their versatility is such a big benefit of them. Plus they’re portable – we take them with us when we travel and I usually have something oil-related in my bag at all times – as well as being incredibly easy to use.
I love that essential oils are 100% completely natural products – nothing gets added to them or removed from them. They’re just powerful little bottles of the pure goodness of plants. They’re toxin-free (no nasties going into our bodies), sustainably farmed, high quality and environmentally friendly too.
Top of the list of things we love most about essential oils are the multiple health benefits (physical, mental and emotional). Helping ourselves stay well in a way that aligns with the natural world and our innate way of being feels so much better.
Do they really work?
In our experience, yes.
We have been using essential oils for sleep support, skin support, emotional support, seasonal support, digestion support, travel support, discomfort relief and cleaning our home for six months now and have noticed many positive differences in all of those areas. Mimi’s sleep is better, my skin has improved and we have effective tools at our fingertips that we can reach for in any given situation to help us get through it.
There have been occasional instances where we’ve not really noticed much a benefit from using them (but at least it still smelled good!) and I guess that’s the same as with anything – not everything is going to work brilliantly for everyone. It’s all about finding what works best for you – there are always alternative oils or blends to try and you’ll eventually find the one that is the difference that makes the difference for you. We’re all unique individuals, we all have different bodies and different needs and different responses to things.
Essential oils don’t work miracles and they definitely don’t claim to cure anything – they’re simply a natural, toxin-free, plant-based way of supporting our physical and emotional health and wellness. I honestly wouldn’t be without them now.
How do I get started with using essential oils?
The easiest way for getting started with using essential oils is to buy a diffuser and some oils and dive in. If you choose Young Living essential oils, they offer a Premium Starter Kit which includes:
- a gorgeous diffuser;
- twelve essential oils – a mix of 6 single oils and 6 blends (lavender, lemon, peppermint, frankincense, orange, copaiba, Thieves, StressAway, Purification, RC (respiratory care), Panaway, and Digize);
- two pouches of ningxia – a very delicious fruit drink that has so many incredible health benefits it would take a whole paragraph to list them here;
- a roller top fitment that you can pop on top of any bottle of oil for topical use;
- a bottle of hand sanitiser.
When you buy a Premium Starter Kit you automatically become a Young Living member for free. You do not have to buy every single month – you can just top up as and when you need to. You also have access to a wonderful community of people who have a huge wealth of knowledge and experience about how to get the best out of your oils and integrate using them into your daily life in simple and effective ways. There are Facebook groups you can join as well as people you can follow on Instagram – I’ve received so much support and encouragement since joining, there’s always someone who knows the answer to any question and we all have the shared goal of health, wellness and happiness for our families.
There is also the option to join Young Living’s monthly plan, which is called Essential Rewards. I call it my ‘monthly wellness box’ and all of us get excited on delivery day – the girls love seeing what I’ve ordered each month! You can personalise your order every single month so you only ever get the oils and products you actually need and want. It’s brilliant! With Essential Rewards you also earn points that you can use towards products, you get free bottles of oils if you spend certain amounts, you get a 24% discount on the retail price, your monthly order is completely customisable and you can cancel at any time with no drama.
I think it’s important to know that it’s incredibly easy to get started with essential oils – you really don’t need to know everything before you start using them (I didn’t!). You can learn as you go. I’m still learning new things on a daily basis and I love discovering new uses for oils I already have, as well as hearing about oils that I’ve not come across before that have the properties I’ve been looking for to help support a specific issue.
If you’re interested in getting started with using essential oils and are ready to sign up you can do it here through this link.