A few years ago, I discovered the power of essential oils through my Mom sharing her research and the positive influence oils were having for her and her body. What at first seemed a bit like voodoo has since become a trusted regimen in my life. If you have ever enjoyed the natural scent of lavender, mint, lemongrass or eucalyptus, chances are you’ve experienced the incredible aromatic qualities of essential oils. As a multi-faceted medium, essential oils can be used on the body, in the home, and more.
So, what are essential oils? They are naturally occurring aromatic compounds found in seeds, bark, flowers, and other plants. Aside from powerful (and very enjoyable) scents, essential oils can be used on the body (to help relieve migraine and muscle tension – which is very effective for me), in the home (diffused as a natural air purifier), in health care products, beauty treatments, and even in food preparation and dietary support. In short, essential oils have powerful applications to maintain emotional and physical well-being.
After my initial curiosity and really only “touching the surface” for the last few years, I am thankful to have recently indulged in learning more about essential oils from my friend Jennie Paletta – particularly as they relate to adding natural tools to my “modern middle-aged” toolkit. In some cases, they have been my immediate “go-to” during moments and life changes that come with being a middle-aged woman and the stressors that we face. This week, I am delighted to have Jennie share with us her lifelong passion for essential oils, how they work best, and even how her husband has come to love them too. Having discovered essential oils at 14 years of age, Jennie is a veteran in the use and endless benefits of essential oils.
When did you discover essential oils? When I was 14, a lady I babysat for used essential oils. I thought she was so cool. She was eccentric, and her house always smelled really great. I noticed the atmosphere always made me feel calm, put together, and generally, just good. Ever since then, I have visited and revisited using essential oils, largely spurred on by the changes in my life, including having kids and when my own mother became ill. Essential oils are such a powerful solution to many pain points, and the ability to meet challenges with a natural solution. For me, this means not having extra chemicals in my home or on my body, which means myself, my family and my pets are all safe.
How have essential oils helped you personally and directly? Oils have helped me ground myself, to feel like I’m “put in place”. I use oils every morning, and just as many people would look in the cupboard for breakfast and choose what they crave most in that moment, I choose oils from the cupboard that come to me. It’s exactly what I’m needing in that moment.
What are your go-to essential oils, and how do they work? My favourite line is Young Living, which has a fantastic Essential Oils Guide (to help the average person understand what they are and how they work). Young Living was established in 1994 and recently, based on my passion and trust in the brand, I have taken a new step in representing their product line and am loving doing so. It was a natural fit for me as I have always been passionate about sharing the benefits of oils. Essential oils work with your own body chemistry regarding emotional therapy, energy centres, nervous system, and internal body points. Depending on how the oils are used (whether on pulse points or diffused into the air), benefits will vary. For me, the most powerful benefit is finding relief. This goes for headaches, sweats, stress, and more – the whole natural experience amazes me.
How and where do you use oils, to make them a lifestyle?
- I diffuse oils in every room of my home,
- Myself and my husband use them topically (for massage, perfume, on the bottoms of feet, wrist, and behind the ears),
- I use them to clean my home, and
- I use them internally (consumed), by adding them to an empty liquid gel capsule.
At what point did you realize essential oils were making a difference? Surprisingly, it was with my kids. My kids were hesitant, but when my daughter had a fever and I rubbed peppermint and lemon oils on her spine and her fever broke within 20 minutes, I was shocked. Moments like these are what have turned me into an essential oil advocate.
For the modern middle-aged woman, how are essential oils best used? The options are literally endless. From headaches to fevers and chills, to mood swings, sweats and hot flashes, and peri-menopause – essential oils have helped me and so many others get through the more trying times of being a middle-aged woman.
What oils do you recommend for the modern middle-aged woman’s everyday use?
- To mitigate mood swings: use ylang-ylang, bergamot, lavender, peace and calming, or valor. These can be found in the Young Living library of oils.
- To manage peri-menopause: use ylang-ylang or clary sage. They are both very balancing, and my mood swings are not as intense when I use them.
- When hot flashes are coming on: use clary sage or peppermint on the ankles and at the ovary and uterus points (on the skin) – these are vita flex points.
- To help with restless sleep: I swear by lavender – I use it for so many things. It is calming and amazing for better sleep. I also use it under my eyes every day (for wrinkles). They say lavender is the universal oil – and I believe it!
- Daily use: bergamot. I use it every day before I leave the house, putting it behind my ears and on my wrists. It balances me and wards off negativity.
- For aging skin: frankincense! Women tend to really like frankincense, whereas men don’t always like it (which isn’t a bad thing!). I use it on my skin every night. It’s great for aging skin.
- For the home: it depends on the day. Virtually any oil can be used, dependent on your mood, the season, the temperature….you choose!
What are you proudest of when you think about the work you’re doing with essential oils? Paying it forward. I see it as: I share my stories about how to use oils, what the benefits are, and how they can be applied to so much more than just diffusion. I then learn of the individual’s experience in terms of what works for them, and how it may work differently for them than it does myself. I’m constantly learning about oils and other people’s experiences.
Who do you share experiences with? Anyone who will ask, and anyone who will listen. Just the other day, a lady at Sobeys asked what perfume I was wearing. I had thieves oil on (because I was not feeling well). She was very interested, so there I was, sharing my story! For the most part though, sharing tends to be in my own circle of friends and family, and I am happy to teach others about what essential oils are, how they can be used, and what the proven, natural benefits are. People have misconceptions about oils – that its a hoax, a gimmick, or that you can take an Advil instead. Yes, they make your house smell great, but when used properly the benefits are endless.
How can the middle-aged woman reap the full benefits of essential oils? Honestly, it can be used as a tool to help anybody. It’s really about creating a healthy lifestyle. Begin slowly, take it one experience at a time, but you do have to start to really explore and appreciate all the ways it can be used. I’m a believer that happiness comes from within, and if you can slowly add oils into your life, it will make you feel good. I get excited in the morning to start my diffuser, but don’t be afraid to change what isn’t working for you. There are still mornings I put in my oils and it doesn’t work for me, so I dump it and start over again. It’s a learning experience! But, it sets the tone for my day and really, sets the tone for me and my family’s life.
Jennie and I had a lot of fun discussing essential oils together in her beautiful welcoming home (that smelled sooo good – I was instantly in a zen mood!). She was eager to share, and I soon realized there is so much to learn as there are many areas essential oils can be introduced into our daily lives, that I didn’t even know about! Her passion is authentic and contagious. She sent me off with a beautiful “goodie bag” and I have since enjoyed waking each morning to thinking about the oils I will incorporate into my day. Having said that, Jennie has become a lifeline of mine through ongoing text inquiries! I look forward to inviting Jennie back early this winter, to share her thoughts on the benefits of cleaning our homes with oils, combating the flu season, and the mixtures that she pulls together to do so.
So branch out, explore unfamiliar territory (it’s not voodoo!) and let yourself try new things. Why? Because you might just discover something that benefits you and love it. And because we can!
Jennie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos – Casey Nolin Photography
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