Essential Oils – What’s the Deal?

Let’s start off this post by sharing my story:

My Essential Oil Journey

I started using essential oils over two years ago while Nick was deployed. I had heard about them from friends and family who had used them and was curious to see if they would work for me. I’ll be honest, I thought they were a bunch of hocus pocus, I wasn’t familiar with the holistic way of life. At the time, deployment stress was getting the better of me and I needed tools to help me cope with the anxiety and insomnia that soon followed, I was desperate. My very first oil purchase was lavender on the recommendation from a friend, she was the one to introduce me to Eden’s Garden as well but more on that later. I was terrified to do anything other than diffuse a few drops at night to help me sleep so that’s all I did probably for the first three months but man oh man did it work! I was hooked. For the first time since Nick had left, I finally was able to get a good night’s sleep. From there, the research started to flow and I dug into why these oils work and the science behind them. Is it a placebo effect or is there actually something going on? I wasn’t necessarily interested in what the answer was, they worked so who cared why they worked, but it’s ingrained in me to seek out answers and I always need to know “why” (ask my husband. It drives him absolutely crazy sometimes!).

So what does the science say?

It’s been well documented that our sense of smell is an incredibly important, we can hardly taste without it! Have you ever been transported back to a moment in time or a place with one whiff? Our memories are connected to smells whether you realize it or not.

“A large body of literature has been published on the effects of odors on the human brain and emotions. Some studies have tested the effects of essential oils on mood, alertness, and mental stress in healthy subjects. Other studies investigated the effects of various (usually synthetic) odors on task performance, reaction time, and autonomic parameters or evaluated the direct effects of odors on the brain via electroencephalogram patterns and functional imaging studies.[] Such studies have consistently shown that odors can produce specific effects on human neuropsychological and autonomic function and that odors can influence mood, perceived health, and arousal. These studies suggest that odors may have therapeutic applications in the context of stressful and adverse psychological conditions.” (source: PubMed Health)

I’m not the biggest fan of reading white paper (research papers) but that’s the best way to gain knowledge, straight from the source, so I suck it up when it’s important. Basically, this statement is saying is that when we smell something, it has the ability to influence our emotions and perceived health (I don’t know the exact statistic, but over 50% of healing is the placebo effect, the power of suggestion is not to be underestimated. I can talk more about this later if you’d like). This means that oils might not necessarily heal us but they have the power to give us the ability ourselves if that makes sense. The oil isn’t healing you, your own body is but the oil is what opened up that door to allow your body to do so. Does that make sense?

Now all of that being said, I also need to get something off my chest.

I am not your average online essential oil user

I have done extensive research into these things over the last two+ years and talked with certified professionals in the field. I’ve read books, watched videos, read articles, I’ve even looked into becoming a certified aromatherapist myself (does anyone have $2,000 they want to loan me? lol). I genuinely love to learn which means I love research. I actually wanted to go into research myself but that’s for another story.

I have a little bit of a different approach to oils than you’ve probably seen before from social media.

I am extremely cautious around oils and firmly believe you can never over educate yourself in oil safety. Please do not take my word for it (that goes for anything on this blog), go out there and do your own research and come to your own conclusions.

Here’s a great blog post on some of the things that I think are extremely important when it comes to oil safety but are rarely talked about. I’ll summarize it here: I believe in never applying essential oils neat (undiluted) to my skin, never ingesting essential oils without a certified and trained aromatherapist’s guidance, working hard to switch up oils to avoid over-exposure and sensitization, and constantly researching oil safety and being diligent around them.

I can definitely go into oil safety another time, it deserves its own blog post! There is so much more to dive into, oil safety with kids and pets are two of the top ones that come to mind (which since we have neither, I am not super familiar with unfortunately). Please do your research if you use oils around children or animals! They can be quite harmful and toxic.

Just because something is natural, doesn’t make it safe. Oils are extremely concentrated and very powerful. I don’t say that to scare you, I say that because they are something that needs to be respected. Do your research and the possibilities are endless, I couldn’t live without my oils! But at the same time, safety needs to be emphasized and you need to do your research.

So what company do I use?

This is a very complicated question. I started off using Eden’s Garden, as I stated, on the recommendation of a friend. They are the #1 rated non-MLM (multi level marketing) company. One thing I really like about their company is that they offer every oil in a 5 ml bottle. For reference, a 15 ml bottle (which is what Young Living and doTERRA typically sells) has about 300 drops of oil in it. So a 5 ml bottle will have about 100 drops of oil in it. This is a great way to try out a few oils to see what you think before committing to a bigger bottle. Plus it makes the oils less expensive since it’s a much smaller bottle, the perfect way to start out. They also have these really great Create Your Own Sets, meaning you get to pick the oils that go inside of them! Now these are all 10 ml bottles, so a little bit bigger, but they come at a huge savings and it’s a great way to build up your collection. I ordered one of these at the beginning when I was just getting started. Another thing I love about Eden’s Garden is that they offer free shipping all the time no matter how much you order. Who else hates paying for shipping??

The next company I invested in was Plant Therapy. Spoiler Alert: these are my all-time favorite company and favorite oils if I had to pick. The first thing I love about Plant Therapy is that every bottle comes with a label on top! It’s the little things in life. When your collection starts to grow it can be very annoying to dig through your oils trying to find the one you want, by having everything labeled, you can pick it out in a snap and it makes everything easier. Now of course you can buy labels to put on top of your oils so that’s not a deal breaker but it’s definitely a massive perk. Way to go Plant Therapy! Next, their quality is superb. Part of my research involved interacting with certified aromatherapists to seek out their opinions and to learn from them. The general consensus was that Plant Therapy is their favorite company to use, over Young Living and doTERRA (for a number of reasons but I’ll get into that later, I still use Young Living and doTERRA personally if you’re wondering). I figured if it’s good enough for the professionals in the field, then it’s good enough for me! They also have this article about their quality if you want to read it for yourself. I have both blends (a mixture of different oils) and single oils from Plant Therapy and I love them equally. They also have a Kid Safe line that is safe to use with children ages 2 and older to help take the guesswork out for you! (Eden’s Garden has this as well) Overall, this is a fantastic company with the most amazing customer service. They will go above and beyond time and time again which keeps me coming back. They also have a team of aromatherapists that you can email and ask any questions you may have, this is a priceless resource and I suggest you take advantage! If you’re interested in trying out Plant Therapy, I have a $10 off $25 coupon you can use here if you would like.

Next up is Young Living and doTERRA! I actually started using these companies at the same time at the same place. We were in Utah visiting for a friend’s wedding and my mom and I decided spontaneously to go tour both companies’ headquarters. I thought it would be a great opportunity to get to know the top names in the industry and I also wanted to see how essential oils were made and bottled. Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed inside the facilities so I can’t share any details about that but if you ever find yourself in Utah, I highly recommend scheduling a tour out there! It’s a very cool experience and it was completely free! Just make sure you’re wearing closed toe shoes since it is a factory setting.

doTERRA

doTERRA was the first company we visited. You can schedule a visit to their warehouse online here. I do have to say, it wasn’t the most professional tour ever but it was still a great experience and it was fun to see the behind the scenes. They are curren

tly in the process of expanding which is very exciting for them. All of their blending (mixing oils together) is done off site, after the expansion is complete, most of it (if not all) will be moved onsite which gives them more control. I was pleased t

o find out this information. The entire doTERRA campus is absolutely gorgeous. They have a cafe you can go visit in the corporate offices and a spa connected to their product center as well where you can schedule massages and facials. There’s a sample counter with all of their products that you can try out and see for yourself. They have a team of employees at the product center too where you can open an account or place an order. We opened an account and placed our first order, it was ready to be picked up within 10 minutes. Now that’s pretty amazing! And you get to save on shipping.

Onto their products, one of my all-time favorite oils (I’ll be posting a roundup of my favorites as well as oils I would suggest for when you’re first starting out) is Citrus Bliss. It smells just a creamsicle and it is absolutely delicious! Both my mom and I were a fan of this one, we bought the whole line including a bath bar and the hand lotion.

One reason that doTERRA is more expensive than the companies I mentioned above is because most of their oils come in 15 ml bottles, so they’re a lot larger for starters. Secondly, it is a MLM company, a network marketing company. I do not believe anything is wrong with MLMs and think they actually get a bad rep that they don’t deserve. I have no problem supporting people who are genuinely passionate about the product and want to share it with their friends and family, in fact, I think it’s great! The problem that comes with that is basic economics (I do have an economics degree if you’re curious). There’s now a middle man that has to be paid. With the other two companies, you’re buying directly from the company itself, they don’t have salespeople they need to pay. With a network marketing company, there is now someone else to pay which automatically raises the prices to increase profit margins. That’s just basic math. Again, I don’t have any problems supporting people who love the product and want to share it, I just also want you to know that you can get the same quality of oils (if not better) from the two companies I posted above (and more that I haven’t mentioned). I do love some of doTERRA’s products and will continue to purchase them but I won’t buy all of my oils from here. My advice: buy things that are unique to each company. For example, the blends are proprietary blends that no one else has, I would invest my money there. Or in other products that are unique to doTERRA. Buy your single oils elsewhere (lavender oil is still lavender oil even if it’s a different brand, as long as you’re buying a good quality lavender oil). Does that make sense?

Again, like I said, I’ll write a whole blog post all about my favorite essential oils so be on the lookout for that.

Young Living

Next is Young Living! One reason I really wanted to visit Young Living was because they have their Seed to Seal promise. One major difference between doTERRA and Young Living is that doTERRA contracts out the farmers that harvest their crops for their oils, Young Living owns the farms where the crops are coming from, meaning they are in control from seed to seal in the bottle. Get it?

Thus, the product is more expensive, as you can imagine.

We got to tour both the warehouse and the lavender farm which was an amazing experience! To tour the warehouse, you must call them to schedule an appointment. The lavender farm does not require an appointment. There is also a small store to shop at the farm, at the warehouse there is only a will call desk to pick up an order if you place it online.

My favorite part about the warehouse was seeing the pickers put together everyone’s orders! I probably could have watched them all day. It was amazing to see all the boxes being put together and knowing that every single one of those would soon be in the hands of someone across the country. We also got to see testing being done in the labs upstairs. As someone who wanted to go into research, as I stated earlier, but never had the opportunity to work in a lab, this was particularly fascinating and I’m not going to lie, I considered for a moment changing my career so I could have the opportunity to work there someday but that thought passed once I thought about all the schooling I’d have to go do. Both my mom and I were very impressed that one of the chemists actually came out to walk us through the lab process and to show us all their machines and what they do, in the middle of his workday! Funny story, both tours were actually private tours, it was just my mom and I with the tour guides. I’m not sure if people just aren’t aware that they can tour the facilities or they’re just not popular enough but we definitely got the VIP treatment! At the end of the tour, we were each given a little goody bag with some Young Living samples, a very generous touch considering the tour was free! My favorite is the Thieves hand sanitizer, I’ve always wanted to try it.

The farm was a very cool experience as well. The lavender fields were done blooming for the year, I believe they said they only had a few days of blooms before it was harvested, but we did get to see juniper oil made! I actually bought a bottle of juniper oil simply because I’m sentimental like that. We were allowed to take pictures at the farm so I will include them below.

I will say that Young Living has done a great job at diversifying their products, there is truly something for everyone. They have a line for pets, a babies, a men, skincare, makeup, cleaning, and more. They even have food and supplements (again, I don’t believe in ingesting oils so this is something that I will not be purchasing to try out).

That’s juniper oil in there!

Another one of my all-time favorite oils comes from Young Living, Stress Away. I’ve tried the “dupes” but none of them smell like the original. This one is definitely worth the money and I would wear this as a perfume, I actually have worn this as a perfume before. Again, like I said before, I would recommend buying some of the blends or other proprietary products if you want to try Young Living (which they have some great stuff!) rather than the single oils.

I currently do not sell either of these companies products. Like I said above, I did sign up for accounts at both companies’ headquarters but it was solely to receive the wholesale discount to give my honest opinion, in all transparency. I noticed through my research that it is incredibly difficult to find an unbiased opinion from someone who is not selling them, if you want my humble opinion, I’m happy to give it! Feel free to reach out.

The bottom line, I have no problems with any of these companies. I do struggle, however, with the fact that both companies promote daily internal use of oils and even offer products that are meant to be used in that way. I am not comfortable with that and from every expert I’ve talked with, they are not comfortable with that too. I have done extensive research in this area as it is extremely controversial and I know people have been doing it for years without any issues but the same thing can be said about so many other things that we now know are harmful, I don’t think it makes it safe. Again, this is my personal opinion, take it with a grain of salt. I will still continue to use both companies’ products because I absolutely love certain items, that’s just my two cents on the subject.

Well there you have it, a 3000+ word blog post all about the introduction to essential oils! Be on the lookout for my next post in this series, all about my recommendations for getting started and where to start, also including a list of my favorite oils.

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