Keep the Forest Alive at Home using Essential Oils

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For National Tree Week earlier in December, I met with several other practitioners who, like me, work together with trees for health-boosting purposes.

The second person I spoke with was Annika Vincent who’s also based in Winchester, Hampshire. She discovered the benefits of dōTERRA essential oils around 3 years ago while using them to support herself with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia, assist her husband in managing his Crohn’s disease and ease emotional and mental distress for her daughter.

She had always enjoyed using essential oils but was amazed at the effects of dōTERRA. This drove her to find out how dōTERRA essential oils were different.

She has since completed an Essential Oils Specialist course and is part-way through studying Aromatherapy and Emotional Aromatherapy. 

dōTERRA was formed in 2008 in Utah in the United States where the founding offices and factories are found. The founders already worked in the essential oil industry but were committed to sourcing and bringing to market the purest essential oils in the world. They wanted to ensure they were sourcing most naturally and effectively without cutting any corners.

Ethical Sourcing of Essential Oils

dōTERRA hold a deep desire to making a positive difference to the lives of farmers, harvesters and distillers – many of whom are in developing countries. To ensure that all parties are treated ethically, dōTERRA has introduced an initiative called Co-Impact Sourcing.

This partnership creates a shared value for all in the supply chain and works at the source improving lives for all involved with social initiatives – such as building schools, hospitals and installing clean, safe water sources close to communities. 

Furthermore, they only trade when harvesting is done safely and ethically for the environment. They work with an on-the-ground partner in Somaliland who has developed close relationships with the Sanaag region Clan Elders and the multi-generation harvesting communities.

They work together to carefully assess at-risk trees, prevent overtapping (cutting a tree too many times to access the resin) and ensure harvesting seasons never exceed eight months.

On my exploration into the world of essential oils with Annika, it was a relief to learn about dōTERRA’s ethics and sustainable approach to sourcing.

Hinoki Essential Oil

Do you use essential oils? I use Japanese Hinoki oil which I fell in love with during my Shinrin-Yoku guide training. A Hinoki bath is a luxury in Japan and you visit spas with baths made from the prized Hinoki wood.

Once the hot water is added the relaxing and soothing aroma from the natural wood encases you and provides a spiritual and grounding sensation.

I can’t say my bath is quite as good as that sounds 🙂

The Extraction Process

Oils are extracted through different methods. Steam distillation is the most common method. This is a delicate and time-intensive process best for chemical compounds that are heat sensitive.

Many of the citrus oils are sourced from the fruits and as a result, are cold-pressed from the skin of the fruit. Have you ever stuck a nail in the skin of an orange and been squirted with a liquid? Yes. This is the raw form of the essential oil being expressed from the fruit skin.

The Proven Benefits of Essential Oils

You probably know just as well as I do, that essential oils have been used as natural lifestyle support for thousands of years. And with extensive scientific evidence around their benefits, they are a safe way to enhance your wellbeing – mentally, emotionally and physically.

Oils are aromatic compounds sourced from trees and plants. They contain natural chemicals that work with our body on a natural level. They can be found in the leaves, flowers, roots, stems, bark or fruits. They are the protection and support for the plant and its immune system and as a result, offer us the same benefits.

Depending on from where they are sourced, they can be categorised into Citrus, Floral, Herbal and Wood oils. 

The benefits of being outside surrounded by nature are proven. With wood essential oils, you can obtain many of these benefits to your wellbeing when you are unable to be outside. 

Wood essential oils contain many naturally formed chemical compounds that are proven to offer vast benefits. Trees have deep roots reaching down into the ground to form a solid foundation. The wood oils offer this same deep grounded support for you and your emotions.

They assist in calming nerves and providing relief from tension and stress, promote relaxation and reduces stress. They are balancing to your emotions and evoke feelings of energy, empowerment and stability.

dōTERRA Wood Oils

Here Annika shares some of her favourite wood oils with us:

Frankincense – Known as the king of oils and renowned as one of the most prized and precious oils sourced from the Boswellia Tree in North Africa. To collect frankincense, harvesters make incisions into the trunks and scrape out the oozing sap, which hardens into frankincense resin.

Traded for over 5000 years, its historical origins date back to the New Testament where it was burnt in religious ceremonies and used as an embalming lotion by the Egyptians due to its soothing and beautifying properties to rejuvenate the skin and help reduce signs of imperfections.

It’s still used today to help reduce the signs of ageing and support the skin at a deep cellular level.

Boswellia Tree

Myrrh – Another wood oil with deep historical roots, having been used for thousands of years for vast reasons. Once considered so valuable it was worth more than gold

Sourced from the resin of the Myrrh tree in regions of Africa and Arabia, it has a chemical design that is proven to be helpful for cleansing, especially for the mouth and throat.

Adding a drop to your toothpaste for additional cleansing benefits and a few drops to water to gargle for that extra clean fresh feeling.

Black Spruce – Sourced from Canada, this is a powerful essential oil distilled from the needles of the Picea Mariana tree. Native Americans have used this for hundreds of years to promote skin health and as part of spiritual and cleansing practices.

It is high in a natural chemical proven to promote relaxation and calmness and also known to offer cooling and soothing benefits – making it fantastic to massage in or add to a bath when your body needs topical support after strenuous exercise.  

Black Spruce

Sandalwood – Another wood oil with deep historical roots, used for centuries as an incense in religious ceremonies and for enhancing meditation practices providing deep grounding effects. With a sweeter woody aroma than many of the others, it is the perfect oil for enhancing mood when you need to feel grounded yet uplifted.  

Sandalwood forest at Marayoor, near Munnar in Kerala State, India

There was one more that I personally wanted to bring your attention to – Arborvitae. This is cleansing to the skin and perhaps, more importantly, said to purify the air of any bad odours….

…. potentially particularly useful over the festive season? 🙂

Arborvitae

Using Essential Oils

One of the many joys of essential oil is their diversity and multi-use. You can use the oil with cold water in a diffuser for maximum effect, use in a burner (although note that heating the oils changes the chemical makeup and therefore can affect the efficacy) or as incense or with epson salts in a bath. There are multiple oils available for the support you are seeking so you can consider any aromatic preferences you may have.

This also means that not every oil will give the same response to each person due to how different our bodies are and as with any medication, there are opportunities to try different oils to ensure you get the maximum benefit. 

As Annika’s knowledge grew she discovered more and more ways to use the oils to ensure a natural toxic-free lifestyle (you can even use them with pets, cleaning and gardening!). She is committed to supporting her customers to experience the same wellness benefits that she and her family did.

Essentially Serene was launched in March 2020. If you are wanting to find out more about these wonderful gifts from nature and how you can incorporate into your lifestyle to reduce toxins and support yourself naturally, please visit her at www.essentiallyserene.co.uk

Annika advises: Not all oils are pure (despite labelling) and will not provide full efficacy nor be completely safe. Caution is recommended when sourcing to ensure you are obtaining the most ethically sourced, safest oils and receive the full support and knowledge to get the maximum benefits. All recommendations are for dōTERRA oils only due to their known purity, ethical sourcing and safety.

If you’ve enjoyed this blog, you might like to read the others in my series “Working with Trees for Wellbeing”. There’s one on Bach Flower Remedies, another on Woodland Burials and one on Gardening for Wellbeing.

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