This episode features personal stories about how the use of essential oils has helped with a variety of conditions including depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, fatigue, post-surgical pain and post cancer treatment.
If you’re interested in deepening your exploration of essential oils, please leave me a note here.
To learn more about Lori Melero’s alternative care practice, visit her website.
It’s hot this week – in northern California – and heat is a trigger for me. It exacerbates my symptoms. Oddly enough, most people I know with my condition – myotonic dystrophy – tend to feel better in the heat and have problems with the cold. Give me the cold any day. We have the air conditioning turned up right now and I’m using a variety of tools to help me through it. And one of those tools is natural essential oils. Peppermint is a good one to help with a little cooling.
Using essential oils isn’t necessarily a new tool for me but as I learn more about various oils and how they can help with my physical and emotional well-being, they’re becoming a more helpful and necessary tool.
So this episode is all about essential oils. I wanted to share personal stories rather than a bunch of factoids about essential oils.
Actually, he used to say…we have a really BIG show for you tonight…but I couldn’t find that sound bite. But…we do have a REALLY BIG show for you. Stories about how using essential oils have helped for a variety of conditions including depression, fibromyalgia, post-surgical pain and post cancer treatment.
First let me share my story. I remember buying essential oils at the health food store when I was young. I bought them for the fragrance…I loved jasmine, patchouli, musk. It wasn’t until years later when I realized there were differences in the quality of the essential oil. So many of them have additional chemicals added and weren’t a pure therapeutic grade quality oil.
My first experience with a therapeutic grade essential oil was…lavender. I’ve been carrying around a lavender roll-on with me for at least 10 or so years. I use it every night as part of my sleep hygiene routine but I also use it to fight a bout of anxiety during the day.
About two years ago I met Valerie Jew — an Urban Zen integrative healing practitioner featured in an earlier podcast – she introduced me to other essential oils. I’ve been gradually exploring them since and learning about their healing qualities. There is a lot to learn. I’m using oils in a variety of ways – rubbing on my feet, diffusing them in the air, and occasionally using them in foods and beverages. They’re a great addition to my nightly bath ritual.
Just this month I began a year-long program that culminates with a certification as an essential oils wellness practitioner. But, I digress…I’ll tell you more about this after you hear a few personal stories.
The first guest is Mindy Kim – Mindy was in this year’s first podcast episode when I asked people to share their New Year’s resolutions. Mindy lives with her family in North Carolina and she also has myotonic dystrophy. Exploring the use of essential oils was one of her goals for the new year.
|Mindy||I bought my oils and I’m ready to start using them. I hope it will be a healthier year in general.|
Back in April Mindy and I spoke again and she shared how her health goals were progressing.
|Mindy||I ordered the DDR prime oil. I roll it on my feet. I love it. I can’t pinpoint it. it makes me feel like I’m doing something good for my body. I ask about other oils she’s tried. In the book it mentions basil but I haven’t used it yet. I like the idea that I’m doing something positive for my body. I don’t have to use it every day with a meal like medications. It feels good on my feet. I like the idea that it’s ancient since before Jesus’ time. I’m very happy with my oils.|
The oil Mindy mentioned is considered a supplement. I’ve been applying it to my feet every morning for the last couple of months and I, too, feel like it’s a positive experience. It apparently works on cellular energy and it’s been helping with my daily fatigue. Plus, I appreciate the morning ritual of oiling the bottoms of my feet.
Previously I mentioned Valerie Jew who turned me on to oils beyond my lavender. Her daughter, Laura, is my next guest. Laura began exploring essential oils as a child.
|Laura||My earliest memory when I was 10 and my mom and my brother went to Bali for a yoga retreat. There were so many mosquitoes. My aunt took out lavender EO, rub it on our palms…it took mosquitoes away. It wasn’t associated with my use of them emotionally. In the program Urban Zen an integrative…one of the modalities. I got introduced into the spectrum…it’s been an all-around journey.|
|Laura||So, one part of my story is that I have chronic depression. I’ve had it since adolescence. At that point see a therapist, get on anti-depressants. For year – I’m almost 30 – it was fatalistic view…your mental health is up to some foreign expert and taking drugs. My epiphany came when I was in the UZ program – along with restorative yoga I started noticing I felt more grounded. A happy accident – I forgot to take my anti-depressants one day. I stopped taking pills and did oils, meditation, yoga…I had my ups and downs…I learned a sense of empowerment. I’ll start with citrus oils in the morning. I’ll bring 2-3 oils with me for the day. I’m more in tune with my body. I’m feeling my energy drop a little bit, I’ll take peppermint. It has fostered this amazing connectivity between my physical self and my spiritual self and my mental self.|
|Laura||One of the first things I do is take a shower I put oils in the bottom of the shower. It creates a steam…I mention the shower mister…usually I put peppermint on the back of my neck or on my palms I’ll inhale. I will take peppermint oil with a full glass of water. I’ll use cedar wood, vetiver…floral oils are calming. Lavender or clary sage. I mention so many…geranium is another favorite.|
|Cinnamon is one of my favorites for the winter. My body wants something different. She’s completely off anti-depressants. I say “that’s very powerful”|
Laura’s story is very inspirational. I’d love to hear from other people that have had a similar experience of transitioning off pharmaceuticals but the friends I know who are either diagnosed with clinical depression or bipolar disorder have quite adamantly told me they the drugs they’re on and it would be frightening to stray from the routine that now works for them.
I wonder how doctors would respond to this switch from pharmaceuticals to the use of essential oils? There are medical doctors exploring the application of essential oils in their practice. I recently met one – well – virtually met – Dr. Kris Gast. Remember I said I’m studying essential oils; the course I’m taking has an online classroom component and I saw Kris’ post about implementing essential oils in her medical practice so I jumped at the opportunity to speak with her. Her medical practice is in Fort Smith, Arkansas which is on the border of Arkansas and Oklahoma.
|Kris||I originally started in medicine in the 80s – radiation oncology – a lot of computers, big linear accelerators…at this point people retire…I have so many patients have followed and see them once/year. I have a huge population…2/3 to 75% cancer patients survive. It’s part of the practice to make them happier and healthier in their lives. It’s been driven by their patients to expand the practice to have other tools.|
|Kris||A lot of our patients will go through chemotherapy or placed on hormone pills and all of that causes health issues. They always gain weight. I searched for diets. Not just a cancer provider to make sure their other health issues are…I asked about implementing EO. We started using the recipe for insomnia. One menopause recipe. I’m in the process of doing this right now. it gives them an alternative to adding another pill to their ever-growing pile. Old now is like 85. They’ll be like on 20 meds. We get them detoxed and out there doing what they like to do.|
|Kris||I ask how receptive they’ve been. Most of these people in our practice they’re pretty much rural; they have land, grow gardens. They have a history in their family that may date back Indian blood…they used to use this concoction. Our location…Irish and Choctaw and Cherokee Indians. They like natural.|
|Kris||It’s so much fun; it’s helped me be able to say I can practice for another 20-30 years. My staff is so good for our patients…we’ll all take it. anything give a patient I’ve tried it on myself. It helps us understand that something really works.|
|I think that most doctors do not come to their full potential until they’ve been a patient. I’ve had a chronic illness for 20 years – fibromyalgia – and it’s been a struggle to find anything that helps. I ask about EO for fibro. The first thing that has helped the most was to keep moving…the movement was the only relief. One of my employees encouraged me to become gluten free. Now I look at food to see not how it will taste but what will it make me feel like. The EO for myself to help me sleep better…my recipe is frankincense and lavender. I can sleep 5-6 hours straight. I rub it on my hands and on the back of my neck before I go to bed.
Until doctors get sick and have to take pills, I don’ think they’ll be very receptive to it…
Wouldn’t you want Kris as part of your medical team? We can all hope for a future when doctors will be open and receptive to alternative modes of healing.
The final essential oil story I have for you today is also part of that cross-section of natural healing and western medicine. Lori Melero has been a massage therapist and wellness coach for 20 years. I knew Lori from a local qigong class and had heard through a mutual friend that she recently used essential oils to recover from a rather dramatic surgery.
|Lori||My earliest experience with oils was in 1997 when I did massage therapy. In 2014, someone introduced me to doTerra. In 2014 I got reintroduced to them. I stopped using oils and they had synthetics and I was allergic. I ask if she did it for the aroma; she was. She didn’t know about the healing benefits. Lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint. A yoga instructor offered a massage with her oils. Aroma Touch session. My body completely opened like a flower. It was like a cleanse.|
Once reacquainted with therapeutic grade essential oils, Lori used different blends for allergies, digestive issues and created a lotion with frankincense which helped her with inflammation and a hematoma from a fall.
|Lori||Back in 2010 I had a gall bladder attack. I went to doctor and advised I get the gall bladder removed. The stone was 2 millimeters. Drink olive oil and lemon juice. I passed the stone. I changed my diet. I was great for 6 years. I ate an egg and cheese experienced with pain. Rushed to the ER. They did tests and I had a 7-millimeter stone. After the procedure, they put a scope down the throat…I became septic. They had to consult with surgeons. They waited a few days to see if would heal. I came out of it and…my white blood cell count was going up. I had a blood transfusion. Another major surgery – clamped my stomach…I don’t remember a lot because they had me on a lot of medication. I asked for my diffuser and lavender. I was in the hospital for 11 days. Once I came home they offered me Norco for pain. My husband had to say, “she said no.” I took Advil for 1-2 weeks. I used frankincense and DigestZen. I put it on the bottoms of my feet. I was in bed for some time. I had feeding tubes…|
|You used the diffuser…my oils next to me. I would pick which one was suitable for me. Whatever one resonated for me at the time is what I used.|
|Lori||I’m doing great; at least 90%|
So…now I ask you…are essential oils part of your tool chest? If not, and you’d like to learn more, please contact me via the Glass Half Full website or the Glass Half Full Facebook group. I’ve embarked on diving deeper into my knowledge of essential oils and will soon be starting a side project for those that would like to join me.
Future podcast episodes may touch upon essential oils but I’ll continue to mix things up. After all, it’s good to have a lot of tools available.