Lavender: The Gateway Oil
Let me be perfectly honest with you…I was the biggest aromatherapy skeptics before I actually tried it. I thought it was just for those woo woo people who had their heads in the clouds and performed full moon rituals involving their domestic pets. (Having tried that particular ritual, I’m sad to report it did not save my fish, Triton, may he rest in peace.) That is, until I experienced pure, unadulterated lavender for the first time. Turns out, those people are actually on to something.
I had some experience with essential oils back in college. I made my own concoctions—bath scrubs, facial cleansers, toners, and moisturizers, but I didn’t really grasp the full scope of their amazingly magical powers because, honestly, the brands I had access to smelled more like chemicals than, say a field of lavender flowers. As a result, the aromatherapy aspect wasn’t really that enjoyable. So when a friend mentioned them to me two years ago, I rolled my eyes and thought about my past experience with them and dismissed it. BUT, I was really desperate for help at the time and decided to give them a try again. I seriously had nothing to lose. I worked at a Fortune 500 company at the time—in one of those jobs a million girls would kill for—but one that was apparently killing me. The company was great for a lot of people. It was just never the right fit for me and looking back, I suppose my body was trying to tell me that for a solid three years before I started to notice. I felt anxious all the time and was sick a lot—and not just upset stomach here, headache there, but in and out of Urgent Care multiple times a month and countless doctor visits with no prognosis other than “whatever you have is chronic”. The most annoying part was that I woke up in the middle of the night at least five times a week in a state of sheer panic over nothing specific…and, of course, had a tough time going back to sleep. So I was exhausted. All. The. Time.
My essential oil kit came with 15mL bottles of the 10 most frequently used single oils and blends and one kick ass diffuser. The first night, I added 4 drops of lavender to my diffuser, set the 4-hour timer and figured I’d take a couple deep breaths and doze off imagining myself laying in the middle of a field of lavender, fully expecting to wake up a few hours later in my normal state of panic. But, I didn’t! In fact, I woke up feeling totally rested and amazing 30 minutes before my alarm went off the next morning…and while I was definitely not excited to go to work, I was ready to face it. Having slept, I felt so much better throughout the day too. I started bringing my diffuser to the office and when things got tense, I dropped in a little bit of lavender and fired that bad boy up. The stress level at work didn’t change, but my reaction to it did. I can’t say for sure if it was the calming effects of lavender or just the act of taking a break during the crazy to close my eyes breathe deeply…maybe both. But I do know I’ll never go without it again.
It seems that a good night’s sleep does a body good and using aromatherapy to help manage my stress levels throughout the day was key. My Urgent Care and doctor visits stopped and before long, the daily 2:00 pm Coke runs (cola, in case there was any question) with my friends turned into a walk around the campus or a peppermint and wild orange therapy session in my office (more on that later). My days with that company soon came to an end, but through essential oils, another door opened and now, I do the most AMAZING thing!
Looking for some R&R diffuser recipes? Here are a few of my favorite combos:
Don’t have a diffuser? No problem! Apply a couple drops of lavender behind your ears or on your pillow before sleep going to sleep for sweet, lavender dreams!