Essential oils are compounds extracted from plants and have healing abilities. For thousands of years, cultures across the world have recognised the therapeutic value of essential oils. Today, it is not uncommon to open an average household medicine cabinet and see an impressive array of essential oils lined up. But while essential oils have been used in the for many years as aromatherapy treatment, their topical use is a recent development. With increasing access to quality therapeutic-grade essential oils, many people now apply these directly to their skin. And the most effective place to put essential oils on your body? The soles of your feet! Here’s why:
Act faster and more efficiently. The soles of our feet have much larger pores than the rest of our body. When applied to the larger pores of your foot soles, these oils can pass through the epidermis into your body and begin working their magic faster and more efficiently.
Sensitivity. Because the bottom of our feet are designed to take their fair share of abuse, the skin on this area of our bodies is much less sensitive. This means that many people who might experience irritation when they apply certain essential oils to other parts of their body often don’t have any issues when they apply the same oils to their feet. The lower sensitivity of the skin on your soles means you can often apply essential oils safely.
Feet soles don’t contain sebaceous glands. Along with the palms of your hands, the soles of your feet are the only part of your body which don’t contain sebaceous glands. Sebum essentially acts as a barrier. For this reason, it can act as an impediment to the essential oils which you want to absorb into your body. The absence of sebum on the soles of your feet means they are the perfect place to apply essential oils.
Feet and reflexology. According to the ancient practice of reflexology, every nerve line in the body ends in your feet. Specialists in reflexology maintain that certain areas of the feet correspond to the body’s organs. Thus by applying essential oils to your feet, it’s possible that these oils may have a stronger, more beneficial effect on certain areas of the body.
Spiritual. Our feet are our connection to the Earth, rooting us in the biosphere and encapsulating our energetic links to Mother Earth. What better place, then, to put essential oils?
HEALTH BENEFITS OF ESSENTIAL OILS
Because essential oils contain the concentrated healing powers of any given medicinal plant, they truly are a force to be reckoned with. Here are some known benefits:
• Strengthen immunity
• Fight colds and flu
• Prevent infection, both internally and on the skin
• Relax and soothe sore or inflamed muscles
• Resolve skin conditions
• Reduce pain
• Lower inflammation
• Balance hormones
• Reduce stress and anxiety
• Increase skin suppleness and elasticity
• Slow the process of aging
• Improve digestion
• Help you sleep better
• Alleviate congestion
• Clean your home
• Make you smell nicer!
WHICH ESSENTIAL OILS ARE BEST
There’s no “one size fits all.” Different oils provide varied health benefits, meaning you need to have a good idea of the medicinal properties of the original plant to ascertain how it can be used to benefit your own health. There are, however, certain “go-to” essential oils which are versatile, powerful and easy to use. Here’s some of common favourites:
Lavender. It’s amazingly versatile — it can relax your mind and body, help your sleep, lower inflammation, speed healing, alleviate pain, soothe insect bites and even help minor burns heal without infection. If ever there was an “all-arounder” in the world of essential oils, this is it!
Oregano. Many people avoid oregano essential oil due to the fact that it can sometimes cause skin sensitivity. This only occurs if it isn’t diluted with a carrier oil such as coconut, olive or castor. When used correctly, oregano essential oil can be a powerful medicinal ally, as it is antifungal, anti-parasitic, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory. Use oregano oil to treat fungal infections, intestinal parasites, joint pain, sprains, bruises, cysts and warts.
Peppermint. It not only smells amazing, it has a wide range of health benefits. Applying peppermint oil to sore muscles can provide a soothing and relaxing effect. Putting peppermint oil on bug bites can take the itch away. Adding peppermint oil to the back of the head or temples can banish even the most persistent of headaches. But do remember, peppermint essential oil is another of hot oil which means that to avoid skin irritation, it should always be diluted with sufficient amounts of a carrier oil. These can include coconut oil, olive oil, castor oil or avocado oil.
Lemon. The health benefits of lemon are wide-ranging and proven, so imagine how powerful lemon essential oil is. These essential oils are hundreds of times more potent than their original plant form. Lemon essential oil is anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and just all-around anti-illness. Add a drop of lemon essential oil to a glass of water in the morning to cleanse the toxins from your system and get the body energized for the day ahead. Lemon oil can also be used to increase your vitamin C intake, stimulate lymphatic drainage and improve digestive capacity. It can have positive neurological effects, including significantly reducing anxiety. And do not forget about the good old hot tea with lemon and honey to soothe a sore throat; if you don’t have any fresh lemons lying around, use lemon essential oil instead.