Just Add Oils to a New You!—Part 2

As mentioned in the the first part of this article, “Just Add Oils to a New You!—Part 1,” we took a poll to see what your biggest health challenges are. We discussed ways to use essential oils for helping you stay motivated and while exercising in the first part and are ready to discuss the other health challenges below.

Losing Weight

About 17.5% of those who took the poll said they struggle with losing weight; so if you’re one of those people, just know you are not alone! One problem with struggling to lose weight is that it can be due to a large number of factors—diet (eating the wrong foods or wrong amounts), lack of exercise (or doing the wrong types of exercise), too much stress, lack of sleep, insufficient water consumption, food intolerances, low metabolism, abnormal thyroid function, insulin levels, hormone imbalance, poor gut health, and toxic buildup in the body can all contribute to excess weight or trouble losing it. Losing weight often happens when you are able to change your lifestyle for the better (rather than going on a fad diet or any get-slim-quick plan). This is tough to do, and the struggle is real. The best advice we have is to start small—pick 1 or 2 things you can do differently, and try to make them a habit over a month. Once they become a habit, pick 1 or 2 more things to adjust in your lifestyle.

Often, the biggest help in losing weight is to increase your metabolism. Here are a few tips for increasing your metabolism:

  • Eat enough food. The amount of food you eat should be enough to keep you satisfied. Be careful not to eat so much that you feel full or so little that you are left hungry. Pay attention to how you feel while you are eating, and stop when you feel satisfied. It’s okay to save your food for later when you need a snack or simply throw it away (the starving kid in a third-world country really isn’t benefited if you don’t waste your food!).
  • Focus on mornings. The first thing you should do in the morning is drink 1–2 glasses of water. This helps your body wake up and get moving. You should also make sure to eat a good, healthy breakfast—don’t skip this meal! Your body has been fasting all night long and needs energy to keep your metabolism up, so don’t deprive yourself.
  • Eat the right foods. If you are trying to lose weight, you need to make sure you include foods with fiber, protein, iron, and nutrients found in vegetables and fruits in your diet every day. See the Eating Healthy section below for more ideas.
  • Drink plenty of water. Your body needs water to flush out toxins as well as to keep your organs doing their proper functions. See the Drinking Water section below.
  • Use essential oils. Some essential oils that can help boost metabolism include clove, Grounding Blend, oregano, grapefruit, Metabolic Blend, and lemon. You can diffuse any of these oils throughout the day, or add grapefruit, lemon, or Metabolic Blend to your drinking water. If adding oils to your water, make sure to use a glass or metal cup or water bottle.

Eating Healthy

About 13% of our pollers said they struggle with eating healthy. If you’re not in the habit of making good diet choices, making a change like this can be a big process. If you are concerned about your diet, make a list of your top 3 things you want to change the most. Then make a goal that helps put you on that path. Start small (like eating a healthy breakfast) and try to make progress over the course of a month, and then add something else to it (like prepping healthy snacks once a week).

Also, try experimenting with cooking with essential oils! It’s fun to do and may help inspire you to cook healthier dishes. Take a look at our Essential Oil Cooking Recipes and our tips to help you adapt your favorite recipes (Cooking with Essential Oils – FAQs and Tips).

Here is some advice from one of our readers:

“I find that eating healthy, well balanced meals can be something that people struggle with when starting. The call of comfort foods can be very strong, and the will to ignore can be too much at times. By growing our food and only buying organic goods, we are already halfway there. Being part of the whole cycle of food production helps us to respect food and in turn respect what it does for our bodies. Having a really healthy start to the day can help to keep you on track as you have a nice feeling of well being. Try a glass of hot water and lemon to start the day and help your liver to wake up. Next treat yourself to a lovely big bowl of porridge topped with fresh fruit, seeds, and honey. This will keep you feeling content until lunchtime at least.” —Wen Morton

Drinking Water

About 13% of readers said drinking enough water is a challenge for them. So how much water should you be drinking? To figure this out, simply take your weight (in pounds), and divide it by 2. The number you get is the minimum number of ounces of water you should drink per day. To aid in weight loss, however, your body will benefit from more than the bare minimum. Multiply your weight by 2/3 (or .67) to get the amount of water you should consume if weight loss is one of your aims. So, for example, if you weigh 200 lbs., then you should be drinking a minimum of 100 oz. (and ideally 134 oz.) of water each day.

Here are a few of our tips for reaching your minimum water intake every day:

  • In the morning, fill up a large jug or several water bottles with the amount of water you need to drink during the day. You can write on the bottles a line with the time stating when the water should be at that level (for instance, having a line for 10:00 AM, 2:00 PM, and 6:00 PM). Or you can designate blocks of times for individual water bottles (such as morning, afternoon, and evening water bottles). Even if you only have 1 water bottle, just know how many times you need to empty it during the day to reach your goal.
  • Set reminders on your phone to drink water. Sometimes we just forget and need a little reminder!
  • Keep a glass of water in the bathroom, and set a goal to drink a glass every time you use the bathroom.
  • Flavor your water. If part of your problem is that water tastes bland to you, try adding something to liven it up a little. Here’s what one of our readers says:

    “I put lemon or lime in my water. It tastes better and has added health benefits!” —Abbie

    You can use fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs, spices, or essential oils for healthy water flavorings. Here are some of our favorite flavor combinations:

    • Strawberry Lemon: Fresh strawberry slices with a drop of lemon essential oil.
    • Apple Cinnamon: Apple slices with a toothpick of cinnamon essential oil.
    • Cucumber Lime: Cucumber slices with a drop of lime essential oil.
    • Lemon Rosemary: A sprig of rosemary with a drop of lemon essential oil.
    • Citrus Twist: A mix of citrus fruits or citrus essential oils.
    • Cinnamon Orange: A stick of cinnamon with a drop of orange essential oil, orange slices with a toothpick of cinnamon essential oil, or a drop of Protective Blend.

    Remember to use a glass or metal water bottle if you’re using essential oils in your water, and always shake before drinking.

Overcoming Depression

Almost 10% of our respondents find depression to be their biggest health challenge. This is a sobering topic and particularly difficult to overcome. According to Modern Essentials, “While much is still being discovered about the complex psychological and physiological processes involved in emotions, researchers have discovered that emotions involve many different systems in the body, including the brain, the sensory system, the endocrine/hormonal system, the autonomic nervous system, the immune system, and the release or inhibition of neurotransmitters (such as dopamine) in the the brain. Recent research has also begun to uncover compelling evidence that various essential oils and their components have the ability to affect each one of these systems, making the use of essential oils an intriguing tool for helping to balance emotions in the human body” (8th Edition, p. 267).
Some essential oils that may help with depression include lemon, frankincense, Encouraging Blend, Uplifting Blend, Focus Blend, Comforting Blend, lavender, bergamot, petitgrain, Joyful Blend, Grounding Blend, Reassuring Blend, and Invigorating Blend. Try diffusing one or more of these essential oils (a diffuser necklace works particularly well for keeping the scent next to you) or rubbing some on your neck and wrists as perfume (a roll-on bottle is really helpful for this).

“Find something every day to be grateful for.” —Dawndee Blickenstaff

Here are a few posts we have written about this subject:

Breaking Addictions

About 6% of our pollers are trying to break an addiction of some kind. As you work on overcoming your addictions, you will likely experience withdrawal symptoms. Modern Essentials suggests diffusing grapefruit oil using an aromatherapy diffuser to help calm and soothe withdrawal symptoms.
Here are a few articles we’ve recently published about this subject:
How to Use Complementary Therapies within Your Addiction Treatment
Essential Oils and the Road to Addiction Recovery

Sleeping

About 5% of our pollers said they struggle with getting enough sleep. Many essential oils are known for their calming abilities and can help a person relax before going to bed. Some of these essential oils include lavender, Restful Blend, spikenard, Roman chamomile, and marjoram. Try mixing 5–10 drops essential oil with 1/4 cup (50 g) of epsom salt, and add to a warm bath before bedtime. You can also try making a linen spray with 5–10 drops essential oil and 1 oz. (25 ml) of water in a small spray bottle. Spray on pillows and sheets before tucking in for the night.
Here are some other posts we’ve written on the subject:
See Modern Essentials: Essential Oils for Sleep
Essential Oils for a Better Night’s Sleep

Whatever your health challenge is, don’t give up! If needed, keep your goals small and simple, but continue making progress to a healthier lifestyle. You are given these challenges for a reason, and through the process of overcoming your challenges, you are shaping your character and becoming an example to others around you. Keep trying, and eventually your efforts will turn into results.

Source: Modern Essentials™: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils, 8th Edition.

Check out “Just Add Oils to a New You!—Part 1” to read about our essential oil (and general) tips for staying motivated and exercising.

How to Use Complementary Therapies within Your Addiction Treatment

Some people are able to overcome addiction on their own, while others need more support through professional treatment. Each person needs to take the recovery path that works for him or her. There’s no reason to feel weak if you need to rely on professional treatment. Drug or alcohol dependence creates significant changes in your brain and body, especially if you’ve been abusing the drug for a long time or in large amounts. Professional treatment can provide various tools and techniques to help you change your life. Or you might be someone who thrives more on your own than with the help of others.

at_yoga_manWhether you are working on overcoming addiction individually or with the help of professionals, there is a lot you can do on your own. After all, addiction recovery is your own personal journey of making changes and transitioning from an old way of living to a new one. You’re doing the work on your own anyway—it just helps to have support, whether that’s in the form of holistic therapies, medical/psychosocial treatment, or both!

A range of complementary therapies can add to whatever other steps you are taking without counteracting them. Many intensive treatment programs even offer numerous holistic therapies within their regimens.

About Addiction

Addiction, which now falls under the designation “substance use disorder,” is a complex health problem that involves all aspects of a person’s life. It affects one physically, emotionally, neurologically, and in other ways. Addiction comes with tolerance and dependence, and it changes the brain and other parts of the body.

Overall, addiction results in many problems to one’s life, and most agree that a person is addicted if he or she doesn’t stop using the substance despite these problems. Addicts are likely to experience at least some problems such as job loss, financial struggles, health troubles, relationship problems or endings, and other problems and losses that the addiction either causes or perpetuates.

Since addiction is a complex problem, it often helps to have a treatment plan that focuses on different aspects of one’s body, mind, and life. Many treatment programs incorporate psychological professionals, doctors and nurses, and other professionals to offer various treatment methods that focus on these different aspects. The specialties work together within a comprehensive treatment plan. Treatment also works best when it’s tailored to each person.

You might find that solely using holistic therapies is the path you need to take to overcome an addiction. Or you might find that some holistic techniques work well with your individualized plan that also includes treatments such as psychological therapy and even temporary medication.

How Complementary Therapies Can Help

The goal of many addiction treatment techniques is to help you change your way of thinking and behaving. Many holistic therapies can help with that goal.

Learning to relieve stress is often a key component of addiction treatment, since stress is a common trigger for substance use. You can use tools such as aromatherapy, yoga, meditation, and other techniques to cut your stress levels and help you react differently to situations.
Yoga_Lifestyle

Certain complementary therapies can also help ease symptoms of withdrawal and can promote healing to your body and mind.

There is also a lot you can do on your own when you have recovered from an addiction and are trying to prevent relapse. Just as with various health conditions, it’s fairly common to relapse when you quit a substance. Nevertheless, it’s possible to reduce your risk of relapse, and holistic therapies can provide support toward this goal.

Techniques to Try within Your Addiction Treatment Plan

Aromatherapy is a natural treatment that can provide benefits for your treatment process. This therapy involves using essential oils in therapeutic ways, such as inhaling them or diluting and applying them to your skin.

In Yale Scientific, Cynthia Deng explained that some research has supported the idea that essential oils have a positive effect on mood, adding that “there is something to be said for the consistent mood improvement across studies.” Deng explained that the scent travels to the limbic system in the brain, where it can also play a role in memories. She gave the example that associating a certain scent with something positive could help a person have positive thoughts when smelling it in the future.

smelling-application-branded

So inhaling the scent of essential oils could improve your mood, which could be beneficial if you’re experiencing an addiction. This effect has particular potential for easing symptoms of post-acute withdrawal syndrome, which is associated with a variety of emotional symptoms. Plus, you might be able to help train your brain to have new positive experiences by inhaling a scent you like while you engage in a drug-free activity.

If you are interested in using essential oils to help with addiction, you may wish to read our post “Essential Oils & the Road to Addiction Recovery” for more information.

There are many additional techniques you can incorporate into your personal process of overcoming addiction. Yoga, meditation, and other relaxing, reflective techniques provide wonderful methods of relieving stress and changing your perspective on life. Through these techniques, you learn to reflect, calm your mind and emotions, and think and act differently. Prayer can offer similar benefits if it fits your lifestyle.

Yoga also provides exercise, which takes us to the next point. Fitness and nutrition are incredibly beneficial to healing your body and mind from an addiction. A healthy diet gives your body and brain nutrients to make up for addiction-based deficiencies and to support your brain and body in healing themselves. Both nutrition and exercise help your mood and improve your overall health. Exercise also provides a healthy activity you can commit to rather than spending your time on addiction-based activities.

WomanRunning

There is an abundance of other healthy techniques you can use to promote healing and recovery, including:

Whether or not you rely on the support of professionals to overcome an addiction, you do have a lot of power to change your own life. These complementary techniques can support you in your journey and make the process a bit smoother. Also, you can support your transition in other ways, such as changing your environment, learning your triggers to avoid or manage them, and filling your life with positive and healthy influences, such as supportive people and enjoyable sober activities.

Sources:
https://www.lumierehealingcenters.com/what-is-addiction/
http://www.yalescientific.org/2011/11/aromatherapy-exploring-olfaction/
https://www.thefix.com/content/therapies-outside-box?page=all
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-06-12/health/sc-health-0612-fitness-fight-addiction-with-exerci-20130612_1_todd-crandell-drug-addiction-reward
http://riverbankhouse.net/why-drug-addiction-requires-long-term-treatment-and-extended-recovery-care/

About the Author


_fab1749-lowDr. Dina Macaluso’s journey toward a career in psychology began in 1990. Since then, she has dedicated her life to helping people recover from addiction and mental health issues. Dr. Macaluso holds a doctorate degree in psychology, a master’s degree in sociology and marriage and family therapy, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She is licensed in the state of Florida as a mental health counselor. Additionally, Dr. Macaluso is working on her certification as an addiction counselor. She is currently the clinical director at Lumiere Healing Centers Florida Location.

Essential Oils & the Road to Addiction Recovery

Addiction is so prevalent that you don’t have to look far to find someone who is suffering from its influence and effects. Sometimes, you just have to look in the mirror. Addiction can be responsible for diminished self-worth, estrangement from family and friends, dismissal from work, and decline of physical health. The good news, though, is that there is hope! It’s never too late to start fighting addiction, and there are resources and tools available to help––including essential oils! The book Modern Essentials defines addiction as “an obsession, compulsion, or extreme psychological dependence that interferes with an individual’s ability or desire to function normally“ (p.173).

Common addictions include drugs, alcohol, tobacco, video games, work, shopping, overeating, gambling, explicit images, money, etc.; however, addiction can present itself in many other forms as well. In the early stages of addiction, an individual may still be able to function in society; but as an addiction progresses, it can start to take over a person’s life and make it difficult for that person to work, take care of themselves, or have normal relationships. If an addiction isn’t controlled, the results can be detrimental to a person’s quality of life.

There are many programs and professionals out there that can help with addiction recovery, and we suggest that you get the help that you need. Some helpful suggestions for addiction recovery include finding a support group (have someone you can call in a weak moment), avoiding triggers (stay away from people and places that remind you of your addictive behavior), distracting yourself with hobbies, exercising regularly, eating healthy, and setting goals. All of these things can make a difference and be helpful on the road to change. Even if you follow all of the guidelines outlined by a program or a health care professional, the road to recovery from addiction can still be long and difficult; but it is possible. Essential oils can be a big help on this path.

Essential oils are great because they can help with many of the symptoms of withdrawal, such as nausea, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, etc., and they can help boost your mood and increase your energy (See Modern Essentials for supporting research) so that you can keep pushing forward on the road to recovery. Essential oils can also help reduce stress (See Modern Essentials p.274), which is important because stress is one of the biggest reasons why people engage in addictive behaviors in the first place. Below are a few essential oil suggestions from the book Modern Essentials that may be helpful for addiction recovery: If there are other issues you are dealing with that aren’t listed here, Modern Essentials is a great resource to consult in finding which oils are often used for specific conditions. If you are the parent, friend, or spouse of someone struggling with addiction, it can be difficult to not get discouraged or wonder if you are somehow at fault for the circumstance. You can’t blame yourself though; people make their own choices. All you can do is show support and love and be there to help when the addict is ready to receive help. Arm yourself with the knowledge and resources (essentials oils certainly fall in this category) that can help when you are given the chance. Addiction recovery is very possible––especially with the help of essential oils and a good support system. Don’t lose hope. Get help, set goals, and get your life back!

Source: Modern Essentials: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils, 5th Edition, 2013.

Want to Teach a Class on This Subject?

One great product that we carry is a tear pad called “Addiction Recovery & Essential Oils.” This tear pad is designed to be used as a handout for classes and gives great information that you can use when teaching a class about addiction recovery.

This tear pad identifies some of the reasons people fail to quit their addictions (fear of withdrawal symptoms, lack of motivation, denial of addiction, or unrealistic expectations) and shares how essential oils can help in the recovery process. This tear pad states, “By using essential oils, one can change their attitude toward life and remove the need for immediate relief through harmful addictions.” This tear pad is available for purchase on our website.