A little over a year ago today and halfway through my third pregnancy, my midwife gave me a sample pack of doTERRA essential oils that she thought would help me with my restless legs, insomnia, and anxiety. Being a natural skeptic and slow to change, it took maybe three different people telling me about their own experiences to realize I might actually be missing out on something that could help ease some of my pregnancy pains.
I started using lavender first because it was a scent I was familiar with. I would rub it on my wrist (it absorbs well there) and take a big whiff right before I was ready to go to sleep and would rub it on my lower legs when my calves would cramp up. Other nights when my heart would start beating rapidly and anxiety would creep in (this was near the end of Brett's deployment and I was one tired, pregnant mama), I'd rub some on my chest to be able to fall asleep.
Right after Thanksgiving I got the stomach flu. I started essential oils as well as a few other homeopathic aids (Vitamin C, echinacea, apple cider vinegar) right away with the help of my midwife and sweet husband who had to run to the store at least twice to get the right echinacea. I was on the mend in less than 24 hours and credit getting started on that regimen as soon as I knew I was getting sick with cutting what could've knocked me off my feet for a week down to recovering and resting for only three days. Had I not been pregnant it may have been sooner.
However, had I not been pregnant I probably wouldn't have been as open to trying an alternative to what we always turned to when we got sick before. I was hoping for a more natural alternative to helping my body recover from illness than just masking the ache (although sometimes we still use Ibuprofen along with oils) and discovered so much more.
Brett had read good things about essential oils in a few articles over the previous year and dove in to reading as much as he could about how they interacted with our bodies to help us heal. He'd come in from another room where he'd been reading on his phone and tell me how essential oils can cross the blood/brain barrier and most regular drugs can't or that when you apply just a few drops of oil to your skin it can travel through your system to reach every cell in your body within 20 minutes. He was impressed by the science. I was impressed by the results.
Since then our family has used Peppermint for headaches (although I stay away since I'm still nursing and it can dry your supply), Lavender diffused at night to help everyone sleep well, OnGuard at the first sign of sickness (Brett uses it every day as a preventative measure and is also the one to never get sick when it makes the rounds), Breathe to help with drying up congestion, Marjoram and Ylang Ylang to help manage my high blood pressure near the end of pregnancy, Lemon as a cleanser when added to drinking water, Grapefruit as a detoxer (again, I haven't but Brett has), Cedarwood to feel grounded, Balance to help with anxiety, Digestzen for tummy aches or gas pains, TerraShield as a mosquito and pest repellent, etc. Brett also uses the daily supplemental pack, Lifelong Vitality.
We've also branched out and started using health and beauty products from both DoTERRA and Young Living. I've tried so many natural shampoos and conditioners that didn't do much for my dry, curly hair so I was pretty sure Brett was going to be the only one using them. Imagine my surprise when I was forced to use the new stuff after my regular stuff had run out and my curls looked great. Also, I've finally discovered a natural deoderant that actually does its job!
We've taken this last year to use essential oils to see how they might help our family stay healthier and have experimented with product from both major companies to see which ones were most effective. We've seen earaches go away without antibiotics and the kids sleep well at night after catching the latest round of colds at school. We've used it to help heal cuts, lift spirits, clean counters, flavor drinks, remove odors, soothe anxiety, focus during labor, relieve headaches, and recover quickly from all the bugs that came our way last winter.
We still go to the doctor and appreciate modern medicine in all the ways it's able to serve our health needs. When Brett had minor surgery this summer we used Deep Blue to help his muscles relax as he recovered but you better believe he was on some strong pain medication those first few days! However, I feel like the knowledge of how to use essential oils has given me the ability to help manage our health at home and the peace of mind knowing there are natural ways to help our bodies recover and heal.
We're big fans and are happy to share more about how we use essential oils through each season and in our every day routines in the coming weeks. Brett and I are officially doTERRA wellness advocates which means we're both available to answer questions and can point you in the right direction if using essential oils is something you are exploring for yourself. Feel free to e-mail us at racheldenbow @ gmail .com.