I used to think of aromatherapy as potpourri at Grandma’s house or menthol sticks to help me breathe when my nose was stuffy. But now ‘essential oils’ are everywhere and going far beyond aromatherapy. Since I didn’t think I was alone in being unsure what essential oils are all about (correct me if I’m wrong!), I brought in an expert to fill us in.
I first met Evgenia Ilienko in the early days of Ketanga, when I visited Core Pilates NYC to take a class and talk about hosting one of our first Ketanga Fitness Krawl events there. She was working at the front desk and teaching classes in the studio where she also received her teaching certifications. Fast forward a year+ later and she is living in Greece, teaching Pilates, and is an expert in essential oils! Needless to say a Yoga, Pilates, & Natural Wellness retreat is already on the calendar!
Now back to those oils… I asked Evgenia to break it down for newbies, and here’s what she said:
Ok, so what exactly are essential oils?
Essential oils are literally the essence of a plant. It can be found in the leaves, in the bark, in the flower, roots, etc. If you smell a rose, for example, you smell its essence, which the essential oil is then made of.
How do you actually use essential oils?
Essential oils have been used for centuries to make remedies, for cooking, and for beauty treatments. A great way to use essential oils is to mix it with a carrier oil, such as coconut, almond, olive or whichever oil you prefer, and use it all over your body, focusing on area of control.
Different oils have different properties. For example, some are great for relaxation while others are a great pick-me-up. Some oils help with circulation and cellulite, while others help deal with muscle fatigue and soreness. Good quality oils, if they are pure, can also be taken internally in moderation, which makes them great for cooking. A drop of cumin or black pepper oil can do wonders for a dish!
Oils are also great and beneficial when used aromatically. It is best to diffuse oils via a water vapor diffuser as opposed to heated over a candle, as the heat can deteriorate the essential oil properties.
What types of oils would you suggest to help a stressed out / busy person fall asleep and then wake up refreshed?
Lavender is great for stress-relief and can help calm the mind. A good way to use it is to inhale the oil during the day to help ease tension, and to rub it on the bottom of your feet before bed to promote restful sleep. Also, citrus oils such as orange, lemon or bergamot are great to help lift the mood. Put a drop on your palm, rub the hands together, then cup your hands to inhale.
You're hosting a Pilates & Natural Wellness retreat in Crete this September. What can we expect during the planned “Essential Oils Workshop”?
We will discuss different types of oils and their properties, as well as the ways the oils are best used. We will sample different oils, learn which are best suited for individual concerns, and talk about transitioning to a more natural way of life, without as much chemical and medicine.
If you are ready to start playing with oils now, and don't want to wait until the Yoga, Pilates, & Natural Wellness retreat in May 2017, shoot Evgenia an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!