How Do I Use Essential Oils?

When I say “essential oil,” you think “diffuser,” right? And you ARE right, but did you know that essential oils can be used other ways as well? Let’s take a look:

(This post contains affiliate links)

 
How to Use Essential Oils with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story
 

There are several ways to use essential oils in daily life, but let’s start with a crucial fact: The most, most, most important thing to know about high quality essential oils (like doTERRA essential oils) is that they are very potent. Less is more when it comes to these amazing nature-made supports. As an example, one drop of Peppermint oil is as potent as TWENTY-EIGHT cups of peppermint herbal tea. WHOA. (By the way, if you’re curious about what essential oils are and why they work, check out this post) So, how to we get these powerful little drops to support our bodies? There are three ways:

 
How to Use Essential Oils with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story
 

Aromatic

In my experience, a lot of folks discover essential oils because they want their home or office to smell nice, but they’d like a more natural alternative to typical air fresheners. While I 100% support this use of oils, let me tell you a little bit more about what’s special diffusing. Diffusing essential oils means using a device (a diffuser) that vibrates cold water and essential oils into tiny particles that become airborne and fill a space. The particles are so small that they are easily absorbed by the body when we breathe and can have powerful physical and emotional effects. If you need seasonal respiratory support, want an effective front-line defense against airborne environmental threats, or want to effect the mood or “vibe” of a room, then diffusing is for you, my friend! Here are a few blends to try:

Seasonal Support: Diffuse 2 drops each of lemon, lavender, and peppermint or 4-6 drops of Breathe blend to encourage open airways

Environmental Support: Diffuse 4-6 drops of OnGuard blend to kill airborne threats and support the immune system (I do this daily in the kitchen/ living area of our home during the cooler months)

Chill Out: Diffuse 4-6 drops of Peace blend or 2-3 drops of lavender and 2-3 drops of eucalyptus to encourage feelings of calm

Get ‘Er Done: Diffuse 4-6 drops of Motivate blend or 2-3 drops of Peppermint and 2-3 drops of Wild Orange to encourage feelings of alertness and enthusiasm

TIP: Use 1 drop of essential oil per hour of diffusing time. For example, I use 3-5 drops of oil in the Petal 4 hour diffuser and 5-10 drops in the Lumo or Brevi 10 hour diffusers. Use fewer drops of oil for a less potent experience, and if you have pets in your home, err on the lighter side with the oils and always make sure they have the option to leave the room/ area where you are diffusing.

 
How to Use Essential Oils with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story
 

Topical

As you may guess, using oils topically means putting them on our skin. Remember, our skin is our BIGGEST organ, so this is a super effective way for our bodies to absorb the beautiful properties of these oils. PLUS, our body then becomes a built in diffuser, so we get some aromatic benefits from using oils this way too. I use oils on my skin for everything from encouraging healthy skin cells, to taming my tummy, to supporting muscles and joints before and after exercise, and more! When using oils topically, it is important to dilute them with a carrier oil (often Fractionated Coconut Oil, but I also use jojoba and sweet almond oils) to spread them across the skin, reduce skin sensitivity (remember how potent essential oils are!), and encourage absorption by the body.

Tip: Some oils, especially citrus oils, are photosensitive. Take care to avoid direct sunlight on the applied areas for 12 hours after use.

Here are some of my favorite topical oil blends:

Clear Skin Roller: Support soft, clear skin by mixing 15 drops each of Melaleuca, Frankincense, and Copaiba in a 10ml roller bottle then filling to the top with your favorite carrier oil. Roll on face (avoiding eyes) after washing.

Tummy Tamer: Roll a DigestZen roller across your tummy (I like to draw a smiley face LOL) to ease discomfort and encourage gastrointestinal health. (Especially after eating dessert or pizza, ya know?) Make your own roller by adding 20-30 drops of DigestZen to a 10ml roller and filling to the top with your favorite carrier oil.

Muscle Massage: Ease knots and reward a workout by massaging DeepBlue Rub into major muscle groups after exercising.

Pick Me Up: Use your favorite doTERRA emotional aromatherapy roller as perfume (I especially love using Cheer, Passion, and Motivate) by rolling it behind your ears and at the base of your head at the hairline. it makes you smell fresh, you can reapply any time, and you get the emotional benefits of breathing and absorbing the oils all day long!

Tip: Dilute, Dilute, Dilute! For adults, it only takes a few drops of essential oils in a teaspoon or so of carrier oil to be effective. For kiddos, only a drop in a teaspoon of carrier oil, and for babies, only a drop in a tablespoon of carrier oil. Remember, less is more!

 
How to Use Essential Oils with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story
 

Internal

We all consume essential oils when we eat fresh, aromatic foods (fresh herbs, citrus fruit, etc), and we can consume them already distilled as well. In fact, some of the most powerful benefits of essential oils can be harnessed by taking the oils internally! For your safety, I only recommend doing so with doTERRA’s CPTG certified oils and only with oils that have the “supplement facts” label on them (please remember that I am not a doctor, and you should proceed according to your comfort level and common sense and consider consulting your doctor. I am sharing here what I have found to be effective for me). I love using essential oils internally to support my respiratory and immune systems on a daily basis. Products I love include doTERRA Triease capsules and OnGuard Capsules.

Tip: Adults should not consume more than 20-24 drops of essential oils within a 24 hour period, and children should not consume more than 10-12. I do not recommend internal use for children under the age of 6.

 

Don’t have essential oils yet? Let me help! Click below to watch Essential Oils 101 and email me for more information to get started!

What are Essential Oils?

There’s no denying that essential oils are quickly becoming “on trend,” but what are they and what’s all the hype about?

(This post contains affiliate links)

 
What are Essential Oils? with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story
 

To be perfectly honest, I started dabbling in essential oils before I knew what they were. I knew they came from plants. I figured they were kind of like an extract. And, perhaps most interestingly, I never thought they could interact with my body on a chemical level to help restore balance. I just figured eucalyptus and peppermint made me feel better when I had a runny nose because that’s just kind of how it works. And it really never occurred to me that there are dozens and dozens of plants that yield essential oils. I wasn’t asking the right questions, and I was missing out on all kinds of interesting information.

What are essential oils, and where do they come from?

Essential Oils are natural, volatile, aromatic compounds that occur in plants (leaves, stems, flowers, seeds, bark, etc). They give plants their distinctive scents and play roles in protecting the plant and in plant pollination. If you’ve ever peeled an orange and seen the fine mist that comes out of the peel as you pull it back and smelled that fresh, bright orange aroma, then you’ve experienced essential oils.

“Volatile Aromatic Compound” means that essential oils are made up of chemical constituents that are unique to the plant of origin, and that move quickly from a liquid to a gas in the open air. This is why you can immediately smell essential oils when you open the bottle. They are extremely concentrated, so they have powerful aromas. The plants used to make essential oils are extremely diverse. Ideally, the plants should be sourced from their native habitat for the best chemical make up and effectiveness.

How are Essential Oils Extracted?

There are two primary ways to extract high quality essential oils (like doTERRAs) from the plants— steam distillation and cold pressing. When done properly, the result is a totally pure, therapeutic grade oil. Lower grade essential oils use other methods of extraction that include chemical processes. Chemical extraction makes “more” oil, but it is polluted with solvents and the oils are at best less effective and at worst toxic.

How do Essential Oils Work?

I saw this post on Instagram recently comparing people to houseplants. My first reaction was, “Yep, sounds about right” (especially as someone who craves sunshine and water constantly). My second thought was, “Hey now, that’s oversimplifying the value of humanity a bit.” While this is, of course, an oversimplification in many ways, it is also true and is a great way to understand how essential oils work.

Both plants and humans are carbon based organisms, and essential oils are part of the plant’s immune system. This means that essential oils are molecularly compatible with our bodies. In plainer terms, our bodies recognize essential oils as natural compounds that are “friend” rather than “foe,” so the oils are able to come alongside our immune system and other bodily systems to provide support. Essential oil molecules are also very, very small which means our body can easily absorb them so they work very fast to help us feel our best. So, circling back to the house plant analogy, drinking water, getting some sunlight, and using essential oils is a great way to deal with those “more complicated emotions” and a whole host of other things, too.

Why Quilters Should Care About Wellness & Health

Let’s take a journey to be our strongest, brightest, most healthy selves by not only practicing healthy self-talk when we’re quilting, but by developing a whole host of healthy habits to enable us to live with confidence.

(This post contains affiliate links)

 
Why Quilters Should Care About Wellness & Health with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story
 

Physical and mental health are topics I run into around the edges of the quilting world a lot (Instagram stories of food here, ladies out for a run there, a yoga class at QuiltCon, etc), but I haven’t seen anyone talk directly about why wellness should be a key conversation among quilters or make wellness a key conversation. I myself have been dabbling in understanding wellness for a long time, but, while I still have lots to learn, I decided that it’s high time I brought y’all in on the journey.

I’ve been quilting for about 4 years now and doing so professionally for about two. In that time, I’ve made two key observations that inform my firm belief that quilters need to talk more about personal health. This first one is really a shocker, so hold on to your hats:

Quilters are people (mostly women)

With all the curation, editing, and the like on social media, it can be easy to forget that all of us, including those of us who make quilting our job rather than a hobby, are people with a life away from the sewing machine. We have kids, spouses, pets, insecurities, hopes and dreams, etc. This means that we have all the usual worries about wellness that anyone else has:

“I wish I could lose 20 pounds.”

“I hate being sick all the time when it’s cold out.”

“Stupid bum hip (knee, elbow, etc).”

“Oi, I’m sore after all that free motion quilting.”

“I don’t even know how to start eating healthy; much less stick with it.”

“I’m just so stressed out.”

“I haven’t felt the same since baby was born.”

“Is it hot in here??”

Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And I don’t know about you, but feeling anxious about all this stuff takes away a lot of quilting energy, and then I’m frustrated not only because I don't feel my best but also because I didn’t get any sewing done (or, maybe even worse, tried to sew and couldn’t seem to do anything right).

Many of us turn to quilting to cope

It could be grief, overwhelm, stress, cancer, anxiety, depression, or just about anything else, but most of us consider our sewing to be a haven (why do you think so many quilting groups, including my own, prefer to put the kibosh on topics like politics?). In a wild and uncertain world, quilting is, probably for all of us to varying degrees, very much therapy. But what about when our health concerns or other struggles interfere with our quilting? Or when we just keep feeling hopeless that change is coming but we so.desperately. want to make changes in our health?

If you are a member of the Quilting Rockstars, you’ve had a front row seat to my passion for “doing life together” as quilters. The focus of the group is quilting, certainly, but I count it a blessing when you choose to share other parts of your lives with me too— both griefs and joys— and I love sharing with y’all. I’ve noticed some themes among the Rockstars, and a huge theme is how many of us use quilting to support our mental health.

 
39067965_2119348954985362_1666818894238580736_n.jpg
 

I’ve talked openly about my journey through postpartum depression after Ian was born here, here, and here. While these posts only talk about the first six months, if you’ve been around lately, then you know it was a dark two years before I felt like I made any progress out of the shadows at all, even though from the outside all seemed well. Healthy habits— fresh air and exercise, community, healthy food, drinking lots of water, creativity, gratitude practice, essential oils, and more— were all crucial to my journey through that time and for the rest of my life. As I’ve talked with more and more quilters who have been effected by depression, anxiety, and a variety of other mental health challenges, I have realized that I cannot ignore these real challenges we face nor can I pretend that quilting can fix it all (quilting is amazing, don’t get me wrong, but there are a lot more pieces to the mental health puzzle). Thus, I’ve added this Live with Confidence blog.

Here you will find a lot about essential oils (a vital component to both physical and mental health in any home) as well as posts about eating well, moving your body, positive self-talk, and more. I’m not a doctor, a therapist, a nutritionist, or a guru, so I’ll simply be sharing from my experiences and inviting you to join me as I seek to and seek to guide you to quilt and LIVE with confidence!