In light of the recent surge of essential oil usage and curiosity among every man, woman, and child, I figured it was time for me to dip my toes into the subject to help shine a little clarity on your poor, Google educated souls. The first time that I ever heard of aromatherapy/essential oils, I was in my junior year of nursing school.
Our instructors, were thankfully educated in the art of alternative medicines, and brought in practitioners in various fields to give us a little run down about what types of practices we might encounter while caring for someone in the hospital. Examples: acupuncture, aromatherapy, chiropractic services, meditation. It was a nice breath of fresh air from the strict western medicine we had spent the last few years studying, and it made quite an impression in my mind as something that I wanted to learn more about. In my research class that year, I also completed an in-depth study with a couple of classmates about whether cigarette smoking could reduce the symptoms in bipolar/schizophrenic clients. The answer was a clear and blatant yes, and I started to understand more fully that sometimes common medication may not be the only answer like our medically minded brains were geared to think after those grueling pharmacology exams. Oh, the pharmacology classes! Where we were taught the power of big pharm’s drugs, their potential to save, and their unintended-yet often-unpreventable power to harm.
Don’t get me wrong, I love that we live in a society where a woman with breast cancer can undergo chemo and radiation, claiming her life back for herself, then one day stand at the front of the church while her daughter walks down the aisle toward her in a beautiful white gown that they chose together. Without modern medicine, she most likely wouldn’t have lived to see the day. I realize the amount of people that have been saved. I use medication on myself, and on my children when the need arises. On the other hand, I realize how overmedicated our society is at times -how we’ve created a terribly scary breed of super bugs from the leisure/improper use and dosage of antibiotics. Funny how in 1945 during his Nobel lecture, Alexander Fleming warned us of this exact scenario, but we have failed to comply. Like anything in life, moderation is key, but we took a big ole’ leap over that line a long time ago when it comes to our medication,
Despite having the most expensive health care system, the United States ranks last overall among 11 industrialized countries on measures of health system quality, efficiency, access to care, equity, and healthy lives…(1)
This is real life folks. We don’t talk about it often because it’s embarrassing for us to admit. We walk around thinking that we’re the “most advanced country in the world”, but we’re doing something wrong. In my educated opinion, often times drugs are not the answer. Our lifestyles are the answer-and our lifestyle choices. We need to choose healthier foods, move our asses more, seek alternative therapies with our less severe medical conditions-saving the meds for a day and time when it really is necessary.
Essential oils don’t prevent, treat, or cure. What you put in your mouth, how you move, and what you chose to expose yourself to prevents or doesn’t prevent, your physician treats you, and your body ultimately cures itself. Don’t ever get confused, sha.
We don’t do a great job of harvesting the idea of empowered self-care. The second we hear about Aunt Sally trying to use essential oils to help with her chronic back pain instead of the addictive narcotic that she was prescribed, we hurry to “share” a blog post written by a bitter and cynical oil adversary-maybe even a physician -and tag sweet Aunt Sally in it, as if to say, “Look, you’re stupid and wrong, because this blogger/doctor/naysayer said so”. Guys STAHHHHHP. Just stop it. Spending 20 minutes on Google does not make you educated, and it doesn’t give you the right to go around looking down smugly on those who are trying to care for themselves in a more holistic way! I’m not the mom who watches my child’s fever rise as I rub more peppermint along their spine. When the need arises I medicate. I also don’t get my education from a quick search engine find. I know how to research, I communicate with professionals when I need more clarity, I read case studies, university publications, I read books written by doctors, chemists, experts in their field, I use my own personal deduction and trial and error, I pray. Sure, you may think you can unravel all of my thoughts with one well written rant from someone who opposes me, but that wouldn’t speak well to my self-worth now, would it? I know the knowledge that I seek and find. I know my ability to learn and reason, to decipher what is fact from what is folly. I’m not a genius, I’m a realist, and an evidence based junkie. Be a voracious reader/studier for yourself and your family. Separate the fact from the bullshit. Advocate for yourself, because if you won’t, who will?
It’s time to stop the social media showdown. It’s time to end the eastern vs. western war. We live in a beautiful country-albeit unhealthy- and one of the parts that I love is that we all get to be who we want to be. So, just do you. Leave the unmediated birthing, homeschooling, oil using, organic eating people alone. Stop acting like they’re the odd ones out. Stop posting stupid blog posts that practically scream “YOU’RE WEIRD” at them on your Facebook and tagging them,, or subtly hoping they see it and suspect it was meant for them. That’s not doing you. You just do you.
1. US Health System Ranks Last Among Eleven Countries on Measures of Access, Equity, Quality, Efficiency, and Healthy Lives. (n.d.). Retrieved June 18, 2015, from http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/press-releases/2014/jun/us-health-system-ranks-last