Blog, Caring for our Bodies, Making a Home, My Health Journey, Reviews and For Fun

It Started With a Scent

I breathed in deeply the scent of lavender and chamomile and instantly the labor pains began to ease. I grasped the little stuffed dog my husband and, soon to be, eldest son purchased at the hospital gift shop for baby Shane, who would make his appearance shortly. I was amazed that just the scent of this little toy had such a calming effect on my body. I made a comment about it and asked to keep the little dog next to me. That was fifteen and a half years ago.

Isn’t the power of smell amazing? How it can bring back a memory in a moment, give us certain feelings and even affect our mood? Most people know this is true and gravitate towards smells that bring joy and comfort. We do this in all types of ways: candles, perfume, air fresheners, foods, flowers, fabrics, the list goes on.

Toxic Overload

I noticed about 10 years ago, around the same time my health started declining, certain smells, even ones I liked, would make me feel ill or give me a headache. It started with perfume. First mine, and then other people’s. I would put it on and get a headache or be around someone wearing it and get a headache. So, I stopped wearing perfume. Then other smells started to bother me. Things like bleach and other strong cleaners. Eventually, candles and air fresheners affected me in a negative way. I felt frustrated. Why was this happening? I never had this problem before.

One of my favorite smells is patchouli. It has a strong earthy scent. And although it seems to offend some people’s senses, it comforts me. Since I stopped wearing perfume, I decided to purchase an essential oil blend with patchouli. I’ve been wearing this same oil for about 8 years, and it’s still one of my favorites. Not once has it given me a headache. No essential oil I’ve used or smelled has ever given me a headache or made me feel ill. I started asking, “Why?”

Synthetic versus natural.

Synthetic – (of a substance) made by chemical synthesis, especially to imitate a natural product.
Chemical laden is what comes to mind when I think of synthetic.

Natural – existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind.
In other words, organic, derived from nature.

The average woman puts an estimated 168 to 515 synthetic chemicals on her body per day. Our bodies are overloaded with toxins. Go and grab anything that you put directly on your skin (lotions, soaps, make-up, perfumes, etc.) and look at the ingredients in that item. You can look on EWG: Skin Deep and see where your products rate on safety.  And don’t expect much help from the makers of these products.

“The personal care product industry’s self-policing safety panel, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review, approaches each safety assessment as if consumers are exposed to just one chemical at a time, and as if personal care products are the only source of exposure for each chemical considered. The panel is often wrong on both counts.” (You can read the full article here.)

Because the personal product industry considers the human body to be a “clean slate,” they can declare personal care products “safe as used.” (I sited these sources: HuffPost, Mercola, and EWG’s Skin Deep.) That means if you want to make sure the products you’re putting on your body and your children’s bodies are safe, you’re going to have to figure it out yourself.

Making the Switch

My journey to replace my personal care products started about 13 years ago with deodorant. On a regular check-up with my (then) doctor, I asked about a lump and pain I was experiencing under my left arm, right where I put on antiperspirant. He dismissed my concern saying that it was probably an ingrown hair follicle and to make sure I was shaving every day. Oh. Not helpful. I knew that wasn’t it.

I started doing my own research. The swelling and pain would come and go, and I made the determination that it was my lymph nodes. Upon further research I found that the antiperspirant I was using (a very popular brand for women) was not only toxic, but kept my body from doing what it was naturally supposed to do; sweat. I switched to a natural deodorant. There was an adjustment period, but after a few weeks I noticed the pain and the lump were gone. I’ve had no issue since then, as I have continued using natural deodorants and checking ingredients. That was the beginning of my switch to natural products and definitely not the end.

Over these last 13 years I have continued to change out every product I use on my body, with a natural and organic one. It was not all at once, but little by little. This has carried over into our household and even the gifts I give to others. Replacing my candles with plants, changing out detergents and soaps, and not using synthetic air fresheners are some of the changes I’ve made. I can see and feel the difference. When I’m exposed to synthetic smells or harsh cleaners, it still makes me feel ill, and now I know why. Our bodies are not made to be overloaded with toxins.

I Need Support

I am sensitive to a lot of things ranging from foods and environment, to, of course, synthetic products. When I first heard of essential oils I was not only leery, but a little afraid. So many things cause a negative effect on my body, I was nervous to go any further. I had a few eo’s (essential oils) I bought online or at the store which I used on occasion, but that was the extent of it. I was also a little intimidated. I knew there was so much to learn about eo’s, how they work, what to use them for, possible contraindications. It seemed like a lot.

But, in spite of my feelings, I knew I needed extra support. I started looking around at all the products I used, which are now clean and non toxic, and noticed a theme. All of them contained essential oils. All of them. I was already using essential oils without even thinking about it. I happened to have a Facebook friend that started using Young Living essential oils. I watched her posts, did a little research of my own, and took the plunge. I bought my kit and became a Young Living member.

I love it. It’s not as intimidating as I thought, I’m learning a ton, and Young Living makes it easy to do that. Most importantly, my body is getting the extra support that it needs and I am seeing and feeling a difference. Something that I’ve learned is what you add in is sometimes as important as what you take out. This has been true for me with essential oils.

There’s so much more I want to tell you, but I can’t fit it all in one post. I look forward to sharing more about my experience with essential oils. I’m still at the beginning of my EO journey, but if you have any questions I would love to help you find the answer.

If you’re interested in becoming a Young Living member by purchasing a kit you can contact me at ledawnk at gmail dot com or follow my link here: https://goo.gl/6PYeEW

 

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