Essential oils earned their namesake for a reason. Recorded history and various nuggets of evidence illustrate that the Egyptians used aromatic oils as early as 4500 BC, and ancient Ayurvedic practitioners were whipping up essential oil-based potions for almost an equal amount of time. Nowadays it’s impossible not to see these famed oils line the aisles of organic grocery stores and yoga studios, making them easily accessible for daily use.
We spoke to wellness pro and mama of two—plus one on the way—Sophie Jaffe to give us the inside scoop on these precious (and essential!) tools for holistic health.
What is your relationship with essential oils?
My relationship with essential oils is one that is nurturing and necessary. I’ve been using essential oils for over 25 years and was introduced to them very young when my mom would put them on our feet. This ritual is rumored to create a spiritual connection to the Earth, and it feels amazing.
Fast forward to my adult life and I use it with my own children in the same way. I even began using it during this latest pregnancy. I don’t know how I would have made it through first-trimester nausea without essential oils!
How do you use essential oils around the home?
Would you believe me if I said I have essential oils in every room of my home? I especially use them in the bedroom and bathroom. I dab certain essential oils on my wrists in the morning during my morning meditation and add to diffusers at night when I need an extra nudge into gentle sleep. I also add drops of calming scents, like lavender, to my baths. It’s pure bliss and I highly recommend.
How do essential oils make your home life easier?
Stress is instantly lifted in the Jaffe home with all our diffusers and access to essential oils around the home. It’s made the chaos of life more manageable, especially with the kids. Bath time is a more calming activity (as much as it can be with boys) when I add in a few drops. I also add essential oils to spray bottles with apple cider vinegar and water to make my own safe, non-toxic cleaning spray.
Do you have any favorite combinations or methods of using essential oils?
Essential oils are a powerful way to instantly transform your mood and sense of being. Personally, I use juniper to instill peace, thyme and bergamot when I need to focus, cloves and jasmine for creativity, and lavender before drifting off to sleep. Peppermint can be wonderful for a little “wake-me-up” and Frankincense for meditation.
How would you recommend people use essential oils?
Essential oils can be used in a few different ways including aromatically and topically. When you inhale an essential oil aromatically, your limbic system and hypothalamus are affected, sending messages of relaxing and calming to every cell in your body.
Using oils aromatically is the best way to get the emotional and spiritual benefits of the oils. Topically, the oils soak into your epidermis—just like every lotion, soap, makeup or other substance you put on your skin.
Personally, I choose essential oils for their emotional and spiritual purpose. If I need some purifying or cleansing, I choose more woodsy and plant-based scents. If I need some energizing and uplifting, I pick out citrus or spice aromas. More important, pick what works for you.
What do you notice are the biggest benefits from using essential oils?
For me, I notice huge energetic shifts whenever I use essential oils. My mood is automatically transformed. For a busy mom with another kid on the way, you hang on to little tricks that help keep you calm and centered.
Also, they make a huge difference in mindfulness and awareness. I use essential oils in home meditation rituals, and highly recommend everyone to do the same. Setting aside the time for intentional mindfulness is crucial. One of my favorite things to do (and make this ritual fun) is to set up my own meditation space using special crystals, NOW® Essential Oils, and a card with an inspirational message.