Kelley Marvin says she knows one thing for certain: “Our senses have been hijacked.”
Febreze is a common household product whose real purpose, she says, is “to fool your brain into not smelling something bad.” It has dozens of chemicals, and Marvin was once content to spray it in every room of her house.
Marvin wanted to figure out how to heal naturally from the toxic load we put on our bodies when she began her research 10 years ago. Now, the certified integrative nutritionist trusts essential oils to replace toxic remedies that are often stocked in our pantries without a second thought.
“I just assumed there was someone looking out for us,” Marvin says.
She discovered the opposite in her research, explaining that products we use daily – from cleaning products to medication – can often be replaced naturally.
Jaime Vinson grew up in a home where the use of essential oils was a family tradition. The clinical nurse specialist carries the oils with her in her holistic practice, explaining that they enhance the healing process for patients.
Vinson specializes in complementary health and frequently uses aromatherapy and conventional medicine in her practice for the Parkview Health System. Her patients commonly use aromatherapy inhalers and other resources with essential oils.
“Oils cross your brain barrier very fast,” Marvin says. “Before your brain even recognizes what is going on, your body will feel it.”
Marvin compares the transition to essential oils with the transition to a healthy diet. When someone drinks Mountain Dew every day and decides to eliminate it from their diet, it tastes bad a year later.
Though using essential oils might reduce the number of toxins in a home, the risks do not disappear when switching from chemical products.
“Source is absolutely key,” Marvin says. She is part of the Young Living essential oils group, and appreciates being connected to other educated wellness professionals.
“Ninety percent of oils out there are fake or diluted or dirty,” says Renee Gabet, founder of Annie Oakley Natural Perfumery in Ligonier.
Gabet has been an advocate of essential oils for 40 years and has traveled the world to find “the absolute finest raw materials in the world,” which Gabet says are a contrast to the overload of heavily marketed, over-priced jars of false advertising.
Vinson weighs in with the same sentiments: “Cost doesn't necessarily mean best,” she says.
“Dilute, dilute, dilute,” Vinson emphasizes. She explains that listening to just any advertisement can be dangerous because there is so much biased education available for the public. She recommends the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy and the American Herbal Products Association as sources of unbiased education.
The research that Marvin began a decade ago has contributed to her career as a nutritionist and advocate. She writes a blog, “Inspired Nutrition by Kelley.”
“I have found, in my experience, in my home, I've been able to basically clean out my medicine cabinet,” Marvin says. The nutritionist keeps oils supplied for mental and physical healing as well as cleaning, skin care, pets and her kids – and that's just the beginning.
“We know through studies that it works,” Gabet says. “They're uplifting, relaxing, earthy, grounding, they can bring a lot of peace ... it's a 'mend the mind' trademark.”