• Jan Baker

Can essential oils support my diet?

If you've read my earlier blogs, you'll know that massage is a great way of supporting your diet. We know that the stress hormone, Cortisol, is largely responsible for keeping the weight on your stomach area. We also looked at how booking regular massages has been shown to reduce the overall effects of stress on the body, and bring about a feeling of emotional well-being. This is important for balancing out our hormones, an important step for maintaining healthy weight levels. I also mentioned that essential oils can support your cravings and help support you with shifting that fat.

Today, I want to look at those oils in more detail and explain some of the science behind it all.

Essential oils are made up of an ever-changing mix of active main ingredients, secondary and trace compounds which lend the oils their scents. The composition and cost of these oils depend very much on factors such as growing conditions, climate, methods of harvesting and how they are produced.

Essential oils play a very important role in plant metabolism. They attract beneficial insects but also defend against harmful ones. Any chemical communication requires specific signals that can be clearly recognised and understood. And the effectiveness of these chemical messengers depend on the mix of molecules used. As humans have evolved alongside plants and vice versa, the interaction between the two is long-established. Consequently, the interaction between essential oils and humans is one that works.

An understanding of the chemical properties of essential oils is therefore necessary for aromatherapists who wish to go further when looking at why some oils are better "fat busters" than others.

When you look at the chemistry of essential oils, you are looking at the chemistry of carbon.

Essential oils are hydrocarbons (a mixture of hydrogen & carbon). They don't like water (which is why they don't mix well with water). If you think of your arms and how easily they link together with someone else's arms, this is what the oils do, chemically speaking. They love nothing better than to have another oil to bond with. This is why blending oils together is often more effective.

With me so far?

We also need to consider that oils have different molecular types. For example, you may have heard of the type "alcohols" when you did Chemistry back in the day. Basically these molecular types are the active ingredients of the oils. So, if you're looking to support weightloss, oils containing the molecular types terpenes and ketones have the best effect on your metabolism. Terpenes, for example, particularly hate water and best of all, they destroy fat!

Never heard of them?

Well I'd bet you a million pounds that you've come across them! That juicy mandarin you eat? The rose that you smell? That lemon you use in your cleaning products? They all have a terpene as one of their active ingredients. Some have higher levels of terpene than others, so it's important to consider the chemical composition of any oil to ensure it's suitable. It's also why Turpentine is called what it is. Its active ingredients are.. yup.. terpenes.

A word of caution here though. Citrus oils are particularly high in a terpene called Limonene, and so they are excellent for supporting your weightloss. Citrus oils are also registered allergens, and so you should never, ever, go out and buy say, lemon essential oil, and start chucking it in its neat form all over your body - these oils need to be properly blended by an expert. Some of the oils are also photosensitive. Which means that they could make you blister or burn if you sunbathe or use a sunbed directly after applying them. Your aromatherapist will know which oils to treat with care so that they are used safely on you, so please always consult with an expert before using them.

Other oils, such as Peppermint and Fennel are excellent for supporting you with cravings. You should never drink or ingest essential oils without specialist supervision though. Note: Sweet orange oil in a diffuser by itself will make you hungry. So this is one to avoid when looking to lose weight.

A typical detox blend - a blend is just a combination of oils - that I use regularlyto support my clients consists of Lemon, Lemongrass, Lavender, Mandarin & Juniper. We know terpenes are good and the citrus oils of Lemon, Mandarin and Lemongrass work well for this as they are high in Limonene. Ah, I hear you say, but mandarin is a form of orange! It is, but it's a much gentler oil and therefore it doesn't have quite the same effect. Remember all oils are slightly different and therefore do different things. Juniper, on the other hand, is helpful for relieving bloating and aiding digestion. \Useful when you're watching your weight. It's also helpful as an appetite suppressant (so a third reason for using it) and even better, it's a terpene. And terpenes destroy fat!

Lavender is not a terpene. It's an ester. This means it comes from a different family of oils and has a different chemical composition. So why include this in the blend? Well, there are three reasons. Firstly, all those wonderful high energy citrus oils would evaporate too quickly if mixed only by themselves. Secondly, Lavender is wonderful for supporting balance and stress. Remember, hormones play a part in what you weigh and, stress is not good for your stomach area. It can also help to normalise your blood sugar, another issue we are discussing on my ReJuvenate with Jan page. And, it's a ketone. It therefore works on your metabolism.

So, can essential oils help with weight loss? If you know what you're doing, you betcha!

Aromatherapy may be lumped into the category of quackery and hocus pocus by some people, but there is a real enough science behind the oils I choose when I use them in clinic, I promise you!

Stay safe,

Love jan x

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