Are Essential Oils Dangerous?

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Recent reports pertaining to the dangers of essential oils and their usage have been surfacing. These oils which were once seen as a holistic alternative to achieving overall well-being, are now being touted as harmful, toxic, and poisonous. So, what exactly is the truth? 

As with all products used to promote good health and vitality, essential oils can serve as a positive, natural approach to combating some mild medical conditions. However, as with everything in life, essential oils should be used sensibly and reasonably. 

What Are Essential Oils? 

Essential oils are derived from concentrated extracts of plants. Whilst different producers engage in different methods when producing their oils, all oils originate from flowers, fruits, herbs, shrubs, vines grass, and trees. There is variation however when regarding the part of the plant that each oil is sourced from. For example, some oils like cinnamon come from the bark, orange oil, the rinds, and peppermint, the leaves. Coupled with the potential benefits offered by these liquid extracts, is their concentrated aroma, which is due to the high level of the initial active ingredient.   

Over the years, the ways in which people choose to use the oils have varied. Cosmetic manufacturers have used them in the creation of creams, bath gels, shampoos, and a wealth of other products.  Whilst natural medicine practitioners like aromatherapists defuse the oils into the air. They believe that the action of breathing in the oils allows them to enter the lungs and bloodstream, where some of the helpful compounds will benefit the body. The act of adding the oils to a carrier oil and massaging them into the skin is also believed to be a functional way of delivering the active compounds to the body. 

Take Care When Using Essential Oils 

Due to the high concentration of the compounds found in the oils, it is imperative that anyone using them takes care in the application. Simply because essential oils derived from natural products it should not be assumed that they carry no side effects.  In fact, some side effects associated with the use of the oils have been found to be dangerous:

Asthma Attacks

Whilst harmless to most people when inhaled, people who suffer from asthma may react negatively when they breathe in the fumes. 

Headaches

There are a range of essential oils known for aiding to dispel headaches, however, inhaling the oil’s strong aromas actually leads to headaches in others. 

Burning, Irritation, and Inflammation

Essential oils should always be diluted with a carrier oil before being applied directly onto the skin. Undiluted oils can cause serious damage like blisters to the skin, especially when worn in direct sunlight. Oils have also been reported to cause rash and hives. Never use essential oils on damaged or inflamed skin. 

Ingestion

Life-threatening complications can arise if oils are ever accidentally ingested. Anyone who accidentally ingests these oils should seek medical attention right away. 

Suffering to Loved Ones and Pets

It is also important to remember that when sharing a home with family, friends or animals, all may not react positively to the essential oil that you are using.  For example, babies and very young children should not come into contact with the essential oils birch or wintergreen as they contain the chemical methyl salicylate, which can prove highly toxic. Also, it is not advised to use certain oils around pregnant women. Oil diffusers have also been reported for their negative effects on house pets.  

As an essential oil user, the bonus is on the individual to find out what oils can be used in which way and around whom. The natural essence of each oil can be extremely beneficial when used correctly. From sinus problems to headaches, from joint stiffness to restful sleep, essential oils have the potential to aid in countless ways bringing relief and relaxation to the user. In most cases essential oils are safe, but it is important to carry out research thereby avoiding the possibility of side effects.  

10 Amazing Health Benefits of Yoga

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Yoga is one of the best ways to improve your physical and mental health. It can be both challenging and relaxing at the same time, and you’ll feel great at the end of a session. Here are 10  of the biggest changes yoga could make in your life. 

 

  1. Improved flexibility

Yoga has many physical benefits, and improved flexibility is one of the most important. Progress takes time, but with regular sessions, it won’t be long before you can hold poses that you could only dream of attempting before.

Greater flexibility comes with a range of positive side effects, including better posture and fewer aches, pains and injuries. Inflexible hips can cause referred pain in almost every area of your body, particularly your knees, but yoga can help to prevent this.

  1. Stronger muscles

Yoga will give you far more muscle strength than many people imagine, especially when you start doing more advanced poses. Lots of fit, strong and healthy individuals are surprised by how sore they are after their first few yoga sessions.

Core strength is particularly important for yoga, and your lower back and abdominal muscles will thank you for the workout. A strong core will improve your posture, prevent certain types of back pain and make falls less likely.

  1. Stronger bones

All weight-bearing exercises are good for your bones if you do them properly, and yoga is no exception. Regular yoga practitioners have greater bone density than their sedentary peers, which makes broken bones less likely. Yoga also guards against the onset of such degenerative diseases like osteoporosis. 

  1. Healthier joints

The cartilage in your joints contains fluids that need to be regularly squeezed out and replaced. By utilizing the full range of motion of your joints, yoga encourages this essential fluid movement to take place. This stops your cartilage from being worn down, giving you healthier joints and preventing arthritis.

  1. A healthier spine

Your spine also needs to be moved on a regular basis if it’s going to perform as it should. Yoga exercises like twists, backbends and forward bends can help to prevent debilitating hernias and damaging nerve compression, as well as improve your overall spinal health.

However, the spine can be quite delicate, so care should always be taken with bending and twisting exercises. A good yoga instructor will be able to advise you on any poses that you should avoid.

  1. A healthier heart

Regular aerobic exercise has been shown to lower your chances of suffering from cardiovascular disease, which is why practicing yoga — particularly more vigorous forms like ashtanga — is excellent for the heart.

Yoga will lower your resting heart rate, a good indicator that your overall health and fitness are improving. Also, the rate at which your body can use oxygen (your VO2 max) is likely to increase, which is another good sign. 

  1. Lower blood pressure

Yoga lowers the blood pressure of regular practitioners, one of many reasons that it’s often recommended as part of a recovery program for stroke patients. Hypertension is the leading cause of heart-related mortality in the world, so yoga could genuinely save your life.

Some of the scientific research in this area is remarkable. Holding the corpse pose (savasana) has been shown to lower your blood pressure significantly more than simply lying down.

  1. Weight loss

Yoga can help you lose weight in three different ways. First of all, yoga burns calories, which is essential for dropping those extra pounds. Secondly, if you look around a yoga class, you’ll often find yourself surrounded by people leading fit and healthy lifestyles. Their enthusiasm and positive attitudes often have a great knock-on effect. Finally, the empowering spiritual side of yoga causes some individuals to proactively tackle any personal issues they may have with diet or weight.

  1. Brainpower boost

Although many people think yoga is only good for the body, it can also have a profound positive impact on the brain as well. Benefits like improved coordination won’t come as a surprise to most yoga practitioners, but faster reaction times, better memory and even increased IQ have all been linked to yoga as well.

  1. Better mental health

Besides improved cognitive abilities, yoga can also help with a variety of mental health issues. Yoga has often been shown to play an important role in treating patients suffering from depression, which is thought to affect more than 350 million people around the world.

Yoga is known to increase serotonin levels and cause greater activity in the left prefrontal cortex of the brain, and both of these things lead to feelings of well-being and happiness. The longer you practice yoga, the more you’ll notice the positive effects on your mood and mental health.

With the potential to make you happier, healthier and stronger, yoga truly can have a transformative impact on every area of your life. What better reason could there be to take up yoga today?