The first thing many people notice about Lindsay Tersmette, social worker with the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, is the way that she smells.

Co-workers have asked if she’s got on that “hippie oil,” and her brother is notorious for asking, “Who smells like an ancient church?” whenever she walks into a room. All jokes aside, Tersmette says essential oils are good for more than just aromatherapy. She uses them to support her overall health and mental clarity, and to elevate her moods.

“Oils are so simple in that they come from plants, and the molecules are so small that they can pass through the body systems faster than chemicals,” she says.

OIL UP

Taken from certain plants with the use of steam or pressure, according to the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute, essential oils contain the natural chemicals that give the plant its odor and flavor. Essential oils are used in perfumes, food flavorings, medicine and aromatherapy, which is the practice of using natural oils to enhance our psychological and physical well-being.

Tersmette uses essential oils topically, diluting them with a carrier oil, such as coconut, olive, apricot or grapeseed, and applies them to her wrists, stomach or the bottom of her feet. At home, she uses oils in a diffuser, which allows the smell to permeate the air. At work, she uses a few drops on her diffuser necklace—a locket with a foam pad in it.

When she feels particularly stressed or anxious, Tersmette finds solace in the Peace and Calming essential oil by Young Living, an essential oil company. Peace and Calming oil is a blend of ylang ylang (from the tropical ylang ylang tree), orange, tangerine, patchouli and blue tansy.

At night, she adds a drop of the concoction into her oil diffuser along with some cedarwood to support good sleep habits.

“I really like putting a drop of lemon in my green smoothie,” she says. “It tastes amazing and helps my body digest the spinach in it.”

If she feels a cold coming on, Tersmette applies Young Living’s Thieves oil, a blend of clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary, to help to support her immune system.

KNOW YOUR PRODUCT

Tersmette isn’t alone in her love of essential oils. Many people are making the shift to essential oils because they are becoming more conscious about what’s in their products, according to Nicole deViere, a registered yoga teacher, holistic wellness counselor and owner of Yoga DrishTi Community Wellness Center in Rochester’s South Wedge area.

“Regular products can contain toxins, which can be shown to cause cancer,” says deViere, who also is a Young Living essential oils distributor. “Being cognizant of what is in your products is starting the process of wholeheartedly caring about yourself.”

deViere sells homemade body butter, room sprays and face serums made with all-organic ingredients using Young Living essential oils. Young Living also produces specialty cleaning products, toothpaste, laundry detergents and hand soaps, Tersmette says. Other essential oil companies include Mountain Rose Herbs and doTerra.

Because not all essential oil brands list ingredients on the bottle, Tersmette recommends using organic oils to ensure that you don’t use synthetic ingredients. It’s also important to know that some oils aren’t safe for pets or children, she says.

Tersmette, who distributes Young Living essential oils outside of her work at ABVI, recommends consulting with an essential oils distributor on how to use and dilute oils safely and effectively. She has taught classes and provides one-on-one educational consultations. Plus, she’s always willing to talk to anyone who asks.

“I always encourage people to do their own research before deciding which company they want to go with,” she says.

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