- Associated Press - Saturday, February 22, 2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A certain chemical company used to promote “better living through chemistry.” But more and more, people are looking to replace the chemicals in their homes with more natural product that, in some cases, work just as well.

That’s the appeal of essential oils. These highly concentrated plant extracts can be used to clean the house, relieve stress and ease aches and pains, naturally.

Crystal Yoak, a massage therapist at The Folded Leaf in Charleston’s South Hills, uses the oils with each of her clients.

“I can make up a treatment for inflammation, add that to your massage. If somebody has a cold … it’s kind of like a first aid kit for everything,” she said.

“Once you start using them, you want to use it for everything.”

She also offers “zyto compass” readings, which helps determine which oils customers need. When her roommate needed help quitting smoking, Yoak used oils to reduce her anxiety.

Yoak said essential oils are best used to keep you healthy, rather than using them as medicine to treat symptoms of an illness. Thieves Oil, for instance, will ward off a cold after a few drops to the bottoms of the feet and one in the back of the throat.

“It’s more of a preventative type of thing,” she said.

Mary Beth Mangus started out as a chiropractor, but has gradually shifted her business toward essential oils.

“I found the aromatherapy could do just as much, or more, than what I was doing,” she said.

She said it’s no secret that aromas affect people emotionally. The olfactory nerve is hot wired into the emotional center of the brain, allowing smells to trigger feelings and memories faster than almost anything else.

Essential oils take advantage of that connection, and can be used in a variety of ways. Mangus mixes the oils with purified water and uses the solution as a general purpose cleaner. They also can be taken in capsule form, diffused into the air and absorbed into the skin.

She was initially skeptical about claims of essential oils’ usefulness. She had used less expensive, largely synthetic oils before but never witnessed any results.

“To the point where I said, why do people write books on these?” she said.

Then she found mold in her basement that just wouldn’t go away. She hired professional cleaners, who doused the basement in bleach.

“It kept coming back every three months,” she said.

Mangus had received a box of all-natural essential oils from a friend, but was initially skeptical. Facing another expensive round of basement cleaning, she decided to give the essential oils another try. What did she have to lose? She mixed up a solution with her all-natural oils and cleaned her basement.

She has since used essential oils to help with headaches, hormonal imbalances, depression and many kinds of pain. They even work on animals.

Recently, she noticed her cat was limping. Mangus decided he must have jumped and botched his landing, and figured the problem would eventually go away on its own. Instead, the limp became progressively worse. She dabbed a blend of analgesic and anti-inflammatory oils on his leg, and the pain quickly went away.

Then, Mangus observed her dog was barely lifting his head and didn’t seem to have much of an appetite.

“He looked like he had a headache,” she said. “He clearly was not feeling good. It was his birthday, and I couldn’t have that.”

She found a spot on his head that looked swollen and tight. After a few drops of essential oils, he was gobbling down his lunch. “That was five years ago. And it hasn’t been back,” she said.

It’s important to use all-natural essential oils, Mangus said. Many oils that can be purchased in retails stores are made with synthetic materials, and should not be ingested. They also don’t work as well.

Both Mangus and Yoak prefer oils produced by the company Young Living, which grows and processes its own plants.

“It’s really important to use oils that are pure,” Yoak said. “It has to be therapeutic grade.”

Although the company’s oils were previously only available by direct purchase, Yoak said The Folded Leaf will soon begin selling the products. Visit www.thefoldedleaf.com or call 304-344-9642 for more information.

Mangus also sells Young Living products through her website www.theoildoc.com. She offers in-person consultations, as well. For more information, send her an email at healingoils@live.com or call (304) 549-0036.

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Information from: Charleston Daily Mail, http://www.charlestondailymail.com

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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