The English Aromatherapist


Essential Oils and Lagom

Essential oils and lagom

In 2016, we had Hygge – a Danish term that’s all about cosiness and finding happiness in the small, everyday pleasures of life (read more about Hygge here)


To say it caught on is rather an understatement.


This year, it’s all about Lagom – another Scandinavian concept, this time from our Swedish friends.


In Sweden, lagom means “just the right amount”. Not too much, not too little.


It’s all about finding the right balance in life. In other words, enjoy everything in moderation. Last year, IKEA launched their “Live Lagom” project. Their mission statement explains:


“We believe it’s what living a rewarding but responsible life is all about: not denying yourself or sacrificing what you love, while not taking from the planet more than you need.”


What’s the link?


So how does this latest buzzword apply to the world of essential oils?


Well, I think we could all benefit from a lagom approach to aromatherapy.


Earlier this year, I wrote about the environmental impact of essential oils. We all need to consider the issue of sustainability and promote responsible usage. Some of the advice and recipes we see online are incredibly wasteful.


We don’t need to use essential oils all day, every day, and for everything. As I’ve written before, I certainly don’t use my oils all the time.


There are several benefits of using essential oils in moderation:

  • It’s cheaper
  • It’s more environmentally-friendly
  • It reduces the risk of sensitization


In addition, we might find that taking an occasional break from essential oils actually helps us to enjoy them more.


Let’s go lagom


How can we take a more lagom approach to aromatherapy? Here are 10 ways to start you off…


  1.  Oils are not everything

Only use essential oils when you need to. As I’ve discussed before, essential oils are not a magic wand and they are not the ONLY tool in your health toolbox. Remember that holistic health is about treating the whole person, not just throwing essential oils at a problem and hoping it will go away. There are so many other factors to take into account – diet, exercise, sleep, relaxation, hydration, etc.


  1.  More is not better

If you do use essential oils, always dilute appropriately. Adding more drops will not achieve your objective more quickly, or more effectively. Sometimes a 1% blend is really all you need. And do you really need to keep reapplying throughout the day?


  1.  Recycle

Reuse empty bottles where possible. You’ll find some ideas about how to clean and reuse essential oil bottles here. I like the idea of reusing empty bottles to mix and store your own master blends, or you can use them to scent Epsom salts.

Upcycle things where you can – for example, wash out empty food jars instead of buying fancy new ones..


  1.  Buy what you need

Only buy the essential oils you need! I know it’s tempting when there’s a sale on, but do you really need all those oils? Some of you guys have INCREDIBLE stashes! Remember that essential oils don’t last forever, so there’s no point having dozens and dozens of open bottles.

Try to use up open essential oils before opening new ones – especially oils that oxidise quickly. At one stage I had about 6 or 7 different bottles of sweet orange open at once, which is just silly!


  1.  Refresh

Think about other ways to refresh the air (such as opening a window) rather than constantly using essential oil room sprays. I’ve talked before about homemade essential oil reed diffusers and why I believe they’re not an efficient way to scent a room (or an efficient use of essential oils).


  1.  Diffuse sparingly

There’s no need to run your diffuser continuously – 30-60 minutes is usually more than enough. After a while, you’ll get used to the scent anyway. Find out more: Why you don’t need to diffuse all day


  1.  Make what you need

If you want to get creative, mix up small batches of products and use them up before making more. I know I’ve been guilty in the past of making loads of roller blends and then forgetting to use them. And if you do want to make some DIY goodies, focus on the oils you need to use up first.


  1.  Not always topical

You don’t always need to apply essential oils topically – portable inhaler sticks are great! They only need about 15 drops of essential oil and can last for weeks. Sometimes inhaling is more appropriate than topical use – find out more: When is inhalation a better option?


  1.  Best not to ingest

Don’t ingest essential oils unless specifically under the instruction of a clinical aromatherapist. Some online “gurus” are advising people can ingest up to 12 drops every DAY. This is completely wasteful and unnecessary, not to mention extremely harmful to your health.


  1.  Not in the kitchen

Why use drops of concentrated essential oils to add flavour to food, when using the actual herb, spice or fruit is cheaper, safer and a more appropriate use of natural resources?


Lagom and essential oils aromatherapy


In conclusion


Essential oils are precious natural resources, so it makes sense to take a responsible approach when using them.


Overexposure also increases the risk of sensitization, which you definitely want to avoid.


I think lagom can be applied to all aspects of life – after all, happiness IS about balance. Whether it’s how much time we spend on Facebook, how much coffee we drink, how much sunshine we get…it’s all about getting the balance right.


Essential oils are fabulous, so let’s enjoy them in moderation! Who’s up for taking a lagom approach to aromatherapy this year?


What to Read Next: Environmental Impact of Oils


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