The Oilbu-Lawyer Chronicles: Do Essential Oils Really Work?

IMG_0068I love buying pretty roller bottles and I love the mixing – not so much the simple math behind it though. I love toying with diffusers and carrier oils and I dream of making my own soaps and hair products using some of these oils one day. But do essential oils really, honest to goodness, work?

A simple, unqualified “yes” would create unrealistic expectations of what oils can and cannot do. A simple, unqualified “no” would not be accurate or fair either, based on experience. (This is what you get when you ask a lawyer!) How about both yes and no?

There is no Holy Grail of oils that will magically cure all the world’s problems

I tried oils mainly because I wanted to find a cure for my husband’s chronic shoulder and back pain, and a magical blend or blend(s) that I imagined will get my super active Bear whose energy out-energizes the Energizer Bunny, to calm down when she’s mad and to sleep when she can’t or won’t. Of these goals, I think I was able to find something for my husband. As for the Bear, I’ve come to accept that no oil will ever have that effect on her!

As for myself, I just want an oil that will make me perky in the mornings when I still want to go back to bed and snooze, and hopefully one that will help me not forget things. (I misplaced the memory blend I made for myself and didn’t know where it was for weeks!)  So far I have not found one that absolutely works 100% of the time yet.

… this is because essential oils may not always have the same effect on people

Lavender is widely regarded as the ‘swiss knife’ of EOs, an extremely versatile oil, and a key ingredient for sleep and relaxation blends. However, for some reason, I am incredibly sensitive to the smell of lavender EO – in a bad way. Too much exposure to the scent gives me really bad headache – and one time, the smell even ‘reactivated’ a dormant toothache. I am the only person that I know who literally cannot stand lavender – at least not too much. Meanwhile, my mom caught a whiff of it from one of my roller blends and she said the smell was relaxing. Since then, she’s tried oiling, too, and she’s been happily using lavender in her diffuser for a good night’s sleep. Most people I know swear by lavender for a whole bunch of things – from insect bites to sleepless nights.

Based on my experience so far, some oils have immediate effects while others don’t seem to make an impact. Does this mean they don’t work? Not necessarily. Some take time to work, others just take easily. Some just don’t jive like me with lavender solo. Experienced oiler gurus have reminded us newbies that consistency (in applying the oils) is key for the oils to work over time. It’s also important to remember that oils are not like medicine which are developed and formulated to address specific ailments or concerns; oils have a broad range of potential uses and effects.

… However I’ve seen *some* oils actually work

By work , I mean I’ve seen some of the oils have a positive effect on myself and others – whether it’s to address a skin problem, or change one’s mood.

Continue reading “The Oilbu-Lawyer Chronicles: Do Essential Oils Really Work?”


Oil I Need to Know: How I Learned About Diffusers Because of My Cat

Note: I’m a lazy blogger. It takes me months, even years to update my blogs. However, the benefits of writing – even for personal and not public consumption, cannot be overemphasized. So, beginning today, I plan on a not so ambitious, bite sized plan to record my attempt to navigate the exhilarating and daunting world of essential oils.

Potpourri, aroma therapy, that sweet woodsy smell when you go for a massage.

A few months ago, a dear friend from law school contacted me with seeming urgency. To my surprise, it was about whether I wanted to give essential oils a try. As someone who doesn’t even like wearing perfume, the idea did not appeal to me so much. I didn’t like oils, too, she said, but these essential oils I’m talking about are different. They smell really good and they are good for you.

I was cautiously on board with the idea, but again, cautious because in my first year as a mom I cycled through addiction to cloth diapering, a bit of babywearing, attachment parenting and all these fancy terms we so-called “millennials” use nowadays. Although I have since proven to myself that cloth diapers are still the more economical and ecologically sound choice, I wanted to take a break from sleepless nights giggling over my addiction. When she said that a set of essential oils and diffuser would cost about $160 (exclusive of shipping fees from the US), I was even more hesitant.

… And what was a diffuser again? I asked her politely what she meant by diffuser (through chat) a few times.

Despite all the information and materials she generously forwarded to me, I could not make heads or tails of what a diffuser was and why it sounded like I needed to plug it in to use it.

Not wanting to ask stupid questions, I mulled it over for weeks by myself until I remembered my cat! Four or five years ago, when my beloved panganay (eldest), my silly boy BB was misbehaving – peeing and pooping in various places except his litterbox, I remembered desperately looking for solutions, one of which was an expensive cat hormone diffuser (about $100). Basically, you plug in and use a hormone diffuser for about a month to calm down your cat. As it is based on cat hormones, only the cat is supposedly aware of the smell but you can expect behavioral changes after a month.

Needless to say, while it seems to work for a lot of cats, it didn’t work on mine. BB, continued and continues to misbehave to this day – without any medical problems, mostly territorial and insecurity issues all in his head. No amount of cat hormone diffuser could change that.

Having thus convinced myself that since I spent roughly $100 on a cat hormone diffuser that didn’t work for my cat, surely $174 on 11 different bottles of essential oils and a sleek looking diffuser surely couldn’t hurt.

It would take me more than a month, however, to muster up the courage to hit the buy button and it was a particular life event that sent me to the Young Living Essentials page… a story for another time.


Interested in essential oils? Let’s discover them together! Send me an email at!