The use of essential oils has been expanding, with people now applying them to their skin, inhaling them or infusing teas with them, which many users identify as ways to improve sleep, reduce anxiety, and even lower blood pressure.
In Macau, Free Spirit holds workshops to inform participants on how fast and easy it is to make their own products free of toxins; and how to aid others to protect their families and have a greener lifestyle.
Sandi Manhão, owner of Free Spirit, is convinced that using essential oils is a good alternative in creating home necessities, and that using essential oils on a daily basis can be an asset, particularly to those looking to have a greener lifestyle.
Macau Daily Times (MDT) – Is the interest growing amongst locals, compared to when you first initiated the project?
Sandi Manhão (SM) – Yes, I do think so. When I started a few years ago, we were a very small group of friends who shared some tips on a Facebook group, but in the meantime, by word of mouth, it has been growing and, at the moment, we have more than 1,000 active participants. They tried them and they love them. The oils speak for themselves. People can see their benefits.
MDT – Can this be a natural substitute for other herbal medicines?
SM – For those looking to have a greener lifestyle, using essential oils on a daily basis can be an asset. Just by adding a few drops of essential oils to the diffuser we can improve the quality of the air in our house (instead of using candles or adapters with synthetic fragrances). It may help us relax and unwind, have a better sleep, uplift and boost our energy levels, help with our concentration […] other amazing things and at the same time they deliver a nice aroma to our home.
MDT – Are you seeing more locals experiment with these homeopathic alternatives?
SM – More recently we have heard of essential oils, but their benefits have been recognized practically ever since history began. Over the years and with the advances of modern medicine, the natural method of treatment has been somewhat forgotten. Today, and especially in the last decade, there has been a tendency and a greater approximation to what is natural and organic. We are more aware of the pollution of the environment and the contamination of food with pesticides. There is a greater demand for organic products and organic food and, as a result, essential oils are again in high demand.
We should avoid overloading our bodies with synthetic and harmful products so that we can live longer and with better quality. Each essential oil has its own chemical properties that we can benefit from, such as antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties. They can support seasonal immunity, relax your body and soothe sore muscles, promote skin health, support a healthy inflammation response, promote healthy hormones, support healthy digestive function, clean your home and be used in household and personal care products.
The possibilities are endless, however it is important to note that not all essential oils are created equally. For therapeutic purposes, we have to select a high quality essential oil, unadulterated by chemical substances, which is very common in the market, that are organic and have undergone rigorous tests certifying them for therapeutic purposes.
MDT – What are the main benefits you think that we should be aware of while using products with essential oils?
SM – Essential oils (especially the brand I use) are versatile, natural, [and] 100 percent pure. Because they have properties that we can benefit from, I use them extensively as a healthy alternative to […] commercial cleaning, beauty and personal hygiene products; they’ve replaced my medicine cabinet and sometimes I use them for cooking.
MDT – Can you speak further about the workshops that you hold?
SM – On average, a woman applies around 300 chemicals to her body a day through [the use of] soaps, shampoos, body lotions and make-up. These are absorbed by the body, through the skin (our largest organ), mucous membrane and other pathways. The biggest pollutants in our house are laundry detergents, fabric softeners, synthetic air purifiers and aromatic candles. We are unconsciously poisoning our family every day.
I know it is not easy to be totally green and we cannot have control over pollution, but we can improve the air we breathe in our own home. We can easily make everyday products with the essential oils and eliminate a great part of the toxins from the products we buy in supermarkets.
They are, therefore, a good alternative. They are totally free of toxins and extracted from plants. The purpose of the workshops I hold is basically to let people see how fast and how easy it is to make their own products free of toxins. We won’t replace everything we have at home overnight, but we can make small changes over time.
Plus, making our own products is fun, cheaper and we create less waste.