Essential Oils and Good Intentions

A man is sleeping peacefully in his own bed. He awakens in the night to a strange sensation and dimly registers a figure crouched in the dark at the foot of the bed. He feels a warm liquid on his big toe. As his eyes adjusts, he recognizes his wife hunched in the moonlight, pulling back the corner of the bedspread, exposing his big toe, which she is gently rubbing. “What the hell are you doing?” He asks to which she sheepishly replies, “Rubbing essential oil on your big toe.”

Yes, this is a true story shared during a recent meal with extended family. Our stomachs ached from laughing so hard that we almost couldn’t eat the delicious Italian meal before us. Not to worry – we rallied! But the visual of this guy snoring away while his wife slowly pulled up the bottom of the bed sheets to lather the oil on his toe had us in stitches. Apparently she had attended a ladies weekend during which there was an essential oils sales presentation. She purchased a kit which promised to address many health concerns, including snoring and sleep aid. She woke him up in a very creepy manner, with the best of intentions – helping him to get a good night’s sleep.

Husband and wife had a different take on the ethical aspects of secretly treating your spouse, as well as the potential efficacy of the treatment. He thought she was crazy and had been duped into spending money on “snake oil” and she felt like it was worth a try because she longed for a peaceful night’s sleep for both of them. Naturally we all wanted to know our DTD’s take on the matter.

Essential oils are big business. Some of the companies selling these oils promise “life-changing benefits.” People rub the oils on the skin to be absorbed in the bloodstream or infuse the oils in the air for aromatherapy. There are limited studies, but more on the horizon since their popularity is increasing rapidly. So far, small studies have shown that essential oils can help alleviate nausea or decrease anxiety and stress levels. Unfortunately there are some companies which overstate the benefits of these oils and down play the risks, which could include allergic reactions, respiratory issues and even chemical burns.

Why the big toe? DTD didn’t address this. Honestly I think he didn’t want to offend family members at the table. Everyone was talking at once, sharing different remedies for a variety of ailments and they all involved the feet somehow. Needless to say, some of these sounded slightly insane, and DTD knows when to keep his mouth shut!

Some said the feet were better at absorbing, but when I think of the rough skin on my feet, I’m skeptical. I have to lather Vaseline and put on thick socks all night just to get them semi-soft. That doesn’t seem as absorbent as other parts of the body, but maybe slow absorption is the goal? I’m sure you readers will have some opinions, so feel free to share!

DTD said as a doctor he has nothing against essential oils as long as they’re not injuring a patient. Many of his patients who use essential oils share positive results. He did question the promise of a cure-all, and the deceptive practice of treating someone who is sleeping!

In her defense, the wife in question said would have told her husband all about it ahead of time, but he went to bed before she got home. She couldn’t resist trying it out that night. Unfortunately it did not help him sleep better and actually woke him up and made him more than a little irritated.

Of course we all wanted to know if he tried using the oils since that night, but he hasn’t – at least not intentionally. One day they had a possible wild animal in the attic and his wife heard that certain scents would drive it away. She put a diffuser in the attic and when he went up there to take it out, it spilled all over his head. He was doused in essential oils from head to toe! “Did you sleep better that night?” We all wondered. But his answer was a very resounding “NO!”

Here is a good resource if you’re considering using essential oils:

If you have tried or heard of other remedies involving oils or feet, please share!

  1. Hahahahaha I love this & essential oils! Lavender is my favorite, and seems to have some good research behind it to reduce agitation, restlessness, and anxiety. I have even introduced this oil to be used with the residents at my nursing homes, and of course we use it at home with the littles.
    One gentleman with dementia keeps rolling out of bed at my current SNF, and so I had the team care plan a weighted blanket and lavender to use at night to help him sleep better. He hasn’t rolled out since. 🤗
    I also swear by lavender and peppermint oil cut with olive oil to help with my migraines. This was the only thing that helped besides cold packs when I was pregnant.
    Placebo or not, many more I’ve found to be very helpful. 😘😂🤷🏻‍♀️


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: