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Karen Duewel and her dogs, Rhia and Shiloh (not pictured is Tali, the puppy).
People have been turning to the healing and relaxation benefits of essential oils for thousands of years. These aromatic, concentrated plant and flower extracts are carefully obtained through cold pressing, steam distillation or resin tapping, and are gaining renewed popularity as a natural, safe and cost-effective therapy for a number of health concerns.
Karen Duewel, an independent distributor with Young Living, a company setting the standard for planting, growing, harvesting, distilling and producing essential oils, is dedicated to educating others about their advantages and possibilities. “Wellness is my passion, and working with therapeutic-grade essential oils is one of the most beneficial things people can do to naturally attain overall health and wellness,” says Duewel.
Young Living, which is celebrating its 25-year anniversary, has been an industry leader in large part because of their dedication to quality and purity. “Young Living has been at the forefront of bringing the ancient tradition of essential oils to modern users, introducing millions to emotional, physical and spiritual wellness that can be truly life-changing,” says Duewel. The company operates with a trademarked Seed to Seal process, which ensures that their products exceed standards from the time they are planted until they are packaged. Their commitment to sustainably sourcing plants, uplifting local communities and complying with environmental laws sets them apart from other manufacturers, she adds.
Duewel was first introduced to the benefits of essential oils in 2001, when a friend used them on a horse with remarkable results. Shortly thereafter, Duewel’s 14-year-old dog began to have painful mobility issues, and she started experimenting with essential oils to aid in her pet’s comfort level. “I was fascinated that something which worked so well on a 1,400-pound horse could also help my 14-pound dog,” she says.
Duewel immersed herself in classes and conferences to learn more about how the oils work and how to educate others about their use. Now she guides her clients in ways to find the right selection of products to enhance physical wellness, inspire a positive emotional state, purify their home, refine their beauty routine and strengthen their spiritual awareness.
Young Living merges traditional wisdom and modern research to develop wellness solutions that encourage people to live to their maximum potential. “Essential oils can be used to support any system of the body, including circulatory, digestive, respiratory, endocrine, immune, muscular and nervous. Young Living products have no hidden extenders and use no synthetic materials, so the body recognizes the oil in its natural form and knows how to use it,” says Duewel. The nutrients and powerful antioxidants can be used to reduce everyday inflammation that life presents, boost immunity, support digestion, increase energy and ameliorate aches and pains. Many people use essential oils for emotional wellness and relaxation. “The oils stimulate olfactory receptors and activate regions in the brain’s limbic system associated with memory, emotion and state of mind,” explains Duewel.
Another unique benefit of essential oils is the variety of ways they can be utilized. Depending on their intended purpose, the oils can be administered topically, internally or aromatically. “When they’re applied on the skin in places like behind the ears or on the temples, they’re immediately absorbed and processed. Oils such as rosemary, dill and oregano can be used in cooking and go directly into the digestive tract. Some people prefer the calming and aromatic use of oils such as lavender or frankincense in a diffuser,” further explains Duewel.
Essential oils can help strengthen the household bond because the whole family can benefit from their use. Children, grandparents and even pets can use the same products, which creates harmony and connection. “While the dosage and application may be different, the benefits of the oils are equally efficient from a large animal to an infant. Sharing a healing tool creates a connection.”
Duewel encourages clients to explore ways to preserve their health before issues arise so they can spend more time living their optimal quality of life, and essential oils play a part in that everyday maintenance. “I love to plant the seeds with people about the multitude of options Young Living has to help them. One small step can lead to big differences and changes. Essential oils are one modality in a toolbox of ways for people to feel better naturally and maintain optimal wellness,” says Duewel.
Carrie Jackson is an Evanston-based writer and frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine. Connect at CarrieJacksonWrites.com.