Essential oils get a bad rap. People immediately jump to quack science and visions of holistic healing that does more harm than help. But like with anything, uncontrolled, uninformed use runs the risk of negative consequences.

Look at modern medicine. We’re living longer, healthier lives thanks to antibiotics. However, those same antibiotics breed superbugs.

Bacteria like MRSA don’t respond to conventional treatment and have real potential to kill anyone exposed. Over-prescription and antibiotic-misuse lead to problems.

However, controlled, responsible use keeps us healthy. And how did humans stay healthy before modern drugs?

Essential oils.

Way back when, and even today, people use the oils to elevate their health. From salves to diffusers, essential oils heal and prevent issues before they start.

Let’s take a look at why anyone could use the herbal oils in their life.

So What Are Essential Oils, Exactly?

Essential oils aren’t actually oils per se, in that they don’t contain any fat. Instead, they’re a plant extract.

Through various means, we extract the plant’s “oil” from its leaves and concentrate it into what’s known as an essential oil.

The various types of extractions include:

Solvents

Solvents “strip” the oils from the plant’s leaves into a liquid medium. These typically include methanol and ethanol.

Cold-Press

This extraction process goes exactly as it sounds. Herbs or plants run through a “press” where pressure extracts the natural oils.

Steam

Stem extractions involve distilling, just like alcohol. Hot steam extracts the oil and then condenses into the final product.

Each type of extraction has pros and cons, with some making better medicine and others working better for diffusions.

Solvent extractions take less time and money than steam or cold pressing but aren’t as suitable for medicinal purposes. However, they’re excellent for diffusion purposes.

Though regardless of the extraction method, these oils can improve your health. Here’s how.

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy involves diffusing essential oils into the air using a diffuser. The oils enter the bloodstream through your nose when you breathe. In this application, the oils have a variety of different effects.

First, some natural oils have a calming effect. Smelling pine or other fragrant oils puts the mind at ease and helps you relax.

Some people even associate the smells with relaxation, which increases an oil’s calming effects. Orange oil, for instance, has shown to help people stave off anxiety. Smelling the oil before tests helped participants stay calm and reduced anxiety.

Lavender also showed calming effects, helping to reduce anxiety and improve mood in dental offices.

What’s more, the oils can also have a medicinal effect when inhaled. Here’s a quick list of which oils can bring an aromatherapy benefit.

Peppermint

Widely grown and available, peppermint has a refreshing effect that stimulates mental alertness. It’s also known to increase focus and reduces congestion.

Rose

Rose aroma might cost more than other essential oils, but the pretty flowers are worth it for their strong medicinal properties.

Rose oil can calm anxiety, relieve depression, and is also known to improve circulation and help combat asthma.

Marjoram

Long used as an essential oil, marjoram is powerful against respiratory infections, including sinusitis. Like rose oil, it’s also useful against asthma.

Chamomile

Chamomile works as a mood elevator but also has antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties. This oil especially targets urinary tract infections and inflammation.

Eucalyptus

The Eucalyptus plant’s oils work well against respiratory infections. They’re also especially useful against colds, with a strong decongestant effect.

Lemon

Even everyday lemons have healing properties in their essential oil form. Lemon oil boosts natural immunities and can alleviate headaches and fevers.

While the list above covers common essential oils and a wide variety of aromatherapy uses, it’s by no means comprehensive.

Experiment with different essential oils to find fragrances you like, and plants that work best for your medicinal needs.

Skin Conditions

Beyond aromatherapy, treating skin disorders is the oils’ other application. From fungus to acne, there’s something for everyone.

However, you’ll need to know which oils work best on your skin. Some oils irritate skin if not diluted, and some people are more sensitive to certain oils.

What’s more, always try to use stream or cold-pressed extracted oils for skin treatments. Steam and cold-pressing don’t leave adulterants in the oils after extraction.

Let’s take a look at a few oils and their uses on your skin.

Tree Tea Oil

This essential oil has extremely strong anti-bacterial properties, making it perfect to combat acne.

Rose Oil

Back with more healing properties, rose oil has strong anti-inflammatory properties that lend themselves well to treating eczema.

Juniper Oil

Another oil with anti-inflammatory properties, juniper oil works well to eliminate cellulite.

The oil increases blood flow, as well as containing the minerals calcium, potassium, and zinc which help break up cellulite.

Rosemary

Rosemary oil has strong anti-fungal properties, making it useful for treating any fungus related skin conditions.

Though it’s especially useful for treating dandruff. In addition to its anti-fungal properties, rosemary oil also helps stimulate hair follicle growth.

Now that we have some idea which oils work best for certain skin conditions, it’s time to talk about application.

Always try a small drop of oil on unaffected skin before starting any treatments. The oils are highly concentrated, and some oils irritate the skin easier than others.

And even if the oil doesn’t irritate the skin, it’s usually best to add the essential oil to a “carrier oil.” Coconut oil works great, but any oil of your choice will work.

Essential Oils Keep You Healthy

Essential oils can make all the difference when it comes to keeping you healthy. Long before the advent of modern medicine, humans used the oils to stay healthy.

Their medical properties are well known, and even accepted in the scientific community.

Proper, knowledgeable, use of the oils can help treat health problems and prevent them before they arise.

If you’re ready to add essential oil aromatherapy and skin treatments to your daily routine, there’s no better time than the present.

Get started with herbal oils today!

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How NEOFECT Created a Smart Glove (Robotic Arm) That Uses Online Gaming for Rehabilitation

Wearable technology keeps evolving. And it is transforming the way we experience the world. Watches, eyeglasses, rings, bracelets and even smart home devices like the thermostat are changing how we consumer information, monitor our health and use home products. Smart technology has a significant role to play in how people will live in the future.

NEOFECT wants to change how to aid rehabilitation and the provision of clinicial real-time patient data. In an interview with  Scott Kim, Neofect’s co-founder and CEO of the US office, he spoke to us about how he started NEOFECT, the company’s success factors and challenges they have faced in their bid to change physical therapy using online gaming.

Brief summary about your startup

Established in 2010, NEOFECT is a mobile health startup with a vision to deliver an affordable and effective at-home system to aid neuro patients with central nervous system disorders such as a stroke.

Its first product, RAPAEL Smart Glove, combines a wearable device, virtual reality and gamification for rehab exercise, while its software analyzes the data from built-in sensors and provides training tasks based on the patient’s activity level.

The device has been successfully employed by a number of major hospitals in South Korea since December of 2014, and approved for use in the US and Europe. NEOFECT has offices in S. Korea, San Francisco, and Poland.

Why and how it was started

The President of NEOFECT, Ho-Young Ban, experienced first-hand the difficulties faced by stroke patients and their families when his father and two uncles fell victims of stroke.

Although his uncles were fortunate to survive, they had to turn down the rehab therapy because of the costs involved. So, when his friend Young Choi came up with an idea of Rapael, Ban could not resist.

Soon after, their classmate from the University of Virginia’s Darden MBA program Scott Kim joined the team to launch the US operations.

Kim was born with spinal bifida and went through a surgery and a long rehabilitation process, so he immediately recognized the opportunity and became a co-founder and the CEO of the Neofect’s US office.

What has been the biggest success factors

Personal motivation of the founders combined with the latest, most advanced smart technologies have become the major engines behind the company’s success.

– Gamification, which motivates a patient throughout the rehab process. It helps to induce neuroplasticity for hand function of a patient with a brain damage.

Various rehab games are updated monthly and each game targets specific movements such as squeezing the orange for finger flexion/extension and pouring wine for forearm pronation/supination, for example.

– Artificial Intelligence: the software analyzes data from the glove’s sensors and provides training tasks based on the patient’s activity level. The algorithm is designed to enhance learning multiple functions by offering an optimal task at a proper level of difficulty.

– Wearable Device: RAPAEL Smart Glove is a wearable bio-feedback training gadget. Lightweight and designed to fit different hand sizes, it uses the Bluetooth technology to collect the patient’s data.

What are the biggest challenges you have faced launching and running the company?

The biggest challenge was the product’s concept itself. Many people believed that Rapael could be a threat to the therapists. Fortunately, after we launched the program in several hospitals, we’ve been able to prove that our device is designed with the doctors’ and patient’s needs in mind and helps them make the rehabilitation process more efficient.

Which do you think is most important: the right market, the right product, or the right team?

This sounds like a cliché, but the right team is easily the answer to me. With the right people, you can make necessary adjustments based on new information to make sure there is a product-market fit.

My previous job was to lead a team to make mobile apps – without any exception, all great apps loved by users were made by great teams.

Final words for those chasing the startup dream

Never underestimate the importance of execution. Many people waste their time just to validate what they think or others think, or even just to finish the conceptualization.

However, you should “fail fast” in order concentrate your efforts on building a product which has a market demand, and of course, to save time and money as well.

Plus, you should fail while you are small rather than big, if you’re meant to face it. The earlier you do the reality check, the faster you can reach your goal, although it might cost you a couple of failures at the beginning.

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