As we all learn more about essential oil safety, usage and dilution, one major question we hear is "how should I use these oils?" As research surrounding essential oils continues to grow, so does our education on usage.
Traditionally, certain essential oil usage was preferred. However, as the research continues to develop, a greater understanding of different ways we can use essential oils is being more understood. We are understanding that all usage is safe when used appropriately, including aromatically, topically, and internally. These three ways of usage are suitable for a wide range of emotional and physical wellness applications. Oils can be used as a single oil at a time or in complex blends with multiple oils, in one of the following three ways.
The sense of smell is a way that oils can be used to bring on powerful physiological, mental, and emotional responses. Based on research provided through the studying of essential oils, it is safe to say that essential oils are quickly absorbed by the smell receptors, which have a direct link to the limbic system by way of the olfactory nerve. The limbic system is part of the brain that supports a variety of functions including smell, emotions, behavior, and memory. For this reason, essential oils have an especially powerful effect through aromatic usage.
Essential oils are all found to have different effects on us. Some essential oils induce uplifting or invigorating effects, while others are more calming, balancing and grounding. Diffusion through a diffuser that uses cold air or water, is the easiest and most popular way of using essential oils aromatically. However, using essential oils aromatically does not always require a diffuser, as you can achieve the same health benefits by simply placing a few drops of essential oil in the palm of your hand and then cupping your hand around the nose as you inhale deeply.
Aromatic Usage Suggestions
- Diffuse a few drops in the morning, throughout the day, or right before going to bed
- Place a drop in your palm, rub the palms together, and inhale
- Drip 2–3 drops onto the floor of the hot shower, away from the water path, and breathe in
- Use in household surface cleaners
- Add a couple of drops to pillows and bed linens.
- Apply oil to a cotton ball and place in the air vents of your vehicle
- Use a USB car diffuser. My favorite car diffuser pictured below, is available HERE
- Mix oils in a spray bottle with water and mist over furniture, carpet, or linens
- Add oil to a batch of laundry or to dryer sheets
Topical application of essential oils is the second most popular way to use oils. Although essential oils are readily absorbed through the skin, there are many ways to increase absorption. Using a light massage with diluted essential oils, can increase the blood flow to the area of application, in turn improving distribution throughout the body. Use of the carrier oil through dilution will increase absorption, especially in skin that is dry, because this can help to moisturize the skin and to slow the evaporation of the essential oil.
To decrease the likelihood of developing a skin sensitivity, especially on young or sensitive skin, it is advisable to always use a carrier oil (such as Fractionated Coconut Oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil, or almond oil) to dilute more potent essential oils and when trying an essential oil for the first time. The recommend dilution ratio is typically one drop of essential oil to three drops of carrier oil. You can also use 5-10 drops of your preferred essential oil, in a 10ml roller bottle, topped off with your carrier oil, and applied to the needed area. My favorite rollerbottles, pictured below, can be found HERE
Beneficial Areas You Can Apply Essential Oils
- Arms, legs, bottom of feet
- Face (useful for helping with complexion and beautifying the skin)
- Forehead, neck, and temples (a target area for dealing with feelings of tension)
- Roof of the mouth (for help with balancing emotions and your mood)
- Base of the skull (an external option for emotional and mood support)
- Abdomen (to apply over major digestive organs)
- Chest (a good area to apply for feelings of clear breathing)
- The soles of the feet (to limit sensitivity, soothe the feet, or for massage. Massaging the feet can stimulate nerve endings and generate whole-body benefits.)
In the essential oil world, internal usage is the most controversial way to use oils, leading to many debates in the essential oil community over the last few years. The confusion surrounding internal usage of essential oils is largely based on lack of awareness. However, years of past and ongoing research have found that internal usage is a safe and profoundly effective way to use essential oils.
Essential oils are already a normal part of our diet and the human body is well equipped to safely metabolize essential oils. When you sprinkle cinnamon on your toast, drink your cup of peppermint tea, or add fresh oregano, basil, or thyme to your spaghetti sauce, you are actually consuming small amounts of the volatile compounds that are found naturally in that plant or herb. Essential oils give plants their aroma and their flavor. When concentrated, essential oils can be used as internal supplements for more potent and targeted support.
Today, many essential oils are found on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) list, which affirms the safe use of essential oils as flavoring agents and preservatives. Every substance found on this list has a well-documented history of internal safety. Although essential oils have health applications that extend far beyond flavoring, this list sets a safety framework that can be applied to the internal use of essential oils. Internal use of essential oils is perfectly safe and worry-free when used properly.
Effective Ways to Use Oils Internally:
- Take essential oils internally by putting a few drops in a Veggie Capsule and swallowing it whole, with water
- Use oils in recipes for cooking or baking to replace fresh or dried herbs and spices
- Add a dropper top to your frankincense oil, or other oils that you take internally. A dropper top will make getting that drop of oil out easy. Dropper tops are available HERE
- Remember that essential oils are much more potent than dried or fresh herbs and spices, so start with a very small amount
- For more potent oils, it may be better to administer them by toothpicks (dip the end of a clean toothpick into the oil and then add to the food) rather than drops
- Add essential oils to water, smoothies, milk, tea, or other drinks
- Add to a small amount of applesauce or yogurt