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One of the most common questions I receive, and that I see in general, is about how to use essential oils.
This is an incredibly important question, and unfortunately is not given enough attention. It is easy to tell someone the three ways to use essential oils – aromatic, topical, and internal – and remind them to dilute, but the question is more complex than this. Someone who is brand new to essential oils needs to know how to use essential oils in those individual ways, when to use which technique, how much to use, etc. etc. With this post and at least one more, I hope to address these concerns and empower essential oil users to learn what is best for their family.
How to Use Essential Oils – The Basics
Let’s start with the basics: essential oils can be used aromatically, topically, and internally.
This is the probably the best known way to use essential oils. This involves inhaling the essential oils somehow. It is an incredibly effective method of receiving the benefits of the essential oils. An entire family can benefit from just a few drops of a diffused oil, such as the Protective Blend for immune support.
The most common way to aromatically use essential oils is with a diffuser. There are many different types of diffusers on the marker, from small to large, from ones that just spritz oils to ones that diffuse continuously. There is no way that I could address all of your options! Feel free to contact me with any questions about what you should try! With any diffuser, simply follow the instructions for how many drops of essential oils to use.
In addition to using a diffuser, essential oils can also be inhaled off the the palms or even from the bottle. However, in these cases it is especially important to be careful of how much is inhaled. Less than a drop is needed on the palms, and do not inhale sharply. Essential oils are powerful and if you inhale too much, too quickly, you will feel it! Simply breathing normally near the essential oil will often be enough. Start slow and listen to what your nose and your body want. See below for more information on diluting essential oils.
Topical is another very common method of using essential oils. When you use essential oils in your personal care products, you are using them topically. I love using oils to help enhance my homemade products, such as deodorant, toothpaste, lotion, lubricant, facial serum, etc. With these products, knowing how much to use can be as simple as following a recipe. Again, however, it is important to pay attention to your reaction to the oils. If you are concerned about sensitivity, start with less. Since essential oils are so concentrated, you will still receive the benefits and save money.
Beyond using them in personal care products, essential oils can also be applied directly to the skin. A perfect example of this is when I burn myself in the kitchen (which happens way more than it should). I run for my essential oil stash and apply lavender essential oil directly to the irritated skin. It quickly stops hurting and I almost never have any sign of a burn the next day. I use essential oils (usually diluted, see below) in this way all the time: Respiratory Blend on my chest when I’m stuffed up, Digestive Blend on my stomach when it’s uncomfortable, Soothing Blend when my shoulder is acting up, and even Protective Blend on my lymph nodes if I notice they are tender (a sure sign I’ve been exposed to some seasonal threat).
A method of topical application that should not be overlooked is the bottoms of the feet. The feet have the largest pores on the body, and therefore are the prime location for absorbing essential oils into the entire body. Simply dilute the oils, rub them into the feet, and allow them to absorb to experience systematic benefits.
Internal use of essential oils is quite controversial. Some people do it every day and sing it’s praises, some say that it should never be done ever unless prescribed by a doctor. I fall somewhere in the middle. I have experienced great benefits from ingesting essential oils, such as lemon in the case of a hangover or this combination for supporting the immune system. I don’t use large amounts and I make sure that I am protecting my gut bacteria with probiotics. Sometimes I ask my holistic practitioner before using a certain oil internally, but I also largely use essential oils to help keep me out of the doctor’s office.
It is also important to keep in mind the way that essential oil quality works. Essential oils that are food grade are much lower quality than those that are 100% pure therapeutic grade. Yet food grade oils are allowed in our food as “natural flavors.” With 100% pure essential oils, there is no chance of a reaction to synthetic chemicals or fillers in the essential oil.
I believe that everyone should do their own research and make their own decisions about internal use of essential oils based on their comfort level. If you do decide to use essential oils internally, make sure that you are only using the highest quality.
As you can see, there is a lot that needs to be considered concerning how to use essential oils, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Stay tuned to learn more about when to use each of the applications, how much to use, and what to do in specific situations. Read part 2 here.
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