How to use essential oils
Essential Oils have a great many health benefits due to their unique chemical structure and this helps us understand why such a large amount of the world’s population are using them.
Understanding how to use essential oils is of great importance in order to take full advantages of the many health benefits they offer.
There are three principal ways essential oils can be used all of which have variations. All of these methods apply to doTERRA essential oils, which are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade, although it’s important to know which ones and in what quantity or what dilution ratio if applicable.
Each individual person will experience the effects and benefits of essential oils in their own way and therefore it’s important to understand how to use essential oils and the different ways in which the method of application will affect them.
You don’t need to be an expert to understand how to use essential oils, however, it is important to be well informed.
Click to read more about What are essential oils and The benefits of essential oils.
Using Essential Oils Aromatically
Aromatic use of essential oils can enable us to experience tremendous benefits, in particular when it comes to mood management.
Depending on the particular chemical structure of the oil in question it can either uplift and energize us or give us a sensation of calmness and peace.
When you inhale the aroma of an essential oil the scent travels through our olfactory system of the brain via the olfactory nerve which connects to our limbic system where your emotions and memories reside.
The limbic system creates a reaction in your brain directly related to to the memories you associate with that particular scent. A response is then triggered depending both on the chemical structure of the chosen oil and you as a person.
Each person can have a different experience and this is why you will be drawn to some oils over others.
As discussed earlier, when you smell essential oil there are two main responses that take place in the brain. The first is the signal sent by the olfactory nerve and the second is the absorption of the essential oil constituent into the brain.
Pretty powerful stuff.
The Olfactory nerve signaling allows us to quickly recognize not only threats but also benefits. Basically speaking you will have an emotional response to what you are smelling.
Smell feelings are very powerful hence why essential oils have such a great potential for use in therapy.
Another interesting fact to understand is that essential oils constituents can actually bypass the ‘blood-brain’ barrier unlike most other drugs and herbal medicines.
This is due to the fact that their molecules are small and soluble. Absorption to the brain can take several minutes but is actually faster than oral absorption.
Once in the brain, these powerful constituents can trigger the release of neuro-chemicals which affect your mood. The exciting thing about essential oils is that you can elicit a specific mood benefit based on the chemical structure of the oil you choose!
This brain absorption can also be used to treat certain neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and even brain cancer. For these kinds of issues, essential oils are best used by ingesting however diffusing oil can really help with concentration and focus.
Essential oils have also shown to help those suffering from anxiety, depression, SAD and mood swings.
Here are some examples of essential oils constituents and their effects (or benefits)
Some of the most popular essential oils for mood management known to have the most profound effect on mood are Serenity, Balance, Citrus Bliss and Elevation are otherwise known as the Mood Management Kit which you can see here.
As well as Motivate, Cheer, Passion, Forgive, Console and Peace in which their name speaks for themselves.
Using essential oils aromatically either by inhaling the oil (but preferably user a diffuser) can greatly improve upper respiratory tract issues such as colds, the flu and sinus issues such as sinusitis. It’s best to use the inhalation method several times a day for 1-10 minutes each time. When using a diffuser its best used intermittently for 30 – 60 minutes followed by the same time period off, and then repeat several times per day.
A combination of inhalation and topical application could also be very useful for respiratory issues. Such as applying diluted essential oil to the chest and upper back or by making a hot compress to the chest.
Using an Essential Oils Diffuser
Using essential oils aromatically with a diffuser is one of the most effective and enjoyable ways there are.
Once adding a few drops of your chosen oil to water, the diffuser transforms the oil into a mist of microscopic droplets which offers from a couple of hours to several hours of aromatic exposure. It’s very convenient and easy.
It’s important to mention here that heat should not be used when diffusing essential oils. Heat changes the chemical profile of an oil and this is why it’s important to use a diffuser that uses water or cold air.
A huge advantage to using a diffuser is the benefit of being able to purify the surrounding air. Get rid of unwanted odors, kill mold and bacteria.
This is an incredible way to replace your toxic household air purifying agents with pure, quality, natural and above all, safe essential oils.
To read more about ‘ The Best Essential Oil Diffuser’ click here.
Using Essential Oils Topically
Due to their chemical makeup, essential oils can easily and quickly penetrate the skin, offering a localized benefit/effect to the area applied. It also provides whole-body support as well as being able to target a specific area.
There are several points to consider when applying an oil topically:
Depending on the oil you are using, or if you have sensitive skin or are applying an oil to a child, dilution is an important factor.
A carrier oil like fractioned coconut oil needs to be applied with the oil. This helps ‘carry’ the oil as such and slow down the absorption into the skin.
This is good advice also for when you are topically applying a new oil for the first time.
The standard recommendation is typically 3 drops of carrier oil for every drop of essential oil but this may vary depending on the classification of that particular oil and the individual themselves, such as age, size, and specific needs.
When you are first starting out its always best to start with a small dose (of one to two drops) and repeat every four to six hours as appropriate.
Essential Oil Classification
There are three types of classification; Neat, dilute and Sensitive.
Neat Oils can be applied directly to the skin without the need for a carrier oil. This is due to their very mild chemical makeup. Frankincense, Lavender, Melaleuca, Melissa, and Sandalwood are examples of “neat” essential oils.
Essential Oils Safety
It’s vital to obtain proper knowledge once purchasing an oil to ensure you use it the correct way. Citrus oils, for example, should not be used when you will be exposing your body to sunlight within 12 hours following its use.
This is due to their photosensitive compound and can cause an unpleasant reaction.
Essential oils are potent, that we know. For this reason, the motto ‘less is more’ applies here. Start with one or two drops then increase the dosage if and when is necessary.
Other methods of Topical Application
- Mix a couple of drops with water and use as a mouth and throat rinse
- Soak a cloth in either hot or cold water and a few drops of essential oils and make a compress
- Add a couple of drops of essential oil to your moisturizer. Click here for some fantastic DIY beauty recipes.
- Add a few drops of your favorite oil to a warm bath *
* Oils need to be dispersed first – do not pour essential oils directly into the bath. You can use foaming products such as castile soap, shampoo, aloe vera jelly or coconut oil. Mix one tablespoon with 5-20 drops of essential oil and then add to bathwater.
Using Essential Oils Internally
As we know, each essential oil possesses a unique chemical structure that provides the body with certain benefits. Using oils internally can offer somewhat exclusive benefits that cannot be obtained by using them either aromatically or topically.
Using essential oils internally promotes healthy cell function, helps maintain a healthy immune system and some can offer internal cleansing benefits or detox benefits.
You can also add certain oils to your food and drink and enjoy their potent flavors. Best of all, only a tiny amount is needed to release these flavors!
To search through some of our delicious Essential Oils for Food & Drink recipes, click here.
Is it safe to use essential oils internally?
Many people argue that essential oils are not safe to use internally, however, this practice has been validated and confirmed through many years of scientific research and studies. There is plenty of information to guide users on the correct way to use certain oils internally.
Many of the foods we consume already have a small amount of essential oils and our bodies are already capable of metabolizing and processing them. doTERRA essential oils are 100% pure and therefore those listed as safe to use internally are safe to use internally, although dosage and consumption must be on an oil by oil basis.
Taking essential oils internally is not something to be taken lightly though and their potency and physiological relevance must be understood before they are used in this way.
Some oils could potentially cause irritation or an allergic-type reaction. There is a difference between using essential oils as a food flavoring and using them for health issues due to the amount of concentrated oil that is being consumed and this brings up potential safety issues.
Many professionals recommend the use of essential oils internally only under the guidance of a qualified aromatherapist or medical practitioner.
Luckily for us the doTERRA Organization is made up Scientific Experts, a Medical Advisory Panel with highly experienced and knowledgeable medical professionals and a Research and Development Team who provide only well studied and well-validated information when it comes to what and how essential oils should be used.
In this article, we go into more depth about ‘Using essential oils internally‘.
FDA GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) List
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) list concerning substances that have been identified as safe for use within food products.
Each substance included in the list has thorough documentation of safe internal usage and includes essential oils that have a well-documented history of safe use.
While the GRAS list is a helpful resource, it is not the only source for determining which essential oils are safe for internal consumption. There is plenty of other research which shows how and which oils are safe for you to use internally.
doTERRA views the GRAS list in high regard and strictly adheres to its regulatory guidance but also recognizes that some essential oils have traditional usage models that may lie outside of the normal evaluation or review as a food additive.
For your reference, the following oils have been listed as Generally Safe for Internal Use.
(Please refer to the dedicated doTERRA page for the individual oil for guidelines as whether it can be used internally or not)
- Basil, Bergamot, Black Pepper
- Cassia, Cinnamon, Clary Sage
- Fennel, Geranium, Ginger
- Grapefruit, Juniper Berry, Lemon
- Lemongrass, Lime, Marjoram
- Melissa, Oregano, Peppermint
- Roman Camomile, Rosemary, Thyme
- Wild Orange, Ylang Ylang
These doTERRA oils should never be used internally, in any amount:
- Arborvitae, Cedarwood, Cypress
- Douglas Fir, Eucalyptus, Spikenard
- White Fir, Wintergreen
Remember that not oil essential oils are created equally, each one reacts with the body in a different way due to its unique chemical makeup.
Although some oils are pure and rigorously tested, other oils have impurities, fillers, and other synthetics which make them unsafe to use internally.
Another reason why it’s important to purchase your oils from a reputable company that only produce pure, quality essential oils.
Click here to read more about Using Essential Oils Internally.
Are you interested in not only purchasing doTERRA Pure Grade essential oils but would also like to ensure you are provided the knowledge and support to ensure you know how what and why to use your oils?
Then I highly recommend joining our team as a Wholesale Member or Wellness Advocate. You can learn more here.