There are a few simple tips to learn how to use essential oils for their potent healing properties. After learning these guidelines, aromatherapy is an excellent way for us to treat our stress symptoms at home, and to control the long term hazards of chronic stress.
There are three main ways to use essential oils: topically, by inhalation, and by ingestion. In this part of the series, we will discuss topical use.
How to Use Essential Oils Topically
When you use essential oils topically, you simply rub them on your body. Take a drop of oil on the palm of your hand, rub your palms together and rub them on your skin.
Topical application is very well suited for relieving pain, aches, sore muscles and injuries–in other words, getting the oils to your physical body. The healing molecules in the essential oils permeate the skin and enter the blood stream and bring almost immediate relief.
Using Oils Undiluted??
Many sources in aromatherapy will caution that essential oils should not be applied neat, or undiluted, on the skin. This is excellent advice if you are not sure of the quality of your essential oils.
Most essential oils are produced for the perfume industry, and this is even true of essential oils from a health food store. They may be adulterated, or extended with chemicals. They may have mixtures of various species of a plant, if the smell is similar. This means that you can not be sure of the purity, the efficacy, or the reliability of the essential oil when using it for its therapeutic benefits.
Be sure you trust the source of your oils. If you have any doubts, use them cautiously.
If you trust your oils, it’s not hard to learn how to use essential oils topically. There are a few simple cautions which can be summed up with “Use Common Sense”:
Common Sense Precautions for Essential Oils:
- Some oils are hot (those high in phenols)–oregano, thyme, cinnamon, clove, lemongrass and bergamot. Do not put them in your eyes, mouth or “tender” skin or they may burn. Even not-so-tender skin may turn red with these hot oils.
- If an oil turns your skin red, dilute the essential oil with a vegetable oil (like olive oil or almond oil)–not water. Water is used to increase the effects of the oil. Only vegetable oil will reduce the effects of the essential oil.
- If an oil turns your skin red, it will probably be a detox reaction, not an allergy. Back off. Use less oil and less frequently. If it is a detox, the reaction will gradually become less as your body detoxes. If it is an allergy, the symptoms will stay the same or worsen.
- Some oils are photosensitive and may cause a rash or darkened skin if used before sun exposure–angelica, bergamot, grapefruit, lemon, orange, tangerine and other citrus oils.
- Pregnant women should avoid sage, fennel and hyssop.
- Epileptics and people with high blood pressure should be cautious with high ketone oils like basil, rosemary, sage, hyssop, wintergreen, nutmeg, rosemary, tarragon and tansy.
- Be aware that children, older people, very sick people or very sensitive people may feel the effects of the oils intensely. Be gentle!
- A very good safe place to start with topical use is the soles of your feet. The oils absorb well and the skin is not very sensitive.
Common Topical Uses of Essential Oils
- Rub a drop or two of basil or marjoram on your sore muscles.
- Put a drop of peppermint on the base or your skull or on your temples to relieve a headache.
- Rub some fennel or peppermint on your belly to relieve a stomachache.
- When your immune system is depleted and you have a fever from the flu, rub some peppermint on the soles of your feet to bring your temperature down.
- Rub some eucalyptus or RC on your chest to relieve congestion, and support your immune system.
- Rub some RutaVaLA blend on the soles of your feet to bring your parasympathetic nervous system back into balance.
Using essential oils topically gives excellent support to our tired, stressed bodies.
To learn how to use essential oils completely, the next part of our series discusses inhalation. Inhalation provides deep emotional balance to regain our prospective, and regain our more easy-going nature.