How to Use Essential Oils
Introduction and Guidelines to Using Essential Oils
Are you intrigued by the wonderful scents and healing properties of essential oils, but aren't sure how to use them?
This guide will go over some basics to keep in mind and give you an overview of how essential oils are generally used. The recommendations made here are specifically for use with Young Living Essential Oils — not any other brand. The reason is simply this: We can be certain of the high quality of Young Living's oils, but not others. Other oils may be unsafe to use directly on the skin and especially, to ingest.
To use these techniques safely and to achieve the desired effects, your oils should meet the same high standards as do Young Living Essential Oils. So, please do not use these techniques with other essential oils unless you know for certain that the batch you are using has been tested correctly for purity and quality.
Please note: we do not diagnose or treat diseases, nor is this page here for that purpose. We do not think of these oils as "medicine." We simply allow them to support the body and its systems in the healing process. The oil can be agents of energetic change that can enliven and strengthen us in the direction of wellness — physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually. We urge anyone with a serious medical condition to work with a competent healer.
The Art of Using Essential Oils
It's important to bear in mind that the use of essential oils to support the body, mind, and spirit is an art. There are many ways to use them, that's why there are people using essential oils with approaches that vary widely. Each approach has its merits and proponents, with accounts of wonderful results.
The recommendations presented here are not meant to be exclusive or dogmatic. They just present the approach we choose because of the excellent results we experience. We honor the spirit of diversity and dialogue and hope that the use of these remarkable substances will help all of us feel more and more connected to the marvelous healing power of nature and to each other.
Individual responses to essential oils can be as varied as individual responses to food. Now, if you were going to try a brand new kind of food, how would you go about it? Our recommendation is to proceed with intelligence, intuition, and a sense of discovery. Just like you can easily learn what foods taste and feel good to you, you can learn how essential oils smell and feel to you and how they work for you simply by trying them.
Go slowly. Explore this new world or aromatherapy with patience and sensitivity.
Your first day using essential oils
On your first day, start with only one or two oils. Your body may not be used to the amount of oxygen and other healing substances that the oils can provide. You want to be as aware as you can of the effects of each oil that you use so you can get to know each one well.
Give yourself a few days to adapt. After that, once you see how you respond to them, you can expand your style. Some people can use 15 oils in one sitting with wonderful effects, while other feel more comfortable with only three or four. Every body is different and it is important to not exceed metabolic capacity, especially if you have a chronic condition.
Diluting your essential oils
If you are new to the oils or have fair or thin skin, be sure to dilute the oils with a pure vegetable oil such as V-6 Mixing Oil (or a high quality cold-pressed vegetable oil). Even if you have tough skin, there may be places on your body where most people's skin is thinner and more sensitive, like the center of your chest or under your arms. Putting certain oils undiluted on your skin could cause irritation.
Diluting the oils prevents irritation and makes them more gentle. Don't be concerned that by diluting you're making the oils less effective. Not so. It just takes a little longer for the oils to go through the skin. Some people believe that the effects may even be stronger when the oils are diluted. The only way to know is to try it on yourself and observe the effects.
How to deal with "hot" oils
In general, the oils that will tend to feel "hot" and "burn" like a hot chili pepper are the spice oils, such as Thyme, Oregano, Clove, Cinnamon, etc. Peppermint has a deep penetration power that, while not exactly "hot," can be extreme. These oils are best diluted to "cool" them down.
Note: Be very careful not to rub your eyes after using them as that will give you quite a stinging sensation. If this should happen, just put some vegetable oil on a tissue or paper towel and smear it over the affected area. It should cool off in a matter of seconds. If it doesn't, add more vegetable oil. Washing with water alone only increases the burning sensation. However, washing with soap and warm water can wash the oil off and stop the burning.
A Few Principles
If one oil doesn't work, try another.
Sometimes you may need a week or more of applying an oil to tell if it is helping your body. This is especially true if the issues you are trying to affect have been chronic – meaning you've had them for a long time. If they took a long time to develop, they probably won't disappear overnight with any intervention. So, be wary of overly high expectations when dealing with issues of long standing.
On the other hand, there are people who have had remarkable and sudden improvements in their symptoms in one day or within a fews day or hours. Such is the mystery of nature and of people.
Remember, it's a personal thing
The point here is that using the oils is an intuitive matter and personal. No one can really decide for you. Like anything else in life, practice and experience are good teachers. The more one uses the oils, the more one starts to understand and respect them.
Do take periodic breaks from the oils
If you do use the same oil regularly, be sure to take a break from it every 4 or 5 days. Also, you can experiment with how often you put it on each day. Once? Twice? Every hour? Experiment. The effects of some oils can last as long as several weeks with one application! But sometimes, you'll need to use an oil more than once each day.
Apply one at a time
In general, if you want to use more than one oil in a session, apply each oil one at a time and allow a minute or so in between oils. You can "layer" oils in this fashion on the same area of the body, whether the feet or the location you're trying to help. (And you don't need to wash your hands between each new oil!)
In general, let the oil fall out of the bottle a drop at a time. Don't touch the edge of the bottle to the skin. Touching the rim can leave tiny deposits of bacteria or skin that can accumulate over time and decrease the quality of your oil.
Heating essential oils changes their chemistry. We recommend that you DO NOT use diffusers that USE HEAT. Burning aromatherapy candles or heating the oil under a candle actually changes the delicate constituents of the oil into toxic substances. Young Living offers several excellent types of diffusers, click here to see them. We also recommend keeping your oils away from bright light or any sources of heat.
Methods of Application
Aromatherapy is called by that name because the fragrances of essential oils can themselves often be therapeutic. That's why diffusing the oils in the air is the first means of using them. Opening a bottle and holding it up to your nose while breathing deeply is not the best way to do this. Rather, use a diffuser (without heat — no candles, please!) or put some oil on a cotton ball and wedge it into the grille of a fan or vent. You can also put oil into water in a misting bottle and, when covering your eyes, spray the mist around yourself. You can also spray a whole room, or your clothing, or your pillow.
The second way to use the oils is topically, on your skin. The best place to start is with your feet. (See Vita Flex Foot Charts that show how different parts of the body are represented on the feet. These diagrams appeared in Gary Young's earliest book, "Aromatherapy, The Essential Beginning", which is no longer in print. However all this information and much more is available in the "Essential Oils Desk Reference" available on Amazon.
If you're not sure about where to place the oils on your feet, don't worry. You can just cover the surface of the bottom of each of your feet with three drops of oil or so on each and know that the oil is getting everywhere you might want or need it to go throughout your body. You can get remarkable effects just by putting the oils on your feet. This is a great way to start.
One of the easiest and most effective ways of taking advantage of the benefits of essential oils is by using an aromatic diffuser. Diffusing disperses essential oils into the air around you as sweetly-scented micro-mist particles, so you can inhale and enjoy them as you go about your day. The oil remains in the air for several hours.
Its a great way to purify the air in your home and get the benefits of essential oils into your system, or just relax and set a mood.
The best way to diffuse essential oils is with a diffuser from Young Living Essential Oils. Follow this link for more information on diffusers.
If a diffuser is out of your budget for now, don't despair – the economy method works, too (not quite the same, but not too bad). To use the economy method, just to put a few drops (5-10) or essential oil on a cotton ball. Wedge the ball into the grill of an ordinary fan or the vent of a forced-air system in your home/office/car, etc. You can start with just a few drops and add more based on how much scent you like in the air. If you stop smelling it after a few minutes, it's not because there's no more in the air. You're just getting used to it. Try going out of the room/office/car for a half hour and coming back in. You'll smell it again!
In general, diffusing for 10 minutes the first day is plenty. Let your body get used to the infusion of oxygen and oil constituents. After a few days you might diffuse more often or for longer. Take some time and experiment to find your own level of comfort and sensitivity. Diffusing for 15 minutes every few hours is generally a minimum amount for purifying the air of germs, odors, etc.
Applying on the skin:
The four types of topical application are:
- On the feet
- On the ears
- On the fingers
- Anywhere else (including using them in a bath or with a compress)
The first three are easy because they have places on them that relate to the rest of the body. In other words, if you have a headache, you could try to help reduce the discomfort by putting oil on the points on the feet that relate to the head (the pad of the big toe for the brain, the other toes for eyes and ears, etc.). Or you could put it on the places on the ears that relate to the head, etc.
There are various charts, mostly deriving from Chinese medicine, that depict these points on the feet, ears, and hands. You might be familiar with reflexology charts. (See the Vita Flex Foot Charts).
Helping the body heal by addressing these points is an ancient tradition. D. Gary Young's diagram is based on his own research in measuring electrical frequency changes at different places on the body when oil was placed on the specific points on the feet.
Using the example of the headache, you could choose to support your body with essential oils on the feet (on the pad of the big toe) or right on location: across the forehead, on the temples, on the crown of the head, etc. Similarly, for discomfort in other areas, you can apply oils locally. Cuts, burns, bruises, insect bites, rashes infections, etc. can all respond well to the topical use of essential oils directly on the location.
Deciding which oil to use
Which oils to use is always an individual matter. There is no one oil for headaches or muscle pain. This is because the cause of the symptoms can be different from person to person. One headache might be from indigestion, or an allergic reaction, or hormonal changes, or stress, etc. Look at the list of oils and the descriptions of their properties. Think about your symptoms and what might be the underlying cause. Take a guess or use your intuition about what oil might be appropriate for you.
Take the plunge and try one. If it doesn't do the trick, try another. Even if the oil you choose doesn't help your body turn off your headache, it will have other beneficial effects if only because of the increased oxygenation, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, etc. Get to know your oils, discover how they affect you, and know that someone else may respond to those oils in a completely different way. Honor the discovery process in yourself and others.
Taking a bath with a few drops of your chosen oil can be a peak experience. Even a short bath with the exquisite fragrances of your Young Living Essential Oils floating up from the water and sailing into your nose and skin can be profoundly relaxing or energizing, depending on which oils you use.
Leisurely soaks in hot baths helps relax the body and relieve achy, sore muscles. Adding a few drops of oils that are known to aid in muscle relaxation, such as Marjoram, Lavender, or Basil, can enhance that process. You also might want to try one of the relaxing blends made by Young Living like Peace & Calming or RutaVaLa to help ease tension and relieve stress further.
You only need a few drops, and they work best when dropped on to the surface of the bath once it's been drawn or by mixing first with Young Living's Bath Gel Base to disperse the oil throughout the bathwater as you fill the tub. Then, climb in and enjoy!
Oils can also be mixed with a dispersing agent before placing in the tub. Simply pour 15-20 drops of essential oil over Epsom salts and mixing before adding to bath water.
People the world over love to enjoy the effects of essential oils over large areas or their bodies during massages. Just use a few drops (3-4) and spread them over the area with a pure vegetable carrier oil. While the the oils might just take a little longer to soak in, they are not decreased when mixed with a pure vegetable oil. But do be sure there are no chemicals in the carrier oil, as wll as no scent, added fragrance or perfume.
Young Living also offers an excellent carrier oil called V-6 Enhanced Vegetable Oil Complex Massage Oil Base that contains several pure, nutritious oils. In fact, it's so nutritious that it can also be used for salads and cooking!
Many body workers and massage therapists are now using essential oils with their clients, both for sheer relaxation and enjoyment, and for enhanced relief of pain, muscle spasms, and healing injuries. The Vita Flex Technique and the Raindrop Technique have become important massage techniques that are extremely beneficial.
The Raindrop Technique is a non-invasive, non-manipulative process developed by D. Gary Young of dropping selected essential oils on the back and massaging in with specific massage strokes. It combines Vita Flex and specific massage techniques with therapeutic-grade essential oils to bring the body into structural and electrical alignment.
The Raindrop Technique Video pages contain more detailed application instructions for Raindrop.
Vita Flex – is a specialized form of reflexive massage that uses rolling and releasing motions to activate reflex points on the feet, hands, and various areas throughout the entire body. It is particularity effective in delivering the benefits of essential oils throughout the body.
The stimulating rolling motion of the Vita Flex Technique does wonders for the feet and entire body! See the Vita Flex Technique page for more information.
Essential oils can be used effectively with acupuncture. The most straightforward method is to place your chosen oil on the skin just before inserting a needle. Flicking the needle gently, once inserted, so that it vibrates slightly can enhance the action of the oil. Likewise, rotating the needle, once inserted, can enhance oil activation as well.
Another excellent way of getting the benefits of essential oils is by taking them internally. This method however, MUST be reserved for only the purest therapeutic-grade oils, as offered on this site. Lesser quality oils cannot be trusted as they are typically thinned with solvents and include added chemicals and artificial fragrances, even though labeled "natural" (the label "natural" is legally meaningless in describing quality).
Young Living has pioneered methods of combining essential oils with nutritional supplements to increase absorption, effectiveness and antioxidant power. These supplements provide a wide array whole food-sourced multivitamins to great-tasting, essential oil-infused meal replacements. Infusing nutritional supplements with the added benefit of essential oils enables nature's living energy to provide internal bodily support.
For more information, see:
- Heart and Cardiovascular System Health
- Immune Health
- Bone Health
- Digestive Health
- Women's Health
- Children's Health and Products
Young Living also offers easy-to-swallow encapsulated essential oils to contribute to overall wellness by balancing dietary insufficiencies and infusing the body with essential oils. A few of these are:
- Inner Defense (a powerful blend of antimicrobial essential oils to reinforce systemic defenses in the immune system and create unfriendly terrain for yeast/fungus)
- Digest + Cleanse™ for healthy digestion.
- Longevity™ Softgels – Essential Oil Ultra-Antioxidant – a potent, proprietary blend of fat-soluble antioxidants packed into a veggiecap.
- And many more
Other Healing Modalities
Young Living Essential Oils can be combined with any healing practice, whether medical, herbal, psychological, spiritual, subtle, homeopathic, etc. At the very least, they connect us with something at the heart of life and nature, and inspire us. At the most, they give support to all the systems of body, mind, and soul, and heal us.
Always remember that therapeutic-grade essential oils are are energy-packed concentrations of nature's life-blood. Used with love and respect, essential oils can contribute to our wellness, enrich our lives, and inspire deep gratitude and appreciation for all that nature gives us.