There are three different ways to apply essential oils:
Topically, Internally and Inhaled.
Apply the oils topically by dropping a drop of oil right onto the skin. Rub it in gently. Essential oils absorb into the skin very quickly and leave no residue behind. (Some blends of oils have a carrier oil in them that may absorb more slowly). When you apply an oil topically, the compounds in the oil go into the cells and tissues of the skin, as well as getting into the capillaries underneath the skin. The capillaries flow into the rest of the circulatory system, which takes these compounds into every cell of your body within 3-20 minutes.
Never apply essential oils directly onto the eyeball or the eardrum because there are too many nerve endings in these areas, and the oils are too intense. They don't do any damage, but it is painful if you apply them directly there. You can rub oil around the eye socket with your finger, or on the outside and the inside of the ear with your finger. Just don't put a drop of oil right into the ear or on the eyeball.
What part of the skin do I rub it on?
1) If you know where an oil is needed, apply it directly to that area (except as noted above).
2) If you're not sure where it should go, the following places are good because they have a lot of blood vessels close to the surface:
- Anywhere on the head or the neck (except as noted above)
- On the chest
- On the abdomen
- On the inside of the wrist and forearm
- On the bottom of the feet
4) You can put oils on your hair, and the hair will take the oil compounds down into the body.
5) You can also put oils on topically over an organ that needs support, such as the brain, thyroid, heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, stomach, intestines, kidneys, adrenals, etc.
If an essential becomes too "hot", or burns or stings, or is too intense in any way, you can add a carrier oil (coconut oil, olive oil, or vegetable oil) to the affected spot and it will diminish or go away almost immediately. Do this even in the eyeball, like you would an eye drop. This does not dilute the oil or have a negative effect - it only slows down the absorption of the essential oil. If you try to rinse it with water, it will burn more than before. This happens because water and oils repel each other, so when water is applied, the oils go the other direction, which is deeper into the skin and faster. In the same vein, if you WANT an intense application (for immediate relief), putting a hot compress (or cold if needed) over the top of an oil will drive in the oils quickly and effectively. A compress is a moist cloth such as a wash cloth.
Essential oils can be taken internally in the following ways:
- Put a few drops in an empty gelatin capsule and swallow with water. You can add a carrier oil too if you like. How many drops? You can muscle test to see how many, or just put in the number that comes to your head when you lift the bottle. Trust your intuition. Gelatin capsules can be purchased from Young Living or from a local pharmacy.
- Put a drop in hot water for a delicious tea. Try peppermint, spearmint, or any of the citrus oils. One drop of peppermint oil is equal to 26 cups of herbal peppermint tea!
- Put a drop on the back of your hand and then lick it off.
- Put a drop straight under your tongue to absorb into the blood stream quickly. (Ocotea taken this way.)
- Add oregano, basil, thyme, cinnamon, clove and other savory oils to your cooking. Doing this is the equivalent of adding fresh herbs. Be careful with quantity! Oils are extremely potent. You only need one drop for a large dish, and sometimes it's enough to just put a toothpick into the oils bottle and then stir that into the dish. When putting in a drop of essential oil, drop it onto a spoon first, and then into the food, to make sure you only get one drop.
Essential oils are by definition aromatic. That means that the compounds in the substance are small enough that they get up into the air, go through the nasal passages and enter the olfactory bulb. Whether the compounds enter through the nasal passages or through the skin, it is the same, maybe not in quantity, but in frequency. In effect, this means that simply inhaling an essential oil can have a therapeutic effect. So open a bottle and smell it!
It is also wonderfully effective to diffuse essential oils. Young Living has a line of several diffusers and the one I recommend for beginners is the Home Diffuser (Code 4468), pictured above. It has an ultrasonic plate that vibrates, breaking up the oil compounds a million times smaller than they already are. Because the oil compounds are so small, they are easily carried by the air currents throughout the room, and then all through the house. This diffuser combines a humidifier, air purifier, atomizer, and aromatherapy diffuser into one product that safely releases essential oils into the air to eliminate odors and create a spa-like atmosphere. This Home Diffuser includes two 5 ml bottles of oil, such as Peppermint and Citrus Fresh, or Orange and Christmas Spirit. A free Diffuser comes with a purchase of the Premium Start Living Kit.
I have found that with some people, diffusing works better than taking it topically or internally. The theory behind that is that the molecules are so small, and the surface area applied is so much greater, that the body absorbs the diffused oil better.
Emotional oils (ie Humility, Transformation, Motivation, etc.) are best put around the head, where they can get into the limbic system, the emotional seat of the brain. To do this, I put a drop of oil in my left hand (this is the receiving hand, according to Chinese medicine), and then I stir it clockwise. The reason I stir it clockwise is because molecules turn in a clockwise, or chiral motion, and stirring it clockwise activates the molecules properly. After stirring for a second or two, I rub it on my forehead; then stir again and rub it in back of my ears; then stir and rub it on the back of my neck and up onto the brain stem (the depression at the base of the skull). Then I lightly clap my hands in front of my face to "diffuse" the oil around my nose - and inhale deeply.
Any oil that needs to get into the digestive system or liver is best taken in a capsule internally.
Some oils are hotter than others, and these include oregano, thyme and cinnamon. With oregano, if I am going to be using it for a long term (such as getting rid of a wart), I put a drop on the end of Q-tip and rub it on the wart without getting it on the skin around it. These oils should also be kept away from sensitive areas on the skin.
There are some people who have unusually sensitive skin, and they need to add a carrier oil when they apply oils. A small baby needs a carrier oil also.
The worst thing you can do with an essential oil is to leave it unopened on the shelf. Open it up and use it!