Monday, 10 November 2014

What in the world do I do with these essential oils?

Photograph taken by Cindy Rainey. Photograph courtesy of Doterra International

Ok, so when I got my hands on the tiny amber bottles, I was utterly overwhelmed. There was so much information out there on what these oils could be used for and there seemed to be so many different ways to use them, dilute them, the list goes on and on and on. 


In the end I had to break it down into easy to digest segments so that I didn't just put them in a box and ignore them for fear of doing something wrong. 

So I thought that you might find it useful to see how I break it down, in case anyone else is just as overwhelmed as I was! 


Aromatically:

Diffusing the oils into the air or simply inhaling them directly from the bottle is an amazing way to absorb some of the benefits of essential oils. This works to support your body in a variety of ways. 

First of all, our sense of smell is incredibly powerful. It influences the body both psychologically and physiologically. 

Our sense of smell has an intense effect on our emotions, so when you smell a perfume that was the one your grandmother used to wear, or even the smell of someone's fabric softener can take you back to a specific time and place and evoke all of the emotions that you felt at that time. 

When you inhale an essential oil, it is delivered to the olfactory bulb in our limbic system (it's situated at the bottom of the brain, near to your nasal passages). The olfactory bulb begins the body's interpretation of what you can smell, and based on what it detects and interprets it can stimulate your body's hormones. 

That is why certain essential oils, such as Lavender or Vetiver can cause a calming sensation, and oils like Peppermint and Wild Orange can be stimulating to the body.

Also, when you diffuse some essential oils, such as Melaleuca (Tea Tree Oil), they can purify the air of unwanted odours and some unwanted viruses and bacteria. So essential oils can be so much more than just a great smell. 

Here is a great graphic about the olfactory nerve:




Topically:

Another way to use essential oils is to apply them topically to your skin. Because of the way that the molecules in essential oils are connected to each other, they are readily absorbed into the skin and then into the bloodstream. 

Applying essential oils topically can have great effect on both the area the essential oils are applied to and on the rest of the body as they enter the bloodstream. 

There are so many way to use essential oils topically, and if I were to try to go through them all (I'm not sure I even know them all) we'd be here until next Christmas! So I'll just talk about the ways that I use them. 

First of all, I use doTERRA essential oils, which are pure and do not have any fillers or synthetic ingredients added to them. This makes them incredibly potent. A little bit goes so far, so don't be tempted to over do it. Less is definitely more. You can always increase the amount you are using, but you can't take it away again. 

Personally, I only ever apply doTERRA essential oils neat on the bottoms of my feet. I have really sensitive skin and eczema to boot, and I do find that I need to dilute the essential oils so that they don't react with my skin if I apply them anywhere else. 

Applying them to my feet is one of my favourite way to apply doTERRA essential oils if I want them to support my body, rather than deal with a specific problem like acne, or a cut, or an age spot. DoTERRA have a great graphic on the reflexology points in the feet, so I know exactly where to apply the oils depending which part of my body I want to support:



So if I am going to apply doTERRA essential oils anywhere else on my body, I dilute them. First of all some oils need diluting regardless of whether you have sensitive skin or not, because they are hot oils and will burn the skin if applied neat to anywhere other than the feet. Some of the hot oils are: 

  • Basil
  • Cinnamon Bark - this is also in the On Guard blend
  • Clove - this is also in the On Guard blend
  • Oregano
  • Peppermint - this is also in Breathe, Past Tense and Deep Blue blends
  • Thyme
  • White Fir
  • Wintergreen - this is also in the Deep Blue blend

I once used Peppermint neat over the bridge of my nose when I got a cold, and it was like rubbing vapour rub in my eyes! Not to be repeated, I made sure I diluted it the next time. 

Using a carrier oil to dilute the oils also aids the absorption of the oils into my skin. I usually use fractionated coconut oil (fractionated coconut oil doesn't solidify when cold like regular coconut oil) but you can use regular coconut oil, olive oil, apricot kernel oil, castor oil etc instead. 

It's especially important to dilute essential oils if you are going to use them on babies and children. doTERRA essential oils are so potent that using them neat is just too much for them. I use this great chart when diluting my oils, both for myself and for my toddler and baby:



For me, I use a 5% dilution. I usually use a 10ml roller bottle for my blends/dilutions. So I will use no more than 14 drops of essential oils in a 10ml roller bottle. That's 14 drops in total, not 14 drops of each oil if I use more than one oil in a bottle. 

For my kids, who are two years old and six months, I currently use the same dilution of 0.3% on both of them. I may need to increase that for my two year old, but I like to use the same rollerball bottle for both of them, so it's easier to just have the lower dilution. 

So in a 10ml roller bottle I just add one drop of essential oil into the bottle and fill it with fractionated coconut oil. If I need to use more than one oil in a blend, I mix it separately with more fractionated coconut oil and then split the mix between two or more rollerball bottles. 

I also try to use the oils on my kids feet as much as possible. That's so they don't rub the oils and then rub the oils into their eyes. 

As an aside, if you ever do get essential oils into your eyes, do not use water to try to rinse them out. Oil and water naturally separate, so it will do nothing but drive the oils further into your eye. Use another oil, like coconut oil or olive oil to remove the essential oils. 


Internally:


The most important thing I have to say here is that I only use doTERRA essential oils if I am using them internally. Most essential oils have fillers or synthetic oils added to them, so they are not pure and should not be ingested. So if your bottle of essential oil does not contain dietary supplemental facts on them, then they are definitely not for internal use. 

DoTERRA labels it's oils that can be taken internally like this:


Not all of doTERRA's oils can be used internally, Wintergreen for example, so please check the labels of the individual bottles before you use them internally. 

So if you are going to use them internally, make sure you are using the right oils, both the right brand and the right individual oil. Babies and children should not take essential oils internally, and pregnant women should consult their doctor first. 

My favourite way to use doTERRA essential oils internally has been using Peppermint for headaches. I apply a drop to the roof of my mouth and I find that my headache starts to ebb away within about 5-10 minutes. I much prefer doing that to rubbing the oils over my temple, especially if I already have make up on for the day! 

So I hope that this post helps you through some of the basics of how you can use essential oils. If it leaves you more muddled, please let me know and i'll try to do some better explaining! 

If you are interested in doTERRA essential oils, click here for details on how to get started!

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