Updated: Apr 1, 2018
A crash course for beginners on the What, Why, and How of essential oils.
Using essential oils is extremely simple, so explaining how to use them should be equally as simply too, right?
I’m going to explain essential oils in three easy parts that explain the what, the why, and the how of these incredible gifts of the earth.
The three questions I'm going to answer are:
What is an essential oil?
Why do I want to use essential oils?
How can I use essential oils?
WHAT IS AN ESSENTIAL OIL?
Very simply put, essential oils are aromatic compounds extracted and distilled from plants.
In short, these compounds are small organic molecules that have the ability to change quickly from their liquid state to an aromatic state at room temperature. This property of essential oils is referred to as "volatility".
There are over 3,000 varieties of volatile aromatic compounds and each offers unique support. The nature of an essential oil varies from plant to plant, so no two essential oils are exactly alike.
Essential oils have been used for nearly six thousand years in food preparation, beauty treatment, and to support personal health. They are 50-70 times more concentrated than herbs and can affect us on a cellular level.
WHY DO I WANT TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS?
Essential oils offer powerful physical and emotional support. And emerging research continues to back up their incredible benefits.
Because they are aromatic compounds, one of the quickest ways essential oils can influence us is through our sense of smell. Our olfactory system is directly linked to the limbic system in our brains.
The limbic system is the emotional seat of the brain and controls basic emotions (such as fear, pleasure, and anger) and drives (like hunger, sex, dominance, and familial love), and plays an integral part in perception and forming memories.
Essential oils are an awesome tool to support positive psychology and develop a healthy response to things like stress, anxious feelings, and negative emotions.
As mentioned earlier, essential oils can affect us on a cellular level, so the benefits are not limited simply to our sense of smell.
Because of the nature of the aromatic compounds that make up essential oils, different essential oils can elicit specific emotional and physiological responses.
HOW CAN I USE ESSENTIAL OILS?
There are three ways to use essential oils.
The different ways you can use essential oils can be broken down into three super simple categories:
Each method of essential oil usage comes with it's own benefits and offers unique support. Each also comes with its own set of precautions and recommended guidelines.
Because essential oils are so concentrated and potent, I definitely recommend educating yourself on their proper usage practices for safety, as well as only using certified pure essential oils intended for therapeutic use.
One of the most commonly known and practiced ways to use essential oils is aromatically. Breathing in and smelling essential oils can have a powerful effect both emotionally and physically.
Each essential oil elicits unique emotional responses. Some essential oils can be very stimulating while others can be calming and soothing.
My favorite way to use essential oils aromatically is to use an essential oil diffuser. We have multiple essential oil diffusers throughout our home. And each diffuser has an essential oil, or combination of oils, chosen to provide a specific emotional or physical benefit. For example, the oils I diffuse in my office provide high levels of alertness and focus. The oils we diffuse in the bedroom help with achieving restful and relaxing sleep.
Topical use is the second way you can use essential oils. Essential oils are easily absorbed by the skin to support health, and many can be safely applied topically.
Essential oils can be applied topically where you physically need the support (occasional skin irritation or blemishes, tired muscles and joints, reflexology points, etc) and for emotional use as well (aromatherapy pulse points, chakras, etc.).
When using essential oils topically, diluting them is important. I recommend using a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil, jojoba oil, or an organic non-toxic lotion.
Also, remember to keep essential oils out of eyes, ears, and nose for safety.
Because of their therapeutic benefits, essential oils are commonly used for topical use in massage and beauty products.
I personally apply essential oils to the bottoms of my feet every morning to start my day. After I shower, I like to apply a personalized essential oil blend of choice using a roller bottle, diluted in fractionated coconut oil. For pain and inflammation, I apply essential oils specifically chosen for their abilities to relieve discomfort directly on the muscles and tendons that need support.
Certain essential oils have a rich culinary history and can be used as dietary supplements for physical, digestive, and immune system support.
Because they are so potent, I only recommend educated and moderate internal usage of essential oils.
Some examples of internal usage in action:
For an occasional stomach upset, you can add Peppermint essential oil to a veggie capsule and take it internally because of its soothing properties. When it comes to internal usage, a little bit goes a long way.
As part of a daily routine, you can take Frankincense sublingually (a drop applied under the tongue) for quick absorption and enjoy Frankincense's grounding effect and natural neurological support.
Only certain essential oils can be used internally and an essential oil's purity is an important factor to consider.
WHY dōTERRA ESSENTIAL OILS?
There's something we like to call "the dōTERRA difference".
More than any other essential oil company, dōTERRA goes out of their way to provide the most pure, potent, and therapeutically beneficial essential oils.
dōTERRA employs a self-imposed standard for purity called Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade. All of dōTERRA's essential oils must meet this standard to be sold and used. In order to be labeled Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (or CPTG for short), a batch of essential oil must pass eight different tests.
Because of this testing process, you can be confident that dōTERRA essential oils are safe, pure, and effective to use in the ways described above and why we choose to use them in our self directed integrative health practice.
Each essential oil bottle also includes a Quality ID # that you can use to track where your oil was sourced and view the GC/MS test results for the batch. How amazing is that?!
You can check the scientific results of your dōTERRA essential oil at Source To You by clicking HERE.
From my experience, dōTERRA essential oils are absolutely the best out there.
If you would like to learn more about essential oils, download our FREE Essential Oil For Beginners guide by clicking HERE!
Now that you know the basics of using essential oils, check out one of my previous blog posts which discusses the importance of where essential oils come from: Sourcing Is Critical To Essential Oils.