Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts that have a number of different therapeutic qualities. They have a wide variety of uses from helping with pain, anxiety and depression to improving overall health.
But before you use essential oils, it’s important to understand how they work and how they can impact your health. So, we sat down with Young Living Wellness Expert Jennifer Davila to get the lowdown on essential oil basics!
1. Breathing in
Keeping your breathing – and your body’s oxygen delivery system – healthy is crucial for good mental and physical health. Thankfully, we can all benefit from some natural habits and practices to support our respiratory systems.
Essential oils are a powerful way to achieve this. They contain aromatherapeutic compounds known as monoterpenes, including d-limonene, 1,8-cineole and alpha-pinene, which have been shown to support respiratory health.
Breathing in your chosen essential oil is the fastest and safest way to experience the effects of their restorative power. When you inhale the aroma, it travels through the olfactory pathway to specific areas of your brain.
This direct olfactory link with your brain allows essential oils to work quickly and efficiently, much more effectively than oral remedies. It takes a mere few seconds for the evaporating microparticles to reach the area of your brain responsible for behaviors, emotions, and memory.
Essential oils are concentrated and need to be diluted with a carrier oil before use on the skin. This dilution process is similar to how frozen juice concentrate is diluted with water to make it safe for eating.
This is especially important when using essential oils on young children, the elderly and people with sensitive skin. If essential oils are used undiluted they can cause severe skin reactions, including rashes and itching.
The best way to dilute your essential oils is by using a vegetable oil, called a carrier oil. Common carrier oils include coconut oil, apricot kernel oil, avocado oil, sesame oil, olive oil and almond oil.
An essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants. They are also called ethereal oils, volatile oils or aetheroleum and are commonly extracted through distillation.
Essential oils can be applied to the skin using a variety of techniques and should always be diluted before use. They can be part of a massage or added to your preferred lotion, moisturizer or personal care product.
They can also be used as a room freshener by placing drops in water and spraying it into the air. This method is often used in aromatherapy, and it can be a great way to set the mood or deodorize a space.
Most essential oils are safe to apply topically to the body and have numerous benefits, including reducing stress and boosting energy levels. The best place to apply them is at your pulse points – wrists, temples, behind the ears, neck and inner elbow – as these are where the major blood vessels run closest to the skin and are where they can be most easily absorbed into the body.
Essential oils are compounds extracted from various plant parts, including flowers, leaves, bark, seeds, roots, twigs and more. Manufacturers use essential oil in many different products, including cosmetics, food additives, soaps and plastic resins.
Mixing is an important part of utilizing essential oils in your personal care routines and can help you create more effective blends and combinations. When mixing, it’s important to keep in mind the action of each oil as well as how the oils mingle with one another.
When blending, it’s also important to understand how the sequence of mixing affects the aroma and fragrance of the mixture. It’s also helpful to know the dilution rate you will be using for your blend. For example, a 2% dilution rate means that you should use 10 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil. Alternatively, you can choose a stronger dilution rate for longer-term or more concentrated uses of your blends. If you’re unsure about a certain oil or its dilution rate, it’s best to consult an essential oils expert.