When I first started using essential oils I had NO idea what I was doing. This was the beginning of my “throw out ALL the toxic chemicals” crusade. Of course, as I threw out my cleaners, cosmetics, and the like I had to replace them with something. Luckily the internet is full of amazing DIY recipes that helped me maneuver my way through it all. I began collecting quite a few bottles (of various brands) of essential oils that I would use to enhance a cleaning product, provide a nice scent to my deodorant, etc. I knew the world of essential oil was big and I did NOT feel confident moving into the world of using essential oils as part of a health protocol. Not because I didn’t think they would work, but because I didn’t know where to start!
That’s why I’m writing this post!
Getting Started with Essential Oils
Let’s be clear about one thing: I’m not THE expert in essential oils, but I am on this journey to keep learning. I’m dedicating time each week to read, research, and try out various oils. (Insert your typical disclaimer here: I’m not a doctor. Don’t view any of this as medical advice. Etc. etc. etc.) So let’s get started with how to get started with essential oils.
1. Choose Your Oil Wisely
Not all oils are created equal. Just like the food you eat, the oils you use should be as pure, wholeness, and free from extra “stuff” as possible.
The oils that I have chosen to use, and that I feel confidence using in all my recipes (as well as for therapeutic reasons) are Young Living essential oils. I choose Young Living for many reasons after reading and researching other oils. As you approach these recipes, keep in mind that my experience and expertise is with Young Living oils. Whether you use these oils or not, it is important to ensure that the oils you choose to work with are safe and pure.
The quality of essential oils can be compromised from a number of things. From the soil conditions to harvesting to manufacturing and distribution. Because essential oil are concentrated and powerful, you’ll want to be sure your oils are free from pesticides, chemicals, etc.
Things to consider when choosing essential oils:
- Plants: The quality of essential oils can be negatively impacted by the use of pesticides and other chemicals, the variability in altitude, soil conditions, and rainfall, and the difficulty of differentiating plant species and varieties.
- Processing: Because of the growing popularity of essential oils and aromatherapy, there are many products on the market that may not be suitable for clinical use. They can be found nearly everywhere, from health food stores to discount stores to the Internet. These products may include pure essential oils, but sometimes they are adulterated or diluted. Such adulterations are difficult to identify.
- Packaging and handling: Other considerations include packaging, storage, and handling. Chemical degradation can occur with exposure to heat, light, or oxygen. Essential oils from citrus products are especially prone to oxidation that can quickly alter the chemistry of those essential oils.
- Storage: Essential oils should be stored in tightly closed, darkened glass containers in a cool place to ensure lasting quality. You may want to write the date on the bottle after opening it so you can keep track of your own essential oils. Oxidation rates vary, but most essential oils can be safely used for 1-2 years or more after opening.
Don’t just rely on terms like “certified pure” or the like. It’s not that those labels are necessarily bad, but they don’t necessarily mean anything either. Your research should go beyond reading a label, especially if you are interested in using oils for medicinal purposes. (You can purchase the oils I trust at wholesale prices at here.)
2. Start with Some Basic Oils
Because the world of essential oils is so vast, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when you are first starting out. I highly recommend choosing some basic oils and began using them. This is truly the best way to learn about their potential and how they can fit into your life. I personally recommend the Premium Starter Kit from Young Living as it includes 10 everyday oils that are the most popular oils with 100 uses. It also comes with a diffuser and information on how to jump right in with the oils in a safe and effective way. (Not to mention that the initial investment in the package will save your money and the oils will last a long time!) You can learn more about the kit here, and more about the uses for these everyday oils by following me as I research and use these oils here.
Whether you choose to purchase a starter package is up to you. Some people will pick one or two oils to start out with, but it does make it harder to really experience what essential oils are all about.
3. How to Use Essential Oils
Aromatic uses of essential oils can heighten the senses and have positive effects for the mind and body. You can inhale the oil directly from the bottle, diffuse it with a diffuser (like the one that comes in the Young Living Premium starter kit or this one online.)
– Topical Application
Depending on the quality of your oil, some essential oils are safe to use directly on the skin (this is true for many of the Young Living oils). Popular areas include ears, temples, soles and tops of feet, abdomen, and upper back. Simply place 1 – 3 drops in the palm of your hand or directly on the desired area and massage the oil in a circular motion. Some oils will require dilution through a carrier oil. I’d recommend checking with the manufacture of your oils to know the safest approach. If you can’t locate the manufacture, switch brands!
– Internal Consumption
Again, depending on the quality of your oil it is safe to ingest certain oils as a dietary supplement of food flavoring. It’s always important to follow the recommended dosage on individual product labels and seek the advice of a health professional before taking oils internally. Always check the label to make sure an oil is safe to consume. If in doubt, just use the other two application methods. They work really great.
Of course, using essential oils in DIY cleaning products, beauty recipes, or personal care items is another simple way to utilize the power of essential oils. There are plenty of recipes here on Thank Your Body to get you started. You can find them here.