By Gaye Levy
Contributing writer for Wake Up World
With Rebecca Schiffhauer*
Although I have been writing about essential oils for quite some time now, I still get emails asking how to get started and, more specifically, how to use them. So today I call upon Backdoor Survival contributing author Rebecca Schiffhauer to help explain how to apply essential oils to derive health and wellness benefits for those who are just getting started on the EO journey.
For me, I became interested in aromatherapy in the early ’90s and studied everything I could get my hands on to learn about the therapeutic values and applications of essential oils. Taking things one step further, it was a simple recipe from Valerie Worwood’s book The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy that really clinched the deal. I was having some serious issues with the tendons in my wrist, and I used her healing formula that included lavender, rosemary, and peppermint oils to relieve my pain and suffering.
Those three essential oils should sound familiar since they are the basis for my own DIY Miracle Healing Salve Recipe. But I digress. The question at hand is how to apply essential oils for health and wellness purposes. Or, put another way, Essential Oils 101…
Essential Oils 101
EOs are used for a wide range of emotional and physical wellness applications. A single oil can be used or a complex blend, depending on the user’s experience and the desired benefit.
Essential oils are usually administered by one of three methods: diffused aromatically, applied topically, or taken internally as dietary supplements.
Due to the natural molecular composition of EOs, they’re easily absorbed by the skin and can be safely applied topically, sometimes diluted with a carrier oil and sometimes “neat” (undiluted).
Once they’re applied, essential oils can have almost an immediate, localized effect to the target area of application. They have restorative and calming properties and can be used very effectively in massage and beauty therapy.
EOs are also natural disinfectants. The chemical structure of essential oils allows them to be absorbed into the bloodstream via the skin for internal benefit throughout the body.
1. Sub-occipital Triangle: (pictured) is a great place to apply an EO topically, it sits at the base of the brain stem and close to the blood supply to the brain.
2. Feet: the bottoms of our feet host the largest pores on our body and allow quick absorption.
3. Over the heart: I nice place for a topical application, I find it very soothing and calming.
4. Localized: When aches and pains are involved, apply EOs directly to the area of discomfort and massage the oils in with carrier oil.
Gaye’s note: When Shelly and I “salve-up” at bedtime, we call this “salving the brain”. I use my Sleepy Dreamy salve blend for this.
Our sense of smell influences lots of physiological pathways including the stimulation of hormones and other metabolic processes. Aromatherapy is founded on the body’s predictable response to specific olfactory stimuli.
Essential oils are widely used in aromatherapy applications. Certain essential oils, when diffused in the air, can be stimulating while others can be calming and soothing. Beyond emotional benefits, diffusing essential oils can purify air of unwanted odors and some airborne pathogens.
Low or no-heat essential oil diffusers are recommended because they don’t change the chemical structure of the oil being diffused. EOs can also be used as cleaning and purifying laundry and surfaces in the home.
Gaye’s note: I can not recommend this enough. I now own three diffusers; one for the bedroom, one for the main kitchen/living area, and one for my office. This is an easy peasy way to ease yourself into essential oils.
Therapeutic grade essential oils can also be used as dietary supplements supporting a variety of healthy conditions. Some EOs have powerful antioxidant properties while others help support a healthy inflammatory response in cells.
Many EOs are generally regarded as being safe for dietary use, but some oils should not be taken internally. Please don’t use any essential oil product internally that does not have the appropriate dietary supplement facts on its label.
The Final Word
I hope this post helps simplify some of the basics of EO use. While it all seems overwhelming at first, very soon it becomes second nature, I promise. Just keep EOs within reach and use them everyday!
Using essential oils can be both profoundly simple and life changing all at once. Working with someone who has used essential oils before can help first-time users have a good experience and boost their confidence. There’s a wealth of information available for those wanting to increase their knowledge of essential oil applications. And as always, hands on use will add to your confidence and open up lots of learning opportunities to broaden your healing skills.
There additional things you need to know.
- Always do your homework.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment.
- A little goes a long way.
- When stored in a cool dark area, most essential oils will have a very long shelf life.
Now I don’t know about you, but I would much prefer to use 100% pure and natural essential oils than a concoction whipped up in a corporate lab somewhere. Many essential oils have Antiseptic, Analgesic, Anti-Inflammatory, Antiviral, Antibacterial, Anti-Inflammatory qualities, are are quite inexpensive (starting at around $5.99 for a 5ml bottle) making it easy to build up a reasonable collection of basics at very little cost.
Late last year I dumped two drawers full of over-counter-remedies into a box and the box has not seen daylight since. My feeling is that by using essential oils exclusively, I will learn what works and what does not work. Besides, playing with my oils is fun – it brings out the inner alchemist in me!
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Recommended articles by Gaye Levy:
- Using Nature’s Remedies for Health and Wellness
- 20 All Purpose Remedies Using Essential Oils
- The Powerful Healing Qualities of Rosemary Essential Oil
- 15 Alternative Uses for Honey
- Vermiculture: How To Build A Worm Bin the Cheap and Easy Way
- Spices for the Survival Pantry
- 21 Home Remedies for a Toothache Emergency
- The Miracle of Tea Tree Oil: 80 Amazing Uses for Survival
- 26 Five-Minute Prepping Projects
- 10 Simple Steps Toward Self-Sufficiency
- Creating a Healing Garden: 9 Healing Herbs You Can Grow Yourself
- A Big Fat List of Essential Oils for Health and Survival
About Gaye Levy:
Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State.
Gaye lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, she speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us. You can find Gaye through her website Backdoor Survival.com, plus Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
About Rebecca Schiffhauer:
Rebecca Schiffhauer is a blogger and advocate for the health benefits of essential oils – or as she calls them, nature’s pharmacy – whose work is grounded in the belief that nature holds all the answers and never stops giving.
Rebecca grew up in Southern California by the beach and learned to love gardening from her Mom. Since childhood she longed for life in the country – a life which, today, provides the most perfect backdrop for her work: sharing the value of pure essential oils and how they can heal, protect and change lives.
You can visit her website at Camp Wander.
This article courtesy of Backdoor Survival.