No recommendations are made here for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of disease. Our oils support the well-being of our bodies, but we do not regard them as "medicine." Rather, they are agents of energetic change that seem to enliven and strengthen us in the direction of wellness--physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually. We urge anyone with a serious medical condition to work with a competent healer.
The Art of Using Essential Oils
It's important to bear in mind that the use of essential oils to support the body, mind, and spirit, is an art. There are many people using essential oils with widely varying approaches. Each approach has its proponents, and accounts of wonderful results. The recommendations presented here are not meant to be exclusive or dogmatic. They just present the approach we choose because of the excellent results we experience. We honor the spirit of diversity and dialogue and hope that the use of these remarkable substances will help all of us feel more and more connected to the marvelous healing power of nature and to each other.
Individual responses to essential oils can be as varied as individual responses to food. So, if you were going to try a brand new kind of food, how would you go about it? Our recommendation is to proceed with intelligence, intuition, and a sense of discovery. Just like you can easily learn what foods feel good to you, you can learn how essential oils feel to you and how they work for you simply by trying them.
Go slowly. Explore this world with patience and sensitivity.
Your first day using essential oils
On your first day, start with only one or two oils. Your body may not be used to the amount of oxygen and other healing substances that the oils can provide. You want to be as aware as you can of the effects of each oil that you use so you can get to know each one well. Give yourself a few days to adapt. After that, once you see how you respond to them, you can expand your style. This writer uses 15 oils commonly in one sitting with wonderful effects. But, every body is different.
Diluting your essential oils
If you are new to the oils or have fair or thin skin, be sure to dilute the oils with a pure vegetable oil such as V-6 Mixing Oil. Even if you have tough skin, there may be places on your body where it's thin and more sensitive, like the center of your chest or under your arms. Putting certain oils undiluted on your skin could be irritating. However, if you dilute each oil, you'll be able to keep the action gentle. Don't be concerned that by diluting you're making the oils less effective. Not so. It just takes a little longer for the oils to go through the skin. Some people believe that the effects may even be stronger when the oils are diluted. The only way to know is to try it.
In general, the oils that will tend to feel "hot" or "spicy" are the spice oils, such as Clove, Cinnamon, Peppermint, Oregano, etc. Dilute these oils to "cool" them down, and be careful not to rub your eyes after using them as they'll give you quite a stinging sensation. If this should happen, just put some vegetable oil on a tissue or paper towel and smear it over the affected area. It will cool off in a matter of seconds.
A Few Principles
If one oil doesn't work, try another.
Sometimes you may need a week or more of applying an oil to tell if it feels right for your body. So, be wary of overly high expectations when first starting out. Cultivate patience, if you can!
On the other hand, the fact is that there are people who have had remarkable, suddenly positive feelings within a day or an hour. Such is the mystery of nature and of people. The point here is that how you use your oils is an intuitive matter that no one can really decide for you. If you do use the same oil regularly, be sure to take a break from it every 4 or 5 days. Also, you can experiment with how often you put it on each day. Once? Twice? Every hour? Experiment. The effects of some oils can last as long as several weeks with one application! But sometimes, you'll need to use an oil more than once each day.
In general, if you want to use more than one oil in a session, apply each oil one at a time and allow a minute or so in between oils. You can "layer" oils in this fashion on the same area of the body, whether the feet or the location you're trying to help. (And you don't need to wash your hands between each new oil!)
In general, let the oil fall out of the bottle a drop at a time. Don't touch the edge of the bottle to the skin. Touching the rim can leave tiny deposits of bacteria or skin that can accumulate over time and decrease the quality of your oil.
Heating essential oils changes their chemistry. We recommend that you DO NOT use diffusers that use heat. We also recommend keeping your oils away from bright light or any sources of heat.
Methods of Application
Aromatherapy is called by that name because the fragrances of essential oils can themselves often be therapeutic. So, diffusing the oils in the air is the first means of using them. Opening a bottle and holding it up to your nose while breathing deeply is not the best way to do this. Rather, use a diffuser (without heat--no candles, please!) or put some oil on a cotton ball and wedge it into the grille of a fan or vent. You can also put oil into water in a misting bottle and, when covering your eyes, spray the mist around yourself. You can also spray a whole room, or your clothing, or your pillow.
The second way to use the oils is topically, on your skin.
The best place to start is with your feet. Click here to view the Vita Flex Foot Charts that show how different parts of the body are represented on the feet. These diagrams appeared in Gary Young's earliest book, "Aromatherapy, The Essential Beginning", which is no longer in print. However all this information and much more is available in the "how-to" books you can find in our Library.
If you're not sure about where to place the oils on your feet, don't worry. You can just cover the surface of the bottom of each of your feet with three drops of oil or so on each and know that the oil is getting everywhere you might want or need it to go throughout your body. You can get remarkable effects just by putting the oils on your feet. So, this is a good way to start.
You can purchase a Diffuser from Young Living Essential Oils that sends the oils into the air in an extremely fine mist that will hang in the air for several hours. This is certainly the best way to diffuse essential oils. However, the economy method works well, too. The economy method is to put a few drops (5-10) on a cotton ball and wedge the ball into the grill of an ordinary fan or the vent of a forced-air system in your home/office/car, etc. You can start with just a few drops and add more based on how much scent you like in the air. If you stop smelling it after a few minutes, it's not because there's no more in the air. You're just getting used to it. Try going out of the room/office/car for a half hour and coming back in. You'll smell it again!
In general, we recommend starting with no more than 10 minutes the first day. Let your body get used to the infusion of oxygen. After a few days you might diffuse more often or for longer. Find out your own level of sensitivity. Once you feel comfortable with 15 minutes, that is generally a minimum amount for purifying the air of unpleasant odors, etc.
Applying on the skin:
The four types of topical application are 1) on the feet, 2) on the ears, 3) on the fingers, and 4) anywhere else (including using them in a bath or with a compress).
The first three are set apart because they have places on them that relate to the rest of the body. In other words, if you have some kind of discomfort around your neck and head area, you could try to help reduce it by putting oil on the points on the feet that relate to the neck or head (the base of the big toe for the neck, the pad of the big toe for the brain, the other toes for eyes and ears, etc.). Or you could put it on the places on the ears that relate to the head, etc. There are various charts, mostly deriving from Chinese medicine, that depict these points on the feet, ears, and hands. You might be familiar with reflexology charts. (See the Vita Flex Foot Charts for a picture of Gary Young's approach to points on the feet.) Supporting the body by addressing these points is an ancient tradition. D. Gary Young's diagram is based on his own research in measuring electrical frequency changes at different places on the body when oil was placed on the specific points on the feet.
Using the example of discomfort from muscle tension around the head, you could choose to try applying essential oils on the feet (on the pad of the big toe) or right on location: across the forehead, on the temples, on the crown of the head, etc. Similarly, for discomfort in other areas, you can apply oils locally. For example, you might put an oil like Peppermint on your abdomen if you feel uncomfortable after eating, etc.
Which oils to use is always an individual matter. There is no one oil for occasional indigestion or muscle tension after exercise. This is because the cause of any discomfort can be different from person to person. For example, one upset stomach might be from poor food combinations, and another from stress-related tension, etc. Look at the list of oils and the descriptions of their properties. Think about the particulars of your discomfort and what might be the underlying cause. Take a guess or use your intuition about what oil might be appropriate for you.
Try one. If it doesn't do the trick, try another. Even if the oil you choose doesn't help your body in the way you are hoping, it will likely have other beneficial effects if only because of the increased oxygenation, and generally calming or stimulating properties, etc. Get to know your oils, discover how they affect you, and know that someone else may respond to those oils in a completely different way. Honor the discovery process in yourself and others.
Taking a bath with a few drops of your chosen oil can be a peak experience. Even a short bath with the exquisite fragrances of your Young Living Essential Oils floating up from the water and sailing into your nose and skin can be profoundly relaxing or energizing, depending on which oils you use. One reason that people soak in baths is to relieve achy, sore muscles after exercise. By adding a few drops of oils that are known to aid in supporting muscle relaxation, such as Marjoram, Lavender, or Basil, you can enhance that process. Of course, some of the blends made by Young Living are also very relaxing--like Peace & Calming. In any case, you only need a few drops, and they work best when mixed first with Young Living's Bath Gel Base to disperse the oil throughout the bathwater as you fill the tub. Then, you get to climb in and enjoy.
If you would like to enjoy the effects of the oils over a large area, as with massage, you can still just use a few drops (3-4) and spread them over the area with a pure vegetable carrier oil. The effects of the oils are not decreased when mixed with a pure vegetable oil, they might just take a little longer to manifest. Be sure there are no chemicals in the carrier oil, no scent, no perfume. There are many fine massage oils that you can buy, and Young Living also offers an excellent carrier oil called V-6 Mixing Oil that contains several pure, nutritious oils. In fact, it's so nutritious that it can also be used for salads and cooking!
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