Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

While We’re Still on the Topic

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla
Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla is a member of the Aster Family, Asteraceae or Compositae, the dried flowewrs of which are one of the most well-known herbal teas of commerece, valued for flavor, mild anti-inflammatory activity, and a calming effect.

Another option for using your essential oils is topically.

 

There are times when deciding whether to use your oils aromatically or topically seems like perfectly good common sense.Applying oils topically simply works better for certain circumstances, such as when using them for aches, pain, sore muscles, and injuries. 

 

Then there are other times when how to best use your oils isn’t so obvious…such as when using essential oils for such issues as sleep, anxiety and lack of energy.

 

But how can I be sure that I am using my essential oils the “best” way possible?

The decision between using the diffuser to use the oils aromatically or applying the oil topically basically depends on whether or not you need the effects to benefit your entire body, or just one centralized area.

If you need the benefits throughout, it is best to use the diffuser because this delivers a quick dose of “good stuff” into the bloodstream.  This usually works best when dealing with emotional, neurological, and respiratory issues.

If you need the benefits to focus on one particular area, it is best to apply topically. Substances that are applied topically to the skin slowly permeate and are absorbed through the skin, eventually entering into the bloodstream.

For example, people suffering from problems sleeping benefit from using oils topically because studies have shown that the chemical components of lavender essential oil enter the bloodstream within five minutes of massaging the lavender essential oil onto the skin.

 

How do I use essential oils topically?

To use essential oils topically, start with only one or two drops of the essential oil. This should be all that you usually need because only a little bit of essential oil can go a very, very long way.

Sounds way too simple, right?!

 

Well, actually it is…and here’s why…

Before applying the essential oil to your skin, you will most likely need to dilute the essential oil with a “carrier oil.” (Examples of carrier oils that can be used to dilute essential oils include olive oil, coconut oil, almond oil, and avocado oil.)

 

“Most likely”…gee, that tells me a whole lot, right?

There are several types of essential oils on the market today that may or may not require diluting the oil with a carrier oil first. But the instructions on the essential oil itself will be the best place to figure out if and how the oil needs to be diluted.

But a few classifications of essential oils that you might want to keep in mind are…

 

Neat Oils…This may depend on the essential oil itself as to whether or not you need to dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil first. There is a category of oils classified as “neat” oils that do not require diluting with a carrier oil before each use.  These include…

Hot Oils…Then there are other essential oils that are high in phenols and must ALWAYS be diluted with a carrier oil before being used topically. These include cassia, cinnamon, clove, oregano, lemongrass, bergamot, and thyme.

Sensitive Oils…“Sensitive” oils are those that do not require dilution before use topically, but should be diluted before use on young or sensitive skin. These include black pepper, eucalyptus, ginger, and peppermint.

Photosensitive Oils“Photosensitive” oils contain furocoumarins, a type of extremely photosensitive compounds that may cause a rash or darkened skin if used before exposure to sunlight, sunlamps, or other sources of UV light. Such types of light should be avoided for up to twelve hours after using these oils topically. These “photosensitive” oils are typically citrus oils such as angelica, bergamot, grapefruit, lemon, orange, and tangerine.

 

Diluting your essential oils does not make the essential oil less effective, but actually offers many benefits that can make the essential oil work even better. These benefits include helping to “carry” the essential oil onto the skin, preventing particular oils from feeling too warm on the skin, keeping the essential oil from evaporating too quickly, increasing the surface area that your essential oil can cover at one time, enhancing absorption through dry skin, and preventing “sensitivity responses.”

 

Sensitivity Responses? Gee, made the skeptic in me wonder if essential oils are even worth the effort when I first read about “sensitivity responses”…

The truth is that just like almost anything else that you could possibly use on your skin, there is a chance—ever so slight—that a given essential oil could cause a reaction or “sensitivity response” for some individuals.

You can avoid such reactions by applying a small amount of essential oil to an ” inconspicuous” area and checking regularly to make sure that no reaction takes place before using it many more places also.

It is also a good idea to keep track of what oils you use, amounts used, where you apply, your thoughts and impressions on that particular oil, and any reactions that you do experience. Also try only one new essential oil at a time.

 

 

Another good idea would be to go ahead and mix your essential oil and your carrier oil together, and then store in a used or empty essential oil bottle or roller bottle so that you won’t have to dilute the oil every single time that you want to use it.

Finally, be aware of the importance of purchasing and using only quality essential oils from reputable sources. Do not assume anything about the purity, the efficacy, or the reliability of the essential oil.

Because many manufacturers have been reported as actually mixing essential oils with synthetic materials or other unknown ingredients to help stretch the oils and reduce costs, you need to be confident that you are actually getting the product that you are paying for. (no, this is not a plug for a future offer…just a fact…don’t worry)…

Essential oils should not have an expiration date. If there actually is a date on the bottle, this probably means that the oil contains additives and might not be from a good source.

 

Where do I apply the oil?

The soles of your feet have large pores that rapidly absorb essential oils and are not very sensitive, so this is a very good, safe place to start using essential oils topically. Simply and massage in two to four drops of your essential oil.

Other places where insomniacs and people who can’t sleep and people who are stressed out and so forth might want to try applying oils for help in dealing with stress and anxiety include across the forehead, behind the ears, the temples, the tops of your shoulders, and your wrists.

Good options of essential oils for this would be frankincense, lavender, peppermint, and cedarwood. (Just wait, my next post is about which essential oils are best for sleeplessness.)…

 

 

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