How do essential oils work?
Essential oils have been used for thousands of years and carry with them many, many health properties. These small little oils are so powerful and promote well-being with their amazing antidepressant, stimulating, detoxifying, antibacterial, antiviral and calming properties.
Essential oils are extracted using distillation, usually steam distillation which separates the oil and the water-based components of the plant. These particles come from different parts of the plant like the flowers, leaves, bark, roots, resin, and peels. Once the extraction has taken place, what is left is a powerful high concentration of the single most healing compound of the plant all in one tiny drop of oil!
The best way for your body to absorb the many therapeutic benefits of essential oils is through a combination of inhalation and topical application.
Here is how this two-step process works:
Our sense of smell is very powerful and when we inhale an essential oil it quickly gets absorbed by the receptors in our nose. This then triggers nerve messages in the limbic center of the brain.
The limbic center in the brain is a complex system of nerves that control basic emotions such as fear, pleasure, anger, sadness, etc. This is why essential oils work so well when we breathe them in because our nasal cavity has direct access to the brain.
Diffusion is not the only way to inhale your oils. You can add a few drops on a tissue or cotton ball, you can roll your roller on the palms of your hands and cup them to your face and breathe in, you can apply the oils topically near your face and inhale them that way or you can open your roller and put it right under your nose and take a deep breathe in!
Essential oils are absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream via pores and hair follicles. Once they are inside our bodies, the oils then head to the specific organs and body system on which they work. Topical application is great for obtaining the benefits of essential oils because the oils are lipid soluble, meaning they can easily penetrate the skin. Once the oils are absorbed, they stay in that localized area for a period of time.
Since essential oils are so strong and powerful, dilution is necessary before applying to the skin. This means using a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil to dilute the oil. A carrier oil is just what it sounds like, it helps to carry the oil into the skin for better absorption. The carrier oil does not dissolve or damage the oil in any way or slow down its potency. It does help absorb in the skin better by slowing down the evaporation of the oils. The carrier oils also help to reduce any skin reactions that could occur to sensitive skin.
Topical application of essential oils is also great because of their myriad health benefits like anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial properties. Once these oils are applied to the skin, they can do wonders in reducing local inflammation and pain.
Remember, our skin is our biggest organ!
The best places to apply essential oils are:
- Pulse points (this is the area where your blood is closest to your skin allowing for fast absorption and quick results! These areas are the inside of the wrists, behind the ears & temples)
- Back of the neck
- Forehead & temples
- Bottoms of the feet
- Inner elbows
- Behind the knees
- Up and down the spine
Are you ready to try it? Take your favorite roller blend, roll on your pulse points in a circular motion 3-5 times and then end with the roller under your nose and inhale and take a big deep breathe!
Now sit back, relax, and let everything go.