Guest post by Leah Shultz
It was not that long ago that I had my first essential oil – lavender – and had no idea what to do with it or how to use it. So many of my friends had been using essential oils, so I thought I’d see what the hype was all about. Since I had no clue what to do, I kept texting my friend with questions. I finally joined the Scentsable Health Facebook Group, and slowly kept gathering information until I felt more comfortable using essential oils, and then my obsession interest quickly grew from there.
It can be very daunting if you are just getting started – or even if you’ve been using them for a awhile, but are re-learning how to use them safely. There is so much information out there and so many things to consider, it’s hard to know even how to start. Let’s sort out some of the things to consider and give some practical tips on how to get started. So pour yourself some coffee, tea, water, or glass of wine or roll on some No Fret – you’re in the right place!
First step is choosing a few essential oils to start with. You could begin with a kit like this Startin’ Right Kit, that gives you a variety of oils to try, but make sure you are knowledgable about the ages that each of the oils are safe for. (We’ll discuss oil safety in a bit, so keep reading!) Another option is to pick out 2-3 single oils that you would like to try first. You can do this by thinking about what you’re hoping to use your EOs for, such as respiratory support, immune support, promoting restful sleep, soothing a worried mind, promoting a positive mood, promoting calmness for your crazy wonderful but over-excited kids, etc. Then find out what oils will help you with those targets; the kid/family essentials chart is a great place to start, which lists some of our favorite kid and family safe oils and their uses. If you’re wanting to learn a little more about the properties of each oil, some great websites to check out are Aromaweb, Aromatics, or StillPoint. Once you get comfortable with your first few oils, you can always add more to your wellness chest!
Safety with Kids
When you’re choosing and using your oils, there are some important safety factors to keep in mind if you have kids at home or are around kids. Many ask about what age it’s safe to start using essential oils; you will find varied answers to that, even among trained aromatherapists. In Scentsable Health, we recommend that it’s safe to start diffusing oils starting at 3 months old after that fresh, new baby has had a chance to adjust to the outside world and it’s internal organs have had a chance to continue their growth. When starting to diffuse oils around babies, you may want to start with one oil at a time, to watch for any type of reactions or opposite responses – just like you would when starting new baby foods.
Some oils have safety concerns for various ages, for reasons due to different reactions that they could lead to because of the constituents (components) that make up the oil. These reactions, such as slowed breathing or skin irritation, are never to be overlooked. This chart is a great reference to make sure you’re using oils that are safe for the all of the ages in your household!
Safety concerns are usually applicable for both diffusing and applying topically (unless listed differently on the chart). If you want to use a “grown up oil” (as I call them) for yourself or other adults in your home, you have several options: diffuse when your kids aren’t around and won’t be around for a few hours, do a steam bowl or use an aromastick, or apply topically to yourself when you’re not around your kids. The basic rule is, if they can smell the oil, they could be affected by it. The great news is that kid safe oils are also very effective for adults, so they can be used for the grown ups too!
There are a few basic supplies that are helpful when using essential oils. The first is a great diffuser. If you’re having troubles deciding this blog might be helpful! Diffusing is the most effective way to use EOs for most purposes, and is an easy way to start. If you have children, please invest in this tool for your aromatherapy use. Inhalation is the safest option when experiencing aromatherapy. If you’re planning to use oils topically, you will need carrier oils – some options include grapeseed oil, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, jojaba oil, or avacado oil. You will also want containers to keep any leftover diluted oils in. Glass is recommended, although you can use PET plastic containers as well. I use leftover glass spice jars, jars from pre-made salves after I’ve used them up, roller balls, and some cheap glass jars I bought from the dollar section at my favorite store. Many people choose to use roller balls for their diluted oils, which are an easy way to keep and apply a diluted oil.
When diffusing, you don’t need to dilute your oils in a carrier oil, you will just put drops of EOs into warm water in your diffuser. Follow your diffuser’s directions for how many drops to use; on average you will most likely want somewhere between 4-8 drops, but you can always start with less and add more if you can’t smell it. We recommend diffusing in intervals of 30 minutes on, 60 minutes off.
It’s important to always dilute your oils before applying them on your skin. Scentsable Health has some great dilution charts to help you know how much carrier and essential you should use.
When applying your diluted oil, you can apply to the area of discomfort if trying to support something physical (such as belly or forehead). If using a topical blend to support emotions, you can apply anywhere you’d like to smell it – like wrists or behind your ears. Never put essential oils in your eyes or ears under any circumstances. You may hear a lot that people apply essential oils to their feet – this actually isn’t the most effective, partly since the biggest part of aromatherapy is being able to smell the oils! But if you want to apply on the feet, apply them to both the tops and bottoms.
Once you have your oils and supplies, the fun begins! Find a time where you want to use one of your oils– maybe someone has the sniffles, you want to provide a restful scent before bed, your hubby keeps complaining about has some head discomfort, or your kids are driving you bananas and you all just need something for a calming mood (maybe that’s just my house?? 🙂 ). Then diffuse one of your oils or apply topically, see if you get the support that you needed, and enjoy! Didn’t get the response you wanted? Maybe try a different oil or application.
Once you have the basics down, there are a lot of more ways to use your essential oils. This includes steam bowls, aromasticks, diffuser jewelery, room or linen sprays, and using them in the shower or bath. If you’re anything like me, you will become obsessed really interested in learning more and more about essential oils, and will have trouble narrowing down what you want to buy next. My collection has slowly taken over the top shelf in my fridge (yes, store your oils in a cool, dark place!) and my supplies have taken over a whole cupboard! And there is always more to learn – Keep reading, learning, and joining in on the fun in the Scentsable Health Facebook Group!