7 Best Methods to Use Essential Oils

Pharmacokinetics is the term use to describe the study of how the essential oils are absorbs, distributes, metabolizes and excretes by the body. There are many studies on cosmetic and drugs pharmacokinetics, but essential oils pharmacokinetics study is relative new.

According to Worwood, one the effective ways is through skin absorption. Perez also agreed that massage is the most efficient method to help body recover from stress and illness, as well as regenerating whole being.

However, massage has contraindications and sometimes it is not appropriate to use massage. Besides, it is hard to perform self massage also. Therefore, different approach is necessary.

1) Inhalation

Inhalation is the easier application methods, you can either use steam inhalation, necklace diffuser or diffuser.

(a) Steam inhalation

Put 5 to 6 drops of essential oils in a bowl of steaming hot water (2 liters), put your head near the steaming bowl and cover your head and the bowl with towel. Breathe in and out for around 10-15 mins.

Benefits: sinus problem, chest and nasal congestion, facial steaming

Caution: Avoid this method if you are asthma sufferers. Not suitable for children under 5 year-old.

(b) Necklace diffuser

I prefer this method when I like to uplifting, clearing, staying alert, calming or handling any of my emotional of the day.

(c) Diffuser

There are a few types of diffusers in the market such as traditional candle burner, electrical diffuser, nebulizing diffuser and to name a few. I will discuss the advantages and disadvantages in future articles.

2) Body Massage

Pure essential oil is high concentration, for safety, dilution is needed before use. The following is the recommended ratio for dilutions according to IFA recommended:

Baby below 2 years old, no essential oils recommend. But you can use vegetables oils for massage purposes.

Infants from 2 to 5 years old, 0.5% to 1% is generally safe.

Children from 5 to 10 years old, 0.5% to 2% are suggested.

Adults are recommended for maximum 3% for body massage purposes.

Elderly are recommended for 1% to 2% blend.

For 10 ml of carrier, the calculation is as follows:
1% blend = 2 drops
2% blend = 4 drops
3% blend = 6 drops

Calculation methods:

Figures are based on 1ml = 20 drops essential oils

Example: 10ml ÷ 0.05 x 1% = 2 drops

3) In Bath (sitz, hand, foot or full)

“Healing begins with an aromatic bath and daily massage.” – Hippocrates.

From the quote above, aromatic bath has been considered as one of the popular therapy for ailments for the centuries. In Asian, we seldom have bath tub at home, rather sitz, hand and foot bath is easier to perform at home.

According to Buckle, “heat appears to enhance penetration, and hot water may speed up the absorption of essential oils into the skin. Studies have shown that penetration of the dermis is increased 100-fold if essential oils are dispersed in a bath (Buchbauer 1993a)”.

A tepid bath (38°C/ 100.4 ºF) is good for your cold or flu and it can help you to release your muscle tension and stress related issues as well.

You can add 3 to 6 drops of essential oils diluted in solubilizer, milk, or carrier oil per bath tub. Without emulsifier, the essential oil will floated on the water surface and directly contact to your skin which might easily cause irritation.

4) Compresses

There are hot and cold compress, you can put 6 drops of essential oils in 500ml hot or cold water basin, put a small towel or gauze in the bowl and soak it for few minutes. Dry the water and compress it at the location you want.

Hot compress is best for abscesses, cuts, grazes, acne, boils, skin infection, chest infection with mucus and rheumatism.

A cold compress is best for sprains, muscular tears, spasms, bruised, arthritis, joint inflammation and swelling and nerve inflammation.

5) Creams and Ointment

It is not recommended to add your essential oils in the mineral base oil, as this is petrochemical product and they are not natural, essential oils will not mix well into mineral oil base. Use vegetable emulsion will be preferable. Cream and lotion is idea for eczema or skin related problems.

6) Mouth Waste

You can mix 1 drop of essential oil with vinegar (10ml) and stir well. Then mix it with a small cup of warm water and gargle it. This is beneficial for sore throat and inflammation, mouth ulcers and temporarily soothing toothache issue.

7) Neat Application

Avoid directly applied of essential oils directly to our skin, always diluted before use. But sometimes there are exceptional cases such as burns, cuts, insect bites and warts.


Perez, N., (2000), The Aromatherapy Workshop, The Crowood Press.
Wildwood, C., (1996), The Encyclopedia of Aromatherapy, Bloomsbury.
Buckle, J., (2003), Clinical Aromatherapy: Essential Oils in Practice, 2nd Edition, Elsevier Science.

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