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Essential Oils for Healthy Living

As a companion to our Beginner’s Guide to Essential Oils, Essential Oils for Healthy Living takes a deeper look into the use of essential oils as complementary therapies for mental health, sleep, immune support, skin conditions and pain management. Before you get started, here are a few things you should know:

Quality matters. Essential oils are highly concentrated, and a little bit goes a long way. It’s important to invest in high-quality oils in order to experience the true benefits each has to offer. Don’t be fooled by the term “therapeutic grade,” as this claim isn’t regulated. Instead, here’s what to look for:

  • The botanical/scientific name of the plant is on the label
  • Organic, wildcrafted, chemical-free, pesticide-free
  • No additives
  • Extracted through distillation

Consistency is key. You won’t always see an immediate benefit from introducing a new essential oil into your routine. It may take consistent use over time to truly realize whether an oil is working for you.

There’s more than one application. Our Beginner’s Guide detailed ways to use essential oils in household products, beauty products, aromatherapy and more. This guide focuses on two methods of application for therapeutic benefits: topical and aromatic. It is important to note that essential oils should never be ingested.

Use Oils Safely.

Some essential oils are unsafe for use with certain conditions, including pregnancy. Consult your doctor prior to using essential oils.

Mental Health

From providing stress relief to promoting mental clarity and supporting emotional healing, essential oils can be a wonderful support product for your mental health. If you are experiencing chronic stress, anxiety, depression or other mental health issues, alert your primary care provider, as they may recommend additional medications or therapies.

Here are the top single oils to support a range of mental health topics:

Mental Health
Stress/Anxiety Relief
  • Lavender
  • Ylang ylang
  • Bergamot
Clarity/Focus
  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Peppermint
  • Basil
Emotional Support
  • Ravintsara
  • Rose
  • Geranium
  • Frankincense

Application:

Aromatic
  • Diffuse 3–12 drops into air.
  • Mix with carrier oil and wear as perfume or cologne.
Topical
  • Dilute 1–2 drops with carrier oil and massage onto skin.
  • Dilute 1–2 drops with carrier oil and apply behind ears and across forehead.

Multiply the benefits.

Create your own support blends by layering your favorite oils. You can also purchase proprietary support blends from your favorite essential oil manufacturers.

Sleep

Getting a good night’s rest is one of the most important things you can do for your health. However, many struggle to get quality sleep for one reason or another. Over time, a lack of sleep can impact your daily energy levels and lead to serious health complications.

If you find yourself struggling to fall asleep or waking frequently in the night, talk to your primary care provider and consider incorporating essential oils into your nighttime routine. While essential oils are not a one-size-fits-all solution to sleep issues, they can be a beneficial support product for helping you improve your quality of sleep.

Here are the top single oils for supporting quality sleep:

Sleep
Lavender Lavender
Jasmine Jasmine
Geranium Geranium
Vanilla Vanilla
Rose Rose
Benefits
  • Relieves anxiety
  • Promotes relaxation and calmness
  • Quiets brain activity
  • Increases quality of sleep

Application:

Topical
  • Dilute 1–2 drops with carrier oil and apply to bottoms of feet or back of neck.
Aromatic
  • Diffuse into air (3–12 drops).
  • Apply 1–2 drops to pillow.

Are essential oils safe for babies?

Generally, essential oils are too potent for babies’ skin, but you may be able to apply diluted essential oil to your own skin and allow baby to breathe it in as you hold him or her. Consult with your primary care provider to decide what is safest for your family.

Immune Support

A healthy immune system helps our bodies fight the viruses and bacteria we’re exposed to on a daily basis. The following essential oils can be used to support a healthy immune system and may provide relief from symptoms of common illnesses.

Here are the top single oils for supporting a strong immune system:

Immune Support
Protection
  • Clove
  • Frankincense
  • Lemon
  • Tea tree
  • Cumin
  • Cinnamon Bark
Respiratory Health
  • Eucalyptus radiata
  • Peppermint
  • Cinnamon bark
  • Fir
Symptom Relief
  • Sore throat: Cypress, oregano
  • Headache: Peppermint, rosemary
  • Stomachache: Peppermint, ginger
  • Congestion: Eucalyptus radiata, cypress, any citrus oil
  • Fever: Peppermint, clove, bergamot

Application:

Aromatic
  • Diffuse 3–12 drops into air for ½ hour at a time.
Topical
  • Dilute 1–2 drops with carrier oil and apply to the bottoms of feet, along spine, or under arms.

Did you know?

Cinnamon bark was included in nearly every prescription used in ancient Chinese medicine. Cinnamon is considered to be a powerful antiviral with the ability to destroy nearly any viral particle in its path.

Skin Conditions

Essential oils can be a wonderful component of your skincare routine, aiding with everything from supporting general skin health to soothing minor irritations. When using essential oils topically, it’s important to first dilute with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, jojoba oil or almond oil. Otherwise, the concentrated essential oil may irritate your skin.

Next time you experience one of these minor skin conditions, try creating your own remedy with essential oils.

Skin Conditions
Inflammation
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Tea tree
  • Lavender
  • Eucalyptus
Itching
  • Peppermint
  • Lavender
Wrinkles
  • Frankincense
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Sandalwood
Minor Burns
(i.e. sunburn)
  • Lavender
  • Ravintsara
  • Eucalyptus
  • Peppermint
Rash
  • Tea tree
  • Lavender

Application:

Topical
  • Dilute 1–2 drops with carrier oil and apply on location.

Give your skincare products a boost.

You can add your favorite essential oils to unscented lotion and unscented body wash to level up your daily skincare routine and replace synthetic fragrances that may irritate your skin.

Pain Management

The use of essential oils for pain management has been a part of holistic medicine for centuries. While you should always consult your primary care provider if experiencing unusual or chronic pain, essential oils can be great support products to have on hand when you need extra help. Try one of these oils next time you experience discomfort from one of the following:

Pain Management
Pain, General
  • Lavender
  • Eucalyptus
  • Rosemary
  • Wintergreen
Arthritis
  • Wintergreen
  • Black spruce
  • Ginger
Headache
  • Peppermint
  • Basil
  • Lavender
  • Eucalyptus
Muscle Soreness
  • Clove
  • Wintergreen
  • White fir
  • Black spruce

Application:

Topical
  • Dilute 1–2 drops with carrier oil and apply on location.
  • Apply as a warm compress on affected area.
  • Add 3–5 drops to ¼ cup Epsom salts and dissolve in bathwater before bathing.
Aromatic
  • Diffuse 3–12 drops into air.

Less is more.

When applying essential oils topically, use up to three drops (1 or 2 is usually enough). A large amount of oil can trigger detoxification of the surrounding tissue, which may make you uncomfortable.

Application Tips

Tips for Application

How to make a compress: Fill a container with 2 quarts of hot or cold water and add your essential oils. Stir to combine and soak a washcloth in the mixture. Wring out the washcloth and place it over the affected area of the body. For a hot compress, cover the saturated washcloth with a dry towel and heating pad. Leave the compress on for 1–2 hours.

Layer, don’t mix. If using pre-made blended oils, stick to one at a time. These manufactured blends have been specially formulated to work in harmony together. Mixing oil blends can alter the chemical properties of the oils. If combining multiple single oils, layer them one by one.

Focus on the feet. The large pores on our feet help us absorb essential oils quickly. For general applications, apply your diluted oil to the bottoms of your feet for fast absorption.

Additional Resources

Classes & Events
Learn more about essential oils and how to use them by attending one of our classes. See all upcoming classes from AdventHealth Shawnee Mission.


Naturopathic Care
The use of essential oils is just one type of naturopathic care, which uses natural therapies to treat the whole person and encourage self-healing. Naturopathic doctors often work alongside your conventional medical team to uncover underlying causes of your ailments. You can gain access to naturopathic care through AdventHealth Shawnee Mission Health Holistic Care. For an appointment, call (913) 632-9860


Personalized Care
Are you in need of a new primary care doctor or health specialist? Use the MyHealthKC Find a Doctor tool to match with providers who align with your personality and healthcare needs.