{Essential Oils 101} The What. The Why. The How.

29 Dec {Essential Oils 101} The What. The Why. The How.

Therapeutic use of plant-derived, aromatic essential oils to promote physical and mental wellbeing, has been in use for over 5,000 years. The ancient cultures of Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and China began to utilize essential oils in each of their medical systems around 3,000 B.C. However, it is not until the past decade that this highly regarded Eastern therapy has gotten serious attention in the United States.


As a holistic nutritionist and wellness coach, essential oils were not in my toolbox or even on my radar until about 6 months ago. My decision to research and use them in my household was brought on by the many clients who were asking my opinion on their therapeutic merit. Below you will find the information you need to get started with essential oils safely. Personally, I have found essential oils to be a significant benefit to my clients’ processes of healing and maintaining optimal health.

What are Essential Oils (EO’s)?

Essential oils are distilled from plants, typically by way of steam or water. They can be derived from leaves, flowers, roots, bark and other elements of a plant. When distilled, essential oils are highly concentrated.

Why should I use EO’s?

EO’s have extensive therapeutic value. They can help you strengthen your immune system, organs and glands, which helps your body fight bacteria, fungi and viruses. They can help with stress, anxiety and strengthen your muscles. They are also often used for hair and skincare.

How can I use EO’s?

Because EO’s are natural, people assume that they can ingest, lather on and use them as they please. However, keep in mind that there is a reason we cannot eat certain berries, even if they do grow off a tree! Essential oils are safe and beneficial when used properly. Some oils can be ingested, while others are best inhaled through a diffuser or applied topically with a carrier oil, like grape seed.

Aromatherapy is often the safest way to use essential oils. Our sense of smell is very sensitive and part of our limbic system, making essential oils quite powerful through inhalation as well. The limbic system controls memory, breathing, circulation and hormone regulation.


Do’s and Don’ts


  • Don’t ingest (unless under direction of a wellness professional)
  • Don’t use full strength.
  • Don’t use the same oil or blend for more than 2-3 weeks in a row. Switch it up, so you don’t overtax your body.
  • Don’t use expired oils. They can cause allergic reactions or sensitivities to the skin.


  • Use with a carrier oil, like almond, jojoba, grape seed
  • Keep out of reach of children.
  • Use as directed. If your recipe calls for 2-3 drops of lavender and 2-3 drops of your carrier oil, use as specified.
  • Store your oils in a cool place and dark glass bottles.
  • A patch test on your skin if you’ve never used a particular oil before. Apply a drop of oil on the top of your hand and leave for 24 hours to observe any adverse reaction. If the spot becomes irritated, do NOT use the oil.
  • Read the label on the bottle. Some oils can make your skin photosensitive and cause stronger sunburn.
  • Do your homework, research the company, and the brand. You want high quality oils.


My EO Recommendations

To get started I like these 5 oils. Lavender, Tea Tree, Roman Chamomile, Lemon and Geranium.

Lavender is great for stress and relaxation.

Tea Tree is an antiseptic, antifungal, antibacterial.

Chamomile can be used for skin conditions like acne, burns, blisters, eczema, insect bites and cuts.

Lemon and Geranium are great for cuts, burns, eczema and skincare.


Two books that I use and refer to are:

The Essential Oils Handbook, by, Jennie Harding.

The Complete Aromatherapy  & Essential Oil Handbook for Everyday Wellness, by Nerys Purchon and Lora Cantele.


Don’t be afraid to experiment, but always follow the guidelines carefully – after all, it’s your health! I would love to hear your experiences with essential oils. You can find my contact information here.



I will be hosting an essential oils class at Focus on Personal Fitness located at 140 North Belle Meade Road, East Setauket, NY.  January 24th from 6pm-7:30 pm. Please contact me to RSVP!


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