How to use essential oils safely


As with conventional medicine the objective is to introduce the substance into the blood stream. Inhalation and skin absorption are two of the fastest ways of getting the therapeutic essential oils into the blood stream and a variety of methods can be used (as follows). Remember that essential oils are pure, plant substances which have been used for thousands of years so they can be trusted to help with family health problems in a safe and natural way.

For the bath:

For adults add 4-10 drops of essential oil to the bath after it has finished running. Dilute with a suitable carrier (i.e. Sweet Almond Oil) or full fat milk if you have sensitive skin. Allow 15-20 minutes in the bath for the oils to take effect.

A single drop of a suitable essential oil is sufficient for a baby bath, and 2-3 drops for toddlers, if bathing in a full sized bath. Please ensure that the oils are diluted in a suitable carrier before they are added to the bath. 

Note: Some essential oils can irritate the skin and should not be used in the bath. See our essential oil product pages for more detailed safety notes.

For massage:

For adults, use up to 4 drops of essential oil in 10ml of carrier oil (e.g. Sweet Almond or Grapeseed Oil) and massage into the affected area. Click here for tips on how to perform an effective aromatherapy massage.

For babies over 2 months old, use only 1 drop of a suitable essential oil in 10ml of carrier oil. For infants aged one and over you can use a maximum of 3 drops.

For inhalation:

Add 3 or 4 drops of suitable essential oil to a bowl of steaming hot water. Lean over the bowl and place a towel over your head and bowl. Inhale the steam for 5-10 minutes. Steam inhalations should be used with caution if suffering from asthma, hay fever or other allergies. Inhale for just 30 seconds on the first inhalation, then increase gradually up to 5 minutes if there is no adverse reaction.

Essential oils can also be diffused in an aromatherapy candle burner (use up to 12 drops of oil in water) or an electric vaporiser (check your product instructions for quantities). Alternatively for a quick and easy solution pop a couple of drops of essential oil onto a tissue and inhale.

For hot or cold compresses:

Add 4-5 drops of essential oil to a bowl of hot (as hot as you can bear) or icy cold water. Fold a clean cloth (i.e. muslin, flannel) and place in the water so that it absorbs the essential oils that are floating on the surface. Squeeze out excess water and place the cloth onto the affected area. The compress can be covered and held in place with cling film or a bandage. Replace the compress when it has cooled, or warmed to skin temperature.

For direct application:

Lavender and Tea Tree are the ONLY two aromatherapy essential oils that can be applied undiluted to the skin. They should only be used undiluted in very small quantities (1 or 2 drops) in first aid situations, e.g. for a burn or insect bite. It is not advisable to use these oils neat on a regular basis as it may lead to sensitisation.  All other oils must be diluted in a suitable carrier (e.g. base oil, cream, lotion, gel, hydrolat etc) before applying to the skin.

Safety advice:

If pregnant or suffering from serious health problems then please seek advice from a qualified Aromatherapist before using essential oils. Essential oils should never be taken internally and are best stored in a cool, dark place with the cap firmly in place. Keep out of the reach of children. Please click here to read more detailed safety advice when using essential oils.