When you read a headline like “The Best Place to Apply Essential Oils,” what comes to mind? For many EO users, it’s the feet. But why is that? There are quite a few claims people use to back this up, such as, “The feet have the largest pores, and therefore soak up the most oil.” Or, “Using essential oils with reflexology can support your body’s systems.” And even, “Unlike other areas of the body, essential oils can be used undiluted on the feet because the feet can endure more.” But is there any truth to these claims? Read on to find out.
The purpose of using essential oils topically is primarily to get the essential oil to enter one’s bloodstream. This is easy for EOs, which are made up of small, volatile molecules that easily penetrate the skin. However, only an average of10% of topically applied essential oils enter the bloodstream. For example, .3% of a 3% dilution of essential oil would be absorbed. When you apply essential oils to the feet, wherethe skin is 100 to 400 times thicker than other areas of the body, this percentage may be reduced. The feet are also regarded as having the slowest absorption rate, whereas the forehead is considered to have one of the quickest. If you’re looking to apply essential oils so that they effectively enter the bloodstream, it would be preferable to apply your essential oil to your forehead, underarms or abdomen rather than your feet.
Furthermore, reflexology theorizes thatby stimulating nerve endings in the foot, this, in turn, benefits other areas of the body that the nerve endings are connected to. Though using essential oils in reflexology may help foot problems or relax the client, applying essential oils to different reflexes in the feet will not effectively serve to benefit a targeted body system. Applying essential oils to reflexes also does not transport the essential oil to another area of the body. When targeting an area of the body, it’s recommended that you apply oils to the affected area, apply where oils are best absorbed (forehead, underarms or abdomen) or inhale the oils.
Not So Neat
Lastly, using essential oils undiluted is simply never recommended. There is hardly a time or place to use undiluted essential oils, and the feet are no exception. And if you haven’t alreadykicked your “neat” use of essential oils, we strongly encourage you to do so. Neat essential oil use can lead to skin sensitization, irritation and other health issues. At Edens Garden, our motto is a little EO goes a long way.
The bottom line: applying essential oils to your feet isn’t harmful, so long as you’re following proper safety guidelines. However, there may be more effective areas of the body to apply your EOs.
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