Dilution rates and massage techniques – essential oils

Since essential oils are very concentrated and potent, most should almost never be applied in their pure undiluted form to the skin, and should be suitably diluted.

There are different dilution levels that should be used, depending on which method, as described below:

Essential oils in a bath
Essential oils in an aroma burner or vaporizer
Essential oils in creams and lotions
Adding essential oil to a massage blend
Adding essential oil to shampoo

To help you select the oil best suited for your needs, have a look at our page called Therapeutic Properties of Essential Oils

Should you prefer not to buy separate essential oils plus a suitable base carrier oil, we also have a selection of already specialized ready-mixed blends available, which you can view by clicking here.

Essential oils in a bath

Since essential oils can irritate the skin and mucus membranes, you can first dilute the essential oil in a suitable carrier oil (or a little bit of shampoo) before adding it to your bath.

Bathing with essential oils must be one of the most relaxing ways to attend to your ablutions, and adding soft candlelight to soothe your frayed nerves at the end of a busy day, is a great way to unwind.

You would normally add about 7 drops of essential oils to a bath, but as stated above, if you have a sensitive skin, or have not tried a particular oil, rather first mix the essential oil with a carrier oil or a small amount of shampoo and then add it to your bath.

If you have a sensitive skin, it might also be a good idea to first do a skin patch test to determine if you are allergic to the oil or not: Apply a small dab of the oil to a sensitive area, like the skin on the inner upper arm or behind the ear. Wait for around 30 minutes to see if your skin reacts badly. If you do have a bad reaction, wash the area with warm water and your normal bath soap and rinse well with lukewarm water before patting dry. If the reaction persists, please seek medical attention.

Should you prefer not to mix your essential oil with a carrier oil, you could mix it with a small amount of shampoo and then add the shampoo mixture to your bath.

Although essential oils give off a wonderful aroma when added to a running bath, the oils evaporate at a very high rate, and for this reason it is best to add the oils after you have run the bath and then to mix them in by hand.

  • For children between the ages of 4 and 12, as well as for elderly people, only add 4 drops of oil per bath.
  • For children between 1 and 4, as well as for pregnant women, add only 2 drops of oil per bath.
  • For more safety information on essential oils e.g. essential oil usage in pregnancy, children and essential oil, please view our link regarding safety on our website www.essentialoils.co.za  or please click here
  • Children under 1 year should have no more than 1 drop of oil per bath.

Essential oils in burners, light-bulb rings, vaporizers and diffusers

When you use essential oils in a burner, light bulb ring, vaporizer or diffuser, the general amount to add to such a device is around 6 drops at a time – the amount you use would depend on the following factors:

The type of burner, vaporizer or diffuser used, size of room, age of the inhabitants of the room as well as the type of oil used will help determine the amount of essential oil to be used.

A whole range of pottery and electric burners are available, but it should be kept in mind that the oil should be floated on water to prevent the oil from burning or the oil container cracking.

  • Metal and Porcelain Light Bulb Rings:

On porcelain light-bulb rings, you may not need to dilute the oil at all, but you might want to float it on water when using a metal light-bulb ring to prevent burning. In this case you will first add a small amount of water to the metal ring and then drop the essential oils on top of the water.

When using these porcelain or metal rings, you may also need to look at the strength of the globe on which you rest it, since a very strong light will be far warmer than a weaker one.

Should you be using these rings, ensure that the light-bulb is cool when placing the ring on it, and make sure never to drop any essential oil directly onto the light bulb.

  • Burners and Diffusers:

If you are using a bowl of water on a heated surface, you would add approximately 6 drops of essential oil to the water – depending on the size of the room, as well as the type of oil used.

Diffusers using tea candles underneath are generally not too hot, and most of the time the oil is placed on crystals to help diffuse the fragrance, or can also have top sections that can hold water into which the oil is dropped.

Diffusers using candles must be used with due care to prevent fires – and remember – essential oils are volatile and can be flammable.

Humidifiers

Most modern humidifiers have a place in which to pour some essential oils – essential oil is usually not added to the water in the humidifier tank. Contact the manufacturer for instructions or read the manual.

If you wish to use essential oils in a nebulizer, please contact the manufacturer for the instructions, since some essential oils should not be used in these medical instruments.

Essential oil dilution in creams and lotions – making your own face creams and lotions

When you mix essential oils in a plain un-perfumed cream base, it adds all the therapeutic qualities of the oils to the cream, as well as the fragrance – giving you a “non-oily” way of applying essential oils. We manufacture a natural, eco-preservative base cream called Olinat.
This is of particular benefit should you wish to apply essential oils to a person with a skin condition that might not take well to oily carrier oils.

Un-perfumed base creams, like aqueous cream and lotions, can be purchased from your local pharmacy / chemist.

The total percentage of essential oil to a cream or lotion should not exceed 2%. Also please ensure that you mix the oil well into the cream or lotion and that you are not allergic to the essential oil of your choice.

The mixed cream or lotion should be kept in a closed container, and in a cool area.

To prevent any unexpected allergic reactions, we do suggest that you perform a skin patch test to check for any allergic reactions.

Age
Amount of base cream or lotion
Amount of essential oil
65 years +
50 g
10 drops
12 - 65
50 g
20 drops
4 - 12
50 g
10 drops
1 - 4
50 g
4 drops
under 1
50 g
2 drops
Pregnant
50 g
4 drops

For your convenience we have added a selection of recipes for beauty creams and lotions to our site which you can easily and cost effectively make at home – Click Here.

Diluting essential oils for massage

When you use essential oils for a massage, you will need to dilute with a suitable carrier oil, since most essential oils are too concentrated to use undiluted on the skin, specifically if you are using the oil/s over a large area.

 

Age
Amount of Carrier Oil
Amount of essential oil
65 years +
20 ml
5 drops
12 - 65
20 ml
10 drops
4 - 12
20 ml
7 drops
1 - 4
20 ml
2 drops
under 1
20 ml
1 drop
Pregnant
20 ml
1 drop

If you are looking for more information on the way in which a massage is done, please click here for further advice.

To view video clips on massage techniques please see below:

Back effleurage

Diamond effleurage

Facial effleurage

Facial pressure points

Fanning

Feathering

Kneading and wringing

Knuckling

Vibrating

Pummeling

Hacking

Cupping

Colon draining in
clockwise direction

Deep lymph
drainage

Foot slapping and
reflexology pressure

Pressure point
manipulation

Pressure point mani-
pulation with elbow

Raking

Skin rolling

Stomach wringing

Adding essential oil to shampoo

When you use essential oils in shampoos, you will need to dilute it to a suitable level as not to cause any irritation to the eyes.

Adding essential oils to your shampoo is an easy way to increase the effectiveness of your shampoo, but take care to select oils that are not irritants, or that you might be allergic to, since shampoo does have the habit of sometimes getting into your eyes.

A good addition for hair care is normally rosemary essential oil – to have a look at the properties of it, please click here.

Do not use a new essential oil in a shampoo that you haven’t tested – rather first do a skin patch test to determine if you are allergic to the oil or not.

For more information on essential oils that are gentle enough to use for children, please click here.

Age
Amount of Shampoo
Amount of essential oil
65 years +
100 ml
10 drops
12 - 65
100 ml
20 drops
4 - 12
100 ml
10 drops
1 - 4
100 ml
2 drops
under 1
100 ml
not recommended
Pregnant
100 ml
5 drop