To dilute or not to dilute... That question has been floating around for a long time. In the English model of aromatherapy, the oils are diluted and are often used for a full massage. In the French model, the oils are used neat, without dilution, in fairly substantial quantities. I recall studying with Dr. Daniel Penoel, MD, who shared with us that he had damaged a leg - I believe he said something like, "While the skin was not broken, it was like hamburger underneath." He told us that he used 30 ml of helichrysum on the area, in a single afternoon. While most of the whispering going on in the room in the moments following that comment were about how much that would cost, I was quickly doing the math - Since 15 ml bottles contain about 300 drops and he used 30 ml, that was about 600 drops of helichrysum on a leg, neat, in an afternoon. That is a LOT of essential oil!

I personally asked Dr. Penoel about whether he had seen toxicity using large quantities of oils, and he said that he had not - that essential oils do not contain fatty oils which are hard on the liver, and, instead, essential oils light and volatile, and either get used (by receptor sites) or are "vaporized" out of the body - but not stored like fatty oils. I'm definitely paraphrasing here, but this is how I recall our conversation.

So for many years, I've felt confident about using oils neat. And I love this subject, because, after all, we're probably the first generation in many to take responsibility for our own health care, rather than turning it over to others, so it's up to us to learn as much as we can, and act responsibly.

If someone is very sick, or has delicate skin (like the very young and the very old), diluting oils is wise, especially those which have a tendency to heat up on the body like oregano, thyme, cinnamon, Thieves, wintergreen, helichrysum, and peppermint. Young Living sends out a brochure called a User's Guide with every order which lists those oils that are hotter, and which should probably be diluted, for safety's sake. It also talks about how to use oils in bathwater, oils that heat up in the sun, etc. It would be very wise for a beginner to follow the guidelines in this brochure; don't you think?

Personally, I would rather use less (like a single drop) and use them neat, but each person is different, and I hope that everyone using oils will be cautious and conservative so that no one is ever hurt by oils. If we always err on the side of caution and use a little bit at first, and then use more if we feel that we can and want to, we should be OK.

If you haven't taken the time to put your oils on yet today, I hope that you'll take a moment and do it now!

Vicki Opfer, has more than 30 years experience in natural healing, 12 years using oils extensively, and teaching essential classes for tens of thousands of people. Vicki states, “I've never seen anyone hurt by using therapeutic grade oils. That's why I think they're the most profound healing modality that we may see in our lifetime, and that they are capable of changing medicine as we know it...

Dr. Daniel Penoel, a leading authority in the field of essential oils. A French medical doctor, world-renowned author, researcher, and lecturer who has seen amazing results. Since 1977, he has made essential oils the centerpiece of his medical practice.