Essential oils provide numerous different benefits, but how do we get the benefits they hold inside? Understanding how essential oils are absorbed into the body can better aid you in making the most of your oils, and we want to break down just how we benefit from essential oils and what happens when we use them. There are two ways in which essential oils are to be used for their beneficial properties, and these are through inhalation and absorption.


The Inhalation Method


The inhalation method of using essential oils is what you’re thinking of when you think of aromatherapy. When essential oils are inhaled through the olfactory system, they travel through the nose and make their way to the olfactory mucus membrane. This membrane has thousands and thousands of tiny receptors responsible for our sense of smell, so each time you smell the scent of essential oils, you’re introducing the oils and their benefits into your body.


After the olfactory mucus membrane, the stimulation then moves its way to the olfactory bulb and eventually the olfactory nerve of your limbic system. The limbic system of your brain is responsible for your emotional and psychological responses to stimuli, which is why inhaling the scent of lavender makes you feel soothed and relaxed, or the scent of bergamot makes you feel energized and ready to take on the day.


The Absorption Method


The inhalation method isn’t the only way to enjoy essential oils, and there is also dermal absorption which is equally effective, although maybe not as quick for some effects. Dermal absorption refers to the absorbing of oils through the skin, and this should always be done along with a pure and natural carrier oil.


When an oil is placed on the skin, the molecules soak through the outer layer of the epidermis, into the dermis, through the capillaries, and then finally into the bloodstream. Applying the oil to a larger area and warming the skin, like in the case of a massage, can make absorption happen more easily and quickly, and the part of the body you apply to also comes into play. When using the dermal absorption method, it’s best to choose a thinner area of the skin to ensure the oil has the shortest journey into the body.




Essential oils are absorbed into the body using either the inhalation or dermal absorption method to provide their respective benefits.


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