In the three years that I’ve been working with people and coaching them with essential oils, there have been some times where the essential oils don’t give them the results that they want.
Did you read that right? Yes!
There are times where essential oils do not work.
I’ve gotten a few frustrated calls and emails over the years asking “what gives?” These are the five most common reasons that essential oils do not work for everyone who tries them.
1. Low-quality essential oils do not work as well as authentic and complete essential oils.
Let’s just keep it real. Most people agree that quality often affects the experience of using a product.
With food, a higher quality food is more nutritious for your body and helps it to run better than junk food. Chia seeds are higher quality than packaged snack cakes, and they cost more too. I don’t think most people would dispute the value that you get in the Chia vs. snack cakes comparison.
Comparing restaurants, you expect a different experience when you roll through a fast food burger joint than when you go to a 5-star steakhouse. You also expect the price difference.
You get what you pay for in those cases. Why would it be different with essential oils?
A designer handbag will always look better, the key is the attention to detail and the quality of the source materials. Many luxury items are hand sewn, piece by piece. Go to a discount store and pick up a plastic and rayon clone and you can easily see the difference!
With essential oils, it is easy to think that it is a standard process, like buying an apple, or a box of peppermint tea, but the attention to detail, and the exact way the oil is created, tested, or distilled will greatly impact the results you get. It’s not the same as the difference between name-brand cereal and the generic. Not at all.
In fact, without going on a huge tangent, distilling an oil at too high a temperature, for too short a time, or in a poorly fabricated “cooker” can create an oil that lacks critical botanical components that make an oil beneficial to the body. That will yield an oil that may smell pleasant, but won’t give the same level of benefits of an oil distilled with high standards.
The short story is, many essential oils are not pure (despite the labeling) and are altered with undisclosed ingredients and synthetic components. They aren’t required to tell that to you. (Essential oils are not regulated in the US, and quality/botanical composition varies widely between brands).
Seeking out quality oils will require some research, but wouldn’t you rather do a little reading and get results than just jump on something that sounds good and take your chances? I know I like results! I’ll bet you do too.
In fact, my whole journey with essential oils was almost derailed by using a low-quality essential oil brand found at the health food store. My son was hurt by using those low-cost oils and my husband and I didn’t have any positive benefits from the nearly $200 worth of those oils. Thankfully I had a very different experience with a different, high-quality brand.
In the many cases, I’ve helped to troubleshoot, using low-quality oils is the most common problem.
2. Essential oils do not work if you use the wrong oil for your body type.
Browse your local discount store and you will see a lot of products all meant to address the same concerns. Have you ever wondered why there are so many options?
The answer is pretty simple, what works for me may not work as well for you. We come from different backgrounds, lifestyles, and histories, and our bodies are as unique as we are!
Does that mean that if it doesn’t work for you as well as me that the product isn’t of value? No, it just means that it isn’t the best option for your needs.
Inside of each human is a custom genetic code that tells our bodies how to work at peak performance. It stands to reason, that with such a wide variety of differences, our bodies will respond to the same input differently.
My favorite oil for relaxation and sleep is Roman Chamomile, but you may not find it as soothing as I do. For you, Lavender or Cedarwood may unlock the Sandman!
Reference books will nearly always suggest 5-10 different essential oils for a given need, and experimenting and paying attention to how you feel will tell you all you need to know about which oil will be best for you.
Sometimes you will find that you will use different oils for different members of your family. I use the same sleep supporting oils as my son, and my daughter uses the same as my husband.
Moral of the story? If your first choice of oils isn’t giving you the results you want, try another on the list! There is a reason there are many options! Your body will tell you what you need to know.
3. Essential oils do not work if you are using the wrong method.
Western society has conditioned us to believe that for the best results, we should take things by mouth. Sometimes the best course of action IS to take a Vitality essential oil internally (with proper direction), but not always.
In fact, most of the time, you’ll get the results you are looking for by using the other two methods first. In modern aromatherapy there are three primary ways that you can use genuine essential oils:
- By applying them to your body (Topical Use)
- By breathing them in (Aromatic Use)
- By using them internally (Ingestion, or Suppository/Bolus usage)
The good news is that it is much easier to know which way to use your oils for the results you want if you have a good reference book that explains the preferred method for your circumstance.
So if your results are a bit lackluster, try changing up your method and see if maybe you can start to see different benefits. Your reference book will give you the guidance you need.
4. Essential oils do not work sometimes if you don’t use them often.
This point is pretty straight forward, but you don’t need to worry about following a pre-set schedule when it comes to using essential oils.
I manage my oil use based on the instructions in my reference and how I feel. If I feel I need the oil again, I use it again.
So let’s say that I used an essential oil an hour ago, and I am noticing that it has worn off, I’d probably use the oil again and continue to enjoy those aromatic benefits.
So listen to your body! I use the oils when I feel I need to.
5. Essential oils do not work if you follow bad advice.
If you’ve followed me for a while you’ve probably heard me say this a lot but I’ll say it again.
Please, I beg of you, do not get your essential oil advice from social media or from a search engine! PLEASE!
Just because someone posted an article, wrote an article, made a graphic, or posted a protocol doesn’t mean that they should give you that advice or that the advice is accurate.
I’ve seen oil instructions posted with the names of aroma-experts or oil companies attached to them that are NOT correct representations of what that expert or company teaches, and I’ve watched people blindly follow that information without every questioning whether it was accurate.
Please do not be that person.
Just keep in mind: Internet access is cheap, and just because someone presents themselves as an expert on the internet, or has beautiful and professional looking graphics, or runs a website does not mean that they have any business diagnosing or prescribing what you do next.
This goes for any source of information. There are tons of references that can help you to verify whether the information you are reading is correct.
The loudest voices on the web are not always the most accurate. Become a voracious consumer of second opinions! Trust, but verify.
Probably the best thing you can do for yourself is to understand the context of the differences in essential oil advice in the United States. Knowing that background will help put much of what you find on the internet into perspective.
Bonus: Essential oils do not work if you don’t get them out of the bottle and use them.
Ultimately you will learn more about essential oils and how they interact with your body if you try them and see how you respond.
You wouldn’t be able to believe the number of times that a person hadn’t even TRIED the oils that they had bought before they called me with a million thoughts whirling around their heads.
So here’s my super scientific advice: if you’ve got it, try it!
What do you have to lose? What if it DOES work?
And even if it doesn’t, go through the checklist of the five other reasons and see what you need to troubleshoot first. After all, there are millions of happy essential oil users, so it is working for them! You can join them!