What To Do If An Oil Doesn't Seem To Be Working

You're not feeling well, and you're trying to soothe, relieve, or eliminate your symptoms using an essential oil, or a blend of essential oils. It's not working. Do you have the right individual oils? Are you using them properly? Are your oils of the highest quality?

Here are 6 simple steps you can take to find out how to improve your results when using essential oils to help with a specific ailment.


The quality of essential oils available today are radically diverse. It is unfortunately common practice in the industry for essential oils to be adulterated, whether diluted with synthetic (lab manufactured) essential oils or carrier oils, or other contaminants, as well as less expensive oils that have a similar aroma but different chemistry. Do not be deceived. Do your due diligence if you are using oils for therapeutic purposes.

You MUST have the highest quality essential oil if you expect to see therapeutic results. Read more on this form a recent Roseman University study, which illustrated that dōTERRA Essential Oils are the only essential oils on the market with therapeutically-relevant cellular effects. The results you experience using essential oils, will, first and foremost, depend on the quality of essential oils you choose to use.

"True holistic healing requires unprocessed oils that are sourced directly from nature with nothing added." (1) You're always welcome to email me with questions or if you'd like some guidance in sorting through the vast amounts of information out there. I know it can be overwhelming.

If you're using the best quality essential oils, and still not seeing the results you desire, read on.


Consider your chosen application method(s). Are you using the oil(s) topically, aromatically, or internally? Each method impacts the body's systems in different ways. Sometimes, more than one application method is needed to address an issue. For example, a respiratory infection may require both the aromatic and internal use of essential oils in order to address the multiple facets of that temporary issue.

Further, what is required to heal or alleviate an issue can change over the course of the condition. Be mindful of the body's feedback and progress (or lack thereof), as it's very important information to take note of.

As always, it is best to use small amounts of oil with consistence. Using low amounts often is much for effective than taking large amounts infrequently.

Aromatic. Inhaling an essential oil is a powerful and effective method for supporting, maintaining and even creating emotional health. The essential oils are received through the alveoli of the lungs, and from there, into the bloodstream.

Aromatic use via a diffuser, direct inhalation from the palms, or steam inhalation (using the lowest temperature liquid possible to produce steam), is best for respiratory conditions or infections, destroying airborne pathogens, affecting mood and adding beautiful, natural, soothing and therapeutic aromas to any space.

Topical. As fat-soluble elements, essential oils are quickly absorbed into the skin, and enter the bloodstream only moments after they're applied directly. The most effective way to expedite this process is to apply the essential oil to the skin first (unless its a 'hot oil') and then applying fractionated coconut oil (FCO) overtop. Be sure to take note of the recommended ideal amounts of essential oils per use, and per day.

Massage is an excellent way to enhance the effects of topical application, as it increases blood flow to the area in question. As well, a moist cloth used as a compress helps drive the oil deeper into the tissue.

Topical use is especially effective for muscle pain, body aches and injured tissues. The 'Oil Touch Technique' from The Essential Life book is also an excellent way to provide topical support to all of the body's systems using gentle relaxation massage techniques combined with specific essential oils.

Internal. You can read my detailed post, with references, on the internal use of essential oils here. For adults only. Children should not take essential oils internally, it's too strong for them.

Please also refer to doTERRA's detailed Internal Use Guide before using any essential oils internally.

Essential oils are fat soluble, so they are readily delivered to all organs of the body, including the brain. They are then metabolized by the liver and other organs.

Internal use is the most potent application method and oils should be used in VERY SMALL QUANTITIES. Refer to reliable, well-referenced and professional guidelines (ie. not bloggers like me).

Read the label to ensure the oil you've chose is safe for internal use - it will specifically list ingestion.

Essential oils can be ingested sublingually (under the tongue) - pay special attention and do not use HOT or irritating oils sublingually. Hot or irritating oils include: Cassia, Cinnamon, Clove, Cumin, Lemongrass, Oregano or Thyme.

You can also take essential oils in a vegetable capsule, which is one way to take the hot oils if they are in your desired list of oils to use.

* I like to add a drop or two of carrier oil like coconut or olive to my capsule to help my body absorb the oils more easily.

Many people like to drink doTERRA oils in their water. Best practice is to use only 1-2 drops as Tisserand recommends, in a large metal or glass water bottle, long with a small drop of maple syrup or honey to emulsify (mix) the essential oils and water, so they don't just float on the top. I don't always do this, but I do sometimes, and a small drop of honey or maple syrup isn't enough to taste, but does help them stay mixed.

The body can only process so much at a given time. Do not consume more than the Recommended Ideal Amounts in a day.


The rule of thumb is to use a smaller amount of oils, more frequently. One to two drops of oil every 20-30 minutes is best for acute conditions like stomach flu, food poisoning, or a sprained ankle. One to two drops every 1-2 hours is best for other conditions like cold & flu, exhaustion. For chronic conditions, one to two drops every 2-4 hours will be a reasonable course of action to support the body.


Sometimes, we aren't sure of the underlying conditions for the symptoms we're trying to address. Keep researching, reading and learning about the symptoms and what their underlying causes might be. It will help you assess and re-assess what oils could best support you.

One of my favourite resources, The Essential Life book, has a ton of information on what oils are used for what conditions, as well as the body systems linked to the symptoms and conditions.

It's well worth the cost of the book, as it is backed by hundreds and hundreds of scientific references within it's pages. Again, not bloggers dolling out health advice. It is actually the source for this article, and where I'm getting these recommendations from.


Since essential oils are messenger molecules and work chemically with the body, the depend on a network of resources within the body to help them get their work done.

If the body is void of necessary nutrition, the powerful potential of the oils are limited.

If you're not already rocking out a healthy lifestyle, backed with the highest quality supplements, consider adding these to your daily routine. You'll feel better overall, AND you'll find your oils are working better, since they will have the ample resources needed to help heal the body.


Assessing your own patterns of self-care as well as your lifestyle is a crucial component in assessing the efficacy of any therapeutic support. Weak spots in any of the pillars of health - nutrition, sleep, exercise, stress management, toxic load, and proactive health care practices - may be overriding the benefits essential oils can provide, since the demands of the body may simply be too high.

"Oils can make up for a 'myriad of sins', but lifestyle has a significant impact on the results you experience."

Read more in depth and educational information on essential oils in The Essential Life, in my opinion one of the finest resources on essential oils that exists today. (It's actually far more detailed and comprehensive than my entire Aromatherapy Course!)

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