Essential Oil Safety For Athletes

Why I Chose Young Living?

I chose the Young Living brand, because their Seed to Seal production of essential oils provides a quality product that my family can safely diffuse, apply topically or ingest*.  Young Living will NEVER compromise their Seed to Seal quality promise.  They would rather be in short supply of a given plant/oil than to market an inferior product. 
*Not all essential oils can be ingested.  Please make sure to read the directions on each bottle before using them internally.

Oil Usage and Safety

The information on this page ONLY applies to Young Living essential oils, which are therapeutic-grade essential oils.  These tips are aimed towards athletes that are 12 years-old or older.  Essential oils can be safely used on children under the age of 12, but most Certified Athletic Trainers and other Sports Medicine professionals work with middle school-aged athletes or older. This list is not all-inclusive, please see a reference guide for more information! 
Ways to Use Essential Oils With Athletes 12 years-old & Older:
Topically Young Living essential oils can be applied topically to the skin.  Some oils require dilution with a carrier oil before rubbing them on the skin, such as coconut oil, olive oil, or Young Living’s V-6 blend.  You can apply some oils neat (athletes 18 years-old or older), which means without diluting.  Consult a reference guide to see the recommended dilution for a particular essential oil (Johnson, 2015)**.
Aromatically – Young Living essential oils can be inhaled from the bottle or diffused in the air with a diffuser.  They can also be dropped on a cotton ball or wet cloth and inhaled. 
Internally – Because Young Living essential oils are therapeutic-grade, many of them can be used internally or taken orally as a dietary supplement.  Young Living's Vitality line of essential oils are the ones that are safe for internal use. ALWAYS read the bottle to see if a specific oil is safe for internal use.  NEVER use a lesser-quality brand of oil internally (the bottle of another brand usually says “Not for internal use!”). Consult your doctor before having children take essential oils orally.  As a Certified Athletic Trainer, I do not personally give any oral supplement to my athletes.  If the athlete is a minor, it is up to their parents or guardians to decide.  If the athlete is out of high school, it is then their personal decision.
 Oil Safety
  1. The body absorbs oil the fastest through inhalation (breathing) and the second fastest through topical application.  Never drop essential oil directly into the ears.
  2. Use extreme caution when diffusing cinnamon bark because it can burn your nostrils if you inhale it directly from the diffuser.
  3. Do not use peppermint, rosemary, and eucalyptus topically or diffused near children under the age of five, and wintergreen under the age of twelve.  There a have been a few reported cases of children having adverse effects to these particular essential oils (Johnson, 2015)**. 
  4. Place your essential oils in a safe place, out of reach from young children.  Fatalities have occurred in young children consuming as little as 4-ml of wintergreen essential oil.  Wintergreen comes in 5-ml bottles (Johnson, 2015)**. 
  5. Keep oils away from light and heat (over 90 degrees).  They can maintain their maximum potency for many years if stored properly. 
  6. When applying essential oils topically, start with 1 drop of essential oil diluted with a 1/2-teaspoon of carrier oil (such as fractionated coconut oil or Young Living’s V-6).  This is a 1.5% dilution.  Remember, sometimes less is more with essential oils!  Twenty percent dilutions (15 drops essential oil to a 1/2-teaspoon of carrier oil) may be used with 12-17 year-olds, and neat applications (no carrier oil) with athletes 18 years old or older, but I recommend starting with 1 drop to avoid skin sensitivity and to save money.  Why add 15 drops of essential oil if one drop provides the same therapeutic effect? I recommend getting a good reference book that shows the recommended dilution for each individual essential oil (Johnson, 2015)**.
  7. Essential oils can be added to epsom salt & added to baths, foot soaks & whirlpool treatments.  The oil will mix with water when it binds to the salt.  Without salt, the essential oil will float on the water.
  8. Essential oils are NOT water-soluble, they are oil-soluble.  If an oil gets in your eyes or begins to burn your skin a little, DO NOT try to remove the oil with water – it will only drive it in deeper.  Use a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or Young Living’s V-6, to dilute an oil if you have used too much.
  9. When using essential oils over muscles and tendons, you can use hydrocollator heat pads or a warm wet cloth as a compress to drive oils deeper.  Wait a few minutes before applying the warm compress. Remove when the cloth is cool.
  10. Athletes with epilepsy or taking anti-seizure medications should avoid using the following essential oils:  eucalyptus, fennel, rosemary, wintergreen, hyssop, sage, tansy and any other essential oil blends or supplements that contain these essential oils (Johnson, 2015)**.  
  11. Athletes with epilepsy or taking anti-seizure medications should avoid the following carrier oils:  evening primrose and borage oils (Johnson, 2015)**.
  12. Some oils are photosensitive, meaning they should not be used on your skin before exposure to direct sunlight or UV rays.  Using a photosensitive oil prior to sunlight or UV exposure could lead to pigmentation changes or rashes or cause your skin to burn.  Photosensitive oils include lemon, orange, grapefruit, mandarin, bergamot, angelica, lime, ginger, tangerine and some other citrus oils (Johnson, 2015)**
  13. These essential oils should be avoided with all 3 methods of application (topically, aromatically & internally) during pregnancy and nursing: blue cypress, carrot, clove, clary sage, fennel, hyssop, sage, myrrh, oregano,  tansy, tarragon, wintergreen and any other essential oil blends or supplements that contain these essential oils (Johnson, 2015)**.       
  14. Athletes taking medications for diabetes should talk to their doctor or pharmacist before ingesting essential oils or supplements that contain essential oils.  Here are some common ones to avoid: Basil, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, fennel, geranium, lemongrass, myrtle, oregano, and any other essential oil blends or supplements that contain these essential oils (Johnson, 2015)**.  
  15. Use caution when setting a bottle of oil on a painted surface – if oil gets on the paint, the paint may dissolve right off!
  16. A 15ml bottle of oil contains about 250 drops; a 5ml bottle contains about 80 drops.


These are the resources I have personally used to learn about the uses of essential oils.
1. Young Living's Essential Oil Safety Guide 
2. Evidence-based Essential Oil Therapy: The Ultimate Guide to the Therapeutic and Clinical Application of Essential Oils  by Dr. Scott A. Johnson.**  

3. PubMed's website is a great place to look up published studies on a particular oil.  If, for instance, you want to see what studies have been done on Oregano Oil, you can type that in the search box to pull up related studies.
        ** My opinion is not for sale, but in some cases on products I already like, I receive compensation for links in my articles through affiliate arrangements.


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