I’m fully aware of the fact that I’m about to sound like an infomercial right now, so let’s get right to it, shall we? Just in case you haven’t been made aware yet, oils are the end-all-be-all of holistic beauty and wellness, and if you don’t believe me, take it from celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow, Kelly Clarkson, and Jenna Dewan Tatum, who swear these vials really are, ahem, essential. Depending on what you use them for, there are all kinds of ways to apply the liquids to your body for optimal benefits, but using essential oils on your feet might actually be the most effective strategy.
Now, this might be a sensitive subject, seeing as how a lot of people (myself included) can get pretty skeeved out when it comes to feet, including their own, but the fact is, our soles are a sweet spot for essential oil absorption.
Of course, if you already have a gorgeous diffuser next to your office desk or on your bedside table, I am in no way advising you to toss it. I’m simply relying a helpful piece of information that could a) save you some hard-earned dollars if you haven’t splurged on one of these devices and b) offer you an alternative method if you’ve tried essential oils before but the experience was underwhelming. I promise you, essential oils are worth the hype; you just have to figure out the best way to utilize them.
Massaging essential oil into the bottoms of your feet is so effective because your soles are key absorption points.
According to The Alternative Daily, our feet are home to some of the largest pores on our body. It is because these openings are so large that essential oils are able to quickly pass through layers of skin and release their benefits into the body more efficiently that way than, say, if you were to apply them to your palms.
What’s more, the bottoms of our feet aren’t as sensitive as other parts of our bodies because they have to endure more on a daily basis. When you think about how much time you spend on your feet between standing around to chat with co-workers in passing, walking to class, to your car, running to catch a train, exercise, etc., it’s no wonder our soles are strong enough to take in undiluted oils as well.
The act of massaging the oils into your feet could be another reason why this method is so effective.
Who doesn’t love a deep foot massage after a long, trying day? Well, besides all of you who hate touching or having someone else touch your feet. I digress.
Giving your body a little extra TLC by applying pressure to areas like the feet, hands, and ears is referred to as reflexology, and is meant to relax the body and alleviate stress. This might be why during a yoga practice your instructor will have you massage your soles or palms. Add an essential oil like lavender or frankincense to the mix and you might be on to something deliciously soothing.
You see, massaging essential oils into the bottoms of your feet is more than a slippery rub down; it's a gateway for the oil's benefits to spread to other parts of your body as well. Mayo Clinic reports that studies sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health found that reflexology could "reduce pain and psychological symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and enhance relaxation and sleep," due to the fact that every one of our nerve linings end in our footing. Interesting, right?
Rubbing essential oils on your feet can offer many benefits from helping you sleep better at night, to making your soles smell good.
My editor recently tested essential oils to help her sleep at night, and because she hadn't received her diffuser just yet, she opted to rub a few drops into the bottoms of her feet. She described the experience as "the kind of sleep where your body almost feels paralyzed when you wake up the next morning." It was the "most well rested" she'd felt in months. Coincidence? I think not. In fact, Trudy Collings of Paavani Ayurveda told Well + Good that she recommends applying essential oils like lavender, frankincense and Jatamansi to the bottoms of the feet "to keep you healthy."
Of course, essential oils are also just fabulous for feet health in general (your soles need some loving too, you know!). Beverly Gray of Aroma Borealis wrote for Alive.com, sharing that essential oils like tea tree, chamomile, and eucalyptus are brilliant for treating ailments such as infections, inflammations, stank, sweat, and itchy feet.
Like I said, don't ditch your diffuser, and keep applying peppermint oil to your temples to ease an unruly headache. But maybe before bed tonight, try rubbing a few drops of lavender over the soles of your feet and see how you feel come morning. The best part about holistic beauty treatments is testing them out to see if they work for you. If you're not a foot person, no biggie, but you never know — this method could be great for your sole.