Detoxing With Essential Oils: What You Need to Know

Do you want to have more energy, improve your digestion, or sleep better? These are just a few reasons why people embark on a detox. Detoxing, the practice of ridding ourselves of emotional and physical detritus, is meant to bring us back into balance. From the ancient Ayurvedic panchakarma to today’s infrared sauna, detoxing holds a timeless appeal that stretches across cultures. Today there are a variety of detox protocols available, with many levels of intensity. Pure essential oils, whether used aromatically, topically, or internally, offer an easy, effective, and pleasant way to cleanse and heal. I recently spoke to Joyce Rockwood, CCH, a colon hydrotherapist and essential oil educator and distributor, about the basics of using essential oils to detox. 


SL: It’s great to talk with you, Joyce. As someone who has been working with detox protocols for 20 years, I know you have a lot of great information to share. Let’s start at the beginning. Why should people detox? 

JR: Our bodies are already detoxing every single day in order to maintain wellness. We urinate, sweat, pass wind, defecate, lose hair, and our skin sloughs. People can introduce special types of detoxification protocols at different times of the year in order to go beyond what the body is already doing. Think of it like cleaning your carpet. You might vacuum everyday but you also deep clean from time to time. 


SL: How will the body express itself when in need of a detox? 

JR: Detox expressions vary depending on the individual. We’re all so unique. We each have our own biochemical imprint and disposition, and each body is wired to express itself differently. Some common signs include digestive upset such as gas and bloating; chest congestion; head tension; skin issues like dryness, pimples, rashes, and discolorations; weakened immunity; poor sleep patterns; constipation and diarrhea; lethargy; and mood swings often expressed as impatience. Sometimes despite eating well and exercising regularly, people just don’t feel healthy or energized. 

SL: What are the advantages of using essential oils to detox?

JR: Not all brands of essential oils are created equally. I only use certified pure therapeutic grade, or CPTG, essential oils. They’re natural, safe, effective, and third party tested. This special grade is considered the purest we can work with. Essential oils are pure plant extracts that are distilled directly from different parts of the plant: the bark, stem, leaf, root, or flower. They serve the plant by protecting it in its environment, or attracting bugs and insects that protect it. Oils can be used by people for the same reasons, to protect against pathogens and bacteria, or as a mode of attraction, as in love! The body pairs beautifully with them, like two puzzle pieces conjoining, because they’re a carbon-based life form, just like we are. They’re very nourishing; the body absorbs them as food. They’re non-addictive and don’t create resistance in the body. You won’t need an increasing amount of them over time; if anything, you might need less because they bring the body into balance. As a point of reference, one drop of essential oil has 40 quintillion molecules. This means they’re incredibly complex and capable of penetrating the cell membrane, addressing cellular function, and impacting the human genome.


SL: For someone who is generally healthy and just wants a quick detox, which essential oils do you recommend?

JR: Essential oils are very detoxifying in general. I work with people individually for the most part because it’s important to take personal factors into consideration in order to avoid unexpected responses. I recommend starting slowly with them. One of the easiest oils to begin with is lemon. It’s a familiar flavor and can be taken internally if it’s CPTG oil. Please note: I don’t recommend anyone ingest essential oils that are not third party tested, or not CPTG. Whether we’re using essential oils aromatically, topically, or internally, we must know that they’ve been tested for safe use. Lemon essential oil is cold pressed from the rind. It’s very alkalizing and can gently assist the liver to reduce unhealthy fat and bring the body into balance. This can support healthy cardiovascular function, improve energy and sleep, and reduce bodily aches and pains. Another oil I love working with is peppermint. It supports healthy detoxification of the lungs and sinuses.

I also like frankincense for detoxification. It’s probably the most diverse oil, with a broad spectrum of benefits. It helps reduce head tension, improves brain function, and provides emotional and spiritual support. 

SL: How can we use essential oils to detox?  Does one method—aromatic, topical, or internal—work better over another for detoxification purposes?

JR: We don’t see certified therapeutic pure grade essential oils on store shelves because people wouldn’t receive proper support to work with them successfully that way. While they’re easy to use, proper education is crucial to the results one receives. I provide free coaching to those who are ready to get started with oils and choose to work with me. They’re never on their own to figure it out. There are also a number of books. Modern Essentials, published by AromaTools, is helpful for dosages and applications. Usage and best results really depend on the individual, but I educate all my clients on proper dilution since CPTG oils are about 70% more potent than herbs. Less is more! Some people are very drawn to certain oils aromatically. For people who don’t love the aromatic experience of a particular oil, we can apply it to the soles of feet instead. The soles are a great access point. They have the largest pores on the body, so when an oil is applied there, it circulates into the bloodstream in just 30 seconds and services the organs in about 20 minutes, for truly effective benefits. 


SL: Can you give us some resources to learn more about oils? 

JR: Yes, essential oils are an aromatic science so it’s really important that we obtain information from reliable scientific sources such as PubMed and



Joyce Rockwood, CCH, is a gut health expert, gravity based certified colon hydrotherapist, and doTERRA essential oils educator and distributor. She is a passionate holistic health practitioner, dedicated to presenting an alternative, preventive approach to living a healthy lifestyle and helping clients overcome chronic illness and pain. She has co-owned and operated two successful wellness studios in New York City and was the director of colon hydrotherapy at the Springs in Los Angeles. She consults individually, in groups, and is available for organizational trainings on essential oils. You can find her on Instagram @joyce_rockwoodcch.



All images by Shiraz Leyva