Essential oil in the belly button. Someone posted about this recently and I’ve gotten an onslaught of questions about it. Is it for real?
Short Version: Nope
There isn’t much, if any, research about the efficacy of essential oils in the navel as a treatment for disease. And there isn’t any research about vegetable oils in the belly button as a treatment or remedy either.
During fetal development, the belly button serves as the main artery from the placenta to the fetus, providing blood and oxygen and nutrients. It also serves as the main artery out of the fetus to remove waste. After birth, your belly button generally turns to ligament, serving no real purpose, but the more internal part becomes part of the circulatory system and supplies blood to parts of the bladder, ureters, and ductus deferens.
Belly buttons do not detect dried up veins, as this post said. First, veins do not dry up. Second, the navel doesn’t have detection abilities. It doesn’t signal the body. Placing an essential oil directly in the belly button is not going to revitalize your veins. It’s just not a thing.
Long Version: Around The Navel Is Effective
This particular post made many claims about curing disease and acne, joint pain, dry skin, and other concerns, using essential oils or carrier oils like mustard oil in the belly button.
There is some research about transdermal absorption of testosterone at the navel area. They found that there was a greater absorption rate and greater system bioavailability than when applied to the forearm. Meaning, it was absorbed more quickly and became available in the bloodstream for the body to use faster than application on the forearm. Given that this research discusses the navel area, to me, this doesn’t mean directly in the belly button itself but rather on the skin surrounding the area. However, this is an indication that the navel area provides greater absorption in general.
Testosterone, however, is obviously very chemically different than an essential oil. But we do know that essential oils are absorbed through the skin — about 5%. Placing essential oil around the navel is effective because of this dermal absorption. Directly using the belly button isn’t likely to do much, but applying on the skin around the navel is effective. Sloppy application at the belly button may be a reason why some individuals experience changes in the body.
Applying essential oils on the abdomen in a clockwise motion, around the navel area, is one of the best ways to use essential oils like ginger, peppermint, tangerine, orange, fennel, anise for indigestion, bloating, cramping, nausea.
Second: But the Navel Isn’t Effective For Acne or Joints
The post originally spoke of using the belly button to “cure” acne and joint pain. It doesn’t make sense to me that if your knee is hurting you would place peppermint oil for pain relief in your belly button. Why wouldn’t you apply the essential oil on the location where there’s pain? Essential oils do influence nerves and can relieve pain, but they are best applied right on location.
Additionally, acne is the presence of bacteria on the skin. The bacteria needs to be eradicated locally. Certainly, stress, anxiety, diet, makeup, hormones, and other factors can influence acne, but putting essential oils in the belly button seems unlikely to help acne on the face.
Alternative Healing Practice
Using the belly button as a means for treatment is mainly an Ayurvedic practice. It’s called the Pechoti method, and “buttoning” in other holistic treatments. Traditional techniques that have been around since ancient times should not be disregarded. However, in terms of science, it is mostly a mythical practice.
Chakra work is another practice that uses the belly button. Chakras are energy centers in the body. The Manipura chakra is right around the belly button and the Sacral chakra is just beneath. These chakras are believed to be energy centers connected to systems and organs. Using essential oils could be beneficial to balance those energy centers.
The science world has researched and documented the energy systems in the body. As for the Pechoti method, it could be the placebo effect. People like to scoff at the placebo effect, but the reality is that the placebo effect is powerful. It is the mind’s unique ability and power to bring healing just by believing a method works.
- Putting a drop of essential oil in your belly button is not a treatment, especially for joint pain or acne.
- Veins do not dry up. Putting essential oil in your belly is not going to revitalize them. It’s not a thing.
- Applying essential oils to the abdomen, around the navel is effective. This is simply the science of absorbing essential oils through the skin. Use this method for indigestion, cramping, bloating, nausea, upset stomach.
Chien. Yie. W, Navel Absorption: Transdermal Bioavailability of Testosterone. Controlled Drug Delivery Research Center Rutgers University College of Pharmacy Busch Campus Piscataway, NJ 08854
Bode, Ann M. and Zigang Dong. The Amazing and Mighty Ginger. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd Edition. Boca Raton, CRC Press/Taylor & Francis. 2011