Essential oils have been used for thousands of years for their health, cosmetic, and emotionally uplifting properties. If you have never tried essential oils before, you might be surprised to discover the many different benefits they provide and the multitude of ways they can be used.
Inhalation and Diffusing
The aromatherapeutic uses of essential oils goes far beyond simply smelling something pleasant. Adding a standard dose of 10 drops of certain oils on hot compresses, in diffusers, or in hot water for inhalation can help with respiratory problems, sinus discomfort, and headaches. For quick relief, wave an open bottle of essential oil under your nose or dab a drop of oil on your hands and cup them around your nose. Keep in mind that overexposure to inhalation of essential oils can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, and lethargy.
Diffusing essential oils will give you the same benefits of inhalation. Candle diffusers are easy to use and provide a light background fragrance, rather than a strong concentration of oil that provides therapeutic benefits. Electric heat diffusers, which are also easy to use, allow the aromatic compounds to evaporate into the air. However, heat damages some of these compounds, so that is something to take into consideration when choosing your diffusing method. You also have the option of using a cool nebulizing diffuser, which will give you the strongest diffusion of the oil, maximizing the therapeutic benefits.
To soothe your body and relax your mind, add essential oils to your bathwater. The best way to avoid irritation and ensure the oil disperses evenly is to first mix about 5-10 drops of the oils with salts or dilute the oil in an emulsifier, like carrier oil, milk, or even a bit of shampoo (½-1 cup should be enough). Aromatic baths are great for relaxation and stress, insomnia, skin problems, aches and pains, cramps, circulatory problems, and respiratory issues. As with inhalation, overuse of essential oils in the bath can cause irritation, so use mild, non-irritating oils for baths, such as lavender, rose, pine, and sandalwood.
Soak a cloth in a mixture of 4 oz. hot water and 10 drops essential oil, and compress directly onto bruises, wounds, achy muscles, and other skin related problems for soothing relief. Eucalyptus, lavender, ginger, rosemary, peppermint, and chamomile are just a few examples of oils that are best suited for compresses.
Facial steaming is an excellent way to clear sinus pressure and relief headaches (try peppermint or chamomile essential oil), treat skin problems (tea tree oil or frankincense are good options), and overall clear your mind of anxiety and tension. Boil a pot of water, add 1-5 drops of essential oil, cover your head with a towel and steam your face.
Paired with the tension-relieving hands of a massage therapist, essential oils add an extra touch of soothing properties to relax your physical and emotional well-being. Because pure essential oils have such a strong concentration, it is important to dilute the oil for massage purposes.