How to use Essential Oils

How to use Essential Oils

Essential oils have been used for centuries for treating a variety of ailments and also for spiritual and religious reasons. In recent years there has been a big increase in interest in Aromatherapy and essential oils, probably due to the fact the oils are natural and contain no artificial chemicals.

For a newcomer who is trying to learn how to use essential oils, it can seem rather daunting and confusing as to where to start and how to use essential oils safely and effectively. It should be mentioned at this point that safety is important with essential oil usage. A single drop of oil contains a powerful mix of constituents and it is wise to know some basic information about each oil before you start using them.

Here is a simple guide to highlight some of the most popular methods of using essential oils with some tips and tricks along the way:

Oil diffusers, vaporizers and burners

By using essential oils via one of these methods, you can release the aroma and health benefits of an oil into the air around you. You can use this method to refresh a stale smelling room, to clear tobacco odours or to create a positive and uplifting atmosphere in any room. Some essential oils have natural antiseptic properties so you can use these in a diffuser or burner to help combat any airborne germs or bacteria.

There are a variety of devices you can choose from depending on your budget and requirements. The cheapest option is a traditional oil burner, where you put water and a few drops of your chosen oils in the top and then a tea light candle goes underneath to warm and vaporize the oil. One of the main disadvantages of this method is that you have to keep an eye on it to make sure the water does not dry out and of course not leave a naked flame unattended. However it is a cheap and simple method of utilizing essential oils.

More modern electrical appliances can control the temperature better and the latest models of oil diffusers do not use heat to disperse the oils, which produces a better representation of the essential oil.

Massage

Using essential oils in massage is a fabulous way to benefit from the natural goodness the oils provide. This can include their healing properties as well as imparting a feeling of relaxation or stimulation depending on which oils are used.

An aromatherapy massage using essential oils can stimulate all parts of the body including the skin, organs, muscles and glands. It can help to promote healing in problem areas and can be soothing to troublesome areas of the body.

Essential oils should be diluted with a carrier oil before using in massage as they are very concentrated and in most cases caution should be taken with regards to applying them directly to the skin. As a general guideline you can dilute around 5-6 drops of essential oil with 10ml of a carrier oil – or another alternative is to use a plain lotion or body cream to act as the diluting carrier.

Steam inhalation

This is a simple method of enjoying the benefits of essential oils that you can do at home and is particularly good for any respiratory problems. Just fill a bowl with very hot water (not boiling) and add 4 or 5 drops of your chosen oil or blend to it. Lean over the bowl with your eyes closed and breathe in and out in a controlled way for 2 or 3 minutes, drawing the vapours deeply into your nostrils. It’s best to put a towel over your head which covers the bowl also to create a confined space so you can benefit fully from the vapour.

Be a little cautious if you suffer from broken capillaries (thread veins) on your face as steam can exacerbate the issue. In this case it might be best to either limit the time of the session to one minute, or consider not to use steam inhalation at all.

Some of the most effective essential oils for relieving the symptoms of cold and flu and also any congestion are Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Pine and Frankincense.

Topical application

You should always be cautious about applying essential oils directly to the skin without diluting them first. However there are some oils that are generally considered to be safe to apply directly to the skin in small quantities.

One of the best examples is Lavender essential oil. Due to its many healing and antiseptic properties, it can be used directly on the skin to treat and soothe a number of complaints. It is helpful for healing minor burns on the skin as well as calming skin breakouts and pimples.

Bathing and Foot Soak

One of the simplest methods to enjoy Aromatherapy and essential oils is to add some oils of your choice to a warm bath. As you lie in the bath and soak you will be breathing in the vapours from the oils as well as enjoying the benefits of them absorbing into your skin.

At the end of a long hard day, there’s nothing better than a nice long soak in a warm bath to relax and unwind. Essential oils that promote relaxation include Lavender, Ylang Ylang, Rose and Chamomile. As a general rule of thumb, use around 8 – 10 drops of your chosen oils in a deep bath.

If you’re a morning bather and prefer a concoction to give you some get up and go!....it’s better to choose more uplifting and invigorating essential oils such as Rosemary, Lemongrass or Basil.

Oils from the citrus family such as Lemon, Tangerine and Orange should be treated with caution before adding to a bath as they can be irritating to sensitive skins.

Using essential oils in a foot soak is another great way of enjoying the benefits. If you’ve had a long day on your feet and want to relax and unwind then a warm foot bath with some essential oils added that promote relaxation is a great choice. Soothing oils that can be used include Lavender, Marjoram or Geranium. Generally for a foot soak in a large bowl or tub of water you would use around 2 or 3 drops of your chosen oils.

If you want a more antibacterial foot soak perhaps to combat smelly feet!...you can use a few drops of Tea Tree oil as well as Peppermint oil. This will help combat the bacteria on your feet, that can cause the pongs and afterwards your feet will smell a lot better too!