Essential oils can offer a valuable contribution to any health and wellness plan – directly impacting both your mental and physical well-being. With a wealth of important properties, essential oils provide relief from a range of symptoms, ease tension and anxiety, elevate mood, and even enhance cognition.
Each oil will offer different effects, depending on the way they are used. But all oils can be used as an alternative, natural treatment for a variety of health concerns.
Once you know which oils will work best for you, ensure you’re purchasing pure oils that are labelled therapeutic or medical grade – this means you will achieve the greatest benefit for your investment. Then, you’ll need to decide how to use your new oils. This guide will help you better understand the range of methods you can apply to take advantage of the healing power of essential oils.
Inhalation of essential oils
This is one of the quickest, easiest ways to access the benefits of essential oils, as you can easily inhale the aroma of these products any time, any place. The substance passes through your nasal passages to your lungs, where the inhaled molecules can be transported throughout your body, in your blood.
Steam enhances this effect, which is why people will frequently use aromatherapy in a sauna, steam shower, or bath.
This can provide effective treatment of a number of health issues, including insomnia, respiratory congestion, sinus infections, and even emotional concerns like grief, anxiety, depression, or hyperactivity.
- Direct inhalation: remove the cap and waft the scent of the oil directly under your nose, inhaling deeply to pull the aroma into your body. Citrus or peppermint scents can be a great pick-me-up during a long day at work.
- Diffusion: using a diffusing necklace, aroma diffuser, or even just a cotton ball, add a few drops of essential oil and allow the scent to permeate the air. Put a drop or two of vetiver or lavender on your pillow to promote restful sleep.
- Steam inhalation: if you don’t have access to a sauna or steam shower, you can just add a few drops of oil to a bowl of hot water, hold your head above the bowl with a towel draped over top, and breathe in the aromatherapy steam. Keep your eyes closed during this process, as some oils may irritate your eyes.
Topical application of essential oils
This method of using oils is a bit trickier, but is still a simple, natural way to benefit your health and wellness. You’ll want to apply oils this way to treat specific conditions, like treating a wound or burn, or healing a rash or blemishes. This is also appropriate for a massage, where you can rub the oil into your skin to relax tense muscles and promote a feeling of calm.
For topical applications, you’ll need to mix a few drops of essential oil with a carrier oil, like coconut oil, almond oil, or jojoba oil. Depending on the sensitivity of your skin, you may notice a reaction, so pay attention to each use and dilute more if necessary, or try using a different type of oil.
These can be applied in a variety of ways.
- Compresses: soak a towel or cloth in cool water with a few drops of oil to create a cold compress, or wrap the towel around a hot water bottle for a warm compress. This is a very effective way to treat chronic pain or sore muscles.
- Bathing: add a few drops of oil to a warm bath before soaking in the diluted oil. A carrier oil will help disperse the essential oil throughout the water.
- Massage: mixed with a carrier oil, use an essential oil to massage the body or just a particular muscle group. This is one of the most enjoyable ways to use essential oils, as it promotes deep relaxation and helps address a number of health concerns.
- Over a specific area: apply diluted oils to areas of concern on the body – feet, chest, back of the neck, abdomen, or to a wound, burn, or blemish. You can also apply oils to the body’s many energy centres or reflex points.
Internal application of essential oils
While there are certain oils that can provide health benefits when used internally, it is difficult to know what a safe dosage would be. Some people take a drop or two of oil for a specific health benefit, but each person processes active ingredients in different ways – what works for one person may not work for another.
Generally, the ingestion of essential oils is only recommended with the supervision of a health care professional. You can use oils internally for things like gargling or rinsing your mouth, but never swallow oils unless you’ve discussed it with a licensed practitioner.
This article is written by Nina Wells. Nina is a guest author from Steam Shower Store and is a respected and expert voice in a plethora of health related subjects with over 10 years of writing under her belt.