Using Essential Oils

One of the many advantages of essential oils is the wide variety of ways in which you can use them.  All essential oils enter the body primarily in three ways—applied to the skin, inhaled, or ingested.  Within each of these, however, there are many different application methods.  For example, if you want to use an oil topically, you can apply the oil using a compress, spray, or massaging it into the skin using a lotion or carrier oil.

When choosing the best method of application, you’ll want to keep in mind the desired effect and the essential oil selected.  It is also important to remember that essential oils are very potent substances and should always be treated with respect.  You should always use caution and be familiar with the oil before using it.  Begin by using a small amount, you can always add more later.  The saying “Less is more” certainly rings true with essential oils.  Believe me, I speak from experience.

 

1.  Direct/Topical Application-  The molecular structure of essential oils are very small, which makes them readily absorbed into the body when applied to the skin.  I use this method of application the most, probably because for me, it’s the most convenient.  With four small children who seem to always want something fixed, it’s so easy to grab an oil and use it.  Using a good carrier oil in conjunction with your essential oil will allow for a more even application, as well as increases the surface area by “carrying” the oil along the surface of the skin.  I especially like using a carrier oil since it allows me to use less of the essential oil and saves me money.

  • Directly on the area of concern.  Drop about a quarter size amount of carrier oil into the palm of your hand.  Add a few drops of essential oil into the carrier oil.  Rub your hands together to mix the carrier and essential oil well.  Apply to the area of concern.  When applying the oil, you can also use acupressure or massage to increase benefits.  My favorite areas to apply oils are the feet, upper chest, throat and neck, temples, and back.
  • In a shampoo or other bath product.  You can make your own homemade bath products or just add a couple drops of oils to your shampoo or body wash.
  • Using a spray.  Use a small spray bottle or plant mister, add the essential oil and shake well.  You can use this for deodorizing a room, cleaning, or making your own bug repellent.
  • In a bath.  Add 2-5 drops (depending on the oil) of essential oils to the bath water.  I love doing this for my kids since most of the time they are too busy to sit still for my to put oils on them.  Bath time is a great way for them to soak up some needed benefits from oils.

 

2.  Inhaled-  In order to understand the benefits of aromatherapy, you should first understand how our sense of smell works.

When a smell enters your nose, it travels up the nasal cavity where it meets with millions of receptor neurons.  These receptors then send an electrical signal first to the olfactory bulb, and then on to the limbic system of the brain, where it processes the smell.  The limbic system is primarily responsible for our emotions, as well as the formation and retrieval of memory.  It’s also  connected to those parts of the brain that control functions of the autonomic nervous system.  The ANS controls all the functions that you don’t have to think about like heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, hormone and stress levels.

This is significant in understanding the impact of aromatherapy since it’s because of this direct connection between our smell and limbic brain that make it possible for the profound effects of essential oils both physically and emotionally.  Because of this direct connection, smell can instantly trigger memories and emotions, as well as bring about powerful physical responses through the entire system.

  • Use a diffuser.  These can be divided into two groups: heated and non-heated.  I use a “Sentsy” type warmer and place a few drops of oil with coconut or almond oil and it works great.  I like the coconut oil better than almond as it has a milder smell.
  • Sniffing.  Put a few drops of oil on a cotton ball and place in a clothes drawer or shoe closet.
  • Inhalation.  One of my favorite ways of using oils!  Place a few drops of essential oils in bowl of hot water.  Place a cotton towel over your head and hang your head over the bowl and inhale deeply.  This is excellent for any sinus infections, allergies, lung congestion, or colds.  You could also do this in the shower.  Just plug the drain and let a couple of inches of water accumulate in the tub.  Place a few drops of oil in the tub and inhale.

 

3.  Ingested-  I have read (and heard) much debate on whether you should or shouldn’t ingest oils.  I personally don’t take my oils internally.  There have been times, however, when I have muscle tested to ingest a specific oil, and I follow that.  But for the most part I have seen wonderful results from using my oils in other ways.

  • Gargle- a couple drops of spearmint in water makes a great mouthwash.  I also do this at the first sign of a sore throat.  I put a 1-2 drops of Deliverance oil in warm water and gargle.
  • Toothbrush- putting a drop or two of oils on a toothbrush is a great way to fight off nasty germs during times of illness.  You can also disinfect brushes by regularly placing them in a cup full of water with oils and letting them soak for a few minutes.

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