Methods for Using Essential Oils & Blends
Each essential oil has its own unique properties and benefits. Used individually they can be very effective, but when blended with two or more complementary oils, their combined effect is more powerful than that of each individual oil. This is what is commonly known as a "synergistic blend." Depending on the desired results, either inhalation or direct application is suitable.
Direct application is good for the physical body and will help with things like pain management, circulation, digestion, relaxation, and skin conditions. When applied by a professional massage therapist, benefits can be deep and long lasting. Essential oils can also be effectively used in massage therapy to release emotional blockages.
For inhalation, there are a couple of methods commonly employed to dispense the essential oils, including hot and cold diffusion, misters, hot baths or inhalers. A diffuser or mister quickly fragrances the air and is excellent for scenting a room to enhance mood, aid in respiration, increase alertness, or clear out unwanted odors.
Diffusers - There are several ways to diffuse essential oils into the air, including light bulb rings (metal or ceramic), aroma lamps (or potpourri burners), electric (heat-based) diffusers, electric (cold, fan-based) diffusers, nebulizing (cold, forced-air) diffusers, and mist sprays (or misters). Nebulizing diffusers are by far the most effective (and most expensive) method, forcing the essential oils' aromatic molecules into the air in a fine, barely discernible mist. Light bulb rings are the least effective (and probably the least expensive) method.
Misters are a convenient and inexpensive way to diffuse aromatic vapors into the air. Essential oils are combined with distilled water in a misting bottle, then sprayed above the head (so the mist falls in front of your face).
Inhalers - You can make an inhaler by placing your essential oil blend alone or combined with epsom or dead sea salts, in a small glass bottle with a wide mouth and slowly inhaling the vapors 15 to 20 times for maximum effect. You can also place a couple of drops of oil on a hankie, tissue, or wad of cotton and use that as a temporary inhaler as well.
Bath - Soaking in a tub of hot water filled with the fragrance of essential oils is such a wonderful and restorative experience. Aromatic baths offer an opportunity to escape from the hectic pace of life and forget our troubles for a little while. The best method is to add a few drops of your favorite oil or blend to a handful of epsom salts or baking soda (i.e. a half a cup) and disperse in the bath. Epsom salts help ease aching muscles as well as soften your skin while you soak!
Another way you can enjoy aromatherapy in the bath is by adding essential oils to an unscented liquid soap or shower gel base (castille soap is recommended) and use it to cleanse yourself in the shower. And of course, you can use essential oils in various body care products including powders, lotions, creams, balms, deodorants, mouthwashes, and breath fresheners.
Try it for yourself
I personally use aromatherapy and love it. If you have never tried it, here is a great opportunity to give it a try. Ellen Huggett is a Certified Aromatherapist and Reflexologist who lives in Kamloops and specializes in essential oils. She has lots of aromatherapy recipes and would love to answer any questions you might have about aromatherapy, as well as other forms, of holistic therapy. Here's to good health and well being.