Essential Oils - How to Use
In Part 4 of our Introduction to Aromatherapy we are introducing the different methods of use as there are so many ways that you can use and enjoy essential oils and aromatherapy.
Below are some of the main ways to use them, taking note of the precautions mentioned in the last blog post as well as safety and storage instructions.
Please note that this is just a guide and is not a replacement for personalised advice from your aromatherapist or medical practitioner.
This is an excellent way to use essential oils to aid relief from respiratory and sinus issues. Add 2-3 drops in total of essential oil to a bowl of very hot, steaming water. Place a towel over your head and the bowl and inhale the vapour for a few minutes. Ideally this should be done at least twice a day.
Precautions - do not use freshly boiled water, let it cool down first. If using with children then make sure they are supervised at all times.
Air Freshening and Vaporising
This is probably one of the most common ways to use the essential oils. The fragrance can be used to change or create a mood in a room, or purify the sickroom or to help aid restful sleep.
The easiest and most common way to do this is to use an Essential oil burner. These are normally the ceramic ones which are heated using a small tea light candle. They normally come with a deep dish on the top to which you should add some water and then add a few drops of the essential oils to the water. Top up with warm water constantly so the dish does not burn dry. You can also use electric burners and vaporisers. The essential oils do not need to be pre-mixed in a carrier oil first for this method. The smell of the essential oils will change constantly but will most likely need to be refreshed after about half an hour.
To make a room spray, add a few drops of essential oil to a tablespoon of vodka and then add this to the water in a spray gun. Mix well and spray into the atmosphere.
This is probably one of the most well known ways of using essential oils. This is normally offered in a clinic by a fully trained aromatherapist who can blend a bespoke blend for you. However, it's also very easy to do at home.
Blend the essential oils in a carrier or base massage oil to the concentration of between 1% and 2% for an adult. There are just over 20 drops of essential oil to 1ml. This means that to 100ml of base oil, 20-40 drops of essential oil will be added.
For just one massage, pour two teaspoonfuls of base oil on to a saucer and add 2 or 3 drops of the required essential oils.
Cautions - please refer to an aromatherapist or a good aromatherapy book before using this method on children at home. Never ever use the essential oils neat on the skin.
There's nothing quite like a lovely hot bath to soothe and nurture us. Adding essential oils to the bath can benefit us in many different ways. It can be great for physical and mental well-being.
Draw the bath and turn off the taps. Blend up to 5 drops of essential oil(s) in 2 teaspoons of base bath oil or full fat milk before adding to the warm bath and then agitate the water. Foot or hand baths may be prepared using 2-3 drops of essential oil(s) to a bowl of warm water in the same way.
Cautions - Always pre-mix the essential oils in a suitable base before adding to the water. Full fat (not skimmed) milk is best for this, as essential oils are not water soluble but do dissolve in fats and oils. Alcohol/vodka can also be used as a carrier but this can be quite drying on the skin. Never just sprinkle neat essential oils to the surface of the bath.
Compresses are very useful for bruises, aches, cramps, sprains, boils/abscesses etc, and can be either hot or cold.
Add 5-10 drops of essential oil to a tablespoon of vodka and then add to a small bowl of water. Soak a piece of clean cotton cloth or muslin in the water, wring out and lay the cloth on the affected part. Repeat keeping the area warm. You can use cold and hot compresses.
Make Your Own Products
Use essential oils in your own home made products to treat a variety of conditions or for beauty regimes. They can be used as part of a regular home facial in steaming, masks and face massages, or for the body. There are a great number of good books that can give excellent advice about how to make your own products at home.