Essential Oils and How To Use Them
I feel the best way to familiarize yourself with essential oils is to experience them directly. Most health food stores have an aromatherapy section and many companies have testers available for the customer to sample. Choose a line of oils that are pure essential oils and not fragrant oils. The label will clearly say pure essential oil. When smelling the essential oils directly from the bottle, keep in mind that you are experiencing the pure, undiluted oil, so it may smell somewhat overpowering.
I like to buy organic oils whenever I can. I personally like the Aura Cacia® organic line of oils. They are of high quality and very affordable. I recommend buying a good aromatherapy beginner’s book and a small starter kit to start with. Learn and study the properties and applications of each essential oil individually. Go slow and enjoy.
The following are the basic oils I would suggest to get started:
• Clary Sage
• Eucalyptus Geranium
• Lavender Lemon
• Tea tree
*Expensive, heavenly, exotic and definitely worth it!
Applications and Uses for Essential Oil
To use in a massage create a 2% dilution by diluting two drops of essential oil per tsp of carrier oil for the body, or 1 drop of essential oil per tsp of carrier oil for the face.
Run a bath and add 5 to 10 drops of your favorite oils in a small amount of liquid soap or powdered milk just before you get in. Swish the water well. As a rule of thumb it is best to use the smallest quantity to begin and add more as you go to reach the desired effect.
(Caution: avoid using peppermint, orange, basil, black pepper, grapefruit or lemon verbena in a bath as they can be irritating to sensitive skin).
A foot bath is a wonderful and warming way to ward off the effects of being chilled, restore aching, tired feet or soothe a nagging headache. Fill a foot bath with hand-hot water, add ½ cup Epsom salts and 5 to 6 drops of essential oil of choice and steep the feet for 15 minutes. Follow with a slow thorough foot massage or reflexology treatment.
Inhalations using essential oils are very effective ways to treat congestion due to colds and flues as well as chronic sinus congestion. Fill a basin with very hot water and add 4 to 5 drops of decongestant oils such as peppermint, eucalyptus or tea tree and cover the head with a towel and inhale deeply. Asthmatics should avoid steam inhalation with essential oils in too high a concentration because it can trigger an asthma attack.
Diffusing essential oils is an effective and very pleasant way to disperse essential oils into the home or work environment. There are professional electric diffusers or less costly ones that plug in or heated with a candle. Look for diffusers at a health food store or aromatherapy shop. If choosing one that uses a candle, always use a pure beeswax tea light and never leave it unattended. Fill the well with water and add 20 drops of your favorite oils and enjoy.
Diffusing oils is a great way to create a wonderful ambiance at home during the holidays or special occasions. It is also a very effective way to safeguard your home during cold and flu seasons since many of the oils are anti-viral and anti-bacterial. You can also use a diffuser in a person’s sick room to help with colds and congestion.
I always carry a small vial of pure essential oils with me in my handbag. I blend tea tree, eucalyptus, lavender and lemon in equal proportions and add a few drops to a tissue and inhale it when I fly or add a drop or two to hand cream to sanitize my hands after washing them during the flight. It’s a great way to disinfect your hands naturally and it smells so good too!
Add 5 to 10 drops of essential oil to a clean vacuum cleaner bag. Lavender, orange, grapefruit and geranium are some of my favorites. They are very refreshing and make the house smell clean without using toxic commercial air fresheners to do the job.
I also like to add 10 drops of tea tree oil to a freshly cleaned toilet bowl. Let stand a few hours before using.
I love aromatherapy in my car too! I have a car diffuser that plugs into my lighter. If you have a stressful commute to work aromatherapy can quell anxious moments to and from the office. If you feel sleepy add a few drops of peppermint and rosemary. If uptight and angry while stuck in traffic a little lavender and orange will take the edge off. Works well for crying children too!
You can also purchase non aerosol pure citrus essential oil sprays. I love the grapefruit and orange varieties.