As someone that has been using essential oils for years, sometimes it’s hard for me to remember that essential oils can be really overwhelming to figure out how to use in the beginning. There are many ways to use them in every day life, but I specifically want to talk about how to use them for your health.
But first…just in case you were wondering – what is an essential oil?
Well the “smartsy” definition of an essential oil is “a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile (defined as “the tendency of a substance to vaporize”) aroma compounds from plants. Essential oils are also known as volatile oils, ethereal oils, aetherolea, or simply as the oil of the plant from which it is derived.”
I prefer the less smartsy way of simply saying that they are the immune system of plants – a concentrated form of liquid health, if you will.
The therapeutic value of essential oils varies greatly depending on a varying number of factors, such as the quality of the method of extraction (which is usually done by a steam extraction method), the timing during which the plant being utilized was grown and harvested, and naturally, the medicinal power that is inherent to the plant itself.
Typically, 100% pure essential oils are the ones that hold therapeutic value for a variety of health benefits. It’s important to stay away from oils that are not therapeutic grade (and even then – watch the warnings and ingredients as many companies will use that term without the oils being true therapeutic grade).
There are numerous methods via which essential oils can be employed into any health benefiting regimen. Here are 5 methods that I recommend and do myself on a daily basis (although there exist more options, these are the 5 that tend to be the most “user friendly” and beneficial for your health).
This method can be achieved through a variety of ways, the most obvious being to simply inhale the vapors from the bottle directly. You can also soak a cotton ball with the oil and leave it in your purse to inhale all day. This can be particularly helpful to pregnant women or any other person experiencing nausea when they inhale a cotton ball soaked with peppermint oil.
Another method is steam inhalation, which involves placing a few drops of oil in a bowl of steaming water, placing a towel over your head and breathing in the vapors that way.
I have done this to help support my lungs and air pathways during the cold and flu season. Peppermint is especially helpful in this method (just be sure to keep your eyes closed – peppermint in the eyes is no fun!).
DIFFUSING THROUGH THE AIR BY NATURAL EVAPORATION
This method is probably my favorite of all of the ways in which essential oils can be employed and involves no electric sockets or other electronic devices. Simply by place 10 – 15 drops of the chosen oil in a bowl of hot water that has been salted with either Epsom salts or sea salt – this helps with the diffusion process throughout the night.
Other ways of achieving this method are by using terra cotta bowls that are designed specifically for diffusing essential oils, or by soaking a cotton ball in the oil of your choice and placing it by your bed overnight (this is probably better for the very pungent or overpowering oils but is not quite as effective as the other natural diffusion methods listed above).
DIRECT SKIN CONTACT
Diluting any chosen essential oil with a carrier oil, such as Jojoba, Coconut, Hemp or Almond oil allows you to apply it directly to the skin without the risk of burns. This method is ideal for massage, or dabbing the blend onto your wrist, neck or other parts of the body.
Diluting with a carrier oil is important as some oils, such as peppermint, wintergreen, cinnamon, lavender, clove and others can cause burns if applied directly to the skin.
Be sure to always dilute until you know how your skin will react!
INDIRECT OR DILUTED SKIN CONTACT
This method is a great option if there are oils that would do best by direct contact but are too powerful when they are not diluted somehow. Placing several drops of any oil in a hot (preferably salted with Epsom salts) bath or into your shower basin provides for an aromatic and healing experience.
Diluting an oil in distilled water in a spray bottle and then spraying on linens, clothes, etc. are both fantastic ways to “gently” receive the beneficial properties of the more potent oils.
I have several bottles of diluted lavender to spray on our linens and freshen up the bathrooms after use.
DIFFUSING WITH ELECTRONIC DEVICES (ie. Diffusers)
I absolutely love my diffusers, and use them daily. We have diffusers for pretty much every room in the house. These devices deliver oil through electric diffusers that work in your home, office or car, and there are even diffusers that work via USB ports.
Pretty cool, huh?
If you haven’t yet and want to know more about how to get started using essential oils, be sure to download my free Essential Oils Guide for Beginners here.
What is your favorite day to use essential oils for your health? I’d love to hear!
Much love as always,