Essential oils are highly concentrated natural extracts from the leaves, flowers, and stems of plants.
The most common way to use essential oils is to inhale them, both for their amazing scent and their therapeutic properties. But they can also be used in diffusers and humidifiers, as well as diluted with a carrier oil and applied to the skin.
Essential oils have a wide range of medicinal and therapeutic properties. Their antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties make them a useful product in your medicine cabinet.
They have also been shown to promote healthy sleep, relieve headaches, and alleviate pain. In addition, essential oils can improve skin conditions, help treat the common cold, and encourage healthy digestion.
Below we’ll check out some of the ways you can use essential oils, along with their benefits and tips for using them safely.
A diffuser is a device that disperses essential oils into the air. There are several types of essential oil diffusers that you can use for this. For safety reasons, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Popular types of essential oil diffusers include:
- lamp rings
- reed diffuser
The easiest method of inhalation is to open a bottle of pure essential oil and inhale deeply a few times. But don’t let the undiluted oil touch your skin.
For the steam method, you’ll need a bowl of hot water and a towel. Place the bowl on a table and add a few drops of essential oil. Place a towel over your head and the bowl. Close your eyes and deeply inhale the steam for several minutes. Repeat a few times throughout the day.
When you’re dispensing essential oils in the air, consider pregnant or breastfeeding women, children, or pets in your environment. Some essential oils can be dangerous.
This method only requires some type of dry material such as a cotton ball or fabric.
Add a few drops of essential oil to the material. Hold this to your nose and inhale or allow the scent to disperse naturally.
You can add the material to the vents in your car, your shirt collar, or your pillowcase.
You can use essential oils for skincare and massage in a variety of ways. Dilute essential oils with a carrier oil and apply the mixture to your skin. Follow a recipe or your intuition to make a rollerball blend so that you have your favorite combination on hand.
Focus on areas of muscular pain, tightness, and tension. You can also gently rub the oil into pressure points such as your temples, wrists, and third eye. You can also use the oils to massage your feet and place a few drops around your nose.
Another option is to add essential oils to your favorite cosmetic products, such as toners, serums, and muscle rubs. But always take care to dilute the essential oil in a carrier oil first.
While it’s best to store essential oils outside of the bathroom due to heat and humidity, you’ll find a lot of uses for them here. Add a few drops of essential oils to your shampoo, conditioner, and body wash.
To inhale essential oils while you shower, add a few drops to the shower walls and inhale deeply as you shower. Or add a few drops of diluted essential oil to a warm washcloth that can be used for inhalation and to gently exfoliate your body.
Dilute a few drops of essential oils with a carrier oil before adding it to your bathwater. Or use an essential oil salt bath or bubble bath product.
If you choose to add essential oils to your humidifier, check with the manufacturer’s directions. Some ultrasonic humidifier manufacturers do not recommend the use of essential oils.
To use essential oils in a humidifier, add a few drops into the water tank. The oil will naturally vaporize throughout the room. For best results, use a cool mist and clean your humidifier regularly.
The potency and potential risks of essential oils require that you use them with care. Do not take essential oils internally.
People who shouldn’t use essential oils without a doctor’s recommendation include:
- older adults
- children younger than 12
- women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
Also make sure to consider pets in the environment. Some essential oils can be dangerous for pets.
Talk to a doctor before using essential oils if you take any medications or have any health concerns, including high blood pressure, low immunity, or epilepsy.
Speak with a certified aromatherapist if you would like more information about an individual treatment plan. You can search for an aromatherapist with the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy’s online database.
Use a carrier oil
Always mix essential oils with a therapeutic-grade carrier oil. Avoid any oils derived from tree nuts if you have any nut allergies.
Essential oils have the potential to aggravate the skin. Avoid using essential oils near sensitive areas such as the eyes, ears, and mouth. Do not apply them to broken, inflamed, or irritated skin.
You can look out for potential skin allergies by doing a patch test before using any carrier or essential oil. To do a patch test, place a small amount of the diluted oil on your inner wrist or below your ear. Wait 24 hours to see if any irritation occurs.
Certain citrus oils can cause photosensitivity when skin is exposed to sunlight after use. Avoid using on any areas of skin that will be exposed to the sun within 12 hours.
While more research is needed, essential oils have a wealth of proven health benefits. They’re an affordable, versatile, and convenient way to improve your health and quality of life.
You can use them to relieve pain and cramping, improve respiratory health, and heal skin conditions. They also relieve congestion, promote healthy sleep patterns, and boost your mood.
Here are the benefits of some popular essential oils:
Lavender. Lavender oil’s sedative properties make it a useful oil for calming both emotions and physical concerns such as minor skin injuries, cramping, and sinus congestion. It’s also used to relieve headaches, anxiety, and insomnia.
Tea tree. The benefits of tea tree oil far outweigh its strong medicinal scent. This oil is a staple in skincare and helps to treat acne, nail fungus, and warts.
Peppermint. Peppermint oil is a potent oil that’s used in improving respiratory function and relieving sinus congestion. It also has properties that help to improve digestion. The stimulating scent of peppermint may relieve nausea and improve brain function.
Orange. Orange oil may alleviate anxiety and stress. This essential oil may soothe your nervous system and promote healthy lymphatic flow. However, this is a citrus essential oil that can cause burns on the skin when exposed to sunlight.
Lemon. This oil is used for boosting immunity, circulation, and lymphatic flow. Its antibacterial and antiviral properties make it useful in treating skin conditions like bug bites, boils, and pimples. However, like orange oil, lemon oil can cause photo sensitivity on skin.
Essential oils have a variety of health benefits, from skin care to stress relief. The most common way to use essential oils is to inhale them, either directly out of the bottle or by using a diffuser or humidifier.
You can also dilute essential oils with a carrier oil and apply it directly your skin. Or you can get creative and add the mixture to a body wash, shampoo, or bath.
Remember to always use caution with essential oils, especially when you first start trying them. Keep your eye out for any adverse reactions and be mindful of potency.