How to Apply Essential Oils
There are several ways to use essential oils:
You have to dilute essential oils to use them topically or in a bath.
The proper dilution can vary greatly, depending on the degree of sensitivity.
The following guidelines should be adjusted to suit each individual:
Only the very mildest oils should be used.
- Up to 6 months: Use only Lavender or Chamomile Roman. 1-2 drops in 10 ml (2 tsp) of carrier oil.
- 6-12 months: Chamomile Roman, Rose or Lavender, 1-2 drops in 10 ml (2 tsp) of carrier oil.
Use the oils that are safe for babies and these additional oils:
- 1-6 years: Use Neroli, Orange, Tea Tree, 2-3 drops of oil to 10 ml (2 tsp) of carrier oil.
- 7-12 years: Same choice of oils as for an adult, but use 4 drops to a tablespoon of oil.
As a general rule, essential oils should be used in a 2% dilution. That means about 40 to 80 drops to a 4-oz. bottle of carrier oil, or about 10 drops to a tablespoon of oil.
Essential oils are often used in massage and skin care. There is evidence that oils applied to the skin enter the bloodstream. Whether the effect will be calming and cooling, warming and invigorating, toning to the uterus or tonic to the liver depends upon the chemistry of each oil.
The synergy of chemical constituents that nature provides is a grace and a blessing that the modern science of medicine, with its emphasis on reproducing single chemicals, has not been able to duplicate.
Aromatherapy combines very easily and beneficially with any kind of massage. In fact, massage is the most direct method to use aromatherapy in the treatment of acute manifestations of imbalance. Massage is particularly good for treating all stress-related imbalances.
Many massage therapists in the United States and abroad have found that the healing therapy of touch is enhanced by the addition of essential oils. Some massage schools offer classes in aromatherapy.
In addition, many books on aromatherapy include massage techniques. A massage can be relaxing and soothing, stimulating or romantic and intimate, depending on the oils chosen and the kind of massage technique used.
Choose a single oil or make a blend that suits the condition and temperament of the person receiving the massage. Essential oils should always be diluted in a carrier oil for massage:
Carrier Oils are fatty oils made from vegetables and nuts. They are chemically different from essential oils, consisting of almost 100% triglycerides. Generally safe to consume, they are mild to use directly on the skin. Some carrier oils are:
- Sweet Almond - a light, penetrating oil, good for dry skin. Expeller-pressed.
- White Grapeseed - inexpensive, non-irritating to most skin, even allergic types. Solvent extracted.
- Avocado - very nourishing and penetrating, can be added to Sweet Almond to increase its ability to penetrate the skin and to moisturize.
- Jojoba - not really an oil but a wax that has the consistency of oil at room temperature. Excellent for all skin types; expecially good for scalp massage. Makes a good perfume base because it does not spoil.
- Olive - easy to obtain, inexpensive, very nourishing to dry skin. However, it has an aroma of its own.
Compresses are useful in treating local problems like boils, insect bites, headaches, menstrual cramps or sprains. You will need a natural fiber cloth to fit the size of the injury and a container for water. For an infected finger, just a cupful of water is needed. Choose a compress over local massage whenever hot or cold treatment seems to be appropriate.
Fill the container with water. Use hot water for muscular aches and pains, arthritis, infections or menstrual cramps. Use cold water for sprains, migraines or bruises. For a finger-sized compress, add 2 drops of oil to 1\4 cup of water.
To cover a larger area, use 8 drops of oil to 2 cups of water. Agitate well to disperse the oil, lower the cloth slowly into the basin, lightly squeeze out any excess water and lay it on the problem area. Leave on for at least an hour.
A cold compress can have a bag of crushed ice placed on top; a warm compress can be wrapped with warm fabric like wool.
An aromatherapy bath is a treat that can be sensual, relaxing, purifying, invigorating or just fun. Since essential oils do not dissolve in water, it is best to add five to ten drops to a cup of milk, vinegar, oatmeal, honey or liquid soap. The essential oil evaporates quickly, so add it when the tub is full.
A hot aromatic foot bath can ward off a cold, relieve stress and exhaustion or treat specific foot complaints. Add 5 drops to a large basin of water. Soak and relax for 10 minutes.
Inhalation of essential oils is systemic absorption by way of the nasal mucosa and lungs. Inhalation can be used for a variety of purposes. The air quality in your workspace or home can be cleansed and disinfected via essential oils. Inhalation can give you relief from upper respiratory congestion or reduce the effects of stress. Inhalation is another method by which essential oils can influence moods or emotions and relax or stimulate.
However, not all essential oils can be used for inhalation. Some are too caustic to the tender tissues of the nasal passages and lungs. This method of application is contraindicated for asthmatics and those with respiratory allergies. Inhaling through the nose is for the sinuses and emotions. Inhalation through the mouth is for the benefit of the lungs.
Inhalation is easily accomplished through the use of steam, a diffuser, spritzing, a humidifier, or sniffing a few drops of an essential oil or synergy on a cotton ball or tissue.
Because essential oils evaporate easily, they can be dispersed or diffused into the air. Diffuse essential oils to create a mood, to kill airborne bacteria and viruses, to treat colds and coughs, to fall asleep at night, and to increase clear thinking and memory at work or in the classroom. Diffusion is a safe way to treat children because only a very small quantity of oil actually reaches the body.
It is not necessary to diffuse essential oils all day. Seven minutes is the optimum amount of time. After that the nervous system adapts so that awareness of the scent is lost. How often the oils are diffused will depend on the effect desired. To create a lovely atmosphere, once may be enough; to treat an illness, it may be necessary to diffuse 4 or 5 times a day.
The Nebulizing Diffuser is the best way to disperse essential oils into the air. It does not change the chemistry of the oil by heating it or exposing it to plastic or metal parts. The nebulizing diffuser has a small, aquarium-style pump, which uses air to disperse the oil, and a glass nebulizer designed to break up the essential oil particles into a fine mist that stays airborne a long time. The nebulizer also ionizes the oil particles, making them more therapeutic.
Other Ways to Diffuse Oils include ceramic and metal pots with a flame underneath, plug-in electric aroma balls, plug-in dashboard diffusers, children's vaporizers, humidifiers, a pot of boiling water on the stove, or a few drops on a hanky held to the nose.