Our sense of smell is a powerful mechanism. So powerful, in fact, that it can do wonders for both our physical and mental well being. Aromatherapy takes full advantage of that mechanism.
This specific kind of therapy is a branch of phytotherapy that consists in the use of the natural ‘aromas’ of plants and herbs.
These ‘aromas’ are gathered in the form of essential oils and then used by us either through breathing it in or when we apply it directly on our skin – which is then absorbed by the skin itself and though breathing.
It’s really all about smell. But what are essential oils?
They are extremely concentrated volatile substances, that have many different properties according to their specific chemical composition. Depending on the plant or herb, the essential oil extracted from it will have different characteristics: a different smell, a different color and different density. And knowing the right essential oil to use for a certain condition is only half of the puzzle.
Certainly you need to know what to do with the essential oils you plan on using.
So how do you use essential oils?
There are many ways to use or apply the essential oils, each for a specific goal.
Here are some examples of how to use essential oils, extracted from the 1990’s book “The Fragrant Pharmacy: A Home and Health Care Guide to Aromatherapy and Essential Oils”, from the author Valerie Ann Worwood:
Probably one of the simpler ways of using an essential oil is to use it as a perfume.
As the author says “you can use [the essential oils] either simply dissolved in alcohol or oil, and apply to the body as you would a perfume or incorporate them into a perfume”.
Of course, the dosage of essential oil that should be used here will vary, but be cautious not to put too many drops of it in your concoction, as it may be way stronger than you would like.
Another pretty simple way to use essential oils is to put one single drop of it on a tissue or handkerchief. Then it’s just a case of having a little sniff whenever you need to or feel like it. Now to the more interesting – and potentially more complicated – stuff:
This way of using essential oils is specially effective when treating for breathing conditions – a stuffy nose, hay fever, sinusitis, congestion in the lungs, etc.
You pour some hot water into a bowl and add to it two to three drops of the desired essential oils. Then, you cover your head with a towel and get that sniffer close to the bowl, covering it with the towel as well, to make sure you will be getting all of that vapor goodness.
No need to get super close, though – if your face is about 9 to 10 inches away from the bowl it is good enough. Now just relax and breathe the vapor deeply for about one minute.
Speaking of relaxing, you can use essential in massage oils as well.
In a container – preferably one of those brown glass bottles, so the oil won’t be affected by light – put some vegetable oil that will serve as a base. You can use one of many different types of vegetable oils for this, it really is about preference.
Almond, hazelnut, peach kernel, apricot kernel, grapeseed and soya oils are all great ones to use as a base for your massaging purposes.
Now you just need to mix one single drop of your essential oil of choice per millilitre (one millilitre is approximately 0.03 ounces) of base vegetable oil, or as instructed in your essential oil’s leaflet or packaging.
With your massaging oil ready, simply massage away!
Too much hassle? Okay, something easier then:
Fill up your bathtub with some hot water and close the bathroom door, so the vapors don’t escape – and so no one can disturb your relaxing time. Add a maximum of eight drops of essential oil to the hot water. Now just dive in and soak in the relaxing, nice-smelling water for at least 10 minutes, while breathing deeply. Some calm music does help as well!
Go on and try these tips, we also recommend you to read this article about eucalyptus essential oil for hair.