HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS – APPLICATION METHODS
Below are 3 different ways to use essential oils: aromatically, topically, internally.
Aromatherapy is a common and effective way to use an essential oil. Since essential oils are volatile, or easily evaporative, aromatics are easily inhaled and then absorbed through the respiratory tract and lungs and then circulated through the blood stream.
When a childhood memory gets recalled because you walked by a bakery, you’ve experienced how an aroma can elicit a powerful physiologic, mental or emotional response. This process is called olfaction (smelling). In the picture below, the aromatic molecules are passed thru the nasal cavity where the olfactory neurons send the info to the olfactory system that transfer the info to the limbic system and area of the brain that controls things like your heart rate, blood pressure, stress levels, memory and hormone balance.
You can inhale the aroma of an essential oil directly from the bottle or by placing a few drops in your hands and tenting your nose or by using a diffuser.
Other ways to benefit from aromatic application of essential oils:
Facial steam: add 1-5 drops EO to a pot of hot water. Cover head with a towel and allow steam to circulate inside the towel. Approach the vapors slowly and inhale deeply. Helpful for opening sinuses, easing headaches, and invigorating the skin. Eucalyptus and rosemary are great for facial steams.
Baths: aromatic baths are a great way to relax, pamper skin or feel better when you’re sick and tired. Mix essential oils with natural emulsifier such as milk, honey, carrier oils such as almond, sesame or coconut or sea salts before adding them to bath. General dosage = 5-10 drops essential oil mixed with 1/2 to 1 cup salt or emulsifier. Aromatic baths are excellent for supporting skin care, circulatory system, respiratory system, addressing stress, nervous tension, sleeplessness, muscular aches and menstrual pains.
Additional aromatic uses for essential oils include:
• Apply oil to a cotton ball and place in the air vents of your vehicle
• Mix oils in a spray bottle with water and mist over furniture, carpet, or linens
• Add oil to a batch of laundry or to dryer sheets
• Use in household surface cleaners
Essential oils are fat soluble which allows them to easily penetrate the membranes of cells and be rapidly absorbed through the skin and initiate a response through out your body.
It’s best to apply essential oils topically to clean skin as your pores are more open and will allow better absorption.
Absorption rates differ depending on the areas of application. Permeable areas include soles of your feet, palms, forehead,scalp, behind your ears, inside of wrists and armpits. The oxygen and nutrient-rich blood that bring life and health to all the cells and tissues of your body, also transport essential oils which can move thru the circulatory system within 30 seconds and are then able to permeate cells and tissues throughout the body for targeted support within 10-20 minutes.
There are 3 main classifications of topical use:
1. NEAT: can be applied topically without dilution because of their exceptionally mild chemistry. Some examples are: Frankincense, Lavender, Melaleuca, Melissa, and Sandalwood.
2. D for Dilute: Oils in this category have potent chemistry (or known as “hot oils”) should be diluted with a carrier oil before topical application in every case. Examples include Cassia, Cinnamon, Clove, Oregano, and Thyme.
3. S, Sensitive: These oils should be diluted before use on young or sensitive skin. Examples include: Bergamot, Black Pepper, Eucalyptus, Ginger, and Peppermint.
To dilute or not dilute?
When applying essential oils topically, it is recommended to dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil, especially if you have sensitive skin or you’re applying to young children.
Diluting an essential oil does not reduce the efficacy of the essential oil. Diluting with a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil, almond, olive, grape seed, vegetable or avocado oil not only helps “carry” the essential oil into the skin but also helps increase the surface area of absorption, enhancing absorption through dry skin, and preventing sensitivity responses.
Carrier oils that is less viscous like almond or grape seed oil get absorbed quicker than thicker oils like avocado or olive oil. You should also take into consideration when choosing a carrier oil whether you like the aroma of that carrier oil and how it may or may not effect the entire aroma of your mixture as well as whether you care about staining or the greasy feeling it may leave.
Some ways to benefit from topical application:
Massages and warm compresses are one of the best topical application methods. Compress are a great way to apply essential oils to bruises, wounds, aches and pains. Mix 10 drops of essential oil in 4oz hot water. Soak a clean cloth and wrap the area to be treated. Leave compress on for 10-20 minutes. Reapply wrap as necessary. Lavender, helichrysum and melaleuca are great excellent choices to use in compresses.
Add a drop of essential oil to your regular skin care regime to enhance your skin’s complexion.
The Neck/forehead and temple are effective places to apply oils that would help alleviate feelings of tension.
Applying an essential oil directly on your abdomen to help alleviate any digestive discomfort.
You can also apply a drop of essential to the roof of your mouth to transform your mood and balance your emotions.
The base of the skull is also a great place for application. Another effective place to apply an essential oil topically is on the bottoms of your feet. This area has large pores and can rapidly absorb essential oils for a overall effect on your body.
When we eat fresh plants and herbs or drink tea and use herbs in cooking or baking, we are consuming essential oils. Of course an essential oil is a more concentrated amount of these plant essences and care is taken to safely take essential oils internally for more potent and targeted support.
Make sure you are ingesting pure therapeutic grade essential oils only. Know your source and the purity of your oils before ingesting! Some oils have been altered or diluted with additives and some are synthetic fragrances only.
Not recommended for internal use are: arborvitae, birch, cedar wood, cypress, eucalyptus, white fir, and wintergreen essential oils. Make sure you follow the proper dosing according to labeling recommendations to avoid overuse or toxicity.
Some ways to take essential oils internally:
• 1- 2 drops sublingually (under the tongue)
• drop in gel cap or veggie cap (especially hot oils such as oregano and cinnamon)
• add to tea, water, smoothies, milk
• cooking or baking
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