There are many ways to use essential oils. Following are some basic methods of use. The recipes that follow are general. For example, while the bath section suggests using 4-8 drops of essential oil, some essential oils are stronger than others so maybe only 2 drops would be required. Therefore, once you've decided which oil you want to use, consult the essential oil section for more specific guidelines.
Essential oils can be added to bath water just for pleasure alone or for therapeutic value. Either way, a long, luxurious soak in aromatic bath water is a treat for all your senses. The basic rule of thumb is to add 4-8 drops of essential oil to the bath after it's been drawn. Use your hand to agitate the water so the oil will be dispersed, then hop on in.
Foot and Hand Baths
People with arthritis, rheumatism, athlete's foot, and assorted skin problems can benefit from hand or foot baths. Use a bowl or small tub big enough for your appendages. Make sure the water isn't too hot; it must be comfortable enough so that your hands or feet can enjoy generous soak time. Add five to six drops of the appropriate essential oil into the bowl or tub and mix it up with your hand to disperse it. Next, place either your feet or hands in the bowl and soak them for about ten to fifteen minutes. Afterwards, dry skin off completely. For added benefit, add a few drops of the same essential oil to a carrier oil and massage into the skin.
As stated earlier, essential oils used with running water will vaporize the scent. However, a wonderful wake-up treatment using essential oils in a shower makes perfect sense. Choose an invigorating scent, and after washing place 2-3 drops on a clean cloth or sponge and rub it briskly all over your body. If using on your face, rub gently. Rinse as normal.
The sauna is a wonderful appliance, and is a wonderful treat for both body and skin. The benefits of a sauna can be increased when an essential oil is added to the mix. Blend just two drops of essential to approximately 600 ml of water and throw it on the heat source. Do not use more than two drops, as more could be overpowering. Caution: Avoid using sweet-smelling aromas, as they may cause nausea or headache when inhaled in such a tight, closed space. Rose, geranium, and ylang ylang are three to avoid; eucalyptus, lemon, peppermint, and pine are four to use.
Hot and Cold Compresses
There's nothing quite like a compress to help with muscular pain, sprains, and bruises. They also help to reduce pain and congestion in internal organs. However, it's important to know when to use each.
A cold compress is best for recent injuries (sprains, bruises, swellings, and inflammation), and for headaches, migraines, and fever.
A hot compress is best for old injuries, muscular pain, toothache, menstrual cramps, cystitis, boils and abscesses. Additionally, some people with migraines may prefer a hot compress to a cold one.
To make a hot compress, add a few drops of the appropriate essential oil to a bowl of hot (not boiling) water. Take a clean cloth or bandage and soak it in the mixture. Wring out the excess, and place over the affected area. Repeat as often as needed. A cold compress is made in a similar manner, only using your choice of cold or ice water.
The basic rule is to add 2-3 drops to 1 ounce of carrier oil, and massage on affected area. However, because some essential oils are stronger than others, consult the essential oil section for specific guidelines.
This is a wonderful way to clear the lungs and sinuses of congestion and infection. Add 2-3 drops of the applicable essential oil to a bowl of steaming hot water. Place your face over the bowl, drape a towel over your head, and breathe normally. Do this for a few minutes, then rest. You can repeat these steps a few times in a row, however discontinue if you feel any discomfort. This particular method directly affects the respiratory tract and the blood supply, therefore you may experience quick relief after this therapy.
While many essential oils require some sort of dilution before applying to the skin, some do not. Therefore, neat application to a problem area may be the best way to tackle certain health challenges, like athlete's foot. Another form of direct application involves inhaling the scent directly from the bottle, or using a few drops on a handkerchief. This method is convenient when traveling, and great for health challenges like migraines.
Gargles and Mouthwashes
Some essential oils have the ability to fight bad breath, reduce the pain of a toothache, and to soothe sore throats. The best way to attack these health challenges is through a gargle or mouthwash. A simple way to make one is to add one drop of the applicable essential oil to two teaspoonfuls of cider vinegar, and add to a glass. Stir well to disperse the oil, then fill the glass with warm water; stir again. Gargle and/or rinse with the mixture. Use twice daily.
There are a wide variety of vaporization appliances available in the market today. Two popular and easy-to-use devices are the lamp ring and a diffuser. The lamp ring, or light bulb ring, is made to sit on top of a light bulb. The heat of the bulb causes the oils to vaporize into the air. Usually just 2-3 drops of an essential oil is needed in a lamp ring. The diffuser (or burner) works in a similar manner. Basically, a small bowl sits on top of a decorative container that houses a tea light (small candle). Add 2-3 drops of oil into the top bowl, and add water. Once the candle is lit and the bowl heats up, the oils are dispersed into the air. Caution: never leave a lit candle unattended. Always ensure that the diffuser is placed on a heat-proof surface. And never, ever place essential oils directly on to a light bulb.
These are just a few fun and easy ways to use essential oils. You can also add essential oils to scent-free creams, lotions, shampoos, conditioners, and massage oils. Some people add them to the dishwasher and washing machine, and some even place a drop or two on a washcloth and add it to the dryer. Be creative, and make up your own recipes!