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In this the second part of our series of articles on How to use Essential Oils, we look at the different media in which essential oils can be used.
Essential Oils: How to use Essential Oils Part 2
How To Use Essential Oils Part 2: How to use essential oils in different media such as water, base-oils, air, etc.
Essential oils have literally hundreds of applications and can be used in just about all aspects of our daily lives, from creating a relaxing atmosphere in the bathroom to deodorising bins in your kitchen. From making your own natural skin care products, to creating a healing environment in a sick room, but how do you use essential oils in different media?
This article will discuss several different means by which you can use essential oils. We will look at:
Vaporising of Essential Oils
There are at least a couple of different and effective ways to vaporise essential oils. The most frequently used is through the use of an Aromatherapy Burner. These burners use a candle to heat a suspended dish, which contains 10-15mls of water and a few drops of one or more essential oil.
This is a great and effective way to vaporise essential oils into the air to fill a room with a pleasing aroma, which could effectively be used to disinfect, deodorise or just fill the room with a pleasing sent.
The candles used will last from 2-8 hours depending on the quality and size of the candle. You must make sure that the dish continues to contain water as otherwise the dish of the burner may break and your aromatherapy burner will be in ruins. It is better to use more water than not enough, you can always add a few extra drops of your favourite oil blend to the water if you like.
There are also electric diffusers you can purchase. These are safer than candle burners, as there is no fire threat with the electric warmer. You don’t need to add water to the dish either.
To clean these dishes, just use pure eucalyptus or lemon oil to get rid of any oil residues.
Vaporising essential oils can also be due using very hot or recently boiled water. After the water has boiled, poor it into a bowl and add a few (usually only 2-3 drops) of the oil blend you wish to use, cover your head with a towel and lower your face over the bowl. This is an ideal way to treat congested sinuses and upper respiratory complaints. The steam and therein suspended essential oils will help to unblock congestion and free the nasal sinuses.
Depending on the oil blend, the essential oils will also help in fighting the bacteria, or viral infection causing the problem in the first place. We will discuss how to choose oils in a subsequent article.
Using Essential oils In Water
Water is another great medium to use for application of essential oils. Food baths, hand baths, sitz- or whole-baths are great ways to indirectly ‘ingest’ essential oils.
Essential oils are absorbed by your skin and whether you apply the oils directly to your skin or indirectly via a bath, the oils will nevertheless penetrate into your body.
For example, a bath reduces tension and anxiety, calms the nervous system, enhances the removal of waste from the body, softens the skin aiding in the removal of dead skin layers, and is just about one of the most relaxing things you can do to treat your self. And, you haven’t even added any essential oils yet.
Make up the bath with up to 1 kg of Epsom salts and 6-8 drops of your chosen essential oils. Stay in the bath for 20 minutes. Then, dry off well and lie flat on your bed, on a large, dry towel, Cover yourself with a towel and with another towel cushioning your neck and head. Cover yourself with a quilt and lie still for 20 minutes. If you like, you can then complete the treatment with a cold shower, to stimulate your blood circulation and wake yourself up.
However, you do not need to have a full-body bath to produce therapeutic effects with essential oils. Foot baths have long been used to treat various disorders from stress to headaches and many other illnesses.
Migraine headaches can be effectively treated using a large bowl of very warm to hot water from 15 minutes. Just make up a bowl full of hot water, as hot as you can possibly stand it, and put your feet into the water. Site and relax for 15 minutes and you will feel the pain reducing fairly quickly. To enhance the effect of the water bath, you can add one or two different essential oils which are known to help in the treatment of headaches and migraines to the water. (Again we’ll cover the type of essential oils you would choose in a future article. Here it is about how to use the oils not which oils to use).
Hand-baths are the same as foot-baths, but using the hands as the absorptive surface. Follow the directions for a foot-bath above.
Direct application to objects
Direct application of essential oils to objects is another very useful way to obtain the beneficial effects of essential oils.
For example, you can use a few drops (3-5 drop) of essential oil on a handkerchief, which you slip into your pillow slip cover at night to help you relax and get a good night’s sleep. Or you can put a few drops of essential oil on the collar of your jumper or shirt so that over the next several hours you will inhale the evaporating essential oil. This method is ideal in the prevention of ‘catching’ cold when going to the office where several others are suffering from the typical seasonal flu.
Another useful way to use essential oils is to prevent moths and other insects from getting into your clothes, is to apply a specifically formulated blend of essential oils to some thick, natural material such as pure wool, place this wood into a small cotton bag and hand it into the cupboard or put it into the suitcase where you store your clothes for the next season. This will reduce the moths and silverfish and help to protect your clothes without making them smell of camphor or insecticide. You will need to check from time to time if the essential oils have evaporated and refresh the wool/cotton bag to maximise protection of your clothes.
Another useful direct application of essential oils is for the purpose of deodorising your garbage bin. These can get rather smelly and unpleasant. Apply a few drops of essential oil to a Kleenex and place in the bottom of your garbage bin. This will help to keep your garbage bin smell fresher for longer and the added benefit is that some oils will help in disinfecting the bin and keeping bacteria at lower levels.
Using essential oils to disinfect hard surfaces is another way of direct application of essential oils. You can safely use essential oils that are disinfectant to keep hard surfaces clean and disinfected.
A word of caution, Peppermint oil, if applied neat to plastics and many other surfaces will damage the material. It will dissolve the pain on a car in a matter of seconds. So be warned, this oils is not to be played around with.
Application of Essential Oils in Creams and Massage Oils
This is probably one of the most popular ways of using essential oils. Massage oils have been made using essential oils to enhance the therapeutic effect of massage for a long, long time. Essential oils when used in conjunction with massage have a great deal of use, ranging from applications in musculoskeletal problems to just about any disorder you can name. Using specifically blended formulae it is possible to treat anxiety, depression, digestive disorder, nervous disorders, circulatory problems, and the list goes on.
The limit is at the skill of the therapist and their knowledge of the essential oils and massage techniques.
Using creams as a medium to deliver essential oils to the body is another great way to utilise the powerful properties of essential oils. Creams and lotions can be applied all over the body or to deliver the oils to specific areas only.
For example a therapeutic cream formulated for arthritic aches and pains may be rubbed onto the affected area of discomfort. Similarly, eczema sufferers may apply a specifically formulated cream to the area of their skin that is affected by the eczema or dermatitis.
The beauty industry has also made good use of essential oils for a long time. There are literally hundreds of products that utilise the beneficial properties of essential oils in their creams and lotions.
You can easily make your own creams and lotions using a base cream/lotion and adding a few drops of essential oils. You can either make the base cream from scratch, or buy one from several manufactures or you local chemist. Depending on the type of cream you want, you may have to shop around and do some research, but even 100% natural cream bases are relatively easy to find.
Now you know how to use the essential oils in a variety of ways, depending on what functions you want them to perform. The next article in this series will look at the different essential oils and what they can be used for.
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