The most common way for essential oils to be used in aromatherapy is with a diffuser. Diffusers are widely available commercially and involve putting drops of essential oil into a water reservoir. The water is then turned into a mist which is ejected into the air. Diffusers are a good way to get into essential oils because they allow you to easily control the concentration of the essential oils.
The method of direct inhalation can be achieved in a variety of ways, the most obvious being to simply inhale nasally the vapors from the bottle directly. You can also soak a cotton ball and place it near your bed, or in your purse. This can be particularly helpful to pregnant women or any other person experiencing nausea when they inhale a cotton ball, soaked with peppermint oil or other anti-emetic essential oil. Another method is steam inhalation, which involves placing a few drops of oil in a bowl of steaming water, place a towel over your head, and breathing in the vapors that way. To relax your mind and body at bedtime, you can place a few drops onto your blanket, and linens.
Diffusing through the air with natural evaporation is a method by which you simply place 10 – 15 drops of the chosen oil in a bowl of hot water that has been salted with either Epsom salts or sea salt, which helps with the diffusion process throughout the night. Other ways of achieving this method are by the commercially made and produced terra cotta
bowls that are designed specifically for diffusing essential oils, or by soaking a cotton ball in the oil of your choice and placing it by your bed overnight (this is probably better for the very
pungent or overpowering oils but is not quite as effective as the other natural diffusion methods.
Essential oils are also infused into candles which gradually release the oils into the air as the candle burns. Essential oils candles don't allow you to control the concentration of the oils like misters do, and while they don't require you to have essential oils on hand, they do obviously involve an open flame which can be its own problem around children and pets. Some companies do make essential oil wax melts, however, which may be better for houses with small bodies.
Essential oils are often used for massage by mixing them with carrier oils, such as Jojoba, olive, or almond oils that are safe for topical use. The dilution of essential oils is very important because undiluted essential oils can irritate the skin. Essential oils can also be used topically by putting a few drops in a tub of bath water.
Some essential oils are also marketed for ingestion. The two main ways to take essential oils orally are diluted in a glass of water or in a capsule, usually blended with other oils. Not all essential oils are safe to be ingested, and dilution is even more important when ingesting essential oils. Some studies have also shown that some chemicals found in essential oils can collect disproportionately in some organs, especially organs of filtration like the kidneys, so talk to your doctor before looking into ingesting essential oils in this way, especially if you have had medical problems with your kidneys or liver.
Essential oil capsules aren't widely available. It doesn't help that the Food and Drug Administration recently issued letters of warning to several makers of essential oils for ingestion because of possible toxicity cases. Still, essential oil ingestion can be done safely with the right research and the right product. Most people who take essential oils as capsules make their own capsules out of essential oils and empty gel capsules that can be bought fairly easily. An upside of this process is that if you take any other oils for your health, filling your own capsules can be a good way to take in more of your daily oils at once.
- Misty Cassady