You may have heard people talking about the amazing benefits of essential oils and wondered how to use them and incorporate them into your life so that you and your family might access their natural healing powers. If you are new to the world of essential oils, we have put together this short guide to using them safely and easily around your home.
How Can Essential Oils be Used?
There are a few ways you can use essential oils. The most common which we will look at in more detail are: in a diffuser, in a carrier oil or in water. Sometimes you will see a suggestion that you can ingest essential oils. However, we do not endorse or support this practice for home use. Some essential oils can be extremely toxic if ingested so this is not something we can recommend.
There are two main types of diffusers, electric or candle. The basic premise is that the oils are added either to water inside an electric diffuser or in smaller amounts to the top of a candle burner, and the electricity or heat causes the diffuser to produce a fine steam. This method is the most popular way to get the benefits of oils, and more than one oil can be used. Generally, no more than 2 or 3 drops are ever needed for any oil. The healing properties are there airborne and inhaling them is considered safe. When working with candles care should be taken to ensure no flames are left unattended and you should check that all oils you plan to use are safe for any children or animals in the vicinity - some, for example, could prove fatal to caged birds.
Because most oils are so concentrated they need to be diluted for safe use. Carrier oils such as almond oil are perfect for creating a form of rubbing oil. Again just a few drops are needed, and oils can be blended with others to create the ideal therapeutic effect. Once mixed with the carrier oil the blend can be used as a massage oil or topical application. Sometimes adding a hot water bottle to the area once the oils have been applied can enhance the effect. Again, pay attention to anything you apply to your skin if you are then caring for babies and children or have animals that may lick you.
We have already seen that essential oils can be added to water for use in diffusers, but they can also be used in water in other ways. You can add essential oils to baths and foot soaks, although adding them to a small amount of milk before adding to the water is the best practice as this prevents damage to the oil. Inhalation of certain oils is excellent for cold and flu relief - eucalyptus and peppermint, for example, can help with stuffy noses. In this case, adding a few drops to water hot enough to create steam and then placing your head over a bowl with a towel to create a mini-sauna is the best way.
In some cases, it is safe to use a small amount of essential oil on your skin without any form of dilution - or neat. Until you understand and have learned more about oils it is not advised, the only exception being 1-2 drops of lavender oil can be applied neat to a new burn as emergency first aid.