Essential oils are used in a variety of ways,
most of which you can do at home !
INHALATION These can be direct inhalations or steam inhalations. One or two drops of your chosen oil on a handkerchief and you can inhale the oils while at work or traveling. A couple of drops of a relaxing oil on a tissue inside you pillow helps you sleep. Steam inhalations with three or four drops in a large bowl of hot water helps clear congestion of catarrh. Eucalyptus, pine lavener, black pepper, lemon or peppermint oils are helpful for coughs, colds, bronchitis, sinus problems and headaches.
DIFFUSERS AND VAPORIZERS These release scent of essential oils into the air, providing natural fragrance, while distributing their therapeutic benefits. Diffusers can be electrical, burners that use candles, or a simple ceramic ring that is warmed by a light bulb. Choose a stimulating oil such as lemon or rosemary for the office; a relaxing oil such as lavender or camomile for the bedroom; and an antiseptic such as tea tree to disinfect a sickroom.
MASSAGE This is the most common form of treatment used by aromatherapists, simply because it is so effective. The combination of touch and the therapeutic benefits of the oils improves circulation and releases trapped energy from tense muscles. The fragrance also promotes a feelingof wll-being. The essential oil is diluted in a vegetable carrier oil such as grapeseed or sweet almond oil. Aromotherapists recommend proportions of five drops of essential oil to 5 ml of carrier oil for adults, half that strength for children under three. For new born babies it is best to avoid essential oils altogether.
BATHS Scent with your chosen oil(s). Any oil can be used in the bath. Add up to eight drops for adults, four for children over two, and stir through the water with your hand. Footbaths with two or three drops lemon, cypress, or lavender are good for chilblains, while bergamot and cypress deodorize sweaty feet. Five or six drops of grapefruit essential oil on a flannel or sponge gives an invigorating finish to your morning shower. Use eucalyptus and inhale deepely if you have a cough or cold.
COMPRESSES These help relieve bruising, skin porbles, and muscle and period pain. Use 1-2 drops of an oil like lavender in a bowl of warm water. Soak a piece of cotton in the water and wring out so it does not drip. Put the cotton over the area to be treated and cover with a warm towel. Leave at least two hours
NEAT Lavender oil ha an amazing healing effect when used undiluted on burns. It soothes pain, eases the shock, promotes healing and reduces scarring. Tea tree is also effective when used on cuts, grazes, spots, bites and stings. Most essential oils, however should not be used neat as they can cause irritation.
TAKEN INTERNALLY In France patients are sometimes prescribed essential oils to take internally. This takes place only under the guidance of qualified medical doctors. In Britain, aromathreapists are more reluctant to follow this course, and with good cause. Essential oils may be gentle and fragran, but they can have remarkable effects, sometimes undesirable ones. Taken internally, essential oils appeart to work faster and more intensively. There have been very few cases of oils having serious adverse effects, but those that have been reported were the results of taking oils internally. You are advised never to take essential oils by mouth except under the guidance of a qualified doctor.