Best Ways to Use Essential Oils

6 Best Ways to Use Essential Oils

When it comes to mixing and using essential oils, the trickiest part is often knowing where to start. Many would-be essential oil enthusiasts get overwhelmed and drop the practice before they can begin to benefit from it.

Our advice? Start small. Experiment in just a few of the following methods until you build up your experience. Your confidence and oil collection will start to grow over time.

Some common methods for getting started are below.

1. Inhalation

If you’re looking for an almost effortless way to benefit from oils, breathing over an open vial is the way to go. Either open a bottle and hold it up to your nose or sprinkle a few drops onto a tissue and inhale deeply. Keep your breathing relaxed as you inhale to allow the oils to better affect your physiologically, and the process will heighten your senses.

2. Steam Inhalation

Improve the benefits of breathing in an oil by infusing it into steam. Just boil about three cups of water and pour it into a shallow bowl. Add up to five drops of your choice of essential oil and lean down over the bowl with your nose about a foot from the water. Place a towel on top of your head to enclose your face over the water, and slowly breath in the steam. Stop immediately if you feel irritation in your lungs, and consider diluting the oil before attempting again.

Steam inhalation is especially useful for treating respiratory issues associated with weather changes or the common cold. Even a few minutes of this treatment can clear up your sinuses.

3. Topical Application

Some (but not all) essential oils can be safely applied to the skin. Because they are fat soluble, most will absorb directly into your skin. The most effective spots for treatment include the wrists, ears, temples, upper back, and even feet. First dilute the oil with a carrier oil, and massage it where you most want relief. Gentle, circular motions tend to work best.

Note: Never apply an essential oil to your skin directly unless you’ve researched it to ensure that it’s safe to use topically.

4. Therapeutic Bath

Hot baths improve your blood flow and can improve relaxation, and bathing or showering with essential oils is a great way to unwind. Simply decide what mood you’re trying to cultivate and create a blend of oils that complement it. Add in a few scoops of Epsom salts to create a detox bath, and drip in up to 20 drops of essential oil before settling in for a soak.

5. Aromatherapeutic Massage

If a willing friend is available, an essential oil massage is one of the best ways to clear your mind and ease tension from your body. Create a blend with your preferred carrier oil, and stress will melt from your muscles. Higher doses of essential oils often work best, so feel free to use up to 20 drops per ounce of carrier oil.

6. Essential Oil Diffuser

The right essential oil can set a mood for your entire home. Fill a room with your preferred fragrance by using in an electronic diffuser. Just pour a few drops into the diffuser, turn it on, and breath deeply to get the benefits. This Plant Therapy diffuser recently came out top in our review of the most popular essential oil diffusers.

Remember: More is Not Always Better

When it comes to using essential oils, it’s common for beginners to assume they’ll get better results by increasing their concentration. Not only is this a waste of essential oil, but it can actually cause problems. It takes over 60,000 roses to make one ounce of rose oil, so a little goes a long way.

Tips for Best Practices with Essential Oils

Some initial planning makes all the difference for essential oils, so follow these tips for the best results!

  • Protect Your Workspace: Some essential oils (especially citrus) are known for staining or even removing paint from furniture, so keep your space well-protected to prevent a disaster from any spills.
  • Be Realistic About the Benefits: Essential oils are all the rage right now, meaning that many unscrupulous companies are citing unrealistic results from their use. The right essential oil blend might not prevent a heart attack, but it will help you feel less stressed.
  • Dilution is your Friend: Lavender oil can be used straight from the vial, but other essential oils work best if you dilute them in a carrier oil first. You’ll save money in the process.
  • Blending Oils is an Art: Essential oils all differ in potency, and a one-to-one ratio between them lows certain oils (like tea tree oil) to overpower the rest. Understanding different oil’s flashpoints will make you far more effective at mixing them. Read our guide to blending essential oils here.
  • Store Correctly: Keep your oils in tightly sealed, darkened glass vials to extend their shelf life. It’s also smart to add a label with the date you first used it to create a base point for the oil’s age. With proper storage, most oils should last between 1-2 years.
  • Learn about Essential Oil Safety: Essential oils, for all of their benefits, can also have negative consequences too. Some shouldn’t be applied to skin before sun exposure, many can’t be used during pregnancy and some are harmful to pets.  


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