There are three ways that essential oils can enter the human body – ingested, inhaled, or applied to the skin. Of these three options, inhaling essential oils is the most popular. (Note: If you are unsure of which application method to use, you should consult with an experienced aromatherapist.)
You can inhale essential oils via a variety of devices and techniques:
- Spray – Three or four drops of essential oils are added to a water-based solution, thoroughly shaken, and then sprayed throughout the air in a room in order to set a mood or deodorize the room. For example, a person who wanted to increase the alertness might opt to use peppermint oil, while another person might choose to use pine oil to infuse the room with a scent reminiscent of the holidays. It’s important to make sure that the bottle is shaken well to make sure that you are not just spraying the room with water.
- Diffuser – Diffusers are increasingly growing in popularity. The chosen essential oil is placed in the device – often with water or heat according to the diffuser’s instructions. Most electric diffusers have a timer for convenience. It is never advisable to directly burn essential oils, because fire can alter the molecular structure of the oil, which reduces its effectiveness.
- Steam – A couple of drops of essential oil are added to a large bowl of steaming water. The steam from the water quickly evaporates the oil and spreads it throughout the room. You should place your face as closely as you safely can to the steam and place a towel over your head. The vapors can then be inhaled directly. Because this method is potent and direct, you should never add more than one or two drops of oil to the water. If you used more, it can quickly become overwhelming. If you choose to use this method, make sure that you keep your eyes closed, and this method should never be used for children who are under 10 years of age.
- Dry Evaporation – With dry evaporation, 2-4 drops of essential oil are placed on a tissue or cotton ball and allowed to naturally evaporate into the air. If you want to increase the intensity of your dosage, you can sniff the tissue or cotton ball directly. For a milder method, you can simply keep the cotton ball next to you. For example, leave it on the arm of your couch if you are reading a book.
When deciding what essential oils to use to treat a condition, make sure to do your research. Make sure to pay close attention to the cautions for each type of oil, and watch closely for any adverse effects it may have. Likewise, make sure to dilute your oils properly. After you’ve done your homework, it’s time to sit back and watch them watch their magic!