How to use essential oils for aromatherapy

Feb 09, 2021

How to use essential oils for aromatherapy

There are several ways to use essential oils to enhance your well-being. Inhaling essential oils is the fastest route of entry into your system and often the easiest. Aromatic usage refers to inhaling the aroma. It is a low and slow approach to using essential oils, but highly effective. Studies show that inhaling essential oils can decrease anxiety, heart rate and blood pressure. 

It all starts with the olfactory system, or smell system, in our brain. We breathe in air and smell scents during inhalation, systematically absorbing volatile essential oil molecules as they enter the lungs and brain.

The olfactory bulb is the fastest way to the brain

Smells can activate feelings and memories even before you identify the odor. Have you ever noticed how smells can trigger memories, such as when you smell fresh baked bread like your mother or grandmother might have made? This shows how we hold smells within our memory.

Odor molecules enter the nasal cavity where they fit like puzzle pieces into the olfactory receptor cells, then they are sent as electric signals to the olfactory bulb. From there they are sent to the emotional and memory centers of the limbic system, which includes the hypothalamus and amygdala for emotions, and the hippocampus for memory.

Using a diffuser is a common aromatherapy approach

A good diffuser disperses the oil molecules throughout the air in a way that allows them to suspend longer. When you're ready to invest in a good diffuser, you will want to look for an ultrasonic diffuser.

I recommend one with different settings and an on-off cycle. Also pay attention to the square footage, because every diffuser will cover a different amount of space.

Safety guidelines when using a diffuser

First, don't hold your face directly over the diffuser. This isn't always a risk, but there are some oils that can be really irritating for the skin in this way. Also, don't lock your pets in the room with the diffuser. Leave the door open so they can leave. You don’t know how they will tolerate the scent.

It’s also a good idea to minimize use of oils like melaleuca, or even cinnamon and clove, as these really strong oils are harder for your pet’s body to process.

Alternatives to using a diffuser

Using a diffuser is not a requirement for enjoying the benefits of essential oils. While these ideas are great, they don't fully take the place of a good diffuser.

The first alternative involves placing a cotton ball in your air vent. Put a couple drops of essential oils on the cotton ball, stick it in the vent, and you're good to go. You can also put a few drops in your furnace air filter.

Try putting a few drops on a piece of fabric, setting it on a fan, and letting it blow the scent around the room. You can also apply a couple drops to your hair. Have you ever noticed how your hair smells if it’s been in a smoky room or near a bonfire? This is the same concept, but it smells a lot better and lets you enjoy the aroma as you go through your day.

Diffuser jewelry is a fun option. You can actually put a few drops of essential oils on these wooden beads and then smell them as you wear them. You can also use diluted oils on diffuser pendants, diffuser bracelets, or necklaces.

Reed diffusers are another option. Simply insert the reeds into a glass bottle or jar of scented diffuser oil. The reeds will soak up the scent and emit the aroma.

Believe it or not, you can also use a toilet paper roll to disperse essential oils. Put a couple drops in your toilet paper roll. Then, every time you pull toilet paper, you'll get a little whiff of essential oils.

Apply a few drops to your pillow case or maybe a stuffed animal to help you sleep. Be careful to dilute the oil first.

You can even use essential oils in the shower. Add a few drops to a wet washcloth so the oils don’t go down the drain right away. Hang the cloth in the shower or put it in the corner, and the steam from the water will help emit the scent. It's a great way to support the respiratory system or get you up and moving and happy first thing in the morning.

Of course, you can always get crafty, too. Any absorbent material such as clay, cotton, leather, or felt can be made into a diffuser.

Click here to find premium essential oils and carrier oils you can use. 

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