Of the different natural and holistic health practices there are, aromatherapy is definitely at the top of the list. It is easy to do, provides a relaxing practice you can do every day, and something most people find to be more accessible.
What is Aromatherapy?
If you have ever used essential oils, you have probably used aromatherapy concepts without even knowing it. While you might use those oils just to make a room smell better or because you find other healing benefits, aromatherapy really focuses on improving your health and wellbeing.
With aromatherapy, there are two main ways to use it, including inhalation and topical treatments. It is frequently used as a natural form of alternative medicine, but don’t be intimidated by the term aromatherapy. This is not a complicated practice by any means.
In the following pages, you will learn all about aromatherapy, including:
How aromatherapy works Benefits of doing it
The methods often used Essential oils that are best to start with
Why you need to dilute with carrier oils Tips for using oils for aromatherapy.
Keep reading to learn all about aromatherapy with essential oils.
- How Aromatherapy Works
Whether you are brand new to using essential oils or you are a seasoned vet, it helps to understand exactly how aromatherapy works, and what the different methods are.
With aromatherapy, you are going to use the healing benefits and scents together of pure essential oils either directly on your skin, or by inhaling it with the help of a few different methods. If you have used oils before, you know there are a lot of different ways to use them, from making “green” cleaning products for the home to deodorizing rooms, which are all amazing. But for the purpose of aromatherapy, these are the two main methods you are going to use.
How it Works Through Inhalation
First of all, there is inhalation. We are going to talk more in-depth about these methods and how to do them, but here is a brief rundown of how this works. When you inhale the oils, they are evaporating into the air (through methods discussed in a later section), so you are not inhaling oils directly, but through the evaporated oil in the air.
This is where the benefits come from with the oils, and also why you need to use pure, authentic essential oils. Make sure they say 100% pure essential oils, never fragrance oils. Fragrance oils are scented and have no health benefits.
With aromatherapy, the oils are stimulating the part of your brain connected to your smell, plus the molecules can actually enter your lungs and get into your body, which is where you get many of the health benefits from using them.
How it Works with Topical Application
Another method we will go further into is with topical application. This is when the pure essential oil is applied directly to your skin for even more health benefits. The method you choose often comes down to preference and what is available to you.
When applied to your skin, they help in a few different ways. First of all, topical application of certain oils helps with skin conditions like eczema, rosacea, acne, burns, cuts, scrapes, and other types of skin wounds. This is more of a direct benefit.
It can also help when the oils are absorbed into your skin and enter your bloodstream. They can help with different things from improving your memory to helping with organ systems. This is why using a wide variety of oils for different benefits is the way to go.
- Why You Should Try it
Now moving on to why you should try aromatherapy with essential oils. You know the basics of using them to help with your physical, mental, and emotional health. Before going into the specific ways aromatherapy can help you heal on the inside and out, let’s take a moment to discuss some of the other benefits.
They Are Easy to Use
The first benefit to aromatherapy with essential oils? It is easy to use! This is something everyone can do with very little effort. With so many different methods of doing aromatherapy, both topical and through inhalation, you will find a method that works best for you.
Perhaps you want to do steam inhalation or use a diffuser, or you find direct application is best. Try some different methods until you figure out the easiest and most convenient way to reap the benefits of aromatherapy.
Oils Can Be Inexpensive
This might be subjective to your budget, but using essential oils for aromatherapy can be inexpensive depending on how you look at it. First of all, if you compare it to medical costs, like paying insurance, visiting the doctor, transportation to and from specialists, paying for medications, and expensive tests, you might be saving a lot of money just by using a more natural approach.
It doesn’t necessarily replace medical intervention, but it can help reduce some of those appointments and medications.
You also save money due to the small amount of oils you are using and how far they go . It might seem like a small investment in the beginning, but consider just a few dropsfor each use will work wonders, and they are diluted in many cases, so they last even longer
You Can Use Aromatherapy Anywhere
Aromatherapy is also something you can do just about anywhere, with multiple methods to use and pre-made essential oil blends to purchase. Here are some different places
you can do aromatherapy:
Steam inhalation in your kitchen
Taking a relaxing aromatherapy bath while on vacation or traveling
Bringing a pre-mixed diluted oil blend to apply to your skin at any time, including in the office
Turning on a diffuser with oils in any room, including when you are at work Health Benefits of Aromatherapy
As far as the health benefits go, you will find a wide range of them. This is true with just about any method of using essential oils, even when not necessarily used for aromatherapy. However, for aromatherapy practices specifically, here are some of the top health benefits:
Reduce pain from headaches and migraines
Get help with other types of chronic pain, including neck, back, and joint pain
Relieve stress and anxiety
Reduce symptoms of depression
Get more energy when the right oils are used
Help you get better sleep when using them before bed
Boost memory and brain function
Get a healthy boost to your immune system
- The Different Aromatherapy Methods
Now for the fun part – learning the different methods of aromatherapy with essential oils. We briefly introduced you to the two main options, which include inhalation or topical applications. However, you have even more options to choose within each of these two primary methods.
Here is a rundown of the many ways you can use pure essential oils for aromatherapy:
First, let’s discuss topical application a little further. For many people, this is the preferred option since it is convenient and only requires mixing your oils with a carrier oil to diffuse it.
Why diffuse it? Because pure essential oils are much too strong for direct skin contact. They can cause burning and irritation, depending on how sensitive your skin is. It isn’t worth the risk, since you are using to help not hurt. For that reason, you should dilute all oils with a carrier oil – which will be discussed in a later section.
Where to Put the Oils
After you have properly diluted your essential oils, you then need to decide where to put them. You might have one area of your skin you prefer, or one area with ailments like skin conditions or joint pain, so naturally you know the location. However, for daily and overall wellness, use them in the following areas:
On your temples
Behind your ears
On your upper and lower back
On top of your head or forehead
On your abdomen
At your neck
On your collarbone
Underneath your nose
These locations have important pulse points on your body, so you will benefit the most from these areas. Inhalation
There are also a few different ways to use the inhalation method, which might be what you thought of when you heard the term aromatherapy. It makes sense since it has to do with the aroma of the oils you are using. Here are some of the main inhalation methods for aromatherapy with essential oils:
This is the primary way to inhale essential oils and get the most from them. You will use the steam inhalation method, similar to any other type you use steam. The only difference is that oils are added to the pot of boiling water.
For steam inhalation, you want to boil a pot of water, then add between 3 and 6 drops of your oils or blends. If using more than one oil, use just 1 or 2 drops of each one. Remove the pot from the stove, set on a pot holder on your table, and sit with your face over the pot (carefully!) and a damp towel over your neck and head. Inhale deeply for several minutes.
On Your Pillow
An easier method is to add oils to a spray bottle with distilled water and a carrier oil, then spray it onto your pillow. Every night when you go to bed, you have the spritzed oils that you will be inhaling as you sleep soundly. This is great when you suffer from insomnia, where you can use scents like lavender and rose.
Using a Diffuser
Lastly, you can do inhalation aromatherapy with an essential oil diffuser. They are very convenient, easy to use, and don’t require the use of carrier oils. With a diffuser, you just place a few drops of your oils or blends on top of the diffuser bowl, turn it on, and inhale deeply. You can sit as close to it as you want, or just to use it for regular use, turn it on in any room of your house and go about your business.
- The Best Healing Essential Oils
The question you might now be asking yourself is what types of essential oils to use?
Here is the magic answer – use any of them!
The oils you choose for aromatherapy will depend on a few different things, including: What you are trying to use them for
Why you are doing aromatherapy
What you have on hand
Your personal preferences
Whether you have a blend or not and many other reasons. We do have some that we often recommend, so here aresome great essential oils to start with for healing:
The first essential oil to consider for aromatherapy is clove oil. Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be! This is often used in many natural health practices, from aromatherapy to homeopathy. Clove is a natural antibiotic and antiseptic, so it is great as a topical application when you have infections of the skin. Using it through inhalation or topically on a regular basis can also help to prevent infections and the spreading of bacteria.
The next two scents are frankincense and myrrh – which often go hand-in-hand. This isn’t just a fun saying, but two oils that are often combined into blends thanks to their coordinating health benefits and unique healing properties. Frankincense comes from the sap of the Boswellia tree, making it a more unique essential oil. It has been used for many years as a natural remedy for things like helping growth of new skin cells, evening out your skin tone, and reducing the signs of aging like scars and wrinkles.
So, what about myrrh? This essential oil also helps to heal the skin, but in a different way. Instead of helping the more cosmetic issues, this is the one that helps with inflammation, swelling, and chronic skin conditions. Using them both is amazing for natural skin care and beauty regimens. These are both ideal when using aromatherapy in more of a topical application.
Moving onto the floral essential oils, there is a fan favorite, which is lavender. Lavender is calming, relaxing, and soothing. Therefore, it is frequently used to help with stress, anxiety, and brain fatigue. You can use it for aromatherapy by placing it in your bath or diffuser to inhale it and relax, or using it on your pillow at night to help you sleep. While it is calming to the mind, it can also help with some physical benefits s well.
Lavender is often used on the skin for wounds, burns, and scrapes. It also helps with heart disease and oxidative stress.
The next floral scent on the list is geranium, another big favorite essential oil. Geranium oil smells pretty and sweet, with a very subtle scent. You can use it on its own or combine it with other scents, like rose or chamomile. This is good for both inhalation and topical methods, providing antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
If you enjoy the citrus scents, you should get your hands on some lemon essential oil for aromatherapy. Thanks to the sweet scent of lemon essential oil, this is amazing for inhalation methods. You get a lot of benefits from it, including boosting your energy, improving your mood, and helping with dull skin. It can also help if you are fatigued or sluggish, and even works as a natural bug repellant.
With just two more oils on the list, you don’t want to miss out on sandalwood. This is one of the more woodsy scents, so it is amazing for inhaling through a diffuser. It not only works for its many healing properties, but it can provide a great scent inside your home.
Sandalwood helps with a sore throat, which is one of the reasons people use it for inhaling. It also helps with Alzheimer’s disease management, melanin production, and improving your nervous system.
Tea Tree Oil
The last oil to get for aromatherapy is tea tree oil. If you have used natural hair or skin care products, you have probably seen tea tree oil mentioned. That is because it is a natural antiseptic, so it is great for the skin.
It can lift buildup and dandruff from your scalp, relieve itching and irritation on your skin, and even manage fungal and bacterial infections. There isn’t much this can’t do for your skin when using it topically with aromatherapy.
- Choosing Your Carrier Oils
Unless you are brand new to the world of essential oils, you are probably aware of what carrier oils are. In case you are new, this is very important to know. When applying essential oils to your skin, whether directly or in the bath, you must dilute it first with a carrier oil.
Why Carrier Oils?
Pure essential oils are very strong and pungent, and often much too concentration for direct skin contact. They affect different people in different ways, but you don’t really know until you see how your skin reacts. To be safe, everyone should dilute them with a carrier oil, not just water.
What Carrier Oils are Used?
The carrier oil is a type of vegetarian oil that will have a positive effect on diluting the essential oil, without affecting its smell or potency. These are naturally derivatives, so they will still ensure you are using the oils naturally for aromatherapy purposes.
Types of Carrier Oils
Here is a list of the most common carrier oils used with essential oils:
Sweet almond oil
There are also some others like cocoa butter or shea butter if you are making your own skincare or beauty products. Here is more information about 3 of our favorites – Sweetalmond, grapeseed, and jojoba oil:
The reason grapeseed oil is a fan favorite is because of how versatile it is for a carrier oil. This is a lighter consistency, making it better when diluting your oils to be added to water like in the bath. It will leave a glossy sheen to your skin, so again, it is great for bath aromatherapy sessions. Grapeseed is a moisturizing oil as well, but it has a shorter shelf life, so it needs to be used up pretty fast.
Sweet Almond Oil
Another carrier oil you will enjoy for your aromatherapy oils is sweet almond oil. This is more of a medium consistency and has vitamin E, so it is great for the skin. Since it is from almonds, do not use this if you have a nut allergy. Sweet almond oil absorbs quickly in the skin and has a slightly nutty smell. You can use it for just about every purpose when it comes to diluting your essential oils.
Last but certainly not least is jojoba oil. This is another carrier oil with a medium consistency that has a smell a little bit nuttier than the other options. The benefit of jojoba oil is that it is extremely moisturizing for your skin and hair, and absorbs into the skin without being greasy. It also has a long shelf life in comparison to other carrier oils.
- Tips for Essential Oil Beginners
By now, you have all the most important information you need about using essential oils for aromatherapy, and getting both mental and physical health benefits. However, there are a few more tips you might need if you are new to using essential oils.
Always Use Carrier Oils
We just went over carrier oils – but it bears repeating. Never, under any circumstances, use pure essential oils directly on your skin. There is no telling what the reaction will be with something this concentrated. Even if you don’t have sensitive skin, it could burn, irritate, inflame, or swell your skin. Make sure you are diluting your essential oils properly with the carrier oils, though you can mix and match with different combinations when it comes to what carrier oil you use.
One thing to note: if you are getting essential oil blends, they are sometimes diluted with carrier oils, but not always. Don’t assume it is going to have its carrier oils just because it is a blend. Look at the label very carefully so you know how to handle it best.
Practice Safety with the Oils
There are more safety precautions to keep in mind. Since the oils are not safe for your skin, you should be careful not to get the drops on your fingertips or hands when working with them. Even if you are adding a few drops to a pot of water for steam inhalation, try not to touch the oils too much with your hands.
It is good to use a lower amount of drops until you know what concentration you prefer with your inhalation method of aromatherapy. Start with just 2-3 drops of your oil, then only add more drops as needed. You can’t take away drops of oils, but you can always
Do Not Confuse Them with Fragrance Oils
Another important tip for people who are new to using essential oils is to not confuse them with fragrance oils. Fragrance oils are what are used for perfume or cologne – these are NOT pure essential oils. While you can use them for DIY products in your home that smell good, they won’t have any healing benefits for topical or inhalation aromatherapy.
This is another case where reading labels is going to help you a lot. Look for term “pure essential oil” and never “fragrance oil”.
Avoid Direct Sunlight with the Oils
Lastly, you don’t want to keep the oils out in the direct sunlight, or use them on your patio with the sun beating down on your skin. They work best when kept in a cool, dark place, such as in the cabinet in your kitchen or bathroom.
If you are driving home with the oils, keep them underneath a seat or in your trunk, not on the passenger seat if you are going to be parked for hours with the oils. They might lose their potency and the smell will be a little off. Aromatherapy with essential oils offers you the opportunity to heal your body and mind completely naturally, with new benefits experienced every single time you use them.