Topically – essential oils are able to pass through the skin and into the bloodstream and into different areas of the body for internal therapeutic benefits.
Some oils are thought to be gentle enough to use undiluted, but only on certain occasions and very sparingly. Lavender and Tea-Tree are usually safe. Carefully apply a drop of Tea tree essential oil to an acne spot or a wart, or apply a drop of Lavender oil on a mosquito bite to relieve itching. Don’t splash them all over the skin!
For safety, use a carrier oil when applying these powerful oils directly to your skin, and follow the directions of a health care professional.
Carrier oils come from the fatty part of the plant and can help increase the length of time the essential oils stay on your skin. This may prolong the aromatherapy effects. Some people mistakenly think using carrier oils reduces the effectiveness of the oil but really it can be the opposite. Dilution increases the surface area of absorption and with certain oils can prevent sensitivities.
Common carrier oils include:
Pomegranate seed oil
To begin, start with a 10% (approximately) solution. This is 10 drops of essential oil mixed with 1 teaspoon of the carrier oil. Once you dilute the essential oil in a carrier oil, the shelf life is about 6 months. Store in the refrigerator in an opaque glass bottle. Be sure to label with the type of oil, the dilution, and the date.
Aromatically – Using a diffuser can help you experience the benefits of essential oils. You can diffuse lavender to reduce stress, wild orange to improve mood, frankincense for spiritual enlightenment, or peppermint to improve focus and energy.
There are a number of different types of diffusers to choose from.
Candle diffusers are composed of a heat resistant vessel that holds water and essential oils, and a heat resistant platform that holds the vessel over a small candle. These diffusers are simple to use and provide a light background of fragrance. Since they don’t produce a strong concentration, they are best used to enhance the environment.
Electric heat diffusers use small, absorbent pads placed inside a heating chamber. Ventilation allows the aromatic compounds to evaporate into the air. These diffusers are simple to use and require minimal maintenance. Some essential oils are damaged through direct heat.
Cool air nebulizing diffusers use air pressure to vaporize the essential oils. This method maximizes any therapeutic benefits. This type of diffuser needs regular cleaning, and more viscous oils (such as sandalwood or ylang-ylang) cannot be diffused.