I am by no means a qualified aromatherapist but with the help of Veronica Sibley's book, Aromatherapy Solutions, I have compiled a basic guide on the use of essential oils .
Before using essential oils it is definitely worth carrying out a skin-patch test to see whether you could be allergic or sensitive to the oil.
- Apply 2 drops of the essential oil to an antiseptic-free plaster.
- Place on the inside of the lower forearm and leave for 48 hours.
Sensitivities to essential oils can show up almost immediately, or can take several hours to appear. If an adverse reaction does occur then the following steps should be taken:
- Wash the skin gently with fragrance-free soap. This will remove oils from the surface.
- Expose the skin to the air (not to sunlight). This will help the oil to evaporate.
- If in doubt, always consult your doctor for advice.
The main ways of using essential oils are massage, bathing, inhalation and vaporizing.
Massage is an important part of an aromatherapy treatment. Touching is a very sensuous and comforting part of human interaction. For massage, the essential oils are always blended in vegetable-based carrier or base oils .
- For adults, add up to 6 drops of essential oil to 15ml base oil l. Use an oil, or blend of oils, recommended to benefit a particular condition you want to treat.
- For children under 12 years old, add 2 drops of essential oil to 20ml base oil .
- For children under 3 years old, add 1 drop of essential oil to 50ml organic sunflower oil (vegetable base oils can contain nuts or seed, which could be a potential allergenic).
Bathing is another effective way of using essential oils . They are usually used in a bath but can be used while showering, or in a hand or foot bath.
- Run a warm bath; add up to 4-6 drops of essential oil .
- If you suffer with dry or sensitive skin, add the essential oil to 10ml of unscented foam or milk base.
- Allow yourself to soak in the bath for at least 10 minutes, giving time for the essential oils to penetrate the body and relax and soothe you.
- If using in the shower, add 6 drops of essential oil to 50ml of unscented shower gel, and use as normal.
- If using in a hand or foot bath, blend 5 drops of essential oil to 10ml unscented bath milk base, and add to a bowl of warm water. Soak for 10-20 minutes.
A simple way of inhaling oils is to put 1-2 drops of neat essential oil onto a handkerchief or tissue and inhale when required. Steam inhalation is very useful for relieving colds, headaches, congestion and catarrh. For a safe and effective steam inhalation, follow these instructions:
- Place 600-1000ml of warm water into a bowl.
- Add 2-6 drops of essential oil .
- Put a towel over your head and over the bowl, close your eyes and inhale the vapours deeply through your nose for about 1 minute.
- Repeat the inhalation several times a day if required.
- Do not use the inhalation method on young children or babies.
There are several ways of vaporizing essential oils to create a perfumed atmosphere in a room:
- Burners - Usually ceramic, soapstone or metal pot with a small reservoir at the top, which holds water. Add up to 10 drops of essential oil into the water. A tealight candle is placed in the burner , and the heat from the flame vaporizes the oil.
- Diffusers - These are electric untis especially designed for safety and use with essential oils . Up to 12 drops of essential oil may be added to the diffuser, and when plugged in and working they do not overheat.
- Humidifiers - A saucer of water with up to 12 drops of essential oils placed on top of a radiator will act both as a vaporizer and as a humidifier.
- Room Sprays - Fill a plant spray bottle with 300ml warm water and add up to 10 drops of essential oil . Shake before use.
- Perfume - Blend a base oil with an essential oil , or blend of oils. Pour the blend into a bottle and use it as you would a normal perfume.