I started using aromatherapy in my daily life over a decade ago, but at that time I did not use essential oils as much as I do now. It took some time before I started carrying essential oil bottles in my handbag, and even more time before I started blending my own combination of oils for different uses. If you are interested in incorporating more aromatherapy in your life, I will share 5 different ways that I have done it, and hopefully some of these will inspire you to try aromatherapy yourself.
1. Aromatherapy in Baths
My first use of aromatherapy was in using already prepared essential oil blends for baths. I have had the habit of taking a hot bath at least twice a week for many years. Every time I prepare a bath I add a cup of Epsom salts as the bath is filling up, and once the bath is filled I add the essential oil blend. My prior work with spas exposed me to a lot of great product lines that offered pre-blended essential oils that had many purposes, such as detoxification, muscle pain relief, de-stressing, relaxation, and others. These blends included essential oils of rose, neroli, petitgrain, black pepper, cajuput, sweet orange, peppermint, eucalyptus, chamomile, sandalwood, pine, tea tree, lavender, rosemary, ginger, and many others.
I no longer use pre-blended essential oils for baths, but instead blend them myself. When I prepare essential oil blends for baths, I use sweet almond oil as carrier oil. In a 30 mL bottle, I mix 40 drops of essential oils in 28 mL of almond oil. Of course, the exact blend of essential oils varies based on the purpose behind the blend. For instance, to help me relax tense muscles I use essential oils of cypress Cupressus sempervirens, marjoram Origanum majorana, and lavender Lavandula angustifolia (Axe, Bollinger, & Rubin, 2016). Not only do they help me relax tension in my muscles, but they also help me sleep better.
When I feel run-down and about to get a cold, I use a blend of essential oils of eucalyptus Eucalyptus globulus, lemon Citrus limonum, and thyme Thymus vulgaris (Axe, Bollinger, & Rubin, 2016). I take a bath before lying down to rest. The bath helps me sweat, long after I leave the bath, which I feel contributes to having the cold run through my body a lot faster. This blend of oils also helps to ease congestion.
2. Aromatherapy in the Shower
Not everyone has a bathtub and not everyone finds the time to take a bath, even once a week and let alone twice a week. Even I find it hard to take baths twice a week every single week. It usually occurs because I am traveling and do not have access to a bath, or I have a lot going on and cannot find the time. Although there are times when I simply need the aromatherapy and cannot wait to take a bath to benefit from it. Thus, I use essential oil blends in the shower. I apply essential oils after I have washed off soap and shampoo, and before toweling off. While my body is still damp I rub the oil on my body, paying special attention to my neck and chest. That way I feel that I benefit not only from the oils getting absorbed through my skin, but also from me inhaling them. After I apply the oils I let my body stand for a few minutes and than I pat dry.
I prepare shower blends by mixing 30 drops of essential oils in 28 mL of almond oil (to be placed in a 30 mL bottle). In order to feel more invigorated and energized in the morning I use a blend of grapefruit Citrus paradisi, rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis, and jasmine Jasmineum officinale essential oils (Rhind, 2012). They help me feel alert and active, particularly when I travel to a city in a different time zone, and I have a hard time getting up and going.
3. Aromatherapy as Body Moisturizer
I often incorporate essential oils into my body oil, particularly when I do not use essential oil blends after the shower. In that case I use the blend in place of body lotion. I find that to be the most effective way to get essential oils over most of my skin, thus maximizing the exposure of oils to my body. When I use a body oil blend I do not wear perfume so that the scent from the oil stays on my body.
When preparing a 30 mL blend I use a combination of 15 drops of essential oils in 29 mL of sweet almond oil. Since I apply the body oil in the morning, I focus on a combination that is stimulating, while helping to flush out toxins and excess water, and reduce inflammation. The blend I use includes essential oils of ginger Zingiber officinale, juniper berry Juniperus communis, and Roman Chamomile Chamaemelum nobile (Axe, Bollinger, & Rubin, 2016).
4. Aromatherapy as a Perfume Roller
Perfume rollers with essential oil blends are a wonderful alternative to synthetic perfumes, and can also provide a great benefit to the body. I have a perfume roller that I carry in my purse at all times, and apply when I feel I need the support. I typically apply the roller on my pulse points in my hands, making sure to bring them up to my nose and take a deep inhale. I also apply the oil on my neck, just underneath my nose, and behind my ears to maximize the effect of inhaling the oil.
In a 10 mL perfume roller bottle I incorporate 9 mL of sweet almond oil and 14 drops of essential oils. The blends I use vary depending on my need. For example, when I feel down, scattered or overwhelmed I use a blend that includes sandalwood Santalum album and frankincense Boswellia carterii essential oils. The blend makes me feel more comforted and focused the instant I use it. This blend also helps me in meditation.
I also use a blend to support my allergies, and this includes essential oils of manuka Leptospermum scoparium, lemon balm Melissa officinalis, and spikenard Nardostachys jatamansi. Not only do I place the blend on my pulse points and inhale regularly, but I also place a few drops on a tissue, and drop that tissue into my handbag so that I get a whiff every time I open the bag.
5. Aromatherapy As Pillow Spray
In case I have not gotten enough exposure to essential oils during the day, I use an essential oil spray that I spray over my pillow before going to sleep. I prepare the blend using 29 mL of distilled water and 20 drops of essential oils. I have found that the most effective sedative oils are lavender Lavandula angustifolia, neroli Citrus aurantium, and sweet orange Citrus sinensis (Rhind, 2012). This combination is also quite relaxing.
As you can see, there are many ways to incorporate essential oils and aromatherapy into your life. You can use any of the methods I describe above, as well as others, including pure essential oils in a diffuser, aroma inhalers, body scrubs, bath salts, compresses, facial oils, hair oils, and many more. It is a matter of determining a blend that will support your needs and a method of use that will support your lifestyle.
Axe, J., Bollinger, T., & Rubin J. (2016). Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine. USA: Axe Wellness LLC.
Rhind, J.P. (2012). Essential Oils: A Handbook for Aromatherapy Practice (2nd ed.). London, United Kingdom: Singing Dragon.