Friday, December 5, 2008

Using Essential Oils At Home

From Delicious Living Magazine

The right mix of pure essential oils can help you relax, recharge, or melt away fatigue, stress, and depression. Derived from plant secretions, the oils are astringent, antibacterial, and highly concentrated (always dilute before using).

Cost usually depends on how difficult a particular oil is to extract, but, fortunately, essential oils are so effective that a little goes a long way. Here's how to try aromatherapy oils at home.

In The Tub

What could be more relaxing on a winter day than a hot, fragrant bath? Place 9 or 10 drops of a gentle oil, such as lavender, in a full tub. The oil will pool on the water's surface, intensifying the aroma, says Jade Shutes, founder of the East West School for Herbal and Aromatic Studies in Willow Springs, North Carolina, and author of Aromatherapy for Bodyworkers (Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007).

If you prefer a mellower experience, add the drops to a dispersing agent — such as a tablespoon of honey, whole milk, or vegetable oil — before placing in the bath water. Oils can be added individually or in combination with other scents. To find a complementary blend, slowly waft two or more open bottles under your nose at the same time. They should smell balanced and not too pungent. Use less of the dominant scent.

"Lavender sedates the nervous system and can calm stress,” says Shutes. It may also help induce sleep. For deep relaxation, Shutes recommends combining 5 drops lavender with 1 drop Roman chamomile and 1 drop comforting neroli.

Although too cooling for use in a full bath, peppermint and rosemary essential oils stimulate circulation and relieve pain — perfect for soothing tired, sore feet. Mix 4 to 5 drops peppermint oil or 5 to 8 drops rosemary oil in a large, hot footbath.

On Your Body

When muscles tighten up, work out knots at home with sedative essential oils. As long as it has very little scent, any light oil — such as vegetable, sunflower, or walnut — or oil-based professional massage lotion can make a good carrier.

Don't use over-the-counter lotions, however; they soak in too quickly. Start with 1 drop of essential oil for every teaspoon of carrier. “If you know your skin sensitivity, you can increase that slightly,” says Ingrid Martin, author of Aromatherapy for Massage Practitioners (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2006).

“Using a strong blend, though, without assessing your skin sensitivity first can result in allergic reactions. But eventually you may want to add more essential oil to have a greater effect on physical injuries.” Mild, sedative oils, such as clary sage and mandarin, calm muscles.

In the Air

Their germ-fighting abilities make essential oils superb natural household cleansers. “The easiest way to mix them is to add essential oils to a spray bottle filled with water. Learn more in the Delicious Living website article How to Use Essential Oils in the Air.

More Information

Quality and Purity Essential For Essential Oils
Essential Oil Recipes
Plug-in AromaBall

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