Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve heard of essential oils. The popularity of using essential oils has exploded in the past few years, but the science of aromatherapy is not new by any means. In fact, aromatherapy has been around for at least 6,000 years, dating back to ancient Egypt, where it was used as remedies for various illnesses. The Chinese and the Greeks were also proponents of using aromatic herbs and aromatherapy for medicinal and therapeutic purposes.
Flash forward to 2021, and there are so many types of oils and methods for use that choosing one can be overwhelming, particularly for those who don’t know very much about essential oils. Here is a rundown of all the different methods and benefits of using essential oils for aromatherapy.
What are Essential Oils and Aromatherapy?
Simply put, essential oils are the highly potent, concentrated extracts that come from plants and can be distilled or pressed into scented oils. These compounds are naturally derived from the leaves, roots, bark, seeds, or flowers of plants and give the plant its fragrance and scent. It can take several pounds of a plant to produce just one bottle of essential oil. Using essential oils for aromatherapy is a great way to take advantage of the many therapeutic and medicinal benefits of those oils, which can be used to remedy any number of illnesses or health issues.
How Are Essential Oils Made?
You already know that essential oils are derived naturally from plant compounds, but how are they actually made? Essential oils can be produced through the process of distillation or cold pressing. The distillation process passes hot water or steam through the plants, which extracts the essential oils and compounds and leaves the extra plant matter behind. Cold pressing works just how it sounds: by using a machine that squeezes and presses the pant matter, causing the essential oils to be released and collected.
How to Use Essential Oils for Aromatherapy
The two most common methods of using essential oils for aromatherapy are through inhalation or a topical application. Essentially, that means you can inhale it or apply it directly to your skin. It depends on what you’re explicitly using aromatherapy to treat. If you’re choosing to use essential oils aromatically, they can be dispersed in the air through a diffuser, a spray, oil droplets, or breathed in directly. Inhaling essential oils is a beneficial method for aromatherapy because it stimulates your olfactory senses. If you’re using it topically, it can be applied as an oil or in a lotion, cream, or spray.
Essential oil diffusers are devices designed to disperse essential oils throughout the air. There are some of the most popular methods for aromatherapy and are not only convenient but offer an excellent way to upgrade your home décor. They’re the perfect method for aromatherapy because they spread the scent through the air uniformly and allow you to control the level of scent saturation in the air.
When the fragrance is diffused into the air, it activates those olfactory and scent receptors in your nose, which sends those warm, fuzzy messages to your brain and soothes your emotions and nervous system. There are several types of diffusers, all of which work through various methods and provide different dispersal systems.
Ceramic diffusers can be made from porcelain, ceramic, or terracotta. They are perfectly suited for a small diffuser set on a nightstand or dresser, but they aren’t ideal for large rooms. You only need one or two drops of essential oils on a ceramic diffuser for the scent to disperse through the air, making a room smell fragrant and inviting.
Electric diffusers use a fan to disperse and expose the essential oils to the air without heat. This is crucial because heat alters the molecular structure and integrity of the essential oils, rendering their beneficial properties useless. Typically, they employ the use of a super absorbent pad, which is saturated with essential oil. Then, a fan blows across the pad, dispersing the scent throughout the air.
This diffuser style is one of the most common and affordable types available. Reed diffusers use rattan sticks, which have tiny channels bored through them. The rattan sticks are then set into a jar full of essential oil, and the oils travel up and are dispersed in the air, making the room smell deliciously fragrant. When you’re using a reed diffuser, keep in mind that lighter oils will generally diffuse faster than heavier oils, so plan accordingly.
Another method for using aromatherapy is applying it directly to your skin. Where you apply it depends on what you’re using the oil for—maybe you get headaches or have back pain and sore muscles. Most manufacturers use a carrier oil, like jojoba or coconut, mixed with the essential oil to be applied topically. That way, you can have your aromatherapy with you wherever you go and use it whenever you need it throughout the day. However, always make sure you do some research and don’t apply pure oil to your skin without properly diluting it first.
Benefits of Using Essential Oils
Essential oils provide numerous health and wellness benefits. They’re used to treat a wide range of health issues and contain numerous compounds like terpenes, antioxidants, and esters that are beneficial and help boost overall wellness. Many people use essential oils for things like relaxing, de-stressing, or reducing anxiety.
Each oil has a different use that it’s best suited for. Some are perfect for promoting sleep, others for pain relief, some give you boosted energy and enhance mental clarity. Some oils can even give your immunity system a jumpstart and make you feel refreshed and rejuvenated. However, even just having a home with a warm and inviting fragrance that you enjoy the scent of can be beneficial and soothing, which is why aromatherapy and essential oils have become so popular.
Try Essential Oils and Aromatherapy for the Therapeutic and Medicinal Benefits
There are reasons that aromatherapy has been around for 6,000 years: it offers an all-natural way to boost overall health and wellness and provides numerous therapeutic and medicinal benefits. Essential oils can be used topically or inhaled, or administered through a lotion, spray or direct inhalation. One popular method is using a diffuser, which is the perfect way to uniformly disperse essential oils and take advantage of their beneficial compounds. Whether you get headaches, have anxiety or sore muscles, aromatherapy is an affordable, all-natural method to combat health issues and enjoy a boost to your wellness.