Welcome back, Friends! You’ve made it to week 3 of A Mom’s Guide to Getting Started with Essential Oils. Today we’re discussing methods of inhaling essential oils. I hope you are enjoying the series so far and have learned a few things you didn’t know. Please know that if you have questions along the way, feel free to leave a comment.
In the past two weeks, we discussed Where to Begin with Essential Oils and How to Safely Use Essential Oils. Last week I briefly mentioned how essential oils are typically used for our benefit. Today, let’s begin going a little deeper into that.
Inhaling Essential Oils
One of the most common ways essential oils are delivered is through inhalation. Inhaling essential oils is particularly effective for ailments such as sinus congestion, bronchial congestion, sore throats, coughs and colds, bronchitis and for flu symptoms due to the ability to deliver the oils directly to the nose and lungs. However, inhalation is a quick and safe way of getting the essential oil properties to other areas of your body as well.
Inhalation works by distributing essential oil molecules through the air. Once in the air, they are inhaled and come into contact with nerves that send them directly to the brain. Since the brain is the center of memory and emotion and where blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and hormone balance, are controlled, it is thought that essential oils can effect positive change on all of these areas. The oils also enter the bloodstream through the lungs and are then carried to other bodily systems.
Methods of Inhalation
There are a few ways in which you can deliver essential oils to your body through inhalation. The most common method is by using a diffuser. You are probably already familiar with diffusing essential oils, so let’s begin there.
Diffusing Essential Oils
As I mentioned last week, diffusing essential oils is a quick and easy way to administer the therapeutic effects of the oils to your family. It is generally safe and effective and has the added benefit of offering up the benefits of essential oils to your entire family all at once (just be sure you are following the age recommendations for the oils you choose to use).
Diffusing essential oils is commonly used for multiple reasons including:
- general health and wellness
- deodorizing a room
- immune support during a viral illness
- assistance with sleep and relaxation
- reduction of depression and anxiety
Steam Inhalation Therapy
An alternative to using a diffuser (especially when you are ill or have very young children) is steam inhalation therapy. This is one of my favorite ways to use essential oils when I have an upper respiratory infection, sinus infection, or an attack of allergies. It has also been quite effective for me at the onset of migraines. It is particularly effective when using oils that have decongestant, antibacterial, and antiviral properties
The method is simple: place 4-6 drops of essential oil into a large bowl filled with boiling water. Cover your head and the bowl with a bath towel and breathe deeply for up to 10 minutes or until the water cools. Keep your eyes closed and be careful not to put your face so close that you’ll get burned!
Some of my favorite essential oils to use for steam inhalation include:
- Tea Tree
Please Note: This is not a method appropriate for young children or for those with asthma.
You can also do steam inhalation in the shower. Read this for more information about how I do that for headaches: My 15-Minute Cure for Head Pain
Here’s a confession for you — my husband doesn’t love essential oils. I know, there is something seriously wrong with that man, but he is very sensitive to all kinds of smells. Because of this, I am an avid user of personal inhalers, for more than just making my husband happy. They are actually very handy. If you think about those Vick’s Inhalers you may have used for sinus congestion, the idea is the same. You add essential oils to a cotton wick that is inserted inside the inhaler. You can then carry it with you anywhere you go and deliver your essential oils by inhalation, without diffusing into the entire room. Even your children can use these safely. My favorite personal inhalers are from Rivertree Life. You can also simply open a bottle of your favorite essential oil or blend and inhale directly from it as needed. I don’t generally recommend this method often because frequently opening your bottles is not a good idea. In a pinch though, it works quite well!
Another simple way to inhale essential oils, especially at night to help you sleep, is with a linen spray. Simply add 10 drops of lavender or other calming oil to a 4 oz spray bottle with 3 oz distilled water + 1 oz witch hazel and spritz it onto your pillow and bed linens at night. Alternatively, you can add a few drops of the essential oil to a cotton ball, tissue or square, and place it near your pillow.
Health meets fashion with this latest trend in essential oils. Diffuser jewelry has been gaining popularity in the past couple of year, and I own a few necklaces and bracelets myself. They work similarly to the personal inhalers only with a cotton disc placed inside a locket-style necklace, or a lava beads in bracelets. I don’t find this type of inhalation tremendously beneficial, but it is a nice way to wear your favorite scent. My favorite creator of essential oils jewelry is The Oily Amulet, but Plant Therapy has a few nice pieces as well. (be careful . . . there’s a lot of cheap jewelry out there that will break easily — ask me how I know).
Begin making a list of reasons you may want to diffuse essential oils in your home. Also, take a look back at the essential oil recommendations from Week 1 and make yourself more familiar with their uses and properties. Also be sure to enter your email below to receive my Essential Oils Starter Kit. It includes 10 simple recipes you can use in your diffuser, and that top list of essential oils will be included in most of the recipes.
You don’t have a diffuser yet? No worries. Next week, I am dedicating an entire part of the series to choosing a diffuser.
Next Up: Choosing a Diffuser
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Never use essential oils undiluted or in the eyes or mucous membranes. Do not ingest essential oils unless working with a qualified practitioner. Keep essential oils away from children. If applying an essential oil to your skin always perform a small patch test to an insensitive part of the body (after you have properly diluted the oil in an appropriate carrier oil).
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.