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June 20, 2018  |  Login
A Simple Way to Use Aromatherapy
By James F. Balch, M.D. and Mark Stengler, N.D.

One of the easiest ways to use aromatherapy is to simply smell the essential oils, whether directly from the bottle, with steam, in your home with the help of a diffusor or an aromatherapy air freshener, or on your body with a personal perfume. In each case, the aroma is pleasant, and its healing properties are inhaled into the lungs and diffused throughout the body.

Grandma's smelling salts were aromatherapy of a kind; their strong smell of ammonia could rouse almost anyone from a faint. Luckily, using essential oils as inhalants is much more pleasant. Direct inhalation works particularly well for respiratory complaints, stress, emotional conditions, and nausea. You can use a suggested blend or simply select one or more of the oils recommended for treating your specific condition and mix them together in a small glass bottle. Make sure to choose oils with aromas you enjoy. You can either open the bottle and inhale the scent, or you can place 2 or 3 drops on a tissue to inhale periodically throughout the day. Sinus problems respond especially well to steam inhalations, although a mixture of steaming water and essential oils can also be used to treat other respiratory ailments, such as colds and the flu, sore throats, and nervous complaints, such as anxiety and stress.

To prepare a steam inhalation, use a large heat-proof bowl that's been placed securely on a tabletop. Fill it about halfway with steaming water and add between 3 and 6 drops of an essential oil or a blend. Lavender is a good one to start with, because it is effective for anxiety and depression, as well as respiratory problems. Sit comfortably, and place a towel over your head to trap the steam. Inhale deeply for five to ten minutes. Steam is also an effective way to use essential oils to cleanse the complexion.

For normal skin, use frankincense, geranium, jasmine, rose, vetiver, or a combination of several.

For dry skin, bergamot, fennel, geranium, myrrh, and sandalwood are ­ recommended.

Oily skin can benefit from cedarwood, cypress, lemon, orange, peppermint, tea tree, and ylang ylang.

Sensitive skin responds best to chamomile, rose, and rosewood.

Air fresheners and diffusors allow you to perfume your home with healing essential oils.

For everyday use, choose an essential oil or a blend that the whole family enjoys.

In sickrooms, antiseptic, antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal oils, such as tea tree, eucalyptus, bergamot, and geranium, can help purify and cleanse the air to help control germs.

In the office, you might want to select an antianxiety or antistress aroma, such as lavender, chamomile, or petitgrain.

For an aromatherapy air freshener, mix distilled water with 4 to 10 drops of essential oil per ounce of fluid and pour into a spray bottle. Spray the mixture into the room just as you would any air freshener. Make sure to shake well before each use. Diffusors distribute essential oil molecules into the air. Many of these devices work on electricity; you simply add your chosen oil or blend and plug it in. Others, such as aromatherapy lamps, use a candle to heat a mixture of water and essential oils to disperse the aroma.

To use a lamp, fill the bowl with water and add up to 20 drops of your oil or blend. more

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