Essential Oils have Several Common Methods of Application:
While I was in Utah at a Young Living conference on one of the essential oil farms we learned the appropriate way to actually sniff an oil: Unscrew the cap, place the opened bottle of oil at belly-button or chest with one hand, and with the other hand waft the oil up towards your nose.
You'll notice the smell of an oil will change via it's application. Wafting will smell different than sniffing straight out the bottle, which will smell very different from diffusing. You can also place a drop of oil on your hands and rub them together, then inhale into the scent. Inhalation (including diffusing) is the fastest way to get essential oils into your bloodstream. Isn't this something to think about? How many toxins from candles and air fresheners have gotten into your blood stream from simply breathing normally in their presence?
The Science Behind Inhalation: “When we inhale the fragrance of an essential oil, the odor molecules travel up the nose where they’re registered by the nerves of the olfactory membranes in the nose lining. The odor molecules stimulate this lining of nerve cells and trigger electrical impulses to the olfactory bulb in the brain. The olfactory bulb then transmits the impulses to the amygdala — where emotional memories are stored — and to other parts of the limbic system of the brain. Because the limbic system is directly connected to those parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance, essential oils can have profound physiological and psychological effects. Olfactory responses to odors induce the brain to stimulate the release of hormones and neurochemicals that in turn alter the body’s physiology and behavior.” — — Essential Oil Desk Reference, 4th Edition
I like to inhale oils for emotional support. I add a drop to my hands, rub them together and then inhale deeply. I then rub my hands across my chest and collar bones to soak up an residual oil. Some of my favorite oils to inhale are include:
Diffusing essential oils may be one of the most common methods of use. Typically, oils are used with an ultrasonic diffuser that gently breaks up the oil molecules into water through a mild vibration and is then misted into the air. You can find nebulizing diffusers that use air instead of water to disperse the essential oil molecules. You will use substantially more oil with a nebulizing diffuser. I personally prefer the ultrasonic diffusers. If you are diffusing near pets - please familiarize yourself with the Pets & Essential Oils page.
Diffusing can be supportive for emotional and physical wellbeing. For example:
I diffuse T-Away, a specific formulation for pets to help with stress and anxiety, when I leave for work.
At work I diffuse lavender and vetiver in the acupuncture room to help promote relaxation
In the main office I diffuse Thieves to help promote a healthy environment as I see a lot of sick patients
At bedtime I diffuse Peace and Calming to help me sleep
Rosemary diffused while studying can assist with memory support and focus
Many essential oils can be used topically on the skin. Some oils can be applied 'neat', meaning by themselves, and other oils need to be diluted with a carrier oil to prevent irritation or burns. Oils are lipophilic which means they combine with and dissolve in fats. it's important to realize that carrier oils such as avocado, fractionated coconut and jojoba oils are good to dilute your oils and use as a buffer. Water will not dilute the oils. Always spot test essential oils on the inside of your bicep to see how you react to it. Never use essential oils on newborns, infants, or pets without doing extensive research. Some oils can have toxic effects. Some oils, like Citrus, are photosensitive- this means if applied topically and exposed to the sun they can increase your chance of a burn or skin irritation.
There are many fantastic oils that can be used topically, some of my favorites are:
Lemon and Copiaba at wrists, behind ears and at chest for an uplifting scent (I use this as my perfume!)
Digize on your belly for GI support
Lemongrass or Purification Blend as a bug repellent
Thieves at the bottoms of your feet for immune support
Valor on your chest to give you confidence and stregnth
Frankincense along chest for anxiety
Raven along your throat for colds, sore throat, cough and congestion
Peppermint at the base of your skull for headaches *You may want to dilute this as peppermint can burn a bit!
Take particular precaution when ingesting essential oils as not all essential oil companies are made equally, refer back to Essential Oils page for more information. Young Living has a specific line designed for ingestion - this line is called the Vitality Line. If you are going to ingest an essential oil, only ingest the oils from the Vitality Line. Personally, my favorite way to use essential oils is to diffuse them or apply them topically, I do not ingest them.
Also note that some essential oils will eat through plastic so make sure if you're adding them to water you do so in a glass or ceramic mug.