With the trend of going back the basics of nature, aromatherapy is becoming a popular alternative in the world of optimal wellness. In fact, more and more people are using essential oils to reduce inflammation, help them sleep, naturally heal cuts and scrapes, reduce anxiety and depression, and detoxify their bodies. Using essential oils is a natural way of improving health and having a better quality of life.

There are three ways to use essential oils. Essential oils can be diffused using an essential oil diffuser for aromatherapy, used topically on the skin with a carrier oil such as coconut oil, and used internally in capsule form or adding drops to water or in cooking. Make sure to read labels on essential oils prior to consuming them as some essential oils are not meant to be taken internally.

The many uses for essential oils

There are as many ways to use essential oils as there are essential oils. It takes some practice and education to be familiar with their properties, benefits, and uses, but there are basic uses that anyone can try, which include:

• Improve respiratory function
• Aid in digestion and reduce gastric reflux
• Purify the air
• Protect during seasonal illnesses
• Flavor foods and water with healthy benefits
• Clean surfaces
• Freshen the air
• Add to laundry detergent and clothes dryer balls for a clean fresh scent in clothes
• Add to shampoo and conditioners
• Add to skin care products and toothpaste
• Use in hand soap
• Diffuse during meditation and Reiki
• Relax before bedtime
• Soothe achy muscles, cuts, and scrapes
• Ease tension headaches and migraines
• Focus during lengthy projects
• Repel insects
• Maintain a sense peace and calm in stressful situations
• Benefit emotional strength during times of grief and loss
• Curb appetite
• Reduce the appearance of aging
• Replace perfume and cologne
• Invigorate during long working hours
• And many, many more ways

Mixing essential oils

There are a variety of ways to mix essential oils for use in the home. The following suggestions include topical, aromatic, and internal uses for essential oils.

1. Aromatherapy. Add 4 or 5 drops of your favorite essential oils to an oil diffuser to experience the benefits of aromatherapy.

2. Flavoring Water. Add a few drops of essential oils to an 8 oz. glass of water, or to a cup of herbal tea for additional health benefits. Make sure the essential oils you choose are food grade, and only put essential oils in glass or stainless water bottles as the essential oils may break down chemicals in plastics and Styrofoam.

3. Flavoring Food. Add a few drops of your favorite herbal essential oils, such as oregano, thyme, cumin, or turmeric, to your sauces and dishes. Enjoy the health benefits of essential oils while flavoring your favorite meals. Again, make sure the oils you use are food grade.

4. Aromatherapy massage or body oil. Combine about 20 – 30 drops of your favorite essential oils together with 1 cup of a carrier oil, such as coconut, olive, grapeseed, or sweet almond oil to use for a soothing massage or body oil.

5. Aromatherapy compress. Add at least 5 drops of essential oil to a cup of hot or warm water and dip a soft cloth in the mixture to apply to achy joints and muscles.

6. Aromatherapy foot or hand bath. Add about 10 drops of your favorite essential oils to hot or warm water in a medium-sized basin. Using your hand or a stirring rod, stir the essential oil evenly to blend it well with the water.

7. Hand cupping. For direct benefits, such as with lavender prior to sleep, place a few drops of lavender oil in the palms of your hands, cup your palms and inhale the oil. This is useful if you do not have a diffuser or want the full effect of the oil. You may then rub the lavender oil on the bottoms of your feet before bedtime for additional benefits.

Essential oils everyone should have

There are hundreds of essential oils, and several company brands available. To ensure quality, make sure your essential oils are from a reputable transparent company that offers pure therapeutic-grade essential oils. Beware of oils that are diluted and from companies that do not make their quality reports available to the general public.

There are certain essential oils that every household should have on hand. They have many uses and benefits to improving health and wellbeing.

1. Lavender. This oil is truly essential as it has many properties such as sedative, analgesic, antidepressant, antiseptic, disinfectant, anti-inflammatory, and antibiotic. Lavender can be used for allergies, arthritic pain, asthma, bronchitis, cold and flu, depression, insomnia, migraines, nausea, stress, and sore throat.

2. Lemon. This essential oil has antibacterial, antibiotic, antiseptic, antiviral, astringent, diuretic, and disinfectant properties. Lemon can be used for allergies, asthma, cold and flu, a sore throat, hypertension, stress, and as an insect repellant.

3. Peppermint. This oil has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiparasitic, antiseptic, astringent, and expectorant properties. Peppermint can be used for allergies, asthma, bronchitis, congestion, cold and flu, fever, headaches, indigestion, mental acuity, migraines, motion sickness, nausea, stomach aches, and toothaches.

4. Oregano. This oil has antibacterial, antibiotic, antiparasitic, antiviral, and disinfectant properties. Oregano oil can be used for cold and flu, diarrhea, immune support, a sore throat, throat infections, and yeast infections.

5. Frankincense. This essential oil has analgesic, antidepressant, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, diuretic, expectorant, and sedative properties. Frankincense can be used for asthma, bronchitis, cold and flu, immune support, indigestion, neurological disorders, migraines, skin disorders, stress, stomach aches, and tumor reduction.

6. Eucalyptus. This oil has analgesic, antibacterial, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antiviral, disinfectant, and expectorant properties. Eucalyptus can be used for arthritis pain, asthma, bronchitis, congestion, coughs, cuts, and migraines.

7. Melaleuca. Also known as tea tree oil, this oil has antibacterial, antibiotic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, astringent, and disinfectant properties. Melaleuca can be used for acne, cold and flu, cuts and wounds, gum disease, and skin disorders.

These are just a few of the many essential oils available. It is worth the investment to have the primary essential oils in your home. If you cannot purchase them all at one time, start at the top of the list and work your way down, and you will soon find why they are call “essential” oils.

Author's Bio: 

Kay Fontana is a lifelong learner, natural explorer, and navigator of Life. After watching family and friends struggle with chronic health issues, such as diabetes, Alzheimer's, heart disease, asthma, Crohn’s disease, arthritis, and cancer, seeing the effects of the standard American diet (SAD), experiencing a series of devastating losses, and working through her own health issues with diabetes and asthma, Kay became very clear about her life's purpose. Kay’s focus is on the whole being and connecting heart, mind, body, and soul for an abundant life. On her journey, she has learned from leading experts in the field of health, nutrition, healing, and spirituality in order to help clients achieve optimal wellness.

As a certified holistic life and wellness coach, a licensed spiritual practitioner, and a Grief Recovery Specialist®, Kay’s purpose is to help individuals with chronic or life-limiting illness by providing heart-centered coaching, spiritual guidance and support, tools, and resources, such as alternative medicine, that connect heart, mind, body, and soul for an abundant life. Kay’s mission is to inspire individuals with chronic or life-limiting illness and their family caregivers to let go of limiting beliefs and habits that block energy, and replace them with mindful self-compassion practices that lead to optimal wellness and a better life. For more information, go to www.LightofAbundance.com.