Is healing with essential oils possible? We can definitely harness the healing power of essential oils and use EOs with specific therapeutic functions to help heal the body and mind and enhance health and wellbeing.
Properly used, essential oils are an invaluable adjunct to holistic health care regime. Essential oils can be used to reduce and alleviate some illness symptoms, to treat minor wounds, to enhance mood, and to help the body heal quicker by supporting the immune system.
Essential oils are made up of different chemical components (e.g. alcohols, oxides, esters, aldehydes, phenols, etc.), and it is these chemical components that give an essential oil its specific therapeutic and healing properties.
For example, Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is rich in linalool (an alcohol) and linalyl acetate (an ester), and it is these two components that give Lavender its well-known relaxing and sedative properties. (Actually they are also responsible for Lavender's analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties.)
If we understand the therapeutic properties of Lavender, therefore, we can harness such properties by using Lavender oil when, say, we are under stress and need some help to relax and maybe get a good night rest. Make sense?
When using healing essential oils to enhance our health, very often, we make blends using oils with similar therapeutic properties because the blended oils can very often give us synergistic effects.
We can use essential oil blends in the following ways:
Inhalation is the most direct and effective way to get essential oils into our body. In fact, up to 70% of essential oils can enter our bloodstream through inhalation, whereas only up to 10% can enter the blood circulation through topical application1.
Steam Inhalation: Steam inhalation is a great way to use if you have respiratory issues, such as nasal congestion, sinus infections, or if you want to get the therapeutic effects of essential oils straight into your lungs, as in the case of bronchitis or coughing, for example.
Personal Nasal Inhaler: If doing steam inhalation is not possible (e.g. at work), you can use a personal inhaler, which can give you similar effects as steam inhalation. Personal inhalers are also great if you want to support yourself emotionally as the oil molecules can go directly to the emotional centers in the brain via the olfactory system.
Diffusion: Ambient diffusion is an indirect method of essential oil application. Essential oils are volatile and, if you put a few drops on a tissue, or clay diffuser, or in an electrical diffuser, the molecules (and scent) of the oils will distribute in the air. This is a very effective way to deodorize a room, or to get rid of airborne germs during colds and flu season.
For topical application, it is important to dilute the essential oils in a carrier, such as a base oil, or an unscented lotion or cream.
Topical applications can address issues such as muscle and joint pain, skin problems (e.g. itchy skin, rahses, scars, minor wounds, insect bites, etc.), and of course aromatic massages can enhance and support emotional balance and wellbeing.
Aromatic Bath: Who doesn't like taking a relaxing aromatic bath? It is a great way to relax and reduce stress, soak and soothe sore muscles and joints, decongest the nasal passage, and enhance the mood. As EOs and water don't mix, be sure to first add the oils to a tablespoon of carrier before adding the oil blend to the hot water.
Sprays: Room sprays can be used to deodorize and scent a room; linen sprays can be used to enhance sleep and relaxation.
If you are not a medical practitioner with training in aromatherapy, please do not ingest essential oils.
Yes - there are some websites and even EO companies that advise people to take EOs orally for certain illnesses.
However, think about it, if you want essential oils to work like medicines, "dosing" is really important - you definitely need to know exactly how much to dose, how often to dose, and how long to dose. You also need to know whether the oils you are going to take will contraindicate with some medicine you are taking. That's practising medicine!
Would you let some stranger on the Internet tell you how much to ingest which essential oils for how long?
Below are links to different pages for specific ailments that can benefit from the use of essential oils. Note that the information is for education and reference only - it is not intended to replace medical treatment and attention.