You may have heard of essential oils and aromatherapy, but what exactly is it? What benefits can it bring us? What are the best essential oils to use?
Essential oils play a significant role in the practice of aromatherapy, a healing process administered by the scent of plant oils which aims to combine psychological, physiological and spiritual processes. Partaking in aromatherapy and using essential oils might help you aid a whole bunch of everyday issues including improving digestion, fending off cold and flu symptoms, treating skin conditions, relaxing muscles, soothing muscles and maintaining skin.
What are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are drawn from the heart of a flower, seed or root. A distillation process separates the oil from the water-based elements of the plant meaning that only the purest oil is left – this is the reason for their potent aromas and incredible potential healing qualities.
Essential oils have been used in many countries, traditions and spiritual practices throughout history for medicinal purposes and perfumes.
Here are 5 Essential Oils to get you started
The fresh scents of peppermint oil could hold a wide range of benefits. It has been claimed to help clear the respiratory system when the individual is experiencing cold and flu symptoms. Being a natural relaxant, peppermint oil can be a great accomplice to those putting themselves through intense workouts – it’s particularly effective at loosening tight muscles when rubbed into the desired area. It also helps in boosting energy and improving focus.
Lavender oil is perhaps the most widely recognised in this list – it has been used in many cultures and throughout many stages of our history. It is widely used as a sleeping aid but has also been found to prove useful when relieving headaches, maintaining skin complexion, reducing feelings of anxiety and stress.
Eucalyptus oil is intensely fresh and pure proving to assist in a number of areas related to health and wellbeing. Much like peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil can be used to relieve sore muscles when massaged into the area directly – it’s also been found to greatly assist in oral hygiene, helping to fend again dental infections such as cavities, gingivitis, and plaque.
Lemongrass oil provides our body with a fresh, citrus scent and has been found to act as a relief for muscle pain, reducing aches and when consumed internally can help your digestive system. It also holds some antioxidant and antibacterial qualities too. This oil is a great companion to exercise with its wealth of soothing qualities.
Tea Tree Oil
The oil extracted from tea tree has mainly been linked to improving and maintaining healthy skin. It’s in fact a brilliant way of treating acne – it can be administered straight onto the skin (in moderation due to the intensity of the oil) or inhaled through hot water or soaked up with a diffuser. It can also be used to clean hair including the removal of dandruff and the treatment of head lice. Note that tea tree oil must not be taken internally – it has been found to be poisonous when consumed.
How to use Essential Oils
Aromatic – The aroma of essential oils can evoke a powerful response from people, oils can be administered in the aromatic style in a number of ways. You can mix the oil with water in a spray bottle and spray on rugs, sofas and in rooms. Alternatively, you can add a few drops to laundry or apply the oil to the vents in your car.
Topical – Of course, you can directly apply essential oils to your skin too. It’s advised to apply these in smaller measures throughout the day, perhaps 1-2 drops at a time every few hours, rather than one large application. When applying directly to skin, avoid eyes, ears and any damaged skin. Additionally, you can add a few drops to a bath or to a towel soaked in water.
Internal – Oils can be consumed internally in a number of ways but only with a very small amount. Also, be sure to abide to the guidelines on the label to avoid any ingestion of toxics. One of the best ways is to add it to smoothies, water and tea.
The aromatic form of using essential oils can be a great complement to meditation. Check out our article which outlines 5 type of meditation you could try. For more wellbeing tips, head to our Healthy Living section which uncovers a bunch of different activities, topics and dietary tips.