Essential oils are more than just a passing fad. For generations, these powerful plant extracts have been used to support emotional and physical well-being. From
bergamot to ylang-ylang
, essential oils can ease tension and promote calmness, as well as help with physical ailments.
If you've never used essential oils, or if you're looking for a new way to incorporate them into your wellness routine, consider one of these four simple aromatherapy practices suggested by Victoria Risovanny, a licensed acupuncturist at the
Sewall Healthy Living Center
Sharp Coronado Hospital
1. In a soothing bath to relax tense muscles
Dilute five to 10 drops of essential oil in a fatty carrier oil — such as sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil or jojoba oil — or in some milk, and swish into a warm bath. Try relaxing and cooling Roman chamomile oil or calming and balancing sweet marjoram oil.
2. In a steam treatment to help clear blocked nasal passages
Put two drops of a selected oil into a bowl of hot water and inhale with a thick towel over your head. This is also excellent for ear and chest congestion. Try rosemary, eucalyptus or grand fir oil.
3. In a diffuser to help with sleep
Check the diffuser's instruction manual to find out the exact recommended amount of oil. Start with the lowest recommended amount — you can always add an extra drop if the aroma is not intense enough for you. Experiment with lavender, Roman chamomile or neroli oil.
4. In a carrier oil for aromatherapy massage
Blend a total of five to 10 drops per 10 milliliters of carrier oil or unscented lotion (a 2.5- to 5-percent dilution). Use on sore, achy muscles. Try a combination of rosemary and sweet marjoram oils.
- Do not use essential oils undiluted or in eyes and mucus membranes.
- Do not take internally.
- Keep away from children.
If applying essential oil to skin, always perform a small patch test to your forearm with the diluted oil in an appropriate carrier. Wait 15 minutes and if redness, itching or burning occurs, dilute the area with a carrier lotion or oil, then wash with soap and water and discontinue use of that particular oil.
Learn more about
integrative spa therapies, including massage and acupuncture, available at the Sewall Healthy Living Center at Sharp Coronado Hospital.