Using essential oils with water



How to use essential oils with water

If the king of aromatherapy methods is massage, the queen has to be the aromatic bath. A few drops of well-chosen essential oils, swirled into a not-too-hot bath (evaporation, remember), can relax you when you’re all wound up, or can revive you when you thought you wanted to crawl away and hide.

Certain oils in the bath can ease pain, invigorate and unknot your tired and tense muscles, and give your skin a treat. Some essential oils can even act positively against infections.

If you ever have the chance, try your oils in a jacuzzi – it is fun, although rather extravagant – and next time you go to a sauna take a little phial of oil with you. A few drops added to that pan of water and then splashed on the hot stones can add a whole new dimension to a sauna.

You could try oil of the white birch, Betula alba. It is with the twigs of this tree that Scandinavians reputedly beat each other during their sauna rituals. White birch is very good for the skin and the circulation, and the aroma reminds you of after-shave of the ‘leather’ type, which is no coincidence because they use birch tar oil to make such products.

Another versatile water method is steam inhalation. Put a tea-towel over your head, close your eyes and breathe in the vapors from about 23 cm/9 inches above a steaming bowl. This can be good for all sorts of nasal and chest problems, headaches and colds, and can be effective as a form of facial, although avoid this method if you have sensitive skin, since it can produce broken or ‘thread’ veins. It is also a convenient way of using the powers of essential oils to relieve anxiety or give yourself a quick lift when you’re feeling down.

Using essential oils with applicators

Compresses are the main way of applying oils directly to the body. Half fill a pudding basin with water – hot if you are treating muscular aches and stiffness in the joints, cold if the problem is a headache or a strained or pulled muscle. Add up to five drops of the oil, soak a clean piece of cotton cloth in the solution, gently squeeze out the surplus and hold to the affected part for as long as you feel it is doing good. Renew as necessary.

Oils can also be inhaled neat, and it is best to do this with some sort of portable ‘sniffer’, which need be nothing more complex than a small pill bottle with cotton wool inside with a few drops of oil added. This can be carried wherever you go.

Using essential oils with vaporizers

Essential Oil VaporizerYou could be really basic about this and simply fill a saucer with water, stand it on the radiator, then sprinkle in a few drops of oil. Alternatively, you could do it in style with a burner or a vaporizer. Burners come in all shapes and materials, the basic idea being to use a night-light candle to generate just enough heat to send the molecules of essential oil out into the atmosphere of the room. As long as you can wash all traces of oil off the burner before you next use it, it doesn’t really matter which sort of burner you have.

Another very simple but luxurious method is the light-bulb ring. These little circular troughs fit over the bulb in the table-lamp or bedside-lamp and do the same job as the burners. You can use fragrant rather than essential oils in these atmospheric ways. You only get the aroma, not the therapy, but this may not matter in most cases. In serious applications you probably would not use the light and mild atmospheric methods anyway.

These methods are best suited to creating moods, freshening the air and making the environment more attractive to friends and lovers, or less attractive to insects. The aroma alone is usually sufficient in these cases. Fragrant or essential oils can be used to revive potpourri, and some can be dabbed neat onto the skin as perfumes, for instance geranium, patchouli and sandalwood.