Using essential oils for aromatherapy can help you feel better whether you have a cold, need to break through a mid-afternoon crash or suffer from body aches. Vapor inhalation delivers essential oils to the respiratory tract quickly. This is one of the fastest ways to get essential oils into your bloodstream, and it can be an effective way to clear your airways.
What Are Vapor Inhalation Essential Oils?
Although you can inhale essential oils directly from the bottle, diluting them and inhaling the vapor can be especially soothing. If you end up breathing into the bottle, you shorten the oil’s shelf life.
Using a diffuser, vaporizer or steam method prevents this from happening. It also breaks up the essential oil particles, making them easier to breathe in. The molecules are absorbed through your lungs into your bloodstream so that they can deliver benefits to other organs and tissues.
Although essential oils for congestion are often breathed in to relieve problems in the respiratory tract, other oils can be used to enhance your energy or calm you down when you’re feeling stressed.
Steam Inhalation Of Essential Oils
One of the easiest ways to breathe in the benefits of essential oils is by adding them to a steaming bowl of water. The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy says that steam inhalation of essential oil is primarily indicated for reducing congestion from colds or flu, getting clear sinuses and improving respiratory function.
Boil a few cups of water on the stove, and then transfer it to a heat-safe bowl. Add three to seven drops of essential oil to the water. Bend your head over the bowl so that you can inhale the steam. Cover your head and the bowl with a towel to prevent the steam from escaping.
If you’re using essential oils for a sinus infection, try breathing through your nose to direct the vapor into those passageways. Breathe through your mouth if you’re using essential oils for a cough.
Breathe deeply until the steam has subsided. While you do this, keep your eyes closed. Wipe your eyes with a clean, dry cloth before opening them again. Although steaming essential oils is safe for the eyes, you may experience irritation if the ratio of essential oil to water is too strong.
Adding Essential Oils To A Shower Or Bath
For a less targeted experience, you can use essential oils when you take a shower or bath. Add a few drops, to a steaming tub of water before sinking in and relaxing. You’ll breathe in the steam as you unwind.
In the shower, wet a washcloth and apply a few drops of essential oil to it. Place it close to face level. You’ll inhale some of the vapors as you let the warm water wash over you. The Hippy Homemaker also has a recipe for making DIY essential oil shower steamers.
Diffusing Essential Oils
You can inhale essential oils by adding them to an appropriate diffuser. Diffusers transform liquid into a mist that disperses into the air. Everyone in the home can breathe it in.
Diffusers are useful for allowing multiple people to benefit from the essential oils at once. Different types have various uses. More powerful options are best for larger spaces.
Nebulizing diffusers may be the most powerful. They don’t require you to dilute the essential oil with water. Instead, they attach directly to the essential oil bottle and use an atomizer—not heat—to distribute the particles into the air. The concentration of oils in the air will be the highest when you use a nebulizing diffuser.
Ultrasonic diffusers use electrical impulses and vibration to create a fine mist of water and essential oil. The concentration of oil is lower than with a nebulizing diffuser. These can also be used as humidifiers because they scatter moisture throughout the air. Many of these are not recommended for use with citrus oils, however.
Humidifiers that are not designed for use with essential oils are not recommended. The oils can break down the plastic and other components in the product. The heat also reduces the oils’ benefits.
Follow the instructions on your diffuser to determine the proper amount of oil to use. Make sure that you clean your diffuser regularly. Also, avoid using oils that might not be safe for children or pets.
Can You Vape Essential Oils?
Vaping has become a huge trend, and you might wonder whether you can use essential oils in a vape pen or e-cigarette device, sometimes called a personal essential oil diffuser. Vapor inhalation essential oils using this method is controversial.
Aromatherapy pens are usually filled with essential oil, glycerin, and water. But if you purchase pre-filled cartridges, it’s not always easy to determine what ingredients are used. If you can get your hands on an ingredient list, make sure that they’re organic, chemical-free and made in the U.S.
Also, these devices use heat to create an inhalable vapor. Good Housekeeping reports that there is no way to be certain of what happens when the ingredients in an essential oil vape pen are heated.
Another concern is the concentration of the vapor. When you diffuse oil into the atmosphere, much of it is diluted before it enters your airways. When you inhale through a personal aromatherapy device, you get a heavier concentration of vapor.
One way to use a personal essential oil inhaler is to make your own. Add a few drops of oil to a cotton ball, and seal it in a small glass container. Open the jar and take a whiff when you need a dose of aromatherapy.
In general, inhaling essential oils are considered to be safe and pose a low level of risk. Some people with sensitive respiratory systems may find certain oils irritating. Using a diffuser or vaporizer in a room with plenty of ventilation is important.
Make sure that you only use oils that are safe for everyone in the home. Some oils, such as thyme, lemongrass, cinnamon bark, and clove, can irritate mucous membranes. Others are not recommended for use with children, animals or pregnant women.