We are creatures of habit, finding solace in our routines. Comforted by the everyday tradition of the daily grind, we continue moving forward with our lives content to eat the same foods, keep the same haircut and drive the same route to work.
And how inconvenient when we must take the time to rest and heal! That multivitamin doesn’t always give you the extra boost needed to combat flu season. Being a parent or working with children means your exposure to germs skyrockets. We haven’t even started when it comes to allergies.
What if there was a way to make small changes to your daily routine and yield big results? Fortunately, essential oils are a perfect, cost-effective way to improve everything from immune system function to the condition of your skin.
We’ve put together five easy ways to improve your quality of life with the addition of essential oils. Without hours of meditation or researching books on aromatherapy, here are some ways to start a few new traditions:
- Bath Oils
- Spot treatments for skin
- Boost your immunity
- Massage oils and lotions
- Freshen the air
Add to Your Bath
Bath time isn’t just for the kids. This warm, steaming water opens your pores and nasal passages, making it an excellent time to maximize the effects of essential oil.
For milder oils, such as lavender or tea tree, start with 15 drops of oil along with a dispersant to help spread the oil throughout the bathwater. Epson salt is ideal as it assists the mixing process while adding minerals like magnesium to the bath.
Relax your muscles and open your sinuses when battling a cold or allergies with eucalyptus oil. This powerful essence requires dilution and is toxic when ingested, so be sure to keep it light when using eucalyptus.
On the Spot Treatment
The first way to implement spot treatments of essential oil does not require any diluting at all. Mild oils with antiseptic properties, such as lavender and tea tree, are safe to use topically on small areas. Have a pimple? Dab a drop of tea tree on it.
Fighting acne is more than dealing with a zit here and there. Stress, lack of sleep and hormones all contribute to bad skin. Gentler than harsh chemicals and cheaper than complicated skin care regimens, in addition to tea tree and lavender, clary sage and juniper oil detoxify and battle bacteria on your behalf.
For minor burns, lavender is a proven treatment that soothes pain and your brain while keeping infections away. Say goodbye to fungal infections with a few drops of neat (not diluted) oregano oil.
Fight that Cold
When flu season is knocking at the door, clear stuffy sinuses with 5 – 10 drops of eucalyptus or peppermint oil and inhale over a steaming bowl of water. Ginger oil can also keep your mucous membranes happy while also keeping your stomach settled down.
To fight the germs before they take hold, add some thyme oil to your everyday cleaning products. Its antibacterial properties make it the active ingredient in many eco-friendly and natural cleaning agents. You can also use thyme by breathing in the vapours or by ingesting very small amounts (be sure to follow the instructions on the label or your herbalist’s recommendations).
Tea tree oil is another antiviral agent that works from the outside. Do not ingest tea tree oil (also known as Melaleuca) as it is toxic! But breathing in direct vapours, diluting it in coconut oil and rubbing on your chest for relief are both safe strategies.
Rub it in
More than just a relaxing massage, essentials have a strong track record in managing muscle pain and arthritis. The anti-inflammatory properties of oils such as lavender, sage, peppermint and chamomile make them excellent additives for your favorite lotion or cream. About one drop of oil for every teaspoon of lotion or butter will let your moisturizer continue working while reducing aches and pains even after the rubbing stops.
Keep fragrances mild when blending oils, as too much intensity may lead to skin irritation or headaches for those with sensitivities. Pregnant women should always check essences against a list of oils not recommended for use.
Diffuse Your Refuge
Keep your entire household healthier with friendly and fragrant essences that lift the mood in the room, keep respiratory allergies in check, and rid the air of harmful bacteria and fungus.
Lemon oil is a popular immunity booster and antiseptic. Its fresh scent is popular in cleaning products and adding a few drops of essential oil to a vaporizer will energize the air. This mood enhancer can also stop headaches and improve digestion.
While fragrances like patchouli are helpful, they are also strong scents that permeate fabric. Always start with a light hand anytime you bring a new oil into use, and just a few drops in a diffuser or vaporizer will quickly filter throughout the space.
Marjoram is another volatile oil that promotes a relaxed atmosphere reduces anxiety. In use since the times of ancient Greece, this oil even calm hyperactivity. Maybe cedarwood is the lift you need to bring back happy childhood memories of playing in the woods or hiking with friends.
Tame the Tummy Issues
Peppermint oil is not toxic, but inhalation of a diluted oil can calm your stomach, relieving indigestion, gas and nausea. Ginger oil is another non-toxic oil that promotes healthy digestion. It can be inhaled to stop nausea or added in small amounts to food to keep your gut feeling good.
Essential oils have more uses than we could list in one sitting but know that making small changes – like adding a few drops to your vaporizer when sick – can help your body function more efficiently. Keeping a small bottle of peppermint oil in a desk drawer to inhale when needing a work day pickup is better than a shot bottle of caffeine. Even adding a bit of ylang-ylang to your shampoo can brighten your shower and stimulate healthy hair growth.
Before you know it, people will be asking why your mood is better, why you aren’t sick when everyone else is battling a cold, and how your skin looks so darn healthy! Small steps will lead to big changes physically and mentally.