Essential oils help restore a feeling of peace, balance, and happiness, and they promote the stability of hormones and emotions, whether they are used in diffusers, potpourri, candles, relaxing bath blends, massages, cosmetic applications, or for steam inhalation.
• Essential oils can help ease the suffering of those with an inability to fall asleep or to stay asleep by promoting a mental and physical sense of calm and relaxation that leads to drowsiness. Oils such as Lavender, and Ylang-ylang, which have uplifting, soothing properties to counteract dark moods, can be added to a warm bath for soaking prior to bedtime. A few drops of these or other comforting oils can also be smoothed onto bedding such as pillow covers, in order to allow the scent to be diffused and inhaled throughout the night. Otherwise, they can be diluted with water for a spray bottle and spritzed as an air freshener in the bedroom.
• Essential oils have been used traditionally to fight cold and flu symptoms by inhibiting the growth and spread of bacteria and thereby boosting immunity. Some are potent enough to function as preventative measures due to their anti-bacterial activities. With appropriate dilution, they can be made into an anti-microbial air freshener to eliminate the airborne spread of germs. When added to steaming hot water and inhaled through the vapours, they may relieve sinus congestion. Cooling oils like Eucalyptus and Peppermint can even be blended into a massage ointment and rubbed onto the chest to promote easy breathing. A few drops of an oil added to a soft cloth can be held under the nose to inhale the fumes, or the oil’s aroma can be inhaled directly from its bottle.
When used in spiritual or religious practices, essential oils can be diffused in either electrical or classic glass jar diffusers to cleanse the immediate environment in order to enhance personal mystical experiences. Some popular essential oils for this purpose include Frankincense and Patchouli among many others. Their scents can be described as woody, earthy, clean, and sweet with a hint of spiciness. They are believed to promote a sense of gratitude, awareness, enlightenment and to either calm or enliven the mood according to the desired mood for the devotional practice. The scents are reminiscent of the ancient times in which their uses began and can promote deep breathing that brings on relaxation. Other recommended oils for these devotional practices are those that have subtle aromas with warming, stimulating effects.
For medical conditions, it is recommended that a health care practitioner be consulted. The method of essential oil application depends on the particular essential oil being used, as some are irritating to skin and would be much better suited to inhalation. Another factor to consider when deciding on a method of application is the condition that is intended to be treated: wounds require dermal absorption, mood enhancement can be achieved through either topical application or inhalation, and baths implement both inhalation and dermal absorption.