How to use essential oils

5 mins
10 Jan 2023
How to use essential oils

Here’s how to use essential oils to make the most of their natural calming benefits

words Sophie Lou Wilson

Essential oils offer a natural way to relax and unwind. Their benefits range from relieving stress to boosting your mood, so without further ado here’s how to use essential oils to experience their feel good calming effects.

How to use essential oils

There’s no singular way to use essential oils. You can often find them in candles and bath products, but if you want to experience them more directly, it can be worth investing in a diffuser. Diffusers are devices that disperse essential oils into the air. They’re a great way to set up your space for yoga, meditation or preparing to go to sleep.

You can also use essential oils on your skin. Make sure you dilute your essential oils with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or jojoba oil, before applying to pressure points like your temples or wrists. (Take care to never apply pure essential oils directly to the skin without a carrier oil.) Alternatively, use an essential oil roll-on that you can apply directly.

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The benefits of essential oils

Essential oils have been used for at least 6,000 years to heal the mind, body and soul. But what does modern science have to say? A 2017 study found that lavender essential oil reduced anxiety among the 100 participants as they waited for surgery. Meanwhile, a 2016 study found that 58.1% of participants experienced reduced symptoms of moderate to severe generalised anxiety disorder after using chamomile essential oil.

Julieta Echeita, co-founder of Holistic London, is also keen to point out the potential calming effects these oils can have. “Essential oils can be a natural way to help relieve stress, manage anxiety, create a sense of calm and uplift your mood,” she explains. “They may also help to relieve some cold symptoms, and for that effect I’d recommend eucalyptus, rosemary, peppermint.”

So, if the back to work stress is kicking in, or you’re looking to add some extra relaxation to your new daily yoga practice, here’s your guide on how to use essential oils for calm.

How to use essential oils to scent a room

The most popular way to use essential oils is to scent your space. Their relaxing benefits are most strongly felt through our sense of smell. According to Julieta Echeita, they work using the limbic system in our brains. “The reason behind the powerful link between scent and emotions is that the olfactory system is deeply rooted in an area of our brain, the limbic system, where memories and emotions reside,” she explains. “It is due to the connection with the limbic system that scents possess such a strong emotional power.”

The simplest way to scent your room is with a candle or room spray. Essential oil room mists mix scented oils with water so they’re safe to spritz around your room. Scented candles use essential oils to make your space smell good while certain scents promote feelings of relaxation, clarity and calm.

Finding the right essential oil diffuser

All diffusers release essential oils into the air to scent your room, but each type of diffuser works slightly differently. Read on to find which one might work best for you.

Nebulising diffusers

Unlike other diffusers, nebulising diffusers don’t require heat or water. This means essential oils are released into the air in their purest form which can be beneficial for those with respiratory issues. However, they're often the most expensive to buy and they use up oil quicker than other types of diffusers.

Reed diffusers

Reed diffusers usually come as essential oil in a glass jar along with sticks, or reeds, that soak up the essential oil and release the scent into the room. They diffuse scent constantly without using heat or electricity. You can control the intensity of the fragrance through the number of reeds you add, but they aren’t as easy to control as electric diffusers.

Ultrasonic diffusers

Ultrasonic diffusers require you to pour water into the diffuser. It then sends ultrasonic vibrations to separate essential oils from the water and release them into the air as a mist. These diffusers only use a small amount of essential oil and they double up as air humidifiers.

Heat diffusers

As the name suggests, heat diffusers use heat to disperse essential oils around your room. You can buy electronic heat diffusers or use a candle to heat up the essential oils. This is a quiet and economical method, but the heat can sometimes change the properties of the oil and lessen their effectiveness.

Evaporative diffuser

Evaporative diffusers use air flow to spread the scent of the essential oils through a space. The oil separates so that the lighter components evaporate first followed by the heavier components of the oil.

How to use essential oils on skin

As well as scenting a room, essential oils can be used for calming skincare and massages. You can dilute them with a carrier oil to apply to pressure points or massage into skin.

One of the easiest ways to use essential oils on skin is using a roll on. Roll on essential oils are made to be used on skin so you don’t need to dilute them before use. Another easy way to integrate essential oils into your skincare is looking for essential oil bath products. Bath oils often contain essential oils, or you can drop a few diluted drops of pure essential oils into the bath for the ultimate relaxation.

Find your calm

However you choose to use essential oils, they’re a relatively easy way to boost your calm routine. They’re extremely versatile and smell delicious. So, the next time you’re having a self-care evening, why not add some essential oils into the mix? You can shop our curation of calming essential oils below.

Shop essential oils

Products are selected independently by our editors from the woo online store, a carefully curated platform for feel good fashion, beauty, wellness and lifestyle, as well as externally. Discover more here.

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