Are you stressed because of the holidays approaching? Or have you had heaps of work with no rest lately?

Besides adding exercise to your stress relief regimen, why not try aromatherapy? Essential oils are a natural way of improving wellness without harsh chemicals or additives.

Keep reading for the ultimate aromatherapy guide, including which to use and how to apply them.

Cost of Oils

Essential oils are not perfume or fragrance oils. They can promote powerful healing, but often the ones you think will work for you aren’t safe to use.

Consider the price and the source.

Of course, a sale will catch your eye. But you want to invest in a quality product to make sure it’s safe for your body. It’s worth it to spend a little more and have peace of mind about what you’re using for your therapeutic routine.

An essential oil that comes from a reputable source will cost more, but it will also have the right labelling. If a bottle claims that they are of a certain grade or have certification, be wary.

The details are important, but no organization officially regulates all essential oils. So a grade or certification is impossible. Instead look for a breakdown of the chemicals inside the oils.

Evaluating Oils

A company should provide numbers for gas chromatography (GC) and mass spectrometry (MS) to tell how pure the oil is. These are two ways of evaluating the purity of the oil

Oils are often tested with GC because they convert into a gas with ease. They are then separated into each element of the compound. Scientists then use a mass spectrometer to analyse each ingredient.

It’s important to note that MS isn’t the only way to analyze the oils. In fact, in Australia, local species of plants have their own standards that are different from ISO standards, North American standards, or the French AFNOR standards. No global standards apply to essential oils everywhere yet.

MS-tested oils aren’t the only ones to look at. Mass spectrometers can’t detect compounds that aren’t toxic, like metal or other elements. They also can’t read whether an oil is synthetic or natural.

Other detectors for volatile substances in essential oils are:

  • Flame Ionization Detector (FID)
  • Infrared Detector (IRD)
  • Electron Capture Detector (ECD)
  • Thermal Conductivity Detector (TCD)
  • Flame Photometric Detector (FPD)

An FID is helpful to learn about the chemical makeup of oils, often with MS.

Make sure to check your carrier oils, too. Mix essential oils with a carrier oil to dilute it and make it safe to apply to the skin.

Vegetable oils like coconut or olive are popular. Examine these the same way you examine your essential oils for safety.

How To Choose Oils

Take into account your own preferences. Someone can recommend an oil all day, but if you hate the smell, it won’t help you relax and de-stress. Your nose should play a huge part in choosing oils for your routine.

Lemon relieves stress, if you have a big test coming up or any other high-anxiety event.

Peppermint and eucalyptus are cooling, and others are warming. Some warming oils include:

  • black pepper
  • oregano
  • thyme
  • clove
  • cinnamon
  • basil
  • ginger

Marjoram and rosewood are great right before bed for help relaxing to sleep.

The best way to figure out which oils to use is to find some recommendations and give them a try. Your nose will give you the first sign of whether the scent will help you relax, and then you can try the ones that appeal to you. Check how much calmer you feel after using an oil, and keep track of your findings.

How To Use Oils

Diffusing is an easy way to start using essential oils. A few drops in a diffuser can last a long time, and they are effective right away. Diffusers use a cool mist that is safe.

Make sure to set it on a flat surface close to an outlet. Both glass and plastic versions are available.

Another way to apply essential oils is right on the skin. After choosing your carrier oil (as discussed above), mix a few drops with a carrier oil.

An easy way to apply the oil is with a bottle that has a roller ball. Yet, you can also use your finger. Rubbing some on your wrists or behind your ears is a great way to get the oil on your skin.

You may also choose another part of the body. Depending on the use or the symptom, some parts are more optimal than others.

When to Use Oils

Using natural methods to reduce stress means you can avoid putting toxins in your body. But using oils at the right time maximizes their effectiveness. One of the best times to use essential oils is when you are most relaxed.

During Exercise

You’ll find stretching before and after exercise to be a good time for incorporating essential oils. Get your runners out and work out your muscles. Whatever your normal stretching routine is, diffusing oils during those few minutes can help reduce stress.

Meditation and Mindfulness

Try practicing meditation to help with stress relief. It regulates your blood pressure and alleviates pain, both of which contribute to higher levels of stress.

So put on your tracky daks and get comfortable, then add some essential oils before you start meditating. Whether you diffuse it or apply some right on the skin, the right oils help you be more present to yourself during your meditation time and get the most out of the practice.