How does the inhalation of essential oils work in the body? What is the science behind how and why it works?
Human behavior is influenced by smell. The smell of baking bread or rotisserie chicken in a grocery store. The floral scents of roses and lavender, the citrus of oranges, lemons and limes, the smell of conifers and pines…all these bring us memories.
Aromatherapy is about our sense of smell or olfaction. To make it simple: we breathe in the essential oils (which are molecules) our nose has cilia which transports these molecules up to our sensory nerves called the olfactory nerve. This olfactory nerve enters the skull, connects to the limbic system and the olfactory cortex.
Well, that’s great but I just want to use my diffuser!
I get a little geeky with the science–it’s so cool…lol. So let’s talk about diffusers and inhalers.
The easiest way to start with aromatherapy and essential oils is to use an inhaler.
Purchasing them is easy; your favorite essential oil supplier or Amazon sell them. They are cheap, and you can reuse them. My start with essential oils was with these 3 inhalers: one with ginger, one with lavender, and one with peppermint. I used antacids or acid reducing medications…you know that purple pill. My use of OTC medications has all but ceased except on a rare occasion, then I will use a chewable antacid. Peppermint is great for keeping alert while driving. One time I sprayed peppermint oil in my eye, but that story is for another day! The point is–we all start somewhere…and safety is important.
Inhalers have 4 parts, the wick, the tube, the cover and the cap.
To make an inhaler: place the cotton wick in a bowl. For an adult add 10-15 drops of essential oil to the bowl. (for children, use 7-8 drops of kid safe oils: lavender, sweet orange, cedarwood, etc). Move the wick around with a clean tweezers to soak up the oil. Place the wick in the tube of the inhaler-the part with the holes. Put on the cap, snapping it tightly and put the tube in the case, twisting closed. Label the inhaler: For example: Ginger for Nausea and motion sickness; Peppermint for alertness; Lavender for relaxing and many more.
I reuse my inhalers by disinfecting the inhaler parts, and use a new wick every so often. I keep them in an essential oil bag in my purse when I travel. Yay TSA!
I just made an inhaler for a nagging headache of almost equal drops (total 12) of frankincense, sweet basil and spike lavender. Surely helped ease that!
Using the diffuser is just as easy! Read the manufacturer directions on how many drops to use in the diffuser as they come in all different sizes.
The Aromahead Institute ACP course, taught to diffuse 30 minutes with the diffuser on, then 30 minutes off for safety reasons. For infants, it is recommended to diffuse and hour before having the child in the space, such as putting them to bed. Always have an escape route for your pets, remember that they might not like or be sensitive to the smells you are diffusing!