How to Use Essential Oil – Methods of Inhalation

by KG Stiles, LMT, RBT, CBP, CAT

Pure essential oils have a wide range of therapeutic uses and benefits. The method applied can affect the results.

First, please remember that essential oils should never be applied neat (undiluted) to your skin. There are absolutely NO exceptions to this! This includes the soles of your feet or palms of your hands. When using oils neat for inhalation purposes please exercise care and dispense your oils on a tissue or cotton ball for direct inhalation.

The choice of delivery method often depends on your intended goal. Please view diagrams (clickable links) below, illustrating the pathways of distribution within the human body and the organs and systems being affected by essential oils.

There are 3 Primary Methods for enjoying the benefits of aromitic oils:

1) DIRECT INHALATION is the method used most in Germany and the one I primarily use for best therapeutic results.

PLEASE NOTE: Stimulating circulation of your blood, lymph and nerve flow through deep breathing or movement and exercise, a bodywork/massage session, or a warm shower or hot soak in conjunction with inhalation of aromatic oils enhances their delivery into your system!

DIRECTIONS: Put 1-3 drops of essential oil onto a tissue, cotton ball or organic Celtic smelling salts. Slowly introduce the oils into your system by breathing them in for 30-60 seconds.

Aromatic oils stimulate your olfactory nerves which send a signal to your brain’s neuro-receptors, triggering numerous electro-chemical responses.

VIEW Chart on Electro-chemical effects of Aromatherapy

Through cellular respiration, or breathing, aromatic vapors enter your lungs for immediate release into your blood stream for distribution to every cell in your body. Research shows that essential oils will remain in your bloodstream for up to 4-6 hours. The method of Direct Inhalation is helpful for inducing sleep!

VIEW Chart on Aromatherapy Delivery Pathways

2) MICRO DIFFUSION uses a nebulizing diffuser that will break oil into millions of micro particles. It disperses oils without the heating that can render them therapeutically less beneficial.

3) AIR DIFFUSION has a basket in which a pad with drops of oils are applied. A small fan blows cool air through the oils lifting them into the air for dispersal. This is a cost effective way for diffusing the oils and has the benefits of micro-diffusion and is especially good for scenting a room.