A Simple Practice To Help You Sleep Easier, Feel Happier & More

Written by Sitarani Palomar

Essential oils are a mainstay in my life. Whether to calm cramps or anxiety, sleep or breathe better, or regulate body temperature, I use essential oils to bring me to my healthiest here and now.

Learning about essential oil therapy — aromatherapy — is as intricate as any discipline, and if you’ve been drawn to aromas even the littlest bit, I encourage you to follow your senses and seek out trusted aromatherapy pioneers to better understand this world of wellness.

But you don’t need to make aromatherapy education a hobby in order to benefit from healing properties of essential oils. Here are six ways to use essential oils right now:

1. For a better night's sleep ...

... place a couple drops of essential oil (lavender, clary sage, lemongrass) on a tissue. Move the tissue beneath your nose from one nostril to the other. Passing it back and forth beneath your nose will give you a complete experience of the aroma and its benefits. Favor this tissue method over placing essential oils directly on skin before bed as essential oils are stimulating and can wake you from sleep if worn on your body.

2. For headache relief ...

... blend a combination of lavender, peppermint and camomile essential oils, and apply to the temples (these oils have anti-inflammatory and soothing properties). Additionally, black pepper oil helps with headaches by dilating blood vessels, thereby relieving tension and allowing blood to flow freely.

3. To reduce stress ...

... try tapping essential oils beneath your hairline along the back of your neck. This will also help bring your body into alignment and your mind into focus. Oils like ylang ylang, jasmine and lavender are good for reducing stress whereas basil, rosemary and grapefruit help with mental clarity. This is a great treatment when working under deadline or before getting behind the wheel of a car.

4. For a jolt of inspiration ...

... try placing frankincense, rose, neroli or sandalwood on the crown of your head. The 7th chakra (the crown chakra) is located on the top of your skull and is considered the place through which we connect with higher power and good. A drop of essential oil on the crown of your head can provide inspiration to transform an experience.

5. To open your chest and breathe easier ...

... dot essential oils along your collarbone to bring consciousness and awareness to your throat, shoulders and chest. The scent and sensation will prompt you to lengthen your collarbone, opening space for your lungs and encouraging you to breathe deeper. Aromas like lavender and eucalyptus are famous for this, but you can combine those with others that smell good to you like cardamom, vanilla, lime or cinnamon.

6. For all-day benefits ...

... apply oils on your wrists or hands. The underside of your wrist is a great place for oils that help regulate body temperature like clove, ginger or vetiver to warm and fir, mint or lavender to cool. You can also massage oils between your thumb and forefinger — your hands move along your body and in front of your face all day, so you'll get pleasant whiffs of the scent throughout the day.

Remember: You only need a drop or two of any essential oil to experience therapeutic benefits. Essential oils are potent, so it's important to dilute them a bit before applying to skin to prevent irritation. If you want to blend your own, combine essential oils with a carrier oil like jojoba, castor or almond oil in a ratio of one-part essential oil to four-parts carrier oil.

As you embrace aromatherapy and begin customizing blends for your tastes and needs, experiment with scenting your own body oils, hair rinse and homemade cleaning products. You’ll feel like a modern day alchemist!

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