Sometimes it can be difficult to calm your body and quiet your mind enough to sit still and meditate. Thankfully, there are several essential oils that can help you relax and enjoy a peaceful meditation practice. Not only can they ease stress and help you feel more grounded, they smell great too!
Below is an infographic on five essential oils that help with meditation. But first, if you’ve never used essential oils, you may be wondering what they are and how you would use them in a meditation session.
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What Are Essential Oils and Aromatherapy?
Essential oils are natural oils extracted from plants and distilled into pure oil for their powerful healing and rejuvenation properties. An essential oil can be used individually or combined with other essential oils to achieve the desired effect. They may be used in lotions and salves, and are often used for massage, during meditation or spiritual practices, and other holistic therapies.
Aromatherapy involves the use of essential oils and aromatic plant extracts for calming and healing purposes, usually by rubbing the oil into the skin or by dispersing it into the air.
How to Use Essential Oils
There are many ways to use essential oils. However, for the purposes of aiding in meditation, there are two ways you can use them: Diffusing them into the air or rubbing them into the skin.
Essential Oil Diffusion
Diffusion involves dispersing the oils into the air via a fine mist. This is usually done with a diffuser, a small appliance made specifically for this purpose.
You can also put a few drops of essential oil into a spray bottle with water, and use it to mist the air around you. It’s best to use a glass spray bottle if possible because some essential oils can deteriorate plastic over time.
Rubbing essential oils into the skin is another common delivery method, but use caution: First, make sure that the essential oil you are using is approved for use directly on the skin. Secondly, essential oils are very concentrated, and a little bit goes a long way. Try a drop or two to start with – even if it’s been approved for topical use – and see how it affects you.
Safety tip: If you have a medical condition or take medication, consult a physician to be sure that the essential oils you want to use won’t have any adverse side effects in your situation.
Here are a few options for applying essential oils topically:
- Place a single drop of oil on your third eye (the middle of your forehead).
- Add a drop or two to your favorite hand lotion and rub it into your arms and/or legs.
- Rub a drop between your hands and then inhale the scent from your cupped hands.
It is especially important when using essential oils topically to conduct patch testing to determine if you will have a reaction to the oil you desire to apply. Dilute a small amount of essential oil to twice the concentration you plan to use regularly. Place two to three drops to the pad of a bandage and apply to the inside of your forearm. Allow that to remain for 48 hours, and then check for irritation. If you experience any redness, blisters, itchiness, or swelling around the site, you should not use that oil topically.
Best Practices For Essential Oils
Are essential oils safe? There are a number of concerns about potential dangers of essential oils. They are highly concentrated oils derived from plants with amazing properties that, when not used properly, can potentially have adverse effects. Heeding essential oil warnings, however, can help you avoid any negative side effects.
Because essential oils are so concentrated, it is almost always necessary to dilute them before use. Carriers such as coconut, jojoba, almond, and pure olive oil are commonly used to dilute the essential oil, and many carriers have benefits themselves. Usually, concentrations of 3–5% are safe for topical use. This amounts to about 3 to 5 drops per teaspoon of your carrier oil – though as stated above, you should always do a patch test before applying directly to skin. There are some oils that are safe for use undiluted, but dilution will make those oils go further and still deliver the positive benefits.
Many essential oils have strong antibacterial properties. This is very beneficial for dealing with unwanted harmful bacteria. However, when you ingest those same oils, you deliver their antibacterial properties directly to your gut, where they may damage the delicate gut biome. Some essential oils are not safe for ingestion, and others are safe for use only with great caution. In most cases, the benefits from ingestion may be accomplished more safely by consuming the herb or plant in food or made into a tea.
Storage Of Essential Oils
Many people may be unaware that essential oils should not be stored in plastic. It is not uncommon to find many people innocently diffusing essential oils into the air using a plastic spray bottle. Only glass bottles, however, should be used for storing or diffusing essential oils. Due to the powerful concentration of these oils, even diluted, they may over time eat away at the plastic, posing a possible risk of contact exposure to the oils. Storing the oils properly will not only keep you safe from potential skin contact with these strong oils but will preserve your oils for use.
Some oils, particularly citrus-based oils, may cause sensitivity to sunlight after application topically. Take care after using oils from orange, lime, lemon, bergamot, and grapefruit essential oils that those areas of the skin are not exposed to the sun soon after. The skin will be more sensitive to UV radiation and may burn or blister easily, even from low levels of sun exposure.
Use In Babies and Children
Young children and babies’ skin is especially sensitive. Extreme caution should be used before applying essential oils, even diluted, directly to young children’s skin. While many are safe for use, taking extra care to conduct a patch test and to dilute the oils even more than you do for adults will help prevent burning or skin discoloration. Additionally, some oils can slow or even stop breathing in young children with respiratory problems. When using oils for young children in a diffuser, observe the child carefully for any abnormal breathing problems and remove them from the room if any difficulty breathing is observed.
Peppermint Essential Oil Warnings
While peppermint is an extremely versatile and effective essential oil, its very powerfulness makes it an oil to administer with caution. Peppermint oil should not be used on children under 30 months of age, nor applied to the feet – particularly to children under 12 years of age. Great care should be used if ingested, as it may cause burning mouth syndrome or problems in the digestion system. Peppermint oil should be taken in a capsule or tablet to avoid damage to the esophagus. It is also important to dilute peppermint oil properly for use in a diffuser. Inhaling large doses of the oil may lead to dizziness, confusion and other problems.
Pregnant and nursing mothers will want to exercise great caution in using any essential oils. Many oils are able to cross the placental barrier that protects your child during pregnancy. While the essential oil is beneficial to you, the effects may be undesirable on a developing baby, and the concentration reaching the baby may be stronger than would be safe. Highly diluted oils used in aromatherapy are likely safe. Talk to your doctor before using any essential oils during this fragile time.
Special Medical Conditions
If you have any special medical conditions, always consult your doctor before using any new essential oil. Essential oils are often able to cross through the skin directly into the bloodstream, creating a possible problem for those with existing conditions. Also, if you are taking medication, ask your doctor about any potential drug interactions your essential oil may cause. An essential oil interacting with a medication could interfere with its function or even boost its potency to something unsafe for use. Always ask your doctor before trying a new oil.
Quality of Production
Not all essential oils are produced with the same care for quality. The old adage you get what you pay for is important here. Research the company that produces the oils you intend to purchase. Do they have a reputation for quality or are they merely trying to cash in on those looking for healthy alternatives? The distillation process makes a great deal of difference in the quality of oil you receive. Choosing a legitimate company that promotes quality will not only help safeguard you from poorly crafted oils, but it may protect you from potential health problems as well.
Essential Oils That Help with Meditation
Here’s a quick overview of five essential oils that can help with meditation. If you’re not sure which one to use, give each one a sniff and pick based on what smells best to you. You can buy essential oils from shops that sell natural remedies and supplements, as well as from individuals who sell certain brands of essential oils.
This essential oil is extracted from trees of the Boswellia genus, which flourishes in Africa and India, and it can be used to help relieve stress and anxiety and promote feelings of calmness. Frankincense has been used in spiritual practices for centuries, and it’s popular in meditative sessions today.
This essential oil is derived from the fragrant white blossoms of the bitter orange tree native to Asia. When used in aromatherapy for meditation, neroli oil provides a calming and relaxing scent that helps alleviate anxiety and even heart palpitations.
Extracted from several tree species of the Commiphora genus, myrrh resin and essential oil has been used for thousands of years in traditional healing therapies. Myrrh has an uplifting scent that promotes calmness, tranquility and greater spiritual awareness.
Coming from a perennial bunchgrass native to India, vetiver oil has an exotic aroma and provides a calming, grounding effect. Vetiver oil has a musty, earthy scent, and it helps promote inner strength and protection during meditation.
Sage leaves aren’t only used in culinary recipes, but they can produce an essential oil that has antibacterial, antioxidant and many other properties. Burning sage has been popular for centuries in ceremonial practices, as it is believed to remove negative energy.
Share the Tranquility!
Below is an infographic with these five essential oils and their benefits for a meditative practice. Save it, print it, share it with your friends on social media!