Aromatherapy for Muscle Tension: Make an Inhaler

by Andrea Butje on February 23, 2015

Inhalers are a less known—but very effective—way to use aromatherapy for muscle tension relief.

aromatherapy for muscle tension relief
One of my favorite ways to use aromatherapy for muscle tension is relaxation massage. I use soothing massage oils and body creams with essential oils, which can really complement the healing power of touch.

But I know that massage isn’t an option every time, every place. If you feel your shoulders and neck start to tense up at the office, or you’re at a party and feel strain in your back, it might be awkward to just ask someone to massage you!

That’s why I like to use inhalers for muscle tension. It’s my other favorite way to use aromatherapy for tense muscles! You can take aromatherapy inhalers with you anywhere—they fit in your pocket or bag—and nobody will smell the essential oils but you.

An aromatherapy inhaler is made of a piece of cotton in a plastic case. You put the essential oils on the cotton, and then you can simply open the case and inhale anytime you need to.

It doesn’t involve direct touch or contact with your muscles, but you might be surprised at how effectively even just inhaling essential oils can be for relieving tension.

It works because the essential oils affect your limbic system very quickly. This leads to calming your nervous system, and that means your body relaxes—your muscles ease, your breath deepens, and your mind lets go of stress.

Here’s one of my favorite aromatherapy for muscle tension recipes:

  • 10 drops Rosemary essential oil (Rosmarinus officinalis)
  • 3 drops Black Spruce essential oil (Picea mariana)
  • 3 drops Lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
  • 1 drop Peppermint essential oil (Mentha x piperita)

This blend smells amazing! It’s got warm, woody notes of pine and rosemary, but it’s still a bright, opening blend—Rosemary, Lavender, and Peppermint all have very fresh tones.

I made a YouTube video for this blend, which can be helpful to watch if you’ve never used an aromatherapy inhaler.

If you ever get stress headaches, you may know that they’re often caused by muscle tension in the neck and shoulders . . . so this blend can help for tension headaches, too!

As I mentioned, massage is another great way to relieve muscle tension. If you’d like to learn how to use essential oils in Massage Therapy, check out my free webinar, “Reduce Your Clients’ Pain Using Aromatherapy.” You’ll learn six of my favorite essential oil suggestions for massage, how to make your own custom blends to address specific pain issues, and more. It’s free and fun! Click here to learn more and register!

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How To Make Incense Sticks with Essential Oils

by Andrea Butje on February 16, 2015

how to make incense sticks with essential oilsLearn to make incense sticks with essential oils.

I love burning incense! Loose incense, stick incense, cone incense—I’m a fan of them all! I especially love to make my own incense and customize the scent.

There is actually a way to make the sticks themselves using makko powder. I’m creating a class about making incense that will show you how. But for now, I’ll share how I use essential oils to scent blank sticks.

I recently learned that most blank incense sticks have a combustible powder coating that may be toxic, and that the sticks are often made from woods and glues that may be toxic as well. So I searched online for an all-natural stick we could use. I found a company called Wellington Fragrance that spoke of the high-quality ingredients they use, so I emailed them and asked what their sticks are made of. Their blank sticks and cones are made of sawdust and a gummy substance from bamboo trees. The sticks themselves are bamboo. I bought them and feel very satisfied with their quality!

I use an olive dish to make incense sticks—it’s just a long, narrow little dish. (I don’t actually put olives in mine. It’s just for incense making!) If you don’t have a long, shallow dish to use, you can take a piece of aluminum foil and fold it in a “V” shape. Make sure to fold up the ends, so the oil won’t spill out. Now you’ve got a temporary “incense making dish!”

make your own incense

You can make incense sticks one at a time, or in small bunches.

To make just one, lay a blank incense stick in your dish and drop your essential oils right onto it. Each stick takes about 20 drops of essential oil. I usually choose up to three oils. (If I use too many oils, I won’t have enough drops of each to distribute over the length of the stick.) Gently press the stick into the oil that falls in the dish, so it absorbs it all.

To make incense sticks in small batches, first measure out your oils. I use a little graduated cylinder for this, but you can always do it drop by drop.

If one incense stick takes 20 drops of oil, and you want to make five incense sticks at the same time, how many drops of oil would you need? That’s right—about 100. (It comes to about 4 ml of essential oil.)

If you don’t have a graduated cylinder, you can drop your oils directly into your dish, and gently stir them with the end of a spoon or a glass stir rod. Then place five blank sticks into the dish, and press gently so they absorb all the oil.

Now just set your homemade incense sticks in a mug to dry overnight (between 10 and 15 hours) before burning them. This mug full of newly made incense will strongly scent the room you leave it in! You don’t even have to burn the incense right away; the room will hold the aroma of the incense for days!

You can watch the process of making incense sticks in this YouTube video I made. I also share one of my favorite scent recipes in this video!


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