Creating a safe Aromatherapy bath is a bit more involved than just dropping the oils into the bath water, though. Essential Oils don't mix with water. Adding your essential oils directly to your bath means that they will float on the top of your bath water and go directly onto your skin when you step in, increasing the risk of irritation.
To avoid this, we need to add the essential oils to either salts, milk, or a carrier oil before they go into the bath. To dilute your essential oils before adding them to your bath, try one of these methods:
- add 5 drops of essential oil to 1/2 cup of salts (Epsom salts, sea salts, or a combination)*
- add 5 drops of essential oil to 1 Tbsp of carrier oil. Sesame oil is a natural emulsifier and disperses the oil very well.
- add 5 drops of essential oil to 1/2 cup of milk*
All of these methods will ensure that your essential oils are nicely dispersed through out your bathwater and will not end up directly on your skin.
It is also important to choose essential oils for your bath very carefully:
- Avoid any of the spice oils such as Black Pepper, Peppermint, Cinnamon, Clove, Oregano, Thyme.
- Avoid phototoxic citrus oils such as Lemon, Lime, and especially Bergamot.
- Avoid irritating oils like Lemongrass.
Oils that are gentle and recommended for using in a bath are:
- Florals like Lavender, Rose, Geranium.
- Frankincense, Sandalwood, Clary Sage, Spruce, Juniper, Eucalyptus.
Be careful with the heavy floral oils like Rose and Jasmine as they can become overpowering very quickly. Using 2-3 drops of these in the bath is ideal.
Overuse of essential oils in the bath can cause irritation, so use oils that are mild and non-irritating, and remember that 'less is more'.
Creating an at-home Aromatherapy spa experience is a delightful way to end a busy day or to spend quiet time. By choosing appropriate essential oils and using them carefully, you can easily create a safe and wonderful bathing experience. Enjoy!
*UPDATE* August 2017
New research has shown that adding essential oils to salt, milk, or other water-soluble substances, does not adequately dilute or disperse the oils in the bath. Based on this, the new recommendation is to dilute the essential oils in a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut or sweet almond oil, or add the essential oil to a foaming product such as castille soap, shower gel, or shampoo. These options allow for the best dispersion of essential oil, thus minimizing the desk of irritation. More information on this can be found here.