Water Therapy with Essential Oils
By Joan Apter, Aromacologist

What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are the subtle, aromatic and volatile life-force extracted from the flowers, seeds, leaves, stems, bark and roots of herbs, bushes, shrubs and trees, through steam distillation under low pressure and low temperature.

Like human beings, they are alive, both chemically and electrically. They have a direct effect on the brain through the olfactory system and skin absorption. Serving the same function as human blood, essential oils are the regenerating and oxygenating  properties of the plant kingdom.

Essential oils are important in bringing oxygen and nutrients to the cells and assist in the efficient disposal of carbon dioxide and other waste products.  Oils enhance brain wave function, improve spiritual awareness and bring about a beautiful balance to the body. Essential oils contain a frequency that is several times greater than the frequency of herbs and food. There is not a single part of the human body and brain that is not balanced by the action of essential oils.

Aromatherapy is the art and science of the use and application of essential oils for physical, mental, emotional and spiritual balance.

Water therapies with essential oils:

1. Floral Waters

Floral Waters are aromatherapy’s best-kept secret. They are the exquisite byproducts of the steam distillation of essential oils. Floral waters have the same compounds as the essential oils, but in lower concentration. They are gentle, fragrant, and suitable for all ages. They are rehydrating, nurturing and refreshing to the skin. I use lavender floral water to freshen a room, sanitize sheets and pillows in a hotel room and hydrate my skin during plane flights. You can spray floral water on your plants and animals to deter pests. Recently, I experienced drinking the pure floral water at a farm where the peppermint was being distilled. Superb! I use the floral waters of basil, German chamomile, clary sage, eucalyptus, juniper, lavender, melissa, peppermint, spearmint, Idaho tansy and thyme.

2. Steam inhalation

Inhalation of essential oils have an almost immediate influence on balancing emotions. Add up to five drops of an essential oil to a bowl of hot (not boiling) water and inhale the vapors that rise from the bowl. To increase the intensity of the oil vapors inhaled, place a towel over the head and bowl. Breathe deeply for a minute, then repeat.

3. Facial Saunas

Facial saunas are effective for releasing dirt and trapped toxins and debris from the skin. People with broken veins, hypersensitive skin or inflammation of any sort, including sunburn, should not take a facial sauna. Use the same method as described for steam inhalation, a bowl of hot water and a towel. Follow the steam treatment by splashing the face with cold water to close the pores.

4. Baths

Adding essential oils to bath water is challenging, because oil does not mix with water. For even dispersion, drop in the oils while running the bath, or add 2 to 3 drops of oil to a cup of Epsom salts, sea salt or bath gel base. I often disperse the oils in milk, and create a Cleopatra milk bath! 

I use premixed bath gels containing essential oils, which can be used as a liquid soap in the shower, or as a bath gel. I also use a bath gel base to which I add the essential oils of my choice. The bath gel base I prefer contains olive oil, vegetable glycerin, floral water, algin, vitamin E, lecithin and wheat germ oil.

Some of my favorite bath blends are: Dragon Time. It is exceptionally balancing and uplifting, both physically and emotionally. Blended with bergamot, clary sage, geranium, jasmine, lemon, palmarosa, Roman chamomile, rosewood, rose, sandalwood and ylang ylang.

Evening Peace-The essential oils in this bath gel are relaxing. Contains Bergamot, German chamomile, Roman chamomile, clary sage, geranium, jasmine, lemon, palmarosa, rosewood, rose, sandalwood and ylang ylang.

Morning Start- This is an invigorating blend of essential oils that really gets me going in my morning shower. The uplifting and energizing oils include lemongrass, rosemary, juniper and peppermint.

Sensation- This is a fragrant mix of oils used by Cleopatra to enhance love and increase desire to be close to someone special! Contains rosewood, ylang ylang and jasmine.

5. Baby Baths

The addition of essential oils can enhance the relaxing effects of your baby’s bath. Mix one drop of essential oil into a rich carrier oil such as jojoba, almond or wheat germ oil. Swish the mixture into the bath water and mix well before immersing your baby in the water. You can also mix the essential oil with a bath gel base, or any pure baby soap product. Remember, never put the essential oil directly into the water. 

6. Water Distillers and Filters

You can apply oils, like peppermint, lemon, clove and cinnamon to the post-filter side of your water purifier. This will help purify the water.

7. Laundry

Essential oils may be used to enhance the cleanliness and fragrance of your laundry. Recent research has shown that eucalyptus oil kills dust mites. Add twenty-five drops of eucalyptus to each load, or approximately 1/2 ounce to your laundry detergent. Instead of using toxic and irritating softening agents in the dryer, place a washcloth dampened with 10 drops of lavender, lemon, melaleuca, bergamot or other oils.

8. Hot Tubs and Saunas

Add lavender, eucalyptus, lemon or grapefruit to your Hot tubs, Jacuzzis and saunas for a refreshing dip!  Use 3 drops per person. For saunas, add several drops of rosemary, thyme, pine or lavender to a spray bottle with water and then spray down the surfaces for a lovely scent.  Scented water can also be used to splash on hot sauna stones. I always bring a spray of eucalyptus water into the sauna with me.


The marriage of therapeutic essential oils and water is made in heaven. Like water, essential oils soothe and nurture, reminding us of the bounty of nature’s creation. Enjoy the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual protection and upliftment that are the gift of pure essential oils.

For more information on how to obtain the essential oils and essential oil products mentioned in this article, or to ask your questions, contact Joan Apter, phone and fax 845-679-0512, joanapter@earthlink.net

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