Aromatherapy Essential Oils Guide

Aromatherapy is the practice of using certain scents to alleviate physical, emotional, and mental symptoms. It is viewed by its practitioners as a natural alternative to traditional medical treatments.

These days, almost anything that smells pleasant is marketed by gift stores as being aromatherapy. Candles, potpourri, bath products-often these “aromatherapy” products are anything but.

True aromatherapy uses the scents of essential oils derived from herbs and plants. These essential oils are collected using steam distillation or cold pressing of a plant’s flowers, leaves, branches, bark, or roots. Essential Oils are highly concentrated, and very volatile and flammable. To use safely, they must be mixed with an inert vegetable oil or water.

Origins of Aromatherapy

essential oils aromatherapyAromatherapy originated in France in the late 1930s when a chemist by the name of René-Maurice Gattefosse burned his hand quite badly.

Seeking relief from the pain, Gattefosse submerged his hand in a container of pure lavender oil. To his surprise, the pain and discoloration faded almost immediately, and the burn healed just a few hours later.

Impressed by his discovery, Gattefosse and some of his contemporaries continued to experiment with different essential oils. The techniques they established are still widely used today.

Aromatherapy practices crossed the Atlantic in the 1980s when the popularity of natural, inexpensive healing remedies surged.

Californian practitioners declared that aromatherapy essential oils could heal anything from depression to serious medical conditions. In the past few years, the popularity of aromatherapy has continued to increase as more and more people seek natural alternatives to medicine.

Though practitioners of aromatherapy insist on its healing benefits, few scientific studies of the properties of essential oils have been conducted. The scientific community generally agrees that the scent of some essential oils seems to relax or stimulate, depending on the oil, but no physical reasons for these effects can be found.

How to Use Essential Oils in Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is an easy-to-use home remedy. Though there has been an increase in the number of qualified aromatherapists, professional guidance is not required as long as the user follows safety guidelines and usage instructions.

There are specific methods in which you should use aromatherapy essential oils to realize their best effects. Aromatherapy techniques range from adding your choice of essential oil to your bath water to indulging in an aromatherapy massage.

Before you choose a method, be sure to dig more on aromatherapy to ensure the essential oil you’ve chosen is suitable for your intended application. If you have any doubts or concerns, consult a qualified aromatherapist. If you have any underlying medical conditions, talk to your doctor before commencing aromatherapy treatment.

1. Baths

Adding essential oils to bath water can be especially beneficial. You’ll enjoy the aromatherapy effects of inhalation and absorption as the steam carries the scent to you and your skin absorbs the essential oil from the warm water.

It is best not to use soap while indulging in an aromatherapy bath to avoid any potential chemical reactions.

To enjoy an aromatherapy full bath:

  • Add 6-15 drops of your choice of essential oil to a bathtub filled with warm water.
  • Stir the water to mix the essential oil throughout.
  • Lay back and relax.

To enjoy an aromatherapy foot or hand bath:

  • Add 4-5 drops of an essential oil to a container of warm water.
  • Stir to mix.
  • Soak your feet or hands.

To add aromatherapy to a Jacuzzi:

  • Add three drops of essential oil per person, or six drops for one person, to the water of a Jacuzzi before getting in.

To add aromatherapy to a shower:

  • Add 4-8 drops of essential oil to a wet wash cloth.
  • Stir to mix.
  • Rub yourself briskly with the cloth..

2. Compress

A compress is an efficient way to get aromatherapy relief to an affected area, and it’s very easy. All you need is a bowl, water, your choice of essential oils, and a cloth. Use a hot compress for aromatherapy relief of muscular aches and pains and a cold compress for swelling or headaches.

To create a hot or cold aromatherapy compress:

  1. Add 3-6 drops of essential oil to a bowl of hot or cold water.
  2. Mix the water and the essential oil.
  3. Place the cloth in the water and allow it to soak up some of the water
  4. Wring out the cloth.
  5. Place cloth on affected area.

3. Diffusion

Using diffusion, you can add an aromatherapy effect to any room in your house or any area you wish. Here are a few methods you can use.

For diffusion to work well, you might need to invest in the best essential oil diffuser for large space.

Aroma diffuser

An aroma diffuser consists of a small container positioned over a candle. To use the aroma diffuser:

  1. Fill the container with pure water.
  2. Add 6-10 drops of essential oil to the water.
  3. Light the candle to heat the water and oil mixture.

Air freshener

You can create your own aromatherapy air freshener quickly and easily with a simple spray bottle. To make your air freshener:

  1. Put two ounces of pure water into the spray bottle.
  2. Add 50-75 drops of essential oil.
  3. Shake well..
  4. Spray into the air.

Potpourri

This is a great way to rejuvenate and reuse old potpourri. To create an aromatherapy potpourri mixture:

  1. In a bowl, place a potpourri mixture that’s lost its scent or create your own potpourri base with a selection of dried flowers and leaves.
  2. Add 25 drops of essential oil.
  3. Mix the mixture and the oil.
  4. Seal the container tightly.
  5. Store the new potpourri for several days to allow the oil to be absorbed into the dried flowers and leaves.

Nebuliser diffuser

A nebuliser diffuser is an aromatherapy machine used specifically to disperse essential oils into the air of a room. Follow the instructions provided with the device to ensure best results.


4. Inhalation

Inhalation is the easiest, most direct way to enjoy the aromatherapy benefits of an essential oil. In fact, inhalation of aromatherapy essential oils is an important part of every aromatherapy technique. However, when you don’t have time to prepare a massage oil or compress, you can easily use one of the following methods to enjoy a quick aromatherapy effect.

First Method

  1. Uncap the bottle containing the essential oil.
  2. Holding the bottle under your nose, breathe deeply.

Second method

  1. Add eight drops of your choice of essential oil to a bowl of steaming water.
  2. Place a towel over your head and lean over the bowl.
  3. Breathe deeply for about five minutes.

5. Massage

A massage can be one of the best ways to receive aromatherapy benefits, since it combines the soothing feeling of rubbing to relax muscles with the healing properties of essential oils.

To provide an aromatherapy massage:

  1. Add three drops of your choice of essential oil to one teaspoon carrier oil , or 18 drops of essential oil to one ounce of carrier oil.
  2. Now, slowly massage the body or affected area using the essential oil mixture, remembering to manipulate the muscles underneath the skin rather than the skin itself.

A massage alternative:

You can also add three drops of essential oil to one teaspoon of an unscented body lotion to create an aromatherapy lotion for skin care. This aromatherapy lotion can be massaged into hands, feet, or other areas on your body that need a little extra attention. Don’t use the aromatherapy lotion on your face if you have sensitive skin.

  1. Add eight drops of your choice of essential oil to a bowl of steaming water.
  2. Place a towel over your head and lean over the bowl.
  3. Breathe deeply for about five minutes.

6. Perfume

Aromatherapy perfume created with essential oils is a great way to create your own personal signature style while enjoying aromatherapy effects. Mixing a personalized essential oil perfume is quick and easy.

To mix your special aromatherapy perfume:

  1. Add 25 drops of essential oil to one ounce of water in a spray bottle
  2. Alternatively, you can use one ounce of carrier oil to dilute the essential oil.

Mixing the essential oil with a carrier oil or water is an important step. Some undiluted essentials oil can irritate your skin. In addition, essential oils evaporate too quickly to make a long-lasting perfume, robbing you of their aromatherapy benefits.


Aromatherapy Cautions

Essential Oils are highly concentrated essences and can be harmful if used improperly. Follow the instructions for their application and pay heed to any cautions for specific essential oils.

If you experience any adverse effects to the aromatherapy treatment or essential oil, such as skin irritation, discontinue use. In particular, beginners are advised to stay away from certain essential oils that can be dangerous or toxic if misused.

If you have any doubts or concerns, consult a qualified aromatherapist. Always speak to your doctor before embarking on a new treatment for an existing medical condition.

General Cautions

Medical conditions

  • If you are pregnant, use aromatherapy essential oils only under the supervision of a qualified aromatherapist.
  • Individuals with underlying medical conditions should seek medical advice prior to using essential oils. Because some essential oils are stimulants, they can adversely effect people with epilepsy or asthma, causing seizures or attacks.

Children

  • Only use highly diluted essential oils for babies and children.
  • Never use Peppermint oil on a child younger than 30 months.

Allergic reactions

  • Do not apply undiluted essential oils to skin unless directed.
  • Always perform a patch test prior to using essential oils.
  • If you have skin allergies, do not use essential oils in your bath water.
  • Keep essential oils away from eyes.

Usage

  • Never take essential oils orally.

Essential Oils to Avoid

The following essential oils can be harmful and toxic if used improperly. Though these oils can be used in aromatherapy, they are not for beginners. Only qualified aromatherapists should employ these oils in aromatherapy techniques

Essential Oil Latin Name
Ajowan Trachyspermum copticum
Almond, bitter Prunus dulcis var. amara
Arnica Arnica Montana
Birch, sweet Betula lenta
Boldo leaf Peumus boldus
Broom, Spanish Spartium junceum
Calamus Acorus calamus var. angustatus
Camphor Cinnamomum camphora
Deertongue Carphephorus odoratissimus
Garlic Allium sativum
Horseradish Armoracia rusticana
Jaborandi Pilocarpus jaborandi
Melilotus Melilotus officinalis
Mugwort Artemisia vulgaris
Mustard Brassica nigra
Onion Allium cepa
Pennyroyal Mentha pulegium
Rue Ruta graveolens
Sassafras Sassafras albidum
Thuja Thuja occidentalis
Wintergreen Gaultheria procumbens
Wormseed Chenopodium ambrosioides var. antheminticum
Wormwood Artemisia absinthium

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