Happy Halloween, everyone! It’s been a dreary day at the shop with all this rain and cloud. However, there is still a lot going on! Tomorrow marks November 1st and our transition into the Christmas season – yay! Now as some of you may know, I (Alex), have only been working here since early September. Before I came to Flowers to Fragrance I knew next to NOTHING about aromatherapy! Over the course of the last two months I have learned so many interesting things about the ways and workings of aromatherapy and I’d like to share with you all some of my knowledge!
What is Aromatherapy?
Well, we all need to start somewhere! Aromatherapy is the practice of using plant oils, including essential oils, for psychological and physical well-being. Essential oils, the pure essence of a plant, have been found to provide both psychological and physical benefits when used correctly and safely. Essential oils can be blended together to create complex aromas or designed for specific uses and purposes.
Dilution of Essential Oil
Undiluted use of essential oils on the skin has the potential to be harmful or cause severe irritation. Even with the most gentle of oils (lavender and tea tree) you should always use a carrier oil. A carrier oil is a vegetable oil derived from plants, usually from the seeds, kernels or the nuts. Each carrier oil uses a different combination of therapeutic properties. Some examples of carrier oils that we use here are:
- Sweet Almond Oil
- Fractionated Coconut Oil
- Grapeseed Oil
- Meadowfoam Oil
- Olive Oil
What essential oil is going to help ME?
Depending on your personal situation, you may want to try a single essential oil or a blend of multiple essential oils. Following is a list of popular essential oils and their benefits:
Peppermint – soothe nausea, cool sore throats, quiets headaches, increased concentration
Lavender – calms nervous system, improves sleep quality, combats joint pain, fights acne, soothes stressed skin, treats eczema, sunburns, reduce appearance of scars, insect repellant, bug bites
Geranium – natural astringent, calms inflammation, stops hemorrhaging, treats acne, oily skin, boosts circulation, decreases bloating, reduce appearance of scars
Clove – dental pain, bad breath, antiseptic, bug bites/cuts/scrapes, earaches, digestion problems, nasal congestion, stomachaches, headaches, aphrodisiac
Lemon Balm (Melissa) – antidepressant, calms anxiety, reduces inflammation, counteracts insomnia, heals ulcers, fights bacterial infection, treats headaches
Monarda (Bee Balm) – natural antiseptic, digestive aid, improves respiratory function, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, astringent
Orange Mint (Bergamot) – deodorant, antiseptic, anagesic, antidepressant, aids digestion, heart health
Calendula (Marigold) – conjuctivitis, eczema, sunburns, warts, treats cuts, eases sore throat
So now that I’ve chosen my oil(s), how do I go about the usage?
You can easily blend any of the above essential oils to create a mix that is right for you. Check out this long list of recipes. After you have your E/O blend, you can use it in a variety of ways:
Inhalation – Place 3-4 drops of essential oil on a tissue. Place the tissue near your nose and inhale.
Steam Inhalation – Boil 2 cups of water. Pour the water into a bowl and add 3-7 drops of oil to the water. Place your nose about 12″ away from the bowl and inhale.
Room Freshening – Use the steam inhalation method noted above but don’t directly inhale into the bowl. Use up to 10 drops of oil.
General Household Freshening – Add a few drops of oil to your trash can, laundry wash, drain, vacuum bag filter, or on a tissue for placement in your drawers.
Insect Repellent – Sprinkle a few drops of essential oil onto tissues or cotton balls and place near your doorways and windows to help repel insects. Be sure to read all safety data on the oils you use as some oils may not be suitable for use around pets.
Aromatherapy Massage – Add up to 20 drops of essential oil to 1 ounce carrier oil and massage onto yourself or partner. Keep away from eyes and genital areas. Do not apply essential oils to the skin without first diluting them. Be sure to also read the safety data for the essential oils you choose to use.
Bath – Add 5-7 drops essential oil to 1 ounce carrier oil. Add this blend to your running bath water and mix well before getting into the tub.
Other Uses – Essential oils can be used in making homemade lotions, facial mist, shampoos, perfumes, soaps, shower gels, and other natural products.
MAJOR DO’S AND DONT’S OF ESSENTIAL OILS
DO: Read as much as you can on Aromatherapy. It is fun and easy to get started with Aromatherapy, but there are certain safety issues that you need to be aware of.
DON’T: Don’t buy essential oils with rubber glass dropper tops. Essential oils are highly concentrated and turn the rubber to a gum, ruining the oil.
DO: Be selective of where you purchase your essential oils. The quality of essential oils varies widely from company to company. Additionally, some companies may falsely claim that their oils are undiluted or pure when they aren’t.
DO: Last but certainly not least, DO enjoy introducing aromatherapy into your lifestyle!
*Dilute your essential oils prior to use on the skin and avoid the oils that are more likely to cause irritation and sensitization. When using an essential oil for the first time, do a skin patch test.*