Sniffin` out a way to health, vitality, strength, mental, physical and emotional balance with aromatherapy
First things first. There is nothing illegal, wishy-washy, hypodermic, unnatural, or eco-unfriendly about aromatherapy, IF you catch my drift. Oh, you have, have you?
Then, step two, we`ll roll in the celebrities - Cleopatra, the ex-Queen of Egypt and Hippocrates, the all-time father of medicine, ardent user and believer respectively. Now that the endorsements are through, we`ll get to down to some serious explaining. Aromatherapy allows you to benefit from the therapeutic qualities of aromatic plant oils (called essential oils) extracted from flowers, stems, fruits, herbs, spices, fibres, or woods of various plants, usually by distillation, expression, and solvent extraction (only acceptable for aromatherapy if the solvent used is completely removed after the manufacturing process). This in turn promotes inner and external health.
How do essential oils work?
The essential oils are absorbed through the skin`s surface and move directly into the blood stream, producing a positive, harmonising effect on muscles, internal organs and lymphatic system. But, another school of thought believes that the oils are not absorbed through the skin, stating that there is no scientific evidence to prove this.
The essential oils are also absorbed through the nose to the olfactory nerves, where our powerful sense of smell triggers emotional responses. That`s where the physical `and mental` well-being arises from.
How to use the oils
By far the most effective method, as it combines their properties with the therapeutic power of touch. But, remember to dilute the oils with an odourless carrier oil - grape seed, sweet almond or peach kernel, for instance. A dilution of 3% (approximately one drop essential oil to two ml of carrier oil - 6 drops in two tsp) essential oil to carrier oil is a recommended starting point. Use less if using on babies or very sensitive skin.
Simple, effective and a pleasant way to relax and receive the therapeutic effects. Water itself has therapeutic value which enhances the powers of the oils. Add 6 to 10 drops of essential oil (or a blend) to the surface of the water which has already been run. Add nothing else - no foam or bath oil, then immerse yourself for about 20 minutes, and inhale the vapour. Remember to reduce the amount of oils used for babies. Take care with plastic baths as some oils may cause staining.
Add 5 to 10 drops of essential oil to 100ml of warm water. Then soak a piece of clean cotton cloth in the water, wring out the excess, and place the cloth on the affected part.
Add 5 to 10 drops of essential oil to a bowl of steaming water. Place a towel over your head and the bowl, and inhale the vapour for a few minutes.
Essential oils are antiseptic and evaporate easily, so they make very good air-fresheners. Different oils create different atmospheres. For instance, relaxing Sandalwood is good for parties, while Peppermint clears your mind (how about a dose on Monday mornings?). There are many vapourisers on the market, from the simple bowl of water on the radiator with a few drops of oil on the surface, to vapouriser light bulb rings and specially made vapouriser bowls which sit above candle holders.
Follow your own scent. Make your distinctive and natural perfume by blending different oils.
Storing essential oils
Store essential oils in upright, dark, glass (never plastic) bottles in dark, cool places. Use stoppered caps as the essential oils are affected by sunlight. Keep out of reach of children. Good essential oils should keep for several years if properly stored, though the oils of orange, lemon and lime will not keep as long. Patchouli is like wine; it gets better with age.
Mixing essential oils
Use a dropper (makes measuring easier), and a different one for each oil (to avoid contamination).