What exactly are essential oils?
Although essential oils have been used for medicinal and healing purposes for thousands of years, many people are only now discovering their incredible health benefits. Leaves, flowers, bark, roots, herbs, stems, brushes, shrubs, and trees are all used to extract essential oils.
Aromatherapy uses fragrance and scents to help heal your body, relieve stress and put you in a better mood. Often times these scents come from aromatherapy “essential oils”. These oils are actually oils that are extracted from plants and they have been used for centuries in all kinds of natural healing including aromatherapy.
Your sense of smell is very powerful and different scents will have a different effect on your body. While smelling may seem very simple, as you breathe in a “smell” there is actually quite a bit going on inside your body. The scent goes across the olfactory nerves in your nose and triggers a response in the part of your brain called the Limbic system that controls memory, mood, and even the ability to learn. Did you ever notice a particular smell can bring you back in time to some memory of where you smelled that same smell? That’s how powerful it is. Different scents also cause the brain to release endorphins that help make you feel good.
The aromatherapy essential oils used in aromatherapy can be inhaled for the effects of the smell, but they can also be used on the skin where they are absorbed into the blood stream as well as make you smell good! Many massage oils are mixed with essential oils and they are also in a lot of lotions and creams.
Aromatherapy has many benefits and it’s something you can actually do yourself at home. There are many products out there that you can use to diffuse the oils and you can buy your own essential oils and experiment with mixing different types together. They can help you deal with stress as well as relax you and have a host of other health benefits too.
Aromatherapy can even be an alternative to prescription medicines when used in conjunction with your doctors advice, of course. They are typically safe, although if you are allergic to a certain plant you will probably be allergic to the essential oils from that plant. Also, since essential oils are highly concentrated you want to dilute them before using them on your skin or you could have adverse side effects from too much being absorbed into your blood at once.
Aromatherapy essential oils are effect at treating minor ailments and can be great for boosting the immune system. They can help relieve everything from joint pain to menstrual cramps and even can improve your skin tone. Use them to help improve circulation, reduce dandruff, get rid of headaches and even to sleep better!
How do I know which essential oils to purchase?
There are numerous companies that sell essential oils, with prices ranging from $3 to $30 for the same size bottle of oil. Check to see if the company you’re buying from uses pure oils; often, the cheaper ones aren’t.
Once you really get into essential oils and aromatherapy, blending will be something you will want to look into. This is when you combine different oils to get a certain result. You can mix different types of essential oils, herbs, absolutes, carrier oils and CO2’s for an endless array of aromatic healing concoction.
Blending isn’t really that hard, you just need to understand a few things before you start blending on your own. If you prefer, you can buy certain blends at the store, but there’s nothing like coming up with your own blend for personal satisfaction as well as being able to mix up a blend that suits your exact needs.
There are two different types of aromatherapy blending – aromatic and therapeutic. Aromatic blending is blending simply for the smells. Therapeutic blending is blending with the goal of healing an ailment like curing a headache or soothing sore muscles or joint pain. With both, the smell is important, but the therapeutic blending also takes the healing effects of the herbs into consideration.
One of the first things you will learn is not every blend of oils will come out good. Not all essential oils compliment one another so you need to think about what you are mixing together. If you are mixing a very strong scent with a mild one, you won’t want to use to much of the strong one or it can overpower the other scent. You can do some research to find out which oils usually go good together and which do not.
When you start off with your blending experiments, make sure you have a notebook handy so you can jot down any notes and buy labels so you can label your bottles which hold successful blends – that way you’ll easily know what is in them as well as be able to recreate them. Also, you want to be sure to use glass bottles in amber or blue -sterilize them first and they can be used over and over again.
Keep your labeled aromatherapy blends in a cool dark place and make sure your pets and children cannot get at them. Also, keep in mind that some oils can induce allergic reactions so if you make a blend with a nut oil, you don’t want to use it on someone who has an allergy to nuts. There are also certain herbs that should be avoided under certain conditions like pregnancy so you’ll need to read up on this before trying out any blends on your friends.
Aromatherapy Infused Oils
Aromatherapy uses a lot of different types of essential oils and one popular type is infused oils. This is an age old technique of getting the essential oils out of the plant and involves soaking the herb in oil for an extended period using gentle heat – typically the sun. Over time the essential oils leak out of the plant and become infused in the base oil.
These oils are great for creams and lotions and they can also be mixed with essential oils for aromatherapy. The great thing about infused oils is they are already diluted so if you want to use them topically, you can with no ill effects.
Infused oils are great for aromatherapy because they are less expensive than some of the essential oils that are extracted using more costly methods. They smell great and can be used for massage or even as healing ointments for skin irritations.
The best part about them is you can make them yourself! All you need is a glass jar that has a tight fitting lid. Get some of your favorite dried herb or herbs as well as some of your favorite cold pressed carrier oil. You might be tempted to use fresh herbs, but the moisture in them can encourage mold to develop so your better off using the dried versions. Combine the herb and carrier oil into the container and cover it. Then just put it in a sunny window for at least 24 hours.
Once the herb has steeped in the oil long enough, you need to filter it with cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer to get rid of all specs of the plant. Be sure you do this diligently since any particles of plant may cause your oil to spoil.
What are the Most Popular Essential Oils?
There are so many essential oils to choose from each with different benefits. Here are 5 of our favorites.
Peppermint – Has been very effective as a digestive stimulant and also can be used to treat respiratory ailments such as headaches. Also can be used to disinfect.
Lavender – Has been known to help with many issues. Good for use on acne; sunburns, insect bites and can also act as a insect repellent.
Bergamot – May help reduce the common fever and help in digestive aid. When used aromatically bergamot oil can also help build confidence, uplift spirits, relieve anxiety and depression.
Clary Sage – May help to uplift mood and improve vision and protect eyes from age related degeneration.
Eucalyptus – Has been used in everything from cough and throat medicines to sore muscle ointments. Also has been known to have a calming effect and has been known to help breathing and to open air passages.
How To Use Essential Oils at Home
Aromatherapy essential oils have been used for many centuries simply and effectively by professionals as well as in the home. They can be used in a multitude of ways, both for their wonderful scents as well as their medicinal and cosmetic qualities.
Here are some of the most common ways on how to use essential oils at home. Aromatherapy essential oils can be used as a perfume, room scents in potpourri or oil burners, added to a hot bath and used as your own personal beauty preparations. Another use for essential oils is for first aid to help stop and alleviate many of the more common conditions such as headaches, aching joints, minor burns and insect bites.
Aromatherapy essential oils, to be kept in the best possible condition, should be kept in a cool place in a dark bottle to protect them from a process known as photo-oxidation. Make sure that the bottles are air tight, the oils will last a lot longer with as little contact with the air as possible. It is also recommended to keep all of your oils away from the inquisitive explorations of children.
It’s important to learn how to use essential oils at home in the correct manner, because although essential oils are a natural substance some of them can have harmful effects if not used as specified.
Apart from lavender oil and tea tree oil, there are few oils which can be applied directly to the skin.
And as a general rule they should not be ingested, the exception being those that can be taken as a tea, for example peppermint.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should always seek professional advice before using any essential oil, as many can have harmful effects on the pregnancy.
There are several different ways to use aromatherapy essential oils at home, one being massage. Although this method is preferred by professionals, it is very easy to do in your own home.
Massage is a relaxing and skin nourishing experience that ensures that the oils are absorbed through the skin into the blood stream.
Specific essential oils should be chosen for the condition you wish to treat and this should then be blended with a base oil, such as sweet almond oil or grapeseed oil.
The essential oil content in your blend should be between 1 per cent and 3 per cent, depending on the disorder. A general guide is 20-60 drops of essential oil to 100ml of base oil, 7 to 25 drops of oil to 25ml of base oil and 3-5 drops of oil to 5ml of base oil.
Hot and cold compresses are another home use of essential oils.
These types of compresses are a very effective way of using aromatherapy to reduce inflammation, as well as relieve minor pain.
A hot compress can be created by very carefully filling a suitable bowl with hot water (the hotter the better), then adding four or five drops of your chosen oil.
Dip a piece of cloth or face towel into the bowl, remove the excess water by squeezing tight, and then cover the affected are with the hot cloth. These types of hot compresses are of particular use in relieving backache, arthritis, rheumatism, toothache and minor earaches.
Cold compresses are made the same way using cold water. This type of cold compress is very useful for headaches, applied at the back of the neck or forehead. It is also useful for minor injuries such as sprains.
Probably one of the easiest and most common home uses of essential oils is to simply add some to your bath water. This can give a feeling of well being and relaxation. It can also be used to treat certain skin conditions, muscular aches and pains. Selecting the right oil is very important to get the correct result.
Vaporization is a delightful way to use essential oils. Oils can be used in an electric diffuser or oil burner, note that only a few drops are necessary.
A small bowl placed on a radiator is an inexpensive way to vaporize your room. Specific oils can be used to create different atmospheres.
Steam inhalation is especially suited to sinus, throat and chest infections. Add about 5 drops of oil such as peppermint oil or eucalyptus oil to a bowl of hot water, cover the head with a cloth or towel and breathe the vapors in deeply for about a minute, then repeat.
Finally, neat application of essential oils.
As already stated there are few oils which can be applied directly onto the skin in an undiluted form. Lavender oil is one of the exceptions and has been shown for centuries to have many healing properties. Lavender can be applied directly to the skin to treat minor burns, cuts or insect bites. Tea tree oil can also be used directly onto the skin to treat acne and minor cuts as well as insect bites.
By now you should have a good understanding of how to use essential oils at home. Using aromatherapy essential oils at home has many purposes and the benefits are very clear. If using oils at home it is best to do your research to use the correct oils in the safest and most effective way to get the best results.
Essential Bath Oils – Allow Aromatherapy to Help You Relax
Perhaps you’re preparation in the morning is quite fast-paced, as is your work day, so it’s shower and hit the road. Everyone experiences stress from time to time, and wouldn’t it be nice to find yourself in a nice hot bath using scented essential oils, producing aromatherapy to help soothe and relax you?
If you’ve ever had a bath like this before, then you know what it can do. Once you try it, you’re going to want to stay in the tub for hours. Of course, you have to get out, but you can look forward to your next relaxing hot bath. Not only do these bath oils and the bath itself counteract stress, but they also help you in other areas of your life.
You’re talking about relieving pressures in general, relaxing aching muscles and body parts and more. Perhaps you have back pains routinely and would like to give yourself a little treat to help soothe those pains. Imagine all the energy that a nice hot bath with aromatherapy essential oils can provide you. Of course, this energy doesn’t have to be expended right away. You can just save it up for the next morning and go to bed with a smile on your face.
You’re essentially set to enjoy a relaxed and meditative state when using these oils. You see, they are not just scented oils but scented oils that come from specific plants that are known by aromatherapists to work to relax you. They also have many healing properties to them.
If you have never tried this before, don’t miss out. It’s not even close to a relatively new concept. In fact, aromatherapy and scented oils have been around and documented since ancient times. Egyptians used these oils because they made them feel relaxed and because they smelled good.
Of course, aromatherapy has evolved over time to the tune of many different essential oils being used. Lavender oil is one of these well-known oils, as is sandalwood oil. Each of them has been studied to have specific purposes as well. For instance, the sandalwood is good for helping take away anger, and the lavender is often used to help people reduce stress levels.
What type of job do you have? If you have a physically or very mentally demanding job, imagine hitting the bath straight away when you get home for the day. Give it 30 minutes, and you’re going to feel like a new person, ready to just enjoy your evening. You can imagine this not only helps you but those around you as well. You’re much more calm, relaxed and fun to be around, as the pressures of the day are no longer carried on your shoulders.
Aromatherapy also works great in conjunction with some relaxing music. What type of soothing music do you like to listen to? While scented aromatherapy essential oils have been around, there has been a process of evolution over the past several decades as they have went mainstream.
People used to enjoy long bubble baths, and then all the sudden the scented bath beads were pretty common. Venture to any bath and body store and many department stores now and you’re going to be able to get your hands on all kinds of aromatherapy oils for different purposes.
Eucalyptus and ginger are two other types of essential aromatherapy oils that are quite popular. When you are looking at what products to get, also pay attention to the fact that there are many combinations of oils also available for specific purposes, so you’re not necessarily always going to be purchasing single oils by themselves.
Other known benefits of these types of oils include improving range of motion, self image, state of mind, mental alertness, flexibility and more. What do you think about giving them a try now? A relaxing bath is therapeutic enough, but add these aromatherapy oils and you’re going to be in paradise!
With the popularity of aromatherapy on the rise, you can probably locate a business near you that may sell just these types of products. If not, they are easy to find online. Try it one time, and you are going to be hooked on taking those hot baths with essential aromatherapy oils to help you live a more healthy life.