What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is quite simply the therapeutic use of aroma. Can you remember breathing in a particular aroma and then finding that you’re carried back to a memory of an earlier time? This is aromatherapy! Have you smelled something then felt happier, more uplifted or even hungry? That is also aromatherapy at work!
Essential Oils, small but mighty!
Aromatherapy harnesses the power of essential oils. They may come in very small bottles but their power should not be underestimated. They are very powerful and should be used with care.
Essential oils are the very essence of the plants that they have come from and are usually distilled or expressed and so are very concentrated. Often 1-3 drops of essential oil are enough.
For elderly people, those with skin sensitivity and allergies and also children, an even weaker blend is needed. It is vital to do a patch test before use if there is any history of sensitive skin or allergy, just to be on the safe side.
Essential Oil Safety
Essential oils should not be used undiluted unless you have been advised to do so by a fully qualified aromatherapist. Lavender and Tea tree are thought to be safe to use neat on adults in small quantities. DO NOT USE tea tree oil or lavender oil neat if you are pregnant or if you have sensitive skin.
Some essential oils are not suitable if you have high or low blood pressure, are taking certain medication, have epilepsy, are pregnant, breastfeeding, are using homeopathic remedies, have a liver condition or a kidney problem.
There are oils that can help you sleep and those that can help you stay alert so ensure you pick oils wisely to suit what you’re going to do for the rest of the day. If you have any of the above please consult a qualified Aromatherapist for advice before use.
Did you know?
Some essential oils, mainly the citrus ones, are phototoxic which means that they should not be used if you are planning on sunbathing, being in bright sunlight or going on a sunbed after your treatment. Patchouli and Ginger are also potentially phototoxic so should also be avoided if you are planning on doing anything sun-based in the following 24-48 hours
Safe use of essential oils in the bath
Essential oils should NOT be added to baths without something to help them disperse properly. Use an unfragranced foaming bath product or a carrier oil such as sweet almond oil (unless you’re allergic to nuts). See Tisserand’s Bath Safety information by clicking here
Ways to use Aromatherapy
Using 1-3 drops of essential oil, over a bowl of very hot water and used to inhale) This is very good for helping ease nasal congestion and colds etc but should not be used with people who suffer from asthma.
When essential oils are blended together they can be massaged into the skin. Blends can be created that are uplifting, relaxing, detoxing, grounding, warming, or invigorating or that will address whatever symptoms you might be suffering from.
Aromatherapy massage is particularly powerful as it uses the power of the essential oils and the benefits of massage, giving an even more useful effect than massage alone.
Essential oils can be blended into a cream or ointment and placed on the affected area. For fungal toe nail infections one drop of tea tree oil on a cotton bud can be applied neat to the area.
Combining with either hot or cold water, essential oils can bring relief from aches and pains etc by applying a compress to the affected area.
Usually you would add 1-3 drops of essential oil into 5 ml of carrier oil and then this is added to either hot or cold water. Plunge a flannel into the water and squeeze excess water from the flannel and apply to the relevant area. Hold it on the affected area until the flannel stops being hot or cold.
Baths, Showers and Hair Care Products
It is possible to blend essential oils into unfragranced bath or shower products or hair care products to help solve a specific problem. If creating a bath always use either a carrier oil or an unfragranced bath product to prevent the oils from floating on top of the water
Sarah Cooper is a Reflexologist, Reiki Master Practitioner, Aromatherapist and Writer based in Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire, England.
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