Aromatherapy can be defined as the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit. It is an
art and science which seeks to explore the physiological, psychological and spiritual realm of the individual’s response to aromatic extracts as well as to observe and enhance the individual’s innate healing process. As a holistic practice, Aromatherapy is both a preventative approach as well as an active method to employ during acute and chronic stages of illness or ‘dis’-ease.
It is a natural, non-invasive modality designed to affect the whole person not just the symptom or disease and to assist the body’s natural ability to balance, regulate, heal and maintain itself by the correct use of essential oils.
Essential oils are highly concentrated aromatic extracts which are distilled from a variety of aromatic plant material including grasses, leaves, flowers, needles & twigs, peel of fruit, wood and roots. Fragrance and perfume oils are not pure and do not have the same benefits.
The Benefit of an Aroma ~ Inhaling Essential Oils
Essential oils that are inhaled into the lungs offer both psychological and physical benefits. Not only does the aroma of the natural essential oil stimulate the brain to trigger a reaction, but when inhaled into the lungs, the natural constituents (naturally occurring chemicals) can supply therapeutic benefit. Diffusing eucalyptus essential oil to help ease congestion is a prominent example.
If not done correctly and safely, however, the use of essential oils can have severe consequences.
The Benefit of Physical Application
Essential oils that are applied to the skin can be absorbed into the bloodstream. The constituents of essential oils can aid in health, beauty and hygiene conditions. Since essential oils are so powerful and concentrated, they should never be applied to the skin in their undiluted form. To apply essential oils to the skin, essential oils are typically diluted into a carrier such as a cold pressed vegetable oil, also known as a carrier oil. Common carrier oils include sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil and grapeseed oil.
Essential oils are extracted from several sources such as flowers, trees, bushes, roots, and herbs.
1. Flowers such as Lavender, Chamomile, and Geranium
2. Herbs such as Peppermint, Rosemary, and Basil
3. Resins and roots such as Frankincense, Myrrh, and Benzoin
4. Citrus fruit and peels such as Bergamot,Orange, Lemon, Lime, and Grapefruit
5. Trees and Woods such as Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Eucalyptus, and Pine Needle
6. Spices such as Ginger, Cinnamon, and Black Pepper
7. Grasses, seeds, and shrubs such as Palmarosa, Lemongrass, and Tea Tree
Essential oils can be used in several ways:
Inhalation – place one to five drops on a handkerchief, in a vaporiser or diffuser, or on a light-bulb ring and inhale the aroma.
Baths – add four to six drops of essential oil to one teaspoon (5ml) of carrier oil (such as sweet almond or wheatgerm), add to bathwater and stir vigorously.
Massage – add one to five drops of essential oil to one teaspoon (5ml) of carrier oil and massage into the affected area. Carrier oils include sweet almond, wheatgerm, olive oil, apricot kernel, avocado or other plant or vegetable oils. Warming the oil increases absorption.
Compresses – add three to five drops of essential oil to 300ml of hot/warm water. Soak a clean flannel or soft cloth in the water, wring out and apply to affected part of the body (cold for bruises, sprains, headaches; warm for abscesses, boils, period pains, cystitis). Repeat two to three times a day until the condition improves.
Steam treatments – add one to two drops of essential oil to a medium-sized bowl of freshly boiled water. Cover head with cloth, lean over the water and inhale the steam, taking care to keep the bowl steady and to not get too close to the water to prevent scalding.
Gargles and mouthwashes – add one to three drops to a tumbler of water and stir vigorously before gargling or rinsing round the mouth. Spit out – don’t swallow.
Peppermint, Mentha piperita: Useful in treating headaches, muscle aches, digestive disorders such as slow digestion, indigestion, and flatulence
Eucalyptus,Eucalyptus globulus or Eucalyptus radiata : Helpful in treating respiratory problems, such as coughs, colds, and asthma. Also helps to boost the immune system, and relieve muscle tension.
Ylang Ylang, Cananga odorata : Helps one to relax, and can reduce muscle tension. Good antidepressant.
Geranium Pelargonium graveolens : Helps to balance hormones in women, good for balancing the skin. Can be both relaxing and uplifting, as well as antidepressant.
Lavender(Lavandula angustifolia): Relaxing, and also useful in treating wounds, burns, and skin care.
Lavender(Lavandula vera) : Helps to balance hormones in women, good for balancing the skin. Can be both relaxing and uplifting, as well as antidepressant.
Lemon, Citrus limon : Very uplifting, yet relaxing. Helpful in treating wounds, infections, and house cleaning and deodorizing.
Clary Sage, Salvia sclarea: Natural pain killer, helpful s in treating muscular aches and pains. Very relaxing, and can help with insomnia. Also very helpful in balancing hormones.
Tea Tree, Melaleuca alternifolia : A natural anti fungal oil, good for treating all sorts of fungal infections including vaginal yeast infections, jock itch, athletes foot, and ringworm. Also helps to boost the immune system.
Roman Chamomile, Anthemus nobilis : Very relaxing, and can help with sleeplessness and anxiety. Also good for muscle aches and tension. Useful in treating wounds and infection.
Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis: Very stimulating and uplifting, good to help mental stimulation as well as to stimulate the immune system. Very good for muscle aches and tension. Stimulating to the digestive system.
**Some of the best essential oils with analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties include chamomile, sweet marjoram, lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary and thyme. Oils which have a therapeutic, warming effect for massage or in a bath include juniper, birch and black pepper.
**Basic Aromatherapy Headache Massage Recipe:
- 1 oz. Carrier Oil (example: Jojoba or Sweet Almond Oil, heavy cream bases are ok)
- 10-12 drops of your chosen essential oils from the list below of essential oils
(If using Eucalyptus, Peppermint or Spearmint Essential Oil, use only 6-8 drops)
- 1 oz. amber or cobalt glass bottle
Directions: Combine your chosen carrier oil and essential oils into the bottle, and gently roll the bottle between your hands to mix the essential oils into the carrier oil.
To Use: Drop 1-4 drops onto your fingers or dap out a small amount and massage onto your forehead, back of your neck and/or temples. Avoid getting the oils near your eyes.
Suggested Essential Oils and Blends for Use in the Recipe:
- Blend #1: 8 Drops Lavender Oil, 4 Drops Roman Chamomile, 1 oz. Carrier Oil
- Blend #2: 4 Drops Spearmint Essential Oil, 4 Drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil, 1 oz. Carrier Oil
- Blend #3: 4 Drops Helichrysum Essential Oil, 8 Drops Roman Chamomile, 1 oz. Carrier Oil
- Blend #4: 4 Drops Spearmint Essential Oil, 8 Drops Lavender Essential Oil, 1 oz. Carrier Oil
**Aromatherapy Recipes for Arthritis
Ingredients for Blend #1:
- 2 ounces Carrier Oil
- 20 drops Roman Chamomile
- 5 drops Black Pepper
**Aromatherapy Nerve Pain Treatment
Reduce your suffering from nerve pain with this gentle and effective formula.
Nerve Pain Oil
- 4 drops chamomile oil
- 3 drops marjoram oil
- 3 drops helichrysum oil (if available)
- 2 drops lavender oil
- 1 ounce vegetable oil or St. John’s wort oil
Combine the ingredients. Apply as needed throughout the day for pain relief. This formula is even more effective if St. John’s wort oil is used instead of plain vegetable oil. Buy it at a natural food store.
**Aromatherapy Joint Pain Treatment
This liniment will create a heat treatment that will soothe your joints.
- 8 drops eucalyptus oil
- 8 drops peppermint oil
- 8 drops rosemary oil
- 4 drops cinnamon leaf oil
- 4 drops juniper berry oil
- 4 drops marjoram oil
- 2 ounces alcohol (either rubbing or vodka)
Mix ingredients. Shake or stir a few times daily for three days to disperse the essential oils in the alcohol. This formula is stronger than typical massage oil, so don’t use it over a large area of the body. Instead, concentrate on painful joints.
It will also work well as a warm-up liniment before exercising or heavy physical work to help prevent muscles from cramping or becoming stiff. If preferred, the alcohol in this recipe can be replaced with a vegetable oil. Use several times a day as needed.
**Aromatherapy Itching Relief Recipe
- 4 oz of a carrier—I used Equate Therapeutic Moisturizing Cream
- 25-30 drops Lavender Essential Oil
- 20-25 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
- 10-15 drops Rosemary Essential Oil
- 10-15 drops Chamomile Essential Oil
- 10-15 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Gently blend the oils with the carrier, apply as needed up to 4 times per day.
**Aromatherapy Muscle Pain Treatment
Treat yourself to some relief with this soothing concoction.
Cramp Relief Oil
- 12 drops lavender oil
- 6 drops marjoram oil
- 4 drops chamomile oil
- 4 drops ginger oil
- 2 ounces vegetable oil or St. John’s wort oil
Combine ingredients. Apply throughout the day as often as needed over the cramping area. This formula is also excellent for the lower back pain that sometimes accompanies menstrual cramps. It works well when made with plain vegetable oil, but if you can, use herbal oil made from St. John’s wort oil instead, as it is excellent for sore muscles. You can buy a ready-made version at natural food stores.
Muscle ache relief blend
- 5 drops lavender oil
- 4 drops marjoram oil
- 3 drops rosemary oil
- 30ml carrier oil
Combine and use for massage or in a bath.
Where to buy Essential Oils