What is Aromatherapy?
The definition of Aromatherapy is the controlled and informed use of essential oils to maintain and/or improve the health of the mind/body and spirit.
This in simple terms could refer to a variety of aspects concerned with your treatment. The main concern of an Aromatherapist is to treat the person, not the disease. This involves careful consideration of quantity of oil and why each oil is chosen for its specific effect. The words controlled and informed mean just this. The amounts of essential oils chosen are specific for a particular individual at a particular time. It is in this way that an Aromatherapist provides a holistic treatment.
The term 'aromatherapy' was first invented in 1928 by the French chemist Rene Maurice Gattefosse. After burning his hand in a laboratory accident, he discovered the healing properties of lavender oil after placing his hand in it and his hand healing shortly after. He then proceeded to discover the healing qualities if essential oils by treating wounded soldiers from World War 1.
Aromatherapists aim to treat the person and not necessarily the disease.
Volatile properties of essential oils
Essential oils are aromatic, non-greasy plant extracts composed only of the volatile molecules from the plants concerned.
The word 'volatile' is from the Latin word 'vo/aire' which means to flyaway. All aromatic substances are volatile and their volatility is determined by their molecu!ar structure.
Essential oils can occur in practically every part of a plant
Essential oils can occur in practically every part of a plant, for example:
• berries: Black pepper, Juniper
• flowers: Jasmine, Rose, Neroli, Ylang ylang
• flowering tops: Clary Sage, Origanum
• leaves: Basil, Eucalyptus, Melissa, Peppermint
• resin: Benzoic, Myrrh, Frankincense
• rhizome: Ginger
• rind: Bergamot, Lemon, Orange, Lime
• root: Vetiver, Spikenard
• seeds: Coriander, Dill, Fennel
• wood: Sandalwood, Rosewood, Cedarwood
Most essential oils are produced by steam distillation of the plant. However citrus oils are cold pressed/expressed from the peel of the fruit. Delicate flowers such as Rose, Jasmine and Neroli are solvent extracted. Essential oils are today widely used in all sorts of skincare products.
Essential oil quality
When we talk about "quality" of essential oils we must first look at what determines "quality",
• Essential oils grown for and used by the perfume industry determine quality by the consistency of smell.
• Essential oils grown for and used by the food industry determine quality by the consistency of taste.
• Essential oils grown for and used by the pharmaceutical industry determine quality by the quantity/quality of the active ingredients.
• Essential oils grown for and used by the aromatherapy industry determine quality by the consistency of "wholeness".
The information should be available on the label
• botanical name
• country of origin
• Is it an Organic essential oil
• batch number
• chemical specificity - where relevant
• plant material used
• method of extraction
• details of the testing policy
Ultimately, choosing and purchasing essential oils depends on the therapist establishing a relationship with a supplier that is trustworthy. All reputable suppliers should be happy to answer your queries.
Methods of use and mixing
• Essential oils: Adult (over 7 stone) 4-7 drops of essential oils, blended from 2 to 4 different essential oils. Child (under 7 stone) 2-4 drops of essential oils, blended from 2 to 4 different essential oils.
• Carrier Oils: Start with 10mls of general carrier and 2mls of specialised carrier oils. Depending on the client this should be sufficient to massage the back and possibly the back of the legs.
• When this mix has been completely applied the rest of the massage is carried out using only carrier oil.
2) Creams or lotions
• Body or hand cream: Add 3 drops of essential oils to 10mls of carrier oil/cream. That is, Is drops of essential oil/s to 50mis of grape seed oil or white lotion Mix well and then apply to skin.
• Face cream: The proportion is one drop of essential oil per 10ml of carrier.
• Use 4-7 drops of essential oils, blended from 2 to 4 different essential oils.
• Mix the chosen essential oils in tablespoon of carrier (e.g. olive oil, grapeseed oil, full fat milk, dispersant/shampoo or white lotion).
• Fill the bath to desired depth and temperature.
• Just before you get into the bath add the essential oil mix to the water and stir.
• Or just before you get in rub the mixture onto your body.
• Relax for at least 10 minutes.
• Make sure to rinse out the bath - use neat shampoo.
• It is not recommended that essential oils be dropped neat into a bath of water.
Place 4-6 drops of your chosen oil/oils to a burner or an electric vaporiser which are a lot less hazardous and enjoy!!
• Steam inhalation: Fill a bowl with boiling water Add 3-4 drops of essential oils Put a towel over your head; Close your eyes and inhale through the nose and mouth for 10 minutes Make sure children are supervised at all times.
• Tissue Inhalation: Put 2-3 drops of neat essential oils on a tissue and keep it with you to inhale throughout the day.
• Put Smls of honey into a cup.
• Add 2-3 drops of tea tree essential oil Stir to blend.
• Pour in some boiling water and stir to dissolve.
• Allow to cool to a comfortable temperature before gargling.
6) Ear Ache
• Warm 5mls of olive oil to room temperature Add 2 drops of tea tree oil and mix.
• Using a pipette drop the mix slowly into the ear Treat both ears, starting with the "bad" ear.
• Plug with cotton wool and leave in place for 2-3 hours.
• Massage any remaining oil around the ear, the neck and armpits This method can also be used to treat a sore throat.
Hot for aches and pains. Cold for inflammation.
Combine hot and cold for old injuries - starting and finishing with hot.
• Dilute the appropriate essential oils into a suitable carrier such as white lotion or carrier oil.
• Use between 4-7 drops of the appropriate essential oils and enough carrier to cover the area being treated. You should use all of the mixture for the treatment.
• Apply the mixture to the area.
• If the compress needs to be hot, place a hot towel, heat pad or hot water bottle on the area.
• If a cold compress is required, place a cold water bottle or cold pad onto the area. Do not leave an ice pack on an area for long periods of time.
• For an old injury alternate hot and cold compresses. Always starting with hot and finishing with hot.
• Leave compress in place for 15-20 minutes
8) Household disinfectant
Put 200ml of water into a spray bottle. Add 10 drops pine essential oil and 5 drops lemon essential oil Shake to blend.
9) Insect repellent
As house hold disinfectant using 6 drops lemongrass, 6 drops citronella and 6 drops Vetiver
• Essential oils need to be kept in airtight bottles to prevent oxidation.
• They should stored in an upright position
• Bottles should be black or amber
• They should be stored in the dark
• They should be stored in a cool environment
• Oils should be used in rotation and not kept for too long
Citrus and Pine oils 9 months
All others 3 years
Conclusion: to keep all essential oils at their best, store in a practitioner box at a temperature of 12-15 degrees Celsius. Replace all lids firmly after use.
• Do not take essential oils internally.
• Avoid contact with the eyes and mucous membranes.
• Seek professional/medical advise before use if you are pregnant or if you have a medical condition (such as epilepsy, high blood pressure etc).
• Do not use essential oils neat on the skin (unless advised that is it safe to do so by a professional, i.e. onto insect bites or burns etc).
• If you experience an adverse reaction to an essential oil, stop use immediately and seek professional/medical advise.
• Seek advise from a qualified Aromatherapist before using essential oils on babies and young children.
• Some essential oils have specific contraindications, always follow these instructions and use the recommended dilutions.
• As our essential oils are highly concentrated, it is important not to exceed the number of recommended drops.