“ The art and science of using oils extracted from aromatic plants to enhance health and beauty. „
I am 27 years old now and most of my life I have confuted myself with an mild case of facial acne. One day I was surfing the internet and I started reading about an essential oil called Tea Tree and Lavender and it's success in treating acne. I was intrigued by the fact that you have to dilute it in another carrier oil/ base oil such as Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Sunflower Oil that are common found in the kitchen. Since I already had the carrier oils I found my job half done and I only needed to order the Essential Oils.
My first blend was or 1% dilute of Lavender and Tea Tree with E.V. Olive Oil and Rosehip Seed Oil and I got to say that using this on my face day and night help me a lot and cleared most of my acne without any side effects. I never buy any Clearasil and others nowadays as they can't even compare.
And so that was my first introduction in Aromatherapy. Being so impressed with my initial results over the next couple of years I become more and more interested in Aromatherapy and I have ended up giving up all the cosmetics products I used before in the favour of making my own and incorporating aromatherapy into them.
So what is Aromatherapy and Essential Oils?
Is an ancient knowledge used for healing, improving and maintaining a healthy body using natural ingredients of plant extracts called Essential Oils that have a complex composition of substances in them that are extremely beneficial. The beauty of Essential Oils is that that being plant extracts from flowers, leaves, barks, roots, wood and peels have an amazing scent to them.
All Essential Oils must be diluted in Carrier oils or else they are toxic . Less is better, the ideal dilution would be for about 0.75 % - 15. Some oils even less, Clove for example 0.2%.
Best is to buy a basic Aromatherapy book which can guide you trough the safety and introduce each Essential Oils to you and it's properties. Such books can easily be found in second hand shops very cheaply, generally costing between £2.50 and £6.00.
From my own personal experience my favorite Essential Oils until now have been Pure and Organic ones ( or Wild) and same goes for carrier oils.
Nowadays I have quite a bit of collection or Oils. Some of my favourites are: Tea Tree, Bergamot, Lavender, Neroli, Rose, Manuka. Neroli and Rose can be very pricy Essential Oils but combined together have an amazing scent.
Blending Essential Oils is a bit of an art. Some scents combined together may have a very strong and sweet scent that might not be on everyone's taste. Best is to blend 2 or 3 Oils at once and do some research first to make sure they all blend well together.
Do not over use Essential Oils, once every month change the formula for body moisturiser/ massage oil. Do not use Essential Oils unless there is a need for them.
A long time ago I was in to party planning, I hosted them all, Partylite, Body Shop, etc and I also had one delivered by Likisma, who were an Aromatherapy specialist. I really enjoyed it and decided to become a consultant, I learnt so much about Aromatherapy and used it in everyday life for about a year. I stopped the party planning because I didn't drive at the time, hauling my bags, etc round wasn't really fun on public transport. I have just looked up Likisma to see what became of them and they are now Vie at Home (Virgin Vie) they merged with the brand, I would assume because they didn't do too well as a stand alone brand (I used to struggle to get people to part with their money as a planner), you can still buy their essential oils through Vie, but they now have a price tag which matches the brand!
The most important thing to remember about Aromatherapy is that it simply will not work, if you do not like the smell. The body will reject it and not allow the aroma's to provide the therapy you are seeking. I'm fortunate, there are few smells which I can't tolerate from aromatherapy oils. Fennel is not my favourite, but I can accept it as a blend. I don't like Patchouli. Aside from that, I like the smell and so most blends work for me.
Aromatherapy uses essential oils, along with a 'carrier', this could be a bath carrier, to make it in to a bubble bath, oil carrier to make it in to a preparation or massage oil - such as olive oil, grapeseed oil, almond oil; water can also be a carrier, for example when using an oil burner or inhalation. Very seldom are essential oils used neat on the body as they can create allergic reactions and damage the skin. Whilst they are incredibly natural they are highly concentrated, hence the need for dilution.
The oils can come from a variety of natural sources. For example, Juniper comes from Berries, Eucalyptus and Lemon Grass come from Leaves, Clary Sage, Chamomile, Jasmin and Lavender come from Petals, Lemon, Orange, etc come from Peel. Frankincense and Myrrh come from Resin. Some come from wood, others from bark.
As a beginner when using essential oils for aromatherapy I would recommend purchasing or borrowing a cheap book to guide you through their uses. One bottle of oil can have many uses. For example Tea Tree can be used as a Mind Clearing blend in a room fragrancer / burner, as a mildly diluted facial wash for problem spots on the T Zone, it can be also be used antiseptically, or even as a disinfectant - like TCP! For the couple of pounds you will spend on it, it can be very useful. A book, or even the internet, will help you to get the best out of the oil and tell you how to use it properly so you are using it in a safe and correct fashion.
Where to buy / Price:
At the moment Boots is my favourite place to purchase Aromatherapy supplies. They are reasonably priced, all vendors price their oil according to rarity and expense of the actual oil. Roman Chamomile or Rose Absolut are usually very expensive. Inexpensive oils should cost you around £4 for a small bottle - Tea Tree oil retails at this in Boots. Boots also sells their own 'time to unwind', 'time to reenergise' etc blends. These can be a great quick fix, provided you like the smell, if you don't have the time or inclination for being creative and creating your own. For £7 Boots do a Starter Pack which includes 4 x 2.5ml oils, a mixing dish, pipette and instruction leaflet. This can be a great way to start.
Another bonus about Boots is you can get lots of Aromatherapy kits in the Christmas 3 for 2. Saw some fabulous sets yesterday when I went shopping, including one which has a massage kit, including relaxing Thai music on CD to create the atmosphere. At the 3 for 2 offer and at the low prices Boots charge, plus advantage card points, you really cant go wrong.
People who suffer from allergies should seek medical advice. Blends should be patch tested. People who are pregnant will normally have to avoid certain types of oils due to their emmenagogue properties (explained later under my tips). Bottom line, as with all products, seek medical advice if unsure. I have asthma and eczema and I can use most oils no problems.
Tea Tree for treating spots, blemishes, as an antiseptic, disinfectant
Basil for depression, relieving headaches and migraines
Bergamot and Citronella for insect repellent
Bergamot and Eucalyptus are good for cold sores, chicken pox, shingles
Clove Oil for toothache
Peppermint and Eucalyptus to clear the airways when suffering from colds or flu
Lavender for antiseptic (like Tea Tree - often blended together), also for insomnia and headaches
Jasmine, Rose, Ylang Ylang and Sandalwood for an aphrodisiac
If you suffer from Period Pain badly, run a hot (not too hot) bath, using a blend of 4 drops Lavender and 4 drops Roman Chamomile in a bath carrier.
They are both emmenagogue oils, and as such they stimulate blood flow from the pelvic area and uterus - i.e. menstruation. This eases the pain in your tummy, apparently period pain is largely down to the breaking down of the lining of your womb - not the actual loss of blood - so by having a thinner quicker flow, you avoid some if not most of the pain. I have been using this preparation since I was about 17, and it works every month. It removes the need for usually useless pain relief, it is much better for you than constantly popping pills and it is a little luxury at a rubbish time of the month. You can light some candles have a glass of wine and read a book. Bliss. Pregnant ladies MUST not use this! Nor should people trying for a baby, with women's troubles or who may possibly be pregnant. Seek your doctors advice before trying this.
I can't stand Corsodyl mouthwash and quite regularly suffer from ulcers from stress. So as a really effective and pleasant tasting alternative, mix about 3-4 drops of Orange oil in warm water and swill around your mouth for a minute. This is also good for Gingivitis, and doesn't stain like prolonged use of Corsodyl. You can also use Tea Tree, Lemon, Lavender for this, but I couldn't stomach putting any of those in my mouth! You should seek a dentists advice prior to doing so, and if symptoms persist, well you know the drill!
If used properly and researched prior to use, with the consultation of a professional if you suffer from any existing conditions, or could be pregnant or have allergies; then Aromatherapy is a fantastic alternative therapy which will alleviate costs of pain killers, room fragrances and bubble baths and which should help ease any conditions you are attempting to treat. I give it 5 out of 5.
Lavender is undoubtedly the most versatile of all aromatherapy oils ranging from analgesic, antidepressant, antiseptic, bacterial and decongestant to insect repellent and sedative. The properites can best be summed up as calming, soothing and balancing.
Lavender has been used continuously for thousands of years either in the form of the essential oil or as fresh or dried flowers.
The name of the plant derives its name for the Latin "lavare" to wash, probably from its use in cleaning wounds.
The plant is native to the Mediterranean and flourshes all over Europe, the Romans introduced it to Britain and other northern European lands but the best lavender is still grown around the Mediterranean.
Very few people are allergic to Lavender and the essential oil can be used straight undiluted on the skin. It is very useful to treat burns as it is both antiseptic and analgesic and it promotes rapid healing and helps to prevent scarring. It is very soothing when used on sunburn.
The analgesic, antiseptic and antibiotic properties make itgreat for treating colds, coughs, catarrh and sinusitis - the most effective treatment being by steami nhalation - placing your head over a bowl of hot water with a few drops of Lavender oil is very soothing when blocked up with a cold.
Massaged into the temples a little oil will help sooth a headache.
One of its best uses is as a relief of sore muscles, either as a massage - a few drops added to a carrier oil and massaged into the sore area or a soak in a warm bath with a few drops added.
It is also wonderful for menstrual pain when massaged gently into the lower abdomen or made into a hot compress.
The insecticidal properties of Lavender have been used for many centuries and a drop of oil rubbed to the skin can help as an insect repellent however if you are stung or bitten a drop applied straight to the sting or bite as soon as possible will relieve the pain and stop the irritation spreading.
A few drops on the pillow at night will help you have a restful night and make your bedroom smell lovely.
Lavender Oil is so useful that I always have a small bottle in my bag and I would not travel anywhere without some. After a long day tiring day there is nothing better than adding a few drops of Lavender oil to a warm bath and relaxing.
You may remember a couple of weeks ago I wrote a review describing essential oils, their uses and benefits. Well today I am going one step further by introducing aromabeauty and looking at the different ways we can make ourselves more beautiful with the use of aromatherapy.
Beauty is I believe the art of making the most of ourselves. Our skin and hair reflect the way we are - either glowing and vital when we are physically well and fairly at peace with the world, or dull and grey, and rather drawn, when we have been ill, are feeling off colour or suffering from the effects of stress and worry. A healthy balanced diet, exercise, relaxation and sufficient sleep are just as important as a sensible skin and hair routine. Beauty begins on the inside.
Aromatherapy allows you to tailor your skin, hair and body care to your individual requirements. It's a simple way of introducing effective treatments for your face and body without you having to buy lots of different products: you can adapt the ones you already have with aromatherapy oils. Mixing aromatherapy oils into your own creams and lotions is rewarding and enjoyable. You will soon begin to realise how much you can improve your overall appearance and well being without too much fuss and expense. Also you will benefit from the soothing aromas of the oils.
First of all do you know your skin type?
* Feels supple and elastic even after washing
* Looks shiny
* Often blackheads or spots or present
* Can look sluggish, sallow
* Hair is often oily too
Oily skin, when properly looked after, can be an advantage. it stays elastic and firm for longer and is less prone to wrinkles and fine lines than other skin types. However it needs special attention to keep it free from spots and blackheads, and can sometimes look rather dull and yellow.
* Feels tight after washing
* Is dry, scaly or flaky to the touch
* Can look grey or pinkish
* Reacts adversely to harsh products
Dry skin is clear of spots and in younger years is fairly problem free. Because it is not well lubricated naturally, it ages more quickly, so extra care must be taken with moisturisers. It's a good idea to use sunscreen all the year round to reduce the harsh, drying effects of ultra viloet rays.
Hyper Sensitive Skin
* Usually fair, freckly or prone to high colour
* Burns easily in sunlight
* Flushes quickly
* Reacts to harsh substances quickly becoming itchy, red and irritated
This skin type is often found on blondes and redheads. Extra care must be taken when choosing skin care products so they protect and soothe rather than irritate this type of skin.
* Spots, blemishes on nose, chin or forehead
* Blackheads on nose, chin or forehead
* Dry patches particularly cheeks
* Cheeks feel tight after washing
* Shiny patches and flaky patches
Combination skin is the most common. It's important to treat the oily and dry areas differently, as a product for oily skin can be damaging to the dryer, sensitive areas.
* Clear and free of spots and blemishes
* Soft and Supple
* Even texture and colour
This is very rare, if non-existent, except on babies and young children and a few fortunate adults. If you are lucky enough to have inherited this skin type, remember it still needs to be looked after.
If you are still not sure which skin type you are then I suggest you do a simple test:-
1. On waking (presuming you cleansed your face the night before and didn't use a greasy night cream) take a paper tissue and seperate the layers so you have just one ply.
2. Press this on to your face, touching all the contours.
3. Hold it up to the light. Any oily areas will show up on the tissue.
Once you have decided your skin type, you can begin an effective routine to keep your skin feeling healthy and looking great.
An effective cleansing routine will balance your skin, helping it to function properly. You don't want to make it squeaky clean as this kind of over cleansing takes away the skin's natural protective barrier (called the acid mantle) and leaves it more susceptible to the effects of bacteria and environmental influences such as dust and pollution.
All skin types need to be cleansed twice a day. Cleansing in the morning is particularly important as your skin throws out toxic waste products while you sleep and if you apply moisturiser straight on to your skin you are actually preventing this shedding process from being effective.
Using your favourite unperfumed cleansing cream or milk, add any of the following aromatherapy oils either singly or in combination for each skin type. The ratio is two drops of oil to every 100ml of cleanser.
Dry Skin - Camomile, Geranium, Rose, Ylang - Ylang
Chapped, Cracked skin - Benzoin, Camomile
Hyper Sensitive skin - Camomile, Neroli, Jasmine, Rose
Broken Capillaries - Neroli, Rose, Lemon, Peppermint
Combination Skin - Lavender, Geranium
Normal Skin - Rose, Neroli, Lavender, Sandalwood
Skin tonics, or fresheners have two effects on your skin after cleansing.
1. They remove the last trace of cleansing milk or cream.
2. They help to restore the skin's natural protective mantle.
However oily your skin is I wouldn't recommend you to use a skin tonic containing alcohol (often called an astringent). These will strip away the skin's natural protective barrier, and with prolonged use can sensitize the skin or cause irritation. There are lots of commercially available skin tonics and fresheners but I will give you some ideas for using beneficial aromatherapy oils.
As with the cleansers, the ratio is 2 drops of aromatherapy oil to 100ml of toner, either used singly or in combination.
Oily Skin - Add Lemon, Lavender, Bergamot, Juniper or Ylang-Ylang to Witch Hazel
Acne - add Lemongrass, Lavender, Juniper or Camomile to distilled or mineral water
Dry Skin - add Rose, Ylang-Ylang, Geranium or Camomile to Rosewater
Normal Skin - add Lavender, Rose or Neroli, to rosewater or orange flowerwater
As with cleansers, all fresheners/toners are kindest when applied to your skin with damp coton wool. Gently wipe all over the face and neck, paying careful attention to the creases around your chin. If necessary repeat once more.
A moisturiser will protect your skin from moisture loss, helping to keep it soft, smooth and supple. It will also protect your skin from the penetration of grime, chemicals and bacteria. We all need moisturisers, even those of us with the most oily skin, but obviously it's important to choose the correct one for your skin type. Apply moisturiser to your skin while it is still slightly damp from balancing. This enhances the moisturising effect. Spread it gently, first on to your neck, then up on to your face, being careful not to drag the skin particularly around the delicate eye area.
Make sure you use a moisturiser with a vegetable oil base. Mineral oil is not compatible with skin so petroleum jelly products are therefore best avoided. Here are some suggestions to turn your day or night cream into a beneficial aromatherapy treatment.
The ratio is 2 drops of aromatherapy oil to 100ml of cream.
Day Cream - Lavender, Basil, Camomile, Lemon
Night Cream - Lavender, Neroli, Camomile
Day Cream - Lemongrass, Bergamot, Lavender
Day Cream - Rose, Geranium, Neroli
Night Cream - Frankincense, (renowned for it's rejuvenating effect), Jasmine, Rose, Ylang-Ylang
Hyper Sensitive Skin
Day Cream - Camomile, Lavender
Night Cream - Neroli, Jasmine, Rose, Camomile
Day Cream - Peppermint, Lavender, Lemon
Night Cream - Neroli, Rose, Camomile
Day Cream - Lavender, Rose
Night Cream - Lavender, Rose, Neroli
I know it is very difficult to follow a beauty routine strictly every day and night as there are always times when we can't be bothered or forget. Hopefully some of my suggestions will help all the girls and boys out there who want to stay beautiful and help keep their skin looking fresh and healthy.
Aromatherapy is a term created by a French chemist by the name of René Maurice Gattefossé in the 1920's to describe the practice of using 'essences' or now more commonly known as essential oils taken from plants, flowers, roots, seeds, etc., in healing. The term is a bit misleading, since the aromas of oils, whether natural or synthetic, are generally not themselves therapeutic. Aromas are used to identify the oils but not to directly bring about a cure or healing. It is the "essence" of the oil--its chemical properties--that gives it whatever therapeutic value the oil might have. Furthermore, vapours are used in some but not all cases of aromatherapy. In most cases, the oil is rubbed onto the skin or ingested in a tea or other infused massage oil. Some aromatherapists even consider cooking with herbs a type of aromatherapy. The healing power of essential oils is the main attraction in aromatherapy. There is very little evidence for all the claims made by aromatherapists regarding the various healing properties of oils. Personal experience seems to be the only kind of research truelly worthy when considering aromatherapy. The practitioners and salespersons of aromatherapeutic products seem singularly uninterested in scientific testing of their claims, many of which are empirical and could be easily tested. Of course, there are many aromatherapists who make claims, such as claims regarding how certain oils will affect their "subtle body," bring balance to their chakra, restore harmony to their energy flow, return one to their center, or contribute to spiritual growth. Aromatherapy is said to restore or enhance mental, emotional, physical or spiritual health. Such claims are essentially non-testable. They are part of New Age mythology and are not really open to any meaningful discussion or debate. Daniele Ryman, a defender of natural oils, gave some botanical and historical information about the use of Lavender a
nd its properties, including a claim by Matthiole, a 16th century botanist, that lavender can cure epilepsy and mental problems. She tells us that lavender is made up of alcohols such as borneol, geraniol and linalool; esters such as geranyle and linalyl; and terpents such as pinene and limonene. Lavender also contains a high percentage of phenol, a strong antiseptic and antibiotic. She also notes that while many essential oils are very toxic, lavender is one of the least toxic of all oils. Then she tells us that lavender is "the oil most associated with burns and healing of the skin." She says lavender is "very effective in treating cystitis and other related ailments. To prevent varicose veins, Ryman advises that you "massage the legs with an oil consisting of 3 drops cypress oil, 2 drops each of lavender and lemon oil, and 1 ounce of soy oil" Nowhere does she give any indication that anyone anywhere has done any control studies with lavender to test any of these claims. However it is very true that expressions such as 'very effective' and 'is good' are not very precise (which is what she says lavender in your bath is for cellulite). And 'most associated' with burns doesn't actually say that it will do any good for burns. Still, I think these claims can be made precise enough to test. I have myself a bottle of Lavender in my First Aid Box. I have used it on burns, for stress and for cystitis. I can not offer any opinion on her cellulite claim. But again it is down to personal experience rater than quality of the therapy itelf. I use it in assistance to medicinal balms and tablets. There are however many more esential oils than Lavender. I also have Tea Tree and Eucalyptus in my FIrst Aid box. Tea tree is a useful antiseptic, if used as you would Dettol. Eucalyptus is commonly used for colds. When I have a cold and a stuffy nose, I'll use Vicks VapoRub, a mixture of camphor, menthol and eucalyptus
oil. Strictly speaking, I suppose I am a practicing aromatherapist. If you believe, which is a very loose word, in the use of alternative therapies, then Aromatherapy is a good place to start. It is used in many households but people do not consider it powerful enough to do away with medicines altogether. It si simple to use as long as directions are followed. An example: Use of Juniper whilst pregnant can cause the child to miscarry. The oil encourages the uterus to contract. So is Aromatherapy a load of rubbish or do we just need to sort out facts from the nonsense! I have to conclude that aromatherapy is a mostly a pseudoscientific alternative medical therapy. It is a mixture of folklore, trial and error, anecdote, testimonial, New Age spiritualism and fantasy.
One of my presents at christmas was this Aromatherapy Foaming Bath Essence kit. I really believe that you should take the time to pamper yourself every now and then, one of the best ways to relax is to soak away your aches and pains in a luxurious bubble bath. I was really pleased when I received this kit. You get four little bottles of bubble bath, in a silver stand, each bottle is four inches tall and they have silver twist off tops. You can buy them from Boots for 3.99. On each bottle is written a word to tell you what each one is for. Relaxing. Contains a green gel like liquid and the scent of it is camomile. This is an essential oil which is renowned for its beneficial properties for reducing stress, anxiety and can reduce headaches or help with menstrual problems, also it helps with insomnia. Once you pour a little of this gel into the hot water it soon lathers up into a mass of bubbles, a great way to relax at the end of a day. Sensuous This one is couloured pink and is the same thick gel like consistancy of the relaxing camomile one. When you open the top you can smell the scent of rose, I like this one as it lathers up quickly and the bathroom smells nice as you get in the bath, it also leaves a subtle scent of rose on your skin after bathing. Rose has a wonderful antidepressant effect and is used to treat anxiety, stress and depression. It is also said to have aphrodisiac properties. I wonder if that?s why its a tradition for men to buy loved one's roses? Refreshing This bath gel is also thick and makes loads of bubbles, I like to relax in loads of bubbles, it makes you feel better and this bath essence smells of lemon. It?s colour is yellow. Lemon is great for waking you up, it stimulates your senses and is good for the circulation, it is also great for asthma, bronchitis and catarrh. I have been feeling a bit off colour with the flu lately and this has helped
me to feel better. It also helps as a digestive aid and is also a natural cosmetic, it helps tone the skin. It?s surprising what these oils actually can do. Soothing This is the last little bottle of my aromatherapy bath gels and this one is purple. The scent of this one is lavender, I?m not a big lavender fan but was pleased to find that although it does make loads of bubbles and smells nice, the scent doesn?t linger on your skin after the bath. Lavender is a great antiseptic and has the ability to relax and sooth away aches and pains, it?s a great tonic. It is also an appetite stimulant and is effective on burns and sores, lavender is one of the most common widely used essencial oil for healing. It is also good for headaches and pre menstrual tension. I will probably go back to Boots and buy some more of these aromatherapy bath essences. I really did enjoy using them and as each one is different I could choose the one which suited how I felt before having a bath. They left my skin feeling soft and didn't irritate. What a great present they were. It?s my birthday soon and I shall ask for some more of these.
Aromatherapy as it is recognised today has been around since the 1920s. Its name implies that it is a treatment or cure based on the inhalation of aromatics from the plant that is being used - while this may be true, this is only a small part of the story. This therapy has become increasingly popular over recent years, as natural and complimentary remedies as well as ancient and traditional practices for healthy living undergo something of a renaissance. So is aromatherapy a worthwhile treatment to consider, or just a load of New Age nonsense? This therapy may be used in a variety of ways, and not just as an alternative medicine. At the core of the practice is the use of essential oils, which have been described as the "essence" or "life force" of plants - these are blended together, with carrier oils or water, or added to other products (such as potpourris and room sprays) to increase their potency. These oils are made up of tiny molecules obtained in minute quantities from many natural sources, which can penetrate the skin and so be used in many ways, such as perfumes, massage oils, hair tonics, cosmetic creams and healing ointments. Aromatherapy oils can also be put to use as cleaning agents for the kitchen or bathroom, insect repellents, to create flea collars for pets, for air fresheners and many other uses. It is an approach that is often favoured by those who prefer to use natural alternatives wherever possible in their lives to escape the chemicals and substances of synthetic products that are perceived as harmful or undesirable. As an alternative medicine, aromatherapy oils are often used in carrier oils (such as sweet almond oil) rubbed directly onto the skin - however, these oils are very concentrated and should never be used undiluted, be taken internally and only with proper supervision in pregnancy. Massage is a very popular (and relaxing!) method of using aromatherapy, as it combines the healing oils with the the
rapeutic benefits of touch, but they can also be added to baths, inhalers or vaporisers. As the essential oils are affected by sunlight, they need to be stored in dark glass bottles, well sealed and upright, in a cool dark place - and well out of the reach of children. The length of time you can keep oils for does vary; orange and lemon will never keep for long, where as patchouli actually improves with time. Commonly used blends include: - camomile (for PMT, insomnia, stress and anxiety) - ylang ylang (as a sedative, but used in the East as an aphrodisiac!) - lavender (good for burns, headache, insect bites and promotes rapid healing) - tea tree (has antibacterial properties) - basil (for de-stressing) - eucalyptus (for colds) - ginger (for nausea) I have used some of these mixes, and have found lavender to be especially effective for sunburn and headaches and tea tree good for treating spots without drying the skin out too much. I also once made a blend of a couple of essential oils (lavender and bergamot) to try and treat some skin problems I was having at the time, but unfortunately this turned out to be less successful and made little difference other than to make my skin feel quite greasy! One area where I have found aromatherapy to be very useful is in the treatment of stress. During my A-levels (anyone who has taken them knows how stressful they can be!!!) I used essential oils in an oil burner - this is simply a small ceramic vase with a dish on top in which you place a few drops of your chosen oil in water; when a candle is lit inside the vase, the oil heats up and evaporates to fill the room with scent. Depending on my mood, I would either burn citrus oils to clear my mind of sluggishness and wake me up ready for revision, or lavender to relax me and reduce anxiety and tension. I found this to be very effective and would recommend it to all students as a good technique when preparing for exams. <
br>Finally, I would like to say that aromatherapy is definitely something I would advise members to look into and consider as a complement to modern medicine (rather than a replacement for it). Although I have personally found not all applications of this technique to be successful, it certainly worth a try as it is without side effects, and even if a treatment doesn't work, it can do you no harm (in most cases - check carefully if pregnant or if you suffer from conditions such as asthma though). Unfortunately, it can be quite an expensive hobby - essential oils can cost up to £16 for a 10ml bottle! Good sites to visit: http://www.fragrant.demon.co.uk/index.html http://www.aromaweb.com/
As I was gathering a few herbs to combine in some incense I was inspired to write an opinion (first one in ages) on aromatherapy. I have read through many of the opinions on aromatherapy and although there are lots of claims that it works nothing that I have read has convinced me that it is as good or better than using herbs in the more traditional way. My daughter in law is totally convinced that it works and has invested in loads of books by experts such as Julia Lawless and has used many of the oils. In spite of this the children still have eczema and more than their share of coughs and colds, my son still has psoriasis and she still suffers from depression and a host of other ailments. In theory, however, I would expect aromatherapy to work. I have long been a believer in natural remedies wherever possible and have dabbled in herbs for several years. While I am happy to use some of the oils regularly, such as lavender and tea tree, I can't see any particular benefit in using an oil in the bath when I can use the herb. One oil I know that has the same properties as the leaves but in far more potency is Melissa. Melissa is very expensive and as a pure essential oil it is rare. I thought it was quite ironic to find this explained on a web site offering pure Melissa oil for £5.77 for 10ml. Cariad, who are a reputable supplier, sell 2.5ml for £32 and it may cost up to £250 for 10ml. There is no such thing as a bargain priced oil if it is cheap it will be at the very best a blend but may be synthetic. There are few of us who would be prepared to lay out even £32 for an oil but Melissa, which is excellent for depression among other things, is a very common garden herb - Lemon Balm. It grows like a weed in my garden and drinking an infusion of the fresh leaves will work but will be much cheaper - in my case free. If people use inferior oils or worse still synthetics this will not only give aromatherapy but herbal products in general a ba
d name because they won't work. It is a shame but this is one industry where there are an awful lot of what can only be called fake products around. For example, as I write a beautiful scent permeates the room. It is sweet and uplifting offering a promise of summer but has a darker headier underlying perfume. Introductions to aromatherapy explain how we are attracted to certain smells and warned off by others with the tacit assumption that nice smells, as in aromatherapy products, indicate that a product is good for you. The perfume wafting around me comes from just six stems of Lily of the Valley which is potentially a beautifully scented killer. Lily of the Valley is used, only by qualified practitioners, as a therapeutic herb for the heart, the essential oil is used in the perfume industry but never for aromatherapy. However, a search on the internet found plenty of lily of the valley aromatherapy products. I sincerely hope they are synthetic. Many books maintain that aromatherapy, although a modern term, has been practised for thousands of years. This again I believe is a misleading statement. It is true that the botanicals, the herbs, roots, wood and resins have been used for thousands of years but not in precisely the same way as modern aromatherapy uses them. The most commonly cited example of the use of 'aromatherapy' in ancient times is the use of frankincense. Frankincense is the most well known resin used as incense and this has long been recognised as purificationary. The Egyptians used it in sickrooms, it has been used to fight the Black death and although the C of E does not use it in service there is plenty of evidence that it was used to fumigate churches in times of sickness. Frankincense is used in medicine in many ways throughout the world but most commonly by burning as incense. Different properties may be released by the different methods but in the slow burning of incense a magical cocktail of up to 86 ch
emicals are released which the ancients recognised as very special. Incense is very much associated with religious ceremonies and apart from the purification property it is used as an aid to meditation. Research has shown that frankincense has the ability to increase the oxygen around the pineal and pituitary glands which therefore stimulates this part of the brain (associated with 'third eye' and 'so-called' god spot). This may account for its use in religious ceremonies. It may not be possible to explain how it works but ancient wisdom has proved that it does. It is not the aroma itself that produces the results but the chemicals released into the atmosphere when it burns. I have only ever used frankincense and other incense ingredients in a traditional charcoal incense burner ( because incense cones and sticks often contain some quite nasty additives).The essential oil may operate in a different way and it is possible that the aroma itself may trigger an individual's brain into action but I'm inclined to think that using it as incense may give the best effects. Perhaps you might think that I am too pessimistic but I am not saying that aromatherapy doesn't work only raising the concern that the medical and therapeutic claims for the use of oils by massage, vaporisation and bathing may be exaggerated. I do believe in the therapeutic properties of plants and regularly use them for everyday illness in whatever form best suits, e.g. as an oil, inhalation, compress, as a tea, infusion or tincture. But if I need something a bit more substantial I consult a qualified herbalist. As with all natural products and the 'drugs' taken from them some of the essential oils are potentially dangerous. I do not think that all the books give adequate warnings. Perhaps again I am over cautious but my herbal advises against the use of two commonly used oils during pregnancy. It says avoid chamomile oil completely and a
void high doses of lavender both are uterine stimulants but none of the three aromatherapy books I have mention these among the oils to avoid in pregnancy. Aromatherapy obviously does have some very real benefits though. The greatest benefits seem to be in reducing stress, aches and pains and as aid to relaxation generally. But realistically a warm, wonderfully scented bath or a slow sensual massage would go a long way to destressing, relaxing or turning one on with or without using essential oils. It is well known that stress and tension can cause all sorts of stress related disease so reducing stress will invariably aid health and well being. Aromatherapy was discovered as a side product of the perfume industry. At the time the use of herbs and plants for healing was a bit out of favour. If aromatherapy has helped awaken awareness of the beneficial use of plants then it has done a great service. But perhaps aromatherapy as it is popularly sold would be better handed back to the perfume and beauty industry who have done their best to cash in on it anyway.
There are many different brands of Aromatherapy oils available on the market, each one varying in quality and price. It is always advisable to choose a reputable brand name and remember, cheap is not always bad when it comes to Aromatherapy brands. I buy several different brands of oils and have found the following to be of quality and value: Aroma ------ I have started with this make of essential oil, because it is the most inexpensive and extensive range I have found. These oils are supplied in 10ml brown bottles, each with a screw top and an internal dropper. The oils are made and distributed in the UK by Aroma Direct, PO Box 802, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU1 1XJ and are available online from Woods Health – www.woodshealth.com or by telephone on 0845 130 2244. Prices start at as little as £1.50. For further information on the Aroma range of oils, please visit http://www.aromadirect.co.uk. The Art of Aromatherapy ----------------------- These oils are supplied in very attractive 10ml blue bottles, each with a screw top and an internal dropper. This range is more expensive than the others mentioned previously in this opinion, however, I feel that they are well worth the extra. This range is extremely extensive and is supplied by Ashleigh & Burwood Limited of Surrey. I have not found this brand on the high street, I believe that it is only available from specialist suppliers. I purchased mine from a local shop at a craft centre, which has now closed! As mentioned previously, this brand carries the more unusual oils such as Ginger Marigold etc. Larger bottles of oil are also available in this range; I purchased a 30ml bottle of Lavender for £7.50. For further information on The Art of Aromatherapy range, please visit http://www.ashleigh-burwood.co.uk. Body Shop ---------- I have several Body Shop oils in my collection, however, I have not purchased any for a long tim
e so cannot comment on their current range, however, the Neroli oil which I have comes in a 10ml bottle with a screw lid and internal plastic dropper. The label gives a short description of what the oil can be used for which can be useful to those who are not too familiar with essential oils. For further information on the Body Shop’s range, please visit http://www.bodyshop.com. Elizabeth French Limited ----------------------- Elizabeth French range of essential oils are excellent value, and are often available as part of a gift set. The gift set which I was given contained three screw topped 10ml bottles of essential oil (Clary Sage, Marjoram and Lemon) which have an internal plastic dropper, together with a mixer bottle, a 100ml bottle of grapeseed carrier oil, and instruction leaflet. Elizabeth French oils can be purchased from Wilkinsons as well as high street chemists and are priced around £1 for oils such as Lavender going up to £3 for Ylang Ylang etc. making them one of the best value oils available on the high street, however, the range is rather basic. For further information on the Elizabeth French range, please visit http://www.elizabethfrench.com. Essence of Radox ----------------- Essence of Radox oils are available from supermarkets such as Morrisons and are reasonably priced however, be ware, the bottles only contain 5ml of essential oil instead of the normal 9ml/10ml. They have a screw top with an internal plastic dropper and are supplied in boxes which contain an instruction leaflet advising on each oils use. The Essence of Radox range is very limited. For more information on the Essence of Radox range, please visit http://www.britishspas.co.uk/enjoy/essence.html. Hall & James ------------ Hall & James essential oils are one of my favourite brands, probably due to the fact that they are extremely inexpensive. Depending on the oil, 9ml bottle is between £2
and £3. The bottles have screw tops with internal plastic droppers and are available from Morrisons supermarket. The range is not extensive but does contain basic oils such as Sweet Orange; Ylang Ylang, Tea Tree; Peppermint; Eucalyptus; Lavender and Geranium. Herbfarm Aromatherapy ---------------------- This is a relatively new brand to me, however, I have found them to be comparable in quality and price to others which I have tried and the range is very extensive, containing such oils as Patchouli, Benzoin and Jasmine Absolute. Each 9ml bottle has a screw top with an internal dropper and an attractive label, which contains their “leaf” logo. Believe it or not, I buy this range from my local Wyevale garden centre! The Herbfarm range also contains ready blended oils and several different types of carrier oils. The oils vary in price according to the type –starting at around £3 for the more day to day oils such as Lavender and Lemon etc. Natural by Nature Oils Limited ---------------------------- These oils are available from good health food stores, they come in 10 ml bottles and have a rubber dropper combined in the lid. I have had some of these oils for more than five years and they are still in good condition. The range of oils available is extensive, however, this brand is a little more expensive than others I have purchased, but at the time, there were not many brands available on the market. Tisserand --------- This brand is also one of my favourites as it is extensive and carries a more specialised range of oils such as Cedarwood and Cypress. The oils are supplied in 9ml screw top bottles which contain an internal plastic dropper. These are available on the Internet and in specialist stores and chemists, however, as the name probably suggests, they are a little more expensive than the other brands mentioned in the opinion (other than The Art of Aromatherapy). For more information on
Tisserand's range of oils, please visit www.tisserand.com. Note ---- Always remember that essential oils should not be used by pregnant women, small children, babies or people suffering with chronic or serious health problems such as high blood pressure or epilepsy. Further Information ------------------ The following URL contains further links to aromatherapy product suppliers which may be of interest to the reader: http://www.foundhealth.com/Health/Alternative/Aromatherapy/Products_and_Access ories/Essential_Oils
Aromatherapy Have you tried aromatherapy? It can be good for relaxing and helping to relieve some of the symptoms of ME History The healing, cleansing, preservative and mood enhancing properties of natural plant oils have been recognised for more than 6,000years. The Egyptians were the first to distil plants to extract oils and the Greeks and Romans used oils in their rituals and ceremonies. In the fifteenth century perfume became popular in Europe as a way of disguising body smells and warding off sickness, later aphrodisiac properties were recognised too. Aromatherapy is the modern name for the ancient art of healing and improving health using fragrant and natural ingredients. The term was first used in 1928 by a French chemist Rene Gattefosse. He discovered the healing properties of plant oils when he badly burned his hand and plunged it into lavender oil. The burn healed quickly and without blistering, and Gattefosse began studying the therapeutic properties of plant oils. During World War II Dr Jean Valnet used oils to treat wounded soldiers. The method of diluting and applying oils by massage was begun by a French biochemist Marguerite Maury. How Oils Work Essential oils are found in herbs, plants, flowers, fruit, bark, roots and resin. The oils are composed of tiny molecules that are easily dissolved in alcohol, emulsifiers and particularly fats, they penetrate the skin easily and work into the body by mixing with fatty tissue. As the essences evaporate they are also inhaled and enter the body through sensitive cells that line the nasal passages. These send messages to the brain and effect the emotions and body functions by working on the limbic system. This is how physical and psychological well being can be gained from aromatherapy. How to use Oils Oils can be used in many ways including; Inhalation Put a few drops of oil in a bo
wl of steaming hot water. Place a towel over your head and inhale. Good for colds, or for cleansing the face. This method should not be used by asthmatics. Massage For this you need to mix the oils with a base or carrier oil eg wheatgerm, sesame, evening primrose, almond or olive oil. Oil Burners Also called diffusers or vapourisers. A few drops of oil can be mixed in the water in the top of the burner and as the candle underneath heats the water the fragrance is given off. Burners can be bought in hardware shops, craft shops, chemists, specialist shops and many supermarkets, prices range from a couple of pounds upwards. There are many different sizes and designs. Never allow the burner to run dry while the candle is lit. Baths Oils can be diluted in bath water, this can help with cleansing and aches and pains. These are a few of the basic ways of using oils, any book on aromatherapy explains other methods. I can recommend Practical Aromatherapy by Penny Rich, it is simple to understand and cheap to buy. What Can Oils Be Used For? Oils are can be classified as having relaxing, therapeutic or stimulating properties and can be used to help many symptoms. Some oils can be combined, but never more than three, some combine better than others. Here are some common ME symptoms and the oils that can be helpful in alleviating the problems, the letters r, t and s denote the properties of the oil; Backache Eucalyptus (t,s), Lavender (t,r), Marjoram (t,r), Rosemary (s,t), Juniper (t,r). Colds Eucalyptus (t,s), Lavender (t,r), Lemon (s), Lemongrass (s,t), Peppermint (s,t), Tea Tree (t,s). Anxiety Bergamot (s,r), Jasmine (r), Lavender (t,r), Patchouli (s,r), Clary Sage (s,r), Ylang-Ylang (s). Depression Bergamot (s,r), Geranium (r,s) Jasmine (r), Lavender (t,r), Clary Sage (s,r), Ylang-Ylang (r). Fatigue Basil (s), Bergamot (s,r), E
ucalyptus (t,s), Jasmine (r), Juniper (t,r), Lavender (r,s), Lemongrass (s,t), Patchouli (s,r), Peppermint (s,t), Rosemary (r), Clary Sage (s,r). Headache Eucalyptus (t,s), Lavender (r,s), Lemongrass (s,t), Peppermint (s,t), Rosemary (r), Clary Sage (s,r) Tea Tree (t,s). Insomnia Basil (s), Jasmine (r), Lavender (r,s), Marjoram (t,r) Ylang-Ylang (r). Nausea Peppermint (s,t) PMT Bergamot (s,r), Jasmine (r), Lavender (r,s), Peppermint (s,t), Clary Sage (s,r) Stress Basil (s), Bergamot (s,r), Jasmine (r), Lavender (r,s), Marjoram (t,r), Patchouli (s,r), Clary Sage (s,r), Tea Tree (t,s), Ylang-Ylang (r) Thrush Lavender (r,s), Tea Tree (t,s) Notes of Caution Some oils are not advised for use during pregnancy including, Clary Sage, Rosemary, Basil, Marjoram. Please check before using any oil if you think you could be pregnant. Oils should not be used by those with Asthma or breathing problems without consulting your GP first. If symptoms persist you should always seek medical advice. Buying Oils Pure essential oils usually come in dark bottles and are called pure or essential oils. There are cheaper varieties, but these are often just scents and are called fragrance oils, they do not have the same benefits as the pure oils, but they do smell nice. Prices of the oils vary very much, lavender is one of the cheapest ones and is also one that can be used for most purposes. Oils are sold in chemists and specialist shops or can be bought by mail order.
Until a few years ago, I had never tried Aromatherapy and decided to find out more on the subject. I found it very interesting and had no idea of the amount of uses it has. Did you know that it can improve your immune system and can help with stress of everyday life? Well I have been experimenting for some time now and have been pleased with the results.I will start by explaining a bit about the history behind Aromatherapy. HISTORY Knowledge of how to make use of the beneficial effects of aromatic plants dates back to 3500BC, where Egyptian’s burned resins, such as Frankincense, to clear the mind. However the Romans used essential oils for massage and aromatic herbs in the home. In the 17th century here in England pomanders made of oranges and cloves were used to ward off the Black Death. Interestingly it was a chemist; a Frenchman called Rene Gatefosse, who in 1937 found the name Aromatherapy. He burnt his hand while working in his laboratory and put in onto the nearest bowl of liquid, it happened to be essential oil of lavender. He found that his hand healed with exceptional speed and virtually no scaring. HOW THE OILS ARE USED The essences are more commonly known as essential or base oils,are extracted from a wide variety of plants, and are very concentrated.For example it takes the petals from about 30 specially cultivated roses to produce one drop of Rose essential oil and several kilos of lavender to produce just one small bottle. Each oil has its own healing properties and fragrance. The essences are volatile and will evaporate without trace if left open to the air and they do not dissolve in water. Several oils are often used in combination to promote healing on different levels - physical, mental and emotional. There are several ways of using the oils, all of them are very pleasant: Massage, In the bath, As a compress and Inhalation. The oils are absorbed into your skin, and also through the aroma from
inhalation. PURCHASE AND STORAGE Most health shops store these oils but you must check the label on the bottle’s, as the word natural does not always guarantee purity. Always check that it states pure essential oil. Always buy your oils in small quantities, as you need them. Always keep the oils in their original dark bottles, make sure the tops are securely shut or they will evaporate. Store in a cool place away from direct sunlight. Most esential oils will keep for up to two years. Some citrus oils such as orange and grapefruit may only last for six months, but some other oils actually improve with age, e.g. sandalwood and frankincense. It is important to buy high quality base oils to use with the essential ones. GENERAL CAUTIONS Only a few oils can be used on babies and young children. Never use neat essential oils directly on your skin. In pregnancy only half the stated amount should be used with some oils, and others avoided completely as some oils actually help bring on your period. Avoid contact with your eyes. --------------------- Massage is the most effective way of using essential oils and you would normally blend it with base oil. Bathing is the next best way as its very relaxing, and helps you to sleep. Inhalation is useful for relieving congestion, easing catarrh and soothing the respiratory tract. Compress is used for first aid, for a number of things. There are so many uses far to many to name, but a favorite one that a lot of people use oils for is to make their rooms smell nice, usually used in a burner with water added, these are fantastic. GUIDE FOR USES Bergamot – Boils, Depression, psoriasis, travel sickness, stress, anxiety. Chamomile Roman - colic, dermatitis, eczema, hot flushes, nettle rash, sprains, swollen joints Eucalyptus – bronchitis, colds, runny noses, headaches, cystitis, sinusitis.
Geranium – change of life, lice, Pregnancy, pmt, skin blotches. Juniper – cramps, hangover, hayfever, water retention. Lavender- acne, bed wetting, bites, blisters, burns, and cuts, earache, bites, sunburn, and nausea. Melissa – heavy periods Neroli – skin, stress, shock, over work Orange- lack of energy Peppermint – mental stimulant, aches and pains Rosemary- chilblains, circulation, constipation, dandruff, hangover, muscle aches, tiredness. Sandalwood- bronchitis, loss of voice, dry eczema, sore throat, tinnitus. Tea Tree – mouth ulcers, thrush, acne, antibiotic. Ylang Ylang- psychological conditions, guilt, jealously, panic attacks, shyness. I have found many that appeal to me and I could go on and on, but I can say my favorite oil has to be lavender, as it has so many uses, I use it to help me relax and get a good nights sleep. I find that it really does work well.Also you can have fun with massage,try it out on your partner, it works wonders.I hope that you have enjoyed reading this and hope that this information is helpful to some of you, that maybe don’t know which oils to buy and what they are for. Bye for now Cinystar
Essential oils have been in use for over 4000 years, and can be beneficial to everyone. I have always been interested in holistic therapy, and have tried a few recipes myself as a bathtime relaxer and for relief of aching muscles after an hour or so digging (or attempting to) the veggie patch! The many bath and shower products you can buy which contain essential oils are almost always safe, because these products use oils which are so diluted they are therapeutic enough to relax and rejuvenate without being over powerful. It is easy to assume that natural plant oils are totally harmless; of course they are harmless if used following guidelines from those who know about these things! There are some essential oils which are hazardous, in particular to ladies who are pregnant, or people who suffer from epilepsy, and some oils can irritate the skin. Also be aware that pure essential oils are very powerful when not diluted, so they should be treated with respect. Never rub your eyes after handling the oils, until you have washed your hands well. Always store the bottles of oil in a safe place, where children cannot get their little hands on them :-) DO YOU NEED TO AVOID THE FOLLOWING ESSENTIAL OILS? Oils that should be avoided by pregnant women are: - Basil - Clary Sage - Hyssop - Juniper - Marjoram - Myrrh - Sage. Now to oils which are not advised during the first 4 months of pregnancy, Fennel (sweet) - Peppermint - Rose - Rosemary. Oils which are not advised for epileptic people are Fennel (sweet) - Hyssop - Sage - Wormwood (which should not be used at all). Oils which can be skin irritants when used in baths Basil - Lemon - Lemongrass - Lemon Verbena -Melissa -Peppermint - Thyme - Ti Tree. Oils which can cause the skin to become more sensitive to ultra violet light (photosensitive) and so should not be used before sunbathing are Angelica - Bergamot - Cumin - Lemon - Li
me - Orange - Verbena. Incidentally, Bergamot oil is said to be useful for urinary tract infections, a drop or two in a bath of warm water may help if you feel you have the first signs of a water infection. Obviously if your symptoms worsen you need to see the doctor, as antibiotics may be required if the infection has taken a hold! But you won’t need to be told to see your doctor, you will be only too glad to get relief! If you fancy having a try at recipes for bathing, you do not even need to purchase a book, go to your library and borrow a book on the subject. By gaining some knowledge on the potency of various oils, you will be able to use them safely and experiment with a combination of oils until you find a blend that is suited to your personal taste. Arm yourself with a little knowledge and you will reap the benefits, and have an aromatic time too!
As additional information on homeopathy (a medicinal complement I often use for my family and myself), I thought I could also put down a brief but concise guideline for another alternative way of healing still in the same therapeutic family: aromatherapy. My preferences go to lavender, tea tree and eucalyptus. I won’t give you any details but I have used it for healing a part of my body being deteriorated while I was giving birth. And the result is far better than the one after I used special creams. Tea tree is also for me part of my everyday life. I especially wash my face with an exfoliating made of tea tree. And thereafter I feel so fresh, ready to start the day. Aromatherapy can be combined with homeopathy. For many homeopaths, it represents even an auxiliary medicine, especially in the infectious field. The constant success of aromatherapy, often spectacular, have defied the time whereas many drugs must be regularly withdrawn of circulation after having caused too much infirmity and even death... Aromatherapy and other natural medicinal practice may well be the future. Aromatherapy is the treatment of diseases by vegetable flavours or if you prefer aromatic essences called essential oils in the medical language. The aromatherapy is a branch of phytotherapy and, like such, one of the oldest therapeutic remedies of the world. During years, the aromatic plants were employed like any plants, in food or remedies, sometimes reduced out to a powder, in the form of infusions or of decoctions, by internal or external way. There are many different oils and among them: -Lavender and aspic oils (one of the richness of Provence county in France): probably the most popular and the most useful, heal burns, treat coughs, colds, stress… -Anise -Basil (the famous herb used in Pistou in France): revitalising and stimulating effect, toning effect on the skin, ease the digestive tract… -Chamom
ile mainly roman and German origins, treat nerves, headaches, insomnia, menstrual disorders… -Camphor from Japan and Borneo -Cajuput, improves mood and increases resistance to infections… -Ginger -Tarragon -Eucalyptus, clear the respiratory tract, useful for sinusitis… -Mint, clears the head and encourages positive thinking, treat migraines… -Sage: regulator of the central nervous system, treat depression, digestive disorders… -Thyme, antiseptic, relieve fatigue and anxiety… -Tea tree, useful against bacteria infections, help to ease coughs, skin disorders… -Pine, treatment of colds, bronchitis, good for general infection… -Rosemary: helps to combat water retention, flabby skin… We obtain essential oils in various ways: by simple expression of the plant (clove), by incision (bay-tree of Guyana), by separation of another product, by a solvent or by heat but especially by vapour distillation. The output is generally very low (1 kg of Essential Oils made from more than 200 kg of plants). The therapeutic power has also potential dangers. Aromatherapy is likely, with certain amounts or with predisposed persons, to cause more or less serious side effects, nervous accidents (convulsions, epileptics crisis, etc), sometimes coma and death. So again always ask for advice before you go ahead with any of those oils. Pharmacists for example will be more than happy to help you out and at least their knowledge will guide you through your requirements. You can also buy books in order to get more familiar with the several uses of plants, herbs and so on. Some will even give the know-how and you could make homemade oils. Essential oils are complex products, containing for the majority several hundreds of components (the palm seems to currently return to the coffee with more than 800 inventoried components): phenols, alcoho
ls, esters (I only put those down as they were the easier to translate) and some have a very high convulsive derivation. To conclude on a chapter which already made ink running a lot: therapeutic medicine can be often enough as long as it is always accompanied by a healthy and balanced diet where vegetables, fruits and cereals will occupy a dominating place. But in the case of chronic affections, this mode of processing will have to be generally accompanied by certain therapeutic complements, sometimes essential, like manual processes, electrotherapy, acupuncture and the list goes on. I don’t have a great knowledge of the different aspects of alternative medicine but it is extremely fascinating and above all it can be a very good help to healing.
Over the last few decades or so, these natural healing or complimentary methods of healing, or what most people refer to as alternative methods, have suddenly become popular and is now even approved by health agencies the world over. Medical herbalism, homeopathy, aromatherapy, shiatsu, acupuncture, osteopathy and reflexology are just some examples of natural healing methods. Calling these methods ‘alternative’ is certainly an underestimation of what these therapies can do for one’s health and well-being and not to mention the fact that these methods have been employed for centuries and has been proven effective. They are certainly not new, and there were even times when the therapeutic use of herbs and essential oils were frowned upon, officially banned or even branded as methods of witchcraft! Unlike any modern drugs, plant remedies have been tried and tested over the centuries with any side effects or environmental consequences carefully noted. With bacteria, or what is called superbugs, being more susceptible to stronger antibiotics, the public is beginning to resort to more natural ways of tackling illnesses as simple as a common cough or cold. People are also more concerned with ‘green’ issues and the effect of chemicals on the whole eco-system. One such natural method that is gaining popularity in the past two decades or so is aromatherapy. At first impression, the name itself would suggest treatment of well-being only through inhalation of fragrant plant oils. This is a common misconception and in fact, aromatherapy targets the individual as a whole, which means, focussing on the person’s emotional and mental disposition. It has been proven that certain essential oils used in this form of treatment when applied topically can produce physiological effects as they are absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream. Essential oils are now well presented in health books that it has become so easy to use that all kind
s of people can employ simple concoctions or blends to enhance their health without having to refer to health professionals. Obviously, for maximum results, it is best if a trained professional therapist is consulted especially for the treatment of serious medical conditions. Essential oils are the essential part of aromatherapy. They are usually applied topically onto the skin in massages, used in steam inhalation preparations, some can even be taken internally, for example, a few drops of lemon oil can be mixed with mayonnaise to complement fish dishes, used in the bath, and traditionally, they were used in perfumery preparations. Because essential oils are concentrated and volatile, only a small amount will provide maximum results. Therefore, they are blended with base carrier oils. Some examples of the more commonly used base carrier oils are sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil, apricot kernel oil and jojoba oil. Some essential oils can be applied neat, ie. without the need to blend with base oils, but some are too strong and must be mixed. Taking essential oils internally can cause adverse reactions and can be lethal, so for novices, it is best if they do not ingest any essential oils. Most health books would recommend five basic essential oils for general hair and skin use. These are: 1. Rose oil – the reason why so many brand at the high end of the market use this so much in their products is, apart from its rich, feminine smell, because it helps in the daily process of skin repair such as in wound-healing and treating broken veins. Rose absolute oil is also one of those that is particularly expensive. One can spend more than £14 just for a 2.5 ml bottle of rose absolute rose oil! 2. Lavender – this is an absolutely wonder oil that should always be kept on the medical cabinet because it is such a versatile product. If one has no idea what to use for any sorts of ailments such as cuts, bruises, acne, aches, ba
ld patches, etc., this oil is the hero product to use, either neat or mixed with base oils, as it is a cicatrizant (wound-healing) which promotes tissue regeneration and prevents scarring. This is also cheap. 3. Chamomile – this is a well-known soothing remedy and is great for sensitive skin conditions. This is relatively expensive. 4. Neroli (orange blossom) – this has bactericidal and antiseptic agents with cytophylactic properties (encouraging formation of new skin cells). They have a fresh, and citrus-like smell and as an absolute, it is the most expensive oil in the market. It is about £18 for a 2.5 ml of absolute neroli oil! 5. Tea Tree – this is most popular known as having antiseptic, fungicidal and antiviral properties and is now widely available in chemist stores. The oil can be applied neat on cuts, warts, blemishes and oily skins and can be used in steam inhalations to treat coughs and colds. This is a cheap oil and is a handy oil to be kept in the house. To me, learning about aromatherapy is a fun way of channeling my creative side to concocting my own blends and beauty products safely, of course, with the help of the many health books in the market. It is very relaxing and if the right essential oils are used, headaches and emotional distress will slowly creep away! I am not a qualified as an aromatherapist but in my opinion, you don’t have to have a qualification to enjoy its benefits as long as you understand the use of each essential oils along with their individual precautionary tags. Don’t worry about lethality as long as you follow the guidelines closely given in health books. Often, as long as you know the amount of essential oils that can be safely used in a blend, you can start mixing your own oils without following the recipes. For example, to make a facial oil blend, one should always used 0.5 – 1 % of an essential oil relative to a base carrier oil. So, for 15 ml of sweet almond o
il, one should use 1-3 drops of essential oils of your choice. It is very easy to get a hang of blending. I usually find myself blending my own facial massage oils to use on my boyfriend as he suffers from rhinitis and often needs massages to clear the air passage. It helps him relax and therefore get a good night’s sleep. Often you find salon brands such as Decleor have formulated their own facial oils called aromessence oils, to be used in conjunction with your normal moisturisers. They often come with a huge price tag. Many would agree that they can easily make their own blends, but the cost of those pure essential (such as neroli absolute) and base oils used in the aromessence range are often too high that it deters anyone from doing so. The extensive researches by companies such as Decleor has basically taken out the guesswork out of which oils are suitable for which skin types and the quantities that can be safely used on the skin to produce maximum results. To learn about aromatherapy and massage techniques along with various skincare and bodycare preparations, one can try out these few books that I refer to time and again (shown below). I can assure anyone who is interested, that once you start gaining knowledge of this form of therapy, you will be hooked! It is so simple to use and I have even started to make my own lip balms and toners as presents for family members. 1. The complete illustrated guide to aromatherapy – a practical approach to the use of essential oils for health and well-being, Julia Lawless, 1997 2. Neal’s Yard Remedies – natural health and body care – a comprehensive and informative guide to natural remedies, recipes and routines for the whole body, Aurum, 2000. 3. Natural Healing: remedies and therapies – nature’s way to health, relaxation and vitality: a complete practical guide, Mark Evans, 2001. By Derek.
The History of Aromatherapy Aromatherapy is one of the most accessible and enjoyable of alternative therapies. Whether on a conscious level or not, smell plays a very important role in our every day lives. You smell cooking food and it makes your tummy rumble you recognise a perfume that someone is wearing that reminds you of another person entirely, you smell a rose and the scent seems to relax and uplift you. These are all different responses that the brain creates when it registers a certain smell. The smell receptors in your nose are directly connected to the section in the brain where memories and emotions are kept. This is why, whenever I smell CKOne, I always think of my German friend Dorothee, who always wore that fragrance. Different smells have different affects. Some can make you hungry, some can make you feel sick, some can stimulate, while others can relax, and some can even make us feel happy. It was when the ancient Egyptians noticed that smell had these properties that they decided to try and extract the oil from plants in the hope of making a concentrated form of the different smells that are derived from the plants. They were already using essential oils of myrrh and cederwood to embalm mummies, and they decided to use the oils on living people too! The Egyptians knowledge and writings still provide the basis for aromatherapy today, but it was only 70 years ago when the term ‘aromatherapy’ was used by a French chemist called Gattefosse. His family owned a perfumery business. One day he burnt himself but the only cool liquid he had at hand to soak his hand in was a vat of lavender oil. A few weeks after he had the accident he realised the burn had quickly healed and there was no scaring. He put this down to the lavender oils healing properties, and from then on he decided to go into discovering the healing properties of essential oils, and how he could extract them from the different plants
. Extraction of oils from some plants can be a difficult process, which is why certain essential oils cost more than others. Citrus oil is extracted from the peel of the fruit, it is pressed either by machine or hand and the oil is collected below, a relatively simple process, which makes essential oils of orange, lemon and grapefruit quite cheap to buy. Oils derived from flowers, however, can be a very expensive process. The flowers are put into trays of fat, pressed, and the flowers have to be replaced every day until the fat is saturated with essential oil. Many people believe that essential oils help with many medical conditions, including arthritis, rheumatism, acne, breathing problems as well as helping the symptoms of the menopause and PMT. I am a bit of a sceptic when it comes to using essential oils for ‘curing’ purposes but I do believe that using essential oils can uplift your mood and help you to feel better, simply because of the fact they are relaxing and they smell beautiful. I do also think that certain oils have healing and antibacterial properties. It has been proven that teatree oil is twelve times more effective at killing bacteria than carbolic. Basic Aromatherapy. Firstly, I must warn everybody: NEVER APPLY UNDILUTED ESSENTIAL OILS TO THE SKIN. If you do plan to start a collection of essential oils, it is best to get at least one from each ‘fragrance family’. There are five different ‘fragrance families’: Green, which smells leafy and fresh, like freshly cut grass or mint, oils from this family include basil, eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary and clary sage. Spicy, self-explanatory really, smells very warm, like clove or cinnamon, oils from this group are ginger, myrrh, tea tree, juniper and fennel. Floral, oils in this group include geranium, jasmine, lavender and ylang-ylang. Citrus oils in this family include lemon, orange, bergamot and petitgrain. Woody include
s the oils of frankincense, patchouli (the oil they used to represent the ‘make love not war’ philosophy in the 60’s!) and sandlewood. All the oils I have mentioned are good starting points for an essential oil collection. Of course, different oils have different effects on the body. Some invigorate, some relax, some warm you, and some cool you. RELAXING OILS: Sandalwood, lavender (when used in moderation), geranium, ylang ylang, camomile, jasmine, clary sage, rose, neroli. UPLIFTING OILS: Basil, mint, juniper, petitgrain, lemon, orange, thyme, basil, rosemary, bergamot, and eucalyptus. WARMING OILS: Ginger, camphor, eucalyptus, petitgrain, lemon, clary sage, bergamot. COOLING OILS: Peppermint, tea-tree, geranium, lemongrass, orange. Once you have decided which oils you like the smell of and wish to use in aromatherapy, you need to decide how you want to use them. There are several ways you can use essential oils. You can put them into your day to day routine to give you a bit more energy or relaxation when you need it most. One of the simplest and most relaxing ways to use essential oils is to add a few drops into the water of your bath (5-10 drops should be added, it depends on the size of your bath how many drops you add to the water). To make the experience even more relaxing, take a bath at nighttime, place lighted candles in the bathroom and turn all the artificial lighting off. This really does make it extra special. You can also add a few drops of essential oils to your every day beauty products. Instead of buying artificially fragranced shower and bath products, buy unfragranced products and add a few drops of essential oil to it. You can also do this with body lotion. A very simple way to fragrance your home naturally is to buy an oil burner. Place some water and a few drops of essential oil in the top of the burner, and place a night light underneath. The
heat from the nightlight will evaporate the oil into the air and really make the air smell good. Of course, the most enjoyable, relaxing and sensual way to use essential oils is to use them in a massage. For a massage you will need to mix 12 drops of the chosen essential oil with 60 ml of carrier oil. You can use sunflower, sweet almond, avocado or wheatgerm oil as carrier oil. Then, of course, you need someone who is willing to give a massage without getting one in return! I think the best person to give massage is always a partner, as massage is a very personal and sensual experience. This may sound selfish but the last thing you want to do after a massage is get up and massage someone else, you just want to lay back and enjoy the feeling of relaxation and joy! Instead, I would suggest taking it in turns to give massages, so one day one gets a massage, the next day the other gets one. I would also recommend reading a book about the different massage techniques, a good starting book is ‘Practical Aromatherapy’ by Penny Rich, which not only gives advice on massage but also tells you in great detail about the different uses of essential oils. I have found aromatherapy to be very beneficial to me, whenever I feel tense or stressed out I have a relaxing aromatherapy bath and it never fails to leave me relaxed and generally leaves me in a better mood all round. Of course, if I am really lucky then my boyfriend will offer to give me a massage, but that doesn’t happen very often so usually I just have to make due with a bath or oil burner to give me my aromatherapy fix! I would suggest aromatherapy to anyone, as I find it really does help relax you when your stressed, and it can really exhilerate too when you’re feeling lethargic and weary. It has certainly helped me remain the calm placid person I am (don’t laugh!) and I would heartily recommend it!