By Steven Horne, RH (AHG) & Kimberly Balas, ND
Aromatherapy is a term coined by the French cosmetic chemist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse in 1937. After an explosion in his laboratory, Gattefosse inserted his painfully burned arm into a nearby vat of lavender oil. He was amazed at the miraculous way the lavender oil instantly relieved the pain and began an immediate process of healing. The arm subsequently healed quickly and without scarring.
Today, aromatherapy is the use of essential oils for mental, emotional and physical healing. Essential oils are volatile compounds found in plants. They are responsible for the aroma or smell of the plant. These non-fatty oils are distilled or expressed from herbs, flowers and trees.
Although individual essential oils have their own qualities, in general essential oils are antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. They tend to stimulate circulation, boost immune responses, increase blood oxygen levels and stimulate cellular growth and repair. They also have strong effects on the nerves and endocrine glands because the sense of smell directly affects the hypothalamus, which regulates the pituitary and acts as the switching station for the brain. This means that essential oils can also help enhance a person's mood, soothe stress, calm negative emotions, and enhance glandular functions.
Here are a few of the major ways essential oils can be used:
A simple and easy way to introduce oils to your senses is to take the lid off the bottle and breath deeply.
It is very effective and you can use it anytime and anywhere
A safe and effective way to use EOS is to diffuse them inro the air. NSP sells both a Plug-in Diffuser and a Nebulizing Diffuser, which can be used to disperse essential oils into the air. This can help to freshen the air, enhance mood and/or kill airborne microbes to promote healing and prevent the spread of infection.
One can also get the benefit of EOs by using them as perfumes. Add 10-15 drops of an EO to a 1/4 ounce of a massage oil and place in one of NSP's clear on bottles to apply topically.
Create a natural air freshener by adding 40-50 drops of your favorite oil or oil blend to a 2 ounce bottle of
water with a spray mister. This is great for home, work or Car. Shake well before each use. Store in a glass container.
The term neat is used for oils that can be applied topically in an undiluted form. Oils that are too irritating to be used neat should be diluted as described in the next paragraph. People with sensitive skin may want to dilute even neat oils at least 1:1 (equal parts).
Essential Oils should never be used on or around the eyes. If eye contact occurs, the most effective method of flushing is to use a fatty substance that will absorb the oil. Using water will just spread the oil onto the mucous membrane lining of the eye and cause additional irritation. Some examples of substances to use include butter, cold milk or vegetable oil. After applying the fatty substance, wash thoroughly with water for five minutes. This also works for spills on the skin.
EOS can be diluted with a fixed vegetable (like almond or olive oil) or a natural soap or lotion. NSP sells a Massage Oil blend that can be used as a base for EO blends for topical EOS. It can also be added to Sunshine Concentrate. Generally, you want the finished product to 2-3% esscntial oils. For easy reference, use about 7-8 drops of essential Oil(s) per tablespoon of Oil, soap or lotion, or about 15 drops per ounce.
Create your own massage oil by adding 12-18 drops of an essential oil per one ounce of pure massage Oil.
For children, reduce by half. Use for a full or spot massage at pressure points for a quick effect.
Add 6 drops of an essential oil to a bowl of hot or cold water. Submerse a cloth in the water, wring it out and place it on the area needing healing. Hot compresses are useful for muscular pain and cramp relief, and cold compresses are useful for swelling or headache.
Baths and Soaks
To disperse EOs into a bath first add 8-15 drops of the oil(s) to a Tablespoon of Sunshine Concentrate. Hold this mixture under the faucet while drawing the bath. This will disperse the EOs into the bath water. For a foot or hand soak use about 4 drops in a teaspoon of Sunshine Concentrate and add it to a container of water.
EOs that are GRAS (generally recognized as safe) can be used internally. but they should be well diluted to avoid irritation. EOs that are not GRAS should never be used internally as they can have harmful effects when ingested. When using EOs internally, you should always dilute them. Add 1-2 drops of EO to one or two teaspoons of honey or to four to eight ounces of a beverage that will emulsify (dissolve) the oil, such as almond or coconut milk.
EOs can also be mixed with water, but they will rapidly evaparate and float on top of the water. You can also dilute EOs in olive oil (see dilution above) and take 1-3 drops of the mixture. With the exception of peppermint and possibly lemon oill, do not take oils internally more than twice daily and for no longer than two weeks unless directed otherwise by a skilled practitioner.
Essential oils are highly concentrated substances. Overuse and excess dosages can lead to skin irritation, headaches, nausea and a feeling of unease. Always use a more diluted amount with children. As with any concentrated substance, keep essential oils out of the reach of children and do not leave a bottle of oil, which has no orifice reducer, where a child could take off the cap and consume its contents.
Below is a list of suggested products.
Essential Oils: Bergamot, Breathe Free, Cellu-Tone, Cinnamon, Clary Sage, Clove Bud, Deep Relief Oil, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Geranium, Guardian, Helichrysum, Jasmine Absolute, Lavender, Lemon. Myrrh. Neroli, Patchouli, Peppermint, Pine Needle, Pink Grapefruit, Red Mandarin, Roman Chamomile, Rose Bulgaria, Rosemary, Sandalwood, Sweet Marjoram, Tea Tree Oil, Tei Fu, Thyme, Wild Oregano and Ylang Ylang.
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