History of Aromatherapy:
Aromatherapy is sometimes called essential oil therapy. This ancient, holistic healing treatment has been around for thousands of years. Aromatherapy uses plant extracts (essential oils) to promote healing of the body, mind and spirit.
Though this holistic method of healing has been used for thousands of years, the term aromatherapy was first coined by a french chemist, Rene-Maurice Gattefosse in the 1920s. He wrote the first book on aromatherapy. Aromatherapy works through skin absorption and sense of smell.
Essential Oil Therapy Guide:
Now if you’re wondering, where can I buy aromatherapy oils?, Don’t fret. You can find them in health food stores, online and even in some supermarkets. But always remember, it’s important to get your oils from a reputable manufacturer. And if you’re wondering what kind to get, there are hundreds of different types available. It all depends on what you’re going to be using the oil for.
There are a myriad of ways to make use of this ancient healing art technique.
- You can use Essential Oils in diffusers, body oils, creams, body butters or lotions.
- You can use Essential Oils in aromatic spritzers, or aromatic bath salts.
- You can even add a little Essential Oil to your facial steamer or clay masks.
- You can sniff the oil or apply it directly to specific areas of the body (pressure points).
- You can also incorporate Essential Oils into salves which can then be applied directly to the body.
I prefer to use oil diffusers, spritzers and hydrosols which I sometimes make myself.
Types of Essential Oils and their Uses:
There are literally hundreds, which oil you use will depend on what you’re trying to achieve. There may also be overlaps as one oil may be used to treat more than one ailment. Rosemary is very versatile as it can be used alone as well as mixed with other oils to treat different ailments.
Many Essential Oils are too concentrated to be applied directly to the skin. When that’s the case, I’d recommend diluting it in some carrier oil before applying to the skin. Even if the Essential Oil you’ve chosen can be applied directly to the skin, DO NOT USE more than a few drops as the oils are very concentrated and highly potent.
Now, let’s get down to the different oils available and what they can be used for.
Common carrier oils that can be used to dilute Essential Oils include but are not limited to; jojoba oil, olive oil, sunflower seed oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil, sweet almond oil and coconut oil. I’ve tried them all but coconut oil remains my favorite as it’s very beneficial as a standalone oil.
If you’re not sure about how much Essential Oil to use when diluting, experiment. Start with 6 drops of essential oil for every 4 ounces of carrier oil. That would be considered a 1% blend. You can go as high as 30 drops of essential oil per 4 ounces of carrier oil, that would be considered a 5% blend.
Sniff your carrier oil as you add drops of essential oils to it. Stop once you have achieved your desired scent. Up to date, I have not exceeded a 5% blend.
- Sleep inducing oils; chamomile, lavender, neroli, vetiver, sandalwood, patchouli, rose, clary sage, cedar, frankincense, bergamot, Ylang Ylang, or marjoram. I sometimes use a mixture of lavender and chamomile in a spritzer on my pillow to promote a more restful sleep. Just sniffing lavender essential oil can make you feel more relaxed.
- Calmness and Relaxation inducing oils; orange, lavender, frankincense, rose or sandalwood. Find the scent that best speaks to you. I find lavender essential oil very relaxing but someone else may prefer rose essential oil.
- Looking to de-stress; try vetiver, sandalwood, chamomile, lemon, geranium, Ylang Ylang, orange, bergamot, lavender, rose, frankincense or marjoram.
- Concentration improving essential oils; juniper, pine, vetiver, grapefruit, peppermint, cedar, basil or rosemary.
- Energy boosting essential oils; grapefruit, lemon, orange, cinnamon, ginger, peppermint, jasmine, or eucalyptus. I like to use a eucalyptus infused spritzer on my face during winter. I like to dry orange peels then grind them down into powder after which I burn the powder as incense on a charcoal tab.
- Many plants contain antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antimicrobial properties. So in its concentrated essential oil form, it can be added to a carrier oil then applied to the affected area.
- Inflammation reducing essential oil; helicrysum, ginger, patchouli, bergamot, roman chamomile, fennel, rose, clove, thyme or eucalyptus.
DIY Essential Oil Spritzer:
Vary the number of essential oil drops based on the desired spritzer use.
- For air freshener, room sprays, you can use up to 90 drops of essential oil for 4 ounces.
- For facial spritzers, I’d recommend keeping the concentration low, 5-6 drops per 4 ounce bottle. I like adding a few drops of Vitamin E oil to my facial spritzers. It keeps longer and is beneficial for my skin.
Basic Spritzer Recipe:
- A 4 oz spritzer bottle, tainted to preserve your solution (you can use a larger bottle, just adjust accordingly).
- 3.5 oz of distilled water (measure out)
- 3 tsp of vodka, grain alcohol or witch hazel, (to preserve the life of your fragrance)
- Essential oil of your choice (you can mix more than one essential oil together then use that blend in your spritzer).
- I recommend writing down your added drops in a notebook in case you come up with a blend you love. I’ve created blends before without recording it and forgotten the measurements.
- Let mixture/blend sit for at least 24 hours
- Shake well before use.
Sometimes I come up with scents that I like but don’t want it directly on my skin. In such a case, I spray the air directly in front of me, then swiftly walk through the mist with my eyes closed.
Also known as floral waters, hydrosols are the by-product of essential oil distillation. Hydrosols are much gently than their essential oil counterparts and can be applied directly to the skin without further dilution. Hydrosols can be used in skin care products instead of water. Products such as creams, lotions, fragrances, facial toners and body butters.
DIY Hydrosol Preparation:
- A stainless steel stock pot (pot can be enameled as well)
- A lid without a steam release hole
- A bowl ( glass or stainless steel)
- 3 liters of spring water
- 10 oz of fresh herbs of your choice (dried herbs can be used as well)
- Bag of ice
Make sure all pieces are clean.
- Pour water into pot
- Add herbs and let sit for a few hours
- Place bowl on top of the pot
- Bring water and herbs to a boil
- Once water begins to simmer, place lid on top, upside down
- Place a bag of ice on upside down lid (adds an extra oomph)
- Simmer on medium heat
- Vapor produced from boiling herb water will condense on lid and drip into bowl
- This process may take an hour or two. Let liquid/hydrosol cool then pour into glass bottle, tightly capped to preserve (will last longer in the fridge).
Wondering what herbs to use, try jasmin, thyme, lavender, peppermint, chamomile or rose petals. I’ve made a rose hydrosol many times and use it as a facial toner.
If you try one of the above recipes, leave a comment below about what type of herb you used.