Essential Oils & Aromatherapy 101
If you’ve been looking for the key to unlock the wonderful world of essential oils and aromatherapy, we’re here to hold that door open and welcome you in.
How Aromatherapy works
When we speak about aromatherapy, many people think it’s quite simply the act of inhaling essential oils, but aromatherapy is actually the art of using essential oils through body application AND inhalation, which in turn treats the body, mind and spirit on your road to health and wellness.
So how exactly does that work? And how do I get on that road?!
Through topical application, the essential oils enter the circulatory system and your bloodstream. Once the essential oils which have passed through the epidermis into the dermis of your skin, they enter the bloodstream at capillary level. Then once they’re in the bloodstream, the oils are transported to all the cells in the body. That’s when they go to work!
Make sure to ALWAYS dilute your essential oils with a carrier oil before applying them topically. By diluting essential oils into the carrier oils, they make them more readily absorbed by the skin because you’re breaking down the molecular structure of the oil, enabling it to penetrate the skin.
Inhalation of essential oils is the second method of aromatherapy and works in two ways: first through the olfactory nerve into the limbic system, and second through the respiratory system into the circulatory system, which then transports the substances to every cell in the body.
As the aroma of the oils is inhaled, the tiny vaporized molecules are drawn into the lungs. These molecules enter the lungs together with oxygen and diffuse into the capillary network.
Essential Oils, The Basics
Essential oils vary in fragrance, color, thickness, method of extraction, and also the part of the plant that the oil is extracted from. Although we refer to the extracted substance as ‘essential oil’ the liquid is, in fact, not oily. So think of it more as an ‘essence’ than an oil.
Essential oils are categorized into top, middle, and base notes.
These oils affect the mind as well as the body. They’re uplifting, relaxing, and help to reduce stress. Top notes are the most volatile, which means they are the quickest to evaporate, making them the notes that you smell first. Citrus oils are a prime example of top notes.
These oils affect the body in a more therapeutic way, assisting with the functioning of the body systems. Spice oils such as Black pepper, fennel, and ginger are prime examples of middle and middle-base notes.
These oils affect the spirit and are slower to evaporate. They are relaxing, soothing and sedating, instilling calm and tranquility. Trees, such as benzoin, frankincense, sandalwood, myrrh and patchouli are prime examples of base notes.
Selecting Essential Oils
When selecting and blending essential oils to treat certain conditions, you should select the oils for their therapeutic properties, and not personal preference such as fragrance.
The first thing you need to do is assess the condition or imbalance that needs attention, then select the oils you want to use based on their therapeutic properties and benefits in treating that condition.
Here’s a basic guideline to help you get started:
Respiratory imbalances such as asthma, influenza, bronchitis and sinusitis can be treated with oils such as Tea Tree, Eucalyptus or Lemon.
Skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, burns and fungal infections can be treated with oils such as Bergamot, Lavender, Patchouli or Chamomile (German).
Pain conditions such as arthritis, backache, joint pain, muscle pain or menstrual pain can be treated with oils such as Clove, Ginger or Black Pepper.
Where to Apply Essential Oils
When possible, and for optimal results, essential oils are best applied closest to the area requiring attention or treatment. Because the feet are the return point for blood back to the heart, from where it is pumped to all the cells in the body, we recommend also applying essential oils to the bottom of the feet when possible. Remember to always use a carrier oil when applying them, and to never apply essential oils to any body cavity leading in or out of the body. Safety first!
Ready to unlock this world with us?Our Essential Oil Kits are a great place to start.