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What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is the use of organic essences

from aromatic plantsfor the purpose of healing and the maintenance of vitality.Essential Oils are taken from a wide variety of plants and are very concentrated. It takes several kilos of Lavender to produce one small bottle of the Essential Oil.

The essences are volatile and will evapoate if exposed to the air. They do not dissolve in water. There are several ways of using the oils, massage is probably the best known and the most popular, bathing is extremely pleasant, room fragrancers and compresses are also effective. Oils should NEVER be taken orally or used neat on the skin. The oils work by absorption through the skin and by inhalation of the aroma.

Proper use of Essential Oils can aid general well being and aid a more balanced and stress free lifestyle. A balanced state of mind promotes vitality and better equips an individual to cope with every day strains and stresses. The use of Aromatherapy can also stimulate the immune system.

Methods of Using the Essential Oils

Massage

This is probably the most effect method of using Essential Oils. The oils are blended in a base or carrier oil. Massaging the hands and feet is a good way of maintaining your health, all the reflex or pressure points for the body are stimulated by this method.

Bathing

This is the next best method and of course does not need anyone else to assist you in its use.

Method 1

Diffusing up to 5 drops of the Essential Oil in a bath of warm, not hot water. Add the drops when the bath is full and agitate the water.

Method 2

Diffusing up to 5ml of a blend, again, add when the bath is full and agitate the water. This is best if you have sensitive or dry skin or wish to preserve a suntan.

Inhalation

This is very effective in the relief of congestion and catarrh. The tried and trusted method of covering the head with a towel and inhaling such oils as Eucalyptus and Camphor is still very effective. There are purpose designed inhalers available too.

Method

Boil 2 pints of water and pour into a bowl. Add no more than 10 drops of one or a combination of Essential Oils. Agiate the water. Place a towel over the head and remembering to close your eyes inhale the the vapours for a few minutes at a time for up to 10 minutes. Repeat as often as required. If using an Inhaler use no more that 5 drops of the oils.

Compresses

Follow First Aid instructions for the use of compresses and disperse 1-2 drops of oil into hot or cold water depending on the condition being treated. Lay the compress gently on the surface of the water to attract the Essential Oils. The compress may then be placed on the affected area.

Room Fragrancers

There are several ways to produce a wonderful fragrant atmosphere.

Essential Oil Burners - these may be purchased from Chemists and many outlets that supply Essential Oils. The small reservoir at the top of the burner is filled with water. A nightlight is placed at the base to heat the water. Add up to 5 drops of neat Essential Oil to the water. This method can aid breathing in cases of colds and flu.

Aromastones

Available from good suppliers of Essential Oils, the stones are electric and can be safely left on all night. The method of use is the same as for Oil Burners although oil can be added to the stone without water for a more concentrated fragrance.

Humidifiers

A saucer of water with up to 5 drops of oil can be placed on top of a radiator, this will act as a humidifier and vaporiser. As with Oil Burners, specifically designed radiator Humidifiers can be purchased from good suppliers of Essential Oils.

Handkerchief, tissue or pillow

Place 1-2 drops of neat oil onto a handkerchief or tissue and inhale when required, this is a good method when travelling. To aid sleep 1-2 drops of an oil such as Lavender on the pillow at night is effective.

Base or Carrier Oils

It is equally important to use a high quality base or carrier oil as it is to use a high quality Essential Oil. Extra Virgin should be used. The cold pressed oil comes from the first pressing, later extractions use heat or solvent processes which destroy the trace minerals and vitamins. For this reason you should also avoid mineral and baby oils.

Sweet Almond is a popular choice for a base oil, Almond oil diluted with 10% of Wheatgerm (unless the user or recipient is allergic to wheat) is good for people with dry skin. Care should also be taken regarding people with nut allergies when choosing a carrier oil.

Other popular and good oils include - Grapeseed, Apricot Kernal, Peach Kernal, Olive, Soya, Sunflower Seed and Sesame Seed. Jojoba, which is a wax may also be included in a blend.

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