Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine, a gentle healing art, that uses essential or 'therapeutic' oils for the purpose of affecting a person's mood or health. Aromatherapy works in two ways: firstly, aromas influence the brain, particularly the limbic system through the olfactory system. And secondly, by pharmacological effects when the oil enters the bloodstream. In addition, when used in massage oils (a dilute solution of the essential oil in a massage oil 'carrier') the essential oil may activate thermal receptors in the skin, and inhibit some microbe or fungi growth. Aromatherapy is a complex subject that requires years to fully understand, the basic principles can be learned quickly and easily, and used immediately to benefit yourself and those around you.
Essential Oils are plant extracts gleaned from roots, seeds, blossoms, flowers, bark and peels. They capture the 'essence' of a plant's characteristics and therapeutic properties. Essential oils have an herbal effect similar to the original plant, but are up to 100 times more concentrated and should be used with care.
Therapeutic Oils are safe if used properly - they should always be diluted before application to the skin (see chart, below). We do not recommend taking the oils internally. As with all medicinal products, greater care should be taken with the very young and very old. The best way to start is to just a few oils or blends at first and see how you react to them. Remember, we are all individuals and respond differently to the oils. Not everything you try is going to work perfectly all the time.
Some suggestions on how to start:
Take a sniff: Inhale directly from the bottle or put a few drops on a tissue and sniff. Almost every essential oil will have some effect when used in this manner
Try a diffuser: Oil Diffusers range from simple evaporative devices to sophisticated nebulizers that infuse the air with microscopic droplets of pure essential oil
Take a tub bath: Make this a warm bath because you want the oils to soak into your skin, not sweat out. Add 6 to 12 drops of essential oil to a filled tub and swish the oil around with your hand so it is evenly dispersed
Use a compress: Add 4 to 15 drops of oil to 1 quart water. Use warm water for relief from arthritis, cramps, or muscle pain; cold water for tension, bruises, or headaches. Soak a washcloth or small towel in the scented water, wring out excess water and then apply to affected area
Make a spray mister: - Fill a small spray bottle with distilled water and add 5 to 10 drops of essential oil. The spray quickly adds a wonderful, therapeutic fragrance to the air in any room
Rub your feet: - Add 15 drops of oil to 1 tsp of Jojoba oil. Massage the bottoms of your feet (or better, have someone do it for you!) and let the oil soak in for about 10 minutes. Be extra careful when you stand or walk, as your feet may be a little sensitive
Enjoy a massage: - Add 8 to 12 drops of essential oil to 1 ounce of massage oil for a general whole-body massage
Tent yourself: - Add 4 to 10 drops of essential oil to 1 quart of very hot water in a glass bowl. Cover both head and bowl with a towel and deeply inhale the vapors. Do not touch the hot water with your face or hands.
Sensitivity to Essential or Therapeutic Oils:
If you are concerned about an allergy or sensitivity to an essential oil, try a patch test: place a drop of the essential oil on your forearm. (If you have very sensitive skin, first dilute the oil by half with a carrier oil.) Loosely cover the area and wait 24 hours. No redness or burning means you are not sensitive to that essential oil.
Mixing Essential Oils with Carriers:
As noted above, essential oils are concentrated and should be handled carefully. For most applications, the essential oils are diluted in a 'carrier' - this might be distilled water, massage oil, a variety of plant oils (eg, peanut, olive, avocado), etc. Different aromatherapy applications will often have a recipe that calls for a 2% solution or a 10% mixture, or some type of dilution of essential oil and a carrier. Below is a chart to help you calculate percentage dilutions based on popular sizes of carriers.
Amount of carrier To make these percentages,
add this much essential oil
2% 7% 10% 15%
1/6 ounce (1 tsp) 2 drops 7 drops 10 drops 15 drops
½ ounce (1 Tbsp) 6 drops 20 drops 30 drops ½ tsp
1 ounce (2 Tbsp) 12 drops ½ tsp 60 drops 1 tsp
2 ounces (¼ cup) ¼ tsp 1 tsp 1½ tsp 2 tsp
4 ounces (½ cup) ½ tsp 2 tsp 3 tsp 1 Tbsp
Some other measurements you may find useful:
1 cup = 8 fluid ounces (8 oz) or about a quarter of a liter, or about 235 milliliters (236.58 ml)
1 ounce = 2 tablespoons (2 Tbsp), or just under 30 ml (about 29.57 ml)
1 Tbsp = 3 teaspoons (3 tsp), or just under 15 ml (about 14.78 ml)
1 tsp = just under 5ml (about 4.92 ml)
1 dram = 1/8 of a fluid ounce, or about 3.7 ml
The number of drops in a dram, tsp, ml or whatever will vary with the viscosity (that is, the 'thickness') of the oil, and also of the person doing the dropping. Estimates vary from about 15 to about 25 drops per milliliter, so 20 drops to a ml is a good rule of thumb.
Scentually Yours sells our Therapeutic Oils in one-dram, two-dram, and 15 ml bottles (15 mls is a little more than four drams). If you have questions or concerns about Aromatherapy or our Therapeutic Oils, simply Contact our friendly staff and we'll be happy to help in any way we can.