Aromatherapy is the therapeutic use of natural essential oils obtained from various parts of plants to improve the mind, body, and spirit.
An essential oil is the pure essence of a flower or plant - when you peel an orange, smell a rose or squeeze a sprig of rosemary, it is the essential oil you can smell. Each plant's essential oil has a different chemical make-up that affects how it smells, how it is absorbed into the skin, and how it affects the body.
Typically, one essential oil is obtained from one plant, however, there are plants that can provide more than one oil. For example, the Boswellia Sacra tree can only produce one resin, thus only one essential oil: frankincense. Whereas an orange tree can produce three: the first coming from the skin of the fruit, the second from the neroli flower, and the third from its leaves.
While some oils derived from plants are better suited for inhalation, others are more effective when absorbed directly through the skin be it during a massage, in a bath or in a cream. Nevertheless, neither method has superiority over the other as both provide routes for the essential oils to trigger powerful emotional, physical and psychological reactions.
Below are the most common and effective ways essential oils can be used.
Of all the senses, smell has the most direct connection to the mind and effect on our emotions. In fact, our ability to perceive odour is so connected to our sense of wellbeing that those who have lost their sense of smell can be more prone to depression and anxiety. Inhalation is great for treating colds, congested sinuses or a chesty cough. The easiest way to inhale essential oils is to put 2-3 drops on a tissue and inhale deeply.
Massage is ideal for addressing problems over a large surface area such as aches and pains and digestive problems. We recommend diluting your essential oil with a carrier oil prior to applying on the skin as undiluted essential oils can be harmful and potentially cause irritation and skin sensitivity. Using a 2% dilution is generally considered a safe guideline for topical application of essential oils on adults. To do this, mix 12 drops of essential oil to 30 ml (1 fl oz) of cold-pressed base oil. Almond, grapeseed, apricot, coconut, sunflower or canola base oils work best for normal skin, whereas avocado, olive, wheat germ, argan and jojoba base oils are better suited for dry skin.
Using essential oils in baths can be very therapeutic. In order to do this, you still need to mix the essential oil with a tablespoon of carrier oil to allow it to disperse. Mix 4-6 drops into a tablespoon of carrier oil and add them once the bath has been run as they can quickly evaporate in the heat.
A compress is a simple yet effective way to treat local complaints such as bruises, headaches, burns and varicose veins. Use a hot compress if you're experiencing muscular and joint problems, strains, backaches and arthritis. Use a cold compress for headaches and inflamed areas. Add 3-4 drops of essential oil to a shallow bowl of hot or cold water and soak a washcloth, wring it out and apply to the affected area.
Using essential oils in the shower and in saunas is a great way to clear sinuses and relieve tension headaches. For a steamy aromatherapy shower, but 5-8 drops of essential oil onto a warm damp washcloth. Place this washcloth in an area you are having the shower and ensure the temperature of the shower is hot enough to produce steam. Or, for a grab-and-go option, try our soothing Aromatic Shower Gel blended with organic geranium and relaxing lavender essential oils.
This increasingly popular way to use essential oils disperses tiny molecules of the oil into the air in a fine vapour or mist. Diffusers can create a special atmosphere as well as fumigate a room. Simply drop 5-10 drops of essential oil into the diffuser and turn on as directed.
Nature provides a medicine cabinet full of extraordinary herbs and flowers, which form the basis for many modern medicines.
With proven therapeutic properties to help ease stress, boost health, improve skin conditions and benefit the body, mind and mood, herbs and essential oils are at the heart of everything we produce. Today we grow many of our organic herbs ourselves, at our-eco factory in Peacemarsh, Dorset, and Sheepdrove Organic Farm high on the Lambourn Downs in Berkshire, UK.