Break down the word ‘Aromatherapy’ into two parts and what you have is aroma and therapy. But why is aromatherapy effective and how can you start utilising the power of aromatherapy in your own home? Whilst there is no denying that the aroma part is real, is there more to aromatherapy than just the aroma? Why not try the recipe blends included in this post and experience the benefits of aromatherapy for yourself.
Aroma and Therapy
Your sense of smell is a truly personal experience. The aroma’s that you love will be an aroma that another person may loathe, and vice versa. One aroma could take you on a great trip down memory lane whilst another will take you on a path you really hadn’t wanted to journey down. Aromas that strike positive thoughts and feelings of calmness in itself are a form of therapy and can be deeply grounding.
An aroma has the power to take us down memory lane
Imagine the smell of freshly cut grass, what season does it automatically take you to? Do you start thinking about the prospect of balmy summer evenings or perhaps barbecues with friends and family? Are you suddenly entering into a happy daydream or thinking back on past events. The aroma has the power to take us to memories which can trigger an emotional response.
For an instant pick me up choose an aroma that takes you to a happy memory, rather than one that reminds you of something upsetting. For me the smell of coconut instantly takes me to warm and sunny beaches which in turn makes me feel relaxed. Perhaps for you it could be a favourite relatives perfume or the smell of Christmas trees.
What is an essential oil?
Apart from this emotional trigger, essential oils also possess certain chemical structures that provide the therapy. Essential oils are pure and concentrated extracts distilled from the flowers, bark, stems, leaves, resin, fruits and roots of plants. Which are used to heal and to enhance a person’s wellbeing.
Essential oils are not always suitable to everyone. Children under 6 should not use essential oils and anyone with an underlying medical condition may want to seek medical approval before using. For more information about essential safety my blog post on aromatherapy safety provides answers to many questions.
The chemistry bit
Distilled from plants, different essential oils come with different therapeutic properties based on their chemical structure. For instance the chemical structure of lavender includes Linalyl Acetate (an Ester) and Linalool (a Monoterpenol). Whilst you may have no interest in the chemistry of the essential oil, which is ok, it is this chemistry makeup that gives the lavender its calming and soothing qualities.
Aromatherapy can provide us with many emotional benefits, whether we want to improve our mood, enhance our focus or relax the mind. Choosing the right blend of essential oils is imperative. Oils that have stimulating properties such as peppermint would be of little use as a pillow spray designed for a restful nights sleep.
Blending essential oils for their aroma and their therapy
An aromatherapist will carefully consider the chemical properties of each essential oil when creating new blends. A blend made up to provide relief from anxiety will use oils containing balancing properties that are emotional supportive.
For instance, My Safe Place is an aromatherapy rollerball aimed at providing relief during anxious moments. The essential oils in this blend include Coriander, Clary Sage, Geranium, Sweet Orange, Patchouli and Vetiver. These essential oils bring to the blend a variety of chemical components and the synergy of these components provide the blend with its thereapeutic relief.
Can I use aromatherapy at home?
Before you begin using essential oils at home check that there are no contraindications as to why you shouldn’t be using essential oils. For instance certain medical conditions are contraindicated, as are certain age groups; in particular the young and the elderly. Pregnancy and breastfeeding will limit the amount of essential oils that are safe to use. Always read the safety guidance that comes with any bottle of essential oils.
Used safely aromatherapy can be used in a variety of ways at home.
Methods of use
Ranging from a drop on a handkerchief to drops in an electrical device, diffusers will instantly spread an essential oil to an open space.
2. Room spray
Not too dissimilar to a diffuser, a room spray will instantly provide deodorise a room. A room spray is usually made by mixing an essential oil blend with water using an emulsifier (to allow the oil and water to combine).
3. Steam inhalation
Often used during times of illness a couple of drops of essential oil are added to a bowl of hot water. The rising steam vapour is then inhaled, this is an ideal method of using essential oils known for their respiratory support.
4. Massage oil
Aromatherapy massages can be beneficial to a variety of ailments, whether this be purely for relaxation or to ease muscle tension. Never use undiluted essential oils on the skin, always mix with a carrier oil such as jojoba oil.
Diffuser blends to try
If you want to bring aromatherapy into your life try these two diffuser blends.
Safety warning: Do not use the focus blend around young children due to the inclusion of peppermint essential oil.
More essential oil recipes
Why not make your own muscle relief bath salts to relieve sore and overworked muscles or perhaps you prefer a relaxing skin calming bath soak. Download the recipe book to get access to three essential oil bath recipes and start bringing aromatherapy into your home.