Aromatherapy is the practice of using volatile plant oils, called essential oils, for psychological and physical well-being.

It is the fastest-growing complementary medicine and for good reason.

 Not only is it relaxing but researchers and medical professionals recognize its therapeutic value.

In this part of our aromatherapy study, we are going to cover its typical uses next week we will cover its magickal uses.

    Aromatherapy is a HUGE subject and there is no way we can cover it fully in one or two classes.

I suggest that you make a private study of this subject as its healing and psychological benefits will be very useful both in your magickal life and in your home.

    Aromatherapy works in three ways; first, the smell has an effect by changing brain wave patterns. The method of delivery can also be beneficial especially when given as a massage.

 But the main benefits come through absorption by the skin of the essential oils.

The molecules are very small and easily penetrate; this has been proved by finding traces of essential oils in the bloodstream and urine.

    When these molecules hit the nerve receptors, they set off a reaction that results in brain activity and has been observed in CT and MRI scans.

    Essential oils which are the pure "essence" of a plant have been found to provide both psychological and physical benefits when used correctly and safely. There are many essential oils. Absolutes and hydrosols are also commonly utilized in aromatherapy.

    The term "essential oil" is often used as a blanket term to also include hydrosols and absolutes.

An aromatherapy glossary is on the Luna Goddess resource site.

It is important to note that perfume oils are also known as fragrance oils or "fragrances" are different from essential oils.

    Perfume oils and fragrances contain unnatural chemicals and do not provide the therapeutic benefits of essential oils. Unfortunately, many companies improperly use the term aromatherapy on products that contain unnatural and perfume oils, so it's important to look at the ingredient label when seeking true aromatherapy products.

 

The Benefit of an "Aroma"

    Essential oils that are inhaled into the lungs are believed to offer both psychological and physical benefits; not only does the aroma of the natural essential oil stimulate the brain to trigger a reaction, but the natural constituents (naturally occurring chemicals) of the essential oil is drawn into the lungs and can also supply physical benefit.

If not done correctly and safely, however, the use of essential oils can also have severe consequences.

 

The Benefit of Physical Application

    Oils that are applied to the skin are absorbed into the bloodstream.

The components of the various oils are believed to aid in a variety of health, beauty, and hygiene conditions. Since essential oils are so powerful and concentrated, they should never be applied to the skin in their undiluted form. To apply essential oils to the skin, "carrier oils" which are pure vegetable oils are used to dilute the essential oils and "carry" them to the skin.

Common carrier oils include sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil, and grapeseed oil.

Also listed on the resource site is a list of different carrier oils.

Other Benefits

    Essential Oils can supply other benefits as well. Some oils, for instance, act as a natural repellent and pesticide. You may use "citronella" candles during the summer to keep mosquitoes away.

Citronella essential oil is the ingredient in the candles that provides this benefit.

Ginger oil is an essential oil so it has to be blended with a carrier oil before using it ginger is a good essential oil but is strong Essential Oil Blends

    Essential oils may be blended together to provide an especially pleasing aroma. Oils can be blended together to also provide a specific therapeutic action.

Synergistic essential oil blend of the correct oils in proper proportions is considered to be greater in total benefit than the oils working independently. Learning to blend takes skill and a good nose!

But please practice...it is a great hobby to learn!

 

What are Essential Oils?

    Essential oil is a liquid that is generally distilled (most frequently by steam or water) from the leaves, stems, flowers, bark, roots, or other elements of a plant.

Essential oils, contrary to the use of the word "oil" are not really oily-feeling at all. Most essential oils are clear, but some oils such as patchouli, orange, and lemongrass are amber or yellow in color, and Yarrow oil is blue!

    Essential oils contain the true essence of the plant it was derived from. Essential oils are highly concentrated and a little goes a long way. The chemical composition and aroma of essential oils can provide valuable psychological and physical therapeutic benefits.

    These benefits are usually achieved through methods including inhalation and application of the diluted oil to the skin.

Essential oils are often used by diluting them with a carrier oil (sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil, grapeseed oil) and then applying this blend to the skin for absorption.

    Careful inhalation of the oils can also provide therapeutic benefits as the oil molecules enter the lungs and are absorbed into the bloodstream.

    Essential Oils are usually sold for individual use in very small bottles. Essential oils can vary greatly in quality and price. Various factors that can affect the quality and price of the oil include the rarity of the plant, country, and conditions that the plant was grown, quality standards of the distiller, and how much oil is produced by the plant.

 Essential oils can often be purchased as blends of several essential oils.

    The advantage if it is a blend of pure essential oils is that you can save from having to buy every essential oil individually. The disadvantage is that you have no control over the blend by not mixing it yourself nor can you reliably mix the blend with other oils.

 

What are Fragrance Oils?

    Essential oils contain the true essence of the plant it was derived from. Essential oils are different from perfume oils or fragrance oils.

Where essential oils are derived from the true plants, perfume and fragrance oils are artificially created fragrances, contain artificial substances, or are diluted with carrier oils and do not offer the caliber of therapeutic benefits that essential oils offer.

 Carrier Oils

    Carrier oils also referred to as base oils or vegetable oils are used to dilute essential oils and absolutes before applying to the skin. They do not have to be expensive you can use olive oil or groundnut from your kitchen or you can buy others that have their own moisturizing qualities for the skin.

    They “carry” the essential oil onto the skin. Different carrier oils offer different properties and the choice of carrier oil can depend on the therapeutic benefit being sought.

Carrier oils are generally cold-pressed vegetable oils derived from the fatty portions of the plant.

Unlike essential oils that evaporate and have a concentrated aroma, carrier oils do not evaporate or impart their aroma as strongly as essential oils.

    Examples of carrier oils are sweet almonds, apricot kernel, grapeseed, avocado, peanuts, olive, pecan, macadamia nut, sesame, evening primrose, walnut, and wheat germ.

Mineral oil is not used in aromatherapy because mineral oil is not a natural product.

It is also said that mineral oil can prevent essential oil absorption into the skin.

    Essential oils do not go rancid. Carrier oils, however, can go rancid. Carrier oils that you purchase should be natural and unadulterated. Exceptions include buying carrier oils that have natural

vitamin E added. Vitamin E acts as a natural preservative. And will prevent your blends going off

 

Essential Oil Safety Information

    Essential oils are highly concentrated liquids that can be harmful if not used carefully. Implementing aromatherapy into your lifestyle should not cause paranoia or undue worry. By treating essential oils as medicines and following the steps outlined below, you will be well on your way to safely enjoying the many benefits that aromatherapy can offer.

    These safety guidelines are not a complete safety reference for the proper use of essential oils.

When in doubt, consult your physician and/or a qualified and trained aromatherapy practitioner. Or research the oils being used on a good aromatherapy website.

Essential oils should never be used undiluted on the skin.

    There are instances when experienced aromatherapy users and practitioners make exceptions to this precaution, but only once significant essential oil knowledge is gained should you ever attempt to apply undiluted oil on the skin.

Lavender and tea tree are listed by a large number of aromatherapy sources as being oils that can be used undiluted.

    Undiluted use of lavender and tea tree, however, should only be done on rare occurrences as severe sensitivity still could occur in some individuals. Patch test all new oil blends as a matter of course. Again, the safest rule of thumb is to never use any essential oil undiluted.

Some oils can cause sensitization or allergic reactions in some individuals.

    When using new oil for the first time, do a skin patch on a small area of skin. Place a small amount of the diluted essential oil on the inside of your elbow or behind an ear and wait 24 hours to see if there is any form of reaction.

    Even if a particular essential oil is not known to cause irritation, this step should not be ignored.

Even if an oil does not irritate you, it still can irritate someone else. It is important that you always keep that in mind. Some essential oils should be avoided during pregnancy or by those with asthma, epilepsy, or other health conditions. Less is More.

 When using essential oils, use the smallest number of essential oils that will get the job done.

 

If one drop will get the job done, for example, don't use two drops. Not all essential oils are suitable for use in aromatherapy. Wormwood, pennyroyal, onion, camphor, horseradish, wintergreen, rue, bitter almond, and sassafras are some of the essential oils that should only be used by qualified aromatherapy practitioners, if ever at all.

    Never let children use essential oils without the presence of an adult knowledgeable about their use. Most essential oils smell wonderful and many essential oils such as citrus oils can smell like they are safe to drink. Keep your essential oils away from children. Treat the oils like medicines that are poison in unknowing hands. Essential oils should not be taken internally.

    Essential oils are flammable. Please keep them out of the way of fire hazards.

Citrus oils react with the sun and cause photosensitivity and pigmentation of the skin. Avoid using these oils when going out into the sun.

 

 Storing Your Oils

    Essential Oils and absolutes are usually sold for individual use in very small bottles.

They are commonly sold in 5ml, 10ml, and 15ml (1/2 ounce) sizes.

For more expensive oils, it is common to find them sold in sizes starting at 2ml and 1 dram sizes.

Although essential oils do not become rancid, they can deteriorate and lose their therapeutic benefit over time.

    Such as the citrus oils will oxidize and begin to lose their aroma and therapeutic properties.

Not all oils lose their value. Some oils such as patchouli and sandalwood can improve.

To avoid deterioration and protect the aromatic and therapeutic properties, your oils should be ideally kept in amber or cobalt blue bottles.

    Dark glass such as amber or cobalt helps to keep out sunlight which can hasten deterioration. Be leery of purchasing any oils sold in clear glass bottles.

The only exception to this is tea tree oil which is not affected by the sun and is often sold in clear bottles. Run if you find an essential oil sold in a plastic bottle.

    When purchasing oils, be skeptical of oils that are bottled in clear glass or have a rubber dropper incorporated into its screw-top cap.

    Droppers with rubber bulbs should not be kept with the essential oil bottle as the highly concentrated oil can turn the rubber bulb into the gum.

    Most essential oils are sold in bottles that contain an "orifice reducer." An orifice reducer is a small, usually clear insert inside the bottle opening that acts as a dropper.

You simply tip the bottle and you can dispense the oil drop by drop.

 

Blending Oils

    Although you can use essential oils singly, aroma-therapists like to blend two three or more oils to make a closer match to the person's physical and mental needs. Blends should be pleasant for the person to use, reject those that are disliked by the person, or include those that bring back pleasant memories.

    Also, fragrances that are liked and disliked can be a very personal choice. Each aroma-therapy oil has a smell that is called a note.

Every fragrance can be separated (some essential oils cross over two notes) into three categories, Base, medium, and high notes.

A good blend is made up of these three notes.

Top notes are light, crisp, sharp, citrus oils fall into this group. They also wear off more quickly as they are more volatile than medium or base notes. So use a base note to anchor the blend.

Middle notes are more muted and evaporate less easily; lavender and juniper are good examples of middle notes.

    Base notes have a long-lasting smell and include ylang-ylang and sandalwood.

Using oils from only one group of notes will not produce a balanced and effective blend.

 

Rules for Blending

The room in which you work should be well ventilated and odor-free so you don't get overcome by scents. Protect furniture and tabletops. Essential oils are volatile and can burn wood tops!

    Don't try working for more than fifteen minutes at a time because your nose will become confused. Beware hygiene and contamination of your oils and equipment.

    Label your blends straight away. You will NOT remember what was in it or which blend is which

Keep notes! If you find a really good blend but then can't remember the recipe you will kick yourself!

    Blends take up to 24 to fuse, so check the next day to make sure it still smells as you want it to be.

Because you use different concentrations of oils depending on the type of application it is a good idea to know percentages of oils depending on these applications.

We will calculate in drops for small quantities 5ml/10ml bottles and ml's for 50ml+ bottles.

    It may be a good idea to find a conversion into fl oz because I mainly use metric measurements.

Use less rather than more until you know what you are doing

    If you are blending your essential oil into another carrier base like lotion or shower gel the quantity of oil required will be the same as if you were using a vegetable carrier oil.

    The percentages below are for an adult of average build and weight, with no specific health problems. If making a blend for a child, elderly or frail person, or someone on medication or with sensitive skin use half the amounts and patch test behind the ear or in the crook of the elbow or knee.

    Some essential oils are ok to use during pregnancy but some are not. If in doubt DO NOT USE!

Some essential oils like peppermint, Vetivert, and jasmine have a very strong odor and you may find that using half the number of other oils is better.

 

Less can sometimes mean more.

For 5ml carrier oil

1-2 drops for the face that is total drops not per oil

2-3 drops for massage oil

5 drops for specific problems

10 drops bath blend.

For 15ml carrier oil

3-6 drops for face

6-9 drops for massage oil

15 drops for specific problems

30 drops bath blend

For 50ml carrier oil

10-20 drops for face or 0.5-1mls for face

20-30 drops for massage oil or 1-1.5mls

50 drops specific problems or 2.5mls

100 drops bath blend    5mls bath blend

Going through individual essential oils could take forever. But please research for yourself. I suggest that if you want to learn aromatherapy properly take a course or buy a few books.

 

Tips for Beginners

DON'T: Don't buy perfume oils thinking they are the same thing as essential oils. Perfume oils do not offer the therapeutic benefits of essential oils.

DON'T: Don't buy essential oils with rubber glass dropper tops. Essential oils are very concentrated and will turn the rubber into a gum thus ruining the oil.

DO: Read as much as you can on Aromatherapy. It is very easy to get started with Aromatherapy, but there are safety issues that you need to be aware of.

DO: Be selective of where you purchase your essential oils. The quality of essential oils varies widely from company to company. Additionally, some companies may falsely claim that their oils are undiluted or pure when they aren't.

DO: It is also helpful to note the country of origin for the oil. best essential oil sellers will readily supply the botanical names and country of origin for the oils that they sell. When comparing one company's oils with another is, also pay attention to if either company's oils are organic, wild-crafted, or ethically farmed.

DO: Store your oils in dark glass (amber or cobalt blue) and in a cool, dark place. I have two wooden hinged boxes where I store some of my oils.

DO: Pay special attention to all safety information on all essential oils that you use. This is even more important if you have any medical condition or are pregnant.

Look on the resource site for info on different oils

 

Here is a list of oils to keep at hand

Lavender, has so many uses

Lavender - Lavandula Augustifolia ... fresh, sweet, floral aroma. It can be used on cuts, wounds, or burns. It Soothes, calms, and is excellent to use for stress and nervous tension. It is also good as an anti-inflammatory.
Calendula officianalis Known for millennia for its skin healing benefits, until just recently the only way to experience the herbal soothing of Calendula was to infuse the dried blossoms in olive oil.

Chamomile - Anthemis Nobilis ... a fruity fragrance ... calms the mind and helps with insomnia. Chamomile can help to soothe anxiety, tension, anger, and fear. Helps ease pre-menstrual tension, soothes blisters, burns, and inflames wounds.

Eucalyptus - Eucalyptus Globulus ...a clear, sharp aroma. Helps clear the head, aids concentration, and strengthens the nervous system. Antiseptic, antiviral, antibiotic, decongestant, helps relieve pain and inflammation.

Neroli - A beautiful floral fragrance ... Said to relieve anxiety, stress, and depression. Helps give a feeling of peace. Useful to use if suffering from insomnia when depression is the cause. It helps with headaches, neuralgia, and vertigo.

Rosemary - Rosmarinus officinalis ... a strong, refreshing fragrance ... helps to clear the head and aid memory. Good for lethargy. Rosemary a help with rheumatic pains and tired muscles.

Sandalwood - Amyris Balsamfera ... helps to bring peace. Good for dry, itchy skin when blended with a base oil. An antiseptic and good to use in steam inhalations to ease bronchial coughs.

Tea Tree - Melaleuca Alternifolia ... Used mainly to help all kinds of infection and has antiseptic properties. Healing, anti-fungal, antiviral ... can be applied to athlete's foot, warts, and acne.

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Replies to This Discussion

Very interesting tips, thanks!

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