Aromatherapy, also referred to as Essential Oil therapy, can be defined as the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit. It seeks to unify physiological, psychological and spiritual processes to enhance an individual’s innate healing process.
It was the French perfumer and chemist, Rene- Maurice Gattefosse, who coined the term “aromatherapie” in 1937 with his publication of a book by that name. His book “Gattefosse’s Aromatherapy” contains early clinical findings for utilizing essential oils for a range of physiological ailments. It seems vital to understand what Gattefosse’s intention for coining the word was, as he clearly meant to distinguish the medicinal application of essential oils from their perfumery applications.
So we can interpret his coining of the word “Aromatherapie” to mean the therapeutic application or the medicinal use of aromatic substances (essential oils) for holistic healing. As the practice of aromatherapy has progressed, over the years, it has adopted a more holistic approach encompassing the whole body, mind and spirit (energy).
“Aromatherapy is… the skilled and controlled use of essential oils for physical and emotional health and well being.”
“Aromatherapy is a caring, hands-on therapy which seeks to induce relaxation, to increase energy, to reduce the effects of stress and to restore lost balance to mind, body and soul.”
“Aromatherapy can be defined as the controlled use of essential oils to maintain and promote physical, psychological, and spiritual wellbeing.”
“Aromatherapy can be defined as the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit. It is an art and science which seeks to explore the physiological, psychological and spiritual realm of the individual’s response to aromatic extracts as well as to observe and enhance the individual’s innate healing process. As a holistic practice, Aromatherapy is both a preventative approach as well as an active method to employ during acute and chronic stages of illness or ‘dis’-ease.
It is a natural, non-invasive modality designed to affect the whole person not just the symptom or disease and to assist the body’s natural ability to balance, regulate, heal and maintain itself by the correct use of essential oils.”
Methods of Application
Massage and/or body oils are a combination of one or more vegetable and/or herbal oils with essential oils.
Recommended Dilutions for Massage Oils
For infants and young children:
.5-1% dilution = 3-6 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier
2.5% dilution = 15 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier
3% dilution = 20 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier
5% dilution = 30 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier
10% dilution = 60 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier
In general, aromatherapy oil based blends are useful for:
- Chronic or acute pain relief
- Arthritis & rheumatism (sub-acute phase)
- Chronic muscular/joint aches and pain
- Pregnancy and childbirth massage
- Reducing inflammation
- Enhancing immunity
- Relieving muscle spasms
- Relax and soothe the nervous system
- Aid in the treatment of sprains, strains, and repetitive movement injuries
- And much, much more…
Facial Creams, Lotions And Oils
You can purchase unscented facial creams or body lotions to add essential oils to or create a facial oil by using a variety of vegetable/herbal oils and then adding essential oils into the mix. Or learn how to make your own creams and lotions!
Facial oil/cream dilution rates
Sensitive skin: .5 to 1 percent dilution = 3 to 6 drops per ounce
Normal, healthy skin: 1 to 2.5 percent dilution = 6 to 15 drops per ounce
In general, aromatherapy facial oils and creams are utilized to:
- Enhance wound healing
- Influence and slow aging of skin
- Scar reduction and improve appearance
- Support and enhance immune cells of the skin
- Balance sebum production
- Aid the process of detoxification in the skin
- Increase local circulation
- Improve tone of skin
- Encourage hydration of the skin, when used in conjunction with hydrosol/water or cream.
- Soften and soothe the skin
- Address emotional issues
Mix 2 – 12 drops (depending on the essential oil) into a teaspoon of a dispersing agent such as natural bath gel, polysorbate, solubol, coconut emulsifier, etc. Add to bath and stir just before entering water. Vegetable oil may also be used to dilute essential oils, however it will not disperse in the water and will make tub surfaces slippery.
In general, aromatherapy full-body baths are useful to:
- Reduce stress/anxiety
- Alleviate muscular aches, pains, and tension
- Soothe mental or physical fatigue
- Stimulate circulation
- Enhance lymph circulation
- Reduce pain and stiffness
- Increase local circulation
- Improve tone and health of skin
- Aid detoxification
Place 3-7 drops of essential oil into boiling water. Some essential oils to consider include: Eucalyptus sp. (either E. globulus or E. radiata), Thyme ct. linalol (Thymus vulgaris), Lemon (Citrus limon), and Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia). Cover head with towel and breathe through the nose. Keep eyes closed!
Steam inhalations are indicated for:
- Congestion in upper respiratory tract (cold or flu)
- Sinus infection or sinusitis
- Enhancing respiratory function
An aromatic spritzer is a combination of essential oils and water. Often a dispersant such as solubol is used to diffuse the essential oils within the water. Aromatic spritzers can be used as room fresheners, to cleanse the air, to uplift and energize, to scent space, or used during a massage or esthetic practice: e.g. sprayed on face cradles to keep respiratory passages clear.
To make: Add 10-15 drops of essential oil (1-3 different essential oils) per ounce of water. Shake before using or add dispersing agent (e.g. solubol)
In general, aromatic spritzers are useful for:
- Room and air freshener
- Body sprays over which an aromatic blend will be applied
- Reducing undesirable odors in the air
- Enhancing breathing
- Soothing a variety of emotional states
Depending on diffuser type, use as directed.
Aerial dispersion via electric diffusor can be used for:
- Environmental ambiance
- Stress/anxiety reduction
- Insomnia or sleep disorders
- Mood or motivation enhancement
- Increase alertness
- Purify and improve air quality
- Reduce airborne pathogens
Different types of inhalation
Direct inhalation refers to the technique of sniffing or inhaling an essential oil directly from a bottle, a handkerchief or a cotton-ball. Direct inhalations are most commonly employed for the relief of emotional distress and as supportive therapy for the relief of respiratory congestion or other respiratory ailments. Direct inhalations are also used for their effect on the nervous system.
Direct palm inhalation
Direct palm inhalation refers to the technique of sniffing or inhaling an essential oil/s or synergy directly from the palms of your hands. Direct palm inhalations are most commonly utilized for the relief of emotional distress, to uplift and transform ones consciousness, or simply to relax and breathe. It can be used as supportive therapy for the relief of respiratory congestion or other respiratory ailments.
Direct from bottle: Create a synergy (undiluted essential oils) utilizing 3-5 essential oils and place in a small bottle. Have client waft bottle under nose while taking deep inhalations. This can be done 3-4x a day or as needed.
Smelling salts: Create a synergy with a total of 20-30 drops utilizing 3-5 essential oils and place in a 10ml (1/3 ounce) bottle. Once the synergy is in the bottle, fill the remainder of the bottle with either fine or coarse sea salts. Have client waft bottle under nose while taking deep inhalations. This can be done 3-4x a day or as needed.
Handkerchief/Cotton-ball: Place 2-4 drops of essential oil or synergy on the tissue or cloth. Hold cloth in the palms of your hand and take 2-3 deep inhalations through the nose. If using a cotton ball, gently waft the cotton ball under the clients’ nose. This technique can be used 2-3x a day or as needed.
Inhaler tubes: Inhaler tubes are designed using 100% essential oil/s saturated on a cotton pad. **NOTE: Please be sure to use organic cotton pads. You can purchase these at a local health food store and cut the desired size to fit tube. Cotton is considered a ‘dirty’ crop, meaning it is heavily sprayed with pesticides. It is recommended to replace the cotton pad that comes in the tube with a certified organic cotton pad.
To make: Choose 2-3 essential oils to work with based upon a specific purpose. Decide how many drops of each essential oil so it adds up to 15 to 25 drops. Place drops of each essential oil in a small glass bowl/cup then place pad from inhaler into the bowl to absorb the essential oils. Use tweezers to move pad around a bit and then remove pad with tweezers and place in inhaler tube. Close inhaler tub and it is ready for use.
In general, Inhaler tubes or smelling salts are useful for:
- Relieve stress
- Uplift mood
- Relieve nausea
- Support hormonal balance
- Support healthy breathing
- Reduce nasal congestion
- Emotional support