Getting started with aromatherapy? Here’s a little guide for the beginners to intermediate students of this practice, with some important notes about essential oil safety. There are 3 traditional methods of using essential oils for “aromatherapy,” which have been called the English, French and German models.
The English model consists of what is now termed “aromatherapy massage” – involving the dilution of essential oils in carrier or “base” oils and application topically to the skin. Due to the fact that both the essential oils and carrier oils are compatible with the skin, the essential oils are absorved up into the bloodstream with subsequent physiological effect.
Topical application is the preferred technique of use for many essential oils. Nevertheless, MOST essential oils require dilution (often to less than 3% of the total volume) as they can cause kin inflammation. Lavender Essential oil and Chammomile essential oil are 2 essential oils that can be applied “neat” or without dilution; others, such as Cinnamon and Oregano, should never ever be applied topically undiluted. A very small amount should be tested initially.
The interesting thing about topical application is that essential oils tend to pass through the skin fairly easily, as they are lipotropic (fat soluble) and their molecular structure is fairly small. In this manner, their possible effects can be targeted – if one has gastrointestinal difficulty, rubbing Peppermint Essential Oil diluted down in a carrier oil (a pure vegetable or nut oil) info the addominal area may help. In the same way, rubbing Chamomile or Lavender Essential Oil into the solar plexus (bottom of the sternum) may help relieve tension.
The French model consists of ingestion and “neat” or undiluted topical application of essential oils. Perhaps these techniques are a result of the French producing some of the world’s finest Lavender oils – also considered as the safest oils in aromatherapy. As in the English model, essential oils will easily pass through the skin and into the bloodstream. Many individuals directly apply oils such as Frankincense, Sandalwood and Myrrh to their temples to enhance meditation. This is a practice one should begin slowly, being sure the body or skin does not show any adverse responses. ORAL INJESTION OF ESSENTIAL OILS IS NOT RECOMMENDED EXCEPT UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF A DOCTOR OR A QUALIFIED AROMATHERAPIST.
The German model is that of inhalation, where the essential oils will directly impact the limbic system, and the associated psychological, hormonal and emotional systems. Oils are typically diffused in a cold-air diffuser that disperses small droplets of essential oils in the surrounding air. When inhaled, the oils connect to the nervous system’s chemical sensors. Certain oils that are high in sesquiterpenes such as Myrrh, Sandalwood, Vetiver and Frankinsense, have been noted in mind to dramatically increase activity and oxygenation in certain areas of the brain when used this way.
With inhalation, go gradually and start with a small amount – essential oils are effective in very low dosages. You will know when you have had enough – we tend to notice a distaste fro the smell or even a mild to moderate headache coming if the concentration of certain oils in the air has gotten too high.
Inhalation is often effective for mood-altering effects of essential oils; Rosemary is used for mental stimulation, Lavender for relaxation, and so on. These effects are a result of essential oil components on the limbic system of the brain- which again is closely connected to the emotional centers. These effects are a result of essential oil components on the limbic system of the brain – which is closely connected to the emotional.
Essential oil components from on play might have synergistic effects with another. One may blend essential oils in a diffuser or burner, adding a couple drops of each oil preferred. Typically, a great outcome can be had from blending a brighter or sweeter oil (Rosemary, Basil, Orange) with another earthy and grounding (Patchouli, Frankincense, Cedarwood). The results are extremely personal – if you do not like smell of a specific essential oil or a mix of oils, there’s probably a reason and they’re simply not for you! Your consumption could be too high or the oil(s) may not be compatible with your body chemistry at that time.
A note about safety: Essential Oils are extremely effective components of plants – tey have the capability of being hazardous if incorrectly utilized. Essential Oils can be extremely helpful for some cases, supportive in others, and have little to no effect in others. They are not meant to treat or cure serious medical conditions; there is no substitute for a consultation with a skilled doctor for any matters concerning your health, or anyone else’s. If you are pregnant, planning to get pregnant or breast feeding, it is vital you consult your doctor before using any essential oil. Please be certain there are no contraindications of an essential oil for your condition before using! Nearly all essential oils should be diluted down to the range of 1% to 3% in your chosen carrier (or “base”) oil – Lavender and Chamomile Oils being exceptions (though diluting them will make them no less effective).
Remember: Begin gradually, pay attention to how an oil and it’s particular application makes you feel, adjust accordingly, keep learning and have a good time!