Growing wellness. Healing with HeART.

Growing Wellness. Healing with HeART.
Exploring Aromatherapy, Earth Medicine, and the creative process of Art Journaling as paths to healing and wholeness.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Aromatherapy and Essential Oils - The Basics

Aromatherapy is an ancient holistic health practice. Holistic healing differs from our usual "Western Medicine" model where we say "I have a headache I'll take an aspirin". With a holistic approach like aromatherapy, we say "I have a headache; what is going on with me physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually right now?", and by dealing with the whole person we can help support the body in healing the cause rather than just the symptoms.
A Professional Aromatherapist will look at you as a whole person and make an essential oil blend specific to your needs. He or she will consider health history, pre-existing conditions, medications, as well as symptoms in order to create a blend to safely support your body in healing.

Essential Oils are very powerful and concentrated plant essences derived from various parts of plants including leaves, flowers, or roots. These organic compounds work on all levels of the body; physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, through both their scent and the reactions that their chemical composition stimulate in the body.  

Essential Oils are very potent and must not be used directly on the skin, nor should they be used internally unless prescribed by a doctor.  When used on the body, essential oils must be diluted in a carrier oil...anything you use for cooking is fine. When we are diluting essential oils for general purposes and for a healthy adult, we want a 2% dilution, which is about 10-12 drops of essential oil in 30 ml of carrier oil.  For children, seniors, or sensitive individuals, we need to lower that dilution by at least half.  

As with any products for our health, there are precautions for using essential oils.  Each essential oil has a unique chemical profile and as such, its own precautions or contraindications for use.  In general, if you have allergies (including foods and cosmetics), high or low blood pressure, or conditions such as heart disease or epilepsy you must be very careful when choosing oils.  Also, most oils should not be used during pregnancy.  It is also important not to use any one essential oil too much, as we can become sensitized to it!

Aromatherapists spend a lot of time studying and practicing blending for a variety of people with differing needs, and this is where the science and art of their practice come together.

There are a number of different ways we can use essential oils. 
  • In a diffuser or electronic nebulizer (add water to the bowl and drop in a few drops of your undiluted essential oil). 
  • On a tissue, cotton ball, or Q-tip, 1-2 drops. 
  • In a personal inhaler
  • In a body product such as soaps, creams, body lotions, shampoos and perfumes.
  • In the bath - 3 - 8 drops (dilute in 1 tsp - 1Tbsp of carrier oil first)  For more information on aromatherapy baths, see my Bathtime Bliss blog post
  • In the shower - 1 - 2 drops on the shower cabinet floor. 
  • Steam inhalation - 2 - 3 drops added to bowl of water.
  • Added to compresses and poultices
  • Carpet fresheners and/or air fresheners
  • Potpourri
The key to using Essential Oils and incorporating Aromatherapy into daily life is to choose oils that are safe for you to use and that are suited to your specific needs...which is where a Professional Aromatherapist can help!  For more information, see Nature's Heart website.

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