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Something I do all the time – talk about aromatherapy oils.  Clients are always asking for advice on what to use and how to use them.  Here is a short guide on home use.  I go into much more depth on aromatherapy oils in online workshops, where participants also receive a free copy of the Aromatherapy for Home Use.

Essential/aromatherapy oils – what are they?

You may see these 2 terms interchangeable, however I do see a distinction between them.  Essential oils are the physical liquid extracted from a plant which can be used for therapeutic uses (and have been for many centuries across the world) when blended with a carrier.  Aromatherapy oils are often considered to be a blended product.  In this instance though I refer to the oils as aromatherapy oils as I use them therapeutically.  Extracted from many parts of plants – petals, roots, leaves, bark, resin, usually by steam distillation although there are other methods depending on the source.

Safety 

Safety is hugely important and somewhat under estimated when using oils.  Remember, just because something is natural does not mean it is safe or suitable for everyone to use.  There is a misconception by some that oils are safer than less natural products for example most oils will irritate the skin if applied neat, so should be diluted in a base oil or carrier lotion. Oils should never be ingested without the direction of a qualified clinical aromatherapist.  Most aromatherapists are not clinically trained and should therefore redirect you to another practitioner should this be necessary.  Some oils which are non-toxic to the skin can be highly toxic if taken internally; they can irritate the throat, stomach causing internal damage. Basically my advice (and that of UK governing bodies) is don’t ingest oils.

Some oils can react with medicines and therefore a consultation with a qualified aromatherapist should be undertaken before using oils. There are some medical conditions which exclude the use of specific essential oils – this should be discussed at your initial appointment.

However, don’t let any of the above put you off.  Essential oils are fabulous to use, if done safely and with knowledge.

 

General Guidelines

Always follow guidelines given to you on the product you purchase, ideally under the guidance of a qualified aromatherapist. (see safety above). Generally, if pregnant and breastfeeding extra caution should be applied and we would advise aromatherapy oils are not used in the first trimester or while breastfeeding.  Babies/children/elderly will be more sensitive and should be treated accordingly, I always take the precautionary route and use half dosages (sometimes quarter doses) in blends for these groups.

 

How to do it (at home)!

There are lots of oils you can use at home or when travelling.  I have produced a separate guide for holiday oils (download it here).  You can diffuse oils to release the aroma into the air in a safe way (candles are lovely, but the benefit of a diffuser is that you can use them throughout the home without fear of fire or release of toxins from candle wax). Inhalation is a great way to help ease coughs and cold – the traditional head over a bowl of water when suffering from congestion has worked wonders for me over the years.  I have seen manage clients in the therapy room who have suffered with stiff shoulders from computer work or long drives who have benefitted from massage with aromatherapy oils such as rosemary, sweet marjoram and ginger (as examples).  And who doesn’t love a relaxing bath with lavender or chamomile!

 

Treatments with a professional 

An aromatherapist will go through a consultation with you at your first appointment, looking at your lifestyle, sleep patterns, medication and current health and from this will determine some suitable oils.  I offer 5 oils for you to sample, without telling you which they are; from these you would select 3 you prefer.  My philosophy is that we are drawn to the oils we need – these 3 are your personal blend.  A full body massage is the most popular choice of treatment with your personal blend used in a carrier oil.

 

Want to learn more?

Take a look at the online Aromatherapy Workshop, a 1 1/2 hour zoom workshop where you will learn more about 3 every day oils to use safely at home, every participant receives a free ebook with 7 more oils, each include some history about the oil, some folklore, what blends well together and how to blend.

Click here to receive a discount code for the workshop (you can unsubscribe any time)

(tickets available via Eventbrite )