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Harness the essences of mother nature! Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils for therapeutic benefit. It has been used for centuries. When inhaled, the scent molecules in essential oils travel from the olfactory nerves directly to the brain and especially impact the amygdala, the emotional centre of the brain. 

The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (link) and Green Med Info (link) list some common essential oils and their potential uses.

For example; Chamomile, Lavender, and Rosemary have been linked to improvements in cardiovascular conditions (link), anxiety disorders (link, link) and nervous system disorders (link) respectively.

How to use essential oils

  1. Use good quality 100 per cent essential oils and store away from direct sunlight.
  2. Dilute in a base oil like almond oil for skin application.
  3. Drops in a bath (for those with sensitive skin these can be diluted in base oil before adding to bath).
  4. Add 5 drops of essential oil once the steam has settled from your bath.
  5. Swish the water well.5 drops in a diffuser to enjoy the aroma in a room.
  6. Use this instead of ‘air-freshners’ which release artificial chemicals into the air.
  7. 1 or 2 drops on bed clothes, sheets or a pillow.
    5 drops in a car.
  8. 1 or 2 drops on a tissue.

How to use on skin

Oils must always be diluted for use on skin with a carrier oil such as almond, grapeseed, olive, sunflower, sesame or jojoba oil. These should be cold pressed and extra virgin where possible. Essential oils are very powerful and undiluted application must be avoided.
A hand massage or foot massage is a lovely way to benefit from the aroma of essential oil. Massage of the hands and feet is an excellent way to keep in good health as all the reflex or zone points for the body are stimulated by this method.

How to blend

To blend essential oils with a carrier oil use a bottle with measurements of mls displayed. The rule of thumb is to halve the amount of mls to work out the number of essential oil drops required. For example, a 12 ml bottle of base oil will require 6 drops total of essential oils. Add the drops of essential oil and shake well.

Some recognisable essential oils

Chamomile, keyword “soothing”
This is one of the most useful essential oils and is anti-inflammatory, therefore soothing. It is indicated for a restless, overactive mind, worry, pain, sensitivity and inflammation.

Used in inhalation and massage.
Lavender, keywords “immune system”
Probably the most recognised of the essential oils, it is the number one choice for many. It is indicated in cases of fear, insomnia, irritability, restlessness, anxiety, pain, panic, hysteria, dry cough, healing wounds, exhaustion, migraines, tension headaches, painful and swollen joints, stiffness and much more.

Used in inhalation and massage.
Rosemary, keyword “stimulating”
This is a penetrating and stimulating oil which works mentally and physically to invigorate and energise. It is indicated in cases of lethargy, brain fog, confusion, disorientation, slow circulation, colds, constipation, migraine, muscle aches and tiredness.
It is best used for inhalation.

Note: Rosemary essential oil should be avoided by pregnant women and infants.
The PHA has practitioners who can provide tailored information for those interested in aromatherapy.

Martin Jones
Michelle Murray
Healthy Tips