Aromatherapy is the art and science of essential oils usage to improve the health of the body, mind, and spirit. These essential oils are extracted from plants. Essential oils are used since ancient times by countries like Egypt, India, Greece, China, etc. In 2700 BC, in China, the Shennong’s Herbal book was written, containing information on 365 plants and their healing effects. Aromatherapy was widely practiced as a tool to enhance beauty and health since ancient times.
In recent times, aromatherapy is gaining importance again. In France, aromatherapy is used in orthodox medicine. Doctors trained in aromatherapy prescribe essential oils for external or internal use to treat various ailments. Essential oils are used in spas, in hospitals, at homes for various purposes. These essential oils are used to make soaps, lotions, cleaners, and used in a wide variety of ways. Below are some ways in which essential oils can be used.
12 ways of using essential oils:
2. Bathing salts
4. Oils for massage
8. Home cleaning products
12. Oral consumption
There are more than 90 kinds of essential oils extracted from various kinds of plants. These oils have unique properties, aromas, and are used for different purposes. Below are the benefits of aromatherapy.
10 benefits of aromatherapy:
1. Stress relief: Modern life is hectic and stress is common. Aromatherapy is an excellent stress relief technique. These are the various essential oils that help you in stress relief – Lavender, Rose, Ylang Ylang, Bergamot, Jasmine, Clary Sage, Basil, Sandalwood. You can diffuse these oils in your bedroom or prepare bathing salts with these oils.
2. Healthy skin: Aromatherapy can be used for enhancing the beauty of the skin and promoting youthfulness of the skin. These are some essential oils that can help you slow down aging -Rose, Myrrh, Jojoba, Lavender, Frankincense, Neroli, Clary sage, Patchouli. Please do not directly apply these oils on your skin as they are quite potent and can cause skin rashes and burns. Dilute these oils by mixing them with carrier oils like almond oil or olive oil or wheat germ oil or coconut oil. Essential oils can also be used for other skin problems like acne, whiteheads, blackheads, scars, etc.
3. Hair Growth: Aromatherapy is a great tool to promote hair growth. These are some essential oils that can help in hair growth – Lavender, Peppermint, Rosemary, Cedarwood, Lemongrass, Thyme, Clary sage, Tea Tree, Ylang Ylang. These essential oils can be added to hair oils like coconut oil and applied to hair. Natural shampoos without toxic chemicals can also be prepared at home using these oils.
4. Cheerfulness: Aromatherapy is a great mood enhancer promoting the feelings of positivity and cheerfulness around. Some essential oils which induce cheerfulness are – Lemon, Clary Sage, Lavender, Clary Sage, Sweet Orange, Peppermint, Vetiver, Rosemary, Patchouli. These oils can be diffused at home.
5. Home cleaning: Essential oils can be used in home cleaning products. These oils can be used to prepare natural home cleaners at home without harsh and toxic chemicals. Some essential oils that can be used for cleaning purposes are – Lemon, Tea tree, Lavender, Eucalyptus, Orange, Peppermint, Pine, Thyme. You can prepare floor cleaners, dishwashers, etc. with these essential oils.
6. Healing: Essential Oils can be used for simple day-to-day ailments like cold, headache, burns, wounds, etc. Some essential oils that can be used for healing purposes are – Lavender, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Peppermint, etc. They can be inhaled or applied to the body area, which needs healing.
7. Bathing salts: Bathing salts can be prepared with Essential Oils. These bathing salts are refreshing and rejuvenating.
8. Insomnia: Essential Oils help in dealing with insomnia. Some essential oils that can help with insomnia are – lavender, sweet marjoram, chamomile, peppermint, sandalwood, jasmine, rose, geranium, ylang-ylang, cedarwood, citrus, bergamot.
9. Pain relief: They help in pain relief.
10. Quality of life: They improve the overall quality of life.
These are some of the benefits of essential oils. Below are some pointers to remember while using essential oils
1. Please do not use essential oils directly on skin or hair. They are quite potent and cause irritation when used directly. Always dilute them in carrier oils. Below are the guidelines for dilution
1. Use 12 drops of essential oil in 30 ml of carrier oil for adults.
2. Dilute further for children – like 6 drops in 30 ml of carrier oil for children aged between 1 to 12 years and 2 drops in 30 ml of carrier oil for children below 1 year.
3. Do not use essential oils for children below 6 months of age.
2. There are various grades of essential oils. Below are the 3 common grades.
Therapeutic Grade – These grade oils have pure plant material and are rich in fresh plant aroma. These are highly preferred oils.
Cosmetic Grade – These oils could be artificially made in the laboratory and are safe for skin but may not have the plant material.
Perfume Grade – These oils are mostly artificially made in the laboratory, and the chemicals used to make these oils can be harmful for the body. This grade of oil should be avoided for usage.
3. Natural essentials oils are mild in aroma compared to artificially made oils. These artificial oils smell better and stronger. So, be careful in choosing the right essential oils for health benefits. Choose a trusted source.
4. Essential oils are very concentrated and harmful when taken without dilution. So, keep essential oils away from children and pets.
5. Essential oils don’t dissolve in water. When mixed directly with water, they will float on top of the water, and when this water is used for bathing, this may cause skin irritation as these essential oils are undiluted. So, don’t mix essential oils in water directly and use them.
6. All essentials should be kept away from eyes and ears as they cause irritation. If these delicate organs are accidentally exposed to essential oils, wash the area with fresh water.
These are the precautions to be followed while using Essential Oils. Aromatherapy is a huge subject that offers several benefits in day-to-day life, from beauty to health to stress-relief. Stay tuned for more to come on this vast subject.
Wish you and your family health and peace!