Essential Oils That Pamper, Heal and Relax
This chapter will provide an entrancing introduction to the gentle art of aromatherapy and a fascinating look at the most popular essential oils.
There are a few simple luxuries that are as pleasing as soaking in a fragrant bath or being massaged with aromatic oils. There are only a few healing arts as enjoyable as aromatherapy baths and even fewer tonics as enticing as the pure plant essences known as essential oils.
Since ancient times, essential oils have been thought to benefit the body, mind and emotions. Different oils can be used to treat and prevent all manner of health problems, and they are widely used to relax, rejuvenate, soothe or stimulate. Oils encourage wonderful feelings of well-being and women who use them create wonderful moods of indulgence for their senses.
Since ancient times essential oils have been thought to benefit the body, mind, and spirit. Historical manuscripts tell of fragrances from plants as ingredients in charms and ceremonies, as well as in remedies, cosmetics, and food.
In the Middle Ages, Monks cultivated herbs and discovered many of their restorative properties. They were among the first to distil precious plant essences, carefully blending them into liquors to be administered to patients. These concentrated pure plant extracts revered for their fragrance and their therapeutic value, is termed as essential oils. The use of such oils is known as aromatherapy.
Many essential oils are believed to have special properties, ranging from antiseptic to aphrodisiac in effect. Some promote relaxation and a generally good feeling. Others stimulate and rejuvenate. All encourage a feeling of well-being and can be used to treat or prevent health problems, or they can be used to create a mood and pamper your senses.
Chamomile is useful for tension and insomnia; rosemary is good for poor circulation and fatigue, peppermint is a tried and true remedy for indigestion, common sage can prevent muscular problems and sandalwood has a relaxing and tonifying effect on the nervous system.
There are many ways to experience the benefits from essential oils, which involve either breathing in the enticing aromas or absorbing the diluted oils through the skin. Because essential oils are highly concentrated, it is not usually advisable to apply them directly to the skin or to ingest them, unless advised by a skilled therapist.
Essential oils penetrate the skin very quickly to reach the bloodstream and are therefore a marvelous accessory to massage therapy. The concentrated oil should be added to a much greater quantity of oil known as ‘carrier’ or ‘base’ oil. These should have a neutral odor and be easily absorbed. Light vegetable or nut oils such as almond, apricot kernel, grape seed, soya, and peach kernel are popular choices.
Good ones do not absorb into the skin too quickly so they last longer while you’re softly kneading away. You should also be very conscientious of the scents that you select. Heavenly scented oils have a tendency to be overwhelming.
Massage oil tips that help you choose what’s best for you.
1. Aromatherapy is a wonderful way to select which scents you and your partner would like since certain scents produce specific effects. Lavender, for instance, puts people to sleep, while eucalyptus wakes people up, but it may be too powerful for sensitive skin.
2. Wherever you shop for it, consult the clerks because they will know what works best for you.
3. Do not make up too much massage oil at one time as the fragrance spoils after a short while.
4. A few drops of your selected essential oil in three tablespoons of carrier oil should be sufficient for a nice massage.
5. Adding wheat germ oil or vitamin E to your mixture can help to prevent it from turning rancid.
6. Storing your massage oils in a corked bottle should be sufficient or a flip top plastic bottle. The latter is most convenient because it is less likely to spill if toppled.
7. Dark bottles are best because they help reduce discoloration and deterioration of essential oils in any form.
Inhalants or Room Fresheners
The various essential oils have different influences on our mood. To use them as an inhalant or as a room freshener, try experimenting with the following combinations.
1. To stimulate the mind try rosemary, sage or thyme
2. To create a feminine aura try rose, geranium, or jasmine
3. To compliment a celebration, use; rose or jasmine
4. To clear the mind try lavender, sandalwood, or lemongrass
5. For a healing atmosphere in a sick room; rose, bay, or thyme
6. For meditation choose lavender, ylang-ylang, or jasmine.
Inhalation may be used to relieve headaches and clear congestion that accompanies colds or sinusitis. To make a simple steam inhalation, add two to four drops of your selected essential oil – eucalyptus, thyme, and tea tree are recommended – to a bowl of very hot water. Lean over it, tent your head with a towel, and breathe in the vapor for at least three to five minutes.
To disseminate essential oils in wider environments clay or ceramic vaporizers can be used to heat water or can be kept near the oils. Electric vaporizers or light bulbs are also great options. There are hollow clay rings that contain essential oil and can be slipped over light bulbs so that the room is filled with fragrance once the bulb heats up. Simplest of all these methods are the plastic pump spray bottle; just fill with warm water and your favorite essential oil. Shake and use to mist a room and enliven it with fresh scent.
The fragrance of essential oils can be enjoyed without any extra equipment. Soak a cotton ball in essential oil and place either in a room or in a cupboard to scent the area. For a fuller effect, place somewhere warm, such as behind a heater or fireplace. Sprinkle logs or twigs with lavender oil before placing then on the fire, or use rosemary on the wood for a fabulous permeating aroma. If you have a congested nose, a single drop of suitable oil, such as cypress or eucalyptus, on a tissue or handkerchief can offer wonderful relief.
An important part of aromatherapy is aromatic baths, which can be detoxifying, relaxing, or reviving, depending on the oil(s) you choose. They are wonderful just before bed, both to help reduce pain or to dispel stress which may keep you awake.
To prepare an aromatherapy bath, simply add two drops of your favorite selected oils, to a warm bath, stir to ensure the oil is evenly dispersed, and then relax in the scented water. A ten-minute soak should give the desired effect. Variations on aromatic bathing include a sitz or hipbath, or footbaths. Essential oils may also be used in the shower and on compresses to ease muscular aches, sprains and bruises.
Ella Patterson is a published author