Aromatherapy has been practiced for around for almost 3500 years and its application in daily lives is as old as our civilization itself. It is the exotic art, and science, of using oils extracted from aromatic plants and herbs to enhance health, emotional well being and beauty. Apart from the physical benefits, essential oils can have soothing effects on the mind and emotions.
The essential oils taken from plants and employed in Aromatherapy has been described as their “critical factors” – they are needed critically for the plants’ biological process, as well as being the substance which gives them their scent and aroma. Synthetic oil, even if chemically similar, lacks all the natural factors, and that vital critical factor, that make essential oils so valuable.
Another reason why synthetic oils are not acceptable and desired is that the minor constituents are never identical in structure and composition. Essential oils are extracted from flowers; herbs; spices; woods and fibers, usually by distillation, expulsion and solvent extraction. Solvent extraction is only acceptable for aromatherapy, if the solvent used is completely removed after the manufacturing process and no traces are identifiable.
Here are some of the most common uses that are associated with essential oils:
This is the most effective method of using the oils, combining their properties with the therapeutic power of touch. The oils should never be used undiluted, but should be diluted with an odorless carrier oil, such as grape seed, sweet almond or peach kernel.
A dilution of 3% essential oil to carrier oil is a recommended level. This is approximately one drop essential oil to two milliliters of carrier oil. Essential oils are needed in very minute quantities. The skin is the largest surface part of the body and is designed to keep out contaminants from the skin layers.
Using oils in baths is a simple, effective and pleasant exercise to relax and receive the therapeutic and soothing effects. It is well known that water itself has therapeutic value, which further enhances the powers of the oils.
For daily bathing, add 6 to 10 drops of essential oil or a blend to the surface of the water, and then bathe yourself for about 20 minutes, whilst you deeply inhale the vapor. Be a bit careful about the quantum oil you use while bathing your children.
Add 5 to 10 drops of essential oil to 100ml of warm water then soak a piece of clean cotton in the water, wring out the excess and place the cloth on the affected part.
Add 5 to 10 drops of essential oil into a bowl of steaming water then place a towel over your head and the bowl and inhale the vapor for a few minutes. Feel yourself rejuvenated and free of tension.
All essential oils are known antiseptic and evaporate easily, thus make very good air-fresheners. Different oils usually create different atmospheres. For example, relaxing Sandalwood or Clary Sage are good for ravishing parties; or cool Peppermint clears your mind when you need to work. Diffusers can be used to make oils diffuse slowly in your working room or living quarters.
It is very easy to make your own distinctive perfume by skillfully blending different oils. Try blending with different combinations, which can be mixed with a carrier oil or non-fragrant alcohol. Do your own experiment.
Storing Essential Oils
Because essential oils are affected by sunlight and higher temperatures, they should be stored in dark glass bottles, with tight stopper caps. Cap should be secured properly and the bottle stored in an upright position. Maintain a uniform temperature and moisture. Never allow these oils to come in contact with children. Never store essential oils in plastic bottles. Good Essential oils have a shelf life of several years if properly stored, though the oils derived from orange, lemon and lime will not keep as long. Patchouli is rare kind oil which actually gets better as it ages.
Mixing Essential Oils
Blending different oils in various proportions can yield you some fabulous products. You should have right knowledge and a will to experiment various combinations. It is strongly recommended that you use a good dropper so that you can measure the actual number of drops easily. Do not mix up oils as they are known to get unstable too quickly. Use a different dropper for different oil to avoid cross contamination.
Uses that are associated with aromatic essential oils are various; different oils have their own special applications and benefits. How ever, no single oil is exactly similar to another in its application, aroma, scent and appeal. It means any essential oil has its own charisma and special niche. Go ahead and enjoy the exotic presence of your own aromatic oil.
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