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Aromatherapy

Guest Author - Linda Heywood

The most basic of human instincts is smell. ‘Follow your nose,' they say and you will find the source of an aroma be it agreeable or unpleasant. The ancient Egyptians burned aromatic gums and resins. The Romans discovered the mood enhancing delights of sweet smells. In the Middle Ages plagues swept across the land and people once again looked to the plant kingdom for cures and as preventatives.

Aromatherapy as a formal science began in 1937 when Rene Maurice Gattefosse burned his hand while working in a perfumery laboratory. He plunged his hand into the nearest container of cold liquid which was lavender oil. His hand healed quickly and left no scarring. He then investigated the medicinal powers of other essential oils and dedicated his life to aromatherapie.

The side effects of potent pharmaceutical drugs are becoming more obvious to people as conventional medicine is seen as a cure all. People like to take responsibility for their own health and well-being. Treatment of serious illnesses with aromatherapy is best left in the hands of a qualified practitioner who will take a holistic approach to your health.

Everyday use of aromatherapy oils can help us deal with the stresses and strains of everyday life. From jet lag to migraine, or indigestion and menstrual cramps there is an essential oil to ease the discomfort.

Always chose oils from a reputable source that guarantees purity and quality. They should be sold and stored in dark glass bottles and kept out of direct sunlight. Plastic containers can damage essential oils which are volatile but not at all greasy. Make sure the oil is labelled ‘pure essential oil’ as synthetic oils and diluted mixtures do not have the same potency. Some of the essential oils are very expensive as it can take a lot of blossoms to produce a small amount of oil.

Essential oils can be used in burners and vaporisers which allow the fragrance to permeate the air and scent the room. Add a few drops of your favourite oil to a bath, chose oil that will either stimulate or relax depending on your mood.

Massage is the best technique to benefit from the effects of aromatherapy oils. Usually performed by professionals it is easy to massage yourself just as effectively to allow the oils to penetrate the skin and to be carried around the body. The back area may be difficult to reach, so if you know someone you feel comfortable with, ask them to help you out.

Aromatherapy oils are very potent and should be diluted before applying to the skin. Carrier oils such as sweet almond, coconut, sunflower, avocado or jojoba are very efficient and a capsule of wheat germ oil can be added to the mix for additional vitamin E.

One drop of essential oil mixed into 20mls of carrier oils is sufficient for a pregnant woman and a child under four years of age. Always check, if you are pregnant, that the oil is suitable for use. Five to ten drops is enough for everyone else. Do not use mineral oils such as baby oil as they lie on the surface of the skin and can cause irritation. Mix the carrier oil and essential oil together and warm gently by rubbing the hands together before apply to the skin.

Relaxing oils

• Lavender
• Ylang Ylang
• Neroli
• Rose
• Jasmine
• Orange

Stimulating oils

• Lemon
• Bergamot
• Peppermint
• Rosemary
• Sandalwood

Facial oils

• Chamomile
• Frankincense
• Rose
• Juniper
• Lemongrass

Oils to avoid during pregnancy

• Basil
• Cinnamon
• Fennel
• Sage
• Marjoram
• Juniper
• Myrrh
• Rosemary
• Peppermint


Love has a reason; There is a meaning to the world; We're giving love." ~ Gavin DeGraw
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Content copyright © 2014 by Linda Heywood. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Linda Heywood. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Teresa Post for details.

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