Although I was unable to make it to the Herb Sanctuary today I was really pleased to be asked to talk at a Me Too event in Wolverhampton where I met some lovely people and had an enjoyable morning. We had 45 minutes for aromatherapy and 45 minutes for reflexology to cover some basic information and look at how we could help ourselves in daily life.
What is aromatherapy?
In aromatherapy we use essential oils which are concentrated plant extracts to help with our physical and emotional well-being. The essential oils can relax or revitalise you and can be used to help with headaches, colds, aches and pains and skin complaints. Aromatherapy is a great way to help to relax, unwind and cope with the pressures of everyday life.
Aromatherapy has been in use since ancient times, the Egyptians 4000 years ago and Chinese 2700 years ago. The term aromatherapy came into use in the twentieth century. A French chemist, Dr Jean Valnet, burnt his arm in a laboratory and plunged his arm into the nearest liquid available which was Lavender oil and he noticed how quickly the skin healed. He then looked into the properties of other essential oils.
Aromatherapy is thought to work in two ways; by smell which affects the mood centres in the brain and by minute amounts being absorbed by the skin. The properties of each oil are different.
Although these essential oils are natural remedies they are very concentrated and need to be used with care. Never take any oils internally and with the only exception of Lavender oil, never use oils neat on your skin. Essential oils need to be diluted before they are put onto the skin, a vegetable oil such as sunflower oil can be used.
It is also important to make sure that you have genuine essential oils and not perfume oils to ensure safety. You can buy the oils from shops like Boots or Holland and Barrett’s. An on line aromatherapy supplier I can recommend is Penny Price .
An essential oil is obtained from plant material such as leaves, fruits and flowers and is most often obtained by steam distillation. It can take a lot of plant material to make a small amount of oil.
How to use essential oils at home
· A few drops on a tissue on a radiator will fragrance a room as it warms up.
· 2 drops on a tissue or cotton wool ball can be smelt throughout the day or placed by a pillow at night.
· For massage put 4 drops in 2 teaspoons of a carrier oil such as sunflower oil.
· A few drops can be put in the bath to relax or revitalise, add the essential oils to a teaspoon of vegetable oil or milk first to ensure the essential oils are mixed better in the water. Put 8 drops into a bath, 4 drops could be put into a foot bath. If oil is put into a bath take great care as it will become slippery
The six oils we looked at were lemon, eucalyptus, peppermint, roman chamomile, tea tree and lavender.
· Helps with concentration and clear thoughts.
· Helps to become calmer and relaxed.
· Helps with colds, fights off bacteria.
· Can be used to help disinfect worktops, put 5 drops in a small spray bottle filled with water and spray onto worktops. This spray could also be used as an air freshener.
· Use on verrucae and warts.
· Tones the skin.
· Use in the bath to calm and soothe skin or to relieve stress. Can be used with skin problems like psoriasis and eczema.
· To relieve stress or aches and pains, massage diluted oil onto body or affected muscles or joints.
· For insect bites and stings put one drop of essential oil onto affected area.
· For minor burns put 2 drops of neat oil onto area after first running under cold water. (remember only to use lavender oil neat in this way)
· To aid sleep put 2 drops on a tissue or cotton wool ball near to your pillow.
· Helps relieve stress and to create relaxation.
· Massage a small amount onto temple area for headaches.
· Fights off bacteria.
· Use to help with concentration and to feel more awake.
· To help with travel sickness take a tissue with 2 drops of essential oil on it to smell on the journey.
· For headaches put 1 drop into 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil and massage a small amount onto forehead.
· For nausea, indigestion and wind put 1 drop into a teaspoon of vegetable oil and gently massage abdomen in a clockwise motion.
· Can be used for aches and pains.
· Used in commercial products for headaches to rub onto forehead.
· Known as an oil safe to use on children (diluted).
· If feeling stressed, anxious, worried, exhausted or can’t sleep put 2 drops onto a tissue to inhale.
· Use for a calming bath or in a bath to help skin or aches and pains.
· Use diluted for a calming massage or for aching muscles or inflamed joints.
· For a stomach upset or colic use 1 drop in 1 teaspoon of carrier oil gently massaged in a clockwise direction over the abdomen.
· Can be used to help soothe teething babies.
· For colds, flu or blocked nose inhale 2 drops from a tissue.
· 1 drop in a teaspoon of carrier oil could be used as a chest rub for colds and flu.
· Use as an insect repellent.
· Aids concentration.
· Antiseptic and antiviral.
· Can help with pain relief; massage diluted oil onto affected area.
· Found in products such as Olbas Oil to help with colds and conjestion.
· To relax and rejuvenate put 4-6 drops into a bath.
· For Athletes Foot or smelly feet use in a foot bath.
· Use on spots, verrucae and warts.
· Antibacterial and antifungal.
· Commonly found in oral hygiene products.