Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils as a form of therapy.The usual methods of application are in baths, in massage or, to diffuse it in the air.It is also used in cosmetics, body creams and hair care.It is very effective in relieving stress, helping a person fight off infections, for insomnia, as a mild pain killer and for minor ailments.
In general, you can use many essential oils in baths. To use, fill your bathtub with warm water. Dilute 4 drops of essential oil in 1 tablespoon of cold pressed vegetable oil like Soya oil, almond oil or grapeseed oil and add it to your bath water.
Massage. You can use the non-irritating essential oils in massage. Make a massage oil by mixing 2 drops of essential oil in 1 teaspoon of cold pressed vegetable oil. Mix well. Use as a massage oil on your body. Note: The first time you use a particular essential oil, do an allergy test with 1 drop of the oil mixture first on your elbow wait 24 hours for any averse reaction. If you are not allergic to it, then try massaging it all over yourself. Better still. Get your partner to give you a nice relaxing massage.
Diffuse in the air
If you have a essential oil burner, then use it.
Otherwise, you could put a few drops of the oil in some dried wooden shavings, in some pot pourri or any porous material to scent the room.
Another way is to put a few drops of the oil on an empty bag of a vacuum cleaner and vacuum the room. The air expelled from the vacuum cleaner will diffuse the oil in the room.
Carrier oils in aromatherapy
Essential oils are highly concentrated and very potent. With very few exceptions, they are too potent to be used undiluted on your skin.
Most of the time, they would be diluted in carrier oils for massage.
For body massage, a normal dilution of 2% or a strong dilution of 3% would be sufficient.
For hair or facial massage, a weak dilution of 0.5% or a low dilution of 1% would be sufficient. (Note: Some oils are skin irritants and should not be used on your face at all. Also, such oils, if used on the body should be used at a 0.5% dilution or lower.
This translates to 1 drop of essential oil to 1 teaspoon of carrier oil for a 1% dilution
OR 2 drops of essential oil to 1 teaspoon of carrier oil for a 2% dilution
OR 3 drops of essential oil to 1 teaspoon of carrier oil for a 3% dilution
OR 1 drop of essential oil to 2 teaspoons of carrier oil for a 0.5% dilution
Always dilute essential oils before use as they could cause adverse effects if used undiluted.
Types of carrier oils
For cosmetic uses or massage purposes, get the best quality cold pressed oils you can find. These can be found in most places which sell essential oils for aromatherapy. The oil used for cooking is normally of lower grade and is likely to contain impurities. Not a problem for cooking but not suitable for cosmetic purposes.
Apricot Kernel Oil
(Apricot oil) This oil is light, easily absorbed and moisturises well. It contains vitamin E. It can be used to moisturise both the face and body.
Soya Bean Oil
This is a light oil. It contains vitamins A, E and K. Some say it is comedogenic. So not for use on your face.
Sweet Almond oil
This is obtained from the sweet almond. It is one of the more popular carrier oils in body massage. It is a very good lubricant. It is very good for body massage. It moisturises the skin very well. This is different from the bitter almond oil which could cause headaches and other allergic reactions if used in large quantities.
Wheat germ Oil
This oil is very rich in vitamin E. It is not a good lubricant on its own and is usually mixed with other oils to help them keep longer. A mixture of 10% wheat germ oil with another carrier oil would keep about 1 month longer than the carrier oil alone. The vitamin E in it helps slow down the rate at which the oils oxidise.