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ESSENTIAL OILS…WHAT THEY ARE AND HOW TO USE


My first experience with essential oils as an adult (that sounds a little naughty!) was a few years back. Having not enjoyed a good night’s sleep in a while I found myself wandering around the health food shop looking for a remedy. 
 
I stumbled upon an essential oil, thankfully named ‘Sweet Dreams’. A blend of Camomile, Marjoram,Sandalwood, Lavendar and Rose Geranium.
 
I kid you not, in about 2 minutes this essential oil blend would knock me right out.
 
And since then I’ve never looked back. Whilst typing this blog my room is softly scented with a blend called Mind Power – something for clarity and alertness.  
But let me stop here and explain first what an essential oil is.
An essential oil is an organic liquid which is extracted from plant material. Because it is reactive (volatile) it emits an aroma when exposed to air. Essential oils can come from different parts of the plant. And the oil has a different reaction to the body than say the plant in it’s natural state. It will only have some of the healing properties of the plant in its natural stated, however, as it is concentrated extract it is a more powerful substance, requiring only a few drops to create an obvious change.


Essential oils are usually applied topically to the skin or burned.
Aromatherapy or topical application are both highly effective forms of therapy and remedy. 
 
Personally, I regularly use lavendar, camomile, orange, lemon, eucalyptus, thyme and mint.They are brilliant at enhancing mood, encouraging the senses to relax and assisting with illness. They feel indulgent yet therapeutic. I find relief in the use of these oils. In fact, last year when I was struck down with pneumonia I truly believed that the steaming using Eucalptus and Thyme oil made a huge difference in speeding up the healing process.
 
  • Eucalyptus helps to clear the sinus and the respiratory system. It reduces inflammation for better breathing. It boosts the immune system and also can be used for burns, blisters, cuts, wounds, insect bites.
  • Thyme also acts as a decongestant and really helps with upper respiratory infections. Topically it can also be used for the temporary relief of arthritis by topical application. Better still Thyme oil strengthens the nerves, aids memory and concentration, can help with the feeling of exhaustion and combats depression.
  • Lavender has such a wonderful scent. It relieves headaches – I recommend topical application at your temples. It is also a natural antihistamine, anti-inflammatory and very calming. It can help reduce irritation, relax your breathing and encourage sleep.
  • Lemon improves immunity, relieves respiratory issues, is antibacterial and relieves respiratory inflammation. I mostly use it to feel refreshed and invigorated.
  • Orange is a vivacious oil that mixes well with most oils. Use to enliven your space and had a bit more pep!
  • Mandarin a softer version of orange and lemon works to soothe the nervous system and  reduce stress and tension, while also boosting the digestive system.
  • Roman Chamomile is anti-inflammatory, relaxing, relieves headaches and eases inflammation. It is also very soothing on the skin and works well when added to a balm or cream as a skin lotion. Ladies – this one is great for PMS and generally it is good for abdominal pain.
  • Peppermint will help to open those stuffed nasal passages and can reduce headaches. Mix in with a jojoba oil and use as a chest rub.
All oils can be used in a diffuser, as a steam or made into a balm. Here’s a little more info on how to use oils – there are a few different ways.

Topical application  – massage oil, balm:

When applying essential oils to the skin it’s important to remember that these oils are complex chemical mixtures that are capable of many different reactions when applied to the skin – which is also a chemically active area (natural enzymes, other products applied, environment). Mostly, when applied correctly, essentials oils have a positive effect on the skin – able to promote healing, reduce infections and inflammations, alleviate irritating skin conditions and improve skin quality.


It’s essential to always break the oil down with a carrier – another oil, balm or water – to diffuse and dilute the intensity. You don’t want to apply the oil straight to the skin.

As a rule of thumb for every 10mls or carrier oil or carrier balm (jojoba oil/cream is the best) add 5 drops of your essential oil. 

There are a few exceptions when it comes to applying essential oils neat (undiluted) and they are: 

  • burns, small cuts, abrasions, insect bites: Lavender 
  • wound treatments: Lavender, Patchouli, Palmarosa 
  • acne and pimples: Tea Tree 
  • corns and warts: Lemon

Other ways to use essential oils:


Inhalation – 6 drops to a bowl of very hot water. Cover your head and the bowl with a towel and inhale steam. Make sure you keep the eyes closed and keep a few tissues handy – trust me on this one. Or add a few drops to your eye pillow for a solid meditation session.





Oil burner – add 4 -6 drops to your oil burner for a little aromatherapy


Baths – add 6 drops to a dispersent (you can buy these from the health food shops) which help to ‘disperse’ the oil’ before adding to the bath and preventing skin contact


Compress – great for aches/pains and headaches.  Fill a bowl with warm water. Add 6 drops of essential oil and add a cloth into the water. Gently wring out the cloth and apply it to the area.

GargleMix 2-3 drops of essential oil with 3 drops of  Dispersant. Add the mixture to half a glass of water. Rinse around the mouth, gargle and spit out the water. Don’t swallow the water and expect a tingling sensation and probably not the greatest taste either.

SprayA great room deodoriser, or cleaner. I use a spray to clean my yoga mats and counter tops. To make up a 100 ml spray bottle – mix 10 drops of essential oil to 10 drops  Dispersant in the bottle. Shake the bottle to mix the ingredients and add water. 

Signing off with an exhale.

Pause. Listen. Live

Cx



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