Creams and lotions
This is a great way of using essential oils because it means you can administer little and often. Use organic shea butter or coconut butter. You simply add however many drops you need to use and stir them in. DO NOT make large quantities.
I have included a section on massage and of course this would be the preferred method of application for this, but actually massage oils can be used at any time. The vegetable oil is nothing more than a means of diluting the oil to transport it through the skin.
In the bath
Wallow in luxury, and I promise you nothing else really comes close to the relaxation of an aromatherapy bath. I tend not to make bath oils, rather a few drops straight in the water serves just as well. If you do have a contact who is an aromatherapist, ask them to make you a bath oil, because you can benefit from several oils at once rather than paying out for bottle after bottle of more, costly essential oils.
There are a variety of oil diffusers available. Once the oils evaporate they entirely change the atmosphere of the room. This is wonderful for also changing people’s moods, you can uplift, soothe arguments or even seduce. On a physical level this is useful for headaches, nausea, insomnia and breathing complaints in particular.
These are a great way to clean your surroundings. You might want to cleanse the air of bugs hanging about when the kids bring coughs and colds home, or perhaps simply refresh the scent of laundry and linen. If you don’t like using chemical cleaning products, these are good to wipe down surfaces, telephones and light switches where dirt and germs like to breed. Find yourself an atomiser spray. I use the ones you mist plants with. Use 12 drops of oil to a 50 ml bottle. Now you can simply add the oils to distilled water, but you will find the oils sink to the bottom. To break down the oils a little, add a teaspoon of alcohol into the mix which also prevents oily stains on your lavender scented linen.
Great for colds because it helps to unblock the sinuses, but I also do one of these once a week in my skin care regime to unblock the pores and really let the grime come away. Any size bowl will do, as long as it is big enough to get a good coverage of steam to the face but small enough to make a, airtight tent with the towel! Fill with boiling water, and add about 3 drops of essential oil. KEEP A GOOD 6 – 8 INS AWAY FROM THE BOWL – any closer and you will scald your face. Make a tent over your head with the towel so no steam can escape. Remain for as long as is comfortable. A quick word of warning, on rare occasions some asthmatics have found inhalations can set off symptoms, so if you do find you start to cough or wheeze, stop treatment immediately.
There are two types of compresses, hot and cold. To choose which one to use, think about the effect you want to bring about. Heat will open up and release tissues, cold will cease and tighten them. Any condition where you would have stuck a bag of peas on, use a cold compress, to relax something, use warm.
Fill the washing up bowl with just warmer than hand hot water and then add 5 drops of essential oil. Soak your compress and wring out well. Place on the affected part, and keep warm with a hot water bottle on top. Leave for 5 minutes.
Same as above with cold water and substitute water bottle for ice or that same bag of peas! Ensure you keep the person warm because temperature can drop very quickly doing this. It can be useful to use both. To draw out pus from an ulcer – use warm to open the tissues, and cold to close them to rest, then when you open them again with a warm compress, it draws the pus out much faster. Alternating compresses makes a suction action which is very efficient. What is important to remember is when you draw toxins out into a compress, it brings body salts with it. These are very corrosive to towels!! Don’t throw your towel in the laundry basket and forget about it because when you come to wash it…it will be full of holes! Wash out compresses immediately. Many people use pieces of muslin.
Make sure you wash separately from general washing – PREFERABLY by hand – using gloves. Soak and rinse well then to ensure cloths are clean, once all the pus has been removed, soak in boiling hot water to which you may add tea tree oil once the water cools a bit or some food grade hydrogen peroxide.
In France, where the therapists undergo a much more in depth training than anywhere else in the world, aromatherapists sometimes use oils neat on the skin. These are in cases where the therapist has taken a very full case history and is working at a deep level with the patients. It is best for the untrained therapist to remain within the confines of using diluted essences which are easily strong enough to do their jobs. Many oils cause sensitisation through undiluted use (in particular Tea tree) and can become very painful experiments. There are a couple of exceptions that prove that rule. Use lavender neat on a burn, pour it on with gusto, it will heal it far better than anything else will. Dab neat lavender onto teenage spots. It will balance the sebum production and attack any bacteria causing the break out.
Use lemon and tea tree neat on warts and verrucae. Apply with a cotton bud and avoid the surrounding skin because lemon in particular can burn. Otherwise, unless instructed by a qualified practitioner, please dilute the oils.
Essential oils are not suitable for everyone. The way they encourage the hormones in the systems to alter can create damaging effects in some groups.
The main people to have concerns are:
- Diabetes sufferers
- Epilepsy patients
- Pregnant women
- Breast feeding women
People with diabetes can safely use most essential oils with the exception of angelica oil. It is worth keeping essential oils containing high ketone content to a minimum especially when the diabetes symptoms are erratic.
Oils high in ketones are:
- Peppermint – Mentha x piperita
- Rosemary ct camphor – Rosmarinus officinalis ct camphor
- Rosemary ct verbenone – Rosmarinus officinalis ct verbenone/camphor
- Sage (Spanish) – Salvia lavandulifolia
- Spearmint – Mentha spicata
- Spike Lavender – Lavandula latifolia
- Turmeric – Curcuma longa
- Valerian (Root) – Valeriana officinalis
- Vetiver – Vetiveria zizanoides
- Dill and fennel however, are balancing to the pancreas and as such these are very helpful to suffers.
Neuro-toxic oils, dangerous not only to sufferers of epilepsy but also some types of schizophrenia too, are:
- Rosemary, fennel, sage, eucalyptus, hyssop, camphor and spike lavender (Lavendula latifolia).
- These are best avoided by these sufferers
The importance of caution when pregnant is worth mentioning again. See also main page of Therapeutic Aromatherapy, under ‘Caution’. The many actions that essential oils have, make essential oils dangerous in pregnancy. All essential oils should be avoided during the first 16 weeks.
Throughout the rest of the pregnancy avoid:
Angelica, Black Pepper, Clove, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Helichrysum, Marjoram, Myrrh, Nutmeg, Oregano, Peppermint, Roman Chamomile, Basil, Cassia, Cinnamon bark, Clary Sage, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Thyme, Vetiver, Wintergreen, White Fir.
The taste of essential oils oozes through into breast milk and so you may find it puts baby off feeding. There are some oils however which the breast-feeding mum may find useful. Carrot Seed Oil enhances milk flow, geranium soothes engorged breasts and Marigold heals cracked nipples. All others should be used with care. If baby does stop feeding stop using oils for a day and see what happens.