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In this the third and final part of our series on How to use Essential Oils we take a look at what oils to use in which situations.
Essential Oils: How To Article Part 3
How to Use Essential Oils Part 3: Different essential oils and what they can be used for.
Essential oils are powerful substances with incredible healing potential. Scientists are increasingly looking at essential oils for their properties and possible applications. Much attention has been given to a number of essential oils for their anti-microbial and antiseptic properties, as well as many other diseases and conditions for which orthodox medicine seems to have few answers.
However, this article is not looking at the science that is going on. Rather we will discuss the tried and tested applications of several major essential oils that are safe to use and readily available.
Choosing Your Essential Oils
Obviously we can’t discuss all the essential oils in this Article, however, you can review a more comprehensive list of Essential oils by looking at our INGREDIENTS page, which lists quite a few more oils and by clicking on the name of the oil in this and the Ingredients list, you can find out much more detail about each of the essential oils you are interested in.
Combining your knowledge
Over the past 3 months, we have looked at the ways you can use essential oils in your life. Initially we looked at the various actions and properties of various essential oils. This provided an insight into the essential oils that had particular properties. For example we looked at Anti-septic oils, which included: Basil, Bergamot, Clary sage, Chamomile, Cyprus, Eucalyptus, Fennel, Frankincense, Geranium, Jasmine, Juniper, Lavender, Lemon, Lime, Marjoram, Neroli, Patchouli, Peppermint, Rose, Tea tree, and many other essential oils.
Then, in the second article, we examined the different ways essential oils can be applied. For example you can use Lavender oil in a diffuser which is to be placed in your bedroom in order to help you go to sleep. Or you can add 3-5 drops into a bath to help relax and unwind, after a stressful day.
In this, the 3rd article, we have so far looked at the specific actions of a particular essential oil, what type of fragrance it has and what ‘note’ it has.
What’s a Note, you ask?
When creating an oil blend, we need to not only consider what we want the blend to do, based upon the indications for each of the oils chosen, but also what the resulting blend will smell like – will we like to use it?
There is often a trade-off between creating an oil blend that will achieve certain objectives and producing a blend that has a balanced and pleasing aroma.
There are several methods used to blend oils. One commonly used approach is the concept of ‘The Three Levels of Being’ (Tisserand, 1984), which is based upon the principle of combining essential oils according to their "energy level", odour intensity, or volatility. This method is used as a guideline for creating an oil blend such that each oil component harmonises with the other oils in the blend, and each oil can be distinguished individually.
The concept is an adaptation of the principles used by Perfumiers that categorises aromas into 3 groups likened in their aromas to musical notes: Base, Middle and Top. This idea can be further extended to include correspondences to the physical body, the mind and emotions and the spirit.
It is important to remember that the terms Base, Middle and Top are relative.
Base Note oils are slow acting with a long-lasting smell. In terms of combined fragrances they form the basic character of the blend, and they also act as "fixatives", slowing down the release of more volatile oils. In this way they have a "calming" effect on an oil blend, and give it "body". Gums, resins and woody oils are usually in this category of Base Notes, e.g. Sandalwood, Vetiver and Cedarwood.
Base Notes have a strengthening effect on body tissues and are often recommended for elderly and debilitated people to strengthen the physical body. They also promote proper function of the skin and mucous membranes.
Looking at mental and emotional correspondences, base notes sedate, solidify and have a "grounding" influence and are good for erratic, airy, nervous "space cadet" types and for those who have weak "connections" to the physical body.
Middle note oils are considered to be Harmonisers. They have a steady evaporation rate, and "fill the gap" between the Top Notes which evaporate quickly and the Base Notes which linger on giving the oil blend roundness and fullness.
Essential oils with spicy, herbaceous "green", fresh aromas are usually categorised as Middle Notes. Some of the floral fragrances may also fall into this category, e.g. Cardamom, Pepper, Lavender, Basil, Hyssop, Clary Sage. At least one middle note oil should be added to every oil blend to form the link between the physical and mental/emotional levels. As harmonisers, it is not surprising to find that Middle Note oils tend to correspond to the area of the body between the Navel and the Throat - i.e. they affect respiration, digestion, absorption, elimination and heart rate, with the primary effect being on the Autonomic Nervous System.
Middle Note oils also provide a "bridge" for communication between the mind and body, with a particular effect on the emotions through the Limbic System.
Generally, Top Note oils are stimulating and uplifting, traditionally represented by those fragrances that are the first we recognise and clearly identify in an oil blend. They are fast acting and short-lived in their effects on the body. Strong, light floral fragrances, the mints and citrus fragrances come into this category, and also some of the herbaceous “green” fragrances like Juniper, Rosemary and Sage. Top Note oils are best for people who are depressed with slow metabolic activity. The Top notes also stimulate intellectual function and provide a good "pick me up" for those who are under stress.
How to put it all together
Now that you know what functions each of the essential oils has and how to use the oil, it’s time to learn how to combine them into a specific blend that you can use in your daily life.
Let’s establish some ground rules.
Quantities and Dilutions:
All quantities and dilutions are given in ml (millilitres). For the purposes of this article, 1 ml, 1 cc (cubic centimetre) and 1 g (gram) may be regarded as interchangeable.
For all massage oils we use a dilution of 2.5%. This is equivalent to: 1 Drop of Essential oil to 2 ml of vegetable oil.
NB: There are 25 drops of essential oil to 50 ml of total blend. So, whatever size bottle you use, simply divide its capacity in mls by 2 and this will give you to total number of drops of the essential oil you need to add to the bottle.
First add the drops of essential oil and then just fill the bottle to the top with your vegetable oil.
For rheumatic pain
General relaxing blend
These are just 2 examples to help you get started. By looking at the first article and selecting the essential oils you find indicated for a specific action, you can start to create your own massage blends.
Here’s one more
You may need to use more than one essential oil to address the problem you are targeting, for example if you have a sore, painful, inflamed ankle, which you have sprained in say the Gym, doing exercise, you may wish to consider using oils such as Bergamot, Chamomile and Lavender. In this case you would use 10 drops of each oil NOT 30 DROPS EACH.
Use 8-12 drops (in total) of essential oil(s) for bowl of hot water
Use 3-5 drops in total of essential oil(s)
Now you know the basic principles and aspects of how to make your own Aromatherapy blend for some general problems.
If you are interested in more detail and greater understanding of Aromatherapy, there are some fantastic books we would highly recommend as your starting point.
There are literally hundreds of books on Aromatherapy, however, the list above is a good starting point for getting the basics right and understanding the principles and concepts behind Aromatherapy.
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