Safely Using Essential Oils For Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy, which uses scents to relieve stress or bring other medical benefits, can't be accomplished without some way of concentrating scents so they can have an effect. While flowers and such carry their own scents, ensuring that they're stronger than happens naturally is the way to help make aromatherapy more effective. The way that this is most often accomplished is through the use of essential oils. But while essential oils in aromatherapy work well, they're so potent that precautions may be taken when using them. Let's learn a little about essential oils for aromatherapy and how to use them safely.
What Are They?
Just as in all people, all plants contain some amount of oils, whether large or small. These oils are often what help to carry fragrances in plants, but occur in very small amounts. It's through the process of distilling that allows companies to gather larger amounts of essential oils as well as concentrate them so that they're more potent. Essential oils for aromatherapy are usually found in the beauty department of stores, or with therapy products, sold in small bottles.
The problem lies in this concentrated form, which can result in scents or sensations so intense that they can be painful. For instance peppermint oil, which in diluted amounts has a fresh smell and a pleasant, cool, tingling sensation when applied to the skin for essential oils for aromatherapy, can be so intense that it feels like your skin is burning if the essential oil were to be applied directly to the skin. Also, essential oils can be toxic when ingested, so they should be used in a diffuser, which transfers scents to the air, or on the skin only. When you want to use essential oils for aromatherapy with skin contact, that's where carrier oils come in.
Using Carrier Oils
A common practice in massage is to use oil to reduce friction and make the massage more comfortable, and some masseurs use essential oils for aromatherapy at this time. But as we've already discussed, essential oils can be uncomfortable when applied directly to the skin. Carrier oils are usually nothing more complex than vegetable oils, which are fairly neutral in composition and can generally be used on skin without problems.
The way to use them with essential oils for aromatherapy in a massage is to add one or two drops of essential oils to a larger amount of carrier oil, at least 8 ounces. This won't dilute the scent of the essential oils too much, but will keep them from being uncomfortable. With this precaution, essential oils for aromatherapy are a great idea, whether you use it to put the scents in your home or as part of a relaxing massage.