Aromatherapy 101

March 25, 2008

Some of the questions I get asked the most revolve around the idea of aromatherapy. As the quest to go green expands to more households, everyone wants to experiment with healing and beauty in a more natural manner. Although it may seem daunting, it really is ridiculously simple. All you need is to start is a few essential oils, a base oil to blend them with and a 'recipe' guide and you're on your way. 

Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils (natural extracts from flowers, leaves, bark, seeds or other plant components) to help heal and treat your body, mind and spirit. They can do everything from soothe a pounding headache to energize you before a big board meeting. Some of my favorite ways to use essential oils include using a diffuser to spread the aroma through the air, pouring blend of oils into a warm bath or using them for a massage. The main thing though, is that you're in control. If you want your massage to be soothing, use a calming scent like Lavender. If you're looking for a more stimulating experience you could use a citrus essential oil such as Lemon. All you need is a carrier oil - a base oil like Almond, Jojoba or Apricot oil-and a few basic essential oils.

It's really all about mixing and matching, discovering what scents you love and what essential oils are useful in your life. Plus, it's just simply fun to spend an afternoon concocting your own special essential oil blend. After you've mastered the basics, you can really go crazy. But for beginners I suggest purchasing a Jojoba carrier oil and one of Primavera's three tester sets. They allow you to experiment with a wide variety of oils without having to break the bank. Each contains 1ml bottles of 25-32 different oils.

And since you don't want to feel like a mad scientist haphazardly tossing different oils together, I suggest getting a guide to help you create essential oil blends. One of my favorite 'recipe' books is Aromatherapy: Essential Oils for Vibrant Health & Beauty by Roberta Wilson. I've found that it's easy to use, not too technical and it offers many wonderful ways to use essential oils (along with facts and tips along the way). Then you'll have everything you need to master the amazing art of aromatherapy.