Aromatherapy is more than sweet smelling concoctions that you use to perfume a bath or candle!
What is aromatherapy then?
Aromatherapy is a form of mixology! No seriously, aromatherapy is the science of blending chemicals found in plant essential oils to elicit a certain effect on the body.
In brief, plant essential oils are released by tiny glands found on a plant’s leaves, petals or bark. These oils have chemical compounds in them. An aromatherapist knows which oils have which chemicals and so can mix them together to create a cocktail. The exact mix will depend on what the aromatherapist is trying to achieve. So, for example, different oils are used to repel insects, ease a cough, cheer a person up or induce a good night’s sleep.
How do you use this cocktail?
A qualified aromatherapist can apply a ‘mix’ by blending the essential oils with a carrier oil. The carrier oil is thicker than the essential oils but allows the plant oils to be applied to the skin. Sixty percent of what you put on your skin is absorbed into your body. The chemical compounds in essential oils are so tiny that they are not only absorbed into the skin but can penetrate into the blood stream and move around the body. When in the body they mix with the body’s own chemicals and alter the state of the body.
That’s not all!
Aromatherapy oils have some very practical applications. You can use the calming, anti-inflammatory effects of the chemicals in lavender and chamomile to make after sun gel (read our blog) or the insect repellent properties of lemon grass to make insect repellent (see our video).
Death to bacteria!
Certain oils have a very strong antibacterial effect. The essential oil of cinnamon bark kills the bacteria that cause upper respiratory tract infections (put a few drops in a bowl of hot water and inhale the steam), and wild thyme has been found to kill MRSA.
Some oils are excellent at killing the bacteria found on the skin which causes unpleasant body odour when mixed with sweat. Natural deodorants are an excellent way to control body odour and have the added advantage of having few side effects and not damaging your clothes! Take a look at our video to see how to make your own natural deodorant.
Here’s the recipe used in the video.
- 100ml rosewater
- 50ml lavender water
- 50ml geranium water
- 20 drops of lavender essential oil
- 20 drops of geranium essential oil
- 10 drops lemon essential oil
- Mix the flower waters in a jog
- Add in the essential oils
- Use a funnel to pour the mix into a spray bottle
- Label the bottle and use as often as required
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