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Aromatherapy – The Use of Essential Oils and Hydrosols

Aromatherapy has been used for centuries and for good reason – it has profound therapeutic value.  But what differentiates commercial aromatherapy products from “true aromatherapy”?  To a certain degree, anything that smells good can be uplifting and even transport you to another time and place if the scent reminds you of someone, something or some experience.  But, when you’re looking for a true healing modality – that’s when you bring in high-quality essential oils.   The fluid by-product of steam distillation, known as a hydrosol, works well as a facial toner or for a healing compress.  Rose, Lavender, Peppermint, Chamomile and Tea Tree are the most commonly used hydrosols.

Essential oils are very complex plant extracts.  They are extracted from tiny sacs in various parts of the plant – flower, root, stem, wood, bark, leaves, seeds or the skin of a fruit (citrus oils).  Steam distillation has been the most commonly used method of extraction but there are others:  solvent extraction or the more recently popular method of CO2 extraction which uses pressure and carbon dioxide.

Essential oil diffusers could be used to propel the exquisite molecules into the air to clean your environment, bring a state of peace and relaxation or to “rev up your engine”!  Which oil(s) you choose is what makes the difference.  Here are some examples:  Frankincense is excellent for the respiratory system; Lemon Verbena will keep the insects away; Tea tree will purify your environment since it is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral; any of the citruses (Lemon, Lime, Mandarin Orange and Bergamot) as well as Peppermint, Basil or Ravensara (small doses of these 3) serve as stimulants; we know Lavender can relax the Mindbody (but it is in mint family so for some it can stimulate so try in small doses).  Other relaxers are Rose, Neroli, Chamomile, Cedarwood and Clary Sage.  This list, by no means, covers all the oils in their category – there are a vast amount of essential oils available.  Also of note:  essential oils are multi-purpose so if you put together a basic, at-home kit, you will most likely be able to accomplish more than you realize.

Very often, for topical use, you will want to choose essential oils that are blended into a “carrier oil” – especially when your intention is to apply them to your face, neck or upper chest area (decollete`), or you can do your own blending.  My favorite carrier oils are avocado (for normal, dry or aging skin); grapeseed (normal to oily); coconut (some have reported an increase in black-heads, I don’t agree that’s the culprit); jojoba oil (any skin type), tamanu (excellent for delicate, compromised skin); apricot kernel oil (any skin type)……and the list goes on.  The only time I recommend an essential oil to be used directly on the regions mentioned above is when you are treating a pustule (a pimple) – in that case, essential oil of Tea Tree can be used in a very small quantity (a single drop); directly on the lesion or lavender can be used on a burn….but be aware that the burned area will feel worse before it feels better….but the healing potential is great, so it’s worth it!  As for other oils being chosen for body wellness, I have no concerns with them being applied to the soles of the feet without a carrier oil.  If you plan on using them in other areas, please do choose a carrier oil.

If you are a fan of bathing, essential oils work very nicely in tubs when mixed with bath salts.  10 drops of oil into 1/2 cup of salts will work well.

When mixing oils for topical use, creating the right dilution is important.  The face typically does best with a 2- 2.5% dilution which would equate to about 15-17 drops per 1 oz of carrier oil; whereas a body oil could be mixed at a 5% dilution which would require approximately 30 – 35 drops per 1 oz of carrier oil.

Core Healing Essentials developed four (4) essential oil blends referred to as Vibrational Frequency Formulas.  Three of the formulas were created to help one process through specific emotions:  Dream Power assists with the processing of aggravation, frustration and anger; Empowerment helps one stand in their true authentic power overcoming self-doubt and other self-esteem issues; Joyous was beautifully designed to help one overcome sadness and guilt; while Astral Healing helps one more effectively connect to Spirit and also helps to balance the Chakra System (see previous post).

It is worth noting that essential oils work best when used in synergy – meaning that 3 or more oils are combined together to create a therapeutic formula.  In my next posting, I will provide a few of my favorite recipes…..so come back and visit soon.

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