Want to try this ancient therapy, but not sure where to start? Nicole Barton, consultant aromatherapist at Base Formula (baseformula.com) is here to help
Aromatherapy is one of the most gentle and versatile of the complementary healing arts. It harnesses the natural, therapeutic powers of essential oils to relieve a whole host of physical and emotional complaints ranging from stress, anxiety and fatigue through to insomnia, aches and pains, and problem skin conditions.
Essential oils are extracted from aromatic flowers, leaves, bark, roots, fruits and berries. They are complex substances that have many different properties. Like any other medicine, essential oils have a powerful effect and can chemically alter the body, albeit in a completely natural way! The oils enter the body via inhalation and by absorption through the pores of the skin. Once inside they enter the bloodstream and travel to the different organs and body systems where they begin to trigger healing.
Essential oils are pure, plant substances which have been used for thousands of years so they can be trusted to help with our health problems in a safe and natural way. Here are some tops tips for treating everyday ailments.
A relaxing aromatherapy bath with two drops each of bergamot mint, rose and geranium mixed with 15ml of bath base or a cup of full fat milk.
Bergamot mint is excellent for emotional wellbeing. While it eases feelings of anxiety, fear or panic, it also helps to lift the emotions. It’s a great choice when you need a calming oil that isn’t sedative.
Rose helps to alleviate anxiety and nervous tension. It is soothing and nurturing, offering mental, emotional and physical support during times of stress.
Geranium has an antidepressant effect and helps to balance and lift moods and emotions.
Mixing two drops each of plai, black pepper and sweet marjoram in 15ml of carrier oil and massage gently into the affected area.
Plai has long been used by Thai massage therapists for its powerful pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory properties. It is one of the best oils for easing aches, pains and inflammation.
Black pepper has also been used as a medicinal spice for thousands of years and is excellent for treating pain and stiffness.
Sweet marjoram is a popular analgesic that is especially good for muscular, rheumatic and arthritic pain
Popping a couple of drops of rosemary or peppermint onto a cotton pad or tissue and inhale. Alternatively mix up to 30 drops of lemon and peppermint oil in 100ml of water (or orange flower hydrolat) and use as a reviving room spritz to energise mind and body and dispel fatigue.
Rosemary is the strongest of all the cephalic (brainstimulating oils). It is great, particularly first thing in the morning, to get your energy flowing and your mind focused on the day ahead.
Peppermint is refreshing and promotes alertness and clarity of thought and lemon has a fruity, uplifting aroma that leaves you feeling energised and inspired.
Sniffing basil or peppermint essential oils off a cotton pad or tissue or rubbing a few drops of neat lavender into the temples.
Basil has been used for treating headaches for hundreds of years. Like rosemary it has a cephalic effect and can help to clear the head and relieve mental fatigue.
Peppermint and lavender have an analgesic effect and work well together, with the stimulating peppermint helping to counteract the sedative nature of lavender.
Peppermint, ginger, mandarin or fennel. Choose up to three essential oils and blend up to two drops of each in 15ml of carrier oil.
Then massage into the tummy in a clockwise direction. Alternatively, diffuse two to three drops of each oil in an aromatherapy diffuser or candle burner.
Peppermint is one of the best oils for all types of digestive problems, while ginger has a calming effect on the digestive system and helps to ease nausea (including travel and morning sickness), diarrhoea and stomach cramps.
Mandarin acts as a digestive tonic and anti-spasmodic and is great for calming the tummy and indigestion. It’s also good for morning sickness.
Fennel speeds digestion and can help to soothe indigestion, nausea and wind.
A steam inhalation with two drops ravensara, three drops eucalyptus and three drops benzoin.
Ravensara is a strong antiviral with expectorant properties.
It’s great for boosting immunity and fighting illness.
Eucalyptus is a popular decongestant and expectorant and is ideal for relieving coughs, colds and other respiratory ailments.
Benzoin is also an effective expectorant and has been used for years in friar’s balsam – a traditional remedy for chesty coughs and colds.
Using chamomile, lavender and cedarwood. Pop a drop of each on a cotton pad and leave it in your pillow case or next to your bed at night time.
Lavender and chamomile soothe stresses and strains, helping you to relax and unwind.
Cedarwood inspires peace and calm and is thought to aid the production of melatonin – a hormone that supports the body’s natural sleep cycle.
A daily diffuser blend with six to eight drops total of geranium, rose and ylang ylang. Diffuse the oils for 15 to 30 minutes at a time. The same oils can also be used in a massage blend – use two drops of each in 15ml of carrier oil.
Geranium and rose have an affinity with the female system and can help to balance both the hormones and emotions.
Ylang ylang has a relaxing, calming effect – helping to regulate the mood and ease stress and anxiety.
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