How to use essential oils to soothe mind and body
We are often advised on the best ways to relax after a busy day, from practising yoga or hitting the gym to meditating.
However, another tactic could also come in useful for anyone who often finds themselves stressed out and fatigued come the end of the week – aromatherapy using essential oils.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are subtle liquids distilled from trees, roots, flowers, plants and seeds and because they are natural, they contain hormone-like properties. Each one is believed to have its own curative powers for the mind and body.
They have been used since the ancient times, primarily by early priests and priestesses from all religions to attract spirits and deities and banish evil. Used in the right way, they can bring love, light and inner calm to the practitioner.
Aromatherapy is the use and study of these essential oils in the field of herbalism and more than 300 separate oils are now in use across the globe.
We know that smells are one of the most powerful stimulators of our mood and behaviour – for example, the scent of cut grass can instantly catapult you memory back to childhood and playing on the school field, while a cologne may bring a long-dead grandparent to mind.
It is this link between scent and mood that aromatherapy works on – by tailoring specific oils to each person and their needs, practitioners can create a positive effect on their emotional and physical health.
How can they be used?
There are various ways in which aromatherapy can be administered. They can be added to a bath, inhaled in hot water, put into lotions or compresses, applied directly to the skin or vapourised using an oil burner.
However, it is vital to take great care when using essential oils and to follow the directions on the packaging, as not all can be applied directly to the skin and some will need to be diluted before you use them in any way.
Oils should never be ingested and pregnant women will need to check with a qualified aromatherapist or their GP before coming into contact with them, as will anyone with an existing medical condition such as epilepsy.
Once you have taken the appropriate safety measures, you can do some research on the different blends that could help to soothe your body and soul using specialist books or the internet. For example, a meditation blend can be made and applied to the brow chakra to aid your mindfulness sessions.
You should aim to breathe deeply, allowing your tummy to expand as well as your chest, in order to activate their magical properties.
Blends for you to try
One of the most popular formulae for beginners in aromatherapy to try is ½ oz of an organic carrier oil, eight drops of lavender, six drops of sandalwood, three drops of frankincense and three drops of rosewood. This should help you feel calm and activate your higher self.
You can also combine three drops of rosemary, orange, lemon balm and jasmine in a diffuser to fill a room with scent and energise your mind.
Another tip is to use orange oil to clean your home. Not only is it natural and so won't expose you to chemical nasties like typical household cleaners, but it is also effective at eliminating grime.
It will smell wonderful and also has links to the sun's energy because it was solar power that helped the fruit from which it was taken to grow. You should therefore feel a calming energy come into your life when you breathe it in, as well as a boost to your mood, even when the weather isn't great outside.
Essential oils can have incredibly long shelf lives, with some remaining usable for up to six years. You can therefore build your collection gradually to ensure you've got a blend for all kinds of requirements.
However, we'd always recommend stocking up on a carrier oil and some of the common ones like lavender, sandalwood and orange blosssom first, as these tend to be staples.
Seeking aromatherapy from a professional
You may have been reading this and thinking you don't want to buy essential oils yourself, or have the task of properly mixing them and applying them.
Don't worry though; this doesn't mean you need to miss out completely. There are numerous professional aromatherapists who offer their services across the UK and you can easily make appointments regularly if you decide you like the effects aromatherapy has.
Often, practitioners will combine the application of essential oils with a massage, so you get a really relaxing treat that reaches the mind and the body to de-stress you.
However, always use someone who has a good reputation and professional qualifications, as there are unfortunately many people out there who aim to cash in on holistic therapies rather than make sure they offer benefits to clients.
You can find reputable clinics or individuals via the International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists website, which is a registered charity.
We hope you enjoy experimenting with how oils can soothe your ills – and if you want to follow up with something equally spiritual, why not book a tarot reading with us too?