A: Aromatherapy is both a science and an art that uses the concentrated essences of plants to bring about healing of the mind, body and spirit.
Q: What Are Essential Oils?
A: Essential oils are essences distilled from plants. They are the secondary metabolites of the plant that form as it grows and matures. Strangely, the chemicals are not needed for the plants respiration, but instead are created, by nature, to attract pollinators and to deter predators and competition for the species. They are the plant’s means of both survival in times of stress and for perpetuating the future of its family’s existence.
EA Aromacare carefully handpick producers with the greatest passion forcreating these wondrous elixirs from flowers, herbs, woods and resins. They do this by forcing steam through the matter. This releasesaromatic molecules and then when the steam cools, it separates into an essential oil and water. Some of the natural chemicals remain in the water and you might recognise this in gorgeous products such as rosewater, for instance.
Q: What’s the Difference Between Aromatherapy and Essential Oils?
A: Essential oils are a kind of plant medicine, but aromatherapy encompasses far more than simply the oils. True aromatherapy believes that illness comes from some kind of dis-ease in your life and the therapy is about gaining balance in your everyday existence. It draws together mental wellness, physical wellbeing, and spiritual relief using fragrances that communicate with our mind, and thus internal chemistry, at the most primitive level. Modern medicine now agrees that our emotions influence our health greatly and is researching many essential oils to see how they can influence, not only emotional, but physical distress too.
By all means follow essential oil recipes that focus on “how to treat” coughs and coldsetc, but always try to peel back the layers of your illness like an onion. Ask yourself “My body has forced me to stop. Why? What’s it trying to tell me? “
Build in a daily regime ofself-care of relaxation (lavender), support for the adrenals in times of stress (geranium), loving and sensuous time (ylangylang) and see how much healthier generally you feel. Aromatherapy is far more than just a first aid kit, it is away to a happier, healthier life.
Q: How Do I use Essential Oils?
A: Essential oils should always be diluted in some medium. Traditional use is to use a carrier oil to make a massage oil, but one can also use creams and lotions or indeed sea salt absorbs oils very well to make beautiful bath salts.
Many people like to use diffusers as a means to change the atmosphere in a room, or to unblock stuffy noses or even help children to concentrate with their homework.
Inhalations and steam baths are soothing ways to both cleanse the skin and relieve nasal congestion.
Q: How Do I Dilute Essential Oils?
A: Always use a carrier oil to dilute essential oil (or a cream/ lotion or into salt also works well for baths). Carrier oils have their own sets of benefits and so as you become more accomplished you might want to experiment with more refined vegetable oils, but to my mind the best one is always going to be the one you have to hand. In my house that’s olive oil, in yours that might be sunflower, rapeseed or coconut. All work wonderfully, except for the need to melt coconut to make it easier to work with.
• Different dilutions are required, depending on who you are blending for.
• General Blend for adults- Maximum dilution3%
• Vulnerable or weakened states (frail old people or those after long term illness) Maximum dilution 2%
• Under six years old Maximum dilution1%
• Six months to six years Maximum dilution0.5%
• Under six months – not recommended.
Note the term “Maximum dilution” this means that it is perfectly acceptable (and sometimes preferable) to use less, but never more.
How to calculate:
• 1 ml of oil is 20 drops.
• 1 teaspoon of oil is 5 ml so 100 drops.
• 1% then is 1 drop to a teaspoon of oil.
• 3% is 3 drops in a teaspoon of oil
These dilutions refer to EACH oil, so if you make a blend of three oils, you can have 3 different oils at 3% each. In the example above, that would mean 3 x 3 drops = 9 drops of oil in a teaspoon of carrier oil.
Q: Why Do Some Oils Last Longer Than Others in A Diffuser?
A: A wonderful question and, in part, it is one that people have marvelled at for centuries. The first thing to ensure is you are not confusing “Essential” oils with “Perfume” or “Fragrance” oils which are both synthetic copies of plant essences designed to emit scent for longer periods.
Now, essential oils…
Imagine walking into a department store and trying on one of the most exquisite perfumes from an exclusive French fragrance house. As you spray it, the assistant suggests you test the fragrance several times over the next few minutes as the scent settles onto your skin and opens out. The technical term for this is the “Dry down”.
Just as we at EA AromaCare only source the purest, most exquisite oils, so do the best fragrance houses, knowing that the volatiles of various oil, give up their aromas, into the air, at different speeds. The heavier molecules in thick unguent oils like vetiver or myrrh take longer to lift than the lighter notes like lemon and orange. The bright uplifting top notes evaporate very quickly, deep sensual sedative notes will be those that linger for the longest.
The oils that disappear quickly from your diffuser are what are known as top notes. You will see a clue to the note by how quickly the drops come out of the bottle. If you have to wait a long time because the molecules are large and heavy, then these will be the sexy, long lasting base notes. These have the benefit of being lingering fragrances, but this also means your diffuser has to work harder to disperse them. Top notes like lemon and orange almost run out of the bottle and it is not unusual to realise you have used “too much” (it won’t matter!). These light, bright, uplifting fragrances diffuse quickly, then disappear into the ether like fairy wings on the breeze.
Naturally, heart or middle notes like geranium, ylangylang, lavender and camomile are some of the most popular choices for longevity of both fragrance and diffuser!
The fragrance houses, of course, need their perfumes to cling to our skins for a while. They cannot risk the beautiful citruses and precious upper floral notes like rose or neroli to drift away in a heartbeat. So, to anchor them, they dilute them with alcohols and fixatives such as orris root or copaiba. Aromatherapy does not have that luxury. Diluting and blending with adulterants would impede their therapeutic qualities so while other brands might take the choice that longevity of fragrance is more important than an oils ability to heal and relax, we prefer to trust nature’s pure essential oils just as they are. Fleeting, pervasive and magical.
Q: Can Oils be Used in a Sauna, Jacuzzi, or Steam Bath?
A: Aromatherapy is anartform derived from ancient healing modalities around the world. Since the sixteenth century, plant matter has been distilled into these magical elixirs we call essential oils, but freeing the essences into steam pre-dates that by, perhaps,a millennium.
Plant healers and herbalists through the ages have known the benefits of releasing the molecules into the air so we can breathe more easily, cleanse our spirits (as in the Native American sweat lodges) and become healthier in our minds, bodies, and spirits.
Saunas and steam baths are wonderful ways to replicate this, especially using oils like eucalyptus, frankincense and peppermint to open airways to help you breathe more easily, or indeed cleanse the pores to allow toxins to leave the skin and body. Just a drop or two, in the water being thrown onto the coals,will fill the air with curative molecules.
Likewise, the ancient practice of Ayurveda suggests oleation should always be followed by steam, so try stroking a massage oil with essential oils into the skin before entering the steam bath for an incredibly beneficial treatment.
Jacuzzis are more complex. Essential oils are hydrophobic, that is, they do not blend with water. (Obviously! Oil and water don’t mix!) So, they tend to float on the surface and after a while can cause a nasty residue in the jacuzzi that can be difficult to clean and eventually becomes damaging.
Instead, try adding four or five drops of essential oil into a standard bath oil recommended by manufacturers to improve the therapeutic properties of this luxurious pastime.
Q: Are Essential Oils Safe Around Babies and Children?
A: Babies and children respond very well to aromatherapy but essential oils are very potent things and should be used with care.
Opinions are divided about how old babies should be before you use essential oils on their skin, but most agree that by 6 months their natural protective oils on their skin have settled enough for aromatherapy baby massage to be safe and beneficial. A single drop of lavender in a tablespoon of carrier is a beautiful aid to bonding and well-earned rest!
Eucalyptus, in particular, should be used with care around new babies. While it is beautiful for killing coughs and colds, it contains a certain chemical that can slow respiration in infants, therefore you should only use it in very small dilutions in massage oil on the baby’s back.
If you are using a diffuser, never leave it running all night (with or without baby!) Do not diffuse for more than two hours then turn off for at least thirty minutes, to avoid headaches and nausea. This is good practice for adults or children.
Something like lavender will be gorgeous for helping the new addition sleep and will give you glorious respite when you are tired. Lemon or orange are wonderful pick me ups and make for happy babies, when used in a diffuser. I would avoid peppermint as it might be a little stimulating for them. The last thing you need is anything to keep them awake at night!
Q: Are Essential Oils Safe to Take Internally?
A: Ah! The six-million-dollar question! Oils such as rosemary, sage and thyme come from herbs we eat every day, so we know they are not toxic, but they are extremely concentrated.
In France, much aromatherapy is done by prescribing essential oils orally, but the standard of the education of the therapist is very high. They understand which ones to avoid because they might irritate the mucous membranes, they know which ones to will cause diarrhoea, they have a clear recognition of how the liver will metabolise the constituents and then how the body will use each one in turn.
Neither British or American therapists are covered on their professional insurances for ingestion of essential oils, because it is considered such a precarious practice.
Essential oils are hydrophobic so they will not disperse into water. Drinking them, then can be a game of Russian Roulette if your knowledge about exactly what an oil can do is incomplete. Some can be taken with a tablespoon of oil, but that is frankly hideous, or in a teaspoon of honey.
But here’s the thing. Rubbed into the skin, we know that the oils take nineteen minutes to reach the blood stream and then all of the components circulate the system to spread to the places that need them. When we breathe the oil, it takes just five minutes for the volatiles to reach the brain and to start influencing the messages being sent to the body, the neurotransmitters and thus the emotions. It enters the respiratory tract is taken, quickly to the lungs, which again, feeds the oils into the blood via tiny capillaries.
If we take an essential oil internally, however, it takes around 30 minutes to find its way to the liver. It suffers the rigours of gastrointestinal juices that drive out much of the goodness, and, when the liver begins its work, it changes much of the internal chemistry. In other words, in most cases, if you take an oil internally, it won’t work as well.
Also…it’s a pretty expensive habit to get into!
Our advice, here at EA AromaCare and from our consulting aromatherapists is pleaseDon’t ingest essential oils!
Many oils can hurt you and it’s just not worth it.
Q: How Do You Know an Essential Oil is Pure?
A: Honest answer? As a consumer, you probably don’t. Not without specialised testing equipment anyway. You can request a GC report, (see next question) but they are complicated and difficult to understand. The report gives a breakdown of the chemistry of the oil and the different constituents found within. This is useful if you know what is supposed to be there, but not, really, otherwise.
Those constituents change too, based on where the plant grew, what conditions it was exposed to and even, sometimes if it grew in the sun or shade. This is the magnificence of the art.
There are professional standards producers need to adhere to and these protect you to the greater extent. Their benchmarks dictate how much of a certain chemical there should be, and what the profile of an oil should look for. This being true, most essential oils on the market are of a reasonable quality. If it says “pure” on the label, that’s what it should be. Read into the italics what you will! You might wonder if some companies aren’t…I couldn’t possibly comment.
To a certain extent adulteration is common, and indeed, acceptable. Think of a 5% rose in jojoba carrier oil…that’s not pure rose oil, and yet it is still beautiful. Melissa oil too, is often labelled Melissa (type) an indication that the 0.03% yield makes it a very uneconomical product for producers so they have added some lemon grass oil to make it go further.
Is it pure essential oil? Yes.
Is it pure Melissa oil? No.
It’s a very grey area.
Here, at EA AromaCare we understand the importance of good quality oils at competitive prices. We source the finest ingredients from around the world and we worry about quality so you don’t have to!
In ancient times, healers would follow deer at dawn to see where they grazed on the freshest herbs, trusting they were the purest and most nourishing. No GC report, no ISO bench marks, just a hunger and a delight in something exquisite. Look for the passion, there’s where the best oils will be.
Q: What is GC-MS Testing?
A: Gas Chromatography – Mass Spectrometry is a method of separating volatiles of essential oils to see exactly what exists inside of a drop. Oils are injected into a tube and then heat is added. Readings are taken to see how much of a component registers and how fast.
Q: Why Do Companies Recommend Blending Several Oils Rather Than Just One?
A: The magic of aromatherapy depends on a phenomenon called Synergy.
There are many chemical constituents in an essential oil, doing many things, and so any oil is incredible in its own right. But, if you blend together a top note, a middle note and a base note the healing of the blend is far stronger. The synergistic blend is always more efficacious than the sum of its parts.
Q: Do Essential Oils Have Side Effects?
A: Not side effects, no, but they do have many main effects. This means it is important to review all aspects of its healing before using it. Peppermint, for example is cooling so it might be bliss on a hot summer’s evening, but it is also stimulant so will keep you wider awake than a quadruple espresso!
Rosemary, again, is stimulating and helps with concentration but is also neurotoxic so can be very dangerous if you have epilepsy or some kind of psychiatric disorder. Essential oils are very potent. Some will burn the skin if you use them in too high concentrations, others can cause phototoxicity, nasty rashes and skin sensitivity if you go out in the sun. They can raise blood pressure, thin the blood, and negate some medications (peppermint also negates homeopathic treatments).
Read the safety carefully and consider contraindications well.
Q: Are Essential Oils Safe to Use During Pregnancy?
A: Most essential oils are, yes, but we recommend not using them at all during the first trimester. Always read the safety date on oils, since oils like Rose, Myrrh, and Jasmine tone the uterus and so should only be used after 37 weeks.
Q: What is Your Top Tip for Using Essential Oils?
A: Take a chill pill!!!!
There is going to be no use putting lavender, camomile and all their friends in your bath to feel calmer if you are going to become over anxious about doing aromatherapy right!
Read everything you can get your hands on. It is a mystical science with so many dimensions. It is liberating to see how people use it in so many different ways.
Stick to the guidelines…. but have some fun.
Too many people remember it is a science but then forget it’s also an art. Express yourself through fragrance and relish that primordial surge of energy every time your healing makes someone better. There, truly, is nothing like it.
At EA AromaCare we are passionate about bringing the very best of nature’s gift to you. Enjoy every second of your sensory adventure.
Q: How does your 100% Customer Satisfaction Guarantee Work?
A: As a Company, Our Number One priority is Customer Excellence and Satisfaction. We only provide 100% Pure Natural Essential Oils, these are highly concentrated and we do not add synthetic chemicals or dilute our oil. If your purchase does not fulfil your expectations for any reason, please contact us a firstname.lastname@example.org and our team will be happy to assist you. We offer a 100% money back guarantee within 30 days of your purchase.
Q: What Methods Of Payment Do You Accept?
A: We accept all major credit cards, PayPal and Checkout by Amazon.