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[ Aromatherapy and Formula Basics for Essential Oils ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice Company
Armed with some basic guidelines for use anyone can safely and effectively utilize pure essential oils in a variety of ways to uplift the spirit, calm the mind, motivate the body, and support health.
Below you will find a quick introduction to how these oils might be useful in your own home or as part of your stress-reduction regimen.

[ Aromatherapy and Formula Basics for Essential Oils: Discovering the Essence of Distillation ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

a. rememberance of
plant extractions past

Aromatic oils have been used since ancient Egyptian times and by numerous cultures world-wide. From the burning of resins and plants soaked in fats to modern day distillation, fragrant plants have been utilized and valued for thousands of years.

There is evidence of distillation in China as far back as the first or second century. In the west an Arabian physician is given credit for developing steam distillation; a technique refined much later in Europe by a German scientist named Hieronymus Braunschweig. In 1500 he wrote the first distillation manual which inspired the use of the resulting plant oils first in perfumery and later in aromatherapy.

Though still the main method of extraction, steam distillation is joined by many different processes to extract essential oils each yielding the plant's volatile oils, or "essence." These oils carry the plant's characteristic fragrance, usually in a highly concentrated form.

[ Aromatherapy and Formula Basics for Essential Oils: Do You Remember When? ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

b. the scent of

As mentioned, these naturally-derived essential oils have lent their aroma and therapeutic properties to formulas that balance overall well being for centuries. Their uses have encompassed cosmetic care, spiritual aid, sexual allure, and psychological and therapeutic adjunct. It's no wonder that the use of these natural elements has come in vogue again as modern stresses complicate our health and wellbeing.

There are many studies that show that simply smelling something pleasant helps us relax. The simple act of inhaling deeply also contributes to slowing us down and reducing anxiety.

The sense of smell is processed in the same area of the brain that processes memory and emotion, forever linking this sense with our past experiences. In this way aroma can help us access the sensations of a previous pleasurable time and a relaxed state-of-mind.

[ Aromatherapy and Formula Basics for Essential Oils: Making Essential Oil Dilutions ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

c. essential oil
dilution solution

the whys
The safest methods for obtaining the benefits of essential oils are either by using them in a topical solution on the skin, or as an inhalation. Due to the concentrated strength of essential oils both routes will require dilution. Many oils can irritate when used neat (undiluted), as well as being unnecessarily costly.

Essential oils efficiently and effectively penetrate the skin; they have a small molecular size and a low molecular weight, allowing them to enter the skin easily and provide a physiological response, depending on the naturally occurring chemistry of the essential oil.

the hows
A generally accepted dilution is two percent, but even less can be effective. Follow these suggestions for diluting oils for application.

Carrier oils (see our list of offerings such as apricot kernel, coconut, jojoba, sweet almond, etc.) are the medium into which your essential oils should be diluted, but unscented lotion is also suitable. More is NOT better when it comes to aromatherapy. For instance, lavender can relax in low dilutions but may stimulate when over-used.

0.5% dilution = 2-3 drops of essential oil to one ounce of carrier oil (best for kids, elderly, sensitive skin or facial application).

1% dilution = 5 drops of essential oil to one ounce of carrier oil (suitable for most cosmetic care)

2% dilution = 10 drops of essential oil to one ounce of carrier oil (for full body massage)

3% dilution = 15 drops of essential oil to one ounce of carrier oil (spot treatment or 1 tsp in bath)

being safe
Research your oils carefully; for instance, lemon oil should not be fragrancing a lip balm, especially if it is lacking sunscreen.

Also be aware, many of the citrus oils can cause sun sensitivity and uneven pigmentation problems when applied before any ultraviolet light exposure such as tanning beds, sunbathing or any outdoor activity.

Experience will guide you in the numerous applications where essential oils can be effective, but a reference book will remove much of the guess work.

[ Aromatherapy and Formula Basics for Essential Oils: Do Using Essential Oil Dilutions ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

d. application methods
of essential oil solutions

massage oil or lotion
2% dilution is generally suitable; refer to dilution guidelines for exceptions.

Most water mediums need far less dilution than the normal 2%. In the bath 3-8 drops of an undiluted oil may be all you need. Some essential oils can irritate the skin and should be diluted in a carrier before adding to the bath. For instance, peppermint or lemon will irritate more than frankincense or geranium. All of the lemony scented oils such as melissa, lemongrass or citrus oils can irritate; and even though lavender will not irritate even at 15 drops in the bath, it is a waste of precious resources to use that much. An aromatherapy bath for kids should always utilize diluted essential oils. Hand and foot baths are also useful mediums for essential oil applications. Apply the essential oil mixture just before entering the water and stir well.

Environmental fragrancing for fun can be done with a number of options, including potpourri pots above a candle flame or misting the air (see below). For a more therapeutic application to support respiratory health, use an electric diffuser that mists the pure oil into the air, or make a towel tent above a pot of hot water (add 5 drops eucalyptus ) to inhale the aromatic steam. This application works well also as a facial steam.

misting bottle
Add 10 drops of essential oil to a 4 ounce spray bottle of water. Shake well before each use as essential oils to not mix well with water. This can be used for misting the body or scenting linens. If applying to the face, use half the essential oils and keep eyes closed. Facial mask—use only 1 drop of essential oil per full face application, mixed well into the mask medium, such as clay, yogurt, or commercial preparation.

Essential oils can be used in hot or cold applications for common complaints such as muscle strain or cramps, general detoxification, increased circulation or stress reduction. Add 3-5 drops of the chosen essential oil to the water, soak a cloth, wring out and apply repeatedly to selected area.


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