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This guide for essential oil use gives you information related to aromatherapy and essential oils, how they work, and how to use them.
What is aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy uses essential oils to promote health and well-being of the mind, body, and spirit. You will come across various definitions — for detailed discussions, see the "What is Aromatherapy" articles at AromaWeb and the Tisserand Institute.
Although aromatherapy implies that beneficial effects result from the scent, essential oils also work through other channels. See How Does Aromatherapy Work? You might also be interested in the History of Aromatherapy.
What is an essential oil?
Essential oils (sometimes inaccurately called aromatherapy oils) are concentrated liquid extracts made from plants. The word "essential" comes from "essence," as in the essence of the plant. For the plants, the components of these oils provide natural defenses against disease and pests. These components also have beneficial effects for people.
Unlike fatty oils (used as carrier oils), essential oils are volatile, that is, they are not "oily" and do not leave behind oil stains. However, some brightly colored oils, such as German chamomile or turmeric can cause a color stain.
What do essential oils do? Each essential oil has a unique combination of chemical components that gives the oil its own scent, properties, and benefits. See profiles of essential oils.
Are essential oils safe?
Used properly and according to accepted guidelines, most essential oils are safe for most people. Remember, anyone can have a bad reaction to anything. To use essential oils safely, learn about the ones you want to use and be aware of any cautions or contraindications. Seek professional advice if in doubt.
When using essential oils on the skin, proper dilution in an aromatherapy carrier oil is important. See this essential oil dilution chart for guidelines.
For more safety information, see:
Do aromatherapy and essential oils work?
Scientific studies are limited and incomplete, though you can find studies that support the efficacy of specific essential oils for specific uses.
Many people report receiving benefits from using aromatherapy and essential oils. But what works for one person may not work for you. The Healing Power of Essential Oils says it best:
"If you lived in Australia a thousand years ago, for example, your family lived off whatever the land provided, which meant you used tea tree and eucalyptus and other native herbs for your Health concerns. If you lived in Haiti, you use vetiver. If you lived in France, lavender was your go-to solution. Same with Italians and citrus plants like bergamot and lemon. ... With this in mind, remember that there is no slam-dunk essential oil that is going to work the same way for everyone. We all have a unique road to healing, and you can quite possibly use different oils to achieve the same results."
How can I find a qualified aromatherapist?
To find a qualified aromatherapist, ask about the person's training, experience, liability insurance, and what you can expect from each session. Also, know what you want from your consultations and determine if you feel comfortable with the aromatherapist. A qualified aromatherapist will ask about your health and medical conditions to make sure the suggested essential oils are appropriate for you.
Aromatherapy Certification discusses what certification means and provides a list of educational programs For self-education, see recommended essential oils books.
Aromatherapy for the Emotions
How to use essential oils to balance emotions.
Aromatherapy Massage Oil
Massage blends for relaxing, calming, uplifting, invigorating, immune support, and more.
Ayurveda and Essential Oils
Information about the use of essential oils in Ayurveda.
Descriptions and pictures of the different types of essential oil diffusers.
Citrus Essential Oils
Introduction to oils made from citrus fruits.
Essential Oils for Men
How to make aftershave, beard oil, cologne, and more.
Essential Oil Distiller
Learn about how distillers work and where you can buy one for home use.
Five Chinese Elements
How to use essential oils based on five element theory.
How To Make Essential Oil
Instructions for making essential oil and hydrosol using a homemade still.
What Are Aromatherapy Hydrosols?
Learn about aromatherapy waters and their uses.
You can also visit the other sections of this website and find aromatherapy essential oil recipes for:
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