Founder of Aroma Foundry
Master Chinese Acupuncturist & Herbalist
Aromatherapy has been around longer than anyone could remember. One thing’s for sure though, there are more ways and more aromas you can choose from ever since aromatherapy was first practiced. Now, you have hundreds – if not thousands – of recipes, each with benefits of their own.
“So which recipe do I use?”
Good question. At least you know that you don’t just pick out whatever scent that smells good to you. And because you’re a smart and curious person, we’re going to help you out.
There are different types of aromatherapy. You may have seen photos of people lying facedown on a table in a room filled with lit scented candles while another person massages their backs. Sounds like relaxation heaven, right? Well, we will not be talking about scented candles here.
We’re talking about a different kind were you use essential oils instead. Don’t worry, you’ll still have the relaxing effects of aromatherapy. Besides, you can have your friend or spouse do the massaging bit, too. Plus, essential oils have more uses than candles.
Before anything else, there are some things that you might need depending on how you will be using essential oils for aromatherapy.
If you will be using them only for their scent, then you might have to get a diffuser first. If you will be using the oils for massage or cosmetics aromatherapy, then you’ll need carrier oils to dilute them and a glass bowl for mixing. Essential oils are highly concentrated and can cause allergic reactions to some people if they don’t dilute the oils first.
In today’s lifestyle and environment conditions, we barely have enough time for everything that we want to do. There’s work that you need to finish in the office and there are chores you have to do to maintain your home. If you’re a parent, there are even more things that you will have to do – and we don’t even have to mention them here.
There’s a wide range of stimulants that you can use to help keep you going, but barely any of them have positive health effects in the long run. Stuff like caffeine and cigarettes can give you the quick energy boost you want, but for a price.
If you don’t want to get sick after years of taking stimulants, or if you’re tired of getting sick because of them, we’ve got the solution for you.
Just mix equal parts of peppermint, rosemary, lemon, and grapefruit essential oils into your diffuser and you’ll have that boost you need – without the negative side effects.
Peppermint essential oil can stimulate your senses and improve your concentration. It's even used to improve the exercise performance of athletes because of its ability to prevent fatigue and sluggishness.
Rosemary also has a stimulating effect that can improve your mood and boost your energy. You may have heard or read that it’s used for brain health, but rosemary oil can also lower your stress levels and relieve exhaustion.
Lemon is responsible for rejuvenation and it’s popular for its calming effects. However, the best thing about lemon essential oil is its ability to stimulate your brain to break down body fat. Aside from helping you get your dream bod, it can also reduce tension, and relieve exhaustion and mental fatigue.
Grapefruit boosts your energy levels, but it’s also used to improve your metabolism and reduce bad cholesterol. It can reduce fatigue by stimulating your nervous system to make you feel more alert while it detoxifies your body.
Your body already has natural detoxifiers like the liver and kidneys. They are responsible for cleaning your blood to keep you away from sickness, and even cancer. But sometimes they can get overwhelmed with all the toxins in your body – especially if you’re a smoker, drinker, or both.
That’s where antioxidants come into play. They help your liver and other organs get rid of the toxic stuff your body can’t break down. Antioxidants can also help you lose weight since most toxins accumulate and generate more fat.
Fortunately, there are also a lot of things that you can do to detoxify. Adding fruits and vegetables to your daily diet can definitely give you that antioxidant boost your body needs. You can also drink lots of water and work out at least three times a week so you can sweat out those toxins away.
Another thing you can add to your detox regime is aromatherapy. The combined powers of basil, grapefruit, and sage essential oils can help you clear your body of toxins. You can choose either massage or diffuser aromatherapy, just make sure you add a carrier oil and do a patch test before using any essential oil on your skin.
Basil, grapefruit, and sage are known antioxidant essential oils that fight bacteria and boost your immune system to protect you from harmful diseases. As an added bonus, basil and sage have antibacterial and antimicrobial capabilities, while grapefruit can help you lose weight.
If you’ve had a tough week and you’re planning on spending your weekend at home and do nothing, one thing that can help you feel better is this calming recipe. Your body needs to rest so that you can get back up and work more efficiently come your work days.
All you have to do is mix equal parts of lavender, bergamot, ylang ylang, and patchouli essential oils into your diffuser or bath and you’ll feel calm in no time. This calming effect is not to be mistaken for sedation, which can damage your brain and nervous system. The calmness that this aromatherapy recipe provides is a healthier option that you can do everyday.
Now for some details about the oils.
Lavender is the essential oil that has the most calming effect for your nervous system. You can even use it alone if you don’t have the other mentioned essential oils yet. Lavender can relieve stress, tension, and headaches, which gives your body that relaxing feeling.
Just like other citrus essential oils, bergamot also has calming effects. However, unlike other citrus oils, it has a lighter aroma that relieves tension in your body. Take note though, you should be careful in using citrus oils in your bath as they can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
Ylang ylang is known for its sweet and soothing fragrance, which is also one of the reasons why it has calming effects on your body. It can relieve stress, anxiety, depression, and also alleviate panic attacks.
Patchouli essential oil is one of the popular choices in aromatherapy. It’s fragrant, but it can also serve as an antidepressant which helps your body manage stress and anxiety. It can stimulate your body to produce more serotonin and dopamine, which are the hormones that regulate your mood and feeling of positivity.
If you’re battling anxiety, we give you a natural way to fight back. You can use this recipe any time of the day, unlike anti-anxiety medicines which can have adverse long-term effects on your brain. Although, of course, this isn’t a cure for anxiety – instead, it’s just a way to help lessen the effects of your anxiety.
In fact, there is a study about the effects of using essential oils to improve depression and anxiety management among the subjects they studied on. The essential oils were diluted with sweet almond oil then topically applied as a hand massaging oil. The subjects were then interviewed, and they reported to experience less pain with the aromatherapy massage.
If you want to try the aromatherapy technique conducted in the study, you just have to mix anti-anxiety oils like lavender, mandarin, bergamot, and lemongrass. But what is it about these essential oils that makes them great anxiety relievers?
Well, aside from what you already know about lavender and its many benefits, it’s also potent for anxiety relief.
It’s known to reduce stress hormone production and lower high blood pressure. Its capability to alleviate the effects of anxiety can work as well as medications for anxiety like lorazepam. In fact, it’s even better than some anxiety meds because lavender essential oil doesn’t have addictives and synthetic chemicals.
Mandarin oil is also an effective calming agent for anxiety symptoms, convulsions, and even epilepsy. Bergamot can lower heart pressure and reduce the production of the hormone called corticosterone that induces stress responses.
Finally, lemongrass oil can help you manage anxiety and stress, and help you get a better night’s sleep. Anxiety can keep you up at night, and that’s what lemongrass essential oil enables you to overcome.
Have you been feeling a bit out of focus lately? Well, sure, we all have our ups and downs, especially in the creativity department. But if your work involves a lot of thinking, then you'll need all the focus that you can get.
Sure, there are a lot of things you can do to keep you away from distractions. You know, stay off your phone, keep your desk clear, work in a quiet environment, to name a few. However, how well do they work?
If they don’t work, then you might need a little brain-boost. No, it doesn’t involve a liter of coffee or some other drug (yep, caffeine is a drug, too!). All you need is this blend of brain-boosting essential oils: rosemary, lavender, and basil.
Rosemary essential oil improves memory and alertness. It also has properties that improve your brain’s ability to retain information. A whiff of this amazing oil can enhance your cognitive performance and prevent neurodegeneration.
There have been some debates on the ability of lavender to improve brain performance because of its calming or sedative capabilities. But further study proved that its calming effects could help your brain perform better under pressure, which gives you better focus and brain power. It was also found that lavender essential oil can help decrease mistakes you make when answering mathematical problems. So you might want to smuggle some lavender essential oil into your next math exams.
Basil is another stimulating essential oil that helps your mental strength and gives you clarity. It can reduce anxiety, nervousness, and fatigue. In fact, it’s used to improve focus and fight chronic stress, so you would want this when you’re reviewing for a big exam.
Aromatherapy has been around since ancient times – longer than anyone can remember, even. Which is why in the early 1900s, researchers became curious and studied them for evidence of their benefits.
The result of the studies? The researchers found proof of the various health benefits that each kind of aromatherapy essential oil possesses.
Experts believe that aromatherapy works like this: your smell receptors receive the scent of the essential oils used in aromatherapy. The receptors then send this information to your brain. These particular scents activate areas of your brain, creating hormones or chemicals like dopamine and serotonin.
Rubbing or putting oil on your skin can also have soothing effects on your joints and muscles. Some essential oils have anti-inflammatory abilities which help ease soreness and relieve allergies. Not to mention, using massage oil blends is the most popular type of aromatherapy used in spas and some chiropractic clinics.
You can also diffuse essential oils to freshen the air in your home. It’s doesn’t work like those canned air fresheners you spray. Instead, it literally cleans the air and leaves its scent in the process. Essential oils have antibacterial properties that allow them to kill bacteria and allergens that linger in the air. It can help prevent allergies which can lead to other respiratory ailments and, well, the need for medicines.
Aromatherapy is also used as an alternative medicine to improve sleep, relieve allergies, manage pain, reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression, and more. Some experts believe that it can do all these things because of its numerous medicinal capabilities. Essential oils are antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antibioform, and we're still just scratching the surface.
The reason behind these capabilities lies in the natural chemicals of the plants. These chemicals protect the plant from predators and act as their support system against bacteria. The extraction of the oils from these plants happens during distillation. The result? A highly concentrated liquid that still contains its capabilities before they were processed.
This high concentration is also the reason why they need to be diluted with other natural oils like coconut and olive oil – also called carrier oils. Although, there are different ways that you can do to use these oils without using carrier oils, which includes diffusion, direct inhalation, and bath infusion.
Some of the conditions that aromatherapy can help you with include:
So how do you know if you can benefit from aromatherapy?
Simple. Anyone can benefit from aromatherapy. It may be able to help treat a lot of ailments, but that doesn’t mean you have to be sick before you use them. Note that aromatherapy and essential oils aren’t medicine substitutes. Instead, they serve as a support system to help your body recover from different ailments.
Overall, depending on what you want to get from aromatherapy, it has a wide variety of essential oils partnered with the benefits you want.
There is a lot of good that you can get from aromatherapy. But of course, there can’t be good without the bad – and we’re going to tell you all about them, too. So here are some precautions that you must know before attempting aromatherapy.
To start, finding out whether or not you can use essential oils in aromatherapy depends on your medical history. You may be sensitive to some essential oils, or some may work on you just fine. You just have to find out if you’re allergic or sensitive to the oils since they are highly concentrated.
We also don’t recommend using essential oils for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Some oils may have adverse effects on your developing baby. Their premature bodies may not be able to handle the concentration of the oils, which is why you must ask your doctor before trying any essential oil.
We also do not recommend ingesting essential oils mainly because we can’t be sure of the amount or dose you can handle. Taking too much can be toxic, which may damage your digestive system. We recommend that you consult your doctor before taking any essential oil orally – which includes ingesting them directly and mixing them with your food.
Some essential oils can damage your nervous system, liver, and kidneys because of the toxins that they produce when taken internally. The effects may be fatal, which is why we never recommend taking them orally.
Furthermore, if you have sensitive skin, we don’t recommend that you use or apply them to your skin. Again, because of the high concentration and the microscopic molecules of the essential oils, they can easily enter your pores and cause an allergic reaction. There is a way, though. Like we mentioned above, you can mix or add carrier oils to dilute the essential oil.
The best way to know if you can use a particular essential oil is to do a patch test. Simply put three drops of the oil onto the gauze part of a band-aid and place it on your forearm. If you experience a burning sensation and itchiness within 30 minutes, immediately remove the band-aid and wipe your skin with a clean cloth. Dousing it with water can make the oil spread all over your arm.
Otherwise, if you don’t have any allergic reaction, you can proceed with the dilution process and use the oil on your skin.
Take caution and always follow the patch test. Essential oils can cause hives, rashes, and sensitivity to sunlight – if you’re allergic to them or use them without diluting. You wouldn’t want to spend more money on doctor’s fees and medicines when you could’ve avoided complications if you followed the precautions.
We also recommend that you read or research more about the different essential oils you’ll use. Each essential oil has its share of benefits and precautions. Some of them may be perfect for you, and some of them may not.
Say for example stimulating essential oils. It may not be a good idea for you to use lemon, bergamot, ginger, mint, lemongrass, tangerine, or grapefruit, because these are oils with stimulating capabilities.
Finally, we always emphasize purchasing only 100% pure and natural essential oils. Some essential oils contain alcohol which is used only for fragrance purposes, and not for aromatherapy. If you intend to use essential oils for keeping your home smelling fresh, then that’s fine.
But if you intend to use it for aromatherapy and medicinal purposes, then always check if you have 100% natural essential oils. Knock-offs can cause adverse effects to your health, or they may not even work at all!
Aromatherapy will not have lasted this long if it didn’t do well in helping people. Just don’t forget to pay attention to the precautions and you should be able to take advantage of its benefits with ease.
As many benefits as you can get from essential oils, there are also some repercussions if you use too much. Too much of a good thing is bad thing, remember?
If you’re still a little hesitant, then we recommend that you read more about aromatherapy and essential oils. We’re confident that the pros will outweigh the cons, and you’ll be able to enjoy them.
Are you wondering where you can get all the essential oils that we mentioned? Well, wonder no more, because we have all of them here at Aroma Foundry. Check out our wide selection of essential oils! You can also check out our essential oil combo packs for extra savings.