Tips for Starting Out with Aromatherapy
As we’ve covered, there are many products out there that are marketed as “aromatherapy,” but are anything but. For example, don’t buy perfume oils simply because they smell good – they likely contain synthetic ingredients. Once you’ve covered the basics of narrowing your search to high-quality, natural and pure essential oils and ingredients, it’s time to start making the most of aromatherapy practices in your own life. Here are some of the best tips for getting started with aromatherapy.
When Buying Essential Oils
- Do your research. You may be tempted to buy them at your local health food store, due to its convenience, or at a craft fair, for the novelty. But there is wildly different variation in the quality of essential oils, so choosing a reputable online retailer is often a better bet than simply picking them out of a store or gift shop. Once you have a better nose for quality, it may be fun to check out these venues – there is nothing to say a craft show, renaissance festival or food shop can’t possibly carry high quality aromatherapy products.
- Take note of the country of origin. A great way to tell if an oil is pure (provided it doesn’t say so on the label) and good quality is to see that it originates from a country where the plant the oil is made from is indigenous.
- Know the differences between different plant varieties when purchasing essential oils. For example, there are different varieties of anise used to create essential oils; use the Latin or botanical name to tell them apart.
Uses of Essential Oils
- A good way to make use of an unscented candle you already own is to upgrade it with an essential oil. Pick which one you want to smell in your home, then add a drop to the candle. Make sure to do this before you light the candle in order to enjoy all of that specific scent’s therapeutic properties.
- Some essential oils are great for repelling odors. If you want to freshen a pair of worn shoes, for example, you can add a few drops of geranium essential oil to the insides and allow the shoes to sit out overnight.
- Opt for an essential oil-based air freshener instead of a store-bought air freshener that uses synthetic chemicals. You can freshen the house and your clothes by adding a few drops to a cloth and simply throwing it in the dryer with your next load of laundry. Another method for making an aromatherapy-based air freshener is to add a few essential oil drops to a spray bottle full of water and shake well – voila!
- Massaging essential oils into the skin can be very therapeutic. Unless you’re using lavender or tea tree oil – which can be applied on their own, though diluting is still recommended – be sure to first dilute the essential oil into a carrier or base oil, which is generally any type of cold-pressed vegetable oil. Otherwise, the essential oils on their own may irritate your skin.
Storage & Maintenance
- Make sure to store essential oils in the proper containers. For example, pure essential oils should never be stored in bottles with rubber droppers. The undiluted constituents in the oil will break down the makeup of the rubber, which will, in turn, ruin the oil. If these are the kinds of bottles you have, make sure to blend your essential oils with carrier oils before storing.
- Essential oils should be stored in the dark, in dark glass containers. They should also always be kept in cool places. If you need to be able to move them around the house easily, find an unfinished wooden box to keep your essential oil bottles in.
Essential Oils to Avoid Under Certain Conditions
- If you are pregnant, there are a number of essential oils that you will want to avoid: peppermint, rose, sage, rosemary, juniper, fennel, myrrh, marjoram, pennyroyal, savory, clary sage, basil, cinnamon, thyme, cypress, origanum, and jasmine.
- If you are breastfeeding, you will want to avoid using parsley, mint, jasmine, and sage.
- If you experience high blood pressure, be careful to avoid eucalyptus, cypress, rose, rosemary, ginger, thyme, and sage.
- Be sure to read about the use of specific essential oils and other medical conditions, which you can do here.
Using essential oils can greatly add to any lifestyle, but it’s important that, in doing so, you approach the practice safely and correctly. Then, start enjoying all the wonders that essential oil usage can bring to your life!