The basic elements of aromatherapy are essential oils. Essential oils are defined as the essence of a plant and are strong and volatile in nature. These essential oils are extracted by different processes.
However, currently the most common form of distillation is steam distillation. Essential oils are usually too strong to be used by themselves and require a carrier oil made of vegetables, nuts or seeds.
Organic essential oils are safer for therapeutic use. Some common applications of essential oils for the purpose of aromatherapy are oils, baths, facials, massage, candles and ambient fragrances. Any of these methods can be used as holistic therapy for the mind, body and spirit.
When using essential oils in massage, always dilute the oils in a carrier oil prior to application to the skin. Essential oils are very powerful concentrates, and unless indicated otherwise,
should not be directly applied to the skin.
Essential oils should never be used undiluted on the skin.
There are instances when experienced aromatherapy users and practitioners make exceptions to this precaution, but only once significant essential oil knowledge is gained should you ever attempt to apply it undiluted.
Lavender and tea tree are listed by a large number of aromatherapy sources as being oils that can be used undiluted. Undiluted use of lavender and tea tree, however, should only be done on rare occurances as severe sensitivity still could occur in some individuals.
Again, the safest rule of thumb is to never use any essential oil undiluted.
If properly cared for, essential oils can have a shelf life up to seven years.
Direct sunlight and exposure to air are most damaging to essential oils. Keep your oils
out of the sun and make sure the caps are tightly secured.
Try to keep your oils in a cool dry place. They are sensitive to extreme temperature
A trained aromatherapist can help you find the right essential oils at the right concentrations for your particular needs.
For more info, download Aromatherapy, a free ebook.