Self-care is an important part of your wellness, and the great thing about it is that there are numerous different ways to go about it. Aromatherapy, in particular, is a great method to up your self-care game and is easy to practice at home. Aromatherapy essential oils can excite or relax you depending on what you’re going for, and have the potential to enhance your body’s natural healing powers.
What Are Essential Oils?
Aromatherapy is a holistic healing treatment that involves using concentrated essential oils to promote health and wellbeing. The essential oils used in aromatherapy are made from extracts of a plant or tree’s leaf, flower, fruit, bark, seed, or root. They’re usually extracted using distillation, which is a process that separates the oil-based chemicals from the water-based molecules.
Essential oils are highly concentrated; for example, 30 kilos of rose petals need to be distilled to make one small 15ml bottle of rose extract. How the oils are produced is very important because aromatherapy oils made by chemical methods are not considered real essential oils.
How Do Essential Oils Work?
Each essential oil has its own set of molecules and chemicals that have specific healing and therapeutic properties. When inhaled, these natural chemicals and substances supply triggers to our brain, which can affect our emotions. Some aromatherapy oils are calming and uplifting while others can clear the mind, aid concentration, and lift the mood if feeling angry or depressed.
Aside from affecting our emotional responses, aromatherapy essential oils can also impact the physical state of our bodies. That’s because many oils have therapeutic properties including antibacterial, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-viral, detoxifying, decongestant, emollient and immune-stimulating. Unlike regular drugs or skincare products packed with synthetic ingredients, aromatherapy essential oils are totally natural. This means you can use them to treat a variety of skin issues or health problems without exposing your body to dangerous chemicals.
How to Choose the Right Oils?
When it comes to essential oils, there are a plethora of choices, especially when purchasing online. But how can you tell if you’re getting the real deal or a cheap knockoff? Look for the words “pure” and “organic”.
It’s crucial that you buy pure, organic aromatherapy oils as these are the only kind that contains the healing properties you want. Keep in mind that the market is full of low-quality oils that can do more harm than good, so make sure you stay away from them. Only pure plant components recovered by distillation or cold pressing are found in high-quality oils. Oils that have been diluted with synthetic chemicals, fragrances or oils aren’t what you’re looking for. Here is what you’ll want to consider to buying high-quality oils:
● Purity – Look for an oil that is made entirely of aromatic plant ingredients and has no additives or synthetic oils. Pure oils usually refer to the plant by its scientific name rather than words like “essential oil of lavender” (such as Lavandula officinalis).
● Quality – Pure oils are those that have had the least amount of alteration as a result of the extraction procedure. So, choose an oil that has been extracted without the use of chemicals, which can be by distillation or mechanical cold pressing.
● Reputation – Choose a brand well known for producing high-quality essential oils.
Popular Oils and Their Benefits
Using essential oils as part of your yoga sessions, bathtime or bedtime routine, and other everyday activities is something you can do to improve your mood and find balance. Here are some popular oils that can help promote positive feelings in different aspects of your life.
Thanks to its unique scent and numerous uses, lavender is one of the most common oils used in aromatherapy. Lavender was once used for bathing by the Romans and Egyptians. Since then, people have discovered the numerous other benefits it provides. The relaxing effects of lavender are frequently utilised to soothe the body and boost mood. To promote relaxation, consider adding a few drops of lavender oil to your bamboo sheets before going to sleep.
This oil has been utilised in fragrances, religious rituals, and aromatherapy for ages. It has a relaxing, flowery scent that is known to help alleviate anxiety, restore confidence, and improve mood. Ylang Ylang oil is suited for all skin types and is claimed to help reduce oil production and promote suppleness in the skin.
Well known for its anti-inflammatory properties, tea tree oil is commonly used to soothe and rejuvenate the body and mind. It’s also a popular natural remedy for treating bacterial and fungal skin infections, as well as for promoting healing and alleviating pain.
Peppermint has a pleasant and refreshing aroma. When breathed as a vapour, this aroma is thought to help alleviate symptoms of colds and coughs. Peppermint oil can also be applied to the skin for an immediate cooling effect, making it ideal for alleviating stomach cramps or tight muscles after an exercise.
Chamomile oil is used to alleviate low emotions and provide a sense of inner peace because of its soothing and relaxing characteristics. Chamomile oil is good for all skin types and can help with minor irritations.
How Do You Use Them?
One of the easiest ways of using oils for aromatherapy is through an oil diffuser. Enjoy the effects of diffusing by adding a few drops of your favourite oil to the water in the gadget. In addition to a home diffuser, you can also get a diffuser bracelet to take aromatherapy with you on the go. Add a couple of drops of oil to the bracelet and simply inhale it whenever and wherever you need a little pick-me-up.
Aromatherapy oils can also be used in your bath or massaged onto your skin. However, you’ll need to dilute the oil in a carrier oil like coconut, avocado, or almond oil to do so. Add up to six drops of aromatherapy oil to ten millilitres of carrier oil. Applying oils directly to your skin may cause irritation.
Safety and Side Effects
After reading all the great things about these oils, you may be wondering – are there any side effects of aromatherapy? As you know, plants and herbal products contain bioactive substances that may be harmful to your health, and essential oils aren’t different. Even so, most oils are regarded safe when used appropriately. Unless you adhere to the recommended ways of use, improper aromatherapy practice may lead to rashes, headaches, asthma attacks, and allergic reactions, among other things.
Natural aromatherapy oils strong in phenols, like as cinnamon, are known to irritate the skin, and oils made from citrus fruits worsen the skin’s sensitivity to sunshine, increasing the risk of sunburn. So use caution when applying these oils.