What is the appeal of aromatherapy and essential oils?

I have been using essential oils for years. I first ‘got into them’ about 20 years ago when I went on a 6-week evening class with my sister in Romsey. I loved finding out about the history and the many uses of the oils. It seemed to trigger something innate – my maternal Grandfather was a chemist and back then the chemist would ‘make-up’ the medicines and my Nan and Mother would help him.

I also have very fond memories of helping my Nan make ‘cold cream’ on the stove in the kitchen. We would stand there stirring the pot like a couple of hedgewitches! I also used to spend hours trying to make perfume out of rose petals – the water would always go brown and not smell so good…..

I carried on using oils after the 6-week classes and my stash of oils grew exponentially and instinctively I would turn to essential oils to heal or relax rather than use modern medicine. Part of this was a desire for control I think. I suffer with Endometriosis and wanted to have more than ‘drugs’ to help me deal with the illness.

Over time I decided that I needed to develop my knowledge further and I completed a 1-year professional qualification as an Aromatherapist at BCOT. This involved in-depth study of essential oils, the history of aromatherapy, uses for oils, how they are distilled and what their contraindications are.

Aromatherapy permeates my life and our household. Pretty much each area in our home has a diffuser and the whole family will use blends or individual oils to freshen our home. I apply oils in homemade face creams, morning and night. I rub oils into my daughters feet to help them fight infection or if they can’t sleep. I always use them on my hands and feet before I teach yoga to help ground me before I start. I use them to freshen bins, clean drains, down the sink (great way to use up old oils whose efficacy is on the wain.) I even use them around the front door to stop the neighbourhood cats leaving their calling cards!!!

I love the naturalness of essential oils. They are not artificial, they are sourced from plants – fruit, herbs, leaves, bark, resins etc and contain the natural ‘essence’ of the plants. I turned to my trusty oils when Covid-19 hit – blending healing Thieves oils and making my own hand sprays with 70% alcohol and aloe-vera gel.

Essential oils must be respected. Very few can be used neat on the skin as they can burn. I do not agree with ingesting essential oils as they can damage the delicate mucous membranes in your mouth and your oesophagus as well as harm your stomach lining. They are strong and shouldn’t be used without care. You must always take care when using them with children – I would really only advise Mandarin and Lavender.

But do please experiment with essential oils. Smell them – learn which ones you love (Ylang Ylang), which ones you hate (Rose Geranium!) and which ones trigger memories (Patchouli). Just remember to blend them first in an oil or cream before you put them on your skin.



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