Guide to Aromatherapy

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Aromatherapy oils are a great way to improve one's health and well being, in a holistic way.  Aromatic plants and oils have been used for thousands of years.  There are many available to choose, but which one is for you?  It is important to go for one that you like the smell of and which you find relaxing.

Here are some of the oils available and a few of their therapeutic properties:

Lavender and tea tree oil are the only oils safe to use neat on the skin directly.  All other oils must never be used on the skin unless mixed in with a vegetable massage oil (eg sweet almond) first - just five drops of the essential oil will do in a couple of tablespoons of massage oil (approx. 25ml) or use up to five drops in the bath.  For faster results sniff directly from the bottle or from a tissue with a few drops of oil on.

  • Lavender - use neat on spots, boils, burns, bruises, eczema, stings, wounds - use in massage oil, baths or smell from tissue for help with depression, insomnia and stress.  A drop on the pillow can aid a good night's sleep.  Psychological - balances, relaxes.


  • Tea tree - use neat on skin for acne, blisters, spots, cold sores, wounds and warts - use in massage oil or baths for help with colds, fever, flu.  Use in a chest rub (two tablespoons veg oil plus five drops oil) for respiratory infections, colds, fever and flu (if you have any eucalyptus, you could use three drops tea tree and two drops eucalyptus in two tablespoons veg oil).


  • Sandalwood - use in massage oil, baths or chest rub for help with coughs, bronchitis, depression, stress and insomnia (or sniff from three drops on tissue for last three).  Psychological - helps feel secure in ourselves to be who we truly are.


  • Chamomile - use in massage oil or baths for help with inflammations, acne, arthritis, insomnia, migraine, headaches and anger (or sniff from tissue for last four).  Psychological - releases buried anger, helps cope with angry feelings allowing them to dissolve.


  • Marjoram - use in massage oil or baths for help with sprains, strains, aches, asthma, colic, pms, colds, stress, headaches.  Psychological - takes edge off nerves before an event, keep a tissue in pocket.


  • Rosemary - use in massage oil or baths for help with scabies, gout, fluid retention, poor circulation, jaundice, flu, mental fatigue, stress, dandruff  (or use a few drops in your shampoo for dandruff).  Psychological - helps us learn from past mistakes. Avoid if you have high blood pressure or epilepsy.


  • Vetiver - use in massage oil or baths for deep relaxation; the most relaxing oil of all.  Also useful for arthritis, aches and pains, rheumatism, sprains, depression, insomnia, stress and tension (or sniff from a tissue for the last four).


  • Neroli, otherwise known as orange blossom, a wonderful scent. Use in massage oil or baths for scars, stretch marks, thread veins, wrinkles, anxiety, stress, depression, tension, pmt, shock or emotional upset (or sniff from bottle/tissue for last seven).


When making up massage oil blends, aim for a 1% dilution, with 20 drops of essential oil (equivalent to 1 ml) in 100 ml massage oil.

20 drops in 100 ml massage oil

or 10 drops in 50 ml massage oil

or 5 drops in 25 ml massage oil (couple of tablespoonfuls).

These are just some of the uses for a few of the oils available, to be used in conjunction with any medical help, not instead of.

For more information on which oil to use for ailments, please see my guide:  Aromatherapy: which oil to use?  which is an A-Z of ailments/states of mind that respond well to aromatherapy and advice on which oil to use and how to use it.

Please note that with some medical conditions, a massage is not safe - see my guide on this for more information.  Also do not use aromatherapy oils whilst pregnant or breastfeeding.  There are other times when certain oils should not be used - see a good book on the subject (plenty on ebay). 

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