Lavender oil (17)

Perhaps the most well known and versatile of all the essential oils, and for good reason – Lavender has been used for thousands of years for its healing, antiseptic and sedative properties.
Lavender oil likely sparked modern interest in therapeutic essential oils after the ‘father of aromatherapy’, René-Maurice Gattefossé, attributed the healing of his hand from gas gangrene to Lavender. He went on to successfully use it in on wounded soldiers in the First World War.

Lavender has a scent that’s a wonderful blend of fresh, floral, clean, and calm. This dynamic aroma that has made the flower a classic for perfumes, soaps, fresheners, and beauty products.
Distilled from the plant Lavandula angustifolia, the oil promotes relaxation and believed to treat anxiety, fungal infections, allergies, depression, insomnia, eczema, nausea, and menstrual cramps.

Anxiety
While there’s currently a lack of large-scale clinical trials testing lavender’s effects on people with anxiety, a number of studies show that the oil may offer some anti-anxiety benefits.

Insomnia
Several studies have shown lavender essential oil may help promote sleep and fight insomnia.

Possible Side Effects
Lavender essential oil may cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction in some individuals. If you experience nausea, vomiting, or a headache after using lavender, discontinue use immediately.

Because consuming lavender essential oil can have toxic effects, this remedy should not be ingested unless under the supervision of a medical professional.

Dosage and Preparation
There is no recommended daily allowance for lavender essential oil. According to the principles of aromatherapy, breathing in the scent of lavender essential oil or applying lavender essential oil to the skin transmits messages to the limbic system, a brain region known to influence the nervous system and help regulate emotion.

One popular approach involves combining lavender oil with a carrier oil (such as jojoba or sweet almond). Once blended with a carrier oil, lavender essential oil can be massaged into your skin or added to your bath.

You can also sprinkle a few drops of lavender essential oil onto a cloth or tissue and inhale its aroma, or add the oil to an aromatherapy diffuser or vaporizer.

When buying pure lavender essential oil, check the label for its Latin name, Lavandula angustifolia. No other oils or ingredients should be listed. If you see another oil, such as fractionated coconut oil, jojoba oil, or sweet almond oil, the lavender is diluted and should not be used in a diffuser.

Essential oils should be packaged in a dark amber or cobalt bottle and stored out of sunlight.

Applications:
• Add a few drops to lotions, shampoos, and skin care products for a classic aroma and more youthful complexion.
• Add 10 drops of Lavender and 1 cup of Epsom salt to a bath to create a relaxing environment.
• Unwind in the evening with a calming, Lavender-infused neck or back massage.
• Use Lavender as part of a bedtime routine by rubbing it on the bottoms of your feet or diffusing it next to your bed.
• Create a DIY room freshener with Lavender or diffuse it to help banish stale odours.
• Use Lavender essential oil to remove sticky residue and permanent marker stains from solid surfaces.
• Add 5-10 drops of Lavender essential oil to a small, slightly damp washcloth. Place it in the dryer while drying towels for a clean, fresh aroma.
• Diffuse Lavender in your bathroom to make your bathroom smell fresh.
• Put 3-5 drops of Lavender oil in each of your shoes to keep them smelling fresh. If your shoes have plastic or leather soles, put the oil onto a cotton ball and leave it overnight.
• Keep your carpet or rug smelling fresh with Lavender essential oil added to baking soda. Sprinkle the mixture into the carpet, let it sit for at least 15 minutes, and then vacuum it up.
• Add to food and drink recipes for a beautiful floral taste.

Best carrier oils (16)

Different carrier oils have different properties and use. The carrier oil chosen for aromatherapy treatment will depend on the desired outcome.

Coconut oil

People in the tropics have been using coconut oil as a moisturizer for centuries. Recently, the oil has also been shown to have antimicrobial properties. This is largely due to its high lauric acid content, which is the main fatty acid in coconut oil.
People with extremely dry and flaky skin must welcome coconut oil to their lives. This oil supplies sebum to the skin. As a result, the skin remains hydrated, moisturized, and free of acne-causing bacteria and germs.
Coconut oil can also be combined with another carrier in winter since it is prone to solidifying real quickly.
Coconut oil is high in antioxidants and Vitamin E. But, the thick, unrefined coconut oil you find at the grocery store is not as useful for aromatherapy purposes because it doesn’t readily absorb into the skin.

Black cumin seed oil

Black cumin seed oil is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal, and is thought to be helpful in promoting the healing of wounds and burns.
This oil is golden brown and has a mild, earthy, woody smell that can be slightly spicy or peppery. Black cumin seed oil also absorbs into the skin quickly.

Jojoba oil

Jojoba oil, which is really a wax, is commonly used in massage. Due to its natural anti-inflammatory properties, it might help in the treatment of mild acne.
In aromatherapy, it absorbs well and could be a good choice for those with oily or acne-prone skin.
Jojoba oil is very gentle on skin and rarely causes any allergic reactions.
Jojoba oil is yellow and has a distinct but pleasant smell.

Rose hip oil

Rose hip oil is rich in essential fatty acids, including alpha-linolenic acid. It has been shown to have antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effects and is used to treat various skin conditions.

Rose hip oil is a natural source of vitamin C and vitamin E.

Grapeseed oil

Grapeseed oil is considered to be an all-purpose oil that is commonly used in aromatherapy, from massage to skin care. It has a light aroma that is slightly sweet and nutty, and it is virtually clear in color. It leaves a glossy film on the skin.

This oil is made from the pressings of the seeds from particular grape varieties. It is high in linoleic acid and is very moisturizing, especially for delicate skin. You’ll often see it listed on the ingredients list of many cosmetics. Its aroma is light and sweet, and it is clear in color. It can be a good carrier oil to use for occasional blemishes.

Argan Oil

Argan oil has high healing properties. It takes care of scars, stretch marks and heals the damage caused by UV rays and inflammation. This oil is also very soothing and gentle and can be used to fight acne, defy wrinkles and to repair damaged hair and boost its growth.

Olive Oil

Though it can be heavy, oily, and have a stronger odor when compared to the others, the benefit of olive oil is that it is high in both vitamins and minerals. Depending on the quantity and how diluted you need the essential oil to be, olive oil can overpower the scent.

Avocado Oil

Avocado has countless health benefits and its oil carries the same trait when it comes to skin. Avocado oil is one of the most luxurious oils with a thick texture. This carrier oil contains palmitoleic acid as well as oleic and linoleic fatty acids, and actively fights aging signs on the skin.

This oil is also great for people who suffer from inflammation, redness, and allergies on their skin. To balance out its thicker consistency, it can be combined with almond oil for best results.

Sweet Almond Oil

Almond oil is rich in protein and is heavier in texture, so people with extremely dry and sensitive skin will get their moisture from the application of almond oil. When mixed with rose petals, almond oil becomes one of the best body oils and moisturizes every pore.
Almond oil also has a very pleasant smell.

Evening primrose oil

The light and sweet-smelling evening primrose oil has been used in aromatherapy and skin care for many years. It is thought to be useful in many skin conditions, including eczema.

It is usually expensive, and aromatherapists tend to blend it with other carrier oils. It has a high essential fatty acid content, meaning that it deteriorates and goes rancid quite quickly.

What is a carrier oil? (15)

If applied to the skin directly, essential oils can cause reactions, such as severe irritation, redness or burning.

Carrier oils are vegetable oils with little-to-no scent that are used to dilute essential oils. They are not volatile like essential oils, and are shelf-stable. In carrying essential oils into your skin, carrier oils do dilute the potency of the oil. However, this does not mean that the oil is any less effective. Rather, it means that essential oils better absorb into your skin because it does not evaporate as quickly.
Dilution is also necessary for certain “hot” essential oils, and always a good idea when using any oils with children or for those with sensitive skin. When in doubt, always dilute.

To be used in aromatherapy, it is recommended that the carrier oil is obtained through cold pressing. In this process, the oil is extracted by crushing the plants. Users claim that the fragile nutrients in the oil can be damaged if they are extracted with heat.

While some are odorless, most carrier oils have a faint smell that is sweet and nutty. Unlike essential oils, they do not evaporate.

Reiki to Remove Energy Blocks

Energy blocks can be due to many factors and can start anywhere from pre-birth all the way through one’s life.  In fact, there is evidence that we can bring blockages in to this life from our ancestral lineage. Throughout life, blockages can accumulate, often times without our conscious awareness.  They can cause anywhere from subtle to detrimental effects on our physical, mental and emotional bodies. Clearing energy blocks is fundamental to triggering healing on a quantum level.

This distant Reiki session is intended to clear energy blocks.

Take a comfortable position laying or sitting with your eyes closed. Open yourself up to receive the Reiki session by saying silently “I take this Reiki session from Iris here and now for my highest good”. 

Play this healing session as often as you need, there are no boundaries to Reiki energy, it will work anytime, anywhere.

PLEASE NOTE:

Reiki healing does not take the place of conventional medicine. It does not replace the advice of a qualified medical practitioner. Always consult a GP for an acute or infectious condition, and problems of an urgent nature. Also continue with your prescribed medication.

If you need your personal Distant Reiki Session BOOK HERE

How are essential oils adulterated? (14)

Essential oils are not cheap to make. Pure essential oils are expensive, labor intensive, and subject to all kinds of hard work. They are pricey, as any pure product, carefully grown and extracted should be. In order to make essential oils less costly, some companies will “extend” essential oils. That means, they will stretch them by diluting them in some way.

Oils can be adulterated in several ways during the production process, from diluting with cooking oils to adding synthetic chemicals. The important thing to know is that adulteration is always intentional—you cannot accidentally adulterate an oil.

Natural Isolates
This means that a naturally-occurring chemical constituent is added to the essential oil. One example is the chemical constituent alpha-pinene, a primary constituent in Frankincense. Alpha-pinene can be taken from trees used in the paper industry and added to Frankincense essential oil.

Adding Other Oils
Common essential oils can be added to rarer or more expensive oils. Cassia, for instance, is similar to Cinnamon oil, but much less expensive. It can be added to Cinnamon essential oil and not be easily detected because the aromas and chemistry are similar. The same can be done with Lemongrass and Melissa.

Dilution
In order to make a small amount of essential oil larger, it can be diluted using carrier or cooking oils such as olive, coconut, or canola. This dilution lessens the potency and effectiveness of the oil.

Synthetic
Many of the chemical compounds found in essential oils can be synthesized in a lab. Typically, these synthetic constituents are created out of petro-chemicals. Lavender can be produced without using a Lavender plant at all, but by synthesizing linalool and linalyl acetate from petroleum-based products.

Extended with Alcohol
Another common way to extend an essential oil, and therein making it cheaper, is by adding alcohol to the EO. Ethyl Alcohol is a common substance added to EO to extend them. It’s very hard to detect this by smell, but it is possible.

In many cases, the added substance is inferior or even harmful. Adulterations not only have the potential to alter the chemical and physical properties of an oil, but they can decrease the efficacy of the oil, to produce an allergic reaction, irritation or toxic side effects.

How to Store Essential Oils? (13)

An essential oil can’t stay fresh without proper storage. It does not react well to changes in temperature, and since you’ve spent a considerable amount of money in it, you might as well look after it properly. Otherwise, you’ll lose its therapeutic benefits. Luckily, storage solutions for an essential oil are easy.

BOTTLING
Since ultra-violet light affects the composition of the essential oil, make sure that you put it on a dark-colored glass. Dark amber is the most common shade of glass. However, you can also choose one that is violet, green, or blue. They offer the same level of protection.

Putting your essential oil on a dark glass does not mean you can expose it directly to the sun. While the glass helps screen the UV light, natural heat will still speed up the oxidation process. So, be sure to still keep it some place dark and cool.

Cap the glass tightly so as not to expose it to oxygen. If not, some of the chemicals will evaporate, especially if the oil is not 100% pure.

COOLING
Essential oils are prone to oxidation under heat and temperature variations – especially citrus oils. The same is true for massage oils and carrier oils. To avoid this, you can store them in your refrigerator. Be careful not to set the temperature too cold, about 5 to 10 degrees Celsius is enough. In fact, it’s much better than storing your oils on the kitchen’s window ledge.

Citrus essential oils will not change under the prescribed temperature; however, Aniseed, Rose Otto, Fennel, and Star Anise may solidify. So, before you use any of them, allow them to sit for a few hours. This will return them to their normal form. For the Rose Otto, you can just hold it in your hands for a few minutes. Never put the oils under the sun in order to hasten the process. Let it the natural wax dissolve without exposing it to UV light.

In summer, when it’s especially hot, essential oils can be particularly vulnerable. Store them in the fridge and take them out about 12 hours before you use them. This way, they can adjust to the room temperature naturally. Give it a quick shake to ensure that the waxy particles are completely dissolved.

BOXING
If you don’t have any space in your fridge, use a storage box instead. It’s good enough to keep some types of oil. You just have to keep in a place that has the least or no changes in temperature. You also have to remember that some oils are moderately volatile, so they will evaporate quickly if you don’t cap it tightly. Also, don’t leave them lying around after you use them. Put them back in the box.

STORING
Essential oils are flammable. Thus, do not leave them near fires, candles, cookers, or any other sources of ignition. Don’t forget to keep them away from children. The essential oil is not something they can play with.

Never keep undiluted oils into plastic bottles. Why? Most oils will eat into the material and start degrading the plastics. Diluted oils like lotions and massage oils might be stored in plastic since the concentration of essential oils is lowered through the mixture with the other components.

Do Essential Oils Expire? (12)

Essential oils are a product of nature. Every natural product has a shelf life. They’re natural, liquid chemicals and their chemistry can get altered under certain conditions.

As soon as you open a new bottle or container of essential oils and it comes into contact with oxygen, a process called oxidation begins. The oxidation process involves the changes of oxygen bonds between cells into carbon bonds.

When an oil comes into contact with oxygen, light, and heat, its composition begins to change. Over time, it starts to lose its strength and effectiveness. This is why most essential oils are sold in amber-colored bottles — the darker glass provides better protection against ultraviolet light.

Does this mean that essential oils spoil or “go bad?”

Essential oils don’t spoil like food does, but they do change over time. Because it’s hard to determine what the oils have changed into, it’s also hard to determine whether or not they’re safe to use.

The bottom line is, don’t inhale expired essential oils or use them on your skin after they have expired.

Must-Have Essential Oils (5)

Essential oils offer a wide variety of benefits for every day body care, home care and more. But it can be difficult to determine where to start. 

These must-have essential oils for beginners are in the cabinets of every EO guru you’ll ever meet. And you may find that they carry these oils around with them wherever they go.

• Lavender Essential Oil – the floral scent makes it one of the best smelling essential oils that is beloved by many. Although this oil is known for being mild and calming, a few people are allergic so it’s important to take care.

• Peppermint Essential Oil – offers a myriad of health benefits as well as a boost of energy. Its minty scent is reminiscent of candy canes and fresh summer days.

• Lemon Essential Oil – fresh and fruity, lemon essential oil is often used for home cleaning and air freshening, but can also be used for many body care products.

• Eucalyptus Essential Oil – is distilled from the leaves of the tree and is great for body care products like salves and rubs.

• Frankincense Essential Oil – used extensively in incense and fine perfumes for thousands of years, frankincense essential oil is characterized by a resinous aroma and can bring a calming benefit to body care, diffusion and air freshening as well as grounding practices like meditation or yoga.

• Tea Tree Essential Oil – well known for its cleansing and purifying benefits, tea tree essential oil is great for a variety of body and home care products.

• Chamomile Essential Oil – This oil has a sweet, flowery scent that some people compare to apple blossoms. Can help bring a sense of calm. Roman Chamomile is also a suggested oil for use during times of anger or irritability.

• Rosemary Essential Oil – has a strongly herbal scent that has a mellow undertone reminiscent of camphor.  Can bring uplifting, energizing and purifying benefits to your airspace and body care.

• Patchouli Essential Oil – lends a floral, earthy aroma and grounding benefit to body care products, diffusion blends and more.

• Sweet Orange Essential Oil – the citrusy aroma of sweet orange essential oils bring uplifting, balancing and freshening benefits to a variety of body and home care products.

• Grapefruit Essential Oil – another oil from the popular citrus family, Grapefruit has an attractive scent that is energizing and affordably priced. Blend with spicy oils such as cinnamon for a balanced, warming atmosphere.

• Bergamot Essential Oil – especially great for homemade deodorants, but also other kinds of body and home care. Be sure to use bergaptene-free bergamot for skin care applications.

The Aromatherapy Session (4)

You start you aromatherapy session by having a discussion on your medical history and any personal issues that may be affecting you. It is highly important that you are thorough and specific in disclosing the medical history, which includes illnesses, injuries, and allergies. Remember that aromatherapists cannot make a medical diagnosis because they aren’t trained to do so. But they can give you advice on a course of aromatherapy treatment.

Your aromatherapist will usually select and blend different essential oils, dilute them in a carrier oil, then massage them into your skin. A carrier oil is usually an oil extracted from nuts and seeds. They may also prepare products for you to use at home, such as oils to put in a diffuser or a cream.

 

An aromatherapy session should last for around an hour to an hour and a half. You might find that one session is enough or you may want to continue with regular treatments.
Сoming away from an aromatherapy session, you can expect to feel more relaxed than you were before the session. The essential oils used in the session do have the “magical” ability to soothe weary muscles, minds and spirits. Aromatherapy is a gentle, non-invasive form of holistic therapy you will most likely thoroughly enjoy.

The History of Aromatherapy (3)

Aromatic oils have been a part of human history for more than 3,500 years BC and appear with regularity throughout all major civilisations down the ages, with uses ranging from religious ritual, food flavouring, medicines, perfumery and the masking of bad odours. It is impossible to date exactly when plants were first used medicinally, since such a development would have taken place over thousands of years.

Prior to modern-day scientific tests, the properties of different plants would have been discovered very much through trial and error, and by observing animals instinctive knowledge about which plants to eat when sick.

The Chinese may have been one of the first cultures to use aromatic plants for well-being. Their practices involved burning incense to help create harmony and balance.

Historians believe the Chinese ‘Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine’ was written around 2600 B.C.E.

This book contains information on the medical uses and properties of more than 300 different plants. This comes long before the Egyptian knowledge of plant-based medicines. This text is also the most complete ancient record we have of how our ancestors used aromatherapy in their lives.

China was also part of the herbs and spices trade. Frankincense and myrrh were the most sought-after plants of the time. Because of the high demand and the limited supply, they were as valuable as gems and precious metals.

Later, the Egyptians invented a rudimentary distillation machine that allowed for the crude extraction of cedarwood oil.
The Egyptians loved to use simple fragrances in their daily lives and did so at every opportunity. After bathing, women would anoint their bodies with oil to protect them from the drying effects of the baking sun and to rejuvenate their skin.
Cleopatra, it is said, used essential oils in her rooms and on her clothes to seduce Mark Anthony.

The earliest known Greek physician was Asclepius who practiced around 1200 BC combining the use of herbs and surgery with previously unrivalled skill.

In 1597 John Gerard published ‘ Herball, or General Historie of Plantes’ which is now considered a herbal classic. Gerards book proved highly influential, and the apothecaries which had previously only sold the medicines prescribed by doctors, began to to prepare and compound their own medicines too. New style apothecaries that dispensed medicines and attended to the patient began appearing throughout England.

In the 1920s Rene Maurice Gattefasse, a French chemist, burnt his arm while making fragrance and immediately plunged it into a jug of lavender oil. To his amazement the pain was less than expected and the blistering was greatly reduced.
The healing process was faster and he was left with little scarring. He was so impressed that he devoted the rest of his life to researching the healing properties of essential oils and he christened it Aromatherapy.