Essential oils are wonderfully supportive to our health and wellbeing, but where should you start, and what do you need to know? Here to explain all is aromatherapy expert, Sarah Watson, Director of Natural by Nature Oils.
Q Why are essential oils so beneficial for us?
Sarah: Essential oils can have a number of positive benefits to health and wellbeing. Essential oils, like other plant remedies, have a long tradition in providing a variety of therapeutic benefits. Essential oils can have positive effects on the mind, as well as affecting the physical state of the body. When the essential oils are used, either through massage, in a bath or by inhalation, the aroma can have an effect on the psyche while the oils can work through the skin and organs of the body.
Q What areas are they particularly good for and why?
Sarah: An area which has been particularly prevalent over our recent year of uncertainty and fear are the qualities that essential oils can offer to our mental state and wellbeing. We have been experiencing pressures and stress that are unprecedented and the need for mental stability, support and comfort has never been more important. The power of essential oils can affect and help alter mood and support emotions.
Q What are your favourite essential oils?
Sarah: My go to oil will change dependent on the time of year and what I feel I need, I believe you are drawn to an aroma or equally repel against another, dependent on what your body or mind needs at the time. The oils that I have been using more of recently have been grapefruit, for its balancing effect on the emotions, along with the uplifting, brightening effect it can bring to feelings of depression, frustration and confidence.
The other great benefit of essential oils is that you can blend them together to create something specific. A blend of tea tree, thyme wild, lemon and ravansara into a base of witch hazel has been my natural hand sanitiser for the last year and the oils used on their own in a diffuser to cleanse and clear the air.
Q How can we easily use essential oils at home?
Sarah: Essential oils can be used easily at home as long as the basic rules are followed on how to use them safely. Although essential oils are a natural product, some people can still have adverse reactions from using essential oils and extra care should be taken if you are pregnant, using them on children or have any other health issues or medication is being taken. Always consult a qualified practitioner for advice if you are not sure.
The most common ways to use essential oils is for massage, in the bath or in a burner or diffuser. Dependent on what you want to achieve from the essential oils will depend on how you use them. For example, it would be most beneficial if you have a cold, blocked nose or respiratory problems to use the oils by vaporising them into the air for inhalation, whereas if you have muscular aches and pains, a blend of essential oils into a base oil and applied to the problem area with gentle massage would be best.
Always ensure that you know how to use essential oils safely. Any responsible supplier will offer help and advice on how to blend and use essential oils safely. Essential oils are readily available online and in many high street stores, but quality is the key when choosing your oils. The purity of an oil is so important so that you can get as much benefit from their therapeutic properties. There are many inferior oils on the market that will offer no benefit at all because they are of poor quality or that have been diluted.
Certificates of purity should be available to prove the quality of an oil. If the thought of blending your own recipes does not appeal, then look for a product that has been pre-blended using the correct dilution for safe use on the skin.