What is Aromatherapy? – The Safe & Practical Use of Essential Oils


Aromatherapy is the modern term for the ancient art of using pure aromatic essential oils to improve health and well being.  It is a truly holistic therapy that treats the whole person, mind and body.


Essential oils are natural plant extracts from flowers, leaves, seeds, wood, resin, root and peel.  Much more than just delightful, mood-enhancing aromas, each have very powerful and complex therapeutic properties for treating common ailments and complementing orthodox medicine.  After thousands of years of practical use in perfumery, cosmetics, cookery and medicine, the benefits of essential oils have been rediscovered by modern day science - many are anti-viral, analgesic, anti-septic, anti-inflammatory, anti-biotic, fungicidal, detoxifying, immuno-stimulating, uterine, sedative and much more.  Essential oils are safely and easily absorbed into the bloodstream by means of bathing, inhalation, compresses, lotions and massage.


Today, stress, pollution, unhealthy diet, hectic or sedentary lifestyles can adversely affect us.  Regular use of aromatherapy can give dramatic improvement to our health and well- being, i.e. increased vitality, better sleep, and visible difference in skin tone; or can simply create a mood to de-stress the body and pamper the senses.  Remember to select oils that suit your mental and emotional as well as your physical needs.  Like the French perfume makers, try blending 2 or 3 oils together and create your own unique fragrance - relax and enjoy the results.





They are concentrated, natural plant chemicals and should be used sparingly.  They must first be dispersed in water (for a bath) or diluted in carrier oils (see massage).

Only a few oils are safe to use neat on the skin - the most useful being Lavender, 'the first aid kit in a bottle', which can be applied to minor injuries, bites & stings, spots, bruises, headaches, burns and scalds (after cold water treatment).  Also useful neat is one drop of Lemon on warts and one drop of Tea-Tree on spots & cold sores.




The easiest and most pleasurable way to use the oils is to add them to your bath water.  After filling the tub add 1 - 8 drops and agitate the water to disperse the oil(s), and then relax in the scented water for at least 10 minutes.

Aromatic baths can de-tox, relax or revive depending upon your choice of oils.  For maximum therapeutic benefit, do not use bubble bath or baby oil.




To condition and scent the hair after shampooing, mix 1-2 drops into the final rinsing water.  Avoid contact with the eyes.  For greasy hair, dandruff or to stimulate growth, try Rosemary or Lavender.




For a delightful room fragrance, which will also kill air-borne bacteria, inhibit the spread of infection and create different moods to either relax or invigorate.

Follow the instructions for your burner and add up to 15 drops of essential oil.




Add 2-5 drops to a bowl of hot water.  Cover head and bowl with a towel and inhale the steam for 1-5 minutes, keeping eyes shut.  Repeat a few times.  Alternatively, add 1-3 drops to a handkerchief and inhale as necessary.
For colds and congestion try Eucalyptus and Peppermint.

For a facial sauna, try Tea-Tree and Lemon.




Fill a bowl with water and add 3-6 drops.  Agitate the water and place a clean cotton cloth flat onto the surface.  Squeeze out and apply to the affected area.
Use a COLD-water compress for sprains, strains & headaches.

Use a HOT water compress for muscular aches, earache & toothache.




This is the most beneficial way to harmonise body and mind.  In a small dish mix 1-5 drops of essential oil to I teaspoon (5mls) of cold-pressed vegetable carrier oil, such as Grapeseed or Sweet Almond.  For facial massage, use only 1-2 drops of essential oil to 5mls of carrier oil.

PLEASE NOTE: Do not use essential oils near eyes or mucus membranes.










Essential oils should not be used at home to treat serious physical or psychological problems. Chronic conditions must be referred to a doctor.


EPILEPSY:  Avoid Rosemary, Fennel, Hyssop and Sage.


HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE:  Avoid Rosemary, Thyme, Hyssop and Sage.


CHILDREN:  Use with care and according to age.  Babies 1-12 months - use 1 drop of Lavender, Rose, Chamomile or Mandarin diluted in one teaspoon of carrier oil for massage or bathing.

Infants 1-5 years - use 2-3 drops as above.

Children 6-12 years - use as for adults but in half the stated amount.

Do NOT use Basil, Fennel, Thyme, Peppermint, Melissa, Hyssop, Camphor and possible skin irritants (see below).


SENSITIVE SKIN:  The following oils may irritate the skin - use with care, Basil, Bergamot, Camphor, Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger, Lemon, Lemongrass, Melissa, Nutmeg, Thyme, Peppermint, Black Pepper and Pine.

PREGNANCY:  The following oils should be avoided, Basil, Cedarwood, Clarysage, Cypress, Fennel, Hyssop, Jasmine, Juniper, Juniperberry, Marjoram, Myrrh, Nutmeg, Parsley, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sage and Thyme.  During the first five months, do not use Lavender, Geranium, Chamomile and Rose.  Use all other oils in half the usual quantity.  If there is a serious risk of miscarriage, consult a doctor before use.


PHOTOSENSITIVITY:  The following oils may cause some skins to stain if used on the same day as sun bathing or use of a sun bed, Bergamot, Lemon, Lime, Orange, Mandarin, and Tangerine.


HOMOEOPATHY:  The following oils are not compatible with this treatment, Black Pepper, Camphor, Eucalyptus and the mint oils.



Keep bottles tightly closed when not in use.  Keep off polished, plastic and painted surfaces and away from naked flames, as they are volatile (burn easily).   Store in a cool, dark place out of sight and touch of children.



If swallowed, do not induce vomiting seek urgent medical attention.  If oils come in contact with the eyes, bathe eyes in cold water.  See doctor if stinging persists.  If spilt neat on the skin, wash thoroughly with soap and water.