Selecting, Blending, Mixing, Diluting
Aromatherapists understand that essential oils are safe to use when they are correctly diluted. The Aromatherapist will use various natural, organic oils, butters, waxes, gels, powders etc into which they will add a single essential oil or a blend of essential oils. Carrier oils are the same as base oils used in body massage.
First of all the Aromatherapist will select the essential oils for their therapeutic qualities and properties in order to treat a given condition; for example athletes foot can benefit with topical application of certain essential oils. Selection is made after consultation with the client; selection of essential oils is made with the client who will “test” the essential oil with the sniff test! A whiff oils that have been dropped onto a paper test strip allows the client to agree to the blend identified as suitable for them – this is the signature blend that resonates with the clients current emotions and mental states.
The base oil is obtained from botanical material, most often nuts and seeds; sweet almond oil is from the nut of the tree, and rosehip oil is from the seed of the plant located inside the accessory fruit known as the rosehip.
The base oil becomes the carrier oil because the essential oils are blended and mixed with it – there is affinity between essential oils and carrier oils and so when applied to the skin the carrier oil allows the essential oil to permeate the skin, fatty tissues and entry to the blood stream and so access to the entire body. This topical application also allows for greater uptake of the essential oils into the body. There is also great ease of essential oils passing the blood brain barrier and offers therapeutic benefit to the brains neuro chemistry!
Base oils offer the Aromatherapist a carrier medium that acts as a dilutent of essential oil before topical application, most often in the form of massage. This dilution of essential oils into a base medium ensures the recipient of therapy receives a safe treatment; risk of toxicity, sensitisation, irritation are reduced, the body through topical application will receive the therapeutic benefits of the essential oils and the light massage application – a two in one therapy!
Diluting essential oils does not dilute the therapeutic benefits of the essential oil nor does this dilute the power in them; diluting one drop of essential oil into 10 mls of carrier oil still means that all the chemical components of the essential oil are retained but with the addition of the therapeutic properties of the base oil.
Aromatherapists will use a single essential oil in a percentage/drop/weight ratio to carrier oil (C.O.). 1 drop in 10mls of carrier oil is 0.5% dilution, 3 drops in 10mls of carrier oil is 1% dilution, and 6 drops in 10mls of carrier oil is 2% dilution. A 3% dilution of essential oils 9 drops in 10mls C.O., 12 drops in 10mls C.O. is 4% dilution and 5% dilution requires 15 drops in 10mls. But there is a paradox that arises – not all single drops are the same! This is because of the viscosity of the essential oil; patchouli and myrrh essential oils are fairly thick, others such as Juniper and Geranium are more fluid. This is why there are three different approaches to measuring essential oils available to Aromatherapists and allows for flexibility in blending, mixing and dilutions.
Aromatherapists will also dilute essential oils in other mediums such as butters and waxes; butters are usually very thick and some, such as cocoa butter are fairly solid Shea butter is thick but softer and more pliable. Waxes are harder, solid but again depend upon the product itself. These other carrier products can be gently melted and blended with carrier oils and essential oils added to make balm, creams, lotions and body butters. Into these blends of butters, oils and waxes the Aromatherapist will add essential oils for their therapeutic properties and qualities.
Where an Aromatherapists makes a blend of oils and produces a balm for their clients self-application at home, instructions for use and safe storage is provided; apply twice daily, for ten days, to the feet in the treatment of athletes foot and store the balm in a cool, dark place locked out of the reach of children and confused persons for example.
Essential oils are very effective and safe to use but specialist training, education and instruction are vital for this. Reading blog posts is one way to aid your learning, enrolling onto interest courses is another method of growing your awareness of essential oils, progression onto professional study takes you to a whole new level of understanding. We hope you will check back to read our further posts.
Deborah Casey is a qualified Aromatherapist. She began her training with personal learning and progressed onto an introductory course followed by an advanced course of learning with the Bridge Project in Washington Tyne and Wear. She then progressed onto Diploma study and obtained her Diploma in Body massage prior to successful study of Aromatherapy. Having passed through the menopause, complicated by mesh injury, she applied aromatic essential oils in an unconventional manner. Then she found white birch - her go to for many ails.
Deborah welcomes clients for private consultation and treatment packages. Please enquire to appointments and prices.