Many people have heard the word aromatherapy and may have seen aromatherapy recipes online, but what is aromatherapy? How can you find and make aromatherapy recipes and what uses do they have? This article will answer these questions and more.

What is aromatherapy?

According to the International Federation of Aromatherapists, aromatherapy is 'an ancient therapeutic treatment that enhances wellbeing, relieves stress and helps in the rejuvenation and regeneration of the human body.' Aromatherapy uses essential oils, concentrated aromatic liquids extracted from a wide range of plants.

What are aromatherapy recipes?

Aromatherapy recipes are precise mixtures of different oils, which combine to create powerful effects on both mind and body. My blog features a range of recipes, and you can find many others listed on the Internet and in aromatherapy recipe books. Once you understand the properties of essential oils, you can create your own recipes by combining oils that complement each other.

Essential oils are very concentrated and therefore used in tiny amounts, usually combined with some sort of carrier such as water or massage oil. Extracting oils is a painstaking and often labor-intensive business. For instance, it takes forty thousand hand-picked jasmine flowers to make a single teaspoon (5 ml) of jasmine oil. Because of this, essential oils can be very expensive, so it's a good idea to find a reputable and trustworthy source for effective recipes – you do not want to waste your precious oils.

Ways of using aromatherapy

One way to benefit from aromatherapy recipes is through inhalation. Smell is one of the most powerful senses we possess – think how distinct smells can powerfully invoke memories for instance. This power can be used to change our emotional state and has a wide range of effects, from relaxing to uplifting. By mixing essential oils with water you can make an air freshener spray, a diffuser mix, or a scent to apply to fabric such as a pillow case or bed spread. You can also inhale oils directly, either from the bottle or from a tissue with a few drops of oil poured onto it.

Another way you can benefit from the therapeutic effects of oils is by applying them to your skin. This can be done by adding a few drops to your bath water, or by mixing with a massage oil. You should never apply undiluted essential oils to your skin.

Getting started

To try out aromatherapy, first find an interesting recipe that uses inexpensive oils (I have suggested one below to get you started) then buy small quantities from a reputable online supplier or your local health store and give it a try – you'll be amazed at the effectiveness of a few drops of essential oil and a good aromatherapy recipe in helping you relax and unwind.

Relaxing bath recipe

Ingredients

1 tablespoon of cream or honey (this acts as a dispersant to spread the oils through the water)
3 drops each of bergamot, lavender and marjoram essential oils

Method

Drop the essential oils into the cream or honey and mix well.
Pour the mixture into your bath water and swish the water to disperse.