Since essential oils used in aromatherapy are distilled from plants they are inherently natural. But because essential oils can cause severe irritation and reactions from some people they are usually diluted by blending with a carrier oil. As a rule essential oils should always be blended with a carrier oil.
Carrier oils, also called base oils, should also be natural vegetable oils although sometimes vegetable butters are used. (A Butter will be solid or semi-solid at room temperature while an oil will be liquid.) The use of mineral and animal oils such as fish oil are generally not used in aromatherapy practices.
Carrier oils will each have their own different properties, and aromas, although these will be much milder. They can however in some circumstance enhance and / or counter the undesired odors and their effects, so it's wise to experiment and read broadly when concocting your own natural aromatherapy oil blends.
Grape seed and sweet almond oil are among the most popular carrier oils. When shopping for carrier oils, look for oils that have been cold pressed. This is a more expensive process in that it requires additional cooling to counteract the natural heat produced from the
mechanical pressing process. Heat can destroy nutrients within the oil, and while the primary benefit of aromatherapy comes from the essential oils, there is no reason to not benefit from the carrier oils as well. Particularly, when massage is being used to apply to oil directly to the skin. Some carriers are rich in Vitamin E, others have beta carotene which can be absorbed into the skin along with the essential oils.
While those with vitamin E have relatively long shelf lives, other carrier oils will have more Omega 3 fats, which while also good for the skin tend to make the oil more vulnerable to going rancid. As a result, carrier oils typically are purchased in smaller quantities to insure they are used up and not allowed to spoil.
Essential oils also tend to lose their effectiveness quickly, although in their case it is due to their volatility and rather than going rancid they lose their power via oxidation.
There are over 500 different essential oils. These each have their own characteristics and when combined with each other and different carrier oils the number of potential combinations are immense. This is where the art of aromatherapy comes into play.
Many different vendors have produced a plethora of natural aromatherapy oil blends to achieve different therapeutic, skin care and natural perfumes.
For example one blend of oils combines Ravensara, Lemon, peperment, eucapyptus, and wintergreen to create a wonderful blend that will help open clogged airways to help a cold sufferer regain optimum breathing conditions.
Another combination of black spruce needle, cedarwood and Madgascar pice is effectively used as a back massage to fight fatigue and generate a sense of energy.
A skin care blend of Thyme, Lavender, Rosemary Verbenone and Neroli oil is used to reduce fine lines, and nourish skin.
These are but three natural aromatherapy oil blends available in the marketplace. Hundreds more are available for those who wish to seek out natural alternatives to meet life's little ailments in a natural manner.