There is so much to say about how to use essential oils and their healing qualities there are entire books devoted to the subject.
Here I am going to focus on the things I’ve found to be of use and I hope you will find useful too.
How to use essential oils in food?
I have always know that the quality of essential oils varies dramatically but I am ashamed to say that, until relatively recently, I hadn’t worked out that there was food grade, and non food grade, quality. Thankfully I wasn’t actually using the dodgy stuff in food but I have heard it say, and I have come to believe, that we shouldn’t put on our skin that which we would not be prepared to put in our mouths. Think about it!
Now that my culinary world has opened wide up, I confess the only thing I now use food grade essential oil for is chocolate; orange and peppermint to be precise. Any guesses what my favourite chocolate flavours are?
Essential oils are great for completely changing the atmosphere in the home and as I understand some of the fantastic benefits can be obtained simply by smelling the vapours. I love geranium in an oil burner and of course lavender and in the bedroom at night to help with sleep.
And for the skin?
Let’s just take a minute to talk about the benefits of massage in general terms. The healing power of touch should not be underestimated. Being touched actually gives rise to a release of hormones in the body which increases happiness. Neurotransmitters are also released and they do the same thing. The hormone oxytocin I’ve mentioned also encourages bonding. As if that’s not enough, touch increases immunity and lowers blood pressure.
In most Western cultures we simply don’t do enough touching.
Even if you don’t have someone else to give you a massage to it’s possible to get the benefits of massage by including self massage as part of your daily routine.
It doesn’t have to take an age. My morning fully body self massage takes less than 5 minutes. Not only does it give the benefits I’ve already described but leaves my skin feeling beautifully moisturised and gives me the opportunity to, look out for and give special love and attention to, any sore or tender spots.
A foot massage is a great thing to give to someone else and you don’t have to be a reflexologist to appreciate that benefits can be felt throughout the entire body. Giving or receiving a foot massage is a great thing to include as part of a preparing for sleep routine.
Ok so let’s get to it. Which oils?
Well let’s start with the carriers.
Generally should use a carrier oil to combine with your essential oil.
Really you can use any good quality oil, organic sesame (not toasted), sunflower or coconut oil.
I tend to use coconut oil for two reasons; it suits my constitution and it is liquid in the climate I live in.
When I talk about constitution I am talking about Ayurvedic constitution. This isn’t the place to go into detail about that but to give you a sense:
If like me you are predominantly Pitta, you are likely to be “fiery’ and move at a million miles an hour. Coconut oil is cooling and a good choice for warm climates. The other option for Pittas is organic sunflower oil.
Those with a Kapha constitution and likely to me more “solid” grounded and steady. If that’s you untoasted organic sesame is a good choice of carrier.
Those with a Vata constitution might seem be predisposed to anxiety and come across as a little “spacey”. If that sounds like you, try organic sesame or almond oil as your base.
Ok, so what to add to that. What about the essential oils themselves?
Again there are oils with work with and against the constitutions but I tend to look at what I want out of the oil.
I use lavender and geranium for vapours and to create an atmosphere.
I make a face oil from coconut and rose oil. Rose oil smells great of course and has anti ageing properties. I love using frankincense for my full body massage but I also use eucalyptus to keep away the mosquitos.
Generally speaking, I mix around 16 oz of oil with around 20 drops of my chosen essential oil. If using eucalyptus oil have a light touch, it’s very strong and you may find you only need 4 or 5 drops.
When choosing how to use essential oils smell them first and go with what you like. I found that I was naturally drawn to essential oils which supported my constitution.
Once you have chosen your oil, the next thing is to build oiling into your routine. I do a self massage for 5 or so minutes, every day, before showering. The best way to build a habit is to combine it with a time or other activity you are already engaged in. Work out what is best for you and your lifestyles and routines. The most important thing is not to be afraid to experiment and just get started.
As to sourcing:
To be honest I can only really recommend one supplier in the UK. Even though I spend most of my time in Indonesia I tend to make special requests of friends and family to bring oils and such like over;
My US based friends tend to rave about doTERRA oils but I noticed that they use palm oil as a carrier and I couldn’t recommend it on that basis. The palm oil industry is wreaking havoc in Indonesia.
Other US based friends have recommended Banyan Botanicals but other than the recommendation, I know nothing about them.
I’d be happy to learn more form anyone who can share really great sources with me.