Aromatherapy With Aqua Oleum
Aromatherapy, a beauty buzzword that conjures up images of evocative scents, scenic landscapes and incense sticks. We know that it is beneficial for your mind, soul and wellbeing but what actually is it and how does it benefit your skincare and mood? We speak to Aqua Oleum, one of our esteemed Soil Associated certified brand's, to share their extensive knowledge of aromatherapy, how it can nourish and heal the skin, how to integrate it into your daily life and how to make your own aromatherapy concoction...
Aqua Oleum is a family business with a heritage spanning over three generations, based on expert knowledge of essential oils and aromatherapy. For over 30 years, the company has built its market reputation based on outstanding product expertise and high ethical standards. Aqua Oleum was one of the first aromatherapy companies to be established in the UK and has pioneered many innovations in the field over the years.
So, what actually IS aromatherapy?
The term 'aromatherapy' was generated in the 1920's, however it was practiced by ancient Egyptians, Persians, Indians, Chinese and Arabs long before its definition existed. Our ancestors used aromatic plants and oils for their medicinal and healing properties, as well as in perfumes, incense and cosmetics The 'essential' in essential oils is due to the extraction process capturing not just the fragrance but also the plant's healing properties. All essential oils are extracted from the plant kingdom; flowers, herbs, trees, spices and vegetables. They are organic compounds that occur naturally in a wide variety of different species and can be found in leaves (rosemary), bark (cinnamon), blossoms (neroli), fruit (orange), wood (cedar), resin (pine), roots (vetivert) or buds (clove). Modern household products, perfumes and toiletries tend to contain synthetic elements over natural, organic ingredients, although this of course isn’t the case for the myriad of wonderful products holding the much-coveted Soil Association certification, which are entirely free from synthetics, toxins and chemicals. When it comes to fragrance, the pure and natural essential oil plays a vital role in its overall healing quality which acts upon the individual in a unique and subtle manner. This is why essential oils are the tools used in the practice known as aromatherapy.
What’s the point?
While it can initially seem a little daunting, aromatherapy is for everyone and can be integrated easily into our lives, whether that’s in the form of treating a specific skin condition, aiding relaxation, stress or anxiety, or purely enjoying their incredible aromas around the home. Essential oils are also versatile self-help tools as they are effective in the prevention and treatment of common ailments, from colds and flu to morning sickness to insect bites.
One of the particularly special benefits of aromatherapy is that it treats the body and mind together holistically: the biochemical make-up of essential oils interact with the body physically, while their individual scents have a unique influence on our mood and emotions, especially when the oils are blended together to make a ‘synergy’. This is one of the reasons why aromatherapy has been shown to be incredibly effective in treating stress-related conditions and nervous disorders where the physical and emotional factors are interrelated.
How do I do it?
There are many ways to use aromatherapy. Essential oils are convenient and easy to use and make ideal travel companions as they are light and compact, plus they also make a valuable addition to a first-aid kit. Perhaps the easiest way is to add 5-10 drops of essential oil/s to a hot bath once it is full, or add your choice of oils to an oil burner or electric diffuser to scent the home. Massage is a particularly rewarding way to reap the benefits and healing powers of aromatherapy, since oils are absorbed readily through the skin and into the bloodstream, via daily self-massage, with a partner or as a treat from a professional masseuse. The use of massage is beneficial for a wide range of physical conditions such as arthritis, high blood pressure, skin disorders or muscular pain.
In a survey carried out at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, UK, patients in an intensive care unit were divided into three groups and given either:
● 1. a period of rest
● 2. a foot massage or
● 3. a foot massage using lavender oil.
The outcome of this experiment showed conclusively that those patients in the third group who had an aromatherapy massage, experienced the greatest decrease in heart rate, blood pressure and pain levels together with an increased feeling of wellbeing.
When it comes to the face and body, essential oils should be mixed with ‘carrier’ oil/s of your choice, such as coconut, sweet almond, or jojoba - but there are many more to choose from - before being applied directly to the skin, although there are exceptions to this rule such as lavender, which can be used neatly to treat burns and minor cuts and some oils, like neroli, jasmine and patchouli, can be applied direct as a perfume. It is wise to carry out a patch test before trying a new oil, in the unlikely event that an oil should cause irritation, by placing a drop of oil on the back of the hand and leaving for fifteen minutes. If skin irritation does occur, bathe with cold water immediately.
With a little practice and a few natural ingredients, you can make anything from a relaxing pillow spray to a hydrating face oil to an all purpose household cleaner. Formulating your own aromatic creations is entering a world of natural ‘alchemy’. Your nose will often gravitate to scents you enjoy and as expected, these may well become your favourite oils to use. Aqua Oleum have all the essential oils and apparatus to get started in making your own creations at home.