Many people's first experiences with aromatherapy are for relaxation, using bath oils or scented candles.
You'll soon realise that as well as easing tension, aromatherapy can help to prevent stress from building up in the first place.
Choosing the right oils
In order to relax fully with aromatherapy, it's important to pick the right oils and use them in the most efficient way. Use fragrances that bring pleasant images to mind. The psychological effects of the oil's scent is as important to relaxation as its active ingredients.
At the end of a tiring day you'll need deep relaxation, such as a long soak in the bath, accompanied by a slow-burning, scented candle. To calm down after an argument, a short sharp shock is better, in which case apply oil to the pulse points or to a handkerchief for inhalation.
Relaxing Oils Blending Chart
Choose at least one oil from each of the top note, middle note and base note columns for each blend. As middle and base notes have the most relaxing properties, these should form the main ingredients of your aromatherapy blend.
To relax tense muscles
To relax frayed nerves
To relax you for sleep
Aromatherapy Blends for Relaxation
When giving a soothing massage, enhance the experience by using a relaxing massage blend. Try to determine why you or your friend needs to relieve tension before preparing the blend.
For a basic stress-busting massage blend, add 2 drops clary sage, 3 drops lavender and 2 drops rose to 30ml of grapeseed carrier oil.
To ease nervous tension, use 2-3 drops of a calming essential oil, such as neroli, in 30ml grapeseed oil. If PMT or stomach cramps are preventing you from unwinding, try using an oil with muscle-relaxant properties, such as aniseed or lavender.
On Your Pulse Points
A full massage isn't always convenient, but you don't have to miss out on the benefits of essential oils. A quick dab of relaxing oils can help to rapidly ease nervous tension.
Often, relaxation isn't a quick fix. You need to feel the effects all evening. The best way to achieve this is by filling your room with relaxing aromas by burning oil in a vaporiser or lighting scented candles or joss sticks.
For a relaxing vaporiser blend, fill the bowl with spring water and add 2 drops clary sage and 3 drops lavender.
Electric vaporisers are better for use in children's rooms as they do not require a candle. Make your own room spray to create a relaxing atmosphere. Half fill a small spray bottle with water and add 40-60 drops of essential oils of your choice.
For Good Sleep
A good night's sleep is essential for good health and general wellbeing. If you're having trouble sleeping, often all you need is to relax and unwind, for which certain essential oils are extremely effective.
Create a restful atmosphere in your bedroom by adding essential oils to a diffuser or vaporiser, one hour before bedtime. Add the oils to fresh spring water in the vaporiser's bowl and leave alight to infuse your bedroom with the fragrances. When you retire, just make sure you remember to blow out the candle.
Use an atomiser bottle to spray relaxing aromatherapy oils over your pillows, sheets and nightdress to help keep you relaxed during the night.
Candles for the Bathroom
The warmth of a steaming hot bath or sauna encourages relaxation. This is because heat loosens tension in the skin and muscles, slowing metabolism and generally lulling us towards a sleep-like state. Many essential oils also encourage muscles to release tension. By adding these to your bath water, you can enhance the soothing effects of the bath.
Basic Bath Blend
Mix 4-6 drops of essential oils with 5ml carrier oil, and pour this under the running water from your bath tap. It is best to dilute the essential oils in a carrier oil first, as not all essential oils disperse fully in water.
For a deeply relaxing bath blend, mix together:
- 3 drops lavender oil
- 2 drops chamomile oil
- 1 drop melissa oil
- 5ml carrier oil
Lavender will soothe and relax, melissa will calm your breathing. Chamomile's sedative action ensures restful sleep.
- For extra relaxation, add a drop or two of marjoram oil, especially if you are suffering from a stubborn headache.
- Geranium oil is useful to reduce restlessness when you're feeling nervous, anxious or over-tired.