Essential oils are what you smell when you smell a rose or any other type of plant with a distinctive aroma. These wonderful jewels of nature have been used for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians and Romans used them for all types of ailments, coronation ceremonies, beauty treatments, home cleaning products, and even to enhance their spiritual life. Essential oils come from flowers, leaves, stems, roots, or even seeds or from the bark of trees, and other parts of plants.
The process used to extract the oil from the plant is called distilling. Before steam distillation, the oils were produced by soaking the plant in olive oil, then filtering it through a linen bag. Essential oils are made up of naturally occurring chemical constituents that play an important role of protecting the plant from sickness, disease, parasites, and help in pollination and proliferation of the plant. Over 3,000 varieties of volatile aromatic compounds have been identified to date. The nature of an essential oil varies from plant to plant, within botanical families, and from species to species. The delicate ratio of aromatic compounds found in an essential oil is what make it unique and give it specific benefits.
The benefits of these chemical constituents can range from:
- Extremely high antioxidant levels, as seen with clove bud essential oil
- Anti-inflammatory properties, like with wintergreen essential oil (modern day aspirin was created in the likeness of wintergreen’s powerful combination of chemical constituents)
- And antimicrobial/anti-viral properties. Essential oils can be used to help support and repair the body. (https://draxe.com/essential-oil-uses-benefits).
In other words, essential oils can be used therapeutically because they are organic just like the human body is organic.
There are many different ways that essential oils can be used therapeutically.
- The first way to use essential oils is aromatically. Essential oils are composed of volatile aromatic compounds. Volatile aromatic compounds are small, organic molecules that can move quickly from a solid or a liquid state to a gas at room temperature. The type of volatile aromatic compounds present in an essential oil determines both the oil’s aroma and the benefit that it offers. When the smell of the volatile aromatic compound reaches your nose, receptors send the message to your brain, and your brain interprets the scent. The sense of smell is most closely related to memories and mood. Another way to use essential oils aromatically would be by simply smelling it out of the bottle, or, perhaps, in a diffuser.
- The second way to use the oils is topically, or by touch. When using oils topically, you always want to use a carrier-oil. Carrier oils are coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, etc. Some oils are referred to as hot, which simply means that you should dilute in order to reduce burning sensation to the skin. Some hot oils are: clove, cinnamon, thyme, peppermint, and lemongrass.
- Another way to use essential oils topically is with massage. Reflexology is very useful when applying oils topically as well.
Let’s cut to the chase and talk about essential oils at bath time:
Oils are safe to use with any Jason baths’ equipment, but may cause a slip hazard, so use with caution. The best way to use essential oils in the bath is to mix them first with salts or an emulsifier such as milk or sesame oil. Aromatic bath salts disperse the oils safely into the water, while milk and sesame oil emulsify the essential oil so that it disperses. Without salts or an emulsifier, drops of essential oils will float on the water and then get directly on the skin. Combined with the heat of the water, this can cause dermotoxicity, especially if the oils are of a heating nature. You will notice that the amount of aromatherapy oils necessary will be reduced in a MicroSilk Bath. The oils will float to the surface and be aerosolized with the anions, rather than being emulsified in the bath water.
Recommended Herbs in the Bath: The oils that are generally considered mild and safe for bath are lavender oil, clary sage oil, rose oil, geranium oil, frankincense oil, sandalwood oil, eucalyptus oil, and conifers such as cedar oil, fir oil, pine oil, pinon pine essential oil, spruce oil, and juniper oil to name a few. A generally safe dose is 5 - 10 drops, mixed with ½ to 1 cup of salt or emulsifier.
Herbs to Avoid in Baths: Oils that should be avoided in the bath include spicy oils such as cinnamon oil, oregano oil, thyme oil, and tulsi; phototoxic oils such as citruses, especially bergamot oil, and those with specific irritant potential such as lemongrass oil.
Benefits: Aromatic baths are excellent for skin problems, circulatory problems, respiratory symptoms, stress and nervous tension, insomnia, muscular, and menstrual pains.
*Mint oils should not be used full strength on any plastic products.
*Caution: Overuse of essential oils in the bath can cause irritation. Use only mild, non-irritating oils for bath, such as lavender oil and clary sage oil.