Aromatherapy as Self-Care
The more I learn about the process of aromatherapy, the more I realize crafting oil blends is one of my favourite forms of self-care. The entire ritual is deeply nourishing. You first check in with yourself and become aware of what it is you need at that moment. You then choose a selection of oils, and begin crafting a custom blended potion, just for you.
History of Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy can be traced back over 3,500 years to the Egyptians who believed that smoke rising to the heavens would carry their wishes and prayers to the gods. The Egyptians would burn woods, incense, and herbs and spices to communicate with their deities. During Egypt's third dynasty, today's popular oils like frankincense, myrrh, cinnamon, cedarwood, and juniper berry, were also used to preserve bodies for the afterlife.
The term aromatherapy was first used in 1937 by French chemist and perfumer, René Maurice Gattefossé, who used lavender oil to soothe a burn on his hand. He discovered that minute amounts of essential oils are absorbed by the skin and interact with the body chemistry.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are volatile oils extracted from plant matter—think of zesting a lime, or rubbing a mint leaf between your fingers. Essential oils are made up of hundreds of chemical components, and each oil offers many physical and emotional benefits. For example, lavender is antiviral, antibacterial, antiseptic, and helps to encourage wound healing—but at the same time helps reduce stress and anxiety, and improve overall feelings of calm and well-being.
How Do I Use Essential Oils?
Essential oils can be used a number of different ways – in massage, steam inhalation, hot or cold compress, in the bath or in DIY skincare and perfuming.
Kelsey's Favourite Warming Winter Blends
To help you get started with aromatherapy, I’m happy to share a few of my favourite winter oil blends. These blends will keep you feeling warm, cozy and healthy when the temperatures begin to drop.
DIY Rose & Black Pepper Bath Blend
In cold winter months, this is my go-to. Sensual, grounding, and warming—this blend is wonderful when added to bath salts or when used for massage. Black pepper helps stimulate circulation, rose encourages feelings of love and sexuality, cardamom is warming, and patchouli grounds and acts as an aphrodisiac!
- 3 drops black pepper
- 4 drops patchouli
- 2 drop rose absolute
- 3 drops cardamom
- Add to 30ml of almond oil, mix well, and add to epsom salts. Relax.
DIY Seasonal Stress Relief Blend
Around the holidays, this is a wonderful blend to help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Frankincense is my go-to oil for stress and meditation, orange is uplifting without the stimulation of other citrus oils, cedarwood is amazingly grounding, and ginger warms while it helps encourage circulation and digestion.
- 3 drops frankincense
- 2 drops ginger
- 4 drops orange
- 3 drops cedarwood
- Add to 30ml grapeseed oil, and use as a massage oil on the abdomen after a large meal; or add 3 drops of the essential oil mixture to your favourite diffuser.
DIY Rosemary & Lavender Immunity Blend
This blend is an anti-inflammatory powerhouse that helps promote circulation, reduce inflammation, and increase feelings of well-being. Rosemary and juniper together help reduce swelling, water retention, and joint inflammation. Ravensara helps to support respiratory health, and lavender does whatever you need it to—it’s an adaptogen, how cool is that?
- 2 drops rosemary
- 2 drops juniper
- 4 drops ravensara
- 4 drops lavender
- Add to 30ml of arnica or st. johns wort macerated oil, and use for body massage, focusing on any areas of pain or congestion.
It’s empowering to create blends that target the specific ailments in your life right now. Aromatherapy is another powerful tool to help you take your health into your own hands. Enjoy :)
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