“The way to health is to have an aromatic bath and scented massage everyday,” Said Hippocrates in 400 B.C. There are numerous references throughout history to the use of aromatic oils. The term aromatherapy was coined by a French chemist in the 1920’s named Gattefosse. Several years earlier he had noticed the therapeutic effects of essential oils after burning his hand badly while working in his laboratory. Absentmindedly, he put his burned hand into the nearest bowl of liquid lavender oil. To his amazement, the pain diminished and the burn healed much faster than he expected, leaving no scar. Following this discovery, when working with wounded soldiers during the 1914-1918 war, he found that essential oils accelerated the healing process. Since then, aromatherapy has steadily gained popularity.
When blending oils remember they are extremely concentrated and must always be diluted, otherwise they can sting and even cause allergies. To use them during a massage, you need to dilute them in a carrier oil. The most commonly used carrier oils are almond, soya, grape-seed, avocado, peach and wheat germ oils. Wheat-germ oil is rich in vitamin E and acts as an antioxidant, but it is rather thick and heavy, so add just a little to a lighter carrier oil to prevent your massage oil from turing rancid. To dilute an essential oil, mix one to three drops with a 5 ml. teaspoon of carrier oil. If you want to make up a larger quantity, add 15 to 30 drops to 2 fl. of carrier oil. Use a more diluted mixture on sensitive skin and on the face. Don’t mix much more than this at a time as the blended oil can turn rancid in a few weeks. Despite their name, essential oils are usually not very oily; they are exceptionally volatile liquids that evaporate quickly, so alway put the lids back on the bottles after use. Store them and your blended massage oil in a cool, dark place in air tight bottles.