Once you’ve gained an understanding of aromatherapy and of the production, selection and properties of essential oils, it’s time to discover more about the ways they can be integrated into your home environment and daily routine. Christine Fessler, our Spa Manager at Hotel de Russie, has put together this simple breakdown.
Diffusing essential oils
“After choosing a really high-quality essential oil, a good introduction to aromatherapy at home is via a diffuser. If you like the aroma and its effect, then you can move into different areas of aromatherapy,” Christine advises. “Perhaps begin with lavender, orange or tea tree oil.” This method allows the oils to evaporate and infuse the air in the room, covering any odours as well as lightening your mood.
There are myriad tools to diffuse essential oils, from burners and reed diffusers, to nebulizers and more. The simplest method involves heating the oils, most often using electric heat or a ceramic burner with a candle inside. “These are easy, and a good way to get a feel for the scents, but some argue that heating the oils could change the nature of their properties,” Christine explains.
Non-heating methods are arguably more sophisticated, and include ultrasonic and nebulizing diffusers. Both are quiet – “Ideal for when you’re trying to fall asleep” – and the ultrasonic diffuser has an added benefit: “it also acts as a humidifier for your room, keeping the air from becoming dry.” Whichever method you choose though should fill the air with a pleasant, soothing scent, and you should soon be able to tell whether it’s having an effect.
In the bathroom
“Mixing a few drops of lavender and carrier oil with a natural shower gel, or adding 10-12 drops to a spoonful of carrier oil and dripping them into a hot bath, can have a very calming effect,” Christine suggests, “and for an even more relaxing, nourishing effect, add some honey, clay or salt and vinegar to the water.” Combined with relaxing music and atmospheric lighting, this can make a bath at the end of a long day or a stressful meeting truly blissful, help lift your mood and leave your skin pleasingly fragrant.
Why the need for carrier oils? Carrier oils dilute the essential oils and help them stick to your skin, as well as preventing any irritation or sensitivity caused by the highly concentrated essential oil. Before mixing into a bath or shower gel, always ensure the essential oil is mixed with the correct amount of carrier oil, such as jojoba, coconut, olive, sweet almond or avocado oil.
Many will have already experience with the inhalation method, traditionally used for its anti-catarrhal and respiratory purposes. “Inhalation is one of the simplest, most effective natural remedies since ancient times,” Christine says, “and it’s easy. Simply boil some water, add a few drops of essential oil, then cover your head with a towel and inhale the vapours to help clear the respiratory tract.” Eucalyptus oil is the most commonly used for this purpose, although peppermint can also be beneficial against fatigue as well as respiratory problems. However, it’s important to note there are many essential oils which cannot or should not be inhaled.
“As this is once again a situation in which the oils will come into direct contact with your skin, the carrier to essential oil ratio once again applies here,” Christina says of aromatherapy massage. “Massage using curative aromatic oils and balms creates a deep sense of wellbeing, and can affect the muscles, mood, emotions, and even the relationship between organs and psychological and emotional conditions.” Once you’ve calculated the correct mix of carrier oil or lotion and essential oils, just use them as you would any massage oil.
To avoid the mixing of oils yet benefit from an aromatherapy massage, select an Irene Forte Skincare body oil, which already contains a soothing mix of oils and scents, and use this at home. Alternatively, book a future visit to of our spas (Christine recommends De Russie Spa, naturally), where one of our therapists will be delighted to immerse you in a fully aromatic experience.