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Aromatherapy is all about the therapeutic use of essential oils—highly aromatic substances that occur naturally in plants.

Essential oils are made up of organically occurring chemical components that have a wide variety of therapeutic properties. People have understood the healing power of plants for centuries and through decades of research, scientists have identified the medicinal actions of hundreds of these chemical components. Some are antibacterial, some are sedative, and some are antispasmodic. These chemical components contribute to the overall effects of essential oils.

As a beginner, you don’t need a certification to use essential oils around the home. All you need are the right tools and safety guidelines. Dilution guidelines exist to ensure that your aromatherapy products are safe and gentle.

“Aromatherapy is an easy and relaxing way to sooth the senses and treat ailments from the comfort of your home”

The first step in making essential oil products is to understand the concept of dilution. In general, if you are going to use essential oils on your skin it is best to first dilute them in a carrier. We usually dilute essential oils in organic oil or jojoba, unscented light lotion, or cream. These are collectively referred to as carriers.

There is a great deal of vitality in every drop of essential oil, so you may need fewer drops than you think to get excellent results. Essential oils are very concentrated, and some essential oils can irritate the skin when used undiluted.

You can mix essential oils with other organic oils that are nourishing for your skin, like jojoba. The essential oils will stick with the fats in these carriers, and take their time being absorbed by the fat in your skin, thus avoiding skin irritation.

How much essential oil should you put into your carriers? Generally, effective blends are made using a dilution ratio of 1, 2, or 3 percent of essential oil to the carrier.

Dilution guidelines:

Amount of carrier by weight Number of drops of essential oil
1% dilution 2% dilution 3% dilution
1 oz 5-6 drops 10-12 drops 15-18 drops
2 oz 10-12 drops 20-24 drops 30-36 drops

The next obvious question is, how do you choose which dilution to use?

1% Dilution – Used for children under 12, and seniors over 65, pregnant women and people with long-term illnesses or immune systems disorders. A 1% dilution is also a good place to start with individuals who are generally sensitive to fragrances, chemicals or other environmental pollutants.

2% Dilution – Use for general health supporting blends for skin care, for natural perfumes, bath oils, and for blends you like to use everyday.

3% Dilution – Use this dilution when creating a blend for a specific, acute health concern, such as pain relief or getting through a cold or flu.

As you become more familiar with essential oils, you will begin to see them as faithful friends. Lemon might be your partner on days when you feel down. Lavender might be your helper when you’re wound up and need help getting to sleep. You may develop a special affinity for certain aromas, especially when you associate particular aromas and blends with events in your life or specific emotions.

The following recipes from Aromahead Institute’s book, Essential Living: Aromatherapy Recipes for Health & Home are a few suggestions for effective blends you can easily make at home. There are limitless possibilities for essential oil blends, from cleaning products to body care products.

If you’re interested in learning more, consider taking a class on essential oils to discover the chemistry and theories behind aromatherapy and therapeutic blending. You can start with Aromahead Institute’s free online class.

1. Headache Relief Oil

Makes: One 1 oz. jar of headache relief oil


  • 1 oz. jojoba
  • 7 drops Peppermint essential oil
  • 5 drops Frankincense essential oil
  • 3 drops Lemon essential oil

  • Fill empty jar with 1 oz. jojoba.
  • Add essential oils directly to jar.
  • Screw lid on carefully, shake to mix.

Tools: One 1 oz. glass or PET plastic jar with screw top

Notes: Shake before use. Apply to the back of neck or shoulders at onset of headache. Avoid using directly on the face and keep away from eyes. Always wash hands after applying.
Apply every 15 minutes for an hour.

2. Gentle Back Rub Oil for Cough and Colds

Makes: One 1 oz. bottle of oil to combat the symptoms of cold and cough

  • 1 oz. jojoba
  • 3 drops Roman Chamomile essential oil
  • 3 drops Balsam Fir essential oil

Tools: One 1 oz. glass or PET plastic bottle

Directions: Add essential oils to the jojoba in your bottle and shake gently to mix.

Notes: Shake gently before use. Apply to the back of the neck and back before bedtime or as needed during the day. Try applying this blend in a steamy bathroom to help carry the soothing vapors. Not for use on children under five.

3. Cleansing Hand Moisturizer

Makes: 2 oz. plastic spray bottle of hand cleanser and moisturizer

  • 2 oz. organic aloe vera gel
  • 20 drops Lavender essential oil

Tools: 2 oz. PET plastic spray bottle

Directions: Add the aloe vera to the spray bottle then add the drops of lavender essential oil.
Shake to mix.

Notes: Spray each hand three or four times. Rub briskly until the liquid dries. Keep near your keyboard, in your car or in your bag to use frequently and eliminate germs.

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