As a person that gets easily stressed, I have found that it really helps to take a few minutes of each day to reflect and simply relax! One wonderful technique that I use to calm my mind is to use aromatherapy body or massage oils. I use aromatherapy body or massage oils a few times a week to help me meditate, ease but focus my mind, relax my body, de-stress, and to connect to my higher self (my spirit). Try my recipe for a super simple aromatherapy body and massage oil!
Easy aromatherapy body and massage oil
1 oz of carrier oil
3 to 12 drops of essential oils (this will make approximately a ½% to 2% concentration)
Add the essential oils to a 1 oz colored glass bottle. Add the carrier oil. Shake vigorously. Apply ½ to 1 teaspoon to the skin, preferably after showering or bathing.
After I apply them or give myself a massage, I like to cover myself with a towel and lie down for a few minutes (lie down on another towel), breathe in the scent, and relax and calm my mind and body.
Notes on aromatherapy massage and body oils:
Types of carrier oils
Camellia oil (rich in antioxidants) or Jojoba oil (a liquid wax that is similar to the skin’s natural sebum) are great for all skin types. Grapeseed oil (also high in antioxidants) is good for oily to normal skin (try to find an expeller or cold pressed unrefined grape seed oil rather than a solvent extracted refined one). Normal to dry will love almond oil (a good all purpose skin oil) or sesame oil (rich in nutrients, the sesame oil used in skin care is different than the one used in Asian cooking, as it is not toasted and only has a mild nutty smell). See carrier oil link below to an expanded list on my blog.
Suggested essential oils:
Try lavender or roman chamomile essential oils to relax, calm the emotions, and soothe the skin. Cardamom essential oil is very sensual and may help with mental stress. Rose geranium is a very lovely green, herbaceous, floral that is helpful for anxiety and a variety of skin conditions. Clary sage essential oil is thought to be euphoric and to help with mental fatigue. And frankincense or myrrh essential oils are often used in spiritual blends.
Essential oil safety:
Essential oils are potent substances that also have many medicinal properties. Be sure to research about their properties (including safety information, as many essential oils cannot be used in many medical conditions) in at least 5 to 7 good resources (books and also scientific articles, if you can find them. There is a lot of aromatherapy misinformation out there). If you are pregnant or have a medical condition consult with a medical practitioner as well as a good aromatherapist that are familiar with the effects of essential oils on your specific condition (many nurses in the U.S. and even a few doctors have studied aromatherapy). Always use lower concentrations on children (½% to 1% or less, preferably less; many essential oils are not recommended for kids). One good place to start is Aromaweb, an online essential oil resource. I also have much essential oil and aromatherapy information on my blog (including book reviews, and links to many good essential oil vendors and aromatherapists, which generally have good information on their sites. You will probably have to do a search on my blog using the search box, as the majority of my posts are not linked to the main page).
It is very important to always rotate ingredients every once in while (take a break from using ingredients, don’t use them for daily for long periods of time). Some reasons why it is important to rotate plant ingredients are to prevent sensitivity, allergic reactions, sensitization, to meet skin’s changing needs, to prevent bioaccumulation of certain natural plant chemical components in the body (to protect the liver; essential oils are composed of usually hundreds of chemical components), and to prevent the opposite intended reaction from occurring (which can occur if certain ingredients are used in excess or for long periods of time), etc.
For safety reasons, always use the lowest concentration possible. Essential oils are very potent ingredients. It usually takes anywhere from ounces to pounds of plant matter to make a single drop of essential oil. If you are applying body oils daily, use ½% to 1% concentration or less. If you are using them only once or twice a week, it is safe to use up to 2% concentration. Some essential oils should be used in even lower concentrations than what is stated; be sure to research essential oils well before use, and when in doubt always use less. Never, ever apply any essential oil ‘neat’ or ‘undiluted’ to the skin (there have been many cases of people getting ill from or becoming sensitized to essential oils applied neat to the skin, even the ‘safe’ ones). The recommended ½% to 2% concentration is the total essential oil concentration (so use only a total of 3 to 12 drops of essential oils per ounce, and not 12 drops of each essential oil).
Note about applying carrier oils:
Carrier oils just seal in moisture but do not hydrate by themselves, so oils need to be applied to damp skin. If you are not applying to the skin after a shower or bath, then lightly mist the skin with spring or distilled water or better yet use aloe or a hydrosol.