I have been thinking about perfect blends for some time. One of our straplines is actually ‘You + Penny Price Aromatherapy = The Perfect Blend’ which always says to me that you and our company are as important as a blend as the actual essential oil blends I make! If I make a blend that does not take into account the person I make it for, it is no good. Also, people together create energy, as well as essential oil blends, make energy within an individual. With this in mind, I have decided to tell my story of how I am part of a family blend first, then a blender of oils, then a company blend of a team!
When I was quite small, my Mum started to get interested in plants and flowers for healing and for relieving stress. My Grannie suffered from very bad arthritis and she could hardly walk or move without severe pain. Mum was upset by all the drugs that she was taking (about 30 different tablets a day) and eventually, after looking at a few natural therapies, she became interested in aromatherapy.
Since this time, I have been part of a family who is rather obsessed by essential oils, getting involved in their pharmacological properties, chemistry and historical uses. My parents Len and Shirley Price were trailblazers in aromatherapy in the 70s, 80s and 90s, and I started my business in 2003 with my daughter Ellie and husband Bob. A great blend of family, where we all have the same interests in obsessions, that has expanded to my brother and daughter in law, and several family friends being employed by the business, all blending our working lives together to give the best we can to our customers.
As my grandmother responded to the oils, so my mother’s interest grew and she also began to have the confidence to make little potions for her friends. People came from all over our small town to buy face creams and potions for all manner of ailments from sinus congestion to menstrual tension. What a wonderful idea to put oils for complaints in the moisture cream that nourished your skin every day as well as having a therapeutic action.
That set the scene for the rest of my life! Whenever I fell over, there were no bandages or medicines for me, I had essential oils! Lavender and tea tree were usually put on all my cuts and bruises, and to help me sleep Mum put chamomile on my pillow. All my friends thought it was wonderful, and they also noted that if there was an infection going around the school I probably would not catch it!
When I grew up and had my children I did exactly the same with them – and all my children have grown up using aromatherapy and benefitting from it. I cannot imagine my life without the background aroma of essential oils in it. When I open my essential oil box, there is a mixed and amalgamated herby, flowery aroma that is difficult to describe but that takes me back to my childhood immediately and also to my children’s childhood.
I trained as an aromatherapist when my daughter Ellie was 3 years old and my baby son Edward was about 1 year old, and soon afterwards took a teacher training course so that I would be able to teach the wonderful art of aromatherapy to others. I remember well Edward sitting in his bouncy chair while I was training – such a good little fellow! The oils have had such a calming effect on all my 4 children, and this has continued into the adulthood as they don’t seem to suffer from stress at all!
The first time I used essential oils on my children was when Ellie was still in my tummy! I applied a lovely blended cream with lavender, chamomile and geranium oils added to help prevent getting stretch marks. I am sure that using the oils before she was born helped her to be calm and healthy later in life! In fact, Ellie’s favourite essential oil in the world is Clary Sage, which I used in the labour suite while she was being delivered. Her first breath of air was filled with the sweet aroma of Clary Sage and she has loved it ever since. It would appear that the birth was not as traumatic for her as it was for me!
I have many stories of using essential oils while my children were small, but I think the funniest is when my youngest son Victor, who was 4 years old at the time, tripped in my mother’s garden one sunny afternoon. He broke his arm and my husband and I rushed him to hospital.
“How did you do this young man?” asked the doctor.
“I tripped over my Grannie’s broomstick” replied Victor.
The doctor laughed and asked “Does Grannie also have a black cat?”
“Yes she does” said Victor.
We were sure then that the whole hospital knew that my mother was the aromatherapy witch of our town! I though, will always be grateful to her for introducing me to the wonderful world of essential oils.
So what is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is the controlled use of essential oils to help to bring balance to the human mind, body and spirit. The word ‘aroma’ means a fragrance or a sweet smell and ‘therapy’ means treatment designed to cure. Because we cannot claim that aromatherapy treatments can cure it is helpful to understand that the word cure comes from the Latin curare, which simply means ‘to care for’. This means that we use volatile essential oils from aromatic plants in an informed and controlled manner to care for our well-being.
Essential oils are natural, volatile essences that have been steam distilled or expressed from aromatic plants. The many different oil-bearing plants are harvested from all over the world and research from experts shows the field of activity of various oils is quite wide, ranging from documented therapeutic actions to the extreme subtlety of spiritual and emotional effects. Each essential oil has its own unique fragrance that can affect emotional and physical response through the olfactory system.
If we are going to help people maintain physical and mental well-being with aromatherapy, then the quality of the essential oils used is paramount! The ultimate value of the essential oils used is totally dependent on the quality of the live plants, the way the oils are extracted, and the way they are handled after extraction. High standards that focus on product purity are critically important. The best oils come from wild, naturally farmed or organically grown plants. Quality oils will always be priced according to the value and rarity of the particular oil, and will never be lumped into one price based on bottle size.
And how do we blend?
Mixing and blending essential oils is an art that is totally individual on two counts:
This sort of means that if two of you sat in a room together and made a blend for, say, aches and pains, you will probably come up with two entirely different recipes, with different application methods. However, this is GOOD! The blend should be individual, and many essential oils can help with everyday aches and pains, so why not have variety? Not one is better than the other, they are just different. One of you might make a bath oil for use in the evening bath, the other might make a body lotion to apply to the affected areas twice a day.
Blending essential oils for your family and friends is a really creative and interesting thing to do! Who knows, you may enjoy it so much that you come on one of my courses to learn to be a professional aromatherapist!
Choosing the essential oils for each individual person is of the highest importance. While standard blends can be effective for most people when it comes to single disorders such as aches and pains, it is always better to tailor the blend to suit more than one need of any particular individual. It is not necessary to choose one top note oil, one middle note oil and one base note oil as is suggested in some books. It is more important to choose the essential oils that the person needs. For example, if someone is stressed and unable to sleep, it may be that you would choose three base note essential oils in your blend.
If you are making a straightforward blend, then you would choose 2 or 3 oils that are recommended to treat that complaint and you would use30 drops per 100ml carrier. A carrier is something that dilutes and helps spread the essential oil over the body, so this could be a bland lotion, a cream or, more commonly, a vegetable oil, such as sunflower or almond. 30 drops in 100ml of carrier makes a 1% blend, which is safe for everyone – children, the elderly, the infirm etc. it is not true that the more essential oil you use the better the blend. Essential oils are in a tiny quantity in their related plants, and very small amounts used on the human body, regularly and over a period of time, can make a vast difference to how you feel
There may be several reasons for the way you decide to choose a blend:
Number of drops of essential oil
100mls lotion for a treatment lotion or the bath
30 drops essential oils (add one dessertspoonful if using in the bath)
100ml oil mix for massage
30 drops essential oils
10ml pure essential oils blend for inhalation or for the bath
Use up to 5 essential oils, 2ml each (or proportionate to the number of oils used) and add 4 drops to the vaporiser or bath
Face cream or oil
1 drop of essential oil to every 10mls of cream – this is so that the essential oils do not irritate the eyes
Room spray (for freshening the atmosphere, or for creating an antiseptic atmosphere
6 – 10 drops per litre of water in a fine-spray dispenser. Always shake dispenser before use
Clay (for poultices, face masks etc)
4-5 drops per 100gm. Use less for face masks (2-3 drops)
Gels (for general application or in the bath)
30 drops of essential oils to 100mls gel
To 10ml of carrier oil/lotion add 3 drops of treatment oil
To 50ml of carrier oil/lotion add 15 drops of treatment oil
To 100ml of carrier oil/lotion add 30 drops of treatment oil
To 200ml of carrier oil/lotion add 60 drops of treatment oil
When using 3 or 4 essential oils as a treatment oil put them together in one bottle. With this method you can then make massage oils or lotions easily and economically and have some treatment oil left over for the bath, for inhaling or to use in the next bottle of carrier oil or lotion.
NB 1ml of essential oil = approximately 30 drops (depending on the particular oil and the size of the dropper used).
How to use your blends
From hot water: 1-2 drops of essential oil
From a tissue: 4-6 drops of essential oil
Vaporiser/diffuser: 4-6 drops of essential oil
Put 4-6 drops of essential oil in a small bowl of water. Place a soft cloth into the water and apply to the area concerned. Leave for up to half an hour. Use warm water for a warm compress and cold water for a cold compress.
All essential oils are best avoided during the first months of pregnancy. After the third or four month, there are many oils and products that can be used in aromatherapy treatments that can be effective. If in doubt, consult a qualified therapist.
Allow the water to run into the bath before adding your chosen Essential Oils. Use 6-8 drops of Essential Oils to 1tsps full fat milk or carrier oil and swish the water to disperse for 2 minutes and inhale the aroma of the Oils whilst they are absorbed into the skin.
Shampoos and Bath Foams
Create your own blend of Aromatherapy shampoos and bath foams. Use 100mls of Shampoo Base or Bath Foam Base add 30 drops of your chosen blend of Essential Oils.
Pottery Oil Burners
A versatile way of effectively using Essential Oils is using a room vaporiser. Add 4-6 drops of the Essential Oil of your choice to the water in the top bowl. The heat of the night light will result in the subtle release of the aromatic oils which can induce states of relaxation, stimulation etc.
Preparing massage oils
We have to have some medium with which we carry out massage movements – something to help our hands to move over the skin evenly. Some masseurs use talcum powder, but this can be very drying; most use some form of vegetable or mineral oil. For the massage movements alone to be effective, any of the three mediums can be used. But for aromatherapy, it is necessary to choose something which will ‘carry’ the chosen essential oils (which themselves are not, despite their name, oily or greasy) through the skin and into the blood circulation … so we have to use oil rather than powder.
Mineral oil is useless because although essential oils will dissolve in it, it has a very low penetration power (hence its use as baby oil) so the essential oil is restricted in its attempt to pass through the skin. Certain less viscous vegetable oils are ideal, as they are of themselves fairly penetrative and therefore do not hinder the highly penetrative essential oils from getting into the bloodstream. It is preferable that a good quality vegetable oil is chosen as a carrier to hasten the curative effects of the essential oils you put in it. Only just enough is needed to be able to move smoothly over the area being massaged. If too much is used, you will slip or slide over the area, wasting the oil and not doing much good with your movements.
There are several good vegetable oil bases which can be used for blending. The choice is usually dependent on any health-giving properties the oil may have, but it may also, (for some people) be dependent partly on the smell (it may have a slight aroma), the texture of the oil and the smell.
All carrier oils must, of course, be 100 per cent pure unrefined oils for maximum penetration (cold-pressed where possible), and usually the higher price the more genuine the oil.
Any of the carrier oils mentioned on our websitewww.penny-price.com used singly or blended together are ideal for aromatherapy massage.
Adding Essential Oils
It is important to select the correct quantity of essential oil to put into the carrier oil. This depends to a large extent on the area to be covered during any one treatment. When you are helping a particular ailment yourself, such as an everyday ache or pain, you need only do the part of the body giving the problem.
For some ailments though (and for some people), using a carrier oil is not always practical. It is possible to use very successfully a carrier lotion instead.
Many essential oils have normalizing effects; i.e., they will sedate or uplift, relax or stimulate, and will successfully treat oily or dry skin. The result obtained depends on the health of the recipient.
Some problems respond better to a very dilute essential oil, while others, requiring the same oil to be used for the treatment, may need greater strength to respond positively. It will be found that trial and error sometimes play a very big part in determining the concentration of oil to use for a particular person for a specific complaint.
This is confusing to the beginner but expertise and confidence will soon be acquired by experience. It is best initially to use the average percentage given or less, and only if this does not give the desired result should the concentration be increased. It does not necessarily follow that the more you use the better will be the effect – in fact, it is often the reverse.
Lower concentrations often give as good or better results if the problem is emotional, but if you are working mainly on a physical problem then a higher concentration would probably produce better results.
Here are a few things for you to try out at home.
2 tbsp ground almonds
1 tbsp fine oatmeal
3 tsp powdered dried rose petals
3 tsp powdered dried lavender flowers
3-5 tsp finely grated cocoa butter
1 tbsp coconut butter chopped
1-3 tsp almond oil
Put ground almonds and oatmeal into a bain marie. Use a pestle and mortar to powder the dried flowers. Add the powder to the bowl. Grate the cocoa butter into the bowl and stir to mix up. Add the coconut butter and the almond oil. Mix and rub together until everything has melted and you have a stiff paste. Allow to cool slightly and squish the mixture firmly into a jar. When ready to use splash face with warm water and dig out a walnut size lump of the mixture, squish in your hands to make it spreadable, then massage into the face and rinse off for a glowing skin.
Add an egg add any of the following:
Oatmeal, ground almonds, almond oil, wheatgerm oil, olive oil, cider vinegar, honey, liquidized cucumber, mashed banana, mashed avocado along with a combination of essential oils. Apply to the skin over gauze and leave for 15 – 20 minutes.
35ml almond oil
½ tsp beeswax (scant)
4 drops lavender essential oil
Melt the wax and heat the almond oil together in a bowl or bain-marie. Remove from the heat and whisk until thickened and opaque (but not quite set hard). Gently whisk in the water until it is a lovely creamy consistency. Add the essential oil and stir, then decant into a jar. This should be a rich cream.
15g shea butter
15g cocoa butter
2 tablespoons sweet almond oil
2 drops Palmarosa essential oil
2 drops Geranium essential oil
Mix the shea butter, cocoa butter and almond oil in a bain-marie on low heat together then add your choice of essential oils and whisk. Pour into a bottle or jar. Cover and keep cool.
Aromatherapy truly is a wonderful method of helping the body to balance. Getting the perfect blend is easy really, once you have got the hang of it – but if you need help, just email us firstname.lastname@example.org and we will always help you.
You + Penny Price Aromatherapy = The Perfect Blend.