What are Essential Oils?

    Essential oils are natural volatile oils derived from plants.  Different parts of the plant are using including flowers,
    leaves, stems and bark. Various methods are used to extract the oils. Steam distillation is the preferred method
    whenever possible.  Some oils are not readily released from the plant materials and require the use of a solvent
    in the distillation process.

    Are all oils the same?
    With the advent of chemically produced products that mimic Mother Nature, care should be taken to ensure you
    are purchasing natural oils and not an artificial substance.  Look for information on the label stating the common
    and botanical name of the plant and wording such as therapeutic grade, aromatherapy grade or
    100% pure essential oil.

    How much do oils cost?
    Essential oils vary considerably in price.  The cost of an oil is typically based on the amount of plant material
    needed to produce the oil.  Some plants render a much higher volume of oil and are relatively inexpensive.  
    Some others, like Jasmine, require thousands of flower petals to produce a very small amount of oil, so they are
    much more costly.

    How are Essential Oils used?
    Essential Oils can be used in a variety of ways.  Some of the most common are:

    Oils can be placed into a diffuser to enhance the home environment.  Fan or nebulizing diffusers are
    preferred over candle or lamp type diffusers because they do not generate heat.  Heat can alter the
    structure of the essential oil and reduce its beneficial properties.

    Direct Inhalation
    Place one drop of essential oil on your palm and gently rub you hands together.  Cup you hands  close to
    your face and inhale.  Oils can also be placed into a personal inhaler for easy transport and on-the-go

    Steam Inhalation
    Place several drops of oil into bowl or basin containing hot water.  Drape yourself with a towel or cloth and
    position your face over the basin to inhale the vapors.  Be sure to keep your eyes closed. Many essential
    oils can be very irritating to the eyes.  

    Essential oils are frequently incorporated into a massage session.  Oils used will depend on the desired
    outcome.  Talk with your therapist about your goals to ensure the proper oils are used.  Be sure to inform
    your therapist beforehand of any food or plant allergies you might have so he or she can avoid using oils
    from that particular family of plants.

    Direct Topical Application
    Essential Oils are sometimes applied full strength directly to the skin.  Always work with a qualified
    practitioner in this application. Some oils are not appropriate for this method or must be properly diluted
    as they can cause extreme skin irritation for some individuals.



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