The Basics of Aromatherapy

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Beginner Tips

If you are working with aromatherapy and essential oils for the first time, try visiting a health food store or a retailer with a good variety of premium, high-quality essential oils. Take advantage of testers and simply start smelling the individual oils. Experts suggest swirling the oil around in the bottle to gently awaken the molecules before you smell.

Another option is placing a drop of the oil on an unscented tissue or blotter paper to smell the fragrance and experience the desired effect. Sensory overload can develop if you smell too many essential oils at one time, so go slowly or smell something like a coffee bean between testers to "clear your palate."

Because there are no laws governing the purity and labeling of essential oils, being an educated consumer is the best way to ensure your money is well spent. "You have to work with genuine essential oils to get the therapeutic effect," cautions Close, "so go to health food stores you trust or other reputable suppliers." Both Close and Rocca-Lundstrom believe experienced consumers can learn to tell the difference between genuine essential oils and lower-quality, synthetic versions. (See "How to Buy Essential Oils.")

For More Information

  • Well Being (Chronicle Books, 2000) by Barbara Close

  • Aromatherapy: The A-Z Guide to Healing with Essential Oils (Dell, 1997) by Barbara Close

  • The Aromatherapy Book (North Atlantic Books, 1992) by Jeannie Rose

  • The Essential Oils Book: Creating Personal Blends for Mind & Body (Workman, 1996) by Colleen K. Dodt

  • Aromatherapy for Dummies (IDG Books Worldwide, 1999) by Kathi Keville

The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) is a professional organization that promotes educational guidelines for the aromatherapy profession and provides aromatherapy resources and information for consumers. Call 888-ASK-NAHA or visit their Web site.



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