Aroma-therapeutic Questions & Answers



What are Essential Oils?

Essential Oils are the pure essence of the plants from which they are derived, for the most part through the process of steam distillation. Unlike mineral oils, which simply sit on top of the skin's surface, essential oils are made up of very small molecules. These molecules are lipid soluble and many of the chemical constituents of these molecules are able to enter through the skin's surface to the muscle tissue providing opportunity for antiviral, antibiotic, antispasmodic, analgesic, and other therapeutic and pain relieving benefits.

How are Essential Oils used?

Essential oils may be applied topically, on the skin in a carrier lotion or oil (by massage, rubbing a small amount onto an area that hurts or needs attention in some way, or as a warm compress). A few essential oils may be applied to the skin without dilution, or "neat". Neat applications must be used with caution and knowledge, as essential oils are very complex and concentrated, and not all oils are appropriate or safe to use in this manner.

Therapeutic benefits may also be obtained from the inhalation of essential oils. This can be done by simply smelling your essential oil or synergy blend right out of the bottle, or by dropping some onto a cotton ball or tissue and carrying it around in your pocket. We now have wonderful Inhalers that are easy take along wherever you go (some come pre-filled with a synergy blend, others are "fill-your-own"). You can also invest in a small electric device called a nebulizing diffuser, which will disperse your essential oils into the air. As you breathe in the finely dispersed molecules of essential oils, they react with specific nerve receptors. Transmission of the chemical information contained in the aroma is sent through the olfactory system directly to the limbic system, a part of the brain which stores responses to memory, pleasure, and emotions. In addition to memory recall, odors trigger the limbic system to trigger the other systems of the body which release hormones and neurochemicals.

Some essential oils and synergy blends may also be used by adding 6 to 10 drops to a warm bath, or by mixing a few drops with an all-vegetable lotion or "carrier" oil such as Olive or Sweet Almond oil (6 to 10 drops of essential oil or synergy per 1 ounce of carrier oil or lotion).

When you use essential oils you may be very target-specific to your situation or condition. If you have muscle or joint pain, physical stress, or a skin condition, you would want to use a topical (lotion or bath) method of application. If you have respiratory or allergy symptoms, or "mental fog" you would use the inhalation (diffuser, tissue, breathe from bottle) method of delivering the essential oils into your system. For pain or inflammation, topically applying a lotion (safely diluted) containing essential oils could be a wonderful option to taking a pill which would travel through the complete digestive process as it tries to address the pain in only one part of your body!

Are all Essential Oils therapeutic? Why are some products more expensive when compared to others?

Be sure that the aroma-therapeutic products you use contain therapeutic quality essential oils. These high-grade essential oils have been distilled with the greatest of care to extract the most possible number of chemical constituents from the plant. They are laboratory tested with gas chromatography, certified to be free from impurities and to contain specific levels of chemical properties which will allow the expected therapeutic benefits to be realized. Because of the extra care in the growing, harvesting, distillation process, special testing, and handling after bottling, these essential oils are more expensive when compared to those grown and distilled for the fragrance and flavoring industries. Do not expect therapeutic benefits from a synthetic fragrance oil, or an essential oil that has not been distilled for use in the therapeutic market.

Some essential oils are much more expensive than others, which is why one product may be priced higher than another of similar quality. For instance, it takes only 200 pounds of Lavendula officinales to produce one pound of pure lavender oil, but it takes 5,000 pounds of rose petals to produce one pound of rose oil!

I am so sensitive to "smells" -- how can I use Essential Oils?

Some people are hesitant to use products with any fragrance because they have environmental allergies, or they have had bad reactions of various kinds to scented products in the past. Most cosmetics contain fragrance oils that are manufactured in a lab, or use synthetic fixatives or extenders to enhance the product and add to the shelf life. An allergy to these types of scents is nearly always due to those synthetic additives. Most people will not have this problem with our products, as the only scented ingredients are the pure essences of the plants themselves. Essential oils are "natural" to the body's chemistry.

How should I choose which products to use?

Our products are made with the finest, premium, therapeutic quality pure essential oils. Each product is formulated toward a certain type of "relief". As you read through the list of essential oils and their properties, you will see that many overlap in their abilities to help us toward wellness. So, just because a lotion may say "...headache?" you may find that it also will help your backache! And don't forget, we're all different. What may provide amazing results for one person, may not work in quite the same way for someone else. We invite you to try several products, and then try using them for different purposes. All products are clearly labeled, listing the essential oils used within that formulation, the traditional benefits of the blended oils, as well as any safety concerns. You will never need to wonder if there are any "hidden" ingredients.

How much (or how often) should I use these products?

It would be highly unusual for therapeutic quality, pure essential oils to accumulate in the body as do synthetic chemicals or drugs. They are metabolized and eliminated through the skin and organs. They are excreted in the urine, feces, perspiration, and our breath. Therefore, when used as recommended, there is no residual or accumulative effect or "addiction" factor. To test this elimination factor, rub a fresh-cut garlic clove on the sole of your foot. Within 30 minutes you will have garlic breath!

You may use any given lotion several times a day to help relieve pain, inflammation, muscle distress, achieve analgesic benefits, and so forth. Contrary to many other types of remedies, most people find that over a period of time they will need to use our products less and less often. This is because the essential oils will help your body system to come back to balance, rather than just masking the original symptoms and causing other side-effect symptoms of distress.

In general, we recommend that you use any particular O'Malley & Potter "Feel-Good" product for only about a two-week period, then change to a different "Feel-Good" product. By alternating the wide variety of different products, your body will be encouraged to enhance it's own self-healing (balancing) mechanisms, and promote a more naturally occurring form of wellness.