Aromatherapy 102: Choosing a Carrier Oil , 0 Comments

In our previous aromatherapy article (found HERE), we gave you an introduction to a few of the more popular essential oils. In this piece, we'll be exploring the carrier oils. A carrier oil is an oil that is used as the 'base,' if you will, and will form the majority of the mixture of oils. Especially when talking about massage, a carrier oil is recommended for the express purpose of "diluting" the essential oils. On their own, essential oils can be overpowering, in the olfactory sense, when more than a few drops are used. A carrier oil serves the purpose of providing plenty of lubrication during massage, without causing you or your masseur to faint from the potency of the scent! Also, essential oils can be quite costly, and this is an excellent way to extend the life of your little glass bottles.

Carrier oils can be divided into two categories; one determined by consistency, and another by particular healing concerns. The latter is  a small list, because these oils are not generally used as carriers, unless for the express purposes stated further down. The first division of oils includes the majority. Oils are classified as either light, medium, or thick/rich. Light oils are considered suitable for all skin types, and including the following: sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil, grapeseed oil, soybean oil, and sunflower oil. The next division are the mediums: corn oil, jojoba oil, and peach kernel oil. Both corn oil and peach kernel oil are moisturizing for dry skin, while jojoba oil will act more as a balancing agent than an emollient. The thick oils are avocado oil, coconut oil (which is solid at room temperature), evening primrose oil, olive oil, and wheatgerm oil. Evening primrose oil is particularly excellent for aging skin, and wheatgerm oil has been shown to be effective in minimizing the appearance of stretch marks.

The oils that fall in the second division are intended to treat specific maladies. Arnica oil is good for treating injuries and bruises, but should never be used on broken skin or open wounds or scratches. Calendula oil is used to treat feminine problems, menopause, and PMS. Comfrey oil is excellent for rheumatism, aches, and pains, and St. John's wort oil is antiseptic and relieves pain. Choosing a carrier oil will depend upon your skin type, your personal scent preferences, and the type of benefits or healing that you are looking for in your aromatherapy session. When used for massage, the mixture of carrier oil and essential oil should be about 1.5 fluid ounces (varying upon how much oil you prefer to use). When incorporated into a bath, a tablespoon is more than enough to experience the benefits of aromatherapy. Check back with us tomorrow for our next article in this series, which will delve deeper into the essential oils!

- Maria Vasylivna