DISCLAIMER: (This information is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition. It is listed here for educational purposes only. If you think you may have a medical problem; seek professional help immediately.)
Message oils are designed to soothe, stimulate, heal and beautify. The method of application brings about a state of deep relaxation while the essential oils give a sense of well-being through inhalation. Some of the other methods of application are by adding them to bath water, inhalation of them in a steam bowl and using them on a diffuser during meditation.
Before using; the concentrated essential oils need to be mixed with a carrier oil, they are too strong to come in contact with the skin without causing a reaction. It is imperative that the carrier oil be pure, high quality, cold-pressed vegetable oils. The oils should be unrefined oils and mineral oil is useless because it does not penetrate into the pores properly. I choose a good quality olive oil because it is easier to find and less expensive than my first choice of almond oil. Some other oil options that you may choose are grapeseed, apricot kernel, soya, wheatgerm, sunflower, avocado or sesame oils.
Usually about 2/3 ounce of carrier oil is enough for a whole body message. (You only need enough to make the hands glide smoothly over the skin but do not want to make the surface of the skin too slippery.) Into the carrier oil you will add no more than 6 (or 8 in mixes to be added to baths) drops of essential oils. These 6 drops of essential oils can be a mixture of up to three different oils chosen for the effects they have on the problems you or the person you are mixing for are suffering from.
Essential oils may have many different substances within them. The oils from flowers are very complex with as many as 100 different components to them, the oils from some leaves may have only 1. For this reason, the yields of essential oils vary greatly depending on the plant. This also causes some oils to be extremely expensive when it is difficult to extract a large quantity of oils.
The composition of the oil also changes according to the time of day and the season of the year in which they are being collected. This means that it is important that the oils are collected at the proper time to achieve oils of the highest quality in the highest yield available for each plant. Aromatherapy requires the use of the best quality oils you can get. The more adulteration within the essential oil, the less therapeutic benefits it has.
The oils are extracted most often through distillation with steam. Sometimes, it is done with a portable still so that the oils can be extracted immediately. This of course would insure that the oils are of the highest quality since it is done at the optimum time of day and in the optimum season.
It can also be extracted by enfleurage which is placing flower heads on a glass sheet covered with purified fat that will absorb the oils. Flower heads are replaced after use with fresh flower heads, this process is repeated until the fat is saturated with the essential oils. Alcohol is then added to dissolve the fats away from the essential oils and it is heated until the alcohol evaporates. This leaves only the essential oils when the process is completed.
Another method of collection is to use masceration which is very similar to enfleurage. The flowers or leaves are crushed first to rupture the oil cells of the plant. Once the cells have been ruptured the plants are then added to the purified fat on the glass sheet. From there, the steps are repeated just like they are in enfleurage.
The final method that would be used for extraction is a bit more complex and is used for some plants and with the gum from trees. A vacuum with volatile solvent in a closed machine creates what is called a ‘concrete’. It is made up of essential oil, natural waxes and color from the plant. The concrete is then mixed with alcohol to remove the waxes. This then leaves a thicker liquid called ‘absolute’. Absolutes will have a wonderful scent of the plant but are not necessarily the best oils. They are adulterated and so should not be used for aromatherapy.
Blends are made by mixing together various oils or by adding synthetic materials to the oil to improve the scent. These will be cheaper than pure essential oils because of the additives and that is fine for perfumes but they are adulterated as well and should not be used for aromatherapy either. If you are using an Aromatherapy supply company, premixed oils can be purchased. Premixed oils are essential oils mixed with a carrier oil these are not adulterated oils.