The most important part of creating the perfect essential oil blend is: 1. Have a clear focus on what you want to accomplish. 2. Be knowledgeable about essential oils and their benefits. 3. Use only pure essential oils.
Generally, essential oil blends are created for either an aesthetic or a therapeutic purpose.
THE AESTHETIC BLEND
An aesthetic essential oil blend is all about beauty and scent and has very little to do with the healing properties of the oils. However, some may feel that blends created totally for emotional purposes may fall into the aesthetic category. For example, I created a meditation blend that contains: sandalwood, cedarwood, frankincense, myrrh, and clove. It is a blend heavy on the base oils that have been used for centuries for meditation. The addition of the clove was my own choice to give it a spicy undertone, but had nothing to do with the properties of clove.
Another example is two lavender soaps we make: lavender orange and lavender lime. The lavender orange blend was made as a children’s soap because the two mixed together smell surprisingly like Fruit Loops cereal (I have no idea why, but they do). The Lavender Lime soap was created as a gateway soap to get men to try lavender. If you ask, most men will say that lavender is a “girl scent.” Add the crisp, citrusygreen lime scent and the smell changed into something men like. Both of these essential oil blends were created solely for the smell, nothing more – the benefits of relaxing lavender just happen to be a bonus.
Creating blends for perfumes or to scent the home are examples of using essential oils for aesthetic reasons.
THE THERAPEUTIC BLEND
When you create a therapeutic aromatherapy blend for someone else, you need to do a lot of detective work. If it is for yourself, you should already know all the answers, but perhaps no one ever taught you which questions to ask. A therapeutic blend should be multipurpose and go after more than one condition or discomfort.
Top and middle notes are most often used for acute conditions while middle and base notes go after the chronic conditions. This is because base notes with their heavier molecules stay in the system longer. Also, base note oils can act as a fixative for the lighter top and middle notes, giving them more staying power – a perfect example as to why a good and balanced blend should contain all the notes.
So, what is the difference in an acute and a chronic condition?
An Acute condition is usually a short-lived one such as stress over a recent event, a cold or the flu, anxiety over having to give a speech, or sleeplessness that popped up out of nowhere and hasn’t been going on that long.
A Chronic condition is one that is more long-term. Perhaps someone has had insomnia for over four months or they have been getting headaches for most of their adult life. Chronic may also mean something more serious such as having HIV, Diabetes, or even asthma.
Aromatherapy is often used for both acute and chronic conditions. But, as with any illness or disease, you should still consult a medical doctor. Aromatherapy is NOT a replacement for medical attention and supervision.
The following is a fictitious case study on Jane Smith, to create an aromatherapy blend for her to use.
Jane has two acute conditions (stress and infrequent migraines) and one chronic condition (endometriosis).
First, we will ask her a few questions, including: sleep patterns, allergies, last visit to doctor, whether or not she is pregnant, if she has a healthy diet, etc. The reason these questions are asked is not to make a diagnosis (which only a doctor should do) but to give an aromatherapist a full picture of the client’s health and lifestyle.
People don’t always associate everyday habits with their discomforts. When you ask someone to write down what they are eating, how well they sleep, their digestion, etc. – it puts a lifestyle history right in front of them and it forces them to think about it. If someone is telling you they are not eating well, they don’t sleep, they are getting headaches, and they haven’t been to the doctor in over two years, it could be a good time to nudge them with a little friendly advice about scheduling a checkup with their medical doctor.
Other questions help you create the perfect blend. In our sample case study, we learn that the subject is allergic to peanuts so we definitely know we will NOT be blending her essential oils into a base of peanut oil. Pregnancy is another important question since certain essential oils are best avoided during pregnancy. If the person has high or low blood pressure, there are other oils to avoid.
These are contraindications. (For more information, see the section on Safety)
Asking the client about their essential oil likes and dislikes is another important question. In our example, clary sage makes Jane nauseous. While it may appear in the choices of oils that are good for her conditions, she is certainly not going to continue to use the blend if it makes her sick to her stomach.
Next, we are going to research and list the oils for each condition. When you have finished with all conditions, there should be a pattern of repetition. In the Jane Smith case study example, we find that chamomile appears in her first and second condition, so we cross out chamomile in the second condition and place the number ‘2’ beside chamomile in the first list. We also find chamomile again for her third condition. Cross it out in the 3rd list and place a ‘3’ beside chamomile in the first list. This provides a quick reference as to which oils appear several times. Simply circling oils on a large list can end up looking messy and cause confusion.
Under ideal circumstances, a base note will appear in the list for the chronic condition. However, in this case (endometriosis) no base notes are suggested, so we proceed with whichever oils appear the most times in all conditions.
For our essential oil blend, we select Lavender and Chamomile because they appeared in all three of her conditions – the two acute conditions and the one chronic. We select Marjoram as it appeared in both her first and second conditions. Omit Clary sage, even though it appeared in both her first and second conditions, because of Jane’s nauseous reaction to it.
From there we create our essential oil blend and mix it in a carrier base: Essential Oils Chosen: 3 drops chamomile, 3 drops marjoram, 6 drops lavender mixed into a one ounce (30 ml) carrier oil blend containing – half ounce olive oil and half ounce jojoba. (The carrier oil blend was just a personal preference.) More lavender was used because it is generally tolerated in higher amounts by most people and is good for almost every ailment.
(case study begins next page. I have selected a different font so that you can easily see how a case study form looks).
Main Condition: ACUTE STRESS
Secondary Condition: ACUTE MIGRAINES
Third Condition: CHRONIC ENDOMETRIOSIS
Client’s Name in full: Jane Smith
Occupation: homemaker, volunteer committees
Active or Inactive: active
Medical History: diagnosed with endometriosis in June, 2010. Otherwise, has been completely healthy. Has no children, no plans for children.
Hospitalization: outpatient Laparoscopy, October 2011
Last visit/s to Doctor: January 2013
Vitamins: multivitamin, green tea extract pills, fish oil pills
Headaches: migraines every 8 – 10 weeks, mild to severe.
Sleep: Bedtime is 11:00 pm, wakes at 6:00 am. Wakes
feeling rested, except for the day after a migraine.
Bowel: regular, daily mornings
Digest 4 main groups Y or N – eats a balanced diet, 5 light meals per day.
Reproductive Pregnant Y or N - No
General Health: good
Energy Level High or Low: high, 90% of the time.
Pre-existing Conditions: endometriosis, no other
Stress Level – High Medium Low: MEDIUM
Notes: Jane says she has taken on too many projects involving church functions, charities and school projects and needs to cut back. Usually, when she is under deadlines for these events is when her migraines occur. Says her stress is from overextending herself and when she is not involved in so many projects, she has virtually no stress.
Likes/dislikes of Eos. Dislike of clary sage. Jane states that she tried clary sage in the past and the scent makes her extremely nauseous.
Essential Oils Chosen: 3 drops chamomile, 3 drops marjoram, 6 drops lavender
Carrier Oil Added: 30 mls – 15 olive oil, 15 jojoba
Home Treatment Remarks: massage on back of neck in the evenings before bed. When a migraine is coming, rub on back of neck and at temples.
ADDITIONAL NOTES: Suggested that Jane think about which committees were the most important to her and to think about possibly taking on less responsibility with the others.
The above therapeutic example of a case study is a detailed version of how an aromatherapist might go about creating an essential oil blend for a client. You can still create a blend for therapeutic purposes without going into that much detail by learning your oils and their properties and by remembering to use only a few oils in a blend.