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aromatherapy 101

Balancing in Blending Essential Oils

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Despite the chemical complexity of essential oils, they smell remarkably balanced and integrated. This balance is evident in the aroma of lavender oil, which contains up to 70% sweet and flowery linalol and linalyl acetate, and up to 4% camphor, cineol and terpenol.

If one were to smell and compare equal amounts of the isolated component groups, the camphor, cineol, terpenol group would be overwhelmingly powerful and penetrating while the linalol linalyl acetate group would be exceedingly delicate and sweet. In natural lavender oil the tiny percentage of pungent, penetrating constituents is just enough to complement the light floral components. The result is a sweet yet delicate herbaceous aroma. Essential oils that contain a balance of seemingly unrelated constituents are often employed in aromatherapy as balancing, normalizing and stabilizing essential oils.

Clary sage, geranium and lavender are excellent balancing oils. Other oils that have balancing characteristics include: marjoram, melissa, lemongrass, petitgrain, juniper berry and fir needle.

When such oils are used by themselves, the body, mind and spirit have a tendency to focus on the component that will supply the needed aromatic benefit. For example, a stressed individual will appreciate lavender oil's soothing aroma, while a lethargiic person will benefit from the inspiring effect of the oil's fresh, herbaceous characteristics.

Synergizing Blends

Equipped with the knowledge of the dominant aroma characteristics of an essential oil, along with its most prevalent therapeutic effect, aromatherapists can create their own synergized blends.

How to Make a Synergized Balancing Blend: Method One

There are two ways to create balancing aromatherapy blends: by using balanced essential oils only, or by combining oils that have opposing effects but complementary aromas. Here are two recipes for balanced aromatherapy blends that use balanced essential oils. All the recipes in this issue yield amounts sufficient to blend with 4 teaspoons of almond, apricot kernel or grapeseed oil. This mixture can be used as a massage or bath oil.

Fresh-Herbaceous Balancing Blend
Featuring clary sage, marjoram and melissa.

Lemony-Herbaceous-Floral Balancing Blend
Featuring geranium, lavender and lemongrass.

The oils used in these two blends are sweet and herbaceous, with the citral constituent in the melissa and lemongrass oils contributing a lemony note. Even though the two blends use completely different oils, aromatically they are quite similar. Balancing aromas can also be created with the other blending method of using opposed, non-balancing oils that have complementary aromas.

How to Make a Synergized Balancing Blend: Method Two

The following two recipes are blends made from oils that provide opposing benefits that synergize to give a balancing effect. This synergy is reinforced by the addition of a balancing essential oil. The aromatherapy benefits are listed after each oil.

Earthy-Foresty Balancing Blend
Featuring basil, fir needle and angelica root.

Lemony-Woody Balancing Blend
Featuring lemon, petitgrain and sandalwood.

An equation of a top note benefit plus an opposed bottom note benefit equals a balancing benefit in the middle note. The inclusion of a balancing essential oil helps pull the opposing effects together and makes these synergized blends more stable and coherent.

Balancing, normalizing and stabilizing aromatherapy makes use of both the synergistic potential of naturally balanced single essential oils, or blends of aromatically opposed yet complementary essential oils, combined oils with opposite aromatherapy effects will tone down the effects produced by the other oil in the blend, thereby creating a balanced, harmonious and stable aroma that lends its benefits to over (or under) active emotional or physical states. Opposed, but balanced constituents in single oils produce the same effects and benefits.


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