8 questions and answers to help you get started with aromatherapy and essential oils

Getting started with essential oils can be daunting given the variety of oils available. You might find yourself asking ‘what does this oil do?’ or ‘what would help for headaches?’. To help you get started on your journey with aromatherapy and essential oils we have created this quick guide, and if you still have any questions you are more than welcome to get in touch with us.

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are pure plant extracts with an aroma that is at least 70 times more concentrated than the herb or plant from which it is extracted. Not all plants contain essential oils, and only a small number of these are of therapeutic quality. They are not fragrances of perfumed oils that are constructed in a laboratory and are naturally free from harmful chemicals.

Synthetic or adulterated counterparts do not have the same therapeutic qualities as a pure essential oil. Twenty8 uses only 100% natural, 6-star certified pure organic essential oils in our single oils, synergy blends, and chemical-free skincare products. We do not use nature identical or diluted oils, and the high degree of purity of our products means that you can use less of it while still achieving the desired results.

What are the benefits of using essential oils?

The chemical constituents that make up an essential oil are bioactive creating fast, dynamic results. For instance, lavender‘s constituents can induce a good sense of calm. Rosemary can create more of a ‘pep up’ reaction. All essential oils are antiseptic and antibacterial to some degree and can aid the body’s curative and restorative mechanisms when under stress or when illness invades. There is also a growing body of peer-reviewed studies supporting the benefits of essentials oils.

The use of essential oils is by no means a young science either. The earliest evidence of human knowledge of the healing properties of plants was found in Lascaux, located in the Dordogne region in France. There, cave paintings suggest the use of medicinal plants in every day life that have been carbon dated as far back as 18,000 B.C.E. Evidence and recorded history have both shown that the Egyptians used aromatic oils as early as 4500 B.C.E. They became renowned for their knowledge of cosmetology, ointments and aromatic oils.

Kim Morrison, the founder of Twenty8, has created a deck of essential oil profile cards to help you understand the benefits of each essential oil. We call these ‘Aroma Cards‘, and they make an excellent gift.

Can essential oils help us cope with stress?

Stress is usually emotionally driven. Smell is closely linked to emotions. Because of their chemical constituents, essential oils can help change the way you think and feel within 4 seconds. They can help you sleep better, relax better and even think better.

We have created a range of essential oil blends, which we call Synergy blends, to help you get started with aromatherapy. These blends are made up of 100% natural, 6-star certified pure organic essential oils.

To address stress we recommend our De-Stress & Revive or Instant Calm synergy blends. De-Stress & Revive contains bergamot, rosewood and sandalwood while Instant Calm is a blend of lavender, orange and frankincense.

Good quality sleep is vitally important to our wellbeing, and to help you we recommend our Peace & Meditation or Balance & Harmony synergy blends. Peace & Meditation is a calming blend of lavender, sandalwood and myrrh while Balance & Harmony blends clary sage, lemon and rose.

Is there a link between the brain and sense of smell?

When we inhale an essential oil aroma the chemical constituents travel up the olfactory system via the nasal cavity and into the limbic part of the brain (that governs emotions). The effect depends on the oil essential oil being used.

How do we use essential oils?

Essential oils can be used in a number of ways including in an electric diffuser or vaporiser, in a spritzer bottle, in the bath, in a massage blend and by simply inhaling them. When we inhale an aroma those constituents travel up the olfactory system via the nasal cavity and into the limbic part of the brain (that governs emotions). Essential oils can also be used to supplement existing beauty rituals. One drop of frankincense essential oil, for instance, added to a skin cream can help regenerate skin cells more quickly.

Spritzing, diffusing, body boosting...what are they?

Spritzing is fast becoming one of the easiest and most accessible ways to practice aromatherapy no matter where you are. A couple of drops of essential oil in a spritzer bottle can be carried in your handbag, gym bag, live on your desk at the office or even in the car. Simply spray the mist, take a deep breath and experience all the natural goodness of aromatherapy.

Using essential oils in a diffuser is another great way to change the mood of a room, and unlike traditional scented candles that release harmful chemicals, ultrasonic diffusers like our signature Twenty8 diffuser release only water vapour.

Another effective use for essential oils is during a massage. This does not necessarily have to be in a massage studio either. We have developed a range of Body Boost rituals aimed at promoting self-care as part of your daily beauty regime.

Can essential oils be applied directly on the skin?

Yes, they can, however, they should always be diluted into a skin cream or carrier oil like sweet almond, macadamia or jojoba oil. The only oils that can be safely applied neat or direct are lavender and/or chamomile.

Why do some companies sell essential oils for much cheaper?

Quality is critical as the purest oils offer the highest therapeutic qualities. Price is a good indicator, and proves that not all essential oils are equal. While you can purchase lavender oil for as little as $3 you have to wonder how much of what you are buying actually contains pure essential oils. Similarly damask rose oil, one of the most precious of essential oils, should not be available at the same price as therapeutic quality lavender oil (around $32) and if it is, you should seriously question the origin and contents.

There are also key things to look out for on product packaging such as the botanical names of the ingredients or words like ‘organic’, ‘natural’ and ‘pure’.