Aromatherapy and Wellness
Have you ever wondered about safe and effective ways to use essential oils to support your health? We did too! So we interviewed Jessica Goniea of Jessica’s Skin & Body Apothecary in Ann Arbor, MI, and learned from her about aromatherapy and wellness.
By Emily Hanna, LLMSW
1. How does aromatherapy relate to mental health?
Essential oils contain volatile aroma compounds that are what keep plants alive – and therefore contain powerful properties! When these fragrant molecules pass through the blood/brain barrier, they can create a subtle effect (whether calming or activating on the brain), and therefore, affect feelings of stress, mood, irritability, and anxiety.
2. What are the effects of various essential oils?
Rosewood, Clary Sage, and Lavender help to reduce neuronal excitability, which can have a calming, sedative effect on the central nervous system. In terms of anxiety, Rosewood is the most studied essential oil for its positive effects.
Citrus oils such as Neroli and Bergamot have been studied to create a “brightening, uplifting” effect for mood. Moreover, Bergamot is shown to reduce blood pressure, hypertension, and cortisol levels.
3. What do you recommend when looking to buy effective, safe essential oils?
Before buying an essential oil, check its Gas Chromotography (GC) and Mass Spectrometry (MS) ratings to identify the presence and relative quantities of chemical constituents within an essential oil (GC), and presence of adulterants in the oil (MS).
A good rule of thumb when shopping for high-quality, unadulterated oil is to make sure the Latin name of the oil is on the bottle, that it is organic, and/or from a wild-crafted source. If possible, talk to the purchaser for more specific information!
4. How can people conveniently incorporate aromatherapy into their everyday lives to support wellness?
For smaller, non-ventilated areas such as a bedroom or office, diluted, hydrosol room-clearing sprays are ideal. In larger, more ventilated areas such as a living room, aromatherapy diffusers can be used safely.
For more immediate effects, direct inhalation (from a hankerchief or other cloth) is the quickest method for the essential oil to bypass the blood/brain barrier (2 drops should do the trick!)
For eczema, aches and pains, body oils containing essential oil can help immensely. An easy way to incorporate this into your everyday life is to apply a body oil after showering.
5. Are there any safety concerns related to aromatherapy?
Proper dilution is essential - when used on the whole body, you want 1-3% of the oil to be absorbed. For more localized areas, 5-20% of the oil can be safely absorbed for treating an acute condition.
Always know the CG report and distillation date of the essential oil, as citrus oils in particular can change their chemical compound within a year!
6. What essential oil services at Jessica’s Skin & Body Apothecary do you offer?
Currently, we offer individual consultations to create a customized blend for your specific needs. Common blends we have created are for work stress, anxiety, low mood, to help facilitate sleep, and deepen meditation. We also offer two ready-made blends for cold relief, and will be creating new blends as we move into spring/summer.
All essential oils at Jessica’s Skin and Body Apothecary are notated with date of distillation, origin, and shelf-life.
7. Any last comments on the use of essential oils?
It is important to remember that essential oils are a limited resource, and so we have an ecological responsibility to appreciate their subtle, corrective nature at low doses :-)
Jessica’s Skin & Body Apothecary is located at 301 N. Fifth Ave in Ann Arbor. To make an appointment with Jessica to create a customized blend for your needs, call 734-545-4303.