Aromatherapy: The Best Carrier Oils

| 4/13/2010 11:33:45 AM

B.StansfieldBrenda Stansfield is a licensed massage therapist, certified clincial aromatherapist and the creator of the Clear My Head product line, sold in spas nationally at She belives aromatherapy should be simple and easy to incorporate into a hectic lifestyle.

An aromatherapy blend can be many things in a single blend. Perhaps that is what I love the most about the art of aromatherapy. You're given the flexibility to create something that is uniquely pleasing to the user with an ability to heal the body and soul in very tangible ways. So much thought goes into the selection of the essential oils of a blend (fragrance, medicinal properties, etc.) that many people forget that the carrier oils used to dilute blends properly add another dimension: they also enhance the healing properties of the oils, provide antioxidants, protection, and vitamins and minerals.

I thought it would be worth exploring some of my favorite carrier oils to help you select the proper one for your blends. Essential oils, with the exception of lavender, tea tree and ravensara, should never be applied directly to the skin. For safety they should be diluted with a "carrier oil" or a "base oil". In aromatherapy these oils are cold pressed and plant based—usually vegetable, nut or seed oils. The premise of choosing a plant based oil over a mineral oil (i.e. baby oil) is simple: essential oils are lipid soluable. We want them to absorb into the skin and work systemically in our system.

Essential oils can be carried throughout the body at the cellular level. In hospitals, mineral-ased oils are chosen for the exact opposite reason—they are blocking the absorption of anything that could threaten the immune system. In a hospital environment this makes sense because you are subjected to pathogens that could harm you (staph infections are rampant these days). But because you are in a somewhat "controlled" environment at home, you will want every healing drop of your essential oil blend to benefit you body. Let's explore a few carrier oil selections to help you pick the correct one each time. Our list includes oils that are easily found.

Essential oil
Courtesy Flickr/Photo by Helena Liu