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Edition 107: Imbolc - 7 August 2018

Edition 107: Imbolc - 7 August 2018

Special Feature

Synergy with Essential Oil Blends

THE REAL essence and fun of aromatherapy lies in creating blends of essential oils where we quickly learn that a blend is so much more than just a collection of essential oils mixed together.
Blending essential oils is an art that involves the intuitive, creative process and primarily the acuity of the nose that knows best.
Synergy is the working together of two things to produce an effect greater than the sum of their individual effects.
In aromatherapy, if we blend for example three essential oils, we are gifted with more than three times the benefits of just the individual oils.
The roots of the word synergy are ‘syn’ meaning together and ‘ergon’ which means work.
Synergy reflects the way that the oils interact with each other, how they subtly change over time and how the blender responds to the blend. A blend of essential oils is a living, evolving organic process rather than a static inert object.

Synergy of the oil and the individual

Blending two or more essential oils together creates harmony and a higher, more vibrant energy.
A good blend is harmonious, balanced and well rounded and most importantly, really appealing to the person who will be using it.
Liking the smell of the blend can achieve better synergistic effects than a blend that is not liked, although sometimes even an unappealing, medicinal smelling blend will still work better than individual oils. The synergy of the blend must also work synergistically with our own personal chemical makeup.
More powerful therapeutic results are often obtained when essential oils are blended together than when used individually. This blending of two or more essential oils results in completely new chemical compounds being formed when certain volatile constituents are conjoined.
Synergistic medicinal properties are created and made available that were previously not present and furthermore, the individual chemical constituents can have a mutually enhancing effect on the others.
It is not necessary to know the exact chemical make up of any individual essential oil to successfully craft delightful, healing and potent synergistic blends; however if we learn the key properties that they possess, we are able to create more efficacious blends.

Have a theme in mind

It is helpful to have a theme in mind, to promote specific benefits when creating a synergistic blend of essential oils; such as for relaxation, focus, enhancing breath, spirituality or perhaps applications for pain-relieving or regenerative skin care.
It may simply be to attain a special type of scent, reminiscent of exotic locations or happy times; there are countless combinations to create whatever the heart desires or the body and mind needs for healing.
Essential oils that have some similar constituents from similar families of oils - such as the florals, herbs, roots, citrus or base, middle or top notes - will often blend together harmoniously. Blending these can result in quite agreeable aromas that will have enhanced synergistic effects.
A particular example of an oil blend that works harmoniously together is chamomile, lavender and geranium.
The anti-inflammatory effects of chamomile are augmented when combined with cooling, analgesic lavender and made even more effective with mediating geranium oil, which has a regulating and replenishing effect on all the endocrine functions. We realise that all the different systems of the body are also connected and must work harmoniously in synergy together to maintain optimal homeostasis and essential oils blends thoroughly support this fundamental healing principle.
Of course this also applies to the energetic subtle bodies upon which the essential oils are positively exerting their influence.

Potency varies from oil to oil

It can be a little more challenging to find the correct proportions for the essential oils used in the blend to achieve the intended results.
The synergistic effect of 10 drops of a certain oil to 2 drops of another oil may not necessarily be the same as the reverse proportions.
Although the same oils are used in the blend, the synergy of the individual components of the oils will be in different proportions and may give entirely different results.
If you want to create a pain relief blend, it may require a higher percentage of the specific oils that have certain analgesic properties.
In this case, less of the finished product will be necessary for application than if only a singular oil was used.

The aromatic toolbox

Occasionally, we might want to make a blend sweeter, spicier, drier, lighter or richer than the prescribed therapeutic mixture and we certainly have multiple options in the essential oil toolbox to achieve this.
The ‘spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down’ analogy also applies to blending oils.
Many of the harsher, camphoraceous notes typical of respiratory type essential oils are quite strident and penetrating and may be mellowed out with the inclusion of more palatable, softening oils such as amyris, orange or geranium bourbon for instance.
Perhaps a sesquiterpenes rich and medicinal smelling blend that is anti-inflammatory for pain relief needs some uplifting.
Elevating, naturally antidepressant type oils such as bergamot, clary-sage, neroli, or rose can be integrated to make the blend more compelling to use and serve as additional psychotherapeutic support.

Explore and play

We need not feel inhibited to be more explorative and playful when blending essential oils. Yes, they are concentrated and potent but not dangerous or toxic so there is plenty of room for miscalculation.
In diluted form, if we learn the therapeutic properties and any specific contraindications, we are not likely to come to grief - there is no right or wrong. At the end of the day, it is about what works for us.
Each essential oil has its own individual character and as we become familiar with different oils, we intuitively learn and understand which oils blend well with others.  
Experimentation and experience is key to the art of blending.

 

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